Who? Right away we have this elite avant-garde ultrahipster signaling. I’m just starting to reread part one but I’m sure the entire thing is ultrahipster signaling…
In 2000, I started The Revolution, a political party and ran a write-in campaign for president of these here United States. Now I am annotating the foolish articles that I wrote to propagate the campaign and the party.
The Revolution was pitched at the time as a hybrid of liberal and libertarian politics, which — to use a much abused word — is extremely problematic. It was problematic. Now it’s more problematic. I will probably use that word again and again. Please kill me with opioids (from whence comes the oid? I think it was from advertisements and doctors not wanting to use the good old term opiATEs.) It’s largely today a weasel term used by weenies who can’t enjoy popular culture (or anything) without acknowledging that the fun thing doesn’t fit snuggly into Social Justice perfection. Oh yes, we’re gonna have some fun…
I’m not going to dwell on the liberal libertarian thing much right now except to say that I mostly meant Left and Libertarian and I was succumbing to the conflation of left and liberal so as to skip past the need to get pedantic with the less politically educated. Also, briefly
What libertarians were good for in the 1990s and — to a degree — today.
1: Helping to create develop and do the work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation — those stout defenders of privacy for the people, transparency for the companies, civil liberties and general resistance to overreactions by law enforcement towards benign-ish or at least not-too-awful hackers and the like. Also, gave us Edward Snowden (and the eventual consequent refusal of many liberals to want to know about the trillion dollar surveillance state).
2: Being against the War On Drugs (when the Democratic Party, for example, was in utter lockstep) — which was arguably the worst thing in America’s late 20th Century and is still pretty gnarly. (Much more on that to come in later annotated pieces).
3: Being among those manning (personing) the antiwar movement, particularly during Democratic administrations. Most of today’s activists brush off interventionism and the odd democrat-administered bombing of civilians like JZ brushing his shoulders in that video that Obama mimicked because he was cool. (He was cool.)
4: Actually liking civil liberties and being on it during Democratic admins, particularly during the Clinton Admin when mainstream liberals were entirely absent. We will get into the civil liberties record of the Clinton Admin in a latter entry.
5: Being part of MONDO 2000! … albeit not a dominant part, despite the assumptions of some commentators… and being mensches while they were at it. Oh I will savage libertarians some time later in this sprawling mess… but those are some briefs on reasons to be thankful.
The pieces were initially published on the Disinformation website when it was being managed by the inimitable Richard Metzger, who now runs my favorite site Dangerous Minds… some time in 1999. My annotated 2018 comments are offered in purple. Try to keep up!
ps: The following is a sort of blather-filled preamble. Future sections will look at the actual 15 point proposal from 1999 which was fairly serious and will deconstruct that and playfully offer a new set. Also, everything else weird and challenging that has punched and pulled me — and many others — over the terrible years since.
Beautiful is the chance encounter, on an operating table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella.
_ – Lautreamont_
Who? Right away we have this elite avant-garde ultrahipster signaling. I’m just starting to reread part one but I’m sure the entire thing is ultrahipster signaling… what I would call genuine hipster … or Original Hipster (OH) … or maybe better, actual FREAK. Let me pause to make a historical note. Almost nobody identified as a hippie. Everybody was a freak. True freaks dug punk.. at least the urban ones. Does any of this matter?
It stands to reason that self-righteous, inflexible, single-minded, authoritarian true believers are politically organized. Open-minded, flexible, complex, ambiguous, anti-authoritarian people would just as soon be left to mind their own fucking business.- R.U. Sirius, from ‘How To Mutate and Take Over The World’ Robert Anton Wilson and J.P. Barlow loved this and used the quote. Oh hell, they were right. The personal is political only in the sense of get out of my face about most private behaviors. Stop the pariah hunting, you pinched twats
We’re stuck, you and I. We would just as soon be out on the beach with a fine wine, some Nietzsche, and a drum’n’bass deconstruction of ‘Exile On Main Street’ Jesus! A drum’n’bass Exiles!? Oh… the hipster signaling. It is to weep tuning in to eternal questions regarding life, mortality, sexuality and so forth. But we live in a world of politics (sometimes called economics) from which there is no escape, no permanent autonomous zone. And so we must use politics to end politics. This is a real distinction between then and now. You did, in many quarters, need to soft sell the fact that you were getting political. There was kind of a vibe that things were working themselves out. Some time in the near future power and the pursuit of personal wealth would be a sort-of minority kink that could be ignored by those of us enjoying lives of post-scarcity dancing naked in the cyber-primitive woods high on DMT with Terence McKenna and nanotechnology or whatever… and ’til then a schizophrenic party in which ravers and punks fought for control of turntables didn’t seem too shabby. Thus, I am starting a political party for those of us who would really rather not. The triumph of the won’t … (ahistoric youths, here’s the reference) How gauche, you say. And I agree. Politics is terribly unfashionable and tacky. It is with great embarrassment that I embark on this endeavor. But consider this: public embarrassment is to cyberspace what skydiving is to the jaded middle class… or something like that. Let us begin:
PART ONE: The Post-Modern Social Contract
Whereas Your Name Here, although a conceptually-rugged individualist, seeks some small degree of protection from a rampaging police state, excessive multinational corporate domination, poverty, endless litigation and legalities, and even ideologically pure libertarians and anarchists, and testifying that I — of my own free will and not currently under the influence of bad drugs from untrustworthy sources — have chosen to make known my philosophic agreement with ‘The Post-Modern Social Contract’ Postmodernism is now a dirty word. It’s even out of fashion in fact if not in theory for those whose views are formed out of academic postmodernism/poststructuralism/culture theory and there is — in all corners — a pursuit of certainty. I used the term here in the casual sense in which it had drifted into pop culture and counterculture along the lines of “all that is solid melts into air” — reality is fluid baby, be cool, don’t overcommit… which is of course politically ummm… errr… problematic! Ouch as laid forth in the rest of this document.
This 21st Century social contract shuns ideologies, The search for dogmas and certainties is currently vogue, even nihilism seems to be the subject of correctness and instead operates under a basic premise that their are a few simple, loosely-held principles that maybe humans would do well to follow if they wish—as we the undersigned sometimes do—to survive and thrive on this planet, pending other travel arrangements.
_This contract further commits Your Name Here to some nominal effort, perhaps but not necessarily expended on Sunday evenings after The Simpsons, King of the Hill,’and X Files on Fox, TV was so bad back then that this Sunday night fare seemed really good. Believe me, my readers nodded yeah when they read it on behalf of the fulfillment of this Post-Modern Contract, which we the undersigned will achieve through some sort of heuristic process that engages all possible forms of intelligence, analyses, hysteria, artistry, salesmanship, tenacity, whoring, campaigning, drinking, shiatsu massage, crossdressing, musicianship, occult rituals, conspiring, gourmet cooking, slimy media productions appealing to the lowest common denominator, or any form chosen by Your Name Here, as a contribution to The Revolution®, the ‘Political Party’ that shall represent the Post-Modern Social Contract in the sadly-banal-yet-somehow-challenging world of Machiavellian realpolitik in the 21st Century. (The 20th Century is conceived here as having already ended with the death of Sinatra.)
The Post-Modern Social Contract agrees, in essence, that 21st Century Government (which must exist until such times as all humans are wealthy and secure enough to be completely self-governing), as a representative of both the democratic will of the people and a guarantor of maximum liberty for the individual, should seek to do ‘good’ things that help make it possible for individuals to live as well as they might before they go altogether whilst not doing ‘bad’ things that strip individuals of personal freedoms or that unfairly advantage the a-human structures known primarily as multinational corporations, which currently own the so-called democratic process. That government can do good things while not doing bad things was more obscure then. Democratic President Clinton declared “the era of big government is over.” Today, liberals, even many countercultural types that I know, are pretty much Gaga 4 Government … which is still doing many bad things along with some good things. Not just a few but seemingly most can’t seem to even mention foreign intervention (violence) or total surveillance, which we will get into at some point in one of these things. On the liberal MSNBC we’re of course invited to drool over the “Deep State” (and their representatives) that we used to object to but the existence of which is now a cranky conspiracy theory. (Imagine what would happen if there was a leftwing president who was against the management of an empire). A lot of minds have been locked into place by fear of right wing extremists and the self-trickery involved in making their peace with Hillary Clinton (who I managed to vote for against Trump without giving up on critical thought or strategically silencing mine)
We the undersigned acknowledge that this is a crazy, bizarre and obscure notion and that the mainline political discourse, as well as most alternative political discourse presumes instead a debate between those who say that there is Too Much Government (argument taken to new heights of hypocrisy by the ‘Republican Revolution’) and those who, like Democratic Senators Waxman and Lieberman, seek to legislate everything right down to making sure I don’t stand up in my tub, fall over, and hurt my head.
_In its place, the Post-Modern Social Contract suggests an heuristic movement towards achieving many of the goals associated with Liberalism and Libertarianism while evading and avoiding the politically correct absolutes associated with these tendencies. I’m kinda still ok with this
It is therefore agreed by Your Name Here, signee of The Post-Modern Social Contract, that an advanced high technological social system will lift all persons above impoverishment unconditionally while at the same time seeking to guarantee the least possible intervention of Government in the lives of individuals, even their economic lives. This is NOT going well. See my rewrite and wrong of the original Mondo 2000 editorial here Your Name Here further agrees that those who say that better social well-being and more individual freedom are incompatible shall from this point on be referred to as ‘Yee Of Little Imagination,’ and I shall challenge Yee of Little Imagination to look past his or her nose, except when I really don’t feel like it or I’m otherwise preoccupied trying to score for sex, or if Yee is armed or awfully huge and aggressive. Most days I am Yee of Little Imagination now myself. It’s drained. Nothing good is going to happen… It’s all going to be lost in the floods and/or a happyface Brave New World in which the margins on outside thought and behavior are controlled technologically or else utter chaos. I mean, I don’t want to be discouraging but…
Finally, Your Name Here agrees to examine R.U. Sirius’ initial proposed 15 Point Plan offering a new national political agenda for the USA and after overcoming my shock that this is awfully serious and almost pragmatic, and with the additional understanding that all points are vastly oversimplified and R.U. has probably already thought through all of my objections because like the glorious chairman who swam the Yangtzee River, his shit glows in the dark and is blessed by the mysterious war god Nyaaabrag and his wife Lalala Nicelady, Yes there was a payoff for being even THIS silly. I mean, this is just fucking embarrassing and yet a few thousand people signed up and interviews piled up and if I can agree essentially with at least 10 of the 15 points, I will JOIN THE REVOLUTION®! On joining, I will contribute towards its ultimate success via such thoroughly legal means as private and public argumentation, media propagandizing, and electoral politics. I further agree that I shall deny before the FBI or any Senate Subcommittee any knowledge of secret guerrilla training camps in the Swiss Alps, financed by Mohammar Khadaffy, who had time for spelling when there were drinks in the fridge and dimethyltryptamine in the dresser and under the leadership of R.U.’s brother, the Great and Terrible Hassan I Sirius, who utilizes a technique involving tantric masturbation to hard-core pornography while high on DMT to brainwash a group of ecstatic warrior-assassins who are ready and waiting to seize power By Any Means Necessary should The Revolution® by legitimate means fail, for this is all rumor and innuendo and completely untrue.
Therefore I, Your Name Here, do solemnly swear that Sirius would have charmed the pants off me with this crazy blather were I wearing any, and thus, naked as a jaybird and only mildly intoxicated on Plum Wine or perhaps not at all, I agree to this Post-Modern Social Contract or alternatively perhaps; I, Your Name Here, actually find Mr. Sirius quite irritating, but having skipped ahead and having read his 15 Point Program for The Revolution® I find myself agreeing with most of it, so I’ll sign this Post-Modern Social Contract and plot to convince the far more amusing; A) Michael Moore B) Subcommandante Marcos C) Sandra Bernhardt D) Paul Krassner to take up the cause as leader of The Revolution® in a grass roots upheaval that leaves Mr. Sirius a broken man.
In any case, consider me a signee of the Post-Modern Social Contract and a member of The Revolution®. I agree to contemplate tithing 5% of my income to The Revolution® if and when they set up tax deductibility, although I’m quite sure that I’ll reject that notion… but I’ll at least have a look at the offer for a collection of Sirius’ ‘writing’ and may actually even splurge the $25 just to further acquaint myself with this lunatic’s gibberish.
I don’t recall receiving $25, which probably would have had to come by mail. A lot of support though and empty promises from the goddamn slackers I deserved.