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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reader Mail #52

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. TV weather forecasters are *NOT* judged based on accuracy of their prediction. Instead, they are judged on style and presentation, which affect ratings.

Accuracy is irrelevant in weather forecasting, where there's an objective measure of accuracy. If accuracy in weather is irrelevant, then what about all other aspects of "news"? Most mainstream news is pro-State propaganda.

I liked this post on Techdirt.

Shirky estimates that Wikipedia represents about 100 million hours of collective effort by Wikipedia's editors. In contrast, Americans spend something like 200 billion hours watching television each year. And however pathetic people might find it that someone would spend their evenings having edit wars with people on Wikipedia, it's surely more pathetic to spend your evenings on the couch watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island.

If even a small fraction of that mental energy was diverted to more active pursuits, it could lead to the production of dozens of socially-beneficial efforts like Wikipedia. The problem isn't finding people with time on their hands; we've got tens of millions of those. The challenge finding socially-beneficial projects that they'll enjoy participating in more than re-runs of Seinfeld.

Imagine if some of those TV-wasted hours were instead spent on agorism!

I liked this post on Techdirt. USA entertainment industry executives are lobbying for stricter copyright law in Canada. They held a symposium on copyright law. They disinvited a scholar who says that Canada's copyright law is better than the USA's law.

It's a lot easier to get questionable laws passed when you silence the critics.

Critics of the Federal Reserve and income tax have been silenced from mainstream media sources.

I didn't like this post on no third solution. Michigan is contemplating legalizing "medical marijuana". California tried this and had problems. The Federal government doesn't recognize that a state has the right to legalize possession of marijuana.

My philosophy is that all government is illegitimate. The ban on marijuana is one of many abuses by an illegitimate government.

The marijuana ban is believable, because marijuana *REALLY IS BAD FOR YOU*! However, many prescription antipsychotic/antidepressant drugs are *FAR* more dangerous, and fully legal.

In a free market, possession of marijuana is not a crime. In a free market, selling marijuana is not a crime (provided you weren't fraudulently selling marijuana, i.e. selling something else instead).

People are the property of the State. They should be banned from smoking marijuana, because that's damaging State property.

By E-Mail, someone complained I had "an exaggerated sense of fairness". What's the difference between an exaggerated sense of fairness and an accurate sense of fairness? Being "too fair" is immoral?

I liked this post on Check Your Premises.

Is it self-defense to use force again someone who:
(1) has a gun trained on you and has hostile intentions.

Yes, that is self-defense. If you're obviously overwhelmed, such as a State raid on your residence, you should surrender peacefully and take your chances in court later.

If it's 1-on-1 against a common criminal, violence is 100% justified.

(2) threatens to kill you (via a death threat, for instance), with the capacity to back it up.

This assumes the threat isn't immediate. In this case, if you aren't an expert in violence, you can hire someone else to protect you. In the present, the State has a monopoly on police protection. If the threat is from a non-State source, then State protection is your only viable option.

If there was a true free market in police protection, you'd be justified hiring police protection.

(3) threatens to possibly kill you at a later date, with the capacity to back it up.

Again, in the present, your only options are State protection.

In a free market, you have more options. For example, you can offer a $10M reward to successfully kill/arrest someone who murders you, in addition to your police protection fees. There would have to be a credible third party to administer the protection service.

(4) threatens to possibly force you to kill someone else at a later date, with the capacity to back it up.

In the present, if it wasn't the State doing that, you can appeal to the State for help.

If it's the State forcing you via a military draft, then you can leave for another country.

(5) is part of a social institution or system that implicitly threatens your life and that of others.

The only valid resistance here is agorism. Direct violence against government employees is wrong for several reasons. First, the government employee may not be consciously aware that what he's doing is wrong. Second, this violates the "non-aggression principle". Third, violence against government employees creates sympathy for the State. Fourth, it's a waste of time. You cannot defeat the State by a direct violent confrontation.

(6) is part of a social institution or system that implicitly and indirectly (or distally) threatens your life and that of others.

As above, agorism is the only valid resistance approach.

I started grappling with these issues with the Timothy McVeigh bombing. At the time I was not an Anarchist was despairing of ever finding a solution to politics. I thought violence was probably the only solution we had, and as such I could not get myself to argue against the bombing. Now it is obvious to me that violence is not the answer, but the issue of self-defense against the State is still an important one in my mind. We should not use violence, but we can be sure that some people will. Furthermore, in order to have a clear idea of the rights and freedoms of the individual, we should at least have a summary theory of self-defense.

Here is another issue: (7) When is vigilantism legitimate and when is it not?

The only valid/practical form of vigilantism appropriate in the present is agorism. When the collapse of the State draws near and private police forces develop, then free market justice is viable.

According to Google Analytics, some people have started sharing my blog via Twitter! I hadn't seen that before.

I don't use twitter. Blogging 1 post per day is sufficient.

I liked this post on no third solution. Is the purpose of the prison system rehabilitation or retribution? Most of the time, it's retribution.

This is related to religion. It is the job of God/State to "punish" those who violate its arbitrary laws.

By E-Mail, Joey from the Freedom Symposium writes:

Greetings again! I cooked up a response to your latest response here:

I apologize for the post being long, but this is a fascinating topic that you and I have some knowledge and interest in. I hope we can continue this dialog and I hope our readers are getting something useful from it.

I published another response. This wasn't as good as my previous one, however. I've been having trouble concentrating lately.

Awesome! Thanks so much for the response. I really do appreciate you taking the time to do that. For some reason I find these blog conversations more enjoyable than most people. Since this topic is dying down anyway I'll probably just reference it to Stefan Molyneux's latest video concerning Internet Dating tips and leave it at that for the moment. I think we've done people out there a huge favor by collaborating all this information.

Another E-Mail:

I know I said there likely won't be a response, but Stefan Molyneux recently did a video on dating advice and I thought I would continue the discussion under that video as it fits in with what we're talking about I think.

You can find it here:

You don't have to, but feel free to replay if you'd like.

That video is 85 minutes long! I don't have time to watch all that!

I'll make another reply after my next "Reader Mail" post.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #51":

You are nitpicking yourself here. Do I need to specifically name each different type of invalid reasoning? I use "Strawman Fallacy" in a broad sense to cover a range of similar, but slightly different, invalid reasoning tactics.

Agreed, it's a minor point, and perhaps an irrelevant one.

Believe it or not, I was actually trying to support your request that people not use your errors as a reason to dismiss your stronger points.

What I was trying to say was that if people want to dismiss your ideas about the compound interest paradox, for example, because of some of the things you've written about the SLH, then it behooves them to show how your ideas about the paradox depend on your ideas about the SLH. I don't see any such dependency, so I agree with your suggestion that we ought to consider them separately.

'Nuff said?

I do want to thank you for introducing me to the idea of agorism. I am eager to learn more, and will visit your blog often.

That's the whole point of the Strawman Fallacy. You should evaluate each of my arguments independently. The Compound Interest Paradox and the Supreme Leader of Humanity are independent arguments. The Compound Interest Paradox is evidence that the SLH exists!

You should evaluate each of my points independently. If you disagree with some of them, that does not automatically discredit the others. The key points are:
  • Fiat debt-based money is immoral, i.e. the Compound Interest Paradox.
  • The Federal Reserve is immoral.
  • Income taxes are immoral. (Be careful. "Moral" and "legal" are different! It's much more important to argue morality than legality.)
  • All forms of taxation are theft.
  • Voting is pointless. Elections are fixed.
  • Agorism is the most effective resistance strategy.
  • In a *TRUE* free market, a gold standard or multi-metallic gold/silver/copper standard is the best monetary system. A true free market includes *ZERO* State regulation of banking or money.
  • There may be someone, the SLH, secretly controlling world affairs. Is the SLH a human or an alien?

By E-Mail, redpillguy asks:

I recently heard the argument against the gold standard, that the world supply is "fluctuating too much" from erratic finds.
I can't imagine that it "fluctuates" more than fiat currencies.
Have you ever seen data, % change in gold supply, year on year?

By the estimates I read, the world gold supply increases by 1%-2% per year, as new gold is mined. I cannot cite a source. More gold is mined as a by-product of other mining, such as copper, than in dedicated gold mines. An increase in copper mining leads naturally to an increase in gold mining, because the ore isn't pure copper; it contains trace amounts of other metals that must be removed to purify the copper.

Gold is a "non-wasting asset". Gold, once mined, does not disappear or get used up. Contrast this with oil, which is used up. Most of the demand for gold is monetary demand. Gold jewelry is a form of monetary demand. Gold is used for some industrial processes. (I have a gold-plated USB printer cable!) However, gold consumed by industrial processes is less than gold mined. Further, all that gold is recoverable via recycling.

The "disappearing gold" is being purchased by private investors. That is not the same as gold actually being destroyed. Some knowledgeable investors are buying gold to hedge against a collapse of the current global economic system. That gold is "disappearing" from official records.

That article may refer to "central bank reserves" or "officially held gold supplies". That is not the same as the total gold supply, which *MUST* increase every year.

In a *TRUE* free market, a gold standard or gold/silver/copper standard works. Even if most of the metal is controlled by a handful of people, it still works. If someone is monopolizing gold, then people will use silver or copper instead. Without State coercion forcing people to use gold as money, there's no benefit to monopolizing gold.

It does not matter if the size of the world economy is greater than the gold supply. Honest free market banking legitimately creates paper promises for gold that are redeemable in gold. If necessary, other metals, such as platinum, rhodium, palladium, copper, silver, or aluminum can also be used as money.

If someone says "We can't return to a gold standard because the world economy is larger than the gold supply", they're pro-State trolling.

By E-Mail, Fiona King writes:

We just posted an article "6 Ways Greenspan Caused the Current Economic Crisis" ( I thought I'd bring it to your attention just in case you think your readers would find it interesting.

Either way, thanks for your time!

Technically, the Federal Reserve itself is to blame for the housing crisis. Alan Greenspan merely was running the Federal Reserve at the time that bubble was inflated. Alan Greenspan *NEEDED* to cause an asset bubble to end the recession in 2000-2002. That's the fundamental structural flaw in debt-based money.

Addressing the specific points in that article:

1. Low interest rates

Low interest rates are needed to end a recession. This is a flaw in the monetary system itself, and not something you should personally blame on Alan Greenspan.

2. Weak Dollar

A weak dollar actually *BENEFITS* debtors. Inflation makes it easier for debtors to repay their loans. If your mortgage is 6% while inflation is 15%+, that's a great deal. Of course, most workers don't get pay raises that match the true inflation rate! That's a separate issue.

3. Loose Regulation

This is also misleading. The ideal is *ZERO* regulation of the monetary system and financial system. Most regulations favor large banks. Existing regulations *ARE* defective, on purpose! The people who write the laws love the fact that defective regulations favor them! It's the usual "captured regulators" problem. Financial industry regulations are written by financial industry insiders!

4. Indifference to Asset Bubbles

This is entirely missing the point of the Compound Interest Paradox. Asset bubbles are a statistical necessity built into the rules of the monetary system. That isn't something you can personally blame on the Federal Reserve chairman. If there were no asset bubbles, the Federal Reserve wouldn't be doing its job!

5. Greenspeak

This refers to jargon that Alan Greenspan used to justify his actions. Economists need to use fancy words to justify their actions. It would ruin the fun if economists were honest! Imagine if the Federal Reserve chairman said "It's time to jack up interest rates, screw over debtors, and cause a recession"? Instead, he says "We're concerned about inflation". Similarly, why can't he say "It's time to slash interest rates, bailing out large banks; small debtors who already defaulted lose their property. It's time to cause another inflationary boom and asset bubble!" Instead, he says "We're concerned about a credit crunch and tightening economic conditions."

Economists use jargon to conceal the true purpose of their actions. What bothers me is that they may believe their own bullshit! It's one thing to intentionally lie to others about the true purpose of your actions. It's even worse to be lying to yourself! The people who control the Federal Reserve may sincerely believe they're acting in the public's best interests, instead of realizing they're part of a massive loot and pillage operation!

6. ARM recommendations

ARMs are a great deal from the banks' point of view. A bank borrows at the Fed Funds Rate and loans money. With fixed-rate mortgages, a bank can get stuck if interest rates rapidly rise. A bank can be issuing loans at 6% while the Fed Funds Rate goes up to 10%-15%+, as happened in the early 1980s. Instead of collecting a spread of 1%-2%, the bank winds up paying a spread of 4%-10% or more. Similarly, a bank gets no benefit if interest rates rapidly go down. In that case, debtors will refinance at lower rates.

ARMs shift this risk from the bank to the debtor. However, from the debtor's point of view, it's a double whammy. When interest rates are rising, that's recession time. At the same time that the ARM rate adjusts upwards, the debtor is also losing his job or facing pay cuts due to the recession. The ARM rate adjusts upwards at the same time the money supply is shrinking.

There were sophisticated financial models that justified the CDOs and bank hedges of their mortgage portfolio. However, these models assumed that DEFAULTS ARE INDEPENDENT. The US market is not a free market, and THE DEFAULTS WERE CORRELATED. This caused all those sophisticated financial models to be wrong, not because the math was wrong, but because the underlying assumption "The USA has a free market" was wrong.

The point is that you should not personally blame Alan Greenspan. The fault lies with the US monetary system itself. Fiat debt-based money is an inherently unsound system.

If you write an article critical of the Federal Reserve without mentioning the Compound Interest Paradox, your article will probably sound like pro-State trolling. You can't write a sensible discussion of economics and monetary policy without understanding the Compound Interest Paradox.

Is Alan Greenspan aware of the scam, or is he a clueless fool? He used to be a strong advocate of the gold standard. Does he believe his own lies, or is he a willing participant in the scam?

You can only blame Alan Greenspan to the extent that he should be aware of the flaw in the US monetary system. If Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke went around saying "The US monetary system is fatally flawed.", then they would be taken seriously. However, it would be more likely for them to be discredited/assassinated than for serious reform to occur.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Cellphone Early Termination Fees":

What about when the cell company increases your rate during the contract period? In that case have they terminated the agreement for me?

Technically, yes. In practice, no. The rules of the economic system are biased in favor of large corporations and against individuals.

I haven't heard of any examples of cell phone companies raising the rate during the contract period. I had my *TAXES* go up during the contract period, causing my bill to increase. However, the amount charged by my cell phone company was unchanged.

Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "My Blog Pet Peeves":

Unless I'm unaware of this function, I'm finding Google Reader more and more irritating, as comment sections are not included with the body of the post. Having RSS aggregators are generally useless if you have to visit each post individually to check for comments.

Some blogs have a separate RSS feed for comments. Some blogs have a feature where they'll E-Mail you whenever there's a new comment on a post you already commented.

Further, the average quality of comments is usually lower than that of the original post. On a popular blog, I'm not going to read all the comments to find the occasional great comment.

For this reason, I have my "Reader Mail" format, where I highlight comments. More blogs should highlight comments like I do.

Even if Google Reader included comments, you still would have a problem for comments that are posted after you read the original post. There's no universally acceptable solution I've heard of. I'm not going to keep visiting a blog post just to see new comments, unless I'm *REALLY* interested.

By E-Mail, redpillguy writes:

Heard of this one?:

According to Google Search, I haven't written about this before. I was sure I had!

There are several problems with the "Ithaca Hours" currency.

It has an "official" exchange rate of $10 Federal Reserve Points for 1 Ithaca Hour. The "Ithaca Hours" currency is still tied to the Federal Reserve. Using a half ounce of silver as the currency unit would be superior.

It is superior to use sound money (silver, gold, or copper) to an hour as the unit of currency. The "Ithaca Hour" creates the illusion that everyone's labor is valued equally. A clerk working in a store is not worth the same per hour as a doctor. People can charge more than one "Ithaca Hour" per hour worked, but that sort of defeats the purpose of the monetary unit.

Ithaca Hours are still dependent on a centralized issuing authority. If the issuing authority prints too many or too few Ithaca Hours, the currency does not work. The issuing authority still recognizes seignorage income as new money is printed.

If the issuing authority ever goes bankrupt, then the Ithaca Hour is worthless. If sound money were used instead, your money would keep its value no matter what. Further, Ithaca Hours are only usable near Ithaca. If you use sound money, your purchasing power is kept no matter where you travel.

The transactions are still reported as taxable. Federal income taxes are paid on all transactions made with Ithaca Hours.

Half-hearted "alternate monetary systems" like Ithaca Hours or Liberty Dollars give alternate monetary systems a bad name. Why not just use real money (gold/silver/copper)? Unbacked fiat paper entirely defeats the purpose of an alternate monetary system. Further, as long as you're paying income taxes on your labor, you're still supporting the Federal Reserve.

The only way to true monetary and economic freedom is:
  1. Use sound money (gold/silver/copper) and not unbacked fiat paper.
  2. Boycott the Federal Reserve completely by avoiding income taxes.

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

While the flouride conspiracy is a somewhat interesting topic, I'm curious why anyone would think that "the population" is more docile today than, say, forty years ago. Every time I turn around and look, there is more violence and less politess - both physical and verbal - in our collective Western North American society.

I define "docile" as "not resistant to the State grabbing more power".

People are more aggressive on an individual-to-individual level. This is correlated with an increase of dependence on the State.

Forty years ago, people were more friendly towards a random stranger, but they were more suspicious of the State.

"Individual cooperation" and "docile towards the State" are anti-correlated.

Natasha has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #51":

Oops! I forgot to put quotation marks around that Rand statement. It was me who experienced the psych. system, and not her.

At least, as far as I know.

It sounded believable, anyway.

At some point, I should do a more detailed analysis of the abuses of the mental health (homicide) system.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Gold and Silver Taxation Scam":

I stay away from gold coins and other 'numismatic' gold like the plague. There are so many scammers out there who use the old 'gold coins are non-confiscatable' line of BS to lure in suckers to buy non-PCG rated coins often at a $200to $300 markup each. Don't fall for this scam! NEVER purchase any numismatic coin as a 'hedge' against inflation or the shrinking Dollar. Instead purchase .999 Fine Engelhardt bars in 1 or 10 oz sizes from reputable dealers. Especially these gold and silver coin dealers you hear on the shortwave radio 'patriot' shows as EVERY one of these people I've listened to are running a total scam and they inflate the value of their coins and troll for un-informed people and take them for hundreds and thousands in mark-up's. Remember buy Englehardt bars only and if they tell you that this is bullion or confiscatable tell them to go soak their head and go someplace else as anyone who tells you this line of BS is a scammer.

My advice is to pay spot plus a small transaction fee plus minting fee. I agree that numismatic premiums aren't worth anything. If you're buying gold or silver for a SHTF scenario, numismatic premiums won't be worth anything then.

Your gold or silver is only confiscatable if the State knows you have it! Besides, there is no longer any pretense of the US dollar being backed by gold or silver. A "gun confiscation" is much more serious than a "gold confiscation". Fortunately, the gun manufacturers' lobby is strong enough to prevent an outright ban on private gun ownership.

There is one advantage of gold over silver. With gold, a specific gravity test usually suffices to detect forgery; the only metals denser than gold are also more expensive than gold. With silver, an alloy of cheaper metals has the same specific gravity as silver.

There are several merits to gold or silver ownership:
  1. Gold may ACTUALLY outperform stock investments, even if the State doesn't collapse! Corporations receive massive State subsidies, but there also is a massive amount of fraud and waste.
  2. Metal will hold its purchasing power (or increase) after the State collapses.
  3. Metal is the most reliable inflation hedge.
  4. If you want to do anonymous economic activity, sound money avoids the "laundering" problem.
  5. If you want to anonymously pass on wealth to your children or others, sound money is the most reliable method.
  6. Transactions using sound money are *COMPLETELY UNTRACEABLE* by the red market. Even if your metal comes with an RFID chip or serial number, you can melt and re-cast the coins.

By E-Mail, someone wrote, regarding the Supreme Leader of Humanity:

This is terrifying. Far more terrifying than most could possibly admit.

The true terror here is that we know, that if this richest man in the world exists, he is just as petty, just as crass, just as venal as you an I. He sells his soul to the "compromise" every day, thinking he does good.

Lemme at 'im!

I strongly suspect that there actually *IS* a SLH. There is no absolute proof, but there's a ton of circumstantial evidence. If you use "Bayesian Reasoning", then it's very easy to deduce the existence of the SLH. If you take each piece of evidence and multiply the probabilities, then it's obvious.

By E-Mail, Joey from the Freedom Symposium writes:

Hey man,

I'm sure you'll catch wind of it, but just letting you know ahead of time that I got myself into a great blog conversation here and was wondering if you've posted anything on this topic or would like to? I think this is your kind of topic and it would be awesome if you could participate in this conversation. Would love to have your input on it. Of course, I might be the only person in the blogosphere that enjoys this kind of blog interaction. LOL

I have your blog in my Google Reader, but you may always highlight a post you think is particularly interesting.

There wasn't much interesting content in that post.

It's one thing to say "The State is evil because FSK says so." That's the "argument from authority" fallacy (but I don't consider myself to have any authority). It's another thing to actually understand why the State is evil and the bad things it does.

Preston says:
I fell into this trap by trying to write this post in the manner that someone else would have written it.

I write directly expressing my personal viewpoint. When you always try to appear neutral or unbiased, you're making the mainstream media fallacy. They try to appear unbiased, because that's the most effective means for concealing their pro-State bias!

I'm not interested in categorizing EVERY SINGLE TYPE of invalid reasoning. There's so many of them!

Another E-Mail:

I think you're right. The main interest in that post was Henry Browne's traps in thinking, which I found to be just another version of bad cognitive thinking, and wanted to point that out. Sunni had some good advice as well I think. But yeah, the best advice is just to be yourself and express your own personal viewpoint.

Not sure where the hell Preston is, but Sunni liked my reply to Preston. Some other people did find it somewhat helpful. That's good at least.

As long as some readers found it interesting, it's worth writing. I've studied a lot of Math and logic, so invalid reasoning is pretty obvious to me.

That's one of the main advantages of blogging compared to mainstream media sources. It's perfectly acceptable to express your personal viewpoint. My anti-State writing may seem "biased", but it's actually my unbiased logical conclusion!

gilliganscorner has left a new comment on your post "In a Free Market, Banking is not Evil":


For what it is worth, I think this is one of your best posts yet, up there with the "Compound Interest Paradox" and the "Defect of Schools".

The Defect of Schools has had surprisingly few readers, according to Google Analytics.

The important point is that, without State intervention in the market, banking is an honest and productive business. Banking is not inherently evil. Charging interest is not inherently evil. It is the conspiracy between banks and the State that is evil.

Under the current corrupt economic system, banks are *GUARANTEED* to be 10% of the total economy! They print the money that everyone else uses to trade, GUARANTEEING them a certain level of profit.

You can't say "Well, I'll just start a bank!" Only large, politically connected banks qualify for a bailout. If you're not politically connected, you'll probably be bankrupted like Bear Stearns. If you're connected like JP Morgan Chase's management, you qualify for a Federal Reserve bailout.

Mike Gogulski has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Toolkit - Dealing With Stupid People":

Dear FSK,

First, thanks for running a thought-provoking blog.

I see the main thrust here as absolutely correct. The trick we are faced with now, and which is only very slowly improving, is the tools you mention.

Some of those tools already exist. On the local lawn-mowing scale of things, cash in hand was, is and will remain king. For a national or global economy to "go grey", the internet would seem to be the cornerstone. Add on strong encryption technology (and there's plenty of it around these days), and a reliable free market digital money system (which services like e-gold have, unfortunately, thus far failed to produce) and you've got the foundation, at least for a large chunk of the pure service and financial economy.

If you use Federal Reserve Points, you're still supporting the State. For true freedom, you have to use sound money.

The crypto is still less than user-friendly, but it's getting there step by step. Payment and banking are a much bigger problem, and the OECD FATF actions against banking secrecy and freedom-oriented financial practices worldwide in the last 15 years have been no help at all.

That's the reason you need a true free market bank. You can't use the legal banking system *AT ALL*. If you deposit the proceeds of a free market business in a bank, your transaction is automatically reported to the State and IRS.

There was promising work being done some years ago by one Robert Hettinga, founder of the (apparently now defunct) Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation to create irrefutable, cryptographically secure virtual value tokens and a trust infrastructure to transact in them. The digital money story seems still unwritten, and there should be huge opportunities for those who can come together to make it work.

Why use "virtual value tokens"? Any system that's not backed by sound money is pointless. Why make things complicated? I can trade with a silver or gold coin, and that's a lot simpler.

The idea keeps poking me, though, that a top-down solution to the payment problem may be the wrong approach. Perhaps what we really need is something like hawala, internationalized, updated for the modern age, internet-turbocharged and decentralized down to the local level. The trust infrastructure here would be viral, social-network style rather than authority-based.

I sort of mention this with the Social Credit Monetary System. Any alternate monetary system *MUST* be decentralized, else the State would use violence to shut it down. An alternate monetary system has two key components:
  1. A warehouse receipt banking service, so people can safely store their wealth. It would have to be decentralized and trust-based, hawala-style. If all the metal is stored in a centralized location, that becomes a target for a State violent raid/seizure.
  2. A mechanism for trading between Federal Reserve Points and sound money (gold/silver). In the present, it isn't feasible to anonymously trade Federal Reserve Points for gold or silver. The transaction costs and State reporting requirements are too high. There isn't a mature free market economy where people can purchase things using gold or silver. Therefore, it is important to conveniently trade between sound money and Federal Reserve Points.
Sound money is the *BEST* way to store your long-term savings. You need a safe place to store it. You need to conveniently exchange your Federal Reserve Points for real money and vice versa.

Joey has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Toolkit - Dealing With Stupid People":

Just a quick comment. Post tags could come in real handy here for people coming to your blog and wanting to just read all the posts in the Agorist Toolkit series. You could tag all of these related posts with the tag "Agorist toolkit" and then all the posts in this series will show up. Makes thing easier for your readers.

Not that you have to use it, of course ;-)

I considered post labels and rejected the idea. You can do a "" search or use the Blogger search in the upper-left corner of my blog homepage.

I see a lot of blogs cluttered with 50+ tags, which seems excessive.

A google search would probably yield better results than post labels/tags.

credit savvy has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Toolkit - Dealing With Stupid People":

there is no reason to try to sort out stupid people we get a little dunber for trying

I almost rejected this comment as spam for the "credit savvy" website.

As much as possible, you should avoid being handicapped by stupid people. Unfortunately, 99.9%+ of the population are pro-State trolls!

My point is that, to get an agorist free market economy started, you only need a handful of people initially. You don't need to educate everyone all at once. You can start with the smartest people first.

Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "The Reverend Wright Fnord":

Every politician has their own version of Rev. Wright. Is the similar (as yet less publicized but rapidly picking up steam) story about the relationship between McCain and John Hagee a fnord indicative of McCain's eventual ascension to the throne?

I haven't heard much discussion of John Hagee, not nearly as much as Reverend Wright.

The only "news" programs I watch are The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Do Aliens Exist?":

You're right about many things, but your mind still resists the truth about aliens.

If you read Old Testament carefully, you'd understand they've been here all along. The ancient people called them "god", "angels", etc, they just didn't use modern words like "aliens" or "extraterrestrials". But what's described is clearly extraterrestrial intelligent beings.

How do you know what truths I am still resisting?

That is believable. "Aliens have been watching Earth for 100-150 years" is much less believable than "Aliens have been watching Earth for 5000+ years."

However, I suspect that the aliens, if they exist, have started taking a more active role recently. As human technology becomes more advanced, it's more important for aliens to subtly guide the path of technological progress away from things that are "excessively dangerous", such as Zero Point Energy.

Joey has left a new comment on your post "The School Vouchers Scam":

You explained the school voucher scam very well. I don't have much experience with private schools, so I guess the voucher issue just never crossed my mind.

Even if you go to public school or send your children to public school, you're the victim of State violence. Public schools are guaranteed funding, backed by State violence. There is absolutely no incentive for public schools to do a good job. In fact, with guaranteed funding, the incentive is for them to do a bad job, because that allows them to demand extra resources.

As long as education is not subject to market competition, the quality of education will be poor. State funding of schools distorts the market. It discriminates against parents who home-school or send their children to private school.

After careful analysis, I wonder if homeschooling is the only morally acceptable way to raise children without pro-State brainwashing them? If you send your children to a State school, then after a few years of school, they've spent more waking hours in care of the State/school than in the care of their parents!

Imagine you're playing an online FPS game, and you beat someone badly. What do you say? You say "I schooled you!" That's pretty much how State schools work. "Schooling someone" and "beating them into submission" are synonymous.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "The School Vouchers Scam":


Compared to public education, don't you think the voucher system is at least, a step in the right direction? For example, if I said "what do you think of the FairTax?" You'd probably say (speculating here) - "It wrong and immoral cause its stealin" although I would agree with you, I think it's a step in the right direction because I think that shattering societys views of 'normal' and 'mainstream' need to be shattered. At least to shake things up and get people to think, that just maybe, other options should be considered. And that's what we are up against I think - the perception that no options of any kind are to be considered.

All State actions are immoral. Vouchers give the illusion of change and reform, without genuine reform. Vouchers still discriminate against home-schoolers. Only "State-certified schools" qualify for vouchers. The vouchers still come with strings attached.

If I had to rank my preferences, the first preference is no State funding of schools at all. A *VERY* distant second is the voucher system. My last preference is no vouchers.

Programs like school vouchers and the FairTax give the *ILLUSION* of hope for reform, without any actual reform. People who lobby for school vouchers or the FairTax are wasting their time. They would be better off practicing agorism.

That is the real reason that vouchers and the FairTax are evil. They distract people from the real issues, such as "Should the State be involved in funding education at all?" or "Should there be a huge Federal government?" or "Should there be a government at all?" People waste their time advocating for vouchers or the FairTax instead of doing something productive and useful like agorism.

Michael has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Toolkit - Free Market Raw Milk":

Glad you posted this.
Last summer I was WWOOFing in B.C. Of course, the government is a bastard and doesn't let farmers sell uncertified milk. So one of the families I stayed with would sell it as "animal food". Then the customers could feed it to animals , or just drink the milk themselves. A good way to get around the state.
There was also a problem of the government banning the sale of uncertified meat. To get it certified, you have to have it slaughtered at a government abattoir, which was two days of driving away. So then small farmers have to stop raising livestock.
Just another example of the government screwing over the little guy.

What is WWOOFing? You work at an organic farm in exchange for room and board?

Government regulations are designed to hurt individuals and small business owners and favor large corporations. If they explicitly banned small businesses, that would be too obvious. Instead, regulations make it hard for small business owners to be competitive.

Joey has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Toolkit - Free Market Raw Milk":

Regardless of what you somebody will always have a problem with it. Any kind of milk will produce some kind of problem with consumers. Some are lactose-intolerant, some are on a super diet, some don't think cows are that holy, some won't like the taste. The list can go on. The State stomping on market forces just makes the problem worse. Everyone in the end eventually loses out.

Great agorist post.

That is the point. I haven't tried raw milk, so I don't know if it tastes better or is healthier. The free market should decide what customers can buy, and not the State.

The State and a free market are *OPPOSITE* ideas.

Bill aka NO DooDahs! has left a new comment on your post "The Spread Trade Scam":

Thanks for the link, but you actually mentioned this post of mine in an earlier post of yours.

Also, compare your final paragraph to comment #5, by me, posted 2/21/08; I clearly elucidate the same concept.

Yes, I did mention that before. Sometimes, interesting bits from the Reader Mail posts are also featured as their own separate post. If something interesting is buried as one item in a Reader Mail post, then people may not notice it.

I don't normally go back to blog posts to read the comments. I usually just look at the post once in my RSS Google Reader. Am I responsible for reading every comment on every blog post I cite?


Joey said...

The reader mail round-up posts are always my favorites. Excellent job, and thanks for the replies.

David_Z said...

Re: Redpillguy

I'm fairly confident, that in recorded history of about 1,000 years for which we have reasonably reliable data, the quantity of gold in the world has never declined year-over-year. And the long-term growth rate of the physical gold supply is something like 2%. (This is from Skousen's "Structure of Production")

After the discovery of the New World in the 15th Century, there was a brief spike in gold production but ther than that, even during the gold rush years in America, and the discovery of mines in South Africa and Australia, the world supply of gold has not increased by more than 5% in any year. The supply of gold doesn't fluctuate, as redpillguy supposes, and as FSK notes. On the contrary, additions to the world gold stock seem to have a stabilizing effect on its value.

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