“There is No Safety You Dumb Bitch,” a Lesson From Sandor Clegane, The Hound

Brienne of Tarth, in Game of Thrones, is noble in her cause, and intends to uphold an oath she swore to Lady Stark to keep her children safe. But she is also a bit naive about the nature of the world in which she lives.

Brienne thinks she can bring Arya to a safe place, wherever that is. But as The Hound so eloquently reminds her:

“There is no safety you dumb bitch. And if you don’t know that by now, you’re the wrong one to watch over her.”

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How to Find Liberty at Texas Freedom Grounds

All over the globe, people are organizing themselves into like-minded communities. It seems every day I hear of another project where those with similar ideas about community and lifestyle are joining together to voluntarily build a custom fit society. The movement is still young, and momentum is building.

Someday soon, we will live in a world where people hundreds or thousands of miles away from us with nothing in common cannot dictate how our lives will be run. If there is anything the modern world proves it is that all interaction can be voluntary, which is the most prosperous–and only moral–way to organize a society. Continue reading

Why Common Law is better than Government Law

How can something be considered a crime if there is no victim? This is a problem: people cannot simply make sure they don’t hurt others; they can’t just base their actions off common sense and respect for the standards of their community to stay out of trouble.

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What are Rights? Do Rights Exist?

What is a right? Do rights exist? They seem so intangible, yet philosophical constructs can be real.

A right simply defines a state of being; it describes a condition. “Right of way,” is how we describe who has precedence in a driving situation. That certainly doesn’t mean people can’t ignore the concept of right of way, it just serves as a tool for establishing who is liable if a car accident should happen. Continue reading

Liberation: A Spiritual Hypothesis

I see two extremes in religious beliefs. On the one hand, during dark times people flock to religion for the promise of something better after death, since they have lost hope for something better in this life. On the flip side, people ignore religion, or are too distracted to engage themselves spiritually, when their lives are going well. Continue reading

Startup Societies are the Future

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

Eternal Vigilance Will Always Be the Price of Freedom

It was once said in reference to politics that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. But this is true universally: eternal vigilance will always be the price of freedom, whether from government or business. The difference is, vigilance over business can produce results, while vigilance over government is like watching a slow motion train wreck without being able to stop it.

The crux of the difference is the ability to remove funding from business, and convince others to remove their funding. This means you can completely disassociate from a business, and even from those who do business with that business. And certainly you hope this damages the business, but even if it doesn’t, at least you are not a party to that business’s destruction, immorality, or anti-freedom actions.

The problem for many is that business would still be able to exist, if enough destructive, immoral, or anti-freedom people still patronize that business. I don’t think utopia will ever exist, so why abandon improving society, just because the improvement won’t make society perfect? Ask yourself, what is more likely to happen, what will more often happen, and where would the incentives lie if business versus government handled various things.

Business serves the customers and must earn their loyalty. Business risks going under if customers are not happy. Business cannot come into your home and steal your money; for that, they require government to act on their behalf. So all the strong centralized, relatively monopolistic businesses we see now that receive bailouts, grants, and subsidies would not be so strong without stealing our money through the government. And if they attempted to steal our money without government, they would have to fund the venture themselves, and be seen for the violent thieves they really are: two things certain to threaten profits to the point that they will not happen.

When I moved to Florida, I needed to switch banks, so I researched local banks in the area, not wanting to give my money to national banks  like Bank of America which received bailouts from the U.S. government (AKA stole our money when they handled their businesses poorly) and have terrible customer service. After I learned of a few local banks, I read reviews, and found that some didn’t have great reputations according to their customers. One bank that did have a good reputation offered the type of checking account I wanted, without fees. I now use a bank that has not taken my money by force, and delivers the product they said they would deliver. If they displease me for any reason, I can remove my funding from them, and go to a different bank.

Now say I want Bank of America to be held accountable for their actions of poorly investing, and giving out loans to people who could not pay them back. First, I need to wait until an election year. Then I need to research which candidate of two choices will be against bailouts, which in 90% of races will be neither candidate. In the 10% of cases where a candidate claims to be against bailouts, if he ever gets so specific, I need to then watch him over the next 2-4 years making sure he never gives a bailout, and encouraging him to investigate the fraud that has already happened. Most will end up giving another bailout, having lied during the campaign, but since most of the electorate didn’t care about that issue as much as I did, it won’t matter. But in say 1% of the cases, being generous, a candidate will introduce legislation to “hold the banks accountable”. Half of that one percent will actually be aimed at holding banks accountable, and the other half will be aimed at protecting banks like Bank of America, by only making small banks play by the new rules. But that doesn’t matter anyway, the legislation won’t pass. Bank of America will get away with stealing my money last time, and they will get away with stealing my money again. But I can try again every 2-4 years! Oh yea, and the small local bank I chose  to give my business to will have to compete against Bank of America, who still exists because they used the government as a third part to steal my money.

Is it easier for me to be vigilant, and produce results with my vigilance, over my local bank, or Bank of America?fb_img_1458528633515.jpg

I bought a radiator for my car on Amazon last week, which turned out to be the wrong one. If I had googled the part number, I would have known it was the wrong one, but I didn’t, I simply read the description and assumed it would work. Shipping was free, and when I received the part, I realized it was the wrong radiator. The seller sent me a label so I could return the item for free, and be reimbursed completely.

My parents once tried to renew their car registration (a “product” they didn’t want) only to be told that they owed excise tax in a town in which they never lived. After explaining this to the registry, they were told they would have to resolve this at the town hall of that town. So they drove over an hour only to find out the town hall had closed early that day. So they made the trip again the next day, and were informed that they would have to pay the excise tax to the town they never lived in, and then they could file a claim that they never lived in the town, and then they could get the money back when the claim was resolved. So that’s what they did in order to pay more money to the state for the registration they were forced to acquire. Six months to a year later they were refunded the excise tax, minus filing fees.

Was is easier for me to be vigilant over Amazon who must earn my business, or for my parents to be vigilant over the state of Massachusetts (who forced them to pay for registration) and some random town (that just claimed they owed them money)?

Customers, consumers, and even protesters have far more control over business than voters and other citizens have over government. We will always need to be vigilant to prevent tyranny, but we have no way to use our vigilance to prevent government tyranny.

And all the “what if without government” scenarios already happen. Our money is stolen. People are murdered and caged over victim-less crimes. Our land may be taken by the government. Our children may be taken by the government. The government forces us to buy products. Innocent foreigners are killed on our behalf and dubbed collateral damage. Government security does not prevent crime, and solves relatively few.

We are living in a worst case scenario, and the only thing that keeps it relatively peaceful is the relatively free market. I’m convinced that public sentiment keeps complete government tyranny at bay, without regards to voting. Without government obstruction, the society we create will be even more reflective of our wishes, peaceful and prosperous.

If a business is providing security, we must make sure it is not using force unjustly. But already the incentives lie with a business to use force only justifiably, since using that force costs them money. Yet they will still have to fulfill their promises to customers of bringing actual criminals to justice. And finally, they must compete against other security companies, which serves as incentive to not overstep their bounds, or falsely accuse innocents.

So while eternal vigilance will always be the price of freedom, we can start from a place where incentives for business lie in serving the market, making it easier and more effective to be vigilant.

 

Coming Soon: A Free City in Norway

Scandinavia is often associated with socialism in the muddled minds of Americans. Despite this, one of the world’s first experiment with a completely private city is in Norway. Liberstad aims to provide all services, from roads to fire departments, through the private sector.

Liberstad advertises itself as “a little piece of freedom.” The city’s founders aim to purchase a few hundred acres of farmland in southern Norway to establish a free market enclave.

Their Plan

The project was started by John Holmesland and Sondre Bjellas. They formed the Liberstad Drift Association, which will be responsible for the initial development and operation of the property. Their plan is to build a vibrant community with all the comforts of a modern world, with only minimal laws and taxes.

Liberstad will have no city council or government. Instead, the tone of the city’s development will be organically guided by the first settlers. They can establish businesses, erect buildings, grow vegetables, brew beer, or pursue whatever other economic activity they are interested in.

Liberstad’s few laws and regulations will focus on protecting people’s rights. The founders believe in the non-aggression principle, which states that using non-defensive violence is unethical. They also want to protect participant’s property rights to help grow a thriving free market.

Continue reading about Liberstad, on the Startup Societies blog.

Do We Agree on the Meaning of Government?

A discussion of whether or not government is necessary to organize society is essentially pointless if people do not agree on the definition of government.

When I say government shouldn’t exist, I mean there should be no monopolizing entity which uses force and violence against peaceful people whose actions have not hurt anyone else. I mean we should not be forced to fund and use products and services that we do not wish to use.

I think what a lot of people hear is that I don’t want anything resembling a government. I want chaos, I want the wild west, I want dog eat dog, tribal warfare, and only the strong will survive!

But that is not true. Most anarchists do not at all mind institutions resembling current government, as long as there is one key difference: the institution must be a voluntary association. It should not be funded by theft, extortion, nor threats of violence, and it should not be a mandatory service or product to use or buy.

So if your definition of government is, anything that keeps society orderly, then we may not disagree on anything.

Confusion might come as well when people think that we would be unable to punish criminals in such a system without mandatory governance. This is not the case however. The criminal is the one who forces an interaction with his victim, and as such has agreed to the consequences of that forced association. If a security company that resembles current law enforcement, but is funded by voluntary customers, arrests someone who has victimized another, it does not need his permission to do so, because he forced an unwanted interaction with his victim.

Clearly it gets more complicated as we talk about how to make sure these security institutions remain honest and do not simply arrest whoever they want on the pretense that a crime has been committed, but that is also a problem in current society–a big problem among government policing agencies. In fact it would be less of a problem if many different security companies were each beholden to their customers, consumers in general, stockholders, other security companies, and arbiters who mediate between security companies.

Law would still be decided by the societies in which we live, but we would have a real voice in crafting that law, by patronizing or boycotting particular agencies and the laws they offer as a product to their customers.

In addition this type of decentralized power structure would alleviate problems that stem from a mandatory centralized currency. Dollars today are easily manipulated, and concentrated, with the help of the government who empowers the federal reserve. When many different currencies are available, if one force dominates a particular type of “coin”, it could easily lose value if people stop using or accepting it.

This means less hoarding, and more working together to keep society functioning. Already projects to help the homeless are being crowdfunded through bitcoin, giving people who are down on their luck options they never used to have.

And let me add that the answer to achieving this wonderful society is not violent overthrow of government, nor even opposition to most of their rules, which would just lead to trouble for the individual. We must work around what we can, and slowly make government become obsolete by replacing their institutions with better ones.

Yes, it gets a little tricky since it does not appear we can affect much change from inside government, though they will continue taking our money to fund it. But over time, shielded by safety in numbers, we can overcome the absurdity of coercive government, and replace it without a great upset in society. We simply need to play the long term strategy and not enter into a figurative fight we cannot win. But in the end, it might happen quicker than you think. Society is poised to rapidly outgrow government.

Whose face is on the dollar bill? Give to Washington what is Washington’s. Use bitcoin.

You Don’t Always Need to Know How It Works, to Know It Works

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.

How might the roads be built?

How might populations be defended from invasion?

What would happen to the poor?

The case for improvement, even if it is not heaven on earth.