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  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 8 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    '...Until 95 percent of AA congregations say "LOOK...we don't want you here...we're not signing courtcards anymore," I will continue to view AA as an involuntary organization...' Kevin, I believe you've detected the pulse of and identified an underlying diagnosis as to why the "libertarian-movement" has experienced difficulty getting off the ground and going anywhere. I'll attempt to explain by using the AA example that you've so colorfully explored in your essay and pinpointed by your personal experience. AA exemplifies the one truly libertarian exercise that I'm aware of. There could be others of which I'm unaware. Individualist thinking in a collectivist world is virtually unheard of -- unthinkable. You can witness bickering and squabbling and "divorce proceedings" among participants right here on this supposedly "libertarian" forum over trivial detritus like definitions for and existence of "law" and/or "rights", etc. The term "libertarian orthodoxy" was mentioned -- an oxymoron of oxymoron's in my book. AA fits the libertarian model. Lots of quarreling and arguing over nothing definitive. And religion. Religion formed the backbone of AA, or so it seemed at the time. But "they" (treatment centers, rehabs, organized religions) have nothing to do with us, and we have nothing to do with "them". One would think that libertarianism, by the nature of the definition, would absolve all squabbling and dialectic polemics. Not so. Bill W was quoted as defining early AA as one gigantic squabble. Long before forums such as STR and the internet I stood in AA Intergroup meetings and chairman's workshops belaboring your above quoted argument. I would pound tables and insist that "we" should abstain from signing court attendance papers. That would elicit some-are-sicker'n-other looks so common in AA -- particularly after the influx of intellectual "treatment center" graduate types. Some would always counter that chairmen should hold court papers until the end of the meeting before signing, to insure that the parolee "would-get-the-whole-treatment". It took years of cyber-fellowship here and other anarchist forums to turn my authoritarianistic mentality around. I eventually stumbled upon an unknown libertarian/anarchist writer, the late Delmar England, who wrote one un-acclaimed essay, then up and died. "Mind and Matters" was published posthumously. At times it is AA slogans that present solutions. I learned "live-and-let-live" is the only path to freedom. For me. Along with "one-day-at-a-time". My sponser of soon-to-be 40 years once took me aside at an AA clubhouse (after bailing me out of "treatment" for the n-teenth time) and said, "Sam, all those slogans over there on the wall are important. But there is one you should ignore. It does NOT apply to you: "Think, Think, Think". Because, for you, that one always seems to translate into "Drink, Drink, Drink". So, with this I'll quit thinking and leave y'all alone. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 11 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Said shareholders, and those they employ, get to vote. There's the problem.   Seguay to the F-35 fighter-bomber. The current issue of Forbes reports that shareholders in Lockheed may do okay, despite a Trump tweet that its cost over-runs were obscene. The article said this military toy costs $100 million a pop, and that 3,000 are to be built.   What the hell for? - seems a fair question. But the 14,000 people working at the Lockheed plant will not be asking it. Instead, they will vote themselves continued employment. Such is government. There is no rational alternative to a free market.  
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 11 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    (re-posted as a reply)
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 11 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Try hitting "Enter" twice, to make a para break. Doing it once merely starts a new line.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 18 weeks 12 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Mil-Indust complex shareholders profited quite hansomely during President Peace Prize's reign. If you made drones, parts, programs, missles, bombs (smart & stupid) & etc you likely did real well sales-wise.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 18 weeks 12 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Trudeau is an Obama clone with lighter skin & less racial animus. See how Canada looks in eight years.
  • Kevin M. Patten's picture
    Kevin M. Patten 18 weeks 13 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    In fact Alex, your articles prompted mine. This essay was finished MONTHS ago. But I had to take out all references to yours, and then BEG (like one does with all publishers) to have it put up.  So...since you agree that nobody should be forced into AA -- but that AA meetings by and large have no problem with people being forced to enjoy their company -- we don't disagree on much.  Thanks for weighing in.  Cheers. 
  • Kevin M. Patten's picture
    Kevin M. Patten 18 weeks 13 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    How the hell do you break up paragraphs on here?? I still can't figure that out. What's the secret?
  • Kevin M. Patten's picture
    Kevin M. Patten 18 weeks 13 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Sam, I really do appreciate you opening your AA meetings with that line. In my experience, that's very, very rare. I've tried to have people just sign my court cards beforehand, and while that can happen pretty often with the guys smoking outside, never have I heard a meeting faciliator act so libertarian. Until 95 percent of AA congregations say "LOOK...we don't want you here...we're not signing courtcards anymore," I will continue to view AA as an involuntary organization. I theorize it's because they want more people who are quick to throw a buck around. Also, as I say in the article, plenty of state-sanctioned health programs include AA....maybe somebody is worried about losing their subsidies. We dont know because their HQ remains so damn quiet.  "Dissing religion is stupidity personified"........I agree. I was just heeding the word of God, and therefore slaughtered a ram in His honor, afterwards sprinkling its blood in the right corner of the temple, just before scolding someone for eating shellfish and then watching homosexuals getting stoned to death. I kid, I kid. Religion is totally rational. 
  • Kevin M. Patten's picture
    Kevin M. Patten 18 weeks 14 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Thank you much Jim. I might get around to correcting that. Hope you enjoyed my rant. 
  • Kevin M. Patten's picture
    Kevin M. Patten 18 weeks 14 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    The meme is no doubt an inarticulate smear. But I wonder what our resident AA proponents think about introducing LSD into the regimen. The point is, far too few people know about that little factoid (as insignificant as it was in my arguments), and we should have a fuller understanding about AA and it's creators. 
  • Kevin M. Patten's picture
    Kevin M. Patten 18 weeks 14 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    That's too bad. I couldn't get it right with Clinton, nor with AA. Maybe third time's a charm, and then you can appreciate the polemical style. 
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 15 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    Good point, Brian. My Blog did consider the Idle Rich a while ago, and more recently Rich Folks, with a reference to Forbes; but neither specifically considered high CEO salaries.   Government regulation of some industries - notably banking - is such that competition is virtually excluded, so the normal way excessive pay could be trimmed is negated. Such firms are "too big to fail" and so that incentive for limiting officers' salaries is removed. On the other hand shareholders can usually set such pay rates without interference, and if (as in the banks' case) a potentially catastrophic failure is averted when the CEO negotiates a bailout with the FedGov, they are understandably grateful.   A separate consideration is that multimillion dollar salaries only puts such CEOs on a par, more or less, with founders of successful startups, of which Forbes is very good at reporting. This month for example it portrays 30 people under age 30 who have begun enterprises worth $100 million or more; they may presently pay themselves a modest "salary" but their endeavors are setting them up to be much better off than a mere senior employee of a Dow-30 firm.   The coming zero government society will, I think, continue to reward innovation in such ways but by removing the prop of government support it will allow large inefficient firms to collapse and be replaced by nimble competitors, plural, who will be led by CEOs whose pay will be under more active control by shareholders eager to control costs and so stay competitive.   I'm not clear, though, what impact AI will have on that process. As Will Groves has argued, it may impact the jobs and pay rates at the bottom of the ladder (though I think very little) but how would it much affect the top rung?
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 18 weeks 17 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    I really must say that I don't understand why the author has seen fit to smear Bill W by including a meme which says that "he takes LSD", like there is something inherently wrong with him for doing so, or by extension, it is wrong for others to do so. LSD and other psychedelics have been, and continue to be confirmed as very beneficial for overcoming addiction, when used in the right setting. As it happens, Bill W was treated medically with LSD by 2 Candadian doctors, Hoffer and Osmond and received great benefit from his experience. As a matter of fact, Bill W thought it should be added to the AA protocol, but he was overruled by the AA medical board. Hoffer also treated him with high-dose Niacin, from which he obtained great benefit, as did the other alcoholics he recommended it to. Again, the AA medical board did not support him adding it to their program. So if the intent was to decry the monopolization of recovery programs with a quasi-religious approach, it makes no sense to denounce Bill W, who actually tried to bring a more holistic approach to AA.
  • John deLaubenfels's picture
    John deLaubenfels 18 weeks 19 hours ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    The author is carrying a huge chip on his shoulder; why, I cannot guess.  I can't speak for every chapter of AA, but the one my friend attends is nothing like the author's lurid hell.  Nobody crams the 12 steps down anyone else's throats.  My friend describes it as a supportive, extended family.  He's been sober for several years now, after multiple drunken run-ins with the law and ever-longer jail sentences, all pre-AA.   Of course no one should be compelled to attend: it's axiomatic among libertarians that no one should be forced to patronize any particular organization.  But the author is not content with making this point; he feels compelled to tar AA with every brush in his palette.  I find the result extremely uncompelling.
  • Brian Mast's picture
    Brian Mast 18 weeks 21 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    I believe that the potential widespread job loss resulting from AI would be less painful if the state sponsored privileges were removed from certain top-level professions. There have already been many libertarian articles covering topics such as subsidies, the federal reserve, inflation, licensure, the oligarchy, rent-seeking, and so forth. I agree with the authors of those articles that the state should not have interfered with the markets because it picks winners and losers. I have yet to read a libertarian article about the unreal high pay that CEO's get, and if I had the ability to research the cause and effects that lead up to it: I would write one. The Forbes article I linked to doesn't satisfactorily answer why a free market would allow for this gigantic pay increase to happen, so I suspect that the state or the banksters are the culprit. I do not believe for one split second that present CEO's are that much better or more productive than the CEO's from say 40 or 50 years ago. CEO's ought to only get paid what they are worth. Lowering their pay could result in greater profits for business owners and share-holders, increased pay for employees, and/or lower cost goods. I do not at all advocate that the state create a new law to 'fix' this problem, but what is the free market solution? Removing these state-enabled subsidies may result in either higher pay for the lower class or make their present income go further. Removing state-caused employment costs may result in more people getting employed. Employees could also opt for a shorter work week which would cause more people to get hired. These suggestions do nothing about the AI problem if it is indeed a problem, but they certainly would improve the economic prospects for all employees and enable them to buy more products.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 1 day ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Kevin, please allow me to offer a very minor correction: Oxford is not a "college", as stated. It is a University (and incidentlally a city.)   Like its immeasurably superior rival Cambridge, it consists of about 30 affiliated colleges, such as Christ's, Trinity, Baliol, Lady Margaret, etc; see here. In broad outline the University furnishes the laboratories and lectures, appoints the professors and awards the degrees, while each of the colleges provides student accommodation, fellowships, scholarships and tutors.   I'll not take sides with or against your thesis, for I'm fortunately not an alcoholic (cheers!) but I was interested indeed to notice that AA has roots in Keswick, in 1908. In a former incarnation I was a Christian, and still believe that the annual Keswick Convention, which I once attended, is possibly the very acme of that religion. Its influence has been profound and worldwide, and now I know it even includes AA, for good or ill. Keswick is a small town on the edge of the most spectacularly beautiful area of England, called the Lake District. If ever you get the chance, pay it a visit. When it's not raining.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 18 weeks 1 day ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    P.S.  Sam and Kevin:   Here's another AA piece I wrote some time ago (Sam, you'll likely recall it).  Enjoy:   http://strike-the-root.com/fine-and-functioning-anarchy    
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 18 weeks 1 day ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Sam, I love that opening statement for an AA meeting chair.  That is pure genius.  In fact, if you don't mind, I'm saving it.  :-)
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 1 day ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    First of all, use of the term "cult" is the prerogative of the beholder. If your group differs in doctrine or litany from my group, then your group is a cult. In my humble opinion. Anybody reading these words must definitely be considered as leaning toward what the dictionary defines as a cult. (I'm ashamed to admit, however, that STR didn't even make the "fake news" list). But Kevin, most who know anything -- anything about AA -- will stop reading upon seeing this: "...But this is mainly for those who are here voluntarily..." The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. There can be no (legal) "mandated attendance" -- any more than there can be "mandated attendance" over at Catholic Catechism. Of course the Catholics are authoritarians, and would probably not complain if judges or appointees claiming jurisdiction in such matters would start sending their convicted drunks to Catechism. They'd probably welcome them with open arms, and gleefully sign attendance sheets. The problem with AA is that it is pure libertarian. You and I live in a world full of people who do not understand or even process the concept of liberty and freedom. Therefore, you began your essay with the mentality that there can be such thing as mandated, or involuntary attendance at AA. Which is as understandable -- as it is universal. I have a standard opening statement whenever I chair AA meetings: If you are here with a paper from someone claiming jurisdiction to require your attendance at this meeting, please pass all such attendance sheets up to me now before we start the meeting. I'll sign them, and you will then be free to leave. You are welcome to stay for the meeting. But you should understand that the only requirement for membership in AA is a desire to stop drinking. Nobody has authority to require your involuntary attendance here. Your essay could be shortened by 80% with that understanding. Sam
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 18 weeks 1 day ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Kevin, this seems an awful lot of vitriol in order to establish the undeniable facts that a.) no one should ever be forced into AA -- or any other recovery program -- by the State or anyone else, and; b.) AA could use some more prominent competition.   Otherwise, it's a good essay.   This was my take on the subject from a while back:   http://strike-the-root.com/voluntaryist-vitriol-anarchic-attacks-against...    
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 2 days ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Haven't read the whole essay as yet, Kevin -- you spent a goodly amount of time on it and did your homework nicely. Glad to see you posting. But I've gotta be up and on the bike (82, still biking to work, not because I need the work, but need the bike ride). I'm one of the "old timers" around AA. Over 50 years, with a substantial number of "slips" -- over 35 years and counting since last drink. Haven't been to a meeting in over a year, but that's not because AA is going downhill. It's because I'm gettin' too damned old. AA is perhaps the last of the truly libertarian organizations. There are no rules, no leaders -- lots of parasites (folks who take the "12 steps" as their own, then make it appear we are part of "them"). It's probably one of the factors that eventually led me to STR. I had never heard the term "libertarian" in the 50's, when I first began attending (from lockup). It's nobody's business if or when I go back to drinking, and that's why the Tripey's and all the naysayers (most of whom have their own brand of "recovery" to sell) are so vociferous against AA. It's like reading "anti-libertarian" garbage on mainstream media. They have no real idea what they're talking about. And, no sense arguing with neocon and/or leftist anti-libertarians -- they know everything. And that is that. To them, the idea of no central authority is cult-like. And, as to the religion thing, there are now many, many agnostic groups about for those who tend to wear their feelings on their sleeve against the religious drunks. In the old days, religion was the "cure". Since day one I merely sidestepped the religion and religious lamentations concomitant with many in recovery. When they say their out-loud prayers I count heads. Dissing religion is stupidity personified. Hope you continue to crank us out some good essays. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Ha! Very amusing, Will. And quite true, up to a point. Yes, humans have "wants" to a huge degree I for one have not yet fathomed, and yes, less work is always better because there is such a vast amount of beauty and knowledge to explore during one's time away from the work bench.   Yes, too, the universe is "meaningless" in the sense that it comes with none ready-packaged in some mythical enclosure; not, though, in the other important sense that we humans have an amazing and priceless opportunity (unique in all Nature, I think) to fashion our own meaning.   Yes, yet more, I think so highly of the libertarian understanding of which way is up that I am indeed jealous of preserving its "orthodoxy", for want of a better word. I have, however, no such "handbook" as you mention; just a grasp of the essential principle that every person rightly owns his own life, along with some ability to draw deductions from that axiom.   Thank you, yet further, for reference to the Zero Government Blog. I'm gratified indeed that you have been for "years watching it in action." Disappointed, though, that your prejudice in favor of the current manifestation of the Luddite Faith has prevented you embracing its reasoning. Some day, perhaps, you'll favor us with an explanation of how you can simultaneously deplore the alleged replacement of humans by robots, yet earn a living by helping design them.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    I hope my dismissal of their arguments was not "offhand", though you raise an interesting point: is it valid to reject a conclusion without having studied deeply the arguments that support it? You're saying it's not, but then again life is short and books are many.   I suggest that it frequently is valid. We can reject Marxism without having spent a lifetime in socialist libraries; on the simple grounds that in the dozens of countries where his ideas have been tried out, they have in every case proven to be miserable failures. We can dismiss Islam as a deeply inferior religion, simply by placing its Five Pillars alongside the Nicene Creed.   And here, we can dismiss the claim that automation is causing the sky to fall, just on the basis that such a cry has gone up every time a bright new labor-saving invention enhanced the human race over the past scores of thousands of years; but every time, the sky has preserved its elevation.   Yes, it's just possible that this time, the warning is valid. But when there exist clear and obvious alternative explanations for the growing number of un- and under-employed low-skilled people, I'm not going to lose sleep over that possibility.   One other, lesser point while I'm here: you mentioned low-price Chinese imports are "shit", quote. That hasn't been my experience, anecdotal though it is. I've bought a dozen or more small items via eBay from China, and with only one exception they have been well made, cleverly designed, low priced and rapidly delivered. I'm delighted that after centuries of deep poverty, a large number of Chinese people have begun to taste the pleasures of prosperity.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 18 weeks 2 days ago Page Douglas Herman
    Thanks Jim,   Your compliment means more to me than if I were published in the MSM.  And paid to do so. 
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 18 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    If anyone reading the STR blog wishes to see the limited benefits of technology, look no further than the AI-trollbot that automatically posts under the "Jim Davies" handle.   After years of watching it in action, I think I finally have figured it out:  Its libertarian purity-test algorithm checks all posts for "flaws" and provides boilerplate "corrections" straight out of the Handbook of Libertarian Orthodoxy.  It supposes to "think," yet it sees only in black and white.  As a machine, it cannot understand the non-material aspects of life that are the root of what it means to be human.  It's programmed to view humans as biological robots , that we live in a meaningless universe, that consciousness is an illusion, and everything that can't be measured doesn't exist.  In its algo, humans have infinite wants, so more stuff and less work is always better, even when in real life, it isn't. 
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 18 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    I'd posit it's only a curse if the average person doesn't have access to owning one of these machines. If all automation is centralized then yes that would leave very little opportunity to those that used to labor. However, most labor saving devices to date have found their way into the average household, garage, and even pocket. If that trend continues, it will be up to the average person to determine how their life is made better.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 2 days ago Page Douglas Herman
    Doug: a tour de force.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 3 days ago Web link Westernerd
    '...By "jointly envision the same demise of central political authority" you meant that you don't agree with me that the State can be abolished...' "The State" has been abolished. Or is in the process of being. I did not say or infer your apparent conception. "It" will not be abolished by me (well, it already has in terms of "jurisdiction") -- and I don't see it being abolished by you. But if you see differently, that's certainly your privilege. How 'bout let's call it your "right". These squabbles are merely playing with words -- fiddlin' while Rome burns. IMHO -- which ain't all that humble. Sam
  • James Clayton's picture
    James Clayton 18 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    Exactly. Show me, don’t just tell me. I suppose we’ve gotta use words when we talk to each other … but I don’t spend too much time wondering if I AM (“x”), especially if “x” seems somewhat vague, abstract and subjective.
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 18 weeks 4 days ago Web link Westernerd
    On some level, all work is monotonous.  I've been in operating rooms and observed open heart surgeries to speak with surgeons and understand how they want a certain tool designed.  Speaking first-hand, one bypass surgery looks a lot like the next.  It's monotonous, just in the way that making nice furniture or preparing ingredients for a dinner with friends or any number of meaningful activities are monotonous.     Machines that make subtle decisions are here, and in that context, when they can do nearly every task that humans can do, only faster, better, and cheaper, what then?  It's possible that individually we thought that we were working to create machines that would make the world a better place, but in the aggregate, the system created through that action decreases the overall quality of life--and not just the material aspects.  Matt Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft discusses the value in terms of the feeling of self-worth that comes from working with your hands, and my experience resonates strongly with his views.   AI-driven technologies are of a fundamentally different kind from what has come before.  They are able to survey a complicated situation and then "decide" on the best way to approach it.  Not many people know that newswriting algos have been implemented for years now--see here. Push this forward several decades and ponder what creative endeavor this leaves humans to do.   Offhand dismissals of arguments made by the authors I mentioned isn't really a rebuttal when you aren't familiar with their arguments.  We're living in a world when pro-technology mantras are drummed into the heads of everyone from childhood, and most people haven't ever heard a compelling arguement against the march of technology.   Not all, or even a majority of the authors I listed are neo-Luddites (though Kaczynski would identify as such), but most embrace certain technologies while shunning others in an attempt to create a more meaningful and convival life.   If you zoom out far enough, it's not hard to see that humans today are serving the interests of the machines more than they are of their own well-being.  
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 4 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Will, you have some thought-provoking ideas here. Somewhere, though, they must have a flaw, because your "technological development is undermining human dignity" cannot be right. Technological development has been taking place since our race climbed down from the trees, and I can't accept that modern hom sap is less dignified than a monkey. Tech dev is the story of man! It is that at which mankind most excels! Those seven authors you name cannot be right; technology most certainly has, for all of history, made life dramatically better.   Not uniformly, sure; when governments get hold of it they put it to the most dreadful uses - but we know where to place the blame for that, and it's not on the technology itself.   Technology is and always has made monotonous work obsolete. Yes, and a good thing too. It releases the assembly-line human robot to do something creative and interesting. If he cannot find something creative and interesting to do, that too is not the fault of technology - but rather of the educational system (in the broadest sense) which fashioned his mind and outlook. And we know who is responsible for most of that.    
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 4 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Oh, I get it. I should have got it first time, the fault is mine. By "jointly envision the same demise of central political authority" you meant that you don't agree with me that the State can be abolished.   Okay, if none of us do anything, it can't. It may well spiral itself into a destructive black hole of some kind and produce appalling poverty and misery, but out of that will come some monstroius replacement. It will never abolish itself, on that we agree.   Further, a frontal attack on everyone supporting the state won't work either; at any one time, nearly everyone is caught up in the statist religion, yes. Government has been clever and systematic over many generations in educating people to suppose it is indispensable.   But one at a time, dealing just with the few who have become fed up with all of it... there is the opportunity. And it's all we need - along with a little patience. And if you disagree with that, we'll have to agree to disagree.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 5 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    Link to a documentary: http://www.vaccinesrevealed.com/?inf_contact_key=77e6c598dcea9b9e8433469... Not that I'm endorsing it -- haven't seen it, and probably won't. First, I generally don't watch "documentaries", which seem to all follow a redundant format nowadays. I eschew redundancies. Second, it's presumably only on at certain times, and I have no intentions of making an appointment to watch it. I might google it once the video becomes available free online. But I'll be the choir they're a-preachin' to. You might benefit from watching, but I doubt it. Pro-vaxers and anti-vaxers tend to fall into the similar categories -- neither have any intentions of "switching", regardless of reality, evidence or facts. Sam Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 5 days ago Web link Westernerd
    "...Never mind this, it's obvious that people today aren't happier than they were 50 or 100 years ago. If technology were connected to happiness, I don't think we'd have about 15% of the population on SSRIs..." What you're actually identifying is loss of freedom -- what STR is all about: liberty. And, I'll readily agree that much of the technology and the development of more highly automated and robotic production of physical products is itself having a debilitating effect upon those only educated, skilled and trained for factory work. The mass exodus for manufacturing has been to "third-world" places where starvation nips the lower 2/3 of the population in the arse every day. It's increasingly difficult for manufacturers to remain afloat here in the land-of-the-free. As the article reveals, technology is creating a huge tsunami in "service" industries as well. But the problem is "SSRIs". If there were no such thing as state there could be no such thing as "SSRI". If there were no parasites engaged in redistributing wealth, wealth would abound. Either that, or we're spinning our wheels here at STR. "The poor" are the true sufferers from loss of freedom. Yet it is "the poor" who are directed to interchange with the beast (who claims jurisdiction in robbing "the rich"). It has been largely "the poor" who have voted with and for political progressive-ism -- along with those who benefit by keeping them poor (most often "the rich"). Enter "SSRIs". The enormity of the truth is incredible. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 5 days ago Web link KenK
    "Political Correctness" is the game of the year. One sees it virtually everywhere nowadays. Even here on a "libertarian" forum it can crop its ugly head. On another thread there's the idea bandied about that one must "admit" s/he is this, that or the other in order to "belong". Ostensibly, one cannot (or should not be "allowed to") "belong" otherwise. It's my way or the high-way. It occurs to me that nobody -- nobody -- has a corner on the "liberty" market. The most liberty-minded are likely the least intellectual of the bunch, who've never written an essay or a book or a piece outlining what "liberty" is or a plan showing how to achieve it. I won't "sign-the-pledge" for NAP. But I won't aggress upon you -- trust me. As you imply -- don't tell me, show me. As to the "race" phenomenon, it seems folks are all pretty much racially integrated, whether they admit it or not. In many parts of the world, those who dabble with licensing when they wish to marry must often show some sort of proof they're not siblings or cousins or relatives in some other way. In the white man's "legal" system, it's even "illegal" for first cousins, for instance, to marry and produce children. Not that I'm recommending that. Incest apparently can produce weird genetic afflictions. Sam
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 18 weeks 5 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    You don't have to prolong anything if you don't wish to do so. If you're last statements on the subject are simple ad hominem you prove what I've said earlier. Some may read your articles, but frankly you limit your prospective audience by your demeanor. It's interesting to watch.
  • Will Groves's picture
    Will Groves 18 weeks 5 days ago Web link Westernerd
    This isn't theoretical.  Robotic automation has already replaced 90% of the jobs in some industries.   If you were to compare the prices of many items at retailers today and 40 years ago, I don't deny that on an "inflation-adjusted" basis that they have decreased in price.  However, relative to the earnings for the bottom half of society, it's clear that their material standard of living has decreased.  In other words, the real cost of living hasn't decreased in spite of the automation--or the cheap Chinese shit that pours into the country, which has the same effect as automation, i.e., low labor costs.   Ralph Borsodi, Jacques Ellul, Lewis Mumford, Ivan Illich, E.F. Schumacher, Ted Kaczynski, Paul Kingsnorth and many others have written extensively against the thesis that technology just keeps making life better.    In a nutshell, technological development isn't aimed at improving human well-being.  Technology is driven by efficiency, which is an engineering concept, not one connected with a comfortable life.  Never mind this, it's obvious that people today aren't happier than they were 50 or 100 years ago.  If technology were connected to happiness, I don't think we'd have about 15% of the population on SSRIs.    People need challenges to create meaning in their lives.  Work has provided that challenge for many, but technology is making work obsolete.  Moreover, every exploitable technology is used as a weapon by government to subdue us further.  Ultimately, technological development is undermining human dignity, and that is a serious problem.   
  • James Clayton's picture
    James Clayton 18 weeks 5 days ago Web link KenK
    Yes, actions speak louder than words. This brings to mind the-man-with-the-plan, a man of many words. He loves to talk about vague and abstract concepts; and he likes to label and categorize people. It’s easier for him to say what he is than to actually show what he does.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 5 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Thanks for clarifying that you "refuse" to answer my question (which was to state your own ideals, not just to "identify with a label".) That being so, I see no point in prolonging this exchange. You might be a genuine seeker after understanding and liberty, but your refusal suggests you are just a dilettante. I have better things to do than to bandy words with you.
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 18 weeks 6 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    You impute a lot on other people. Some would call that straw-manning. It's one of the reasons you appear to be disagreeable. You keep on harping on whether I want to identify with a label or not. I refuse. You've ignored the point which is that the way you act does not broaden your potential audience. Not my problem, just pointing it out...since you seem to think if just enough people read your articles and go through your training they (and you as a result) will become free. If such a thing is possible, and that's your goal, you are working against yourself.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    Oh -- and please don't get me wrong. I could care less if Kennedy Jr or anybody else "serves" on Trump's agenda. Read this: http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/trump-vaccine-experts-are-not-...
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    Whether one is "pro-vaccine" or "anti-vaccine" has nothing to do with anything. The question: Do you want psychopaths grouped under the mindless abstraction called "government" forcing everybody -- under penalty of death (all white man's "law" comes under eventual death sentence until resisters "comply") -- to succumb to forced inoculations? When you can't help knowing that the medical establishment, which includes their incestuous relationship with pharmaceuticals, represent among the largest lobbying outfits in the business??? And they're the folks who want to write the "laws" involved in this discussion??? I and much of my family are counted among "...the-unvaxed-population..." who will have viral and bacterial diseases "...run rampant..." We are the wealthiest of families in our part of the country. Not because of resources defined by US federal reserve notes. But because we're homeschoolers, non-vaxers, and free. And, we're the healthiest individuals in town -- free from diabetes, free from doctors and hospitals, free from disease. We're the ones the lefties are taking aim at. Apparently it's "unfair", or "unequal", or "unsustainable" for us to maintain such good health without enforced vaccinations and other medical conjurations. That thinking, my friend, is the equivalent of the desire for madmen to be in charge of the asylum. Go figger. Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link KenK
    Talk is cheap. As far as I'm concerned, the only non-racists are those with interracial marriages. ;-)
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link Westernerd
    For the moment, let's boil it down to individual vs collective thinking. My emphasis is individual thinking. I have no control over the behaviors or the attitudes or the philosophies of anybody but myself. I don't have as much influence as I'd perhaps like even with adult members of my own family. Sometimes they listen. Often they don't. Same here on this forum. And I will be free whether or not you or Will or Alex or Paul are free. Or my children, or their children, or their children's children (my growing coterie of great-grandchildren) on down the line. Through exchange of ideas (at times heated -- hopefully not antagonistic) here at STR I might have some limited influence upon you and some of our mutual friends in the way each or any of us processes certain information. You certainly have, over the years, been influential with me. I wouldn't want to try to estimate how many times I've referenced various writings of yours at forums in addition to this one -- and even in communication with members of my own family. I, for instance, don't vote in political elections. Haven't done so since 1964. Neither do you. I might often end a comment with the jocular "abstain from beans", but I don't take personal offense at the millions who are still collaborating with the enemy (your recent term that I enjoy and have used) in that manner. Their time will come. Same with submitting confessions ("filing returns" ha ha) to the enemy. I take stern lessons from our late and old mutual friend, Irwin Schiff. Why engage in battle when you know you're out-gunned? Just understand: the enemy is like the rattlesnake -- he rattles and warns and, if cornered, will strike. But he will slither away safely when he can. The difference, of course, is that the rattlesnake serves a useful purpose (feeds on mosquitoes and rodents, helping to keep them in check). So, when I hear that rattle I give them the opportunity to slither away without incident. And I wear high boots and heavy gloves to the woods. But I recognize my powerlessness when it comes to expending time and emotional energy trying to straighten out others' thinking or behaviors. And I certainly don't intend to jeopardize this forum by belittling you or anybody else who might have a different slant on any specific issue from mine. I hope to continue to learn from Will, and Alex, and Paul, and you, and many, many others here at STR. The religious mystification of that phenomenon called "state" is coming to a close. I don't know how -- or when -- the finale will come, but I perceive the fat lady may be warming up to sing soon. Be free. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link Westernerd
    A fun time indeed, Sam, and I'm glad we have some agreement.   Might you elucidate: what meaneth "jointly envision the same demise of central political authority"?
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link Westernerd
    The term is -- at least was in the 1940's and early 50's -- "technological unemployment". I'm an old railroad telegrapher. Keep in mind, that's considered "service industries" -- not actually involved in the production of a product. But, of course, railroading was highly necessary to anybody producing a product at the time, and to an increasing extent still is. That's an interesting technological study in itself. At the time (age 16) I was still attending high school. I remember a government ("public" ha ha) teacher who was libertarian-minded when it was not cool. His name was Bob Lawson. He lived to be 101, and only died a few years ago now. He and I argued about "technological unemployment" at the time -- he taking the Mises side, I insisting that the railroad telegrapher would soon become obsolete. Telephones, teletypes and 2-way radios were the upcoming technology. This would have been close to 10 years prior to publication of Leonard E.Read's "I, Pencil". And, even at age 16, I could see the handwriting on the wall. Or so I thought. Long before I ever espoused ideas of the libertarian and the anarchist. Turns out I'm probably one of the last of the old telegraphers. Any who exist today learned and play it as a hobby -- like cow-boying (I'm also probably the last of the old cowboys who actually grew up as a kid riding horseback to round up calves). But all those old occupations did die out. And here we are -- mostly quite prosperous. But I won't say you're not, partially at least, correct, Will. The insight you purvey is indeed real. But, I submit, the issue, as are most issues we might haggle about here at STR, highly involves collectivist thinking as opposed to individualist thinking. Because, as a telegrapher I was forced to join a union: "Order of Railway Telegraphers". "Closed shop" was the term. In that time part of the ORT emphasis was the operation of telegraph schools to bring telegraphers up to 30-35 wpm (faster telegraphy). Those who headed up unions generally started out with the realization that, in order to be effective they needed to whet the skills of workers to make them more valuable to those who wished to employ them. Basic free-market economics. "Collective bargaining" quickly became the mainstay of unions -- and politics. Significantly, in those days it was "illegal" for government employees at any level to form, solicit or join labor unions. Nowadays labor unions are in place primarily with government employment -- almost all government employment. And they're disappearing "in-the-private-sector". I was once a member of NEA (National Education Association) and TSEA (Texas State Education Association -- now TSTA and TCTA). They were originally and supposedly in place to increase the value of the educator for the welfare of the student. They are now strictly labor unions -- like the policeman's union. Economically (and individualistically) thinking, Brittany Hunter of MISES is correct. But collectivists are, indeed, going to suffer in the long run. Be thankful you're abstaining. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link Westernerd
    "...government is soon put out of business it will at any rate be short-lived. I conclude there is no rational alternative to a free market, and the sooner the better..." In this you and I are in sound agreement, Jim. We might not jointly envision the same demise of central political authority, but we agree it must end. In time. Hoist by their own petards. A fun time to live! Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Very interesting comment, Will - and a most interesting Mises article, together with a string of thoughtful comments following it.   Not sure though about your final para. You agree that new opportunities will arise, but think they will not pay very well. A contrary view is that automation will make everything so cheap that even the worst paid in society some decades from now will be better off than most of us are today.   Automation is the story of the human race, would you agree? Man is a tool-maker. It's worked well so far. Why, then, should it not continue? - I can think of only one reason, namely that the incentives are being very badly skewed. Unskilled labor is being replaced by robots, hence is in surplus, which would in a free labor market cause its price to fall and so at least "cushion" the problem; but in the teeth of this, government is forcing the price of unskilled labor UP, with new reams of costly regulations for employers and even a doubling of the minimum wage!   That exacerbation will be nasty, but if government is soon put out of business it will at any rate be short-lived. I conclude there is no rational alternative to a free market, and the sooner the better.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 18 weeks 6 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Correct, you did not state your own ideals. However, by referring to mine in the second person, you did imply that they are not yours; that you reject at least some of them.   Hence my question. What are they? Are you in fact a libertarian? If not, why are you here?