Recent comments

  • Melinda L. Secor's picture
    Melinda L. Secor 3 years 39 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Um no, not Mexico. The town we shop in is more than 100 miles from the border, inside the good ole' USA.....but we do have to go through a Border Patrol checkpoint and be interrogated to go there, EVERY time. Because we live in a police state.
  • kenlefeb's picture
    kenlefeb 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I think there are two different ideas being confused here... (not just by you, Plant, but your comment has a nice little list with numbers!) 1. Evangelism, even "friendship evangelism," is not an alliance. It is a valuable exercise, and it is always worth it when you are able to help others discover the consistency of anarchism. 2. An Alliance implies common goals, which Per quite nicely disputed. I have never met a minarchist who truly wanted to "protect basic freedoms". There is ALWAYS a "but." (Freedom of speech, "but" not to joke about bombs in the airport; freedom to assemble, "but" not if you want to assemble with someone of the same sex in the bedroom; etc., etc.) And they usually forget how much they wanted to "protect" those freedoms when the conversation turns to their political opposition (e.g., Democrats for Republican minarchists). 3. I totally agree that living under relatively tolerant rulers is more enjoyable than living under ruthless tyrants. But, any concessions you might make to game the system in your immediate favor isn't truly an alliance, either. It's a tactic, to gain some relief. To an outside observer, it might look like an alliance, but it's deliberate deceit... and, hopefully, it's disgusting enough to you that you don't forget that it's not an alliance.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 39 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    From the article: "The big fear has been that the Mexican nationals would come back into Texas..." Dude, these guys are already INSIDE TEXAS, in Texan jails, and being supported by Texas tax dollars. Sheesh!
  • kenlefeb's picture
    kenlefeb 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "archism" = "statism" an-archism is anti-statism, so min-archism is a synonym for mini-statism.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    This is the odd notion that "only the truth matters, let the chips fall where they may". A very nice position to take - until one finds oneself at the end of a noose. Fact is, people matter too. We have to find some place for ourselves in this world. It's hard to do that when you are going around calling 98% of the human race "enemies". I once had an argument with an objectivist. Like anyone else infected with the "only the truth matters" meme, he was sure he had a direct line to the truth. I did not call him an "enemy" (to my recollection). What I did do, however, is repeatedly ask why he would not let me escape from control in his ideal state. Why did he feel it necessary to coerce me? Why didn't he simply leave me alone? I can't say if he will change his mind due to my tactic, but I'm pretty sure putting him in the category of "enemy" would not have done the job. And at least potentially, that would have been a sub-optimal outcome FOR ME, since I have to live in the same world as that guy. Not to mention, the other observers of the exchange got the message I wanted them to get, rather than being turned off by name calling. I will admit, though, that whacking others can give a little temporary emotional boost to oneself. I suppose that goes on the plus side of the ledger, for what it's worth.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "All too often in our zeal to "promote" anarchy and liberty there is the temptation to argue on the side of those who simply CANNOT IMAGINE total self government....who simply cannot envision the marketplace providing protection from the bad guys & gals at a fraction of the cost of Leviathan....who can't wrap their minds around the idea of marketable services that provide arbitration, conciliation...true justice. The primary reason for that incapability I think is the fact that none of us have never SEEN true freedom. Well, we think we've never seen it." Well said Samarami George! As GHW Bush would say: "It's that vision thing."
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I've never understood the term minarchist, which is misleading and leads to confusion. Are they for minimal anarchism? There is no such thing. They are for a minimal state. The proper term for that position should be ministatist or perhaps minstatist.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    The chains of a Constitution? Parchment makes for a poor defense against bullets. Wouldn't recommend it.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Exactly. They not only have to leave everyone else alone, they cannot arbitrarily carve out a few hundred, or thousand, or million square miles for themselves to the exclusion of everyone else. Again, if you want to call a subset of people who agree to guard the person and property of all those members who agree to voluntarily fund this service a government, fine. I just don't believe any minarchist REALLY agrees to these terms, and that is why they are minarchists, and not voluntaryists. That's why they believe in government, and not voluntaryism. Voluntary government seems as oxymoronic as loving rapist to me, a mashing together of opposites instead of choosing the correct term and losing the other.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I wonder if the response would be a little better if you had titled this: "Why Minarchist Philosophy is the Enemy" Because minarchy is simply a form of statism, and statism the enemy of liberty. As has been written above (by myself and others), those who are simply stuck at minarchism because they don't know better are certainly not enemies. It is the degree of belligerent attachment one demonstrates towards that enemy philosophy, when presented with critique that ultimately determines whether they are a true enemy or not.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "I don't care, as long as anarchists can be free" How is a state a "state" if there exists inside the borders of its jurisdiction people who are not subject to its jurisdiction (even in pretense - obviously one can argue that state operatives are not fully under its jurisdiction)? If the "statists" agree to leave us alone, that implies they give us exemption from the jurisdiction of their state without forcing us to leave. If they really mean this (not the, you have to move in order to be free crowd), they are extending this courtesy to anyone who wants it (unless you mean they only allow Paul and Brian to be left alone, but not everyone who wants it). This means that anyone has the opportunity to ask to be "left alone". Opt out, in other words. A fundamental shift has then happened. The "state" has become voluntary, and is no longer a state. For every person who remains in the "state", that position has now become a chosen one since the alternative option is now "allowed". Now competition exists. The "state" must please its "citizens" or they will increasingly "opt out" and find other arrangements for their protection. Competition is now in play. If I can opt out of the state (be left alone), then the state can no longer dictate how I provide/contract for the services it has monopolized. We are now in full-fledged market anarchism. So any situation where "anarchists can be free" (without emigrating - forfeiting their property) is a situation where EVERYONE can be free. That is anarchism. Even if it's some sort of silly philosophical test to be "left alone" (Executive Order 12345: "Only those identifying as anarchists shall be exempt from state control"), then anyone who wants to be left alone can simply claim to be "an anarchist" and achieve the same result.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 3 years 39 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Do you go over to Mexico to shop? Seems odd. Every time?
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "I don't know the answer to that question and neither do you." That admission doesn't seem consistent with your previous assertion that those who propose a "system" without using force (which, as you define it, is aggression) are "delusional".
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "There are a huge number who would reject abolishing the state while consenting to leave us alone." That is redundant. Consenting to leave us alone IS abolishing the state. A "government" with only jurisdiction over those who consent is not a state. If you can convince people to "leave you alone" (without requiring you forfeit your property - love it or leave it), you have convinced them to be voluntaryists.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "not defensive action which I don't consider force." So using a shotgun to drive you off my land is not force? You can define words however you want, but that seems like an unnecessary personal definition, more likely to confuse than communicate. But fair enough, in talking with you, I'll refer to "defensive action" and "force" as opposites. "But how long has that societal construct survived? I don't know the answer to that question and neither do you." I honestly don't understand the question. What societal construct? "As I work to achieve liberty and move us into the direction we both want, I am on your side, and not the enemy. " That depends on how you define liberty. If you are working for liberty in terms of self-ownership, you are working for the abolition of the state, the prime violator of liberty. Violating my sovereignty, "for my own good" or "out of necessity" (because not enough people are "ready"), is still violating my liberty. You're within your rights to choose for you how to protect yourself. If you deem to choose for me as well, what kind of "liberty" are you proposing? Even if market provision of protection was indeed inadequate, how does that magically give you the right to use force to impose the single solution you prefer (a state) on me? "I'm surprised you would be so bold as to inquire for information on my dealings with the IRS when you consider me an enemy." Really? If nothing else, Sun Tzu admonishes us to know our enemies ("If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself."). ;) Seriously, you threw down the claim that you haven't paid taxes. I'm curious how genuine that claim is (in its sustainability). If you don't want to answer, that's fine. BTW, I'm a Christian (yeah I know, irrational whim worshiper - not necessarily aimed at you, but to many STR commentators). So recognizing you as my enemy means I have to love you. No harm to you.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    People who advocate aggression against you are not your friends.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    Exactly. Anarchism boils down to this: "you don't have the right to decide for me." Any government requiring unanimous consent to be instituted is simply a business since the requirement of 100% consent implies the recognition of each person's sovereignty and thus the proposed method of establishing order (government) is in competition with alternatives. Any government not requiring unanimous consent is by definition the imposition of the will of some men onto others. Just how inalienable do you think those rights are? Minarchist libertarians - no such thing. Calling yourself a libertarian means nothing if you don't advocate liberty. "Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken." - Tyler Durden, Fight Club
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    "Creating enemy imagery and an "us vs them" divide is not going to help one win any arguments." Who is creating an enemy? The libertarian that refuses to impose his preferences on others? Or the mini-statist, who says, in essence "I'm not sure how things will work without a state, so until I'm convinced, I advocate everyone be enslaved so that I feel comfortable." The person advocating aggression (the mini-statist) is clearly the one responsible for the necessity of the term enemy. What else do you call someone who advocates violence against you for simply disagreeing (allowing dissent in words, but not in action, is not any form of tolerance)? Per is not "creating" anything. He is simply identifying an already existing antagonism that is the fault of those advocating aggression.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "The truth seeker, while perhaps uncomfortable with the idea of abolishing the state, will at least consider your arguments with some effort at intellectual honesty." Actually, that is asking too much. Far, far too much. Most people would reject this outright, and I do not blame them for doing that. We (mostly) shouldn't be asking people to consider giving up the state. We should ask them to be leaving us alone. There are a huge number who would reject abolishing the state while consenting to leave us alone. "Absolutely, many (most?) of us came through the minarchist path and still made it here. But how many more have turned back from the goal because of the soothing poison of the minarchist philosophers?" And how many were turned back by being labelled "enemies", or asked to consider something that they were simply incapable of grasping at the time? Please note, I (at least) am not talking about compromise. One doesn't have to compromise if one's basic position is "do what you think is right, just don't force me into it". Once can be very uncompromising with that basic foundation of argument.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Well, no. I mean, that is wrong on it's face. Example: I've heard any number of conventional conservatives, when confronted with the mess of the War on Some Drugs, say something like this: "I would never use those drugs, but if someone wants to ruin his life, that's his lookout." The person saying this is clearly not an anarchist, yet he is willing to leave someone alone on this issue. It is merely a logical extension to leave people alone on all issues. He may not want to live in a town where drugs are legal, but he does not think every town should be that way. There is a whole principle here, called "subsidiarity". Subsidiarity is not "freedom everywhere". It is "statism (or lack thereof) tailored to the local crowd". In any conceivable future, for a very long time, there are going to be a lot more statists than anarchists. I don't care, as long as anarchists can be free, and as long as we have means to deter encroachments (which currently exist already).
  • kenfreedomrings's picture
    kenfreedomrings 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Brian, When I refer to force, I am referring to the initiation of force, not defensive action which I don't consider force. It seems you completely miss my point. It may very well be that protection associations will devolve into fiefdom wars. The police force of one protection association comes and arrests or kills me may very well be an initiation of force. You may if you like suggest that then, the protection association has become a govt. Maybe so. But how long has that societal construct survived? I don't know the answer to that question and neither do you. As I work to achieve liberty and move us into the direction we both want, I am on your side, and not the enemy. To not understand that is to believe that anarchism is going to spontaneously erupt from wanton statism into liberty. Not gonna happen. I agree with Thoreau's view that no govt. at all is best when people are ready for it. I'm not convinced that we've reached that point. Ken P.S. I'm surprised you would be so bold as to inquire for information on my dealings with the IRS when you consider me an enemy.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Ken, Out of curiosity. How long have you not been paying income taxes? Have you successfully defended yourself (I assume in court, or some sort of legal process) from the IRS? Or have you just gotten by under the radar (to the IRS, you mention "have gone publicly", but that doesn't indicate whether you've had conflict with the IRS). I started on this journey due to the income tax, and I've spent much time and effort (in the past, not recently) researching different methods to avoid surrendering income tax while staying out of jail (or having assets seized). So far, I've yet to find anything that "works" reliably. But if you've figured something out, I'd really like to learn more. "To suggest that one can devise a system of no force when talking about human beings is delusional." 1) Not all opponents of the state advocate the elimination of force. Most recognize the justness of force when used defensively (a small minority are philosophical pacifists). It is only the initiation of force, aggression, that is truly incompatible with liberty. 2) There have been some compelling theories put forth that economic and social pressure may be effective in minimizing (perhaps never eliminating, though retaliatory force doesn't promise full success either) aggression without the need for retaliatory force. See Stefan Molyneaux's work for an example (among others). A reputation based economy, minus the moral hazard provided by the state, is theoretically possible without denying human nature. Purely out of self-interest, a person may refuse to associate or do business with a known aggressor. An individual unable to trade or engage society in any meaningful way will be at a severe disadvantage, and that is a strong motivation for compliance with peaceful norms. The size of the community may be a factor. The Amish appear to already have a fairly effective (to my knowledge) means of ensuring communal harmony without force. A large, heterogeneous city may be different. 3) Perhaps such theories are flawed. A true market test will reveal as much. And perhaps force-based protection will win out in the market. But to simply assert that such theories are "delusional" is quite arrogant. "The real question is: in which system can we minimize force the most?" The only "system" a libertarian envisions is the non-system of the market. That is the spontaneous order created by the voluntary interactions of people. It is not a system to be planned and imposed, but something that happens as people seek to satisfy their needs and wants through trade with others. "I believe reasonable people can differ on that subject."" Do you really? For as long as you advocate a state (regardless of your motivation), you don't extend the courtesy to those who differ to actually act on their convictions. "Yes, you can disagree with me with words, but only my ideas are to be put into action". You have every right to be uncertain of the results of liberty, but your uncertainty does not give you a property right over me, or my justly acquired property. When you advocate a state (even the mythical "limited" type), you are asserting an ownership claim over those in the territorial jurisdiction of that state. That makes you complicit in slavery and aggression. And yes, that makes you the enemy. The unknown can indeed be frightening. But where, pray-tell, have you ever observed "a minarchistic, very limited government actually held in check by the chains of a constitution" to give you confidence in the familiar? Is not such a government also a theoretical construct, not available for testing any more than statelessness?
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Yes. Nicely put.
  • J3rBear's picture
    J3rBear 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    Minarchist libertarians are often people that are on a path to becoming full fledged anarchist libertarians. These things take time to absorbe and internalize. To pick fights with Min-libs for their philosophical shortcomings above all others is somewhat counterproductive. Creating enemy imagery and an "us vs them" divide is not going to help one win any arguments.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    But isn't it true that if you can convince your neighbors to "leave you alone", that is, that government shouldn't be imposed on people, then you've convinced them to be anarchists? "Individual secessionists" (seems to be similar to panarchists) appear to propose this "just leave me alone" position as though it was some sort of easier middle ground. But if enough people to matter actually agreed that you have the right to secede yourself (without forfeiting your property - love it or leave it), they are at that point anarchists and we've won. If government only has jurisdiction over those who actually consent, then it is no longer a state, it is a business. Sexual bondage/S&M clubs are not states. If the customers desire to be treated as torture victims, that doesn't suddenly negate the fact that they are customers (choose that treatment voluntarily). Likewise, if you desire to be treated as a "citizen" by a company providing that service, the fact that the company does not force anyone to be its customer (or forcefully prohibit competition) means it must still compete and at that point, it is anarchy. Liberty and self-reliance are not the same thing, and those who advocate liberty (self-ownership) do not have a single, unified preference on the optimum amount of self-reliance. One can be a hermit, fully self-reliant. Another can join a commune, where all worries of responsibility are delegated to others. As long as these preferences are freely chosen, it is liberty, it is anarchy. Since so many people have been conditioned by the state to fear the responsibility that freedom entails, I think a very profitable venture, at least at first, in a stateless society would be to run a "government business". You sign up with us, and we'll treat you exactly as you were by the state. We'll determine how much of your income to take. We'll regulate what you can eat, watch, do. We'll provide a one-stop place for defense services, arbitration, occasional beatings from our security personnel, etc... It is not the behavior of the state, per se, that makes it criminal. It is the involuntary nature of it. So again, convincing a statist to "allow" individual (not smaller state) secession, is to really convince him to be a voluntaryist.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    That's an interesting point you bring up Glen. Thank you for the response. I'm horrible at grammar, but it does appear to me that the modifier "aggressive" doesn't mean the same as the noun "aggression". The man may indeed be "aggressive" in pursuing a woman. But is it correct to say he committed aggression? That he used aggression? I agree, as a modifier "coercive" can clearly denote wrong. "Coercive business practices" indeed implies wrongdoing, whereas "aggressive business practices" may simply imply ambition and drive. And yet the use or threat of force to compel someone, coercion, is not always wrong (because it can be used defensively). Whereas the INITIATION of force, aggression, is always wrong. Initiation is, to me, the most important distinction. It seems that "coercive" as a modifier can be neutral but mostly implies criminality (a counter-example would be "coercive defense"). "Coercion" as a noun is also context dependent. "Aggressive" as a modifier is neutral, but "aggression" as a noun describes something that is always wrong. In a stateless society, it may be commonplace for private protection agencies to be coercive in their defense of property rights (they will use force, instead of ostracization), since they use coercion instead of persuasion. While the same agencies may be aggressive in competing for customers, if they commit acts of aggression, they are criminal. Language, like value, appears to me to be subjective. The noises and squiggles we use to communicate are only effective when the people communicating agree upon their meaning. So if you're comfortable with opposing "coercion" (as you see it to mean), no harm. However, because there are just examples of "coercion", but never just examples of "aggression", I'm more comfortable with being against all aggression, but I don't condemn coercion on the whole.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I don't see Assange as an enemy, yet. I just think he is a person of interest worth questioning: both his methods and motives. He is at the very least over-rated as promoting individual liberty.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    " ... human beings are born with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men." Here you will have to define government in order to make your position clear. How is the government created? Unanimously? By a majority? How does it fund itself? By taxation, the mandatory payment to government with the threat of violence behind it? But if you call this taxation voluntary, as those who do not wish to pay can simply leave, then how does the government acquire its jurisdiction to begin with? How can it possibly extend beyond the collection of private properties that the voluntary members rightfully own? And if a government participant decides to drop out, can he stay on his own property, or does the government's claim trump his, and he has to leave? In other words, is your definition of government free from coercion and aggression or not? If so, it is not in the category of what most people consider to be government, but of course you are free to call it one if you like. If the definition does include coercion and aggression, then how can it be something other than Statism?
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Glen Allport
    Thanks, Paul. Good commentary, and an interesting tidbit about the provocateurs. I see what appear to be (although one never knows) provocateurs and propagandists working for Power on the web all the time; they stand out as if framed in neon, whether they are actual paid agents or just warped minds. The Pentagon "lost" $2.3 trillion in the years leading up to 9/11 -- Rumsfeld gave a press conference on this the day before the planes were hijacked (great timing, huh?); I linked to his CBS interview on the subject in my 9/11 column in 2007 -- and it is certain that the Pentagram, and a hundred other agencies and power-centers in the government, have massive off-the-books budgets to do exactly this sort of thing -- infiltrate the enemy (meaning the citizenry), keep tabs on things, slander the opposition, and move the conversation on relevant topics in the direction they'd like it to go. New information: DailyKos has posted "The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All", which gives chilling detail on the SEMI-AUTOMATION of such infiltration and propagandizing: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/16/945768/-The-HB-Gary-Email-That-... -- From the article: "I don't know about you, but this concerns me greatly. It goes far beyond the mere ability for a government stooge, corporation or PR firm to hire people to post on sites like this one. They are talking about creating the illusion of consensus. And consensus is a powerful persuader. What has more effect, one guy saying BP is not at fault? Or 20 people saying it? For the weak minded, the number can make all the difference. "And another thing, this is just one little company of assholes. I can't believe there aren't others doing this already. From oil companies, political campaigns, PR firms, you name it. Public opinion means big bucks. And let's face it, what these guys are talking about is easy."
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I agree with you both. I do understand Paul's stance. But Per's article and his essay are dead on. I agree there is no kinda pregnancy with freedom. Either is you is, or is you ain't. I am a sovereign state. My President is responsible for the rotation of the earth on its axis. And no, I have no religious ax to grind and have no movement into which I could proselytize. I cannot impose my freedom or my sovereignty upon anybody -- least of all my neighbors and/or friends. But they do see my actions. And they know I am free -- as free as a sovereign individual can be living in an occupied area.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    Nice comment, and thanks for "Anyone who takes issue with that is a sycophantic goon." -- gave me my first laugh of the day.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Paul: "...Minarchists per se are not the enemy, and statists are not all the same. There are statists who will leave us be, and other statists who won't. The latter are our enemy, no matter what label they use for themselves, and the former are our allies. In fact, even anarchists, who insist the world must be completely free, are our enemies. People will come to accept freedom in their own good time, in their own way, not by having it imposed on them..." ----------------------- Sam's response: Absolutely agreed. All too often in our zeal to "promote" anarchy and liberty there is the temptation to argue on the side of those who simply CANNOT IMAGINE total self government....who simply cannot envision the marketplace providing protection from the bad guys & gals at a fraction of the cost of Leviathan....who can't wrap their minds around the idea of marketable services that provide arbitration, conciliation...true justice. The primary reason for that incapability I think is the fact that none of us have never SEEN true freedom. Well, we think we've never seen it. http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/Obvious.pdf Like the elephant in the room, The State has always been there. And that is that. I am a sovereign state. I currently live in occupied territory -- occupied by state (and statists and ministatists of the anarchist and libertarian bent). But my President is not in the District of Collectivism...er, Columbia. My President is responsible for the rotation of the earth on its axis. And no, there is no "religion" to which I can attempt to proseltyse you, so don't slam the door just yet. I can't impose my sovereignty upon my family (all of whom I dearly love) and force them to be free. Or my neighbors. Two of my sons are avid, totally involved Ron Paul promoters. I love them both and their families and support them in every way I know as their father. I've met and visited with Dr & Mrs Paul and can testify they are delightful people. But no, I shall not vote for (or against) Ron Paul for "president" or any political office. Last time I voted was 1964 for Barry Goldwater. I agree with Per, and his article provides excellent insights. But I also agree with Paul. I can be free. I don't need your support for me to be free. I truly appreciate both of your well thought out essays and previous articles and all the input and ideas from other of my web friends. You can be free also. And if I can be of inspiration to help you over freedom's hump, I'll sincerely try. I take every opportunity to broadcast the anti-state, anti-war message of freedom to all who wish to hear it (Mark knows me as "George"). But I cannot impose it upon you or anybody else. I am at peace with my neighbors, statists all. It would be nice if you and they would stay outa my face with your desire for rules and laws, and I'll avoid stealing your stuff or intruding upon your person or your property. I'm too old to seduce your wife or your daughter, so rest easy on that score. Samarami
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    That's a thoughtful response, but I don't feel that using both terms -- coercion and/or aggression -- is a problem, and I think "coercion" works better as a modifier in many situations. That's partly because being aggressive is not usually seen as a crime; a man might be aggressive in pursuing a woman, for instance -- which is VERY different from being coercive in that situation. "Aggressive" might be annoying, while "coercive" is literally criminal. Likewise, being aggressive in business is often seen as a good thing, but once again: being coercive is never anything but criminal.
  • mingo's picture
    mingo 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    I think Bylund was only hunting for the "friends" who would use the demonstrated threat of violence to impose their wills upon all of us. Anyone who takes issue with that is a sycophantic goon.
  • kenfreedomrings's picture
    kenfreedomrings 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Sophomoric. Let me say that I am on the fence, not because I am a gutless coward. Per, I assume you have stopped paying income taxes and have gone publicly about that as I have. I assume you have done the equivalent of spending 5 years of your life challenging various laws such as the seat belt law, which was just a $25 fine, yet I spent two and a half years fighting it. I am on the fence because I truly don't know if an anarchistic society would bring about more brute force, i.e., Hatfield/McCoy syndrome, than a minarchistic, very limited government actually held in check by the chains of a constitution. To suggest that one can devise a system of no force when talking about human beings is delusional. The real question is: in which system can we minimize force the most? I believe reasonable people can differ on that subject. Ken Prazak
  • Melinda L. Secor's picture
    Melinda L. Secor 3 years 39 weeks ago
    Why You're Not Married
    Web link Sharon Secor
    Well, I thought it was funny too...but of course, since I'm also a Secor, the warped sense of humor thing definitely applies....
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    G'day everyone, Can we all get along? ~ Rodney King As a self-governing Individual Secessionist I say if any of you want a government, large or small, go ahead and have one, enjoy yourself, and as long as you don't try to force that government on me or mine, then we'll "get along" just fine.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Excellent insight about the impact of Rothbard's activism vs. his philosophy BrianDrake. And that mini-statism is an easy way out when compromising one's philosophical principles. I was brought up a statist, became a mini-statist and wound up evolving into an anti-statist. It was mainly Rothbard's and de la Boettie's sound philosophical arguments that got me there. So I try to give my mini-statists friends the benefit of the doubt that they too are heading in the direction of liberty and do not consider them as enemies per se. I also have become less patient with ministatists whom I see as suffering from what Glen and Scott call a "Pathological Obedience to the State" such that perhaps sterner measures of discourse may be needed to help them have breakthrough. I'm getting more and more like John said "Just leave me alone" and consider myself a Sovereign Individual. I am less worried about those who support the state, big and small, as long as they just leave me alone. As Thoreau said, "I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe— "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." One day enough men will be prepared for it, but I'm not holding my breath, or tongue, until then. This has been a great discussion.
  • jd-in-georgia's picture
    jd-in-georgia 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Guest
    Thank you, Cristian. I always come here to try and educate myself as I am by definition functionally illiterate in the ways of our economy. This column helped me understand why our current system Monopoly money is truly bogus. We are taught growing up that we basically want to play Monopoly in order to get ahead, while at the same time the Dungeon Masters at the Fed are playing Dungeons and Dragons, rolling the dice and casting spells on us, or shooting us with arrows on a whim. Oil is a commodity, but it is actually handled by the central bank and governments as a magic potion in a Dungeons and Dragons game. That is it, folks. It is all a game. Games are childish things. It is time to put away childish things.
  • Michael Kleen's picture
    Michael Kleen 3 years 39 weeks ago Page John deLaubenfels
    I couldn't have said it better myself, John! No one has ever expanded their movement by hunting for heretics among their friends.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    good comment rickdoogie. I should have read it before writing mine as I now am slightly redundant.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Great article Per. I think there's an important caveat: Minarchists-for-the-moment, genuinely on the path to truth, are indeed fellow travelers that need an extended hand from us to help them make those few (but necessary, and often the hardest) remaining steps towards a coherent philosophy. Minarchist philosophers are the WORST enemy, IMO, and deserve to be outed as the snakes they are. As noted above by others, it is the minarchist philosophers that seem to be the most rabid apologists for the state when it really boils down to it. I have seen the most egregious examples of sliminess by the advocates of "limited government" as they praise "liberty" out of one side of their mouth, while screeching out the other fear and smug prediction about the doomed fate of an imagined dystopia should liberty ever be truly taken seriously. It's sometimes hard to tell which is which (so I start with extending the benefit of the doubt to each person), but the metaphorical "digging in of the heels" is often a good indicator. The truth seeker, while perhaps uncomfortable with the idea of abolishing the state, will at least consider your arguments with some effort at intellectual honesty. The behavior and tactics of the hardened minarchist will usually show their true intent. I find such people despicable. Minarchist philosophers are the enemy mostly because they're the evil sirens, luring those who are on their way to truth to an easier path. Siding with the statist-quo is the easy cop out. "The state isn't evil, it's just too big." "Any man (or group of men) having the final say over others isn't slavery, it's simply the necessity of an orderly society." "Turn back, stop here." "No need to look further. Only crazy/utopian anarchists in that direction." Absolutely, many (most?) of us came through the minarchist path and still made it here. But how many more have turned back from the goal because of the soothing poison of the minarchist philosophers? So as far as philosophy goes, minarchy is not the brother or even cousin of libertarianism. It's the runt offspring (same family) of the sworn enemy (statism - acceptance of aggression-ism). Minarchy is not a philosophy compatible with the philosophy of liberty. The term "libertarian minarchist" is a contradiction. No one can support liberty and the state (regardless of its desired size - fiat monopoly jurisdiction, the very minimal requirement for a state, inherently involves aggression). As far as tactics go. Yeah, that's a little bit more unclear to most, so such strict "purity" is perhaps not necessary. However, once I read de la Boettie, it seems that the strategy for liberty is pretty clear cut, in the general scheme. The state only exists because it is perceived by enough people differently than other criminal organizations (like street gangs or the mafia). It is not force alone that sustains the state, it is legitimacy. With that in mind, it seems clear that the only true advances for liberty are steps that de-legitimize the state in the minds of the masses. Anything that contributes to the legitimacy of the state works contrary to that goal. To which end does the minarchist philosophy support? I think the answer is clear. I'm not sure if Rothbard's political activism came before or after his realization of de la Boettie's insight. That might be interesting to find out, since I don't see how any political action can be productive in light of this [update; "The Political Thought of Étienne de La Boétie." was written in 1975 - hmmm...]. Of course, the libertarian is happy to see the state decrease. But engaging in the political process only serves to strengthen the idea that the state can be reformed, and that supports the legitimacy of statism. So while Rothbard was ultimately "pure" in his philosophy, perhaps he was flawed in his practice. I certainly don't think he was infallible (nor am I aware of any who make that claim). And in that regard, look at the result of Rothbard's philosophy vs his activism. Looking at the US state now, can one honestly consider Rothbard's political activities as anything but an absolute failure? The state has only continued to metastasize at a rapid pace, showing no notice of the man ever existing. But look at his philosophical impact! Yes, it's small in the grand scheme, but there has been a steady, if not (recently) explosive growth in those who have embraced a coherent philosophy of liberty. Certainly Rothbard alone can't take full credit, but his contributions in pure philosophy seem to have paid off and continue to bear fruit. When/if ever a critical mass of people finally withdraw their consent (more accurately, acceptance) and the state dissolves, it will be Rothbard's philosophy that had a part to play. None of the votes he cast, alliances he made, or political parties he joined/formed will even be remembered.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Isn't it more accurate to use the word "aggression"? It is the non-"aggression" principle, for starters. Out of deference to your semantic tastes, I'd be willing to refer to the NCP in a conversation with you, but I think most abolitionists/anarchists/libertarians/voluntaryists (whew...it's getting to be a chore to write those synonyms out, and I'm not being comprehensive) are more familiar with the NAP. I have never been able to think of (or hear put forth) a justified form of aggression. I have been able to conceive of justified "coercion". For example, if you are on my property, and I ask you to leave, if you refuse, at some point I may be justified in "coercing" you off my property. That is, I may "persuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threats" (my dictionary's def of "coercion") and be completely justified since you are invading my property, the continued act being a form of aggression against me. Reasoned escalation to the use or threat of violence is coercive, but since it is defensive, it is not unjust. There's not usually such a strong need for nitpicking semantics. But I think in this issue, the easy answer is the consistent use of the word "aggression", which one can always oppose without caveat.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    From STR submissions guidelines, number 2. "STR is a market anarchist site, so please do not submit any columns that promote the political process, a political party, voting, "good government," the Constitution, lobbying "your" Congressman, or technical, legal arguments against the income tax (only moral arguments), or that mention or imply physical threats to government officials." So that should clear that up. Your opinion that it is impossible to make progress by making and spreading principled arguments against government is duly noted. The stupid public cannot be educated. The political process must drive them to virtue through force. I happen to disagree, and I don't mind agreeing to disagree, as it is quite possible you are correct. We'll just have to wait and see. But here you are, contributing to a market anarchist website (apparently unbeknownst to you) and you demean the very spirit of most of the writing that is contained therein. All the archives of columns that reject the Statist assumptions and promote voluntary association are just a collection of worthless musings that have no connection to reality. Mental masturbation. Because these columns do not promote the political process, the only way to get stuff done in this world. I don't have a problem with principled human beings attempting to use the political process as one means of increasing liberty. Personally, this does not interest me, nor do I think it is an effective use of time. Murray and Lysander both thought that voting could be used defensively. They figured that if you're entangled in an inescapable web of coercion, you may as well take what the State gives you and use it to your advantage if possible. But you see, there is a HUGE difference between principled human beings who thoroughly understand the subject of freedom, who will try anything to increase freedom, including trying to influence the hated, violent, and omnipresent institution of government to that end, and a person who believes the ONLY way to move towards freedom is through Machiavellian wheeling and dealing and compromising via government. The former may use politics to increase freedom while the government exists, with the goal being to end the government. The latter relies on politics to increase freedom with the goal of keeping the government in place. The basic incompatibility of government and freedom is ignored, and he refuses to see the logical impossibility of the stated mission. Rothbard's and Spooner's great contributions live on not through what they did in politics to change the system, but in their contributions of thought that continue to undermine the bad meme that is government. Neither man accomplished squat through the political process. And yet it seems your opinion would be that only their political involvement was practical and useful, while all the rest of the volumes they wrote on human freedom was just so much mental masturbation, contributing nothing to furthering the cause. Education is the key. It is the only answer. It is happening all around you. So many people have never been so directly connected with so much information available to them before. There is no precedent. The government meme will not just disappear tomorrow, but that does not mean that it is not steadily losing its credibility. Lose it, don't use it.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "Just because someone is not your staunch ally that doesn't make them an enemy" -- I agree, but I must say you've written some commentary about Assange that seems to take a different view.
  • rickdoogie's picture
    rickdoogie 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Thanks Per. Great job stirring up lots of excellent commentary on the subject. It's a raw nerve, obviously. I agree with your sentiments. Minarchists can be the most rabid defenders of the state, when they are long-time defenders of that wheel-spinning paradigm. I agree with those who say that we shouldn't be openly hostile to those who are "minarchists in motion", taking logical steps in our direction. The trick is finding out who is a die-hard statist minarchist, and who is still moving. Not an easy thing to judge on the fly. But we must continue to insist on our right to opt out of their mini-state. That usually makes them show their true colors. Minarchists who I am acquainted with like to say "I believe in non-coercion", but will continue to say "everyone has to participate to make the minimal state work". They haven't realized the basic principle that "the state is force". Even very intelligent (and very gentle) minarchists seem to have this blind spot in their psyche. I agree with Glenn and others who say we need to keep pointing out the coercion that a minarchist has to advocate in order to hold his logical position. Stir up that cognitive dissonance. Bring to boil. Stir continuously.
  • Michael Kleen's picture
    Michael Kleen 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I have always been under the impression that STR is open to everyone who is for liberty, even if that means a restrained state or small, constitutional government. Quotes by "minarchists" like the Thomas Jefferson are rotated across the top of the page every week. You quote Rothbard, but Rothbard spent his life working with parties inside "the system". He was a member of the Libertarian Party and he initially supported Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign in 1992. Are you going to throw Rothbard under the bus too?
  • jd-in-georgia's picture
    jd-in-georgia 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    The following episode of South Park should explain why we are not as advanced as we should be. You see, it's all about the Space Benjamins: South Park: Pinewood Derby (Season 13, Episode 6)
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    jd-in-georgia, that is a GREAT comment. My comment below about using "coercion" as a modifier when speaking of the State, or government, or socialism, or the elite (i.e., the ones who use corporatism and other State coercion to achieve their goals) is aimed at exactly what I believe you're talking about when you describe "turning a light on" in people's minds. Hammer it home, everywhere, all the time: COERCION is what we object to; COERCION is literally a crime in human terms (and typically also in the legal code); COERCION is what turns civil society into a fascist nightmare or other tyranny. Focusing on anything else just gets people to waste time on side issues, while making it harder for them to see the main point. Likewise (speaking here not to you, but generally): for god's sake, let's stop using "anarchy" as a descriptor for the movement. Yes, yes, it's accurate and it's THEIR problem that people don't understand the word. Except that isn't really the case, is it: if 98% of the public believes that anarchy = "violence and chaos", then all we are doing is marginalizing ourselves further every time we use the word. We are choosing to fail, and I mean that literally. I want to abolish the use of initiated (i.e., non-defensive) coercion OF ALL TYPES and BY ALL PERSONS AND GROUPS. If that is what you want also, please consider using "abolitionist" and "abolitionism" as (accurate and with positive connotation) descriptors for yourself and for the movement to abolish coercion.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 39 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Nice column, Per, and you're making an important point about the non-aggression principle -- although you don't mention it by name. I believe that and other choices in wording impede your message. What is "government"? Well, there is individual self-government -- freedom, in other words. That's the kind of government we want. Auberon Herbert, the classical liberal who wrote the excellent "The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State", advocated a government that did not tax, nor enforce its will on people in any way. Of course, that's not a "government" of any kind that people would recognize, but it does -- in classical liberal fashion -- acknowledge that there are things which need doing. We NEED air traffic control, roads, and garbage collection -- we just don't need to use a coercive mechanism to fund or operate them. I use the word "coercive" as a modifier for that very reason. "Coercive government" is very different from individual self-government. "Coercive socialism" is nothing at all like the voluntary socialism you might find at a monastery or commune. And the "coercive elite" are definitely NOT in the same, RESPECTABLE category as a rich/powerful person who earned or inherited his/her money without coercion and who does not use State coercion to line his/her pockets or to otherwise coerce unearned priviledge or wealth from the people. It is COERCION that is the problem, and until people get clear on this, confusion will reign. I would love to see abolitionists (see my "Call me an Abolitionist, Please" for why I don't use the word "anarchist" http://strike-the-root.com/62/allport/allport4.html ) start to regularly, consistently use the word "coercion" as a modifier whenever talking about the State or those who avail themselves of State coercion to achieve their goals. I don't think anything else gets the message across so clearly.