A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Not So Crazy Libertarian Ideals’ tag

It’s the End of the Internet, or Something

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The Federal Communications Commission Fascist Communications Club (FCC) announced its plan to revoke Title II status from Internet Service Providers (ISP) and to preempt state laws that would enforce net neutrality:

In addition to ditching its own net neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission also plans to tell state and local governments that they cannot impose local laws regulating broadband service.

[…]

It isn’t clear yet exactly how extensive the preemption will be. Preemption would clearly prevent states from imposing net neutrality laws similar to the ones being repealed by the FCC, but it could also prevent state laws related to the privacy of Internet users or other consumer protections. Pai’s staff said that states and other localities do not have jurisdiction over broadband because it is an interstate service and that it would subvert federal policy for states and localities to impose their own rules.

Predictably a large percentage of the Internet is in full on panic mode. Supposedly this is the end of the Internet and the only way to stop it is to call the FCC and your congress critters to demand that they, for the first time ever, listen to the will of “the people” (quotations used because “the people” doesn’t exist and therefore cannot be listened to).

Let’s take a step back, calm the fuck down, and actually think about this situation. First and foremost, the Internet was thriving before ISPs were granted Title II status. There’s no reason to think that everything is going to turn to shit if that status is revoked. So take a deep breath and relax.

Now let’s consider the situation as a whole. Everybody panicking about this seems to be recommending the same thing, contact the FCC and your congress critters and demand that they stop this. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Neither the FCC or your congress critters give a shit about what you think. You’re a pleb. You can’t afford to buy these people. “Oh,” I can hear one of you saying, “I’ll threaten to vote them out of office during the next election!” Here’s the thing with threats, they only work if the person your threatening can be convinced that you have the power to follow through. Your vote doesn’t matter and your congress critters know that. Moreover, the head of the FCC is appointed, you don’t get to vote for them. And by the time the next election rolls around the damage will have been done anyways.

The real problem isn’t that the FCC is planning to take away Title II status and preempt state laws enforcing net neutrality, it’s that the FCC has power. Why should a single agency have the power to regulate the entire United States Internet? Why should the word of a single man decide whether net neutrality is mandatory or illegal? Take away the FCC’s power and suddenly it can’t decide what rules the entire damned country has to play by. If you want to do something, work to take away the FCC’s power. Whether you want to waste your time with a political solution or a real solution like replicating the work of the people who built the Guifi.net mesh network in Catalonia is up to you. But nobody has ever won a war by fighting the same battle over and over again. This battle between “the people” and the FCC has already been waged several times and will continue to be waged forever if a change in strategy isn’t made.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 22nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

What I Need Is None of Your Business

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I was involved in yet another debate about gun control that lead to the inevitable question of why I need and AR-15. This has to be one of the most entitle and pointless questions one can ask.

First, where do they get off thinking that they’re in a position where I have to justify anything to them? Nobody has declared them emperor as far as I know.

Second, why does it matter? Humans need food, water, clothing, and shelter to survive. Beyond that everything else is a luxury. You don’t need a television, cell phone, couch, bed, etc. They’re damned nice to have but you won’t die with out them. So asking why somebody else needs something is pointless because need is obviously not a criteria for legality.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 21st, 2017 at 11:00 am

They’re Just Teasing Us

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Nobody likes a tease:

This week, the 78-year-old Koskinen began his third retirement. And he says the IRS is still a distressed organization. “When Eisenhower left office, his message was: Beware the military-industrial complex,” Koskinen said. “My message is: Beware the collapse of the IRS.”

The collapse of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Why is he trying to get our hopes up so high? I think most of us know that there’s no way in hell that the federal government would allow its revenue generating arm to collapse. If anything, the IRS would be the last department that would be allowed to fall.

But can you imagine a world where the federal government didn’t take a huge chunk of our income? Not only would you have more money in you pocket to do with as you please but it would severely hamper the federal government’s law enforcement and military capabilities. Perhaps the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives wouldn’t be able to run guns to Mexican drug cartels; the Federal Bureau of Investigations wouldn’t be able to radicalize random isolated individuals, give them a fake bomb, arrest them, and claim credit for thwarting a terrorist attack; the National Security Agency wouldn’t be able to continue its massive surveillance program against us; and the Drug Enforcement Agency wouldn’t be able to continue waging its lethal war on drugs. A world without the IRS could be a beautiful one indeed. Let’s all hope that Koskinen’s warning has some kernel of truth behind it and that someday the IRS could collapse.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 17th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Using Politics is Akin to Using Astrology to Solve a Physics Problem

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According to gun control advocates we have a gun problem. Gun rights advocates have been rebutting their opponent’s claim by claiming that we have a mental health problem. Who the hell is this “we” they’re both talking about? I have neither a gun nor a mental health problem.

The biggest problem with political debates is that they rely on collectivism. Collectivism is a concept that exists solely in our heads, it doesn’t exist in the real world. Each individual is a unique entity. Just because they share some common traits with other individuals doesn’t mean they are like those individuals. If membership in a group controlled an individual’s actions, we would never have any schisms.

The political means fails to solve problems because it doesn’t operate in the framework of reality. Using politics to solve a problem is no different than using astrology to solve a physics problem. When the very premise of your strategy is make believe, you can’t expect to develop a real solution.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 8th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

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Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes wear business suits and work as accountants and lawyers who specialized in defending their client’s assets from thieving governments:

The world’s most profitable firm has a secretive new structure that would enable it to continue avoiding billions in taxes, the Paradise Papers show.

They reveal how Apple sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax practices by actively shopping around for a tax haven.

It then moved the firm holding most of its untaxed offshore cash, now $252bn, to the Channel Island of Jersey.

Apple said the new structure had not lowered its taxes.

It said it remained the world’s largest taxpayer, paying about $35bn (£26bn) in corporation tax over the past three years, that it had followed the law and its changes “did not reduce our tax payments in any country”.

The article appears to be implying that Apple is lying about its tax payments not changing. However, I’m betting that Apple is being truthful and the move prevented its tax payments from increasing after the crackdown in Ireland (Ireland had a sweet deal until its neighbors, upset that Ireland was getting a lot of business, put pressure on it to bring its corporate tax structure up to their standards).

The accountants and lawyers that Apple hired to pull this off deserve the same applause as anybody else who stops a thief from mugging another person. Unfortunately, the world is populated with statists so those heroes will be treated like villains.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 8th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Increasing the Forced Labor Pool

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The Pentagon has begun pushing for a policy to require women to also register for the draft. Why would the United States even bother with continuing the draft now that it’s using mercenaries for so much of its fighting? Because mercenaries want to get paid and the Pentagon wants to have the option of free labor available to it:

Not surprisingly, the Pentagon, the report reminds us, wants the Service Program to continue indefinitely. No surprise there. But now, the Pentagon wants to expand draft registration so it can include millions of young people who had not previously been eligible.

This proposed change will be couched in a variety of irrelevant issues like “gender equality” and “women in combat.” At the heart of the matter, however, is the fact that the Pentagon wants an even larger list of potential forced laborers who can be paid below-market wages. In other words, draft registration offers — and has always offered — a list of people who can be forced to pay higher taxes in the form of mandatory “service”:

“Conscription is slavery,” Murray Rothbard wrote in 1973, and while temporary conscription is obviously much less bad — assuming one outlives the term of conscription — than many other forms of slavery, conscription is nevertheless a nearly-100-percent tax on the production of one’s mind and body. If one attempts to escape his confinement in his open-air military jail, he faces imprisonment or even execution in many cases.

When you stop paying a mercenary, they go home. When you enslave draft an individual and fail to pay them or pay them below the market rate, they can’t go home because they’ll be arrested for desertion. The other downside with mercenaries is that you can’t force them to do anything. They’re contracted for a specific type of work. Drafted individuals, on the other hand, can be forced to perform any task:

Should the American state decide that it’s necessary to finally make use of the Selective Service lists, the new draftees won’t be people sent to carry rifles on the front lines. The military doesn’t want poorly trained conscripts in combat, anyway. But this fact by no means precludes the potential usefulness of conscription to the federal government.

What the US state does want — especially in case of dropping revenues due to economic crisis — is cheap labor to build military bases, drive trucks, prepare food, load cargo, mop floors, and perform the countless non-combat tasks that are required to further expand military prerogatives both at home and abroad. Yes, the US government can pay people to do all those things now. But conscripts could be much cheaper.

The Pentagon can have its cake and eat it too. By paying mercenaries to fight its wars, the Pentagon can have access to professional soldiers. By drafting people into slavery, the Pentagon can save money by having the infrastructure required to fight the war built for less than the market going rate.

Requiring women to register for the draft would offer the Pentagon an even larger pool of potential slave laborers, which would give it the option to expand itself further than it currently could without having to invest a lot more money.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 31st, 2017 at 10:30 am

When Voting Actually Matters It Becomes Illegal

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My dismal opinion of democracy is no secret. Part of the reason I have such a low opinion of democracy is because voters are handed an artificially restricted list of options and told that that list enables them to voice their opinion. However, if your opinion is that a governmental officer should be disbanded a ballot doesn’t give you the ability to voice your opinion. Moreover, if the people decided to voice an opinion that isn’t on an artificially restricted list of options, their act of voting is declared treason, sedition, or rebellion:

Spain’s chief prosecutor has called for charges including rebellion – which carries a maximum 30 year jail term – to be brought against Catalan leaders.

José Manuel Maza said they should also face sedition charges following the region’s declaration of independence.

When voting actually matters, i.e. when it causes actual radical change, it’s suddenly declared illegal by the government. Catalonia isn’t a unique example in this regard. Almost every attempt by a people to vote themselves out of a governmental body has been declared illegal by said governmental body.

As Max Stirner pointed out, “Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man’s lap.” There is no checkbox on a ballot that will grant you your freedom. If you want to be free, you must overcome any attempt to curtail your freedom.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 31st, 2017 at 10:00 am

Gun Control Fails Once Again

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Proving once again that there is no way to actually control the proliferation of simple mechanical devices, law enforcers in Brazil discovered a factory that was producing illegal submachine guns:

Coincidentally, the day before TFB published Part 1 of a photo report on DIY weapons seized in Brazil (http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2017/10/17/bunch-diy-weapons-seized-brazil-part/), news broke that the São Paulo State Civil Police had just busted a small – but very active – illegal weapons factory in the Ferraz de Vasconcellos suburb of São Paulo, the capital city. Although clandestine firearms manufacture is not something unusual in the country, this particular facility called the attention not only due to the fact that its main product, a 9x19mm stockless submachine gun, shows a somewhat decent general finish and apparent (hand-operated by agents) smooth functioning of components, but also that the type has for long (four years, at least) been found in criminal hands in different parts of Brazil.

Some anti-gunners will probably point out that the discovery and shut down of the factory by law enforcers shows that gun control does work. While they desperately grasp at straws I will point out that this factory has either been running for four years, isn’t the only factory producing illegal submachine guns, or both because the article notes that the type of submachine gun that was being manufactured at the factory has been found in criminal hands for at least that long.

If you follow the link, you’ll find that the submachine guns, although crude, are actually pretty decent looking for a gun that is probably manufactured largely by hand. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. If the model has been manufactured for at least four years, there has been a lot of time to improve and polish the design. More refined versions of these submachine guns are likely to crop up as other illegal factories continue to crank them out in spite of the law.

Trigger Warning

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I make not effort to hide the fact that I believe gun ownership should be expanded to everybody, which is why I was happy to read this article:

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—The former pacifist pumped a shotgun at the firing line.

Lore McSpadden never touched a gun before the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started this past year. Now McSpadden is among the shooters routinely yelling, “Pull!” and blasting at clay pigeons angling over a mowed field near Rochester.

Trigger Warning members are anxious about armed and organized extremists who seem increasingly emboldened. Their response has a touch of symmetry to it: They started a club to teach members how to take up arms.

“It’s a way to assert our strength,” said Jake Allen, 27, who helped form the group. “Often, queer people are thought of as being weak, as being defenceless, and I think in many ways this pushes back against that. And I want white supremacists and neo-Nazis to know that queer people are taking steps necessary to protect themselves.”

Trigger Warning members meet once a month to shoot still targets and saucer-shaped pigeons. The 18 dues-paying members are all LGBTQ, many just learning about guns.

Traditionally individuals who fall under the LGBT banner have been tagged as anti-gun progressives. This has lead quite a few curmudgeons in gun owner circles to see LGBT individuals as opponents, which has established a rather nasty circle where LGBT individuals are put off by gun owners who are put off by LGBT individuals being put off by gun owners and so on. But necessity is the mother of invention. Feeling threatened is usually a good motivator for people to learn how to defend themselves.

Although Trigger Warning is a small group at the moment, which isn’t surprising since it currently exists in a state ruled by a very anti-gun government, I hope its ranks expand quickly and new groups like it spring up all around the country. The stereotype of LGBT individuals being anti-gun has made violent individuals who wish to prey on them see them as easy targets. If more LGBT individuals become open gun owners, that stereotype will hopefully fade with time. If that stereotype fades away, it will likely dissuade a lot of predators who are looking for easy targets.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 25th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Claiming to Support Libertarianism and Closed Borders is Intellectually Inconsistent

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If you spend enough time in libertarian anarchist circles, you’ll come to recognize various factions. Two libertarian anarchist factions that like to fight with each other are the advocates of open borders (more specifically the advocates of abolishing governmental borders) and the intellectually inconsistent advocates of closed borders.

Whereas advocates of open borders recognize the State as wholly illegitimate, advocates of closed borders see the State as semi-legitimate. On the one hand, it steals from them (and everybody else), which makes it a violator of private property rights and therefore illegitimate. On the other hand, it subsidizes their security (with, I might point out, stolen money but I digress) by providing law enforcers and a military. If you talk to an advocate for closed borders, you probably won’t hear them discuss the fact that the State is subsidizing them (since that would be admitting government subsidies are good and they generally claim otherwise). They’ll give several other reasons why the State is acting legitimately by controlling its borders, usually with an argument that tries to muddle private property lines with government borders, but no amount of hand waving makes the fact that they want their security subsidized go away.

Where the argument for closed borders begins to really fall apart though is when you compared government borders to private property lines. Property lines, like borders, aren’t a real thing. In the terminology of Max Stirner, property lines are a phantasm or a spook. They exist entirely in our minds, not in the natural world. However, like many human concepts, property lines can serve a purpose, which is to avoid conflict over scarce resources. Two people cannot consume the same piece of bread so to avoid fighting over a piece of bread it’s expedient to say one piece is my property and one piece is your property. Conflict is avoided so long as both of us recognize each other’s property claim.

Government borders serve a similar purpose but the resources differ. While one might think that the raw resources within a government’s borders are what it’s trying to claim ownership over, in reality governments care little about the raw resources themselves. What governments care about are the people that harvest those resources. Governments are also phantasms. They’re a concept in our minds, not a thing that exists in the natural world. The people who call themselves government, on the other hand, do exist in the natural world and they don’t like to do work. Instead, like a mafioso, they prefer to skim a little off the top of other people’s work. The individuals who call themselves government don’t want to till the fields or mine the mountains, they want to take a percentage of the wealth created by the people who till the fields and mine the mountains. To the government the only meaningful resource is the human being.

A funny thing happens under libertarianism when a human being is being claimed as a resource. Under the concept of the non-aggression principle, which is the closest thing to a common philosophical foundation most branches of libertarianism can agree on, slavery is illegitimate. One person claiming ownership over another person becomes a violator of the non-aggression principle as soon as the person making the claim attempts to assert their claim. Governments continuously assert their claims of ownership, usually under various euphemisms such as enforcing the law, over people.

Since one human being is incapable of doing two things at the same time, governments periodically come into conflict with one another over what they want a group of human beings to do. What happens when one government decides that it wants a group of humans to farm its territory while another decides that it wants them to mine its territory? Conflict. To avoid conflict the individuals calling themselves government have take the concept of private property lines and relabeled them national borders. Governmental borders quite literally exist to avoid conflict over human property. Since enforcing a claim of ownership over another human being is considered illegitimate under libertarianism, supporting the division of human property cannot be consider legitimate under libertarianism in any consistent manner.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 20th, 2017 at 11:00 am