10 Daniel Rothschild Comments on the World

My friend Daniel Rothschild might just be the next Rothbard… but with more dirty jokes. He is studying for a doctorate in economics, and regularly posts on Facebook about government.

Although he bares the infamous Rothschild name, Daniel claims no affiliation with the shadowy rulers of Earth. Of course, that could all just be part of the plan. But that would seem like a strange strategy to attempt to end the states which you control. Anyway, the following are all Daniel Rothschild facebook quotes. Continue reading

The Republic of Uzupis

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Have you ever heard of the Republic of Uzupis? It is nestled within the city of Vilnius. Have you heard of Vilnius? It is the capital of Lithuania. Can you point to Lithuania on a map? It is a Baltic country east of Poland, about 500 miles west of Moscow. Continue reading

Society Has Outgrown Government

Though I don’t think the end justifies the means, perhaps at one point government fit humanity, but that time has passed and a new age of society is dawning. We have outgrown government, and are in a transitional period of moving from a coercive forceful society, to a free society where our conflicts are not solved by violence, but agreement. Not pacifism, but live and let live.

Humanity is hitting puberty, which can be a confusing, scary time, but in the end allows us to grow into adults. It is time humanity become adults, because we have been a society of children for too long. We have been a society of children, who interact by taking, pushing, sticking our tongues out. But we are coming to a time when people will act appropriately not so much because of the consequences, but because society has developed empathy and rationality.

Yes, there will still be negative consequences for behaving inappropriately. But the punishment for minor issues won’t be a spanking so much as the derision of our peers. Instead of a yelling parent, humans will get the line, “I’m disappointed in you,” that sometimes makes us wish we would be yelled at! But we realize the weight and gravity of the disappointment we can cause through inappropriate behavior, and we curb our own so that others don’t have to.

We’re growing up, and we don’t need government anymore. Maybe we never did, but we were children easily conquered. There will be some rebelliousness in the teens, there might be some mayhem, and some crazy stuff might happen, but humanity will emerge a rational adult, capable of making decisions, producing, and living without the constant threat of punishment for actions that don’t hurt anyone else!

And the actions that do hurt other people will become so out of the ordinary that violent people will be shamed as cavemen the way racists are shunned today. In a self empowered society where we don’t feel like children, everyone will quickly learn the dangers of being violent. Self interest will keep violent people in check, because society will not permit it.

If humanity wasn’t ready for stateless societies, the internet changed all that. We could think of the internet as the final moment when humanity’s brain finished developing, all the synapses clicked together, and finally we found ourselves coordinated, and in control. The flow of information is crucial to keeping bad people in check, and the internet makes constant vigilance realistic and easy.

It was once said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and that is true. But what good is constant vigilance if you can’t change anything with the information you have gained with your watchful eye? I’m vigilant over the companies that get my business, and my funding is withdrawn when that oversight turns up something unsavory. What can I do, armed with all the knowledge I have about the horrors of government? Not remove my funding, lest I find myself caged.

But as I said, the time when a group can threaten you with violence for refusing to fund them is coming to a close. The time when an entity can force their “services” on you, and mandate participation is waning. If you haven’t noticed, government cannot keep up. Currency was their stranglehold on humanity, which has been threatened by bitcoin and other alternative currencies, only in their infancy. Companies like AirBnB and Uber are showing people a new way to do business, with no government necessary. We will have a true voice in the structure of society, by patronizing the businesses that supply our demands, or starting our own businesses to supply others’ demands, without the state stopping us to protect their nefarious interests.

It is becoming obvious that all the services government provides can be had better and cheaper through voluntary means. Regulations will be traded for reviews. Laws will be traded for rules on private property. Police will no longer work for the state, and enforce state interests; they will work for us, and be beholden to the customer.

People are opting out of society, to the degree they can. Everyone is getting back to basics, finding ways to make the government as obsolete as possible in their lives, creatively skirting an oppressive system. Mini societies are popping up all around the world, and expect secession to become a mainstream topic as the world economy gets worse–that is, the world economy based on government monopolized currencies. People are planning for a world without states, and taking steps to make that world a better place.

Society is growing up, which can be stressful, but so rewarding. We are in control of our own destiny, and now is the time to step up, and form the lives we want to live.


 

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Property Rights Absent Government

The ends do not justify the means, so arguing that we need a coercive aggressor to determine and protect property rights is philosophically unsound, and immoral. But the ends would also be better with peaceful means; we can have our cake and eat it too. So how do we decide who owns what in a stateless society? And how do we solve potential disputes over property?

Current Private Property in America

First off, what we have right now in America is not private property. Government owns every piece of property in America. If you wish to “own” (live on) this property, and have first dibs for who gets it after you die (inheritance, though the heirs may owe estate or death taxes). Then you must pay the local government property taxes (or rent) every year. If you fail to pay the taxes, it is possible they will come and take your property, but they definitely won’t let it pass to the next generation unless the rent (back tax) is paid.

The federal government also has the power, authorized by the constitution, to take your land at any time. The Fifth Amendment states: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The Supreme Court Case Kelo vs. the Town of New London expanded the power of the state from taking land for public use, to taking land for public good, including the tax benefits to the town government if the land is handed over to a company that will pay higher taxes than the previous owner. The amount given for the confiscated land does not have to be your asking price, the same government who takes over the land decides the “just compensation”.

So whatever you think property rights should be under a government, or in America specifically, or what you think they were meant to be, you simply cannot claim that there is private property in America. The is semi-private property that you can rent from the government for periods of a year, which they can take from you at any time, for any reason.

Philosophically Understanding Private Property

Property is something that you have rightfully acquired without coercion through labor or trade, or as a gift from someone who acquired it rightfully. We need property because that is how you collect enough wealth or aggregate enough capital to use it for further wealth creation and technological advance. You cannot build a saw mill without first putting in labor to cut down trees, mill the boards, acquire metal for the saw, and form the metal. Once the saw mill is built, more wealth can be created more easily because you have built up enough capital through labor to use that capital for a productive purpose. All boards henceforth acquired will be “cheaper” or require less labor to produce the same product.

Specializing and trading requires property–what would you trade without property? We want to be able to specialize and trade because that improves the standard of living by producing excess of something that we need, and trading that excess for someone else’s excess. Specializing improves efficiency and output, which is why this leads to an overall increase in wealth for all those who specialize and trade.

It is important to remember that property does not have to be taken from anyone, and more of it can always be created. There are some instances where specific resources are limited, but one goal of technology is to outgrow the need for the limited resources.

There is currently enough habitable land on earth for everyone to have about two acres for themselves. For some people that is enough, some people want way more than that, and some people don’t want any. We all place a different value on different resources, so we don’t all need them to be evenly distributed.

One way this issue has been dealt with is high rises: thousands of people inhabit the same acre by building up, thus creating acres and acres more habitable space. High rises were an economic response to many more people wanting to live in a specific area where there was not enough land to do so.

Perhaps someday there will be overpopulation–if it comes to that as the pace at which society is growing is slowing, and tends to slow more as the standard of living increases. At that point the answer might be making the moon or mars habitable, and it is possible that technology will advance enough by that time to make it possible. But current overpopulation in particular regions is more of a distribution problem: government restrictions stop people from being able to inhabit land from which the government arbitrary bars them.

Without government, people (and therefore markets) would still want private property, because the only other option is collective ownership, which reduces overall production, and therefore overall standard of living, by failing to properly reward producers, and failing to set up a system where there is an incentive to provide your fellow man with something he needs.

Private Property: previously unclaimed land or resources which are not only claimed but manipulated. Also, claimed and manipulated land or resources which have been voluntarily transferred by the owner to your possession, whether through trade or as a gift.

Applying Philosophic Private Property to a Stateless Society

David Friedman gives a good account of private property rights absent moral or legal justification. He uses the Schelling point, or focal point, to explain how two people might interact absent a third party to enforce contracts. A Schelling point is the natural assumption a person would make about how a particular other person will behave in an interaction, considering what they know about the other’s expectations. Each interaction, including a contract, changes the Schelling point, because new expectations are created by the interactions.

Two people are living in a Hobbesian state of nature. Each can injure or steal from the other, at some cost, and each can spend resources on his own defense. Since conflict consumes resources, both could benefit by agreeing on what each owns and thereafter each respecting the other’s property. The joint benefit might be divided in different ways, according to the particular set of property rights they agree on—what property belongs to whom, and whether either has a property right in tribute from the other. This is a special case of the game—bilateral monopoly—described above.

Each player, of course, will threaten to refuse to make any such agreement unless he gets the division he wants. Each will disbelieve most of the other’s threats. If their ability to coerce and defend is roughly equal, and if there is some natural division of contested property (such as a stream running between their farms), it is likely that they will find a Schelling point in the form of an agreement to accept that division, respect each other’s rights, and pay no tribute.

If one (being, perhaps, slightly more powerful) tries to insist on a small tribute, arguing that it will still leave the other better off than continued conflict, the other may believably refuse, arguing that once he concedes any tribute there is no natural limit to what the other can demand. Agreeing to tribute costs the victim not only the tribute but the only available Schelling point. The expected cost to him of such an agreement includes both the possible cost of paying higher tribute in the future and the risk of future conflicts if in the future he rejects demands for higher tribute. That cost may be high enough to make his insistence that he will choose continued conflict over the payment of even a small tribute believable.

So far we have considered the Schelling point that generates an agreement. But the agreement itself, whether generated by a Schelling point or in some other way, is thereafter itself a Schelling point. It is a unique outcome of which both players are conscious. Once it has been made, a policy of “if you do not abide by the agreement I will revert to the use of force, even if the violation is small compared to the cost of conflict” is believable for precisely the same reason the refusal to pay tribute, or any insistence by a bargainer on a Schelling point, is believable. The signing of a contract establishes a new Schelling point and thereby alters the strategic situation. The contract enforces itself.

And there is even more reason to believe the contract will enforce itself with a society larger than two people, because then others will use their behavior to determine if they want to make a contract with the person. The people who abide by the contracts win in the long run, because they are easier to do business with. It would be dangerous to not respect a reasonable property claim, because others will alter their behavior towards you in a negative way.

As with everything, you can never tell exactly how something will go. There could be very different ideas about private property in different regions. But we are essentially at the worst place: all property on earth is owned by a couple hundred entities which are governments. So the only way to go from there, without states, is land ownership being less centralized.

Does someone already claim the land you want to live on? If not, it is not aggression to use it. If yes, you claiming the same land would be aggression.

Unless… someone claims land that they cannot use. A claim is not enough for property ownership, one must also use the land. But simply using it to collect the natural resources also does not make it your land: you must sow as the land, as well as reap it for it to be considered yours. If you claim ownership of 100 acres of forest, but don’t even notice when someone builds a cottage on it, why was that 100 acres yours? If you manicured the lawn, built a fence, or sowed the land, the effort of converting the land into something useful makes it yours.

Example: a deer hunted in the forest belongs to whoever hunted it. The land on which is was hunted does not belong to the hunter, unless he placed the deer there for the purpose of later hunting it. Same goes for an apple tree: simply finding an apple tree does not make it yours, however picking an apple does make the apple yours. Cultivating an apple tree does make it yours, until you stop harvesting the apples.

What if the person claiming the land does not live on it? Have they used time, effort, or resources to manipulate the land? If someone uses their own resources to build a factory, they still own it, because without them others would not be able to use that property for the same economic activity.

My Own Vision for Private Property

Protection of private property would be in demand, so if I were to start a business supplying that demand, I would include private property registration as a service offered by my security company. Depending on “crime insurance” plans, private property registration might be included or cost an additional fee. But what you would be paying for is a company to go to bat for you in land disputes.

As a security company, I would set guidelines for the type of property I would protect, and to what degree. I would start by designating some areas in which I would never register private property, like popular hiking mountains, some beaches, and natural landmarks like the Grand Canyon. I would also encourage competitors to consider these areas “protected,” meaning they won’t necessarily stop people from inhabiting the areas, but will not protect the areas as any one individual’s property. This would be in the best interests of my security company, as well as others, since these popular places would be where the most likely disputes over property would take place.

By taking the position that certain areas like mountain peaks cannot be claimed by an individual, it would save the company money and headaches, and also keep limited natural scenic areas open to the public. Perhaps the Appalachian Mountain Club would team up with my company to report any issues if someone did try to claim open land, but I am guessing it would rarely become an issue. Most people just want to hike a mountain, and most people won’t try to monopolize it, or stop others from hiking it.

If disputes did arise over land ownership, it would be up to the security companies and their arbiters to work out the resolution. They would investigate the claims, and decide who had the more legitimate claim. If the security companies disagreed, their arbiter–who they voluntarily go to in order to solve disputes without costly violence–would decide.

I think this would be a better scenario for determining land ownership than government, because government will take the position that benefits government, or whoever has bought the government. Governments currently do not ensure private property, they monopolize it, and then decide on who gets to use it, and under what circumstances.

In a stateless scenario, there would be no third party involvement unless their was a dispute over the land. As David Friedman discussed, disputes are likely to be solved by those involved in order to avoid the costs of the dispute, and encourage smooth transactions with others in the future. And if a dispute had to be solved by a security company, the outcome would also likely be peaceful and more fair, because they have incentives to both serve their customers, and avoid the costs of conflict.

Vehicle Inspection State Racket

The state of Massachusetts requires that you have your car inspected once a year. It costs about $30 and the state tells you if that protection money is enough to drive around, or if you must pay more for the privilege of using roads you already paid for.

Last year my dad spent $1,200 and dozens of hours to get his car a valid inspection sticker. The problem? A sensor was malfunctioning that made the check engine light continue to come on. He could have driven safely for the rest of the car’s life, but the state of Mass stole his time and his money in the name of safety.

But if the state is so interested in keeping us safe, you might think they would be accountable when they fail to keep us safe. In February I travelled with my sisters down to Florida in a mini-van that had literally been inspected and passed in the 48 hours prior to leaving.

Belts: check. They are safe. Fewer than 200 miles into the trip, the main belt ripped, and we cautiously drove for a couple more hours until repair shops were open. A few hours later we were on the road again.

Tires: check. They are safe. About 45 minutes after continuing our trip, the front left tire blew, for apparently no other reason than it was worn out. The snow banks were so immense that we were only a foot off the highway in the breakdown lane, and so we called AAA rather than risk our lives trying to fix it. We waited for over an hour as tractor trailers blew by just feet from our vehicle, where one twitch of the trucker’s arm would have killed us all.

Even worse than “keeping us safe” by force, is stealing our money under the pretense of keeping us safe. The state lulls us into a false sense of security by pretending they are taking care of things which they are absolutely not. It happens with security, education, and help to the poor; but it also happens with safety inspections, whether in a restaurant, or on our vehicles.

If the state has taken on the responsibility to keep us safe, why are they not accountable when they fail to do so? In essence, we paid the state $30 to make sure our car was safe to drive. So when they said it was safe, yet it was not safe, don’t they owe us something for their failure? This reveals that like so much else, state vehicle inspections are simply a racket to steal more money.

Now suppose there was a business where we could voluntarily have our vehicles inspected for $30 dollars, and if they pass it is like insurance against something going wrong. Then we would be paid based on the failure of the mechanics to find the problems with the belt and the tires. The state is not accountable however. If I made a big deal out of this, the state might end up shutting down the shop that inspected the vehicle, even though the shop probably thought they were being nice and saving us more money in tires, or on addressing a rejection sticker.

In reality, there wasn’t much indication that the belt would go, though we should have looked at the tires and realized they needed to be replaced. It is our personal responsibility to make sure we are safe. We purchase things like AAA as insurance for emergencies; we don’t need the state to get involved.

All the state does is two things: one, take our money, which makes  it harder for us to afford to look after ourselves. Two, convince us not to worry about certain things “because the state is taking care of it”, when in reality, we should be looking after those things ourselves.

Some Classic Anarchist Memes

Sometimes, all it takes is a lighthearted meme to get someone thinking. Please share these!anmeme2

 

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This next one had me laughing out loud. Maybe it was just picturing the mannerisms of the actor from Walking Dead.anmemewalkingdead

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This one might be my favorite. It is the same point I spent over 1,000 words trying to capture.anmemebastia

anmemebastiat

anmemecircle

anmemedictator

anmemehitlr

anmememarket

anmemeroads

anmemeroots

Anarchy: without masters.

 

“Under the Gun”: Allowing Discrimination vs. Liking Discrimination

This week on “Under the Gun” we talk about the difference between what a libertarian society would allow, and what a libertarian person would like. I can hear something I disagree with, and still support a person’s right to say it. If a store wants to discriminate against me and say I can’t carry a gun in their store, they have the right to do it! I simply will not give them my business. In a free market, this would not be a problem.

Gun owners are already discriminated against by the government. So why are people okay with discrimination when the government prescribes it? Since the government can use force without consequences, there is no alternative if they discriminate against you. Yet any store that discriminates will simply lose their customers who choose to shop elsewhere.

And that leads us into our discussion about victimless crimes.

Also mentioned:

“Operation Mockingbird”

Taxes and Regulations leading to worse effects.

Targeting specific groups with government agencies.

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have.

Islamic State Just Set Up A Government of which Statist Americans Dream

Reading an article on MSN News about the Islamic State in northern Syria, it became apparent to me: ISIS has set up a classic example of government, and it’s not too bad as governments go! Now I am only half kidding… while there are plenty of negatives to the Islamic State, it would be subjective to call those worse than the atrocities committed in and outside America by the government of the U.S.A.

If you follow this blog, you probably know by now that I see real merit in the possibility of a society organized without government. That is why I want to highlight some similarities between ISIS and the USA. If people think the Islamic State is bad, they should also realize these same negatives exist in various potencies within our own government.

The group famous for its beheadings, crucifixions and mass executions provides electricity and water, pays salaries, controls traffic, and runs nearly everything from bakeries and banks to schools, courts and mosques.

While its merciless battlefield tactics and its imposition of its austere vision of Islamic law have won the group headlines, residents say much of its power lies in its efficient and often deeply pragmatic ability to govern.

Well they may be murdering people… but without them who would keep the electricity on, provide water, build the roads, and teach the children? Same goes for ISIS! Ba-zing! I’ll be here all week.

…even activists opposed to the group described how it had built up a structure similar to a modern government in less than a year under its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Reuters journalists are unable to visit the area for security reasons.

Well, to be fair, it is probably safer for journalists than St. Louis.

…the group “has restored and restructured all the institutions that are related to services,” including a consumer protection office and the civil judiciary, the resident said.

Was it not Senator Elizabeth Warren who helped to start the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which spies on, sorry, helps us by keeping track of our credit card transactions? And how might the Islamic State be making sure consumers are protected properly?

Prices are also kept low. Traders who manipulate prices are punished, warned and shut down if they are caught again.

The group has also imposed Islamic taxes on wealthy traders and families. “We are only implementing Islam, zakat is an Islamic tax imposed by God,” said a jihadi in Raqqa.

Guys, guys, the tax was imposed by God, okay? And it is just going to effect the super wealthy, because at some point, I think they have earned enough. Also greedy businessmen are not paying their fair share, and are totally gouging the consumers, so they need a government to set prices and make sure no one is being taken advantage of. And honestly, the Islamic State ain’t so bad! Look what they do with the proceeds of their holy taxes:

Fighters receive housing – including in homes confiscated from local non-Sunnis or from government employees who fled the area – as well as about $400 to $600 per month, enough to pay for a basic lifestyle in Syria’s poor northeast.

One fighter said poor families were given money. A widow may receive $100 for herself and for each child she has, he said.

What a coincidence, I was just blogging about how the U.S. confiscates homes from political dissidents and awards them to our fighters! We call it civil asset forfeiture. Who knew we had so much in common with the Islamic State! I’m starting to feel better about them already.

The group has also invested heavily in the next generation by inducting children into their ideology. Primary, secondary and university programs now include more about Islam.

The group also accepts women who want to fight – they are trained about “the real Islam” and the reasons for fighting.

Oh lordy, in America we don’t induct, we simply allow the government to choose what the children will learn and keep them locked up in government institutions for 12 years so that they will fit into society better. But we don’t indoctrinate! But hey at least ISIS does what it does for the children; and in northern Syria there may be a civil war, but at least there’s no war on women!

Reflecting Islamic State’s assertion that it is a government – rather than simply a militant group that happens to govern – Baghdadi has also separated military operations from civilian administration, assigning fighters only as police and soldiers.

Hahaha oh my god, I’m dying over here! “Rather than simply a militant group that happens to govern”. What the hell is the difference? And that is the point I am trying to make here. Men pointing guns at us run America, and men pointing guns at them run the Islamic State. Oh, so they have a slightly different brand of state control? They govern a little different, a little harsher, in methods we are unaccustomed to? Here in America we prefer, “a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand” (Neil Young).

It’s all the same, and when you consent to being governed, you are just as likely to end up with ISIS as you are with the government of the U.S.A. The problem is that we allow a certain group of people to initiate force against innocent civilians, and we say it is okay for the sake of order, for the sake of government. It is never okay to allow aggression by one group of society, whether that unprovoked aggression ends with people beheaded for worshipping the wrong god, or locked in a cage for smoking a joint.

“Statists” “Parasites” and Other Accurate Insults

The following is taken from Larken Rose, on the subject of people considering accurate terms used to describe them as insults. I have posted in the past on the importance of defining words in order to have an informative discussion, and this is of the same vein.

The best kind of “insults” are those which are simply literally accurate descriptions. Most of the time, when it comes to bashing state-worshipers, being blunt and precise is plenty nasty all by itself. For example:

1) “Statist” has become an insult, when all it means is someone who advocates a state. The exact type and flavor of the state is irrelevant. Constitutionalists are statists just as much as fascists are. If you’re not an anarchist, you’re a statist, just based on what the words mean. Yet many who openly condone “government” consider the term “statist” an insult, and insist it doesn’t apply to them (when it obviously does).

2) When I call politicians “parasites,” I’m being literal. A parasite (a tic, a tapeworm, a flea, a leech, etc.) is something that lives by latching onto to something else (a host) and robbing it of its life blood, its resources and energy. Is that not a perfect description of the state: an organism which gets all of its wealth and power by stealing it from the actually productive people?

3) There’s a term for someone who is a hired gun, who inflicts violence on others in exchange for a paycheck. He’s call a “mercenary.” So when I call cops and soldiers “state mercenaries,” I’m being perfectly accurate. The fact that they don’t like the literal description of what they do isn’t my problem.

Statists also don’t like “taxation” being referred to as theft and extortion; but it is. And they don’t like recipients of “government” “benefits” to be identified as recipients of stolen loot; but they are. And they don’t like “political action” being described as the advocacy of violence against one’s neighbors; but it is. And so on, ad infinitum.

Here’s a thought: if LITERALLY and ACCURATELY describing what you advocate and condone sounds like an INSULT, maybe it’s because you’re advocating and condoning irrational, immoral crap. The proper solution is not to bitch at the people pointing that out. The proper solution is to STOP advocating and condoning irrational, immoral crap.