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Friday, November 9, 2007

Reader Mail #11 - Feeding the Trolls

Technorati has a nice service where it shows other people who are linking to your blog.

I found this article on the Philaahzophy blog, in reference to my post on Protect Your Gold and Silver Coins. The point is that, without a State, people need to make sure their gold and silver coins don't get worn out as they circulate. Simple measure such as laminating coins would provide protection.

Here is an interesting article on Goering and goading the population into pointless wars, from the Check Your Premises blog. The average person does not really benefit from war. From the average person's point of view, the best-case outcome of a war is that he makes it home alive and goes back to his regular slave job. The primary beneficiaries of war are the ruling class. Without a monopolistic State, war isn't profitable. Forced taxation is necessary to raise the money for the war, and war is an excuse to funnel that money into the hands of the ruling class. Seriously, it would be more efficient if the President could just directly write a check for $1B to each of his backers; that way, a lot of innocent Iraqis wouldn't need to die.

I submitted my post on The Subprime Morgage Lending Scam to the Subprime Mortgage Blog Carnival.

A lot of these aren't reader comments directed to me, but discussions on the Ron Paul Forum.

I see a lot of FUD on the Internet about the Federal Reserve is evil, the income tax is evil, excessive government regulations are evil, and agorism (especially the bit about multiple competing police forces degenerating into total chaos -- future planned post). It is particularly shocking for me to see FUD on these topics on the Ron Paul Forums, of all places. FUD stands for "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt". FUD arguments appeal to the way people have been brainwashed and conditioned, rather than their thinking ability. If you've read my blog, and still have questions about any of these topics, please ask me your question directly.

I'm still finding interesting topics on various discussion forums. The Ron Paul Forum is filled with a mixture of trolls and genuine readers. I have to "feed the trolls", to reach the genuine readers. When I provide good responses to the trolls, I attract readers to my blog. I also attract further spam from the trolls. A lot of the content in this post is responses to trolls (or perhaps fools) on the Ron Paul Forum.

On the Internet, it's hard to tell who's a professional troll and who's just uneducated and brainwashed. It's painful to watch the Federal Reserve, income tax, and the gold standard being debated on the Ron Paul Forum. The trolls are very skilled at disrupting debate and discussion. I like having my own blog, because I can keep things organized and avoid wasting my time debating trolls.

I can't believe how, on the Ron Paul Forum of all places, there are people:

  • aggressively defending the Federal Reserve
  • aggressively defending the IRS and the income tax
  • being sharply critical of a gold standard
  • aggressively defending big government
These are the exact opposite of Ron Paul's positions. The people arguing the above positions are obviously trolls or fools.

Sometimes, reader comments and the responses are more interesting than the original post. If you have any questions on the above topics, especially agorism, ask me directly by posting a comment or E-Mailing me.

On List of Proposed Constitutional Amendments, an anonymous reader says:

I have two to add: A criminal trial may not proceed without a corpus delecti to include a flesh and blood man or men (common gender) whose rights it is alleged have been denied or who it is alleged has suffered an injury at the hand of the defendant.

The Fourteenth Amendment is hereby repealed. All people currently subject to the Fourteenth Amendment shall continue to be accorded the Rights thereunder and shall be absolved of any responsibilities and or disadvantages thereof.

This comment shows that you missed the entire point of the post. There is *NO* finite list of amendments that will fairly patch the Constitution. The idea of having a Constitution is itself a flawed idea.

Your first addition is that you've only committed a crime if the prosecution can name a specific person who was injured. Yes, that is a good addition. This removes all laws against drugs, prostitution, and many other silly laws. This prevents the government from restricting the sale of things like herbal supplements.

I have an upcoming post planned for the evils of the Fourteenth Amendment.

I would make another addition, which would actually be the same as a repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment. Corporations do *NOT* get the same rights as people. All property must be owned by a specific individual, or a group of individuals who share liability. All contracts must be entered with a specific person or group of people, each of whom are fully liable for meeting the terms. Corporations do not get limited liability; the shareholders can be held liable in the event of misconduct.

The Fourteenth Amendment is evil because it was used as the basis for corporate personhood. The idea that corporations get the same rights as people was a huge mistake. This runs totally contrary to the original purpose of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson knew about the evils of corporations; many of the colonies were originally owned by British corporations. It took decades of lobbying/bribing to get the US Supreme Court to rule the corporations had the right to own property and to enter and enforce contracts. The corrupt principle of stare decisis means that, once made, this ruling has the full force of law and is now irreversible. I read somewhere that the Fourteenth Amendment has been cited by the Supreme Court ten times more often to support the rights of corporations, compared to the rights of individuals.

On List of Proposed Constitutional Amendments, stausquobuster says:

Those who want to learn the truth about our constitutional right to an Article V convention should go to www.foavc.org and then become a member IF you want serious political reforms that Congress will never enact.

In practice, an Article V Constitutional Convention would probably be a disaster. It would be dominated by the bad guys, who would get all sorts of bad provisions included in the Constitution. An Article V Convention attended solely by people with a clue cannot be arranged. The average person cannot afford to take weeks off from work to attend an Article V Convention.

The two above commentors have completely missed the point of the post.

There is *NO* finite list of amendments that can patch the US Constitution. The only correct conclusion is that having a monopolistic government was a bad idea.

All services currently provided by the government can be more efficiently provided by multiple competing vendors in a truly free market.

On Reader Mail #10, Aahz says:

Another excellent "Reader" mailbag! You did, however, make one pretty glaring error when you stated that there is no such thing as a stateless society today. Somalia has been stateless for over 15 years now and they're economy and standard of living has been skyrocketing as a result.

Really? Can you refer me to a source? I had heard about Somalia. I had read that their stateless society was being violently crushed by those who want to create a new state.

I had read that Somalia was being falsely cited as an example of "anarchy doesn't work", when in fact several groups are violently trying to establish themselves as the new state in Somalia.

If Somalia really is a successful stateless society, you can be sure that the red market in other states are desperately trying to crush it! Somalia is a small enough country that it probably could not withstand a US-supported invasion or subversion. If US red market workers support a group who wants to create a new state in Somalia, they will most likely succeed due to superior resources.

After all, my tax money would be paying to suppress a stateless society in Somalia!

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asks:

What is Ron Paul's plan for returning to a gold standard? There isn't enough gold in the world to fully back all the dollars with gold, unless you want the price of gold to skyrocket.

I think what Ron Paul wants is to allow gold and Federal Reserve Points to circulate together.

Right now, it's impractical to use gold as money because of all the taxes on gold transactions. If I buy an ounce of gold at $800/ounce and then buy something when gold is $900/ounce (paying in gold), I owe $100 in capital gains taxes. This is ridiculous, because my $100 capital gain isn't a change in the value of the gold; it's a decrease in the value of my Federal Reserve Points.

I think that all Ron Paul wants is for the taxes on gold and silver to be repealed. For example, if I exchange a $20 for two $10 bills, that isn't a taxable transaction. If I exchange an ounce of gold for $800, that shouldn't be a taxable transaction. Since gold is money, I was just exchanging one form of money for another, which shouldn't be taxable.

The exchange rate between Federal Reserve Points and gold should be determined by the free market, without any interference due to taxes.

Also, with honest free-market fractional reserve banking, it doesn't matter if the volume of gold required for trade is less than the supply of physical gold. Trustworthy paper promises to pay gold can be used to expand the money supply to a level sufficient for trade. Interest payments by trustworthy banks are a disincentive against gold hoarding. In the current system, banks are offering negative real interest rates on deposits, because the Fed Funds Rate is always lower than the inflation rate.

There have been examples of people creating gold-denominated bank accounts. They were violently shut down by the IRS. The reason you can't conveniently get a gold-denominated bank account is that the IRS won't allow it. I read somewhere the eGold (incorporated outside the USA) is having trouble processing deposits and withdrawals for US citizens. Recent "anti money laundering" laws are preventing deposits and withdrawals for eGold.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone said:

We need the Federal Reserve to keep inflation in check, and to prevent Congress from runaway deficit spending.

I always get angry when people make this argument in favor of the Federal Reserve. It is completely false.

Congress can, whenever it wants, ask for more money and raise the national debt ceiling. The Federal Reserve has no choice but to grant the loan. (Why would they refuse and expose the scam they're running?) Besides, under the current monetary system, a huge Federal budget deficit is necessary in order to allow the private sector to have any money at all. (To see this, if the Federal government raised taxes to 100% and called in out dollars in circulation, that still would be insufficient to repay the national debt. The national debt is larger than the money supply, which in itself should be evidence of the flawed nature of the current economic system.) The Federal government is the only debtor that can have unlimited debt without being forced into bankruptcy.

The Federal Reserve is not a check against inflation. With debt-based money, you need continuous inflation to keep the system running. Without continuous inflation, the Compound Interest Paradox would cause the entire monetary system to collapse in hyperdeflation.

If the Treasury Department were manging the money supply instead of the Federal Reserve, it would be exactly the same. The only difference is that, if interest rates were determined by the free market instead of the Federal Reserve, you wouldn't have a massive government subsidy to the financial industry, paid by everyone else as inflation. Market-determined interest rates would be much fairer than the current system. Congress should be able to directly spend money into circulation, rather than needing to borrow it.

The original topic in the thread was "Is the Federal Reserve Unconstitutional". That argument should have been made in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was first created. Besides, the original Federal Reserve Act had many sound provisions that the executive branch declined to enforce. Now, the Supreme Court would probably rule "The Federal Reserve has been around for so long that it's kosher". Federal courts make similar arguments in income tax cases. "We won't consider the possibility that the income tax is illegal, because that would mean the government has been operating illegitimately for decades." Guess what, the US government *REALLY* has been operating illegitimately for decades; since 1913 or 1933, depending on how you count.

Of course, as an agorist, I'm thinking that I don't want to see the Federal Reserve reformed or abolished. I'd rather see the current economic and political system completely collapse, while a better replacement system is simultaneously nonviolently built.

On the Ron Paul Freedom Forum, SeekLiberty asks:

Who's going to pay for the private police force?

If you're able to avoid income taxes and government regulations, your productivity is raised by 50%-95% or more. You'll have plenty of extra money to pay for hiring your own police force.

You would hire a private police force. For example, suppose you are being investigated by the IRS. You tell your private police force that you have a problem. If necessary, they will bribe the IRS agent or find some other way to negotiate a favorable settlement. (It's risky to try bribing a red market employee directly yourself; if you're unskilled, you can wind up in bigger trouble.)

Of course, ideally, you'd like to be able to avoid the bad guys altogether. However, people could profitably form protection agencies for people who are having trouble with the red market. The key is to find a way to settle any tax problems before you find yourself in court. Is it immoral to pay some money under the table to get out of a big tax bill or jail time? When you consider that government itself is immoral, it becomes easier to do whatever is practical.

For example, in the present, many drug dealers pay the police to ignore them. Similarly, people working in the grey market can pay red market agents to ignore them, or let them off for a small fine.

In the present, the key is getting free market private police forces started. It will happen eventually. To facilitate things, it will probably be necessary to bribe some government policemen into looking the other way. In other words, you'd be bribing someone to behave honestly.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:

I need to write an essay on "transition economies" for a class. Do you have any ideas?

How about this: The USA actually resembles a communist dictatorship more so than a free market.

You could write about how, via the Federal Reserve, income tax, and government regulations, the USA underwent the transition from a free market in the late 19th century to being a communist dictatorship in the present.

In that same thread:

That is interesting, but my professor wouldn't view that as a suitable essay.

I see; your professor wants you to regurgitate the lies he taught you. This discussion illustrates one of the problems with state-sponsored education. If you tell your economics professor that the USA is actually a communist country, you're sure to get a failing grade.

How about the privatization in the former USSR? It basically was a loot and pillage operation by the former Communist party insiders, instead of truly turning over state operations to the people.

In fact, I heard that Gorbachev reassured the Politburo: "Don't worry, we can change our economy to 'capitalism' and the handful of you will still control the economy."

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:

What would a bankruptcy of the USA look like?

The USA already declared bankruptcy! When you talk about the bankruptcy of the USA, you should use the past tense!

The bankruptcy of the USA occurred in:

- 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve
- 1933 when Roosevelt defaulted on the ability of US citizens to redeem their dollars in gold, and demanded that US citizens turn over their gold for worthless paper
- 1971 when Nixon said that foreign central banks could no longer redeem their dollars for gold

Honorable mention: in 1929, when the Federal Reserve sharply contracted the money supply after years of money supply expansion, causing the Great Depression. This enabled the financial industry and large corporations to confiscate the property of many US citizens, when they were unable to come up with money to repay their debts. The Great Depression was a brilliant example of The Compound Interest Paradox in action.

In that same thread, someone asked:

Really, what would happen in a bankruptcy?

What would happen in a US bankruptcy?

Let's see.

All US citizens would be barred from owning land. All land would be formally in possession of the creditor. Everyone would have to pay rent (i.e. property taxes) for the land they thought they owned.

All US citizens would be required to pay 50% or more of their labor in income taxes. Income taxes are primarily used to service debt payments to the creditor.

All US citizens would be barred from using real money. In other words owning gold would be forbidden, or gold transactions would be so heavily taxed to make using gold as money impractical.

All US citizens would be subject to extensive regulations, designed to prevent them from successfully starting their own business.

All US citizens would be subject to extensive surveillance, to make sure that nobody was working without reporting their work for confiscation by the creditors.

The means of production would be seized by the creditors. In other words, a bunch of megacorporations controlled by the creditors would control the economy.

All US citizens would be considered property of the creditor. They would be required to wear seat belts so they don't injure themselves while driving. They would be barred from using drugs, which could impair their ability to work for the creditor.

All children would be required to accept brainwashing that makes them complacent with the bankruptcy. If parents refuse to allow their children to be brainwashed, the creditors' agents will seize the children and remove them from their parents.

That's what a US bankruptcy would look like. We are very fortunate that none of these things have happened yet in the USA, aren't we?

[In case your sarcasm detector is broken, all of the above have occurred already.]

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:

Could you make an anti-Federal Reserve advertisement that lasts only 30 seconds? That would be a useful grassroots thing to do to support Ron Paul.

I think you could very easily make an anti-Federal Reserve ad that lasts 30 seconds.

[In your typical campaign ad dramatic-sounding announcer voice.]

Should the government fix the price of oil? Obviously not.

Should the government fix the price of a car? Obviously not.

Should the government fix your salary? Obviously not.

Whenever the government tries to fix prices, it damages the economy.

Interest rates are the price of money. The government should not fix the price of money, just like the government should not fix the price of anything else.

The Federal Reserve fixes interest rates below the true free-market level.

Interest rates are the price of work in the present compared to work in the future.
When the Federal Reserve sets interest rates, it is literally determining the price of work.

When the Federal Reserve manipulates the Fed Funds Rate, the effects ripple through the economy.

Restore a free market. Abolish the Federal Reserve.

I'm not a flash wizard. If there's a flash wizard out there reading this, maybe you could put together such an ad.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:

How does deflation happen under a gold standard?

Sharp deflation only happens under a gold standard when banks collude. Even under a gold standard, banks can expand and contract the money supply by issuing more or fewer loans. The problem is that the large banks act as a cartel. Government regulation of banking prevents someone from opening a bank that breaks ranks with the cartel. Government regulation of banking prevents the banks from being forced into bankruptcy when they create a money supply contraction and a "run".

There is a famous example around 1890 when all the large banks colluded to stop issuing loans. The money supply shrank. Small farmers were unable to repay their mortgages lost their farms to the banks.

After the creation of the Federal Reserve, boom/bust cycles now have the full force of law. Before, there were some small regional banks that didn't want to collude. Under the Federal Reserve, small banks must follow the cartel-set interest rate.

The money supply contraction in 1929 was intentionally created by Federal Reserve cartel insiders, to force many Americans into debt and bankruptcy.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:

What's the immediate solution to unsafe toys on store shelves?

Eliminate "tort reform". Retailers should be fully responsible for what's on their shelves, if a customer is injured. Importers should be fully responsible for what they import. Management should be personally responsible, if the corporation has insufficient assets or insurance to pay the claim.

Seriously, if corporations and their management have no liability when the import poisoned toys, why should they care?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't miss your point, I ignored it (I have always been a windmill-tilter.) Here's another proposed amendment:

This constitution is hereby annulled. It shall not be replaced with a new constitution.

Aahz said...

re: anonymous' new amendment

If the constitution is annulled, then how can the provision that it not be replaced be considered valid?

Aahz said...

re: Somalia

The UN and US tried for years to install another government in Democracy, thus the warlords are all fighting to be in control of that government when/if it comes into existence. But the people and businesses of Somalia have peaceably gone about their business in the meantime.

Sources-
Anarchy Unbound @ Cato Unbound
Peter T. Leeson, “Better Off Stateless: Somalia Before and After Government Collapse” (PDF)
Peter T. Leeson, "One More Time With Feeling" (PDF)
The Law of the Somalis: A Stable Foundation for Economic Development in the Horn of Africa

I'm currently reading the last book in preparing for my continuing series on Somalia at Philaahzophy.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at realfreemarket.org.