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  • Guest's picture
    MassOutrage (not verified) 4 years 45 weeks ago
    The Gulch, Revisited
    Page Jim Davies
    Without knowing it, this article exposes the great problem that Atlas Shrugged, and the proponents of liberty will not acknowledge or address: The vast majority of persons don't want liberty. Ayn Rand's book tacitly admits that most of the people wanted the ridiculous laws about "equality" and government control that the government kept piling on, one after another. Only a few persons still embraced liberty, at least until it ruined them, such as some train engineers and farmers. Just like then, the vast majority right now continue to choose slavery to government. Otherwise, Ron Paul would be president, and we would be on our way to eliminating the artifact of the constitution and the powers it gave to a strong-arm central government. We have what the majority want: Not liberty, but theft from others for their own benefit; Not freedom, but crushing laws, regulations and a police state enforcement apparatus. Not mutual respect and peace, but perpetual wars on invented enemies outside the country, and on herbs, thoughts, money, and yes, liberty. Ayn Rand provided the narrative the proof that it CAN'T work as we wish it might. Maybe we should discern the basic makeup of humans and their motives more wisely, and advocate change in accord with that. Anything else is foolish naivety.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 45 weeks ago
    Where's My Contract?
    Page Paul Bonneau
    BTW, none of "my" congresscritters responded to this communication of mine, even with a form letter. I suppose there is no way for them to respond to it, if you think about it.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 45 weeks ago Web link Jad Davis
    The days of brick and mortar are waning. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 45 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Dominant Social Theme: (thanks, Daily Bell) (Said the spider to the fly) "We are committed to making our web comfortable, habitable and secure for all citizens within our realm of authority. Citizens should be thankful for our protective presence everywhere and anytime..."
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 4 years 45 weeks ago Web link Jad Davis
    In today's culture, a better education can be had from the internet than the one I got from Public schools and a State University. HERE is a really good one...: http://www.khanacademy.org/ Scroll down and marvel at the enormous selection of subjects!! Watch the founder explain it...: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/82347.html Now THAT is being creative!!
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 46 weeks ago Quotation strike
    Well, Suverans2, the store appears to be open again, so I'll cut this short so nobody has to wait in line for comment space. You and I are definitely "on the same page". I think you know that. It's just that my tendency toward convoluted phraseology has not improved a whole lot with age. Often I'll look at something I wrote a day or so prior and can't decipher my own stuff -- how the hell do I expect anybody else to know what I meant??? My comment had to do with, as you aptly labeled them, gangs -- one gang seceding from another gang (collectivist entities referred to by the serfs as "states" or "nations", even when half or more of the sheep residing therein could care less and may even oppose the sociopathic "leaders"). For years the US Government boobuses had me on their books as an "illegal tax protestor". They quit using that term due to there being nothing illegal about protesting (or choosing to abstain from "voluntary compliance" -- a classic state absurdity). They've apparently quit hounding me because to them I'm not only a non-person, I'm just a tough old chop. With their current budget they can get more "bang" by hounding young, tender loins lurking about. Especially high profile loins. I stay low profile. It does not matter to me what they (or their computers) perceive their relationship with me. I know they will attack if confronted, and I've learned to avoid being attacked, especially by hordes with heavy arsenals. I am a free, sovereign state. Sam
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 46 weeks ago Quotation strike
    And, good day to you, too, Sam. Donald Livingstone, only stated, in that quote, that the so-called Declaration of Independence is a document containing information “justifying secession”, that is to say, showing why secession is just. I happen to agree with his assessment, and what makes it a particularly good template is the fact that it is the very document used to “justify” the existence of the corporation known as the United States Government. Yeah, Suverans2, but it's still all a collectivist mind game when you boil it down. Secession via this, that or some other document is an act of granting legitimacy to the entity from which you're claiming to secede. So, an individual withdrawing from membership in a gang, or giving the gang notice of withdrawal from membership (especially, it would seem, using the gangs own declaration of independence), is, in your opinion, “an act of granting legitimacy to the entity [gang]”. Fascinating. Oh, and I happen to know that secession is always an individual act. And if you're acting as one of the wizards of whatever klan it is that purports to claim "independence" (which will forthwith "join the family of nations"), you're no doubt as sociopathic as those wizards to whom you're directing said declaration of independence. I think you know me better than that, Sam. I am not “acting as one of the wizards of [any] klan that purports to claim “independence”...), so I will not waste your and my time responding to the “sociopathic” charge. And, once more, secession is always an individual act; notwithstanding that some individuals have consented to abide by whatever their representative(s) decides is best for them. Consider: Some of "Our-Forefathers" might have appeared to be relatively sincere and focused upon "Freedom-Of-The-Citizens". But very quickly as history is calculated -- within a generation or two -- their progeny were finalizing schemes to impound all production of all "The-Citizens" and nationalize all work of all individuals residing within "Our-Great-Nation"....The groundwork had been laid with the machinations of a gangster named Hamilton. Yes, the “Federalists”, particularly Alexander Levine/Hamilton, and James Madison, were most certainly puppets of those doing the calculating. I find it quite telling that Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the so-called Declaration of Independence, characterized the delegates as an assembly of "demi-gods", and that Patrick Henry was also noticeably absent; he refused to go because he "smelt a rat in Philadelphia, tending toward the monarchy." Evidently they were both right. Interjection: thanks again, Suverans2, for your help a few weeks ago on private email in launching me and getting me up to speed in html technology. Most of the time nowadays my embedded links actually work, thanks to your gentle nudging. You know, of course, that you are very welcome. The other 1% (that would be thee and me) can be dealt with. Severely. When they can find us. Do you think that we actually make up a whopping 1%? I thought it to be a much lower percentage than that. ;) And, for the record, I'm not hiding, Sam; as an Individual Secessionist, I am regarded as "nonexistent", "nonexistent", "nonexistent", is all. 'Til next time, my friend.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 46 weeks ago Quotation strike
    Yeah, Suverans2, but it's still all a collectivist mind game when you boil it down. Secession via this, that or some other document is an act of granting legitimacy to the entity from which you're claiming to secede. And if you're acting as one of the wizards of whatever klan it is that purports to claim "independence" (which will forthwith "join the family of nations"), you're no doubt as sociopathic as those wizards to whom you're directing said declaration of independence. Consider: Some of "Our-Forefathers" might have appeared to be relatively sincere and focused upon "Freedom-Of-The-Citizens". But very quickly as history is calculated -- within a generation or two -- their progeny were finalizing schemes to impound all production of all "The-Citizens" and nationalize all work of all individuals residing within "Our-Great-Nation"....The groundwork had been laid with the machinations of a gangster named Hamilton. Some of you have heard me state that my favorite US "politician" in history was Aaron Burr. Burr declared and personally carried out the only legitimate "war" perpetrated by schizoids of state: having a number of issues, both private and "public", with Hamilton; Burr called him out, challenged him to a duel and shot his ass. Bring back the duel, I say. End the insanity of marching "citizens" off to murder (warning: lossa bad language in the video) "brown citizens over there" and call it "war". Enter The Federal Reserve Act and The Sixteenth Amendment (which was and is fraudulent to its core since it does not spell out what is being "taxed", does not define "income", and does not amend already existing restrictions on taxation in that "sacred" instrument called "The Constitution"). Interjection: thanks again, Suverans2, for your help a few weeks ago on private email in launching me and getting me up to speed in html technology. Most of the time nowadays my embedded links actually work, thanks to your gentle nudging. But never worry your little head about legalities. All "positions of state" (senator, congressman, potus, secretary of this or that department and all their warring generals) are always filled by sociopaths. Sociopaths are sociopaths due to their inbred capacity to understand that the 99% ("citizens") will never really call into question "My-Country" ("Our-Great-Nation"). Most of them are inclined to docilely comply with the edicts of "our" leaders. "TPTB" (the-powers-that-be). "Voluntary Compliance" is an oxymoron of genius coinage. The other 1% (that would be thee and me) can be dealt with. Severely. When they can find us. I'm just filling space 'till the store opens again. Regards. Sam
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 46 weeks ago Quotation strike
    "The Declaration of Independence was and is, no more and no less, than a document justifying secession." ~ Donald Livingston, PhD--Emory University
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Yes Sam, I look at Harry Browne like Ron Paul as great educators. As Harry put it in the Afterword to the 25th Anniversary Edition of How I Found FREEDOM in an UNFREE WORLD: "You have to decide for yourself whether to participate in any group endeavor. And one thing to weigh is whether you will consider your participation to have been worthwhile even if the group doesn't achieve its main objective". Ron Paul Is the Future http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/109404.html Ron Paul on Self-Government or Tip-Toeing Into Panarchism http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/109298.html Best Regards and congrats, Atlas
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Atlas: ~I personally have found that Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an UNFree World" and L Neil Smith's "Covenant of Unanimous Consent" have provided a simple way to live in an UNFree world. Including seeing thru and solving the assumption that others need to be changed (Identity and Group Traps). (Emphasis mine in what I think was a quotation by Atlas from somebody else. As Jim Davies stated in a recent post, this thread has become so lengthy it's hard to know where you're wading into it. That happens, I surmise, when "we anarchists" let ourselves get sucked into the business of judging any belief system practiced by others). To attempt to answer "The G-d Question" as it pertains to libertarians is tricky at best -- sociopathic inquisition at its worst. Bill W and Dr Bob (Bill Wilson, co-founder with Dr Bob Smith, of Alcoholics Anonymous) discovered that conundrum. What they had set out to do was to help as many hopeless drunks as possible to get sober and stay sober -- as they had helped each other at the very beginning, 77 years ago June 10th. The result was the most libertarian "movement" (I know, "movement" is really oxymoronic to genuine libertarianism) I've run across. Didn't you mention that recently, Atlas? We drunks seemingly can only tolerate genuine libertarianism. I didn't recognize that or make the connection in that manner until well after I had been exposed to STR and Mr. Davies' and many others' excellent essays early on in my quest for liberty. Many (most) of us guys and gals who straggled into AA for help had been so sullied by organized religions and the superstitious edicts thereof that we could not even conceive of a Higher Power without suspecting that some sort of "religion" would become involved. Yet we knew to a man (and woman -- the original text of Alcoholics Anonymous is slanted to the male) that our own best thinking inevitably led to one more drink and one more drunken debauchery. And insanity or death -- the latter preferable to the former. Harry Browne was probably most responsible of anybody for my coming to libertarian thinking and anarchy..although he ran for "potus" under Libertarian (note upper case "L") auspices, and as such would have to be considered "mini-statist". "How I found Freedom.." is the most concise and complete outline for liberty I know of. Not once does Harry call somebody else's faith "foolishness", although he does include religion as a part of "the group trap" -- primarily because organized religions often advocate the practice of proselytizing in one form or another. I don't think liberty can be proselytized, and implying somebody's faith is "foolish belief" is, as I see it, unbecoming to us. Sam PS: I received my 28 year medallion Sunday from Steve F, my AA sponsor of 35 years. I can say that because I'm anonymous except for a couple of guys on here who know my "real" handle.
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Some of the preceding discussions reminds me of the following excerpt from Harry Browne's book: Why You Are Not Free, Ch. 11: The Burning-Issues Trap http://www.ultimatefreedomquest.com/harry-browne-burning-issues-trap/ All right, it’s time to move on to the eleventh chapter of the book, “How I found freedom in an unfree world” by Harry Browne Harry is going to talk about the myth that you must fix social issues before you can be free. I will simply be adding the parts of the book that I highlighted. By no means is this the entire book or even the best way to sum up each chapter, it’s just what I excerpted so that I could review the book quickly later. Chapter 11 [For the bankrupt society]: The Burning-Issues Trap. To be free, you must know what you’re doing and why. Otherwise, slight setbacks can cause you to discard your plans and give up. The Burning-Issues Trap THE BURNING-ISSUE TRAP is the belief that there are compelling social issues that require your participation. *You can enslave yourself by assuming* a responsibility to observe, judge, and correct any social problems. For the problems will continue indefinitely. They’ll never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The demands upon your time, energy, and money can never cease. Campaigns for social change are excellent examples of the indirect alternative—working through others to get what you want. Your success depends on the responses of literally thousands of people. Your control over the situation is minute. The existence of evil isn’t a claim upon you. “Evil” will always exist in the world. To accept as a principle that you must fight something because it’s evil is to believe you must fight anything that’s evil. There’s no end to the number of evils that could command your attention. Is that all your life is for—to spend it fighting evil? Questions: But you can get a better perspective on the issue if you ask yourself a few questions: 1. How much do you really know about the issue in which you’re about to get involved? 2. How do you know the solutions sought will end the problem? 3. Is the issue really of significance to you? 4. Is it possible that you’re responding to social pressure rather than genuine concern over the issue? Solving Problems If an issue concerns you, there are both direct and indirect alternatives available to you. The indirect alternative is to try to change the prevailing social trend—which involves changing others. The direct alternatives are the ways by which you can handle the problem so that it doesn’t affect you personally. Ask yourself what you’d do if you were sure you couldn’t change the attitudes of others. What then would you do by yourself to keep the problem from affecting you? If you approach it on that basis, you usually find that there are many more direct alternatives available than you’d noticed while you were busy trying to change others. You’re not going to live forever. With the years ahead of you, why not start now to concentrate on making your life as meaningful, free, exciting, and joyous as possible? You are the most important issue in the world. What happens in the social issues is only incidental; to concentrate on them is to approach the matter much too indirectly. What you do directly for yourself will have a far greater impact on your life than what you do in response to the burning issues of society.
  • David Calderwood's picture
    David Calderwood 4 years 46 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    As I posted on the original website, I believe Higgs' column may be an oversimplification; he admits it is basically anecdotal. His reply to comments clarified his position greatly. He posits that those who believe this life is just a prelude to the next one may be more likely to risk this one in a stand on principle. Taking the opposite position, one could also state that such faith would also help people strap on bomb vests and walk into a place crowded with others. Such faith would lower the marginal resistance to joining the Christian (or any other religion) Soldiers marching as to war...with the cross of Jesus, blah, blah, blah, blaaaaaah. I doubt Professor Higgs (or anyone else) would like to simply count the number of times someone did a "good" thing based on a lower marginal value placed on this life, subtract the number times someone did a "bad" thing based on the same calculus, and yield an answer. In the end, I simply disagree on this particular position with the good professor. I think decisions one makes are either pro-life or anti-life, and a handful of White Rose martyrs count for anti-life while an army of people telling their sons and daughters that it is unequivocally wrong to work for the Ministry of (fill in the blank) is pro-life. Until the balance of consensus as to what is RIGHT and what is WRONG shifts, martyrs are just corpses. While someone could argue that martyrs contribute to a shift in the balance of that consensus, I'm not sure what data one could cite in support. Such a position strikes me as an argument over the number of angels fitting on the head of a pin sort of thing.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 46 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Well, there is one sure way to avoid being sent into the gulag: never allow yourself to be arrested in the first place. Glen, you say it's time to speak out while you still can. It appears to be even more important to buy yourself a battle rifle and a case of ammo while you still can. Being armed is a great way to avoid anxiety attacks, too. :-)
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    "It seems one could believe in God(s), or believe in the possibility of God(s) without subscribing to any authoritarian or over-explanatory religious doctrine." ~ tzo That, my friend, would be Deism, if I am not mistaken.
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    ~To see superstition for what it is, is to be free of it. ..."The root cause of most of society's ills--the main source of man's inhumanity to man--is neither malice nor negligence, but a *mere* superstition--an *unquestioned assumption* which has been accepted on *faith* by nearly everyone, of all ages, races, religions, education and income levels. If people were to recognize that one belief for what it is--an utterly irrational, self-contradictory, and horribly *destructive myth*--most of the violence, oppression and injustice in the world would cease. But that will happen only when people dare to honestly and objectively re-examine their belief systems. Larken Rose's '"The Most Dangerous Superstition" *exposes the myth for what it is, showing how nearly everyone*, as a result of one particular unquestioned assumption, is directly contributing to violence and oppression without even realizing it. If you imagine yourself to be a compassionate, peace-loving, civilized human being, you must read this book". http://larkenrose.com/store.html ~I personally have found that Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an UNFree World" and L Neil Smith's "Covenant of Unanimous Consent" have provided a simple way to live in an UNFree world. Including seeing thru and solving the assumption that others need to be changed (Identity and Group Traps). References: Dying for a Lie Thursday, 14 July 2011 08:00 http://larkenrose.com/blogs/tmds-blog/2091.html Harry Browne's Freedom Principles http://www.escapeartist.com/Roger_Gallo/Harry_Brownes_Freedom_Principles/ what's up - A discussion about The Covenant of Unanimous Consent http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=42.msg125...
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Voluntaryist: I know that all superstitions must be confronted and opposed at every opportunity. Why? Sam
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    G'day JD, You may not be aware, but you failed to answer the question, and instead chose to resort to ridicule. The question was, if Deism is "...the 17th- and 18th-cent. doctrine that God created the world and its natural laws, but takes no further part in its functioning[1]", does this, "who created everything that exists and who is closely interested in the conduct of each of seven billion individual humans", pertain, in any way, to Deists? Since you may no longer be responding to anything I write, I will answer it for you, "No, it does not". See how easy it is to give an honest answer? _____________________________________________________________ [1] Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    This thread is so long I only just came across your post, Paul. I'm glad you've no wish to offend. Even so, you came pretty close by comparing my approach to that of Leftists, and by calling me "presumptuous." I fear there is more of a gulf between us than I'd realized. I'm not interested in whether anyone prefers cats to dogs or cauliflower to beans, but certainly I'm eager that everyone base his or her life on rationality instead of superstition. If you want to insert the words "like me" I can't stop you, but I do resent it. Reason is the distinguishing feature of human beings, and the only basis for the self-ownership axiom; so to urge everyone to think rationally seems to me a pretty good place to begin. Then, I see you want to "get everybody else... to look for localized government models that they prefer for themselves." Really? You want to encourage people to form governments? I wonder what it is about the tin gods of town hall and the zoning or school board that you find so appealing. My understanding was that Strike the Root intends to put an ax through all that nonsense.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    The obscene growth and intrusiveness of the State is a fact, whether or not we like to imagine where it may rather shortly lead. I'm sorry therefore that you decline to imagine yourself in a concentration camp. That, or a gulag, is where governments put dissidents when they have the power to do so; and ours very nearly has. Fixing the mind on more wholesome subjects is all very fine, but it will not stop them. If and when it does take place, you will have your inner peace and sense of freedom, we've already agreed that; but you will not have much else. You'll not line up and wait to be transported in a cattle car, but that will not stop them finding you and caging you, if and when they decide to do so. Quite obviously, living in a government cage is not "freedom" at all except in that important but limited sense. Equally, I am not attracted by taking the trouble to live low-profile, to become as hard as possible for government to see; that may be "freedom" to you (and if so I don't mean to challenge your choice) but to me, it is not. It's a prison of a different kind. To me, freedom means doing whatever I want, wherever and whenever I wish - without, of course, aggression. Looking always over my shoulder is not my idea of fun. Therefore, since there is a way to abolish the State and liberate everyone, I choose to take it.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim, >>There's truth there, but .... I'm disappointed. I thought we were BOTH too old for "buts". >>Let's imagine a situation where you are... Nope. Sorry. My imagination works differently. [ http://tinyurl.com/Individual-Sovereignty ] *I* imagine myself NEVER EVER allowing such conditions as you describe to be thrust upon me. (You supply the details, I will not spell them out). Perhaps the differences in our imaginations is because of differences where each of us was raised and/or the differences where each of us now chose to live... >>...in your own self-interest (to obtain that much larger measure of freedom, and the strong satisfaction of helping liberate others) I encourage you to undertake the work. I HAVE done what *I* think needs doing in order to attract the kind of people *I* can admire (i.e. liberated individuals) and I am quite satisfied with my work. Like you, I have expressed my views and shared my insights to hopefully help individuals liberate themselves. I have published articles (in The Libertarian Enterprise) and I built an on-line shop and two public websites with various collections of articles and projects--including several links to YOUR websites and articles. At this time, I have written more about The Covenant of Unanimous Consent than has the author, L. Neil Smith--who seems to have given up on his brainchild in favor of petitioning the government and blocking "illegal" immigration. http://www.cafepress.com/artemiszuna <<--the shop http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php http://atlasshruggedcelebrationday.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php I encourage you to explore the sites. I won't guarantee light reading, but you may find things you have not considered. Best regards, Dennis
  • voluntaryist's picture
    voluntaryist 4 years 46 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Wow! I forgot how much I enjoyed thinking about important issues. And how much I owed to Branden. It was his "First Cause" article that helped me understand the "Existence exists" point of Rand. This is essential to the foundation of Objectivist metaphysics. And very useful in life. For example, a sound metaphysics leads to a sound epistemology which leads to a sound ethics. I know that all superstitions must be confronted and opposed at every opportunity. Doing so without denigrating the individual is tough. The temptation to ridicule is hard to resist (for me) sometimes. When I do, I am not giving into my own insecurities and being petty. I am at my best. I noticed Ayn could take either tact. I admired her most when she was not so defensive, but stood her ground eloquently. As for the futility of arguing with a theist I agree it does appear that way sometimes. But it must be done. It is not a waste of time. 1. It is good for you. 2. Silence can be taken as moral weakness or cowardice or doubt. That encourages the superstitious and gives them the appearance of credence. 3. Other more open listeners may be given "food for thought". This may not bear fruit for years and you will never know when it does. But it does happen. Standing up for truth is never a waste of time. The most effective teaching method is by example. It is observed and taken in subconsciously. It moves without pain. And it is long lasting. For this reason I would like to see a libertarian community founded. The danger from outside is real. But what of the danger now? It is greater. And time is running out. Doing less than the most effective effort is a luxury we cannot afford without high risk. It would refute collectivism in a non confrontational way. It is our best chance for total freedom in our time. And besides, it would be fun.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 4 years 46 weeks ago
    Signs of Autumn
    Page B.R. Merrick
    "The methods and processes of this migration from governmental influence will (and should) vary from person to person. I cannot and will not dictate the number of ways it should be done, because depending on your circumstances with work, family, income and locale, my advice may or may not be worth the effort." I cannot and will not dictate ways either, but if you care to review a few ideas that might stir some brain cells, give this article a try...: http://tinyurl.com/Individual-Sovereignty “Superstate North America vs. Individual Sovereignty” A discourse on the impending North American Union and how it relates to being a free individual Dennis
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 47 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Dennis, congrats on discovering that you were not, after all, wrong. And I'm glad we can disagree without acrimony. That difference hinges, I think, on your "I don't need a 'free society' in order to be free." There's truth there, but IMHO falsehood also. Let's imagine a situation where you are in all appearance as un-free as possible; you're in a concentration camp, barely existing on gruel, grossly overworked, clinging on to life. Are you "free" with no need of a free society? In one sense you are, because your mind is still free. They can mistreat your body, take your life even, but your spirit is not shackled and with any luck it never will be. I understand that, and agree with it. In that important sense, everyone is free the moment we realize that no master has a _rightful_ claim on our obedience. (I could have illustrated this with a slave plantation. You'd agree that with that proviso, even a 100% slave is actually free?) I don't know if you've reviewed the "Benefits" page of TOLFA but you'll find this there; http://tolfa.us/ben.htm at para (a). In the other sense (which I perceive as much larger) however I suggest you are _not_ free, and that you _do_ need a free society before enjoying the great potential of liberty; the actual, practical freedom to go and do wherever and whatever you want, while harming nobody. Para (b) on the same page spells that out, summarized as "getting your life back." The need for this much extended liberty is, it seems to me, strikingly obvious. Nobody _has_ to help work to bring it about, of course, there can be no obligation, but in your own self-interest (to obtain that much larger measure of freedom, and the strong satisfaction of helping liberate others) I encourage you to undertake the work. It's very light.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 47 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    One of Robert Higgs' shorter essays; but, like Jim Davies, Higgs has the ability to "stir up the troops", which is a good thing. I would perhaps still be a bored, depressed "mini-statist" had not the Higgs', Davies', you (Paul), and quite a number of others stirred me up and forced me to think along more than one plane -- to not remain invested in the sort of dogma that kept me treading h2o for a lot of years, getting nowhere intellectually ("spiritually" -- which means about the same thing, but tends to incite the ire of certain anti-religionists who may suspect proselytizing around every corner). With this essay I think reading the comments is as enlightening as the article itself (especially Robert Higgs' comment to the comments). Many of us will have to admit getting our backs up when the idea of religion and/or religious faith creeps into the spectrum. I submit that the reason for that is religion, not faith; but many simply cannot (or refuse to) see the dichotomy. In history religious leaders ("religion") and state agents ("the government" or "the reich") have formed concordats that have given rise to rape, torchery and slaughter of millions upon millions. At the same time within those religious and government organizations were people of faith (priests, nuns, lay men and women) who risked excommunication and execution to rescue thousands of children slated for extermination and take them to freedom. Ask me about that some day. I have no way of accurately reporting to what extent "faith" bolsters risky action for good. I suspect, Dr. Higgs, at times it might. Sam
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Like!
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 4 years 47 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim, I understand the "shock" of "being wrong". I thought *I* was wrong once, but luckily I quickly realized that I was in error to think such.... >>"But still, why does it matter?" >>"It matters because the prime task of those wishing to bring a free society about is to move our statist neighbors away from their belief in the need for, and efficacy of, government;..." It DOES NOT matter to me because MY prime task is BEING FREE. [ http://tinyurl.com/Individual-Sovereignty ] I don't need a "free society" in order to be free. What you are describing is at best, a SECONDARY task for me. I would NEVER reverse the priority of the tasks. MY secondary tasks can never be sacrificed to MY primary task. It is actually not even a secondary task to me, nor a "huge" task. It is an UNnecessary task. See below. >>"This can only happen when our statist friend begins to think straight; ..." >>"It is of paramount importance that people _begin to think straight_. Otherwise, they will never, en masse, ditch their absurd, superstitious belief in government." But THIS (understanding that government is a myth) is ALREADY happening! And it is happening without statists (not MY friend) changing their thinking "en masse". It is happening partly because of other things that YOU have written. >>"We have to change their _mode of thought._" Arrrgghhh. The "WE" thing again. NO! WE do NOT have to change their mode of thought. "Billions of humans making trillions of decisions could never be harnessed or thoroughly theorized by even the most brilliant voluntaryist thinkers or free market economists." Chris Dates [ http://tinyurl.com/There-is-NO-WE ] And, as I point out below, it doesn't matter to me what a man thinks or how straight or convoluted his thinking, as long as he respects MY right to exist as per the five Precepts by which I deal with other humans. I have NO desire whatsoever to meddle with the way most other people think. It is like wrestling with pigs. You ALWAYS get dirty and it only annoys the pig. I spent many hours as a youth attempting just what you recommend--and learning about "pigs". To paraphrase your own statement in Help Wanted, It is futile and a thankless waste of my time "...to try to impose ["MY version of what *I* consider to be rationality"] on people who do not want it and who made their preference lethally clear.". I look for those INDIVIDUALS ONLY who have already indicated by word and especially be deed that they are thinking and acting in a manner I can admire and possibly help or support with what I have learned. Minimum requirements for living peacefully amongst other people do not require a person to be "fully rational". Education levels vary enormously as do levels of rationality! The basic or minimum requirement is understanding and adhering to the Non Aggression Principle (NAP), a very simple MORAL/ethical concept that is even readily apparent to children. But sometimes moral statements are not sufficiently explicit or not easily applied to particular situations. Because of varying education levels, understanding the full consequences of moral statements and/or applying them consistently can become problematic. Enter from stage right: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent. [ http://tinyurl.com/Index-to-Covenant-Articles ] The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is a Political statement [ http://tinyurl.com/Political-Statement ] explicitly derived from the Non Aggression Principle, which is a Moral statement. A characteristic of political statements--and a reason why they exist--is that they are more explicit and do not depend as heavily on education level as do moral statements and they are less subject to "interpretations". Education is a wider, more encompassing thing than is religion (i.e. religion is a subset of a person's education). And education continues throughout an individual's life and is a primary cause of behavior changes during that lifespan. Free State/county/town movements are examples of people with varying levels of education--and varying religious views--agreeing to conduct their interpersonal relationships by the simple principle of live and let live. Personally, I am disappointed that NONE of the "popular" movements has adopted some EXPLICIT political pledge such as the Covenant provides. The closest thing to a pledge of personal conduct has been the Shire Society which needlessly plagiarized the Covenant and then REMOVED what I consider the most important part for a Free State/county/town movement, the Supersedure section! You, me, Paul Bonneau, Darkcrusade and many (most?) of the contributors to this site--without resolving ANY of our differences--COULD conceivably agree to the entire Covenant and live in close proximity to each other in a "Supersedure Zone" and even trade with each other, without engaging in physical conflict. This is possible because the contents of the Covenant are the COMMON ROOT of everything that each of us considers to be important with regard to interpersonal relationships. AND, as I pointed out in my article [ http://tinyurl.com/Objectivism-to-Agorism ], people who--for whatever reason--refuse to sign the Covenant, could still live amongst us and trade with us, knowing full well what to expect should THEY (the non-signatories or "dissenters") violate our Covenant's Precepts in their dealings with us. Dennis Lee Wilson Signatory: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    Well, I become pretty doubtful when I hear extravagant statements such as "Nothing less will do". Actually, a lot less will do. Government employees are the people who still get to eat, when things get bad. As such, and given the human capacity for rationalization (which appears infinite at times), I don't hold a lot of hope for persuading government employees to do the right thing and quit - particularly when things look to be getting pretty bad pretty soon. However, that is not saying we should ignore them entirely. Gene Sharp, the doyenne of nonviolent resistance, considers it key to work with government employees including police, getting at least some help from that quarter. There are some decent people in government who can affect outcomes in our favor even if they don't take that final step of quitting.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 47 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    Not one of Higg's better articles. "Divide and Rule", folks. Never forget it.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago Web link strike
    Unless they are gonna use slingshots, I'd guess you are probably right. lol And, "For what purpose?" Why, to protect the "homeland", of course. I mean, what other purpose could they possibly have in mind?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    Oh-h-h-h, anything but that, JD!! lol I think that if you believe that you, (and your TOLFA followers), are going to "persuade all [government workers] to quit", you should get your other oar in the water. You have about as much chance as the proverbial "snowball in hell" of doing that. Nothing any of us will do will bring about a "free society in tolerably short order", JD. Even if the present Lewyathan were to collapse under its own weight, a "free society" is hardly the inevitable replacement, as you correctly pointed out to Mark Davis. Most individuals, IMO, don't want personal responsibility; they want rulers to protect them and to tell them what to do. "...we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles." JD: So again, where exactly do you stand? Go read my reply posted on March 31, 2012. The short answer is, we, individually, must BE the change we wish to see in the world. At the risk of harming his good name, I am pretty much in agreement with this, from Paul Bonneau. Your sales program to the statists is, "Be just like me, rational," although you will not be able to say it in any such straightforward manner (which itself is a hint it is lacking). My sales program to statists is, "Be like you want to be, have exactly the kind government you want. Just leave me alone." Seriously, is there any question which has the better chance of success? Not in my mind, Paul Bonneau.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 47 weeks ago Web link strike
    Well, I think they are buying 450 million cartridges rather than bullets.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    No, S2, perhaps it's "obvious" to some "regulars" but it's not to me. On March 30 I asked you some specific questions regarding your position relative to the article I wrote, and upon which you were as usual quick to comment, but you have not answered a single one of them. Until and unless you do, I will not pay attention or respond to any further posts you may make.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    G'day Mark Davis, I think of "the system" as a merry-go-round; I can choose to stay on or get off. When there are too few "riders" it will have to shut down. "...all experience hath shown, that men are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by Withdrawing from the governments to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to Secede from such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of this Man; and such is now the necessity that constrains this Man to Secede from this Government. The history of the United States Government, rather than securing, has a record of repeated injuries to, and usurpation of, Man’s Inalienable Rights, all having as their direct objective the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over men."[1] I have chosen to "get off", that is to say, I have withdrawn from membership in the government, I do not accept member-only benefits and/or privileges, I do not use any of their Taxpayer Identification Numbers, and I do not seek their permission (license) to do anything. I am not lawless, nor am I a law unto myself. I do my best to obey the Supreme Law of the Land, which is the Law of Nature.[2] ____________________________________________________________________ [1] Excerpted from my own Declaration of Independence, Notice of Secession [2] The law of nature is superior in obligation to any other. It is binding in all countries and at all times. No human laws are valid if opposed to this, and all which are binding derive their authority either directly or indirectly from it. ~ Institutes of American Law by John Bouvier, 1851, Part I, Title II, No. 9
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Some of you may be interested in reading this, regarding genetically modified food. So what's wrong with GMOs? ~ Dr. Mae-Wan Ho - The Independent Science Panel
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 47 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    I'm still pondering your good argument about time, Dennis, but meanwhile must reject the shocking accusation that I am "wrong." Don't you know that I'm _never_ wrong? Just ask my wife. I will accept though that here, there is a hair to be split, albeit an important hair. Paul is right in one sense; provided a theist does nothing to impose his belief or standards on others, there is no need to convert him to rationality in a free society. They normally don't fit that profile (Santorum, and any Islamist on the street) but if we find one, yes - leave him be, to enjoy his freedom. The burden of my article, however, was that it matters a whole lot in the process of _getting_ a free society in the first place. If I may ask, please re-read its fifth para, under "But still, why does it matter?" It is of paramount importance that people _begin to think straight_. Otherwise, they will never, en masse, ditch their absurd, superstitious belief in government. We have to change their _mode of thought._ Huge task, I know. I don't see any short cut.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    JD, it should be obvious, to the regulars here, where I stand. "Government is an organization that consists not only of those who are "given the mandate" to assume authority, but also of all the "citizens" who support the imaginary enterprise. The citizen is just as integral a part of the definition of government as is the King, President, Parliament, or whatever other fancy label some of the participating humans choose to affix to themselves. All governments must have citizens in order to exist. ~ A Theory of Natural Hierarchy and Government by tzo Therefore, "those wishing to enjoy life without government in practice as well as in theory need do only one thing: persuade all [CITIZENS] to quit. Nothing less will do..." Do you agree with that, or disagree? If you agree, are YOU the change you wish to see in the world? That is to say, have YOU withdrawn from membership in the government, or do you still accept member-only benefits and/or privileges? Do you still use one of their Taxpayer Identification Numbers? Do you still seek permission (license) to perform acts which are not in violation of the non-aggression principle, i.e. the natural law? "Do as I say, not as I do", will never work with men, women and children who are able to think for themselves, and they are the only ones we will ever reach. The rest will just follow the herd...whether it be to greener pastures or over a cliff.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    Hi Mark. Yes, when the checks stop flowing - or rather, when the "money" they convey won't buy anything - then they will stampede out into the White Market. However I don't see that happening until the White Market has developed into a very significant part of the economy. Note also that the outcome in the USSR was not a free society, but one comparable to our own. That's the kind of thing that will take place if the economy just collapses on its own, instead of as a result of action by us to prepare everyone for life in a free society. Unless they are taught, nobody will understand how to live by voluntary exchange alone. The new site at TinyURL.com/QuitGov is not a panacea; I hope it will serve mainly to soften up the resistance among the old guys - and only the soldiers among them, not the godfathers and capos. If you've spent some time in it you'll see it offers quite a respectable set of motives to quit on _moral_ grounds, but the tangible benefits are less obvious. Nonetheless, I hope it will make it a little easier for TOLFA grads to meet the modest target of one new student each, per year - which is the key.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 4 years 47 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    "No combination of logic or facts is effective against a deeply-held belief." --Chris Martenson THANK YOU, Darkcrusade, for providing PROOF that Paul Bonneau is right and Jim Davies is wrong regarding the ability--and the need--to convert religious people to rationality. There is NO NEED to convert religious people AS LONG AS they agree to forego the initiation of physical force. Once a person does actually initiate physical force, it matters not what their religion or their rationality. Dennis
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim, it might be possible to dissuade some young people from starting a "career in public service", but the old guys will hang on to their jobs as long as they get paid and have a cushy retirement to look forward too. The tight job market also makes this difficult. I think that will change when the Federal, State and local governments run out of money and the checks stop coming ala the USSR. Then the system will change overnight.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    Indeed. In fact my article points out some of the difficulties, and if you followed through to the Q&A page on the referenced site http://TinyURL.com/QuitGov you'll have seen that particular one addressed at least once. Resistance to our good news about freedom is most intense among government people and they may well be among the last to jump ship. That's why I felt a little extra (to the freedom Academy) might be useful, as the article said. I wonder what your position is here, S2. In the first paragraph of "Help Wanted" I stated my premise: "those wishing to enjoy life without government in practice as well as in theory need do only one thing: persuade all [government workers] to quit. Nothing less will do..." Do you agree with that, or disagree? If you disagree, spell out please what method you do propose, for bringing about a free society in tolerably short order. If you agree with it, spell out please what alternative (or additional) work you see as necessary to overcome the difficulties, one of which Sinclair so perceptively identified. A third alternative exists, though I hope it applies to nobody here: that we give up, having judged the task impossible. So again, where exactly do you stand?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Help Wanted
    Page Jim Davies
    "It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it." ~ Upton Sinclair
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 4 years 47 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    From The "First Cause" article> then on what grounds is it denied that the universe has existed eternally? It is called the second law of thermodynamics, or the law of entropy. Everything is going from order to disorder. Time is the perception of decay. Some 1,800 years before astronomers’ discovery of entropy, the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “The whole creation groans…subject to its bondage to decay.” We operate in the everpresent now. But God is not constrained by his creation. He is not subject to gravity or time. He made them> Isa 57:15 ¶ For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], http://www.khouse.org/articles/1998/62/ Actually it is correct to call it space-time.Time does not pass at the same rate in all places in the universe.(remember the story of the twins one stays on earth and one travels near the speed of light to the nearest star and back?) We operate in 4d,that is 3 space dimensions and 1 time dimension. 3.1 dimensions would be correct as we can only move forward in time and not backwards.But for the universe to function the way it does requires ten dimensions. (10d) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu5URbh-Lh0 If the universe had existed eternally it would be of uniform temperture. This is why the universe had a start. Maybe 13.7+ billion years ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsKhhIQJiaI http://www.reasons.org/articles/entropy-of-the-universe The Bible is the only Holy Book that tells how God creates everything from nothing.(space-time,matter.) While the other holy books design within the already made creation. http://www.reasons.org/about/i-disbelieve
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Who Owns What?
    Page Paul Hein
    Also, I would like to point out another important word in your article, "property". There are approximately twenty-one subcategories under the definition of "Property", each with its own peculiar legal meaning, but, for brevity, I will not enumerate them here; I only wish to point out two of them, for clarification. Intangible property. Property which cannot be touched because it has no physical existence such as claims, interests and rights. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1217 Tangible property. All property which is touchable and has real existence (physical) whether it is real or personal. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1218
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 47 weeks ago
    Who Owns What?
    Page Paul Hein
    G'day Paul Hein, What a great subject to get to the "root" of!! One of my favorites! Let's start with this. You rightly brought up the word "dominion", several times. Black's Law Dictionary, (1991 edition, page 486), begins its definition of "dominion" with this, "Generally accepted definition of "dominion" is perfect control in right of ownership. The word implies both title and possession and appears to require a complete retention of control over disposition." Getting to the "root" of the problem, we should follow that with this, IMO. "Citizens" are members of a political* community who in their associated capacity, have established or submitted themselves to the dominion of a government..." Ibid. page 244 *Please note that this is not merely a member of the community, but rather a member of the POLITICAL community. So, according to the "Generally accepted definition of 'dominion'", and the definition of "Citizens", the government has "perfect control in right of ownership" of said "members of [the] political community". Now, this is not slavery, i.e. involuntary servitude, because, as we see by that definition of "citizen", they have "submitted themselves to the dominion of a government". Also, you may have noticed, when looking up the word "owner" in a law dictionary, that there are several different classes of owners, e.g. Beneficial owner, Equitable owner, General and beneficial owner, General owner, Joint owners, Legal owner, Part owners, Record owner, Reputed owner, Riparian owner, Sole and unconditional owner and Special owner, with each having its own peculiar definition. To those who have "dominion" over you, these are necessary in order to pull the wool over the eyes of those who have, (unknowingly in most cases), "submitted themselves to the dominion of [the] government". Now, when we put all that together with this maxim of law, "Quicpuid acquiritur servo, acquiritur domino. Whatever is acquired by the servant, is acquired for the master. 15 Bin. Ab. 327." it will go a long way toward shedding some light on the seemingly odd questions in your above article.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 48 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." ~ Existential Willie
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 4 years 48 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    "...how would you answer the objection that time is not really a function of moving objects but occupies an independent dimension..." If you want to use your statement (quoted above) as a definition of the concept "time", perhaps you would explain the nature of this "independent dimension" and how it differs from the nature of time in Branden's article...: "Time is a measurement of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move." "Admittedly if no thing exists, it would be tricky to construct a clock." I think the word you want instead of "tricky" is the word "impossible". Keep in mind the closing statement in Branden's short article...: Existence is all that exists, the non-existent does not exist; there is nothing for existence to have come out of--and nothing means nothing. If you are tempted to ask: "What's outside the universe?"--recognize that you are asking: "What's outside of existence?" and that the idea of "something outside of existence" is a contradiction in terms; nothing is outside of existence, and "nothing" is not just another kind of "something"--it is nothing. Existence exists; you cannot go outside it, you cannot get under it, on top of it or behind it. Existence exists--and only existence exists: there is nowhere else to go.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 4 years 48 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Well, no argument from me, Suverans2. I was trying to parody a particular chart from one of the alphabet agencies and aiming for a similar, civics-class voice as a way of reminding typical Americans of what the government always CLAIMED to be doing, which is protecting our rights. You're quite right about that being a con game; if I'd been able to work on this thing for more than 2 minutes at a time without having an anxiety attack, I might have made better choices here -- changed the tone in the chart or deleted it entirely; "typical Americans" aren't the audience at STR. I've moved the chart to bottom of the column.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 48 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    "Insist that government employees follow the law and protect rather than violate your constitutional rights[1]." What an inauspicious start! First, self-governing individuals don't have "government employees", and second, if we did, we'd want them to "follow the law and protect rather than violate our natural rights". "...their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights . . . and to take none of them from us." ~ Thomas Jefferson _____________________________________________________________________ [1] "Most Americans hold a seventh grade civics notion that the Constitution gives us certain rights." Here is a prime example; look at the very first line.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 48 weeks ago
    Natural Law
    Web link Don Stacy
    Legibus sumptis disinentibus, lege naturae utendum est. When laws imposed by the state fail, we must act by the law of nature. 2 Roll. R. 298. [Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 899] "The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect individuals, liberties, and properties, to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all." ~ Excerpted from The Law by Frédéric Bastiat They have failed! "The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose, but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law has become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself is guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!" Ibid.