A Rebuttal to “Sorry Libertarian Anarchists, Capitalism Requires Government”

I find it rather fun to debunk articles about why anarchists are wrong. Mostly, this is because the people writing them are generally in favor of limited government, yet use all of the tactics of their big government counterparts when arguing against voluntaryism. This article called Sorry Libertarian Anarchists, Capitalism Requires Government, by Harry Binswanger was a slightly better critique of anarchism compared to Austin Petersen’s, but essentially makes the same mistake of failing to differentiate between defensive force, and offensive force.

The anarchists object to the very idea of a monopoly on force. That only shows that they cannot grasp what force is. Force is monopoly. To use force is to attempt to monopolize. The cop or the gunman says: “We’ll do it my way, not your way–or else.” There is no such thing as force that allows dissenters to go their own way.

If a man wants to have sex with a woman who doesn’t want it, only one of them can have their way. It’s either “Back off” or rape. Either way, it’s a monopoly.

Does he not realize that this argument says rape need only be deemed legal and the rapist is in the right? Anarchists recognize the aggressor as always wrong. Anarchists understand that force is a meaningless word in the way that he uses it, because he fails to differentiate between types of force. Defending against rape is not monopolizing force, it is monopolizing your body. And monopolizing your own body is where all rights stem from.

You are your own property, and therefore philosophically have total autonomy. He speaks of a “proper government”, which is mythical, unless you count the individual as a government of one. The only thing you have the right to monopolize is your own body, and the property that stems from the right of self ownership (acquired by trade, or original appropriation mixed with labor). This highlights the difference between the force used in rape, and the force used in defense of rape.

Monopolizing force in an attempt to rape would not be “proper government” (defined as a government that does not violate any rights) because it seeks to monopolize more than your own body (and your property which stems from self ownership). Monopolizing force to defend against rape would indeed be “proper government” because you are only monopolizing your own body, and demanding that no other (government or individual) break your monopoly on self ownership.

He really digs his own grave on this point, since all government does is in fact “rape”, by failing to recognizing autonomous individuals who own themselves, and therefore monopolize their own body. Government says it has partial ownership of you, and the proof is that they can force you to do things you do not want to do. And in this sense, he makes the same argument as Petersen: they both believe that just by wielding force, whether defensive or offensive, you are a government. But practically no one agrees with their definition of government.

Governments monopolize regardless of rights, and individuals acting in self defense are monopolizing only in accordance to their rights. If a government only operated without violating others’ rights, this means they would not forcefully exclude a competitor, and therefore would not be a government, but a competing business to fulfill a market demand.

And after all of the effort to show how force will be monopolized no matter what, Binswanger then argues that we need government force in order to protect us from force from others. But he never explains why the government’s force is better than those it protects you from. In essence he admits that there is no difference between “the cop or the gunman,” then arbitrarily chooses the cop’s force over the gunman’s. Binswanger would therefor not necessarily prefer the woman’s monopoly on force to the rapists: first he must check with the government to see which will be allowed under their monopoly.

He then goes on to praise the non-existent “American system” of government, which even in its perfect form violates the individual’s right to self ownership, and therefore does not fit the definition of a “proper government”.

The genius of the American system is that it limited government, reining it in by a Constitution, with checks and balances and the provision that no law can be passed unless it is “necessary and proper” to the government’s sole purpose: to protect individual rights–to protect them against their violation by physical force.

Tragically, the original American theory of government was breached, shelved, trashed long ago. But that’s another story.

No, it is not another story, it is very much a part of this story. What is so genius about a system that could not maintain itself? How was it reigned in by a Constitution, if he admits that it was “shelved and trashed long ago”? As Lysander Spooner said, the Constitution either allowed such a system as we have, or failed to prevent it.

Never has a government existed whose sole purpose was and stayed to protect individual rights, let alone doing so funded through voluntary means! So Binswanger can keep arguing for that type of government, but without saying how to get or keep it, what good does the argument do? I could use this same argument for a monarchy or dictatorship, and just ignore the fact that it would be impossible to always have a benevolent dictator in power.

Anarchy on the other hand, tells you how it will remain free: through market decisions. If the market dictates that force be used not only in self defense, we may end up right back where we are now. But that is a less likely scenario based on everything we know about markets and competition–competition delivers a better product for cheaper. It also speaks volumes that we are currently living in the worst case scenario for how anarchy would turn out: violent monopolization of force without accordance to individual rights stemming from self ownership.

But this last point, Binswanger would argue, is moot, because protection is not production, so it is therefore not an economic service which can be provided by the market.

However protection is creating a proper environment for economic transactions, just like vacuuming the floor at a shop creates a proper environment: vacuuming is not production, but it allows the store to be more productive by appealing to customers who want to shop in a clean store. A guard does not produce whatever you are selling, he allows you to be more productive by creating an environment where people feel safe shopping, working, or living.

The anarchists do not object to retaliatory force, only to it being wielded by a government. Why? Because, they say, it excludes “competitors.” It sure does: it excludes vigilantes, lynch mobs, terrorists, and anyone else wanting to use force subjectively.

“A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control–i.e., under objectively defined laws.” (Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)

There can be only one supreme law of the land and only one government to enforce it. (State and local governments are necessarily subordinate to the federal government.)

Yet despite his arguments, governments currently use force subjectively! And how can he claim competition for retaliatory force would be more subjective than monopolization on retaliatory force? What evidence does Binswanger have to show that government can more effectively objectively define laws than competing firms? None! In fact an examination of every government’s laws on earth will yield no such objectivity, especially when their aggressive actions are examined next to their laws. Read the Constitution for proof, and tell me if you think our government is objective in their enforcement.

Vigilantes, lynch mobs and terrorists would all be subject to further retaliation when they violate others’ rights. Not always, but more often than in government, will objective laws come from companies who wish to turn profits, because conflict is costly, and not conducive to the bottom line. Competing entities are not simply competing in force, but in productivity. They must bring people to justice in order to serve their customers, but not invite conflict by going beyond the objective, previously defined contracts they agree to fulfill. In other words, the competing wielders of force have all the incentives to lay out their “laws” and stick to them, while government has no such incentive.

Binswanger does not say what land area a government may cover, so we can assume that governments could be as small as we want, except that he says local and state governments are “necessarily subordinate to federal government” (despite arguing earlier in favor of the Constitution which subordinated the federal government to state governments). But why does a law of the land have to be subject to arbitrary borders? I might assume he would support one world government, because then the ultimate “agreement” across the board would be had over what an individual can and cannot do.

He claims the mythical government that he wants will not get its money through force, but voluntarily, and only wield force in a retaliatory manner. So the monopoly on law is what he really wants the government to have. Throw in the possibility of different courts defining different segments of law, or laws in different regions. The laws would depend on the people who voluntary patronize such firms for protection, while agreeing that they will not violate the laws they are protected with, and voila, we have an anarchist society.

People, consumers, would define the laws by patronizing competing agencies of law–security companies, third party arbiters, crime insurance companies, etc. Desire for profits will keep these competing firms from breaching contracts or waging wars. Governments on the other hand, routinely wage wars when they cannot agree with other governments.

The anarchist idea of putting law on “the market” cannot be applied even to a baseball game. It would mean that the rules of the game will be defined by whoever wins it.

An absurd analogy! In order to play a game at all, it must first be defined! This is a paradox; how can there be a winner if it takes a winner to define what it means to be a winner?! How can a game be won, if there is no game until it is won?

Imagine someone saying, “We’re going to play a game. Okay, I win; now I will tell you what the rules are. The rules are, I win.” That sounds like a government to me.

But let’s follow the baseball example. Two people or companies engaging in free trade would be the baseball teams, and they must both agree on the terms of the game before playing with each other. If they never agree, they never play!

If they agree on the rules, they then both agree on a third party to whom’s authority they will voluntarily submit, in order to engage in the game–the economic transaction–because they both want to play, they both see some benefit in the game. So both teams hire an umpire to call the shots based on rules that both teams agreed to, not that the umpire simply makes up.

Again, it is hilariously cringe-worthy that Binswanger would use an example of a baseball game, that could be compared perfectly to an anarchist scenario. Both teams agree on the end that they want: to play a game. They create law by defining the terms of the game. They know the umpire won’t always make the calls they want, but they also know the game essentially would be chaos–not anarchy–without the third party making the calls. Its a win win, even for the loser, who will have the chance to play other games, since other teams know they play fair.

The market was created by the two teams. The two will not be playing the same game, or in the same stadium, unless they first agree on the rules.

Binswanger also forgets that economics is not a zero-sum game. There is no outright winner in economics, and there is only a loser when the business shuts its doors. Otherwise, the business will stay open to competition. The team may lose one game, and win the next one; that is it may lose one customer, and gain the next one, based on how well it plays the game. But the teams it engages with are always on the same page, or they would not be engaging.

This guy might do better writing for the Onion. Look at these two lines, where he tells us why government functions cannot be accomplished through competition:

Actual competition is a peaceful rivalry to gain dollars–dollars paid voluntarily in uncoerced trade.

Governments are necessary–because we need to be secure from force initiated by criminals, terrorists, and foreign invaders.

Peaceful competition cannot exist without violent force. Allowing violent force to be used against you is the only way to prevent violent force from being used against you. Peaceful competition is the ideal, therefore we must accept violent force to make sure all competition is peaceful. He should be embarrassed that he wrote these two sentences in the same article, let alone right next to each other.

Government forcing you to fund and use their services is coerced trade! A voluntary trade would be hiring a firm who agrees to protect you from criminals, terrorists, and foreign invaders. And you would hire the best firm, not the one that says it will cage you if you refuse to engage, as the current government does.

Binswanger has already said that the only moral use of force is to defend rights, yet even when governments have defended some of these rights, they do so by first violating them in order to gain their funding through violent theft via taxation. It is a contradiction of objective morality, unless he somehow thinks paradoxically that an immoral act is required to stop other immoral acts.

The attempt to invoke individual rights to justify “competing” with the government collapses at the first attempt to concretize what it would mean in reality. Picture a band of strangers marching down Main Street, submachine guns at the ready. When confronted by the police, the leader of the band announces: “Me and the boys are only here to see that justice is done, so you have no right to interfere with us.” According to the anarchists, in such a confrontation the police are morally bound to withdraw, on pain of betraying the rights of self-defense and free trade.

First of all, whose rights have been violated? Men walking down the street with guns is not an infringement on any rights. On the other hand, armed police officers walking down the street, paid and armed through theft of the citizens wages, is itself an immoral act (according to his own definition) due to the rights violated to make it possible. Of course the police are morally required to withdraw.

But say it was just two gangs of gun toters: the immoral party would be the first one to fire a shot unprovoked. This isn’t hard: the people in the wrong are the ones who initiate force, who violate others’ rights, who infringe on the self ownership of others, who seek to break the monopoly that the individual inherently has over himself.

And anarchists think a free market for the services government provides would more often hold the wrongdoers accountable, based on the fact that the free market more often serves the consumers’ demands in every area in which the government doesn’t interfere.

Anarchy is no guarantee that a man’s rights will not be violated. Government is a guarantee that a man’s rights will be violated.

Economic competition presupposes a free market. A free market cannot exist until after force has been barred. That means objective law, backed up by a government. To say it can be backed up by “competing” force-wielders is circular. There is no competition until there is a free market, and some agency has to protect its condition as a free market by the use of retaliatory force.

He’s got it all backwards! The only natural law, that offensive force is barred. If you allow government to wield the force, then force has not been barred, and it is not a free market, which is presupposed for competition!

The question is, what is the most effective way of getting to a truly free market? Recognizing all force as immoral would be a good place to start, as opposed to giving government the magic power of abracadabra, and they are somehow not guilty of an immoral act.

If you can disassociate, and refuse to do business with someone, that is a free market. Government, which forces you into their marketplace, does not create a free market.

Competing force wielders would be more constrained by the market than monopoly force wielders, thus being more likely to lead to a freer and freer market, until economic incentives dictate the only rule that ever needed to exist: do not initiate force against others.

And at that point there will be 7 billion “proper governments” on earth called sovereign individuals.

Politics Prevents Progress

Cannabis is legal in a handful of states, and gays can now be equally unequal to everyone else! But the public didn’t want to throw anyone in jail for weed 20 years ago, and where I reside in the northeast hasn’t given a crap about stopping gays from being together for at least as long. So why are these things hailed as political victories?

It takes the government way longer to catch up than the public. And in the mean time gays are marginalized, kids are thrown in jail for possessing a plant, and countless other atrocities occur just waiting for the government to stop being so stupid and repressive.

The government has all the advantages in the public discourse. They can repeal some ridiculous law that THEY put in place, and everyone hails the government as having solved the problem! Are you freaking kidding me? Don’t give the government credit for removing a ridiculous law that they put in place in the first place, causing countless innocent people to be locked in cages!

The government stalls progress, and should never be given credit when they finally catch up to the wishes of the public. The public actually gets along pretty well. And if the government didn’t stand in our way, we would solve these issues way before the idiots on Capital Hill ever get around to it.

Another way of saying WE would solve these problems without government obstruction is to say the market would solve these problems. Who would arrest pot-smokers if not the government? Murderers would still be arrested, because there would be a market for it: we would all want to solve the problem of crime. So we would spend our money, and figure out a fair trial system to make sure we take criminals off the street. Not many people will pay to police “crimes” where these is no victim. There would be no special treatment for government cronies, and enough competing agencies to hold the other ones accountable!

joejarvisedmeme

Having government educate children is like a death sentence for humanity. We can be sure they will never make kids smart enough to know they don’t need government! In this modern era, we can easily figure out how to educate kids for very cheap, and in a way that doesn’t make them hate their lives in a classroom for six hours a day. Humanity is ready for the next generation of education where the possibilities are endless, government is holding us back.

And another thing, the people of America aren’t at war with the people of where-ever. We might not like their government, just like most of us don’t like our own government. But don’t let our scumbags in charge convince us that the people of those countries mirror their scumbags in charge. If anything, we are worse in America, because at least we ELECTED our scum to office. Most of the people we condemn got their leaders by outright force (or by the U.S. installing them)!

So again, without the bumbling government machine, we would already be hanging out with Iraqi’s and North Koreans.

And without the government ruining lives over victimless crimes, and arbitrary laws, we would all be sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya.

Government is why we can’t have nice things. End rant.

Discussing “Anarchy in New England” on Under the Gun: Listen Now!

Thanks to Harry, host of Under the Gun, for using his entire half hour this week to discuss my newly released novel, Anarchy in New England.

Free Market Mirrors Natural Interaction

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.

Outrage Over Pizza Guy Tip Demonstrates Free Market Power

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.

What If Only Those Who Produced Wealth Could Use It?

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?

anmememarket

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.

Public Schools: Incarcerate and Indoctrinate

Public schools are really good at preparing students for three things: 1) a job in a factory or cubicle, 2) a job in the government, 3) prison.

Remembering back, talking to teachers, talking to students, and substitute teaching (in one of the relatively good public schools) has convinced me that there is one reason kids are sent to public school, and it isn’t to educate them.

Obey. Public schools take the natural state of things, and flip it upside down. If you have a natural urge such as hunger of having to use the bathroom, you must ask permission. Permission, from the teacher (and by extension government) must be acquired before emptying your bladder or receiving sustinence—two of the most basic natural human occurrences. Lesson: authority trumps nature.

Hierarchy: Obey Your Masters

There is not much controversy over the fact that public schools were set up to prepare children for a life in the factory. But as factory jobs became less prevalent, the same techniques of schooling were used. It is possible that the cubicle set up for private companies arose to accommodate a workforce that had been trained for one thing: working in factories. And it is easier to adjust to fit the government’s plan than to try to change the system of “educating” millions of potential employees.

If you observe many similarities in private industry and public schools, you are observing the effect of government force on private industry. The plethora of employment options and styles in a free market would amaze anyone from such a brutally structured society as ours. But what does industry have to work with? A relatively low skilled, but obedient mass of robots, with a built in system of trying to outcompete their co-workers. Why bother trying (and paying) to change the work force? Just adjust the business model.

The corporate ladder was programmed in high school, and it rigidly defines where and when the competition should take place, overseen by the company leaders of course. Competition on your own however is considered anti-social. If you don’t want to work with a team, you are weird. And when you’re on a team, if you don’t try to claw your way to the top of the ranks, you are also weird.

One teacher is in charge of many students, and the students must direct all uncertainties at the teacher for answers and orders. But the teacher is likewise constrained by a hierarchy. He or she cannot simply do whatever they want, they must report to the principal, who likewise reports to the superintendent. The superintendent is constrained by the school board, elected by the people, giving the impression that the people control the board, who controls the superintendent, who controls the principal, who controls the teachers, who control the students.

But really elections only give the impression of control over our government. We are voting for a school board to have power in our place, and power over us. The parents aren’t who decides what is best for their kid, it is the school board.

Four year olds through 18 year olds are expected to sit still for 6 hours a day (not including homework), 180 days per year, for 12 years. Nothing could be more opposite the natural state of things. These are the most energetic years humans have, yet we are being taught that it is not appropriate to run, dance, skip, laugh, climb or even move without permission—except for maybe 15 minutes at recess.

Government Can Magically Turn Something Bad into Something Good

If your kid cannot handle sitting still, it is not because they are a normal kid. It is because they are deranged and unfit for our wonderful society. They have ADD or ADHD or are bipolar or have anger issues. Pump them full of drugs!

These same drugs are illegal when not packaged in a nice pill form, but this is another government lesson. The government has the power to take two seemingly identical things, and say one is okay, and one is not. Theft is wrong, except when the government takes your money by force and calls it taxes. Murder is wrong, except when government executes criminals, bombs enemies, or kills innocent civilians while “trying to accomplish a greater good”. Kidnapping is wrong, unless the government does it. And drugs are bad, unless the company that makes them pays the FDA millions of dollars to say they are safe fore the market.

So kids get legal cocaine to focus (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall), and legalized heroin to relax (oxycontin, oxycodone, Vicodin, Zoloft). But if you smoke weed, you will be thrown in jail, and have future opportunities ripped away from you. Can’t you see that drugs will ruin your life? Just look at how we ruined your life when we caught you with “drugs”. Can’t you just stick to pills like most well adjusted American breeds?

Sports: Nationalism, Patriotism, and Destruction of Enemies

Then there are the sports teams. Bring glory to your town by defeating the enemy—another town. If you are not one of the warriors, support them ferociously, insulting others you have never met from rival towns. Fights will at some point break out in the stands, giving even the spectators an opportunity to join in, and show the rival denizens whose government controlled land mass is subjectively better.

Perhaps it is natural for teams to want to compete against eachother. But the teams would not necessarily be organized under various governments (towns). Most likely friends would come together, or those with similar interests, or someone capable of organizing talent would bring a team together. Then the teams are not competing “town versus town”—a predecessor to country vs. country. The teams would be made up of those who share mutual interests in one way or another, and have chosen to associate with each other.

Geographic proximity with borders defined by government is the current method of deciding who will fight who at the high school level. Someday it will be USA vs. Iraq, or USA vs. Russia, or USA vs. China, etcetera. But early on it is ingrained that you fight ferociously and without question for the hometown. Not because your hometown has any special qualities, just because you live there.

Institutionalized: You Scare Society, We Will Confine You

Prisons benefit the political class as well (redistributing stolen tax dollars), and it should be obvious that schools prepare certain students for a life behind bars. The reason you scare society is because they are afraid you might hurt them: they are afraid you as an individual might do what the government does everyday, and initiate force. But not wanting to wait for that aggression to rear its head, the government outlaws any number of things which do not have a victim.

You don’t have to shoot anyone to go to jail, you just have to carry a gun without seeking permission from the government first. You don’t have to kill anyone driving irresponsibly to be punished, you just have to imbibe more than two drinks which could lead to hurting someone. You don’t have to murder someone while high on any number of illicit drugs, you just have to be in possession of the drug, which could lead to aggressive behavior when taken. You don’t have to build an unsafe house to be punished, you just have to violate a code which theoretically could keep people safer. And you don’t have to rape anyone to be a sex offender, you just have to pee in public, because in America, we equate nudity with sex.

Some kids do actually misbehave. But if they misbehave in a public school, they were forced to be there. The system wouldn’t have to deal with many of these kids if they just let them be. In fact many would find meaningful employment in trades without being forced to waste 12 years in public schools. So instead of learning to hate authority, they would be working on an engine. Instead of being bored to tears until they lash out, they might be doing something worth while. But they would at least be doing something they want to do. Stop forcing certain people to associate with each other.

And other kids are not actually misbehaviors, they are just labelled as such because they have a lot of energy. These kids are the worst off in public schools, because it wastes their time, and sets up a self fulfilling prophecy. “If you can’t make it in public schools,” they say, “you won’t make it in real life”. That is a lie though. You don’t need public schools to become an expert on building houses, plumbing, electricity—in fact I never learned any of those things in public school. Yet they are all important and lucrative ventures.

But an employer doesn’t like a criminal record. So when kids are prosecuted for smoking weed, it is not the weed ruining their lives, it is the government. When kids are sent to the principal’s office for goofing off, it is not the goofing off that is the problem. It is the institution they were forced into at the point of a gun.

Public School Success Stories

Kids that emerge from public schools educated, with their future in tact do so for one of two reasons.

1) They have parents who did most of the educating around the dinner table, and throughout life, which is really how most learning takes place anyway. These parents, if not already paying for public school, would likely structure a program at home to school their kids, or send them to a private school for their education. There are so many options these days: home school co-ops have sprung up, where parents decide to group their kids together, and each teach a different course or grade level.

2) The second type of student who emerges from public education with their future in tact is the one who took the government lessons to heart. These students have learned that they must obey authority, and are best suited for a job in government, generally in the bureaucracy, but possibly other places depending on their skill set.

The ones who learned the most from high school sports might join the military, or become police. The ones who excelled in the soft sciences will do great scattered throughout departments of the federal government. The ones who learned public school history might go on to learn intelligentsia history, and with their vastly warped worldview could become professors, political staff, or activists. There might even be a few math and science whizzes who also learned to bow down to authority. Great fit for the IRS, or NASA.

But something they all have in common is that they accept the authority over them, and believe it is just. They have been brainwashed into thinking that the natural state of things is to submit to arbitrary authority. And worse, an authority who is allowed to do all the things that you are not allowed to do like steal, attack, and murder.

And that is the final and scariest group to emerge from public schools. The ones that understand the political system will benefit a sociopath the best. They are the ones who get it: that authority is not really an authority except for their guns pointed at us. But instead of fighting that unjust system, they decide to join it. They do this out of fear, but more often because they want the power for themselves. They rise to the highest ranks of government, and perpetuate the system, starting with public education, using force for their own interests.

The Difference: When Things Are Naturally Organized Without Force

The very word organized has the root of organic right in there. An organism is a living thing, not planned, not a robot, naturally occurring. So why on earth would people think we need the government to “organize” society? Organic means it grows naturally without tweaking or adding. Our lives, our economy, our “organization” of life would be a hell of a lot more organized if left to the natural development. No force, just mutually beneficial transactions.

You see, in nature, it is not that you can’t have your rights violated, it is that they are naturally recognized. If a wolf goes into the territory already marked by another wolf, he cannot expect to emerge from that alive and unscathed. It is understood that the property marked by the first wolf is his, and will be defended as such, to the point of death. The most likely even that will happen upon invading another wolf’s territory is the death of the intruder, since the defender has more to lose. This leads to a natural tendency of the invading wolf to move on to territory not yet claimed by another wolf, and avoid confrontation for the sake of survival.

What we have is a government who takes the natural state of things, and says we can make it better, and we can do this by using force. No longer will a wolf necessarily die if he invades another wolf’s territory, because 100 more packs will descend upon the wolf who defends his territory from certain other wolves. These wolves that help the first one conquer the territory have nothing to gain from this personally, they do it because of third party influence. And the resources they use to do it (taxes), were stolen, not earned.

Imagine a scientist saying he could rip out a human’s circulatory system, and replace it, better, with a mechanical one. That is insane. Yet we allow the government to do that to our children, starting at moldable young ages, and not stopping until the development of their brains is essentially set in stone, according to the government’s blue print.

To be clear, I am not criticizing sports teams, education, business, or structure in general. I am criticizing the force used by government to create a system where they design the type of citizens they want. I want a system where these things are naturally organized by those whose interests they involve.

And I am convinced that we would end up with a happier work force, a more prosperous population, and more advancement in general. It only makes sense, based on the way humans act when met with incentives and disincentives. Currently there are vastly more government created incentives to becoming a obedient worker, rather than a creator. And when people emerge from a public school educated, the state gloriously takes credit.

This relates to an earlier post about how government will take credit for all the good in society, and blame the bad on their enemies. Everything good within a society is attributed to the government, and everything bad to whoever the government has deemed an enemy. It was not family values and good parenting that made that student smart, it was the government. The dumb student? No, no, that wasn’t the government. That was… video games? Gun toting parents? Drugs! Ah yes, another victim of the drug cartels.

In reality, much of the good is organic, while much of the evil is created by government “solutions” because the basis for government is force.

It is a farce. The government is not responsible for the things which happen to go right in society despite their intervention. The market is strong enough to overcome some of the government intrusion to deliver what the people demand from industry, but not all of it. And as the old saying goes, if you think the problems government causes are bad, just wait until you see their solutions.

You Can’t Disprove the Merits of a Free Market with Examples from a Regulated Market

I can’t help myself. Every time I see an article headline smugly bragging to have debunked libertarianism, I have to click! I have to see, is this an argument I haven’t heard before, or is it the tired old, “look how evil capitalism is, here are my references from crony capitalism”.

So far, that is all I have found. Writers list everything wrong with “free markets”, and then give examples from a government regulated market about how bad business is when left to their own devices. It is exhausting. I can’t tell who is honestly too stupid to see the difference, and who is willfully deceiving people.

A free market is when all economic transactions in a given area happen without coercion. Only mutually beneficial transactions and trade take place.

The American market is one plagued by coercion, from taxes, regulations, and laws. It also sees its fair share of intervention in the form of bailouts, subsidies, and grants.

The former is met with scoffs. They say, “Well when has there ever been a free market? They don’t exist”. Uhh yeah, that’s why we are trying to create one. Markets have existed however that were close to free, and these consistently perform better in moving all of the society forward.

This is not conjecture, it is economics. Somehow anti-libertarians become science haters when it comes to economics. Supply and demand is considered not proven; economic incentives and disincentives to them sound like talking points, but  reality shows they are closer to mathematical principles.

Here’s how a free market helps people. It allows some people to amass great wealth through providing the masses with something in demand. Part of this wealth will be used to demand another product or service in turn. This demand provides others with economic opportunity to supply the demand. This supplier then amasses wealth, and can likewise use the excess to demand another product or service, etc. until the entire society is riding around on hover-boards.

Here’s how a controlled market ends us up exactly where anti-libertarians think the free market lands us. The middle class is taxed the most, because the rich can pay off the right people to get tax loopholes, and the poor are exempt below a certain income, or net a positive cash flow (they pay taxes, but receive more in housing, welfare etc.).

These tax dollars are then redistributed by the government to corporations in the form of bailouts, subsidies, and grants. Despite market disapproval, certain companies persist because they are funded by our stolen tax dollars. Sometimes the government even gives favorable court rulings to a company which had bought them off, such as with Monsanto. Sometimes the government regulates a favored company’s competitor to non-existence, such as using the FCC to crush cable and media alternatives.

Yet anti-libertarians will say, “look, we have only a small handful of people controlling media! Free markets don’t work”. And that is when I bash my head against the wall because it cannot get any clearer that government intervention into the market caused all these things.

Pollution, sketchy bank dealings, fraud, ponzi schemes, cover-ups: they are all either facilitated by the government, or kept from the public view by government. That means the market cannot properly respond in order to regulate these businesses. People mistake this inability for self regulation in a government controlled market as the inability for a free market to regulate itself.

No not magically. That’s what they all say, we think the market will magically regulate itself. They forget the market is us, consumers, individuals who will choose where to shop and what to buy. If people think the FDA, USDA, FCC, EPA and so on and so forth will regulate business properly in their place, they get what we have now, crony capitalism.

And yes, crony capitalism does indeed lead to inequality. Use all the examples from the regulated American market you want, they all prove this. Most of the “free market doesn’t work” myth relies on people mistaking the American economy for a free market. But it should be quite blatantly obvious that it is not a free market, and has not been for over a century at least.

Could This Article Be Different?

So when I saw the article, How Piketty’s Bombshell Book Blows Up Libertarian Fantasies, part of me hoped that it in fact did. When you are after truth, it is not so scary to find out you are wrong.

It starts with some Milton Friedman quotes about how focusing on freedom will lead to liberty and equality, while focusing on equality will lead to neither. But alas, the bombshell?

Well, that turns out to be spectacularly, jaw-droppingly, head-scratchingly wrong. The U.S. is now a stunningly unequal society, with wealth piling up at the top so fast that an entire movement, Occupy Wall Street, sprung up to decry it with the catchphrase “We are the 99%.”

How do I reach these kiiiiiids! What a bombshell! You mean a regulated market has not performed the way libertarians say an unregulated market would perform!?! I say sir, quite the academic conclusion!

And you know, zoologists once thought that horses ate hay, but it turns out pandas eat bamboo. How can people keep claiming that horses eat hay when every single panda we observe eats bamboo!!!

Well they’re both mammals, and the claim that the mammal horses eat hay has long been a rallying call for zootarians. We have blown up these zootarian fantasies by proving that the mammal panda only eats bamboo.

See what I did there? I pretended the operative word was mammal, when the entire distinction was in the type of mammal. Anti-libertarians pretend the operative word is market, but “free” is the important part, versus “regulated”. You cannot disprove the merits of a free market by exclusively using examples from a regulated market.

Libertarians do not use America as an example of a free market. So pointing out wealth inequality in America says nothing about a free market. This market is not even close to free! Why don’t they just use GM or Solyndra as examples of the free market?

“See people didn’t want GM cars, but GM still exists, evil free market!” Oh wait, the government bailed out the big bad corporation with money stolen from the middle class. The taxpayers provided the now bankrupt Solyndra’s billionaire founder a taxpayer backed loan that will never be recovered. So the “rich get richer” precisely because the market is not free.

Over time billionaire George Kaiser’s wealth would fade in a free market unless he, say, built solar panels that worked and helped people. He actually built terrible solar panels that would not sell. This still made him richer, because the government redistributed tax dollars to him. In the free market, no one would have bought his shoddy product, and his investment would be lost.

People got mad that GM CEO pay was still high after the taxpayer bailout. The free market did not pay the CEO millions of dollars; in fact the free market dictated that the CEO should get exactly zero dollars. But the government stepped in and said our regulated market will redistribute wealth to the incompetent CEO of GM, who provides no one with an in demand product.

Oil subsidies, sugar subsidies, gas taxes, sugar taxes, media regulation, pharmaceutical regulation, the revolving door of lobbyists, bailouts, loans, redistribution, government contracts, high taxes, low taxes, tax incentives, tax loopholes, Justice Department of former Wall Street defenders, judges on Board’s of Directors, zoning laws, IRS targeting, media intimidation: these are just some of the not free things about the American market.

Rinse and Repeat

I would dissect the rest of the article, but it literally just repeats the same fallacy with different examples from America.

This phenomenon really got going after 1980, when wealth started flowing in vast quantities from the bottom 90 percent of the population to the top 10 percent… John Galt, the hero of Atlas Shrugged (1957), captured the imaginations of young students like Paul Ryan, who worshipped Galt as a superman who could rise to the top through his vision, merit and heroic efforts.

No, Reagan did not make the market free. Anti-libertarians love to point this out when they talk about how much the “right’s savior” spent and increased the debt… but Reagan magically transforms back into a free market de-regulator when it fits their narrative.

Not since before the Federal Reserve was created in 1913 could anyone even pretend anything resembling a free market existed in America. Perhaps some had amassed great wealth before then, but they could not keep that wealth in a free market, due to competition. They had to appeal to the government (like George Kaiser and the CEO of GM) to rig the system in the rich’s favor, to eliminate competitors–something that will only happen in a free market by outcompeting them (better prices, better quality, innovation, etc.).

Oh and maybe the author never read Atlas Shrugged. John Galt had not risen to the top of society. He was working as a janitor, despite having the intellect capable of building and maintaining a device that harnessed practically free energy. Yes, Ayn Rand wrote fiction. But her entire point was that the government in Atlas Shrugged prevented a free market, such that even skilled people like Galt could not (or did not see the point to) rise to a reward level appropriate for their skill, based on the benefits to society their skills could confer.

Which brings us back to Friedman’s view that people naturally get what they deserve, that reward is based on talent.

No, no. This is our panda versus horse problem. Friedman did not say that in any market people naturally get what they deserve, just like zoologists do not say that any mammal can survive on hay alone. Friedman says that in a free market people naturally are rewarded based on their talent.

If the market is free, then people will be rewarded based on skill. If the mammal is a horse, then it will survive on hay.

If the market is regulated, then people will not necessarily be rewarded based on skill. If the mammal is a panda, then it cannot necessarily survive on hay.

If you want to disagree fine, but don’t make your argument against a free market using negative examples from a regulated market. A zoologist wouldn’t argue that horses can’t survive on hay based on examples of pandas not surviving on hay, even though they are both mammals.

There’s no magic involved in a free market, just non coercive mutually beneficial transactions. When that is all that is acceptable, you will not end up with how things have ended up in America, and other regulated markets.

Now I started this off by saying that if you actually care about truth, it really isn’t that bad to be wrong from time to time. Yet every attempt to exit society and form a free market–without even forcing others to participate–is met with more force, regulation, taxation, and intervention.

Why not let us give it a try? After all, if all the dire predictions come true, anti-libertarians would finally have an example of a FREE market with which to make their points, instead of relying on fallacies.

Adding Insult to Injury: Government Wastes our Money, and then Wastes our Time

In the same way the government wastes our resources and wealth, it also wastes our time. Yes, time is part of the waste from taking our wealth through taxation, and wasting our labor through regulation, but I am talking about down time. We spend our free time debating which politician will ruin our lives less. We bitterly divide ourselves between the desire to have our tax dollars redistributed to “the poor” or redistributed to the military industries, in each case the politicians skimming off more than a little for themselves and their cronies.

So what if we didn’t have to waste our time debating about who to elect our next Slave-Master in Chief? Many of our peers really do behave like captors with stockholm syndrome, falling in love with those who hold the key to our shackles. And then we blame the victim, “Well if he didn’t want to get beat he shouldn’t have smoked weed, or talked back to a cop”, which sounds an awful lot like, “I deserved to get punched, I burned dinner, and he really just loves me and wants me to be a better wife”.

We try tirelessly to convince other slaves that our slave-master, and our plantation is better than theirs. “My slave master takes care of everything I need!” says one from the Blue plantation; “My save master is only a limited master”, says the Red plantation inhabitant, “You barely even notice him… well until he delivers the whippings… But only to the people who deserve it! And he stops slaves from worse farms sneaking onto ours to take some of the scraps he throws us from the food we produced and picked”.

So what if we talked about things that actually matter? Instead of fruitlessly debating politics, what if we talked about what is happening at Market Basket? This would be an appropriate discussion for a free people, deciding if the market should support a business. The employees are angry that the board, controlled by a bitter relative of the CEO, fired said CEO who kept wages high, and prices low. I personally love a good boycott, it shows how effective market forces are. The empty shelves of Market Basket and dozens of protesting employees outside each store are a testament to this.

The market is so effective that we can even influence non-market systems with it. Why do you think small town police departments are generally less oppressive than big city coppers? People in the small town often will not accept a brutal police presence. They can work through the selectmen to fire the chief if the chief doesn’t keep his men in line, and can fire the selectmen if they don’t keep the chief in line. It is a roundabout method, one that would be easier in a private business: “Oh, you’re a cop who likes to beat people up and murder their pet dogs? You’re fired, because you reflect poorly on this business, pose a liability for us, and put your coworkers in danger.”

And in a free society we would be discussing which “police department” does the best job for the lowest price. We would be discussing whether fire coverage was worth it, what price you pay for your road subscriptions, and if their is a safe airport to use that doesn’t feel you up each time you fly. As it stands, we complain and protest, rightfully so, yet nothing changes!

This gets back to the manufactured divide. If there are two choices, it is easy to exploit that and pit one side against the other, stalemating the two. If there are a thousand choices, it becomes like the proverbially Dutch boy trying to plug the dike with his fingers, and the water just shoots out in another spot. Market forces will rise to demand, demand for true protectors, not roided out thugs posing as public servants. We would demand a solution to refugees pouring over the border running from worse slave masters than our own, and we wouldn’t be forced into one of two terrible solutions—either having our money stolen to pay for immigrants to stay on the dole (unethical because forced charity is not charity), or having our money stolen to pay for immigrants to be kicked or kept out (unethical because these are people in need).

It adds insult to injury that we waste our time debating these things, when our money has already been confiscated and wasted. We make excuses for why one robbery by the oppressors was a better use of our stolen cash than another. What we should be doing is debating about how best to solve problems, and acting on that. The market makes that easy, withhold your dollar from a business, or spend it there, depending on the desired outcome. And if other people want to fund something you disagree with, you won’t be forced to chip in. You can even fund the opposing business or organization, and not waste your time debating about who should be forced to do what.

Its time we move to a post political world where we can achieve true progress by not having 50% or more of our wealth stolen and at best burned, at worst used against us. With modern technology and communication we no longer need an entity that has control over a particular geographic area, and a monopoly on using force in that area. We need competing businesses to sort out problems; the market is what people think of when they say they support democracy. Democracy is a farce.

By joining the us against them debate we play into the 2 pronged solution narrative. There are countless solutions, and people will organize themselves to make a better world in a far greater capacity than the government ever could by force. Joining a collective on one side of the isle or the other undermines market forces, and betrays individualist ideals; not that each person can do everything he needs all alone, but that he is quite capable of finding and making mutually beneficial agreements with the people he sees as positive in his life.

This earth needs 7 billion plus autonomous nations called people, solving their own problems, and solving others’ problems for a profit, whether that profit be monetary or spiritual.

Oh, You Think You Have a Choice Now?

ice cream

I don’t think people realize how awesome the market is. And it is not some scary force you have no control over, we are the market! If you participate in the economy, you participate in the market, you have a voice, a say, and the only thing that can take away your voice is force… force which cannot be used by businesses without consequences, and must be bought from the government.

Because as much as they like to pretend, you are not a part of the government. Even if you work for the government, you have less control over its policies and directions than a consumer spending their money has over the market. Oh voting makes you a part of the government? You get to decide if everyone eats chocolate, or everyone eats vanilla. But being a part of the market means someone will make just the right kind of ice cream that YOU want, with the right toppings, and in the right kind of cone or cup.

Government takes away choice. The market supplies a demand. I have more faith in the one we can control, and its the same one that can’t control us.