Inking The Deal

You can agree or disagree and change course. You can pursue a new path.

You can vow. Promise. You can sign on the dotted line.

You can ink it.

I made a significant decision the other day and wrote about it: Life Takes a Big Turn And Everything Changes. While I surely meant it, it wasn’t until I read the comments and the emails I’ve received that I felt like totally owning it.

So I inked it.

IMG 2940

OK, here’s the symbolism. Black Flag.

The black flag, and the color black in general, have been associated with anarchism since the 1880s. Many anarchist collectives contain the word “black” in their names. There have been a number of anarchist periodicals entitled Black Flag.

The uniform blackness of the flag is in stark contrast to the colorful flags typical of most nation-states. Additionally, as a white flag has been used to request parley or to surrender, the counter-opposite black flag would logically be a symbol of defiance and opposition to surrender.

Hit the link for more history and usage.

And, don’t forget:

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” — H. L. Menken

Onto the classic Anarchy symbol everyone knows.

The Circle-A is almost certainly the best-known present-day symbol for anarchy. It is a monogram that consists of the capital letter “A” surrounded by the capital letter “O”. The letter “A” is derived from the first letter of “anarchy” or “anarchism” in most European languages and is the same in both Latin and Cyrillic scripts. The “O” stands for order. Together they stand for “Anarchy is the mother of Order,” the first part of a Proudhon quotation.[8] This character can be written as Unicode codepoint U+24B6: Ⓐ. In addition, the “@” sign or “(A)” can be used to quickly represent the circle-A on a computer.

Instead of Proudhon—whom I read in the original French in the early 90’s while I was reading The Russian Radical (Ayn Rand) at the same time—I like this quote by another:

“Anarchy is all around us. Without it, our world would fall apart. All progress is due to it. All order extends from it. All blessed things that rise above the state of nature are owed to it. The human race thrives only because of the lack of control, not because of it. I’m saying that we need ever more absence of control to make the world a more beautiful place. It is a paradox that we must forever explain.” — Jeffrey Tucker

…Here’s the deal:

  • I don’t swallow TJeff, TPayne, or any number of other enlightenment thinkers and radicals I’ve read and understand, whole. From them, I take their deep understanding of despotism, “rights” of kings, etc.
  • Neither do I dismiss KMarx, VLenin, or any number of other communist thinkers and radicals I’ve read and understand, whole. From them, I take their deep understanding of how institutions prefer those who pay them the most.

Most importantly, I harbor no illusions from either and consider both ideologies more wrong than right.

Let me give you an example. Now, I could pick apart the hell out of this but at the same time, understand that probably at one point—if you make the slightest effort to integrate context—Lenin was speaking to hearts more than minds.

“We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called ‘socialism’.” — Vladimir Lenin (1903)

Well, turned out that people really don’t work that way for myriad reasons and so decades later—and tens of millions dead—in the attempt to enforce Kum-Ba-Yah at gunpoint, now everyone’s into fascism, which I haven’t even touched on yet.

…I am above all an integrator and synthesizer, forever looking for iconoclastic opportunities for the sole purpose of making you feel like a fucktard (in consolation, I love realizing I’ve been a fucktard—means I’m not, in that context, anymore).


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  1. Stark Brandstone on February 21, 2015 at 23:16

    You know me as an anarchist and tattoo aficionado and yet you’ve beaten me to both of these.

    Truth is you’re just fuckin’ cooler than me.

    Teach me.

  2. Jake on February 22, 2015 at 00:16

    I’ve heard it before
    I don’t want to hear it again
    I’ve heard it before
    I just want to shut you up

    Fuck all you people who can’t see my side
    I’ve got my own strategies for my life
    I’ve seen the emptiness in your ways
    Don’t tell me how to make my way

    I’ve heard it before
    I don’t want to hear it again
    I’ve heard it before
    I just want to shut you up

    Pressure rising pressure falling almost everyday
    Going clear outta my mind Oh god another day
    Don’t forget you socks don’t forget your shoes
    Mamas little baby, fuck no

    I’ve heard it before
    I don’t want to hear it again
    I’ve heard it before
    I just want to shut you up

    Fuck all you people who can’t see my side
    I’ve got my own strategies for my life
    I’ve seen the emptiness in your ways
    Don’t tell me how to make my way

    I’ve heard it before

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 00:34

      I do get the sentiment John. Well, for what it sorely lacks in poetry, it makes up for in enthusiasm.

      I have to be honest. I simply have almost no appreciation for punk or rap. In the former case, Nouvelle Vague made some punk accessible to me. Rap is probably unsalvagable, but I’m always open to surprises.

      But anyway, thanks.

    • John on February 22, 2015 at 08:07

      If you’ve never heard rap you like, and looked, then you probably never will. There have been many intelligent and thoughtful rappers with creative lyrics and unique production. Some people will just never like rap, though.

      Punk always struck me as metal’s less talented, less mature, and less intelligent brother. Punk also seems to take itself way more seriously.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 08:59

      Here’s my favorite rap song.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 09:08

      Oh, and John, check this out. Pussy Riot’s first English song, and it’s great:

      I Can’t Breath

      About Eric Garner’s strangulation at the hands of NYC’s “finest.” The narration at the end is by Richard Hell, one of punk rock’s founders.

      He’s become his death
      The spark of the riots
      That’s the way he’s blessed
      To stay alive.

      It never leads to an end
      It’s never getting quiet
      If it’s unfair, my friend,
      Make up your mind

      It’s getting dark in New York city
      It’s getting dark in New York city
      It’s getting tight in New York city
      I need to catch my breath

      You know this world of hate
      You know this stubborn light
      They’re in the prayers you pray
      Late at night

      We’re only half way down
      Who dares to take a breath?
      Some fairness might be found
      From ashes of his death.

      Eric Garner’s last words (read by Richard Hell):

      Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because everytime you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] Selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me. [garbled] I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

    • Jake on February 22, 2015 at 13:01

      Actually that’s not my brand of music either, but had to throw in the obligatory Black Flag tune in honor of your new ink. Bad Religion is more my style in the Punk genre.

      Funny where life leads one, tho. The last time I saw that ink was Henry Rollins hosting ” 10 Things You Don’t Know About” on the History Channel :P

      Thx for the Pussy Riot,,, dig it

    • John on February 22, 2015 at 14:18

      I came to the comments section to see if anyone had yet posted reference to Black Flag or Rollins. You beat me to it!

      Thats interesting Pussy Riot chose to sing about Garner – though I imagine if I were making my first Russian song I’d sing about something Russian.

  3. gabkad on February 22, 2015 at 13:58

    Richard, at what point in time did you realize you are an anarchist? Did you know this when you joined the navy? Or at some point while you were in the navy? Or later?

    Would it make sense if someone were actively ’employed’ by the U.S. Military of any flavour to be an anarchist or does it not factor?

    • John on February 22, 2015 at 18:19

      Bill Burr cracks me up.

      And your perspective RE job function is interesting, Richard. I think about the practice of law (civil). The law is such a convoluted mess with various branches of government interacting in a perpetually “evolving” set of rules and precedents that often works against the ideal of justice, with endless complex procedures that are at their root paper pushing.
      Is there a need for third parties to handle conflict resolution in this world? Sure. But I wonder what place lawyering would have and what form it would take without the governmental component.

    • John on February 22, 2015 at 14:43

      Thats a pretty interesting question. I wonder how similar your question would be to the question of atheists in a church. There are tons.

      I tend to believe most high ranking church officials are atheist.

      But do you call yourself an anarchist when, despite your ideology, your life is contribution to the system?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 15:17

      “I tend to believe most high ranking church officials are atheist.”

      I have been saying explicitly since 1991 that it’s utterly impossible for the Pope to be an actual literal believer. In fact, I’ve since met tons of Catholics who don’t have a literal belief bone in their bodies, grew up in it, it’s part of the family, like celebrating Christmas and singing religious carols.

      “But do you call yourself an anarchist when, despite your ideology, your life is contribution to the system?”

      See my lengthy reply to Gabs. I’d add that this is rather similar to the accusation often leveled at atheists, that it’s just another religion. It’s another religion like NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

      Similarly, being an anarchist simply means that you oppose the sort of force initiated, promoted, legalized and sanctioned by the State. My life is “contribution to the system” like NOT being in prison is an act of nihilism.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 20:28

      John, well that cracked me up too.

      In a post I’ll have up this week, I re-post a Skype vid interview I did with an Institute for Justice attorney a couple of years ago when he filed a fed 1stA lawsuit on behalf of Steve Cooksey over being gagged by State of NC over offering diet advice on his blog.

      Playing devil’s advocate, I asked Jeff to draw a distinction between occupational licensing and professional licensing, and while I don’t give a runny shit if someone wants to go to “Bob’s Garage Surgery,” he does make a logical distinction. In the former, occupational licensing is really just a sham for protectionism and fake administrative and enforcement paper shuffle jobs. In the latter, for like doctors and lawyers, engineers who design skyscrapers and commercial aircraft, we’re handing over our own judgment to them—not just getting an opinion.

      Of course, there’s scam there two, but it’s more high level. I’ll save that stuff for later.

      There’s plenty to cover.

  4. Dan on February 22, 2015 at 14:03

    I know enough about my journey to know my thinking evolves a lot, too much thus far to ever confidently ink anything permanent.

    Seeing this makes me for the first time not have the thought “what if?” I didnt think that was possible.

    Thanks for everything you share Richard.

    Its not so much the one mind at a time idealogical changes you do to people like me, and others, its finding others out there like me through gateway blogs like this, gives some measure of peace to this round peg in societies attempts to jam me into square holes.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 14:59

      Good question, Gabs.

      So it was during my final tour as an exchange officer with the French Navy, 1990-92 where I began reading and transitioned from your basic “conservative republican bible & doG believer” to atheist, libertarian, libertarian anarchist or “anarcho-capitalist.”

      Up to then I assumed I’d be doing the Navy career. But, there were a few factors actually more important to me than the raw contradiction of being anarchist and drawing a paycheck. The biggest factor is that I signed up on the “geopolitical grounds” of opposing the Soviet union and being forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan 1984-1989 and operating very near Soviet operations all during that time, it made logical sense to me.

      When The Wall came down, however, I saw the writing on the wall. What I also saw was the pro-transition toward creating a new boogey man and I simply don’t see a bunch of 14th-century dirt-scratching savages in any similar light to the professional Soviet military forces, including strategic geopolitical game-changing stuff. Basically, I couldn’t give a flying fuck about “terrorists.”

      That said, I really don’t draw important distinctions between say, everybody using stuff all the time that’s a function of the state (roads, bridges, water & sewer, calling the cops, suing someone, etc.) and drawing a paycheck for a job (or, from a private company doing contract work). These are just various forms of “transfer payments.” Far more important is to “strike at the root,” in the words of Henry David Thoreau. So, it’s the idea that the state can compel taxes, and not what they spend it on that’s important. Secondly, for those employed by the state, what is your function, as far more important issue than playing gotcha with a supposed contradiction.

      And for that, my simple rule of thumb is: is their job something the free market would pay for in the absence of the state? And, of course their are multitudes of such jobs in that category. So, as a final element, actual function is more important than the fact that the state performs every function as inefficiently as possible.

  5. Beans McGrady on February 22, 2015 at 16:26

    Thank god you didn’t misspell it.

  6. Hegemon on February 22, 2015 at 17:48

    Nice submariner. I have one as a daily beater and love it. Indestructible, and looks great casual or in a suit.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 19:49

      Ha, it’s not a Rolex. But hey, Erwan Le Core was fooled too, and he was standing right next to me. :)

      It’s a Victorinox, Swiss Army. Still not cheap. $500, as I recall. The most expensive watch I own is a Tag Heuer Sports Elegance I bought in 1989. It’s the one with the matte gold body, gloss gold bezel, and alternating matte and gloss gold links for the bracelet.

      It was $1,300 in 1989. The bracelet is broken, so I need to send it in for repair. Did that once for water entry (I didn’t lock down the knobby thing) and a couple other things in early 2000s, and it was an $800 bill.

      But yea, I love cool watches. Oh, that Tag has been down to depth in numerous SCUBA deals, as far as 80 feet, so it’s real deal.

  7. Jed on February 22, 2015 at 20:16

    “Anarchy is all around us. Without it, our world would fall apart. All progress is due to it. All order extends from it….”

    This reminds me of a tv show I watched about ants. They follow each other in lines using scent trails. However, it is built into their programs that some ants would get lost on purpose. It was those ants that left the trail that would inevitably find the food and goodies that a trail of ants would miss. Being anarchist-ants and not following the herd are built into their machine. And they survive because of it.

    • gabkad on February 23, 2015 at 13:13

      Jed, if you don’t mind, I’ll be killing those anarchist-ants when they come snooping around my bathroom sink. I don’t know where they are coming from or why they are sniffing around my bathroom counter (which I clean diligently with Comet these days)…. I do not eat or bring food into my bathroom. These anarchist-ants, although colloquially refered to as ‘sugar ants’ are not interested in poisoned sugar, they are not interested in ant traps and seem not to be interested in my kitchen which is 60 feet away down the hall.

      I think they are coming in from the upstairs neighbours, who have generously shared their anarchist cockroaches, anarchist wool moths and I’m waiting on the anarchist bedbugs.

  8. James Mooney on February 22, 2015 at 21:27

    Richard, cool tat and hair… not lifting anymore?

  9. Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2015 at 21:51

    I just within 2 weeks went back to the gym. Because of the chronic back and leg pain I’ve blogged about, tactic is high rep leg presses on a machine. Last time was a 100 rep circuit from 260 – 320. No problems. Did about 30 light DLs at 185.

  10. Steven on February 23, 2015 at 01:19

    I love me some punk. Metal. Blues. Rock. Soul. Funk. Doo wop. Rockabilly. Country. I love a good DJ spinning house, dub step, techno and so much more.

    The little diddey I posted is classic true punk. Wendy did it all first.

  11. Steven on February 23, 2015 at 01:27

    As far as anarchy… We are all born non-believers and anarchists. I hate athiests even though I’m a complete non beloved. They have to many rules.

    Society as a whole is nothing but trouble. Society insists we have to think like it or be outcast. Let me be outcast then.

    Society has to indoctrinate kids in order to have its iron grip over peoples minds. Society is innately evil because it had to use coersion to achieve its goals. A pox upon those whom push society upon the free thinkers, freaks, loaners and geeks.

  12. George Phillips on March 26, 2015 at 04:53

    RAF flying training: weather too poor to train were called “Black Flag” days!

    Invariably meant lectures all day.

    Often like this:

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