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Monday, November 30, 2009
Government has no authority that isn't given to it, or that it didn't take under false pretenses, or that it didn't steal at the point of a gun. None. Not the authority to do one piddling little thing.
The authority is yours. All authority is yours. No one can honestly take it from you, but you can be fooled or coerced into giving it away. You betray yourself when you hand it over to someone else (government or others) by voting or "going along" and then you become part of the problem when those others use your authority to harm the innocent. In this case, if you allow government to act on your behalf, using your authority, your authority is in the wrong hands and has been misused. People have been harmed and even killed with the authority you willingly handed over.
This is like if you loan a friend your gun and he goes on a shooting rampage. You didn't pull the trigger, and you may not have known what he would do with your gun, but it is your responsibility to take back your gun at the earliest opportunity. It is also a wake-up call to not hand your gun to someone whom you do not trust completely.
You don't know who will be using your authority when you hand it to government. It is like leaving your gun on a park bench with a note saying "please don't misuse this gun". It is irresponsible and dangerous. I would even claim it is lazy and unethical.
Take back your authority and don't give it away again.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
A comment on the Libertarian Examiner column has a statist asking:
"what is it about Libertarians that they hate just living life? every
Libertarian speaks as if living life was horrible."
That is just so sadly misinformed. I don't hate living life. I certainly don't appreciate it when people attempt to meddle with my ability to live my life as I see fit, when I am harming no one, by trying to bind me with "laws" and surround me with militarized enforcers. In my day-to-day life I pay very little attention to the edicts of the statists and I generally manage to avoid those enforcers. The things that make me happy are the things I will continue to do regardless of any "laws" to the contrary. I may have to become more secretive, though. If I allow the authoritarians to make me unhappy that is as much my fault as theirs. They and their opinions are just not that important to me.
It seems to me that people who feel the need to rule and control those around them are the miserable losers. Why else would they feel that life is so awful that they need to try to take away the free choices of their friends and neighbors? I'm perfectly happy letting other people live as they wish as long as they don't agress against, or defraud, me or others. Miserable people don't live like this.
Statists must resent the fact that those of us who understand freedom don't just wink and nod at their plans for genocide and those policies they push which eventually lead to genocide. Because we take their threats seriously they think we are miserable. Or maybe they are just upset that we are paying attention and hope that by calling us names we will feel guilty enough to back off and let them "win" by default. Sorry to disappoint them, but it's not going to happen. We are not the ones "in the wrong".
Now, back to the original comment. I don't agree with every detail in Mr. Crowley's column; he is much more "conservative" than I, but I definitely didn't see any "life is horrible" stuff in there at all.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Any time the subject of "secession" comes up, you get the apocalyptic hand-wringers saying that the "USA" must stay united at all costs. Isn't this the justification Lenin/Lincoln used to facilitate the murder of multitudes of people? Yet, the same people who vociferously defend holding the "USA" together in spite of all the reasonable arguments to the contrary are the same ones who oppose "one-world government". So, which is it? They can't have it both ways.
How much "state" is the perfect amount for the statists, and how do they know that the current size of the "USA" is "it"? What are the odds that the status quo is the best possible situation? Maybe it would actually be the "perfect size" by annexing New Zealand (no offense to Kiwis) or by kicking out Florida. Or perhaps a better situation could be had by splitting the "USA" along the Mississippi River. America is not "united" except by a common enemy: the US government.
It is unthinkable to these people that America be "allowed" to break up into smaller, more appropriate bits. Bits based upon demographic regions or simply based on states seceding. They speak about how "we are stronger together". Yet, if that were true, or if they really believed it were true, there is no stronger, bigger "unit" than the entire planet.
Just as I don't support "nations", I do not support "one-world government". Not even if I were able to emigrate to a new politically-unspoiled world. That is because I know there is nothing good or ethical or even "safer" about coercive government of any size.
I advocate the ultimate in secession: down to the level of the individual for permanent "social unit size". For temporary, voluntary, collectives, any size or combination is acceptable, but only as long as membership or participation is completely voluntary and can be unilaterally abandoned by anyone at any time for any reason (or no reason) with no punishment, as long as their legitimate commitments were satisfied. That goes against everything the statists believe. And it shows their hypocrisy beyond any shadow of doubt.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The "letter-to-the editor" project which I suggested a while back is now up and running.
Find it here: http://www.rationalreview.com/project-lte Thanks to Thomas Knapp for bringing this to life.
Give it a look, and if you have a little spare time give some support to the cause of freedom, especially when it is being buried under statist absurdity. Let's let no statist claim go unchallenged, and no unpopular freedom advocacy go unsupported. This is something YOU can do RIGHT NOW for the cause of freedom.
As I have mentioned before, I think the concept of "hate crime" is ridiculous. However, I know of one example of a act that was calculated to defraud, and to spread hate. This act should be classified as a "hate crime" by those who support the stupidity of "hate crime laws" IF they are to be consistent. I'll not be holding my breath.
Now, I dislike "the right" about as much as I dislike "the left". Both "sides" are really only different flavors of "what can our hired thugs do to you today?" However, in the case of dead census-taker Bill Sparkman, his killer quite definitely intended to make the blame fall upon the innocent people of "the right". Of course, he was his own killer, but that doesn't change his act.
A person owns his own life and has the right to use it or dispose of it in any way he likes, as long as he harms no innocent person. In this case, the innocent person was not the dead man, but those he knew he was intentionally implicating in his death by scrawling the word "FED" on his own body: the people who were rightly suspicious of this man and those others from government. He didn't care if someone ended up being sentenced to death due to his suicide.
Sparkman's main intent was defrauding an insurance company, and for this fraud to be successful he placed blame and incited hatred toward those he apparently hated. Some innocent person could have been kidnapped by government or killed in the aftermath of his act as a direct result of his deception, either by government's hired guns or by some government sympathizer. The fact that his apparent motive was "only money" makes his act all the more evil.
Obviously, I do not really support government prosecution of a dead man, nor of any one else for that matter. The guilty party can't harm anyone now, and in this case no restitution is necessary since the plot was foiled in time. Without the absurdity of "hate crime" to contemplate, this man's death would have just been another suicide. By using the socialists' own "laws" against them, I only mean to illustrate the stupidity of such "laws" and their unintended (?) consequences.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here is an entertaining video. Like it says at the end, these were flawed people fighting for a flawed cause. Harming the innocent is never right under any circumstance. We have the moral high-ground over the state and its supporters. Let's keep it. Still, we need to learn from the experiences of others who were fighting against a powerful enemy government when and where we can so we don't make the same mistakes they made.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
There is something I have been meaning to address for a while. That is the fact that happiness is more important to me than freedom. In a reply comment on her blog, Tessa Rose had this to say:
"...freedom is not my highest value, either -- happiness is. If I believed that
happiness for all of humanity could actually be achieved by a ruling elite, I
would be okay with that. I believe that maximum freedom is the road to happiness
for all, but anyone who wants to argue the point with me is free to do so!"
I agree with her. My only clarification would be that I don't think happiness for all of humanity can be achieved by any one strategy, be it freedom or "safety". Fortunately, freedom is not "one strategy", but encompasses an almost infinite number of ways to seek that which you really want. I know freedom is the best tool for finding your own optimal happiness. Freedom is the means to the end of happiness. Only freedom allows many different strategies to be used concurrently by different people with different values to find their own version of "happiness", or die trying.
Freedom means that if you want to live in a tightly controlled socialist community that has almost no liberty whatsoever, as long as you don't force unwilling people to join you (either by kidnapping them or by saying "this is now our territory- like it or leave it"), you would be free to do so. People need the freedom to give up their own freedom if the rest of us are to be consistent. Yes, I realize that sounds incredibly contradictory. Just remember that the rest of us have no obligation to house, clothe, feed, or otherwise rescue them from their own bad choices. Suicide is their absolute human right as long as they take no innocents with them.
The only thing that can never be allowed in this "pursuit of happiness" is those whose happiness depends upon harming the unwilling innocent. That means if it would make you happy to be a Ruler or other sort of sociopath, you are out of luck unless you find people willing to let you harm them (the basis of all government). You can not impose on those who are unwilling, and if you do, your victims have every right to stop you in any way necessary; your "rules" to the contrary notwithstanding.
My own pursuit of happiness means I would not waste my time telling those others how they should live. If they wish to pay attention and learn from examples, they would benefit. It also means that I will not submit to live under their system of restricted liberty, either. This is the offer of peace that statists can not abide because it undermines their entire society. Too bad for them.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I have made an observation that is sure to be disputed by statists, but it is an observation made with my own eyes nonetheless.
"Laws" enable and encourage bad behavior. Rather than judging acts as "right" or "wrong" I think a majority of people today only consider whether their actions are "legal" or "illegal". I see this all the time, especially among drivers. They will drive just within the bounds of "the law" but without courtesy.
If each driver thinks they are doing the "legal" thing, they think the other must make way for them no matter what common sense or decency would suggest. They may not be quite initiating force, but they are pushing the envelope to the ripping point.
This confirms my suspicion that, just as cops cause "crime", "laws" cause boorishness.
How much does this apply in other areas of life? How many times do you hear people questioning whether the course they would like to take is "legal", even though it is obvious that it would not be nice. I see it happen often enough to destroy any justification for the current law pollution we are being subjected to.
If anyone asked my opinion I would suggest that they concern themselves with whether their actions initiate force or deception. Then I would also ask, because it matters in the long run, whether their conscience will be clear. The question of "legality" would never cross my mind unless they were discussing possible consequences.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
"Hate crimes". Is there any more ridiculous concept? If something is wrong to do, your hatred as motivation for doing it doesn't make it worse, just like any possible good intentions as motivation don't excuse any harm that you do. If "hate crimes" must become a "legal reality" then the flip-side, mass-murder with the "best of intentions", must be made "legally" acceptable as well.
Oh, wait.... "gun control", "universal health care", The Iraqi/Afghanistan/Pakistan war(s), "bailouts", the War on (some) Drugs, and every other government project and program... all indicate that the government has beaten me to that idea. Notice, though, that it is only "acts of state" that are excused on those grounds, not acts by individual, independent, "well-meaning" monsters. Government: the ultimate Hate Crime, and the only one to be ignored by the "law".
In the most pointless instances "hate crime laws" are just a way to add punishment on top of punishment for acts of aggression. In the worst cases, they are Orwell's "thoughtcrime" come true.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
One excuse that a lot of people use to avoid living free from this moment on is "injustices of the past".
I understand this in a way. It is horrible that certain races have been marginalized, enslaved, or exterminated throughout history. It is tragic that genocide against indigenous people has been more-or-less the norm in most examples of human migration. All land has been stolen from its rightful owners uncountable times, both throughout recorded history and in the impenetrable mists of prehistory. That was wrong, but there is no way to "make it right" today. Any "solution" would only cause more harm to people who didn't commit the aggression to begin with.
If there are actual survivors, then by all means let them seek restitution. Don't harm anyone who wasn't directly responsible while arbitrating these events. Don't expect restitution for abuses done to your forebears by someone else's forebears. For me to be punished for something someone else did before I was born is wrong and ridiculous. For me to benefit from some "restitution" applied to some situation that I wasn't directly harmed by, paid by someone who did no direct harm themselves, is just as bad. In cases like these I think it is more ethical to do nothing than it is to actively cause new harm. Not everything has a real solution, unfortunately. It would serve everyone well to realize that.
There has to be some point where I decide to wipe the ledger clear. The past is the past. It is done. Let it go and start fresh today. What I can do toward this goal is say "Never again" and act on that declaration. Never will I contribute to, or support, such barbarous acts. Never can any government (using money stolen from me) claim to be committing these acts in my name. Nope. Not in my name; not on my account. When and where such wrongs do occur anew, speak out if that is all you can do. Don't excuse the evildoers for any reason. Monkey-wrench and stand up to the bullies and thieves if you are in a position to do so. The future is ours to direct.
Don't let today become the regrettable past of tomorrow.
Friday, November 20, 2009
No matter what religion you ascribe to (including atheism)...
I hear this all the time, and it is a sign of some really faulty thinking. However, I know from past experience that this is something that is taught in some churches, so it doesn't surprise me that it gets repeated. But if you want to be taken seriously in your argument you need to let that notion go.
Seriously, if atheism is a religion, then good health is a "disease" and an empty dog house just contains another breed of dog. A lack of something is not a different type of something.
I come down pretty hard on externally-imposed coercive government all the time. Am I being fair? Am I being honest about what government is and what it does? Perhaps a better question is, is anything that government does "right" or "ethical"? Are the final results ever good even if the government's methods and reasons are not right?
Does it really matter? Two wrongs don't make a right. Nothing government does is ever done without harming some innocent person. To pretend that those who are harmed don't matter, or are not numerous enough to matter, is wrong. If there is something you want, which government currently claims to provide, can you think of a way to get that without using coercion? If not, then maybe you should reconsider what it is that you desire. Chances are that it is not right, and therefore not worth the price.
For "taxation" to not be theft it would have to be completely voluntary with absolutely no penalties for not paying. People would have to be able to pay only the amount they want to pay, and designate exactly where they want the money to be spent. If that meant your favorite program withered and died, then that is exactly what needed to happen. People would have voted with their money.
For "laws" to be right they would not penalize anyone, ever, for non-aggressive or non-deceptive behavior. It wouldn't matter if 99% of the population designated that their voluntarily-donated "tax" money go to enforce those "laws". Their "might", their overwhelming majority, doesn't make "right".
As you can see, if a government could abide by these guidelines, it would not be a government by definition. That is why "minarchy" isn't realistic. That is why any real form of coercive government is without merit and is wrong to support or advocate. I can't support evil even if it is convenient and "beneficial" for me personally.
On the other hand, there is a bright spot concerning government: the US government is killing itself. That is a result I can support, even if I dislike the means which are bringing it about. Through statist acts government is assuring its own demise. Sure, they'll try to lay the blame elsewhere. It won't stick. Over-printed counterfeit "money", wars of aggression and colonization (not that there is a difference), "taxation" and regulation which destroy or drive away businesses and jobs, "dumbing down" information to keep statist-drone children from feeling too bad... all of these things are only accelerating the approach of "E Day".
It may not be pretty at the end, but it is not the freedom activists who chose this path. In fact, we have offered alternative after alternative, only to be threatened and marginalized. So be it. Stay out of the way as government dies and be prepared to fight any new Rulers who arise to "fill the void". Make sure there is not ever a "power vacuum" by keeping power where it belongs: in the hands of the individuals. In the new, free world, I suppose we could look back and thank the short-sighted stupidity of the current crop of statists and their political ancestors for our new beginning. It may be the only good to ever come from the actions of government.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"Poaching" is the act of not recognizing government's claim over something it does not own: the wildlife that lives within the country's imaginary borders. I suppose it is not surprising that the government employees think they own the deer, since they also think they own the humans, but it is a concept I will continue to correct when I run across it.
Purchasing a license from the government in order to hunt is admitting that you agree that government owns the animals. You should ask the property owner before hunting on his land, but if a deer is on your property, and it has no ownership indicators, it is yours to take. "Poaching" would only be wrong if someone owns the animals while they are running free, or if you trespassed to get to the animals. No one owns the animals in most cases, since "the state" can own nothing it did not first steal, and thieves have no authority to dictate what can be done with the property they stole.
Hunting is an activity that teaches people to provide for themselves. It short-circuits the welfare cycle that government depends upon for dependence and loyalty. Pretending to own the wildlife and then selling permission to hunt it simply gives the state more unwarranted power over the people. It is another way to take money from productive people and give it to the parasites of government. Plus, in order to hunt, people need to own effective weapons and have the skills to use them. That is more reason for government to demand a license: to keep track of armed people. Hunting often involved stalking and tracking and an awareness of your surroundings. Those are skills that your enemies would not like for you to hone, since they may serve you in the future.
I am certainly not advocating mindless slaughter of wildlife. I hate waste. I would not shoot it unless I was prepared to eat it, or otherwise use it. I also know that some of the money from licenses goes toward habitat and such, but the amount is a tiny percentage (that which is left over after the excessive bureaucracy is paid for) and could be done much better by the market through privately owned property. Mostly your license fees go to support those who want to exercise control over you and your guns. Don't undercut freedom by supporting the state with your obedience or with your money. You owe the state nothing.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
A common theme in comments is that what I am advocating is not "libertarianism", but "anarchy".
Libertarians seek to maximize personal freedom while minimizing government interference in the lives of individuals. Zero is the absolute "minimum". Nothing achieves that better than anarchy, in fact, nothing else even has a chance.
I am not speaking of "hyphenated" libertarians or anarchists, since that hyphen only exists in order to negate the "anarchy" and "libertarianism". Whatever is added by that hyphen makes the combined word mean something completely counter to the original word. You may as well substitute "Un-" in every case. (It's like that silly advertising slogan "There's strong, and then there's 'Army strong'")
Anarchy is libertarianism in full bloom; carried to its logical conclusion, with all the inconsistencies stripped away. It is not an either/or situation. If you claim libertarian status, but don't consider yourself an anarchist, you are being inconsistent somewhere. You are lying to yourself or others for some reason. Which basic human rights do you not want others to exercise? Which government function do you consider important enough to kill innocent people in order to finance or carry out?
Some might claim that you need to have some amount of externally-imposed-by-force government around in order to protect the freedom of the individual. How much government does that take? How do you keep that optimal amount of government constrained? Why has nothing designed to constrain that "perfect amount" of government ever worked? Could it be that by its very nature government always grows and becomes draconian? I have yet to see any evidence that suggests otherwise.
Monday, November 16, 2009
One common excuse for keeping government around is that otherwise "we will go back to a society where 'might makes right'". You mean, kinda like what happens when government decides that it will back up its unethical counterfeit "laws" with kidnapping and murder? Like now. And don't fool yourself; all governments do it. In fact it is the only thing all governments have in common.
Instead, it is true that "right makes might". In other words, being right gives you strength. It lets you have the courage to move ahead, knowing that whatever happens, as long as you are doing the right thing, no one can oppose you without being wrong. This gives you the courage to do what you know you should; knowing that if it comes down to it you can, and will, defend yourself and others with a clear conscience. That is empowering.
So go out there, be right, and be properly prepared to act on that rightness.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Any government powerful enough to "promote" your religion today, is powerful
enough to prohibit your religion tomorrow. Judge a politician's actions; not his
cheap words and pious pretense.
Those words are from my 2008 presidential campaign platform. I know there are a lot of people who are afraid of Muslims taking over America. I know because I hear from them all the time.
Well, guess what. A great many of the very people so worried about it now ignored and encouraged violations of the separation of church and state and made such a scenario possible. By insisting on violating the freedom of religion of others, they built the tool and are now fearful of that tool being turned against them.
I wouldn't like that outcome any more than anyone else would, but I also don't think Islam is the only religious threat to freedom. It seems to me that freedom is caught in a continuing repeat of the Crusades even now in the 21st Century. Truthfully I don't want either side to win.
Believe anything you want to believe. Don't try to force me to pretend to agree with you. Once you do, you make defensive action against you a legitimate choice. It doesn't matter which version of god you are pushing. It doesn't matter if you are trying to impose Sharia "law" on the non-Muslim or trying to use stolen money to pay for monuments to the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments to be put in courthouses, which are built with stolen money on land that was stolen and are centers of statist evil.
Religion has no business being the basis of any rule that is applied to those who do not follow that particular religion. What is "moral" to one religion is "an abomination" to another. Stick with the few rules that predate and transcend religion: Don't initiate or accept force, and don't initiate deceit.
Freedom of religion must include freedom from religion if it is to have any meaning whatsoever. That includes mine, his, hers, and yours.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Some people have claimed to me that libertarianism, anarchism, or "individual sovereignty" (or whatever you prefer to call the philosophy of freedom, responsibility, and non-coercion) is "too simplistic". Normally this is the excuse pulled out when all others have failed. When they say this I immediately realize that they don't have a very good grasp of the way things really work.
Most of the time reality is much simpler than fantasy. The way our Solar System operates, with the orbits of the planets as they fall around the sun, all held together by gravity, is much simpler than the Greeks' ideas of "epicycles" and gods. This is where Occam's razor comes in. The simplest explanation is generally the truth.
The fact that you own yourself and all the products of your life is so much simpler than the labyrinth of states, "laws", and obligations that have been created out of thin air for the past several thousand years in order to justify government.
Even when there are more "parts" (more individuals compared to the number of states), the fact that just a few rules explain the motions and interactions of all those parts means that the system is simpler and closer to reality. Don't let the best evidence that freedom is right be used as a illusory weapon against you.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Now that a week has passed since the massacre at Ft. Hood I'll weigh in with my observations. It isn't shocking that I reach very different conclusions than do the blood-dancers of the Mass-Murderer Fan Club.
I'll leave out the obvious points about the drawback of having a government-owned military rather than a militia of free individuals. And the other obvious observations about what happens when you use that government-owned military to go around the world coercing and occupying regions where they don't want your brand of statism to replace their equally twisted brand of statism. No, I'll leave those things for other people who have more tact than I to point out and discuss.
I'll just point out some of what I noticed about the tragic events of that fateful day.
Notice that the government can't protect people even on military bases or in (other) prisons; two of its most tightly controlled areas. How could anyone possibly believe government could protect them anywhere else? Unless they are in denial, people can't believe it.
ANY religion, when taken too seriously, can cause death and destruction. Not in every instance obviously, but often enough it should be a warning sign to you of potential problems. If your religion encourages you to initiate force against "them", whoever " they" may be, it is wrong and disgusting. If you misinterpret your religion as telling you to do so, you are the one who has real problems.
"Gun free zones" are only "gun free" as long as bad guys don't want to kill people there. Once someone decides to start killing, those zones will have the worst possible number of guns- however many that bad guy has. Most bad guys, like this most recent one, are cowards and will find a place where they can pick off unarmed victims. Others, knowing they probably won't get out of it alive, choose to attack where they can get the highest body count before being stopped. Either way, they choose the same kind of place: anywhere good people are unlikely to be armed. Stay away from places like this if you can. Find a way to arm yourself anyway, with something, if you can't avoid them.
And, last, but possibly most critical: Bad people with guns can only be counted on to be stopped by other people with guns. Don't count on your awesome ninja skills to save you.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"Money" is anything that is used as a placeholder for things you want. A few people actually want the money itself, which is fine, but most of us want what we can trade the money to get.
"Money" can be gold, silver, chocolate, seashells, or anything you can convince others to take in trade. It doesn't need to be rare or "valuable", though it helps if it can't be found covering the ground or growing on trees all around the person you are trying to convince to take it in trade. If it is that common, then it will probably take a lot more of it to balance the trade, and that makes it more difficult to carry and deliver. It is also nice if your money doesn't rot quickly. Being "rich" in crated bananas would be a very transitory wealth.
Government "money" satisfies some of the criteria to be good money, but it fails miserably on others. Those failures are more than sufficient to invalidate government money and to show the superiority of free-market money.
Money should never be forced on someone. No one should dictate what you "should" use as your money, nor should they limit you to one type of money. Let the market choose the money that people trust and want. Even if that means some would choose to accept printed paper IOUs backed but nothing but a promise from a group of thieves that the money is "good", that is their choice. In this case, "seller beware!"
This is why it is a bad idea to have one person or one organization in control of all the money for a particular region. It is too easy for them to manipulate the money supply to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. When you allow them to have the power of government monopolistic coercion backing them up you are begging for disaster. Even if the people in charge of the money were "good people", infinitely more honest than the average person on Earth, the temptation is too great. That kind of power always attracts power-hungry bad people. Of all the people or groups to give the power to create "money", government is the absolute worst.
Personally, I prefer trading for silver or gold for most exchanges. Sometimes, if I am in need of something that another person has an excess of, we can work out a satisfactory deal based on that alternative currency. That is as it should be and how money should be allowed to work.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Many times I feel that I am in a time-loop; doomed to repeat myself eternally. I can't count the number of times I have addressed such things as "national borders" or "taxation". The answers don't change no matter who is offended, although I may refine my argument over time. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not complaining since this means new people are reading what I write. I just wish there were a simple way to organize all the answers in an "easy to point out" way.
Really, though, it isn't that hard to figure out for yourself. There is a "libertarian approach" to all things (an approach that increases the individual's control over his own life, liberty, and property), and there is a "statist approach" (one that lets government violate the individual's life, liberty and property). You may not like the libertarian approach, but that doesn't change the reality that every action or decision either weakens the state or strengthens it.
It is always obvious when you prick someone's favorite statist premise. They usually claim that the "libertarian solution" is not "libertarian", but what they mean is that they don't like the implications or they feel incapable of running their own lives. They are scared and want the government to protect them in this one particular instance and try to justify it. Strengthening the state is not ever "libertarian" or "individual-empowering", no matter whether you happen to like it or not.
I don't care if you consider yourself the Universe's gift to humanity, striking from your neocon cavern to refuse "Libertarian" credentials to those who don't "think" as you do. If your position empowers the state, or harms the freedom of individual people, it is not "libertarian" in any way. Whether it is statists on the "right" or the "left" or straddling the "middle" who are sacrificing individuals to the state, I am always opposed.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
If you are not a libertarian (under my understanding of the concept), it means one of two things-
It could mean that you are not aware of what is going on. The mainstream media works very hard to keep you in the dark. They hide facts that would be embarrassing to their version of authoritarianism, while skewing information to make such authoritarianism seem reasonable or even necessary. They mercilessly attack the "other" authoritarian ideology to distract you from noticing their own inconsistency. Most people don't want to examine their own beliefs too closely anyway. It is uncomfortable to realize you have been supporting policies that are harmful to people, so you might be a willing participant in your own deception.
On the other hand, if you are not a libertarian it might mean that you do know what is going on, and you approve. You probably don't approve of everything, but you approve of enough of the authoritarianism as to compromise with evil in some areas. At least admit what you are supporting. Government is based upon murder. To support its actions when they go along with your own prejudices is to be complicit. No government program or policy is worth killing people over, nor worth destroying lives to finance. Not a single one. Not the "War on (some) Drugs"; not "Social Security". Not the US military; not Medicaid. "Not "national borders"; not "universal health care". Not "gun control"; not "defense of marriage". Those are all simply two sides of the same lie- that government owns you and can dispose of you or "protect" you as it sees fit.
I will let you in on a few little secrets: it is never "necessary" to attack anyone, and "collateral damage" is a euphemism for murder. It may be disconcerting, but "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" makes you the aggressor and makes you wrong. "Society" is only a collective term for individuals. Harm an individual and you are harming society no matter what you may claim. There is no such thing as "the common good". A "right" can never impose an obligation on another person. Theft is still theft no matter who is doing it. "Laws" that try to regulate or control anything other than theft or aggression are not real laws, and supporting or enforcing them means you are committing evil. This is not about the false divisions of "right/left" or "conservative/progressive"- this is about right and wrong. Period.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Once we finally turn our backs on coercive "government", who will protect the "minors"? I have heard people claim that there needs to be some way for society to decide who is a "minor", in other words one who is not responsible for his or her own safety and actions, and who is not a "minor". I have heard them insist that age is the best way to uniformly do so. This celebrated "uniformity" is a strike against its legitimacy. A one size fits all yardstick is not needed, and even if it were, age is the worst possible way to determine who is responsible for themselves and who is not.
People become responsible at different rates. They may be responsible in some areas of their lives now, but not yet responsible in other areas. Not all people will become responsible in the same areas in the same sequence, some never become self-responsible in all ways, yet "laws" don't recognize this. Sexual responsibility, financial responsibility, and responsibility for committing theft and aggression are completely unrelated to one another. In the case of aggression, even the "law" manages to admit that age does not work, as is demonstrated when the state decides to prosecute a suspected particularly violent "minor" as an "adult". This is to suit the state's own agenda, of course.
When there is a real need to decide if someone is self-responsible it should be done individually, on a case-by-case basis. After all, this is how it works when someone who falls outside the arbitrary age limit is suspected of not being able to be responsible for themselves. It is not worth ruining lives to expedite the resolution by removing discernment from the equation. It is "just too bad" if it takes a little longer to use your mind and think through a situation rather than brainlessly and cowardly pointing to a "law" as your justification. Haste makes waste, and it destroys lives.
I don't think it is any of "society's" business whether someone is self-responsible or not in most cases. It is the individual's business, and sometimes it is their family's business. Unless someone else is directly involved, that is where it ends. When someone else is involved, then the issue is still between the concerned individuals only.
People who victimize those who are unable to help themselves need to be held accountable. Not by society at large, but by the victim and their family and/or friends. The goal must be restitution; not retribution (as "Roger Young" correctly pointed out in a recent comment). Civilization depends on this.
Friday, November 06, 2009
"Justice" is what we call the attempt to take an individual who has been harmed and correct the damage. It has nothing to do with "punishment" except in the sick minds of statists. If the aggressor himself can correct the situation, that is great, but it is not the necessary end-purpose of "justice". Justice never involves harming those who had nothing to do with the original offense. And "justice" never involves punishing someone who has no victim.
I'm not sure how anyone believes "justice" can happen when government controls each part of the process. Government makes the "laws", interprets the "laws", enforces those "laws", runs the courts where it is decided whether someone has violated the "laws" and doles out the punishment when the offender is found guilty. It is not surprising then that government tips the scales greatly in its own favor and toward its own purposes. The crazy thing is not realizing this obvious fact.
Government is just an organization made up of people. Members don't like for their organizations to be disbanded. It gives the members a sense of failure and loss. Therefore they will try to set up ways for their organization to keep going beyond its usefulness. If you give an organization like this the power and "authority" to protect itself to the detriment of the rest of society, you get a bad organization that deserves to be put out of business. In the worst case scenario you get a "government".
Government needs to be completely removed from the "justice system" and needs to cease being the owner of the courts. The current situation is the most blatant example of a conflict of interest imaginable. End the monopoly; privatize courts and allow for competition. Support and demand a separation of justice and state as an important step toward the real goal of a separation of life and state.
I think that one reason I am so highly skeptical of the claim that a concealed weapon can be legitimately prohibited by a property owner who otherwise "invites" visitors or customers onto his property is because of the similarity between this and the "if you don't like it you are free to leave" argument that statists continually use against those who suggest ways to increase freedom in America (or anywhere else) and who disagree with the rampant out-of-control growth of government power. It's that magical "social contract", don't you know.
Those who make that claim point out that nothing is stopping you from moving somewhere else that may be more to your liking. They ignore the governmental gauntlet that you must run, and the barriers erected to keep you from leaving with "too much" of your own property, but they are technically right. It is not impossible for you to leave. You can leave the increasingly fascist America for somewhere else even if it costs you most of your possessions and your family. Forget the fact that governments claim "authority" over every square inch of the planet now. Also forget the fact that there is no such thing as a "good government" and you would just be going from the frying pan to the griddle or into the fire. (And either will kill you.) Also ignore the fact that if all the good people abandon their homes to the bad people who make the demand, the bad guys have "won" by default.
So it is with this issue. If you don't like it, move somewhere that it isn't an issue, or change your behavior to reflect what others think you should do. After all, it is not impossible. It is possible to stay out of every business that is posted "no guns" (notice that LEOs are not obligated to obey this wish at all, which is not a recommendation to follow their lead by any means). You can get new friends and avoid your relatives if you happen to have the wrong ones. It would not directly kill you to avoid going places where your weaponry is forbidden, nor to disarm every single time before you go into those places you can't reasonably avoid. It might cause embarrassment to have to refuse to enter certain places without any honest explanation to your companions, but it is possible. You can choose to avoid the whole problem by never being armed with anything other than your mind and body. You would probably not even be killed on any particular occasion as a consequence of going about life as a toothless disarmed sheep. Can you count on that "probability" strongly enough to act on it? If that is the case, why bother ever taking the initiative to protect yourself? Just take your chances.
As I have said before, rights do not overlap. If you have a right to your body, then that right doesn't go away no matter where you are and no matter what others may demand. If someone chooses to invite people onto their property, then one of the drawbacks of that choice is that the person you invite retains all the rights that come along with a living human body. You can not ask that they give up even the "least" of their human rights in exchange for passage. Well, you can ask, but no one is obligated to comply.
Perhaps you believe that you have a right to pick and choose what rights a person has when they are invited to your property. I don't. I have too much respect for you as a whole, functioning human being to make that demand, and too much respect for myself to even think that way. Yes, my real-estate is mine and I have absolute rights to it and what is done there (ignoring for a moment the reality of governmental violations of these rights), but I know and accept that my rights to my property end where your rights to your body begin even if I have invited you onto my property and you are surrounded and engulfed by my property. If I don't like that I am not forced to permit anyone to enter my property. It is the nature of rights that others have the exact same rights as I do regardless of their location.
As Bob Schoettker commented on Knappster's take on the issue
"I set the conditions for use of my property -- if I can't, then it's
hardly honest to pretend that it's my property, is it?"
I have commented on this subject before in another venue, but it seems the
arguments are being defined a little more definitively here. I think that the
phrase "use of my property" above shows the core of the disagreement between
most libertarians on this issue.
What is "use" of your property?
I believe in inherent natural rights and I do not think that a person being
on "my" property in any way legitimates my abrogation of their rights; not to
life (i.e. can I kill anyone on my property because it's my property), not their
liberty (can I enslave any one on my property). Then under what distorted
definition of "use" can I deny them the right to self defense? How are any of
these things a legitimate usurpation of the owners "property" rights? In what
way do they affect his own use or disposition of his "property"? They
nevertheless are CLEAR violations of the visitors natural rights.
I have an obligation to my children to protect them, and myself, in spite of demands that I not be effectively equipped to do so. I also have an obligation to teach them to think these matters through for themselves and not take my word, nor the word of any other individual, without making sure it makes sense and passes the test. This is the issue I have weighed more carefully and intensely than any other. Yet I still come down on the side of a person's body and the immediate, intimate surroundings of that body being the primary vessel of his human rights, with all other rights deriving from that foundation. I think any other view is putting the cart before the horse, although it seems more polite and socially palatable.
I intend this to be my final word dealing with this issue, and I'll just have to agree to disagree with those who think I am off-base here. It in no way diminishes my respect for those who disagree with me, which I hope I have made clear, and I hope the same can be said of their opinions of me. In some cases you have to do what you think is right in the face of massive disagreement, and then live with the consequences of your decisions. This is one of those times.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
I see the Zero Aggression Principle as essential for ethical behavior, but not sufficient. I "really believe" in zero aggression, but I recognize it is a part of ethical behavior, not the whole enchilada. In other words, you could never initiate force, and still be a bad guy.
Trespassing and theft (including fraud) may not involve any force at all, and many would conclude that they do not violate the ZAP in that case, but you and I both know that either way, these acts are wrong to engage in.
I recently read an anarchist arguing that shoplifting from a giant corporation is good because (and I paraphrase) "who owns the box of noodles?" All I can know is that I know it would be wrong for me to live that way or to act upon that kind of belief.
People often talk about feeling "proud of America" when they watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon. Or when the people of the country pull together to help someone who has been hurt. I can understand the desire to feel proud of "your country".
There is one thing that would truly make me proud of America. I don't think it will ever happen, but this is what would strike a chord in me.
Imagine that some day soon the president holds a news conference. With The VP, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, a Supreme Courtjester or two, and token representatives of the "other" political party standing behind him, he announces that the US government will disband as of midnight due to the realization that government has been an abject failure in living up to all of its original justifications. It was tried; it failed, now they are all cutting their losses and going home before the "necktie parties" begin. All government "entitlement" payouts will end forever. Federal property will revert to the states or foreign lands in which they are located. All federal military weapons will go to the national guards to be handed out to the unorganized militia as restitution for the BATFE's abuses. And all federal employees around the world are welcome to come home, or stay where they are, as private individuals.
It isn't a perfect solution since we would still have to contend with smaller, more local governments who will undoubtedly feel a need to try to fill Uncle Scam's ill-gotten shoes. "State's rights" are still a vastly inferior philosophy, a comparatively pale shadow, to individual rights, but it's a healthy step in the right direction.
America could lead the world in something meaningful, inspiring others to seek real freedom. That would be a day that would really make me proud of America. I'm smiling even now.
Monday, November 02, 2009
For my friends and readers in Texas- November 3 is election day. Before you head out to the polls I ask you to remember this: Voting is just another manifestation of "might makes right".
Instead of directly having a warlord killing off his rivals (the standard excuse against self-responsible, non-coercive living- "anarchy"), with voting there is another layer of camouflage to hide the reality. You have a mob voting on who the warlords, collectively referred to as "government", will kill next; whose rights will be violated, whose choices will be criminalized, whose value as a human will be marginalized simply because they are in the minority.
If you think you really can defend your freedom by voting I will not try to dissuade you. Just don't be too disappointed when it doesn't happen the way you want.
If you do choose to vote, please use the rest of the day actually increasing your own freedom by doing things that matter to you. Don't hurt any innocent people, but other than that, the sky is the limit. Ignore those "authorities" who would try to order you around for their own benefit. Have fun.
In discussing my "Bubble Theory" of property rights, the main issue that comes up is concealed carry of weapons. That is only because that is the primary area where even freedom oriented people think it is OK to violate the "you-shaped bubble" of your personal property, and assert ownership of the space between your skin and your clothes.
I say it is dangerous to single out guns when discussing this, since that issue is too emotionally charged. The issue is exactly the same if someone posts a sign refusing to allow colostomy bags, contact lenses, or your wallet on their property. Self-respecting individuals will stay way from such people and businesses if at all possible.
Even if you view this as a "contract" issue, there are problems. You can't open your property and then post a sign claiming that anyone who comes onto the property agrees, by "contract", to be a dog while they are there. Or that they must leave their intestines at home. Contracts can't change the nature of reality. Such a "contract" is really a warning to stay away.
I suppose I will defend their right to pretend to welcome people onto their property with such absurd exceptions. The reality is that any such "invitation" is not an invitation at all. The "inviter" is lying and is not actually inviting anyone onto their property. And that is their right, but they should be honest about it rather than defrauding people. If you do not wish to allow whole people onto your property, don't. Don't give false invitations and then make ridiculous, and evil, demands. If you are the recipient of such a deceptive "invitation", respect yourself and stay away from such perverted people. It is a deadly trap they set. Have nothing to do with them, and see them and their "invitation" for what they really are.
Lest you think, because of my argument, I am going out and violating property owners' wishes all the time, I will assure you I am not. Privately owned property that has signs prohibiting guns are places I avoid. I know in my heart they are wrong and they don't care a whit about their employees or customers; viewing them as nothing more than expendable property as long as they (and their personal property bubble) are surrounded by the other person's property. I will reward neither evil nor stupidity.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Sandusky County Politics Examiner Michael Stahl recently wrote a column examining property rights. His premise is that any property you set down can be ethically taken by a passerby. Something always seems fundamentally wrong with this argument, but other than "We'd die without property" I can't find good reasons to disagree. But, maybe that is the only argument necessary. "Utilitarianism" doesn't set well with me, though.
"This does not mean property cannot exist, but rather that it would be a very
different creature, likely more personal, and probably less defined. If you have
something in your pocket, it would require force to remove it (or the pants)
from you. However, if you set it down and walk away, it no longer requires force
for someone to pick it up. Even if it required a huge amount of work for you to
craft, or you had it for a very long time-non-aggression does not have the
qualifier: unless you really want something."
Nothing can be counted as "yours" except that which you can carry with you in this case, right? I'm wondering how you can be free if you can't count on your store of food being there when you come back to it. We would be forced to become nomads, yet even nomads have property such as a tent that they can count on as "theirs" even if it is out of sight. You couldn't ever leave your larder to collect more food, so it wouldn't be possible to prepare for winter or other times of scarcity. And unless you could claim a location as yours, such as the land where your larder exists, the same difficulty arises. It wouldn't even be right to defend your larder from thieves if you weren't sitting right on top of it. If you had wandered off to find more food, and you came "home" to discover someone else sitting in your larder stuffing their face and backpack with the food you had cached, it wouldn't be right to do anything to this person, even though in many cases this would doom you to death. We would be reduced to less than animals.
What does the natural world have to say? Many other animals have rudimentary property rights. As has been pointed out, if you don't believe that, just try to take a dog's food away. They also have territories that they scent-mark and defend. Other creatures manage it without government, why would humans be less capable? I think a big difference between humans and the other animals is our more highly developed sense of ethics. In most cases we may not want to admit when we do something wrong, but we know instinctively when we do. It takes a great deal of brainwashing to subdue that ethical sense.
Sometimes people say that the reason property rights are not real is that without government to "enforce" property rights they don't exist. That's not correct. There is no need to fall back on a government to defend your temporarily "abandoned" property for you. No one ever "needs" government. The question is, how can you envision a system that would allow for defense of your property without setting up a government and without violating the equal rights of others? I can see ways to agree to recognize the real estate property rights of another person without depending on a government to do so. There would be no government enforcing such property rights, but there would also be no government tracking down and punishing a property owner who does dare to defend his property. I need no government to force me to keep my agreements and respect my neighbors' (or a stranger's) property. It is simply a component of ethical behavior. This hits on another point I have made- The Zero Aggression Principle is necessary for ethical behavior, but it is not sufficient.
Here's a bizarre tangent to consider: picking something up off the ground actually does require an initiation of force. It is not initiated force against the body of a person, but it is an initiation of physical force to counter inertia and the force of gravity. Is it any less wrong simply because the "victim" isn't aware of the initiation of force until he returns to where he left his property? You could say a sleeping or drugged person isn't aware of force that is initiated against them at the moment it happens either. OK, so maybe I am getting way "out there". I'm just looking at all the angles here.
Now, if this interpretation of property is the reality of freedom, I am willing to accept it and deal with the consequences. Just because something leads to uncomfortable conclusions or makes life hard doesn't make it wrong. Yet it doesn't seem to hold up to scrutiny.