Lost in a world that I despise

By James Rice

Lost in a world that I despise,

No one here has nine lives,

The things I love are dead and gone,

Lost in a world that I despise.

The walls have ears it won’t be long,

‘Fore they take you away and bang a gong,

The thoughts I think, are they mine alone?

The things I love are dead and gone.

On the mountaintop I’ll shout it high,

Where no one can hear and wander by,

The truth that I know must be heard,

By fleet on foot or feather on a bird.

There’s no place I know where love lies waiting,

Yet everywhere it seems it’s up for the taking,

The invisible walls surround us two,

When will I ever run away with you.

But then who is listening in?

Is it the wind,

A passer by who drops an eve?

What a tangled web we weave.

Lost in a world that I despise,

No more can you see life with your own two eyes,

We are becoming one again,

A hopeless world approaching a bitter end.

Commentary: Although quite gloomy, I thought a few readers might appreciate the expression of hopelessness that I am sure many also experienced in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. This poem was inspired by my struggle for redemption, direction, and truth.

On the Consumer

Consumer society really does make us treat ourselves terribly. Creating goods is easier than providing a service, and so we are trained from a young age to always want and “need” more and more goods. What happens when instead of purchasing a good from someone, you require their service? Things go poorly. When you buy into the consumer economy, by purchasing one additional good, it is always something that you may already have enough of. Take books for instance, people collect books in order to get knowledge out of them, but in doing so they are impeding their ability to create, and they are blinding themselves to the contents of the books that they already have. Companies want people to buy their products so that they can make a profit, but what many people do not realize is that oftentimes they already have some almost identical version of the good that they intend to buy. In economics we are taught of the ideas of complementary and substitute goods, however, we are never taught of identical goods. This is the psychology that makes the capitalist consumer economy run.

When I decide not to purchase a good that I otherwise may have bought, this places a burden on other members of a society who necessarily must take up the economic cost of my missed purchase. They do this by buying something themselves. This creates strain on the underlying networks and relationships which I am embedded. Because of the friction between my forgiven purchase, and their forced entry into the market, there emerges a rift between me and my interlocutor. The material identity of the object or good which I am purchasing, giving up, and that they are now purchasing, is irrelevant, as is its objective value as an object. The value of the transaction and the value to the economy of the exchange comes from the transferral of ownership of the good from its creator or distributor to me and my affiliate who takes on the burden of the economic cost of the production of the good.

In this way the value of the object is virtually nothing except that of a store of value, akin to currency. The higher valued the object, the higher the store value, and time value of the money associated with it. Say for instance you purchase a piece of candy from a store and it costs $1. You eat the candy and perhaps this takes you 2 minutes. The store value of the piece of candy lasted for two minutes since you purchased it, assuming you ate it right after you purchased it. Now let us take a different example. A work of art costs $6 million dollars. A museum holds the art works for 300 years, being transferred from museum to museum, but at each transferral, the artwork is degraded bit by bit, so that eventually it is unusable and must be destroyed. This artwork has a store value of initially $6 million, and it lasted for 300 years. In the end both the candy and the artwork were destroyed, and became waste. So too will this happen with all goods that exist on this planet today.

So what is the objective, discounted value of any material good, if in the end everything that we create becomes waste? I argue that there is no value to most, if not all of the goods that we create. In order to enliven our lives with joy, happiness, and goodness, we must renounce the material world. Aside from the necessary provisions that sustain us throughout our journeys on this planet, we need little extra. But now I would like to go back to the parallel that I drew between the objective value of material goods, and the objective value of currency. What place does currency have in a world where material objects can be used in place of this fiat, liquid, material store of value. Well they are essentially the same, except for the well known fact that objects cannot be transferred with quite as much ease as currency can. However due to the ubiquity of the internet, distributed ledger systems, online platforms dedicated to the transference of goods, and warehoused centers of acceptance, processing and distribution, this is changing.

How will material goods, which are losing their embodied store of value, compete with digital, virtual infrastructure which encapsulates and overrides the pull of material pleasures. Furthermore, how will the rift that material objects bring about in our societies, whether through economic unsustainability through the production of these goods, or their obsolescence as we move into virtually networked cloud communication, and online gatherings, be resolved? How should society distribute its goods when the experiences we share are becoming more and more prescient, yet we are constantly drawn, pushed, and obligated to create for the betterment of society? Why should I be obligated to create anything any all when there is a robot, or an AI presence which can create the same thing that I can but with a much higher level of skill or precision?

These are all questions that need answering. Whether humans will lose touch of embodied reality and merge fully into the digital world remains to be seen. I will add one further note, before concluding, on the nature of place. Places on the earth are becoming more and more transversal in their span of different strata of digital and physical reality. This deepening of their geographic and relative location is troubling. The draw into the earth, the extraction that enables them to become “more” than a place, to become a part of the map, an access point for arrivals, departures, material creation, destruction, and the transactional transference of objects and value is a dangerous warning sign that we are reaching too deeply into the planet, and too far past our own planetary boundaries. A new solution needs to be found. And soon.

Achieving Nuclear Peace

The U.S. has shifted from being a democracy to being a thermonuclear monarchy which uses its nuclear powers to exert influence and achieve strategic goals around the world. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has been modernizing its nuclear arsenal, while at the same time attempting to advance an international disarmament campaign. The United States should look to itself first. Nuclear peace activists are pushing for new measures which would limit the president’s power to start nuclear war. One of these is sole use. Sole use refers to the ability of the president to launch nuclear weapons without secondary authorization. In addition to this, nuclear first use is the commitment not to strike another country first in the event of a conflict. This clause is being pushed for by nuclear activists to be included in law in order to further limit the strike abilities of the president.

The ability of the president to initiate a nuclear strike unilaterally is the most vulnerable part of the system to mistakes or poor judgement. A nuclear catastrophe could mean the end of our civilization. Dr. Ira Helfand, a member of the steering committee of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said that “in the case of an attack on a city like New York, we are talking about 12-15 million people in a half hour. And if this were part of a large scale war between the United States and Russia, this level of destruction would befall every major city in both countries. If NATO were drawn into the conflict as well, most of the great cities in Europe and Canada as well. All told perhaps 200 million 300 million people dead in an afternoon.”

It is clear that this type of power should not rest in the hands of one person. But no first use and no sole use is just the first step. Right now countries are celebrating their achievement of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but the countries that have signed it are not the ones with their hands on the button. Clearly the world wants less nuclear weapons which can only bring us closer to the destruction of our civilization. For countries like the United States and Russia no first use and no sole use are not enough. What policies can contribute to peace?

How can we go back to a time before the bomb? Well, there is another option which president Biden pushed for during his campaign. This was sole-purpose. Sole purpose is the law prohibiting that nuclear weapons be used for anything other than deterrence. When the U.S. and the Soviet Union were engaged in escalation of their nuclear capabilities during the Cold War, the strategy that the U.S. engaged in was one of deterrence. If the United States could prevent the Soviet Union from ever using their nuclear weapons, or prevent them from coming close enough to striking distance from major U.S. cities, then in the minds of U.S. leaders at the time, nuclear war could be prevented.

Much of the same logic is used by proponents of all three policy options today. First use is aimed at the prevention of nuclear war by means of neutralizing the method of attack when aggression comes from the side of the U.S. Sole use is for the purpose of preventing a president who is incapable, unfit for service, or otherwise unable to wield his authority with strong morals and judgement to begin nuclear war. Finally, sole purpose should be enacted in order to, in theory, limit any and all use of nuclear weapons. This policy would essentially ensure that nuclear weapons are never launched. It is the first step on the road to ratification of a treaty prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons in major nuclear powers around the globe.

If America can lead the world with this policy, she would be taking a step back from the brink of global catastrophe. We don’t have a lot of time to deal with the nuclear problem. A new age of détente should now come, one where the United States and Russia lead the charge to protect the security of their populations by easing the treat of nuclear war, and turning back the doomsday clock before it is too late.

A Love Long Lost

By James Rice

A time ago I found a place

Where love would always show its face

The sweetest tune

That stayed past June

And always and forever followed grace.

The state I was in

And the place I had been

Were more special than ever told

What a sight was her grin

But at night came the din

So there’s yet for love to unfold.

So children beware

Of the night and the terror

That comes to see true love’s past

For love everlast

The will and the flask

Will be the doom everlasting.

At midnight the bells toll noon

And the voices sing out their tune

What I heard once before

Comes in through the door

My sweet love flowers adore.

A note on education

The state of the American college is denigrating to the minds of the future leaders of our nation. The way that drink has infiltrated the campuses across the nation creates a hostile atmosphere of violence that cannot be escaped. It was less than a week ago when I was approached by a group of college students who were engaged in this type of cultural appropriation. As someone who as been through and around this culture for much of my college and high school years, I understood exactly what was going on. Unwittingly these youth were both creating an act of violence on themselves, and on those around them by the use of alcohol. It has become a war of culture, where the booze fills up the minds of our young people, and does not let them go. From this starting point the “culture” of college partying, emanates upwards into the ranks of the bourgeoise, destroying many promising futures, fortunes, and American dreams. While it was stopped temporarily by the pandemic, the impact of this culture has and will continue to have a long and deadly effect on American aspirations.

It is a “rite of passage” that every American must go through. The inescapable downward tug upon the youth of our nation. Even I was not above the calamity that we call the American undergraduate college experience. Entranced by the thrill of drunkenness, and the appalling falsity of depth that we call the “high,” I lived my life in darkness for years and still have yet to get away from the inescapable shadow of my past.

This is the plague that threatens the minds of our children, the minds of children of all American parents and parents of developed nations around the globe.

We must no longer educate our children to have careers, that turn into dead end vocations. We must no longer teach our children how to be global citizens, when in fact by teaching them to be citizens we are pushing them into a world where they cannot be anything, except to be subjugated. And finally we must not be teaching them to enjoy the experience of life, when in fact life is not an experience at all. Life is truth, beauty, pain, justice and injustice, terror and monotony, and most of all it is reality. But to say this is also to say that it is imagination.

Life cannot be defined in the terms of which we teach our children in elementary schools, secondary and university education, nor are the micro cultures which we raise our children in, in these institutions, anything like what they will experience once they are set free to explore for themselves the unity and disunity, structure and randomness, and finality of the place that we call our universe.

Dear Friends,

With great regret I write to tell you that I have been involved in the exploitative gig economy here in the United States. Yes, in my view the US economy has grown too overbearing with its massive corporations who are too self interested to ever make strides for any measure of social good. This is the reason that we will never solve the carbon emissions problem. Furthermore, it is with the growth and expansion of the gig economy during the pandemic that the rot has seeped to the core of consumerized suburban America. Even with the promise of climbing the totem pole of the idealized career path, the gig economy is first and foremost exploiting the very people it purports to help. By keeping these people in the shadows, always uncertain when the next “gig” might come, when the next paycheck will come, always, constantly searching for a “real” job. The corporate career ladder is broken to the core.

The college students come straight from their dorms, rushing headlong into corporate America, thinking that they can keep up their ways of partying, networking, always striving. They want to get the job done, to race to the top, to always get somewhere, to be somewhere. They have somewhere to be every second of the day and they forget about this ideal, the true ideal, the one we call life.

As a revolutionary, a romantic, and a libertarian, I do not envy those people who are stuck in the rat race. And I aspire to never again be involved in that sort of unscrupulous behavior. It is degrading, devoid of meaning, and pointless to be so sucked up in the social aspects of life that you have built your life around nothing but that. Yes, man is a social animal, but man is first and foremost an animal. The sentence “man is a social animal,” leads one to think that the social aspects of man’s life should come first. Why not the metaphysical aspects? Why do we base our lives around such mundane and senseless activities such as vice, when there are such aspects which are too often forgotten by so many, love, beauty, friendship, and kindness come to mind.

The Sum of All Things Good and Evil

With this writing, it has come to my attention that a more active stance is needed for the rural libertarian movement. The time has come for young people and those who are silent to speak out. Our leaders are continuing with the status quo while forces that are unimaginable to their eyes are shaping and changing our world. The cultures, and the economies which power them are undergoing a rapid phase transition while the governance stays largely the same. Even the modern protest movements such as Black Lives Matter and the green energy “revolution” are not revolutions at all, but spectacles put on by our government, and sanctioned by the elites. The students and young people who are drawn into these rallies are told to believe certain things which are not true, and do not hold solutions for our planet.

The worst thing that the post truth media can do to a movement or person is to simply ignore them. That is what is happening with the political crisis my friends. The Biden administration is not only drawing a curtain over the true disease of this country, they are actively funding and politicizing pseudo science, which has been made into the “truth” at the expense of the masses who do not and cannot know better.

This is what we must do my friends. If you are aware of these problems, speak out in your local community. Start small. Edge your way in. Build your voice, and breathe deeply. Speaking truth to those who are blind will not be easy. Nor is learning about the truth of our world. It takes hard work and practice, and more than a little bit of luck. I will continue to recommend books, articles and videos; media of all kinds when I can and will, here for the purposes of the advancement of this cause. Fight peacefully, fight the fake news, fight for what we truly believe in, and we will win in the end. This is the most precarious time that mankind has ever faced, there has never been a more important time to be an activist, a scholar, or a youth.

Thoughts from a Young Revolutionary Activist

Independent political parties get a lot of bad press. Not enough turnout at the polls, underfunded campaigns, poorly planned policy agendas, and inconsistent platforms of “ideology.” It seems to many people that independents such as Libertarians are trying too hard for an unattainable utopia. Actually, the libertarian philosophy over the years has become more focused, even though this is not displayed by those running for office. 

Libertarian political philosophy is based on one central idea; that what is best for one person is not best for all people. A government which has a highly complex and overbearing tax system, created by the elected or non elected bureaucracy, fails to consider the freedoms of the individual. 

Among young people today, movements such as Libertarianism are on the rise. Young people are fed up with the status quo, seeking to challenge embedded patriarchal governments. For youth who are paying attention, the freedoms to create social movements and create social impact, are two main drivers of political economy. 

The social movement space is crowded, especially among young people who are chasing after a rebellious dream online under the COVID lockdown restrictions. For Granby youth to truly be engaged, it can seem as if having a computer and internet access is the only prerequisite. It’s not. A global citizen seeks out knowledge and doesn’t let the circumstances of the instant dictate their destiny. It’s important to dream about the world, and moving out of your immediate comfort zone, even if it means leaving behind some friends, lets you take a more active role in your own life. 

Inside Mental Health: A Call to Action

Individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems live, work, and contribute to our communities. Opening the conversation around these issues in Granby and in the Farmington Valley can lead to healthier, happier, and more just communities. In order to do this, Granby needs clear, measurable action on community resources and mental illness prevention and treatment. A community resource center could be a catalyst for community participation and engagement for those who are marginalized here, in our own community of Granby. 

In 2019 in Granby alone, 178 people received treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. In Connecticut treatment was most common for the following drugs: alcohol, heroin, and marijuana. For the State of Connecticut, the most common diagnoses included: substance-related and addictive disorders, depressive disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, and bipolar and related disorders. We need to create a strong community network for those affected by mental illness so that we can provide a safety net for those who need it the most. 

A community resource and health center could provide adult education, counseling, internships, help for job seekers, and community participation through volunteer opportunities and non competitive employment. The subsidized health services that could be included would not be limited to mental health, but could be extended to visiting doctors, nurses, and resources for dental and vision not covered under insurance. Outreach and advocacy for those facing legal trouble could be provided. Religious services for individuals of all faiths could be held. The center would be a hub of community engagement and outreach. 

This resource center for adults is best placed in a school. The building where Kearns School once was is an opportunity for the Town of Granby to revitalize its community services. Our town has an obligation to support those who are in poverty, homeless, or affected by mental illness. Many times people are experiencing a combination of these issues at the same time. It is not enough to expect private charity and community organizations to uphold our values. Our local government needs to step in for the ones who are most in need. We have services for youth, seniors, great police and fire departments, yet no one is there for the people who get left behind.

Crowdsourcing Our Blog

The leadership of our company is working on focusing on implementing the three pillars of our action strategy. These pillars are Educate, Invest, Advance. You can find out more about them on the “About” page! With this, we have less time to update the blog regularly or work on the overall structure of the site. If you are interested in our mission and want to write about the UN, international relations, the environment, racial and social inequality, or any other interesting topic, I encourage you to send an email to James@withlibertyct.org. We are accepting submissions for our blog and would be happy to post your essay. The essays should be relatively short in length, ~1500-2000 words, and should be professionally written, and able to be understood by a wide audience. I look forward to reading any submissions that come in!