Tag: Violence

Political Violence: When Is It Acceptable?

Ellie McFarland | @el_farawayland

Often times it feels as if the United States is on the brink of something awful, some sort of civil war, some sort of coup, some sort of revolt or revolution. Since 2016 there have been more than 30 internationally reported political riots with dire consequences as a result of political violence. There have been several hundred “at risk” protests in America alone. This, along with the heightened division among American people makes the possibility of smart discourse seem further away than ever.

Continue reading “Political Violence: When Is It Acceptable?”

Advertisements

Although Beneficial, Vaccination Should Be Entirely Voluntary

indri Schaelicke | United States

Undoubtedly one of the greatest medical innovations in human history is the invention of the vaccine. The science of vaccination was first seriously pioneered by Edward Jenner in 1796, when he noticed that milkmaids who had caught cowpox before became immune to smallpox later. To test his theory that humans could develop immunity, Jenner took pus from a milkmaid with cowpox and put it into a cut in the arm of an 8-year-old boy. Six weeks later, he inoculated the same boy with smallpox, observing that he did not catch smallpox. Based on his findings, he was able to develop the first vaccines.

Are vaccines actually safe?

Two centuries later, and vaccine technology has advanced incredibly. Vaccines are much safer than during Edward Jenner’s time when patients were deliberately cut and treated with the disease using potentially unclean equipment. There are many standards doctors are held to when administering a vaccine that did not exist 200 years ago. Immediate allergic reactions that can be treated with common medications occur in fewer than one in a million cases. So just why do people believe that vaccines are dangerous and may even cause Autism?

Misinformation makes it very difficult for parents to separate fact from fiction. Sites such as vaclib.orgageofautism.com, sanevax.org, among others, peddle their anti-vaccine propaganda, often riddled with scientifically inaccuracies and falsities to uninformed parents in an effort to push their agenda. These organizations take advantage of parents’ innate desire to do what is best for their children.

A common fear among parents is that vaccination increases the risk of autism. The idea became popular after a 1997 study by British Surgeon Andrew Wakefield was published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The study suggested that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was at fault for the increasing rates of autism in British children. After careful examination by peers and experts, the study has been discredited for the multitude of serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Wakefield lost his medical license and the study was retracted from the publication.

Despite the glaring issues with the study, the hypothesis was taken seriously. Several other major studies were conducted, seeking to verify the conclusion he had drawn. None of these follow up studies found a correlation between any vaccine and the increased likelihood of developing autism. While the true cause of autism remains unknown, recent research provides evidence that autism develops before a baby is even born and can receive vaccinations. Several studies have observed symptoms of autism in children before they have even received the MMR vaccine. The conclusions drawn by these studies overwhelmingly indicates that vaccination and autism disorders have little to no causation relationship.

Based on the reasoning that vaccination carries a very low risk of seriously harmful side effects, many pro-vaccine advocates argue that vaccination should not be mandatory. However, there is no greater threat to personal liberty than a government mandate that certain substances be consumed.

Freedom means choice

It is crucial to realize that every law is enforced at the threat of violence. The branches of government work together to create and enforce the law- the legislative branch, with the consultation of the massive government bureaucracy, crafts the laws that govern the nation. However, laws are no more than words on a piece of paper until they are backed by force. The executive branch of any government is tasked with executing the law, meaning that when it is broken, the police will initiate force and arrest the person.

If refusing to receive a vaccination is a criminal offense, it authorizes the use of violence against those who are simply choosing to preserve their own bodily autonomy. Can freedom really exist if choosing not to ingest a substance is met with aggression by government?

While vaccination should not be made a legal obligation, businesses and school districts should be able to require being vaccinated of their students and employees. In this way, a sort of contract is created between the two parties. In the business example, the company is allowing the employee to work for compensation, so long as they are vaccinated. If the employee does not agree to these terms, they are voluntarily forgoing the opportunity to earn income. In a world where government mandates did not dictate how we are allowed to use our bodies, voluntary interactions would ensure that the natural rights possessed by every individual, including the right to bodily autonomy and individual sovereignty would be respected.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

The Beast: An Anti-War Poem

Indri Schaelicke | United States

An original free-verse poem reflecting on the inhumanity of war, which the State often creates, inadvertently or otherwise.


The Beast

While politicians play in their palace of politics,

Young men are shipped across the seas

Like great wooden crates full of peas.

Each one treated as though they have no value,

A skirmish no more significant than a Tuesday dinner.

Peas roll off the plate without protest

The family’s beast gobbles them up in one swift CHOMP

Soon it is all over for that poor green pebble,

His loss has no effect on the quality of the meal

Except for the filling of the beast’s stomach,

His loss will not be noticed.

Overhead on the dining room table the battle rages on,

The clattering of fork and knife crashing loud as ever

Mashed potatoes plowed here and there

Steak torn apart and shoved into mouth.

The peas dive willingly into the heart of danger,

Believing in their illusively noble cause.

The peas are consumed while the farmer profits.

The laborer works to convince the masses

Of their need to consume peas,

Valuing the crop as no more than a minor expense.

One day the “land of the free” will awake

And stop condemning its boys to die

For self-interested men’s hawkish desires. 


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

Abolish The TSA

By Spencer Kellogg | @TheNewTreasury

“Something has to be done. Everybody’s fed up. The people are fed up, the pilots are fed up and I’m fed up. What we are accepting at the airport is symbolic of us not standing up and saying enough is enough!”Ron Paul

In the months that followed 9/11, the American people were scared, confused and angry. The ruling class was not. They had been waiting for that very moment when the people would be dependent and weak. For the anti-imperialist majority, it was hard enough to wrap their heads around why people from thousands of miles of way held such a crowning vendetta against The United States. Who the hell was so mad at us and what had we done to make it so? After all, it wasn’t the mechanic or farmer or dentist or professor who had instructed the century-long conquest of democratic interventionism behind the towering force of a nuclear arsenal. With the people’s psyche at their most fragile, The United States government took control of the narrative and labeled what would be the new enemy of the 21st century: anti-western terrorists who were willing to do anything to watch America burn into smoldering ash.

Nevermind the century of global policing carried out by the American Empire that saw us play another man’s terrorist in stolen lands and throughout sovereign nations. Nevermind the belligerent, hawkish interventionism that had sewn seeds of hatred and rebellion in peoples far and wide and of no relation to the engineer or arborist that both call Pennsylvania home. Nevermind the pervasive wars in the countries of Kuwait and Iraq and Iran and Syria and Libya and Afghanistan. Nevermind any of it. Americans let themselves be hypnotized into believing that brown Muslims wanted to kill us because of our freedoms and George Bush was the bald eagle messiah to lead the whole, spiteful, deviled world into a bright new dawn of democracy and peace.

Yeah, right.

To save us from these threats of a World War, the Bush administration pushed aside the fundamental tenets of our constitution as The Patriot Act, the NSA, and the TSA were all hastily rushed through Congress in what is now clearly the single greatest seizure of federal power since the end of WWII. In one broad swoop, the branches that had anchored our patently slow-moving enterprise were unceremoniously cut and the new drivers of the military war machine set ablaze. Under the guise of warding off some great, undefinable terror that suddenly existed today where it had not the week before, the American empire began its swift attack on the natural and unalienable rights of Americans. Over 60,000 federal TSA jobs were created, the largest federal mobilization since 1946, and a whole new opportunity for invasive, authoritarian access to the lives of peaceful American citizens was afoot. In the years since 9/11, we have come to accept this government’s preening with an eye roll and a shrug. What power does any of us have in the fight against it? And don’t we all have somewhere to be anyways? Better to let the agent get on with their prodding and questioning so we can make the puddle jumper to Cheyenne to see the parents over the weekend.

Which brings us to the big news that has been kept relatively quiet in mainstream media. Earlier this week, The Boston Globe blew the top off “Quiet Skies,” a secretive TSA program that has tracked over 5,000 US citizens on domestic flights throughout the past year. “Dozens of air marshals,” told The Globe that they were instructed to report in minute detail on the behaviors of passengers exhibiting peculiar patterns. These patterns included routine sleep, bathroom, and eating habits that would make potentially any passenger in The United States a target of surveillance. Many of the marshals have suggested that “Quiet Skies” netted zero serious targets and was a complete waste of time and resources.

The late Gore Vidal was one of the sharpest critics of the Bush-era policies that gave expansive power to the surveillance systems of centralized intelligence. His reign was only the beginning of a vast reduction of Americans civil liberties and constitutional rights that have been sustained through Obama and now Trump’s presidencies.. Railing against what he saw as an opportunistic and parasitic state, Vidal often cried afoul of a national security apparatus that ran wild on the psycho fanatical nightmares of a ginned up public. When Congress passed the meticulously crafted 350+ page Patriot Act in the early months after 9/11, Vidal was one of the loudest voices to suggest that this new, abrasive surveillance state had been waiting in the wings for an event of this scale.

We were entering a bit of a depression around 9/11, so if it was Osama’s timing, it was very clever. They hit us when we were really quite off balance. These Presidents, as they get worse and worse – proving that Darwin was wrong – the wars get more surreal. We blow up Afghanistan when all of our enemies who struck at us in the airplanes that day were Saudi Arabians. They weren’t Afghans. And the Afghans were rather hurt that we were blowing up all their cities when we should’ve been taking out the Saudi Royal Family. We hit the wrong people.

The sinister side is the speed with which Clinton, after Oklahoma City, was ready with an anti-terrorist act. The speed of light and it had the most venemous dialogue. They decided, immediately, that many of our freedoms would be diminished starting with the 4th amendment. Now we have the Patriot Act, which was passed after the infamous September 11th. Congress passed it and as is their wont, didn’t read it. That was a terrific piece of legislation remeniscent of one of my favorite emperors: Tiberius.

Tiberius, when he became emperor, the Senate sent him some legislation saying that they would accept, in advance, sight unseen, any legislation that he wanted to send up to the Senate. He sent back a message and said “you’ve lost your senses. Suppose the Emperor has gone mad. Suppose the Emperor is a raging enemy of Rome and you didn’t know it. You can’t do that in advance.”

And they sent it back to him again “anything Glorius Ceaser, that you send us, we will endorse.” And he said, and I feel myself wanting to repeat Tiberius’ words: “how eager they are to be slaves.”

In the era of aviation before the towers fell, never would Americans have suspected that armed, plain-clothed officers were following them or fellow passengers onto flights because a person was deemed to have “taken a long nap” while awaiting their departure. Now, American citizens are forced to bitterly swallow intrusive searches of their person and property for the right to board a routine flight from St. Louis to Trenton. What’s worse, they are being systematically reduced to a state of intellectual paralysis where they can no longer remember a time where they were without the prying eyes of big government nosing through their suitcases and listening in on their bedrooms. “What can you do?” we think.

The very name ‘Transportation Security Administration’ strikes an anxious chord with most Americans. If there is an institution that expressly ‘secures’ transport, then there must be also an inherent suggestion that there is some great unknowable risk to our personal security at any given airport in any given city from Rochester to Sacramento. Is this true? Is flying that dangerous of an affair? Over two million passengers fly across the United States on any given day. Are the TSA really protecting us or are humans naturally peaceful and without an intent to harm? Is there a proven need for government agents to follow thousands of unsuspecting passengers as they travel freely around the country? Do we now hold such little trust in the decency of each other that we are happy to let federal officials encroach on our civil liberties for the perseverance of such an undefinable ‘security’? We can see clearly from research and media coverage that the TSA’s success rate in the past decade is a hotly contested issue with many suggesting overreaches without due cause or process.

In 2015 alone the TSA “missed 95 percent of weapons and explosives in security tests.” Even more ironic is a report after 9/11 that suggested 500 more people were killed a year as a result of automobile accidents after plane passengers opted to drive instead of the long waits and intrusive searches at the gates. This all signals what we already know to be true – the TSA does little in terms of protecting passengers from a terrorist attack. In fact, the more prodding you do of the TSA the more it appears that it’s nothing more than a carte blanch, federal cattle call that acts as an eye in the sky operation to survey and collect data on American citizens who have done nothing to warrant suspicion or investigation.

In our hearts and minds, we know as American citizens that these warrantless actions by the TSA are completely unjustifiable. We can still remember a time before the ever-present threat of a lurking, unspeakable terror threat. Programs like the TSA are simply another notch on the belt of the all-powerful state authority apparatus that cannot and will not be challenged. In the houses of Congress, where days should be filled with the thundering voices of vexed patriots, instead, career politicians smile and nod in happy cooperation. When it comes to the big stuff, they’re all on the same team, each being bought long before the first day they arrived. Their vote merely another casino chip.

As with many federal programs, before long the whole charade just becomes so mundanely every day that an entire generation of younger Americans grow up in the malaise and accept it as normal. The whole lot are indoctrinated through sheer, dramatic, routine, coaxing habit. Today, it’s commonplace to accept the ridiculous assertion that a bottle of shampoo could be a credible national security threat. It’s considered normal to allow another human the right to touch your body and investigate your property in the name of some worthwhile freedom on the other side. To live in America, the great land of liberty and happiness. No one dares step out of line. There’s family to be seen in Dallas.

Institutions should be judged on a basis of their merits. Does the TSA keep us safer? Is the TSA necessary? Or does it cut at the heart of our fundamental rights of travel and speech as Americans? Nobody trusts the TSA. And why should they? Every time you go through their surveillance systems you are made a target within your own homeland and that’s just the way it is.

Or is it? At what point does the American public justifiably ask for clarity on the subject at hand. How long will we remain criminals in our own country for crimes we have not committed? How long will we accept culpability for the violence of a rogue group of militant terrorists 17 years ago? How many of our civil rights must be trashed so that the state can keep us secure? How long before we send a clear and cutting message to Congress that they do not own the identity and soul of the American populace?


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source

Political Language is Biased Against Nonviolence

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Without a doubt, language is essential to the perception of an idea. Using two different words for the same idea is a surefire way of molding opinions about it. For example, let’s take a look at these two sentences.

  1. The obese man lounged in his armchair after a long, non-sedentary day at work, gorging on sugary pastries.
  2. The heavyset gentleman unwound in his chair following a long, active day at work, eating crullers.

Now, these two sentences have quite similar denotations, that is, the dictionary definitions. However, the connotations are in no way equal. Surely, the image of the second man is that of one in considerably better shape than the first. Connotation is a very useful rhetorical device, as it gives the user complete ability to mold the emotion that his or her words give off. Emotion, the undisputed king of political success, is a hugely useful tool to manipulate.

Connotation can take a number of forms. Most overtly, it comes by using one word in place of another, in the form of a synonym. Above examples include the use of “heavyset” in place of “obese” or “crullers” instead of “sweet pastries”. In politics, these substitutions are commonplace.

For instance, many officials of the Vietnam era referred to the war as an “armed conflict”. Though it is true that the U.S. never officially declared war, this is trivial. By calling it an armed conflict, they hoped to lessen the emotion behind it. Of the two, “war” carries a much stronger emotional impact, which is why nonviolence advocates called it a war.

Another key example occurs often, even today, down by the border. Proponents of tough border laws are quick to denounce the waves of “illegals” entering the U.S., whereas those who support more open borders are more apt to use the phrase “undocumented immigrants”. Of course, these mean the same thing, but that is no matter. They still are able to create two very different opinions of those who cross the border without following the law.

In addition to separate word choices, though, there is a more subtle yet also more powerful way that many use connotation. This comes through establishing the default form of a word, and giving the antonym of it a negative prefix or suffix.

In the above examples, the word that shows this, of course, is “non-sedentary” from the first sentence. Though the word merely means the same as “active”, inclusion of the word sedentary implies that activity is not the default. The obese man, likely perceived to be unhealthy, is not expected to live an active lifestyle. Thus, the break in being sedentary is different or surprising.

Politicians commonly do this exact same thing, and it is perhaps causes perhaps the most dangerous thing in America: violence.

In the U.S. today, there is not a lot of room to agree in politics. But, most people can come together on one thing: unprovoked violence is not a good thing. Though many have differing definitions of just what constitutes unprovoked violence, in our own, highly subjective ways, we can generally come to a consensus on this key issue.

So, that being said, why is violence perceived as the norm? When talking about a lack of violence, there are plenty of synonyms. Peace, equality, and understanding first come to mind. Yet, the chosen word is generally nonviolence.

Why do we describe nonviolence as something it isn’t, instead of something that it is? By using the term in a passive manner, instead of a proactive one, society implies that violence is in the mainstream, and let’s face it, it is. But, it would be quite interesting to see how that society might change their views if the language behind them changed. Would fewer people support a war, if the deaths were murders, not casualties? And, would they support nonviolence more fervently, if it was only known as inequality or anti-peace? How about the word “freedom”?

Would more people believe in the idea of it, if talks were about freedom growing, not government shrinking? A single, working class mother of four on welfare wants to hear nothing of her benefits shrinking. Why would she? Maybe they are helping her stay afloat through hard times. But, put in place the notion of her freedom increasing. That same working class woman probably does not feel as if she has a great degree of freedom under her crony capitalist oppression. Upon hearing of smaller government through the positive term, not the negative, her perception will change.

Language is a powerful tool. It has the ability to shape the minds of millions through the complex web of emotion. The way things stand today, though, it is shaping them all to view freedom and nonviolence as a second cousin that only comes around every few years. This pushes the very ideas into the dustbin of history and makes normal their opposites. Perhaps, by changing up the way words are used, and proactively describing ideals, the freedom movement will see increased success. Or perhaps, the very idea of freedom will never be more than an afterthought.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source.