A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘Not So Crazy Libertarian Ideals’ tag

Who Will Build the Roads

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“Muh roads!” is a libertarian meme started because anytime you discuss eliminating government with a statists they eventually break down and say, “But who will build the roads?” As it turns out, the people who need the roads will build them:

Gangs smuggling goods into Russia have secretly repaired a road on the Belarussian border in order to boost business, the TASS news agency reported Monday.

Smugglers have transformed the gravel track in the Smolensk region in order to help their heavy goods vehicles traveling on the route, said Alexander Laznenko from the Smolensk region border agency. The criminal groups have widened and raised the road and added additional turning points, he said.

The market in action. Having a great product doesn’t do any good if you can’t get it to buyers. That means producers will either build the infrastructure necessary to get their products to consumers or will partner with another producer who is willing to build the infrastructure.

Transportation infrastructure isn’t some magical good that can only be brought into being by the wave of a government wand. Individuals and non-governmental organizations have been building and maintaining roads for a very long time. And they’re still doing it whenever they need a road that isn’t expressly approved of by the State.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 25th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Who’s a Good Politician

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Who’s a good politician? You are! Yes you are!

CORMORANT, Minn. —Nine-year-old Duke, a Great Pyrenees, handily won another one-year term as mayor of the small northwestern Minnesota town of Cormorant, Detroit Lakes Online reports.

“I don’t know who would run against him because he’s done such great things for the community,” Cormorant resident Karen Nelson told Detroit Lakes Online.

The locals say Duke has one of the highest approval ratings in the country.

The people of Cormorant have their heads screwed on right. They’ve corrected one of the biggest mistakes more people make, which is electing humans to political office. Not only are dogs generally loyal but they’re also unable to speak any human language so they can’t make decrees. Furthermore, their scheming consists almost entirely of getting treats, being pet, and playing fetch. If everybody political office was occupied by a dog instead of a human politician the world would be a much better place.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 25th, 2016 at 10:00 am

AgoraFest 2016

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It’s getting close the annual weekend of celebrating markets and voluntary interactions. I’m talking of course about AgoraFest.

This year was a bit hectic since our old venue, the Villa Maria, shutdown at the beginning of this year. We had already reserved the site and made our downpayment when we received the news. Fortunately, the Villa staff refunded our downpayment quickly but that still left scrambling to find another site. After a great deal of searching we went with Turtle Creek Glen in Wisconsin. The upside is that the venue is a bit cheaper so we were able to bring the price of admission down. You can enjoy four days, September 22nd through the 25th, of AgoraFest for $95.

What is AgoraFest? As the name implies, it’s a festival of counter-economics. There are talks, workshops, drinking, musicians, and most importantly exchanges. Agorists are encouraged to bring wares and services for sale (your business is your business, not the State’s), skills to teach, and camaraderie. Political types are encouraged to setup their booths and signs in the designated violence speech zone located about 20 miles from the site. Think of AgoraFest as a reprieve from the nonstop politics where real work at creating real change can be done.

This year I’ll be hosting a seminar on build an AR-15 and another one on assembling a bug-out bag. I may do a cryptography talk as well but our networking infrastructure is limited since we’re out in the middle of nowhere. Anybody who wishes to attend and give a talk, host a workshop, or do business (that you want advertised to AgoraFest attendees) should shoot an e-mail to support[at]agorafest[dot]com.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 22nd, 2016 at 10:30 am

You Can’t Stop the Market

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The federal government put a lot of resources into shutting down the Silk Road. Was it worth it? Has the online drug trade stopped or at least been reduced? Of course not! People want access to recreational drugs and the market always provides. Since the death of Silk Road the online drug trade has actually flourished:

The successors to Silk Road, the darknet drug market shut down by the FBI in 2013, are raking in tens of millions of pounds in total revenue every month, according to a new report.

British dealers apparently have a serious finger in the pie, taking home roughly 16 percent of the global revenues, or around £1.75 million, between an estimated 338 vendors.

The State, however, can never admit failure. Through the magic of statistics it has declared itself victorious over the online drug trade:

The report, commissioned by the Dutch government to gauge the growth of darknet markets in the years following the demise of Silk Road, found some good news for beleaguered law enforcement: “cryptomarkets have grown substantially in the past few years, but not explosively,” though the numbers of vendors and hosting sites have grown. In fact, researchers found around 50 of these markets in total, however, the total volume of listings is now only six times larger than in 2013.

The volume of listings has only grown six times larger! It would have obviously grown even more if it wasn’t for the State’s efforts! This reminds me of the national debt, specifically when a politician claims that they have shrunk the debt because their efforts ensured it only grew twice as fast as it would have otherwise. If you’re very careful with your statistical definitions you can make any defeat appear to be a victory.

What’s the lesson here? Easy, the State is powerless against the forces of the market. While the State does win temporary victories it is always defeated in the long run. After all, how can a handful of people ever hope to defeat the entirety of humanity? When seven billion people are thinking of new and interesting ways to get their fellows the goods and services they want there’s nothing a handful of people wearing suits and sitting in marble buildings can do.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 17th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Putting You in Danger to Protect You

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When a suspect attempts to flee from the police should the officers pursue? Most people will instinctively say they should. But one has to ask whether it’s more dangerous for the police to enter into a high-speed chase with a suspect or allow the suspect to flee. Oftentimes in the zealous pursuit of suspects the police end up putting a lot of lives in danger:

More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police car chases since 1979, and tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The bystanders and the passengers in chased cars account for nearly half of all people killed in police pursuits from 1979 through 2013, USA TODAY found. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver.

Police across the USA chase tens of thousands of people each year — usually for traffic violations or misdemeanors — often causing drivers to speed away recklessly. Recent cases show the danger of the longstanding police practice of chasing minor offenders.

5,000 people killed primarily in the pursuit of revenue from traffic violations and misdemeanors. This is especially ridiculous when you consider that ever car has a government mandated unique identifiable number bolted to the vehicle. An officer could just call in the make, model, and license plate number and wait for a safer time to deliver the citations.

Whenever somebody argues that the police do something to keep us safe we must ask whether the tactics being used by the police are more dangerous than whatever they’re supposedly combatting. Is heroine really more dangerous than no-knock raids leading to dead pets or family members? Are people who exceed the arbitrarily posted speed limit really more dangerous than having a police car with bright flashing lights on the side of the road causing chaos on the highway? If the tactics are more dangerous than the activity being policed then the police aren’t keeping anybody safe, they’re needlessly putting them in danger.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 16th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Playing the Odds

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Anybody who isn’t mathematically challenged knows that playing the Powerball is an exercise in throwing money away. The chances of winning are infinitesimal. You’d be better off putting the money for a ticket into buying a coffee at Starbucks since you at least receive something for your money then.

But there is something you can play that has worse odds and absolutely no chance of a payout: the United States presidential election:

However, come November, many of the sophisticates who smugly snickered at these stories will themselves have wasted time and energy on their own statistically senseless participation in yet another faith-based fantasy drawing: they will have voted in a U.S. presidential election.

[…]

A voter has a greater chance of dying in a car accident on the way to the polling station than of affecting the outcome of the presidential election. But you wouldn’t know it from the way engaged voters assiduously deliberate and strategize over their presidential “pick”: balancing pros and cons, prioritizing issues, and agonizing over character judgments, as if they were pondering a decision that would actually make a difference in their lives, like choosing a romantic partner or a dentist.

Get a grip. Handing in a piece of paper is not going to make you a billionaire, and it’s not going to make you a political kingmaker either. Agonizing over your World of Warcraft avatar would impact your future happiness far more than agonizing over your pick for president.

Not only are your odds of dying greater than your odds of influencing the election but even if you do manage to influence the election you won’t win anything. Look at the current presidential candidates. Whether Clinton or Trump wins is irrelevant because everybody inside and outside of the United States will lose. Even if you throw in Gary Johnson as a viable candidate nothing changes. He’s not a libertarian and would still end up fucking Americans over. Since there isn’t a single candidate running on the platform of abolishing the federal government there is no way to win even if you can influence the presidential race (and since the president can’t actually abolish the federal government such a candidate would count as a win for entertainment purposes only).

If you want to play a game with stupid odds on November 4th go buy a Powerball ticket. You won’t win but at least there is a chance of a payout, unlike voting for the president.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 10th, 2016 at 10:30 am

The Armed Robbery Epidemic in Minnesota

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Did you know there was a rash of armed robberies in Minnesota last month? You wouldn’t have known it from the headlines since the media seemed more interesting in covering the dumpster fires that are the presidential campaigns. But during the month of July over 13,000 Minnesotans were victimized of armed robbers:

ST. PAUL, Minn. – More than 13,000 motorists are a few bucks poorer after being ticketed during a recent statewide speed enforcement crackdown.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) says officers, deputies and state troopers wrote 13,214 citations for unsafe speeds during the crackdown, that was carried out by more than 300 law enforcement agencies between July 8 and July 22. That compares with 16,410 speeding tickets issued during last year’s campaign.

There were also 1,543 seat belt citations compared with 2,101 in 2015, which suggests a bit of progress in the campaign to improve driving and road safety in Minnesota.

Oh, I guess I was mistaken. Since the men with guns who were robbing people had magic suits and badges these incidents weren’t labeled armed robbery but “traffic citations.” We truly live in a world of Orwellian doublespeak.

I think an important question must be asked now, why were these officers sitting on the highways looking for prey instead of solving crimes? I’ve been told by many statists that there aren’t enough police officers to deal with all of the crime. If that’s the case why are they sitting in their cars instead of finding muggers, rapists, murderers, and thieves?

This is why I roll my eyes whenever some boot licker tells me that I’m only free to criticize cops because the cops are keeping me safe from criminals. The police don’t seem very interested in dealing with criminals. Most of their time seems to be invested in harassing motorists exceeding an arbitrarily chosen speed, kidnaping people using recreational chemicals, and shooting the neighbors of people selling those recreational chemicals (apparently the officers can afford to fuel a BearCat but can’t afford somebody to double-check addresses before a raid).

Written by Christopher Burg

August 5th, 2016 at 11:00 am

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