Archive for the ‘Liberty’ Category
Minnesota is now the 12th state to repeal its prohibition against same-sex marriages. Needless to say some of my friends, specifically my deeply religious friends who believe its the state’s duty of uphold their religion’s definition of morality, are a bit upset. As you will soon learn I have no sympathy for them. The religious organizations that told them to oppose the repealing of the prohibition on same-sex marriages are the same organizations that made this outcome possible. Although I touched briefly on the subject I feel it’s important to drive home this fact.
Back in the day the stated told various religious organizations, “Hey guys, we’re going to define marriage.” Most of the religious organizations at that time were perfectly fine with that news because the state said it was going to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The Mormons weren’t overly enthusiastic about the news but they were a small enough minority that nobody cared what they thought. Likewise, homosexuality was stigmatized so great in those days that few would dare admit they were gay and therefore no opposition was raised against prohibition same-sex marriages. In other words statism worked exactly as it always does, the politically influential were able to wield the state’s capacity for violence against those who weren’t politically influential. What those short-sighted fools failed to realize is that things change.
Fast forward to modern times. Religious organizations have lost a great deal of their influence over the state. They can no longer wield the state’s capacity for violent reliably. The tables have turned and the same religious organizations that enjoyed the state’s power in the days of yore now lack a great deal of political influence. Now that the state isn’t favoring their definition of morality those religious organizations are pissed. Boo-fucking-hoo.
Those organizations made their bed when they agreed to ceded the power to define marriage to the state. Once the state declares a power for itself and remains mostly unchallenged it is practically impossible to rip that power from its hands. To make matters worse the longer the state holds power the more difficult it becomes to take it back. People living today never knew a time when marriage didn’t require some kind of permission slip from the state. Since things appear to be working and they know no alternative they’re unlikely to challenge the state’s declared power to define marriage. It really sucks to be one of those religious organizations that wants the power to define marriage back because, in all likelihood, they’re not getting it. The state didn’t just declare the power to define marriage, it sunk its claws deep into that declaration by tying anything and everything to its stupid permission slips.
Like it or not, marriage is no longer a religious institution, it’s a state-defined relationship used to determine who can have special privileges. Had those fools resisted the state’s power grab this entire fight probably wouldn’t have happened. The religious organizations could still choose to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman and everybody ignore those organizations. But those fools didn’t resist, they accepted the state’s power grab with open arms, and allowed marriage to become more than a religious institution. Why do you think homosexuals give a shit about marriage? It’s because they are relegated to being second-class citizens without having the ability to enter marriages. When you have a man getting arrested because he refused to leave his partner’s side at a hospital and he knows his arrest could have been avoided if the state recognized same-sex marriages you can damn well bet that he will fight for state-recognized same-sex marriage. When the state tells same-sex couples that they can’t adopt children [PDF] because their relationship lacks the state’s seal of approval you can damn well bet those couples are going to fight for a state-recognized seal of approval. And guess what, they and their allies (which I am) have the political influence and therefore can wield the state’s power.
If you oppose same-sex marriages for religious reasons let this lesson sink in. The next time the state tries to grab additional power, even if the power grab stands to directly benefit you, oppose it. Fight that power grab with every fiber of your being. Because once the state has that power it will keep that power, it will tie that power into its political machinery so tightly that it can’t be removed, and eventually that power will change hands and you’ll no longer receive the special privileges you once did.
Since I was in the middle of helping people bypass the state’s censorship of 3D printer models I didn’t have time to comment on the Minnesota House passing the bill that will likely legalize gay marriage here. Since I’m gifted with a wide variety of friends I have seen both positive and negative reactions to this news.
To my religious friends who are unhappy with this news please know that this outcome was made possible because of the previous actions of your religions. When the state first declared it had the right to define marriage most of the better known religions of the time supported the state’s expansion of power. They supported this expansion because the state was defining marriage according to their terms. What those religions should have done was tell the state that defining marriage is the job of religious institutions and refused to sign any marriage certificates issued by the state. Since those religious organizations stood by and did nothing the state obtained the power to define marriage. These religious organizations apparently failed to realize that once the state obtains a power it can change the rules at any time it desires. In all likelihood same-sex marriages will be legal in all 50 states in due time.
To my friends who are happy with this news please know that the same lesson applies to you. What you won was a temporary victory, one that can be taken away by the state at any time in the future. Much like the religious organizations of the past you seem to support to state’s declaration that it can define marriage because its definition agrees with your beliefs. However the religious organizations could gain more influence in the future and have same-sex marriages made illegal again.
The lesson everybody should take away from this post is that all attempts by the state to grab more power should be opposed, even if one of its power grabs favors your beliefs. While the power grab may favor your belief today it may oppose it tomorrow.
After thinking about the State Department’s attempt to censor 3D printable firearms I came to the realization that the destroyer of intellectual property may very well be the entity that created it. The state has never shied away from censorship but its desire to control information is obviously increasing. What will happen if the state continues to censor more and more material that it defines as objectionable? In all likelihood more information will be published anonymously.
How many people will attach their name to something if they know it will land them in prison or cause them to be murdered by the state? I think that list is pretty short. Most people would prefer to release such material anonymously. When material doesn’t have a name attached to it there is nobody to claim a copyright on it and therefore nobody to initiate an intellectual property lawsuit. In effect the state, through its efforts to censor information, may kill intellectual property. It would be fitting that the creator became the destroyer.
Harry Reid appears to be confused. In his world, likely created by the onset of dementia, he believes that the Tea Party and anarchists are equivalent:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says the Tea Party is the main reason why things are not getting done in Congress and views it as a party of modern-day anarchists.
Reid on Wednesday afternoon stood by comments he made on the Senate floor last week comparing Tea Party-affiliated Republicans to 19th century American anarchists.
“I believe that, my experience with the Tea Party, is that they are against government in any form. They throw monkey wrenches into the government,” Reid said during an interview on the “Rusty Humphries Show.”
The Tea Party isn’t ready to rock with us anarchists. They’re like the metalcore fans at the death metal show. While they know some of the lingo and can name a some well-known bands they still complain about their inability to understand the lyrics and won’t venture forth into the mosh pit. Given a few years to mature they may be ready to rock with the big boys but they’re not at that point yet.
Through my mistaken adventure in libertarian politics I attended several Tea Party rallies. Most of the people attending those rallies would qualify, in my book, as being quite patriotic. They love the United States of America, the Constitution, an believe the government has been hijacked by socialists but is still legitimate. What most Tea Party members seem to want want to kick the socialists out of the government and replacement with good all-American conservatives. Tea Party members generally seem to be OK with the concept of taxation and believe we’re simply being taxed “too much.” The neoconservatives in the Tea Party movement (of which there are many) support having a large standing army and even believe that defense is one of the few rightful duties of the federal government. To understand the Tea Party one need only use a layman’s interpretation of the Constitution (as opposed to the convoluted lawyerly interpretation used by the state).
Us anarchists differ by opposing the state in its entirety. We don’t believe in any taxation, oppose standing armies, and don’t believe there are any rightful duties of a state. Those of us who identify ourselves as anarchist don’t believe that the government has been hijacked, we believe the government is running as intended. Whether socialists or conservatives are in charge is of no consequence to us because politicians on both sides of the political spectrum want to expropriate from the general population.
It’s true that many members of the Tea Party may eventually give up their small government desires and transition to no government desires. Tea Party members who transition in such a way will likely become anarcho-capitalists. This isn’t unique to members of the Tea Party though, many socialists and communists may eventually transition to anarchism, specifically anarcho-communism. With that said members of the Tea Party, socialists, and communists haven’t made that transition and many never make that transition. They’re toes may be in the water but they haven’t decided if it’s too cold to jump in yet. To say any of them are equivalent to anarchists are is completely wrong.
People in this country often assume that the people labeled terrorists hate us because of our freedom. It’s an absurd concept on the surface. Why would people in a foreign country give a damn about the freedoms a person living in a foreign country enjoys? Unless they have nothing else to worry about they most likely are going to invest their time, money, and lives on such matters. If the terrorists don’t hate us because of our freedoms then why do they hate us? It’s simple, our government is bombing them:
For the first time, a civilian affected by a US drone strike in Yemen has testified before members of Congress. Farea al-Muslimi, an American-educated Yemeni journalist whose home village of Wessab had been attacked by a US drone just six days prior, went before the Senate’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights yesterday, during a special hearing on the effects of America’s secret drone wars on civilian populations and the US rule of law. But despite previous commitments, representatives of the Obama administration were notably absent.
“The drone strike and its impact tore my heart, much as the tragic bombings in Boston last week tore your hearts and also mine,” said Muslimi to the bipartisan panel of US Senators, which included committee chair Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Al Franken (D-MN). The strike killed six people including its intended target, Hamid Radman al Manea, a local man suspected to have ties with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula (AQAP). Muslimi was not an eyewitness to the strike, but he claims that the man was well-known around his home town and could have easily been arrested by local authorities — seemingly at odds with the US government’s legal position that drone strikes are only justified when capture is “unfeasible.”
Muslimi described his experience living in America as having changed his life, and has spoke highly of the US to his fellow Yemenis ever since his return. “Now, however, when they think of America, they think of the terror they feel from the drones that hover over their heads, ready to fire missiles at any time,” he said, describing the anger he has seen play into the hands of terrorist recruiters. “What the violent militants previously failed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant… This is not an isolated instance. Drone strikes are the face of America to many Yemenis.”
Most people remember how they felt during 9/11. First they were shocked then, after the shock wore off, they became angry. The same thing happened after the bombing in Boston, people were first in a state of shock and became angry afterward. It’s no different for people living in other parts of the world. When an American drone bombs a village and takes out several children along with the target the people of that community, especially the people who knew the victims, become furious. They want justice, they want to strike back at the monster that struck their community.
War is a self-feeding cycle. One group bombs another group, the other group bombs the first group back, the first group retaliates for the other group’s bombing by bombing them back, the other group retaliates for the first group’s retaliation, and so on. Eventually everybody is either dead or one side is out of soldiers, ordinance, or willpower to continue the fight. Nobody really wins. Sure, one group gets to declare victory but their victory only came at a tremendous cost.
Considering the fact that the United States is bombing people in the Middle East is it any surprise that the bombing in Boston was likely a retalitatory strike:
The two suspects in the Boston bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 were motivated by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials told the Washington Post.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, “the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack,” the Post writes, citing “U.S. officials familiar with the interviews.”
Patriotic folk are usually quick to say “We’re bombing military targets, they’re bombing civilian targets. It’s completely different!” That sentiment is bullshit. The United States has been targeting specific individuals and hasn’t made a notable attempt to avoid taking out innocent bystanders in its quest. Instead of using snipers or other assassins to take out targets in a manner that carriers minimal risk to bystanders the United States has taken the lazy route of dropping Hellfire missiles on suspects (since there is no trial to affirm guilt the people being bombed are merely suspects). Then, to compound its stupidity, it drops another bomb to ensure the target’s death and often kills emergency responders who arrive to care for the victims of the initial blast. There is no notable difference between bombing suspects with drones and the tactics of the people labeled by the state as terrorists.
Another thing often said by patriotic folk is “They’re targeting civilians, we’re not!” Ironically these are the same people who blame all Muslims and Middle Easterners for the actions of a handful of individuals. These bombers were likely patriotic folk themselves and, like patriotic folk here, lay the blame for the actions of a handful of American individuals on all Americans. In other words they don’t see their actions as targeting civilians just as many patriotic folk here don’t see dropping bombs from drones on civilian populations as targeting civilians. When you assign blame collectively don’t be surprised when your enemy does the same.
So here we sit. The government which claims to represent us has declared war on the people of the Middle East. Knowing they cannot win a conventional war they have opted to use the only tactic that has been effective at fighting the United States, fourth generation warfare. Many people here claim that the Muslims, Middle Easterners, or Muslim Middle Easterners are attacking us and we need to attack them back. When the people of the Middle East are attacked they claim that the Americans are attack them and see the need to return the favor. This cycle will continue until one side either wises the hell up or runs the other out of resources. Unless the United States does the former the people we call terrorists will do the latter. Until one of those two conditions are met the cycle will continue, bombs will be dropped, people will die, and demands for revenge will continue.
Although the term anarchy is often incorrectly used as a synonym for chaos the true definition of the world means “without rulers.” While various branches of anarchism disagree about what is meant by “without rulers” most branches agree that it means an absence of coercive rule (the reason for the disagreement is the varying criteria regarding what is coercive). Within the realm of politics many people often refer to rights. Like the various branches of anarchism, the various political philosophies disagree about what constitutes a right but most of them share the definition of a right, which is the absence of coercive rule used to prohibit actions. The right to free speech really means an absence of coercive control over what somebody expresses. The right to keep and bear arms really means an absence of coercive control over possessing and carrying arms. In essence rights are anarchy. The debate between gun rights and gun control activists can therefore be boiled down to whether or not coercive force should be used to prevent somebody from possessing or carrying firearms and to what extent that force should be employed.
JayG over at MArooned made an excellent statement regarding rights:
Look, freedom is messy. It’s scary, and dangerous, and unpredictable. Living in a free society means, yes, it is possible that the wrong people might do something that winds up in innocent people getting hurt.
Rights are frightening to many people because the absence of control also means an inability to predict outcomes. Will an absence of control over firearm ownership lead to a more peaceful society or a more violent society? Although deductive logic and available research indicate the latter, there is no way to know what the future will bring. However we do know what the presence of control will bring, the status quo. To quote Jeffrey Tucker:
Anarchy is all around us. Without it, our world would fall apart. All progress is due to it. All order extends from it. All blessed things that rise above the state of nature are owned to it. The human race thrives only because of the lack of control, not because of it. I’m saying that we need ever more absence of control to make the world a more beautiful place. It is a paradox that we must forever explain.
Progress is only possible when there is an absence of coercive rule. Henry Ford didn’t streamline automobile production because a state goon put a gun to his head and said, “Make building cars more efficient.” Mr. Ford’s advancement of automobile production only came about because he was free to act on his idea. Steve Wozniak didn’t create the first affordable mass-produced personal computer because some thug told him to. The Apple I came about because Mr. Wozniak was a brilliant inventor who wanted to bring the power of computing to the average person. This wonderful communication system we call the Internet is another demonstration of the power of anarchy. While the infrastructure remained under the control of the state little happened. Once people were given unfettered access to the Internet is began to change society and we not sit here and enjoy the ability to watch movies and television shows on demand, listen to music on demand, and do our shopping from the comfort of our living rooms.
While freedom, that is to say the recognition of rights, may seem scary in the long run it usually turns out for the better. Coercive rule, on the other hand, tends to turn out far worse. Most of the scary things we learn about in history stem from extremely coercive regimes and individuals. It’s not surprising when you consider that those in power have an interest in maintaining the status quo. Politicians who expropriate wealth from the general population have a good reason to advocate for the disarmament of the general populace. Without doing so the general populace may decide to rise up when the politicians begin taking too much.
Gun control advocates believe they can make society better by inflicting more control on it. Their theory may sound good on paper but historically it’s unprecedented. More control generally means less progress. In fact enough control seems to return humanity to more barbaric times. As regimes or individuals gain more control over a population violence is often the result. This may be because people have an innate desire to be free, having control over a populace reduces the cost of inflicting violence upon them, more violence must be continuously implemented in order to gain more control, or some other reason(s). But history tends towards freedom being far less messy than the lack thereof. While bumps may occur in a free society those bumps tend to be relatively mild to the genocides and death camps that are so common with the most tyrannical regimes. In the end less control tends to be better for everybody and because of that more actions should be recognized as rights everyday.
HR3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which passed the House today, has been making news as of late. If passed into law, the bill would allow government agencies to share data with one another and allow private corporations to share data with the state without concerning themselves with any contractual obligations:
At that Committee meeting (1:01:45), the bill’s chief sponsor Chairman Rogers emphatically repeated his earlier assertions that CISPA wouldn’t breach private contracts in response to questions from Jared Polis:
Polis: Why wouldn’t it work to leave it up, getting back to the contract part, and I think again there may be a series of amendments to do this, if a company feels, if it’s voluntary for companies, why not allow them the discretion to enter into agreements with their customers that would allow them to share the information? …
Rogers: I think those companies should make those choices on their own. They develop their own contracts. I think they should develop their own contracts. They should enforce their own contracts in the way they do now in civil law. I don’t know why we want to get in that business.
And yet… for all Rogers’ bluster, CISPA moots private contracts—and House Republican leadership won’t fix the problem, even when five of their GOP colleagues offer a simple, elegant fix.
This is the same stubborn refusal to accept criticism and absorb new information that brought us SOPA, PIPA and a host of other ill-conceived attempts to regulate the Internet. It’s the very opposite of what should be the cardinal virtue of Internet policy: humility. Tinkering with the always-changing Internet is hard work. But it’s even harder when you stuff your fingers in your ears and chant “Lalalala, I can’t hear you.”
I think this brings up an important point that is often lost on people. As it currently stands most people rely on the service provider to protect their privacy. People who use services such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. assume that those companies will prevent prying eyes from viewing unauthorized third-parties. This is a poor assumption for multiple reasons. First, most service providers make their money off of selling their customers’ information. There is an assumption that such information is anonymized to a point but there is no guarantee. I believe the conflict of interest is obvious. Reason number two is that even if a service provider does protect your privacy there is no guarantee that unauthorized third-parties won’t gain access by bypassing implemented security measures. The third reason is that customer information is often an asset that is sold off when a company becomes insolvent. If your e-mail provider were to enter bankruptcy they may be required to sell you information as part of their asset sale. Fourth, the state reserves the right to render contractual agreements irrelevant with the mere issuance of a subpoena. CISPA, ultimately, isn’t granting private entities the ability to violate their contractual agreements without legal consequences, it merely removes the requirement that a subpoena be issued before the contract can be violated.
The reason I advocate crypto-anarchy is because it’s a solution to all of the above mentioned problems. Imagine a world where everybody encrypted their e-mails. While the e-mails may be stored on an e-mail provider’s server the data would be unusable to them or unauthorized third-parties. The same applies to encrypted instant messages, web page requests, etc. Anonymizing tools can prevent service providers and anybody with access to their data from identifying your person or your location. Having encrypted data from an unknown person makes decryption difficult since you don’t know who to coerce the required keys out of.
Even if CISPA is passed there are many ways for your information to fall into unauthorized hands. Crypto-anarchy renders all of these threats irrelevant while begging politicians to not pass CISPA doesn’t. Solve all of the problems instead of a single minor one, use cryptographic tools today.
It appears that Bitcoin hasn’t hit the floor yet. This news has left many members of the Bitcoin community scrounging for a scapegoat. Reading various Bitcoin communities (although the /r/bitcoin subreddit has provided me with the most entertainment) it seems the recent devaluation of Bitcoin was caused by automated trades performed by bots, fake libertarians (I guess you can only be a libertarian if you invest heavily in Bitcoin), and a secret cabal of central banks. While the last scapegoat sounds the most plausible of the three (those central banks are ruthless bastards) I think the community is ignoring the most likely cause: Bitcoin is a new technology.
Bitcoin really is the first notable crypto-currency. Although previous crypto-currenciies have existed none of them enjoyed the prominence that Bitcoin enjoys today. Most people alive today have lived their entire lives using state controlled fiat currencies. Bitcoin is the opposite of what we call money today. It’s a decentralized currency that cannot be inflated past a certain point (only 21 million Bitcoin will ever exist). The decentralized nature of the currency means no single entity can wield monopoly control over it. It is also the first free-market monetary system that most of us have experienced. In other words, Bitcoin is a revolutionary idea and, like all revolutionary ideas, nobody can predict how it will, or won’t, change things.
Speaking in software terms the concept of Bitcoin (not to be mistaken for the network, clients, or services) is in the alpha stage of development. People participating in the Bitcoin community should understand that they are testers and should expect to find copious amounts of bugs that need to be worked out. Is Bitcoin vulnerable to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks? If so, that must be corrected. Is Bitcoin too reliant on single points of failure? If so, that must be corrected. Is it too hard for the average person to acquire Bitcoin or use it in everyday transactions? If so, that must be correct. Growing pains are unavoidable when working with a technology that few, if any, understand the ramifications of.
Instead of playing the blame game I believe the Bitcoin community would be better served by noting the failure and thinking of methods to utilized the currency’s main features to overcome that failure. For instance, I’ve seen a lot of blamed aimed at Mt.Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange. Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, why was one exchange allowed to gain so much influence over the exchange rate of the currency? Having a single point of failure is always a bad idea. Trusted members of the Bitcoin community should start developing more exchanges. More Bitcoin exchanges would mean more resiliency as it would be difficult for attackers to bring down or manipulate all of them simultaneously. Members of the Bitcoin network should put more work into developing easy methods for the average person to buy Bitcoin. In today’s world people like the convenience of credit cards. Credit cards, due to the ability of a purchaser to perform a charge back and the inability to recover sold Bitcoin, don’t work well for purchasing Bitcoin so some other convenient method must be created. The idea of Bitcoin Automated Teller Machines (ATM) is a good start, but they need to be located in high traffic areas such as grocery stores and gas stations. Until people can acquire Bitcoin as easily as they can buy things with their credit cards they won’t adopt the currency.
Another feature that should be leveraged more is the mostly anonymous nature of the currency. I’ve seen a lot of comments from Bitcoin advocates trying to refute the claim that Bitcoin is most heavily used in the drug trade. Stop that. Embrace it! Expound the fact that Bitcoin is used by drug dealers and purchasers because transactions cannot easily be tied to physical individuals. As the world governments continue to wring more and more money out of their people those people are going to look for a place to hide their wealth. A currency that is outside of the state’s control, can be used to store wealth in a mostly anonymous fashion, and allows individuals to perform transactions in a manner that that state can’t record for taxing or prosecution purposes should be huge and will be necessary as the state’s rate of expropriation increases. By denying that Bitcoin is used for “black” market purchases members of the Bitcoin community are downplaying its most valuable feature. Don’t try to control its image, let its image develop freely.
As an agorist and a crypto-anarchist I want to see Bitcoin succeed. In order to succeed I believe the Bitcoin community needs to understand that Bitcoin is a revolutionary idea, will have growing pains, and must be rid of state dogmas against the “black” market. Trying to shoehorn it into mainstream monetary and political principles will relegate it to always being an interesting idea that never gets widely adopted.
Those of you who are new to libertarianism or unfamiliar with the history of the libertarian movement may not be familiar with the name Samuel Edward Konkin III (SEK3). Although not the originator of counter-economics he was the first libertarian to express in detail how counter-economics, which he called agorism, could be used to topple the state. His strategy conflicted with that of another famous libertarian, Murray Rothbard. Instead of advocating counter-economics, Rothbard attempted to change the United States government by working within the political system through the Libertarian Party. Rothbard was a brilliant man when it came to economics and put forth a convincing ethics system built upon Austrian economics. With that said, I find it unfortunate that he was the one of the two to rise to prominence within libertarian circles. Konkin and Rothbard enjoyed, what I would call, a friendly rivalry. Rothbard would criticize Konkin and agorism and Konkin to rebut Rothbard and the political means.
I think history has demonstrated that Rothbard’s chosen tactic, the political means, failed miserably to establish a libertarian society. That being the fact most people new to the libertarian movement will be exposed to the political means and will only come across agorism if they’re fortunate enough to meet an anarchist in libertarian political circles or venture off of the beaten path to research the more radical side of libertarianism.
The two factions within the libertarian movement don’t always seen eye to eye. Libertarian working within the political system, who often refer to themselves as pragmatists, often vehemently oppose libertarians who use counter-economics as their means of fighting for liberty. During a debate Konkin explained the danger of libertarians who attempt to work their way through the system (the explanation starts at about the 11:50 mark):
And of course, the ultimate nightmare, which I’ve described in a few pamphlets for those of you who don’t remember it, the idea of a libertarian working his way through the system. Who arrests one of us counter economists, one of us people who go and break laws and things because we don’t believe in the government. And he takes us in front of a libertarian who works his way through the system as a judge and he takes us in front of a libertarian, you know he sentences us, and a libertarian working his way through the system as a bailiff, takes us to the jail where a libertarian working his way through the system as a turnkey. Holds us prisoner until eventually a libertarian working his way through the system as a court, or the prison priest, brings us up to the electric chair where a libertarian working his way through the system as a state technician is making sure it’s in good working order and a libertarian working his way through the system as a burly guard slaps us down on the chair and another libertarian working his way through the system as an executioner throws a switch and wipes out the one person who was, in fact, a libertarian not working his way through the system.
The danger of pragmatism rears its ugly head. A libertarian working through the system can be a frightening prospect because, as I explained in my post about the dangers of pragmatism, they often become willing to sacrifice their principles for political gain. This willingness to sacrifice principle can have a devastating effect on libertarians who choose to use counter-economics. By turning in agorists libertarians working through the system can gain favor from other statists, which they often believe will allow them to further their goal of advancing liberty.
My reason for poking fun at libertarians who work within the political system is because they can actually be a danger to us libertarians who work outside of the system (whereas us libertarians who work outside of the system are no danger to those working within the system). I wish Konkin was more popular than Rothbard because then, perhaps, a majority of new libertarians would participate in counter-economics instead of being sucked into the political machinery that has a habit of turning would-be libertarians into slightly less fascist statists.
One of the common myths surround slavery is that the institution, historically, was well received. With the exception of a few people slavery is reviled today (unless it’s state slavery, of course). What’s interesting is that many people that revile slavery believe that the institution was almost unanimously supported until the 1800′s rolled around.
This belief often manifests itself when one criticizes the Founding Fathers of the United States for owning slaves. Oftentimes that criticism is swept under the table by those who revere the Founders as demigods of freedom and liberty. They claim that it’s not fair to raise such criticisms because, even though slavery isn’t popularly supported today, it was during their time and we must look at their actions through the lens of that time. That claim is crap.
Slavery has always been fiercely opposed by great swaths of people. Even one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, tried to include strong anti-slavery language in the Declaration of Independence. But, more to the point, the opposition to slavery primarily came from, as you can guess, the slaves.
How many people would support a system that forces them to perform hard labor for no pay? How many people would support a system where armed thugs would collect them if they left a specific plot of land? How many people would support having their children taken to be auctioned off to another slave owner? I can’t think of a single person who would support such a system and I’m guessing you can’t either.
The only people who supported slavery were those who directly profited from the institution. Slave owners, slave hunters, and politicians whose pockets were lined by pro-slavery lobbyists were the primary supporters of slavery. Slaves and the abolitionist movement strongly opposed slavery and remainder of the population likely didn’t give two shits either way.
Whenever somebody claims that the institution of slavery received popular support historically you need to realize that they’re, in all likelihood unknowingly, omitting the opinion of the slaves.