Pussy Riot is Free! But They Aren't Russia's Key to Freedom.

There's a huge disparity between what American media is reporting and what Pussy Riot really stands for.

Pussy Riot is free! The western world has poured out support for these daring punk rock feminists in their pursuit for life, liberty, and so on and so forth in their underdog fight against Soviet Premier Bond villain Russian President Vladimir Putin, and you should be overjoyed. At least, that's the narrative dominating American media. Unfortunately, this reductive view of the affair overlooks the damage groups like Pussy Riot may do to the cause of freedom -- and the group's own disregard for liberal values.

It may surprise American readers to find out that Pussy Riot's own countrymen are hardly as sympathetic to the band's plight. The Levada Center, a major survey conductor, shows that few Russians think the women deserved little or no punishment. Often, the plurality believe the punishment was deserved or insufficient. Even educated, western-leaning, liberal, anti-Putin individuals look unfavorably upon them. The face of the political opposition, Alexei Navalny, derided Pussy Riot as "fools who commit petty crimes for the sake of publicity.”

Let's recap what happened. In February 2012, a herd of ski-masked individuals stormed the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of the most venerated religious sites in Russia, called for Putin's removal from power, and sang anti-Christian insults.

Three members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Maria Alyokhina, were charged with “flagrant violation of public order, expressing clear disrespect for society, committed... on the grounds of political, ideological, racial, ethnic or religious hatred or enmity or hatred or animosity towards any social group.” This crime is punishable up to five years hard labor or seven years in prison. All three women were found guilty and sentenced to two years in penal colonies. An appeals court quickly released Samutsevich on probation. After serving over a year, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were also released, due to a federal amnesty bill.

The Russian government reminded the world why it ranks so poorly on so many freedom indexes, and the the Western world was quick to admonish the abuse of Pussy Riot's rights. Without a doubt, the two-year sentences were a gross overstep, demonstrating how willing Russia is to suppress dissident voices. Pussy Riot's release may have been abbreviated by the nation's legal standards, but their offensive-yet-harmless act never warranted imprisonment in the first place. A society that punishes civil disobedience so harshly is not a free society.

But American media has ignorantly deduced that because Pussy Riot is the enemy of our enemy, the band must be our friend. They frame the affair as clear-cut “good vs. evil” between Pussy Riot and Putin. GQ is not alone in painting these women as “freedom fighters.” One might expect conservative outlets to be more critical of the anti-Christian antics, but even the National Review sides with the band.

Without a doubt, Pussy Riot should be free to express its beliefs without the fear of imprisonment, but they themselves are not freedom fighters. They have said contradictory things about freedom, but in no uncertain terms have described themselves “Trotskyists” and “anarchists” who are “part of the global anti-capitalist movement.” Numerous times in the past, the women of Pussy Riot have also committed lewd and destructive acts as part of the “art terrorist” group Voina, which means “War.”

Denis Bochkarev cc byDenis Bochkarev cc byTerrorizing people, insulting their beliefs, and damaging property certainly doesn't mesh with America's sense of promoting freedom, and it makes one wonder how Pussy Riot would proceed if they could depose Putin. Would they suddenly embrace free minds and markets, or would they follow in the footsteps of their ideological forebearers and punish people they brand as dissidents? I'd cautiously guess the latter.

Even so, the Western audience might expect Russians to stand in solidarity with Pussy Riot and praise how much international attention they drew to the nation's troubled legal system.

At least in Pussy Riot's case, the band virtually guaranteed this would never happen. To understand why, one must understand that Russia's relationship with religion is quite different than America's, and it gives authority a much greater status.

Antagonizing the Orthodox Church is not popular, even among the youth. Orthodoxy formed the legal and cultural foundations of contemporary Russia over a thousand years ago. Religion was an integral part of national identity until the Soviets came into power. The communists persecuted Christians and even destroyed the cathedral (later rebuilt) where Pussy Riot protested. The Church again has widespread support, and is far more popular than Putin.

Pussy Riot also represents chaos, and Russians do not like chaos. Throughout history, they have put faith in strongmen-type leaders to prevent it. Chaos, for Russians, is a bogeyman, and the wound of chaos has been reopened in the lifetime of most Russians. In the 1990s, the nation was subject to the lawlessness of widespread organized crime and domestic warfare. And, the threat of a nation destabilized by terrorism is far more real for Russians than it is for Americans. The nation has seen many terrorist attacks, and continues to be subject to bombings. Pussy Riot's “propaganda by deed” rubs Russians about as well as bomb threat hoaxes did Americans post-9/11.

Whether or not correlation implies causation, Putin's ascent to power has generally marked the reemergence of a stable, prosperous, and internationally important Russia, and citizens are unfortunately willing to compromise their rights for that kind of security. Pussy Riot's antics were at best a garish parody of Western secular values, and at worst a reminder of darker, more chaotic times in their own history. It is no surprise that the average Russian thinks far more favorably of Putin than Pussy Riot.

Americans are right to criticize the Russian government for trampling human rights. But, if we want to work toward greater freedom throughout the world, we may first want to focus on our own shortcomings (some of which are not unlike Russia's). Then, if we hope to have a positve impact on another nation, we should understand that the antics of groups like Pussy Riot may actually be counterproductive.

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  • Snark Plissken||

    Good article. Of course the reason these girls get a pass in the Wester Media is because they are leftie "trotskyists" invading a church, not right wingers invading a mosque or synagogue.

  • OldMexican||

    Of course. Their antics are close to the heart of the anti-clerical folks within the walls of Reason magazine. Looks like I can't simply limit myself to not believing; no, for cosmotorian atheists, I have to be an activist to be considered sincere in my non-belief.

    And a minor correction: The name is "trotskyites"

  • Snark Plissken||

    I'm not sure I'd turn this into a cosmotarian thing, but in general, Christians (including Orthodox) aren't a PC protected class. I do agree with Zenon that the punishment wasn't appropriate for the crime.

    And a minor correction: The name is "trotskyites"

    Thanks, or Trotskyites even.

  • prolefeed||

    I do agree with Zenon that the punishment wasn't appropriate for the crime.

    The crime was, at most, trespassing, and then only if they were asked to leave and refused.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Yes, I agree. But how does it stack up to this?

  • prolefeed||

    That, too, is a gross overreaction by the government. The proper reaction would be to issue a restraining order to the person keeping them off the mosque grounds so they can no longer offend the attendees, and if he trespassed while smearing bacon, then charge him with trespass.

    The remedy for butthurting sensibilities should be the owner of the property excluding the person from the property, not jailing them for the butthurt.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I agree. But the reason this isn't an international cause celebre is that it is a "hate crime".

  • BigT||

    If there was property damage or B&E, a week in jail would be appropriate.

  • MSimon||

    B&E - Bacon and Eggs?

  • OneOut||

    Are you a Russian lawyer ?

  • XM||

    You could say the same thing about the absurd "Arab Spring" or the lame OWS. People care more about the anarchist or revolutionary nature these movements than whether they support actual freedom.

    Those who support freedom consistently across the board will be derided as some "right winger".

  • Doggie in the Window||

    People care more about the anarchist or revolutionary nature [of] these movements than whether they support actual freedom.

    I have it on good authority that Twitter and rock music ushered in the brilliantly successful Arab Spring. No?

  • mtrueman||

    "Good article"

    No it's not good and your shallow comment is worse. Whether they get a free pass in the Western media is irrelevant. In Russia, where it counts, they went to jail. Egyptian activists who are sent to jail are all but ignored by the Western media, including Reason magazine, as well as the US government.

  • OldMexican||

    A society that punishes civil disobedience so harshly is not a free society.


    I guess the problem with some arguments stem from the total DISTORSION of the meaning of words. Entering a church BY FORCE to cause a ruckus and scare people is NOT the same as "civil disobedience," just like invading a private park with tents to scare people going to work is NOT "civil disobedience." Both were violations of the N.A.P.

    There are FAR BETTER examples of civil disobedience than the impromptu and unsolicited performance by Pussy Riot.

  • ||

    Agreed. If they had just gotten a fine or like a month in jail I would have had no problem with it.

    But of course the harder Putin cracks down on them the more sympathy they get and in this case the sentence was way disproportionate to the crime.

  • prolefeed||

    Maybe churches in Russia are different than in America. Here, no matter how you are dressed, everyone is allowed in a church, at least initially, unless it is locked up for the night. If you are disruptive, you might be asked to leave at some point.

    So, unless they broke some locks to get in that church, or refused to leave once asked, not getting where this would be a crime at all by any N.A.P. standard, unless you mean a "crime" by Russian govt standards.

  • Ann N||

    prolefeed, that is idiocy.

    your socialization about how churches operate has nothing to do with NAP. ownership of property takes precedence over your perception of social convention.

    they knowingly use someone elses property (church) against their wishes. and they do it in spirit of violation, not ignorance.

    Can I borrow you pen?
    /then shoves it up your ass
    Oh you dont like how I used your pen? How was I supposed to know that wasnt its intended use?

    this is a badfaith violation of NAP. they KNOW its not the intended use, not just that, its expressly the opposite of its intended use. thats the whole point.

    Its a very very common flaw of anti-religionists. You see billboards of the same principle throughout the USA. referencing religious symbols just to shit on them in disrespectful 'dialogue'. religion cannot prove god. there are real issues to be raised, so why take the disrespectful route on irrelevent points in the debate?

  • Ann N||

    calling jesus a zombie is an inaccurate saying. zombies have a property of corruption of flesh and diminishment of sentience, but dont let that bother you. Its obvious gratuitous insult. its intentional disrespect. resurrection to life is a qualitatively different theoretical condition.

    Anyone who has taken seriously the quest to find truth knows there are gaps in the assertions of religion. So why arent those the target?

    fuck pussy riot and atheist billboards. they not only dont have the courage to focus on salient issues in debate, they gratuitously disrespect others who have done them no harm.

    IMO elites and troglodytes alike will filter this knowledge, and the distilled wisdom limits the believability of their core assertion.

    At some point you gotta ask, why is this method matched with this belief? is it coincidence? why would truth need disrespect as a bed-fellow?

  • MSimon||

    fuck pussy

    OK.

  • kbolino||

    NAP stands for non-aggression principle, not non-offense principle. Using a public facility contrary to its owner's wishes is not aggression unless you are forcing him to accept it.

    Intent only matters if you commit a real crime; it does not in and of itself constitute a criminal act. You are not trespassing in a place open to the public until someone asks you to leave. If a place wishes to restrict entry or use, then it must do so in an explicit manner. A violation of social "convention" is not a violation of the NAP unless it involves force.

    Your pen analogy is not applicable since it involves the initiation of violence against another person. A more apt analogy would be if the recipient took the pen and broke it; whether that constitutes a violation of the established but imprecise verbal contract to "borrow" it is a matter to be resolved through whatever means of arbitration both parties will accept. Practically speaking, the most appropriate resolution (assuming the pen's monetary value was negligible) would be for the lender to discredit the malignant borrower.

    You are making the same mistake that Islamists and most Muslims make, conflating perceived offenses in your head with aggression.

  • kbolino||

    To clarify, this is a response to Ann N's scenario and related argument, which differs from the circumstances of the Pussy Riot incident.

    It is my understanding that Pussy Riot was informed of their trespass and expelled from the Church. That act by the property owner is consistent with the NAP. The problem arises when the state throws them in jail.

    Nonviolent trespass is minor aggression. Imprisonment is a major aggression. Use of the latter as punishment for the former is an escalation of aggression, which to my mind does not comport with the NAP.

  • Homple||

    The sympathy they get is from outside Russia, therefore irrelevant to Putin, whose goal in the whole thing is to keep Russians on his side.

    He's smart enough to know what he has to work with and how best to use it for his purposes. He gave Pussy Riot a good taste of the consequences of messing with him, then turned them loose.

    Same treatment as the Greenpeace annoyances got: put a few in jail for a while to discourage the others.

    People interested in reforming Russia ought to understand that Russia is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

  • Homple||

    My reply ended up in an unintended spot in the reply sequence.

    Sorry, Francisco, I don't want anyone to accuse you of agreeing with me.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    No worries. My "this" was for OM. Don't know why its so hard to have the header include who you're replying to?

    Francisco d Anconia (replied to OldMexican)|1.4.14 @ 12:50PM|#|–|filternamelinkcustom

    Shouldn't be rocket surgery.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Look, tolerance means that everybody has to believe the exact same things, at gunpoint, if necessary. How many times must we go over this?

  • Homple||

    Or at least stay out of people's faces, even if you're certain you know better than they do what they should believe.

  • mtrueman||

    Pussy Riot is significant because they are young, educated and fearless. They are also the dispossessed. They have their counterparts in many countries including the USA. They represent a threat to power and will be suppressed. You fear them too? That's what I'm picking up in these (and your) comments.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    ^this^

  • David Wall||

    Good Comment, OldMexican--

    Pussy Riot's act was a violation of property rights. The widespread misunderstanding of the essential issues indicates how far the country that first defined individual rights has strayed from its founding principles. Evans' article doesn't even clearly identify the proper violation of individual rights at issue, here. It's disheartening.

  • ||

    When I first looked at this blog post title I thought it said "Pussy is free" and thought "what kinda fantasy land is this asshole living on?"

  • Ann N||

    he believes in abolishing consent requirement for lawful sex.

    I saw Drew Barrymore on tv a few years back on a talk show doing 'get out the vote'.

    she was telling women that if they didnt vote that their voice would not be heard and that rapists sought to legalize rape, and would realize their political vision by the wowmen doing nothing.

    this really happened. the base implication here is that men in general would prefer that legal system. the whole gender is pro-rape, even the monogamists. they are only kept at bay by the vigilant act of female voting.

  • ||

    Is that a fact? And here I thought all this time I thought rape was abhorrent. Please stop speaking for me and generalizing my belief system, thanks.

  • Boisfeuras||

  • ||

    Wow. I forgot about that. That photo speaks a million words.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    but in no uncertain terms have described themselves “Trotskyists” and “anarchists” who are “part of the global anti-capitalist movement.”

    You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

    /Inigo

  • ||

    In the olden days when one would put a turnip under their hat to keep back evil spirits socialists and anarchists were interchangeable terms.

    One thing that is kind of cool is that even though the left stole our name "liberals" we hijacked "anarchists" from them.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    We hijacked libertarian from them too, back from when it generally referred to a variety of socialist.

  • BenjaminRTucker'sRevenge||

    Yeah, "libertarian" was word invented by socialist anarchists to substitute for "anarchist" when the state there banned the word "anarchist" in print. That's why it drives me nuts when minarchists say anarchists aren't libertarians, or try in any way to distance themselves from anarchists.

  • J L Mallon||

    Anarcho-communism ultimately isn't much different from anarcho-capitalism. Both insist that people by nature are not at all greedy or immoral, only corrupted by the "wrong" social system. This appeal to cosmotarian blank-slaters.

  • kbolino||

    I'm pretty sure the first tenet of anarcho-capitalism is that every person will look to his own interests, and so requires no master to do it for him.

  • np||

    That's pretty much the opposite of what ancaps believe. Why do you think the right to self-defense, the right to organize your own security and the fact that no one should be granted powers above anyone else just because they're part of some institution are key tenets of anarcho-capitalism?

    And given people aren't angels, and let's go with your assumption that most people are devils, what do you think the government will consist of, given the pool to select from? Why do you think you can trust people with ultimate coercive power then?

  • BenjaminRTucker'sRevenge||

    "If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one." --- Robert LeFevre

  • Beezard||

    Anarchist in Europe almost entirely refers to anarcho-socialist.

    Even the British Anarcho-punk stuff that usually gave the left wing an equal thrashing to the right was totally anti-market.

  • BenjaminRTucker'sRevenge||

    What further confuses things is free market anti-capitalism. Individualist free market anarchists are almost indistinguishable from anarcho capitalists today, insofar as modern IFMAs tend to have dropped the labor theory of value and its implications, in favor of marginalism. They'd be AnCaps, but they don't embrace Rothbardian concepts of natural law (some are utilitarians), or they don't agree wholly with any one business cycle theory (some are adversarial to Austrian Business Cycle Theory, and some are complimentary of it, but do not see any business cycle theory as totally correct). Jeffrey Hummel comes to mind as an economist who is an individualist anarchist in favor of free markets, but not an Austrian/Rothbarian, and therefore not an AnCap. But the similarities are many, whereas the differences are generally minute, or even simply semantical.

  • ||

    The Onion takes a shot at atheists: Local church full of brainwashed morons feeds town's poor every week

    MACON, GA—Sources confirmed today that the brainwashed morons at First Baptist Assembly of Christ, all of whom blindly accept whatever simplistic fairy tales are fed to them, volunteer each Wednesday night to provide meals to impoverished members of the community. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in town who have fallen on hard times and are unable to afford to put food on the table, so we try to help out as best we can,” said 48-year-old Kerri Bellamy, one of the mindless sheep who adheres to a backward ideology and is incapable of thinking for herself, while spooning out homemade shepherd’s pie to a line of poor and homeless individuals. “It feels great to share our blessings with the less fortunate. Plus, it’s fun to work alongside all the members of our [corrupt institution of propaganda and lies] who come out each week.” As of press time, the brainless, unthinking lemmings had donated winter clothing they no longer wore to several needy families and still hadn’t opened their eyes to reality.

    See, The Onion is much funnier when they spread their snide around.

  • BigT||

    Even brainwashed morons can be good people. Judge people by their actions, not their motivations.

  • ||

    The Onion takes a shot at atheists: Local church full of brainwashed morons feeds town's poor every week

    MACON, GA—Sources confirmed today that the brainwashed morons at First Baptist Assembly of Christ, all of whom blindly accept whatever simplistic fairy tales are fed to them, volunteer each Wednesday night to provide meals to impoverished members of the community. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in town who have fallen on hard times and are unable to afford to put food on the table, so we try to help out as best we can,” said 48-year-old Kerri Bellamy, one of the mindless sheep who adheres to a backward ideology and is incapable of thinking for herself, while spooning out homemade shepherd’s pie to a line of poor and homeless individuals. “It feels great to share our blessings with the less fortunate. Plus, it’s fun to work alongside all the members of our [corrupt institution of propaganda and lies] who come out each week.” As of press time, the brainless, unthinking lemmings had donated winter clothing they no longer wore to several needy families and still hadn’t opened their eyes to reality.

    See, The Onion is much funnier when they spread their snide around.

  • prolefeed||

    Let's recap what happened. In February 2012, a herd of ski-masked individuals stormed the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of the most venerated religious sites in Russia, called for Putin's removal from power, and sang anti-Christian insults.

    Wow, what a loaded phrasing.

    In February, some individuals wearing clothing, some of which covered their faces (in a really cold country in wintertime) went into a church and sang some songs expressing their political and religious views where they called for more freedom in both areas, and then were thrown into jail for that act of individuality.

    According to Zenon, this is somehow anti-freedom

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Do you have an argument as to why such actions would not be considered trespass?

  • prolefeed||

    I'll repost what I did at 1:06 pm:


    Maybe churches in Russia are different than in America. Here, no matter how you are dressed, everyone is allowed in a church, at least initially, unless it is locked up for the night. If you are disruptive, you might be asked to leave at some point.

    So, unless they broke some locks to get in that church, or refused to leave once asked, not getting where this would be a crime by the N.A.P. standard.

    It would of course be a "crime" by Russian govt standards, where not praising Putin can get you killed.

  • prolefeed||

    Here are the charges:

    "Three members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Maria Alyokhina, were charged with “flagrant violation of public order, expressing clear disrespect for society, committed... on the grounds of political, ideological, racial, ethnic or religious hatred or enmity or hatred or animosity towards any social group.”

    Not seeing the word "trespass" there.

    If they did actually trespass, then misdemeanor charges would be appropriate.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Not seeing the word "trespass" there.

    Okay. But regardless of the Russian laws with which they are charged, if they were asked to leave and if Russian churches are private property, you still must conclude THEY initiated aggression.

    No?

    Now whether Russian law is just is, as Zenon points out, a completely different matter from the actions of Pussy Riot.

  • prolefeed||

    Okay. But regardless of the Russian laws with which they are charged, if they were asked to leave and if Russian churches are private property, you still must conclude THEY initiated aggression.

    No?

    Yes, of course, trespassing is initiating aggression. That's not in dispute.

  • Ann N||

    the whole point of doing it there is because its against their wishes.

    are you retarded or mendacious?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I'm quite sure (yet speculating) the priest/minister/mystic asked them to leave immediately when they disrupted their service. Does one normally call the police before asking the offenders to leave?

    The only way I see this NOT being a NAP violation is if, in Russia, churches are publicly owned and operated.

    Agree that the punishment for such an action is ridiculous, but it's still probably a NAP violation.

  • prolefeed||

    IIRC, it was a brief act of defiance. Don't recall any coverage specifically addressing whether they trespassed.

    If they were told not to enter the church, and did so anyway, or entered like anyone else and then once they started playing their instruments were asked to leave and ignored that warning, then sure, trespass charges would be appropriate (though the sentence might be disproportionate).

    Public versus private doesn't matter for trespass -- whoever owns the property, whether a private individual or a government, is allowed to evict those who fail to comply with the conditions for being on that property.

    In any event, the main charges were not for trespass, though those might have been thrown into the list of charges towards the end.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Not to be Bo...

    But I put it to you that in the US, at least, the government doesn't own any property. That property is owned jointly by the people and we allow the government to manage it for us. That said, that gives the government the ability to manage it as they wish, so your premise holds.

  • prolefeed||

    I'm pretty sure that if you look at who is listed as the owner of, say, Arches National Park in Utah, it will be listed as the federal government. If you trespass on those grounds, are are arrested, the government court will charge you based on the theory that you are violating the property rights of the federal government to decide who goes on their land and under what conditions.

    You and I are not the government, anymore than you and I are not the local mafia. When the government or the mafia extort taxes from you (or "protection money" -- same thing, different wording), that money is no longer yours. If the government or mafia use that money to buy land, that land is not yours. If they use that money to do terrible things -- waterboard Gitmo detainees or buy bats and then break kneecaps of those who defy protection money demands -- they are doing those things, not you or I.

  • prolefeed||

    That property is owned jointly by the people and we allow the government to manage it for us.

    That is the lie that the government loooves to hear people repeat and believe.

    The government is not us. The property they own is not ours. The property is temporarily "owned" by the politicians currently in office who get to control how that property is used. You are not part of that government, and they are not your servants. You are their fractional slave, in their minds, and they reserve the power to steal the entireity of your income if they think they can get away with it, politically.

    You not only don't own govt lands, in their minds you don't even own yourself.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    the government court will charge you based on the theory that you are violating the property rights of the federal government to decide who goes on their land and under what conditions.

    Respectfully, the government doesn't have any rights. They have powers.

    You are not part of that government, and they are not your servants. You are their fractional slave, in their minds, and they reserve the power to steal the entireity of your income if they think they can get away with it, politically.

    That was kinda the purpose for my post. "In their minds."

    I was pointing out that these idiots in DC (and to a large degree the people) have forgotten just who is in charge in a constitutional republic. Those in government are, in fact, our servants. (Just perhaps not in current practice.)

  • Nazdrakke||

    Those in government are, in fact, our servants. (Just perhaps not in current practice.)

    In a mature society, civil servant is semantically equal to civil master. -- Robert A. Heinlein

  • ||

    Public versus private doesn't matter for trespass -- whoever owns the property, whether a private individual or a government, is allowed to evict those who fail to comply with the conditions for being on that property.

    Pussy Riot's stated objective was to cause a disruption in church services and profane the values of the church. It goes without saying that you are not welcome to enter a church for the sole purpose of disrupting it and attacking their values.

    Such a provocative act is intended to goad the clerical and civil authorities into action. So they knew what they were doing was an act of aggression that would be met with a negative response.

  • prolefeed||

    Pussy Riot's stated objective was to cause a disruption in church services and profane the values of the church. It goes without saying that you are not welcome to enter a church for the sole purpose of disrupting it and attacking their values.

    Not quite. Technicalities matter.

    If I enter a Mormon meeting house on Sunday wearing my black leather jacket and jeans and looking scruffy, I'll still be welcome there at first. Prolly even have someone sit next to me and try to befriend me and start the conversion process. At that point, my intent is just a thought process in my head.

    If I stand up and start screaming profanities and whatnot, I will likely be ushered out as gently as possible.

    So, I am welcome to enter any church, regardless of my intentions. If I put those intentions into action, then I am subject to eviction.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    So, I am welcome to enter any church, regardless of my intentions.

    That's a very large blanket assumption. You're using the word welcome to mean legal?

  • prolefeed||

    That's a very large blanket assumption. You're using the word welcome to mean legal?

    No, I mean actually "welcome". Churches are not legally required to let anyone in them who wants to, yet I've never ever seen a single church that posted rule or preconditions about what sort of person would be allowed in, or posted bouncers to keep the riffraff away

    One might wear out that welcome and be asked to leave by being PR levels of offensive.

    Not talking about the 150 or so Mormon temples (as opposed to their tens of thousands of meeting houses), that are reserved for Temple Recommend holders only.

  • prolefeed||

    I entered the grounds of a Hindu temple in southern CA, and some people quickly hustled over and frantically explained I needed to remove my shoes on their holy ground, then added that I needed to be quiet and respectful to the worshipers there -- and then after I did that I was welcome and wandered around to my heart's content.

  • Ann N||

    moment by moment, screaming profanities is a power struggle over someone elses property and how its disposed of.

    when your intent is to violate and usurp control, then the first moment (from intention to action) is itself 'trespass'.

    this is not about uncertain behavior that may be acceptable. this is about intentional usurpation of property's use.

    as long as they dont act it is just intention, as you say. but the first moment you act, it becomes a coup d'état over the property's disposal.

    the intent is direct violation of owners wishes. that is the point.

    acting on willful defiance of owners wishes is trespass. if you dont like the requirements they put on their property than dont voluntarily interact with that property. that would be the NAP thing to do.

  • Ann N||

    what they did is tantamount to swearing and refusing to leave and continuing swearing.

    before they even started they knew it was an offense that merited getting kicked out.

    the instant they brought intention into realm of action they were trespassing.

    from that point onward they were hijacking the building in an ongoing offense, knowingly expressly defiantly violating the owners wishes of how to dispose of the property.

    yet somehow you think maybe thats square with NAP. no way in hell.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    PROLEFEED,

    Most Churches in Russia are Russian Orthodox. Other churches are allowed, but don't have much influence. The Russian Orthodox had been the official church of Russia for centuries until it was suppressed under the Communists from 1917-1991.

    Putin is now bringing it back as an ally, and a bunch of stupid women dancing around inside an Orthodox Church is not welcome at any time, and especially on the altar.

    Russia is not America where many churches have stages instead of altars and where rock concerts that pass for Christianity happen every Sunday. The altar in a Russian Orthodox is considered Holy.

    Again, these women were arrested because they insulted the state and the church. Again, Russia is NOT America. Go ahead and try dancing around on the altar of a Russian Orthodox Church even in the United States and find out what happens.

  • kbolino||

    Your points, rephrased:

    1. The laws of other countries are beyond reproach because they are the laws of those countries.

    2. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government enjoy a privileged relationship to compensate for the suppression of religion in the Soviet Union.

    You make a vacuous point that hints at moral relativism, and then you outright discard classical liberalism. Well done!

  • BardMetal||

    Oh for the love of God. Are you really defending a bunch of cunts going to a church and disrupting the church's service by singing a bunch of songs that basically shit all over the church attendees religious beliefs?

    I suppose if someone went into a graveyard and took a big steaming shit over one of the graves, in front of the grieving family, that too would only be "an act of individuality"?

  • prolefeed||

    Oh for the love of God. Are you really defending a bunch of cunts going to a church and disrupting the church's service by singing a bunch of songs that basically shit all over the church attendees religious beliefs?

    I'm defending their technical rights here, not saying these are the most wonderful human beings ever. I'm also saying that churches have the right to evict from their property people who start offending the beliefs of the attendees. But, the church shouldn't have the power to use the govt to toss people in jail because people got offended by the views expressed. Their remedy is to get the offenders off their property so the service can proceed with no further disruption.

    But, the wording of this article seems to lightly dismiss those important technicalities, and I'm taking issue with Zenon over that.

  • Snark Plissken||

    He's making a reasonable cogent argument. You don't have to agree with it, but it's not some nitpicking bullshit or arguing for the sake of argument, or trolling. If you want an echo chamber there are better places to hang out.

  • Irish||

    I suppose if someone went into a graveyard and took a big steaming shit over one of the graves, in front of the grieving family, that too would only be "an act of individuality"?

    No, but it wouldn't be worth a year in prison.

  • Ann N||

    the debate is not about duration and whether a year is right timeframe.

    its about whether you can intentionally misappropriate someone else's property.

    its about whether you can set preconditions on others use of your property.

    its about the social contract and intended uses of property.

  • Boisfeuras||

    its about the social contract and intended uses of property.

    What contract?

  • Sevo||

    "its about the social contract and intended uses of property."

    WHAAAT?

  • prolefeed||

    They have said contradictory things about freedom, but in no uncertain terms have described themselves “Trotskyists” and “anarchists” who are “part of the global anti-capitalist movement.”

    You mean, people who sing in a punk band are leftists? Color me shocked.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "They have said contradictory things about freedom, but in no uncertain terms have described themselves “Trotskyists” and “anarchists” who are “part of the global anti-capitalist movement.”

    I'm not saying they're libertarians, but for goodness' sake...

    Christopher Hitchens called himself a trotskyist, too. Orwell thought of himself that way too, especially during the Spanish Civil War, when he decided the only right thing to do was defend the anarchists by fighting against both the fascists and the communists.

    Oh, and the word "capitalist" doesn't mean the same thing to everybody. When some people, elsewhere in the world, call themselves "anti-capitalist", they're not talking about the kind of capitalism where you and I get to start a business and profit from our entrepreneurship. When a lot of them are talking about "capitalism", they're talking about what we would call "crony capitalism"--especially in Russia where recent economic history is dominated by the oligarchs and their cozy relationship with Putin.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Well, both Hitch and Orwell said some pretty fucking dumb things about both economics and freedom -- both were smart men well worth reading, but let's not pretend they were really allies of classical liberals in a fundamental sense.

  • Raven Nation||

    Although Hitchens had changed a lot of his views in the last decade of his life. Pretty sure he no longer considered himself a Trotskyite - or even a socialists.

    There are a couple of Reason interviews with him which track his changing views.

  • William of Purple||

    You know who else changed views later in life?

  • Irish||

    I'm reading the collected essays of George Orwell and he flat out argues that they should maintain clothes rationing even after the war ended for no reason other than to promote 'equality.' He flatly states that even if this doesn't raise the living standards of the poor, at least the rich man will 'look shabbier.'

    Hitchens disavowed all such nonsense towards the end of his life, which is why his later essays are much more worth reading than his earlier ones.

    I will say that both Hitchens and Orwell were in favor of gun rights and were opposed to anti-free speech measures. Hitchens was far more reasonable and 'libertarian' than was Orwell. All you need to do is read the utter stupidity of the Lion and the Unicorn to see how wrongheaded and moronic Orwell's economic views were. The only argument Orwell puts forward as to why English socialism wouldn't become totalitarian in the way German, Italian and Russian socialism did is that English 'culture' is too anti-authoritarian and willing to laugh at power to allow this to happen.

    In other words, he supplies no objective way to prevent British socialism from becoming authoritarian, and simply puts his faith on some nebulous aspect of British character which we are to believe will magically prevent socialism from having the same negative impact it had everywhere else. It's an idiotic argument an it's hard to believe it comes from the same person who developed the concept of doublethink.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That is true, Orwell had far less of a change in views in life than Hitchens did. Still, Hitchens said some incredibly dumb things (particularly about economics) which started when he was working for The Nation and persisted until relatively late in his life. Still worth reading (for roughly the same reason Taibbi is worth reading today), but while he moved towards something like more like Tony Blair's politics and less like socialism as time went on, he was always a man of the left and his economic views reflected this.

    Agree on your assessment of "English socialism" (also odd coming from the man who brought us IngSoc).

  • Irish||

    Still, Hitchens said some incredibly dumb things (particularly about economics) which started when he was working for The Nation and persisted until relatively late in his life. Still worth reading (for roughly the same reason Taibbi is worth reading today)

    Taibbi is a good writer, and is worth reading if you want to learn how to write, but he's no Christopher Hitchens. Taibbi spends an enormous amount of time checking under his bed for right wing bogeymen, shining a flashlight in his closet in the hopes of catching a Kochtopus, and otherwise engaging in paranoid left-wing fantasies.

    If he spent less time swinging at phantoms and rutting about under bridges in search of Trolls he might have more valuable things to say.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Hmm, perhaps Taibbi was a bad example. Tony Judt and Tim Snyder are closer to the model of reformed leftist Hitchens was party to; Taibbi is more or less a standard braindead leftist with a great writing style.

  • Raven Nation||

    I always find it surprising when people claim Orwell as an anti-socialist; totally missing how much many socialists - especially in Europe - detested Stalin.

  • Beezard||

    from that root Stalin has since become a way for modern hard core lefties to shrug off how nightmarish socialism inevitably becomes. "Oh, that was Stalinism. Not Socialism."

    Like Lenin and Trotsky were a bunch of pussy cats.

  • kbolino||

    Learning that Lenin and Trotsky were the same sort of murderous thugs as Stalin, and the only difference between them and he was that they held the reins for less time, was an important eye-opener for me in recognizing that there is no "good" communism.

  • Sevo||

    So the joke is that Hitler is neck-deep in flaming shit in hell, while Stalin is only up to his armpits.
    And Adolph says: 'How can this be?! You killed millions more than I did!'
    Stalin says: 'Simple. I'm standing on Lenin's shoulders!'

  • Raven Nation||

    Orwell was also a product of his times. When he died in 1950, western Europe was only just beginning to climb out of the ruins of WWII. There's no way to know how or if he would have changed, but it would have been interesting to see how he reacted to the prosperity of the late '50s and into the 1960s.

    Hitchens wasn't persuaded of the bankruptcy of much of leftism until the mid-1970s.

  • Irish||

    Hitchens wasn't persuaded of the bankruptcy of much of leftism until the mid-1970s.

    It was later than that. He always had friends on the right, and was actually attacked by fellow socialists for befriending various aristocratic Tories, but he didn't really move rightward until the '90s. Even then, his initial move to the right was not on economic issues, but was instead related to the aftermath of the Falkland War, in which he rightfully felt the British were correct to defend their subjects, and to his desire for a 'humanitarian' intervention in Serbia.

    Orwell's definitely well worth reading, but he's actually better as a cultural and literary thinker than he is as a political thinker. Inside the Whale, Shooting an Elephant, his essays on Dickens, and his work on the Spanish Civil War are all great essays despite his flawed economic thinking.

  • Raven Nation||

    I think you're correct in public terms. But, in some of his interviews, he acknowledged that Thatcher was the right person to become PM (1979). However, I don't think he went public with that view and he may not have voted for her himself.

    The other thing with Orwell was that , just in terms of style, he was such a great writer. Granted many public writers today are just not very good on their own terms (style-wise), but compared with Orwell (& people like him) they look even worse.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Before we disappear completely into the discussion of whether Orwell was a libertarian (he wasn't), I'd like to point out that I didn't say Orwell wasn't a socialist.

    I said he could be reasonably called Trotskyist--certainly Snowball comes across as one of the only generally positive figures in Animal Farm (Old Major excluded). I believe Hitchens called himself a trotskyist at one point.

    What does it mean to be a Trotskyist?

    It means different things to different people. To most people I believe it has something to do with respect for human rights and a commitment to both democracy and socialism. My point being that you can say what you want about Pussy Riot, but calling them "trotsyist" as opposed to "capitalist" could be misleading.

    I'm not saying intentionally misleading, but if I had grown up under the oligarchs and organized crime all working together with Putin, and I were used to hearing that described as "capitalist", I might call myself an anti-capitalist, too.

    And I'm not sure that "trotskyist" isn't a statement of their opposition to Putin's repression of speech as much as it's a statement about Pussy Riots's views on economics.

    So, what does Pussy Riot being self-described "trotskyists" mean in terms of their commitment to freedom?

    Not much, maybe!

  • Beezard||

    Trotsky was up to his tits in blood as any of the Bolsheviks.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When Hitchens called himself a trotskyist or when people described Orwell as trotskyist, what they meant was not that both Orwell and Hitchens wanted to be up to their tits in blood.

  • Beezard||

    He just wasn't Stalin.

  • kbolino||

    Ken's point, I believe, is that many people who call themselves fans of Trotsky really have no idea what he did. Especially in Russia, this ignorance is born out of repugnance for the Putin regime which is wrongfully associated with the label of "capitalism", and no doubt the extensive whitewashing of the history of Bolshevism and the Soviet Union, which has been done by the extant Communist Party and its fellow travelers.

    They are, nonetheless, fools who carry water for an agenda they know nothing about.

  • Boisfeuras||

    To most people I believe [Trotskyism] has something to do with respect for human rights and a commitment to both democracy and socialism

    No, Trotskyism has something to do with the violent export of socialist revolution throughout the entire world, as opposed to Bukharin's "socialism in one country".

    Aside from fighting for the Trotskyist POUM in Spain, Orwell explicitly endorsed violent revolution in England (during World War II) in The Lion and The Unicorn:

    The fact that we are at war has turned Socialism from a textbook word into a realisable policy [...] But do I mean that there will be no opposition? Of course not. It would be childish to expect anything of the kind.

    There will be a bitter political struggle, and there will be unconscious and half-conscious sabotage everywhere. At some point or other it may be necessary to use violence. ... The bankers and the larger businessmen, the landowners and dividend-drawers, the officials with their prehensile bottoms, will obstruct for all they are worth. Even the middle classes will writhe when their accustomed way of life is menaced. ... It is no use imagining that one can make fundamental changes without causing a split in the nation; but the treacherous minority will be far smaller in time of war than it would be at any other time.
  • Ken Shultz||

    "To most people I believe [Trotskyism] has something to do with respect for human rights and a commitment to both democracy and socialism"

    Again, I didn't say Orwell wasn't a socialist. Were there any socialists in the 1930s who didn't want a revolution? Workers of the world unite--that's kinda what it was all about.

    Even in Spain, wasn't Orwell's position anti-Stalin? He was fighting against Stalinism, hence his most awesome quote: "The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians".

    Even today, when I talk to people who call themselves trotskyists, they're typically trying to say that they are socialists who support communism but, in contrast to Stalinism, also support human rights and democracy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, according to academics, the defining feature of Trotskyism is opposition to socialism in one country, but...the wikipedia blurb describes what most people who call themselves trotskyists are trying to say:

    "Trotsky still supported proletarian internationalism, and a dictatorship of the proletariat based on working-class self-emancipation and mass democracy."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trotskyism

    When average people say they're "trotskyist", they're usually not quibbling over socialism in one country. They're defining themselves against Stalinism.

    That is the point of differentiating Orwell from the Stalinism of the Soviet Union. When Hitchens was telling people he was a trotskyist, again, he was trying to tell people that he was a socialist who did not approve of what Stalin (or Pol Pot, or North Korea, or...) did in the name of communism.

    And when you consider Pussy Riot's stance on protest, etc., it is reasonable to interpret their calling themselves "trotskyist" as a way to differentiate themselves from Stalinism.

    Much more likely that their opposition to Putin isn't about his stance on socialism in one country either. They seem to have a lot to say about human rights and anti-authoritarianism.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Then their etymology is ahistorical. "Proletarian internationalism" is nothing more than Aesopian language for the violent worldwide export of socialist revolution, North Korea and Cambodia being but two examples of its natural conclusion.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Incidentally, I looked at the actual source cited by Zenon Evans in the article, and one of the band members stated: "Yes, we're part of the global anti-capitalist movement, which consists of anarchists, Trotskyists, feminists and autonomists."

    Evans wrote, "They have said contradictory things about freedom, but in no uncertain terms have described themselves 'Trotskyists' and 'anarchists' who are 'part of the global anti-capitalist movement.'"

    So, Evans is wrong—she does not say (at least not in "no uncertain terms") she or the band are Trotskyist, but that they are part of a movement that includes Trotskyists. Although proudly proclaiming to be "anti-capitalist" is not much better.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Although proudly proclaiming to be "anti-capitalist" is not much better."

    Again, please see my description of contemporary Russian ideas about "capitalism" elsewhere in this thread.

    When they say they're against "capitalism", they probably do not mean what you say when you use the word.

  • Dan Clore||

    Thanks for catching that.

  • ||

    OT:

    Toddler finds cookie on the ground and eats it. Parent everywhere shocked.

    http://denver.cbslocal.com/201.....itive-pot/

    Of course the cookie may have had MJ in it, so this is naturally an indictment of legal MJ.

    I, for one, am still waiting for the government regulation that keeps toddlers from randomly putting found objects in their mouth. I think the parents should just be happy she wasn't sipping on a bottle of booze, she might have actually suffered serious damage then.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Damn, so that's where I left that thing..

  • airforce||

    I've been wondering when someone would realize these women are a bunch of leftist hypocritical retards. They might not deserve the punishment they got, but they definitely earned themselves something. I sure didn't lose much sleep over their plight.

  • Raven Nation||

    I STILL think this issue should have come up during the 2012 presidential debates. I really wanted to see Romney & Obama being forced to say "Pussy Riot" on national TV.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Alexei Navalny, derided Pussy Riot as "fools who commit petty crimes for the sake of publicity.”

    Yeah, for the sake of publicity!

    They use the same kinds of tactics to get their message out in the media that groups on the left have been using for decades, and we should learn from them.

    Aren't you sick of seeing our message only get out to people filtered through Obama's hero worshipers in the media? It's even harder to get your message out in Russia, where the media is even more beholden to Putin, albeit for different reasons, than the media here in the U.S. is beholden to Obama...

    And yet here we are almost two years later still talking about Putin and what Pussy Riot did--in a country that isn't even our own! How much more freaking successful could Pussy Riot possibly have been at getting their message out? IF ONLY, we libertarians could accomplish what they did.

    We see the same tactics used over and over by the left, to such great success, and I guess we feel like we shouldn't use those tactics because using those tactics is what being on the left is all about? And if getting our message out makes us look like we're coming from the left, then we'd rather not be successful?

    So many groups get their message out this way, from Greenpeace to animal rights activists, from feminists to... Gotta fight fire with fire, people. The best tactics are the ones that work.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You think we should violate the NAP to get our message out, Ken?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm not a defender of the NAP in every and all situations, and I'm not sure how you're applying the NAP to what Pussy Riot did in that church.

    But if the relationship between Barack Obama and the National Church of the United States was the same as the relationship between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church...

    "After near extermination under Communist rule, the church and religion are back at the heart of the country’s politics. And they have been critical in helping Putin recast the liberal opposition’s fight against state corruption and alleged electoral fraud into a script of “foreign devils” versus “Holy Russia."

    Since Putin’s reelection, a parade of priests have been loudly denouncing forces aligned against the president. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, took to TV to say that “liberalism will lead to legal collapse and then the Apocalypse.” On another occasion, he called Putin’s rule “a miracle.” And Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov has warned in a media interview that “one needs to remember that the first revolutionary was Satan.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/putins.....tics-64649

    ...then, yeah, I would think the National Church of the United States was a legitimate target--for an anti-Putin like video protest, for sure.

    Whatever the NAP means, it doesn't mean we can't defend ourselves in the media, does it?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I'm not a defender of the NAP in every and all situations, and I'm not sure how you're applying the NAP to what Pussy Riot did in that church.

    Pussy Riot initiated an act of aggression when they trespassed on church property.

    If we forsake our principles for power we may as well be republicans or democrats.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Ever watch basketball?

    Sometimes you'll hear them talk about "fouls to give". If there's a penalty against it, and a rule of law, then it's part of the game, isn't it? And nobody died just becasue of their trespassing.

    But trespassing generally is wrong. The Russian Orthodox Church's active support of a vicious dictator in exchange for special treatment is wrong, generally, too.

    You're painting people into a really weird corner if you're telling them that they can't protest an authoritarian dictator if doing so breaks the law.

    Also, there's another principle you should know about that says people whose rights are being violated have a right to defend themselves and their rights. Locke used it to justify the Glorious Revolution. MLK used it to justify civil disobedience. The American colonials used it to justify throwing tea into Boston harbor, and, ultimately, they used it to justify shooting at British soldiers.

    Surely it can sometimes justify trespassing, too.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    The Russian Orthodox Church's active support of a vicious dictator in exchange for special treatment is wrong, generally, too.

    So, it's okay for me to bitch slap Elon Musk or that welfare queen down the street that has the Obama sign in her yard too?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Reciprocity is a messy principle. These situations are going to be like snowflakes. That's one of the reasons why we have juries.

    It think you're supposed to use the minimum amount of force necessary, and if possible, you're supposed to respond in kind.

    If the clerics running the Russian Orthodox Church are using the institution as a means to advocate oppressing you, then I think you may be morally justified in using their church as a means to criticize them.

    Praying to God to save them from Putin used the minimal force of trespassing and it seems to be a response in kind.

    If Elon Musk bitch slaps you, you should be free to defend yourself.

    If the lady down the street violates your freedom of speech, you might have some moral justification. Figuring out whether that bleeds into legal justification is one of the important reasons why we have juries.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You're painting people into a really weird corner if you're telling them that they can't protest an authoritarian dictator if doing so breaks the law.

    You can protest all you want. What you can't do is violate the rights of others in doing so. Get it? You can stand and yell in the street all you want. You don't get to do it on my property unless you have my permission.

    Also, there's another principle you should know about that says people whose rights are being violated have a right to defend themselves and their rights.

    They certainly do. But not by shitting all over the rights of others in the process.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You can protest all you want. What you can't do is violate the rights of others in doing so. Get it?"

    You are horribly confused.

    If someone breaks into your house in the middle of the night and points a gun at you, you are justified in using a gun to violate that burglar's right to life.

    Reciprocity works all the way across the board. Self-defense isn't just something some politician cooked up. It's a function of reciprocity, and it works for all sorts of situations--not just murder.

    My buddy came out of a movie theater, once, and found some guy breaking into his car and stealing his stereo. The guy tried to run away--with the stereo--and my buddy grabbed his arm, turned him around, and violated the thief's right not to get punched in the face.

    If you violate someone's rights, it can and does justify someone violating your rights.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "They certainly do. But not by shitting all over the rights of others in the process."

    It seems to me that what Pussy Riot did in that church was shitting on the rights* of the church--which was shitting on their rights.

    This wasn't a random victim. They were protesting what the church was doing for Putin. If the church was publicly telling people to pray for Russia that Putin will put down the protestors, they shouldn't be surprised when the protesters pray--in their church--that God will save them and Russia from Putin.

    *"shitting on rights" seems like strong language to describe trespassing.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    No, Ken, I believe it is you that's terribly confused. The Nap says you may not initiate force.

    You certainly have the right to self defense if force is initiated upon you. The church, in this instance never initiated force against PR, thus they have no right of self defense. Advocating a political position IS NOT force. Trespass is.

    Had PR protested from the street, no rights would have been violated. The trespassing was the initiation of force.

  • Ann N||

    are you sure you are arguing with a person who believes in NAP?

    ken doesnt seem to believe in it. he's going with 'an eye for an eye' like the hattfields and mccoys.

    political opponents trespass for publicity, therefore we can.

    its a power-based argument with score keeping, morality doesnt even enter into it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "political opponents trespass for publicity, therefore we can."

    That's a fundamental misrepresentation of what I wrote.

    The clergy are using the church to urge the Russian people to support Putin's thuggery against the protestors.

    The protestors responded--mockingly--by using the church to urge God to save the Russian people from Vladamir Putin.

    Do you honestly think that equates to "because it's for publicity, it's okay"?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Incidentally, this is from the Newsweek link I gave up yonder:

    "A few years ago, Ostrakovsky and his vigilantes seemed like marginal curiosities in Russia, burning copies of the Harry Potter books in protest of “witchcraft.” But as Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term comes into focus, the cross-wearing thugs are now right in line with the ideology emanating from the Kremlin—and from the Russian Orthodox hierarchy. After near extermination under Communist rule, the church and religion are back at the heart of the country’s politics. And they have been critical in helping Putin recast the liberal opposition’s fight against state corruption and alleged electoral fraud into a script of “foreign devils” versus “Holy Russia.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/putins.....tics-64649

    The church is fueling pro-Putin thuggery against Pussy Riot and all the other protestors:

    "When Alexander Bosykh, a religious-nationalist aide to the deputy P.M., was photographed punching a female Pussy Riot protester, he responded: “You only turn the other cheek to people you know. I don’t know her so I hit her.”

    ...and Pussy Riot should be condemned by us for the crime of trespassing?!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If we forsake our principles for power we may as well be republicans or democrats."

    I'm not talking about forsaking a principle, here.

    Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence?

    You did this, and you did that, and you did some other things, and we have these things called rights. And one of those rights is the right to say we no longer recognize your authority--since you did this, and you did that, and you did some other things.

    Reciprocity is also a very real principle.

  • ||

    They use the same kinds of tactics to get their message out in the media that groups on the left have been using for decades, and we should learn from them.

    Pulling cheap stunts that contradict our principles makes us no better than them.

    Libertarian ideology is too cerebral and counter-intuitive to convey in that manner without coming off as kitsch.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Pulling cheap stunts that contradict our principles makes us no better than them."

    Who said anything about contradicting our principles?

    And if cheap stunts are what gets our message into the media, then cheap stunts are what we should be doing...

    There was a good example a while back, when those gun rights activists started open carrying in Starbucks. The symbolic home of the latte-swilling liberal--and they were the ones who really got upset about it! That was perfect.

    It was like the Pussy Riot thing!

    It's just like when PETA sued the California Dairy Association, which was running ads that said, "Great milk comes from happy cows. Happy Cows come from California".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERrjAoY3BSM

    PETA sued them for false advertising, claiming that California's cows are actually miserable--which was brilliant! They had no hope of winning that lawsuit, but that wasn't the point. The point was to get their name and message into the media, and after the lawsuit was reported, every second blog in the country put up a post to talk about how ridiculous PETA was being...

    Yeah, that's right. They got the name PETA into the news, and they got people talking about animal rights as it pertains to livestock. They played the media like a fiddle--and we can too! And we should do stuff like that--because it works. It works if we're trying to get our message out--which remains our primary purpose.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    We don't need stunts. We need the libertarian equivalent of Fox News.

    Fox was ingenious in its capture of market share. They realized that 99% of all teevee media was liberal and gave an alternative to the other 50% of the market.

    NOW, the majority of the country is completely sick of both Teams as is evident by over a third of the country identifying as independent. Time for the Koch Brothers (or better yet someone not so tainted who has deep pockets) to give the independents a third choice.

    It would also be interesting to see if a libertarian network would sacrifice its principles for profit, and if so, how long that would take.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Fox News is about distribution.

    We need to reach people who aren't watching the libertarian equivalent of Fox News.

    I'm talking about content.

    Every time Bloomberg or Warren or some progressive somewhere says something or proposes something controversial, people like us all over the internet start talking about them and their ideas. We end up doing their dirty work for them--and we're not watching liberal news and taking seriously!

    With these "stunts", as you called them, we generate content for the liberal news to cover. Like I said, look at the guys who were open carrying in Starbucks. Liberals all over the internet started talking about Second Amendment rights.

    And look how feckless their moral outrage was! The guy that 3-D printed a gun for the first time--that was a "stunt". Now a critical mass of people--on the left--are talking and thinking about how pointless gun control is going to be in the future.

    When we're generating "stunts", we're generating content. And that content isn't just being played on the libertarian version of Fox News--but everywhere.

  • Irish||

    Ken, you seem to be seriously arguing that any publicity is good publicity and that all that matters is that people talk without regard for what they're saying.

    By your logic, Todd Akins' bizarre rape comments must have been an ingenious coup. I mean, people were talking about him, right?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Ken, you seem to be seriously arguing that any publicity is good publicity and that all that matters is that people talk without regard for what they're saying."

    That's not what I'm saying.

    I'm saying that getting the message out is the important thing, and we can use the tactics the left uses. It's true that sometimes the incidents are obnoxious--or seem that way to the people in the media.

    The Starbucks open carry stuff is a good example of that. The message there is that we have Second Amendment rights whether latte swilling progressives like it or not. The same thing with the 3-D printed gun, where the message is that in the near future, your gun control laws may become moot.

    When you do a "stunt" like that, even if the liberty hostile media spins the discussion, the stunt introduces the topic of the discussion--and the facts of the message require people to consider the implications.

    The message is still important, but the way to manipulate the media into covering it is really important, too.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I didn't invent this stuff. Pussy Riot didn't invent it either. This stuff goes back to the Situationist International--serious anarchists are all about this stuff.

    I will admit this: the people jamming the media with these antics aren't the same people that will be voted into power. The head of an animal rights organization that uses these tactics knows that he's probably never going to be POTUS. Although weird stuff happens! John Kerry throwing his medals back was a "stunt".

    I'm impressed by the way Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers! named themselves so that--pre-internet--they could never be mentioned in the media. They could never be demonized as an organization becasue no one in the media could use their name!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....herfuckers

    Anyway, all of this stuff seems to come from Anarchist street theater, etc. The 3-D gun guy being an anarchist is not a coincidence. Refusing to use these tactics is like refusing to use a hammer to build something--only screwdrivers, damn it! It's also like fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.

  • BigT||

    Remember the sale of cookies where the price depended on the buyer's ethnicity or sex? That was a harmless, but effective, stunt to publicize our philosophy by ridiculing the status quo.

  • Ken Shultz||

    +1

  • Ann N||

    fake lawsuits is fraud.

    from spaceballs "Evil will always triumph because Good is dumb!"

    This argument is really the core battle. Does virtue triumph?

    What ken is saying is that it doesnt pay to be honest, not just 'nice' guys, but good guys finish last.

    if its true than NAP is pointless. its futile resistance.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "What ken is saying is that it doesnt pay to be honest, not just 'nice' guys, but good guys finish last."

    http://www.fotoblography.com/w.....40x550.jpg

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Disagree. As the article points out, in Russia this tactic has been ineffective to the point that anti-government dissidents have attacked it as childish.

    These juvenile stunts have nothing to do with the left's current overrepresentation in American (arguably Western) politics. Rather, it is the control and unrelenting messaging from media, academia, and bureaucracy (as well as some good political sense) which has allowed this moment.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "In Russia this tactic has been ineffective to the point that anti-government dissidents have attacked it as childish."

    Look at my post about PETA and the California Dairy Council.

    Everybody thinks what Greenpeace and PETA do is childish and silly. And with every "stunt", their ideas are being perpetuated through the media. The "childishness" is what generates the coverage.

    How many news outlets would have been covering Putin's treatment of dissidents in Russia otherwise? We know about them and we're talking about this issue because of the outrageousness of their behavior.

    Being young women doesn't hurt any either. Old men wouldn't have gotten any notice. You use what works! The best tactics are the ones that work in getting the message out.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    with every "stunt", their ideas are being perpetuated through the media. The "childishness" is what generates the coverage.

    Which is why we are mere moments away from achieving the Greenpeace/PETA agenda.

    I know that hippies in birkenstocks give themselves credit for everything favorable that has happened on the American political scene since Nixon, but the fact of the matter is that the left is overrepresented in politics *despite* (not because of) these losers.

    If libertarians are smart, they will avoid being the cause of such nonsense and concentrate on what has made the left successful: control over the commanding heights of popular culture, compliant members of the bureaucracy, curating the educational systems of their country, and creating an appealing, popularized version of what can often be a complicated set of ideas.

  • Brandon Magoon||

    Wasn't the Ron Paul grass roots an expression of this? Doesn't that sort of prove Kens point?

  • C. Anacreon||

    Science teacher loses 37 pounds by eating at McDonalds.

    Wow, the whining and butthurt on this one should be fun to watch. The guy at at McD for 90 days and "made choices" so that he had a balanced diet each day. He ate everything on the menu though, including sundaes - this wasn't just salads. His cholesterol level also dropped dramatically.

    He reiterates in the interview that "McDonalds doesn't make people fat, it's people's choices that make them fat."

    But wait, I thought there needed to be laws against too many fast food places, because people are irresistably attracted to them and the fast food place coerces them to eat badly?

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Watch Fathead.

    A guy basically did the reverse super-size me and lost weight eating at McD's too. He also cast aspersions on the veracity of Morgan Sperlock's Supersize Me movie.

  • Irish||

    He not only 'cast aspersions' on the veracity of Morgan Spurlock's movie, he kicked the shit out of it.

    Morgan Spurlock is a hack whose only real talent is hype. He comes up with gimmicks, builds a movie around them, and makes bank even though the actual arguments he expresses are easily refuted.

    I mean, he purposefully chose to eat nothing but burgers and fries, always bought the largest size, and supersized every time he was asked to do so. That bears absolutely no similarity to the eating habits of a normal human being.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I got as far into that movie as his first meal. He puked from eating one supersized meal? He immediately lost ALL cred at that point. He was either faking it or an incredible fucking pussy. Either way, I didn't need to see another frame.

  • BSubversive.com||

    Can't he be both faking it and a fucking pussy?

  • ||

    Holy crap Sperlock ate 3 meals a day?!?!

    If I ate 3 meals a day, fast food or home cooked, I would be a walking blimp.

  • Irish||

    Who could have seen that eating 3 meals a day, all three of them around 1200 calories, might have had a negative impact on his health?

    I'd always thought that eating three big ass burgers, a pound of fries, and three supersized cokes every day would be good for you. Thank Christ Morgan Spurlock was here to show me how wrong I was.

  • BardMetal||

    Wait you don't eat a breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Nope. 1-2 meals a day. And I'm still fat.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Man, I registered just to comment on this.

    If you eat 1-2 meals daily, you will almost certainly stay that way, unless those meals are very Spartan.

    Basically, a human body in such conditions kicks in into starvation mode, where it stores every excessive bit of energy into fat. You will also feel excessive hunger, and on those 1-2 occassions will wolf down everything available. Insulin spike etc.

    Go to a doc or a consultant and have your basal metabolic rate measured. I guess that the result would be pretty low [with regard to your age/sex bracket].

    If you want to lose weight, you need to eat carefully, but not starve. Quite on the contrary, 6-7 small or medium meals per day is fine. Some of them may be just snacks (an apple or so), but the crucial principle is to keep the body satiated with basic nutrients. It will switch the starvation mode off and increase its basal metabolic rate.

  • William of Purple||

    Wow, the whining and butthurt on this one should be fun to watch.

    Like, say, Fark?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    'Your dinner's in the bin' say Hampshire freegan friends


    Luiza, 24, a vegan, says food has become an "obsession" of hers.

    "I spend a lot of my time dedicated to it - saving it from reaching landfill, cooking and sharing meals, distributing it to the community," she said.
  • Sevo||

    ""I spend a lot of my time dedicated to it - saving it from reaching landfill, cooking and sharing meals, distributing it to the community," she said."

    Just guessing, but she has this time to save money because the sleazy bitch DOESN'T WORK FOR A LIVING!

  • ||

    Bob Barker appears in Congressman's Vine video, slams Obamacare: "That Price is Wrong!"

    Help control the fool population, have your progressive spayed or neutered.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Non Aggression Pact?

    I knew Hitler was involved.

  • Wind Rider||

    In this tableau of the punk rockers and the authoritarian, I can't shake the feeling that the only reason this has gotten so much MSM play is the ability of news folk to publish the word "Pussy", not referring to a house cat, and then snickering about it because they could.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    MR. EVANS,

    Thanks for this excellent article. A good reminder that Russia is NOT the United States of America, never has been, and probably never will be.

    What these women did was really stupid. Too bad they were not shipped off to Siberia, never to be heard from again.

  • Sevo||

    "What these women did was really stupid. Too bad they were not shipped off to Siberia, never to be heard from again."

    Sarc or stupidity?

  • OldMexican||

    The communists persecuted Christians and even destroyed the cathedral (later rebuilt) where Pussy Riot protested.


    Think "Pissing on top of the U.S.S. Arizona" so you can get a better perspective of what these nice and well-behaved "women" did.

  • SusanM||

    OT: Had someone use this as a counterargument:

    "There is no "I" in "tax""

    This is what we're up against.

  • Irish||

    You should have told him there's no 'we' either.

  • prolefeed||

    There is an "ax" in "tax", though, should you resist.

  • William of Purple||

    That's almost as dumb as " When you want to move forward you put your car in 'D', when you want to go backward you put it in 'R'".

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    A great analogy coming from Dem partisans, since the normal and natural operation of a car requires keeping it in 'D' at all times regardless of what you want the vehicle to do or where you want to go.

  • ||

    "Government is the foundation of society" and "Government is just a name for the stuff we do together" are my favorites.

    Both reveal just how utterly twisted their worldview is. They can't comprehend the notion that people can do stuff without central planning or coercion.

  • Winston||

    You Know Who Else's rise to power made their country stable, prosperous, and internationally important again and was in reaction to lawlessness and domestic warfare?

  • MSimon||

    David Ben-Gurion?

  • Guy LaGuy||

    Winter Does Not Disprove Global Warming


    One more reason not to listen to Donald Trump.

  • BigT||

    True. There are so many inconsistencies in the AGW religion that using local weather events is not necessary or convincing.

  • Winston||

    Yes like the ones who claim that Summer, Hurricanes and Tornadoes prove Global Warming.

  • Sevo||

    And one more reason to laugh at GLG

  • J L Mallon||

    Mr. Evans for once displays an amount of logic that is seldom found in the pages of this cosmotarian magazine, which usually displays a belief in the "end of history," ending, of course, with worldwide cosmotarian dominance. Thus anyone is interpreted in the best light possible, anyone except conservatives and "racists," of course. The story of Russia in the past two decades is a definite refutation of the end of history idea, pussy riot and the recent suppression of homosexuality have convinced the media to actually cover it.

  • strannik||

    It should be remembered:

    1. The actual event in the Christ the Savior Cathedral was not a protest against Putin or even the Patriarch - it was taking the words of a liturgical hymn and turning it dirty - right in the holy place where the priest normally stands - so also trespassing.

    2. The Christ the Savior Cathedral was destroyed by the Soviets, and rebuilt with funds from the people, who wished it as a symbol of the restoration of their freedom. What Pussy Riot did was a slap in the face, not to Putin or the Patriarch, but to the Russian People.

  • prolefeed||

    I was pointing out that these idiots in DC (and to a large degree the people) have forgotten just who is in charge in a constitutional republic. Those in government are, in fact, our servants. (Just perhaps not in current practice.)

    That is the right-wing government theory that they would love you to hold, to distract you from the reality.

    If someone can rob you via taxes without limit, tell you how to live your lives, and even disarm you to some extent via gun control measures, and your only recourse is to hope that the wildly improbable occurs -- that your one vote is the vote that makes the difference between them getting reelected versus a different oppressor having the same power over you -- then you are a fractional slave to them for however long they are in office.

    Free men and women are not subject to being robbed or ordered around without their consent. They can arm themselves and shoot, or threaten to shoot, anyone who behaves the way I described above. Period.

  • BigT||

    Have you acted on your beliefs, ie by shooting a tax collector? Why not? Do you consider yourself free?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I would compare this case to the UK case linked above where the guy faces almost a year of prison for putting bacon in a mosque. The sentence was excessive (for a first offense), but it should be a crime, punishable by probation for a first offense and a few months in the slammer for offense #2.

    A church shouldn't have to put a sign on the door saying, "don't jump on the altar and play punk music." That's implied. Just telling them to leave and not come back is saying, "your first act of disruption in this church is free!" And if they did one disruption per church, they'd never get charged.

  • Sevo||

    "And if they did one disruption per church, they'd never get charged."

    Yeah, how, uh....
    Can you imagine!?

  • John Galt||

    Pussy Rot? Some say it's an acquired taste. Other's just don't like it.

  • MSimon||

    Mil Krot?

  • rudolf a van balen||

    Great article,wish more people would write critical articles like that.

  • rudolf a van balen||

    Great article,wish more people would write critical articles like that.

  • Cloudbuster||

    This disconnect is precisely why such outrageous sentences and quashing of dissent are wrong. If Pussy Riot was simply allowed to go about its business (appropriately fined or given appropriate misdemeanor-level punishments for their minor infractions), then people would quickly dismiss them for the pathetic Trotskyists and anarchists they are.

  • Doggie in the Window||

    If Pussy Riot was simply allowed...then people would quickly dismiss them

    Why can't we dismiss them anyway, Putin's thuggery notwithstanding? Furthermore, why have Reason and Reasonistas been in bed (figuratively, to their dismay) with the Riot all this time? To my knowledge, this is the first article on Reason.com that is critical of Russia's craptastic anarcho-performance clowns.

  • JRS1001||

    honestly they aren't much of anything. The Russian people don't think they are anything and think they represent hooliganism.
    Why the rest of the world takes any interest in them is beyond me

  • Dan Clore||

    Pussy Riot briefly protest two gigantic, authoritarian institutions which support each other and have little or no legitimacy from any libertarian view, inside a building one of them claims as its property.

    They receive a ridiculously harsh punishment for this "crime".

    You wouldn't think this would be a tough one for an intern at Reason Magazine, which is supposedly libertarian. But because they consider themselves part of the global anti-capitalist movement (which they say includes Trotskists and anarchists, but do not call themselves either), instead of mouthing about "free minds and free markets", they must be crypto-statist totalitarians. Nevermind that they of course have the traditional meaning of the word capitalism in mind, which is far from the ideal promoted by right-libertarians like those at Reason. (And I'm not certain that the Russian Orthodox Church acquired its property in a society of "free minds and free markets".)

    This thing even goes so far as to equate lip-synching an "offensive" (to who?) song with terrorist bombings.

  • Nick H||

    sounds like a hate crime

  • ibcbet||

    not right wingers invading a mosque or synagogue.

  • granite state destroyer||

    Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of the most venerated religious sites in Russia

    Bullshit. That's Putinesque propaganda. The original cathedral was a late 19th century piece of Tsarist kitsch built as a symbol of state power at a time when Orthodoxy was already in decline among the Russian elites - it was a significant part of the old Moscow skyline, but not any more venerated than any other church and hardly a pilgrimage site. The new copy is even more kitschy and pompous. At the time was being rebuilt was seen by many as a cynical attempt by an unloved Russian government to make Orthodoxy once again the lapdog of the Russian state (and hand lucrative construction contracts to insiders). The new building is hardly beloved by most Muscovites from what I can tell. A lot of long time residents wish the swimming pool was still there - it was more useful in everyday life. There are many devout believers who feel the church is really a symbol of untrammeled state power rather than a true spiritual place. That said, it is true that most Muscovites have little symbol for Pussy Riot, who are seen as self-promoters and fools.

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    up to I saw the check of $8495, I did not believe ...that...my best friend actualy earning money part time from their computer.. there friend brother started doing this 4 only fourteen months and as of now cleared the dept on there appartment and got a top of the range Ariel Atom. website here
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