Friday, March 23, 2012

A School of My Own

Some day, sometime before I die, I want to start a school. I think at least right now I'm too scared to become a teacher, too passionate to become a lawyer, and maybe too impatient for school itself. All of these things will eventually happen. But I have the confidence to think of things and find people, lots of people. And lots of really good people. It's just luck, I think. I wonder what schools will be like in the "future."

Maybe in the future we'll have everyone on computers hooked up with cables like in an emergency room, or on something that hasn't been invented yet. Maybe we'll discover telepathy, or live on the moon and take field trips there.

I hope the act of learning, teaching, growing, isn't outdated but is constantly reinvented. So each human being is worthy, has opportunity and curiosity, and the encouragement. In the future we'll be a little smarter about scattering the seeds before they even start to grow, I know it. There's a lot of potential but I hope us "reformers" aren't seen as demons to be feared, colonizers to be challenged.

I wonder what education means to different people, because I've gotten quite a lot of ruffled feathers for my own path. You know, reader I'm speaking to right now, that you've gotten quite the same.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Like Minded

Maybe if I scream loud enough we'll find each other
Just another someone
Someone to meet eyes with,
And cry with,
To speak quietly to
As if the whole world tried to listen
Sharing our inner demons
Perhaps our inner angels
But then again the smiles are what they all see

When it isn't
Just a punk banging against the gates
Making a racket for the rest of us
It's a beautiful harp, really
A singing, a ringing
Something we call
Friendship, kinship, love, acceptance
Amidst all of this "normalcy"

Maybe to the others we will be noise
Just kids, crazies and animals
But a world to live in might be enough
Creating our own from nothing
Rather than living to break them apart
There are plenty who do this

But we'll be adventurers
We'll be builders and artists
Hiding under the covers as the storm passes
Wondering if life could be better
Sharing our deepest desires
In the future, it might look like this
You know they'll never thank us

I wonder if it's hard to be conscious
It is hard to tell if you're listening
If you really hear them
Feel what they feel when they say things
And have an understanding beyond words
Something shared with eyes, touch, ears
Spiritually, something between souls

It might take a lot of screaming
To find those people that make you human
But silence is death and despair
The voice grows weaker with disuse
And wary with betrayal
Still we keep learning, keep sighing
Muttering in dismay or in anticipation
Another day has passed

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

♥ SU Splash

Nobody understands responsibility like an entrepreneur. I have found something that I love, and it's something that other people kind of laugh about and take for granted and demand a lot from me from.

I think have found something that I love to do in my life, and it's something that other people kind of smile faintly about and take for granted. They demand a lot from us. They think it's a good idea and you forget all that goes into it. This is an experiment in entrepreneurship. No one taught me these things, nothing makes me an authority more than the fact that this is what I do and I have ownership of it.

All the pieces that have to come together to make something magnificent. All the little cogs in the machine, and it's a beautiful machine. I hope with all of my heart that this becomes something that lasts for a lifetime, and I sincerely hope that you all as participants enjoy it


They say that you exploit, you trick and maneuver your way to greatness. But entrepreneurs create connections. They are the spark that creates the flame of life that we call society. How could you cry out in the streets for more benefits, higher pay and more taxes on the wealthy if there was no salesman to hand you a megaphone, no manufacturer to make its plastic, no engineer to design how it would make your voice boom.

I'm not talking about corporate welfare or the fat and happy on Wall Street. That isn't something a moral society and a moral system ought to tolerate.

We must understand that our society, any human society, is based on an interconnecting and complex system of trust. Something so impossible to grasp because we are in it, something so beautiful and dangerous. It's a little inevitable but it's something that we have made together.

We must work with people, blame the incentives and not individuals for succumbing to power. We must become entrepreneurs, creating value for other people.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Right Paint

When you were little, your parents would tell you that you had to try.

But they warned that it wouldn't be easy, not just because you wouldn't try hard enough, but because some people would try to take your spirit. They would be like leeches or vampires, coming after you when you least expected it.

Your parents explained that they would take your spirit because they didn't have any of their own, and it made them feel a little better when they brought you down as well. There were people like this in the world, and the sad truth was that most people were like this.

When you were little you didn't believe that there could be people like this, and surely there was no one that could be so terrible. At the beginning you laughed it off, but as you got a little older you began to see them. Walking around in broad daylight, there were people that took each others souls.

It was just a small attack, when one person would lean over to another person and say something. When one person would say something with their eyes, their actions, their lack of acceptance. You saw many kinds of people - you saw builders and artists and problem solvers. They were all so interesting and different, but some of them had eyes that weren't kind. How could people be so cruel to their own?

Still, surely there couldn't be that many, you told yourself. There were only a few, but you were still learning.

When you got a little older, your parents would tell you again and again that you have to keep trying, and maybe do something that you really want. Your parents kept encouraging you, and sometimes they didn't make sense with all of their warnings but you guessed they were probably just overprotective.

"Pick something, anything," They would say "Something that will make you happy."

Happy? You thought that was a good idea, and probably better than sitting on the couch all day. The couch was so nice though, and you didn't have to think about things. When you got a little older, you didn't really know what you wanted out of life, but at least you could make a few choices.

Your parents warned that it would be difficult, but you shouldn't give up. The thought of failing was too terrible to think about. Most of the time you just sat on the couch.

Even though you heard about bad people doing bad things, you never really thought about the prospect of someone hurting you, bringing you down or stealing your spirit. That type of thing just happened in movies. Your spirit remained mellow.

When you got to be a young person you began to venture out on your own, and think about what you wanted to do with your life. Your parents stood by, still encouraging faintly, but they realized that you were beginning to build your own sense of self-motivation. It was pretty small, and you still made lots of mistakes, but you still had things you wanted out of life.

You began to acquire things that motivated you: a paintbrush, a canvas, and an old smock. You tried to keep a mirror in the room so you wouldn't forget that you were growing every day.

You had all but forgotten about the prospect of people stealing your spirit, friends turning on you, and the idea that people could be evil. You made decisions and you got a little brighter about not walking on the wrong side of the road.

All the while, your parents would occasionally remind you to watch it, but you knew they did it because they loved you and not because they didn't trust you.

By this time, you had built your own self-motivation. Your parents helped guide you like when you were first learning how to ride a bike, but eventually the time came when it was time to leave.

When you finally left to go to a new place, you realized that there was no one there to remind you about things all the time. Sometimes you would forget, and sometimes you thought about what a family really means. It wasn't a sad moment, but perhaps just something you took for granted.

Your parents would tell you things over the phone, and they seemed so far away. They always seemed to have the right answers though, and it was almost frightening. You would sometimes exclaim in surprise when they seemed to be in your head. How could they possibly understand?

When you were in that new place, you started to venture out, and you made a big fuss about things that people thought were little. You said things that you wouldn't have said three years ago, and you thought about things that were never think-able. That wasn't possible when you were younger.

Ambition was a double-edged sword though, and for a time you felt too impassioned to think about the future. Sometimes all you could do was fight, because you felt like the battle was everyone against you. Like you had something to prove. You became a warrior.

Your parents broke you when they told you to be a balanced person, to keep your head above water and your eyes in the direction of the future. You wouldn't be here forever but make the most of it.

It felt like rejection. You told them you felt alive for once.

One day you raised your fists and made art. You had built warrior arms and used them to paint, using that paintbrush and canvas that had been scarcely used. It was a very crude and haphazard thing, but it was still beautiful. You told your family. It was a work of extremes, and it even hurt your eyes but you didn't want to think about it because you worked so hard.

But it was strange because every time you went to buy a paintbrush or ask for a small favor people looked at you like you were crazy. You sat, frustrated, and you started fighting more. Fighting with everyone and everything. So much injustice every day, and your fighting wasn't making people happy. And your parents...their only advice was to do nothing?

"I'm just an artist," You would tell the vendors. But in this new place they thought a little differently about passions. Your parents told you that some people get caught in the "doldrums," and they forget their direction. It becomes an endless battle, and they sit their and fight while their bodies deteriorate.

You were scared because you were very close to that not so long ago. Sometimes it scared you so much that you cried about it. You remembered when you were little that your parents told you about bad people.

You didn't realize it before, but there aren't just bad people and good people. There is badness and goodness in people, and that makes all of the difference. Sometimes the bad in people is drawn out, and your eyes widen when you see your peers, friends and mentors become monsters.

At first you run far away, not knowing what to do. They had told you there would be monsters, but they didn't tell you they would be people you loved and cherished. Your spirit was dying. Every little comment or casual remark had cut into you like a knife and it hurt so much.

For a time you watch from afar. You watch people bleed every day, and you almost go insane. You want to leave but you're stupid and something inside you tells you to stay. But you focus, and you work very hard. And you try to understand.

"They don't see that they are monsters," You tell yourself after days of insanity "They don't even know!"

You run back to your room, to your mirror that you always have to have. Sure enough, you see scales and claws growing on your right arm.

"It's me too," You begin to cry, but in happiness. It's a happiness of finally understanding, of having knowledge. You reach out to your parents and spill your heart out.

"You have to have balance in your life, my child," Your parents tell you, but for once in your life it makes sense "There is more to life than war."

When you were in another place it was hard to conceptualize a life with balance. You looked in the mirror sometimes and tried to imagine yourself as a professional or a parent, or even a grandparent. Sometimes it scared you so much that you cried about it.

That mirror became something to be avoided. But it was so necessary. Because when you were young you looked in the mirror as you painted. Perhaps your paintings were more beautiful then. You wish you had them with you and not back home.

You began a new painting with a new canvas, using a smock that was brand new instead of the old one. As you were buying the smock you told yourself that you have to spend your time and money where things are important. You were nice to the vendor even though he didn't understand you like you wanted. You both had scales and claws but you tried to look into his eyes and understand that he was a person too.

There was a paint set that you found in the corner of your room that hadn't been touched. You wondered what provoked you to carry it all the way from home. It was a gift from your parents that was very old.

"This is something..." You told yourself "That I want to remember forever."

When you started painting, it wasn't because you were fighting. When you fought, you always fought the brush and it looked terrible because your hands shook so much. You used to tell yourself that your hands shook because you were knew to painting, and when you became strong enough they wouldn't shake anymore.

But you had it all wrong. It wasn't because you were trying to prove something anymore. You found this new kind of paint, and it looked like your parents had refilled the jar because there were little splatter stains along the sides. You opened up the paint and it smelled nice. You had thought paints were supposed to smell terrible, but this was something knew. The windows of your room stayed open a little longer, and you started using this color called "love."

When you were young, you had always used bright colors because you wanted to make a point. Sometimes when you were young, you painted so much and for so long that your arms hurt. Your parents told you that your arms could have become warrior arms faster if you had let yourself rest. You also didn't realize that subtle colors like love are more complex, more natural and easier to use.

The day turned to dark and it was the middle of the night when you finished your painting.

Perhaps no one would understand it, A hesitant thought played through your mind. You considered adding black "hate" to your painting, going down that old route again. Perhaps my parents won't understand it. Maybe I can stick with being misunderstood.

But you realize that there is understanding in everything, and that it will come in time, to them as it did to you.

"I'm not tired," You suddenly speak, in a voice quite unlike your own. You hadn't spoken for hours, and you hadn't sat, but you weren't tired. In fact, you were less tired.

Your parents were far away but they were smiling because they knew that their flower had blossomed. It was because, finally, you had started using the right paint.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Read Something

I may talk quiet but my message is strong
and it's hard to know where exactly I belong
and it's so far coming and people call you names
but when it ends when it ends the world will somehow change.

When I got here
it was a state of mind, not a place
I thought about playing devil's advocate
the slate was just so clean

Just for a couple years to see if people would notice but
I don't know. I don't know
turned into
I won't go. I won't go

it's the sheer silence that makes me scared
and I'm afraid, so afraid that I won't be prepared

what if they ask me to sacrifice
What if they realized that
everything I said before had been
the antithesis of how people live their lives

Sometimes when you think you're a monster
you start to become one
just to be reactionary, rebellious
Like a kid, like a punk that just cries
When people don't understand, refuse to listen
and they make so many... demands...
And they refuse to understand

I don't know how many pages I've read
The books, so many books, that have entered my head
and it's safe to say that most people I talk to
Haven't read
Bastiat, Hayek, Mises, Hazlitt, Rothbard

I've read it all and I'll just keep reading
people will call us names
and I hope the names get more truthful

They call liberty racist
because we're old white men
I can assure you I'm none of these things
but maybe everyone who thought back then
was old and white and a man
and wasn't life just a little different back then?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA

What they call "the law" are the chains. The chains, my friend, are holding your mind from the possibilities. And maybe someday I will be a lawyer but today it is so difficult. It is so difficult for an eager young idealist to realize that life is so much harder when you're so stubborn.

But no, poetry is much sweeter than chains and holds hearts much better. The law is not how it should be, how it must be. So difficult to imagine being the chain-holder today...

No, no, it cannot be. We must have law, order, stability, peace. We must drive for it, strive for it, embody our souls in an image of peace. But it is not how it should be, must be.

BOOM

The law of today cries out to us, storming through the skies with its image soaked in the unforgivable sin of guilt

How we must care for the poor and impoverished, young and elderly, forgotten and downtrodden. How they guilt us out of our sacred liberty

It's a cruel thing to see the most generous and eager of hearts seek the title of "lawmaker," one step from our soldier the lawyer. For it is the lawmaker, the general, that sends these soldiers out to battle each and every day

It brings me to tears because it's the passionate and the strong, the stubborn who have belonged...tied to this role of ever increasing sacrifice...

Those with bright eyes and brighter hearts. They enlist, they struggle, they fight. And they along with so many before them become monsters.

People don't understand that things like SOPA happen every day. EVERY day. Except for that this time YOU'RE the one being regulated out of existence.

It's like every day when happy foodies can't drink raw milk because it violates FDA regulations and the SWAT teams come and raid them because raw milk isn't "safe".

It's like every day when an eyebrow threader has to spend dozens of hours in beauty school because she needs to get licensed because the good people need a "reliable" service.

It's like every day when big corn lobbies put ethanol in our cars because they want the earth to be "cleaner".

It's like every day when American soldiers create new and angry souls by infringing on the territory of other nations.

I know that Wikipedia isn't online today, but just look up liberty and see if you like it. SOPA isn't the exception to the rule - it is the rule


Note to reader: this is meant to be read as a spoken word piece, but just because my words are soulful does not make them any less true

Friday, December 16, 2011

Batman Beyond #1

Today I watched Batman Beyond and it was more awesome then when I was little. I think I realized about three or four days ago that I only have a few fiction books left on my bookshelf and the thought made me very sad.

Being a full-time student has been so rewarding and challenging. Getting to question, argue, analyze, perplex over the questions, concentrating on the ideas of philosophers and economists and theorists, the recent developments, the here-and-now, learning skills for a lifetime.

But the sad feeling is that I feel like my imagination is dying.

We try to put soul in our "work" but it doesn't work all the time. We argue and demonize, and forget how we're all so similar. So many parts have to come together to make an episode, a character, a story for people to listen with with their hearts.

People make unintentional assumptions, drawing lines here instead of there, getting called intolerant or womanizing or sloppy. The messages we receive out of it are so different, and that's part of the beauty of art, but what we choose to like and to love are based on something that we can identify with.


I will probably never physically be a male crimefighting futuristic Batman protege, but these "stupid TV shows" didn't rot my brain like all the oh-so-smart ones say. I think it made our generation more tolerant and accepting; can't we all step into each others' shoes for just a minute? We have all felt strain, anger, apathy, kinship and remorse.

There's a reason I wrote #1. I think it's because I feel like I'll be writing more about this show in the future.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Defense


"Defense"

You grow into an idea, into a group of people
The same faces that greet you every day
The warmth and love you feel
From those around you, and yet...

The dangers of closing yourself off
Creating a space for you and your kind
Thinking the same, doing the same
Pretending there is no "outside"
You're in your own space
A cave, a defense that protects you

You develop your own language
A world all your own
Except every day
When you close the door to enter your world
You think to yourself
It has became boring fast
A brave one, you venture out

Brighter lights, stronger smells and sounds
They put you on edge
You're in a new land
It's strange but the people seem to smile

Deep in your belly you feel torn
The nights are the most terrible
A part of your past, a part of your present
Two halves that fight for your future
You turn over, unable to sleep
And your muscles tighten, afraid

A hostile environment when you assumed family
An unwelcome idea when you assumed acceptance
A silent stare when you assumed warmth
And...when you're told to leave quietly
You can only stand and stare

Cling not to the past
To your kind, break free
Cling not to this present
To these friends, break free as well
Keep all at arm's length
Forget defense, loosen your arms
There is more to life than fighting

*note: be kind to the photo, original work

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Carpooling & the Earth

People often talk about the selfishness of mankind and our ability to disregard one another and each other in our pursuit of the narrow focus of self-interest. But no one talks about the little things people do every day, the things that don't make the headlines, and how we add value and respect to the things we have ownership of.

This weekend for me was intense. I was at three events in Austin, and managed to get by (food, housing, transportation) only with the help of complete strangers and my total expense of $25 from Friday night to Sunday night. I got a carpool from Georgetown to Austin to get to a "founding father's zombie crawl" event Friday night, from Austin to San Marcos to crash on the couch of an event coordinator of the Austin Students for Liberty conference I went to on Saturday, and back to Austin to attend the conference.

I then got from the UT conference center to the (free!) hotel room I stayed at before a Sunday bootcamp, by sheer luck of sitting next to a kind couple who went to the same conference as I did on Saturday. On Sunday night I managed to find someone at the campaign bootcamp from Fort Worth who could drive me back to Georgetown. Along the way, I had conversations with all of these people and I've become friends with these kind folks from all parts of Texas - it's been an amazing thing just to meet all these people!

It was a tiring trip, but with every experience I have, my faith in mankind to do amazing things grows more and more. I really do believe that we can respect one another and help each other out (even car-less college students!) by being friendly and neighborly. The Earth may be something that's our "property," but becoming responsible stewards creates an environment that is well-respected and loved. Sure, it's human-centric, but any human action involving the planet necessarily will be. At least that's my take.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is my home not just because of the beauty, the wonderful food, the lovely weather. It is the place where people challenge each other, creating the world that we so take for granted. Critics remark that we just keep creating more "stuff," so unnecessary in our lives they are. Keep in mind that when you criticize, your very system of communicating such thoughts wouldn't be possible if these visionary people weren't rewarded for their blood, sweat, tears and hard work.

They say the rich rip off the poor. They say the capitalist exploits the worker. No conception of civil society could exist. Capitalism evolves and is driven by an ethical people, business is done on a handshake and all are included and rewarded in the process. The capitalism Marx described was a state controlled by capitalists. When the state backs its buddies, I don't call that capitalism. A dynamic exists in Silicon Valley that brings ideas to the forefront. People treat each other with humble admiration and respect. How do we make education, sanitation, communication...better?

Every pencil, article of clothing, bite of food, every little bit. Could you do that yourself? Could you feed yourself, clothe yourself, conduct life without the market system? More importantly, would you ask the world to agree with you? The capitalist creates wealth, and the state steals it. This is the definition of the state: monopolistic coercion.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hatred Tuesdays

Sometimes you don't need to understand all the words
You don't need to know every circumstance
Every point, every detail
The waves of an idea carry you through
And sometimes this is all that matters

You listen and are contested upon
You feel frustrated and emotional
You feel the world somehow hates you...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hidden Messages of the Illuminati

Conspiracy theories play an interesting and pivotal role in societal discourse. Often, these theories, secret societies, and groups twist what we already know and hear every day into completely different directions. Suddenly, connections between seemingly unrelated things spell out a clear apocalyptic picture. Like a carnival mirror, they reflect our mainstream society by presenting an altered picture of who we currently are. One of these conspiracy theories, surrounding the Illuminati, illustrates the connections between political and corporate power and the subjugation of the masses. Hidden in these discourses, however, lie implications about nature and the environment. We may therefore ask, what are the environmental implications of the picture painted by the conspiracy theory of the Illuminati? Also, what are the roles that secret societies and conspiracy theories play in society today, and in environmental discourse?

Before observing their innate environmental messages, we must first attempt to pin down exactly what counts as a conspiracy theory. Michael Barkun describes the three principles found in every conspiracy theory: nothing happens by accident, nothing as it seems, and that everything is connected. In a recreated version of Barkun’s table (below), The Illuminati distinguishes itself by having both its activities and group secretive, in contrast with anonymous philanthropists which keep their group secret and their activities not secret. In the chart below, groups like this optimize their ability to entrance the public through their ability to remain secretive in both their activities, and as an organization.


Barkun describes these views as both frightening and reassuring because “it magnifies the power of evil, leading in some cases to an outright dualism in which light and darkness struggle for cosmic supremacy. At the same time, however, it is reassuring, for it promises a world that is meaningful rather than arbitrary” (Barkun 2003, 4). By explaining the world, the theory becomes seductive and secretive, provoking the imagination to the connections of the world. In creating, or arguably fabricating, an explanation of the world, conspiracy theories explain the world.

We may now proceed to who falls under this conspiracy theory of “The Illuminati”. Many different strands and groups connect the Illuminati, but a distinct message reveals itself as universal throughout the different books, websites and other sources. There’s also a distinction to be drawn between the Illuminati as a conspiracy theory, and the Illuminati as a group the conspiracy theory talks about. The group of the Illuminati can be summarized as the following:
“The Illuminati are the top players on the International playground, basically belonging to the thirteen of the wealthiest families in the world, and they are the men who really rule the world from behind the scenes (yes, they are mostly men, with a few exceptions). They are the REAL Decision Makers, who make up the rules for presidents and governments to follow, and they are often held from public scrutiny, as their action can't stand scrutiny” (Penre 2009)
The theory of the Illuminati (also referred to as the Illuminati theory in this work, as distinguished from The Illuminati, which signifies the group) concerns apocalyptic forecasts and the concentration of power in the hands of the few. It also includes concept of control and manipulation of the public by corporations, governments and media. They make the distinct division that the human, composed of the mind, body and soul, becomes subjugated in various ways. These concepts apply not only to the individual, but to groups of people and the surrounding environment as well as we dig deeper into the messages they send.

Once we analyze the discourses of the theory of the Illuminati, we may uncover an inherent interpretation of nature that somewhat resembles the discourse of Promethianism and economic rationalism, as well as the emphasis on security. Besides these three main strands, they do carry some inherent implications of the mainstream world they reflect that can also be correlated with the local food movement, modern-day liberalism and conservatism and even libertarianism. How they get to these conclusions, is by an entirely different route using seemingly unrelated terms, and their tone continues to be one of crisis.

From this message, we may compare the discourses of the Illuminati theory that tie directly to environmental discourses that involve catastrophe. For example, the theory includes the idea that the body, made up of energy and fueled by food, can be framed as a harmless and innocent sheep capable of being subjugated. The use of many unhealthy and addictive ingredients by the Illuminati has kept the average person “asleep” and unaware of the power elite, and thus those who know “the truth” have pushed for the adoption of natural and unprocessed foods to awaken the mind, body and soul and lead to a realization of the true nature of the world. The local food movement might get to the very same conclusion by going through very different channels, such as through the explanation that special interests swing subsidies and other forms of public policy in their favor. This doesn’t require that these special interests act necessarily in the effort to install a Total World Government. The conspiratorial element of the Illuminati theory’s discourse therefore goes beyond the extreme in painting individuals and groups of people in harsher colors, and creating a tone conducive to many crisis-laden environmental discourses.

At the same time, the environmental movement itself appears to this conspiracy theory as a co-opted entity. As Wes Penre states, “The Rothschild's have invested plenty of money into the Environmental Movement to counter the nuclear-power industry, which wanted to build up its own free energy through nuclear power. National independency and sovereignty are things the Illuminati are up against” (Penre 2009). This discourse makes obvious of the power struggle inherent in all movements. The discourse also seems to mirror Promethianism in its emphasis on nature as mere brute matter, and humans as the top of the hierarchy. As John Dryzek explains, “promethians see natural relationships as dominated by “competition between humans, through which innovative means for overcoming scarcities can best be generated” (Dryzek 2005, 58). In this discourse, a soulless nature becomes the treasure over which man wages war and various powers struggle for, in contrast to the acknowledgments of intrinsic value and intricacies in nature that dominate other environmental discourses.

In their discussion of environmentalism, some Illuminati theorists have even claimed the environmental movement and global warming to be a hoax as well. As Terry Melanson writes, “Behind The Green Curtain blows back the green veil hiding the environmental movement. It reveals a dark, cynical reality of the movement unconcerned about nature and the environment. It focuses on the mega-foundations and the financial elite behind them. Learn about their hidden agenda of power, control and the goal of eliminating private property altogether” (Melanson 2008). His message also seems to speak to the importance of private property, nature, and the environment in the fight against the Illuminati. These are goals to be won back from the Illuminati, and the message of responsible stewardship rings true. In a sense therefore, there are notions of liberalism hidden in the theory of the Illuminati’s message. Just as with the local food movement, the discourse recognizes a certain good quality of the things the Illuminati attempts to subjugate. The mind, body and soul ought not to be corrupted, but they are being corrupted by the Illuminati, who must be stopped.

In addition to Promethianism, the tie to security also demonstrates that ultimately, much of what the Illuminati conspiracy theory says can be boiled down to the concept of power struggle. In the attempt to create a New World Order, nations all over the world subjugate and are subjugated upon. A certain dynamic appears in this process. As Daniel Deudney describes, this speaks to the security theme of interdependence, where “Changes in relative power position can contribute to wars either by tempting a rising state to aggress upon a declining state, or by inducing a declining state to attack a rising state before their relative power declines any further” (Deudney 2006, 238). However, the importance of OWG, or One World Government, hides in the background of every statement concerning the Illuminati. They may take the concept of security and show it in a different light, that the appearance of interdependence exists, when in reality the thirteen families at the top slowly consolidate power.

It may be argued that this interpretation of security isn’t actually security at all, but the opposite of it. The discourse, however, remains the most important part of the security argument. True, the tone with which the Illuminati theorists speak doesn’t compare easily with the calm tone of Daniel Duedney and the security argument, but the focus on international relations and power between states does relate. Deudney speaks of the twentieth century as an amassment of “ecototalitarianism” in the name of “ultimate security.” As he points out, “Expanding the security state also puts individual freedom at risk. State action to secure against a threat often involves erosion of individual liberty” (Deudney 247). The Illuminati may empathize with these concerns just as they empathize with those subjugated under the Illuminati. The ecototalitarians that Deudney speaks of can also be, in different clothing, the Illuminati.

The distrust of governments and corporations builds much of the discourse surrounding the crisis-laden tone of the Illuminati theory. Therefore, elements of economic rationalism and even libertarianism can also be found in the Illuminati theory discourse. In an online documentary, the voices of Peter Schiff, Ron Paul and Glenn Beck are all quoted to a significant degree. All three men identify either as libertarians or with the free market Austrian School of Economics, and are quoted extensively on the role of the Federal Reserve, corporations and government in the recent financial collapse and further power struggles.

Indeed, many libertarian discourses often discuss the monopolization of power by governments and their successive control by corporations to form a “crony capitalism” conglomerate. These messages also display a certain level of economic rationalism, where environmental resources ought to be responsibly managed but remain subjugated by humans over nature. Clearly, as economic rationalists claim, “At most, ‘the environment’ is only a pathway for some human decisions to have effects on other people – for example, through pollution” (Dryzek 2005, 133). Economic rationalism also includes discourses on the hierarchy of expertise, with which the Illuminati theory would probably supplement that this hierarchy was created by birthright of the thirteen original families that remain in power today.

From these mixed messages, we get a mixed picture of the theory of the Illuminati. At the same time, the definite message of Prometheanism rings true as the “most-fitting” discourse of the Illuminati conspiracy theory. Although elements of mainstream environmentalism represent, many Illuminati theorists blatantly deny the validity of the environmental movement.
Pulling back from these discourses, however, we may appreciate how Promethianism, economic rationalism and security each don’t quite line up to the theories proposed by the Illuminati. We may also appreciate the role of the Illuminati theory and other conspiracy theories in our pursuit of environmentalism. If we wish to understand how and why people believe the things they do, we must understand society from its very depths. This includes everything behind the curtain, including conspiracy theories, which provide excellent insights into social commentary and even critiques on our modern society.

Conspiracy theories draw in all sorts of people and often come to the same or similar conclusions of more “mainstream” groups. As Arkon Daraul describes, “It is interesting to note how students of this strange branch of human activity have tended to miss the fact that the secret society is an amalgam of many elements which are found in ordinary life” (Daraul 1969, x). He goes on to describe how membership rituals closely mirror that of clubs and association that don’t necessarily shroud themselves in secrecy. Secret societies and conspiracy theories cater to that side of ourselves that seeks to find connections in life, and the very structure within these societies defines that search. These reasons encompass why people become so drawn to conspiracy theories. Many fraternities and sororities, membership associations, and other groups also hold a level of secrecy for the purposes of their organization. This legitimization of secrecy creates a certain level of normalcy of it, but the actual conspiracy theory turns this concept on its head. Conspiracy theories carry a message visible to the eye, just under the radar, so that if an inquirer lines up the logic just right the theory becomes known. In a way, the different elements of a conspiracy theory serve as a kind of code that individuals who know of the theory search out and solve.

Conspiracy theories may be seen as one step ahead of the game, a mere reflection, or as backwards entirely. In any case, people buy into these theories for good reasons, and it would make sense to understand why. Although most Illuminati writers don’t acknowledge it, their writing makes some serious assumptions about the environment. As a reflection of the theory of the Illuminati, our modern-day society continues to make these same assumptions. For those who wish to make a change, or even for those who simply wish to identify and acknowledge these discourses and how we relate and differ, we must understand the inherent messages we send. Interest in conspiracy theories sparks from a familiar dialogue, and the dialogue of conspiracy theories has the potential to change as well.

Those who have interest in the Illuminati theory and other theories may also be inclined to environmentalism, as the innate environmental messages (once recognized) can appear as a surprise to many. Once aware of these messages, the participant in this movement may question how these assumptions got in place in the first place.

When looked at closely, the theory of the Illuminati and other conspiracy theories are really a reflection of ourselves, and when analyzing conspiracy theories we really analyze ourselves and our society. Hopefully in this process of discovering environmental discourses within discourses, we begin to inquire and wonder how we got to this or that particular discourse, and how we might begin to make some changes.

Works Cited
  1. Barkun, Michael. 2003. A Culture of Conspiracy. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  2. Daraul, Arkon. 1969. A History of Secret Societies. New York: Citadel Press, Inc.
  3. Deudney, Daniel. 2006. “Security,” in Political Theory and the Ecological Challenge, ed. Andrew Dobson and Robyn Eckersley. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  4. Dryzek, John S. 2005. The Politics of the Earth. New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. Melanson, Terry. “Behind the Green Curtain” in Conspiracy Archive, last modified November 1, 2008. http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Blog/?p=871 (accessed October 3, 2011).
  6. Penre, Wes. “The Secret Order of the Illuminati” in Illuminati News, last modified September 26, 2009. http://www.illuminati-news.com/moriah.htm (accessed October 3, 2011).
  7. Youtube. “ILLUMINATI a myth ? Full improved updated Documentary”, last modified March 1, 2011. Web. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PLhBECS7oA (accessed October 3, 2011)
  8. Youtube. “The illuminati and your body (ep. 4)”, last modified January 19, 2008. Web. www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFpDx1OozDk (accessed October 3, 2011).
Note: This was a paper for my class in Environmental Political Theory.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cupertino, California

Today I stand with the city of Cupertino, California in mourning our twin tragedies: the tragic shooting and the death of Steve Jobs.

Today was a different day. Today we remind ourselves of what great and terrible things man is capable of, and also of how fundamentally vulnerable we all are. Life is a precious thing.

Being a part of this strange community has been a love-hate relationship. Often associated with pressure, competition, and strict cultural standards, we remark bitterly of this place we call home. We make jokes and try not to take it too seriously, but the cracks in our psyche drive down to the core and shake us.

In the night we speak to ourselves of a world without this drive and pressure. To us, we realize, that world would mean certain death. Something about us creates a drive and an inspiration that refuses to relent. The streets we drive down are streets of affluence that have raised attention in the belief of a better world. In my community we do more than hope for a greater tomorrow.

But I'd like to make a point. Let this not be "the end of an era". No great entrepreneur wishes their legacy to follow them to the grave. If we want to respect and admire the people we cherish most, we must carry forward the torch and live lives worth their respect. We cannot let a great man's ideas and inspiration die while they cling so strongly to us for life.

Live strong Silicon Valley.

Ode to a Liberal

Will we be living upside-down?
Is our generation a ticking time bomb?
Will our children still be beautiful?
Do we understand our enemy?
How do we subjugate others by passing on our norms...
...to people who didn't ask for them?
Do we ask ourselves what capitalism is anymore?
What is our truth?
What are our beliefs?
Are there things so important we must force them?
How much do we really understand about money?
Don't words make things sound so much better?
What lies have we been fed?
How is your passion driven by guilt?
Aren't you externalizing your guilt there?
Revolutions don't necessarily have a destination
Stop acting high-minded

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who Were You?

You say to yourself that life sucks, you look in the mirror eating salads and making excuses as to why, saying that it's because someone told you it was better for you. You wear a suit and tie to work and it makes you look proper but all you want are some paint-stained overalls. Sometimes you wish to make a change, but you remember someone told you that wasn't possible. You don't even remember who that was, but no one else seems to change so it must be the way life is. You give the appearance of humility because that is "respectable," but eventually it breaks loose because underneath it all, we are all still the children who darted like ants out the classroom door every afternoon at recess. Years later you look at yourself, eating french fries and working in the sun, twenty years younger even though they don't say nice things about you anymore. But it doesn't matter. They are, as you remind yourself, just not there yet.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A liberal arts education

I can't tell you how strange it has felt when I've had people come up to me with a brightness in their eyes. Something different about them. Sometimes they are strangers with a spring in their step. They have heard what I believe in and the questions in their mind are growing and the doubts are too. They say, "I read it", "I was wondering...", "But don't you think?", "Why do you think this?", and arguably most importantly, "I'm a libertarian too".

This isn't something that is out in the open. People are ruled by more than just statutory laws created by a governmental force. Try as we might, the forces over our lives remain polycentric. People are ruled by laws of custom, social structure, and most of all, norms. Stereotypes, characterizations, and other factors override and create a gut instinct. A strange awkwardness follows when someone breaks from the mold, and the instinct often screams at you to alienate them. And we run.

Perhaps here we're made of something thicker and stronger though, even if we have been molded this way by our surroundings. Perhaps I exist in this community at this time for a reason. So many times I've contemplated the thought of leaving, only to realize that Southwestern ranks at the very top of my subjective value scale. Perhaps these conditions present right now make possible the ability for questioning to occur. Even though we do not agree, we can come together as individuals with different experiences and backgrounds and speak together. We'll think very hard, read thought-provoking texts, come together, argue and spit fire at one another, and lay awake at night thinking over the words. The words we've spoken, others have spoken. Their eyes, our fears, and the biggest fear of silence and submission.

I have doubts. The average student often doesn't sleep adequately enough to have the energy for such constant barrage. The average student is pushed by financial concerns, time restraints, and other preoccupations beyond the control of another soul interested in conversation. We can't break through the barriers until we open ourselves up. Most people here wouldn't be here if not for massive distortions in the market, and our education would be different (and I argue, a whole lot more challenging) if not for these distortions. For those that take this opportunity to make a better future, our eyes may bleed as we try to question it all in the hope that we someday, battered and bruised, wash ashore in a fine land.

Monday, August 29, 2011

War

When you're in the mindset of
A soldier, bloodied and battered in war
It's hard to think about love
Shelter, calm, safety
You become a permanent soldier
Nervous at the slightest touch
With a shifty eye in a sea of consensus

And it's a terrible and unhealthy thing
To become but a soldier and only a soldier
To forget the world around you
Fight for the very people you ignore
And shrug off as civilians
Unable to understand your call to action

You stop listening to music, poetry, words
At least outside of your understanding
And you become a monster, a paradox, a lie

Incapable of speaking outside your hunting pack
Looking for things that make you more furious
You run, run far away to where things make sense

You feel you fought for your justice
But there is a darkness in you
Blood on your hands
Something you can never escape

Perhaps years from now that anger will cool
And you'll stand by the lake you used to swim in
Lean next to the tree that offered you guidance
And peer into the water, seeing
Your eyes have become sunken
A scar from the enemy bright on your cheek
And an empty snarl of laughter
That person is unrecognizable
And it all cracks
There isn't anything left but tears
When you lose yourself in war

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Animals

In a new place
We may hide our deepest darkest beliefs
For a moment, believing ourselves unsafe
Take a breath, take a breath
Until we gain our bearings
Become a better person
Shed our skin
And show our scars

In time the waiting becomes too long
The skin begins to harden
Into an unbreakable shield
With a dark molten core

We wear masks that make us seem happier

When we hear them say our name
We recoil in shock.
A shiver, a crack in the armor. We believed
They thought us a dead dying species
Worthy of perhaps a footnote

Instead, a specimen to be analyzed
A radical to be made an example of
A curious thing
For they wonder how we think as we do

Deep inside we wonder if that's just
the story people would like us to know

Behind our masks we laugh
Believing ourselves the monsters in the night
As they made us
Not knowing we too were participating in theater
And were becoming the very demons they feared

In a consensus-based society
We question ourselves
Check egos at the door
And forget about the fringes
Compromise gives us a brighter future
And crazy ideas just get in the way

When we are young they
Clip our claws, grind down our teeth
Break off our horns, hide our scales and
Tell us to look down
To a moving target called "discipline"

By reverting to ourselves
They call it chaos
We are taught only order, only obedience
And never to break the silence

In our sphere we grow to love this comfort
This steady of perception of truth
And we grow to hate the monsters
Even knowing of our own demons

When you wake up from the dream
Knowing it only as a former delusion
You must cry, and there is a process of agony
But slowly but surely
You become an animal again

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Those Capitalist Pigs

In these nights
We think to ourselves
Since we are inside and not outside
If we are missing out on what people call
"the best days of our lives"

When we look in the mirror and see
It is not merely me
We are two
Two "I's"
Aged eyes and a young face
Two people, who are smiling-crying
We are so happy and so sad
To be inside
In this sort of thought-bubble where things make sense

Part of us wants to run
And part of us tells our bones to rest
Half of us tells us to fight
And the other tutors us to pick our matches wisely
Don't we lose ourselves in contradiction?

Tradition, merit, boldness
We speak words we appear true
And empty our hearts of tears
Hearing the bitter words in response
"Those self-serving capitalist pigs"

Tired eyes and a young body
Wondering what on earth to do
Having found a calling
Which appears to us a brick wall
In need of destruction

With this thing that seems like waiting-time
When all we can do is push, and we fight and claw and bite
Appearing criminals to passerby
Calling attention with strange actions
And we hope that our dreams will come true

When the world is so far from what we would like
We cry liberty! And we are dreamers
We who are optimist-pessimists and both old and young
See the history in the making
And wonder why others cannot see
Our frustration is such
And it's a shame
Because we really wish to share it
These aren't the best days
And we will live to see better

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rumination

Sometimes it is just a feeling that takes you
Back to when you were just
Five years old sitting on a blue chair
In a classroom, quietly working
Because only the loud kids got in trouble

They tell you to speak here
And it's a strange thing, isn't it
Because when you're little they make you shut up
Until you prove you can listen
And then ask you what you think
When you make it through the golden gates

Sometimes folks spend their lives trying to get "there"
Maybe it's an idea, maybe a song you sing in your heart
That makes it easier to bide your time
Sitting inside that cocoon wondering what else you could do
To make yourself bloom faster

And you go back to those things
The streets you walked, the posture you held
The timid voice, the starry night
The corner you fled to, the memories come back
Again you are five years old
And you feel like shutting up

They told you not to be stubborn
Be assertive, but compromise
Listen properly, and take good note of your faults
Question the matters at hand, but not too hard
Be strong, but don't stick your neck out
And most importantly to think for yourself
About things we tell you to think about
And nothing else

This place has been strange
And it's getting stranger and
Sometimes you feel like you're inside of a novel
Just wanting to write every moment
Like a storybook you'll tell the kids about
But also something you want to hide away for a few years
Before someone else does it first
Someone bolder and braver
And then you can quietly whisper
Me too.

Be the person who says hello, goodbye and I can.
Be the man who cries
The woman who calls herself beautiful
Even if in the softest voices at first