I’ve written about my PorcFest pre-game here, and here. Now that you are up-to-speed, welcome to my summer anarcho-vacation…

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…when he picked site 233

Jeff Berwick

jeff berwick

jeff berwick

The first thing I did at the Porcupine Freedom Festival (PF) was buy a coffee. Pecan flavored. Then Adam and I walked around aimlessly, neither of us aware that the actual PF main event was in a field on the opposite side of the campground. After a nice guy directed us, we promptly snagged seats in the BitTent for Jeff Berwick’s talk, “The Five B’s Every Anarchist Should Know.” Berwick has given similar talks on the original three B’s, but in the last year he has added two more. For both Adam and I, Jeff Berwick  — the founder of The Dollar Vigilante and Anarchast — was the perfect opening act for our PF experience.

With a non-alcoholic drink in one hand and a microphone in the other, Berwick told us that his five B’s are all investment options outside of the US dollar (FDR). The world is getting out of the dollar and when it does, you might be thankful to have traded your FDRs for assets. There is “nothing but opportunity everywhere,” he confided.

The first B is Bullion. With his characteristic sly anti-state sense of humor, he defended bullion in one quick snipe: “Anything that Janet Yellen can’t counterfeit is good enough to own.”

The second B is Bullets. Since the government is buying all the bullets, it makes perfect sense to stockpile as many as you can. When there aren’t any left in the stores, one could set up shop and mop up a pretty profit. Another business idea, Berwick shared, would be to store people’s bullets for them — a sort of bullet “bank.” Perfect ETF? “AMMO.” Another reason bullets would be a wise personal investment? If there were no welfare checks tomorrow, he added, “that’s why you need bullets.”

The third B is Bitcoin. “You can own a billion dollars worth of bitcoin in your brain.” Wow, when you put it like that, it’s quite liberating to accept the idea of bitcoin. Bitcoin is a completely decentralized, unregulated, digital currency, backed by math and scarcity. The internet has changed everything, many libertarians and anarchists will argue. The government can take your dollars, or it can inflate the dollars (which is essentially taking its spending power). Bitcoin prevents that. And it is not just with currencies that one can use the internet against the state, but with all information. Berwick shared a story about the British authorities breaking into the Guardian’s office to destroy all of their computers that might contain the NSA spying information supplied by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald. The journalists in the office laughed, “Haven’t you heard of the cloud?” The computers were irrelevant! The state is irrelevant, as well.

Then Berwick introduced new material. The fourth B is Bud. As in, marijuana. He told us of how he recently attended a business meeting in the Cayman Islands for investors of the newly legal substance — not just in various US states, but some countries (such as Uruguay) are completely legalizing the plant. Middle-aged men in business attire discussing the various strains and their profitability…the situation felt so “normal,” he said. The pot economies in Colorado and Washington have been booming in the last year since legalization — not just sales of the plant itself, but all of its related businesses. There are marijuana bars, resorts….I think I even read about a sort of “pub crawl” (a pot crawl?) somewhere.

The final B was my favorite, and the most important of the five: Being. In one interview I heard with Berwick, he admitted he isn’t that deep and philosophical as some, so this final B was a surprise to me. We were joking to ourselves that it would be Booze, but at the end of Bud, he added that alcohol and other drugs sort of qualify as well. What tends to boom during economic busts? Drugs and alcohol.

No, no, the last B is Being: “Where are you going to be?” Locationally, “out of areas where there are massive problems.” This means big cities, heavily populated areas. The transition period after a dollar collapse “is going to be crazy.” The next part of Being is to obtain physical and spiritual health. Berwick shared with us his recent decision to quit drinking (and if you have followed the Dollar Vigilante, you’d know that he has been known to throw down all over the world, living the life we all are jealous of). Get smart, get in shape, get healthy, “not only to survive, but to prosper.” Lastly, Being means “to be, to enjoy what you have now.” I think everyone in the tent felt pretty good about that one. We all felt pretty good about where we were. BUT —

Berwick concluded, “There is no way PorcFest is going to be here in five to ten years and there is no way I’m going to be talking about this stuff.” Why’s that? Because things are going to change. The USG is going to crumble in its failures and the libertarian/anarchist philosophy is going to prevail.

Sure, maybe the 2,000 anarchists at Roger’s Campground think that, one might say. But surely, surely! “We can’t NOT have a government!” I can only quote Thomas Paine, friend: “Time converts more than reason.”

At some point in Berwick’s talk, I turned around and saw a familiar face in the last row: my liberty.me amie Jessica Lee! After the talk, Adam, Jess, and Rich all met up outside and the three of us united for the first time! A fun week had just begun!

520

anarchist holding court

First, we needed a pic with Jeff Berwick. He was holding court with some questioners and it was quite the wait. Adam finally butted in for us, and I also asked Berwick to be the first to sign my PF moleskine yearbook. This molskine got a lot of ink and a lot of abuse over the week, but we’ll get to that in due time, heh.

avec la vigilante de le dollar

avec la vigilante de le dollar!!!

campsite 233!

anarcho-fire

anarcho-fire

It was time for a powwow at site 233. We all hauled firewood and I set up a quick fire. The almost-paleo cooler filled with maple bacon, eggs, and booze was cracked open.

rugged rich

rugged rich

Our campsite neighbor and new pal, Dylan, and his dog Emma Louvisited. We got to know Dylan and his family quite well during the week, super cool people, those wily New Hampshire liberty lovers. Adam and I spent a little time trying to help them set up a hammock on their site and the rest is history! If you are wondering who Dylan is, just look for the guy in the loin cloth! He drew a lot of attention over the week, and I wasn’t shy to be his pal.

rich & emma lou!

So ’round the fire we all went, getting to know each other, as the sun went down. We watched our neighbors set up their private-market dome; Awe helped a neighbor back his RV into his site; I tried to tell my bear story and my DUI story, but alcohol and distractions abounded. (You’ll get both in due time, readers of the wild ride!)

helping our neighbor...

adam, helping our neighbor…

At some point, a group of guys approached us. “Do you know where Richard Grove’s campsite is?” I freaked out. Richard Grove?! The guy who publishes the Peace Revolution podcast?! Wow! No, I don’t  know, good sir! but let’s meet! Well, I met Robert Wasmund, who was giving a talk the next morning. I had completely overlooked it, “The Touch of the Trivium.” He told me to stop by. I was signed up in a second. I told him I hoped to meet Richard Grove over the week (the only Rich cooler than me!), but, alas, I did not meet him…

We inevitably wandered down to the bonfire in the common area. What a party! Girls named Rebecka and Ariel and, well, anarchist girls everywhere! Everyone went to bed except me. I spent my night (and early hours) schmoozing around the bonfire meeting people, having them sign my moleskine, and wandering around in the dark trying to find my site with my dying flashlight.

The afterparties at PorcFest were courageous — I can barely comment — but this was the only night I tended to go too far, for my standards. Anyway, it was fun to meet random people. By random, I mean, I would sit at a table with people in a conversation and interject: “Hi, I’m Rich, what’s up?” This all-week method led me to new friendships and a newfound courage that I’ve tried to translate into real life (statist land). Of course, as I mentioned previously, it is hard in statist land, as everyone in en guarde. Or dumb. Sorry, but it’s true.

Around 4 am, I found my way home. I crawled into my tent head-first and snoozed for a few. When I woke up, I felt great. Time to find the Trivium talk in the Shaolin Zombie Survival Station tent!

up & at it

up & at it

Down in the common area again, waiting for the Trivium talk to begin, I happened to bump into Derek J Freeman, a popular activist and talk show host from Keene, New Hampshire. That was exciting. He is one of the most humble and pleasant people I’ve ever met. I’ve seen some of his activism on You Tube, and in recent days, I’ve listened to his show. I think his work is important. He focuses on peaceful civil disobedience, and he does not lack creativity! What a fun guy!

Robert Wasmund

robert wasmund

robert wasmund

First off, what is the trivium? It is a method of learning that has been around as long as the latin language has. In latin, it is “the three roads.”. Grammar, logic, rhetoric. First you learn all of the facts, then you make the connections of those facts, then you regurgitate them in a thoughtful manner. Richard Grove made the analogy of a computer: input, process, output.

Is this how we learned in public school? Helllll, no.

If children learned the trivium instead of the silly memorization and manipulation that is public schooling, the world would be a better place. Liberty.me writer BK Marcus wrote a great primer on the trivium recently, and I’ve been interested in it for about a year, but I haven’t delved into it until Robert’s talk.

He began with a rundown of Plato’s Parable of the Cave. I’ve never read this, nor heard of it before. Imagine some prisoners in a cave, in the dark. That is most people in modern times.

In history, only the elites knew the trivium. They kept it from the populace, i.e. the folks in “the cave.”

I found it interesting that just the night before, Adam showed me a technique with a little fire to clean up a splayed rope end. He burned it and it tightened right up, and I was able to pitch my tent right. The torch!

Imagine carrying the torch into the cave. “If the cognitive dissonance is darkness, and you’re holding the torch, you’re gonna see!” exclaimed Robert. It’s “a better way, a more effective way, and it’s using grammar, logic, and rhetoric.”

Without even studying the trivium, I can see the obvious benefit of applying this technique to learning. You study something as much as you can without forming an opinion on it. Then you think about it — you process it. You connect the dots. Then you make an example of it —  you tell others, you talk, you write.

I’ve met some smart kids in recent days, but they lack the skills of rhetoric. This is public school’s greatest pride. Is this a bad side effect of public schooling, or is it the plan? “The prussians were assholes who thought they could control people,” Robert told us, to chagrin laughs. We all know it. The system is designed to keep people dumb.

So what can we do, us lovers of liberty? “We should grab some torches and get in there,” he said. Get into the cave and light the way. “The ultimate goal is that PorcFest isn’t necessary…to make ourselves obsolete.” This is a reoccuring theme, I’ve noticed. A good one, if you ask me.

The great lesson in the trivium is to teach others how to think for themselves. “That’s the key,” said Robert, “you have to get him to answer the question.” Get HIM thinking. This is the way anarchism/libertarianism makes progress. Not by force, but by voluntary choice. It seems to be working.

Knowing the trivium, said Robert, is “mental self defense.” He related a story of his knowledgeable child questioning things. Of course, knowing etymology is important. Words are weapons, but only if you know how to shoot them. Today, almost no one knows the definition of the words we speak. The “bastardized version” of GOVERNMENT is the thing we all shrug at which takes from us and keeps society at bay, but its latin term is “to control the mind.” Think about that for a moment…

From here, the talk turned into a tent-wide discussion, with lots of interesting questions. All I thought during this session was, wow! I am at a campground in the White Mountains of New Hampshire — the last place I’d expect to hear this stuff — and I’m in intellectual heaven! Public school is nothing but “expression, repeating, and memorization,” stated Robert, and the room heartily agreed. We know our history. The trivium teaches critical thinking.

Someone asked for a definition of grammar. Grammar means to “establish the definitions.” From there, the learner has to step further down the road. It is like a garden: you must plant the seeds to grow a plant.

Now, if one wants to take the torch into this cave and learn the ways to learn, is it a rational process? or is it an experience? This was a good question to leave us with. Robert’s reply was “A little bit of both.”

“We have an emotional side. It’s a tool.” I liked this. I like the trivium. I’m happy that I met Robert Wasmund. Of course, he signed my famous moleskine. He publishes at Journalistic Revolution.

ramble tamble!

rainy grounds

rainy grounds

So, I lost my phone on Tuesday night! Surprised? I’m not. Adam and I ventured off toward the campground bathrooms, where a sign promised WIFI (another sign promised strip shows). We stood there for way too long while Adam awkwardly held his phone up, trying to get a signal. I apologize to all of the girls who were innocently walking to use the restroom. We knew “anything goes” at PF but, but…but we weren’t doing that! He posted something on the PF FB page, and off we went! While he did that, I wandered in the neighborhood and met more people, including Vivi and Sean from the Makin’ Bacon Pancakes site. It was time for a ramble tamble!

Wednesday was a rainy day.

privacy, please...

privacy, please…

In the Whites, don’t trust the weather report. We visited some vendors, we saw all the sites…we didn’t find my phone, but we found an empty telephone booth. Of course, Adam had to make a call. I couldn’t 🙁 At some point, Adam decided to share with me that he had some Black & Milds. I proceeded to smoke them all.

The day went on, and Rich, wet, went as well.

ain't got none

ain’t got none

Julia Tourianski

the anarchist from toronto

the anarchist from toronto & emma lou

One of the newer “celebrities” in the anarchist scene is Julia Tourianski, of Brave the World. Her talk was titled, “Living Your Philosophy.” I sat in the front, next to a gal from Montreal I’d seen writing at various places. “Are you a journalist?” I asked. Nope, just a note taker! She is an artiste, however, and she shared her business card. Then Tourianski approached us and asked one of us to record her talk. I’m terrible with other people’s technology, so my MTRL amie volunteered.

Born in Russia — but moved to Canada in her youth — Torianski shared with us a quick story by Anton Chekhov, Fat and Thin. It is a short conversation between a fat privy councillor and a thin man of lesser status in a train station. The thin man has so much going for him: a business, a family, a life. The fat man isn’t bragging about his status, but when pressed, admits it. The thin man can think of nothing else once he learns his old friend is a privy councillor! Like most Americans today, the thin man basically bows down to his old friend, even at the fat man’s protest. A state idolatrer. Some people live that way, some don’t.

“Lifestyle begets philosophy,” Tourianski told us. She shared her story of becoming an anarchist. “A liberal, then a conservative, then a libertarian.” Then, of course, libertarians dissect, punish, and abuse each other…then you’re an anarchist! It happens overnight, she said. I agree, wholeheartedly! One day you wake up and, wow, you’re an anarchist!

But how many anarchists actually live their philosophy? “There is only a handful of people that live their philosophy,” she confided, not including herself. I can agree here, as well. I can count on both hands how many times I’ve revolted against my own philosophy in life, both in dealing with the state and without. Her talk was food for thought.

She mentioned her iPhone as an example of not living her philosophy. Here is a tiny tracking device, a machine that documents every movement, that she voluntarily keeps in her pocket at all times (when she’s not wearing sick FRN pants). I laughed because I had no idea where my phone was, and I felt liberated. No phone, no problems, I thought…

The rest of Julia Torianki’s time in the Trigger the Move tent was for discussion and debate.  One older woman in particular raised her hand a lot and had some challenging questions. Liberty is a petri dish, Tourianski argued. We should move “back into the petri dish” and discuss our ideas. The fact that there is debate within libertarianism is proof it is a growing movement. This was enlightening for me, and exciting.

I think the best piece of advice that the anarchist from Toronto shared was, “Don’t centralize yourself in one place.” This goes back to Jeff Berwick’s fifth B, Being. “Where do you want to be?” but more importantly, how are you going to be? I’ve found that central-planning your life can lead to as much destruction as letting a state do it for you. Just live your life, live your philosophy, and try to be as free as possible. It was a big-picture talk, but an important one.

After her talk, Julia came back to the front row to retrieve her camera from my MTRL friend, Jenny. Then she signed my moleskine, that famous notebook!

rainble tainble

derek, dylan, sean, jess, rich, clockwise from 9 o'clock.

derek, dylan, sean, jess, rich, clockwise from 9 o’clock.

My new friend Dylan wandered into the Trigger the Move Tent with his pup, Emma, during the talk. We went out into the common and hungout with Jess and Sean. Derek J Freeman popped by again and said hello. It was wet out. I had my snazzy weatherproof Wild Things jacket on, but I went under the tent and played some cards with fellow anarchists. I wrote the name of the game down, but have since lost it. Hilariously, the game was all about assassinations and politics. I’ve always thought that anarchists are best at statist games like Risk. We think like the statists, but refuse to act like them outside of voluntary associations such as games. After a round, I saw a guy tossing a basketball in the rain at the court, so off I ran! I refused to cenralize myself in one place, like Julia said. A friend of mine from the game, Vivi, laughed later and asked me where I went. Always on an adventure, I say!

fun & games

fun & games

The guy shooting hoops did not look like your typical b-baller. Maybe that’s why I liked him so much. With long hair and a quiet demeanor, my pal from the Boston area taught me how to sink a basket like Lebron. In the rain, no less. This is the most fun I had all week. Absolute anarchy, I think. Sports have their social worth. If you get the state and the rules out of the way, tossing a ball around is wicked fun. A young father and his two sons showed up and we all tossed the ball around aimlessly, taking shots at the hoop. We played a fun game called Taps, where one must whack the ball around while jumping. Good workout. Alley-ooping and running around like a ten-year-old is the best feeling in the world.

great shot!

great shot!

Random passersby wanted shots at the hoop, so I tossed the ball their way. I met a cool, cute young couple from New York and within minutes we were friends on FB. Freedom is fun!

mapley boozy fun & games

mapley boozy fun & games

After the play/workout, I decided to head back to the site for a rest. I visited our neighbors and sampled some godly moonshine. I avoided it after a sip, for obvious reasons. The underbelly at PorcFest was a full one. And guess what? No government violence! A wonderful thing. From basketball to moonshine, I proved in about five minutes that individuals of all stripes can get along peacefully.

The Big Goth Dance Party

glowstick cig

glowstick cig

I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend the Goth Party. The rain was heavy, but I wandered down anyway. Adam clarified that what I heard — and what HE heard from the site — was Rammstein. Smoke, girls, glowsticks, and hula-hoop dancing, oddly-shaved-head, goth dudes…I loved it all. I pogo’d through the room in my Wild Things jacket — hardly a goth, but punk as heck, with my whisky flask ’round my neck and a Black & Mild in my mouth. Dylan, his badass dad, Guy, and my noveau ami Marc all hungout. Once midnight struck, however, the lights went on. The room (and smoke) cleared.

this guy didn't stop when the music did.

this guy didn’t stop when the music did.

Right around this time, the drum circle ’round the bonfire began.

up all night!

up all night!

Of course, I had to go watch. Hippies and all drummed along. It was wonderful fun. A fellow named Nolan signed my moleskine, then put a drum in my hand. Before long I was making music. Most people get lost in the beat, as our evolutionary instincts mandate. I was subtle with my snaps on the skin: I decided to go against the beat, but I think it sounded good. I wish I recorded it. There really isn’t anything like sitting in the rain next to a fire smoking a cigar and playing the bongo with a bunch of anarchists. I likened my snaps on the skin to a crash cymbal, sneaking in there between beats. I think it was witty and rockin’…

drummin'

drummin’ & dryin’ out

good morning

wet rich

wet rich

I never made it to bed that night. I showed up at the campsite and Adam was already post-breakfast. I played with his cool high-tech camp gear and fried up some eggs, organic beef hot dogs, and coffee. Then I slept for, oh…three hours. Still wondering where my phone is…