People Don’t Think Universal Basic Income Be Like It Is but It Do

Zoltan Istvan was on The Stark Truth to discuss his plan for a California State Basic Income (to be paid for by developing and monetizing federal land.) While I like Zoltan and think he probably would have been the best choice in the last presidential election (among the candidates running,) it goes without saying that I think this is a terrible idea. Not that I oppose the idea of a basic income. I am sympathetic to UBI generally, but I oppose this particular scheme for the following reasons:

1. It would be a shame to see any more of California’s beautiful land be ruined by commercial development. Many people believe that much of what has been developed already has been a mistake. What are they going to develop anyway? More social media ad agencies, useless phone app startups and overpriced McModern apartments? Zoltan’s argument for why this all would be bad for the environment is a bizarre stipulation that the “land would be leased not sold and would have to be returned to it’s previous condition or better after the lease.” This might sound nice but makes very little practical sense. This isn’t going to be like when the Black Fortress disappears without a trace in Krull. If a company leases the land and later goes bankrupt or fails in some way, they’re not going to have the money to demolish all of their buildings and magically regenerate a fully mature forest overnight. This just isn’t realistic. It will be bad for the environment. The increased developments will require more natural resources to sustain, resources which California struggles to harness a sufficient amount of, even now.

2. California doesn’t even care to enforce borders of any kind currently. Most of the larger metropolitan hubs are basically sanctuary cities. A “basic income” can only be mathematically viable if strict population controls are kept on the number of of people residing in that particular area. It requires draconian measures like breeding restrictions and militarily enforced boundaries. Merely having strict residency requirements in order to qualify isn’t enough, because pretty much anyone who lives there can vote. Massive amounts of people who live in California but wouldn’t qualify, can still elect officials that will assert their electoral power to loosen requirements, cut deals or file legal challenges based on trumped up charges of discrimination, etc. Developing and leasing millions of acres of federal land might provide some limited revenue for a basic income, if we were dealing with a stagnant population, frozen in time at current levels. More than likely though, increased development will lead to more people flocking to the area for tech jobs and housing, more Indian programmers and wealthy foreign investors finagling their way here for jobs and real estate investment opportunities. A bigger pie but minimal to no increase in the size of the average slice. Basically, nothing leftover for a basic income.

3. California has frequently struggled with budget deficits in the past. If the projected revenues to fund the California universal basic income do not materialize through this land leasing scheme, the people who are expecting the money will be pissed. Which do you think is more likely, that politicians up for election will spend the state into massive deficits to attempt to deliver people the basic income they were promised, or that they will tell millions of voters “Oops sorry, looks like we can’t afford to give you each 25k a year after all” and face the wrath of betrayed angry mobs. Both of those gloomy scenarios seem highly plausible if this plan were to ever move forward. Those left to foot the bill for this tab will likely flee the area in droves.

4. There is a little too much Utopian optimism with this idea. It kind of reminds me of when you see stoners arguing that legalizing weed will solve nearly every social, economic and military problem in the world “just think, we could tax it, and it would pay off the national debt!” This strikes me as similar, wishful, pie in the sky thinking. There are just too many variables and wildcards involved here.

So anyway, everyone’s a critic right? After reading all that you might be thinking, “Okay, well what is your plan for universal basic income then?” My plan is extremely simple. You form a secluded micro state with a very tiny population and heavily fortify it. This microstate earns revenue through some kind of shared natural resource or industry (could be anything from genetically engineered crops to rubber band manufacturing to Scientology auditing classes.) People would receive a meager basic income by working in civil or community service. Pretty simple but only has a chance of working with a delicate population balance which must be maintained and understood by all participants. I have no clue whether my plan could be viable in practice (for one thing, people would have to actually be interested in my ideas.) That’s the rub with radical futurism. In our grand visions of the future, we often lose sight of the fact that we’re stuck dealing with people the way they are and the world the way it is.

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Anatoly Karlin Discusses Transhumanism on The Stark Truth

Unfortunately I had something scheduled and wasn’t able to be on for this episode, but it’s a good one that covers a lot of ground. I was deeply interested in what would be considered transhumanist ideas for many years before I ever heard the term “transhumanism” or was aware there was a thriving scene. In fact, my hodgepodge poetry book “SideQuests” from about 10 years ago, dealt with some transhumanist and AI related themes (albeit very crudely) from a sort of “angsty teenage faustian” perspective (even though it was written in my mid to late 20s.) Even now, I would rate my interest in these issues above racial/identitarian discussion as I think breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and genetics are not too distant future wildcards, which could potentially transcend racial tribalism and ethnonationalism, or at the very least redefine the participants along different lines. Of course, those of us without money or time won’t be able to take advantage of any radical bionic enhancements, so all we can do is pontificate about it and dream. I did the math, and I’m already too old to live forever.

Here is a list of the topics discussed on this episode of The Stark Truth, which can be found here:

-The philosophical roots of Effective Altruism in rationalism and how it uses reason to determine the most effective ways to benefit others
-Anatoly’s article Immigration and Effective Altruism
-Steve Sailer on U.N. population projections for Africa and the Carrying Capacity of the Global Population
-Hank Pellissier and his charity in Africa based on Effective Altruism
Psychometrics and Pellissier’s book Brighter Brains: 225 Ways to Elevate or Injure IQ
-Positive Eugenics, IQ and fertility, and fertility preferences
-The Transhumanist and Futurist movements
-Paper Review: Artificial Wombs
-Radical Life Extension
-CRISPR gene editing and intelligence augmentation
-How Transhumanism could exacerbate inequality
-The Technological Singularity and the age of intelligent machines
-Cybernetics and the Neural Lace
-Anatoly’s essay A Short History of the Third Millennium which predicts a future based on current trends without Transhumanism
-Anatoly’s upcoming book on Neo-Malthusianism

The Card in the Coin Return

The Card in the Coin Return

Hey silly rabbit in
the bottomless top hat.
Caught in the rat race?

Do you ever feel like a
pasty pale mouse trapped
dead center square
tic-tac-dough
in a cat’s game
stalemate?

just mod-mod-modular cube maze bait
right smack-dab in
the middle of your cell pad
wanna run, make tracks, have a look around the place for
random artifacts but
color coded cops on your case
one door away like
Lock ‘n’ Chase
an unsolved Rubik’s snake
what a puzzlecade
levels, lives, points…but
no little brass key to jimmy open the briefcase
no solution in plain sight
no clear escape
no veering from the paperwork trail surveilled on
Memorex VHS tape
Don’t cry
Just try love, try hate, try again
when they rewind
push play
another coffee break
meditate
dreamlike stateless
curious expression
unibrow bridge across an
energy depleted face
evolves to form
the watchful cyclops’ eye
with laserlike focus
to materialize
the holographic breadcrumbs that
trace a corridor
squeeze through

neon
    exit
        sign

dividing line
flip side
open space!

Brandon Adamson is the author of Beatnik Fascism

Animal Rights Protest at Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A in simpler times

I had no idea there was such a thing as “Cow Appreciation Day,” and it seems an odd way of showing one’s appreciation to devour the creatures in the form of free/discounted fast food rather than a moment of silence or something, but hey humanoids are a weird bunch. My girlfriend and I stopped by there on the way home because she wanted to get something to eat really quick. Admittedly, I eat meat and love fast food, but I’ve never had much desire to go to Chick Fil-A because the one or two times I’ve eaten there I thought it was kinda gross. However, I was like “Whatever I’ll just get some waffle fries or something.” We would never have gone had we known they were doing this free food gag and that the place would be such a zoo. It was like Chuck E Cheese but without the brass tokens, helicopter rides (non-Pinochet variety) or animatronic bands. I was also hoping to maybe top off my diet coke, but they don’t keep the fountain drinks out in the lobby, so you can’t wheez the juice.

Anyway, while we were there, some animal rights people showed up to protest, so I filmed it.

Why Do People Still Smoke Cigs in the Current Year?

We’ve all heard the cliche “I only read it for the articles” about Playboy Magazine. Well, when I was a kid in the 80’s, I actually looked at those magazines mostly for the cigarette ads, which I sometimes would cut out and collect because I liked the aesthetic. Somewhere I still have them, neatly preserved in photo albums in a box alongside my Garbage Pail Kids collection. I mostly liked the Joe Camel advertisements but also really was into ads from other brands like “Vantage” or “Now” for some reason. I just associated them with airports and airline magazines and traveling (whenever I think of a 1980s airport I picture Newport ads being on the walls of the terminal.) My mom smoked Carltons, but my dad always thought smoking was stupid and found it mildly annoying when people lit up around him (my parents divorced when I was about 3 for unrelated reasons.)

I smoked briefly staring in about the 8th grade but by junior year in high school I was over it. This was over 20 years ago, and today I find myself wondering why people still smoke cigarettes. There’s really no reason anyone should still be smoking in the current year (unless they got hooked many years ago and just can’t quit.) I’m not arguing that it should be banned or anything, but merely that it seems pointless. I decided to do a brief anti-smoking “public service announcement” in the video below.