How to Start Your Own Country

I was going to write a really long, involved post about how to start your own country. Honest. But it turns out that a lot of people have already written a lot of great stuff on how to start your own country. So for the purposes of brevity and intellectual honesty, I’ll just link to them and provide some commentary.

Instructions and Resources for Starting Your Own Country

And, as a bonus….

So, those are the resources I have for starting your own country. Did I miss anything? Any that you’d care to suggest? Please let me know in the comments.

Top 10 Reasons to Start Your Own Country

I like starting countries. Countries that can be started by someone like me, as opposed to a covert CIA mission with the intention of destabilizing a regime that they don’t like, is usually called a micronation.

Micronations can be quite easy to start, depending on how much effort you want to put into it, and how much satisfaction you want to get out of it. Five minutes of MS paint for a flag and an ability to make a Facebook page or a Twitter handle gives you the most basic sketch of a micronation. But many people put a lot of time, money, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice a tremendous amount of pride into the construction of their micronations. So why? Why make a micronation?

Top 10 Reasons to Start Your Own Country

  1. Fun– Heck, that’s the reason to do most things! Micronationing can be loads of fun. You can make up your own holidays, issue official pronouncements, have an excuse to wear silly hats, make your friends compete for ambassadorships through drinking contests, appoint your dog first minister of barking, all sorts of stuff. Your micronation can be as silly, and as fun, as you want it to be.
  2. Art– There is a lot of art, and opportunities for artistic creation, in a country. Flags, great seals, postage, uniforms, someone has to design that for ‘established’ countries, so why not take the plunge creativiely and design that stuff for your own country. Don’t worry about competing with some imagined standard of other countries. One of the great things about creating your own micronation is establishing your own aesthetic. And don’t feel constrained to the traditions and sensibilities of those established countries, either. It’s your country- use it how you want. Write laws in haiku. Make your constitution a sonnet. Maybe the great seal is a collage, and the flag glitch art. Go wild.
  3. Merchandising– After you’ve gone wild, slap it on a t-shirt. Micronations can be interesting merchandising and commercial opportunities. Besides the obvious (flags on t-shirts, great seals on trucker hats, etc.), another neat thing to look into is titles. If your micronation has some sort of royal or aristocratic flavor, you could sell noble titles and ranks to people (or at least, sell pieces of paper suitable for framing.) On top of all that, sufficiently ambitious micronations might sell actual services to customers and clients. Oganizations like Bitnation are set up to help you do just that.
  4. Philosophical- Very few people are what might be called well-adjusted with the world. This can be considered a good thing- ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.‘ But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes the world, society, the normal way of doing things, just doesn’t make sense. For those times, having your own country, where things do make sense, might be a good release. Many micronations have been started for the purpose of symbolically saying, “Okay, you can keep the crazy out there. This place is for sane stuff.”
  5. LearningPolitical science can be a fascinating subject. Especially DIY political science. Going through the process of creating your own is a great way to learn about monarchies, parliments, federal republics, and all the other systems of governments out there (it’s also good for learning how many different types are out there. It’s crazy.) When done with a group, it’s also a great way to learn the in and outs, advantages and disadvantages, behind lots of governmental policies and procedures. This is the basis for ‘Model UNs’ and the like in schools.
  6. Obsolescence– History doesn’t end. People like to think it does, or will, but it doesn’t. Things change. Among those things that change are governments, and our concepts of government. The modern notion of the nation-state didn’t really come about until the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. the modern notion of Democracy hasn’t only came on the scene a couple of centuries ago for most of the world, and the Democracy we have in America today is radically different from our original kind. All of this is to say that our notion of what a country is, what a ‘legitimate’ country is, and what they do, can change radically, practically overnight. Maybe you have a better system. Maybe you have the better governmental mousetrap, maybe not. What is certain is that the present system won’t last forever. IT will change, and sooner than we think. So….what comes next?
  7. Companionship– Micronations can be a solitary exercise. You can definitely create an Empire of One if you want to. The thing is, you don’t have to. All the reasons given here can be enhanced by making it a group effort.
  8. Survival– People are terrorized, oppressed, and expoited around the world every day. Often this is because a government is indifferent to their plight, or is actively hostile towards them. When this happens groups of people often band together to form their own unoffical governments to provide the services that the established government can’t or won’t. These can range from anything to a judiciary, a self-defense force, or a medical services.
  9. Attention to cause– Cause advocacy often involves getting as much attention for your cause as you can. Declaring your own nation in support of the cause, whether it be economic, political, or environmental, can be an innovative and effective way of getting that attention. The serinousness and symbolism of your new country can be as much as you like and as is needed for the cause in question.
  10. Resistance– Sometimes, the wrong people get into power. Forming a new country or government in response to those wrong people is a tried and true tactic of politics. This might be a government in exile outside of the established country in question, or a ‘shadow government’ within. Unless you are planning armed opposition (a messy prospect I would not usually recommend) These micronation can still act as an organized and constant critique and dissent against the established country.

General Update

Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment
Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so it’s only the 13th. Let’s see what my life is like right now.

  • I need to spend $2500 to get my car up and running again. That’s about what the car is worth. This is still my best option.
  • I don’t have a location for the art show in July yet.
  • I haven’t written a damned word on Path of the Black Flag this year, yet. Not a sausage.
  • I’m sick with a cold.
  • I’ve scheduled a rehearsal for The 2nd Judgment this Sunday.

So….not a great start? Could be worse?

Favorite Quotes 1

Typographic quotation marks (top) versus strai...
Typographic quotation marks (top) versus straight quotation marks, or “dumb quotes” (bottom). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘When people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called The People’s Stick‘. –Mikhail Bakunin


“All eroticism has a sacramental character.” Georges BatailleErotism: Death and Sensuality (1962)


“There is no peace now, and there will never be peace, so long as one rules over another.” – Voltairine de Cleyre


“The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill.” – Robert Anton Wilson


“My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!” – Marquis de Sade


“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” – Douglas Adams


“Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.” – Terry Pratchett


“Talent was not rare; the ability to survive having it was.” – Neal Stephenson


“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.”- Ayn Rand


“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.” – Ayn Rand

“Too much is always better than not enough.” – JR ‘Bob’ Dobbs


“Bullshit makes the flowers grow & that’s beautiful.” – Principia Discordia

Old Photos of Me

In case you were wondering, this is what I looked like as a kid.

What is Lemuria?

The Wizard of Lemuria
The Wizard of Lemuria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what the heck is a Lemuria, anyway? The history of Lemuria begins, as a remarkable number of things do, with Ancient Rome. Specifically, with the concept of the Lemure.

The lemures, also known as larvae, were the restless and malignant dead of Roman mythology. They are similar to the modern idea of the ghost. The Romans had an annual holy day for the lemures, known as Lemuria, or Lemuralia. The holiday was designed to appease the spirits of the restless dead (usually with beans), and filing that scaring them away (usually by banging pots together.) It was sort of their Halloween, if Halloween as incredible sedate and boring.

Next up in the story of Lemuria is the 18th naturalist Carl Linnaeus, known as the ‘Father of Modern Taxonomy.’ He developed a modern system for naming organisms, called binomial nomenclature (homo sapien, felix domesticus, etc.) He coined the name lemur for the small primates native to Madagascar, due to his observations that they were mainly nocturnal and slow moving, like the Roman conception of the lemure. It has sometimes been said that the primates were named after lemures because they were as creepy as ghosts when you shined a light on them at night, but this is evidently not the case (lemurs, with their shining eyes, are still spooky however.)

This leads us to the 19th century, in which scientists had a problem. They knew that animals weren’t just plunked down on the Earth willy nilly. They knew that animals species tended to be found in regions, and that if you went from one region to another, especially to another continent, you would tend to find a different species. But here was the problem- there were a number of species in the South Pacific that seemed to be bucking this trend. They were too closely related, yet too widely separated by being on different continents and islands. So, either someone was plunking down animals will nilly, or there was some hidden way for those widely separated to be connected.

Nowadays, we know the answer to this problem is plate tectonics- those widely separated places weren’t widely separated in the past. But plate tectonics is a 20th century idea, and they didn’t know about it in the 19th, and thus needed another explanation. They one they came up with was a hypothesized sunken continent connecting all these places when it was above water, then disappeared as it sank. Because Madagascar was supposed to be a former peak of this continent, this hypothetical land was called Lemuria, after the lemurs of Madagascar.

This is where the story gets differently interesting. I won’t say more interesting, because I find Roman mythology, word etymology, and the history of science to be pretty damned interesting in their own rights. But it does get interesting in other ways now.

Helena Blavatsky was a 19th century occultist, and might reasonably considered to be the ‘Mother of the New Age Movement‘. Anything dealing with Atlantis, Lemuria, crystals or other such woo in today’s popular culture can usually trace an inspiration back to her writings. She wrote that Lemuria was a lost continent, and home to one of Humanity’s ‘root races’. Writers such as Robert E Howard, HP Lovecraft, Lin Carter, and Richard E Shaver took her ideas and ran with them. A full list of uses of Lemuria in popular culture may be found here.

So there it is. Lemuria, land of ghosts and high weirdness. My kind of place.

 

20 Facts About Me

Cover of Facts in Five
Cover of Facts in Five (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In case you wanted to know.

Twenty (mostly) True Things About Me

  1. I’m forty years old. I don’t feel forty years old. Well, my knees feel about forty years old in the mornings, but my sense of decorum and authority certainly hasn’t caught up.
  2. I was born in Alabama. This tends to come as a surprise to most people, as I don’t sound particularly ‘Southern.’ I moved up to Pennsylvania when I was about 12, came back down to Alabama to go to college, then came back up to PA (with a detour or two in between.) When I was younger, I had a lot of Southern jingoism, as I believe a lot of people from the South do. I’ve mostly gotten over that now.
  3. I currently have a shaved head. Less maintenance, overall.
  4. I have two younger siblings. I would say they’re both as odd as I am.
  5. I’m ordained in three religions: The Church of the SubGenius, the Cult of Discordia, and the Moorish Orthodox Church. Some people collect stamps; I get ordained by weird post-modern religions.
  6. My middle name is Leland. It basically means ‘fallow land‘, as in the farmland that is so worn out you just leave it alone for a season or two so it can get replenished with nutrients. I try not to read too much into that.
  7. I’ve had my own talk show: The Pleasure Saucer. It was a local access cable show, in Asheville, NC. It was the only show scheduled to come on at 2 AM, and due to content regulations, it was the only show that had to be scheduled to come on at 2 AM. I’m quietly proud of that. Fully archive here.
  8. I’ve also done a variety of podcasts, including my latest, Cinematic Pig’s Feet with Katalin Justice. I’m starting a new one in 2017.
  9. I’ve never graduated college. I had some issues with depression, and spent some semesters not leaving my dorm.
  10. My university, the University of Alabama, had a program called New College. Essentially, you could make up your own major, if you could convince a panel of students and teachers it was a legitimate one. Which is how I spent a semester with ‘Paranormal Studies’ as my major (that was one of the semesters I didn’t go to class.)
  11. I am a member of the Mallet Assembly, the Men’s Honors Living Option for the University of Alabama. Well, it was the ‘Men’s Option’ when I went there. Now it’s the ‘Autonomous Living Option’. I’m happy they made the change.
  12.  I have a tattoo of a Chaos symbol on the back of my left hand. I was slightly drunk at the time I got it, and the back of the hand seemed like an acceptable compromise between my shoulder and my forehead. So yeah, that’s me slightly drunk.
  13. I am a RSS addict. The number of blogs I read through my RSS reader (Feedly) is quite ridiculous.
  14. A long time ago, I passed my test to receive a 1st Dan (roughly the equivalent of a black belt) in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan.
  15. I’m a left libertarian agorist, with Karsonian mutualist tendencies. If you don’t know what all that means, you’re more likely to live a happy life.
  16. I love easily, and sometimes that hurts like a motherfucker.
  17. I have a great interest in making art, but have a tendency of buying books on art, rather than making it, when I get the urge.
  18. I was in a punk band with my two brothers, called Traxx. There was a bass, a drum kit hooked up to weird sound effects, and I screamed into a microphone. It was pretty cool.
  19. I’m currently a Certified Nurse’s Aide. It’s not a bad job. I’ve certainly had worse.
  20. For about six months when I was 6 or 7, I literally believed I was a space alien.

Hello, World (2017)

Happy 2017
Now, let’s do it right this time.

Hello. It’s 2017.

I am not going to apologize.

I haven’t said anything here in over two months. My goal for 2017 is to actually be a blogger. This involves (a) blogging, consistently, with care and attention, and interacting with with readers and other bloggers, and (b) having something to blog about. Neither of these is easy for me, and I suspect the second will be more difficult than the first. But, here I am.

2016 has not been a great year for most people. Not as bad as most people think, not some unique example of terrible years, but still- not a great year, not for me, and probably not for you. So, let’s make 2017 different. We can’t affect a lot of what is going to come our way this year. But we can probably affect more than we think. I plan on doing what I can to change the world in 2017, to make it a more fun, more free, more interesting, more chill, and more loving place.

Some Goals

Here are some of the things I’m planning to do:

  • I wrote a short film script last year. This year, with my brother, I’m directing and producing it. It’s a sort of retelling of The Judgment of Paris, a myth I’ve always had a fondness for. Also, it’s going to be a virtual reality short film, so that’s pretty cool.
  • New podcast, in support of this blog, and a vlog. Tentatively entitled ‘The Lemurian Hour.’
  • I’m publishing The Path of the Black Flag.
  • I’m writing a novel. It may be a fantasy noir, I’m not sure yet. But I’m writing one.
  • I’m doing a 2nd UDEAC art show.

That’s a pretty good list, I think. What are you guys planning to do this year?

 

Path of the Black Flag update

a black flag
a black flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

….I’m almost done. With the first draft. Just a few more pages, then I can start revising. Then I can send it out for editing/beta reading/playtesting. So it it’s continuing. It’s taken far, far too long. But the end is within sight.

Path of the Black Flag- Politics in your Game

Every Pathfinder campaign, unless it takes place in an infinite dungeon stocked solely with animals and automatons (and even then, who put them there?) is going to involve politics. An Anarchist campaign, with such an inherently political focus, is going to involve even more politics. But while the results of politics (death, war, guards violently enforcing weird laws, young people resisting arranged marriages) are often exciting, the means of politics (interminable council meetings, endless parliamentary debates, bureaucracy, filling out forms in triplicate) are often not. This presents a problem for people who want to deal with politics, either in a real-life or a fictional context. So how does a gamemaster make the means of politics exciting for their players?

Making Politics Exciting

The Personal is Political

Every political decision has, at its root, a personal basis. No matter how abstract the regulation, no matter how inhumane the law, there are all borne from human emotion and human desire (or dwarven emotion and desire, or goblin emotion and desire, etc., etc.). Every law, every decree, every declaration of war happens because someone wants something, and they are willing to kill (or at least threaten to kill) to get it or enforce it. And where there is someone willing to kill to make something happen, there is the opportunity for adventure.

Politics is War by other Means

Laws and edicts are almost never sober decisions designed to improve the lot of the populace. They are most often part of a hidden war being fought by secret factions, both within and without a particular kingdom or country. designed either to strike down a rival, or prevent an upstart from becoming a rival. If every political decision as someone and their desires behind it, then those desire are often for their side/tribe/cabal to achieve or maintain dominance. Guildmasters scheme against the barons. Senators that favor the red team in the chariot races scheme against the priests who favor the blue team. The wool producers of kingdom A work tirelessly to stop a small group of alchemists in country B from developing a breed of giant sheep. Dragons, liches, and those who study politics all have an ancient saying they use to help make sense of why some laws were enacted, and why some wars were waged: Cui bono? “Who benefits?”

Governments are at War with their Citizens

Many people call Anarchy chaos. And while some Anarchists are fine with that, others retort that Anarchy is in fact Order; Government, however, is civil war.

It is undeniable that governments spend quite a lot of time and energy controlling, spying on, extorting (what is politely called ‘taxing’), detaining, and occasionally killing their own citizens- essentially, they are at war with their own citizens. Of course, they don’t say that. In fact, they spend only slightly less time and energy convincing people they aren’t doing those things, as the spend doing those things. They convince people that those they control, spy on, detain, and kill are really part of the citizenry- they’re criminals, traitors, foreigners, subversives, etc. Not real people. They convince people that the controlling and taxing that actually affects them is necessary, righteous, perhaps even holy- so much so, that opposing it is an act of treason, disloyalty, and sometimes blasphemy.

Anarchists argue that governments do this because they are predators and parasites, pure and simple- they feed  off of their citizens. Governments argue that they control their citizens because an uncontrolled citizenry is worse off and more vulnerable than a controlled one. Whoever is right, governments still commit violence against their subjects.

Politics is a Seductive Trap

If adventurers have any ambitions outside of cleaning out every dungeon ever, they usually want to advance in society. Maybe a knighthood or some other honor, maybe a title, maybe even a kingdom of their own to rule. This applies even to Anarchist adventurers. So many think they if only they were the ones in charge, they could run thing right and just. They are told continuously that fighting tyranny from the outside is foolish and unproductive- if they want to effect real change, they need work from within. And many do so, seduced by the promise of power, and start to lessen their Anarchist activities, with the goal of doing something even bigger later on. Eventually, they start to sympathize and identify with those in power, and even start to oppose the vert actions they used to do- to people doing them now don’t understand the way the world really works, not like the newly minted official of the kingdom. And finally, years in the future, when their dreams are forgotten and their souls worn down through their work, they tell the next generation of Anarchists that their agitation is foolish and unproductive. If they want to effect real change, they should work from within….

Anarchist adventurers should be in constant danger of being seduced to abandon their principles in the names of power and expediency. They act of selling-out should always be presented as an option. Some of their strongest opponents should be former Anarchists.