Wednesday, February 29, 2012

F. A. Hayek: Liberty & Organization

“The argument for liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reason can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization, against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better.” ~F. A. Hayek

John Holt:We learn best when we decide what is worth learning

"I believe that we learn best when we, not others are deciding what we are going to learn, and when we are choosing the people, materials, and experiences from which we will be learning." ~John Holt

John Holt: Student's don't need a better curriculum, they need more of the real world

"What children need is not new and better curriculum but access to more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them." ~John Holt

John Holt: he who can not escape his protectors

"No one is more truly helpless, more completely a victim, than he who can neither choose nor change nor escape his protectors." ~John Holt

John Holt: School is not a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go

"It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life." ~John Holt

John Holt: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners

"The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners."

~John Holt

John Holt: Education, [the] antihuman business of people-shaping

"Education... now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and 'fans,' driven more and more, in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves." ~John Holt

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

P.J. O'Rourke: Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people

"When a government controls both the economic power of individuals and the coercive power of the state, this violates a fundamental rule of happy living: Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people."

~P.J. O'Rourke

Property Rights are Human Rights: A response to a philosophy professor

This argument is submitted in reply to the video of Clark Butler (Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne), that maybe found at: (A partial transcript may be found below)

In response to the contention that some human-rights include a right to the products of the labor of others:

IF person 'X', has a 'right' to something that must be produced by some other person ('Y'); THEN this implies that 'Y' has no right to the thing ('r') that 'X' has a right to; for IF 'X' and 'Y' have the same 'right' to the same thing 'r' THEN there is an irresolvable conflict of interest over 'r'.

IF 'Y' has no 'right' to some portion of the product of the labor of 'Y' due to the 'right' OR claim of 'X' for the provision of 'r' for 'X', THEN either 'Y' must produce 'r' for 'X', OR else a third-party ('W') must be forced/coerced to pay 'Y' to produce 'r' for the 'right' of 'X' to 'r'. In either case, either 'Y' OR 'W' is required by the 'right' of 'X' to 'r', to produce 'r' for 'X', without any possibility for either 'Y' OR 'W' to voluntarily contract for remuneration for providing 'r'. The involuntary provision of labor without voluntarily contracted remuneration/exchange, fits the necessary and sufficient conditions for material equivalence of a condition of slavery. THEREFORE, IF our initial premise is held to be true, THAT 'X' has a valid-claim or right to 'r', such that 'Y' must be forced/coerced to be produce 'r', OR else 'r' is obtained by paying 'Y' to produce 'r' through the force/coercion/extortion of 'W' THEN either 'Y' or 'W', is the slave of either 'X' OR a third-party person-or-group ('V') who enforces (force and/or coercion) the 'right' or claim of 'X' for 'r'.

If we can assume that a premise or assertion from which we may logically derive a conclusion justifying a condition slavery is ethically unsatisfactory, then we must reject as ethically unsatisfactory the assertion that any person 'X' has a right to the product of the labor of any other person.

Responding to the argument that a portion of the product of the labor of Steve Jobs, belongs to the society/collective-economic-group that provides the economic environment, that makes the success/wealth of Steve Jobs possible:

IF a portion-of-the-product-of-the-the-labor ('p') of person 'S', rightly belongs to a collective-of-individuals-consisting-of-an-economic-environment ('E') because those persons participating in the greater/collective economic environment make possible the success or wealth of 'S', THEN {if this principle is applied universally} 'S' as one part of that collective is therefore owed 'p' (a part/portion of the product of the labor of that entire collective), due to the role played by 'S' in that economic environment; THEREFORE the claim that 'S' owes 'E' a portion of the product of her labor 'p' is negated by the reciprocal debt owed by 'E' to 'S'.
[If the principle is not permitted universally, then there are two different standards of analysis being arbitrarily applied to different persons, creating a condition of debt of one party to another without the possibility for reciprocation, which would result in one party having a lesser fundamental rights-claim than other person (or group of persons), which is an essential premise required for a condition slavery.]


Student: "I really like what you said about, 'Stopping war, by implementing peace, through implementing human rights on earth' but I have a question about the means to do that. How do you implement human rights on earth when governments need to violate rights to exist; in other words...{interjection}"

Professor: "I don't think governments *have* to violate rights, human-rights in order to exist. Human rights are the moral standards by which we are to judge governments and governments should be brought to account if they do violate human-rights and so, it's a difficult challenge but that is the challenge of the 'world human rights movement' and human rights will never be perfectly realized on earth, I'm an 'amelioratist'{?} not an optimist, I think think that tomorrow can {not?} be any better than today. I am a member of the 'world human rights movement' and I invite you to be a member of the 'world human rights movement'. I go by the United Nations understanding of human rights and my book 'Human Ethics' is really just an articulation and defense of the United Nations human rights, from the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' on. I think that Occupy is a human rights movement too, in my own vocabulary, and in its own way, the Teaparty is a human rights movement too but there is some disagreement about the list of valid human rights."

Student: "There are some rights that we probably can agree on, right? Like I can't come to your house and take your money from you."

Professor: "True. Ok, the right to your own property, if it has not been stolen, is a human right."

Student: "Ok, so the how do you resolve that with taxation?"

Professor: {Begins to tell story about his teacher (John Hospers) who was a one-time mentor of Ayn Rand.}... The Teaparty and certainly the Libertarian party, tends to believe that the fundamental human right is the right to the product of your own labor. That is the basic Lockean human right. That is not what the United Nations believes. That is not what I defend in my book. I defend as a central human right, the first amendment right to equal opportunity of freedom of expression and discussion and dialog as a universal human right that is not realized yet on earth and equal opportunity to contribute to dialog, in the search, in a collaborative search for the truth, has to take place if it's equal opportunity, has to take place on an equal playing field. That means that there are some in discussion, nationally and internationally, who are very weak, and there are others that are very powerful, and rich and I don't say that we all have to be equalized in wealth or income to be equally empowered in freedom of expression but there is a certain minimal amount of economic empowerment that is necessary for some people that may be starving, or be homeless, if they are going to be able to participate on an equal playing field with others in discussion and dialog and have their voice heard too and considered seriously in discussion and dialog so I defend United Nations when it says that freedom of expression, freedom of speech, is the number one central human right but for that to be equally implemented among all human beings as human right and not just a right of the rich and the powerful, we have to also recognize economic human rights, the right to a minimal decent standard of living, the right to food, the right to health care, the right to good public, good education and if it has to be funded by taxing those that are better off, so be it. Now, this gets a little bit off the track, but should I finish the reasoning? ... First, take the idea of the right to the product of your own labor, now to some extent, that is justified, [because] it is motivating because I believe in entrepreneurship and if you didn't get rewarded at all by your labor, then I think you would get demotivated, the United Nations itself recognizes..."{interjection of question}

Student: "But I'm interested in knowing, how do you derive a way to determine to what extent you have a right to the products of your own labor..."{interjection}

Professor: "That's what I wanted to address right now. I believe contrary to Libertarians, that the product of Steve Jobs' labor is a collective and social product. I believe that if Steve Jobs, tried to start up his business with all his intelligence and with all his hard work, and with all his spirit of adventure, if he had had tried to do that in one of the poorest countries of the world, he would have never succeeded and become wealthy because, and I have been to one of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso. I have a friendship with the former minister of human rights in Burkina Faso, and there would be no body of consumers who could afford the things that Steve Jobs would invent and bring to market, so he would, and I know exact examples of people who have tried to create jobs, entrepreneur jobs, that would earn them profit in Burkina Faso and it just doesn't work for various reasons; first, people don't have any money to spend, secondly, there is corruption everywhere, you have to pay M'ba-chiese{?}, the government actually has no police, in many villages, the nearest policeman is fifty miles away and so the village will stop you on the road and take M'ba-chiese{?} so you can travel on and you have to hand money right and left to the government to get anything done, and you have the extended family, as soon as you accumulate some wealth, then you discover you have two hundred cousins with outstretched hands, and so my neice tried to create an enterprise in Burkina Faso, ... and she failed because of these reasons and Steve Jobs would have failed. Therefore, Steve Jobs success as an entrepreneur depends on the fact that he grew up and created his business in an affluent country with a solid consumer population with purchasing power and therefore his wealth is a collective product and therefore, since he owes his wealth to all those Americans who can afford to buy his products, his product were partly due to himself but partly a social product and that justifies society taxing part of his so called product away, which is due to the surrounding affluence of American consumers."

Student: "Didn't he derive his wealth from the people who decided to exchange the fruits of their labor for what he produced for them?"

Professor: "Don't you realize that his success would not have occurred except in a society with affluent consumer population like the United States."

{the video goes on from here but you can watch the video if you're interested}

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819: Rightful liberty

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."--Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The State as Abstraction

The State is not an objective thing in the world, rather, "the State" is the symbolic signifier of a conceptual abstraction. Like all abstractions, it is an ordering of the phenomenon of experience in such a way as to make it understandable. Just as a family is an abstraction that has no objective existence of its own but rather it is an abstraction useful for understanding the conceptual properties of the collection of particular instances of the of its members; in the same way the State is an abstraction that has no objective existence outside of the collection of individual members.

As an abstraction, the State is materially equivalent to the collection of particular individuals that participate in the concept. Therefore, the State is materially equivalent to those individuals that initiate threats of force against others ('threat-makers'= politicians, legislators, executives, judges, bureaucrats, administrators), those that compel obedience to those threats through use of force ('enforcers'= soldiers, police officers, bailiffs), those supporting the enforcers and threat-makers ("law-makers") because they are directly benefited by the enforcement of those threats ('cronies' = 'corporations', all who support State-action in order to ensure that the direct benefits they receive from acts of force, coercion and theft, will continue), and those that support the State out of fear (either the fear of having threats of force initiated against them, or else fear in absence of State-action, some outcome worse than the State's aggressive actions will made manifest).

If this analysis is an accurate representation of the 'State' as an abstraction, then I open the floor for ideas on how best to achieve a condition of liberty for all persons. I might suggest that there are two general approaches that might be most efficacious; the first, to ignore the threat-makers, to shame the enforcers, to demonstrate with reason and evidence that the support of State-action by the cronies is support of unethical behavior for their own particular benefit and the determent of everyone else, and then to give courage (encouragement) to the frightened; the second approach might be to empathize with all of advocates-of-State-action, to connect with what basic human needs they are trying to satisfy, and then to help them find alternate, healthy ways to satisfy those needs.

@VereSapiens responds to the "Tyranny of Good-Intentions"

@VereSapiens : "I don't believe government has 'good intentions'. That's part of their propaganda to excuse abuse of the citizens."

I would certainly be in agreement with you that some particular individuals make use the language and expressions of altruism, yet secretly concern themselves with only their own desires of power and self-aggrandizement.

However, in my experience and judgement, many, if not most people advocating various 'programs' and 'regulations' are truly under the impression that they are doing good; that the results of their actions will result in the outcome of a better world for all persons. Like an over-bearing parent, seeing their child in distress, seeks ways to 'assist' their child, such that either the child resents the 'assistance', or such that prevents the healthy development of autonomy; likewise, advocates of State action, see a 'social-problem', and having the need for some kind of *action* to correct the problem, yet feeling powerless themselves to assist in positive/voluntary ways, those advocates of State action, see the State as a magic-social-fairy that can wave the wand of 'public funds' to solve any social-ill (in no small part due to State influence in institutionalized education).

I guess what I'm saying, is that, while I am not so naive that I do not resonate with Burke's, "“There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” and Mencken's "Don't overestimate the decency of the human race"; neither I am not so cynical as to presume the *consciously* evil intent of all advocates of State action.

I rather take counsel from Mises' “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.”

I am inclined to think that the advocates-of-State-action adopt their position because they have adopted (erroneous) ideas.

Yet, all liberty-minded persons are painfully aware that advocates-of-State-action rarely respond to rational argumentation (deductive reason) or evidence (inductive reason), therefore there are deeper motivations that drive the advocates-of-State-action than the surface argumentation that they use to support their (erroneous) ideas.

This lack of response to rationality, can only be psychological/emotional reactions to unmet needs; when a person experiences fear or anger (stress) evidence suggests that their amygdala (primitive fight/flight instinctual structure) has increased metabolism (activity) and simultaneously the prefrontal cortex has inhibited activity; literally, when we are stressed/afraid/angry we have inhibited access to our complex reasoning functions, which explains why advocates-of-State-action do not respond to rationality (and often become obviously emotional).

Not only must we put forward better ideas, but we must learn ways to empathize with advocates-of-State-action, validating their feelings for their unmet needs and suggesting alternate, more productive ways to meet their needs.

In all likelihood, the advocates-of-State-action have been developmentally and emotionally damaged by behaviors/structures/institutions of domination, that thier advocacy of State action comes from a place inside of their psyches' that has reduced capacity to 'solve problems' outside of domination or submission.



The Tyranny of Good-Intentions

I would welcome all to submit their favorite quotations on the subject of "Tyranny of Good-Intentions" in the comments section here.

"Probably more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out evil than by men intent on doing evil." ~Frederick Hayek

"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes." ~Thomas Paine

"There's no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he doesn't want merely because you think it would be good for him." ~Robert Heinlein

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ~C. S. Lewis

Friday, February 24, 2012

Michael Parenti: Worst/Successful tyranny

"The worst forms of tyranny, or certainly the most successful ones, are not those we rail against but those that so insinuate themselves into the imagery of our consciousness, and the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny." Michael Parenti

Voltaire: Tyranny on sleeping men...

“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.” ~Voltaire

Edmund Burke: Power as Intoxicant!

"Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to any thing but power for their relief. When did distress ever oblige a prince to abdicate his authority? And what effect will it have upon those who are made to believe themselves a people of princes?" -- Edmund Burke

H. L. Menckenr: On Education...

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever pretensions of politicians, pedagogues other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.” -H. L. Mencken

C.S. Lewis: On the Tyranny of Good Intentions

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis

War is little more than a ritualistic sociopathy of tribal human-sacrifice to appease the god of 'The State'

War is little more than a ritualistic sociopathy of tribal human-sacrifice to appease the god of 'The State'

Madison s Contradiction: If men were Angels, no government wouldbe necessary....

In a well know passage of Federalist 51, Madison wrote, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

Yet this reasoning seems inconsistent unless one presumes there are two wholly different kinds of persons, one kind that is responsible & may be trusted, and a kind that cannot be so
trusted to be responsible for itself.

For, if there is only one kind of person, and if the State is necessary to control the people, because 'the people' cannot be trusted to control themselves, and if, sufficient power [means to violence] is surrendered (by the people), in order to make that control possible, then it is necessary for such a person, accepting these first two conditionals, to trust the very same kind of person, in their capacity as agents of the State, now embued with the means of incontestable power, to control themselves.

Hoppe: The State & War

The primary means for the expansion of state power and the elimination of rival exploitation centers is war and military domination. Interstate competition implies a tendency toward war and imperialism. As centers of exploitation, their interests are by nature antagonistic. Moreover, with each of them--internally--in command of the instrument of taxation and absolute counterfeiting powers [i.e., central banking and fractional reserve new money creation], it is possible for the ruling classes to let others pay for their wars.

--Hans Hermann Hoppe. Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jorge Luis Borges: On the alleged necessity of the State

… for me the State is the now the common enemy; I would like—and I've said this many times—a minimum of State and a maximum of individuality. … I certainly won't see a world without States. For this it is necessary for humanity to be ethical, and what is more, humanity must be intellectually stronger that what exists today. … Without a doubt, we are quite immoral and not very intelligent in comparison to the men who are to come, and because of this … "I believe dogmatically in progress." … I think that in time we will deserve to not have government.

~Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges: On Countries and the Human Race

Desdichadamente para los hombres, el planeta ha sido parcelado en países, cada uno provisto de lealtades, de queridas memorias, de una mitología particular, de derechos, de agravios, de fronteras, de banderas, de escudos y de mapas. Mientras dure este arbitrario estado de cosas, serán inevitables las guerras.

Unfortunately for the human race, the planet has been parceled into countries, each one stocked with loyalties, cherished memories, a particular mythology, rights, grievances, borders, flags, shields, and maps. While this arbitrary state lasts, wars will be inevitable.

~Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges: On the State empieza por la idea de que el Estado debe dirigir todo; que es mejor que haya una corporación que dirija las cosas, y no que todo 'quede abandonado al caos, o a circunstancias individuales'; y se llega al nazismo o al comunismo, claro. Toda idea empieza siendo una hermosa posibilidad, y luego, bueno, cuando envejece es usada para la tiranía, para la opresión. begins with the idea that the State should direct everything; that it's best to have an organization that directs things, and not that everything is 'left abandoned to chaos, or to individual circumstances'; and it ends up with naziism or communism, of course. This entire idea begins by being a beautiful possibility, and later, when it ages it is used for tyranny, for oppression.

~Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rediscovering Max Weber: Politics as a Vocation (part 1)

But what is a 'political' association from the sociological point of view? What is a 'state'? Sociologically, the state cannot be defined in terms of its ends. There is scarcely any task that some political association has not taken in hand, and there is no task that one could say has always been exclusive and peculiar to those associations which are designated as political ones: today the state, or historically, those associations which have been the predecessors of the modern state. Ultimately, one can define the modern state sociologically only in terms of the specific means peculiar to it, as to every political association, namely, the use of physical force.

'Every state is founded on force,' said Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk. That is indeed right. If no social institutions existed which knew the use of violence, then the concept of 'state' would be eliminated, and a condition would emerge that could be designated as 'anarchy,' in the specific sense of this word. Of course, force is certainly not the normal or the only means of the state--nobody says that--but force is a means specific to the state. Today the relation between the state and violence is an especially intimate one. In the past, the most varied institutions--beginning with the sib--have known the use of physical force as quite normal. Today, however, we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Note that 'territory' is one of the characteristics of the state. Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the 'right' to use violence. Hence, 'politics' for us means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.

Consent, Sex and Ethics

Consent is a very important feature of ethical analysis.

Imagine the hypothetical, where Bob makes an agreement with Jill, that she will have sex with Bob, and in exchange, Bob will pay Jill an agreed upon sum. So far, while some persons may question the morality of such an arrangement, I hope we can agreed, that nothing strictly unethical has yet occurred in our hypothetical.

Now imagine Bob and Jill are in the act of completing their agreed upon arrangement {don't think too hard on it, you'll go blind ;-) }, so long as they both maintain their consent for the arrangement, nothing unethical has occurred.

Yet, imagine that either party, either Bob or Jill, while in the act of coitus, expresses to the other, that they withdraw their consent from the arrangement; what then? If either party, does not respect the other party's wishes to withdraw consent, I believe both you and I would be in agreement that the act which would then take place, could only be described as rape.

The feature of voluntary consent then, is critical to the ethical analysis and the mere expression of the withdrawal of that consent, is an act sufficient to make any previous contract or agreement nugatory.

In our hypothetical of Bob and Jill, if either party were to withdraw consent, the other party must cease and desist further non-consensual action and then the parties must re-negotiate the terms (if Bob withdraws consent after services having been only partially rendered, how much does he owe Jill and vice versa), yet neither party would be fully in their rights to enforce the full completion of the agreement, in the spite of non-consent.

Under this reasoning, no amount of presumed consent, would be sufficient to continue an act, contrary to the wishes of one of the parties involved.

Therefore, any argument that resorts to presume a person's consent to a past agreement, due to the geographical position that they reside, could *not* maintain itself in the face of the withdraw of consent by any individual party.

Therefore, just because Jane, lives in such-and-such a place, no person, or group of persons could ever ethically enforce a supposed contract against Jane, in the event that Jane withdraws her consent from the supposed contract.

If ever a "social-contract" or "Constitution" existed which was consented to by all parties involved explicitly and unanimously, it would become null and void to any individual which withdrew her consent.

A theory of property

This theory of property consists in the assumption, that the consciousness that is embodied in a body, has greater claim to that body, than any other individual; said in another way, each person, owns themselves. They are exclusive resident of their minds (failing multiple personalities), and that mind having exclusive control over their body, each individual has an exclusive property right to their own body.

The action of labor, indeed all human action, is a result of the individual being somewhat at ill-ease (uneasiness) with their current condition, and therefore, they seek to act/labor to improve their condition in some way. Their action/labor is an exchange of the exertions of their self-ownership, for a more satisfactory condition.

As exclusive owner of one's body, one finds themselves in a world of other things, external to the body; one finds that their body requires some things external to it to survive and inasmuch as we can assume that it is not unethical to live, one seeks to supply one's body with the stuff of life; air, water, food, clothing and shelter.

To acquire these bare necessities of life, one must either labor or exchange for them. If one has no property to exchange, one must labor on their own in or with nature to produce them, or they might exchange their labor-time itself, for some kind of compensation agreement, that they may then use to satisfy their bodily requirements.

Property then, is a claim to one's self-ownership in terms of labor (or exchange thereof) of past exertions of one's self-ownership. The claim of property, is not a claim to external material objects; the claim of property is rather that one has mixed their life-force (self-ownership) with the material objects (through direct labor or exchange of relative subjective value). Nor is a property claim *merely* a claim to property in the present, for one may divest themselves of the property in the present through abandonment or through exchange of relative subjective value; rather, the claim of property is a claim that extends into the past, referencing past labor or past exchange of relative subjective valuations for the property in question.

[If property, were a claim of present property only, without regard to past expenditures of labor through exertions of self-ownership, then the argument that all property must/should be nearly (as possible) divided evenly (generally equal distributions of relative subjective value) between all persons becomes an argument of great strength; as without regard to time, all find themselves upon the same orbital mass, and none having a greater claim on another, than the other's claim to self-ownership, the conclusion that all property should be equivalently distributed is a logical conclusion. The extension of property right in the past is the condition which weakens such an argument. Of course the proponent of an equivalent distribution argument would be quick to point out that many so-called property claims are the results of involuntary action (theft) and that these extensions of property claim are illegitimate. I am in agreement with this criticism, and it is just this question as to the ramifications of a world replete in illegitimate property claims has on a theory of property, ethics and political theory, that I would like to take up in chats with persons of diverse perspectives.]

All exchanges are a result of two distinct/separate persons having different perceptions as to their subjective valuation of the goods to be exchanged. In a successful exchange, that is, in an exchange which is voluntarily completed with the consent of both parties, each party assesses the exchange as having a greater potential to increase the satisfaction their felt uneasiness. Therefore, exchanges, in all times in places, when successfully completed with the consent of both parties under fair representation of the exchange in question, at the time of the exchange, both parties anticipate that their relative conditions of satisfaction will be improved; that they both will benefit from the transaction, for if this were not the case, they would not consent to the transaction.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rothbard: On Property & Property Claims

Let us say that Ruritania is ruled by a king who has grievously invaded the rights of persons and the legitimate property of individuals, and has regulated and finally seized their property. A libertarian movement develops in Ruritania, and comes to persuade the bulk of the populace that this criminal system should be replaced by a truly libertarian society, where the rights of each man to his person and his found and created property are fully respected. The king, seeing the revolt to be imminently successful, now employs a cunning stratagem. He proclaims his government to be dissolved, but just before doing so he arbitrarily parcels out the entire land area of his kingdom to the “ownership” of himself and his relatives. He then goes to the libertarian rebels and says: “all right, I have granted your wish, and have dissolved my rule; there is now no more violent intervention in private property. However, myself and my eleven relatives now each own one-twelfth of Ruritania, and if you disturb us in this ownership in any way, you shall be infringing upon the sanctity of the very fundamental principle that you profess: the inviolability of private property. Therefore, while we shall no longer be imposing ‘taxes,’ you must grant each of us the right to impose any ‘rents’ that we may wish upon our ‘tenants,’ or to regulate the lives of all the people who presume to live on ‘our’ property as we see fit. In this way, taxes shall be fully replaced by ‘private rents’!”

Now what should be the reply of the libertarian rebels to this pert challenge? If they are consistent utilitarians, they must bow to this subterfuge, and resign themselves to living under a regime no less despotic than the one they had been battling for so long. Perhaps, indeed, more despotic, for now the king and his relatives can claim for themselves the libertarians’ very principle of the absolute right of private property, an absoluteness which they might not have dared to claim before.

It should be clear that for the libertarians to refute this stratagem they must take their stand on a theory of just versus unjust property; they cannot remain utilitarians. They would then say to the king: “We are sorry, but we only recognize private property claims that are just—that emanate from an individual’s fundamental natural right to own himself and the property which he has either transformed by his energy or which has been voluntarily given or bequeathed to him by such transformers. We do not, in short, recognize anyone’s right to any given piece of property purely on his or anyone else’s arbitrary say-so that it is his own. There can be no natural moral right derivable from a man’s arbitrary claim that any property is his. Therefore, we claim the right to expropriate the ‘private’ property of you and your relations, and to return that property to the individual owners against whom you aggressed by imposing your illegitimate claim.”

One corollary that flows from this discussion is of vital importance for a theory of liberty. This is that, in the deepest sense, all property is “private.”[5] For all property belongs to, is controlled by, some individual persons or groups of persons. If B stole a watch from A, then the watch was B’s private “property”—was under his control and de facto ownership—so long as he was allowed to possess and use it. Therefore, whether the watch was in the hands of A or B, it was in private hands—in some cases, legitimate-private, in others criminal-private, but private just the same.

As we shall see further below, the same holds for individuals forming themselves into any sort of group. Thus, when they formed the government, the king and his relatives controlled—and therefore at least partially “owned”—the property of the persons against whom they were aggressing. When they parceled out the land into the “private” property of each, they again shared in owning the country, though in formally different ways. The form of private property differed in the two cases, but not the essence. Thus, the crucial question in society is not, as so many believe, whether property should be private or governmental, but rather whether the necessarily “private” owners are legitimate owners or criminals. For, ultimately, there is no entity called “government”; there are only people forming themselves into groups called “governments” and acting in a “governmental” manner.[6] All property is therefore always “private”; the only and critical question is whether it should reside in the hands of criminals or of the proper and legitimate owners. There is really only one reason for libertarians to oppose the formation of governmental property or to call for its divestment: the realization that the rulers of government are unjust and criminal owners of such property.

In short, the laissez-faire utilitarian cannot simply oppose “government” ownership and defend private; for the trouble with governmental property is not so much that it is governmental (for what of “private” criminals like our watch-stealer?) but that it is illegitimate, unjust, and criminal—as in the case of our Ruritanian king. And since “private” criminals are also reprehensible, we see that the social question of property cannot ultimately be treated in utilitarian terms as either private or governmental. It must be treated in terms of justice or injustice: of legitimate property-owners vs. illegitimate, criminal invaders of such property, whether these invaders are called “private” or “public.” The libertarian may now be getting rather worried. He may say: “granted that you are right in principle, that property titles must be validated by justice, and that neither the criminal may be allowed to keep the stolen watch, nor the king and his relatives ‘their’ country, how can your principle be applied in practice? Wouldn’t this involve a chaotic inquiry into everyone’s property title, and furthermore, what criterion can you establish for the justice of these titles?”

The answer is that the criterion holds as we have explained above: The right of every individual to own his person and the property that he has found and transformed, and therefore “created,” and the property which he has acquired either as gifts from or in voluntary exchange with other such transformers or “producers.” It is true that existing property titles must be scrutinized, but the resolution of the problem is much simpler than the question assumes. For remember always the basic principle: that all resources, all goods, in a state of no-ownership belong properly to the first person who finds and transforms them into a useful good (the “homestead” principle). We have seen this above in the case of unused land and natural resources: the first to find and mix his labor with them, to possess and use them, “produces” them and becomes their legitimate property owner. Now suppose that Mr. Jones has a watch; if we cannot clearly show that Jones or his ancestors to the property title in the watch were criminals, then we must say that since Mr. Jones has been possessing and using it, that he is truly the legitimate and just property owner.

Or, to put the case another way: if we do not know if Jones’s title to any given property is criminally-derived, then we may assume that this property was, at least momentarily in a state of no-ownership (since we are not sure about the original title), and therefore that the proper title of ownership reverted instantaneously to Jones as its “first” (i.e., current) possessor and user. In short, where we are not sure about a title but it cannot be clearly identified as criminally derived, then the title properly and legitimately reverts to its current possessor.

But now suppose that a title to property is clearly identifiable as criminal, does this necessarily mean that the current possessor must give it up? No, not necessarily. For that depends on two considerations: (a) whether the victim (the property owner originally aggressed against) or his heirs are clearly identifiable and can now be found; or (b) whether or not the current possessor is himself the criminal who stole the property. Suppose, for example, that Jones possesses a watch, and that we can clearly show that Jones’s title is originally criminal, either because (1) his ancestor stole it, or (2) because he or his ancestor purchased it from a thief (whether wittingly or unwittingly is immaterial here). Now, if we can identify and find the victim or his heir, then it is clear that Jones’s title to the watch is totally invalid, and that it must promptly revert to its true and legitimate owner. Thus, if Jones inherited or purchased the watch from a man who stole it from Smith, and if Smith or the heir to his estate can be found, then the title to the watch properly reverts immediately back to Smith or his descendants, without compensation to the existing possessor of the criminally derived “title.”[7] Thus, if a current title to property is criminal in origin, and the victim or his heir can be found, then the title should immediately revert to the latter.

Suppose, however, that condition (a) is not fulfilled: in short, that we know that Jones’s title is criminal, but that we cannot now find the victim or his current heir. Who now is the legitimate and moral property owner? The answer to this question now depends on whether or not Jones himself is the criminal, whether Jones is the man who stole the watch. If Jones was the thief, then it is quite clear that he cannot be allowed to keep it, for the criminal cannot be allowed to keep the reward of his crime; and he loses the watch, and probably suffers other punishments besides.[8] In that case, who gets the watch? Applying our libertarian theory of property, the watch is now—after Jones has been apprehended-in a state of no-ownership, and it must therefore become the legitimate property of the first person to “homestead” it—to take it and use it, and therefore, to have converted it from an unused, no-ownership state to a useful, owned state. The first person who does so then becomes its legitimate, moral, and just owner.

But suppose that Jones is not the criminal, not the man who stole the watch, but that he had inherited or had innocently purchased it from the thief. And suppose, of course, that neither the victim nor his heirs can be found. In that case, the disappearance of the victim means that the stolen property comes properly into a state of no-ownership. But we have seen that any good in a state of no-ownership, with no legitimate owner of its title, reverts as legitimate property to the first person to come along and use it, to appropriate this now unowned resource for human use. But this “first” person is clearly Jones, who has been using it all along. Therefore, we conclude that even though the property was originally stolen, that if the victim or his heirs cannot be found, and if the current possessor was not the actual criminal who stole the property, then title to that property belongs properly, justly, and ethically to its current possessor.

To sum up, for any property currently claimed and used: (a) if we know clearly that there was no criminal origin to its current title, then obviously the current title is legitimate, just and valid; (b) if we don’t know whether the current title had any criminal origins, but can’t find out either way, then the hypothetically “unowned” property reverts instantaneously and justly to its current possessor; (c) if we do know that the title is originally criminal, but can’t find the victim or his heirs, then (cl) if the current title-holder was not the criminal aggressor against the property, then it reverts to him justly as the first owner of a hypothetically unowned property. But (c2) if the current titleholder is himself the criminal or one of the criminals who stole the property, then clearly he is properly to be deprived of it, and it then reverts to the first man who takes it out of its unowned state and appropriates it for his use. And finally, (d) if the current title is the result of crime, and the victim or his heirs can be found, then the title properly reverts immediately to the latter, without compensation to the criminal or to the other holders of the unjust title.

It might be objected that the holder or holders of the unjust title (in the cases where they are not themselves the criminal aggressors) should be entitled to the property which they added on to the property which was not justly theirs, or, at the very least, to be compensated for such additions. In reply, the criterion should be whether or not the addition is separable from the original property in question. Suppose, for example, that Brown steals a car from Black, and that Brown sells the car to Robinson. In our view, then, the car must be returned immediately to the true owner, Black, without compensation to Robinson. Being a victim of a theft should not impose obligations on Black to recompense someone else. Of course, Robinson has a legitimate complaint against the car-thief Brown, and should be able to sue Brown for repayment or damages on the basis of the fraudulent contract that Brown had foisted upon him (pretending that the car was really Brown’s property to sell). But suppose that Robinson, in the course of his possession of the car, had added a new car radio; since the radio is separable from the car, he should be able to extract the radio as legitimately his own before returning the car to Black. On the other hand, if the addition is not separable, but an integral part of the property (e.g., a repaired engine), then Robinson should not be able to demand any payment or property from Black (although perhaps he may be able to do so by suing Brown). Similarly if Brown had stolen a parcel of land from Black, and sold it to Robinson, the criterion should again be the separability of any additions Robinson had made to the property. If, for example, Robinson had built some buildings on the property, then he should be able to move the buildings or demolish them before turning the land over to the original landowner, Black.

Our example of the stolen car enables us to see immediately the injustice of the current legal concept of the “negotiable instrument.” In current law, the stolen car would indeed revert to the original owner with no obligation on the owner’s part to compensate the current holder of the unjust title. But the State has designated certain goods as “negotiable instruments” (e.g., dollar bills) which the non-criminal recipient or buyer is now deemed to own, and who cannot be forced to return them to the victim. Special legislation has also made pawnbrokers into a similarly privileged class; so that if Brown steals a typewriter from Black, and then pawns it with Robinson, the pawnbroker may not be forced to return the typewriter to its just property owner, Black.

To some readers, our doctrine may seem harsh on good-faith recipients of goods which later turn out to be stolen and unjustly possessed. But we should remember that, in the case of land purchase, title searches are a common practice, as well as title insurance against such problems. In the libertarian society, presumably the business of title search and title insurance will become more extensive to apply to the wider areas of the protection of the rights of just and private property.

We see, then, that, properly developed libertarian theory neither joins the utilitarians in placing an arbitrary and indiscriminate ethical blessing upon every current property title, nor does it open the morality of existing titles to total uncertainty and chaos. On the contrary, from the fundamental axiom of the natural right of every man to property in his self and in the unowned resources which he finds and transforms into use, libertarian theory deduces the absolute morality and justice of all current titles to property except where the origin of the current titles is criminal, and (1) the victim or his heirs can be identified and found, or (2) the victim cannot be found but the current title-holder is the criminal in question. In the former case, the property reverts in common justice to the victim or his heirs; in the latter, it becomes the property of the first appropriator to alter its unowned state.

We thus have a theory of the rights of property: that every man has an absolute right to the control and ownership of his own body, and to unused land resources that he finds and transforms. He also has the right to give away such tangible property (though he cannot alienate control over his own person and will) and to exchange it for the similarly derived properties of others. Hence, all legitimate property-right derives from every man’s property in his own person, as well as the “homesteading” principle of unowned property rightly belonging to the first possessor.

We also have a theory of criminality: a criminal is someone who aggresses against such property. Any criminal titles to property should be invalidated and turned over to the victim or his heirs; if no such victims can be found, and if the current possessor is not himself the criminal, then the property justly reverts to the current possessor on our basic “homesteading” principle.

Let us now see how this theory of property may be applied to different categories of property. The simplest case, of course, is property in persons. The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that each person must be a self-owner, and that no one has the right to interfere with such self-ownership. From this there follows immediately the total impermissibility of property in another person.[9] One prominent example of this sort of property is the institution of slavery. Before 1865, for example, slavery was a “private property” title to many persons in the United States. The fact of such private title did not make it legitimate; on the contrary, it constituted a continuing aggression, a continuing criminality, of the masters (and of those who helped enforce their titles) against their slaves. For here the victims were immediately and clearly identifiable, and the master was every day committing aggression against his slaves. We should also point out that, as in our hypothetical case of the king of Ruritania, utilitarianism provides no firm basis for vacating the “property right” of a master in his slaves.

When slavery was a common practice, much discussion raged as to whether or how much the master should be monetarily compensated for the loss of his slaves if slavery were to be abolished. This discussion was palpably absurd. For what do we do when we have apprehended a thief and recovered a stolen watch: do we compensate the thief for the loss of the watch, or do we punish him? Surely, the enslavement of a man’s very person and being is a far more heinous crime than the theft of his watch, and should be dealt with accordingly. As the English classical liberal Benjamin Pearson commented acidly: “the proposal had been made to compensate the slaveowners and he had thought it was the slaves who should have been compensated.”[10] And clearly, such compensation could only justly have come from the slaveholders themselves, and not from the ordinary taxpayers.

It should be emphasized that on the question of slavery, whether or not it should have been abolished immediately is irrelevant to problems of social disruption, of the sudden impoverishing of slave masters, or of the flowering of Southern culture, let alone the question—interesting, of course, on other grounds—whether slavery was good for the soil, and for the economic growth of the South, or would have disappeared in one or two generations. For the libertarian, for the person who believes in justice, the sole consideration was the monstrous injustice and continuing aggression of slavery, and therefore the necessity of abolishing the institution as soon as it could be accomplished.[11]

Monday, February 13, 2012

A defintion of "political-rape"

Political-Rape: The prohibition, backed by the threat of force, of the individual, to extricate herself from the decisions of the group/collective, by granting immunity from non-consensual laws.

"Political-rape is the non-consensual, forcing upon someone else, the satiation of your own political desires."

On Liberty and Equality

Liberty and Equality are not mutually exclusive concepts; they are not either/or conditions.

Liberty, is a precondition or a prerequisite of equality.

I can never be equal to the person, who is either my slave or my master.

"A society that puts equality...ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom." —Milton Friedman

The Difference Between a Request and a Demand

Have you ever considered the question, "What is the difference between a request and a demand?" While in both cases the person making the request or the person making the demand, wants someone else to do something, my personal experiences of both having received requests and demands, has led me to the conclusion that the two are very different propositions, and if we are in agreement, that requests and demands, are in some way qualitatively different, then I would suggest that this insight may be useful to illuminate much of our daily social interactions.

What is the difference between a request and a demand? I submit that a true request is an invitation, while a true demand is a mandate. The request is an invitation, by the person making the request, to in some way invite someone else, to add to their joy; to share with them in fun, joy and/or life (which I suppose I mean to say, a sharing in/of any of the basic/universal human needs). A demand on the other hand, is not an invitation; it is a mandate. A demand suggests that the one who demands, wants the person demanded of, to perform a certain function, and if that person demanded of, chooses not to perform the demanded action, then some repercussion, initiated by the one making the demand, will occur.

The request takes the form of, "Would you like to go with me to see a movie?"

While the demand takes the form of, "You WILL go to the movies with me (or I will be mad at you)."

A true request has no implicit conditional attached to the non-performance of the request. A denial of the true request, would not result in anger, or unusual disappointment, sadness, or threats. If one says, "Would you like to go with me to the movies?" and if the one requested of, replies with a declination, the one who "requested" would not respond, "Well if you won't go with the movies with me, then I won't help you move furniture tomorrow (as we previously agreed)." In this case, the form of request was used, but a demand was given.

So while the distinction may be subtle in practice, we may rest assured, that the key element in determining the difference between the requests of others and the demands of others, is what response they may have, if we decline the request/demand. Do they thank us for considering their request? Do they try to make alternate suggestions/requests to share in life/joy?


Do they become angry? Do they attempt to make us feel guilty? Do they try to manipulate us by suggesting that this decision will affect the future relationship? Do they make threats of violence?

All of these latter responses, are sure signs that we are not dealing in requests, we are dealing with demands.

Ultimately, the only way to truly know if we are dealing with requests or demands, is to decline, and observe the reaction....

Thomas Jefferson: Quotes...

"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing."

“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.”

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity."

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent."

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Austrian Economics? @nullvoid9 @ctolliver

I believe Austrian economics a refinement of that discipline, because its initial premises, more closely conform to experience. Just as a scientific theory is more useful, the more closely that it actually describes an objective reality, the Austrian school of economics more closely explains human action, which is fundamental to explaining how individuals choose to economize, or make use of limited/scare resources with indefinitely large individual demand for satisfaction. The Austrian theory begins with the premise that persons *act* as a best selection of means (given limited knowledge) to achieve their own subjectively preferred end states (outcomes).

This is compared to many other theories which have presume that persons are caused to act, based on past historical events... most other economic theories do not begin with the analysis of the individual as a choosing, acting entity but rather suppose that the group or collective as a primary unit of economic analysis; which is why so much attention is placed on "aggregate supply" and "aggregate demand" and why such attention is placed on economic measurement, because they deny the intentionality of the individual's action, they believe it is possible to measure (and therefore predict) economic states.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brutus (Anti-Federalist): The object (purpose) of government

Federal Taxation and the Doctrine of Implied Powers (Part I)
"Brutus" The New-York Journal of December 13, 1787.

This constitution considers the people of the several states as one body corporate, and is intended as an original compact; it will therefore dissolve all contracts which may be inconsistent with it. This not only results from its nature, but is expressly declared in the 6th article of it. The design of the constitution is expressed in the preamble, to be, "in order to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity." These are the ends this government is to accomplish, and for which it is invested with certain powers; among these is the power "to make all laws which are necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." It is a rule in construing a law to consider the objects the legislature had in view in passing it, and to give it such an explanation as to promote their intention. The same rule will apply in explaining a constitution. *The great objects then are declared in this preamble in general and indefinite terms to be to provide for the common welfare, and an express power being vested in the legislature to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the powers vested in the general government.* The inference is natural that the legislature will have an authority to make all laws which they shall judge necessary for the common safety, and to promote the general welfare. *This amounts to a power to make laws at discretion.* *No terms can be found more indefinite than these, and it is obvious, that the legislature alone must judge what laws are proper and necessary for the purpose.* It may be said, that this way of explaining the constitution, is torturing and making it speak what it never intended. This is far from my intention, and I shall not even insist upon this implied power, but join issue with those who say we are to collect the idea of the powers given from the express words of the clauses granting them; and it will not be difficult to show that the same authority is expressly given which is supposed to be implied in the foregoing paragraphs.....

Plato: The price of apathy...

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men” -Plato

Dear Plato; {It's not necessarily apathy, its fear, in resignation to the violence imposed in childhood and reinforced in the schools}

If the people are sheep, it is because our parenting has dominated them, and our schools have subjugated them; ...

"the people" are sheep, because all their lives, they have encountered systems and institutions of domination;....

The "sheep-le" have never tasted freedom; they have never been encouraged to think independently; they know nothing other than subordination

Monday, February 6, 2012

Albert Camus: The welfare of the people...has always been the alibi of tyrants

"The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of
tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of
tyranny a good conscience."
~Albert Camus

"So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, the Caesars and Napoleons will arise to make them miserable." ~Aldous Huxley

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Response to @Nullvoid9 on Fiat Currency

While the previous tradition of substituting bank notes for hard currency played a role, coercive laws enforcing the acceptance of fiat currency for the payment of debts, as well as the acceptance of the fiat currency as payment of taxes, are the two largest factors for the persistence of fiat currency acceptance. Then of course, there are the regulations that prevent/restrict other currencies from "competing" with the fiat currency; as occurred with the "Liberty Dollar"

Tyranny & the Inconsistent Application of Ethics

“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

"How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist urges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people."
~ Walter Williams

The false premise of Corporate-Personhood

"These corporate 'persons' have been given many superhuman qualities. They have infinite life spans, reside simultaneously in many nations, create their own parents, and cut off parts of themselves to form new entities. They cannot go to jail for committing a crime, and do not need fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, or safe food to eat. These and other extraordinary qualities-combined with constitutional protections intended for natural persons-have enabled large transnational businesses to acquire enormous wealth and political power that is used by a few to rule over many."

~ The Abuses of Corporate Personhood, Brian Lane

The desire to "do good" by force, is never a good motive

"Do not consider Collectivists as “sincere but deluded idealists”. The proposal to enslave some men for the sake of others is not an ideal; brutality is not “idealistic,” no matter what its purpose. Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives."

~ Ayn Rand

"It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil."

~ Fredrich von Hayek, Nobel Laureate in Economics

My Twitter Rant on Feb 5th, 2012:

"An unjust law, is no law at all." ~Augustine [If laws R nothing more than the will of the tyrant,then they R illegitimate on that account]

"An unjust law, is no law at all."~Augustine [If laws are supposed 2 promote the moral/ethical ideal of justice,if a law B unjust => illegit

If a law is unjust, then 2 be permitted a "due process" of injustice, is hardly ameliorating 2 the ethical question. Unjust laws are illegit

If your so-called "#rights" are defined & granted by the State, then those "rights" are not rights at-all; they R permissions or allowances

The majority of ills plaguing humanity, are the result of not taking ideas, logic, reason, evidence, & #philosophy -- seriously.

When one says, "That's just not practical", it is too often, a confession of the inability to seriously consider alternate possibilities...

If we took the idea of "human rights" seriously, we would have 2 concede that ethics must B applicable 2 all people universally&consistently

"#due_process of law" too often implies, that #consent, reason & ethics is are unnecessary considerations & that #might_makes_right

"#due_process of law" are words, backed by threat of violence, that says, those that own the process, can do what ever they write on paper

If we are to assume that the laws of democratic republics R necessarily just, then we must conclude, that both slavery & holocaust were just

If we recognize, that laws of the past have not conformed to justice, then how has humanity advanced, if we turn not the lens on ourselves?

If we acknowledge that laws of the past were unjust, because they did not conform to ethics & reason, then can we assume our laws are just?

Could perhaps, we take ethics & reason seriously, and begin to question all assumptions of legitimacy, and have our ideas conform to reason?

Or else, we must close our eyes 2 reason & history, & pretend that all evils have been corrected, and we have reached the pinnacle of ethics

Any attempt to "balance" ethical ideas w/ practical concessions, inimical to reason & human rights; is to abandon all hope 4 ethics & reason

Initiation of violence, coercion & theft can never be ethically "balanced" w/ other considerations; these violate every idea of human rights

If you may not murder, and take away another's life, how may you threaten to murder/harm to force another to do your bidding?

If U may not murder, 2 take away another's life,how may you take from them their possessions that were created from the labor of their life?

The initiation of violence against another, is to surrender one's essential humanity, to forgo reason and become a beast...

When a person defend themselves against another 'person' who initiates violence, they do not defend against a person, but a beast of nature

A person can B reasoned with, negotiated with,communicated with...a 'person' initiating violence is open 2 none of these...a beast of nature

One does not negotiate with or reason with the storm, the earthquake, or the ravenous beast of nature... one acts to preserve themselves...

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.-

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cognitive Distortions:

Cognitive Distortions:

1. All or nothing thinking – the tendency to think in absolute terms, like ‘always’, ‘never’ and every.
2. Overgeneralization – taking isolated situations and applying them in a wide generalized way.
3. Mental filter – focusing exclusively on one, usually negative aspect and ignoring the larger, more positive picture.
4. Discounting the positive – continually ignoring positive aspects for arbitrary reasons.
5. Jumping to conclusions - assuming something negative where there is actually no evidence to support it. Two specific subtypes are also identified:
a. Mind reading - assuming the intentions of others
b. Fortune telling - guessing that things will turn out badly
6. Magnification – usually magnifying the negatives and minimizing the positives – my psychiatrist nicknames it ‘Awfulisation’.
7. Emotional reasoning – making decisions on how you feel not based on objective reality.
8. Should statements – when you concentrate on what you feel you should do or ought to be rather than the reality of the situation. (Often called ‘wishful thinking’).
9. Labeling – related to overgeneralization, where you assign labels to someone rather than specific behavior. One example could be rather than saying – I made a mistake, you say I am a loser because of the mistake.
10. Personalization and blame – assuming yourself or others are the cause of things when that may not have been the case.

Lord Acton: Absolute power corrupts absolutely..

Lord Acton, 1887 letter to Mandell Creighton, quoted in Neilson (1969, 87):
"... I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. there is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means. you would hang a man of no position like Ravaillac; but if what one hears is true, then Elizabeth asked the gaoler to murder Mary, and William iii ordered his Scots minister to extirpate a clan. here are the greatest names coupled with the greatest crimes; you would spare those criminals, for some mysterious reason. i would hang them higher than haman, for reasons of quite obvious justice, still more, still higher for the sake of historical science."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Soldiers beating an animal....

I don't know the context of this video... but I find it hard to understand why people are so surprised, that when people are put in extraordinarily stressful and violent situations, they act in such ways as to relieve those stresses in extraordinarily tragic ways...

It is a solemn reminder why war and violence has many tragic unintended consequences... as well as the horrific intended consequences...

Just a refresher on Informal logical fallacies...

Argument from Authority: Because someone else has a PhD, your argument is invalid.

ad hominem: The argument put forth by that person you just quoted is invalid, because that person is; stupid, idiot, crazy, evil, dumb

Appeal to Tradition: You argument is invalid, because we've been doing it this way for a really long time.

Appeal to Belief: Your argument is invalid, because only a handful of people would agree with you; therefore I can dismiss anything you say

Appeal to Ignorance: Since it has never been tried before, we don't know that what you say is true, therefore your argument is invalid

Appeal to the Gun: Your argument is invalid, because people with guns will beat you, jail you or just shoot you, if you step out of line.

Appeal to Authority: You're argument is invalid, because you don't have appropriate credentials to make qualified statements on that subject

Red Herring: PersonG:"I'd like to talk about the ethics of the situation"; PersonH:"Yeah but ethics will never work in real life!"

Mow your lawn!

You can refuse to mow the lawn, but you will be 'cited' (threatened) by the 'authorities'; you can refuse to pay the fine, but those 'authorities' will attempt to 'confiscate' (steal) your property; you can resist the theft, but you will be 'arrested' (kidnapped); you can resist capture, but you will be 'pacified' (beaten); you may resist the beating but... if you are a persistent 'interdictional nonsuccumber' (survivor), you will be 'jailed' (put in a cage).

Makes you think twice about those threats to mow your lawn, huh?

Every law, no matter the apparent lack of purport, is a demand backed by the threat of violence, that if not obsequiously obeyed ...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ayn Rand: Rearden's defense

“I work for nothing but my own profit,” he says, “which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs. . . . I made my money by my own effort, in free exchange and through the voluntary consent of every man I dealt with. . . . I refuse to apologize for my ability—I refuse to apologize for my success—I refuse to apologize for my money.”

Read more:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rothbard: On the Involuntary nature of the State

"It is also contended that, in democratic governments, the act of voting makes the government and all its works and powers truly 'voluntary.' Again, there are many fallacies with this popular argument. In the first place, even if the majority of the public specifically endorsed each and every particular act of the government, this would simply be majority tyranny rather than a voluntary act undergone by every person in the country."
"Murder is murder, theft is theft, whether undertaken by one man against another, or by a group, or even by the majority of people within a given territorial area. The fact that a majority might support or condone an act of theft does not diminish the criminal essence of the act or its grave injustice. Otherwise, we would have to say, for example, that any Jews murdered by the democratically elected Nazi government were not murdered, but only 'voluntarily committed suicide' – surely, the grotesque but logical implication of the "democracy as voluntary" doctrine."

Murray Rothbard

Lysander Spooner: On State agency...

"They [the elected government officials] are neither our servants, agents, attorneys, nor representatives ... [for] we do not make ourselves responsible for their acts. If a man is my servant, agent, or attorney, I necessarily make myself responsible for all his acts done within the limits of the power I have intrusted to him. If I have intrusted him, as my agent, with either absolute power, or any power at all, over the persons or properties of other men than myself, I thereby necessarily make myself responsible to those other persons for any injuries he may do them, so long as he acts within the limits of the power I have granted him. But no individual who may be injured in his person or property, by acts of Congress, can come to the individual electors, and hold them responsible for these acts of their so-called agents or representatives. This fact proves that these pretended agents of the people, of everybody, are really the agents of nobody."
~Lysander Spooner
Lysander Spooner, No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, James J. Martin ed. (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Ralph Myles, 1973), p. 29.