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Reformed Loser

 

October 21 2012

Whoa it's been almost five years. I'm now living in New Hampshire as a Free State Project participant. I co-host Free Talk Live one night a week.  I'm STILL a loser, but that will change, my friends.

Someday.

Someday very soon.

It's a rum old world.

J. Ray

 
 

24 January 2008

Definitely worth a mention, a new Atari-inspired chiptune album by Stu at 8bitpeoples.

I think I'll be going to PorcFest in June, and a friend of mine emailed me earlier tonight, attaching a paypal receipt from the Von Mises Institute. I wonder what he bought?

 
 

1 January 2008

 
 

30 November 2007

As an introduction to the P.-Ray dialogue, I'd like to say thank you to Mr. P. Today was shaping up to be another miserable, depressing day off. Thanks to you it wasn't.

Edit: My blogger template is not equipped to handle Manifestos (very long documents). You gotta say what you gotta say, but be advised, it uglies up the place a little.

 
 

30 November 2007

Jon - I appreciate your earnest responses. I have some additional questions and responses to your post that I will leave up to you to post on your blog or not. I would suggest that if you do make this public, that you include this sentence - I don't want this to become some sort of contest or otherwise get our personalities needlessly involved, which, I expect, would be more likely when engaging publicly in a spirited debate. However, I believe I'll be fine if you publish it. I'm just wary.

I hope you do not find anything below to be offensive or unfair; rather, I'm only trying to match my words to what I perceive to be the extremity of your positions. Also, as you will see, some of your statements (unintentionally to be sure) got under my skin a little, but I tried to remain responsive to the substance of your writing. At minimum, I have not purposefully misunderstood anything you have written and hope that I have not mistakenly done so either. If I deserve a whuppin' on any of this, give it to me. Additionally, I have taken a liberty that I hope you will not resent. I have used your reference to being an "anarchist" in your response to me and have fleshed that word out with the content of some of our very recent discussions - namely, that you advocate the (peaceful) abolition of the state and its rule of law on the grounds that both are only sustainable by violence. If I've put any words in your mouth, please correct me. I remain, as always, your friend -

1) Your response to number two suggests that the goals of your ideal society are not a conclusion but a starting point. [Further, I'm not sure how you go about "designing " a society or otherwise determining how to arrange, or not arrange, human affairs without first having a goal. In other words, what is the criterion for success of your model?] Also, I did not mean to suggest that everyone shares the same social goals (health, happiness, etc.) and, furthermore, I suspect that the emphasis you place on certain social goals/goods, however broadly shared by others, is quite different from most other people. You seem to believe that liberty, as provocatively outlined in number 4, is your true goal - or, perhaps, the "highest good", conceived as something close to the opposite of social order as commonly understood - no? maybe not exactly.

But I do wonder how the health, wealth and happiness would be distributed in your ideal society. Would everyone be equally healthy/wealthy/happy? Or is the important thing to have some people who are maximally healthy/wealthy/happy without regard to the rest - or some people who are maximally healthy, others who are maximally wealthy and still others who are happy? Or is it total absolute amount, however you measure that, of these things without regard to distribution. [that last sounds a little collectivist] It also seems like your goals are in potential conflict with one another - particularly wealth and happiness - or do you not see it that way? (And does wisdom not figure somewhere in your thinking?)

I suspect that your initial response to these questions will be to reiterate their irrelevancy. If so, why? These are among the things that almost all people desire, yourself apparently included. Why is liberty so important that it eclipses these things in importance? Or do you see liberty as being identical to or perhaps coterminous with happiness, and is that your truly highest goal? (Also, would you, if you could, disband our government without the consent of its people? If not, why not?)

Finally, if you are, really, just mentally average, what confidence can you have that you're right about these abstract matters when almost everyone else disagrees with you? Why should anyone listen to you and not someone else on these questions? You pull the same sort of thing at the beginning of your response in number 4. I will address it at greater length there.

2) See 3 and 4.

3) I'm not sure most people want exactly what you want, and certainly not in the way you want it; although perhaps one could think that the great bulk of humanity really does want what you want, and in the way you want it, but is simply confused or otherwise blinkered to reality. I would suggest that this line of thinking could be taken in a extremely patronizing way by these other folk, and particularly so when presented as a conclusion without arguments or facts proportional to the claims being made.

My essential response to your answer to the third question is: compared to what? Your statements are inherently relative. It is easy to imagine a more efficient government, economic system, or other arrangement of human affairs: one that perfectly matches motivation to needs, that allocates resources in the most efficient way, and lacks crime or deception - a heaven. If that is your point of comparison, a heretofore untried idea, that leads to your statement that government is "shit at everything" etc., then please say so and say how it would be arranged and why it would work better than our existing system. And if your criticism is limited to finding discrete points of governmental failure, without a comprehensive view of the matter, please say that as well. It does not logically follow from the fact that governments are not perfect and have very real failings that we are better off without them. On the contrary, one might think that the ubiquity of nation states and the utter absence of an anarchist paradise should lead one to believe that, perhaps, governments are in fact more efficient and socially productive than their absence. A winner of the political market/survival of the fittest organization/etc. sort of thing. I would further respectfully suggest that, therefore, the rhetorical burden of proof ought to be on the one seeking to overturn the established order of human kind and not on the rest of us to justify every jot and tittle of our, and our ancestors', not-imaginary way of life.

Which leads me to another point. You seem to assume that human nature is so badly flawed as to allow the mass of humanity to be hoodwinked by its leaders and their governments into becoming sheep - indeed that we have been so thoroughly tricked into believing that government to be necessary to create and sustain the things we want in life, when the solution to all our problems has lain within our grasp for centuries, no government, a-HA - and, at the very same time, believe that human nature is perfect (or perhaps just perfectible) enough to be unrestrained by authority - that murder, rape, looting, (actual) slavery and all other manner of historical evil would not be indulged with the forcible constraints of law removed. But if, as I believe you have said, these evil acts are not in the best interest of anyone involved and that people would therefore not commit such acts, then why, oh why, do they occur now?

It is my recollection that, perhaps for the first time in our living memories, a paradise of true liberty broke out in this country within the New Orleans Superdome in 2005 when the kind people there were so mercifully relieved of their oppressive government, if only for a few days. I can see the burghers of New Orleans now, efficiently using capital, freely trading with one another in the absence of law and dreaded regulation, treating their neighbors like themselves. That is, until the damn government and its water arrived.

This sort of thinking (that individuals are inherently perfect, or near-perfect, economic actors, and any restriction of their behavior - regulation, laws, etc. - can only distort the economy in a negative way) when used to devise a political system strikes me as the worst kind of applied economics. Assumptions are necessary in economic models to isolate causal factors given the complexity of the subject matter and the inability to create perfect double-blind control groups in many circumstances, etc. But they're assumptions! In fact, artificiality of assumption is something of a necessity in economics, just as laboratory conditions almost never replicate, in toto, the phenomenon to be studied. Otherwise it's just the method of observation, with all its attendant conditional and uncertain conclusions - not, emphatically, a regular experiment with a control group. [Of course, fancy statistics enable one to achieve a sort of experimental confidence when applied to observational data, and you can fashion some weak experiments with purely observational data that reoccurs, but I'm getting afield here. The point is I'm speaking generally.] Economists commonly assume perfect rationality (and perfect information, no transaction costs - see, e.g.` the Coase Theorem) on the part of economic actors, but you shouldn't believe that people are, in fact, perfectly rational, or even perfectly rational en masse - except if you redefine rationality to be whatever it is people do. (Not a very meaningful word then - which, incidentally, would make the word "passion" somewhat unintelligible as well.) I referred you recently to the concept of the Tragedy of the Commons and I have not heard your response, although I am curious to hear it. I would also refer you to the terms negative and positive externality. Do you deny their existence? If not, how can you have an efficient economic system without some degree of central planning (economic incentives/taxes/criminal laws/etc.) - and the more externalities that exist, the more central planning you need for efficiency. I would be hard pressed to think of an economic transaction that commonly occurs in this country that is completely without an external effect (mostly because fossil fuels are intertwined so thoroughly in our lives). To put these concepts in more concise terms: we aren't ants.

Also, do you view the modern democratic nation-state as the most productive and efficient of all governments tried to date? If not, what is the historically most productive and efficient way that men have combined their labors and thoughts?

And lastly, why do you think men formed governments in the first place? (And is that our true original sin?)

4) Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. Do you mean, if you had to choose a form of government for everyone? But even that, assuming you could choose to leave everything the same (or something similar to the current system), isn't really different than what you say you lack the arrogance for. [Maybe you mean choose only for yourself? But you envision living with other people, don't you? Other people who would and actually do choose differently from you?] Even if you don't have the arrogance to prescribe, you apparently have no compunction about rejecting the accumulated wisdom of humanity. And if you really don't have any confidence at all that the statements you're making are correct then why should you, in good faith, be trying to convince anyone that they are, in fact, correct?

What I'm getting at is that the claims themselves that you make about the best arrangements for human affairs are breathtakingly arrogant and utterly dismissive of, as far as I can tell, the ways men throughout recorded history have arranged their affairs. You don't seem to claim divine inspiration, so you can't have it both ways; either you have figured out something that the rest of us haven't, that you really do know better than the rest of us and are therefore superior to us in that way, or you aren't and you're just awfully presumptuous and have no sense of place. Or am I wrong: can someone espouse a radical way of thinking, one that is at odds with almost all other thinking about a subject, think they're right when almost everyone else is wrong, and claim to be humble and of average intelligence while saying all of this - and not summit the peak of intellectual arrogance? To me, that combination betrays a deep contempt for other people's thinking.

[Incidentally, the graphic you chose for your post, no doubt ironically, is perhaps more eloquent than you intended. ]

You seem to think of the first type of liberty as something in conflict with the other and therefore something to be opposed, no? Why one type of liberty and not the other? Just because? It's a normative judgment, but it's still customary to provide some sort of supporting argument if you hope to bring anyone into agreement with your position.

Your last sentence is of the sort that makes your case so unpersuasive. Under all circumstances? Without adverse consequences? How would property ownership exist without government to enforce the laws of property - just whatever people can physically possess? People can, of course, physically possess the bodies of other people. How can you expect anyone to radically shift their thinking about government, etc. when confronted with nothing more than an opinion unsupported by any argument? See, Argument Clinic, Monty Python. The weight of this statement would require at least a large book to support it, I would think.

5) I submit that you are distinctly unlike other people insofar as you reject, absolutely, the political thinking and actions of almost all of living and historical humanity. I would also submit that there is a difference between someone who assumes the current state of affairs to be OK without really thinking everything through from top to bottom - perhaps changes should be made on the edges, particular policies ought to be changed, etc. - and someone who rejects the intellectual foundations of our government (and every other existing government) without much of anything in the way of supporting argument or evidence. I would expect that person to have some pretty compelling reasons beyond a facile equivalence of taxes and slavery that has all the sophistication of a smallish bumper sticker.

5a) Taxes equal theft and slavery? Really? No difference at all? And without the state there would be less theft and slavery?

And how do you "own" property without a state or law? Natural law? If I understood the video you posted earlier, (which is now unavailable), it said that the labor of your body gives rise to ownership in things. What if people don't agree with that? What is your feeling about "value added" situations where many people combine to produce an indivisible product? Do they all have equal ownership in it or at least that degree of ownership that corresponds to their percentage contribution? Who has the right of possession of the product among the various contributors in that situation? Does each have a right to possess it during that fraction of the day/week/month that corresponds to their percentage contribution? What if they disagree about the particular times of possession or whether to sell it to someone? Or disagree about how much value they added? Who gets to decide those things? When people disagree about ownership of property, who or what should determine who owns what? Who or what should prevent people from becoming violent and taking property from others in the absence of a government and by what rules should it be governed? How do you feel about intellectual property? Someone coining a new word? Someone taking a picture of your body on the street?

What about property that is produced in conjunction with benefits provided by the state? Who owns it?

I've just read your comments underneath that libertarian video post. ("How would you settle disputes in a free society? Well, I don't know, but I imagine we would do it much the same way we do today, with arbitrators and mediators.") Of course, disputes are voluntarily settled with mediators (and arbitrators make decisions backed by the authority and, ultimately, force of the state), but mediated settlements in this country (which, incidentally, are nothing more than contracts enforced by the power of the state) are all made in the shadow of the law. Do you really think nothing would change if the state somehow lost the ability to incarcerate people and seize property? And what does it really mean to "settle" something in the absence of an enforceable agreement? It's nothing more than a schoolyard pact, which, as we all know, is never broken. But this is becoming ridiculous.

5b) See above. Regardless of what you mean exactly by failure (I'm assuming that to mean something along the lines of "wildly ineffective", which I believe to be true), what makes this failure, or any other particular failure of government, validly generalizable to government action is all cases? But more importantly and in response to your next sentence, do you not view your claims as being provable by rational argument or subject to rational refutation? If not, then your project seems more religious than political. But perhaps you just rushed it, like you say at the end, and I'm making too much of these final remarks.


Jon, I hope the length of my response is, in some way, an indication of the respect I have for you personally.

I'm struck with your mode of argument for this extreme form of libertarianism or anarchy. You don't seem content to say: "I'm for liberty even though I know it would lead to starvation, poverty, and the rest. I think liberty is still preferable to our current system of government because . . . . . ." Rather, you argue for your particular type of liberty on precisely the least tenable grounds - that it would accomplish current social aims even better than our current system - and seemingly haven't given much thought to why "liberty" is better than government as a normative matter at all.

I've also just re-read your 25 October post, and your comments thereto, but I'm not going to respond to that here. I've probably done enough already.

 
 

30 November 2007

I think you can read this straight through, but I've not made much effort for it to be coherent by itself. You'd probably best have a copy of The Manifesto to refer to.

1) I have a difficult time addressing this societal goal thing, because I'm not qualified. I think there are people, philosophers, who can address it, but not me. The only things I can come up with are too petty, e.g. we should colonize Mars, or too big and vague, e.g. health, wealth and happiness.

As far as liberty-as-goal is concerned, I don't think of it that way. I liken the Stated society to a man with cancer. He certainly wants to get rid of the tumor, but there's bigger and better things to do after.

How would the health/wealth/happiness be distributed in my ideal society? In the short term, much the same way they are now. People would voluntarily trade wealth for all sorts of things, and trade all sorts of things for wealth, according to their individual wants. Some will be wealthier, some happier, some neater, some sexier, some wiser, some more cultured, and so on. I reject the state because I believe that no iteration of it has ever achieved the sophistication of the free market or its alacrity at responding to the needs of the people.

I would not disband our government without the consent of the people. If the people don't believe they can govern themselves, they're right.

Finally, the reason a lazy, mentally average person like me can have confidence in my ideas is because it's a matter of ethics. I don't need a lot of training to know that stealing is wrong. Yes I'm equating taxation to theft here, and I know it's not sophisticated. Racketeering might be a better term. Pretend for a second that they're not your government, they're just a bunch of guys, which, in fact, is just what they are.

2) Yeah. Again, there's a place for this sort of thing (why are your goals the best goals) but I can't as yet contribute.

3) When I say, "basically, most people want what I want," I'm talking about health, wealth, and happiness. I don't think I'm being patronizing.

Kudos to you for the "not-imaginary" comment. That stings. However comma, I would like to say that my market system is not a radical rejection of the established order, it's been keeping us in food and clothing for a long, long time. The state's been with us too, but I feel like it's always two to five steps behind. Personally I feel like that statement is self-evident (any DMV office), and I won't go into (any more) specifics, but I'll do the next best thing. Instead of a bunch of whats, I'll give you a why. The state does not need to innovate, they don't need to provide good customer service. Why should they? They're going to get your money either way.

So, why do we go on instituting governments? Fear and envy are the first things that come to my mind, but in truth I don't know. Currently my thinking is that liberty is coming slowly but surely. Hereditary monarchy used to be all the rage, but I don't think it was a good system. I do have the arrogance to believe that I'm onto something that the majority is not. I think I'm ahead of my time, but I'm not a pioneer, and I'm not alone.

Next: how can people be hoodwinked into becoming sheep and at the same time be good candidates for a free society? Good question. Two responses come to mind. First, the big tent answer. Freedom is a rigorous discipline. You learn fast when you're allowed to make mistakes. Second, if you want to choose to forfeit freedoms there will almost definitely be communities of like-minded people. Rules are great, I have nothing against rules.

(I think looting, slavery, theft, rape, and murder will probably always be with us. Currently, we elect legislators to enact laws and hire police to curb these abuses. It's reasonable to assume a market for these services absent the state.)

Regarding Hurricane Katrina, I can't help getting in the dig that it's far from a showcase of government competence. Now is it your point that government was necessary in that situation (I donated a hundred dollars to, I think the Red Cross, and I'm just a produce clerk, just to remind you that there is such a thing as charitable giving), or that the people turned into monsters? If your point is the first, you've got my answer in parentheses, if the second, my understanding is that one death only at the Convention Center and Superdome was determined to be a homicide and that most of these people chose to not get the hell out of town, even after this bulletin had been issued.

Next paragraph: we aren't ants. True. It's too late in the morning right now to try and relate to someone who thinks government can create sophisticated solutions. (I've read a little about The Tragedy of the Commons, it strikes me as an argument for private property. Don't be mad, I know that's pat and not the author's intent.)

I do think the modern democratic state is the most efficient and productive government tried to date.

I think men formed governments in the first place first to benefit themselves, the governors. As time has gone by and men have become stronger, governments have had to justify their existence more and more. And I do think of it as kind of an original sin.

4) I covered some of this before; I'll just add that I am superior to you in this way (my understanding of the optimal means of society), as well as many other ways, e.g. my humility.

Two types of liberty: "positive liberty" is tripe that socialists use to get on the freedom wagon. Wealth redistribution doesn't have anything to do with freedom.

My last sentence ("It's my opinion that private enterprise is a more productive and more responsible custodian of this money than the State") makes the case unpersuasive: it certainly does if you're a fan of the state. For me the statement applies in all circumstances. Try to remember that I approve of a lot of targets the government aims for. Property is something I haven't yet wrapped my mind around, but I'm not anxious about it for two reasons. One, there is a vast warehouse of untapped property in the world, there is as yet no scarcity of resources. (If you put the population of the world into 5 member families and moved them all to the United States, each family would have a little bit under 2 acres each.) Two, another leap of faith, I think the free market can come up with better solutions to thorny problems than the state, and in fact usually provides the model that states use for their own solutions.

5) Taxes, theft, and slavery: I'm forced to work a certain part of the year for the government. Keep in mind that government is not wizards or angels or any other special race. Why is this not slavery?

5a) I gave a very short treatment of property earlier. It merits more, but that'll have to wait until another time. You might try giving me more specific examples.

5b) It is kind of religious for me, and I'm rushing again.

Finally, liberty could be achieved with a slim majority and a lot of people unprepared, or incrementally, with the market out-competing the state case by case. The second way is probably more likely. This statement is made in response to the starvation, poverty and the rest statement.

Good morning,
J. Ray

 
 

27 November 2007

 
 

26 November 2007

From an email:

Jon - Even though I've asked you at least some of these on the phone, I thought I might prod you into writing down responses to the following questions, which I have found makes for much clearer thinking on a subject. I will say that I wouldn't have fantastic answers to these questions; they are surely difficult. However, I don't claim certitude about these sorts of matters either.

I think your discussions with others that don't share your conclusions about politics/government/society/etc. would be greatly improved if these sorts of foundational matters were discussed openly. It seems to me that your assumptions and principals are, perhaps, so different from others' that discussing the conclusions that result from these first things cannot be productive and only leads to reflexive disagreement. In other words, the conclusions are not where the real disagreement lies and discussing them does not lead to understanding.

I would also suggest that general words - take liberty, for example; it can mean many many different things - without clarifying definitions, should be avoided.

So, give it a shot, and if you'd like to ask me any questions in return, feel free:


1) What is the point/goal/purpose of your ideal society (and if you don't like that word - society - please substitute another, but use it consistently whatever you choose)?

2) Why is your goal/goals the best goal/goals?

3) What, exactly, is stopping us from achieving the goal with our current social/governmental arrangement - or, if it's a matter of degree, then what is stopping us from fully realizing your goal right now?

4) Why will your desired social arrangement be better than our current system (or be the best at) promoting your stated goals?

5) How do you know these claims are correct and true?
5a) What are your guiding assumptions/foundational principals?
5b) Is there any evidence you rely on to support either these principals or your statements as outlined above?



If any of this is unclear facially or upon reflection, let me know.

OK, I'll give it a shot:

1) What is the point/goal/purpose of your ideal society?

First, this seems a little odd. Isn't my point/goal/purpose a "conclusion," about which discussion "cannot be productive?" I think in your preamble you were suggesting that we all want personal safety, long healthy lives, etc., but that we differed in our preferred means. So I'm afraid I'm confused; I'll nevertheless answer the question (with qualification) as I understand it.
My qualification is this: any societal goals that I personally think worthwhile are irrelevant to the philosophy of liberty. In other words, this is the kind of question that a thoughtful central planner dwells on. I'm not a thoughtful central planner, I'm a lazy, mentally average freedom nut.

The goals of my ideal society are long life, high wealth, and happiness.

2) Why is your goal/goals the best goal/goals?

I really don't know.

3) What, exactly, is stopping us from achieving the goal with our current social/governmental arrangement - or, if it's a matter of degree, then what is stopping us from fully realizing your goal right now?

I think it is a matter of degree, not degree of completion, but of speed. Basically, most people want what I want, and they'll pursue it, successfully. The State does slow them down. It's convinced the majority that it's the only competent purveyor of a host of services. In reality, it's shit at everything, drains resources, and produces pitiful results.

4) Why will your desired social arrangement be better than our current system (or be the best at) promoting your stated goals?

Bear with me for a minute, I'll get to the answer shortly.
I don't have the arrogance necessary to prescribe social arrangements, but if I had the freedom to choose, I'd pick one that respected individuals' liberty. What is liberty? According to Isaiah Berlin, there's two kinds: positive and negative. Positive liberty is achieved by "leveling the playing-field," or empowering everyone with the opportunity to achieve. This is the kind of liberty that I want none of. When I say Liberty, I mean negative liberty, the freedom from outside hindrances. I think it's best for individuals to have the freedom to kill and the freedom to snort meth off of a hunting knife.
We are achieving my goals under our current system, but according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, total government spending for the last thirty years has hovered around thirty percent of national GDP. It's my opinion that private enterprise is a more productive and more responsible custodian of this money than the State.

5) How do you know these claims are correct and true?

Hmm, that's a poser. I think I'm like most people. My life experience in toto determines my philosophy, and my research is largely spent searching for words and numbers to support that philosophy. When I was younger, I was what's called a "national greatness" conservative. I was for a strong military and strong police. Slowly it dawned on me that the police and armed forces were just bureaucracies, no better than the Department of Education, and here I am, a filthy anarchist. That doesn't answer your question. I suppose I don't know. Maybe 5a and 5b can help.

5a) What are your guiding assumptions/foundational principals?

My guiding principal that sets me against the state is, theft is wrong. I tacitly consent to paying taxes, under threat of violence. That's theft, or slavery.

5b) Is there any evidence you rely on to support either these principals or your statements as outlined above?

Not really. I think we can all agree that the War on Drugs is a failure. As far as statistics go for this or that state or federal program, there's usually a reasoned rebuttal available.

That's it. It's pretty late now. Thank you for the questions; I can try to clarify anything, I rushed the ending and may not have properly addressed something.

 
 

8 November 2007



 
 

25 October 2007

Comments: none

Continuing in this liberty vein, I've been considering making a vindictive post. I was angry before, now I'm just annoyed; I got a nibble, I'm ready to fight for my ideal, and then nothing. I really can't blame anyone, you've got your own lives to lead. If my ideas aren't compelling you to come back, read more, engage me a little, it's not your fault. I'll go ahead and peck out another missive though, for my own edification.

Ahem, the past few weeks I've solidified an idea that's been with me, but hazy, for a year or so now. It's a realization that I'm living in my ideal world. When arguing for markets, one has to concede to his audience that other consumers will greatly influence the products they have access to. Sometimes there's a good product that people don't buy, the manufacturer goes out of business, and that's that. You all have no problem with involuntary service to the state, so it's incredibly difficult for the few like me, who think it's nonsense, to resist it. Unless I want to go underground, or get violent, I'm stuck in servitude, because of you. I'm not allowed to choose who I want to pay for certain services, vital services like the education of a child, because all of you mindlessly shoulder the yoke of the various states' bureaucracies. So my mission is not to promote a free market revolution. It's to persuade you, my friends, that slavery is immoral. In my own small way, I want to help create an intellectual consumer base for free societies, free association, consensual relationships.

There's an important difference though, between say a restaurant and the City of Asheville. If you choose not to eat at said restaurant, they'll spend money on advertising or promotional events to try to change your mind. Contrast this model with the City's: if you own property inside the limits of what the mayor and the city councillors consider to be their domain, they use violence to get your business. George Washington says it best: "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

So that's number one. There are countless examples of state suckitude, but first and foremost, you cannot choose to opt out. If you try, men with guns will take you away and lock you up. You can't say no thank you, I'd rather not pay for D.A.R.E. officers to waste my children's time, I'd rather not encourage class strife vis a vis the welfare state, I'd rather not pay for Marines to fly halfway around the world and kill brown people, I'd like to try some other solutions.

Do I exaggerate? Listen, I can be persuaded. I've been wrong about lots of things, and I'll be wrong about lots more. Please, school me.

 
 

22 October 2007

How Does Any Of This (The Philosophy Of Liberty) Apply To The Real World?

(For those that don't know, I'm responding to Dr. Ben's question on the 27 September post comment page. I've given a general answer to a general question, as I did with the other excellent questions, but I'd love to try and answer more specific ones. Thank you again Dr. Ben.)

Ahem, how does any of this apply to the real world? A lot of us living in the real world subscribe to the philosophy of liberty. A lot of us, like me, advocate liberty, and a few of us, the Free State Project I think is the most promising example, are acting on their convictions. Don't be too surprised to find that I'm not the only freedom nut out here. I see the message of liberty resonating with young people and the forward-looking internet culture. Ron Paul kicks ASS on the internet.

Liberty is here now in dribs and drabs. Liberty was the cornerstone of the early American republic, and you should know what it really means. (The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution had radical new ideas.)

Here's another take on the question. Ending the War On Drugs, the War On Poverty, reducing spending, cutting taxes; these goals are all in keeping with the philosophy of liberty, each on its own proves beneficial, and each is achievable.

I guess that's all I have to say about it right now. The coffee I drank earlier is making me anxious.

 
 

21 October 2007

Did another mystery. It went fine. Other than that I've been listening to a lot of freetalklive. It's awesome. On a related note, I went over to the Board of Elections the other day to change my registration so's I could vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary, but I didn't need to, so I didn't.


EDIT: I wanted to lead off the post with a picture of Trena Parker, head of the County Board of Elections. Every picture I've ever seen of her has me convinced she's hot as hell, but I couldn't find any on the internet, so I went with Dr. Paul.




He does have a kickass necktie.

Two neato speed runs:



 
 
 
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