Recent comments

  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 6 hours 10 min ago Web link Emmett Harris
    If consumers could afford Eco-friendly vehicles, the state wouldn't need to provide incentives.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 1 day 1 hour ago Web link Government Deni...
    Real adjusted incomes for most Americans have remained the same since 1973, but not for these gilded ones. I think we'd be better off with corrupto-crats like from Tammany Hall days or even like Detroit/Wayne County has these days, provided that they had no civil service, tenure, unions,  or job protection of any kind and could be fired with no recourse or appeal whenever they screw up, get caught, are embarrassing, are too numerous, or just for the bloody hell of it. At least there'd be some accountablity forced upon them. Mayors, governors, county execs, presidents, etc. come and go, but this class of politician is forever. That's the problem.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 2 days 2 hours ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    @Paul. I can only assume that you have not carefully read Kinsella's essay. I have read it twice and listened to it as many times, and each time, I gain more understanding of the topic. Kinsella has done us a great favor by carefully exploring the misunderstandings and explaining the distinctions between sloppy use of terms such as "self-ownership" vs. "ownership of one's body" as well as the problems of vague usages such as "owning one's labor" and "mixing one's labor" and the problems subsequently caused by them. He clearly demonstrates the importance of the clarifying the concept of homesteading by refining it as making a first, unambiguous claim (taking possession). Just as important, he shows how the fallacious concept of "intellectual property" actually destroys and is used to collectivize physical property and destroy unambiguous claims--thus undermining the concept of ownership. He also correctly identifies the roots of IP in both monopoly and censorship.   Consequently, I cannot fathom how someone can so quickly dismiss such a clarifying and pathbreaking piece of writing as Kinsella's. Fortunately, the caliber of his work and the clarity and precision that he brings to the discussion and the terminology itself will outlive mere sneers. Kinsells's essay, "Against Intellectual Property," has not only gathered the varieties of perception about the concept in one coherent work, but he has elucidated the confusion surrounding each false understanding of it--chipping away what is useless, confusing, and contradictory. Rarely have I read an essay that does as much to de-mystify the sloppy usage that generally surrounds these terms--even among libertarians. And after leveling the ground, he builds a much cleaner, clearer thesis about the purpose, origins of, and value of the concept of property and pseudo-property. To dismiss the useful concept of rights--which Kinsella would probably agree exsits solely as a useful tool to help us minimize conflict and has no subsisting reality--is at a minimum incredibly hasty. Even if we can all agree that the concept of "rights" (as in the case of any concept) are an invention of our minds, they still retain great value because they refer--as Stephan Molyneux would say--to "universally preferable behaviors" or eminently useful value systems. Paul, I think you owe readers an apology for dismissing Kinsella's genuine contribution to this formerly muddy discipline of libertarian theory. Your claim was unsupported. And I hope a new reader, encountering your statement, will quickly dismiss it for what it is and go on to learn from Kinsella. I suspect envy is at the root of your comment--bar one, the deadliest of the seven deadly sins of Dante in his Purgatorio.  
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 3 days 10 hours ago Web link KenK
    Yeah, I screwed up sam. That was the link I meant to use.  My bad.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 days 22 hours ago Web link KenK
    Cutting through all the bull crap about the 1,500 pages somebody "filed" in the white man's secret courts, etc etc etc -- it is important to understand something basic: Everything I write here at STR, or post on a "Yahoo Group" (or any other group for that matter) -- or anywhere and everywhere on the internet or on my cellphone or in almost any public venue can be picked up electronically, cataloged by key-word and connected to my phone or email, etc etc etc. That's the age in which we now live. I might spend considerable time, energy and resource encrypting and coding if it makes me feel better. That might cut down the "risk". Somewhat. In addition, there are a whole host of psychopaths out there who do not have my (or your) best interests at heart, and who will gleefully find reason to lock you or me into one of their rape cages. I think there are now over 50,000 US federal "laws" and/or "regulations" under which the white man can pursue me. Or you. But please understand: the white man is stupid. A pompous ass. He depends 100% upon your fear and your paranoia. And your "voluntary compliance". And your statist mentality. Let's not forget our old friend, Étienne de la Boétie. What he wrote nearly 500 years ago is just as applicable today as it was in 1552. The basic principle has not changed. The white man has but two eyes. And only so many jail cells. And a limited number of henchmen to carry out his egregious acts. Granted, within the span of many of our lifetimes -- in our statist thinking, before STR -- we've seen "the-land-of-the-free" morph into the most atrocious police state in the history of mankind. But you can be free. Today. Where you are. You need not change my opinions, or your neighbors', or your family. The place to start is between your ears. Just be free. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 days 23 hours ago Web link KenK
    Here's the link to the NY Times article for this header: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/books/review/francis-fukuyamas-politic... Strangely, I would probably make almost the very same comment were I to "weigh in" here as I did concerning the "Limits of Secession" article posted on STR below. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 days 23 hours ago Web link KenK
    Don't know a lot about Francis Fukuyama, but this link takes one to this article: http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2014/09/the-limits-of-secession/ And Sam (no doubt looked upon as a "troll" over at Bleeding Hearts) made this comment on the essay: Thomas Pynchon is quoted as having said, "if they can keep you asking the wrong questions they don't have to worry about answers". Two imposing upon one is not freedom. (Thanks, Delmar England) I am a sovereign state. I'm astounded at how few "libertarians" make that declaration, or even agree that I indeed can be sovereign. Most argue, bicker, and go right back into statist thinking. And "theory". I have no "rights". I have choices. And my choice is to be totally responsible for the security of my property and myself and, to some extent, those I love (to the extent that they want my assistance in their defense). This applies -- whether I reside in Randia, Ruritania, Insula, or New York. Nobody -- certainly anybody associated with a "state" or a "country" or a "nation" -- is going to stand up for my liberty or my freedom. Sam
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 1 week 3 days ago Web link Serenity
    Buppert's essay here addresses the question: Is it better to let  states self-destruct over time from their own inherent flaws or help them along with a program of direct action to topple them? The consensus answer seems to be that openly authoritarian states are tougher, but are much more brittle; once they start to wobble, they go down pretty quick, so direct action is likely the better option, albeit a messier one. Liberal democracies on the other hand, are crafted with built -in institutional means which allow the ruling class to implement purely symbolic, non-structural reform/s which act as a safety mechanism which allows the rulers lighten up on the reigns temporarily to release pent up pressures when discontent and alienation rises to “unsafe” levels . Symbolic reforms and minor structural reforms, like chemo-therapy applied to a cancer patient, can drag the state's dying process out for a very, very, long time.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 2 weeks 21 hours ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    From the article: “Plea bargains are extraordinarily common in the American legal system, accounting for roughly 90% of all criminal cases." In other words, in 90% of America's criminal cases, people are convicted without the case ever having actually gone to trial. I would suggest to people to be very careful indeed about accepting plea bargains. They are a handy tool for law enforcement to increase their conviction rates, and little more.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 2 weeks 1 day ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    I didn't get up for the anthem at an airshow last month, (like for the sixth time in two hours), and I practically got into a fight with some the other attendees. Serious social pressure here, plus the heat and the proximity to the beer tent.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 2 weeks 4 days ago
    Crime and Punishment
    Page Paul Hein
    "Qui bono?" The prison-industrial complex, and the ruling class. Like everything else in government, it's there for those in government, not for us. As to the particular case, one could argue two people willingly in a fight (if that was in fact the case here) should not be charged no matter what happens. To lock someone up for decades for what happens in a bar fight is madness.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 2 weeks 6 days ago
    Crime and Punishment
    Page Paul Hein
    Hi Paul,    I always enjoy first person accounts here at STR. And what, pray tell, happened to your buddy? Where or what is he now?   Prison accounts are good because, we are all in our own little prisons, realistically and metaphorically.   Many reasons for prisons, IMHO. The prison "industry" is perhaps the foremost. Another is that the PTB, the elites, like to put commoners like us into prisons to "set an example." Although NO  (or damn few) elites go to prisons anymore.   Having been in a medium security military jail, I realize that the best and worst people end up in prison/jail. Okay, strike that "worst" comment, otherwise the Wall Street gang, and the MIC gang, would be in prison somewhere.   We are a failed republic, one only need to look at our prison "System."
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 weeks 1 day ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Thanks, Glen. If you can't put what you want to say on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, it's not worth saying. :-) Or at any rate, writing more than can be read on one session on the ceramic throne, almost guarantees few people will bother reading it...
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 weeks 2 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Like that kid who pointed out the king's nakedness, you have a gift, Paul, for describing obvious and important truths that have somehow been ignored by nearly everyone, and then making the situation clear without talking it to death. Nice work.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 3 weeks 3 days ago Blog entry Jim Davies
    Jim:  An excellent one shared far and wide with every pro-gun group I'm aware of here in VT and elsewhere.  I wrote one on a similar tack a while back myself:   http://strike-the-root.com/defending-state
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 3 weeks 3 days ago Blog entry Jim Davies
    Jim:  An excellent one shared far and wide with every pro-gun group I'm aware of here in VT and elsewhere.  I wrote one on a similar tack a while back myself:   http://strike-the-root.com/defending-state
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 3 weeks 3 days ago Blog entry Jim Davies
    Jim:  An excellent one shared far and wide with every pro-gun group I'm aware of here in VT and elsewhere.  I wrote one on a similar tack a while back myself:   http://strike-the-root.com/defending-state
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 3 weeks 5 days ago Web link Westernerd
    I thought that was Eric Holder's job? He thinks it is.  
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 weeks 6 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    Disarming people, making them defenseless, is an act of war.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 weeks 6 days ago Page Paul Hein
    "Indeed, punishing criminals is one of government’s few proper activities." Sorry, I disagree. Even if you thought that government was interested in punishing criminals (rather than being a haven for them), you'd still have to prove that punishing criminals is necessary, and that it can't be done without government. That is impossible. If someone tries to rob me, I can shoot him or stab him or beat him to a pulp. I can even simply warn others, who will refuse to deal with him, thus making his life impossible if he does not relent. And even if you manage to do all the above, you still have a problem if your government is not voluntarily funded, because if it is not, then it itself is engaging in "mala in se" criminal action, theft.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 4 weeks 18 hours ago Web link Government Deni...
    It is my opinion that the real reason for the genocide of the Indians was because the Indians were nomads who could move somewhere else quickly and did not respect the taxation from the so-called authorities or their stupid rules. White settlers also had people who moved far away from "governed" society and established their own towns and property lines. Eventually though, the gunvernment moved in and most of the white settlers apparently caved to the idea of some government. The Indians had entire tribes or nations resistant to white politician rule; white men who opposed idiot rule were apparently too scarce. The above comments are extremely rational ones given my reading of history, reading between the lines, and intuition. BUT: I'm not a historian.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 4 weeks 1 day ago Page Paul Hein
    Nice, to-the-point column, Paul. It's clear and simple enough to make a good introduction to libertarianism (or "sensible thinking" as I sometimes call it) for someone who hasn't yet stepped outside the confinement of Statist conformity, but who has been thinking along the borders. When someone just says what's real in plain language, the way you do here, the truth becomes obvious.
  • Sharon Secor's picture
    Sharon Secor 4 weeks 1 day ago Web link Government Deni...
    HA HA HA!! Excellent comment.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 4 weeks 1 day ago Web link Government Deni...
    Hey, let's just force the homeless to buy homes! It works well with health insurance, doesn't it?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 weeks 1 day ago Web link Government Deni...
    "He was later arrested by the FBI and plead guilty to related charges of using forbidden speech." Oops, we can't let that happen. Forbidden speech, wow, how evil.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 weeks 1 day ago Web link Government Deni...
    "the public’s right to know about the government’s national security policy" There is no such right, or any right at all. Don't you get embarrassed saying such patently untrue things? http://strike-the-root.com/life-without-rights
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    An excellent article to use in any discussion where someone is promoting the Olympics.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 5 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    KenK: that is pretty much how I feel too - it's not that I am particularly religious, but I do not share that sense of absolute certainty that I perceive in some atheists.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 5 weeks 5 days ago
    Superintelligence
    Page Glen Allport
    Yes, Douglas. Lots of service tech jobs coming, until the robots take them away! And then there's this: Clever USAF captain wants intelligent, autonomous drones to replace manned fighters. The concept art looks very cool. Wonder if they'll have any problems with those? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2723466/The-laser-armed-stealth-...
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 5 weeks 5 days ago
    Superintelligence
    Page Glen Allport
    Glen,    You saw the tiny R2D2 type servers being used in China? 20-30K each. Service techies soon in demand to fix 'em? Robot Restaurant: Robots cook food and wait ... - Daily Mail
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 5 weeks 6 days ago
    Superintelligence
    Page Glen Allport
    Thanks for the thoughts and the titles, Tomcat.  It may not be that a machine needs self-awareness to become a danger; bad programming of computers (on purpose and otherwise) has already caused harm and even death, and an extremely powerful computer with access to the internet (and thus to every connected thing on the planet, assuming it's even more clever at such access than human hackers are) could cause real horrors just by following its programming in unexpected ways -- a common trope, of course, as in I, Robot. I enjoy well-written apocalyptic AI stories, but the humans usually win or achieve parity with the AI in the end, in some fashion. Barrat's Our Final Invention is the first book that really made me think about how unlikely that is. It truly frightened me. Humans, including most AI researchers and especially military-related ones (who on Earth would want to connect autonomous AI with modern weaponry?) are in fantasy land on this topic, much the way people expecting the coercive State to be benevolent are. Barrat makes the point (quoting others) that AI will almost by definition be psychopathic in its behavior: no real empathy possible because no shared biological structures, histories, motivations, or needs.  And we keep racing closer. Wired has a story about some of Siri's creators developing  an AI that can re-write its own code on the fly to achieve its goals. Can't imagine anything going wrong with that! http://www.wired.com/2014/08/viv/  
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 5 weeks 6 days ago
    Superintelligence
    Page Glen Allport
    Thanks for the link! Yeah, Serling was amazing every episode of Twilight Zone looked to have a budget of about $1.98 but many of them are classics -- really thoughtful and insightful.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 weeks 6 days ago Web link KenK
    KenO, exactly
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 weeks 6 days ago Web link KenK
    What Dawkin's et al don't seem to grasp is that their atheism is as much a declaration of religious faith as any of the theisms they deny. To wit: They believe that there is no God.  This assertion of their's is just as much a matter of faith on their part as any other religious belief in that the atheists cannot prove empirically or logically that there isn't a god or gods any more than the theists can prove there is. Sure, they can shred the Talmud, Upanishads, Bible, Koran, or other holy texts at will, but that isn't the same thing.  When this discussion comes up in my life, I tell people I am an agnostic, because I dont have enuff faith to be an atheist.
  • tomcat's picture
    tomcat 5 weeks 6 days ago
    Superintelligence
    Page Glen Allport
    Depends all on how you define "artificial intelligence". An Improved-faster calculating- version of todays computer could, for example be installed in an Android where it mimicks perfectly human behavior and emotions.Nevertheless it is still the the most complex version of an oldfashioned record player/Grammophon. Pseudo-autonom but no real independence. For the horror-scenarios from these movies to happen it would be necessary for a Calculator to become self-aware, thus thinking instead of only (very fast)calculating. Nobody even theoretically knows what creates this "Cogito ergo sum" state of mind in a human being let alone in a machine. To get in a conflict with the humans such a artificial beeing wouldnt have to be evil or reckless like in these Movies. That could very well be the part of the humans to play. You deny such a beeing the right of freedom and existence- Guess what will happen next ? Quote "Golem"/Stanislaw Lem: "The highest Intellect can not be the lowest slave" Good reading about this Theme: Stanislaw Lem(Solaris)->Mostly Stories from the 1960ies and early 70ies. (The Golem-Supercomputer-> Self-Awareness; "THe Invincible"->Swarm intelligence; "Dr. Diagoras"->Experiments with self organizing AI) The Jules Verne of Cybernetics.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 5 weeks 6 days ago
    Superintelligence
    Page Glen Allport
    Glen,    Your thought-provoking column jogged my memory. Waaayyyy back to 1959, and one of the first AI references on TV.  To say Rod Serling was ahead of his time is to say Albert Einstein was a pretty good scientist.   "The Lonely" is an episode set on an asteroid. Looks like Death Valley but a pretty bleak wasteland. Solitary confinement. Check the slim budget Serling had to adapt to. The costumes are retro SciFi to be kind.    The Twilight Zone S01E07 The Lonely
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 5 weeks 6 days ago Web link Mike Powers
    Of course, the renewed threat of terrorism will be a convenient excuse for governments to further erode civil liberties...
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 5 weeks 6 days ago Web link KenK
    True, and Dawkins was happy all those many years to use Middle East products to drive his car to work, probably never thinking of all the U.S. troops stationed, well, everywhere, to ensure continuous supplies. Still, religious fundamentalism is just silly, and deserves all the satire leveled at it. But Dawkins perhaps throws out the baby with the bathwater when he gets his panties tied in a knot over any and all religion.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 6 weeks 20 hours ago Web link KenK
    History did not begin on 9/11. Ever hear about blowback? The US govt. is even deadlier by exponential amounts.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 6 weeks 21 hours ago Web link KenK
    I was thinking more of religious fundamentalism. I may change my mind if you start flying jet liners into buildings. :-)
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 6 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    I am fundamentalist about freedom, so am I a problem?
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 6 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Here in South Africa, government policy is very rapidly utterly destroying the agricultural sector, so good luck to Putin trying to import food from here - before long, we'll ave to import food from Russia.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 6 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    The problem, I would think, is fundamentalism and fanaticism rather than religion as such.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 6 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    They don't do any good hanging around on lamp posts. Rather work them into the soil as fertilizer (and hope you don't end up with crops that will only grow after you have filled out a stack of forms in triplicate). :-)
  • Sharon Secor's picture
    Sharon Secor 6 weeks 2 days ago Web link KenK
    The sooner the better, as far as I am concerned.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 6 weeks 2 days ago Web link KenK
    eugenedw: I, too, have found Dawkins' arguments to be on the level of a barroom drunk. I am an agnostic, but at least I have studied some real  theology and philosophy --  things Dawkins has never done. Otherwise, he would not repeat straw-man mischaracterizations of theological questions that are easy to tear down. Since most atheists are fueled more by anger than by knowledge, I find them similarly disappointing. That's why Dawkins always has an "amen corner" working with him -- a mob of undereducated haters. While I, too, am disgusted by some  hate-filled Christians and other haters, I don't pretend that they represent Christianity at its best, which is where his attacks should be placed. But that would put Dawkins in the position of having to learn something and understand his opponent before attacking their positions.   Regarding Islam, it should be pretty clear by now that Robert Pape, in his book, "Dying to Win," has proven that the link between terrorism and Islam is a spruious one. His exhaustive study shows that 94% of terrorism is caused by democratic governments occupying Islamic countries. The attempt to connect terrorism and Islam is a Sean-Hannity-level crudity that is devoid of truth. Yes, there are extremist followers of Islam -- just as there are extremist murdering Christians and Jews. And gee, big surprise, like so many war-mongering Christians, many of these followers of Islam and Judaism try to justify their beliefs by referring to god as the source of their inspiration. There's a lot of nationalistic kill-them-all stuff in the Bible and in the Koran. And THAT is a big problem.  
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 6 weeks 2 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    The problem is that the traditional division of politics into left and right is somewhat meaningless: both sides of the spectrum can produce authoritarians, and it is indeed true that the so-called "liberals" are often far, far worse than the "conservatives."
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 6 weeks 3 days ago Web link KenK
    I have long thought that Dawkins' fierce criticism of religion is a bit over the top, and not really productive either. But he is one of the few critics of religion that has the guts to publicly take on Islam - the rest are mostly too scared to become the targets of a death sentence. As such he is at least an equal-opportunity bigot with the courage of his convictions, unlike his lily-livered leftwing critics, who are quick to slap those who turn the other cheek, but are reduced to jellyfish at the first sign of real trouble. And as the article points out, his science writing is brilliant. Plus, if you ask me, his tweets about rape and pedophilia were perfectly rational and reasonable.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 6 weeks 3 days ago Web link KenK
    That's what government is for, isn't it?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 6 weeks 3 days ago Web link KenK
    It's not "sharing" if there is a gun to your head.