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Monday, June 16, 2008

Reader Mail #56

I liked this post on the Agitator.

It’s interesting that crime-fighting ideas requiring the citizenry to give up some of its freedoms are "innovative," while proposals that would give some freedom back are "dangerous."

This concept applies more generally. Returning to a gold standard or repealing the income tax is "too dangerous".



I liked this post by Francois Tremblay. The government is always your #1 enemy. Focusing on other groups is wrong.

Technically, the State is an abstract fictional concept. I can say "The government is my enemy." no more than I can say "Santa Claus is my enemy." The real enemies are the people who violently impose their will on others, or people who claim the right to tell other people to violently impose their will on others.

I read stories about policemen and judges being underpaid. As unionized employees, they agree to multi-contracts with raises set in advance. Their pay increases don't keep pace with true inflation. When I hear that the State has a hard time recruiting good judges and good policemen, my reaction is "Good!"



I liked this post on YouTube, referred by this thread on mises.org. If you can't think for yourself, you should join the army. Frequently, BBC comedy is better than US comedy. On the other hand, the only British comedy you see in the USA is the best stuff, so there's selection bias.



Someone was asking "Who keeps track of property rights without the State?" You register your property with your local police insurance/protection agency. They are responsible for protecting your property. Obviously, if two people claim the same property, the current occupier is the owner (unless they just violently kicked out the previous occupant).

Do the descendants of native Americans have a valid claim to their former property? That's a tough question. People who feel this is an important issue should make contributions to buy land for them. Too much time has passed, and it isn't fair to confiscate property from the present occupier. Perhaps, someone with a valid claim could be bought out for something like 0.1%-1% of the current value of the property. For example, the native American might have a claim to the land, but not any improvements that were made; he could not claim ownership to an apartment building on top of land his ancestors occupied. At some point, old property ownership claims can't be honored.



I liked this post on Techdirt. The Libertarian Party's vice presidential candidate is a patent troll. He had an overly broad patent that covered online prediction markets. He's been shaking them down for money via lawsuits.

Intellectual property is not a valid form of property. Intellectual property rights can't be enforced without a government.



I liked this post on Kirsten in Montana. The author was in court to support a friend who was accused of "possession of a goat".

One defendant was accused of drunk driving; he was caught by the police without injuring anyone. The second defendant killed someone while driving drunk; he plea bargained for 11 years in jail (probably serving less) and a $50k fine. Both cases took the same amount of time. Someone accused of "possession of drugs" would probably be facing a longer jail term than the drunk driver who killed someone.



I liked this post on the Freedom Symposium.

"The desire to know is natural to good men."
-- Leonardo da Vinci
And the desire to screw up that process is natural to bad people.
"Anyone who argues by referring to authority is not using his mind but rather his memory."
-- Leonardo da Vinci

If you quote Leonardo da Vinci, are you using the "argument from authority fallacy" yourself?

There's a difference between blindly reciting what someone else says and actually understanding it. You can quote interesting ideas from other people, without using the "argument from authority fallacy".

In academic journals, you need to cite every single fact. I don't bother remembering the source of interesting ideas I read. I evaluate each individual idea, and not the source. Reading an article filled with footnotes is tedious.



I liked this post on no third solution, along with this post. Most students entering college seek an MBA or "business degree". Such degrees are a requirement in a communist society like the USA.

An MBA learns skills that are only useful for managing a communist/corporate bureaucracy. The skills learned by an MBA are useless in a true free market.

In the USA, your options are to be a productive worker or to be a parasite. Most people are drawn towards parasitic careers, because that's what's rewarded.

Imagine how much effort is wasted learning things that are completely useless! If only that effort could be redirected towards something productive!



I liked this post on the Freedom Symposium, in reference to this YouTube video by Stefan Molyneux. He explains why the concept of a "social contract" is silly.

It's enough to say "Taxation is theft!" However, his example was amusing.

I am not a "customer" of the State. I have no choice but to purchase its services. It is not a "voluntary" contract. Voting is irrelevant.



Lately, the Picket Line has been overly obsessed with Quaker justifications for war tax resistance in the 17th and 18th century. If you use Quakers as your model for tax resistance, you're thinking in the wrong terms.

*ALL* taxation is theft, and not just taxes that is used for war. A policeman who confiscates my property is committing an act of war as much as a soldier.

The Quakers were pacifists, which is different than the non-aggression principle. A pacifist says "I won't resist if someone else attempts to steal from me." If you follow the non-aggression principle, you say "I won't steal from you, but I *WILL* resist (violently or nonviolently) if you attempt to steal from me." In the present, only nonviolent resistance of the State is feasible; the State's resources are far too superior.



I liked this post on the Agitator. Suppose the police get a warrant to search your house. If you don't answer the door *IMMEDIATELY*, they will break down your door. This means that a "knock warrant" is effectively a "no-knock and smash down door warrant".

The real problem is that State police have an unaccountable monopoly.

I'm also amused that non-State criminals are now adopting tactics *EXACTLY THE SAME* as police. If someone breaks down your door, are they a policeman-criminal or a non-policeman-criminal? If you shoot a police officer conducting a raid, you have no presumption of the right to self-defense.



I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. The State regulates corporations and their accounting standards. This creates the superficial appearance of trust, without any actual trust.

For example, I own 400 shares of Coca-Cola. Due to accounting rules and "fiduciary responsibility" laws, I "trust" the management of Coca-Cola to act in my best interests as a shareholder. However, I don't have any of the rights normally associated with ownership. I can't watch the CEO as he performs his job. I can't go into a bottling plant and verify that production is efficient. If the CEO decides to pay himself a ridiculously huge salary, there's nothing I can do about it. I can't sell my shares of Coca-Cola and buy shares of a corporation where management doesn't loot its shareholders; they're *ALL* doing it.

Also, State regulation of accounting standards causes stagnation of accounting standards. There is no incentive for anyone to implement more than the bare minimum accounting required by law.

In the present, I invest in the stock market because there are no better alternatives. However, stocks may not earn a positive inflation-adjusted return! I'm considering investing in some physical gold or silver; there's no need to rush, because the collapse of the State is still many years away.

In a truly free market, trust and reputation are *VERY* important. In the present, people must usually rely on artificial State-generated trust.

Suppose a celebrity or politician says or does something that's "not politically correct". Then, there's a huge disinformation campaign to discredit them. This is the Strawman Fallacy. For example, the actor who played Kramer on Seinfeld said something stupid once. Therefore, he should be banned from performing standup comedy again? That's invalid reasoning. You can't judge someone by the stupidest thing they ever did.

Most severely, suppose someone is convicted for tax evasion. They deserve to be sent to jail because they didn't want other people stealing from them? Other abuses must be permitted, to allow this huge abuse to escape without comment. For example, the IRS claims that Wesley Snipes owes unpaid taxes. If collecting taxes were the goal, then sending Wesley Snipes to jail is incredibly inefficient; it's better to allow him to continue working so he can pay the owed taxes. The real goal is to "punish" him and "set an example".

The State distorts the market for trust!



I liked this post on Liberty is my Homie. Suppose you suspect someone is a policeman conducting an undercover drug raid. If you explicitly ask him "Are you a cop?", he is allowed to lie. If someone other than a cop pretends to be a cop, then they are committing a serious crime.

If a cop is killed, every available officer is assigned to the case. If a non-policeman is murdered, much less effort is spent.



I liked this post on the Agitator. The US President claims the power to label any person an "enemy combatant", send the US military into a residential neighborhood to detain him, and then hold him indefinitely without trial.



I liked this post on RadGeek, referencing this picture.



In many poor neighborhoods, the police are searching every single house, looking for illegal guns. However, if they also find marijuana or drugs during the search, you may be facing other criminal charges. Even freedom activists feel uncomfortable refusing the search. If you refuse the search, your refusal could be seen as evidence you're doing something illegal; you'll probably be the victim of a military-style no-knock raid later.



I liked this post on the Agitator. A woman asked a man to give her a ride. He agreed. She offered payment, but he wasn't interested. She insisted and he accepted. She was an undercover cop looking to arrest people for running an illegal taxi service. His car was stolen and he was accused of a crime.

If you want to offer a free market taxi service, you should *ONLY* give rides to trustworthy trading partners.

State laws that require a license to operate a taxi are overly restrictive. Such laws benefit *PEOPLE WHO OWN THE LICENSES* and not the actual people who drive taxis. Most taxi drivers rent/lease the license to drive a taxi.



I liked this post on RadGeek. A "capitalist" typically is an absentee owner. For example, if I own/control a business that's part of an oligopoly, and the State shields me from competition, I have a practically guaranteed profit. It's practically irrelevant if I do a great job or a barely competent job.

A "capitalist" wants a business that's a guaranteed revenue stream, backed directly or indirectly by State violence. In a *FREE* market, a business must consistently produce a high quality product in order to be competitive.



This post on Check Your Premises has a subtle, but big, mistake. When evaluating truth, you should not use absolutes of "true" or "false". You should use "Bayesian Reasoning". You assign a truth value somewhere between 0 and 1. A proper scientific study has testable hypotheses.

For example "Gravity is real" has a truth value very close to 1.0 with a low uncertainty range. I can perform experiments that check gravity.

"Astrology is real" has a truth value close to 0.0, but actually a relatively high uncertainty range. There aren't any testable experiments to confirm or disprove its truth.

"God exists" has a completely uncertain probability distribution. I can't even assign a specific probability distribution to that statement. It's completely unknowable, by definition.

I always thought that debating "god exists" was kind of silly. Suppose it were possible to come up with *INFINITESIMAL* proof that God might exist. Then, by replaying the universe many times with slight variations, and then integrating, God could prove his own existence. Therefore, you can't even come up with infinitesimal proof that God exists, much less the absolute certainty that many priests claim.



This article has a huge flaw, referred by the Silver is Money blog. The Silver is Money blog repeatedly says "In the past, the silver:gold price ratio was 1:10. It currently is about 1:50. Therefore, the price of silver should rise relative to gold."

The Silver is Money blog has a huge error in this analysis. The 1:10 ratio WAS ENFORCED BY THE STATE. A bimetallic standard forced a specific conversion ratio between silver and gold. Currently, there is relatively little State intervention in the silver:gold ratio. When gold and silver are mined, they are mined in a certain ratio in accordance with the composition of ore.

The silver:gold ratio may drift a little, but I don't expect substantial movement. Fiat money *IS* crashing. Both gold and silver are good inflation hedges.



On mises.org, someone asked:

Say I want to start up a business (actually, I am considering starting up a business making buzzers) in the U.S..

What are all the laws I have to follow? Where do I even start to find out such a thing?

I researched this.

You need to incorporate, which will set you back $500+. You can self-incorporate on the Internet, or you could hire a lawyer.

You'll need an accountant, or be smart enough to do it yourself. That will set you back $2k+/year. Remember that you pay double Social Security and Medicare taxes when you're self-employed.

If you're self-employed, you can also start taking advantage of tax loopholes. You can give yourself a generous pension, which is tax-deferred income. You can give yourself great medical insurance, all pre-tax. You can expense practically everything to your business.

Depending on how you incorporate, you can pay yourself as dividends/capital gains instead of wages. That gets favorable tax treatment.

If you're hiring employees, then you have a further accounting/regulatory burden.

If you're manufacturing buzzers, you have to make sure you're not running afoul of anyone else's patents. You probably won't find out about the patent until you're sued.

If you're targeting corporate customers, they probably won't want to buy from a small independent manufacturer.

You may need to purchase liability insurance.

Alternatively, you can work 100% off-the-books. Then, you avoid all the overhead and all taxes. This method is called agorism.



On mises.org, someone asked:

I am trying to compile a list of jobs that require the least amount of certifications for you to get employment. For example, to become a CPA in the state of Illinois one is mandated to earn 150 hours of college credit and pass a series of exams. An even worse fate awaits doctors and lawyers.

At the other end of the spectrum, Computer Programmers live almost completely uninhibited.

Could someone give me ideas of a few occupations beyond compter programming?

I currently work as a Computer Programmer. There's no way computer programmers as an industry would agree to unionization or regulation. The top programmers are 10x-100x as efficient as average. There's no incentive for them to unionize.

One occupation that's interesting me is independent filmmaker, blogger, or journalist. If I start my own software company, the barriers to entry are surprisingly high. If I want to start an independent filmmaker business, all I need is a camera and an Internet connection to get started. I can spend 5-10 hours/week in my spare time, as I build an audience.

Someone answered "waiter". Waiters are not regulated. However, the restaurant industry is heavily regulated. A waiter can't easily start their own restaurant. Regulation of the restaurant industry does effectively drive down waiter salaries, because the supply of jobs is limited.



The ETF GLD recently started offering options. They also started offering LEAP options. The LEAP GLD out-of-the-money calls are a *GREAT* way to bet *ON* inflation.

I read an interesting article on GLD. It wasn't clear if the ETF falls under the jurisdiction of the SEC or CFTC. The CFTC covers commodities. The SEC covers stocks and ETFs. The legal jurisdiction of GLD falls under the authority of both/neither. The SEC says they may have erred when they approved the GLD ETF; now that it was approved, it's too late to change it.

Overall, the GLD ETF isn't such a bad idea. It allows people to conveniently invest in gold in their IRAs. GLD tracks the price of gold pretty closely. The GLD ETF has expenses, *BUT* it uses some leverage in the form of gold futures. Even though the GLD ETF charges an expense fee, it makes that money back by slightly using leverage.

However, if you're hedging for a SHTF scenario, physical gold in your possession will be the only safe investment.



I liked this post on no third solution. In Detroit, police conducted a military-style raid of people congregating peacefully. A very similar incident happened in NYC recently. Ironically, both incidents were at an art gallery.

Repeated incidents like this make me wonder. Does the Supreme Leader of Humanity *WANT* people to lose respect for monopolistic State police?



I liked this post on Check Your Premises. A kindergarten class voted 14 to 2 to kick an autistic child out of their class. The teacher encouraged the other students to vote against the victim. This illustrates why democracy is bad. It also illustrates the problem with public schools.



I liked this post on to herd or not to herd. A local sheriff announced that all Federal agents are barred from entering his county without his permission. They must clear all enforcement action with him ahead of time. A federal court ruled in *FAVOR* of the local sheriff! The justification is that states are recognized as separate sovereign governments.

This was in Wyoming. Is it time to move to Wyoming? Maybe the "free state project" is showing some progress?

I'm pretty sure the federal court's ruling will be overturned on appeal. However, you never know what will happen. I doubt that a state would be allowed to usurp the Federal government's authority.

Unfortunately, I live in an area where the local sheriff is thoroughly castrated. The Federal government's **** is moving in and out of my local sheriff's ***hole.



Google Analytics is frequently interesting, but it has some defects. Someone from the Pentagon was reading my blog. They only visited one page. Google Analytics doesn't let me correlate "network location of visitor" with what they actually read. Someday, I may self-host and write my own better analytics engine with the server logs. However, I'll probably just wait for Google Analytics to start offering better features, or try another analytics tool.

For example, if I had full server logs, I would be able to track all visitors, even if they used a script blocking tool like the NoScript Firefox extension.

I don't mind when government employees read my blog. Other people claim they block certain sites.



This thread on mises.org was interesting.

I have heard that each bill of money printed can be seen as debt, however I dont understand this. When money is printed, and held in the fed, this lowers the fed funds rate because now they have more willingness to get rid of this money. Supply goes up, and demand stays the same, so price (intrest rate) goes down. However when its lent out, it is the government that is the lendor, and not the one in debt..

This is probably a easy question for many of you, but since its so fundamental I think its important that I understand it.

I call this the Compound Interest Paradox. I also wrote a post on monetizing the debt. Look around on my blog for more details.

I always thought that the "money created as debt" concept only (or mostly) applied to money created by commercial banks, which by the way accounts for something like 95% of the increase in the money supply. Commercial banks, lending through fractional reserve banking, do not print the money, they write it in as a booking entry when loans are needed, and thus no physical money is created.

It also occurs when the Federal Reserve monetizes the debt. The Compound Interest Paradox operates with the full force of law and is absolutely unavoidable if you use Federal Reserve Notes as money.

I see now. Still, if you compare the rate at which government debt grows, and the rate at which overall debt grows, and then factor in foreign US debt which is not created by the Fed, then commercial banking accounts for the vast majority of new money creation.

The legal reserve ratio is 10:1. For every $1 the Federal Reserve creates, the financial industry can then create another $9. Banks are always "loaned up" to the maximum legal reserve ratio. Surplus bank reserves are loaned to other banks at the "Fed Funds Rate", currently 2%. The Federal Reserve continually "monetizes the debt", creating enough new reserves so that the Fed Funds Rate stays near the target of 2%. The Federal Reserve has (literally) an infinite budget, so it can "monetize the debt" as much as desired.



This thread on mises.org was interesting.

The State is not going to collapse during our lifetime.

Based on my estimates, the collapse is 20-50 years away. I see momentum building towards an economic revolt against the way things are currently organized.

On a bleaker note, arguing against the existence of government and/or The State sometimes feels like trying to convince a junkie to imagine not having their fix daily.

There was another interesting comment (paraphrasing).

Don't work towards change. Change might be worse.

That's pure pro-State trolling.



I liked this post on no third solution.

If there is a cogent argument explaining how an individual can permanently renounce his natural rights, I’d love to hear it.

Some examples of natural rights are:
  1. the right to work, violated by the income tax
  2. the right to accumulate savings, violated by the Federal Reserve and the ban on using sound money, accomplished by taxing and regulating gold/silver
  3. the right to own land, violated by property taxes (Some pro-State anarchists assert this is not a natural right. If you don't have the right to own land, why would you ever build a house or make any other improvements? The right to control land is a natural right, exemplified by a dog/wolf "protecting their territory". However, an animal won't control more land *THAN THEY PERSONALLY NEED*. In the present, all land is owned by the State.)

You *CANNOT* give up a natural right.



Someone on gold-eagle.com mentioned my blog. According to Google Analytics, that sent me a lot of traffic, over 100 visits!



This thread on mises.org was interesting.

Is it possible to boycott the dollar?

I wrote about this already.

The problem is that taxes and regulations make it practically impossible to profitably operate a gold or silver warehouse receipt bank.

If you want to set up an alternate monetary system, it has to be 100% off-the-books.


The IRS says that all barter transactions must be reported as taxable income.

Who's stupid enough to do that?

You'd have to be a fool to voluntarily report barter "income" to the IRS.

The legal justification for "barter transactions are taxable income" is very nebulous. If the IRS went after me, I'd defend myself sui juris and argue a "jury nullification" defense. (Lawyers are barred from using a "jury nullification" defense. If you want to use that argument in court, you have to defend yourself.)

The IRS's position is, literally, you need to get permission from them in order to work.
Income taxes are over 50% if you include everything. There is a *HUGE* incentive for off-the-books work. Also, if you work off-the-books, you don't just get to avoid taxes. You also avoid all the regulations that discourage productive work. For example, for an on-the-books business, you have to incorporate and hire an accountant (or waste time doing it yourself); if you're off-the-books, you don't have to pay the taxes/tribute to a lawyer or accountant. State violence creates an artificial demand for the services of accountants.
Indeed; so you are saying that if one were to get permission from a jury concerning non-taxable bartering, you would be exempted from being forced to give the IRS the taxable income?

I agree though, and would definitley point out the incentive for off-the-books work with my normally by-the-books friends.

That isn't quite correct. I can't ask a jury "Is barter income taxable?" until *AFTER* the IRS decides to go after me. I can't get a declaratory ruling ahead of time.

There's also a double jeopardy problem. The IRS pursues tax evasion charges against me for not reporting barter income. I go to trial and am acquitted. I continue to perform off-the-books barter transactions. The IRS can *STILL* pursue new criminal charges against me. The IRS can still pursue criminal charges against other people.

A jury's ruling doesn't count as legal precedent.

Further, if the IRS does decide to harass me, I don't recover time and money spent defending myself. If I spend $50k of time or money defending myself against frivolous criminal charges, that's not a recoverable expense if I'm acquitted.

There's a defect in BitTorrent. If you attack the tracker, you shut down the torrent.

Also, if you connect to the tracker, you can get all the IP addresses of the other downloaders. In the USA, ISPs assign IPs semi-randomly to customers. I have a non-static IP address with my DSL ISP. *HOWEVER*, ISPs are required to keep track of which IPs were assigned to which customers, for something like 1-6 months, and they probably keep the records longer than that.

It is possible to have trackerless BitTorrent, completely decentralized. However, the media industry's attacks on BitTorrent haven't been that sophisticated yet.

If the media industry makes a more sophisticated attack on BitTorrent, that would just switch people over to using a trackerless BitTorrent protocol. There already are a lot of "invitation-only" BitTorrent trackers, which makes things harder for the bad guys. An "invitation-only" BitTorrent tracker is a variation of an agorist trust-based economy.

liberty student (and others) said (paraphrasing):

There needs to be a mainstream advocate of agorism. The should be someone who blatantly conducts agorist economic activity in public. They probably will be the victim of State violence. However, the trial and associated debate might be interesting.

There are two approaches: stealth and blatant public defiance. They aren't mutually exclusive.

Some groups should try stealth-agorism (and may be trying already). If you successfully practice stealth-agorism, you still benefit, even if you don't defeat the State. Practicing agorism, your personal wealth is increased, even if enough people aren't participating to threaten the State.

Someone should attempt blatant in-public agorism. You would need to be some sort of celebrity or have another way to capitalize on the publicity generated when the State violently cracks down on you. If you are committing truly benign activity (clothing, farming, etc.), then it becomes *VERY* hard to justify a violent crackdown. A violent crackdown might create sympathy for the agorists.

The mainstream media would doubtless say "look at those selfish/greedy agorists", or not cover the story at all. However, there would be substantial discussion on the Internet.

Also, if the agorist was very intelligent, he might be able to successfully pursue a sui juris "jury nullification" defense and avoid conviction.

I'm leaning towards both possibilities. I might try stealth-agorism. I might try blatant-in-public-agorism. If I try blatant-in-public-agorism, I'm giving up my anonymity. If I had a profitable blogging/vlogging business, I might profit from the publicity generated by the inevitable trial.

It might be profitable to go to jail for 1-2 years, if your personal reputation substantially increased as a result.

Someone else mentioned balancing the risks of agorism. The true risk of stealth agorism is unknown, especially if you're clever about it. A good advocate for blatant-in-public agorism could covert a lot of people to stealth-agorism.

I already discussed the possibility of tax resister insurance. If tax resisters pool their risk, and pool their State-avoidance tactics, it might be possible to profitably insure against an assault by the IRS. If fewer than 1%-2% are subjected to trial, the others could contribute to their defense. If you maximize the IRS's collection costs, then they might pursue less tempting targets or their terrorism might not be profitable.



The posters in this thread on mises.org sort of missed the point. It was about predatory pricing.

This is, essentially, How the State Destroys Small Businesses.

Suppose an industry has a lot of small independent stores or manufacturers. This was the case for video store rentals awhile ago. This is the example used in the thread, but it could be anything.

Suppose I have connections in the financial industry. I raise $1B in capital and start building my monopoly.

In a region, I open a bunch of stores. Using my $1B seed capital, I undercut my competition and drive them out of business. Now, I can raise prices.

I now attack another region. I have a monopoly in one area, so I can borrow another $5B at *AN ARTIFICIALLY LOW INTEREST RATE OF 5%-6%*. I repeat the process. I undercut my competitors and bankrupt them.

My smaller competitors, if they need to borrow, have to pay 8%-10% or more, or won't be able to borrow at all. They need to grow and match my size or be bankrupted.

I borrowed at 6% while inflation is 20%-30%. Over time, inflation makes this loan very attractive.

Now that I'm part of an oligopoly/monopoly, I jack up prices and pay off my loan. Over time, inflation means my loan was a great deal.

If, in one area, a smaller competitor is a threat, I can cut prices in that area and keep them out of business. In fact, there's no incentive for a small competitor to enter the market, knowing I can bankrupt them at will. Only someone with financial industry connections and can raise billions of dollars can profitably compete with me.

Further, I can lobby for State regulation of my industry. As a large business, I can amortize the cost. A small business has a hard time meeting the cost of regulation compliance.

As a large vendor, I can negotiate discounts with my suppliers, who are other large corporations. My smaller competitors get no such perks.

Overall, the rules of the non-free market discriminate against small businesses. A large corporation can raise capital at a negative interest rate of 6%. A small business, trying to raise capital via reinvested earnings, cannot grow fast enough. Reinvested earnings are a *LOUSY* way to grow a business, because any cash savings are eroded by inflation.



There also was a thread on mises.org about "carbon dioxide emissions trading".

If you read the details of the CO2 emissions trading proposals, they're essentially corporate welfare.



I liked this comic from xkcd.



Mathematics (and also Computer Science) are the only fields where it's practically impossible to lie to your students. When I say "physicists are liars", try asking one "Is it possible to build a Zero Point Energy generator?" Every physicist will, without exception, say "It's *IMPOSSIBLE*!", and have the same reaction as an economist discussing the Compound Interest Paradox.



I liked this post on Democracy Sucks. In Australia, in a drug conspiracy case, jurors were playing Sudoku during a trial. There was a mistrial, after the government had already spent $1M on the trial.

First, laws criminalizing drugs are illegitimate in the first place. Second, the cost of the $1M wasted is borne by everyone else. When the State wastes money, there's no penalty.



I liked this post on FAIL blog.





I liked this post on no third solution. David Z calculated that owning a car costs him $7k+ per year. Is he including just gas? Don't forget depreciation of the car also! Also include the loss if you had invested that $7k elsewhere!

Regrettably, due to zoning laws and city planning, living close to where you work is *NOT* feasible most of the time. If you want to live car-less, you have to live in a major city. Is it risky to live in a large city as the State collapses? I'm not sure. It depends on whether or not you make arrangements ahead of time.

As an agorist, it's beneficial to live in a rural area, if you're surrounded by like-minded individuals. This is the goal of the "Free State project". If you live in a large city, stealth is feasible. You have a population of 1M+ to draw on. If the Remnant is 1% of the population, then you have 10k+ potential trading partners, if you could reach them.



This post on Check Your Premises is overly paranoid. In a "state of emergency", FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have broad discretion to do whatever they want.

FEMA couldn't handle a hurricane in Louisiana. What makes you think they could successfully implement a national "martial law" declaration?

The Department of Homeland Security has more political appointees than any other government agency. There is a lot of PR that says "Oooh! Homeland security!" The reality is that they probably are unqualified to deal with a large scale "emergency". Even though there's been a lot of hype, what has the Department of Homeland Security actually *DONE*?



I liked this post on no third solution. David Z and the Liberty Papers say that blogging about elections is a waste of time.

Obama is the big favorite to be elected President. He's the fake change that most people deserve.



In this thread on mises.org, someone asked:

What do Austrian economists think of greedy commodity speculators?

Commodity speculation is profitable due to central bank manipulation of interest rates. The Federal Reserve fixes interest rates at 2% while inflation is really 15%-30%. Therefore, it is profitable to borrow at the Fed Funds Rate and buy commodities.

The "greedy speculators" are merely performing arbitrage of the Federal Reserve's policy of negative real interest rates. The blame properly belongs with the Federal Reserve and not the speculators. The speculators are acting in their rational self-interest in the "free market".

Negative real interest rates are needed to feed the derivatives and futures markets. Without Federal Reserve subsidized interest rates, commodity speculation and derivatives are not profitable. Under a gold standard, real interest rates can't fall below 0%.

I don't know if this is the "official" Austrian viewpoint, but it's my conclusion.



In this thread on mises.org, someone asked:

Was there really a surplus while Bill Clinton was President?

There actually really was a surplus.

The amount of private debt substantially increased while Clinton was President, allowing a surplus. Further, a lot of dollars flowed to the former Soviet-bloc countries, helping a surplus.



In this thread on mises.org, someone asked:

Is GDP really a meaningful statistic? I'm offended that people keep citing such an irrelevant statistic.


If you think people who talk about GDP are stupid/misleading/fools, then stop paying attention to them.

I wrote two articles on GDP. The "official" inflation-adjusted GDP statistic is wrong, because the CPI is far less than the true inflation rate. If you use M2, M3, or the price of gold as your index of inflation, then the picture of the US economy is very bleak. If gold is your index of inflation, then the US economy is shrinking at an annualized rate of 8% per year since 2001!



In this thread on mises.org, someone asked:

How do you enforce laws without taxes?

There's only two valid types of law. There's criminal law and contract law.

Suppose someone breaks into your house and steals stuff. This is covered by "criminal law". You would call up a local police business and report the crime. There would be multiple competing police businesses, and you would call the one you think does the best job. The government should *NOT* have a monopoly of providing police protection.

If you think about it carefully, it works.

There's also contract law. In that case, a well-written contract would always specify which court had jurisdiction over disputes.

There's also invalid law. You might ask "How would you prevent people from smoking marijuana without a government?" The answer is that smoking marijuana is not a crime. If you smoke marijuana, you aren't injuring me. It's none of my business what you do in private, if you aren't injuring me.

Some of the later responses gave a good elaboration of how free market justice would work.

Some people say (but not in that thread) "If the State doesn't have a monopoly resolving disputes, won't disputes escalate to all-out war?" War is only "profitable" when you can force people to pay the cost via taxes (or money supply inflation). Without taxes, suppose the police got stupid and let a dispute escalate to all-out war. They would lose all their customers. Also remember that compensation-based justice is different than revenge-based justice. If the victims are paid, then it's irrelevant if the criminal is "punished" or not.

Some people write "What would happen if there was a war and nobody came?" More accurately, "What would happen if there was a war and nobody was forced to pay for it via taxes?"

There's a distinction between compensation-based justice and revenge-based justice. Suppose that A is murdered, and B is the prime suspect. Suppose that A had hired police agency X and B had hired police agency Y. Suppose the appropriate penalty is $5M in compensatory damages and $45M in punitive damages. Suppose that police agency X rules that B is responsible and police agency Y rules that B is not responsible. If one of the police agencies were being obviously unfair, then this would be public information and they would lose their customers. Suppose it really is too close to call. In that case, police agency X only needs to pay out the $50M claim to A's heirs. "Punishing" B is not police agency X's responsibility. Their sole responsibility is to make restitution to A's heirs. If it were that serious of a dispute, writing off the $50M loss would be better than escalating to an all-out war. Suppose that X and Y resolved their dispute via Z, and Z ruled that B was responsible with a probability of 20% (an outcome the current system does not allow). In that case, police agency X owes $40M and police agency Y owes $10M (to be collected from B or written off as a loss).

When you change your perspective from revenge-based justice to compensation-based justice, it's easy to see how disputes won't escalate to all-out war. In the above example, A's heirs' claim is resolved when their damages are paid. Also, police agency X has an *OBLIGATION* to pay A, even if they are unable to collect from the criminal. Even if the murder was completely unsolved, X would still owe $50M to A.

what happens when the insurance industry defualts on its obligations? What happens when one defense firm becomes dominate in this free market and decides to take over thru the threat of force unless all surrender their weapons? Is it possible that some neighborhoods would try and dominate others. Realisticly, not all people will agree to live in a free mark government and therefore may thwart any efforts to establish said free market economy.

Making a monopoly is *HARD* once there's a free market. You don't have "limited liability" incorporation. You haven't convinced people that your monopoly is morally acceptable. If you go around demanding tribute, people will form competing protection agencies. As you acquire a monopoly, people will start to get concerned and start forming competing police protection agencies.

During the transition period toward a free market, the agorists will be able to run circles around their State-crippled competition. Once the collapse starts, progress occurs exponentially.

When you say "What happens if a group of people get together and decide to enslave everyone else?", that's exactly the way things are now!

Once a true free market exists, it isn't profitable for a handful of people to enslave everyone else. If they started getting close, then everyone else would band together to resist.

Once people realize "Taxation is theft!", then there will be a *LOT* of resistance if someone starts getting close to forming a new government.

Someone in that thread mentioned this pdf by Robert Murphy on free market law and police protection. It was worth reading. It had a good bit on the conspiracy between the AMA and the State to drive up the price of medical care.

I liked this bit from that pdf:

A war between a State and a free society is, literally, a war between a few minds and millions of minds.

Another interesting bit:

Governments, such as the United States, maintain their aura of military invincibility because they only fight *OTHER GOVERNMENTS*.

He also made an interesting point. Free market police and defense agencies should *OPENLY PUBLICIZE* their practices. If the State has a choice of attacking someone well-defended or not defended, they'll choose to attack the weaker victim. For example, would an IRS bureaucrat prefer to challenge someone very knowledgeable about tax law, or would he prefer to challenge someone clueless? From the point of view of a State bureaucrat, the *LESS* prepared target is a more attractive victim!

There was another interesting bit. Without a centralized government, there's no centralized authority to "surrender". This makes invasion unprofitable, because there's no government to eliminate/replace.



I liked this thread on mises.org.

There was a discussion of the evils of limited liability incorporation.

In a free market, there's no such thing as limited liability incorporation. However, that doesn't mean you can't raise capital. For example, a bondholder in a business is not an owner; their loss is limited to the amount lent. A bondholder is only entitled to principal plus interest, and not a share of the profits. A bondholder has no say in how the business is run, although his debt contract may give him the right to foreclose if the business is going poorly.

Someone made an interesting point I hadn't heard before. In order to buy 10% of a business, you must buy 10% of the physical assets associated with that business (land, equipment). As part owner, you would be liable if there was a problem with those assets. To a large extent, the value of a business is its employees. If you say you're entitled to 10% of the output of those people's labor, *IN PERPETUITY*, that's essentially a slavery contract. In the present, corporate management is shielded from competition. This makes their slice of the economy their "property". They may demand tribute from their workers in exchange for permission to work in their slice of the economy.



I noticed a trend on mises.org. Threads with interesting comments tend to degenerate into flamewars. That is a common tactic of paid disinformation agents. Make a lot of noise to drown out the signal. Of course, it's impossible to tell if it's merely clueless people, or sabotage.



I liked this post on Dilbert.com.




When a small vendor is screwed over by a large corporation, they have no recourse. Even if they sue, they aren't guaranteed to win and they won't collect their legal fees. I've heard many stories of small business owners getting screwed over by large corporations. They had no recourse but to write the experience off as a loss.

The large corporation can keep saying "We'll pay you in 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, etc." The client is usually desperate for business, and can't do anything about it.

I worked for a scummy business that refused to pay a consultant, then "settled" to pay 1/2 the bill, and then refused to even pay that amount.



By E-Mail, someone writes:

The Federal Reserve Has Created the Risk of a Global Depression!

Please sign, publish or forward our Abolish the Federal Reserve Petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/fed/petition.html to all your pro-freedom friends and associates.

The collapsing dollar, exploding oil and food prices, falling housing market, the subprime mortgage and growing credit crisis and stock market weakness are all a result of earlier Federal Reserve actions designed to maximize Wall Street and banking profits at the expense of productive, working people around the world.

PS Check out the July Las Vegas FreedomFest Conference www.freedomfest.com

Duh! They're crashing the dollar on purpose. The bankers *MUST* be bailed out!

Why are you wasting your time with a petition? Why are you acting like a slave petitioning his master to be less cruel?

A petition to Washington is of course useless but I’m building an email list of people across the US who will oppose the Fed. Petitions are the same as voting, both are a waste of time.

In that case, you already have my E-Mail address.

How do I know you're not making a list of people to be rounded up and executed?



Liberty Student has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #55":

I don't think you are stupid. If I did, I wouldn't read and promote your blog.

However, the trolling bit is wearing on me, which makes your reader mail posts a mixed experience. On the one hand, they are a nice round up of small things that interest you (and are indeed interesting), and on the other hand, they lack purpose and serve for the most part to be a general whine fest about trolls, fools and anything more statist than your current ideological position.

If you don't like the Reader Mail posts, then don't read them. They're very easy to filter out.

My attitude is very simple. Once you realize "Taxation is theft!", you can't support *ANY* form of government. If you say "There should be a government", you're part of the problem and not part of the solution. I'm *MOST* offended by the Libertarians/libertarians/minarchists, because they're distracting people from the true issues. They have an unrealistic fantasy that, somehow, the size and power of the government can be restrained. A complete collapse is the only fair solution.

Pro-State trolling is a *REALLY IMPORTANT CONCEPT*. There are three main types of pro-State trolls.

First, there's someone with good intentions who's making mistakes. Even someone who understands agorism and free markets pretty well can pro-State troll. In those cases, I should point out their error so they may learn. People in this category usually are willing to learn.

Second, there are people with careers that prevent them from realizing the truth. This includes economists, bankers, quants, politicians, lawyers, and journalists. They don't have the intellectual capacity to understand that most of what they've been taught is a lie. Usually, these people get angry and leave when I point out they're pro-State trolling. I'm better off without them. I take every reader comment seriously, and I don't want to waste my time responding to fools.

Third, there's the paid disinformation agents. There really isn't anything they can do to disrupt me here. On discussion forums and wikis, they expertly distract/disrupt debate and discussion. On mises.org, I usually avoid threads that degenerate into flamewars.

Also remember that you're just one person. The vast majority of my readers lurk. Why should I let a minority affect what I write? If you want to coddle fools on your blog or your project, go ahead.

The concept that all readers should be treated with (fake) respect is itself pro-State trolling! If you really respect someone, you should point out when they write something stupid. If you tolerate all opinions, you're fake respecting the stupid people and disrespecting the intelligent ones.

If someone says something that's wrong, you should point it out. A mainstream media source has to coddle all viewers/readers, because it's dependent on advertisers. They can't say anything *TOO* controversial, or advertisers will get mad and pull their advertisements. A mainstream media source is dependent on advertising revenue, effectively making them slaves. I'm only targeting a niche audience, so I don't need to coddle everyone.

My blog's traffic is growing at a rate of 10%-20% per month. That doesn't mean it would grow faster or slower if I took another approach. If my blog were a for-profit business, then 10%-20% monthly customer growth would be impressive! However, a 10% increase starting with 100 readers only gets you to 110 readers. I estimate the size of the Remnant to be 1M+, so I certainly haven't maximized my audience yet.

I may convert my blog to a for-profit business someday, but not yet. Adwords doesn't mix well with political blogs, because the ads tend to be opposite of the actual content. I'm considering ways to start free market businesses.

Btw, the Compound Interest Paradox series is excellent work. I give it a 9 out of 10 so far.

That's the only feedback on the updated Compound Interest Paradox series. The "ranking version" in Google is still the original. I'm going to update the original with links to the newer version. According to Google Analytics, the original is my #1 post on most days, and the newer version is only getting a little traffic.

BTW, I did start actively posting on mises.org after seeing you promoting me there via Google Analytics. It's been sending me 10-20 visitors/day, so it seems worth it for now. Also, there were some interesting topics. As long as I repost my responses here, I don't feel that I'm wasting time posting in discussion forums.



Mike has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #55":

"Hosting costs around $50/month."

Dear FSK, if your visitors/day numbers that you mentioned above are accurate, you can self-host your blog for less than $100/year at any number of providers that offer a great deal more flexibility, even given the increasing worthlessness of the US dollar.

I'm just saying!

It was $50/month when I looked into it 2 years ago. Maybe it's gotten substantially cheaper since then? Someone at work told me they pay $10/month for hosting.

Can you name a specific vendor?

Improved "virtual server" technologies appear to be driving down prices substantially. Now, it's possible to host many customers on the same hardware.

The cost of hosting isn't just the cash outlay! It's the time spent configuring/patching/updating WordPress. It's the cost of importing all my old posts into WordPress. I'd probably write my own WordPress widgets.

Also, if I self-host, if my site gets "Slashdotted", then my site might go down if I exceed my bandwidth limit. A small hosting service might be vulnerable to a DOS attack. Google/Blogger should be able to withstand almost any DOS attack.

My blog already has a high PageRank in Google. If I switch to self-hosting, then I will restart with a PageRank of zero and I lose the value of the accumulated incoming links. I'll probably have to take this hit eventually.

Someday, I'll try managing my blog as a for-profit business. If it goes well, I'll probably switch to self-hosting. For now, I'm sticking with free hosting provided by Google/Blogger.

Liberty Student has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #55":

I agree with Mike. However, based upon what it seems your hosting needs are, I would continue to leverage the Blogger network for now.

Whenever possible, generate income before incurring expense. Particularly on the web.

I'm sticking with Blogger for now. The time and $$ expense of self-hosting isn't worth it yet. I may add vlogging in the next year or two. However, I'd probably use YouTube for hosting video.

I don't have the ability to raise millions of dollars in venture capital. If I do attempt blogging/vlogging as a business, I'd have to make it profitable from the beginning. I'm only willing to invest my time plus reinvested profits, plus perhaps a small initial cash investment.

I'm wondering if I should attempt to become a mainstream high-profile advocate for agorism? On mises.org, many people (including you) were saying that a mainstream high-profile advocate for agorism is needed. If I tried that, I'd be giving up my ability to practice stealth-agorism. However, if blatant-in-public agorism is profitable (including the risk of arrest/prison/assassination), then I'd try it.



Francois Tremblay has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #55":

Why would anyone self-host his blog? That's a bizarre proposition to me.

As for hits, I get an average of 120, which clearly indicates that I am 20% more popular than FSK. ;)

There are several advantages of self-hosting.

You get full control of what blogging engine you're using. If you're a software engineer like me, you can make your own enhancements to your blogging engine.

You can add a discussion forum or BitTorrent tracker. If I had a business like Freedomain, I'd probably distribute my videos via BitTorrent rather than as a straight download; that's cheaper bandwidth-wise.

You own your own domain, rather than being a subdivision of someone else's domain.

I'd get full server logs, rather than being reliant on the partial information available via Google Analytics.

You could add some subscription or for-pay sections, which is hard/impossible to do on Blogger.

I'm averaging 148 visits/day so far in June, with an average of 94 Absolute Unique Visitors per day. I consider "Absolute Unique Vistors" per month to be a more realistic statistic than visits, because some people visit my blog many times in the same day.

I'm on pace to set a new traffic record in June.



By E-Mail, someone writes:

http://fskrealityguide.blogspot.com/2007/07/did-scientific-progress-stop-in-1913.html
In response to your question at the end of that article, I believe the answer is incredibly simple. Commnication devices and the internet allow people to express their ideas, concerns etc, and so also allow governments to spy on us. And something tells me they've been doing so before they passed any bills on the matter. Did you know the government can hear your conversations if you're close to your phone, even when it is swtiched off? You have to actually take out the battery. And here's an interesting fact, iPhones from the oh-so-glorious apple (I own a mac) have irremovable batteries, hmm...

You also can put your phone in a faraday cage. I haven't seen a lot of faraday cage cellphone cases. You also can get a faraday cage wallet, if you're concerned about RFID chips in your credit cards and ID cards.

All of this communication technology gives big brother a much easier job. Imagine spying on all conversations back in the 1920's, it would be impossible. Nowadays, they have high-tech servers analyse every conversation, every e-mail, every blog post...Sometimes I wonder if talking about this on the internet is a bad idea :S

I've had a lot of people say that "Blogging like this is dangerous!" Surprisingly, I haven't been the victim of State violence based on my blogging. I wonder if the anarchist/agorist movement serves the Supreme Leader of Humanity's agenda.

Suppose the bad guys actually do collect every single message on the Internet. They still need a computer program capable of intelligently processing the data. If their program generates too many false positives, it's useless. If their program generates too many false negatives, it's useless.

For example, am I dangerous? I'm not advocating violence against any State employee or State property. That's the sort of thing they're really looking for. On the other hand, a free market economic revolt would be *INCREDIBLY* dangerous to the bad guys. Fortunately, anyone smart enough to realize that my writing is dangerous, probably also agrees with me!

Remember, as much as we try to spread the truth, there are countless amounts more of disinformation on the internet. Ron paul was a trap, and whether he knew it or not, he created a lot of vulgar libertarianism, very few of those he "enlightened" ever became market anarchists. If anything, a lot of potential ancaps were misled. And what about conspiracy theories? How many different, contradicting conspiracy theories have you seen? How many of them were purposefully planted, and how many reflect the truth? Soem may even be purposefully planted by the government and reflect the truth, but make it sound so incredible that nobody believes it.

Ron Paul contributed to my enlightenment. I had a sense that something was wrong, but couldn't put my finger on it. I saw Ron Paul criticizing the Federal Reserve and income tax. I started writing down my thoughts and figured out what was going on. I also realized that Ron Paul had zero chance of getting elected, because voting is pointless.

On the Internet, it's very easy to "killfile" people spreading disinformation. The average person may not be capable of distinguishing, but intelligent people can. That's one reason I crack down so hard on pro-State trolls. I try to keep disinformation out of my own blog. I can filter for other blogs and websites that have useful discussions. I can ignore the websites that are full of nonsense. My time is limited, so it's important for me to focus on other websites and blogs with a high % of useful/interesting information.

Overall, the Internet helps the good guys and the Remnant more than it helps the bad guys. So what if the bad guys can record every single phone call and every single E-Mail and every single webpage? That doesn't mean they're capable of using the information intelligently.

The bad guys can spread disinformation, but the good guys can spread real information. In a battle between truth and lies, the truth wins eventually. The Internet levels the playing field, because intelligent people can set up sub-communities where disinformation is kept to a minimum.

While you may think of the internet as a glorious device for enlightenment, I think it's rather a mechanism for control and manipulation through disinformation than anything else. if they don't like what you say, they'll get rid of you, one way or another. And something tells me that if the governments, or your alleged supreme leader, decide to make a move to finally create a military fascist state (moreso than today), they have a list of "rebels" at the ready. kind of clever really...

If the Supreme Leader of Humanity wants to stop a free market economic revolt, the time to do it is *NOW*, when only a handful of people are aware of the possibility. It's very easy to kill someone and make it look like an accident. If the top 100-1000 free market thinkers mysteriously died, it would set the movement back decades and it'd be impossible to trace. A few years from now, it might be necessary to kill 100,000 people to stop an economic revolt. At some point, it's impossible to stop.

By the way, I don't know if you've done research on it, but I've heard of military technology that can change human behaviour patterns by emitting several subsonic sounds that our ears do not detect, but that affect us anyway. They could render entire populationns into automatons. There was other stuff I can't remember right now...

I read about that. It's based on interference patterns. If you send two sound waves at different frequencies, their interference pattern makes a sound that's only audible at one point.

There's already plenty of technologies for turning the population into mindless automatons. They're called public schooling, TV, and newspapers. Those control technologies were perfected decades ago.

If you believe the "aliens exist hypothesis", then the aliens have technology that enables them to read people's thoughts and project thoughts into their heads. They are so advanced that this technology can be deployed *ON EVERYONE*. For example, suppose a government spy is reading my blog. The aliens can project the thought "FSK is a fruitcake and not dangerous.", which is what the spy wants to believe anyway. In this way, I can be protected.

Another E-Mail from the same person:

For example, am I dangerous? I'm not advocating violence against any State employee or State property. That's the sort of thing they're really looking for. On the other hand, a free market economic revolt would be *INCREDIBLY* dangerous to the bad guys. Fortunately, anyone smart enough to realize that my writing is dangerous, probably also agrees with me!

Well, if those bad guys have any intelligence, they'll realise that non-violent protests against the state in the form of agorism are actually the most dangerous.

If they had any intelligence, they wouldn't be the bad guys! Anyone smart enough to realize that agorism is dangerous is *ALSO* smart enough to agree with my conclusions!

The bad guys can spread disinformation, but the good guys can spread real information. In a battle between truth and lies, the truth wins eventually. The Internet levels the playing field, because intelligent people can set up sub-communities where disinformation is kept to a minimum.

You'd think so, but when the truth is particularly hard to get to grips with, it's not so easy to spread. I've been trying to "spread" the truth to my brother for a few months now, and its incredible how stubborn he is (he's 39, so its engraved by now, I'm 17 btw). He almost quotes "Leviathan" without even knowing who Hobbes is, and then insists that his ideas are his own and not the product of indoctrination.

I've found more success gaining an audience on the Internet than in person. When I talk with people in person, I'm unable to overcome their brainwashing. I don't press the issue when I talk with people in person, because it isn't worth the struggle. Posting on the Internet, I've attracted a reasonable audience, even though they're very geographically dispersed.

Older people are much more resistant to change than younger people. Perhaps that's a good sign. People who have grown up with computers and the Internet are less compliant with centralized abusive authority.

If the Supreme Leader of Humanity wanted to stop a free market economic revolt, the time to do it is *NOW*, when only a handful of people are aware of the possibility. It's very easy to kill someone and make it look like an accident. If the top 100-1000 free market thinkers mysteriously died, it would set the movement back decades and it'd be impossible to trace. A few years from now, it might be necessary to kill 100,000 people to stop an economic revolt. At some point, it's impossible to stop.

Very true, and kind of scary just how fragile this thing is right now.

That raises an interesting issue. Why hasn't the Supreme Leader of Humanity killed or otherwise silenced me? If he were evil and omnipotent, he would have recognized my danger and violently silenced me.

There's already plenty of technologies for turning the population into mindless automatons. They're called public schooling, TV, and newspapers. Those control technologies were perfected decades ago.

Yeh you're right. Come to think of it, all the stories about mind-altering military devices are just distractions, there to shift attention away from the real mind-altering devices of everyday life that few people notice.

When someone says "I'm the victim of a mind control experiment", they're telling the truth! The mind control technologies are hidden in plain sight! When someone starts to figure out what's going on, it's very traumatic. When your brain starts discovering the damage and repairing it, you show the symptoms of a "mental illness". Complaining to a psychiatrist for help is useless, if your psychiatrist is insane!

If you believe the "aliens exist hypothesis", then the aliens have technology that enables them to read people's thoughts and project thoughts into their heads. They are so advanced that this technology can be deployed *ON EVERYONE*. For example, suppose a government spy is reading my blog. The aliens can project the thought "This guy is a fruitcake and not dangerous.", which is what the spy wants to believe anyway. In this way, I can be protected.

I wish that were true. As much as the aliens may be benevolent anarchists, for all we know they may be so advanced compared to us, that they regard us much the same way we regard animals: as having no real rights. Maybe this whole planet is just an interstellar puppet show :P

That was an episode of South Park. The Earth is really an alien reality TV show. The aliens were going to cancel Earth, until the children figure out a way to blackmail the aliens.

You aren't thinking like an alien. Suppose you're a super-technologically advanced alien. What would you do? You'd probably go around the universe, encouraging the development of intelligent life on other planets. The more intelligent the race, the more ****ed up their civilization is. By that standard, humans are promising!



eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "The Tomato Salmonella Recall":

I was shocked by how ridiculous this tomato situation is. I work in a grocery store and we can't get any of the pre-sliced, packaged tomatoes that we use to make our hoagies. At first I thought it should be easy to get tomatoes from someplace other than the contaminated area.

If the tomatoes are sliced or processed in any way, instead of just being whole, they have to go to a factory someplace, and those factories are stuck wherever they are and can't be moved. So you could get tomatoes from someplace else, but they'd still have to get shipped to the factories for processing. (I'm still just trying to understand why it has been so difficult for them to solve this problem.) Also, everything at the factory would be contaminated with salmonella, all the slicers and packaging equipment, if only a few bad ones went through.

Few large corporate farms instead of lots of small ones - that does explain a lot of it.

In a free market, you would have a lot of small farms and a lot of small factories. Contamination, if any, would be contained. Customers who get salmonella would have a valid tort claim against whoever sold them the tomato. The store that sold the tomato would, in turn, be responsible for collection from the tomato slicing factory, who would be responsible for collecting from the farmer. The dispute between customer and store would be resolved via a free market justice system, which would be cheap and efficient. The dispute between store, tomato slicing factory, and farmer would be resolved by the insurance/police agencies. The insurance/police agencies would have an incentive to discover who is *ACTUALLY* responsible, because they would have to pay out a claim. In necessary, they would pay the claim and require improved processes in the future.

In the present, nobody is responsible. The customer can't sue the store; the store merely bought the tomatoes from a monopolistic/oligopolistic vendor. Everyone who's forced to destroy tomatoes merely writes off the loss. Insurance premiums rise as a result. Even people with a soundly managed business are forced to destroy their tomatoes. The average person pays the cost in the form of higher food prices, or the inability to buy tomatoes at all.

In a communist economy like the USA, nobody is responsible for anything. There's usually no market penalty for inefficiency. There's no market benefit for efficiency.

3 comments:

Mike said...

On blog hosting/self-hosting:

Bluehost.com immediately comes to mind, though I don't know if the limits would be suitable, and they probably have all the PHP safe mode restrictions to worry about. That and being located in Utah immediately ruled them out for me.

I looked into this a few months ago when I was pondering where to set up nostate.com. In the end I chose a local hosting provider, since I like the ultimate option of storming into their office red in the face if things break down.

www.atlantis.sk. I paid about $200 for a full year of "beta plus" which included domain transfer, unlimited bandwidth, more disk than I'll ever need, no limits on database size, no safe mode, custom php.ini options, SSH access, some marginally useful stats reporting and a bunch of other things. Yes, you'd have to grok Slovak to sign up and manage it, though I get pretty responsive email support in English.

And after starting up with them, I promptly lost all of my notes from the research I'd done. Anyway, the service is out there. Cheers.

tablesandchairsandtables said...

Mises.org: Say I want to start up a business (actually, I am considering starting up a business making buzzers) in the U.S..

What are all the laws I have to follow? Where do I even start to find out such a thing?

You Responded: I researched this.

You need to incorporate, which will set you back $500+.


Incorporation is one of many options when starting a business. The entrepreneur could also choose to create a sole proprietorship, partnership, or cooperative (in addition to a wide variety of types of incorporation; ex: S corp, C corp). Sole proprietorships require no state interference, and partnerships generally require an Article of Partnership (also, no state interference).

Chrono said...

Well, FSK. I disagree with you on your IP statement, I find it rather rude. I will go into it and linkback when I get around to posting my take on what I said. A summary of what is to come, however...

If person A generates a unique work, whether a language work, music, or even a memory, provided it has not been shared with anyone else, it is person A's property. It is stored in his brain, thus it is physical property until it is transmuted? to a form of media. Even then, it might still be property (if it was artwork, for example).

As to astrology, you stated rather clearly
1) you have not investigated it
2) you do not distinguish between the 'body of knowledge' and the 'person making the descriptions' -in this case, the book they came from, or 'whether the description fits, if I have your birth information or not'

#2 above lists the important questions...and properly separates them so the truth can be correctly assessed.

Again...
Does all astrology work?
Does astrologer X's book work?
Was the description posted on my blog true?

These are all separate questions. All other information is irrelevant. For example, if I tell you C++ sucks, it passed no statistical tests, and then someone presents you with a working code snippet, written in C++, the statistical tests do not matter if the code snippet compiles and runs. That is all that matters. As long as that snippet does its job reliably (at a rate greater than chance) it has proven that in its context and application, C++ works.

This is the correct method of determining truth from falsehood.

That method is all that matters. Credibility is irrelevant.

Follow your own advice here, and do not use the straw man fallacy. Just because mainstream studies have found no validity in astrological predictions, does not mean that the predictions are false.

All the mainstream studies have done is discredit any serious interest in the subject. Probably evidence that it does in fact work. But who knows...

Find out for yourself.

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