The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity: The Principles of Liberty

Column by Lawrence M. Ludlow

Exclusive to STR

The new book by Trevor Z. Gamble – The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity (published in paperback and Kindle editions, 2011) – provides a welcoming introduction to ideas that go a long way toward resolving many of our contemporary problems and the deeper concerns behind them. Like many of us, the author realizes that something is amiss in the world. Then he takes us on a journey to find out what is wrong and how it relates to our understanding (or misunderstanding) of politics, economics, human rights – and ultimately, the idea of freedom itself.
Mr. Gamble opens his book like the 12th Century thinker, Bernard of Chartres, by acknowledging his debt to writers who came before him – political scientists, psychologists, and economists who enabled him, in effect, to stand on their shoulders so that he can see a bit farther than they did. And the first thing he sees is that we can do away with the tiresome convention of thinking about politics in terms of “left” and “right” with all of the name-calling that goes with it. And it’s not enough, says the author, to point to the villains of history to find out why things have gone wrong. After all, every nightmare-toting dictator in the history of the world was able to get there because he (or she) had plenty of followers willing to do the dirty work. In other words, it’s not just them….
In his next chapter, Gamble identifies the concept of “human rights” as a basic source for gaining insights into and unraveling the problems that surround us. He explains and adopts the excellent definition of rights laid out by Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe: self-ownership. Consequently, he defines the most important human right as the right of ownership that one has over one’s own body. Better yet, he explains that it is the only self-evident “right” that we can have, and from it, he deduces our ethical concepts of rights to personal property and the constellation of ideas that come into play with that realization. In doing so, he explores the non-aggression axiom that lies at the basis of all fruitful and peaceful human interactions – stressing, as he does so, the inviolability of all human beings as ends in themselves.
Once he has marked out this intellectual and ethical territory, he goes on to explore topics such as equality, property rights, government entitlements, collectivism, majority-rules politics, the natural environment, Third World poverty, and related issues. This would be a daunting task if he didn’t do two things that make his book particularly enjoyable to read.
·      First he enlivens his narrative by breaking it up with fascinating quotations from figures that loom large in literature, politics, and history. What makes his use of these quotations especially useful, however, is how and when he inserts them into the text. These quotes appear in the most unexpected places, and they call a complete halt to our thinking – forcing us to engage our minds and question our assumptions. The reader is continually shocked by the unsavory pedigree of words uttered by a number of “favorite” American icons. At other times, these quotations simply reinforce what Mr. Gamble has attempted to explain. All of them, however, are delightful in the context of the narrative and well worth the price of the book.
·      Second, he ends each chapter with a section entitled “I Object!” It’s the author’s way of entering into a dialog with readers who may disagree strongly with the things he has been writing. By including these objections, Mr. Gamble anticipates some of the most common complaints that can be registered against his viewpoint, and he addresses them fairly. This alone sets him apart from writers who are so convinced of their brilliance that they can’t imagine anyone disagreeing with them about anything.
Once we are grounded in the ethics of self-ownership and non-aggression as the bases for constructive human relationships, Mr. Gamble’s remaining chapters address the following topics:
·      Money, central banking, hard currency, debt, and the source of inflation and economic manipulation
·      Taxes and their meaning in our lives and in our relationship with others
·      The real meaning of profits, capitalism, democracy, and the nation-state
·      The how and why of bailouts, price fixing, tariffs, innovation, labor unions, Social Security, and tax-funded undertakings
The penultimate chapter is one of my favorites. The author devotes it to dispelling a good number of commonly held myths. Among them are favorites such as the following:
·      Self-sufficiency (a favorite of nationalists)
·      Local buying (its good and bad points)
·      Inequality and its value to us
·      The idea that one person’s loss is another’s gain
·      Free trade and its imposters
·      Employers as tyrants
·      The meaning of capitalism vis-à-vis communism
In his final chapter, Mr. Gamble asks a thought-provoking question: what should we do? He clearly wishes to see improvements come quickly, but how are we to accomplish change? Hint: not by depending upon promises by politicians. After exploring a number of different approaches to change, he seems to choose the route that all of us are capable of enacting – changing how we ourselves interact with others and calmly discussing our insights with friends and acquaintances. This is not a call for destroying or compelling or storming or squatting. It is a call to reasoned discussion and an invitation to make changes in our own lives – including how we interact with our own children.
And that brings us back to where we began, doesn’t it? After all, if we can raise a generation of children who have been respected and treated as inviolable human beings, won’t they be able to stand on our shoulders and see even farther than we do? And if you are passionate about human rights and liberty (but find it difficult to express yourself), The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity can do your talking for you. Try it, and see for yourself.
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Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
Columns on STR: 37

Lawrence Ludlow is a freelance writer living in San Diego.  


WhiteIndian's picture

Regarding Lockesian "self-ownership:"

If one owns property, and if people are NOT property, then the concept of self-ownership is farcical.

Using the word we use to describe a relationship to property dehumanizes and degrades people into mere property to be controlled.

And I think malevolent capitalists/libertarians attempt to dehumanize and degrade humans on purpose, to soften them up, so that the rich can control and own the poor, and the poor will accept it in their minds.

An "owned," controlled human is a slave, whether part-time as a wage-slave, or full time as a chattel-slave.

Now, imagine this scenario:

LIBERTARIAN MASTER: Do you own your body?

MOM: [holding sick child] Yes.

MASTER: And what can you do with property you own?

MOM: Sell it?

MASTER: Correct. Do you voluntarily sell yourself to me so I'll pay for your child's health care?

MOM: Yes, I'm desperate.

MASTER: Answer yes or no, and then sign here.

MOM: Yes. [signs contract]

MASTER: Did you once own your body, bitch?

SLAVE MOM: Yes, Master.

MASTER: Now I own you. What can an owner do with any property?

SLAVE MOM: Use it?

MASTER: That's right, bitch.

[Slave-mom is bound and whipped bloody.]


MASTER: Shut up. What else can an owner do with property?

SLAVE MOM: Dispose of it?

MASTER: That's right, bitch.

[BANG!] [fap fap fap fap fap fap fap]

MASTER: Ah, another profitable title for Libertarian Snuff Films, Inc. that should find a large market. And I think I'll sell that bitch's little twirp on the Rothbardian Child Auction tomorrow.

Think that's absurd? It's no more absurd than the BDSM ownership and use of humans proposed by "free"-market economist and Senior Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute for Austrian Economics, as follows:

"He'd like more than anything else to boss me around, and then whip me every time I displeased him....Slave-master Rafe would never shell out the cold cash if, after he paid, I could haul him into court on assault and battery charges when he whipped me."

~Walter Block
Voluntary Slave Contracts

"Thou shalt own own thy neighbor as thyself" isn't what the Jesus character spoke, and for good reason -- humans aren't The Ultimate Resource to be used and controlled.

What better words can we use to describe how we regard both ourselves and our fellow sojourners on our home planet?

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

WhiteIndian: Why do you always quibble about words instead of discussing ideas. I first came across your tangential musings on Alex Knight's observation of Nazi symbolism in the military culture of the U.S. soldiers. If you stepped off of your soapbox, you might realize that we're basically on the same side here. Sometimes your comments make sense (today, at least, they do -- even if they misconstrue the meaning), but on Alex Knight's article, you really were not coherent at all:

WhiteIndian's picture

Words convey ideas; words are the premises behind ideas.

In case you haven't heard.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

There you go again creating confusion where none existed -- in a sentence so short that it was easily avoided. Let's try it this way:
"Words convey ideas; words convey premises, which are a kind of idea."

WhiteIndian's picture

Why do you always quibble about words instead of discussing ideas? The idea being:

Dehumanization of people by objectifying and degrading them as property.

• Rapist degrade people they want to control as "bitches."

• Soldiers dehumanize people they want to control as "sand niggers."

• Capitalists objectify people they want to control as "property" to be bought and sold. (Now with new and improved "voluntary" whitewashing for such slavery.)

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Now we see the WhiteIndian meltdown. He attacks as sexists and war-mongers the one philosophical group that has consistently opposed war ( is the oldest antiwar web site and is known for opposing the interventions as far back as Yugoslavia) and has never referred to women in the manner he does.

WhiteIndian's picture

Only a mendacious "grievance collector" would think those examples of objectification, meant to illustrate common cases of objectification and depersonalization, were all applied to libertarianism.

However, you bring up the subject of war. Self-styled "free-market" types aren't at all consistent on war.

Ayn Rand lauded the genocide of 90,000,000 invasion/occupation victims. And in a rather racist way, as follows:

"[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land ... Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent." ~Ayn Rand, speech at the US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

Plus, there's nothing like a good ol' libertarian police beat-down on those damn long-haired hippies that are ruining property values where they hang out:

"Cops must be unleashed ... unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares?" ~Murray Rothbard

Libertarians claim to be non-aggressors, but they merely whitewash the aggression they're willing to commit, without truthfully identifying it as aggression.

Mark Davis's picture

Putting aside that you obviously have some "mommy issues" to work out, the above tirade reveals a profound dislike for personal freedom and liberty and/or a lack of respect for individual persons. Your previous posts promoting the collectivist ideal of egalitarianism while demeaning hierarchical social structures are, well, immature. No objectification intended. I understand that you must feel like a collectivist martyr entering the lion’s den to take on the demonic "libertarian capitalists"; thus the combative attitude which I too can find entertaining at times. But if you really seek the truth then may I suggest you consider the more gentle reasoning that tzo and others here have offered with a more open mind.

Anyway, the great purpose of organizing society (e.g. governing) in a world of scarcity is to determine how individuals may live together peacefully. That is how to minimize violence while agreeing to what justifies the use of violence. Libertarians start with the basic premise of self-ownership as a self-evident axiom that must be the foundation of organizing a peaceful society. This axiom should lead to an understanding and acceptance of the primacy of property rights when considering the sustenance we all require to stay alive. This ideal is most often termed the non-aggression principle; and Austrian Economics offers logical explanations for human actions that follow this principle.

My friend Jerry prefers to term this principle as The Principle of Equal Freedom as the basis of Non-Coercive Government which he believes should be the basis of free societies. I hope to finish up a review of Jerry’s book on this subject by the end of the year and perhaps his choice of words will be more palatable to your deeply felt prejudices and help you to better understand this concept.

WhiteIndian's picture

Egalitarianism isn't "collectivist" in a Non-State (band or tribe) sociopolitical typology. Collectivist Stalin killed egalitarian Non-State society peoples in Siberia with the abandon that Capitalist America killed egalitarian Non-State families on the land here on Turtle Island.

Egalitarianism is an extremely strong trait in humans, as evidenced by low sexual dimorphism, and the complete lack of sexual dichromaticism (such as our evolutionary cousins, the red-ass baboons) demonstrate. Egalitarianism is as much a part of you, as a human, as walking upright.

Hierarchy is a 65 million year evolutionary throwback. A devolution. Those silk power ties and silk handkerchiefs I have in my closet (I play a red-ass baboon fairly well, being a reluctant alpha male in this temporary hierarchy we call city-Statism) are an artificial display of hierarchy, yet, quite anti-human.

So I can match the combative persona of "[so-called]free"-market fundamentalists.

We don't live in a world of scarcity. We live in a world of abundance. Or at least, used to for 99% of human existence, until agricultural city-Statism's hierarchy started profiting from the hell it created for those lower on the pyramidal hierarchy.

Do dolphins live in a world of scarcity?
Do crows live in a world of scarcity?


Scarcity is an artificial construct, meant to make you submit to the hell that agricultural City-Statism creates to funnel wealth up the hierarchical pyramid into "higher, tighter, and righter hands."

Religion was used in the first, Sumerian, civilization, to effect compliance. Now religio-economic fundamentalism is used to effect compliance to the hierarchy.

And you're complying, as designed, and loosing freedom as a result.

Quit the deductive logic built on false premises.

Begin thinking inductively from empirical data.

While I work on my "mommy issues." (Anybody in a brutally hierarchical agricultural city-State (civilization) has them, so you work on 'em too, eh?)

Mark Davis's picture

"Egalitarianism isn't 'collectivist' in a Non-State (band or tribe) sociopolitical typology."

Of course everybody wants everybody to be equal. But what does that mean in the real world? Everybody is different by nature, which is a good thing. My experience with people promoting egalitarianism is they seek equal results (which are impossible) to be enforced by institutional violence. Even in your idealistic pre-agricultural world, the tall people could reach fruit higher up on the tree and faster runners could avoid predators better than the rest. Egalitarianism is a childish construct totally void of any empirical precedent. If you have an alternative view of egalitarianism and empirical data to support it, then I would love to hear it.
Hierarchies are not bad in and of themselves; the problem arises when they are created and maintained by violence. Respect worthy actions that elevate some persons to positions of superior respect is a voluntary phenomena that is as human as “walking upright”. Leaders that are followed voluntarily result in social organizations that benefit all, including the followers (or they would not voluntarily follow). It is when violence is used or threatened to create or maintain a hierarchy that they are wrong. You seem to have a total lack of respect for anything.

"Do dolphins live in a world of scarcity?"

Yes. Is the amount of water in the world infinite? Is the amount of fish available to eat unlimited? Are there no other dolphins that compete for these resources?

This position really puzzles me and again gives me the impression that you view the world with child-like wonder. Do you really believe that the world has unlimited resources? What about locally attainable resources available to any creature? Do you really believe that dolphins and crows don’t compete with each other for food?

"Quit the deductive logic built on false premises."

What false premises? Your profound misunderstanding of those premises does not make them false.

"Begin thinking inductively from empirical data.” "

The epistemological problems should be obvious to someone with your intelligence. How do you recognize, choose and organize the massive volume of "data" in the world without a philosophical basis of understanding? How do you know if the data you are making conclusions from is accurate, complete or even pertinent without a framework to analyze it?

Both inductive and deductive reasoning should be used in the search for knowledge. They go hand in hand when it is truth that you seek. Using only inductive reasoning without the benefits of deductive reasoning results in serial misunderstandings of cause and effect. The snobbery of scientism reveals the void inherent in the character of those that worship it. It has no soul.

Finally, I must ask: Do you have any principles to live by other than vague references to egalitarianism? Do you have any ideals that you aspire to? How do you feel about the use of violence? The division of labor?

WhiteIndian's picture

Libertarians always misconstrue egalitarianism. Egalitarianism isn't "equal results." It's equal sociopolitical power, a lack of power structures. Only in an egalitarian society is a human completely free to act as a sovereign individual, and that is exactly what anthropologists observe.

"Historically, people in non-state societies are relatively autonomous and sovereign. They generate their own subsistence with litde or no assistance from outside sources. They bow to no external political leaders."

Egalitarianism isn't a "childish construct." There are whole volumes written about evolutionary biology and how egalitarianism developed in humans.

So right there is one of your false premises.

And you're misconstruing my previous statement. There are not unlimited resources in the world, anybody knows that. But the world is naturally abundant, so abundant that paleolithic people have to work only a fraction of the time civilized people work. It was the Original Affluent Society.

Regarding division of labor, which Austrian types hold in high esteem: A professional violence class was one of the very first divisions of labor.

Mark Davis's picture

All I get from your posts is that you think we should live in small roving bands of hunter-gatherers. Egalitarianism isn't one of my premises; it is one of yours. I look at ideas like "We should all be equal" or "We should all be happy" as self-evident, utopian and short on practical applicability. I’m more interested in determining how we can move forward reorganizing society in the real world. The non-aggression principle is one such basis. Do you have any suggestions (besides killing off 99% of the population - which is what it would take to go back to being in said roving bands)?

WhiteIndian's picture

Maximum freedom, personal autonomy, and individual sovereignty is found in egalitarian Non-State sociopolitical typologies. This is hard-won knowledge from the last half century of anthropology and archeology and evolutionary biology.

If you want to reorganize today's society, and I think that is a noble goal -- it certainly is brutal and hellish as it is -- then you really need to catch up on the knowledge that debunks several libertarian premises. Rand, Mises, Rothbard, etal were horribly misinformed.

Let's go over a few key points on which libertarian are wrong:

1. Egalitarianism isn't evil. It isn't collectivism. It's a observed facet of human evolution, it increased our survival rate, and is arguably our most defining trait.

2. Paleolithic tribal life wasn't "nasty, brutish, and short;" it was rather the "Original Affluent Society." The whole litany of Hobbesian mythology has been debunked by the last 60 years or so of archeology and anthropology. Yet all agricultural city-Statists -- libertarians, conservatives, leftists -- parrot it.

3. Land enTITLEment "rights" are a big-government Regulatory scheme over the home planet's surface to restrict the free movement of Non-State societies. Such "rights" are established by brutal invasion (e.g., the Trail of Tears) and enforced by threat of violence in a continual occupation -- thus violating the Non-Aggression principle. Stanley Diamond's first sentence in his volume "In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization," states accurately, "Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home." Attorney Jeff Vail does a superb job of exposing the difference between legitimate property rights and illegitimate property rights in his book "A Theory of Power."*

Regarding "going back to primitivism:" it's going to happen to some extent or another, whether you like it or not. Agricultural civilization is as much of a cheating scheme as is fiat money, and thus, the city-State (and its faux financing) always collapses. We're in the beginnings of a catabolic collapse now. I think we're watching The Final Empire** go down.
* Ownership represents nothing more than a power-relationship—the ability to control. The tribal institution of “Ownership by use” on the other hand, suggests simply that one can only “own” those things that they put to immediate, direct and personal use to meet basic needs—and not more. A society crosses the memetic Rubicon when it accepts the abstraction that ownership can extend beyond the exclusive needs of one individual for survival. (Read Jason Godesky on Ownership) Abstract ownership begins when society accepts a claim of symbolic control of something without the requirement of immediate, direct and personal use. Hierarchy, at any level, requires this excess, abstract ownership—it represents the symbolic capital that forms the foundation of all stratification.
~Jeff Vail
"A Theory of Power" Online
Chapter 9 - Forward, to Rhizome

** The Final Empire: The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future
by William H. Kötke

Mark Davis's picture

Another wrong premise about libertarians that you keep repeating is that we accept the Hobbesian world view. I even wrote an article debunking that view here:

To wit:

"No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." ~ Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

"The above premise is flat wrong. The state did not create arts, letters, or society. The state cannot eliminate fear, poverty, loneliness or violence: it institutionalizes them. The premise of state worshipers that life is "nasty, brutish and short" ignores what individuals are capable of when left free. It is the state that leads to conditions making life unbearable, not liberty. The state is based on restricting, controlling and expanding its power. Society is based on respect and trust for and among individuals."

I’m actually sympathetic with your views on how wonderful life was in the Garden of Eden. Who isn’t? I also am on a modified "Caveman Diet" that avoids grains (gluten) and other sources of sugar and carbohydrates. It’s basically eating vegetables, fruits and meat. It took some getting used to as I love eating bread, grits, pasta, rice and ice cream, but I do feel better and have lost weight. I still like walking in the woods, fishing and fresh air. Free love would also be great, but my wife probably won’t go for it. The thing is that The Garden of Eden is a lost paradise. I will do what I can to be a sovereign individual in the modern world by making choices that positively impact my physical, psychological and spiritual health consistant with this ideal. You and anybody else can do the same. But The Garden of Eden is gone forever and we have to live in a crowded world. A world of scarcity creates conditions that require peaceful methods to reduce conflict. The non-aggression principle and respect for property rights have proven to be the best methods for accomplishing this goal.

WhiteIndian's picture

Fine business, Mark, on avoiding grain; I concur, and have improved my health greatly. It's good to see a few people are catching on to the nutritional facet of the critique of civilization -- agricultural city-Statism (civilization) makes us sick, as Mark Cohen documents.(1) In fact, there is a whole host of diseases called "Diseases of Civilization" and "Civilization Syndrome." Dr. Torrey devotes a whole chapter to the evidence that schizophrenia itself is a recent "disease of civilization."(2)

But let's get to the heart of libertarianism: economics.

The best metaphor for the agricultural city-State (civilization is a prison,(3) as Daniel Quinn puts it. Many other writers, especially anthropologists, recognize this as they look at the data, as does psychiatrist R.D. Lang in his third chapter in his The Politics of Experience. Civilization is brutal, and unlike how most liberarian writers think, in actuality, civilization imprisoned humans into a rigid hierarchy.

Straight to property rights: if civilization is a prison, abstract land property rights are the walls.

Those walls are a big-government entitlement program to regulate and restrict the free movement of people to live a Non-State lifeway.

In other words, libertarians WANT the prison walls, and then call them "freedom." Mention that the walls are what enslaves humanity to agricultural city-Statism, and they have a hissy fit.

Attorney Jeff Vail does a good job of deconstructing the libertarian/capitalist perspective of property rights in his book A Theory of Power.(4) He refers to Jason Godesky who also brings up how Lockesian property rights are based on monotheistic hierarchy.(5)

The following hierarchical structure is what most libertarians believe, even if they've somewhat secularized it, the core magical thinking of the culture remains:

WOMAN (submits to husband)
ANIMALS (submits to husbandry)
NATURE (only valuable if used by humans)

How did the garden-of-Eden Mesopotamian cedar forest get deforested and desertified into the hellish Iraqi desert? City-Statist "property rights" on clay tablets.

It's mine, God gave it to to use, and I can use it as I will.

That is deforesting and desertifying our home planet, and western christian civilization has greatly intensified the destruction.(6) It's only taken a short time to lose half the topsoil in the Midwest.
(1) Health and the Rise of Civilization
Mark Nathan Cohen
Yale University Press, 1989
excerpt from pp. 131-141 here:

(2) Schizophrenia and civilization
E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.;idno=heb02208

(3)A Condensation of Daniel Quinn Thought
Part 1: The Problem is Civilization

(4) The abstract notion of ownership serves as the single, greatest perpetuator of hierarchy. When one steps back and examines the notion of “owning” something, the abstraction becomes readily apparent. Ownership represents nothing more than a power-relationship—the ability to control. The tribal institution of “Ownership by use” on the other hand, suggests simply that one can only “own” those things that they put to immediate, direct and personal use to meet basic needs—and not more. A society crosses the memetic Rubicon when it accepts the abstraction that ownership can extend beyond the exclusive needs of one individual for survival. (Read Jason Godesky on Ownership) Abstract ownership begins when society accepts a claim of symbolic control of something without the requirement of immediate, direct and personal use. Hierarchy, at any level, requires this excess, abstract ownership—it represents the symbolic capital that forms the foundation of all stratification.
~Jeff Vail
A Theory of Power
Chapter 9 - Forward, to Rhizome

(5) "To date, however, no philosopher has ever successfully divorced Lockesian property rights from monotheism."
~ The Right to Property
by Jason Godesky | 18 July 2005

(6) "Our science and technology have grown out of Christian attitudes toward man's relation to nature which are almost universally held not only by Christians and neo-Christians but also by those who fondly regard themselves as post- Christians. Despite Copernicus, all the cosmos rotates around our little globe. Despite Darwin, we are not, in our hearts, part of the natural process. We are superior to nature, contemptuous of it, willing to use it for our slightest whim."
~ The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis
by Lynn White, Jr.
Science, 10 March 1967: Vol. 155 no. 3767 pp. 1203-1207

tzo's picture

Self-ownership is an inalienable right. So much for your dialogue. If you would like to invent some other words besides 'property' and 'ownership' when discussing one's self, fine. But the concept holds.

I control me. I call that ownership. When I own something, I call that something property, even if it is me. Those words don't bother me at all. Again, my self-ownership is inalienable, which distinguishes the 'me' property from all the other property I may claim.

Suverans2's picture

"There is only one fundamental right [just claim] (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right [just claim] to his own life." ~ Ayn Rand

WhiteIndian's picture

I've got every volume Ayn Rand wrote on my library shelves. She did not check her premises against empirical data.

Big mistake.

WhiteIndian's picture

You own yourself, fine. The things you need to survive and enjoy personally, fine.

But the capitalist bait-and-switch of treating yourself as mere PROPERTY, a mere thing that can be used up and disposed of like a coat, that is objectification.

Objectification is a tactic of abusers.

And it goes much like I told in the extreme example above. More likely, it goes like:

1. You own yourself.
2. Things you own are property.
3. You can sell property.
4. Thus you can sell yourself to me.
5. Now, I, the rich capitalist, own you (either as a wage slave or ...ahem...voluntary chattel slave.)

I'm opposed to objectification of people as property, and that is exactly what the how the "self-ownership" bait gets switched.

golefevre's picture

That would all be well and good, but it has only been you that has suggested others sell themselves. That's extremely bad counsel in my estimation.

WhiteIndian's picture

Libertarian, anarcho-capitalism, etal. suggests selling oneself as property to another as "employment" or "voluntary" (LOL) "slavery."

In the agricultural city-State, such a sale is necessary to survive.*

Really, you need to read the libertarian literature like I have. That's how they put it.

Get after it. You might end up as disgustipated** as I with libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism, etal.
* "Our system of private property in land forces landless men to work for others; to work in factories, stores, and offices, whether they like it or not...Disestablishment from land, like slavery, is a form of duress. The white man, where slavery cannot be practiced, has found that he must first disestablish the savages from their land before he can force them to work steadily for him. Once they are disestablished, they are in effect starved into working for him and into working as he directs.


** Tool - Disgustipated

golefevre's picture

The members of "Tool" have done remarkably well selling albums and playing their music. Do these men owe you something for that success? Believe it or not, I'm not your enemy. I'm actually a bit intrigued with how you've arrived with these conclusions even if I don't agree. I'm fairly certain that I can't "read the libertarian literature" like you have. You're carrying some serious anger and have some ax to grind which seems to obscure logic. You've never explained why someone would want to sell themselves (for a sick child? highly unlikely) or why that would even be necessary. If you find the whole system we live in corrupt and broken, well I suppose we'll agree on at least that point even if we disagree why. I would not aggress against you to live in the world I want. Would you extend me the same courtesy?

WhiteIndian's picture

I don't have any axe to grind, other that liberty; and KOCH-based libertarian religio-economic rhetoric is as much a scam a GOVT-based fiat money.

You'll need to ask the paid shill Walter Block at Mises Institute why a mother would be willing to sell themselves into slavery for a sick child, it's his "voluntary slavery" scenario. But we've already had in the news, documented, mothers committing murder-suicide with their children in desperate circumstances, along with plenty example of men doing the same, unable to be "providers."

Yes, the agricultural city-Statist system is corrupt. You recognize it as Statism, rather incompletely. It's agricultural City-Statism, wholely.

You can't have a voluntary City anymore than an animated corpse. Libertarianism is as silly as conjuring Zombies.

The non-fantastical Non-State society, we now know how it worked. Anthropologists call it the "Original Affluent Society." (Sahlins, 1972)

WhiteIndian's picture

I'm against dehumanization of people by objectifying and degrading people as property.

• Rapist degrade people they want to control as "bitches."

• Soldiers dehumanize people they want to control as "sand niggers."

• Capitalists objectify "The Ultimate Resource" they want to control and use as "property" to be bought and sold. So they convince you that you own yourself -- as property -- and then turn you into their wage slave, because you have to sell yourself to somebody in this prison of civilization or starve. It's a profitable bait-and-switch racket, and keeps the wage-slaves in line.

tzo's picture

I found this set of sample pages of the book referenced in the article:

Suverans2's picture

Thank you, tzo.

"This book [The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity: The Principles of Liberty] is not about taking sides, left or right. These deceptive distinctions are pitting people against one another and keeping us from uniting and looking at the core issues. Rather than the traditional left/right spectrum, where you would have the communist, Stalin, on the left and the fascist, Hitler, on the right, we will use a different spectrum, with the range from ultimate power over yourself on one end to someone else having ultimate power over you on the other end. This is the meaningful distinction, because now you get the collectivist ideologies of mass murderers such as Stalin and Hitler together on one side, and the individualist philosophy of most honest people who just want to go about their lives without being hassled on the other side." ~ Trevor Z. Gamble

WhiteIndian's picture

If left/right isn't the issue, as he says, then why pick on just leftist genocide. Capitalism has its own genocide too, killing off a whole Non-State society here in America to make room to impose city-Statism.

Capitalism and communism are more alike than different. Both are agricultural city-Statist political schemes that cannot tolerate Non-State society.

Why can agricultural city-Statists not tolerate Non-State society?

If sovereign individual can hunt and gather their own food, they have no reason to work for others.

When the agricultural city-State puts the food "under lock and key" (Quinn,) then people have to work for the system or starve.

Scott Lazarowitz's picture

It would be a good idea to claim ownership of your own life, person and labor. Otherwise, someone else will!

Suverans2's picture

Hate to break it to you, but, "someone" else already has.

WhiteIndian's picture

Hate to break it to you, but you, as an agricultural city-Statist, who accepts hierarchy, is already PWNED by the hierarchical elite.

P.S. Look up "hierarchical elite" or "big men" on (which provides a search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles) if you want to know the last 10,000 years of enslavement strategy for domesticated suckers like you.

P.P.S. A trusted source on hierarchy (definitely not Mises)
Thesis #10: Emergent elites led the Agricultural Revolution.
Thesis #11: Hierarchy is an unnecessary evil.

Suverans2's picture

You are your own worst enemy, WhiteIndian, with your holier than thou attitude and your name-calling.

WhiteIndian's picture

Isn't turnabout fair play? Don't libertarian/ancap types call people Statists all the time?

Yet they do it in total ignorance, and actually support agricultural-City-Statism, and then rage against the State.

It's about as dumb as advocating jet aircraft, then complaining about the jet noise, and calling for the removal of jets from aircraft, and expecting the jet aircraft to somehow magically fly.

The agricultural-city-State is a whole, inseparable package. There never has been a city without state level politics, and never will be.

WhiteIndian's picture

Only if you objectify people as property, as the capitalist philosophy does.

Objectification of people as property is a tactic of abusers.

WhiteIndian's picture

I have to claim it? At some office?

I thought somebody here said it was "inalienable."

Which way is it?

You can't "have your cake and eat it too." *

* "A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too." ~Atlas Shrieked

GeoffreyTransom's picture

Háu (I know you're probably not Lakota Sioux, but what the hey).

I think you're the one who misinterpreted what 'inalienable' means in your first comment with the set-piece about a woman with a sick kid (the perennial trope of the "the bad man is my only source of hope in my plight" - which raises the question: what has this woman done to alienate literally EVERY OTHER PERSON in the vicinity?)

The 'property rights' argument for self-ownership, when said to be 'inalienable', asserts that an individual is not simply the 'first recourse' owner of his own body and mind: it also asserts that he may not properly dispose of it - a thing is 'alienable' at law if the owner may transfer ownership to a third party.

So an 'inalienable' property right in one's self (body, mind and so on) can NOT be transferred to a third party. On that doctrine, when the State behaves as if it is the owner of an individual, it commits a tort.

The rest of your comments reflect some idealisation of pre-Industrial life: as Demsetz' work shows, Native populations also practiced territorial exclusion, and ideas of free access (e.g., to hunting grounds) were subject to rapid change in the event that they developed economic significance: if prey became scarce, tribes would be more forceful in their assertion of sole rights over hunting grounds on which competing tribes were 'ordinarily' permitted to hunt.

Look - I'm a "pakeha hori': my maternal grandfather was 100% Maori, (but my Dad is like a turehu: tall, blue eyed and fair skinned). So I sort of 'get' the idea that a naive idealised view of tribal society has its attractions if you have some connection to a dispossessed people.

That said: arguably the Maori were never dispossessed, because they fought England to a standstill and signed a treaty of equals under which the Maori STILL own all the natural resources of New Zealand [the 'taonga'] - 'we' Maori are fucking badass, unlike all the other darkies who capitulated or let themselves be genocided... which is why Maori have little or no sympathy for other native populations. (And Maori did their killing without projectile weapons: the taiaha and the patu (or méré) are hand-to-hand weapons).

Still, the idea that native populations lived in some some sort of Rousseau-ian idyll is hogwash.

Life in "primitive" societies was not "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" by any means (Hobbes was a r-tard): if one survived childhood, life expectancy was about 60 - not bad for a pre-industrial society (and due in large part to superior hygiene relative to inner-city populations in Europe at the same time). Life expectancy AT BIRTH was low though (in part due to poor contraceptive practices and the tendency to practice infanticide as a means of population control: that seems inefficient to me - feeding a pregnant woman with no expectation of raising the offspring - but obviously they found it the best method).

And although some anthropologists claim that members of primitive societies worked fewer hours per day than modern man, that ignores the fact that in those societies people had no means of investment (except children) and that once one had acquired enough calories to "vivre jusqu'à demain matin", there was no point to exerting oneself further.

Nowadays, two hours' labour at minimum wage, furnishes income sufficient to purchase the mean daily caloric requirement (1900 alories); the rest is undertaken for higher-quality shelter, and to pay for the many layers of bullshit artists and parasites that form the political class.

Also - not for nothing, but MANY Indian tribes (and ALL Maori iwi) practised slavery.

(Last but not least: although I make japes about how Maori rock, I reject ALL tribal primitive supremacism... it's deplorable whether it's "Maori-are-badass" or "cock-snippings-make-us-God's-chosen")

WhiteIndian's picture

I hold truck with pakeha hori. You're right, I'm not Sioux (a Plains "apocalyptic culture" after the start of the invasion/holocaust, but I have proof of my ancestors living in an Oak Savannah "food forest," even if it isn't quite gummit approved. Greetings.

Your first question: women are vulnerable. Barely, with our low sexual dimormism and absent sexual dichromaticism, but vulnerable nonetheless, especially in City-Statism. We protect them and their children from Rothbardian/Austrian School Libertarian city-Statist ahem "voluntary" slavery ABUSE, no matter their status. OK?

My estimation of pre-industrial life isn't idealization. It's from hard, scientific, empirical data. And I know the data, personally, from top to bottom. Don't take my word; there is plenty of scholarly data out there to be gleaned.

"The Noble Savage" might be hogwash, but it's racist hogwash from English racists-- look up the term at its origin. Human are pleistocene band animals, and their history is just being understood outside of the city-Statist hogwash CULTure we're taught at every moment in school and every social encounter.

Nowadays, 2 hours of "work" barely pays for gas to get to "work" for the capitalists. Better read Sahlins and Lee, who did ethnographic studies on that.

Slavery was always a result of domestication/agriculture. I'm quite familiar with the anthropological references on slavery. ZERO bands or tribes (egalitarian Non-State societies) practices slavery. You're mistaken, but probably via misinformation of the city-Slicker Hobbesian mythology or Libertarian/Capitalist disinfo.

Hell, I reject all tribal primitive supremacism too. It's the past. I'm fine with that. But I do not reject well-documented empirical data about the Original Affluent Society, much of which debunks ignorant libertarian premises.

And when I say "ignorant," that means the depths of ignorance of young-earth creationist who wouldn't know empirical data if it hit them in the head as igneous rock.

Darkcrusade's picture

This true story is distributed to schoolchildren in New Zealand as part of their Maori heritage...


In 1835, The Bible Society published 100 copies of the Gospel of Luke in the Maori language. In 1836, missionaries gave one to a young Maori girl, Tarore, at a mission school near Matamata.

She read it to her father, the chief of the Waikato tribe. She kept her treasured copy of the Gospel of Luke under her pillow when she slept.

Under threat of a neighboring warring Rotorua tribe, the mission school was in the process of relocating to Tauranga. On October 19, 1836, at the Wairere Falls, a raiding party killed the 12-year-old girl and took the treasured object from under her pillow.

Later, unable to read, the Rotorua chief discarded it until a slave boy came along who had learned to read, and he revealed its contents to his fascinated listeners.

The Rotorua chief himself was convicted by its con-tents and resolved to become a Christian. He also re-solved to seek out the father of the murdered girl and beg for his forgiveness. This mission was, of course, life threatening. When finally confronting the father, the chief of the Waikato tribe—and risking the customary tribal response of revenge—the father of the murdered girl forgave him, and thus began a peaceful relationship between the two previously warring tribes!

A young girl murdered… A devastated father refusing to seek revenge… A murderer transformed through the Gospel he stole from his victim… Then forgiveness given and peace achieved!

The Good News Spreads

The story of this young Maori girl and her copy of the Gospel of Luke then became the key to the conversion of many of the Maori tribes. When missionaries visited both the North and South Islands, they discovered that many of the Maori tribes had already been converted to Christ due to the story of Tarore and her copy of the Gospel of Luke making its rounds…

The Treaty of Waitangi

On February 6, 1840, the nation of New Zealand was born by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the Crown of England and the Maori tribes.

While primarily dealing with land rights and other issues, this foundational document continues to obligate the Crown of the United Kingdom to safeguard and protect the Maori’s rights of worship.

Since a significant portion of the Maori tribes had previously been converted to Christianity, the government now continues to be legally committed to protect Christianity in New Zealand. There are Bibles in schools, home schooling is encouraged, and many Christian schools receive significant government sup-port. (See New Zealand’s national anthem, left.)

It seemed appropriate that we recorded our most recent update of our exposition of the Gospel of Luke in New Zealand, where it has had such a unique and special historical impact.

The Gospel of Luke

The Gospel according to Luke has been called the most beautiful book ever written.1 At its heart is the perfect Life—Christ’s teachings, redemption through Him, and the changed lives of those who cluster around Him.

The religion of Israel could only produce a Pharisee; The power of Rome could only produce a Caesar; The philosophy of Greece could only produce an Alexander, an infant at heart; It was to this Greek mind that Luke wrote: he presents Jesus Christ as the perfect Man, the Universal Man, the very person the Greeks were looking for.

H.A. Ironside

For the Gentile Reader

Of the four Gospels, Luke’s seems to be the most popular to the Gentile reader. Luke is a Gentile, and as such he focuses on the reality that the Gospel is for all nations.

There are many Old Testament prophecies which foretold that the Gentiles would be beneficiaries of God’s kingdom. Luke helps us see through Matthew’s Jewish veil and presents to us a broader perspective.

Luke the Physician

Luke is a Greek physician, and as a physician, he is focused on Jesus’ humanity. As the “beloved physician,” he used more medical terms than Hippocrates, the father of medicine.

He has given us an obstetrical account by a doctor of the virgin birth, then he carries us through to the agony of the Cross and the miracle of the empty tomb.

Luke was chosen by the Holy Spirit to write this gospel—Luke’s Greek is the highest Greek in the New Testament, the best of any New Testament writer. His writings are regarded as some of the finest pieces of historical writing in ancient literature. Sir William Ram-say set out to disprove Luke. After diligent investigation, he concluded that Luke had not made one historical inaccuracy—his gospel is the most complete historically.

Special Features

Luke gives us many features omitted by Matthew and Mark: An obstetrical account of the virgin birth; 20 miracles, six of which are in no other gospel; and 23 parables, 18 of which are found nowhere else. It is Luke alone who mentions the coming of the angel to our Savior to strengthen Him during Gethsemane’s agony. And had it not been for Luke, we would never have known of the penitent thief, or of the visit of our resurrected Lord with the two disciples on the way to their home at Emmaus.

Parables that are unique to Luke’s Gospel include the story of the Good Samaritan, the rich fool, the barren fig tree, the great supper (not to be confused with the marriage of the king’s son as given in Matthew), the lost coin, the Prodigal Son, the unjust steward, the story of Lazarus, the unjust judge and the widow, the Pharisee and the publican, and the parable of the pounds (distinct from the ten talents). These are re-corded in Luke’s Gospel alone. And only Luke reports on the sending of the 70.

Paul’s Trial Documents?

There are some scholars who suspect that Luke’s Gospel—and its sequel, the Book of Acts (“Luke Volume 2”)—may have been required trial documentation.

Roman law required that the historical background of a case had to precede an appeal to Caesar. Such an undertaking was expensive and Theophilus may have been Paul’s sponsor.

We notice two interesting observations about Luke’s writings that corroborate this: first, uprisings were in-variably the fault of Paul’s Jewish adversaries; and second, centurions are always portrayed as the good guys.

Suverans2's picture

Who said you have to claim it "at some office"? I must have missed that.

WhiteIndian's picture

I was making light of the contradiction of having to claim something that is simultaneously inalienable.

WhiteIndian's picture

Somebody else will claim it? Hell, I though it was inalienable. Care to clarify?

Suverans2's picture

The smartest man in the world ought to know that all claims are not necessarily legitimate.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Tzo, thanks for explaining the deeper concept to WhiteIndianQuibbler, which lies beneath the words of ownership. I've noticed that he specializes in complaining about word constructions in this way instead of the merits of the concept and its meaning. As you pointed out, the word "ownership" is a way to convey the idea of ultimate control over one's self, and it is implicit in the very fact that we make an argument according to Hoppe. After all, how would we put forth any proposition if we didn't? Of course, Rothbard derives the idea of self-control/ownership using a parallel route, but it's the same. I notice how beside the point WhiteQuibbler's comments were with respect to Alex Knight's piece on Nazi symbolism in militarist America -- and for the same reason. This book is a soft introduction for beginners, and I hope Trevor can reach people through it.

WhiteIndian's picture

Objectification of people, via a bait-and-switch "self-ownership" polemic, is a tactic of abusers. I'll "quibble" about tactics of abusers all day.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

WhiteQuibbler, you may not have noticed, but people are objects. But that does not mean anyone is objectifying them. Control the anger, please.

WhiteIndian's picture

People aren't mere objects to be owned as property, to claim such is deliberate dehumanization or depersonification.

Objectification is a tactic of both physical and emotional abusers.

And economic abuse, in which people are looked upon by the controlling hierarchy as "The Ultimate Resource."

golefevre's picture

I am a bit embarrassed to say that I didn't even know Trevor had written this book. I will definitely have to take the time to read this new book. Thanks for the review Lawrence.

On a related note, I think these truths are fundamentally a part of us from the moment we first draw a breath in this world. We know intuitively (at least most do, anyway) that it is wrong to aggress against another. You'll hear a 4-year old summarize this idea nicely when they tell their older sibling, "You're not the boss of me!"

tzo's picture

If I am not mistaken, WhiteIndian simply believes that the existence of an agricultural city-state without a coercive government is an impossibility, and he makes his argument by pointing to the history of human civilization, wherein 100% (99.9%?) of all agricultural city-states have endured coercive government.

Because of this, he can see no way that an agricultural city-state without coercive government can ever exist.

I would like to hear some rational arguments as to why it is a logical impossibility for such a thing to occur, rather than "it has never happened before, therefore it can never happen in the future."

Again: The abolition of slavery, the inventions of electricity, automobiles, airplanes, microwaves, computers, and going to the moon. Any argument that these things could never, ever possibly exist or happen because they had never existed or happened before seemed pretty bulletproof at one time or another, but ultimately the argument failed.

Humans are smart. We solve problems. There is a problem in front of us now. Saying that there is no solution because up until now we have not been able to find it is no argument at all.

Yes, the mass of humanity is fairly unimaginative and can't see anything beyond what is going on in the here and now. But there are always a few who push on and do the impossible.

Logically, the solution to this problem is quite simple. Obviously, it is not so easy to put it into practice. But impossible?

Someone hasn't been paying close attention to history at all.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Tzo, you're the ace! Excellent argument. Ironically, by WhiteIndian's standard of basing all assessments only on observations of past behavior, he would have agreed with the white racists who were religious apologists for slavery. Their argument was that the "facts" had proven that the white man should dominate the black man who was among the cursed of God. They looked to their domination as proof of their fitness to rule -- a kind of riff on the ideas of Max Weber by which successful protestants in Europe supposedly (Max was stretching it) had proven that they had "earned" their salvation because their success showed it. Oh, brother!

Message to WhiteIndian: get off the technology-dictates-reality-philosophy-of-Marx schtick!

WhiteIndian's picture

Lawrence, don't lie and twist my argument. I'm not basing *all* assessment only on observation.

I'm saying that when one observes something that contradicts a libertarian premise, you have to deal with reality. There is a whole bunch of empirical data that debunks libertarian premises. A=A, right?

And if you think that racism is somehow a observed fact (it's not, by the way) then you're right in there with Murray Rothbard and his scientific racism.

"In short; RACIALIST SCIENCE is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors." ~MURRAY ROTHBARD

source: Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell and Scientific Racism

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Once again, you miss the argument Tzo made, and then you go spinning off into your own world of wordplay again and veer off into pseudo-Rothbard land. I say "pseudo" because the blog you cite (instead of citing the entire essay by Rothbard as an honest use of scholarly apparatus requires) is an example of deliberately mis-construing what Rothbard said and meant, and you probably know that because you are making cheap shots without merit. He was clearly discussing a hypothetical instance in which statistics are used, but you are hoping nobody notices that, aren't you? I won't defend all of what Lew Rockwell or Murray have said (they err frequently), but in this case, he is clearly not using the term in the way you hope a skimming reader would assume without full context. On a separate topic (because you have not made your point on racism) you should take a peek at how many people on this site are aware of the foolishness of the whole paleo-phase of Murray and Lew -- but the example you cite is not one of them since Murray is making a rhetorical point about statistics. I've even written about it in the environmental essays that I put together on it. But there you go, spinning off into your own self-make whirlwind. I'm just going to have to view you and your comments as non-communication -- i.e. as troll dust meant to waste time. Bye.