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Friday, April 30, 2010
As if you need more proof that the "justice system" is not "just" and is not organized well-enough to be called a "system", here's this:
An Albuquerque man keeps getting caught after burglarizing houses, yet since he has been found "incompetent" he can't be imprisoned for long, and since his thefts have so far been non-violent he can't be committed to a mental facility.
There is an obvious, very inexpensive, solution. And, if the man keeps doing what he's been doing, according to "the authorities", he will eventually solve the problem himself when he surprises a responsible property owner in a supposedly empty house. The odds are not with him.
Yet, there might be a less bloody solution, too.
I can't help but wonder if a security company might not want to hire this man, and keep him on a "leash" of sorts, in order to test their systems. He certainly has the experience necessary for the job. He could still pursue his hobby, and still make money at it, without the risk of meeting an indignant and frightened person who has been sitting at home, with the lights and TV off due to a migraine. It's a win-win situation. Of course, if he really is incompetent he might not recognize this fact.
Either way, has he been expected to pay restitution to the property owners he has stolen from (and probably left damage in his wake)? Why not? That is an essential part of "justice". Are the property owners who have been harmed allowed to post his picture everywhere they go, to shun him and educate others about what this man does in his spare time?
Follow the link to the news story, memorize the man's face, and when you see him out on the streets in coming weeks, and if you trust what the authorities claim about this man, follow him around and see if he burglarizes anything while you watch. It might be amusing for you and educational for him.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary
Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."- Ben Franklin
A few years ago, a person I know gave up almost everything he enjoyed for the promise of financial security. He thought, at the time, it was an acceptable trade. Then this promise of financial security turned out to be a complete fabrication. His enjoyment was sold for nothing, and he found himself in a situation where getting out would cause even more problems than staying in. He deserved to lose the things he loved because he was too willing to sell them for security, and so, he ended up with neither.
I'm not sure if Ben Franklin was speaking only of "countries" or if he was thinking, too, of individuals when he made his famous statement. Either way, he was so very, tragically, right.
In a slightly less individual way, Americans have sold their liberty for false promises of security from government. Government which has turned out to be the biggest threat to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" ever encountered.
To have "borders" to "protect us" from immigrants, they have traded their liberty to travel freely, even inside those "borders", for government control and usurpation of private property rights. And still no safety has resulted, not even from "immigrants". Only tyranny.
Faced with the fact that not all businesses are operated in an honest way, Americans traded the free market for fascism that, while not having government owning the businesses outright, completely controls them through regulations while stealing a huge chunk of their profits. And yet people still get scammed and harmed.
Because people fear for their safety while flying, they allowed a government takeover of "security" at airports, yet if a bad person is determined, he can still, obviously, wreak havoc. And, they know that none of the good people aboard a plane will be sufficiently armed to resist effectively due to government controls. Security theater, and the disarming of the decent people, hasn't resulted in safety, but in opportunities. Both for "terrorists" and "TSAerrorists".
Security is an illusion. If you seek it you will end up being hurt and enslaved. You are better off taking your chances in the real world, knowing there are no guarantees, than handing over your liberty to someone who has only your subjugation in mind.
In Albuquerque area news, the fe(de)ral government is targeting Native American communities with anti-meth advertisements. Paid for with your money, of course, like everything government does.
Here's a better idea: stop criminalizing the stuff and let people seek treatment for themselves and their loved ones without fear of prosecution. Stop enabling social stigma that is based upon nothing more than "illegality". Stop making excuses for theft and aggression, and stop criminalizing self defense and the necessary tools to exercise it.
Let people defend themselves from theft and attack no matter who is doing the thieving or attacking, and regardless of what mind-altering substance the guilty party may be on.
More "laws" are not the answer. Stronger enforcement is not the answer. Advertisements are not the answer. Waking up to reality is the only answer.
To add insult to injury, I notice that in the official list of "root causes" (poverty, lack of opportunity, loss of language and culture, challenging family circumstances, hopelessness), almost all of them are a direct result of governmental treatment of the Native population. Now, the prime offenders think they have the solution? Don't bet on it.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I was driving across a parking lot recently and I realized that just about everyone, including me, considers the signs and striping in a parking lot to be a suggestion, rather than an order. Yet, while accidents do happen, they are fairly rare. Nothing at all like the "chaos" that is predicted by people who think there needs to be a cop on every corner.
Spontaneous order takes over because most people don't want to be hit by another car, and don't want to do the hitting either. If a rude person is blasting across the lot, other, responsible, drivers stop for him no matter who thinks they have the right-of-way. It is self-preservation and makes perfect sense to do so.
Knowing that a car could come from almost any direction at any moment, you pay closer attention to your surroundings, and you watch out for those who are not watching out for you. If two "oblividiots" encounter one another, an accident can occur. Just as can and will happen out on the roads, where fine-hungry LEOs prowl, and every move not forbidden is mandatory.
Las Cruces' government seems to think it has fallen behind the times. There are now digital, electronic signage (who knew?) and no laws have been enacted to limit the technological advance yet. So, they are seeing what the governments of Albuquerque, El Paso TX, Mesa AZ, and a couple other cities have done to try to keep the scary future at bay.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether allowing government to exist is ethical, let's consider a different issue. Is government beneficial to anyone? I think it is.
Those on the fringes can benefit. This doesn't mean that everyone on the fringes takes advantage of "legalized coercion" for their benefit. Some of these people have a better ethical foundation than do others and understand right from wrong.
People at the peak of the social pyramid ( a "fringe group") benefit from the popularity, position, power, and wealth they can gain by using government. They also benefit from special favors, a form of welfare, they both establish and collect.
The "complete losers" at the very bottom are kept alive and rewarded by "the system" in the hopes they will thank those at the top with votes, or at least by shouting down the vast "middle" that supports the welfare state, often against their will, with the fruits of their labor.
Unfortunately, too many in the middle don't understand the position they have been put in and defend the very "system" that has been built upon their backs. The religious fervor of their defense doesn't mean they benefit, only that they don't see the truth.
Government may be OK for those on the fringes of society but it hurts everyone else. Let those fringes choose to play the government game if they want, but leave the rest of us alone.
The Albuquerque office of the State Motor Vehicle Division in the Cottonwood Mall will be closed, and other MVD offices will have their hours reduced because of budget cuts. Here's an idea to save even more money: close them all permanently.
Nothing done in those offices is authorized by the Constitution, and all their activities are therefore illegal, and nothing done in those offices does anything other than damage "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".
Close the MVD offices, let honest businesses take over the buildings, and stop violating the basic human and civil right of everyone to travel freely, as long as they do not trespass, in whatever way they see fit and in whatever sort of conveyance they possess. Anything less is tyranny.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The worst traits of humans are all embodied and empowered in authoritarianism. Laziness, gluttony, greed, aggressiveness, envy.... all of these traits get bad press, whether they are really bad or not, but none of these things can cause too much harm to others by themselves.
It is when they are practiced by those who have power over the lives of others that they begin to produce real harm. This is when they lead to evil acts.
Unfortunately, people with an excess of these traits are drawn to the positions of power that government provides. They get to attain power and then use the position to feed their personality flaws at the expense of those around them.
Some people may not know they have these traits until the opportunity comes to express them.
Then they discover it is easier to live off of stolen loot than to support themselves honestly.
They discover it is easier to order other people around, and kidnap or kill them if they are uncooperative, than it is to do something themselves if they think it is worth doing. They discover it is easier to take what they want rather than earn it for themselves. If you doubt me, watch the president (any of them) or congress at work.
As Robert LeFevre pointed out
"If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you
don't dare have one."
In Albuquerque "area" news: Thieves are fighting over how to divide loot that is being collected illegally. And I mean "illegally" in the statist usage as well as the ethical usage.
Las Cruces is still using illegal red light cameras, and still collecting "fines" with them in defiance of the law. And the only real complaint is that they are not sharing the stolen money with other governmental thugs. It doesn't really surprise me, but confirms that government is nothing but bad guys with "authority".
Friday, April 23, 2010
"Libertarianism is thus the combination of liberty (the freedom to live your
life in any peaceful way you choose), responsibility (the prohibition against
the use of force against others, except in defense), and tolerance (honoring and
respecting the peaceful choices of others)."
I don't see anything there that advocates or justifies an externally imposed government, nor anything that a true anarchist ("without Rulers") would object to. This is why I say "anarchism is libertarianism in full-bloom- with all the contradictions stripped away".
Of course, a person could call himself a "libertarian" and hold views that are incompatible with libertarianism. Just as many people who call themselves "anarchists" support the idea of having a Ruler as long as it is "one of their own guys". Consistency is not a strong characteristic in humans.
A person who supports the Libertarian Party is not necessarily a libertarian. It depends on whether they advocate the use of coercion in any case. If they do, then in that area they are not libertarian. You can not "tax" without coercion. You can not "secure borders" that are along property that is not your own, or along a person's property on whose behalf (without his consent) you are working, without coercion. You can not send "troops" around the world coercing "foreign" individuals to accept Rulers they do not want or to live under a government not of their choosing without violating the core principles of libertarianism. You can not order people how to live, no matter how badly their personal lives offend you, as long as they are not attacking, defrauding, or stealing from an innocent person, and still be libertarian.
A person who venerates the US Constitution is a "Constitutionalist", not a libertarian. Where the Constitution violates the basic human rights of anyone, anywhere, it is wrong. Where it "authorizes" government to use coercion to attain its goals, it is not "libertarian". This is not to say there is no libertarianism in the Constitution; there is just too much other stuff there smothering any libertarianism there might have been.
Look at your "libertarianism" closely before you advocate your non-libertarian views as "real libertarianism". What I write could violate libertarianism somewhere. If it does, call me on it. But, once we examine the disagreement, the position that advocates any form of initiated force/coercion is the position that is not "libertarian", "right" or not.
Of all people, I know I have faults, and I know what most of them are. I even have a list. That doesn't change facts.
I could be the most awful person to have ever crawled out from under a bridge, but that has no bearing on Liberty. Right is right, no matter who acknowledges it, and no matter if I live up to it or not.
The rightness of liberty, and of libertarianism, is not dependent upon me being perfect. It is not a cult of personality. Whether I am here or not, whether I believe in Liberty or not, nothing substantive has changed. When I am not perfect I know I fail to live up to my principles, but at least I have them.
So, if you hate me, that's fine. But attack the concepts I am talking about instead of pathetically trying to bring me down, thinking it will discredit Liberty and libertarianism. It won't. I am not that important.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
One incredibly silly demand that crops up pretty often, in one form or another, is: "Show me one successful state/country that has existed by libertarian/anarchist principles."
People who are more versed in history (I know some) could show you examples, as they have shown me to my satisfaction. But this demand misses the entire point. Once you form a state you have scrapped the core principle: that a state is not a legitimate thing. A state can not exist without using coercion. By definition. Therefore a "libertarian state" violates "libertarianism" from the first.
I don't oppose efforts like the Free State Project, or Free State Wyoming, or even much smaller projects, but I tend to think real liberty is a one-person-at-a-time project. That doesn't mean I wouldn't move somewhere to add to a freedom-oriented community.
This also brings up the reason I don't advocate voting and why I don't go out of my way to support "libertarian" candidates. The only legitimate justification for holding political office would be to dismantle the system to make further ruling impossible. Not to force everyone to be "free" by taking over the political structure that exists. I have only known of one candidate who stated dismantling as his objective. Me.
An Albuquerque home builder has been given an ultimatum- finish building the houses you started or the city will demolish them. It sounds like the builder has more than just financial difficulties, but let me suggest a libertarian solution to all parties involved:
Why not sell the houses "as is" for a fair price (based upon their incomplete condition and the time they have been abandoned) and let the new owners finish building them. Habitat For Humanity or some other charitable organization could even get involved. I'm sure there is some "law" against this solution.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
A four year old Albuquerque boy found a gun at home and shot and killed himself, and the "authorities" draw the wrong conclusion, and want you and me to learn the wrong lesson, from the tragedy. In fact, following their advice will ensure more tragedies of this type in the future.
Quoting what the cops reportedly said from the above-linked story:
"...this is a lesson to be learned for people who have guns out there: to
keep their guns away from kids, locked up, separate from the bullets.
That's the lesson they want to get out tonight."
No, no, ruttin' NO! This completely terrible advice from the "authorities", the worst advice they could possibly give, is the equivalent of never letting your kids see or experience water, because they could drown. Never teaching them to swim, but telling them to never go near water, no matter where they find it. And then being "surprised" when the perfectly predictable happens and a child drowns because they were kept ignorant and water was mystified instead of being explained in a truthful, educational, and fun way. The stupidity of this tactic infuriates me. It results in completely preventable deaths of innocent children. You know what that makes advice like this, don't you?
If you want to make certain your children are safe around your guns, or other people's guns, you must familiarize them with guns. Do not make the guns into mysterious, forbidden objects. That only guarantees your children will try to sneak a peek at the guns when you aren't looking; when you can't be supervising and instructing. Teach them developmentally-appropriate lessons about anything that can hurt them.
With guns, that means to let them see you handling your guns safely, and talk to them about why you handle the guns the way you do. If they wish to hold your gun, have them watch as you check and double-check to make certain it is unloaded, teach them to check for themselves, and then make sure they still handle the gun as if it were loaded. No pointing the muzzle at the gun at anything they are not willing to destroy. Take them out shooting and let them see the destructive power of a gun, yet let them understand that the gun does not have a mind of its own and it is under the handler's control, for good or bad. Counteract all the false information they will receive from "news", entertainment, and "law enforcement".
The perverted monsters who advocate "gun control" always snivel "...if it saves one life...". Well, this will save a lot more than one life. Guaranteed. If it is done. Now.
I don't know how this family raised and trained their children, so I don't mean this as an accusation of any sort against them. Sometimes, no matter what you do, tragedies will still happen. That is a fact of life in this Universe that will never change. I am glad that the grieving parents won't face a kidnapping or the threat of other punishment from the "law" since that is the "legal" equivalent of kicking a person when he is down, but I can't help but wonder if the family received "special consideration" due to the father's status as a federal Only One.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I'm sure most of you have heard by now the tale of Charles, the cat from Albuquerque who ended up in Chicago eight months after disappearing from home.
The story has a happy ending since he was found and identified because of his embedded tracking microchip.
Microchips? A good thing? Well, yes. In this case. Notice the poison ingredient that is missing from the story: Government. Mixing science (microchips) and government makes something with potential for good into a tool for harm. It's like handing a cocked and loaded gun to a drunk, angry, jealous psychopath while the object of his anger is standing three feet in front of him taunting him. The adventure of Charles has a happy ending precisely because no government got involved.
I would have no objection to people choosing to have microchips implanted, for medical or other reasons. My objection comes when microchips become mandatory (or a de facto requirement in order to function in society). Then, allowing government access to the information on the chips adds potential for extreme misuse. If you wish to have a chip implanted in you, that is your business. Just don't expect me to go along.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I think all force is coercion, but not all coercion necessarily involves force.
A lot of coercion uses deceit or manipulation. Some force is justifiable, such as in self defence (it is not "initiated force" in this case), but what I call "coercion" is never justified.
I don't include self-defensive actions as coercion (by definition), even if you are able to "talk" a thug out of attacking you. He initiated the force- he is the aggressor- so your actions are strictly self-defense.
For me, coercion is purely the initiatory act of forcing or causing someone to act in a way that is against their legitimate will.
I like science. It is a method of examining the Universe that has helped find many ways for us to live longer, healthier, happier lives. Many other people in our modern world see science as a threat. I think they are misguided. Where the threat occurs is when you mix science and government.
I trust scientists as individuals until politics is added to the mix, either by "government-funding" their research or by needing the research to produce a particular result for "the common good". Since government is founded upon lies and hatred, once you allow that to influence science in any way, the result can not be good. Look around at all the harmful ways science has been used in the past, and notice where the driving force originated. It was not in the lab.
Scientists, being human, are obviously susceptible to coercion, intimidation, and being bribed with the promise of money to continue their research. They have bills to pay, jobs to keep, and families to support. I have fallen prey to the same things at various times in my life, so I understand the pitfalls. Remove the "legitimacy" of government coercion and you remove that threat.
All the really nasty things that have come from scientific inquiry were undertaken at the direction of government. Science was the tool, an individual government employee was the thug wielding it. Blaming science for the bad consequences of its misuse makes as much sense as blaming guns for the way bad guys use them. In other words, no sense at all.
Remember too, that corporations are in reality a part of the government before you place blame on honest businesses. Corporations depend on governmental favors and exemptions that should not exist in a market. The free market has nothing to do with corporations.
There desperately needs to be a separation of science and state, as another step in the ultimate goal of a separation of life and state. "We" can't afford to ignore the danger any longer.
Mere "possession" of anything can never be a real "crime". In Albuquerque news, a woman has supposedly killed herself in jail after being arrested for possession of some substance the government doesn't approve of. She is another victim of the stupid and evil War on (some) Drugs. I didn't know her, and have no idea whether she was a decent person or not, but this doesn't matter. No government program or policy is important enough for people to die for. None.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I really do enjoy the Stossel show. Not that I always agree with him, but he is still a breath of fresh air compared to most things I see on television. He makes me examine my principles.
One thing which he mentions on many of his shows sticks out as particularly silly, though. John Stossel wants government to "keep us safe". From what, exactly? And, how?
I want my microwave oven to change glass cookware into gold, too, but it just isn't possible. It isn't within the realm of reality, no matter how much I wish it were.
That statement about government "keeping us safe" is easily the most inconsistent thing I hear Mr. Stossel say. It is how he keeps himself from sounding like an anarchist like me. It is the anchor he grasps to keep himself from being completely consistent in his libertarianism. He is not the only person I have heard make a similar statement, either. When I run into statements like this a few times from varied sources I tend to stop to consider them and see where that consideration leads.
Now, while consistency doesn't guarantee you are right, inconsistency does guarantee you are wrong about something, somewhere.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I do not believe government can keep me safe, since I know the most credible threat to my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (or if you prefer the original wording- "life, liberty, and property") is government. Yet, even if I believed it possible for government to "keep me safe" I would not want government to do that. My "safety" is not worth violating the rights of others to "ensure", and I realize that violating the rights of other people, in the long run, makes me less safe anyway. My safety does not depend on stealing money from others in order to finance government programs or agencies. My safety does not depend on criminalizing the voluntary, consensual behavior of self-responsible people around me. Those who are not self-responsible are outside the realm of government control anyway, and are best dealt with however you need to when they reveal themselves. If I am attacked I am capable of protecting myself without stealing or violating anyone's rights. Government is absolutely incapable of that.
Am I more safe because government tries to illegally regulate firearms and self defense? No.
Am I more safe because government invades other countries and creates a new generation of people who hate the US government (and mistake Americans for that government) so much that they willingly die in order to kill a few Americans? Hardly!
Am I safer because the government enforces a national border, kills people over plants, chemicals, money, seat belts, sex, and a multitude of other things? No. I am measurably less safe because of the existence of that government.
So, John, what are you thinking when you claim you want government to keep us safe? Are you doing this out of fear of being thought "unreasonable"? Or have you really not given the matter enough thought to realize you are dreaming the impossible dream?
Here's a bit of shiny good news. Yet, this dead monster's illegitimate offspring continues to be misused in Albuquerque when an unarmed man on the old courthouse roof "required" an eleven hour SWAT team response. This puts the lie to the "justification" for these militarized anti-liberty forces. So, do you "feel safer"?
Friday, April 16, 2010
Statism, the belief that "government" is a legitimate human endeavor, is a religion. The most widespread human religion of all. It is a matter of faith to its followers and questioning the precepts is seen as an act of war. Those outside the religion see it for the ridiculous and harmful myth it really is.
The statist's god, or one of them, is the State. It is not an exclusive religion since you can belong to other religions as well. Most other religions are no real threat since they reinforce Statism rather than challenging it, ignoring the fact that the State requires you have no gods above it.
Statism makes the claim that since the State makes the rules- defines the "sins", if you will- the State can do things that would be evil if done by you or me, yet maintain its holiness in the eyes of its followers. While individual priests of Statism (politicians and state apologists) can sin, the State as a concept remains unquestioned, as does its sacredness.
Since the State writes the Commandments, the State exempts itself as being above them. The State forbids you to murder, but the State can murder many orders of magnitude more victims than Ted Bundy did. And the statists approve. The State forbids you to kidnap, but the State can kidnap, especially those who dare to reject the religion. Once again, the statists cheer. The State forbids you to steal, but the State can steal, and kidnap or murder you if you resist. And the statists insist you must cooperate and enthusiastically blame you for your own destruction if you do not.
The State can do just about anything as long as the State makes the required adjustments to its followers' morality first. It does this by passing "laws". As long as State actions have been "legalized" by the State, they are assumed to be "right" by those who don't see through the smoke and mirrors. As long as the State gets to decide whether its own actions are wrong, its actions will be judged, by itself, as "just".
I am glad to be an "astatist".
And, in Albuquerque news, a sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man who was supposedly threatening suicide. Suicide is a right, although an unpopular one. For LEOs to intervene, and then decide he is a "deadly threat" to the deputies (who are where they have no right to be) and kill the "suicidal" object of their unwanted attention, is twisted and wrong. The person who called the LEOs should be ashamed, but obviously being a follower of the Statist religion, the person is probably proud of himself for doing "the right thing". The priests of Statism will agree.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz wants to put a barrier- a concrete wall- along an Albuquerque bike path in order to protect bicyclists from out-of-control cars. This desire is prompted by a recent tragedy- a bike rider was hit and killed by a car that ran off the road and into the bike path.
Look, life will never be "safe". No matter how many "barriers", warning signs, bubble wrap, or "laws" you hem people in with, there will still always be accidents and deaths. It is human to be moved by tragedies and want to "do something"; it is perverse to think that you can make life better by trying to "fix" every single possibility of a tragedy. Unfortunate Truth #6 states "Any solved problem creates new problems". To spend money taken at gun point on your illusory "fixes", creating a slew of new problems, borders on sociopathic.
Bike riders know that when you ride near cars, there is always danger. As the operator of the smaller vehicle, it is my responsibility as the bike rider to stay alert and watch out for myself. Nothing can replace that.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This past weekend I watched the show "Stossel" on FOX Business News. I really like the show, and recommend you watch it if you can. John Stossel still has a ways to go before clearing out the last few cherished government myths he holds to, but he is on his way.
John Stossel's subject on this most recent show was "Libertarians", and what "libertarianism" means. I enjoyed watching the guests debate their various "libertarian" views, but one thing kept coming to mind: a person (or idea) is only "libertarian"* as long as he (or it) adheres to the principles of libertarianism. Where one departs from those principles, for any reason, one is not "libertarian". Any person may hold some libertarian ideas, and even the most "libertarian" of us may harbor some ideas that fail to be libertarian. Just because someone calls themselves "libertarian" (or anything else), it does not mean that all their notions are consistent with the principles that they claim. Test and examine each position. Some of his guests on that show were so far off base on some subjects as to be absurd, yet they didn't see it in themselves.
Libertarianism is the most consistent philosophy of human interaction thus far teased out of the fabric of the Universe. It is the most kind to each individual human and is the most rational guiding principle there is. If something were ever found that contradicts it, the philosophy would need to be modified and adjusted. So far nothing like this has ever shown up. Criticisms of libertarianism all inevitably fail due to internal inconsistencies. Usually involving misunderstandings of "initiation of force" or by making exceptions to "the rules" for those who wear the silly hat of government. Look into the criticisms closely and you will see how easily they can be discounted as the protests of people who want to be able to use coercion against innocent people for some reason of their own.
Libertarianism can be used as a lens through which to view all human interactions, such as all those involved in politics and religion. Where those interactions clash with the principles of libertarianism they show their flaws and failures. They have shown where they are wrong.
Let's pretend there were a situation discovered where the use of coercion was the only correct and ethical course of action. It would be inconsistent for a libertarian to endorse this, even if it were correct. In that particular case the "libertarian position" would be wrong. A person could advocate coercion in that case and be right, but by doing so would not be "libertarian" in that specific area. Fortunately, this is a fantasy mental exercise, like debating what color the crest feathers of unknown feathered mammals would be.
Libertarianism is just as right as the laws of physics are immutable. It is just a reality of the behavior of a decent person. Some people don't like to have this pointed out. I fully expect to upset some people who like their own particular use of coercion. Yet, I don't expect any clear refutation; just mumbo-jumbo and possibly even carefully crafted, intentionally obscure, "justifications" and exceptions that serve an aggressive agenda.
Libertarianism is strength. It gives you the power and principles to deal with anything that might come up. All you need to do is apply what you know, in spite of protests of the statists. Life and its uncertainty ensure that not everything will always work out the way you want. Nothing can ever ensure perfection. It is still the best way to live.
*Particularly important link explaining what libertarianism (another, different, link) is, and why it is the same as pure anarchism.
Monday, April 12, 2010
A comment a while back on this column led to a google group where that particular column was critiqued. I don't really have the spare time to get involved in any new discussion groups so I will address the comments here and also post this column there, where I was invited to participate.
For the time being I will focus on one particular disagreement the author, Paul Wakfer, had with my assertion that it is always wrong to use coercion. He says:
"Yes it is wrong to use government since the State is ultimately nothing but the use of physical force against others without their Permission in order to steal their Property and/or reduce their Liberty." ... "However that does not mean that coercion per se is always wrong - eg. use of physical force to stop a child from running into the street or to prevent an unwary adult from stepping out in front of an oncoming car, without hir (sic) permission ahead of its use."
I notice a bait and switch. Using physical force to stop a child from running into the street is an "initiation of force", but it is not "coercion". You can coerce without using any force at all; using only words, guilt, threats, or other forms of manipulation. Coercion is still always wrong.
Initiation of force may sometimes be necessary but you must always understand you have NO RIGHT to initiate force. You can be held accountable for your initiation of force, even if you did it with the best of intentions. You must accept that you have stepped outside exercising your rights into violating his, and you must accept any consequences your actions bring.
Sometimes when you feel you must initiate force you can be forgiven by your victim, such as in the case of the person about to step in front of a bus. You do not have time to gather all the necessary information before you act. This is why it is not a "fallacy", as he claims, even though it can be complicated by circumstances. If the person protests your "protective" actions, yet you persist in shoving him out of the way, you have gone from simply initiating force to actually using coercion to remove him from the bus' path. If the person wanted to step in front of the bus (suicide is a basic right, even if distasteful), then you might owe him restitution.
Of course, when he steps in front of the bus he would be initiating force upon the passengers of the bus and causing damage to property that is not his own. Your debt to him could be nullified by your prevention of his initiation of force and resultant property destruction. This is something to have in mind all the time. To me, it is usually worth the risk, but I do understand where my rights end and his begin. You do what you feel you must and accept any consequences of your actions.
Mr. Wakfer also addresses the notion that the parent "is the effective Owner of [a] child", and that this gives the parent the authority to stop a child from running into the street. I do not believe a parent owns the child. The child may be your responsibility, but to "own" something gives you the right to destroy it. You do not have that right with regards to "your" child. To stop a child from running into the street is exercising your obligation to protect that child when possible.
Why is it OK to protect a child using force, but not OK for the State to protect me by using force? Mostly because I do not consent to being "protected", nor do I need anyone's "protection" (especially when it comes at the cost of other people's money and liberty). The child lacks a fully-developed mind that would be capable of understanding cause and effect and lacks experience in the everyday laws of physics. It is sometimes hard to see the difference between legitimately protecting the child and controlling him. The distinction still exists whether you see it or not. Someday the world will be free enough to make this type of discussion important.
Feel free to visit the group to read the rest of the critique. I may address more of his points later.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I love books. I like libraries. Most libraries happen to be financed through theft of one sort or another. I would rather give up libraries than force people who do not value them to financially support the library. It's a matter of principle.
If a library is a good thing to have, as I believe it to be, I would be willing to pay a fee for each book I take home. Or buy an annual membership. If that isn't enough to keep the library going I might be disappointed but it would be wrong of me to claim the authority to steal money from you in order to finance something I like.
This brings to mind the mention I recently made of the Albuquerque Balloon Museum, and the crooked ABQ mayor's extortion attempts using the museum as his hostage.
If the market won't support a particular program or endeavor why can't it's supporters ante up and support it themselves? After all, they are the ones claiming a value for their pet project. Prove your sincerity. Charity has a long and honorable history. If money runs short, find a better way that costs less. If they who value the project can't afford to keep it going, it's probably not really worth doing.
It's like asking anti-war types to pay the military to kill journalists and children in other countries, or asking religious conservatives to pay for abortions. If you wish to support something with your own money, I should not be able to stop you, although you should be held accountable for any harm you cause, but if you want to support something I am ethically opposed to you have no claim on my money to use for your purposes. The same goes for me and my likes. Me wanting something does not obligate you to help provide it for me.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Another person who apparently initiated force against no one and likewise defrauded no one is being ordered to hand himself over to kidnappers to live as their slave for the next several years. Dr. Ross Levatter's crime? Investing his money in a "prostitution ring" that operated in Albuquerque.
Those who sell their bodies and minds to the State, in order to help direct the force of the state at any who get in their way, penalize those who rent their bodies to other individuals on a consensual basis, and also penalize those who dare to work with them. Maybe out of jealousy because the "State-property" understands just who is the better person.
As George Carlin once said, and I must paraphrase here, if "selling" is legal and sex is legal, why isn't selling sex legal? The answer is that there is no good reason.
This isn't to say that if coercion is used to recruit prostitutes, that is OK. It is not. Leave the hypocrisy to the statists. Don't pretend to know everything about a person's reasons for choosing their job. Maybe they enjoy making people happy, and earning money by doing so. Maybe they don't believe in the same "moral guidelines" as you. As long as they are behaving ethically (no force; no fraud) it is none of your business. If they do use force and fraud (as do those who work for the state), then they have made it the business of everyone who knows right from wrong.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Bigotry involves thinking you are better than someone else. Which, in a way is obviously true. You are better than some people, and some other people are better than you, or me. The only real measure of "better" involves how you interact with others. Do you aggress against or defraud them? If so, they are better than you. This is one pitfall of statism- by embracing it you elevate your opposition to a position above you, ethically.
All people are not "equal" in the commonly misunderstood way, but everyone does have the exact same rights. It doesn't matter where they were born, what religion they practice, how much melanin is in their skin, how intelligent they are, or what condition their body is in. Their rights are fully intact and identical to the rights of every other person alive. Bigotry refuses to recognize that.
Albuquerque is a big place with a rich history that involves several different ethnic and cultural groups. It wouldn't be the same, like a puzzle missing a piece, if someone is marginalized because of their differences. There is room for everyone as long as no one uses coercion to impose themselves on others. There is no justification for bigotry.
Statism is another form of bigotry, and is just as wrong as all the others. But statism is aimed at everyone else, rather than some particular "out group". It is an exceptionally selfish bigotry. It asserts that "I am OK, but everyone else needs to be controlled". The State, coercive external government, is the result of this bigotry. Its existence diminishes us all. Statism is the most dangerous type of bigotry because it becomes enshrined in "law" and backed by the threat of death if you refuse to accept and live by it.
But, remember to keep your chin up. Don't fall for the bigotry of statism (or any other kind). We good people outnumber the bad, or civilization would collapse. We are everywhere.
Some things are just so sad and pointless that there is little you can say.
Such as the Albuquerque bank robber who crashed and killed two innocent women during a police chase Tuesday morning. Explain to me: How is this outcome "better"?
Is there really no way to catch robbers other than putting innocent people, their lives and liberty, at risk? As long as you are going to tolerate swarms of LEOs driving around the city (I have seen them with my own eyes), is it not possible to track and watch an escaping robber instead of causing him to panic and flee at high speed? Is it really more dangerous to allow bank employees and customers to be armed so these things can be stopped before they escalate?
This is what "give them what they want" leads to.
"Collateral damage" is never acceptable. Not in Afghanistan or Iraq, and not on the streets of ABQ.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The idea that coercive government is destructive to civilization is a dangerous idea. Not because it is wrong, but because it is demonstrably right. It is dangerous to those who depend on having the appearance of legitimacy as they do things as "government", backed up by the guns of government, that they would be killed for doing individually.
Few people would shrug their shoulders and allow freelance thieves steal 88% of their wealth, yet this is the approximate amount lost to government at all levels, through taxation, regulation, fees, and every other way government takes money and destroys productivity. I awakened to that truth; I am confident anyone can.
Few people would stand aside while nosy neighbors demanded to control what you eat or otherwise ingest. Yet, put the silly hat of government on that nosy neighbor and we accept the meddling of the FDA and the DEA. We even look away as they kill people who don't submit to the meddling.
Few people would submit to having their houses stolen by an armed gang, and given to those who bought the armed gang their weaponry and cars. Yet, call it "eminent domain" and it happens all the time, and those who protest are considered "extremists".
Few people are delusional enough to believe that their food can only be provided by forcing others to give it to them, yet many fall for the same delusion about their safety. Anything needed can be purchased or made at home, and if it must be stolen from others in order for you to have it, it is not "necessary".
The examples are almost endless.
Government, as it is commonly thought of, is not only a destructive gang, it is a tragically unnecessary one as well. The acknowledgment of that fact should not be dangerous. It should be self-evident.
Albuquerque mayor Berry is using a tried and true extortion method common to politicians: threatening a popular "tax"-supported item, the Albuquerque Balloon Museum, to try to get people to give up more of their money to his kind. Disgusting and predictable tactic, Mayor. You have shown your true sleazy colors.
Politicians and bureaucrats should be the first on the chopping block when budgets run short. LEOs and other unnecessary burdens should be right behind them. And, instead of trying to emotionally manipulate ("emotionipulate"?) "tax cows" into handing over more loot, museums (and everything else) should be privatized rather than used as hostages.
The balloon museum should be offered for sale. Cities should "own" nothing. If the museum is popular and wanted, it will be purchased, it will survive, and it will make its new (and likely smarter) owners a profit. If not, vaya con Dios.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
An Albuquerque woman has died after calling 911. Murdered. Her boyfriend has confessed and has been arrested. The cops showed up to look at her corpse. I'm sure her family and friends find that a comfort.
I can't emphasize this enough: Do not depend on anyone else for your protection. Never, never, never! Your safety is YOUR responsibility. Anyone who tries to make you believe otherwise is your mortal enemy, no matter whether they be cops, "friends", peers, the president, the media, your preacher, or ignorant activists. They would all rather see you dead than alive due to your use of an effective self-defense tool.
The LEOs may not have directly killed her in this case, but they were worse than useless in protecting her. In as much as the official LEO line is that self-defense is a slightly disreputable endeavor and you should let the professionals "take care of" you, they have blood on their hands- as long as they arrest or harass even one person for being armed without official permission they are a major part of the problem and a barrier to the solution.
You may think I harp on this subject. I assure you I do not spend enough time on it. Depending on government, or any of its agents, for your safety or survival is suicidal. If only she had realized that, the situation might have turned out better.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
The movie is the story of Michael, a television reporter who, in the tradition of firefighters who practice a little arson on the side, sets bombs to go off and then reports on them. The difference is in the "why".
The background for this tale is a civil rights struggle in an alternate reality. One that is not so very different from our own reality.
Liberty is gone, and those who value it are the second-class citizens. Michael is careful to harm no innocents and to destroy no private property with his bombs while he uses them as an excuse to report on the cause of those who are being oppressed. He is a mole for Liberty in the state-run media.
In my head, the movie was very exciting and inspiring, and Michael was a true hero in every sense of the word. Too bad it doesn't really exist.
I can't tell you how the story ends, since I woke up too soon. Maybe it is for each of us to write the ending.
A judge has done a partially right thing. Albuquerque officials have been told they can no longer ban "sex offenders" from public libraries without violating their "First Amendment rights". At least as the "law" is currently written.
U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo claims to have struggled with the case, and claimed city officials have a "legitimate interest" in protecting children from harm, danger and crime, "especially crimes of a sexual nature."
No, Judge, governments do NOT have "legitimate interests". All government interests are counterfeit. This is just another example of claiming "compelling government interests" as a bogus excuse to flush liberty down the drain. You and I have a legitimate interest in protecting children from harm, and protecting every other innocent person from harm as well. When an organization that does nothing BUT harm thinks it has any "legitimate interests", everyone becomes a target sooner or later.
To single out "crimes of a sexual nature" is hypocritical in the extreme. Harm is harm. It is up to you and it is up to me to protect those who are innocent from the aggression of the parasites in society. Even, and especially, those who pretend to be there to "protect us" and claim a "legitimate interest" in our lives.
Government has no legitimate authority to violate a person's rights. Either ALL your rights are intact, or you are dead. Aggressors should face the near certainty that their intended victim is armed. And armed effectively and appropriately for their skill level, regardless of age. They should also face the near certainty that everyone within earshot is armed as well. Those decent people within earshot, and the intended victim, should never, ever, face the possibility of "legal" harassment for defending themselves or others from aggression.
The first attempted attack should be the last attempted attack. If you are an aggressor (sexual or not), being dead is often the proper condition. Remember that it is government which protects aggressors from facing the justifiable consequences of their actions in the majority of instances.
And that is my opinion.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
One of the favorite anti-liberty arguments (besides the "warlord excuse" or the "government invented the internet" myth) is the claim that without government holding a gun to my head, self-interest will cause civilization to crumble.
To all those who claim that a society based upon libertarian or even anarchist principles will fail before it even has a chance, due to "everyone for himself" being the rule, I offer some observations.
You are not likely to find a more "libertarian" or "anarchistic" person than me. Yet, I am the one in the group who actually tries to consider other people while the non-libertarians with me have a "me first" attitude in almost every situation.
Even if there were no "handicapped parking" spaces, I would leave the nearest spaces for those who need them. I don't need them, and for that I am glad. Some non-libertarians I know try to manipulate the system to their advantage so they can "legally" park there regardless of actual need. Or, they simply claim they "won't be long". I'd be ashamed.
In traffic I am always trying to make room for the person who is trying to change lanes. Many (most?) non-libertarians I have ridden with act like they must "win" and not allow anyone to be in front of them on the road. There is nowhere I need to be badly enough right now to drive like that.
I am more likely to judge the situation, not the person. Not that I am perfect in this, but I am able to see when I mess up. The authoritarian "alternative" is obvious and tragic, and composes much of the "news".
There are many other examples that I could relate, but the evidence which I see with my own eyes is overwhelming. A libertarian society would be a polite society for a variety of reasons.
I understand that being considerate is in my best interest. Maybe not in the short term, but definitely in the long term. Plus, it makes me feel better.
What is it about Albuquerque and body parts? First it was the dismembered giraffe in the dumpster, and now this. While dead people don't care about what you do with their remains, their relatives do. Do what you agree to do.
If "universal health care" (sic) is such a grand idea, why not universal vehicle maintenance? My car is old (1995) and has over 200,000 miles on it. Why am I not entitled to a "free" maintenance plan, or a "free" brand new car if it is beyond hope? Besides the fact that government hates and fears the private automobile, that is.
No, I do not want government to fix or replace my car. I am being absurd to illustrate the absurdity of the proposition that government can "fix" anything.
A right to something means that no one has the authority to keep it from you. It does not mean that anyone else has the obligation of providing you with it. I have a right to own and to carry a gun. That does not obligate you to provide one for me. But, you already understand this instinctively, unlike some people.
Government-approved car repairs would probably involve taking out the engine and
replacing it with a block of concrete to help it go "reasonably fast, with your
safety in mind" (as long as it is going down a steep hill).
care: "The patient has stabilized".
Observer: "He's dead!"
Government health care:
"And that is as stable as it gets since he
isn't going to get any worse."
Government is in the business of health care prevention and demonstrates continually that it is pretty successful in this endeavor. The FDA and the DEA are a testament to that.