A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘Not So Crazy Libertarian Ideals’ tag

Republicans Versus Democrats Versus Libertarians

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The Republicans are selling a world where tall concrete walls topped with barbed wire surround the good God fearing white people of American so they can have sex in the missionary position without worrying about getting their throats slit by the evil barbarians they’re bombing killing.

The Democrats are selling a world where the disarmed populace is entirely at the mercy of the lawless but remain safe from unapproved, dangerous speech and any potential transgression against Mother Gaia, real or imaginary, is punished via summary execution.

The libertarians are selling a world where everybody has the right to snort cocaine off of a hooker’s ass in the middle of a private road while both individuals are wearing nothing but gun belts with automatic Glock pistols in their holsters.

How the fuck are libertarians the ones having a hard time selling people on their ideas?

Written by Christopher Burg

July 26th, 2016 at 10:30 am

All Laws are Backed by the Threat of Death

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When somebody says, “There ought to be a law.” you should ask if they really want people to die for breaking that law. The fact that all laws are backed with the implicit threat of death is best illustrated by the recent rash of shootings committed by officers. Many of these shootings start because officers initiated contact over a petty offense:

There is still no comprehensive study to determine just how many cities pay their bills by indenturing the poor, but it is probably no coincidence that when you examine the recent rash of police killings, you find that the offenses they were initially stopped for were preposterously minor. Bland’s lane change signal, DuBose’s missing plate. Walter Scott had that busted taillight—which, we all later learned, is not even a crime in South Carolina. Eric Garner was selling loose cigarettes. When Darren Wilson was called to look into a robbery, the reason he initially stopped Michael Brown was for walking in the street—in Ferguson, an illegal act according to Section 44-344 of the local code. Between 2011 and 2013, 95 percent of the perpetrators of this atrocity were African American, meaning that “walking while black” is not a punch line. It is a crime.

Failing to signal before a turn, having a nonfunctional taillight, and walking in the street should not be punishable by death. But when those acts are declared law they automatically elevate from minor nuisances to execution worthy acts. The Mother Jones article explains how turning police officers into revenue generators has exacerbated the problem of officer related violence. However, there is a more fundamental issue at hand. Interactions with police officers are never voluntary. One side, the officer, wields all of the power while the other side, the suspect, has no power whatsoever.

When a police officer turns on their attention whore lights you must get out of their way. If they’re turning on the lights because they’ve targeted you then you must pull over and, if you’re smart, place your hands on the top of the steering wheel. During the encounter you cannot drive away until you’re given permission to do so. You also cannot legally defend yourself in most cases if the officer escalates the situation to violence. If you fail to pull over, drive away, or defend yourself it is considered a crime and more men with guns will be sent to hunt you down. In other words, voluntarily disassociating with an officer who isn’t to your liking is a possible death sentence. Under such circumstances the officer has no motivation to treat you decently.

Apparently Forcing Everybody to Buy Insurance Doesn’t Make Prices Go Down

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I have some shocking news for you. Even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed with the promise that forcing everybody to buy insurance would reduce prices the prices have — you might want to sit down because this is going to be shocking — gone up:

Insured Americans are having to shell out more and more for healthcare, particularly, hospital visits, researchers report this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. From 2009 and 2013—before the biggest provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014—people with individual or employer-sponsored health insurances saw a 37 percent rise in out-of-pockets costs for a hospital stay. Average bills jumped from $738 to $1,013. That’s about a 6.5 percent increase each year. However, overall healthcare spending rose just 2.9 percent each year during that time-frame and premiums—the cost to buy insurance—rose by around 5.1 percent annually.

“Every year, people freak out about how high premiums have gotten and how they continue to grow exponentially, but [out-of-pocket costs are] actually growing even faster,” Emily Adrion, first author of the study and a researcher at the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy at the University of Michigan, told Bloomberg.

What could possible be going on here? How can involving more government not fix a problem? The reason is actually quite simple. When you’re required to do business with somebody they have little motivation to provide you a quality service or keep your costs low. This is especially true in a market that is heavily protected against new competitors. The health insurance market, through regulatory protections, is hard for any new competitor to enter unless they’re in possession of billions of dollars. Because of that the already established insurance companies feel safe keeping their prices high so long as the other established companies also keep their prices high.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 30th, 2016 at 10:00 am

The Glories of Central Planning

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Socialists often criticize the market for allowing people to starve. They often say it’s unfair that somebody with surplus food is allowed to keep it while others starve to death. They also lambast the idea of property rights because the concept allows a person with a surplus of food to defend it against a starving thief. These are valid criticisms, mind you. But they also ignore an important fact. Markets and private property rights may allow some people to starve but you really need a centrally planned economy if you want to starve everybody:

The fight for food has begun in Venezuela. On any day, in cities across this increasingly desperate nation, crowds form to sack supermarkets. Protesters take to the streets to decry the skyrocketing prices and dwindling supplies of basic goods. The wealthy improvise, some shopping online for food that arrives from Miami. Middle-class families make do with less: coffee without milk, sardines instead of beef, two daily meals instead of three. The poor are stripping mangoes off the trees and struggling to survive.

Venezuela is an epitome of centrally planned economics. Much of the market has been “nationalized” (a fancy word for stolen by the State) and the Venezuelan government dictates a great deal regarding production and prices. Like the Soviet Union, Venezuela’s economy has collapsed and now people are starving.

In what must seem a twist of irony to proponents of central planning, there is hope for salvation. When the economy of the Soviet Union collapsed the thing that saved countless lives was the black market:

Everyday survival here requires of everyone – from childhood to old age – a street savvy that makes life in the inner cities of the West seem innocent by comparison. Many older Soviet people say the situation is much like it was after World War II. Survival is a degraded art form requiring such skills as knowing under which bridge the black-market gasoline dealers operate on Tuesdays and what sort of Western chocolates to give a schoolteacher on a state holiday so that a child can get decent treatment in the coming semester.

Anatoli Golovkov, the resident expert on economics at Ogonyok magazine, said, “There is nothing to buy through ordinary channels, but you can get anything you need if you are willing to play the game and pay big money. The whole process makes all of us cynical about the law and ourselves. It degrades us. But what’s the choice?

“For example, say I have guests coming, and I need a cut of meat, a couple of bottles of booze and a carton of good cigarettes. There’s really just one option. With a fistful of money, you go to one of the city markets. The state-run stalls are nearly empty. But you explain what you need to someone. He nods, and never saying a word, he writes down a price on a slip of paper and says, `Come back in an hour.’ When you come back, the package is all wrapped up in a copy of Pravda and off you go.”

When central planning begins starving everybody the market is there to save lives. It happened in the Soviet Union and it’s happening in Venezuela:

But in Maracaibo, the black market is an actual place. The contrabando, as sellers call it, sits on tables out in the open.

The odd part, to an American, is that this contrabando is available every day at Aisle 3 in my local Safeway: flour, rice, coffee, Tylenol. I went in with fixer/translator Yesman Utrera and photographer Jorge Galindo, on a specific mission: to find infant formula for our driver’s baby. By the time we found two cans to compare prices, both were sold.

The very thing that socialists accuse of starving people is the only thing that keeps people fed when socialism starts to starve them.

There are no perfect solutions. Every solution has pros and cons. The cons of the market and private property rights is that some people do indeed starve. But that is far less of a con in my book than the con socialism, which means everybody starves when the State can no longer keep the centrally planned economy propped up. When a centrally planned economy begins the collapse a major pro of the market comes into play: the incentive of personal gain spurs market actors to provide the goods people desperately need. Many will point out the high prices of dealing with these black market actors as a con of the market but they fail to understand that the high prices exist because the risks are so high. When a centrally planned economy begins to collapse it’s not unusual for the State to blame the very thing keeping people alive: the black market. In the hopes of keeping the economy propped up just a little bit longer the State sends agents to hunt, assault, kidnap, and/or kill black market actors. So the high prices aren’t the fault of the black market actors but the State that is trying to maintain its control over the ashes of the civilization it burned.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 29th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Seceding is Good for the Soul

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Yesterday Britain proved it had more guts than Scotland. When the opportunity to leave the European Union presented itself to the British people they actually voted to leave. It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the votes were tallied and Britain is already reaping the benefits of exiting:

Prime Minister David Cameron is to step down by October after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, he said “fresh leadership” was needed.

The PM had urged the country to vote Remain but was defeated by 52% to 48% despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backing staying in.

Getting rid of that pig fucker is a huge plus. Sadly, this vote might also demonstrate that the spirit of Braveheart is completely dead in Scotland:

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “absolutely determined” to keep Scotland in the EU so a second Scottish independence referendum was now “highly likely”.

Scotland my secede from the United Kingdom just so it can make itself the bitch of a larger master? Sad.

I should note that I was hoping the United Kingdom would secede from the European Union. Not because of the major issue at hand, the United Kingdom’s desire to prevent people from crossing its imaginary lines, but because I just wanted to see somebody secede from somebody else. I want to see continuous acts of secession until all seven billion people have seceded from all governments. One country breaking away from an ill-fated union is a good start.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 24th, 2016 at 11:00 am

The Black Market Prevails

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When people think black markets the image of drug deals shooting it out over gang wars often comes to mind. But the black market is far more than that. Like the white market, the black market is composed of both savory and unsavory sorts. How many people have paid somebody in cash so both parties could avoid the additional burden of taxes? Don’t answer that because such activity is illegal. But anybody who has done that has also participated in the black market.

As the burdens of operating in the white market continue to grow so does the black market. For example, a recent article points out that Canada’s black market is thriving:

Canada’s underground economy is still thriving, according to a new report from Statistics Canada, in spite of efforts to cut down on the number of transactions that “escape measurement because of their hidden, illegal or informal nature.”

The value of Canada’s underground economy in 2013 totalled $45.6 billion, or about 2.4 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

That’s pretty much exactly where the numbers were in 2012, give or take a few billion dollars, and where they’ve been hovering since 2002.

Agorism, unlike political action, works as a strategy for weakening the State because it relies on activities people do already. While the State can increase its efforts to stop unapproved transactions it is still an organization of a few people trying to outwit the entirety of humanity. Needless to say, the odds of the State effectively thwarting the black market are approximately zero. And as the State increases the burden of operating in the white market, those people it is attempting to extort will use their creativity to find ways of avoiding those burdens by moving their activities into the black market.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2016 at 10:00 am

The State is a Kleptomaniac

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Nobody’s coming for your guns!

How many times have you heard that over the last week? I must have heard it a few dozen times. It’s the go-to response to any gun control loving statist. It’s also bullshit as is any statement that is based on the premise that the State won’t steal something.

Consider all of the things the State has stolen from people. If you’re working in the white market the State is stealing a percentage of every hour you work in the form of Social Security, income tax, and other assorted taxes. Long ago the State stole everybody’s property. You aren’t allowed to own your home, you’re only allowed to rent it. If you stop paying rent property taxes, the State evicts you. With the exception of a few states, the State is trying to steal your fucking plants cannabis and every state is trying to steal your heroin, cocaine, acid, and other chemicals it has decided you don’t need. What about non-recreational drugs? The State has taken a lot of those as well or locked them behind permission slips prescriptions. For Christ’s sake, the State has stolen your fucking candy. And your guns? If you meet one of the ever growing list of criteria, including being arbitrarily labeled a felon, the State tries to take your guns.

So, yes, the State is coming for your guns. In fact, it’s coming for everything you have. Theft is compulsive behavior for the State. It’s a kleptomaniac. Anybody who claims it isn’t coming for something is a fool.

Equal Slavery Shouldn’t Be the Goal

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A lot of debate has occurred on the topic of equality, especially equality between men and women. Equality can mean many things but to the State the only form of equality that matters is slavery:

The New York Times reported today:

“The United States Senate voted to pass a defense bill today that would require young women to sign up for a potential military draft for the first time in U.S. history.”

This issue was bound to come up eventually, as women have recently been allowed to compete for combat positions on the front line. Captain Kristen Griest’s recent completion of Army Ranger School and assignment as an Infantry officer is evidence of this shift in both policy and culture.

The accepted logic goes that if women have equal access to all jobs in the military, they ought to have equal responsibility with respect to the draft. And make no mistake: even though there has not been a draft since the 1970s, the ultimate purpose of Selective Service registration is precisely to enable a draft when deemed necessary.

Many are applauding these changes as an important step towards “equality” and recognition of women’s capabilities. But the focus on equality is masking the underlying injustice of the law in the first place. The more important issue is that forcing anyone to register for Selective Service is unjust because it is based on coercion (and has the potential to place otherwise peaceful people into violent situations). Let’s examine why.

Equal slavery shouldn’t be the goal. The complete abolition of slavery should be the goal. Let’s not mince words, the draft is slavery. It is a mechanism where the State can force you, at the point of a gun, to join its ranks so it can send you off to murder people who you’ve never met and have in all likelihood caused you no harm. Instead of debating whether women should be equally subjected to enslavement, the people of the United States should have been demanding Selective Service registration be abolished.

This is usually where some statist says, “What if somebody was invading the United States? Shouldn’t everybody be forced to fight for the greater good?” It’s a dumb question. Nobody should be forced to fight for a collective ideal. If so few people are willing to fight the invading force that it stands to conquer the nation then it’s obvious that the people didn’t see the nation as worthy of saving. Isn’t that the will of the people? Isn’t that what this supposedly glorious democracy is all about?

Men and women should be equally free to pursue their wants. They should also be equally free from slavery.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 16th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Tragedy Of The Commons

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Waze is a wonderful app that allows users to alert other users of traffic issues. I use the app because I like to report and know about road pirate activity but it’s also useful for avoiding traffic issues that aren’t caused by thieves with badges. Now that we’ve entered road construction season here in Minnesota Waze is useful to routing around the every changing landscape is the transportation infrastructure. But some people are unhappy with the app because it sometimes routes travelers through their neighborhoods:

When the traffic on Timothy Connor’s quiet Maryland street suddenly jumped by several hundred cars an hour, he knew who was partly to blame: the disembodied female voice he could hear through the occasional open window saying, “Continue on Elm Avenue . . . .”

The marked detour around a months-long road repair was several blocks away. But plenty of drivers were finding a shortcut past Connor’s Takoma Park house, slaloming around dog walkers and curbside basketball hoops, thanks to Waze and other navigation apps.

“I could see them looking down at their phones,” said Connor, a water engineer at a federal agency. “We had traffic jams, people were honking. It was pretty harrowing.”

And so Connor borrowed a tactic he read about from the car wars of Southern California and other traffic-weary regions: He became a Waze impostor. Every rush hour, he went on the Google-owned social-media app and posted false reports of a wreck, speed trap or other blockage on his street, hoping to deflect some of the flow.

He continued his guerrilla counterattack for two weeks before the app booted him off, apparently detecting a saboteur in its ranks. That made Connor a casualty in the social-media skirmishes erupting across the country as neighborhoods try to contend with suddenly savvy drivers finding their way on routes that were once all but secret.

Cry me a river. Mr. Conner must have quite the ego if he thinks he has some kind of right to decide who can and cannot use roads he doesn’t even own.

The issue he’s seeing, without being intelligent enough to realize it, is a tragedy of the commons. Most roads in this country are considered public (which is a fancy word for the State claiming exclusive ownership rights). They’re funded by money that has been stolen from the population in the form of taxes. That being the case, Conner has no right to bitch about how the road in his neighborhood is used. If it suddenly becomes popular with motorists and that popularity causes the road to degrade faster and to be less usable by people living in the neighborhood then there’s no recourse for the people of the neighborhood.

There is a solution to this: private roads. Suddenly everything changes. The people using your private road without your permission are trespassers. If they do want to use your road they can attempt to negotiate a deal with you. If you’re not interested in a deal then you can tell them to buzz off. But none of that is possible if the roads are public because then the State gets to decide who can and cannot use them.

Instead of whining about people using the road that they were forced to pay for, Mr. Conner should really try to see if there is a way to privatize the road so his neighbors and him can decide who gets to use it.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 8th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Switzerland Dodges a Bullet

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The people of Switzerland demonstrated that their knowledge in mathematics is still sound. There was a proposal to implement universal basic income (UBI) and the people voted it down by a wide measure:

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all.

Final results from Sunday’s referendum showed that nearly 77% opposed the plan, with only 23% backing it.

When I posted this link on Facebook one of my friends asked what my problem with UBI is. While there are a plethora of economic arguments to make against it my only real objection is the fact it can’t be implemented without government violence.

The wealth needed to fund UBI has to come from somewhere. There are two popular methods that governments use to fund their programs. The most common one is the seizing of wealth from the general populace, which is sometimes referred by the far more cuddly term “taxation”. If the Swiss government opted to fund UBI through taxation it would have been pulling the usual government routine of putting a gun to everybody’s head, demanding a tithe, and kidnapping and imprisoning anybody who refused to pay the tithe. As usual, if their intended kidnapping victims refused to go quietly they would be murdered.

The other common method governments use to fund their programs is printing money. This scam is more insidious since it doesn’t rely on overt violence. Instead of sending men with guns to thump skulls, a money printing scam steals wealth from anybody holding the government’s currency (this is why you don’t want to mess with government currency unless you’re under duress) by devaluing it. As more money is printed the purchasing power of each unit already in circulation diminishes.

No matter how you shake it, UBI can only be funded at the point of a government gun.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 7th, 2016 at 10:30 am