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The political grift πŸ”— 1610414465  

Taibbi's piece We need a New Media System and the general realization that we are in essentially an era of upheaval similar to that of the introduction of the printing press and the reformation brought me to a realization.

Namely, that politics is just one more way that people differentiate their product. Since basically anyone with the determination and requisite intelligence can acquire mastery these days thanks to the internet smashing the monopoly of the elite institutions.

In retrospect, this should shock nobody; after all the elites themselves have already fully embraced this institution. Faux News and MSLSD are pretty much patient 0 in that regard. What's new is that pretty much everybody is having to choose one side or another not for sincere ideological reasons, but because it works to build your audience. Alex Jones' Infowars has built what may be the best produced media organization on the planet on the backs of "Pay-triots" who buy political vitamins. An entire ecosystem of service providers and vendors has erupted around this, and the left is beginning to catch up with an "embarrassingly grifting" set of influencers as well.

This is fundamentally what is behind the rise in LARP fake radicalization, where everybody is competing for how hard they can beat their chest for their tribe. Eventually this is leading to real radicalization as the inevitable happens when idiots take the grift seriously instead of seeing it as glow-in-the-dark horse manure. Like with the FBI terror provocateurs in the GWOT, people will catch on eventually but this is cold comfort to those caught up in the crossfire until then.

As always, it's a sort of pendulum of history much like the tug-of-war between centralization and de-centralization. Too much emphasis on mastery and a saturated labor market means politics is your best bet for differentiation.

That said, mean reversion is looming. Worldwide birthrate collapse due largely to these same digital tools enabling the optimization of hypergamy worldwide shall cure this problem as surely as birthrate collapses shall also be self-correcting.

The value of the common worker will rise, making them become far more viable reproductive partners. Similarly, ability will command even more of a premium, making luxury branding elements such as political alignment once again less meaningful. The major destabilizing forces confronting the world will fix themselves given time, as the old adage "the cure for high prices is high prices" always holds true. One can be forgiven for seeing a divine hand in such long-term stability engendered by our own human nature.

It is grim to consider that perhaps Stalin realized that in the long term the best way to raise the power of the worker was to liquidate astonishing quantities of them. This of course failed due to a globalized labor market which wasn't going along with the program, and so the Russian worker suffered and gained nothing. Today there is no escape from the demographic collapse; the genie is out of the bottle and cannot be put back inside. We have but to ride out the results until new equilibrium is reached.


Secession πŸ”— 1599768135  

Michael Malice mentioned a good post he made on secession 4 years ago to dunk on David French.

This brings to mind an important point which occurred to me over the last few years. If I can live my life with essentially no contact of any meaningful kind with people living in the same city I live in, what business of mine is it that they:

  • Get Fair Trials
  • Don't live in squalor
  • Live in Peace
  • Share my cultural or ideological or religious values
This might seem heartless for people not but 10 miles away (I live in a big city), but if I never ever meet them (and statistically, I won't)... How are they different to my life from people in say, Congo who most certainly don't have any of said things. Should I want the bureaucratic systems which have the power of life and death over me to have anything to do with them? Or would a more sane social order to have an arms-length relationship with them as is common of international relations?

The answer should be self evident. Cities like I live in are simply too large to even pretend anyone has (or should have!) a say in the systems which have power over such huge masses. The same is true of the state it resides in and the nation said state is subordinated to. No amount of voting can change the fact that the dilution of stake disenfranchises as effectivelly as any other type of tyranny.

The only meaningful solution in the end is fragmentation to the point that people have something remotely resembling a meaningful stake in the outcome of politics. Even a 1/250,000 stake such as in the case of most large cities is so small as to guarantee some other means of influence must become dominant for the outcome to be anything but cacophony. In practice this means "political parties", which in reality is just centralization; pledging your votes by proxy to people who you do not know and will never meet. This is little different from having a king, nobility or warlords, aside from it actually being made less effective due to "design by committe".

This insight makes one realize the only meaningful question in politics is one of organization; are we to be:

  • Centralized - Top-Down: This is what the monarchies of the west spent generations making happen, until they caught the virus of "democracy" from the french.
  • Decentralized - Multipolar: This is what resisted the monarchs, but was smashed. It was this network of small polities, the church and the nobility that kept the monster of total war chained for a long time.
  • Distributed - Bottom-Up: This is the actual "Liberal" program; e.g. Subsidiarity. Only the Swiss are even close to this.
So where does secession fit in?

All it does is de-centralize which paints a big fat target on your back to get thumped on by Big Daddy Centralizer. It is more effective to simply sieze local control over enough things the state cares little about influencing until it's too late. This is probably why Agorism has turned out to be the most effective strategy. Just start doing what accomplishes your goals by hook or by crook. The laws, formal relationships and all that are all nonsense anyways. This is actually how the church in the early days actually achieved the influence (and international freedom!) it had.

Enjoy the decline. It is in crisis that the major institutions actually fail to grasp opportunity. Which is where "the meek" (better translation: those who kept their powder dry) finally get their chance at the brass ring.


Bless My Grift πŸ”— 1599673477  

As you might have guessed given the introduction to the last post here, our journey to enlightenment has not been a quick one. However it seems that it's all starting to fit together in a way that comprehensively makes sense thanks to one of the core "Red Pilled" insights about human nature. Which is somewhat ironic, as that's sort of how our journey into heterodox thinking started -- getting rather brutally exposed to the darker sides of human nature that society downplays during our parents' contentious divorce right as we came into adulthood.

In any case, it's the conception of "mental models", "covert contracts" and ego investment / aspirational self image that ends up explaining most of why the words and actions in all realms don't add up, and when they do add up why that is so. It is quite well trod ground around here as to what the situation actually is -- you live in anarchy and the rules are all made up and ignored for the most part. Rian Stone likes to compare dating to "calvinball", and I've realized that essentially everything is this way. We are all just a mob of individuals making it up as we go along. The reason we make up the rules that we do and then barely follow them is immensely interesting as it completes the praxeological science.

I can write a book's worth of content on this subject, so I suppose I'm gonna be a professional blogger for a while. This means I'll also finally get around to finishing tCMS and making all the features of a CMS that nobody else does because programmers don't generally blog. It seems that solving the "getting de-platformed" problem is still something of an open question without a centralized solution for content creators as well, so maybe there's some opportunity there. In any case, it means big things are coming for this site after 14 years of doing this. Here's to another 14.

Civilization: Beta as Fuck πŸ”— 1596346426  

I haven't written a proper blog entry here in nearly five years. Strange things have been happening in my life; some tragic, some wonderful. Nonetheless, I've realized that my urge to shitpost in a longer form seems to be coming back, which is lucky for you. Now, I say shitpost, as rarely has anything I have written here been anything I consider particularly novel or insightful. More perhaps clever or more concise explanations of things that have been rolling around in my mind for some time.

That said, this one's gonna be somewhat more of the latter, as this idea has been rolling around long enough to be more akin to a boulder Sisyphus would favor when working his glutes. Though a trite cliche, there's been memes going around based off the (paraphrased) quotation that:

Good times make weak men
Weak men make bad times
Bad times make strong men
Strong men make good times
What is interesting here is that this quotation (which is often bandied about by "tradcons") actually gets it significantly wrong, as it requires one to completely redefine strength to mean the ability to generate comfort in the long term, even if it requires sacrifice in the short term.

Question: Does this sound like a traditionally "Alpha Male" behavior to you when viewing other species where the alpha/beta socio-sexual dynamic exists?

Anyone who has studied any of this sort of thing would likely say categorically this is false. The strength of the alpha allows them to simply take what they want right now and sacrifice nothing. Indeed, alphas typically have others make sacrifices to please them (most particularly by the opposite sex adopting an attitude of submission). So, why exactly would a strong alpha male who already gets what he wants right now and generally is unconcerned with the comfort of others seek to build something like civilization? There's literally no incentive.

Of course, the common objection would be that there is no such thing as alpha/beta dynamic in humans. They are wrong, but it is a common objection. While humanity does posess the capability to "rewire" their brains to exhibit more of one behavior or the other, the "mental firmware" from the apes we are presumably descended from still exists in there. Generally it takes the driver's seat when a human has had no reason to override this behavior (mostly due to needing to cope with trauma).

As such, who exactly are these "strong men who build good times"? Weak men, in fact. A Christian might even call them "the meek". Y'know... Beta males. Why? Their primary sexual strategy, of course! They seek to provide comfort to others, as they cannot simply take what they want with strength. As such they beg for scraps from the altar of the feminine while seeking to comfort them enough that they might someday, somehow give em a little peice of the action mostly as payment for the provided comfort.

Next Question: OK, so betas seek to provide comfort. What type of system could possibly provide this?

Gee, I don't know, maybe civilization and all the wondrous things that accompany it and make life extremely comfortable? I for one highly enjoy modern comforts and conveniences versus having to go out daily to hunt and kill my next meal. In fact, life has gotten so comfortable nowadays that it seems almost everyone seems to have forgotten the impulse which provided it in the first place -- "loser" males wanting a peice of the action but who aren't strong enough to simply take it.

Why do I say forgotten? This is merely a consequence of women entering the workplace and being compensated well. This devalues the comfort most beta males can provide to utter worthlessness. As such, for the most part, the beta male lives a pitiable life which I would actually consider torture, as their sexual frequency is trending towards inceldom within this century. Similarly it should come as no surprise that the most successful males in this market are those whose' personal branding tends to look like a commercial for luxury goods.

Ultimately, the consequences for society as "secret kings" (tradcon) and "male feminists" (lefty) slowly go extinct is that society will have more people who are more or less OK with taking what they want right the hell now either due to already being an alpha male who never cared about rules OR in desperation because "gamers rise up" or some other silly justification to found Rome again, as those Sabine women are looking nice and rapeable. It should go without saying that this will lead to a general reduction in the standard of living until either:

  • The betas win and the patriarchy is re-established.
    Women mostly acquiese, as their previous safety was mostly based on men not realizing they could more or less treat them however they felt so long as the majority of men banded together to enforce their will like that. Following this they calm down and start rebuilding civilization. Needless to say, the women resent this state of affairs. Soon the old comfort providing behaviors reemerge to try to get some poon again and the cycle restarts.

    Yay civilization?
  • We enter a new dark age.
    Betas finally become valuable again due to shit sucking hard. As such, women reestablish the patriarchy because they'll take care of em.

Well that's just great. We're doomed to either regress civilizationally or repeat this cycle endlessly. Also sprach Zarathustra? The great irony is that on some level, humanity is both aware of its' own nature yet rebellious against it. Unsurprisingly we see most elites always obsessed with bloodlines or eugenics as some sort of way to solve a percieved flaw in humanity that must be "bred out". All the while, this merely feeds into our original nature, which is to create stronger, more viable offspring. As such, efforts such as Planned Parenthood, etc. which originally sought to exterminate the "mongrel races" have in fact led instead to favoring humanity's "mental firmware" regarding reproductive choices even harder. As such, the mongrel races are still kickin', though mostly only if they are "Chad".

If you are someone who worries about "the fate of the west" or "society", this likely has provoked a strong emotional response from you. Likewise if you are living out the life script of a beta male currently. I can tell you why, as I've been there, done that. In fact, I was a "blackpilled doomer" long before it was cool (or society even had a name for it). This attitude in me (at least in part) even persists to this day. The only change I have had is in regard to "well, how should I react to this".

Previously I decided to simply go "monk mode" and mostly drift along aimlessly, as the time in life which I came to this realization (the early 2000s) was also a time which would have been difficult for me had I not made the decision to completely suppress my feelings. This cope/mask/whatever you want to call it wasn't perfect, but it was effective enough to also have a rather pernicious side effect -- I had no desire or motivation to do much other than whatever job made me enough to live comfortably.

In retrospect, I consider myself fairly lucky for a guy who was effectively "dead inside". I somehow managed to be (though not a fabulously wealthy man) in the top 10% of males (earnings wise) with no debt and a house, etc. Still, I was missing that important part of Maslow's hierarchy -- you know, some form of meaningful intimacy with other humans. 17 or so years of that tends to wear on you eventually, even if you are (apparently) as stubborn in persisting with unnecessary mental models as I was.

Now? My plan is to enjoy the decline in whatever form that may bring, as it has become clear that the path to happiness lies in embracing humanity's self-destructive nature instead of fighting it. Considering the amount of anti-FED writing here, the "poetic justice" of this is not lost upon me, as "you don't fight the FED" either.

In summary, nothing I have said here is novel. Others have tread this ground well. Look for Rollo Tomassi or any of the "Rule Zero" crew Rollo hangs with on youtube if you want to hear more things in this vein (but in perhaps a more positive light than I'd cast it here). In any event, it's off my chest.


No Market for Liberty πŸ”— 1546576355  

The true concerns of the great intellectual and political movements are quite straightforward to discern when judging actions. In general, political movements are straightforward to figure out; their ideology is little more than "say and do anything to gain power". They do like to disguise themselves with one intellectual movement or the other, which generally is leftist or reactionary (the right).

Frankly, when one speaks of intellectual movements in the last century, there really isn't one aside from leftism to speak of until quite recently. While the varieties of leftist moderate to revolutionary thought have many disagreements, there is a shared tone upon which the difference is simply in intensity. This fundamentally is all tied up in the emotional need for external validation.

All forms of collectivization, democracy, concern about "alienation" and other forms of consensus decisionmaking are from a practical point of view neither necessary or desirable. Ipso facto, the aggregate result of all individual actions, if free of coercive modification will tend towards satisfying the ends of as many of the individuals as possible. However, the best average individual outcomes does not necessarily mean general approval of the actions of any given individual; indeed many successful individuals would in fact be more or less generally disliked, as they are now.

This is further complicated by market success to some extent actually requiring a degree of consensus. Many times commercial projects fail not because the project fails to meet the needs of said consumer, but because they simply did not feel their concerns were listened to. Much of the art of succesful projects is convincing stakeholders that good ideas from the team actually were the stakeholder's idea. Buy-In is very important to people; unfortunately more so than rational evaluation as to the given utility of the goods and services in which they partake.

This, I think explains the popularity of the "mixed economy", as people are rational in wildly varying levels about various subjects. Most irrationally desire unnecessary validation, but only so much. Validation is, after all, at a higher tier of Maslow's hierarchy -- starving people don't give a damn about what you think of them. This would also explain why revolutionary agitation happens not at the low point of penury, but when things turn south for rising bourgouise.

This leads me to the recent developments in reactionary intellectual tradidition; previously there wasn't much of one other than "don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg". E.G. concerns from a lower level of economic coordination and maslow's hierarchy. This is why much of the support for reactionary dictatorship tends to be populist, as the poorest classes get their opinions where they get their corn pone. Similarly, the concerns of long-term wealth is mostly tied up in capital preservation, making elite alliances with the forces of reaction the obvious choice.

In any case, Libertarianism and the "dark enlightenment" (AKA the "alt-right") is the recent development I speak of. Both have their detractors on the reactionary right as these philosophies are a sort of synthesis born of liberal ideas. Nevertheless, they are both rooted in a more rational approach to the subject rather than the fundamentally emotional need for validation dominating leftism.

This in large part explains the demographic split amongst the various factions now:

  • The peasants have no ideology beyond getting today's corn pone. They can be counted upon siding with whatever pays best.
  • The irrational middle class consider themselves socialists or "liberal" of one stripe or another.
  • The rational middle class overwhelmingly are radicalized into either outright authoritarianism or anarchism. Mostly of the leftist flavor.
  • Old money can be counted upon to care for little beyond capital preservation. Like the poor, their primary aim is not being poor, and tend reactionary.
  • New Money can be counted upon to care for little beyond capital accumulation. They are opportunistic backers of authoritarianism and the attendant cronyism.
The middle class in particular is of the most concern. In particular the irrational are self-defeating; their quest for acceptance almost always leads to economic over-extension (pursuit of veblen goods). This tendency aggravates their susceptibility to revolutionary sentiment when times get tough. The same impatience to rise above their station leads to willingness to use violence as a shortcut (Revolution).

Unfortunately, the rational ones among them are little better. Rationality does not imply being well-informed. As such, self-defeating consensus philosophy tends to take root, as it has wide appeal amongst their less rational peers. This infection of design by committe, while quite validating, produces substandard outcomes. As such "True Leftism/Socialism/Communism" as advocated by these types is unerringly defeated by authoritarians of one stripe or another when push comes to shove.

Right and left authoritarians don't seem to have any particular advantage over each other when opposed. The amount of men and material able to be secured for war seems to be the deciding factor in which wins. That said, neither type are likely to emerge as a significant force unless conditions are bad enough for either a revolution and attendant counterrevolution in the first place.

Which brings me back to the mixed economy. It tends to keep the irrational just happy enough to not revolt, and conditions are not so bad that the rational, while radicalized, are cowed by the power afforded the authorities by the support of the irrational. This reminds me of the Saxon law code, which concerned itself not with justice, but minimization of conflict.

It is entirely possible that despite a libertarian social order being in fact the best way to improve material standards of living, it is doomed to create conflict due to the irrational ninnies out there. Civil conflict is a far worse problem to have than the deadweight loss inherent in the mixed economy. Like Ben Stone said repeatedly, there isn't a market for liberty. I think this is why that's true for both the left and right.

Most of the uninformed arguments (thought terminating cliches really) by the middle class against libertarian (and other) anarchy are in this vein of conflict. The traditional counter-arguments here don't exactly help defuse their concerns either:

  1. Wouldn't warlords take over??? (Like that isn't the case right now -- they just kill foriegners, not you yet)
  2. Without theft how would Y good or service be provisioned??? (Maybe it shouldn't be provisioned to that extent)
  3. Yeah, but who ultimately decides a conflict??? (As if it isn't one of the two combatants now, though intermediated by gowned clowns)
In each response we focus on the wrong thing. Emphasizing how our way both validates and minimizes conflict better than consensus (tragedy of the commons) approaches would be more persuasive to the irrationally inclined.

Ultimately, this is the root of the split between left and right libertarians. Unfortunately, the leftist libertarians have yet to have figured out how to spread their message as effectively as the right. I suspect this is due to the ideological vacuum on the reactionary right making grounds ripe. By comparison, the left is already chock full of nuts; at best they will simply further splinter an already hopelessly fractured left.


Taleb and the one law πŸ”— 1546560005  

For those not aware, I'm a large proponent of the Stoic insights. One of the primary ones I promote is that virtue is not only it's own reward but it's only reward. The other half of this coin, which many do not discover, is that this is a good thing. When altruism is to be rewarded, it is all to easy to fake, with attendant and catastrophic costs to society.

One of the most prominent such failures in our modern society is what is popularly called "Virtue Signaling"; a term which once was simply referred to as "putting on a show". Politics is infested with this, as its practitioners overcompensate for their lack of real virtue with an abundance of such fake virtue.

In any case, it is heartening to realize that this is fundamentally what Nicholas Taleb has been groping for all these years. His Intellectual yet Idiot concept is an expression of this; however that is merely a generalization of his core inisght. Namely, that people are applying the wrong model entirely when it comes to dealing with uncertain events.

As explored here previously, people try a variety of schemes to curve-fit us into Procrustes' Iron Bed; the most popular of these are called "laws". In reality, a far simpler model works: "Do as thou wilt, but be prepared for the consequences". I have come to realize more and more that it's the latter half of that statement that nearly all of civilization's distortions are built to try and avoid.

Taleb's SITG (Skin In The Game) is a powerful argument for why not attempting to expand past that one rule is desirable; the further we insulate ourselves from consequence, the more foolish we necessarily become, until survival itself is threatened. He is pilloried by his detractors for "not providing answers", but they simply do not listen when he advises that rather than worry about the fact consequences happen (X), we instead concern ourselves with how our response effects ourselves and the system as a whole (f(x)) -- being prepared for consequences.

That core insight returns right back to stoicism. The wise stoic concerns himself not with the affairs of the world which are not under his control. He instead concerns himself with what he can control; e.g. the reaction to said events (f(x)).

As such it is unsurprising Taleb has drifted increasingly into the Austrian Economist camp. They are the most closely aligned with these particular insights; indeed his discussion of fat tail risk is quite a damning explanation of nearly all extant centralized economic planning's failure. As an apriori theory as to why information theory and risk must necessarily behave so, Praxeology is in perfect harmony.

The one law is simply a necessary lemma of the core praxeological axiom: "Man Acts on limited information and other means to achieve specific ends". This necessarily implies that circumstances may align such that practically anything may be seen as virtuous or licentious at the time, depending on the context understood to the actors involved.

As such, the wisdom of "live and let live" an "Love thy Neighbor" becomes ever clearer -- as one man's virtue may be another man's vice, all attempts to centrally plan and impose a return curve on the necessarily transactional relationships between humans are doomed to failure. All we can do therefore is simply gird ourselves against the reality of the situation in pursuance of our own ends.


Overvalued and undervalued πŸ”— 1458221460  

Simon Black has an interesting article about whether the Singapore market is relatively "cheap" at roughly 1/1 Market cap/GDP. While this seems superficially like a decent measure, it falls down upon closer analysis.
  1. GDP is a flawed yardstick; you should subtract rather than add government spending. Use Mark Skousen's Gross Output measure where you can.
  2. Single indices do not necessarily reflect the total output of a country, but neither do aggregate measures like GDP/GO. A more thorough analysis would divide up the gross output by that covered by the relevant market sector(s) represented by the index you look at.
  3. Using indices, while good from a hedging against Macro trends POV, is never gonna net you the large gains you can get from value investing in individual firms. To use this approach with individual firms, you would need to further subdivide your analysis into 'how much of a share of output does this firm represent versus their market cap?' Doing so you can actually make a pretty good spreadsheet and sort from top to bottom as to "who are the winners and losers" in the overvalued/undervalued game.
Real investing takes careful planning and thought, not buying indexes and wishing. But doing the homework isn't really that hard if you know what statistics to look for. Like in Moneyball, the game can be won if you look at the right parameters. For value investors, overvalued/undervalued is the most important parameter.

Of course, other relevant statistics exist; nobody would buy a heavily undervalued buggy whip maker in 1912 (except to strip the assets and liquidate it). Earning potential and more traditional measures like P/E should influence your winnowing past 'undervalued or overvalued'.

Libertarian Paradise πŸ”— 1453783014  

or, one weird trick to get libertarian eyeballs

So, Robert Wenzel decided to shake the hornets' nest to pump up his SEO, and cover for his lack? of praxeological understanding. This time, he decided to discuss "punishment in a libertarian society". In particular, he has managed to get a vocal critic (matt@occidentalism.org), who himself is either fuzzy-headed, playing dumb (I hope), or simply unaware of the answers to his questions. I believe these comments to be instrumental to understanding this issue, so let us examine them in detail.

The authority of the property owner, you say, is total.

Wenzel's critic is making a valid point here; no person's authority over anything is total at any time. The Native Americans and Palestinians can tell you all about that. Your authority over what occurs on your property (and others property) is equivalent to your ability to defend it against reprisal or aggression (or to overcome others' defenses). This is one place where David Friedman has an edge over some libertarians; considering authority over property absolute is as ridiculous as Keynesian econometric modelling. Truly easement free property exists only in fantasy, just like neoclassical models.

Mind you authority is not "rights"; though when one thinks of "rights" you realize the perfect rebuttal to Wenzel's position; the rebuttal comes from Mr. Libertarian himself, Walter Block, in his 'evictionism' argument about abortion. If it is possible to eject trespassing fetuses and so forth nonviolently, then it is illegitimate to do so violently. In the case of the dying mother, it is not possible, so abortion is legitimate. In the case of the profligate mother and the inconvenient baby, it is illegitimate, as nonviolent alternatives exist (wait some months).

Apply this to the 'Murder Tresspasser/Thief' argument. It is not legitimate to murder a child who is taking your apple and obviously is defenceless against your reposession of the apple, etc. It is legitimate to slay the child if he shot at you when discovered pilfering, and you could not reasonably disarm/capture him to effect it's immediate cessation. The deliberate de-escalation of situations is one of the key pillars of libertarian theory, but an unstated one by many.

My personal conception of libertarianism is as such:

  1. Private Property, like locks in a software system, are the only way to sanely share resources over time without corrupting the underlying resource into uselesness.
  2. The Non-Aggression Principle - Do not initiate force against others' property, unless yours has already been aggressed upon by said other.
  3. The Non-Escalation Principle - When aggressed upon, never use more force upon the aggressor than is warranted to prevent future aggression.
Mind you, I consider this to be the letter and spirit of the new covenant, which is why I am a Christian. I am not sure that I have heard the 'non-escalation principle' stated formally anywhere, but this should be an obvious axiom to the vast majority of libertarians. It should also be obvious from a Praxeological point of view that de-escalation would tend to result in more prosperity, as less labor and capital would be destroyed than otherwise. Similarly, not acting to prevent future aggression will mean more labor and captial destruction than otherwise, so self defense is clearly beneficial to society.

It is fair to say that a Private Property Society won't protect you against terrorism and crime, or guarantee you charity or healthcare either.

This is the whole of the discussion right here, as I believe this is the root of Wenzel's misunderstanding. Lack of a formal state can be better, the same as, or worse than a state-run environment. Belief that the "system" men live under is even mutable is a common fallacy amongst newly minted libertarians. No, it is like Doug Casey has noted; there are only two rules: "do as thou wilt, but be prepared for the consequences". This is the only reality.

You live in anarchy right now; the state is simply another affectation much like private mafiosi call themselves "legitimate businessmen".

Now, will people be less apt to get shammed by mafiosi were these legitimacy myths not floating about? Likely, and this would probably lead to a better society, regardless of what we call it (Private Property Society, etc).

However, we will always be plagued by some particular ignorances and superstition; this is an inescapable part of the human condition. Busybodies with wrong ideas will always be dangerous. So are the Jerks and Parasites staffing the state and filling the ranks of the 'urban primitives'. This will always be so.

The true state of society is what traction good ideas have versus foolishness; and by that measure, for all it's warts, the USA is still on top. We don't have more NAP advocates and Misesians here than elsewhere for no reason at all. It's because of the intellectual captial and traditions established by the hard work of our ancestors.

Given time, this too shall change. The real fight is to make sure we do not regress into foolishness, wherever and however that might occur. As many Misesians note, the Whig view of intellectual history is false. Our intellectual climate can and does regress frequently. Our capital conditions and standards of living would be soon to follow.

I challenged you [Robert Wenzel] previously to admit that under your idea of libertarian punishment it would be permissible to molest children as a libertarian punishment, but you dodged it by saying child molestation would not happen in a Private Property Society. It is obvious why you would not concede this point - because upon concession any non-degenerate person would reject your idea of a Private Property Society. Time to go back to the drawing board.

Going "back to the drawing board" with regard to punishment in a libertarian society would consist of this: Realizing that punishment is merely another praxeological action. It is done not for any non-existent superstition such as justice, the rule of law, or even vengeance. It is done because they preferred to act in such a fashion at the time and with the information at hand; e.g. "I could get away with it." Crazies under anarchy or the state will engage in such foolishness at an undiminished rate, until the situation dissuades them from such. If a criminal organization such as the state can suppress such behavior, it is not a stretch to assume a private organization would be as capable (or incapable) as well.

Punishment as a concept is useless; Darrow's "resist not evil" should have convinced most Libertarians of that long ago. Look to the myriad legal codes of history; you will find a striving to reduce conflict, justice be damned. At the end of the day, a bad peace is better than the best war. This is why libertarians still pay protection money to the empire, despite decrying it as evil.

To arrive at a consistent worldview, one must simplify. Doing so you will realize concepts such as punishment, justice, "rule of law", and vengeance are of little use. Figuring out what concepts, ideas and actions do and do not escalate aggression is more useful to followers of the "nonaggression principle" as a path to a better future. To Wenzel's credit, this is a point he touches on; staying away from the aggressive and thereby not needing court services and restitution in the first place is always better. The battle not fought is the greatest victory.

So, the path to personal freedom is clear, and do-able right now through wisdom and intelligence (Harry Browne was big on this -- see "living free in an unfree world"). However, "freedom for the masses" is much more likely to come simply by technology; this should come as no surprise, considering that capital accumulation has been the only thing capable of lifting the masses out of privation in the first place. Similarly, the path out of privation in the past was always available to the wise and intelligent (create capital), much like the path to freedom is available now.

Suppose we came up with either of the three following innovations, and they were cheap and widely available:

  1. Uninterceptable, undecipherable to 3rdparty communications, such as would be effected by quantum entanglement + encryption. This dovetails into teleportation, as information = energy = matter.
  2. Effective invisibility devices, and shields against waves and particles of varying forms (invisibility is a 'special case' of force fields).
  3. Man-portable open-source armaments capable of smashing most offensive military equipment, including ICBMs. This is the closest to reality; note what the Afghanis have pulled off in the last 15 years with clones of Soviet Junk. Rapid Fabrication tech is also rapidly making arms control for such things impossible. Just wait until you see the first open source heat seeking missile or railgun.
Many of the state's scams seem close to impossible in such an environment. Everyone could be as free as they wanted to be. You'll note that much of the clever strategies used to secure liberty right now focus on the same; concealing things from the state, or becoming a (relatively) unappetizing meal.

Even with the masses freed by technology bad ideas, busybodies, lackwits and reprobates will still exist. We will not have a perfect world, just a better one; one where foolishness is much, much harder to get away with. To Wenzel's credit, I think this is more-or-less what he was trying to get across about a free society.

Note that this is the magic of voulntary cooperation summed up; free competition in goods and ideas winnows out the bad and exalts the good. Ideas and products evolve like the organisms that make them. Whether they go in the direction that empowers and frees humanity or warps us into one of the many other failures haunting our planet is entirely up to us. Fighting this natural evolution with the 'unnatural selection' of coercion simply results in ideas, products, services and people that are inbred or deformed at worst and stagnant at best.

This is why the market is called "The invisible hand". It truly is "god's law", in that it is the final court to which there is no appeal. All attempts to frustrate it is merely Canute screaming at the waves. This is also why I do not advocate activism; evil/stupid is self-liquidating. The structure of reality guarantees that -- the only question is when and whether you get wiped out by said liquidation (or go short bad ideas, and ride to the top).

It is worth noting that even in an environment where unnatural selection is the norm, hybrid vigor *still* creates hardier creatures than otherwise. So, even if you are surrounded by Authoritarian busybodies or corrupt parasites, do not succumb to the urge to believe in the prevailing foolishness. Recognizing the truth will always make you stronger and freer than the rest; and without your example the others will never know better.

UPDATE

Bionic has responded more or less how I expected; by calling Wenzel out for his fuzzy headedness. Wenzel responds with more Fuzzy-Headedness.

UPDATE II

Wenzel is beginning to come around. It is possible he's been 'playing dumb' the entire time, which would be consistent with his drama-generating SEO tactics so far. That said, he's still not articulating things as clearly as will be necessary to dismiss his critics.


Thoughts on Ian Murdock's Death πŸ”— 1451578028  

The tinfoil side of me notes that ianmurdock.com redirected to google.com last night. I saw some archived/pastebin stuff supposedly captured from his twitter about blogging his repeated harrasment, extortion and beatings received at the hands of police thuggery on twitter shortly before his demise (see news for this day), but his twitter was already deactivated/deleted by then, so who knows if even that stuff is legit. Most news I've seen posted on his death seems rather mum about that stuff, but commenters brought it up on reddit, slashdot, etc.

In any event, it is likely yet another example of a man driven to desperation by the crime gangs that call themselves the government. I suppose the government has been lucky so far that the people they've ruined in tech so far have usually chosen suicide (like Aaron Swartz) or been incompetent at striking back (like Joe Stack).

If history is any guide, the script the government is writing for itself eventually creates monsters like Zawahiri and Bin Laden out of educated men with resources. This time, of course, it will be on the homefront, and it will no doubt be used as an excuse to further accelerate police state measures. Indeed, the FBI, etc. all now say their greatest threat they are watching for is "domestic extremists", as if they know that the tyranny they rub in our faces 24/7 is bound to piss *somebody* off.

Living in the USSA is like watching a slow motion train wreck daily for me.


Praxis πŸ”— 1441026460  

I've noticed recently a tendency by some to attribute all that goes right or wrong with their life to chemical interactions within the brain, as if your hormones are your destiny. If you are a mindful or educated individual, you may realize some problems with that line of thinking right off the bat, but I can understand the allure of this idea for explaining away certain things in one's life that are painful to reflect upon.

Just as with all ideas seeking to refute the concept of praxis, it is self-contradictory in the barest logical sense - the very notion that you can believe that choice doesn't really exist implies a choice in and of itself. The only escape from this logical conundrum requires a type of nihilism that, if true, creates a reductio ad absurdum where any action on your part is wholly unneeded, as whether or not brain chemistry leads to 'destined' action or not is meaningless anyhow. This creates a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of mindlessness, where you become controlled by your emotions (chemical interactions that influence preferences for acting in one way or another) as you see no benefit to using your mental faculties to restrain or embrace those impulses, leading to more or less choosing your actions by 'default' instead of with purpose.

The consequences of this strategy should be apparent, yet again, to anyone paying attention. If one has not even considered the ends they wish to achieve, how can they evaluate whether or not any given means is suitable to achieving it? This kind of existence will instead produce privation for the most part, as any action that might bring someone out of privation under this mental model will be purely accidental.

I bring this up mostly as a reflection on not only my contemporaries, but also from recently reading an interesting, if flawed account of the mindsets common to the most impoverished citizens of Great Britain. In Dalrymple's accounts, he constantly speaks of a failure in many in the "underclass" to take responsibility for any of their actions, as if Khorne suddenly possessed them before they beat the snot out of their girlfriend. Dalrymple rightly scoffs at this supposition, as those possessed of this rage seem perfectly able to control it when heavily armed police surround them. This implies, of course, that this behavior is not due to understanding and internalizing an idea I have criticized above, but rather using it as an excuse for their own failure to choose proper means for coexisting with their fellow human beings.

Of course, where Dalrymple goes off the rails is when he advocates basically jailing and beating this behavior out of them (an impulse shared by those on both the authoritarian left and right), which though a common response, has been empirically disproven as a viable method for combating behaviors one person or group views as undesirable in society. It is, however, good at murdering a large segment of the population and increasing privation in general (just as with pretty much all violence, as less hands make for heavier lifting). No, instead he should have concluded the book in a manner logically consistent with what he was seeing (and indeed advocating to his patients when he would converse with them). The recent changes in mindset for people brought about by what the Daily Bell calls the "Internet Reformation" is a far more indicitive model for what works to combat these ills in society. In fact, this line of argumentation is precisely the one Ron Paul makes in his most recent book advocating for an end to war.

With all that above in mind, I suppose what I'm really attempting to say here to all those who think that all their life is just chemical interactions on the wall of Plato's Cave is that this idea is self-contradictory and, if truly false, will actually lead you to material harm. Still not convinced? Let's make use of Pascal's wager: What is the downside to believing you can have praxis and acting accordingly, even if what you consider to be conscious action is really just an illusion? I can answer that question for you, as the answer is none.

In addition, you are likely deluding yourself if you believe your actions are caused purely as a reaction to stimulus. I see girls I'd like to bone on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean I go out and rape them, because I know that doing so wouldn't actually benefit me. Damn, how could my brain chemistry had failed to move me so! It's as if my thoughts just 'took a hold' of me and allowed me to control myself, despite what chemical signaling was telling me to do!

If there's any chemistry that is in the brain responsible for anything, it is at least that which enables you to choose to embrace or reject the chemical signals you are receiving instinctively. It is literally the key to the conceptualization of consciousness... at least the non-spiritual ones.


Emigration From Consistency πŸ”— 1440954626  

TL;DR - If you think that libertarians should be pursuing second best solutions, expect controversial, preference laced conclusions.

Anyways...

I'd like to comment upon a recent article I came across thanks to the Bad Quaker and the Freedom Feens. Here is the article in question; it regards Hoppe's controversial take on Immigration being a form of "Forced Integration".

From my reading of Hoppe, I'd say Nico is actually in violent agreement with him, except as it regards Nico's personal preference. I've noticed many get the impression Nico did here from reading Hoppe, so I can't say I'm really surprised to see this. Really, to me that sounds like it needs explanation from Murphy in 'plain' english for most to understand Hoppe's writing. The same thing has been said at various points about Mises, especially as it regards Human Action.

Hoppe's position to me seemed to be that:
Given societies with welfare states, free immigration doesn't increase the freedom of people in that nation, just as having 'squatters' on your land doesn't increase the property owner's freedom. Taxpayers in welfare states understand why this is so, though immigration is not the root cause (as the 'tea party' might posit), the welfare state is. Furthermore, in a free society, if you didn't want people on your property it is your right to exclude them from it. Nowhere in Hoppe's writing does he say you should bar them from your property -- indeed, as Nico suggests, some property owners would likely build roads and allow free passage, as it would benefit them to do so. Hoppe, of course, would also advocate for the abolition of the welfare state. Indeed, without one, free immigration wouldn't even be a problem as there isn't any 'free riders' (something Hoppe lists as an unassailable argument in the beginning of his article).

This, however, is not the context in which Hoppe is speaking about what the 'libertarian' position should be on immigration. Instead, in the insane world of modern democracies, basically the choice is between unconditionally raising taxes in response to free immigration in order to pay for immigrants who wish to partake of the welfare state (to not trample as much on the 'right' to travel) OR restrict immigration so that the poor taxpayers aren't raped as badly by the taxman (to not trample as much on the slaves' 'right' to property). Note here that I say as much, as in all welfare states, there's inevitably going to be ostensibly 'public' places where the public is not actually allowed to go, and because the taxpayer is always screwed, the only question is "to what degree?"

Thus, Hoppe comes down on the side of the taxpayer, as any 'right' to travel on anything other than your own property implies the violation of others' property rights, which is what the NAP stems from -- I own me (and thus the fruits of my labor), right? Still, I can't say I'm surprised Nico doesn't get this, as in another article I find him defending intellectual property thusly:

Since intellectual property always needs a medium, the intellectual property owner effectively has the right to control to some degree how people use their physical property.
Say what? Wishing for people to employ ideas how you wish them is an unrealistic assumption at best. Indeed, he even defeats himself by repeating the idea that "the Medium is the Message;" this implies that your intellectual property wasn't the property at all -- it was the medium. Much better libertarian defences of intellectual property exist, some even note the consequences of scarcity (or lack thereof) on this property.

In any event, just as with all 'second best' solutions under the state, any 'solutions' to the immigration 'problem' stomp on somebody's liberty. The actual flip side of Hoppe's argument is that it would require a police state to restrict immigration in a Welfare state, as many will predictably want to partake when someone is giving out free goodies. Your personal preference then determines what the 'libertarian' position should be. That is pretty much the central catch 22 for all liberty 'activists' in the USA, which is why I am not one. Sure, I'll advocate for abandoning the execution of actions which lead to increased privation all day, but I am not everybody. I hold out no hope for liberty in anyone's lifetime other than that which they make happen for themselves. Whether or not they do it at the expense of others is their choice, and a choice the stoics know all too well the rewards of.

There's nothing logically inconsistent with that, other than perhaps not acknowledging, ultimately, that there is no good solution under certain systems, so personal preference is the best you'll get there. Hoppe's essay is suffused with acknowledgement of this, though he is likely wrong regarding assignment of this preference to society at large, as is noted in Nico's commentary regarding whether most would prefer Hoppe's imperfect solution. The fact that there is so much controversy still in the USA regarding immigration suggests there is no real consensus on the issue, though I understand Hoppe standing on the side of the taxpayer in a welfare state.

Really, this is just another manifestation of the 'thick' versus 'thin' libertarian debate, though most self-described 'thin' libertarians probably aren't actually very 'thin' in their personal preferences, whether it be Hoppe, "Robert Wenzel", "Bionic Mosquito", Chris Cantwell or Ben Stone. I know I'm not. Hoppe is merely willing to state his preferences openly in his works, which is why Hoppe has been consistently good at providing trolling material for use either to attack or defend anarcho-capitalism.


Season's Beatings πŸ”— 1439057947  

The Christmas Police State Song

The Bill of Rights roasting on an open fire,
Jack Boots standing on your neck,
Welfare carols being sung by a black,
And cops dressed up like SS-kimoes.

Everybody knows a ticket from some angered po,
Flash Bangs make the season bright.
Tiny tots in the ICU from hard blows,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know the SWAT Team's on its way;
They've locked and loaded goodies with which to slay.
And every mother's child is going to cry,
To see if pigs really know how to fly.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
Stop Resisting... F**k you


Don't Dry Gulch me, Bro! πŸ”— 1439057946  

As is often the case, reading an article online has provoked some long form thought from me today. This time, it's the continuing saga of GGC, which seems to be causing many to rethink the notion of what it means to expatriate.

The optimistic part of me wonders if people are starting to get that it's not the locale of tyranny that you need to escape - it's what the Freedom Feens call 'Horizontal Enforcement' - the tyranny of the mindset that needs to be escaped more than anything. Most importantly, it means more fully internalizing the libertarian philosophy that many folks understand and agree with on a logical level. Moving to a community of "like minded freedom lovers" sounds like asking for trouble if even one of them hasn't fully embraced the implications of liberty within a world of limited knowledge.

It should not be lost on the reader that the most successful "expatriation for liberty" project, despite it's flaws, still appears to be the Free State Project in New Hampshire, of all places. Why? Note the age of the movers and shakers there. This is part of what Ernest Hancock calls "Generation Next," the wave of people who were young enough when the love-o-lution came about to be able to actually throw off their indoctrination - the mental plasticity is just so much greater when young.

Now, sure, you may be saying, the real blame here lies with those who haven't internalized what it means to be a free, beautiful human being, as Ken Johnson has been accused of. Still, the tired truism that it "Takes Two to Tango" appears apt to me here, as unfortunately, years of indoctrination and propagandizing have left so many scars on even the most "hardcore" among libertarians. If this wasn't true, then how could insights from people like Doug Casey, Anthony Wile, Bill Bonner, etc. learned "the hard way," and repeated ad nauseum to their contemporaries still seem to bounce off the libertarian community in general? Oddly poetic that in a society supposedly plagued with narcissism, reflection is the hardest thing to do. One hopes Ovid is laughing in Elysium.


A possible future for cryptocurrency πŸ”— 1439057945  

Zerocoin is the best hope I've seen so far for getting true anonymity in a bitcoin-like digital cash. It accomplishes this with Zero Knowledge Proofs.

Zero Knowledge Proofs for the Layman is here.

Regrettably, it appears development on this project has more-or-less stalled. ShadowCoin claims to have cribbed a bit of the work, but I see no evidence of it being used to obscure transaction amounts, etc.

Zerocoin has one weakness, though. The issuer must be trusted. This works out if you are the one creating your private coins from previously public ones; however that is probably enough to get you put on the 'naughty list' in certain regulatory climes.

That said, I believe a Homomorphic Encryption Scheme could be used to overcome this difficulty. This sort of scheme allows for modifications to some block of ciphertext (say, a blockchain?) without actually having to know the contents. As such, you could have a blockchain that is fully obscured to it's users.

The only weakness there would be the original setup of the blockchain itself. This could be overcome by witnessed/notarized creation of the private key, and it's subsequent destruction (as it would not be needed to read/write new transactions).

Effectively the blockchain becomes a large binary blob that is written to via a homomorphic encryption scheme, and that can only be read by inference through a zero-knowledge proof scheme. And then only enough to know the amount of coins in your account has changed (did I come out from the $50 or $100 branch, as in the Ali-Baba example).

So the mathematics are finally ready to be put together to create Eris' golden apple. I pray somebody gets the time to put it together soon.


PHD Secrets to Elite Thinking πŸ”— 1439057944  

A Book Review of the War Commentaries by Julius Caesar

Recently I've had the opportunity to read through Caesar's war commentaries, which have undoubtably had quite the impression on many people throughout history. His writing style certainly helped this "Great Man" to become highly aggrandized both in his time and even now. This prospect was obviously not lost upon the man himself, as his writing is unashamedly good at advancing his own positions. As such, this stands out as probably one of the finest works of propaganda documented from the ancient world. Still, as with any good propaganda, there were many lessons and truths to be found there for one reading between the lines (or, of course, to ensare one with partial truths).

The largest thing that stood out to me was the laser like focus he had on attaining his ends and the clear thinking he had on using suitable means to obtain his ends. Though not stated in his book, if you do some searching, you can see that he was aspiring to be his generation's Alexander the Great. Supposedly his realization at the age when Alexander had the world prostrate before him filled him with a great sense of shame for not having achieved the same greatness yet (which pretty much guaranteed megalomania with that as your desired end). Despite what many would consider having a literally insane goal (as many elites thorought history do), he showed remarkable sanity in the pursuit of this goal, actually choosing things to do that would ensure he achieved this goal.

Immediately upon deciding his goal, he did as much as possible to win glory and fame among the people and politicians who wielded the most power. For him, this meant becoming a great general on the military side and a consul on the civilian end of the political spectrum. Both of these goals, like his primary goal, were pursued logically and effectivley. Two examples show this acumen quite clearly.

First, in combat he preferred using the size, ability and technology of the troops he had at his disposal hardly ever for purposes of more than skirmishing, unless conditions favored him winning a "pitched battle" involving the main body of both forces (due to favorable terrain, etc.). Instead, this force was used, much as the Security Services of the Modern State is used today, to induce surrender via hunger and/or terror in his foes before even striking the first blow (note here how I specifically talk here about the Security Services and not the modern conventional armies, which have comported themselves most incompetently for the greater part of the last century continuing to the present day). While there is nothing new here in the theory of warfighting (see Lao Tzu, etc.), it is still an instructive example of what to do in War (and what not to do in Pompey or the Gauls' case).

In regard to becoming a consul, though not touched on terribly much, he was certainly keen enough to ally with those who were from rival factions where their interests intersected, evidenced by the "First Trirumvirate" and mentions of his former bond of marriage to Pompey's relative. This of course, was supplemented by the usual politician stuff, such as liberally spreading favors about to ensure loyalty to him. Later, after crossing the Rubicon, his positioning and constant delagations of peace towards Pompey's faction, though really a cynical ploy preying upon Pompey's hubris, did much to make him look like the "good guy" among both people already inclined towards him and those loyal to Pompey (once they had Caesar's army breathing down their necks). All these things cast the die in favor of him.

Basically the man really knew how power "worked" in society and acted accordingly, to spectacular results. The only hole in his whole plan was inherent to the goal itself, as the only means suitable to achieve his ends were guaranteed to make him powerful enemies and generate blowback for him once his goal was achieved. Indeed, once he achieved his goal (a topic he couldn't write about thanks to Marcus Brutus), he really didn't seem to be able to do anything constructive with it (just like pretty much everyone else whose goal is simply to gain the power, not to use power as a means to some other end).

It should go without saying that the above insights go well with some of the meditations Marcus Aurelius had upon power, as he was in a similar position but had the benefit of time and age to be able to reflect on what brought him success and failure once in a position of power.

Other than the above, there were a few other things of note here, specifically more on how the practices of the time for gaining and maintaining power really haven't changed materially from then to now. The US Empire still demands hostages to blackmail conquered nations into doing our bidding, though it is now done via the security services and the financial sector. If you want to see this in action, then consider the ongoing NSA and CIA spying, coup generation, etc. from basically the foundation of those groups. Also note that pretty much every subservient nation to the US has to keep their gold on deposit with the New York Federal Reserve, which promptly re-hypothecates the gold into Corzine Vapor.

Similarly, his impressions of the Gauls and the nature of man stand out quite clearly, as the Gaulish thirst for freedom was not criticized by Caesar, but instead taken as a given, as men would naturally prefer living according to their own conscience as opposed to Roman slavery (which was frequently the rallying call of the Gauls). At least then the elites were quite open about their aims to enslave the populaces they were invading, which today has to be grotesquely evaded with neologisms like "Humanitarian Intervention" since we now pretend not to be a racist and sexist society of primitive tribalists (except on game day).


Adequate Remedy under the Law: My journey to Anarchy πŸ”— 1439057943  

Tom Woods recently had a guest on his podcast who destroyed the last objection to Anarchy I had with this brilliant article from 1995. (Obviously I read this several years ago). It is ironic to think how old such an argument is now, considering his proposed solution to the problem of the arbitrariness of the law is much like a phrase I frequently used at the time; namely that "There is adequate remedy under the law". The common law definition of Crimes and Torts already covers 100% of all the stuff that "there oughtta be a law" for.

As such, everything else is just "I rule you" BS by some dedicated satanists, but mostly misguided do-gooders. It's trivially obvious to me as a mathematician; No proposition (law) can ever mean the same thing when it's axiomatic underpinning (assumptions) change. In the context of the Law, no two people have the same assumptions. With Friendly "Public Service" like this, you don't need enemies.

Which brings me to another influence that brought me to anarchy; it is this same differences in assumptions that lead to the infinite variance in ordinal preferences of market actors. When reading the first few chapters of Mises' Human Action (which I was amazed to find most people actually skip reading), the reason centralized planning (and ergo all the "I rule you" BS) fails became crystal clear. Much like Prof. Hasnas' notes in the podcast, a system of rigid rules -- cardinalizations of ordinal preferences (justice in his case, production in Mises') can only produce tyranny and privation. Nobody is comfortable laying in Procrustes' Iron Bed. Yet all too many are eager to stuff others into it.

The reason for all this, of course, is a legitimization myth (as the professor notes), which is currently the "Rule of Law", and it's resultant lemma of the "Nuremburg Defense" and other similar "Horizontal Enforecment" schemes. Speaking of such legitimization myths, leads me back to both the most profound book I recently read and the book that turned me on to liberty in the first place. Larken Rose's The Most Dangerous Superstition takes a core myth of the statists, and stakes it as effectively as the Professor kills the "Rule of Law". The collectivist argument of the 'greatest good for the greatest number' rests on the idea that some groups and individuals empowered thereby somehow transubstantiate and are allowed authority that is not granted to any single individual in said group. This argument basically falls on it's face without taking the axiom of synergy in groups (sum(parts) > sum(parts)) on faith.

Yet I realized that despite the stark clarity of Larken's message it was really the same thing that Bastiat tried to say in The Law. When one really asks "What is Justice" like Bastiat did, you realize that the collective notion of providing social justice can not be legitimate, nor can it produce society or justice. All it can do is exalt some at the expense of others, leading to shouts of "...but what about MY pillage???" until the situation degenerates into "everybody robs everyone", when true justice means "Nobody robs." Meanwhile, society collapses due to no rational expectation that deferred gratification will pay off. Every city is renamed Barter Town, because everyone was too busy playing Master Blaster to realize that they should have been trying to escape from thunderdome.

I think I'll leave with a passage from Professor Hasnas' The obviousness of Anarchy:

...if people were ever to seriously question whether government is really productive of order, popular support for government would almost instantly collapse.
It certainly did for me, and it will for you too, if you seek the truth earnestly. One need but look around like the professor suggests. I will add one thing to his essay on "National Defense" -- Look Around. Washington's centralized army lost almost every battle whilst the militia pushed the British off of the colonies.


Six Reasons Libertarians should ridicule those who abandon the NAP πŸ”— 1439057942  

Lately there's been a controversy in the liberty mission over infiltrators trying to dilute the message (oh wait, that's been going on forever). Here's the latest tripe. Emotional Language? Check. Koch Funding? Check.
Specific responses:
  1. The NAP "Prohibits All Pollution".
    The Koch be with you! They act as if pollution is a good thing. The author has obviously never heard of easements, as private property owners allow pollution on their property as they wish, so long as it doesn't effect others.

    The only way people think this disallows cars and other fossil fuel based life have been bamboozled by the notion that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

  2. The NAP doesn't allow me to do evil that good may come!
    Somebody hasn't read Mises. Or the Bible. Evil means are unsuited to achieving good ends. This is a feature, not a bug.

  3. All or nothing attitude toward risk!
    This guy doesn't understand reality, much less the NAP. Of course all risks are allowed -- you say this as if they aren't now! All action has a chance of failure.

    It's up to the individual to know best what they can handle, not nanny-staters like the author and their central-planning ilk.

  4. No prohibition of fraud??!
    Wrong. The NAP implicitly prohibits fraud, because it damages property. The only reason the NAP makes sense is because of self-ownership (which should be self-evident). Murder is just theft of your self-ownership shortly followed by destruction of said property.

    Similarly, willful lying to appropriate someone else's property is fraud, be it their person or estate, as it is not a fully consensual "arm's length" transaction. That's kind of what constitutes aggression in the context of property.

  5. The NAP doesn't imply private property ownership!
    This is pretty hilarious, considering the NAP is simply a corollary of self-ownership. Non-aggression is the enforcement of property rights.

  6. What About the Children???
    Does this really need a response considering the heading? Kids own themselves too. People don't like to face this, but it's still at many levels a voluntary relationship. Kids run away from bad parents and inadequate parents regularly abandon children. There's nothing special from a rights point of view -- they're just clumsy, small incompetent people.

    It works well most of the time, because usually the decision to make them was not malicious. Both sides know the deal instinctively, unless overpowered by adverse circumstances (usually due to outside aggression).
Overall, an emotional and inconsistent show. The fellow should consider lurking more.

Mutiny on The Bounty πŸ”— 1439057941  

Not long ago, I watched Mutiny on the Bounty for the first time. For those unfamiliar with the story, a bunch of press-ganged sailors put their authoritarian Capitan overboard in a dinghy and decided to live in Tahiti rather than put up with further abuse.

Said Capitan made it back to England, a truly remarkable feat, and a British ship, the HMS Pandora was sent to exact vengeance for the crown. How dare those uppity slaves! Anyways, the mutineers took the Bounty and headed to one of the most remote places on earth: Pitcairn Island. After sinking the ship to make it harder to find them, they started a town that has endured to this day.

As a libertarian living under the Yoke of an oppressive empire, I can certainly identify with the urge to mutiny and find myself a "leave me alone zone". So, considering the origin of the place, it would not be unreasonable to think that people willing to sacrifice a bit of convenience for a whole lot of freedom might just be welcome there.

So, when I found that google maps had created "street view" of Adamstown, I was amazed! I could actually see this place and learn a bit more about what it's like today. Then I found out that they would like to have about 30 people settle there in the next five years or so, and I realized that this might just be the place for a bunch of radical libertarians. I doubt anyone would stop such a group from using honest money, practicing independent living and not harming others. In particular, I suspect our community's extensive knowledge of survival, preparedness and off-grid living would be much appreciated.

When I began to think on it, I realized that it wouldn't take much to significantly improve the lives of the other islanders. I'll bet the prosperity a person with even relatively meager international income streams could bring to there would be truly incredible. In particular, establishing an airport, solar thermal plant (or geothermal plant, it is on a long dormant volcano, after all) and perhaps even a solar drone cargo ship/plane would really enhance the place. Heck, a proper harbor crane would help immensely. And I have a suspicion that you would likely have plenty of time on your hands to make such improvements a reality.

In the worst case, one could also be comfortable in the fact that it's probably even further down the nuclear missile target list than antarctic bases. The fact that there are no taxes alone makes me want to board the next boat! So perhaps it's time to go on a fact-finding mission for liberty; if only to plant the works of Rothbard and Mises inside of their library.

Tragedy and Hopium πŸ”— 1439057939  

MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE DID WTC A book review of Tradgedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley.

This was a profound book to read, but one of the most difficult I have ever read. I've been working on getting this 1300+ page monstrosity under my belt since March of this year. This is not due to the difficulty of the subject material covered or being a weak reader. Heck, I was able to blaze through and grok Human Action within a two day read when I first picked it up. My inability to read this book quickly is due to the Tragedy playing out within Quigley's mindset. This man is a perfect example of what Mises correctly recognized as what went wrong with Western civilization as a whole - the irony of which cannot be lost on a reader enlightened by Misesian insights. It was difficult to bring myself to continue to reading when the fundamental flaws in Quigley's worldview became evident at certain points in the book.

This is not to say that Quigley is just another unintelligent propagandist for the regime, though I suspect in many ways this will be his unintended legacy. This is a passionate, reasoned piece of "revisionist" history written by an obvious scholar. Where Quigley, as most modern day "liberals" go wrong is with a misunderstanding of Economics, specifically the suitibility of the means selected to achieve societal ends. What makes it tragic is that Quigley obviously was smart enough to have grasped this insight fully himself, if only he could see it. Indeed, his evaluation of the provocations of the Round Table types that led to the Boer War is that, even though he saw their ends as agreeable ultimately, their means (violent agression that would rightly be called terrorism today) prevented them from ever achieving anything other than alienating both the native population and the nearby Dutch colony. As usual, the "Do-Gooders" made the mistake that most make, namely that forcing the issue (whatever it may be) will somehow produce something other than animosity and privation for all concerned.

Otherwise, this book is valuable if only for some of the inside dope on the "Anglo American Establishment" (a topic Quigley seemed infatuated with - I suspect it was his stumbling block to gaining real awareness). Moreso for the exposition of how the elite of today view the world. This history definitely sounds like just the pretext our more sociopathic elites would need to justify their own actions. This also would work for some of the lower level or non-crazed commisars, as it provides a compelling arguement for those not used to questioning the axioms they base their reasoning on. They really just need to stop drinking their own Kool-Ade.

The shutdown and the Peter Pinnacle πŸ”— 1439057938  

A great deal of hay will be made in certain American political circles due to this: Government workers during the shutdown will receive back pay when reinstated. Many will decry this as making the shutdown more of a farce than it already is, despite this being expected (this has happened before).

As an anarcho-capitalist, one would think I am repelled by this paid vacation the federal goonforce is getting, and can see no silver lining to such a cloud. While I am morally disgusted by the notion of paying a dime to these gangsters, I also know from my experience as a businessman that paying off incompetent or crooked employees is sometimes the best you can do. This has been referred to as the Peter Pinnacle.

So, in that spirit, I realize that paying these federal parasites to stay at home is actually an improvement on the situation; at least they aren't at large executing the various derangements of the market which they have been commissioned to perpetrate. Indeed, this can actually be seen as stimulative of consumption, as these furloughed workers now have less of an expectation that they will require extra savings; similarly, those industries oppressed by these rascals will now (temporarily) not have that 500lb gorilla squatting on them.

So in such a spirit, I have devised a mutually beneficial solution to this government shut-down. Pay each furloughed federal worker one million dollars upon the condition that they never work for the government again, and shutdown the "nonessential" departments they once staffed. This sort of bribe would be irresistible, and would be a bargain next to the economic damage they cause, the banker bailouts or one of Uncle Sam's ill-advised overseas adventures. It would also be a sort of scattering of the seeds of entrepreneurship on newly fertile ground.

Given such a large lump sum, the urge to invest it would be impossible to resist for most. Most would simply start private firms using the knowledge of the industries they once interfered in; after all, the demand for goods and services provided by many of the state's socialized industries would not simply vaporize. Those committed to being locusts would blow through their wad like lottery winners and come to understand the long term effects of profligacy on a deeply personal level. Both these things would be very beneficial activities for society.

However, even with such a measure, the overall course of the nation would not change. There is no bribe too great for those engaged in direct coercion, such as the military, police and other einsatzgruppen. Like any good blackmailer or extortionist, they realize that no amount of payment makes their leverage dissipate. For them, this train only lets off two places: the Janissary Barracks or Auschwitz. In the end, I think this is the most valuable part of Alex Jones' message: These police-staters should consider the fact that the means they use result in their deaths in the end. Such a system, instead of protecting them, kills them. We should expect nothing less of choosing violent ends incapable of producing their desired ends (the pursuit of happiness).


No Limit to Folly πŸ”— 1439057937  

Yet another anarchist "controversy" came over the wire yesterday about limited liability and the corporation. Since I was doing some database maintenance at the time, I had time to scribble my 2 cents on the matter.

On limited liability: there's nothing morally wrong about doing business with a firm that explicitly limits the liability it can incur when doing business with you. Doesn't make it a good idea in all cases, but for the vast majority of goods and services it's not that big of a roll of the dice, and limitation of liability could allow for lower prices. Of course, the current system does not explicitly explain this to the customer, which is one of the big educational problems about economics that should be addressed.

This ignores the fact that when combined with an authoritarian hierarchy (yes, most companies are such) limited liability morphs into something resembling the Nuremberg defense.

Since Limited liability encourages the owners to be less careful with their agents, you start to get into trouble the larger you make the organization; as small errors then cascade into lethal ones. Couple that with the face-saving culture of hierarchies, and it becomes quite clear why so many preventable tragedies come out of such places.

This is just like how the western nations can always gather intel on impending attacks, but universally fails to act on the information; It is not a failure to acquire knowledge (like in socialism/communism), but an incapability of taking action due to natural bureaucratic paralysis.

The lefty-anarchists wanna work in their communes and watch their centrally planned rationing mechanisms fail, and the righty-anarchists want to slave away in a kafkaesque authoritarian hierarchy. I agree that you can knock yourself out if we truly become free of coercion, but that doesn't make either way a good idea.

In my opinion, the most effective limitation of liability is reality. Nobody really believes roofers when they offer lifetime warranties, after all. Similarly, don't expect contracts to stop lynch mobs after your limited liability product or service kills somebody. There is no free lunch, no easy way out. Making simplifying assumptions like limiting liability fail for the same reason that econometric models fail -- their foundational assumption is flawed.

So, what should the Austrian economist do? Follow the action axiom -- People act on the information at hand to achieve their desired objectives. This suggests that liability is limited only so long as it suits either party, which is really no limitation at all. As such, the wisest structure for a company wishing to minimize liability by my estimation is to forgo any pretense at limitations (it's just overhead, eh?) and operate like a loosely-affiliated terrorist cell. Being difficult to disrupt is the most effective way to limit liability. I believe the open source movement and the companies in it's orbit is a modern expression of this tendency.

Of course, that's not really what's at issue here, as nobody really reveals what they want out of a situation in such discussions. I suspect Wenzel is interested in what would be best at maximizing return on capital investment (implicitly betting that his field of endeavour will not incur liabilities greater than profits). Similarly, I suspect the C4SS guys just want to work in a structure that doesn't give them crippling anxiety like hierarchies do.

Like most anarchist controversies this one turns out to be as vacuous as most others -- it's really a matter of personal preference. This one basically comes down to how much risk you are willing to tolerate. In that way, I'd say Wenzel wins on an emotional level; "so what" is the correct response.


Rule by Blackmail πŸ”— 1439057936  

Shake Blackmails himselfIt has occurred to me that every democracy or republic is bound to eventually become dominated by their own intelligence apparatus or "Secret Police". This is usually after some sort of catalyzing event that introduces some kind of executive or bureaucratic apparatus (which in the USA happened with the constitution).

Basically the concept is this. Let's say you have two groups - one is elected by some kind of plebiscite (and are thus incentivized to be 'electable'). The other group is appointed by these elected 'representatives', and their term is only limited by the whim of the elected official. Their incentive is to either a) Lick boots so well that the politician sponsoring them wants to keep them around (which is a flawed strategy - once a rival is elected instead of your sponsor, expect to be sacked) or b) spend all of your time compiling blackmail material on the current elected official with the power of employing you AND compiling blackmail material on any potential rivals to that elected official's spot. Of course, once you start going down path B, you may as well start comprehensively blackmailing everyone in government and everyone that has the potential to undermine your government, so that you can acquire more actual power for yourself (and for the cronies you now have forced the elected officials to appoint). Generally, this seems like a solid strategy, since reputation is important to the person getting elected, but not at all important for the blackmailer.

Now, what policy alternatives are available to curtail this or change the incentives? The most common thing tried by elected officials is to outlaw blackmail, but that does not actually change the incentive structure, since the blackmailer will simply release the material anyways to sink you if an elected official were to have anyone make the arrest. It is more sensible to 'go along to get along' in that scenario (incentive-wise), regardless of the legality of the situation. This in fact amplifies the power of blackmailers, as those 'going along to get along' are in fact now conspirators in a crime to cover up the blackmailing of themselves and likely others (may as well make a deal to blackmail your rivals so long as you are 'going along to get along'). Another example is abolishing bureaucracy, making all public power wielded by elected officials. This will curb the blackmailing by their own apparatus, but there may be other sources of power that operate under the same incentive to blackmail. Unions, cartels or any other sort of legal monopoly granted by government in the private sector also are incentivized to either a) Lick boots (most commonly via bribery) or b) to blackmail politicians to get their way.

Dang. So there's really no way to avoid this so long as the government wants to have control over either a) it's own agents (by having bureaucracy) or b) the private sector (via monopolies or other privilege grants to special interest groups). So what is the way to solve this? Easy - abolish the government. After all, the only reason these guys got elected in the first place is because some group(s) banded together to use force against anyone not in their group (see Oppenheimer). That's why they want control and need agents doing their bidding, whether in the public or private sector. Thus, all democracies/republics are doomed to this fate, as it is a model designed to incentivise this. Considering that these systems seem to be sticking around for a while, I would posit that this was likely the point from the beginning - that the representative aspect of the system is ultimately a smokescreen for what is in actuality, rule by blackmail.

Programming while Deprogramming πŸ”— 1439057935  

fractal.jpgSee here and here for backstory/inspiration for writing this.

Though I was still in diapers around the time the author for the second article got his C64, my interest in computers came in a similar fashion. I saw how powerful Linux and BSDs could be over Windows 98 (even though much effort was required to accomplish a good setup at the time). There are many SysAdmins and Programmers I've met from my age group, and they usually have similar stories. I'm still amazed every year at how much of the indoctrination I'm shedding, while simultaneously realizing what a con job got done on me during my incarceration within the public schools.

I suppose I have my parents to thank for being able to get this far. By the time I entered kindergarten, I had already been allowed and encouraged to learn how to read and understand english phonetically. I had played enough card games to understand basic arithmetic. It was too late for the State to turn me into a completely dependent, drooling serf. Still, "Life in the School Zone" leaves nobody untouched. The latest steps in my journey come from an unexpected bout of unemployment for my Birthday present earlier this summer.

One of the purposes of teodesian.net is as a sandbox for myself and Doge to experiment with web technologies, which have fascinated us for years. Over time, we've rolled our own system of microblogging, blogging and file sharing that has features I really like (and that I haven't found in other blog/CMS systems out there). I took this time to roll up/refactor and package this system in a way I can distribute this to the public (GPL'd of course) partly as a 'feather in the cap' to show off, partly in case somebody thinks similarly to us and wants to use our system. I should be done putting the finishing touches on that by the end of the week and will post an announcement at such time. Doing this has not only improved my ability (which I intend to continue to do), but has begun to unearth some of the creativity I had buried along with my feelings around the turn of the millennium (and for reasons I won't to go into). More than that, I'm beginning to dream frequently again. I thought for years that I was just simply not remembering having my dreams, but now that I'm having them so frequently and remembering that I had them when I wake up, I'm beginning to wonder if a simple failure to remember them earlier was true.

If I keep heading in this direction, then I suspect I may just wind up having the most fearsome, exhilarating time in my life before I'm done. Not a bad way to start this website's "Third Act", I suppose.

Postscript: Between me and Doge, there's still about 10 or so outlined, unfinished blog posts we have had festering in our conciousness (and our hard drives!) that need finishing. I may just have found the motivation to finish them.

The Third Act πŸ”— 1439057934  

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.


Cars-n-Guns πŸ”— 1439057933  

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, become 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. No mufflers suppressors, nitro selective fire, chopping & channeling, "Sawed Off" barrels and stocks, and of course, you can only use your property in exactly the way described by your wise overlords, regardless of whether doing so is safe (harms no one) behavior or not.

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.


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