Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The "political method" is wrong

It seems a lot of people don't understand the differences between "the economic method" of getting what you want, and the "political method". I have to wonder why they refuse to understand.

With the economic method both parties win. They both get what they most want. One probably gets some money, and the other gets some other service or product. The guy who ends up with the money wanted that particular amount of money more than he wanted that which he sold, and the other wanted the service or product more than he wanted that amount of money. Both came out ahead, according to their own calculations (and no one else's opinions hold any validity in their calculations).

Then there is the "political method". This is where you can't get what you want voluntarily so you cheat,

If you really want to buy your neighbor's house but he won't sell for the price you want to pay, is it right to hold a gun to his head and hand him cash, in the amount you are willing to pay, and take "ownership" of his house? No. But that is what politics is. It is ALL politics boils down to.

Politics is the method of the thief who doesn't want to face the fact that he is the bad guy. That he is backed up by "laws" and The State makes no difference in the foundation of his actions.

The political method often has the illusion of using the economic method. The difference is the coercion that is called into play. If a person submits to the political method when he would rather not, and would not had there been no threat, it is because the applied coercion has made him decide it is better to submit. He is not really consenting; he is simply trying to avoid an even higher cost. So, yes, that is an economic decision of sorts, but it is one arrived at through coercion, and coercion is wrong. Using the political method to get your way makes you a bad person, and it is evil.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Privatization boosts free market

Privatization boosts free market
(Originally published 4-28-2011. As written, not as published.)

It is strange to see how many people object to the idea of ending the government monopoly for anything- any service or product- that is even marginally now provided by The State.

Some people seem to really believe some things can be done best by The State, using coercive wealth confiscation known euphemistically as "taxation", and by not allowing anyone to opt out and choose a free market alternative. That is an odd belief that goes against millennia of observations and experience.

In my last column where I wrote about privatizing the firefighting profession, some people seemed to believe it was wrong to monetarily reward firefighters for doing a good job. They also seemed to think I was implying that firefighters need more incentives to do what they do. I have no doubt that most firefighters would choose to keep doing what they do with or without financial reward, but let's face the facts: it takes money to survive in the world today and there is no more practical way to say "thank you" than to pay for a job well-done. Who could be reasonably opposed to that?

The same goes for schools, security/police, firefighting, roads, libraries, zoos, or anything else that is currently provided by a tax-imposing entity. There are privately financed alternatives to the government institutions in all these categories already, even though currently the private options are only permitted at The State's whim. Let the market take it further by allowing people to economically support only the option of their choice, without any government interference, and see where it leads.

This isn't to say that those who choose to continue operating on a similar basis to what we have now would be prevented; they wouldn't. It is just that there would be a way for people to opt out and choose a service that better fits their specific needs. This means if you choose to subscribe to a private service you can no longer be taxed to support the government option.

If you allow people to opt out and pay for their own alternative services, then you have fewer people who will be covered by the government service. Then, even though government would have less money, they will also have fewer "customers" to be responsible for. That's just the way it works in the real world.

If the government institution is truly that much better, after the market has tried and failed you should be able to re-impose a universal tax and re-establish a State monopoly with no trouble at all. Of course, if as I suspect, the private options crush the coercively financed option, both in cost and in service, it would be really hard to justify taxation any longer. All the rest of The State might soon come under the same scrutiny and be held to the same standards. Which just might be the reason for the resistance to this liberty-enhancing change.

"Fighting for our freedom..."

Hmmm. OK, if you say so.

However, I seem to remember that the US government's military lost the war in Vietnam, yet it wasn't the Vietnamese who then destroyed freedom and decimated American liberties. No, it was the US government (and its little state and local branches) that turned out the be the greatest threat America has ever faced. And we are still facing that threat.

Yes, I'll honor heroes, both living and dead, but my list is slightly different.

I honor, in no particular order, Bradley Manning, Claire Wolfe, L. Neil Smith, Bernard von NotHaus, Jose Guerena, John T. Williams, John Moses Browning, William Grigg, and many, many more who either sacrifice on behalf of liberty, or have been victimized by the enemies of liberty.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Surviving The Red, White, and Blue Death

Want to know why I so intensely hate the encroaching police state and all its tools- the counterfeit "laws", the cops, the judges, the politicians, and all the other parasites that infest The State? Because I do not want that world for my kids.

I don't want them to live in a world where there are government predators watching their every move and every purchase. I don't want them to live in a world where those government predators are permitted to molest, grope, ogle, and even rape them and they are not allowed to fight back. I don't want them to live in a world where everything not forbidden is mandatory. I don't want them to live in a world where they are taxed into poverty to pay for their abusers' ability to abuse them. I don't want them to be faced with a future where their every action or bit of property is subject to licensing- IF they are allowed to own it "legally" at all.

I suppose the generations that lived during the Black Death didn't want their kids to grow up in that world either. Well, the Red, White, and Blue Death is just as curable IF proper "sanitation" is followed. But it won't be popular or easy, nor will it be accomplished by any single individual. May my kids look back on my life and know I did everything I could to rid their world of that growing threat.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Your digital personality

I have to wonder...

If you could take a survey of everything a person has ever written and posted online (or elsewhere) and analyze it, would it give you a real idea of that person's personality? Accurate enough that you would recognize that person face-to-face if you met him?

And, if not, would that mean the person is a hypocrite who says he/she believes one thing but acts differently?

I truly think you would recognize me.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Cops and stop signs

Every single day I watch the local cops run the stop sign by my house. Every time they pass through the intersection; almost without fail- with the occasional exception occurring only when they need to stop in order to do something else.

I have watched these same LEOs stop and "ticket" drivers right in front of my house for committing the "crime" of doing the same thing.

Tangentially, I have also watched the local cops talking on their cell phones and "texting and driving" in front of my house, right past the elementary school playground, during prime kid-time (while kids and other pedestrians are everywhere on the streets). Right past the signs forbidding such.

Now, I have rarely seen anyone, cop or not, run the stop sign in a dangerous way. Everyone pauses and checks to make sure it is safe to proceed. That is great! If the purpose of stop signs were "safety" rather than revenue, that would be perfectly acceptable.

My problem isn't that the cops run the silly stop signs. My issue is that these cops rob other drivers who do the same thing in the same safe manner that they do. That is WRONG.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Question, Dear Readers:

Do these two sentences mean the same thing?

"Politicians could simply enter the market and gamble with their money."

"Politicians could simply enter the market and gamble with their own money."


Which "side" are you on?

If you choose "a side" to fight for, you will probably end up doing wrong.

Groups have a tendency to go wildly off-course before the individuals involved realize it is happening (and then waste a lot of effort denying it has happened at all).

Instead, stick to doing the right thing. Then, let others follow you if they so wish, but don't concern yourself about which "side" you are on.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The police state feedback loop

The US police state is in a runaway feedback loop.

As the US police state gets bigger, more intrusive, and more visible, more people will decide that they must fight it, oppose it, or defy it, which will give The State just the excuse it wants to make the US police state get bigger, nastier, more intrusive, and more brutal in response. Which will cause more people to wake up to the reality that good people don't let police states survive unopposed, which will cause more authoritarians to.... well, you see the problem.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Cops- De-legitimizing themselves by being the criminals

If cops have any authority at all, it is only the authority to take action to protect people's rights. This is the exact same authority you and I have; no more. (That they demand to be paid, with stolen money, for what you and I do freely, shows something fundamental about our differences.) They do not have even a smidgen of authority to violate anyone's rights in any way. And when they do this anyway, whether they stupidly believe this to be a part of their "job" or not, they become the real criminals.

The reason most people now hate cops, if they are paying attention and aren't just a pathetic copsucker, is that cops rarely do anything to protect rights, but most of their actions are a direct violation of the basic human right to live unmolested as long as you are harming no other person (or their property).

Just try to think back to the last time you saw a cop doing something "officially" that actually protected someone's rights rather than being an act of theft or molestation. You must include those acts of theft and molestation that you personally support if you are honest. But copsuckers are not honest.

I will continue to hate cops until this situation corrects itself in some way. And I won't feel guilty in any way for this, because I know I am on the right side on this issue. It doesn't matter if cops attack me personally, or not. That they are stealing, brutalizing, and murdering innocent people other than me is reason enough. I find it very revealing that authority-worshipers can't imagine that someone who loves liberty would hate the enemies of liberty without having been arrested. It shows how self-centered, petty, and downright narcissistic statists can be. The world revolves around their delusion.

There are NO "good cops" anymore; if there were they would be doing anything and everything to stop the parasites behind the badge soiling what little legitimacy they believe they still have. I see no evidence of that. None.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Firefighting better if privatized

Firefighting better if privatized (originally published 4/21/2011)

Thank you to all the fire fighters who defeated the recent grass fires. They did an excellent job. Firefighting is an important task no matter what society you live in. It is a job that will always need to be done and be paid for. But is depending on government for this crucial service the best plan?

Of course not.

What are the alternatives? Here is a suggestion, although it is surely not the only way:

What if fire fighting companies operated on a subscription basis? Competing companies could offer different services. Perhaps if you didn't have much money to spare you could subscribe to only have fires extinguished, while if you wanted to spend a little more you could subscribe to have fires prevented, and extinguished if you had one anyway. A premium service might include a guarantee to pay for any fire-related property damage your fire company failed to prevent. Prices could also be based on how likely you are to be caught in a fire; those who fill their property with flammable junk and clutter, or who live in a fire-prone location, would pay higher fees.

Wildfires would be the concern of all area fire companies who wanted to protect their customers from damage in order to save profits and keep customers happy. It would just be good business to stop the fires before they reach homes and barns. There would probably also be freelance fire fighting teams to contract with the local fire companies in the case of wildfires.

Those who choose to pursue a fire fighting career would be winners under a plan like this, since skill and courage would be a highly sought, and financially rewarded, combination.

Some people claim this plan would encourage "free riders" who wouldn't buy fire protection, but simply count on their neighbors' fire companies to put out their fires in order to protect their subscribers. This would probably be the case, but no matter what system is in place some people will always try to scam the system for their benefit.

But consider this: if you choose to not subscribe to a fire company and your house catches fire, the fire fighters could either fight your fire to protect their customers, or they could simply watch your house burn while making sure the fire doesn't spread to their subscriber's property. If they choose to fight your fire to save your property they could then bill you for "services rendered". If you refuse to pay, everyone would know not to deal with you since you don't honor your debts. You might get one "freebie", but don't count on a second.

The bottom line is that in a free society, anything that is necessary can and will be provided by the market without forcing anyone to pay for anything through taxation.


Expressing myself- a waste of time?

No matter how you choose to work for liberty, someone will say you are wasting your time. They may even say your efforts hurt liberty in the long run.

I say that about voting. But I hope I never attack the individuals who disagree while expressing my considered opinion.

You keep doing what you think you need to and contributing the best you can. Don't do it for approval or for a pat on the back. Do it for liberty and because it is the right thing to do.

I suspect that to achieve a free society will take more than one tactic, and from more than one direction.


Fixing everything

While I can accept that some problems just don't have a solution, I don't like that fact. I want to fix everything. I feel very dissatisfied when there is a problem that I can't see a good solution to. It doesn't happen very often. (Getting people to admit the problem is solved is a different issue.)

The regional drought is one example. It seems there should be some solution that doesn't involve people abandoning their homes, or drastic alterations in lifestyle, or government "help". All those solutions are unpleasant, and in the case of government intervention, wrong.

I just feel there has to be a real solution that no one has yet noticed, just sitting there begging for attention. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that depending on government to use stolen money to build a pipeline to take water from a lake, which is subject to the same drought, is not the correct answer.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Backing up some hard work defending liberty

Just in case you didn't follow the link a while back, I have copied and posted my comments to another blog's attempt at smearing libertarians. I hated to put all that work into refuting the standard statist doom and gloom naysaying and not be able to save it just in case.

(Sorry for the bizarre font, but to preserve the links I needed to copy it this way.)

You are so far off with almost every point you made that I don’t know where to begin. But I will make an attempt over the next few days.

I do appreciate your generally cordial tone, though, and hope my disagreement will not seem hostile or like lecturing.

Let me just start by saying I have long wondered why so many otherwise rational atheists believe in The State and why so many otherwise rational anarchists believe in God. Both are dangerous superstitions that kill a lot of innocent people; and both have been disproved by their own failure.

OK. Moving on to your post. Let me first address the compact fluorescent bulb issue. Compact fluorescent bulbs don’t last anywhere near as long as their advocates claim. I know. I have had many that didn’t even last as long as the incandescent bulbs I replaced.

I was actually using CF bulbs (in their earlier incarnations) in the mid-to-late 70s of my own free will. I still like them but I know people who don’t and I think it is wrong to force them to use bulbs that don’t allow them to see adequately (due to eyesight differences or whatever). For whatever reason we have not been able to find CF bulbs that my parents can see under. I have tried.

Considering the mercury content, added to the vast amount of additional material in each CF bulb, added to the vast amount of extra energy it takes to manufacture each one compared to an incandescent bulb, added to the difficulties in proper disposal, added to the apparent problem that the spectra that they produce isn’t good for many people- it isn’t worth making it mandatory that people use them. When the technology is right, no law would be required. As it is, the “law” is generating resistance that might not otherwise exist.

Your closing comment, the generalization of libertarians as “they are all financially well-off men”, is not even close. Well, I am a man, but I am living well below the poverty line. I know some extremely influential libertarians who are women who are also not wealthy or even comfortable. Look up Claire Wolfe.

You’ll forgive me I hope if I try to stick to addressing the points in the post before I address anything new posted in reply to this.


I had another very important thing I just thought of to add tonight.

If you or any of the commenters are actually interested in understanding libertarianism (and not just what you believe it means), consider checking out The On Line Freedom Academy since it goes much more in-depth than I could ever do in any number of comments.


The free market and capitalism are great, but it’s important to remember that we don’t live in a 100% capitalistic system. If we did, we’d be living in an Orwellian dystopia in which we auctioned off the organs of third world kids.

Free Market and capitalism. Well… Free market, yes. Capitalism, yes. However, neither truly exist today. Instead we have corporatism where corporations, which are government-created fictitious entities, run the government, which protects the corporations from the consequences of their actions and from the free market with “laws” It’s a cozy deal, but it has nothing to do with libertarianism, and all libertarians I know oppose this corrupt situation.

Then you go off on a tangent based on this faulty assumption. Selling off kids’ organs? Not in a libertarian society! Why not? Because the one basic principle of libertarianism is the Zero Aggression Principle. The free market is a voluntary market free of government meddling and free of coercion, it is not free to violate the rights of others. It is based upon “no Rulers”, not “no rules”. A situation where selling off anyone else’s organs (as opposed to your own) would rely on government protecting the aggressors from their intended victims. Once again that would be corporatism and would be incompatible with a libertarian society.


It was the free market that allowed slavery to happen in the U.S.

Nope. The institution of slavery required “laws” which made it “legal” and made helping escaped slaves a “crime”. Those “laws”, which violated the liberty of the humans who were enslaved, were wrong, as are any and all “laws” that attempt to regulate or control anything other than actual aggression, theft/fraud, or violation of property rights. Only The State can prop up a system as corrupt and counter to basic human rights as slavery, beyond its natural life-span.

Just as with sweatshop labor today (which I regard as a step or two above slavery), proponents claimed the economy would collapse without slavery.

Which is why The State and its supporters erected a “legal” framework to keep slavery going. It was still dying out anyway, worldwide, around the era where the “legal” protections of that evil institution were eliminated (or at least altered enough that most people believe it was made illegal).

Remember that with sweatshop labor, as bad as the conditions are, they are better than the conditions the people traded when they chose to work in the sweatshop. Yes, in many cases sweatshop labor is preferable to the workers than subsistance farming. It is less dangerous, less physically demanding, and more rewarding. Would they want to stop there rather than to continue to improve their life? I doubt it.

If those workers are coerced into working at a sweatshop, rather than being allowed to freely choose whether or not to work in the sweatshop, then once again there has to be a “legal” framework to enforce the coercion. There also must be “legal” obstacles to hinder a poor person from starting his own business. Things like zoning “laws”, licenses and permits, minimum wage “laws”, and whatever else governments dictate to keep competition from threatening their corporatist cronies, take options from the poor and make it harder to escape the sweatshops. Otherwise many would choose to start their own business as a chance to escape poverty. The fact that many manage to do so in spite of the government’s obstacles is a testament to human preserverence and tenacity.


Everything would be sold to the highest bidder. The bottom line– the almighty dollar– would decide everything, regardless of who got hurt.

Only if you were willing to sell “everything”. And if you hurt anyone in your “bottom line” you would be subject to restitution or self defense. Once again, the Zero Aggression Principle sets a standard that is non-negotiable to libertarians and warns those who don’t wish to follow it of the consequences.

The reason we have civilization in the first place, at least in theory, is to protect those who are smaller and weaker.

Civilization doesn’t depend on The State, fortunately. In fact, I think civilization has been held back immeasurably by The State. Rights are not dependant upon the wishes of the majority. Those who are smaller and weaker are prohibited, “legally”, from defending themselves from predators. Instead they are told they must hand over their self defensive rights, along with the best tools ever invented for giving the “small and weak” a fighting chance against the “big and strong, to agents of The State. And The State is responsible for killing around 200 million innocent “citizens” during the 20th century alone- not even counting soldiers and those fighting “officially” in wars.

Under a pure Free Market system, stronger people would crush the weak.

No, because (as explained above) in a free market there could be no monopolies, nor any “laws” against self defense or defense of property. If a “strong” person/company began to crush the weak there would be no red tape barriers preventing a competitor from opening a stall on the sidewalk to compete with the corrupt company. People would be free to choose to use the new alternative that is not crushing them or others.

If the “crushing” came in the form of theft or aggression there would be no criminal penalties for defending yourself. Yes, there would probably be some form of arbitration in case of a dispute, but even then there would be no monopoly on a justice system.


…do you object to Big Brother butting into the free market to do the following?

—-Making it illegal to sell liquor or cigarettes to minors.

Of course I object! Do minors manage to get liquor and tobacco anyway? Yes. Education works better than prohibition, and prohibition always manages to affect those it is not (supposedly) aimed at. Some people will always make the wrong choice. That isn’t your business. You may claim that their poor choice means “society” will be forced to pay for their medical care later. That is a refutation of welfare/wealth redistibution rather than a refutation of the liberty to make your own poor decisions. (Which brings up the tangential point that “Society” can not be a victim!)

Protecting the public from dangerous items, such as lead paint and swill milk, pulling them off the market.

Everything has potential to be dangerous. Each of us can make our own decisions as to whether they are “worth it” or not. Bungee jumping is not worth it to me. Driving fast on mountain roads is not worth it to me. For that matter, using insecticides in my home is not worth it to me. Everyone has the capacity to decide for themselves, just as I do.

Would you have chosen to buy lead paint, or products painted with lead paint, after the damaging effects were known (or suspected)? What if you had no children who would be gnawing on the baseboards or picking paint flakes off the door frames? What if government had decided to not ban the lead paint? Would you want to make certain, independently, that a house you are considering to purchase has lead-free paint regardless of any ban? I’m just asking.

Establishing standards for health inspection in food service, fire codes, architectural safety, etc.

Why do you assume that any standards must be imposed and enforced by The State? Why do you assume The State’s standards are actually followed? Doesn’t the health inspection scare-story disprove that assumption? I’d be more likely to trust an “Underwriter’s Laboratory-type” outfit, especially if there were a market full of competing certification providers, than a monopoly of government inspectors.

Establishing the Food and Drug Administration to create and enforce rules on which drugs are allowed on the market…

The FDA is big on promoting how many lives they have saved, yet it is almost impossible to accurately judge how many lives have been lost or destroyed due to their overly-cautious drug approval process. Let doctors and patients make their own decisions based upon informed consent.

…and food safety standards. The government limits how many insect parts are allowed in our cereal.

Yet we eat water bugs in the form of shrimp, and many people around the world eat and enjoy insects every day. What a bizarre thing to be concerned about. A better way would be to let the market cater to those who don’t care, and to those who are obsessive over bug parts in cereal, and let them each pay a price that reflects their choices. I knew a guy who was a meat inspector. Through him I learned that “up to government standards” means less than a company’s own standards. I have heard, although it may just be a rumor, that the meat that is up to “school lunch standards” is not up to McDonalds’ standards.

To leave this up to the free market would allow the foxes to guard the chicken coop.

Why this assumption? Does reputation have no meaning to you? If you discovered, in this age of instand communication, that a company was doing something disgusting to its food would you continue to give that company your business? I wouldn’t!

I like that smoking isn’t allowed in bars and restaurants, and other public places such as libraries.

I don’t like to be around smoke, so if it were allowed I would usually choose to go to a place where the owner forbid smoking. But not always. Sometimes I would choose to go to a smoke-filled place either to hang out with friends who smoke, or because the fun was worth the discomfort. It should be up to the owner to set the smoking policy, and up to me whether I choose to reward his choice or the choice of his competitors.

Making seat-belts and other safety features standard on cars.

My second car was too early to have seat belts as a standard feature and I chose to install them at my own expense. (My first car was electric and had seat belts.) Education is what makes car safety an issue. In many cases “laws” actually compromise safety. As in self-driving cars which eliminate the vast majority of accidents: human error and alcohol.

you wanna let the foxes guard the chicken coop?

No, that is why I advocate taking the fox out of the equation while frreing the chickens from their coop (and giving them talons).

Surely you think that these measures are worth sacrificing your freedom.

Absolutely not! You make your own choices regarding your own freedom, but as long as the other guy is not attacking or stealing, his freedom, or more accurately, his LIBERTY, is none of your business.

Only in the past few years have I met libertarians.

You’ll understand by now why I have my doubts about your claim to have met any libertarians. I could claim to be a jellyfish, but if I don’t fit the definition, my claims are just silly. So it is with libertarians.

I can’t help but notice that they are all financially well-off men.

I addressed this earlier.

As near as I can tell, they claim to support liberal values…

Only inasmuch as “liberal values” respect the life, liberty, and property of the individual. Which isn’t too far these days. It’s about as poor a record as “conservative values” have on respecting the same.

…but then turn around and vote for conservatives.

No way! I voted for Micheal Badnarik (the LP candidate) back in 2004, and I ran my own campaign for 2008, but I have since realized the futility of “voting for liberty”.

Whew! I didn’t intend to go all the way through your post tonight. Sorry for so much information and so many links. You got me inspired!

Feel free to email me if you want something explained more before I get back.


Personal Failure- “…children’s cough syrup contained pure heroin. Children died. Lots of them. It wasn’t The Hand of the Market that put a stop to that, either.

Actually, yes it was. Heroin was dropped as an ingredient in cough syrup in 1913; the government didn’t restrict its sale until 1914. Not because of deaths, but because of addiction. There is a difference. And, the simple truth is that as a cough medicine it was actually effective, unlike the substitutes that have been tried since then. Education is the key. There will always be addicts; prohibition doesn’t change that fact. There is no profit motive if you kill off your customers or their children, and in a free society there would also be personal accountablility for selling products that kill when used as directed. No corporations to hide behind, in other words, but actual individual accountablility for the complany president.

After a century of prohibition the percentage of the population that is addicted to something “illegal” remains the same. The drug war is an utter failure IF the goal was to reduce the use of drugs, and is worse than a failure if the goal was to save lives. The drug war kills more people and ruins more lives than the drugs ever did.

People who promote pure Libertarian ideology seem to think they’ll be the one at the top of the heap. Otherwise, why would you promote it?

I promote it, not to end up at the top of the heap, but to either eliminate a heap based on brute force (as we have now) or to eliminate the heap altogether. I guarantee I’ll not be ending up near the top of any heap no matter how society self-organizes once it is freed of the superstition of The State. But it doesn’t matter. I value the rights of the other guy (YOU) because I value my own rights. You can only get as much liberty as you give others.


Atheist from Michigan- “If it were 100% free market, there would be no public roads. All roads would be private…

Roads would not necessarily be private, but they would be privately owned. Once again, the distinction is important. If a business owner wants customers to be able to get to his business it is in his interest to keep the road to his store open and in good repair. If a homeowner wants to be able to leave home it is in his best interest to not close off his road to fellow travellers lest they return the “favor” of denying him access.

Some will still close off their roads, and other people will build new roads around the problem area to profit from the new opportunity- and quite probably refuse to allow the guy who closed off his road to travel on theirs. (In a free society being a jerk would have consequences that government now mitigates. Being a bad guy would be much more expensive than it currently is.)

If a person doesn’t wish to maintain or manage his portion of the road himself, he might hire someone to do it for him. Perhaps he would use the same company his neighbors use. Some people might even sell their ownership in a particular stretch of road to avoid headaches and liability while securing access in perpetuity. Of course, there will not be a “one size fits all” solution and undoubtedly things will self-organize that I can’t even imagine.

… so I hope these people save their pennies to pay the tolls on absolutely every road.

What you don’t seem to realize is that you already pay for roads you use, but much of the money is spent on bureaucracy rather than the roads. You are not getting all the road you are paying for. And there is no competition to let you see how you are being overcharged. Plus, the money is taken whether you use the road it is spent on or not. You also pay for a road that you also have no guarantees on. If your vehicle is damaged or you are in an accident because of poor maintainence or poor design you can’t sue the owner. Is this a good plan? I don’t think so; there is no accountability.

Another thing to consider is that roads may not always be necessary for the majority of travel. Unless The State continues to have a monopoly on the roads. Then they will resist, with “laws” and regulations, any innovation.

One day our descendants will be amazed we ever settled for government-owned roads.

To be continued…


Atheist from Michigan- “And don’t forget the police department. Can’t afford them when your house gets invaded by your angry neighbors? Too bad. But that’s okay because you do own a gun right? (Wild West anyone?)

You have bought into the modern myth that the “Wild West” was a violent, “every man for himself” bloodbath. That is completely false. Gun-filled Western towns were less deadly than their comparable, relatively gun-less, Eastern counterparts. It really is suicidal to attack people able and willing to defend themselves effectively. I have lived in armed societies and they really are much more polite. Not because everyone is scared of everyone else, but because they don’t have to be.

If your house gets invaded by angry neighbors today, the police show up after the acts have been committed. Remember that when seconds count, the police are “only” minutes away. And, assuming you survive the attack, you have as much chance being killed by the cops who respond as your attackers do.

In a free libertarian society there could also be a place for private “police”. If you refuse to take responsibility for your own safety, there are always people willing to be paid to give it a try. However, a private police force would be accountable for their actions. If your police kill an innocent person, or steal or damage property, and they refuse to take responsibility and pay full restitution, then if they are acting on your behalf YOU will be responsible. Would you hire “police” who bully innocent people and invade homes? Would you want to have your “police” harassing your neigbors about what they smoke? Or if their car is licensed? Or any number of other things that don’t harm you? I wouldn’t.

To be continued…


Atheist from Michigan- “And when your house catches on fire, you can call any of the competing fire departments…” etc.

I have addressed fire departments previously, but the “exclusivity” on the column has not run out yet so I have to just post a link: “Firefighting Better if Privatized

I think you’ll see that you are trying really hard to make things more complicated than they would really be.

And, why would 911 service necessarily be gone? Is there some reason such a service couldn’t be maintained without using government coercion? I don’t think so. If it is useful, and until an even better solution is found, I’d be willing to bet it would be continued.


Atheist from Michigan: “But it doesn’t matter anyway, because the food producers are all selling dirty, tainted food, and all the people are getting sick, and can’t work.

You mean like occasionally happens now even with mandatory government health inspections? Seriously, you think there would be no one with enough self-interest to make certain the food they sell won’t make people sick? If every other food seller was selling food that made people sick, and there were no government hurdles to prevent me from opening my own food service, you can bet I’d be out there selling the cleanest, healthiest food I could tomorrow. Would you continue to buy the food that is making you and your family sick, or would you come to me? Remember too that only government meddling creates monopolies, and there would be no criminalization of people growing their own food, or hunting game (as long as they were not trespassing it would be no one’s business), or defending themselves from an attacker (such as the Dirty Food Cartel who wants to kill the competition).

Yeah, this sounds like real utopia to me.

Not the way you weave the fantasy by ignoring the way the real world works. If you try hard enough you can make anything sound like a surefire failure. But no one would put up with that kind of world without looking for a better way. Otherwise you would be wearing stiff and rotting animal skins and eating raw meat while squatting in the rain. It doesn’t work that way, and sometimes things that seem like a good idea at one time (The State) turn out to have been disastrous. It is silly to keep refusing to jump off the train as it heads over the cliff just because you imagine thorns, scorpions, and goblins will be all you encounter if you jump off the doomed train. But you do what you want.

We have government-owned roads, police, libraries, schools…

And all I ask is to be able to make the choice as to who to spend my money with and let you do the same. If I want to use the government school (or library), fine. But if I think another option would serve my children better, let me use that alternative and stop paying for the system I am not using.

“…we are not 100% capitalist, and we would fail if we were.”

Prove it by showing me a 100% capitalist society. Not corporatist, but capitalist.


Atheist from Michigan said: “I find the libertarian atheists among the most frightening of all people….

Your fear is based upon complete and utter hogwash. I hope you can get over it by finding out you are afraid of a spectre that is imaginary (just like God).

If you are “compassionate” just because you believe you are being watched and you wish to avoid punishment, you are not compassionate.

Libertarians know it is wrong to initiate force. No matter who is or is not watching. We also know it is wrong to steal. Once again, no matter who may or may not see us do it or what you call it.

Because, as you say, “people can either be compassionate or selfish” it is foolish to give anyone power over the lives of others. It is foolish to put people into positions of “authority” where they can cause harm without paying the full consequences. Libertarianism removed the false cloak of legitimacy from those who would choose to prey on others, no matter what excuse they try to justify their actions with.

Libertarians are selfish and seem to absolutely lack any compassion for anyone but themselves.

Libertarians know that we are accountable for all our actions, both good and bad. We are accountable to ourselves and to those around us. If we do other people wrong, we know there will be consequences, and we know we woulddeserve them. If that isn’t a higher power- one with real world ability to affect our lives right here and now- I don’t know what a “higher power” could really be.

I have never personally met a selfish libertarian, although I have heard from statists who claim to have met “lots” of them. As long as they are selfish without initiating force (attacking), damaging other people’s property, or stealing, I can’t see how that harms anyone. Yet I have still never met a libertarian who was selfish.

I could tell you the things I do on a daily basis to help other people- things that have no personal benefit to me at all- but you would either think I am lying or bragging about how “compassionate” I am. Instead I invite you to come spend a day with me. Any day. Don’t even tell me who you are or why you are here. And then see if your opinion holds.

If I didn’t care about other people, including YOU, “Atheist from Michigan”, I wouldn’t bother with commenting on this blog. This “project” has taken a lot of time that I should have been spending on my writing job. And I know this commentary will probably not change anyone’s mind. But I still think it is important for you to know the truth about those you speak of so poorly. For you and for any future libertarians you may encounter. Because I care about all of you.

…would just as soon stomp out all Christians like they’re ants.

That would be a huge mistake. Sure, I would like to stomp out their superstition, but I wish no harm on the individuals. In fact, it is my compassion for them than makes me hate their superstition. It is hurting them and damaging their lives whether they see it or not. Until someone tries to force their religious beliefs on me, personally or by force of “law”, their superstitions are not my business.


TA1 said: “A lot of technology is based upon use of toxic products … so to be totally aware ( caveat emptor ) you have to pretty much get a degree in the product technology.

And I have no such degree, yet I survive. I pay attention to problems other people have (or even claim to have) with products. If I don’t trust a particular company I avoid doing business with it. I am also aware of chemistry enough to understand that using a toxic component doesn’t mean the final product is toxic. Sodium is toxic; chlorine is toxic- put them together and you have table salt which is necessary for life.

And the excesses of unbridled capitalism are legendary.

Really? And you’re sure you’re not mistaking capitalism for corporatism/mercantilism (as Mr. Whipple so eloquently said above)? Because I have never seen capitalism “unbridled”. Not ever. All I’ve seen is a jungle of government regulations and red tape that make competition difficult for an upstart facing off with the big established, politically-connected corporations.

So I am an “ex-libertarian” for that reason and the fact that the Libertarian Party never did seem to manage to find office candidates who had appeal beyond that of a cardboard box.

The Libertarian Party has about as much to do with libertarianism as guinea pigs have to do with New Guinea. The last presidential candidate “offered” by the LP was Bob Barr- NOT libertarian at ALL. Don’t judge libertarianism by those who attempt to associate themselves with it without holding onto the principles involved.


LowOnProzac said: “You’re mistakenly equating Libertarians with anarchists.

Well, anarchism is libertarianism in full-bloom; stripped of all inconsistencies.

Free markets don’t mean lawlessness.

Rules, not Rulers. Real laws based upon the ZAP don’t have to be enforced; just about everyone knows they are wrong to violate, and those who don’t know will learn when their violations are defended against. Most “laws” today are counterfeit “laws” that attempt to control something other than aggression or theft.

Libertarians believe government is a necessary evil.

No such thing! If a thing is evil it can’t be truly necessary. No matter how “pragmatic” it might be to pretend otherwise.


Sarah said: “Many of you seem to think that the free hand of the market prevents manufacturers from selling dangerous products in the first place.

Of course not. But people are free to choose what they consider “too dangerous” or an acceptable risk. It isn’t within your authority (or anyone else’s) to decide for ME what is “too dangerous”, just like it isn’t up to me to make that decision for you.

Cigarettes are too dangerous for me, but I wouldn’t think of forbidding other people from making their own choice. Nicotine does seem to have some brain and cognitive benefits after all.

Your concern over “swill milk” seems a little odd, too. It’s as if government banning it proves to you that it really was bad, rather than accepting that it was bad and refusing to buy it regardless of the government’s actions- whether or not it is “legal”. Sure it may have been cheaper, but “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” and you should realize that.

I don’t need “laws” telling me what can hurt me. Do you?

I don’t need The State to tell me that if I mishandle a gun someone could get killed. Or warning me that the burners on my stove could burn me. Or that smoking crack is not a healthy choice for me. To assume that a large percentage of individuals are too stupid to act in their own self-interest seems pretty insulting and elitist.

It also seems pretty bizarre to claim “we” need a coercive monopoly in order to be protected from coercive monopolies. I think that would be considered rather circular.

Remember, too, that I have pointed out that I am not against health inspections for restaurants (or any other business), I simply think relying on The State exclusively for such a service is unwise. The State doesn’t have a very good track record of actually finding issues before a problem erupts, or even preventing them altogether. It is always reactionary after the disaster happens, and after market forces would have taken care of the issue without skipping right to the coercion.

Let businesses arise (similar to Underwriters Laboratories) that can compete for your trust and a good reputation, and then you can choose to eat at establishments which have been certified “safe” by someone who you have learned to trust.

…if Big Brother didn’t intervene, there would be nothing stopping free market forces from auctioning off the organs of the poor.

Why is this an issue? If someone is poor and needs money and wants to sell a kidney to someone who needs a kidney and is willing and able to pay for it, how can that be your business? Many people die because it is illegal to sell organs. If you own your body (and of course, you DO), it is yours to do with as you wish, even to the point of killing yourself, as long as you harm no other individuals.

If you don’t own your kidneys, who does? Do I own your organs? Does Obama? Did Bush? Does the Supreme Court? Does “society”? How ridiculous it is to claim you shouldn’t be allowed to decide whether to sell a kidney or cut your hair or get a tattoo. Your body belongs to you and it is the very worst form of tyranny to claim the rights over someone else’s body. Talk about a lack of compassion!

Now, obviously if you are talking about kidnapping people and stealing their organs, that isn’t “the market”; that is aggression and theft and would be subject to self defense and restitution. You can’t ignore that side of the free market in order to create an illusory boogeyman to hound with pitchforks and torches.

It is just paternalism to claim you know better how to run other people’s lives than they do. It is mean-spirited and insulting to those you consider not fully-human enough, or too stupid, to make their own choices.


Sarah- I wasn’t hostile to you so I don’t quite understand your somewhat demeaning salutation of “Easy, Kent…”. There is no reason to become defensive and treat me like a child or a dog. I’m just discussing.

Anyway, you have begun going in circles; saying the same things over again, after I have dealt with those particular objections. You don’t believe me, but don’t take my word for it- think for yourself.

One thing I don’t understand is, since you obviously distrust everyone (including, apparently, yourself) to behave “nicely” and make good decisions without being forced to do so, how can you trust those same people to have power over the lives of others? Do you think that once given that amount of power they become selfless and kind? How can you fail to recognize that the system itself attracts the worse of humanity while insulating them from the true consequences of their actions?

I think I see a lot of “projection” in your dwelling on your fears and suspicions while ignoring the solutions offered and the information on the true nature of libertarian thought (as opposed to whatever it is that you were exposed to under the label of “libertarianism”). Why are you so afraid of people? Would your family and friends start robbing, killing, and raping (or selling filthy food filled with rat feces to unsuspecting customers) if they didn’t fear The State’s punishment? Is that all that forces them to be good? I doubt it very much. And no one I know is only restrained by fear of The State, either. Relax.

It seems I just believe in one less god than you do. Or, maybe, two.


Dale Husband, you say “Maybe someday you Libertarians will convince enough people of your delusions to take over the government.

That would be self-defeating and counter-productive. I have no desire to “take over” government. I govern myself and don’t want to (and can’t) govern you. It isn’t anyone’s job but your own to govern you. Any other notion is a very big delusion and causes a lot of grief in the world. I think, though, you are making the same mistake other commenters above you have made: “Libertarians” belong to the Libertarian Party and may or may not be libertarians, just as hunters who belong to “Ducks Unlimited” are NOT ducks.

You also claim “They simply CANNOT work in the real world!” when you speak of libertarian principles, but you are demonstrably wrong. They already do work. In the real world. Every single day. I and many other people already live those principles all around you, apparently unnoticed by you, every day. That is how I know for a fact it works. You can pout, stamp your feet, and scream all you want but it won’t change a thing (other than rob you of some of the enjoyment you could be finding in life).

Then you claim: “…after we recovered from the Great Depression (due to the government programs of the New Deal)…”

Dale, Dale, Dale. The “New Deal” extended the Great Depression years beyond it’s natural span. The similar recessions that happened regularly prior to the one that preceded the Great Depression are now forgotten precisely because government stayed out of the way and let them self-correct. Keynesian “economics” has been disproved over and over and over, yet it remains popular with “governing types” because of the sense of power (and ill-gotten wealth) it gives them. It is a superstition that is very stubborn. We are suffering its effects once again.

WWII also didn’t end the Depression, regardless of what “Libertarians (and some Conservatives)” might claim. War only gives the illusion of recovery. Depressions end when they end, through natural market forces, unless government intervention makes them worse.

Then you ask “…how does the US government directly cause pollution?

Government is the worst polluter in a couple different ways.

First, military sites are among some of the most dangerously polluted areas. Even when the pollution becomes exposed to the “public”, government is not legally liable for the full damage its activities have caused. Restitution is not paid.

Second, government’s environmental rules almost always allow corporations to pay a fine and continue to pollute, or to only clean up a portion of the pollution. It shields the owners of the corporation from actual restitution to those individuals harmed by the pollution. The whole structure of a corporation also shields the people who run the company from personal liability for the pollution their corporation causes.

Would you really prefer a state of NO government?

Not “no government”; no externally-imposedgovernment. Huge difference. Self-government, arrived at by emergent order from “the bottom, up”, is the only kind that has ever worked or ever can work.

So, what would be better? I can do better than that and tell you what IS better: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent. Try it..