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Friday, June 27, 2008

Axes of Freedom

This post on the Freedom Symposium, referring to this post, had some huge mistakes. There are several steps on the path to freedom. They were arguing about what steps should be taken, and in which order. There are three main phases:

  1. mental freedom
  2. partial freedom
  3. total freedom
With mental freedom, you've decided you want freedom, and have a good idea of what freedom would be like, but haven't actually attained it yet. This is where I am right now. Then, there's a stage where you've attained partial freedom. Finally, you attain total freedom.

There's another axis.
  1. interpersonal freedom
  2. economic freedom
Interpersonal freedom means that you're not hanging out with people who are abusive. Economic freedom means that there aren't any restrictions on your economic activity, in the form of taxes, regulations, or what you choose to use as money.

You can combine this to have 6 stages of freedom.

There's mental/interpersonal freedom. This is the realization "I don't want to spend time with people who are abusive towards me." This also includes a realization of what behaviors are abusive. For example, suppose someone makes you feel guilty and forces you to act in a certain way. That is similar to someone using overt violence to force you to act in a certain way, if you can't resist their emotional manipulation. However, you can have mental/interpersonal freedom without attaining actual freedom. Perhaps you haven't yet met people capable of interacting in a non-abusive fashion? It's very hard to find people capable of interacting non-abusively. Abusive interactions are the default for most people, due to pro-State brainwashing.

Freedomain says "You should refuse to hang out with people who are abusive". This is a problem if you don't know anyone who doesn't behave abusively. More accurately, you should spend less time with people who are abusive and more time with people who are less abusive. It's hard to make the transition to hanging out exclusively with non-abusive people.

There's partial/interpersonal freedom. You've found some people with whom you can interact non-abusively. Alternatively, you've found people who are less abusive, but are still less than your ideal. This is progress, but not the goal.

There's total interpersonal freedom. You don't waste any time interacting with people who don't treat you fairly. I don't know of anyone who has attained this ideal. Total interpersonal freedom isn't possible unless you also have total economic freedom. For example, I go to the DMV and get a driver's license; the people there behave abusively, wasting my time.

The important part of the scale is that it's increasing. You can't attain partial/interpersonal freedom until you attain a reasonable amount of mental/interpersonal freedom. When you start hanging out with less abusive people, a positive feedback cycle starts to develop. When you exclusively hang out with abusive people, a negative feedback cycle prevents you from making any progress.

There's mental/economic freedom. You realize concepts like "Taxation is theft!" and "The Federal Reserve is immoral". You're aware of the possibility of agorism as an economic resistance strategy. However, you haven't put your ideals into practice yet.

There's partial/economic freedom. You have some agorist trading partners. However, you still are the victim of State violence. You must pay property taxes in exchange for permission to occupy land. You sometimes purchase services in the slave economy rather than the free market. At any time, you're at risk of a violent crackdown by the State for your free market economic activity.

There's complete economic freedom. You no longer pay any taxes/tribute to the State at all. You have a community that's capable of defending itself against invasion. This is the abstract ideal that I believe is attainable, if agorists are efficient. Once people in an area attain freedom, they should be able to profitably sell protection from the State to outsiders. Once this occurs, the collapse of the State spreads exponentially.

I've attained a high degree of economic/mental freedom and interpersonal/mental freedom. However, I haven't put my ideals in practice yet. There's no overlap between my "blogging friends" and in-person friends. That's the big advantage of the Internet. It allows geographically diverse people to share ideas. Without the Internet, freedom seekers would be unable to share information about ideas and tactics. The Internet breaks the mainstream media information monopoly.

The freedom movement can succeed in the future even though it's failed in the past. The Internet is a tool that levels the playing field. Some people argue that "The Internet helps the bad guys more than the good guys; otherwise, the bad guys would not have allowed the Internet to exist." Just because the bad guys collect a sample of all Internet traffic, doesn't mean they're capable of intelligently using that information! A "freedom seeker spying program" that has too many false positives is just as useless as a program with too many false negatives!

A tool is not, by itself, evil. It's the manner in which it's used that makes it good or evil. Uranium can be used for nuclear power, which is good if done safely. Uranium can be used to make nuclear bombs. Uranium itself, and the discovery of uranium's nuclear properties, is neither good nor evil. Similarly, computers and the Internet are neither good nor evil. I predict that the Internet will enable freedom seekers to do good things.

I have a slight degree of interpersonal freedom. My coworkers in my current job are relatively friendly. However, an employer/employee relationship is inherently a master/slave relationship, and isn't a good example. There are limits. For example, I must write software as directed by my employer, rather than what I think is optimal. Plus, there's a lot of wasted time at work. (I work on my blog during spare time at work. Is that immoral? I believe "no". As long as I'm getting my work done, I should use my extra time efficiently, rather than twiddling my thumbs.)

I'm looking for less abusive friends, but it's hard. I'm looking for agorist free market trading partners, but it's hard. I only need a handful to get started. Someone who is a good friend would also be a good agorist trading partner. I know someone who says "My wife won't allow me to practice agorism." His wife is restricting his freedom. That restricts his usefulness as a friend. Should I refuse to hang out with him because he's a clueless slave? I shouldn't do that until I find other people with greater awareness.

Suppose I were married and my wife says "I don't want you practicing agorism, because of the risk of being thrown in jail or having the IRS seize our property." In that case, my lack of interpersonal freedom is preventing my economic freedom. With careful analysis of risk and reward, I believe agorism is worth pursuing, *EVEN* if you have children and dependents. For example, practicing agorism, I would be able to homeschool my children instead of sending them to State brainwashing centers.

There were some errors in those articles.

If agorism starts being successful, then there *WILL* be a crackdown by the State.

How do you know what the true risk of agorism is? It hasn't been tried much, so there's no statistics. If you say "All tax resisters get caught", how do you know that's not just lies and propaganda. Would you practice agorism if the risk of getting caught were 1%? 0.1%? 10%? 50%? If it's less than 5-10%, then tax resister insurance becomes a profitable business.

How do you know that, if you're caught, you won't be able to successfully pursue a sui juris "jury nullification" defense? Would you practice agorism if you faced civil penalties, but not criminal penalties? The author of the Picket Line has not been arrested by the IRS for his tax resistance; they merely stole money out of his checking account (so far).

Agorism can't succeed because people think it's too risky!

What's the true risk? That's totally unknown.

What's the risk of living out your life as a slave?

You only need a handful of people to get an agorist trading group started.

Agorism won't succeed because the State will fund its activities by printing new money!

That's the reason a proper agorist uses sound money instead of slave points. If you use sound money, you prevent having your wealth stolen by inflation. An agorist can sell to non-agorists for Federal Reserve Points, provided he immediately redeems them for tangible goods. (There's a tactical decision of how many Federal Reserve Points you should keep for short-term spending needs.)

If you use sound money, then the Federal Reserve no longer has a valid claim on your labor by printing new money. By using sound money and avoiding income taxes, you're effectively defaulting on the national debt.

There won't be enough practicing agorists to defeat the State!

An agorist increases his personal freedom, even if he doesn't defeat the State. The productivity gains of agorists should be so high to cause exponential growth, once an agorist revolution gets started.

If you're an agorist, you're neglecting your responsibility to your wife and children!

I assert the opposite. *NOT* practicing agorism is neglecting your responsibility to your wife and children! That's the reason both personal freedom *AND* economic freedom are needed. You can't practice agorism if your wife is morally opposed to the philosophy!

Agorism is only attractive to young males who have no responsibilities. (This was from another post and not those two articles.)

I have no idea if that is true or not. I am a relatively young male with no dependents. Google Analytics does not give me age and gender breakdowns of my readers.

Younger people are more receptive to agorism, because the Internet, computers, and online communities have made them more receptive to new ideas. Younger people who are exposed to new communication technologies are more irritated by people who abuse their authority.

The mental shift toward anarchism/agorism is more important than implementation.

Both are needed simultaneously. The role models for an agorist revolution should be excellent theoretical agorists *AND* practical agorists. Regrettably, I only practice theoretical agorism right now, due to my lack of interpersonal freedom. If I had greater interpersonal freedom, I could suggest performing an agorist experiment, and some of my friends would be interested in participating.

There will be a positive feedback cycle once practicing agorists get together and share information and tactics.

Right now, I'm doing the best I can by spreading the message. Once my blog has enough regular readers, people can start making the transition from "theoretical freedom" to "practical freedom". You need a critical mass of people discussing "theoretical freedom" before the transition to "practical freedom" can start occurring. Ideally, several independent free market trading groups will develop, sharing their tactics via the Internet. For example, the author of Rad Geek is attempting to set up an agorist trading group in Las Vegas. I don't live in Las Vegas, but I will probably benefit if his experiment succeeds.

It's important to recognize the importance of *BOTH* theoretical freedom and practical freedom. You also need both interpersonal freedom and economic freedom. You shouldn't denigrate people who write about theoretical freedom and haven't put their ideas into practice yet. If I never put my ideas into practice, that makes me a hypocrite. Just because I haven't yet implemented my ideas, doesn't mean I won't in the future. I *DO* plan on attempting practical agorism in the next few years. Right now, raising awareness and sharpening my ideas via the Internet are the most efficient uses of my time. My current options are limited, due to my lack of interpersonal freedom.

1 comment:

David_Z said...

"Agorism won't succeed because the State will fund its activities by printing new money!"

Ha! Let them try! The road to hell is paved with a hyperinflated currency. The more the Fed relies on the printing press, the more imminent is its financial collapse.

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