Tag Archives: politics

Winter Solstice 2019

In Old Norse tradition, on each solstice & equinox (each quarter year), we gather together to present a toast, a boast, and an oath. December 21st is the Winter Solstice. I do a personal version of this each quarter for myself (I grew up doing this with my Grove, which honored Celtic & Norse traditions), but I’ve decided that starting this Solstice, I will start sharing my toast, boast and oath publicly on my blog.

Usually the “boast” would be about something that came to fruition over the past quarter year, but since this is my first one publicly, and was included in my Solstice letter in my holiday cards, I’ve included a run-down of the highlights of my whole year.


My toast is to my friend Ali Cat.

I met Ali on AOL Message Boards nearly 20 years ago and we met in person for the first time in March of 2018 when she attended our mutual friend Arachne’s memorial service here in LA. She was in her mid-40s when she died of cardiac arrest unexpectedly last month. She was a good friend, a constant presence in my online life, and I will miss her tremendously. She was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known, constantly giving more of herself than she really had to spare. She is missed, but those who knew her knew she wore herself out, and now she rests without pain. My toast to Ali Cat!


My boast is that my life overall is very good and full of progress. In the final week of 2018, I moved in with Judd. This summer we celebrated the 7th anniversary of our first date. We’ve spent the year falling deeper in love, learning that we like living together, and mostly how to bribe each other’s pets to like us. 

His cat, Abby, is still skeptical of me, but always cute about it. My Quaker parrots, Petrie & Kiwi, are now 22 years old, and they don’t mind Judd approaching their cage as long as he’s giving them treats. Justice, my 8 year old footless conure is also subject to woo by treats, and will jump on Judd’s shoulder on occasion, though, of the 3 current birds at home, he has bit Judd the most. They’re slowly winning each other over. We keep the cat & birds apart though. 

Work is solid. I’m still consulting for Thoughtful Media Group, whom I’ve been working with since 2014. I handle their outgoing accounting each month. I also work closely with Judd on cannabis ventures which continue to expand – we’re working on building out and funding a fully vertically integrated cannabis company, which will handle product from seed to sale. It’s very exciting. 

Activism has been great as well. I gave very well-received main stage speeches at Anarchapulco and AnarchoVegas as well as the Libertarian Party of NH’s convention this year. I spoke on 3 panels at Freedom Fest as well as 3 panels at the Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference. I took well over 20,000 photographs and released over 9 albums of my photography, primarily at conferences and other events.

Other experiences this year included hosting a fundraiser for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in November, taking a helicopter ride over New York City in October, attending my first Ephemerisle in July, hitting some personal credit milestones over the summer, finding my baby birds (Friday & Sunday) a new home with a great family in June, helping with Los Angeles’ Yuri’s Night, and yet another Burning Man in August/September. I also did tons of karaoke, including adding Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and Peggy Lee’s Why Don’t You Do Right to my regular rotation.

Additionally, I was recently invited to join the Board of Directors of Feminists for Liberty this year. It is a fantastic organization and I’m proud of the work we will be doing.


In 2020, I have already committed to a speech at NH Liberty Forum in February and attending the Libertarian National Convention in Austin in May. Likely (unconfirmed) additions to my schedule include Anarchapulco in February, LibertyCon in DC in April, and Freedom Fest in July. I’m enjoying giving speeches and am getting better with each one.

I’m finding myself in a more comfortable place where I have more time to devote to things I really care about, so I’d like to be more active in the non-profit space with Feminists for Liberty and my own non-profit I’ve been trying to get started. I also plan to write more to bring attention to things I feel need it and to help my friends and fellow activists find ways to make their personal projects more successful, for the betterment of all of us. 

My ultimate goal (to make all the aforementioned happen) this coming year is to get better at my own personal time management, because doing so will make me more productive in all areas of my life. There is so much I wish to do and the only thing in my way is my own tendency to procrastinate.

The State of the Avens

Judd & I at the Tesla event. I was so excited I could barely handle it.
Judd & I at the Tesla event. I was so excited I could barely handle it.

I turned 27 this past Friday. The night before, I had the good fortune to attend the unveiling of the new Tesla Model D. Friday night, a small group of incredible people I am so grateful to call friends gathered for dinner to celebrate my birthday. On Saturday, I went to the premiere of a new documentary called The Culture High (which I recommend highly). On Sunday, I spent the better part of a day playing with my adorable little niece-of-the-heart. It was an amazing weekend. I am tremendously lucky for all the incredible events and people in my life.

I haven’t done a formal update about my life in quite a while. I guess now is as good a time as any. I’m calling it The State of the Avens, because we all know I’m a little too obsessed with politics and nerdy references. Continue reading The State of the Avens

To Win Hearts & Minds

On Wednesday, my Facebook friend Antony Davis posted an excellent comparison in a status update that I had to share because I thought it was too good to ignore:

“Liberals see government as a complement to community. Libertarians see government as a substitute for community. So when liberals say “government should care for the poor,” and Libertarians say, “government should not care for the poor,” they are both saying that we should care for the poor.”

He posted a comment afterwards that I also thought was too good to get lost on a Facebook Timeline:

“This is the sort of thing we must stop doing: liberals characterizing libertarians as heartless, and libertarians characterizing liberals as brainless.

To be complete humans, our hearts and brains must work together. Without the former we are machines. Without the latter, we are mere animals.

Some Liberals are indeed brainless, just as some Libertarians are heartless. In both cases, they are minorities who should be ignored.”

This is something that I’ve noticed for a very long time (as in: my entire life) in the corridors of communication between and about liberals and libertarians: a lack of understanding of each other’s terms. To top it off, it often feels like there’s a willful desire to be misunderstood.

* * *

So, in the interest of terminology: I’m going to start by telling you that I dislike calling liberals “liberals” for dozens of reasons (one being that I refer to myself as a Classical Liberal) but I’m going to go ahead and accept the term here as being somebody who wishes to advocate progressive policies by government with the intended consequence of making a more equal and just world in their eyes.  That’s the general definition I’m using here, for clarity’s sake. Some of my libertarian friends prefer the term “statist”, which also displeases me, as it’s tremendously divisive and doesn’t foster respectful communication. So, “liberal” is the word, and the working definition is as stated above.

The word “libertarian” in this instance is going to apply to anybody who is at least aware of and somewhat guided by the non-aggression principle (the NAP).

Now that we’re defined our terms, let’s talk about how we respond to them:

An excellent example here is the knee jerk reaction of libertarians to the liberal proposal that “we should do something” is immediately equated to a proposal that the government must do something. If a liberal ever says the slightest hint of “but, how will we help the [insert oppressed group here]?” a libertarian instantly assumes that government is the proposed answer (it might be) and rails against that with such fervor that it scares the shit out of the liberal.

Ironically it’s what causes more people to feel government must because people freely won’t. Continue reading To Win Hearts & Minds

Let Hate Die With Him

So, a certain bigoted hate-mongering beacon of controversy passed away on Wednesday night. I don’t blame a single person who wants to protest his funeral, or dance on his grave. The man was hated almost as much as he hated others, and he deserved it.

But he’s dead now, and though his church and family is still around and may protest more funerals and cause more ruckus, he’s dead, and there’s one less bigot in the world. This appears to be a plus for humanity in general.

So what to do, to mark the occasion? Protests, celebrations — all of that is fair. Does he deserve the peace and quiet he refused to allow so many others at their funerals?

The world has plenty of hate. I don’t want to add to it. I want to improve something, try to make things better than Fred Phelps ever did.

If you’d like to join me, I’m planning on donating to a few organizations, and I just might send each donation noting “In Memory of Fred Phelps”. Continue reading Let Hate Die With Him

Freedom Fest Photos

So, Freedom Fest was held in July here in Las Vegas. I didn’t attend much of it, as I was busy, but I was around for a day – it was definitely interesting to see John Mackey and Peter Schiff and other big-shots of the quasi-Libertarian variety.

My friend Judd Weiss of Hustle Bear wrote a great article about his experiences at Freedom Fest. He also posted a number of pictures of the event, including a number of me.

I believe there’s an album on Facebook of all the photos I was tagged in, but here are a few of my favorites:

Avens by Judd Weiss
Taken by Judd Weiss. July 15th, 2012.

Continue reading Freedom Fest Photos

What happened to “Yes, We Can”?

I’ve got to warn my readers (wait, do I have readers?): I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I’ve voted for both parties, as well as Libertarian and Independent candidates in various levels of government and election cycles. I used to study politics, and yes, I do have a number of political ideals I hold dear, but I’m actually far more interested in the play of politics than the idealism. I read speeches and try to figure out how they will be received by various consumers – those who are inclined to agree with the message-bearer, those who are inclined to disagree, and the undecideds. It’s a careful game, you see – an ideal speech energizes your base, appeals to some undecideds, and doesn’t give your opponents any ammo.

This can be hard to accomplish. Continue reading What happened to “Yes, We Can”?

Thoughts on Norway

I was camping in the woods on July 22nd, when Anders Breivik opened fire and killed over 70 people in Norway.

I missed the American media mess of misplaced blame and inaccuracy.  I got back into civilization on July 25th, by then they had figured things out.  However I heard about it, and I feel like Steven Colbert did an excellent job of summing up my thoughts on the subject of knee-jerk journalism.

Along the lines of knee-jerk reactions, I enjoyed this article on how it’s not Islam, it’s Fundamentalism of any faith that causes these sorts of problems.

I’m amused by The Right now claiming Breivik isn’t really a Christian.  They are outraged and offended by the media “labeling him a Christian”.  Sorry, O’Reilly, he is.

I definitely found this particular article interesting, where the writer discusses the crisis of legitimacy – the similarities between American “Birthers” and Breivik’s belief that his own government is illegitimate.

At the end of the day, the events in Norway shocked myself and the world.  They remind us that terrorism can’t be marginalized to a single demographic – it’s not just one religious path, not just one skin color, not one social class.  There are people out there who believe that killing other people, innocent people, will help their cause against their “enemies”.  They are motivated by rationalizations that terrify me, a sincere belief that there is no chance that they are wrong, no perspective to their idealism.  They are fundamentalists – and blood is a perfectly acceptable cost for their cause. Continue reading Thoughts on Norway