Tunisia becomes North Africa’s only (socially) Free Country

Boy howdy if this does not avoid surprising me nothing will.

I was reading the Freedom House’s signature report “Freedom in the World”, the 2015 edition. And I was looking to use it to figure out which countries need to have their governments ended so their populations can use the Free Market to set up Libertarian Regimes; instead I found something happy to speak of – positive props to give to a country in the Sahara.

Interactive Map here: https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2015#.VMlYs77Fsb0

I have got to say I am very impressed with Tunisia making the cultural reforms needed in order to become Culturally libertarian without any foreign influence at all.

Unfortunately though, there are infinitely more fiscal reforms Tunisia needs to perform before we can call them an ally.

You can look at their economy in very accurate scope here: http://heritage.org/index/country/tunisia

One is their need to vastly inflate property rights and fiscal freedom. Another is their need to embrace Unrestricted Free Trade. Monetary Freedom, Financial Freedom and Investment Freedom also need to be bounced far up from what they are now. On a moderately positive fiscal note, The Doing Business Index records Tunisian government doing things that land Tunisia in the #60 spot for easiest countries to do business in. This means that 129 countries are harder to do business in, with 59 countries being easier to do business in.

DBI is here: http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

In conclusion, I fully praise Tunisia for reverting to Civil Libertarian cultural policy, now all they need to earn the right to alliance, trade, peace and friendship with America… is Fiscal Libertarian economic policy. And because they have shot up radically in personal freedom since recent years, I am very confident that Tunisia can definitely do this Fiscal Liberties thing!

Thank you Tunisian government for backing off on social control, and best of luck Tunisian population on getting Free Enterprise into your nation!

And of course thank you all for reading this,

~TLD

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My thoughts on the Skyrim game

Hello readers. I want people to know what I think of the Bethesda Softworks game Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. I say it is one of the best games I have ever played, but please give me time to explain why:

  1. The Plot: You are basically either a human, elf, feline person (Khajit), reptilian person (Argonian) or orc depending on what race you choose to be but with the soul of a dragon. The latter trait makes you the Dragonborn, a person (of either gender as well) destined to rid Skyrim of this Dragon leader called Alduin. You must go on many quests along the way to ensure you have the skills, tools and resources for this task. Each quest has its own subplot as well and there are even entire separate quest lines with plots of their own.
  2. The Music: Jeremy Soule, excellent as he was composing music for Oblivion, the 4th Elder Scrolls game which I will review later. He composes music that befits the Norse-like tundra setting of Skyrim remarkably well.
  3. The Voice Acting: I love the voice acting. Everyone does a good job with the roles they are given, many of them sound exactly how I’d expect a Norse person to have sounded in Medieval times. Others have very amazing villain voices for characters like Molag-Bal and Alduin.
  4. The Setting: The game Skyrim maintains the classic Fantasy Elder Scrolls Skyrim setting I read about in the Imperial Guide to Tamriel, which for a Fanatsy continent manages to be very realistic, with all the Hold capitals being exactly where I thought they would be based on this guide book I got from my copy of Oblivion.
  5. The Gameplay: This is the part where I must first point out the flaws before I say what I think of it overall. Flaw number one is the game freezing on you when you are hiking your way up certain mountains. The other flaw is that there are some Dragons that taking them down will not result in you absorbing its soul, in other words, you can absorb some but not all Dragon souls. These are literally the only problems you will ever find with gameplay in this game. Spellcasting works well, You get to make your own potions and enchanted items, you get to smith your own weapons and armors, you get to cook your own foods, you get to… you get the idea.
  6. The Game on a whole: Before I rate this game, let me explain my rating system – I have a percentage scale of how quality the product I am reviewing is, with 40% and lower being bad, 40% to 60% being neutral, and 60% or higher being good, and 100% meaning as close to perfect as nothing being perfect will allow something to get. Now that I have explained that, the fact that there are Dragon souls that won’t be absorbed and mountains that will freeze your system if you try to climb them, means I cannot give this game a 100%. But I will happily give this game a 97%, this game deserves it, I would happily push Feral Interactive to port this game into Mac OS compatibility.

Now here is a poll so everyone can share their thoughts on this game:

Thank you all for reading,

~TLD

Libertarian Regime Change

Happy New Year people. I want to discuss something political-based. It is mainly to address the difference between a Neolibertarian like me and a Neoconservative. It is our divergence from one another on foreign policy, specifically about what to do after toppling a Tyrannical regime.

Neoconservatives strongly advocate the cultural imperialism and nation building of democratic regime change, basically beating the newly liberated into submission to the fiction that democracy is incapable of error and lending them a billion dollars and blindly having faith that they will use that to build a Christian Democracy.

My fellow Neolibertarians and I on the other hand, would rather do this thing called Libertarian Regime Change, or Capitalist Regime Change. Here is how this latter kind of regime change works. After toppling a blatantly totalitarian government;

  1. Leave the newly liberated civilians alone
  2. Pull the troops back home again
  3. Have very little post-victory influence on them, if any at all
  4. Let them organically employ Laissez-faire Capitalism – Free Trade, True Flat Rate Taxes and Minimal Regulation of Merchants
  5. They will gradually build a new limited government, whatever the form

We tried this “Let the newly liberated build their own governments” thing after we destroyed the Soviet Union (our toppling of them was entirely by Diplomatic and [mostly] Economic action by the way). Specifically, we tried it in East Germany and indeed in all of Eastern Europe. Now look at all the different sovereign nations there that a vast majority of are Free Countries functioning either as Flawed Democracies and/or Hybrid Regimes!

In contrast, here in the War On Terrorism, we took the Neocon route after toppling Saddam, and now most of Iraq is controlled by this thing called “Islamic State of Iraq and Levant”. So in a sense we did do something wrong in Iraq, but toppling Saddam was far from it. Where we went wrong there was the extensive nation-building we stayed over there to do. Henceforth ISIL happened. Similar trouble in Afghanistan – we did the right thing when we toppled the Taliban, but regrettably we took the Neocon route again and tried to force a Democracy to happen very quickly. Now that country is continually unstable, not a hint of balancing Liberty & Equality & Security exists there.

After toppling Saddam, if we had left the Iraqis to their own devices, then… well, polling data I have seen (but can no longer find for some reason) indicates that a majority of Iraqis would have very well built a Limited Government, or Minimal State, or Libertarian Regime to fill in the loss of Saddam and his Iraqi Ba’ath Party.

After toppling the Taliban, if we left the Afghans to their own devices, then they would have looked into ways of establishing a much smaller government than the Taliban government we were doing them a favor by relieving them of.

This is the biggest difference my fellow Neolibs and I have against Neocons. We prefer a police-like approach that begins with targeting the clear and present resident-abuser and ends with the victims building themselves better lives. Neocons on the other hand like the Gangster and Street-thug approach of targeting first the abuser and then the victims until the latter agrees to model their property management on ours (property management in this case being metaphoric for national government).

Well, that about does it for this post. I hope you are all ready for wishing the Feds would switch to this vastly different kind of regime changing. Thank you all for reading this,

~TLD

Men of Darkness are not primitive

This post is another Middle-earth lore post. And its about the Men of Darkness again, but this time also talking about Haradrim and Corsairs of Umbar and the Variags of Khand.

This I intend to make a much larger post addressing common myths about the Men of Darkness in Middle-earth, and then providing other forms of enlightenment on the subject of these people.

Myth 1 – “The Men of Darkness are Black and/or Asian humans”

REALITY: Tolkien never described any of the Haradrim or any of the Easterlings as being black humans, nor did he ever describe them as any kind of white. He described them as having “swart” or “swarthy” skin, referring to a middle-ground skin tone. And no, he never described their eye shape either, and made no implication of them being evocative of East Asian peoples. Rather the Men of Darkness in Middle-earth are based primarily on North African and West Asian cultures from the Medieval Period. The Moors, Egypt, the Turks, the Timurids of Medieval Persia, and the Abbasids of Medieval Arabia. The Black hair & eyes and light brown skin that Easterlings, Haradrim, Variags and Corsairs all have in common all hint at a metaphor of Arabic humans

Myth 2 – “The Men of Darkness prove J.R.R. Tolkien was a racist”

REALITY: Has anyone ever stopped to ask themselves if Tolkien just meant to portray the people of Gondor and Arnor as arrogant and culturally insensitive? If anyone did they would find evidence indicating that in the Second Age these cultures of human started growing stronger, and built large cities with large stone walls – “And the Easterlings [and Haradrim] grew strong during this period, building many large cities walled with stone, and being armed [and armored?] with iron” – in other words, Tolkien did not see the Men of Darkness (M.O.D.) as primitive or savage, he saw them as capable of crafting with stone and iron for buildings and weapons respectively. He also wrote in, for these cultures’ gigantically complicated history, that their relations with the Free Peoples of Middle earth started with them being merchants with much to offer, especially to the people of Numenor. Then the King of Numenor at the time decided to start colonizing Swarthy Men’s lands and sacrificing their civilians – both genders, all ages – to the original Dark Lord Morgoth. The Swarthy Men then turned to Sauron for help because none of the other Free Peoples were willing to do anything to help the Swarthy humans. Not even the Dwarves that they learned linguistics from in the First Age, as indicated in lore by the following line from The Silmarillion – “and their tongues more like dwarf-speech than any elvish tongues”. And Sauron agreed to avenge them if they agreed to ally with him and prove their loyalty to him with action, and thus the Swarthy Men became the M.O.D. Even in the Return of the King book, evidence indicates that in the Fourth Age Aragorn had Gondor and Rohan make amends with the Swarthy Men’s kingdoms, and re-establish Trade Rights with them.

Arsenal in the Books vs Arsenal in the Movies

There are some moderate differences between how the Haradrim and Easterlings are armored & armed in the books and how they are equipped in the films.

Let us start with the Haradrim.

The Haradrim in the book wear all bright red clothes, have bronze scale mail shirts down to thigh for armor, and wield iron scimitars, iron-headed spears painted red, and iron-headed arrows with poison; while in the movies they had dark red clothes, densely woven bamboo armor, and weapons made of stone, bone, ivory and/or obsidian. Tolkien did not detail what kind of clothes they had other than cloaks, leading me to believe they had long trousers, long tunics with long sleeves, capes, and the turban-like pieces of head wrap called “Shemaghs”. The Mumakil, or Oliphaunts, as well differed slightly; while they seemed more like six-time-oversized modern elephants in the book, in the movie they opted to make them look like four-time-oversized prehistoric Mammoths with no wool. I prefer the latter take on the Mumakil, because it makes the M.O.D. seem more historic and more complicated.

Now we come to the Easterlings

In the book, Tolkien does not describe much other than their troop types and some of their equipment. He mentions they have long jagged spears and short jagged glaives, and also mentions ones with large axes. He also describes swordsmen on foot and archers on horses, and goes on to bring up large war chariots being in the Easterling arsenal. In the Two Towers book he describes them as “gleam of spears and helmets, and horsemen in many companies”. Somewhere in lore he describes them as being bearded. While in the movie the Easterlings have dark red clothes all over every part of the body you can fathom, and they have three-horned bronze helmets with T-holes and jagged bronze lamellar armor that has the scales bolted together instead of laced together. They even have steel halberds rather than bronze (or iron?) glaives like in the book. No movie Easterlings have horses or war-chariots, which to me is unfortunate. So when you merge the two source materials as the Rome Total War Alexander modification called Lord of the Rings Total War did so well, you get enough variations on the horsemen and charioteers and enough troop types in general to make for a solid legion.

Haradrim and Easterling conduct in Battle

When I think of a savage army, I think an army that rushes into fight with absolutely no strategy or tactics. I do not think of an army that “is strong and war-hardened and asks no quarter” like the Easterlings. I also do not think of an army that is, like the Haradrim, “bold men and grim and fierce in despair”. When I picture armies like this, I envision soldiers who are very brave, very well-trained and very well disciplined. For example, I picture these as the kind of warriors who would see some enemy facing his/her back to them, but would stay disciplined by engaging a closer-by, more immediate enemy before attacking the other as he/she turns around. I envision these as the kind of people who only do archery lessons with three arrows per day to know how to make every shot count, who learn to ride before learning to walk, who learn combat for the first 25 years of their lives, who have legendarily brutal training, who rely on such battle tactics as Bait & Bash and Phantom Army. Savage or primitive troops are definitely not be capable of boldness, grimness, ferocity, strength, elitism or fearlessness for that matter.

Conclusion

It is very difficult for me to give into the popular myths circulating about these two cultures. Overall, these human nations of fiction were and are extremely advanced even if generally less advanced than Gondor or any of the Elder races. Easterlings and Haradrim are not at all primitives or savages.

Thank you all for reading this large post,

~TLD

About Liopleurodon

Hi all. I want to talk about a marine reptile from the Jurassic. Called Liopleurodon.

It is from the Late Jurassic, specifically 155,000,000 BC. It was a giant predator that reached massive sizes. Estimates vary greatly, Wikipedia claims 21 feet, but there exist reliable scientific sources that claim it to be quadruple that size!

This animosity lived mostly in the oceans in middle Laurasia.

Wait, what’s Laurasia you might be asking. This is what Laurasia is:

Laurasia is one of the only two continents that existed in the time of the Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs and the Marine Reptiles, whereas today the only marine reptiles around are turtles. But in those ancient times it was the continent in the north. Gondwana was the one in the south. Laurasia encompasses the subcontinent that would eventually become North America, the islands that would eventually become Europe, and the much larger subcontinent that would eventually become Asia.

This enormity fed mainly on seafood and smaller reptiles, making it mainly a Piscivore and a Herpetivore, respectively. So, yes, Liopleurodon – massive beastly monster from the Late Jurassic. Ultimate predator, nearly as big as a Blue Whale… Thank you for reading,

~TLD

Capitalism WORKS

Greetings.

I want to talk about the finest economic model on Earth, the thing that leads to ultimate prosperity. It is called Capitalism, and it was invented by ultimate economist Adam Smith in 1776 AD when he wrote The Wealth of Nations. Now, what is Capitalism? It is an economic model where all people are self-owned and all of their belongings are inherently theirs and they have the option of buying more things and/or selling items and services. In its purest form, it is known as “Laissez-faire economic liberalism”, wherein there are no restrictions, no tariffs, no subsidies, no entitlements and no corporate welfare, and the only forms government intervention at all being rational, individualism-guided incentives, along with the lowest & flattest taxation possible.

There are various elements of legitimate Capitalism, and some of them are as follows:

  1. Free-Market Environmentalism: The understanding of the fact that environmental problems are mainly caused by government taking away property rights and structuring tort claims, and that the latter behavior results in big polluters getting away with damaging the ecosystem.
  2. Rational Incentives: These are how a government can provide people and companies with motivation to free-range-farm animal species, promote nutrition among customers who want healthy nutrition for themselves and/or their minors, regrow chopped-down trees, reserve the “all-of-the-above” approaches to fuel for Green fuels, and teach real science as opposed to creationism and man-made pollution denial. Incentives are not restrictions. Incentives motivate people to do something. Restrictions force people to not do something. Difference doesn’t get simpler than that.
  3. Unrestricted Free Trade: This is basically Capitalism overseas, and is the permission to Trade freely with merchants overseas. The beauty of unrestricted Free Trade is you have plenty of freedom to operate as you will without violating others, and you get rational incentives to consider your workers (if you employ any) and the natural environment, instead of being forced to conform to superstitious Green issues-related dogma or being forced to ignore the individual work ethics of individual laborers which you would have to be in this vile thing they call “Fair” trade. I mean seriously, since when is it “fair” to force employers to ignore different employees’ different work ethics and/or to force people and companies to base their environmental moves on dogma rather than on science? We already discussed environment, but the labor stuff brings us right into Meritocracy…
  4. Advancement based entirely on ability & work ethic: Fiscal Meritocracy is what I would call this, but the official name is just plain “Meritocracy”. The word Meritocracy derives from the Latin and Greek words Latin “Mereo”, meaning “earned”, and Greek “Kratos” meaning “power”. In Capitalism, Meritocracy determines how rich one gets based on how hard and smart one works on any project during work time or job time. In other words, Capitalism translates “Mereo Kratos” as “Earned Riches”. Let that sink in before I continue, please.

Referring back to the title

Evidence suggests that Capitalism WORKS! Government can provide rational, Meritocratic & market-based incentives to business and individuals all fiscal year long and it will only help the economy but once government starts whipping up restrictions to impose, it starts creating dysfunction, distortion and disaster. So, how is my nation (America) doing with the Capitalism thing? Well… Here is the good news:

  1. The US Economy is Mostly Free, it is 12th in freedom and 5th in competition.
  2. America happens to be the 7th easiest place on Earth to do business
  3. The US continues to be world leader in size of economy
  4. The US is well within the top 25 highest average individual incomes based on GDP per capita

And now we come to the bad news:

  1. America is 46th in the world in Ease of starting a business
  2. The US has at least 82,000 different Federal Restrictions on individual activity, fiscal and personal
  3. Our Federal government thinks that 7 tax rates for a single national population is somehow not absurd. It thinks that a flat tax where for example everyone pays 8% would mean rich people living at the expense of poor people, even with people only needing basic math to disprove this dogma
  4. The lowest rate and highest rate are 10% and 40% respectively, and the mean and believe it or not median of taxes is 28%, twenty percentage points more than the flat rate that we should have.

To get real Capitalism back to America, we need to replace all structure with rational, individualism-guided incentives, replace progressive tax with a flat tax where everyone pays 8% federally, and replace all entitlements (including corporate welfare) with rational, meritocracy-based incentives. Now, these are not going to happen overnight, and a revolution will only make these changes impossible. The way to get these solutions across is through petitions, gradualism, enlightenment, and reform; NOT revolution.

Thank you all for learning about Capitalism, and Happy New Years! Tomorrow begins the very year of 2015, wherein hopefully we can get these reforms in place without resorting to revolution.

~TLD