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Friday, April 18, 2008

Reader Mail #49 - Stand Alone Complex?

This post on the Liberty Papers was missing the point. He says that people should ignore "small abuses" by the government and focus on "big abuses".

Stealing is stealing. If you steal $1 from me or $10,000 from me, it's still stealing.

If you steal $1 from me 10,000 times, that's just as bad as stealing $10,000 from me once.

That's the whole Distributed Costs and Concentrated Benefits problem. The State makes it economically feasible to steal $1 from every single person in the USA.



I liked this article on the Agitator. In a recent high-profile trial, there was a hung jury. The FBI has been interrogating/intimidating former jurors in the trial.



I liked this article on Techdirt. Many newspapers are having their business model destroyed by the Internet. They are lobbying for government subsidies.

Why read lies and propaganda, when you can read various blogs and websites? Hopefully, I'm doing my part to destroy the profitability of newspapers and TV network news.



I liked this article on Techdirt. Wal-Mart hired a small company named Flagler to videotape its executive meetings. Wal-Mart was their only customer. Wal-Mart fired Flagler.

Wal-Mart did *NOT* have a written contract with Flagler. Due to a quirk in copyright law, whoever filmed the video has ownership.

Flagler is now selling the right to view these videotapes. People interested in suing Wal-Mart are particularly interested.



I liked this article on Techdirt. Stolen credit card information and other personal information is very plentiful. The price of a stolen credit card number is dropping to practically nothing, due to the glut of stolen information.



I liked this post on the Agitator. A group of people decided to dance in front of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C., to celebrate his birthday. Their event was broken up by police and some were arrested.



I liked this post on Techdirt. Peer-to-peer "microloans" have started becoming popular. They allow individuals to borrow small amounts of money relatively cheaply.

Naturally, the SEC is cracking down. These microloans are a violation of securities laws. The cost of regulation compliance will destroy this market.

Some sort of free market banking system is desperately needed. It has to be fully off-the-books to avoid being shut down by the red market. It's supposed to be very hard for individuals to accumulate capital and start their own businesses.



I liked this article on Techdirt. Stephen King says that a proposed ban on violent video games is stupid and offensive. Parents are responsible for what their kids do, and not the State. Parents can easily monitor what games their kids are playing and buying.

The State frequently acts as a surrogate parent, usurping the rights of the biological parents. Your children are State property, and not the responsibility of the parent.

If you take the attitude "People are property of the State", then stupid laws restricting activity make sense.



I read an interesting bit about the Hazard Circular, because someone was citing my blog there. The Hazard Circular was written in 1862. An outright slave system is inferior to a debt/tax slave system.

If someone is your outright slave, you're responsible for them. Plus, the slave is fully aware they're a slave. They will seek every possible opportunity to escape.

Debt is a form of slavery, due to the Compound Interest Paradox. The income tax is a partial slavery system. The income tax means that people need permission from the IRS and Federal Reserve in order to work. The income tax means that people must give over 50% of their productivity directly to the State. The State spends most of this stolen property on corporate welfare, subsidizing capital holders. A tiny fraction of this stolen property is spent on welfare, so the slaves have the illusion they benefit from the State.

When you imprison people via debt and taxes, they have the false illusion they're free. In a pure slave system, owners are responsible for feeding and housing their slaves. In a capitalist economy, it's entirely the workers' fault when they lose their job. Any worker who fails to perform as a slave is easily replaced.

For *REALLY* dangerous jobs, hourly laborers were *PREFERABLE* to slaves. Illness or injury to your slave is a serious loss of property. If an hourly laborer is seriously injured, you can easily hire another.

Capitalism and a fake free market are a MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE enslavement system than outright slavery.



This article on Techdirt about H-1B visas is missing the point.

In a free market, importing workers is *ALWAYS* beneficial to society as a whole. However, the USA does not have a free market.

The USA is a communist country. The "supply" of jobs is relatively inelastic. In a free market, more workers is always beneficial. If there's a fixed pool of jobs, importing workers drives wages down to subsistence level.

There's another problem with H-1B visas. In a free market, immigrant workers have *UNRESTRICTED* work rights. An H-1B immigrant must leave the country if he loses his job. Further, an H1-B immigrant who switches jobs has his "clock reset" on the drawn-out green card process. As an employer, suppose you could hire a US citizen *OR* someone who would be kicked out of the country if you fired him. Who would you pick? Obviously, you'll pick the worker who isn't free to switch jobs.

Anger against "immigrant labor" comes from the fact that the USA is not a free market. The immigrants are blamed, and not the non-free US market. H1-B visas holders can be more easily abused by their employers than US citizens. The terms of the H1-B visa give employers an *INCENTIVE* to preferentially hire H1-B visa immigrants over US citizens. This drives employment conditions for US workers down to the H1-B visaholder level.

In a free market, immigrant worker would have *UNRESTRICTED* work rights. In a free market, everyone benefits from more workers.

When there's a fixed pool of jobs, immigrant workers "stealing jobs" is a legitimate concern. Blame the non-free market and not the immigrant workers.



This article on Techdirt writes about struggles by mainstream newspapers and magazines. The Internet is destroying their business model. Many mainstream news sources are slashing employees. This makes the quality of their news *EVEN WORSE*, exacerbating the death spiral.

As a blog, I'm not going to cover "breaking news" faster than other sources. I provide analysis that is missing elsewhere.

As more people realize that mainstream news sources are pure propaganda, they will switch to alternative information sources.



I liked this post on Techdirt. Policemen have their license plates entered in a special database. Many VIPs also get special license plates. When pulling someone over for a traffic violation, the policeman can see if the suspect is a policeman or VIP.

These special license plates create a class of people who are immune from all traffic violations.

According to Techdirt, this has been particularly abused in California. Over 1 million policeman/VIP license plates have been issued.



I liked this post on Distributed Republic about common law vs. State law.

Common law evolved via market forces. If a judge made a wise ruling, it was cited as precedent and used in other cases. If a judge made a stupid ruling, it was ignored. Over time, certain common rulings were treated as laws.

Common law is flexible, because the judge can always use his personal discretion. If the judge is fair and doesn't have an unaccountable monopoly, then common law works.

State law evolves differently. A handful of people make up arbitrary rules and use violence to impose them on everyone else. For example, the decision to ban alcohol was the arbitrary decision of a handful of people. As another example, consider the ban on possession of marijuana. The ban on incandescent light bulbs is another arbitrary decision by an illegitimate government.

The worst example of corrupt State law is the Federal Reserve and income tax. It is impractical/illegal for people to use sound money. Income taxes mean that people must directly turn over a high percentage of their labor to the State.

When a handful of people can violently impose their will on everyone else, there is a huge reward for dishonesty. It's very easy to for politicians and their backers to line their pockets at the expense of everyone else.

With corrupt State law, the law primarily benefit politicians and their backers instead of the average person.



This post on Distributed Public is about adverse selection and health insurance. Many healthy people tend to opt-out of paying for health insurance. If you're sick, you *DEFINITELY* will buy health insurance. This keeps raising the cost of health insurance. If you're the most healthy person who buys health insurance, you're overpaying.

There are several problems with this.

First, doctors need a license from the government in order to work. This drives up their salaries and the cost of medical care. Similarly, hospitals need a license from the government. Also, health insurance companies need a license from the government. Government licensing requirements restrict supply and drive up prices.

Further, health insurance companies are barred from screening patients based on risk. For example, someone who had a kidney transplant is a higher risk for further illness. State regulations bar insurance companies from charging these people higher prices. This drives up the cost of health insurance.

Finally, hospitals and insurance companies collude to ensure everyone *NEEDS* health insurance. The "full retail price" for a hospitalization may be $100k, but your insurance company may negotiate to pay only $10k-$20k. If you're uninsured, you pay "full retail price". This guarantees that everyone needs to purchase health insurance. Hospitals are shielded from competition by the State.

It's pointless to complain about health care costs when there's no free market in health care.

The fundamental problem is State licensing requirements of doctors. This issue is never discussed or debated.



I liked this post on no third solution. Someone had a hard time getting a minor zoning variance due to a garage they had built. A neighbor had complained to the zoning board.

I participate, therefore so should you. I follow the arbitrary and capricious whims of petty-tyrants, therefore so should you. Because I obeyed, the quality of my life is less than I would have otherwise preferred. Rather than help my neighbors attain happiness (which does not come at my expense) I want the quality of his or her livelihood brought down to my level (which does not bestow upon me any tangible benefits).


This is defective reasoning. "I was injured by the State. Therefore, you should also be injured by the State." That's not how proper justice works.

I had that happen to me once while dancing. A woman stepped on my foot, wearing sharp heels. Later, she intentionally put her foot where I stepped on it. She said "Now, it's fair." That's invalid reasoning.

This argument is most commonly made in tax cases. The prosecutors argue to the jury "We steal from you via taxes. Therefore, you should allow us to steal from this victim also."



I liked this post on Techdirt. Digital cameras and cameraphones are required by law to make a "clicking" sound when they take a picture. Otherwise, people could take pictures without other people noticing.



I read some articles lamenting the unemployment rate and how it is calculated.

The primary problem is that the USA is not a free market. In a *FREE* market, any skilled worker can easily start their own business or find a job. In a communist economy like the USA, there's a relatively fixed pool of jobs. Each industry is carved out into oligopolies. The supply of jobs is up to the random whims of a few executives. Further, there's relative immobility between industries.

In my career as a software engineer, I notice that problem. If you're labeled as a "C++ programmer", you're ineligible for jobs that require C# or Java. A skilled programmer can easily make the transition. However, there is no true free market, so there's no incentive for employers to hire someone based on ability. If an employer writes a job ad demanding 20 years of C# experience, then they will be flooded with resumes claiming 20 years of C# experience. Therefore, there was nothing wrong with demanding 20 years of C# experience.



I liked this article on Strike the Root, referred by this post on Natural Family Living. It's about the evils of public schools.

What is the true purpose of a "fire drill"? A fire drill trains people that, in an emergency, they will blindly obey the orders of police and fireman. A fire drill is not a "safety drill". A fire drill is a "following orders drill".

It is important to condition people to feel helpless without the State.



I watched "Night of too Many Stars" on the Comedy Central. It was a benefit concert for autism. I was very offended.

By some estimates, around 1% of the population has been diagnosed with autism. It appears that an entire personality type has been characterized as a mental illness. I'm offended, because that's the personality type I have. Some people say I have "high functioning autism" or Asperger's syndrome.

When they highlight the problem of autism, they highlight people who have trouble talking or other basic skills. Those are the extreme cases. The label of "autism" can be applied to anyone who doesn't fit in to the mold of a school/brainwashing center. It's much easier to say "these people have a disease" instead of saying "the standard school system isn't working for a large group of students".

In many cases, the students labeled as autistic are the ones that are the most intelligent. In the US economic and political system, it's important to suppress the most intelligent people. People need to be denied the ability to think for themselves. People who have natural resistance to this brainwashing are a problem.

A lot of "mental illness patient support groups" are really fronts for drug companies. Similarly, a lot of "autism support groups" advocate doping the child into submission. If you drug your child, they'll be more submissive, but you're really damaging them.

I resent the concept that someone with a non-standard personality type is defective. Anybody who is different is labeled as having an illness.

Charity events provide people with the illusion that they're doing something beneficial, when they're really squandering their money.



This post on the Picket Line is letting the IRS off easy. This IRS propaganda paper is cited.

The IRS needs to find ways to leverage this strong support of voluntary compliance as a critical civic duty. It must remind taxpayers that tax compliance is a “social norm” expected of every taxpayer, much like obeying laws against shoplifting or drunk driving, and that noncompliance with taxes hurts our great nation. Such campaigns can have a long-term effect on public opinion, such as that wages by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. In a similar vein, the Motion Picture Association of America created an aggressive campaign that equaled downloading music or movies illegally with stealing.

This is "lie by repeated assertion". If you keep telling people that taxes are morally acceptable, then they'll eventually believe it.

"Letting other people steal from you" is a "social norm"?

Surprisingly, mainstream news sources *RARELY* explicitly say "You are obligated to pay your taxes." It's usually indirectly implied. If it were stated explicitly, people would become more consciously aware of the scam.

This article on lewrockwell.com is cited. (I gave up on the lewrockwell.com feed, because it has too much noise. The good articles tend to be repeatedly cited elsewhere.)

The rule of law is possibly the single most dangerous idea ever imposed upon mankind.

A law is a lie that creates slavery. Imposed ethics is no ethics. Law is made by the powerful to manipulate the meek.


"Respect the rule of law" is frequently cited in mainstream propaganda sources. "Rule of law" really means "the arbitrary decisions of a handful of people". What happens when the law-choosing process is defective? Many free market activities are falsely labeled as crimes.
  1. Possession of marijuana is not a crime. If you smoke marijuana, you aren't injuring anyone else.
  2. Gambling without a license from the State is not a crime. If a group of people get together and gamble, they aren't injuring anyone else.
  3. Prostitution is not a crime. Of course, a corrupt economic system makes prostitution an attractive career for many women. Prostitutes are shut out of State dispute-resolution resources, so their disputes are usually resolved violently. The State ban on prostitution merely raises profits and prices for those who successfully evade the State.
  4. Refusing to pay taxes is not a crime.
  5. A debt contract is really a no-interest contract. According to "natural law" or "common law", a debt contract with a bank isn't enforceable. A bank merely prints new money and loans it to you. A bank performs no actual work when it writes a loan. "Debts must be collected and mortgages foreclosed" is frequently cited as part of the "rule of law" process. Those debt contracts aren't legitimate in the first place.
Our "advanced" industrialized civilization has made men into sharp dealers and liars and cheats. When a people deals directly with raw nature for its sustenance, there is no scope for the lie. There are no money games to play, and everyone knows everyone else. Much of the source of our degenerate culture is due to its capacity for anonymity in the big city. A person can live in modern society with very few real, face-to-face relations.

This is an important point. The State shields people from the negative consequences of their misconduct. If there's no personal responsibility or accountability, then why should people behave honestly.?In a corrupt economic system, it's too easy for dishonest people to take advantage of honest people. State schooling/brainwashing encourages people to be victims of dishonest people. There's no practical way for honest people to get together and prevent thieves from stealing from them.

Power – of one man, or a group of men – over others, is evil, no matter in whose hands.

Blind obedience to authority is insanity. Authority is no accident. It is specifically created by intelligent people to control you.

"Freedom is our true nature," says Nithyananda. The State is the antithesis of freedom. It makes slaves of all of us – through its power to tax and thus to destroy, its power to make war (means power to make us finance murder), its power to enforce the arbitrary and self-serving "laws" made by one group of men against all other men, its power to abrogate the natural right of men to contract with one another on their own free terms, its power to control domicile and freedom of movement – on and on goes the list of Natural Freedoms usurped by the State.

Has not the Money Power – acting through the Central Banks and the State, and employing lies, deceit, propaganda and war as from time to time currently expedient – subjugated the American people politically?

Any well-informed person knows by now that the "democracy" voting game is a rigged corporate sham. To say nothing of the moral flaw of majority rule and anonymous so-called "representative" government at its foundation.


As long as I am the subject of a State under a rule of violence – and participating in violence through my bread labor – I cannot be free to work toward Self-Realization. This sets up a double bind.


If you support the State, you are crushed by its rules and theft. If you resist the State, you are isolating yourself. Most people blindly accept the State and follow its rules without question.

That's why I like agorism. It's the only resistance strategy where you fight the State and show a profit at the same time!



I saw an interesting fnord in the newspaper. A man was convicted of groping strangers on the subway. The fnord is "The average random stranger is a psychopath who wants to hurt you. Therefore, the State is needed."

By selectively reporting the MOST extreme misbehavior, mainstream media sources spread the propaganda that "People are intrinsically evil." and "Therefore, the State is needed."

I'm not defending the guy who was groping strangers in the subway. In a truly free market, his behavior is still a crime. The media overhypes extreme stories to create a sense of fear in people.

The mainstream media will never report "A man got on the subway. He arrived at his destination without incident." In this manner, selective reporting creates a biased perception of reality.



I liked this post on Mark Cuban's blog. He talks about excessive CEO pay. The average worker is paid in cash, and they're the first to lose their job in a recession. CEOs are paid in lottery tickets. These lottery tickets are equity options or restricted stock grants.

The performance of the overall stock market is largely uncorrelated with a CEO's individual performance. Equity compensation and especially equity options reward CEOs based on the random movements of the market. In the event of a stock market decline, a CEO will usually get his options repriced with a lower strike. Of course, if the stock market dramatically rises, the CEO doesn't give back his unearned excessive profit!

These stock/option grants aren't free. The cost is paid by other shareholders as dilution of their ownership. It's the same process whereby the Federal Reserve prints new money and gives it to financial industry insiders.

The point that Mark Cuban misses is that there's no true free market in CEOs. A CEO is someone who has successful navigated the State/corporate bureaucracy to line his own pocket. The "skills" possessed by CEOs are useless in a true free market. A CEO is merely skilled at lobbying the State for perks.



This post on no third solution has a big error. He laments, "Why can't I pay the State the present value of all future property taxes and get full allodial title?" What is the "fair price" of full allodial title to your land?

Assume your land is worth 100 ounces of gold, and the price remains unchanged over time. Suppose property tax rates are 1%. In that case, your property tax bill is 1 ounce of gold per year *FOREVER*. What is the present value? It's 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+...! In other words, the "present value of future property taxes" is *INFINITE*.

According to Wikipedia, Nevada and Texas allow people to buy limited allodial title to their land. Nevada repealed its law. The exact terms were unclear. It appears that allodial title is lost when the owner dies or transfers ownership of the property; in that case, full title reverts to the State and the owner must again pay property taxes (rent).

If you believe the State is going to collapse in 20-50 years, then you *CAN* get full allodial title to your property when the State collapses. Under that assumption, the expected value of future property taxes is finite.

Similarly, you can't buy "full allodial title" to your own labor. There's no payment I can make to the State that will make me exempt from future income taxes.



I liked this post on Check Your Premises, in reference to this article on the Onion. An annoying black man is going around the country asking people for change.



I liked this post on the Agitator. In the United Arab Emirates, someone had a trace amount of marijuana in his shoes. He was arrested and is still in prison.



This post on no third solution was interesting.

He makes an argument that seems sort of silly. Suppose you are invaded by a dictator who offers SLIGHTLY BETTER TERMS than the current government? Technically, you should not resist the invasion. That's thinking in the wrong direction. I'd prefer to not have any State at all, rather than a "slightly less abusive State".

If you're arguing "I'm a net beneficiary of the State", you're really saying "The State allows me to leech off others more than the State leeches off me." If you do a *CORRECT* calculation, 99%+ of the people are net losers of the State. Most of the costs of the State are hidden.



It's the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. A lot of blogs have been making references to mainstream articles about the shooting.

The mainstream media says "One person used a gun irresponsibly. Therefore, all people should be barred from owning guns." They never say "One policeman used a gun irresponsibly. Therefore, all policeman should be barred from owning guns."

In a free market, owning a gun is not a crime. If you *USE* a gun irresponsibly, then other people have a valid tort claim against you. For example, if I have a gun in my home and fire it needlessly, I'm placing my neighbors at risk. If I have a gun in my home and use it against a robber, there's nothing wrong with that.

Monopolistic State police do *NOT* have a positive obligation to protect individuals. If you're the victim of a crime, the State has no obligation to reimburse you for your loss. Free market police would have a positive obligation to protect their customers.



I'm interested in RadGeek's efforts to start a local "Alliance of the Libertarian Left" group. If you're a *SERIOUS* agorist, you should be producing actual goods and services in the grey market. At some point, people need to make the transition from "theoretical freedom" to "practical freedom".



I liked this article on Techdirt. A bunch of large telecom corporations are "patent pooling". They are agreeing to mutually license each other's patents so they can develop new products.

Techdirt says this is a symptom that the patent system is broken. "Patent pooling" is needed to develop new products without risk of an infringement lawsuit.

Intellectual property is not a valid form of property. Patents are used by large corporations to squeeze out smaller competitors. A small business cannot enter the "patent pooling" arrangement and is locked out of the market.



By E-Mail, someone wrote:

I noticed that a lot of retail stores are closing. Is there someone directly profiting from all these retail store closings?

Duh? The big retailers (Wal-Mart, etc.)? That's the whole point of a recession. Small businesses are forced into bankruptcy. Large corporations can outlast the crunch. It's how the State destroys small businesses.



I liked this post on Techdirt. In Russia, you need a State license to operate a WiFi network. Even in the USA, laws have been passed increasing liability for individual WiFi network operators. If you have an open WiFi connection in your home, and someone uses it to commit a crime, you *MAY* be liable.



By E-Mail, someone criticized my post on Jefferson County, Alabama may Declare Bankruptcy.

Municipal bond issuers REALLY DO PROFIT by issuing variable rate bonds and then doing a swap-to-fixed. The expected return of "variable rate municipal bond" + "interest rate swap" is *LOWER* than a "fixed rate municipal bond".

Variable rate municipal bonds have their yield tied to SIFMA.

I see the loophole. The SIFMA rate is a floating interest rate *TIED TO WHAT MUNICIPAL BONDS ARE PAYING*. You can only perform the "short SIFMA, long LIBOR" hedge *IF* you're a municipality. As a retail investor, you can't perform the other leg of the arbitrage.

Financial institutions value a SIFMA-paying bond more than a fixed-rate bond because it's less risky from their point of view. They can borrow at the Fed Funds Rate and buy the SIFMA-yielding bond.

It appears to be a really fancy way of exploiting the tax break that municipalities get. It's less risky from the financial industry's point of view, buying the bonds, so they charge less.

I was looking this statistic up, but couldn't find a reliable source. Municipal bonds *DO* still yield more than the Fed Funds Rate. Financial institutions do their usual arbitrage trick of borrowing at the Fed Funds Rate and buying municipal bonds. The interest is Federal income tax exempt, so the offered yield is less. For example, suppose the Fed Funds Rate is 2%, municipal bonds yield 2.5%, and Treasury bonds yield 3%. If 100x leverage is used in both cases, that's a profit of 50% on municipal bonds and a profit of 100% on Treasury bonds. The profit on the municipal bond interest is Federal income tax free. If the Federal corporate income tax rate were 50%, then the two investments are equivalent from the banks' point of view.



I liked this post on Techdirt. Ticketmaster has a lot of friends on Facebook. They are mostly fakes.



I liked this post on Techdirt. Corporations are sponsoring "Respect intellectual property!" propaganda campaigns, especially in schools.

Intellectual property is not a legitimate form of property.



I liked this post on Techdirt. This story was cited many other places as well. Someone is publishing a "Harry Potter Encyclopedia". J. K. Rowling is suing for copyright/trademark infringement. The lawsuit is silly.

Intellectual property is not a legitimate form of property.



I liked this post on Steve Pavlina's blog about lightworkers and darkworkers. Steve Pavlina has a lot of archived content that's worth reading.

He makes a mistake. He says it's wrong to be selfish. It's acceptable to be selfish *PROVIDED YOU DON'T HURT ANYONE ELSE* in the process. For example, an agorist is behaving selfishly, and not injuring other people.

It’s been said that obedience is the first milestone on the road to freedom. The person who said that was Adolf Hitler.

Obeying "authority" without questioning it is immoral. It doesn't matter if you're a concentration camp guard, policeman, or bureaucrat. Anyone who blindly follows orders without questioning them doesn't count as intelligent life.

The collective corruption of humanity is causing some people to become lightworkers, like white blood cells responding to an illness.

The result is that many people are now hearing this call. It actually began decades ago, but it’s particularly strong today. The body of humanity is acting in its own defense by calling more and more lightworkers into action. Some people are born with this inclination, some have had it for many years, and others are currently waking up to it.

This call creates a feeling like, “Whoa… we’ve really gotten off track here. This isn’t how the world is supposed to be. Someone needs to do something about it. Damn… I think that someone is me. How the heck am I going to take on something so big?”

I suspect only a small percentage of readers will resonate with the statement, I think that someone is me. If you have a lot of fear and/or greed in you (which unfortunately most people do), you won’t likely hear this calling since it isn’t broadcast on those channels. But if you endeavor to move beyond the consciousness of fear and greed, eventually you’ll start feeling a vague inclination to do something “good” that helps the world in some small way. Over time that feeling will become stronger and more specific.

If you do hear such a calling, your first inclination will probably be to suppress it. I’d rather live in the matrix — life outside will be too hard. Go ahead and try if you must, but once you get the call, it’s too late for you. You’ll never be content living as a slave again, no matter how hard you try. You’ll feel more and more disconnected from other people who live like slaves. You’ll feel a strong desire to find your tribe (i.e. other people who can see what you are now seeing). The tugging of your conscience is the collective consciousness of humanity summoning you to act in its defense. Your duty is to be part of the solution. That duty cannot be ignored except to the extent you drown yourself in fear. The bright side is that you aren’t alone.


He misses a key point. It's the Internet. The Internet makes it practical for people to communicate even if their target audience is small. Without the Internet, I would never have learned about agorism. Without the Internet, it wouldn't be practical for me to write for such a small audience. The Internet allows me to find readers. I gain readers via feed aggregators, discussion forums, and people E-Mailing links to my articles.

In another article, Steve Pavlina mentions a trick I use. When watching a TV, record the show and fast-forward through commercials. About 33% of TV time is commercials, so you can watch 1 hour of shows in 40 minutes.



This post on Bill Rempel has a huge error. He asks "Has capitalism failed?" What is the definition of "capitalism"?

I define capitalism as "an economic system with income taxes, a central bank, fiat debt-based money, and extensive regulation of industry". That is *NOT THE SAME* as a "free market".

"Capitalism has failed" is true. You cannot conclude "free markets have failed", because there's never been a true free market. In a true free market, there's no monopolistic government.

He also cites this article on lewrockwell.com, also mentioned in other locations. You can frustrate the State by following its rules exactly. This is the "work to rule" process that unions sometimes rule. However, by rigidly following *ALL* the arbitrary laws, you're crippling your own productivity. A better philosophy is "rigidly follow the rules when the State is taxing/observing/restricting your activity; ignore the rules when you can profit".



This post on the Hyperbora, referred via Kevin Carson's shared items, had an interesting bit. If you advocate the *VIOLENT* overthrow of the government, you are committing a crime. The law cited does not classify advocating a nonviolent economic revolt as a crime.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #48":

Dear FSK,
Thank you for all you do. As a fellow agorist and technologist, you will probably enjoy the following ideas more than most.
Sincerely,
Giant
==============================

Can Anarchy work? Simple self-regulating systems harnessing human microinput.

Is it possible maintain order in an agorist society? A couple of examples of self-regulating chaotic systems will show that it is. The trick is to aggregate small bits human attention in a rational way to solve the problems at hand. Here are a couple of examples - a system that virtually guarantees that dangerous driving is all but eliminated, and a bulletin-board system that automatically controls the quality of the posts without direct human sensoring or moderation.

"Efficiently aggregating individual preferences" is the way a free market works. You don't need to get fancier than that.

1) Bad driver control
Is it possible to stop people who endanger themselves and others on the road? Here is one way.
Let's equip every car with a 'you asshole' button connected to a transmitter. The transmitter sends a signal to every car in the immediate vicinity, say, 100 feet. Every car receiving the signal increments a counter; when the count is 5 the car's engine stops for 10 minutes. All today's vehicles pretty much have this capacity with the on-board computer and remote door locks with keyfobs. Total cost to implement - under $1.00.

Let's follow a reckless speeder down a road. As he passes a car on the right, the endangered driver hits the 'YA' button. The driver's count is now 1; the speeder's count is also 1. The speeder cuts off another car a few hundred feet ahead and gets another count - now 2. Soon, the speeder tailgates another car and wedges into the slow lane, scaring another driver, getting 2 more counts. The speeder now has 4, while the two cars it passed have 2 each. One more hit kills the engine, and the speeder winds up on a curb while everyone he's passed goes by. The counts slowly decrement to 0, and life goes on.

Note that a complainer who hits the button for everyone disables himself very quickly. Therefore it is a bad strategy. In addition, being around a troublemaker gets you points, so it pays to slow down when a fool is trying to behave dangerously. You can even tag cars driving by too fast past your yard!

Pretty soon everyone learns that being a bad driver does not pay. No police involvement is necessary to keep the roads safe. The parameters may be tweaked for maximum benefit, or randomly adjusted to avoid abuse.

This system doesn't sound like anarchy to me. Why would I agree to have such a device installed in my car?

If someone is driving recklessly, then the other people on the road have a valid tort claim against the reckless driver. The reckless driver is increasing their chance of an accident. The compensation wouldn't be based on an arbitrary punishment scale. The compensation would be proportional to the increased risk of accident.

There's another system that's superior. Your insurance company gives you a discount if you agree to install cameras, GPS, and a speedometer-meter in your car, reporting the results to the insurance company. If you see a reckless driver, you press a button and the data is given to the insurance company. Your insurance company can even compensate you for helping it catch a reckless driver, reducing its costs.

This would not be an "infringement of privacy", because it's a voluntary contract. The insurance companies don't have a monopoly/oligopoly, so if they abuse the data, they'll lose customers. In a free market, insurance and police protection will probably be bundled together.

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How do you keep a newsgroup-type site free from idiotic posts clogging it up? Human moderation is expensive and unfair. But the following system allows you to dial your own level of automatic moderation.

For the purposes of this discussion we will try to control posts that are off-topic. Censorship above that runs into murky waters ideologically and technologically.

Let's say that every time you read a post, you have to vote by pressing an 'on-topic' or an 'off-topic' button in order to continue your work. Every post accumulates an on-topic/off-topic score. In addition, every time you rate a post, you yourself get rated on whether others agree or not. Every time you vote, you get a score if the majority votes the same way. If your concensus rating is high, your votes count more; if it is low (which will happen if you rate randomly), your votes count low or not at all.

Each post now has a rating based on a number of weighted votes. As a reader, you can now set a 'knob' allowing you to ignore posts below a certain concensus level of being on-topic. Presto, the noise disappears.

This system is essentially what Slashdot and Digg use. This system doesn't work, because each post is assigned a unique global score. If my preferences don't match the aggregate preferences of other Digg users, then I won't like the content presented on Digg.

A *PROPER* moderation engine gives custom results for each user. The posts I see highlighted should be based on what users similar to me find interesting. "Similar users" would have a high % of agreement for "interesting" or "uninteresting".

But if you are concerned that some interesting ideas may lurk beneath the noise floor, you can tweak the knob allowing you to see all the garbage you feel comfortable with.

I had that problem with Slashdot. If I filter at "+4" or "+5", I'm missing out on a lot of good comments. If I filter at "2" or "1", then there's too much noise.

The system maintains itself without any directed human intervention or sensoring! It actually harnesses the microattention of each reader to control the quality of the content without any sensorship. A more complicated system may be created by adding rating dimensions. For instance instead of on-topic/off-topic buttons, a mouseclick on a colored strip (ramping from green to red) may register a continuous input of the post quality; or a two-dimensional click-square (on-topic to the right; approve of content down) may rate more than one aspect of the post.

I think "moderation score customized per user" is sufficient.

================================
P.S. I've rejected the idea of running my own blog as I believe that it will expose me to the possibility of state violence beyond my risk tolerance. In particular, blogger is problematic as google correlates all searches, visits to other sites under the 'google analytics' umbrella, email searches and blog posts/visits into a permanent record open to state perusal. No, i am not a state troll.

Where do you live? I live in the USA. I haven't experienced any State violence from my blog. "Legal" State violence would probably promote my blog. If I were arrested and prosecuted based on my blog's content, I don't think a judge or jury could convict/prosecute me with a straight face.

There is the risk that I could be assassinated based on my blog's content. The Supreme Leader of Humanity has the ability to track all Internet posts back to the source. It's very easy to kill someone and make it look like an accident. I conclude that my blog must be serving the Supreme Leader of Humanity's agenda.

Google and Blogger don't provide me with perfect uncrackable anonymity. I doubt that exists anywhere, even if you use Tor. People in some countries used to have "anonymous remailer" services, but those were declared illegal and shut down. (I tried googling; it's unclear if anonymous remailers still exist.) The bad guys could seize Google's records and my ISP's records and discover my true name and location. If they're that determined to assassinate me, there's nothing I could do about it. Legal prosecution based on my blog is pretty unlikely in the USA. Things in the USA haven't gotten that bad (yet).

Google does provide me with casual anonymity. If my employer or a future employer google my name, they will *NOT* find my blog. I don't want the corporate branch of government discriminating against me based on my political views.

This attitude is surprisingly prevalent. Many Anonymous Cowards write "I'm afraid to express my viewpoint, because I'll be the victim of State violence if I do." Are things really that bad?

99.9%+ of all people are pro-State trolls, without being consciously aware of their trolling. In most contexts, if you express an anti-State viewpoint, you will be decried as wrong/insane. Does this cause many people to draw the false conclusion "Expressing anti-State viewpoints are dangerous?"

Many of these ideas were loudly debated in the past. "Should there be a Federal government?" (1776-1789) "Should there be a central bank?" (1789-1913) "Should there be an income tax?" (1789-1913) All of these issues were decided in favor of the State. It's time to revisit these political ideas that have been considered settled. Once you realize "Taxation is theft!" and "Who needs a government at all?", it opens many new possibilities.

That's an interesting bit of information my blog has provided to me. Many people are outright afraid to express their non-mainstream opinions. Overcoming Bias says that the "first dissenter" provides a valuable service to society as a whole, although the "first dissenter" frequently experiences persecution as a result. The first scientists who said "The earth is round!" or "The earth is not the center of the universe; it moves around the sun!" experienced extreme religious persecution. Those issues are now considered "settled" in favor of the truth. (I haven't personally performed an experiment verifying that the earth is in fact round. That "scientific fact" may be lies and propaganda, but I doubt it.)

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #48":

test

Presumably, this is the same Anonymous commenter as the previous one. I have "comment moderation" enabled. I filter out the obvious spam. I don't filter out the pro-State trolls. I've let some borderline spam get posted, because it was reasonable well-targeted.

Blogs that don't have "comment moderation" can get out of hand. The comment section can get filled with spam.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Evidence of a Massive Conspiracy":

Regarding SLH, have you considered the possibility that SLH is not a person, but a meme construct working for its own benefit?
Throughout human history, many memetic organisms had controlled people through hardware and software means. For instance, it could be argued that tobacco, the combination of a plant containing certain chemicals, and an idea/instruction (a meme) of smoking, chewing and otherwise being cool, together, had changed human history, forcing people to grow process and make sure the plant is procreated and safe from extinction. There is no central leader of tobacco, but the masses obey the rules created by a combination of chance and the tobacco meme.
Religions are another example. A zealot acts in a certain way, not to benefit a specific person, but a construct. Granted, a smart human will intercede and place him/herself into the position of gratest benefit (pope, cult leader, etc), but the trolls are trying to benefit 'something greater' than a human, and are largely correct though misinformed about the true nature of their actions.
Many meme examples exist, and others are better at illustrating them, given my humble writing and thinking abilities.
If SLH is not a human being (or an alien being in the normal sense of the word) but a memetic organism, not much changes, except that human motives may not apply. SLH is trying to survive by populating as many heads with ideas that assist its existance, and failing that, ideas that will distract people from anything that is not beneficial to its existance. Bad forms of economics and government are certainly a good distraction.
Regards,
Giant

There's too much evidence that the Supreme Leader of Humanity exists. If you perform "Bayesian Reasoning", multiplying each bit of information together, then "The Supreme Leader of Humanity exists" becomes an obvious conclusion. There's no single smoking gun, but the aggregate evidence is overwhelming. The single biggest piece of evidence is the Compound Interest Paradox.

There are four possibilities:
  1. The Supreme Leader of Humanity is an alien or group of aliens. (the literal sense of alien; intelligent life originating on another planet)
  2. The Supreme Leader of Humanity is a group of aliens and humans cooperating.
  3. The Supreme Leader of Humanity is a human.
  4. There is no Supreme Leader of Humanity.

I don't consider "There is no Supreme Leader of Humanity." to be realistic. There's just too much overwhelming evidence.

You're suggesting that my vision of "The Supreme Leader of Humanity" is a Stand Alone Complex. It's a copycat without an original. Did you see that anime series "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex"? In season 1, the "Laughing man" was a specific person, but he himself was a copycat. He found an E-Mail that was the piece of evidence that started his investigation. In season 2, Kuze was being manipulated by Gouda behind the scenes.

It's impossible to be certain which is true. Is there no original Supreme Leader of Humanity? Did the current corrupt economic system evolve by a series of bad decisions and coincidences? That means that the current corrupt system is a Stand Alone Complex.

Or, is there someone secretly controlling the situation? Is there really a Supreme Leader of Humanity? Is someone with advanced suppressed technology secretly helping me?

I'm leaning towards "The Supreme Leader of Humanity exists.", but it's impossible to be completely sure. Whether the Supreme Leader of Humanity exists or not, I should do what I think is right.

If there is a Supreme Leader of Humanity, then you have to ask "Why haven't I been assassinated based on my blog's content?" If the Supreme Leader of Humanity exists, then my blog must be serving his agenda.

There's another possibility. I've fallen under the radar of the bad guys. They don't see me as a legitimate threat. With only 100 Absolute Unique Visitors per day, I'm not reaching enough people to matter. However, my readership is still growing exponentially. At this point, it wouldn't suffice to merely assassinate me. All the regular readers of my blog would *ALSO* need to be eliminated.

Writing a blog and reaching a wide audience is the best defense. The more people know the truth, the less there is to gain by eliminating one of them.



David_Z has left a new comment on your post "The US Civil War Legalized Slavery":

You mentioned seeing both "marshal" and "martial" law --- "martial" is the proper spelling.

I'll use "martial law" from now on. Someone else pointed out that I was using "alloidal title" when the correct spelling is "allodial title".

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The mainstream media will never report "A man got on the subway. He arrived at his destination without incident." In this manner, selective reporting creates a biased perception of reality.

Actually, they do report this type of thing to prevent absence of content, creating proverbial dead zones around their ads. The following are actual headlines taken from that morally bankrupt propaganda agency , CNN:

- "Crowd arrives early for papal Mass"
- "Lover asks 'bus girl' to be his bus wife"
- "Teens cuddle odd rodent found on road"
- "Another 'Idol' finalist eliminated"
- "Soldier's dogs lead to problems"
- "Black lab reunited with family"
- "Leona Lewis tops U.S. album charts, makes history"

WTF is that? Government education has brainwashed sheeple into accepting that as news.

Thomas Blair said...

This post on the Liberty Papers was missing the point. He says that people should ignore "small abuses" by the government and focus on "big abuses".

Stealing is stealing. If you steal $1 from me or $10,000 from me, it's still stealing.

If you steal $1 from me 10,000 times, that's just as bad as stealing $10,000 from me once.

That's the whole Distributed Costs and Concentrated Benefits problem. The State makes it economically feasible to steal $1 from every single person in the USA.


Actually, I don't think this misses the point at all. It's just another example of picking your battles properly, something I note that you advocate ceaselessly in your own writings. From working "legitimately" in the pink market while cultivating hobbies until they become profitable in the gray market to paying taxes because avoidance and evasion isn't practicable at this time to hedging against inflation by possessing physical metal and investing in high-yield securities in lieu of stuffing cash in your mattress or putting in a checking account, you are constantly picking your own battles.

Thomas Blair said...

I suppose I should supplement my earlier comment by noting that although I no longer think that working within the system, whether fighting large abuses or small ones, is an effective approach, some do. If the goal is market anarchy or anarcho-capitalism or agorism (three terms I consider equal, and perhaps ignorantly so, but that's for another day), those people are still moving in that direction, albeit with different methods. I don't begrudge them their efforts, but I certainly won't waste any opportunity to try and convince them of better methods. Less stealing is still stealing, but less stealing gives the red market fewer resources to effect policies that affect you personally.

I'm still quite new to agorism, having been raised with conservative parents. I migrated to libertarianism as soon as I became politically aware and have since accepted the flaws inherent to even a "night-watchman" state. It takes time to undo the statist mindset inculcated over the course of a 12-year "education", but I think I'm at least headed in the right direction. To answer a previous question, I'm 25. I, too, have my suspicions that the house of cards will collapse before my time is up. I suppose I was using "never in my lifetime" as hyperbole.

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