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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Reader Mail #62

I liked this thread on the Mental Militia. Heller (from Heller vs. DC) applied for a gun permit. His application was rejected. That is really weird, since the Supreme Court specifically ordered that he be granted a gun permit.

He didn't bring his gun with him when he applied for the permit, lest he be arrested for illegal possession of a gun. His gun would have been confiscated.

There was an interesting comment.

Not that it matters much, the US blue screened a while ago, and now the whole system needs a reboot. It's still pretty much over, if we're arguing over whether or not one has the right to defend themselves in our own nation's capital, and it's this close of a call? Well put a fork in it.

I like the analogy of describing the current economic and political system as a "blue screen of death" (Windows error screen). It's not just time to reboot. It's time to reformat the hard drive and install a new OS. It's time for an open source economic and political system.

Using a Constitution as the basis for an economic and political system is a proven failure. The correct solution is a true free market, where nobody has taxation power or a monopoly of violence.

A lot of pro-State trolls say "Statism is a part of human nature." I no longer consider statism to be natural to me. Does that mean I'm not human? How did I wind up on a planet filled with hostile aliens of inferior intelligence? It's time to get natural selection moving in the right direction!

Do I have unique experiences that led to my current mental state? Is it an intrinsic ability? Is it a combination of both?

I liked this post on about the evil of the war on drugs.

There are currently more black men in US prisons than there were black male slaves in 1840.

There haven't been any VC-backed IPOs recently. Most startups now sell to larger corporations, rather than going public themselves. Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory changes have made it hard for startups.

This is great! The engine of economic growth in the USA is grinding to a halt! The collapse is coming!

I liked this article. California uses more gasoline than China!

I liked this article, referred by to herd or not to herd. The US economy is like Wile E. Coyote about to fall off a cliff. We're at the point where he notices there's no ground underneath and the laws of gravity are about to kick in.

If instead Fannie and Freddie are flat-out taken over entirely by the US government (and remember the Federal Reserve is not the government), then the national debt will roughly double overnight -- which will pound the US dollar down a rat-hole.

I hadn't considered that before. If you consider FNM and FRE's debt as part of the Federal government's debt, that balloons the size of the national debt. After all, their debt is implicitly guaranteed by the Federal government.

The average person does *NOT* benefit from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Superficially, they make it easier for people to get mortgages. What does this mean? It drives up housing prices! You can borrow at a cheaper interest rate, but the cost of the house is higher, for no net benefit. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's profits aren't free. Everyone else pays the cost as inflation.

This article was about a student who tried selling his vote on eBay, and was charged with all sorts of crimes. The student was merely making explicit what all the candidates are doing. By making promises to one group or another, candidates are selling their vote.

"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." So the only difference I see between a politician who buys a vote and an eBay bidder who buys it is that the bidder spends his own money

The silly part is that the student placed a minimum bid of $10 on his vote. The reality is that a single vote is worth practically nothing. Both candidates on the ballot have been pre-bought by the insiders. If the candidate wasn't going to be behave correctly, you wouldn't hear their name mentioned in the newspapers at all.

I liked this article, for this quote. The article said that Al Qaeda is Emmanuel Goldstein.

You have heard before that "Al-Qaeda" roughly translates into "the base," but were you aware that "Ana raicha Al Qaeda" is arabic colloquial for "I'm going to the toilet"? Would hardened terrorists hell bent on the destruction of the west name their organization after a euphemism for taking a shit?

Once you accept that there can be one group of people willing to commit acts of terror you must accept that there can be a second group equally willing to commit acts of terror to blame on the first group.

History is full of rulers who used fake terror on their own populations to create consent for their policies.

The biggest terrorist attack in US history is actually the creation of the Federal Reserve and the Great Depression.

top ranking CIA operatives admit that al-Qaeda is a complete and total fabrication by the CIA. They plainly state that NO SUCH ORGANIZATION HAS EVER EXISTED AT ANY TIME.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, a powerful enemy needed to be fabricated in order to justify continued defense/spying budgets.

The bottom line for the "War on Terrorism" is the vast increase in State power and the erosion of individual freedom. On the other hand, anything that makes people lose respect for government is fine with me!

This site lets you search by zipcode for coin dealers. I haven't made an investment in physical gold or silver yet. Buying online is probably cheaper than buying from a dealer. However, buying from a dealer, you can purchase anonymously with cash.

What are the State reporting requirements for gold/silver purchases/sales? I tried looking it up. The regulations are unclear, and they keep changing. I got the impression that small purchases and sales are not reportable, but I'd have to ask the dealer.

The regulations say that, if a buyer expresses an interest in privacy, then the dealer is obligated to report it to the State! The regulations are confusing, which means that dealers tend to go overboard with reporting requirements.

I also am confused about the tax rules. Suppose you trade a 100 ounce silver bar for ten 10 ounce silver bars. Is that a taxable transaction? I would say no, but the IRS might say otherwise.

I liked this thread on Hacker News. Suppose you had $200k on deposit at IndyMac bank. Suppose you also had borrowed a $200k mortgage from IndyMac bank. As a depositor, you don't get back your full $200k, because balances over $100k aren't FDIC insured. However, you're still expected to pay your mortgage in full.

This is the fundamental injustice of the financial system. Banks are allowed to keep operating and keep collecting interest payments, even if they're insolvent.

I liked this article. Microsoft put a bug in Internet Explorer that only harms gmail users. I don't see the point. Won't gmail patch their site as soon as this is discovered?

This article was interesting. It's about the demise of manufacturing in the USA.

Recently, financial stocks were 40% of the S&P 500's profits. Those profits aren't free. They're paid by productive industries as inflation. Currently, the Federal Reserve is inflating to bail out the financial industry. In a few years, this should show up as huge profits for the financial industry, as their extensive use of leverage pays off.

Every 10-20 years a new management fad emerges. They are usually mutually contradictory, and can't all be true.

The true reason for the demise of manufacturing is that the USA is able to export inflation. Other countries are willing to export tangible goods to the USA in exchange for a piece of paper. Why export tangible goods, when you can export a piece of paper? How can a manufacturer in the USA be competitive with someone who's willing to manufacture for literally nothing?

Yes, Virginia, you could have had both robots and the Internet. The 1950s dream of an infinitely prosperous United States full of household robots and other high-tech wonders was not a fantasy, it was there for the taking. Only political and business incompetence prevented us from achieving it.

In the 1950s, many science fiction writers predicted fantastic advances in the next 30-50 years. Where are these inventions? Were those science fiction writers wrong? Or, is the progress of science artificially slowed by the State?

I liked this thread on the Mental Militia. Public libraries are now filled with surveillance cameras, making some freedom activists uncomfortable. This is another free market business opportunity, an off-the-books library business.

There's been a lot of discussion about a network engineer in San Francisco locking the city out of their own network. This story appears to be overhyped in the "All techies are evil!" direction.

The bottom line is that the city management was stupid. You should never have only one person with access to a critical system. That's just sound business practice. That protects you if that person takes a vacation, gets sick, gets injured, or quits. For a critical system like that, there should be several people qualified to maintain it at any time.

This post on the Picket Line was interesting.

He mentioned that the social security eligibility rules discriminate against African Americans. I hadn't heard that one before. Social Security discriminates against *EVERYONE*. Even current retirees are only getting a return of 2%-3% on their taxes. They would have been much better off investing elsewhere instead of Social Security. Future retirees are going to get an even worse return.

Some African American activists are advocating they cease paying taxes to the Federal government and form their own government. Good for them! They need to also boycott the Federal Reserve and use gold or silver as money. Otherwise, they're still supporting the Federal Government via the inflation tax.

Some homosexuals feel they are discriminated against by the Federal government. The Federal government does not recognize gay marriage. Under certain circumstances, married people owe less taxes than two people filing separately. Some homosexuals are refusing to pay income taxes in protest.

The IRS is hiring a private corporation to collect taxes for it. This is, literally, "tax farming". The State is delegating its taxation power to a private business. This plan may be dropped. I don't understand why. It's probably a very lucrative scam for the people running it.

This post on out of step was interesting. He was taking out his lawn. His neighbors were protesting.

A lawn is pure waste. If/when I own (rent) a house, I'll consider replacing all my lawns with a vegetable garden. I'd do it myself, or hire local people to work it off-the-books.

This post on no third solution had some interesting bits.

About a month ago, I wondered about the end game of robotics. Given the current direction of things, it seems apparent that we will eventually arrive at a time where there will be a market for only the very smartest of human beings. The cream of the cream of the crop, so to speak.

…Does that scenario not shoot a gaping hole in libertarian philosophy? In that case, would the means of efficient production rest in the hands of a relatively small group of people, thus necessitating either drastic socialism or mass starvation?

There are two possibilities. First, the intelligent workers can focus on training less intelligent workers to be productive. Second, what's wrong with some natural selection?

I liked this post on the Agitator. Police in St. Louis are "renting" cars from the impound lot for their personal use, at a cost of $0. Police may treat confiscated property as if it's personally theirs. After all, they stole it fair and square!

I liked this post on the Agitator, referring to this article. A Federal appeals court ruled that the President may detain anybody indefinitely without trial, merely by declaring them an "enemy combatant". There is no requirement that the President actually provide any proof that the victim is a terrorist.

I wonder if I'm an "enemy combatant"?

I liked this post on the Agitator. In Britain, police may forcibly enter a private home based on many flimsy excuses. The USA is going down that path as well. If you own a bar, someone may claim to be a food inspector, when they're actually looking for other criminal activity.

The problem is that so many free market victimless activities are classified as crimes. Why should a bar owner be responsible for everything his customers do? That means that the State may shut down any bar at will, by sending informants there to commit crimes.

This post on the Agitator referred to two interesting stories.

Zimbabwe introduced a $100 billion banknote, which is insufficient to buy a loaf of bread. Why don't people in Zimbabwe say "**** you!" to the State's money and start using sound money or barter?

A leopard killed and ate a crocodile. According to the people quoted in the article, normally crocodiles eat leopards. It doesn't make sense for a leopard to kill a crocodile. It isn't much meat, and it isn't worth risking the leopard's life. I guess the leopard was hungry!

This post on the Agitator talks about the exclusionary rule. If police collect evidence via an illegal search, then the consequence is that evidence is disallowed in a criminal trial. This is the "exclusionary rule". In other countries, there is no such rule, or it's much weaker. There is speculation that the Supreme Court may overturn the exclusionary rule.

Notice that the exclusionary rule does not involve any negative consequences for the State or the policeman making the illegal search. The only negative consequence is that the evidence is excluded from a trial. The policeman and the State have no obligation to reimburse the victim for the illegal search. This is the usual "sovereign immunity" problem.

Even the limited protection given by the exclusionary rule will be gone soon.

The Supreme Court should come forward and explicitly say "**** the Constitution! **** any appearance of fairness! We can do whatever we want! Try and stop us!" That would be a refreshing level of honesty. Instead, they make complicated obscure legal arguments to justify doing what they wanted to do anyway.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have approximately $5 trillion in debts. If this were included in the national debt, it would be a 50% increase. Since the Federal government has backed this debt, according to sound accounting principles, it should be included in the Federal budget.

This post on Techdirt about Wikiscanner is entirely missing the point. If you edit a Wikipedia article without logging in, your IP address is displayed. If you are a registered user, then your IP address is concealed and your anonymity is protected.

Wikiscanner only catches abuse by people dumb enough to edit without registering an account. If you're a registered user, all sorts of abuse is possible. Wikipedia even protects the anonymity of the site admins!

Wikipedia's practice of anonymity by registered users appears to be specifically designed to encourage abuse.

I liked this article. The subject was "Is Modern Mathematics Reliable". This refers to research-level Mathematics, and not the calculus/algebra/logic/topology that everyone knows.

The problem is that, when a Math professor publishes a paper, he does not publish a fully detailed proof. He merely gives an outline. In turn, this makes the paper incomprehensible to someone who isn't already an expert. For most math papers, there are only 3-5 people who could read the proof and fully understand it, and even then it'd take them a few months.

This means that a lot of research level Mathematics may be wrong. There's nobody who bothers to check that published results are actually true.

That certainly matches my experience in Math grad school. Over 98% of the lectures I attended were incomprehensible. How can you determine which Math professors are good and which are lousy, when none of them know what each other is talking about? The "peer review" system makes academics a popularity contest, instead of supporting truly original research.

I liked this comment.

Is mathematical complexity then an excellent cover for the most intricate of deceptions?

Yes. In economics research, there are lots of fancy calculations and derivations. Such calculations are useless when your assumptions are wrong. Most economics papers have several major mistakes that are hidden assumptions:
  1. Taxation is not theft.
  2. The CPI is a fair and unbiased measure of inflation.
  3. The Fed Funds Rate is the fair market-determined interest rate.
  4. The USA has a fair monetary system.
Each of those wrong assumptions invalidate almost every calculation by a mainstream economist.

Legal language is another example of Mathematical obfuscation. Legal language is incredibly complicated, on purpose. This makes law inaccessible to the average person. Legal language is intentionally hard to read, because lawyers are protecting their turf. There is no reason for legal language to be so hard to read, except that lawyers intentionally obfuscate the law. Just like there's an obfuscated C contest, lawyers have an "obfuscated law contest". The obfuscated C contest is voluntary. State violence means that everyone is playing the "obfuscated law contest", whether they want to or not.

This bit deserves its own separate post.

I liked this article. A headhunter was looking to fill a "Ruby on Rails" job. However, he put every single recipient in the "To:" field, 416 people. Being fools, people started "replying to all". It was like being involuntarily signed up for a mailing list!

However, it was a list of 416 people with a certain level of interest in Ruby. Other job postings started circulating. The E-Mail list has its own Google group now!

Ironically, I'm involved with a disastrous Ruby on Rails at work. Right now, Ruby on Rails is a "hot" skill, but there's no guarantee it will be popular 2 years from now. By the time a programming language is trendy, it's probably too late to learn it. Right now, "2 years Ruby on Rails experience" is an impressive resume item. Two years from now, the requirement will be "4 years Ruby on Rail experience".

Someone tried to create a Wikipedia article commemorating the phenomenon. It was rapidly deleted. Some people observed that Wikipedia is no longer relevant.

There are rumors that all soldiers will be ordered to be implanted with a RFID chip. It's only a matter of time where it becomes mandatory for prison inmates, people with a "mental illness", and then everyone.

A lot of people have said that the new Batman movie "Dark Knight" carries a hidden anti-State message.

I liked this article about the government's crackdown on E-Gold.

KYC since it was introduced in the late 90s as a requirement has been the single most destructive concept for innovation and startups in the financial space. e-gold was the last proud hold out against it as it went so against the principles of their operations. You could pretty much open any amount of accounts that you wanted to without any real documentation.

The "Know Your Customer" rule pretty much eliminated all possibility for innovation regarding the Internet and alternate monetary systems.

I read that the "Know Your Customer" rule was passed after E-Gold began operating. E-Gold was prosecuted for laws that were passed after they began operating.

If you want to develop an alternate monetary system, it has to be completely off-the-books. If you develop a private gold/silver barter group with your friends, that meets the "know your customer" requirement.

In e-gold all transfers are final, which is one reason it became popular originally as an alternative to PayPal. The only way this can be done is by being at more than arms length distance from the banking system. The US banking system allow charge backs of just about any payment. So lets say you receive a wire of $100,000 from an investor. AFAIK theoretically speaking he could cancel that wire within a year. Foreign banks are normally the ones who are hurt most by this, but they grin and bear it. In e-gold one such chargeback could undermine the stability of the system.

In other words, to develop a truly original and efficient alternate monetary system, you need to be 100% independent of the official monetary system. Unfortunately, this is illegal.

However following that do you need to charge the Federal Reserve Chairman for conspiracy to money laundering just because US currency notes are one of the most common instruments of payment used in criminal acts. Or if you look at e-gold as a merely a web service intermediary should Sergey and Larry also face personal criminal charges because lots of Ads for scams and illegal products are placed using Adwords?

The anti money-laundering laws are selectively applied.

I also like this comment from Hacker News.

This story is very relevant in that it warns what happens if you carelessly try to innovate in a regulated field. As far as I know, it is far between every Web company that suffers this fate. The banking industry scores in the world class for lameness, and now we know why. On another note, this could happen in other areas as well..aviation is my own favorite oh-please-someone-get-your-act-together business. This could just as easily have happened if someone made a perfectly good airplane that insulted the wrong officials.

Another person pointed out the E-Gold was busted for laws that weren't passed until after they started doing business.

I liked this bit on Hacker News. It was quoting an article on why hackers are libertarians.

In an established industry, there is extensive lobbying of the State for favors. For example, doctors are shielded from competition by State licensing requirements. Due to this protectionism, doctors earn high salaries and pay high taxes. Therefore, a typical doctor is probably a statist.

Software is a new industry. There's no tradition of lobbying the State for favors. Therefore, people who are smart and not politically connected choose to write software. Also, by its very nature, software engineers can't effectively lobby the State for protection. Are they going to pass a law requiring a State license to own a compiler?

Instead, software engineering as an industry is being crippled by increasing regulation. I can write whatever software I want. However, selling it or putting it on a website is exposing myself to legal risk. For example, if I put up a video sharing website, I might be violating the DMCA. If I put up an alternate monetary system website, I'll be raided by the IRS/FBI.

This joke blog post was interesting. The USA made its final ultimatum/offer to Iran in negotiations. The offer is 700 free anytime minutes.

This article, referred by Ran Prieur, was interesting. If you're looking to survive a SHTF scenario, going alone and making an armed and well-defended bunker in a remote area is *STUPID*. Your fortifications are like a beacon saying "There's something worth stealing here." Suppose a handful of unarmed strangers approach. Do you shoot them? If yes, then you're probably killing innocents. If not, then what happens if they have an intent to rob you?

Having a network of trustworthy trading partners if more valuable than an armed and defended cash/food hoard. If you have too much property, then you're a target.

That's the mistake that groups like the Montana Freemen or Branch Davidians made. It's pointless to stockpile weapons and expect to win a violent confrontation with State-supported terrorists. Their resources are superior. They'll just surround/siege you and then you're stuck.

I liked this review of the Dark Knight (new Batman Movie) on lowercase liberty. The Joker creates an economic depression in Gotham City. This is actually great, because it's promoting the idea the depressions/recessions are created on purpose, rather than by accident.

This post on no third solution was interesting, although he used a lot of words to say something I consider to be obvious. The US Constitution is not a valid contract. If I never consented to the US Constitution, then it isn't a binding contract. If I don't have the right to withdraw my consent, then it isn't a valid contract.

A Constitution provides zero protection when the people who have a monopoly of violence ignore it. Immoral laws like the income tax, Federal Reserve, and excessive government regulations are proof that the current system is broken beyond hope of repair. I'm not interested in legal arguments, except as an intellectual exercise; the moral arguments are the important ones.

Suppose you insist "The current economic and political leaders are 100% legitimate." I disagree and we can't convince each other. At this point, it's a question of tactics. In a fight between independent thinkers and clueless fools, who would you bet on? Even though the fools currently outnumber the real humans by a ratio of 1M to 1, the independent thinkers are big favorites.

The argument "If you don't like the USA, then leave" is invalid. First, there's no unoccupied space I can move to and organize a free society. Second, due to corrupt international treaties, all other governments offer conditions similar or worse than the USA. Third, the USA considers me to be its personal property. The leaders of each country have agreements to respect each others' property, via restrictions on immigration; I can't easily move to another country and get full citizenship. Fourth, this is my home and I don't want to leave. Why should hostile invaders force me to leave? Finally, it's more practical for me to stand my ground and fight for freedom here, rather than moving.

The post came from a debate with a pro-State troll. I'm not interested in debating fools anymore. It's usually a lot of energy expended for no benefit. If a forum is dominated by fools, I prefer to leave. For example, on mises. org, there are frequently people besides me who point out the fallacies of the pro-State trolls.

If you can't adapt to the coming agorist revolution and the establishment of a free market economy, then that's what natural selection is for.

David Z says that post was really popular, but he couldn't find the referring source. Really? Via Google Analytics, it usually indicates the referring site unless it's "direct traffic". Doesn't WordPress provide similar analytics features? I may someday switch to a self-hosted blog and use a customized WordPress engine with custom analytics. (WordPress is open source, right? The analytics provided by Google Analytics are decent but insufficient. It isn't worth my time to self-host and write my own analytics engine right now.)

I liked this post on Steve Pavlina's blog. He said that tolerance is bad for you. If you tolerate something, rather than actively pursue it, then it's really draining your energy. You're better off eliminating contact with things you tolerate rather than enjoy.

He didn't mention my favorite abuse tolerance. Most people tolerate government, rather than actively embracing it (except for State employees and psychopaths). According to this reasoning, people should try to eliminate all contact with government, including taxes.

I liked this article. That site has a bunch of interesting stuff and is worth browsing around.

“It has been said that one should never attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by greed, incompetence, or just plain stupidity. But having said that, it should also be stated that individuals who suspect conspiracies exist are not necessarily silly people whose primary claim to fame is rampant paranoia. Keep in mind that paranoia is “the illusion that people are out to get you.” If they really are out to get you, then it’s not a illusion and thus not paranoia. Furthermore, to generalize conspiracy theorists as all a bunch of crazies is just plain dishonest.

This link had some interesting bits. (There's a lot of good stuff on that website. It's worth browsing around.)

“Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel.” - Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, First Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, from the New York Sunday Times, 28 February 1960.

“Men occasionally stumble on the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” - Sir Winston Churchill

I liked this article on USA Today (via Hacker News). Southwest airlines is making more money off its oil hedges than from flying airplanes.

If I owned an airline, I'd hedge my fuel cost to more than 100%. Betting on inflation is rarely wrong.

If I owned an oil well, I'd sell all my oil on the spot market rather than selling futures. Selling a future, I'm letting myself get ripped off by inflation.

I liked this post about "triumph of the idiots". In school, people are brainwashed "all opinions are equally valid". That's not true. Some opinions are just plain stupid.

Of course, if you believe "all opinions are equally valid", then you can't criticize me for saying "some opinions are stupid"! After all, that's just my opinion!

He linked to this article on the Dead Sea Effect. In a large organization, the smartest people get frustrated and leave for greener pastures. The residue winds up with a decreasing average intelligence over time. Organizations like Google can go from being super-brilliant and super-trendy to producing crap like Knol.

I blame the rent-seeking nature of capitalism. A capitalist tries to invest in businesses that are protected by the State from competition. A capitalist wants to invest in a business that is so shielded from competition that it will be profitable even if run by idiots. The result is that most businesses are run by idiots.

The consequence of all this is that I cannot understand how humanity is still here, I really can't. How on earth have we not all been vapourised in a nuclear accident, and why do buildings not fall down more often? And, considering that we are still here, why is my gas bill always wrong - surely reading numbers from a meter is not too much to ask.

The answer is there are clever people out there somewhere, they do exist, they are rationed, that's the problem. I find myself more and more gravitating towards these oasis of anti-denseness. Places like Radio 4, although they have their moments, random history programmes on BBC2 or Channel 4; any form of media that makes a faux-pas of bad research is almost guaranteed to lose me forever (practically all forms of mainstream news, for example).

The answer is that the State leeches off the productivity of the productive people and uses it to feed everyone else. That is the reason I like agorism so much. Agorism is a way for intelligent people to get together and work, without being encumbered by idiots at all.

I saw another blog warning about "premature optimization" when designing compilers. Agorists should behave the same way. Structures should be developed as needed. The reason that hasn't occurred yet is that most off-the-books workers are isolated. There hasn't yet been a coherent effort to completely replace all services provided by the State. I think the key service is a decentralized free market banking system that's resistant to State violence and a gold/silver/FRN barter network so people can conveniently and anonymously exchange slave points and money.

I liked this article by the BBC about the Zimbabwe hypeinflation (coming soon to a fiat currency near you!).

The other main technique for keeping zeros under control, is to think in terms of a hard currency - in this case, US dollars.

It would be against the law to advertise your house in US dollars, Mr Robertson says, but in practice this is the currency used for big purchases.

I don't get that at all. It's illegal to quote prices in US dollars? How does the State enforce its laws when its money is useless?

Why don't some people in Zimbabwe get together and say "**** this! We're using gold and silver as money!" It's illegal, but is such a law really enforceable at this point?

I liked this article on Liberty is my Homie, referring to this zogby poll. A lot of Americans would support a secessionist movement. This is promising for spreading agorism!

I believe any state or region has the right to peaceably secede and become an independent republic:





Not sure


backing was strongest among younger adults, as 40% among those age 18 to 24 and 24% among those age 25 to 34 agreed states and regions have secession rights

I would support a secessionist effort in my state:





Not sure


I believe the United States' system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections:





Not sure


However, this poll is still barking up the wrong tree. They are writing about secession at a state, county, or city level. What about secession at an individual level? Would support for that be higher or lower?

Someone pointed out this article on arstechnica. Someone registered "" and C.S. Lewis Ltd. filed a WIPO dispute and won. The domain was ordered returned to them.

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

Having a centralized domain name registrar is one of the defects in the design of the Internet. Domain name registration should be decentralized, just like all the other features of the Internet.

Technically, you could write your own DNS service and ignore the "official" registrars. The names wouldn't be visible to people who don't subscribe to your DNS service.

Someone pointed out this link about police suing an anonymous blogger who was critical of the police.

People who have put up blogs and websites critical of specific policemen have come under attack.
The purpose of the lawsuit is not to win damages. The purpose is to discover the blogger's identity so the police can harass him.

This post on no third solution about no interet debt contracts had some interesting bits.

Wage earners (most of us) are principally the last people to receive this newly created money, and they receive it only after enough time has passed and the primary and noticeable effects of inflation have rippled through the economy. If you wonder why prices rise, it’s because somewhere, someone else got access to a boat-load of newly minted greenbacks which nobody else knew existed (because in fact they did not exist) and used them to place competing bids on the purchases of real resources.

Inflation is theft. The people who get first dibs to print and spend the new money are stealing from everyone else.

This post on no third solution was about false economies of scale. (I don't get why he put "agora" in the link. That post wasn't really about agorism.)

Management of a large corporation excels at lobbying the State for favors. There is no genuine efficiency, except the ability to extract favors from the State. Even Warren Buffet, who is a huge critic of bad government policies and lobbying for favors, is the recipient of a massive State subsidy.

That's why on-the-books startup businesses have to "grow or die". They need to reach a large size quickly so they can efficiently lobby the State for favors.

An off-the-books business has no "grow or die" pressure. If you use sound money and avoid income taxes, then you aren't being taxed to pay the profits of your larger competitors. If you avoid silly regulations, then you avoid the hassle of dealing with lawyers and accountants. Regulatory/legal overhead takes up a larger percentage of a small business' revenue, compared to a large corporation.

I liked this article on the Liberty Papers. California barred trans fats from restaurants and bakeries.

Under the new law, trans fats, long linked to health problems, must be excised from restaurant products beginning in 2010, and from all retail baked goods by 2011. Packaged foods will be exempt.

In other words, this law is entirely corporate welfare. Food manufactured in large factories is exempt from the ban. Local bakeries can make fresh food and are competitive with corporate food. This ban cripples their business.

There was a trans fat ban in the city where I live. I noticed that the cakes and cookies in the local bakery suddenly started tasting lousy. It correlated with the date of the ban. If the local bakery is barred from making food that tastes good, I might as well buy the corporate food.

Why does the State have the right to ban trans fats? If the ban is so wonderful, then why not let the free market decide. In the USA, there is no longer any pretense of a free market.

How do I know that the science backing the trans fat ban is genuine? How do I know this scientific conclusion isn't entirely fabricated? There aren't any independent scientists that I can trust to perform the research. For example, scientists have proven that antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs are beneficial. I know from personal experience that is wrong. How do I know that other science touted by mainstream media sources isn't just as wrong?

The State-licensed custodians of science have been completely corrupted. I don't trust any of their conclusions.

On the other hand, this leaves an opening for an agorist bakery. If you cook in your oven and sell to your friends, you may ignore the trans fat ban. If you operate an agorist bakery, you also may ignore all the overhead of State licensing requirements, in addition to the burden of taxes on your profits.

Paradoxically, I enjoy seeing new stupid laws. They restrict my freedom in the present. However, these stupid laws also increase my potential profit when I start actively working as an agorist.

This bit deserves its own separate post.

In this post on no third solution, David Z says he saw a local decline of $0.50 in the price of gasoline at the pump.

I only saw a decline of a few cents where I live. I got the impression the price is slow to decline but quick to rise, in response to changing oil prices.

In this post on the Picket Line, David Gross points out that all credit card transactions, debit card transactions, and PayPal are now automatically reported to the IRS. It's buried in the fine print of the banking/housing bailout bill. (Isn't it neat the way that nasty laws are hidden in the fine print of other laws? I guess it's appropriate that a tax law is included in a banking bailout bill. The whole point of the income tax is profits for the bankers!)

It appears that only the aggregate is reported to the IRS and not each individual transaction. Either way, it's a huge loss for anyone that has an Internet business and wasn't reporting their income.

For example, suppose I put a PayPal donation widget on my blog. If you made a donation, then it would be taxable income for me. The aggregate donation total would be reported to the IRS. It's immoral for me to ask for donations, if half the proceeds go to the bad guys.

A parallel financial system is desperately needed. It has to be decentralized and off-the-books to have any chance of success.

Has anybody tried buying gold or silver coins in a coin shop? Is there an IRS reporting requirement for buying or selling?

This post on Check Your Premises was interesting. Someone conducted an experiment to see if waterboarding actually is torture.

I also liked the bit that said "Al Qaeda were instructed to lie about being tortured." Al Qaeda told its prisoners to lie and say they were tortured, even if they weren't. Therefore, their claims of being tortured are not credible.

My primary objection to torturing suspected terrorists is that I'm forced to pay the cost via taxes. Paying taxes is immoral, because the profits are used to hurt other people. If you use your own money to hurt people, that's not as bad as forcing me to pay for it. Torturing people isn't profitable if you're forced to directly pay the cost yourself.

There was an interesting comment.

I don’t feel like researching this myself, but did I read somewhere that after WWII, Japanese soldiers were executed for having conducted waterboard torture?

I read that one also. So what if it's true? The bad guys may do as they please. If you're on the winning side of a war then, by definition, everything you did was legal.

That was Saddam Hussein's defense in his trial. He said "I was dictator. By definition, everything I did was legal!"

I consider anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs to be a form of torture.

I wonder what will happen after the State collapses? Will all the former politicians and parasites be tried as war criminals? Or, will they adapt and become productive workers?

I noticed "" in my Google Analytics stats and was incredibly confused. I found this explanation. MySpace now routes all links through Allegedly, it's a spam-fighting tactic. It's also a way for MySpace to control its users.

This also means that when someone from MySpace links to my blog, I can't find the original source of the discussion.

If I were a MySpace user, I'd boycott MySpace solely for this reason.

In this thread on, someone had a bunch of questions about banking.

Could you please tell me what is right or wrong about this reasoning:

1. FED+fractional reserve banking is bad, we know this but other disagree or are ignorant.

2. People have the right to disagree or be ignorant.

3. By imposing a gold standard, we limit the freedom of people to use fiat money or be ignorant.

4. By introducing competition (free entry), different schools in economics will introduce different currencies. We will use gold standard, others will use currency that inflates at fixed rate, others will use currency that is centrally managed. To each his own.

5. By introducing competition (free entry), the performace of these currencies can be compared in the long run, and demand will probably whift towards the best system.

6. By introducing competition (free entry), innovation can take place. Maybe the Google Dollar based on 0,4Gold + 0,3 Gold + 0,3 Adsense revenue will outperform the gold standard, who knows. Let the market ride and decide.

7. Arguing for competition is far easier politically than saying we know best with the gold standard. "Hey, we want to do things the way we want. It's the American way" is far easier to defend than "You are all wrong. All the others are laughing at me to make me look like a fool, but you have to believe me. Read a book please."

8. If people still want to use the USD Dollar under competition, why not let them? They can finance the state! The inflation tax becomes a tax on stupid people. Nothing wrong with a voluntary tax. Let them pay for the police, fire man, military and courts, and abolish all other taxes.

9. Make it illegal for the FED to deflate the USD, because that would be stealing from tax payers of course. Would also be impossible if FED revenue was the only revenue.

So, I this a pragmatic way to reach our goals or is this a stupid idea?

1. Don't confuse two separate systems. There's the current system of fiat debt-based money, which is totally fraudulent. There's fractional reserve banking as it was practiced prior to 1913 under a gold standard, which is also exploitative.

2. Yes, people have the right to disagree or be ignorant. That's one advantage of having your own blog. You can keep the ignorant trolling under control. In a forum like this, all viewpoints should be respected, including the stupid ones. This leads to flamewars.

3. Demanding people use gold as money is as immoral as demanding people use Federal Reserve Notes as money. There should be no regulation or taxation of money. People should be free to use whatever they want as money.

4. In the present, competition is forbidden by the State. Try setting up a gold-denominated warehouse receipt bank, and see how soon police raid you.

5. With true competition among monetary systems, nobody would use unbacked fiat paper. In a true free market, all money would be backed by tangible goods and services.

6. Google will not be the sponsor of a sound monetary system. The are a corporation and subject to regulation by the State. They aren't going to risk their search engine and adwords business to sponsor sound money. For example, eBay used to offer auctions conducted in E-Gold. They stopped that practice under pressure from the IRS.

7. It isn't easy to argue politically for free markets. Try calling your Congressman and seeing if he responds to your concerns. Organizing a grassroots political movement takes tremendous effort. There are all sorts of dirty tricks that can be used, as exemplified with Ron Paul's campaign.

8. It's one thing to say "I want to boycott the Federal Reserve and income tax." It's another to start actually doing it.

9. You mean devaluing the dollar (inflation). Inflation and deflation are opposites. Congress doesn't have the political will to restrain the Federal Reserve. The US Constitution says you have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. What happens when you petition the government and they tell you to go **** yourself? Then what happens?

The most practical way to attain the goal of a true free market is agorism. It's the only resistance strategy I've seen with a nonzero chance of success. The idea is that you do work without reporting it for taxation and regulation. You use sound money instead of Federal Reserve Notes, protecting yourself from theft via inflation. By avoiding the income tax, the inflation tax, and stupid regulations, your productivity is raised more than 50%.

1. Why is fractional reserve banking exploitative if the reserve ratios are under the scrutiny of free entry competition?

2. I don't have a blog.

3. Agreed. Point 3 is not something I want. It's something I point out. You should read the subsequent points more as a storyline.

4. I am talking about introducing competition, so I am aware that free entry is illegal right now.

5. Indeed, and 100% gold will have a good shot at being a top performing currency. Maybe money would be 1% fiat or so to pay the issuing institution for its efforts. Don't know. Market knows. Maybe money will be 100% backed and still deflate, as advertisement space could be sold on the bills, part of which could be given to the owner of the bills. Other part to pay issuer. Again, I don't know the outcome, nobody does.

6. That they aren't now does not influence the validity of my reasoning.

7. Again I agree, but I think it is easier than making the FED use a gold standard. And more desirable too.

8. I indeed pay income tax, I live in a country where the tax is legal and where my employer pays it to the state before I ever see the money. Again, I don't see how this influences the validity of my arguments.

9. No I don't, read my previous post for an explanation.

1. Fractional Reserve banking has almost always been subject to State regulation. Limited liability incorporation encourages dishonest behavior by bank owners and management during times of stress. Limited liability incorporation allows banks to cheat their depositors in bankruptcy court. Under common law, bank owners and management would be personally liable for any shortfall.

Regulation of banking prevents competition. Before 1913, you needed something like $2M capital to start a bank. Regulation of banking costs small banks a larger percentage of their assets than large banks.

Fractional Reserve banking always existed in collusion with the State.

2. I like having a blog, because it helps prevent clueless people from disrupting things.

4. How do you plan on introducing free competition? The people who control the government are quite happy with the current corrupt system. Why would they voluntarily change things?

5. It's hard to predict exactly what money would be like in a true free market. There are no historical examples. It would probably be based on gold or silver.

6. If you try to set up an alternate monetary system as an on-the-books business, you'll be shut down by State violence. If you do it 100% legally, then the cost of regulation compliance will wreck your business model.

7. How are you going to convince the people who control the Federal Reserve to switch back to a gold standard? They like being able to print more money and give it to themselves. Why would they voluntarily give up this power?

8. The income tax is immoral. The legal arguments favoring or opposing the income tax are irrelevant.

9. The Federal Reserve has alternating inflation/deflation cycles, because that lets them maximize the amount of wealth they confiscate. The long-term trend is inflation.

What is the libertarian point of view on limited liability and the law system in general?

I'm not technically a libertarian. A proper libertarian says "There should be a sharply limited government that restricts itself to police, defense, and contract enforcement." I say "Who needs a government at all?" This philosophy is best described as "agorism". I've also heard it described as "left libertarian" or "up libertarian". Technically, I'm also an anarchist, but the "anarchist" label is tainted in many people's minds. Most people think an anarchist is someone who goes around blowing up government buildings, which I think is immoral and a waste of time.

My attitude is "The only valid form of law is natural law or common law, and contract law." The concept that a group of 535 people can get together and ban me from buying incandescent light bulbs is ridiculous.

Once you give government a monopoly on police protection, then it expands to the point where you have the current monster. Once you give someone the power to tax and force you to pay for their services, then it expands to the point where they control practically everything.

A corporation is a legal fiction. Saying "The Coca-Cola corporation owns this property" makes as much sense as saying "Santa Claus owns this property." They both are fictional characters. A group of people may get together and pretend they're a corporation, but they should get no special legal protection.

I don't understand why you keep on pushing that it is impossible to change anything. Ron Paul's popularity give me hope. If you stop caring, government wins always.

Are you looking forward to Ron Paul's inauguration? Thanks to all the fair and balanced media coverage he received, he clinched the Republican nomination easily.

So you're giving up on pursuing reform for 2-4 years until the next election?

Voting doesn't work. There are too many dirty tricks that can be used.

I didn't say I was giving up on pursuing reform. I said I was giving up on pursuing reform by voting or any other political means. You've been brainwashed to believe that the only meaningful political action a person can do is vote.

That's the whole point of agorism or "counter-economics".

In this thread on, someone was asking about Bastiat's broken window fallacy.

Here's another way to consider the "seen vs. unseen" argument.

You see a lot of people working as soldiers in the US military. Therefore, the government is "creating jobs" and "stimulating the economy".

What you don't see is all the useful work those people would be doing otherwise. Instead of building bombs, factories could be building cars. Instead of working as soldiers, those people could be working as teachers or doctors. If I pay 50% of my income in taxes to support a war, then I don't have the money to buy a new computer or new house.

Government cannot "stimulate the economy". All the State accomplishes is that it moves wealth from one group of people from another group of people, destroying wealth in the process.

As another example, you see doctors working treating patients. However, the State has licensing requirements that restrict the supply of doctors. You don't see a lot more people working as doctors and cheaper health care.

The evil of the State is concealed, because the negative effects are usually unseen. When the State "stimulates the economy", it's like going around breaking windows to create work for the glassmaker.

In this thread on, someone was asking about free market justice and PDAs (private defense organizations. What prevents a PDA from being abusive? The answer is free market competition.

Suppose a PDA gets a criminal complaint. They say "This case is hard! We'll outsource it to X." There is nothing inherently wrong with that.

If X mishandles the case, then the original PDA is still responsible for X's decision, if they choose to enforce it.

If the PDA or X are intentionally mishandling cases to benefit their customers, then they'll be shut down by market competition.

In the present, if the State mishandles a case, then people have no recourse. For example, suppose policemen are accused of inappropriately shooting someone. A judge rules them not guilty. The victim has no further recourse. If a PDA did that, then they would rapidly lose all their customers.

If a policeman engages in misconduct, then both the policeman and the PDA are responsible for making restitution to the victims. If there's a single rogue policeman, then the PDA probably could survive. If it happened too much, then the PDA would lost custoemrs.

In the present, even if the State makes a "wrongful death" claim to people inappropriate shot by police, there are no adverse consequences to the policemen or politicians. The "wrongful death" claim comes out of tax revenue. Everyone else pays slightly higher taxes to compensate.

"Libel" is not a crime in an anarchist society. You have the right to say "Y is dishonest" and Y has the right to say your accusation is wrong. In the present, libel is sometimes a problem because of the mainstream media monopoly.

Misconduct is only profitable if the PDA has a monopoly. In other words, such misconduct is only possible if there's a State.

(The poster still didn't understand.)

Let's deal with a concrete example. PDA #1 has customer A. PDA #2 has customer B. PDA #1 hires X to steal from or assassinate B. At this point, when PDA #2 does the investigation, it might uncover the link between X and PDA #1. In that case, PDA #1 would be essentially forced out of business. They would lose their customers *AND* the punitive damages would be huge. Whoever from PDA #1 that hired X would now have a huge outstanding claim against them. At this point, any employees at PDA #1 who weren't involved with the crime would leave for another employer.

Suppose the link between X and PDA #1 is not discovered. In that case, it is treated like any other crime. X would not just owe compensatory damages, but punitive damages like any other convicted criminal.

Suppose X is not caught at all. In that case, PDA #2 isn't doing a very good job.

The bottom line is that punitive damages are always high enough to make dishonest behavior unprofitable. If you're flagrantly dishonest or negligent, the punitive damage award should be huge.

A contract to do something that's obviously a crime isn't enforceable.

In this thread on, someone was confused about the difference between value and price. Value is what something is actually worth. Price is what you pay for it. In a true free market, value and price are tightly related.

Consider an economy operating under a pure gold standard, with no government regulation of money. Suppose that there was a "shortage" of gold. In this case, this would be incentive for gold miners to increase production. This guarantees that the value represented by an ounce of physical gold is approximately equal to the cost of mining and refining gold. If there was a "surplus" of gold, then gold mining businesses would close. (From 1933-1975, gold mines were barred from selling gold at the fair free market price. Many gold mines ceased operations.)

If there's no State violence requiring people to use gold as money, then people would switch to silver or other things as money, if the volume of gold was insufficient for trade.

In a true free market, value and price are in equilibrium. It's only in the context of State manipulation of the market that distortions occur. For example, lawyers and hedge fund managers produce nothing, but are highly paid. This is a consequence of State distortion of the market.

I'm kind of confused as to why exactly subjective value immediately determines price. Certainly over time it will, but when a firm initially sells a product, it's not based on what it thinks everyone values it at but rather starts at its production cost and increases prices after that (desired/expected revenue). Then if people don't think the product is worth that much to them, they don't buy it and the firm has to lower the price to clear its inventory. As it lowers the price there's an ambiguous point at which people will be content in purchasing it. In that way, prices are subjective, but I don't think you can simply look at the market and examine the prices and say "these are all based on the subjective values of consumers". I might be confused on something though.

When a new product is first on the market, the price will be arbitrary. The seller will choose a price that covers his costs, and the customers who want it pay.

Over time, price and value move towards equilibrium. If prices are higher than value, then more competitors enter the market and prices decrease. If prices are lower than value, then business close and prices rise.

This arbitrage does *NOT* occur in the present due to State restrictions on the market. For example, the State restricts the supply of doctors, guaranteeing that the price of medical care will be high. Even if I decide "Doctors are overpaid! I'll go get a State doctor license!", then I'm just taking the license away from someone else. I can't choose to work as a doctor without a license from the State. This prevents the price/value equilibrium from occurring with medical care.

For example, suppose you invented a cure for cancer. You could charge $1M and people would willingly pay. In a free market, other people will discover this cure or other cures. In a free market, there's no patents, although you could choose to keep your cure a secret. Over time, the cost of the "cure for cancer" will drop from $1M to the cost of the time it takes to administer the cure. Even though people would willingly pay $1M for a cure for cancer, they only have to pay the cost of the doctor's time.

In this thread on, someone was wondering if the State itself is unconstitutional. There are many obvious contradictions in the way the State currently operates, if you take a literal interpretation of the Constitution.

In a tax resistance/evasion trial, the judge typically will say "The Constitution does not apply here." The obvious contradictions, inconsistencies, and immoralities are ignored.

Look at it this way. The USA has been secretly operating under martial law since 1861 (when the southern states walked out of Congress and it continued without a quorum) or 1933 (default on gold-redeemability of the dollar).

The Constitution should not be interpreted as placing any restrictions on what State employees may do. If they can get away with it, they'll do it.

In this thread on, someone was wondering what it exactly means for a country to be rich.

If there's more goods and services in a country, then there's more wealth to go around. In the extreme case, where one person controls all the wealth in a country, then a large GDP does no good. However, most countries have a distribution of wealth that's not so obviously unfair (the USA is getting worse instead of better, due to increasing restrictions on the market).

Suppose you're a software engineer in the USA. There's lots of established companies and startups competing for your services. This guarantees that salaries are decent. Suppose you're a software engineer living in Nebraska. If you're serious about your career, you'll probably move to California or elsewhere for a better job. In the USA, moving from Nebraska to California is no problem. Moving from Vietnam to the USA is hard or impossible.

Suppose you're a software engineer in Vietnam. There aren't that many businesses. There aren't many startups. Your employment opportunities are limited.

Even if you're a skilled software engineer in Vietnam, it's hard for you to start your own business or work for someone else who's starting a business.

Suppose I go to the store in the USA. There's lots of different products on the shelves, guaranteeing a certain degree of price and quality.

Suppose I go to the store in Vietnam. There aren't many choices. Some things are expensive or unavailable.

The advantage living in the USA is that it's easier to start a business here. More new businesses means more new wealth is being created. This translates to a higher standard of living for everyone. Competition among employers keeps wages high. Competition among sellers keeps prices down.

That's how it works in theory. Conditions in the USA are deteriorating. The USA is becoming more Vietnam-like instead of Vietnam becoming more USA-like.

In this thread on, people were writing about pursuing reform by voting.

Consider this possibility. Suppose 51% of the population have decided that government is bad and they're willing to vote for its immediate dismantling.

During the next election, there's one statist candidate, who gets 49% of the vote. There are ten identical candidates saying "I promise to dismantle the State!" They all receive an equal amount of mainstream media coverage. They each get 5% of the vote.

Alernatively, suppose there is an anarchist candidate who gets 51% of the vote honestly, but the Diebold machines are programmed to register him getting 30% of the vote. Can you prove fraud occurred?

Pursuing reform by voting is a waste of time. There are too many dirty tricks that can be used.

By the time 51% of the population strongly supports agorism or "market anarchism", it's already all over for the State.

In this thread on, someone was asking about how money is actually created.

I wrote a post on Monetizing the Debt. There always is some money in circulation. Some of that money is used to purchase government securities. Approximately 10% of those securities are sold to the Federal Reserve. Fractional Reserve banking then creates the remaining 90%.

Banks don't always follow the exact limit of the legal reserve requirement. There is some wiggle room in the way the regulation is stated. I believe the reserve requirement is a 2 week average and not a daily requirement.

The Federal Reserve is barred from purchasing directly from the Federal government. In practice, that's a legal technicality.

The Discount Rate is currently 0.5% more than the Fed Funds Rate. Large banks may borrow at the Fed Funds Rate. Smaller banks borrow at the Discount Rate. (Recently, FRE and FNM were allowed to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve at the Discount Rate.) Other types of borrowing may occur at the Discount Rate. When a bank borrows from the Federal Reserve at the Discount Rate, it is borrowing brand new money. The Federal Reserve literally prints new money and loans it out.

When the Federal Reserve "monetizes the debt", it usually purchases Treasury Notes for an electronic credit. Sometimes, the Federal Reserve purchases Treasury Notes for actual physical Federal Reserve Notes. This guarantees that the volume of paper money in circulation is adequate.

In theory, everyone could go to the bank and simultaneously withdraw all their cash. In that case, the Federal Reserve would merely print enough Federal Reserve Notes to redeem all balances. Most banks have a limit on how much cash can be withdrawn per day. If you tried to withdraw $10k cash from your bank, you'd probably be suspected of drug dealing.

You might also be interested in my articles on the Compound Interest Paradox. I give a page of examples.

I already refuted the Compound Interest Paradox. FSK should stop trolling.

"Anonymous Coward" has not presented any arguments against the Compound Interest Paradox that I consider to be coherent or non-trolling.

If you want to create a separate thread on the subject, or a post on your own blog, go ahead.

The impression I have of "Anonymous Coward" is that he has a degree/PhD in economics or is a professor of economics. That makes it very hard to accept the Compound Interest Paradox, because that's like accepting "Everything I learned in my economics courses was a bunch of lies."

Do I have an emotional investment in the Compound Interest Paradox, or does Anonymous Coward have an emotional investment in the brainwashing he received as an economist?

Try asking a politician or politics professor "Is taxation theft?" They'll have the exact same reaction as Anonymous Coward discussing the Compound Interest Paradox.

I understand that money is created through the fractional reserve process, which is what I believe your quote above refers to. What about when the Fed buys US T-bills and other securities from dealers/brokers. Does the Fed just create $10 million and credit it to the dealer's account in exchange for the security or does it use reserves deposited by the member banks into the fed system to pay for the securities?

When the Federal Reserve buys a T-bill or other asset, it's buying it with newly-printed money. The Federal Reserve literally creates a $10 million credit in whoever sold it the bond, and a debit of $10 million in its own account.

However, these purchases are usually outright bond purchases or repurchase agreements. In the case of a repurchase agreement, the bond is sold back a few days later for a slightly larger amount, such as $10.1 million. The difference of $100,000 is never created. The Federal Reserve does get $100,000 to use for its own profits and expenses, but the missing $100,000 is never created. This is the whole point of the Compound Interest Paradox.

In this thread on, someone was speculating about a rumor that Mexico would start minting silver coins again.

What will probably happen is that the silver coins will be minted, but at a legally fixed ratio of silver/fiat. As money supply inflation occurs, the coins will be hoarded instead of circulating.

The correct way to do it is to mint silver coins, but let the "legal tender" value float with the market value of the silver. This will not happen.

In this thread on, someone was asking about socialism, communism, and fascism.

What's the Difference between Socialism, Communism, and Fascism?

Presently, the USA has the worst features of all three.

Welfare programs such as medicare, medicaid, and social security are socialist. In socialism, productive workers are taxed and the proceeds are given to the poor masses.

If you read the Communist Maifesto carefully, the USA actually is a communist country! A central bank credit monopoly, income taxes, property taxes, and extensive regulation of industry are key components of a communist economy. Corporate control of the means of production is the functional equivalent of State control of the means of production. A corporate bureaucracy functions very similarly to a State bureaucracy. Large corporations receive State subsidies and are shielded from competition via regulations.

The USA has a limited free market, but it's organized along communist principles much more than free market principles.

Fascism is a government that violently restricts people's rights. For example, the FBI/IRS raid on the Liberty Dollar offices is an example of fascism. When the FBI raids someone's business for suspected tax evasion, that's an example of fascism.

Socialism, communism, and fascism are the opposite of a true free market. Each of them restrict the market in different ways.

Some of the taxed productivity of the workers is given to the poor masses. Most of it is distributed to government employees and other political interests.

I should have emphasized this point more. Some people say that welfare program is actually welfare for the social workers and bureaucrats who administer the welfare programs. Some people estimate that less than 50% of the budget of welfare programs goes to the people. The rest is in the hands of bureaucrats. Private charities were much more efficient, before the welfare state was established.

In a truly perfected communist economy, everyone lives in complete poverty. Why bother working, when the fruits of your labor are stolen by the State! The USA is reaching that point, but not quite yet.

Fsk said something about the US being somewhat all three and that's sort of why I asked the question. I was confused, or couldn't ascertain whether something like Universal Healthcare was more of a Socialist or Fascist or Communism kinda of program, whenever I would think about it. Regardless, the fact that this country has one or more elements of the three is scary enough.

Universial Healthcare is simultaneously Socialist, Fascist, and Communist! It depends on how it's implemented.

The State pays for health care for everyone, out of tax revenue. This is socialist. Alternatively, not having health insurance is illegal. I believe Massachusetts currently does this. That is also socialist.

Everyone is required to purchase health care, but insurance companies are forbidden to price-discriminate based on risk. That is communist. For example, suppose you had a kidney transplant, which means you have to take drugs for the rest of your life and are at greater risk for further illness. Insurance companies are barred from charging such patients extra. In this manner, the healthy people are subsidizing the care of sick people. That is communist.

In some countries, doctors are forbidden from working outside of the State medical plan. A doctor who directly accepts payment for service is a criminal. That is fascist. It is illegal to work as a doctor without a license from the State. That is also fascist.

Ideally, a plan with the worst features of each should be implemented. Anything that makes people lose respect for government is fine with me.

Universal healthcare in the USA is going to be an incredible disaster! I'm looking forward to it.

Something that should be pointed out here is that the alternative to state welfare is not necessarly charity. You can have private welfare. In fact, Mutual Aid Societies were popular until government got into that business.

I read that Mutual Aid Societies were ruined by the AMA. Before State licensing requirements of doctors, mutual aid societies hired a full-time doctor. Members of the society could use the doctor's services. Self-policing by the mutual aid societies guaranteed that people didn't abuse the doctor's services.

The mutual aid contracts were lucrative and highly sought after by doctors. There were no restrictive State licensing requirements for doctors. There were many doctors on the market competing for these contracts.

The AMA didn't like the fact that doctors were employed by mutual aid societies. Doctors' salaries should be set by other doctors, and not by the free market! How dare the common man decide how much to pay his doctor!

The AMA successfully lobbied for State licensing requirements for doctors. This restricted the supply of doctors and drove up prices. This wrecked the mutual aid societies' business model. Most of them folded during the Great Depression.

After WWII, people got health insurance via their corporate employer. The primary benefit of joining a mutual aid society was cheap medical care. The welfare State meant that it was silly to pay for mutual aid society membership when you can get support from the State.

In the welfare state, welfare payments usually come with strings attached that further restrict your freedom.

By E-Mail, someone wrote:

The proposed homebirthing ban is ridiculous. That's the sort of thing that makes me think "who needs govt"?
It's one of many proposed stupid laws in the pipeline. My reaction to stupid laws is "Good! Whatever makes people realize things are out of control is fine with me!" For example, the incandescent light bulb ban is totally illegitimate. The State has the power to tax things, so it also has the power to ban things. Essentially, the State declared an infinite tax on incandescent light bulbs.

I read another story about homebirthing. Some people were born 40+ years ago via midwives, and not in a hospital. There was an accusation that midwives were forging birth certificates and documenting illegal aliens. Therefore, all birth certificates written by midwives are invalid. Some people that have been US citizens their whole lives are now all of a sudden undocumented illegal aliens!

I had another increase in blog traffic recently. Apparently, nothing drives blog traffic like a good flamewar!

By E-Mail, someone referred me to this story. Cycling rights activists occasionally hold protests in favor of fair treatment for cyclists. For example, cyclists are entitled to a full lane in traffic, which is usually ignored. The behavior of cars make riding a bicycle dangerous.

In a recent protest, a policeman singled out a bicycle apparently at random. The policeman knocked the bike over and arrested the cyclist.

I like this pro-State troll article in the NY Post.

Over the last four years, the activists have aggressively fought the NYPD's attempts to keep the streets safe.

The cyclists are the bad guys and the police are the good guys.

And, since the rider got a traffic ticket and was cited for resisting arrest, there may be more to the story than what's on one online video.

You are assaulted and beaten and you resist. This is a crime.

The bicyclist was fraudulently charged with a crime. Therefore, the policeman's actions are justified.

I never understood why "resisting arrest" is a crime. If you're violently assaulted, your natural reflex is to resist.

It's hard to root against the cops.

People are finding it easier all the time.

If you don't like stories of abuse by monopolistic State police, then you should start your own government.

It's the usual sovereign immunity problem. Police are nearly absolute immune from liability when they do something wrong.

The only reason this incident was exposed is that someone was videotaping the incident and they posted the footage on YouTube. Cheap cameras in the hands of the average person are a great invention! In many cities, filming in public without a license is a crime. Actually, NYC has such a law. I'm surprised it wasn't invoked against whoever filmed that footage.

I found this YouTube video of the incident. Based on that video, it looks like the incident was 100% the cop's fault. The bicyclist was getting out of the way and was assaulted.

Police are protected by sovereign immunity. If you don't like it, start your own government.

Stories like this are attractive to many people, because they feel they are unfairly the victim of State violence.

Monkt has left a new comment on your post "A Wikipedia Censorship Story":

What was the name of the article?

I looked, and the edit war is still in the edit history. It was the article for Quetiapine (Seroquel). That was in May/June 2006. I was logged in as "Fsk" and you can see the edit war and auto-censorship bots being used against me.

I also made a pro-Seroquel edit from on June 12, 2006, and one of the suspected drug company PR agents sent me a PM saying I'd be a good site admin! (That edit is gone now, and the suspected PR agent is no longer an active user.)

I don't bother with Wikipedia anymore. Were the other users maintaining the integrity of Wikipedia, or were they engaging in censorship? I claim censorship. It just seemed weird that anti-Seroquel links were considered "not reliable", but pro-Seroquel links were considered perfect.

Remember that Wikipedia protects the anonymity of registered users. If you don't have an account, your IP address is linked with each edit. If you have an IP address, then Wikipedia doesn't display your IP address, although your IP address is available certain elite site admins (but not all admins). Notice that admins' anonymity is also protected by Wikipedia.

Some people claim that they can easily get a new account promoted to admin status in a few months, by following a carefully predictable script. Some people claim that they can profitably create and sell Wikipedia admin accounts. On Wikipedia, the approval process for being a site admin is determined by a vote. However, only a small minority of users bother trolling the admin vote discussions.

The average user assumes that a site's policies are fair. However, Wikipedia's policies seem designed to encourage censorship and petty bickering. Wikipedia's solution is to ban users who don't conform. The correct solution is to use a better engine where banning users is unnecessary. Why would an online community ever ban a user?

According to Google Analytics, someone from the US Army Directorate of Automation Services was reading my blog. They visited 53 pages and spent 1 hour 45 minutes on my site. Did they find it interesting?

That actually is kind of weird. Either the people working there are too stupid to use NoScript, or they wanted me to know they were reading my blog.

Blogger admitted they were too aggressive in falsely accusing blogs of being spam. In other words, all the people falsely accused worked as unpaid consultants helping Google tweak their anti-spam algorithm.

I had 3265 Absolute Unique Visitors in July, which is a 31% increase over June. Overall, my growth trend is still in the correct direction.

By E-Mail, Barry B from Debt Prison writes:

Hey this is Barry B. I remember reading recently how you said you have a regular job and I can't help but wonder, as much time as you spend blogging why not create a site and earn revenue from advertising with google or some other platform. I'm sure you've thought of this but I was just thinking it seems like as much effort as you put into a blog you could easily do it full time in a year or two. Just wondering...

Via Google Adwords, I would earn at most a few dollars per day, and probably less. That isn't worth the hassle right now.

For political blogs, Adwords is a bad idea. Frequently, the ads are opposite of the point of the post. Suppose I write an article on the subprime mortgage problem. The Google Ad says "Refinance your mortgage cheaply online!"

Google Adwords is most profitable when your readers are fools. Most people don't bother clicking on ads.

I'd need 100x-1000x more readers than I have now, for Adwords to be a viable income source. If I reach that scale, other options become available.

I could directly sell individual ads. The ads could be for agorist businesses or for corporations.

I could directly promote my own free market businesses.

I'm looking into ways to profit from my blog, but that isn't worth the effort based on my current readership size. I get approximately 150 Absolute Unique Visitors per day.

Don't forget the effect of taxes. If I earn $10 in AdWords income, that's only $5 in after-tax money. I want actual free market income. In order to accomplish that, I need to move from having a "virtual business" to a business involving tangible goods and services.

I updated the "Best of FSK" list on the left sidebar. There weren't many changes. Surprisingly, "most popular last month" and "most popular all-time" are nearly identical. I haven't had a single incredibly popular post recently.

Liberty Student has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #61":

Is that some sort of backhanded compliment?

No, just a plain old compliment. I thought it was one of your best posts, because it was something you had personal familiarity with.

I couldn't tell. I've been planning to write more about anti-psychiatry, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #61":

just wanted to say thanks for the honorable mention...

For what? Or just in general?

This thread on about agorism degenerated into a flamewar. However, they mentioned an interesting distinction I hadn't notice before.

If you run an isolated off-the-books business or black market business (marijuana, prostitution), your primary goal is to "launder" your profits and spend/invest them in the official legal economy. These workers do not undermine the State, because their goal is to put their profits back in the official State economy.

An agorist does not desire to "launder" his profits. If you use sound money (gold or silver), then there is no need to put your profits back into the legal economy. If there were a secure agorist warehouse receipt banking service, then you could safely store your profits there. If you use Federal Reserve Points, you have to "launder" your money so you can invest the profits in inflation-adjusted assets; if you use sound money, then holding onto your money preserves your savings.

An agorist would be able to purchase goods and services in the agorist economy, making "laundering" unnecessary. In the present, the free market is not sophisticated. An agorist still needs an inventory of slave points so he can purchase things in regular white market stores, which don't accept real money. However, an agorist should keep as much of his savings as possible invested in sound money or tangible goods. A gold/silver/FRN barter network is needed, so agorists can freely trade between real money and slave points; taxes, overhead, and State licensing/reporting requirements make such transactions hard to do legally.

I saw an interesting discussion on "Joel on Software". Someone was asking "What language is harder, English or C++?" My answer is "English, obviously!" There are plenty of computers that speak fluent C++. I know of no computers that speak fluent English. There are some humans that speak both English and C++.

I'm waiting for some parents to exclusively raise their children with Esperanto or Lojban, with no exposure to other languages at all. That would be considered abuse, but it would be funny!

In another thread on "Joel on Software", someone was saying "Who likes the new UI for Office 2007?" (crickets chirping)

When I first used Office 2007, I wound up using remembered keyboard shortcuts instead of the menu. It took me awhile to figure out where the "File->Save" and "File->Print" menus were.

In this thread on, someone was asking about accounting.

There's nothing inherently evil about double-entry bookkeeping. The evil part is the State subsidies that large corporations receive, in the form of negative real interest rates and regulations restricting competition.

The "economic calculation" problem occurs in communism because there's no price signals. Without market prices, how do you know if you should produce shoes or televisions?

Most industries are organized as a monopoly or oligopoly. With a monopoly, how can you determine if your internal costs are appropriate? For example, how do you know if Microsoft isn't using 5x as many software engineers as they actually need? They have a practical monopoly, so the cost can always be passed on to customers.

The CEO of a large corporation suffers from the "Agent-Principal Problem". He isn't the owner of the corporation, but he controls its resources. This means that he can line his pockets by giving himself and his friends huge option/stock grants. If he mismanages the corporation, it doesn't matter much, because the State shields him from competition. That is the evil of the limited liability corporation. "Ownership" and "control" are separated, and nobody is actually responsible for anything. In the event of misconduct, the corporation is sued and not the CEO. Further, "tort reform" limits damages when misconduct actually occurs.

The current US economy represents a communist society more than a free market. Since the State distorts the market so much, price signals don't convey appropriate information about what to produce.

In this thread on, someone was speculating about the collapse of the Federal government.

Assume the Federal Government of the US is abolished, and power is left to the States. Are we one step closer or one step further from Ancap Society? How many layers of government need to be abolished before we get there? Federal? States? County? City? All of the Above?

The collapse of the Federal US government will almost definitely coincide with the collapse of individual state governments. Currently, states are barred from issuing their own money and must use Federal Reserve Notes as money.

When the Federal government collapses, state governments will have no money. They will be unable to pay their employees and that will be the end of state governments as well as the Federal government.

In this thread on, someone was speculating about how revenues from Iraq's oil should be distributed.

Iraqi oil revenue should be distributed directly to the people

I agree! The profits should be directly distributed to Bush and Cheney and cut out all those annoying middlemen.

In this thread on, someone was wondering why the economy was so wonderful while Bill Clinton was President.

Thus, I would be very grateful if I could be given a detailed account of what really happend in the nineties.

The big thing that happened in the nineties was the computer/Internet boom. This allowed businesses to have huge productivity increases. This is totally uncorrelated with anything Bill Clinton did as President.

Also, the collapse of the Soviet bloc meant that people in those countries could start using the US dollar as money. Dollars flowed into that area, placing deflationary pressure on the dollar.

This thread on degenerated into a flamewar about agorism. It's interesting to see people besides me defending agorism. The original subject was the development of a private military.

Except you leave out one important part and that is the state may be substantially more powerful than you and crush your movement before it ever starts.

If the State is so powerful that it can crush a movement before it starts, then why haven't all the people who write about agorism on the Internet been arrested yet? If the State were that powerful, anybody who writes coherently about agorism would be immediately assassinated or arrested.

The time to suppress a free market economic revolt is now, when few people are aware of the possibility. It won't be so easy once more people are participating.

Just because something hasn't succeeded in the past doesn't mean it won't succeed in the future. If you say "I won't experiment with agorism because it isn't a proven success", does that mean you're barred from ever trying anything new?

As a practical matter, a self-sufficient community that can withstand an FBI raid seems far away right now. Success through stealth appears more likely than winning a direct violent confrontation.

(People were discussing the war in Iraq as an example of the power/incompetence of the State.)

Perhaps the goal of the Iraq war was not territorial domination of Iraq. As pointed out, that could have been accomplished by murdering everyone who currently lives there and importing settlers. That worked with the colonization of North America. Why not do it again?

What if the Iraq war serves another purpose? Maybe the purpose of the war is to loot the American people. A lot of the money spent on the Iraq war wound up in the hands of private military contractors. If the war ended right away, that wouldn't be as profitable!

The true purpose is profit for insiders. It's irrelevant if the publicly stated objective is attained. In fact, if you're profiting from the war, the incentive is to drag it out as long as possible!

In 6 months, there will be a new President, most likely Obama. He will probably end the Iraq war. People will forget about the injustice of war for a few years until it's time for the next war. By replacing Bush with Obama, all the injustices of the past 8 years will be forgotten/forgiven.

(I liked the way MacFall was defending agorism against the trolls.)

All the people writing about agorsim aren't doing anything, they are just talking.

The hell we are. Since I've learned about agorism, I've converted roughly 20% of my economic activity into counter-economic activity. Others who have been at it longer than I have are doing much more - as much as 100%. Meaning - they do not pay taxes, and their money does not lose value.

agorism is for the intellectuals who want to pretend they are doing something when in fact they are not.

This statement is easily disproven by the fact that many people have achieved a large degree of economic freedom already by agoric means...

Large portions of the world's population participate in at least some part of the underground economy. States are not on the verge of collapse as a result.

That's because they don't have focus or purpose. Agorism is about converting the pre-existing countereconomy into a principled movement with a specific goal.

Agorism has no chance of succeeding.

Care to prove this incredibly arrogant statement?

agorism has no goal and as such it is a path to nowhere.

Are you joking, or trolling? Because there's no way you can be serious with that statement, unless you have read nothing about the subject. The very IDEA of agorism is to apply a goal to the naturally existing countereconomy.

The world is not bottom up organized and for a free society to exist ithas to be created. It is foolish to assume the abscence of the currentstate will create a free society.

Blatant strawman. Agorists acknowledge that the free society will not come on its own - that's the whole bloody point of agorism! Agorists are working to create market alternatives to services that are currently monopolized by the state, so that when the state does collapse (as it will), the free society is already there, fully functioning and waiting to pick up the pieces.

Progress has been made already in creating those things. But keep in mind that the idea is relatively new - only a few decades - whereas the state apparatus is hundreds of years old at least. Right now, we are building the infrastructure of the countereconomy. The more people who participate, the sooner it will begin to produce the kind of results that will draw people naturally into it. Thus the point of educating other people about it.

Agorism was "born" after the recession of the 1970s. If it had existed before that time as a coherent set of ideas, it would probably be much further along than it is now. But today, we are nearing what looks to be a very severe recession,which will draw people toward alternative markets as they see theirwealth gouged more every day by the state.

One more thing - it doesn't help when people like you pooh-pooh agorism because it's not the same idea you have. Great thing about freedom is, there is always more than one way to do something, and varying means can work harmoniously toward similar ends. We (agorists) are not in competition with the Liberty Colony.

I recommend that you read some literature to familiarize yourself with the concept; maybe then you'll feel less threatened by it. I'd start with the New Libertarian Manifesto.
Where do you live? I'm someone who practices theoretical agorism but not practical agorism (yet). Do you have any advice for getting started, when you have *NO* contacts at all? I'm probably the "theoretical agorist" that the other people are criticizing.

Regrettably, any list of "agorists in each city" could also be used as a "list of people to arrest/harrass".
All the people writing about agorsim aren't doing anything, they are just talking. Most the people you hear about who are actually tax protesters and are trying to lead people in some sort of agroist type of activity are already in jail. Most importantly, agorism is for the intellectuals who want to pretend they are doing something when in fact they are not. Large portions of the world's population participate in at least some part of the underground economy. States are not on the verge of collapse as a result. Agorism as a strategy for eliminating the state and creating a free society is a joke.

Brilliant! I am interested in agorism, but all of these people who claim that agorism is the "only way" are full of baloney!

I'm going to start an unlicensed agorist gambling organization so libertarians can bet on "how the future free society is eventually formed." Once we live in anarchy you can collect your money if you bet right.

I'm just looking for a safe place to store my savings. If you could credibly promise "Deposit 1 ounce of gold now. Receive 1 ounce of gold anytime until or after the State collapses", I'd take it. I'd even pay for a *REALLY* secure warehouse receipt bank, probably something like -0.1% to -1% per year. However, in order to get my deposit, you have to *CREDIBLY* prove that you can protect my savings even after a State raid.

Some sort of distributed banking system is needed. If you store all your savings in one place, it's too tempting for the bad guys to raid you.

Where do you live? I'm someone who practices theoretical agorism but not practical agorism (yet). Do you have any advice for getting started, when you have *NO* contacts at all? I'm probably the "theoretical agorist" that the other people are criticizing.

I live in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and my "contacts" consist of a few farmers who barter, a car mechanic who is a minarchist yet believes in economic secession, and I'm currently trying to arrange something with a guy who buys and sells things like insulin (which I need) on the gray market.

Also, what I'm doing - and this is what I'd suggest for you to do - is informing people about the coming collapse of the dollar (not exaggerating, just being frank), and encouraging them to accept gold and silver (or direct exchange) to preserve their capital holdings. It's not hard to convince someone of the benefits of counter-economic exchange, whether they share your goals or not. Also, I'd try networking with libertarians of all kinds in your area, because it should be easier to find agorist allies amongst that group.

One of the things I'm trying to get started is a counter-economic craigslist (regarding which I made a thread on here a while back), which should seriously expedite countereconomic transactions.

Regrettably, any list of "agorists in each city" could also be used as a "list of people to arrest/harrass".

Yes, but today there is no need for such a list. Long live internets. =) Anonymous trading and shipping (a la the "You Ship It" system) can very effectively obfuscate the network to nosy outsiders. Besides, I don't think that the government will come after us until we are actually a threat, at which time, we will actually be a threat, of course.

Grey/black market insulin sales. That's nice! Is it possible to profitably manufacture insulin on a small scale?

Do you know of an agorist doctor?

At some point, it'll be feasible to have grey market medical research. I heard rumors of several promising treatments that the State is suppressing. For example, stem cell research is promising, and I heard of a naturally occurring plant chemical that's great at treating cancer (suppressed because it's un-patentable).

A counter-economic Craigslist would have to be totally decentralized P2P. If there was a centralized server, it would represent an attack point. I wrote a specification for such a system, but I haven't implented it yet.

If you "ship it", it would probably have to be an agorist delivery/courier service. If you use UPS, USPS, or FedEx, you risk that the State would inspect/seize/track your packages. For example, I wouldn't feel comfortable shipping 50 ounces of gold via UPS. I'd pay the fee to have someone personally deliver it.

Are you suggesting that there won't be a massive counter-agorist propaganda/terror campaign until it's too late? That's interesting. The State tends to move slowly. By the time the bad guys are fully aware of the problem, it'll be too late for them to do anything about it.

I guess I'm (indirectly) helping you by promoting the stereotype that agorists are all talk and no action!

It's nice to see that there are people further along than me on the path to economic freedom.

Grey/black market insulin sales. That's nice! Is it possible to profitably manufacture insulin on a small scale?

I'm looking into it. Apparently, it's really not that hard to do if you know what you're doing according to a biochemist friend of mine. The only reason it's so damned expensive is because of the FDA regs.

Do you know of an agorist doctor?

Unfortunately none in my area. I've heard of a few in NH who are FreeStaters. The biochem friend is a flaming liberal, so I probably can't go to help from her. I do know a pharmacist who is interested in barter, however. Perhaps he might know someone...

Obviously, there are still a lot of gaps to be filled - plenty of room for countereconomic entrepreneurism.

At some point, it'll be feasible to have grey market medical research. I heard rumors of several promising treatments that the State is suppressing. For example, stem cell research is promising, and I heard of a natrually occuring plant chemical that's great at treating cancer (suppressed because it's un-patentable).

Yes, all of which are potential goldmines for black market actors. But it goes even deeper than that - any doctor who is willing to take a cash payment and not talk about it is a potential countereconomic asset.

A counter-economic Craigslist would have to be totally decentralized P2P. If there was a centralized server, it would represent an attack point. I wrote a specification for such a system, but I haven't implented it yet.

That was pretty much the idea I had. Sort of a tracker of sorts, which would allow users to create a profile with "for sales" and "looking fors", and the tracker would "crawl" the network of profiles and find potential trade loops (e.g., A has bricks, wants food; B has tires, wants his roof fixed; C wants tires; has food, D is a roofer; wants bricks.) The tracker alerts the potential participants of the trade and gives them the opportunity to assent to it.

If they do so, it arranges for C to send his food to A, A to send his bricks to D, D to fix B's roof, B to send his tires to C. The "loop" could be that small or way larger, and the tracker could arrange them based up on cost-efficiency and the "trust certificate" rating you described.

Naturally, people could also arrange their own trade if they wished; the tracker's function would be to expedite things.

Also, the program could allow shippers, insurers, and the like to bid on any trade circuits they find interesting.

You seem to know more about this type of program than I do; I'm strictly an end user when it comes to computers.

There's no need to deal directly with barter. Gold or silver work fine as well. There's a publicly quoted price for gold and silver, so they're a fair price benchmark.

Of course, you may ship goods around without trading gold or silver. Sound money is merely a benchmark for setting price. You don't need actual metal to trade. I write about this in the Social Credit Monetary System.

The main problem is matching up buyers and sellers. I'm not sure which is a more effective use of my time. Should I directly promote agorism via writing? Should I write and give away (open-source) the software? I think that promoting agorism is more important than writing software, right now.
If you "ship it", it would probably have to be an agorist delivery/courier service. If you use UPS, USPS, or FedEx, you risk that the State would inspect/seize/track your packages. For example, I wouldn't feel comfortable shipping 10 ounces of gold via UPS. I'd pay the fee to have someone personally deliver it.

And shipping insurance could also be available as well.

Are you suggesting that there won't be a massive counter-agorist propaganda/terror campaign until it's too late? That's interesting. The State tends to move slowly. By the time the bad guys are fully aware of the problem, it'll be too late for them to do anything about it.

That's what I hope and suspect. But if I'm wrong, it just means that we'll have to be more careful. What I hope is that a network such as we are discussing could aid in forming face-to-face cells which, although they take a greater risk in meeting face to face, it helps to keep the movmement polycentric. And it is around those cells where agorist protection services would form - first against non-state ciminal competition, then eventually the force which will rival the state.

There's one benefit of the Internet. You may share information. If you figure out a small-scale way to manufacture insulin, then you can tell me how and I'll use the tactic myself. I don't live in the same city as you, so I'm not your direct competition.

I don't think direct criminal competition would be a problem. Do you think a marijuana farmer will care that you're manufacturing your own insulin?

Common criminals aren't the problem. It's the criminals wearing badges and uniforms that are the real problem!

Certainly. But what I was referring to was a system of private law and arbitration which would enable counter-economic participants to handle crimes against their persons and properties without calling the cops and being wrung through a government court. I agree that with peaceful black markets functioning, the violent criminals that currently deal in vice "crimes" will disappear pretty quickly. Most will probably join in with the immensely profitable (and less risky) agorist markets. But a few might decide to retaliate against people horning in on "their" markets - those are the people with whom the private protection sector will have to deal the most, I think.

There's two separate issues. There's contract enforcement and common crime.

For contract enforcement, punishment via ostracism should suffice. If someone doesn't honor their contracts, then they'll be kicked out of the underground economy.

As a practical matter, an agorist will enter many small contracts instead of a few big ones. Without the overhead of State contract enforcement, many small contracts are feasible, reducing the risk if one is broken.

For regular crime, I'm afraid you're dependent on the State until the agorist economy is mature. It is problematic. Suppose someone breaks into your house and steals something, but you don't want policemen snooping around your house. You're probably SOL in the present.

At some point, free market justice becomes viable. It would be, essentially, vigilatism. If extracting compensation from a criminal isn't feasible, and the crime is serious, then your only option is vigilate action.

By the time this becomes viable, the State has already lost. Suppose the police raid an agorist for tax evasion. If there's a mature free market court, it would rule in the agorist's favor. If the free market is capable of enforcing a sentence against the policemen who conducted the raid, then the State no longer exists.

(There was more trolling.)

Look I have read the literature. I am not opposed to individual action to obtain more economic freedom.

Your recent comments on those subjects indicate precisely the opposite of both of the above statements.

Strategically agorism can not ever replace the state.

That's like saying "none of the attempts at curing cancer have yet succeeded, therefore cancer cannot be cured." Agorism is only getting started. It is impossible to make an accurate judgment of its success.

I live in Costa Rica, half the poulation here is already practicing more counter-economy than you will probably ever do in your lifetime. The governement is nowhere close to the verge of collapsing.

Counter-economic activity and agorism are NOT synonymous. If the c.e. isn't ACTIVELY and PURPOSEFULLY trying to bleed the government through its functions, then it is not agoric. And without meeting those criteria, of course it isn't going to bring about permanent change - because non-agorist black markets profit from keeping the status quo.

If the government here is not even close to collapsing then the U.S. has no chance of collapse in your lifetime.

That is one impressive non-sequitur.

So if Agorism is a 200 year program and an intergenerational plan then I think on the face of it it would be inconceiveable to get people to participate in the fashion you describe.

It is a long-term program in that it may take an awful long time for the state to be erradicated entirely. However, it offers those who wish to participate a great opportunity for a great deal of freedom NOW, without giving their oppressors the sanction of the victim by running away to some remote colony, or wasting time changing one group of thugs for another via "democracy".

Agorism requires the masses to reach a tipping point.

No it doesn't. It requires one more person to start doing business in the counter-economy, or for those who already are to do one more counter-economic thing than is currently the case. A few million people moving a few dollars underground will have as great an effect as a few people moving a few million dollars underground. And every time that happens, no matter by which route, it starves the state just a little bit more.

People who purchase capital goods and don't spend their profits back into the mainstream economy will exacerbate the problem of inflation by the value of their purchase. Thus the mainstream economy gets weaker, and the counter-economy stronger. Which makes it easier for more counter-economic activity to repeat the process. The state's problems are self-compounding, while the agora benefits from each cycle of counter-economic production coupled with mainstream non-spending and non-production.

Already this has enabled many people to become economically free, so don't tell me about the idea being a failure. The state doesn't have to throw their hands up and promise to go away for agorism to "win". It's not a collectivist, self-sacrificial program. Each time somebody finds agorism, and consequently profits from the counter-economy, it makes them that much more free, and starves the state a little bit more.

Look at all of the counter-economy type activities that have gained any size and they have all been shut-down or are under constant harassment.

Which ones?

Strategically we can not rely on the masses to create anything.

No kidding. Which is why agorism is about informed and principled individuals working in their own self-interest to create things which the masses will accept. And you continually discount the fact that the state's money is becoming increasingly costly to use. Therein is the tipping point you are looking for - when people with FRNs are impoverished by their reliance on the government, the counter-economy is the only alternative. That will probably happen in my lifetime, as it happens several times each century. But as I pointed out earlier, the last time it happened, there were no agorists. Now there are.

The Liberty Colony is about right now, in your lifetime. Frankly, from an agorist point of view the Liberty Colony is the best option.

You clearly don't understand the agorist point of view. We are agorists because we don't savor the idea of running away from the state. We do NOT believe in the victim sanctioning the oppressor. This is my home, and I'm not going anywhere. I wish well to anyone who does choose such a route - certainly, we can be allies. But I won't follow you there.

Agorist's want to create small groups that develop the ability to replace functions of the state and thus by demonstration to others grow the movement. What could be better than an actual place that is free, even if very small.

Something that is NOT an actual place, which dampens the likelihood of the state taking it over all at once by force.

The internet gives us enormous ability to interact commercially and things like gold currencies, online banking and other barter and auction related activities are the perfect kinds of things that can be done from the Liberty Colony itself.

While it lasts, yes. And as I said, I wish the Liberty Colony well. But I'm not leaving my home and my friends and family just because the state is here. I'm just going to ignore them, proactively.

Part of my goal on this forum is to agitate and propel those sitting on their couch to action.

First, how is educating people not action? And is discussion of ones ideas with likeminded people not conducive to education?

Second, you have no idea what people on this forum do IN ADDITION TO their forum activities.

Agorism even when practiced is simply not enough to achieve the goal we both desire.

It's not suitable to achieve the goal that YOU desire, which is a large-scale geographically significant freedom. But I'm not interested in that - yet. I am only interested in individual secession, which has the dual purpose of allowing the individual to be free to whatever extent they are willing to withdraw from the state-sanctioned economy, while simultaneously undermining the state's legitimacy.

Macfall missed the biggest pro-agorist argument. An agorist profits by protecting the fruits of his labor from theft via taxation and inflation. Even if an agorist doesn't defeat the State during his lifetime, he still profits from his activity.

Agorism is the only resistance strategy where you fight the State and show a profit at the same time!

Also, Maxliberty has a specific agenda. He's selling his "Liberty Colony" proposal. He hasn't answered key details such as "Where will it be located?" Any suitable location is almost definitely already occupied. If the Liberty Colony succeeds, then good for you. I'm not actively opposing you. I'm just saying you're wasting your time.

I agree with the philosophy of "This is my home and I'm not moving!" Just because I'm not working as an agorist yet, doesn't mean I won't in the future.

This is actually promising. I've never seen such an aggressive troll attack of agorism before, or agorism defended by someone other than me. Previously, when I mentioned agorism on the Ron Paul forum, I was ignored. I interpret this as progress!

Most people currently working counter-economically are working on isolated off-the-books businesses. An agorist wants a complete underground economy, replacing *EVERY* State function.

Most people currently working counter-economically are working on isolated off-the-books businesses.

Which brings to mind another point: you can't gauge counter-economic activity by what is easily visible from the outside. It is unreported business, after all.

If it doesn't matter by which route the state is being starved then ce activity is not dependent on the intent of the individual to have the desired agorist effect. Therefore ce activity currently in existence and it's effect on the state is relevant. The evidence is pretty overwhelming that this alone does not starve the state.

I'm quite certain you weren't being honest when you said you'd read the NLM, or you would understand this.

Non-agoric activity only involves black-market profits. Ithas the effect of making the participant wealthy without paying thestate. It does NOT weaken the mainstream economy or the state.

Agorists, on the other hand, invest in the counter-economy. They withdraw capital goods from the mainstream economy, and use them to create consumer goods which can either be sold for black-market profit in the mainstream economy, or to be sold for counter-economic profit (i.e., direct exchange or barter currency). Through this process, they strengthen the counter-economy. And as they do so, they weaken the mainstream economy proportionally.

Every time capital is withdrawn from the economy and the profits derived therefrom are not reabsorbed by it, the counter-economist profits at the expense of the state's monetary system. This process cannot occur with non-agoric, black market activity.

The problem with agorism is that it does not provide for one's ultimate freedom.

Replacing the state with private-law protection services is absolutely necessary to achieving freedom. That is the eventual goal of agorism. What you're doing is just running away; you're not replacing the state with anything.

Lurking in the shadows trying to avoid paying taxes is not freedom. One should not confuse freedom with the fact that the state hasn't gotten to you yet.

Freedom is a condition in which one is not effectively owned by another. If you're not paying taxes and your money's value isn't being stolen, you have economic freedom. I daresay one has more freedom in general in such a situation than if one lives the life of a soldier on an outpost, as one would in the idea you are promoting.

Then we are in agreement that the ultimate goal of agorism is not freedom but simply greater autonomy within a state system by hiding certain activities.

No, that's actually not agorism's goal at all.

You say you don't want to leave and be free because you would prefer to hide where you currently are.

I never said anything about hiding. I'm just going to live as a free man, right now. I don't give a damn what they want to do to me because of it. And I'm not going to concede defeat by running off to the wilderness somewhere, and leave my home to the wolves I'm fighting.

The danger that agorism presents to the freedom movement is that it is the illusion of action without having any impact on the end result. Many like yourself now believe that this so-called individual secession is bringing down the state. Agorism prevents you from taking meaningful action that can achieve the desired result.

. . .

Agorism is intellectual crack cocaine, it feels good but in the endaccomplishes nothing of real value and delays meaningful progress.

I've been proving all along that this is not the case. If you can't back up your pronouncements, don't make them.

Agorism is a decent idea, but it's an idea. Everyone talks about it. Who is doing it?

AGORISTS ARE DOING IT, as I've been pointing out all along. How much of your income have you managed to convert to non-taxable barter? As I said, I've done around 20%, and that number is growing. Almost every other agorist I've talked to is doing better than that. I suggest that you aren't finding them because you aren't trying.

So if an individual who isn't specifically ideologically self-described as part of your movement then even if he is conducting the exact same activity then it will have no effect on the state? So your arguement is that it is the intention of the participant not the actions that effectively starve the state? As I understand agorism it's goal to develop the counter-economy to the point that the counter-economy is capapble of providing services to replace state functions. Isn't anyone who is actively involved in the counter-economy promoting the agorist agenda at least by definition.

No, I suppose I wasn't clear in how I put that. Agorists, by definition, invest in counter-economic capital goods and withold their profits from the mainstream economy, buying black market goods (capital and consumer) with their profits. But not everyone who does that is necessarily agorist. However, I know of no non-agorist counter-economic participants who deliberately draw capital goods from the mainstream economy and make profits which never leave the counter-economy. Only an agorist would have any reason to do so. Non-agorist black-marketeers are interested only in making black market profits, which would not be possible in the second and later stages of agorism.

If you're working as an agorist, and willing to leave your profits in the counter-economy, then this solves the "money laundering" problem. Most people who evade taxes have to "launder" their profits, depositing them in a bank account. If you deposit cash in a bank account, your bank is required to report this to the IRS and the State.

If you invest your profits in gold or silver or new businesses, then you don't have to "launder" your profits. If you hold Federal Reserve Notes, you're going to be ripped off by inflation. If you hold gold or silver, your savings are protected.

Is it possible to go into a coin shop and buy gold or silver for cash, without the transaction being reported to the State?

That thread was an interesting flamewar. I never saw trolls attack agorism so aggressively, nor see an intelligent defense by someone besides me.

I feel guilty that I'm still working in my slave software engineer job. I should make the transition to practical agorism, but I'm probably going to wait another few years.

I liked this thread on about the Joe Horn case. A guy saw his neighbor being robbed. The criminals were on his property, trespassing. He shot them. He was prosecuted for murder. A grand jury did not indict him. Someone was asking "What's the libertarian viewpoint on this case?"

The libertarian point of view?

They were trespassing and he shot them. They had broken into his neighbor's house. What's the problem?

I liked this techcrunch post on why Ruby on Rails sucks, in reference to this post/rant.

I really liked this bit:

The best part about ripping on these guys though is this:

If they have a blog, speak at conferences, publish papers, or write books then they are public figures just like me.

This means that thanks to Larry Flynt and others I can stab them in the ear verbally, insult them, question their sexual orientation, and say anything that’s true and they just have to take it. Their only recourse is to write their pathetic little rebuttals in their stupid little blogs.

In other words, if someone already has access to a public forum, you're free to criticize them. There's nothing unfair about me criticizing the mainstream media, the Federal Reserve, and the IRS, because they already have a forum to spread their propaganda.

Now, that’s also my advice to the entire Ruby on Rails community. Take a good hard nasty honest look at yourselves. Do you feel proud of what’s going on? I don’t. I feel like a dirty whore trying to get straight after a 10 year stint in a Tijuana donkey show. I’ve taken stock of who I am and I accept what I’ve done as entirely my own fault. Time for you assholes, cheats, con-artists, and liars to do the same damn thing.

Yet, compared to some of the fucks in the Rails community I’m like Jesus and Gandhi smashed together into an awesome gigantor kindness monster.

This is exactly what makes Rails a ghetto. A bunch of half-trained former PHP morons who never bother to sit down and really learn the computer science they were too good to study in college.

A lot of the "cool" things that Rails does for you are trivial if you have any clue about writing software. It isn't that hard to write out your own SQL and read the result set from the database. That's the primary benefit of Rails, that it does those small tasks for you. If you write out your own SQL, then you have flexibility that Rails does not provide.

Google was a total riot. They offered me a job twice. I went with it, and they never responded. Probably because the job they were offering me—someone who’s been coding for 21 years, 15 professionally—was as a junior system administrator. What the hell does a junior sysadmin do at google? That’s probably like mopping the floor at a glory hole in Queens. I told them to review my resume and offer me a real position.

Over and over again I’d run into these morons who would offer me tiny jobs, no jobs, insult my intelligence, treat me like all I can do is code, and when I didn’t fit that mold or wanted to charge them for the privilege they’d cheat me or laugh at me.

To work as a software engineer is to be a slave. The real problem is the defect in the economic and political system.

This one single statement basically means that we all got duped. The main Rails application that DHH created required restarting _400 times/day. That’s a production application that can’t stay up for more than 4 minutes on average.

Let me put this into perspective for you: I’ve ran servers that needed to be restarted once in a year. They were written in PHP, Python, Java, C, C++, you name it. Hell, I’ve got this blog on a server I’ve restarted maybe 10-20 times the whole year.

Now, DHH tells me that he’s got 400 restarts a mother fucking day. That’s 1 restart about ever 4 minutes bitches. These restarts went away after I exposed bugs in the GC and Threads which Mentalguy fixed with fastthread (like a Ninja, Mentalguy is awesome).

If anyone had known Rails was that unstable they would have laughed in his face. Think about it further, this means that the creator of Rails in his flagship products could not keep them running for longer than 4 minutes on average.

Repeat that to yourself. “He couldn’t keep his own servers running for longer than 4 minutes on average.”

Assuming his statements are true (which we may never know) he basically duped us all.

That’s one more reason Rails is ghetto as hell. Important patches like the above go largely ignored by the Japanese developers, and while they are very nice guys, the above just smacks of amateur hour.

Great programmers don’t defend stupid, they stamp it out and own up to their mistakes.

With Rails I get scrawny cocksuckers with carpal tunnel syndrome talking to me like they’re gonna eat my young. Their feeble PHP infected minds can’t grasp advanced shit like objects or closures. When you combine stupid businesses with stupid people using a stupid framework based on a big fat fucking lie on a shitty platform you get the perfect storm of dumbfuck where a man like me can’t find work.

There’s no work for a smart man in a town full of stupid.

The defect is in the economic and political system, and not any specific defect with Rails. If all these people working with Rails are fools, then why aren't their competitors wiping the floor with them?

Where I work the company is willing to blow huge amounts of money on a consulting firm or hardware, but ends up firing people when times get tight. It’s a universal mass hysteria that paying $100 – $200 per hour for a group of consultants is preferable to simply hiring good employees. At the rates companies pay these consultants they could hire 4 full time employees.

Consultancies used to provide a service by managing the entire project so you didn’t have to do much. Now with Agile and Pair Programming the consulting firms can dupe clients into helping them make the sausage, provide little to no services, yet still charge insane rates. What’s impressive is these consulting firms somehow charge rates that are 5 or 6 times what they pay their employees.

Think about that. How is it possible that your consulting firm has so much inefficiency they must charge 600% overhead? Are the services you get really that far above the base pay of that employee? Why the hell not just hire someone and have a long term learner who’ll be ready to work on anything?

Accounting, that’s why. When you hire a Full Time Employee (FTE) you need to account for it and budget them differently than if you pay a firm for a consultant. There’s several loop holes in the tax and accounting standards that make a consultant seem cheaper than a regular employee.

Continue the logic further my friends with this little walk through consulting practices:

  1. TW figures out it can make a mint doing RoR projects for dumb ass MBAs at dumbass companies.
  2. TW goes for it and gets 60% of its business now all RoR.
  3. TW realizes that they can’t hire enough Ruby people to do that. Actually, they didn’t really try too hard since that’d mean paying the new people a fair salary.
  4. Yet, somehow they put 6-20 people on projects and claim that these people are Rails experts with a high standard of quality. These people actually had two weeks of training.
  5. After each person has been on a project for a few months, they mysteriously get transitioned to another project, become “sick”, or generally leave.
  6. They are then replaced with someone else who’s training is limited.
  7. During their operations they seem to focus entirely on the process, but very little on the quality of the code. Sorry guys, but having a 1:4 code:test ratio is not focusing on code quality. It’s focusing on test quality.
  8. Finally, when your project is in the dumps and it takes months to get simple things done you realize that you’ve been paying ThoughtWorks a premium for what is effectively a bunch of total newbies who are only there for a few months before they roll off.
  9. You my friend got fucked in the ass. Congratulations because all the idiots who paid ThoughtWorks 6x times salary for junior ass wipes got taken and simply paid to train ThoughtWorks’ new crew.

Finally, a company like ThoughtWorks uses bizarre socialization processes and weird shit like Neuro-Linguistic Programming to enslave their employees into working more hours than needed. That shit about “can’t leave with a broken build”, pair programming, hazing rituals, firing people who don’t conform, and other unprofessional behavior mostly exists to make employees pliable pawns.

Why? Because ThoughtWorks pays these people a salary that is fixed and considered a sunk cost. If they pay someone 60k/year and that person works 40 hours/week then they are paying them about $29/hour. If they convince this idiot to work 60 hours/week then they are basically paying the moron $19/hour. If they can push them to 80 hour/week then these idiots are actually making $14/hour. You can make $29/hour managing a fast food joint.

The reason Neruo-Linguistic Programming works is pro-State brainwashing. That is not a natural human behavior.

The further and harder ThoughtWorks (or any consulting firm) pushes its employees the more money they make because then they charge the client for each fucking hour. Get it? If they push an employee to 60/week they not only reduce the cost of that employee but also increase the billable hours. Hell, even if they don’t charge for those hours they still make more money just by reducing costs.

I once worked for a consulting company that gave a "billable hour bonus". I looked at the formula and realized it was stupid. If you worked overtime for extra billable hours, you were getting paid half your normal hourly rate. In other words, you'd be a fool to work overtime for the billable hours bonus. Plus, there are useful things you can do that aren't billable, and this practice discourages that. This and other factors made me conclude the consulting company was run by idiots.

Now I’ll admit I didn’t see ThoughtWorks do this nearly as much as I’ve seen IBM Global Services, Accenture, and BearingPoint do it, but they still do it. My observation about ThoughtWorks is they’re really really really fucking weird about it. I saw them pull passive aggressive shit like picking on a single employee high-school-nerd-vs-jock style until he conforms or quits.

What’s this got to do with your project? Well, if you have a mix of ThoughtWorks employees and your own then be careful that the ThoughtWorkers don’t warp your employees as well. I’ve seen it once already where a room full of ThoughtWorkers would thrash and trash on one poor employee simply because he disagreed with their approach to a problem. Or, having special boards on the wall with “How Many Times Frank Is Late”. Or, holding “dev lunches” (which I called “dev lynches“) where they thrash client employees with alternative opinions in order to maintain their stupid operations.

I’ve seen it, and they do it. Be careful of it as you’ll lose people who are smart and not susceptible to that crap, or you’ll have a bunch of brain washed idiots at the end of the project. It’s also a horrible way to treat a client so don’t put up with it.

You hear that? The #1 money maker for 2008 years will be Rails cleanup. I’m not shitting you, it’s true and so just get over it and make the money.

The way I'd handle a "Rails cleanup" is "switch to php" or "switch to Microsoft Visual Studio ASP.NET and C#".

In software there is no free market because the consumers have nearly no information, and in fact they tend to sign contracts which forbid the exchange of free information.

Non-disclosure agreements are stupid. My favorite type is the "non-disparagement agreement", where you agree to not say anything publicly negative. In other words, if you work for XYZ and they screw you over, your "non-disparagement agreement" prevents you from publicly complaining about what ****heads they were. I prefer to complain about the economic system overall rather than the specific people I've worked for.

In software consulting there is definitely no free market. The combined effect of not being able to determine human talent and also the weird hysteria about spending more for top notch consultants means that consumers of the software consultancy are easily duped.

I’m still not sure why, if all these companies are making money off Rails, that NYC.rb has to keep begging for a place to hold its meetings.

I thought that rant was interesting and worth reading.

There's so many "Rails sucks!" rants that my post isn't ranking well in Google!

A lot of my regular readers are software engineers. I was expecting more hatemail in response to my "Rails sucks!" post. I'd expected a few pro-Rails trolls to criticize my article. Apparently, everyone who reads my blog and also has tried Rails has also concluded it sucks.

There's a new service called TwitHire that allows people to advertise job openings on Twitter.

Am I the only one that noticed "Twit Hire" is a particularly stupid name? (Someone should submit that to "Fail blog". I might do it myself if nobody else did.)

Based on my experience searching for jobs, employers do seem to genuinely be looking for twits.

At work, there appears to be a vague sense that the Rails project is going down in flames. They're having me make enhancements to the old version, instead of working on Rails.

Zargon has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #61":

Would people be able to crack their brainwashing, if presented with the truth? Many polls indicate that approval ratings for Congress are very low. Would people be able to consider an alternative, once they see it?

It depends on how the truth is presented. I suspect that only a small slice of the population (perhaps 1-10%) can look at theoretical justifications for agorism/anarchy and process them correctly. But on the other hand, almost everybody can look at the real case of some old lady who cooked & sold dinners to her neighbors from her home before she was shut down by food inspectors (called by the local restaurants) and say that's morally wrong. The problem is that state brainwashing has created a logical disconnect in brains of the majority of the population, preventing them from applying the morality of the specific case to the general case. On the other hand, I had that exact same logical disconnect of applying different morality sets in the specific and general cases until I was first exposed to solid ideas and justifications behind anarchy, on the afternoon of Oct 25th, last year. I wondered how in the world I hadn't thought of something so simple myself. So perhaps there's more latent agorists/anarchists out there that I give credit for.

October 25th, 2007? That's after I was already actively blogging and was advocating for agorism. I think that some of the "Ron Paul" fans have converted to anarchism/agorism after seeing how he was cheated in the primaries.

It appears that some sort of tipping point has been reached. At this point, it may be too late to stop an agorist revolution, because too many people are aware of what's going on.

Also remember that even though the pro-State trolls have the freedom seekers outnumbered, they are crippled by their stupidity. A smart group of free market practitioners should be able to run rings around statists.

If you're the victim in a tax evasion trial, that's the way you should present it. "I'm just a guy trying to make a living. Why am I being harassed?" If you paint the State as the aggressor, then it might be easier to get acquitted.

There are two ways I can think of to reach a wider audience. One is to expand to vlogging. The other is to try standup comedy. Is it possible to create a comedy routine based on my blog? In a year or two, I'll conduct an experiment with that. Telling the actual truth would be so outrageous that it might come across as funny. "Alternative comedy" is relatively popular. I'm considering performing as the Supreme Leader of Humanity.

I have to say that the idea of a comedy routine would be interesting. It would be terribly interesting to see first impressions/reactions, especially of the uninitiated. Would they laugh because they're expecting to hear something funny? Probably. Would it be possible to drive a seed of doubt into people that would reject your blog at face value? I have no idea. Would many people realize that you're actually being deadly serious?

If I do it as a comedy routine, then a mainstream media source might be convinced to carry my content. For example, I might be able to get booked as a guest on a show like the Colbert Report. If my live performances are popular, then I'd have to get on mainstream shows eventually. Plus, I can self-publish content on the Internet.

I prefer the written format, but some people have mentioned that they prefer video. Sometimes, it's easier to see an explanation than reading a blog. Video/comedy might reach a wider audience.

I saw some clips of George Carlin and others where they were talking about politics more than comedy.

Standup comedy is the only public speaking venue that's available. I'm not going to get booked as a "reporter" on CNN and I'm not going to be hired as a "journalist" for the NY Times.

Standup comedy could be a decent way to make a living based on my blog. It would be a way to spread the message and show a profit at the same time!

Plus, if I got a reputation as a standup comedian, I could attract partners for agorist businesses. If I had a handful of dedicated fans, that could start a free market trading group.

Working as a slave software engineer really is a waste of my abilities. I should try something else. I'm currently in the "planning" stage. I haven't made my next move yet.

My blog has two distinctly opposite reactions. They are "FSK is awesome!" and "FSK sucks!" There has been relatively little feedback in-between, although people who feel that way probably won't leave comments.

Tristan has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Tookit - GIT":

Freenet is decentralised, encrypted and anonymous.

Seems ideal for agorists.

That was interesting. I liked this bit from the FAQ page:

You cannot guarantee freedom of speech and enforce copyright law

Copyright and free speech are nearly opposite ideas. For example, the Church of Scientology claims that its religious works are copyrighted. This prevents anyone from publicly criticizing them, quoting their works.

However, publishing my blog on Freenet seems like a waste, because then my blog would only be available to other Freenet users. Blogger provides me with casual anonymity, but not unbreakable anonymity.

The bad guys could determine my identity, by subpoenaing Google's records and then my ISP's records. I've revealed enough bits of information for someone to uniquely determine my identity. (For example, "worked towards a PhD in Mathematics for 3 years", "left grad school to work as a software engineer", and "was hospitalized for a mental illness" should narrow the possibilities for someone with access to suitable records.)

Freenet, or something like it, would be useful if you had a bunch of people willing to use it. For example, if I were conducting Zero Point Energy research, I'd upload the results to something like Freenet.

For this reason, writing agorism-specific software is probably unnecessary. Other people have already written suitable social networking software.

Dreepa has left a new comment on your post "Common Pro-State Troll Criticisms of Agorism":

Interesting.. thanks!

The Free State Project is moving along and the 'market' is slowly maturing among many of them.

Come to the FSP Liberty Forum or Porcfest and meet many of them.

I looked at the Free State Project (FSP) forum. It wasn't very interesting. There are more correct free market thinkers on than on the free state project.

The Free State Project appears to actually be a bunch of pro-State trolls. They still have the fantasy that government can magically be reformed by voting. By moving to the same area in a sparsely populated area, they hope to vote for a less intrusive government.

Most people on the Free State Project fall short of the correct conclusion, which is "Who needs a government?" When they change their name to the "No State Project", then I might take them seriously.

"Free" and "State" are opposite words. The "Free State Project" is like the "Vegetarian Slaughterhouse Worker's Association" or the "Anarchist and Statist Association" or the "Atheist Catholic Priest Association".

If you want to convince me to move to an area for greater freedom, you need to offer me:
  1. no income taxes
  2. no property taxes
  3. no taxes at all
  4. no enforcement of "victimless crimes"
  5. a credible plan for protecting yourself from terrorists who want to enforce any of the above
All the plans I've seen that start with "Move here for greater freedom" seem to be missing the point. First, this is my home and I don't want to move. Second, there is no way that the statists would allow a small group of people in a remote area to have true freedom. They would be invaded, infiltrated, or otherwise shut down.

Unless the "Free State Project" changes its agenda to the "No State Project", then I'm not interested.

This bit deserves its own separate post.

bb has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Tookit - GIT":


in regards to to one's identity online. I think its best to remain unknown for as long as possible. Though my name appears on my blog my pics don't. A close friend who works in software dev. says to keep it that way. i originally posted as michael bass as a pen name but later put my name out there because i think it helped my readers to understand a little more about me as an author.

Anywho I just wanted to say that I think it's best to keep identity on the down low unless some extrodinary circumstances arise...

If I want to switch from theoretical agorism to practical agorism, I'd need to give up my anonymity. If all I ever do is blogging, anonymity is sufficient. If I want to switch to the realm of tangible goods and services, then I need to give up my anonymity to attract in-person trading partners. I'd need to open my trading group to the general public to gain wide acceptance, but I'd need to minimize the risk of infiltration by undercover cops. If I organize along true free market principles, that would minimize the damage infiltrators could do.

Most activists have a goal of creating a hierarchical organization that they themselves control. This makes them susceptible to infiltration or assassination. If you organize along true free market principles, you aren't maximizing your ability to abuse others, but you're maximizing the effectiveness of the movement as a whole.

In the present, my blog gives me practical anonymity but not absolute airtight anonymity. A future corporate slavemaster googling my name will not find my blog. That is my primary concern, because a future employer might discriminate against me for my free market beliefs. That would be less an issue once I'm running a true free market business.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Tookit - GIT":

true, but there is an irony, as despite the fact that net is 'distributed' in use, in terms of its physical architecture it is dependent on a high level of core centralisation and corporate control. There are a fair few 'shadow net' type projects out there that seek to make a network independent of the core backbones, created and run by their members. however, they tend not to work that well! Still, early days.

I don't think the bad guys could kill the Internet at this point. Too many businesses are dependent on it. Even though there are "kill the Internet" lobbyists, there also are "keep the Internet open" lobbyists. Both sides have approximately equal resources, so the issue will be decided on merit.

You can bypass censorship via strong encryption, as long as it's still possible to connect from point A to point B.

Most of the technology underlying the Internet is in the public domain. If the Internet were truly crippled, then the real hackers would go back to the old BBS systems or lay private networks.

Home Inspector has left a new comment on your post "Do Aliens Exist?":

I am convinced that some of the realtors I do business with are aliens. They would like to control their client's minds, and use jedi such tricks to ensure their commissions. I have witnessed this first hand. Yes, I am being sarcastic, just a tad.

People are susceptible to such jedi mind tricks due to pro-State brainwashing. However, I consider the people who develop and perfect such tricks to be literally inhuman aliens.

I'm wondering if there's a way to exploit pro-State brainwashing to help explain the truth. It's very tricky. The actual truth is so traumatic that people close their minds in self-defense.

P.M.Lawrence has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #61":

In your mention of the Kevin Carson post, you write 'There was a dispute over "labor productivity" vs. "land productivity". As usual, some concrete numbers would be better.'

Actually, it didn't get as far as a dispute over that. The adverse party failed and refused to recognise that there was anything but "productivity", never realising that the same term could refer to different things and that it was important to keep everything sorted out. So we never got as far as having something to put example numbers to.

I find that concrete examples help explain things.

I avoid wasting time debating pro-State trolls. You aren't going to convince them and you waste time explaining the same thing over and over again. Debating a pro-State troll is like having the following conversation.

Me: 2+2=4
Troll: 2+2=5
Me: No, it's 4.
Troll: No, it's 3.

At this point, why bother? If someone's that stupid, they're beyond my ability to help them.

For example, some trolls on repeatedly say "I logically refuted the Compound Interest Paradox." or "I logically refuted the feasibility of agorism." However, their arguments are gibberish. Responding to them is pointless.

Sage has left a new comment on your post "A Wikipedia Censorship Story":

External links from Wikipedia articles are marked nofollow, so they no longer contribute to PageRank. It has been this way since January 2007.

That edit war was in 2006. However, this is another dishonest practice by Wikipedia. By marking their external ranks "nofollow", they're PageRank whoring. Such a practice inflates the PageRank of all of Wikipedia's own articles. Every link to Wikipedia is effectively a link to every single article on that site.

I consider it obvious that Wikipedia is biased for all controversial topics. Wikipedia's own rules mean that the fact their was a controversy is buried in the edit history.

I'll look up information on Wikipedia, but I boycott it and refuse to edit.

I'd like to make a Wikipedia-killer engine someday, but blogging is a better use of my time.

Wikipedia can't have their market position disrupted by someone using another Wiki engine. It'd have to be a different type of engine, that segregates the moderation and editing feature. Page forking and branching should be supported.

Patism has left a new comment on your post "Google Falsely Accused me of Running a Spam Blog":

I'm dealing with the same thing from a blog I've been working on since 2003. It's this new detection they have going. It comes up with false positives left and right.

It appears to have been a bug that is now corrected.

At least Google isn't denying there was a problem, like some corporations would.

Liberty Student has left a new comment on your post "Google Falsely Accused me of Running a Spam Blog":

This is sorta funny. Google's incompetence that is.

There are ways to determine which of A and B is the spam blog, of course, spammers, like street criminals, are always one step ahead of the law (Google).

I used to get slightly bothered seeing my content on spam blogs. The first time it happened to me, my blog got banished to "Supplementary Results". Eventually, I got enough incoming links to get back in the main index. They probably review "spam blog candidates" every few months.

Basically, everyone running a blog wound up working as an unpaid consultant helping Google tune their spam blog detection engine.

I'm annoyed by the false accusation, but not so much that I'll drop Blogger. I'll probably switch to self-hosting eventually.

Tristan has left a new comment on your post "Has Humanity Split Into Two Sub-Species?":

Albert Jay Nock addresses this in "Are all Men Human?"

That had some interesting bits. I should do a more detailed post on Albert Jay Nock and other free thinkers sometime (Bastiat, Lysander Spooner, Karl Marx, etc.).

The point...will be found, not at that which separates man from brute, but at that which separates one kind of man from the rest.

Measured by psychic standards, the interval between the lowest man and the highest man is a hundredfold greater than that between the lowest man and the brute.

The difference between the top 0.1% or 0.01% of humans and the typical human might be greater than the difference between the typical human and a dog.

It's hard to account for the effect of pro-State brainwashing. The intelligence of the average person would be much greater, if they were not crippled by so many false beliefs. The smartest people might be the first ones to crack their pro-State brainwashing.

Is it possible to raise the average person to a higher awareness level, if you explain things carefully? Those that can adjust should be fine. Those that can't or won't are subhuman and not worth my time.

In the present, the ability of the smartest humans to invent and create things is severely crippled by the State.

If the vast majority of what we call the human race are not human beings at all, then certainly a great many things that have always puzzled the moralist are fully accounted for; but they are accounted for in a way that must be far more disheartening to the moralist than his present way of accounting for them.

Are pro-State trolls literally an inferior species? It's not a bad idea to treat them as such. The problem is that the pro-State trolls vastly outnumber the independent thinkers.

If the truly human being is an occasional product, standing in a distinct species, one would expect him to be relatively ineffectual in the non-human society that surrounds him; and this seems always to have been the case, and never more clearly so than now.

My jobs as a slave software engineer certainly seem like a complete waste of my abilities. If I want to truly do productive work and help people, then I have to ignore all the laws that are designed to cripple my productivity.

I consider "statists as an inferior species" to be seriously worth considering. Some people may be convertible, if exposed to the truth.

I read that this happens with other species. You can have to groups that can still breed and produce fertile offspring, but are different enough to be considered separate species.

I'd classify three groups. There's the parasite class. These are the insiders that lobby the State for favors. This is approximately 1% or less. There's the free thinking class, which is also around 1%, but may be growing due to the Internet and efforts to raise awareness. Finally, there's the vast majority. They would go either way. Currently, they follow the Statist trend because that's dominant right now.

Appealing to the free thinkers is the important part. The free thinkers that are crippled by their pro-State brainwashing are irrelevant. It's important to maximize the productivity of those that seek the truth.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Has Humanity Split Into Two Sub-Species?":

I agree with your general premise that you could broadly look at people in two sets of net productive and net consumptive, but reject your conclusions re teachers and doctors. I am neither, so have no axe to grind, but do not think you support your theory. Many doctors and teachers campaign effectively to change the systems and more importantly collective concept of the system towards one that favours support, development and assistance for people, away from one which is dominated by broader political direction.

Can you name a group of doctors that are lobbying for the elimination of State licensing requirements for doctors? Can you name a group of teachers that are lobbying for the elimination of tax-funded schools? Unless a doctor or teacher is specifically working towards that goal, they are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

It would be foolish for doctors to lobby for the elimination of State licensing requirements, because that would invalidate the investment they made in their education and license. It would be foolish for teachers to lobby for elimination of taxpayer-funded schools, because they currently are guaranteed a certain level of salary and benefits.

the basic assertion that people paid via tax are parasites is incorrect, as you confuse the nature of the person with the context they operate in. For example, there are many private teachers who make a fine living from not working in state schools, whilst believing they are not contributing to society as they feel they ought to, nor being as effective as they could be at raising the net level of education (as the marginal gain for richer children is less than for poorer ones).

You are wrong. If you are playing by the rules of a corrupt system, you cannot do good.

Even private schools follow the corrupt model of State schools. They usually have tests with punishment for failure. They age-group and ability-group their students. Private schools are superior to State schools, but they still contain massive amounts of brainwashing. Do you know of a school that teaches "Taxation is theft!" as part of the curriculum?

If you wear the colors, you're part of the gang. Teachers are collectively parasitic, because their salaries are paid by violence. Therefore, the average teacher is parasitic. Some teachers can individually be good, but they are fighting uphill against a corrupt system.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions! If all teachers were consciously aware they were part of a massive brainwashing scam, then it wouldn't work. In order for the scam to be convincing, teachers need to sincerely believe they're doing their best to help their students. Even a Math teacher is overall abusive. The manner in which Mathematics is usually taught discourages learning, except to the most talented students.

Public service jobs which do not have a notable 'push' demand from service consumers, such as Library Safety Operatives or Sanitation Worker Politeness Coordinators could be seen as essentially parasitic and a manifestation of corrupt taxation. However, where a demand exists for a service which produces net social benefit to ALL citizens, however it is funded, its practitioners can hardly be seen as parasitic by virtue of the fiscal context alone.

Consider sanitation, which is a needed job. A true free market could probably provide such a service for 25%-50% of the cost. Therefore, sanitation workers are 50% parasitic overall.

I read that sanitation worker is considered a great job for someone unskilled. You can earn a decent middle-class salary even though you have no specialized skills. A union and the State protect the sanitation worker from competition. Unionized sanitation worker jobs typically have more applicants than openings. Politically connected insiders usually get the job.

The concept of "public goods" that can only be efficiently provided by the State is one big scam.

If you're playing by the rules of a corrupt system, your ability to perform true good is limited. Individual practitioners have good intentions and are doing their best, given the circumstances.

The way to commit mass crime is not to have everyone consciously aware of their role. The way to commit mass crime is to make most people unaware of their place as a cog in the conspiracy.

Consider my job as a slave software engineer. For each $1 in value I create, the bad guys get $1 or more via taxes. Even if I do a brilliant job in a non-parasitic industry, I'm still generating more resources for the bad guys than for myself. If I do legally productive work, I'm supporting the Iraq war more than the President or a soldier! If I legally do productive work, I'm a war criminal!

JEK has left a new comment on your post "The Fire Drill Conspiracy Theory":

So good to live in a country, where ths State in not considered efficient. All our drills are - "solve it BEFORE the PD/FD are here".

Where do you live? Australia? Israel?

Fortunately, the efficiency of the State in the USA is decreasing and not increasing.

JEK has left a new comment on your post "Has Humanity Split Into Two Sub-Species?":

Apologise in advance, but how come it looks to me too resembling the Proletarion/Borgoius dichotomy?

I was thinking more of it resembling the Morlocks/Eloi in "The Time Machine", except that the productive workers refuse to continue supporting the parasite class.

In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx never suggested that the proletariat/bourgeoise were two separate species. Karl Marx said that in revolutions, the ruling class is usually replaced instead of eliminated. In the coming agorist revolution, there will be no new ruling class.

I'm suggesting that the parasitic class has no useful talents, other than exploiting people. Is this ability genetic or learned? If this ability is learned, they will change. If this ability is genetic, they will be unable to adapt to a true free market and die. It may be a combination of both.

For example, the true super-elite tend to breed with each other rather than outsiders. Over a period of centuries, this may have literally made them a separate species. Further, inbreeding leads to genetic diseases after awhile. Are the super-elite merely guilty of intellectual inbreeding? Are they also guilty of genetic inbreeding, which means their actual usefulness may be crippled?

I'm suggesting that the parasite class be treated like hostile alien invaders. It's almost exactly like that documentary "They Live!"

Mike has left a new comment on your post "Who Believes the Anthrax Case was Solved?":

Why, I believe everything the government tells me! Why, don't you?

I did at one time, but not anymore.

Technically, the liars are the mainstream media. They're saying "Hooray for the FBI for finally solving the case!" Instead, they should be saying, "Bull****! We don't believe this garbage! Can't you come up with a better lie?!"

However, lying is not a crime, especially when your lies are synchronized with the official statist party line.

Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "Who Believes the Anthrax Case was Solved?":

It could be the case that the FBI hounded the man to the point where he committed suicide.

That's a possibility. They didn't formally charge him with a crime, but they could harass him.

Some people say there's technology that allows sounds to be played that are audible only at a single point, via interference tricks.

I read that anthrax researchers received a huge amount of additional funding after the incident.

Even if the anthrax really did come from his lab, that doesn't prove he personally was responsible. Plenty of people could have done it.

He wasn't announced as a suspect until after his death, so he can't defend himself. Slandering a dead person isn't a crime.

quasibill has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #61":

the next bubble(s) are intended to be infrastructure and alt-energy. The enabling legislation has been put in place (tax breaks, subsidies, government contracts, etc.) - all they need now is for the bubble psychology to take off.

However, that isn't an investable strategy. Those tax breaks could be changed at any time, either increased or decreased. Theoretically, the effects of the legislation should be factored into current prices.

Predicting bubbles isn't profitable for a non-insider. It's better to be a large investment bank, where you're bailed out even when you're wrong.

And that's also the answer to why the stock market is deflating while the money supply is expanding - mass psychology, or the psychology of the herd. Bubbles only work when the herd isn't stampeding in the other direction. The Fed may have waited too late to start blowing this bubble. Time will tell. But the important thing to note is that even if the bubble fails, the big boys will take care of themselves by becoming more overtly fascist/state socialist. They've already outlawed naked shorting *against* them (while of course retaining their ability to naked short anyone else). Expect to see plenty more such privileges handed out. And for those of us who cry "foul!" - Well, what do you think they've been building this wonderful police state for?

A police state still needs an economy to leech. If the economy is collapsing, then how do you pay the salaries of the policemen? As the size of the economy decreases, the resources of the State also decrease.

I get the impression that insiders are starting to buy stocks cheaply now. Due to the recession, prices are attractive.

I thought the selective enforcement of the naked short sale rule was particularly offensive. Financial industry insiders make a lot of money naked short selling, so it can't be completely banned. Instead, naked short selling financial stocks is banned!

Right now, there is massive inflation. A new bubble must occur somewhere. It's built into the rules of the monetary system!

Liberty Student has left a new comment on your post "Ruby on Rails Sucks!":

Rails is like Agorism. Big on hype, short on documentation. Just kidding. Well, kinda.

I toyed around with RoR two years ago. I ended up sticking with PHP. People who think they can jump feet first into RoR without knowing Ruby are asking for trouble. Especially on a project like this, where the existing system is already in production.

I didn't know you had some experience working as a software engineer.

My impression with Rails is that it's narrowly suited for certain tasks. If what you want doesn't fit the framework, then there's no benefit. Converting a legacy system to Rails is a headache, because of the restrictions Rails places on what you may do.

I'm starting to believe that "development frameworks" are crutches for incompetent people. The two frameworks I've used recently (Rails and Java/Swing/Beans/jsp) have an incredible amount of overhead. Development frameworks add a lot of restrictions, for little benefit. Development frameworks seem to be designed to get productivity out of barely qualified workers. Skilled programmers don't really need frameworks.

I'm not denigrating high-level languages and reusable libraries. I'm saying that overly restrictive frameworks reduce productivity instead of increasing it.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "Ruby on Rails Sucks!":

Amen Amen

All good advice on this one. Why mess around with an unstable and unfamiliar platform? Well you can give us an update later if you guys stay with Ruby and let us know if, after getting familiar with it, you still think it a bad idea....

If it was my money being wasted, I'd scrap Rails and go in a different direction.

At this point, the sunk costs fallacy is kicking in. A certain amount of time and money were wasted. Do you waste more time and more money, to attempt to justify the previous error? Or, do you say "**** this!" and go in a different direction?

My boss is gung-ho on "We'll make Rails work even if it bankrupts my employer!" The marketing guys/owners are starting to get antsy. Based on the amount of stuff they have after 2 months, I'd say what they actually have represents a few days of work at most. In a real language (php or ASP.NET/C#), what they've already accomplished could be done in a few days.

The amount of Rails development already in place is worth practically nothing.

Usually, I wind up being scapegoated for development disasters. I'm not sure what will happen this time.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ruby on Rails Sucks!":

One word, grails. You can reuse your java code. Scaffolding is for suckers.

The Java code is no work of art either. It's in Swing/jsp/beans, which is horrible.

I think scaffolding is for incompetents.

This is the Agent-Principal problem at work. My boss is wasting my employer's money, and not his personal money. Therefore, there's no penalty (to him) for mismanagement. However, the owners are losing patience with Rails.

Isn't grails another framework? Why is it superior to plain php or ASP.NET/C#. I feel dirty recommending Microsoft, but at least it's practically guaranteed to work.

Ineffabelle has left a new comment on your post "Ruby on Rails Sucks!":

PHP is nice, fairly simple and works for almost anything you need to do.
It's been around long enough to have lots of libraries, but accessing them isn't a pain in the ass like it is with Java.
The only major criticism I have of it is that it doesn't handle XML all that well, though I've heard they've improved that lately.

I liked php. They needed something done quickly, so I got permission to use php instead of Rails. It was amazing using a real programming language instead of the steaming pile of diarrhea that is Rails.

"Rails is like Agorism. Big on hype, short on documentation. Just kidding. Well, kinda."

Well, Agorism is kind of in the "early days of C" stage right now. People are mostly making it up from scratch. The idea is fairly simple:
Try to avoid involving the government in your life as much as possible. If you can do something on the grey or black market, and get away with it, do so.

I'd say that agorism is at the assembly language or machine code phase. Agorism really needs to be polished before the average person can get involved conveniently. Perhaps, agorism is still at the "transistor was recently invented" phase.

Statists do all their thinking in INTERCAL.

Jonathan has left a new comment on your post "Who Cares About the New Delicious?":

I like the new delicious, it's easier on the eyes.

If all they have is a new skin, they could have done that in a few weeks and not years. Some websites offer configurable skins.

By default, your "tags" collection starts out collapsed, which means it's an extra click for me to follow one of my links. For this reason, I consider the new delicious to be strictly worse. I couldn't figure out how to configure it to keep my tags collection open by default.

I'm on the market for a new social bookmarking site. I like storing my bookmarks online, in case I use multiple computers and in case my PC crashes. (Technically, they're stored both on delicious and on my PC. I "export to xml" occasionally.)

I also want a social bookmarking site that will let me import from delicious easily.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Who Cares About the New Delicious?":

Im just hoping that this works,,,bro,,I read you every night,,I have learned so much from reading your work,,please keep it up..Don

Hoping what works?

Are you hoping that the new delicious works? It runs, but it's nothing special.

Are you hoping that leaving a comment works? I have comment moderation enabled, to keep out obvious spam.

Are you hoping that agorism works? It seems like a historic inevitability to me.

Zargon has left a new comment on your post "The Policeman Cult":

The more I think about it, the more this makes sense.

On top of keeping potentially free thinkers in line, this is also a "beneficial" practice even when both enforcers are throughly brainwashed. It's pretty well established that groups make more extreme judgments than individuals, because responsibility is shared. By putting enforcers in pairs, the people at the top ensure that on average, that group judgment skew is applied to enforcing their decrees.

This gets back to a point someone was making above.

Even if individual policeman have good intentions, they are collectively evil. Whenever a policeman enforces an illegitimate law, that reflects badly on all policemen. If you wear the colors, you're part of the gang.

Even if individual teachers have good intentions, they are collectively evil. Even if individual doctors, lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, or CEOs have good intentions, they're still collectively evil. If you play by the rules of a corrupt system, the end result can only be evil. Even if you make the locally optimal decision and do the best you can given the circumstances, if you're following the rules you're probably doing more harm than good.

To what extent do you blame the corrupt game, and to what extend do you blame the individual players?

Everybody is individually responsible for what they do. "I was following orders" is never a valid defense. That argument is invalid whether you're
  1. a teacher teaching fake politics ("Taxation is not theft!")
  2. an economist teaching false economics ("The USA has a fair monetary system!")
  3. a lawyer or judge who makes abuse seem legitimate ("That trial was fair!")
  4. a bureaucrat who makes sure stupid laws are enforced ("Rule of law is important!)
  5. a politician who votes on stupid laws, adding a sense of legitimacy ("My constituents demanded it!")
  6. a policeman conducting a no-knock raid to arrest someone for a victimless crime ("There was a valid warrant.")
  7. a concentration camp guard ("I'm just doing my job.")
All of the above are morally equivalent.

It also gives enforcers another leg up on the rest of us in terms of physical power. For example, those few videos recently of cops perpetrating unprovoked attacks against bicyclists in front of huge crowds. Would the enforcer have done that if he didn't have another hired goon right next to him, who he knew would automatically assist him in his attack and help intimidate the witnesses to prevent them from doing anything about the attack while it was taking place? Maybe. Maybe not.

If it were one lone cop, then other people might rush to the aid of the victim. If there's only 1-2 people helping the victim and 5-10 cops, then the cops will win. Plus, cops are experts in violence and the average person is not. If I sit in a cubicle all day, then I'm not going to be in good shape. Policemen get a certain amount of exercise just from the nature of their job.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Non-Abusive Dating/Relationship Techniques":

This was a very interesting post. I really like when you apply your thinking to everyday life and then share it with us. Please keep it up!

That's an old post now! I try to mix things up a little, but with the same themes.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "In a Free Market, Banking is not Evil":

Thanks for this. It's easy to find posts critical of banking, but very difficult to find a positive solution.

Just try googling time-deposit or free banking and you'll get hardly anything!

Really? I also had some good bits on banking in my updated Compound Interest Paradox series.

In a true free market, banks provide a legitimate service. They let savers earn interest, at a positive rate of return. People who want capital can borrow cheaply. Banks help match savers and people who need capital. In a free market, that's an honest business.

In the present, the financial system is totally fraudulent.

In general, when people say "Industry X is evil!", what they really mean is "Collusion between insiders and State regulation of industry X is evil!"

The real evil is the State, and not any productive business. In a true free market, all productive businesses are not evil. When the State has an unaccountable monopoly, then insiders extend that monopoly to cover all productive activity.

LORD ABBA has left a new comment on your post "The Monetizing the Debt Scam":


This scam only works if you're the State. In order to do this, you must
  1. convince a lot of people to use your unbacked fiat paper as money
  2. use violence to protect yourself if your fraud is discovered
  3. use violence to prevent people from using other forms of money
  4. use violence and taxation to create an artificial demand for your unbacked paper
That's the injustice of the financial system. The process only work for insiders. Even if I attempt the same investment strategy as a bank, it won't work for me because I'm not "too big to fail" and I can't borrow at the Fed Funds Rate.

TLP has left a new comment on your post "Who Cares About the Olympics?":

If you want to see the olimpics online, go to mininova :D

BitTorrent is nice. I prefer downloading pornography to the Olympics!

This post is long enough. I'm leaving a few comments for the next one, so don't feel slighted if I missed one or two. The ones I left are ones that deserve a longer response.


Anonymous said...

Has anybody tried buying gold or silver coins in a coin shop? Is there an IRS reporting requirement for buying or selling?

I have purchased both with cash in a coin shop within the past three months. No request for ID, no signing of any forms—I just a handed over FRNs and received a bag with the coins in it in return.

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I have experienced some of these side effects-
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FSK said...

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The exact same comment is here:

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