A couple weeks ago I went to Lithuania to attend a camp started seven years ago by Simon Black and Matt Smith called the BlackSmith Liberty and Entrepreneurship Camp, or Sovereign Academy… it seemed to have a few names. Continue reading
In the past I have fallen into the habit of talking about the problems society faces, mostly from coercive government. These are real problems of which most of us are aware, and there is copious discussion on these topics in older posts on this blog. But at some point, we need to stop identifying the problems with society, and start formulating solutions. Continue reading
Secession is a Natural Right
Morality is what is naturally right or wrong. Saying someone has a “right” is a statement about an individual’s condition in nature, absent other parties. That is why rights are expressed in the negative: because a right is a declaration of the natural state of a human, and the assertion that another human that disrupts this natural state is in the wrong. Continue reading
This was shared by the Facebook page Emancipated Human:
Although I can talk at length as to how a Voluntary or Stateless society may function, the reality is that this is fundamentally irrelevant to the idea of true freedom. Do you know exactly how your laptop works? Do you know exactly how your cell phone works? Do you know exactly how Skype works? Do you know exactly how the Internet works? Do you know exactly how your e-mail account transmits an e-mail? Do you know exactly how your car works?
The reality is many of us live in complete ignorance of how all of these things work and yet we are still comfortable to buy them from people who know how they work. Likewise it is similarly unnecessary to know how society may be “structured” in the absence of the coercive monopoly on initiated aggression known as “government”.
My desire to be free has absolutely nothing to do with how the roads will be built, who will feed the poor, who will protect us from foreign invaders, who will protect us from thieves, rapists, and murderers, who will take care of the sick, who will look after the elderly, and who will educate our children.
Aside from the erroneous assumption that “government” is adequately doing these things already is the fact that theft, assault, rape, and murder on a colossal scale is occurring today even amidst such a swollen monstrosity as the United States “government”.
Our desire to protect ourselves from thieves, liars, and murderers has given us the insane belief that we will be protected from them if we put other thieves, liars, and murderers into power. Sane people do not seek to subjugate or rule their neighbor, let alone their town, county, city, state, or country. It is not only that power corrupts but that it attracts the corruptible and vile among us. The lust for power is more addictive than cocaine or heroin can ever be. Vacate the State! – DC
With economic knowledge of the free market, we can be sure that all those things government monopolizes and does horribly (keeping you safe, roads, helping the poor) would be done better. That doesn’t mean I have to know exactly how it would function, just as I don’t know exactly how everything in the grocery store ends up on the shelf every time I go in to buy it. But it does.
When things are in demand, and people are free to voluntarily supply those demands, and others can voluntarily accept the service or goods offered for the price, there is nothing else to worry about! Keeping an eye on businesses from which you can simply remove your funding voluntarily will produce much better results than forcing everyone to pay for things they may disagree with, not want, or not use.
But it is always still worth questioning how these things might happen in the absence of a coercive violent monopoly.
Resources are limited, this is true. Even when creating wealth, such as growing a garden, it requires the resources of land, water, and sun. It does not follow, however, that the state is necessary to divvy up these resources appropriately. To put it another way, there is no evidence to suggest force is the best way to decide where resources will go.
I bring this up because I’ve heard people say we need a government because land, water, oil, etc. are all to some degree scarce resources, meaning they are limited. But why on earth would anyone think the government will be a proper arbiter or these resources?
Just look at oil. This is a scarce resource, that many people want and need for industry. Are the governments of the world doing a good job splitting that resource? No, they spend more money fighting wars over oil than the actual oil is worth, and that is before we even place a value on human life lost! The only reason governments can spend more wealth obtaining a resource than it is worth, is because the wealth they spend is forcefully taken by them in the form of taxes!
[Fun Fact: there is enough habitable land on Earth for every person alive to own over two acres.]
A company that needs to turn a profit on the other hand, could not spend more obtaining the resource than it is worth. They cannot spend $1 billion mining gold if the amount of gold they mine can only be sold for half a billion dollars. But governments spend far more on wars to obtain land and oil than the total amount of production that said land or oil could sustain.
So if no one was allowed to rob us, including government, then these issues would have to be solved in a mutually beneficial way. In order to obtain oil, we would have to pay the price asked, or go elsewhere. Elsewhere would include solar, wind, hydro, and other forms of creating electricity. The government has helped keep us in the stone age of fossil fuel because they rob us to obtain the oil, then rob us to subsidize the oil, and keep the shelf price of it low enough so that we don’t bother seriously looking into alternative fuels.
But if we were not robbed by the government, that wealth would stay in our hands, and we would be able to spend that wealth in peaceful ways that create more wealth. Instead, government spends it on murder and destruction.
And somehow people still think government is the best arbiter of limited resources? They just don’t know any better alternatives. That is why they should read my fiction novel Anarchy in New England, in order to explore a world where coercion is never okay, and mutual benefit has monumentally raised the standard of living.
Humans got along quite well without government for a long time. When tribes and extended families grouped themselves together, natural hierarchies may have formed, but this was less by force and more by merit. The desire of an individual to survive made most voluntarily accept the given social structure.
You could always leave the tribe, and attempt to get along by yourself in the wilderness. This probably never happened because it meant almost certain death. They needed the tribe. In contrast, today people will criticize those who call for government reform: “Then move to another country!” That is telling though. We cannot simply move into the wilderness to survive or not, we must “choose” another master.
And this is not like choosing another tribe: there is nowhere for a tribe to go either. We must fit ourselves into the bounds of a large country, run by a government, using force. It does not become about surviving by producing everything we need to live: it also includes part time slave labour for a master we cannot choose.
Now, people use their cell phones to denounce the free market. Politicians fly with jet fuel to criticize polluters. People act as if those who gained medical skills owe their service to others, with or without proper reward. See, it was so much clearer when there was the tribe, and the wilderness. If you denounce the tribe, you live in the wilderness, unless you can get another tribe to voluntarily accept you.
Now keep in mind that I am comparing tribes to a free market, not a government. Governments gain their power by force, while free market businesses gain their power by serving needs. It seems to me that a tribal leader needed the support of his subordinates in order to have power, just as a CEO needs his employees to comply with his demands for the business to succeed. But the employees have a chance to leave the company for something better.
We have no such opportunity to escape all government subordination. Certainly some tribes existed with more force than others, especially as they got bigger and became more like chiefdoms, and less like family groups. But the natural way that humans survived for long enough to increase in numbers, was by being liked and needed by the tribe, and that is what naturally mirrors the free market.
When social interactions define your standing in a solitary and independent community, it pays to be liked. Even social anxiety of teenagers in this day and age is probably linked to the evolutionary desire to be part of the group, because being rejected by the group meant death. It is a primal fear to not be liked. So in nature, people would strive to become “successful” by being well liked by the group. They give value to the group, and the group in turn contributes value to the individual.
Trade seems to be one of the most basic methods of interaction, and easiest when it comes to the specialization of skills. If you trade something that comes easy to you for something in return that comes easy to them, you both feel like you made out on the deal: it is a mutually beneficial transaction. There was no force involved, you just need to have or create something valuable, and be easy to work with. And this is also a snapshot of organic relationships at the family level: a breadwinner, and a homemaker.
So the whole problem with the world is that our lives are no longer organic: they are controlled and designed and it is in opposition to nature. You don’t have to be liked to do well in the group, you can do well through violence, theft, and fear mongering. But when we see the free market (or a free-ish market) poke it’s head through the rubble, we see how good verses bad people are dealt with naturally.
Just recently I wrote about the auto-dealer that landed in hot water for treating a pizza delivery man poorly. Would you go to a restaurant or bar where the staff or owner was rude to you, or constantly overcharged customers? Would you drive on a private road that damaged your vehicle with potholes, if there was another option available?
The natural order of life is that the largest gains are made through mutual benefit. Only by voluntarily serving others needs can you expect others to voluntarily serve you. The more liked you are, the more customers you get, and the more businesses want to interact with you. The better your product is, the more people enjoy trading with you. The friendlier you are, or the better the customer service, the more comfortable people feel about interacting with you.
We need our society to return to an organic order of life. The only way we can do that, is by removing incentives and disincentives that include force. Some people can survive and thrive today while nobody likes them, because they give no reason to like them. They use force when they should be offering something. They create division while they should create cohesion. When we allow some people to organize society against nature, we get all the ills that we see in society today.
If we could just step back and let nature take its course, we would see all the beauty nature has in store for the human race.
This week was the the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp used by the Nazi’s to murder over a million people. I’ve written about genocide; the signs leading up to genocide, the many many cases of governments carrying out genocide, and the real story told by Hersch Altman about how he survived the Holocaust at age 11, while the rest of his family was murdered by Nazis.
I want to remind everyone, genocide is not a Nazi problem, it is a government problem. Those calling themselves Nazis may never have significant power again, but unfortunately, genocide is certain to happen again, as it occurs right now under many regimes in various forms. Directly after WWII genocide was allowed to continue and escalate in the Soviet Union. The Nazis were punished, the Soviets were rewarded with half of Europe. Individual’s lost, governments won.
Government oppression is the norm, while peaceful governments have never existed. People often argue that we need a government by using only examples of relatively good government, at a relatively good time of governing. Anarchists on the other hand must defend every foreseeable scenario for what negatives might occur without government.
Yet statists will generally try to argue in abstracts, about what the government could do, should do, or would do; where the government incentives supposedly lie, and that if we would just elect the right people, government could be good; or how good government would be if it was designed properly and kept small.
But here’s the thing: I always humor the statists and explain how the worst case scenarios for their dire predictions of what would happen without government, are already happening right now under some government. But statists weren’t talking about those governments, they were talking about the fairytale government in their heads, like, admittedly, I talk about the fairytale absence of government in my head.
Yes I can admit it, anarchy has never been attained. But neither has “good government” and the closest we came to relatively good government lasted… at most arguably 3 years (time between the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and the federal quelling of the Whiskey Rebellion). And during that entire time, western Pennsylvanians were in open rebellion against the whiskey tax, discussed secession, and finally had their rights violated by the federal government (literally, the same rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights 3 years earlier were completely ignored).
The point is we have never had anarchy, and we have never had good or limited government: don’t pretend my fairytale world is any less attainable than yours. The difference is governments have solid crimes I can point to as evidence of their evil. The evidence of evils under anarchy do not exist, or can only be applied to individuals. A government is to blame for crimes of individuals in the government when it comes to the aid of and protects said individuals, supports the evil act, or ordered the evil act. Anarchist aggressors have no such cover, funded through extortion. (You may want to claim the mafia or a gang is an example of anarchist aggression, however the mafia or a gang operates despite the government, with the help of the government, or is the government).
And there is no proven method of preventing government oppression, though some would argue there are proven methods of slowing down the road to serfdom. So the argument between statists (especially minarchists and limited government libertarians) and anarchists should essentially involve the statists arguing that the benefit of government outweighs the costs. A hard case to make: start by explaining the government benefits that outweigh the hundreds of millions of people murdered by government in just the last 100 years.
The anarchist must argue how the costs of not having government pale in comparison to the benefits. And this especially is where the limited government folks stand on shaky ground. They will argue that the government hurts the economic sector. So what is different about intervention in other areas of life? What is it about force that is bad when applied to economics, but good when applied to disputes between individuals? What if no one was forced to associate, and everything was accomplished through agreements, and mutual benefit?
I don’t think it is a coincidence that government holds a monopoly over the sectors of the economy statists think could not be handled by a free market. The idea is to never show people how effective the free market is at various things, and use fear to continue the government monopoly on security, investigation, courts, and defense.
All over the internet people are posting about the pizza guy from West Roxbury MA who got screwed out of a tip by some jerk used car sales people at F and R Auto. I’ll summarize if you don’t feel like watching the video:
The F and R Auto used car salesmen decided to order a pizza. I think I read it cost $43, and they gave the delivery man two twenties and two fives. They did not ask for change. Once the delivery man left, the workers called the pizza place, complained that the delivery man did not give them their change, and insisted he return to do so.
The manager of the pizza place apologized (the customer always being “right”) and sent the delivery man back to return the change. In quite a polite way, especially considering the auto sales workers’ attitudes, the delivery man said, “I just don’t understand why you would give me an extra bill”, referencing the extra five, when two twenties and one five would have covered the cost of the pizza. He also noted that he had to spend resources to drive back there (pizza delivery is not the highest paying job, so that does matter).
This angered the used car salesmen, who told the delivery man, “Don’t make your manager apologize twice for you” adding some F-bombs in there, and a female wench of a co-worker added, “I’ll stick my boot up your ass” and made some rude gestures after he left. The pizza man remarked sarcastically, “It’s ok, all is righted in the world, you have your $7 back”, and he left. When he left another fat loser said something about calling the manager and owner because he wanted the delivery man fired. End of story, until the video of the exchange somehow ended up online (perhaps the used car salesmen were dumb enough to think people would consider their childish antics funny?).
Anyway, the inhabitants of the internet were pissed. F and R Auto didn’t have great reviews before this event, but now the reviews on yelp are just downright entertaining. Their website appears to be offline. Yesterday I called and got two busy signals, and on the third call, it rang and rang without an answer. Today all I got were busy signals. I wanted to ask for some comment, see if the workers involved had been disciplined, and ask how business was since the video surfaced.
I am not sure F and R Auto will survive, but they have undoubtedly taken a hit to profits. This is a great example of free market pressure, punishing a business for treating someone like dirt. All it took was one rude exchange with a delivery man, and the business has been bombarded by negative press, and decent people angry that they would treat a polite delivery man in such a way.
The power of the consumer is amazing. But consider if this hadn’t been a used car dealership, but instead a government agency. The workers would still be getting paid. The agency would certainly not cease to exist. Maybe there would be some apologies, and some talk of reform, and some talk of hiring standards. But nothing would happen, nothing would change, and the people involved would continue to talk down to service sector workers whom they deem lesser than themselves.
We have no options when it comes to holding government accountable, yet all the power when it comes to holding business accountable. We can voluntary de-fund a private enterprise by not shopping there. If we attempt to de-fund the government, we will be arrested for tax evasion.
It seems pretty obvious which system works better for delivering consumers with the products and services they need, in the quality desired. And not only do we demand to be treated fairly as a customer, but we go to bat for our fellow man in demanding that the businesses that survive will not treat anyone in the way these workers treated that pizza guy.
This is a discussion I had with a vehement statist on Facebook. I shared it here in its entirety, adding a little commentary along the way. I was happy to have this discussion since it stayed on point, and no one was too rude. Most people, I have found, won’t engage if you disagree with them (except with insults), so this was a unique perspective to get.
Interestingly enough, the liberal engaged me on Facebook much more than the conservative who was posting pro-torture memes and articles (the conservative did not respond to my questions of whether stooping to the low of torture would make the US safer, or if using medieval means can justify the ends). It makes me think, “Am I the only one who feels like a conservative when arguing with liberals, and a liberal when arguing with conservatives?”
Anyway I commented on an article the liberal statist shared. He was angry (and rightfully so) that the FDA instituted a lifetime ban on gays donating blood. I already knew the FDA was as terrible as any other federal bureaucracy, so I thought I might take the opportunity to point that out. I’m Joe Jarvis for anyone unaware.
The sarcastic person obscured with red was not the same person (represented with blue) who continued to engage me politely for the rest of the discussion. I found it interesting that despite a sweeping negative decision by the FDA, Mr. Red would still prefer the government to institute across the board decisions, instead of allowing individuals control over their own experiences.
The philosophy seems to be that individuals are weak and powerless, too stupid or at least too oppressed (not by the government though) to educate themselves or figure our how to get quality healthcare. And that individuals are too greedy to help their fellow man (by patronizing charitable businesses) unless they are forced to by the government. (The contradiction is that the government is made up of people, so if it is the case that people are greedy, so will the government be greedy).
If we don’t give the government more power to control education and healthcare, we will end up living in Panem, controlled by an oppressive government who denies education and healthcare to the poor? Woah that made me dizzy. How is it that taking power from the government and giving it to the individual will bring us closer to the distopian fascist state depicted in The Hunger Games? Even Katniss educated herself (with the help of her father in earlier life) to hunt and provide for the family. And Katniss’s mother educates Prim on natural medicine. In the end, the education these girls obtained on their own, despite the government’s obstruction, helped to free them from the oppression of Panem.
Also, how is people “intelligently elect[ing] their leaders” working out? And does that not suggest those in power will design education so as to remain in power?
I assumed Mr. Green was talking about the original post? Notice that Mr. Blue does not defend or acknowledge the subsidies, grants, and bailouts, even though he made reference to cheap unhealthy food. He does not respond to my assertion that the government caused these problems, and thus should not be trusted to solve them. Instead he shows that he believes workers to be like slaves, bringing back the helpless individual philosophy.
And has he not noticed that public police forces are currently murdering the poor? As always, all the evils created by government are blamed on the free market. The dire predictions about an unrestrained market are already unfolding in a controlled market, with the government carrying out the worst violations.
He believes those who willingly work for a company in exchange for pay are more like slaves than a tax payer, who has some percentage of what he earns or creates taken by force. Supposedly what the government takes will be returned (education, healthcare, roads), yet it is not an agreement. I cannot choose to forgo the “benefits” of government and not pay my taxes. I can do exactly that in regards to a company’s services and products.
Somehow a government has more incentive to educate the citizens than an individual has to become educated? Again, people are not helpless, especially in a world with the internet, where it is easy to pursue your own education. And history tells us governments have an incentive to create a population of sheep (Hitler youth, Soviet propaganda, suppression in China, the lists goes on and on). Currently our government sees innovators as more of a threat to their power structure than a boon to America’s position in the world (look at the regulatory trouble Tesla is having selling their efficient cars direct to the consumer, while the bailed out company GM is having market trouble with their electric cars).
Mr. Blue stated that it is better to have an educated and healthy society, but never argues how the government will do this. As it stands, the government is failing on both accounts. So he points to the government as a means to achieve an end, yet does not explain why that end has not been achieved, nor how it will be achieved moving forward. In fact the decline in quality American education since the federal Department of Education was created would suggest the government cannot improve education, or at least has not in the modern era.
I thought perhaps I’d get a “like” as a gesture of good will on my polite departure. Perhaps he did not enjoy the discussion as much as I did.
High tech companies benefit from educated workers, and benefit from not being racist or classist (bigger pool of workers to choose from, and market pressure to not be racist assholes). Public schools disadvantage the same people he claims private schooling would disadvantage. Parents are most to credit for any well educated children in today’s society. In a freed market, companies would need to work harder to attract employees, and thus offer more: education, healthcare, charity.
All said and done, it seems the worst case scenario for getting government out of the market would be… ending up exactly where we are now. And in reality, most societal ills that currently exist, yet are blamed on a free market (which doesn’t currently exist) are caused by the government, and their unbridled force.
In a free market, money (and when I say money I really mean wealth, not printed paper) would not be the government’s to decide where to put it. And that is an underrated benefit of a free market: only those who earn the money get to spend it. Only those who generate wealth have control of wealth.
Wealth can be anything of value. If you have dirt in your backyard, grow some vegetables. There, now you have some wealth in vegetables and you can “spend” your wealth, trade it for something of value to you. But currently government gets to spend at least 25% (federal budget being almost $4 trillion, 25% of the $16 trillion Gross Domestic Product) and probably closer to 50% (when state and local taxes are figured in) of every cent of wealth produced in America in any given year.
At best, 75% of what is actually created and earned is spent by the people who did the creating and the earning, but probably just half of what is earned is spent by those who earned it. When other people get to use wealth that someone else created, it does not a free market make. And why is an economy better organized when the creators of wealth control the wealth?
Well it seems pretty obvious to me. Who spends money smarter: Mom and Dad, or the kids? Mom and Dad buy a new boiler that saves energy costs, the kids want to buy a new pool. Mom and Dad want to put a little extra away for retirement, the kids want to be taken to Six Flags with all their friends. The people who earn the money are generally more careful with where that money goes. And comparing the inhabitants of Washington DC to children is probably more insulting to the kids.
This does not mean that those who can’t earn money simply won’t get any. It means the people who produced the wealth will decide who and under what circumstances people will get help. This might sound cruel until you consider the alternative, how we currently operate. Thieves steal at least 25% of the wealth, keep most for themselves and their friends, and decide where a tiny fraction will go to supposedly “help the poor”. The only thing that allows them to continue stealing is that they have convinced enough people they will spend the stolen money better than those from whom they stole it.
Why the hell would we think thieves, literally people who have no problem stealing our money at the point of a gun, would spend that money in a better way than the person who put in the blood, sweat, and tears to produce that wealth?
But the plunderers have fooled enough people, and thus, people wrongfully assume their tax dollars will help the less fortunate. In contrast, those who donate to charity are likely to seek out a charity that uses the funds efficiently, or at least uses the funds for a cause the benefactor believes in.
I didn’t want my tax dollars to go to billionaire George Kaiser for his bankrupt company Solyndra. If it was a good solar company, I would think a billionaire might have the rolodex to raise the funds without having to steal it from me. I don’t want my tax dollars to bomb weddings in the middle east. I think a volunteer militia would be a cheap and effective form of “homeland security”, especially if there is no central machinery (government) for conquerers to take over and use against the people. I don’t think wealth creators would allow a large portion of their charitable contributions to be spent on liquor, cigarettes, and drugs. I don’t think earners would keep paying for “security” that kills more innocent people than terrorists.
These are all the things money would not be going toward when spent by the people who earned it. That is often where the discussion ends, but the money would not disapear. It would instead be spent on actual beneficial things: not beneficial to some arbitrary group of thieves, beneficial for the person who earned it. And also beneficial to the person that the wealth is voluntarily being transferred to, in exchange for a service or product.
If I grow vegetables in my back yard, I am not going to benefit from exploding the skull of a twelve year old Iraqi kid, nor a twelve year old Chicago kid; especially if it takes me half my livelihood to do it. Instead I’ll probably give some vegetables away to the homeless person that I know personally, or the soup kitchen I trust to feed the needy. I might throw some carrots and potatoes into the pot for a neighborhood watch, and withdraw them if this neighborhood watch harasses me.
I am simplifying. Of course we would not have to go back to trading potatoes and whiskey (unless you wanted to). The point is if we control what we produce, that wealth will be placed more beneficially for us. In doing so, the wealth is placed more beneficially for all of society. This is because in order to get my money, instead of figuring out how to rob me, someone has to figure out how to please me. And if there is no one spending that has not first earned, that means everyone will be an earner, and no one will be a plunderer.
So really, it is impossible to tell just how awesome a free market would be, while 50% of what is currently produced is stolen and squandered. Would a billion fewer cigarettes be bought? Would that money go towards educating children? Would a million fewer bombs be made? Would that money go towards a revolutionary new transportation? I think the evidence says, yes, something like that would happen. Because right now I don’t buy or smoke any cigarettes, yet my money still pays for someone else’s cigarettes to be made. Right now I don’t purchase or make bombs. Yet my money pays for bombs to be made.
People talk about the wealth gap as if the non-existant free market is to blame. Then why has the wealth gap increased alongside government expenditures? I haven’t given any money to the folks on Wall Street, and the only money they stole from me (bailouts) was facilitated by the government.
The answer is obvious. All the bad effects in this economy are created by the people who are allowed to spend money without earning it.