Archive for August, 2012
The political means of achieving liberty cannot succeed because the deck is stacked too thoroughly in the state’s favor. This isn’t surprising since the political means is the state’s tool and the house always has the advantage.
Many cards are in the state’s decks from election regulations to controlling who can and can’t run for office. One of the cards seldom discussed is the dependency card. Possibly the most powerful cards in the state’s desk, the dependency card allows the state to get popular support by making people dependent on it. Dependency comes in many forms including welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and state-enabled monetary gains. Ron Paul’s campaign wasn’t just a victim of Republican Party shenanigans, it was also a victim of state-enabled dependency on behalf of those working in the campaign:
Jesse Benton, married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter, ran the Paul campaign and ran it badly, failing to take advantage of opportunities in states like Virginia where Ron might have actually defeated Romney head-to-head if a minimum of support had been forthcoming from the national campaign. Benton explains to The Times how he has had to reject those who “dress in black, stand on a hill and say, ‘Smash the state.’” Benton, who reportedly has morphed into a multitasking paid political consultant and deal-maker with several businesses registered in his name including offices in Washington, D.C., generously paid himself $586,616 along the way while keeping the revolutionaries in check. He also confuses passion with craziness, possibly because he lacks the former. Most Paul supporters that I have encountered are completely rational and dedicated to turning our country around. They support the message of small government, non-interventionism overseas, constitutionalism, and sound money policies all because they make good sense. But I suppose Benton would argue that he is, as The Times adroitly puts it, “balancing pragmatism and principle.” Too bad pragmatism wins out every time for those who are ambitious.
Benton is a skilled operator when it comes to lining his own pockets. He understands that his salary, $586,616 in the case of this election, is dependent on the political process. Rational self-interest will lead him towards supporting the current state as it is allowing him to collect a six figure salary. Furthermore, he also has a reason to make other politicians, such as Mitt Romney, happy since Benton may find himself in the future employ of another politicians who he made nice with.
Ron Paul’s message, reducing the size and power of the state, directly threatens the income of people like Benton. Notice how Benton said he had to keep out those “dress in black, stand on a hill and say, ‘Smash the state.'” Obviously he was referring to anarchists such as myself. What’s a bigger threat to his salary than those of us who want to eliminate the creature that enables him to collect a six figure salary? Ron Paul, anarchists, and everybody else attempting to take power from the state are a direct threat to those who are dependent on the state.
How can anti-statists run a political campaign without worry about creating state dependents? They can’t. Once people begin deriving their income from the state or from activities that result from the existence of the state there’s little hope of stopping them from sabotaging an anti-statist campaign. Benton did an excellent job of stifling Paul’s campaign, probably because he was more concerned with setting himself up to enter the employ of other politicians than liberty.
Ending or just weakening the state is an extremely difficult task. The political means can’t accomplish either goal because the political means enriches people involved in the political process. It’s a tactic that is doomed from the beginning because it requires overcoming individuals’ self-interest. Since all human action is a result of self-interest you can see the problem.
Try to at least pretend to be shocked by this evidence that demonstrates collusion between the New York Times and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):
But what is news in this disclosure are the newly released emails between Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times’s national security and intelligence reporter, and CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf. The CIA had evidently heard that Maureen Dowd was planning to write a column on the CIA’s role in pumping the film-makers with information about the Bin Laden raid in order to boost Obama’s re-election chances, and was apparently worried about how Dowd’s column would reflect on them. On 5 August 2011 (a Friday night), Harf wrote an email to Mazzetti with the subject line: “Any word??”, suggesting, obviously, that she and Mazzetti had already discussed Dowd’s impending column and she was expecting an update from the NYT reporter.
Here we have a New York Times reporter who covers the CIA colluding with its spokesperson to plan for the fallout from the reporting by his own newspaper (“nothing to worry about”). Beyond this, that a New York Times journalist – ostensibly devoted to bringing transparency to government institutions – is pleading with the CIA spokesperson, of all people, to conceal his actions and to delete the evidence of collusion is so richly symbolic.
The relationship between the New York Times and the US government is, as usual, anything but adversarial. Indeed, these emails read like the interactions between a PR representative and his client as they plan in anticipation of a possible crisis.
None of this surprises me as I’ve read Legacy of Ashes and therefore am well aware of the marriage between the CIA and popular news sources. It’s not unusual for the CIA to recruit individuals working at news organizations. Once recruited the CIA will sometimes feed these employees false stories, controlled stories, or other information they want made public (usually as a means of supplying other countries with false information). To find evidence of a New York Times employee collaborating with the CIA is entirely unsurprising.
It’s always nice to see more people come to the understanding that the political means will never win us freedom. Instead we must reclaim our freedom by making the state irrelevant:
The only perceivable way I see to live free in an unfree world is to opt out. Civil disobedience and counter-economics not only are ways to make the world freer, but also allow one to be free in a world that otherwise isn’t. This strategy is known as Agorism.
Agorism is basically the idea of reducing your government footprint – to engage in trade that isn’t regulated or monitored by the government, to avoid funding the government as much as possible, etc. There’s a saying that goes “good people disobey bad laws”.
Agorism is fundamentally based on the premise that there is no legitimacy whatsoever to bad laws – laws that violate natural rights. A government’s unjust power lies solely in the acknowledging of it. By ignoring an illegitimate authority, you do not empower it. If enough people chose not to see authority from it, it becomes nothing more than a gang or mafia. And if enough people resist the thuggery perpetrated by this gang of thieves writ large? It will exist no more.
When you use the political means to advance liberty you are really asking the state to exploit you less. Everything the state has was obtained through exploitation and it is therefore against the state’s interest to exploit you less. It’s hard to imagine just how vast the state is. Every congressman’s, state inspector’s, state regulator’s, law enforcement officer’s, judge’s, attorney general’s, public prosecutor’s, capitol security guard’s, capitol janitor’s, state intern’s, etc. are paid with the money taken from you. Considering this do you honestly think the state is going to exploit you less? Do you think politicians are going to forsake their salary so you can live freer?
The only option available to us is to remove ourselves from the state as much as possible. Every dime we keep from the state is ten cents less available to pay state employees. Every transaction we make without involving the state is an entirely voluntary interaction between individuals. The more voluntary society becomes the more people will realize how unnecessary the state is. We must demonstrate how unnecessary the state is before public opinion will swing away from a positive view of the state. Doing that cannot be done using the political means since the political means validates the state in the eyes of the people.
Advocates of gun control always want to take away guns from private individuals but have no problem with the state keeping its guns. While they claim to support gun control because they oppose violence the exact opposite is true since the state is the most violent user of weaponry:
Let me say immediately that I too believe in gun control. However, I do so in the light of the knowledge that by far the largest number and the most powerful guns and other weapons are in the possession of the government. First and foremost, of course, the federal government, which has atomic and hydrogen bombs, as well as ballistic missiles with which to deliver them, fleets of warships, and thousands upon thousands of tanks, planes, artillery pieces, machine guns, and lesser weapons. State and local governments also possess considerable weaponry, though less than the federal government. But just the revolvers, rifles, shot guns, clubs, tear gas, and tasers in their possession are capable of causing serious injury and death, and frequently do so.
Moreover, the threat of deadly force is implicitly present in every law, regulation, ruling, or decree that emanates from any government office, at any level. The threat of such force is what compels obedience on the part of the citizens. Even such an innocuous offense as a parking violation is capable of resulting in death if a person persists in not paying the fine imposed and, when ultimately confronted with arrest, resists by physically defending himself.
It simply doesn’t occur to many people nowadays that government could be the source not only of massive economic ills but of human deaths on a scale dwarfing the deaths caused by the worst individual psychopaths. The number of murders attributable to governments around the world in the 20th century, including those resulting from government-caused famines in places such as the Ukraine and Communist China, is estimated to exceed 260 million. Of this total, Communist China is responsible for more than 76 million, the Soviet Union for almost 62 million, and Nazi Germany for almost 21 million (R.J. Rummel, Death By Government [New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Publishers, 1994], note 1). Of particular note, approximately 2 million of the murders committed by Nazi Germany were in the form of mass shootings, similar in nature to those in Aurora and Oak Creek, but performed on a scale commensurate with the size of military units.
Even the most violent of gangs fail to hold a candle to the state when it comes to murder. If advocates of gun control really opposed violence they would be demanding the state surrender its arms before even looking at guns owned by private individuals. Needless to say, while the state maintains possession of its weapons private individuals must do the same. Without weapons we are at the mercy of the state and history has demonstrated that being at the mercy of the state is not good for one’s health.
How does the St. Paul Police Department handle a man lying on the ground? By kicking him in the face:
If anybody has any information pertaining to the arrest of the suspect (his badge number, car number, name, etc.) please report it immediately to any and all press outlets.
A common claim among collectivists is that we owe society. The absurdity of this claim can be shown by simply asking one question: what is society? In specific terms society is a collection of individuals, but the collectivists like to anthropomorphize society. Instead of seeing society as merely a collection of individuals they see society as a separate life. When they say you owe society they imply that society is a single thing that is so obvious that it needn’t be defined. Unfortunately their claim falls apart as soon as you attempt to define it.
Let’s consider what society is. According to collectivists you derive value from everybody else in society, so we know that societies include more than one individual. This is where things get iffy. I derive value from a great many people. My computer was build by other people, my truck was built by other people, my bicycle was built by other people, etc. If I extrapolate further I have to acknowledge that my computer is the result of thousands of years of human innovation. It’s a machine that does calculations and math was heavily influenced by the Middle East (in fact we still use Arabic numerals today), it is built using electronic technologies that was greatly improved by the Japanese, it is built using rare-earth elements that come from China, and it uses an Intel process that could have been made in one of several fabrication plants (we’ll assume the United States facility for this example). If society is defined by the value I’ve received from other individuals then I must include the United States, the Middle East, China, and Japan in my society.
What we owe society depends on who you talk to. Some will claim we owe society schools, others will claim we owe roads, others will claim we owe healthcare, and some will claim we owe all of the above. Their mechanism for providing these things to society is taxation. A portion of my wealth is effectively taken to provide society with what I owe. If this is the case my payment to society is rather disturbing.
My tax dollars are used to bomb people in the Middle East, imprison people in the United States, and antagonize China. Money owed by previous generations was used to drop atomic weaponry on Japan. None of my tax money goes to build hospitals in the Middle Easy, roads in China, or schools in Japan. Effectively my tax dollars are primarily used to reign destruction down upon those who have provided value me. The only people I’ve benefitted from that gain any positive benefit from what I owe society are those residing in the United States and to countries that receive foreign aid from the United States.
I’m left having to ask many questions. Is society not composed of all the individuals I derive value from? Is the Middle East not part of my society? If it is why am I paying to bomb them? Do I owe them death? Is society defined by lines on a map? Perhaps my society is only the United States, perhaps it is only Minnesota, perhaps it is only Minneapolis. This is why the idea of us owing society is absurd, society is an undefined factor. We derive benefit from people all over the globe so society can’t be considered anything less than the entire world. If society is the entire world and I owe them anything positive then I should not pay taxes because much of that tax money goes to killing other people. If society is defined as only the United States then we it can’t be claimed that I owe society because I derive benefit from it as I derive benefit from people outside the United States as well. Basically, society is such a nebulous term that to claim I owe it anything is entirely meaningless.
Reddit was abuzz yesterday because Obama decided to do an Ask Me Anything (AMA). For those who are unfamiliar with Reddit an AMA is where Reddit users can post questions for the person doing the AMA to answer. They can lead to interesting information being volunteered by popular individuals or they can be a total bust when political figures do them. Obama’s was a total bust and you can read the pointless endeavor here but Slate summed it up pretty succinctly:
Obama Joins Reddit, Invites Tough Questions, Leaves Without Answering Them
Obama did what Obama does; He pretended he was going to take questions and then ignore any questions that could have made him look bad:
Popular questions about medical marijuana, soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorder, and the president’s failure to close Guantanamo, meanwhile, went unanswered. “20 bucks says he doesn’t address this,” one Redditor predicted, correctly, about the marijuana question. “Should have been titled, Ask Me Almost Anything,” another grumbled.
I don’t think anybody is surprised, Obama is great at dodging questions. He’s also effective at answering entirely different questions than ones addressed to him.
The police are poor providers of defense and that leaves us having to provide for our own defense (yet continue to pay for the police “defense”). Many of us provide for our defense by carrying firearms but that only allows you to defend your person; when you leave your home it remains undefended. A solution for the problem of an undefended home is to work with your neighbors in mutual neighborhood defense, which is what happened here:
Police said a neighbor who has a gun carry permit spotted a burglar next door and put the man on the ground.
Officers said James Kelly Glover, 37, of 1421 Wright St., was still lying down with a handgun trained on him when they arrived at the address on Jenkins Road.
It’s unfortunate that many people in the United States don’t know their neighbors. Your neighbors can be one of the most reliable groups to rely on because of their close proximity. When you leave for vacation your neighbors can pickup your mail and keep an eye on your house. If your neighbor sees something suspicious in the neighborhood they can inform you so you can keep an eye out yourself. You can even borrow a cup of sugar from them if the need arises.
Neighbors are good to have an if you’re on good terms with them they may even stop a burglar from taking your stuff.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) were just granted the power to confiscate cash by Attorney General Eric Holder:
Attorney General Eric Holder has granted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) authority, for a one-year trial period, to seize and administratively forfeit property allegedly involved in controlled substance offenses pursuant to United States Code Title 21 › Chapter 13 › Subchapter I › Part E › § 881.
Yes, the same agency that has been smuggling guns to Mexican drug cartels to both advance gun control and arm cartels that are favored by the United States will now have the power to seize property allegedly involved in drug crimes. How does it make sense to reward a government agency that has been caught performing operations that have gotten people killed? It doesn’t, which is why I’m not surprised the state is doing it.
Election season is fast approaching. As I type this people are currently gathered in Tampa, Florida to witness the crowning of the next Republican Party presidential candidate. Next week people will gather in Charlotte, North Carolina to witness the reaffirmation of Obama’s crowning at the Democratic Party presidential candidate. Americans all across the country will be demanding everybody vote for whichever presidential candidate they believe is the Chosen One.
If you listen to the political pundits and those involved in the political process this election will be the most important election of our lifetimes (even though it won’t be). Those backing the Republican Party will tell you about all the freedoms that will be taken from you if Obama wins the election. They will tell you that Obama, free of worry for another election (although during the next election they’ll tell you Obama plans to declare martial law an suspend elections), will now move forward with taking your guns and his socialist agenda. Meanwhile those backing the Democratic Party will tell you about all the freedoms that will be taken from you if Romney wins the election. They will warn you about the Republican Party’s war on women and how rights will be stripped form the American people in the name of God. People refusing to align with either major political party but still wanting to be involved in the political process will tell you to support whatever third-party they back because the two major parties are shit (which is true).
Here’s my question, why are you begging the state for your rights? You are born free, you don’t need permission to be free.
Some people reading this post may be confused about what I’m saying. They may be wondering why I’m saying those involved in the political process are begging for rights. My statement does a question: is the political process a form of begging? I’m here to tell you it is.
Let us first consider what the political process entails. In the United States we elect individuals to represent us at our local, state, and federal governments. The idea is that you send the people who best represent your values to fight for your political agenda. If you want to end the wars you try to elect a representative that is anti-war. If you want less gun control you try to elect a representative that is an advocate of gun rights. If you want to legalize abortions you try to elect a representative that is an advocate of women’s right to choose. What do all of these political issues have in common? If you accept decisions made through the political process all of the mentioned issues are areas where you believe the state has authority.
Let’s consider the topic of abortion for a moment. Proponents of legalizing abortion will generally gravitate to the Democratic Party while opponents of legalizing abortion will generally gravitate towards the Republican Party. Proponents will claim that having the option of legal abortions is a right whereas opponents will claim that abortions are an initiation of force against a fetus. Both sides are begging the state to make a decision regarding abortion. Does the state have a right to make a decision regarding abortion? If you accept the state’s decision, no matter what that decision is, you are answering in the affirmative. Proponents that get enraged when the state decides to prohibit abortions and react by campaigning for different representatives are saying they accept the fact that the state has authority over abortion, they disagree with the state’s decision, and they beg the state to change its mind. Why beg? Why not ignore the state? If the state rules abortions to be illegal and you believe they should be legal why not help those wanting abortions to get abortions? Why not get doctors on board who will perform abortions in secret? Why not help those wanting abortions to fly to a country where abortions are legal? Why accept the state’s decision when you can spit in its face and tell it to sod off?
Agorism is a fancy term for living free. I’m an agorist because I don’t recognize the state’s authority over my life. Begging for permission to live free is no longer in my deck the cards. Are you involved in the political process? If so, why? Do you accept the state’s decisions? If not, why give your time and money to the state through the political process? Why not put all that time and money into things you enjoy? Why not live free?