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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Reader Mail #26

I found this article in the Urban Dictionary about "concern trolls".

A concern troll says things like "We shouldn't discuss agorism, because the government might raid our house and arrest us."

This is very similar to what I now call "pro-State trolling".

I wonder if in addition to "Killing the cop in your head", you also need to "Kill the pro-State troll in your head"?

I liked this article on the Internet and network neutrality, referred by this article on Wirearchy. I also like this article on LinuxJournal.

The main point about network neutrality is that there are large corporations on BOTH sides of the issue. There are some large corporations that want to gut network neutrality, such as the telecom and media corporations. There are some large corporations that want to keep network neutrality, like Google and Yahoo. When huge quantities of money are spent on BOTH sides of a political debate, the usual outcome is that the debate is decided fairly. I expect network neutrality to survive.

If the Supreme Leader of Humanity didn't want the Internet to exist, he would have killed it a long time ago. It seems that "kill network neutrality" is the ONLY political issue where the bad guys don't get to win instantly.

A US nickel contains more than $0.05 of metal now. Technically, a nickel is actual real money, because its metal value is close to its face amount. Some people are hoarding nickels.

You can achieve the same result with less effort by buying silver or gold. US nickels will trade for close to their metal value, just like physical silver or gold.

The primary problem is that gold and silver investments are relatively illiquid. Due to government regulations, the transaction costs when you trade gold or silver are artificially high.

That's why I think some sort of underground banking system is desperately needed. I like what the "Full Reserve Banking website" was saying, on Gold and Silver Buyer's Guide. People should develop off-the-books gold and silver trading networks, so they can easily exchange gold and silver for Federal Reserve Points. The tricky part about investing in gold or silver is that you can't actually use them as money. You can't go into a store and buy something with gold or silver. Such a network must necessarily be off-the-books, due to the burden of taxes and government regulations.

If you invest in gold or silver, you're targeting an inflation-adjusted return of 0%. The really scary news is that may sincerely be the best investment out there!

I liked this post on the Picket Line. It refers to WWOOF, which appears to be a primitive agorist-style trading network. In only applies to small organic farmers. I'd like to see such a network develop for *ALL* types of skilled off-the-books labor.

"War tax resistance" places the debate in the wrong frame. Are you saying that the Iraq war is the *ONLY* thing the government does that you disapprove? How about "Tax resistance because I don't like other people stealing from me?" Isn't that a good enough reason?

I liked this post on Unqualified Offerings. Even though a poor person has a "right to an attorney", his public defender is likely overworked. The public defender probably won't have enough time to give full attention to the case.

Even worse, consider a middle class person frivolously charged with a crime. You're forced to spend $25k-$100k or more defending yourself. That expense is not recoverable, even if you are acquitted. Why should you be forced to give up your life savings, in exchange for a fair trial?

The prosecutor's salary is paid by the government. The prosecutor's salary is funded via money stolen from you via taxes. The government can afford to hire an army of prosecutors to ensure every silly law is enforced. In a trial, the resources of the defendant and the resources of the government/plaintiff are unequal.

Only a wealthy person can afford to pay the full cost of a trial without suffering economic hardship.

I liked this YouTube video of Bill Maher, referred by Shagya Blog.

You can't call yourself a "think tank" if all your ideas are stupid.

I liked this post on Marginal Revolution.

The desire to appear unbiased leads to information loss.

When a news source attempts to appear "unbaised", it loses a lot of its information content. Wikipedia suffers the same problem in its coverage of controversial topics. Its "neutral point of view" policy prevents it from fairly covering certain topics. An ideal "neutral" article would be the concatenation of a strong description of each position.

I am, in my own sense, unbiased. I'm posting my actual logical conclusions based on my observations. When I point out that someone is a "pro-State troll", I only say that because it's true.

The "neutral point of view" policy means that a mainstream news source will never say things like "All forms of taxation are theft!"

I consider the "I am Legend" movie to be nonfiction. The "virus" that has nearly wiped out humanity is the State, and pro-State brainwashing. What are the people with "natural immunity" going to do about it?

David Z is copying my "Reader Mail" post format. He isn't the first other blogger to do so. If I believed that intellectual property was a legitimate form of property, I should have patented it! I guess you should be glad I started doing it before someone else.

Can you imagine some corporation coming up with that idea and patenting it? "A technique for responding to feedback in an original post instead of in a comments section." I can imagine a patent office examiner granting the patent. I probably should to hire a lawyer to fill it with lawyer-language so that the full description takes 10 pages.

David Z talks about "KipEsquire", who appears to be a Libertarian Red Market Agent. I looked at KipEsquire's blog briefly, and my immediate reaction was "Why I am reading this garbage?" KipEsquire is one of those fools who says "History discredited a gold standard."

If you're having a problem with a pro-State troll, I'm usually willing to help.

David Z complains that a professor at Harvard is advocating for stupidity. One professor was advocating for a repeal of the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms. I bet that professor received a huge research grant for writing that paper! I don't understand why David Z is surprised that a government-funded "research" university is a biased information source. A government-funded "research" university is essentially an extension of the government.

It's nice to see that David Z understands what's its like to respond to someone who's a complete fool. If I educate the least hopeless "pro-State trolls", then maybe they can in turn help other people.

I liked this article on the Sophistry about the Chinese government infiltrating the NSA. They set up a Chinese-English translation service and got an NSA contract to do translation.

On the other hand, maybe the NSA knew they were really Chinese government spies and intentionally fed them false information!

I liked this article on the Agitator. It's about the NBC "To Catch a Predator" series.

If you solicit underage sex online, you're MORE LIKELY to be soliciting sex from a cop than from a child. I wonder if that applies to adult prostitution as well?

I remember someone once said that the cops who conduct sex sting operations are the BIGGEST PERVERTS of all. You really have to be a shady and unscrupulous character to pretend to be offering someone sex online, only to arrest them. The joke is that the victim isn't guilty of soliciting sex from a child. He's guilty of soliciting sex from an undercover cop!

Here's another post on the Agitator about an undercover sex sting. The whole concept of police baiting people into committing crimes seems wrong to me.

That reminds me of the story of a guy who was busted for selling a sawed-off shotgun to an undercover cop. For a reason I don't understand, sawing off a shotgun too much is a crime. The victim claimed that he sold a legally-sawed shotgun, and the cop further sawed it after he sold it.

I like the this article on the Agitator about William Kritsol joining the NY Times. I've seen this article cited on many sources, and my attitude is "The NY Times hired a new propaganda artist. Why is this interesting?" I don't consider the NY Times to be a legitimate information source, so why should I care who writes for them?

I liked this quote:

It also means the roster of Times columnists will now run the full gamut of political opinion—from big government liberals (Dowd, Krugman, Herbert) to big government conservatives (Brooks, Kristol), to big government moderates (Kristof, Friedman). Sadly, I think we’ve reached the point where many people, particularly in journalism, really do believe that this is the fullest possible range of respectable political opinion.

In other words, political debate involves discussing in which direction the government should be enlarged next.

I liked this post on to Herd or not to Herd, in reference to this post regarding a potential assassination attempt on Ron Paul.

I seem to be coming up in the journalistic world. My post concerning the threat of assassination to Ron Paul has triggered my first ever anonymous tip - and within a mere matter of minutes. Be advised that I have no way whatsoever to confirm this rumor or the identity of my anonymous source - it could be true, or it could be disinformation - so take it for whatever it may be worth.

My mysterious tipster tells me that there is a rumor inside the Beltway that during a recent PDB, or Presidential Daily Briefing, the subject of Ron Paul was raised. The rumor goes that President Bush made a comment about Ron Paul becoming President, and Vice President Dick Cheney snapped, "If he gets too close, we will just kill the son of a bitch."

An assassination of Ron Paul isn't going to happen. That would radicalize his supporters TOO QUICKLY. He may even make it to 30%-40% in the primaries, but that isn't enough to get the Republican nomination. Elections are fixed. Ron Paul's role is to raise awareness, not to get elected.

I liked this article on Overcoming Bias. A study showed that increased spending on medicine does not lead to an increase in the quality of medical care. The problem is that almost all medical research is biased. Drug companies, by selectively deciding what research results to publish, can make neutral or harmful drugs seem beneficial.

The government absolves the pharmaceutical industry from responsibility if they sell a drug that later turns out to be harmful or not helpful. If there are no negative consequences, why not commit fraud?

Even worse, most of the "scientists" working for drug companies are themselves shoddy scientists. These "scientists" sincerely believe they are performing real research, which helps perpetuate the fraud.

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. It is about statements that would have seemed ridiculous 100 years ago are considered common knowledge now.

  • There is an absolute speed limit on how fast two objects can seem to be traveling relative to each other, which is exactly 670616629.2 miles per hour. If you hop on board a train going almost this fast and fire a gun out the window, the fundamental units of length change around, so it looks to you like the bullet is speeding ahead of you, but other people see something different. Oh, and time changes around too.
  • In the future, there will be a superconnected global network of billions of adding machines, each one of which has more power than all pre-1901 adding machines put together. One of the primary uses of this network will be to transport moving pictures of lesbian sex by pretending they are made out of numbers.
  • Your grandchildren will think it is not just foolish, but evil, to say that someone should not be President of the United States because she is black.

I've got some predictions:
  • Your grandchildren will know that all forms of taxation are really theft.
  • Your grandchildren will think people were stupid for having a "government" and giving it a monopoly over police power and making laws.
Sometimes, Overcoming Bias has a topic that don't make sense. It talks about "Bayesian reasoning", where a group of people assign truth values to various statements and compare notes.

For example, I say "I am nearly certain, with probably 1.0, that all forms of monopolistic government are bad and need to be eliminated." If you say "I am nearly certain, with probability 1.0, that the US government is legitimate.", then we have arrived at a contradiction and there's no point trying to communicate. At this point, I'll point out that you're a "pro-State troll" and you'll get disgusted and leave. If you say "I'm not sure if the US government is legitimate or not", then maybe I can help you.

Bayesian reasoning doesn't work when one person assigns a truth value of 1.0 to a statement and another person assigns a truth value of 0.0 to that statement.

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias about "Every cause wants to be a cult." Maybe I should *START* a cult. That's where the real money is, according to L. Ron Hubbard. Can you be a "cult" without abusing the people around you?

I liked this post on Colliding Softly. If you had to rank all mainstream political philosophies on a "hypocrisy scale", the libertarian/minarchist position is the MOST hypocritical. When neo-conservatives loot and line their pockets, that shouldn't be a surprise. Libertarians have an unrealistic fantasy that the size of the government will be magically curtailed by voting, when the size of the government has been steadily increasing.

I liked this post on "Who is IOZ?" about identity theft. Why is your social security number and credit card number your "identity"? Why is someone who knows a bunch of numbers allowed to steal and pin the blame on you?

One problem with identity theft is that when the corporation tries to collect the fraudulent debt, they are immune from negative consequences of aggressively collecting a false debt. The identity theft victim is "presumed guilty until proven innocent".

I liked this article. Debt and fear of deportation are used to keep illegal immigrants working in slave-like conditions.

I liked this article, just for this quote:

The problem with string theory is that it makes no falsifiable predictions, scientists being unable to find two Universe-sized objects that you can crash into each other.

I liked this article on using algae to produce oil. According to the article, this generates 15x as much oil per land as other biofuels. The algae can be directly fed CO2 from smokestacks.

I liked this article by Wenchypoo on the Amish and their customs and rules.

The interesting thing about the Amish is that they have some customs that are brilliant and others that are nonsense.

Their total refusal to use modern technology seems silly. They sometimes "workaround" this by renting or borrowing modern tools from others.

The refusal to be "on the grid" in terms of electricity or telephones also seems silly to me.

Due to an increase in the price of land, a lot of them have abandoned farming for other businesses.

Formal education beyond the 8th grade is forbidden, except for vocational training. This is a good idea. Most state-sponsored schooling is a waste. If you're taught well, you can learn a lot of college-level stuff by the 8th grade. Also, having children waste less time in school reduces the economic cost of children.

They are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes, but not other income taxes. This makes no sense to me. Why should the government grant this perk to a special group of people? Of course, if they were forced to pay these taxes, their lifestyle would not be economically viable. I read elsewhere that this perk arose from public outrage when the IRS tried collecting Social Security and Medicare taxes from the Amish.

If a business grows too large, they will sell it. IMHO, without "limited liability" and other laws that favor corporations, there is a natural limit to the size of a business.

Another interesting point: If women are expected to spend a lot of time raising children, is it appropriate for them to receive substantial business training? If you take into account years spent out of the workforce, that may not be an economically sensible practice.

I liked this article on Overcoming Bias. When multiple economics professors author a paper, the author list is always sorted by name. This provides an undue advantage to people with a name that occurs earlier in the alphabet. This leads to a bias in the name composition of faculty, to the extent that names earlier in the alphabet are overrepresented.

I liked this quote on Life, Love, and Liberty:

People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have corpses in their mouths.

I like the image of people walking around with corpses in their mouths.

Someone showed me the "Angry Video Game Nerd" videos. I think I could make videos of equal quality based on my blog's content. Sometimes, excessive swearing helps get the point across.

I enjoy the Federal Reserve as much as I enjoy **** coming out of my ****ing ****.

I try to avoid swearing when I write here.

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. It summarizes an aspect of why voting is pointless. If you view political philosophy as a linear spectrum, the incentive is for each candidate to drift his personal position towards the median voter. If one candidate deviated from the median, the other candidate could just move his position an capture a greater share. This guarantees that the two candidates from each party will be practically identical.

Since third parties are shut out, there's no alternative for voters at one of the extremes. They just have to vote for the candidate whose opinions most closely represent their own, i.e. "the lesser evil". If they vote for a 3rd party candidate, they're "wasting their vote".

I no longer consider voting to be a valid means for establishing the legitimacy of a government.

I found this article on preventing draws in chess to be amusing. I lost interest in chess. At the expert level, chess is a memorization contest. You need to have memorized all the possible openings and move sequences. Re-deriving them "at the table" is way too hard.

The best solution I ever read to preventing draws in chess was not mentioned. You should randomize the starting position. The initial position of the 8 players on your back row should be randomized at the start of the game. To be fair, you should give each player a chance with white from the same starting configuration. This would nearly eliminate the benefit players receive from memorizing openings.

If that step still wasn't enough, you could switch to a 10x10 or 12x12 board, increasing the complexity.

I liked this article on Show Me the Law. Megan McArdle says "The income tax is fully legal!" The really amusing bit is that Megan McArdle used to blog under the name "Jane Galt". That's insulting to Ayn Rand. It seems like every interesting political or economic idea gets dragged into the mud by fools claiming to represent it. Libertarian red market agents are the worst type of pro-State trolls.

Based on what I've read, "The income tax is legal" is a grey area. The best argument in favor of "The income tax is legal" is "The people who control the most guns say the income tax is legal."

The arguments against the legality of the income tax are:
  • The 16th amendment was fraudulently declared ratified.
  • In the early 20th century, "income" was defined as dividends, rents, and corporate profits. Income and wages were considered different at that time.
  • The income tax violates other provisions of the Constitution. There still is a ban on "involuntary servitude", but the income tax *IS* involuntary servitude. I'm forced to give a percentage of all my work to the bad guys. I need permission from the red market in order to work. I need permission from the Federal Reserve in order to work.
  • Why should I be required to disclose all economic activity to the red market, in order that I can be taxed on it? The amount of work I choose to do is none of the government's business.
Of course, if you are accused of tax evasion by the IRS, you are BANNED from making any of these arguments in court.

Arguing the legality of the income tax is entirely missing the point. The point is that the income tax is IMMORAL.

I liked this post on American Awakening. Massachusetts passed a law saying that everyone is *REQUIRED* to have health insurance. If you don't have health insurance, you have to pay a hefty fine.

Of course, this law is corporate welfare for insurance companies. Due to regulation, there are only a handful of insurance vendors. They now have an oligopoly backed up by government violence.

Many of the proposals circulated for "universal health care" are actually plans where "being uninsured is illegal".

It is too risky to go without health insurance. If you are uninsured, the "full price" for a hospital visit is over $2k/day. An insurance company will negotiate to pay only 1/5 or less of that. If you are uninsured, you pay "full retail price" for medical care.

I liked this post on Devil's Kitchen. It had a bunch of interesting quotes.

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”

It sounds like someone is advocating for agorism.

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy … would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

In other words, zero point energy technology must be suppressed!

I see a bunch of bloggers who write a post claiming to have surveyed their readers and have discovered "The best political bloggers of 2007". Someone correctly pointed out that all you accomplish with such a survey is "Favorite blogs among people who read your blog."

This post on the Picket Line referred to a tax-resistance play. My overall reaction to reading the play was "This play is a pro-State troll"! It seems like a lot of the people who advocate for tax resistance have other serious undesirable characteristics. This play was on a "Holocaust denial" website.

This post on Overcoming Bias was missing the point of the Voting Scam.

Sending a message to select 1 out of 300 million possibilities requires 29 bits. So if you vote in only the general election for the Presidency, then some mysterious force narrows the election down to 2 out of 300 million possibilities - exerting 28 bits of decision power - and then you, or rather the entire voting population, exert 1 more bit of decision power.

No, an election conveys 0 bits of information, because elections are fixed.

To my astonishment, the author says "There is no conspiracy." Why not? Why is the author assigning a truth value of 0 to "There is a conspiracy."? Why is it considered inappropriate to say "Maybe there is a conspiracy"?

There's no point in discussing "voting strategy". Why not say "voting is irrelevant"? If all forms of taxation are theft, then no amount of voting can establish the legitimacy of a government.

I also didn't like this article. What right does the government have to ban me from buying a Hummer? If you don't like the fuel inefficiency, place a tax on gasoline or the Hummer itself. Outright banning their manufacture seems silly to me.

I liked this article. Most laws are written by the Supreme Court and bureaucrats in the executive branch. Very few members of Congress write laws directly themselves.

That article makes a mistake. It says voters only have two powers. They can vote for one party instead of the other. If the get *REALLY* angry, they can form a third party. People have a third option. They can say "I'm going to try to avoid paying taxes and avoid supporting an illegitimate government."

That article made another interesting point. Historically, the standard of living of the average person was directly proportional to how plausible the threat of revolution was.

I liked this post on Master's of the Universe. It said that one key strategy for a professional trader is to find someone who's a loser and do the opposite of what they do. As an example, he asks some doctors what stocks they own, and shorts them. His reasoning is that doctors have an inflated sense of ego, due to their status as pink market workers. Doctors earn their huge salaries from a massive government subsidy, the restriction of the supply of doctors, rather than skill. Therefore, they falsely assume they're also brilliant stock pickers. Therefore, doing the opposite of whatever they're doing must be a winning trade.

For my personal spin on this, everyone on CNBC seems to be saying "Don't buy bank stocks right now." My conclusion is "It must be a good time to buy bank stocks."

I liked this post on Marginal Revolution. I never realized that airlines received such direct government subsidies? Why is the government paying the airlines to run mostly empty flights?

I liked this article on the Long Tail. The average obscure author should not be concerned about people stealing your work without paying. The average obscure author should be concerned about his obscurity. Unless you're already famous, you gain more by giving away your work for free, just to attract an audience.

Besides, I don't recognize intellectual property as being a legitimate form of property.

I liked this post on Fire Megan McArdle. Vegetarians get so uptight about "inhumane conditions for animals raised for food". What about inhumane working conditions for the PEOPLE who pick crops? Isn't the latter problem far more serious than the former? How many cow's lives are equivalent to one human life?

I noticed that I have way too many blogs in my Google Reader "hitlist". This is the list of blogs that I am considering "promoting" to my regular reading rotation. It is time for a pruning! The bad news is that I have too much "stuff" in my hitlist. The good news is that the stuff that makes the cut will hopefully be of a high quality!

I found this post at Overcoming Bias to have one interesting point. The post was about "the value of reader comments on a blog". An economics professor at Harvard famously disabled all reader comments on his blog. He said that he didn't have time to read/censor and enforce good behavior. IMHO, the economics professor couldn't handle the serious questions raised by his readers.

My attitude is "Why is an economics professor at Harvard considered to be an authority on economics?" Just because you have a license from the government to think, doesn't mean you're actually qualified to think! IMHO, posts like A Commodity Price Volatility Calculation and Real GDP Growth Has Been Negligible Since 1990 are better than most serious academic economics papers.

My approach to reader comments is working for me so far. On the other hand, I don't have 100+ comments per day (yet). I think reader comments are valuable, because a direct response to a question is more useful than a monologue. Even though I'm pointing out the "pro-State trolls", that doesn't appear to be deterring people from commenting.

University professors are used to intellectual intimidation, rather than a serious discussion. It's really no surprise that the economics professor banned reader comments on his blog.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Microsoft has patented the idea of having an online "wishlist" that spans multiple online stores. Software patents are silly.

I should have patented the idea of having "Reader Mail" posts! Unfortunately, I don't recognize patents as a valid form of property. I wonder if someone else is going to patent the idea, and sue me to get me to stop doing it!

I was really disappointed in last week's 1 vs. 100. They spoiled the whole show! By mentioning in the opening credits that the guy was going to win $1M, they ruined the suspense!

I liked the way they fixed the rules. The player is getting the correct odds to continue, at least until $100k or $250k. IMHO, surviving mob members should get something if the player decides to quit the game and take the money.

The local newspaper's coverage of the Iowa caucus was interesting. They mentioned the top candidates, who got 13+% of the vote. They mentioned Giuliani, who received 3% of the vote. Ron Paul was not mentioned at all. With 10% of the vote, he should have been mentioned at least once in the article.

In his most recent post, redpillguy had a huge error.

today the average bracket is something like 25%

Redpillguy completely forgot about the 15% Social Security and Medicare tax. That brings the direct marginal Federal taxation rate to 40%, for a typical middle-class income. If you add in the inflation tax and all the other hidden taxes, your true taxation rate may be 95% or more!

Also, it's misleading for redpillguy to say "Laws benefit corporations". A corporation is an abstract fictional entity. It's as meaningful to say "Laws benefit Santa Claus". A more accurate statement is "Laws benefit the wealthy people who own and control corporations".

By E-Mail, a reader says he was having a problem with professional trolls on a car discussion forum.

The reader gives evidence (unverified by me) that they are professional trolls. He said that the professional trolls have made no car-related posts. They exclusively post on political discussions. The reader says that car discussion forum is sufficiently popular that it would be a reasonable target for professional trolls. It's very easy to assume multiple online identities and troll multiple forums, especially if it's your full-time job.

It seems that this reader is pissing in the wind. On that forum, he is outnumbered by trolls and fools. For the same amount of effort, he could have made several good posts on his own blog. It's not clear if he accomplished anything.

On a discussion forum, it's very easy for one sensible person to be shouted down by a handful of trolls. With my own blog, it's much harder for trolls to be disruptive. Lately, my blog has enough traffic that I feel writing good content is more productive than actively seeking readers.

Assuming there actually was professional-quality sabotage on that discussion forum, the troll pattern is one I haven't discussed before. There were three types of posters:

- reader X, who was giving a strong defense of the truth
- troll A, who was giving a weak defense of the truth
- troll B. Troll B was primarily attacking troll A. By the Strawman Fallacy, reader X's points were also discredited.

Troll A and Troll B were actually multiple people, but I'll combine them for the purposes of my discussion.

The interesting bit is that people who were superficially agreeing with reader X, were actually acting to undermine him. Saying that there was only one professional troll in the discussion is probably an understatement!

On the other hand, those people may have been truly clueless. People who call themselves "economists" or "journalists" tend to be very stubborn when it comes to a non-standard political or economic discussion.

reader X said:

WW1 was caused by the elite in the British empire trying to prevent Germany from building a railroad to Iraq for carrying oil. It was supposed to pass through Austria, so they paid some Serbs to assassinate Franz Ferdinand.....

I hadn't heard that explanation for WW1 before. Another thing that WWI accomplished was that it destroyed the international gold standard system of trade.

Troll B made one interesting troll point:

Of course, you haven't brought out the Zionist Jews connection yet, nor the 911 truth video, nor the Trotskyist neo-cons...

This is a direct appeal to the Strawman Fallacy.

reader X said something inaccurate:

You have to understand that the so-called free trade agreements are really designed to benefit the multinational corporations by means of unfair tax breaks

A corporation is an abstract fictional entity. It can neither receive benefit or injury. What is really happing is that the wealthy elite who control the corporations are receiving the benefit.

This story by reader X was interesting:

An American farmer near the Canadian border was sued by Monsanto Corp which was right across the border. Monsanto claimed the man was stealing their genetically engineered crops. The farmer said it was just the wind blowing their seeds over, and actually considered them weeds. A NAFTA court ruled that against the American farmer, and ordered that he burn his crops and seed stocks. Seed stocks of course, are cultivated by farmers for years and is their livelihood. So of course, he was wiped out.

I'd heard of this sort of thing before. Pollen from genetically engineered crops gets released into the wild. It contaminates the crops of organic farmers. The company that genetically engineered the crop then sues the farmer for stealing their intellectual property. Really, the farmer has a valid claim against the corporation for polluting his crop with their pollen.

This sort of court ruling effectively makes organic farming illegal. You can't be sure your seeds weren't polluted by genetically engineered pollen. At any time, such a farmer is at risk for being wiped out in a lawsuit.

There was another interesting point by reader X:

The WTO also requires that member countries have a fiat, non-asset based currency, with a private central bank modelled after the Fed, which reports to the IMF.

These international treaties are the reason that every country everywhere has an unfair monetary system and taxation system. There were a few countries that tried to hold out, but their leaders were infiltrated or overthrown. According to WTO and the IMF, third-world countries are BARRED from using sound money. It is illegal for a country to use gold or silver as money.

I liked this quote by Troll B:

The people spouting these "conspiracy theories" are themselves organizing a conspiracy to sell books.

Reader X's response was:

You're willing to believe in small conspiracies involving a handful of people, but not a huge conspiracy to control the whole world's resources?

Most people have as an axiom "There does not exist a massive conspiracy to control and enslave the entire world." If that is one of your assumptions, there's no point in discussion.

The "Occam's Razor" explanation argues IN FAVOR of a massive conspiracy. Is it more likely that the current corrupt system arrived due to a series of bad decisions, or that the current corrupt system is part of someone's plan?

I consider this to be an instance of the Grand Conspiracy Experiment. If you were organizing a massive conspiracy to control people, wouldn't you condition people to dismiss anyone who suggests such a conspiracy as being insane?

Suppose you assign a small but nonzero probability of such a conspiracy existing? If you're concerned about the possibility, wouldn't you want a complete and thorough proof that no such conspiracy exists? It turns out that, the more you research, the more you realize that there's a ton of circumstantial evidence. There's no single smoking gun, although the Federal Reserve, income tax, and the Compound Interest Paradox come pretty close. When you combine all the bits of information, then it's almost as if the Supreme Leader of Humanity walked up to you and introduced himself!

There's another interesting aspect of conspiracy talk. The more wealth and education/brainwashing a person has, the more likely they are to say "no conspiracy exists"! The people who stand to lose the most when the current economic and political system collapses are the ones most in denial about what is occurring! In a certain sense, that is extremely fair.

Reader X made another inaccurate statement:

The paradox is broken IF the expenditures of the banking system is greater than or equal to the total interest payments. HOWEVER, the cost of the banking operations CANNOT possibly be > 5-10% of GDP, which is what the interest on loans cost.

That is false. Under the current economic system, the Compound Interest Paradox operates with the full force of law. Even if the financial industry happened to lose money in one year, the Federal Reserve would bail them out with an interest rate cut. Next year, they would start making money again.

There is no escape from the Compound Interest Paradox unless you boycott the Federal Reserve. As much as possible, you should use sound money. As much as possible, you should avoid paying income taxes. If you do come into possession of Federal Reserve Points, you should try to immediately trade them for gold or silver or other tangible assets.

Troll B says:

I can do the math for you, demonstrating the Compound Interest Paradox does not exist.

Reader X correctly pointed out that I did the math illustrating the Compound Interest Paradox is real.

Troll B says:

Stop calling me a troll!

This is an effective tactic. On a public discussion forum, shouldn't everyone's opinions be respected? I like a blog format better. Here, I don't have to respect the opinions of fools!

If you point out that someone else is a troll, this turns things around. The person who calls out the troll is now the bad guy, and not the troll himself.

A better discussion forum engine needs to be written. This way, posts by good people can be highlighted and troll posts can be ignored. IMHO, Google Reader's "shared items" feature and "feed aggregators" accomplish the same goal. It's a way to directly filter for content selected by people with interests similar to yours.

I was wondering: Does anyone subscribe to my "Google Reader Shared Items"? I set it up, but I don't know if anyone is using it! "Sharing" a blog post is a good way of measuring how much a like that blog.

Troll A says:

Firstly, and most importantly, the banks do not directly own everything. They do not own assets that I own, such as stock, my car, my house, or the dollar bills, physical or virtual, in my accounts. This is blatantly obvious, so why is a theory that is contrary to observable reality being put forth as fact?

The same people who own and control the banks own and control most large corporations. The ownership is not directly in the hands of the banks themselves. The ownership is in the hands of people controlled directly or indirectly by bankers.

If I wanted to raise $10 billion to make a hostile takeover, could I? Of course not. Can certain politically connected people raise $10 billion for a buyout? Yes. Due to the Federal Reserve interest rate subsidy, anyone who takes out a large loan is practically guaranteed to profit. The value is the person's political connections. The person's skill as an investor or manager is irrelevant.

If you own shares of stock, you do not technically fully own them. As a small shareholder, do you have any say over what management does? Can you prevent management from paying themselves outrageously huge salaries? With corporate stock, power and ownership are carefully segregated.

You do not own your car. You need a license from the government in order to use it. You have to pay taxes in exchange for the privilege of driving. Gasoline taxes mean that you pay a tax per mile you drive your car.

You do not own your house. If you refuse to pay property taxes, you will be kicked out of your house. Property taxes are set by a corrupt voting process that you cannot affect.

You do not own your dollar bills. You lose 15% or more of the value each year, due to inflation. If policemen came to your apartment once a month and demanded 1% of your money, you would resist. With inflation, the same thing happens without direct violence.

Technically, if you bought physical gold or silver, you would fully own it. However, could you protect your gold or silver investment against a seizure by illegitimate government police?

Troll A says:

The banks do not make complete profits from interest. There are other costs, predominantly defaults and late payments. The system being put forth seems to completely ignore this fact. I'm not sure why. FSK states a 5.25% rate is "risk free", and when they sell the same amount at a 6% rate, they'd make .75% compound interest each year. But if 1% of those people default each year, they've lost money, and if a certain percentage pay late, they lost money. It's "risk free" only depending on the rates they sell, rates which are determined by the market. I really don't see these banks as having a huge amount of control as individual institutions, which is why I doubt any theory which puts them at some sort of helm of all of civilization.

When I first wrote the quoted post, the Fed Funds Rate was 5.25%. Currently, the Fed Funds Rate is 4.25%. Suppose there really were 1% defaults. When the Fed Funds Rate is cut, banks get that money back!

Suppose you are the lender with a 6% mortgage when the Fed Funds Rate is 5.25% with a negligible default risk. Your profit margin is 0.75% times the amount of leverage you use, typically 100x.

Suppose the default risk rises to 1%. Now, the bank is insolvent! But, the Fed Funds Rate gets lowered to 4.25%. The bank's profit equation remains the same. The foreclosure process takes a year or more. With money supply inflation, asset prices will start rising. By the time the foreclosure process is completed, the bank can sell the confiscated assets and recover its expenses. If necessary, banks will hold physical title to the seized property for a few years, until the next economic boom phase.

Small lenders, such as Countrywide and Thornburg are allowed to be forced into bankruptcy. Large banks like Citigroup and Bank of America are NEVER ALLOWED to go bankrupt. During a severe economic bust, they will *ALWAYS* receive a bailout in the form of a Fed Funds Rate cut.

As the loan default rate rises, this is an economic crisis. The reason is the EXTENSIVE use of leverage by banks when they purchase loans and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). A rise in the default rate of 1% is catastrophic when your leverage ratio is 100x. A Fed Funds Rate cut is necessary to bail out the banks holding these shaky loans.

When interest rates are cut, all outstanding loans become worth more. This is a massive government subsidy that large banks receive during the bust phase of each economic cycle. Under the rules of the US monetary system, this subsidy is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Otherwise, the economic system would completely unravel as large banks start being forced into bankruptcy.

Large banks are taking ZERO RISK. Even when they issue a lot of bad loans, they will receive a bailout in the form of an interest rate cut. Due to the Compound Interest Paradox, the weakest class of debtors will be forced into bankruptcy during each economic bust. It is statistically guaranteed that this bailout of large banks will be necessary during each economic bust.

Troll A says:

I am understanding the fact that money itself is created from debt, but it is then used by businesses to create non-debt assets and add them to the economy. If you add $100 to the economy through debt obligations, they are used to create at least as much in goods added to the economy. Inflation/deflation is the ratio of money supply (debt obligations) to total goods. When the supply of money increases relative to the amount of goods in circulation (too much new debt for businesses to keep up in production), there is inflation. When the supply of money does not increase relative to the amount of goods in circulation (businesses are increasing production but not taking on new debts for expansion at the same rate) there is deflation, and money is worth more.

The problem is that the new money is not spread evenly. The people who get first dibs on the newly printed money are banks, large corporations, and hedge funds.

Your scenario has a fallacy. Suppose person Y is given $100 of newly printed money. Suppose person X does work and sells it to Y for $100. Person X received a "fair" trade. He did work and was paid $100. What work did person Y perform? Everyone else's money is worth less because person Y got the perk of newly printed money. Person X is unaware of inflation. He received $100, but when he tries to spend it he can purchase less than before.

The economy was not "stimulated". Person X was forced to work for person Y, instead of doing productive work for someone else. This is Bastiat's "broken window" fallacy. You see person X working for person Y. You don't see the productive work person X would have done instead, if person Y didn't receive this perk subsidized by government violence.

Price inflation is not uniform. This helps hide the damage done by money supply inflation. The newly printed money is given to a handful of politically connected people. Wherever they choose to "invest" experiences an "asset bubble".

Even as the "subprime mortgage" asset bubble is popping, another bubble is being inflated somewhere else. Where is the bubble going to be this time? My guess is the stock market, or a segment of the stock market. It could be foreign stocks, such as China, Europe, or Japan. It could also be commodities. By the time you hear about the next asset bubble forming, it's too late to invest in it.

Another problem is that the CPI understates the true inflation rate. Money supply expansion and economic growth are confused. If you properly adjust for money supply expansion, the US economy is not growing, and it may be shrinking!

After I E-Mailed Reader X my analysis, he said:
"The paradox is broken IF the expenditures of the banking system is greater than or equal to the total interest payments. HOWEVER, the cost of the banking operations CANNOT possibly be > 5-10% of GDP, which is what the interest on loans cost."

I meant that the paradox is not a paradox if the above statement is consistently true. However as you point out if the statement is true at one point in time, doesn't break the paradox.

The actual amount of subsidy the financial industry receives varies over time. It is a HUGE subsidy. It also is incredibly hard to quantify.

The Compound Interest Paradox won't be "broken" until the current economic system completely collapses. I estimate that is still 20-50 years away.

He also insisted I refer to him as "Reader X" instead of by his blog's name. Lately, I try to post anonymously on the Internet. My primary concern is that if a future potential employer found my blog, they might discriminate against me based on my blog's content.

Reader X followed up with some more excerpts from the discussion forum:

Troll A says:

Look at "What has the government done to our money?", by

I don't consider the stuff to be easy reading. A lot of it is poorly written and hard to read.

Troll B says:

I read through the link he posted. If you read it, you should immediately start to see the fallacies in Rothbard's arguments. I got up to four pages of notes in just the first two sections of his treatise before I quit note taking. The biggest issues with Rothbard's arguments revolve around straw man attacks that stop mid-picture or mid-process, stopping with immediate/interim effects while ignoring final outcomes. Rothbard also uses the description of a process to come to a conclusion without reasoning through the effects to connect the process to the conclusion. The bulk of the article is actually very high level process descriptions, but of course, he puts a negative spin on many of the normal market processes relating to the Fed and non-gold backed currency by leaving out final outcomes of those processes. I'm assuming the length of the process descriptive part is due to the expected ignorance (newness to the ideas and processes - not the usual derrogatory use fo the term) of the audience and the negative phrasing plays to his end in exploiting that ignorance. This like describing how car engines operate on gasoline and then saying they shouldn't operate on gasoline without getting into the reasons why (gasoline supply is scarce, emissions are bad, etc.). I'm not sure the reasons are there because he doesn't get to them. Where he does get into making the connection it is largely his anti-government and anti-government interference bias that appears to be his reason (Read up on the stated purposes for the Ludwig van Mises Institute from their own site if you doubt the bias). The rest of the article is history given his spin, pure speculation and setting the expectation of dire consequences of total monetary collapse which ignores the historical fluctuations in exchange rates and the causes and corrections. I only bothered to Google a few of the reference pieces and the ones I did were restatements of the same conclusions (so there are more people who believe as he does - surprise) or more descriptions of the same processes. Somehow this all ties back to the government (bildebergers, illuminati, etc.) conspiracy to enslave all of us. I honestly wish there could be an honest discussion of the subject without agendas getting in the way, but that isn't in that article.

If you're able to read Troll B's paragraph, you'll soon notice that he actually says nothing at all. That paragraph is one big NULL statement.

Sometimes I wonder if high-quality propaganda is hard to write? How do you write that many words without actually saying something?

Troll B also says:

If the ultimate goal is to enslave all of us, wouldn't it be easier if the groups behind the government prepared themselves and then let the monetary system collapse?

The wealthy elite derive their power NOT just from the property they already stole. They also derive their wealth from their continued ability to loot and pillage the rest of the world. The wealthy elite do NOT want the current economic system to completely collapse, because it's the source of their wealth and power. They prefer a steady erosion of the dollar's purchasing power, giving the newly printed money to themselves.

However, what is the Supreme Leader of Humanity's goal? Sometimes, I think the Supreme Leader of Humanity wants an agorist revolution and the complete collapse of the current economic and political system. That is the only "fair" way to unravel the current corrupt system.

Reader X also said:

BTW the stuff on WW1 and 2 is from "A Century of War" and Quigley's "Tragedy and Hope". Those 2 books are summarized, and 10 others, in the terrific book "How the World Really Works" by Jones. Part of the book traces Cecil Rhodes' Round Table Group of England, which later developed alliances with the US Elites Rockefeller, Morgan, and Ford, which today form the core of the Bilderberg group and the CFR.

Overall, to answer the question "Are professional trolls involved?", it's very difficult to prove such a thing. As a practical matter, a stubborn fool and a professional troll have the same effect. However, a professional propaganda artist will be persistent beyond the point where the average person would give up or start questioning his beliefs.

The other important point to make is that people who superficially agree with you can undermine your position. Sometimes, a weak defense of the truth is more damaging than an outright lie.

Reader X also says:

Daniel Estulin's terrific new book "True Story of the Bilderberg Group" quotes several books, among them:
Gary Allen's "Rockefeller File"
Hatonn's "Rape of the Constitution, Death of Freedom"
Maddox's "The Unknown War with Russia"
Sutton's "Wall St and the Bolshevik Revolution"

Rockefeller funded the Bolsheviks of Russia, in order to sow the seeds of war so that the Russian oil wells would shut down. Russia was his #1 competition in oil! In fact, when Trotsky was exiled in New York for a time, he was provided an apartment by the Rockefellers.
After that, the Federal Reserve laundered money to loan money to the revolution. The end result was Rockefeller owned the oil wells! The other goal was for Russia to give up Manchuria and Korea to the Japanese in order to reduce their future influence in Asia.

Lately, I don't read stuff that isn't available for free online. There's enough quality free amateur content available on the Internet now. A "professional" author sometimes has to dampen his message in order to sell books.

Regarding the Russian Revolution, the Czar of Russia was a long-time enemy of the banksters. Russia's government was one of the final holdouts to central bank infiltration. Eliminating the Czar was the primary accomplishment of the Russian Revolution; all the other accomplishments were secondary.

I see a lot of posts on the Ron Paul Forum saying: "OMFG, the stock market is going to collapse! I've sold off all my stocks!"

The value of the stock market, in raw $, isn't going to crash too much. The Federal Reserve will always print more money and push up the market. Inflation doesn't occur right away. There is a lag between an interest rate cut and asset bubbles inflating.

Selling off stocks and converting your holdings to cash means you're just going to lose out to inflation.

If everyone is saying "OMFG! SELL! SELL! SELL!", that is how you know we are near the market bottom and it is a good buying opportunity. By the time a new "bull market" is being touted, you will have missed out on 20% or more of the gain. When everyone is saying "BUY! BUY! BUY! THE MARKET WILL GO UP FOREVER!", that may be the time to sell. However, it's very hard for an individual to "time the market", because they don't know in advance what the Federal Reserve is going to do. As an individual investor, you are better off not reacting to what the communists on CNBC say.

On the Ron Paul Forum, I saw another common pro-State troll point mentioned on the Federal Reserve:

Suppose that, under a fiat monetary system, the money supply expands by 1% *AND* the economy grows by 1%. People experience no price inflation. If the issuing authority is trustworthy, this is fair.

This is FALSE. The problem still is: Who gets to spend this newly printed money? Someone is receiving a government subsidy equal to 1% of GDP. Under a pure gold standard, people would experience deflation as the economy becomes more efficient. This deflation is part of the reward for saving, in addition to interest payments.

Money supply expansion ALWAYS is stealing wealth from savers and giving wealth to whoever prints and spends it.

David Letterman signed his own agreement with the writers' union. David Letterman has his own independent production company; he is not a CBS employee. For example, NBC can't make an agreement with the writers' guild just for the Tonight Show; NBC would have to make a deal that would cover its entire operations.

I saw some sources say "This arrangement undermines the writers' guild bargaining position." I don't understand that at all. I read that David Letterman agreed to all of the writers' guild's demands, with a clause saying that the final agreement with the AMPTP would supersede their agreement.

The writers' guild is trying to negotiate agreements with each studio separately, rather than negotiating with the cartel. This will give the smaller independent studios a huge advantage.

David Letterman's deal with the writers' guild means that he can book higher quality guests. The screen actors' guild is respecting the writers' guild's picket line. Most stars are boycotting the Tonight Show until the strike is over. Surprisingly, David Letterman isn't trouncing Jay Leno in the ratings, although he has improved his position in the ratings.

On Reader Mail #25 - Pro-State Trolling, redpillguy wrote:

FSK wrote: "...people with cushy middle class jobs are extremely reluctant to accept a hypothesis like 'The current economic system is unfair and needs to be replaced!'"

More so for people with significant capital who are gaming the system and are making some income from stock market type investments. I got a colleague to watch "Money Masters" and he realizes the Fed is a cartel. His reaction is a shrug and the statement "Life isn't fair, if we didn't have the Fed, there'd be some other unfair system." I know he's afraid that if the Fed were abolished his economic status would fall to a lower level. I personally believe that his ranking may fall but his overall status would improve, as with most other people. Some people live the "crab mentality" - like crabs in a bucket, if someone rises above them, they and others drag him back down.

Consider the following example. The average person today has, in many ways, a higher standard of living than kings 400 years ago. There are many common goods available today that a king could not have purchased with his entire kingdom's wealth. Advances in transportation, communication, medical care, refrigeration, and electricity would seem like unbelievable luxuries to a king living 400 years ago.

There will be another huge gain in living standards when government is eliminated. Your relative rank to other people may be changed, but your absolute condition would almost definitely be improved.

The more a person thinks they benefit from the current corrupt system, the more they will resist change. For example, the elderly say "Government is needed to take care of the sick and the elderly." Before the era of "big government", free market mutual aid associations and charities did a great job. If I weren't forced to pay so much in taxes, and have my productivity restricted by the government, I would be able to directly pay for taking care of my parents and other people. Remember: in a free market, you can help people with outright gifts, or by providing them with a good job!

On The Fallacy of LETS, David_Z says:

You might have fun debunking The Common Good Bank. Its website describes it as a system of "local currency that is completely independent of the dollar."

Except that upon further reading, you'll discover that it's indexed to the dollar. It also involves "local governments."

Not exactly the yellow brick road out from under the Federal Reserve...

Technically, their currency is dollar-based, but they use a custom-CPI adjustment. Also, they outright give an initial balance to the initial users of their "money". There is a centralized issuing authority. All transactions will still be reported to the government and users will still have to pay income taxes.

You could save all the complexity and jumping through hoops by saying "let's agree to use gold or silver as money".

Several sources say "Alternate monetary system organizers tend to scumbags or fools". If the issuing authority is trying to profit from the alternate monetary system, then it has to be somehow biased in favor of the issuer.

There's no profit in saying "Just use gold or silver rounds as money". That is the soundest advice, but that isn't exploitable. IMHO, an alternate monetary system will spontaneously arise when a community of people agree to start using gold or silver as money instead of Federal Reserve Points. Sound money isn't itself directly profitable, but it enables other people to trade without being ripped off by inflation.

Sound money also helps people working in the underground economy, because it solves the "laundering" problem. If you have Federal Reserve Points, you need to convert them into inflation-hedged investments. If you have physical gold or silver, you can hold onto it and you're automatically inflation-protected.

The advantage of the Social Credit Monetary System is that a group of people can make gold-denominated or silver-denominated transactions even if they own a relatively small quantity of gold or silver. Sound money is merely a benchmark for setting price. As long as "work performed for others" equals "work others perform for you", you don't need to trade physical gold or silver.

On Reader Mail #24 - The Truth Whisperer, an Anonymous reader says:

"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.

I'm sure the Supreme Leader of Humanity had a good reason for killing her. The US *already* has a puppet government installed in Pakistan. I don't understand why an invasion would be necessary.

Your explanation may be correct. I'm inclined to believe a simpler explanation: "Someone intelligent and honest cannot be allowed to rise to a position of political leadership." I don't know how intelligent she was.

On The Gold CD Scam, Taran Jordan writes:

Well, ALL banking is a scam. And most of 'em don't even do you the service of informing you how they're investing your money.

But that aside, why do people even bother to invest in government bonds at 4 or 5%, for instance, when gold or stocks can do a lot better?

Because they want to play it safe, and they think government promises are safe, right? They'll sacrifice a lot of potential profit for that safety.

I imagine that lots of people are feeling the safety thing pretty heavily about gold lately, even with its impressive performance since 2001. So the gold CD is a product serving a certain customer base.

Caveat emptor, that's all.

People are intentionally kept ignorant about finance and banking. If they were too literate, people would start talking about the Compound Interest Paradox.

This also relates to "loss oriented thinking". People are adverse to losing money. However, they don't take into account inflation. Even adjusting for inflation via the biased CPI, a stock investment is much less risky than a bond investment. If you adjust for inflation using M2 or M3, then a stock investment becomes far less risky than bonds. Adjusting for inflation properly, a bond investment is guaranteed to lose money!

If inflation involved money being directly removed from your checking account, people would complain loudly. When inflation happens via money supply expansion, people don't notice as much.

On the other hand, I shouldn't feel *TOO* guilty about fools losing their savings. If I invest my own savings wisely, I can claim a share of this government subsidy! I minimize the amount of cash I'm holding. Currently, I'm 100% in stocks, but I'm thinking of diversifying into some physical gold and silver.

On The Gold CD Scam, gilliganscorner writes:

You are correct in your analysis. I was offended as well when I did my analysis and shook my head at all the financial illiterate people who would be duped into it.

Everbank actually posts sample calculations they know most people won't even read. You can see them here. on page 2(PDF format)

Thanks FSK - yet another good post.

There are many financial instruments that are merely designed to take advantage of fools. Due to most people's financial illiteracy, a good sales department is more important than providing good financial advice.

If you want a low-effort investment strategy, go with an index fund and you'll outperform 95+% of investors in the long-run. IMHO, a skilled investor can easily outperform the S&P 500 index by 2%-5%.

1 comment:

David Gross said...

You complain here (and have before) that war tax resisters are of a statist, lefty bent. This is true enough, in many cases, but I think you have the complaint backwards.

Why don't anti-state anarchists and minarchists have anything approaching the organized, long-term tax resistance movement that the largely-leftish peaceniks have?

You speak of how nice it would be to have an underground banking system, a gold standard, agorist barter programs, etc. But the reason this anarchist is happy to hang out with largely-leftish, largely-statist war tax resisters is that they don't just wish: they actually resist their taxes, they join mutual-support networks, they create alternative funds and mutual insurance programs, they educate and agitate and recruit and run workshops, they share practical knowledge gained from hard experience fighting the IRS (and not just theories gained from arguing about Mises, Hayek, and Rand like so many "anti-state" lib/ana-caps I read about).

Some of them, indeed, are anarchists and unlike the theoretical branch who talk a great game about what a great idea it would be and why the state is illegitimate, these anarchists live their lives to match their views.

I agree that war tax resisters who believe (often enthusiastically) in taxes to support the welfare state are suffering from a weird contradiction. But I see more hope for them than I do for all the libertarians and anarchists and minarchists I read about who have nothing good to say about the state whose support they can't seem to stop themselves from providing.

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