It's kind of odd, looking back at almost two years of what has more or less been the current iteration of teodesian.net. In many ways it is hard to believe that what started on 6/27/2011 went from being (to me) a novel way to keep up with what interested me and replace Google Reader's sharing functionality, then to an almost consuming habit. Still, something has obviously happened recently, signified mostly by our lack of postings, both on the newsfeed and on the blog. This has already been acknowledged to a degree earlier when we had a 'Hiatus'.
Recently, the "magic" seems mostly gone from the process for me. This is not to say that it is a waste of time or that I still don't have a lot to learn from observing current events. A large part of it is genuinely related to us being too busy working at IRL goals to dedicate as much effort to this, but it doesn't strike the root of what's been bothering me for a while.
I think the "Tyranny Today" has actually started to get to me. After learning so much over the last few years, my worldview has gotten pretty much figured out by this point. Now seeing the kind of depravity that oozes from the pores of the state's apparatchi is no longer a source of fascination, but one of aversion. Especially when I see examples effecting me in real life, my desire to see more of this quickly becomes less than reading through a gore thread -- slowly.
So, what, then, must I do? For now, I'm going to read a few more books. Focus more on self improvement and enjoyment. Heck, maybe think up some decent code changes to this thing.
I don't intend to stop posting here. Far from it. I just think I'll ultimately find more of value in the positive side of liberty. I guess it shows that I've been listening to the Freedom Feens at lot more at this point. I'll still post some of the more puzzling or analytical pieces regarding political machinations, but for the most part I'd like to post cool stuff and blogs more.
People from less wealthy countries, be it impoverished by ancient or modern tribalism (socialism), tend to have a sense of astonishment about the widespread ownership of cars and it's effect on the layout of the USA. Once they get a taste of the freedom accorded by having a device that can get them nearly anywhere they want to go, they start to "get it" on at least an emotional level. Having a car almost universally makes people recognize that freedom of motion and property rights are important (at least when it comes to them anyways).
The other thing that terrifies those used to being disarmed is the near universal ownership of firearms. Yet those who learn how to operate a gun, like cars, becomes loath to let go of them; even Gun Grabbing pols won't let go of their guns. This is because they are fundamentally no different than cars.
Both are mechanical devices that utilize combustion to deliver payloads from one place to another. Both can be enhanced by mufflers, optics, high quality fuels and integral parts. Both require regular maintenance to safely be operated within their intended operating range. Both are lethal menaces used in the hands of those with an evil mind, and similarly great blessings to those pure of heart.
Yet it seems there is little cry for the banning of cars; all the powers that be seem intent on banning guns. However, I suspect that this banning impulse cannot be restricted just to guns; after all these articles are fundamentally homomorphic.
So do the facts back this up?
Well, consider all the existing restrictions on guns.
This all sounds a lot like driving cars. The state has made this feeling of euphoric freedom into a vague feeling of oppression, knowing that if you don't drive in a helpless and defeated manner, you'll have the goon squad hassle you. Similarly, the confidence one has when concealed carrying is almost universally stripped from you when you go anywhere the "authorities" care about. Also, much like on the roads, you cannot expect to escape any such encounter still in possession of your property, thanks to the "asset forfeiture" loved by the highwaymen and sticky-fingered checkpointers. In both cases you know that the slightest resistance to this unjust imposition will likely result in your death, and the exaltation of your murderer.
And this just scratches the surface. When one considers the controls imposed on the manufacture of these objects, rather than just the ownership and use, one will quickly be lost in a forest of confusing and self-contradictory laws.So what does this mean in the long term for us? Why do I think this means a ban is planned for both articles? Well, if both cars and guns are restricted in what seems to be inconsistent and confusing ways, you can be sure that the reasoning offered for their restrictions (safety) is a lie. To be sure, those advocating such may have pure intentions, but the end result (demonstrated preference) tells a vastly different story.
Everything the government wants to monopolize control over, they first make unpleasant to do by other parties. This is not surprising, considering the government itself is fundamentally a monopoly on dispute resolution. So, it should not be surprising that they act like monopolies always do, and attempt to shut down the competition in any way possible, and horizontally and vertically integrate.
So, I see the restriction on firearms and cars to be just a natural outgrowth of the monopolistic tendency to charge higher prices while providing a lower level of services. If the government has all the guns, they have a near absolute advantage in the field of dispute resolution; after all, then they can mimic Stalin and say "No man, No problem." Similarly, restricting freedom of motion is just an attempt to create a captive audience.
They must also take over the existing industries which provide these articles; after all, something that frees and empowers good people can also be used to more effectively enslave those without said articles.
When viewed through the lens of what is actually done, and how that fits with the fundamental nature of an actor, we can get enough clarity of mind to know how to effectively deal with them. The way to stop this is not to appeal to the monopoly (or any other one), but to instead proceed ever more boldly in competition to it. Even the greatest monument is eroded by grains of sand over time; so too it will be with competition to the state.
In that spirit, what innovations do I see coming down the pipe that will assist in this venture? Well, with guns, there is a bright future. 3D printing is very nearly developed to the point that restrictions on the manufacture and possession of a firearm will be an impossibility. When "invisibility" cloaks become more widespread, the concealed carry movement will become truly unstoppable.
When driverless cars do all the mindless obedience for us, the highwaymen will have to find a new line of work, or make it clear their parasitism is always a "fishing expedition", and nothing but oppression. Also, many of the auto-pilots being developed are open-source software and hardware; so I doubt the fears of centrally planned destinations are likely to come true.
However, unlike guns, cars are inescapably a more capital intensive article; and as such will likely remain outside the realm of anyone making cheaply and concealing easily. We will likely have to wait until teleportation comes to pass to truly do an end-run around the control-freaks' desire to keep us on the plantation.
After listening to the Bad Quaker Interview Derrick Freeman, I realized I'd been wanting to share my perspective on activism.
I'm definitely with Ben Stone on this one regarding how many different types of activism there are. I know before he's mentioned that he can't fly because of his temperament, so I definitely can "Grok" what he's talking about.
In any case, I finally got around to watching "Victimless Crime Spree" due to this podcast (before listening to the podcast, actually - It adds needed context IMHO after listening). I know that I do not have the restraint to do what is done by Derrick or any of the Free Staters in "Free Keene" when confronted by such brazen criminals in their government. If I somehow found myself in a situation like that, then I could see having restraint in the moment of the conflict (only if it would facilitate escape); but I doubt I could willingly walk into any jail or tolerate anyone hurting the people I love that way, much less myself. I suspect I might just have decided in the situation that it was time to get a life sentence's worth of victimless crimes under my belt, just to prove a point. Of course, the police would then commit murder to avoid such a public embarrasment; and as I value my life more than confronting authoritarians, I wouldn't get myself anywhere near being in that situation in the first place.
Ben also made a good point that Derrick would be wise to take to heart; namely that his manner invites the cowardly and predatory in society to take advantage of him. It appears that he's even a sucker when it comes to fellow liberty folks. One thing I can say is that guys like Alex Jones don't tend to get hassled as much -- he correctly understands that bullies cower when you display an ability and willingness to resist. You'd think this behavior would backfire on the true government psychos out there; but they tend to flinch, being used to helpless and defeated victims. At which point you realize you probably should run from these people regardless of how you dealt with them.
Stuff like this is why I'm not an activist. I think I understand the Amish more every day; not being a target for those criminals is a good way to avoid the desire to mete out vengeance upon these rapacious devils. At some level, knowing how these fools & reprobates comprising the government act, and yet still exposing yourself to be hurt by them seems like a sinful act on par with suicide.
However, putting yourself inside a cage which you can tolerate is a pale substitute for real freedom; It is a pity that it seems the only practical option available to peaceful people. Furthermore, I'm not sure I buy the sort of "blaming the victim" involved in considering provoking the bad guys by being good as being sinful. Not wise, perhaps, but well within a person's natural right to themselves and their property.
Besides, who am I to try and defend the freedoms of those who desperately want to be enslaved? Many wondered why it took so long to get Ron Paul as far as he did, and once again I have to agree with Ben Stone. It is because the peaceful advocates of liberty and the violent advocates of statism have made a market for liberty. However, this does not mean the market for tyranny is now weak -- in fact it's never been larger.
As such, we will get nowhere by trying to make any gains for liberty at large. Instead, we should make our lives the example to follow of liberty and the success it brings. If we do, the slaves might just associate liberty with success, rather than getting thrown in the pokey like Derrick. If they can't free themselves at that point, then there's nothing you could do for them anyways.
Perhaps the Quakers had it right in their no-compromise position of complete disrespect for the Procrustean authorities & other puritans. I suspect such bold proceedings against evil will again be required if we wish to finish the job of abolishing slavery. Their pacifist position exposes the evil of those aggressing against them, and authoritarianism is fundamentally self-destructive -- one does not have to attack it to defeat it. One merely has to cease supporting it.
all we want is to get out of our skin for a while...
Societies burdened with governments require pressure valves. Whether it is the tax shelter or porn, from EverQuest to Facebook. Humanity constructs another ideal shibboleth to lose themselves inside almost daily. Those who do not understand the individual idiom that each insider to these systems "groks" will likely react predictably upon seeing it, without even acknowledging how alien their paradigm is to those outside his lawn. Even now, I suspect I've "lost" some of you reading who do not share in my set of life experiences, consisting of indoctrination, pop culture and anarcho-capitalism. Well, that and the cliched teaser image and title that are trying too hard to be painfully hipster (as usual).
If, however, I haven't alienated you yet, then there's a good point to be made here. Due to all value being subjective, even "reality" doesn't have a monopoly on where we choose to "live" mentally. Indeed, even the science done on this seems to concur. As such, whichever "reality" we choose to live in will likely be the one with the best percieved return for the least required effort. Let me put it another way, through the paradigm of video games. Would you rather play "Wait in line at the DMV" or "BonerQuest"? Life under the state seems a lot more like Takeshi no Chosenjo than anything you'd actually want to play.
It should come as no surprise that more money went towards buying video games in 2010 (US Only) than was sent to the DNC for the purpose of getting the Magic Negro reelected in 2012 - a difference of over 10 Billion Dollars. I suspect there were more gamers than voters this year too, but to my knowledge, that appears to be an unconfirmed suspicion without any good statistical evidence gathered at this point. Certainly if you just switch over to internet or TV users as your pool, you beat it easily. It is common knowledge by this point that Internet and TV fulfill much the same purpose as video games to the average user anyways, so this certainly isn't just comparing apples to oranges.
Society is necessarily going to be a mirror of the people, so next time you get the urge to castigate some youngun' for playing video games, listening to devil music or snorting krokodil off the ass of a tranny hooker, think about the society that you helped to create before sitting back down to watch Fox News.
Seems the authoritarians out there are at it again in the aftermath of the CT school shooting. As usual, they're arguing that gun use and ownership needs to be restricted for private citizens. Cause, y'know the government would never lie to you or round you up now that they have all the guns, right?
In any case, I keep hearing one terrible argument in even libertarian circles, and it goes like this:
I'd love to magically have guns disappear, but since we can't...Using such as an argument against gun control is entirely ridiculous and dangerous. Not only does it ruin your rhetorical position, as it emotionally concedes the point, which is a cue for the chimps out there to shout you down; But it also implies something far, far more sinister.
It says that you pine for a world where the physically strong dominate the weak. Without guns, anyone with a stronger arm and a long weapon rules the roost. Women and short people need to think real long and hard about that one -- without an equalizer on your hip, peonage and rape is gonna look real easy.
I've also heard lots of people advance the argument that it's OK to have gun control, as long as you have contracted (or are coerced) into a police-protectee relationship. This is also a remarkably foolish argument, as there are some things which simply cannot be delegated. Like one does not hire another to eat or defecate for themselves, hiring another to defend one's self is similarly an impossibility for all but the wealthiest. Even then it is a pale substitute; can one really trust a bodyguard to be there 24/7, and to not betray? Ask the Roman Emperors how that one turned out for them.
In the end, I think the thing that really terrifies all these authoritarians is the statistics on self defense; And this isn't just talking about how more guns reduces the incidents of aggression overall. In every case, resistance to aggression (regardless of how it is done) overall increases one's chance of surviving the incident. This is borne out even in the macro events; being in open rebellion beats the heck out of concentration camps. As such, the authoritarians have a sort of annihilation panic going on; they know their behavior is self-destructive at some level, and as such must rationalize before cognitive dissonance sets in and they feel uncomfortable in the slightest. After all, the whole point of being authoritarian is so that you don't have to think for yourself!
Which I suppose hits back again at the root of all this. Authoritarians delusionally believe that they can delegate authority over themselves and others which they either do not possess or cannot delegate. Some feel they are delegating their ownership of others, and hence control of their actions, to the "authorities". This is clearly wrong, as telepathy does not exist; rights do not exist without the ability to use them.
However, this is something of a straw-man, as most believe something even more ridiculous. That being the "sum of the parts having emergent properties" argument. They hold that while no one has the right to coerce, agglomerations of people ("society" or "the common good" or "the collective") does. Well, I'm all for there existing some emergent properties in some systems. However, I find it a great leap of imagination to believe that emergent properties exist from a summation of parts that equals 0, as no single member of the agglomeration has the claimed authority.
I suppose it is the internalization of this delusion that makes most of those holding it eschew self defense; as otherwise they would have to think for themselves about why they are not internally consistent (and they foolishly believe they can have authorities think for them). So, they go on their merry gun-grabbing way until the reality of self-defense statistics stares them in the face, at which they have a few choices:
The vast majority get emotional and angry to distract oneself from reason (democrat), or start looking out for themselves while not taking the time to become logically consistent (republican). Some do embrace reason however. Hopefully they take it all the way to liberty.
This is going to be a quick take, but it's a bit long for a nuze posting. Anyways, it looks like out of the 221.5 million eligible voters (229.95 Million of age to vote less ~ 7-8 million convicts - I'll go with 8 to be conservative), around 120 million found it to be worth their time to vote*. That means 54% of people decided it was not even worth their time to vote. This is great news, as it means that nobody legitimately won the election if you counted the votes sanely (haha!).
Ultimately, this is great news, as it means the majority have likely withdrawn their consent, even if just due to apathy. Still, there is also another side of the coin here, as it also means that the government (as usual), could care less about what the people want and will go ahead being the pillaging minority that the state always tries to be until they go full retard and embrace communism.
*Note that around 1.5 million were confirmed for Libertarian. No telling how man little 'l' libertarians there were, because those aren't counted in the court statistics (as they'll never vote).
I recently have read several books that really brought home to me the true depth of depravity in our government (and to varying extents all governments). I used to be fairly jaded and able to talk about these extremely tyrannical things going on while remaining pretty calm, but I can do so no longer. As such, I didn't quite think that I "Hated the state", like Murray Rothbard said was a big part of being a real fighter for liberty. Though I had the moral passion for Justice, I did not fully internalize how what we have today is not only far from, but the complete opposite of justice. It was when I realized that the message we send by not resisting these criminals, and "running silent and deep" only encouraged them that my strong dislike and aversion turned into a steely determination to resist these criminals in every way possible.
Now when folks like Alex Jones (the interviewer in the video above) talks about being fired up, I really understand on an emotional level what he's talking about. It really is hard not to believe that this is an insane death cult, considering it's the only way to be logically consistent with the actions. The temptation to run as fast as I can from the USA has become nearly irresistible -- we're way past the point that 1776 could solve these problems.
But, time brings calm, and I think I've discovered a couple of rather mundane threads that run through all of these things; an explanation which might be of remarkable rhetorical utility which I intend to make a forthcoming series of essays on. Anyways, I'd like to share my thoughts about one of the few books that will chill almost anyone to the bone.
To begin with, I feel pretty good about excerpting the book above, considering the ridiculous and hysterical claims of state secrecy the FBI and DOJ have levied against the mere publishing of this book. Such bemusement was the general feel I had starting to read the book; this is despite regularly reading Sibel's Boiling Frogs Post, and having heard of some of the explosive allegations surrounding the cover-ups she exposed. Even these things did not prepare me for how brazenly corrupt and evil the reprobates in all branches of government and the media were when it came to Sibel's case.
When I saw that the "State Secrets" privilege (literally a relic from the old star courts) was being invoked not just to classify ridiculous numbers of documents daily, but to prevent discovery, legal defense and practically every other element of due process that I realized that the precedent had been set. The government will never again be limited in any way by anyone for any reason until the whole damn system collapses. It's "If Sulla could, why can't I?" all the way down. They will just wave their magic wand of state secrets, ruin the lives of citizens who resist, and intimidate all politicians and media personalities with their police state blackmail apparatus until it grinds down to full collapse.
It was truly shocking to find out that not just some, but all embarrassing incidents in the FBI and other alphabet agencies are covered up, and that this was common knowledge in said organizations. This is doubly shocking when you find that the government basically concedes all Sibel's points, but refuses to hold anybody whatsoever accountable. Talk about moral hazard -- no wonder these clowns are soiling themselves over terrorism; they know that the way they've set up these agencies is such that they can't even catch a cold!
Having been in organizations where a culture of "face saving" and other such tribal "we look out for our own above all else" behavior has literally wrecked productivity, I know how this ends. It is all the more dangerous and destructive considering that these guys are in the business of violence; If anybody can make people disappear to cover for incompetence, things get real scary quick. I can't honestly say beyond a shadow of a doubt that such is not already going on; in fact there is strong evidence in many cases that the FBI, F-Troop, the CIA and DEA have and are making people disappear.
Needless to say, this is a book which should be read by all Americans. If this story of all the branches of government covering up for foriegn infiltration involved in nuclear arms smuggling and 9/11 can't break people out of their trance, I don't know what will. Considering that half the voting population (Demoncrats) are now lauding the doubling-down on these policies which were so evil under Bush, and that the clownish Rethuglicans are basically groveling and worshiping Obama's use of these powers because of this, I'm not holding my breath. It seems the general public has been so inculcated to authority via public schools that there's no limit to what they'll put up with.
There are some days where I really shouldn't bother reading my emails. Though I list Naked Capitalism as one of my sources in the Links page, there are some pages I skip over rather routinely. This one, unfortunately, got emailed to me as well, so I decided to see what must be so neat about this article. Alas, I could not resist ragin' hard enough to write a rather lengthy reply over this one. Below is the reply, with a link added for context.
"How many lights do you see there?"
Have you noticed that nobody has to stick a gun to anybody's head to make them believe, say, Newton's laws of motion? This might seem like a silly question, even though it is clearly true that nobody has to force people to believe that inertia exists. It's sort of an "ignore this at your own peril" sort of thing.
Similarly, companies tend not to make products that kill people unless they already have blanket immunity, usually acquired through some sort of bribery, be it direct or indirect. That might seem like an extreme example, but we must realize that even the non-extreme example is true; any company which makes a product superior product to another firm's at a better price point will always succeed supposing the other firm does not apply coercive measures. Even then history shows that the force cannot be maintained forever; Mr. Market wins in the end.
What I'm getting at here is that ideas which are true do not have to be forced. If a scientific, technological or political idea which purports to be beneficial if used is indeed true, no force need be applied -- people act to achieve desired ends, and anything making that easier tends to catch on pretty quick.
Like another key insight I learned early in life (if you are confused, something or someone is lying to you), this seems rather profound and useful. Consider practically any government program and you will immediately realize the truth of the situation: that it is fundamentally exploitation. For example, suppose you say that public police, roads, schools, et cetera are beneficial ergo we must have them, and such justifies forced exactions (taxation). Well, if it were such a good idea (e.g. everyone involved wanted it, and it was clearly better than private alternatives), would people need to be forced to pay for it? I think not.
Like in the days of slavery, we all want cotton; but does this mean that it will not be picked without slavery? Or that less cotton will be picked if we abolish slavery? Clearly the answer is no; cotton production neither ceased nor reduced production after abolition. Production increased instead.
Some say that this was due to mechanization, but this is tantamount to saying the facts don't matter. The Sharecropping model that replaced slavery was no walk in the park -- these people were not in any shape to buy capital equipment. Nevertheless, production increased. Freedom, even in small amounts, is a powerful motivator. Similarly, we will not have a society with more violence, less roads, illiterate kids or lower quality/quantity of any service which is now publicly provided if we decide to fund them without coercion. We will have a less violent, better educated and more prosperous society instead, due to the accountability imposed upon actors in those fields by the market.
Consider a more contemporary example, say the notion that we must all pay a tax to combat global warming. Well, if global warming was really as dire as advertised, you would not need to force people to fight it -- Like fighting a foreign invader, people would be lining up to volunteer.
Of course, this is somewhat more complicated -- many do volunteer to combat said warming, being convinced of it's danger. I suppose they do not think their efforts will ever be enough however, like those volunteering for war tend to do (warning sign!), and almost universally agitate for a tax to support said efforts. Those agitating against global warming think that this tax will disincentivize using petrochemical fuels, and that people will instead use renewables which will avert catastrophe.
Of course, this is foolishness when one considers that religions have been threatening sinners with hell for thousands of years, and torturing, robbing and killing them for a good portion of that time. Yet, man still sins. They say this is due to man's fallen nature, but I suspect it has more to do with the fallen nature of those in the church incapable of seeing the mote in their own eyes.
The reality is that be they sins against god, master against his slaves, or our earth-mother with evil carbon, man will not repent until it benefits him to do so. This is not a reason for despair however; it is in fact a reason to rejoice, for it means that civilization will slowly become less wrong, as the initiation of force is never mutually beneficial. Like Jesus said, the truth sets you free. And the truth does not have to be forced, so eventually we will be free.
I was listening to Anarchast the other day, and I heard an argument from Bob Murphy that really resonated with me vis-a-vis becoming an anarchist. He said that he managed to be a minarchist for many years, until he realized that the state doesn't even reliably provide law & order, and never has. I am reminded of the phrase "with friends like these, who needs enemies" -- but here it's "if you call this order, I'd hate to see what you think is chaos!" This made me realize that it was probably the law classes I took in college that made me realize how unnecessary legislatures actually are; as such, it didn't take much to realize that the rest of the state was a total scam after reading the Austrian Economists.
Looking back, I must say that there is definitely a good reason that law is not taught in US primary school; If it were, the strength, simplicity, and moral authority of common law would likely strike more people in the same way it did myself. Failing that, it might make people think twice about treaties, and raise a bigger stink about unconstitutional statutes. Maybe I'm an optimist, but I suspect most people going through that class would wonder why a constitution, statutes and treaties are necessary at all.
This is because it's really, really hard to beat the common-law definitions of crimes and torts:
TortsA tort is any harmful action done by one person to another person, regardless of intent for which compensatory restoration is possible. If the act was intentional, triple the amount which would be sufficient to restore is to be levied as a disincentive to intentional harming of others.
CrimesA crime is any harmful and intentional action done by one person to another person, for which compensatory restoration is not possible, either in whole or in part. Since all such harms inevitably violate a person's ownership of themselves, some valuation can always be put on a person's use of their body over time, which was cut short or stolen by crime; ergo all crimes are also torts. Traditionally the punishment for crimes was death, shunning/exile or enslavement.
I cannot think of any way a person, knowing the definitions as such, could be confused as to what is criminal & tortuous, and what is not. However, there are a couple of areas I think that this could be improved upon.
Harm vs. Lack of Gain
A place where significant trip-ups have been made in the past and resulted in some of the greatest evils of our time (namely monopolies/cartels and copyrights/patents) is the deliberation of when someone has been harmed, rather than prevented from profiting. Most people do not realize it, but the arguments in favor of copyrights and patents are identical to those behind monopolies and cartels -- namely that a person is harmed by competition. Put this way, the argument seems legally ridiculous; I am clearly not harmed by a person competing with me, I simply do not gain where they excel in contrast to myself.
However, it gets more complex when we get down to the personal level, such as is done with patent and copyright. Suppose I share some copyrighted works on-line. Have I harmed the copyright holder, or am I simply a competing distributor with a rock-bottom price preventing the copyright holder from profit? Reality has borne out the second view. If the copyright holder moves to a "name your price" model, they invariably capture more audience than "pirates" do. This means that the real problem the copyright holder had was price discovery; The number of people who were willing to pay the copyright holder's price was lower than the number of those who would prefer it at a lower price, and due to the monopoly nature of it had nowhere to turn but to "pirates".
So, since it is clear that there is a market remedy which acknowledges the way humans really act, why do we need a monopoly? Like all the other uses for violence, it is because the person does not have an actual argument; they are simply ignorant of a way to be rewarded for their intellectual efforts, and resort to waving guns around. It will take time for people to internalize these lessons; but like this generation of musicians, all will soon realize that their recordings are better used as a way to popularize their real moneymaker -- live performance. This notion is already taking root in silicon valley for patent-holders; they are beginning to realize that they can sell their employment in implementing said design easier & more profitably than the patent itself.
It is worth noting that these concepts (monopolies, copyrights, patents) are not common-law concepts, but were invariably put in by a statutory authority (e.g. Kings). This too leads me to believe that I am right to consider all of these legal fictions to be the result of mistaking Lack of gain for harm. Considering the hideous evils wrought by these legal notions, one realizes precisely why the law was limited to questions of harm; when we expand it to prevention of gain, it takes on an entirely arbitrary character. If it's legitimate to deserve renumeration from a person competing with you, it's legitimate to stop him from competing altogether via injunction or more extreme sanction. Such a standard quickly degenerates into "my way or the highway" for the most powerful interests in a country.
Now, as to punishment for crimes, and treble damages, there is much controversy -- in simpler times, death was generally preferred; today most societies prefer enslavement (incarceration). I personally consider exile to be the most humane, due to the argument made by Clarence Darrow -- the courts, even if guided by such simple principles will make mistakes. As such, death and enslavement is criminal behavior towards the wrongfully convicted; exile alone is at worst tortuous -- access to a land can be restored. Of course, exile has been abused in the past, especially when one considers the punishments for violating it (outlawry) and how it frequently was coupled with asset confiscation. I suspect the only punishment which does no crime to those wrongfully exiled would be shunning.
Thinking on it, adapting the "first do no harm" from medicinal traditon into "first, do no crime when sentencing" would be a good, simple to understand addition to the common-law tradition. Such would send a clear message that our "justice" system is no longer about vengeance or exploitation, but about the pursuit of justice, no matter the cost.
Who's law is it anyway?
Speaking of the vengeful and exploitative legal punishments US citizens and visitors are subject to, it's also worth mentioning that it's completely arbitrary; from it's composition and interpretation to it's enforcement. The fact that our federal and state governments have three separate apparatuses for doing precisely these things bears this out; if our rules were not arbitrary, they would be:
To add insult to injury our laws are not just arbitrary, but non-universal. Non-universal rules for humans means that some men are not subject to them, and all who are not subjects are rulers (e.g. above the law). This is clearly the root cause of the arbitrariness; furthermore it is a less robust system, as a limited number of rulers can never resolve the disputes of all the subjects as quickly and satisfactory as the subjects can themselves (see the economic calculation problem). Also, like with arbitrariness, we can expect those below the rulers to agitate for exemptions too -- corporations, "loopholes" and subsidies are all manifestations of this.
It is for these reasons that I realized that not only was the state unnecessary for the provisioning of justice, but actually hindered it's administration. For many years, I have struggled like many others in the "liberty movement" to find a way that I could make this superior system of common law, rather than statutory and administrative law live once more, and to make improvements upon it. It was not until recently that it occurred to me that the very arbitrariness of the system was the mechanism by which it could be defeated, if only at the local level.
To start, I would campaign for low office like JP or county court, and vociferously make the case that since the law is arbitrary and everybody's techincally a criminal (note "3 felonies a day", etc), nobody should really care if I ignore what's on the books and throw out all cases that don't fit the common law definitions of crimes/torts (who was harmed?)
Furthermore, nobody should really mind if my decisions get overturned on appeal; it's all arbitrary, remember? I'd also make a point of passing out FIJA pamphlets to Jurors, denying "fishing" warrants, granting habeas corpus, and doing various other things that would majorly piss off DAs. Hopefully it would get to the point where they wouldn't even bring cases before me; then I'd at least feel less put out from turning down the salary and running my court on donation. Failing that, maybe I could get away with a helping along some barratry or malicious prosecution suits against said DAs that have a penchant for railroading people. It would also be neat to have cops hauled in for harming people unnecessarily or under citizen's arrest, but I suspect I'd have to be bringing murder charges against the police if any citizen attempted such an arrest anywhere in the US.
You'll note I added that caveat "at the local level" earlier -- I have no doubt that if this were not a nationwide phenomenon, the existing power structure would find nothing at all wrong with caging or killing anyone doing this that made trouble for people "higher up the food chain". But, we have to start somewhere; this to me seems the place in which the liberty movement as a whole has the greatest disagreement upon.
Folks like Stefan Molenyux think we have to ignore politics and raise "the perfect
I'd say that in the end, the most likely strategy for achieving real gains for liberty in our lifetime is emphasizing that we want to opt-out of the state, like Murray Rothbard suggested. My strategy above, and a previous post I've made about suggested tax reform seem to fit in pretty well with that; and the more I think about an opt-out government, the more I like it. It's not just compassionate to those dependent on the current system and hard to disagree with (though I intend to make a forthcoming post on what objections exist, and why they're all some form of circular reasoning), but it's also practical; I seriously doubt I'd be able to use private roads exclusively for quite some time after universal-opt out was allowed. It also allows for those of us who want to be more hardcore in our embracing of the concepts of liberty to do so -- which means the Molenyuxites, Agorists and Praxeologists could test our approaches towards the pursuit of happiness too.
This, in some ways makes me wonder why there is this feeling of schism at all in the movement. Is not the true way of liberty to "lassiez faire"? Should not the best path to liberty not constrain oneself to a single path? I guess we can all lose sight of the big picture in the frustrating battle against statism; maybe all this subtle insinuation of division is all just a psyop, like Alex Jones suggests. Judging by the actions of the movers and shakers in the movement, they all seem to get along well enough to hang out at PorcFest, FreedomFest and Libertopia just fine. As such, I think much like Ben Stone does on this subject; we are all still growing in our understanding of humans and liberty. As such, the plank in our own eye can be hard to see sometimes.