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  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 32 weeks 5 days ago
    The Home Team
    Page Mark Davis
    Super observations, Mark. Ahhhh. To be able to opt out of school, wars, taxes!
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 32 weeks 6 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Jim,   Why on Earth would either of you expect Rob to jump in the middle of such a squabble? I have seen nothing that would require action on his part, and frankly I'm glad to see that he has not taken the bait....sticks and stones, after all.   Character assassination (of which your hands are decidedly not clean) serves no purpose in advancing understanding, but the fact remains that the issue in question is an interesting one. I think it is unfortunate that a productive conversation about such core issues seems impossible with you. Any variation from the plum-line philosophy that you have laid out as the "one true way" is not only unacceptable, but dangerous and even inhuman to your mind. I would hope you re-read some of your writing and see how inflammatory it becomes in the face of even the most innocuous criticism.   I'm sorry for you that "freedom" in your mind requires such rigidity of thought. Case in point, the above article: you really didn't defend "rights", instead you made several appeals to authority, and denigrated any differing opinion as "irrational" by equating concrete physical "reality" with conceptual reality-the product of human minds. "Rights" are concepts, nothing more, and as such it is hardly irrational to challenge the basis of such concepts. The very idea that differing opinion ought to be banished rather than debated is, to me, inexplicable. A disagreement is not an attack.   At any rate, while I disagree profoundly with the very essence of your belief system, I do enjoy your writing and see no reason for you to cease publishing here simply because you have a few critics. Of course, if you wish to write elsewhere, or post your articles on a site you control, I wish you well. But, I would encourage Rob to take no action on this issue.   Good luck,   Mike
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 32 weeks 6 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Alex, zygodactyl and Less, thanks for your comments but you are all wishing for something that is not available. As I said in my reply to Thunderbolt's comment, "I will not return to STR until and unless Bonneau gets the boot." That decision is mine, and it is final.   Although the trigger was Paul's vindictive post of April 1st above, which shattered the promise he had given on 2/27/2013 in response to Rob's comprimise idea, my reasons for making it go back years; but may I remind you that on that point I am in harmony with Paul Bonneau. It was he, not myself, who wrote in Comment 7892 in December 2012 to invite me to make a case to Rob for his eviction; and in a PM to me dated 12/23/2012 he said "there is no way we can both continue here."   I fully agree. Rob has now to choose which of us he wants. If you have an opinion on that choice - the only one available - I expect he'd be glad to hear it. But my decision is made.  
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 32 weeks 6 days ago Page Jim Davies
    I, for one, would like for both Jim and Paul to continue writing here. I enjoy reading both of their articles and comments even though I disagree with each of them from time to time. I have read all of the linked articles and this is what I have seen in summary: Paul's first article was in direct response to one that Jim wrote. Jim's article back then was advising people to grab all of the government funds that they can in the hopes of depriving the government of funds to do more evil. Paul's first article pointed out some of the moral problems with doing that, among other things. Both of the authors failed to see the elephant that was in the room. That elephant was deficit spending! If I have the power to create money out of thin air, then you are not going to make me run out of money by accepting the dribble of money that I have given you permission to take, and it is incorrect to treat the recipients of that dribble of money as if they are directly taking the money out of the taxpayers pocket. A portion of that dribble also comes from digits being typed into the Federal Reserves' ledger. Since we are presently forced to accept FRNs for nearly all of our transactions, the government really doesn't need to tax our income anyway. They could use sales tax, increase the inflation rate, and do any number of other things instead. The income tax is there to force us to jump through hoops like circus animals every year, and to create strife amongst us like what we are now seeing between Jim and Paul. Debates of this sort are forever circular due to the fact that the numbers are so mobile and liquid. Both Jim and Paul avoided each other for about a year. Paul posted an article about rights on March 26th to which Jim posted an article with a different point of view 5 days later, to which Paul appeared to have taken as an attack on his article, and Paul responded. Jim, you may not have had any intention of baiting Paul to respond the way he did, but it certainly looks like that is what happened. Let's end the pecker contest. You both have only one. At Lew Rockwell's web-site not long ago, Gary North wrote a poorly researched article about bit coin , which lead to a counterpoint article here, and more here . Ben Stone, the bad Quaker , also did a pod-cast about it. Gary North continues to write prolifically ,so it is my hope that both Jim and Paul will likewise continue writing here. Brian
  • Less Antman's picture
    Less Antman 32 weeks 6 days ago Page Jim Davies
    I believe that STR is a better site with both writers. I support Rob's decision not to decide which, as Canadian philosopher Neal Peart stated in his essay on "Free Will" (spoken word version available with narration by Geddy Lee), is still a choice, and a good one. If I thought one of these writers was making a useful contribution to STR and the other was not, it would be an easy choice, but in my experience different people are persuaded by different arguments and it is in the best interest of liberty and STR for it to welcome writers who argue that natural rights is the foundation of liberty and others who argue that natural rights is a pile of horse manure. All I care about is increasing the number of people who wish to move toward a society based on mutual respect.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 32 weeks 6 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Relax, T-bolt; the fault was altogether Paul Bonneau's, not yours at all. All you did was usefully to draw out the fact that his recently expressed and utterly reprobate opinion that humans have no rights was meant deadly seriously, that he was not being facetious. Rest easy, friend.   I will not return to STR until and unless Bonneau gets the boot. So that's up to Rob. Any who want to advise him can use the link in my Comment 10336.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 32 weeks 6 days ago Page Jim Davies
    I would like to echo Thunderbolt's sentiment.  Both Jim and Paul have made tremendous contributions to this site and libertarianism in general.  There must be a better, more constructive way to resolve this.
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 32 weeks 6 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Message to Jim and Rob and Paul: It was I who mentioned Paul, not Jim, who was very careful to make broad statements, rather than name any individual in his article. It is absurd for Jim to leave this space because I pushed two armed combatants into a room together. He has written hundreds of thoughtful articles exclusively for STR. No person comes closer to being the backbone of the site than Jim. It will be a massive loss for all of us were Jim to leave. I implore Jim to stay and for Rob to insist. That Jim and Paul are enemies has no relevance to this issue. It is the internet, not Dodge City. There is no reason for a shootout, literally or figuratively. Jim and Paul should resume ignoring each other, as they initially agreed. We are all here because we can think for ourselves and decide where reason leads. STR is one of the best libertarian sites ever created. The loss of Jim would be absolutely unnecessary and absolutely unacceptable.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 33 weeks 3 hours ago Page Jim Davies
    Unwilling to sit still while Paul Bonneau pours sewage like that over my head, last Tuesday I wrote Rob, our Editor, to ask that he be expelled from STR. So far Rob has not done that, so I am myself now departing this web site.   A quick backgrounder: relations between Paul and me had become so bad by the end of 2012 we agreed that STR does not have room for both of us, and he suggested, at the end of his comment 7982, that we each make a case to Rob for the eviction of the other, and accept his choice.   I agreed immediately. Rob did not, however; instead he proposed that we both continue on STR but promise not to refer to the other in what we write. We each agreed to that compromise, on 2/27/2013.   From that day to this, Paul's name has not appeared in anything I've written here, and the converse was true of Paul - until the above venomous, personal attack appeared on April 1st last week, so shattering his promise into small pieces and providing an open-and-shut case for being fired.   Possibly you feel the wrong guy is leaving. If so, you could write Rob to say so. For those interested, I've posted some farewell remarks here.                
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 33 weeks 2 days ago
    Der Uber-Americans
    Page Tim Hartnett
    Delicious, Tim. Thank you!
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 33 weeks 3 days ago Blog entry Jim Davies
    North's plan for giving away a billion bucks is shown here, and it is definitely creative. I'd missed the international dimension, but will stick with my original choices.   How did you do?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 33 weeks 3 days ago
    A Remarkable Document
    Page Paul Hein
    Log, you're  accurate in saying that government is inherently flawed and therefore susceptible to no perfection. That's very well stated. I'm sorry, though, to read that you see no possible fix.   I think there is. Educate everyone to understand what you just wrote about its vast inherent flaw, then encourage them never to work for it. When nobody will work for it, it will cease to exist.   Start here.    
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 33 weeks 3 days ago
    A Remarkable Document
    Page Paul Hein
    Alexander Haig once famously said that the people could protest all they want, as long as they pay their taxes. As one component of striking the root I would include bitcoin or another crypto-currency-- perhaps Darkcoin or Anoncoin-- as a necessary, but not sufficient, element. Cody Wilson of 3-D maker-bot gun fame, is working feverishly toward making it simple for users to cloak their identity when trading bitcoins. To prove that a moron with an I.Q of about 70 can actually come up with a solid truth, I give you Jr.'s "The constitution is nothing but a goddamn piece of paper."
  • negator's picture
    negator 33 weeks 3 days ago Page Log from Blammo
    thank you. i'm glad i found these essays.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 33 weeks 3 days ago
    A Remarkable Document
    Page Paul Hein
    The only problem to this, I think, is that those in power don't give a poop what we think. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelose, as examples. The other problem is that American's don't seem to really give a crap either. Yes, some get upset about what the government does, but they refuse to make any collaborative effort to demonstrate that the people have the power and not the government. I can't disagree with what you present here, I just feel it is an endless black hole.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 33 weeks 3 days ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    Agreed. Beautiful point. I believe the Constitution had some emotionally sound ideas to it. I think life just got in the way along with a huge number of greedy people. Honestly I think we as people get in the way. Note: this is just random thinking. Not trying to be technical in train of thought.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 33 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    ReverendD, I've no idea what your profession is now, but what you have just described sounds like a lot of young people of yesteryear and in this generation. Much of the independence you speak of is exactly the starting point of many of us. I got out of the military (a time of conscription. I did not run like a rabbit as many did, but I don't blame them, I just tried to choose the branch that would keep me out of Viet Nam and succeeded.), married and no real profession, but did engage in alternatives. I too, swept floors, stocked shelves, ran a rod for civil engineers, and etc until I graduated. I got loans for school and got them cleared off my back. I wonder how many young people are doing the very same today as you and I. Your point is well taken, no disagreement.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 3 days ago
    A Remarkable Document
    Page Paul Hein
    The Constitution may be just a fig leaf, but in that same metaphor, there are many people currently covered by it whom I would not enjoy seeing politically naked. I believe that government is a thing that when given an inch, will take a mile. The Constitution itself does not provide a penalty for very minor, almost forgivable infringements upon its boundaries. So people encroach, inch by inch, upon the forbidden, until the last inch in the mile remains. And then what is left but to take just one more inch? I offer no solution. Fixing government is not a problem I wish to attempt. It is clear to me that inventing solutions by a state to address the problems caused by states is a black hole from which there is no escape. It is high time for people to realize that perfecting government is impossible, because it is inherently flawed. The use of coercive force can never be legitimized, only rationalized.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 33 weeks 3 days ago
    A Remarkable Document
    Page Paul Hein
    The large value of the Constitution is that it provides a great stick with which to beat Pols, and you, Paul Hein, administered here a splendid whacking. This is what they say they follow; hold them to their own standards, and demonstrate how miserably they fail.   You might even give your MO Pol an extra caning, because although that State's charter may not forbid other forms of currency (Liberty Dollars, maybe?) the US Constitution does clearly say that "no state shall... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts" (Art 1 Sn 10) and so, provided he acknowledges that the Federal one trumps the State Constitution, his reported response is proven to be flat false.   To prove that government ignores its own charter is a useful first step; the next one is to reason that in its nature, no government can ever be subject to any external constraint. Then it's a short one to point out who, alone, does have the right to run a person's life.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 33 weeks 3 days ago
    A Remarkable Document
    Page Paul Hein
    "What impresses me about these pious references to the Constitution is that they are so selective." Yes, that is amusing. It seems everyone, including "restorationists", use the Constitution dishonestly. Remember years ago when "conservatives" thundered that privacy is not in the Constitution? And "liberals" supposedly supported privacy? There seems to be two theories about what to do with the Constitution: either restore it (we really mean it this time) or get rid of it. The latter is what appeals to me, since it is nothing but a gigantic fig leaf hiding what the rulers really end up doing. Hell even the Founders pissed on it. But this is like my opinion about rights. It all boils down to obfuscation and distraction and euphemism. Lies. Government cannot exist without lies, and (it seems) people aren't happy without some pleasant lies to believe in.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    I've said it before. . . and I'll quite likely say it again - and again. I used to work for MW, at jobs that I absolutely *hated* (burger-flipper, dishwasher, car washer). Granted, I was barely able to afford a studio apartment and a cheap motorcycle for transportation (no insurance, though - out of my budget). I needed a raise, and needed it bad. Rather than whine and demand that other people use their guns to get me that raise, I learned a more valuable set of skills - used those skills to give myself a raise. Haven't worked in fast food, haven't washed cars for a living - haven't worked for MW in over 25 years. And I did it without resorting to violence.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 33 weeks 4 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Wow! Sorry I missed this one, not that I care for soap opera. Still, Paul , I believe, has a point here people!
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    It is worth noting that when people call 9-1-1 in an emergency, they usually want *help* and not *hostile cops*. This new law in one state notwithstanding, if you use drugs recreationally, every person in your party group should have the local emergency medical response and ambulance service phone number programmed into their phones, and that number should be called instead of 9-1-1 for any medical emergency. (And with an equal measure of precaution, everyone should also have the number for a previously-retained criminal defense attorney or a bail bondsman written in permanent marker on their forearms, because if it comes to that, you probably won't be able to use your own phone. The same applies for public protests.) If you trust in this law, expect to be disappointed. The cops will arrest callers for their drugs regardless. They might have some specific charges dismissed, but they can always get you for something else. Better to not risk police involvement at all. As well-intentioned as this mother-on-a-mission may be, she is somewhat naive when it comes to the nature of law enforcement.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    The government would use this in the same way they use polygraphs. It is useless for retrieving information not already known to the questioner, but perfect for making the subject believe that they have no other options. In other words, it will be a really, really expensive way to trick ignorant people.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 33 weeks 4 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Oh yes, I was serious. I don't believe in rights, as anything other than a meme that has lost its utility for the peons, and gained in utility for the ruling class. Yes, life actually is possible even if you don't believe in rights, just as life is possible even if you don't believe in government. I am perfectly happy to discuss this with anyone who respectfully disagrees with me; see the initial comment after my last article, for example. I don't claim to have all the answers. As to the rest of it, this was just Davies' attempt to take a whack at my article, complete with his usual innuendoes, ad hominems and libels. I'm always gratified when my debating opponent resorts to such devices. I'm also amused that someone who not only is on the dole but also encourages others to join him there (perhaps to assuage his own conscience - misery loves company), would point at others as paid government employees, and would presume to act as a gatekeeper of libertarianism. "He who takes the king's coin becomes the king's man." http://strike-the-root.com/92/davies/davies7.html We had agreed about a year ago, with the editor observing, not to comment on each other's writing after the last blow-up we had; but then Davies took the legalistic dodge (why am I surprised?) of commenting on someone else's comments on my articles, which was really just commenting on my writing. And now his entire article here is clearly a retort to my previous article. So I guess the agreement, such as it was, is now gone. A man is as good as his word... Normally I don't even bother to look at his stuff. Silly me, to make an exception here. Too bad Davies does not live nearby. I'd like to see him repeat his Keyboard Kommando comments to my face, but (no surprise) that would never happen in any case, because he admitted in a private message that he's not up to it.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    In the interests of protecting the global environment and preserving quality of life [for the people making the important decisions], 18 countries have already signed on to the Argos Protocol for Reducing Industrial Livestock Farm Outputs and Overflows Linearly. Signatories will be required to feed their populations reduced proportions of meat, and an increasing amount of the actual environmental pollutants generated by the livestock. Critics of the policy have noted, "What kind of lives will we be living when we are fed only bullshit for every meal?"
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Shameless. Multinational corporations have stopped even pretending to have a moral center nowadays. My wife's cousin's husband's half-brother worked as a "pinker" for Levi's in the late '80s. He said they used to hang them up from the ceiling on these big aluminum hooks, and do the first cut right there on the floor, just so that the fit was "relaxed" by the time they got dunked in the acid wash. Poor guy won't even wear regular pants, to this day.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    The fundamental problem with health care in the US is that price information, necessary to the efficient operation of even unfree markets, is systematically obfuscated. Not one hospital in the entire country will give you their charge masters on request. You almost have to raid the place and hold a gun to the hospital administrator's head to get hold of even a portion of it. And in it, you find that people without group-negotiated rates can pay literally hundreds of times the actual cost to the hospital for certain things, such as for "FLR INT POLY LT 2ND" or thousands of variations on such nonsense. Those prices are *never* shown to patients to get fully informed consent before being added to the bill. And that's why costs are sky high. People are simply denied the information they need to make good economic decisions.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    You forgot, a lot of lies from the Ministry of Propaganda. I guess those folks I know who lost their private coverage don't count, and those forced from private coverage to a government plan should be satisfied.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    So keeping the minimum wage static has effectively given those workers a 20% pay cut? Let's look at that. FICA: 6.2% shown on the paycheck FICA: 6.2% not shown on the paycheck Medicare: 1.45% on the paycheck Medicare: 1.45% not on the paycheck FUTA: 6.0% not on the paycheck, capped at $420 The current minimum wage is $8.25, I believe. Eliminating the payroll tax trickery, that means the employer pays the employee $7.62 and the government $1.26 for every hour the employee works, and up to an additional $0.50 an hour for the first 850 hours a year. Raising the wage to $10.10 makes that $9.33 to the worker and $1.54 to the federals per hour (total $10.87), with up to another $0.61 for the first 690 hours. Here's an idea. Stop squeezing blood from stones. Eliminating payroll taxes on minimum wage jobs and putting the employer portion into the check ($9.05) would put more money into workers' pockets, and wouldn't cost employers anything more than they already pay. Raising the wage alone simply destroys the most marginally profitable jobs. Fewer workers are asked to do more at the same pay rate. Productivity rises, and real buying power stagnates. In other words, more of the same, since 1970. The story you don't hear is that the US taxes the absolute lowest class of workers, those who cannot legally be paid less than they currently do and still have jobs at all, at a rate exceeding 15%. If a hobo found 13 cans of soup in the trash, the federals would demand two of them, then generously give one back as "welfare".
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 33 weeks 5 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Thanks, ReverendDraco, the premise is indeed correct: every person has the right to own and operate his or her own life. From that (via labor, exchange, or gift) comes the right to property. So Able had the right to his bike, and Baker had the right to his life.   And Able's defense to the free-market court would be "But I warned him!"?   Not my idea of justice. And even in the Old Testament, the punishment for an eye is still only an eye. In any case justice, as my article tried to point out, consists not in punishment but in restoring lost or damaged rights. If anyone denies that there are inherent rights, there is no possibility of justice.      
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 33 weeks 5 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Thank you, Log, for suggesting I'm smart enough to invent or found a new faction; but it's not so. In "Liberty: Rooted in Rights" I tried only to present plain-vanilla Libertarianism, the only one there is; built upon the irrefutable premise that each human being has the right to own and operate his or her own life. As I also showed, that's the way Rothbard presented it, and he is recognized by friend and foe alike as the Century's prime expositor of the Libertarian understanding of reality. I hope that having applied your mind to it you too will embrace that understanding; but until you do, please call yourself by some other name. That one is taken.  
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 33 weeks 5 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Superb reasoning, Jim. It is what you do better than anyone I know. I agree with you completely. I took Paul Bonneau's recent essay about not having any rights to be facetious, not serious. However, I thought he made some seriously excellent points. He may well have meant to provoke a response. My interpretation may have been in error, of course, but he seemed to resent that government always thinks of rights as being privileges, which are subject to being rescinded at any time, for any reason. Senator Feinstein thought up another such limitation on free speech this last week. Namely, that government should and must define who is a real journalist, subject to persecution and/or prosecution for disagreeing with official news releases or analyses. Her plan rephrases Nazi and Stalinist policies, not to forget those of Lincoln. Paul rephrased various rights to simple sentences that could stand independently from those of government documents, all of which have indeed been shredded by Bush and Obama, et. al. I confess that I enjoyed his revisions. It is easier to know when you are serious, since you always say what you mean and mean what you say, with passion and conviction, after careful analysis and research.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 33 weeks 5 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Like Rothbard, you got the basic premise correct - even though you missed on a few details. Able has the right to protect his property (and was considerate enough to warn any potential thief of the attendant consequences). It isn't his fault that Baker failed to take heed. Do I think that killing Baker was a bit much, just for stealing a bicycle? Yes, yes I do. But Baker could have "opted-out" of the penalty by not stealing from Able. Baker ignored the open warning, and paid the full price that he was warned - in advance - would be charged. Baker chose poorly - the bike was worth more to him than his life. Now, had there been a sign in Able's yard reading, "Keep Out. You Take My Stuff, I Call the Police," it would be a different animal entirely. Had he killed Baker in this case, Able would be at fault, for presenting misleading information as to the penalty for theft. Just thought I'd point that out. Keep up the good work.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 33 weeks 5 days ago Page Jim Davies
    It seems so simple. Liberty + -arian = libertarian. Who else but someone that holds liberty as their highest ideal could truly call themselves a libertarian? There is just one tiny problem. If people are truly free, they might decide that "libertarian" means something else to them, and use it in a different sense from the previous iterations in the etymology, completely without fraudulent intent. After all, "liberal" no longer means quite the same thing it once did. Would you stop this, by instituting a language authority, by placing just one little restriction on everyone's liberty? Or would you allow libertarianism as a worldview to be attacked by subtle shifts in the popular definitions of its terms and jargon? As it happens, I don't believe that "libertarian" has so narrow a definition. Whether or not I use the word to describe myself depends on what I think it means to my audience. Among people not likely to know the subtle shades of meaning in unfamiliar terms like "minarchist", "anarcho-capitalist", "anarcho-socialist", "Georgist", "non-aggression principle", "Austrian (economist)", or any of the other words the people we associate ourselves with tend to use, I call myself a "libertarian", unless someone is likely to be a politically orthodox square, when I am more likely to say "independent". I do this despite my belief that "natural" rights do not exist. I don't believe cooperative civilization is stable without mutual recognition of a set of common principles for behavior, which could be described as a form of "rights", but I am not so wise as to believe I know which of those are absolutely necessary, or the best order in which to prioritize them. Those rights do inevitably rest upon a common foundation: might makes right. But they also benefit from the aphorism that many hands make light work. The defense of rights is a common burden that cannot be delegated, only reciprocally shared. I agree that property exists, my body is inherently my property, and the things I do with it can create additional property according to some simple rules. Jim Davies and a host of others also agree, usually up to the point where we may disagree on the rules for acquiring other property, and in this sense we are all partially compatible propertarians. Going that far, we can probably agree to not kill each other most of the time, and to help each other defend our respective properties--inasmuch as we can both agree what qualifies--against people who don't uphold it as a right, or those who give other rights higher priority. But who has time to negotiate a mutual defense treaty with every person he knows? I don't. I need to do work that actually puts food on the table most of the day. This is where branding becomes important. If you can publish your bill of rights, and put a brand name on it, why then someone can say "I am a Davies Version 3 (Strict) libertarian" and I can say "I've heard of that guy; you and I probably won't have any trouble, but I'm more of a Blammonoiac type of guy." By pigeonholing ourselves, we create shortcuts to negotiations regarding our interpersonal relationships. But then the other guy would have to ask me for my Blammonoia URL, because I don't expect to be all that well known. At least I wouldn't have to spell it out from scratch and in detail each time. If I had a very common or popular worldview, I could probably leech off of someone who was both better known and a better writer than I am. But I am not so famous or eloquent that I could possibly become the authoritative source for what it means to be "libertarian." At best, there would always be that parenthetical "(as Log from Blammo defined it)" attached. Henry George and Karl Marx made their own brands--quite a lot of people know what it means to be "Georgist" or "Marxist"--but that wasn't necessarily their intent. The ultimate point I want to make here is that attempting to rely upon the common use of a word is likely to be a point of failure in the future. You can't be certain that someone else will hear a word and understand it in just the way you want them to. You can only put out your definition and hope that you swing enough weight to make it stick. It's the only libertarian way to define "libertarian." A Daviesist, though, would make a fine ideological ally, don't you think?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 33 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I will have to defer to you on that one, Lawrence. It may well be more than a side effect. However there is (as far as we are concerned) only one world, the one we are living in. It is hard to run controlled experiments, and any research concerning humans is immediately suspect in any case. Did you ever read Ira Levins' "This Perfect Day"? That was in the back of my mind when I wrote the passage in question. There may well be "better" (according to some standards) worlds without liberty, that are possible. I still would want nothing to do with them.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 33 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Just to comment on my own comment, I want to make it clear that I have no problem with the notion of something being "normative". I am perfectly at ease with the statement, "People should not kill others for no good reason." I do think there are oughts and ought nots, and the reason for these is cultural and even possibly genetic: in our tribal period, those tribes who practiced certain oughts and ought nots thrived better than tribes that chose the wrong ones. In other words, it is tied to survival. Culturally, it's a matter of personal preference: it's just easier and more pleasant to live in a society where people aren't killed willy-nilly, so people select for that by moving from less pleasant places to more pleasant. My problem is again with the use of language. The word "ought" implies it doesn't happen that way all the time. Thus, it is an accurate description of reality, and allows people to take into account not only the norm, but also the exceptions to the norm. The language of rights and of "Natural Law" (usually capitalized, as if law were something more than the pile of crap it usually is), on the other hand, discounts or completely ignores the exceptions - and thus is ill-chosen for survival purposes.
  • blackeh's picture
    blackeh 33 weeks 6 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Each of these "imposed" measures look, to me, like less government dependence and more freedom. Privatizing the gas companies does not necessarily mean relatively higher prices. Lifting the ban on foreign investments, more free market and less government dependence does not seem to be bad ideas. What am I missing?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 33 weeks 6 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Worblux, thank you very much for that reference to Long's article. I have started to dig through it, and it is very well done (he has an excellent facility to instruct people). However I skipped forward to the bit about rights: http://freenation.org/a/f42l1.html#4.1 ...and I already have some disagreements. 1) I like his breakdown into 3 types of rights, "normative", "legal" and "de facto". This seems a very clear way of looking at it. However we should not be too impressed that he can make it clear, because virtually everybody else makes a hash of it, usually confusing normative, legal and defacto, not to mention throwing in some of the other umpteen definitions of the word "right". Much of my criticism of the concept of rights is linguistic: Language is not imposed or static but is always changing according to the habits of those who use it. It is no use insisting on a concept that 99% of people use incorrectly (and that percentage is an understatement). You might as well heave the concept, or at least, find a better word for it. 2) Having done so, we are not left unable to describe reality. We can still say, "Anyone, including Chinese, should be able to say what they please," - what he has been calling a normative right. We can still say, "According to their law, Chinese can say what they please." We can still say, "Chinese should be able to say what they please, but if they do they may get in trouble with the rulers." And other varieties of the same thing. When we do, those who listen to us are not confused. But they will be if we bring in "rights". He argues against Rollins by saying "natural law can sometimes protect", suggesting that some Jews managed to escape the Holocaust. I think he is missing something. The Jews themselves were misled by the concept of rights. Their belief that they have a right to life is the very thing that led them into the gas chambers. You can argue they got the distinction between normative and defacto wrong, but that is not very consoling for 6 million dead. In the cases when the Jews gave up on rights and simply acted as if someone was attempting to kill them all - the Warsaw ghetto - they did amazingly well. If all Jews had acted like this, killing the Gestapo right at the point they were first attacked, I am certain far more of them would have survived - and even if for some reason they still did not, as Lloyd Cohen put it, "Dying even futilely defending yourself, your family, and your group has an honor and a dignity to it that is not vouchsafed by being helplessly slaughtered. Thus even if none had escaped from the Warsaw or Vilna Ghettos or the Sobibor extermination camp, those who took vengeance there honored themselves, their families, and their people." I have still to dig through this but I haven't changed my mind yet.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 33 weeks 6 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    [“If” self ownership is the agreed-upon operative social premise, subordination to anyone or anything is logically excluded. That is really all there is to it.] Thanks Sam. That's just the way I look at it, short and sweet. Freedom does not require a law degree to understand. Although, in fairness, saying anti-self existence is something that most choose is probably stretching things. There is nothing in the way of informed consent there; the indoctrination is designed to yield uninformed consent. It's more like most people are not even aware they could own themselves.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 34 weeks 3 hours ago
    Dependency
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    Good catch, zygodactyl. It does seem there's a forked tongue at work here; the FDA hasn't quite nailed down a monopoly control of oxygen. Yet.   http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=48325 shows several particpants debating the question. One Laura Halper wrote "Yes, the FDA regulates compressed oxygen as a prescription drug, and the production/processing is subject to 21CFR Parts 210 and 211" but added "it's hard to apply" some sections of those regulations. She provided a link to the FDA's own page about it.   The net of it may be that the gas itself is not yet controlled by government, but devices that deliver it in concentrations other than the natural one, to those who need it, are. So if you don't need it so as to live there is freedom, but if you do need it, there is not. Catch-22?   Hmm again. So you're climbing Everest, and definitely need it near the peak so as to go on living... but you didn't need it when buying the cylinder at Amazon so you didn't get a prescription. Would it break the law to sniff a whiff, or not?  Oh, wait, Nepal isn't in FedGov jurisdiction. Breathe freely.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 34 weeks 16 hours ago
    Dependency
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    I did a little research after my last post and learned a few things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diving_cylinder Filling cylinders Diving cylinders should only be filled with air from diving air compressors or with other breathing gases using gas blending techniques.[14] Both these services should be provided by reliable suppliers such as dive shops. Breathing industrial compressed gases can be lethal because the high pressure increases the effect of any impurities in them. Special precautions need to be taken with gases other than air: oxygen in high concentrations is a major cause of fire and rust. oxygen should be very carefully transferred from one cylinder to another and only ever stored in containers that are certified and labeled for oxygen use. gas mixtures containing proportions of oxygen other than 21% could be extremely dangerous to divers who are unaware of the proportion of oxygen in them. All cylinders should be labeled with their composition. cylinders containing a high oxygen content must be cleaned for the use of oxygen and lubricated with oxygen service grease to reduce the chance of combustion. Contaminated air at depth can be fatal. Common contaminants are: carbon monoxide a by-product of combustion, carbon dioxide a product of metabolism, oil and lubricants from the compressor.[14] Keeping the cylinder slightly pressurized at all times reduces the possibility of contaminating the inside of the cylinder with corrosive agents, such as sea water, or toxic material, such as oils, poisonous gases, fungi or bacteria. The blast caused by a sudden release of the gas pressure inside a diving cylinder makes them very dangerous if mismanaged. The greatest risk of explosion exists at filling time and comes from thinning of the walls of the pressure vessel due to corrosion. Another cause of failure is damage or corrosion of the threads and neck of the cylinder where the pillar valve is screwed in. Aluminium cylinders have been observed occasionally to fail explosively, fragmenting the cylinder wall. Steel cylinders usually remain mostly intact, and tend to fail at the neck.[citation needed] Oxigen bottles that welders use would be deadly for us to use. I wonder if the divers oxigen tanks are considered as containing a drug? I live a very long way from a body of water that would have a store supplying diving tanks nearby.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 34 weeks 17 hours ago
    Dependency
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    Hmm, that is very odd considering that divers and people who use acetylene torches such as myself can get large bottles of compressed oxigen from stores without a doctors permission. I wonder if a little bit of rent-seeking is going on. Brian
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 34 weeks 1 day ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    It would be fun to think that he will lose his election, but I tend to think that anyone who would try to censor Twitter probably already has vote fraud down pat.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 34 weeks 2 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    As I see it, this is one of your best. The idea of "rights" is indeed religious in nature, depending upon a "Rights-Giver" of some sort. The late Delmar England put it thus: I have lived too long and seen too much to imagine that self ownership and freedom is ever going to happen on a large scale, and very few small ones either. For sure, as long as governmentalist and “anarchists” remain stuck in “government think” and insist on bringing in concepts of government and calling them non-government, things are going nowhere. Speaking of commonalities under different labels, but in the same vein of thought, a common claim among “anarchists” is the concept, “right of self ownership.” “Right”? What is a “right”? Entitlement? Allocated “privilege”? By whom or what? By what rationale? Based on what premise? The reality is that any human individual can believe whatever he/she wishes and take any action within his/her capacity. “Right”? Permission? With permission comes command. With command is the external ownership premise. “Rights” are a contradiction of individual identity, hence, anti-individual and anti-freedom. This is why in practice, “rights” (a version of “God intended”) become “bestowed privilege” at the point of a gun. The idea of self ownership is not a “bestowed right.” It is a matter of personal choice. The natural law of individual volition validates this. The premise of self ownership is my personal choice, but not necessarily the choice of another, others, or all. I wish it were, but my wishes do not create reality. “If” self ownership is the agreed-upon operative social premise, subordination to anyone or anything is logically excluded. That is really all there is to it. The fact that most choose anti-self existence does not change the principle and derivatives of the self ownership concept. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 34 weeks 3 days ago
    M for Malaysia
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    My interest in the MH 370 mystery remains, as perhaps does yours; and I've formed a theory that may explain it. Goodfellow's fell foul of a few facts he did not know, and mine amends it accordingly.   Find it here - and if you think it has legs, give it a boost on social media. Notice its footnote.
  • Hugh Akston's picture
    Hugh Akston 34 weeks 3 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    There is a Libertarian website here falling over themselves in praise of the virtues of Gina Reinhardt and her late father Lang Hancock. This confirms that my incredulity was not misplaced!
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 34 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Nice one, Paul. I am clearly able to relate to your thinking on this subject. I like "mind your own business", and "I will not be disarmed." " I will go where I please" is delightful. Your underlying premise is essentially "to hell with what the government thinks or says." I wish I had thought of that.
  • WorBlux's picture
    WorBlux 34 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Number 18 is ..." Can't anyone decide? Often the government does decide, but the definition here does not limit itself to a particular legal system. "Number 19 is..." Here claim is limited to just claim. We might disagree about what that means but that doesn't make the idea fictional. The idea can point to a specific legal system, or can point to a broader conception of jusice. "Number 20 is..." Not what people mean when the say having a right. It's what they mean when they say "I'm in the right" or "I want to do right by him". "Number 22..." This I think is the only one of the definitions you've included that shows religious thinking if the rights asserted are free-floating or axiomatic. That rights can be violated is no evidence they are fantasy. Going back to #19 rights are that which is due, as distinct from something that is automatic or given. Rights can still describe something actually about humans and thier relationships, just as saying a knife is something that cuts things is descriptive and valid, even though we can find examples of knives that have never cut anything. The hinge of the issue is wether or not there really is such a thing as natural law distinct from the particular positive legal system. Roderick Long makes a good argument in his article "The Nature of Law" Whether argueing from rights is effective is another issue. I like your plain language clause "Rulers hate armed peons..." but you're describing the interaction through a sort of game theory lens. It's interesting, yet you've lost some of the meaning that was in the previous normative appeal of rights language.
  • newjerusalemtimes's picture
    newjerusalemtimes 34 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Yeah, these people are crying to the same people who created their sudden communized/ponzi scheme problem. And they're not happy about the prospect of actually having to afford the fair or market rate of insuring buildings in a flood plane, most of which would have never have been build without the State and US Federal State enticing them with subsidized insurance rates or extorted funds from others not in the flood plane. I'm guessing that water rates in the Southwest will soon show signs of unsustainable, financially speaking, population centers, due to the current artificially low and State-subsidized water rates, which the State will no longer be able to prop up or keep low. So, as the States and Federal State budgets become more unsustainable, due to slowing growth, demographics, and fiat currency issues, these are the kind of stories that we'll see more of; that is, how the statist idolators, who've worshipped and adored a false god, are horrified to find that their idol is going turn and rip them to shreds, financially, or at least not save them all, with extorted funds from others who are becoming increasingly more resistance to communized State predations like this. I'm sure that it's probably mandatory, by contract, for many of those properties, especially the mortgaged ones, to maintain flood insurance. But, sooner or later, people will stop paying into many of these State schemes, and then, suddenly, it won't be required anymore, because enforcement will be unsustainable for the State and US Federal State. Of course, a lot of wailing and moaning will come first, is my guess.