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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reader Mail #24 - The Truth Whisperer

I liked this story on Techdirt about Antigua and its WTO dispute with the USA over Internet gambling.

Antigua filed a free trade dispute with the USA over the ban of online gambling. The US allows certain types of online gambling while banning others. Many offshore gambling sites are located in Antigua. Antigua filed a free trade dispute with the WTO and won.

Other countries were siding with Antigua, but the USA bought them off. The details of the bribe were unclear. Antigua still has a WTO ruling against the USA, but the US government's attitude is "Nyah! Nyah! Try and enforce it!"

I liked this post on Techdirt. A student caught the principal doing something inappropriate by taping it on his cell phone. The school responded by banning all cell phones.

If you're going to send your children to a government brainwashing center (i.e. public school), you SHOULD tape everything that happens around them!

I liked this post on Techdirt about Guitar Hero. Before Guitar Hero was published, a band signed a deal giving Guitar Hero permission to use their song in the game. Guitar Hero was MUCH more popular than anyone could have anticipated. The band is now suing Activision for a greater share of the royalties.

Since the dispute was between two large corporations, Activision and the band's label, the court made the correct decision. The judge ruled in Activision's favor.

I don't understand this lawsuit at all. I read that all the bands featured in Guitar Hero have seen a HUGE increase in sales due to their inclusion in the game. At this point, Activision should be charging bands for advertising in the game. Guitar Hero has a stronger brand name than most bands!

I liked this article on Techdirt about Dutch Auction IPOs.

In a traditional IPO, the IPO price is arbitrarily chosen by the investment bank. The investment bank typically gets an option to buy additional shares at the IPO price.

As is typical for the financial industry, this places the investment bank in a "conflict of interest" situation. The investment bank is supposed to be raising as much money as possible for its client. However, the investment bank also wants to make money for the clients to whom it sells the shares.

If a newly issued stock "pops" 2x or 3x on the day of the IPO, this is usually lauded as a "good thing". This actually is a disaster for the pre-IPO shareholders. It means that they sold a huge chunk of the company for only 1/2 or 1/3 of its actual fair market value.

Since the dutch auction cuts out the investment bank middleman, dutch auction IPOs are roundly decried as being stupid. It actually is a very smart decision by the pre-IPO shareholders.

In a dutch auction, suppose the IPO corporation decides it is going to auction 10M shares to the public. It accepts bids. It chooses the largest bid such that the 10M shares are actually sold. People who bid more than the actual IPO price wind up paying only the IPO price, just like if you place a buy limit $40 order for a stock that opens at $30, you only pay $30.

The daily opening price for stocks is chosen via a "dutch auction" process. The opening stock price is the price where the # of shares bought equals the # of shares sold.

Google's IPO was handled via a dutch auction. The shares did still run up after the IPO. Also, Google only auctioned off a small slice of the company at the initial IPO. They later sold additional shares after Google's price had run up. Notably, when Google was added to the S&P 500, Google sold a large chunk of new shares to index funds on the day Google was added to the index.

Google mismanaged its dutch auction IPO. You only could bid on shares if you had an account at certain brokers. There weren't as many bids as if Google conducted its IPO more efficiently.

If a corporation holding an IPO holds a dutch auction AND only auctions off a small slice of the corporation, this maximizes the value for the pre-IPO shareholders. After a public market for its shares is established, the corporation can issue additional shares at the fair market price.

Did you notice that I'm citing a lot of articles from Techdirt? Techdirt looks like a good RSS feed. It has a lot of articles and many of them are of a high quality.

I liked this article from Techdirt. A woman used a DMCA takedown against a YouTube video because it briefly included one of her photographs without permission. This sort of behavior falls under "abuse of copyright law".

I don't recognize intellectual property as a legitimate form of property. I don't bother with a copyright notice. Once you place something on the Internet, you really can't prevent people from copying it.

I don't mind if you copy bits or entire articles from my blog. However, I'd appreciate it if you linked back to my blog. I do get annoyed when I see someone copying bits from my blog without citation, but I'm not going to waste my time taking aggressive action.

I consider my actual message to be more important than copyright concerns.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Duke Nukem Forever has been the #1 vaporware product for many years in a row. Wired had to give it a "lifetime vaporware achievement award", so the #1 spot could be freed for something else.

At this point, it would ruin the joke if the game were actually released.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Someone created a site that ranked lawyers by ability, based on a statistical analysis of their performance in court. Such rankings are, of course, somewhat silly. On the other hand, if you say anything negative about lawyers, the usual outcome is that you wind up being sued. The judge ruled in favor of the lawyer-ranking website, but there was no mention of the amount wasted on legal fees.

As long as I say "all lawyers are leeches on the rest of society", I'm not in a position to get sued. Once I start criticizing specific lawyers, then I'm at risk for being sued!

I like this article in lowercase liberty. According to that article, the practice of abbreviating Christmas as Xmas originates from the Greek letter chi, which looks like an X.

I found this YouTube video interesting. It's a sarcastic "How to be a good citizen" documentary. Its main points are "Pay your taxes", "Borrow and spend", and "Don't ask embarrassing questions".

It got 150k views. That's impressive!

I found this article interesting. On sites like Digg, most of the Diggs are generated by 1% of the users. A rival website can pay the 1% most active users to come join their site instead. This applies to most "social networking" sites and sites like Wikipedia. Most of the useful content is generated by a small fraction of the users.

Google Analytics updated the tracking code you're supposed to use. I changed to the new version.

According to Google Analytics, a handful of people have visited my blog over 100 times! Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn't provide a way for me to know who.

I liked this post on Marginal Revolution. Whenever Ticketmaster puts a "hot" ticket for sale, it always immediately sells out. Most of the tickets are snapped up by bots placed by ticket brokers. The tickets then immediately appear at huge markups on sites like StubHub.

There's a CAPTCHA test that's supposed to prevent bots from taking up the tickets. How is the CAPTCHA test frustrated by the brokers? They hire people in India to take CAPTCHA tests for $2/hr!

The problem is that the concert vendors are mispricing their tickets. Instead of holding an auction, which would be fairer, they sell the tickets for a fixed price. They fear overpricing the tickets, which means the concert won't sell out. When they underprice the tickets, the difference shows up as profit for ticket brokers.

The only way to avoid ticket scalping is that the concerts should auction off the tickets, instead of selling them for a fixed, predetermined price. That's the only fair way to allocate concert tickets. That's the only method that doesn't frustrate fans and provide windfall profits for ticket brokers.

I found this article on Marginal Revolution interesting. It says that teenagers take too much risk.

Maybe the reason is that teenagers are forced to waste time in boring schools, and they need excitement to counterbalance it. If teenagers were treated like adults, then maybe this wouldn't be a problem.

I sometimes have dreams where it seems like someone else is there. They said "According to our calculations, you're making good progress. Everything is going to work out all right. Make sure you mention this in your blog."

YouTube now bans uploading videos over 10 minutes in length. This ban only applies to *NEW* accounts! If you have an old account, and previously uploaded a video longer than 10 minutes, you still are allowed to do so.

That makes no sense at all to me. It seems like those uncrippled YouTube accounts should sell at a premium! I'm surprised people aren't auctioning them off on eBay!

I watched this video on the Federal Reserve, from this article on lowercase liberty. This video is produced by the Mises institute and features Lew Rockwell.

Overall, the video is better than what's available from other sources. It's good beginner-level anti-Federal Reserve viewing material. Overall, it contained numerous inaccuracies and omissions.

One interesting quote was "Almost every major war has involved a departure from the gold standard." In other words, "War is the health of the state."

It doesn't mention the banking conspiracy at all. I don't understand why people are reluctant to mention the conspiracy and the Supreme Leader of Humanity.

Another interesting quote was "Increasing the money supply doesn't immediately increase prices. By the time the price increase occurs, other factors get the blame."

It didn't mention the role of income taxes. Income taxes and the Federal Reserve are two faces of the same evil. You can't criticize the Federal Reserve without mentioning income taxes. Income taxes and government regulations are the primary reason people don't boycott the Federal Reserve and use sound money instead.

This quote was also correct: "Artificially low interest rates send an improper signal to investors."

It didn't mention that insiders profited immensely from the Great Depression.

It mentioned President Roosevelt confiscating American's gold in 1933, but didn't emphasize how immoral and illegal this seizure was.

It didn't mention Kennedy's attempt to abolish the Federal Reserve.

The illustration of printing presses printing money is misleading. Most money is created electronically.

There was an interesting Ron Paul quote: "Congressmen don't really understand the way banking works." Congressmen and the President are intentionally kept ignorant about how the Federal Reserve truly operates.

Overall, I would only advise an absolute novice watch that video. Sometimes, I wonder if the Mises institute does more harm than good. After all, they are still professing a pro-State theory of economics. If I were making such a video, I would express more outrage than the people who made that video.

I sometimes wonder if people like Lew Rockwell are merely establishment shills. After all, they represent the "official" limits of mainstream though. Ideas more extreme than those aren't open for discussion.

This post on Overcoming Bias had an interesting quote:

"The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy's cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him."

In other words, if you're an anarchist, your actual goal has to be defeating the state. If you aren't really focused on this, you aren't going to succeed. That's the reason I like agorism. It's the only resistance strategy that has a nonzero chance of success.

I found this article interesting. It said that if you publish online in blog format, you learn a lot faster than when you publish in a journal.

If you publish online, you get immediate feedback. This can directly affect future articles quickly.

If you publish in a scholarly journal, it takes a long time period to get the article in print, and there's a further delay in receiving feedback.

I've seen this story widely circulated. A guy kept $400k in a safe in his home. The police investigated a burglary in his home. They found a small amount of marijuana and seized the $400k.

Now, the burden of proof is on the guy to prove the $400k was actually legal income. By default, the police get to keep the $400k and the guy is SOL for recovering his stolen property. Even if he attempts to sue the government to recover his stolen property, he can't recover his legal expenses if he wins.

What if, instead of $400k cash you had 500 ounces of gold? Would you be required to provide receipts to prevent the police from stealing it? Why is the burden of proof on the individual?

The problem is that the police seized the $400k without convicting the guy of a crime. When the police seize property, the burden of proof is supposed to be on the government to prove that the seizure was proper.

The actual solution is that some sort of underground banking system is desperately needed, for those of us who wish to conceal our savings from the bad guys.

I liked this post on the Austrian Economists. There was one interesting quote.

Never be concerned about a harsh criticism of your position, but always fear the weakest defense of it.

In other words, a phony anarchist or market anarchist is MUCH MORE dangerous than someone who comes out saying "There's no way society could be stable without a government."

I found this webpage to be pretty funny. As you probably heard, the UK has become quite the surveillance state. The country is full of cameras. A group of people have started going around vandalizing the cameras!

Some of these cameras are used to record traffic violations. I think those are the ones most heavily targeted.

I also liked the page of people putting up fake surveillance cameras!

I was confused by this YouTube video, in reference to the "Lisbon Treaty". A lot of people are upset that changes to the EU constitution were not put to a vote in the member countries.

By calling it a "treaty" instead of a "constitution", the "democratic" process have been circumvented.

I don't understand this at all. Does that mean that if a majority of the people vote to do something stupid, then it's acceptable? I don't get it.

It seems that these "anti-Lisbon treaty" protesters are being distracted from productive and useful protest methods, like agorism.

It seems that some of the EU rules are being changed. It used to be "The EU could change its rules only if member countries unanimously agreed". Now, a simple majority vote by the EU is enough to enact a law that is binding in the entire EU.

I liked this post on the Austrian Economists. Money represents a certain bond of trust among individuals. You perform work now, in exchange for money. You later trade that money for goods and services you want.

When government tampers with money, it breaks this bond of trust among individuals. Money is the way that individuals communicate about what work needs to be done. When government tampers with money, it tampers with this communication process.

The article also discusses Megan McArdle. I've identified her as a troll, and discuss her disinformation in an upcoming post. Apparently, she makes as many harmful contributions to Internet discussions of sound money as Edward Flaherty.

One troll point is: "If gold and silver are such great money, then why aren't people using it now?" The answer is taxes and government regulations. The evil power of government is strong enough to force people to not use sound money.

I suspect the bad guys are concerned that people will start communicating about sound money on the Internet, so they're dispatching trolls to flood the Internet with disinformation.

I've found this rule to be surprisingly helpful. If an article is cited, and that article begins with a 1-paragraph "abstract", then I know that article is garbage and not worth reading. Someone who writes with an "abstract" is writing in the brainwashed university professor style.

I liked this article on Technology Liberation front. Most software patents seem stupid to anyone who has any serious knowledge of software. The post gives other examples of similarly stupid patents in other areas. Could you imagine a "music patent", where someone patented using a specific rhythm? Could you imagine a "fiction patent", where a novelist patented a certain type of plot twist? Both of those patents are as foolish as software patents.

I liked this article about the NAIS, referred by American Awakening. Everyone who owns livestock is going to be required to register it with the government. The superficial reason for the regulation is "disease control". The actual purpose is to squeeze small farmers out of the market. As usual, the burden of regulation compliance falls higher on small businesses.

There have been a lot of blog posts about government deregulation of the media industry, allowing further consolidation and conglomeration. I don't understand why this is a big deal. With more consolidation, the mainstream media sources will lose even more credibility.

As long as the Internet continues to exist, I *WANT* mainstream "news" sources to be as biased and useless as possible.

I watched bits of "The Dog Whisperer". It's very easy to train dogs and people to be submissive and compliant. How do you train people to think independently? I was thinking "The Truth Whisperer" would be a cool blog name. However, people would misinterpret "Whisperer" as meaning "speaks softly" instead of "beats into submission".

The NFL network has a mini-scandal. In the most recent TV package, the NFL set aside 8 games per season and decided to broadcast them on the "NFL network". Two of this season's "hot" games were on the NFL network: Cowboys-Packers and Giants-Patriots.

The problem is that cable stations and the NFL are in a dispute over carrying the station. The NFL insists "We'll only allow cable stations to carry the NFL network if they agree to carry it all year." The cable stations say "We only want to carry the NFL network during football season. Why should we carry the NFL network in April and May?"

Some baseball teams have succeeded in creating their own TV network, such as the Yankees and YES. However, a baseball team broadcasts 150+ games over 6 months. The NFL only has 8 games on the NFL network, and no interesting content the rest of the time.

Both the NFL and cable stations have a monopoly. The effect is that a lot of people weren't able to see the Cowboys-Packers game, which was an interesting game. The NFL compromised and allowed this week's Giants-Patriots game to be broadcast on CBS and NBC, in addition to the NFL network. This means that any fans who paid extra for the NFL network wasted their money.

This should be the end of the NFL network. The NFL should get out of the broadcasting business and sell the rights to those 8 games to one of the other networks. It doesn't make economic sense for the NFL to have its own network and only broadcast a handful of games.

There's been a lot of discussion about Benazir Bhutto's murder.

The bit that has me stumped is "Who benefits?" The best reason I can think of was that she was "too honest". Maybe she was going to get elected and kick the US troops out of Pakistan?

Some people are speculating that someone will assassinate Ron Paul. I don't think this is likely, because elections are already fixed! Ron Paul's role is not to get elected President, but to raise awareness.

On Reader Mail #23, David_Z says:

Full feeds, have been enabled.

Apparently there is a glitch in wordpress that automatically inserts a 'more' tag into syndication feeds, even when "full text" is selected from the dashboard. Not previously a google-reader user, I had no idea. It has been amended with the applicable widget/plug-in.

It appears that WordPress, by default, only gives partial feeds. Francois Tremblay had the same problem.

Google Reader is really neat! I haven't used any other RSS readers, but I expect that Google has all the "common" features. It's really useful for tracking a bunch of blogs, especially when some of them are infrequently updated. I have a "Favorites" folder, and an "Honorable Mention" folder. I also keep a "Hitlist" folder of blogs that are currently under evaluation. Using Google Reader and the RSS feed is a lot better than having to go back to the blog homepage to check for updates.

Also, you can look at my "Google Reader Shared Items" for an idea of what blogs I consider to be interesting. Currently, I subscribe to two "blog aggregator" feeds, the "Libertarian Left" feed and Kevin Carson's Shared Items.

So you're quoting my concern about the plea bargaining system? (BTW, this post included the full feed.) Going back to the theme of tax resister insurance, one key feature should be raising the government's collection cost. If everyone accused of tax evasion refuses to plea bargain, you'll raise the government's collection costs and make it hard for them to prosecute many cases. If you're fraudulently accused of a crime, plea bargaining plays into the red market's hands. Only if you're appropriately insured, you can afford to fight and raise the red market's collection costs.

It's too late to say "reform government". It's time to say "What's the next model for organizing an economic and political system?"

On Reader Mail #23, Francois Tremblay says:

If you're dissapointed by the submissions so far (there are still three days left), then make an entry about it, asking people to submit their own entries. Only by making the Carnival known to the right people will we improve its quality.

I already did that in a previous Reader Mail post. I added some submissions of my own, even though they weren't formally submitted.

Is it time to post it now, or should I wait another day or two in case there are "late" submissions?

The Market Anarchist Carnival didn't provide me with any amazing insight that I don't get normally from the other blogs I regularly read. For example, you could say that my "Reader Mail" posts are a sort of mini-blog carnival, since I provide a list of interesting bits from other blogs.

I think there are some people who automatically submit a bunch of posts to a bunch of blog carnivals, even if they're off-topic. In my experience so far, I've participated in a few blog carnivals without attracting many readers. The two big ways to attract readers are:

- Someone on a more popular blog mentions one of your posts. I got a lot of traffic after being mentioned on I wonder if, from some people's point of view, I'm a "more popular blog"?!
- A bunch of people in less popular blogs linking to my stuff. This only generates a few extra visits per iteration, but if lots of people are doing it, this generates a lot of traffic. This is the "long tail" approach to attracting readers.

I've found that posting comments on other blogs and in discussion forums isn't worth the effort. Lately, I only post on other blogs if the article is particularly interesting. It's more productive to focus on generating content for my own blog.

On Reader Mail #23, gilliganscorner wrote a long comment:

I usually don't have the patience to write long comments in the "comments" box of a blog. I never can get the editing right.

When I respond in separate posts, then I get full editing capabilities.

If you didn't want to write all that in the comments section, you could have wrote a post on your own blog and provided a link! For all the effort you spent on that comment, you could have had a full post on your blog!

Thank you for taking the time to respond to what is a troll.

I only wrote "parts of one comment were troll-like". That's not the same as me writing "Everything you ever wrote was troll-like". You're subconsciously using The Strawman Fallacy.

Let me get something out of the way first. I like and respect your blog. In fact, you can count me as a regular reader. Why?

We share a number of postulations that you put forth in your blog:

* The Fed is Evil - I came to the same conclusion about the Bank of Canada, where their ability to monetize debt instruments I found frightening at first.

I only write about the Federal Reserve directly, because I live in the USA. All central banks everywhere in the world are the same. Canada, the UK, the EU, Australia, and Japan all have the same corrupt fiat debt-based money as the USA.

Even though I write from a USA perspective, the details apply to every country.

* The Compound Interest Paradox - I never had a good term for this, but I know exactly what it was prior to reading your article.

I've heard it also mentioned as "The Debt Virus". There's a book by that name. I didn't hear about it until after I wrote my Compound Interest Paradox post. I like my name better.

I've seen "The Compound Interest Paradox" mentioned on other blogs, with me cited as the original source. I'm planning to update my Compound Interest Paradox post on the 1 year anniversary.

* Income Tax is evil. - Absolutely a universal axiom to me.

Every country has a corrupt taxation system, not just the USA. In the USA, it never was the intention that the Federal government would control 40+% of the economy via income taxes. The total size of the economy controlled by the government rises to 99% or 99.9% when you consider all regulated industries. A large corporation is an extension of the government.

* The US is a communist society - Years ago, I had read the "Communist Manifesto" and the 10 planks ... and was startled when I read that Canada scored somewhere between 9 and 9.5 on those 10 plank definitions.

Some people say "The Communist Manifesto's Successful Implementation in the USA" was my best post.

When I was a student, a lot of people said wistfully "A communist society would be much preferable to the US system!" I never understood that, because communism sounds like an obviously stupid system. Now that I realize that's backwards. The USA really is a Communist country! Those people should have instead been saying wistfully "A free market would be much preferable to the US system!" They were tricked into believing the USA was the opposite of a Communist country, and therefore Communism would be a better system!

People getting together and "voluntarily cooperating" *IS* a real free market. "Sound money" is they way you measure "work performed for others" equals "work others performed for you".

In addition to the truths above, it flowed that the media corporations and the provincial education systems were duplicite and/or accomplices to ensure that you never learn about the truths stated above. The school system teaches you squat about finance, economics and monetary theory, right when you are prime to learn about such things. If they teach you calculus, finite math, and algebra, surely your mind can handle the "Compound Interest Paradox" - but of course you are not meant to learn that.

The compound interest formula is precalculus-level Mathematics. It would only take a few days to teach the Compound Interest Paradox in high school or an introductory college-level Economics course.

I read somewhere that most economics books treat "Keynesian Economics" as if it were "True Economics". Alternative philosophies like Austrian Economics are censored from most mainstream economics sources. Agorism is hardly discussed in universities at all.

Once you realize that there must be a massive coverup, you start thinking about the Supreme Leader of Humanity. If all these simple ideas have been covered up, the reason MUST be a MASSIVE CONSPIRACY! For all the mainstream information sources to be lined up in the SAME FALSE direction, SOMEONE has to be coordinating things! If it were true incompetence, there would be some people saying the truth and some people spouting nonsense. The only PLAUSIBLE explanation for this massive coordinated disinformation campaign is A MASSIVE CONSPIRACY!

At this point, the question is not "Does a massive conspiracy exist?" The question is "What is this massive conspiracy trying to accomplish?" I am *NOT* an insider to this conspiracy, yet I have figured out what's going on. For some bizarre reason, I haven't been assassinated. You might say "You're just some random schmuck blogger!" However, as more people read what I write, the knowledge will slowly spread. If the organizers of this conspiracy were THAT anxious to keep it a secret, they would kill everyone who starts to figure out what's going on.

They haven't hesitated to use such techniques in other circumstances. In some sense, I'm more "dangerous" than Benazir Bhutto, because I'm able to explain what's going on to other people. On the other hand, if what I'm doing fits in with their plan, they would leave me alone.

Since I understand these things very clearly, I find that they have served me well in understanding what is going on in the world today. However, upon reading your blog, I realized the evolution of my thought process with respect to taking it to the next level had stalled.

Your blog entries crystallized a pathway into the next level. Years ago, in university, I too read Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead", followed by "Atlas Shrugged". These books inspired my understanding as well. I remember particularly resonating with Hank Reardon's speech in the courtroom where he refuses to recognize the right of the court to try him and Rand's "Hymn to Money" in AS.

That is one of the benefits of the Internet. That enables people to share information effectively. If I had to publish my own print newsletter, it would not be economically viable. Further, it would be very hard to attract readers.

I'm almost wondering if "Atlas Shrugged" is nonfiction! Is it a blueprint for an agorist revolution? You don't have to go hide in the mountains somewhere. If you're an agorist, you can hide in plain sight! Does John Galt's zero point energy motor ACTUALLY EXIST!?

I would like to respond to some of the comments you made about trolling here:

"If I say "By FSK standards, your comment is trolling", maybe you should reexamine your thinking."

That would have been fine, provided that the phrase, "FSK standards, your comment is trolling" was hyperlinked to point to said standards. However, there is a widely held understanding of what trolling is - don't try to redefine it local to your blog without giving the commenter a heads-up.

For example, if you left a comment on my blog and I said:

"Your comment is retarded" or "Parts of your comment are retarded", would that initially not bother you? You might write back to me saying that you were bothered by it. If I responded to you, "Oh, by retarded, I mean pro-State thinking.", does that make sense, FSK?

Even better, come up with your own term. Something like "SETing" = State Embedded Thinking. For example:

"Your comment is SETing" or "Parts of your comment are SETing" - with a hyperlink that links back to a blog entry explaining what that is...your readers will appreciate it and say, if they are intelligent, "Hey, FSK is right. I gotta work on that".

I was thinking of making a glossary of my own terms. The best phrase is "Killing the cop in your head." or "Killing the State in your head." I think "pro-State trolling" will be the term I use. Yes, you were guilty of pro-State trolling.

Isn't that the greatest compliment you can be paid on your writings is it not? That you actually are enlightening, educating, and informing your readers? That is why you write your blog, is it not? To share your thoughts and develop a distilled reader base?

W.r.t your comment: You attributed to me that I said (paraphrased) "Big government is needed to prevent people from hurting themselves."

I never said that in my previous comment. What I said was:
"Should the government ever legislate policy to prevent people from making choices that hurt the environment?".

People usually act their own self-interest. They can prevent themselves, in general, from hurting themselves just fine. Well, except for people who smoke, but they do it as they don't perceive it is a health problem, until it their doctor tells them they have cancer. Then they quit.

Certainly no government is needed to uselessly legislate anything to keep people from hurting themselves. And certainly, the government is a failure at enacting and enforcing legislation that prevents people from hurting the environment. What I should have said was, "How would conflict be resolved and punishment enforced in a stateless free market? Would an arbitrating body need to be instated? If so, how would that mechanism work?"

If people had to buy free-market health insurance, then the cost of smoking would be more obvious. If your doctor said "Because you smoke, your premiums are $200/month higher", then you would take notice. With employer-paid health insurance, there's no screening by risk, and people don't see the true economic cost of their smoking habit. The State insulates smokers from the true cost of smoking.

In stateless justice, you would hire a police force for a monthly fee to protect your property. If your property is damaged, they would be responsible for making it whole and catching the injured party. In general, most courts would agree on who is the responsible party in most disputes. In cases which are unclear, a partial verdict could be awarded. For example, if the police can prove with 75% certainty that someone damaged your property, they would be required to pay 75% of the damages and your police/insurance would pay the remainder.

In a free market, insurance services and police protection would probably be bundled together.

It's very hard to say what true free market justice would look like, because it's never been tried. It would have to evolve gradually.

There would be two types of cases. There would be when someone else injured you, which is common/tort law. There would be when someone broke a contract, which is covered by contract law. The latter case is easy, because contracts would usually specify the court that hears the case. The case of robbery or injury is harder. Unless you can prove to any reasonable court that someone is guilty, it becomes very hard to collect from the criminal. This would be more efficient than the "reasonable doubt" standard applied by monopolistic government courts. In doubtful cases, partial verdicts could be awarded, with insurance covering the shortfall. The goal of free market justice should be "restore equity to the injured party" and not "punish the criminal".

I doubt that disputes would escalate to all-out war. If the police are a serious business, they would agree to absorb the costs instead of risking a dispute escalating. For example, the value at stake in a murder case would likely be around $5M. If the police are a $100M+ business, they aren't going to risk that over one case; they would pay out the $5M and write it off as a loss.

For environmental law, there probably would be courts that specialized in environmental law. The idea that a judge handles all sorts of cases, even when he's not an expert, is silly and counterproductive. In a free market, you WANT the judge to be an expert on the subject matter. In the current corrupt system, jurors who are experts in the industry are automatically excluded.

W.r.t your comment about CFLs being tossed in the garbage. I agree with you about the costs of people doing that being externalized to the state. You responded that, in a stateless free market, the garbage collector should get angry with you for doing so.

If the private garbage collector isn't held accountable for what he dumps in his privately owned land, will he care? If the garbage collector picks up 100s of tons of garbage a week, how does he process it to know who put what in what garbage bag? When he takes the garbage to his privately owned land and dumps toxic garbage on that land that might take years to seep into the water table and flow into his neighbors land, what forces mitigate that risk? In other words, in a stateless free market, how do you set up mechanisms to ensure that it becomes the private garbage collectors self-interest not to accept or dump toxic waste?

If your neighbors discover that you have dumped toxic waste that leaked, they would have a valid tort claim against you. You would be held personally liable for the damages. There would be no "limited liability" laws protecting you from losing your personal assets. Further, anyone operating a garbage dump would be subjected to inspections by anyone who wanted to verify that nothing toxic was being dumped. If your neighbor wanted to audit your garbage dump, he could pay the cost of an inspection, but if you were found to be dumping something toxic, you would be responsible for the cost of the inspection plus damages plus cleanup costs.

Probably, your neighbors wouldn't allow you to operate a garbage dump unless you subjected yourself to regular audits.

If you think about it just a little, you can see how a free market could solve anything. The government is not needed to do these things.

Next, When you say "People can't be trusted to individually make correct decisions." - I stand by that statement. However, that does not mean that I support the notion that there should be a government that enforces it. Essentially, what I know about most (not all) people is that (a) they will generally act in their own self interest and (b) in the absence of a strong moral and ethical value system, if they can get away with something that causes harm, without being held accountable for it, they will do it, driven by hedonistic tendencies.

Let me illustrate. Most of us would not kill a polar bear for laughs. That is a direct causal relationship most of us internalize and see as reality. However, most people (not me) would fly to Disney and mindlessly consume the entertainment there. Let's assume that doing so it creates a huge carbon footprint that causes polar icecaps to melt. Polar bears need ice to catch seals to survive. If the ice is gone, they starve and die. All of us, acting in concert, made a decision that caused the polar bears to die. However, since the cause/effect is so remote, no one takes responsibility for what they do, unless one has been (a) taught a strong moral and ethical sense with respect to their actions and (b) as a result, doesn't disregard that value system to indulge in the hedonistic urge to partake of the Disney experience.

Suppose that someone owned the right to hunt polar bears or owned the polar bears' habitat? In that case, that person would have a valid tort claim against people who destroy that habitat. At some point, people might decide it's cheaper to buy out that's person's claim, than continue to worry about global warming.

Polar bears aren't human. Should they be entitled to the same protections as people?

For example, suppose someone decides to organize a dogfighting club. Without a government, is that a crime? You can say "It's cruel to the dogs", but dogs aren't capable of making an injury claim in court. I find dogfighting objectionable, but do I have a right to ban other people from doing it on their private property? If I wanted, I could say "I disapprove of dogfighting. I refuse to buy products from them or anyone else who trades with them." However, it would be wrong for me to directly interfere with their dogfighting operation.

Common tort law implies that (a) there is a body that will maintain the law book and continue it's evolution, and (b) a body that will enforce punishment.

How is this addressed in a stateless free market? The government certainly isn't doing it and should be abolished (for many reasons besides this one) so I don't look to that as a solution at all.

There are some laws that are "obvious". You directly injure someone or steal from them, that's a crime. Almost everyone agrees about that.

If a law isn't "obvious", then is it really a crime?

There are a lot of things currently defined as crimes that aren't really a crime. Unless you directly injure someone else, you aren't committing a crime.

Standards would evolve over time. Maybe different standards would be applied in different areas? When you buy police protection, they would describe for you what behaviors they consider to be a crime.

You ask: "This is a very difficult decision. Should I tell someone when they are thinking like a fool, or should I not?"

Define fool. Most people, even intelligencia, do not define fool as a "pro-State thinker". Common convention dictates fool is a derogatory term without any real specifics. This goes back to my troll suggestion. Invent your own terminology and post a glossary of terms on your blog.

What does "intelligencia" mean? It almost seems like a fancy name for "fool"?

I'll use "pro-State trolling" as my definition for what you were doing. If you're "pro-State trolling", I consider that to be an indication that you aren't really understanding my writing.

I was thinking of making a glossary at some point. It's in my list of drafts somewhere.

My point is, if I comment on your posts and call you a fool without stating why, what are you to do with that other than be annoyed?

If you show your readership respect, they will return that a hundredfold to you. This comes from first hand experience.

I have taken "fools" that initially started out with inflammatory posts to my articles. I was patient with them and finally got them to concede to my points and state that they needed to review their thinking. As a result of treating that "troll" with respect and winning him over, a number of silent readers were impressed with that, said so, and were encouraged to ask me additional questions.

Guess what? I built a readership that way.

I try to be respectful. You're thinking about the Strawman Fallacy too much.

I was specific about what I didn't like. You had too much pro-State thinking.

How many regular readers do you have? I'm up to around 50/day. One concern I have about your blog is that too much content quoted from elsewhere, and not enough original content. My content here is mostly original.

I wonder if I've graduated from "F-list" blogger status to "D-list" or "C-list"?

I don't know what people who decline to comment are thinking. According to Google Analytics, my readership statistics are increasing. That doesn't mean my readership would be increasing faster or slower if I took a different approach.

Someone can always post a comment "anonymously" if they're worried about what I would say. I don't block anonymous comments.

By E-Mail, redpillguy says:

Do you have a good link to debunk this: (The Anarchist FAQ)

I don't have anything specifically dedicated to that. That's a big document! Can you be more specific?

I would list my "Agorism" posts as being relevant.

I looked at the "Anarchist FAQ" awhile ago, and it seemed like pro-State propaganda to me. I read a couple of bits and I rapidly concluded "Why am I reading this garbage?" I was disappointed that it didn't mention agorism at all, which I consider to be the "true" form of anarchy.

That's a common propaganda technique. If you have the "Anarchist FAQ" written by a bunch of fools, then anyone who considers anarchy rapidly says "Anarchy isn't viable; everyone who supports it is a fool."

By E-Mail, redpillguy says:

I thought maybe you knew of a specific stateless socialist anarchy vs. agorism page.

I'm debating a fool here:
.. before you say stop wasting time debating fools :) my purpose is to get to the bystanders, not the fool.
I specifically asked what the difference between his utopian stateless socialist anarchy, and agorism is, and he replied "private property".

Lately I've had my hands full with fools and trolls posting comments on my blog! I don't need to go out on the Internet to find fools; they're finding me! On my blog, they said they prefer to be called "pro-State trolls" instead of "fools".

I've become disgusted even with the Ron Paul Forum. It's been overrun by trolls and fools. I suspect that professional propaganda artists are heavy posters there, now that it's gaining popularity.

I haven't really studied socialist anarchy or the "Anarchist FAQ" that much. I read a little, and I rapidly concluded "Why am I reading this garbage?"

"Socialist anarchy" is as much of a contradiction as "free market Communism". Socialism implies using force to get people to give the product of their labor to others, i.e. government. Socialism is a pro-State philosophy.

There's already a name for "People get together and voluntarily cooperate". That's called a free market! Sound money is the way people value the work they have performed for each other.

This is one of the common flawed "fake anarchist" philosophies.

In the present, most property is actually stolen property. From this, people draw the false conclusion that private property is evil.

Private property is responsible for most of the progress in history. The idea that people could own their land and keep the fruits of their labor was a great invention.

Suppose a wealthy landlord puts of $1M of his own money to buy an apartment building worth $10M, borrowing $9M at 6%. This loan is subsidized by the Federal Reserve. The loan is at 6% while inflation is really 7%-15%. Is the landlord's property ownership claim legitimate? He only owns the apartment building because he received a government subsidy.

Even worse, suppose the wealthy person has contacts at the bank. In a year, he gets someone to re-appraise it for $15M when it's only worth $11M. The landlord refinances his loan for $13M, taking the surplus and investing it elsewhere. As long as the landlord can meet his interest payments, nobody knows that the property was over-appraised. The landlord has negative equity in the property he "owns". In a few years, inflation will make this loan seem *VERY* attractive.

Consider another example. A landlord buys property zoned for individual houses. Due to contacts on the zoning board, the landlord gets the property rezoned for apartment buildings. This increases the value of the land. Is the landlord's property ownership claim legitimate?

Due to the effect of taxes, negative interest rates, and government regulations, most property in the present is actually stolen property. Wealthy people receive more in government perks than they pay in taxes.

Besides, the CURRENT economic system is socialism/communism. The USA is a Communist country!

I attacked one of the main premises of that giant FAQ:
(my post)

I found a few more false assumptions while I scanned quickly:
- "Capitalism is dependent on constant growth" - only true with the Compound Interest Paradox in place, and with the emphasis today on corporate quarterly results
- something about the labor theory of value
- probably something regarding the fact that today, a true free market doesn't exist

I'd like to do a post on this, but it will take quite a bit of research, and I won't have the time the next few weeks. You may want to take it up.

Those links were broken. I registered for the forum and couldn't see them.

Actually, the US economy isn't growing. The US economy is shrinking! A better explanation is "Due to the Compound Interest Paradox, there must be continual money supply expansion." Inflation-adjusted GDP is reported using the corrupt and biased CPI, rather than M2 or M3, which are better measures of inflation. The official US government statistics misreport inflation as economic growth, because the CPI inflation index understates inflation.

I already wrote a post on the Labor Theory of Value. Summarizing, in a *TRULY* free market, a person's salary is proportional to the actual economic value of his work. This fails to hold in the USA, because the USA is not a free market. Discussing the Labor Theory of Value sure brings out the trolls, doesn't it!

Yes, there is no free market anywhere in the world.

Another point to mention is that direct measurable taxes are over 50%. If you include all indirect and hidden taxes, your true taxation rate is 95% or more!

BTW, for those of you who think I'm accusing everyone of trolling, redpillguy's comments are what I consider "good" reader feedback.

By E-Mail, redpillguy says:

Here's a summary of the discussion on another forum:

[FSK is paraphrasing]

The pro-State anarchist says:

People will work due to social pressure. People will voluntarily take care of each other.

Why should I be FORCED to take care of someone who refuses to work? The only force capable of doing that is a government. That's not anarchy.

The pro-State anarchist says:

Why do I have to keep defending my viewpoints from redpillguy?

Because you're a fool. If you keep saying stupid things, sensible people are going to keep pointing out you're a fool. If people only see fools advocating for "(false) anarchy", then people will think that all anarchists are fools. I prefer to call myself "agorist" instead of "anarchist", because I don't see too many phony agorists around (yet).

Also, agorism is better than "socialist anarchy", because agorism provides a strategy for defeating the state. If you want "socialist anarchy", that's the current system! A group of people are able to coerce others into working for them!

This is one of the reasons I prefer having my own blog. On an Internet discussion forum, one or more trolls can prevent sensible discussion. Here, I can't be "shouted down", even though a handful of people were saying "Please let us pretend we're thinking!"

Also, I knew that 4 people objecting loudly don't speak for my 50+ regular readers.

Another fool said:

The government was not the cause of the Katrina disaster.

Government violence prevents free-market aid organizations from developing. With free market police, the police in New Orleans would be *OBLIGATED* to take care of people in the event of a big hurricane. Monopolistic government police have NO OBLIGATION to help or protect you. Free market police would have a SPECIFIC obligation to protect their customers. Free market police in New Orleans would be expected to anticipate and plan for a big hurricane. If they failed, their customers would have a valid "breach of contract" complaint!

I can't sell free market police protection while government exists. People say "The government police I'm forced to pay via taxes are good enough." Also, if I developed a private police force of high quality, I would soon find myself shut down by the government. Government regulations and taxes prevent free market police agencies from arising.

I heard that, during Katrina, government police were DISRUPTING mutual aid associations that were spontaneously forming. When a group of people banded together for support, the police broke them up.

redpillguy also says:

Are you going to post it with links to the "socialist anarchy faq"?

If you have a specific part of the "pro-State Anarchist FAQ" you want me to discuss, let me know. I'm not interested in wasting my time reading garbage.

Yes, I'm going to put my commentary in my next "Reader Mail" post. I assume you don't mind, since I've done that before. If I'm going to compose a detailed response, I'm going to put it in my own blog.

I have another scheduled draft that's sort of relevant. I call it "The Mistakes Anarchists Make". I'll move it up in my posting queue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"There's been a lot of discussion about Benazir Bhutto's murder.

The bit that has me stumped is "Who benefits?" The best reason I can think of was that she was "too honest". Maybe she was going to get elected and kick the US troops out of Pakistan?

Maybe Bhutto's murder was a setup.
Daniel Estulin said that his Bilderberg spy told him that Bush was told to stand down on Iran. Perhaps this was so the US Military can go into Pakistan. Brzezinski's book "The Grand Chessboard" says that control of that part of Eurasia is very important because of its natural resources. Michael Ruppert believes that Uzbekistan has the world's largest untapped oil reserves. Indeed a google search will show that oil deals had been struck with Uzbekistan years ago. A cursory look at a map shows that the easiest way to get oil out of Uzbekistan is to build a pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan has been invaded, maybe Pakistan is next.

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