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  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 8 weeks ago Web link A. Magnus
    It's weird to see Paul Craig Roberts sounding like a communist. It's also strange to see him describing what we have now as a free market.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 8 weeks ago
    A Minor Office
    Page Paul Hein
    The Constitution is just a fig leaf that covers up what really goes on. There may have been a time when the rulers considered it otherwise - perhaps as an actual restraint. But that period surely did not last long. The end of the Federalist Party after the unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts might be the only example where the Constitution worked as advertised, but the rulers in question simply moved on to other parties or created new ones.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I have read various descriptions of non-state courts and arbitrations as well. Who knows what the things would actually look like. But even in arbitrations you are talking about making a case to others - the arbitrators. Again my perception is that the case is easier to make if the victim is not careless.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Sorry, in my example I did not explicitly say that the seller responded negatively to the question, "Do you know of any problem with it?" But that's what I had in mind. Your description of fraud boils down to a theft accomplished through lying, ignoring any contribution of gullibility. The bulk of my point remains, though. Even if the guy lied, that does not relieve one of the responsibility to take care. Particularly in such a case where the lie would be very hard to prove, and where lying about the condition of a vehicle is known to be rampant. Third party observers would have less sympathy for you than with a direct theft. "Walking down a dark alley in an area known for muggings is just plain stupid, but being reckless with your personal safety doesn't change the mugging into a non-criminal act." In Libertopia people will still be expected to take reasonable care. If they are careless they will surely recover less than if they were careful. I don't think there will be much sympathy for the notion that people deserve to be made whole no matter how much their own actions enabled the crime. Perhaps I am misreading people, but I believe that is the way it will go.
  • John deLaubenfels's picture
    John deLaubenfels 1 year 8 weeks ago Web link A. Magnus
    That "Wipe You Off The Map" supposed quote is a mis-translation.  Of course, that hasn't prevented pro-Israel fanatics from trumpeting it endlessly.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    No problem, Mike, with a woman killing someone "in the heat of" raping her, if she can. Even though it's overkill (literally) it's justified self-defense because she can reasonably assume that after having had his way, he will kill her to silence her.   But "I have no issue, morally, with a woman killing her rapist... months or years later" goes well beyond self-defense. That's retaliatory murder; revenge, not justice. It seems very clear to me that it stands well outside the libertarian moral standard of non-aggression. Should the rapist's family file suit against her and I was part of the court, I would find her liable for damages - and if she should refuse to pay, that fact would be published. So few would then trust her as to make life intolerably difficult.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 8 weeks ago
    A Minor Office
    Page Paul Hein
    Super piece, Paul. Should be required reading in every civics class.   Is the FedGov "legitimate"? - no way! - but would it be legitimate even if all of it strictly observed all the limitations fixed by the charter that created it?  I don't think so.
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    That is an interesting question, Jim. In 1998 I'd have likely answered much as you did (though likely without the non-aggression basis-I really did not know much about that back then.)   Today, I have a much different view. One that is a bit more complex, but to me more satisfying.   First, I would point out that retaliation is not aggression: it is not an initiation of force, it is, by definition, a response to force. So I don't think that there is a moral issue with retaliation: I have no issue, morally, with a woman killing her rapist-immediatly afterwords, or months or years later. Or her husband, or brother, or sister for that matter. That doesn't mean it would be always advisable. This is where the necessity of retaliation comes into play, and why it can be such a powerful means to reduce violence in a society. It does not rely on amorphous morality to moderate actions, it relies on something much more basic: self-preservation.   In the case of rape, why would'nt a woman kill her rapist now, in today's world? I submit that it is not out of moral scruples, but rather because of the dire consequences of such an act. The state, in effect, becomes the rapists "protector" and will exact a terrible vengence should she execute her rapist. She has no force to counter the state at all, its capacity for violence is overwhelming-when they come for her, it is simple suicide to fight back.   This is why the state's ban on retaliation is so insideous-it protects the violent and permits them to act with impunity with only predictable risk.   Now, if she truly were able to recover her faculties and shoot the man while still "in the heat of the moment" I daresay few juries would convict her-but even so, the case itself would no doubt ruin her. So the rapist lives another day, perhaps he is "punished" by the "system", and perhaps not. But he knows, and knew before the rape that the response to his aggression would be both predictable and survivable. He would not be castrated, he would not be himself violated(except perhaps in prison), he would not starve. At worst, he would spend a number of years in prison-only if caught and proven guilty....there is a good possibility that nothing will happen at all, but he knows what will not happen.    Now, let's imagine that overwhelming force of the state is removed. Suddenly there is no "system", there is no cushy predictability in the response to aggression. The rapist has no Earhly clue what will happen in the aftermath of the rape. Nothing might happen. Or he might be killed outright immediately afterword, or he might live minus a few interesting parts of his anatomy, which likely tasted odd...   Not only does he have to worry about the response, but he faces the problem of finding a woman vulnerable to rape in the first place. Without the false security of the state's overwhelming force, people would-as they once did not so very long ago-be preoccupied with generating true security for themselves. Families would be tighter, better armed, and larger with networks of friends that exist not simply to provide a social outlet, but to stand with the group in times of trouble and add to its ability to bring force as needed. So, the rapist would not simply be attacking an individual, but a large and powerful group. A group whose purpose is to protect its members from aggression-part of the way they do that is simply stength in numbers-providing a strong defense. But another part, a crucial part, is to respond to acts of aggression.   In this situation, an attack upon another group is a very serious matter for the attacker. Violence threatens the entire group, and an individual actor risks being cast from thier protective group. In the case of the rapist, he would be left at the hands of his victim, and her entire family who would face no consequences whatsoever for anything that they might do to him. Anything. At. All.   The woman, though, is in much the same boat. Since any sort of confrontation and violence puts the group at risk, there would be a poweful impetus for individuals to not allow themselves to be vulnerable to attack, AND to be very careful in thier response to such an attack. In the case of rape with no witnesses or other evidence, a woman would have to be very careful in her response-she would want to know that her protectors were behind her first, and convinced that the rape took place. Otherwise she faces the same unpredictability as the rapist. Will she shoot her rapist? Maybe, but it is a very risky proposition. A calculating woman might even commit true murder in this way, by falsly claiming rape....and perhaps get away with it. She better not try it twice. Indeed, even self-defense is risky, therefore it is far better to avoid situations where it might be needed.   In the end, what results is a society that, without any centralized authority or overwhelming force, maintains stability and internal peace in part because of the very real threat of retaliation. People have a very serious responsibility to protect themselves, and any sort of violence is incredibly dangerous....not just for the aggressor, but for everyone.   Anthropolgists have a term for this sort of society, "Peace in the Feud", and it is a system that tends to develop anywhere government is not present, or ineffectual. Large parts of rural Africa (not just Somalia) live this way today-and it is remarkably similar to quasi-anarchic and anarchic historical societies in Europe and elsewhere. This is despite wild variation in other customs and morality.   It winds up superficially very similar to many libertarian models-Rothbard's especially-but for very different reasons. To me it is what freedom looks like. There is no need for a program to get from here to there, it will happen on its own when the current power structure falls apart and is not replaced by another-as it will, eventually.   So, that's how I would answer: morally, blow his brains out, but, practically, be reserved.   Anyway, there be my thoughts. As I wrote, an interesting topic.   Mike
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    T-bolt, I think LeFevre's point about violence being wrong even in defense comes into play after sufficient force has been used to deter the attack. Anything more is surplus; the defender becomes the aggressor. Granted, in a "hot" situation the defender cannot quickly tell how much force is needed so will be fully justified in overdoing it a bit for safety, but from what you say this is not a hot spot, but a coolly-calculated plan. So I do see a moral problem.   Add to that the question of whether the "dark web" is safe. Apparently so; but that's what Ross Ulbricht of the Silk Road thought. If the enemy hires enough hackers, they may be able to bust it.   And to top it off, does our friend Sanjuro maintain that his plan will actually reduce the State to zero? - or merely make it smaller and more respectful? Unless he does, I favor the TOLFA way. Nobody gets killed, nobody even breaks a sweat, and government vanishes 100%.    
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    A bit more on retaliation: I've heard it's something practised by small children and great states.   This is hornbook stuff, Mike. On the first page of his magnificent "I Must Speak Out", for example, Carl Watner writes of the roots of libertarian thought as including "personal integrity, honesty, productive work, fulfilment of one's promises and the practice of non-retaliation."   In 1998 I somehow got caught up in a e-discussion among Conservative Republicans, and wrote up this account of it for the local paper. Had you been involved, what view might you have expressed, and why?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Scarmig
    Glock27, the 'rancher' [government] isn't obligated to feed 'cattle' [citizens] that he doesn't own, that don't have his chattel 'number' stapled in their ear. ;-)
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    Lysander Spooner argued that one should treat the armed tax collector as he would any other armed bandit. Jim Bell thought to take advantage of the new internet's anonymity to promote elimination of state actors via a for-profit system he called Assassination Politics. His idea was to make it too dangerous to be an employee of any government, presuming that the plaintiff had been molested immorally by taxation, and by extension, that each employee is, by definition, directly a member of the armed bandit gang. Someone called Sanjuro in the dark web has implemented his idea recently, using a crowd-funding strategy. Assuming that this strategy might be effective in making people afraid to join this gang of marauders, is it immoral? Opinions, please. Nice article, Jim.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    mhsthl: I think your point is well taken, but people will be people. As human beings they are subject to many things and this I see as a problem, man is equivocates, even under the most well intention'ed reason man can flip on a dime--there are always two sides to a coin and who can truely say which side is the right side. When a man flips on a time did he do so for the correct reasons or were they the wrong reasons, only the cause and effect will determine this, while in come cases one side of the coin is always determined to be the right reason and the government seems to be controlling the coin
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Thanks for your kindly reply mhstahl. I deeply appreciate that. Your response tells me I am getting a little better at explaining myself, or at least I think I am. I recognize there is and will be no clean solution, but there is a solution and I believe that solution is involvement in more than words. I keep thinking that now has to be the messiest time in history, but I seriously doubt that it is. I am trying to get my truck back so I can build a sign regarding government fraud, corruption, coercion, violence against its people, but the hell of it is, is that I believe most everyone really knows this, they just don't know how to make the change. Action is more powerful than words and I am trying to convert my words into an action of some type. Again. Thanks for your kindness.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    Actually, Mike, I'd put it the other way round - for myself. I'm in warm and extensive agreement with both Rothbard and LeFevre. Without the brilliant insights of the former especially, I can't imagine how I could have got my head reasonably straight.   Occasionally they fell short as I perceive it, so I say so. That's all.   On retaliation etc, I have no hope of justice until government evaporates. After then, see my Justice.
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 1 year 8 weeks ago
    Rothbard vs. LeFevre
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim,   Interesting article. It seems we are both in disagreement with both Rothbard and LeFevre, for different reasons. Perhaps a deeper conversation would be productive?   Just curious, without retaliation-or the threat of or risk of retaliation-what exists to compel restitution?   And, who's going to stop retaliation?   Seems to me that retaliation a virtual necessity, both pratically and morally-it exists in every non-religious non-governmental society that I'm aware of, which means that to envision a society without it one needs to not only expect people to live other than they do now, but also other than they ever have. The only exception I can think of would be very limited religious societies of pacifists such as the Amish...but they are not libertarian, and I'm, at least, not a pacifist. The Amish even retaliate at times, after a fashion.   I really do not think there is a compelling reason to re-invent the wheel here, and good grounds to let society organize with a balance of power as it generally does once we remove government from the equasion. Particularly when one asks, "who shall decide?"   For instance, while you can try to rely upon "shunning"-who really has the authority to decree such a thing? And even then, why should everyone else be caught up in a dispute between two people? Would it be my responsibility to determine just who is "shunned" before I do business with them? How would I, and, honestly, why would I care? Am I to be shunned as well, then? For what, defiance? Of whom? Why must I forgo potential profit because of someone elses' dispute to which I'm not a party? Sounds like none of my business, frankly. Or do I "owe" something to society? Perhaps I misunderstand your "punishment" article?   Nevermind that shunning is itself a "punishment" that by its very nature precludes the possibility of restitution.   Indeed, I'd go so far as to say that one of the more insidious acts the state does is punish retaliation.   Best,   Mike
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Glock,   I don't think that you will find the clarity that you want, or the "clean solution."   Instead of thinking of catchphrases like "non-aggression" as true exact definitions, perhaps it would help to look at them as general classifications, with mutiple, and varied, sub-catagories-some of which might be strongly opposed to one another...but you likely won't find a discussion about, say, "dog breeding." It's the specific arguements that have meaning, not the general catagory. As in a library: first, non-fiction, then philosophy, then non-aggression, and finally something substantive and specific to be considered and discussed.   As far as a "clean" solution, it seems to me that freedom is messy, and that it has to be messy in order to be freedom-so there is no one clean solution.   I hope that helps.   Best,   Mike
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 8 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    You know they are gearing up for mass civil unrest. Look around you and see all the gradual bits of destruction ocuring now. Talking about this sh-t will do nothing. Personal, independent actions need to be ocuring and I am revering to a non-violent, non-aggressive means which are available.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 8 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Where do these fuqing brain bombs come from? Why is it that no one, regarding issues of this nature and similar, never look to the future to see what its actual impact may really be? Or do they even care?
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 8 weeks ago Web link mhstahl
    This is only a beginning in a long string of experimental legalized murder of American citizens. The more LEO's get away with this kind of behavior they are priming up to becoming the tyrannical power to keep the community under control
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I would like to say this is "Much ado about nothing" but the tragedy of this play is that it is clearly a serious issue. Clearly, concise defined terms are deadly serious. Everyone here can define terms on their own grounds, but do the actually apply to anyone else in the program. I cannot see how clean solutions can ever arrive out of messy terms. Who shall be responsible in clarifying the essential terms, or who's set of terms will be used?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 8 weeks ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    Makes me proud of my Welsh ancestry.   But, wow! Get fingerprinted, or don't eat! - that's the next step.   Melody got her principles from Mom. Good for Mom. Had Mom been just a little more aware of the situation, she might have home-schooled her daughter. Or is that verboten in the UK?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Much relieved, Mike, that my status in your eyes is higher than I feared.   Each to his own when presenting our view, of course. I generally like to start with the SOA from which the NAP, ZAP, GR etc are in any case derived. The SOA is undeniable, and it places people where I'd like them to be: acknowledging that nobody else has any business running their lives.   Then if we get on to property it's a simple step, as above, labor being inextricably bound up with the person.
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul,   Who is "they", and why would "they" care?   I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of "they"'s deciding what "I" get to do...   Non-governmental courts have, can, and do exist, BUT their function is radically different than that of state run courts. The power structure is turned on its head-the "judge" has no power to compel or bring force to bear, force rests with the parties....otherwise, "they" are a "government." From what I've read of these sorts of courts historically and anthropologically they wind up analogous to arbitration, or diplomacy between nations. Both sides must agree to both the court AND the decision or it goes away. It's a negotiation entered into in order to forstall violence not to find "justice." If the negotiation fails, there will be blood-which nobody in these sorts of societies wants-because there is no protection from escalation. This actually brings up another point-retaliation. Is retaliation justified? I think it is, and is also crucial..I know Walter Block at least agrees with retaliation. I don't know if you do?   Of course, before there can be a negotiation or retaliation, there is the practical problem of figuring out who took your shit? Thieves are difficult for the state to catch with an army of occupation and virtually unlimited resources, they would doubtless be often impossible to identify for an individual (unless caught in the act)...which makes the issue moot from a practical standpoint. It also reinforces the essential duty to protect your shit (and your ass) if you wish to keep it.   Your "property" article is one of your best, along with this one.  I've read it several times.   Best,   Mike
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 1 year 8 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Now, Jim, I never called you a scoundrel....at least not in this thread...;) My point was about how this appears to someone unfamiliar to the philosophy. In the case of NAP, I think that it is an oversimplification, NOT a true attempt to mislead. Simplifications are fine, so long as everyone is on the same page, but the fact is most people have less than a clue what "Nap" means at all, and if you explain your philosophy starting simply with, " I believe in 'non-aggression'" invariably any deeper discussion will require intense qualification and explanation that ultimately results in "I believe in strict property rights and no government." Why not just say that in the first place? Especially, since that is only one of several interpretations of "non-aggression?"   Even if the argument flows logically, that's a hell of a step to take. And it requires an acceptance of far more assumptions than does simple "non-aggression." Why put people's radar up? That's the only point I was making, and it's a practical one rather than a philosophical.   As an example; Noam Chomsky also believes in "non-aggression" yet his views are are diametrically opposed to yours on matters like "property"...doesn't that present needless confusion to the newcomer? Especially when he and others of his ilk consider the "an-cap" definition of "non-aggression" as "property rights" as  truly a "bait and switch" and are both earnest and noisy about it? Why play into their hands? Isn't it a cleaner arguement to point out the inherent violence of the state and it's pointlessness?   So, while you may indeed be a scoundrel...it's not because of this. :)   Best,   Mike
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I'll add that your A and B examples not being cases of fraud (and thus relevant why?) reminds me of a common anti-market strategy that I recently saw called out in a brilliant way (I don't remember by who). Frequently when anti-market (i.e., pro-state) people attack the market, the historical examples they provide, or the hypothetical scare-scenarios they imagine are actually descriptions of non-market actions, usually by states. This brilliant person's rebuttal in one of these cases was "so you're telling me the problem with the market, is not the market?"
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 9 weeks ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    This effort in the field of economics is like trying to re-establish that the world is flat. Or that apocryphal story where the Texas (or some other) legislature mandated that pi be equal to 3. One has to laugh...
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    This is actually going farther than I did in the article; I wrote fraud out of aggression, but you are writing all theft out of it. Interesting points, but possibly "a bridge too far". :-) One needn't have government to be able to deal with theft. Informal non-state court cases will handle it. My guess is that they will come down somewhere in the middle: if they think you took reasonable measures to protect your stuff, and that it really was legitimately yours (e.g. you earned it) they may take action against the thief; if they don't think that, they may say to you, "Tough shit!" or "If you want it back, go get it yourself." "How is it that one can make a claim to something that everyone else must abide with no more effort than a proclamation?" This is one example where most people will not have so much sympathy for the supposed property-holder. Rothbard noted that many large estates in colonial New York were simply given to the king's cronies, and he obviously had more sympathy for the squatters on that property. It takes government to maintain large disparities in wealth. My somewhat schizophrenic views on "property" are found here: http://strike-the-root.com/private-property-vs-your-stuff
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Neither A or B (as written) describe fraud. Nor does the value of something going "to zero" have anything to do with anything. As I described, and you did not address, fraud is when you misrepresent what you're exchanging and thus acquire the property of others without their consent. I assumed nothing. If there is not an agreement that covers the point at issue (i.e., no false information provided), then it's not fraud. I was addressing a case of fraud. There's a fundamental difference between not providing information and providing false information. If I say "car for sale" and you never ask me anything about its condition, nor do I volunteer any information other than "it's a car", and you buy it and then the engine seizes, that's not fraud. It was a car, I didn't misrepresent it. If I say "the engine just passed an inspection" when that's not true, and you buy the car, that's fraud because I misrepresented the car as being inspected when it wasn't. Caveat emptor comes into play when dealing with tight-lipped people offering exchange. If I don't offer any information and/or refuse to answer your questions, then yes, that'd be stupid to buy from me and if you suffer the consequences of a seized up car because you assumed I'd mention a faulty engine, or neglected to ask, that's too bad for you. It's a non-sequitur to go from "fraud is theft" to "you have no responsibility to look after your own interests". To start, in a free society, no one is forced to pay for recovery of your property so in paying for any of your own protection/arbitration/property recovery needs, you ARE looking after your own interests. Nor does correctly identifying fraud as theft have anything to do with creating moral hazard anymore than identifying any other form of crime. Walking down a dark alley in an area known for muggings is just plain stupid, but being reckless with your personal safety doesn't change the mugging into a non-criminal act. Likewise, being defrauded may be the result of being stupid in who you trust, but being stupid doesn't entitle others to defraud you. What does being honest have to do with ability to be defrauded? What about being too trusting because you're honest? You could just take someone's word for it (e.g., "no need to call the inspection agency, he said the car was inspected, that's good enough for me") and get taken by a crook. The only context I've ever heard that saying in was in fictional entertainment describing con-men and how they rely on the greed and willingness to come by gains dishonestly of the mark in order to cheat them. That's not what we're talking about. Buying a car and being lied to by the seller doesn't require you to be greedy or looking to bend the rules.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    We're on the same wavelength, Sam. Some people seem to imagine a free society will have even more lawyers than we have now, but I think it's the reverse.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "If Z is provided instead of Y through deception, then the other party did not fulfill their side of the agreement..." This assumes there IS an agreement which covers the point at issue; usually agreements are much less formal than that. I like to use examples. Here's two: A) You are buying a car from an individual. He knows something is wrong but you are eager and buy it anyway. The instant you drive off the lot the engine seizes, sending the car's value to zero. B) Someone steals your car and goes on a joy ride. It is recovered but so damaged that the value has gone to zero. In both cases the car's value is zero, but do you honestly see no difference between them? Don't you have an incentive, in case A, to get the car checked out first before buying? Or at least to get some kind of warranty? When you buy, it is well known that the seller can range anywhere between perfectly honest to thoroughly dishonest. Have you no responsibility to look after your own interests? In a free society, you will get little to no recompense - unlike case B. People, judging your case, will say, "He just learned a lesson; leave it at that." They won't be inclined to make up for your shortcomings or your carelessness. What's that old saying, "You can't swindle an honest man?"
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Eh, I'm not impressed. The entire parental child relationship can be construed as violence of some sort. I had to laugh at Molyneux, who goes on and on about the "disparity of power" and all that, how he supposedly avoided a "violent" relationship with his daughter. All nonsense; he wasn't avoiding it at all. If you have some online references of Rothbard's thoughts on children, I'd like to see them.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 9 weeks ago Blog entry Don Stacy
    Lutheran Pastor Larry Beane has written the (Jesuit) Loyola President a remarkable letter (here) which begins "I write to you as a fellow cleric, one of your “separated brethren” in New Orleans. I’m a Lutheran pastor who had the blessings of a Jesuit high school education."   A somewhat different approach from that of his presumed mentor, Martin Luther - who roundly referred to the Church of Rome as "the whore of Babylon." The President's treatment of Professor Block suggests that not much has changed in 400 years.   Beane must have been reading Dale Carnegie.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Scarmig
    Scrmig: BRAVO, BRAVO! Simply brilliant!
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Scarmig
    People are not numbers and I believe Social Security Numbers need to be banned because we are not numbers. I know in several cases when going for a service my SSN was requested and I refused to give it. Hmmm. I got refused the service.
  • braingamer47's picture
    braingamer47 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Scarmig
    There are those of us who have lived their lives, thus far, without social security numbers (SSN). It hasn't always been easy, you get a lot of funny looks, get turned down for jobs, and credit union accounts (even when you meet the charter requirements, and it's a benefit listed with the job). In any case, it would be nice to know more folk who have gone through similar issues.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Zygo: Fuq! Fuq! Now I wish I had that damned thing. Makes a hell of a lot of sense to me, however, I have never been a jackhammer. I have a technique that calls for slow and easy, yet I have run into some females who simply are not happy unless you are a jackhammer. Anyway thanks for the link I really appreciated that.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Here's a reply, Mike, from the "bailiwick of scoundrels." :-)   As I see it, property is a subset of the person. Someone damages my car, he damages me.   Why? - because the only morally valid way to acquire property is to exchange labor for it (or to receive it as a gift, because someone else likes one so much as to donate it.) Now, labor is integral to a person. He lives if he eats, and he eats if he works. Existence and labor are inseparable, and so therefore are the fruits or products of labor. Those products, I call "property." To repair the car damage, I have to expend labor, to divest myself of part of myself.   So there's no bait and switch. Am I still a scoundrel?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Jim Davies
    I have quite a lot of time for Martin Luther, who stood bravely and alone against the power of the Pope - as readers of my Which Church (if any)? will know. But today I happened upon what Luther said about the Jews - and it ranks alongside anything Hitler pronounced. The latter might claim he was merely echoing a German hero and carrying out what the master had suggested. Consider this, from Wikiquote:   Luther describes Jews as a "base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth." Luther wrote that they are "full of the devil's feces ... which they wallow in like swine," and the synagogue is an "incorrigible whore and an evil slut". In the first ten sections of the treatise, Luther expounds, at considerable length, upon his views concerning Jews and Judaism and how these compare against Christians and Christianity. Following this exposition, Section XI of the treatise advises Christians to carry out seven remedial actions. These are - for Jewish synagogues and schools to be burned to the ground, and the remnants buried out of sight; for houses owned by Jews to be likewise razed, and the owners made to live in agricultural outbuildings; for their religious writings to be taken away; for rabbis to be forbidden to preach, and to be executed if they do; for safe conduct on the roads to be abolished for Jews; for usury to be prohibited, and for all silver and gold to be removed and "put aside for safekeeping"; and for the Jewish population to be put to work as agricultural slave laborers.
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Jim, I sincerely believe that this is a part of the problem with holding "non-aggression" up as the cornerstone of the philosophy.   "Aggression" has a specific definition which includes only overt acts of violence or hostility, not simple property violations. Look at what you have done above, you have redefined the term to make it fit what you want it to mean. Indeed, you have taken the "person" totally out of the equation and exchanged it for a blanket "property" right where actual people can only be victims of "aggression" because they "own" themselves.   I understand what you mean, and why, but think of how this appears to an outsider? At first blush, you seem to be talking about a simple philosophy with a premise that is virtually uncontroversial. Yet, once one scratches away at the surface a bit, the entire meaning shifts to a stalwart defense of "property."   In sales there is a tactic known as a "bait and switch" and it is the bailiwick of scoundrels. It occurs when, for instance, one is presented with a very low price on a Chevy, only to find that-once the buyer has invested in the deal-that either the vehicle advertised is not available, or the deal comes with a string of conditions a mile long. This invariably leads to justified mistrust. Most people, including myself, will simply walk away from a deal when it is presented in such a way. In fact, a smart salesperson will go to great lengths to avoid even the appearance of a "bait and switch."   Now, I don't think "non-aggression" is truly a "bait and switch", I think it is rather an attempt to radically simplify an extraordinarily complex philosophical position. Unfortunately, it does tend to appear that way, and for that reason alone it is a poor choice in explaining the nuances of a philosophical position. I think it would be better left out, or used as an illustration of the destructiveness of the state.   As far as theft goes, it seems to me that the impetus for securing and defending things that might be "stolen" ought to reside with the "owner" alone. If that were done, then "theft" would always involve true aggression, and the issue would not be the taking of stuff, but the violence required to do so. Laws about theft and "real" property are some of the oldest promulgated by government-as opposed to the earlier customary "laws" that were mainly concerned with restitution for personal injury(and were NOT mandatory, but rather offered something similar to arbitration to avoid more bloodshed)-in the "English" system.   Such laws effectively socialize the cost of defending "property" and from the very beginning facilitated patronage (I believe it was Cnut who first enacted laws against theft, in part to ingratiate himself to wealthy cattle owners...increasing dramatically their wealth by defending their property through taxation rather than from their own pockets.) It is no coincidence that these laws coincide with the development of a true government in pre-Norman England, since they helped to create a beholden wealthy class that truly did not exist before. A wealthy class that happily contributed to the growing state-they got a hell of a deal.   More to the point, simple theft need not involve aggression. If you leave something un-defended and unsecured, why is it wrong for someone else to take it and use it? How is it that one can make a claim to something that everyone else must abide with no more effort than a proclamation? Government, that's how.   This is one of the reasons that I think we would see far less disparity in wealth without government, the cost of securing and defending vast property would be insurmountable beyond a certain point. As things stand, the government, through taxation, foots the bill for investigating, and prosecuting, anyone who might abscond with a penny of Bill Gates money-this makes banks feasible as storage facilities, and lets him park his expensive vehicles without very highly paid armed guards....what would such security and defense cost him without such a subsidy? And, considering this, can his wealth even rightly be considered "private" in a true libertarian sense?   Please understand, I'm not advocating theft in any way, but rather suggesting that it is not a "societal" issue, or a moral one, but an individual one. I think most "right" libertarians want their cake and to eat it as well on this issue, and it leads to an unnecessary overcomplication of the philosophy. This need not preclude utilitarian arguments, either-let us not forget, the "dark ages", when there was generally no effective government and thereby no "theft" laws, also saw remarkable innovation (the three field system, horse-collars, moldboard plow, etc..) and coincided with Europeans having heights comparable to the modern day-because they had enough to eat.   People are not property, they are people.     Mike  
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Hi there, Kent!   Why do you think theft, for example, does not involve aggression? I'd have thought it certainly does, and if so then NAP/ZAP is both essential and sufficient.   In any case, we might pause and ask, sufficient for what? Sufficient for a good, reliable, practical way to live an ethical life, perhaps you'd agree. So is the Golden Rule. But where do they come from; what is the source or premise - for these, and for the equally fine MYOB?   I suggest it's the Self Ownership Axiom, SOA. Each human is a self-owner, he alone has the right to own and operate his own life and property. Undeniable. Therefore agression is wrong, therefore only one's own business should be minded, therefore things should be done to someone only if they would be welcomed by the doer.   Without that basis, these or any other ethical principles have the status of a religious dogma; live this way because an hypothesized deity says so - or because it feels right. Too flimsy, by far.
  • Mr. Jim's picture
    Mr. Jim 1 year 9 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    The parallels between the Scranton in this article and the situation in much of Europe are uncanny. The difference is that bankruptcy is not an option in the old continent... but death-grip taxation is. We can witness the extreme with Greece is eating itself while barely reducing public-sector chair-fillers. Bosnia is flaring up with the possibility that the Balkans will follow suit. Illustrative article links below. There is plenty of anger and frustration on the ground but there is no direction, no illuminated philosophy showing the way. Until there is, the demonstrations will be little more than that - demonstrations of the populace begging "someone" to do something. Peace. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/02/why-are-balkans-boiling... http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/01/enfia-tax-greece-new-s...
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Terrific column, Paul -- a sensible and human view of things. I was reminded of Summerhill School and its founder, A. S. Neill. Humans are not mecha, and trying to run society as if they were does not work well. 
  • Kent McManigal's picture
    Kent McManigal 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    As I've said in the past, the NAP/ZAP is essential, but not sufficient.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    I can answer that from both sides. Assuming that all atheists are also evolutionists; It would be irrational to believe that our ape ancestors wore clothes. Therefore, mans' ancestors have been nude for who knows how many tens of thousands or millions of years. We were born to run so to speak, and we cool best with sweaty bare skin while we run. Now, for the religious folks. Note in my first comment that I said "Nowhere in the bible does it say man must wear clothes." Your mention of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis does not invalidate my statement even slightly. The fact that there exists nude and nearly nude cultures even to this day proves that man is not hard wired to be ashamed of his body. Cain killed his brother, but almost nobody does that, therefore it does follow that we must be ashamed of our bodies because Adam was. The bible says that we were made in Gods image. Are Christians who support indecency laws saying that Gods image is indecent? Hmmmm?????? Where you trained as a child that those parts are disgusting? Yes? Then you have made my point! I could not care less whether people wear clothes all the time. Clothes are useful tools. I am looking at this from a psychological angle. There is no rational reason to be ashamed of ones body. It is what it is. There is nothing "disgusting" about the human anatomy unless it's filthy or diseased. I suspect the origins of man-made clothing laws originated from the ruling class who wanted to make their subjects feel inferior because of the rags they wore as compared to the wealthy elites fine top-of-the-line garments. You see, in a nude society the rich look no different than the poor. People were probably only wearing clothes when it was cold outside, but the rulers then created a law making year-round clothes wearing mandatory. They probably did it by using religious leaders to twist around the meaning of what Genesis actually said. I found this hilarious brief video while hunting for the above link.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    This article answers your questions Glock27. Brian
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    As I understand that story, Glock, they only became aware of "shame" after the first recorded politician in history had convinced them that their Creator had lied -- that they could enjoy "...government of the people, by the people, for the people..." (symbolized by the partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: "voting" -- subscribing to central [monopolistic] political authority). "Serpent" is a poor and incorrect translation of the Hebrew. "Whispering Enchanter" would be more accurate English. But the translators got one thing right: political authority represents aggression "...more subtil than any beast of the field..." Politicians are psychopaths -- capable of looking you in the eye while relieving you of your possessions "...for the better good..." of course. You, like I, were an educator in government ("public" ha ha) schooling. You, like I, promulgated that attitude. You, like I, are on this forum to recover from that demeanor. I think. I can't speak for you. You, like I, need to decide whether we are to accept the feasibility of this story as having at least some veracity for our lives and for our behaviors; or whether we should accept government-funded science, which proclaims (as funding time looms) they are just about to substantiate abiogenesis. Those first two created human beings, according to the story, had been given free access to the tree of life: governance "...of The Creator, by The Creator, for the people..." The Hebrew throughout that particular best-selling tome uses "tree" ("branch", etc) to symbolize philosophy, character -- point-of-view. What's your favorite tree? Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    This is a good review of Zwolinski’s article, Paul. I always enjoy your "hands-off" approach, which is where I stand. You linked to your MYOB article, from which on another thread I recently commented, "...if I practice MYOB I won't need to crusade for NAP -- it's included with the purchase..." My oft-repeated lament: none of us has ever experienced freedom from monopoly state, so any projection I might have of LATEOS ("life-after-the-end-of-state") is purely speculation. Your guess is as good as mine as to how various situations might play out in total anarchy (<==pdf, defined as "absence of central political authority"). I observe the tendency of so many of us to get caught up in intellectual/bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo due to that lack of first hand experience: "libertarian theory". My guess is that there is a latent desire on the part of most to "...do the right thing..." -- which is probably the closest and most succinct definition of what libertarianism -- as well as NAP -- is all about. Of course "doin' the right thing" is up for grabs when you're caught up in "legal" definitions -- which is why I try to refrain from bureaucracy. It is also my hunch that we will be surprised at how extensive neighborhoods will become in joining together to protect the properties and safety of residents from aggression by the bad-asses who will remain after LATEOS. My little Des Moines neighborhood -- located in "the hood" -- is a current example. I needn't worry about prowlers when I'm out with the truck. We look out for one another. Sam
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Glock, Because you have not read your Rothbard, you are unaware of the clear definitions that have already been laid out in spades. Rothbard clearly discusses the custodial role that parents play in the life of young children. That is why the misuse of that custodial roll can be construed as aggression. Again read your of bard and catch up on the language here.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 1 year 9 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Yes, I am refining the definition. Language is subjective, and as long as you clearly define your terms and are consistent in those definitions (i.e., you don't equivocate), you can use any words you want. My refinement is not an attempt to redefine per se, but mainly to distill the fundamental concept being discussed. Having read much literature on the NAP, I've come to the the conclusion that we're really talking about the issue of consent and the NAP is basically a prohibition on violating consent. I think you can use the standard definition/understanding of aggression (initiation of force; though even that is only one definition of several) without my refinement and still make use of the NAP, but I think it requires a much more involved/complex discussion (involving, among other things, a careful consideration of just escalation and proportionality in response to conflict). For simplicity and clarity, declaring that what you mean by the NAP is that you may not violate the consent of another is more of a simplified conclusion than an attempt at outright redefinition. One reason I find this useful is that if someone, like Zwolinski, is going to glibly reject the NAP for its alleged shortcomings (such as not addressing fraud) then they're less likely to be receptive to a complex response and will likely accuse such complexity as an ad hoc attempt at salvage, thus "proving" their point. Instead, pointing out that they've missed the essence of what the NAP means, through a simplified clarification of its conclusion, engages successfully (I think) at the level of discourse being offered (mainly beneficial to the "audience", not necessarily the detractor). If a more rigorous discussion is pursued, then more complex explanations still exist.