Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

The Court of Public Relations

Sam Dodson does a great job deconstructing the concept of statist justice.

“You don’t question me, sir!”

From the LRC Blog

There is no Al Gore

if we let facts get in the way

(again stolen from Gabriel’s blog )

… The 11 inaccuracies that the court found are not quibbles. They represent the film’s most spectacular claims about the dangers of global warming, and form the very basis of the film. Were the film to be edited to have these inaccuracies removed, in fact, vanishingly little would be left.

Hug an SUV, kill a tree, it’s all good.

Market Anarchy #2

Hello folks! Welcome to the second edition of Market Anarchy, the only blog carnival for anarcho-capitalists and lovers of freedom. We have an awesome issue today packed with fantastic articles, so without further ado lets get started.

Since we do not normally have a set theme for the carnivals just about any topic related to MA is up for grabs. This issue we have a variety of topics covered and I present them in no particular order.

– We start off with Sholom over at Anarcho-Judaism, who writes this interesting piece comparing Moses to Marxism.

– Greg Gauthier from Doing Philosophy writes a foundational article entitled Anarchy: The New Middle Way. “Our goal, as anarchists, therefore, is to reestablish the primacy of the individual over the ideal, as the only effective means for ending war, terror, and oppression. To do this effectively, we must ground our individualism not in the relativistic nihilism of the liberal left, or the fanatical crusaderism of the absolutist right, but to ground it in the rational, material, empirically real world, that already exists right at the center of our very lives.”

– Greg Swann over at Zillow.com reminds us that working for free is not a crime, but some socialists out there want to make it a crime. “The human mind cannot be outlawed. But the less-gutless champions of Socialism have demonstrated repeatedly that you sure can pile up a whole lot of corpses trying to outlaw the human mind.”

– Francois Tremblay at Check Your Premises unmuddles the mess that is the “rights” issue and especially as it pertains to animals. “Statists often confuse rights with moral obligation. Rights do provide moral obligation, but they are not, by far, the only kind of moral obligation we recognize as valid. I do not recognize the right of any non-human animal to be treated ‘compassionately,’ but that does not mean I go around maiming and goring them. The fact that I do not recognize rights for, say, a dog does not mean that I do not value the dog’s well-being in any way. I have other reasons to value this. A baby has no rights, but this does not mean that babies should be left to starve and die. We have numerous moral reasons to value babies which have nothing to do with rights.”

– Alex Ramos writing from The Freedom To Say 2 + 2 is 4  writes about the hero worship of jack-booted thugs who fight for the State. “By upholding soldiers as virtuous defenders of our rights and freedom, regardless of the actual actions they commit or their absolute subservience to the State, we perpetuate the State’s primary means of keeping us as sheep. If we are not allowed to question whether supporting soldiers is a good thing or not, then we’re going to see more and more immorality coming from the military, command AND grunts.”

– Rick Sincere on Rick Sincere News & Thoughts explains why the current pope, Joseph Ratzinger doesn’t understand basic economics. And why should he? He does have the baby Jesus on his side 😀

– Also on the topic of relgion is Francois Tremblay representing Goosing the Antithesis with his article on how religions struggle against one another and our freedom. “In enforcing a singular value system on the whole of society, the democratic State makes it so there must be victors and losers, and it makes itself the referee. The result of a world where religions are dominated by other religions, as decided by the ruling class, in the name of fear of reprisal and fear of violence is not freedom, or even egalitarianism, but just plain fear. And in these kinds of games, based on coercion and not truth, science and reason have everything to lose.”

– In our first ever tongue-in-cheek article, Robert Bruce  on Escape From Pianosa reminds us that in order to have more equality in this world, we need to have more leisure time. “Finally, I call upon the Congress to establish not one but two oversight committees, so as to ensure that none of this new agency’s actions are ever motivated by politics and a diversity czar to ensure that all people have equal free time, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference, or class.” Is it really satire or does he have a good point? Read the article and find out for yourself.

– Our good friend Aaron Kinney over at The Radical Libertarian discusses his battle with involuntary servitude and how he won.

Finally, we have somebody taking on last issue’s Carnival Freak.

– David Z. at No Third Solution offers a rubtal to why the flat tax is not any better than the other types of extortion.

Now this month we did not recieve any Carnival Freaks but I did get some interesting comments on a mini-blog I maintain on the Bureaucrash.

1.

I’m not quit so sure if anarchism should be the goal here. Minarchism is a more practical realistic solution for as proven previously through out history, anarchism as always failed. Without government to act as a detourent so to speak, men will be engaged into a constant war of all against all. Ayn Rand has also critisised anarcho-capitalism as a disgrace to the libertarian title. “Another leftist discard adopted by the right” is how she put it, and I totally agree. We need a minimal state limited to nothing more than the mear function of protecting our natural rights through the rule of law. For any form of government or social organization that rules through de facto authority is inevitably bound to lead to coruption and tyranny. It is only through de jure authority were the government is limited to the point of only protection and nothing else can a just heirarchy be acheived. The only things government needs to fund are police, courts, and national DEFENSE, not to be confused with offense. Another thing about anarcho-capitalism is wether you agree with it or not, anarcho-capitalism is a form of direct democracy. If a private police department doesn’t at least have a majority to fund it then it will go out of buisness. So if a community composed of mostly mean people don’t want to fund any police departments, then the minority of nice people will be oppressed by the majority. Any form of a social structure that makes laws through will and not nessecity is a tyranny, and thats exactly how anarcho-capitalism works. In a constitutional republic, people are garanteed to be protected by miranda rights or search warrents. Thats the reason our founding fathers gave us a republic and not a democracy, because they wanted the rights of the minority protected from the de facto authority of the majority. In a direct democracy, the minority can have his/her property voted away from them wether they like it or not. Republics protect every body from ever being stuck in a situation like that in the first place so nobody is tyranized. There is honestly nothing wrong with a minimal state and it is alot more desirable of a system to strive for than an anarchy. It scares me that some people actually think that all they have to do is abolish government and all their worries are over. Let me tell you, if it were that easy don’t you think some country or grouping of people somewhere on this planet would have started a market anarchism already? they haven’t becaue they always failed. There were anonymous examples like Somalia and Icelandic common wealth, however both systems failed because they plumited into a state of chaos and wound up having some new form of government being imposed upon them insted of being made for them. Abolishing government is not the answer, limiting it is.

2.

Agreed, MWYN.

I told a friend of mine that I was a libertarian.

He started berating me on my political choice. I asked him, “Why are you so uncomfortable?” He told me “I don’t believe in a world without speed limits! Anarchist!”

 Anarchy is a dirty word…and most often linked to Libertarians like myself. I’m sick of hearing about it. Why doesn’t the word “capitalism” leap into the mind when one is thinking about extremist freedom groups? Capitalism is an economic state. Anarchy is a political state. Carl Marx made the dangerous mistake of crossing the two, and look where he left us. Anarchy is just the flip-side of his socialist coin.

Don’t get me wrong though – the FCC can go. Right now. No more communication legislation!

And there are some other comments on there as well if you’d like to take a look. If anybody would like to offer a rebuttle to any of the comments above you may do so at any of the upcoming carnival issues.

That will be all for this month. I would like to thank all the above writers for contributing to this carnival. Remember, carnival issues come out every month on the 29th and you can submit an article at any time.

We are gradually growing as more writers are signing up for this wonderful carnival. This is the best place to showcase your contributions to freedom. Issue #3 will be over at Hellbound Alleee on May 29th, so keep an eye out on that blog for further info.

Three Disproofs Of Authority

Three Disproofs of Authority

When discussing politics with non-anarchists, the subject of authority often comes up as an objection to accepting any ideas of liberty. Indeed, authority is that pesky stumbling block that we must overcome if ideas of liberty and freedom are to be successfully communicated and understood. Consider the following statements that often come up when discussing authority:

    We need to have authority otherwise there’d be chaos; thus we need a group that has authority.
    Authority is limited to those things the people allow through their consent.
    It allows people in government to set moral rules for society; otherwise there would be chaos!!!Whenever people vote they give authority to politicians to make certain decisions that we can’t do.

    And so on…

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Why I Detest Donkeys & Elephants

Howdy folks. I decided to display more tallented writings from my friend Ken here. Anytime I post somebody’s article it is from either a message board, personal correspondance, website article, or other. Today we are going to talk about the groups informally known as elephants and donkeys and formally as the two gangs comprised of lawyers, con-artists, and thugs competing with one another to operate a protection racket, as well as other wannabe rulers *cough* minarchists *cough*.  Enjoy and leave a comment.

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Why The State Sucks: A Parable

Howdy folks! It has been a long time since I last posted here. I am currently busy with some stuff offline but I thought I would drop a gem that my friend Ken sent to me. First a little preamble rant and then a parable. See if you can figure out what each character represents:

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Play Command Economy Dictator

 stalin.jpg

And maybe win a Nobel prize for Economics…

For all brainy totalitarians out there:

http://nobelprize.org/educational_games/economics/trade/index.html

Pointing out the fallacies is left as an exercise for the reader.

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.

How to Argue With a Libertarian – The Ultimate Guide

This is a very interesting piece from a great blog.

2. Arguments are like taxicabs. Take them as far as you actually plan to go and pay no mind to wherever else they might lead.

Example: “When you drive on government roads, you enter into a social contract with the government and that contract obligates you to pay any tax that the government demands.” Don’t worry about the implications of this argument when an IRS agent drives on a privately paved road or pulls up in a privately paved driveway.

4. Criticize capitalism by its worst cases. But do not (ever!) compare these to the worst cases of statism.

Example: “The Enron scandal was the product of unfettered profit seeking under capitalism.” If a libertarian replies that Stalin’s brutality was the product of a statist program, change the subject or claim that your brand of statism precludes such abuses. Better still, try to argue that Stalinism was actually a kind of capitalism.

11. The complexity of the world is always and everywhere an argument in favor of government intervention.

Example: A libertarian might argue that price ceilings will lead to shortages. Do not waste time discusing the interplay of supply and demand. Istead, try an argument like “Society is too complex for simplistic supply and demand arguments to be taken seriously. So the government should implement price ceilings.” Characterizing libertarian arguments as simplistic is helpful too, as it makes statists seem to be the more sophisticated group.

14. Disregard the possibility that libertarians make tradeoffs in their own lives.

Example: “You claim to oppose taxation but you live in a place with taxes.” The libertarian in question will argue that he opposes taxation but remains in his present place of residence to avoid other things that are worse than taxes, such as even higher taxes or the costs of leaving the country. Disregard any such protest. Call the libertarian a hypocrite.

15. Use logic, but do so with discretion.

Example: If a libertarian points out that there is an inconsistency in some statist argument, argue that, “Libertarians are too axiomatic. That’s fine for mathematics but not for real world issues that don’t fit precisely into neat logical categories.” Needless to say, the same kind of thinking need not apply if a libertarian even appears to be guilty of some inconsistency.

Found it here.

The Crime of Just Standing There

Yes, I am talking about legitimacy. Does a benefactor of any sort have an intrinsic right to extract benefits (by force if need be) from all his potential passive beneficiaries?

A beautiful woman spends time and money to maintain her good looks. With no doubt, she gets various benefits from that fact. But does she have a right to pull a gun and extract payment from all men who look at her? Because technically, these people have benefited. A beautiful picture is generally a benefit even for cursory onlookers.

An educated man benefits himself, but also other people indirectly. Does that simple fact warrant him to exert political power to extract his “just” reward from his potential beneficiaries?

You build a very nice house in an otherwise casual neighbourhood. That fact raises the value of surrounding land (it becomes more desireable). Do you deserve the right to receive forcefully extracted money from your neighbours?

We all receive indirect benefits from our particular environments, and we all indirectly benefit those around us. Indirectly as well, we might be harmed, or we might harm others. A small child can be a nuisance in a bus, a shop owner might harm other shop owners by taking some of their customers. But that’s just the natural process of human interaction. We cannot (most of us at least) live our lives free of interference, nor completely act without affecting others.

So if we’re stuck together, what means should we use to reduce conflict? Should we pull out the gun at the first sign of disagreement? Interestingly enough, or maybe not, that is the statist solution.

_

Before I leave, feel free to check this latest Mises piece. It’s an excerpt from the book – “The Anti-Capitalist Mentality” by Ludwig von Mises (Wikipedia entry). It goes over a few arguments (moral, aesthetic, etc) against Capitalism. Quite worth a read, even if it’s an extended piece. To that I’d like to add that while Mises has a dim view of Asian culture and civilisation, it’s worth to note that great cultures are built with some level of free markets available. Governments, by their very nature – destroy capital and wealth. But you can’t destroy something that is not already present. So the next time you look at pictures of the great pyramids, the Roman Colliseum or the temples of Angkor – know that this is just the tip of a very complex conditions that made it possible. Massive urban civilisations are built on the backs of merchants and antrepreneurs, not politicians and priests.

Enjoy!