Thanks to telecommunications, an amazing amount of time has elapsed between when I clicked “new post” and now. People call me and ask me to do things, and I do them instead of the the things I like because those people have money. You can’t fight the market. While government is an obtrusive artifact that has no right to interfere in our lives, the market is a natural force that must be allowed to operate freely, lest it become enraged. Today is Friday, and the only true freedom lies in letting the aggregate consequences of everyone doing whatever they want tell us all what to do. Won’t you follow the trending line with me?
Probably I am a hypocrite, because much of the time I should have spent this week letting the market tell me what to do I instead spent reading about Bitcoins on the internet. Bitcoin is an online currency tracked by a peer-to-peer transaction record rather than a central authority. They currently exchange at the rate of one Bitcoin to $758, but the price fluctuates a lot. Bitcoins work like cash, in that no owner is attached to them and they can be moved around purely with reference to their current locations in Bitcoin wallets. No names are involved, which enables such dubious commerce as the Bitcoin Assassination Market. That’s the article that started my obsession, not least because it got me thinking about how currency is an instrument of control. Anarchism is still stupid, though.
Markets want to be free, even if the mechanisms they enable are obviously undesirable for society. Take the Chicago heroin market, for example. A pseudonymous junkie has written this fascinating (and then obviously drug-impaired) street-level description of the heroin trade off Pulaski between 30th Street and North Avenue. Besides including a lot of Wire-style neighborhood color, he points out that the process of scoring illicit drugs delivers a rush comparable to heroin itself. He probably wrote that part when he was sober, though. My understanding from junkies is that the best part of buying heroin is injecting it and getting high.
The best part of being a freshman US representative? Snorting cocaine and getting high. I knew that Trey Radel (R–FL) had been busted for possession, but I did not know that he had previously identified himself as a “hip hop conservative.” Also, he could not stop himself from doing cocaine because he is an alcoholic:
I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them…I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease.
Ah, the disease of alcoholism—the totally medical condition you can treat by making a series of choices. If you want to know exactly where our society draws the line on addiction and personal responsibility, consider that when Rep. Radel got busted with cocaine, his best strategy was to publicly declare himself an alcoholic. “I struggle with the disease of cocaine addiction” somehow doesn’t work.
Meanwhile, in the inevitable progress of irony, not-completely-white supremacist Craig Cobb has become the target of graffiti harassment in Leith, SD, the town he hoped to turn into a whites-only enclave. In what I’m sure is an unrelated event, he has also taken to patrolling the streets with a gun. “Because of the many violences and harassments against we and the children,” Cobb said in a text message to the Bismarck Tribune, “we have commenced armed patrols of Leith.” Cobb did not specify how many violences he and the children had suffered.
So Leith is off my list of places to live, what with the armed white nationalists who aren’t even white. For difference reasons, New York City won’t work, either. Patti Smith says that New York is closed, and young artists should find another place to live. Quote:
New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie. New York City has been taken away from you. So my advice is: Find a new city.
I’ll let you know when I’ve decided between Detroit and Poughkeepsie. Patti Smith telling us that New York is not a good place to be young and struggling is like Huey Lewis reporting that the heart of rock ‘n roll has ceased beating. And from what I’ve heard, I believe them.