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  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 18 weeks 6 days ago Web link KenK
    eugenedw: I, too, have found Dawkins' arguments to be on the level of a barroom drunk. I am an agnostic, but at least I have studied some real  theology and philosophy --  things Dawkins has never done. Otherwise, he would not repeat straw-man mischaracterizations of theological questions that are easy to tear down. Since most atheists are fueled more by anger than by knowledge, I find them similarly disappointing. That's why Dawkins always has an "amen corner" working with him -- a mob of undereducated haters. While I, too, am disgusted by some  hate-filled Christians and other haters, I don't pretend that they represent Christianity at its best, which is where his attacks should be placed. But that would put Dawkins in the position of having to learn something and understand his opponent before attacking their positions.   Regarding Islam, it should be pretty clear by now that Robert Pape, in his book, "Dying to Win," has proven that the link between terrorism and Islam is a spruious one. His exhaustive study shows that 94% of terrorism is caused by democratic governments occupying Islamic countries. The attempt to connect terrorism and Islam is a Sean-Hannity-level crudity that is devoid of truth. Yes, there are extremist followers of Islam -- just as there are extremist murdering Christians and Jews. And gee, big surprise, like so many war-mongering Christians, many of these followers of Islam and Judaism try to justify their beliefs by referring to god as the source of their inspiration. There's a lot of nationalistic kill-them-all stuff in the Bible and in the Koran. And THAT is a big problem.  
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 19 weeks 6 hours ago Web link Sharon Secor
    The problem is that the traditional division of politics into left and right is somewhat meaningless: both sides of the spectrum can produce authoritarians, and it is indeed true that the so-called "liberals" are often far, far worse than the "conservatives."
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 19 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    I have long thought that Dawkins' fierce criticism of religion is a bit over the top, and not really productive either. But he is one of the few critics of religion that has the guts to publicly take on Islam - the rest are mostly too scared to become the targets of a death sentence. As such he is at least an equal-opportunity bigot with the courage of his convictions, unlike his lily-livered leftwing critics, who are quick to slap those who turn the other cheek, but are reduced to jellyfish at the first sign of real trouble. And as the article points out, his science writing is brilliant. Plus, if you ask me, his tweets about rape and pedophilia were perfectly rational and reasonable.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 19 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    That's what government is for, isn't it?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 19 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    It's not "sharing" if there is a gun to your head.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 19 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    Some day people will decide to hang a few bureaucrats from lamp posts, and then the silliness will end.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 19 weeks 5 days ago Blog entry Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Our friend, Tim, had some insightful comments about this piece, which he mistakenly posted with my original article. I'll post his comments here, which provide some correction about my misunderstanding of Buddhism.   new Timmaayy, posted on July 26, 2014 Excellent piece! Let me add one bit of supporting evidence, a few references that are beyond your scope, but struck me as I was reading, and then end with a minor point of disagreement. The observation that pride is both the deadliest of the seven sins and at the very heart of libertarian objections to the existing political order is an outstanding insight! I was surprised, however, that you didn't mention that pride is also what Christians, both then and now, regard as THE "Original Sin" -- the very transgression that resulted in all mankind's banishment from paradise, thus both the impetus behind the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sine qua non of "Mount Purgatory." Further, while I recognize that the purpose of your thesis was a comparison of libertarian precepts with Dante's "Seven Deadly Sins," I was struck by the support to be found in the gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus. In my opinion the two most powerful of his parables (because they are so reproachful for most of us who are less spiritually advanced) both deal with the second deadliest of the sins: envy. Who is not startled into greater self-awareness at the conclusion of the story of "The Prodigal Son" by the father's response to the (entirely understandable) indignation of the older brother? Likewise, the rejoinder by the owner of the vineyard to his resentful day-laborers who (also quite understandably) expected more than they were actually owed -- an expectation that envy transmogrified into entitlement? [Side note: as with nearly all of Jesus' parables neither of these is multiply-attested as the former appears only in Luke, the latter only in Matthew.] Your point about the lesser sins of greed, gluttony and lust being no more than immoderations arising from otherwise natural and wholesome pursuits, and that it is merely obsessiveness that is to be eschewed, also finds support in the teaching of Jesus. One incident that comes immediately to mind (some checking might well locate others) is his response to critics by making a "no-win" comparison of himself with John the Baptist. Where his mentor's asceticism drew accusations of demon possession, his own, more typical style of fellowship brought charges of being a drunkard and a glutton. [Another aside: Although this anecdote appears in both Matthew and Luke, it most likely traces to the lost "sayings gospel" scholars refer to as Q and is, therefore, also lacking multiple attestation.] However, this "Middle Way" is ubiquitous in and fundamental to Buddhism. Indeed, it was in coming to an appreciation of the destructiveness that attends both reckless overindulgence and extreme asceticism that was the catalyst for the Buddha's enlightenment. Which brings me to a point of (minor) disagreement. Based on my, admittedly rudimentary, understanding of this Eastern philosophy, the characterization of Buddhists as viewing "the things of this world as evil and the desires of the flesh as something to be shunned" is misplaced. To my mind the Buddhist view of the worldly realm bears fairer comparison with Dante's conception of Purgatory. Both apprehend a "place," so-to-speak, of refinement/purification in the struggle to attain the spiritual perfection required to reach the top of the mountain, i.e., to enter heaven (or nirvana.) Two important distinctions, however, are that with the latter the climb takes place within the spiritual realm and in full knowledge of the destination. Whereas for the former the effort is made in this physical realm and in, at least initially, ignorance of the purpose. Indeed, for Buddhists it is overcoming the state of ignorance that is the very key to progression. The fundamental aspiration for the Buddhist is "Enlightenment." This brings me back to your point about pride being the "sin" that underlies all that libertarians find objectionable in the political order. There is unequivocal, historical validation in the fate of the competing form of Christianity that was exterminated by the Roman Catholic church following its ascension to official state religion under Emperor Constantine: Gnosticism. "Gnosis" is, of course, Greek for "knowledge." Gnostics, like Buddhists, also thought this to be the key to salvation. Christian Gnostics (there were other forms) believed that the "Christ" was a divine emissary who came into this world to bring the knowledge of how to escape from it and return to the "Father," the one, true God. Buddhism in fact has an analogous conception of the "Bodhisattva" -- though many Gnostics, unlike Buddhists and orthodox Christians, believed that the divine Christ entered the human, Jesus, not at his birth but rather at his baptism. Like their orthodox counterparts, Gnostics recognized the fact that Jesus Christ was executed by the Roman occupation force (at the behest of the Sadducees whose role and authority he threatened), that he was then raised from the dead by the Father and subsequently appeared to his followers to reassure them of the rightness of his message, before returning to the "Pleroma" (the "fullness" in Greek which is how they described the spiritual plane.) But for Gnostics the Christ's mission was to bring the means of escape from what they did, very much, believe to be an inherently evil world. While they shared with Jews and orthodox Christians the belief that the physical universe was fashioned by Yahweh to whom both of the other groups believed unquestioning obeisance was owed, Gnostics did not see Yahweh as the one, true God. Rather, the regarded Yahweh as a vain, jealous, vindictive (indeed, self-described as such), lesser deity who, having been cast out of the Pleroma, created the physical universe and managed to populate it with sparks of the divine trapped in human bodies, deluding them into thinking him the one, true god to whom his creation owed exclusive worship, unending sacrifice and incessant flattery. Judaism at the time was in practice fundamentally similar to the other, primitive, animal sacrifice cults that dominated the Western world (vis-a-vis the more sophisticated theologies in the East such as Buddhism.) The only notable difference was that in place of a pantheon of gods with their own concerns the Jews recognized only this single, all-powerful divinity whose sole fixation was the affairs of his creation. The notion that appeasement of god(s) via animal sacrifice, however, was the same -- providing Paul the rationale needed to incorporate Jesus into the existing order. It was he who (in an effort to explain how an executed criminal could have been the "Messiah" of Jewish prophesy) developed the idea that Christ's mission was to become the ultimate animal sacrifice to Yahweh, crucified for the sins of all mankind. Gnostics, feeling no such parochial constraints, in fact believed that the snake in the Garden of Eden was actually the hero of the story -- indeed, a previous incarnation of the Christ who attempted to warn Adam and Eve, encouraging them to take the knowledge Yahweh was so determined to keep from them and learn the truth. Add to all of this heresy the fact that Gnosticism is a surpassingly mystical belief system where the goal is a direct, unmediated experience of the divine with little use for bishops, deacons, etc. and one need not be blessed with supernatural, prophetic abilities to predict what would happen once the hierarchical, authoritarian, Roman Catholic form of Christianity was empowered by Constantine. In any case your point about belief in an inherently evil world more properly characterizes the rival, Gnostic form of Christianity than Buddhism which, I believe, more closely resembles Dante's views. Anyway, many thanks for this outstanding piece. I really enjoyed it.  
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 19 weeks 5 days ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    PS: I will post this in my blog, where I provide a link to the article on which you are commenting (this one is the article that led me to post the later one).
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 19 weeks 5 days ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Thank you very much, Tim, for your insight and corrections regarding my perception of Buddhism! I'm glad you enjoyed the piece as well.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 19 weeks 6 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    I hate to have to say this. . . The only way these sorts of crimes will ever end, is if the victims start ending the perverts, on sight.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 20 weeks 15 hours ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Good points, Paul. "Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the union that represents NYPD officers, said his organization "stands firmly in support of all police officers who are put in these difficult circumstances." WTF? "Benevolent?" Or just plane violent? They caused the situation, so sue, sue, sue
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 20 hours ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Correlation is not causation. It's interesting to note that Edward Abbey referred to civilization as "syphilization". He didn't have much use for it. But then, he had heavy brow ridges too. :-)
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 20 hours ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Well, I think you are using the word "we" too freely. As I said before, it's just you and the cop, out on that lonely highway. What you permit him to do to you, will be done. If you don't permit it, it won't be done. You do have that choice. It may be war as a result (on the personal level), but we aren't designed to live forever anyway. At least you will have stopped that cop murdering or abusing the next person down the line, and sent a message to other state thugs that there are limits.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 21 hours ago Web link KenK
    This article might be a little overblown. If Apple is not destroyed by these revelations and its officers not jailed, and you know that won't happen, then why get upset about it? That is the way the world is. Although I suspect IOS is going to see a hit in sales. Not everybody is clueless about security, even if most people are. Also the article suggests these devices will take over your wireless network and glean information from it. It is a very simple matter of a setting in the router to prevent any such thing. For one wireless device to communicate with another, it must go through the router, and the router can prevent it.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 20 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Funny you should say that. . . A few weeks ago, I made a comment on another website. . . someone responded with, "You'd better be careful, you'll end up on a list somewhere." I replied, "If I haven't been on a list somewhere for quite a while, I'm doing something wrong." I do consider it a badge of honor - “In a mad world, only the mad are sane.”
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Yes, except that I am schizophrenic about it. Sometimes I am right where you are; other times I get caught up on the need to try to convince others not believe in the government religion. You are just catching me in the latter phase. :-) I do hope the warmongers don't start something over Ukraine though. That could get bad for everyone. I don't see anyone catching war fever though, which is a good thing. Maybe people can learn? By the way, I don't necessarily think of rebellion as a "useless enterprise". It certainly can be ruinous; it also can be relatively benign (see the Czech "velvet revolution"). But to me, rebellion is just the *consequence* of people going apostate. Yeah there may be better ways, but we have no control over how others react when they discover they have been living and believing a lie. Anyway, if you are physically attacked, the only choices are to fight or to submit (and occasionally, to evade).
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 5 days ago
    Who Owes What?
    Page Paul Hein
    Paul, great article. I like the vision of the Schwarzenegger dollar. :-) One possible correction: "Without government, no fiat." I think bitcoin is fiat, isn't it? Nothing wrong with fiat as long as it is voluntary. Unless you mean by "fiat", not being voluntary. But I think it really means no inherent value? Looking at dictionary definitions, it appears to mean either of those things. So even without government there will be fiat currencies.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    A right to know what criminal gangs do? What a ridiculous notion.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Well, that is silly. The 5th Amendment hasn't killed any drones, has it?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Being on a government list is a badge of honor these days. If you aren't on one, there is something wrong with you.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 20 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Plunder is the name of the game. A good article to pass around.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 20 weeks 6 days ago
    Mike in Maine
    Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Nice photo blog.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 21 weeks 13 hours ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Generally, Paul, you and I are in agreement philosophically -- and, where there seems to be a clash I think it's usually a misunderstanding over word definition or phrase interpretation. Because we both preach tolerance. Neither fan the flames of rebellion (a useless enterprise). Each believes that indifference by enough ordinary folks will (along with the egocentric stupidity of psychopaths grouped into governments) topple them. And, needless to say, we both urge our colleagues to abstain from beans. So recently I was posting a comment to an article and was reminded of the slight discomfort I had felt "sparring" with you over this essay. So I'll reprint my comment here: Sam Spade says: July 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm I am a believer in the premise that one can be free wherever (s)he is. Right here, right now. Too many “anarchists” focus so heavily upon existing monopolistic systems (commonly referred to as “The State” — a mindless abstraction) to understand that those psychopaths who make up that entity are relatively stupid, chronically egocentric, and incapable of causing major scourges to those who refuse to volunteer, submit, “file”, register, etc etc. There are ways to fly under the authoritarian radar if one spends a modicum of mental energy to dedicate himself or herself to that end. If you say you can, you are correct. If you say you can’t, you are also correct. Costa Rica is a good place with a pleasant climate. But so is Nicaragua — and Panama. They are full of enjoyable people — possibly even a few anarchists lurking in the cracks and crevices. Standing armies, of course, can present a real danger to anybody. But so can one dangerously armed individual in state costume with a “badge”. So can one rattlesnake. To live free, I must develop the lifestyle of steering clear of all their bailiwicks. Sam I suspect you find general agreement with this philosophy. Sam
  • Timmaayy's picture
    Timmaayy 21 weeks 19 hours ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Excellent piece! Let me add one bit of supporting evidence, a few references that are beyond your scope, but struck me as I was reading, and then end with a minor point of disagreement. The observation that pride is both the deadliest of the seven sins and at the very heart of libertarian objections to the existing political order is an outstanding insight! I was surprised, however, that you didn't mention that pride is also what Christians, both then and now, regard as THE "Original Sin" -- the very transgression that resulted in all mankind's banishment from paradise, thus both the impetus behind the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sine qua non of "Mount Purgatory." Further, while I recognize that the purpose of your thesis was a comparison of libertarian precepts with Dante's "Seven Deadly Sins," I was struck by the support to be found in the gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus. In my opinion the two most powerful of his parables (because they are so reproachful for most of us who are less spiritually advanced) both deal with the second deadliest of the sins: envy. Who is not startled into greater self-awareness at the conclusion of the story of "The Prodigal Son" by the father's response to the (entirely understandable) indignation of the older brother? Likewise, the rejoinder by the owner of the vineyard to his resentful day-laborers who (also quite understandably) expected more than they were actually owed -- an expectation that envy transmogrified into entitlement? [Side note: as with nearly all of Jesus' parables neither of these is multiply-attested as the former appears only in Luke, the latter only in Matthew.] Your point about the lesser sins of greed, gluttony and lust being no more than immoderations arising from otherwise natural and wholesome pursuits, and that it is merely obsessiveness that is to be eschewed, also finds support in the teaching of Jesus. One incident that comes immediately to mind (some checking might well locate others) is his response to critics by making a "no-win" comparison of himself with John the Baptist. Where his mentor's asceticism drew accusations of demon possession, his own, more typical style of fellowship brought charges of being a drunkard and a glutton. [Another aside: Although this anecdote appears in both Matthew and Luke, it most likely traces to the lost "sayings gospel" scholars refer to as Q and is, therefore, also lacking multiple attestation.] However, this "Middle Way" is ubiquitous in and fundamental to Buddhism. Indeed, it was in coming to an appreciation of the destructiveness that attends both reckless overindulgence and extreme asceticism that was the catalyst for the Buddha's enlightenment. Which brings me to a point of (minor) disagreement. Based on my, admittedly rudimentary, understanding of this Eastern philosophy, the characterization of Buddhists as viewing "the things of this world as evil and the desires of the flesh as something to be shunned" is misplaced. To my mind the Buddhist view of the worldly realm bears fairer comparison with Dante's conception of Purgatory. Both apprehend a "place," so-to-speak, of refinement/purification in the struggle to attain the spiritual perfection required to reach the top of the mountain, i.e., to enter heaven (or nirvana.) Two important distinctions, however, are that with the latter the climb takes place within the spiritual realm and in full knowledge of the destination. Whereas for the former the effort is made in this physical realm and in, at least initially, ignorance of the purpose. Indeed, for Buddhists it is overcoming the state of ignorance that is the very key to progression. The fundamental aspiration for the Buddhist is "Enlightenment." This brings me back to your point about pride being the "sin" that underlies all that libertarians find objectionable in the political order. There is unequivocal, historical validation in the fate of the competing form of Christianity that was exterminated by the Roman Catholic church following its ascension to official state religion under Emperor Constantine: Gnosticism. "Gnosis" is, of course, Greek for "knowledge." Gnostics, like Buddhists, also thought this to be the key to salvation. Christian Gnostics (there were other forms) believed that the "Christ" was a divine emissary who came into this world to bring the knowledge of how to escape from it and return to the "Father," the one, true God. Buddhism in fact has an analogous conception of the "Bodhisattva" -- though many Gnostics, unlike Buddhists and orthodox Christians, believed that the divine Christ entered the human, Jesus, not at his birth but rather at his baptism. Like their orthodox counterparts, Gnostics recognized the fact that Jesus Christ was executed by the Roman occupation force (at the behest of the Sadducees whose role and authority he threatened), that he was then raised from the dead by the Father and subsequently appeared to his followers to reassure them of the rightness of his message, before returning to the "Pleroma" (the "fullness" in Greek which is how they described the spiritual plane.) But for Gnostics the Christ's mission was to bring the means of escape from what they did, very much, believe to be an inherently evil world. While they shared with Jews and orthodox Christians the belief that the physical universe was fashioned by Yahweh to whom both of the other groups believed unquestioning obeisance was owed, Gnostics did not see Yahweh as the one, true God. Rather, the regarded Yahweh as a vain, jealous, vindictive (indeed, self-described as such), lesser deity who, having been cast out of the Pleroma, created the physical universe and managed to populate it with sparks of the divine trapped in human bodies, deluding them into thinking him the one, true god to whom his creation owed exclusive worship, unending sacrifice and incessant flattery. Judaism at the time was in practice fundamentally similar to the other, primitive, animal sacrifice cults that dominated the Western world (vis-a-vis the more sophisticated theologies in the East such as Buddhism.) The only notable difference was that in place of a pantheon of gods with their own concerns the Jews recognized only this single, all-powerful divinity whose sole fixation was the affairs of his creation. The notion that appeasement of god(s) via animal sacrifice, however, was the same -- providing Paul the rationale needed to incorporate Jesus into the existing order. It was he who (in an effort to explain how an executed criminal could have been the "Messiah" of Jewish prophesy) developed the idea that Christ's mission was to become the ultimate animal sacrifice to Yahweh, crucified for the sins of all mankind. Gnostics, feeling no such parochial constraints, in fact believed that the snake in the Garden of Eden was actually the hero of the story -- indeed, a previous incarnation of the Christ who attempted to warn Adam and Eve, encouraging them to take the knowledge Yahweh was so determined to keep from them and learn the truth. Add to all of this heresy the fact that Gnosticism is a surpassingly mystical belief system where the goal is a direct, unmediated experience of the divine with little use for bishops, deacons, etc. and one need not be blessed with supernatural, prophetic abilities to predict what would happen once the hierarchical, authoritarian, Roman Catholic form of Christianity was empowered by Constantine. In any case your point about belief in an inherently evil world more properly characterizes the rival, Gnostic form of Christianity than Buddhism which, I believe, more closely resembles Dante's views. Anyway, many thanks for this outstanding piece. I really enjoyed it.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 21 weeks 21 hours ago Page Douglas Herman
    And in response to Factotum again (Charles Buckowski reborn?)     "As the economy is now in unchecked full-blown collapse mode, with the potential for at least some cities to erupt into some form of violent outbursts due to the hardships, one has to wonder just how much time the power’s that be have left before they MUST take the initiative and stage another 911 style event to control the agenda and force MARTIAL LAW full implementing across the nation and maybe across the earth.    "Given this–together with the failed attempts to trigger both social unrest in the U.S. via FALSE FLAGS and the irresponsible fomenting of police brutality incidents nationwide, which serve only to enrage and frighten and even disenfranchise the average citizen, making them leery of authority, particularly police authority–we now have a very bad situation where public trust of all politicians and police is at an all time low, and hence it is the same for any government agency as well."      Running out of time: Will the US attack the US again?    
  • rita's picture
    rita 21 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    Accidentally posted the same comment twice. Still can't figure out how to delete the second one.
  • rita's picture
    rita 21 weeks 1 day ago Web link KenK
    Since illegal drugs aren't particularly dangerous to start with, this is a pretty meaningless comparison.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 21 weeks 1 day ago Page Douglas Herman
    Hi Paul,    That is one definite indicator. The demise of the US dollar. That's why Putin is so very dangerous at the moment. Kaddafi and Saddam spoke of moving away from the petrodollar as WRC. Putin is a bit stronger, but no less dangerous, towards that end.   As Ron Paul said, once the dollar is gone then we are in uncharted Argentina / Zimbabe waters.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 21 weeks 1 day ago Page Douglas Herman
    Factotum,     The NWO have ALL the time in the world.  They own the Grand Chessboard.  Their timetable for another larger false flag is on the drafting baord. Until then, they have to devise smaller acts of deceit and "skullduggery." Malaysia Airliner Missile Strike: Was it MH-17 or MH-370?     As for your one gold oz wager offer, why would I bet you? Who would collect,  and where and when, and how exactly would anyone verify that bet?  Especially since you could deny, deny, deny.....   Officials Cite “Thermo-Nuke” in 9/11 Demo
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 21 weeks 6 days ago Web link Eric Field
    Will post this once again as a study guide for this piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    As an octogenarian father, grandpa and great-grandpa I like to think that I would go to any length to intervene personally (when it is in my power to do so) to protect any child -- be it your child, my grandchild [all my kids are grown -- some getting older than I :-) ] or a complete stranger. One of the "social ills" is that there are different levels of parenting: some good, some not-so-good, some atrocious (subject to judgement -- what's "good" to you might seem "bad" to me, etc etc). Sex is a sacred cow. Who understands it??? I sure don't. But few will disagree that it's best that teenagers not drastically alter their lives with unwanted pregnancies, STD's, etc. So we "parent": we try to provide good reasons why prepubescent teens should refrain from behaviors that might result in those kinds of calamity. "Banning" almost anything usually creates a greater demand for whatever it is that is prohibited. Parents learn that lesson early in the game. The power elite have the tactic down to an "inverse science": example -- the "drug war". And sex. How better to wrest control from free market thinking than to "ban" porn, prostitution, etc etc etc. The abortion issue is another example of a divide-and-conquer tactic utilizing that sacred cow called sex as a fulcrum. It is a sociological fact that places where prostitution has always been legal and an honored business have more secure marriages -- fewer divorces, sex scandals, etc. The bible-belt prohibition of women's exposed breasts has given rise to meteoric hangups, I suspect -- and has no doubt caused the denial of many infants' enjoying the nutritional benefits of mothers' milk, and has prevented a special bonding the nursed child has with Mom. Kent responded to a comment on his blog a couple days ago with links to a couple videos where all traffic controls had been removed from busy intersections. Traffic immediately began to flow faster and more smoothly, and a 2 year study indicated higher traffic volume and almost total elimination of traffic accidents. It was an apt analogy to the principle of freedom. Freedom works. Sam
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 22 weeks 2 days ago
    Banned From YouTube
    Blog entry Don Stacy
    it really is
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 22 weeks 2 days ago
    Banned From YouTube
    Blog entry Don Stacy
    It's a scary reminder that government power is so pervasive as to pull the plug on any pro-freedom activity as soon as it becomes more effective than is considered tolerable.   The fix for that in TOLFA is that the web site is disposable. The course is passed from person to person (mentor to new student) primarily on CDs, or any other cheap portable-storage device.   Glad Stefan is back... for now.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul: Political tolerance can also work. Ye Gads! I am a sovereign state. We (that would be me) tolerate no politics therein. But you go ahead and have at 'er, if you think you can pull it off. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul: He makes it sound so easy. Keep in mind he is talking about getting rid of all national governments in the world, every state/provincial government, every county government, every municipal government, every school district and police district. Yes, a case can be made for that, but good luck actually getting there. I suppose that is what is meant when a person is referred to as an "academic". Hasnas is addressing anarchist theory. That's all he's doing. He neither proposes nor predicts how anarchy might come into being at any level of what we know as "government". He shows that central political authority is not necessary. And he shows that anarchy is everywhere -- right here, right now -- if we'll simply look around. You and I are generally aligned in our philosophy. I agree with your take on "rights". I never use the term. I have and I make choices. If there are indeed rights to which I am entitled, I have no expectations that anybody outside of myself will grant or protect them. And I understand my friend -- our friend, Suveran2's, "just cause" theory. If it's going to be, it's up to me. Sam (I had a lengthy, long-winded response all typed up, which took me two or three hours with interruptions. But then I did the unthinkable: clicked "Publish comment" without pasting it to my clipboard. So, I got "...you are not authorized to comment...." and discovered I had gotten myself logged out while I was composing. So, to your good fortune, you now have the highly truncated version).
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 22 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Hasnas writes, "I am arguing only that human beings can live together successfully and prosper in the absence of a centralised coercive authority. To make the case for anarchy, that is all that is required." If the federal government suddenly vanished, would there be an absence of centralized coercive authority? No. The state governments would take on that role. If a state government vanished, the county governments would take on that role. He makes it sound so easy. Keep in mind he is talking about getting rid of all national governments in the world, every state/provincial government, every county government, every municipal government, every school district and police district. Yes, a case can be made for that, but good luck actually getting there. I suppose that is what is meant when a person is referred to as an "academic". The idea of Panarchy is rooted in practicality: how do we get there from here. We don't need to get rid of governments. We just need to provide them a reliable incentive to leave us alone. That is hard enough, but with tools like generally available battle rifles and the Internet, it becomes at least possible. Taking this back to the religious analogy, imagine 300 years ago, someone making the argument that we don't need a God to live. How successful would that appeal be? Would it accomplish anything? How much more sensible is the notion that people should simply not kill each other over religious ideas? And keep in mind this notion also contains within it the possibility that we don't need God to live. The result today is that atheists do not get burned at the stake. Religious tolerance worked. Political tolerance can also work.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I'm not so sure you can tag a "handle" on anarchy so easily. Hasnas appears to define it succinctly (PDF file): http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/Obvious.pdf Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 22 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Anarchy means "no rulers". Panarchy means "lots of rulers, none of them dominant". Statism is "one ruler or groups of rulers (e.g. oligarchy), that is dominant." You can be a Panarchist and still be a liberal, conservative, communist, etc. (assuming you toss the portion of those beliefs having to do with attempting total dominance). On the other hand, you cannot be an anarchist and a liberal at the same time, because a liberal still believes in the initiation of force against others. The difference between a liberal who is a Panarchist and a liberal who isn't, is that the latter allows no exceptions to the dominance of left-liberalism, while the former does allow exceptions (I am talking about within a particular jurisdiction). I think the distinction is useful, since anarchy just sounds like another garden variety "my way or the highway" political philosophy when people advocate for it (even if that is internally inconsistent with anarchy). For example, any time an anarchist starts talking about "libertopia" or "libertarian paradise" he is making a mistake. What do non-anarchists think of when they hear such things? Dominance. Also, anarchists usually do not sell anarchy by saying liberals should be able to live as liberals. Only Panarchists make that point.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 22 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    You are right Ken, the term is not particularly well defined; there are still some conflicting ideas floating around about it. For example the early proponents assumed that people of different polities would be living mixed together, and if that was not the case it was not really panarchy. I don't buy that because if people can pick different polities then they certainly can pick where they want to live, and a lot of people prefer to live with their own kind. But the central point is almost always demonstrated by bringing up the parallel example religious tolerance, which started happening a couple of hundred years ago. If you understand religious tolerance (including tolerance of atheism) then you understand political tolerance AKA panarchy (including tolerance of anarchists). Of course the implication is that one polity cannot aggress against another. The liberal polity cannot tax anyone outside their polity. The conservative polity cannot regulate anyone outside their polity. Aggression is only possible within a polity. Now that I think of it, "political tolerance" may be a better term than "panarchy", or at least more easily understood.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 22 weeks 5 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Samarami: I quite agree, and will add a few points. Lawrence's arguments about this particular case are sound, though my question was a more general one. In this particular case, there was clearly no victim, and thus there cannot have been a crime. I was wondering about child porn in a general sort of way: in at least some cases, there clearly are victims. But I find myself thinking along the same lines as you: sad as it may be, they are not my children and I cannot be made to take responsibility for them, even if that responsibility only amounts to me paying taxes for law enforcement. I would add another thing here: perhaps one of the errors that the collectivists make is to think that there necessarily are solutions to any and all social ills in the first place (and that the best way to deal with them is via governments making and enforcing laws). It seems to me that with many of these problems, they have always been with us and always will be no matter what we or governments do. And as I pointed out in my previous post, government involvement almost invariably makes things worse. From what I read, porn consumption is typically higher in countries where it is banned or severely restricted. When it is legalized in such countries, there is an initial spike in consumption, but people soon get over the excitement and then life goes on. Apparently, mild forms of child porn was fairly freely available in many western countries until the 1970s. Since then, there has been something of a witch hunt going on, and predictably, not only did it not do much to protect the interests of children, but in fact made things worse: instead of mild erotica of the sort that Ancient Greeks painted on their vases (and that typified porn prior to the ban), the stuff that now floats around on the web is apparently genuinely sick. So we managed to move, in a single generation, from stuff that should perhaps be frowned upon, all the way to bestiality, snuff films and who knows what else. Apologies for once again freely making use of the word "we". :-)
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I'm getting lots of double posts lately. Sorry.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    When I was new to the web and new to libertarian thinking I read everything I could google. A reality that became clear was that everybody seemed to have his or her own idea as to how an "anarchist society" should be "organized" and/or "conducted". I started a list that has grown to well over 100 entries (with, I'm sure, some overlaps and/or duplications). It's long, but for lack of a great deal of "comments" lately I'll reproduce it here: Various Libertarian and Anarchist Labels • Acclarism • Agorism • Anagorism (http://anagory.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/antilibertarian-antistatism/) • Anarcha-Feminism http://dailyanarchist.com/category/anarcha-feminism/ • Anarchy • Anarcho-Capitalism (Mises/Rothbard) • Anarcho-communism • Anarcho-pacifism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchist_schools_of_thought#Anarcho-pacifism • Anarcho-primitivism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-primitivism • Anarcho-syndicalism http://dailyanarchist.com/category/anarcho-syndicalism/ • Antilibertarian antistatism (see “Anagorism”) • Anti-Positivism • Apriorism • Autarchism (Le Fevre) • Carsonian mutualism http://www.socialmemorycomplex.net/2006/04/21/vulgar-libertarian-revisio... • Christian Anarchism http://dailyanarchist.com/category/christian-anarchism/ • Classical Liberalism • Collectivist anarchism • Communism • Consequentialism • Dialectical Libertarianism http://c4ss.org/content/15318 • Eco-agorism • Eco-Libertarianism • Eco-Socialist-Libertarian • Egoist anarchism (Max Stirner) • Establishment liberal left • Existentialism • Explicitly anarchism, pro-decentralist libertarians (Kinsella) • Free Market Anarchism • Free Market Capitalism http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard146.html • Geoanarchism • Geoism • Geolibertarianism • Georgism • Green-Libertarianism • Individualism • Individualist anarchism • Individualist/collectivist anarchist Individualist/collectivist anarchism • Insurrectionary anarchism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurrectionary_anarchism • Kantianism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant) • Kratoclism http://www.marketmentat.com/i-think-i-maked-up-a-word-two-actually/ • Kritarchy http://www.voluntaryist.com/backissues/135.pdf P 8 • Left Libertarianism • Left Market Anarchism http://c4ss.org/ • Left-Rothbardians • Legal Positivism • Liberal socialism • Liberalism • Libertarian • Libertarian Anarchism • Libertarian conservatism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_conservatism • Libertarian Populism (James Ostrowski) • Libertarian Relativism http://takimag.com/article/the_relativist_roots_of_libertarianism/#axzz2... • Libertarian Socialism • Libertarian Solipsism http://www.masson.us/blog/libertarian-solipsism/ • Libertarian Transhumanism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_transhumanism • Localism and decentralization • Logical Positivism • Market anarchism • Minarchism • Modal Libertarianism • Modern Liberalism • Modest Libertarianism http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/modest_libertarianism.html • Moral consequentialism • Muslim Anarchism http://dailyanarchist.com/category/muslim-anarchism/ • Mutualism • Natural-rights libertarianism • Neo-liberalism • Neolibertarianism • Objectivism • Panarchism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panarchy • Patrio-psychotic anarcho-materialism http://www.subgenius.com/ • Platformism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platformism • Plumbline Libertarianism • Polycentrism • Post-anarchism • Post-left anarchy • Post-modernism • Post-structuralism • Praxeology • Primitivism • Progressive Libertarianism • Propertarianism http://www.propertarianism.com/ • Punkish/syndicalist/queer radical social anarchism (above two from Rad Geek site) • Queer anarchism http://dailyanarchist.com/category/queer-anarchism/ • Radical Libertarianism http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/radical_libertarianism.html • Radical minarchists • Right Libertarianism • Rothbardian strain of market anarchism • Schmodal Libertarianism • Scientific Anarchism Social Darwinian right-wing economics • Socialism • Socialist Anarchism • Socialist-Libertarianism • syndicalism • Syndicalist Anarchism • Thick Libertarianism http://c4ss.org/content/23175 • Thin Libertarianism http://c4ss.org/content/23175 • Transhumanist Anarchism http://c4ss.org/content/17838 • Utilitarianism (Friedman’s strain of Anarcho-capitalism) • Utopian socialism • Voluntarism • Vulgar Libertarianism http://www.socialmemorycomplex.net/2006/04/21/vulgar-libertarian-revisio... • Zenarchism Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Think I'll throw in with Ken on this one. Not that I'm "again'" panarchy. The term just seems redundant. Anarchy is the absence of central political authority. There is nothing in anarchy that can be imposed upon anybody else. What else? Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 5 days ago Web link Westernerd
    ? Excuse the double post
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 22 weeks 5 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Eugenedw: How DO anarchists propose we protect the rights of children in an anarchist society? The first thing I would want to explore is the "we" of the question. Because where principles of self ownership are practiced parents are responsible for children until the children can safely fly their own kites. So who is the "we" of "..an anarchist society..."? Anarchism moves collectivism to the sidelines. I say this a lot, but bears repeating: human infants are unique among living newborns in that they require total adult care and supervision. This goes on until ultimately those same children provide the care and supervision for the elderly parents. This, in fact, is the picture of anarchy. The family unit is the primary and only legitimate governing agency. The problem is that none of us have experienced freedom. We have been incubated and inculcated in collectivism for so long that it is difficult to think in terms of "I" instead of "we". If it's going to be, it's up to me. Sam
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 22 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Paul, I googled "panarchy" and the results were confusing. What does the term mean in the context that you've used it in your piece. I take it to mean people can and should pick their own preferred system of governance or living arrangements. So, if some want to live in Mormon settlements or Manson style "families" or whatever else they want they are free to try it out. And if you don't like it, you can leave and go try something else. Is that what you meant? I'm not especially scholarly about all this political theory stuff, so excuse me if it is a well known term that I don't know. I did do a cursory look but , as I said, the results were muddled. Ken.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 23 weeks 29 min ago Web link Westernerd
    To answer this question, we must remember that in a libertarian society, we would be returning to a truly free-market society—with the emphasis on markets. This would mean that people would be paying the full cost for all of their individual decisions, and companies—which require a profit—would be doing likewise.   It may help to compare this scenario with the “market for war.” In a market-based society, nobody would be engaging in aggressive wars because there is no profit in it—unlike our current socialist society where the costs of war-making are redistributed through taxes and the “profits” are derived from bilking the public and siphoning their tax money into the pockets of the crony-capitalist companies. There would be no “chicken-hawk” constituency of voters who could have their bloodlust sated by forcing their hapless neighbors to pay taxes to support the spectacle of mass murder. Likewise, there would be no companies stepping up to make profits off of death because there wouldn’t be any profits with nobody willing to invest in such ventures, which would be unable to pass the smell test and simultaneously be unable to pay for themselves.   Now move to victimless crimes—which brings us closer to the situation here. There would be no “war on drugs” in a market society. What private individuals would want to pay the sky-high insurance company premium necessary to hire the “security guards” necessary to arrest a marijuana-smoking neighbor, pay the full incarceration cost of putting that neighbor in a cage, pay the full costs of hiring lawyers, court reporters, and of judges/arbitrators and prosecutors to actually identify a “harm” that would require payment of a penalty high enough to justify all of this drug-war activity? My guess is zero. People have better things to do with their money than to pay for all of these costs and pay for the risk-liability of cost of a counter-suit for false arrest. In a market society, harm would have to be proven. So you can see that there would be no prosecutions for drug-use. There’s simply no money in it. It would be a money pit. People would mind t heir own business. In our current society, the socialistic drug war—which redistributes the costs and benefits of drug taking to innocent bystanders—oodles of money and resources are wasted because nobody pays for their choices in prosecuting people for harms that exist only in their own minds. That’s why the armchair “drug-warriors” get away with it. They are not spending their own money as citizens or investing their own money—which can add up to huge losses—as companies that sell security, incarceration, and judicial services.   Now to the 17-year-old boy who is distributing electronic photos of his penis. What kind of parent would be willing to spend oodles of hard-earned money to purchase an insurance policy that would cover the high costs of investigating the electronic transmission of a penis photo? Of paying the secretaries to draw up the paperwork to prosecute such a crime? Of paying the costs for a team of police officers to safely arrest the boy without harming anyone else? Of incarcerating the boy until he goes to trial? Of paying the full costs of a lawyer to litigate against the boy or the boy’s parents for raising a child who makes such a silly decision? Of paying the full costs of hiring an arbitrator to judge the case? Of paying a repossession company to acquire any resources that may be seized in order to pay for damages? And that gets us to the bottom of this issue. What is the market-based cost—or “damage”—that can be assigned for mailing a penis picture? What is the cost of the “harm”? How would it be assessed? Can the “harm” be defined in a way that does not make us laugh or cry for stupidity? In other words, if I were the parent of the girl who was the target of this sex-ting, I would be questioning my own child-rearing skills. I would have a talk with my daughter to ask her why she was dating boys that were two years older than her. I may even visit the parents of the boy who sent the photo to ask them if they were aware of what their son were doing. All of these normal parental behaviors cost nothing. They are also sane and adult behaviors related to the reasonable upbringing of children. Childhood is about making good decisions and learning to make them—in other words, acquiring the skills needed to be a self-sustaining adult. In other words, childhood and childhood mistakes would not be criminalized as they are now. Insurance companies would not be stepping into this kind of situation hoping to make a profit out of them because there probably would be little or no profit to be made. After all, a true “harm” would have to be proven, a cost assigned, and all of the “acquisition costs” measured and taken into account. How many policies covering the litigation and incarceration required would be sold to a sane and thrifty parent? And since these costs could not be redistributed to non-parents, I suspect very few such policies would be purchased. In a market society, parents would actually be raising their own children—not sending them off to a school funded through taxes stolen from neighbors and into streets funded by other coercive means. They would actually know their children and be actively involved in their upbringing. They would be thrifty people who visit a neighbor whose boy does embarrassing things with camera photos. They would not be escalating the problems of adolescence into legal matters. Would they? They would have to prove harm? And what are the “harms” of childhood decision-making mistakes? And what are the costs?   So the answer to this question is this: in a libertarian market society, there probably would be no profit in litigating penis pictures. Would there be? It would not be a society in which “that which is not prohibited is mandatory.” It would be a society where people would pay the true costs of their behavior—including the real costs of social ostracism. Boys who become narcissistic exhibitionists would be seen for what they are—people in need of counseling.  A 15-year-old girl is probably at the same level of emotional maturity as a 17-year-old boy, but in a market society, this kind of “playing doctor” behavior would probably have taken place at the age of eight instead of being postponed—by the action of helicopter parenting—to the age of 15 or 17. Children would not become the infantilized adults that they are in our society—one in which people never really grow up to be responsible but are forever wards of the paternalistic/maternalistic nanny state. Children would be acquiring behavioral skills earlier in life—just as they would become literate earlier in life without government schools. I doubt if these “playing doctor” issues would be occurring in the same way as they do now. They would be occurring at the age of seven or eight, and people would be responding to them as childhood foibles—without police involvement. Growing up behaviors and mistakes would not be criminalized, would they? And people who were still exhibiting these behaviors at age 17 would be already be in counseling or would have grown out of this stage. There would be no legal remedies for vices without victims. Being offended by the sight of human flesh would not be considered a crime. It would be laughed out of court and seen as a developmental problem. And even then, would a developmentally retarded boy be a criminal or just a nuisance? Parents would not be able to pay for the police to bring up their children for them because a private policing company would not step into such a situation without good reason to think there was money to be made. And would there be? I doubt it.   To help inform one's thinking about these and similar issues, I cannot recommend too highly the wonderful book written by Morris and Linda Tannehill: Market for Liberty. It is one of my favorites. Here's a link: http://mises.org/document/6058/The-Market-for-Liberty  
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 23 weeks 6 hours ago Web link Westernerd
    It is perhaps a debate worthy of discussion: How DO anarchists propose we protect the rights of children in an anarchist society? The draconian laws we have at the moment clearly fail in their task - by driving things like kiddie porn underground, they are probably making it worse rather than better (in the same way that draconian anti-drug laws made the drug problem much worse). But what is the alternative? I'd be interested in hearing thoughts from other readers here.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 23 weeks 23 hours ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Glock, I just published a follow-up essay at fff.org--i.e., more on Dante and the Seven Deadly Sins. Here's the link:   It is entitled “Libertarian Themes in the Seven Deadly Sins of Dante’s Divine Comedy” and published at fff.org.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 23 weeks 23 hours ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    FOLLOW-UP TO THIS ESSAY NOW ONLINE As some readers are aware, I often try to identify historical events and documents that show a libertarian streak in them. In May 2013, I wrote an essay for STR entitled Dante’s Divine Comedy and the Divine Origins of the Free Market. In the blog comments that followed, I suggested that Dante’s ranking of the seven deadly sins—in particular, the sequence by which he distinguished less serious from more serious sins—reflected insights that we share as libertarians, regardless of our status as atheists, agnostics, or Christians. In an essay entitled “Libertarian Themes in the Seven Deadly Sins of Dante’s Divine Comedy” and published at fff.org, I fleshed out that suggestion; I showed how Dante and aspects of medieval Catholic theology had more in common with libertarian beliefs than the beliefs of many modern-day Christians, who have been infused with a puritanical—and even Manichaean—attitude about the natural world and its bounty and beauty. Indeed, the perceptions about the natural world shared by the theologian Thomas Aquinas and some of today’s libertarians may help explain why libertarianism resonates so deeply with Catholics, Jews, and other minorities—including Native Americans and members of the gay community.