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Monday, July 21, 2008

Reader Mail #60

I liked this page on central banking. It's long, but it had some interesting bits. It wasn't new information for me, but others might like it.

I liked this book by Charles A. Lindberg on the evils of the Federal Reserve. He was a Congressman who was very critical of the Federal Reserve when it was first created. I believe that he had already left Washington D.C. for Christmas vacation when the Federal Reserve Act passed.

I liked this post on Bill Rempel. The original authors of the Declaration of Independence were terrorists, according to the king of England and Parliament.

I liked this post on RadGeek. The Declaration of Independence was *NOT* the creation of the USA. It was a revolt against the England. The USA wasn't created until 1787. The US Constitution was a money/power grab by politically connected insiders.

The US Constitution was very counter-revolutionary. After defeating one strong central government, a new strong central government was created. Initially, there were carefully constructed checks and balances, but those were eroded over time.

There was one slight error.

Anarchy is the radical notion that other people are not your property.

I prefer "Anarchy is the radical notion that I am not the property of other people".

This post on no third solution about time preference has a big error. When you save money, you're saying "I value consumption in the future more than consumption now." If your investment yields a positive rate of return, you're saying "I'm willing to forego consumption now in exchange for the ability to consume more later."

The Federal Reserve distorts the interest rate market. By tampering with interest rates, the Federal Reserve prevents people from making the valid choice to save for the future. Negative real interest rates encourage overspending in the present. Saving for the future is foolish when there are no safe investments.

In the present, anybody who saves money in a State-sanctioned investment is letting themselves be ripped off by inflation.

*NO INVESTMENTS YIELD A POSITIVE RATE OF RETURN*, from the point of view of the average person. If you save your money in a checking account, you earn a negative inflation-adjusted return. Stocks return a negative inflation-adjusted return, compared to a gold investment. If you invest in real estate, you don't get full allodial title. Property taxes are a drag on your earnings. With real estate, you may use leverage to boost your returns, but then you risk bankruptcy during the next economic bust. If you have an unleveraged investment in real estate, then your returns will be less than inflation, due to the drag of property taxes.

You may choose to invest in your own business. However, with an on-the-books business, you are subject to taxes and regulations. At any time, the State may impose new regulations that make your business unprofitable.

If you invest in gold, you earn an inflation-adjusted return of 0%. This may be the best investment out there.

Of course, politically connected insiders may lobby the State for favors. CEOs may grant themselves excessive option and stock grants, even though they own a minority stake in the corporation. These investments yield a positive rate of return, but they aren't accessible to the average person.

If you invest in gold, your inflation-adjusted return will be 0% minus transaction costs. An agorist off-the-books business should be profitable. However, you won't be able to rely on the State to shield you from competition. You probably won't be able to sell your business to someone else. Anybody who understood your business well enough to consider buying it could start their own competing business.

This bit deserves its own separate post.

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. There is talk about bringing back the 55 mph speed limit. The Federal Government does not have the authority to tell states what their speed limit is. However, it uses a dirty trick. If a state does not pass the 55mph speed limit, then they lose all their Federal highway money. Federal taxes are so huge that this effectively forces states to comply.

This is the tactic that forced all states to have a legal drinking age of 21. If a state does not do this, then they lose their Federal highway money.

The Federal government has practically completely removed individual state sovereignty.

I liked this post on lowercase liberty. Only 6 people who signed the Declaration of Independence also signed the Constitution. Even correcting for those who died in the meantime, this is a very low percentage.

I don't recognize any Constitution as a binding contract. I didn't sign it, so why should it apply to me?

In this post on Econospeak, the author is planning to attend a conference on health care, from a libertarian point of view.

A proper discussion of healthcare should include the effect of State licensing requirements. The AMA and the State collude to restrict the supply of doctors. By restricting the supply of doctors, this guarantees that doctor salaries will be high. This leads to the current ridiculous situation, where a doctor's visit costs $100+ and you only see the doctor for a few minutes.

The idea that "State licensing requirements improve the quality of healthcare" is nonsense and propaganda. Before State licensing requirements for doctors, there was fierce competition for doctors, keeping down salaries and costs. The AMA lobbied for State regulation of doctors, and the result is the current mess.

I liked this post on kitco, referred by this thread on It illustrates how taxes created demand for "tally sticks" in England. The Tally Stick monetary system is interesting. A tally stick was broken into two pieces. On both sides, an amount of gold was notched into the stick. The king spent the tally sticks as if they were gold. When it was time to pay taxes, the king accepted tally sticks as equivalent to gold. This ensured that tally sticks traded at parity with gold.

The tally sticks were practically uncounterfeitable. The wood grain had to match, the crack in the wood had to match, and the inscription on both sides had to match.

Even though tally sticks were intrinsically worthless, taxation created a demand for them. That's the same reason that Federal Reserve Notes are really slave points. Even though Federal Reserve Notes are intrinsically worthless, the income tax creates a demand for them. The government could, in theory, repeal the income tax and finance its activities solely by printing new money. However, without income taxes, people would realize that the dollar is worthless and start using something else as money. Using gold as money accomplishes nothing, because income taxes must be paid in Federal Reserve Notes. According to the IRS, all economic activity is subject to taxation. (In fact, if you use gold as money, you pay higher taxes than if you use Federal Reserve Notes as money.)

The income tax and Federal Reserve are two sides of the same evil. You can't boycott the Federal Reserve unless you also boycott income taxes.

The tally stick system ended when the Bank of England was created. By delegating his money creation power to a central bank, the king effectively ceded his sovereignty to the bank.

BTW, that thread on was about "Is fractional reserve banking evil?" Such threads always degenerate into a trollfest/flamewar. The professional disinformation agents *MUST* ensure that a sensible discussion of fractional reserve banking does not occur.

In a true free market, fractional reserve banking is an unsustainable business. Fractional Reserve banking *MUST* be backed by State violence in order to be viable. State regulation of banking is needed to prevent sounder banking models from competing with fractional reserve banking.

Also remember that there are two distinct systems that are called "fractional reserve banking". There's the current system of fiat debt-based money, which is totally fraudulent. There's fractional reserve banking under a gold standard, as was practiced until 1913. This is inherently unsound, because a fractional reserve bank is technically insolvent at any given time. If all depositors simultaneously demand withdrawal, then the fractional reserve bank cannot meet its obligations. Fractional reserve banks were bailed out via banking holidays, limited liability incorporation, and regulations restricting competition.

Fractional reserve banking cannot exist in a true free market. It must always be backed by State violence.

I liked this post on to herd or not to herd. It contains a link to a list of techniques for building things yourself.

About 100 years ago, the average person was skilled in building and repair. Those skills have been mostly lost. I find that regrettable. There is an advantage to specializing labor. There's also an advantage to building things yourself.

Should I learn some building and repair skills, rather than just software? I'd need someone to teach me and equipment to practice.

I liked this article on, referred by to herd or not to herd. A lot of people are working for cash and not reporting the income for taxation. I think I referred to this article before, but it's worth mentioning again.

A true agorist needs to use sound money in addition to boycotting the income tax. Otherwise, the State can still steal from you via inflation. Also, using sound money solves the "laundering" problem. If you have a free market business that pays cash, you have to convert your Federal Reserve Points to tangible assets, or you'll be ripped off by inflation.

I liked this article about Bayesian probability and medical screening.

1% of women at age forty who participate in routine screening have breast cancer. 80% of women with breast cancer will get positive mammographies. 9.6% of women without breast cancer will also get positive mammographies. A woman in this age group had a positive mammography in a routine screening. What is the probability that she actually has breast cancer?

The problem is that only a small % of the population have the actual disease, but the test has a relatively high false positive rate. This means that most of the positives are actually false positives.

In other words, if a doctor gives you a test for a rare disease, you're more likely to have a false positive than the disease.

The test does provide useful information. However, it's not absolute positive proof that you have the disease, like most doctors believe.

If you study the probabilities, the false positive rate needs to be much lower than the rate of incidence of the disease. Then, you aren't treating a lot of patients who don't actually have the disease.

Even worse, consider screening for a nonexistent illness! If you're examined by a psychiatrist, he will almost always conclude you have an illness and need drugs. How can use Bayes' theorem when there are no true positives!

I liked this article. There is a proposed copyright reform bill that will allegedly solve the "orphaned works" problem. There will be a database where all copyright owners have to register. If you don't register, you lose your copyright.

This reform would effectively nullify the GPL and all open source licenses. For most GPL works, everyone who worked on the project would have to register in the database.

This also means that amateur artists don't get copyright protection unless they pay a fee to register their work. As usual, this tax costs individuals a lot more than corporations.

I don't recognize intellectual property as a valid form of property. For this reason, I consider the GPL and open source licenses to be pointless. Relying on the State for protection is silly.

As a practical matter, if someone uses GPL-licensed code in a closed-source program, it's practically impossible to prove they stole it.

An amateur artist should not care about people stealing their work. An amateur artist should be concerned about their reputation. An amateur artist *WANTS* people to copy their stuff, because it enhances their reputation.

I liked this post on Techdirt. The mainstream media is hyping the risk of sexual predators attracting children on online gaming networks. The actual risk is negligible compared to the hype. This is an excuse for increased regulation of online gaming and the Internet.

The whole "sexual predator" problem is pretty silly. A responsible parent should keep track of what their children are doing. Protection from "sexual predators" is the parent's responsibility and not the State's.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Tolkein's heirs are involved with a dispute over the studios over payment for royalties on the films. The studio's contract specified that it had to pay a percentage of the profit to Tolkein's heirs. However, the studio is allowed to bundle a lot of its overhead into the cost of the film. This inflates the cost and reduces the accounting profit of the film.

In this dispute, neither the studio nor Tolkein's heirs can claim the moral high ground.

I don't recognize intellectual property as a valid form of property.

I liked this post on Techdirt. YouTube turned over all its user statistics to Viacom as part of a lawsuit.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Europe is contemplating "regulating" bloggers. They are concerned that people are having too much free speech.

The "right to reply" regulation seems particularly stupid. If a media source writes an article critical of me, then I have a right to demand they publish my rebuttal? The effect is that it prevents a mainstream media source from criticizing anyone. There's another problem. Suppose I write an article critical of the financial industry in general. Does that mean I have to let everyone associated with the financial industry publish a rebuttal?

Here, I try to publish all comments except the obvious spam. I post the comments of pro-State trolls, but then point out that they're trolling.

This webpage on "Are You Living in a Simulation" is simultaneously interesting and pointless. If someone was capable of creating a realistic computer simulation of a universe, wouldn't that make them gods?

I liked this post on Techdirt. In Heller vs. DC and previous gun control cases, the Supreme Court basically said "We will ignore parts of the Constitution we don't like." This has implications for intellectual property cases.

"The Congress shall have Power... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

However, this means that if copyright or patent law does *NOT* promote science and art, then it is unconstitutional. The current patent system is nearly completely broken. Retroactively extending copyright duration does not promote useful arts. Therefore, current copyright and patent laws are unconstitutional, because they don't promote science and art.

Digital technology means that anyone can copy anything for a cost of practically nothing. This technology makes all existing intellectual property laws obsolete.

I liked this post on Techdirt about Texas' decision to require a private investigator license. Another interesting point is that many states require an auctioneer's license to sell things on eBay, which is another silly law.

These laws aren't about protecting consumers, but about limiting the number of competitors in the market itself. Hopefully Texas gets rid of it before someone is fined and tossed in jail for cleaning spyware out of someone's computer.

If I were living in Texas, I'd seriously consider practicing civil disobedience against this stupid law. The free publicity might be worth the hassle of a trial and potential jail time.

Maybe I'll be lucky, and this regulation will be passed near where I live! I suspect this may actually happen.

Someone was Googling "why does warren buffett discount cash flow at the risk free rate". The answer is that, as a large financial institution, Berkshire Hathaway borrows money at the risk-free interest rate. An insurance contract has an implied interest rate at which you borrow money. For example, suppose that Berkshire Hathaway sells $1B of hurricane insurance for $100M, and there's a 1 in 10 chance of a hurricane. Superficially, this is not profitable. However, the premium of $100M is collected before the payment of $1B is made. Effectively, Berkshire Hathaway is borrowing money at a 0% interest rate.

The interest rate implied by an insurance contract will always be less than the Fed Funds Rate. Otherwise, Berkshire Hathaway would be better off borrowing from the Federal Reserve instead of writing insurance.

Therefore, it is correct to discount cashflow at the Fed Funds Rate. Berkshire Hathaway is borrowing at less than the Fed Funds Rate and investing in tangible assets.

Warren Buffet has discussed the "discounted cashflow paradox" in one of his annual meetings. The correct answer to the "discounted cashflow paradox" is that the long-term value of a dollar is zero. If you lend money at the Fed Funds Rate, then your purchasing power is eroded by inflation faster than you are credited with interest.

I liked this page on the largest known prime number over time. It's pretty tightly correlated with Moore's Law.

I liked this article about the economics of a POW camp. They wound up on a "cigarette standard".

I liked this article about the development of the C programming language. The interesting bit is that it was an improvement over another language "B".

When developing something, you should judge the final product and not the intermediate stages. Similarly, just because there are very crude concepts of agorism right now, doesn't mean there won't be a smooth and polished version later.

I liked this article, referred by the Mental Militia. A man illegally set a backfire to protect his house from encroaching fire. He successfully saved his home, but was prosecuted.

I liked this post on RadGeek. It's a sarcastic look at election hype.

I didn't like this post on lowercase liberty.

In the present, there is huge distrust of insurance companies. For this reason, the anarcho-capitalist vision of free market justice and insurance is not viable.

The mistrust of insurance companies primarily derives from State regulation of insurance in the first place.

The anarcho-capitalist or agorist vision of justice/police and insurance bundled together is viable.

A free market insurance vendor would look practically nothing like the State-sanctioned insurance oligopolies of the present.

In the present, an insurance corporation is essentially a branch of the government.

This story, referred by the Agitator was interesting. Someone developing photos at Wal-Mart complained to the police that the photos included child pornography. That was a false accusation and the man is now suing Wal-Mart.

Do the people who work at these photo shops look through all the photos? It appears that you should get a digital camera and a printer capable of printing photos.

I liked this post on Western Rifle Shooters association.

But we as Americans should remember the 3 per cent. During our Revolution, from a population of somewhat over 2 million, the rebels fielded an army of Continentals, sailors and militia that at any given time amounted to a mere 3 per cent of the population.

In other words, a revolution is possible if only 3% of the population supports it. Is it possible for agorism to achieve such a goal? I predict that an agorist revolution will succeed.

It's very hard for a government to survive when the people no longer recognize its legitimacy. It's interesting that only a few percent resisters is enough to destabilize the State. With agorism, the most productive workers will be the ones resisting, exactly like in "Atlas Shrugged".

I liked this post on Techdirt. The long tail has a "fat middle". There are some works that are popular enough to earn a decent living for the author, but not mega-hits.

Before the Internet, there was a huge overhead for distributing content. Either you were a mega-hit or a flop. For example, if I were forced to have my own print magazine instead of a blog, it would be practically impossible to attract new readers. The Internet allows my distribution cost to be zero, essentially just my time, until I build enough of an audience to earn serious revenue.

The Internet creates a place for creative works that earn a decent salary, without being a mega-hit.

There's another point not mentioned in the article. Suppose you're an artist in the "fat middle", earning a decent middle-class income. There is a chance that one of your works will become a mega-hit. Surviving in the fat middle lets you stay in the game and hope for a mega-hit.

I liked this article on Suppose a school district decided to completely abolish its public schools. First, it would probably be in violation of state law. Second, it would probably also be a violation of Federal law. Third, there would be a huge media outcry.

Suppose the city council decided to abolish its public schools. They probably would be arrested for treason.

Not mentioned in the article, there's also the problem of the teachers' union. Their contract probably specifies that they still get paid, even if the district closes its schools. A reasonable percentage of people are employed as public school teachers, making them a powerful voting lobby.

This article on the Tax Protester Doctrine was interesting. If the judge declares that a criminal is a "tax protester", then all the usual rules for a trial are suspended. An alternate system of rules is put into place, extremely biased against the defendant.

There also seemed to be a subtle distinction between "tax evader" and "tax protester". A "tax evader" is someone who avoids taxes for purely selfish purposes. A "tax protester" is someone who avoids taxes because they believe they are immoral/illegal. What happens if you're both?

There's a lot of other interesting bits on that website (

This pdf by Irwin Schiff on tax resistance is amusing. He makes an interesting point. If the government can force you to collect taxes for them, via withholding and reporting requirements, then the government is essentially forcing you to work for free. Every employer is an unpaid tax collector.

I liked this quote on this page, cited many other places.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
— Benjamin Franklin

This is the essence of the anti-agorist argument, by those who say "Agorism is too risky!" You're giving up freedom for temporary safety. If you say "I'm afraid of the gun, so I pay taxes", you're sacrificing liberty for (temporary) safety.

This thread on Joel on Software was really stupid. They were suggesting that software engineers should lobby for State regulation and unionization.

Unions tend to depress salaries for above-average workers and raise salaries for below-average workers.

Unions would fail miserably with software development. The most skilled workers would just leave the unionized employer and start their own business.

In most organizations, the below-average software engineers are usually the ones in management positions! Why should they lobby for unionization and regulation?

State licensing requirements are really stupid. Are you saying it should be illegal to own a C compiler if you don't have a State license?

Unions are not a solution, because they are lobbying the State to fix a State-caused problem. The correct solution to lousy working conditions is a *TRUE* free market.

I liked this post on Fortune. Brian Hunter lost billions of dollars while working at Amaranth. He had no problem raising money and starting a new hedge fund.

If you have the "right" connections, it doesn't matter if you're wrong. You're always bailed out.

He lost a coin-flipping contest, but he gets to keep playing.

The reason it's easy to make and lose so much money is leverage. Negative real interest rates subsidize the profits of hedge fund managers and investors. When you're right, the profits due to leverage are huge. When you're wrong, you declare bankruptcy and start a new fund.

This post on Overcoming Bias (and other sources) isn't as interesting as it sounds. A computer beat human opponents in a poker tournament. However, the game was 1 vs. 1 limit hold-em. No-limit would be a lot harder. Modeling a game with multiple opponents is a lot harder. (Modeling multiple opponents is theoretically difficult or impossible, due to the possibility of collusion by opponents.)

2 player limit holdem is almost a straight game theory exercise, within the reach of modern computers. You only have 3 choices at each move (call/check, raise, or fold). This makes it almost possible to explore the full game tree.

The computer did a decent job of adjusting its strategy to exploit weaknesses in the human players' strategies. If you play "theoretically perfect" poker, you're minimizing your loss but not maximizing your gain.

I noticed this article lamenting the demise of municipal Wi-Fi networks. The true culprit was not named in the article. There has been increasing regulation of individual wireless networks.

If you have an open wireless network in your home, and someone uses it to commit a crime, then you are personally liable. This makes it too risky to offer an open wireless network.

The bad guys could go around looking for open wireless networks and then doing something illegal, such as uploading child pornography. Then, the owner of the network is blamed.

I predict that the Internet won't disappear or be hopelessly crippled. If that happened, the true hackers would go back to the old BBS systems.

Too many people have become accustomed to blogging, YouTube, and other useful Internet services. There would be outrage if they went away.

A lot of people have been writing about Hans Reiser. Just because one computer programmer did something bad, does not mean all software engineers are bad. This is a variation of the Strawman Fallacy.

Similarly, just because someone labeled with a mental illness does something bad, doesn't mean all such people are dangerous. In the USA, there are millions of people that have been labeled with a mental illness. Whenever one of them does something bad, there's a huge outcry "More severe laws must be passed! These people must be required to take their (harmful) drugs!"

One therapist I spoke with said that people labeled with a mental illness have a *LOWER* incidence of violence than the general population. Most of them are taking medication that prevents them from doing anything. The cases of someone doing something bad are overhyped.

I liked this article. Someone found a bug in yacc that is over 30 years old.

In this post on no third solution, he references a few interesting things, some of which I previously mentioned.

He mentions the "Pigou tax". Some libertarians claim that the only tax needed is a Pigou tax. A Pigou tax is a tax on socially undesirable behavior.

Aside from the obvious "Taxation is theft!" argument, there are other problems. Who decides what behavior is socially undesirable? You don't like smoking? How about a $100/pack tax on cigarettes? Some people who own guns abuse them? How about a $1,000,000 tax on guns?

The power to tax something is the ability to prevent people from doing something. You don't like it when people work? How about a 50% tax whenever people work? (Well, we already have that one.)

David Z also mentions that the IRS, in a tax resistance case, claims that many arguments are "frivolous". There's the obvious conflict of interest. In a tax resistance case, the State is both prosecution and judge.

I also wonder if it depends on whether you're hiring an attorney or representing yourself sui juris? A lawyer won't make an argument that the judge deems frivolous, lest he lose his law license. If you're representing yourself sui juris, you may as well make the "frivolous" argument! You're going to be kidnapped/convicted anyway! So what if the judge adds a "contempt of court" charge? What is the judge going to do? Prevent you from attending your own trial?

Also in an taxation case, the IRS will claim that the defendant is personally stealing from the jury members, which is a bit unfair.

Also, it makes a difference whether it's a criminal trial or civil trial. In a criminal trial, there should (in theory) be a huge burden of proof on the State to prove its case. In a civil trial, the threshold of guilt is lower.

If I were victim in a criminal taxation case, I would point out to the jury that, even if they vote to acquit me, the IRS may still file a civil suit to claim the tax they claim I owe. A criminal taxation trial determines if you deserve to go to jail, not if you actually owe unpaid taxes.

There's another interesting point. If there's a hung jury, the State gets a mulligan. Instead of "innocent until proven guilty", you need to prove your innocence via a 12-0 acquittal.

Also, if acquitted on a criminal tax evasion charge, the State gets a further mulligan. They can then pursue civil tax penalties.

Also, if you're acquitted for tax evasion on your 2007 tax return, and still resist taxes, then the State may pursue tax evasion charges on your 2008 tax return.

The judge will claim, in a taxation trial, "The Constitution does not apply here." I never understood that one.

I read somewhere that, by opening a bank account, somewhere in the fine print you agree to be subject to the income tax. That's certainly a (morally) unenforceable adhesion contract. Living without a bank account is practically impossible, so I certainly wouldn't consider opening a bank account or getting a driver's license to be an automatic concession that I agree to pay the income tax.

However, I'm not sure if the IRS would be as aggressive against a well-informed individual. If you're going to pursue a sui juris "jury nullification" defense, then I don't see how the judge can bar that. In that situation, I'd patiently explain jury nullification and ignore the judge's objections.

I noticed that jury instructions have a loophole. The judge tells the jury "You must accept the law as I state it." However, the judge does not tell the jury that they are forbidden from judging the law immoral and acquitting. It's strongly implied, though.

When the judge tells the jury "You must accept the law as I state it", then what prevents the judge from making up whatever laws he wants?

In the eighteenth century, arguments about the law were always made in front of the jury. Now, juries are barred from hearing any disagreement about what the law actually is. If the defendant disagrees with the judge=prosecutor's interpretation of the law, then they are barred from mentioning it to the jury.

Allegedly, all Federal judges receive special training on the "Tax Protester Doctrine". In a tax resistance trial, there's a special set of rules and procedures that are followed. These rules are totally different from those in other trials.

The important point when arguing against income taxes is the *MORAL* argument. The legal arguments are irrelevant, although interesting. I consider most tax resister arguments to have merit, but haven't received the same brainwashing/indoctrination as a Federal judge.

For example, some people say the 16th amendment was fraudulently declared ratified. The US Supreme Court refused to consider the evidence to the contrary, and ruled the ratification legitimate. From a legal standpoint, the issue is now settled. However, what prevents the President from declaring whatever amendments he chooses to have been ratified? If accompanied by a suitable media/propaganda campaign, people would accept it.

Also note that amendments are *NOT* put to the general population for a vote. The are ratified by Congress and the state legislatures.

This post on no third solution points out a process by which some people claim you can get a "land patent" to your land. This means you would no longer pay property taxes.

If this actually worked, wouldn't everyone be doing it? I'm not saying the process isn't legally correct. I'm saying that a corrupt court *WON'T* recognize the land patent, even if the process is technically correct.

I liked this post on SHOW US THE INHERENT LAW, in reference to this YouTube video. It's an interview with the guy who was arrested, tried, and acquitted for paying his employees in US minted gold and silver coins. It also included footage of the IRS/FBI/SWAT raid on his office. There are several interesting points:
  1. Even though this person was acquitted, that's no legal precedent. The IRS could pursue the same claim against someone else for doing the same thing.
  2. Even though this person was acquitted of criminal charges, the IRS still may file civil claims to collect the taxes they claim he owes. I don't know if those trials were resolved yet.
  3. The people who conducted the raid lied about it. They thought they had destroyed the evidence and the cameras. However, the footage was stored on a computer they didn't seize/destroy. The video footage contradicted the testilying of the agents who conducted the raid. If you install security cameras in your residence, make sure the videos are backed up offsite!
  4. The government uses force and intimidation tactics against its victims. Even though he was acquitted, the victim cannot recover damages incurred by the raid. His business was interrupted. Some of his employees and relatives were injured during the raid. Even though he was acquitted, he does not recover his legal expenses.
  5. He filed a lawsuit against the IRS. He paid in US mint-issued silver coins, whose market value was greater than the face amount. When he paid for the lawsuit with silver coins, the coins were accepted at face value, not market value.
  6. Such violent raids are only profitable when the vast majority of people are compliant with taxation.
  7. Just because this guy got arrested/harassed/assaulted, does not measure the true risk of tax resistance. There are no clear statistics of the number of people who succeed at protecting themselves from theft.

Looking for legal loopholes to evade the income tax is defeating the point. The income tax is immoral, which is more important than any legal trick. If you're serious about tax resistance, you should operate a 100% off-the-books business.

I liked this post on the history of money. It's an illustration of the regulations that were used to restrict the monetary system. Even before 1913, the USA never had a true free monetary system. The monetization/demonetization of silver expanded/contracted the money supply. Regulations and collusion issuing loans enabled banks to expand/contract the money supply.

"Whosoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce... And when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate." - James Garfield 1881 (Within weeks of releasing this statement President Garfield died of poisoning.)

Almost every US President who recognized the evil of the US monetary system died in office. Lincoln, Garfield, and Kennedy each were very critical of the financial industry. Andrew Jackson survived an assassination attempt, because the assassin's gun misfired. (For this reason, Lincoln and Jackson on Federal Reserve Notes is truly insulting to them.)

Luckily for Ron Paul, he did not get elected President. He would have wound up like the others, if he got close to winning the election.

I've quoted this before.

"On Sept 1st, 1894, we will not renew our loans under any consideration. On Sept 1st we will demand our money. We will foreclose and become mortgagees in possession. We can take two-thirds of the farms west of the Mississippi, and thousands of them east of the Mississippi as well, at our own price... Then the farmers will become tenants as in England..."- 1891 American Bankers Association (as printed in the Congressional Record of April 29, 1913)

Even before 1913, banks were able to collude to cause recessions. People who own self-sufficient farms are unwilling to work as wage slaves in factories. In order to get people to "voluntarily" work in factories, conditions of poverty must first be created. After 1913, recessions were created with the full force of law via the Federal Reserve cartel.

The only reason this letter was made public was that it was used as part of the evidence that the Federal Reserve was needed.

"The market prices of commodities vary from day to day. This occurs when there is no radical difference in the proportion to the supply and the natural demand. This FACT is conclusive proof that our system is controlled by manipulators and fundamentally wrong. Act No. 1 was the manufacture, between 1896 and 1907, through stock gambling, speculation and other devious methods and devices, of tens of billions of watered stocks, bonds, and securities. Act No. 2 was the panic of 1907, by which those not favorable to the Money Trust could be squeezed out of business and the people frightened into demanding changes in the banking and currency laws which the Money Trust would frame. ... see how these bankers have impoverished us by selling to us, - at usury prices, - the credit that is supported by our own toil,... The king bankers put in motion, in 1907, a great scheme. They had gambled and speculated on Wall Street, until so many watered stocks and bonds had been manufactured on speculation, that numberless speculators, big and small, sprang up all over the country, and stocks, bonds, and credits were pyramided, and re-pyramided, and re-re-pyramided. Of course such a condition could not last and a crash was inevitable, because it was not natural for such gambling to continue." -Congressman Charles Lindbergh, Sr.

I liked that quote. Large unexplained volatility in market prices is de facto evidence of market manipulation. Does it make sense that the price of gold goes up or down 1% on most days? It is not the value of gold that is changing. It is the value of the dollar itself that is changing.

That's a series of articles. The others are worth reading.

In Part 4:

Andrew Jackson is the only President in history to have paid off the National Debt.

I also liked this bit. Over 100 years ago, the bankers sometimes openly wrote about their plans for economic enslavement. Journalists in England were critical of President Lincoln's Greenbacks (credit-based fiat money), not because they were bad, but because they were too beneficial. Credit-based fiat money allows people to escape permanent debt enslavement.

"If this mischievous financial policy, which has its origin in North America, shall become endurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous without precedent in the history of the world. The brains, and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That country must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe." Hazard Circular - London Times 1865

"In numerous years following the war, the Federal Government ran a heavy surplus. It could not [however] pay off its debt, or retire its securities, because to do so meant there would be no bonds to back the national bank notes. To pay off the debt was to destroy the money supply."- John Kenneth Galbraith

The American economy has been based on government debt since 1864 and it is locked into this system.

Lincoln would certainly have killed off the national banks monopoly had he not been killed himself only 41 days after being re-elected.

"Right after the Civil War there was considerable talk about reviving Lincoln's brief experiment with the Constitutional monetary system. Had not the European money-trust intervened, it would have no doubt become an established institution." - W. Cleon Skousen.

I liked Part 1. According to the Bible, the only time Jesus got violent was when he saw the money changers in the temple. The Jews could only pay their temple fee with a coin that didn't have the Roman emperor's picture on it. The money changers had a monopoly of these coins and charged extortionate fees. This incident happened shortly before Jesus was killed.

That's kind of interesting. The Christian God is so weak that even he can't win a fight with the bankers!

This thread on the Mental Militia had a great comment.

In my state, it's easier to buy crack cocaine than raw milk.

This thread on the Mental Militia had an interesting comment.

Unfortunately,what you say is true. The reason that maryjane (and the other illegal drugs) was illegalized in 1937, is that alcohol was re-legalized in 1933, and the gangsters, crooked police, and crooked politicians were deprived of their lucrative illegal income.

Prohibition was a boon for organized crime, crooked policemen, and crooked politicians. When prohibition ended, this wrecked their gravy train. Marijuana had to be criminalized to keep their business profitable.

Organized crime is ultimately a State-subsidized activity! Subject to true free market competition, it wouldn't be as profitable to sell marijuana or prostitutes.

This thread on Overcoming Bias had interesting bits in the comments section (which I don't normally read). The post was "Why do bad boys get laid more than nice guys." This also applies to a business setting.

The problem is that most people don't know each other at all. If someone projects the body language of a successful person, even if they don't have talent, it's easy to get what they want. By the time they get caught as liars, they're already moving on to their next victim.

Banks keep a "credit history" for whether you repay your loans. There should also be a "jerk history", where there's a database of people who felt cheated by you in the past. In the present, anyone trying to assemble such a database would be sued.

When dealing with a random complete stranger, you don't have anything to go on except body language.

In a corrupt economic system, dishonest people are usually in positions of power. They discriminate *AGAINST* people with real skills, because they have the ability to point out their fraud. For this reason, people with *ACTUAL* intelligence project the body language of someone who's a failure. They're accustomed to being abused by people with illegitimate authority.

In wolves, a wolf can't use State violence to impose himself as pack leader. In humans, the "pack leader" is usually someone who earned his spot due to violence and not merit.

This thread on Overcoming Bias also talks about the "nice guys don't get laid" problem.

As usual, I blame pro-State brainwashing. People are told "Do X, Y, and Z", when correct "normal" human behavior is "not X, not Y, and not Z". The "bad guys" figure out (subconsciously?) it's all a bunch of lies. The "nice guys" follow the rules they were brainwashed with, not realizing the massive conspiracy.

The "bad guys" were imperfectly brainwashed and can handle things in spite of that. The "nice guys" were brainwashed more thoroughly, and thus less effective.

It's like the "opposite George" episode of Seinfeld. (fnord!) Doing the opposite of your brainwashing is the correct behavior!

In this thread on, someone was asking about inflation.

1. Consider inflation in the sense of increasing prices.

2. A price is a monetery quantity paid for a product. (P=M3/Output)

Hence, the two structural drivers of inflation are the money supply (M3 is best?) and the output in an economy.

3. Perception may be different than reality.

Hence, over short periods of time, inflation may be lower or higher than M3/output growth, but this is not sustainable in the long run.

4. How to include velocity of money, liquidity, etcetera in this reasoning? I don't really know, but here is what I can think of:

a. Velocity of money: Means more transactions took place, I don't see how trading a product more increases its price by definition.

b/ Liquidity crisis: = lower M3, so deflationary? Does not seem like a thing to solve if you want to tackle inflation.

1. If you print more money, then prices go up. That's how inflation works. People who give alternate explanations of inflation are fools or intentionally misleading you.

When new money is printed, the people who print and spend the new money are stealing from everyone else.

2. If you double the amount of money, and the amount of goods stay the same, then prices should double. If you keep the supply of money constant and the amount of goods increases, then prices should decrease. This assumes the velocity of money does not change.

M3 is a reasonable measure of inflation. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve no longer publishes M3. They still publish M2, but M2 is growing at a much slower rate than M3, because of items included in M3 but not M2. I consider the price of gold to be a reasonable substitute for M3. If you use the price of gold as your index of inflation, then inflation is 20%-30% per year for the past few years.

3. Money supply inflation does not lead to uniform price inflation. Price bubbles occur. In the long run, money supply inflation and price inflation should be correlated. In the short run, there are variations. For example, wage increases typically lag money supply inflation. Money supply inflation allows wages to be cut without reducing the number on your paycheck.

4. During times of hyperinflation, people become reluctant to hold unbacked paper. They rush to spend their money immediately after acquiring it. If the velocity of money increases, this increases price inflation.

Here's a way to calculate velocity of money. Suppose my annual salary is $60k and I keep an average of $5k in my checking account. Using first-in first-out (FIFO) accounting, money stays in my checking account an average of 1 month. The velocity of my money is 1 month. During hyperinflation, I'll spend my paycheck the same day I receive it. In this case, the velocity of my money is less than 1 day, causing 30x more price inflation.

I still fail to see why spending your money faster increases inflation.

Why do you think they spend so much effort saying "Inflation is low! The CPI is only 2%-3%." If people get concerned about inflation, that causes even more inflation.

Suppose you spent your paycheck immediately after receiving it, but you were the only one who did it. If your paycheck is $5k, it's like the money supply increased by $5k. You removed $5k in goods from the economy, but the overall supply of money is the same. In M3/Output, you replaced "Output" with "Output-$5k", but the numerator is the same.

If you hold onto cash, you're letting people steal from you via inflation. If you don't hold onto your cash, immediately spending it, then you're not letting yourself get ripped off by inflation.

The willingness of people to hold onto cash reduces the apparent inflation rate.

For all practical purposes, you should assume that the velocity of money is constant. During hyperinflation, the velocity of money spikes in addition to the supply of money.

On this thread on, someone was hypothetically moving to an island and setting up a new monetary system. What monetary system should you use?

If your island was economically successful, you probably would be invaded.

Most islands are claimed by another country. Even if you bought the island, another country may still claim sovereignty or the right to tax you.

I would not have a central bank or any law mandating something to be used as money. People would be allowed to import/export gold and silver to/from the island. Since this island will be economically productive, it should run a trade surplus with the rest of the world, allowing gold and silver to be imported.

As a practical matter, who needs a government at all? Once you say "there will be a government", you're already on the wrong track.

There's a better approach than moving to an island and setting up a free market there. Start a free market trading group where you live now. You'll be an island of freedom surrounded by a hostile State. If you're stealthy, you may succeed. That's the whole point of agorism.

If you're a small group of people on an island, that's too much of a honeypot/target to invaders.

In this thread on, people were discussing natural rights.

If you own something, you have the right to control it. No one else does. Accordingly, there is no such thing as a right to life, happiness, free speech, health care, a job, education, etc. You only have a legitimately enforceable claim on the objects that you own, including your physical body.

How does this fit in with natural rights theory?

You're confusing things a bit.

I don't have an automatic right to life. However, I do have the right to defend myself if someone else tries to injure me.

I don't have an automatic right to food. However, I do have the right to work and purchase food, or grow it myself.

I don't have an automatic right to happiness. However, I do have the right to do whatever I want as long as I don't injure someone else.

For example, if marijuana makes me feel good, I have a natural right to smoke and possess it. (I don't recognize the State ban on marijuana as legitimate, but I also think that smoking marijuana is stupid.)

I do have the right to free speech (even the US Constitution guarantees this.) However, I don't have the right to be able to force a mainstream newspaper to print my articles. I don't have the right to free speech when it would injure someone else, such as shouting in a theater. I never understood why "slander" or "libel" is considered a crime. If I say "X is a criminal", then X should also be free to say his rebuttal.

I don't have the right to force other people to pay for health care for me. However, I have the right to work as a doctor if I choose. State licensing requirements restrict the supply and drive up prices. Health care is expensive because the State and AMA have a conspiracy to restrict the supply of doctors. I do have the natural right to work as a doctor without a license from the State. I do have the natural right to purchase health care from whoever I want, even if they don't have a license from the State.

The health care issue is never accurately portrayed in the mainstream media. Artificial restrictions on the supply of doctors drive up prices. This is never mentioned.

I don't have the automatic right to a high-paying job. However, I do have the right to start my own businesses. I don't need permission from the State to operate a bank. I don't need to hire State-licensed accountants and lawyers to make sure I follow all the silly regulations. I don't have to give up 50%+ of my labor via income taxes and other hidden costs. I'm not barred from manufacturing something just because someone else patented it first.

The right to work is a natural right. Via taxes and regulations, the State steals my right to work. I have a limited right to work under the present system, but not an unlimited right to work.

I do have the right to educate myself and my children however I choose. However, the State demands that I pay for its brainwashing centers (schools) via taxes. State regulation of schools and information restricts my options for educating my children. In some states, homeschooling is banned or regulated. Operating a homeschool business and helping other parents is illegal or heavily regulated.

The bottom line for natural rights is "You can do whatever you want, as long as you don't injure someone else. Owning property is a natural right, because otherwise why would anyone ever build or produce anything? Owning more property than you personally need is immoral, but in a free market it's impractical to own too much property; you'd be better off selling/investing your surplus property."

The bottom line for State rights is "People only have rights that the State gives them. You have the right to free speech not because it's a natural right, but because the US Constitution says so. People don't own their own labor. Via income taxes, the State has a greater claim to labor than the worker. Via regulations and licensing requirements, the State dictates who is allowed to do which jobs. Via property taxes (rent), people are barred from having full allodial title to their land."

Basically, natural rights are what common sense dictates. State rights are what a handful of people serving their own interests decide you may do.

In this thread on, someone was speculating about setting up a wiki. really needs a wiki.

I prefer the blog format to a wiki format. There are two problems that can occur with wikis:

1. Nobody reads or uses them. In that case, why bother?

2. There's a lot of users. Then, you have edit wars and flamewars. In that case, why bother?

I'm thinking of writing a better wiki engine, but blogging is a more efficient use of my time.

If you're just using another site's wiki engine, such as MediaWiki, you'll have the same problems as Wikipedia (if you're successful).

I might write my own wiki engine someday, but I don't have the time or energy right now. Someday, I may move my blog from Blogger to a self-hosted format. Then, I'd have more flexibility. For example, I could add some static pages in addition to the posts.

what are some of those problems with MediaWiki/Wikipedia?

The problem with MediaWiki/Wikipedia, pbwiki, and all the other wiki engines I've seen is the "Edit wars problem".

Suppose your wiki site attracts a decent audience. At some point, two people will disagree about what content should be displayed on a page. The result is an "edit war". The edit war is usually resolved by banning one person from the wiki or restricting their editing privileges.

For example, in another thread, I'm now in a flamewar with "Anonymous Coward" over the Compound Interest Paradox. If this were a wiki, we would be having an edit war. He would keep editing the page to say "There's no such thing as the Compound Interest Paradox", and I would be editing it back to the truth. The end result would be that one of us would be banned from the site.

In a proper wiki engine, the "editing" and "moderation" features would be separate. Page branching would be supported. Users would vote on which version of the page was their favorite. The page displayed to a new user would be based on the moderation score, and people may have individual moderation preferences.

In a proper online community, it should never be necessary to ban someone.

In this thread on, someone was asking about economic schools of thought.

I didn't realize that there's a difference between "Keynesian economics" and "neoclassical economics". It appears that adding "neo" to a theory is like saying "extra pro-State troll version", such as neoconservativism or neoliberalism. I don't bother making the distinction. There's true economics and troll economics. Do I need to categorize each type of troll economics?

Whats the Difference between the Economic Schools of thought?

Keynesian Economics is "mainstream" economics. If you hear "X is an economist", it's most likely "X is a Kenyesian Economics".

Keynesian Economics is nearly 100% lies and propaganda, used to justify fiat debt-based money and government intervention in the market.

Most Keynesian Economists work directly or indirectly for the government. For example, a professor at a university is a essentially a government employee; he's dependent on government grants for tenure and promotion. People who work at "think tanks" are indirectly government employees, if you trace the flow of money. Keynesian Economics will help you exploit a corrupt economic system for your personal benefit, so most quants/economists at a bank are Keynesian Economists.

If you want a job working as an economist, you probably have to learn Keynesian Economics and be able to pretend it isn't a bunch of nonsense.

If you want to learn "true economics", you should study Austrian Economics or agorism. An Austrian Economist says "Instead of following a corrupt monetary policy, government should adopt a monetary policy similar to what would exist in a free market." An agorist says "Who needs a government at all?" Once you realize "Taxation is theft!", you can't morally support *ANY* form of government.

I identify myself as anarchist/agorist rather than "Austrian Economist", but I understand Austrian Economics reasonably well.

Keynesian Economics is "useful", because the people at the Federal Reserve who control the US economy are themselves following Keynesian Economics. Keynesian Economics has "predictive power", because the people who are pulling the strings are following nearly the same algorithm.

Are you interested in money or knowledge? The bottom line is that, if you want to work as an economist for money, you need to learn Keynesian economics. If you learn "real economics", there isn't much of a market for that.

Keynesian economics and neoclassical economics are differnt. Most mainstream economists are neoclassical economists.

FSK is equating "money" and "job".

FSK doesn't have a PhD in economics. Therefore, FSK is unqualified to write about economics.

I wasn't aware of the distinction between "Keynesian economics" and "neoclassical economics". I don't bother categorizing each separate type of lies and propaganda.

No, I don't have a PhD in economics. I need a license from the State in order to think about economics?

I'm not equating "money" and "job". I make a clear distinction between "money" and "wealth". "Wealth" is useful stuff, like food or a car. "Fiat money" are pieces of paper with a number printed on them. "Sound money" is a form of wealth. For example, if I have a silver coin, I can melt it and use it to build electronics or other things.

When you have a "job", you are creating wealth but not money. *ONLY* a bank has the power to create fiat money. This is a common misconception. "Wealth" and money are different. Since banks have a monopoly of money creation, banks are *GUARANTEED* approximately 10% of the productive value of the economy. It's built into the rules of the monetary system!

Agorism is a school of economics, in the sense that it's a way to organize an economy that hasn't been tried yet. Agorism is not a school of economics, in the sense that I can get a grant from the government in order to study it. Government funding of economic research distorts the market for economic research. Why would government bureaucrats give grants to study a theory of economics whose conclusions are "Government is immoral!"?

What is the best investment? I've been analyzing it, and I'm wondering if physical gold in your possession is the best investment out there. Over the past 10 years, gold has outperformed the S&P 500! A comparison going back more than 10 years isn't valid, because it was illegal to own gold for most of the 20th century and central banks have been selling/leasing their gold reserves to keep down the price of gold.

Mainstream economists, especially those in universities, tend to use very advanced Mathematics and sophisticated mathematical models. Such calculations are useless when your underlying assumptions are wrong.

If you believe things like "Taxation is not theft." and "The Fed Funds Rate is the fair market-determined interest rate." and "The CPI is a fair and unbiased measure of inflation.", then no amount of Mathematical calculation will get you an answer that isn't nonsense.

(some noise)

There's a couple of common huge misconceptions here.

The Federal Reserve was 100% responsible for the Great Depression.

The USA did not abandon the gold standard in 1933. The gold standard was abandoned in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created. The Federal Reserve was allowed to print more Federal Reserve Notes than there was physical gold in the US Treasury, causing money supply expansion. "Legal tender" laws meant that Federal Reserve Notes traded at parity with gold. People didn't immediately redeem their Federal Reserve Notes for gold in 1913, because they didn't realize how badly they had been cheated.

In 1933, gold redeemability of the US dollar was abandoned, but the gold standard was abandoned in 1913. In 1971, foreign central banks were no longer allowed to redeem their dollars for gold. From 1933-1971, it was illegal to own gold in most countries, making it a gold standard in name but not in practice. (In the USA, gold ownership was re-legalized in 1975, by a bill sponsored by Ron Paul.)

People falsely say "The free market discredited the gold standard." The reality is that State distortion of the market destroyed the gold standard. A lot of people falsely believe the Federal Reserve was created after 1933, in response to the Great Depression. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and caused the Great Depression.

With debt-based money, credit expansion and money supply inflation *ARE THE SAME THING*. This is the whole point of the Compound Interest Paradox. Even though the US dollar was gold-redeemable from 1913-1933, the dollar was still debt-based money during that time. The Federal Reserve was allowed to print more Federal Reserve Notes than there was physical gold in the US Treasury, and fractional reserve banking further expanded the money supply. The average person didn't start figuring out the scam until 1933, when there was a run on the dollar and President Roosevelt defaulted on the dollar. The default on the US dollar in 1933 probably was the biggest credit default ever.

That's the reason I say mainstream economists are useless. Their equations assume money has a constant or slowly decreasing value over time. They don't properly account for the effect of massive money supply inflation, making their calculations meaningless.

Agorism is not a serious economic philosophy.

I've read your blogs, and I was wondering, where do you find the evidence of central banks supressing the price of gold? Do they just sell them steadily? What are your sources?

There is some evidence of this. I don't recall the exact source.

Central banks lease their gold out for short sales, suppressing the price. Central banks don't fully disclose the amount of gold leased out, making it hard for professional traders to measure the effect of these sales on the price. Central banks carry leased gold on their books at face amount, even though the loan is unpayable.

For example, Ron Paul complained that Fort Knox hasn't been audited in awhile. Is all that gold still there, or has it been leased out for short sales? If there's nothing to cover up, then why hasn't there been an audit?

When central banks sell gold, they announce the sale in advance to push down the price. If central banks were interested in maximizing revenue, they would quietly sell their gold. Pre-announced large sales show an intention to manipulate the price.

From time to time, the commodity exchanges change their rules, cheating people who are long gold and silver futures. The most notable example is what happened to the Hunt Brothers, but there are other instances.

There is a limited supply of gold, and it's getting harder and harder for central banks to manipulate the gold price downward. That's one reason that gold has had an excellent bull run the past few years.

Even if you believe the CPI is an accurate measure of inflation, the price of gold has not reached its CPI-adjusted historic maximum! By itself, that is evidence of substantial market manipulation.

Central banks have an incentive to manipulate the gold market, because gold is a generally accepted proxy for inflation. Gold investing is hard for the average person, due to regulation of gold/silver dealers.

There are plenty of other websites that complain about manipulation of the gold market. You may google them.

I don't mind manipulation of the gold market. That means I should buy gold! (I haven't bought any gold or silver yet.) During a hyperinflationary collapse, the people who convert their savings to tangible goods first benefit the most.

I consider agorism to be the broadest possible economic and political philosophy, in the sense that it attaches zero legitimacy to taxes, government, or State regulation of the market.

When you say "agorism is not a serious economic philosophy", it's like someone a couple hundred years ago saying "'The earth is not the center of the universe' is not a serious scientific philosophy." I consider a *TRUE* free market to be a bigger mental shift than recognizing the earth isn't the center of the universe. Once you realize "Taxation is theft!", then you can't morally accept *ANY* form of government, because government is always based on theft/taxes.

I don't consider agorism and a true free market to have any pre-defined rules, other than the immorality of government. Some concepts are obvious, such as respect for individual property, the non-aggression principle, and the right to form contracts.

Be careful when you say "X works for a university and X is an anarchist!" The label "anarchist" covers a lot of pro-State philosophies. For example, I consider Noam Chomsky to be a pro-State anarchist. By touting corrupted versions of anarchy, a stateless society in general can be discredited.

Why does Driftwood keep pimping that lousy website?

This is a fundamental flaw in the typical discussion forum. Unless you have a moderation/killfile feature, you keep seeing posts by fools.

The key to fair moderation is that everyone has their own moderation preferences. Rather than assigning a unique global score to each post, a better moderation system assigns a different score for each user.

For example, Digg presents the same frontpage to each user. If my interests don't match the aggregate bias of Digg users, then I won't like the content presented on Digg. A better Digg-like engine would present everyone with a different frontpage, customized to their personalized interests. (I heard that Digg and other social networking sites are coming up with more custom-generated article suggestions.)

I already responded to the "credit expansion is not inflationary" comment. Even from 1913-1933, the US dollar was debt-based money, although it was still gold-redeemable. Fractional reserve banks expand and contract the money supply via their fraudulent money creation process.

According to Google Analytics, my humor post on "FRE and FNM Business Model Illustrated" has been circulating a lot on livejournal. It appears that sharing on livejournal is done via private message, so I can't see exactly what people are saying. Surprisingly, most of the livejournal traffic has been "bounces".

There's been a lot of discussion of the new Batman movie "Dark Knight" about setting a new box office record. There's a *HUGE* fallacy. They're talking about sales gross. They aren't adjusting for inflation. Even CPI-adjusted inflation is incorrect.

A better measure would be "# of tickets sold", but that statistic isn't widely quoted.

rwinston has left a new comment on your post "The Black-Scholes Formula is Wrong! - Part 12/12 -...":
"Options are priced as if the expected return in the underlying asset equals the risk-free interest rate. The expected return of stocks exceeds the risk-free interest rate. The expected return of bonds and commodities also exceeds the risk-free interest rate."

This is complete rubbish. The B-S model makes no assumptions whatsoever about the expected return on the underlying asset. It only makes the assumption that the return distribution is normal. The risk-free rate factor is there for an entirely different reason, unrelated to the underlying asset return.

No, your comment is rubbish/trolling. When you assume "professional traders may borrow/lend an unlimited amount of money at the risk-free rate", that has as a consequence "The expected gain in stocks equals the risk-free rate."

I wrote a program that, for a given pair of (call, put) prices, calculates the implied (mean, variance) pairs. The mean is indeed approximately equal to the risk-free rate. That is wrong, because the expected gain in stock is greater than the risk-free rate, for any nontrivial time period.

I get a lot of hate mail for my series of posts on the Black-Scholes formula. Essentially, I am saying "Every academic who writes articles on the Black-Scholes formula is a fool or trolling."

Joey has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #59":

I posted a reply to some random bits on my blog.

Hopefully I got the right link this time. lol

I don't mean to talk from a high horse or anything, but if you love the freemarket so much, why would you be working for an institution that is partially or mostly supported by the state, which you say is the enemy of the free market? Anyway, just wanted to get that off my chest.

FSK, do you think your efforts on the Mises forums have been productive?

I'm not working for just by posting there. By that same argument, you should say "Why am I supporting the State by purchasing Internet service from a State-supported monopoly/oligopoly?" It isn't practical to completely sever all ties with the State right now.

I'll probably get bored with eventually, but not yet.

Posting on is not productive, in the sense that I will convince the forum's resident pro-State trolls. It is productive, in the sense that it is generating traffic for my blog, according to Google Analytics. There's enough interesting bits occasionally.

The key when dealing with troll-infested forums is to not let the trolls get you down. Perhaps ignoring the trolls is the best approach.

Whenever someone says "**** you FSK! I'm not reading your blog anymore!" my Google Analytics statistics start sharply increasing.

Oh? That's interesting indeed! I will keep that in mind if somebody ever leaves a comment like that on my blog. I have recieved only one abusive or angry comment in this blog's history and I had to delete it because I did not think it was worth responding to or keeping around. Just some idiot trying to stir up an angry response in me.

I post the troll comments and ridicule them. If I completely block out trolls, is that censorship? Ridiculing trolls seems to be a sufficient tactic for discouraging troll comments. I do filter out obvious spam, but I let the trolling through.

According to Google Analytics, July is on track for another record month traffic-wise, with a 10%-20% increase over June.

There are three methods I use to judge if a post was popular:
  1. Google Analytics statistics
  2. reader comments
  3. citations elsewhere, discovered via Technorati, Google Analytics, or Google search

I wonder if I should take the attitude of President Bush. "Either you're with me or against me!" Either you believe agorism is worth pursuing and investigating, or you're wasting my time.

I got the feeling from our discussions that you already take that attitude, and you're not alone. While I tried to investigate agorism in several places (outside our previous discussions) I got the same kind of rhetoric about how effective it is. We will just have to disagree and I'll wait and see what happens there.

I don't have any firsthand experience about how effective agorism is. I don't know of any mature free market trading groups. Intuitively, agorism seems like the only resistance strategy worth pursuing. If you're a good agorist, you're fighting the State and showing a profit at the same time!

I plan to conduct an experiment with practical agorism sometime in the next few years. Right, raising awareness is probably more important.

It's nice to see people besides me intelligently defending agorism. I didn't see that a year ago.

I'll bet that was fun talking to the Ron Paul people.

The amusing part about the Ron Paul forum was the forum's professional trolls and how blatantly obvious it was. They were aggressively defending the Federal Reserve and income tax!

I prefer to say 'government' is an abstract entity because most statists define government in such abstract ways that gives certain groups of people rights they don't have, like ruling others. The state I simply define as a group of lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and thugs operating a protection racket.

I agree that government is an abstract fictional entity, just like any other corporation. It's as pointless to say "I had a dispute with the government" as "I had a dispute with Santa Claus". Both the government and Santa Claus are equally real. They are the result of propaganda/brainwashing.

In many ways, Santa Claus is like the theoretical State. Santa Claus is omniscient and will punish those who disobey him.

My enemy is not the State. My enemies are the people who would try to use force to impose their will on me. Policemen are the thugs and enforcers. Politicians, lawyers, judges, and bureaucrats also play a role. Who is more immoral, a policeman or a politician? I'm not sure. Is it the policeman, because he's the one who imposes his will on my by force? Is it the politician, who's conned the policemen into obeying his whims?

David Z from no third solution is posting on now. It's always interesting to see the human-to-troll ratio increasing.

Rich has left a new comment on your post "The Liberty Dollar Scam":

However, if the price of silver goes over $20/ounce, they will halve the amount of silver that each liberty dollar represents. In other words, your $20 paper Liberty Dollar, which represented one ounce of silver before, now represents only a half ounce of silver.

Completely wrong. The paper "liberties" are always redeemable in the exact amount of SILVER printed on them. The "$20" (now "$50") printed on the 1-ounce warehouse receipts is no different from a SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE, as printed on any other product. The purpose is to make it easier for people who actually use LDs in transactions, because most people who use LDs still also use Federal Reserve Notes, and most things are priced in FRNs.

I got that detail wrong. I thought that you lost your silver when the base changed. I see now that they adjusted.

Also, if you owned physical liberty dollars, you needed to pay a reminting fee when the base changed.

However, if you owned warehouse receipt liberty dollars you wound up with nothing, after the FBI/IRS seized their assets. There is a class action lawsuit pending, but I doubt that will be successful; even if successful, I doubt paper liberty dollar holders will recover 33% after legal fees.

When the price of silver remained above about $7/oz for 30 days, the LD was moved up to the $20 base; when it was above about $17/oz for 60 days, the LD was moved up to the $50 base.

During the 10->20 transition period, those with 10LD coins (1oz silver) could trade them in and receive the new 20LD coins (1oz silver) for a small reminting fee; or they could keep the old coins, as I did. The same thing took place during the 20->50 transition period. If they used them to exchange for things priced in FRNs, getting the new coins would be a good idea but it was not required.

During the 10->20 transition, those with the old 10LD warehouse receipts (1oz silver) could trade them in for the new 20LD warehouse receipts (1oz silver), or they could keep the old receipts, and still redeem them for the same 1oz of silver they were worth before the base change, anytime they wanted. The same thing took place during the 20->50 transition.

In fact, up until late last year, when the FBI raided the warehouse and seized everything, those with the original 10LD 1oz silver receipts could still redeem them for 1oz of silver, even though the LD had already gone through two base changes since those receipts were issued. As a result of the raid, a class action lawsuit is now in progress, filed by the customers of NORFED (now Liberty Services) for the retrieval of their property, which is what the FBI stole during its raid; most of the metal seized belonged to NORFED's customers, not NORFED, because it was the backing for the warehouse receipts. Even if NORFED wanted to do what you claim, they couldn't because the warehouse has always been regularly independently audited to ensure 100% reserves are kept, in the metal amounts printed on the receipts, for all the warehouse receipts issued.

The base changes do NOT have, and have never had, any effect on the amount of silver you own, either as coins or in the warehouse.

As for the FBI's raid, the charges were all based on supposed counterfeiting, yet despite your (and the FBI's) assertions to the contrary, LD receipts and coins look NOTHING like FRNs and US coins. There's no possible way anyone with an IQ above 50 could mistake them for something the government or the FR made. The warehouse receipts have a different design, different size (actually sizes, since each denomination has a different length, which is especially helpful for the blind), and different texture compared to FRNs, and the LD coins have a different design, different size, and different weight compared to any US coins.

I agree that the FBI's raid on Liberty Dollar's offices was illegitimate. However, the fact remains that owners of paper liberty dollars probably lost everything. I doubt they will win their class action lawsuit, and even if they do, they won't recover legal expenses.

Why are you aggressively defending the Liberty Dollar? Do you work for them?

The problem with the Liberty Dollar is that they made the coin sort of look like government issued money. For example, they wrote "Trust in God" instead of "In God We Trust". Someone who's a total fool might confuse a Liberty Dollar for official government money. The Liberty Dollar vendors instructed people to pass off the Liberty Dollar coin as State-issued money.

If you use the Liberty Dollar as money, and both sides are aware that it isn't State-issued money, then it's perfectly legal. However, the FBI controls more guns than me and they get to make the rules.

The Liberty Dollar gives alternate monetary systems a bad name. Why not use 1 ounce silver rounds and value them based on the spot price of silver? If you tried to purchase something from me with a Liberty Dollar, I'd give you credit for the spot price of silver, and not the face amount.

Rich has left a new comment on your post "The Liberty Dollar Scam":

Paying $20 for $13 of silver is stupid.

Yes, though a 1oz silver round or warehouse receipt is worth more than just a formless 1oz lump of silver. I also highly doubt anyone was paying that much for the 1oz 20LDs when they first came out. The prices the regional currency offices and LD associates get is based on the spot price, so they get them for significantly less than the suggested retail price; the SRP is supposed to last for several years, because base transitions are costly for everyone, hence the low starting point after each base change.

The FRN "face value" is just a suggestion; most people who use LDs in transactions treat it as such. It's a convenience to help bridge the gap between the existing system and the one fans and users of the LD are trying to promote and create (a free market for money).

You also mistake LDs for merely an investment in silver. That may be part of the reason to use them, but the main reason is as a hedge against inflation and to get people off of their dependence on FRNs. LDs are mostly used as local currencies, in direct competition with FRNs, and because only local businesses are likely to accept them, they provide local merchants with a bit of mutual protection and promotion against the encroachment of large state protected and subsidized corporations.

The Liberty Dollar was a multiple level marketing scam. I maintain my argument that anyone who pays $50 for $18 of silver is a fool.

Why not use one ounce silver rounds and value them based on the spot price of silver? What's wrong with that?

Suppose you were using Liberty Dollars as money and I'm using silver as money. You pay me a $50 Liberty Dollar for a $18 purchase. Am I supposed to give you 1.5 ounces of silver in change?

The trick of stamping "$50" on $18 of silver or $0.03 of paper only works for the State. When a private corporation does that, they don't have the ability to back their money with violence.

I also reject your suggestion that paper warehouse receipts are superior to physical silver. With a warehouse receipt, there are three bad things that can happen.
  1. The person managing the warehouse receipt bank could commit fraud. They could be secretly practicing fractional reserve banking, by not having the full reserves they claim they have.
  2. The warehouse receipt bank could be raided by the IRS/FBI, and have its assets stolen. This actually happened for the Liberty Dollar and some e-Gold vendors.
  3. You could lose your receipt.
With physical silver, there's only one bad thing that can happen. You can lose your silver. Silver isn't that heavy! It really isn't that impractical to carry a few ounces of silver around for purchases. How much does your wallet weigh?

Rich made some interesting points, but his overall tone is that of a troll.

Rich has left a new comment on your post "Who's the Richest Man in the World?":

You're making the same mistake creationists, and most conspiracy theorists, make: you're assuming that spontaneous complex order can't exist, that order must be made by a consciousness. Part of the error is assuming that without a consciousness behind order, it must arise completely at random. This is not so; selective pressures turn the random into the orderly. It's true in biology, it's true in economics, and it's true in politics. Experimentation and selective pressures, mutation and natural selection, give rise to greater-than-human-
intelligence computational processes. Life, the market, and the state have all evolved as a result of this.

The current social, political, and economic condition of humanity, with its various states and nominally private privileged interests has arisen by way of selective pressures. The first states formed as economic production first began to exceed the level of mere subsistence; the first states formed as parasites, feeding on this excess production.

States have existed much like a living organism. Over the millenia, a great many have been created, lasted for a time, and then were destroyed by internal or external factors. Over the successive generations of states, they've evolved into better predators and parasites.

The productive provide the wealth that enables the non-productive to exist, much like photosynthesizing organisms provide the sustenance required by those "higher on the food chain". States exist as the top predators/parasites, and as the productive have produced more wealth, states had to increase in complexity to adapt to an ever more difficult to control productive populace.

The priests and nobles were the first nominally private privileged interests, the first nominally private extensions of the state, but these extensions have changed over the years and grown in number, complexity, and function. (As the controls and exploitations have grown beyond just the overt state, I'll refer to it as "The System" from this point forward.)

The people who make up The System are like the cells of a multicellular organism, and the various institutions of The System, both overtly political and nominally private, function like internal organs. There is a brain, there are those within The System who direct it as a whole, but it is not any single one of them who holds all the power, and it's possible none fully understand its true nature; like brain cells, they work together, each performing their own piece of the computational tasks required to keep The System running.

Though it may seem that someone or some group might have been able to seize all the power at some point, The System can't be controlled by any single individual or group. It must be a spontaneous order, because central planning doesn't work. To function at that level of complexity, a fitness function is needed. For life, the selective pressures of the environment are sufficient. For the market, prices serve that role. For The System, it is the ability to maintain control that determines success or failure.

I don't understand why I get so much hate mail for my discussion of the Supreme Leader of Humanity. I'm putting it forward as a possibility, and not a fact.

I don't understand why "conspiracy theorists" in general are denounced. If you say anything that contradicts the official mainstream viewpoint, then you're a conspiracy theorist.

There is a bunch of circumstantial evidence of a massive conspiracy. If there's a single smoking gun, it's the Compound Interest Paradox. There's no single bit of evidence that makes you say "That's the proof that would convince anyone!". However, via Bayesian reasoning and adding each bit of evidence, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence

Whether the current corrupt system is the result of a conspiracy or not is irrelevant. The important point is that the current economic and political system isn't working and it's time to try something else.

I hadn't heard that suggestion of the State as a living organism before. That theory doesn't make sense. For a colony of ants, each ant is usually genetically identical, so it makes sense to cooperate. A single ant or handful of ants can't survive on their own. A individual human or small group of humans can survive on their own. There probably was no State before agriculture was discovered. In a hunter/gatherer society, there's no profit from slaves, because they can just run away. In an agricultural society, then it pays to keep slaves.

If you believe "The State is a living organism, with humans as cells.", then I don't want to be a part of it. Are you saying that there's this massive alien organism occupying this planet? How did I wind up alone on a planet surrounded by hostile aliens? Is there any intelligent life out there besides me?

As another example, as evidence of the conspiracy, there are people who manipulate the State for their own personal benefit. Due to consolidation of media ownership, these abuses are never exposed. There are a handful of people who control all the major newspapers and TV stations, and they're not interested in reporting the news honestly. For example, if Sumner Redstone or Rupert Murdoch were interested in honestly reporting the evils of the income tax or Federal Reserve, it would be easy for them to arrange. However, they probably would be assassinated if they tried it. They are beneficiaries of the current corrupt system, so why should they rock the boat? Anybody in a position of power or influence has an interest in preserving the current corrupt system.

I don't believe the "State as intelligent lifeform" theory. I prefer my explanation of the State as an abstraction fictional character. The State is a mass hallucination. A lot of people act as if the State were an individual with its own will and goals, but that's not true. That's the whole myth of corporations as individuals.

Mike has left a new comment on your post "Real GDP is Decreasing, 1990-2007":

This would be even more alarming if you put a coefficient on the "G" (government spending) component of GDP.

How much of government spending in the US actually goes to "production" (things like roads, the postal service and enforcement of night-watchman-state-
compatible common law) versus waste (military overseas, victimless/status crime prosecution and punishment, wealth transfer, pork projects, etc)? 10%? 5%?

Fudge around with that factor for a while and I'll bet the story is even grimmer.

Based on the link propertarian gave me (see below), it appears that only 10% of the economy is actual productive work and the rest is waste. It's hard to get good statistics.

Do you really expect State bureaucrats to produce a report saying "This is the % of the economy that represents fraud and waste."

That was one joke by President Reagan. He said "If only there were a line on the Federal budget that said 'waste, pork, and fraud'. That would make it easier to cut spending!"

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "Real GDP is Decreasing, 1990-2007":

FSK & Mike,

I've been giving this some thought as well. In the last 6 years basically since the invastion of Iraq: we've had unprecedented borrowing from foreign countries, largely for govt. and corps related to the military industrial complex. Also, this was the same period when the financial industry opened the sub-prime housing market and flooded the market with cash there. On top of all of that, we've seen the price of a gallon of gasoline more than double, some of which is certainly due to nothing more than just inflation of the U.S. dollar (due to war and subprime market cash flood). Now the banks AND homeowners need bailing out (according to f**ked up politicians). I think these home owners are thinking "Hey everyone else is got there hand in the cookie jar so why not me too" Well they would have a good point wouldn't they?

Anyway, I we have set ourselves up for quite a problem that can only be solved by more inflation. American household savings are lowest since Great Depression, gasoline is high as hell, credit cards are maxed due to cash withdrawals to cover house not on subprime home owners. The government will certainly have to 'invent' another NEED for printing up money to keep this thing afloat. What will the next big ticket item be? Iraq will continue to be a giant leech on our society but they'll surely come up with another 'bubble' to cover the demise of the sub prime housing industry. Big mess bros...

Most large banks are technically insolvent. If forced to "mark-to-market" or sell their assets, they would be underwater. Massive inflation is needed to bail out the banks. In turn, this represents a massive transfer of wealth from the productive sector of the economy to the parasite sector.

I read an interesting article that said that President Roosevelt prolonged the Great Depression by bailing out the banks. In 1933, most large banks were technically insolvent, just like now. President Roosevelt defaulted on the dollar and allowed massive inflation to occur. This bailed out the banks. From 1934-1941, banks made fantastic profits while the rest of the economy was still in depression. The inflation bailed out banks, and transferred wealth from the productive sector of the economy to banks.

The doubling of the price of gasoline is merely a halving in the value of the dollar. No mainstream news source places the blame for rising gas prices on devaluation of the dollar. The official story is that inflation is 2%-3% per year, according to the CPI.

propertarian has left a new comment on your post "Real GDP is Decreasing, 1990-2007":

GDP is a horrible statistic to measure economic growth, as the Dot-com and housing bubble actually increases the GDP.

A more accurate GDP measure is here, and subtract the "G" component to get a more accurate measure.

All government spending is theft, and people have to work harder to pay taxes, so the "G" component should be subtracted two times.

The more government spending, the higher the GDP. The more inefficient the corporations, the higher the GDP. GDP actually decreases when accounting loopholes, tax evasion and informal economy increase.

And the import and export components are based on a bullionist mercantilistic ideology, and should not be measured.

That link was interesting. I'm not sure how to intepret that data.

I concluded that, if gold is your index of inflation, then real GDP decreased by 45% from 2001-2007.

Let's look at that table for 2001-2007. That table is not adjusted for inflation.

Raw GDP (line 1) was 10128B in 2001 and 13841.3B in 2007, for a gain of 36.6% in uninflation-adjusted dollars.

Durable goods (line 3) are things like cars, appliances, and furniture. Line 3 was 883.7B in 2001 and 1078.2B in 2007, for a gain of only 22%. In other words, the "durable goods" component of GDP shrunk by more than 60%, compared with 45% shrinkage in overall GDP!

Nondurable goods (line 4) are things like food and clothing. Lin 4 was 2017B in 2001 and 2833B in 2007, for a gain of 40%. This means that the shrinkage in nondurable goods was "only" 40%!

Services (line 5) increased by 40% also. However, services includes things like lawyer salaries, which are purely parasitic.

However, look at line 13. This is next imports. Notice this is a negative adjustment! This means that the "durable goods" and "nondurable goods" lines included net imports!

Net goods imported was 436B in 2001 and 827B in 2007, for a gain of 89.7%! If you subtract net imports from durable+nondurable goods, that's a really bleak picture!

The USA is a net exporter of services. That makes sense, because printing money and exporting inflation is a "service". The USA services the rest of the world in the same manner that a bull services a cow.

Overall, if you're criticizing my post on "Real GDP is Decreasing", your criticism says that my post paints an unfairly *OPTIMISTIC* picture of the US economy! Things are actually worse than overall GDP indicates, because a lot of fraud and waste is counted as productivity in GDP calculations!

Also, government is only 19% of GDP according to that chart, which is way too low. According to my estimates, the State leeches 40%-50% of the economy directly via income taxes. I was confused about that for awhile, until I figured it out. Transfer payments don't count towards the government portion of GDP. Therefore, the 15% Social Security and Medicare tax don't count as government expenses. Also, interest payments on the national debt don't seem to be counted. Other welfare programs and direct payments don't count. If you add those back in, then you get that government is leeching 40%-50% of GDP directly via taxes.

eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #59":

My comment about Burger King versus McDonald's was kind of a joke - it was a demonstration of the strawman fallacy. The idea was, in one variant of the Strawman Fallacy, somebody accuses you of saying or believing something totally irrelevant that you didn't even say. (You never said anything at all about Burger King versus McDonald's. I made that up out of thin air.) Then they attack the imaginary thing you didn't say. Sorry to be confusing.

But on that subject I'll agree with you that the local restaurants are the unique places where you can actually enjoy the foods. I don't argue about which fast food chain is better than some other fast food chain because in general I think they're all pretty bad.

I understood how it was intended as humorous. My confusion was that it wasn't actually humorous.

Local restaurants are taking a hit due to the "trans-fats" ban. Due to the trans fat ban, bakeries are now baking cakes and cookies that don't taste as good. I guess the trans fat ban is another form of corporate welfare. If local vendors can't make food that tastes good, then you may as well visit the bland corporate chains.

I resent the State telling me that I can't eat trans fats.

j has left a new comment on your post "Who's the Richest Man in the World?":

This is a somewhat seductive..I wish I could believe it all. You lost me with this comment: "It's too well organized to be random." A common fallacy rebuked by one term: spontaneous order.

Why do people resist the Supreme Leader of Humanity concept?

What is more depressing?
  1. A small group of humans have enslaved the entire world.
  2. Humanity is so stupid that it enslaved itself under its own incompetence.
Based on the evidence, I'm more inclined to believe (1). However, (2) also has some merit.

You're also missing the main point. It's irrelevant if the current corrupt system evolved as part of a conspiracy or not. The important point is correcting the problem.

There's a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to an organized effort to keep people stupid/taxed/oppressed.

On the other hand, if there really were an evil Supreme Leader of Humanity, then why haven't I been assassinated by now?

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "The Gold Lease Rate is Negative!":

I've got a gold 'ticker' in my sidebar and it's had gold from 980 down to 920 and back up to 975 this weekend. right now shows 963...

I don't track prices daily. I look at a monthly or annual basis. If you track prices all the time, it leads to paranoia.

If you have an investment in physical gold, all your ticker needs to say is "1 ounce of gold = 1 ounce of gold". If you own gold, you should preserve your purchasing power over time.

By E-Mail, someone writes:

Just wanted to tell you what a great blog you have. Must be something about reading another software engineer because you present things in a way that I can just automatically understand them.

OK, thanks for the feedback. I noticed that my audience tends to be software engineer types. It's rough, because someone who's been brainwashed as an economist won't understand the Compound Interest Paradox, and someone who's been brainwashed as a politician won't understand "Taxation is theft!"

I'm trying to figure out ways to attract a bigger audience and turn my blog into a for-profit business.

If my blog is only attractive to software engineers, that could be a problem aiming for a mainstream audience. Can you profitably produce a show that's only attractive to a minority? With fragmented cable/Internet audiences, it should be possible. However, I doubt I would get a mainstream source to carry my content.

eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "FRE and FNM Business Model Illustrated":

The CEO's excuses: "liquidity problems"... "this time it was your fault"... LOL

That's the point. The blame is always deflected elsewhere.

Negative real interest rates encourage speculation. The central bank has an unlimited budget, which means that politically connected insiders always get a bailout. The cost of these profits aren't free. Everyone else pays the cost as inflation.

That post seemed to be reasonably popular. It hasn't gotten enough pageviews to crack the "Best of FSK" list. I haven't had a post shoot up the "Best of FSK" list in awhile.

sunni has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #59":

Thanks for including a post of mine in this roundup. For the record, I'm female, and I didn't start the freedom "family" meme—a friend of mine did.

I should do a gender breakdown of my regular readers. There's a few regular female commenters. I expected it to be nearly all male, because software engineering is mostly all male.

CorkyAgain has left a new comment on your post "Is Autism an Illness?":

"In the Psychological Society, social conflicts of all kinds are automatically shifted to the level of psychic problems, in order that they can be charged to individuals as private matters. Schooling produces near-universal resistance, which is classified, for example, as 'hyperkinesis' and dealt with by drugs and/or psychiatric ideology. Rather than recognize the child's protest, his or her life is invaded still further, to ensure that no one eludes the therapeutic net."

-- John Zerzan, "The Mass Psychology of Misery." Emphasis added.

Zerzan's point, and I think it's a correct one, is that labeling dissenting opinions or attitudes as a kind of mental disease is a way of marginalizing and evading the implicit social criticism.

At the same time, this kind of talk allows them to maintain their own posture as exemplars of "mental health" aka "maturity", "sanity" or "right thinking".

That's the problem. Anybody different is labeled as sick. One of my favorite tactics is that political dissidents tend to get labeled with a mental illness and confined in psychiatric hospitals.

There's an inherent conflict of interest. The list of mental illnesses is compiled by psychiatrists. Therefore, the incentive is for them to label as many things as possible as mental illnesses. There's no incentive for objectivity. There's no check against abuse. Psychiatrists have "sovereign immunity", like all State employees.

At one time, homosexuality was characterized as a mental illness.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "Is Autism an Illness?":


I realized you were super human some time ago. I told a friend the other day when I logged onto your blog to read your latest post that 'this guy is a machine'. Whatever negative traits you may possess compared to someones opinion of normality - I'd just like to say has endowed you with the ability to construct a great blog. I enjoy reading your posts because they are a reflection of your mind, which earned my respect some time ago.

Also, when I first started to blog i submitted a post to your carnival. After coming to my blog you gave me a couple of tips which I implemented. Just wanted to say 'Thanks'.

That's an interesting question. To what extent am I the product of my experiences, and to what extent is it inherent/genetic ability? I don't know if anyone else could have survived the things I've seen and still be able to act mostly normal. (I still have a normal "wage slave" job, and am doing reasonably well.)

Most people don't actively seek out the truth. The actual truth is incredibly frightening, once you see what is actually happening. Many truth seekers wind up in the psych ward and spend the rest of their life on drugs. It's very traumatic to realize that a lot of things you were *SURE* were true turn out to be complete and total lies.

Once you align your personal philosophy with the real truth instead of the fake truth, then it's easy to see clearly. By visiting the appropriate websites, and via feedback on my blog, I'm enhancing my ability to think clearly.

However, I haven't found a way to translate this into a source of income. I still have a normal corporate wage-slave job.

I wonder if, by explaining things, it's less traumatic for my readers? When I figured out what was going on, I was alone and had to figure things out the hard way.

I found your submission to the December 2007 Market Anarchist Blog Carnival.

Michael Bass presents Do we have Private Property in the USA? posted at Debt Prison.

He didn't make my favorite argument. Property taxes mean that American's don't own their land. Property taxes and eminent domain mean that you really have a perpetual transferable lease for the property you thought you "owned". Very few Americans have full allodial title to their land.

It was a decent submission overall.

Actually, your blog is buried in my "hitlist" somewhere. It hasn't made it to the top of my rotation.

gilliganscorner has left a new comment on your post "Is Autism an Illness?":

I am going to have to agree with barry b., FSK.

If I were to try and write a blog like you write, it would be a full time job for me, not just writing it, but reading/researching articles as well.

I too, want to say thanks. Like you, I was aware of many of the defects you point out in many posts (some I wasn't of course). However, I didn't know what to do with my awareness of that. Your blog has given me direction on that, so again, thanks.

When I was a kid, was diagnosed with hyperactivity. Today, the trend is to call it "AD/HD". I was forced (I was 4 years old - how could I resist?) to take Ritalin for about 2 years. My parents stopped giving me Ritalin when I asked them to. I can't remember why I told them to stop. I think I was tired of feeling, for lack of better phrase, "slower". However, as I was older, I had more control. I probably would have done that without Ritalin.

I saw a T-shirt the other day. A kid who was about 11-12 years old was wearing it. It stated:

Back in Bla..."Hey look! A squirrel!"

If you are familiar with the band AC/DC, this will make sense.

I laughed so hard, tears were running out of my eyes...and that's rare.

It's one thing to say "The economic and political system is unfair!" It's another thing to say "What are you going to do about it?" Agorism seems like the only resistance strategy worth pursuing.

I spend a few hours per day on my blog. I have some spare time at work, when I do some blogging related activities. Whenever I find interesting bits in my own browsing, they make it into the "Reader Mail" posts.

I have drafts queued up ahead of time, so I can continue posting if I have a creative dry spell.

That's interesting that you were able to figure out, at 6 years old, that the Ritalin was bad for you. After my first hospitalization, I moved back in with my parents. It took me two months of pleading to get them to let me stop taking my medication. My ****ing psychiatrist told my parents that all sorts of horrible things would happen if I stopped taking my drugs. After I stopped taking the drugs, I felt tremendous relief! However, the withdrawal symptoms were *HORRIBLE*. The drug withdrawal symptoms look like a mental illness.

I did relapse a few times, but hopefully I'm clean now. The withdrawal symptoms are *NASTY*. Plus, I still hadn't finished cleansing my brain of all the bad things I had learned. As I started being able to see clearly again, it was traumatic enough to cause me to be hospitalized again. For example, starting to see the fnords was incredibly traumatic.

I don't follow AC/DC or much pop music.

"Attention deficit disorder" is one of those illnesses fabricated by the pharmaceutical industry to sell more drugs. Due to extensive lobbying, many state schools now have "mandatory mental health screening". If your child fails the test, then he may be forcibly drugged. If the parent does not comply, "child protection services" may be called and the child forcibly taken from the parent.

Mike has left a new comment on your post "Is Autism an Illness?":

Dear FSK, I recommend reading even if just for the mention of autism in the context.

Me? "Multiple brain dysfunction" then later "ADD" and "ADHD" when those terms gained currency. A decade of ritalin. And a daughter with an Asperger's diagnosis and a dextroamphetamine habit. Ain't life grand?

Is your daughter voluntarily taking dextroamphetamine? If so, my advice for you is to have her stop taking it cold turkey. Is your daughter still in your custody, or independent? The withdrawal is *NASTY*, but she should stop taking the drugs.

That link wasn't that interesting. The libertarian (or free market) approach to the psychiatry industry is very simple.
  1. Forcing drugs on an otherwise nonviolent patient is a violation of the non-aggression principle.
  2. Forcing drugs via trickery or violence is fraud.
  3. The State protects psychiatrists from the consequences of their fraud. The psychiatrists' defense is "I was following standard procedures, approved by the State." The problem is that the standard procedures are defective, and there's no way for a patient to prove this.
  4. A patient who is a victim of the psychiatry industry can't pursue justice in a State court. The psychiatrist has sovereign immunity, making a lawsuit impractical.
  5. Pharmaceutical corporations provide kickbacks to doctors who prescribe their drugs. This is fraudulent.
  6. The "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness is totally fraudulent. Based on my personal experience, I consider this to be practically proven. That is insufficient to provide proof in a biased State court. The State will *NEVER* fund a proper research study that shows the truth, because the pharmaceutical industry would never allow such research to be funded.

It's interesting how many readers are coming forward with stories of abuse by the psychiatry/death industry. Of course, my blog isn't a random sample of the population.


Anonymous said...

I'm also a regular reader as a software engineer. I was somewhat surprised at first that many (most?) of your readers are software engineers, but having thought about it some more, it makes sense. Understanding the vast majority of the information presented in your blog really requires nothing more than the skill of thinking logically, and a willingness to mercilessly apply that logic to everything they see, and everyone they meet. Software engineers have the first of those skills, almost by definition, and finding alternate paths and elegant solutions is what the good ones do, which is a small step away from the second skill.

I don't really think it's possible to expand your blog to a "mainstream audience" because a huge percentage of the population has had consistent logic completely brainwashed out of them, in which case they simply cannot understand. Of the ones that do still possess the capability to understand, if they don't have the mental fortitude to consider and think about the depressing conclusions, or have been brainwashed into believing that "extreme" positions are always bad, they will leave, rather than take the time required to understand. (Which I suspect eliminates most of the remainder)

I've got nothing but my intuition to back it up, but I suspect these two skills are like pointer arithmetic - either you get it, or you don't. Maybe a more apt saying for this situation would be "either you get it, or the malicious state-sponsored brainwashing worked".

Anarcho-Mercantilist said...

GDP is still a fallacious statistic. If the borders are opened, then per capita GDP would be lower (even though the middle class did not lose anything). If protectionism is enforced, then the GDP would be higher (because of increased and inefficient domestic production instead of imports subtracted).

"According to my estimates, the State leeches 40%-50% of the economy directly via income taxes."

If you count the tax loopholes and tax evasion, then it would be less than 40%-50%.

Anonymous said...

Is your daughter voluntarily taking dextroamphetamine?

At 8 years old, is anything really voluntary? Anyway, she has lived with my ex-wife since birth, so it's rather out of my hands. It makes me wonder just wtf is going on, though, to have a daughter taking stimulant meds, and also a young nephew being slowly slotted into the "autism spectrum" as well.

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