Recent comments

  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 1 week ago Page Michael Kleen
    G'day B.R. Merrick, Well, let me try to put your mind further at ease. "The state has made it impossible for us not to "use" it." Nothing personal, but here we have the perfect excuse; If "the state has made it impossible for us not to "use" it", then it is impossible for anyone to secede from it, i.e. withdraw from membership in it. Really?! So, if an Individual Secessionist, like myself, "uses" FRN's, for example, (the first most popular "excuse"[1]), or if (s)he "uses" the "highways", (another popular excuse), or if (s)he "uses" gasoline which has a "gasoline tax" added to it, (another very popular one), or if (s)he pays a "sales tax", (way up there on the "excuse" scale), that somehow magically subjects her, or him, to the dominion of a STATE, or the UNITED STATES? Well, let's test a few "excuses". If a RUSSIAN citizen comes to America and "uses" FRN's, does (s)he magically become a subject/citizen of a STATE, or of the UNITED STATES? If a FRENCH citizen comes to America and "uses" its "highways" (roadways and streets), or pays a fricken toll, does (s)he magically become a subject/citizen of a STATE, or of the UNITED STATES? If a SWISS citizen comes to America and "uses" a market, while visiting America, does (s)he magically become a subject/citizen of a STATE, or of the UNITED STATES? If an ISRAELI citizen comes to America and pays a gasoline tax, a bow and arrow tax (yes, there is an "hidden tax" on bows and arrows), or any other type of "sales tax"[2], does (s)he magically become a subject/citizen of a STATE, or of the UNITED STATES? Last, but hardly least, if a GRECIAN citizen comes to America and bears a child while on this portion of the continent known as North America, does that child magically become a subject/citizen of a STATE, or of the UNITED STATES? And, if a free woman or man does any of these things, does (s)he magically become a subject/citizen of a STATE, or of the UNITED STATES? To all those who answer "yes" to any of the above questions, CONGRATULATIONS, your indoctrination is complete. __________________________________________________________________ [1] This one is hilarious, because one of the most common solutions is to "use" your FRN's to buy gold and/or silver, depending, in many cases, on which one the guru is selling, or getting a kick-back from. So, what's the difference, "using" those FRN's to buy food, clothing and equipment, or "using" them to buy gold and/or silver? [2] "Generally, the purchaser pays the tax, but the seller collects it, as an agent for the government." ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1339 Pay close attention to that, "the seller...[is] an agent for the government, not the purchaser.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 1 week ago Web link Sharon Secor
    We have a truly ugly government. I haven't flown for years now.
  • rita's picture
    rita 4 years 1 week ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Yeah, if all else fails, haul out "the children." "We're protecting the children." Seems that not even the state can pretend that reading months-old e-mails will thwart terrorism, but where there's a will (and a child pornagrapher or two) there's a way. Seriously, who would object to a little snooping when there are children at stake, right?
  • rita's picture
    rita 4 years 1 week ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Oh, we certainly don't want to send "mixed messages" to our children, so let's make this one loud and clear -- that mom and dad will stand by in silence while their kids are molested by strangers. But don't worry, honey, we'll post it on YouTube, so the whole world can witness your degradation and our failure to protect you.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 4 years 1 week ago Page Glen Allport
    Hi Glen, On a related note to the importance of love and nurturing is the idea of being able to communicate in a nonviolent manner. I found this interesting, and perhaps you are already familiar, but here is the link for anyone interested: http://completeliberty.libsyn.com/episode-126-pitfalls-of-moralizing-int... and there are many more excellent podcasts on this and other related subjects: http://completeliberty.libsyn.com/category/podcasts Wes has done, IMHO, great work in advancing voluntaryism by communicating ideas in a very straightforward, logical, and compassionate way.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 4 years 1 week ago Page Per Bylund
    http://hw.libsyn.com/p/3/6/2/362db76ce3a8a993/Episode_126_-_Pitfalls_of_...
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 1 week ago Page Michael Kleen
    G'day dhowlandjr, "Bridges", plural? You've had to pay a toll to walk across more than one then? And, were 'they' private or public bridges? You also wrote, "if the state were [sic] adhering to Black's definitions, it would hardly infringe on our rights at all". First, that's a bit like saying, "Canines hardly ever bite." What kind of canines, i.e. canidae, the wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, or the domestic dog? What kind of "rights" do you have, dhowlandjr? If you call yourself a citizen of a STATE[1] then you have traded your natural rights, among which are your right, i.e. just claim to, your Life, Liberty and justly acquired Property, for a mess of man-made legal and political rights, and these "legal/political rights" may be "legally" infringed on with "due process of law", and "due process of law", my friend, is whatever the creators of these man-made rights and laws say it is. And, second, the STATE doesn't adhere to Black's definitions, Black's definitions adhere to the STATE, as it were, notwithstanding that it is next to impossible in most cases, because adhering to the STATE is like adhering to quicksand, as we see in "A Final Word of Caution" in Black's Sixth Edition (c.1991), page iv. "The language of the law is ever-changing as the courts, Congress, state legislatures, and administrative agencies continue to define, redefine and expand legal words and terms. Furthermore, many legal terms are subject to variations from state to state and again can differ under federal laws. Also the type of legal issue, dispute, or transaction  involved can affect a given definition usage. Accordingly, a legal dictionary should only be a "starting point" for definitions." _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ [1] "If one calls himself a citizen, then he is actively choosing to participate in the government organization. If one does not wish to participate, he can simply stop calling himself a citizen. There is no paperwork to fill out. One can just walk away, and fix the thought within his mind that he is no longer participating in the imaginary hierarchical organization that is called government, and just like that, he is out. It is, after all, his innate human right to rule over everything within the lower realm of imaginary creations." ~ tzo
  • dhowlandjr's picture
    dhowlandjr 4 years 1 week ago Page Michael Kleen
    I've had to pay a toll to walk across some bridges before. Really, if the state were adhering to Black's definitions, it would hardly infringe on our rights at all.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    "With all due respect to Mr. Rothbard, it is impossible to live within the matrix of the state and not add to that matrix." This may be overstating a bit. :-) Say we have a ultrapurist libertarian, living as a hermit in a cave. One day he takes a walk, and happens to walk on a sidewalk for a bit. Is he now "adding to the matrix" (whatever that means)? Has his whole life become besmirched, sullied? Well, I don't think so. A reasonable way to approach this is to use private alternatives where available, go without "services" if you can, but if those choices aren't possible then use the government-usurped service without resorting to self-flagellation when you get home. As long as the net sum of your activities add up to anti-state, you are fine (the more, the better, of course). As to Rothbard, I think he actually stepped over the line. He didn't actually HAVE to be a professor in a government indoctrination camp.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    Gene Sharp identifies noncooperation by at least some fraction of government employees as a crucial element of success in freedom movements.
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Glen, thanks for this article. Your writings on love-freedom as one concept has greatly influenced my thinking about life, from how I make a living to how I raise my kids. With regard to the intersection of love-freedom with anarchy, I am inclined to see this essentially as the old-school leftist anarchy, which identifies how state privileges in every form corrupt civil society, concentrate wealth unnaturally, and make life artificially difficult for those who don't align themselves with power. I agree wholeheartedly with your assertion that the lack of empathy within our culture is below the threshold need to keep society civil. The evidence for this abounds, starting right with the supposed "leaders" of our world. Plenty of empathy in that bunch of psychopaths, right?? Where empathy for others within a family comes naturally and may extend into a small community, it is forever difficult to further extend this feeling of oneness to larger groups. And this is one way that we are led into dangerous territory. Our instincts aren't so strong regarding people ten time zones away. Regarding childrearing, the overwhelming emphasis on gross national product instead of gross national happiness has led people deeply astray. The bottom line is that school trains people to obey authority, in whatever form it appears. The subjects are chosen to make the corporate owners rich, rather than to prepare the youth for interesting and fulfilling lives. The purpose of the media seems to be to keep our attention on people we don't know, events we don't influence and products we don't need. This is why tuning out of the daily news cycle is an important step towards taking control of our lives.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    "During the Vietnam War in the '60s and '70s, Americans expressed massive outrage over the war." The draft may have had something to do with that. :-) There is another sense in which empathy is increasing, I think. The Internet has opened a lot of communication between people who would never have imagined communicating previously.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Good point regarding the time those hijacked jets were flying; I originally had it as "over an hour" but did a check and found a timeline that showed less than an hour of flight time -- but that was per jet. With the four jets starting at different times, it would be more than an hour.
  • rita's picture
    rita 4 years 2 weeks ago Web link Michael Dunn
    According to this article, "individual responsibility and personal freedom are becoming a thing of the past" in public schools. Gee, I wonder what rock these people just crawled out from under? Personal freedom has never, as far back as I remember, existed within the confines of public schools, and with the coming of the random drug test, whatever freedom kids had out of school disappeared as well. As for "individual responsibility," you have only to scroll down their website to "Big pharm freebies turning medical students into drug pushers" to understand that these people's definition is very narrow indeed. The saying "freedom isn't free" is usually understood to refer to the sacrifices of those who fight. But there's another cost of freedom, one that everyone who would be free must pay -- you have to allow others to be free, too. Unfortunately, the food freedom lobby seem unable to see, or unwilling to admit, the connection between their freedom and mine.
  • DB's picture
    DB 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    On the Nuclear energy argument, chances are we would be using Liquid Thorium reactors which are much safer [the plants will not melt down] and the spent fuel is safe after only 500 years, they are also extremely efficient. The only reason the government only allows the Uranium reactors we have presently is because the waist can be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. All-in-all excellent, clear, well organized article, thank you for writing it.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    An article full of so many enticing links! And I love how you incorporated the 9/11 "sins of omission." One minor thing, though: "...and efficient national defense that won't let a bunch of hijacked airliners roam the country for nearly an hour..." Of course, "nearly" can be rounded down, but it's actually OVER an hour AND A HALF from the loss of communication from the first "hijacked" flight (8:20) to the last flight "crashing" (10:06). The passenger jets averaged about 500 MPH, but according to www.911timeline.net: "An F-15 has a top speed of 1875+ MPH. According to NORAD, Otis [where the F-15s graze] is 153 miles eastnortheast of the WTC." I loved the story of the boy and the teacher throwing mud! Keep throwing truthful, glorious mud at these coercive lies, Glen!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago
    The Camel's Nose
    Page Paul Hein
    G'day Paul Hein, That was a fun article. Thanks. Regarding your last statement, "It would be a good idea to clarify just who is the servant, and who the master!" Wouldn't you agree that in any master-servant relationship the one who is required to petition[1] for permission to do or have something is the servant, and the one who grants permission is the master? https://duckduckgo.com/?q=missouri+licensing "A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years." ~ Lysander Spooner ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ [1] Meaning "formal written request to a superior (earthly)" is attested from early 15c ~ Online Etymology Dictionary
  • pcar's picture
    pcar 4 years 2 weeks ago
    The Camel's Nose
    Page Paul Hein
    One of the ways the political elite "encourages" us to pay car registration fees is to license (and restrict the supply of) taxis. This drives up the cost and availability of taxis to the point where they're not really practical. Another tactic is to license so-called "public" transit rather than letting the free market determine how shared transportation systems are organized. The best peaceful solution towards tax minimization is to stop driving (and working for money) as soon as we can. Frugal living will generally minimize the state's tax take.
  • Michael Kleen's picture
    Michael Kleen 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    Interesting point, I guess I (and Rothbard) should have picked a better example.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    Well, that certainly makes me feel better. :)
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    "You're using the words 'coercive' and 'lie' far too loosely." Perhaps, but at the heart of the religious teachings you outline are falsehoods. I believe that truth is required for volition to come to fruition. It is not truthful, factual, or helpful to tell people they MUSN'T use birth control, power tools, or eat pork. Furthermore, depending on the religious community, what each community encourages, and how one "volitionally" shapes one's life around it, I can assure you that absent a gun, changing one's beliefs and practices in contradiction to that religious community can result in being "coerced" out of one's job or home, via shaming, shunning, etc. Believing some of the nonsense that my former religion teaches can result in young people committing suicide because of the falsehoods that are believed. And I can assure you that at the heart of the falsehoods that are honestly believed in my former religion is a coercive lie (deliberately and willfully made up by one man), not simply a falsehood. Not only that, but I know for certain that current leaders of that same religion are actively trying to cover up that history, so that individuals like me will continue to believe something that has no basis in fact. That is also a lie. I believe it is possible to "coerce the truth" by willfully lying, which leads directly to the death of the volition of he who believes it. Many of the people you mention in your reply aren't willfully trying to lie, but for at least some of those religions, at the heart of those honestly-believed falsehoods is someone making it up as he goes along. At least one of them, anyway.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    G'day B.R. Merrick, As I understand it, they are NOT "government roads". They are, legally, (and lawfully), speaking, "free and public roadway[s], or street[s]; one[s] which every person [sic] has the right to use.[1]" The gasoline tax helps pay for their upkeep, and what one abuses[2], one should voluntarily pay for. Because of my free man status, I once had a very interesting discussion with some agents of a place called Sweetwater on this jurisdictional issue. "In the United States, the fuel tax receipts are often dedicated or hypothecated to transportation projects, so that the fuel tax is considered by many a user fee." ~ "Wikipedia" _________________________________________________________________________________________ [1] Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 728 [2] Vehicles, according to weight, cause damage to the highways (roadways and streets). There is no charge, even on toll roads, for foot traffic, because it causes no extraordinary wear and tear.
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 4 years 2 weeks ago
    Border War
    Web link Jad Davis
    Like they do not know what they are doing.We learned prohibition does not work almost a hundred years ago.Prohibition gave you the Al Capones and the rich 'american gangsters, opposed by the untouchables. Prohibit a substance and it puts money and a criminal element into the equation.(that gummint just has to respond to.) Will Grigg kick it out of the park again.> It's shamefully narrow-minded of Washington to confer the blessings of humanitarian mass murder on distant Bedouins while ignoring our Mestizo neighbors to the South. McCaul, a former federal prosecutor who now chairs the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, is eager to help rectify that inequity by designating six Mexican drug syndicates -- including Los Zetas, which is led by U.S.-trained military personnel -- as "foreign terrorist organizations." http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2011-01-01T00%3A...
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    You're using the words "coercive" and "lie" far too loosely. The ban on birth control is neither coercive nor a lie. It's not a lie, because there is no intention to deceive. In fact, until the Lambeth Conference of 1930, Christian denominations across the board condemned contraception. This is not a precept conjured out of thin air by Paul VI. But I'm not interested in defending the moral theology underlying the ban on contraception. For the sake of argument, let's stipulate we can read the Pope's mind and that he is in fact lying about birth control. What other religious beliefs constitute lies? How about the Amish ban on automobiles and power tools? Surely it makes the faithful's lives more difficult forgoing modern conveniences, doesn't it? How about the Orthodox Jewish ban on eating pork? You mean to tell me the Jews wouldn't enjoy sinking their teeth into a slab of babyback ribs? How about the Jehovah's Witnesses ban on blood transfusions? Talk about a dangerous decree! This one has life-and-death consequences! I happen to believe these are all bad beliefs. But for the sake of argument, let's stipulate the Amish, Orthodox Jewish and JW religious authorities intend to deceive--just like the Pope. It's all lies. The fact remains none of the liars resort to coercion for enforcement. The Pope won't sic his Switzers on you for practicing contraception. Neither will the Amish, Orthodox Jews or JWs sic their armed agents on you for violating their precepts against power tools, pork or blood transfusion. They don't even have armed agents! You can say they exploit a fear of the hereafter. But they certainly have that right, don't they? As long as you have a right not to listen? There's an imam down the road in Dearborn, Michigan, who claims Christians practice polytheism. He says Christians put their souls in peril by accepting the divinity of Christ. After all, there is only one God and His Name is Allah. It's no skin off my nose if that's what he believes. It's no skin off my nose if he's lying about it. Just spare me Sharia and dhimmitude. Again, libertarians have to be very careful using terms like coercion. Only the State and armed criminals (but I repeat myself) practice coercion. The Catholics, Amish, Orthodox Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses don't practice coercion--at least not in the contexts outlined above.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    You pointed out something that is continuously on my mind. The state has made it impossible for us not to "use" it. People may think of us as being "hypocritical" for driving on the government's roads and paying the government's taxes on gasoline, but in order to be "unhypocritical," one would have to give up driving, and even as you pointed out, walking on sidewalks. I find the best way to be free is to avoid the initiation of coercion wherever possible, and to accept that freedom is a process, one that will inadvertently and unavoidably involve some aspect of the state until everyone else on this land mass wakes up. One of the best things we can do is remind everyone willing to listen that every good or service currently provided exclusively by the government would exist, and probably in a better way, without the state's interference. Then, set example by finding your own unique, individual way to walk away from systems of coercion.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    Thank you for your thoughts. However, I should clarify something: I am not comfortable with "atheist" or "agnostic." I have questions that are unanswered, and experiences that helped spawn those very questions. I'll leave it at that. Furthermore, I consider myself a Post-Christian instead of an ex-Christian, because I believe there is a fount of wonderful information having to do with individuality that can be gleaned from an unbiased look at the Four Gospels. This is why I continue to freely quote Jesus when I no longer believe in His divinity. (I also, as I just evidenced, continue to capitalize "His" when referring to Jesus out of respect for the traditions from whence I sprang.) My criticisms about religion have to do with the coercive lie that birth control must not be used. This is regulation of human sexuality outside the self, based on meaningless reference to obscure scripture. It creates enormous problems and solves nothing. Coercion is death. I would agree, however, that short-term solutions to personal problems can be found in organized (and unorganized) religion. From a logical or factual standpoint, though, I cannot defend the idea of superiority vs. inferiority any longer. Religions, like government, can be systems of coercion when they fail to search for and tell the truth. I've seen enough of that to last me a lifetime. (Well, half a lifetime, anyway.)
  • GregL's picture
    GregL 4 years 2 weeks ago
    Border War
    Web link Jad Davis
    Different people will react to these photos differently. Most STR readers will see it as illustrating how wasteful and harmful the whole war on drugs is and that it needs to be ended. Govt apologists will see these photos as evidence that drugs are big business and that they they need to take the drug war to the next level. But whatever your reaction, these are powerful photos that depict how big the war on drugs has gotten.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    In reading those responses by superior officers, “You’re the problem,” “It must have been your fault,” “You must have provoked them,” I am hearing the same old crap that women used to be (still are?) told when they got raped. . . It's the same old "blame the victim" mentality writ large. And my friends wonder why I'm so opposed to their kids joining the military. . .
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    G'day Sam, Frank Chodorov's article begins with this: "The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines taxation as "that part of the revenues of a state which is obtained by the compulsory dues and charges upon its subjects." That is about as concise and accurate as a definition can be; it leaves no room for argument as to what taxation is." First, we all should know that that quote is in reference to "income taxation" only. Second, we see that this taxation is "dues and charges upon its subjects". The third thing we should know is that "its subjects" are, according to Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 244, "members of a political community who, in their associated capacity, have...submitted themselves to the dominion of a government for the promotion of their general welfare and the protection of their individual as well as collective rights". Fourth, we know that, according to one of the republic's most well-know "founding fathers", that: "Our legislators are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights . . . and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him . . . and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we give up any natural right." ~ Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Francis Gilmer (c.1816) Knowing all this, I am truly surprised that more freedom loving individuals don't withdraw from membership in any "political community", which does not "declare and enforce only our natural rights...and...take none of them from us", and, "who, in their associated capacity, have...submitted themselves to the dominion of [the] government". In fact, it would seem that, more often than not, the exact opposite occurs; it seems that any mention of individual secession, which is defined as, "the act of withdrawing from membership in a group", and which has been called The Last, Best Bulwark of Our Liberties, is systematically, and almost universally, ignored.
  • A Liberal in Lakeview's picture
    A Liberal in La... 4 years 2 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    "These kinds of studies can help scientists figure out how the brain dictates moral behavior." Wow. Prejudging the matter before the facts are in. Nice science. Or is the problem just an idiotic journalist, Laura Sanders, who slants her reporting to suit her own philosphical predilections or those of an editor or publisher? Also, I have a few questions. Who are the test subjects? Are they a representative cross section of the populace? And what about prevailing cultural factors of the times? What exactly does the number "96 percent" tell us? My suspicion is that it doesn't tell us very much about human nature per se but rather about a culture that is not necessarily dominant and, of course, about the character flaws of particular test subjects. And as for the test subjects, we're all familiar with the practice of experimenters using younglings, esp. those aged 18-30, whose participation is solicited through ads placed in the free, edgy newspaper that caters to the young, poor, and dumb. For example, in Chicago there is the Chicago Reader.
  • A Liberal in Lakeview's picture
    A Liberal in La... 4 years 2 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Oh, no...it's not a catastrophe looming. It's a premeditated opportunity to set up single-payer coverage! "Let's take a look at the numbers. The average cost of a family health plan is around $14,000 per employee, much of it paid by employers. Under the new law, an employer who fails to offer government-mandated health insurance will face a $2,000 per employee fine. . . . Under Obamacare, small businesses owners are given every possible incentive to stop offering health insurance, and in this economy, it's hard to see why they wouldn't." So, what comes next? Businesspeople all across the land will start dropping coverage. Then the businesspeople will be villified for their alleged greed. Politicians will be pilloried for their supposed lack of foresight. "Throw the bums out!", the rabble will scream. "Fix health care!" A crop of socialists will be elected and enter Congress. Then presto, change-o. We get socialized medicine, just like the bleeding hearts and many docs, too, wanted. Of course, the docs will still have their lucrative medical cartel, and they'll still be playing the victim of government meddling in medicine. Owners of drug companies will still enjoy their lucrative patents and have a fat stream of revenue guaranteed by the government. Legions of chardonnay socialists in the big cities will still have their cushy desk jobs figuring out how to keep the racket working to their own advantage. Funny how some things stay the same the more that they change.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    Spot on, and all the more frightening for that. Who is terrorizing American citizens? America's government, that's who. Thanks for a well-written column detailing that fact; it's already a link in my own next column.
  • Mitrik_Spanner's picture
    Mitrik_Spanner 4 years 2 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    Right On Sam!
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 4 years 2 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    "Reason" is part of the mob. "We" don't have a spending problem. "THEY" have a spending problem. I discovered many years ago: if I'm gonna be free I'd better start acting free (thanks, Mark Davis): http://www.strike-the-root.com/52/davis_m/davis1.html "We" ain't "Them" and "They" ain't "Us". Their hallowed day coming up, which has become rather of a national and very political holiday, is not "our Tax Day", it's "their tax day". We who've declared sovereignty from Leviathan know that we are robbed every day. http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/library/TaxationisRobbery.html More than those filers -- statists all -- who search and oooh and aaah over "exemptions" and "tax credits" and "refunds". They are the ones who pay "their" taxes. We simply get robbed (to the extent that we haven't developed skills to side-step and take precautions against The Man). How 'bout some o that stimuli! Bring it on! Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    Comments like "grow up" do not help make your case. Bob does have a point, and one doesn't have to be a relativist to see it. To kill people, you first dehumanize them, and call them evil. There is entirely too much of that going on these days. The question is not whether there is evil in the world (there is), but correctly deciding who is evil, and what you are going to do about it. Mostly, you should do nothing because it's a self-correcting problem. Only when someone evil actually attacks you, is it sensible to defend yourself, or remove yourself from the attack.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago
    Natural Law
    Web link Don Stacy
    Natural law, natural rights, natural liberty, et cetera, are only relevant[1] to free men and women, that is to say men and women who have not voluntarily "subjected themselves to the dominion of a [man-made] government", or those who have withdrawn from membership in all man-made "political" groups. Perhaps this explains why there has been only one solitary vote of ten for Lysander Spooner's treatise entitled, NATURAL LAW; OR THE SCIENCE OF JUSTICE: A TREATISE ON NATURAL LAW, NATURAL JUSTICE, NATURAL RIGHTS, NATURAL LIBERTY, AND NATURAL SOCIETY; SHOWING THAT ALL LEGISLATION WHATSOEVER IS AN ABSURDITY, A USURPATION, AND A CRIME; and why there has been only two commentors, on this, the most important topics for free men and women, e.g. natural law, natural justice, natural rights, natural liberty and natural society, in over a year. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ [1] relevant adjective▸directly connected with and important to what is being discussed or considered ~ Macmillan Dictionary
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago
    Natural Law
    Web link Don Stacy
    "There is only one fundamental right [just claim] (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right [just claim] to his own life." ~ Ayn Rand
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    G'day Hogeye Bill, right n. ...2. That to which one has a just claim... ~ Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, copyright 1916-1960, page730 Probably the main contributing factor to the lack of understanding of "rights" is the fact that there are a number of different kinds of "rights". Although you and I may not necessarily agree with Noah's [Webster] particular enumeration under the heading, "RIGHT, n. ...10. Just claim ...Rights are natural, civil, political, religious, personal, and public," they nonetheless make the point. A Dictionary of Law, (Black's first edition c. 1891), page 1045, classed them as "natural, civil and political". I am reminded of the story of the blind men and the elephant . The problem you point out with "general moral rights" occurs because there are, in fact, no such thing as "general moral rights". Morality is a slippery slope to traverse, which is exemplified by definition number 4 below. mo·ral·ity (mō ral′i tē, mô-, mə-) noun 1. moral quality or character; rightness or wrongness, as of an action 2. the character of being in accord with the principles or standards of right conduct; right conduct; sometimes, specif., virtue in sexual conduct 3. principles of right and wrong in conduct; ethics 4. a particular system of such principles Natural rights, on the other hand, "are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity".
  • mkghandi's picture
    mkghandi 4 years 2 weeks ago
    Metamouse
    Page tzo
    Stanley's dilemma is a product of a plutocratic totalitarian government. Stanley only consumes, he produces nothing but mouse turds. Real life plutocratic totalitarian governments deal with people who produce the wealth that the governments take away from them. We humans however are more likely to test our conditioning and transcend it. Well, maybe some of us are. But the rest will follow. That's why we have a police state--to keep up the conditioning, and to not allow anyone to break it. MKG
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    Thanks for the kind words, Glen. Libertarians have to be careful to use words like coercion very narrowly. In an anarchist, state-of-nature society, commercial and religious relationships would be entirely voluntarily--unless the corporate executives and priests in that society were to compel us, at the points of their guns, to work for them, purchase their products and abide by their religious decrees. But in that anarchist, state-of-nature society, we would be just as free to take up arms and defend ourselves from them. The statists believe chaos would quickly run rampant in such a society. But we anarchists believe liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter. An armed society is a polite society. The state, with its territorial monopoly on violence, is actually the mother of chaos *and* tyranny--to say nothing of all the impoliteness it spawns. (Have you visited the DMV lately?) Centralized violence does not a civilized order make. Statists want *to force us to be free*. The contradiction doesn't trouble them in the least: they sincerely believe only state power can protect the people from greedy corporations' shoddy and dangerous products, their slave wages and unfair employment practices. Likewise, atheist statists will claim their infringements on religious liberty actually serve to *enhance* religious liberty, else the churches brainwash everybody into palsied submission to their Medieval dogmas and conservative morality tunnels. But this kind of thinking gets us nowhere. The religionists can just as easily seize political power, turn around and apply it against the atheists. How else are they to protect the atheists from the aggressive inculcations of a godless zeitgeist? If you're interested, I explore the relationship between faith and state in a 2006 column published on another website. Just Google "Pivetta + B-losses" and it'll come right up.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    G'day B.R. Merrick, "Laws of nature are distinct from religious and civil law, and should not be confused with the concept of natural law. Nor should 'physical law' be confused with 'law of physics' - the term 'physical law' usually covers laws in other sciences (e.g. biology) as well." ~ Wikipedia [Emphasis added] Read the highlighted material out of context, "Laws of nature...should not be confused with the concept of natural law". With all due respect, in your last reply I still sense a lack of understanding. Either of those, "natural lawS" or "natural law", is fine, as long as we don't confuse the reader by talking about physical law, as you did with "Mt. St. Helens", and the "laws of economics" [in your reply to me], and the natural law of man, which, simply put is, "a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings, as though they were the same thing. Where the confusion arises, I think, is because all three of these things are subcategories of the "lawS of nature". Take a look at definitions number 3 and number 6 HERE. Notice here, that Noah Webster, in his effort to keep these separate refers to the "law of nature", when defining the natural law of man, but refers to the "lawS of nature", when referencing the "physical laws". Here is what you wrote in your article. First you wrote: "It’s natural law, and natural law doesn’t care whether you’re rich or poor..." This is correct, the natural law of man doesn't respect (recognize) the status of men. But, then you turn around and evidently contradict that by saying: "This is why the natural law, end result of any and every regulation mows over poor people first..." Taken out of context, strictly for clarity, that says, "...the natural law...mows over poor people first..." If the natural law of man doesn't recognize "whether you're rich or poor", how can it possibly "mow over poor people first"? The "physical laws", on the other hand, as in your example of Mt. St. Helens, can certainly "mow over" individuals; but does it selectively "mow over poor people first". Only if the poor people are first in its path of destruction. If you don't obey the "laws of economics", your accumulated wealth, or ability to accumulate wealth, can certainly get "mowed over". And, the "laws of economics" may even effect "poor people" more drastically than rich ones, but only because they live so close to the edge, economically. Although it was reportedly the "rich people" who jumped out of windows in the stock market crash of October 29, 1929, not the "poor people". But the "law of nature", i.e. natural law of man, technically, doesn't "mow over" anyone, and most certainly not the "poor people first". I think that Noah Webster gave a good feel for what the natural law of man is, with this: Law of nature, is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings...Thus it is a law of nature, that one man should not injure another, and murder and fraud would be crimes, independent of any prohibition from a supreme power." We can see from that, that if the natural law of man did "mow over" anyone, (which it doesn't), it would be those who initiate force to injure another, murder, commit fraud, etc. who would be "mowed over".
  • Hogeye Bill's picture
    Hogeye Bill 4 years 2 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    This is a case where a precise definition clears almost everything up. right (general moral right) - a moral claim to freedom of action Once you know the definition, things fall into place. Obviously rights do not automatically protect anyone. They are only a claim. Obviously what one deems rights depends on one's morality. But is the concept useful? I say yes, because it gives a common starting point - a common premise - for liberty. Theists can base rights on supernatural critters; atheists can base it on the observed nature of humans or an implicit contract upon interacting with society. Egoists can base it on egoism; altruists can base it on serving mankind. From various diverse bases, people can agree on certain moral claims to freedom of action. IOW the concept of rights allows us to ignore the various underlying justifications and still agree on a starting place. There are certain claims common to all these various philosophies. For a more detailed discussion of this topic, see the chapter of my e-book "Against Authority" entitled "Listen Egoist!" at http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/library/aa/p027.html
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    Nice commentary on religion. As an athiest myself, I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about the religious in my younger years -- too many mean-spirited, racist Christians in the areas where I grew up, for one thing -- but I long ago noticed that there are healthy and unhealthy folk in every religion, culture, nation, race, and so on. And those years of being dragged to church and Sunday school left me with an appreciation for those few of Jesus' teachings in particular that are strongly pro-compassion, pro-freedom, pro-real-world. In addition to a couple of STR columns on the topic, http://www.paradise-paradigm.net/columns/three_teachings.html discusses three teachings in particular by Jesus, using four brief quotes from Jesus (see notes at bottom of that column before responding about whether Jesus actually lived, or whether we can really know what he might or might not have said, etc). Love and freedom are wherever you find them. Encouraging those who believe in religion to focus on the positive material in their religion (and there is always positive material) is probably more useful than trying to convince believers that they should believe something else entirely -- besides, it matters not a whit to me if someone believes in the supernatural. It shouldn't matter to anyone else either, I think -- and I'm well aware of the arguments contrary to that, but don't find them persuasive.
  • A Liberal in Lakeview's picture
    A Liberal in La... 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    "And it’s because they believe in Good and Evil..." Methinks that you confuse necessary conditions with necessary and sufficient conditions. To get to the conclusion that you prefer, at least one more ingredient is needed. Why not try utilitarianism, for instance? In other words, look for evidence that they are utilitarians, then factor that into your argument. Now, if we ought to abandon the concepts good and evil, if we ought not to see life as a morality play, then why suppose that the lives of humans are tragicomedy? Instead, those lives would be just comedy. Speaking of tragicomedy, here's a little of my own for ya: "A Democrat and a Republican go to a bar and stay there for hours. They leave. A libertarian pays their tab." Not tragic or funny enough for you? Well, then how about some foodie humor? "A moral nihilist is strapped drown on a heavy wooden table by a moral relativist. The moral nihilist's muscles are tickled with a knife, and its joints, tapped with a hammer and an ice pick. After a period of time, the moral nihilist cries out in protest. The moral relativist replies to the nihilist, 'Complain all you like, but bear in mind that I, too, have my preferences.' Then the relativist reaches into a cupboard for his blowtorch, which he had purchased with the intent to make crème brûlée. The moral nihilist, whose eyes are widening, cries out, 'you're a foodie!'. 'Not today,' replies the relativist. 'I'm just hungry.' " . . . Life is not a goat-song, Bob Wallace. Morality play, yes, but not a goat-song, not even a funny one. Now, why don't you grow up for the very first time in your life? Go on, now, Bob. Give it a go. In the meantime, while you are pretending not to be a child, while you are kicking and screaming in protest, the morality play goes on. Its rules are very simple. Not to do any evil, to cultivate the good, and to purify the mind. These are the rules of the morality play.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    This is exactly right. The "Baptists" take pride in their promotion of coercion since they see it as a way of punishing sinners, which is, after all, God's work (figuratively speaking, since the same phenomenon would apply to secular interventionists too). Thus it should also not surprise us that our "justice" system is heavily skewed toward punishment, not making victims whole.
  • rita's picture
    rita 4 years 2 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    Let's not forget that George W. Bush and his "dovish" successor, George W. Obama, have killed more Americans than the al-Queda ever dreamed of.
  • Michael Kleen's picture
    Michael Kleen 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    From a Nietzschean perspective, the concept of "evil" is part of the herd morality, which of course is why the the modern state was established in the first place - the protect the herd from "evil." So in that instance I think you're spot on.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 4 years 2 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    G'day Bob Wallace, The state hasn't defined drugs as "evil", those men who make its private laws have defined drugs as "illegal", in order to keep them profitable, which of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with "morality".
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    Kudos to B.R. on a persuasive and finely crafted column. It's high time libertarians stop ceding the moral high ground to progressives. Not just because transfer payments and business regulations do more harm than good, even focusing solely on the interests of the poor. Efficacy is nagging triviality in this context. No, first and foremost, welfare-statism violates every standard of basic human decency. You can't fund the welfare state--any state--without resorting to taxation. Taxation is just extortion by another name. I have a nit to pick nonetheless. B.R.'s tendentious characterizations notwithstanding, religious views will always have a place in the marketplace of ideas. Belief in God, Christ, virtue, sin, judgment, redemption, heaven and hell survived the coercive atheism of the Soviet Union, the bloodiest dictatorship in history, and they will survive (nay, thrive!) in any devoutly (!) to be realized anarchist society. They are neither "foisted on the uneducated" nor "coerced," in any reasonable sense of that word. This is not to disabuse B.R. of his own atheism. I just see no correlation between religiosity and statism. Some Christians (e.g., the late great Joseph Sobran) are anarchists; many atheists are ardent statists. Why alienate the religionists? Like the raw milk-trafficking Amish, they're as apt to strike the root as anyone.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 4 years 2 weeks ago
    How to Hurt the Poor
    Page B.R. Merrick
    Aha. Then perhaps in the future I should refer to "natural lawS" instead of "natural law" in order to make the distinction. In fact, I'll edit the article to reflect this.