Friday, October 30, 2009

Privacy or a lack thereof

Privacy or a lack thereof

I was reading an entry on The Dilbert Blog, where Scott Adams was talking about the end of privacy. He was making the case that it might be liberating to have all your quirks exposed to the world. Suppose, as in the hypothetical world he proposed, a desire for broccoli were stigmatized. If everyone knew this information about you, you could gravitate toward other broccoli-lovers and find a new community. That sounds nice.

Let's think about that more carefully before we celebrate the loss of privacy and start waiting for our broccoli-fetish club invitations to come rolling in.

It probably wouldn't be too bad until some president, supreme court-jesters, LEOs, or bureaucrats decided it was necessary for "the common good" to kidnap ("arrest"), torture, and kill all the broccoli-lovers. Don't think it wouldn't happen. It would; it always does. Look at all the things from the past that are now demonized and even reasons for punishment. This is a recipe for a "genocide" of those whose tastes can be targeted.

You also need to realize that your neighbors will rationalize their own quirks while magnifying yours until it is imperative that they exorcise you from their midst. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. Yet, if you were already unpopular because you respect the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" of people your neighbors have decided they don't like, or because you painted your house orange with pink and purple polka-dots, any excuse will be sufficient to single you out. If they can hand you over to a government which is willing to do their dirty work for them, it is so much easier and therefore more likely.

This laying open of the secrets has another danger. It limits responses. If the broccoli-lovers happened to have the foresight to arm themselves sufficiently to effectively resist the coming genocide, the government and enemies would know about that as well. Love of broccoli could be a factor in forbidding gun ownership, assuming gun ownership wasn't totally prohibited already.
The danger isn't in the lack of privacy; it is in allowing anyone to have power or "authority" to do something with the information. In other words, it is in having a lack of privacy and allowing government to exist.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

'Do no harm'

'Do no harm'

In a recent comment, "Mike" suggested that the operating principle for life, rather than being the Zero Aggression Principle (with my addendum of the "Principle of Zero Initiated Deceit") might be simplified to "Do no harm".

"Do no harm". If "do" is interpreted to include actions in self-defense, which it might be, then I am not on-board. After all, if someone attacks you, I defend your absolute human right to do harm to your attacker to make him stop. We'll assume for a moment that "Do no Harm" is understood in this way- "Do" as in "cause an action"; "initiate". Initiate no harm. If "Mike" disagrees, I hope he will speak up.

What about "harm"? Harm may still happen that you are not able to prevent, but that is not your fault. If you are able to prevent harm, yet you refuse to act, I might question your integrity and courage, but I would not blame you for the harm as long as you didn't "do"it. I shouldn't second-guess your choices in this case. I can't be inside your head and have access to all the information and values you possess. Weigh your decisions and learn from your experiences and perhaps next time you will be ready, willing, and able to reach out and prevent harm to some innocent person in your sphere.

My other concern about expressing our principles as "Do no harm" is how many people consider it "doing harm" to mind your own business and not meddle in the affairs of others. After all, you have to remember how many people foolishly feel that it is "doing harm" to not force others, at gunpoint ultimately, to provide and pay for health care for people who are not providing it for themselves for one reason or another. Or look at all the people who say that private, non-coercive "drug" use is "harming society" in some way.

Still, "do no harm" is a suggestion I have made before on my blog, especially where government is concerned. In the case of "the state" I would much rather "suffer" harm from something that happens due to "extralegal" freedom than to suffer harm from something that some short-sighted imbecile wrote into law.

I say again: It is better for bad things to happen due to a lack of action than to cause bad things to happen due to your actions. In other words, it is less wrong to watch a mugging occur without helping the victim than it is to be doing the mugging. It is sad when a person is harmed because harm wasn't prevented, but it is positively evil when something bad happens to an innocent person because the harm was enabled or made inevitable by the passage of a "law". When you pass "laws" to "help" people you are becoming the mugger.

Bad things, harm, will always happen. That is the stark reality. No amount of law pollution will ever be able to change that. No saturation of cameras watching our every more; no RFIDs in our skin; no stronger "law" could ever prevent all harm from ever occurring to us.

Use the term "Do no harm", but be prepared to respond to those whose ideas of "do" and "harm" are based upon irrational emotionalism rather than truth.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The best course

The best course

Contrary to my youngest sister's childhood opinion, I don't know everything. But I do know certain things quite well. One thing I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, is that it is possible- not only possible, but imperative- to live a life of maximum freedom for yourself, protecting your life and your freedom as if it were your purpose for existing, while respecting the same in others. This means living by the Zero Aggression Principle and not initiating deception. Happiness is more important than freedom, but only with freedom can you truly "pursue happiness".

Even if freedom were not a successful "strategy", you would do well living that way. If the statists are right, and "might makes right", and theft, kidnapping and murder are OK as long as you have the winning vote, then society is doomed anyway. In such a case I would rather go out doing what I know is right instead of becoming an evil person just to get a little temporary benefit for myself.

I don't have all the answers. I am still learning from others, and learning from myself. I absorb all I can and I digest it until I use what I need and discard the rest. Then, the knowledge I have made a part of me, I rearrange into myself. Freedom is never finalized. Areas where I am not certain can be altered or changed by good arguments. Areas where I am certain need to be challenged and re-evaluated. Explaining myself and my views to others is the best way to untangle it in my own mind, and to find any weaknesses. I may not change my mind, but ideas that can't stand up to scrutiny are not worth much anyway.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My approach

My approach

I was recently asked about "my approach" to freedom and life. It isn't that complicated. My main goal is to increase my own personal freedom. Secondary to that is to increase freedom in society, which obviously includes everyone I deal with regularly. Living by the ZAP and by not initiating deceit is how I attempt to achieve this goal. I know from experience that it works in real life, with real people. Whether they wish to cooperate or not. Whether they live by the same principles or not.

This is "my approach". It may not be the best way for everyone, but it works for me. When I have energy left over from living my own life I may decide to spend some of that spare energy on political projects; at least the ones that don't make me feel like I have abandoned my principles. Or I may choose to add value to my own life in some other way.

Is that "selfish"? I don't think so. One must remove the mote from one's own eye before he goes around blindly poking in the eyes of others. You can't toss someone a life jacket if you are deeper underwater than they are. A person must understand and even feel what it is he is working toward in order to avoid losing his way. You can't point the way to camp when you are lost.

This column helps me get my own thoughts in order. If others get some benefit, then that makes me happier. If there is something you would like to hear my opinion on, feel free to ask a question or suggest something. Believe it or not, though, there are a few things I have discovered that I simply have no opinion on. That doesn't mean it isn't important; just that it is outside my sphere of concern.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What freedom is up against

What freedom is up against

I hesitated and almost didn't post the column that I wrote yesterday. It was a little more personal than most. I finally decided the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.

The main reason is that I feel it is necessary to answer those who try to criticize the ideas I present here. If readers do not see the criticisms, they are missing half of the story. You have to see where critics get the facts wrong if you wish to defend your principles effectively.

The other reason is to show what free people are up against. We simply wish to be left alone as long as we are harming no one else. If we cause harm, we understand that there are consequences that we may not like.

That isn't good enough for those who oppose freedom. We could coexist with them in peace if they would let us. Even if they don't want to cooperate, we would leave them to their own path until they attempted to use coercion or deception. Yet this is unthinkable to them.

They will misrepresent what we believe. They will make "mistakes" in quoting us or in interpreting what we are saying. They will call us names if they think it will work. When it doesn't, they will either attack us or, much more likely, send hired thugs to do their dirty work.
The enemies of freedom want to force us to go along with them. They would kill us for simply not wanting to be a part of their "system" of coercion and deception.

In other words, any conflict would be of their choosing. This ethical failing on their part shows that they are wrong, and that they probably know it on an instinctual level. It is why they are so desperate to hide the truth any way they can.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who achieves what?

Who achieves what?

I got a comment on an earlier post that I thought I'd share, since it probably won't be seen otherwise. I shouldn't give the commenter the honor of calling attention to his comments, but they illustrate the poor reasoning skills of some people so clearly.

This person, calling himself "john jones", says

Your approach, to avoid politics and live in a paranoid fantasy, is no solution
at all. I'm sorry to read that you have kids, and that you are doing your best
to warp their minds. I feel sorry for them and for you. Your approach will
achieve nothing. You remind me of the character Dale from King of the Hill, but
in real life that is not funny. It is just sad. So, so sad.

First of all, I didn't say it is wrong to engage in politics, just that it has a poor track record for increasing freedom in any meaningful way. Can a person be aware of history and not recognize this fact? I also said that if "political action" is your desire, go for it. My point was that it is wrong-headed to criticize people who have seen that politics isn't "the way" to get where they want to go. The reliance on politics has all the signs of being a religion to some people. Not everyone- some people.

Second, I am not "paranoid". I don't buy most conspiracy theories, including the ones that claim that there could never be a governmental conspiracy. Once again, history has exposed the lie of this delusional argument. Exposed governmental evil is never called a "conspiracy" once it is widely known. That way statists can continue to claim that there have not been any government conspiracies. Totally dishonest.

I also do not think anyone is "out to get me". I am not that important or influential. There are much bigger fish to fry. However, the distrust of those who think it is their duty to steal from you and kill you if you refuse to cooperate is not "paranoia". It is reality and common sense. The results of ignoring this fact can be seen everywhere. That also shows it is not a "fantasy". Refusal to accept the demonstrable facts, however, is a fantasy. It may make you popular with certain parasitical folk, but is it worth it?

Then he claims that my "approach" is "no solution at all". Seriously? To be "no solution" my "approach" sure has solved a lot of problems. Not just for myself, but for others who really make the commitment to live up to it. Maybe his idea of a "solution" involves a lot of repeated failure so that he can continue exercising his approach and keep failing.

People like this "john jones" who have no foundation for rational debate can always be relied upon to bring children into their attacks. They like innocent collateral damage. It is the way of manipulators to try to use your family against you. Sorry. It won't work.

I guess teaching your children self-responsibility and self-reliance is attempting to "warp their minds" to people like "him". So be it. To do less is unthinkable abuse. I know too much about the workings of government indoctrination camps known as "public schools" to trust them with my kids' education and safety. I feel sorry for the off-spring of "john jones". He must be raising compliant sheep who will be willingly led to the slaughter. Maybe they will even facilitate their own demise to impress their masters. I'm sure he will be so proud.

He then claims my approach will achieve "nothing". Been there; done that. My approach has already achieved more than I could have hoped when I began this journey. I wonder what the approach of "john jones" has achieved so far?

Finally his desperate attempts to discredit me reach the realm of absurdity. Someone can believe I am like a cartoon character if that is what they want to do. If "Dale" agrees with me anywhere, then he would be smarter than I give him credit for. Obviously "john jones" has not actually read enough to get to know my views very well. He responds with a knee-jerk attack when something threatens to make him think. And that is what is not funny, and, instead, is so very sad.

Nothing illustrates the approaching "Idiocracy" better than "john jones" and his comment. I would guess that he is a bitter person who is tired of losing from trying the same failed tactics over and over again, so he attacks others. That is purely speculation, however. I invite him to write more to confirm my suspicions. I probably won't respond again, but at least other people can learn from the example.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Freedom odds and ends

Freedom odds and ends

Here is a collection of random bits and pieces I have written or collected that don't fit anywhere else:

"Overpopulation": The problem isn't that there are too many humans on earth, the problem is that we are still in our cradle. That is crazy. It is time to force NASA and the governments of the world to step aside so that we can start crawling out of the nursery of Earth and out into our real long-term home. It is inevitable and it is essential that we do so. Soon.

Fear of anarchy in a post-governmental world: Anarchy will reign supreme (as it does in almost every area of our personal lives), and it will crowd out "chaos", since they are mutually exclusive conditions (regardless of common misconceptions). Governments are "slow chaos" that people don't seem to recognize as chaos. Anarchy is order, and can be bewilderingly fast and scary to those conditioned to accept the slow chaos of government.

Black Flag on property rights:
Property rights derive from Scarcity. If I stand "here", no one else can, since
only one 'thing' can occupy 'this' space at any one point in time. Property
rights exist to establish who has 'the exclusive use' of that space. It is a way
civilized society can organize and sustain itself. The only other way to obtain
exclusive use is to fight for it - and initiation of violence is an incredibly
de-stabilizing force on civilized society to to the point of collapse. Where
ever exclusivity is required to use a 'thing', Property rights must be invoked.
From that light, one can see where property rights are properly exercised and
where they are not.

Black markets: You don't FIND the black market; you MAKE the black market.

Some "pro-gun" politicians: If they are too stupid or evil to understand that there exists a basic human right to own and to carry whatever type of weapon we see fit, wherever we go, in any way we wish, without asking permission of anyone, ever, then they are not "pro-gun" at all, but are just debating how severely to violate your rights.

Freedom: Freedom isn't free, nor can it be purchased from or by government.


Chaos- the definition

The societal/"legal" condition where actions cease to have predictable consequences. Evil is rewarded, and honor is punished. Nothing makes sense. This is the chaos that results when "laws" make a thing both mandatory and prohibited at the same time. Rather than being due to physical laws, it is dependent upon people committing evil acts. In other words it is the result of government.

(This is separate from the mostly benign but sometimes annoying scientific "chaos" where Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle combines with a lack of "all the facts" and "unseen initial conditions" leading to unpredictable outcomes.)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Accepting your responsibility

Accepting your responsibility

Accept responsibility that is yours, but don't try to claim responsibility that is not yours.

An example that crops up constantly is "taxation". If your money is stolen at gunpoint to pay for the state, against your will, it is not your fault. If you happily "pay your taxes", then it IS your fault when the state uses that money for evil purposes.

In my previous column I spoke of "fraud". Some seem to place the blame more on the gullible victim, others blame the deceptive liar. It could be the fault of either, or even some combination. However, don't think you can go through life cheating people and then remaining blameless and pure, since "they shouldn't have been so gullible". Few people will buy that excuse.

Everyone is vulnerable to falling for a scam. No matter how smart you think you are, there is always someone smarter. At least when it comes to lying. Their deception has been refined from years of experience. They know exactly how to fool you and gain your trust. Their every waking move has been geared to figuring out how to trap people like you, while you have been simply going about your life. It is not your fault that you haven't been obsessively concerning yourself with avoiding fraud. However, if you are also trying to get something for nothing you will be more gullible and bear more blame than if you are simply trying to conduct honest business with a liar. Obviously, if you know a person is a liar, it is smarter to refuse to deal with them in any way, ever. In fascist America, you don't always have that choice.

I have personally suffered from fraud. In my case I was not seeking "something for nothing"; the price was actually very high. I got nothing in return. And, yes, it resulted in part from a desire to benefit from something that seemed too good to be true. I should have known better, and yet every time my inner alarms went off, someone or something allayed my fears enough to get me in deeper. I hope I have learned my lesson, but I also hope this doesn't mean I will never trust anyone in important matters again. It is a delicate balance, and one that is not easily maintained by an individual every moment of their life. You will stumble sometimes, and you will be pushed at other times. Recognize which has happened before you assign the blame.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fraud- the definition

When I talk about "fraud" I am referring to the use of lies or other forms of deception in order to facilitate an interaction when the truth would have caused one party to refuse to participate. It may not "initiate force", but it is still wrong. It is something I know I should not do to other people, and if I do I deserve to have the same done to me.

Fraud- however it is classified, it is still wrong

Fraud- however it is classified, it is still wrong

As I discussed in an earlier column, the Zero Aggression Principle doesn't cover everything that would be wrong for me to do. There is another "code" that hasn't really been put into words as far as I know, and I have no intention of trying to do so now.

This "other code" that goes along with the ZAP still follows "do unto others...", maybe it should be called the "Zero Initiated Deception Principle". I don't know what you'd call it. I can still see fraud as "initiation of economic force/coercion" pretty easily, even though I'll back off and let L. Neil Smith have the last word on the ZAP.

However you want to describe it though, I understand that fraud is not nice. It is one of those things which I realize that I should not do to other people because I don't want it done to me, and that by doing it I open myself up to justified retribution.

Now, I also think it is fine and noble to lie to someone who has initiated lies, or is credibly threatening coercion. Would I lie to protect "Jews in the attic"? Absolutely. And if that didn't work, I'd kill to protect them. Is it wrong to lie to a liar or an attacker? I don't think so. Is it wrong to cause harm to an innocent person? Obviously it is. However you slice it, fraud is an economic lie and it causes harm to innocent people.

If someone paints a passable copy of the Mona Lisa, and signs it with da Vinci's name, and then offers it for sale- caveat emptor. Da Vinci is dead and probably isn't too worried about his "Intellectual Property".

If you only want the Mona Lisa because you like the way it looks, then a copy is fine. That is why prints sell. If you buy the original Mona Lisa you are attempting to buy more than just its physical appearance, You are wanting to buy its history and its ..... aura. That may be a stupid desire, but it's your choice.

For the seller to set the price based upon the pretense that a copy is the original is to sell something that isn't really a part of the package. You are not getting everything you are paying for. In the case of the copy there is no "history" going along with the painting. Leonardo's hands did not touch the actual, physical item you hold, and if that is part of why you want it, you have been cheated. I state again: caveat emptor, but to fall for a fraud isn't wrong any more than being the victim of a mugging would be. I know that to cheat people is wrong, even if they are gullible.

Now, what kind of "action" would be justified? Restitution. And if the defrauder refuses, then shunning and public airing of the fraud would be appropriate. I wouldn't be comfortable with saying that a person who defrauds you is fair game for you to shoot in self-defense. Although, depending on the circumstances, I might not judge against him if I were the arbitrator.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The road to freedom is not paved with politics

The road to freedom is not paved with politics

Freedom is not to be found in "politics". If you enjoy politics, then by all means play the game, but don't make the mistake of thinking that those who don't share your interests are "not doing anything" for freedom. The case may be that they are doing more by simply living free than all the activists combined will ever achieve. After all, "politics" doesn't have a very good track record of promoting freedom in any meaningful way.

You can be completely non-political while staying informed and increasing your own freedom. By your example, you can inspire others to increase their own freedom and give them an idea of how it can be done.

My own advice is to ignore the state and its ridiculous "laws" as much as possible; only paying attention to the tyranny in order to avoid becoming a statistic of state brutality. If you are a sociable sort, find like-minded people with whom you can share ideas. You could even join a secret society of free individuals. Do what makes you happy as long as it doesn't involve initiating force or deception.

What is probably the most powerful thing you can do for the future of freedom? Give your children a taste for freedom. It will stay with them for a lifetime. I was recently reading a friend's blog and she pointed out that letting your children experience freedom makes them remember it and want it. Looking back over my own childhood, I see how true that is.

As a child I wandered far from the watchful eyes of my parents. Taking chances. Exploring. It gave me a taste for freedom that will never fade. Even with, or possibly because of, the very real risks involved, there is probably no greater gift you can give your children. It teaches resourcefulness and responsibility. After all, if you get treed by a pack of angry feral dogs where no one can rescue you, you had better figure out a solution. More than anything else, my own childhood freedom probably had more influence on my current hunger for freedom than any other experience or teaching. I have tried to pass that along to my own children. I'm still trying. This is the road that will eventually lead to widespread freedom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The truth hurts, but denial solves nothing

The truth hurts, but denial solves nothing

The truth may hurt and it may go against your cherished beliefs, but that doesn't change the fact that it is the truth. When you are faced with facts that you don't like, it doesn't help to attempt to reinterpret them to make yourself feel better.

As an example, "laws" are passed in vast numbers in order to avoid "anarchy", but the result is chaos. It is a slow chaos, to be sure, but it is still chaos- where logic goes out the window due to the capricious nature of the state. It is inevitable and easily observed if only people will look.

Gun control advocates would do well to look at the facts. Each and every new restriction on gun ownership or possession increases violent crime. They can try to cook the numbers to hide that fact, and they do, but they are only fooling the gullible.

Or, in my own case: The market will compensate a person according to the value they provide* to others. When I look at my own financial condition I am left with a disappointing conclusion. But facts don't lie.

When faced with a truth that is painful, you can accept it and try to adapt, or you can ignore the truth and continue down the same path.

*Don't fail to notice the large segment of the population who is compensated without regards to any real value. These are the bureaucrats, burglars, police, extortionists, judges, con men, and the president, who live off the proceeds of theft and skew the perceptions of what is "valuable".

Monday, October 19, 2009

Governmental inertia and stupidity illustrated

Governmental inertia and stupidity illustrated

A dozen years ago, more or less, I was attending a mountainman rendezvous in Colorado. The weather had been dry for the past couple of months and the Forest Service (more honestly referred to as the "Forest Circus") had declared a fire ban. This makes the primitive living a lot harder and less comfortable, but I have no desire to start a wildfire. In obviously dangerous conditions I will do without the comfort and utility of a fire.

The reality, however, was that just before the rendezvous began, the rains came. And wouldn't stop. I have never seen such a waterlogged landscape in my life, except in documentaries about the bottom of the ocean. We set up the tipi in the rain. Even with flat ground, water was standing everywhere, a couple inches deep. There was quite possibly nothing dry within a hundred miles.

And yet, illustrating the boundless stupidity and meddlesome nature of government, the enforcers of the aforementioned "Forest Circus" made certain to drop in on the camp daily to remind participants that the fire ban was still in effect. A wildfire could not have been started with gasoline, but "Rules are Rules".

Needless to say, there was a lot of outlawry going on when the enforcers were not around. They finally gave us permission to have fires for a couple hours a day in order to dry out some of our gear. There had been "jokes" circulating through camp about a possible lynching soon, and this "privilege" managed to quell the talk.

Government is counterproductive and obsolete. It endangers life and limb. I wonder if the lesson was lost on any of the mountainmen in attendance. If I had been in doubt, it certainly would have driven the point home to me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Holding back progress in the name of the state

Holding back progress in the name of the state

Progress in many areas has stalled; it has run into the wall of the state. Progress has been thwarted by the progress-hating "progressives" as much as by the progress-suspicious "conservatives".

For example: transportation. Instead of our average speed of travel getting faster, as it always has, the state has erected "speed limits" and barriers to new technology. Of course it has done so in the name of "safety".

Human modes of travel have also constantly allowed us to bring more and more "stuff" along for the ride. This has been a huge boon for individual freedom. Until, once again, the state has decided to short-circuit this natural progression.

People were originally walkers and runners. I'm sure the early authoritarian mental-defectives were constantly saying to their peers "Walk; don't run". From being able to bring along only what they could carry in their own two hands, they quickly discovered the advantage of pouches and baskets. Then humans began to ride animals who could run faster and carry more stuff than they could by themselves. Later, humans built vehicles so they could use more animals and carry even more stuff and still maintain their speed. Progress in the area of speed stalled until humanity could get past the natural speed limit imposed by the physiology of the animals themselves. Finally, when mechanical vehicles were invented our average speed began increasing again. With each year it went up, along with the amount of stuff we could carry.

Until this all began to scare the control freaks. Then they started passing "laws" so that they could have their enforcers waylay travelers for no reason other than going faster than the authoritarians would like. Now they are attempting to limit the size and power of our vehicles as well; reducing again the amount of things we can carry. Progress in speed and carrying capacity are reserved for agents of the state. "Laws" even attempt to control what we can travel with. Pharmaceuticals and weaponry being the two main targets, although animals, currency, and anything else that strikes fear into the minions of the state can be targeted as well.

How long will humans put up with these artificial constraints on progress? I don't know, although I would guess that pressure will build until something breaks. Since the state is the force attempting to hold back the flood, the state is what will be crushed by its own short-sighted meddling. Good riddance to an obsolete relic that should have been buried long ago.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Department of Corrections" is a lie

'Department of Corrections' is a lie

Yesterday I was out picking up litter and one of the items I picked up was a discarded letter which had been mailed from the Arizona Department of Corrections. "Corrections"? What a tragic joke! Just imagine if government departments were expected to be truthful when choosing names. "Corrections" would not be a part of the name in that case since nothing could be farther from the truth.

Very few who support the concept of imprisonment actual want "correction"; they want 'punishment". "Punishment" does not mean the same thing as "correction" no matter what abusive parents may claim as they prepare the belt. Euphemisms only hide the evil. The fact that most of those so punished do not deserve it only adds to the travesty.

Who do they think they are fooling with the word "corrections" in the name? Does anyone actually believe that anything, particularly the inmates' behavior, is being "corrected"? Or is it more likely that their behavior is being corrupted and made worse by exposure to more experienced and more "hardened" thugs (on both sides of the bars). Rather than "Department of Corrections", it is the "Department of Corruption"- in every sense of the word at every possible level.

The absolutely disgusting practice of putting non-violent innocent "drug users", "tax evaders", or other victims of "mala prohibitum" edicts in prison beside the violent initiators of force and thieves often turns people who previously had no aggressive proclivities into a new army of people who now have a "criminal record" and nothing to lose.

Obviously not everyone who was wrongly kidnapped by the "justice system" and tossed into the "correction" facilities will become an aggressor or a thief. Many people of strong principles are able to get out of "criminal university" without being corrupted. How many people really have principles strong enough to resist, though?

The corruption doesn't end there. The administrators and guards too often succumb to temptation and use their power in ways illustrated by the Milgram experiment. They also use their position to enrich themselves by providing services and goods in the prison's black market. Being inside a corrupt system corrupts a substantial percentage of those who come in contact with it.

Government seeks to expand the corruption, along with the inherent profit and power, but it is time to put an end to it. Once and for all.


Friday, October 16, 2009

'Public schooling' equals abuse in today's authoritarian environment

'Public schooling' equals abuse in today's authoritarian environment

"Zero tolerance" demonstrates zero intelligence. A school would do better to accept the Zero Aggression Principle as the standard of behavior and punish the initiation of force rather than punishing the possession of tools or medications. Intent is at the heart of the matter.

I do not want my kids to go out in the world without a pocketknife no matter what "the rules" may be. Pocketknives save lives and are the most basic of tools. I also don't want my kids to do without basic modern medications because someone is afraid the medications may be misused. If I trust my kids enough to send the medication with them it is none of your business. If you are that fearful, stay home and hide under your bed. And if you are that controlling, get psychological help.

Public school administrators have become a horrible lot of life-force draining zombies without brains. They expect no one else to have any brains either. School districts then add insult to injury by stealing your money to finance these monsters and their programs.

This gets to the main issue: I don't know how anyone could consent to allow their children to be kidnapped and sent off to government indoctrination camps for the majority of their childhood and adolescence. This practice is crushing creativity and individuality while building willing supporters of the state and its corrupt ways.

This should cause outrage at the "villagers with torches and pitchforks" level. That it doesn't means that good people don't really understand what is going on. The fact that good people don't understand what is going on shows how effective the indoctrination really is. Separate school and state- in your own life at least. Your kids' education is MUCH too important to leave to the government.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Attack of the Conscience

Today I was at a store checking out when the woman at the register asked "What do you do?" It's a fair question since I doubt I look like someone anyone would hire.

So, I answered that I write. Then I immediately felt guilty, and felt as though I had lied to her.

I do write. I even get paid (a tiny bit) to write. So why did i feel like a liar?

Aggression is always wrong, but not all wrongs are aggression

Aggression is always wrong, but not all wrongs are aggression

Initiating force is always wrong, but not every wrong involves initiating force. This brings up a mistake I made recently in a note I sent to L. Neil Smith. He, quite correctly, set me right. Being an opinion I have held for a long time, it is perhaps surprising I let it go so easily.

My mistake involved trying to put all wrongs under the umbrella of "initiating force" instead of realizing that "initiation of force" is just one aspect of things that are wrong to do. You also have things such as fraud.

I was making the incorrect connection that fraud is "economic initiation of force". L. Neil pointed out to me that Marxists have made the claim to him that not handing over the necessities of life to the poor is the same thing. The obvious flaw in this line of thought is that the Marxist's demands place an obligation on someone else and therefore can't be force initiation. You have no right to something that has to be provided by others.

He also mentioned that some people claim that advertising forces mentally weak people to change their money-spending habits. Brainwashing, maybe- force, no. Advertising is as likely to make me NOT want a product as it is to make me want it.

I don't fall for those claims, obviously, so it made me re-evaluate my other view. L. Neil explains that in order to keep things clear and less confusing, we need to keep initiation of physical force separate from other things that may be just as wrong, but which involve no physical attack.

Theft obviously can involve initiation of force, but it doesn't always. Theft is the act of having part of the product of your life taken from you by 1) physical force, 2) threat of physical force, or 3) deceit. Therefore the act of theft is only a violation of the ZAP in cases 1 & 2, but not in 3. Breaking and entering, or a "con", wouldn't violate the ZAP; mugging would. A mugging, or taxation for that matter, depends on force or the threat of force. A burglary, where no contact between the thief and the victim occurs, doesn't involve any physical force against another human being. It is still wrong, which makes me wonder: how much force could be used to resist such an act? Is a booby-trap then an initiation of force?

Fraud, such as a "con" or "fractional reserve banking", relies on lying. I have never considered lying to be an initiation of force by itself, although it is usually wrong.

This makes me think there should be a corollary to the ZAP that asserts that no human being has the right, under any circumstances, to steal from another person, using force or deceit. Government certainly doesn't get a "pass" on this rule, either.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'You don't mind breaking the law?'

[Sherlock Holmes, speaking to Dr. Watson]
"By the way, Doctor, I shall want your cooperation."
"I shall be delighted."
"You don't mind breaking the law?"
"Not in the least."
"Nor running a chance of arrest?"
"Not in a good cause."
"Oh, the cause is excellent!"
"Then I am your man."
A Scandal in Bohemia by A. Conan Doyle

I'll admit it: I don't mind breaking the law. Not in the least. I suspect there was a time when "the law" was recognized as an intrusion into "normal" people's lives. It neither adds anything to your life, nor makes things more difficult for the dishonest and aggressive individuals who were its purported targets. It only feeds statism. But, in the beginning the state (by whatever name) was incapable of watching everyone all the time, so "the law" was more of a hypothetical threat rather than a real one. Unless you were very unlucky or very open in your defiance.

Then there came the days of malignant state worship- the 20th century. Governments all over the world grew exponentially and clashed with one another, resulting in hundreds of millions of deaths among the bystanders. People all over the world cheered on their chosen group of governmental thugs with religious intensity and ignorance. Banners flew, anthems rang, and more people died at the altar of the state.

While that era is fading, we in America (and elsewhere) are still dealing with the residual badge-licking, "law abiding citizens" and their freedom-crushing complicity. Their time is running out. They are sealing their own fate with unintended consequences.

One fact that is pushing society closer to the tipping point is that "the law" is reaching the point of absurdity; good people are regularly finding themselves at odds with "laws" with no intention of doing so. When it is impossible for a normal person to go about their day without breaking "laws", it is not a sign that the normal people are "bad"; it is a sign that the state has become a force for evil.

I am an outlaw. I will never be ashamed of breaking the "law", nor will I ever be proud of doing anything wrong.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Obama's national service corps

Obama's national service corps

Ask not what "your country" can do for you, because that is looking to benefit from theft. Ask neither what you can do for "your country" because that is helping to support an illegitimate system. Instead, practice Random Acts of Anarchy and help the individuals you run across who need to be helped, or fix problems you recognize that need to be fixed. And do it without asking governmental permission or (perish the thought) for government subsidies.

Forced "service", to individuals or to "the country", is slavery. Anyone who advocates forced "service" is advocating evil. They can dress it up in red, white, and blue and call it "patriotism", or they can wrap it in warm-fuzzies and say it is for the "common good", but slavery and collectivism under any guise is the same horror. Stalin would be proud of the propagandists of "both types" spreading his values in America today.

Obama's national service scheme is no different from requiring (or pressuring) people to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Both are reprehensible socialist propaganda to be rejected by free people. Don't give in to the peer pressure, and resist those who would enslave you.

Don't tone down the message

Don't tone down the message

I expect that this column is mostly read by people who are already convinced that freedom works in real life, and that it is the best course in all situations. People who don't believe that seem to try really hard to keep from being exposed to this dangerous idea and will probably not stumble across this column too often, although a few statists may run across it based upon a headline that piques their interest (I will admit that choosing a headline is my greatest self-acknowledged weakness).

I usually try to not say things that will immediately repel those who are not familiar with freedom, but some times, in exploring the ragged edges, it is unavoidable. After all, I am not generally talking to "freedom pre-schoolers" here, and I have no intention of dumbing down my message for those who are not yet ready for it. Winning friends and influencing people is good, but you can't let that be your only goal.

In public I try to be nice, and that is how I am normally described. When I am writing, mostly to others who love freedom, I attempt to say what I mean without toning it down. I am not talking about being rude, but about not avoiding the issues that may "scare the children".

Many statists get very upset when they run across someone saying unequivocally that taxes are theft, and war is murder. The deluded "patriots" don't like hearing that LEOs are a bigger threat to America than is Osama (or Obama). Many who believe themselves to be on the side of freedom don't like the Constitution being shown to be a relic that either caused the current governmental "slow-chaos" police state or was powerless to prevent it from happening.

Speaking your mind may not even be popular with those who mostly agree with you. You can't please all the people all the time; not even those in a select group. Some get very defensive when presented with the illegitimacy of "National Borders". Even many freedom lovers get upset over my "Bubble Theory of Property Rights", although others have expressed their support and laid out exactly, in very clear, logical fashion, why I am right, and consistent, in adhering to it. Whatever your position on any freedom-related subject, think it through carefully, then say what you mean. If you are wrong anyway, it can be sorted out later.

Instead of standing strong, we could be like the NRA and try to appease people who hate everything we stand for. It doesn't work. They will never side with us no matter how much we try to soft-peddle. There is no compromise with people who refuse to budge and insist on only making you give up your ground incrementally. It is past time to show that our predecessors gave up all the ground that the statists are ever going to win. That is a statement that will either scare the statists or cause them to laugh. Either way, they will be distracted so that we may advance.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama 'wins' Nobel Peace Prize. Cue the crickets

Obama 'wins' Nobel Peace Prize. Cue the crickets

Like a lot of people, when I heard that Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, I paused- waiting for the punch line. I'm still waiting. The joke turned out to be that it was no joke.

If Obama is qualified to win the Nobel Peace Prize, then there are a lot more deserving prize winners out there just waiting to be recognized. I am certain I am just as qualified to win some Nobel Prize in some area. Do they offer one for "Freedom Philosophy"?

Wyle E. Coyote should win the Noble Prize for physics because of the work he has done in "gravitational delay theory".

Dr. Jekyll should win the Nobel Prize for chemistry for his selfless sacrifices and self-experimentation which pushed the boundaries of understanding the effects of chemicals on the human body and mind.

Dr. Moreau should obviously win the Nobel Prize for biology for advancing the understanding of evolutionary science.

And, for my nomination for next year's Nobel Peace Prize, check out my latest contribution to The Libertarian Enterprise.


Friday, October 09, 2009

How do you react?

How do you react?

I think that how you react to others whose beliefs, habits, or lives may differ from your own goes a long ways toward showing how willing you are to leave people alone to live their own lives as they see fit as long as they are harming no innocent person.

Just a few examples from my own life:

I was once standing in line at a counter when the person in front of me pulled money from his pocket and as he did, a small bag of marijuana fell to the floor. He didn't realize it had fallen out and I quickly scooped it up and tapped his shoulder, saying "You dropped this". He was incredibly grateful.

On a couple of occasions I have had men express an interest in me. I just say I am not interested without making an issue of it. It is no different than having a woman express an interest in me if I am not interested in her. There is no need to get "all macho" and offended over it, and certainly no reason to threaten to beat anyone up as I have seen happen.

A former wife of mine worked in a convenience store and kept bragging that she would call the cops on anyone (other than a LEO) she saw with a gun in "her" store. (Of course, she never complained about my armed presence during the overnight shifts when she worked alone!) One day, after she had finished waiting on one particular man and he had left the store, I casually asked why she hadn't thrown him out or called the cops on him. She claimed she didn't see the (rather large and obvious) revolver on his belt. I just mentioned that she might want to pay closer attention to her surroundings if she wanted to stay safe. Personally, I think it was all bravado on her part, and she had no intention of doing any such thing. Still, I wanted to say so much more than I did.

This isn't to say I have always taken the best course, especially during my teenage years. Life is a journey, and all any of us can do is keep improving. Don't beat yourself up over things in the past that you can't do over or fix.

Property rights and staying consistent

Property rights and staying consistent

Whatever you insist on for yourself, rights-wise, you must be willing to accept for others. You can not make one claim for yourself, but have different parameters for everyone else. Otherwise you become like the statists.

My "Bubble Theory of Personal Property Rights" is not popular, but even if it means I am not welcome very many places, it is still the way I will relate to anyone I invite to my property. If you come to my house by invitation, what is in your "bubble" is none of my business as long as it doesn't break out, and my property rights do not penetrate that space of yours which goes from the outer surface of your clothing on one side to the same surface on the opposite side of you. If I don't like that, no one is forcing me to allow, or invite, anyone and their "bubble" on my property. That is why cops are never welcome on my property.

While I see my own property rights views in an almost concrete fashion, like a solid sculpture that has sharp, well-defined surfaces, I see the other point of view as a fuzzy, wispy phantasm, made up of "yes, buts", "in this cases", and "if, thens", and depending upon which way the wind is blowing at the moment. It seems very fluid and indefinite.

I can see the point that has been made that other people's real-estate rights are supreme to bodily property rights to some people. I don't understand it, and I doubt I will ever actually believe it, since bodily property rights are the source of all rights, and just as you can have no hangnails without hands or feet, neither can real estate property rights exist apart from bodily property rights. However, if that is how others see it, I will try to respect that view and behave as though I agree.

This column is an educational exercise for me, after all. Sometimes, if you find yourself in the minority it may mean you are wrong.

This means I now have to make some hard choices. The reality is that under this view I am no longer able to leave my property without violating my responsibilities in one way or another. That is a disheartening realization, but principles are principles, and consistency is vital.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

"Drunk driving" public service ads

You know those stupid draconian "Drunk driving" ads? They crop up everywhere, and the billboards I drive past make me want to grab a can of red spray paint and practice painting circles and "X"s. The TV ads just make me change channels. I don't like people to drive drunk, but I like authoritarian evil even less.

I'd like to post my own "public service announcements" aimed at those public serpents with badges and roadblocks (and syringes):

If you violate people's rights, we WILL find you. Make no mistake,
you WILL get caught, and you WILL pay for your aggression. Violate a
right; go straight to prison. It's your choice.

I know, it isn't harsh enough. Still it would make me feel better.


Instead of moving into an area already polluted with an abundance of "laws", some people are trying to start colonizing new areas to start with as blank a slate as possible. Seasteading is the most common idea. It sounds good to me, but there are some drawbacks. You would still be in the path of navies and pirates (not much real difference between the two).

I like the idea of "Blacksteading"- colonizing space. I know there are technological drawbacks to that, but there are also advantages. No governments and no pirates. Yet. There is enough room to stay out of their way when they do arrive, and plenty of resources and energy.

I'm not saying to pursue blacksteading instead of seasteading, but along with. Some things learned can be applied to both. I could see myself going either way.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pushing the freedom envelope: Here there be dragons

Pushing the freedom envelope: Here there be dragons

When writing about freedom, whether you call it "libertarianism", "self-ownership", or "anarchism", it is necessary to explore the ragged edges.

For example, I doubt anyone who understands freedom thinks slavery is a good thing anymore. Those who don't understand freedom, even if they think they do, make excuses when the slave owner is a government entity. Then euphemistic terms and contradictory mental contortions are employed to avoid acknowledging the slavery.

Then there are areas where good freedom-advocating people have differing opinions. To me it seems to normally come down to a disagreement over the concept and understanding of "initiating force". Others are unhappy with any hierarchy of any sort regardless of whether they are voluntary or not, and still others are unhappy when they think they see rights clashing or overlapping. I think the "problems" are overblown if not already solved, but just because I see these things clearly solved in my own mind doesn't mean I am right.

Whatever the problem, it is good to keep poking around those dangerous areas and risk falling off the edge. It is the only way to discover where the real boundaries lie. I will continue to stick my nose into these areas and take my bruises. I have nothing to lose and so much to gain by the exercise.

Update: I have gotten an update on the progress of the website for helping support libertarian letters-to-the-editors. Sounds like it is going to be good. Keep watching for the announcement!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Who is a 'terrorist'; who is not

Who is a 'terrorist'; who is not

It seems like government has fallen in love with the word "terrorist". Anyone who opposes the state is a potential target for the label. Yet, very few of those so designated would really qualify, even if the accusation were not made up out of thin air. You see, government applies the word to those who by definition do not fit it.

A "terrorist" is someone who tries to create the emotion of "terror" through violent attacks (or threats of attack) against innocent non-governmental individuals or targets, and then uses that fear to attempt to force a change in government policy. Violent attacks on governmental targets, while they may still be wrong, are not terrorism, but are "political dissent" or "revolt". They are the last option when all other options have been criminalized or rendered impotent. (This is known as an "unintended consequence".)

Not all bad guys are "terrorists"; some are just regular thieves, attackers, or government employees. The label "terrorist" is a handy way for the state to throw suspicion on anyone who refuses to buy the government's excuses, coercion, and lies "hook, line, and sinker". And when applied to the wrong people, this label is only convincing to those who do willingly buy the government lies.

No attack on a government employee or facility is a "terrorist attack" no matter who orchestrates it, for whatever reason, or how many innocents are killed. It is evil to harm the innocent. This is what government does the best. "Collateral damage" is completely unacceptable even in defense of freedom. It brings the opponents of government down to the level of the thugs of the state.

Governments realize this and will always try to surround their most evil actors and agencies with innocent human shields. They need innocent deaths for photo collages in the event of any attack. Good people will never step into their trap.. Freedom doesn't need martyrs as much as it needs living advocates like you and me promoting the principles as we stand by them. Freedom certainly doesn't need fools and bullies to damage the cause.

Attacks on governmental targets don't terrorize or even scare me. I stay away from such places and people anyway. I don't need the government for anything. I would probably notice if they were gone due to the sudden increase in freedom. It would be an interesting day.

Giving consent freely or under coercion

Giving consent freely or under coercion

To give "consent" means you are making an agreement with another person. This could be a real "agreement" or it might merely be "compliance". Free individuals in a free society, which is the ideal situation, will give consent that really means something. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a slave's consent to the master's wishes is completely worthless. Consent under duress is not really consent and is not binding. The rest of us live somewhere in between these two extremes, and our consent has greater, or lesser, meaning depending on how freely we give it in the particular circumstance. In a great many cases, our "consent" is coerced in one way or another. Either due to seeking the approval of people who are close to us, or in attempting to survive in society.

Free people in an unfree society are in a difficult situation. The more we are backed into a corner, the more likely we are to give the appearance of consent where none really exists. This may not be right, but it is certainly understandable.

If you are approached by a bully who is bigger, stronger, or tougher than you and he demands your cooperation, you would be likely to agree to it in order to get out of the current situation. Even if there were no overt threat, if you knew the man's history of violence toward those who didn't cooperate, or understood his power to punish you for your lack of cooperation, giving false consent would be understandable. Consent now or suffer now; lie to him now and possibly suffer later. You may be purchasing immediate safety at the expense of future peace of mind. In a free society you could defend yourself from people such as this at the time of the threat, forestalling the "payback". That isn't the "legal" reality of the world we live in right now.

If you are a free individual facing a bully of some sort you should probably just refuse to consent and let the chips fall where they may. Yet, as in the case of the state, I feel there is nothing wrong with lying to thugs. In fact, I think it is often right to lie to them. Do you feel guilt if you lie to the mugger when he asks if you have any more money on you, or is it the right thing to do? Would you pretend to cooperate with the kidnapper in order to get your child back, and then renege on your deal at the first opportunity? Good people don't become bad by confounding the bad people. Good people lose when they deal with bad people as if they were good people. If you don't like the implications, don't initiate force, therefore becoming a bad person. Once you do, consequences are set into motion. I would never condemn a person for giving false consent to bullies or under coercion.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Property rights by contract

Property rights by contract

What does the dictionary say a "contract" is?

"[A]n agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified." Doing. Not peripheral matters, but the "doing or not doing". As in "doing your job". Your race, hair color, type of shoes (as long as they do not prevent you from doing that which you contracted to do), or whether you are armed has no bearing on the "doing or not doing" that is contracted.

Next we have "[A]n agreement enforceable by law" and "the written form of such an agreement". Is the demand that you relinquish your human rights "enforceable by law"? What sort of "law"? Is such a demand valid? Here we are getting back into government coercion which is outside the scope of this article. The remaining definitions don't really concern us here, but feel free to read them.

Is every voluntary interaction a "contract"? Is any conceivable contract OK? Or, are there some conditions that are never acceptable nor "enforceable" due to their reprehensible nature? What about a contract which "allows" or "requires" you to initiate force?

If, as I believe, it is never within your rights to initiate force, is a contract which "authorizes" you to initiate force on people who enter your property valid? Can you agree to a contract relinquishing your right to not be attacked? Can you "contract" to stop being human?

If a property owner makes the rules clear before we enter his property, then we have the choice to agree or not. If the restriction is hidden in the voluminous "user agreement" the reality is that bizarre requests can't be anticipated, so we would need to specifically ask what is permitted and what is not. Once again, it is dangerous to set gun possession restrictions apart from other strange demands that a property owner may make.

MamaLiberty points out "Nobody is forced to take a job or shop in a certain store". That is true to an extent. The reality is that in some places, while you are not forced to deal with one particular business, you may be forced to deal with a particular set of businesses. If they all have the same rules, then you really have no choice but to deal with one or the other. You can't buy milk at the gun store, after all. To claim otherwise is to side with those who say "If you don't like the way things are in America, get out!" I am not saying this proves anything, just that it is something to consider.

I am simply trying to get you to think. Lest you think otherwise, I think it is preferable to try to get along with others. Go along with their requests unless they put you in danger or ask you to violate your principles. If they initiate force against you, you have the right to defend yourself, but you are not required to do so. If someone makes unreasonable demands, avoid them.

Property rights and governmental meddling

Property rights and governmental meddling

It is not within government's authority to tell anyone how to use their own property in any way, as long as no innocent is harmed by the use. Not if it benefits me personally or if it harms me. I do think it is good if artificial government rules which restrict freedom are removed. Sometimes this is done by passing a new "law" instead of the more rational action of removing the old, offending "law". I know this is not the case in the example that started this discussion.

What about places that have government-mandated signs forbidding guns, rather than a sign the owner wanted to post based upon his own desires? If the restriction is not based upon the property owner's desires, but upon governmental "requirements" then are you wrong to ignore it? How do you know the property owner's real wishes? Do you ask? Do you assume liberty, or do you assume slavery?

On "government property" we have no option, since government is a monopoly. I brought up the fact that government owns nothing to get that discussion out of the way. There is no ethical obligation to obey government's rules, although it may be a smart survival strategy. It is best to avoid government employees and buildings anyway.

I am not saying you should or should not act in a particular way, but I am asking you to think about the issues involved. It is good to understand where you stand and why.


Property rights- body, stuff, and real estate

Property rights- body, stuff, and real estate

Whenever someone of MamaLiberty's caliber disagrees with me, as she does with my previous column on personal property "bubbles", I know it is time to stop, re-evaluate, and give the subject some deep thought and careful examination. This is one of those times.

Do your property rights exist if you don't exist? No. What are "property rights"? Having property rights means that if you own something, you have the right to use that thing in any way you wish, as long as by doing so you do not initiate force and thereby violate another person's rights to "life, liberty, and property". As a point of clarification: Governments never respect any property rights but their own, which ironically don't really exist since there is no individual who holds the rights over the property that government claims, along with the fact that government possesses nothing which it did not steal. Stolen property does not belong to the thief. Just to be clear: Government has no property rights.

There are three types of property rights that I can see. There are property rights over your body, which for the purposes of this discussion I will call "bodily property rights" (otherwise known as "self-ownership"). There are property rights over the stuff you own, such as your cars, guns, boots, knick-knacks, appliances, and skull collection. I'll call this your "stuff rights" (as opposed to "right stuff"). Then, there are property rights over your real estate- property such as your land, home, or business location, which I'll call your "real estate rights".

Take your living body out of the equation and the other two types of property rights vanish (along with all your other rights) except that they may transfer to someone else. This means that your existence brings into being your "bodily property rights". Your rights to own, use, and destroy your stuff and your real estate derive from your existence.

If one thing (such as a right) brings forth another thing, then the fundamental thing outranks that which derives from it. That means that your "bodily property rights", from which your "stuff rights" and your "real estate rights" come, must necessarily come before any other property rights if we are to be consistent. After all, you can't have a hangnail if you have no hands or feet; nor any broken bones if you have no bones.

Now, what about a property owner's "real estate rights" trumping a customer/employee/visitor's bodily property rights? If you invite someone, can you really demand they leave their bodily property rights behind? Is that even a real invitation? Is such a demand valid? Does such a demand violate a person's rights by initiating a kind of force? Do you own the space between their skin and their clothing when they enter your property so that you can dictate what resides there? Does the ownership of that space change as a person travels from place to place throughout the day?

When you really consider that concept, the absurdity becomes apparent. That doesn't mean that the absurd implications are wrong, but it should at least cause you to question the idea more thoroughly. I know I have no claim on your "bubble" of bodily personal property no matter what I might prefer, nor upon anything that may be there as long as it doesn't make an appearance on my property. Be warned that others may disagree and lay claim upon your body, your clothing, and the space that exists between the two. That doesn't mean they are right.

I think that the position that "real estate rights" trump the "bodily property rights" and the "stuff rights" of anyone invited to enter the real estate comes from a real desire to be nice and respectful of the real estate's owner. That is fine. It is not always the wisest thing to exercise every right you possess at every moment. I do think it is putting the cart before the horse, though. Perhaps people are afraid of the reaction the general public might have if this realization were to become common.

Coming soon: MamaLiberty thinks the issue comes down to "contracts". She may be right. I will look at the idea of "contracts" which require you to give up your basic human rights in a subsequent column.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The 'bubble' of personal property

The 'bubble' of personal property

This subject has been discussed in this column before. The fact, as I see it, is that rights don't overlap. If you have a right to something, the right doesn't go away just because of where you are. This most often crops up in gun rights discussions, where I am in the minority with my views. There is no need for "laws" that affirm your right to not be raped while at work or at the store. So it is with your other rights. No one can claim that by hiring you or opening for business their act negates your rights in any way. That would mean you have no rights; only privileges.

A recent column by the Dallas Libertarian Examiner caused me to think about this again. The more I contemplate it, The more clearly I see it this way, and the less I am able to see the other point of view. I know that's not good. So, convince me I am wrong.

Here is my explanation of how I view the subject:

I believe we each carry with us a "me-shaped bubble" of our own personal property. That personal property bubble remains intact no matter where we are. It consists of your body, your clothing, and the space between the two. No one can claim ownership of me and eliminate my property by posting a sign. Property rights don't overlap, and no one, under any circumstance, can trump your right to your own body, and that includes what is inside your clothing, as long as it doesn't make an appearance or "leak" out (like radiation or viruses).

I am not going to, nor should I, ask every property owner if I am allowed to enter his property "whole" when the property is open to the public or if I get an invitation. Do I also need to ask if my private thoughts are acceptable? My underwear? My brand of deodorant? Not one of those things is any less dangerous to someone who is not attacking the innocent than is my gun. It is a dangerous precedent to single out guns as the only thing that we need to declare to everyone, everywhere we go, every time we step out our front door. This is what hoplophobes would like us to do: think about guns differently than any other object.

If you have no "bubble" of personal property when you leave your home, on your body or in your vehicle, then the real-world implication is that you have no property at all except when you stay home. Anywhere you go, the property owner can demand that you hand over your money, your clothing, or your life. After all, someone claims every square inch of land you must traverse as you go about your day.

This brings up the subject of employees' cars in the employer's parking lots. Your property inside your car is also in a personal property "bubble". The presence of your car itself is a different matter. No one is obligated to allow it (or your body) on their property, but once they do, they accept it ALL as a package deal. If your car is still your property while it is on someone else's property, then the space inside your car is still your property, not part yours and part someone else's, and certainly not all someone else's. To claim otherwise is what government tries to do when it claims that by using "public" roads, we are consenting to whatever they decide to do to us and our cars. it is utter authoritarian nonsense and is not consistent with liberty.

No one has the right or the authority to make a contract which trades your right to not be molested or killed in order to enter their property. They have the right to not allow you on their property at all, or they have the right to ask you to leave if for some reason they decide they do not like you or what you have on your body. Everyone has the right to be a hermit if they so choose. They also have the right to use self-defense if you attack someone on their property, and I would never second-guess their determination of "how much" force they use in the defense of life and property. So don't cross that line if you do not wish to face the consequences.

As I go about my life I "assume liberty". Obviously, if you rightly assume liberty, but are then asked to leave by a property owner who doesn't believe in allowing you to be a sovereign individual who is responsible for yourself, by all means, leave and don't go back. No one like this has your best interests at heart and this person is not your friend. The only reason anyone wouldn't want you to be armed is so they can do things to you which you would not allow if you were adequately able to stop them.

I understand that ALL rights are, at their foundation, property rights. People say: "Entering someone else's property is a privilege, not a right." I agree. And my body remains my property no matter where I am, because that is a fundamental right that can't go away. You can't enter my property without my permission. If I invite you, I will always assume you are prepared to be a fully-functional human being. Anything less is disrespectful or worse. If you don't trust someone to be armed, you don't trust them and have no business inviting them onto your property in the first place.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Are you a 'controller'?

Are you a 'controller'?

There is a clear dichotomy in people. As Robert A. Heinlein said, it comes down to "those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."

While that is the root difference, there are some further implications that result from that difference.

In the first group, "those who want people to be controlled", you have those individuals who think that everyone except possibly themselves is just looking for an opportunity or excuse to go on a violent rampage. These are the people who generally hate and distrust everyone else, except, sometimes, their own little in-group of like-minds. This person will look for excuses to suspect and hate others, and lacking one, will invent a reason. In this group you also have those who religiously worship the state and its tools. These individuals will carefully ignore the fact that if people are inherently evil, as they claim, helping them form big gangs with a monopoly on violence, and giving them more power over the lives of others, is an incredibly stupid thing to do. This person will usually look down on, yet want to "help" (with your life and property), everyone whom they feel is inferior to themselves. They are very pessimistic, yet project this trait onto everyone else. They also refuse to see their own preferred social organization to be Utopian, while placing that label of the views of those they fear might be right.

In the second group, "those who have no such desire" to control everyone else, you generally find the individuals who like people and get along well with others, and who are not afraid of every conceivable thing in the universe. These are the people who look beyond the scare tactics of the state and mainstream media to see individuals as they really are. This is where you will find the individual who is confident that they can run their own lives without being told what to do. This person can take care of themselves in most instances, as well. The Utopian and irrational nature of the state and all external government is obvious to most of these individuals. A person who fits within this group can stay consistent with his or her principles without making excuses. Often, this person will get frustrated by the stubborn individuals in the first group who seem to insist upon sticking their fingers in their ears and endlessly repeating "La la la...I can't hear you..." when confronted with reality.

Of course, these are generalities. Some people seem to pick and choose from the available menu, even though it isn't necessary. Both groups contain individuals who can get incredibly cranky with anyone who doesn't see eye-to-eye with them on every tiny issue. This just shows that, regardless of any other differences, we are all just human.

'What can I do?'

'What can I do?'

If there are any freedom lovers out there who keep wondering "What can I do?", here is a suggestion.

There are a lot of times that a letter to the editor will be published and the statists immediately descend in droves to ridicule the sensible voice under a flood of insults and "Arguments from Apocalypse". In many cases word gets around to rally help from the woodwork, but sometimes it comes a little late- after the reasonable voice has been buried, drowned out, or frightened into silence. That shouldn't be allowed to happen.

I would like to see someone start a service for libertarian responses to letters to the editor, or any other online posting such as blogs or media stories that allow comments.

I think that it could be done one of two ways, or maybe even a combination of the two.
There could be a website that when a relevant letter to the editor is brought to their attention, either by the letter's writer or just a reader, they would post the details, including the main topic of the letter and the objections being used by the statist apologists, and a link. If, during the course of the day, a freedom advocate gets a few free minutes and wishes to weigh in somewhere, he or she could check out the site to see if anything gets their attention. People who are interested, or are experts, in the particular topic could then add their voice to the discussion.

Alternately, or in conjunction, there could be an email list, where you sign up to get alerts on specific subjects, say "gun rights" or "free market advocacy" for a couple of examples. When a letter or post dealing with that subject is brought to the website's attention an alert would go out to those who asked to be notified on certain subjects so they would have a chance to counter the statists. Too many "Guns only kill the innocent" or "Deregulation caused the financial crisis" lies, just to focus on two popular subjects, slip past without being refuted properly by knowledgeable freedom fighters. Or, in many cases it is one lone freedom-loving person defending freedom against a horde of state-praising zombies. That is discouraging to those who dare to speak out.

If someone is already providing this service, let me know so I can add it to my daily to-do list.
It's just an idea. If I weren't already overloaded, I would do it myself.

Update- And here is the final result: Project LTE. Visit it soon, and often!