Recent comments

  • Melinda L. Secor's picture
    Melinda L. Secor 12 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Indeed. There is some evidence that previoustly released altered mosquitoes may have contributed to the outbreaks they're aiming to resolve in the first place. These plans to "improve" the environment always seem to come with unintended consequences. In my area, for instance, the environmentalists decided that the local salt cedar trees were an invasive species, choking out more "desireable" trees. Meanwhile, there are very few trees here to begin with, desirable to the environmentalists or not...we are in the high desert. Anyway, they released a "specialized" beetle to eradicate the salt cedars. It did some damage as intended the first year, then multiplied and spread to wipe out a hefty percentage of the trees they'd done all this to "save." Yet, after many such follies over many years, there are still arrogant fools who believe they can and should "manage" our environment.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 12 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    What an insanely bad idea it is to introduce GMO into the environment like this. 
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 12 weeks 2 days ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Thanks Lawrence for a good suggestion.   Amazon is out of stock of Chaos (it should be possible to make a joke out of that) but I've downloaded Restraint for 3 bucks and the other two are e-freebies from Mises.org.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 12 weeks 2 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Crime ebbs & flows for a whole host of reasons. Legalizing abortion & birth control in 1973 was big factor too. 
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 12 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Perhaps you're right, in saying there are two types of criminals.   Or perhaps there is a kind of Jekyll/Hyde thing going on. Government people are kriminals in all they do, in their "official" capacity. But back at home, they may be as nice a set of neighbors as one could desire. They may even exercise a normal conscience. Milgram may have fingered the difference.   If that's the case, some of them at least are open to the presentation at TinyURL.com/QuitGov.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 12 weeks 3 days ago Web link KenK
    So democracy is about to die. What matters is what follows.   Alexander Tytler: 'A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.' In that part of California, that moment has arrived.   It will be followed either by a dictatorship, or by a free society. STReaders have the responsibility of determining which. The means for achieving the latter is available here.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 12 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Scientists cannot do a controlled experiment to determine the degree to which, say, consumption of junk food, will increase propensity to commit (real) crimes. Probably the closest thing to a study here is Weston Price's research, laid out in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He was primarily interested in studying physical degeneration, but also found that mental and moral degeneration went along with it. As far as government-style kriminals go, that is a good question. It could be that there are 2 (or more) types of criminals. Perhaps the first kind is lacking in self-control, which may be a result (at least in part) of problems with their nutrition or toxic exposure. The government kriminal may have adequate self-control but no conscience to speak of. Not sure, though, just speculating here.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 12 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Very interesting. I noticed that Blayock made a good case that people already presumed anti-social (prisoners, though we know that half of them committed no krime) responded well to improvements in diet etc. But I didn't notice him consider the correlation the other way round; that is, for example, what proportion of habitual consumers of junk food turn to krime, compared to consumers of well balanced diets?  The proportion of all US adults in prison is 1%; far, far too high for justice but for this kind of measurement it's far too low to have much significance, wouldn't you agree?   That question is a tough one, because I'd not be surprised to learn that habitual junk-food eaters are also in the lower socio-economic classes and therefore face a whole range of other pressures to lead a life of krime. I wonder how one can separate these factors so as to get a clean measure.   One other question occurs: we also know that the primary anti-social kriminals in society are government people; their entire business is to violate rights. Yet I'd be very surprised to learn that any of them are deprived of a healthy diet; rather, the opposite - and fine wines to wash it down. Doesn't that cast doubt on Blaylock's case?
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 12 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    The reporter who wrote this piece for the Oregonian seems to think the dust up with informants was the reason for their acquittals, but I don't. People, especially in the western states, are becoming increasing angered at the tactics the feds are using to run people off the land. FYI, while the trial itself was held in lefty Portland,  the jury was selected from the outlying areas, (near where the incident played out) where many people make their living working the land, as well as in mining, ranching, timber, and such. 
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 12 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    Some SF Bay area tech investors are keeping this whole SmartGun™ product development thing going despite the nearly non-existent demand for them. Here’s an idea: mandate that the Secret Service details that tend to POTUS and the rest of the fed gov’s V.I.P. security entourages use it exclusively as their primary side arm. That ought to be enough to kill it outright methinks.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 12 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    I screwed up. The intro for this link should be, "Russia Trolls America with Offers to Send Election Monitors". Hope the irony (and humor) isn't lost on anyone because of my mistake.  Ken.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 12 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Jim, that's a very good question. If you are a committed Szaszian, then you will deny the possibility that there are factors beyond individual choice that have a bearing on the morality of our behavior. But I believe that Szasz overstated his case in this regard. There is strong evidence that factors such as poor nutrition and environmental toxins can have marked effects on our mental health and, in some cases this leads to criminal behavior. Here is a good talk about nutrition and criminal behavior by neurosurgeon and researcher Dr. Russel Blaylock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SLVCXZbcIk&index=13&list=FL6RmTGiJ4XYVK... I also think that it is possible that, with the heavy metals used in vaccines, that the government is seeding the NEXT crime wave with the recent out-of-control CDC vaccine schedule. I read recently that there was an uptick in crime recently. Time will tell if that is what is happening. But even if that does turn out to be the case, we can be quite sure that such a connection will be vehemently denied and probably not even mentioned as a possibility.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 12 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Tetraethyl lead... who'd ha thunk it?  Thanks Saul for the link.  It's a well written piece, despite its home in Mother Jones and its inevitable push for environmental action.   Correlation is not causation, but the author deals with that quite well by addressing the effects of lead poisoning on the brain. He did not, though, spend time on the moral issue.   Crime (or rather what I call Krime, the sort that has victims) hurts people, damages their rights in some way, and hence is morally reprehensible. But if a big part of its cause is actually a chemical, present in the air we breathe as a result of simple accident, a coincidence that added it to car fuel, what happens to moral accountabiltiy? How does the will fit in, the choice of bad over good, the culpability? "Not guilty, your Honor, because Exxon diminshed my responsibility..."   The author mentions Roe v Wade, and that makes a lot of sense to me. It led to fewer unwanted kids, and so to fewer maladjusted teens a decade or two later.
  • John deLaubenfels's picture
    John deLaubenfels 12 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Well put.  I remember what a revelation it was, many years ago, when I read some Indian philosopher (I forget who now) who pointed out that judges require criminals to avoid unemployment, as do police, jailers, etc. etc.  Much like "If God didn't exist, people would have to invent Him", if crime didn't exist, then would-be statist thugs who weren't successful in creating "crimes" would have to find honest work, an apparently very unappealing prospect for that kind of person.  So, they invent crimes everywhere you look, to grow their pyrimids of power.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 12 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Very good article. However, I believe that the most compelling explanation for the decline in violent crime is discussed here: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/02/lead-exposure-gasoline-cr...
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 12 weeks 5 days ago
    Backing Bunk
    Page Paul Hein
    We saved S&H green stamps and pasted them in little books because it was fun to do so. ;-) Something for the kids to do... I don't remember if we actually got anything from them.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 12 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Very nicely done, Paul.  Addresses numerous things succinctly, and connects them all.  Sharing widely.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 12 weeks 5 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Yes, I believe much of what appears to be support for Trump, is actually support for the damage he is doing to the Government Religion. That's so when he is running for office; if he actually gets in I doubt he will change much. A few weeks ago I made the case for voting Trump, on the sole issue of likelihood of nuclear war (if Hillary wins). After all, nothing else matters if the whole Earth is being obliterated. But in the end I decided not to vote for him, because the connection between my vote and nuclear war was pretty remote! Anyway I figured the Deep State would just assassinate him. Strangely, when I made this case, I got a negative reaction from some Voluntarists that can only be described as religious. I'm not a religious person. BTW, I can give two examples of incrementalism that have worked. 1) The concealed carry movement. I opposed the half-measure of government-regulated carry, thinking it would short-circuit any drive to what's been called "constitutional carry", but now I think it actually advanced that cause. How many states now have "constitutional carry" these days, 9 or 10? It seems to be coming along nicely. 2) Same thing with government-regulated homeschooling. Sure, the state got into it to try to co-opt it, and to re-capture homeschoolers, but there are an awful lot of "noncompliant" homeschoolers these days, and many of them ended up that way via the government "legitimization" of homeschooling. I think noncompliant homeschooling is much farther along than it would have been without the partial government surrender. I'm still not a big fan of incrementalism, but I no longer think it is necessarily a fatal mistake as I once believed.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 12 weeks 5 days ago
    Backing Bunk
    Page Paul Hein
    Nicely reasoned, Paul.   I had missed the news that the Ruble is gold-backed. What source do you have on that? - the Wiki page on it makes no mention of gold backing since the early 20th Century. I wonder if perhaps the "backing" means just that the Russian government has some gold in its vault.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 12 weeks 6 days ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    As one who has actually witnessed alpha males and the female reaction to their presence  Trump's comments seem pretty accurate, if tasteless. At an airport layover some playoff baseballers (around a dozen) came on in Chicago. Young, buff, famous, and multi-millionaires one and all, they had females of all types on the plane flush-faced and bothered. "Those guys are such assholes", one of my XX seat mates commented to another. "Oh yeah. I wish they'd come back here though." The ballers could have just walked up and groped, kissed, or done whatever with most of the women on that flight and gotten away with it too.  The only thing worse than being hit on is not being hit on. 
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 12 weeks 6 days ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Butler Shaffer is one of the most important libertarian theorists, and his many books and articles have clarified the meaning and vital importance of well-drawn and visible boundaries in creating peaceful human relationships. That's why I mentioned him so early in my new article, "Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Pussy Control." If you found Stephan Kinsella's writings on IP compelling, Butler offers a real learning experience!   Among Butler's books are the following: Calculated Chaos Wizards of Ozymandias Boundaries of Order In Restraint of Trade   "Calculated Chaos" explores the problems of poor boundary definition and the link to complexity and chaos theory, "Wizards of Ozymandia" explores the warfare state, "Boundaries of Order" is perhaps his most in-depth writing on boundary theory, and "In Restraint of Trade" is a history of business attempts to circumvent and undermine the free market. You can't do much better than these!
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 13 weeks 3 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Having read Halbrook's book, Alex, would guns have been any use, in your opinion, in preventing or moderating the Holocaust?   Suppose the Wiemar / Nazi gun prohibitions had not been enacted, or suppose they had been widely ignored, especially by Jews. How would that have affected the ultimate outcome, aka the Final Solution?   It began slowly, recall, as government tyranny usually does; how to boil a frog. Jews were prevented from holding responsible jobs, then from marrying Aryans, then were deprived of property - but allowed to emigrate. Only later, after the US entered the war and Jews could no longer be used as bargaining chips, did the large-scale systematic slaughter begin.   So at what stage would a gun in the household have stopped that progression?   Would a University lecturer have shot his Chancellor upon being told he was being fired by order of the government pursuant to the Nürnberg laws? Would he have shot the SA troopers when they arrived to evict his family from their home (when he would certainly have been heavily out-gunned)?   Or would German Jews have organized some kind of militia to fight the army and police, in the hope of overthrowing the government?  Bear in mind Tandy's warning about the futility of armed revolt. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943 was amazing and heroic and used only a handful of stolen guns, but still 13,000 Jews were killed and transports to the death camps were not stopped. Had they all been armed it might have had a better outcome, but how could they possibly have taken guns with them from home to ghetto, when all they were allowed was a suitcase or two?   This is not for a moment to discourage anyone from owning guns if he so wishes, merely to question their utility in terminating government or even in defending oneself from its predations.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 13 weeks 4 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Early computers didn't surface until 1945, but you're right about punched-card tabulators, sorters etc. I believe those were also the main products sold to the FedGov to facilitate its Vietnam war, under the euphemism of "Defense."  Through the 60s and 70s, though, I recall that IBM sales to government were only about 10% of its business.   The standard you name poses an ethical dilemma to multi-customer firms. At the start of the extraordinary documentary The Wannsee Conference (a must-see movie now on YouTube) the camera pans along a line of radiators of cars driven to the meeting by top Nazis; Mercedes of course, and Auto Union, later Audi, and... Ford. Is Ford to blame for selling cars to members of the German government?   In my Transition to Liberty I visualize that after learning what freedom and government really are, government workers will quit - about 20 million of them. Progressively, of course. Then in addition there are many more millions working in contractor firms, and I suggest they too will quit if more than half of their working day is devoted to government contracts. Very roughly, I counted the total all told at about 40 million. A great deal of job-changing to take place! Those in contractor firms like Boeing would not necessarily have to quit the firm, though; a lot of them will apply for and be given transfers to divisions that serve the non-government market, like airlines in that case.        
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 13 weeks 18 hours ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Whitehead almost seemed to cross over. But not quite: "...Let’s not waste any more time on predator politics..." As though there might, just might, be another style of politics other than predator. But for him (And Rutherford), this display of anger almost makes them appear to have turned the corner. "...This is what happens when politics is allowed to trump principle: “we the people” lose..." One closer step might have been the acknowledgement that "...politics is the trumping of principle...". Maybe next year. Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 13 weeks 23 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    If you had read the book, rather than just responding to a picture, you'd see the narrative begins with 1928, not 1938. There is actually more material dealing with the 1928 and 1931 laws than with the 1938 law (if you leave out the comparison of the 1938 law with the 1968 USGCA). How predictable your response was. I see they are out of stock. If you want to bother with actually reading it, go on Amazon.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 13 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Not only has the media, the women's movement and the religious right given up principle for power, but so has the anti-war movement. Anyway, what is power for, if not access to women? Women have made themselves whores to the Government Pimp, rather than taking care of business themselves. No wonder their gains look illusory. It looks like the Rutherford Institute is going anarchist on us. That's new, right? No more of the haranguing us to vote.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 13 weeks 1 day ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Just an editorial comment. In two places in the article, I wrote, "Don't blame me." Somehow they got reversed; that is, the first should say, "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him!" The second should say, "Don't blame me, I didn't vote!" It makes more sense that way.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 13 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    The soft tyranny approach, where the dictatorship buys loyalty with money, has about run its course and now there's just the iron fist left. Any comments from Chavez & Maduro's Hollywood synchophants now? *crickets*
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 13 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    I wished they’d have paid me a bonus when they put a stop-loss on my discharge for a year. I got a whole $1,200 extra pay for my involuntary year of service.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 13 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    When did they ever need an excuse?
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 13 weeks 1 day ago
    Irwin Schiff
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    RIP, Irwin Schiff.  Truth-seeker, teacher, friend, and hero.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 13 weeks 3 days ago Web link KenK
    The old admonition to ask "who benefits?" is still the best advice.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 13 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    The fishy bit is that he reasonably expects that the Swedes would hand him over to Uncle. Then, far from being free and clear, he'd be rotting in a US prison for 40 years.   My ZGBlog Hell's Fury relates.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 13 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    It's been a few years now, shouldn't  have Assange been smuggled out of there by now? Have a diplomatic car take him to the harbor or airport and handed off to a ship or aircraft of a soverign navy or airforce and whisked out of the EU. Hard to figure. Hell under Swedish law he'd be out of jail by now if he had turned himself in and just pled guilty. Something fishy here.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 13 weeks 4 days ago Web link Westernerd
    You drink cider warm? Egad, another Englisman!   Have you published an account of how your power system works, especially how you store the energy generated? I'd be interested in its URL if so.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 13 weeks 4 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Mark, that's very well expressed.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 13 weeks 5 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Trump is providing a great service to anarchists by undermining the legitimacy of the inherently corrupt system used by the elite to enslave us. One does not have to support, much less vote for, Trump to appreciate the damage he is doing to the credibility of the corporate media and the political infrastructure. Calling Hillary a liar to her face, the elections rigged, how crooked the establishment political hacks in both parties are, the media corrupt and saying how "going into Iraq was stupid" are just a few of his wonderful public service moments. His run for president has sped up the process of bringing on a voluntary society more than even Ron Paul's did. It also will make more people not want to vote for anybody. That's a beautiful thing.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 13 weeks 5 days ago
    Consent and Secession
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Historical reality: People live however they want until other more powerful people come around and physically force them to obey.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 13 weeks 5 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Not sure what normies do, but I have a warm drink of cider and watch the windmill spin and solar panels out the window, and just chuckle.
  • strike's picture
    strike 13 weeks 5 days ago
    Consent and Secession
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Someone just brought this thread to my attention.  Before I published this column, I asked Carl what he thought about it.  He wrote: "Very briefly, I think this piece is fit to publish. You ask "is it a fair criticism?" Yes. I did not link the necessity of the powerful to maintain their rule to the concept of legitimacy (which is something that they require in order to stay in power). As I recall one of the main points of the article is that if some form of territorial secession is recognized by those in power it logically could lead to secession of smaller and smaller units until those units reach down to the individual. Spooner had much to say about "consent." I doubt he (Spooner) would consider it a "fanciful notion," as this author describes it Those in government may not "have to be consistent or logical," but consent does have an objective meaning independent of the whims of those in power."
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 14 weeks 8 hours ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    "...It's not my job to change minds. There's plenty out there who do. I just resolve to live free (in plain sight if needs be)..." I can be free. Today. Here. Where I'm "at". So can you. It's much easier to be objective when one has no dog in the fight. This way s/he can observe the machinations which are what "the-political-process"is all about. Without emotional upheaval or fear of whoever's manning the banana stand, or repercussions therefrom. Sam
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 14 weeks 1 day ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    I think Molyneux thinks that this election is a great ¿irreversible? fork in the road. I've also watched him state that his involvement is an attempt to slow down a process that seems to march inexorably towards globalist totalitarianism. I'm not going to attempt to change the course of this election through voting. However, I do like to point out the misdeeds of the media, Clinton, and sometimes even Trump (but honestly...the media has it covered there, they even manufacture drama once they run out of the real thing). I think that if Clinton wins it will be easier to attract disaffected statists towards the ideas of liberty (if that's your bag). It certainly won't be as frowned upon to find your own freedoms when more than half the country also feels cheated and lied to. It's not my job to change minds. There's plenty out there who do. I just resolve to live free (in plain sight if needs be).
  • Darkcrusade's picture
    Darkcrusade 14 weeks 1 day ago
    Consent and Secession
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I like this; Do You Own Yourself? by Butler Shaffer One of my favorite quotations comes from Thomas Pynchon: "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don´t have to worry about answers." Our world is in the mess it is in today because most of us have internalized the fine art of asking the wrong questions. Contrary to the thinking that would have us believe that the conflict, violence, tyranny, and destructiveness that permeates modern society is the result of "bad" or "hateful" people, disparities in wealth, or lack of education, all of our social problems are the direct consequence of a general failure to respect the inviolability of one another´s property interests! I begin my Property classes with the question: "do you own yourself?" Most of my students eagerly nod their heads in the affirmative, until I warn them that, by the time we finish examining this question at the end of the year, they will find their answer most troubling, whatever it may be today. "If you do own yourself, then why do you allow the state to control your life and other property interests? And if you answer that you do not own yourself, then what possible objection can you raise to anything that the state may do to you?" We then proceed to an examination of the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford. The question of whether Dred Scott was a self-owning individual, or the property of another, is the same question at the core of the debate on abortion. Is the fetus a self-owning person, or an extension of the property boundaries of the mother? The same property analysis can be used to distinguish "victimizing" from "victimless" crimes: murder, rape, arson, burglary, battery, theft, and the like, are victimizing crimes because someone´s property boundaries were violated. In a victimless crime, by contrast, no trespass to a property interest occurs. If one pursues the substance of the "issues" that make up political and legal debates today, one always finds a property question at stake: is person "x" entitled to make decisions over what is his, or will the state restrain his decision-making in some way? Regulating what people can and cannot put into their bodies, or how they are to conduct their business or social activities, or how they are to educate their children, are all centered around property questions. "Property" is not simply some social invention, like Emily Post´s guide to etiquette, but a way of describing conditions that are essential to all living things. Every living thing must occupy space and consume energy from outside itself if it is to survive, and it must do so to the exclusion of all other living things on the planet. I didn´t dream this up. My thinking was not consulted before the life system developed. The world was operating on the property principle when I arrived and, like the rest of us, I had to work out my answers to that most fundamental, pragmatic of all social questions: who gets to make decisions about what? The essence of "ownership" is to be found in control: who gets to be the ultimate decision maker about people and "things" in the world? Observe the rest of nature: trees, birds, fish, plants, other mammals, bacteria, all stake out claims to space and sources of energy in the world, and will defend such claims against intruders, particularly members of their own species. This is not because they are mean-spirited or uncooperative: quite the contrary, many of us have discovered that cooperation is a great way of increasing the availability of the energy we need to live well. We have found out that, if we will respect the property claims of one another and work together, each of us can enjoy more property in our lives than if we try to function independently of one another. Such a discovery has permitted us to create economic systems. There is no way that I could have produced, by myself, the computer upon which I am writing this article. Had I devoted my entire life to the undertaking, I would have been unable even to have conceived of its technology. Many other men and women, equally unable to have undertaken the task by themselves, cooperated without even knowing one another in its creation. Lest you think that my writing would have to have been accomplished through the use of a pencil, think again: I would also have been unable to produce a pencil on my own, as Leonard Read once illustrated in a wonderful, brief essay. Such cooperative undertakings have been possible because of a truth acknowledged by students of marketplace economic systems, particularly the Austrians about human nature: each of us acts only in anticipation of being better off afterwards as a result of our actions. Toward whatever ends we choose to act, and such ends are constantly rearranging their priorities within us, their satisfaction is always expressed in terms inextricably tied to decision making over something one owns (or seeks to own). Whether I wish to acquire some item of wealth, or to give it away; whether I choose to write some great novel or paint some wondrous work of art; or whether I just wish to lie around and look at flowers, each such act is premised on the fact that we cannot act in the world without doing so through property interests. It is in anticipation of being able to more fully express our sense of what is important to us, both materially and spiritually, that we cooperate with one another. "Property" also provides a means for maximizing both individual liberty and peace in society. For once we identify who the owner of some item of property is, that person´s will is inviolate as to such property interest. He or she can do what they choose with respect to what is theirs. If I own a barn, I can set fire to it should I so choose. If I must first get another´s permission, such other person is the owner. Individual liberty means that my decision making is immune from the coercion of others, and coercion is always expressed in terms of property trespasses. At the same time, the property principle limits the scope of my decision making by confining it to that which is mine to control. This is why problems such as industrial "pollution" are usually misconceived, reflecting the truth of Pynchon´s earlier quote. A factory owner who fails to confine the unwanted byproducts of his activities to his own land, is not behaving as a property owner, but as a trespasser. Economists have an apt phrase for this: socializing the costs. He is behaving like any other collectivist, choosing to extend his decision making over the property of others! But not all of us choose to pursue our self-interests through cooperation with others. Cooperation can exist only when our relationships with others are on a voluntary basis which, in turn, requires a mutual respect for the inviolability of one another´s property boundaries. Those who seek to advance their interests in non-cooperative ways, create another system: politics. If you can manage to drag your mind away from the drivel placed there by your high school civics class teacher, and look at political systems in terms of what they in fact do, you will discover this: every such system is founded upon a disrespect for privately owned property! All political systems are collectivist in nature, for each presumes a rightful authority to violate the will, including confiscation, of property owners. One can no more conceive of "politics" without "theft" than of "war" without "violence." Every political system is defined in terms of how property is to be controlled in a given society. In communist systems, the state confiscates all the means of production. In less-ambitious socialist systems, the state confiscates the more important means of production (e.g., railroads, communications, steel mills, etc.). Under fascism, "title" to property remains in private hands, but "control" over such property is exercised by the state. Thus, fascism has given us state regulatory systems, in which property owners, be they farmers, homeowners, or businesses, have the illusion of owning what they believe to be "theirs," while the state increasingly exercises the real ownership authority (i.e., control). In welfare state systems, the state confiscates part of the income of individuals and redistributes it to others. As stated earlier, property is an existential fact. Whatever the society in which we live, someone will make determinations as to who will live where, what resources can be consumed by whom (and when), and how such property will be controlled. Such decisions can either be made by individual property owners, over what is theirs to control, or by the state presuming the authority to control the lives of each of us. When such decisions are made by the state, it is claiming ownership over our lives. It is at this point that I let the students in on the secret the political establishment would prefer not to have revealed: the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution did not end slavery, but only nationalized it! That most Americans acquiesce in such political arrangements, and take great offense should anyone dare to explain their implications, has led me to the conclusion that America may be the last of the collectivist societies to wither away. Most Americans, sad to say, seem unprepared to deny the state´s authority to direct their lives and property as political officials see fit. The reason for this, as my first-day question to students is designed to elicit, is that most of us refuse to insist upon self-ownership. We may, of course, choose to accept our role as state-owned chattels, particularly if we are well-treated by our masters. We may be so conditioned in our obeisance that, like cattle entering the slaughterhouse, we may pause to lick the hand of the butcher out of gratitude for having been well cared for. On the other hand, we may decide to reclaim our self-ownership by taking back the control over our lives that we have long since abandoned. Perhaps the insanity of our social destructiveness, including the Bush Administration´s deranged declaration of a permanent war against the rest of the world, will bring about an examination of alternative ways of living together in conditions of peace and liberty. Our political systems cannot bring about such harmonious and life-sustaining ways because they are premised on a rejection of the principle of self-ownership. In a society of self-owning individuals, there would be no place for politicians, bureaucrats, and other state functionaries. Like the rest of us, they would have to confine their lives to minding their own business, and deriving whatever benefit they could from persons who chose to cooperate with them. There is one person who can restore you to a state of self-ownership, however, and that person is you. To do so, you need only assert your claim, not as some empty gesture, but in full understanding of the existential meaning of such a claim, including the willingness to take full control of and responsibility for your life. While your claim will likely evoke cries of contempt from many, you may also find yourself energized by a life force that permeates all of nature; an élan vital that reminds us that life manifests itself only through individuals, and not as collective monstrosities; that life belongs to the living, not to the state or any other abstraction. http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 14 weeks 1 day ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    An interesting take this author has. To wit: "I've had all I can stand and can't stand no more!" I absolutely disagree tho. Americans are mainly soft lotus eaters who just want a nice middle class life and who faced with any difficulty or warning signs that their American Dream lifestyle is a lie, pack up and move to the next suburb but that shit's not gonna work much longer and Chad and Lisa have no coping skills. Hence the anxiety. 
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 14 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    Some have compared this event as being similar to the Kitty Genovese murder in 1964, and the My Lai Massacre in 1968 as indications of the cowardly, depraved, and indifferent nature that American culture was devolving into. If this trend of cops and security (i.e.., those specifically hired to protect public safety) being too scared of the ramifications (to them) of using force to preserve life and public order that they won't act, even to protect themselves, (which defies biological instinct by the way), then we are well and truly fucked, because if they don't serve their protective function, a leg of the stool that is civilization has collapsed, and all bets are off.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 14 weeks 4 days ago Web link KenK
    Damn right. For once the court got it right. Clearing that stuff should be thot the default normal.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 14 weeks 4 days ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    Rather clearly, if one just gives up trying, one's objective will not be met.   A couple of more encouraging points: first, you may (inexplicably) have missed my latest Zero Government Blog, which notes the extraordinary activity of Adam Kokesh. He's a breath of fresh air, and just may cheer you up.   Second, are you sure Stefan Molyneux has "joined the Trump bandwagon"?  I confess ignorance, for while much admiring what I know of him, I don't follow closely. The reason I ask is that just maybe, he's playing the sort of game I am myself: on statist forums, I'm posting plenty in favor of Trump over Clinton. That's just because the latter would be so much worse than the former, I'd like to encourage voters to pick the Donald. It will be so much less uncomfortable for everyone, while the real work gets done.   Lest you fear I have gone off the rails, please check my Take on Trump.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 14 weeks 4 days ago
    Consent and Secession
    Page Paul Bonneau
    No, alas there's not. A is not Non-A. Either humans have integral rights, or we do not. If one is correct, the other is flat wrong.  Per Aristotle: "Contradictions do not exist, except in the minds of those who fail to think clearly."   Thanks though for your kind sentiment.
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 14 weeks 4 days ago
    Consent and Secession
    Page Paul Bonneau
    [Ignore this comment]...Pesky double clicks
  • mishochu's picture
    mishochu 14 weeks 4 days ago
    Consent and Secession
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I think there is room for, and to congratulate, the both of you. Your messages appeal to two different kinds of people. Yours is a multigenerational approach. His is about understanding one's liberty and how one can have some more of it (with risks) today. I am mortal. I have a time preference in the matter. I donate to people like you (or more specifically institutes for Ron Paul's message and Mises). However, I also weigh the risks and try to be more free today. There's nothing wrong with either approach.