Thursday, April 30, 2009

What 'politics' means to me

What 'politics' means to me
(This is an updated "oldie".)

I think that "politics" is a system for getting along with people whom you do not like. No one needs politics for dealing with those we like. Getting along with them comes naturally. Therefore, I believe that the best political system is the one which allows those who really don't like one another to still live their lives peaceably in the same space.

Authoritarianism doesn't work because it usually forces those people together in a way that makes both sides more unhappy than they were before. It makes rules that will always hurt someone for the benefit of someone else. It imposes forced compliance, and forced (false) "agreement".

Only in a libertarian society (an anarchic society) can people be free to associate in any way they choose, with whoever they choose, as long as no one initiates force on, or steals from, anyone else. There is no need for the "uncooperative individuals" in society to go along. The "system" works just as well whether they want it to or not.

This is not a huge revelation, but I see it work on a small scale every day. If you truly dislike someone, minimize your dealings with them, and do not cause situations which escalate the dislike on either side. When you must deal with them, do so with the same respect that you would want, and then move along. Don't dwell on the fact that you don't like them. If you can ever grow past the need for your dislike, you might just find that they are not so bad after all. It has happened before for me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu a made-to-order crisis?


As was recently admitted by one of Obama's henchmen, the state doesn't like to waste a crisis. Even if that means they need to manufacture one.
It seems that a swine flu panic is being drummed up in order to give the KGB, oh, sorry "Homeland Security", an excuse to cancel even the lip service the Constitutional limits on government power occasionally get.
Keep this in perspective. Swine flu is a much smaller threat than the state. Even the death toll from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic is only a fraction of the death toll from government. Treatment and prevention are better now. And the state is much more dangerous than it was 90 years ago. There is a risk, but it isn't the one being promoted by the government lapdogs in the mainstream media.
Government would love to have an excuse to lock down the nation, and possibly even declare martial law. Government would love to disrupt your life and make you come crawling, frightened, to its operatives; begging them to rescue you. Don't let them get away with it, no matter how they magnify the danger from this (or the next) "crisis". There is no problem so great that it can't be made orders of magnitude worse by adding even a little government "help".
PS: In case you haven't yet seen it, here is Ron Paul on the "swine flu crisis".

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When the economy collapses, murder/suicide isn't the answer

When the economy collapses, murder/suicide isn't the answer

In recent months I have heard about quite a few murder/suicides that were blamed on the "bad economy".

Is that how people react to a bad economy? Is that the proper response to a lost job? Why kill former co-workers? Why kill family and self? These desperate individuals can't think of a way to survive without money? Has dependency become so pervasive that there is no self-sufficiency in individuals anymore?

Not too many people still have the skills to make do with what they have anymore. Take a lesson from survivors of the previous "Great Depression". Are you willing to find alternative foods? (and I'm not necessarily talking about a previously discussed source). There are books and websites that can help you learn skills to ease a lack of money. Use the money you have (or earn in a lower-paying job) for those things that there is no alternative way of getting. Learn to barter. Grow a garden (what good is a lawn?). Raise chickens and goats. Trade skills with others. If you still really need help, ask for charity; don't go to the state for "welfare". One is moral; the other is "receiving stolen property".

While you have the right to end your own life if you want to, you have no right to make that decision for anyone else who isn't attacking you. Just because you see no way out, it doesn't mean that others are in the same boat. Tomorrow you might be in a better mood and realize that it isn't the end of the world unless you do the dirty work yourself.

Just remember that in a bad economy you are losing things that the majority of humans, for the vast majority of our existence as a species, have done pretty well without. I realize that the state makes life without these things more difficult than they need to be (and often "illegal"; "poaching" is an example), but that is a strike against the legitimacy of the state, not evidence of your "failure" as a person. Shrug off any guilt at breaking the counterfeit "laws" of the state, while abiding by the ZAP, and you still have a chance of doing pretty well.

Killing your family isn't the answer. Killing your former co-workers isn't (usually) the answer. Remember, unless you kill them during an attack on you, you are just "getting revenge", which is always wrong, whether done as an individual or as a society.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Government is not an optimal solution

Government is not an optimal solution

Depending on government is like trying to dig a hole with a hammer. It is possible to do (I know; I have done it), but it is far from the optimal tool for the job.

Where a free society would help the less fortunate with charity and a helping hand, government "helps" them with stolen money, and then takes away their remaining dignity and lays claim to their lives.

Where a free society would encourage children to learn how to learn, "government schooling" causes a hatred of anything deemed "educational" that cripples many for their entire lifetime.

Where a free society would ignore what a person owns and carries as long as they harm no one else, a government demonizes mere possession of myriad items and substances.

Where a free society could have many competing currencies, each valuable to certain people, governments dictate the use of illusionary "money" that loses value day by day, stealing the substance of your life's work as long as you hold onto it.

Where a free society would define "justice" as making things right for the victim, government is more concerned with punishing the person its courts "find" guilty.

Where a free society would not care what is in your bloodstream as long as you could do what you committed to do, a government encourages assault and theft of blood, and perverted, quasi-sexual collection of urine to make sure you are allowed to work.

Where a free society would "assume liberty", government assumes ownership. It demands oversight and victimhood.

In all these cases, while you can make a society run by government "work", it is a horribly sick and twisted shadow of what society could be. Devised, administered, and supported by horribly sick and twisted minds.

Hat tip: Thanks to Francois Tremblay for the "horribly sick and twisted mind" he linked to.

Fiat money gets more competition every day, for good reason

Fiat money gets more competition every day, for good reason

It's a shame that the most prolific and dangerous counterfeiters work for government. That places them beyond the reach of justice or restitution. In country after country, they ply their trade with the backing of the full coercive force of the government. Government refuses to back its paper certificates with anything of value; mints its coins of near-worthless metals... and few people even notice they have been duped.

There is a way to strike back though: don't use their money except when forced to. There are choices. The amusing thing is that governments always require you pay taxes and other illegitimate tributes with their own funny-money. The joke is on them.

Money almost seems to define a society. You can learn a lot about a society or a culture by closely examining its money. When friends or family travel the world, one thing that is frequently requested is "Would you bring me some foreign money?" In this case, the "value" of the money is in its novelty.

Money, in its most common, modern form, consists of little, portable works of art that are traded for things you want or need. The symbols upon it, and the materials it is made from, tell what is important to the people who choose to use it. Or to the government that tries to give you no choice. Real money is best made of something that has never been worth "zero", and is used by voluntary consent, not government edict. Government promises, those little IOUs called "dollars" (or more accurately "Federal Reserve Notes"), don't meet that requirement. By using privately issued voluntary money, you are not endorsing the system that attempts to violate your rights more each day. That is worth a lot, in itself. That is one reason I am designing my own silver coins. Value and values combined.

_______________

For some alternative voluntary currencies: Check out the Liberty Dollar, the American Open Currency Standard, and the Silver Dubloon. These are not the only options out there, either. Expect more in the near future as confidence in fiat money declines.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Concealed carry and property rights are compatible

Concealed carry and property rights are compatible

Your property rights end at the surface of my clothes, just as my property rights end at the surface of your clothes. Would I forbid you to come onto my property, assuming I sent out an open invitation otherwise, if you had a pacemaker or an artificial hip? Of course not! Those things are technological enhancements for imperfect human bodies. That is all a gun is. Humans don't have the fangs, claws, or a protective shell for self defense that many other animals have. Most of us do not have the opportunity to become experts at unarmed combat, either. Instead we have a brain that lets us devise tools to make up for that deficiency. To make a rule that a person coming onto your property must leave part of his body behind is crazy and wrong.

A reasonable approach is to forbid certain behaviors: no attacks allowed. And if you break this rule, the other people around you, suitably armed, will stop the attack. The alternative is to encourage massacres like Columbine, Binghamton, and Virginia Tech.

There is much disagreement on this issue among gun owners, and mine is the minority position. That doesn't necessarily mean I am wrong. Here is my train of thought:

Rights don't overlap; two people can't have an equal claim over the same property. No matter where you go, there is a "you-shaped" bubble of your property, with all its rights intact, encasing you. In a free society, absent coercive government, you have absolute rights to your property. If you choose to allow other people to come onto your property (such as for business purposes or private visitation) you are accepting the other people as they are, within their "bubble". Your property rights do not penetrate this bubble around them, just as their property rights don't extend beyond that bubble while they are your guest (unless they brought some other property with them, such as a purse or a jacket). Your only reasonable caveat is that they are expected to behave in certain ways. For instance, not attack other guests/customers nor their host; not steal; and they may be expected to be polite (depending on the circumstances). However, what is inside their clothing is not your business as long as it remains there. Contagions and radiation, and in some cases odors, are things that are reasonable violations of this expectation. Anything else and you are violating the property rights of your invited guests and endangering innocent lives.

You are also assuming responsibility for the safety of your guests or customers if you forbid self-defense. If you fail, you are almost as guilty as the attacker. That, however, is an issue for another time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Should libertarians tone down the message?

Should libertarians tone down the message?

Those of us who are actively trying to spread the ideas (and ideals) of liberty walk a fine line. Should we tone down the message, or even lie, in order to avoid offending people who casually come across our words? Should we change the subject to avoid talking of certain topics that might be offensive to some? Or do we boldly advocate liberty, warts and all?

Some responses I received to my column on cannibalism surprised me. Let me rephrase that; the responses did not surprise me, but the individuals making some of those responses surprised me. In the name of "don't offend the newbies" I fear some may be turning away from the principles that actually make the difference between statists and libertarians. The principles that clearly show the difference between the two philosophies and which originally attracted me to the people who valued these things as I do.

Remember, "polite society" won't yet acknowledge that the Drug War is a disastrous failure (as prohibition always is) and that it should be dispensed with. "Polite society" may still be in denial that the freest and safest societies are those which are universally armed. "Polite society" still thinks theft, kidnapping, and mass murder are just fine as long as it is "their government" doing these things under the guise of euphemistic terms.

Should libertarians lie about those things in order to attract new adherents? Who would really be attracted to the cause of liberty in that case? More authoritarians who would explore no farther; that's who. Soon libertarians would find themselves in a similar condition to that which is killing the Libertarian Party: a difference which makes no difference is no difference at all.

I choose to continue to be different and stand up for liberty.


***********************************

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is cannibalism really wrong or just taboo?

Is cannibalism really wrong or just taboo?

Now for something completely different. How about a light-hearted look at cannibalism?

This is just a train of thought that pulled out of the station as I read an article in The Libertarian Enterprise that mentioned "cannibalism" as something that is wrong, and something we should feel guilt over doing. For some reason I balked at the assertion. I can't see any reason to claim cannibalism is wrong in and of itself. As long as you are not devouring the living, it doesn't violate the ZAP as it initiates force on no one. Dead people can not be harmed or coerced or stolen from or defrauded. They are just as dead whether you eat them or not. You are also stealing nothing. Do the dead person's survivors own the corpse? How? Unless a contract of some sort was completed before death I don't think they do.

So, is cannibalism wrong? What about in survival situations? It has happened numerous times, and probably more frequently than is known. Was Alferd Packer a murderer or just a resourceful survivor? Should the "Donner party" have allowed themselves to all die of starvation instead of taking advantage of free meat? What would you do in a similar situation?

Obviously if you kill an innocent person in order to eat him, you have committed a gross violation of the ZAP. But if you are attacked and manage to kill your attacker, why would it be wrong to eat him? Dead thugs don't care what you do to their corpses. Their relatives might care, but the dead guy's body might be restitution in a way and I think you might have a valid claim on it. I wonder if such a consequence might cause more thugs to choose another line of work rather than risk becoming a meal.

Or what if a friend or family member dies and leaves instructions for his or her body to be the main course at a funeral barbecue? Isn't that a selfless offer: to nourish those left behind?

I see nothing necessarily un-libertarian or wrong with cannibalism. It's your turn. So, tell me why it would be unequivocally wrong to eat a human under any circumstances, or why you agree that it wouldn't be wrong under the conditions I laid out. And remember that "legal" or "illegal" are not very good indicators of "right" or "wrong", but are a lazy way for government extremists to try to control behavior. Let's think deeper than that.

Added: Apparently, you shouldn't ask questions like this (link)

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

"A Declaration of Separation"

"A Declaration of Separation"

This is taken from here; I don't agree with every single item, but with the vast majority, and could live with the rest. I think it is a good step and needs to be spread far and wide. So I hereby do my part. Presenting....

A Declaration of Separation

====To The Governments & People of Earth: ====

We claim the right to exist, and we will defend it.

We do not seek to overthrow anything. We do not seek to control anything. We merely wish to be left alone.

All we ever wanted was to live in peace with our friends and neighbors. For a long, long time we bore insults to our liberty; we took blows, we did what we could to avoid injury and we worked through the system to get the offenses to stop. That has now changed.

We no longer see any benefit in working through the world's systems. At some point, working within a system becomes cowardly and immoral; for us, that point has arrived. Regardless of the parties in power, their governments have continued to restrict, restrain and punish us. We hereby reject them all. We hereby withdraw from them all. We hold the ruling states of this world and all that appertains to them to be self-serving and opposed to humanity.

We now withdraw our obedience and reclaim the right to strike back when struck. We will not initiate force, but we do reserve the right to answer it. We did not choose this – it was forced upon us.

==== To The Governments of Earth: ====

You are building cages for all that is human. In the name of protection, you have intruded into all areas of human life, far exceeding the reach of any Caesar. You claim ultimate control of our property and our decisions, of our travels and even our identities. You claim ownership of humanity far beyond the dreams of any Emperor of any previous era. Understand clearly: We reject your authority and we reject your legitimacy. We do not believe that you have any right to do the things you do. You have massive power, but no right to impose it upon us and no legitimacy. We have forsaken you. We are no longer your citizens or your subjects.

Your systems are inherently anti-human, even if all their operators are not. We are not merely angry young people. We are fathers and mothers; aunts, uncles and grandparents; we are business owners and trusted employees; we are mechanics and engineers and farmers. We are nurses and accountants and students and executives.

We are on every continent.

This is not a burst of outrage; this is a sober declaration that we no longer accept unearned suffering as our role in life. For long decades we sat quietly, hoping that things would turn around. We took no actions; we suffered along with everyone else. But after having our limits pushed back again and again, we have given up on your systems.

If our fellow inhabitants of this planet wish to accept your rule, they are free to do so. We will not try to stop them. We, however, will no longer accept your constraints upon us.

From now on, when you hurt us, we will bite back. If you leave us alone we will leave you alone and you can continue to rule your subjects. We are happy to live quietly. But if you come after us, there will be consequences. You caused this because of your fetish for control and power. The chief men and women among you are pathologically driven to control everyone and everything that moves upon this planet. You have made yourselves the judge of every human activity. No god-king of the ancient world ever had the power that your systems do.

You have created a world where only the neutered are safe and where only outlaws are free.

==== To The People of Earth: ====

We seek nothing from you. We do not want to rule you and we do not want to control you.

All we wish is to live on earth in peace. As always, we will be helpful neighbors and generous acquaintances. We will remain honest business partners and trustworthy employees. We will continue to be loving parents and respectful children.

We will not, however, be sacrificial animals. We reject the idea that others have a right to our lives and our property. We will not demand anything from you, and we will no longer acquiesce to any demands upon us. We have left that game. We reject all obligations to any person or organization beyond honesty, fair dealing and a respect for human life.

We will shortly explain what we believe, but we are not demanding that you agree with us. All we ask is that you do not try to stop us. Continue to play the game if you wish; we will not try to disrupt it. We have merely walked away from it. We wish you peace.

==== To Those Who Will Condemn Us: ====

We will ignore you.

We welcome and seek the verdict of a just God, before whom we are willing to expose our innermost thoughts. Are you similarly willing?

We would stand openly before all mankind if it were not suicidal. Perhaps some day we will have to accept slaughter for our crime of independence, but not yet.

Your criticism and your malice are much deeper than mere disagreements of strategy or philosophy. You do not oppose our philosophy, you oppose our existence. Our presence in the world means that your precious ideals are false. Some of you would rather kill us than face the loss of your ideologies, just as those like you have either hated or killed every sufficiently independent human.

You present yourselves to the world as compassionate, tolerant and enlightened, but we know that your smooth words are costumes. Oh yes, we know you, servant of the state; don't forget, we were raised with you. We played with you in the schoolyard, we sat next to you in the classroom. Some of us studied at the same elite universities. We watched as you had your first tastes of power. We were the boys and girls standing next to you.

Some of us were your first victims. We are not fooled by your carefully crafted public image.

==== What We Believe ====

#1: Many humans resent the responsibilities that are implied by consciousness. We accept those responsibilities and we embrace consciousness. Rather than letting things happen to us (avoiding consciousness), we accept consciousness and choose to act in our own interest.

We do not seek the refuge of blaming others, neither do we take refuge in crowds. We are willing to act on our personal judgment, and we are willing to accept the consequences thereof.

#2: We believe in negative rights for all: That all humans should be free to do whatever they wish, as long as they do not intrude upon others; that no man has a right to the life, liberty or property of another; that we oppose aggression, fraud and coercion.

#3: We do not believe that our way of life, or any other, will make life perfect or trouble-free. We expect crime and disagreements and ugliness, and we are prepared to deal with them. We do not seek a strongman to step in and solve problems for us. We agree to see to them ourselves.

#4: We believe in free and unhindered commerce. So long as exchanges are voluntary and honest, no other party has a right to intervene – before, during or after.

#5: We believe that all individuals should keep their agreements.

#6: We believe that honestly obtained property is fully legitimate and absolute.

#7: We believe that some humans are evil and that they must be faced and dealt with. We accept the fact that this is a difficult area of life.

#8: We believe that humans can self-organize effectively. We expect them to cooperate. We reject impositions of hierarchy and organization.

#9: We believe that all humans are to be held as equals in all matters regarding justice.

#10: We believe that the more a man or woman cares about right and wrong, the more of a threat he or she is perceived to be by governments.

#11: We believe that there are only two true classes of human beings: Those who wish to exercise power upon others - either directly or through intermediaries - and those who have no such desires.

#12: Large organizations and centralization are inherently anti-human. They must rely upon rules rather than principles, treating humans within the organization as obedient tools.

==== Our Plans: ====

We are building our own society. We will supplement traditional tools with networking, cryptography, sound money, digital currency and anonymous messaging.

Our society will not be centrally controlled. It will rely solely on voluntary arrangements. We welcome others to join us. We are looking for people who are independent creators of value, people who act more than talk, and people who do the right thing because it is the right thing.

We will develop our own methods of dealing with injustice, built on the principles of negative rights, restitution, integrity and equal justice.

We do not forbid anyone from having one foot in each realm - ours and the old realm - although we demand that they do no damage to our realm. We are fully opposed to any use of our realm to facilitate crime in the old realm, such as the hiding of criminal proceeds.

We expect to be loudly condemned, libeled and slandered by the authorities of the old regime.

We expect them to defend their power and their image of legitimacy with all means available to them. We expect that many gullible and servile people will believe these lies, at least at first.

We will consider traps laid for us to be criminal offenses. Any who wish to join us are encouraged to distribute this declaration, to act in furtherance of our new society, to voluntarily excel in virtues and to communicate and cooperate with other members of the new society.

Free, unashamed men cannot be ruled.

We are The Free and The Unashamed.

Getting through The Great Recession

Getting through The Great Recession

While most of the mainstream media blame the "free market" or "deregulation" for this recession, libertarians realize this is like blaming sasquatch for killing your chickens. You can't blame something that hasn't been around.

This recession, which will probably become a depression before it ends, because of government insistence on "doing something", was caused by socialism. More socialism won't fix it. The economic quacks are bleeding the patient dry and calling it a "cure". But what does it mean for you?

This trying time holds great danger and great opportunity. Do you have silver? Gold? Trade goods which people are likely to run short of and be willing to trade for? You should. As Claire Wolfe has advised in her book "The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook" (page 78), stock up now on those things that people are addicted to: caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, chocolate. Whatever it is make certain to break your personal addictions now while the risk is slight. Being stocked up does no good if you must raid your own stores. Stock up on essentials, too. US dollars or dried beans.... which of these things will still be worth something when the dollar is about as useful as a treaty inflicted by the US Government on the indigenous people of North America? Prepare for difficult times so that they will not be as difficult.

Are you still putting "money" in the bank and investing it? Remember the old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? When that basket is knocked from your hands, what will you have? If you still want to trust traditional banks and investments, don't be foolish enough to rely on them too heavily. Diversify and add some trade goods to the mix so that a disaster to one contingency will not wipe you out.

When the inevitable collapse occurs, you must remember to refuse FRNs in spite of your training and habits. Only accept real money of real value, or trade items that you can use or that you think others will want. Get in the habit of accepting alternative payments now before it is a necessity.

As society moves away from the free market, smart people will embrace the free market more completely, even if it means a move into the "gray" and "black" markets. Just remember to hide your assets, protect your customers, and deliver what you promise. It's just smart.

______________________
Happy Patriots' Day: "4-19"

Today is Patriots' Day. Celebrate it by doing something truly patriotic; like honoring America's heritage of liberty by ignoring the occupying government which is strangling this society. Remember that most patriotic activities are heavily regulated or criminalized now, so be warned. Activities like getting your militia-appropriate weaponry out and conducting some practice are frowned upon, or worse, by the "authorities" in many areas.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Unpopular freedoms can have social consequences

Unpopular freedoms can have social consequences

Actions have social consequences. "Drugs", sex, "profanity"... whatever. The reasons may be total nonsense, but you still need to be aware. Acting like the consequences are not there won't help you any.

While you have a right to do anything to your own body that you want, including killing yourself, you have to realize that people who do not honor your rights have established a system to punish you for exercising them in ways they disapprove of.

You have a right to put any substance into your body for any reason. But in doing so you take a risk of ostracism at the hands of a culture that wants to find an excuse to punish you. You are giving them a handy one. I'm not saying it isn't worth the risk for you; I'm just saying whatever you do, do with awareness.

Profanity, which is really a ridiculous concept ("magical bad words"?), can keep you from having the career you want, or can keep you from succeeding like you otherwise should. You have an absolute right to use any words you want, but are you taking the consequences into account?

Your sex life can be used as a tool to ridicule or punish you. The people doing so may just be jealous of your free-spiritedness, or may have religious reasons behind their treatment of you. Their reasons may be utterly wrong in any of these cases, since consenting, responsible people have a right to do whatever they wish, but the real-world repercussions are just as damaging.

Live free, but remember that "the majority" hates your freedom; and the worst manifestation of "society", government, will gladly kill you to protect you from yourself, and to protect your neighbors from your influence.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Statism is childish in the worst way

Statism is childish in the worst way

Statism is rude and childish. It demands that everyone play according to the "one size fits all" rules it imposes, whether they want to or not, and no matter if it is in their best interest or not.

Statism is selfish. It doesn't consider the impact it has on others. It truly doesn't care if it inconveniences or harms you. It always wants "something for nothing", not caring that the "something" is stolen from the rightful owners, and "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch".

Statists don't doubt the legitimacy of government; only the legitimacy of government when it isn't being used the way they want it used. Any power the government uses for their benefit is OK; any power the government uses to their detriment is bad. Taxation isn't "wrong" unless it is used for things they don't like. Statists are easily trapped by their inconsistencies.

Just look at the statists - the authoritarians - surrounding you if you doubt me. Whether they call themselves "left" or "right"; "Republican" or "Democrat"; look how they fit into this description all too well. In the few places where they vary from the description it is because they have chosen to adopt libertarian views, although they are not likely to admit it.

Libertarianism is the grown-up philosophy. It recognizes that life is never perfect, but a life of freedom is the closest humans can get. Libertarianism respects people. We realize that our own decisions have real-world consequences that we must deal with and that we must protect ourselves from the bad decisions of others. We are adult enough to know we have no right to demand that anyone else make what we consider "the right choice" nor do we allow others to make that demand of us.

Libertarianism recognizes that people are free to make their own choices and their own mistakes. Libertarians don't "take liberties", they give liberties by recognizing the basic human right to live as you see fit as long as you harm no one else. Libertarianism doesn't whine when consequences come due and there is a bill to pay. We don't demand to have others pay our bill for us by "taxing" them. We don't excuse those who do, either. Libertarians don't think that because some people are bad, giving some a chance to have great power over others will protect the innocent from the bad, and make a better world. That would be delusional.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You can't miss what you think you have

You can't miss what you think you have

A common comment I have heard from others who care deeply about freedom is that they are shocked at how few other people seem to care. Why do libertarians feel like they are talking to a brick wall when we try to get another person passionate about freedom?

Most people would claim they prefer freedom to slavery, even while they polish their chains. The reason freedom isn't more important to more people is because they have been lied to for so long by so many and told they are free. You can't miss something if you think you have it.

Look how often we are told by the mainstream media and the government (those siblings of slavery) that we are free. Whether it is MSNBC on the "left" or FOX News on the "right", the only difference is in the particular flavor of slavery they are promoting and which lies they will tell you, or which truths they will hide, about your benevolent "leaders". I mean, the government even goes to the trouble of establishing "free speech zones" for us when the president is in town, don't they?

Until people understand that ALL rights belong to everyone, everywhere, at all times, no matter what the regional Rulers might claim, they will not care enough about freedom to do something about it.

This reminds me of my "parable of the Fire-Ant bed":


Each government must convince its subjects that their country is the best
there is, otherwise the people might decide to make some changes. Change rarely
bodes well for rulers.

Blind fools often say idiotic things like "Love it or Leave it!" Wiser
voices say "Love it and Keep Improving it!" It is often said by government
sympathizers that "America is the best, most free, country on Earth." Perhaps,
but there is always room for improvement.

Imagine you are standing in a bed of fire ants. While looking east you see
a crater filled with lava. You should be very grateful that you are not in the
lava. If you only look toward the east, you might truly believe that your
situation is the best that there can be. All the while, west of you, is a green
meadow filled with Twinkies and butterflies (or your pleasures of choice). If
you are surrounded by a chorus of voices telling you that your fire ant bed is
the best place there is, and that you are Utopian or stupid for thinking that
there might be a better life, you may believe it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax day thoughts

Tax day thoughts

This so-called "tax day" only matters more than other days (as far as theft-by-government is concerned) if you forget that government steals 87% of the production of the people it claims as its own. You are stolen from under the guise of "taxes, fees, licenses, permits, and fines" every day of the year, not just on the day you are told to write them one of the checks.

Why do people brag about paying "their" taxes? Why is it good to cooperate with your mugger if he calls himself a "tax collector"? Why defend a thief if he is employed by the government?

Is there a TEA Party near you? Lend them your support, and maybe remind them of the truth of the matter. All taxation, even for those things you like, and advocated by those politicians you may support, is THEFT.

What good is freedom if you don't use it?

What good is freedom if you don't use it?

People have a lot of perfectly good freedoms they never use. I am not talking about rights, but freedoms that government still "allows" you to "legally" exercise.

You have the freedom to educate yourself about anything that interests you by reading books or the internet. It will undoubtedly get you put on some "lists", but realize you are probably on a few regardless.

You have the freedom to travel and associate with other people. Now, I admit that the state is trying hard to kill this freedom, but for the most part it is largely intact. At least if you can avoid the highwaymen who lie in wait to accost you on your journey and rob you, or kill you if you resist.

You have the freedom to grow your own food, and even tobacco. You can avoid paying taxes "legally" by reducing your need for money. Remember that the government usually considers an even trade to be a taxable profit all around. Just like when you trade hours of your life for money (a "job"). So trade quietly.

Here in New Mexico and many other states, you have the freedom to openly wear a gun on your hip. Some enforcers willfully cling to their ignorance about this legal freedom and will attack you for exercising it. Watch them as a wise man would watch a rabid skunk.

You also have the freedom to buy gold and silver in order to prepare for the day when US dollars are no more than fancy toilet paper. Actually, that day is already here; only held at bay by the delusion that government's promises have worth. Trade those FRNs (Federal Reserve Notes) for something a lot better while you still can.

There are also freedoms that may be "illegal", but the chances of being kidnapped or held up at gunpoint (by the enforcers of the state) for exercising them is slim. Since Examiner writers are not supposed to encourage "illegal acts", I'll let you think of those on your own. I'll bet you can. I'd be willing to bet that you are already exercising a few of them.

You can have all the freedom in the world, but if you insist on acting like a slave, you are a slave. While you still can, live free out in the open. Right under the noses of the tyrants, enforcers, and other minions of the state. Some day you may wish you had.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A simple way to spread the message of liberty

Albuquerque Libertarian Examiner: A simple way to spread the message of liberty

I'm sure all my regular blog readers are familiar with this, but if you don't mind giving me a page view anyway, I would sure appreciate it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Libertarians can be staid

Libertarians can be staid

Libertarians, in the eyes of a lot of people, are the "party crowd"; the "If it feels good, I will do it ... as long as no one else is hurt" people. While some undoubtedly are that way, it isn't necessarily the case. Libertarians are not usually "libertines", although we will defend the right to be one.

Libertarians can have very staid personal lives. It's not all "burn gunpowder at the backyard range, smoke a joint, and then head off to the orgy". Some have very deeply held moral beliefs which may seem very familiar and traditional, and while realizing that we have no right to tell others how to live, we know that some choices are not right for us.

The difference is that we should know enough to not interfere with the non-coercive behavior of others even if we personally find it disgusting, as long as they are harming no one else. We understand there is no such thing as "harming society" because apart from individuals, "society" is meaningless, and that if no individual is harmed, no one is harmed. Being offended is not the same as being harmed. We understand that our personal idea of "immoral" shouldn't equal "illegal" nor form an excuse for punishing people. Possibly most important of all, we understand the value of minding our own business as long as behaviors are voluntarily engaged in.

There is something to be said, however, for being a libertine on occasion.


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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Return to libertarianism and reject statism

Return to libertarianism and reject statism

Government has always been bad. From its earliest beginnings- in the minds of the thugs that preyed off of the labor of the tribe in exchange for not violently plundering them, while supposedly protecting this human herd from other thieves who were ethically exactly the same (whether those "others" actually existed or not)- to the 21st Century Super-Police-State, the type of person who seeks coercive control over others hasn't varied.


Fortunately, most humans have a sense of morality, though. Average, normal, non-governmental society has usually had a strongly libertarian component in healthy societies.

Where society has gone bad is where it has gotten away from libertarian principles that were normal in times past. Things like responsibility for ones actions. Individual self-reliance. Honesty, charity, love for your neighbors, and minding your own business (especially where it concerns the neighbors you may not love quite as much). The tragedy is compounded when some individuals cling to the prejudices and ignoble vengefulness that were also common in times past and use the state to wreak havoc on a historic scale.... or on a very personal one.


I hope that you will join me and make an effort to return to the libertarian principles that have fallen out of favor in our 21st century world.


Have a happy spring-rebirth holiday, whatever you wish to call it.

Voting is usually wrong

Voting is usually wrong

Voting has become a sacred ritual in our society. Anything can and will be excused as long as it wins the vote. This is disturbing.

Realize that almost nothing should ever be subject to a vote. Nothing that involves removing consensual personal choices of others. Nothing that involves coercive government approved theft (dishonestly redefined as "taxation"). The only legitimate votes should involve "would you like to be involved with this, and personally pay a part of the expense?" Anything else is not subject to majority wishes.

If every person on earth, except for one, voted to "tax" the one remaining holdout for ... say 10% of his earnings, it would still be just as wrong as if that one man decided unilaterally to "tax" every other person on the planet for 10% ( or 0.0000000....0001%) of their earnings. Mob rule doesn't make anything right.

The only legitimate type of vote is where a group wants to decide something innocuous, like the color they will paint a wall which they all pitched in to build. So, they vote. The most votes go to "white", so those who do not agree to the results do not have to participate in buying the paint or in painting it. If they wish, like if there was an understanding beforehand that the fence would be painted "brown" or left natural, they could even ask to be paid for the time and effort spent building the fence, since they lost the vote.

Voting to determine how much of someone's money will be taken, who will tell them how to live, how their rights will be violated, or what they may do in the privacy of their own homes is never right. In fact, it is one of the most common, and destructive, forms of evil there is.
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Here's another way of looking at the practice of voting: link


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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Are 'free riders' a real problem?

A recent comment (to this column) posed the objection that in a free society, where one would contract voluntarily with a private fire department, if your neighbor's house catches fire and your fire department fights it in order to save your house from damage, the neighbor has benefited from your contract without paying anything. True, as far as it goes.

I suppose you could have a stipulation that your fire department is not to fight fires consuming your neighbors' houses, if they have not also contracted for service, so as not to contribute to their "free-riderhood". The fire department could just sit at your house, hosing it down so the fire doesn't spread to your property. As long as the contract was agreeable to you and your fire department, I suppose you could have just about any conditions put in you like.

Alternately, if your house catches fire and your fire department puts it out, your neighbor has still benefited, since his house is less likely to be damaged now. Or would you prefer that in this case, your fire department set fire to the neighbor's house in order to allow nature to take its course? No, I don't really think anyone would want that.

I think the problem is greatly exaggerated. If people get together to build a bridge, and don't charge a toll for crossing it, does that mean an out-of-town visitor is a "free rider" if he crosses the bridge? He may be crossing the bridge to trade with a business owner who helped pay for the bridge; someone he wouldn't have been able to trade with had the bridge not been built. So is the business owner being cheated since he paid to help build the bridge and the visitor did not? What if this person who crosses the bridge decides to trade with a business owner who also didn't contribute to the construction of the bridge? Does this business owner never trade with the other businesses around him? How did he get the money that he spends in these other stores? Is there no value in keeping his store open for the other people in town?

If people see a benefit for something, they will probably be willing to foot the bill. In a free society, bridges and roads and fire departments would undoubtedly be cheaper and better, since no bureaucracy is eating up the funds and producing nothing but more bureaucracy. There is no reason to whip out coercion to deal with this. A true parasite will suffer the consequences of his decisions regardless whether there is a "government" of any sort to punish him or not.

Besides, everyone will be the "free rider" at times. There is no avoiding it. I think this is only a problem if you look at the situation selfishly or from a "but that's not fair" perspective. Just accept that the times someone else is getting a "free ride" on your dime are paybacks for the times you get the same benefit. It all comes out even in the end, so don't keep a ledger trying to nit-pick every offense. Even if someone seems to come out ahead, are you really willing to give up a little of your liberty to make sure everyone pays in every instance? I'm not.

PS: I just discovered this article which has another, much more detailed take on this: Small-Town Anarchy

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The state disproportionately protects the bad people

The state disproportionately protects the bad people

The biggest problem I have with the state is that it protects bad people from the real consequences of their actions.

In a free society, "reputation" would probably be much more important than it is now. The reason for this is that you wouldn't be able to slide by, being protected from "freedom of association", by government "laws". Anyone would be free to associate, or not, with anyone for any reason.

That means if you act in anti-social ways, or have a job that makes you act like you have special privileges, you might just face retribution for your behavior or starve to death. That may seem harsh, but that is the way it should be.

Government short-circuits this societal-protection mechanism, to our great detriment.

Of course, the state also declares authority to regulate self defense against the predators, too, but that's another issue.

Concealed carry laws are nonsense

Concealed carry laws are nonsense

More guns in the hands of honest people makes society safer, and makes the career choice of the criminal more dangerous. That is obvious to everyone ...except for certain people who wish to do things to you which you would not allow if you were able to effectively resist. Carrying weapons concealed gives the good guy a tactical advantage over the bad guy. If the bad guys are unsure who may be carrying, they are less likely to act. They can't watch everyone all the time.

Yet "concealed carry permits" are hideous abuses of governmental authority. A free person does not need permission to exercise his or her rights. Otherwise they wouldn't be "rights" at all, but would be "privileges"; the opposite of rights. Concealed carry "laws" are also ridiculous on many rational levels.

In many places (such as New Mexico) it is "legal" to openly carry your gun on your hip, as it should be everywhere. Yet, in some of those places one simple act can turn you from a "law abiding person" into a "criminal", or even a "felon".

You can be going about your business, fully in compliance with the law (at least in free regions), wearing a gun on your hip. The simple act of putting on a jacket can then turn you into a "criminal" by concealing your gun. Sorry, but that doesn't show me that you are then a bad guy, but it certainly shows that the "law" is nonsense and those who enforce it are committing an evil act. Plus, if a gun is concealed, it means no one can see it. If they do see it, it isn't concealed. Notice the logical disconnect that is necessary in order to hassle someone over a "concealed" weapon?

Every person should be free of legal consequences for the simple human act of picking up a weapon and slipping it into a holster or a pocket before heading out for the day. Anything else only empowers the predators among us.
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To find out how free you really are, visit OpenCarry.org. How does your state stack up?



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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Libertarianism is not 'hypothetical'

Libertarianism is not 'hypothetical'

A "statist" is one who believes that "government" is a legitimate human endeavor. It is a subset of authoritarian who uses the state to impose their authority upon others. One way statists and other authoritarians try to end a debate with a libertarian is to throw up the old "I live in the REAL world, not your hypothetical one" argument. Balderdash.

I assume it is supposed to end the debate right there, and maybe it has worked for them in the past if the only people they have debated are libertarians who are unsure of themselves. It won't work with me. I don't live an a "hypothetical world". I know what works. I know what doesn't. Plus, I see what the authoritarians seem to be afraid of: the failure and subsequent crumbling of their philosophy.

I have never run into a real-world situation where the Zero Aggression Principle failed. I have run into some situations where my human nature would have preferred the short-term satisfaction of violating the ZAP, but to do so would have been wrong, and probably destructive in the long-run. I have never found a situation where a government "solution" is really better than a freedom-respecting solution. Sure, it might be easier to pay for expensive things by stealing the resources, but it is never right. Not if I do it on my own; not if I hire thugs ("elect politicians") to do it for me.

Statism is a failed system. It may not look like it, since it infests the entire globe right at this moment. At one time, you could have said the same about the dinosaurs. We are witnessing the violent convulsions of a terminally ill system. It will get worse before it gets better.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Real libertarianism for your everyday life

Real libertarianism for your everyday life

There are real-world consequences that occur when individuals (and society) reject principled libertarian positions. I know from experience that the philosophy of liberty is not "Utopian" as its detractors often claim. It works very well for me in my every day real life. Contrary to speculation, I do not live in a cave. I also see the tragedies that occur when people violate these principles in their personal lives and in "public policy".

As an example: When I am out driving and approach an intersection that I suspect to be dangerous, regardless of the state's official signage, I am extra careful. I may slow down or even stop in order to make certain it is OK to proceed. The lives of my loved ones are much more important to me than any schedule or any angry drivers behind me.

In another recently highlighted example, "gun control" laws are always followed by an increase in violence, mayhem, and death. Always. Yet, the victim disarmament crowd refuses to accept reality and back off. They act like campers who feed the bears in spite of the warnings, and then when the bears, conditioned to be unafraid of humans and associating them with food, maul a person, they decide the best course of action is to feed the bears more to try to keep them from being hungry. Absolute insanity! "Gun control", the tactic that should be more honestly called victim disarmament, KILLS. It does this in the real world, leaving a real pile of broken, bleeding people.

On another front, there are lots of things that people do that harm their own bodies. The list includes such things as: chemicals (both recreational and occupational), "extreme" sports, rich food, too much food, taking risks, sex, too little sex, working too hard, working too little, even suicide. Yet, other than showing concern for a friend, you should not meddle. Self-ownership must include even the right to destroy that with is owned. Even if that right offends you. If you go so far as to involve the state in any way, assuming the person has violated some "law", you have probably effectively destroyed the other person's life. What a person does to his or her own body is none of your business. Interfere too much and you will probably only make the problem, if there is a real problem, worse. Remember that the other person may not share your sense of morality. At the very least you will probably lose a friend and have messed up any chance to be a real help in the future. You also lose any chance of that person helping you if you make a wrong choice somewhere down the line. Know the risks; weigh the benefits; make your decisions. Live and let live.

If you know that a condition, place, activity, or person is dangerous, be careful. Use your brain. Don't run whining to the state, asking it to put up more signs, pass new "laws", or increase "fines". Take responsibility for your own safety and stop playing right into the hands of the state. Never blame your deficiencies on "the children". Your descendants will thank you for it.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

"Manchurian Shooters"?

Go vote in the poll in today's Libertarian Enterprise. It asks the question "Do you suspect, however reluctantly, that at least some of the mass-shootings over the past two or three decades were deliberately engineered to achieve a political goal?"

I hate to be suspicious and "paranoid", but ...... How many more "Manchurian Shooters" are waiting for their signal?

The libertarian alternative

The libertarian alternative

Most people, except for the worst among us, live rather "libertarian" personal lives. At least they do as long as they want to get along with the people they encounter. They fall back on primitive authoritarian behavior patterns when dealing with the people whom they dislike or feel "superior" to. Few people tolerate being meddled with by some busy-body. Why would anyone make exceptions for busy-bodies who claim the authority to kill you unless you comply?

Most people will probably choose the libertarian alternative - living by the Zero Aggression Principle, not stealing from or coercing others - if they are aware it exists. As long as people understand that it is not OK to harm others, nor to try to thwart their self-ownership with coercion even if you wear the silly hat of government, they will take more responsibility for their own lives and stop worrying so much about the private lives of others. The good thing is that the "uncooperative" aggressors in society don't have to go along to make it work in the real-world. The ZAP allows you to ignore them until they force you to make a decision regarding them. Their act; their choice.

It is very liberating to realize that you alone are responsible for your own life. Your only obligation to other people involves not harming them and not interfering with their lives as long as they mind their own business. That frees up a lot of energy that can be better spent improving your lot in life.

Government, through "schools" and its lap-dogs in the mass media, try to make certain people are not aware of the libertarian alternative. People are trained to accept that there is only the "right" or "left" alternative; which boot do you want on your neighbor's neck until the next election? Never mind that your neighbor is being asked the same question regarding your neck.

Will you continue to fall for the deception, or will you accept your responsibilities?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Binghamton tragedy is full of reminders

Binghamton tragedy is full of reminders

When a tragedy like yesterday's massacre in Binghamton NY occurs, libertarians need to be careful to not say "I told you so" to people who are hurting. It can be hard, because we do keep warning that these things are an inevitable consequence of "gun control". The fewer good people who are armed, the more bold the bad people become.

That doesn't mean we stop holding accountable the tyrants who enable these horrific acts with their counterfeit "laws" against effective armed self-defense. Remember that most people, for whatever reason, can't see the logical outcome of victim disarmament "laws". The politicians and enforcers, however, do know they help madmen kill unarmed innocents. Yet, they keep repeating "don't resist; don't arm yourself. Leave protection up to the professionals". It is almost as if they want you dead. Why would they do that?

Unlike some people, I doubt most of the victim disarmament pushers really want you dead. They want you disarmed for the same reason -the ONLY reason- anyone wants someone else disarmed: to do things to you that you would not permit if you were able to resist effectively. Whether it is to steal your money, your home, your right of transportation or your self-ownership, you might be more dangerous to fleece if you had "claws". They can't keep milking you for "taxes", labor, and votes if you are dead. They need for you to keep lending an air of legitimacy to the established kleptocracy with your vote (even if it is by voting for the lesser of two evils). They also want you to be afraid. They want you to crawl to them for your protection when an event frightens you. They need you to think you need them.

However, there are some who would prefer that you were dead. People who take responsibility for their own protection shine a harsh light of reality on the failure of the state. The minority who doesn't roll over for crazed attackers reminds us all that "give the criminal what he wants" only works if you know for certain he doesn't want your life.

There is no liberty, no self-responsibility, no civilization, without the people being willing and able to meet the challenge. "It can't happen here." Are you willing to bet your life, and the lives of your children, on that? Will you be cowering under a desk, or will you at least put up a fight? Don't look to the government; this is up to you. I am asking YOU.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Massacre in Binghamton NY

Massacre in Binghamton NY

People who are not too concerned with the reality of the way the world works, and don't understand that murder is already illegal (so more "laws" will not stop killers), might think I am psychic due to this: "Gun Control keeps on killing and killing and killing..." They would be wrong. I am not psychic. It is a simple matter of seeing behind the curtain. Next prediction: Watch the blood-dancers start clamoring for more unarmed victims for other evil people to target.

Albuquerque Libertarian Examiner: Open letter to the NRA

Albuquerque Libertarian Examiner: Open letter to the NRA

I realize all my long-time blog readers have already seen this. It just seemed appropriate somehow.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Is there a place for luke-warm libertarians?

Is there a place for luke-warm libertarians?

I am a radical libertarian; an anarchist. I recognize that any government is too much and can never really be controlled or contained. It is a cancer. The US Constitution was a good try, but its failure to rein in government should be a lesson to all the minarchists out there. Statism of even the mildest sort is hopelessly Utopian.

Those who are bold get scolded that they "make us all look bad". How can that be? The pragmatists always lose their consistency somewhere along the line. That is where they part ways with the bold libertarians. Somewhere they betray liberty in order to look more like an authoritarian of the "right" or "left". Have they then betrayed their own principles in order to be accepted by some authoritarians? I can't say since I don't know what makes up any other person's principles, but it does appear that way to me.

Is there a place for "pragmatic" minarchist libertarians? Yes. They can follow the bold libertarians who are not afraid of the scorn and ridicule that comes with telling the plain unvarnished truth. As I often say, as long as we are going the same direction -toward more liberty and away from a powerful government- I consider us on the same side.

This struggle is like a tug-of-war, with some pulling harder than others, and all pulling on a very slightly different tangent, but those on the same end of the rope are all contributing in some way. If, sometime in the future, society becomes as free as you are comfortable with, you can rest while others of us keep pulling.

Whether it is "you don't really think there should be NO laws against drugs?" or "but you don't think people should be able to own nuclear weapons, do you?" the answer is always, consistently, that freedom of any sort is less dangerous than authoritarian control- but even if it weren't, liberty is still the birthright of every human. Someone needs to stand up for that.