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  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    On the 'Rule of Law'
    Page Per Bylund
    Natural law. ...a system of rules and principles for the guidance of human conduct which, independently of enacted law or of the systems peculiar to any one people, might be discovered by the rational intelligence of man, and would be found to grow out of and conform to his nature, meaning by that word his whole mental, moral and physical constitution. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1026
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Natural. Untouched by man or by influences of civilization; wild; untutored, and is the opposite of the word "artificial". Department of Public Works and Bldgs. for and in Behalf of People v. Keller, 22 Ill.App.3d 54, 316 N.E.2d 794, 796. The juristic meaning of this term does not differ from the vernacular, except in the cases where it is used in opposition to the term "legal;" and then it means proceeding from or determined by physical causes or conditions, as distinguished from positive enactments of law, or attributable to the nature of man rather than to the commands of law, or based upon moral [lawful] rather than legal considerations or sanctions. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1026 [Bracketed information added] Rational minds can readily perceive why statists hate virtually any mention of natural rights, natural law, natural liberty, et al. Natural liberty is the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they judge most consistent with their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men. Buriamaqui, c. 3, § 15; 1 Bl. Comm. 125 ~ A Dictionary of the Law (Black’s 1st c. 1891), pg. 716
  • Persona non grata's picture
    Persona non grata 8 years 1 week ago Web link Cheryl Cline
    Wearing a Bike Helmet Might Not Make You Any Safer But wearing a bike helmet sure does make you look funny. Also not wearing a bike helmet when under the jurisdcition of "Nanny State" busy-bodies may make you open to offical harrassment by your local home town tax-feeders. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
  • Scarmig's picture
    Scarmig 8 years 1 week ago Web link Cheryl Cline
    Insightful and poignant. Kids learn by experience, and by withholding experience, they turn into morons who expect the world to be handed to them.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    On the 'Rule of Law'
    Page Per Bylund
    "A ruler that violates natural law is illegitimate. He has no right to be obeyed, his commands are mere force and coercion. Rulers who act lawlessly, whose laws are unlawful, are mere criminals, and should be dealt with in accordance with natural law, as applied in a state of nature, in other words they and their servants should be..." ~ James A. Donald http://jim.com/rights.html
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    On the 'Rule of Law'
    Page Per Bylund
    "The answer is simple: Law is not made, it is discovered." ~ Per Bylund Now that is a "strike the root" statement!! That law is called the natural law (of man). "Law derives from our right to defend ourselves and our property, not from the power of the state. If law was merely whatever the state decreed, then the concepts of the rule of law and of legitimacy could not have the meaning that they plainly do have, the idea of actions being lawful and unlawful would not have the emotional significance that it does have." ~ Jame A. Donald Read more here: http://jim.com/rights.html Here: http://lysanderspooner.org/node/59 And here: http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” ~ Frederick Douglass
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Natural Law and Natural Rights An explanation of natural law and natural rights. Most of the old literature on natural law and natural rights, notably the writings of John Locke, has become incomprehensible because we no longer have the background knowledge of natural law that those writers assumed. This article makes the concept of natural law intelligible to modern people. Read it here: http://jim.com/rights.html
  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 8 years 1 week ago Page Mark Davis
    Hey there Wilt, When you say "Simply put, it really doesn't matter if public goods "exist" or not. What matters is this: Is it moral for you to take something from me, by force, and give it to someone else..." I half-agree. Taking it as read that no central planner knows the 'social utility functional' (and so could only expend public-goods output to the optimum by fluke)... it still DOES matter that public goods exist. It does it does it DOES, I say. If we in the anarcho-capitalist (I prefer 'akrato-capitalist' or 'voluntaryist' personally) fraternity close our eyes and stick our fingers in our ears at the mention of non-rival non-excludable (and potentially asymmetric) utility interdependence, then we consign ourselves to the marginalia of economics... and that is where we actually have the greatest likelihood of WINNING. BUT - even and here is where we all find ourselves in rabid agreement: the fact that public goods DO exist (in some utilitarian sense) DOES NOT justify the use of State force to extort resources from society in order to 'correct' the market failure. The reasons are primarily two: the easiest to recognise is the tendency of the State to expand well past the point where it does any tangible good. The rise of bureaucracy, X-inefficiency and the problem of organisational 'capture' are only exacerbated by the fact that a big pool of power will attract the most degenerate among us. The second is the most important: that - as you point out - it is wrong to extract resources by force, even if you think you will do good with them. {Leaving aside issues of extreme exigency - may I take your boat by force if my child is drowning and you refuse to lend me the boat? [Yes - I will compensate you later... ]}. As the best argument against Bentham goes: if 5 thugs get more utility from kicking an old man to death, than the old man loses... does that make it a net GAIN to social welfare? That second argument rests on the idea that individuals have rights, and no set of individuals can gain additional rights simply by grouping them: in a population of N we don't each have 1/Nth share in each other's rights which we can 'pool' whereby the biggest pool gets everyone's rights to do with as they wish. In fact, it is easy to frame a utilitarian argument for the anarchist position: that over time, the use of government to ameliorate the public goods problem, will - with probability ONE - lead to a reduction in social utility as a result of the abridgement of rights. Thus Rights are the ULTIMATE public good: so long as there is a slave anywhere in the world, we all suffer a loss of utility. As I have explained elsewhere, my journey to anarchism was relatively short: as an undergrad I was politically disengaged (although I already viewed all politicians as scum) until a lecture on Sortition given by the late Ross Parish that started at 5:30 p.m. on the first Friday of semester 2 in 1992 (Ross was still alive then, obviously). By 7p.m. that day, I was a proto-anarchist (or at worst a minarchist who favoured selection of political officeholders by lot as a mechanism for preventing the tendency of the political process being captured by Party interests and careerist rent-seekers). The following Monday I changed from a straight Accounting major with a compulsory one-unit in Economics, to straight Economics/Econometrics. In 1994 I did Public Finance - which sought to re-affirm the minarchist position by furnishing a utilitarian framework (public goods -> need for amelioration -> government as fixer ->progressive taxation [due to diminishing marginal utility of money]). But by then the damage was done (as far as me becoming an anarchist was concerned); Parish made us read Mill's "On Liberty", and Lysander Spooner's "No Treason", some Rothbard, some Nock, and some other material of that nature... as well as some Bentham to cleanse the palate. He was a gem. Interestingly, none of the folks with whom I worked in our academic 'think tank' had a brighter view of the political process than I did: we all saw them as self-interested parasites who were too lazy to work but too cowardly to steal without the force of the State behind them. Cheerio GT
  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 8 years 1 week ago
    On the 'Rule of Law'
    Page Per Bylund
    There are two things that amaze me - the first is the tendency of whipkissers (those who would have worn red coats during the Revolutionary War) to come over all pro-revolution on July 4th; especially if the State Death Machine has one of its 'heroes' fly a jet-powered baby-killer over the arena. The second is the tendency of the same sorts of people to blather about the sanctity of 'the law' and so forth, despite the fact that they, like everybody, choose which bits of 'the law' they are prepared to follow. As the 'war on drugs' shows, the political-parasite class can legislate until they turn blue - they can't make a law stick if it is divergently at odds with what a large swathe of people want to do. (And no, a large swathe of people don't want to kill, rape or commit fraud). Cheerio GT
  • Steve's picture
    Steve 8 years 1 week ago
    On the 'Rule of Law'
    Page Per Bylund
    So 1.6-gallon low-flush toilets would fall into which category? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_flush_toilet
  • Steve's picture
    Steve 8 years 1 week ago
    Porcupines
    Page Jim Davies
    >FSPers as shown by the reports about Porcfest (including your's) are openly welcoming and embracing NoStater's Porcupines seem to be divided into three groups of activists: those who work with the state (Politicos), those who actively oppose the state (Keeniacs), and those who ignore the state (Agorists). I think animosity arises only on the part of the Politicos, when the Keeniacs' antics threaten to discredit them by association. Fortunately there is little association. ;)
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 8 years 1 week ago
    On the 'Rule of Law'
    Page Per Bylund
    What you call "true law" are the rules people need to interact fruitfully with each other, and are thus severely limited in number, because there are few that people can both remember and reasonably agree on. On the other hand, the function of "legislated law" is to turn men into sheep. These laws are naturally almost innumerable. Too bad there are not better, more distinct terms for these two things. They are easily confused. Maybe there is a reason for that. Those who create "legislated law" crave the respectability that is enjoyed by "true law". When people say, "The Law must be obeyed," they are thinking things like "Thou shalt not murder," rather than, "All lawns must be kept mowed to a height less than 5 inches."
  • wkmac's picture
    wkmac 8 years 1 week ago
    Porcupines
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim, Thanks for the comments. Your's is just the latest in a number of op-ed's I read about Porcfest and all spoke well of the people attending and the information being passed and generated. The fact that for quite some time, how society self organized was controlled and monopolized by others but Porcfest allowed a true Freed market in which all other possible ideas could be discussed. When I first heard of FSP, I had to like the idea but it just sounded like another limited gov't pipedream in which the very root cause, gov't, would be left in place only to re-spread it's cancer once again at some point. What happens going forward is at this time an unlimited answer of potential but what I do find very encouraging is the FSPers as shown by the reports about Porcfest (including your's) are openly welcoming and embracing NoStater's and I find this market action very appealing and encouraging.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Whose side are you going to be on in the battle to defend your individual natural rights? "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 "Authoritarian utilitarians started by trying to transform the meaning of “good”, and they have continued to try, with some success, to change the meaning of words so as to make it impossible to express thoughts that question the legitimacy and authority of the state. They have partially succeeded with “law”, they are having some success with the word “right”. Thus in America civil rights now means almost the opposite of natural right. The utilitarians have constructed an artificial language in which it is impossible to express such concepts [as] “natural rights”, or any idea or fact that would reject the limitless, absolute, lawless and capricious power of the state, and they seek to impose that language on the world. Utilitarians usually argue in the same way that Marxists and behaviorists argue. They translate any statement you make into utilitarian speak, and then state their translation: “What you are really saying is...”. Since utilitarian speak is incapable of expressing any statement that would contradict the limitless and absolute power of the state, your statements are turned into nonsense, and they then contemptuously point out that what you are saying is nonsense. During the coming crisis we must keep our eyes fixed on the simple ancient truths of natural rights and natural law. We must discriminate between those who use force lawfully and those who use force unlawfully, and must act accordingly, we must discriminate between those who deal honorably and those who deal dishonorably, and must act accordingly. If we do that then we will have a functioning civil society." ~ James A. Donald http://jim.com/rights.html
  • Steve's picture
    Steve 8 years 1 week ago
    Porcupines
    Page Jim Davies
    At the beginning of the FSP, the organizers debated what the mascot should be. Initial suggestions were the usual eagle and snake, both trite and aggressive. I don't remember what genius thought up the porcupine, but fortunately today we are not called "eagles" or "snakes".
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Re: #3 We are unwitting accomplices when we blindly buy into, and especially when we ignorantly promote, the discrediting of any thing, individual or group the government is seeking to destroy, in this case our "natural rights (also called moral rights or inalienable rights)...rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity", "rights which can never be abridged because they are so fundamental". The only rights the state wants you to believe in are "Legal rights (sometimes also called civil rights or statutory rights)...rights conveyed by a particular polity, codified into legal statutes by some form of legislature (or unenumerated but implied from enumerated rights), and as such are contingent upon local laws, customs, or beliefs". Once more, for anyone interested in learning more about "man's rights", here is Ayn Rand's excellent treatise on that very subject. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=arc_ayn_rand_man_rights And, to entice you to read it, here is another excerpt from that treatise. "The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights," [which is the only way an individual can voluntarily lose any of his own natural rights]. "If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows." ~ Ayn Rand
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 8 years 1 week ago Web link Mike Powers
    Foreign Policy Magazine. Is that a well-known promoter of freedom? I notice Somalia made their list, primarily because there was no real government there to "help" their people be free. Yeah, makes sense. One gets the sneaking suspicion the real reason for this article was not to bash North Korea or Belarus, but to propagandize that anarchy and freedom are opposites. North Korea is window dressing in this article; Somalia (and therefore anarchism) are the real targets.
  • livemike's picture
    livemike 8 years 1 week ago Web link Mike Powers
    Those are good reasons, but I've got a better one which I detailed in my blog. (Somewhat long post, I think it's worth it). Thursday, September 25, 2008 The regulatory cycle or why new rules aren't the answer. Deregulation has taken a lot of the blame for the current crisis. Most of the people saying that conclude that if deregulation caused the problem, regulation can solve it. They are wrong. To understand why you must abandon the common, if largely unconscious assumptions about regulators and how they produce regulation. Generally people assume that wise, impartial regulators sit down, look objectively at the facts and, unswayed by intellectual fashion and the irrational exuberance or depression of the market and society, make wise, impartial, objectively based decisions. If that were true then why is it that such decisions are only made exactly when they are not needed, as is presently happening. Currently the US government is writing rules about overextending your company, investing too much in doubtful financial assets and everything nobody wants to do any more because it loses money. No doubt other governments are too. It's like making sure everyone has cleaned the leaves out of their gutters after a bushfire has demolished half the town. To understand why they're passing such laws and regulations now, you must understand the financial regulatory cycle and how it trails the monetary cycle. Stage one of the regulatory cycle is Crisis, caused by the excesses of monetary expansion. Crisis creates a demand for immediate action to combat the cause of the present catastrophe. The cause is however the state of the regulatory cycle some time in the past so correcting it has no immediate effect. Nevertheless the second stage, Action occurs. Regardless of the immediate effects of Action the monetary cycle moves on and things correct themselves. The Action may speed this up, slow it down, make it easier or harder, more expensive or cheaper. This leads to the third stage, Inefficency. During Inefficency actions taken during more frantic times are observed to be hampering the markets efforts to create wealth. Since the market is still in recovering from a bust nobody there is little chance they are actually preventing bad behavior anyway, since that only happens in the boom phase. Thus their effect is to impose large present costs for very small or nonexistent present gains. This leads to the fourth stage, Circumvention. Firms in the financial market do two things. Lobbying to remove the restrictions placed in stage 2 occurs to the general appathy of the population. Few if any voters and political masters understand the present rules and why or even if they're important. Resistance to selective deregulation is low as the circumstances that led to the need for the regulation are gone. Firms also develop practices that go around the current rules while having largely the same effects as the practices forbidden. This makes the original regulations even less important, even counterproductive if they simply shift activity to less transparent or accountable sections of the economy. Circumvention accelerates when during times of monetary expansion because during those time the need for caution and restraint is weakest. The combination of the monetary boom and Circumvention above leads back to Crisis. You might ask, "Is this cycle inevitable?". Might we act appropriately and promptly to prevent such a destructive turn of events. The answer is "Why would we?". During the times when such action is necessary by it's nature few people think it's warranted. If people were in general worried about the negative effects of asset price bubble then we would not have one, since a precondition of such a boom is that people don't think it's either happening or going to happen. To impose or keep regulations to prevent it happening regulators must go against the wishes of pretty much everyone who's paying attention to their activities. They must do this despite not being able to offer any evidence that their actions are warranted, predictions being notoriously difficult in economics. Those wanting to remove restrictions can point to solid evidence of costs in the here and now. In any case in many or even most cases they're right about the high costs and low benefits of regulation, because much of the regulation was passed in panic during stage 2 (Action) when it was felt there was little time to think through the costs and problems. A case could and will be made that the actions in the Action stage were hasty and ill-considered and possibly now out of date. A general mood of caution and pessimism will defeat this case, which is another way of saying regulation won't be abandoned until shortly before it's needed. And yes, my blogposts are like buses, none for yonks then three come at once.
  • Guest's picture
    Zampan0 (not verified) 8 years 1 week ago Web link Mike Powers
    "Gordon put her hands on her head and cried. She told the officer, "Don't you have anything better to do than to pick up a 50-year-old retired taxpayer for drinking a beer?" I'm surprised "the officer" didn't taser her and take her to jail too.
  • iliad's picture
    iliad 8 years 1 week ago
    The Great White Lie
    Page B.R. Merrick
    While I agree with Glen that, "the denial and self-deception people display in regards to the State is staggering"; I also think it is understandable. Look at the state's educational indoctrination system that starts in pre-school and continues on until the early twenties. That is a serious amount of brain-washing. Personally I was a conservative (Reagan-ite), turned libertarian (Ron Paul), finally becoming an educated Voluntaryist. It was through websites such as STR that I began to see the state for what it is; death. Excellent post B.R.!
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 8 years 1 week ago Web link Mike Powers
    The really sad thing about this story is that this sort of thing happens thousands of times a day everywhere in America but which is never reported on. If on the other hand you are a racial or ethnic minority this stuff is old news. We've always been treated this way.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 1 week ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    And history teaches us that the answer to question #2, "what [is] the first step...in a "democratic" government's modus operandi to destroy any thing (or any one)", discredit that which it intends to destroy, (generally with MSM as its more than willing accomplice). Why? Because (1) sometimes that is all that is needed to destroy or dis-empower an opponent and, (2) if physical destruction does become necessary, public outcry (vehement protest), if there is any, will be manageable.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 8 years 1 week ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Geez, lighten up, man. Can't you take a joke? I guess religious people are not going to have a sense of humor about their religion. Anyway as usual you ignored my point, that what matters where words are concerned, is how people generally use them, not how we wish they'd use them. Another way of saying this is, "Try to deal with reality." "Rights" is now a concept twisted to serve the needs of the state, not us. Your quotations of past authors, attempting to refute this, are irrelevant. They were writing about the state of affairs a long time ago, when "rights" still retained some utility for us. They were not writing in 2010.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Put Away the Flags
    Web link Derek Henson
    "Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?"
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    But, for anyone interested in learning more about "man's rights" here is Ayn Rand's excellent treatise on that very subject. And, to entice you to read it, here is an excerpt from that treatise that seems to fit the situation we now find ourselves in. "The concept of individual rights is so new in human history that most men have not grasped it fully to this day. In accordance with the two theories of ethics, the mystical or the social, some men assert that rights are a gift of God—others, that rights are a gift of society. But, in fact, the source of rights is man’s nature." http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=arc_ayn_rand_man_rights
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day B.R. Merrick. Though you are certainly entitled to your opinion, here is Ayn Rand's answer to question number one, (taken, not coincidentally, from the above treatise. ;-) ) "There are two potential violators of man’s rights: the criminals and the government." Of these two, "a government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights". (Ibid.)
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I will not waste my time communicating with anyone who resorts to ridicule and name-calling, and unlike you, Mr. Bonneau, I mean it when I say it.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    "I respond: The meaning of my words, because they are "my words", are what I say they are, Mr. Bonneau." I didn't realize I was debating with Humpty Dumpty: 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.' The problem with "rights" is that everyone has his own definition about what they are. No wonder the term has become meaningless. I am not arguing about what you call rights. I am arguing about the general usage, and the fact such usage aids the state.
  • Guest's picture
    cheneysshotgun (not verified) 8 years 2 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Black markets are illegal, and anything that is illegal carries with it the traits of violence and crime. Markets that are open to all to see are true markets. This article is spot on.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 8 years 2 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Thank you for the comment Wilt. I tried to balance the moral with the utilitarian arguments, but most of the arguments I have heard from statists for government provision of public goods are utilitarian. Liberals promoting welfare and conservatives promoting warfare tend to discount, if not totally ignore, the moral issue of the use of force required to implement their "policies". I agree that the use of force (violence) should be everyone’s primary concern as it is mine, but, alas, I don't see the level of concern from statists on their immoral positions. While I tried to bring up morality at every turn, in order not to lose the attention of statists targeted by this article, I focused on their utilitarian arguments for the state that public goods represent. This position is most strongly acerbated by conservatives in their argument for the "need" for a state in order to "protect" us. Accepting tax slavery as a precondition for safety seems cowardly as well as immoral. So I do not accept the premise that even if public goods exist in any form, that this justifies the need for a state. I was just attempting to render this premise a moot point. Addressing the "gun in the room that everyone ignores" when the state provides any good/service more directly will likely be the focus of another article in the future.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 8 years 2 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Thank you both for the thoughtful comments. Your last post above ScoobyTwo pretty much sums up my position. I didn't mean to suggest that if public goods didn't exist that we therefore must have anarchy; but to counter the argument I constantly hear that the existence of public goods means we can't have anarchy. I'd be interested in seeing you write an article on the subject that would hopefully do a better job than I did of explaining the first three. Mr. Transom - I'm glad to hear that you have escaped from the institution and are now in the "wild". That you still speak of "notional aggregate utility functional" and "publicness-aspects (asymmetric utility interdependence)" with passion reveals that you may have been there too long ;>) Anyways, this article was not meant to be a scholarly treatise on economics as there are plenty of those over at the Mises Institute and elsewhere including the links I provided. The Myth of Public Goods, in my view, isn't that someone can create a definition that includes various goods and services, but that this concept can then be used to justify the state. I hoped in this article to address the public perception of public goods (including many things that do not meet the given definition) in an effort to inspire non-economists (99.9% of the population) to question the status quo and the need for a state. As ScoobyTwo said the term is "newspeakish" and most of the world has only a very superficial understanding of the term. That said, I agree that some goods will be "underprovided" in anarchy if only temporarily and based on comparison to a theoretical optimum level. I have some problems with the belief in the ability of mathematical formulas and models to determine what the "optimum" level is that goods/sevices "should" be provided at which, as you pointed out, is always changing anyway. I also don't think Hoppe "constantly uses straw-man arguments" but will look a little closer now that you have mentioned it. I believe that free-market principles apply to all goods and services and state interference leads to unintended consequences and diminished results. Perhaps you guys have seen this (see address below), but it is a good article that includes some history on radio waves pertinent to this discussion. The courts were well on their way to settling how to allocate band-width issues via the use of private property rights when Hoover stepped in to license and control it. http://mises.org/daily/1662
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Before I can answer any of your four questions, Suverans2, I need to change "natural rights" to a term that I can accept as fact. I am going to endeavor to answer them as they are written, and replace in my mind the questionable term with "individuality." Here are my replies: 1. Death 2. Its existence, as a "democratic" government, like any other, cannot exist without first initiating coercion, which leads directly and immediately to death. 3. I have been, in the past, an unknowing accomplice to death. I continue to do so, because I am unwilling to make myself a martyr to an essentially death-oriented society. But I still have peaceful choices I can make where I am not being forced, and changes that can be made right now. 4. I am on the side of any individual that does not initiate coercion.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I wrote: Voltaire is reported to have said, "Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another...” With that in mind let us begin with something I found on Wikipedia. "Some philosophers and political scientists make a distinction between natural rights and legal rights. Legal rights (sometimes also called civil rights or statutory rights) are rights conveyed by a particular polity, codified into legal statutes by some form of legislature (or unenumerated but implied from enumerated rights), and as such are contingent upon local laws, customs, or beliefs. In contrast, natural rights (also called moral rights or inalienable rights) are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity. Natural rights are thus necessarily universal, whereas legal rights are culturally and politically relative." If we can agree “to”, (not necessarily “with”), these differentiations, we can move forward. If we cannot agree "to" these differentiations, we cannot move forward, we can only spin our wheels, (i.e. argue semantics), which as we all know is a total waste of time. I will continue, however, to put out brush fires (as in my last few posts) and to promote an understanding of individual natural rights in a polite manner.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I have a few of questions for both of you gentlemen. (1) Who (or what) do you suppose is the greatest enemy of man's individual natural rights? If you get that answer right, and I suspect that at least one of you will... (2) Do you know what the first step is in a "democratic" government's modus operandi to destroy any thing (or any one), and... (3) Are you an unknowing accomplice in that "first step"? And lastly... (4) Whose side are you going to be on in the battle to defend your individual natural rights?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau wrote: The meaning of a word depends on its general usage, not how you wish to use it. I respond: The meaning of my words, because they are "my words", are what I say they are, Mr. Bonneau. Which of course is why Voltaire reportedly wrote, "Define your terms...or we shall never understand one another...” And your government, (unless you have formally withdrawn your consent to be a member (seceded) and refuse to accept any member-only benefits), works in exactly that same manner.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    B.R. Merrick wrote: Suverans2 appears to be arguing from this standpoint: Because there are universal "laws," there are natural "rights." And I respond: You have put the cart before the horse. “Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.” I (and Ayn Rand) argue that it is only because there are “individual rights”, that a moral code (just laws) is possible.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    B.R. Merrick wrote: In ancient days, there were some groups of people who apparently decided that it was acceptable to execute homosexuals. Currently in this world, depending on where the woman finds herself located, she can cry, “Rape!” and have the guns of the state rush to her aid, or be taken out into the desert and stoned to death for someone else’s actions. In each instance above, “morality” plays a part. I respond: No sir, what plays the part in both of those is "the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity," which I'm sure you will agree may or may not have anything at all to do with right and wrong, i.e. morality. My thoughtful friend, try to imagine a world where there is no right and wrong. And, just because we humans have made mistakes, and will undoubtedly continue to make mistakes, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau wrote: The Wikipedia entry on "rights" proves my point. It is a hopeless mishmash that can mean anything. People claim a right to anything they want; a right to a free education for example. I respond: Free education is not a natural right, it is an "entitlement", which is defined in Black's 6th as a "right to benefits". You are "entitled" to this "benefit" if you consent to be a member of our political group, i.e. a citizen, it is just another carrot on the end of the stick!! Aside from that "free education" is an oxymoron, all education, even self-education, comes at a price.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    "With that in mind let us begin with something I found on Wikipedia." The Wikipedia entry on "rights" proves my point. It is a hopeless mishmash that can mean anything. People claim a right to anything they want; a right to a free education for example. Again, your distinction about natural rights is irrelevant. Go out and ask the average Joe and Jill what they have a right to. You will find the distinction does not exist for them. The meaning of a word depends on its general usage, not how you wish to use it. The issue of animals again proves my point. If you talk about natural rights, you have to admit animal rights. Where does that lead you? To PETA. To being a vegan. Sorry, I'm not going there. Animals do not have rights. They merely have a will to live. Likewise, we have no rights, but do have a will to live. "Rights" is just a meme in our head that has lost its utility. Your comment about not talking about PETA makes no sense. We can't use the existence of a group to prove a point? It is irrational to exclude them. "Rights" is a meme. Surely you agree? The only question here, is whether it is a useful meme. Whether it helps us or hurts us. I admit it was initially useful, but for the many reasons I have outlined before, it no longer is. It now aids the state more than it aids us.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I agree with Ayn Rand on many things, as I agree with you, Suverans2, and with Bonneau, on a great many points, but first of all, I think some of Rand's premises were false and others questionable. In the statement above, before I could say that I agree, I need to know what is “moral” before I can even begin to grasp a “moral code.” If you peruse my earlier articles, you will see a clear evolution of thought, because I obviously started writing articles when I believed in God, who I believed had a moral code. At this point, I am far more concerned with my premises than my opinions. The latter may be based on factual information, or just emotional response, but opinions themselves are never factual. I want my premises to be based on irrefutable fact. (For instance, my premise that “government is death.”) Is there anything factual about morality? A sizeable chunk of people on this land mass (and some others) are currently evolving their beliefs about homosexuals. In ancient days, there were some groups of people who apparently decided that it was acceptable to execute homosexuals. Currently in this world, depending on where the woman finds herself located, she can cry, “Rape!” and have the guns of the state rush to her aid, or be taken out into the desert and stoned to death for someone else’s actions. In each instance above, “morality” plays a part. Are people defining morality, a separate, knowable fact, incorrectly? Rand herself apparently thought of homosexuality as “disgusting,” and from my reading of Atlas Shrugged, she codified heterosexual sex quite narrowly. But how did she arrive at her conclusions about Dagny Taggart loving three men in succession to whom she was not married, yet those of us who do not wish to have heterosexual relations are “disgusting,” and I suppose “immoral”? Did she check her premise, as she urged others to do? Therefore, I have serious questions that are not yet resolved concerning “morality.” As I see it, I cannot base any of my beliefs at this time any longer on any “moral code” (and I had one hell of a strict moral code for decades when I was a believer), because I do not see anything factual or truthful about morality. Rand’s first sentence is quite provocative, and makes at least two massive assumptions. First of all, define “morality” and prove it with factual information. Secondly, why is “human society” not possible without it? Her second sentence, although tied directly to the first, makes a bit more sense with my understanding of individuality, because my calling the events in Waco in 1993 an atrocity is based on factual information about individuality, even though “atrocity” is a relative term. I wonder if Rand’s second statement would be more truthful if she had said: “Without the recognition of individual rights my moral code is not possible.” That statement would be much closer to how I see things now, excepting the use of the word “rights,” which at this point, is conditional on whether “rights” is the correct word for the natural phenomena in question, and whether or not “rights” are conditional on the existence of “natural law.” You wrote: “[D]o you feel that all animals have a ‘natural right’ to try to defend their life, in other words is it ‘justifiable’?” I don’t see anyone’s defense of his life as “justifiable,” except when I consider what I believe about individuality. I see it as logical, and I empathize with those who are put into such a difficult situation. Likewise, I see animals defending themselves as logical, and if the kitty cat in question is particularly cute, he can count on my empathy and assistance in the endeavor. “And, please, let's not bring ‘the PETA folks’ into a supposedly ‘rational’ discussion.” Agreed. I see the PETA organization as one more group of individuals clutching at The Ring. No thanks. Bonneau also said something that I think I may disagree with, to an extent. We are roughly in agreement over the use of the word “rights” in that I do not see evidence of anything that needs to be called such, as the natural phenomena in question do not seem to need this terminology. However, if I am ever convinced that the word “rights” is the correct or most useful term to describe these particular phenomena, I would say that just like the word “anarchy,” or perhaps even the word “liberal,” it is worth saving if its original definition has been perverted. I don’t think death-oriented individuals should be in charge of anything, certainly not semantic arguments. (I may change my mind and agree with Bonneau if I ever get enough evidence of the inevitable evolution of language.)
  • wkmac's picture
    wkmac 8 years 2 weeks ago Web link Cheryl Cline
    This is not new at all as it's been known since the Yardbirds covered the song before coming to be known as Led Zeppelin. A 2001' article (Shindig magazine) is just one example a decade ago suggesting what was commonly known. http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/itsaboutmusic/jakeholmes.pdf Ask Willie Dixon about the origins of Whole Lotta Love? And there are questions even about the origins of Stairway to Heaven. State priviledge of copyright argument aside, Holmes may have an uphill battle on his hands
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Good to see someone else weigh in, B.R. Merrick. You wrote: Suverans2 seems to define "right" differently than Bonneau. To him, it appears that "right" is a word being used in a discussion amongst individuals as to what is logical, correct, and natural, not legal. And I respond: I agree with all that have stated, in those two sentences. Voltaire is reported to have said, "Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another...” With that in mind let us begin with something I found on Wikipedia. "Some philosophers and political scientists make a distinction between natural rights and legal rights. Legal rights (sometimes also called civil rights or statutory rights) are rights conveyed by a particular polity, codified into legal statutes by some form of legislature (or unenumerated but implied from enumerated rights), and as such are contingent upon local laws, customs, or beliefs. In contrast, natural rights (also called moral rights or inalienable rights) are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity. Natural rights are thus necessarily universal, whereas legal rights are culturally and politically relative." If we can agree “to”, (not necessarily “with”), these differentiations, we can move forward. But, as Mr. Bonneau wrote, “some people are so submerged in their worldview, that it is literally impossible for them to understand and consider a concept outside of it,” and, as a consequence of this submersion, they will refuse to even consider that there are rights that do not emanate from the Almighty STATE, so it may not be possible. I must say, I find it impossible to fathom that any rational individual could honestly disagree with Ayn Rand's statement, “Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.”
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    B.R. Merrick, do you feel that all animals have a "natural right" to try to defend their life, in other words is it "justifiable"? Or, to word it conversely, do you feel it is “inexcusable” for an animal to try to defend his life? And, please, let's not bring “the PETA folks” into a supposedly “rational” discussion.
  • Wilton D. Alston's picture
    Wilton D. Alston 8 years 2 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Here's what I don't get, and I admit that my eyes tend to glaze over the more economic jargon I see. I agree with ScoobyDoo, particularly this comment, "I think your essay suffers most from accepting the assumption that the existence of a public good would necessitate state intervention." I do concede however, that the author's latest comment explains that question satisfactorily. Simply put, it really doesn't matter if public goods "exist" or not. What matters is this: Is it moral for you to take something from me, by force, and give it to someone else, regardless of justification? If that justification could be characterized as notional aggregate utility functional or justified via asymmetric utility interdependence is irrelevant. The notion of anarchy is not based (necessarily) upon a deduction that things will be better distributed, or more efficiently produced, although far too many of us who support it use these utilitarian arguments from time to time. If theft is immoral, it doesn't matter how many equations one can produce, or the complexity of the arguments around them. Allow me to end my post with another straw man, or maybe two. Consider: It is possible that the economy of the South would not support the wholesale release of all chattel slaves. The job market might not absorb them. The housing market might not allow them to be efficiently housed. So what? Don't keep people as slaves, because is it immoral, period. Consider: It is possible that a road built by a private firm might have a toll cost--assuming that tolls are how the road is financed--that is too high for all prospective users in a locale. So? (This is not an uncaring question, and no, I don't club baby kittens for sport!) The utility and availability for use of any (most?) good varies all over the place. Scarcity, anyone? In fact, statist measures tend to exacerbate this variation. For example, public schools are financed by taxes on people who don't use them (no children), and people who have left them in disgust (private school parents). It would seem then, that utility is asymmetrical regardless of paradigm, and is therefore irrelevant to the "why" of anarchy versus statism. That I might think of a situation where a good might be "underprovided"--a designation that itself seems based upon omniscience--in anarchy simply puts anarchy in the same place as statist approaches, only without the inherent theft.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    "...natural rights, existed BEFORE THEIR RECOGNITION BY POSITIVE LAW." The way this looks to me now, is that this concept of rights came from ordinary people (NOT the ruling class) trying to establish and claim their "power of free action." They bundled up all those ideas and referred to them as "rights". And back then, it was a useful concept. But the ruling class has obviously co-opted the term, and twisted it to their use. No surprises there. Thus Obama et. al. can get a lot of mileage out of the notion that we have a "right" to free health care. Just as Hayek put it in "The Road to Serfdom", "Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them." Talking about a "right" to free health care obviously tramples the kinds of rights the folks who coined the term "right" were originally talking about. "Right", as used generally, denotes both a thing, and it's opposite! It must be asked whether the word "right" has outlived its usefulness. Why, after all, use the phrase "right to life" when it cements the state's advertised role in protecting life? It certainly doesn't help much when libertarians go around saying things like, "the only legitimate role of government is protecting our rights". What people hear when that is said, is that government should give us health care! They also hear that government is legitimate. Quite the wrong messages to get across... Yes, we struggle to make the distinction between "positive" and "negative" rights (great choice of terms, that), but it of course goes over almost everyone's head. I say, stop using a term that advances the agenda of the state. Rather than saying, "I have a right to life," say instead, "I will live!" Suverans2 comments, 'If you murder someone, i.e. take an innocent life, "in a stateless society", you will be deemed guilty of a crime by your neighbors... because you have violated that individual's natural right to life...' I have to dispute that. No one goes around thinking we must have retribution against murderers because they violated the victim's "right to life". They think retribution is needed because they valued the victim or empathized with her (because she was innocent), and because they don't want to live in a society where people can be killed willy-nilly. If I killed someone who was robbing me, they would say instead, "Good riddance to bad rubbish." Even though such a person had as much a right to life as some innocent victim had. Nope, "rights" have had their day. Time to move on. BTW, while I'm thinking "rights" is a term that has outlived its usefulness, I still think the terms "anarchy" and "anarchism" are useful. But that's another argument... Thanks for joining the discussion, Merrick. It's good to have a 3rd party in this, to help clarify things.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Suverans2 seems to define "right" differently than Bonneau. To him, it appears that "right" is a word being used in a discussion amongst individuals as to what is logical, correct, and natural, not legal. I think Bonneau is trying to emphasize that rights are normally perceived by others as something for government to protect, which is why they always act appalled when a certain politician or policeman violates some perceived legal right. Therefore, they can look at what happened at Waco and say that it was "unconstitutional," as if that's what makes mass murder "bad." I see it now as a death-oriented activity (for more than one reason) and anti-individual, both of which I can defend rationally, using fact. Therefore, I submit that my conclusion about that atrocity is factual (although my use of the word "atrocity" is opinion). In other words, I put myself in the place of one of the victims and say to myself, "I don't want that to happen to me." I am more inclined to agree with Bonneau here, especially this part of the article: "I have seen someone contend that this will to live is itself the 'right to life.' Of course, since all animals have the same drive, then they all must have a 'right to life,' just like the PETA folks claim." On the other hand, Suverans2 says the following: "And, the only laws enacted by governments that truly have authority are those which derive said authority from the natural law of man." (Suverans2, I am assuming that because this was not surrounded by quotes in the original, that these are your written words?) Part of the problem with this statement is that for a government to base its laws solely on "natural rights," it would have to cease to exist, because the government initiates coercion against individuals with "natural rights" by claiming authority without consent. Suverans2 bases his belief in rights on "natural law." Of course, the phrase "natural law" is used to describe natural phenomena like gravity, erosion, the speed of light, the tides, orbits, plant growth, etc. We call these phenomena "laws" because the discovery of these phenomena and the continued study of them reveals certain predictable outcomes: erosion by water and air formed the Grand Canyon (thank God, if any) and always will, the moon orbits around the earth in predictable cycles forming the tides and always will, etc. We call it "law" because that is what man-made laws are designed to do: make our behavior as predictable as natural phenomena. Suverans2 appears to be arguing from this standpoint: Because there are universal "laws," there are natural "rights." But can these natural phenomena truly be called "laws"? I guess I need to know for certain what the definition of "law" is. Suverans2 also says: "If you murder someone, i.e. take an innocent life, 'in a stateless society', you will be deemed guilty of a crime by your neighbors... because you have violated that individual's natural right to life." But there is also the natural phenomenon of "empathy," which is the individual's ability to take in information with the five senses, subject it to abstract, rational thought in the brain, and draw a conclusion based on that reasoning, further affecting that individual's emotional response. I empathize with people who are murdered, because as an individual, I do not want that to happen to me, nor do I want it to happen to anyone whose company I enjoy. I see it as destructive to my own volition. I do not need recognition of a "natural law" or a "right" to wish for it to end. I think "justice" grows out of empathy as well, as we observe continually how much we depend on one another for greater comfort and longer life. ...Much like I depend on this fascinating discussion for further edification.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 8 years 2 weeks ago Web link Robert Kaercher
    "She declined to say whether terrorism suspects must be warned of the right to remain silent..." I can see it now. Terror suspects are Mirandized just prior to getting their fingernails pulled out. Justice has been served!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Define "right". I just want to know what you think the word means, in a general sense. Do try not to use the word "right" in the definition of "right". You say, "The 'right to life' is the “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy it" ~ Paul Bonneau This has already been covered 1 week and 5 days ago, but once more, I have never used the word “right” in a definition of “right”, as you seem to infer. I post it again here to refresh your memory. Suverans2 1 week 5 days ago In reply to: What Is to Be Done With the Statists? Page by: Paul Bonneau Paul, that was not a definition! This was a definition. "...right, i.e. [that is to say] "Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession..." to your life, liberty and justly acquired property..." ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language And this is another definition, and "please pay attention" to the bolded part of this definition. “Rights” are defined generally as “powers of free action.” And the primal rights pertaining to men are undoubtedly enjoyed by human beings purely as such, being grounded in personality, and existing antecedently to their recognition by positive law. ~ A Dictionary of Law (c.1891), page 1044 "Legal claim" is of course, a notion dependent on the state. Thus you need the state (the most murderous agency in history) to have a right to life. Of course that is silly. ~ Paul Bonneau Of course it's silly, Mr. Bonneau, read what was written and emboldened, and what I politely asked you to “please pay attention” to in that last definition of “Rights”, 1 week and 5 days ago, existing ANTECEDENTLY to their recognition by positive law; one of their own law dictionaries admits that the “primal rights pertaining to men”, i.e. natural rights, existed BEFORE THEIR RECOGNITION BY POSITIVE LAW. In a stateless society, there would not be any such notion as "legal". You would just live. I "hold, use and enjoy" my life without recourse to any right, or a state to make that "legal". I do not need fanciful and state-sanctioned notions like "rights" to do it. ~ Paul Bonneau If you murder someone, i.e. take an innocent life, "in a stateless society", you will be deemed guilty of a crime by your neighbors, (if you can refrain from a knee-jerk-reaction to my use of that word), because you have violated that individual's natural right to life, his “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy [his life]”. By violating that innocent individual's “right to life”, you have voluntarily forfeited your own “just and legal claim to hold, use or enjoy [your life]”, notwithstanding that you may still try. What that loss of rights will really mean, in the last analysis, is that no rational individual(s) will aid you in the defense of your life. Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible. ~ Ayn Rand
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 8 years 2 weeks ago
    Life Without Rights
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I do hope you are enjoying this discussion as much as I am.
  • Mitrik_Spanner's picture
    Mitrik_Spanner 8 years 2 weeks ago Web link Don Stacy
    I like the couch surfing idea. Thirty years ago I hitchhiked between the U.S. midwest and the Rocky Mountain region quite a few times. I did a lot of totally informal couch surfing and camping in those days. This seems like a good way to recreate the fun with less risk, now that I'm not so young and willing to endure hardship. And of course the mutual aid/spontaneous order aspect is a big plus.