Recent comments

  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 1 hour 52 min ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Kevin, this seems an awful lot of vitriol in order to establish the undeniable facts that a.) no one should ever be forced into AA -- or any other recovery program -- by the State or anyone else, and; b.) AA could use some more prominent competition.   Otherwise, it's a good essay.   This was my take on the subject from a while back:   http://strike-the-root.com/voluntaryist-vitriol-anarchic-attacks-against...    
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 11 hours 58 min ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Haven't read the whole essay as yet, Kevin -- you spent a goodly amount of time on it and did your homework nicely. Glad to see you posting. But I've gotta be up and on the bike (82, still biking to work, not because I need the work, but need the bike ride). I'm one of the "old timers" around AA. Over 50 years, with a substantial number of "slips" -- over 35 years and counting since last drink. Haven't been to a meeting in over a year, but that's not because AA is going downhill. It's because I'm gettin' too damned old. AA is perhaps the last of the truly libertarian organizations. There are no rules, no leaders -- lots of parasites (folks who take the "12 steps" as their own, then make it appear we are part of "them"). It's probably one of the factors that eventually led me to STR. I had never heard the term "libertarian" in the 50's, when I first began attending (from lockup). It's nobody's business if or when I go back to drinking, and that's why the Tripey's and all the naysayers (most of whom have their own brand of "recovery" to sell) are so vociferous against AA. It's like reading "anti-libertarian" garbage on mainstream media. They have no real idea what they're talking about. And, no sense arguing with neocon and/or leftist anti-libertarians -- they know everything. And that is that. To them, the idea of no central authority is cult-like. And, as to the religion thing, there are now many, many agnostic groups about for those who tend to wear their feelings on their sleeve against the religious drunks. In the old days, religion was the "cure". Since day one I merely sidestepped the religion and religious lamentations concomitant with many in recovery. When they say their out-loud prayers I count heads. Dissing religion is stupidity personified. Hope you continue to crank us out some good essays. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 hours 8 min ago Web link Westernerd
    Ha! Very amusing, Will. And quite true, up to a point. Yes, humans have "wants" to a huge degree I for one have not yet fathomed, and yes, less work is always better because there is such a vast amount of beauty and knowledge to explore during one's time away from the work bench.   Yes, too, the universe is "meaningless" in the sense that it comes with none ready-packaged in some mythical enclosure; not, though, in the other important sense that we humans have an amazing and priceless opportunity (unique in all Nature, I think) to fashion our own meaning.   Yes, yet more, I think so highly of the libertarian understanding of which way is up that I am indeed jealous of preserving its "orthodoxy", for want of a better word. I have, however, no such "handbook" as you mention; just a grasp of the essential principle that every person rightly owns his own life, along with some ability to draw deductions from that axiom.   Thank you, yet further, for reference to the Zero Government Blog. I'm gratified indeed that you have been for "years watching it in action." Disappointed, though, that your prejudice in favor of the current manifestation of the Luddite Faith has prevented you embracing its reasoning. Some day, perhaps, you'll favor us with an explanation of how you can simultaneously deplore the alleged replacement of humans by robots, yet earn a living by helping design them.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 hours 27 min ago Web link Westernerd
    I hope my dismissal of their arguments was not "offhand", though you raise an interesting point: is it valid to reject a conclusion without having studied deeply the arguments that support it? You're saying it's not, but then again life is short and books are many.   I suggest that it frequently is valid. We can reject Marxism without having spent a lifetime in socialist libraries; on the simple grounds that in the dozens of countries where his ideas have been tried out, they have in every case proven to be miserable failures. We can dismiss Islam as a deeply inferior religion, simply by placing its Five Pillars alongside the Nicene Creed.   And here, we can dismiss the claim that automation is causing the sky to fall, just on the basis that such a cry has gone up every time a bright new labor-saving invention enhanced the human race over the past scores of thousands of years; but every time, the sky has preserved its elevation.   Yes, it's just possible that this time, the warning is valid. But when there exist clear and obvious alternative explanations for the growing number of un- and under-employed low-skilled people, I'm not going to lose sleep over that possibility.   One other, lesser point while I'm here: you mentioned low-price Chinese imports are "shit", quote. That hasn't been my experience, anecdotal though it is. I've bought a dozen or more small items via eBay from China, and with only one exception they have been well made, cleverly designed, low priced and rapidly delivered. I'm delighted that after centuries of deep poverty, a large number of Chinese people have begun to taste the pleasures of prosperity.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 19 hours 48 min ago Page Douglas Herman
    Thanks Jim,   Your compliment means more to me than if I were published in the MSM.  And paid to do so. 
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 23 hours 3 min ago Web link Westernerd
    If anyone reading the STR blog wishes to see the limited benefits of technology, look no further than the AI-trollbot that automatically posts under the "Jim Davies" handle.   After years of watching it in action, I think I finally have figured it out:  Its libertarian purity-test algorithm checks all posts for "flaws" and provides boilerplate "corrections" straight out of the Handbook of Libertarian Orthodoxy.  It supposes to "think," yet it sees only in black and white.  As a machine, it cannot understand the non-material aspects of life that are the root of what it means to be human.  It's programmed to view humans as biological robots , that we live in a meaningless universe, that consciousness is an illusion, and everything that can't be measured doesn't exist.  In its algo, humans have infinite wants, so more stuff and less work is always better, even when in real life, it isn't. 
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 1 day 12 min ago Web link Westernerd
    I'd posit it's only a curse if the average person doesn't have access to owning one of these machines. If all automation is centralized then yes that would leave very little opportunity to those that used to labor. However, most labor saving devices to date have found their way into the average household, garage, and even pocket. If that trend continues, it will be up to the average person to determine how their life is made better.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 day 4 hours ago Page Douglas Herman
    Doug: a tour de force.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 2 days 35 min ago Web link Westernerd
    '...By "jointly envision the same demise of central political authority" you meant that you don't agree with me that the State can be abolished...' "The State" has been abolished. Or is in the process of being. I did not say or infer your apparent conception. "It" will not be abolished by me (well, it already has in terms of "jurisdiction") -- and I don't see it being abolished by you. But if you see differently, that's certainly your privilege. How 'bout let's call it your "right". These squabbles are merely playing with words -- fiddlin' while Rome burns. IMHO -- which ain't all that humble. Sam
  • James Clayton's picture
    James Clayton 2 days 21 hours ago Web link KenK
    Exactly. Show me, don’t just tell me. I suppose we’ve gotta use words when we talk to each other … but I don’t spend too much time wondering if I AM (“x”), especially if “x” seems somewhat vague, abstract and subjective.
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 2 days 23 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    On some level, all work is monotonous.  I've been in operating rooms and observed open heart surgeries to speak with surgeons and understand how they want a certain tool designed.  Speaking first-hand, one bypass surgery looks a lot like the next.  It's monotonous, just in the way that making nice furniture or preparing ingredients for a dinner with friends or any number of meaningful activities are monotonous.     Machines that make subtle decisions are here, and in that context, when they can do nearly every task that humans can do, only faster, better, and cheaper, what then?  It's possible that individually we thought that we were working to create machines that would make the world a better place, but in the aggregate, the system created through that action decreases the overall quality of life--and not just the material aspects.  Matt Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft discusses the value in terms of the feeling of self-worth that comes from working with your hands, and my experience resonates strongly with his views.   AI-driven technologies are of a fundamentally different kind from what has come before.  They are able to survey a complicated situation and then "decide" on the best way to approach it.  Not many people know that newswriting algos have been implemented for years now--see here. Push this forward several decades and ponder what creative endeavor this leaves humans to do.   Offhand dismissals of arguments made by the authors I mentioned isn't really a rebuttal when you aren't familiar with their arguments.  We're living in a world when pro-technology mantras are drummed into the heads of everyone from childhood, and most people haven't ever heard a compelling arguement against the march of technology.   Not all, or even a majority of the authors I listed are neo-Luddites (though Kaczynski would identify as such), but most embrace certain technologies while shunning others in an attempt to create a more meaningful and convival life.   If you zoom out far enough, it's not hard to see that humans today are serving the interests of the machines more than they are of their own well-being.  
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 3 days 4 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Will, you have some thought-provoking ideas here. Somewhere, though, they must have a flaw, because your "technological development is undermining human dignity" cannot be right. Technological development has been taking place since our race climbed down from the trees, and I can't accept that modern hom sap is less dignified than a monkey. Tech dev is the story of man! It is that at which mankind most excels! Those seven authors you name cannot be right; technology most certainly has, for all of history, made life dramatically better.   Not uniformly, sure; when governments get hold of it they put it to the most dreadful uses - but we know where to place the blame for that, and it's not on the technology itself.   Technology is and always has made monotonous work obsolete. Yes, and a good thing too. It releases the assembly-line human robot to do something creative and interesting. If he cannot find something creative and interesting to do, that too is not the fault of technology - but rather of the educational system (in the broadest sense) which fashioned his mind and outlook. And we know who is responsible for most of that.    
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 3 days 5 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Oh, I get it. I should have got it first time, the fault is mine. By "jointly envision the same demise of central political authority" you meant that you don't agree with me that the State can be abolished.   Okay, if none of us do anything, it can't. It may well spiral itself into a destructive black hole of some kind and produce appalling poverty and misery, but out of that will come some monstroius replacement. It will never abolish itself, on that we agree.   Further, a frontal attack on everyone supporting the state won't work either; at any one time, nearly everyone is caught up in the statist religion, yes. Government has been clever and systematic over many generations in educating people to suppose it is indispensable.   But one at a time, dealing just with the few who have become fed up with all of it... there is the opportunity. And it's all we need - along with a little patience. And if you disagree with that, we'll have to agree to disagree.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 days 20 hours ago Web link A. Magnus
    Link to a documentary: http://www.vaccinesrevealed.com/?inf_contact_key=77e6c598dcea9b9e8433469... Not that I'm endorsing it -- haven't seen it, and probably won't. First, I generally don't watch "documentaries", which seem to all follow a redundant format nowadays. I eschew redundancies. Second, it's presumably only on at certain times, and I have no intentions of making an appointment to watch it. I might google it once the video becomes available free online. But I'll be the choir they're a-preachin' to. You might benefit from watching, but I doubt it. Pro-vaxers and anti-vaxers tend to fall into the similar categories -- neither have any intentions of "switching", regardless of reality, evidence or facts. Sam Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 days 21 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    "...Never mind this, it's obvious that people today aren't happier than they were 50 or 100 years ago. If technology were connected to happiness, I don't think we'd have about 15% of the population on SSRIs..." What you're actually identifying is loss of freedom -- what STR is all about: liberty. And, I'll readily agree that much of the technology and the development of more highly automated and robotic production of physical products is itself having a debilitating effect upon those only educated, skilled and trained for factory work. The mass exodus for manufacturing has been to "third-world" places where starvation nips the lower 2/3 of the population in the arse every day. It's increasingly difficult for manufacturers to remain afloat here in the land-of-the-free. As the article reveals, technology is creating a huge tsunami in "service" industries as well. But the problem is "SSRIs". If there were no such thing as state there could be no such thing as "SSRI". If there were no parasites engaged in redistributing wealth, wealth would abound. Either that, or we're spinning our wheels here at STR. "The poor" are the true sufferers from loss of freedom. Yet it is "the poor" who are directed to interchange with the beast (who claims jurisdiction in robbing "the rich"). It has been largely "the poor" who have voted with and for political progressive-ism -- along with those who benefit by keeping them poor (most often "the rich"). Enter "SSRIs". The enormity of the truth is incredible. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 days 22 hours ago Web link KenK
    "Political Correctness" is the game of the year. One sees it virtually everywhere nowadays. Even here on a "libertarian" forum it can crop its ugly head. On another thread there's the idea bandied about that one must "admit" s/he is this, that or the other in order to "belong". Ostensibly, one cannot (or should not be "allowed to") "belong" otherwise. It's my way or the high-way. It occurs to me that nobody -- nobody -- has a corner on the "liberty" market. The most liberty-minded are likely the least intellectual of the bunch, who've never written an essay or a book or a piece outlining what "liberty" is or a plan showing how to achieve it. I won't "sign-the-pledge" for NAP. But I won't aggress upon you -- trust me. As you imply -- don't tell me, show me. As to the "race" phenomenon, it seems folks are all pretty much racially integrated, whether they admit it or not. In many parts of the world, those who dabble with licensing when they wish to marry must often show some sort of proof they're not siblings or cousins or relatives in some other way. In the white man's "legal" system, it's even "illegal" for first cousins, for instance, to marry and produce children. Not that I'm recommending that. Incest apparently can produce weird genetic afflictions. Sam
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 4 days 54 min ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    You don't have to prolong anything if you don't wish to do so. If you're last statements on the subject are simple ad hominem you prove what I've said earlier. Some may read your articles, but frankly you limit your prospective audience by your demeanor. It's interesting to watch.
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 4 days 1 hour ago Web link Westernerd
    This isn't theoretical.  Robotic automation has already replaced 90% of the jobs in some industries.   If you were to compare the prices of many items at retailers today and 40 years ago, I don't deny that on an "inflation-adjusted" basis that they have decreased in price.  However, relative to the earnings for the bottom half of society, it's clear that their material standard of living has decreased.  In other words, the real cost of living hasn't decreased in spite of the automation--or the cheap Chinese shit that pours into the country, which has the same effect as automation, i.e., low labor costs.   Ralph Borsodi, Jacques Ellul, Lewis Mumford, Ivan Illich, E.F. Schumacher, Ted Kaczynski, Paul Kingsnorth and many others have written extensively against the thesis that technology just keeps making life better.    In a nutshell, technological development isn't aimed at improving human well-being.  Technology is driven by efficiency, which is an engineering concept, not one connected with a comfortable life.  Never mind this, it's obvious that people today aren't happier than they were 50 or 100 years ago.  If technology were connected to happiness, I don't think we'd have about 15% of the population on SSRIs.    People need challenges to create meaning in their lives.  Work has provided that challenge for many, but technology is making work obsolete.  Moreover, every exploitable technology is used as a weapon by government to subdue us further.  Ultimately, technological development is undermining human dignity, and that is a serious problem.   
  • James Clayton's picture
    James Clayton 4 days 2 hours ago Web link KenK
    Yes, actions speak louder than words. This brings to mind the-man-with-the-plan, a man of many words. He loves to talk about vague and abstract concepts; and he likes to label and categorize people. It’s easier for him to say what he is than to actually show what he does.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 days 4 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Thanks for clarifying that you "refuse" to answer my question (which was to state your own ideals, not just to "identify with a label".) That being so, I see no point in prolonging this exchange. You might be a genuine seeker after understanding and liberty, but your refusal suggests you are just a dilettante. I have better things to do than to bandy words with you.
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 4 days 10 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    You impute a lot on other people. Some would call that straw-manning. It's one of the reasons you appear to be disagreeable. You keep on harping on whether I want to identify with a label or not. I refuse. You've ignored the point which is that the way you act does not broaden your potential audience. Not my problem, just pointing it out...since you seem to think if just enough people read your articles and go through your training they (and you as a result) will become free. If such a thing is possible, and that's your goal, you are working against yourself.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 days 11 hours ago Web link A. Magnus
    Oh -- and please don't get me wrong. I could care less if Kennedy Jr or anybody else "serves" on Trump's agenda. Read this: http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/trump-vaccine-experts-are-not-...
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 days 11 hours ago Web link A. Magnus
    Whether one is "pro-vaccine" or "anti-vaccine" has nothing to do with anything. The question: Do you want psychopaths grouped under the mindless abstraction called "government" forcing everybody -- under penalty of death (all white man's "law" comes under eventual death sentence until resisters "comply") -- to succumb to forced inoculations? When you can't help knowing that the medical establishment, which includes their incestuous relationship with pharmaceuticals, represent among the largest lobbying outfits in the business??? And they're the folks who want to write the "laws" involved in this discussion??? I and much of my family are counted among "...the-unvaxed-population..." who will have viral and bacterial diseases "...run rampant..." We are the wealthiest of families in our part of the country. Not because of resources defined by US federal reserve notes. But because we're homeschoolers, non-vaxers, and free. And, we're the healthiest individuals in town -- free from diabetes, free from doctors and hospitals, free from disease. We're the ones the lefties are taking aim at. Apparently it's "unfair", or "unequal", or "unsustainable" for us to maintain such good health without enforced vaccinations and other medical conjurations. That thinking, my friend, is the equivalent of the desire for madmen to be in charge of the asylum. Go figger. Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 days 18 hours ago Web link KenK
    Talk is cheap. As far as I'm concerned, the only non-racists are those with interracial marriages. ;-)
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 days 21 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    For the moment, let's boil it down to individual vs collective thinking. My emphasis is individual thinking. I have no control over the behaviors or the attitudes or the philosophies of anybody but myself. I don't have as much influence as I'd perhaps like even with adult members of my own family. Sometimes they listen. Often they don't. Same here on this forum. And I will be free whether or not you or Will or Alex or Paul are free. Or my children, or their children, or their children's children (my growing coterie of great-grandchildren) on down the line. Through exchange of ideas (at times heated -- hopefully not antagonistic) here at STR I might have some limited influence upon you and some of our mutual friends in the way each or any of us processes certain information. You certainly have, over the years, been influential with me. I wouldn't want to try to estimate how many times I've referenced various writings of yours at forums in addition to this one -- and even in communication with members of my own family. I, for instance, don't vote in political elections. Haven't done so since 1964. Neither do you. I might often end a comment with the jocular "abstain from beans", but I don't take personal offense at the millions who are still collaborating with the enemy (your recent term that I enjoy and have used) in that manner. Their time will come. Same with submitting confessions ("filing returns" ha ha) to the enemy. I take stern lessons from our late and old mutual friend, Irwin Schiff. Why engage in battle when you know you're out-gunned? Just understand: the enemy is like the rattlesnake -- he rattles and warns and, if cornered, will strike. But he will slither away safely when he can. The difference, of course, is that the rattlesnake serves a useful purpose (feeds on mosquitoes and rodents, helping to keep them in check). So, when I hear that rattle I give them the opportunity to slither away without incident. And I wear high boots and heavy gloves to the woods. But I recognize my powerlessness when it comes to expending time and emotional energy trying to straighten out others' thinking or behaviors. And I certainly don't intend to jeopardize this forum by belittling you or anybody else who might have a different slant on any specific issue from mine. I hope to continue to learn from Will, and Alex, and Paul, and you, and many, many others here at STR. The religious mystification of that phenomenon called "state" is coming to a close. I don't know how -- or when -- the finale will come, but I perceive the fat lady may be warming up to sing soon. Be free. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 days 23 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    A fun time indeed, Sam, and I'm glad we have some agreement.   Might you elucidate: what meaneth "jointly envision the same demise of central political authority"?
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 days 23 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    The term is -- at least was in the 1940's and early 50's -- "technological unemployment". I'm an old railroad telegrapher. Keep in mind, that's considered "service industries" -- not actually involved in the production of a product. But, of course, railroading was highly necessary to anybody producing a product at the time, and to an increasing extent still is. That's an interesting technological study in itself. At the time (age 16) I was still attending high school. I remember a government ("public" ha ha) teacher who was libertarian-minded when it was not cool. His name was Bob Lawson. He lived to be 101, and only died a few years ago now. He and I argued about "technological unemployment" at the time -- he taking the Mises side, I insisting that the railroad telegrapher would soon become obsolete. Telephones, teletypes and 2-way radios were the upcoming technology. This would have been close to 10 years prior to publication of Leonard E.Read's "I, Pencil". And, even at age 16, I could see the handwriting on the wall. Or so I thought. Long before I ever espoused ideas of the libertarian and the anarchist. Turns out I'm probably one of the last of the old telegraphers. Any who exist today learned and play it as a hobby -- like cow-boying (I'm also probably the last of the old cowboys who actually grew up as a kid riding horseback to round up calves). But all those old occupations did die out. And here we are -- mostly quite prosperous. But I won't say you're not, partially at least, correct, Will. The insight you purvey is indeed real. But, I submit, the issue, as are most issues we might haggle about here at STR, highly involves collectivist thinking as opposed to individualist thinking. Because, as a telegrapher I was forced to join a union: "Order of Railway Telegraphers". "Closed shop" was the term. In that time part of the ORT emphasis was the operation of telegraph schools to bring telegraphers up to 30-35 wpm (faster telegraphy). Those who headed up unions generally started out with the realization that, in order to be effective they needed to whet the skills of workers to make them more valuable to those who wished to employ them. Basic free-market economics. "Collective bargaining" quickly became the mainstay of unions -- and politics. Significantly, in those days it was "illegal" for government employees at any level to form, solicit or join labor unions. Nowadays labor unions are in place primarily with government employment -- almost all government employment. And they're disappearing "in-the-private-sector". I was once a member of NEA (National Education Association) and TSEA (Texas State Education Association -- now TSTA and TCTA). They were originally and supposedly in place to increase the value of the educator for the welfare of the student. They are now strictly labor unions -- like the policeman's union. Economically (and individualistically) thinking, Brittany Hunter of MISES is correct. But collectivists are, indeed, going to suffer in the long run. Be thankful you're abstaining. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 days 23 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    "...government is soon put out of business it will at any rate be short-lived. I conclude there is no rational alternative to a free market, and the sooner the better..." In this you and I are in sound agreement, Jim. We might not jointly envision the same demise of central political authority, but we agree it must end. In time. Hoist by their own petards. A fun time to live! Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 4 days 23 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Very interesting comment, Will - and a most interesting Mises article, together with a string of thoughtful comments following it.   Not sure though about your final para. You agree that new opportunities will arise, but think they will not pay very well. A contrary view is that automation will make everything so cheap that even the worst paid in society some decades from now will be better off than most of us are today.   Automation is the story of the human race, would you agree? Man is a tool-maker. It's worked well so far. Why, then, should it not continue? - I can think of only one reason, namely that the incentives are being very badly skewed. Unskilled labor is being replaced by robots, hence is in surplus, which would in a free labor market cause its price to fall and so at least "cushion" the problem; but in the teeth of this, government is forcing the price of unskilled labor UP, with new reams of costly regulations for employers and even a doubling of the minimum wage!   That exacerbation will be nasty, but if government is soon put out of business it will at any rate be short-lived. I conclude there is no rational alternative to a free market, and the sooner the better.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 days 26 min ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Correct, you did not state your own ideals. However, by referring to mine in the second person, you did imply that they are not yours; that you reject at least some of them.   Hence my question. What are they? Are you in fact a libertarian? If not, why are you here?
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 5 days 2 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    "Since you say they are only 'my' ideals and so not yours" Wrong, I did not say what my ideals are. I am merely commenting that messengers like you are "shot" (or rather ignored) not for being bearers of bad news (as the case for liberty is always good news, in my opinion) but for being so disagreeable that the intended audience never gets to parse the message. You have every opportunity to not come off disagreeably, you are free to choose (which I predict will have a little correlation with how many other people you are capable of reaching).
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 5 days 10 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Not everyone who criticizes technology is a technophobe.  These articles that portray people who question the value of further automation as ignorant are likely ignorant themselves.  As someone who designs automation equipment and works with large manufacturing companies, I see first-hand the speed with which highly sophisticated algorithms are being integrated with robots and vision systems to do tasks that would have been the sole domain of human hands just a few years ago.  I don't believe many people who don't work in manufacturing recognize how quickly the costs of this technology are falling, nor how rapidly it is being adopted.    In earlier iterations of the industrial revolution, when the march of technology may have made some skills obsolete, there were entry-level jobs available in the growing economy created by industrialization.  There were huge numbers of tasks that couldn't be automated.   Today, when factory workers are replaced with robots, there is often no clear path to employment at that level of pay and benefits again.  Axiomatically, you can't fix stupid, and many factory workers are relatively low-IQ people who have no hope of developing serious technical skills in any area.  These people have no role to play in creating this increasingly automated world.   In retrospect, the short period of history when the peasantry earned enough to buy a house, buy new cars every few years, take family vacations, and demand 40-hour work weeks, pensions, and health benefits all the while doing menial work was the result of a perfect storm of technological and economic forces.  When labor competes against automation today, it has very little leverage.  Typical robotic projects recoup their costs in fewer than 2 years, and sometimes just a matter of months.   When the Mises Institute points out that new opportunities will arise, it's something of a straw-man.  Of course new opportunites will arise:  new conditions create new opportunities.  The unmentioned issue is that in the aggregate, those opportunites don't provide for the same level of material comfort that the old factory jobs did.   
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 days 23 hours ago Web link A. Magnus
    NY Post: "We’re relieved that Team Trump has denied Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s claim that the president-elect is naming him to chair a commission on 'vaccination safety and scientific integrity.' That would’ve been putting a madman in charge of the asylum."
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 6 days 3 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    mishochu, it's a disappointment to read your use of the second person, in "your ideals of liberty."   My understanding of liberty is documented in several hundred articles, 243 of them on STR and all indexed on or via this page, and in six full-length books, listed on my STR bio. That's in addition to the Freedom Academy, in whose preparation I played a leading part. Therefore, you have ample opportunity to know what my "ideals of liberty" are, and will know that they are very close to those of the great libertarian pioneers like Rothbard, Spooner, von Mises, Friedman, Rand and Alexander.   Since you say they are only "my" ideals and so not yours, which of them do you reject and why?   On the secondary (or tertiary) matter of knowing one's intellectual limitations, you may be able to construct a more charming and empathetic way of pointing out Samarami's to him than by complimenting him on being "wise" to discover them. If so I'll gladly endorse your choice of words.
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 6 days 16 hours ago Web link strike
    Haha, here I am with more "privilege" (if such a thing exists) than most poor Caucasian folk. I hate identity politics. If it comes to that, I'll be on the side of my neighbors (who are of mostly German descent).
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 6 days 16 hours ago Web link strike
    Was all that murk in the footage at the end smoke? I'd expect that much of smoke from a blackpowder revolver but not a modern semi-auto pistol. Stick up boi was dead before he hit the floor. 
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 6 days 16 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Jim, It is a wonder that more people aren't attracted to your ideals of liberty what with your empathetic and charming manner : )
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 6 days 20 hours ago Web link A. Magnus
    Trump may end up ruing the day he associated himself with that self-entitled nutbar. RFK Jr.'s anti-vaccine balderdash is easily and absolutely refuted by the overwhelming weight of the  evidence. People in America rarely get polio, for example, anymore because above 85 percent of us are vaxed, not because the polio virus isn't out there in the environment any longer. If and when the BIG COLLAPSE ever comes, we're gonna see viral and bacterial diseases run rampant thru the unvaxed population. Count on it.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 6 days 21 hours ago Web link strike
    Fuck that motherfucker! Want my cash? Molon labe.
  • James Clayton's picture
    James Clayton 6 days 21 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Last night I watched a short documentary titled Black Power: America's Armed Resistance, which showed how some people are arming themselves and "patrolling the streets of their communities and calling for change" because they are "outraged at the treatment of Black people at the hands of the police." It had some interesting moments. And - perhaps somewhat surprisingly - it was being aired on TVO, which is the government-owned t.v. station in this part of the world called Ontario, Canada; but most people here are probably aware of the fatal shooting of a teenager by a cop in Toronto in 2013 (the cop was convicted of "attempted murder" and was sentenced to six years, which he is probably appealing), so maybe more people are starting to ask questions about police behaviour.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 week 4 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Very wise, Sam. You're out of your depth.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 1 week 1 day ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    "...That you can (presumably) read it and recommend it and then write that more recent perceptions do "not change the law of gravity" fairly boggles the mind..." And you believe that perceptions DO "change the law of gravity"? OK, Jim. You win. I give up. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 week 1 day ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Sam, the link you provided to info on the scientific method is not bad.   That you can (presumably) read it and recommend it and then write that more recent perceptions do "not change the law of gravity" fairly boggles the mind. Please, get yours in gear. Contradictions exist only in the minds of those who fail to think clearly.   The relativity theory doesn't alter your homely illustration about feet and hands. But (if further verified) it certainly does change the whole theory of gravitation. In science, "law" is NOT law. That's what makes it so dynamically exciting. 
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 1 week 1 day ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    "...the scientific method of reasoning does NOT produce "laws" fixed for ever, but rather theories that are open to be tested and modified..." I suppose we could get off track into argumentation over "science" and the scientific method as it affects reason. Laws are not produced by "scientists" (quotes intended) -- they are discovered and perceived. All the "science" of the acclaimed experts does not change the law of gravity. It might change perceptions and theories, but law is law. Of course I'm not referring to "white man's law". I'm thinking of a "law" that governs liberty and freedom. And I suspect the most simple of folks tend to discover that "law" more quickly and succinctly than do the acclaimed intellectuals espousing "the-freedom-movement". I'm not a fan of antagonistic adherence to "theory", as you may have discovered ("scientifically"???). It bores me. And it angers me. Because there's no point in you or Alex or Paul or anybody else lambasting each other over pointless, meaningless squabbles. And it drives sincere seekers of truth away. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 week 2 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Congratulations, Alex! According to wordcounter.net, you managed to type 543 words there, without once addressing the comments I had made about your article.   If the "attention" you say I crave (I don't) can be measured just by the length of the reply rather than its relevance or quality, you have therefore done me proud.   One further remark if I may: the bulk of those 543 words were my own, and they quoted you. So for example on November 20th the phrase "be damned with you" was originally what you wrote against me, not the other way about; I'll cheerfully pour vitriol on your anti-liberty views, but I try to avoid calling down ad-hominem curses on people as individuals.   It is therefore you who declared that you were finished with me, not the other way round; and these 543 words today illustrate vividly how much that declaration is worth.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 week 2 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Very amusing, Sam, but unfortunately wrong. Seriously, it is vitally important to understand that the scientific method of reasoning does NOT produce "laws" fixed for ever, but rather theories that are open to be tested and modified.   Science News has an account here of how Einstein modified the Newtonian gravitational theories, and I came across a claim that his General Relativity theory has itself, in turn, been recently challenged.   Why is this important, especially in the context of a forum supposedly dedicated to striking the root of evil? - only to the extent that clarity of reasoning is critical in both contexts. From Bonneau, Knight, and here unfortunately your goodself, that has been in short supply.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 1 week 3 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Without dignifying Jim Davies's missives above by responding to them, or even reading them -- thereby giving him the attention he so desperately craves, though in no way deserves -- I would simply reproduce here for anyone interested two prior postings made by him which, together, constitute the very epitome of the hypocrisy he is so enamored of projecting onto others:   Comment by Jim Davies, posted on November 20, 2016 "And correspondingly, a waste of time.   "And I'm quite done with it.   "Just parting food for thought.   "Be damned with you.   "Rest assured I'll be ignoring the promised 'great deal more to come' ... 'And with that, I'm done.'"   These five are not very consequential when compared to the big lie, but all of them are solemn resolves of Alexander Knight III as recorded in this very thread above, and all the first four have been reversed. He has continued to "waste" his time, is not at all "done with it", has by no means "parted" with the matter, and evidently mistrusts whatever deity to whom he uttered his imprecation to damn me.   He will not have to wait long for the first instalment of the "more to come", and we shall all see clearly whether or not is "assurance" to "ignore it" and be "done" is, or is not, worth a red cent.     Comment by Jim Davies, posted on December 01, 2016 For the good reasons stated in this ZGBlog, I asked Rob, STR's Editor, to cancel the membership of Bonneau and Knight. He has declined. There's quite an irony here. Rob owns the STR site, so is entitled to do with it as he pleases, including driving it off a cliff and contradicting his own Mission Statement. I deplore his decision, for STR has been a major asset to freedom, but support fully his right to control its future. As Hope said to Miss Daisy, "It's yaw chicken!" Paul and Alex, on the other hand, are no doubt celebrating his decision even as they maintain he has no rights, and therefore no right to make it. Those interested in authentic libertarian commentary - "Rational, Refreshing Reflections on What's Happening Now" - are welcome over at the Zero Government Blog. The current issue can always be reached via http://www.theanarchistalternative.info/zgb/ or via http://TinyURL.com/ZGBlog for short; you could place it among your bookmarks. Its "Recent" button leads to a full dated list of earlier offerings. Its "About" button has a reminder that all genuine market anarchists are welcome to submit articles for publication. It would be neat if a few regular contributors were to join me, and so provide more frequent reader refreshment. With that encouragement, and other resources like QuitGov, The Anarchist Alternative and above all TOLFA, we can contribute to human freedom. To the rest - choristers, clergy, ex-libertarians and psycho-babblers - farewell.       I'd ask all to consider at this point just whose "assurances" are worth a red cent and whose are not, since Davies's most recent bid to inflate his ego seems an awfully strange way to say "farewell" -- as he seemingly "assured" us above on December 1st.   This having been duly pointed out, I simply intend to ignore him unilaterally for good.  As it seems most of you have already been doing heretofore.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 1 week 3 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    "...The law of gravity is merely a theory; Newton proposed it, Einstein claimed to modify it..." However, should you stand in the middle of the room, place your right foot in your right hand, then (without removing right foot from right hand) attempt simultaneously to place your left foot into your left hand, you might discover that gravity is not merely a theory -- it's the law. However, you have the right to defy it, Jim. So I guess there are "rights" after all. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 week 3 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Glad, Alex, that although you abandoned your commitment to market anarchism you have retained your hostility to the fuzz.   Certainly, if cops were held to the standards of the law the job would be much less attractive, hence fewer of them, hence more liberty. But why would the judiciary do that? - cops constitute the teeth of government, one of the key means by which it keeps its subjects in fear and submission. Seems to me you are asking them to behave out of character, to change their nature.   I see also a few other problems. First, if (as you have said) nobody has any rights, there is no logical basis to complain when cops intimidate and push us around. Might would be right.   Second, if (as you have said) nobody has any conscience - that the concept is, in your word, "asenine" - I'm wondering what hook you might use, to persuade cops and their law-writing masters to mend their ways.   And third - a very minor point - it's not accurate to say that "laws" belong in science. The reverse is the case; laws belong in government (and not for long, all being well.) Scientists form theories, which are always open to revision in the light of new discovery. It's true that when a theory has been around for a long time, some get complacent and call it a "law", but they really should not. The law of gravity is merely a theory; Newton proposed it, Einstein claimed to modify it.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 1 week 4 days ago Web link KenK
    This is a great article.  I was able to gain some long-awaited valuable insight into my dad's old USAF M4 .22 survival rifle, as well!  One of my next guns may well be an AR-7.  :-)