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Monday, February 18, 2008

Reader Mail #36

I liked this post by redpillguy.

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

The real rulers of the USA are the ones who control the PR and marketing/propaganda engines. Most of the businesses that really control this are privately held or incorporated in a way that insiders control the company with a minority ownership stake.

According to Google Analytics, someone keeps doing a search for " this is really complicated". Do I really say it that much? Are the pages with that phrase that interesting? Whoever's doing it keeps repeating the search, and they spend a lot of time on my blog.

This post on Techdirt is completely wrong, regarding inefficiencies in online prediction markets. The article cites "Ron Paul is still priced at 1.2% to win the Republican nomination." At this point, it's obvious that Ron Paul's true odds of winning the Republican nomination are essentially zero.

Can you profitably sell "Ron Paul does not win the nomination"? No. There's a defect with Intrade's margin rules. When you take into account Intrade's margin rules, this trade is not profitable.

Suppose you sold $120 of "Ron Paul does not win Republican nomination". The worst-case loss is that Ron Paul actually does win the nomination, in which case you owe $9880. You are required to post $9880 in your account to meet the margin requirement, which is the worst case loss. This capital cannot be used for other trades until the "Ron Paul not nominated" contract settles. The contract does not settle until the nominee is officially announced at the Republican convention late this summer, approximately 6 months from now. Your return is $120/$9880 = 1.2% over 6 months. You'd be better off investing your money elsewhere.

The problem is that you don't earn interest on the money in your account. You should earn interest on the $9880 plus the $120 you received when you sold the contract. If Intrade credited accounts with interest at the Fed Funds Rate minus a small fee, then the Ron Paul contract would correctly trade at nearly zero.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Teenagers have a wider hearing range than older adults. An "anti-teenager" device was created that makes a high-pitched noise that only teenagers can hear.

Teenagers then used the sound as a ringtone that only teenagers can hear.

I liked this post on Distributed Republic.

"Progress doesn't come from early risers - progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

"Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny."

"Be wary of strong spirits. It can make you shoot at tax collectors ... and miss."

There's been a bunch of stories lately about criminals pretending to be cops conducting a raid.

I liked this post by Wenchypoo. When you take into account all the taxes, direct costs, and hidden costs of having both parents work, you're probably better off having one parent stay at home.

I liked this post by Ineffabelle, referring to this article by Rayservers. This article is very long. An analysis of its good points and mistakes deserves its own full post.

I liked this post on the Agitator. His blog has 12,000-15,000 regular readers, and he found a job based on his blog. I'm at around 300 regular readers, and my readership growth was exponential for awhile. My readership has been stagnant lately, primarily because of my illness. I lost some time posting, plus I wasn't able to write great posts for awhile.

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. A lot of children's fantasy literature asks them to "believe, without evidence". For example, being able to fly in Peter Pan is a matter of belief more than anything else.

The article on Overcoming Bias didn't mention the correct reason why children are trained this way. It's part of pro-State brainwashing. You should "believe, without evidence" that government is good.

I liked this post on St. George blog. If you directly use violence to impose your will on others, you would feel guilty about it. If you indirectly use violence via State coercion, that's easier for people to accept. Complicated political processes abstract away the details of "people use violence to steal and impose their will on others".

I liked this post on Techdirt. In many countries, there is a tax on blank CDs, DVDs, and other storage media. This money goes to copyright owners. The presumption is that CDs and DVDs are going to be used for copyright infringement, so they should be taxed and the money should go to copyright owners.

I don't know if such a tax exists in the USA? I think the answer is "no", but I'm not 100% sure.

The first problem with such a tax is the same problem with all taxes: "Taxation is theft". The second problem with such a tax is that it discriminates against individual content producers who aren't large enough to receive a meaningful government subsidy or share of the tax. If I'm using CDs or DVDs to record my own legal data, why should I pay a tax?

I liked this cartoon from Subzero Blue.

I liked this post on the Technology Liberation Front. There is a push for "age verification" on many websites, preventing children from accessing. It would be a crime to offer a website without "age verification".

The problem is that "age verification" eliminates all anonymity online. "Age verification" is an attempt to eliminate anonymity online. You don't have the MSM cry for "We need to eliminate online anonymity". Instead, they say "We need to protect children from online predators". That is the responsibility of parents and not the government. There are plenty of ways for a parent to supervise their children while online. For example, a proxy server that lists all websites they visit is sufficient protection.

Also, "age verification" would mean that government-issued ID is required to use the Internet. This would raise a whole new level of "identity theft" crime.

Also, "age verification" could create a false sense of security. Criminals will always find a way to circumvent whatever protection is installed. Honest people will just see increased hassle for no benefit.

I liked this post on no third solution. David Z is copying my "Reader Mail" posting style. I don't mind.

He writes about supporting the troops. A soldier blindly follows orders to kill a complete stranger. Does such behavior demote someone to less than human status? Why should a soldier be entitled to support and protection? Similarly, policemen will blindly follow a judge's order. "I was just following orders" should NEVER be a valid defense for doing something wrong. Of course, most soldiers and policemen don't have the intellectual capacity or background to question what they're doing. In that sense, soldiers and policemen are mindless slaves like everyone else. Are soldiers and policemen entitled to benefits that other slaves don't get?

He also writes about gold clauses. If you want a gold clause in a debt contract, go ahead and write one. There are three important reason why gold clauses are not commonplace. First, the tax treatment makes it impractical. Second, it's unclear if the corrupt legal system will enforce a gold clause. An agorist contract enforcement system needs to be developed. Third, inflation is 7%-15%. Why write a gold clause, borrowing at 7%-15%, when you can borrow from the Federal Reserve at 3%? Federal Reserve subsidized negative real interest rates price gold clauses out of the market.

The argument "Why write a gold clause when you can borrow from the Federal Reserve" is important and was not mentioned.

I liked this post on lowercase liberty. Francois Tremblay also cited it.

BTW, when I copy these images, I'm just linking to them. Is that immoral? Should I upload the image to Blogger? I'm providing a link to the original source, so I assume it's acceptable. If the image breaks at some point in the future, I don't mind.

Actually, "Anarchy has never existed" is true. Even a hunter/gatherer society isn't fully anarchistic. If you don't like your tribe you can leave. Neighboring tribes may not accept you in their territory. In a hunter/gatherer society, it isn't practical to enslave someone. As soon as agriculture was discovered, most people got demoted to slaves. In *ALL* known agricultural societies, there was a ruler who collected taxes or tribute.

I like this post on Overcoming Bias. If you have a debate about something, you should replace the word with what it actually means.

For example, if you are debating "Taxation is theft!" with someone, you should replace taxes with what it really means. "Collecting money with the implied threat of violence obfuscated by complicated bureaucratic procedures is theft!"

For another example, consider "Inflation is theft!" More accurately, "When unbacked paper money loses value due to more of it being printed, that is theft!"

For another example, consider "Government should be eliminated." "A group of people who go around stealing should have their activities halted."

This subject deserves its own separate post.

I liked this post on Psychopolitik. Why is it a big deal that someone said "Hillary Clinton is pimping out her daughter for her campaign."? It was slightly rude, but the result was an overreaction. I guess it's one way to distract people from the real issues of the election.

Another interesting story circulating is that the US government is planning to shoot down one of its own spy satellites. The "official" reason is that it is close to crashing and contains toxic fuel. They are shooting it down to insure it burns up on reentry, so it won't harm anyone. There are two more believable reasons. First, the spy satellite may contain advanced technology they don't want other people to know about. Second, they may be testing their ability to shoot down satellites belonging to other countries.

By E-Mail, someone asked:

I was wondering this morning, who pays for jails in an agorist world?

First, the prison population would be a lot lower. A lot of things that are currently classified as crimes aren't really crimes. There would be no prison inmates for:

- tax evasion
- drugs
- prostitution

Second, for lesser crimes, your police agency would be responsible. Suppose person A buys police/insurance protection from XYZ and person B buys police/insurance protection from UVW. If B commits a crime and is convicted, police agency UVW is responsible for paying restitution if B can't cover the cost. If police agency UVW can't cover the loss, then police agency XYZ is responsible for paying A.

After paying the fine, police agency UVW could put B in jail (if the crime was really serious). Alternatively, they could release B, but under strict supervision of friends or relatives. This way, B could work to pay off his debt to A.

The idea that criminals belong in jail is defective. Only the most incorrigible criminals really belong in jail. If there's no money to pay the cost of jail, there's always the death penalty. The only crime that would warrant a jail term would be seriously injuring or murdering someone, or a repeat offender who is no longer able to purchase police protection/insurance.

On The Defect of Schools, redpillguy wrote:

Avoiding loss instead of focusing on gains is called loss aversion, and may be hardwired into the species:

And I believe it was in the book "The Death of Common Sense", by Philip Howard, that the author pointed out that for every dollar spent on "special needs" students, less than 1 cent is spent on Advanced students, stunting their potential.

I don't consider this to be "hardwired into the species". A properly educated person can think rationally. How do you know this behavior isn't part of school training or pro-State brainwashing? You would have to experiment on a group of people that weren't subject to "modern" society or education.

This is part of the brainwashing that goes with people accepting the State. "I don't mind paying taxes as long as other people pay more." "I don't mind following stupid laws as long as everyone else also must obey them." How can you tell what is "normal human behavior" when everyone is the victim of pro-State brainwashing.

I think a properly educated person, with a strong background in logic and Mathematics, can think properly in such situations.

You can't even extend the analogy to monkeys. Monkeys who live in cages won't exhibit the same behavior as monkeys living free in the jungle. If you think about it carefully, all people are in a cage imposed by the State!

On Reader Mail #35, Zhwazi wrote:

In Japanese they don't have R or L sounds, but they have one that is halfway between the two. When Japanese try to translate Japanese to any European language, they often use Rs where Ls belong and vice versa.

This happened in the game "Samurai Showdown" and the "VICTOLY" meme was born.

I was wondering if it was a Japanese accent thing. I'd never heard it before.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #35":

I think you are wrong about monarchy. First succession is not a problem because we have dynasties ruling for centuries as an example. The fact that the King has minimal power to intervene in the lives of people, is also a good thing, from an anarchist point of view. The King more or less lives people to live their lives and keeps the nobility in check from gaining too much power. The nobility have responsibility and obligations towards their people.

Democracy and its politicians have no responsibility towards anyone except the financial 'money power' oligarchy. The State under democracy has total power over the individuals, even controlling their thoughts and movement. The two party system is a sham, in-back the civil servants stay in place and politicians rarely do anything for anyone but themselves or their paymasters.

The link was significant I feel because it shows how the emergence of modern democracy during the French Revolution also brought mass State terror to French people. A sub-section was defined by the democratic assembly as being 'sub-human' and therefore 'legitimate' to exterminate. The Vendeens were slaughtered en mass

in contrast a monarch would never have done such a thing.

Human beings need authority to live, the authority under democracy is totalitarian, and difficult to pin point....'where does the buck stop'? Under monarchy authority is limited and the buck stops at the King, he cannot be bribed or bought. If you can find any books try reading books by:Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc

he was talking about bankers and their 'theft' along time ago, and he has also been 'misrepresented' as a crank by court intellectuals.

The history of monarchy I read had succession problems. There are four succession risks in a monarchy. First, the chosen heir could be assassinated by rivals. Second, the chosen heir could be a fool. Third, the king might have no children who are a suitable heir. Fourth, the heir according to customary succession rules might not be the one most qualified for the job.

Rulers in a democracy do nothing but to line their own pockets. Similarly, why should a monarch do anything other but rule in his self-interest?

There only one positive point about a monarchy relative to a democracy. A monarch has job security and can afford to take a long-term view. I'm not sure how that worked in practice. In a democracy, elected leaders don't normally plan past the next election. You're forgetting that there's a Supreme Leader of Humanity. The current economic and political system is the functional equivalent of a monarchy. A handful of people really do control the government.

It's silly to argue "monarchy vs. democracy", because the current economic and political system is the functional equivalent of a monarchy.

"Human beings need authority to live." You're pro-State trolling now. I disagree with that assumption.

Actually, there were a few kings who managed to gain awareness of the bankers and their plans. They were all assassinated.

JEK has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #35":

I've been working on an articles about kings and the bible. Just published it:

That post wasn't worth reading. You violated three rules at the very start:

To FSK (broken link) for the intelectual strife.


If you're going to link to my blog, you should get the link straight.
If you're going to fake being an intellectual, you should at least spell it correctly.
Any article that starts out with an "abstract" is not worth reading. I have found this rule to be nearly universally true.

Your article is a bunch of quotes from the Bible along with some commentary. I consider the Bible to be a biased source. Christianity and Islam are slave religions. I don't know enough about Judaism to make a critique. Most mainstream religions are really slave religions, designed to make people accept a lifetime of slavery.

Ineffabelle has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #35":

Sam-e is a potent methyl group donor, as such it helps various methylation processes in your brain, helping your brain regulate it's neurotransmitter levels more efficiently.
For similar reasons, it's also good for the health of your connective tissue.
It's a bit expensive compared to other supplements but it's worth it IMO. Everyone I've known who has tried it felt at least a bit better. That might be a placebo effect, but that's in comparison to other supplements.

The SAM-e really does seem to be helping. It's the only pill or supplement I've taken that's had a little benefit. I've been taking 1 pill/day, and just recently I tried 2 pills/day. There was a noticeable difference between 1 pill/day and 2 pills/day.

I'm also considering taking a lithium supplement.

JEK has left a new comment on your post "The Black-Scholes Formula is Wrong! - Part 1/12 - Overview and Background":

An economist was giving a series of lectures for small investors in some community center. Now, there weren't many people attending this lectures, so the man was very surprised to find overcrowded room , waiting for lecture on "Problems with Black-Scholes".
The whole crowd stared at him throgh the lecture, and then left without asking a single question. Only latter did he learn that the publisher of the info leteer for the community center misspeled his lecture as "Problems of Black Schools".

for some reason (well, i can think of number of them) , people find cheap socialism far more intresting than concrete economics.

According to Google Analytics, that post series hasn't been very popular so far. A couple of people at Goldman Sachs read it, though.

Anyway, it doesn't look like that post series is going to get me many readers. I already wrote it, so I'm going to publish it.


Francois Tremblay said...

There's a little error on your post. I didn't "cite" the Statist Bingo, I made it.

Jonatan Krovitsky said...

Sorry fot the broken link. I'm just a newbie in that blogging buisness.
Now I was trying to create an argument in your favor, that is you cannoy use Bible in favor of state (as Locke did). Sorry again.

Ineffabelle said...

Funny enough, I really am liking the Black-Scholes posts and eagerly await more, but I'm kind of obsessed by the mechanisms of finance.

Anonymous said...

A king does not need to impress anyone or gain more wealth while depriving others, if he is a good King he will be in power and will be supported by his people. So his self interest is organic and complemenory to society.
Fools can be missed out of succession.

Some authority is needed at some level, even a family unit has leadership otherwise there is chaos. A wise leader does not interfere too much and uses subtle as well as wise methods to bring about the good.

Francois Tremblay said...

Wow, someone still believes in this "no authority=chaos" bullshit. I can't believe it!

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