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  • Dabooda's picture
    Dabooda 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Most rights ARE entitlements. Legal rights, property rights and contractual rights all specifically set out who is entitled to receive what, from whom, and generally specify what remedy is available when such rights are violated. "Natural rights" are a different kind of animal -- one, I would say, that relates to other rights the same way Santa Claus relates to real people. What else can we make of a "right" that supposedly exists whether or not anyone recognizes it as being "a right," and whether or not anyone enforces or even respects it? A "right" that creates an entitlement/justification ONLY within the mind of the one who supposedly possesses that "right" is functionally indistinguishable from "a choice." Where other kinds of "rights" describe mutual social obligations, "natural" rights are a sort of solitary masturbation. If a "natural" right justifies the defensive use of force, the question immediately arises "Justifies -- to whom?" If I shoot a burglar in my home, who will judge whether or not I was justified? I certainly think so, but whether or not other men share my opinion will NOT be decided by any "natural law." It will be decided according to the customs and laws of the local society, which may or may not bear any resemblance to whatever I believe "natural law" to be. In England, if you shoot a burglar in your home, better make sure you kill him -- otherwise he's likely to sue you. And you'll likely go to prison anyway. Where is the utility of the idea of "natural rights," in such a case? And how is it any more meaningful than a simple statement: "I chose to shoot him because he threatened my life and property."? If my fellow men believe one is morally justified in protecting life and property from burglars, they will acquit me of wrongdoing; if not, I'm in trouble. Is anything gained by me labeling my self-defense "a natural right?" Only if those judging me happen to think that idea is somehow MORE meaningful than the moral propriety of self-defense. I have yet to hear an argument for the existence of "natural" rights that amounts to anything more than grandiose wishful thinking. At best, natural rights can be seen as a rather pretentious and unnecessary iteration of the fact that men have free will, and must use that free will to make the choices on which their lives (and all their other values) depend. For example, I might say that I have "a natural right" to life because (wishful thinking) I don't WANT anyone to kill me, and therefore I may justify self-defense by naming it "my right." In truth, I have not discovered "a natural right" -- I have simply made the moral choice to regard my life as my highest value, which is all the justification I actually need to prompt me to defend it. Naming that justification "a natural right" doesn't make it something more complicated than my personal choice, nor does it create an obligation (i.e. an entitlement) on anyone else to defend my supposed "right" for me. A right is what justifies or "makes right" some action, liberty or possession. Such "right" is a moral concept, a moral justification, and as such it is only meaningful to people who share the moral premises from which it is derived. If I live in a society which shares my moral preference for the non-aggression principle, they will grant me all the liberty I could wish for, WHETHER OR NOT THEY NAME THAT LIBERTY A "NATURAL RIGHT". On the other hand, if my countrymen prefer statist authoritarianism, I may have very little liberty. Now consider: a believer in "natural rights" will insist that I have the same "natural rights" in BOTH societies. Actually, I do. In the one society they are unnecessary; in the other, they are unrecognized or scorned. In both, they're useless. On the subject of how one consents (or does not) to membership in a society or its government, I recommend a new book by anarchist Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition. You can read a particularly relevant excerpt from it here. And here's another excerpt, less relevant to the subject under discussion but even more interesting.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    O'Neill is a bit off here. The problem with "ethical foreign policy" is not the "ethical" part, but the "foreign policy" part. There shouldn't be a foreign policy. The government should stop making foreign policy. It should leave individuals alone, to interact and trade as they wish.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 38 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    I agree completely. Bob writes, "Leftists of whatever kind see the public merely as checkers to be moved around as they see fit." But it strikes me that this is as rightist a view as leftist - the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead testify to it. And fascism, normally thought of as rightist, not only glorified the state over the individual, but had its origin in leftism. Leftists per se are not the problem. Statists are not even the problem. Statists who won't leave us alone are the problem.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Sometimes the libertarians like to show off their conservative roots by making fun of anything having to do with environmentalism. Recycling is another frequent scapegoat. The problem is not with people who want to treat the planet well (even if they occasionally make a mistake on how best to do that - shame on them for not being perfect!) The problem is using coercion to advance that end. Personally, this mean streak libertarians have, wanting to make fun of environmentalism, looks awfully counterproductive to me. We should always zero in on the coercion with our criticism, and stop impugning motives or intelligence of others.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    From the article: "I could be wrong but it is my opinion that such silence among the mainstream media is reflective of the mindset of the American people generally." Uh, no, Jacob. Looking to the mainstream media (what I call the Ministry of Propaganda) for a reflection of American opinions is pretty silly. Not to mention collectivist: there is no such thing as a "mindset of the American people".
  • A Liberal in Lakeview's picture
    A Liberal in La... 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Oh c'mon now, rita. Is it really true that the "history of America is nothing more than a 300-year killing spree..."? Evidence and argument, please. Now, I don't deny that American flagwavers tend to be, say, narcissistic, bullying punks who lose sleep at night if they haven't made someone stumble, much less pursued him into an alley, beat him up, and searched his pockets for loose change. But it hardly follows that Americans' history is "nothing more than a 300-year killing spree". Consider the abuse that Pat Buchanan has brought down on hisself for opposing America's runaway militarism. Or the magazine that he and a few like him started, in part, to oppose that evil. Or how about Smedly Butler, the Marine who came to his senses, albeit relatively late in life, and who was so disgusted with his behavior that he wrote War Is A Racket? Furthermore, it's very clear that members of the American political class and commerical class ought to be distinguished from one another in terms of their enthusiasm, or lack thereof, for brigandry. So also should flagwavers be distinguished from those Americans, e.g. Lysander Spooner and Murray Rothbard, who have had little or no sympathy for nationalism, republicanism, etc. of any kind. FYI, the phrase "enthusiasm...for brigandry" is not meant to exclude the self-righteous fervor of Americans who call their selves "Progressives" without so much as a peppercorn's worth of intended irony. Anyhow, your remark was a spasmodic, emotional knee jerk that was elicited with no more than Hornbergers's gentle tap with a rubber mallet. And never mind your ridiculous insinuation that Americans have never had consciences. As for the faulty consciences of some Americans about their empire: I'll bet you a firecracker for the 4th of July that you didn't know that America Is Not an Empire at all. Zbigniew Mazurak, the deathblogger who wrote it, included a howler in the latter half just in case you weren't laughing already by then.
  • Dabooda's picture
    Dabooda 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Thank you for a thought-provoking reply. We are not on the same page, but I think perhaps we are reading the same book, hoping for the same happy ending. My take on morality, ethics and rights is different from your own. Let me explain these terms as I understand and use them myself. 1. "Morality" is the code of values one uses to make ALL ones decisions. Usually one begins with a "moral standard," which is ones most important value and the organizing principle which establishes ones hierarchy of values. Rand's idea of "man's life as a rational being" is one such standard. "Doing God's will" is another such. "The greatest good of the greatest number," is still another. Or "whatever feels good." Lots more where those came from. Note that some moral standards are actually incompatible with to the non-aggression principle: some religions and all statist moral systems do sanction coercion and therefore require human sacrifices on their altars. 2. "Ethics" is the particular branch of morality which deals with interpersonal relations. How a person may morally deal with other people is the domain of "ethics." Where moral systems are endlessly various, the ethical possibilities are quite limited. Consider: suppose you wish to get an apple from someone. In how many different ways can you accomplish this? I submit, only three, in principle: you can beg for it, trade for it, or steal it. The details of what kind of plea a beggar uses, what goods the trader offers, or what method of coercion the thief employs are inconsequential details. Ethics is where the non-aggression principle comes into play; it sanctions voluntary interpersonal dealings via trade and charity, and forbids the initiation of coercion. There are many interesting consequences and implications of this, but that's going to take another essay to explore. Maybe a book. 3. "Rights" are a simple consequence of ones ethical beliefs, defining and sanctioning what actions are morally proper with regard to other people. For example, if I believe that it is good to trade and good to deal charitably with others, but wrong to steal, then I may speak of my conviction that one has "a moral right" to forcibly resist being robbed. Since this is a popular moral view, I am likely to be upheld in my actions by other members of my community, while the robber will not. This is not a result of any belief in universal human rights -- just a moral belief commonly held by many particular individuals. Unhappily, when people believe that the men who call themselves "government" have a right to rule us, they believe that "government's" "laws" take priority over the Golden Rule. If the thief robbing me happens to be an employee of the IRS or some other branch of "government," my resistance to the robbery will be called "a crime," something that no one has "a right" to do. While I can agree with you that it would be nice to have a universally recognized, "objective" source of values, ethics and rights, unfortunately it is not possible. All morality is the domain of ideas and choices. Where there is no choice, there is no morality. And ideas only occur in one place: inside an individual human mind. As long as men have free will and may choose their own beliefs, there can be no universal beliefs, or universal morality; only individuals can have beliefs or morality, and with free will they can choose whatever beliefs and morals seem best to them, by their own understanding. For example, if a man decides that "serving mankind" via the use of "government" is the moral standard he prefers, then his view of both ethics and rights will be skewed to justify whatever actions he believes necessary to achieve his purposes. He will regard the Golden Rule & non-aggression principle as quaint religious superstitions which may be sacrificed whenever it is convenient for his god, the State. He will regard "rights" as gifts from "government," which may be changed or withdrawn by the passage of any "law." You may object that such a man would be irrational and (according to your moral standard), evil. Sadly, he will have the opposite opinion, believing that anyone who does not share his moral convictions is irrational and evil. And you're both "right," each by his own standard of value. Morality is subjective, not objective. Your vision of objective "natural law" and "natural rights" imposes no obligation on anyone else's beliefs. You can scream, "But they're being irrational!" all day long. Who says everyone is rational? Rationality is another choice each individual makes for himself -- and some choose not to be. Given that men have free will, how could it be otherwise? Fortunately for all of us, the consequences of our moral choices and our ethical behaviors ARE objective. One is free to choose any moral standard one pleases, but one is not free to avoid the consequences of ones actions. When one practices coercion, the consequences are likely to be resentment, resistance and revenge. Such real consequences, and not any "natural right" are the real force that limits human savagery in the world. This has been a pleasure. Let us hack at this root some more.
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    The history of America is nothing more than a 300-year killing spree; 300 years of soldiers taking what they wanted from people who couldn't fight back. Theses days, with no more new territory left to steal, the soldiers, to justify thie own putrid existences, have taken up arms against suspected users of certain drugs. Have Americans lost their consciences? When did Americans ever HAVE consciences?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    The word "allow" was put in quotation marks, in that last paragraph, because the first rule of a "master-servant-relationship", or "sovereign-subject-relationship", is that the master or sovereign is not required to obtain a servant's or subject's permission to do anything, nor is the master's or sovereign's act any the less "real" if his servants or subjects refuse to "legally recognize" it.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Probably the main contributing factor to the lack of understanding of "rights" is the fact that there are a number of different kinds of "rights". Although you and I may not necessarily agree with Noah's [Webster] particular enumeration under the heading, "RIGHT, n. ...10. Just claim ...Rights are natural, civil, political, religious, personal, and public," they nonetheless make the point. A Dictionary of Law, (Black's first edition c. 1891), page 1045, classed them as "natural, civil and political". The second contributory factor to this lack of understanding, in my experience, is the fact that all "rights" are "entitlements". To entitle is, “to give [or have] a claim by the possession of suitable qualifications” (Webster's 1828). If one meets “suitable qualifications” then one is "given", or "has", a "just claim" to a specific set of rights. The first qualification, in virtually all instances, one must be a "member" in order to have rights. With the possible exception of natural rights, these "suitable qualifications" are whatever "the creator" of those benefits, says they are, because, “what one creates, one controls”. Here are some examples of “suitable qualifications”. In order to have a "just claim" to the natural rights/entitlements of man, “among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property”, the only qualifications are that one be a member of the human race and obey the natural law (of man). Anyone who intentionally or through gross negligence trespasses upon the natural rights of another man, violates the natural law (of man), and as a consequence "forfeits" some, or all, of his own natural rights. In order to have a "just claim" to corporate rights/entitlements one must become a member of a corporation and submit himself to the corporations laws. In order to have a "just claim" to the religious or ecclesiastical rights/entitlements of a religious corporation one must become a member of that religious corporation and submit himself to the laws of that religious corporation. In order to have a "just claim" to the political and civil rights/entitlements of a "political" corporation, one must become a member of that "political" corporation, and one must submit one's self to the laws of that "political" corporation. One of the "laws" of the "political" corporation known as United States or United States of America, is that in order to become a "member", i.e. a "citizen", one must voluntarily[1] submit one's self to the "dominion" of its government[2]. “Generally accepted definition of "dominion" [according to this "political" corporation] is perfect control in right of ownership.”[3] That means that this corporation requires that one must voluntarily become the property of the state in order to have a "just claim" to the political and civil rights/entitlements of that "political" corporation. Some men will say that this particular "political" corporation does not "allow" individuals to secede, i.e. withdraw from membership in the group, (though they have more than likely never really tried), when in fact what they probably mean is that this "political" corporation will not allow individuals to secede and still retain the peculiar political and civil rights/entitlements of the "political" corporation. It's like hating your job and yet being unwilling to give up all the employee (membership) benefits (rights/entitlements)--it's a tough call. Endnotes: [1] Amendment XIII Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. [2] Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 244 [3] Ibid. (Same source) page 486
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 3 years 38 weeks ago Page tzo
    "So far, we have only seen the agonizing waste of governments fighting other governments – the spectacle of a government army fighting a private army will be brief, efficient and highly instructive." Actually, there is a VERY GOOD example of that spectacle, but you won't learn of it in USA government schools--for reasons that should become obvious if you read the article linked below. It was the American Revolutionary War Battle at King's Mountain. * "Overmountain Men", Americans settlers of largely Scotch-Irish descent settled west of, or "over," the Appalachians, united into a semi-autonomous "government" called the Watauga Association in 1772 and, when threatened by the most powerful nation on earth (the British), decisively demonstrated -->> what government doesn't want you to know about militias! <<-- I have collected and organized several articles detailing how effective voluntary militia is when it is not placed under the control of government military nuts. http://tinyurl.com/KingsMtn
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 3 years 38 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    New york city had a volunteer Fire department for years, Many places still do,so,parasite. I would say the barometer is whether they are given loot(taxes) as wages. Notice how the gubbermint is threatening a ' shutdown ' ?That never lasts long. The parasites know that people will start to catch on and wonder why we need the Gubbermint anyway. http://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/the-federal-bureaucracy-... When added up all the numbers found that the true size of the federal government was about 11 million: 1.8 million civil servants, 870,000 postal workers, 1.4 million military personnel, 4.4 million contractors, and 2.5 million grantees. However, this turned out to be a low-water mark. Over the next few years, even before 9/11, the true size of government increased significantly, almost all in the “shadow” sector. By 2005, the federal government employed 14.6 million people: 1.9 million civil servants, 770,000 postal workers, 1.44 million uniformed service personnel, 7.6 million contractors, and 2.9 million grantees. This amounted to a ratio of five and a half “shadow” government employees for every civil servant on the federal payroll. Since 1999, the government had grown by over 4.5 million employees. Now ,add in the state,city,municipal,tax-feeders and the story starts to come into focus. Also the proper perspective that, gumint 'public servants' pay no tax what -so-ever. They simply rebate back into the kitty,monies, stolen at the barrel of a gun,from a producer. A recent study by the Heritage Foundation estimates that around a quarter of a million new federal government workers will be needed just to spend the massive new budget. http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/commentary-mainmenu-43/1057
  • Guest's picture
    coolronrico (not verified) 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    So much Hidden! Not enough Time to Reveal!
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Yep, exactly why I asked the question.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    The people I know don't think that way, but I see that apparently many others do. If the point was that people who mistakenly believe this way are as mistaken as those who believe in Santa Claus, then I'm in full agreement. I don't agree with lumping in people who correctly identify rights with those that don't.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    G'day Mark Davis, You wrote: "I don't know anybody that considers the concept of rights to be equivalent to some kind of force-field." Perhaps you missed this, in the article above, "Possession of a "right" has never protected men from the aggression of others..." Or, perhaps, you read this little gem, elsewhere, "For example, no longer believing this phantasm "right to life" is out there somehow protecting you..." If these do not demonstrate that Scoobiedoo, and Paul, ("most people think this way"), believe that someone, (though I can't imagine who), must be considering, "the concept of rights to being equivalent to some kind of force-field", I don't know what does.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    G'day Mark Davis, You asked: "So what am I defending? A fantasy?" A "right" is "an interest or title in an object of property; a just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy it [that property], or to convey or donate it [that property], as he may please."[1] You are defending your "property"; your life, liberty and justly acquired possessions are all, your "property", Mark Davis, which is what gives you the "right" to defend it, i.e. a "just and legal claim" to the use of force. "Each of us has a natural right [a “just claim”]...to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. ~ The Law by Frederic Bastiat You do not have the "right" use force to defend property that you have taken from another, without his consent, as your government does. However, keep in mind that because your life, liberty and justly acquired property are your "property", you may rightfully "convey[2] it" as you may please, as the above definition points out, and may have ignorantly done so. "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~ Benjamin Franklin Does this make sense to any one here? [1] Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1324 [2] convey transitive verb ...4. to transfer, as property or title to property, from one person to another ~ Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition
  • Guest's picture
    DavidPim (not verified) 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    While Walker is at it, why doesn't he and the rest of our politicians take pay cuts, pay for their insurance and pay toward their pensions, at all levels of government.
  • ALLEN090's picture
    ALLEN090 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Jad Davis
    Short but sweet. I like it.
  • Guest's picture
    JavierSil (not verified) 3 years 38 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    I totally agree with your article. Some time ago I think the same thing you've written. Congratulations for your job.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 38 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Well said Cannon. You also summed up my frustration well with “Personally, I've lost all patience with minarchists when, in dealing with them through debate, their incredible intellectual dishonesty became obvious to me.” Yet shooting them never entered my mind. I think the pivotal term here causing the central conflict in this discussion has been "enemy". I agree 100% with Sam and Glen as to how we have all been there, done that and should continue to provide gentle persuasion as a sound tactic. I’ve had a hard time getting my head around Paul’s idea that since Per labeled ministatists the enemy, that we must therefore shoot them. I’ve always sought to love my enemy right up to the point they seriously threaten me, but that’s another subject. However, I do think that Per made a good point using this term when it comes to the end-game. When the US Imperial State goes bankrupt and our society is flailing about searching for order and security there will be a debate as to how we should reorganize society. Most people will respond just as they have been trained to do: promote an election to choose representatives to form a reincarnated state to replace the one that just failed (democracy to the rescue - sound familiar). Anarchists will argue that we do not need a state to enslave us all and to give liberty a real chance this time. Which side of this debate will the ministatists take? Will they side with the statists pointing their guns at the crazy anarchists or will they stand up for the non-aggression principle and let individuals choose for themselves how they wish to be governed? If they are consistent with how they now believe, it appears obvious that ministatists will promote the creation of a state, most likely trying to start over with the failed US Constitution, but this time, “we” will really, really follow it, blah, blah, blah… and shoot anarchists in the back. In this sense, it will be ministatists who see anarchists as the enemy and will do the shooting. Thus we have been forewarned.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    OK. One of your points here is that the term "rights" is not sufficient for explaining how people should behave. You prefer to use the definition (as I understand it, anyway) of the term instead of the term itself. That's fine and even necessary if you are trying to explain your point of view to someone. Perhaps "natural law" is a term that has become as polluted as "anarchy." Perhaps the only way to get your point across is to avoid certain terms and just use their definitions. Makes sense. Of course when people misunderstand terms like "anarchy" and "natural law" it is not the fault of the terms themselves, which existed first, and with clear definitions. But the whole point of human communication is to transfer ideas accurately from one person to another, and in many cases the shorthand way, through simple terms, is insufficient due to vastly differing personal interpretations of those terms. If you're off by one degree from the start, you end up at a completely different destination. Now, on to morals. Again, definitions matter here. I consider morals to be a set of personal preferences for behavior that will vary from person to person. Ethics is a set of behaviors that conforms to natural law and adheres to natural rights. Many moral beliefs correspond with ethical standards, but not all. It may be morally reprehensible to do many things, but those actions may not be unethical—violations of natural law. (Again, when I use the terms "Natural law" and "Natural rights," just plug in "The ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade." So some morals are ethical, some are not. For this conversation, I think ethics is the better term to use since it eliminates subjective preferences and behaviors. So does that leave us with ethics, a supposedly objective set of behaviors? I think so, yes. http://strike-the-root.com/failed-theory-of-relativity If they are objective, then they are grounded in fact. This separates them from fantasy. Believing in fact is different from believing in fantasy. Currently, a great percentage of the people on the planet believe in the fantasy of government. It is not real. It is an idea that certain people have the ethical right to violate the natural rights of others. Sheer fantasy. And yet the belief stands. Why? Because the mass of humanity has not yet been brought up with the set of facts that explain why non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade are rational behaviors that explain how human society came to be and why these actions are necessary for the continued success of human society. Ignorance, plain and simple. So from my point of view, which I am attempting to ground in fact as much as I possibly can, "Our rights proceed from the moral code we accept, not the other way around." False, false, false. "When a moral standard is established in a person's mind, his idea of what "rights" he and others possess will be defined thereby. If people continue to accept one of the various authoritarian moral systems as superior to non-aggression, their idea of "rights" will not be to your liking, I guarantee." Exactly, exactly, exactly. "My conclusion: We should be arguing first and foremost for the non-aggression principle, not for "natural rights." So we should argue for "2 + 2," not for "4." OK, whatever works. Don't assume anyone will understand "loaded" terms the same way as do you. That's good advice. People need to be educated, and until they are, nothing else will work to substantially change the status quo. People either learn how to swim, or they don't. There is no substitute. You can't force a non-swimmer to stay afloat no matter how hard you yell at him. Edjumacation, by whatever (ethical) means necessary. If I missed the "thesis" of your argument, then it was probably due to the title. Whether or not people understand a concept has nothing to do with its grounding in empirical fact. If no one understands a fact, then yes, it is not very useful. But that does not automatically put the concept on the same level as Santa Claus. Thanks for the nice lunch, fellow rootster. :>
  • wkmac's picture
    wkmac 3 years 38 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    In a statist context, I have no problem with the term leftist but such use in it's broad sense without specifics paints a growing segment of "leftists" who are not statist and in a number of growing cases are individualists and free(d) market put them in a bad light. In fairness to Bob's points, maybe it's time to leave the term leftist behind? Both terms, leftist and rightist are at least IMO totally worthless in their usage and only foster confusion. I abandoned that construct as much as I can and use the terms statist and non or no statist or anti-statism in my own (fruitless maybe) efforts to focus the picture. If one looks again at the article and in the place of leftist, you plug in rightist, the application still doth apply. I speak as one coming from a purely rightist persuasion for over 35 years who started the statist abandonment about 4 or 5 years ago after actually reading a number of voices from the so-called left itself. Many of those voices right here at STR. In fact, I'd argue that what calls itself left today in the statist construct is not classical leftist at all but is in fact a variation of rightist ideology in the classical sense. Another reason we have a one party state to begin with. Other than this minor point, the article was excellent and well worth the read even by leftists of a non statist stripe. Hopefully "rightists" won't get to self absorbed in their own delusions of grandure and actually start to see themselves in this mix and how they feed the Machine Messiah. I give it a 99.9999 regardless of my little "but wait a minute" factor. Great job Bob and thanks!
  • Cannon's picture
    Cannon 3 years 38 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    First of all, statists are not "victims of the state" anymore than proponents of slavery are victims of slavery. Second, when it comes to minarchists, a couple of questions arise. First question is: why are we anarchists? Or, why do we think statism and those supporting it are immoral? Second question: how does this apply to minarchists, if at all? My answers would be these: First question: We abhor coercion, and people or institutions using (threat of) violence to shove their will down our throats and rob us for the funds to finance that which to wish to shove down our throats. Second question: Do minarchists want to shove their will down our throats and have us robbed to fund that which they want to shove down our throats? Yes, they do. They have a few limited functions for government which are monopolies, which means they use violence against those trying to compete with it, and which rob all of us for the funds with which to finance these violent monopolies. As Per said, the difference between minarchists is in degrees, not principles. Minarchists still support the very thing about it that anarchists hate about it in the first place. Anarchists do not hate the state for its size; we hate it for their violence, the violence which, albeit on a smaller scale, minarchists *still* support for principles (monopolies) they *still* support. The question we must ask ourselves is this: "Knowing we would never be willing to use the force of a state to impose our will on minarchists, are minarchists willing to pay us the same courtesy, or do they want the state to still point their guns at us, rob us, and accept their monopolies including all the consequences it brings? If the answer is that minarchists still support violence against us, then they are our enemy, or our principles mean NOTHING. As minarchists, they have no excuse. They know better, yet still support violence. Personally, i've lost all patience with minarchists when, in dealing with them through debate, their incredible intellectual dishonesty became obvious to me. One person went so far as to say that "anarchism" was responsible for people being beheaded after the Mubarak regime fell, and to use Ayn Rand's arguments for minarchism before saying it is better not to be "rabidly rational", when we used Ayn Rand's beloved reason to prove him wrong. Minarchists, like other statists, are no more than 'moderate' believers of the state religion.
  • Dabooda's picture
    Dabooda 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    The comments are in chronological order, but when a comment is a "reply" to a previous comment, the reply will appear directly below the comment, not at the bottom of the page. If there is more than one reply to a single comment, they will be listed chronologically below the comment. And of course, replies to comments can also be replied to. Replies to comments are indented just a little bit more than the one being commented upon, and replies to replies are even further indented. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to see.
  • dhowlandjr's picture
    dhowlandjr 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    It seems to me that the context of what is being said is somewhat skewed by the way you guys insert your comments out of chronological order.
  • Mark Reynolds's picture
    Mark Reynolds 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Taxes don't pay for anything. A printing press does. Or worse yet, numbers created out of thin air on a computer. Taxes are only there to FOOL us into THINKING we are paying for something. And they are used for CONTROL and persecution.
  • Dabooda's picture
    Dabooda 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Ah, g'day noble Suvie. I am waiting to see your lackeys once more praise your mastery of language. I am sure they will understand how elegantly and completely you have rebutted my argument. Does this mean we will not be best buddies? (Sniffle.)
  • Dabooda's picture
    Dabooda 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Bad news, Rootster tzo: I think today I will have breakfast with you. (Do I hear a wailing in the distance, "No! No! Tzay it isn't Tzo!"? Yeps.) Had you read my essay a little more closely, you might have noted that essay's "thesis statement," to wit: "I question the usefulness of the idea that people have natural, god-given, inalienable human rights." I said "usefulness." I did not say "existence" of the idea. Of course the idea exists, or we wouldn't be talking about it, duh? The question is, does the idea of "natural rights" describe some fact of reality -- any more than is described by the idea of Santa Claus? I say it does not. "Rights" are meaningful only when derived from a particular context of "right" and "wrong." Since different moral standards do exist, it behooves us to define which one we are using when we speak of things as being rights or wrongs. The purported universality of "natural rights" is problematic when people who do have different moral codes argue over whose definition is to prevail -- and presumably be imposed on all people, regardless of their agreement or disagreement with the underlying principles. The principles that you and I probably agree on, as being our moral rights, derive from our shared acceptance of a moral standard like the non-aggression principle/Golden Rule. Now consider that virtually no one in any government believes in that principle. If they did, they would realize that "government" does not protect the "rights" derived from the Golden Rule; it protects only the "right" of the gang named "the government" to take anything that isn't nailed down (and anything they can pry loose isn't nailed down.) And people look to "government" to respect and defend their "natural rights." Set the fox to guarding the henhouse, hm? (Rootsters! Where's the chicks?) Our rights proceed from the moral code we accept, not the other way around. When a moral standard is established in a person's mind, his idea of what "rights" he and others possess will be defined thereby. If people continue to accept one of the various authoritarian moral systems as superior to non-aggression, their idea of "rights" will not be to your liking, I guarantee. My conclusion: We should be arguing first and foremost for the non-aggression principle, not for "natural rights."
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Always loved the ' turtles all the way down ' story/joke/laugh.
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Quote ''"Rights" do not exist. The power of choice does. Men are free to act with respect for the individual liberties of others, or to act without respect. There is no such force as a natural right that will reward virtuous action, or punish evil. There is only one force in human affairs. That is the force of individual will. Freedom is a choice, not a right.'' Perhaps you should watch this idiotic show call 1,000 ways to die. There is right and wrong. There is good and evil.There is poetic justice. Some might call it karma,others maybe the golden rule. I am sure you have some personal recollections of your own where you screwed someone over and than got screwed over at some latter time.Or you did a good work,and you obtained an unforseen reward.I think those who are aware of this truth are more keenly attuned to it, and observe and reinforced by the reaping of the just desserts.(you reap what you sow.) In 1000ways to die,this show graphically portrays many people of low morals,criminal,and grifters &c who come to an untimely demise. Sovereignty is a gift from the number one Sovereign,We are made in his image, A human being has enormous untapped powers; powers to make new things and to change old things into new forms. A human being may not only own property, but can actually create property. In the last analysis, a thing is not property unless it is owned; and without ownership, there is little incentive to improve anything. Let's take an extreme case. A robber breaks into your house and threatens you at knife point. You may elect to pass over your valuables without a struggle but you make the decision and you do the passing. If instead of a robber it were a kidnaper after you child there would be a different story but in either case your thoughts and actions are under your own control. Thousands of men and women have suffered torture and even death without speaking a word that their persecutors tried to make them speak. Your freedom of action may be forbidden, restricted, or prevented by force. The robber, kidnaper or jailer may bind your hands and feet and put a gag in your mouth. But the fact remains that no amount of force can make you act unless you agree----perhaps with hesitation and regret---to do so. This brings us to two important points. First individual freedom is the natural heritage of each living person, and second, freedom cannot be separated from responsibility. Your natural freedom---your control over your own life----was born in you along with life itself. It is a part of life itself. No one can give it to you, nor can you give it to someone else. Nor can you hold any other person responsible for your acts. Control simply can't be separated from responsibility; control is responsibility. Every human act is preceded by a decision to act, and that decision is based on faith. One cannot even think without a deep-seated faith that he exists and faith that there is a supreme standard of good in the universe. This is true of every living person---whether his god is the God of Abraham and Jesus, Allah or Budha, reason or fate, history or astrology, science or goes by any other name. The fact remains that every action of every human being springs from the desire to attain something which he considers to be good---or from the desire to avoid something which he thinks is evil or undesirable. Since the actions of individuals are determined by their beliefs, it follows that the underlying control of the energies of any group of persons is the philosophy and ethical code by which they live. No human being can be made to accept the political overseers; a subject or citizen must choose to do so, and generally does, because it feels secure to depend on these superhuman persons who have both the right and the power to control the lives of people assumed to be their natural inferiors.The state is called the government, but it cannot actually govern the individual acts of any person because of the nature of humans. Men in public office are only men and no man can control another's thoughts, speech, or creative actions. But remember, no possible use of physical force can compel anyone to think, speak, or act---it can only limit, hinder and prevent. A great book about this is here- http://www.bornagainclassics.com/letterstojessica/jessica.html
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Robert Kaercher
    I thought HST was wacked. This is in no way proof that Hunter did kill himself http://technoccult.net/archives/2007/05/21/was-hunter-s-thompson-murdere... From ParaPolitics we are offered a story that HST was working on a WTC collapse story before his sudden death. Apparently he came across "hard evidence" indicating the towers were brought down by explosive charges at their foundations. And yes, he was working on such a story, as well as one related to the previously-reported DC pedophile ring involving many highly placed figures in the government. The link also will take you to the suppressed "Discovery Channel" show about this ring. To begin this weird bit of news leading us down the rabbit hole, here are some interesting contradictions about his death http://futureofthewhirled.com/hunter_s_thompson_killed_because_he_was_ab... http://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/03/123367.php
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 3 years 38 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Well, maybe a peak behind the curtain to reveal the humbug pulling the levers is in order......... "So you see, my dear Conningsby, the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes" . . . "Governments do not govern, but merely control the machinery of government, being themselves controlled by the hidden hand" (Benjamin Disraeli). Contrary to popular belief, the world's finances are controlled by privately-owned 'central banks' masquerading as federal government banks in nearly every country in the world. . . Islamic banks have been eating into Rothschild profits in the Middle East because they don't charge interest (Shariah Law), they are growing very rapidly among the world's exploding Muslim populations, and (in these catastrophic economic times) they are more stable than western banks. . . These Rothschild revolutions (american inclusive)are done under the pretense of bringing democracy and deposing despots, but the real aim is to initially create chaos and a leadership vacuum, then quickly offer a solution: install a puppet that will do the economic bidding of the Rothschilds. The citizens gain freedom of speech and association, but become economic serfs. http://www.puppet99.com/?p=1 http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_wikileaks29.htm These revolutions are coordinated at the highest levels by the Rothschild's International Crisis Group. Mohamed ElBaradei . . . is a trustee of the International Crisis Group. Another board member of this group is Zbigniew Brzezinski. George Soros sits on the executive committee. The later two are ubiquitous front men for the Rothschilds. The revolutions are from the same playbook as the fairly nonviolent 'color revolutions'. . . Liberal billionaire George Soros funded training of activists in North Africa. Revolutions always take huge amounts of money.........so much so ,that gubbermints and billionaires are the only ones with enough purse to finance them. The masters of the world, the 'City of London' and its tavistoc institute which devised the mass civilian bombing raids carried out over Dresden by Roosevelt and Churchill as a clinical experiment in mass terror, under "controlled laboratory conditions" to break down the psychological strength of the individual and render him helpless to oppose the dictators of the World Order. Soros (i.e. Rothschild/Vatican/MI6/CIA/City of London) colour revolutions draw instant sympathy, generated for the protesters by our alien-controlled media. Next, Saudi Arabia and Iran, then UP goes the price of oil . . . as planned . . . according to Brother Lindsy Willams.(DVD-The only one to pridict oil to go below >$50 a barrel,when it was <$180 a barrel.) He explains the US cannot produce its own oil because they are under a contract negotiated by the City's Sir Henry Kissinger to purchase Saudi oil, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is contracted to purchase US Treasury bills until the price of oil reaches US$200/barrel. This has enabled Rothschild's Federal Reserve to monetize and export debt/inflation with a lien over the wealth of individuals and the nation. A similar agreement was made with China which accepted US Treasury Bills in payment for her exports to the United States. This also benefited the large US corporations which shifted production to China and exported their product back to the US, creating unemployment and bankrupting corporations that continued to manufacture in the States. 'The City' plans to collapse the US$dollar$ by the end of 2012, double-crossing the Saudis by vaporizing the worth of US T-Bills held by OPEC countries. This will bankrupt the Arabs, Japanese and Chinese, because America's T-Bills are funding trillions of dollars of worthless derivatives. The MoneyPower has privatized hard assets and profits, both public and private, or moved them offshore, then socialized the loss, as in the ongoing "quantitative easing" scam. Do you see why they have encouraged nations to run budget deficits, introduced privatization and public-private partnerships in essential utilities and hard assets—roads, sea and airports, minerals, timber, water, etc., in exchange for keystroke fiat money? Preplanned hyperinflation will destroy the value of the US dollar, raising the price of crude oil.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Derek Henson
    They're probably organic, too! My grandmother lived to the ripe-old-age of 97 smoking, for the vast majority of that time, chemically-free cigarettes. “The only way we’re going to win now, since you can’t reason with the irrational...” Ms. Silk said, “is you have to take the position of giving them the finger.” ;)
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Here's a “chick” for you, Scoobiedoo.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Derek Henson
    An retired NYC cop? I wonder if she was such a conscientious libertarian when she carried a badge? Doubt it.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    'A "right" is a "an interest or title in an object of property; a just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy it, or to convey or donate it, as he may please[1]", plain and simple. All living beings have a "right" to their own life, liberty and property, which means they have a "just and legal claim" to these things.' No, I don't have a "just and legal claim" to anything. I merely will certain things. I live, and take steps to prevent my death (e.g. buy a gun and practice with it), so I continue living. Yeah, it helps that most people have no desire to deprive me of my life, and I act in a way that reinforces that tendency, but that's all there is to it. Now I have no objection per se to the notion that we may describe all this in a sort of shorthand, calling it a "right". But the reality is, this 18th century concept is no longer helpful for us. It helps the state instead. When people think such preposterous things such as that government's job is to protect "rights", the notion of rights is a prop for government. Suverans, don't you at least agree that it is bad when people think government protects rights?
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Derek Henson
    Appalling. First kids who skip school, then it will be kids who are at risk for skipping school, then it will be all kids. Why not just lock the little darlings up and get it over with? Think of the money we'd save when we no longer have to pay for the pretense of wanting to educate them.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    As The Washington Post remarks on GMOs [genetically modified organisms], "You can't recall them the way you can a car or a plastic toy. They're out there for good. And no one knows what their full impact will be."
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    "That men should take up arms and spend their lives and fortunes, not to maintain their rights, but to maintain they have not rights, is an entirely new species of discovery..." ~ Thomas Paine
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Debt Madness
    Page Mark Davis
    This is a good essay, Mark. It covers well the economic interrelationship between production and consumption. You give good links to further enhance the reader's understanding, and you expose "fractional reserve" for what it is. You quote Claude Frédéric Bastiat and his vision of plunder -- all debt is plunder except (as you point out) that which individuals incur with the full intent and capability to repay as agreed. All government debt is plunder pure and simple. Sam
  • Dabooda's picture
    Dabooda 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Greeting, Rootsters! Welcome to my company! Is a great honor, I assure you. I am stranger here, eager to learn your fascinating primitive customs and rituals! I become stranger and stranger as you get to know me, ha! We shall be great friends, have breakfast together! Suvie, you shall be the first breakfast. “Rights” are a concept describing and sanctioning a person’s freedom of action in a particular context. (Quoth St. Ayn, more or less.) I am perfectly happy to speak of “moral rights” in the context of a particular moral code. “Legal rights,” “contractual rights,” and “property rights” are also meaningful, in their appropriate contexts. What I do object to is the use of “natural rights” (or human rights, god-given or inalienable rights) outside of any defined moral context. Those of us who accept the non-aggression principle as a moral good mean one thing when we speak of “our rights,” but people whose guiding moral principle is “obedience to authority” – and there are a LOT of them – mean something else entirely. In their eyes, it is “right” to “obey the law” and absurd to think one could have “a right” to “break the law.” And if “the law” sanctions a violation of something you believe to be your “natural right,” so much the worse for you. Likewise people with religiously-defined moral codes may believe that “right” means doing whatever God prescribed, in the Holy Book of their choice, and they believe that they have “a right” to do so. And no doubt devout Environmentalists believe they have “a right” to do whatever they think will scratch some troublesome itch on Mother Nature’s backside. Context! You wrote: “Rights are not weapons of force with which to defend one's life, liberty and property, they are what justify, i.e. make just, one's use of force in defending his/her life, liberty and property.” I absolutely agree. My point is that ideas about what constitutes “right” or “justice” are not universally agreed-upon. It happens that you and I most likely agree about what constitutes “justice,” and “morally right.” I would have no trouble recognizing and respecting the principles you name your “natural rights.” I call them moral rights, derived from our shared ethical principles, i.e. the Non-aggression principle. But out there in Real Peopleland, the game is played by other rules. You may not like that fact, nor do I, but, our preferences are not the law of the land, or even the “natural law” of the land. Out there, people believe all sorts of absurd things to be “their rights.” You prefer your own definition, of course, and would clearly like to proclaim yourself the universal arbiter of unquestionable truth and official definer of “proper” definitions. You apparently have lackeys among the Rootsers who are willing to cede you that title. Nups, I don’t think tzo. Rootsters! Where’s the chicks?
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    HA! When HELL is full the dead shall walk!!! Here is the real story of Marco Polo and the zombie. I was traveling to Xanadu to meet with the Great Khan with my faithful guide. We had just passed through the city of Kan-Chau and night was descending upon us. We decided to set up our tents and rest the night, for we could not make it to the next town, Etzina. We built a small fire to keep warm and went to sleep. A few hours later, we were awakened by a rustling and moaning in the bushes. I sent my guide to see what sort of animal was in distress. It was a man! He had been injured and was bleeding from wounds on his arms that looked as if he had been mauled by an animal. His clothes were torn and stained red with his blood. The man fell unconscious when my guide helped him over to our fire. We cleaned and bound his wounds while he slept. We waited until morning to see if he would awaken, but he did not. He had expired over night. We said a prayer for him. Then we commenced to dig a shallow grave to save the unfortunate man from eternal damnation. Midway through our digging, we heard a moan. Had we mistaken this man for a corpse? I would have sworn to the Great Khan himself that the man had been dead. My guide bent over the man to check on him. Suddenly, the man took the guide by the shoulders and tore out his neck with his teeth. As I stood horrified, the man continued to devour my guide as the lifeblood poured over his face. In a panic, I looked around for a weapon. I took my sword from my pack and stabbed the man in the chest. He barely looked up from the guide, exhibiting not even discomfort from the mortal wound. I stared in disbelief, not knowing what to do. I freed my blade from the monster and decapitated it with one swift stroke. His body stopped moving, but the head still bit and snarled at me. I buried the corpses and hurriedly left, wanting to get as far away from the horrific scene as possible. I took the monster’s head with me as a gift for the great Khan as a sign of my loyalty. I wrapped it up in many layers of cloth. When I arrived at Etzina, I purchased a glass jar to carry the monster’s still animated head in. After a long and arduous journey, I presented this to the great Khan. He was very pleased with it and left it on display for all to see. http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Survival-Guide-Complete-Protection/dp/14000...
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Your mastery of the English language clears up the subject once again.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    I knew that it wouldn't be a problem for brother. Thanks for weighing in.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    G'day Dabooda, Meaning no disrespect, but it is obvious, after reading your contribution, that you have no idea on Earth what a "right" is, and therefore cannot possibly know what its purpose is. So, let's start at the beginning, with what a "right" is, and, what it is not. A "right" is a "an interest or title in an object of property; a just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy it, or to convey or donate it, as he may please[1]", plain and simple. All living beings have a "right" to their own life, liberty and property, which means they have a "just and legal claim" to these things. Rights are not weapons of force with which to defend one's life, liberty and property, they are what justify, i.e. make just, one's use of force in defending his/her life, liberty and property. As an example, if you steal Paul's automobile, you will not be "justified" in trying to defend your possession of it, because you do not have a "right" to it, i.e. you do not have a "just and legal claim" to it. And, you will not find any honest men who will assist you in defending your possession of it, because you do not have the "right" to possess it without Paul's consent. Paul, on the other hand, will be "justified" in using whatever force is necessary to regain his property, because he does have a "right" to it, i.e. a "just and legal claim" to that automobile. And, he, hopefully, will readily find honest men, should he need them, who will assist him in taking it back, because they know he has a "right" to it, that is to say, he has a "just and legal claim" to it. Are we on the same page, so far, Dabooda? Or, do you, (and apparently B.R. Merrick and Paul), still deny that you have a "just and legal claim" to your life, liberty and justly acquired property? [1] Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1324
  • ard1984's picture
    ard1984 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    We'd all be zombie food while the political system debated the civil rights of zombies.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    ROFLMAO I love it...and I haven't even read the article yet! But, "seriously", doesn't it make you wonder how a democratic/progressive/collectivist/communitarianist/socialist/communist society would handle that "real-life", (would that be a "real-death"), situation?
  • ard1984's picture
    ard1984 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    I particularly liked Michaelangelo's take on the Zombie Apocalypse. Haha! That was more amusing than I thought it'd be.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 38 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    ...and humans.