Just in case this blog attracts a reader who doesn’t already know me personally, I thought an “About” page might not be a terrible idea. The very idea of doing this is somewhat uncomfortable as I don’t expect or want anyone to care about me – I’d prefer they care about my ideas, that’s why I write them here – but I don’t expect that either. It is at times like this I wish this wasn’t a one-man show so I could fob this off on someone else, but there isn’t so much as an unpaid intern here; just the cats, and they’re useless. Well, and the dog, but we just got her. So, I’m writing it in first person, deal with it.
I was born in 1976 in Michigan, where I grew up in western Macomb County and remained in that general area until 2010, when I moved to Ohio to pursue a business opportunity. In the intervening years I earned a BA in Broadcast and Cable Production from Western Michigan University with a minor in journalism. Upon graduating, I worked for a stint at the Ford Communication Network at the glasshouse in Dearborn before getting my first newspaper gig in mid-1999. Writing for The Voice – a small-town weekly covering mostly suburban areas north of Detroit – I earned three major journalism awards across three disciplines and, in the editorial pages, began fleshing out my anarch0-capitalist philosophy.
On the news pages, I covered everything from killing sprees to a nice older woman who dug a cucumber out of her garden than looked an awful lot like a fish. It was when my editors grudgingly let me place a column on the editorial pages, however, that I enjoyed myself the most. Having hard-core, philosophically grounded voluntarist views in 2016 makes one unpopular; in 2004 it got your voicemail overloaded with disparaging messages on Thursday mornings (the paper was delivered with the Wednesday mail). Below is an image of the column I wrote for The Voice on November 17, 2004 that earned me quite a bit of disdain. Twelve years later, and I get to hold it up as evidence of the comparative phoniness of Obama’s and Hillary’s embracing of equal marriage rights for gays – those pansies waited years for polling data to finally put a majority of Americans in favor of gay marriage, I waited 15 days after the 2004 general election to rub my fellow Michiganders’ noses in their foolishness after they voted to approve a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. I would have had my response in the day after the vote if technology allowed, or the week after that if the editors allowed, but 15 days is still pretty good. I’d say I was in on the ground floor of being right on that one.
Which reminds me, I have to dig up the column I wrote against the second Iraq war, the paper published that one more promptly, in September of 2002. Yes, that was a full six months before the first bombs fell on Baghdad in March, 2003.
Point being, I haven’t come to this libertarian / voluntarist / just-leave-me-the-hell-alone philosophy recently or lightly. I’ve been a practicing iconoclast for 20 years now. Fifteen years ago, I made a concerted effort to get syndicates to take me seriously, to no avail. In hindsight, I realize I was in a good age demographic then to approach them with a tech column, but probably too young to be taken seriously as a philosopher.
And, I suppose that’s what I consider myself now. I’ve spent more time reading about and thinking about government and philosophy and the nature of the relationship between government and governed than anyone I know outside of academia; and I’ve done a far better job of it, I dare say, than many of those within academia. Early on in my research into politics and philosophy I developed something of an obsession with running down my views on individual issues and tracing them all the way back to their very roots. As I did this, I realized I was getting closer and closer to the core truth from which those views on individual issues came; and once I got there, everything became crystal clear. At once, every political issue of the day, every political issue throughout history, fell into an organic and beautiful order. Every stance on every issue could be tested against this core truth and judged accordingly, embraced as correct or dismissed as fallacy with absolute certainty, for the test was foolproof because it was based on a truth that was immutable: Every human being owns their body outright.
At the time I had this, revelation, I suppose, it was something like 2002ish. I hadn’t heard of the terms “voluntarist,” or “Anarcho-Capitalist” at that point and considered the term “libertarian” sufficiently descriptive of my philosophy. I still would, I suppose, if it weren’t for all the people in 2016 who insist on calling themselves “libertarians” when they’re anything but. Yes, I know. Words have fixed meanings; the fact thousands of people have hijacked the term doesn’t really change the definition of the word. That’s why Americans use “cigarette” and “fag” interchangeably in 2016.
Whatever term one cares to use, accepting that every human owns their own body comes with some practical ramifications. By any logical extension, then every human also owns outright all of the labor their body produces; and therefore is solely entitled to all compensation for said labor. So, when you see smart-ass-y Facebook groups with yellow and black motifs posting memes stating “taxation is theft,” you’ll understand they’re correct, and why. Taxation takes from the individual the compensation they earned for the labor their body performed and does so against the individual’s will, the according-to-Hoyle definition of “theft.”
Of course, that every human owns their own body outright carries a host of other practical ramifications, all of which serve to demonstrate the completely unjust and illegitimate nature of the current state of government in the USA and around the entire globe. I won’t highlight them all here, but you can be sure you’ll see me expounding on them in depth on a daily basis here at The New Mercury.
Ah, right, about that, this is the “about” page, after all. The name, The New Mercury, is a nod and homage to one of the very few people in the history of humankind I consider something of an idol of mine, H.L. Mencken. I, of course, do not and cannot agree with everything the man ever said – I cannot even do that for myself, let alone another human who lived a century ago. However, when he was right, he was so with an acerbic wit that leapt off the page and couldn’t help but bring a smile to all those hip enough to see, and a deep, furrowing frown to those who ended up rightfully impaled upon his pen.
Anyway, that’s it. In keeping with the inverted pyramid style that was drilled into my brain, the rest would be considered space filler on ink-and-paper, but there’s no such thing with the 0s and 1s.
I currently reside in Ohio with my wife, two cats, a snake and a little mini-pin / Chihuahua mix called “Darby” whom we rescued from a shelter. When I’m not doing this, I can be found playing guitar poorly, screwing up my container garden something awful, on the lake not catching fish, trying to break 100 strokes in 18 holes and when time and ammo availability allows, at the range doing something I’m actually fairly good at.