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Monday, June 2, 2008

Reader Mail #54

I liked this post on Check Your Premises. The RIAA is now acting like a government agency. They want the same asset forfeiture rules that apply to drug sales to also apply to copyright. If you're accused of copyright violation, the RIAA claims they are allowed to steal your computer.

Intellectual property is not a valid form of property.

I liked this post on no third solution. Many pro-State trolls say "Without the State, bad thing X would happen." Usually, the State is already responsible for doing bad thing X on a large scale.

For example, "Without the State, a gang of people would go around demanding tribute from people." That's how taxes are implemented in the present.

Racial discrimination and large-scale genocide are *ONLY* possible when funded by a State. Without government, discrimination and genocide aren't profitable.

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. Due to rising fuel prices, some farmers have gone back to using horses and mules to plow their fields. They say it's more cost-effective than buying gasoline! They modified their tractors so animals can pull them.

I liked this post by Bill Rempel. US police are becoming increasing militarized.

Police often tell me, “Our only concern is getting home safely at the end of the day.” Such statements reveal two common traits in modern police forces. The first is an outsized sense of danger. In reality, police work isn’t in the top ten dangerous professions, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Indeed, no government job is in the top ten. The second attitude is the self-centered nature of police work. Concern for the public takes a backseat to concern for “officer safety.”

Grants by the Federal government encourage militarization of local police. The war on drugs is usually the excuse.

I liked the bit about government jobs being very safe compared to other jobs. Policemen think their personal danger when performing their job is higher than it actually is. When a policemen is injured or killed, it's heavily hyped, causing people to miscalculate the true risk.

This post by Kevin Carson is about microlending. He incorrectly says that microlending has the ability to give economic power to individuals.

In microlending, individuals make small loans to one another. The interest rate charged is higher than what a bank account would offer, but less than a credit card would offer. The rates I've seen were around 6%-8%.

Individuals don't have the magic money-printing power that banks have. Individuals can loan each other money, but they can't create new money. Microlending doesn't allow individuals to escape the Compound Interest Paradox.

Further, microloans aren't profitable for the lender. Why should I make a microloan for 6%-8% when inflation is really 15%-30%? The microloan isn't paying a positive inflation-adjusted return. If I want to protect my savings, I have to invest in inflation-hedged assets, such as stocks or gold.

The central bank credit monopoly distorts the lending market. Interest rates are held artificially low. An individual who loans money to other individuals, bypassing the banking system, either has to charge an extortionate interest rate or lose out to inflation.

A microloan is only attractive to individuals who don't qualify for a loan via the official financial system. A microloan is only attractive to a lender if they're foolish enough to discount inflation-hedged investments like gold or stocks.

Unfortunately, an agorist has to fund his business via reinvested earnings. It isn't feasible to raise capital in the free market. Until the collapse of the State draws near, it won't be practical for individuals to make gold-denominated loans to one another. The implied interest rate of a gold-denominated loan is too high. If you make a Federal Reserve Point denominated loan, then the implied interest rate is probably lower than the true inflation rate, making the loan a bad deal than the lender.

The central bank credit monopoly means that the cheapest way to raise capital is *ALWAYS* through a bank. That's one key "benefit" of a central bank. The ability to raise capital to form businesses is stolen from individuals and given to the State (financial industry).

Until individuals achieve monetary freedom, other types of freedom are impossible.

This bit deserves its own separate post.

I liked this post on Check Your Premises. It's an interesting challenge for those who disapprove of the right of homosexuals to get married. A married couple should pretend they're not married for a full week.

This is sort of missing the point. What's the correct free market solution? Marriage is none of the State's business. The State should not be responsible for enforcing marriage contracts. The State should not forbid alternate marriage forms, such as polygamy or communal living.

A marriage contract should be a term contract and not a lifetime contract. You should always be free to leave your partner if they start being unreasonable. Otherwise, it becomes a slavery contract.

I liked this post on to herd or not to herd.

With State control of the means of production, the incentive is to milk as much short-term value as possible, ignoring the long term value. This applies to explicit State employees, and indirect State employees (CEOs and senior corporate management).

In a free market, business owners *WILL* maximize the long-term value of their property.

If the State is going to steal your land/labor anyway, you might as well maximize your current income!

This is the reverse of the standard pro-State troll argument. Pro-State trolls say "In a free market, all resources will be rapidly used up." In fact, it is the State that causes resources to be used up. In a free market, there never are shortages.

I liked this post on to herd or not to herd. It links to three interesting articles on the collapse of the Soviet Union and analogies to the US economy.

There is a lesson here: when faced with a collapsing economy, one should stop thinking of wealth in terms of money. Access to actual physical resources and assets, as well as intangibles such as connections and relationships, quickly becomes much more valuable than mere cash.

Wealth and money are NOT THE SAME. When an economy is collapsing, this is painfully obvious. When inflation is relatively low, it's easy to confuse wealth and money. Under a gold standard, money *IS* tangible wealth.

There was another interesting point. When the State is collapsing, the people who suffer the most are those who work directly for the State. Either they aren't paid, or their paychecks are eroded by inflation. People working in the grey market are able to survive as the State collapses.

Think of all the former State employees whose pensions and retirement benefits are going to be worthless!

American industrial farming techniques are non-sustainable. They are dependent on cheap oil to be profitable.

In Russia, normalcy broke down in a series of steps. First, people stopped being afraid to speak their mind. Then, they stopped taking the authorities seriously. Lastly, the authorities stopped taking each other seriously. In the final act, Yeltsin got up on a tank and spoke the words "Former Soviet Union."

That's reassuring. As the State collapses, people become more and more willing to speak the truth.

Another key difference: in the Soviet Union, nobody owned their place of residence. What this meant is that the economy could collapse without causing homelessness: just about everyone went on living in the same place as before. There were no evictions or foreclosures. Everyone stayed put, and this prevented society from disintegrating.

Technically, nobody owns their residence in the USA. However, State police enforce illegitimate debt contracts. The Compound Interest Paradox forced a lot of mortgage debtors into bankruptcy. As long as only 1%-2% of the population is kicked out of their homes at a time, it's practical for the State to kick people off their land.

Even as the Soviet Union collapsed, public transportation still worked. The people who ran the trains still performed their jobs. Similarly, as the US government collapses, all the people who maintain infrastructure will continue to perform their jobs; agorists will directly hire them.

I really liked this bit:

I have had a chance to observe quite a few companies in the U.S. from the inside, and have spotted a certain constancy in the staffing profile. At the top, there is a group of highly compensated senior lunch-eaters. They tend to spend all of their time pleasing each other in various ways, big and small. They often hold advanced degrees in disciplines such as Technical Schmoozing and Relativistic Bean-counting. They are obsessive on the subject of money, and cultivate a posh country set atmosphere, even if they are just one generation out of the coal mines. Ask them to solve a technical problem — and they will politely demur, often taking the opportunity to flash their wit with a self-deprecating joke or two.

Somewhat further down the hierarchy are the people who actually do the work. They tend to have fewer social graces and communication skills, but they do know how to get the work done. Among them are found the technical innovators, who are often the company's raison d'être.

More often than not, the senior lunch-eaters at the top are native-born Americans, and, more often than not, the ones lower down are either visiting foreigners or immigrants. These find themselves in a variety of situations, from the working visa holders who are often forced to choose between keeping their job and going home, to those who are waiting for a green card and must play their other cards just right, to those who have one, to citizens.

The natives at the top always try to standardize the job descriptions and lower the pay scale of the immigrants at the bottom, playing them against each other, while trying to portray themselves as super-achieving entrepreneurial mavericks who can't be pinned down to a mere set of marketable skills. The opposite is often the case: the natives are often the commodity items, and would perform similar functions whether their business were biotechnology or salted fish, while those who work for them may be unique specialists, doing what has never been done before.

It is no surprise that this situation should have come about. For the last few generations, native-born Americans have preferred disciplines such as law, communications, and business administration, while immigrants and foreigners tended to choose the sciences and engineering. All their lives the natives were told to expect prosperity without end, and so they felt safe in joining professions that are mere embroidery on the fabric of an affluent society.

This process became known as "brain drain" — America's extraction of talent from foreign lands, to its advantage, and to their detriment. This flow of brain power is likely to reverse direction, leaving the U.S. even less capable of finding ways to cope with its economic predicament. This may mean that, even in areas where there will be ample scope for innovation and development, such as restoration of rail service, or renewable energy, America may find itself without the necessary talent to make it happen.

In the USA, to be someone who does the actual work is to be a slave. The only reason software engineers are relatively well paid is that their work is *SO VALUABLE*.

The average American knows that someone who does actual productive work is a fool. Most people aspire to be CEOs, MBAs, lawyers, accountants, etc. If you don't want to be exploited, you have to be a parasite.

In the USA, the skill of acquiring power is much more valuable than the skill of actually doing useful work.

I like the way the above quote describes senior corporate management as professional butt-kissers. If your job solely exists as a favor from the State, you'd better be a good butt-kisser! "Connections trump talent" is a feature of a communist dictatorship, and not a free market.

Thus, a Russian is less likely to consider sudden descent into poverty as a fall from God's grace, and economic collapse as God's punishment upon the people, while the religions that dominate America — Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam — all feature temporal success of their followers as a key piece of evidence that God is well-disposed toward them. What will happen once God's good will toward them is no longer manifest? Chances are, they will become angry and try to find someone other than their own selves to blame, that being one of the central mechanisms of human psychology. We should look forward to unexpectedly wrathful congregations eager to do the work of an unexpectedly wrathful God.

This is interesting. In the USA, when something bad happens to you, the default assumption is that it's your personal fault. A corrupt economic and political system are never blamed. Christianity is a slave pro-State religion. It's an important aspect of pro-State brainwashing. Saying "The USA is a Christian nation." is equivalent to saying "The USA is a slave nation."

A curious reversal took place. Whereas before the collapse, parents were often in a position to provide some financial help to their adult children, now the opposite is true. Older people who do not have children are much more likely to live in poverty than those who have children to support them. Once financial capital is wiped out, human capital becomes essential.

During a time of economic collapse, elderly people cannot rely on the State for help. They need children to help take care of them. Accumulated savings are worthless when the State collapses.

But "hard worker," to a Russian, sounded a lot like "fool."

Many of the products that were in short supply could not be obtained even in this manner, and required something called blat: special, unofficial access or favor. The exchange of personal favors was far more important to the actual functioning of the economy than the exchange of money. To Russians, blat is almost a sacred thing: a vital part of culture that holds society together. It is also the only part of the economy that is collapse-proof, and, as such, a valuable cultural adaptation.

As the State collapses, a reputation/favor based economy becomes more valuable than money.

Most Americans have heard of Communism, and automatically believe that it is an apt description of the Soviet system, even though there was nothing particularly communal about a welfare state and a vast industrial empire run by an elitist central planning bureaucracy. But very few of them have ever heard of the real operative "ism" that dominated Soviet life: Dofenism, which can be loosely translated as "not giving a rat's ass." A lot of people, more and more during the "stagnation" period of the 1980's, felt nothing but contempt for the system, did what little they had to do to get by (night watchman and furnace stoker were favorite jobs among the highly educated) and got all their pleasure from their friends, from their reading, or from nature.

This really sounds a lot like the situation in the USA. Most people will try to do the minimum possible to get by in their jobs. It's pointless to work hard, when extra effort goes unrewarded.

The dismal state of Soviet agriculture turned out to be paradoxically beneficial in fostering a kitchen garden economy, which helped Russians to survive the collapse. At one point it became informally known that 10% of the farmland — the part allocated to private plots — was being used to produce 90% of the food. Beyond underscoring the gross inadequacies of Soviet-style command and control industrial agriculture, it is indicative of a general fact: agriculture is far more efficient when it is carried out on a small scale, using manual labor.

As the State collapses, running a farm in your backyard becomes necessary for survival. In the USA, there's a lot of lawns and idle land that could be converted to food farming. I'm considering buying a 1-2 acre lot in an area with low property taxes and growing food. I'd either farm it myself or hire a local teenager to farm it for me.

People in the United States have a broadly similar attitude toward politics with people of the Soviet Union. In the U.S., this is often referred to as "voter apathy", but it might be more accurately described as non-voter indifference. The Soviet Union had a single, entrenched, systemically corrupt political party, which held a monopoly on power. The U.S. has two entrenched, systemically corrupt political parties, whose positions are often indistinguishable, and which together hold a monopoly on power. In either case, there is, or was, a single governing elite, but in the United States it organized itself into opposing teams to make its stranglehold on power seem more sportsmanlike.

In the U.S., there is an industry of political commentators and pundits which is devoted to inflaming political passions as much as possible, especially before elections. This is similar to what sports writers and commentators do to draw attention to their game. It seems that the main force behind political discourse in the U.S. is boredom: one can chat about the weather, one's job, one's mortgage and how it relates to current and projected property values, cars and the traffic situation, sports, and, far behind sports, politics. In an effort to make people pay attention, most of the issues trotted out before the electorate pertain to reproduction: abortion, birth control, stem cell research, and similar small bits of social policy are bandied about rather than settled, simply because they get good ratings. "Boring" but vitally important strategic issues such as sustainable development, environmental protection, and energy policy are studiously avoided.

Although people often bemoan political apathy as if it were a grave social ill, it seems to me that this is just as it should be. Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power? In Soviet-era Russia, intelligent people did their best to ignore the Communists: paying attention to them, whether through criticism or praise, would only serve to give them comfort and encouragement, making them feel as if they mattered. Why should Americans want to act any differently with regard to the Republicans and the Democrats? For love of donkeys and elephants?


Suppose you live in a big city, in an apartment or a condo. You depend on municipal services for survival. A week without electricity, or heat, or water, or gas, or garbage removal spells extreme discomfort. Any two of these is a calamity. Any three is a disaster. Food comes from the supermarket, with help from the cash machine or the credit card slot at the checkout station. Clean clothes come from the laundromat, which requires electricity, water, and natural gas. Once all the businesses have shut down and your apartment is cold, dark, smells like garbage (because it isn't being collected) and like excrement (because the toilet doesn't flush), perhaps it is time to go camping and explore the great outdoors.

So let's consider the countryside. Suppose that you own a homestead and have a tiny mortgage that shrivels to next to nothing after a good bout of inflation, or that you own it free and clear. If it's in a developed suburban subdivision, there will still be problems with taxes, code enforcement, strangers from outer space living next door, and other boondoggles, which could get worse as conditions deteriorate. Distressed municipalities may at first attempt jack up rates to cover their costs instead of simply closing up shop. In a misguided effort to save property values, they may also attempt to enforce codes against such necessities as compost heaps, outhouses, chicken coops, and crops planted on your front lawn. Keep in mind, also, that the pesticides and herbicides lavished on lawns and golf courses leave toxic residues. Perhaps the best thing to do with suburbia is to abandon it altogether.

In other words, when TSHTF, you're screwed if you're living in a big city and you're screwed if you're living in a suburban or rural area. If you have a good agorist trading network established, you should be able to survive either in a big city or in a suburban/rural area. The odds are slightly better outside a big city, because the population density is lower. If you grow your own food, you're less screwed when the infrastructure collapses.

The idea of stockpiling is not altogether bad, though. Stockpiling food is, of course, a rotten idea, literally. But certain manufactured items are certainly worth considering. Suppose you have a retirement account, or some mutual funds. And suppose you feel reasonably certain that by the time you are scheduled to retire it won't be enough to buy a cup of coffee. And suppose you realize that you can currently buy a lot of good stuff that has a long shelf life and will be needed, and valuable, far into the future. And suppose, further, that you have a small amount of storage space: a few hundred square feet. Now, what are you going to do? Sit by and watch your savings evaporate? Or take the tax hit and invest in things that are not composed of vapor?

Investing in non-perishable, tangible goods may be the best investment out there.

These two articles were also interesting.

This bit was silly:

If you have children that ride the school bus to school, assume that the school bus will not run any more. You might be able to work out a home schooling arrangement, or find another school closer to home that the kids can walk or bicycle to.

Who plans on still sending their children to school while the US government is collapsing? Why bother pro-State brainwashing your children when the State is collapsing?

As you are learning to live with less and less money, you will inevitably find that the money system works to your disadvantage. If you have debt, it becomes harder and harder to make the payments. If you own property, it becomes harder and harder to afford the taxes. The money system takes a bite out of everything you do. But this is true only if your economic relationships are monetized – if they have monetary value and involve the exchange of money. As you try to reduce your dependence on the money economy, you will need to invent ways to demonetize your life, and that of the people around you.

Many people naïvely believe that a criminal is someone who commits a criminal act. This is not true, at least not in the American system of justice. Here, a criminal is someone who has been accused of committing a criminal act, tried for it, and found guilty. Whether or not that person has in fact committed the act is immaterial: witnesses may lie, evidence can be fabricated, juries can be manipulated. A person who has committed a criminal act but has not been tried for it, or has been tried and exonerated, is not a criminal, and for anyone to call him a criminal is libelous.

It therefore follows that, within the American justice system, committing a crime and getting away with it is substantially identical to not committing a crime at all. Wealthy clients have lawyers who are constantly testing and, whenever possible, expanding the bounds of legality. Corporations have entire armies of lawyers, and can almost always win against individuals. Furthermore, corporations use their political influence to promote the use of binding arbitration, which favors them, as the way to resolve disputes.


Chris's biggest hindrance in making effective preparations is lack of time. It is impossible to carry out the necessary research, arrangements, and exercises while working 50-60 hours a week.

I really agree with this point. It's very hard to be a successful agorist while also holding a full-time job. When transitioning to agorism, perhaps it's necessary to find a job for less than 40 hours/week, but still one that pays a decent hourly rate.

I really liked this bit:

In the days in which most of human history has transpired, parents took care of their children as their topmost priority in life. As with many other species, it was their biological imperative to do so; beyond that, most of them were conscious of the fact that if their children did not survive, neither would they: their genes, their memories, their culture, or anything about them would be erased by time. The care of children could be entrusted to family members, but never to complete strangers. The education of children took place largely in the home, through storytelling, shared labor, and through rites of passage. The elderly, and especially the grandparents, took an active part in rearing and educating children. It was they who watched and attended to young children throughout the day, and who inculcated in them much of the ancestral wisdom – the stories, the myths, and the practical knowledge – through ceaseless, tiresome repetition.

At the trailing edge of the fossil fuel age, where we find ourselves, prosperous society looks quite different. Both parents work dismal jobs, mostly away from home, in order to keep themselves out of bankruptcy. Those who prosper most attend to their careers with far greater attention than to their children, abandoning them to the care of strangers for the better part of most days. The grandparents live elsewhere, enjoying their golden years, the fruits of their labors encapsulated in some properties, some investments, and a merciful central government that has promised to at least keep them alive even if all else fails. They are living on artificial life support that is about to be shut off.
Letting the State raise your children is *STUPID*. Both parents work full-time jobs, and they are forced to rely on the State to raise their children.

The best plan for surviving the collapse of the US government and US economy is agorism. The collapse is still 10-20 years away, so there's still time to prepare.

I liked this post on Check Your Premises. It's a list of evils of the war in Iraq.

The fact that a handful of persons armed with boxcutters were able to hijack whole airplanes shames the American Government and is an indictment of our whole society, which, by delegating its powers to the State and big corporations, has become utterly defenseless.

This is an important point. When a private business fails, it loses customers. When the State fails, it demands more resources. The State has an unaccountable monopoly.

The State prevents private defense businesses from being profitable.

The Iraqi Genocide was sold to the American people based on fear, uncertainty and lies, the modus operandi of all governments. Thanks to democracy, the ignorance of the majority prevailed over the concerns of the few intelligent people.

That's another problem with democracy. "Majority rules" doesn't work, even if the majority is intelligent. It definitely doesn't work when the majority has been brainwashed to be slaves.

Anyone who willingly and without fear pays his taxes is an accomplice to genocide, because his money finances the tanks, rifles and bullets, as well as those of past wars.

Unfortunately, I still have my corporate wage slave job. I'm looking for free market business opportunities, but haven't found anything promising yet. I need potential customers and trading partners first.

Francois Tremblay missed one big point. A lot of private military contractors have profited *IMMENSELY* from the Iraq war. War is only profitable when you can force people to pay the cost via taxes. Approximately 25% of the US economy is directed towards military spending. Approximately 50% of the Federal budget is military, and approximately 50% of the US economy is directly paid in income taxes.

I liked this post by Mark Cuban on why the NFL opted out of its salary cap deal, reopening negotiations early. I thought the NFL was stupid to opt out of its cap, but Mark Cuban gives a good explanation.

The cap number is based on national revenue (TV contract) plus local revenue. However, national revenue is shared while local revenue is not. When some teams have a sharp increase in local revenue, that squeezes smaller market teams. A salary cap is only sensible when most of the league's revenue is shared. Recently, some teams have had sharp increases in local revenue, while other teams have lagged. Local revenue is a larger % of the total cap number.

Either the NFL should share local revenue more fully, abandon its cap, or negotiate with the union so that local revenue counts less towards the cap.

He also makes a point that the NBA needs a salary cap a lot more than the NFL. In a cap-free NBA, a team could hire 3 superstar players and be practically guaranteed a championship. Three superstar players are 3/5 of a team. In the NFL, one player is only 1/22 of the team.

I liked this post on out of step, referring to this post on Murray Rothbard by Wendy McElroy.

Rothbard once complained, "Probably the most common question that has been hurled at me -- in some exasperation -- over the years is: 'Why don't you stick to economics?'" Calling the question a "said reflection on the hyperspecialization among intellectuals," Rothbard continued, "...this syndrome has been carried so far that they scorn any attention to politico-economic problems as a demeaning and unclean impurity..."

Over-specialization by university professors prevents them from writing anything meaningful, especially in the area of economics and politics.

The problem is State funding of academic research distorts the market for academic research.

By E-Mail, someone says:

Btw, I know someone who joined an underground milk club.

Good for them. Is it totally illegal?

I saw an article in the newspaper about how people are getting involved in community gardening, because food prices are so high. My reaction is "This is a symptom of the coming economic collapse".

Sometimes, my Google Analytics stats make me say "WTF?" My post on Is Miley Cyrus' Vanity Fair Photo Child Pornography? has ascended to over 40th place on my "Best of FSK" list, with over 150 Absolute Unique Pageviews! Really? (It's been very popular via Google search.) Unfortunately, most of those visits have been bounces. The search term was "Miley Cyrus picture scam".

If there aren't many competing posts on a search phrase, my blog may rank high. My overall PageRank is increasing. According to Google Analytics, I do much better when people search for phrases than individual keywords.

Sometimes, people are citing my blog in the weirdest places. This is a discussion forum dedicated to scouting high school semi-pro athletes for college scholarships!

My favorite bit is the guy who says "I have a Masters in Economics and work in the financial industry. I say that FSK is wrong. By the 'argument from authority fallacy', FSK must be wrong, because I have a Masters in Economics and FSK does not."

He has a couple of other interesting errors (paraphrasing).

The Federal Reserve was created to prevent economic disasters, such as the Great Depression.

WRONG! The Federal Reserve was created in 1913. The Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression. Prior to 1913, extensive regulation of the banking industry allowed large banks to collude and create economic cycles. After 1913, collusion was no longer necessary; under the Federal Reserve, boom/bust cycles operate with the full force of law via the Compound Interest Paradox.

The Federal Reserve is quasi-public and quasi-private. Therefore, the Federal Reserve is not immoral.

I never disputed the actual ownership structure as partially public and partially private. I describe it better than the other sources I read. Ultimately, the Federal Reserve and the government are controlled by financial industry insiders. The Federal Reserve looks out for the interests of financial industry insiders, and not the average person.

If every bank decided to call its loans, there would be trouble.

This partially happens during each economic bust, when the Federal Reserve jacks up the Fed Funds Rate.

If every individual withdrew their cash from the banks, there would be trouble.

This is false. The Federal Reserve would merely print enough Federal Reserve Notes to redeem their balances. People holding Federal Reserve Points would still lose their purchasing power to inflation, the same as if they left their deposits in a bank. The Federal Reserve would create new bank reserves via its open market operations, and banks would still be able to make loans.

A bank's deposit business and loan business are completely uncorrelated. It's like they are two separate businesses operating out of the same location. Banks with surplus reserves loan them to other banks. Banks that need extra reserves borrow from other banks or from the Federal Reserve via its open market operations.

Correcting the above statement: "If everyone withdrew their cash from banks, *AND INVESTED THE PROCEEDS IN SOUND MONEY AND STARTING TRADING WITH REAL MONEY*, then the people who currently exploit everyone else for their personal benefit would be in trouble."

FSK says that people should return to a barter system.

Actually, I advise sound money and using gold or silver as money. If gold or silver are unavailable, barter works. Legally, using gold or silver as money counts as a barter transaction, because gold and silver aren't officially recognized as money. If you use real money, you should work off-the-books.

A gold standard caps economic growth.

This is false. A gold standard limits money supply inflation. Money supply inflation is confused with economic growth. The CPI is less than the true inflation rate. If you calculate inflation-adjusted economic growth, using the CPI as your deflator, then money supply inflation is reported as economic growth. If you use the price of gold as your deflator, then the US economy is shrinking!

A gold standard limits the ability of the financial industry to confiscate the wealth of everyone else via inflation.

My favorite bit:

However, given that almost every industrialized nation in the world has moved to a central bank/fiat system, you seem to believe that somehow all economists, governments, and corporations around the world are consipiring with the same end to ruin civilization through a fiat system.

Yes, that's the Supreme Leader of Humanity's plan. He wants a complete collapse of the current corrupt economic system and the establishment of a global free market.

Most economists, politicians, and CEOs aren't aware of this plan. They're merely greedy fools lining their own pockets, unaware that they're bringing about the demise of their power/control system.

I liked this post on gilliganscorner. The FBI is attempting to infiltrate groups planning on protesting the Republican National Convention. They plant people among the protesters, inciting violence among the protesters. In one case, the agent provocateurs were caught by the protesters.

This is one of many reasons why political protests are pointless. The bad guys intentionally place violent people among the protesters, to discredit them. This also means that anyone who attends such a protest is at risk for being the victim of State violence. The agent provocateurs are able to prevent peaceful protests from occurring. The agent provocateurs give the State police an excuse to crack down violently on *ALL* the protesters.

Remember that guy from Reader Mail #53 who suggested I protest violently at the RNC? I wonder if he was an agent provocateur? He gave up once he saw I wasn't an easy mark. Usually, pro-State trolls are more persistent than that. He pretended to half-agree with my philosophy, so that I would be willing to attend his violent protest.

Political protests are a complete waste of time. Ignoring the State as much as possible is better. Why protest the RNC? I don't care who is elected President, as long as he is totally unqualified. The three top candidates (McCain, Obama, Clinton) are all totally unqualified, so I don't mind which of them is the next President. The only "dangerous" candidate was Ron Paul. He's way too honest to be allowed to be President.

That answers Liberty Student's comment (see below). When people half-agree with me and half pro-State troll, I crack down on them for pro-State trolling. Someone who really understands my philosophy won't pro-State troll. Someone who only half-understands or pretends to understand is a useless agorist trading partner. They may be a police spy instead of a sincere free market trading partner.

I liked this post on Democracy Sucks. The only valid way to form a government is with the *UNANIMOUS* consent of the people governed. Otherwise, what right does the majority have to steal from the minority via taxes?

Even in that case, the government would not be a binding contract on their children. They would have to approve once they were old enough to decide for themselves. Even in that case, they should have the right to withdraw their consent later; otherwise, it's a slavery contract, and slavery contracts aren't valid.

Of course, a government that managed to achieve *UNANIMOUS* support for every single law would be very severely limited.

Since I'm hosting this month, I checked out the current edition of the Market Anarchist blog Carnival. The good submissions were by blogs I already read regularly. In the rest, there wasn't anything noteworthy.

I liked this post by Bill Rempel, in reference to this video. It's about the dirty spin tricks that mainstream media uses.

I already know to distrust mainstream media, but it's interesting to see their dirty tricks enumerated. I really liked the bits where candidates and Pat Robertson are being coached on question-dodging tactics. I also liked the bits where satellite feeds were monitored to exclude protesters from political rallies.

Question-dodging tactics are only effective because news anchormen and reporters don't call out politicians when they do this. The "journalists" are a part to the scam, as much or more so than the politicians. Frequently, a journalist is better paid and has more job security than the politician he's interviewing! For example, all the neo-conservative journalists aren't going to lose their jobs if Obama gets elected President.

That is an interesting sub-point. Network anchormen and reporters are *EXTREMELY* well paid, giving them an incentive to not "rock the boat". They only ask the questions they're supposed to ask.

Networks frequently strong-encrypt their satellite feeds now, so making such a film with modern footage would be harder or impossible. That film was from 1992; the manipulation/spin tactics now are probably more advanced.

Here's a YouTube/Google Video tip. If you have RealPlayer installed, you can download a clip and save it. If you have a slow Internet connection, you may not be able to stream fast enough to view it; downloading means you can watch the whole thing straight.

I watched "Million Dollar Password". I'm offended by game shows where the top prize should never be won if the contestant plays rationally. To go for the million dollars, you must risk $225k. (You win $1M if you're successful, $25k if you're unsuccessful.) You get to see the 5 words before you decide if you want to continue (if you're giving the clues). However, it's just too hard.

As the show played out, risking your $100k (actually $75k) to win $250k appears to be too risky.

These "big money" game shows are obsessed with making the player risk their winnings to continue, making it almost impossible to win the grand prize. Suppose you get $1M if you're right and $250k if you're wrong. That's still enough excitement and tension.

I don't like game shows where the player has to take an unreasonable risk to win the grand prize. Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader and Power of 10 had the same problem. You can't afford to take the risk and go for the grand prize.

I liked this post on Steve Pavlina's blog. Organized religion is bad for you, because it prevents you from thinking for yourself. Christianity is a slave religion.

By putting forth confusing and internally conflicting information, your logical mind (i.e. your neocortex) is overwhelmed. You try in vain to integrate such contradictory beliefs, but it can’t be done. The net effect is that your logical mind disengages because it can’t find a pattern of core truth beneath all the nonsense, so without the help of your neocortex, you devolve to a more primitive (i.e. limbic) mode of thinking. You’re taught that this faith-based approach is a more spiritual and conscious way to live, but in reality it’s precisely the opposite. Getting you to distrust your own cerebral cortex actually makes you dumber and easier to manipulate and control. Karl Marx was right when he said, “Religion is the opiate of the people.”

If the people around you, especially your parents, are reciting incoherent gibberish as if it makes perfect sense, your brain in self-defense will cease thinking logically. Working extensively with Mathematics and computers, you're able to re-learn how to think properly/logically. Non-logical thinking is an aspect of pro-State brainwashing.

I wonder if someone who wasn't pro-State brainwashed would be able to think logically naturally, without having to study Mathematics extensively? Studying Mathematics and computers really does sharpen your thinking skills, but to what extend were my logical reasoning skills damaged by my other schooling?

When you donate money to a religious organization, you’re doing much worse than throwing your money away. You’re actively funding evil.

Paying taxes is also a form of donating money to an evil religious organization. It's not voluntary in the sense that you'll be the victim of violence if you're caught not paying. It's voluntary in the sense that if most people pay without resisting, then it's practical to crack down on the handful of resisters.

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. The price of cocaine is rising, primarily due to a decline in the value of the dollar.

International drug traffickers are now using euros instead of dollars.

I'll be impressed when international drug traffickers start using real money (gold or silver).

This post on lowercase liberty was interesting. It quotes an article in the LA Times saying "rent control is theft". Francois Tremblay commented:

I thought it was rent that was theft.

By E-Mail, redpillguy says:

rent control is theft

(Was redpillguy referring to the same article as the LA Times? Maybe.)

Rent control is theft because the property owner is prevented from charging the fair free market rent for his property. *HOWEVER*, the rent control is already factored into the property price when the landlord bought the property. Repealing rent control would be a windfall profit for the property owner.

The primary victim of rent control is someone who is trying to rent an apartment. A would-be renter is forced to pay higher prices, due to the supply of apartments tied up in rent control.

In most rent control jurisdictions, new construction is exempt from the rent-control law. The rent control law benefits people who build new apartments, because the rent of non-rent-controlled apartments is artificially high.

In a *FREE* market, rent is not theft. If I invest in an apartment building, paying the fair free market price for capital, then I should be allowed to earn the fair free market rate of return. The problem is that the State distorts the capital market.

In the present, landlords receive a massive Federal Reserve interest rate subsidy. Suppose a landlord puts up $1M to buy an apartment building worth $10M, borrowing $9M from a bank. The interest rate on the loan will typically be around 6%, while inflation really is 15%-30%. The landlord's ownership claim to the property is not legitimate, because his property purchase was subsidized by the State.

In rent-control jurisdictions, the rate the landlord is allowed to increase his rent is still typically larger than the interest rate charged on his loan, yet still less than true inflation. For example, the landlord pays 6% on his mortgage, gets rent increases of 7%-8%, while inflation is 15%-30%. The apartment was still a sound investment.

For a rent-controlled apartment, *NEITHER* the landlord nor the tenant have a legitimate ownership claim. The landlord's ownership claim isn't valid, because he received a State subsidy to fund his purchase. The tenant's ownership claim isn't valid, because he's paying less than the fair free market rent. If I were the judge in a free market court, I would rule that a former rent-controlled apartment is *UNOWNED*!

I know someone who lives in a rent-controlled apartment. I pointed out that, if he could sell his lease to me and I could move in, that benefit would be worth something like $100k-$200k or more, depending on how much less his rent was than the fair free market rent. Living in a rent-controlled apartment, the incentive is for him to not move. If he moved, he would be giving up this massive State subsidy of his living arrangements. When he moved in, he had to pay a large broker fee (bribe) to get a rent-controlled apartment.

I heard a story of a hedge fund that purchased a rent-controlled apartment complex. The hedge fund sent frivolous eviction notices to a lot of people, claiming that wasn't their primary residence and they were ineligible for a rent-controlled apartment. For example, if someone else with the same name as a tenant owned a property, then the tenant would be accused of having a 2nd residence. The tenants had to hire lawyers to defend their apartment; the hedge fund paid a lot less per eviction notice than the tenants paid defending themselves. Even if the tenants won in court, they didn't recover their legal expenses. Even if only 1%-5% of the tenants are evicted, this was a huge profit for the hedge fund; after eviction, the hedge fund can charge the fair free market rent.

When I was interviewing for college, I interviewed with a recent Princeton graduate. He was living in a rent-controlled apartment that he inherited from his grandmother. Most rent-control laws allow apartments to be passed from parents to children. A recent Princeton graduate probably had a very high-paying job; it was immoral for him to live in a rent-controlled apartment. However, if he moved out, then his landlord would receive an unearned windfall!

Rent control creates an adversarial relationship between landlord and tenant. The landlord isn't allowed to charge the fair free market rent, so the incentive is for him to do the minimum maintenance possible. In rent-controlled apartments, the furnace typically breaks on the coldest day of the year; by law, the landlord has 48-72 hours to fix it, and he takes the full 48-72 hours. By avoiding heating costs on the coldest days of the year, the landlord improves his profit margin.

Almost *ANY* government action is theft. Rent control is a tricky issue, because neither the landlord nor the tenant are legitimate owners of the property. If you're paying the fair free market rent, then I do recognize the tenant as the legitimate owner; the landlord received a massive State subsidy for his purchase, but the tenant is the valid current occupier. When the State collapses, the current legitimate occupier of property becomes the owner.

Rent control laws didn't become popular until after the USA abandoned sound money. When the money supply started being inflated, rents started rising. However, workers' salaries typically rise less than the rate of money supply inflation. Rather than having a lot of people get evicted from their apartments, rent control laws were passed. The blame for rising rents is placed on greedy landlords or greedy tenants. An unfair monetary system is never blamed for price inflation.

In a free market with sound money, rents should be stable. As the population increases, rents would rise slightly. However, as there is new construction, rents would decline; rising rents would be an incentive to build. The net effect should be stable prices. State manipulation of the market, especially money supply inflation, rent control, and zoning laws, prevents the natural equilibrium from occurring. There is legitimate hostility towards landlords; by using leverage and negative real interest rates, landlords receive a massive State subsidy.

This bit deserves its own separate post.

This post on Check Your Premises was interesting. Francois Tremblay was complaining about fruitcake Objectivists.

Objectivists tend to be fruitcakes. Objectivists are people who follow Ayn Rand in a cult-like fashion, without having actually understood her work. In an online discussion forum, if someone names themselves after a character in an Ayn Rand novel, then they probably are a fruitcake and a pro-State troll. If you actually read Atlas Shrugged, the free market resistance movement sounds very much like agorism. You "go on strike" by doing productive work without reporting it to the State for taxation, regulation, and confiscation. You don't need to go to a deserted mountain retreat; you can do it where you are right now.

After the founder of an intellectual movement dies, it tends to be hijacked by pro-State trolls. That didn't just happen to Ayn Rand and the Objectivists. It's also happened to Mises, Rothbard, and Konkin.

Francois Tremblay also mentions the US civil war. The North had to win the US civil war, because it was important to establish that states do not have the right to withdraw their consent for the Federal government. Do individuals have the right to withdraw consent for the government? If you say "no", then you're asserting that I'm a slave. If the debate is openly framed in such language, then any tactics, such as agorism, are 100% morally acceptable.

Once you say "The State has no legitimacy", then it's merely a question of what tactics would be most effective. I consider agorism to be the only resistance strategy worth pursuing. I have not yet made the transition from "theoretical agorism" to "practical agorism", but I plan to work towards that in the future.

I liked this post on lowercase liberty about homeschooling. "Socializing children" means the same thing as "socialized medicine".

"Largely unrecognized are studies that show youngsters who spend more time with their peers are more likely to develop peer standards than adult ones, and the earlier they begin peer-dominated experiences the more dysfunctional their values and attitudes may be."

In other words, age-grouping of students is harmful. I already mentioned that as one of the defects of schools. It is better to hang out with some adults, some older children, and some younger children.

I liked this post on lowercase liberty. The price of oil, quoted in silver, is relatively unchanged since 1964. The silver price is less manipulated than the gold price. In 1964, it was legal to own silver. Silver may be a better long-term measure of inflation than gold, because gold ownership was illegal until the mid-1970s, and central banks had much larger gold reserves than silver reserves.

There's a neat chart on the silver is money blog, showing that the price of oil/gold hasn't increased much since 2000, compared to the oil/$ or oil/euro price.

Notice that switching from dollars to euros won't protect you against inflation. Both the dollar and euro are declining in value relative to real money (gold or silver), but the euro is inflating slower than the dollar.

I also liked this post on silver is money. Before the US abandoned sound money in 1913, prices were very stable. Actually, they were slowly decreasing due to productivity gains.

I'm adding the "silver is money" blog to my hitlist.

The Democratic Party reached a compromise regarding Florida and Michigan. They will get their delegates, but each will only get half a vote. In Michigan, the delegates were allocated 69-59 in favor of Clinton. Obama wasn't on the ballot in Michigan, supporting the Democratic party's censure of Michigan for moving their primary too early. One source said that Obama didn't object to Clinton getting her Florida and Michigan delegates, because it wouldn't be enough for her to overtake him; Obama is going to win the nomination anyway, and he compromised so he could move on to other things.

Florida and Michigan broke the rules when they moved their primary too early. They were stripped of their delegates as a penalty. At the time, nobody imagined the nomination would be this close; the expected it to be settled by now and the winner would allow Florida and Michigan to seat their delegates.

This ruling means that Florida and Michigan face practically no penalty for breaking the rules.

Of course, government has no legitimacy anyway. It's interesting to see things decided so arbitrarily.

The impression I get is that Obama is being set up to be the next President. On Intrade, he has approximately 57% odds of winning.

Why should I care who is elected President? As long as it's someone totally unqualified, that's fine with me.

I liked this post on the Agitator, also mentioned elsewhere. Black Jack, Missouri denied a couple a "residency permit" for their house. They didn't meet their definition of a "family". They were denied permission to live in their own house. I read that they successfully sued and won or had the law changed.

This is the first time I've heard the term "residency permit". WTF?

I liked this post on the Agitator, in reference to this post. Someone is trying to grow every possible type of beard.

I liked this post on how to upload an arbitary MP3 to your phone to make your own ringtone.

Most carriers lock the "upload MP3" feature on their phones. If that's the case, you're SOL for uploading your own MP3 as a ringtone. Does anybody know which/any carriers in the USA allow you to upload your own MP3 as a ringtone? My guess is "none of them"; it'd be mentioned much more often if it were possible.

This D&D flowchart was interesting.

My blog readership statistics have flatlined again. I had 2386 Absolute Unique Visitors in March, 2470 in April, but only 2410 in May. My trend for blog growth appears to be double, then flat for a few months, then another double, then flat for a few months, etc..

"Organic growth" is working for me. The overall long-term trend is still exponentially increasing.

I updated my "Best of FSK" list again. There were only a few additions, and the rankings are mostly stable. When I update the "Best of FSK" list, my cutoff point is "All previous qualifiers make it, plus anything now ranked higher." If the bottom-ranked post(s) are ones that don't deserve to be there, then I might remove them.

I liked this article on about hyperinflation in Germany after World War I. (I forget the referring source.)

"My father was a lawyer," says Walter Levy, an internationally known German-born oil consultant in New York, "and he had taken out an insurance policy in 1903, and every month he had made the payments faithfully. It was a 20-year policy, and when it came due, he cashed it in and bought a single loaf of bread." The Berlin publisher Leopold Ullstein wrote that an American visitor tipped their cook one dollar. The family convened, and it was decided that a trust fund should be set up in a Berlin bank with the cook as beneficiary, the bank to administer and invest the dollar.

People who had "saved money" got ripped off during hyperinflation. A bank or insurance company is the *LEAST SAFE* place to store your savings, because you're guaranteed to get ripped off by inflation.

So the printing presses ran, and once they began to run, they were hard to stop. The price increases began to be dizzying. Menus in cafes could not be revised quickly enough. A student at Freiburg University ordered a cup of coffee at a cafe. The price on the menu was 5,000 Marks. He had two cups. When the bill came, it was for 14,000 Marks. "If you want to save money," he was told, "and you want two cups of coffee, you should order them both at the same time."

There's one part I really don't understand. Faced with hyperinflation, why didn't people switch to using sound money (gold or silver or other metals)? Germany had no gold due to war reparations after World War I, but other metal coins could have been used as money.

This article has a nice description of the Compound Interest Paradox.

To explain, imagine the first bank which prints and lends out $100. For its efforts it asks for the borrower to return $110 in one year; that is it asks for 10% interest. Unwittingly, or maybe wittingly, the bank has created a mathematically impossible situation. The only way in which the borrower can return 110 of the bank's notes is if the bank prints, and lends, $10 10% interest.

When presented with this scenario, there is often a tendency to think :"Ah, but the borrower can always make the extra $10 somewhere else, through hard work or a deal overseas." However, although we frequently inter change the two sayings, earning money is not the same as making it. Earnings are simply a transfer of money from on ownership to another and neither increase nor decrease the total money in existence. Making money actually does increase the nation's money supply but no-one can do that but the banking industry itself as laid down in its charter from the federal government.

The result of creating 100 and demanding 110 in return, is that the collective borrowers of a nation are forever chasing a phantom which can never be caught; the mythical $10 that were never created. The debt in fact is unrepayable. Each time $100 is created for the nation, the nation's overall indebtedness to the system is increased by $110.

This is the key point. Earning money and printing money are different. Only banks may print new money. When you work, you are creating wealth but not money. Money is transferred from one person to another, but new money is only created by banks.

Using the phrase "I'm making money" as synonymous for "I'm working" or "I'm creating wealth" is misleading. Unless you work for a bank, you don't have the power to create new money.

The solution mentioned in the article is Social Credit, the pro-State troll version of Social Credit. The State should directly print and spend enough credit-based money to offset the Compound Interest Paradox.

The highest-ranking financial industry insiders are fully aware of the Compound Interest Paradox. They have no interest in reform.

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

Thomas Blair is correct. All politicians have some "crazy" person they could be some how connected to.

The McCain/Hagee story is nothing more than mainstream media (ie.Obama supporters) getting back at Talk Radio (mainly Sean Hannity) for the Rev. Wright Story. The comparison between one of hundreds, if not thousands of endorsements a Presidential Candidate receives and a 20-year close spiritual adviser is weak to say the least. The only thing that really connects them is the word Reverend in front of their names.

But it allows the Obama supporting mainstream media to say, "Obama got a crazy preacher. Now McCain got a crazy preacher. So vote for Obama or you're a racist."

Same as every other day between now and the election.

I'm not really interested in the 2008 Presidential election. All the candidates who have a chance of winning are totally unqualified, which is fine with me. It appears that the mainstream media is setting up Obama as the winner. He might even withdraw the US troops from Iraq, and then people will forget about the huge fraud/waste of the Iraq war until the next one.

How many "war tax resisters" will give up when the Iraq war is over?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Is Miley Cyrus' Vanity Fair Photo Child Pornograph...":

Anonymous said...

"why does Vanity Fair have to show that kind of content of a teenager?"

The answer is in an interview with Fox News March 28, 2008 By Hollie McKay entitled,'Pop Tarts: Miley Cyrus: 'Faith Keeps Me Grounded.''

Miley commented, "I think it’s my faith that keeps me grounded, especially because I’m a Christ follower for sure," Cyrus told us. "Live like Christ and he’ll live in you, and that’s what I want to do."

She may as well have painted a bullseye on her back.

I don't see why this is such a big deal. Miley Cyrus is old enough to make decisions for herself. If you don't like it, don't read Vanity Fair, don't watch the news/propaganda shows that are touting this irrelevant story, and stop watching Miley Cyrus' other shows.

Essentially, this whole story is a big publicity stunt for Vanity Fair and Miley Cyrus. Many child actors have a hard time making the transition to "adult actor".

Christianity is a slave religion. Its principles are inherently contradictory, so why should it matter what anyone who claims to be a Christian does?

I can't believe that post is #29 on my "Best of FSK" list. It's received a lot of Google search traffic. Most (but not all) of those visits were bounces.

Liberty Student has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #53":

I noticed (via Google Analyics) that someone named "Liberty Student" was linking to my blog on forums. I assume that's you?

I looked around a bit on Like the Ron Paul forums, it seemed to be dominated by pro-State trolls. Maybe I'll post some comments there; it's been awhile since I contributed to an online discussion forum. Contributing to an online forum is frustrating, because in a neutral forum it's considered rude to point out that someone is pro-State trolling. Most forums, including, are infiltrated by paid disinformation agents.

This thread is interesting.

What's overlooked, is that while yes, Paul has probably created 200,000 vulgar libertarians, minarchists, libertarian conservatives etc., he's probably also snuck in another 1,000 anarchists to the mix.

Am I one of the 1,000 proper anarchists/agorists created by Ron Paul's campaign? I didn't start seriously questioning the Federal Reserve and income tax until I saw Ron Paul say in a debate that he intended to abolish them, if elected President.

My blog has around 100 regular readers. Have I, in turn, created another 100 anarchists/agorists? Am I helping marginal market anarchists like Francois Tremblay clarify their thinking? (See his "rent is theft" comment above.)

I liked this thread on arguments against the State. However, none of the details are new information for me.

I thought the original poster in this thread was out of touch with reality. He said "Does the Internet make public schools obsolete?" As long as people are forced to pay via taxes, there will be public schools.

Overall, the forum seems to have its fair share of pro-State trolls. I'd probably get frustrated posting there. If you see something interesting, let me know.

FSK, really appreciate your blog. Some comments.
1. I agree with you about protesting the RNC.

Political protests are a waste of time. Due to agent provocateurs inciting violence, attending a political protest can be very dangerous for the participants.

2. Capitalism to me, is the private ownership of productive gains and deferred consumption. I don't agree with your definition, of what is essentially mercantilism.

I define capitalism as "the economic and political system in place right now", because that's common usage. If you define "capitalism" as "free market", then what adjective do you use to describe the current economic system?

It's better to define "capitalism" and "free market" as different terms. You may refer to your definition of capitalism as "abstract ideal capitalism".

With a corrupt monetary system, deferred consumption is irrational behavior. There's no safe place for individuals to store their savings without them being confiscated by the State. Investing in sound money is risky, because there's no safe storage place and there's a risk of seizure by the State. Taxes and regulations make it very hard/risky for individuals to invest their savings in sound money. For example, the regulations against operating a gold/silver warehouse receipt bank make it effectively illegal.

For most people, "capitalism" includes a central bank, income taxes, and extensive regulations. For this reason, I define "capitalism" and "free market" differently. However, the common usage of "free market" means "capitalism", so I really should write "*REALLY* free market", when I mean an actual free market. You may use "abstract ideal capitalism" or "*REALLY* free market" as synonymous.

Debating definitions is pointless.

3. Is it up-wing, or is it left-libertarian? Personally, I cannot stand left-libertarian.

According to the definitions I've seen, "left-libertarian" and "agorist" are synonymous. However, "up-libertarian" is perhaps more accurate. The "right/left" dichotomy was invented to distract people. I use "agorist" most of the time to describe myself.

4. I really dislike the obsession with pro-state trolls. Obviously it's your blog, and your content, but count up how many times you use that term in this post. A lot.

Pro-State trolling is a *REALLY* important concept. Pro-State brainwashing is so pervasive that people make pro-State arguments without being consciously aware. For example, saying "Rent is theft!" is a form pro-State trolling. Saying "Rent is theft because landlords receive State subsidies of their property purchases." is much more accurate. Rent is not theft in a free market, but it is a form of theft in a corrupt economic system.

There's also people who are being intentionally disruptive. I get a lot of hostility from people with degrees in economics or who work in the financial industry. They aren't capable of understanding that most of what they've been taught is a lie.

Someone once said I should use "State embedded thinking" instead of "pro-State troll". Do I need to further clarify and distinguish all the different variants of pro-State trolling?

I point out when commenters pro-State troll, because those comments get annoying over time. Even though I'm pretty good at keeping out the pro-State trolls, there's still a lot of them.

It's important to prevent the paid disinformation agents from disrupting my blog. For example, I'm 99%+ sure that there's paid disinformation agents on the mises forum. Do you want me to identify them for you?

It's almost impossible to tell the difference between a paid disinformation agent and someone who's merely clueless. I treat both of them identically.

I don't think agorism can succeed without community and cooperation. Labeling every potential trading partner who does not share your precise ideology a troll is counter-productive.

A trading partner who only understands part of the philosophy, and isn't capable of learning, is useless. How do I know that such a person isn't an undercover cop? For example, someone who suggests counter-economic businesses *AND* rioting at the RNC is a fool.

My ideology isn't biased. It's my fair unbiased conclusion! I'm still refining it slowly over time, but I don't expect to be converted from agorism to another political philosophy. Agorism/anarchism is the only political philosophy that makes any sense. I don't see many pro-State agorists (yet), but that may change if the philosophy becomes more popular.

5. Thanks again. I really enjoy reading your blog.

How do you know that, if I didn't crack down hard on pro-State trolls, it would be more or less interesting?

6. The Mises forum has many agorists and [sic] left-libertarians. The reason why the remnant is closer to 1~2% or with the Ron Paul people, potential 5% in the next generation, is due to the educational work of Mises and Rothbard. Again, to dismiss everything different as pro-state seems counterproductive to me. You might not have to soften your perspective, but that shouldn't mean that you have to be on an ideological island, not conducting trade with other philosophies...

Just some food for thought.

I do read other blogs. However, I have limited time. Pro-State trolls are wasting my time. I'm not doing this as a job, so I have to allocate my time efficiently.

I'm not isolated from other forms of thinking, because 99.9%+ of all the other stuff I read has various degrees of pro-State trolling.

If pro-State trolls get disgusted and stop commenting, then that's less of my time wasted. My policy is to take every reader comment seriously. I'm looking for quality and not quantity. If you look at some other blogs, the reader comments section sometimes gets out of hand.

Based on my Google Analytics statistics, approximately 5% of my blog's readers choose to leave comments. Why should I allow the minority that leave comments to dictate the content of my blog to the majority that lurks?

When you say "coddle your readers more", that's a form of pro-State trolling. A mainstream media source has to coddle its readers, because it's dependent on advertising revenue and can't offend its advertisers. Typically, advertisers want the content of a show to be bland enough to avoid offending anyone, yet interesting enough to attract viewers.

I'm not dependent on my blog for income, so I will do what I think is best. I can only spend a limited amount of time on my blog and reading other blogs/forums. I must allocate my time efficiently.

If you see something interesting on the Mises forum or elsewhere, let me know. I don't have time to read every blog or discussion forum thoroughly. The overall quality of the Mises forum did not impress me, compared to the blogs I have in my RSS reader. However, there was the occasional interesting bit. I don't have the time to wade through 99% garbage to find 1% interesting stuff, when other sources have 75% garbage and 25% interesting stuff.

Francois Tremblay has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #53":

"If you really were the SLH, then the Market Anarchist Blog Carnival would have much better content."

HAH! But why would I want to make popular the arguments against me? I just want to crowd out the Anarchist Carnival field so no one does it better. ;)

Also, I didn't get angry about your assessment of the Carnival. I just don't see the point, when we can just move forward and try to make it better. The goal is to further awareness of Anarchist blogs to each other and to new people as well.

Actually, on the Internet, it's almost impossible to crowd out competition. If your blog Carnival were lousy, people would just read something else.

IMHO, I did a decent job last time I hosted. We'll see how this edition goes. There was only one submission so far, and I haven't found anything worth nominating myself (yet).

I'm inclined to partially agree with Zhwazi, who says "Feed aggregators make blog carnivals obsolete." However, the previous edition is #56 on my "Best of FSK" list, which is a decent ranking. (I have 325 published posts now, so that's the top 17%.)

I consider the Blog Carnival to be similar to a "Reader Mail" post, except I only include market anarchist related content.

Monkt has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #53":

FSK how do we know you aren't the Supreme Leader of Humanity?

That's a very interesting question.

Did you read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe". The ruler of the galaxy was someone who had no idea what was real and what was not real. Someone who actively aspires to be Supreme Leader is automatically unqualified. I try to doubt every single statement I've ever learned. I'm not interested in being Supreme Leader; I just wanted a decent job as a software engineer. Does this mean I'm qualified to be Supreme Leader?

If you believe the "Aliens Exist" hypothesis, then the aliens probably have the technology to read someone's thoughts and project thoughts into their mind. I can think more logically than most people, so it's easier for the aliens to communicate with me. Have the aliens nominated me as SLH to spread their message? Are aliens secretly helping me write my blog, channeling their message through me?

Could I be SLH, without being consciously aware of it myself?

Francois Tremblay has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #53":

Because I am.

If, as Monkt suggests, I am the SLH, that would explain why I'm so reluctant to believe Francois Tremblay's false claim that he is the SLH.

I'm seriously considering doing that as a standup comedy routine. I'd say that I'm the SLH, bragging about how he enslaved the entire worlds. That might be a way to reach a wider audience than blogging. I'm also considering vlogging, but I'll wait a year or two more before trying that. Either of those approaches would mean giving up my anonymity.

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

Fluoride is poison. But, it's toxicity is dependent upon level of ingestion. For an average person, about 2.5 grams of fluoride is lethal. Most fluoridated water contains less than one thousandth of this amount per gallon. This, combined with the fact that fluoride does not accumulate in the body, or have a cumulative effect make small amounts of intake relatively safe. Fluoride is also present in trace amounts in virtually all water and most soil, and naturally finds its way into plants that people and animals eat.

The main benefit to fluoride with respect to dental health is this: The natural process which the body uses calcium to build tooth enamel can use fluoride as a catalyst in the chemical reaction, and tends to result in stronger enamel being built up as the teeth are formed in the body.

Another benefit of fluoride after tooth development is called remineralization. Teeth decay mostly because of acid produced by plaque bacteria (a chemical reaction that removes the calcium little by little.) As this is occurring, much of the calcium remains close to the tooth’s surface. Fluoride has been found to help a chemical reaction where the loose calcium actually binds back onto the tooth. This process is not fully understood, from what I have heard, but the effects have been proven to occur through scientific tests.

One other way that Fluoride can benefit, though not as dramatically, is that it has an effect on the bacteria's acid production. It can slightly decrease the amount of acid that they produce, minimizing tooth damage slightly in this manner.

That's a decent explanation of why fluoride might be beneficial; it acts as a catalyst rather than binding to your teeth directly.

However, I disagree with the statement that "fluoride has been proven to be beneficial with no negative side effects at the standard dose". Most FDA/NSF/drug company sponsored research is State-sponsored research. I don't trust them to be unbiased. I don't trust them to do a proper scientific study.

A proper scientific study would involve 10,000-100,000+ children studied for decades, to see if fluoride really prevents tooth decay and if there really are no harmful side effects. The control group would have to be given practically *ZERO* fluoride, in their toothpaste and in their drinking water. I doubt that a *PROPER* scientific study has been performed.

Of course, if fluoride were *EXTREMELY* toxic, it probably would have been discovered by now. It is, at most, slightly harmful, so it'd be necessary to study a lot of children to conclude it's safe.

I consider "fluoride is beneficial" or "fluoride is harmful" or "fluoride's benefits outweigh any potential harm" to be *ALL* "not proven". Can you cite a *PROPERLY CONDUCTED* scientific study? I read some FDA research, and was shocked by the shoddy quality of the research.

col has left a new comment on your post "The Subprime Mortgage Lending Scam":

I agree with most of your blog, but I think some of the banks have lost money and profits in purchasing sub prime debt. For example UBS HBOS and NORTHERN ROCK. In each case the losses have been reflected in the stock price.I agree that the European bail out will eventually enable them to recoup their losses by further geared lending, but this may take some time

Aren't those are small banks? Large banks (Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs) are the ones who always qualify for a bailout.

Further leverage will allow even those banks to profit eventually. If inflation is 15%-30% while those banks are borrowing at 2% and the debt yields 6%, then those shaky loans will become solvent again; either the debtor will be able to pay or the assets backing the loan will rise in value. Over time, inflation works in the favor of banks. Banks get to borrow at the Fed Funds Rate and lend at a higher rate, guaranteeing them a practically riskless profit.

Banks may have suffered short-term losses. In the long-run, banks are guaranteed a profit. Due to fractional reserve banking, banks are guaranteed a cut of 10% of the overall economy in the long-run, because they print the money everyone else uses to trade.

Just because banks lose money sometimes, does not mean that the economic system isn't unfairly biased in favor of banks. These occasional small losses are smoke and mirrors that distract attention from the true issue, the corrupt nature of the monetary system.

The banks still have their monetary monopoly, even though they may have had some losses on paper recently. If you're guaranteed a 10% slice of the economy no matter what, can you really claim to have lost money?

If a free market, banks are not entitled to a specific % of the economy's productive output.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Terrorist Attack in East Hampton, NY":

Hey FSK, Robert here. An interesting story but not a surprising one. What confuses me is why the state had a problem with someone serving alcohol for free. I understand the laws regarding the sale of alcohol without a permit but otherwise? How is what that lady did any different from me having a party and simply providing drinks for my guests? Assuming they were of legal age of course.


First, I'll give the correct answer. It's none of the State's business if I choose to serve alcohol, whether I'm selling it or giving it away, whether it's my residence or a business. I don't need permission from the State to sell or serve alcohol.

Here's the pro-State argument. The art gallery was a registered commercial business. A commercial business that serves alcohol, even for free, needs permission from the State. You could argue that the cost of the alcohol was included in the art that the gallery was selling. All businesses are the property of the State, and the State will run its businesses in the manner it chooses. As trustee of the State's art gallery business, she violated her fiduciary responsibility to pay tribute/taxes to the State.

Monkt has left a new comment on your post "Terrorist Attack in East Hampton, NY":

Robert define legal age.

The concept of "legal age" is an artificial State construction.

I define "legal age" as "old enough to decide for yourself". Without pro-State brainwashing (schooling), children would be able to think for themselves at a much younger age, probably around 13. If a child is younger than "legal age", then it's the parent's decision.

In a free market, the "legal age" test would involve questioning the child to see if they're actually able to think for themselves.

Eric H has left a new comment on your post "Thimerosal, Mercury Vaccines, and Autism":

The rate at which thimerosal is used in vaccines is increasing.

Do you have a reference for this? Because I'm pretty sure that thimerosal has been rapidly decreasing. As in, discontinued. In the West anyhow (Denmark in 1992, US (or maybe just CA?) in 1999, for example).

There have been several real, scientific studies. None of them have found correlation, IIRC.

I don't have a reference for "thimerosal use is increasing". That may be wrong.

If thimerosal has been "proven safe", then why is its use being discontinued?

Define "scientific study"? Most State-sponsored scientific research has incredibly poor quality. If you have a link to the study, I'll point out the flaws for you.

That's the argument from authority fallacy. Just because an authority has declared something safe, does *NOT* mean that it really is safe. For example, there have been many "scientific studies" by economists saying that the US monetary system is fair. If there was a major problem with fiat debt-based money, then mainstream economists would be complaining, wouldn't they? In the same manner, mainstream doctors/biologies who say "Thimerosal/fluoride is safe" are as fair and unbiased as the economists who say "There's no such thing as the Compound Interest Paradox".

Almost all scientific research is directly or indirectly funded by the State. I don't trust such research to be fair and unbiased.

1 comment:

Francois Tremblay said...

PS I did mention private military contractors.

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