Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Miller: The Reasons for Hatred

"An animal will respond to attack with "fight or flight." Neither course is open to an infant exposed to aggression from immediate family members. Thus the natural reaction remains spent up, sometimes for decades, until it can be taken out on a weaker object. Then the repressed emotions are unleashed against minorities. The targets vary from country to country. But the reasons for that hatred are probably identical the world over."
~ Alice Miller

Bovard: Force

"Coercion has become more refined and more pervasive in recent decades. We rarely see scenes like the Los Angeles police beating Rodney King or IRS agents dragging Amish tax resisters out of their meager homes. But just because few people resist government agents does not mean that the State is violating fewer people's rights. The level of coercion imposed by government agencies is less evident today primarily because the vast majority of citizens surrender to government demands before the government resorts to force. Economist J. A. Schumpeter wrote: 'Power wins, not by being used, but by being there.' The lack of an armed uprising is no proof of a lack of governmental aggression."
~ James Bovard

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Live Chat with @Darjeeling going on now: This is a techonology test

Victor Frankel: A Plea to Teachers

"I am a survivor of a concentration camp.  My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses; women and babies shot by high school graduates.  So I am suspicious of education!  My request of teaches is: help your student to be Human.  You efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmans.  Reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic are only important if they serve to make students more Human."

Victor Frankel: Man's Search for Meaning

Rothbard: The Dismal Science

"It is no accident that it was precisely the economists in the Communist countries who led the rush away from communism, socialism, and central planning, and toward free markets. It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance." ~ Rothbard

Ortega y Gasset: Civilization is Artificial

In the disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries. This may serve as a symbol of the attitude adopted, on a greater and more complicated scale, by the masses of today towards the civilization by which they are supported … Civilization is not "just here," it is not self-supporting.
It is artificial … if you want to make use of the advantages of civilization, but are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization — you are done. In a trice you find yourself left without civilization. Just a slip, and when you look, everything has vanished into air. The primitive forest appears in its native state, just as if curtains covering pure Nature had been drawn back. The jungle is always primitive and vice versa, everything primitive is mere jungle. (José Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses, New York: W.W. Norton, 1932, p. 97.)

In case you were curious...

Gal 5:1
Matthew 23:8-12
Luke 4:18,19
John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 17:16, 18:36
I Samuel 8:7-18
Acts 4:19, 5:29
I Corinthians 7:20-21
Colossians 2:15

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kelly Bryson: Punishment

"In Kohn's other great book Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community, he explains how all punishments called logical or natural consequences, destroy any respectful, loving relationship between adult and child and impede the process of ethical development. (Need I mention Enron, Martha Stewart, the Iraqi Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal or certain car repairmen?)  Any type of coercion, whether it is the seduction of rewards or the humiliation of punishment, creates a tear in the fabric of relational connection between adults and children.  Then adults become simply dispensers of goodies and authoritarian dispensers of controlling punishments.  The atmosphere of fear and scarcity grows as the sense of connectedness that fosters true and generous cooperation, giving from the heart, withers.  Using punishments and rewards is like drinking salt water.  It does create a short-term relief, but long-term it makes matters worse.  This desert of emotional connectedness is fertile ground for actin-out to get attention.  Punishment is a use of force, in the negative sense of that word, not an expression of true power or strength.  David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. author of the book Power v. Force writes 'force is the universal substitute for truth.  The need to control others stems from lack of power, just as vanity stems from lack of self-esteem.  Punishment is a form of violence, an ineffective substitute for power.'

"Sadly though parents are afraid not to hit an punish their children for fear they will turn out to be bank-robbers.  But the truth may well be the opposite.  Research shows that virtually all felony offenders were harshly punished as children.  Besides children learn thru modeling.  Punishment models the tactic of deliberately creating pain for another to get something you want to happen.  Punishment does not teach children to care about how their actions might create pain for another, it teaches them it is ok to create pain for another if you have the power to get away with it.  Basically might makes right.  Punishment gets children to focus on themselves an what is happening to them instead of developing empathy for how their behavior affects another."

"One of the most popular discipline programs in American schools is called Assertive Discipline.  It teaches teachers to inflict the old "obey or suffer" method of control on students.  Here you disguise the threat of punishment by calling it a choice the child is making.  As in, 'You have a choice, you can either finish your homework or miss the outing this weekend.'  Then when the child chooses to try tot protect his dignity against this form of terrorism, by refusing to do his homework, you tell him his has chosen his logical, natural consequence of being excluded from the outing.  Putting it this way helps the parent or teacher mitigate against the bad feelings and guilt that would otherwise arise to tell adult that they are operating outside the principles of compassionate relating.  This insidious method is even worse than out-and-out punishing, where you can at least rebel against your punisher.  The use of this mind game teaches the child the false, crazy-making belief that they wanted something bad or painful to happen to them.  These programs also have the stated intention of getting the child to be angry with himself for making a poor choice.  In this smoke and mirrors game, the children are 'causing' everything to happen and the teachers are the puppets of the children's choices.  The only ones who are not taking responsibility for their actions are the adults."

~Kelly Bryson
Don't Be Nice, Be Real

Friday, May 25, 2012

Madison: War

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few … No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
-- James Madison

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A letter to a friend: psycho-history of violence

Dear friend,

These articles point to the kind of thing I was talking about in our last conversation:

The way I might look at it, people have been making really good arguments for freedom/liberty for a long time (Spooner, Tucker, Boetie and others) and while those arguments were perhaps "ignorable" for a time (because only a few/select individuals were making those arguments, and as an individual in isolation, their ideas could be seen a particular/unique to them), but at least by the 1970's while Rothbard was active (and as a 'libertarian' movement was developing), I do not see how those arguments were "ignorable" any longer; the liberty movement had coalesced and lots of academics were making these arguments.  This leads me to think, that either, the arguments and evidence for liberty/freedom are not good arguments, or perhaps that people at large are somehow incompetent to consider those arguments, or there are some deep psychological reasons that led people to reject those arguments.  I'm inclined these days to see the later possibility as the most likely; and the emotional reactions that arguments for a voluntary-society will often provoke in people, seems to me, to be a confirmation of the later hypothesis. 

If this hypothesis is right, then it would seem that the most productive path to liberty, is to raise children without violence, and to empathize with people, that they may be able to get in touch with their authentic-selves and perhaps to raise their children without violence.  I have seen convincing scientific evidence that supports the idea that when children are brutalized in childhood, that the experience causes changes in early brain development.   Until people can empathize with themselves, to explore their own pain, to get in touch with what is human inside of them, to get in touch with their authentic selves, the cycle of violence will likely continue.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Needs are Behind Every Action

"All behavior is an attempt to meet a need."
"Children [and all people] are always doing their best to meet their needs."
"You are responsible to meet your own needs."
"Feelings are messengers of met and unmet needs."
"Children [and all people] want to be heard and understood."
~ Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson (Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids)

If we understand that all human action is an attempt to realize a preferred outcome to satisfy some need (felt uneasiness), then we will no longer see people as our enemies, but as people pursuing strategies that do not meet our needs.

  If we understand that we are responsible for our own needs, we no longer resent people for not meeting our needs, we no longer give in to the needs of others, but we pursue our own strategies for meeting our needs; and often in meeting our needs in authentic ways, we will out of joy/celebration/love be meeting the needs of others.

  If we recognize our feelings, as the messengers of our subconscious, telling us when we have ignored our needs, or are meeting our needs, we will welcome all of those feelings; we will live authentic lives, in touch with what is alive in us (the "true-self").

  If we understand that all people want to be heard and understood, we will recognize that there is sufficient space, for all people to pursue their own needs in non-conflicting ways with the needs of others; there will no longer be a need to resort to violence, force, coercion, domination, theft or oppression.

People hurt others (initiate aggression), out of their own pain; their pain, is transferred to others as expressions of their own pain.  When we connect with what is alive in us, we are empathizing with ourselves; when we accept what we are feeling and recognize the needs that are being met or are left unmet, we are in connection with ourselves and we no longer have need of shame, blame or guilt.  Some people, due to their experience of pain and lack of any empathy for themselves or others, chose strategies that conflict (initiate-aggression) with (against) others as tragic expressions of their own unmet needs.

If we seek peace with others that are not in touch with their authentic-selves, we must learn techniques to empathize with others; when those in pain experience empathy from others, their inner-turmoil that causes their tragic expressions of unmet needs to manifest as conflict or the initiation of aggression, will for a time be calmed; if they can learn to empathize with themselves, we open the possibility for everyone to meet their own needs.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Littlejohn: Critical Periods of Development

"Conception, pregnancy, birth, newborn period and early childhood would seem to me to be the most critical periods of human development. The known behaviours that stimulate oxytocin release are touch, eye contact, privacy in contact, movement and dance, laughter, food, play, kindness, empathy, pleasure, togetherness. If these are the situations that create oxytocin receptivity, then our pro-action should be to empower and educate women and men everywhere, to teach young people about preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, to set up support systems that encourage non-violence and non-separation in maternity care and parenting."
- Marianne Littlejohn

Kimmel: Trust & Punishment

"I do not believe that genuine trust can develop in a relationship unless both parties have trust in each other. In the parent-child relationship, the child learns to trust his parents when his need for nurturing is regularly met. But this development of trust can only occur if the parent's response to the child is based on the belief that the child's expression of his need for nurturing is genuine, that the child is not just trying to "get his own way"; and is not out to make the parent's life difficult. Misery, unhappiness, and a struggle for power often do become a part of the parent-child interaction, especially in a society such as our own which does not trust and does not validate the nurturing requirements of children. If the relationship of parent and child does become a continual struggle, it is not because the child's motivation is to punish the parent, but because his need for nurturing is not being met. It is also true that a child, as he matures, may begin to behave in ways to punish his parents, but this can only occur if his parents have regularly punished him.

The use of punishment by parents is a clear indication that there has been an insufficient development of trust between parent and child in the early formative years of the child's development. Most American parents punish their children. Most also begin punishing them, and using the threat of punishment, at a very early age (usually in infancy). Children grow up believing that the punishment they received was deserved, and that they were harmful, bad, and not trustworthy. Many, as adults, who lack a foundation of parental trust, do not trust, or even like, themselves. They perceive their needs, especially their need for nurturing, caring, kindness, love, and intimacy, as "bad", selfish, indulgent, harmful, and a burden put on others. Some spend their entire lifetime feeling guilty towards their parents. Often, they begin in adolescence to self-destruct, punishing themselves for burdening their parents, for having been born, for being alive." 
 - James Kimmel, Ph.D.

Quintillian: On the treatment of children

"I disapprove of flogging, although it is the regular custom... because in the first place it is a disgraceful form of punishment and fit only for slaves, and is in any case an insult, as you will realize if you imagine its infliction at a later age. Secondly if a boy is so insensible to instruction that reproof is useless, he will, like the worst type of slave, merely become hardened to blows... And though you may compel a child with blows, what are you to do with him when he is a young man no longer amenable to such threats and confronted with tasks of far greater difficulty? Moreover when children are beaten, pain or fear frequently have results of which it is not pleasant to speak and which are likely subsequently to be a source of shame, a shame which unnerves and depresses the mind and leads the child to shun and loathe the light....I will not linger on this subject; it is more than enough if I have made my meaning clear. I will content myself with saying that children are helpless and easily victimized, and that therefore no one should be given unlimited power over them." - Quintilian

Hunt: Children raised with compassion

"Children raised with love and compassion will be free to use their time as adults in meaningful and creative ways, rather than expressing their childhood hurts in ways that harm themselves or others. If adults have no need to deal with the past, they can live fully in the present."
- Jan Hunt

Rand: Mystics & Mind

"Do not say that you’re afraid to trust your mind because you know so little. Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little that you know? Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. Redeem your mind from the hockshops of authority. Accept the fact that you are not omniscient, but playing a zombie will not give you omniscience—that your mind is fallible, but becoming mindless will not make you infallible—that an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error." ~Ayn Rand, _ Atlas Shrugged_

Browne: Government & Freedom

"Left wing politicians take away your liberty in the name of children and fighting poverty while right wing politicians do it in the name of family values and fighting drugs. Either way, government gets bigger and you get less free." - Harry Browne

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rothbard: An inherently illegitimate institution

"The State is an inherently illegitimate institution of organized aggression, of organized and regularized crime against the persons and properties of its subjects." ~Rothbard

Race is in your head, not in your skin

Race is in your head, not in your skin

Alright... I've had this thought/argument in my head for a while and I have even shared it with a few people but I have refrained from making the argument explicit up until now.

I here argue that the idea of "race" or "racial groups" is a concept which is pertinent to our minds and how we classify things but it is not an objective thing in the world; which is to say, "race" is a concept that reflects how we are interpreting our sensory experience, not a part of our sensory experience itself. 

This is an important distinction.  Nearly unanimously, people will speak about "race" as if it is a quality perceived by the observer in the person (object) in question; "she is white" or "he is black" or "he is Asian" or "she is Latina" are all statements that are purportedly expressing an essential or intrinsic quality of the person (who is the object of the statement) in question.  However, none of these qualities are part of our sensory experience, or intrinsic qualities in the objects themselves, but are expressions of our interpretations of the world.

Imagine we line up a random 10,000 people.  We ask 1,000 people to identify the "race" of each of our 10,000 random people.  Do you think that we will have the result of near unanimity between our 1,000 identifiers/evaluators?  I think that the obvious answer is 'no'.  The diversity of 10,000 random people, will naturally bring out the subjective nature of the interpretation which is required to "identify" or more accurately evaluate, another person's "race".  Which is to say, "race" is not something we use to describe an objective part of our sensory experience but is actually, a subjective evalutation or interpretation of what we experience.

What if one of our evaluators looks at someone who appears similar to Tiger Woods?  Will all 1,000 of our evaluators identify him as strictly "black"? Or will some evaluate him as "mulatto" or "Latino" or "part-Black, part-White, part-Asian"?  I think that the results of the experiment are obvious {but I would be interested in anyone would would actually conduct such an experiment to confirm my hypothesis}; the evaluators might be in general agreement over the general population of our 10,000 random people, but they would no way be in complete agreement, and therefore there must be something subjective having to do with the assessment.

Of course, there is a sense in which, such an experiment, could entirely beg the question; as such an experiment could be structured in such a way as to *assume* that there was some sort of objective standard to determine which persons, belonged to which category of "race", to know whether the evaluator had made an appropriate evaluation, or had not made an appropriate evaluation.

Some might respond to this thesis, that there could be certain genetic markers which could serve as the basis of an objective standard of "race".  Certainly, there may be some genetic marker or combination of genetic markers that could form the basis of an objective description of something pertaining to the idea of "race" but I think that such a proposal would beg the question as well, as any such selection of a genetic marker combination is necessarily an arbitrary selection; we have merely decided to take this marker, and not that marker and asserted that it has some basis for an idea of "race".  Another complicating factor is that such a genetic marker standard may have no strong correspondence with genetic expression and then the interpretation of the human mind using sensory experience to interpret the effects of that genetic expression. So for instance, someone with a long-distant progenitor hailing from Africa centuries ago, could have the arbitrarily selected genetic markers we have selected as representing an objective standard for 'black' but by all accounts the person's unique genetic expression may present in such a way as no one would be able to discern this genetic difference.

However, I would submit further, that though concept of 'race' is an subjective interpretation of experience, it is by no means meaningless but says something meaningful to the individual who uses the concept.  If someone says, "I am Asian" they seem to be saying something about how they personally see themselves in the context of other people, who they would also categorize into the set of "Asians" which may have meaningful connotations of history, tradition, and culture OR it may exclude all of these but take some other personally selected criteria. 

Those persons who have have an alleged mix of "racial heritages" are an interesting test case of our concept of "race".  A person who is "part" one "race" and "part" another "race" often choose to identify themselves with one or the other; and the more complex the "mixing" the more likely that one is not going to identify with the lesser "proportions".  A person who is "part" "Asian" and "part" "Black" may identify only as "Black" or perhaps, identify only as "Asian" and still yet, they may identify as a "Black-Asian" or "Asian-Black" or any number of possible designators to describe to others, as to how they self-identify themselves.

I offer as a suggestion, that when someone says that they "are" of a particular "racial" group, that in the spirit of E-prime or other more conscious (specific) language scheme, we rather than interpret some self-referential objective quality to the speaker herself, we rather interpret a self-identification of a subjectively defined grouping.

 When someone says, "I am white" , what I would like to suggest, is that we may interpret this expression this way, "I have a subjective/personal understanding of what it is to be 'white, such that I feel/believe that I belong to the set of those I consider 'white' and this has some personal meaning to me."

To see race any other way, to arbitrarily define race according to our own preferences, is to tell people what they are ("You are Latina" or "She is black" or "They are Asian"), if those people agree with our identification, if they do in fact identify with what they consider to be the racial group they belong to, then no conflict arises, but what if some one says to a woman who had a 'white' mother and a 'black' father, What are we to make of someone else, saying of the female in question, "You are black."?  Can she not, with good reason, deny this conclusive/absolute statement has objective reality?  Perhaps she might respond, "No, I am mulatto" or "No, I am both white and black" or she might she not say, "No, I do not identify with 'black' or any other racial designation, I am just me."?  I think she can, and moreover, I think we should be respectful of her personal identification or even non-identification with any group or set.

While 'race' is not an objective-descriptor of some feature of the world, it is a subjectively determined designation, and therefore, when a person says, "I am Asian." They have told us something that is meaningful to them and thus it can have a meaning for us, that is: "I self-identify myself as belonging to a group of persons, that I personally designate as 'Asian'."  That is to say, a person's personal identification is a meaningful statement, even if it doesn't describe an objective-reality, it describes a personal/subjective-reality.

After all, who are we to tell other people, what they are?

Reply to @benbencatdog 1


I do not wish to continue to over-populate our follower's timelines with tweets that will inevitably lack context for the casual reader of our twitter accounts, so if you are amenable, I would like to continue our discussion here.

I'm pleased to hear that you are agreeable, to what you have called, "natural laws"; I also find agreement in a natural law theory.  Perhaps if you are inclined, you could briefly describe for me, what your conception of a natural law theory consists of, so that I may determine if it corresponds to my own theoretical speculation.

You asked if fraud, would come under the heading of theft in my own understanding and I can assure you that it does.  I use "force" to describe all violence of the overt kind, "coercion" to describe all threats of overt violence intended to control/dominate/oppress others into obeying the commands of the threat out of fear of punishment, and "theft" do describe all violations of external property/material-right.  Fraud then, is the misrepresentation of the offer of exchange, such that, if the article was legitimately represented, the other party would not have agreed to the exchange; this, it seems quite clear to me, is a kind of theft which does not involve force or coercion but is theft nonetheless.  For example, if a car-salesman were to misrepresent the condition of a car (were to say it was "very reliable" when the salesman is aware that there are mechanical/reliability issues with the car), then the buyer agrees to buy the car for a set price or agreement, then there is a contract or agreement between the salesman and the buyer for a "very reliable" car.  The misrepresentation of one side of the agreement (fraud), invalidates the premise of the agreement; it is as if the agreement never took place because .  While the salesman might object to the assertion that his improper representation of the product, invalidates the sale, assuredly the salesman would have the same cause to object if the customer had paid in counterfeit money!

I think we may be in agreement that ethics concerns rights and the violation of rights (I suppose this because of your comment about natural law), but I am concerned with the philosophical implications of using "harm" as an ethical descriptor as "harm" can be interpreted very subjectively; one person's "harm" is another person's pleasure.  So perhaps you could explain how you might resolve this kind of problem... or whether you see it as a problem at all.  For myself, I am skeptical of ethical theories  that reduce to one person's, or one set of persons', subjective/arbitrary opinion/preference/taste.

Similarly, I am concerned about statements similar to "harm to the environment", as this seems to anthropomorphize material states as if they were persons.  Perhaps this was not your intention/implication at all but I would like some more clarification on this account.  For me, "harm to the environment" is doubly troubling, as it has the issue of subjectivity incumbent on the common use of "harm" and seems to imply that material states have the same ethical status as persons.

You had asked about what you saw as an issue in the "third-world", if a place had an open market of voluntary exchange and some other place had decided to "dump cheap rice" in that open market, what would happen to the impoverished farmers that grew food and had to 'compete' with that "cheap rice".  This is an excellent example of how the economic principle of comparative advantage would function to the benefit of all. 

Clearly, in your example, this "third-world" place, would seem to have some inherent disadvantages in the production of many goods.  Such that, this productive-rice-growing place, can sell their rice at a lower price, than all/most of the rice producers of this "third-world" place.  It is obvious that some change is occurring in the example that you provide, for if this productive-rice-growing place had "dumped" its "cheap rice" on the market the year before, conditions in this "third-world-place" would have already to have begun to stabilize as the individuals in the market would be in the process of reorganizing production processes.  Such that, either the productive-rice-growing place has become even more productive this year than last, or transportation has improved or preservation methods have improved, or on the other side of the coin this "third-world" place may be experiencing some particular causes of reduced production (reducing the supply, and demand remaining constant, increases the market clearing price) such as drought, or vermin, or disease, or war, or any number of conditions that can disrupt food production processes.  While the productive-rice-growing place, selling its rice at a price lower than this "third-world" place will cause a difficult time for the rice-producers of the "third-world" place, it will have great benefit to the people consuming rice in the third-world place.  They will have to give up less value to purchase rice, than they would have if the productive-rice-growing place did not sell in their marketplace.  The rice-producers of the "third-world" place will naturally grow less rice next year, than in previous years, as the profitability of rice growing there has decreased.  Some marginal land that was used for the production of rice in the "third-world" place, will likely be used for more profitable crops or uses. Some of those employed in the business of rice production this year, will next year, anticipating less gain through the production of rice next year, will change their labors to more productive ventures.  Each person taking advantage of their own particular strengths, they will anticipate what will bring them greatest value and satisfy more of their needs/wants/preferences.  Thus the "dumping of cheap rice" will be a great boon to the people of this "third-world" place in the long-run, for the natural advantages of the productive-rice-growing place in producing rice, means the people of this "third-world" place need not spend so much of their time and labor in the production of rice, and may instead, redirect those energies to more profitable ventures.   The real problem comes from the "dumping of rice" when it is done, not by individuals in the market place, but influenced by political-forces. Have you read, "The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity" or "Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa"?  Both books describe the terrible effects of "dumping" free-aid (even in the form of food) to places in Africa and Asia.  Such aid often goes to feed the armies/militias that oppress the people, the food was meant for and even when it reaches the people this year, the local food-producers can not compete with 'free-food' and they are ruined and the next year, when the aid distribution is disrupted, the people starve.  The social-problems are caused not by voluntary-exchanges but by the institutions of domination.

Well, I hope that that explanation of my conception of comparative advantage will explain my argument that the set voluntary-exchanges, happens to distribute wealth more evenly (because, as I described in you example, even the "dumping" of "cheap rice" will be a great boon to the people of the "third-world" place, such that, if the market was not open, and this voluntary-exchange of "cheap rice" was not permitted to take place by some institution of domination, then the people of the "third-world" place would be much worse off than they would be otherwise).  Voluntary-exchanges take place, because both parties anticipate being benefited by the exchange taking place; which is to say, in voluntary-exchanges, the self-interest of both parties is pursued and most generally, both parties are benefited.  Voluntary-exchange is mutually beneficial to all parties.  Compare this to theft, coercion and violence; these only benefit one party and usually to the great cost of the other party.  If for no other reason than the greatest satisfaction of human desires/preferences/needs, we ought to always condemn force, coercion and theft and we ought to celebrate all voluntary-interactions!  :-D

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Sometimes, our use of language, can be used in such a way, to imply or suggest ideas, that upon closer examination are not particularly coherent.

I would like to suggest that "greed" is one such use of language to imply something of an incoherence of an idea.

Because dictionaries often describe the definition or meaning of words as they are most commonly used in the language, they are often not apt not to contain other, more technical definitions, I often suggest that a dictionary is not the best source for linguistic meaning but in this case, I think it will suffice.


greed : a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed

Examples of GREED: He was a ruthless businessman, motivated by naked ambition and greed. 

Human beings act because they have some feeling of uneasiness concerning their current conditions.  Human action is decision to act according to a selected strategy that would most likely relieve one's sense or feeling of uneasiness.

For if this were not the case, then why would anyone act at all, if they had no sense of uneasiness/unsatisfactoriness at all?

Therefore, all human-beings act according to their own feelings of uneasiness and act according the strategies they think will most efficiently relieve their felt uneasiness.  Said another way, all human-action is necessarily, a conscious choice to act according to the individual's desire to reach a more satisfactory state; which is to say, as long as we assume that human beings make choices at all, they necessarily make choices to satisfy their own preferences/preferred-outcomes.

I see no way to escape these conclusions so long as we assume that people make legitimate choices at all, and barring any form of mind-control or consciousness-sharing (and even these two later conditions may not resolve the conclusion in another way).

If we are then logically bound to the conclusion that all human action is aimed at relieving one's self from felt uneasiness and that therefore people act according to their own ability to choose strategies that would most effectively relieve their felt uneasiness, we must recognize that all human action is necessarily self-interested action.

This being establish, we may see our term "greed" now for the incoherent idea that it is; "greed" becomes an adjective that one necessarily self-interested person uses to describe the actions/motivations of another self-interested person, as a way of saying, "You shouldn't be so self-interested."  "Greed" then is the adjective that the self-interested Bob uses to describe the self-interested actions Jill, that Bob does not like.  Bob is expressing a preference that Jill would act in some other way, that would benefit Jill less and benefit Bob or some other person(s) more.  Bob selects the word "greedy" because he is attempting to use morality to shame Jill; Bob, out of his own self-interest, is saying that Jill should feel shame because Jill's actions are self-interested.

This I suggest, is not a particularly coherent use of language and rather than say, "You are greedy.", we would do better to rephrase that expression to more accurately state our meaning, "I would prefer it, if your actions did not conflict with my own self-interest in such a way."

Hart and Hodson: Autonomy

"One of the actions you can choose to ensure more co-operation than conflict in your home is to encourage your kids to make their own choices whenever possible.  Their choices and the lessons they learn from them will be the best teachers they have in their lives.  Parents overlooks needs for choice at great peril -- their own and their children's."

"Choice is at the core of human experience at any age.  This deep longing to choose our own purpose, beliefs, and actions, no matter what age we are, is fought for and defended in every home, particularly by children whose parents overlook their vital need for autonomy.  Opportunities to make choices typically increase with age and experience.  The total dependence of infants gives way, day by day and with increasing momentum, to a desire to make choices for themselves -- choices about what and when they want to eat, explore, and express themselves.  The maturing process is about growing the ability to make choices for oneself, and it is crucial for their development that kids at early ages have many opportunities to make choices and to learn from them."

"To appreciate what a child experiences when choices are absent, just notice your own responses when someone says to you, _You can't!  You must!  You have to! Do it because I said so! and  If you don't do it, you'll be sorry!_  Do you want to co-operate?  You can bet that your kids have the same reaction to these messages that you do, and probably twice as strong because they haven't had dozens of years to get accustomed to them."

"There are several reasons parents think and do for kids rather than give kids choices about how to think and do for themselves.   One reason is that they want to see things done in a certain way -- neatly, efficiently and precisely.  Another reason is that it takes more time and patience to let kids do things for themselves.  Rushed and harried the way most parents are these days, they find it easier and quicker to just take responsibility and do whatever need to be done."

"All this thinking and doing for kids limits their opportunists to make choices and to get things done using their own brain and muscles power and creates resistance and conflict.  Without these opportunities, it is difficult for them to see themselves as capable and competent in their world."

"One mother we know remember sharing opinions with her parents and hearing back, _Oh, you don't believe that! You shouldn't think that!_  At an early age she learned to keep her opinions to herself, and even as a grown woman she still doubts that anyone will appreciate them.. Such limitation on a child's way of seeing the world can have severe consequences in adult life."

"Help your kids become aware of the range of choices they have and convey your confidence that they can handle more choice about their lives.  To further exercise their choicemaking muscles and to learn what words and what doesn't, invite them to participate in making rules, agreements and plans that affect them. Let your kids know that they can rely on you to help them make adjustments when needed and that you are willing to learn along with them as they go."

"When you talk with your children about choice, be aware that many young people, especially adolescents, feel confused, irritated, or angry when they hear adults talk about making choices.  Most kids know that parents, teachers, and other adults make most of the important decisions for them, and their choices often seem limited to just two -- to comply with the decision that com down or to rebel against them.  Most kids' experience is of living in the midst of a seemingly endless number of rules and expectations that often don't make sense to them and don't honor their desire and ability to make choices for themselves.  They might not believe that they have any control over meeting their own needs.  They may need a great deal of empathy for the gap between the autonomy they would like to have and the limited number of choices they have been offered by adults in the past."

~Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson
Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Williams: Social Justice

"What's just has been debated for centuries but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you - and why?"

~ Walter Williams

Bastiat: Protection of life, liberty and property is the purpose of law

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws.  On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." ~Bastiat

I've got Bastiat on the mind....

Frederic Bastiat quotes:

"The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else."

"When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law."

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place."

"No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate)."

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."

"There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so."

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone."

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it..

Several dozen quotes of the day...

Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.
- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.
- Frederick Douglass

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. - Galbraith's Law

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
- Noam Chomsky

A delusion held by one person is a mental illness, held by a few is a cult, held by many is a religion.
- Robert Todd Carroll

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power,
and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.
- Samuel Adams

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.
- Noam Chomsky

History is the propaganda of the victors.
- Ernst Toller

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
- Charles de Gaulle

Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.
- Joseph Goebbels

We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view. - Mao Tse-Tung

The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.
- Rita Mae Brown

The only problem with seeing too much is that it makes you insane.
- Phaedrus

Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world - and never will.
- Mark Twain


Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
- Mao Tse-Tung

If you don't control your mind, someone else will.
- John Allston

To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated over, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about, by men who have neither right, nor knowledge, nor virtue.
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Grown men do not need leaders. - Edward Abbey

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting. - Charles Bukowski

The essence of government is force, and most often that force is used to accomplish evil ends.
- Walter Williams

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
- Samuel Adams

Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves,
even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
- Edward Abbey

The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either.
The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental. - John Steinbeck

The anarchist painter is not the one who will create anarchist pictures, but the one who will fight with all his individuality against official conventions.
Paul Signac


Mises: The power of ideas

“In a battle between force and an idea, the later always prevails. ... Repression by brute force is always a confession of the inability to make use of the better weapons of the intellect – better because they alone give promise of final success. ... The ultimate outcome of the struggle, however, will not be decided by arms, but by ideas. It is ideas that group men into fighting factions, that press the weapons into their hands, and that determine against whom and for whom the weapons shall be used. It is they alone, and not arms, that, in the last analysis, turn the scales.”
 -Ludwig von Mises

SSRC: A new age of collectivism -- indeed!

"a new age of collectivism is emerging" which will "involve...the supplanting of private property by public property" and will require "experimentation" and "almost certainly...a larger measure of compulsory cooperation of citizens...a corresponding enlargement of the functions of government, and an increasing state intervention... Rights will be altered and abridged." (emphasis added)

~Social Science Research Council (1934); Conclusions and Recommendations  (re: Carnegie Foundation–funded operations)

Hart and Hodson: Telling the Truth about Choice

Tell the Truth about Choice:
"A parent tells her child, You have to get dressed right now. Mom keeps up the reminders even while daughter continues to jump on the bed instead of getting dressed. Clearly, the child doesn't have to get dressed. More accurately, there will be consequences if she doesn't."

"Parents talk about their own lives in the same way: I have to take Timmy to school. I have to pick up Kelly after work. I have to go shopping. How does it feel when you say these thing? What messages about life do your children receive when they hear how much you have to do? The truth is, you don't have to do any of those things. It's just that there will be consequences for whichever choice you make."

"Consider telling yourself and your kids the truth about choice. When you catch yourself thinking or saying. I should (or have to or must) eat more healthily, or get more rest, or have more fun or just listen to the kids without reacting. Notice how you feel when you tell yourself the truth about choice."

"To get clear about the choices you have, make a list of Things I Choose. Some examples of things to include on this list are: what I wear, what I eat, how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, and how I spend money."

"Next, make a list of Things Others Choose for Me. Other can include parents, families, employer, community, church or government. When you have completed this list, take a moment to consider each entry to see whether, in fact, you do have choice in these situations. For instance, if you say that your parents decide how you spend your holidays, consider the choice you have to go along with your parents' ideals or to do something else."
~Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson
Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bastiat: The Distinction between Government and Society

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the
distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time
we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that
we object to its being done at all."
 ~Frederic Bastiat

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mill: Progressive Taxation

"To tax the larger incomes at a higher percentage than the smaller, is to lay a tax on industry and economy; to impose a penalty on people for having worked harder and saved more than their neighbors."
 ~ John Stuart Mill

Saturday, May 12, 2012

If men are brothers, then all wars are civil wars...

"A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state.  A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history.  All human beings share a common descent and history, so all human beings belong to the same nation, which is currently a house divided into many parts.  All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers."
~Francois Fenelon

"Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?"
~Victor Hugo

"Either men will learn to live like brothers, or they will die like beasts." ~Max Lerner

Higgs:slaves who revere their masters and consider themselves free

"The sight of people who hold others in slavery is repellent. Even more repellent is the sight of slaves who revere their masters and consider themselves free. As Goethe famously observed, 'None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.' As Exhibit A, I offer the American people."

~Robert Higgs

Boétie: the people never blame the tyrant for the evils they suffer

"However, there is satisfaction in examining what they get out of all this torment, what advantage they derive from all the trouble of their wretched existence. Actually the people never blame the tyrant for the evils they suffer, but they do place responsibility on those who influence him; peoples, nations, all compete with one another, even the peasants, even the tillers of the soil, in mentioning the names of the favorites, in analyzing their vices, and heaping upon them a thousand insults, a thousand obscenities, a thousand maledictions. All their prayers, all their vows are directed against these persons; they hold them accountable for all their misfortunes, their pestilences, their famines; and if at times they show them outward respect, at those very moments they are fuming in their hearts and hold them in greater horror than wild beasts. This is the glory and honor heaped upon influential favorites for their services by people who, if they could tear apart their living bodies, would still clamor for more, only half satiated by the agony they might behold. For even when the favorites are dead those who live after are never too lazy to blacken the names of these people-eaters with the ink of a thousand pens, tear their reputations into bits in a thousand books, and drag, so to speak, their bones past posterity, forever punishing them after their death for their wicked lives." 
~ Étienne de La Boétie

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Path to Liberty

 For a stateless society to emerge, it must do so by enough people being exposed to ideas of liberty and beginning the process of integrating those ideas into their own minds and lives as to form a critical mass of persons, accepting and integrating these ideas into their lives...

Once upon a time, no one understood what science was, and many people were afraid and threatened by the conclusions that people using science had made... people were threatened, oppressed and even killed because they thought that this "science" thing contradicted their religious superstitions, but the idea persisted because it was a better idea... and because it was a better idea, it slowly gained momentum... education of the masses increased due to technological progress (like the printing-press)... science eventually became so main-stream that it is today difficult to imagine a world/society without the use of science! 

I have little doubt that the path to liberty will be like that.  We are using ideas, to build up to a critical mass of people, until some point at which the energy potential of our ideas overcomes the gravitational-effect of oppression, force and coercion!

Higgs: Offering Solutions

"Libertarians constantly encounter challenges to their criticism of the status (statist) quo which demand that we not simply denounce what exists, but present a detailed blueprint of our preferred replacement. I find this seemingly reasonable reaction tiresome in the extreme. First, our whole philosophy hinges on the conviction that no one, including none of us, knows how the world ought to be constructed: that "construction" should be the unplanned emergent outcome of free people's ceaselessly pursuing their objectives by peaceful, voluntary means. Second, if the house is burning down, must we offer an alternative to the fire before putting it out? If a viper is loose in our living room, biting everyone there, must we offer an alternative to the snake before killing it?"

Robert Higgs

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tucker: Authority & Liberty

"For, just as it has been said that there is no half-way house between Rome and Reason, so it may be said that there is no half-way house between [Authority] and [Liberty]."
~Benjamin Tucker

Wolff: Authority

"The defining mark of the state is authority, the right to rule. The primary obligation of man is autonomy, the refusal to be ruled. It would seem, then, that there can be no resolution to the conflict between the autonomy of the individual and the putative authority of the state. Insofar as a man fulfills his obligation to make himself the author of his decisions, he will resist the state's claim to have authority over him. That is to say, he will deny that he has a duty to obey the laws of the state simply because they are laws. In that sense, it would seem that anarchism is the only political doctrine consistent with the virtue of autonomy."
~Robert Paul Wolff

A line from the film: Good Will Hunting

 A line from the film: Good Will Hunting
Will: "There is a lengthy legal precedent, your honor, going back to 1789, whereby a defendant can claim self-defense against an agent of the government, if that act is deemed a defense against tyranny, a defense of liberty."
 This is an interesting line... and the conclusions we can draw from the speaker's argument are very interesting.  If an act of violence, or the threat of violence, violates the rights of the indiviudal, then that act is a tyranny, therefore, all violent/coercive acts of agents allegedly representing 'government', as agents of said entity, being backed by the threat of violence or violence itself, are necessarily acts of tyranny.  If all violent/coercive acts of agents allegedly representing 'government' are by virtue of their violent implications, acts of tyranny, then every person is thereby justified to self-defense by any and all acts of agents allegedly representing 'government'.  All violent/coercive acts of agents allegedly representing the 'government' are acts of tyranny and thereby violations of liberty.
 Is Will an anarchist?

Tweets from 05/10/12

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." ~Goethe

"The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else." ~Bastiat

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail" ~Abraham Maslow (That's politics in a nutshell)

"I have spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars; the rest I wasted." ~George Best

 "I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive."-Thomas Jefferson

"You don't stick a knife into a man's back 9 inches, pull it out 6 inches, and call it progress." -Malcolm X

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"All history affords but few instances of men trusted with great power without abusing it, when with security they could."~Gordan &Trenchard

"Power renders man wanton, insolent to others, and fond of themselves…" ~Gordon & Trenchard

Why is it so easy for some people to accept the principle, that for 2 people to be "equal" they have to have the exact-same material-stuff?

If "We the people" means, "the people"= wealthy-and-politically-influencial-white-guys-creating-the-Constitution, then it all makes sense...

"We can't solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them" ~Einstein

"The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil."~Hannah Arendt

"Critics of the capitalistic order always seem to believe that the socialistic system of their dreams will do precisely what they think..."

"In a private law society; peace, justice, and security would hold sway." ~ Hans-Hermann Hoppe #Anarchism

Yesterday, the guy who approves of drone bombing people without trial or proof of wrongdoing, said that he supported gay-marriage. Are we really supposed to take anything, that someone like that say, seriously?

"Gold and silver are money. Everything else is just credit." ~J.P. Morgan, 1912 #quote

"Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority." ~Mencken

@kismetician What if all human rights, are in fact, "property-rights"?; The self-ownership of the body->products of labor->gift/exchange...

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." ~Einstein

"While democracy seeks equality in #liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." ~F.A Hayek: The Road to Serfdom

"Private property is the most important guarantee of freedom." -- F.A. Hayek

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Henry: Arms & Defense

“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”
― Patrick Henry

Adams: Freedom

"It is freedom, gentlemen. It is freedom and not a choice of the forms of servitude for which we contend. We entertain no jealousy of the present Congress, but who knows but in some future corrupt times there may be a Congress which may form a design upon the liberties of the people. And will it be difficult to execute such a design when they have absolute command of the navy, the army, and the purse?" ~John Adams

Gordon & Trenchard: Power

"Power renders man wanton, insolent to others, and fond of themselves… All history affords but few instances of men trusted with great power without abusing it, when with security they could." ~Gordon & Trenchard

Locke: The great and chief end therefore... [of] government, is the preservation of their property

"The great and chief end therefore, of man’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property…. Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hands, we may say are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that nature bath provided and left it in, he bath mixed his labor with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property."~Locke

Locke: designs against the liberties of legislatures

"Yet the legislative being only a fiduciary power to act for certain ends, there remains still in the people a supreme power to remove or alter the legislative, when they find the legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them…. And thus the community perpetually retains a supreme power of saving themselves from the attempts and designs of any body, even of their legislators, whenever they shall be so foolish or so wicked as to lay and carry on designs against the liberties and properties of the subject." ~Locke

Adams: The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratic council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor

"We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs irrefragable, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power…. All projects of government, formed upon a supposition of continual vigilance, sagacity, and virtue, firmness of the people, when possessed of the exercise of supreme power, are cheats and delusions… The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratic council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical."~John Adams

Jefferson: The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." 

 " of the most profound preferences in human nature is for satisfying one’s needs and desires with the least possible exertion; for appropriating wealth produced by the labor of others, rather than producing it by one’s own labor… the stronger and more centralized the government, the safer would be the guarantee of such monopolies; in other words, the stronger the government, the weaker the producer, the less consideration need be given him and the more might be taken away from him." ~Jefferson

Centinel: the most odious system of tyranny that was ever projected

"That investigation into the nature and construction of the new constitution, which the conspirators have so long and zealously struggled against, has, notwithstanding their partial success, so far taken place as to ascertain the enormity of their criminality. That system which was pompously displayed as the perfection of government, proves upon examination to be the most odious system of tyranny that was ever projected, a many headed hydra of despotism, whose complicated and various evils would be infinitely more oppressive and afflictive than the scourge of any single tyrant: the objects of dominion would be tortured to gratify the calls of ambition and cravings of power, of rival despots contending for the sceptre of superiority; the devoted people would experience a distraction of misery."
"No wonder then that such a discovery should excite uneasy apprehensions in the minds of the conspirators, for such an attempt against the public liberties is unprecedented in history, it is a crime of the blackest dye, as it strikes at the happiness of millions and the dignity of human nature, as it was intended to deprive the inhabitants of so large a portion of the globe of the choicest blessing of life and the oppressed of all nations of an asylum [of liberty]."~Centinel, 1789 (Samuel Bryan)

Hamilton disparaging the Constitution he championed

Referring to the Constitution: "...a frail and worthless fabric" ~Hamilton

"...the Constitution was a shilly-shally thing made of milk and water, which could not last, and was only good as a step to something better" ~Hamilton

Hodgskin: Education

"Man had better be without education than be educated by their rulers." - Thomas Hodgskin

Muggeridge: servile State to come to pass of itself without our noticing it

"A recurrent nightmare, with me, is that in our inimitable English way we are allowing a servile State to come to pass of itself without our noticing it; that one morning I shall wake up and find that, with the Monarchy still extant, Honourable and Right Honourable Members still meeting in Westminster, the Times and the Manchester Guardian, the New Statesman and the Spectator and Punch still regularly appearing, the cricket still being played at Lords, and the B.B.C. still providing its daily offering from “Bright and Early” to “Good-night everyone, good-night,” we have nevertheless become a totalitarian society. In this nightmare it seems clear that all the faceless men, the men without opinions, have been posted in key positions for a bloodless take-over, and that no one is prepared to join a Resistance Movement in defense of freedom because no one remembers what freedom means. The walls of Jericho fell down, not because the trumpet blast was strong, but because the walls themselves were crumbling. People, that is to say, are never enslaved unless they have become slaves already. They swim into the Great Leviathan’s mouth. He does not need to chase them." ~Malcolm Muggeridge

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Somalia is not an anarchist utopia

"Somalia is an anarchist-utopia."  I have heard this stated several time recently, and I would like to respond to those claiming that, "Somalia is an quintessential example of state-less society."  The argument seems to be that: because Somalia has no central State controlling the country, then therefore, Somalia is in a state of anarchy and therefore, it is an exemplar of an anarchist-utopia.  This is a mis-construction (straw-man) of the argument made by anarchists.  Anarchists do not argue that flags, uniforms and the like are unethical, but that the social institutionalization of the initiation of aggression in the form of physical force (violence), threats of force (coercion) and theft (to include extortion and fraud) are unethical.  Therefore, the fact that "Somalia" designates a geographic region within which there are several groups of persons who have joined together to form a social institutions of violence & aggression in the form of "gangs" or "militias", is no different in principle than if there were just one gang and it called itself, "the State".  If the anatomy of the State, as Rothbard would put it, is the institutionalization of aggression over a given geographical location, then Somalia is not a "state-less" society at all, but rather a society where there are several competing States, all interested in becoming the dominate gang with monopoly on the institutionalization of aggression.

Augustine makes this point rather markedly:

"Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, 'What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor.' "

Slavery: A damn fine question

Bastiat: Socialism

Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm

"Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person's gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold form the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people's hearts first - and then they will joyfully share their wealth."
~ Saint John Chrysostom

The Consequences from being raised in a condition of slavery

"[Slaves are…] brought up from their infancy without necessity for thought or forecast, [they] are by their habits rendered as incapable as children of taking care of themselves." ~Thomas Jefferson