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Wrote this in my journal yesterday and felt impressed to share it here, for whatever it’s worth: [emphasis in original; hyperlinks added, obvs]

I understand the appeal of giving up.  There’s a certain finality to it, which when you’re in the middle of something that as far as you know will never end can seem like deliverance in itself.  Where there is no vision, the people perish.  The question is whom do we trust to supply the vision?  That answer seems to be the most important.

I’ll say this straight off: For me, this was the most important General Conference I’ve ever seen.  It’s not every 6 months that you go with a question and have nigh-on every talk touch on it in some way, and, like pieces of a puzzle, form a map to an answer.

I also think this conference is significant as a culmination of a certain urgency that I’ve been detecting in recent conferences.  The question before us is “Who do we trust as our guides?”.  This conference has laid out a guide to preparing for the trials to come, if we will accept it.  Otherwise, we may let our insistence that the Lord do things our way lead us to follow another path, and lack the necessary preparation. View full article »

[I’ve had a series of posts bubbling in my head for a while, and now seems like a good time to actually start the process of getting them out of my head.  I don’t know how long it will take to fully layout my thoughts, but as my ability to go months without posting is well-established, feel free to poke me from time to time and say “Where’s your next post, you slacker?!”.  But now to begin…]

Universal opinions are often mistaken for universal principles

– Seth Czerepak

You can’t change the fruit without changing the root.

– Stephen R Covey

I should start by describing what I mean by Paradigmatic Pluralism.  As I have mentioned before, a paradigm is the set of metaphysical assumptions we hold to as we receive stimuli from the outside world.  These assumptions are so fundamental that we can (and often do) go great stretches of our lives without even realising that we hold them.  For example, the very idea that there is an outside world is a metaphysical assumption, but when was the last time you questioned whether there indeed was an outside world?  Whenever you find yourself in a debate and you’re wondering how the person you are debating is so idiotic as to completely miss what you are saying, it is possibly because the paradigm that person has is so different that they think you are saying something quite different to what you think you are saying.

Pluralism is about having multiple things at the same time.  Multiculturalism, for example, is a form of pluralism, where multiple cultures inhabit the same space.

Putting the two words together denotes having multiple views of what is real.  In a ‘days gone by’ political context, this would be referred to as Religious Freedom, but I find that people are confused by the use of the word ‘Religious’ here.  This is not simply about who, what, how or even whether to worship.  This is about what we perceive to be reality itself and its meaning and how that relates to the structure of societies and governments.

Over the following posts I hope to explain how I think we have, as societies, destroyed the very ideals about pluralistic societies that we think we uphold, what we have determined to be universally true and the perils of the course on which such determinations take us.

Here’s a rough outline of where I’m planning to go with this, which will probably change as it goes on:

#1: Introduction & Overview (You are here!)
#2: Why Anarchism is False
#3: The Myth of Secular Neutrality
#4: The Modern State Religion
#5: The Wall of Separation
#6: Good Fences as a Federal Metaphor
#7: Summary & Conclusions

Soooo…..General Election tomorrow…

I spent today looking at manifestos. It hasn’t helped much – although I’m intrigued to know how the Tories got Nicole Kidman to pose for theirs (page 10 btw) – and neither does the knowledge that Alistair Burt has essentially already won this seat.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be down the polling station in the morning, but a spoiled ballot is still the most likely outcome.

I sometimes wonder if the only way to find a candidate I’d vote for is to become one.  That thought is still a long way off overcoming the primal sense of ickiness I have about election campaigning and the way politicians inevitably wind up speaking about things.

Anyhoo, what actually moved me to post tonight was a Facebook comment on the LVT group about this article:

It is also the case that a lot of the chronically homeless have substance abuse issues or mental health issues which may be improved by Housing First.

But interestingly, when there’s no free land, the general rate of wages is determined by a bit of a race to the bottom.

Consider the Irish potato famine. The Irish didn’t merely choose to eat only potatoes. They were economizing in order to keep their heads above water in lieu of rack-rents.

And the more they economized, the more average disposable income was available. So once the practice catches on the landlords immediately raise the rent in response because they can. Just like they have in Silicon Valley and Williston North Dakota and anywhere else when average disposable income rises.

Thus, wages are in large part determined by how uneconomical people are.

If all the drug addicts in the world stopped wasting their money on drugs, they’d soon have to waste it on rent.

So thank every person with wasteful spending habits for keeping your rent low.

Smokers, gamblers, etc. Here’s to you.

The ‘lowest that workers will accept’ part of Ricardo’s Law has always been the vaguest part of it to me, but the statement “wages are in large part determined by how uneconomical people are” triggered a bit of a lightbulb moment.

Turns out the 2nd Law of Temping* has greater application than I first realised.

Yes, Wages can sometimes be higher because labourers simply cannot conceive of being paid less.  If they ever do find a way to make pay stretch better, the efficiency gains wind up in Rent eventually.  The faux-libs would normally claim victory at this point “See!! It’s all voluntary!! Stop being a statist, you filthy statist!”  They miss the point.  This behaviour is in response to an inequity, not a cause of an inequality.

So we can add ‘self-reliance’ to the list of things that the Law of Rent corrupts….

*Fraggle’s 2nd Law of Temping reads: There is no reward for Efficiency.

If it should be … the will of God that I might live to behold that temple completed and finished from the foundation to the top stone, I will say, ‘O Lord, it is enough. Lord, let thy servant depart in peace.’

Joseph Smith

Today I was set-apart as a counsellor in the Bishopric of my church congregation, and thus also ordained a High Priest.  While this could rightly be considered a significant personal event, it’s not normally something I would specifically mention on here (let alone announce!), but I do so because it provides a bookend for what has been a remarkable chapter personally that has taken place over (exactly) the last 365 days.

Much that has transpired I will not relate (and I doubt I ever will), but there are some things that I’ve learned from the experience that I wish to share and hope that it may be of benefit to you, dear reader!

  • We are fundamentally broken

Part of the reason we are to forgive all of everything is because if we didn’t we would spend our whole lives being offended.  Look closely enough and you will find the faults of others that you seek.

Part of the reason we are counselled against pride is because we do not see ourselves clearly.  To do so would probably be the ultimate demoralisation.

If you find yourself disheartened at your personal struggles, take comfort that everyone else is struggling too, in ways that do not show.

  • There is a long list of people in my life that I have let down and there’s nothing I can do about it

Because I (along with the rest of you) am fundamentally broken, there is much in my life I have not done that I should have, and this will continue to be the case for a long, long time.  I apologise in advance.

We are going to let each other down.  We simply are, and we won’t be able fix it.  We may not even know we broke it.  But take heart…

  • Both of the above are OK….as long as….

The wonder of the atonement and power of Christ is that it and He takes the broken and the wounded and, by degrees, leads the soul bearing the corruption of this world through the water and the fire and makes them fit for the kingdom of heaven and thus eternal union.  And this can all happen without people seeing it, or acknowledging it.

One of my new favourite scriptures is Helaman 3:29-30:

29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—

30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.

  • Priesthood keys are real

For all the faults of the ones holding them (and I know plenty about *that*!), God established an order and when a thing requires the involvement of keys, trying to work around them or avoid them will. not. work.  Just so you know!

  • We wink at the commandments of God at our peril

So much that the Lord asks us to do requires faith, because the consequences are, at best, non-obvious and at worst firmly counter-intuitive under our paradigms, but the results of ignoring that guidance are and will be devastating.  The worst part is we will do our level best to pretend that it didn’t really happen, or it’s no big deal.  That will be a lie.

  • We will confess at judgement that the Lord is just

At the last day, when we stand before God, we will bring our excuses, our theories, our rationalisations, even our Strong Reasons(TM) against Him, and watch in horror as they crumble to dust before what really is.

Picking that sort of fight is a hiding to nothing.  And we get nothing out of it.

  • Jesus stands at the door and knocks……….and waits…………

“For all of this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still”

Wherever you think you are, whatever you think your faith is like, whatever you think you have done, whatever you think *others* have done, the Saviour calls to you.  While we need to open the door, He will be there when we do, even if no one else is.


A bit of a disjointed hotch-potch pot-pourri, to be sure, but I couldn’t let today go without saying it.

Time for a grand adventure, methinks.  Let’s see what the next 365 has in store…

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Carl Sagan

So for work-related reasons far too boring to mention, I’ve been thinking about databases.  You’re excited already, I can tell!

Anyway what started me off on this post was this suggestion from IndieWebCamp that you shouldn’t use databases for web application data storage, but rather use the native filesystem.  Now while IWC seems to be heavily focused on blogs and other small-scale social stuff as far as I can tell, I think there is a general principle waiting to be drawn forth, but I don’t think it’s what the author(s) here intend.

The page refers to this post bigging up 2d text arrays as a means of data storage and it’s at this point that I had a little realisation.  More specifically where it starts waxing lyrical about the wonders of such intuitive, user-friendly tools as grep and sed, and I started wondering if I was reading the musings of a masochist.

But yeah, my realisation.  Yes, databases are a nightmare, but they needn’t be, they’re just a tool being used at the wrong level.  When the people at IWC talk about human-readable data, they forget that as soon as you start talking about computing, there is no such thing.  You can’t take apart your hard drive and have a quick peek at your appointments for next week.  It’s all in code.  The reasons we think of some codings as being human-readable is because all the infrastructure to convert that code into a usable form (all the way from magnetic charges on a drive to ASCII) is standardised and ubiquitously transparent.  We don’t have to think about how it happens, it just does, and until we can do that with databases, they will always be black boxes full of hardship and corruption, and we will not gain the full benefits of their powers.

So how do we get databases to the level of transparent ubiquity that ASCII files enjoy?  Well, one part (standardisation) may yet prove itself beyond the wit (or more specifically, the pride) of man, but I have a suggestion to begin with.

Consider: Filesystems are data storage…..Databases are data storage…..Can I make it anymore obvious?…..oh….well….I guess I can…

No-one (well, nearly no-one) talks about filesystems anymore as rampaging beasts out to devour your precious data anymore, like they do databases.  Filesystems are reliable, because they’ve had to be – everything relies on them, including databases!  If databases want to go to the next level, they need to be the new filesystem.  And I mean that literally, make a kernel driver and run your OS from it!  Then, and only then, can databases take over the world.

If you are the person who found this blog using the search term ‘lord fragglegate’, I would LOVE to know what in the world you were actually searching for, and more importantly, did you find it?  I tried that search and got nothing meaningful…

I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

D&C 64:10

I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

D&C 38:27

Thinking about grievance got me thinking about forgiveness, and Zion, and then I saw this and I better understood something that’s been resting on me for a while.

More and more I find myself being drawn to the idea that what the Lord calls us to when we are invited to righteousness is not some abstract standard of behaviour, but rather a total unity; a kind of social intimacy that we can never truly grasp in our current state.  Our sins are what keep us from that union, again in ways we do not grasp, so much so that we scoff at the commandments intended to lead us there.

But other than our own sins, we can let other’s sins (and even things that are not sins) keep us from that union too.  We can harbour bitterness and resentment, and then when the time comes that all must be brought together, our pain will demand that we stay away.  Separate.  Alone, to some eternally damning degree.

We will need to lay all our burdens down if we are to enter that ultimate celestial union.  Even if, for now, we must keep some at arm’s length for our (or their) safety’s sake, we can still long for the day when all barriers can fall.  We can keep heaven in our heart.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows

In thinking of the possibilities of social organization, we are apt to assume that greed is the strongest of human motives, and that systems of administration can be safely based only upon the idea that the fear of punishment is necessary to keep men honest — that selfish interests are always stronger than general interests. Nothing could be further from the truth.

From whence springs this lust for gain, to gratify which men tread everything pure and noble under their feet; to which they sacrifice all the higher possibilities of life; which converts civility into a hollow pretense, patriotism into a sham, and religion into hypocrisy; which makes so much of civilized existence an Ishmaelitish warfare, of which the weapons are cunning and fraud?

Does it not spring from the existence of want? Carlyle somewhere says that poverty is the hell of which the modern Englishman is most afraid. And he is right.

Henry George

A few days ago, Matt Walsh made a post on religious freedom that got a lot of comment.  I found that post didn’t sit right with me, as much as I could agree with the basic idea.  Eventually I realised that my issue was that discussing this as a question of religious freedom was the wrong framing.  This isn’t about people having the right to act on their beliefs, but rather about being able to choose who they will and will not associate with.  Fortunately, Walsh himself drew this conclusion the day after.  This follow-up post is much better in terms of drawing out a basic principle, and has some very basic, but forgotten truths.  My favourite being:

Now, instead of making this an argument about “gay rights” or “religious freedom,” I think it’s time to shift the discussion towards the broader concept of property rights, freedom of association, and free speech. That conversation got bogged down by people attempting to determine whether or not the photographer, the baker, the t-shirt maker, and the florist were “homophobic” or “bigoted.” But that isn’t the question. I don’t think they are bigots, but it doesn’t matter. Bigotry is not illegal. Hatred is not illegal. Racism is not illegal. These are spiritual crimes — problems of the heart. The government is not omniscient. It cannot possibly legislate our thoughts and emotions.

We will never be free as long as it keeps trying.

Freedom of association is fundamental to any free society, but fundamental to that freedom is its corollary: the freedom of disassociation.  Without that then you do not have freedom of association, as you are forced to associate, in whatever capacity.  You can no longer meaningfully choose who to have as friends, or who you will buy from, if those choices are made for you.

When stated in these terms, the freedom of association is well understood and defended (for the most part), but strangely not so when spoken of in terms of who we buy from.  We have established a notion that only one side of a trade has the right to decide if they want to be party to a transaction or not.  Does that not strike you as odd?  Indeed, the great irony is that almost invariably those who complain about some trader claiming a right to disassociate will then call on others to exercise their right to disassociate.  On its own, that would be entirely legitimate, but when doing so as part of an effort to get government to force said trader to transact, it becomes rank hypocrisy.

…….and yet……..

….and yet it’s worth asking how such a state of affairs could come about.  How have we come to view such a one-sided application of free association as the epitome of justice?  So much so that almost no-one will dare suggest anything different, except quibbling about in which rare instances a business will be allowed to assert their own will, and then have the audacity to call this state of affairs the ‘equal protection of the law’?

Those of you who’ve read some of this blog before will know where I’m going with this.  Anti-liberty philosophies require more than just words and activism to gain the levers of power.  The main ingredient is greivance.  There has to be something that the people can no longer stand.  Something so rotten within society that they will listen to anybody who claims to have a fix, no matter how wrong they are.

Greivance is what empowers the enemies of liberty, and the socialist narrative of capitalist exploitation drives the notion that businesses should not have the right to disassociate through the greivances of workers stemming at least as far back as the Victorian Era.  There’s a reason that the lasting cultural memory of the Industrial Revolution can be summed up in the word ‘Dickens’.

But what if the narrative was wrong?  What if it wasn’t capital that was the source of inequity in British society?  What if it was something more fundamental?  So fundamental, in fact, that today is actually no different from before?

And that’s where the titular home-owner-ism comes in.  It is not capital (or even money) that is the root issue here, but land.  When land can be bought and sold in perpetuity, then those who don’t have any are at the mercy of those who do.  If you are at the mercy of landowners, then it matters on what grounds they can refuse you access.  If every coffee shop then you can always make your own coffee (or even your own coffee shop!), but if every landowner refuses to let you use their land, then you literally have nowhere to stand.

With a Land Value Tax/Citizen’s Income setup, there is always somewhere to go, even if literally everyone else refuses to have anything to do with you.  You are no longer at anyone else’s mercy.  You may not be able to be precisely where you want to be (who really can?), but you can always be, and that is where freedom lies.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still consequences to being socially shunned. It is a big deal – but anyone who has ever called for a boycott of anything for any reason has no cause to complain.  After all, what else is a boycott but social shunning?  And who doesn’t use social means to influence people’s behaviour?  Indeed, how would any society function if you couldn’t?

Honestly, though, I don’t expect hardcore professional victims to care about this.  They’re having their time in the sun, but anyone who wants true freedom needs to understand that unless everybody gets it, no-one will.  Greivance will see to that.

We have the economy we deserve

This reminded me of a conversation I had earlier in the year with a recently retired gentleman.  He was reflecting on his life and remarked that things had worked out financially for him, and that his house is now worth somewhat more than what he paid for it.  To which I, of course, had to ask the obvious question:

“But where did that increase come from?”

“(Laughing) Who cares?”

And he’s not wrong…


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