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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Reader Mail #42 - Feeding the Trolls

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias.

"The trajectory to hell is paved with locally-good intentions."
-- Matt Gingell



I liked this post on the Freedom Symposium, referring to this article on the Atlantic. It's about the Great Firewall of China. It's a very detailed description of how it works and how people work around it with encrypted traffic and proxy servers. Most businesses strong-encrypt their traffic so they aren't inadvertently hassled by China's firewall. At this point, China can't block encrypted Internet traffic without shutting down all the businesses that use the Internet.



I liked this post on no third solution. The reason drug dealers are violent is that they are shut out of government court, and no private alternatives exist. Government violence provides the incentives for drug dealers to be violent.

You cannot say "In the present, drug dealers are violent. Therefore, without government, society will become total chaos." That isn't valid reasoning. In the present, government is directly or indirectly responsible for ALMOST ALL violence.



I liked this post by Kung-Fu Monkey. He talks about "true fans" and the long tail. If an obscure artist can find 1000 "true fans", and they're willing to spend $100/year, that's $100,000 in income.

Even if you have a highly targeted niche, if you can find true fans and profit off them, you have a profitable business.

How many "true fans" does my blog have? My readership totals seem to be increasing, but it's hard to tell.

This is the original article on "true fans". It also was mentioned on Techdirt.



I liked this post on Check your Premises. In Miami, a group of homeless people built homes on government-owned land. Police kicked them off. Government violence prevents homeless people from building themselves homes on vacant land.



I read about a shooting at a school in Israel. The gunman was stopped by a gun-carrying student. I'm surprised that aspect of the story isn't hyped more.

In the USA, the reaction to such a shooting is "ban guns!" Apparently, in Israel, it's considered normal for a student to carry a gun.

If there wasn't an armed student, the death toll might have been higher.

This was mentioned on Liberty is my Homie.



I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. When is it appropriate to revolt violently? As an agorist, my answer is "never". It isn't possible to win a violent confrontation with the bad guys at this time.

Violent revolt against government property or government employees actually *STRENGTHENS* the government. It causes people to sympathize with the red market. This threat of violence is used as an excuse to expand government power.

Violent action against government employees violates the "non-aggression principle". If government policemen raid your house, it is morally acceptable to defend yourself violently. As a practical matter, it isn't feasible to win a violent confrontation with government policemen. Their resources are too superior. If I were confronted by government police, I would surrender nonviolently and take my chances convincing a judge or jury that the charges were frivolous.



I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. Schools now punish students based on what they write on their blog. If a student makes a post that is critical of school officials, they may be disciplined.

Homeschooling is looking more and more attractive. Someone mentioned Montessori schools. I'll look into that when/if I have children.



I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. Some frustrated Ron Paul supporters are starting to seriously consider agorism.



I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. The creator of Dungeons and Dragons died. As tribute, check out this page on the Intercontinental Proliferation of Disgusting Characters. Frequently, fan fiction is lame, but this bit is *HILARIOUS*. You should read it. It's about "munchkinism", which is giving your characters ridiculous powers.



I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. If someone is in a "position of power", they are more likely to be believed than someone else. For example, when a TV station says "The Federal Reserve is wonderful!", most people believe them. If they were a bunch of liars or fools, then why would they be on TV?

  • People's early works, when they are unknown, are often better than their later works, after they've become famous. See, e.g., Tom Clancy.
  • A professor speaking pretty much complete rubbish, and yet being taken seriously by a group of more junior academics. ...
  • A professor shutting down a grad student in a group, simply by disagreeing with them. People tend to assume that the professor is right 100 percent of the time, and the student 0 percent. A more accurate breakup in my experience is 60/40. ...
  • A rich or famous person holding forth on pretty much any subject, from things they understand well, through to things they barely understand at all, and having other people pay serious attention.



This post on Check Your Premises was interesting. It talks about capitalism, socialism, and communism.

Capitalism is *NOT* the same as a free market. "Capitalism" is assumed to include income taxes, a central bank, and extensive government regulations. All of those features are the OPPOSITE of a free market.

Socialism, communism, and capitalism are very similar. The USA is a communist country!

Propaganda artists say "we need more capitalism" or "we need more socialism". Capitalism and socialism/communism are presented as opposite philosophies, when they're really cooperating evils. The current economic system has the WORST aspects of both capitalism and socialism/communism.



I liked this post on Out of Step.






I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. Someone performed an experiment where people asked to sample various wines, with price tags ranging from $5 to $90. All bottles actually contained identical wine. People reported that the more expensive-labeled wines tasted better. The researchers noticed more activity in the pleasure centers of people's brains when they drank the expensive-labeled wines.



I liked this post on Techdirt. The less power you have, the more you benefit from privacy.

If the government knows everything about you, and you know everything about the government, that's not a fair trade. The government can use its increased knowledge to coerce you in a variety of ways that you're not going to like. But even if you know about everything the government is doing, you're not going to have the power to stop it from doing things you don't like.

in the real world, accepting less privacy for ordinary citizens isn't going to lead to increased transparency in government. Government officials who might want to put more cameras up on public streets are not going to want cameras installed in police headquarters.



I liked this post on Techdirt. I don't consider intellectual property to be a valid form of property. Instead of "intellectual property", use "intellectual monopoly", "intellectual privilege", or "imaginary property".

Something is "property" only if one person can use it at a time. A house is property. A car is property. Physical goods are property. The right to broadcast at a specific frequency might be property. Ideas are *NOT* property. Songs and videos are *NOT* property. With a duplication cost of zero, they aren't property.



I liked this post on Techdirt. Eliminating network neutrality isn't as hard as it sounds. If foreign governments are having a hard time censoring the Internet, is it possible for corporations like AT&T or Verizon to do so?

if the government of Iran -- an institution with an almost unlimited budget and the ability to throw people in jail -- can't keep information it doesn't like away from its citizens, it's awfully hard to imagine that AT&T or Verizon would be able to do so.

At this point, too many businesses are dependent on the Internet. There's no way to censor the Internet without also crippling those businesses.



I liked this article. A dutch university is using BitTorrent to upgrade its software on its network of computers. Another source said that World of Warcraft also distributes its client updates via BitTorrent.



I liked this post on Freedom Shenanigans about leaderless resistance. A free market is the *ULTIMATE* leaderless organizational structure.



I liked this post on EconoSpeak. A small shoe manufacturer tried opening a shoe factory in the USA instead of China. He bet that skilled labor in a high-tech factory could outperform cheap labor in China.

The factory was a failure. The USA *NO LONGER* has the infrastructure to support factories. He was unable to hire technicians to repair his equipment. He was unable to find suppliers for parts. No USA-based company made soles or shoelaces that met his quality standards.

Small-scale agorist shoe manufacturing should have a chance of succeeding. The skills for small-scale manufacturing have been forgotten and need to be re-discovered.



This post on EconoSpeak was completely wrong. The author complains that manufacturing capacity exceeds purchasing power. This is a direct consequence of the Compound Interest Paradox.

Once you understand the Compound Interest Paradox, all mainstream economics articles seem like gibberish. Anybody who writes about economics *WITHOUT* understanding the Compound Interest Paradox is a fool and a pro-State troll.



I liked this post on Free Association. The ultimate purpose of learning *TRUE* economics is to prevent economists and politicians from lying to you. Unfortunately, most school-taught economics is phony Keynesian economics.

"The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of readymade answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists."

A better reason to study economics is to avoid being deceived by politicians; they are the far greater threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When you consider that the typical political campaign is little more than a series of confidence games, understanding basic economics is a matter of survival. Without such an understanding one is an easy mark.





I liked this post on Overcoming Bias.

“society encourages self-sacrifice because the unselfish sucker is an asset to others,”

[Education] does not prepare [children] for the aggressiveness of which they are destined to become the objects. In sending the young into life with such a false psychological orientation, education is behaving as though one were to equip people starting on a Polar expedition with summer clothing and maps of the Italian Lakes.

The purpose of the modern educational system is to train people to be slaves. This isn't the "natural way humans raise their children". It is evidence of massive conspiracy.

When parents are busy with their jobs/slavery, they don't have time to properly raise their children. Training their children to be obedient slaves is the path of least resistance.

I was thinking of ways to break this cycle. When reading children bedtime stories, you should read them Bastiat and Louis Even (or even my blog).



I liked this post on Techdirt. Someone created a website in Arizona where people can rate their local cops. Naturally, the police are trying to shut the website down.



I liked this post on the Freedom Symposium, in reference to this comic:




Christianity is a pro-slave religion. Parents go along with this brainwashing, because that makes it easier for them to control their children.

The "reward-and-punishment" system humans use to train each other is intrinsically crippling.



I liked this post on the Agitator, in reference to this article on jury nullification.

The most offensive part is that lawyers are BARRED from mentioning jury nullification to a jury. If they do so, there would be a mistrial and the lawyer would probably lose his law license.

If you're ever fraudulently arrested, and intend to pursue a jury nullification defense, you *MUST* defend yourself sui juris. What happens when the judge says you aren't allowed to mention jury nullification and you do so anyway? He can arrest you for contempt, but he's *ALREADY* holding you prisoner illegitimately.



I liked this post on Bubblegeneration. The owners of Digg are rumored to be selling. There were rumors of a sale for $200M to Microsoft. This is a shrewd move by the owners of Digg. The fair market value of Digg is $0.

Digg is using a flawed engine. Every article has a single unique global score. If your interests don't match the aggregate bias of Digg users overall, you won't like the content presented on Digg. If you're interested in really niche topics, like agorism, you're better off following a few interesting blogs and feed aggregators via Google Reader.



Someone was googling "bernanke pretending banks are solvent". He doesn't need to "pretend". This is the whole point of the Level 3 Assets Scam. Ben Bernanke is printing new money and giving it to banks. This means that the banks are solvent.

Under the rules of the US monetary system, several large banks can *NEVER* go bankrupt. They will *ALWAYS* receive a bailout in the form of a Fed Funds Rate cut.



I liked this post on Unqualified Offerings. Many corporations have shoddy customer service practices. This externalizes costs from the corporation to the customer. If there's a billing dispute, the customer might spend hours collecting documentation, just to prove they already paid their bill. If the customer really did make a mistake, they owe a late fee. If the corporation makes a mistake, the customer must spend time fixing the problem. The corporation *NEVER* has to pay, even if it makes a mistake.

The real problem is that the USA is not a free market. In a truly free market, a business that externalized costs to its customers would lose customers.

The ultimate "cost externalizer" is government. The cost of regulation compliance is borne by individuals, not the government. Large corporations are an extension of the government. They also get to externalize their costs.

I don't normally read blog comments, but there was an interesting exchange. Person A called Person B a communist. Person B called Person A a capitalist pig. Capitalism and communism are the same!



The guy from mygoldmymoney.com writes:


I'm sold. Will you put your head together with mine and work to create a decentralized P2P agora that enables people to trade using real money? No centralized server. Totally viral. I've studied a little of this stuff. I can do Java programming.. JAXP and such. Or if you have a different technology in mind, I'm all ears. I learn quick and enjoy conquering new technical challenges. Maybe some others would like to join. myGoldmyMoney may be useful in coordinating development. What do you think?


I could help a little with specification and maybe some coding. There are 3 sensible approaches:
  1. Java
  2. C++
  3. mod_perl
It's more important to start a group of people ACTUALLY TRADING agorist-style, than writing more software. There does need to be a way for groups in different cities to effectively share information and resources.

I looked around on your website some more. There really wasn't much traffic.

Other people are saying "agorism is hopeless". At least you're looking to get started.



Someone responds by E-Mail:

Maybe I should make a "Answers to criticisms of agorism" post?

thanks for your response fsk. i hear where you are coming from. i believe it is technically possible for small groups to create functional and, to an extent, growing agorist networks. Modern communications systems like the internet and open source stuff obviously make this even more practical. In that case I would ask: roughly, what are your expectations for growth of a decentered but growing cluster(s) of agorist networks? How large and thriving of a network will be sufficient to convince normal people to invest their time learning about this, and "taking such a risk"?

My expectation is that you need a group of 5 people to get started. After that, you probably could double the number of members every 6-12 months.

25 years? 1 generation? 2 generations? 3?

You're forgetting the power of compounding. Currently, the Compound Interest Paradox lets the financial industry steal the wealth of the rest of society at a rate of 5%-10% per year. The government directly steals 50% of your productivity via taxes, and an additional 25%-45% via government regulations.

Once you break that chain, exponential growth starts working in your favor. Suppose I could have 5x the productivity in an agorist economy. I would be able to support myself *PLUS* recruit four other people!

I estimate that it would take 20-50 years in total.

The MOST productive people are the ones who have their productivity leeched the most by the State! Once the State loses the support of the most productive people, the collapse starts happening rapidly.

Allow me to play skeptic for a moment.


You're starting to sound more like a pro-State troll.

Perhaps i'm not thinking like a free-market trader, but I'd assert that you are not thinking like an average person-- not anywhere near an average person. You appear to assume that average people will just catch on, or be inspired, because it is technically in their own interest. I would argue that 'their own interest' is subjective, in so far as (1) following the safety of the mainstream, (2) not thinking too much about society's/government's ills, and (3) not making the investment of time/effort are also very much in most people's interest. It is very possible that most people will prefer the combo of these 3 to the prospective 'profit' of agorism, especially since engaging in such behavior will seem both complicated and dubious to most.

I don't care what the average person things. My target audience is The Remnant.

In spite of *ZERO MSM COVERAGE*, Ron Paul gained around 5% of the vote in the Republican primaries. Many of those people are now frustrated. They are potential converts to agorism.

Let's make an analogy. 15 years ago, only intellectuals had access to the Internet. 30 years ago, it took someone with the level of ability of a Computer Science professor to rebuild a damaged filesystem. Now, those tools are available to everyone.

The Internet and computers were refined by the elite and then released to the general population. Similarly, agorism will be refined by the smartest people and then released to the general population. Many people cannot imagine life without the Internet or computers now. Someday, people will be unable to imagine life with a monopolistic government.

Agorism would start with a very, very small, educated, etc avant-garde. Let's say for a moment that that avant garde is motivated and resourceful enough to actually create a trading network(s) that function(s), such that they have an actual product, a result, to show others. In short, they can in some small but incontrovertible manner 'prove' that agorism works on a real community level, and not just in manifestos or among a group of 25 superdedicated people.

Even with such evidence at your disposal, agorists will ahve trouble penetrating the invisible ceiling of our capitalist culture. The predictable authority figures will condemn it, dismiss it, either briefly at first or in a very concentrated way later, shoudl agorism spread in an underground, grass roots way and grow into a real subculture.

The only risk comes when the red market starts attempting to shut down agorist trading groups via force. By the time 1%-5% of the population is trading in the free market, it'll be very hard to shut it down. Besides, it's hard to justify cracking down violently on people who are trading peacefully.

The only way to be sure is to perform an experiment. This experiment has not been performed before, so you cannot conclude in advance that it will be a failure.

Are agorists willing to penetrate mainstream culture and lead some sort of movement? This type of thing requires an organized, if decentralized, movement; press coverage & reach-out; strategy, even. It can't just be organic and spontaneous to succeed at a mass level and change minds of normal, frankly indifferent or apathetic people. Is Ron Paul going to come out for this? Other politicians? A few famous people to get the word out via pop culture? Is someone going to make a believable movie portraying the successful agorist society?

I have been considering making YouTube vlogs. If they wind up popular, I could become a mainstream advocate for agorism. Unfortunately, being high-profile would limit my ability to practice agorism myself.

For an agorist to work for an MSM news source is hypocritical. If you work for an MSM news source, your income is taxed. It is hypocritical for an agorist to work for a corporation and have income taxes automatically withheld from their paycheck.

In fact, a MSM discussion of agorism might be bad at this time. If a mainstream news source went around saying "The entire world has been enslaved!", that would cause a mass panic. It's better for people to slowly discover the truth, starting with the smartest people.

Even with a blog, I get around 100 visitors per day. I am educating some people. Some of them are, in turn, aggressively educating others. At some point, I'll solicit people to start a free market trading group near me.

Agorism may be perfect on paper, and you seem like a competent explainer of its virtues. However all of that is still drawing-board stuff. Do not underestimate the gargantuan 3-tiered (at least) effort it would be to, first, create a sustainable network among elites/founders; and second, to expand it into a subculture; and, third, to penetrate and co-opt elements of the mainstream.

I need to move from theoretical agorism to practical agorism. Going back to the computers analogy, it's one thing for someone to have made the first transistor in a laboratory. It's another thing to buy a quad-core Pentium computer for under $2k.

Your argument could be used against *ANY* invention, not just agorism.

You are thinking on the wrong scale. In order to start an agorist revolution, I need 5 initial trading partners working part-time.

You are showing symptoms of brainwashing here. You are falsely thinking, "In order to change the world, I need a MSM news source blasting my message." With the Internet, there is another way to introduce disruptive ideas. They can be spread gradually a few people at a time. The Internet has allowed communication to become decentralized.

I would think it crucial to post a response to this type of skeptical claim, and others that I have not included.

How can I answer skeptical claims that haven't been mentioned yet? Why do I have to provide a specification, to the very last detail, of how an agorist society would function? That's like asking someone to build a quad-core Pentium processor, just after the transistor was invented!

I am convinced that agorism is the only effective strategy for resisting oppression. Let's turn this around. You convince me that any political action *BESIDES* agorism isn't a complete waste of time! All the other means of political action require millions of people on-board just to get started. An agorist revolution can get started with a handful of people.

The only way to address *ALL* the concerns is to conduct an experiment.

I need to move from "theoretical agorism" to "practical agorism". That will improve the quality of my "theoretical agorism".



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #37":

Dear FSK,
Recently I commented about the dangers of Google, blogger.com, etc, and read your reply with interest. I will give it another try as it is crucial to our cause to understand the dangers of "web 2.0" and Google as a PINK enterprise. I hope that you are not too geeked out (seduced by the technology that is) to truly appreciate the situation. Please feel free to post this as you see fit.

My policy is all non-spam comments get posted. However, your level of paranoia is very high.

I used to be that paranoid about posting politically sensitive content on the Internet. Since I've started blogging, I've mellowed out. Agorism is the *MOST* politically subversive topic. Only someone who *REALLY* understands agorism would agree.

Even though my blog is a year old, there haven't been any policemen arresting me based on the content of my blog. It's one thing for the bad guys to monitor my blog. It's another thing for them to arrest me based on the content of my blog. I don't think policemen or a judge could order my arrest with a straight face.

There is the risk that I could be assassinated based on my blog's content. I don't think that would accomplish anything. There are already too many people who know about agorism. Even without me, I think an agorist revolution is inevitable.

Our society is constantly misled and misdirected to protect the powers that be. That is why, on the eve of an economic collapse caused entirely by unchecked creation of financial derivatives (and the destruction of the industry in the process), most of Americans yawn and wonder how to support the 'global warming' initiative and whether Obama will make it all better.

Even if there was a financial derivatives disaster, the Federal Reserve could *ALWAYS* print more money and give it to banks. The collapse of the US monetary system is not going to come from that source.

1) Make no mistake - Google is a PINK organization. It is funded heavily by adjuncts of the RED government. Sovereign funds, VC firms, Al Gore, you name it are involved. As a 'public company', Google has access to unlimited funds directly from the RED press.

Do you mean "pink" in the sense where I talk about "pink market"? Like all large corporations, Google is an extension of the government. Google can be classified either as pink or as white.

Google does provide a legitimate service. With software, there's enormous scaling power. Writing a search engine is the same number of effort, whether you write it for 1k users or 1B users.

Google receives massive government subsidies, just like all other large corporations. It's impossible to start a business that directly competes with Google. Large corporations receive massive government subsidies that enable them to protect their market position. These subsidies take the form of outright cash grants, government regulations, and patents restricting competition.

Google wields tremendous power. The details of their search engine are secret. By boosting or reducing a website's rank, information can be highlighted or censored.

I receive a decent amount of Google search traffic, assuming their Analytics program is reporting honestly. I have had problems when spam blogs (sblogs) copy my content.
2) Social networks are a creation of the RED zone (there is evidence - scroogle it). Sheeple eat it up, and my own kids have been banned from my network for releasing personal and private information. They say, to my horror, "I have nothing to hide! So what if they know who I am or what I think?" "You are weird, dad!", "All my friends are on facebook - how am I to have a social life?"...

Again, you are overly paranoid. Such information is *ALREADY* public. I would allow my children to have such access, but I'd bar them from publicly sharing information like phone #, address, social security #, real name. I'd allow them to use social networking websites, but bar them from publishing photographs or using their real name.

You're being overly Luddite. The Internet is useful. Google's tools are useful. In many ways, they are more user-friendly than the alternatives. Gmail is a lot simpler than storing all my E-Mail on my local hard drive.

3) RED organizations, despite their bureaucratic inefficiencies, do manage to attract serious brainpower. PINK enterprises (such as Google) have recruited several of my very, very smart friends and acquaintances.

I would prefer to work at Google, rather than working writing financial software. (I interviewed with Google and they didn't want to hire me!)

If you're going to be a slave, you might as well choose the master that's the least abusive!

My preference is to work in the free market. I haven't seen any viable opportunities yet.

4) Although we have free speech, RED organizations will not try to silence us directly. All they have to do is find a chink in our armor - be it a tax irregularity, a friend or a loved one who is compromised, etc. Otherwise, they may simply plant evidence that lands us in jail, or completely discredits our vocalizations. Access to our thoughts (such as logged by Google) is imperative to these activities.

Just because the bad guys are reading all the Internet traffic, that doesn't mean they're capable of processing information intelligently. I got the impression that they only do keyword filtering. There's *NO WAY* someone could manually scan all the internet traffic.

Besides, they're looking for people committing acts of violence/terrorism against government property or government employees. I am not advocating direct violence against the bad guys. That's a violation of the non-aggression principle *AND* the bad guys have superior resources. It isn't feasible to win a direct violent confrontation with illegitimate government police/terrorists. Stealth is key. Avoiding the government is my goal.

Suppose the bad guys *DID* have an AI capable of reading and understanding all Internet traffic. This would be the Giant Evil Computer that Rules the World. Any computer that intelligent would *ALSO* agree with my analysis and my conclusions. It would not flag my posts as "dangerous".

If I do start vlogging or giving up my anonymity, I would be placed under greater risk. If I became a public advocate for agorism, the bad guys would try to make an example of me. If I start attracting a mass audience, that is both good and bad. It is good, because I'm reaching more people. It is bad, because it would restrict my ability to practice agorism myself.

5) Anyone who is vocal about some anti-RED aspect is a natural magnet to others who share the same 'disease'. Therefore, you may be left alone while the logs of people reading your blog become a target without you knowing. Combined with other Google monitoring, a clear picture of an organization - whether a formal resistance group or an ad-hoc brotherhood - emerges almost instantly.

There is no "organization". I am promoting leaderless resistance. At some point, it becomes difficult. Are the bad guys going to arrest *EVERYONE*?

A leaderless resistance structure is much harder to subvert than a dictatorship structure. If I were trying to become the leader of a dictatorship organization, then I would be at much greater risk. I'm not seeking to acquire followers who will blindly obey my orders.

6) Of course, vocalizing these concerns puts you into the 'paranoid nutter' category. It is the same category that contains the 'holocaust never happened' and 'the moon landing was faked' nutters, and you words are lost.

This is the Strawman Fallacy. Any government spy reading my blog for a few minutes may conclude "This guy is a fruitcake and not dangerous". It's impossible to understand what I'm writing unless you agree with me.

As an old-school hacker (the good kind), I am well aware of the attraction you may have to the google applications. It is also fun to check how many readers you have with google analytics. However, to satisfy your curiosity, you are compromising your readers' privacy.

No matter what I do, I cannot compromise my reader's privacy. There is always the risk that my readers' ISP is logging every single website visited. I can't do anything about it.

You are free to block Google Analytics if you choose. I doubt as many as 1% of my readers do that.

I think you are beginning to learn the real issues. I went through the same realizations. I though for a while that 'I am not doing anything illegal, so there is little to worry about'. However, it is clear to me that at some point in the future laws will be passed that will make things I've done and things I've bought and made retroactively illegal and subject to seizure, landing me in prison. At that time, it will be too late to do anything about the 'harmless' google logs.

Even if such laws are passed, it's another matter for someone to actually arrest you. If the laws start to get too silly, people will start ignoring them more and more.

Literally, it's impossible to do anything without committing a crime. Most people can be busted for superficial crimes at any time.

What to do?

Do use Tor. It is not slow as it used to be. Yes, it's slower but it is worth it! You can even keep content in Torosphere, where your readers will remain anonymous.

I think that's overly paranoid.

If you assume the bad guys are omnipotent, how do you know the NSA hasn't already infiltrated the Tor network? It would be trivial to set up a bunch of Tor nodes and monitor all the traffic. If I had a $1B budget, I could easily compromise the Tor network.

Besides, if you assume the bad guys are omnipotent, then it's pointless to do anything! Is the Supreme Leader of Humanity evil or not evil? I'm beginning to suspect that the Supreme Leader of Humanity *WANTS* the current economic and political system to collapse!

Use a text-based browser like lynx. If you can't:

Disable javascript, flash and all that garbage that marketing people love. Your blog, for instance, has scripts from google.com, blogger.com and blogspot.com. Each of these is a clear compromise and an insult. Do not, I repeat, do not allow them.

You can block scripts if they bother you.

Disable cookies. No one has any valid reason to track your visits to their sites. Any sites (stores?) requiring your trust can use transparent mechanisms such as a session id to track you with your knowledge after you log in. No one at all from a third party should ever be allowed to track you.


I gave up blocking cookies a long time ago. Too many sites use them.

Disable images from other web sites. Content coming from another web site can be used to track you (web bugs, 1x1-pixel images, creative commons logos, etc.)

Do not ever, ever log into google, yahoo, aol, etc. If you are foolish enough to use their email (which goes into your permanent record complete with your searches, chat transcripts, etc), don't.

The convenience of Google is too great. If the bad guys were going to crack down on me, they would have done so by now. I've already educated 10-50 people about the merits of agorism. At some point, the growth becomes exponential.

If it wasn't for Google and the Internet, I never would have discovered agorism in the first place. Comments from readers have enabled me to refine my thinking. If I were forced to find fellow agorists in person, I would *NEVER* succeed.

Do not use search engines directly. Use scroogle.org or anonymizing proxies that you can trust to destroy their logs.

Do not use the internet for 'fun' like a fool. Watching youtube and related crap makes you the product. Enormous IPOs are made by PINKo companies with your sheeple headcount as the only asset. Think about why and how the venture capitalists can justify such a high per-head cost. You are the food and the only threat to the system! If nothing else, you could probably do something better with your time.

What's wrong with doing something that's fun? Why do I care if the bad guys know I watch the Angry Video Game Nerd?

There's another point, "Don't waste time". I try to avoid wasting time on foolish things.

Lately, I've been considering playing "Titan Quest" to be more fun than blogging.

Do not use credit cards, discount cards, club memberships, and other 'membership' organizations that require extensive applications (CVS cards etc). They will track your purchases, and add to the information that may be someday used against you.

I agree that this is bordering paranoid, and all that information collected is not very useful, and who is going to bother looking through it, and there is so much of it, and the government can get it anyway, and etc. However, keep in mind that the NSA does have acres of computers and a budget that is not limited by the laws of physics. Someone may, pre-emptively, do an active search for those who are 'terr0- r1st sympathizers' or are likely to be 'bad citizens', or purchased gold or silver, or whatever happens to go through some bozo manager-type's head. The less of a footprint you leave, the better.

The NSA does have a huge budget (paid via my taxes!). However, its budget is not infinite.

I'd like to purchase gold and silver. However, it's almost impossible to buy without leaving a paper trail somewhere. If I buy in a store, I could be followed home from the store. If I buy on the Internet, prices are cheaper, but there may be records.

Better yet, install 'track me not' extension in your browser and watch it make millions of useless queries from all the search engines in your spare bandwidth. That will give them something to look through!

Thank you, and forgive me for being verbose.

I think you are overly paranoid. If I were maximally paranoid, I would avoid using the Internet altogether. However, the Internet is what allowed me to learn about agorism in the first place! Google's services are too convenient for me to give up.

If you truly want to access my blog anonymously, you may use Tor and block all scripts. Tor doesn't provide you with more anonymity than I have.

If you assume the bad guys are omnipotent, then it doesn't matter what you do!

Ascribing *TOO MUCH* power to the State is a form of pro-State trolling. Even though the bad guys have a *TON* of information, that doesn't mean they're capable of using it intelligently. It's one thing to track a bunch of web traffic. It's another thing to send policemen to arrest me.

Besides, how do you know the bad guys aren't *SO COCKY* that they think I'm no threat at all? They may not realize the importance of cracking down on agorism until 1%-5% of the population is participating. By then, it's too late.

I think this is an aspect of public education. You're subject to a seemingly omnipotent and cranky authority feature (the teacher). As adults, you ascribe the same behavior to the State. As children, you're subject to the random whims of abusive authority figures.

How about you conduct an experiment? Try driving without your seatbelt. What's your *TRUE RISK* of getting a ticket? It's not that big.



Someone asked me for my source code for my CSV to Blogger HTML converter, written in C++/MFC. There was only one request.

I'm planning to include more tables when I do financial calculations.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "* Primary Season is Over!":

Because they are the ones deciding who it will be, as per instructions.

That's entirely my point. Voting is an invalid means for choosing a government.

There is *NO* way to patch an inherently flawed system.

BTW, "American Idol" uses a voting system that's logically equivalent to instant runoff voting. American Idol uses a fairer voting system than US elections!



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Grand Conspiracy Experiment":

Interesting, and it is tempting to think someone must be controlling the madness around us. You should read a old book called The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul.

Ellul (1964) defined technique as "the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of development) in every field of human activity" (p. xxv). According to Fasching (1981) "It is not the society of machines but the society of efficient techniques which is the focus of Ellul's sociological analysis" (p. 15). "Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity" (p. 17).

Is there a Supreme Leader of Humanity? As a practical matter it's irrelevant. The optimal course of action, agorism, is obvious.

In a civilization that values the accumulation of power over all else, isn't it natural that someone would have seized absolute power?

Those two excerpts didn't make me want to read the book. The "amateur" writing available for free on the Internet is frequently better than "professional" authors. If you know where to look, there's a lot of good content available for free.



By E-Mail, the guy who calls himself John Galt is pro-State trolling:

Paying taxes is an unjust burden, but so too is the risk of agorism. It seems you're trading one unjust burden for another. Yes, you *might* get away with it and you might profit overall. But the larger your network of trading partners, the higher the risk that you won't. There is no way you can get beyond a network of close friends and have any hope for security. And even with a close network you can't guarantee anything. You're not going to benefit to the tune of 50%, because your efficiency is encumbered by having to sneak.

Why would I need to trade beyond a network of close friends? If I have secure relationships with 50-100 people, I can rely on trading with their friends, if necessary. One person can't manage more than 50-200 interpersonal relationships. With software helping me keep track, I could manage more.

I mean look at you now: you can't even benefit at all.

That is false reasoning. Things have been a certain way in the past. That does not guarantee they will be the same in the future.

Most revolutions have to start somewhere. For now, I'm spending all of my effort enlightening people. Eventually, I will start looking for free market trading partners. Someone, somewhere, has to be the first.

I do feel very alone. I am surrounded by mindless zombies. In many ways, I feel like I'm the only intelligent life form on an uninhabited planet! I feel that I'm helping some people, based on the comments and E-Mails I get. On the other blogs I read, the quality of writing about agorism is increasing.

Agorism is a personal choice, one that many won't or can't make. It can't be a fundamental force toward true justice--an openly practiced division of labor, i.e. capitalism. The only fundamental force has to be ideas.


At some point, ideas have to be put into practice. If all you do is talk, you're *NEVER* going to accomplish anything. At one public demonstration, a red market worker said "Let them protest all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes."

Capitalism is *NOT THE SAME* as a free market. Division of labor is a *GOOD THING*. Capitalism consists of a central bank, income taxes, and extensive government regulations. Each of those things prevents a free market from existing.

I am well aware of the fact that democracy is not a valid form of government--but the fact remains that if you want to live in society, the majority is what counts. Might doesn't make right, but there's no getting around the fact that might will have its way.

Agorism must start out via stealth. I want to build my own sub-society where things are organized fairly. I noticed that the rules of the economic and political system are unfair. I refuse to play a game where the rules are biased against me!

That is why the primary battle is intellectual. We have to convince a substantial segment of society or we'll never be free. Not the majority--because the majority are sheep--but a substantial minority.

Ron Paul attracted around 5% of the vote. Frustrated with how the campaign ended, those people are potential converts to agorism. I don't need to convince the majority. I only need to convince the Remnant.

As Ayn Rand pointed out, once the most productive people stop supporting the State, it collapses rapidly.

The Founding Fathers of America knew and practiced intellectual activism (e.g., "Common Sense") before doing anything revolutionary.
If I am wrong then I wish you would convince me. But I think you are wrong and are wasting your obvious intellect on a pointless tactic.

I am practicing "intellectual activism" right now. I'm eager to make the transition from "theoretical agorism" to "practical agorism". I'm going to focus on things that are easy and low-risk.

For example, I'm *NOT* interested in becoming a marijuana farmer. There is plenty of competition. I don't believe I could provide that service at a better risk/benefit ratio than other marijuana farmers. Besides, marijuana *IS* bad for you. I want to do things that are actually useful. I don't recognize the red market's ban on marijuana as being valid. However, I don't consider marijuana farming to be an attractive business opportunity.

Let's turn your complaint around. You convince me that anything *BESIDES* agorism isn't a complete and utter waste of time. Voting doesn't work. A violent revolt is infeasible, and probably wouldn't accomplish anything even if it succeeded. An economic revolt is the *ONLY* resistance strategy that has a nonzero chance of success.

At this point, you're sounding more like a pro-State troll than the hero of an Ayn Rand novel.



Tristan has left a new comment on your post "Is Prostitution a Crime?":

As far as I'm concerned, prostitution should of course not be a crime, its a consenting act between two adults.

Here in the UK, prostitution itself is not a crime, but some associated acts, such as curb crawling and running a brothel are.

In Spitzer's case he was guilty of breaking a law which makes it illegal to transport someone across state lines for prostitution (which should not be a crime if they are consenting - which they were in this case).
The real kicker though is that he's aggressively prosecuted people for that crime, so there is a certain poetic justice.

As libertarian justice does not exist yet, we sometimes have to settle for poetic justice (as I just read elsewhere)

Does "poetic justice" translate into money in my pocket?

When a politician is involved in a scandal, do I get a tax rebate?

Even though the mainstream media hypes cases like this, the actual outcome is irrelevant. Replacing one politician with another one accomplishes nothing.

I don't like the way the real issue is never discusses at all. Not a single mainstream source says "Is prostitution a crime?" There are a *LOT* of free market activities falsely classified as crimes.

redpillguy has left a new comment on your post "Is Prostitution a Crime?":

The other thing that gets me is that in the newspapers they point out that he was caught because the banks notified the IRS / Feds that he was transferring money over $5,000. But what they don't say is that these anti drug money laundering laws are not truly about drugs, but about the IRS and taxation, and surveillance on the citizenry.

This was discussed more in this post on the Liberty Papers.

If you really desire financial anonymity, you should use sound money (i.e. gold or silver).

"Anti money-laundering laws" are designed to catch *ALL* sorts of free market activity, not just drugs. Many people who attempt to avoid income taxes get busted for violating anti-money-laundering laws.

If you use sound money, there's no need to "launder" money. Gold and silver are an inflation-hedged investment. You can hold onto physical metal without being concerned that your purchasing power will be eroded by inflation.

Should that be my first agorist business opportunity? Should I create a free market gold and silver trading network? It is *REALLY INCONVENIENT* to trade back and forth between Federal Reserve Points and real money. Most people are reluctant to use sound money because:
  • Transaction costs are high.
  • There isn't a convenient place to buy or sell.
  • There's nowhere safe to store your metal.

What is the real risk of being robbed if you store gold or silver in your apartment? I should conduct an experiment. If I slowly accumulate real money, I'm taking on less risk.



Someone bought 55,000 $30 strike puts just before Bear Stearns crashed a few days ago.

*SOMEONE* knew that Bear Stearns was going to crash.

The only way to avoid subsidizing corrupt traders is to invest in sound money (gold or silver).



nyscof has left a new comment on your post "The Fluoride Conspiracy Theory":

Actually, fluoridation is not a conspiracy but a huge medical blunder that was never rooted in science. The early fluoridation experiments were seriously flawed - so flawed that high school biology students can easily find the illogic.

If fluoridation is so *OBVIOUSLY* flawed, then why is it still being practiced?

Why are people so reluctant to say "There's no conspiracy"? Why are people afraid of being labeled a "conspiracy nut"? If something really harmful proceeds unchecked, the *ONLY* reason can be a conspiracy.

There are simple scientific experiments that would confirm or reject the hypothesis that fluoride is good for teeth. Those experiments have not been performed. Why not?

Modern science shows us that fluoridation, in addition to being ineffective at reducing tooth decay, is also harmful to health.

for more info

Fluoridation 101
http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof

Fluoridation News Releases
http://tinyurl.com/6kqtu

Tooth Decay Crises in Fluoridated Areas
http://www.fluoridenews.blogspot.com/

Fluoride Action Network http://www.FluorideAction.Net

Fluoride Journal http://www.FluorideResearch.Org

P.S. Fluoride replaces the hydroxyl group in teeth that makes the enamel outer shell harder but doesn't stop the cavity causing organisms from penetrating the enamel rods to cause cavities beneath the surface. So fluoride hides cavities but doesn't stop them

There was one interesting bit on those websites. Dentists are frequently paid more than doctors! Doctors are being squeezed by HMOs. Most people who purchase dental care are paying out-of-pocket. Doctors are forced to sell their services in a communist economy. Dentists operate in a freer market. Dentists still receive licensing from the government, so dental care still isn't a truly free market.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Who's the Richest Man in the World?":

The internet was necessary to increase control of society in other areas...but there are negative 'side-effects' for the leader which he will iron out in due course.

The leaders themselves have no loyalty though...they must be competing with each other about who wants to be head honcho, can he trust the people around him.

That's entirely my point. Suppose there were a group of 100 people who believed themselves to be the world's secret rulers. Those people would be under *INTENSE* competition with each other. Eventually, one would dominate the others and become Supreme Leader.

The *ONLY* stable political system is with one free person, or with everyone free. A handful of free people is unstable.

Someone suggested that the current corrupt system has evolved through a series of bad decisions, and now *NOBODY* is free.

Whether there's a Supreme Leader or not is irrelevant. The optimal course of action is agorism. That's the only resistance strategy that has a nonzero chance of success.

Francois Tremblay has left a new comment on your post "Who's the Richest Man in the World?":

It's true, I can't trust anyone around me. They all want to be the Supreme Ruler. They all want the power that I have. But it is a heavy power, with great responsibilities.

It probably does suck to be Supreme Leader. If he didn't enslave the entire world, then someone else would have beaten him to it. I wonder if the Supreme Leader would resign, if he knew that someone else would not take his place?



Fairtax-MO has left a new comment on your post "How Fair is the Fair Tax?":

You really should read more posts on my blog before commenting. My attitude is "Taxation is theft!" "Fair tax" is synonymous with "Fair theft".

The FairTax plan took 10 years of research & analysis, cost $23 million, has over 600,000 grassroots supporters, is endorsed by 80 professional and university economists, and is co-sponsored by 72 Congressmen!

Just because a lot of time and money was spent on something, doesn't mean it wasn't a complete and utter waste of time.

I'll translate "80 economists and 72 Congressmen" into English. "152 terrorists have endorsed the FairTax plan." I don't recognize university economists or Congressmen as a legitimate authority.

Let me know if someone who isn't a pro-State troll endorses the FairTax plan.

I recommend reading the paper by The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University and Laurence Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics at Boston University (available at http://www.fairtax.org/PDF/TaxingSalesUnderFairTax.pdf.). It presents a sound methodology for estimating the FairTax base and computing the FairTax rate. Their paper demonstrates that the 23 percent rate specified by the Fair Tax Act (HR 25) is eminently feasible.

Hard economic research by respected scholars on the price of consumer goods reveals that from 20% to 25% (depending on the product) of all prices today represent hidden income taxes and payroll taxes. Once these taxes are repealed and replaced with the FairTax, it is likely that market pressure would force retail prices to fall and the cost of consumer goods will be about the same as before, thus not putting retirees at a disadvantage. The proper tax rate has been carefully worked out; 23 cents of every dollar spent does the job of: (1) raising the same amount of federal funds as are raised by the current system, (2) paying the universal rebate, and (3) paying the collection fees to retailers and state governments. Also consider that only 30% of the people pay Income Tax, whereas 100% will pay with the FairTax. This includes the 50 Million visitors to America as well as illegal aliens. Unlike some other proposals, this rate has been independently confirmed by several different, nonpartisan institutions across the country. Detailed calculations are available from FairTax.org.

Since the FairTax eliminates income taxes and payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare), which are costly to collect and end up as "embedded" in the price of everything we buy, the FairTax would eliminate the distorting effect that income and payroll taxes have on the economy. Eliminating embedded taxes will also do something else -- it will remove significant price disadvantages suffered by American producers competing with tax-free imports. Eliminating corporate income taxes and capital gains taxes, which the FairTax would do, would likely make the American economy the most desirable place in the world to do business. Therefore, when people see their paychecks are much bigger, because they will not pay Income Tax, Social Security Tax or Medicare Tax coupled with the monthly prebate check, there will not be widespread cheating or tax evasion. By the way, it only takes one to cheat the Income tax system; it takes two to cheat the FairTax system (the retailer and the buyer).

Lobbying for the FairTax is a waste of time. You're better off reading about agorism. That's the only form of political activism that isn't a complete waste of time.

Also, you have it backwards. It takes TWO people to cheat the income tax system. My employer automatically deducts taxes from my paycheck and reports them to the IRS. As an individual, I have a legal responsibility to pay income taxes EVEN IF MY EMPLOYER FAILS TO WITHHOLD OR REPORT THE INCOME TO THE IRS!

With the FairTax, suppose a store declined to pay the tax. As a customer, I would be unaware that the store selling isn't paying the national sales tax. It only takes one party to foil the FairTax.

Lobbying for the FairTax reform is a waste of time.

1 comment:

JEK said...

As a security guy for Tel-Aviv school, I'd like to make an unfortunate explanation.
Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, where the shooting happened, is not part of Goverment Education system. Therefore they didn't have a security measures installed in all official schooles and sponsored by the Govt. On other hand, students there are coming from more troublesome areas. Therfore of many Yeshivas of Jerusalem, this one is more likely to have armed students. Now, should student in official school carry a gun, the israeli would cry for extra-enforcement just like the Americans. But as long as the institution is not part of the establishmet, they may act as they please. The real question to ask is: if Yeshiva's security meaures were the same as in official institutions, could we prevent all the shooting? (BTW, the answer is no)

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