Recent comments

  • jd-in-georgia's picture
    jd-in-georgia 3 years 45 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Knowledge is power. Information provides knowledge. Whomever controls the information has the power. That is really what this is about. What baffles me is that anyone using this basic example of transitive logic is immediately dubbed a conspiracy theorist with a tin foil hat. People are convinced that they need government like they need water, air and food. The "power" elite have lost control of that "knowledge" because they inadvertently lost control of their "information" and now they are frantically, like proverbial decapitated chickens, trying to regain that control (i.e. that power) and it is not working. Are there really secret groups or clubs plotting to gain complete control of the civilized world in order to maintain some kind of Draconian order? I won't go out on a limb to suggest a made for Hollywood plot about the Roman Catholic Church and the Illuminati (with apologies to Dan Brown), but if you have ever been in a situation where some person was in a position to say with some sort of authority, "do you know who I am?" and you tucked your tail and ran, then you are more lost than a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 45 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    From the article: 'WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange went from being "imaginative, energetic (and) brilliant" to a "paranoid, power-hungry, megalomaniac," a former colleague charges in a new book out Thursday.' Huh. He started out being imaginative, energetic and brilliant? And somehow that disappeared from his personality? Or did it only disappear from Domscheit-Berg's perception of Assange? And heaven forbid that someone challenging the most powerful governments (that is, violent gangs) on earth should become paranoid! Just a personal conflict, looks like. And D-B wants to branch out and do a better job. More power to him on that; competition never hurt any human effort worth doing. But the personal attacks do not reflect well on him.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 45 weeks ago
    Schools For All
    Web link Michael Kleen
    From the article: "Unfortunately, about 1830 some educators did arise who convinced many that education was a governmental responsibility..." Their convincing was done at the point of a gun. The Massachusetts legislature imported Prussian schooling at Horace Mann's request, and they had to force a lot of unwilling people to stick their kids in these government schools. See http://johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 45 weeks ago
    Demoralization
    Page Michael Kleen
    I don't know, Michael. Questioning authority never seemed like a bad thing to me. And "A People's History of the United States" was and is an excellent book, particularly because it broke ranks with the "court historians" whose usual role is to sell the message of "Rah rah USA!" I don't care if Zinn was a communist. The question is, did he have a perspective worth considering? Yes. He brought information to the table that was hidden in the court histories. Should you take everything he says at face value? Of course not. But EVERY historian has an axe to grind, not just him. And his bias is easily detected, unlike the court historians whose bias is concealed by the surrounding culture. Keep in mind, questioning what Zinn was, rather than the arguments he made, is the very definition of argumentum ad hominem. Those guys in the KGB had a theory. Doesn't mean it had anything to do with reality. The demoralization in this country is not for the most part due to KGB action, but to the action of our own governments, grabbing too much power and stealing too much of our money for corrupt and vicious purposes.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 45 weeks ago Page Guest
    This argument, while plausible (and I believe it) sounds embarrassingly like the argument that "communism has never been tried". I keep coming back to the notion that the only way we are going to get people on board with letting us try some actual free markets, is to let them experiment (if they want) with controlled or state-run markets. We don't need to convert everyone to "laissez-faire", we just need to convince them to leave us alone, in return for us leaving them alone.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 45 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    I'm still waiting for WikiLeaks to make all the e-mails available. What’s the hold-up? That only a very small percentage of them have been made available, and those few only through five of the most connected major media newspapers there are, is reason enough to wonder about the origins of this narrative and what the end game will be. The hype and hoopla about these leaks is so extravagant compared to the puny amount of information revealed that it astounds me. None of the leaks have done more than provide mild embarrassment to fringe friends of the US government. After the initial leak of the video footage of the murdering helicopter incident, nothing has come out that directly reveals anything big, much less damaging, about the US government. And there is still a deafening silence on anything about Israeli deeds. I’m still, of course, all for WikiLeaks continuing to provide a vehicle for leakers to come to as well as releasing any and all information that it receives, but Assange is given way too much credit and needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I believe in the principle of revealing truth, especially about secretive power centers, but am skeptical about the execution and method that is being used. When someone appears to be too good to be true, they usually are. Assange’s background also looks an awful lot like that of a potential intelligence asset . The Bradley Manning story is also curious: how did he get access and copy this information so easily onto his Lady GaGa CD? And now they can’t prove or figure out how he did it? Really? I think The Daily Bell questioning this narrative, especially if you are familiar with the historical and continuing use of psychological operations by elite social manipulators is brave and path-breaking, right or wrong. I certainly don’t consider taking a long, questioning look at this emerging narrative as an example of a “pathological obedience to the state”. I always think it prudent to “be careful what you wish for” before accepting it on a silver platter.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 45 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    Let's see now, isn't Daniel Domscheit-Berg, or is it Daniel Schmitt, former member of the Chaos Computer Club, the one who opened OpenLeaks in competition with Julian Assange's WikiLeaks? Oh, well, I'm sure that that has nothing whatsoever to do with this PERSON attacking the messenger (Julian Assange) instead of the messages (the leaks from the "paranoid, power-hungry, megalomaniac" ruling elite). Is it possible that Daniel Domscheit-Berg is just another Jean-Bernard Condat? And, lastly, I'm curious, if WikiLeaks is "the World's Most Dangerous Website", is OpenLeaks going to be "the World's 2nd Most Dangerous Website"?
  • livemike's picture
    livemike 3 years 45 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    "A tanker owners' group has urged governments to do more to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, saying hijackings could disrupt global oil supplies." Because paying for your own security is so yesterday.
  • SensibleSolutions's picture
    SensibleSolutions 3 years 45 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    A good question, but market-forces apply to labor too. "The United States can learn from other countries, particularly in northern Europe, Professor Schwartz says." But all those he lists have worker protections like strong unions and enforcement of non-alien hiring practices. Where those fail, broad social safety nets make up the difference. Even if we disagree with these policies/models on principle, it is still an apples to oranges comparison. Also, "A Georgetown University study projected 14 million job openings ... such as electricians and paralegals." I've personally lived the "Iron Law of Wages" as an electrician. The inevitable market-result from an infinite labor supply is hand-to-mouth worker pay. After getting my trades-certificate and living as a member of the full-time working-poor for a year, I returned to school to complete my Bachelors degree. Paralegal? - do yourself a favor and get that law degree if you can. I am going for at least a Masters in order to reserve a place in the ever-shrinking US middle-class. As I see it, the US is headed towards the Philippine/Indonesian model where workers without a college degree earn barely enough to sustain a bad diet and live in a tin shack. As far as the college-loan debt, one pays 15% of income above 150% of poverty. If I can make that level of income again, it will be a step up from the post-globalization /inflation minimum wage and, hence, a net increase overall.
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 45 weeks ago
    The Fascist Drug War
    Web link Anthony Gregory
    First they came for the heroin addicts, and I didn't speak up because I've never used heroin. Then they came for the speed freaks, and I didn't speak up because I tried speed once and didn't like it. Then they came for the producers of raw milk, and I didn't speak up because I don't drink raw milk. Then they came for the Happy Meals, and I didn't speak up because I don't have backbone myself to say no to my kids when they demand Happy Meals. Then they came for me.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 45 weeks ago Page Guest
    Oooops! Forgot about theWidows' tax You're gonna love this one!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 45 weeks ago Page Guest
    G'day Cristian Gherasim, Very good article. You wrote: "The money machine called the Federal Reserve cranks out the credit as a subsidy to...the big-spending politicians who would prefer to borrow than tax". The political advantage of borrowing rather than taxing, of course, is so that the members (citizens/subjects) don't get too clear of a picture of just how much their "big-spending politicians" are actually spending. By diversification the taxman[1] does a pretty darn good job obfuscating their spending habits, too, I'd have to say. State and Local Government Taxation Income Sales Property Federal Taxation Income tax Social Security tax Medicare tax Corporate income tax Transfer taxes Excise taxes Federal Unemployment Tax Federal & State Common Taxes Income Taxes 7 Category of Taxes 1. Income Taxes 2. Property Taxes 3. Consumption Taxes 4. General Corporation Taxes 5. Payroll Taxes 6. Capital Gains Taxes 7. Inheritance Taxes Never ending list of taxes in the United States Sales and use tax Toll Cigarette and tobacco tax Alcoholic beverage tax Retail Beer, Wine and Liquor License Taxes Tariffs Environment Affecting Tax Poll tax Retirement tax Real Property Transfer Tax Wealth (net worth) tax Commercial Motor Vehicle Tax Commercial Rent Tax Horse Race Admissions Tax Hotel Room Occupancy Tax Utility tax Insurance taxes Lawful gambling tax Fur clothing tax Deed tax Contamination tax Mineral taxes Petroleum taxes Sports bookmaking tax Wind energy production tax Social security and Medicare taxes Federal unemployment tax Environmental taxes Communications and air transportation taxes Fuel taxes Gift taxes Death tax Luxury taxes __________________________________________ [1] "Taxman" was written as a protest by George Harrison at the taxes that he had to pay. Because the Beatles were earning a substantial amount of money they were super-taxed and 96% of what they earned went straight to the taxman.
  • negator's picture
    negator 3 years 45 weeks ago Page Guest
    succinct, irrefutable, delicious.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day Paul, Following that same “rationale”, do you also believe that you have the lawful authority to deprive another man of his life just because it “suits [you] to do so”, and “f**k the legalistic arguments, and all the rest”, or do you believe you should only execute such an act when you have a "natural right" to do so? Self-defense would give you the "right", for example. "Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible." ~ Ayn Rand So you see, my friend, we are not debating “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, really”, what we are debating is whether or not a peaceful society needs a moral code. Ayn Rand, L. Neil Smith and I say it does.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    "A well regulated Militia[1], being necessary to the security of a free State, the right[2] of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed[3]." [1] Militia. The body of citizens of a state, enrolled for discipline as a military force, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies, as distinguished from regular troops or a standing army. State v. Dawson, 272 N.C. 535, 159 S.E.2d 1, 9. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 993 [Emphasis added] [2] Right. ...a just and legal claim to hold, use, or enjoy [a thing] or to convey it or donate it, as he may please. Ibid. page 1324 [3] Infringement. ...a violation of a...right. Ibid. page 780 The problem with all governments is, and has always been, "the standing army", which it controls. It would be very difficult to get a militia to voluntarily go to Iraq or Afghanistan or _____________ [fill in the blank]. And, a government would have an even more difficult time getting a militia ("the body of citizens of a state") to declare war upon themselves. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? ~ Tench Coxe (a prominent American political economist of the day (1755–1824) who attended the earlier constitutional convention in Annapolis, writing as "A Pennsylvanian," in "Remarks On The First Part Of The Amendments To The Federal Constitution," in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, p. 2 col. 1) This, in my opinion, is the real reason why "the Swiss have not been involved in a war in 800 years, despite being right in the middle of Europe", it has no "standing army" , only a "well regulated Militia"! "...you shall certainly set a king over you. You may not give an alien the rule over you, one who is not your brother. Only, he shall not create a standing army, nor cause the people to return to bondage..." Footnotes: For those of you who don't believe that there is such a thing as a "right", i.e. a just claim to anything, and therefore cannot possibly claim "the right to keep and bear Arms", good luck. This shift from “militia power” to a standing Federal army, was one of the “cons” created by your “organic United States CONStitution”. A major concern of the various delegates during the constitutional debates over the Constitution and the Second Amendment to the Constitution revolved around the issue of transferring militia power held by the States' (under the existing Articles of Confederation), to Federal control. The new Constitution effected a dramatic shift of military power from being militia based and predominately controlled by the States towards being controlled by the federal Congress and the President with the addition of a federal army. ~ Robert J. Spitzer: The Politics of Gun Control. Chatham House Publishers, Inc., 1995.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    I'm actually somewhat surprised to see Molyneux take this line, given past impressions I've had of his position. I see nothing to disagree about in it. One has to wonder about people who worry about the US being invaded. What country would do such a thing? I think these people must have spent their childhoods worrying about monsters in the closet or under the bed, and they haven't outgrown it yet! As to 'For those of you who don't believe that there is such a thing as a "right", i.e. a just claim to anything, and therefore cannot possibly claim "the right to keep and bear Arms"' - I don't need any right to bear arms, to bear them. I just bear them, because it suits me to do so. Fuck the legalistic arguments, and all the rest of it. But hey, if you like to imagine you have a right to bear arms, go right ahead. No need to debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, really.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Gary North wrote a good article in a similar line: http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north941.html Someone questioned my use of wikipedia. I'm aware of the limitations of wikipedia, but I think these definitions are reasonable. If better ones are available that would refute my arguments here, let's see them...
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    Tzo, BrianDrake, Suverans: Excellent post and follow-up conversation. This is a real winner. I'm waiting for Michael Kleen to tap the mat and give up the ghost on this whole minarchist fantasy of his and stop working for the dark side. Excellent work.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    Hello Scott Lazarowitz, I fully agree (as would any freedom-minded person, I assume) that "With freedom comes responsibility." The question is, do children who are treated with compassion and given freedom and responsibility as they grow up become responsible adults? The answer is yes, absolutely -- it's the one reliable way to create responsible adults, in fact. There is little of such treatment for children in the world and almost none within the pro-coercion institutions that define our culture, but the evidence is very strong that giving children freedom and responsibility, and treating them with compassion in other ways as well, creates healthy adults who understand freedom, who behave responsibly, who respect the freeedom of others, and who feel connected to others and behave compassionately toward them. I describe some of the evidence for this in my own column for STR titled "Free Societies in the Real World" [ http://strike-the-root.com/71/allport/allport6.html ]. In it, I provide a short excerpt from the Report by H.M. Inspectors on the Summerhill School, 1949 [full text of report is here: http://www.paradise-paradigm.net/summerhill.htm ] -- Here is what the school and its children were like in that June of 1949, according to the British report (my emphasis below): "The main principle upon which the School is run is freedom . . . . the degree of freedom allowed to the children is very much greater than the inspectors had seen in any other school and the freedom is real. No child, for instance, is obliged to attend any lessons. As will be revealed later, the majority do attend for the most part regularly, but one pupil was actually at this School for 13 years without once attending a lesson and is now an expert toolmaker and precision instrument maker. This extreme case is mentioned to show that the freedom given to children is genuine and is not withdrawn as soon as its results become awkward." ". . . the children are full of life and zest. Of boredom and apathy there was no sign. An atmosphere of contentment and tolerance pervades the School." ". . . the children's manners are delightful. They may lack, here and there, some of the conventions of manners, but their friendliness, ease and naturalness, and their total lack of shyness and self-consciousness made them very easy, pleasant people to get on with." ". . . initiative, responsibility and integrity are all encouraged by the system and that so far as such things can be judged, they are in fact being developed." "Summerhill education is not necessarily hostile to worldly success." The report backs up that last point with a list of degrees held and careers followed by former pupils. The obvious question here is: would you rather live in a world where people had been raised with love and freedom (whether at Summerhill or wherever), or the world as it is today? There is a great deal more such evidence (look into Sudbury Valley School, for example) as well as evidence for cruelty to children being a serious danger to society at large -- and yes, Alice Miller did an excellent job of describing that dynamic, including going so far to reprint large sections of the child-rearing manuals in use in Germany before and as the Nazi era dawned. Miller's careful and well-researched work makes the question of "how could the Germans have been so stupid, so cruel, so repressive" easy to answer.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    “Former House Speaker and potential 2008 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has suggested that our understanding of the First Amendment is incompatible with success in the War on Terror. What he seems to suggest is that we return to an old law called the Sedition Act, which criminalized speech that was critical of the U.S. government.” The constitutional basis for freedom of speech...can be traced directly to the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, a German immigrant who worked as a Colonial newspaper publisher. Zenger’s newspaper, the Weekly Journal, became the center of attention when he published articles critical of the governor of New York, William Cosby. When Cosby was unsuccessful in silencing Zenger, first through threats of libel and then by more violent threats of burning his press, Cosby leveled sedition charges against him. Zenger was arrested and tried on July 29, 1735. Zenger was acquitted and the value of free speech in America was firmly entrenched. Newt's suggestion goes directly against the precise intent of that portion of the First Amendment, it was intended to forbid Congress from making laws abridging speech and press “that was critical of the U.S. government”, which virtually all man-made governments had done up until that time. However, because of the vagueness of the legal language of the First Amendment, "What free speech means, exactly, has varied from era to era.”
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; . . . ." John Hasnas says, “I chose this portion of the First Amendment for my example because it contains the clearest, most definite[1] legal language of which I am aware.” “Clearest most definite legal language”?1?! What is this guy, with all those letters after his name, smoking? If we interpret it precisely as it is written, “on the basis of your personal understanding of this sentence's meaning (not your knowledge of constitutional law)”, hence with total disregard for the authors' true intent, as John asks us to do, then it says that Congress cannot make a law curbing any individual from “legally” saying any thing he desires to say, using any language he cares to use, any where he chooses to say it, whether it be on private property or in public places, to any one he cares to say it to, regardless of whether that other individual consents to hearing it or not, and regardless of whether or not what he says brings harm to others, like “falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater”. It is difficult to imagine less definitive legal language. It is precisely because it is not in any, way, shape, or form, “definitive[2]” that is causing it to be used today in ways, I guaran-fricken-tee-you, were NEVER intended, or even suspected, by its authors. They'd roll over in their graves if they saw the abusive ways this was being "interpreted" today!! It is precisely because it is not "definitive" that it can be "interpreted"! What has happened to our ability to reason? [1] Definite. Fixed, determined, defined, bounded. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 423 [2] Definitive. That which finally and completely ends and settles controversy. Ibid.
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 46 weeks ago Web link Derek Henson
    In over 40 years of being around the users and purveyors of illegal drugs, and yes, including meth, the only time I have ever seen guns pointed at children, or at me, for that matter, the guns were in the hands of police officers. In fact, the only people who have ever brought guns into my home without my express permission were cops. There are over 50,000 SWAT raids a year in the US. Every one of them constitutes police violence against civilians, almost all of them constitutionally innocent suspects and their factually innocent families. Statistics say the violent crime has decreased all across the country. Statistics lie.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Guest
    It would seem to me that delegating it [your right of defense] to a second party only enhances your own self-defense.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 3 years 46 weeks ago Web link Derek Henson
    Yep. It turned out they were. Bastard. http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2011/01/jackson_doctor_gets_...
  • Bill St. Clair's picture
    Bill St. Clair 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Guest
    Privatize airport sekurity? How about eliminate it entirely. Though I suppose there's a market for it. Some airlines will decide hassling their passengers costs less than risking bombs on their airplanes. But leave it up to them, and the market will provide a wide variety of security options, from airlines that strip their passengers naked and make them fly in straight jackets, to airlines that require their passengers to carry a pistol. But remember: "... like going to the bathroom, breathing, eating, sleeping, or making love, it turns out that self-defense is a bodily function one cannot safely or effectively delegate to a second party." -- L. Neil Smith http://lneilsmith.org/atlanta.html
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day Paul, (thumbs up) Like this (1) Ah, the voice of reason is like music to my ears. This is precisely why I am an INDIVIDUAL secessionist; why should I drag anyone along with me that doesn't want to be free of the state? Individual Secessionist
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 46 weeks ago
    Psychology Rules!
    Page Paul Hein
    No we're not. We are just stuck with a tendency that does not scale well: http://ncc-1776.org/tle2009/tle544-20091115-06.html We just have to create a culture that combats this tendency.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    I have no problems with minarchists per se, particularly since many of them are just anarchists in training (I was a minarchist once). In fact I don't even have a problem with socialists, communists and fascists. If people like those forms of government, they should live with them. What I do have problems with are the fact they don't want to leave me (and other anarchists) alone. This is a problem with minarchists as much as with communists. If we could only get them to leave us alone, that would be all that is needed. Let the market then decide who prospers. Before you guys say this is impossible, that they would never leave us alone, think a minute. I am saying they should have their fascism (or whatever), but leave us alone. You are saying not only should they leave us alone, but they also should not have the government they want for themselves (at least I think some here are suggesting that). Clearly the latter notion is much more difficult to achieve than the former. And it also has the problem that we would have to dominate them. Some anarchists! I think we should ease up on evangelism for anarchism and attacks on socialism and fascism, and minarchism for that matter, and start emphasizing that everyone should get the government they want. Whether this is accomplished through panarchy (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Panarchy), or a somewhat more territorial version of it (http://www.strike-the-root.com/what-is-to-be-done-with-statists) is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    Question #2: Invasion I liked your article, but the practical reality is that under anarchy, the few "evil" men would band together and plunder the "good" majority. How many well-armed, coordinated thugs would it take to ravage an unprotected populace – a few thousand? The good people simply go about their business, then one day, 2,000 armed evildoers sweep into an area, and have their way with it. Even if the general populace were armed, they could hardly stand up to a trained group like this. (BTW, this is what the gun lobby doesn't seem to understand – if the government goes after them with 10,000 soldiers, a "well-armed militia" has not the ghost of a chance.) Eventually the good group might eliminate the evil group through sheer weight of numbers, but the former would probably lose men at a ratio of 10 to 1, since they will always be caught by surprise and fighting is not their stock-in-trade. This would be repeated constantly and is obviously unacceptable. Isn't this what Genghis Khan, and the Vikings, etc. were – essentially wandering thugs who plundered "good" civilizations? A private security force would be irresistibly tempted to assume the "evil group" role, I'm sure, so this is no solution. Believe me, I detest all governments; I just feel that there is one valid role for government to play, and that is to protect its citizens. Stefan Molyneux: The idea that roving bands of thugs will successfully "take over" a stateless society is a surprisingly durable notion, given the disasters we see every day in Iraq. The simple fact is that invasions are never profitable unless subsidized by the taxpayers of the invading army’s government. From a mere financial standpoint, Iraq is a fiscal disaster – which proves that even invading one of the most oil-rich countries in the world doesn’t pay! Iraq was invaded only because the costs of the invasion are entirely borne by taxpayers – which allows billions to be siphoned off to the military, state agencies and private corporations. The same is true for all occupations in history, from the Roman, British and French Empires to the Eastern Bloc to the Iraq occupation. Taxpayers are forced to pay with money and blood, while billions are stolen through subsidies and contracts. The real target in any war is not foreign troops, but domestic taxpayers. War is a means to an end: the end being the pillaging of the public purse. Free trade is profitable; in the absence of a state, war is not. This means that peaceful citizens will always have more money and resources than violent criminals. In a stateless society, DROs will constantly work to defuse and exclude the criminal element and ensure that crime does not pay – and it won’t, since an honest income will be so much higher than it is now! Thus the argument that bands of thugs can successfully take over a free society has no basis in economics, logic or history. The worst possible case in a stateless society is that a band of thugs will set up shop locally and demand cash "protection" from honest citizens, like the Mafia. However, even that situation is preferable to the current system, since the Mafia need to ensure that their citizens remain relatively happy in the long run – unlike governments, which drive entire societies into war, bankruptcy and dictatorship. All right, but what about foreign governments, whose armies are subsidized by taxpayers? Foreign governments are even easier to deal with than internal gangs, due to one basic fact: political leaders only invade other countries if they themselves are in no danger. If a politician can stay far behind the lines, make stirring speeches, strike noble poses, hand out contracts and watch his popularity soar, war seems like a pretty good deal. If, however, declaring war threatens him personally, suddenly it doesn’t seem so attractive. The simple proof of this thesis is that no country possessing WMDs has ever been directly threatened with war. (In fact, the best way to logically deduce that Iraq had no WMDs was that the US was prepared to invade it!) Personal threats against warlike foreign leaders always dissuades invasion – so, what is the best way to threaten the lives of such criminals? So far, the only answer has been the proliferation of WMDs. In a free society, cheaper and less dangerous methods will surely be discovered – and here are some possibilities. Suppose Canada decides to invade a government-free US. The Canadian PM starts making threatening speeches and massing troops along the border. How could the stateless society respond? Well, DROs are the agencies most threatened by invasion, because if the Canadian government takes over, they will be the first to go. So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a group of worried DRO leaders. What would we do? First, we would get to the root of the problem, which is that the Canadian PM is the person responsible for fermenting war. Given this fact, we would avoid threatening Canada’s troops or its general population, who are not the problem, and have no power to prevent the invasion. If we threaten the troops, we’ll make them more belligerent – and if we threaten the general population, we’ll make them more supportive of the war. So how can we defuse the situation? Here are some ideas (in escalating order): 1. Declare that, if the troops are not disbanded, no offensive action will be taken against soldiers or civilians, but instead political leaders will be targeted. 2. Arm everyone along the US side of the border with any weapons they liked – for free (In Switzerland, for instance, every household has to have a gun – and the Swiss have not been involved in a war in 800 years, despite being right in the middle of Europe!). 3. Offer the foreign troops sanctuary, property and jobs if they lay down their arms, desert and cross the border peacefully. 4. If the threat continues to escalate, offer $100 million in gold to anyone who can convince the Canadian PM to demobilize his troops (using whatever methods work the best). 5. Drive all politicians underground by putting massive bounties on their heads. 6. Kidnap the PM’s family and hold them hostage until the troops are demobilized. Naturally, things can escalate from the above in ways that are easy to imagine – although I am sure that the problem would be dealt by the first one or two items. Why are these approaches so effective? For one thing, in a stateless society, there is no single target such as the White House or the Pentagon. Authority is diffused, decentralized, like the Internet, and so cannot be struck at directly. Thus DROs can target foreign leaders, but foreign leaders cannot target DROs – and so the advantage lies with DROs. Let’s suppose, though, that none of the above works, and foreign troops end up invading the stateless society. What will they face? A combination of determined DROs, private security forces and well-armed civilians. Remember: in a stateless society, there are no legal limits on the weapons that private citizens can possess. (It is likely that DROs, though, would refuse to represent those who possessed certain weapons – a limit that would doubtless be lifted in the case of imminent invasion!) Thus the invading army cannot tell which citizens have which weapons. This raises a significant "fog of war" problem. The US felt safe invading Iraq because the Iraqi government had been largely disarmed by 14 years of sanctions, and so could not retaliate. Even now, when they are nominally in charge of the country, they face constant attrition from guerilla fighters. Now that the Iraqi population has access to arms, they have the upper hand even in the face of overwhelming US military power. (The main reason for this is that the US military has developed the capacity to blow away armies standing out in the open – with the inevitable result that no army ever opposes the US by standing out in the open, but instead uses guerilla tactics and a war of attrition. It’s as if Vietnam never happened! But that’s inevitable – state armies are not designed to protect citizens, but to create conflict and spend money, and "big thump" weapons are far more expensive than guerilla training.) Last but not least, if the threat of invasion grows, DROs will hire mercenaries to repel the invaders. In the unlikely event that DRO combatants do actually engage government troops, it will be a case of private incentives versus government inefficiencies – FedEx versus the Post Office. Does anyone believe that a government-run army – which is just the Post Office in fatigues – can beat a private army? The military is just another government program, subject to all the same irrational stupidities as every other government program. 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. Finally, can anyone out there show me any examples of a government successfully defending its population from violence? France in 1789? Russia in 1917? Germany in 1933? Poland in 1939? France in 1940? England which, after winning the war against national socialism, imposed socialism on its own population? America, which subsidizes and arms dictatorships and currently has more than 200 troop bases around the world stirring up anti-US rage? What about the Civil War, which murdered 600,000 Americans without even effectively freeing the slaves? The First World War, which caused the Second? Did America emerge from the Cold War more free or less free? (Hint: taxes, debt and regulations!) Did Korea or Vietnam end the Soviet regime? Of course not – the inefficiency of central planning did. What about World War Two? In 1950, more people were enslaved by dictatorships than in 1939 – despite 40 million murdered! So how can anyone say that governments protect their citizens? Violence begets violence. All states do is wage wars, raise taxes and enslave their populations with debts and regulation. Knowing that governments murdered 170 million people during the 20th century, we can all be forgiven for a little skepticism when we hear the argument that governments protect their citizens. It is blind, dangerous nonsense! There is one final response that, in my view, disposes of the "armed gang" objection. If large numbers of people do want to impose their will on others through force, then armed gangs do pose a risk to a stateless society. However, they are still less of a risk than a centralized state! If an armed gang runs roughshod through your neighbourhood, you can choose to fight, pay tribute, or flee to a freer locale. No such choices exist with a government. In other words, if people are generally peaceful, we don’t need a state – and if they are generally violent, we can’t allow a state to exist, because giving violent people a monopoly always results in the utter destruction of civil society.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    G'day Scott Lazarowitz, Sheeeeesh, Alice Miller?!?!? Judging only by the quotes you have given us, Alice Miller, like so many individuals with letters of psychobabble after their name, was nuttier than a fruitcake. She only had one oar in the water. Parents can demand obedience because they are "responsible" for their children, and hopefully your parents, like so many others, also told you, right after a good ass whippin', "As long as you are under my roof', [translate that as, "as long as I am responsible for your sustenance and your actions"], 'you will do as I tell you. When you are out on your own [when you take responsibility for your own sustenance and actions], then you can do whatever you damn well please." With freedom comes responsibility. The "poison pedagogy" is government schooling, fercrisesake. The moment when fathers and/or mothers began shirking their responsibility to educate their children and handed that responsibility over to the STATE, it was all over and the fat lady was singing. The fox was left guarding the chicks in the hen house. (Thank you, Robert Bissett) Had we all learned that lesson, in past generations as well as today's, then perhaps we would not have handed that responsibility over to another "parent", the nanny-state. I apologize for sounding so negative. Please, do not take this to mean that there were no redeeming thoughts within this treatise, because there most certainly were. Individual Secessionist
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    It also seems very difficult to imagine a bunch of small, (which equals relatively weak), protection agencies being able to protect its clients from nuclear attacks and invasions by foreign nations. Hey, I got it, maybe all these small agencies could band together and call themselves The United Agencies of America. "How would a dairy farmer plot to gain a monopoly on milk delivery, absent government help?" By providing the best milk and delivery service at the lowest price, kind of like Alcoa Aluminum apparently did, at one time, before your government stepped in and saved you. "Alcoa had been having antitrust run-ins with the Justice Department since 1911, but all of the blows had glanced off of it until U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings filed suit in 1937, charging monopolization and restraint of trade on Alcoa's part. The trial lasted from 1938 to 1940 and was the largest proceeding in the history of U.S. law to that time. A district court ruling in 1942 found in favor of Alcoa, but the government appealed. In 1945 an appeals court sustained that appeal. In his decision, Judge Learned Hand ruled that although Alcoa had not intended to create its monopoly, the fact remained that it had a monopoly on the domestic aluminum market in violation of antitrust law and it would be in the nation's best interest to break it up. Hand's decision became a landmark in the history of judicial activism, although it did leave open the question of how Alcoa's grip on aluminum was to be broken." "Judicial activism"? And, the rest, as they say, is history.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    Scott -- an excellent column! You do a great job of supporting the need for more emotional health in the world -- freedom simply cannot survive without a reasonable level of emotional health in a society, and compassionate treatment of the young is the only way to GET a decent level of emotional health. Most libertarians seem to see this as a tangential, minor issue if they consider it at all. But it's absolutely fundamental, and I'm thrilled to see your discussion of this. Solid discussion of the value and importance of WikiLeaks also. Thanks for a great read.
  • iliad's picture
    iliad 3 years 46 weeks ago
    Psychology Rules!
    Page Paul Hein
    Brilliant commentary Paul. I find it interesting that any subject that is discussed concerning government always leads to one thing; the threat, be it real or implied, of force. I do not believe that you can discuss any aspect of government without eventually arriving there. We really are a stupid species.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Thanks for posting that link, tzo. It is the most important thing I have read in a long time. And I'm glad my little inexpert whack at the "constitutional republic" myth expanded into questioning the rule of law.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day kevindanielbrown, What if government was restricted to its one lawful purpose, that of protecting its individual members life, liberty and property, what name would you then give this agency? Individual Secessionist
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    Well, I do think size matters (insert joke here). Having a single agency provide any service for all of society is having a monopoly agency. Market competition is the only way to ensure competitive pricing and service. If a single "private protection agency" covered the entire U.S., I can't see how it could possibly resist becoming a government. A privately-funded monopoly on force would change into a publicly-funded, pay-whether-you-want-it-or-not "service." A government. Competing protection agencies would have to maintain a balance of power, and their clients would help ensure that. There are still approximately 1 bazillion (more or less) guns in private hands in this country, and the only reason we don't see them more is that government restricts their use. Also, their voluntary payments keep the company in business. It seems very difficult to imagine a private defense company growing out of control in a competitive market and overwhelming the rest. How would a dairy farmer plot to gain a monopoly on milk delivery, absent government help?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day Michael Kleen, IF, (the BIGGEST two-letter word in the English language), everyone could be trusted to behave justly, you are correct in saying that "there would be no need for people to enforce", however, there will always "be a need for laws", because laws, i.e. rules[1], are what tell individuals the bounds and limits of behaving "justly". And, as we have seen throughout history, you are also right in saying, government power "needs to be severely restrained", in fact all power "needs to be severely restrained". Severely restrained by what, Michael Kleen? Either by the force of the individual himself or of the group of individuals themselves, or by an outside force or forces. [1] Law of nature, is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator, and existing prior to any positive precept. Thus it is a law of nature, that one man should not injure another [defense, of course, being the exception], and murder and fraud would be crimes, independent of any prohibition from a supreme power. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day B.R. Merrick, I feel you may be confusing "size" with "scope of authority". If its "scope of authority" was limited to protecting its consenting members' life, liberty and property, and it remained within its bounds, [good luck on that one], what do you care what "size" it is? Keep in mind, also, that these same problems will be inherent with a"private protection agency" as well; if it is powerful enough to protect your natural rights, it is powerful enough to trespass upon them. Individual Secessionist
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    Great article, tzo, as usual! Your frustration is palpable. I feel like I have said this a million times, but I will nevertheless say it once more, the way in which "all men are created equal" is explained by the eleven words directly following that statement in the so-called Declaration of Independence, "that [is to say] they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". "Is to say" was understood by the functionally literate men and women of their day, but is apparently lost to the vast majority of succeeding generations. Can you feel my frustration? But that aside, you asked a question of us, "So again, the question for you to put to yourself is this: Why does my government organization, and by extension, why do I, have the natural right to claim all this land and to command all those who find themselves here?" My answer, no, I take that back, THE ANSWER; Not just no, tzo, but F**K NO, your government , and you, by extension, do NOT have "the natural right to claim all this land and to command all those who find themselves here". Might does not make right. [Emphasis added] Individual Secessionist
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day tzo, I haven't made time to read your article yet, so this is only a reply to one particular line in your above comment. You wrote, "Any "government" that is purely voluntary would never be referred to as a "necessary evil." This is true, but I'm sure you will agree that if this "purely voluntary" government's services are not confined by the law of nature it may most certainly be referred to as "evil". The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish! ~ Excerpted from The Law by Frédéric Bastiat Individual Secessionist
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "What Professor Kingsfield knows is that the legal world is not like the real world and the type of reasoning appropriate to it is distinct from that which human beings ordinarily employ. In the real world, people usually attempt to solve problems by forming hypotheses and then testing them against the facts as they know them. When the facts confirm the hypotheses, they are accepted as true, although subject to reevaluation as new evidence is discovered. This is a successful method of reasoning about scientific and other empirical matters because the physical world has a definite, unique structure. It works because the laws of nature are consistent. In the real world, it is entirely appropriate to assume that once you have confirmed your hypothesis, all other hypotheses inconsistent with it are incorrect. ...unlike the laws of nature, political laws are not consistent. The law human beings create to regulate their conduct is made up of incompatible, contradictory rules and principles; and, as anyone who has studied a little logic can demonstrate, any conclusion can be validly derived from a set of contradictory premises." ~ Excerpted from THE MYTH OF THE RULE OF LAW by John Hasnas, J.D., Ph.D., Philosophy, Duke University, LL.M., Temple University; Assistant Professor of Business Ethics, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Thank you, tzo, for posting the link to this treatise.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    First, it is clear Mr. Kleen is not "new to this site", being a published author here. So I apologize for my ignorance on that point. Second, it appears his comments may indeed be intended as the devil's advocate. If so, then my comments are no longer aimed directly at him, but do stand as an intended rebuttal to the claims he wrote, perhaps rhetorically.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    @Michael Kleen "Of course, if everyone could be trusted to behave justly in every instance, there would be no need for laws or people to enforce those laws, but we know that is not the case." If you're new to this site, you get a pass, but stick around with an open mind. The above is a simplistic straw man. No voluntaryist/libertarian(the real, anarchist kind)/anarchist writing here is under the delusion that everyone can be trusted to behave justly. Please point to a single author here that has made such a silly claim. Otherwise, you're just making stuff up. In fact, it is the "archist" position (minarchist included) that doesn't get this point. The anarchist truly understands the flaws in human nature, and thus realizes how critically doomed is the idea of giving a monopoly of power (and attendant "legitimacy") to a group of humans, who are indeed not to be trusted to "behave justly in every instance". Oh, I forgot the "magic piece of paper" part of the equation that somehow makes minarchy an exception. You are also (intentionally?) ignoring Tzo's definition of "aggression". He clearly points out it is the INITIATION of force (etc...) that is aggression. Self-defense (which includes the the voluntary hiring of those to provide that defense, if desired) is not aggression. You have every right to find ways to defend yourself against aggressors. You have no right to foot me with the bill, or criminalize my attempts to defend myself as I see fit (you do this by erecting a coercive monopoly that, by fiat, extends its jurisdiction to me and mine). That is what "limited government" is: aggression. Your concern about those who "seek to take away the life, liberty, and property of others" does not give you license to then take away the life, liberty, and property of uninvolved third-parties (me) in response.
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    audreywtt (not verified) 3 years 46 weeks ago Page Mike Wasdin
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  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    As I understand it, if we agree with minarchists, that a small, limited government (hopefully run by people like Ron Paul) is going to scare away the bad guys, the next question we ought to ask is, "How?" Minarchists, like us anarchists, don't like the idea of government. That is why they want it small. But they also want it to effectively do what it is supposed to do: protect. How does a small government do that? A small government cannot provide the protective services it promises. A small town of 500 does not need more than one cop, if we are to assume that all minarchists could agree on that. What if two bad guys are initiating coercion against two people in this small town at once, on opposite sides of the town? And once this happens, the hysteria and anger over government's inefficiency will undoubtedly lead to adding one more cop. Thus it grows. The reason it grows is because its foundation is coercion against those who did not ask for it. Small government cannot work for everyone. It will only work for those closest to it that resemble it the most. But at least those who resemble it will feel better.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    "I think Minarchrists would argue that some government is a necessary evil, ..." I apologize if I assumed that this was your position when it was not. Perhaps you were only stating the Minarchist position, not actually taking it.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    Everyone is perfectly free to choose to have any kind of social organizational agreements, governments included, that they wish. But the agreeing parties can only enforce their laws and rules within the confines of their own combined personal properties. If there is a US government that enforces its laws and rules over the land area that is called the US, this is only valid if the USG is the rightful property owner of all that land. Can someone argue the case for the USG being the rightful and just owner of all the current US land area? If not, it should refrain from imposing its "necessary evil" upon me and my property. Imposing evil upon a peaceful person is the definition of aggression. Michael, you seem to have leaped to that common, yet mysterious, non sequitur that government is the only possible means to enforce law in society. And since society needs order, society needs government, the necessary evil. This ignores the possibility of the voluntary organization of security/adjudication/enforcement services, which have been written about in thousands of pages elsewhere. If the charge of Utopia is the response, then that is to ignore the empirical evidence that is provided by human history, wherein these services all tend to be created on the open market first, and then later expropriated by governments. Because I assume when you say "government" you mean the organization that has been "granted" the power to tax and use force, hence the "necessary evil" label. Any "government" that is purely voluntary would never be referred to as a "necessary evil." And finally, I really do not wish to live within a society of people who believe that it is OK to necessarily and preemptively aggress against human beings in order to achieve the utilitarian benefit of a happy society. One is not justified in raping "just a little" in the attempt to achieve love. Utilitarian arguments imagine a difference between means and ends, but they are the same. The means are merely the ends in progress. One cannot achieve "good" ends with "evil" means, ever.
  • kevindanielbrown's picture
    kevindanielbrown 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    Michael those that seek to take away the life, liberty, and property of others are ALREADY aggressors so responding with force against them isn't aggression but defense. So no, this is not an example of justified aggression. Also If you restrained government to not taking away anyone's life, liberty, or property it wouldn't be government anymore.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 3 years 46 weeks ago Page tzo
    People are often sentimental about these things.