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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.

The Deep State πŸ”— 1439057940  


I had a feeling the "Deep State" essay of the other day was a bit of a limited hangout. Thankfully, Peter Dale Scott comes out with the antidote:

...the current threat to constitutional rights does not derive from the deep state alone. As I have written elsewhere, the problem is a global dominance mindset that prevails not only inside the Washington Beltway but also in the mainstream media and even in the universities, one which has come to accept recent inroads on constitutional liberties, and stigmatizes, or at least responds with silence to, those who are alarmed by them. Just as acceptance of bureaucratic groupthink is a necessary condition for advancement within the state, so acceptance of this mindset’s notions of decorum has increasingly become a condition for participation in mainstream public life.

As I have known for some time, it's not a conspiracy that sharks swim towards blood. The only way to get away with this sort of evil is to make the system evil so that the removal of any member (shark's teeth) does not harm its operation.

Ironically, you can't centrally plan an empire; it has to come about because a de-centralized network of criminal organizations (like political parties) all see it as the best way to aggrandize themselves. As such, the only true solution is to abolish the government, or at least the Standing army, police and security apparatuses. If you don't go all the way, they'll just come back though.

Perhaps the most important takeaway is that the vast blackmail apparatus that is a part of the deep state is largely unneeded to control the elected organs of the state. A system that can produce such a thing is already so evil that anyone who could win office would prefer participation to resisting evil.

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.

Slacktivism πŸ”— 1439057932  

After listening to the Bad Quaker Interview Derrick Freeman, I realized I'd been wanting to share my perspective on activism.

I'm definitely with Ben Stone on this one regarding how many different types of activism there are. I know before he's mentioned that he can't fly because of his temperament, so I definitely can "Grok" what he's talking about.

In any case, I finally got around to watching "Victimless Crime Spree" due to this podcast (before listening to the podcast, actually - It adds needed context IMHO after listening). I know that I do not have the restraint to do what is done by Derrick or any of the Free Staters in "Free Keene" when confronted by such brazen criminals in their government. If I somehow found myself in a situation like that, then I could see having restraint in the moment of the conflict (only if it would facilitate escape); but I doubt I could willingly walk into any jail or tolerate anyone hurting the people I love that way, much less myself. I suspect I might just have decided in the situation that it was time to get a life sentence's worth of victimless crimes under my belt, just to prove a point. Of course, the police would then commit murder to avoid such a public embarrasment; and as I value my life more than confronting authoritarians, I wouldn't get myself anywhere near being in that situation in the first place.

Ben also made a good point that Derrick would be wise to take to heart; namely that his manner invites the cowardly and predatory in society to take advantage of him. It appears that he's even a sucker when it comes to fellow liberty folks. One thing I can say is that guys like Alex Jones don't tend to get hassled as much -- he correctly understands that bullies cower when you display an ability and willingness to resist. You'd think this behavior would backfire on the true government psychos out there; but they tend to flinch, being used to helpless and defeated victims. At which point you realize you probably should run from these people regardless of how you dealt with them.

Stuff like this is why I'm not an activist. I think I understand the Amish more every day; not being a target for those criminals is a good way to avoid the desire to mete out vengeance upon these rapacious devils. At some level, knowing how these fools & reprobates comprising the government act, and yet still exposing yourself to be hurt by them seems like a sinful act on par with suicide.

However, putting yourself inside a cage which you can tolerate is a pale substitute for real freedom; It is a pity that it seems the only practical option available to peaceful people. Furthermore, I'm not sure I buy the sort of "blaming the victim" involved in considering provoking the bad guys by being good as being sinful. Not wise, perhaps, but well within a person's natural right to themselves and their property.

Besides, who am I to try and defend the freedoms of those who desperately want to be enslaved? Many wondered why it took so long to get Ron Paul as far as he did, and once again I have to agree with Ben Stone. It is because the peaceful advocates of liberty and the violent advocates of statism have made a market for liberty. However, this does not mean the market for tyranny is now weak -- in fact it's never been larger.

As such, we will get nowhere by trying to make any gains for liberty at large. Instead, we should make our lives the example to follow of liberty and the success it brings. If we do, the slaves might just associate liberty with success, rather than getting thrown in the pokey like Derrick. If they can't free themselves at that point, then there's nothing you could do for them anyways.

Perhaps the Quakers had it right in their no-compromise position of complete disrespect for the Procrustean authorities & other puritans. I suspect such bold proceedings against evil will again be required if we wish to finish the job of abolishing slavery. Their pacifist position exposes the evil of those aggressing against them, and authoritarianism is fundamentally self-destructive -- one does not have to attack it to defeat it. One merely has to cease supporting it.

Matrix of Banality πŸ”— 1439057931  

all we want is to get out of our skin for a while...

Societies burdened with governments require pressure valves. Whether it is the tax shelter or porn, from EverQuest to Facebook. Humanity constructs another ideal shibboleth to lose themselves inside almost daily. Those who do not understand the individual idiom that each insider to these systems "groks" will likely react predictably upon seeing it, without even acknowledging how alien their paradigm is to those outside his lawn. Even now, I suspect I've "lost" some of you reading who do not share in my set of life experiences, consisting of indoctrination, pop culture and anarcho-capitalism. Well, that and the cliched teaser image and title that are trying too hard to be painfully hipster (as usual).

If, however, I haven't alienated you yet, then there's a good point to be made here. Due to all value being subjective, even "reality" doesn't have a monopoly on where we choose to "live" mentally. Indeed, even the science done on this seems to concur. As such, whichever "reality" we choose to live in will likely be the one with the best percieved return for the least required effort. Let me put it another way, through the paradigm of video games. Would you rather play "Wait in line at the DMV" or "BonerQuest"? Life under the state seems a lot more like Takeshi no Chosenjo than anything you'd actually want to play.

It should come as no surprise that more money went towards buying video games in 2010 (US Only) than was sent to the DNC for the purpose of getting the Magic Negro reelected in 2012 - a difference of over 10 Billion Dollars. I suspect there were more gamers than voters this year too, but to my knowledge, that appears to be an unconfirmed suspicion without any good statistical evidence gathered at this point. Certainly if you just switch over to internet or TV users as your pool, you beat it easily. It is common knowledge by this point that Internet and TV fulfill much the same purpose as video games to the average user anyways, so this certainly isn't just comparing apples to oranges.

Society is necessarily going to be a mirror of the people, so next time you get the urge to castigate some youngun' for playing video games, listening to devil music or snorting krokodil off the ass of a tranny hooker, think about the society that you helped to create before sitting back down to watch Fox News.

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Thank You, America.

self defense πŸ”— 1439057930  

Seems the authoritarians out there are at it again in the aftermath of the CT school shooting. As usual, they're arguing that gun use and ownership needs to be restricted for private citizens. Cause, y'know the government would never lie to you or round you up now that they have all the guns, right?

In any case, I keep hearing one terrible argument in even libertarian circles, and it goes like this:

I'd love to magically have guns disappear, but since we can't...
Using such as an argument against gun control is entirely ridiculous and dangerous. Not only does it ruin your rhetorical position, as it emotionally concedes the point, which is a cue for the chimps out there to shout you down; But it also implies something far, far more sinister.

It says that you pine for a world where the physically strong dominate the weak. Without guns, anyone with a stronger arm and a long weapon rules the roost. Women and short people need to think real long and hard about that one -- without an equalizer on your hip, peonage and rape is gonna look real easy.

I've also heard lots of people advance the argument that it's OK to have gun control, as long as you have contracted (or are coerced) into a police-protectee relationship. This is also a remarkably foolish argument, as there are some things which simply cannot be delegated. Like one does not hire another to eat or defecate for themselves, hiring another to defend one's self is similarly an impossibility for all but the wealthiest. Even then it is a pale substitute; can one really trust a bodyguard to be there 24/7, and to not betray? Ask the Roman Emperors how that one turned out for them.

In the end, I think the thing that really terrifies all these authoritarians is the statistics on self defense; And this isn't just talking about how more guns reduces the incidents of aggression overall. In every case, resistance to aggression (regardless of how it is done) overall increases one's chance of surviving the incident. This is borne out even in the macro events; being in open rebellion beats the heck out of concentration camps. As such, the authoritarians have a sort of annihilation panic going on; they know their behavior is self-destructive at some level, and as such must rationalize before cognitive dissonance sets in and they feel uncomfortable in the slightest. After all, the whole point of being authoritarian is so that you don't have to think for yourself!

Which I suppose hits back again at the root of all this. Authoritarians delusionally believe that they can delegate authority over themselves and others which they either do not possess or cannot delegate. Some feel they are delegating their ownership of others, and hence control of their actions, to the "authorities". This is clearly wrong, as telepathy does not exist; rights do not exist without the ability to use them.

However, this is something of a straw-man, as most believe something even more ridiculous. That being the "sum of the parts having emergent properties" argument. They hold that while no one has the right to coerce, agglomerations of people ("society" or "the common good" or "the collective") does. Well, I'm all for there existing some emergent properties in some systems. However, I find it a great leap of imagination to believe that emergent properties exist from a summation of parts that equals 0, as no single member of the agglomeration has the claimed authority.

I suppose it is the internalization of this delusion that makes most of those holding it eschew self defense; as otherwise they would have to think for themselves about why they are not internally consistent (and they foolishly believe they can have authorities think for them). So, they go on their merry gun-grabbing way until the reality of self-defense statistics stares them in the face, at which they have a few choices:

The vast majority get emotional and angry to distract oneself from reason (democrat), or start looking out for themselves while not taking the time to become logically consistent (republican). Some do embrace reason however. Hopefully they take it all the way to liberty.

A Clear Mandate πŸ”— 1439057929  

This is going to be a quick take, but it's a bit long for a nuze posting. Anyways, it looks like out of the 221.5 million eligible voters (229.95 Million of age to vote less ~ 7-8 million convicts - I'll go with 8 to be conservative), around 120 million found it to be worth their time to vote*. That means 54% of people decided it was not even worth their time to vote. This is great news, as it means that nobody legitimately won the election if you counted the votes sanely (haha!).

Ultimately, this is great news, as it means the majority have likely withdrawn their consent, even if just due to apathy. Still, there is also another side of the coin here, as it also means that the government (as usual), could care less about what the people want and will go ahead being the pillaging minority that the state always tries to be until they go full retard and embrace communism.

UPDATE: I guess I should just throw this all out and say all the real votes were either stolen or fence posts. What a joke.

*Note that around 1.5 million were confirmed for Libertarian. No telling how man little 'l' libertarians there were, because those aren't counted in the court statistics (as they'll never vote).

Review: Classified Woman πŸ”— 1439057928  

" No, that's your mistake! You are the one who doesn't understand...Like your father, you are the one who lives in an idealistic world. That world does not exist, Sibel. Governments, be it Turkey, Germany, Egypt or the United States are all the same. They want one thing: power to rule. They cannot tolerate truth or dissent. "

Sibel Edmond's Mother, Classified Woman pp. 155-156

I recently have read several books that really brought home to me the true depth of depravity in our government (and to varying extents all governments). I used to be fairly jaded and able to talk about these extremely tyrannical things going on while remaining pretty calm, but I can do so no longer. As such, I didn't quite think that I "Hated the state", like Murray Rothbard said was a big part of being a real fighter for liberty. Though I had the moral passion for Justice, I did not fully internalize how what we have today is not only far from, but the complete opposite of justice. It was when I realized that the message we send by not resisting these criminals, and "running silent and deep" only encouraged them that my strong dislike and aversion turned into a steely determination to resist these criminals in every way possible.

Now when folks like Alex Jones (the interviewer in the video above) talks about being fired up, I really understand on an emotional level what he's talking about. It really is hard not to believe that this is an insane death cult, considering it's the only way to be logically consistent with the actions. The temptation to run as fast as I can from the USA has become nearly irresistible -- we're way past the point that 1776 could solve these problems.

But, time brings calm, and I think I've discovered a couple of rather mundane threads that run through all of these things; an explanation which might be of remarkable rhetorical utility which I intend to make a forthcoming series of essays on. Anyways, I'd like to share my thoughts about one of the few books that will chill almost anyone to the bone.

To begin with, I feel pretty good about excerpting the book above, considering the ridiculous and hysterical claims of state secrecy the FBI and DOJ have levied against the mere publishing of this book. Such bemusement was the general feel I had starting to read the book; this is despite regularly reading Sibel's Boiling Frogs Post, and having heard of some of the explosive allegations surrounding the cover-ups she exposed. Even these things did not prepare me for how brazenly corrupt and evil the reprobates in all branches of government and the media were when it came to Sibel's case.

When I saw that the "State Secrets" privilege (literally a relic from the old star courts) was being invoked not just to classify ridiculous numbers of documents daily, but to prevent discovery, legal defense and practically every other element of due process that I realized that the precedent had been set. The government will never again be limited in any way by anyone for any reason until the whole damn system collapses. It's "If Sulla could, why can't I?" all the way down. They will just wave their magic wand of state secrets, ruin the lives of citizens who resist, and intimidate all politicians and media personalities with their police state blackmail apparatus until it grinds down to full collapse.

It was truly shocking to find out that not just some, but all embarrassing incidents in the FBI and other alphabet agencies are covered up, and that this was common knowledge in said organizations. This is doubly shocking when you find that the government basically concedes all Sibel's points, but refuses to hold anybody whatsoever accountable. Talk about moral hazard -- no wonder these clowns are soiling themselves over terrorism; they know that the way they've set up these agencies is such that they can't even catch a cold!

Having been in organizations where a culture of "face saving" and other such tribal "we look out for our own above all else" behavior has literally wrecked productivity, I know how this ends. It is all the more dangerous and destructive considering that these guys are in the business of violence; If anybody can make people disappear to cover for incompetence, things get real scary quick. I can't honestly say beyond a shadow of a doubt that such is not already going on; in fact there is strong evidence in many cases that the FBI, F-Troop, the CIA and DEA have and are making people disappear.

Needless to say, this is a book which should be read by all Americans. If this story of all the branches of government covering up for foriegn infiltration involved in nuclear arms smuggling and 9/11 can't break people out of their trance, I don't know what will. Considering that half the voting population (Demoncrats) are now lauding the doubling-down on these policies which were so evil under Bush, and that the clownish Rethuglicans are basically groveling and worshiping Obama's use of these powers because of this, I'm not holding my breath. It seems the general public has been so inculcated to authority via public schools that there's no limit to what they'll put up with.

Big Rock Candy Monetary Theory πŸ”— 1439057927  

There are some days where I really shouldn't bother reading my emails. Though I list Naked Capitalism as one of my sources in the Links page, there are some pages I skip over rather routinely. This one, unfortunately, got emailed to me as well, so I decided to see what must be so neat about this article. Alas, I could not resist ragin' hard enough to write a rather lengthy reply over this one. Below is the reply, with a link added for context.

This time, Phillip Pilkington continues with his usual strawmanning and misunderstanding of Austrian Economics. I'll admit, he would be correct to bash the 'right wing' and the CATO crowd for acting illogically/nostalgically. Ultimately, however, he's not even striking in their direction, except tangentially. Judging by Phillip's references and earlier hit pieces on Austrianism, this appears to just be another polemic against Austrian economics (due to an MMT based Inflation Infatuation).

In any case, the Austrian Economist does not advocate either inflation or deflation, as the 'correct' money supply is necessarily unknowable to the Austrian due to the implications of the action axiom. If asked for a policy prescription, any 'target' amount of money given by an Austrian economist would always be incorrect even by their own admission, unless due to accident/luck (as it is not calculable via economic analysis, due to omniscience not being a means available to man).

Mises recommendation would not be to abolish the fed or abolish the government, instead merely observing that central planning of 'x' is necessarily going to be an insufficient means of obtaining whatever 'y' is and must thus necessarily end either by voluntary abandonment of these "Means unsuited to the attainment of certain Ends" or by the failure of that collective venture due to the compound effect of persisting in employing means unsuited for obtaining whatever the desired end is.

Even more essential to the debate is the very structure of production and 'Cantillon effects', which all but the most delusional MMT bozos can grasp (Ed Harrison gets this). MMT has a similar, but much more limited notion of banks not being 'reserve constrained' but rather 'capital constrained'. In the same way, regardless of the supply of money, the real capital pool of an economy is not determined by the supply of money, but by incentives existent to employ capital (which the money supply does influence, but is not the only factor). One can contrast the 'miraculous' gold glut period Pilkington refers to with the 'disastrous' gold glut that accompanied the fall of the Spanish Empire. Why did these periods have similar monetary growth profiles but different outcomes (ENDS)?

If you've been paying attention, you'll see it is the means employed by the actors in the market to obtain the gold. The private gold miners of the 1800s largely were providing a demanded product at a price freely negotiated between them and the buyers, where the Spanish empire had no such concern. Thus the Empire made errors in calculation due to having no frame of reference to judge the profitability/viability of their decisions as it relates to funding the continued operation of the Hapsburg Empire. This caused more errors later when the empire frivolously wasted all their gold on that century's version of 'No Bid Contracts'.

Once you start walking down those roads, whether it starts with paper money and ends with authoritarianism or starts with authoritarianism and ends with paper money is irrelevant, as doubling down on any coercive end to obtain anything other than privation will necessitate ever more intervention until whatever comprises the collective achieves a perfect state of privation and savagery. The Spanish monarchs eventually figured this out and voluntarily abandoned most of their schemes when their cousins got hanged and guillotined or otherwise fell from grace.

In the end, Pilkington makes the Austrian case himself and doesn't realize it by using 'the great liberalism due to gold glut' theory he espouses, as no central bank was required to accomplish this miracle of inflation without the 'stag'. He then goes on to note that the deflation afterward was marked by massive cronyism and police stating (mostly born from the 'Reconstruction' of the south into the north's plantation). This massive increase in slavery resulted in a deflation the Aztecs got to experience earlier as all their gold got 'liberated' from them by the Spanish empire. The north, of course, was busy spending all the spoils from the enslaved south to pacify the southern slave states at the time, so the economy predictably suffered due to the misdirection of scarce resources.

Philip doesn't get that the reason the Libertarian Austrians decry paper money/centrally planned inflation is because it is not caused by an actual increase in scarce resources and thus breaks the price mechanism in ways both unforeseeable and catastrophic. Since MMT guys are stuck in Book Value world, I suppose it is unsurprising that he does not grasp this.

The Truth does not have to be forced πŸ”— 1439057926  

"How many lights do you see there?"
"I see four lights."
"No. There are five."

Have you noticed that nobody has to stick a gun to anybody's head to make them believe, say, Newton's laws of motion? This might seem like a silly question, even though it is clearly true that nobody has to force people to believe that inertia exists. It's sort of an "ignore this at your own peril" sort of thing.

Similarly, companies tend not to make products that kill people unless they already have blanket immunity, usually acquired through some sort of bribery, be it direct or indirect. That might seem like an extreme example, but we must realize that even the non-extreme example is true; any company which makes a product superior product to another firm's at a better price point will always succeed supposing the other firm does not apply coercive measures. Even then history shows that the force cannot be maintained forever; Mr. Market wins in the end.

What I'm getting at here is that ideas which are true do not have to be forced. If a scientific, technological or political idea which purports to be beneficial if used is indeed true, no force need be applied -- people act to achieve desired ends, and anything making that easier tends to catch on pretty quick.

Like another key insight I learned early in life (if you are confused, something or someone is lying to you), this seems rather profound and useful. Consider practically any government program and you will immediately realize the truth of the situation: that it is fundamentally exploitation. For example, suppose you say that public police, roads, schools, et cetera are beneficial ergo we must have them, and such justifies forced exactions (taxation). Well, if it were such a good idea (e.g. everyone involved wanted it, and it was clearly better than private alternatives), would people need to be forced to pay for it? I think not.

Like in the days of slavery, we all want cotton; but does this mean that it will not be picked without slavery? Or that less cotton will be picked if we abolish slavery? Clearly the answer is no; cotton production neither ceased nor reduced production after abolition. Production increased instead.

Some say that this was due to mechanization, but this is tantamount to saying the facts don't matter. The Sharecropping model that replaced slavery was no walk in the park -- these people were not in any shape to buy capital equipment. Nevertheless, production increased. Freedom, even in small amounts, is a powerful motivator. Similarly, we will not have a society with more violence, less roads, illiterate kids or lower quality/quantity of any service which is now publicly provided if we decide to fund them without coercion. We will have a less violent, better educated and more prosperous society instead, due to the accountability imposed upon actors in those fields by the market.

Consider a more contemporary example, say the notion that we must all pay a tax to combat global warming. Well, if global warming was really as dire as advertised, you would not need to force people to fight it -- Like fighting a foreign invader, people would be lining up to volunteer.

Of course, this is somewhat more complicated -- many do volunteer to combat said warming, being convinced of it's danger. I suppose they do not think their efforts will ever be enough however, like those volunteering for war tend to do (warning sign!), and almost universally agitate for a tax to support said efforts. Those agitating against global warming think that this tax will disincentivize using petrochemical fuels, and that people will instead use renewables which will avert catastrophe.

Of course, this is foolishness when one considers that religions have been threatening sinners with hell for thousands of years, and torturing, robbing and killing them for a good portion of that time. Yet, man still sins. They say this is due to man's fallen nature, but I suspect it has more to do with the fallen nature of those in the church incapable of seeing the mote in their own eyes.

The reality is that be they sins against god, master against his slaves, or our earth-mother with evil carbon, man will not repent until it benefits him to do so. This is not a reason for despair however; it is in fact a reason to rejoice, for it means that civilization will slowly become less wrong, as the initiation of force is never mutually beneficial. Like Jesus said, the truth sets you free. And the truth does not have to be forced, so eventually we will be free.

Judge Time πŸ”— 1439057925  

I was listening to Anarchast the other day, and I heard an argument from Bob Murphy that really resonated with me vis-a-vis becoming an anarchist. He said that he managed to be a minarchist for many years, until he realized that the state doesn't even reliably provide law & order, and never has. I am reminded of the phrase "with friends like these, who needs enemies" -- but here it's "if you call this order, I'd hate to see what you think is chaos!" This made me realize that it was probably the law classes I took in college that made me realize how unnecessary legislatures actually are; as such, it didn't take much to realize that the rest of the state was a total scam after reading the Austrian Economists.

Looking back, I must say that there is definitely a good reason that law is not taught in US primary school; If it were, the strength, simplicity, and moral authority of common law would likely strike more people in the same way it did myself. Failing that, it might make people think twice about treaties, and raise a bigger stink about unconstitutional statutes. Maybe I'm an optimist, but I suspect most people going through that class would wonder why a constitution, statutes and treaties are necessary at all.

This is because it's really, really hard to beat the common-law definitions of crimes and torts:


A tort is any harmful action done by one person to another person, regardless of intent for which compensatory restoration is possible. If the act was intentional, triple the amount which would be sufficient to restore is to be levied as a disincentive to intentional harming of others.


A crime is any harmful and intentional action done by one person to another person, for which compensatory restoration is not possible, either in whole or in part. Since all such harms inevitably violate a person's ownership of themselves, some valuation can always be put on a person's use of their body over time, which was cut short or stolen by crime; ergo all crimes are also torts. Traditionally the punishment for crimes was death, shunning/exile or enslavement.

I cannot think of any way a person, knowing the definitions as such, could be confused as to what is criminal & tortuous, and what is not. However, there are a couple of areas I think that this could be improved upon.

Harm vs. Lack of Gain

A place where significant trip-ups have been made in the past and resulted in some of the greatest evils of our time (namely monopolies/cartels and copyrights/patents) is the deliberation of when someone has been harmed, rather than prevented from profiting. Most people do not realize it, but the arguments in favor of copyrights and patents are identical to those behind monopolies and cartels -- namely that a person is harmed by competition. Put this way, the argument seems legally ridiculous; I am clearly not harmed by a person competing with me, I simply do not gain where they excel in contrast to myself.

However, it gets more complex when we get down to the personal level, such as is done with patent and copyright. Suppose I share some copyrighted works on-line. Have I harmed the copyright holder, or am I simply a competing distributor with a rock-bottom price preventing the copyright holder from profit? Reality has borne out the second view. If the copyright holder moves to a "name your price" model, they invariably capture more audience than "pirates" do. This means that the real problem the copyright holder had was price discovery; The number of people who were willing to pay the copyright holder's price was lower than the number of those who would prefer it at a lower price, and due to the monopoly nature of it had nowhere to turn but to "pirates".

So, since it is clear that there is a market remedy which acknowledges the way humans really act, why do we need a monopoly? Like all the other uses for violence, it is because the person does not have an actual argument; they are simply ignorant of a way to be rewarded for their intellectual efforts, and resort to waving guns around. It will take time for people to internalize these lessons; but like this generation of musicians, all will soon realize that their recordings are better used as a way to popularize their real moneymaker -- live performance. This notion is already taking root in silicon valley for patent-holders; they are beginning to realize that they can sell their employment in implementing said design easier & more profitably than the patent itself.

It is worth noting that these concepts (monopolies, copyrights, patents) are not common-law concepts, but were invariably put in by a statutory authority (e.g. Kings). This too leads me to believe that I am right to consider all of these legal fictions to be the result of mistaking Lack of gain for harm. Considering the hideous evils wrought by these legal notions, one realizes precisely why the law was limited to questions of harm; when we expand it to prevention of gain, it takes on an entirely arbitrary character. If it's legitimate to deserve renumeration from a person competing with you, it's legitimate to stop him from competing altogether via injunction or more extreme sanction. Such a standard quickly degenerates into "my way or the highway" for the most powerful interests in a country.


Now, as to punishment for crimes, and treble damages, there is much controversy -- in simpler times, death was generally preferred; today most societies prefer enslavement (incarceration). I personally consider exile to be the most humane, due to the argument made by Clarence Darrow -- the courts, even if guided by such simple principles will make mistakes. As such, death and enslavement is criminal behavior towards the wrongfully convicted; exile alone is at worst tortuous -- access to a land can be restored. Of course, exile has been abused in the past, especially when one considers the punishments for violating it (outlawry) and how it frequently was coupled with asset confiscation. I suspect the only punishment which does no crime to those wrongfully exiled would be shunning.

Thinking on it, adapting the "first do no harm" from medicinal traditon into "first, do no crime when sentencing" would be a good, simple to understand addition to the common-law tradition. Such would send a clear message that our "justice" system is no longer about vengeance or exploitation, but about the pursuit of justice, no matter the cost.

Who's law is it anyway?

Speaking of the vengeful and exploitative legal punishments US citizens and visitors are subject to, it's also worth mentioning that it's completely arbitrary; from it's composition and interpretation to it's enforcement. The fact that our federal and state governments have three separate apparatuses for doing precisely these things bears this out; if our rules were not arbitrary, they would be:

  • Static, and not require composers (parliaments, dictators, etc).
  • Simple enough to be interpreted correctly by the layman (e.g. jurors)
  • Simple enough that enforcement could be conducted by the layman (e.g. militias/posses)
Arbitrary rules are dangerous precisely because if the determination of rules can be done at whim, it is also morally legitimate to enforce and interpret them at whim. If a congress, dictator or some collective comes to the point to where their word is law, can we really be surprised when the judges and police below them act in the same arrogant manner? As it is above, so it is below -- this is fundamentally why corruption happens, despite otherwise ethical people overwhelmingly staffing these organizations.

To add insult to injury our laws are not just arbitrary, but non-universal. Non-universal rules for humans means that some men are not subject to them, and all who are not subjects are rulers (e.g. above the law). This is clearly the root cause of the arbitrariness; furthermore it is a less robust system, as a limited number of rulers can never resolve the disputes of all the subjects as quickly and satisfactory as the subjects can themselves (see the economic calculation problem). Also, like with arbitrariness, we can expect those below the rulers to agitate for exemptions too -- corporations, "loopholes" and subsidies are all manifestations of this.

It is for these reasons that I realized that not only was the state unnecessary for the provisioning of justice, but actually hindered it's administration. For many years, I have struggled like many others in the "liberty movement" to find a way that I could make this superior system of common law, rather than statutory and administrative law live once more, and to make improvements upon it. It was not until recently that it occurred to me that the very arbitrariness of the system was the mechanism by which it could be defeated, if only at the local level.

Judge Time

To start, I would campaign for low office like JP or county court, and vociferously make the case that since the law is arbitrary and everybody's techincally a criminal (note "3 felonies a day", etc), nobody should really care if I ignore what's on the books and throw out all cases that don't fit the common law definitions of crimes/torts (who was harmed?)

Furthermore, nobody should really mind if my decisions get overturned on appeal; it's all arbitrary, remember? I'd also make a point of passing out FIJA pamphlets to Jurors, denying "fishing" warrants, granting habeas corpus, and doing various other things that would majorly piss off DAs. Hopefully it would get to the point where they wouldn't even bring cases before me; then I'd at least feel less put out from turning down the salary and running my court on donation. Failing that, maybe I could get away with a helping along some barratry or malicious prosecution suits against said DAs that have a penchant for railroading people. It would also be neat to have cops hauled in for harming people unnecessarily or under citizen's arrest, but I suspect I'd have to be bringing murder charges against the police if any citizen attempted such an arrest anywhere in the US.

You'll note I added that caveat "at the local level" earlier -- I have no doubt that if this were not a nationwide phenomenon, the existing power structure would find nothing at all wrong with caging or killing anyone doing this that made trouble for people "higher up the food chain". But, we have to start somewhere; this to me seems the place in which the liberty movement as a whole has the greatest disagreement upon.

Navel Gazing

Folks like Stefan Molenyux think we have to ignore politics and raise "the perfect socialist libertarian man" first, and that this will be a nearly endless slog. That sounds a lot like the fuzzy-headedness I hear all the time from the other side of the aisle -- e.g. communism only failed because they weren't communist enough. But it also has a grain of truth, much like agorism (just be free, ignore the state); If Mises truly is right, just letting the non-aggression principle work it's zesty magic long enough will make liberty lovers out-compete the parasites, who will slowly go extinct, or at least slide into irrelevance.

I'd say that in the end, the most likely strategy for achieving real gains for liberty in our lifetime is emphasizing that we want to opt-out of the state, like Murray Rothbard suggested. My strategy above, and a previous post I've made about suggested tax reform seem to fit in pretty well with that; and the more I think about an opt-out government, the more I like it. It's not just compassionate to those dependent on the current system and hard to disagree with (though I intend to make a forthcoming post on what objections exist, and why they're all some form of circular reasoning), but it's also practical; I seriously doubt I'd be able to use private roads exclusively for quite some time after universal-opt out was allowed. It also allows for those of us who want to be more hardcore in our embracing of the concepts of liberty to do so -- which means the Molenyuxites, Agorists and Praxeologists could test our approaches towards the pursuit of happiness too.

This, in some ways makes me wonder why there is this feeling of schism at all in the movement. Is not the true way of liberty to "lassiez faire"? Should not the best path to liberty not constrain oneself to a single path? I guess we can all lose sight of the big picture in the frustrating battle against statism; maybe all this subtle insinuation of division is all just a psyop, like Alex Jones suggests. Judging by the actions of the movers and shakers in the movement, they all seem to get along well enough to hang out at PorcFest, FreedomFest and Libertopia just fine. As such, I think much like Ben Stone does on this subject; we are all still growing in our understanding of humans and liberty. As such, the plank in our own eye can be hard to see sometimes.

Ridiculous Moral Arguments πŸ”— 1439057924  

I saw a great video by Molenyux on some commonly bandied about arguments used by statists:

Hint: one was used by Thugman the other day on the Colbert Report. People always forget that moral catch-22's aren't really possible -- if there are no choices, there can be no ethical or moral context. It's that old truism -- there is no such thing as good if one cannot choose to be evil (and vice versa).

However, real world examples are not quite so simple -- for example, The International Business Times is now bashing Ron Paul for admitting that he collects Social Security monies when there already was no choice in having the money taken from you in the first place. Either way, the Immoral act has already been accomplished. Taking a small amount of your stolen money back or choosing not to take the money back basically has no moral context.

Now it could still be argued that since the government has done more evils in that it has to enslave future generations just to pay these benefits currently, taking the money is bad. However, it must be noted that the bad decision was yet again already made here -- that is the state running this pension program like a ponzi scheme rather than a retirement fund.

So, all that is left is the praexological perspective -- we must consider how this impacts incentives, and whether it encourages you to do good or evil in the future. And from that perspective, taking the 30 pieces of silver is clearly the wrong move here. Deriving benefit from an evil organization like the state will inevitably tempt you to rise in it's defense. This in particular has always seemed to be a blind spot for those like Walter Block who derive benefit from the state, yet rationalize it as helping to "starve the monkeys".

AGW: the why behind no consensus πŸ”— 1439057923  

About 3 years ago, I got into a debate about Anthropogenic Global Warming with some of my friends. As you may suspect, I took the skeptical position. Due to such, the initial response was to use ad-hominems ("denier!") and to shout other thought-terminating cliches ("There's a consensus!") Of course, I didn't bother pointing out that the use of such implied that their opinion on such rested more on magical thinking; Use of such is generally a signaling mechanism that they are simply uninterested in the facts.

So, I decided to take a different tack. I asked them why they thought I hold the position that I do on this issue. Their first response was that I'm clearly heavily propagandized and brainwashed, due to not holding similar political opinions to them. So I responded, Supposing that's true, why have I been propagandized? Who gains from this? Their response was that it was the evil oil companies funding all those skeptical.

At this point, I didn't bother saying "I don't see my oilco check in the mail", or pointing out that most of those behind the AGW science are paid by governments, and not free from such conflict of interest either. Pointing out that something like government which they have internalized as good (which is like saying rape is love) could possibly corrupt scientists would more likely provoke a fight-or-flight response than reflection, so I didn't bother with that argument either. Instead, I asked why would these companies both fund colleges which have AGW promoting professors, and even back their conferences and run AGW awareness campaigns if they don't care about the issue? They responded that it must be a trick, considering that these companies are Evil (tm). Since I knew they would not respond well to me pointing out that they're engaging in the same kind of tinfoil-y conspiracy theorizing they accuse anti-government people of doing, I decided to tack yet again.

Supposing I've been propagandized by these evil companies, I said, why was I susceptible to this propaganda and you were not? Considering that we both had presented ourselves as pretty empirical and rational people up to this point, they thankfully did not make the argument hopeless by declaring me insane. They responded that they really couldn't tell me, as they weren't mind readers. I responded that I knew who could read my mind (myself), and offered the following explanation as to what could possibly incentivize me to believe as I do from a completely pragmatic perspective.

According to the IPCC's own worst-case estimate global warming would result in 37 inches of sea level rise over 100 years. Think about where I live. At the time it was 430 feet above sea level. It's obvious that I would not be directly affected by this; furthermore it would creep up so slowly that I'm sure we'll be able to adapt as a society. In fact, I would likely indirectly benefit due to increased crop yields (plants like CO2, and more ocean means more available humidity for clouds/rain) and higher relative property values (due to less land). The benefits would be even greater for those in high latitudes, as crop growth would be possible even higher than before. This explanation seemed to fit for them, as their general perception of those who "deny" AGW is that of a redneck rural republican.

I then turned the argument around and pondered why it seemed there was elite consensus on the danger of AGW? Well, considering that beachfront property is the most valuable, and hence owned in the largest proportion by the rich this becomes obvious pretty quickly. Furthermore, most refineries, ports and other capital equipment are there (due to 80% of humanity being within 20 miles of a water source, which is usually the coast). I posited that this was a more likely explanation for corporate backing of AGW, including that of the oil companies. Next, I stated that as a result of this agglomeration of humanity, governments would necesarily be anxious about disruption to them; as they want to maximize tax revenues.

I then asked why they think they support AGW, specifically in the context of how that belief benefits them. Almost invariably they said something along the lines of having had it explained to them by some particular friend in an AGW friendly way. Considering all these people's friends were on some kind of government assistance, the incentive structure became immediately clear to me; but I didn't decide to press that. Rather, since they were rather non-religious folk, I asked "Isn't that a bit like giving lip service to god because it makes dinner with family less tense?" They started slithering a bit at that point, and I realized that this was about as far as I was gonna get. Hopefully it was enough to plant the seed of doubt.

Corporations versus The State πŸ”— 1439057922  

I hear arguments along these lines all the time:

Liberal: "Evil corporations! They have corrupted our once virtuous government! We need more 'democracy'."
Conservative: "It's the evil government's creation of moral hazard that's incentivizing our once virtuous businesses to act in a reckless manner!"
and they never seem to resolve themselves; generally they agree to disagree. It is quite rare that the parties to these debates step back and realize that it takes two to tango; and even then they rarely realize why the dance floor is there in the first place.

Even those who recognize that the modern western state is basically Fascism, don't generally go in to why all of the western republics seem to always go this way. For some, I suppose it is not sensational enough, as the reality requires no conspiring by elites; for others, the reality would kill too many ideas which they hold sacred, and they do not investigate further in order to protect against having an existential crisis. In any case, the fundamental reason why the modern state and corporations tend towards this cartelization with each other is because structurally and functionally, they are the same.

Defective by Design

To demonstrate this, let me provide a couple of definitions, so as to facilitate straw-man attacks against this piece. When I say the "modern western state", what I mean is some sort of government in which the populace elects representatives to carry out the political aims of the populace. When I say the "modern western corporation", what I mean is some sort of organization in which shareholders elect various agents to carry out the economic aims of the shareholders. If you're paying attention, I'm sure you have noticed some similarities in those two definitions.

In fact, the only meaningful difference between the two are their aims and stakeholders. Many would believe that this would be enough difference to keep these parties distinct; however, when one truly understands incentives, you realize that the means always color the ends. In fact, the longer the means are in place, the more likely they are to become the ends themselves.

The means in this context are twofold: agency and limitation of liability; both have defects which make the possibility of effective shareholder control less likely as the size of the organization grows.

The Agency Problem

Agency is the notion that one can delegate the particular details of implementing a policy to someone else in exchange for payment. Where this breaks down is fairly well understood, just look up the "principal-agent problem". The usual hierarchal organization of governments and corporations practically always exacerbates this.

In the most degenerate stages of the agency problems in corporations, we see both executives abusing the company long-term to maximize short term bonuses; we also see situations where executives don't see rogue business units under them. Similarly, we see this in the large republics; practically all of them are actually run by their bureaucracies.

Limited Liability

As a result of the difficulties in caused by the agency problem in large organizations, the notion of limited liability always comes up either de-facto or de-jure. For example, if a corporation does some hideous polluting and as a result several people are killed, the shareholders are not held to account; this is because by law they have no direct control. Similarly, if a government decides to genocide some neighboring country (and fails), it's people are not directly held liable -- reparation payments are limited to their government, which inevitably finds a way to default on such.

The state, of course, does have an interesting extra measure here that is related to how not only they will abuse others which are not stakeholders, but how they also will abuse their own stakeholders (see Principal-Agent problems above). This concept limiting the liability of the agents against their principals is called "Sovereign Immunity," and this may perhaps be the only way in which the corporate model is superior to the modern western state. Still, even this type of immunity seems to be coming to many corporations as well. This phenomenon is known as "regulatory capture".

The fundamental defect in limiting liability is that it solves the problem of corrupt agents by corrupting the principals. Shareholders will be much more willing to go along with morally reprehensible, but profitable, actions when they have no reasonable expectation of blowback. Similarly, voters can get behind monstrous atrocities like enslaving generations yet unborn for a stimulus check today, as they know they'll never be held to account even if the bill came due tomorrow.

Consequences & Solutions

The consequences of these problems are quite far-reaching. Some Austrian School economists would even go so far to say that ultimately the issue with the modern corporation is that it suffers from the same economic calculation problems that plague all states, due to elements of central planning being present in corporations. Indeed, this problem becomes even worse when paired with the state, as they create a culture of competition in centralization, where the pressures to preserve your respective organizations actually drive you to centralize more due to mutual parasitism.

The astute reader might now be thinking that direct democracy or perhaps even monarchy is a solution to this nearly intractable problem. While Monarchy is indeed an improvement (as limited liability clearly is not present), and the autocrat has longer time horizons, it is at best only a mitigation strategy. It will inevitably suffer from out of control agents as size increases. On the other hand, consider direct democracy. If your "democracy" just ends up electing more agents, you will achieve at best a monarchy with multiple personality disorder. At worst, it is indistinguishable from republicanism and will degenerate into fascism. If instead your democracy ends up implementing all it's directives directly, I ask why vote at all? Such a system is really indistinguishable from anarchy; so don't bother going through with the ballot ritual and skip straight to free markets.

However, I suspect that radical decentralization of such a sort will be a bridge too far for most. Most fear their own failures so strongly (usually due to extreme sanction on such during childhood) that they will not be able to resist setting up liability limiters. Only time will tell whether de-centralization's obvious robustness and superior ability at satisfying the needs of it's stakeholders will win; I suspect such will happen only after the greatest achievement of centralization (global government) fails miserably.

Agile and Praexology πŸ”— 1439057921  

In my Professional capacity, I often come into contact with various methodologies such as Agile, ISO and Six Sigma. I've seen it done Right and wrong -- and I do think that in general Agile is the best of them. However, it is worth saying right out of the gate that all of these things cannot magically increase productivity, or make the lumpen creative. All the process-oriented approaches can do is get you uniform output, and as such reduce the incidence of stellar catastrophes.

As to why Agile by and large hits the mark, I believe the reasons lie mostly with praexological principles. When I am exposed to new ideas, or go over old ones, I have the habit of seeing it through the praexological lens. It struck me how similar the reasons that the failures of the "waterfall" method of software development resemble those of central economic planning. Requirements are decided by wise overlords, which are then implemented by programmers, checked by QA, and sold by marketing/sales. If any one of those in the chain fail, the project fails -- and the longer the planning horizon is, the more catastrophic the failure becomes.

Agile solves this effectively through decentralization and redundancy, which is the place that most organizations fall down in implementing agile. It is worth noting that this is also the way to mitigate the the ill effects of malinvestment brought on by failed economic calculation. As above, so below.

Another interesting concept in Project Management is the Iron triangle of Cost, Scope and Schedule -- that if you insist on any two, one must give. This is fundamentally what economic calculation is all about. Agile recognizes that if you insist that all three requirements are met, no amount of effort can make it a reality. If only the state would realize that backing up it's insistence on project goals with a gun is similarly futile and deluded.

The reasons for this are largely due to the information paradox created by all economic valuation being subjective. Value is subjective due to the impossibility of any two individuals having an identical informational context; like a program, we cannot rule out differing output when run by different interpreters, even if we feed it identical inputs. Similarly, the possibility that a group of stakeholders will ever be able to come to perfect agreement on the three points of the triangle quickly approaches 0 as the number of stakeholders increases.

Anyways, most businesses are not actually built to maximize the company's revenue, but profits for the owners; and as such they tend to be arranged hierarchically. This inevitably conflicts with the notion of "self-directed teams" in such organizations, as anxious managers and info-hoarding Neddries will lose power. The radical transparency required for such a team to correctly function is often a bridge too far, usually due to a lack of trusted agents. Most organizations are simply incapable of providing sufficient incentives to attract and keep employees worthy of such trust.

Similarly, governments always tend towards centralization due to the fact that doing such institutionalized violence makes finding trusted agents practically impossible. One look at the state of politics bears this out; only those capable of great lies can bury the skeletons required for maintaining the aura of legitimacy. Similarly, the requirement to bury such skeletons inevitably kills the level of transparency required for effective cross-agency co-ordination. As such, de-centralization is seen as an existential threat rather than as the way to effectively achieve their stated goals; and governments default to self-preservation becoming the goal.

Phobos Ozymandias πŸ”— 1439057920  

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

-Frankenstein's Baby Daddy

Many have often speculated about what really motivates the 'Power Elite' into acting in the way that they do. From what I have seen in the Anarcho-Capitalist/Liberty minded folks out there on the internet, the prevailing theory seems to be that they really are a bunch of power mad control freaks who actually derive pleasure from imposing their will upon others. Upon reflection, it is becoming more and more clear to me that this emerging "New World Order" and it's masters are not, as it may appear, motivated to continue to ride this train all the way to hell as a means of control, but rather because of a fear that the opposite is coming true despite their best efforts. One can make the case for this most persuasively when viewing the continuing rollout of the Police State and the complete zombification and paralysis of the banking sector. Why would they be simultaneously so impotent and yet need increasingly more draconian policies to be implemented if they already were 'getting off' on how much they are imitating BTK? Having to work harder to obtain your goals of domination doesn't exactly sound enjoyable to one having a high time preference when it comes to bossing people around, as it takes more effort to beat (or kill) your slaves into compliance than to have them be a compliant stockholm syndrome victim. Also, if you were already that delusional, wouldn't it be easier to rationalize and say you are still in control, even as everything tumbles down around your head?

Contrary to the more dramatic of the commentators out there, I would say that most of these 'Superclass' people are possessed of far more mundane motivations, even if a few of them are lunatics. One could even go to the root of the issue and just make an appeal based on the language of power: The State. What is implied by that phrase? Most obviously, stasis. It is a failed paradigm that aims to eliminate change in a world where resources are scarce, which leads to obvious problems. Regardless, this is the story of humanity's existance, as it is in our nature to seek stasis. Change is ultimately an immediate threat to homeostasis. Looking at evolutionary history, however, it is quite clear that the species that resist change (and thus does not select towards adaptiveness and intelligence) winds up as the extinct race. I think, deep down, the elites of this world can feel this, even if they don't know it. They may fear this more than they like to admit. Their actions would seem to validate my line of reasoning, as attempts to tighten control are ultimately a sign of weakness, not strength.

Still, perhaps this says more about myself and how I'd feel if I was captaining the Titanic than what is really felt by the elites. Who can say, as it would require being that person to truly know - and then, could you even honestly tell yourself, much less others, the truth?

The origin of the virus πŸ”— 1439057919  

Some have speculated that the virus preceded life, being as they are nothing more than amino acid/DNA/RNA chains. This would seem to be plausible. However, being as we likely do not (and possibly never will) have the ability to reproduce the conditions in which life formed, this may have to remain speculation for some time to come.

That in mind, another interesting possibility came to mind; that life itself generated the virus as a means to more effectively compete amongst each other. This has some real world backing, insofar as all life that is a carrier of a particular virus generally tends to be more successful than those who are not; such obviously reduces competitive pressure. We have also many cases of life generating other poisons to reduce competitive pressure, so it is not a stretch to posit that they may have branched out into virological warfare.

So, with the motive and use of such a mechanism in place, we have merely to show now that life can indeed spontaneously generate the virus where previously there was none. This would likely be as a result of random mutation in one of several competing strains of a particular species.

An experiment to verify such would be as follows: Take a number of strains of a particular bacterium species, and culture them isolated from each other until they reach some particular population level. Then put them into competition on the same substrate, and see which (if any) particular strain achieves dominance. Study said strain for traits that are new (and virological in particular). If no evidence of new viruses is found, separate the winner and culture into groups much like the original experiment, and repeat until one of these conditions are met:

  • Virus has spontaneously generated. This would be enough to prove that at least some viruses originated as selection mechanisms from living organisms.
  • Over a significant number of iterations, no evidence of virus generation is found. We can conclude then that it is at the least highly unlikely that viruses came from this source.

It is likely that the latter outcome will occur, in my opinion, as life is notoriously tight-fisted with it's origin story. However, it would be an enlightening experiment to carry out either way.

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