Recent comments

  • KenK's picture
    KenK 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    @Jim Davies Yeh. It's been interesting. But to my mind sadly predictable in its outcome though. Let me start what will very likely be my last post on this thread to say that what I am about to relate isn't meant as a taunt, flame, or trolling bait directed at any person, esp. not Mr. Davies. In my 42 years I have been held up at gunpoint, had my apartment broken into, as well as my house, my car, and had my then wife's car stolen right out of our driveway. I won't mention all the minor stuff like items pilfered from my garage, or acts of vandalism, littering, trespassing and such because over the years there have been too many to count. Nor the disturbance of my peace and privacy individually b/c they are too many to count as well. The at-gunpoint robbery was the most scary, but one of my smaller losses. About $50. The break-ins to residences were horrible and scary too, but not because of the losses. The insurance companies I had policies with ate most of that. It was smoldering anger and sense of humiliation that lumpen low-lifes can and did just enter our family's home take what they fancied and then trashed the rest. Stomped my daughter's cat to death too. And lest you think that all this is because I lived in some urban ghetto hell-hole let me say that this was not the case at all. These major offenses listed above all happened in nice neighborhoods in good cities like Ann Arbor, MI, Renton, WA, Copperas Cove TX ( a not so upscale place, but decent), and Fayette, OH a tiny rural community. The Ohio Highway Patrol did recover the wife's car in Toledo, OH but it was a total write-off and I had to pay what was still owed and only recovered the "Blue Book" value minus 20 percent from the insurance coverage and which left us with one less car that we still had to make payments on. So I know both personally and financially what the cost of anti-social acts (i.e., "crime") is on people. Writing a check every month to pay for a car you need but don't have can put you in a mindset to support a call to bring back the Gestapo. Truly. Some people say that "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged." I can see the hidden wisdom of that crack, too. So when I hear about needing to make a leap of faith about how "it'll all be better when 'we' (Democrats, Republicans, Communists, Greens, Surf Nazis for Christ, OWS, or fill-in-the-blank) are in charge" I feel a lot of doubt remembering how people really are and at the facts of history. So for me, this is not a leap of faith I'm willing to make. The Tannenhauses (sp?), Robert Murphy, David Friedman, Murray Rothbard and all the others in the canon of libertarian big-brains are just that not convincing, at least to me. Their theories and predictions don't square up with what I know via the written history of the world and my personal experience of being a crime victim. Sorry for the long rant but there it is; my conclusions and the reasoning behind them. No hyperlinks to the canon though just my plain words. Make of it what you will.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Yeah, you're right Darkcrusade, another built in excuse; "There shall no sign be given unto this generation." (Mark 8:12) So-called Christian superstitionists love to throw that one around, when, in fact, JESUS [sic] was obviously dedicating that to "this", i.e. his, current "wicked and adulterous generation", not every "wicked and adulterous generation" before, or after, he made that declaration. Otherwise the very "wicked and adulterous generation" of Elijah would not have been given a sign. Otherwise you can't call that "Boy survives 15, 20, 25* minutes under water" a miracle of God, because that, of course, would be a "sign", from God. And, I am curious to ask, wouldn't you call JESUS' resurrection from the dead a "sign" to "this", i.e. his, current "wicked and adulterous generation"? * The reason the length of time varies from report to report is because it is based on the hearsay evidence of purported witnesses. Think about it rationally, if "there shall no sign be given unto this generation" were true of every generation, then all the prayers that appear to be answered are just coincidence, because the Christian god named JESUS said, unequivocally, "there shall be no sign given" (Mark 8:12). So, why would those who believe that "there shall be no sign given", seek a sign by praying? It makes no sense. Yes, PB Blaster is some really good stuff. One time I prayed that it would loosen the nut on my lawn mower blade, and it answered my petition...well, it seemed to anyway. A miracle is a "supernatural event", which in turn is, "a deviation from the known laws of nature". Therein lies the key, viz. "from the known laws of nature". Man, by his very nature, is an inquisitive animal; he always wants an explanation for everything he sees, hears and feels around him. The explanation for all those things he cannot yet explain "from the known laws of nature", he calls "supernatural", "Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces[1]." Some individuals call this "power" God, others call it magic, and some simply call it unexplained, with what we know at this time. Then, of course, there are all the faked and lied about "miracles", designed to profit the "miracle worker", either by gaining him, (or his group), more believers/proselytes, more power, or more babel bux, or any combination thereof. As a individual secessionist ruled by the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God", I am pretty much in agreement with these, "I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us- everything that exists - proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision" and "The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy." And, last, but not least, of course, I could be wrong about all of this. ______________________________________________________________________ [1] American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
  • Sharon Secor's picture
    Sharon Secor 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Awewsome quote from the article: "Via Bryan Caplan, who says "In absolute terms, I'm not worried about being persecuted by child welfare services. But power-mad bureaucrats probably outnumber kidnappers and serial killers at least a thousand to one." Very true.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 19 weeks ago Page JGVibes
    Good job, JGVibes, these are analogies I'd not seen before. To my mind the big-gun idea is the better of the two, for the large numbers taking part in its construction and well-oiled operation are distanced somewhat from the blood and gore its firing will produce, and so can more easily take pride in their work. That's exactly how millions of government employees function. It reminds me of a popular WW-II image: Rosie the Riveter. After men had been drafted, the resulting shortage of labor was met by ladies, working for the first time in factories, often building munitions - riveting bomber wings for example. They could all marvel at the precision of the machine they were assembling, and take pleasure when it was flown off the factory airstrip. The resulting firestorms of Hamburg and Dresden, with ruined buildings (which had earlier been constructed by others with equal pride) and mangled bodies of children and mothers, were horrors to which they could easily close their minds.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    This has been so far an interesting exchange; thanks to all participants. I dare say we agree that in a zero-government society objectionable and violent behavior will occur much less often than today, for several reasons named above. But KenK has a valid question; however small the residue, how will it be handled? Those still asking it do need to study http://www.strike-the-root.com/81/davies/davies4.html under the title "Justice" - and for further reading, try Bruce Benson's "The Enterprise of Law" which details the extent to which private courts are _already_ operating. Also the shorter "The Market for Liberty" by the Tannehills has a good treatment in its chapters 7 thru 10, and page 225 ff in Rothbard's classic "For a New Liberty" is a must-read which has been around since 1973. Details differ among authors of the vision, but there is no doubt in my mind that a for-profit industry will evolve to serve a demand for restoration of stolen rights, which is what justice is actually all about. That's if an act of aggression ever needs it. A free society will be armed, as noted above, to the degree each individual member wishes; and street hooligans will live lives that are dangerous and probably short. The NAP which every member will have learned and understood will prevent the use of excessive force (otherwise the original aggressor could turn around and sue the original defender) but not too many disputes will require third party intervention. And yes of course, before any of this can take place everyone must learn and understand the nature of a free society. That's what TOLFA is for. Nobody here should neglect to participate.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Fair question, S2. First, anyone posing a proximate threat to the life of a human being is placing himself at risk of immediate execution, as an act of self-defense by the intended victim. My article did mention that. In the free society I visualize, everyone will of course be free to own can carry such weapons as he sees fit, so that risk is non trivial. We are therefore considering only the survivors - those who repeatedly engage in violence and fall into the hands of the justice industry. They'll be few. Have you read my article on "Justice", to which a link is provided in the piece? - if not please do so, it's a courtesy I would appreciate. That in turn is excerpted from a longer work, _A Vision of Liberty_, and a link to that is shown in my bio at the foot of the article. I am really quite tired of hearing people moan and bleat about the way things are, yet who have miserably failed to sit down for a single hour and figure out a rational way to change them. That Trilogy describes a detailed method, operating now. The abolition of prisons is one of the many benefits having a zero government society. So, how would that free-market court decide how much violence was "enough" and shackle the monster so he can do no more? Answer: fairly, so as to as to maximize its reputation and profits in the justice marketplace. For me to quantify that would be premature; but a raw guess would in my mind be in the low single digits of murders. Where would you draw the line, if you were a judge in that environment? You mention this question is a "start". Again, please do the homework above before posing any others. I've done mine; now it's your turn.
  • Chris Dates's picture
    Chris Dates 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    KenK, You asked Jim to not bring the ideas of Rothbard and the like into the fray, but then you do the very thing you asked him to refrain from by saying... "If the lumpen prove to be a serious issue, then that issue will likely be resolved with brute force just as it is now; the only difference will be that the "brutes" will be private security employees instead of government police." Please explain why you make the jump from the government police being the "brutes" to the private security employees filling that role. I'm interested in knowing how you arrived at that conclusion, because I don't think it necessarily follows from that premise. It is wrong to think that every anarchist or stateless society advocate automatically believes in some sort of "private police" force. This is not always the case, because I don't believe it. I can't tell you what YOU will do, because I don't run your life, nor do I have the desire to. I can only tell you what I would do in desperate situations; the thing I think is the right thing to do at the moment. If I think a situation warrants gathering up a group of individuals to terminate a threat then so be it, but the thing about it KenK, is this: I would never force you to pay for it, because there is a special kind of injustice inherent in a system that is based on that principle. I would never let the things I fear in my own life become so overpowering that it turns me into a thug. I am not concerned with what happens to criminals; I do not let it consume my thoughts. The focus must be shifted from destruction to creation if we are ever to have a stateless society, and a focus on the criminal is a focus on destruction. So, not only is society constucted around the criminal, the "rule of law", but the criminal now lives in your head. I am guessing that there aren't any more than 2% of humans in this world that are actually evil. I'm talking about people who would cause some real terror. These are the ticks that the dog just can't seem to shake off, but the rational thing to do here is not to invite anymore bloodsuckers to join the party! Evil is a part of life, and we will never rid the planet of cannibals by eating them. We will have a stateless society when humans correctly identify evil, and they no longer have to be persuaded away from it. Your comments give me hope, because you are asking for persuasion. Only one more step left.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    @voluntaryist Yep. It's all speculation. On Davies' part, and mine as well. I admit that. These facts are documented though. 1) The "New Soviet Man" and other ideological/social/religious constructs that were supposed to occur after a changed political system never happened. 2) The French Revolutionaries, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot among others all tried to create their just societies by razing the former social structures and killing off their dissenters, counter-revolutionaries, reactionaries, traitors, malcontents, lumpen, ownership classes, bureaucrats, kulaks, and all the rest. Yet the productive happy free society that was to be the refined remnant just was no where to be seen when all the smoke cleared away. And which brings me back to my original criticism of Mr. Davies' article. Which to restate was "...tell me in plain simple English sentences how people in an utterly stateless condition could deal with problems like street gangs, lumpen antics, and the rare but seriously violent actors without using police, prisons, or involuntary exile..". I think Davies' model would reduce and mitigate the problems we have now perhaps and maybe that's the best we can do. And I again want to thank him for even bothering to take the time to write it.
  • voluntaryist's picture
    voluntaryist 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    KenK: Since we don't have a "self-governing" society yet, all your doubts, and all our hopes, based on that society, are speculation. But we can look at some sub cultures where there is no violence and see the humanitarian progress. This strongly suggests that your concerns are misplaced. The choice is simple. Either we trust brute force (the state) or individuals choosing (self governing). The second way will contain irrationality but as time goes by it will diminish. What works will win out. This has not been the case when society accepts and bases it's social interactions on a fundamental falsehood, i.e., initiation of force works.
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 4 years 19 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Mat 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (That is what happened.) http://www.reasons.org/about/photo-gallery I much perfer 'power blaster' mo-better than wd-40. As you would say these superstionists get beter results> 'God can work miracles': Boy survives 25 minutes under water= http://www.komonews.com/news/local/127437853.html Or + http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-s-keener/miracles-in-the-bible-and-t... I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us- everything that exists - proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision. --Thomas A. Edison The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy. --Florence Shinn Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. I wonder,what you believe, did the universe will itself into existence? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOjqpdlRFmo
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Out of respect for KenK, and so he doesn't feel "ganged up on", I will bow out of this conversation. I shall sit on the sidelines and enjoy.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    I'm am not trying to dodge here but I don't want to be drawn into a lengthy debate more suited to a philosophy grad student seminar. I would just like for Jim or anyone who agrees with him to tell me in plain simple English sentences how people in an utterly stateless condition could deal with problems like street gangs, lumpen antics, and the rare but seriously violent actors without using police, prisons, or involuntary exile which was the thrust of the article. If Jim can and does then great! I will admit that I am or could be wrong and will consider it further. I have no ego invested in this question. (Side note to Jim. I now regret my opening sentence. I provided no context for "revert to reality" and now see that it has been misunderstood. My bad.) Chris Dates People will build their living situations to deal with the condition they find themselves in. No more no less. If the lumpen prove to be a serious issue, then that issue will likely be resolved with brute force just as it is now; the only difference will be that the "brutes" will be private security employees instead of government police. As to seriously dangerous sorts, I don't know. It took government police more than a decade and millions of dollars to find Unabomber, or the Grim Reaper suspect just to name but two. How a stateless society will address these types (esp. without forced exile and prisons) I will leave to the advocates for complete statelessness. I don't think it can myself. Rational people will construct their lives around being safe. Those that don't or whose efforts are inadequate or are just plain unlucky will suffer for it. Some people don't buy insurance for their homes because rationally they think the odds are on their side.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    So, KenK, your "reality" is, that with government firmly in control you no longer have "people for digging through garbage cans, trespassing, squatting, engaging in vandalism, petty theft, aggressive begging, or puking on the sidewalk and such"...is that correct? Perhaps if we called the society "we" envision, a "self-governing society", it would be more palatable. Imagine if we could teach people, by example, that to be self-governing, responsible, respectful, considerate individuals, was the highest goal of mankind? Would we achieve utopia? Probably not. But, would we be closer to it than we now are? In my opinion, yes.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Is Taxation Voluntary?
    Web link Westernerd
    Before even reading this, I must ask the same question I've asked here, perhaps, too many times before. Is identifying yourself as a "TAXPAYER", by using a Taxpayer Identification Number voluntary? I haven't used any of these in well over ten years, and not one single man or woman acting as an AGENT for any STATE, the UNITED STATES, the IRS, or any other CORPORATION has ever put a "gun to my head" and said I must use one. Now, I will say that every person around me, (with the exception of my natural law wife), does use a T.I.N., and a good many of them, if not most, refuse to do business with non-members, but they certainly have that right, just like COSTCO can refuse to do business with non-members, and so, I do not consider that force.
  • Chris Dates's picture
    Chris Dates 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    I also have a problem with KenK's comment of... "Now let us revert to reality." Philosophy moves the world; it shapes the reality we see around us. Of course, schizophrenics, murderers, and rapists will always be a reality no matter what philosophy is wearing the crown at the moment, but does this mean rational humans should construct their "systems" around the irrational? How many are actually out there? How many actual hard-core criminals, insane or not, actaully exist? It's rather hard to see, because the State has been so successful in selling the Big Lie, and that is this: We /are all/ criminals. We are scared of our own neighbors, and the State is the only thing keeping us safe. If the tyranny of democracy; the tryanny of the majority is wrong, then how is the tyranny of the criminal a just cause to build society around? Is this what you would consider the "rule of law"? KenK, should rational human beings construct their societies around the criminal? Is that a rational thing to do?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Thanks for the come-back, KenK. So you say "reality" is not determined by ideas we may have about it. Doesn't that contradict, however, the thrust of your earlier post here? - for you did appear to say that the situation prevailing today (a government-infested, crime-ridden society) consists of "reality" - and you did contrast it with what I'd written about the nature of a free society, some years in the future. You did seem to me to be implying that my description could never constitute reality, that it could never work. Your opener was "Now let us revert to reality." We are in sync well enough if what you meant to say was something like "looks wonderful, but how do we get from today's reality to tomorrow's possible reality?" - and I have a few answers available for that. But I hope we agree now on the difference - between scorning an ideal as impossible of realization, on the one hand, and questioning or even doubting how it can be achieved - and, perhaps, whether it would be stable if it _was_ achieved, or unstable and therefore Utopian. Your post did prompt me, though, to search for crime statistics, and I found something interesting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States. There is a _huge variation_ over time, within the US - and between different countries, an even more massive difference! Typically the US has _three times_ the violent crime rate found in Canada, France, or Britain - societies very comparable in other ways. I suspect the numbers for Russia and central America because they are so wildly out of line, but it says Russia is thirteen times more violent even than the USA! From this I see that the prevalence of violence varies enormously _even within government-run societies_. When government has been abolished, with all the violence it fosters, these numbers suggest we shall see reductions counted in orders of magnitude. Yes there will be a problem still (and I found no stats for pissers on the street, so must rely on your own expertese there:-) but as Paul confirms, it won't be very big.
  • Marc's picture
    Marc 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Guest
    The bogus justification for this waste of tax dollars seems to be that the Keene Bearcat is useful in school shooting situations. Really? As far as school shootings go, I thought the problem was that the police won't risk entering a school building until long after the shooters have either tired of their rampage and killed themselves or been overcome and restrained by one or more brave unarmed students.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Guest
    Very good! Thank you, BrianAnderson.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Okay Jim, here goes. "Reality" is a condition that exists independently of ideas concerning it. That's my working definition. As to Bonneau's point of the lumpen being killed off pretty quickly: I have to respond that I doubt that would happen either unless the community is or devolves into a Hobbesian condition to where people will shoot other people for digging through garbage cans, trespassing, squatting, engaging in vandalism, petty theft, aggressive begging, or puking on the sidewalk and such. 90 percent of these lot don't do anything "bad enough" to warrant getting shot. That does not mean the lumpen don't harm a community in major ways. My experience is that just a few of them can make a community very unpleasant to live or work in. In any event I appreciate the responses to my points and again I commend all efforts toward a freer and more humane society.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 19 weeks ago Page painkilleraz
    The drug war is not a failure. It has been wildly successful, from the point of view of the ruling class. For them, failure would be ending it.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim's right. Even if you restrict yourself to utilitarian arguments, there is a very low bar here. It just has to be better than the current situation, which would be exceedingly easy. A free or natural society will still have the occasional ugly or nasty person. Interaction of that person with society will either straighten him out or kill him. No big deal either way. Hard cases make poor law, as they say, and they also make for poor ways to design societies. Let's not let our irrational fears about exceedingly rare events get the better of us. Society is something we have to put up with every single day.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Murder, if defined as the intentional taking of an innocent human's life, usually for profit or for pleasure, I would draw the line in the low single digits, as well -- ONE! Fair enough, Jim Davies, I will do some more homework before commenting again.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 19 weeks ago Page JGVibes
    Excellent article. I would like to suggest an extension to this idea though. At the risk of being accused of blaming the victim, I think part of this machinery of compliance is the citizen himself. Just as the bureaucrat files papers and sends mail to people, seemingly innocent actions, the recipient of that mail usually complies with no visible sign of resistance. You write, "...everyone who keeps that state well-oiled and in working order is able to maintain a safe and healthy distance from all of the violence that is taking place." What does that not describe, but the citizen himself? What if, rather than automatically complying with laws and regulations, citizens simply ignored them and waited for the threat that must follow, and then complied? If nothing else, it forces the bureaucrat to actually issue the threat and face up to the violence he is involved in. It would also slow down the machinery in general, and since so much of it is barely on the edge of functional, might push it over the edge. One favorite example is homeschooling. Homeschoolers are required to register as such, almost a pro-forma requirement, yet a significant fraction simply refuses. One might ask what areas of human behavior have become even more free over time, unlike what seems normal, becoming less free? Homeschooling is one of them. Noncompliance is arguably the reason. John Ross, in his book "Unintended Consequences", noted that the feeling of guilt often accompanies being the victim of a rape. Why would a victim feel guilt? He thinks because the victim did nothing at all, not only to stop her own rape, but that of others who would be sure to follow hers. Every time we find a chance at a law or regulation to ignore or break, we seriously ought to consider it.
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 4 years 19 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Lawrence: Lighten up. I don't understand where you're getting that I'm filled with vitriol. Neither did I ever accuse you of being an atheist. For that matter, I don't care whether you are an atheist. Some of my best friends are atheists. Honest. But we're talking past each other at this point. Peace.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 4 years 19 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Tony: The source of your anger, then, appears to be OTHER people who spout vitriol about the church. I did none of that in my comment, and I even indicated my sincere sadness that Augustine betrayed himself -- which is exactly what you just did in pointing out that he was a man of his time. You have ASS-U-ME-ED that I am one of the angry atheists, and as a result felt it necessary to sweep me up in your grand drama as you battle them fearlessly from your laptop. We all know what happens when we assume, don't we? But since you have not read Augustine, perhaps you should not imply that I have misrepresented him. I am dealing with facts, not opinions . Similarly, Peter Brown's books and essays on Augustine are among the most widely respected in the medieval field -- which I have studied for more than 35 years. I've read all of Augustine's major works -- and those of Jerome as well. Not to mention the correspondence between them. And their theological essays. I have great respect for much of what they have written -- which was easy to see in my initial comment. Perhaps you should reign in your anger at atheists and not project their qualities into the minds and hearts of others. If you took the time to read my other writings at STR and elsewhere, you would see that I have treated the church and its subject with a degree of respect: at STR see my essays on Jesus and taxation and on the environment, and see my essay on Pope John-Paul's death at lewrockwell.com (Autopsy of a Funeral).
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Thank you, Kenk, for your first three words. I'm hung up, though, on the next six. "Reality"? - you describe a behavior pattern encountered today, and call that "real"? Presumably, that's what you mean by "reality" - something that happens right now, today; and if that guess is correct, I fear you have fallen headlong into a trap. That trap is to suppose without a shred of evidence that what is now must forever be; that today's actual experience is the permanent state of humankind. Do be sure of that, please, before we continue; for if you do, it means you accept no possibility of change, of improvement or rectification. You'd be saying that any and all attempts to better our race are doomed, that there will for ever be some who are "paranoid schizophrenic substance abusers that pees in the street, robs, steals, vandalizes, trespasses, aggressively begs, and threatens to assault passersby" - that this is normal human behavior, inscribed in our genes. If you really believe that, I'd like to see the argument laid out plainly, ready for me to demolish. Meanwhile, my reply to Suverans2 may suggest a fresh line of thought.
  • Sharon Secor's picture
    Sharon Secor 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Guest
    That is so far past disgraceful that I am hard-pressed for appropriate words. Shameful behavior.
  • rita's picture
    rita 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Border Battleground
    Web link Guest
    Legalize drugs. Let people live in peace.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Natural Law
    Web link Don Stacy
    GOOD CITIZENS DON'T THINK Thinking leads to reasoning. Reasoning leads to right and wrong. Wrong leads to revolt. Revolt leads to bad citizens.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    G'day Jim Davies, Let us start with this. You wrote: "The only exceptions will be the tiny number who do repeated violence..." "Repeated violence?" Just wondering, how many violent repeats, such as rape, robbery and murder, would you envision before these monsters would be taken out of circulation?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Evan and Samarami, See how "dissension" can be put forth without violating the NAP? Well, said, KenK!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Guest
    And to Evan, Samarami and any others who have lost respect for Rob for banning WI, if in fact he did ban him; I am a "dissenter", constantly putting forth my same concepts in as many step-by-step ways as I can find. So, why am I not booted and banned from Rob's website? Because I am polite about my dissension; I'm not constantly antagonistic, or telling the other members, here, how ignorant they are, or bad-mouthing all their heroes, in order to gain attention. It's called making a "constructive contribution", as one member here called it. Had WI shown just a little common courtesy, I'm certain that he would still be here. So, I think the Germanic word for what I am trying to say to you folks is, quitcherbitchen.
  • JGVibes's picture
    JGVibes 4 years 19 weeks ago Page JGVibes
    thanks for that correction! i must have had a slight misunderstanding of how they worked... i hope the metaphor wasn't too much of a stretch...thanks for the feedback, i was just able to edit it!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Guest
    "The U.S. government should be stopped from engaging in such brutality. But short of that, those with a conscientious objection should be free to opt out of financing these crimes." ~ Sheldon Richman Secession. The act of withdrawing from membership in a group. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991) According to the natural law every individual is free to withdraw from membership in the group and is free to refuse member-only benefits and privileges. In so doing, he has opted out of financing these crimes; he is no longer a dues-paying member. Invito beneficium non datur. No one is obliged to accept a benefit against his consent. Dig. 50, 17, 69. But if he does not dissent he will be considered as assenting. Vide Assent[1]. ~ Bouvier's 1856 Law Dictionary Implied assent. That which is presumed by law, and proved by conduct of the parties. See Consent (Implied consent[2]) ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 116 Why would one need to refuse member-only benefits and privileges? Because if one takes the benefits and privileges offered by the STATE it proves by conduct of the party that he assents to membership in the STATE. (See Implied assent definition directly above and Implied consent definition in footnotes.) Cujus est commodum ejus debet esse incommodum. He who receives the benefit should also bear the disadvantage. The "disadvantage", of course, is allegiance. Allegiance. Obligation of fidelity and obedience to government in consideration for protection that government gives. ______________________________________________ [1] Qui non prohibit quod prohibere potest assentire videtur. He who does not forbid what he can forbid, seems to assent. 2 Inst. 305. ~ Bouvier's 1856 Law Dictionary Non refert an quis assensum suum praefert verbis, an rebus ipsis et factis. It is immaterial whether a man gives his assent by words or by acts and deeds. 10 Co. 52. ~ Bouvier's 1856 Law Dictionary [2] Implied consent. That manifest by signs, actions, or facts, or by inaction or silence, which raise a presumption or inference that the consent has been given. An inference arising from a course of conduct or relationship between the parties, in which there is mutual acquiescence or a lack of objection under circumstances signifying assent. Allstate, Ince. Co. v. State Farm mutual Automobile Ins. Co. 260 S.C. 350, 195 SE2d 711, 713
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Abolishing Prisons
    Page Jim Davies
    Very eloquent Jim. Now let us revert to reality. What would you (not your ideological proclivity) suggest be done with a paranoid schizophrenic substance abuser that pees in the street, robs, steals, vandalizes, trespasses, aggressively begs, and threatens to assault passersby? What would you actually do? And please don't tell me what Rothbard, Mises, Hayek, Rand, or the rest of the pantheon write about it but provide a real world based solution or mitigation for the lumpen problem. One that does not assume rationality on the part of the malefactor. Not so easy is it? Now advance a humane solution that doesn't involve violence and involuntary confinement as well. Like with a hornet's nest there are really only two modes of adaptation behavior available that I can see. Leave it alone or utterly destroy it. No in between works AFAICS. You can choose to ignore the hornets but they may not choose to ignore you. NB: I am trying to use this commenting space to further a discussion of ideas. I'm am not trying to do a "White Indian" style trolling instigated flame war. Please don't think this is meant to be a personal attack on you or your writings and other work. I admire both.
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 4 years 19 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Lawrence: Venting spleen? Talk about the pot calling marijuana a weed. I don't necessarily dispute Augustine's inconsistency. Who among us is fully consistent? I'm not sure your account of Augustine's treatment of Pelagian and Donatist heretics is complete and accurate, but for the sake of argument, I'll accept it. (I''ve been through discussions like this with people who fulminate against the Church for, e.g., the expulsion of the Jews from Spain or the conduct of the Crusaders during the Sack of Constantinople, and my research inevitably brings to the fore context placing the events in a different light.) I'm too lazy to explore the controversies surrounding Augustine right now. So maybe Augustine was only head and shoulders above his time, not a full body length? He recognized the evil of empire but not of religious intolerance? He was a mere human being after all? Fine. My initial comment was in response to Chris Dates, who suggested Christians don't like to think, notwithstanding Christ's command we love God "with all our mind." I submitted Augustine's quote to suggest otherwise. That was the original point. You found my point mooted by Augustine's alleged inconsistencies. I found your point mooted by your inconsistency: you point at specks in Augustine's eyes while ignoring the planks in our enlightened and democratic age's. If you oppose the persecution of heretics you might start by issuing one of your finely-crafted screeds against the incarceration of American drug users and raw milk traffickers and Western European negationists. That thought-crime persecution is real. It's going on now.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Guest
    A. The Catholic Church is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. This means it is exempt from corporate income and property taxes. However, the Catholic Church must pay taxes on unrelated business income from any non-religious activities. Individuals (e.g., priests, deacons) do pay regular income taxes.
  • John deLaubenfels's picture
    John deLaubenfels 4 years 19 weeks ago Page JGVibes
    Good discourse, slightly weakened by the fact that actual firing squads have mostly live rounds, with possibly one or two blanks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Execution_by_firing_squad Your points about the rationalizations enforcers engage in are right on target.
  • freebee's picture
    freebee 4 years 19 weeks ago
    Guest Editor
    Story strike
    I'm with you, Sam.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Thank you, Sharon Secor; and it pleases me to be able to honestly say it is always a pleasure when you "chime in" as well.
  • painkilleraz's picture
    painkilleraz 4 years 19 weeks ago Page painkilleraz
    Correct, and sadly people continue to buy the prescribed cure, "government law"
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 4 years 19 weeks ago Page painkilleraz
    Thanks, Jesse. Vice laws truly are a lethal cure in search of a disease, and the people wearing FBI and DEA uniforms have spawned more violence against innocent people and non-drug-user as a result of their officially sanctioned actions than the drugs themselves ever would or could have caused. http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0311f.asp
  • Sharon Secor's picture
    Sharon Secor 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Greetings, Suverans2. It is always a pleasure when you chime into the discussion. While many, perhaps even most, of the Occupy group does seem to be of that ilk, there is also a significant portion that do respect liberty. I think that there is ample opportunity to shape the intellectual/ideological base of that movement, shifting it towards liberty and principles of voluntary association. Collectives are fine, as long as they are voluntary in nature, not mandated. If a group, for example, of homeschoolers decide to come together in joint education efforts, great. But, don't force those that don't want to participate to do so by law. If a group wants to come together to handle waste management in their area, great -- as long as participation is voluntary. Etc. and so on... People can manage themselves, I've seen it happen quite successfuly in small, remote communities.
  • painkilleraz's picture
    painkilleraz 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    I would agree most are S :)
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 4 years 19 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Tony: While I agree with your point -- namely that privately owned government is better than democracy in many ways -- most of your post does not even address the topic I raised. I simply criticized Augustine for his inconsistency. Further, the one point you make that purports to do address the issue I raised is dishonest -- and patently so. Why? You raise a question but cite no answer -- probably because you are resting on a very weak reed or do not wish to do the necesary research. You should have done some homework before replying. The Pelagians are guilty of nothing except claiming that man is not born with the chips stacked against him by Original Sin and thus condemned. They believed in free choice -- or "liberum arbitrium." The Pelagians were willing to let people prove who they are by their actions in addition to their belief in the power of Christ -- not something as limited as their belief alone (a Protestant doctrine derived from Augustine's work). So why do you imply otherwise? That's dishonest. Second, regarding the Donatists, Augustine never attacked the Donatists because they engaged in the behaviors that he himself was guilty of -- using the state to get their way. He was angry that they wanted to defrock the priests and bishops that had betrayed their fellow Christians by turning them over to the state authorities during the persecution of Diocletian. The anti-Donatists also recanted their Christian faith by "handing over their scriptures" as "traditores" (those who hand over) during the persecution -- while those who did not betray the faith were harmed. But when the persecutions were over, the "traditores" wanted to resume their high positions in the church. And Augustine supported them. Those who suffered and survived the Diocletian persecution did not think that the ones who betrayed the faith were fit to resume their high church positions. Further, the Donatist hereteics declared that the sacraments administered by the "traditores" were invalid. Regardless of which side you support on that doctrinal question, you only have to imagine the anger and feelings of betrayal among those who suffered to understand why they became Donatist -- and consequently heretics. That riots occasionally broke out and that the Donatists used state power in some instances to get their way is not something I am excusing. I merely pointed out that Augustine's previous insight about the nature of the state as a crime syndicate was undone by his later use of state power to use violence to get his way in a doctrinal dispute. And you have done nothing to show that mine is an unsupportable position -- not as a Christian, but as one who abhors the initiatory use of violence. What is the problem? Finally, your anger about drug laws -- about which I concur completely (these laws resulted in the death by beating of my grandmother) -- does not address my central argument. Why do you go on so instead of discussing Augustine? That was not the point. I agree that private government is better than democracy. Hans-Hermann Hoppe's collection of essays in "Democracy: The God That Failed" contains some great arguments about this point, and I am not afraid to cite my source for this belief. It would, however, have been helpful if you had cited it yourself. My post addressed only Augustine and his tragic inability to live up to the standards raised by his own insights in "The City of God." Do you feel better now that you have vented your spleen on me?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the OWS members, for the most part, just redistribution-of-the-wealth-collectivists?
  • wkmac's picture
    wkmac 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    On the one hand I admire the OWS movement for doing something but in the end the movement just seems to me to want to displace the existing top down hierarchical system with one of it's own. This is a battle of statist verse statist so it comes down to picking which snake would be the least to be bitten by, rattlesnake or copperhead? I'd like to see OWS seriously begin to explore real alternative options and embrace counter-economics to by-pass the entire corp/state structure to begin with. Don't try to reform the current societal model, go in and take it's customer base of which it's discarded anyway and build anew. Journalist Robert Neuwrith in his book, "Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy" points out that the so-called black market now fully employs half the global workforce and by 2020' will makeup nearly 2/3rds of the global workforce. In some sense OWS are hinting local and so close to it, now if they would only begin to truly act local by embracing real freed markets with agorism or counter-economics and drive the other 1/3 and it's 1% by our own voluntary action from the table altogether!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    To answer the question posed in this lead-in, "And, just who is we?" "We" is anyone who chooses to be, or remain, a citizen of [belonging to] the STATE OF__________________, and therefor a citizen of [belonging to] the UNITED STATES. "Citizens" are members of [belonging to] a political community [the STATE OF__________________] who, in their associated capacity, have established or submitted themselves to the dominion of [belonging to] a government [the UNITED STATES]... ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 244 Dominion Generally accepted definition of "dominion" is perfect control in right of ownership. The word implies both title and possession and appears to require complete control over disposition. Eastex Aviation, Inc. v.Sperry & Hutchinson Co., C.A.Tex., 522 F.2d 1299, 1307 ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 486 In this status persons like Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) "represent" them. Represent. ...To represent a person is to stand in his place; to speak or act with authority on behalf of such person; to supply his place; to act as his substitute or agent. See also Agent Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1301 Who they do not represent are "strangers to the covenant", i.e. those individuals who do not consent to be, or remain, a citizen of [belonging to] the STATE OF__________________, and therefor a citizen of [belonging to] the UNITED STATES. Strangers. ...Those who are in no way parties to a covenant or transaction, nor bound by it, are said to be strangers to the covenant or transaction. Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1421) Look, if you are going to take a trip to the place called Madrid, and you don't speak Spanish, it would be wise to procure a Dictionary that translates Spanish to English. And if you are going to communicate with a someone from STATE or STATES you'd best bring your dictionary that translates Legalese to English, so you know what the hell is being said. True, This! — Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! — But taking sorcery from the master-hand To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword — States can be saved without it! ~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton (c.1839) ...through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you... Feigned. Fictitious; pretended; supposititious; simulated. ~ ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 616 I also understand why virtually no one wants to hear this. Just like Daddy said, every time I pointed a finger at someone else...there were three pointed back at me. Damn!!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Like
  • painkilleraz's picture
    painkilleraz 4 years 19 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    I have had those tantrums, however, she was talking at 18 months and not really comprehending much in the way of earn, spend etc., ;) I am a huge fan however, of the you earn your keep approach. I remember times as a child when I went to bed without dinner because I failed to do my chores...a far more beneficial approach than spanking was (at least in my mind) ;)