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Columns on STR: 79

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RECENT COMMENTS BY Paul Bonneau

Columns by Paul Bonneau

The Limits of Philosophy
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-10-17 08:27
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR In an earlier article, I wrote to counter the notion of Matt Zwolinski that libertarians ought to dispense with the Non-Aggression Principle. I have since found another article countering Zwolinski by Jason Kuznicki coming from a different direction, as well as another supporting Zwolinski by Julian Sanchez. Not only do I not find Zwolinski convincing,...
Where Hoppe Goes Wrong
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-10-07 08:25
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }Sometimes I have to laugh at all the arm-waving that libertarian theorists display. The inclination to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin must be irresistible. I’m referring in particular to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s latest 9,600-word broadside, A Realistic Libertarianism. 1) It is amusing to see...
The Good and the Bad of Constitutionalism
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-08-28 08:31
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR There are many, including myself who, having examined how and by whom and for what purpose the Constitution was used to overthrow the clearly superior Articles of Confederation, tend to throw up our hands at any notion of restoring it. Why bother? Our current police state can be traced directly way back to the 1787 Convention, it seems. However, it might...
The Advantage of Panarchy
9
Paul Bonneau 2014-07-14 06:32
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR The crucial advantage of Panarchy is that it converts aggressive violence into defense. Most people on the Internet tend to “stick with their own kind”; for example, liberals read only sites like Daily Kos. However, when they venture out and run into those of different persuasions, you always see a battle of competing arguments, and the...
Logical Fallacies?
8.5
Paul Bonneau 2014-06-30 08:23
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I vaguely remember when I first discovered logical fallacies (hint: it was not in a government school); I recall being thrilled that there were some boundaries for argumentation that could be used to reject some poor arguments and help find the truth of things. I have long used Stephen Downes’ site as a particularly good exposition of them, since it...
The Compromise
9
Paul Bonneau 2014-05-21 08:12
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Why is it that evil proliferates? What mechanism keeps it going? Who is to blame? Why are there so many wars and occupations? Why such huge amounts of theft (“taxes”, fines, fees and “civil forfeiture”)? Why are so many nonviolent people in jail? What keeps the “War on Some Drugs” going? Why does the police state expand...
Going Unarmed Is an Antisocial Act
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-04-08 08:32
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR All States provide protection. That is the primary justification for their existence. The reality can be a bit more complicated, of course. To be sure, there have been times and places where governments have actually provided protection. George Washington’s army actually provided protection against--well, I guess it was against the government that...
I Don't Have Rights; Nor Do I Want Any
9
Paul Bonneau 2014-03-26 08:18
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Ever since I can remember, I have questioned. I suppose I am a contrarian. Whenever a herd of people goes off in one direction, that is prima facie evidence that the direction they are going needs to be questioned even more. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect,” as Mark Twain nicely put it....
Favorite Local Boondoggles
0
Paul Bonneau 2014-03-19 08:20
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR The town government just got done patting themselves on the back for a renovated library. I notice in the “key numbers” sidebar, they left out “Money stolen from taxpayers.” In the story, though, it’s explained that it cost $9.5 million dollars; but if I am not mistaken, this bought not a single book. This sort of thing is...
A Critique of 'Against Libertarian Brutalism'
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-03-16 23:18
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Jeffrey Tucker writes a thoughtful (if not concise) article in his Against Libertarian Brutalism, but at the end, one is left unsatisfied. It has the flavor of one big straw man argument, as well as looking like a bit of “divide and conquer,” splitting libertarians unnecessarily into two distinct camps (as if we did not have enough camps...
Some Reasons for Libertarians to NOT Reject the Non-Aggression Principle
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-02-12 01:00
Column by Paul Bonneua. Exclusive to STR I just came across Matt Zwolinski’s article, Six Reasons Libertarians Should Reject the Non-Aggression Principle. I think he does point out some problems, but comes to the wrong conclusion. His conclusion: "There comes a point where what you need is not another refinement to the definition of 'aggression' but a radical paradigm shift...
The Law
0
Paul Bonneau 2014-01-13 09:26
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR What are laws? They are the malodorous droppings left behind by the gang of self-serving, power-mad busybodies who populate our legislatures, meddling lowlifes who presume to know better how to run our lives than we do, ne’er-do-wells with whom decent people wouldn’t normally stoop to associate. There, I got it out of my system. The above is...
MYOB: As Important as NAP?
9
Paul Bonneau 2013-12-27 09:21
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR If you have not yet read Eric Frank Russell’s classic And Then There Were None, it would help understand this article. “MYOB” means “Mind Your Own Business.” Of course, every libertarian and anarchist knows what “NAP” is (although I have always wondered why it has two names, “NAP” and “ZAP,...
Handgun Primer for Liberals
0
Paul Bonneau 2013-11-08 09:33
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR The intended audience for this article are people outside the “gun culture” who nevertheless have decided they might need one for defense; particularly for those who imagine never getting more than one gun. I intend to cut through the gun-nuttery and give you enough information to get started. However far you want to take it from that point is...
An Apostate From the Government Religion Recommended
9.66667
Paul Bonneau 2013-10-23 08:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I was reading an article about Roger Williams. The more I learn about him, the more impressed I become. "Roger Williams was not a man out of time. He belonged to the 17th Century and to Puritans in that century. Yet he was also one of the most remarkable men of his or any century. With absolute faith in the literal truth of the Bible and in his...
Everyone Gets What He Wants
0
Paul Bonneau 2013-09-24 08:09
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Do you yearn for some thing? I certainly do. Why can’t we go ahead and get the things we yearn for? What’s wrong with that? At some point every person needs to learn to take “yes” for an answer. That’s what Panarchy is, taking “yes” for an answer. I’m going to talk about “liberals” and “...
How Much Do You Value Government?
9
Paul Bonneau 2013-09-16 07:41
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I was reading Mama Liberty’s recent blog post about downsizing government. It occurred to me that it could be determined how much any given individual valued government, by asking them how much they would pay in taxes for it, if taxes really were voluntary. For example, Joe Blow pays a total of $20,000 this year in taxes. If asked what he’d...
An Appeal to NSA Engineers
9.5
Paul Bonneau 2013-09-10 08:17
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I have been discussing with others the Snowden revelations, and an article by industry professional Bruce Schneier came up, which is well worth the read. It brings to mind an event in my own past. I was once a computer hardware designer for a small company that put out state-of-the-art machines for scientific processing, dealing with collecting and...
The Recent Recrudescence of Racism
0
Paul Bonneau 2013-09-03 08:05
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR In the current run-up to Revolution (or Secession, or Rebellion, or whatever it is we seem to be running into shortly), I have noticed on blogs a significant increase in the expression of racism. This is usually combined with assertion that the thing we will be facing soon is a race war. I believe this take on things is a mistake on several levels; but...
Badges of Our Slavery
9.5
Paul Bonneau 2013-08-19 08:06
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR The Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe had to wear a yellow Star of David. The intention was to mark them as inferiors, subhumans, slaves, and to separate them from the rest of the population. Are there other, perhaps less obvious badges of slavery? Do we wear any such, without even being aware of it? We might consider the antebellum American slaves. At that...
Begging the Masters for Liberty
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-08-02 07:38
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I was reading Judge Napolitano’s article describing the Amash-Conyers amendment attempting to stop wholesale NSA snooping of Americans, and also the letter from Edward Snowden’s father to Obama. One can understand both of these initiatives at three different levels. The first level is a straightforward interpretation: an honest attempt by...
The Optimum Level of Violence
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-07-25 07:45
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR A while back, lots of conservatives got excited about something called the Laffer Curve. It’s the notion that stolen government loot will be zero at tax rates of both 0% and 100%, therefore looting is maximized at some rate in between. Not the most earth-shattering realization, I admit, but still, if you read about it, you come off with a strange...
Race Hucksters Bore Me
9.33333
Paul Bonneau 2013-07-18 06:55
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR It’s a wonder how worked up people can get themselves over a little melanin in skin. Most often it is just a joke, but it can become tedious at times. Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not the only race hucksters, although they come immediately to mind when you hear the term. There are armies of race hucksters in government, the folks who have...
Two Minutes of Hate for the Collectivists
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-07-08 08:18
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I was listening to the interview of Mike Vanderboegh by my friends Michael Dean and Neema Vedadi, and made an initial response on Libertarian Enterprise. Since naming that response “How To Not Be a Collectivist” bothered me a bit (you can detect my uneasiness in that article), I have thought some more about it; here are my cogitations. First I...
Comments on 'Liberty in the Tenticular State'
9.66667
Paul Bonneau 2013-06-13 08:13
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I was just reading “Liberty in the Tenticular State” by Charles Cooke and had a few comments about how confusing issues get, to people with a rights-based (not to mention Constitutionalist) view of reality. There is a better way. First interesting item in the article was this: “So complete has been the destruction of liberty’s...
Why People Believe Government Is Here to Help Us Recommended
10
Paul Bonneau 2010-08-27 03:00
By Paul Bonneau.   Exclusive to STR     The tenacity of the meme, that government is here to help us and protect us, is hard to understand. All evidence throughout history points in the opposite direction--that government is here to prey on us, and that if there is anything we need protection from, it is our own governments. Why do people cling to this harmful meme?   A...
Become Dangerous (Part 2)
10
Paul Bonneau 2011-02-14 04:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I thought I’d update the previous article I wrote on this subject. This was prompted by, among other things, an article about “Shooting on a Shoestring" also posted at lewrockwell.com.   The author likes the SKS for a defense carbine. They certainly qualify for shooting on a shoestring, and there is an undeniable utility in a semi-...
Tools for Tyrants: Fear
10
Paul Bonneau 2011-10-25 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR  It occurred to me that it might be useful to dissect the tools that tyrants use to keep us under their thumbs. Knowing what they are and how they use them can help us defend against them. I don’t know if anyone has systematically gone over this before. If someone knows of such an effort, please comment below.   The first tool (ignoring...
Going Unarmed Is an Antisocial Act
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-04-08 08:32
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR All States provide protection. That is the primary justification for their existence. The reality can be a bit more complicated, of course. To be sure, there have been times and places where governments have actually provided protection. George Washington’s army actually provided protection against--well, I guess it was against the government that...
Where Hoppe Goes Wrong
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-10-07 08:25
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }Sometimes I have to laugh at all the arm-waving that libertarian theorists display. The inclination to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin must be irresistible. I’m referring in particular to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s latest 9,600-word broadside, A Realistic Libertarianism. 1) It is amusing to see...
The Limits of Philosophy
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-10-17 08:27
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR In an earlier article, I wrote to counter the notion of Matt Zwolinski that libertarians ought to dispense with the Non-Aggression Principle. I have since found another article countering Zwolinski by Jason Kuznicki coming from a different direction, as well as another supporting Zwolinski by Julian Sanchez. Not only do I not find Zwolinski convincing,...
Let Us Prove That Anarchy Can't Work
10
Paul Bonneau 2012-07-10 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau Exclusive to STR In my recent Facebook escapades, this challenge came up: “My longstanding challenge to create a society larger than a commune or a small town that functions well without any government is still open. Create one, and you'll shut me up quick. Until then, I'm going to refer to your notions as ‘unproven theories’ at best, and ‘utter...
Hooray for the TSA! Recommended
10
Paul Bonneau 2010-11-18 04:00
Column by Paul Bonneau.   Exclusive to STR   It’s just funny what a complete cluster-f*ck government can make of something if you simply let them have their way. I suppose that is normal with all parasitic organisms; they could live just fine if they knew when to stop their depredations--but they never do. They literally cannot avoid the self-destructive course.   The latest...
A Proof of Anarchy: The Rulers Themselves
10
Paul Bonneau 2012-10-01 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Day after day we read that cops or other minions of the ruling class never suffer any legal consequences for various and sundry vile actions on their part. No doubt you can find an example today and every day among the Strike The Root articles.   One working definition of government might as well be, “those people for whom the laws do not, in...
Panarchy, Subsidiarity and Me
10
Paul Bonneau 2012-02-06 01:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR  When I first started writing on this subject (see here, here, and here), I was mostly shooting in the dark. Subsequent reading has yet again proven the old saying, from Ecclesiastes, that there is nothing new under the sun; that what I wrote has been thought of before. This article will attempt to collect and connect these themes.   The first...
The Boston Tea Party: An Attack on Property Rights?
10
Paul Bonneau 2012-07-17 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Here and there I have noticed some strange treatment of the Boston Tea Party among libertarians, a sort of shame that such an event has normally been celebrated in our culture. Were the participants bad people? Should we be ashamed of them?   One example of such treatment is Charles Adams' exposition of early American taxation:   Recently...
A Dual-Currency Community
10
Paul Bonneau 2012-07-31 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR When a fiat currency goes into heavy inflation, the tendency of users of that currency is to convert it into something else that has a more stable value, so their holdings don’t evaporate into thin air. People will either buy gold or silver, or convert to another more stable fiat currency, or if those options aren’t available, will simply buy...
A War Is Coming? Nah!
10
Paul Bonneau 2012-12-05 07:54
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I remember the day my Dad came home driving one of the earliest Toyota Coronas sold over here, rather than his usual Ford. It was amusing to see this big man in a little car. It was also strange to see him driving a Japanese product since he had fought in Iwo Jima and Okinawa during the war. One might naturally think those awful conflicts would have...
Panarchy, Not Anarchy, Is the Answer
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-01-08 08:01
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR It’s not unusual to see here on Strike The Root articles defending or promoting anarchy, particularly the anarcho-capitalist variety. Yay, team! Anarcho-capitalism is a good answer--for anarcho-capitalists. Not so good for, say, communitarians, though; nor for liberals, conservatives, or even anarcho-other-than-capitalists. It’s an answer,...
Barnyard Politics
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-03-20 07:55
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Humans have a strange inclination to build their fundamental political beliefs and institutions on a foundation of lies and fantasies. One would think something so important should have a better connection to reality! Some of these lies and fantasies are: democracy, the republic, representative government, constitutions, government "help," and...
Two Minutes of Hate for the Collectivists
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-07-08 08:18
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I was listening to the interview of Mike Vanderboegh by my friends Michael Dean and Neema Vedadi, and made an initial response on Libertarian Enterprise. Since naming that response “How To Not Be a Collectivist” bothered me a bit (you can detect my uneasiness in that article), I have thought some more about it; here are my cogitations. First I...
The Optimum Level of Violence
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-07-25 07:45
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR A while back, lots of conservatives got excited about something called the Laffer Curve. It’s the notion that stolen government loot will be zero at tax rates of both 0% and 100%, therefore looting is maximized at some rate in between. Not the most earth-shattering realization, I admit, but still, if you read about it, you come off with a strange...
Begging the Masters for Liberty
10
Paul Bonneau 2013-08-02 07:38
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR I was reading Judge Napolitano’s article describing the Amash-Conyers amendment attempting to stop wholesale NSA snooping of Americans, and also the letter from Edward Snowden’s father to Obama. One can understand both of these initiatives at three different levels. The first level is a straightforward interpretation: an honest attempt by...
Some Reasons for Libertarians to NOT Reject the Non-Aggression Principle
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-02-12 01:00
Column by Paul Bonneua. Exclusive to STR I just came across Matt Zwolinski’s article, Six Reasons Libertarians Should Reject the Non-Aggression Principle. I think he does point out some problems, but comes to the wrong conclusion. His conclusion: "There comes a point where what you need is not another refinement to the definition of 'aggression' but a radical paradigm shift...
A Critique of 'Against Libertarian Brutalism'
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-03-16 23:18
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Jeffrey Tucker writes a thoughtful (if not concise) article in his Against Libertarian Brutalism, but at the end, one is left unsatisfied. It has the flavor of one big straw man argument, as well as looking like a bit of “divide and conquer,” splitting libertarians unnecessarily into two distinct camps (as if we did not have enough camps...
The Good and the Bad of Constitutionalism
10
Paul Bonneau 2014-08-28 08:31
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR There are many, including myself who, having examined how and by whom and for what purpose the Constitution was used to overthrow the clearly superior Articles of Confederation, tend to throw up our hands at any notion of restoring it. Why bother? Our current police state can be traced directly way back to the 1787 Convention, it seems. However, it might...
The Old Farm Shed
9.875
Paul Bonneau 2011-05-20 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau.   Exclusive to STR   I once owned a small farm that had gone to the weeds. On this farm was a shed, the kind one sees on working farms with one side open and tractors parked inside, or hay bales stacked. For some reason I woke up this morning, thinking about that shed.   When friends came over, we’d be out walking around and they’d invariably say...
Where's My Contract?
9.85714
Paul Bonneau 2011-07-18 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Dear Senator Enzi,   I was reading Robert Higgs' article Consent of the Governed? when I suddenly realized that I have misplaced my copy of my Social Contract. You know, the signed agreement between myself and the federal government, allowing the latter to rule me? I have looked everywhere and cannot find it.   Would you please make a copy of...
Libertarians Are Nothing Special
9.75
Paul Bonneau 2012-06-25 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Libertarians (and anarchists) like to think of themselves as enlightened beings. I get to see a nice cross-section of them on Facebook, many having something like “voluntaryist” as part of their Facebook name. The strange thing though, is that their behavior is almost indistinguishable from anyone else over there.   Yes, they may have at...
A Freedom Lover's Faustian Bargain
9.66667
Paul Bonneau 2009-12-02 17:00
Exclusive to STR I have read many pro-freedom articles on Strike The Root, but one of the strangest was Jim Davies' piece "Handouts." Somehow, I had a hard time reconciling what I was reading there, with Thoreau's quote at the top of the page. Who'd-a thunk it? That we could hack at the root of evil by profiting from it? I mean, how cool is that? Still, I thought I would try to apply a...