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  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    In response to the author's point >>"What are we to put in place of belief in rights? The ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade." Tzo wrote >"The ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade are Santa Claus." I think the point that the author was trying to make is that notions of 'rights' (which I happen to believe in) are taken as an underlying rationale for voluntaryism, but should not be; that is, that it's mistaken to view the proscription against doing unmerited harm to another's property as something that stems from the existence of his/her/its rights. In contrast, the author offers "non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade" as a set of behaviours which, when observed widely, will result in a society in which unmerited harm to others will be minimised. It's a 'stocks vs flows' idea; we may or may not have a stock of 'rights' - and whether we have them or not, they may be meaningless if we are not able to prevent them from being infringed. However we can - with probability 1 - participate in ongoing activities that embody values which will result in a reduction in unmerited harm to third parties. I'm one of the 'rights exist ex nihilo' types, but life shows clearly that vermin like Cheney, Obama, Blair and all those who live in palaces at our expense, have no qualms about using the machinery of oppression to take whatever they can whenever they feel like. Likewise, they have no trouble finding corrupt vermin like Yoo, Bybee, Scalia and so forth to give a pseudo-intellectual fig-leaf to their rapine... and of course they have their sturmabteilung at the bottom - scum like Lon Horiuchi who will kill women and children for their masters. So as the author opined - the existence or otherwise of my 'right' to not be interfered with is not even an interesting philosophical discussion in a world where Obama can decide I'm on his 'extrajudicial assassination' list, and send some tard like Horiuchi to mess up my life with a .50cal and a warrant signed by the likes of Gonzales, Roberts or Alito... or disappear me into the American Gulag wherein I can be tortured to death and some subhuman scumbag like Yoo will write an essay about how that's just jim-dandy and Constitutional and all legal-like. As to the idea that defence of one's rights is tantamount to 'defending a fantasy' (as Mark Davis opined); History shows us that people defend delusions and fantasies all the time - from the most idiotic blather about some jealous, stupid, genocidal Sky Wizard, all the way through to primitive stupidity about 'nation' and 'volk'. In fact one of the precursors (arguably a necessary condition) for atrocity is a group who can be made to believe something absurd. We have gotten past the stage where we behave ourselves because of a fear of Hell, and where we think that the beauty of a sunset is down to God (at least that's the case in the developed world - not in the US where 68% of people think that angels exist in real life). The next big idea that people need to internalise is the old idea of 'gains from trade' - that voluntary trade results in two winners; that obtaining one's desires through contract is efficient (as is truth: that's the only reason to value it above alternatives). To me, the author seemed to be making a perfectly sensible point about the pointlessness of being surprised that there is a subset of humanity who choose - quite deliberately - to attempt to live by parasitic means, and that they routinely do unmerited harm to us in the process. To re-frame Diderot for the 21st century: "Man will be free when the last politician is bludgeoned to death with the severed arm of the last police sniper."
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    "... Or perhaps misunderstood and misused?" Yeps.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    So if a group of people organize a society and agree that everyone is entitled to live without being aggressed against, what do you call that concept? Right is a commonly accepted term, but you can call them "natural constraints" or whatever you want. The point is that we must have a term for this concept to even discuss it. Defining what rights are can be problematic, but mostly a matter of semantics. Freedom, liberty, love and hate are abstract concepts that are even more difficult to define. Do you consider the abstract concepts that these terms represent to be fantasies too? Of course the way some people may interpret these terms (falsely) can be considered fantasy. Does that make them useless terms? Or perhaps misunderstood and misused? Where are you Suverans2?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    "I don't know anybody that considers the concept of rights to be equivalent to some kind of force-field." In my opinion, most people think this way. Proof: They act surprised or outraged when government or some individual tramples a "right". In fact they act surprised or outraged when someone even questions a "positive right", which wouldn't be the case if people thought of rights the way you do. Also, the whole notion of a government protecting rights, while commonly held, is utterly ridiculous and just proves people have no logical concept of rights. "So what am I defending? A fantasy?" People who don't believe rights exist, or that they are not a useful concept, don't even talk about defending them, since they don't have any to defend. They just act according to their will (within natural constraints, if they have any sense), and get around obstructions to that action however they may.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 43 weeks ago Page Guest
    Word. It will be interesting to see how the Chinese handle their first recession when their current real estate boom crashes. I'm guessing they will blame it on the USA, with good reason. They may want to foreclose on us (stop buying T-bills).
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    This seems like a long, repetitive strawman argument to me because I don't know anybody that considers the concept of rights to be equivalent to some kind of force-field. As Tzo so succinctly pointed out, right is a term used to describe an abstract concept. What I consider a very useful abstract concept, like the number 7. I appreciate the intention of "keeping it real", as they say, but how do we discuss or even ponder the potential ramifications of, say, non-aggression, without abstract terms to form a philosophy with? Abstract concepts need not be fantasies like Santa Claus. Santa Claus was created and is generally understood to be a fantasy. The term right evolved as a universally accepted term to describe a concept where people organize social behavior based on commonly accepted parameters. Just because someone violates or doesn't recognize my right to not be aggressed against, doesn't mean that the concept doesn't exist. It does mean, as you accurately pointed out, that I must be ready and willing to defend my rights. So what am I defending? A fantasy? So the term does seem to have some usefulness. Still, I did like the article. Keep at it.
  • Michael Kleen's picture
    Michael Kleen 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    I totally agree, Tzo, I couldn't have said it better myself! Although I will say that I thought this column was well written and a good inaugural contribution.
  • Plant Immigration Rights Supporter's picture
    Plant Immigrati... 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Tzo, very well said. Peace, liberty, freedom, these too are all abstract.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    "What are we to put in place of belief in rights? The ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade." The ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade are Santa Claus. So it's turtles, all the way down. How about just considering rights as what the ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade logically define? This set of empirical norms is how the human race continues to exist. They have been discovered, and are not analogous to Santa Claus. Yes, they are abstract. You can't touch or see them. But then, so is the number 7. But these types of abstract concepts map onto existence in a useful manner, and are eminently practical. They can be used to make useful models to explain the world around us. The numbers do not exist in reality, but only through the ability of the human mind to create abstractions. Same with rights. Same with Santa. The difference comes in their usefulness in describing reality.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 43 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    "Government can only do two things: It can beat people up and kill them. Or it can threaten to do so. When it seems to be doing something else - for example, handing out money or, say, surplus cheese - what's actually going on is that something has been taken away from one set of individuals by deadly force or the threat of deadly force, a hefty middleman's fee deducted, and whatever is left thrown to peasants delighted to receive stolen goods." -- L. Neil Smith
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    How did people deal with this issue before they thought they had rights? It's pretty easy, actually. You don't have to have a PhD to figure it out. Dabooda has the correct fix on reality: "There is only one force in human affairs. That is the force of individual will. Freedom is a choice, not a right." Excellent first article, by the way! See also my article, "Life Without Rights": http://www.strike-the-root.com/life-without-rights
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    Maybe it doesn't need to be called "agression," if that word no longer has any meaning absent "property rights." I would think all you would have to do is ask yourself, "What kind of thug does this to another person?" Humans possess empathy, which is a natural phenomenon. The mere mention of someone's house being bulldozed, absent any conception of "natural rights," is enough to make me angry. I call it agression, and perhaps agression, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, perhaps not. "Your choice to carry a gun or to avoid dark alleys will be of infinitely more use to you than your 'right' not to be mugged." This is the crux of the matter. I see this article as another affirmation of our common humanity, as a reminder of how little we need systems of coercion to prevent future bulldozings. Most people would never bulldoze, and once they wake up, perhaps, as is now happening with sudden ferocity across the Middle East, they will realize their full potential as members of the human race and put a stop to the bulldozing, agression, or violation of "natural rights," however one wishes to phrase it. It all comes down to the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Never bulldozing another individual's house goes without saying, if the Golden Rule is practiced. This rule is not based on "natural rights," but empathy. I'm sure Suverans2 will be stopping by, and I'm sure things will get a lot more interesting then. :)
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 43 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Actually, most people are simultaneously statists and anarchists. They both advocate the state, and advocate against it. It's been noted over and over again that the average Joe, in his daily life, acts as an anarchist. This problem exists not only for terms like "anarchist" and "statist", but also "conservative", "liberal", "libertarian", etc. All almost meaningless. A pencil is a pencil, a car is a car, a rifle is a rifle. But a "conservative"? Good luck!
  • Plant Immigration Rights Supporter's picture
    Plant Immigrati... 3 years 43 weeks ago
    Rights Are Santa Claus
    Page Dabooda
    This is an interesting article. It is valuable to question long held ideas. But I do have a question. In the absence of the concept of natural rights of one kind or another, how would one define “aggression”? For example, if whilst you were away from home I knocked down your home and built a bypass through it with my yellow bulldozer, how is this aggression if we do not have a concept such as “property rights”? What, exactly, am I aggressing against?
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 43 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    People should be aware that children sentenced to adult prisons spend almost all their time in solitary confinement. By the time they turn 18, they're not fit for anything BUT life in prison. In some civilized nations, solitary confinement, even for adults, is considered torture. In fact, if you or I treated a dog the way these monsters treat our children, WE'D be in prison.
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 43 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Right now, somewhere in America, a gang of jack-booted, ski-masked, heavily-armed police thugs are kicking in someone's door and sticking their hands in someone's private places. All across this great country, thousands, tens of thousands of us are being forced, at gunpoint, to urinate in front of strangers. For decades, the vast majority of Americans have not just tolerated, but supported, the raping of suspected drug users by government agents. To keep you safe from people who never, ever, posed any threat. Now YOUR bodies are being invaded. And I'm supposed to be outraged on your behalf? Why, because you're an elected official? I would laugh, but I'm way too angry.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 43 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow's viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences." ~ Harry S. Truman Well, it's raining here, so you are stuck with me. Before saying "there is no such thing as a statist", or before we start accusing others of being "statists", mini-, midi-, maxi-, or anywhere in between, perhaps we should heed Voltaire's warning. "Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another..." Definition of STATIST : an advocate of statism ~ Merriam-Webster's 2011 Online Dictionary, 11th Edition Definition of ADVOCATE 1 : one that pleads the cause of [statism]; specifically : one that pleads the cause of [statism] before [strike-the-rooters] 2 : one that defends or maintains [statism] 3 : one that supports or promotes the interests of [statism] ~ Ibid. [Definition adapted for this particular topic.] Definition of STATISM : concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry ~ Ibid. Now that we know there is such a thing a "statist", let's look around to see if there are any of these dad-blamed "statists" here at Strike-the-Root, and proceed from there. Show of hands, please, are there any here who "advocate...concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government". Now, we just have to sit back and wait for the hands to go up. [Whistling "Dixie"[1] whilst I wait for the hands to start flyin' up and wavin'.] [1] "Whistling 'Dixie'" is a slang expression meaning "[engaging] in unrealistically rosy fantasizing".
  • jd-in-georgia's picture
    jd-in-georgia 3 years 43 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    As we near the end of Black History Month, I find it ironic that while focusing on the strides toward racial equality that the government claims to promote, there is no question that children are being educated (or rather conditioned) into the cult of the state, where the state rules supreme. If you think that you have freedom, look at these aerial photos of a prison and a high school and tell me that we have not reached true equality, if only by ensuring that we willingly fund governments that systematically process the populations of prisons and schools the exact same way. Image of Pelican Bay Supermax Prison Image of Auburn High School We may as well tell our kids to look forward to building license plates as inmates of a prison, or working in a cubicle as an employee of a cold, corporate-statist system that truly looks at the vast majority of its citizenry as slaves. This current two party monopoly running our country see this as a win-win because the poor will not get poorer and the rich will not get richer. It only matters that the state promotes the collective-hive mentality that it does so well. Go to work collating the financial report or stamping out a license plate... then return to your cubicle or return to your cell, respectively. It is a tragedy that the kids of today will have only the choice to either sell their soul to the state, or have it taken from them.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 43 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    G'day Michael Kleen, If, as you claim, "...99.9% of us live in a "state"", where do the remaining .1% of us, who are not consenting members (citizens/subjects) of the fictional "state", live? All taxes are voluntary. If one voluntary chooses to be, or remain, a member (citizen/subject) of the “state”, one is a “taxpayer”, i.e. “one is subject to a tax on income”. If one voluntarily chooses to buy something at the store, which must pay a “sales tax”, because it and its owner(s) is/are voluntarily in bed (incorporated) with the “state”, then the store owner generally passes that cost on to the voluntary purchaser of his goods. Most of our friends and relatives are members (citizens/subjects) of the “state”, which is why “most of us probably got an education[sic] thanks to the state[sic]”. (Actually, any thanks for our INDOCTRINATION should go to the MEN and WOMEN who are who are members (citizens/subjects) of “the state” who pay “property taxes”, if I understand your system correctly.) But, what does that have to do with being a “statist” or “mini-statist”? Why, for goodness sakes, do you believe that an “anarchist”, which I define as, one who does not consent to be ruled by “the state”, has to “live in the woods somewhere” or he/she is a “statist”, which, according to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Edition, is “an advocate of statism”? That is one heck of a stretch, in my opinion, Michael Kleen! Your point in all of this, if I am not mistaken, is to satisfy, in your mind, that you just don't have any choice but to be a member (citizen/subject) of a “state”. That's all well and good for you, Michael Kleen, but, hopefully, you won't mind if those of us who DO NOT CONSENT to be members (citizens/subjects) of “the state”, strongly disagree with that premise.
  • Guest's picture
    michale (not verified) 3 years 43 weeks ago Page Guest
    best root strike by far. right to the core of what makes this system unbearable- central banking
  • Guest's picture
    fewgewee3 (not verified) 3 years 43 weeks ago Page Guest
    so well written. this should definitely take first prize
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 44 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    I'm no fan of public education, but where are the parents of these children? How can you NOT notice that your kid can't read?
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 44 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Headlines here are calling this woman a "border activist." To me, border activists are the people who risk jail time by providing water to immigrants in the desert. But I guess that if people who hate freedom can call themselves "Minutemen" and "Patriots," they can call themselves anything they want. But if you want to get away with murder, call yourself a "peace officer."
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 44 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Very powerful article. And being written in 1969, it doesn't even begin to address the armed guards, surveillance cameras, lockdowns, strip searches, random drug tests, visits from drug dogs and "zero-tolerance" policies that constitute a major part of today's public education. My kids used to complain that their schools "looked like prisons." In the ten years between my youngest child and my oldest grandchild, however, the schools have actually BECOME mini-penal institutions. And not one kid in 100 could tell you where Vietnam is.
  • Guest's picture
    antistater (not verified) 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Marcel Votlucka
    This article is well written. We should all stand up against those that are raping us a dollar at a time. Great article. This writer should be a winner, where do I vote?
  • Guest's picture
    henry57 (not verified) 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Marcel Votlucka
    Wow! This article is amazing! This guy should win the contest!
  • New World Chaos's picture
    New World Chaos 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Will Groves
    It is even worse than this: the psychopaths have a (non-supernatural) hive mind called Satan. Long ago, perhaps shortly after the first states emerged, evil reached a critical mass of interconnectedness and became self-aware. Whenever one act of evil or corruption inspires another, that is one of Satan's synapses firing. Wherever the system seems designed to give psychopaths a route to power, profit and Darwinian advantage, that is Satan tilling his fields. When power corrupts one who was genuinely good, that is Satan assimilating a soul. (Using Satan's methods means channeling Satan, and he always finds a way to pervert good intentions). Whenever a spectacularly byzantine plot like 9/11 actually works, that is because it was planned by a hive mind that is far smarter than any individual human. When a lie is so clever and comes from so many directions that almost everyone believes it, that is Satan's Matrix at work. There is no individual psychopath at the top. The Rothschilds/Illuminati probably know what they are a part of, but most people (even presidents) are unwitting stooges. Misguided do-gooder control freaks are the worst, because they are willfully blind to the truth. Most non-psychopathic leftists, bureaucrats, cops, and Christians fall into this category. Satan's neural pathways have metastasized even beyond good people's minds and are now expressed in the financial system, law, and bureaucratic structures. Anyone who suppresses his sense of moral outrage because "The Law is the Law" is listening to Satan. Anyone who votes for greater state power as a defence against Satan's poverty and false flags is channeling Satan. Anyone who uses fiat currency or pays a loan is giving Satan power and influence. This includes me. One solution is to withdraw our consent and burn down the whole rotten system. Satan is 100% parasitic. Everything he has, we have given him (usually willingly). Another solution is to create a hive mind of our own, one with much faster reflexes. I think this is ultimately what the internet will become. Imagine 100 million vigilantes and hackers from 4chan and Anonymous, all with telepathic internet implants, peer-to-peer wireless and automated face recognition software!
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    dhowlandjr, posted on February 21, 2011: "...It's simply impossible to impose a voluntaryist (or anarchistic, or simply correct) viewpoint on others. We all have it, it's a basic part of our nature and our survival mechanism, and the degree to which we suppress and ignore it is the degree to which we allow or cause our own enslavement...." Sam replies: Your comment, as I see it, is the solution to the debate. Do you ever wonder, dhowlandjr, if anybody is listening??? The enormity of the truth is incredible. Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "But the moment the 3 refuse to allow the 4th to decline their offer, and instead hold the election anyway, with the expressed intent to enforce the results on the 4th owner's property as well, they have, by their action, formed a state. They have extended jurisdiction of their monopoly of decision making by fiat. The fact that they can't "pass" any of their rules does not change the fact they fully intended to enforce any rules voted on; imposing them on the 4th, unwilling owner." "Formed a state"? Or at least recognized its existence? Yes. Oh, you were thinking we could become free by convincing the three to give up the state. Good luck on that. Let me know when you've convinced everyone in a state to not have a state. I will be happy to move there. Getting back to the planet Earth, though, I'm thinking there may have to be a few intermediate steps before we get to that happy condition. I'm less interested in theoretical objections such as you raise, and more in things like "How can I stay out of jail?" "How can I keep the money I make?" That sort of thing. That, and demonstrating to statists (many of whom will be interested) that a free community actually can exist, and prosper. Oh, and I'm not only so easy-going as to accept a legislative or electoral recognition of my community's freedom. Hell, I'll even not mind it if the ruling class outlaws us completely - as long as they are too scared to actually come in and do a Waco on us, for fear we will retaliate in kind. In this world, it is good to keep one's standards low. Their leaving us alone may be grudging (and I'm certain it will be at first), but that's good enough for me.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Rob has a page about submitting articles, just follow the directions there. I can't guarantee he'll take yours though. ;-)
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Don't forget that one of the ruling class's primary tools is "divide and conquer". Calling virtually everybody our enemy just plays into that fact, makes us easy to conquer.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Is Per recommending we go around calling those who advocate (or even just perceive as legitimate) monopoly government "enemy" to their face? I see no proof anyone is suggesting such a course" Well, he did entitle his article with exactly that! You don't think minarchists come around here at all? It's not as if it was a quiet conversation, for private consumption only, between two anarchists. "But the assertion remains, while people advocate, or even passively accept aggression against others, they ARE the enemy of their fellow men." "Passively accept"? That's a pretty positivist view of anarchy if you ask me. No one has any obligation to protect me from aggression, but me. No one becomes my enemy if he refrains from that. I thought anachists believed that no one owes them anything. "Advocate"? Yeah, if they understand what they are advocating. Note, the government takes great pains, through government schooling and propaganda, to ensure the average Joe does NOT understand what statism boils down to. Government could not exist without euphemism. "We can't write that taxation is theft, because that would alienate IRS agents (and their families/friends)." Oh, heaven forbid we should bother an IRS agent! I mean, here is a person who clearly IS an enemy, and you are suggesting I am saying we should not annoy even those who are enemies? Sorry if you got that impression, but I am not saying that at all. "It's a place where people speak their mind and present ideas without apology." I don't argue this because I think it unnecessarily hurts people's feelings (although it does that), or because it is a tactical mistake (although it is that too), but because it is wrong. Minarchists and even other statists are not per se our enemies. We can be free in a world, outnumbered by statists, as long as they see fit to leave us alone (which many are willing to do).
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Generally, when one calls someone an enemy, all discussion with him ceases. That's what it means to be an enemy. At best, there still is a bit of fruitless discussion, such as that between the North and South Koreans, or between the Israelis and Palestinians. You may not agree. If so, that makes this a semantic discussion. Merriam webster defines "enemy" as a military adversary, or as "one that is antagonistic to another; especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent". Most statists do not intend to harm us. That they do so is certainly true, via their support of the ruling class. But they do not intend to do so. "Mistaken" is a word that describes them, a lot better than "enemy".
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Can you please provide a quote or name a name of someone here who has said they will not speak with statists? Otherwise, that does indeed appear to be a strawman argument.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    My fault for not communicating more clearly. I used the less-committal term "seems to be" (a lost cause) because it appears that way to me, but I wouldn't claim that definitively. What I meant, was that you can only have a discussion/argument with a mind that is capable of communicating with you. Lecturing a rock, or your dog on the virtues of liberty is not going to get you anywhere. Likewise, if, after repeated attempts to communicate the very simple difference between hitting someone, and saying "don't hit me you jerk", the other person refuses or is incapable of understanding... it seems to be futile to continue. Is it really wise to continue on to the more nuanced principles of property theory with someone who thinks it is "hypocritical" to use a tone they don't prefer to denounce initiated violence? By lost cause, I don't mean (though it could be legitimately read this way, so I take the blame for poor communication) for the rest of eternity. Maybe just for the time being. Just like your kids. Trying to explain morality to your infant is.... a lost cause. Give him a few years to develop and then revisit the subject. Why waste time arguing (discussing ideas; argue doesn't have to imply anger or unpleasant tone) with someone who cannot, or will not grasp simple concepts? That was my only point. Certainly not a dogma. Tried to imply that by saying "seems to be", as that's at each individual's discretion. "if your in the 'not worth talking to them crowd'" Now that I've explained my poor wording in the comment you replied to, I can definitely say I'm not in that crowd. Nor have I seen anyone commenting here take that position. The debate on whether minarchists are "enemies" has nothing to do with whether we talk to them or not. There are many reasons why people would still see value in talking to their enemies (such as the desire to convert them to friends).
  • Gwardion's picture
    Gwardion 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    No, it is logic. Point 1) We live on a world we share with a lot of people, whether you like it or not. Point 2) Those people have opinions, whether you like it or not. Point 3) A lot of those people with opinions are willing to use force to make them happen. If there is a large segment of that population which you feel are not worth talking to (and identify as an enemy), but still have the power to trespass against you, and you refuse to be trespassed against without response, where does that leave us in light of the first three conditions? No speaking, but we have an inherent conflict that wont go way means eventual violence, one way or the other. Either initiated by them or by us in response to what we would consider aggression or trespass. So, you can call it a strawman, but most people consider it straight forward completely reasonable logic. Different sides of a life and death conflict that refuse to talk to each other will result in violence, and will more then likely lead to exactly the opposite of what we want.
  • Gwardion's picture
    Gwardion 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Wow, great insight, I will stop trying to raise my kids by repeatedly correcting them, as they are a lost cause. Heck, everyone that doesn't see things the same way I do about something after I spent years studying a subject (or I just made up my mind in my head), I will just toss them out on their heads. Wow, you just took a huge load off my life of responsibility. See how I did that? This is the issue, we have a lot of militant anarchist morons that seem to think all human beings are stuck in a stasis thought field and that even talking to them about it seems to be a worthless exercise. I find most of these idiots are new converts, and as usual no fanatic like a new convert. Once a child molesting alcoholic becomes a born again Christian, all the sudden everyone else is completely retarded for not seeing the truth of Christ as clearly as they do. It seems as if all these Guy Fawkes wanna bes forget they weren't the origination of anarchist thought or action, but by god they can tell who has to be tossed out and who is worth talking to. Self-centered little narcissist does not equal enlightened anarchist. We either decide it IS worth the attempt to correct those we find are in error, or we just take it. That's it, and if your in the "not worth talking to them crowd" you are part of the problem not part of the solution.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    G'day BrianDrake and tzo, A "government" with only jurisdiction over those who consent is not a state. The first is a de jure (rightful) "government", having jurisdiction[1] only over those who consent to be members, the second, "a state", is a de facto "government", "existing in fact [without] lawful authority". It is without lawful authority because it is claiming jurisdiction[2] over a TERRITORY, and EVERYONE inhabiting it, whether they consent to being members or not. I might consider giving my consent to the former, I adamantly refuse to give my consent to the latter. “How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it." ~ Henry David Thoreau "Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another...” ~ Voltaire [1] JURISDIC'TION, n. [L. jurisdictio; jus, juris, law, and dictio, from dico, to pronounce.] 1. The legal power or authority of doing justice in cases of complaint; the power of executing the laws and distributing justice. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language Note: Notice that Noah said, "the power of EXECUTING the laws", and not the power of CREATING the laws. [2] JURISDIC'TION, n. 2. Power of governing or legislating. 3. The power or right of exercising authority. ~ Ibid. Note: Those who are on their toes may have noticed that Noah said, "power OR right" at definition #3. The first (power [only]) is de facto, without consent; the second (right) is de jure, with consent.
  • dhowlandjr's picture
    dhowlandjr 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Hello BrianDrake and other fellow freedom lovers. Brian I don't really disagree with any of the points you make, and certainly wouldn't want to prove them wrong. I also think Paul's points in the article are very valid. Should minarchists (or statists in general) be labelled as our enemies? Haven't they labelled anarchists as their enemies? Haven't they even gone so far as to make the idea of anarchy (or non-rule) seem ridiculous, impossible, and chaotic to the point that the dictionary defines it that way, and most of us grow up believing in it? The fact that most of us were statist to some degree for most of our lives has no effect on the principle. Once again the difference seems to devolve to the meaning of the words we use. And yes, to the degree that they give greater importance to the rules of the state than to the human beings affected by them, our children, parents, brothers, sisters and most of the people with whom we interact on a daily basis are our enemies (in the sense that at least theoretically, they wish to perpetuate what is harming us). On the other hand, enemy could be considered a statist term in itself. Are voluntaryists really "fighting" the state? Or does fighting over it convert it to a war between two states (or wannabe states)? A truly free perspective doesn't allow us to consider other human beings our enemies. They're just other self-interested beings who have been convinced through years of indoctrination and abuse that their abusers are their friends, protectors, benefactors, etc. If the term enemy implies conflict, then I think that those who have enemies are necessarily statist. Belligerent anarchism to me is an oxymoron. Patient questions that if gone unanswered reveal the hypocrisy of those who advocate authoritarian controls can be much more effective than direct attacks and accusations. It's simply impossible to impose a voluntaryist (or anarchistic, or simply correct) viewpoint on others. We all have it, it's a basic part of our nature and our survival mechanism, and the degree to which we suppress and ignore it is the degree to which we allow or cause our own enslavement. And I think we're all still doing it to some degree, but let's try to stop. We ourselves are the enemy, everytime we allow ourselves to do less than what's possible or more than what's effective in the achievement of our goals.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    About my comment that is quoted in the article; my claim was that if you could convince your neighbors to leave you alone, you would have convinced them to be voluntaryists. The condition is "convince them to leave you alone". Desiring to leave you alone in all areas except one does not satisfy this condition. Nor was the condition "if they reach electoral stalemate and are unable to do anything but leave you alone". So the examples in your article do not in any way address my statement. It may indeed be a "strange [line] of argument" and it may be incorrect. But you've done nothing to actually address it or attempt to correct it.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "That is, three statists could not impose the state on you, even though you did nothing at all!" Actually, yes they did. The existence of a ballot to decide those issues was the imposition. 4 property owners 3 want to join communally to democratically decide the rules. 4th property owner declines their offer, "I'll decide the rules for my own property, thank you." The other 3 leave him alone, vote, and abide by the election results. No state. But the moment the 3 refuse to allow the 4th to decline their offer, and instead hold the election anyway, with the expressed intent to enforce the results on the 4th owner's property as well, they have, by their action, formed a state. They have extended jurisdiction of their monopoly of decision making by fiat. The fact that they can't "pass" any of their rules does not change the fact they fully intended to enforce any rules voted on; imposing them on the 4th, unwilling owner. Of course, if the 4th agrees to the election, then there's no problem. It seemed unclear in your example, because even "real anarchists" can make voluntary arrangements with others that include the agreement to abide by democratic decisions. Do you really find it convincing that their failure (to pass their own preferred rule) negates their intent? If I shoot at you, but miss, am I still "friendly" towards you? Or would you not be accurate in describing me as your enemy, just not a very effective one (thankfully for you)? If I lunge at you with a sword, intent on severing your hand, am I not an "assailant" because I have no designs towards your feet? I'm perplexed by your assertion that those who advocate a state for a single-issue (but are ambivalent on all others) don't truly qualify. How many ideas must a person advocate imposed on me before they're accurately described as supporting a state (a "statist" in other words)? 4? 5? 15 and 3/5? That people are ok with the idea (and many passionately advocate) that outside will be imposed on me by threat of violence makes them my enemy, whether that will is actually imposed on me or not. Also, let's be clear, THEY make themselves my enemy by advocating, or tolerating threats against me. It's not my fault for this enmity. If you piss on me and call it rain, don't expect me to call it that as well. Recognizing a fact (people who seek to harm me, or support those who do, have set themselves against me) does not dictate the response. We can "love our enemies", for one. Or if you aren't of that persuasion, you can still seek to convert your enemies to friends simply out of self-interest (which is fine) since they outnumber you. Identifying your enemies, and calling them that to their faces, are not necessarily the same. That we recognize advocates of the state as enemies is no proof that is how we interact with them.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 44 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    Good observation, dhowlandjr. I live in a world not of my making. Well, I should qualify that: the world revolves around MY belly-button, not yours! My world. The factor that helps me to be free is my knowledge that YOUR world revolves around YOUR belly-button -- whether you admit it or not. If you and I disagree it's not because I'm bad or even disagreeable. It's because your experiences, strengths and hopes have led you to see the thing differently. [But you're wrong! -- naw, just kidding :-)]. I can and must take certain responsibility for the condition of my world (or how I perceive my world and how I react to it). I am a sovereign state. I so declared myself shortly after reading Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" in the mid 70's. That simply means I'm self-governing. I did not go up to a "state" or a "court" house and voluntarily file some "legal" document with employees of state. No sir ree, Bob! There will be a number of pogroms designed to prove to me that I cannot govern myself -- that I must pledge allegiance to a flag and be a part of a state right here in the-land-of-the-free-and-the-home-of-the-brave -- that I should be grateful for all these marvelous "benefits" delivered by parasites of state. And that I should vote. A major life challenge is to work my way around those who truly believe they have a "social contract" to rule me. Freedom is not free. They will rob me and they will try to enslave me by appearing to "require" me to sign this or some other document "under penalty of perjury" (and without "due process") to reveal stuff they have no need to know about my person or my property. My goal is to remain free in spite of their machinations. It is possible and it is preferred. Yes, you can. Sam
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    On the principle of how to actually deal with people, I don't think there's really the disagreement that you accuse. I have never started a conversation with someone by calling them an "enemy" or "evil", and I have very rarely concluded a conversation in that manner. We (you and I) completely agree that such a tactic would immediately close the minds of most people. There is, however, a difference between "calling" someone an enemy, and simply recognizing them as such. It's EXACTLY like "The Matrix" (damn, I love that movie even though I've outgrown my kung fu phase). Morpheus tells Neo that even though they're trying to rescue the humans, as long as the humans are part of the system, they are also the enemy because they will fight to preserve the system (and are potential "possession-targets" for agents). I've yet to read a good attempt, in these discussions, at refuting the accuracy of the statement that minarchy, and those who promote it, are the enemy. Rather, the dispute seems to be over the usefulness or effectiveness of the statement. Example: "calling everyone who you rely on "evil" and an "enemy" isn't going to get you very far." If the debate is on how to "get very far", you may have a point. But that's irrelevant to the discussion on whether the statement itself is true. Is Per recommending we go around calling those who advocate (or even just perceive as legitimate) monopoly government "enemy" to their face? I see no proof anyone is suggesting such a course (the threads got long, so it's possible someone said it, but certainly the majority did not). But the assertion remains, while people advocate, or even passively accept aggression against others, they ARE the enemy of their fellow men. Are they all potentially redeemable? We certainly hope so, and many of us work towards that end. Through persuasion, relationship, compassion, example, etc... But until they are redeemed from that destructive philosophy, they are indeed the "enemy". Recognizing this requires no purpose for those who see truth as an end in itself. But many of us are also convinced it is highly beneficial for advocates of liberty to clearly see this distinction, to inform their tactics and strengthen their perception. Sun Tzu stuff. One might argue that writing a publicly accessible article calling "minarchists the enemy" is the same as calling someone of that philosophic persuasion an "enemy" to their face. It is certainly possible that someone may read Per's article (or any number of others here on STR) and take immediate offense; retarding, or even halting their path towards embrace of liberty. But the same reasoning could, taken to conclusion, exclude writing ANYTHING critical or controversial. We can't say war is destructive because that might offend soldiers, who we want to ultimately persuade to lay down their weapons. We can't write that taxation is theft, because that would alienate IRS agents (and their families/friends). Even advocating "liberty" frankly in public is an offense to those who seek to dominate and control others. STR has always appeared to me to be more "hardcore" than many other, well known libertarian (market anarchist/voluntaryis...blah blah blah) sites. It's a place where people speak their mind and present ideas without apology. This is useful for the building up of those already "in the club". But yeah, I don't think it's the best place to send someone unfamiliar with these ideas. In that regard, though it is not perfect, LewRockwell.com seems to be better suited for that. I think Lew fully understands the tactic of slowly winning over your enemies, so while there is the occasional "hardcore" article on his front page, there is usually a good mix of more "mainstream" articles to make the conservative (and even sometimes the liberal) visitor feel more comfortable while they're gradually introduced to new ideas. Some of us see a need for a place of "pure" philosophy. No holds barred, no punches pulled. That's what I consider STR (to some degree). "Our team" (philosophically) needs a place to learn, grow, challenge ideas, engage. Is the solution to take such discussion exclusively private? I'm not convinced so (cuz I probably won't be invited ;P ).
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Do you try to guilt, shame, and bludgeon statists with your words? If so, do you see how that could be seen as hypocritical?" If it is seen as hypocritical, it is done so in error. "Bludgeoning" with your words is not an act of aggression (in the context we're speaking of). Physical bludgeoning (not done in defense) is. Not arguing that an abrasive conversation style won't probably be received poorly, obscuring the message. But anyone who confuses physical violence with being "rude" (especially when the "rudeness" is in response to the advocacy of aggression) is not logical. Anyone who persists in such a perception (meaning they reject correction, even when given gently), seems to be a lost cause.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Björn, I think you're probably correct insofar as "labels" are concerned. We can all get hopelessly tangled up in labels and fall short of nailing issues. If we can untangle the obfuscation we might discover none of us on this site are truly that far apart in what we believe -- what we'd like to see result from our writing and our preaching and our shouting. John Hasnas had a treatise on "The Obviousness of Anarchism" some years back that helps sort out the thinking: http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/Obvious.pdf On the 2nd page (this link is to a pdf of one chapter of his book "Anarchism/Minarchism" so this might be page #112) he states: "...I am presenting an argument for anarchy in the true sense of the term; that is, a society without government, not a society without governance. There is no such thing as a society without governance. A society with no mechanism for bringing order to human existence is oxymoronic; it is not “society” at all. "One way to bring order to society is to invest some people with the exclusive power to create and coercively enforce rules which all members of society must follow; that is, to create a government. Another way to bring order to society is to allow people to follow rules that spontaneously evolve through human interaction with no guiding intelligence and may be enforced by diverse agencies. This chapter presents an argument for the latter approach; that is, for a spontaneously ordered rather than a centrally planned society..." ****** In our milieu it stretches the imagination of the staunchest of us anarchists to consider a truly free marketplace that generates agencies for conciliation and arbitration and title solidarity. "Have gun, will travel" sorts of justice (few of you are old enough to remember that early TV show, and I don't remember the name of the show or the actors). We've had statism so subtly and assiduously pressed upon us over such long periods of time we have difficulty seeing around the trees to the woods. Sam
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Wow, my comment spawned an entire STR article! Woohoo! I'm flattered. Edited to add: What's it take to getting full article writing creds here? Publishing an "Exclusive to STR" article carries so much more weight than simply replying in the comments.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 44 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    Reading so much verbiage devoted to attacking minarchism, gives me the impression you think I am arguing FOR minarchism. In case I haven't been clear enough, I will say again, I think minarchism is a mistake. I oppose it. "minarchy is the siren's song to prevent people from discovering liberty. Those who are entranced by it may yet be saved, but those who sing it are indeed the enemies of liberty." Have you seen anyone walking down the street singing "minarchism is great"? :-) Let's stick to reality, rather than flights of fancy. And no, 98% of the human race are not my enemies. Thinking so is self-defeating, paralyzing. They are merely mistaken, and can either be persuaded toward the truth, or at least toward minding their own business. Except some smaller percentage who really are enemies (essentially the ruling class and other associated parasites). But it appears we are saying the same thing here.
  • Michael Kleen's picture
    Michael Kleen 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Also, even though this is apparently easy to forget on the Internet, 99.9% of us live in a "state". We support the state by paying taxes, whether voluntarily or not. We pay taxes to the state every time we buy something at the store. Most of our friends and relatives are "statists." Most of us probably got an education thanks to the state. All anarchists, unless they live in the woods somewhere, are anarchists in theory, but "statists" in fact. It's important to understand that there is a difference between rhetoric and reality - and in reality, calling everyone who you rely on "evil" and an "enemy" isn't going to get you very far. It was very gracious of Per to qualify his argument with a second article, but I really think we should take a much more pragmatic approach.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "minarchism is often a way-station on the road to abolitionism and that minarchists such as Paul and Browne do useful and sometimes powerful work for liberty." Glen, are you talking about me? Where did you get the idea I'm a minarchist? :-) I've thought of myself as an anarchist for a long time. Show me where I am mistaken in that.
  • J3rBear's picture
    J3rBear 3 years 44 weeks ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Well said Paul. There are few things human beings like less than being labeled, pigeon-holed, and stereotyped. There are many people out there that incorrectly see the state as necessary. This does not automatically make them an "enemy". I was a statist once, as were most of you at one point as well I assume. I would never have come around to the ideas of voluntaryism if some one got up in my face pointing fingers telling me how evil my statist beliefs were. The art of persuasion is often a delicate thing. Also one that considers coercion to be immoral should consider how the way they speak reflects on their stated beliefs. Do you try to guilt, shame, and bludgeon statists with your words? If so, do you see how that could be seen as hypocritical?