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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How Can you Debate a Fool?

I've found an interesting way to measure the spread of the truth. I Google "taxation is theft" and look at the number and quality of discussions.

There are two favorable trends. First, the total number of search results is increasing. Second, the quality is increasing. There are more people intelligently explaining "Taxation is theft!"

Previously, when someone mentioned "Taxation is theft!", there was almost always one reasonable person outnumbered by pro-State trolls. Now, I'm seeing forums where more than one person is arguing for "Taxation is theft!" On some forums, like mises.org, "Taxation is theft!" is now the majority opinion, but the subject still leads to flamewars.

I noticed another favorable trend. Some pro-State trolls are getting frustrated. They say "Why do these Libertarians keep saying 'Taxation is theft!'? Why is this stupid and discredited idea spreading?" If you've been pro-State brainwashed as an economist, politician, lawyer, journalist, or philosopher, you probably think "'Taxation is not theft!' is logically proven. Why are more and more people mentioning this point?! Why aren't my pro-State troll excuses working?!? How dare they question my authority!

This is a good sign. The die-hard Statists will be the last to learn. However, the average person might be convinced via repeated exposure. The first time you hear "Taxation is theft!", you might think it's a crazy radical fruitcake belief. The fifth time you hear it, from five different sources, you might start to think about it. The correct answer is "'Taxation is theft!' is obvious. It's the only sensible opinion for a logical civilized person to have." It takes awhile to reach that level of thinking. I'm probably way ahead of most people.

I'm convinced "Taxation is theft! Government is a scam!" I'm much more interested in "So what are you going to do about it?" I'm looking for advanced discussion of agorism, and I'm not going to find that debating pro-State trolls.

The arguments for "Taxation is theft!" are obvious and completely logical. Now that I've understood it for awhile, the pro-State troll counter-arguments are pathetic and obviously flawed. I already made a post on that and I'm not repeating that here. (I really should make a FAQ section, but Blogger doesn't support that well. I really should move from Blogger to WordPress on my own domain on a Linode. However, most of my time goes to my wage slave job now. At least my new phone lets me compose drafts on the subway!)

The debates with pro-State trolls all follow the same pattern. The pro-State troll says "I logically refuted 'Taxation is theft!'" Their argument is obviously nonsense, and someone explains why. The pro-State troll is not convinced.

Now, such an argument can only degenerate into name-calling. If one person is logical and the other is a fool, you won't make any progress. When I first started blogging, I tried such things to promote my blog. It was mostly a waste of time.

What can you do when you present a logical argument, the other person is spouting gibberish? The other person claims you are being illogical, but the other person is obviously being illogical. What can you do? The only answer is to stop wasting time on fools.

It's probably a more efficient use of my time to work on creating good content for my blog, rather than wasting time debating idiots on a forum where the moderators are idiots.

Debating idiots is frustrating. It's a lot of effort spent for little benefit. On a neutral forum, other people may be convinced. However, I can evaluate the effectiveness of promoting my blog by tracking Google Analytics referrals from that forum. At this point, "Other people cite FSK's blog" helps more than "FSK promotes his own blog." Therefore, I should focus my energy on writing good posts, rather than wasting time debating idiots.

I noticed another important idiot debating tactic. They will make a long list of reasons for why "Taxation is not theft!", while ignoring the points for "Taxation is theft!" Then, you are expected to refute every individual stupid point that the pro-State troll made.

This is a waste of time. If you try to refute every specific point that a fool makes, you won't convince them even if you do a great job and a great logical analysis. It's just a waste of time and energy.

There is another important point. If you spend most of your time debating idiots, then you become an idiot. Instead of raising the fool to your level, you wind up lowering yourself to the fool's level. It'd be nice to find a group of people with whom I could discuss advanced agorism. I haven't found that, except for the occasional intelligent comment or discussion.

I noticed another idiot tactic. I get comments that say "FSK is wrong, but I refuse to provide details." or "FSK is wrong, but I'm not wasting time responding in detail." Such comments are usually an indication that am I right and the subject is important. The more pro-State troll comments a post receives, the more important the subject. I give good reasons for my arguments. I'm losing interest in responding to every fool, and I don't have the time for Reader Mail posts like I used to.

On other people's forums, the volume of comments by fools usually drowns out intelligent discussion. On an upvoting/downvoting system like Reddit, an intelligent and correct comment might attract more downvotes than upvotes. For example, on the (pro-State) "anarchism" sub-Reddit, I noticed a lot of hostility when I wrote "Taxation is theft!" Naturally, I don't waste time there anymore.

It would be nice to find a forum that's free of pro-State trolls. Unless it's invitation-only or there's a fair moderation system, I don't see that happening.

There are two problems. First, the vast majority of people are brainwashed mindless zombies. They will get hostile and aggressive rather than admit they've been scammed by the State. They will jump through fake-logical hoops rather than see the truth.

Second, there are spies deliberately planted by the State. State thugs are so paranoid that they send disinformation agents anywhere that people gather. On the Internet, it's easy for a State spy to troll several forums, especially if it's his full-time job.

There also are indirect State spies. If someone works as a University professor, mainstream journalist, politician, lawyer, doctor, etc., then they will react with hostility to real free market ideas. Even if such a person is not explicitly employed directly by the State, they are very dependent on State violence for their livelihood and careers. People who profit via State violence will be very stubborn when confronted with the truth. I have noticed that doctors tend to be Statists, especially when you say "Government licensing requirements for doctors are harmful!" A doctor can't see the truth, because otherwise he'd notice his role in the scam.

Debating idiots is a waste of my time and energy. I'm better off creating good content on my own site, rather than rehashing freedom 101 with pro-State trolls who are resisting the truth.

Of course, you're free to waste time debating fools. I still try once in a while, and get frustrated. You may cite my blog, and if it's interesting I might respond on the other site. I check on who's citing my blog via Google Analytics and Google search.

I'm not interested in rehashing the basics anymore. I'm nearly completely convinced "All taxation is theft! Government is a scam and extortion racket. The State violence monopoly is immoral and unnecessary. All services currently provided by the State monopoly can be more efficiently performed by multiple competing vendors in a really free market."

It is frustrating, because many people see bits of the truth but resist others. For example, Stefan Molyneux is great at explaining "Taxation is theft!", but he completely fails to see "The 'chemical imbalance' theory of mental illness is a mistake/fraud." On the psychiatry/death industry issue, Stefan Molyneux is a hopeless statist, even though he claims to be openminded. He was unable to consider the points I made.

I'm trying to cut back on time wasted debating idiots. It's a lot of wasted energy. I'm really looking for more advanced material on agorism, especially practical agorism. I haven't seen any. Either there aren't many working agorists, or they're reluctant to publicly discuss their businesses. I'm interested in forming a group of freedom-minded people working together outside the State extortion racket. That would lead to greater efficiency than isolated pockets of tax resistance, where people act as individuals.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I listen to Stefan's podcasts. I think the reason he avoids the topic is because his wife is a psychiatrist or a psychologist - he alluded to that in one of his earlier vlogs.

Anonymous said...

I'm a doctor, I believe taxation is theft, I think licensing requirements constitute a restraint on free trade, but I also don't like the collectivist tendency to lump people together by category. People are individuals, all unique. Avoid the temptation to generalize.

chariot said...

An important piece of advanced agorism is a truly decentralized and reliable monetary system.

Cash is useful, but is under the control of the Statist bankers and is generally useless as a long term store of value. Gold is much better but is inconvenient in trade beyond in-person transactions. Digital gold eliminates this physical inconvenience, but is vulnerable to statist attack because of need for a trusted central authority (see e-gold).

Bitcoin is the first p2p, decentralized monetary system. By using cryptographic principles combined with proof-of-work in a network system, a now-functioning network exists for p2p digital currency. The base value of bitcoins comes from the fact that bitcoin creation requires the expenditure of CPU power (akin to a gold miner expending energy to mine gold from the ground.) Furthermore, there is a maximum limit to the number of coins that can be generated (as there is a physical limit to gold in the ground), and the rate of coin generation is both predictable and known to all other nodes (difficulty in bitcoin creation increases to maintain a set rate of production.) As bitcoins become used in trade, the value of bitcoins will be dictated by supply and demand for their use in trade as money.

The key with Bitcoin is that it cannot be controlled or taken down: there is no central authority. Bitcoin works because of agreement amongst distributed p2p nodes (agreement manifest in the rules of the software) on the basic principles governing the network. Trust amongst participants is based on proof-of-work. Anyone trying to subvert the rules of the system will be ignored by the honest nodes.

FSK, I think you and all other agorists (myself included) will enjoy watching this technological trend. As more exchanges develop, I believe this will be a very useful tool in advancing the counter-economy.

http://www.bitcoin.org/node/1
http://www.bitcoin.org/smf/index.php?topic=44.0

Anonymous said...

Just on the chemical imbalance theory, I noticed something very interesting when watching the mainstream movie "Daybreakers".

In the film a disease spread across the world turning everyone into "vampires". The Pharmco was looking for a blood substitute, as humans were becoming extinct and blood was running out. One scientist finds a cure which turns vampires back to humans and Pharmco responds "it was never about a cure, its about repeat business".

Its funny how the REAL truth comes out in fantasy vampire movies sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I noticed your point about the anarchism forum on reddit. It's struck me as quite amazing how contemporary "anarchists" are obsessed with the idea of controlling other people.

Chrono said...

On a scale of zero to one, how true is "Stefan Molyneux is intelligent," relative to the other 6.x billion people on the planet?

You introduced (imo) bayesian reasoning to the conversation.

You introduced (again, imo) the straw man theory to the conversation.

And then you violated both and actually reason black and white (0 or 1) instead of bayesian (0 to 1) while using one opinion (rather than all individually) to dismiss someone as a fool.

And technically, you didn't actually say "Stefan Molyneux" is a fool. But you didn't have to. By proximity in your paragraph, you called him one.

You don't have to debate him, but if you persist with this kind of argument, what does it say about you? If Stefan Molyneux is a fool, what does that make your parents?

Chrono said...

Crap...I take it back. I got ahead of myself. You did not say he was a fool. You said he was a hopeless statist, and you said so on that one particular issue...I apologize for saying that.

One thing I will say, though, is this...Stefan invited you to come on one of his shows and debate him, or to have a private chat. You could have had a private chat with him and asked that it never be released (you still can do this). But let's be honest...you said in a recent post "I'll probably have a vlog in a couple of years" when ironically, it would actually save time for you to have a vlog instead of writing everything. You can communicate far faster to a camera than you can type on a smartphone. In most cases, a person can speak faster than they can type. Only a microscopic percentage of typists (probably fewer than .005%) can actually type faster than they can talk.

So the irony is that you can produce more content and do it more efficiently by speaking, so there must be some other reason why you aren't vlogging or podcasting.

If you consider Stefan Molyneux a statist on this issue (which he most certainly is!) ... it's ironic that he knows the tenure system is designed to maintain consensus and keep out dissenting professors, yet he still trusts that the same system does not exist in terms of the most popular journals and most successful research institutions. He still trusts that scientific studies cannot be bought and that not just the chemical imbalance theory should be questioned, but a host of other paradigms that supposedly have science to back them up.

Nonetheless my point here is that you've made some incredible strides in thought, and most of the things you write here I agree with, but when it comes to interpersonal interaction...you are almost completely the opposite of Stefan Molyneux. Another irony is that you've said in the past that you'd probably represent yourself sui juris if you were ever on trial...how do you suppose you'd pull this off, if you shy away from having one audio conversation with this guy? The state is a lot more scary (though you'd probably argue that you have higher stakes with the state) than Stefan Molyneux. I'd debate him on your behalf if I could remain anon.

FSK said...

Regarding Stefan Molyneux, I did post on my blog and left some comments on his forum. He didn't answer them.

I'll probably go on his show sometime, when I get more active at promoting agorism. For now, text only is how I'm doing it.

Stefan Molyneux is ahead of 99.9%+ of the human population. On the issue of psychiatry, he's a hopeless statist. I was pretty offended about how stubborn he was when I confronted him about the issue. I don't bother reading his forum anymore. His videos are longwinded and boring.

The problem with vlogging is that I'd have to also give up my Anonymity. For example, my wage slave employer might fire me for my radical free market beliefs.

I don't know what I'd do if I really were the victim of State violence. I'm seriously considering sui juris. I'll worry about it when it happens. I probably won't be able to find a lawyer willing to present a "jury nullification" defense, so I probably would be forced to do it myself.

A trial takes a lot of time and energy and stress, even if acquitted. The goal is to avoid a trial in the first place. However, it's a risk, if I become a higher-profile advocate for agorism and set up actual agorist businesses. If I want to start agorist businesses, I'll have to recruit customers sometime, which subjects me to the risk of State thugs finding out about me.

I'm a pretty good public speaker, when I tried it in college and grad school. I'm going to try getting more active soon, but not yet. It'll take a year or two. There's no need to rush.

Chrono really seems pretty hostile in his comments.

Eric said...

chariot, I myself have been investigating bitcoin, and am very intrigued. It's properties sounds like it just might be an effective solution for agorists to accumlate and trade money online in a distributed, anonymous, secure fashion. I'm very exicted about it...

Regarding Stefan Molyneaux, I can understand FSK's frustration with him. I respect %99 of what molyneaux says, but his UPB falls short of an actual proof and he can be very thick headed when presented with legitimate critiques of his views.

FSK said...

Regarding bitcoin, I don't understand what's wrong with "physical delivery of actual metal in your possession". The only problem with physical metal in your possession is that you lose it when State thugs raid your home.

Regarding Stefan Molyneux, I'm offended when he refers people to State-licensed psychiatrists and therapists. This makes Stefan Molyneux an accomplice to murder, because psychiatry is murder. Even a State-licensed therapist is dangerous. I noticed my therapist attempting to re-pro-State brainwash me, rather than helping me discover the real truth.

Ciaran said...

So, do you like roads?
Hospitals?
Schools?
Fire department?
Police?
Streetlights?
Public parks?




You should have no problem debating a fool; you should be well matched. "Taxation is theft" is one of the most stupid, backwards thinking, missing-out-on-the-whole-point ideas ever. You speak of "the government" as if it is some otherworldy force, not made up of people who were voted in by people, who spend their money on people. You make it sound like they take the money, and bury it or burn it. They don't. Taxes pay for our society to function. Without taxes, we would have a very different society that would be a lot more 1500s than 2011.



Seriously, you can think of taxes as "what we pay so our society is liveable in". Anyone who seriously thinks there should be no taxes is an idiot who cannot think for themselves, impressed by freshman level sophistry that intelligent people give as much credence as when their six year old child comes up with some convoluted way of proving that 1=2.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at realfreemarket.org.