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  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    Private messages don't seem to be working.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "...we stray ever farther from the topic, [which is] "There's the law, then there's The Law"... This is, arguably, the most important topic there is for free men and women, or men and women who are truly desiring to be free. We can understand this just by the highlighted portions of these two lead-ins. "The natural law is, in essence, a profoundly “radical” ethic, for it holds the existing status quo, which might grossly violate natural law, up to the unsparing and unyielding light of reason. In the realm of politics or State action, the natural law presents man with a set of norms which may well be radically critical of existing positive law imposed by the State. At this point, we need only stress that the very existence of a natural law discoverable by reason is a potentially powerful threat to the status quo and a standing reproach to the reign of blindly traditional custom [common law] or the arbitrary will of the State apparatus [statute law] In fact, the legal principles of any society can be established in three alternate ways: ...by slavish conformity to custom [common law], by arbitrary whim [statute law], or by use of man’s reason [natural law]". ~ Murray N. Rothbard http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/one.asp http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/two.asp http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/three.asp ___________________________________________________________________________________________ "...we need to promote the idea of natural law, that an act is lawful or criminal on its own merits, and not because of the decree of some group of rulers. The idea of natural law is more important than the specifics of its content, because once this idea is accepted, the state and its statutes are no longer relevant when discussing the lawfulness of an act." ~ Rule-of-law Anarchism: A Strategy for Destroying the State's Legitimacy by Kevin S. Van Horn Let us take those two, most important points, out of context, so that we may see them more clearly. "...the very existence of a natural law discoverable by reason is a potentially powerful threat to the status quo..." "...once this idea is accepted, the state and its statutes are no longer relevant..." Is it any fricken wonder, then, that Frank van Dun, Ph.D., Dr.Jur. - Senior lecturer Philosophy of Law, writes in his treatise, NATURAL LAW, "Nowadays, the study of natural law virtually has been banned from the training of lawyers. What remains of it in the academic curriculum of most law schools is no more than a little bit of 'intellectual history', which is devoted mainly to the works of a handful of ancient, medieval and early modern writers and philosophers. Often, students get the impression that natural law is something that can be found only in books (in the same way that statutory law, the verdicts of courts and international treaties are mere texts). They are led to believe that the natural law is nothing but a collection of theories of natural law. It is not. Nor, of course, is the physical universe nothing but a collection of theories of physics. The practice of natural law also has been eliminated almost completely by the legal profession. Very often, the study and the practice of natural law are scorned, if not ridiculed. The reasons for this desultory attitude towards natural law are many. One reason is ideological. Many people subscribe to an ideology that is virulently anti-human. They do not think that there is anything respectable about human beings as they are. Usually, they combine this belief with the idea that 'human nature can and should be changed' so as to make it conform to their own ideal of Man. Thus, they claim that men and women should be taught or forced not to respect the order of [the] human world but to respect instead the imaginary 'normative order' that the ideologues prefer. They should be forced or taught not to respect one another for the human beings they are but only the ideal 'new man' that they should become. ...they generally have tended to redefine the word 'law' so that it now is virtually synonymous with politically imposed or sanctioned social regulation." We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "John if you are a so called market anarchist you are witnessed as taking far too much stock in "prudent criminals". As if free markets can never prevail in the law and defense. And again the book covers this specific issue! Perhaps you will address this?" Seems to me there is a clear difference between free markets prevailing in general and an inescapable individual karma. The former does not require the latter.
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    John if you are a so called market anarchist you are witnessed as taking far too much stock in "prudent criminals". As if free markets can never prevail in the law and defense. And again the book covers this specific issue! Perhaps you will address this? As much as some try to hide it, the truth of the state is *continuously being uncovered*. So the foundation continues to crumble, not stand. No, the future is not too bright for government and "prudent criminals"--and those who put too much stock in evil and not enough in the good--it is brightening for liberty which is to my knowledge due to natural laws and natural justice. They cannot apparently be by-passed. Raise up free markets. Raise up the spontaneous order of the market. Raise up the agora. Not to smash the state, but to obviate it. Not to make it the victim, and encourage its supporters to give it more power, but to show it as the bully it is. Show the surplus order of the state for what it is, so that people choose to abandon it for something better. Apparently this does not stand for John. In fact a would be "prudent" tyrant's customers--in a free market--would be an obstacle to him....He could not extract taxes from them, as govt does, he could not even force them to buy his service at all.... ...Govt employees are legally protected from suffering personal consequences as a result of all but the most blatant acts of the aggressive acts which they perpetrate "in the line of duty". Such functionaries as police officials, judges and revenue agents can initiate force with immunity by taking protection under such cliches as "I don't write The Law; I just enforce it" or "that's a matter for a jury to decide" or "this statute was passed by duly elected reps of the people". But employees of a free market defense company would have no such legal immunity from retaliatory force; they would have to assume responsibility for their actions... ...It is also worth noting that much of the success of organized crime in our present society is due to alliances which *crime bosses* are able to make with govt officials in nearly all levels. From the $50 payoff to the local cop to the $10,000 contribution to a senator's campaign fund organized crime regularly protects itself by buying off govt opposition. ...In a laissez-faire society aggressors would not only be scattered but weak and unorganized they would find it next to impossible to buy off free market protection and arbitration agencies. Customers of a defense company don't have to keep patronizing it if they find out its employees have been accepting payoffs from aggressors.. They are free to do what citizens can never do--find some other agency to protect them. A free market agency could not afford to have under-world connections even with the small and unimportant underworld of a free market...When the news media revealed its shady dealings its customers would desert it... ...Furthermore customers of a free market defense company are not imbued with a citizen's patriotic fervor and obedience and thus are much harder to lure into foolish collectivist endeavors (such as national unity). Free men don't leap like fools and sheep to defend a flag or sacrifice themselves for the cause of politicians ("prudent criminals"). These are some of the many ways a free market system differs fundamentally and completely from a govt system of any sort and so called prudent criminals. ....While it is generally recognized that man's physical and even his mental nature are subject to the rule of natural law it is just as generally assumed that in the area of morality, and specifically moral human relationships, is completely outside the scope of natural law. This assumption is held tacitly, rather than identified and defended, simply because it can't be defended. It is completely foolish to assert that man is a being with a specific nature and therefore subject to the rules of principles derived from that nature in all areas...except when he deals with other men. Do men men cease to have a specific nature when they come into relationship with other men? Of course not!
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "What the Tannehill's and I am proposing is a system for dealing with such which is far superior to the past and present govermental ones--*a system which makes the violation of human liberty far more difficult...." I've been a market anarchist for more than a decade so maybe you're making some false assumptions in addressing this to me. "John, your concern regarding Stalin and Mao being--so called--exempt from Justice is precisely due to Government and the point I hopefully have addressed here." No, my point still stands. It will always be possible for some prudent criminals to thrive. The type of inescapable individual karma you're asserting is a comforting fiction.
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    Not a criticism but with all due respect perhaps John you missed the meaning of this point I made: "A man who swallows poison even if he has complete confidence it is vitamins will become ill. A man who aggresses against others will be distrusted, avoided, and probably made to repay his victims *If some Government forces do not interfere. It may not be immediate or readily apparent but it is inescapable*. I point out and repeat with emphasis added AND with an example to your specific point *Interesting enough government tries to dissolve these natural laws or ignore cause and effect and can obscure consequences Particularly Bad Ones but not for long....[Example Only Governments can make it possible for Stalins. Mao's and thugs to be protected and served (in what appears abeyance of natural laws)]*.... This book I recommend is a book about an idea--the discovery of *what kind of society man needs in order to function efficiently and happily*.... Not envisioning a "Utopia" in which no man tries to victimize another. As long as men are human, they will be free to choose to act in an irrational and immoral manner against their fellows and there will always be some who act as brutes, inflicting their will on others by force. What the Tannehill's and I am proposing is a system for dealing with such which is far superior to the past and present govermental ones--*a system which makes the violation of human liberty far more difficult and less rewarding for all who want to live as brutes and downright impossible for those who want to be politicians!!* Nor am I proposing a "Perfect" society (what ever that is).. Men are fallible so mistakes will always be made and there will never be a society of total equity. Under the present and past governmental systems however, blunders and aggressive intrusions into the lives of peaceful individuals tend to feed on themselves and to grow automatically so that what starts off as a small injustice (small tax, regulation, bureau etc ) inevitably becomes *a Colossus with Monsters* in time. In a truly free society, blunders and aggression will tend to be self-correcting, because men who are *free to choose* will not have to deal with individuals and firms which are stupid, offensive or dangerous to those who they do business with (Back to my original point at the beginning of this post). The society proposed is based on fundamental principles: No man or group of men--including any group of men calling themselves "the government" Stalin, Mao etc is morally entitled to initiate (start) the use of physical of force, the threat of force, or any substitute for force (fraud) against another man or group......(NAP--the Non-Aggression Principle) Read on....Dear Reader, Chapter One....The Market for Liberty: Is Government Really Necessary? http://mises.org/resources/6058 John, your concern regarding Stalin and Mao being--so called--exempt from Justice is precisely due to Government and the point I hopefully have addressed here. It is only one of many many in the book. Cheers
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    But most would vote vote to have someone else put a gun to my head to extract money to reopen the government schools. You can't reason many people out of statism.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "The 19 consisted of one Lebanese, one Egyptian, one from United Arab Emirates, and all the rest Saudis." Yes, and what I've contested is the assertion in the article is that such people are no position to do me real harm. Well I wasn't in the World Trade Center on 9/11 but I had been working there a few months earlier. And on the morning or 9/11 my wife was flying from the east coast to the west coast on a flight with exactly the profile of the hijacked planes. So like I said, these people do pose some real danger to me and mine and it's reasonable to consider them enemies.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    The 19 consisted of one Lebanese, one Egyptian, one from United Arab Emirates, and all the rest Saudis. We did not invade any of these countries, strangely. If you play at Empire, you would be naive to expect no consequences at all from it. Our ruling class does not care about the 3000 dead Americans, other than as tools to advance their interests. That's all we ever are to them.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Ask your neighbor, "What if the government ran out of tax dollars and had to shut down the government schools? Would you come over, put a gun to my head and take the money to school your kids privately?" I'd be willing to bet he would say "No."
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "I am not agnostic about Thor, I have concluded, for myself, that he does not exist." Okay, but earlier you wrote: "I call atheism a "belief-system", since it is far more rational to be agnostic, since there is not a preponderance of proof "for" or "against" there being a "first cause", as Thomas Paine so thoughtfully put it in his treatise, Age of Reason." So what do you consider the preponderance of evidence against the existence of Thor?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Perhaps it is different in the US than in most places. For example, I was in a homeschool support group with some atheists, some general Christians (not sure their exact faith), a Muslim and a Mormon. It was simply unremarkable, no religious conflict at all. I spend a lot of time in Wyoming enjoying the company of my neighbor, an old cowboy with whom I have almost nothing in common. He is a devout Christian. I'll even go along and say "amen" after he prays over breakfast. Why not, since he is cooking for me! I am ignorant of Manchester United and such things. Keep in mind a lot of the criminal behavior that has increased to epidemic proportions in England is simply impossible in most parts of the US, since the criminals would end up being shot.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "As Ricky would say, "You've got some 'splainin to do, Lucy." Agreed, but the concept of God does nothing to advance the explanation. Either the Universe sprang into being uncaused or it exists as an infinite regression of causes. Both alternatives confound intuition, but one must be right because the universe indisputably exists. For God there are three possibilities: Either he sprang into existence uncaused or he exists as an infinite regression of causes or else he simply does not exist. While the universe indisputably exists that's certainly not true of God.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Speaking of "realistic", you might want to check this out, John T. Kennedy. http://www.ae911truth.org/
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day GeoffreyTransom, Thank you for the reply. Don't know if you noticed, but I made no mention of the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran, or any other "revealed" religion's tome. The only thing I did make mention of, by name, is Age of Reason, by Thomas Paine. If you haven't read it, here is a link to it, so that you can. In it you may find a God more to your liking. P.S. For future accuracy, you might be interested to know that Sarai was not, in the blood-sense of the word, Abram's, (there was no letter V in the ancient Ibriy (Hebrew) alephbet), "half-sister". Abram reportedly said "yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife", based on the following concept, brother. A careful reading of Genesis 11:31 will prove this out. Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother... It's that or Abram flat out lied, which wouldn't surprise me in the least, since lying is how Yacob (no J or V in the ancient Ibriy) stole his brother's paternal blessing.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "it makes no sense to speak of 'my "efficiency"' when efficiency is defined as that which results in an intertemporally stable Nash equilibrium." I've never seen efficiency so defined. Efficiency is a far more fundamental economic concept than a Nash equilibrium. Take the Prisoner's Dilemma. The efficient outcome occurs when both parties cooperate, but both parties cooperating is certainly not a Nash equilibrium. And that's just a very simple case.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day John T. Kennedy, Thank you, "men interacting" is fine with me. And thank you; for what it's worth, I agree "right and wrong is not properly defined by what is best for the group". Right and wrong are discovered, by each of us, by what we would not like done to us, or have forced upon us, by other men, without our consent, which, coincidentally, is what is best for the group. "The only idea man can affix to the name of God is that of a first cause, the cause of all things. And incomprehensible and difficult as it is for a man to conceive what a first cause is, he arrives at the belief of it from the tenfold greater difficulty of disbelieving it." ~ Thomas Paine I am not agnostic about Thor, I have concluded, for myself, that he does not exist. And, neither am I agnostic about the Big Bang Theory. "According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure." "...sprang into existence..."??? Now, there's a scientific explanation, if I've ever seen one. "Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe." As Ricky would say, "You've got some 'splainin to do, Lucy." But, we stray ever farther from the topic, "There's the law, then there's The Law", and for that I apologize.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    @Suverans2 I'm still curious, are you agnostic about Thor the Norse god of thunder or are you persuaded he does not exist?
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "If you would be so kind to give us your definition of "society", please." Men interacting. "Also, you said "society is not the standard". Not sure I understand what you mean by that." I'm saying that right and wrong is not properly defined by what is best for the group. "And, you are certainly free to conclude (believe) that there was, or is, no "first cause", no Santa, no Odin, no Brhama, and/or no Zeus, if you like, but I think you will agree, it serves no useful purpose to make a mockery of those who come to the opposite conclusions (beliefs) on any, or all, of these things. " I don't think it serves a libertarian purpose, but I think religion is irrational and thus a legitimate target of criticism and even satire. It's not something I spend much time doing. "Thomas Paine, is a prime example of one of those who came to the opposite conclusion (belief), he wrote, "incomprehensible and difficult as it is for a man to conceive what a first cause is, he arrives at the belief of it from the tenfold greater difficulty of disbelieving it". " I think there is difficulty in wrapping one's head around the idea of a first cause and also the idea of an infinite regress of causes so I don't have a settled opinion on which condition exists. But I see no reason why a first cause would be God. I think the Big Bang is a plausible first cause, and there is evidence for the Big Bang. Yes, the idea that the Big Bang was uncaused is counterintuitive, but that is not a conceptual difficulty that God escapes.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "John, Not sure how you can know this about someone's personal life?" This is supposed to be a criticism of my analysis, but not your's? No doubt Stalin had things to fear, but his innocent victims weren't exactly free form that.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day John T. Kennedy, If you would be so kind to give us your definition of "society", please. Also, you said "society is not the standard". Not sure I understand what you mean by that. If you care to explain, please keep it simple, for I am a simple man. Stuff like "intertemporally stable Nash equilibrium", "non-trivial time-dimension", as examples, lose me to the point that I won't even know if I have "truncated horizons", or not. Sheeeeesh! Albert Einstein, who was a reasonably intelligent man, once said “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” "I'm with you, Al." You wrote: "I'm an atheist who's perfectly comfortable with natural law. What the founders thought of as Natures God, I think of as simply Nature." Perfect! Wish everyone was as willing, and/or able, to "simply" do that. And, you are certainly free to conclude (believe) that there was, or is, no "first cause", no Santa, no Odin, no Brhama, and/or no Zeus, if you like, but I think you will agree, it serves no useful purpose to make a mockery of those who come to the opposite conclusions (beliefs) on any, or all, of these things. Thomas Paine, is a prime example of one of those who came to the opposite conclusion (belief), he wrote, "incomprehensible and difficult as it is for a man to conceive what a first cause is, he arrives at the belief of it from the tenfold greater difficulty of disbelieving it". "Fine with me, Tom, just don't try to force your 'belief' on anyone else and we can get along just fine."
  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    There is a stark difference between proselytising for atheism (which I don't do), and proselytising AGAINST a stupid story in which an Iron Age nomad who is screwing his half-sister, gets chosen (on this ball of rock, picked specially from the hundreds of quadrillion stars in the observable universe) by a Sky Wizard who loves foreskin, blood and burnt offal. From there, he (Avram) shows that he is a craven whip-kisser: he's prepared to kill his own son to cash in on the offer (the "slit your kid's throat" order gets called off at the last minute - otherwise that scumbag would have done it). He's prepared to mutilate the genitals of his offspring to get in good with someone powerful. And these traits are somehow laudable, in the eyes of the gullible: the adherents of the three dominant idiocies on the planet are prepared to call themselves "The Children of Abraham". Now when you START from such idiotic primitive tribal stupidity, EVERYTHING that follows is tainted. Finding anything of subsequent value in the narrative would be like attending a Charles Manson lecture on making the best type of paper airplane (you never know - Charles might know just how to do it... but I would not listen to him because he claims that the Sky Wizard told him to kill, just like he told Moses to kill). And just to be clear: there is an OVERWHELMING preponderance of proof AGAINST the idiotic fairy story told in the major works of religion. Religion is like smoking - unless you get 'em young, only an idiot will become religious once their faculties are developed (the number of totally irreligious children who become religious is vanishingly small compared to the number of religiously raise children who overcome their abuse). And in any case if there is a causal agent for the universe, that's no reason to bend the knee to it - it would be as idiotic as the quarks in a flourine atom in my toothpaste setting up in worship of my cat: both God and the cat might find it mildly amusing, but the lives of the quarks will not alter materially if they pray to Bootsie. Worshipping the OT type "Lord" simply because he can kick arse, is like worshipping the Syrian secret police simply because they can make your enemies disappear. It's the gutless act of a craven serf, and stems from a primitive view of power. If God was genuinely powerful, he would not object to people thinking he was being a total dick in the OT. Ask any Amalekite... whoops, can't - they were all slaughtered [even the babies] on the order of the guy who claimed to have created a hundred quadrillion stars. Here's a hint: anything is capable of creating a hundred quadrillion stars is unlikely to care who owns Jerusalem. Rationalism - that's what gives us progress. And all churches, like all states, are the enemies of humanity.
  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    I think we're talking past each other - it makes no sense to speak of 'my "efficiency"' when efficiency is defined as that which results in an intertemporally stable Nash equilibrium. In that context, an individual agent's "own" efficiency is a fiction - it would be like pretending that a recipe that uses five times as many eggs as required, is still 'efficient' from the point of view of the cook. A Nash equilibrium is defined as a payoff structure from which no agent has any incentive to deviate (even though it may not be the highest possible payoff for any given player). In the situation you mention as a counter-example, in which your 'morality' permits forced expropriation from others: there is a distinct incentive for at least one other agent (one or more of your victims) to seek to deviate from that payoff structure. Furthermore, there is incentive for others to try to jump on the same "steal from others" lark. As such, it is absolutely NOT 'efficient' intertemporally. For whatever reason, there are some folks who are highly allergic to the idea that morality derives from a search for efficiency: they see morality as being metaphysical, and the search for moral values as being a quasi-spiritual endeavour, in strong counterpoint to the quest for efficiency, which these sort of people will characterise as 'ruthless' or 'mechanistic'. But *NEITHER* is true. Man is a goal-oriented animal: he seeks happiness (NOT wealth, NOT power, NOT income, and NOT goods, sex, or whatever... all these things are sought because of the expectation that they will bring HAPPINESS). Those who were taught economics PROPERLY, are taught that agents seek to maximise their *expected* 'utility' or 'felicity', subject to a set of constraints (prices, preferences, discount rates and so forth) that are outside the agent's control. Most students ignore the 'quest for happiness' meme that underlies the pedagogic tools (which they see as a dry set of optimal control problems - to be solved on exam day, and thereafter forgotten). Economics is about man's quest for happiness. And how does man become the most happy given the constraints under which he operates? By doing everything in the most **efficient** way: that does NOT imply the 'least cost' way, either in production or consumption, or even in investment. And moreover, 'efficiency' has a temporal aspect: if you seek to add to your happiness by stealing from others, then you have to squander a decent chunk of the pelf in paying for your own security - AND you set up a dynamic process whereby a bunch of OTHER folks decide they would like to horn in on your action. Thus the State has, for thousands of years, been riven by internal strife, invasion from outside, and crippling costs of its own protection. The State is, therefore, the epitome of inefficiency (in the game-theoretic sense). They are Homer Simpson in the tar pit, seeking to pull out his legs with his hands, then his hands with his face. Morality (which is just a word meaning "the way folks 'ought to' behave toward one another") *derives* from efficiency, and it *augments* efficiency - there is a virtuous circle from the quest for stable Nash equilibria, to objectively discernible modes of behaviour. The 'metaphysical morality contrasted with ruthless efficiency' types would prefer that we were nice for nice's sake. That would be... well, nice: but it's not necessary, and it's certainly not sufficient, since there are observably people who are willing to be NOT nice (willing to live by force and fraud) to further their short term objectives. Part of the reason I am an anarchist, is that I understand - from alpha to omega - the Public Goods rationale for government... which you might be shocked to know rests on the claim that by intervening in certain markets, governments INCREASE economic efficiency. And I know the conditions that make it a huge lie (hint: WAR blows up triangles of consumer surplus). I can do the 'government ameliorates market failure' case like a performing seal - from suboptimal output in the presence of externalities/publicness, to the case for progressive taxation (due to diminishing marginal valuation of money)... even through to the presence of asymmetrically publicness and the notion of 'optimal taxation'. (My lecture notes were used by my best friend when he later became a tutor in Public Finance 15 years ago, when we were both grad students). From there it's all downhill though - because of war; because of diseconomies of bureaucracy; because of the lack of a properly-formulated optimisation problem. Because, in short, of a LACK of proper drivers for **efficiency** (and the fact that the government's objective function is NOT the same as some weighted sum of the objective functionals of the society it purports to represent). All that said: what I have seen of Stef's work on universally preferable behaviour is excellent, but leaves me slightly cold because it still rests at bottom on the idea that we 'should' do 'X' simply because it's "right". For me and others like me, it's "right" because it's efficient. Voluntaryism is efficient, in part because it eliminates the diversion of resources that happens when you permit a State. But more deeply, a voluntaryist system woud have internal dynamics that were self-reinforcing: the State does not.
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    The issue here is understanding the difference between natural laws and statute laws. The difference between metaphysical objectivity and epistemological objectivity. And the nature of man, society and govt. Again the two chapters I refer get to this pretty clearly. You can browse the pdf.... Regards Atlas
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    John, Not sure how you can know this about someone's personal life? In the sense that you speak *more likely* they are less human in all the meaning you and I attribute to life. There is always a price to pay.... It would make more sense that doing monster work would make monsters. If that is not so then having stolen luxury is hardly getting off the hook. Perhaps you could provide something that would actually convince anyone that Stalin was not continuously paranoid and that is a good way to live? But you must be a fast reader indeed because the link I provided covers the issue you mention. Or perhaps you have read the works of Tannehill?
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    I don't think it's inescapable in that sense. There is no reason in principle why someone like Stalin or Mao cannot do monstrous evil for a lifetime, live a long life of luxury, and die peacefully in their sleep. Sometimes that happens. It would be comforting to think that can't happen, but it's just not true. It would be comforting to that the score will be settled after death, but I don't believe that either.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    “a rule which so necessarily agrees with the nature and state of man that, without observing its maxims, the peace and happiness of society can never be preserved.” While this may be true of natural law, I reject the utilitarian formulation. Fidelity with natural law may be good for society on the whole, but society is not the standard. "Notice that he makes no mention of a god. And, you who are proselytizing for your atheistic belief-system by using such words as "sky-wizard", you won't win many converts over by being childishly insulting." I don't think making converts is a bid deal, but you're right that this has nothing in principle to do with God. I'm an atheist who's perfectly comfortable with natural law. What the founders thought of as Natures God, I think of as simply Nature. I don't consider myself agnostic about God for the same reason I don't consider myself agnostic about Santa. Neither explains anything I see in the world and I find no useful evidence for either so I conclude they don't exist. I could in principle be wrong, but that is my conclusion. It would seem to me that by the standard you're trying to apply it would be irrational for me to disbelieve in Odin, Brhama, or Zeus. Are you agnostic about Thor, the Norse god of thunder, or do you conclude Thor is not real?
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    For one so eloquent-- tanhadron--it is a pity that Man And Society chpt2 and Legislation and Objective Law Chp 12 of Market for Liberty by Tannehill were not read (the links in my prior post). It supports the position of objective natural laws such as gravity and NAP....and show the fallacy of Statute Laws... A man who swallows poison even if he has complete confidence it is vitamins *will become ill*. A man who aggresses against others will be distrusted, avoided, and probably made to repay his victims if some govt forces do not interfere. It may not be immediate or readily apparent but it is inescapable. Interesting enough govt tries to dissolve these natural laws or ignore cause and effect and can obscure consequences particularly bad ones but not for long....Example minimum wage laws....But go ahead and read the short chapters. I believe you may find an answer to the issues you have. Regards Atlas
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    One the saddest things I see is that some people who argue against the "Natural Law" [I put those "scare quotes" in for you, John T. Kennedy (wink)], apparently don't even have a clue what the Natural Law of Man is. "The natural law is defined by Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, "honorary 'professor of ethics and the law of nature' at the University of Geneva", to be “a rule which so necessarily agrees with the nature and state of man that, without observing its maxims, the peace and happiness of society can never be preserved.” And he says “that these are called “natural laws” because a knowledge of them may be attained merely by the light of reason, from the fact of their essential agreeableness with the constitution of human nature..." ~ A Dictionary of the Law (Black's 1st c. 1891), page 694 Notice that he makes no mention of a god. And, you who are proselytizing for your atheistic belief-system by using such words as "sky-wizard", you won't win many converts over by being childishly insulting. I call atheism a "belief-system", since it is far more rational to be agnostic, since there is not a preponderance of proof "for" or "against" there being a "first cause", as Thomas Paine so thoughtfully put it in his treatise, Age of Reason. Question for you nay-sayers; bees and ants and lions and wolves, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, each have their own peculiar "natural law" for survival of the individual, as well as the group, so how is it that you "believe" that man is somehow mysteriously exempt from the "natural law of the human world", as Frank van Dun, Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), Dr.Jur. (Doctor of Jurisprudence) - Senior lecturer Philosophy of Law, (someone obviously far less intelligent, or thoughtful, than yourselves), for clarification, called it?
  • Gwardion's picture
    Gwardion 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Amen brother. I trade goods for skills on fluid ad hoc barter deals all the time. We get gifted, and we gift used goods and hand me downs. Support trade without feeding the tax man, a small but essential blow for freedom.
  • tanhadron's picture
    tanhadron 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    @GeoffreyTransom (and many of the rest of you): So we adopt a set of supposed objective morals because they are "efficient"? Something is "right" because it is efficient? The "laws" created to reflect what the collective believe are "rights" and "wrongs" are just a set of "shoulds." I never said there are no objective, natural "laws" (like gravity, or other laws of physics governing the natural world). But let's not confuse those types of immutable, objective "laws" with "laws" that we're talking about--a set of "shoulds" that do or are proposed, to govern human interaction. Hey, nobody is a firmer, more resolute advocate of the non-aggression principle than me. "Do not initiate aggression on persons or their property" is my mantra. But can we really say that that "should" rises to the level of being an objective, "natural" truth or law handed down by some "sky-wizard" (great description, GeoffreyTransom--love it!)? I want the non-aggression principle to be an objective truth or to form the basis for an objective morality. But what if, hypothetically, MY morality, my "efficiency" dictates that I take my neighbor's money and property; gee, that's very efficient then, for me. I get to fund all my wants and desires with little effort. Are my actions therefore "moral"? According to G.Transom, the efficiency inherent therein make them so. Can we really say that the non-aggression principle is objective? Don't get me wrong--we need a set of "shoulds" to govern human behavior; to lessen the conflict that is concomitant with many people vying for scarce resources and who have competing goals, objectives, needs, and wants. But the NAP is, after all, just another "should." I'm not saying it is not the "should" to be adopted as the girding of an ethical system. On the contrary, the NAP IS the "should" that would not only be the most "efficient" and workable at reducing conflict and making things "work" (free market would flourish; happiness; peace, harmony, etc.); but it would also satisfy MY personal morality and, I suspect, that of millions of people--including everybody involved in this discussion. I'm not knocking the NAP; I'm not supporting the arbitrariness of positive law and the suffering it has brought; I'm not reducing all morals to the same level and arguing that every system of proposed behavior ("shoulds") is equal to the other. I'm just saying that (to quote from "Noesis" during an excellent discussion on this topic--link below) "objective truth and objective morality are two different things," and "it is perfectly valid to say: 'It is objectively true that morals are subjective.' Just like it's also true to say: 'It is objectively true that dreams are subjective.'" Once we admit this to ourselves, it's perfectly okay to move forward and discuss why it is better or not to adopt a set of "shoulds" (laws) to govern human interaction for reasons of efficiency, universality, etc. etc. Do I want a universally applied set of "shoulds"? Of course. Are they God-given? No, sorry. Gravity is "God-given" so to speak. The NAP is not, as much as I want it to be. But again, I'm not dismissing the NAP as a wonderful, workable, personally-adopted morality which I urge every human being to adopt....why? Because it is feels "right," it is efficient, it works, it lessens conflict and promotes the best and most efficient use of resources, etc. etc. It's just that the "Sky-Wizard" didn't create it or dictate it be the basis for our collective morality. And Tzo, you wrote: "One of the defining features of anything that is called 'law' is universality. If the law should be applied to murder, then murder is either always preferable or never. The logical answer should be obvious, considering that we are autonomous survival units. That is what we all do and strive to continue doing. It is quite objective to say 'Living, good. Dying, bad. So murder bad.' " Yes, I've read all that Stephan Molyneux stuff about "universally preferable behavior" etc. I agree it's good to adopt, collectively as a society, a universal blueprint for behavior (shoulds or should-nots; or maybe more accurately "must nots"). Such a universal blueprint doesn't exist as a God-given blueprint; we must persuade why that blueprint is the best and most "moral" (if we want to couch it in such terms). For decades I have tried to persuade people that the NAP is that blueprint that should form a basis for a collective morality or ethics. For an excellent discussion on this topic--page after page of wonderfully thought-provoking discussion and which goes in far more depth and does it better justice than I ever can--see this link: board.freedomainradio.com/forums/t/29310.aspx?PageIndex=1
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    You're in pretty good company, tzo. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Natural Law; or the Science of Justice by Lysander Spooner ____________________________________________________________________________________ "The natural law is, in essence, a profoundly “radical” ethic, for it holds the existing status quo, which might grossly violate natural law, up to the unsparing and unyielding light of reason. In the realm of politics or State action, the natural law presents man with a set of norms which may well be radically critical of existing positive law imposed by the State. At this point, we need only stress that the very existence of a natural law discoverable by reason is a potentially powerful threat to the status quo and a standing reproach to the reign of blindly traditional custom [common law] or the arbitrary will of the State apparatus [statute law] In fact, the legal principles of any society can be established in three alternate ways: ...by slavish conformity to custom [common law], by arbitrary whim [statute law], or by use of man’s reason [natural law]". ~ Murray N. Rothbard http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/one.asp http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/two.asp http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/three.asp ____________________________________________________________________________________ "The natural law always buries its undertakers." ~ Etienne Gilson Introduction to Natural Law by Murray N. Rothbard ____________________________________________________________________________________ "...we need to promote the idea of natural law, that an act is lawful or criminal on its own merits, and not because of the decree of some group of rulers. The idea of natural law is more important than the specifics of its content, because once this idea is accepted, the state and its statutes are no longer relevant when discussing the lawfulness of an act." ~ Rule-of-law Anarchism: A Strategy for Destroying the State's Legitimacy by Kevin S. Van Horn ____________________________________________________________________________________ "There is nothing mysterious about the natural law of the human world. To repeat, it is the order of natural persons -- human beings that are capable of rational, purposive action, speech and thought." ~ Natural Law by Frank van Dun, Ph.D., Dr.Jur. - Senior lecturer Philosophy of Law. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ″Natural law is that body of rules which Man is able to discover by the use of his reason.″ ~ Hugo Grotius ____________________________________________________________________________________ "A philosopher can choose to disbelieve in Newton's laws, but this will not enable him to fly. He can disbelieve in natural law, but political and social institutions built on false law will fail, just as a bridge built on false physical law will fall..." ~ James A. Donald http://jim.com/rights.html ____________________________________________________________________________________ "The concept of natural law is the heritage from the Ancients which has had the most profound impact on the flowering of liberty." ~ Grotius and the Natural Law Tradition ____________________________________________________________________________________ "...the natural law is fundamental to human existence..." ~ C.S. Lewis According to C.S. Lewis, it is the "deep magic" that everyone knows. ____________________________________________________________________________________ "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
  • Chaeros Galt's picture
    Chaeros Galt 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    @tanhadron For to start with you are mistaking Natural given concept, with a fairy tale character given concept, nobody spoke of God or Superman, nor any other fictional creature, so your poin there is invalid... Natural law is according I think to each individual and tends not to trespass your neighbor's boundary, while Artificial Law is according to a collective and tends to impose what you must or must not do only by the means of benefit certain individuals, who believes to be superior to us, the common people, name them Kings, Ministers, Chancellors or Presidents, that is my understanding of this article. Read your comment again and you will note if you are intelligent that you used a lot of words just to say nothing of help. I can only hope that you break your chain soon enough. Kind regards and best wishes
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    "I believe it is confirmed that Rand was attempting to create perfection with Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden, Francisco D'Anconia, and John Galt. That is one of her false premises: looking for perfection. " No one could think Rand was holding a mirror up to nature in her novels, she was explaining her ideals. I don't see a problem with ideal characters in literature; there's a pretty long tradition of it.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    "Can we ever get America to be the principled, morally sound society of freedom under the Rule of Law that the Founders envisioned?" I'm afraid that what you identify as state capitalism *is* what the Founders envisioned. The Declaration of Independence was better than the Constitution but still flawed: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...". Consent of the governed is a logical contradiction.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    @Samarami Scare quotes often confuse me. Is there a difference between 1) knowing right from wrong, and 2) knowing "right" from "wrong"?
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    "So, the money for your retirement isn't there. The money should be there because you did pay it. You were forced to pay it, and the rationale was that paying your money into this government program would provide you with some financial security in your old age." On the other hand you probably approved a lot of the spending the government did on your behalf with the Social Security funds. And the books were always open for you to look at - the disposition of those funds was always a matter of public record. So it's kind of hard for me to be sympathetic with someone who crosses their fingers for 40 years and doesn't look at the books during all that time and then says "Yikes, I was robbed!". Wasn't this robbed citizen supposed to be the government's oversight for those 40 years? Taxation is wrong, but those who paid social security taxes don't have any special claim at recovery - a tax is a tax. I see an AARP commercial with seniors against Social Security benefit cuts saying "That wasn't the agreement!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWjpV3OMZ3w&feature=relmfu And I want to answer, "Hold on. You made an agreement with who? Your elected officials? And you let them spend your retirement fund for 40 years without checking on them?? And you re-elected them in many cases for spending that money on your communities? And now you want someone else to pay to bail you out? Are you kidding me?"
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    Good essay. You make the case for "natural law". Your picturesque detail is what you and I face every day: One of the main indoctrination points drilled into the students of government schools is that the government creates the law of the land, and that law is to be obeyed because it is moral and ethical to do so. Good people obey the law, and bad people break it: Keep it simple for the kiddies. Oh, it will be grudgingly admitted that some legislation gets passed here and there that really isn't quite right, but then the course of action is to petition the government for change. There are proper channels. This citizen feedback-mechanism helps keep law and order on the straight and narrow moral and ethical path. Everyone pitches in! Participatory warm and fuzzy goodness flows uphill to the halls of legislative power, whose occupant-servants bow down and correct their imperfect offerings before the real power, The People. So sayeth the sacred Political Science texts, and as it was written, so shall it be done. Amen. All the Ron Paul's in Texas wouldn't change the fact that these are the folks we have to work with (and around). They're the majority. That may slowly change, but not soon. And it's a reason it was appropriate for me to become sovereign. I observe natural law every day, and try to obey (or suffer the consequences). Natural law is simply critical (cause/effect) thinking. As Geoffrey stated above, I know "right" from "wrong". It's not that difficult to discern these things naturally. I need no written law to understand, for instance, that I should not try to seduce your wife, girl friend or daughter (aside from the futility at my age or even the likelihood that you'd shoot my ass -- and I'd deserve it). Freedom is simpler than many of us make out. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Support "black" markets whenever and wherever practicable. Quietly. Sam
  • Chaeros Galt's picture
    Chaeros Galt 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    To that I never questioned, the buildings are no more, and that is a fact. But all the rest was at least debatable and highly controverted, I knew from the start that to speak my mind was to walk into thin ice. It seems than the rest of it (regarding who profitted on it)at least seemed clear enough in brief. Untill the next argument
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Let me remind you that given the technology and resources everything can be forged..." Okay, do you believe two planes crashed into the World Trade Center?
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    @tanhadron It seems that if I accept the first two sentences of your post, then your conclusion is completely arbitrary and you have zero basis for your argument, since it is as subjective as anyone else's. You are arguing from opinion, which is not a strong position. I know its fashionable these days to declare ethics subjective, but you know there is a good basis for your argument, and that basis has some grounding in objectivity. If you would like to defend the statement that "randomly killing people should be allowed and tolerated by human society," then such a successful defense would convince me of the complete arbitrariness of natural law. One of the defining features of anything that is called "law" is universality. If the law should be applied to murder, then murder is either always preferable or never. The logical answer should be obvious, considering that we are autonomous survival units. That is what we all do and strive to continue doing. It is quite objective to say "Living, good. Dying, bad. So murder bad." As far as rational human beings are concerned, how subjective is that?
  • Chaeros Galt's picture
    Chaeros Galt 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    It is so, in the first stage of any investigation to assume so, and what I say is that it never reached further because of your governemnt have the power and tools to cover the truth, that Tool is called Media Press, and about the 19 "identified" I don't know if you remember that power structure aparatus are based on torture when need is to obtain data at any costs... what else will you suggest??? The Videos where Osama Bin Laden proclaims he is the one responsible behind these crime??? Let me remind you that given the technology and resources everything can be forged, let alone the fact that most of common people might know aarbic languages... maybe you come to think that I am a bit of a paranoid, but get out of your nationality ID and try to see the US as is seen outside your borders, and of course I don't mean the individuals for I don't know all of them, but I see it that way even today ten years after. It is nice to debate with you folks, for at least you are open to argumentations!!! Kind regards
  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    It is unambiguously not neccessary to accept the idea of some genocidal Sky-Wizard in order to accept that there are some objectively discernible behavioural rules which will arise endogenously in pretty much any interaction between one animal and another (particularly those interactions that have a non-trivial time-dimension). It doesn't matter to me if it's called "law", or not. The objective quality is simple: those behaviours that will result in an intertemporal Nash equilibrium, are 'right'. They're not 'right' because they are nice, or because they are just, or because they result in this or that outcome. They're right because they're *efficient* - which means that they have a comparative advantage in the evolutionary race. Consider 'truth' - the idea that on balance, we think that it's better to tell the truth than to lie. At root, truth is better than lies (in normal interactions) because in questions of fact ("How do I get to the bank from here?") the set of 'true' answers is much smaller than the set of false answers. The set of false answers is almost infinite, but always wrong: thus posing the question "How do I get to the bank from here?"is pointless in a world where you know that every answer is a lie (or even that the preponderance of answers are lies). In other words, to the extent that language is about transmission and exchange of information, it takes place more EFFICIENTLY if the 'bias' is towards truth. (That said, 100% truth probably results in an equilibrium that is Nash-unstable, intertemporally... the existence of a non-zero amount of lying serves to keep us on our guard). And so it is with other rules that we might be tempted to think of as 'core values' - and to me there are very few... don't do kill/maim/assault (most of the time), don't lie (again, most of the time), don't steal. Most other rules are variations on those three themes... which in turn all derive from the one basic principle upon which voluntaryism is based: don't *initiate* the use of force (or fraud). That one rule gets you to a stable multiperiod equilibrium, whereas the State's version (which begins "In a population N, define a set of people G that are allowed to initiate violence") does not result in a stable equilibrium. And it fails because it's *inefficient* (and vice versa) because unless the initiation of violence is 'absolute' (i.e., killing all dissenters and everyone who might seek to avenge them), it engenders dynamic processes that result in increased volatility and uncertainty. "Law" (and 'law'... reminds me of the Chinese baddie in Maxwell Smart: "No, not 'the craw'... 'the CRAW'!")... as I was saying, "law" in the Bastiatian sense is simply the codification of the set of behavioural norms that is consistent with long-term Nash equilibrium. And of course there will ALWAYS be people who will be willing to attempt to deviate from a Nash structure - people with truncated horizons, and people who are just plain wired up wrong (the set [Cheney, Kristol, Obama, Scalia, Yoo, Bybee, Abrams, Sarkozy, Wolfowitz, Perle, Blair] is illustrative, but not exhaustive). Likewise, there are people who are too stupid to be able to form sensible expectations about the ramifications of ALLOWING the square-bracketed scum above to force deviations from the stable manifold. What these two groups do, is set up unstable intertemporal dynamics - the good news is that those dynamics can be exploited WITHOUT departing from the 'Nash Group' (the group that continues to observe the rules that define the Nash equilibrium). Marc Faber is a good example; Jim Rogers is another. Both these men became multi-millionaires without ever violating what I would consider to be acceptable behavioural norms.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    "There is no "objective" natural law. Sorry, but there just isn't, as much as we want there to be. The best we can do is try to come up with a framework or convincing justification for why one set of laws--or type of laws--is better than another..." A justification based on what, other than objective reality?
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    Actually it's the other way round... Natural laws are objective and compulsory (they cannot be passed). The tacit assumption that they do not apply to human relationships led men to believe men must have a central system of Statutory Laws to fill the gap and maintain social order. (The principle behind a Statutory Law written a priori cannot be made to fit all circumstances. Its application is unobjective and misses value structure objectivity of profit and loss calculations). This market price breakthru came from Mises's 1920 paper refuting Socialism. The Market for Liberty 9781610162456 Morris and Linda Tannehill http://mises.org/resources/6058 Book review--Freedom Naturally http://alpha.mises.org/daily/5305/Freedom-Naturally Agreed on scaling down the law. There need only be one. The NAP--non aggression principle. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Covenant of Unanimous Consent....A Proposal... ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- ... Galt’s Oath and the libertarian Non Aggression Principle (NAP/ZAP) are moral/ethical principles. The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is a political statement of *interpersonal relationships* based on those moral principles. The Covenant satisfies the objections noted by Lysander Spooner. Instead of being a document that describes how the government shall act, and a document YOU did not sign, the Covenant is a document that describes how YOU will act and is a document that YOU voluntarily sign, if you agree. Those who do not sign (the “dissenters” mentioned by Ayn Rand above) are not punished, they are simply and clearly warned what to expect if they violate the rights of Signatories. (Unlike the U.S. Constitution--which was created by a committee of Lawyers to replace the (much better) Articles of Confederation, while both Jefferson and Adams were in Europe--the Covenant actually FULFILLS the promise of individual freedom in Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. The Covenant is simple, rational, personal, easy to understand and even short enough to memorize). Excerpts: How the Covenant of Unanimous Consent fulfills the promise of Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence: http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle381-20060820-04.html PS I do agree with Nathanial Branden's First Causes--that he wrote and which Rand edited on infinite regress and reversing existence with causality regarding the question of the existence of a big ghost in heaven.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    In the right hand column of STR I see depictions of two practitioners of non-violent resistance - Thoreau and Gandhi. Gandhi I believe was a moral absolutist on non-violence holding that violence was wrong even in self defense. Thoreau did not preach violence that I'm aware of, but on the other hand he was a fan of Captain John Brown. I take the view that violence can be justified, but only when practical. I hear a lot of loose stupid talk about violence against the state that won't come to any good. I greatly prefer Gandhi to McVeigh even though I am more fundamentally at philosophical odds with the former than the latter.
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    During the Vietnam war the anti-war movement was fueled by opposition to the draft. Now with no draft the anti-war movement is weak.
  • tanhadron's picture
    tanhadron 2 years 33 weeks ago Page tzo
    Unfortunately, if one doesn't accept the notion of "God-given" natural law, the whole "positive law is bad, natural law is good" argument is far less useful. There is no "objective" natural law. Sorry, but there just isn't, as much as we want there to be. The best we can do is try to come up with a framework or convincing justification for why one set of laws--or type of laws--is better than another; or why one set or type of behavior MUST be subject to laws and others not. Towards that end, I would say the better discussion or argument, instead of "natural law v. positive law" is that although all laws are positive laws, that those centered around enforcing NEGATIVE RIGHTS are more valid or justified than those centered around POSITIVE RIGHTS. In other words, let's scale the tens of thousands of positive laws "on the books" (most of which presume to protect or enforce or obligate people relative to others' positive rights) down to just a handful of positive laws that instead protect or enforce NEGATIVE rights (with NO obligations on people to provide relative to others' positive "rights").
  • John T. Kennedy's picture
    John T. Kennedy 2 years 33 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    "We see this clearly in America, despite “liberty” being the national slogan (it's on our coinage, for crying out loud) and despite our government having been specifically designed as a minarchy." You can't really say that the federal government was designed as a minarchy for two reasons. First, it was designed to replace an existing and functioning weaker government (The government defined by the Articles of Confederation) with a more powerful federal government. That federal government may have been designed to be small, but clearly the movement was away from minimal government. Second, the federal government was not intended to be the only government - the state governments were intended to remain significantly stronger. You could look at today's United Nations as a very weak governing body, an international minarchy if you will, but we still wouldn't think of ourselves as living under minarchy today. At least I wouldn't. The federal government was designed to be a republic, it has collapsed into a national government.