Recent comments

  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 13 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    How you feel about those issues will be decided for you.... Never. You can lock my butt away and you can deprive me basic life support and you can do me physical harm and you can even kill me -- but you can never decide how I will feel about "...issues". I am a sovereign state. Your state is not legitimate. Sam
  • Brian Mast's picture
    zygodactyl 5 years 13 weeks ago
    Regulatory Catch 22
    Web link Melinda L. Secor
    You can indeed brew your own booze and drink it unless you live in a dry county. In fact, I highly recommend it because the quality and taste is better than store bought stuff, and because you avoid paying that liquor tax to the state. I intend to resume brewing my own beer once I get away from driving truck OTR in about a year. You just cannot sell it without a license, and you cannot brew moonshine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homebrewing http://www.craftbeer.com/ http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/ Alcohol Prohibition is still alive and well in certain counties in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Texas, and there are limits to how much brew you can make in a year, so be sure to research the laws in your own state, or be careful and sneaky. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_county Brian
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 13 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day Allen, I thought this, “That's too bad, but understandable,” deserving of a reply. Yes, it is understandable, for at least a couple of reasons. It is understandable why I might choose not to continue conversing with you, because you FALSELY accuse me by saying, "You already demand that one sits down, shuts-up, and listens in silence to your opinions, or simply depart the premises, if they have a contrasting view", and "Any response that challenges your view would "violate the NAP," and constitute "ridicule," since you equate dissenting perspectives as violent acts toward your person," both of which are not only outright lies, but to even try to make the leap from the truth to those lies, (from what I wrote), is totally irrational, I.M.O. And then, to top it off, you weren't even polite enough to sincerely apologize for jumping to the WRONG conclusion about me, and instead, chose to try to defend your FALSE accusations. So be it. It is understandable why I might choose not to continue conversing with you, because when you were asked simple yes-or-no questions like these... “Would you deem it "aggressive" behavior if a man ogled your twelve-year old daughter and made lewd remarks about her every time you and she walked by him? [Yes, or no?] Though that act, in and of itself, is not "violent", do you think it might incite violence?” [Yes, or no?] ...you chose to skirt around them by answering how you would handle the situation, (and you even danced around that pretty gingerly, I.M.O.), but I didn't ask you that, did I, Allen? Yes or no, (with a long-winded explanation, of course), will be acceptable. If English is your second language, these misunderstandings will be more understandable. Need we go on?
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Many self-proclaimed non-believers are, in my opinion, too emotionally attached to the methods and theories of science, as well as reason in general. Conversations do become heated between these non-believers and believers, just as they have *amongst believers themselves* historically speaking. Discussions revolving around the Big Bang and evolution are certainly flash-points on both "sides" of these debates. In view of reason, there are so-called non-believers, like Stephan Molyneux, who still believe in "absolute truth." The Big Bang is an imperfect *conceptual model* (and a model utilizing language I myself question). Evolution is a scientific theory. It explains as a body of knowledge and evidence. It is not synonymous with "progress" (and I know of few people who actually make this equation). "Absolute truth" is nothing other than God-in-drag, so believers actually have nothing to fear from the likes of Molyneux's brand of "atheism." What isn't being taken into account, and one probable source of the rabid anger against religion in America, is the fact that fear is very often used to spread religious belief. I'm not speaking of charges of "sinner" and "eternal damnation" in the context of adult conversation, but the practice of scaring the crap out of little kids with notions of eternal violence. This comes across to many as a boorish manner in which to force conformity. I agree with this assessment, though there's largely nothing I can do about the children of others. Another thing that frustrates people is the incoherent claim of being a limited, fallible being while also being privy to the absolute truth. One never knows where a believer stands when they speak forth and the hermeneutical gymnastics will be at play. I've found this makes it very difficult, sometimes impossible, to converse with believers. It even gets worse when believers have no idea what differentiates a scientific theory with a mere speculation. Using statements like "Evolution is just a theory" in a manner that equates the theory with idle speculation can really gum-up a conversation. This is particularly the case when a believer makes no effort to inform themselves and further understand the aims of science, yet will continue to make authoritative statements regarding science. Once again, and for the nth time, I'm *not* saying any of this "justifies" the boorish behavior of non-believers, only that it's understandable in view of the multiplicity of people and the differences between them. Believers don't stand in front of a uniform mass of unbelievers who are either simply boorish or polite in mixed company any more than they themselves are either boorish or polite. Another thing: "religion" is a vague concept. Comparing Buddhism with Christianity is like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges. Apples and oranges can fit together in a concept called "fruit," but it doesn't mean they are, therefore, identical cases. Most sects of Buddhism (even religions themselves contain non-identical cases within them) are not evangelical in the manner of most Christian sects. Many couldn't care less about conversion, and many are more or less "atheistic," more like philosophical schools of thought.
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Maybe we're talking a cycle of boorishness here. To be sure, even during the High Middle Ages, with the Catholic worldview reputedly at its apex, the village atheist (yes, every village had one, legends parading as historical accounts of the Crusades and Inquisition notwithstanding) was inevitably the village boor as well. No doubt he defended his boorishness as a necessary counteractive to the prevailing superstitions of his day. But something happened between the Siege of Vienna and French Revolution: the village atheist became ascendant. He gained political power. Alas, he proved himself no more apt (far less, in my view) than his Christian predecessors to wield it in socially desirable ways. Fred Reed, as usual, has an interesting take on the development: "I find myself wondering why the ruling classes of America are so grindingly antagonistic to religion. I understand having no interest in religion. I do not understand the animosity. "One might say, 'The world’s religions are so many, so internally inconsistent and contradictory of each other, and so dependent on assertions which seem to me not to be factual, that I cannot believe any of them.' The position is neither unreasonable nor rabid. One holding it might go about his affairs, leaving others to believe as they chose. He might respect the faith of others without sharing it, might regard religions as harmless and colorful folklore, might indeed regard them as socially beneficent. "In the Unites [sic] States, though, we see something very different: an aggressive hostility to religion, a desire to extirpate it and, though no one quite says this, to punish its practitioners. A curious witch-hunt continues in which people seem to look for any trace of religion so that they can root it out. I would call it vengeful, except that I do not know for what it might be revenge. [. . .] "A common reading is that the sciences have become a sort of secular religion, with the Big Bang replacing Genesis, and evolution as a sort of deanthropomorphized god chivying humanity onward and upward. There is a large element of this, yes. The self-righteous intolerance directed by disciples of evolution against religion assuredly resembles the intolerance of religion against heresy. Does this explain the anger of the rooters-out? Is it partly that believers in America tend to be Southern or Catholic, both of which are regarded as politically inappropriate conditions? [. . .] "Yet note the decline of even non-religious contemplation of such matters as meaning and purpose, right and wrong, ultimate good, and so on. It is not that people behave worse without faith, but that they cannot explain why they do not. The use of the sciences as a substitute for belief in God or gods has produced a religion that cannot ask the questions central to religion. It has also made discussion of such questions a cause for eliminating the offender from the guest list for the next cocktail party. "But this does not answer the question of why the hostile stalking of religion that pervades the ranks of the educated and influential in the United States. In almost all times and places, disbelief and secularism have existed, yes. Few educated Romans actually believed in Jupiter the Lightning Chucker. There have been Cathars and Wiccans and Manicheans and innumerable agnostics. Yet, so far as I know, only communism and Americanism (is that the word, perhaps?) have tried to eradicate religion. "Mexico has separation of church and state, and yet a bus driver can display a crucifix without upsetting anyone. I do not know how many Thais are believing Buddhists. Certainly Buddhist symbols are visible everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to have engendered disaster. Why the angry rejection in the US? I will get email telling me that it is a Jewish plot, like everything else, but in fact it is the default attitude of the educated. Why? Who cares?"
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Hello Paul- First off, I'm not irritated. My comments were only what I've observed. A critique ≠ anger, irritation. That you were angry when you critiqued believers also ≠ anger on my part. It simply isn't a given that I must be angry to form a critique of anything. But, let me consider your points. 1. Both you and Suverans2 seem to believe that because I don't wholly condemn ridicule, "disrespectful speech," and put it on par with a physical attack, that I must therefore embrace ridicule as a wholly acceptable form of communication. Where you come up with this dichotomy, I have no idea. Turning my attention to your depreciation of "generalizations": According to your standards, I'd have to come into contact with all religious believers in order *not* to generalize in some manner. This is an impossible expectation. It's like asking you to check under every rock in all deserts to find scorpions, so as to make the generalization: "Scorpions live under desert rocks." and demanding you make no generalization unless you've checked under every rock in every desert! Is this unreasonable? : to form a * heuristic* from experience in dealing with religious people online, or in person, who willingly enter into discussions. The key word here is "willingly." Does this "justify roundhouse attacks," sure, to the person who feels inclined toward doing such! "Justification" is simply rationalizing behavior. It does *not* mean that I think such attacks are therefore good communication. 2. I explicitly said that the venues in question were, in various degrees, "public." Here in the 21st Century where we have no catholic worldview, discussions will inevitably occur where conclusions and presuppositions those participating will come to the fore. This means that religious people who *willingly* put their views out and engaging others will come into contact with those who don't share their worldview, and are just as passionate about their opinions. If they expect no one to respond, then why put it out there in the first place, *particularly if they are responding to the comments of non-believers*? If they desire to put their comments out there, of course they can just "be themselves," but can they realistically expect others not to respond to those comments, and if they do, to be nice about it? No, they cannot. They can, after all, not respond at all to those who've responded to their initial comments. They are responsible for themselves, their actions. 3. No. It doesn't harm me at all to hear another say "God loves us." I hear it all the time, my neighbors are devout. I don't flame them at all. As to other believers, I can't say I'm all that fond of being considered guilty just for living, and even more guilty, lacking even, for not accepting a view of "sin." And I don't care to be shouted down as eternally damned, debauched, without a "moral compass," and other such goodis. But, none of this really angers me. But, all this is beside the point. I've already agreed with you that ridicule is rarely, if ever, conducive for communication. I've not had any problem with this as *a heuristic.* Again, "disrespectful speech" is hardly based on any criteria which will please everyone. As I've said before, some religious people find *any* variation from their view insulting to them personally, yet they *willingly* enter into discussion with non-believers, either in terms of their particular sect, or non-believers in general. And while I see your position as potential helpful advice, I don't think it's reasonable to *expect* the results you desire much less demand them, unless you own a site yourself. Even less do I think the NAP is applicable in any way, shape, or form, in terms of speech. People, non-believers and believers alike, are hugely variable, as to their emotional strength, intelligence, and desires in life. It seems to me, Oonly a totally insular (if not ill) person could deny that this. As Michel de Montaigne put it: "No quality embraces us purely and universally." We vary and we're of multiple qualities, not simply either angry or nice; believer or unbeliever,...You're going to get varying responses in the world which cannot be legislated away and any attempt to do so will be hugely arbitrary.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Non-sentient entities, like weapons, can't be bad." If 70% of Americans think Iran should not be invaded, and 30% think Iran should be invaded, we cannot say "Americans don't want to invade Iran" any more than we can say "Americans want to invade Iran". There are two reasons: 1) "Americans" is not a sentient being and does not have an opinion, and 2) "Americans" is improper generalization. Yet, we can still reasonably say "70% of Americans don't want to invade Iran" even though "70% of Americans" is also not a sentient being and also therefore holds no opinion. Why? Because there is no attempt to deceive here (assuming an honest polling) and everybody understands the implication in the statement that individual Americans are the ones actually holding the opinion. We don't have to say, "70% of individual Americans share the opinion that Iran should not be invaded," to get the idea across. Maybe we should say it that way, but good luck controlling language so perfectly. Government is not a sentient being; yet it is like the 30% or 70% in the example above. Everybody in government inherently agrees to violence; they share the opinion that violence and plunder are acceptable for their own personal ends. "Government is bad" is really saying "All individual government employees are bad." Of course they may also have redeeming qualities; but to the extent they work for and support and draw pay from government, they are bad. I can't believe I got sidetracked into arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "However, you will also read that my experience has been nearly the opposite of the way in which Paul presents his case. It has been, by far, religious people who insert their beliefs (opinions) on philosophical and news discussion forums I've encountered, the blogs of unbelievers, YouTube threads, book reviews, etc., who upon being challenged *for these stated opinions* begin wailing about being attacked and "ridiculed." That they've entered a "public" discussion *voluntarily* seems to matter not. They take no responsibility for themselves. " OK Allen, I get it that you are irritated by this boorish behavior. I used to be irritated beyond belief over it. But after getting steamed up about it for years if not decades, I started to use my brain instead: 1) Is this not generallizing? Do all religious people do this, or just a few? A few having done so, does that justify roundhouse attacks on all religious people? 2) Are all these venues only for nonbelievers? Believers center their lives on their (Gg)od. So are they supposed to trim their way of thinking and speaking in such venues to suit nonbelievers? Can't they just be themselves? 3) Does it really harm you to hear someone say, "God loves us?" Yeah, it raises your blood pressure, but what is the source of that? This simple, harmless statement, which is merely an opinion? Or is it something in your own mind? (E.g. intolerance). How hard is is, really, to let such statements roll off you like water off a duck's back? It turns out not to be so hard at all. Try it. The argument seems to be, "they are boors, so I'm going to be a boor". When you start working for your ends, rather than reacting emotionally, you begin to see that the best thing you can do with boorish behavior is to let it stand on its own. It, combined with your keeping your own temper, will drive people away from the boor. I am particularly arguing about unprovoked attacks as I mentioned on facebook. Everyone understands that people get emotional and that flamewars happen. Observers are less forgiving of completely unprovoked attacks. They are not impressive. They are counter-productive to the goal of liberty.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    " Only people can be bad." Odd. I was under the impression "bad" was an evaluative concept, not an inherent quality of a thing (including "sentient" things).
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "...someone claiming as we do that the self-ownership axiom requires the abolition of government." "We" make no such claim. Only you do. If you take that as a premise, then you end up with conclusions such as that libertarians should be welfare queens. Your premise is wrong. Government can go on all it likes. Let the governments multiply, the more the better. All I want from them is one thing, that they leave me alone. You may say this is impossible, yet governments already leave vast numbers of people alone (e.g. the German government leaves French people alone, all governments leave their ruling classes alone, and there are other such exceptions). Not only that, but there are people who DON'T want government to leave them alone, and it would be wrong for us to force them otherwise. It's also counterproductive to bother people, if you want them to let you alone. Making fun of peoples' religions is a great way to motivate them to harm you. It's not rational if you are trying to avoid harm.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 years 14 weeks ago Web link Guest
    Jeez. "We"* don't believe in principles based on words on old parchment and yet "we" refer to them like they were Holy Writ? If people have a "right" to speak at all it's because they're humans and I/we don't need an old parchment allow it whatever it does or doesn't say or what some fucking judges or law profs or the UN say. Can't have both ways can we? * The collective "we" is used here.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Government is indeed inherently bad. The people in its offices establish "sovereign" territory by force and extract taxes to pay for their organization's existence through force. The people who participate in such an organization are inherently doing bad things. Can't really escape that. And if you jump to the "completely voluntary government" argument, I would point out that you are no longer talking about a government, but rather a business.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    That's too bad, but understandable. That people like Rothbard, Rockwell, etc., made a life's work of rationally putting the pieces together out of what people did say, even while those latter people neither realized the consequences of their own words nor were capable of verbalizing those conclusions, is really remarkable, isn't it? It contributed a great deal to the work ahead of us... -Joy
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Suverans2- "Proof" in terms of a murder trial that of metaphysical postulations are two very different arenas, are they not? At any rate, my murder trial would still depend upon how others *value* the objects and concepts presented at the trial, would it not? If I'm falsely accused, and have no evidence (that is, objects to value) on my behalf, whereas my accusers may, then I'm probably royally screwed no matter my actual innocence or my feelings on the matter. By the way, your OED entry wonderfully illustrates my comments regarding how "proof" is supportive of opinions. It's interesting how you chose "proof" which is a later development and usage of the term "prove" where you can find the origin of both terms. This is the case even when this origin is clearly linked in the very OED entry you provided (as "proof" of your position?) and myself above. You've gone a long way to demonstrate how things/objects are used only to justify the values one already holds in terms of "proof" and "proving." -Joy
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Nope, no need to go on. "You didn't come right out and say those things", nor did I, IMO, even infer such. End of discussion. Thank you for your time.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Web link Guest
    Oooops!
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Good morning, Suverans2- You didn't come right out and say those things, but that's no good reason to ignore the very probable consequence of what you *did* say. In invoking your opinion of how you view the use of the NAP as being applicable to speech, you have equated speech you don't like with physical violence. The NAP, if I'm not mistaken, can be used to justify positive*physical force* in one's defense of life and property. In the act of disrespectful speech you see aggressive physical force, that can be met with defensive physical force. Am I unsound in my reasoning here? If so, how so? We could go on all day with endless variations on hypothetical scenarios. This is what usually happens in conversations such as this. Living is indeed complicated. But, I'll humor with your politically-correct innocent little girl vs. evil lusty man scenario. First, I'd do everything I could to remove her from this situation. Given that you and I seem to share the desire for a private-property, market-oriented society, such encounters would in all probability be less frequent than they are in the tax-funded "public" places we have presently. If, in current circumstances, he touches my daughter or makes a positive move for her in public, I'd put myself in harm's way to keep that from happening. If he enters my house in pursuit of my daughter, he'd get a bullet. Period. Need we go on?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Web link Guest
    Allow me to venture a guess before reading the article; traffic would move smoother, hence faster, and as a consequence the number of traffic accidents would go down. Now, I shall go read it.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day once more Allen, You wrote: "I think "proof[1]" is highly over-rated." Do you think that you would still feel that way if you were FALSELY accused of murder? _____________________________________________________________ [1] proof early 13c., preove "evidence to establish the fact of (something)," from O.Fr. prueve (early 13c.), from L.L. proba "a proof," a back-formation from L. probare "to prove" ~ Online Etymology Dictionary [Emphasis added]
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Good morning, Paul- You are only saying, here, that you believe someone else is wasting their time, and you don't like it. OK. And? Should we have a prohibition on ridicule so we can save ranters from themselves? It'll be for their own good. What's more, it seems presupposed that positive physical force is being placed upon the target of a rant, that our theoretical believer is constrained somehow against their will, and can neither walk away nor cease reading the rant. What gives? Is it an article of faith that religious believers are helpless and in need of special protection? Are we to imagine believers little more than timid woodland creatures in contrast to the lions, tigers and bears who inhabit the camp of non-belief? Will this latter comment constitute "ridicule" even when I intend it to humorously illustrate my point? Yes, *in my opinion* blatant ridicule is distasteful far more often than it's not, even when it's understandable. But, "disrespectful speech" is a subjective matter. It is dependent upon one's emotional sensitivity. Responding to such speech depends upon one's emotional strength, intelligence, and capacity to change the situation. This is clearly variable from individual to individual. There is no need to invoke fuzzy concepts such as "dehumanization" to make this seem more highfalutin than it is. When someone screams and yells at me, and I don't like it, I do all I can to walk away. If they move to harm my life and property, things change drastically, and defensive action becomes necessary. If someone comes across as disrespectful in writing/online, and it's not clear they are being disrespectful, then I do what I can to see if my perception was correct. If I find it was correct, I simply ignore or cease reading the other party. How difficult is this?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day Allen, First, you seemed to have missed my polite request. Since you accuse me of this, "You already demand that one sits down, shuts-up, and listens in silence to your opinions, or simply depart the premises, if they have a contrasting view"; "Any response that challenges your view would "violate the NAP," and constitute "ridicule," since you equate dissenting perspectives as violent acts toward your person," would you please quote and post, like I have just done, where I have 'said' these things. Thank you. I believe that those are both FALSE accusations. I cannot recall EVER IN MY LIFE making the "demand that one sits down, shuts-up, and listens in silence to [my] opinions, or simply depart the premises, if they have a contrasting view". Nor do I remember EVER IN MY LIFE "[equating] dissenting perspectives as violent acts toward [my] person". Speaking of the "violent acts", the word "aggression", like the word "ridicule", has several definitions. Here is one for your perusal. aggression ...3. Hostile or destructive behavior or actions. ~ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language With that definition in mind, one more question for you to ponder. Would you deem it "aggressive" behavior if a man ogled your twelve-year old daughter and made lewd remarks about her every time you and she walked by him? Though that act, in and of itself, is not "violent", do you think it might incite[1] violence? I would say that that act too violates the N.A.P. What say ye? _________________________________________________________ [1] incite verb▸to encourage people to be violent...by making them angry or excited ~ Macmillan Dictionary
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Suverans2- If you are invoking the NAP, which includes, if I'm correct, defensive measures of life and property, or at least "justifies" such measures, then you would be silencing, even indirectly, anything you feel to be ridicule since the threat of force may be used against dissent "justifiably." Again, how one evaluates "ridicule" is subjective, and more importantly, one measures one's response according to that evaluation. So, either you find ridicule as something positively harmful to your life and property or you do not. Again, it is hard for me to find in disrespectful speech a good reason for NAP, or the defensive measures it may justify. Invoking the NAP is considering speech positively harmful to one's life and property. Speaking to a wide array of people, some who feel any dissent as disrespectful, not only renders the NAP completely unusable in the world, but makes speaking to an assortment of people a risky business, don't you think?
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Re: 'Okay, but this "Guns can't be bad. Even nuclear weapons can't be bad. Only people can be bad." [followed by Paul's short elaboration] does not make government *inherently* bad.' ~I’ll admit that getting people to see *the gun in the room* is a very important and crucial step when trying to win them over, but that is not enough. it is: 'Freedom Has No System--Challenge the premise. There is NO “we.”' Re: "[S]ince government, [is] a form of organization among sentient people with no sentience of its own, [it] can't be bad". ~It is precisely because there is NO "we" that "government" IS inherently bad! It is a Superstition. *It is government that creates conflict where none need exist*. It is the ultimate "Group Trap" as Harry Browne demonstrates in "How I Found Freedom IN an UNFree World". Re: "...[These are F]orum...speculation(s) about ideal social conditions never observed in the real world". ~Not really. When it is *I* ensuring the Job of Living Peacefully and taking the direct responsibility and risk *paying the price* to make good my life experience, reputation and on-going freedom--I am INDEED objectifying self-reliance, security and future trade opportunities with compatibles in an UNFree World. Paraphrased from Harry Browne's "The Great Milk Robbery"; and 'Freedom Has No System--Challenge the premise. There is NO “we.”' http://zerogov.com/?p=2334
  • Subplotsville's picture
    Subplotsville 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Guns can't be bad. Even nuclear weapons can't be bad. Only people can be bad." Exactly. Sentience entities can be bad. Non-sentient entities, like weapons, can't be bad. Therefore, government, a form of organization among sentient people with no sentience of its own, can't be bad. "Government is filled with bad people, either bad people who are attracted by the job, or formerly good people corrupted by it." Okay, but this does not make government *inherently* bad, especially in forums that allow speculation about ideal social conditions never observed in the real world.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Thanks, and welcome aboard.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Just because something (arguably) does not violate NAP, is not the same thing as saying that indulging in it is a productive use of your time. Ridicule is not an effective communication tool. It's only good for dehumanizing. One makes MUCH better progress when one does not surrender to one's emotions and respond with a slap. Keep the end goal in mind. If that is liberty (it is for me), then you should try to stay out of the mud.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Well, it's a bit much to equate a nonsentient tool to the most destructive institution (gang of thugs) the world has ever seen, don't you think? Your analogy is a bit of a stretch. Guns can't be bad. Even nuclear weapons can't be bad. Only people can be bad. Government is filled with bad people, either bad people who are attracted by the job, or formerly good people corrupted by it.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    I sent an email to my local airport asking them when they are going to follow Orlando's example. I told them I wouldn't fly until these scum are kicked out of the airport. It would be nice if lots of people did this...
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 14 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Of course this begs the question, what constitutes "legal authority", and why is it so? A cop with a piece of paper is not much more impressive than a cop without one.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Hello- OK. I understand your opinion that ridicule is mean and hurtful in some way. That's been clear to me all along. It is whether such is harming you or your property in any significant way which can be realistically considered a violation of the NAP That is where my question lies. I fully realize ridiculing people isn't the best way to communicate with others, particularly at the outset of a discussion, but I cannot see how, if we are going to take the NAP with more than a grain of salt, ridicule violates the said principle. This isn't simply a matter of talking mean or being nice in some "objective" manner, but feelings. It seems to me the NAP should have something more than feelings to make it worthwhile, don't you? And if we are going to achieve anything at all, should we not have some mutual understanding of where the NAP is applicable and where it is not? This may sound strange, but I don't put much stock in "proof." I think "proof" is highly over-rated. It's largely supportive of concepts and values we already hold. It is the use of objects (or reified concepts) to demonstrate how nifty our opinions are, most often, nothing more. This is evident in the very history of the word's usage. * Earlier, for example, Scott Lazarowitz enunciated his belief that the complexity of life demonstrates for him the need for an intelligent, creative being. He didn't say "proof" anywhere in his post, but it is clear that for him this complexity just cannot come into being without some guiding force and positing such is "irrational" and requires faith. I strongly disagree in both the argument he proposes, including its presuppositions, and his conclusion, even while I agree that life is complex. That life is complex doesn't equate the need for a creator. Nor does the denial of this assertion necessarily require faith. *http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/prove http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=prove -Joy
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    More or less? *Why not take it the way you frame it?* As best as I can tell it would approximate this "more or less": "Libertarians patiently explain to [gun grabbers and gun owners] them that it's not [gun owners or grabbers] rich people or capitalism that is bad, but only those people [gun owners AND gun grabbers] who harness government to their ends that are bad. And therefore it’s government that’s bad, not [gun owners and grabbers per se] capitalism." I would say that the problem of gun grabbers (mass victim disarmament made possible by those who harness--government--the ultimate mass sociopath and superstition incubator), IS still SOLVED day-in-and-night when minutes and seconds count by INDIVIDUALS armed VIA the ideas and principles of the *remnant* (self-rule/anarchy/agorism) of laissez-faire (hands off) capitalism (division of labor society) extended into the physical realm. Same goes with anything else...
  • Subplotsville's picture
    Subplotsville 5 years 14 weeks ago Web link Jerry J Brown
    A worthwhile read, but the following makes no sense: "Neutral Science is a term coined to describe a science where there is no materialistic, physical or other implicit or explicit belief system at the root of explanations for observations." Explanation of observations without basis in any belief system whatsoever is impossible. Simply making coherent sense of what you see requires beliefs that you ultimately can't confirm.
  • Subplotsville's picture
    Subplotsville 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Libertarians patiently explain to them that it's not rich people or capitalism that is bad, but only those people who harness government to their ends that are bad. And therefore it’s government that’s bad, not capitalism." Wait, isn't this "it's the tool, not the tool-user, that's the problem" more or less the same argument the gun-grabbers use?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day Allen, Since you accuse me of this, "You already demand that one sits down, shuts-up, and listens in silence to your opinions, or simply depart the premises, if they have a contrasting view"; "Any response that challenges your view would "violate the NAP," and constitute "ridicule," since you equate dissenting perspectives as violent acts toward your person," would you please quote and post, like I have just done, where I have 'said' these things. Thank you. And, the answer to these two questions, "Have I "ridiculed" you? And more importantly, have I *harmed* you?" are, "No, and no, not in the least," which, I believe, disproves the above accusations. Thank you for the respect, and likewise, my friend. I feel no animosity, either from you or for you. In fact, it may just be a matter of semantics, you seem to equate "ridicule" with "respectful discussion"; I do not. I equate "ridicule" with "disrespectful discussion". -Joy!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day Allen, Speaking only for myself, I am not is disagreement with what you have written here, I am only saying that it is my opinion that "ridicule" is a "mean", thus "hurtful", way to communicate. And, that goes for both sides* of this discussion. * So-called agnostics seldom trouble either side, probably because they rationally say, "I don't have proof positive, either way". Only a fool would argue with that, IMO.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul admittedly aims his article toward non-religious people and their views toward believers within the context of anti-statist movements. Within this context, he thinks non-believers are wasting good time and energy lambasting religious beliefs. Great! I agree with him to some extent, and if you read my comments below you will see what I think of the few aggressive non-religious people I've noticed (mainly online) who lambaste the religious from out of the blue. However, you will also read that my experience has been nearly the opposite of the way in which Paul presents his case. It has been, by far, religious people who insert their beliefs (opinions) on philosophical and news discussion forums I've encountered, the blogs of unbelievers, YouTube threads, book reviews, etc., who upon being challenged *for these stated opinions* begin wailing about being attacked and "ridiculed." That they've entered a "public" discussion *voluntarily* seems to matter not. They take no responsibility for themselves. Basically, what you and Paul seem to miss, is that any group with a combined focus on philosophical and social issues, such as this one, is going to dredge up the presuppositions underlying the perspective of each member; their values, their methods, their standards, etc. This is what happens in the 21st Century where we don't all share the same (more or less) catholic view of the world. That catholic world is gone. In this non-catholic world, when questions arise to why, how, and what it's going to take to git 'er done, presuppositions (opinions) are going to come to the fore. That's how it works. We humans are social, we communicate. Your stated viewpoint regarding "ridicule" and the NAP, thus matters. If you are, from the outset, harboring anti-social, authoritarian, opinions toward critiques of your spoken beliefs, we cannot have a real discussion, will get little if anything accomplished, and live a double-standard, since our communication is already lopsided to favor your opinions. You already demand that one sits down, shuts-up, and listens in silence to your opinions, or simply depart the premises, if they have a contrasting view. Any response that challenges your view would "violate the NAP," and constitute "ridicule," since you equate dissenting perspectives as violent acts toward your person. If I've "violated" the NAP then, in your own mind, you also allow yourself to take positive defensive measures against this perceived attack against you. Yet, you never answered my question pertaining to how "ridicule" positively harms you and your property, your "old sales idiom" notwithstanding. So, I'll turn your question around on you: What possible positive outcome do you expect when you allow yourself the freedom to speak authoritatively, and with certitude, your own presuppositions and opinions, but concomitantly equate dissent as an attack ("ridicule") against your person and seek to invoke the NAP? Remember "ridicule" is a very ambiguous, subjective, term. It is based on how one *feels* toward contrasting opinions. I respect you generally as a person, but I cannot respect your stated opinion on this. I dissent. But, the questions remain: Have I "ridiculed" you? And more importantly, have I *harmed* you?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Scott hasn't responded to the two key questions I posed here on March 13th - perhaps he's occupied elsewhere. But answers to them do seem to me prerequisite for further useful discussion on the subject, so I wonder whether anyone else would like to try? They were: 1. Please define the term "God." 2. Upon what premise do you base your reasoning for God's existence?
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Re: "At the same time I'm aware of priests and nuns who would put all of us here to shame in their willingness to sacrifice themselves and their well-being for others when the need has presented itself". Hi Sam, Pleading "shame" "sacrifice" and "selflessness" of self--and then others--as the moral good is the platform of collectivism and religion and the worship of authority that sociopaths use to control, placate and feed on the philosophically ignorant. Precisely what some have good reason to point out as unprofitable and unproductive i.e. "irrational". "Shaming" and "sacrificing" as a quasi moral standard of "humble" selflessness are NOT the equivalent to a fully integrated non-contradictory philosophy of living on earth such as Ayn Rand's "Philosophy Who Needs It?", "The Virtue of Selfishness" and objectivism nor as the source of progress via peaceful *self-interested trade* in the remnant free market (division of labor society) as pointed out at Mises.org, Lewrockwell.com and the author of "Laissez Faire Capitalism" Thomas DiLorenzo. As to the so-called virtue of "need"? I believe the principle of "Helping those who can't help themselves" which is a paraphrase of Karl Marx' famous dictum: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." is harmful even in a voluntary organization: "From the Mailbag" by Harry Browne http://www.lewrockwell.com/browne/browne15.html Best Regards, and I concur with the rest of your post, AtlasAikido
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I will presume, JD, that you are referring to this question, "Where did those first "materials" come from, Jim?" If so, I anxiously await your answer, because I certainly don't know. ;)
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day Allen, Perhaps you didn't notice the bold, all-caps, "IMO", which, I presume you know means "in my opinion". And, you are certainly entitled to yours as well, so, thank you for your opinion. Just out of curiosity, are you saying that "ridiculing someone's belief in a First Cause" is the same as "anti-religious speech"? And, though you are certainly, once again, entitled to your own belief as to whether there is/was a First Cause, what possible positive outcome do you expect to see from spouting "anti-religious speech"? There is an old sales idiom, "We lead with questions, we push with statements", which, IMO, can be very helpful.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I'm glad I became "libertarian" (to the angst of some of my family and others I love dearly). I can see more clearly than ever previously. You see, "libertarian" simply means one who practices liberty (not necessarily one who believes everyone else should practice liberty, or even believes everyone should have the "right" to practice liberty). I can see now that even here on this august forum there are many who want to believe this or that -- particularly having to do with "religion" or "state". And I'll agree wholeheartedly that religion and state have walked hand-in-glove throughout history committing the most egregious crimes against humanity imaginable. At the same time I'm aware of priests and nuns who would put all of us here to shame in their willingness to sacrifice themselves and their well-being for others when the need has presented itself. Thomas DiLorenzo had a good blog post over on Lew Rockwell this morning bringing the incestuous religion/government relationship into current prospective. But even the plebe of libertarians should understand that belief in G-d (or non belief for that matter) and "religion" are two separate issues, not to be confused. If an individual wants to espouse the idea that belief in a g-d is "irrational", be my guest. If an individual wants not to so believe, I'll not argue. Just so I understand that's what he wants to believe. I can respect his opinion while inwardly feeling he has no idea what he's talking about. I think a lot of that is going on here in this thread. So I'm going trucking. But before I go, I want to salute you, Paul, on an excellent topic. I seldom rate these essays "10", but I did this one. Those of us claiming to be "libertarians" should take heed to your premise, IMHO (which ain't very humble). Sam
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    One thing about this article, and the following thread, is that there seems to be some presumption that non-religious people simply antagonize believers without reason, rather than 1) doing what believers do (say, on the Internet) and post their thoughts, critiques, arguments, etc., on and of believers and their faith in response to such beliefs ; 2) engage in discussion as freely with believers as the believers themselves do. Time and again, I've seen believers comment on YouTube, in news forums, on web-sites and blogs of non-believers, engaging all on their own, with admitted non-believers, getting upset, angry, offended, and many, all the while, acting as if they've been attacked somehow. To them, to critique religion is to angrily attack it; to attack it is to personally harm. I'm not saying that there aren't a-hole non-believers out there, nor am I saying that none go out and aggressively engage believers in public, but the difference I've noticed is the siege mentality most believers exhibit in practice, regardless of what Colossians 4:5-6 may say to the matter, in context of Christianity. The notion of being attacked seems part and parcel of this religiosity, be it the Devil, heresy, "cultural Marxism," moral relativism," "paganism," witches, plurality, other religions, reason, science, sometimes politics, sometimes using politics to stymie such "attacks," and so on and so on. This notion of being under attack has been the case for centuries, even when Christianity was the state religion (ex: *Imperium Romanum Sacrum*)! My point is, that if believers are going to go out into the world, or online, and proselytize, they will be met with opposition, criticism, and denial of their claims. To demand, or even desire, the cessation of such opposition and criticism, seems to me a matter of great irresponsibility on their part. I have no problem with Christian neighbors and allies. I do have a problem when they desire a monologue supporting their faith and wail as if in pain upon disagreement. It's, well, simply un-neighborly.
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I remember recently how thankful a young man was when I responded that he might want to read the following--I pulled up the article on my laptop at a cafe bar--when he questioned me about what appeared to him to be a contradiction regarding the issue of "time" and atheism: The "First Cause" article http://tinyurl.com/First-Cause-article •Objectivist Newsletter-Vol 1, No 5, May 1962, page 19 •Having trouble grasping the phrase "Existence Exists"? Grappling with the "God" problem? HERE is the article that fixed those problems for me--it might just be the one for you. The young man remarked that he had been "surounded all his life" by those who had NO idea of such thinking and that he felt wonderfully freed and relieved of those who were UNaware, UNconvinced or UNable to reason such thru. And that he was now clear about how "time" and other factors played against such things as belief in gods. Good for him. I concur. He also remarked that the way I came at this issue was such that I actually addressed his questions and concerns as opposed to the "dehumanizing-people-is-fun" that he was accustomed to ALL his life from those who see themselves as blessed and unquestioned authorities of faith (belief without the need of reason)...
  • Irb's picture
    Irb 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    The only reason I got an account on STR, after reading for 5 or more years, was to give props to Mr. Bonneau for what I see as a very good piece. As a Christian Anarchist (Capitalist) I get a funny look from fellow Christians--though not all--because I have no belief in government (save self-government). The difference between Mr. Davies irrational belief in government (agreed) and an irrational belief in God (disagreed) is God isn't forcing us to kill, steal and destroy. We should deal with the clear and present danger of government. To make a comparison to Mr. Bonneau's argument: If I, an Anarchist, were also a racist and made fun of anyone who wasn't white; and I also tried to win persons to Anarchism, how much weight could I throw? How serious would other people take me? Hey, I once was that person. I believe that not just "religious" persons is appropriate but many different persons can be considered when trying to "sell" Anarchism. I, personally, find it tough to talk to the whining left. Every other word out of their mouth is "feel". "I feel these people should be taken care of because they...." I don't "feel" in apolitical conversation, I "think". But I cant just make fun of them. It will run them off. Mr. Bonneau, Kudos.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "From that position, I question how anyone can firmly believe in the "supernatural" or firmly disbelieve in it. Both require faith. I choose to not have faith in either direction, but I completely understand those who do, and they just may be correct." Perhaps it depends upon what one means by "nature." The term has a fuzzy history of usage which depends upon the perspective and context of usage, and the values of those using it. It's hardly points toward anything "self-evident." Are we speaking of nature as being similar to, or even synonymous with, other concepts such as "existence," "reality," "the universe?" Are we speaking of "matter" as opposed to "spirit," or one of the derivative dichotomies such as "the true world/appearance," "essence/contingency" "Being/becoming," "The Absolute/relative" etc.,? Are we only speaking of the non-human "environment," as in "man versus nature?" This isn't a definitive list by any means, only illustrative of the elasticity of "nature" is as a concept. All of these have underlying presuppositions, though I'd say the first has less precisely because of its vague generality, and it's probably the one I'd prefer over the others.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    If you don't mind, S2, since i was the one first to pose the question (to Scott) about premises - along with one about the definition of "God" - I'll await his reply before possibly naming mine.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Well, if I'm going to allow for all possibilities, including intelligent creators, then I guess I have to accept the possibility of concrete answers to these questions, but I don't really see how. Science and the scientific method are dependent upon observation and repeatability. Will science ever create its own universes? Perhaps. That still doesn't account for this one, however. Deductive arguments are valid or invalid, sound or unsound. They are not true or false. When someone someday claims to have the answer to how the universe came to be or what happens after death, my statement will be "Prove it." I cannot comprehend (again, perhaps that's my shortcoming) how I may be presented with evidence for my senses to evaluate that would allow me to say "You are correct. There is no other possible answer." Anyway, I only have a few years left on this spinning place, and am quite willing to call the chances of me ever having concrete answers to these questions as being zero, and that doesn't bother me at all. From that position, I question how anyone can firmly believe in the "supernatural" or firmly disbelieve in it. Both require faith. I choose to not have faith in either direction, but I completely understand those who do, and they just may be correct. For all the rationality we try to impose on the world, it seems the deeper you dig toward the fundamental aspects of being, the more irrational things become. The one thing we can hypothesize from this is that the universe has a great sense of humor.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Ridicule" is very subjective, and I think it is a stretch, a huge stretch, to say that it actually hurts people. How has the one who ridicules harmed the believer or their property in any demonstrable way? It may anger the latter. It may offend them. It may not be the best choice in forming alliances, being a good neighbor, and so on. But harm? I think that is a dubious claim. Are we to curtail 'anti-religious' speech? How is that to be done without the threat of force?
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Dictionaries are helpful to some extent, but you must remember that all language is conceptual. Words are concepts and all words are defined by other words. Words can only point toward existing objects (aka "things." I usually use these terms interchangeably) or other concepts. I don't see any other choice. If "cause" is a noun, this means it is a person, place, thing or idea. I think we can say that "idea" is a synonym for "concept." So, that leaves us with a person, place or thing; here, we are simply saying that things (including those things called "persons") exist somewhere. All things exist somewhere in relation to other things. So, in using "cause" as a noun we only have the choice between a concept (idea) or object. It is clear that "cause" has no identifiable features, no shape of its own, no body-in-place, so it cannot point us to any thing/object. As to "cause" being an event, we need to ask ourselves what constitutes an "event." An event is clearly not a thing, but another concept denoting things in motion and the concept of time. An event has a beginning and an end, things move and change. An event is a temporal, and therefore, relational *activity* between things. It is brought into a "unity" only within the concept of time, which, in turn, is dependent upon things in motion. "Cause," being a concept, cannot act on it's own since a concept cannot move a thing. Only things in motion can move other things, and *we* call this activity amongst things "cause". This is one reason why the "First Cause" or "Un-caused cause" argument doesn't really say anything, since it violates the very *relationship* between things a "cause' is supposed to denote for us. In other words it is saying "Something comes from nothing" and postulated an "active nothing." This is the irrational step Christianity took when they made Aristotle's concept of "Prime mover" into their "First Cause" or "Creator." Now, I don't mean this as an attack on him, but it appears Mr. Bonneau believes this type of discussion is irrelevant to the notion of "harm" to oneself. I'm not so certain of this, particularly given the insistence of most people to reify concepts, and *act* according to the valuation inherent in such a reification. This is particularly the case in the terms of moralizing evangelical movements, be they states and/or religions intent on conversion, by hook or by crook. People act according to what and how they value things and concepts, if someone believes another lie outside of "true religion," the dehumanization has already taken place . At any rate, I remain skeptical of such any irrelevance of this fact in the matter at hand. -Regards
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 14 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day Jim Davies, I am reminded of the old joke about the devil telling God that he did a terrible job of creating man, so God asked him if he thought he could do better. The devil quickly answered, "Sure". So, God told him to have at it. The devil grabs up some carbon, some water etc. and starts to start, but God stops him, and says, "Hold on their boy, use your own materials." Where did those first "materials" come from, Jim? That aside, "ridicule" ("That species of writing which excites contempt[1]..." ), besides being a bad way to "win friends and influence people", as Paul Bonneau correctly pointed out, also, IMO, violates the N.A.P. in that it hurts individuals who have caused you no hurt...well, unless you consider beliefs that conflict with your own, "hurtful". ______________________________________________ [1] "This word [contempt] is one of the strongest expressions of a mean opinion which the language affords." ~ Noah Webster (c.1828)