Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Re: The Statist Love And Personality Test

If you enjoyed taking that test you might also enjoy these tests and quizzes:

* The Political Spectrum Quiz - Self-explanatory; authoritarianism is on one end of the spectrum and anarchism on the other.

* The Market Anarchy Theory Test - Great all-around test of general MA concepts and knowledge but unfortunately I don’t think the answers are given at the end or rational for them. But you can email Franc and I’m sure he’ll be happy to explain any of the questions.

* Are You An Austrian? - Fantastic quiz! Given by the Mises institute, you are presented with basic economics questions and given 4 choices. The choices are answers given by a particular school of economic thought. The choices differ on how the Austrian economist, a socialist, Chicago school, and classic/Keynesian economists would answer the question. After you are finished answering all questions they send you an email with the results. Each answer to a question is explained in full detail and they provide some readings to justify the Austrian answer to the question.

I hope you enjoy taking the above tests and quizzes like I did. In the future I may post more whenever I find any.

The Statist Love And Personality Test

Are you a Statist? Is a Statism just your thing? Find out with this short test. Mark an X for each correct statement about yourself:

Take the test HERE

Ok, now count your Xes. How many do you have? You can use the following chart:

40-43: You are statist to the bone

30-40: You are a big fat statist

20-30: You are a major statist

10-20: You are a do-gooder statist

5-10: You are a statist with a guilty consciousness

1-5: Yes, you are still a statist

0: You are not a statist, congratulations!

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

Taking a break from politics today, I thought I should introduce our readers to some interesting new technologies that are “all the rage” right now.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed these small orange icons to the sides and corners of web pages.

They’re everywhere.

There is even one on this page – to the right sidebar, at the bottom there is a menu called “Subscribe” and two links: “Entries (RSS)” and “Comments (RSS)

Try to click one of the above, then return to this page.

Well, that’s strange, what does it mean?

It’s a file that stores part the entries of this blog and contains links and informations to the content here.

XML is a very good way to store information and there are a great multitude of tools with which to manipulate it. The particular format of this file is RSS.
Essentially, the file you just saw is called a “feed,” and is used by various applications to get to the content here. Feeds can store all sorts of informations, from blog entries, to audio and video media (also called podcasts).

That’s fine, but how does this affect me?

Feeds are a great way to keep in touch the blogs and sites you like. You can use bookmarks to achieve the same thing, but with this technology, these sites will tell you when they are updated. You can, with just one tool, check out news, podcasts or interesting articles from hundreds of sources. Once you’re using it, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. Such a tool is called an aggregator.

OK, tell me more

You don’t need to collect the individual files from the sites you visit, you can have a program do that for you. That program is called FeedReader. All you need to do is give FeedReader the links to the site that contains an RSS feed (such as: http://anarchy.wordpress.com), or the link to the feed itself (http://anarchy.wordpress.com/feed/).

That’s cool, but what if FeedReader breaks, a better reader comes along, or I have to re-install Windows? Will I have to go through the same tedious task of re-building my feed collection?

People already thought about that, readers can store their feed http addresses into a separate file, which you can use as a back-up, or you can give to other people (so they too would have access to them). Such a format is called OPML.

This is my OPML, for instance (just click the link “Download for free with FileFactory Basic”)

What do I do now?

Download FeedReader and plunge ahead. You can also, download my OPML and use that as a starting point for your collection. It’s very easy to add, remove, or group feeds into folders.

Play with the menus for a few minutes to get a feel of the program. The interface is rather intuitive, so it should be a breeze to navigate. If you have some more questions, there is always the manual.

For a more in-depth look at all of this, you can check out this article by DeveloperWorks.

And that is the story, folks.

Have a nice time, as always. Fly away and spread the word!

Another Cartoon

Politicians Lie – What a Surprise!

Statist media is always entertaining. And how much more when I woke up this morning with a picture of the Hungarian Public Television in flames. Right there on EuroNews, in all its glory.

Unfortunately, no politicians were harmed during this footage.

“We f***ed up. Not a little, a lot,” Gyurcsany was heard saying. “No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have.”

“I almost died when for a year and a half we had to pretend we were governing. Instead, we lied morning, evening and night,” he told his fellow Socialists.

With a public deficit running at 10% of GDP, and a burgeoning welfare state, Hungary is not in an envyable position right now. If this is “pretended” governance, I shudder to think what real, meaningful governance looks like.

Awesome Bumpersticker Idea

This is an awesome bumpersticker made by Sephethus over at Lost Liberty Cafe (click on picture to go there). I think this is a great idea and I would love to see it on my car.

Now That’s More Like It.


Click on thumbnail to see full sized pic.

 

Human Rights Are Property Rights

You cannot separate the concept of right from that of property, as Murray Rothbard puts it so eloquently:

LIBERALS GENERALLY WISH TO preserve the concept of “rights” for such “human” rights as freedom of speech, while denying the concept to private property.1 And yet, on the contrary the concept of “rights” only makes sense as property rights. For not only are there no human rights which are not also property rights, but the former rights lose their absoluteness and clarity and become fuzzy and vulnerable when property rights are not used as the standard.

     In the first place, there are two senses in which property rights are identical with human rights: one, that property can only accrue to humans, so that their rights to property are rights that belong to human beings; and two, that the person’s right to his own body, his personal liberty,, is a property right in his own person as well as a “human right.” But more importantly for our discussion, human rights, when not put in terms of property rights, turn out to be vague and contradictory, causing liberals to weaken those rights on behalf of “public policy” or the “public good.” As I wrote in another work:

Take, for example, the “human right” of free speech. Freedom of speech is supposed to mean the right of everyone to say whatever he likes. But the neglected question is: Where? Where does a man have this right? He certainly does not have it on property on which he is trespassing. In short, he has this right only either on his own property or on the property of someone who has agreed, as a gift or in a rental contract, to allow him on the premises. In fact, then, there is no such thing as a separate “right to free speech”; there is only a man’s property right: the right to do as he wills with his own or to make voluntary agreements with other property owners.2

     In short, a person does not have a “right to freedom of speech”; what he does have is the right to hire a hall and address the people who enter the premises. He does not have a “right to freedom of the press”; what he does have is the right to write or publish a pamphlet, and to sell that pamphlet to those who are willing to buy it (or to give it away to those who are willing to accept it). Thus, what he has in each of these cases is property rights, including the right of free contract and transfer which form a part of such rights of ownership. There is no extra “right of free speech” or free press beyond the property rights that a person may have in any given case.

Read More…

Property Rights and Public Space

It might be so easy as with a walk in the park that we can reveal the issue at hand today: property rights. Or who owns what?

parcul-copou.jpg
Right at the entrance of a park nearby there is a big sign saying: “No access for dogs and cyclists.” As many public signs, it tends to be ignored, but this does give local law enforcement reason to traul the place for potential sources of income (fines). Well, what does this tell us?

The fact that my city authorities (the local government) are allowed to set rules to be followed in certain places (like the park), means they act in some manner like the owners of those grounds. Wether or not that right is legitimate, they can act as if they are rightful owners – they can exclude certain people, they can forbid certain behaviour, they can set the rules of activity in these places.

So, doesn’t the public own the parks?

It may seem so, yet, there are certain things an owner can do, and since we are not allowed freedom of behaviour (nor can we, for instance, build a house in that place), it means we cannot act like the owners of such place. There is no distinct piece of the park that we can identify as our own. The structure of ownership is not even that of a public company with shareholders. The only connection the public has to the park in regard to property rights is, in theory at least, the democratic vote. Or otherwise: the public votes for the politicians, and these exert property rights over the parks – “in the name of the people.”

So this means the politicians are a kind of “custodians,” acting in the name of the real owners which are members of the public. The politicians pass laws, which should express “the will of the people,” and so, the entire process looks voluntary.

It would be as if the politicians sign a sort of contract with members of the public, and by that authority to weild political power (and to enforce it legitimately). But what is the nature of this contract?

It’s implicit, says theory. People make an implicit agreement between themselves, which binds them all to some sort of higher authority (which is the government). If it were written, it would look a little like THIS.

What? Hold on a moment! Who is stupid enough to sign themselves into slavery? You are, I am, along with everybody else. We might not be aware of this fact, but we did. I tell you, we did!

This is where theory takes a turn away from reality. In order for a contract to be valid, it requires the acceptance and acknowledgement of the parties involves. A contract does not bind other parties than the signatories. And also, both parties must be clearly delineated.

The first point fails. People are bound to the contract, wether or not they even know about it, let alone agree to it.

Also, everyone is bound to the contract, even if they might have disagreed with the terms.

Finally, it is quite unclear what the parties of the contract are. Neither “the people,” (“the public”) nor “the government” are clearly defined. In the general theory, these entities have a collective nature. This means that they have a separate being, and are capabile of action outside the component individuals.

Now, that’s a rather shakey conceptual foundation on top of which to build a political theory. If collectives are those doing the action (and sign this contract), it means that these collectives are responsible and bound to the agreements. If the collections act, the individual members are not bound, neither liable. If the individuals act, then these individuals must sign the agreement. But they have not.

So the next time you walk through a public park and see a sign such as: “no smoking” know this does not come from the legitimate right of the legitimate owner, but the blind authority of those most capable of violence.

Patriotism Is Just Another Religion

(Many thanks to Adi and Ken for their editing of this article) 

Patriotism as defined by M-W states:

“One who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.”

That definition is quite an interesting statement. I would like to break down various aspects of patriotism to show that it is yet another bizarre example from the cult of government.

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