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Saturday, January 3, 2009

An Example of Pointless State Resistance

Some comments deserve their own separate post for an answer.

DixieFlatline has left a new comment on your post "Is Participating in the State Economy Immoral?":

As I posted on my blog, FSK, Kevin Carson all of the BLOGGER bloggers, are ALREADY ON GOOGLE'S PLATFORM.

They are already data mining you. Your use of "Anonymous" is futile.

Your paranoia however is well founded.

If you're going to refer to a post on your own blog, it's better if you link to it. I'm way behind on reading the stuff in my RSS reader. (I wish that Google Reader would fix the "automatically expire posts after 30 days" feature/bug. I shopped around for another RSS reader and found nothing better. I guess I have to do what a real programmer should do and write my own RSS reader. I'll make that a feature of my AgoristBay/forum PHP engine.)

I found the post by DixieFlatline.

It isn’t immoral for me to promote agorism and show a profit at the same time. In the present, the only way for me to do this is via State-sanctioned businesses.

Well, that is the problem with left anarchism. You’re not supposed to profit, and you’re not supposed to deal with big companies. That would be hypocritical or so the reasoning goes.

Am I a left anarchist? I don't like the left-right distinction. I thought that agorism was "libertarian left"?

I'd much rather be called an up-anarchist than a left-anarchist or right-anarchist.

The people who say "Property is theft!" and "You don't own your own labor!" are not true anarchists. I consider such fallacies to be pro-State trolling. Unfortunately, one prominent anarchist thinker (Proudhon?) said "Property is theft!" and now is mindlessly quoted. The correct answer is "In the present, almost all property is stolen property.", but that's not the same as saying private property is inherently evil. In a true free market, it wouldn't make economic sense to accumulate more land that you can manage/use yourself. Large corporate farms are only profitable in the context of State subsidies and restriction of the market.

Anyway, DixieFlatline seems to agree with that point, which is "It's morally acceptable for FSK to put advertisements on his blog." Right now, the wage slave economy is all there is. If I want to promote agorism and show a profit at the same time, I have to do it via the State slave economy.

It's morally acceptable to utilize the State economy, when it dominates the entire landscape. It's acceptable to use State services even if your goal is to eliminate the State. If I wanted to 100% boycott the State, then I would be unable to do anything at all. Our modern technological society has lots of nice conveniences. I like these conveniences. I dislike the fact that the State has given a handful of people a monopoly/oligopoly to sell these conveniences. I'm not going to forego those conveniences just to do negligible harm the State.

The Internet is one of the best conveniences of our modern society, because it breaks the mainstream media information monopoly. Even though the bad guys may track what I'm doing, I'd be severely crippling my efforts if I decided to stop using the Internet.

I noticed this post by Mike Gogulski, where he refused a job for the State. The fallacy in his reasoning is that *ANY* on-the-books work supports the State via taxes.

Actually, there is a fallacy in FSK’s reasoning and I will provide it following this rest of the paragraph extrapolating on Mike Gogulski’s supposed logical error.

I disagree with this criticism. I should clarify my point. I did not say:

Mike Gogulski's refusal to work directly for the State means that he is a pro-State troll.

I really meant:

Under the present circumstances, Mike Gogulski's refusal to work directly for the State ultimately accomplishes nothing. Refusing to work directly for the State makes Mike Gogulski feel good, but ultimately does negligible damage to the State. On-the-books work supports the State as much as directly working for the State. You need to work off-the-books to avoid supporting the State. It's even more desirable if you use real money instead of slave points.

That is the point I was attempting to make.

If Mike Gogulski refuses to work directly for the State, then someone almost as qualified will merely take his place. Mike Gogulski's attitude will only be effective once the vast majority of people agree with him. By that time, the State has already lost anyway. Mike Gogulski's refusal to accept a direct State job causes negligible damage to the State, because the State merely hires someone else. Mike Gogulski's pointless resistance makes him feel good. However, Mike Gogulski does not profit from his attitude, and his attitude does not damage the State. I prefer meaningful means of resistance, rather than pointless ones.

If Mike Gogulski's choices were "Accept $10k before taxes working for the State." and "Accept $6k off-the-books working as an agorist.", then he's following his rational self-interest choosing the agorist job (assuming a direct taxation rate of 50%). If Mike Gogulski accepted a $3k off-the-books job instead of the $10k State job, then he is diverting resources from the State while still earning a decent living; that sort of sacrifice is morally acceptable. In the latter example, Mike Gogulski is sacrificing $2k in after-tax income, but he also is preventing the State from leeching off his labor. In that case, Mike Gogulski could brag "I sacrificed $2k in income to prevent the State from leeching my labor."

In the present, the agorist economy is not sophisticated. Initial agorists will be working as a hobby, just like Linux started as a hobby. I predict that agorism will be so profitable that it would soon become profitable as a full-time job. The only way to be sure is to conduct an experiment. Intuitively, agorism makes sense, because the State directly leeches 50% of my productivity via taxes, and even more through indirect hidden taxes and regulations.

If Mike Gogulski takes an on-the-books wage slave job, then he is supporting the State via taxes and inflation. Working in an on-the-books wage slave job supports the State just as much or more so than working directly for the State.

The State has no legitimate ownership claim to any property at all. If you're given the opportunity to accept $10k working directly for the State, and your actual work doesn't violate the Non-Aggression Principle, then the job is morally acceptable. For example, the State offers to hire you as a translator for road signs. It's morally acceptable to take that job. As a contrary example, the State offers to hire you as a policeman. As soon as you enforce an illegitimate law, you've committed a crime.

Consider again the first example I gave, where you were hired for $10k to translate road signs for the State. It's like you found $10k lying in the street. That $10k was technically unowned, and it's morally acceptable for you to take it.

Suppose I took a wage slave job as a translator for a publisher. I get paid $10k. My actual work is worth more than $10k if I am paid $10k. I'm directly paying $5k to the State in taxes. The publisher also pays taxes on his salary and profits. In many/most jobs, the employee is paid 25%-50% of the actual value of the work. Suppose your work was worth $30k. In that case, the State benefited *MORE* than $10k from your job, if you add up all the taxes that everyone pays.

The only way to avoid supporting the State is to work 100% as an agorist. Any on-the-books work supports the State directly or indirectly. Paradoxically, useful work in the white market can support the State more than working directly for the State! In the white market, you're producing actual tangible goods that the State can then leech.

It's practically impossible to make proper moral decisions in the context of a completely corrupt economic and political system. You have to do the best you can, given the circumstances. Putting a Google AdSense widget on my blog is the best option given severe State restriction of the market. I'd prefer to sell advertisements directly to other agorist businessmen and get paid off-the-books, but that isn't a viable option yet.

Right now, working in the slave economy is probably your best option for survival, while working towards building a true free market. That's the strategy I'm taking. Given that constraint, there's nothing wrong with me putting an AdSense widget on my blog and in my RSS feed. If I successfully write AgoristBay and it becomes a viable source of free market income for me, then I should consider dropping AdSense. Other bloggers have dropped AdSense from their site once other means of advertising became more profitable.

There were other minor points.

My blog is already hosted on Blogger. Google already has access to my full server logs, and I don't. Even without AdSense, Google already has the ability to see everyone who's reading my blog.

Even if I buy hosting, the bad guys could intercept my traffic as it crosses the Internet. Even if I buy hosting, the bad guys could subpoena the server logs.

If you have that level of *PARANOIA*, you should stop using the Internet altogether. Overall, using the Internet has been beneficial for me. I never would have discovered agorism in the first place if it wasn't for the Internet. The Internet is a useful tool and I'm not going to drop it.

Just because the bad guys are collecting a lot of information, doesn't mean they're capable of using it intelligently. So far, I have not been the victim of State violence based on my blog. So far, I have not been assassinated based on my blog's content. Those risks are low in the USA, where there still is a presumption of freedom of the press, and freedom of the press has always included the ability to say "The US government is doing bad things." A State enforcer could not harass me based on my blog's content, without becoming consciously aware that he is a participant in a massive crime. Most pro-State troll enforcers who read my blog will say "FSK is a fruitcake. FSK's ideas are obviously wrong. FSK is harmless."

When I make the transition to practical agorism, I may be taking greater risk. If I'm careful, my risk should be minimized. It appears that "promote agorism" takes priority over "implement actual agorism" for the next few years. However, the quality of my writing about agorism won't improve much more until I start practical agorism. I'll discover refinements as I attempt practical agorism. I don't have to get the philosophy of real free markets 100% correct on the first try. Like any good scientist, I will perform an experiment. Agorism is a philosophy that must prove its value in the real world, and I predict it will be successful. The only way to be sure is to try, but I can't do it alone!

When discussing important non-mainstream heavily censored ideas, the best defense may actually be the best offense. The more readers my blog has, the less personal risk I am taking. At this point, it probably is infeasible for the State to assassinate/arrest all the regular readers of my blog. They're too spread out, and I already have a couple hundred regular readers.

If suppressing my ideas were a top priority for the Supreme Leader of Humanity, then he should have eliminated me when I first started blogging, rather than waiting for me to get a larger audience. The Supreme Leader of Humanity should have eliminated the first people to write intelligently about agorism, if suppressing a free market economic revolt were his top priority.

How do you know that my blog isn't serving the Supreme Leader of Humanity's agenda? Maybe he really does want a complete collapse of the current corrupt economic and political system? Maybe he wants there to be a true global free market? How do you know what the people secretly pulling the strings want? All the people you ever see in public are thoroughly brainwashed pro-State troll puppets.

No, I wasn't conducting an opinion poll on my blog regarding my decision to add an AdSense widget. I was conducting a "weighted average opinion poll" rather than a strict majority vote. I consider the merits of each argument, and not just the number of votes for each. Besides, it was an interesting discussion, wasn't it? I'd nearly definitely decided I was going to add AdSense before I asked, but I wanted to see what kind of response the suggestion would get.

The final decision regarding AdSense is "It's my blog and I'll do what I feel like doing. If you don't like it, go ahead and start your own blog." I'm planning to add the AdSense widget sometime in the next week or two.

Right now, my goal is "Promote agorism and show a profit at the same time!", and AdSense is one way to get started with that. I'm looking for others. I've concluded that "promote agorism" takes priority over "implement practical agorism", at least for the near future. My writing about agorism won't improve until I start practical agorism, so I should try to get an agorist experiment started once I find a few trustworthy trading partners.

There's another flaw that I haven't answered yet, in the comments saying "I'll give FSK a donation if he agrees to not put advertisements on his blog!" Suppose I accept $10/month in exchange for agreeing to put no advertisements on my blog. It turns out that I would have made $50/month via AdSense. In that case, the donations cost me $40/month.

I can afford the $10/month expense. The goal is to try to make my blog profitable.

The primary problem is actually that my parents will resist me spending the money. If my blog generates enough income to pay for hosting, then I can justify the expense to them. Technically, I'm an adult, but all it takes is a 911 call by my parents to have me hospitalized/murdered. I didn't disagree with my parents before I got sick, because I hadn't cracked my pro-State brainwashing. My parents interpret "FSK insists on doing what he wants." as equivalent to "FSK is having a relapse of his mental illness." From my parents' point of view, "FSK insists on doing what he wants (even if nobody else is hurt and I'm spending my own money)" is a new behavior for me, and is correlated with my illness. My parents are used to saying "FSK, do this!", and I obey the order unquestioningly. I have to coddle their wishes more than I would otherwise, because all it takes is a 911 call for them to arrange my murder/hospitalization.

My parents are retired. To them, spending $10 is a big deal, because that's $10 they can never re-earn via working. Being cheap and saving $10 is like working for an extra $10. From my point of view, $10 is less than an hour of work. The State is going to collapse soon enough anyway, making my savings worthless. (My parents forbid me to buy physical gold or silver while I'm living with them. They're concerned someone will break into the house and steal it. I did convince my father to move some of his IRA savings into GLD. I've decided I'm not buying any more stocks; I'm only buying GLD, SLV, or physical metal.) My parents don't understand "It's FSK's money and he can do whatever he wants with it."

My parents do have a point. Blogger is good enough. If I want to buy my own site, my income should cover my expenses. With my own domain, I'll have a lot more flexibility. I'm a programmer and can write my own PHP forum engine, which I can't do via Blogger. If I have a good engine and a decent starting number of users, then it could be very successful. An online community needs about 5-10 dedicated seed users to become self-sustaining. Even if I open-source my engine, that doesn't mean I would lose my user base; Wikipedia's content is 100% open source, and nobody's successfully forked it.

AdSense is the best option, given the constraint of a State slave economy. Google *ALREADY* has access to my full server logs. AdSense supports the State just as much as working in a corporate wage slave job and using my income to pay for hosting.

When I move to self-hosting, I'll offer an option to disable all ads for donators. That probably won't occur for a few months, plus the time it takes for me to write the code for it. Blogger doesn't allow me to disable ads for certain users. Besides, if you write me a check, I must report the donation to the State, just like AdSense revenue must be reported to the State. A true free market banking system is a priority (and very illegal, according to State enforcers).

Some people wrote "FSK should not have even bothered asking before putting up an AdSense widget on his blog. He should have just done it." I disagree, because the discussion was very interesting.

I've made my decision. I'll set it up soon. (I'm busy with other things currently.)


Anonymous said...

Excellent post.

The one key weakness of agorism is that it depends on others. A smaller weakness is that it requires subterfuge.

And on Mike's decision not to work for the state? Ethics are not utilitarian.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I'll try this one more time, even though it is kind of pointless.

Google, the owner of, knows every IP address that hits it. With that limited information, it can sort of track you (or at least your household or business) by creating a record for the IP address.

By logging into google (FSK points out that you are no longer 'anonymous' and he encourages that), google can track YOU across sites, and compile a file containing all your web searches, your email, your map searches, your photographs, your blogging writing/reading activity, your traversal path across almost every web site you visit, your clicktrhough rate for advertising, and other information about YOU).

With the cooperation of FSK and others like him, google can track YOU, the individual, across all sites that cooperate. Cooperation may include:
-putting Google Analytics scripts
-AdSense, AdWords, 24/7 ads
-links to gmail, google maps, or any google services, such as
Pyra Labs-Blogger
Neotonic Software-for CRM
Applied Semantics-for search
Kaltix Corp-for context sensitve search
Genius Labs-for blogging
Ignite Logic-web templates for law firms
Picassa-digi photo management
Keyhole Group-digital mapping
Where 2 Technologies-digital mapping
ZipDash-maps and traffic for mobile devices
2Web Technologies-spreadsheets
Dodgeball-mobile social networking
Reqwireless Inc.-Java browser
Current Communications Group-broadband internet
Android-software for mobile phone o/s
Transformic Inc-search engine for deep/invisible web
Skia-graphics software engineering
DMarc Broadcasting-digital radio broadcasting
Measure Map-analytics for blogs
Upstartle-Writely, document editor for the web
@Last Software-SketchUp 3D modeling
Orion-Referral search engine
Neven Vision-automatic information extraction from jpgs
Jotspot Ind-wiki platform for websites
YouTube-online video company
Endoxen-geomapping software
Xunlei-filesharing app for the web
Adscape Media-in-game advertising
Gapminder's Trendalyzer-presentation software
Doubleclick-ad platform for the web
Tonic Systems-document conversion technology
Marratech-video conferencing technology
Green Border Technologies-secure web browsing tech
Panoramio-photo site sharing for Google Earth
Feedbumer-RSS feed distribution analytics and management
GrandCentral-mobile voice management
Postini-communications security and compliance

In exchange for cooperation, FSK gets dubious sollipsistic data about how popular he is or some form a pittance for running scripts on YOUR machine.

If you object, he claims that you are 'paranoid' (pot calling kettle black) or
'state troll' (really, now).

This is my final post.

fritz said...

I'm just here to learn as much as I can. And watch FSK'S experiment unfold. Somehow I feel apart of this, but I realize I'm on the out side looking in.

In the end I'm not really worried about big brother wrecking my life as I study Agorism. I'm not some revolutionary who needs to be subdued , just a citizen who now realizes the system is broken and cannot be fixed. A peace full citizen who understands that our current system needs to be replaced. And so far Agorism is the most logical, peace full option.

Come what may!!!


Anonymous said...

Ummm... I'm teh subject or something of a post... wait.. too much cheap brandy. tomorrow, i promise!!!

Anonymous said...

FSK, just to note, that we are not physically forcing you to choose your path. We are persuading you our opinions about adsense. Maybe we are wrong that adsense is immoral. But, like any circumstance, you are free to ignore our comments and add your adsense whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

This is a an important topic and I'm glad that you addressed it.

One overlooked aspect to the problem is this: Once a person becomes dependent on income that is made possible by state spending, that person is effectively subject to control by the state.

So sure, we can console ourselves by saying "It's A-OK to work directly or indirectly for the state so long as it's not the military or police". But by doing so you put yourself in a position to be "owned" and thereby controlled by it.

Not a good strategy from where I sit.

Anonymous said...

steamroller ponders -
Suppose I want to get somewhere far, but have no means of transport. I decide to hitchhike a free ride to get there. A girl stops and offers me a ride and asks where I am going, and we chat about the destination. After a few miles, she stops and says that I have to have sex with her or the free ride stops here. I told her I have a dilemma in that I refused to pay in any form for the "free ride", and I thanked her for the distance already travelled. She pleads and finally offers to pay me and then we can continue the journey. I agree because I figure that making progress toward my goal of arrival while being paid by a wage-slave is in my best interest because I have sold my dignity to a slave and made progress toward my destination without paying either cash or tribute to a pro-State slave who believes that anything is worth paying for. While I, seeing that I have made progress, allow the prostitution of my free will to the pragmatism of making progress as preferable to remaining without transport or the inability to do useful work and getting paid for it. Am I unqualified for Agorism through loss of virtue?

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