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1  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Jingoism and football on: September 10, 2010, 03:40:20 PM
The pledge holds no appeal to me.  I don't stand unless overwhelmingly compelled to do so.  One example, I was watching my niece and nephew as they were on stage celebrating their first year completing school at their baptist church.  One portion of the night called for us to stand and say with the children the pledge, then the christian pledge.  I was floored.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Saying the pledge at church, of all places!  Teaching the pledge to kids who were taken out of public school? Not just that, making it part of their final test.  And what's the christian pledge and does Jesus know it's modeled directly from the American pledge?  Insane!

However, the national anthem is a different story to me.  When at an international sporting event, you hear each participating country's anthem.  And it's pretty obvious that they were all commissioned by their respective states.  You can hear it in the pomp and presentation.  There is only one way to perform these anthems, and that's the right way.  However the American Nat'l anthem is something quite different, as it can be sung in any style of ways.  I think that's quite amazing.  Along with the Statue of Liberty, again not commissioned by our state but inspired by our country, they represent the idea of a world made up of individuals committed to the rights and freedoms of themselves and their neighbors.

So, the next time someone butchers the National Anthem just before the opening pitch, cheer loudest.
2  General Category / General Discussion / Re: What do anarcho-capitalists talk about? on: September 10, 2010, 03:22:02 PM
Here's a topic which can kinda get at what Helios is driving at: application.  I suggest this topic because it allows us to talk about globalization trends, the state of activist thought today, and how so many grassroots movements often focusing on stopping ideas and not promoting better ones.

I live in the north side of Houston in a former freedman's town.  Just south of me is an area everyone wants to consider the "Heights".  Most of it isn't the heights really, since that geographically is a very small area. It just works well to sell homes (probably b/c the Aaron Spelling reference) and was the last place yuppie developers were buying up before the bust.  Six years ago, much of what they're calling the Heights was a run-down industrial park, with a few poor minority 'wards' tucked into it.

Recently, there has been worry about a Wal-Mart which is about to start construction near the Heights.  It'll be just down the road from the mega-Target that no one has a problem with.  Only a few miles from the Whole Foods which everyone is really excited about.  Well, the blowback on this Wal-Mart has been insane.  Every coffee shop around has a petition to sign which asks us to help stop the construction and save the neighborhood.  Signs are in front of every cookie-cutter home and locally-owned business (the wealthier ones at least).  Meetings are held regularly and the community has actually bandied together in an impressive fashion.  The only problem is that their arguments are either symptoms of problems they cannot put their fingers on, or it is strait-up elitism.  The area, the city, the country is trending towards greater poverty.  The issue is not a Great Wal-Mart Conspiracy, it is the fact that poor people cannot sustain themselves at overpriced, yuppie markets and clothing stores, even if they do have better labor practices.  They act like the poor are infiltrators.  These people never took note of the amount of poverty which lives all around them, simply because they don't shop at the same places.

Here's my idea:  we have a group of people which want to see a local economy thrive.  They have rallied around stopping Wal-Mart, but they ignore the property-rights issues because they're yuppies.  What they want is really a local option kept protected from the winds of corporatism and NAFTA.  How hard would it be for them to start a LETS (Local Exchange Trade System)?  Does anyone have any familiarity with LETS?  Could they run it backed by a "basket of goods" to protect against inflation and keep their new money Houston-centric?

Would it be better to model it as a full-reserve bank? Like JAK Bank?

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