November 4th, 2013 – Sixth Anniversary of Going Market Anarchist

Update: Well, okay to be fair technically I’ve only been “Market Anarchist” for half a decade. But saying so kind of sort of ignores all the time I was in denial about what I really thought could “work.” And after all this time messing around with Python I refuse to count like a programmer unless I absolutely have to. If I had to pinpoint a day when I first began the transition at all, it would have to be in 2007, when I first came across the general case for abolishing the FDA. A year later when the 2008 Presidential election was called, I finally adopted the title “Anarcho-Capitalist.” To satisfy those who don’t like the origins of the later term, “Market Anarchist” should suffice.

 

 

I can sort of remember the day. The past several months prior to it I went from being nominally conservative to total minarchist Libertarian. All government ought to do is protect people from initiation of force at home and abroad. Yeah I was pretty outside the mainstream but nothing along the lines of wanting to scrap our political system altogether.

 

At the same time I was having some doubts. After spending some time on a now defunct social networking site called “Bureaucrash Social” I had been exposed to some ideas and arguments I never knew existed. Combine this with spending some time on the Mises Institute website, skimming through the daily articles, and it wasn’t long before I started to realize just how far the arguments against government could go.

 

My breaking point ultimately was on the night of the 2008 elections. Having switched from being supportive of McCain (please forgive me for that) to being fascinated by Bob Barr’s campaign (he too defected from conservative politics), I knew I was going to be pretty dissatisfied with the results whether Barack Obama or John McCain won the presidency.

 

As soon as the election was decided, a key element of the outcome finally dawned on me. My mother was in a relationship with someone at the time who noted that millions of people who probably weren’t too happy about the outcome would probably wake up sick the next day. Because just over 50% of the people who chose to vote outnumbered the rest, that was the outcome whether people liked it or not.

 

So what was this key element you ask? I knew to some degree that arguments could be made that law and order could be provided in the absence of government thanks to a short bit that David D. Friedman posted online from his most famous work. He had posted chapter 29 from his book on how the free market might provide police and courts. Combine this with the fact that I was convinced that non-interventionism was the way to go when it came to foreign policy, and that really didn’t leave much of anything for government to do. Consequently, this meant there was next to nothing that a president or elected congress could possibly serve any legislative purpose for.

 

Why waste so much time and effort on having half the country impose certain preferences on the other half if there was so little elected officials should even be allowed to do once elected? That was when a couple months of letting some arguments against anti-trust, intellectual property, government legal systems, and government provision of various public goods finally sunk in. I had yet to figure out precisely how on a functional level a society with no government was supposed to work, but I knew that the idea of supporting one with government kind of relied on some serious double-standards. If business is so evil, why should an institution that can force payment and restrict you from other providers of various services within it’s “legal territory” be any better?

 

No need to go into detail about how my views developed after that. In a nutshell, I started gathering notes for “State Exempt” about a year later in the winter of 2009. I thought I would have it done before summer of the following year because at the time I expected it to be only 150 pages or so. Boy was that a dead wrong estimate on my part…

 

So it’s taken way longer than I thought it would. Rather than a short primer, it will be a borderline treatise even though I never once published a book before in my whole life. I would probably get fired from any job that required me to estimate the amount of time I needed to get something extensive done – no question about it. Hell, at least I have the cover finished:

 

Way less gloomy than the earlier version.

Way less gloomy than the earlier version.

 

Procrastinators of the world unite! Better late than never ought to have merit if it means a better final product.

 

State Department & DefCad: Just What Files Freaked Them Out? (Part II)

Note: This will likely be a five three-part series. I will link to all parts below this note once all are done. I am the DefCad.org user, “OpenSourceArmorer.” Contact me via the DefCad forums if you have questions, and no – don’t even ask me for the original .STL files. Unless you can verify that you’re a US citizen, I can’t share them. And in the interwebs that kind of identity verification is hard and pointless. Especially when the files themselves are not that hard to find elsewhere…

 

In the first post in the three-part series I described what the controversy is over some 3D-printable CAD files that the State Department was concerned about. I especially emphasized what the State Department’s criteria is for objects that fall under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Now in this post I want to go over all ten items that were listed in their letter to Cody Wilson and explain why it’s clear the State Department doesn’t have a clue about what these files actually do when printed. We begin with the most well-known of them all…

 

1 – Defense Distributed Liberator pistol

 

Courtesy of Andy Greenberg. The Liberator in assembled form.

Courtesy of Andy Greenberg. The Liberator in assembled form.

 

Okay so this first one needs little explanation aside from some clarification about it’s so-called “undetectability.” A lot of idiot journalists (and a few lawmakers) have been harping on this as being invisible to airport security, as if not a damn thing has changed in that area since 1988. Well no, we have new technologies such as backscatter x-ray, thermal imaging, and millimeter-wave scanners. These technologies make “undetectable” firearms a total impossibility.

 

 Backscatter X-ray

Backscatter X-ray Image

The new version of the Rapiscan body scanners will come with software that only highlights foreign objects, not body parts.

 

A type of X-ray that can detect plastic is known as backscatter X-ray.  These types of body scanners will penetrate clothing, but not skin. Any solid object can be picked up irrespective of what it’s made of – including a 3D-printed gun. In fact, the ability to detect “plastic guns” has been one of the selling points of Rapiscan, the company that currently makes the kind that have been used in airport security. Right now they are working on a new version of their TSA body scanners that only show a gingerbread outline of the person being scanned (to address privacy concerns) while highlighting any specific foreign objects.

 

In addition to addressing privacy concerns, the Rapiscan body scanners also produce radiation levels so minuscule that you may as well worry more about being in direct sunlight for five minutes.

 

Thermo-Conductive Imaging

Thermo-Conductive Imaging

By detecting the difference in heat and IR conductivity between clothing, human skin, and a foreign object, Iscon scanners can detect 3D-printed guns with ease.

 

Thermo-Conductive Imaging identifies objects via their heat and infrared conductivity profile. The laws of physics makes it impossible for 3D-printed objects – or a wide variety of solid objects for that matter – to transfer heat and infrared radiation at the same rate as human skin and clothing. Yes, this applies even if someone has kept an object against their body for several hours. The temperature profile of any given object will vary between the side touching human skin and the side facing away. Thus it’s impossible to disguise an object from the scanner by attempting to match it’s temperature with the rest of someone’s body or clothing. Plastic being an insulator makes this especially impossible to pull off successfully.

 

Passive Radiation Scanners

This image is an example of a tech tested in New York City to detect firearms of all materials.

 

Next we have a category of passive scanners that detect natural radiation output from a human body – such as a new kind of scanner being tested in crime-ridden areas of New York City. In particular one technology that shows some strong promise for being both from radiation and privacy concerns is passive millimeter-wave scanning. I cannot emphasize this enough: these do not fire radiation at the person being scanned. They detect obstructions in natural bodily radiation normally emitted.

 

To put it in blunt terms, there is no such thing as an “undetectable” firearm, even if it’s a 3D-printed gun made entirely out of plastic. I will address this issue in a future post when I critique Steve Israel’s HR 1474.

 

According to the ITAR criteria for what falls under their control, it *might* be illegal for files of this pistol to be on the internet because it qualifies as a “non-automatic” firearm. My next blog post will visit the legal issues surrounding what is okay under ITAR soon. According to the official ITAR regulations, what Cody Wilson did may very well be perfectly legal since the files themselves may qualify as being under public access. This will be discussed in the next post, for now I just want to focus on what the actual files are.

 

Now it’s about time I explain in detail what the other nine CAD files are that the State Department took issue with in their letter to Cody Wilson. Prepare to be stupefied at just how trivial these objects are in printed form.

 

2 – The “.22 Electric” Concept

 

.22elecgun

No, this is not a functional gun at all – remain calm.

 

This is nothing more than the product of someone messing around with CAD design in order to make a purely conceptual pistol that as of yet has no possible way of functioning. To my knowledge the person who originally developed it abandoned the project because they concluded it was just plain unrealistic of a concept to pull off. The idea was to somehow make a printable gun that fires rounds via electrical detonation of a cartridge’s primer. The designer of this object goes by the name of “Proteus” on the DefCad forums, and despite abandoning the concept this object was supposed to utilize, he later worked on making a replica of something the State Department probably took even more seriously – but for stupid reasons of course.

 

 

3 – 125mm BK-14M high-explosive anti-tank warhead

 

123mm "Warhead"

The State Department thinks you can “print” an anti-tank warhead. Yes, they are batshit paranoid.

 

Out of all ten files, the reaction of the State Department over this one is by far the most f*ckishly hilarious of them all. This is not, I repeat, this is NOT a functional warhead. All you have here is a CAD file for making a plastic replica of a warhead that is no more harmful than a model jet. The story behind how the developer of this object achieved the task is especially noteworthy given how the State Department has chosen to define what an export is. When I first began a draft of this post several months ago (before I became busy for reasons discussed in this blog’s previous October post), I decided to get in touch with Proteus once and for all via private online chat.

 

He described to me in a nutshell how the process of designing the file played out:

 

“I designed a CAD file for a 125mm HEAT round. HEAT stands for High Explosive Anti Tank. Now, the first rule of anti tank warfare is do not fire solid pieces of ABS plastic at a tank, with no propellant, and hope it will stop the tank. It won’t. And yet this is exactly what the DOJ appears to believe regarding this design.”

 

So either the DOJ is stupid as hell, or they are overreacting to what should technically be considered under the public domain. More on why in just a moment…

 

“Opening the file finds a 3 foot tall design, too big to be printed on 99% of 3d printers. It also has NO inner workings (and I don’t even know what they are), and no fins on the back. Obviously the inner workings are critical to the functioning of a round.”

 

You heard it there folks. This file is for a solid replica that has no working internal components. Nothing anyone ought to freak out from. But what if the hardware, propellant, and all other necessary elements for a HEAT round were available in addition to this file?

 

“Alright, let’s assume that you SOMEHOW could print the round AND all the propellant etc, which is impossible with today’s technology. It is still in plastic, which would not contain the explosion as much as metal and therefore be much less potent than a standard round.”

 

The biggest blow to the idea that this file poses a special new danger to the public at large stems not just from the fact that you can’t find the inner workings of a real HEAT round along with the explosives and propellant, but where Proteus actually got the information used to make the file in the first place:

 

“And the kicker? I got everything to make this design, right here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:125mm_BK-14m_HEAT.JPG

 

4 – 5.56/.223 muzzle brake

 

5.56/.223 Muzzle Break

Oh noes!!! A printable muzzle break that gives nothing to America’s enemies that they don’t already have!

 

So let me get this straight… A muzzle break – which comes on just about any rifle these days by default and is nearly useless when printed in ABS or PLA or any plastic for that matter – is considered a troublesome offense to the ITAR laws? This is about as relevant to a firearm as a muffler is to a car. Sure, it may be a trivial component used in conjunction with a firearm but the object itself is useless unless you already have one. Not to mention the fact that a plastic muzzle break will not withstand the pressure and heat from a gun blast.

 

 

5 – Springfield XD-40 tactical slide assembly

 

XD-40 Slide

Artistic rendition of something useless without the whole damn gun itself. Art can be pretty “life-threatening.”

 

This was designed by a DefCad forum member named “texan_eagle_scout” who presented this here: http://forums.defcad.com/showthread.php?126-My-contribution

 

Nothing people can’t already acquire. You would be hard-pressed to get a printed slide to word on an actual Springfield XD.

 

6 – Sound Moderator – slip on

 

Sound_Moderator

Yes, a sound “moderator” for a pellet gun freaked the State Department out. No, it’s not for a real gun.

 

You may recall when the Liberator was first released that Chuck Schumer flipped his lid about a printable gun that could accept “silencers.” He may have been dumb enough to simply regurgitate what the New York Daily News reported on this matter, claiming that printable “silencers” were available for the Liberator. As the picture above clearly illustrates, this is nothing of the sort.

 

 

7 – “The Dirty Diane” 1/2-28 to 3/4-16 STP S3600 oil filter silencer adapter

 

Oil Filter Suppressor

Posting CAD files for car parts could be a threat to national security – run for the f%#&ing hills!!!

 

When it comes to legal gray areas that are open to wide interpretation, this object epitomizes such dilemmas the most. This is a car part and not something distinct to firearms. Explanation for why this violates international arms trafficking laws of any kind would sure be nice.

 

 

8 – 12 gauge to .22 CB sub-caliber insert

 

subcaliber-insert

CAD files for a cylindrical tube could be illegal to post online. Whoddathunk?

 

Here is another example of something that calls into question just how broad ITAR restrictions can be applied. What this is supposed to do is turn a shotgun (a relatively lethal weapon at close range), into a .22lr rifle. For those of you who know nothing about firearms, .22lr rounds are just about the smallest cartridges you could possibly find anywhere.

 

All in all this file would allow someone to make a plastic tube that makes their shotgun less lethal than it already was.

 

 

9 – Voltlock electronic black powder system

 

Voltlock

It’s a motherfucking cylinder. How this falls under ITAR restrictions beats me. Are sex toys munitions too???

 

Now we enter even more confusing territory about what the State Department thinks could potentially violate weapons export laws. As you can see in the image above, the “Voltlock” is nothing more than a cylinder – nothing more. I checked the actual CAD files (.stl) for this and it appears that this is supposed to be turned into a tube somehow. From there a hole exists at the top to insert some kind of black powder as well as electrical wiring to ignite it in some way. Clearly this is nothing more than a concept item like the “.22 electric” listed at #2 above.

 

This file reaches the pinnacle of the “Just how f-ing far can ITAR go???” mantra, and it’s not that hard to see why.

 

 

10 – VZ-58 sight

 

Rear VZ58

The rear portion of the iron sights. Anyone with a gun that could use this probably already has some.

 

Like many – if not all of the other objects on this list, I find this one to be a peculiar addition. Yes this file is a firearm component, but all this does is function like a rear sight replacement. Anyone with a gun that could make use of this part probably already has such a thing. I mean, guns do come with rear sights by default.

 

If the events surrounding ITAR’s present effect on these files means anything, it’s the fact that the Department of State is a bigger threat (or nuisance for that matter) than any of the parts they complained about.

 

October Musings: What’s Been of Importance to Me in 2013

 

As anyone can probably tell, I have been extremely late in finishing the post series on the files that DefCad had been hosting which the State Department took issue with. Part II is just about done, and part III will come up shortly in November. But given that I haven’t been updating this site very much for the past several months, I think it might be worth it to maybe explain myself for a bit, and of course make a record of what will take up my time from here on out.

 

1. To start with: I have spent some time here and there coming up with a stopgap measure against a potential doomsday scenario for 3D-printing restrictions that may very well never come to pass. Still, it never hurts to be prepared, and anything that helps destroy the morale of nanny-state politicians who wish they could implement such measures is a plus regardless of how the legal regime plays out. Shortly after the massive publicity put towards Defense Distributed’s successful testing and release of the Liberator pistol in CAD file form (along with the State Department’s somewhat futile request that Defense Distributed take down their DefCad files), there was some short-lived talk from California senator (you knew it had to be that or New York state) Leland Yee about all these oh-so-necessary registration rules that would need to apply to 3D printers.

 

Yes, this is the same Leland Yee that wanted to treat M-rated video games the same way alcohol is treated by forbidding their sale to children.   Falsely claiming that the Liberator suddenly gave criminals some kind of magical ability to kill someone “scott-free” (which to him is somehow impossible to do with a regular gun) Yee insisted that legislative action was necessary to address this great big one-shot pistol threat. These included background checks, serialization of printers, and last but not least: possible restrictions on what they’re allowed to print.

 

The first two of those suggestions are damn-near impossible to implement effectively. If someone buys a printer for family and friends to use, is that considered a “straw purchase” if someone else uses it to help make a gun? And if printers are serialized, well… How the hell is that supposed to achieve anything? Is this something on the printer itself that can just be removed outright the way serial numbers are filed off of firearms? Or is some type of watermarking of printed parts supposed to apply? All these are anyone’s guess at this point.   It is the third one (shape restrictions) however that *might* have some degree of potency.

 

The good news is that Yee has so far backed down from much if not all of his initial proposals, so shape restrictions may very well turn out to be a non-issue. But this only applies to Yee, less so for the whole US, and certainly not at all for other countries with more authoritarian governments. Restrictions on what printers are able to print would no doubt be a 21st century step forward in the gun control regime wishes.  So despite the fact that no software existed at the time to implement such a proposal, I began pondering ways in which you could get around such measures. Thus, a thread on the DefCad forums was born devoted exclusively to this very task. In it I noted that the simply way of defeating any shape restrictions is to simply alter how you print it so the firmware in question can’t tell what you’re making. How important this information could potentially be didn’t become clear until a month later…

 

It's not like I actually made a guide on defeating such measures a month earlier. Oh wait...

It’s not like I made a guide on defeating such measures a month earlier!!! Oh wait…

 

Suddenly a thread that wasn’t getting too much attention to begin with was now getting an influx of hits. How flattering. Ever since all that took place I have decided to turn that thread into a cleaned-up PDF guide. Anyone who wants to know how to bypass shape restrictions without having to jailbreak the printer will be able to do so without any knowledge of software exploitation. Hooray!

 

In addition to shape restrictions, I have since decided to also include means of getting past DRM restrictions placed on CAD files themselves. Rather than changing how you print something, the focus turns to how you generate a DRM-free file of the object you want to print. Some back and forth discussion between me and a few other people on Twitter led me to start including material on that problem as well.

 

So this PDF guide has been one thing taking up much of my time over the past several months. I hope to have it done on the anniversary of when Thingiverse decided to take down printable gun parts, maybe.

 

 

2. In addition, I have been working on my book. Yes, that book. The one this site is named after. The one I thought I was going to finish in 2010, and would be under 200 pages long. The one that is now looking to possibly be twice as long as that, with tinier font. The one I decided to start putting notes together for almost four years ago. Yes, “State Exempt: Guide to a Voluntary Society.”

 

Rather than rant on about the pathetic reasons why it won’t be done until early 2015, allow me to show some progress that actually has been made on the whole thing.

 

Several months ago, I was searching Google Images for some possible cover designs that were likely in the public domain. Looking for pictures of cities was of prime focus; any major center of commerce would do. So low and behold, I came across an image of Hong Kong:

 

One of the most *economically* free parts of the world.

One of the most *economically* free parts of the world.

 

Wow, pretty image! So I thought, “Hey, why not try to make a cover design out of it?” After messing around in Paint.Net (a favorite open-source alternative to paint for anyone who happens to be stuck on Windows), this is what I came up with:

 

Cover Concept 2.0 - The final won't be as dark.

Cover Concept 2.0 – The final won’t be as dark and heavily contrasted.

 

Yeah, it does look a little gloom and doom. My next version will be an attempt to correct this (probably by lowering the dark florescence caused by heavy contrast), but for now this is just a sample to give readers of this blog an idea of what I might end up doing, and to put everyone at ease who thinks I am neglecting to work on the darn thing.

 

Along with new cover designs, I also finally scanned all the composition notes I’ve made that are so valuable that losing them would mean the end of this project altogether. Fortunately I now have 200 DPI high-def ultra-realism scans are now backed up in almost a half-dozen locations, so that risk is no longer an issue. At this point it’s just a matter of making a bullet-point outline of every specific topic that will be discussed in each segment of each part of each section of each chapter of the book. Yep, I have it whittled down to the specifics, and soon it will be just a matter of actually writing the first draft.

 

This draft won’t take too long to do since I already have a clear idea of what I intend to write. Stringing together sentences is really half the task of writing a book. Or at least that’s the way it plays out for me. From there I just need to format it, make sure all the citations are accurate, make an index (easy to do: just search every letter with Ctrl+F and find any key words from there), finalize the cover, submit it, get a proof copy, and wash rinse repeat a couple times until the result looks good.

 

Until then, one of the bigger tasks I have is to get some reading done. The series I started on the selected bibliography for “State Exempt” will continue soon as well, and I do plan comprehend every last tidbit of wisdom from those works to hopefully enhance my own. However I think about 66-75% or so of the final draft of “State Exempt” will remain the same regardless of what I read until it gets done.

 

 

3. And for autodidacts… Speaking of reading necessary works that I find relevant to anything political I might write about, I have teamed up with a few people online to make what could be considered a Libertarian reading syllabus. Included will be study outlines for many of the most basic or necessary reads. The final result will be posted on a site called FreedomFiles.Info that appears to still be under construction. As the site makes clear, it does not cover anarchist topics. Free market anarchy is not relevant there because the site will deal with *government* policy, so far as I know.

 

In the process of this, I downloaded dozens (literally) of books off of Mises.org, and I recently bartered for a tablet that makes it way easier to finally read through them all. I can say it’s been a thrill to finally have countless books that can easily be read on the go while commuting. Wasted time is no longer as much of an issue.

 

Along with self-education through books, I have word that a group of people will soon be working on a software application that takes OpenCourseWare to a whole new level…

 

Ron Paul (or someone writing in his name) now has a new book out entitled, “The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System” which is basically a critique of government’s role in education. I can already tell I will enjoy it when I finally get a copy, and in addition to it, there is yet another book in the works by an economist I admire deeply that treads similar ground.

 

Bryan Caplan, probably best known as being the author who wrote the work of genius that is “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies” has another book in the works. The working title so far appears to be “The Case Against Education” with a subtitle of some kind that (rightfully) implies that the cost of schooling in the US is vastly overpriced compared to what you get in return. If this book turns out to be half as good as any of his prior books, then this is something I refuse to miss. School choice has been gaining some headway over the past couple decades and I do get the feeling that it will only continue to grow.

 

That being said, I cannot ignore the fact that there have been some setbacks from time to time under the Obama administration:

 

 

And not to mention the DOJ’s absurd lawsuit over the Louisiana voucher program. But despite these setbacks, the trend as a whole seems to be in favor of greater school choice. One successful program in Arizona has been getting some excellent legal headway in terms of whether or not the program is constitutional (of course it is, no religion is forced on anyone). And I could go on about the growth of charter schools and of course, homeschooling (which is growing seven times faster than traditional public schooling).

 

It’s that last trend that has me especially giddy as hell, for reasons that warrant a whole new post (maybe even a series) altogether. In short, the annual cost of homeschooling is typically around $500 for curricular materials. If such information could be delivered for free, than that would annihilate one of the biggest objections that teacher’s unions and the misinformed people who support them have towards any school choice measure: “OMG! Privatization meanz profit which is teh most evulzist thang eva cuz they get compensashun in raturn fo edjucating peoplez!!!”

 

Honestly, I feel somewhat optimistic about the future. In no way am I in any Pollyanna state of mind, but I do think the collapse of higher and lower education as we know it will be a key catalyst for other political reforms in the long run. More on that in a future post…

 

Until then I need to finish the shape restriction guide,  as well as that damn Defcad object series that never got done. And of course, the book this site was set up for in the first place. If procrastination paid well, then I think Occupy Wall Street would’ve hung me by now.

 

 

State Department & DefCad: Just What Files Freaked Them Out? (Part I)

Note: This will likely be a five-part series. I will link to all parts below this note once all are done. I am the DefCad.org user, “OpenSourceArmorer.” A big thank you to twitter user @PrintedGunInfo for helping me verify that these are in fact the original screenshots of the objects in question. Contact me via the DefCad forums if you have questions, and no – don’t even ask me for the original .STL files. Unless you can verify that you’re a US citizen, I can’t share them. And in the interwebs that kind of identity verification is hard and pointless. Especially when the files themselves are not that hard to find elsewhere…

 

I’m trying as hard as possible to grasp the state of current affairs right now. Whether it’s the IRS’s recent scandal in the way they handled certain legal applications, or the fact that Eric Holder thinks he deserves special access to Associated Press phone records…

 

 

…the gangsterism of those in power seems nothing short of profound. Then again, a lot of my time has been spent couch-surfing along the west coast now that I have the free time to do so and some people to collaborate with. Maybe the resulting lack of sleep is what makes me think this is just the cold opening to some kind of sci-fi movie. One only beginning to unfold.

 

Which brings me to Defense Distributed, DefCad.org, and the State Department’s recent decision to tell Cody Wilson to (temporarily?) remove certain files from public access. Well, at least from the Mega.co.nz download links. As for the rest of the internet? Well, let’s just say I’m sure Steve Israel will be thrilled at the results. More on him later…

 

Streisand Effect on Liberator Files

Yeah, how’s that restriction from public access going for ya?

 

Someone I kinda sorta know via deep web encrypted chat rooms told me they got a call from some douche at the New York Daily News telling them the State Department had begun taking action against DefCad.org. When I heard the news, I checked the site and it looked like it was being shut down altogether. In fact, it was actually issues with the heavy amount of traffic they were getting. And I think it’s no secret where that same traffic is now directed at – see the image above. :-]

 

Andy Greenberg of Forbes magazine recently wrote an awesome piece on the 3D-Printed Liberator pistol and later did a piece on the State Department’s request that ten files be pulled for their review. In an update on that article, Greenberg included the letter that was sent directly to Cody Wilson which happened to include a particular list I found of interest…

 

This list was ten items that the DoS thought were potentially in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) laws. Given the fact that I’ve had the joy of seeing every Mega Pack release from DefCad (even before files where categorized and a README became standard) and watching it mature with every new version, I couldn’t help but take a look at what the files were that the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance were so horrified by:

 

1. Defense Distributed Liberator pistol

2. .22 electric

3. 125mm BK-14M high-explosive anti-tank warhead

4. 5.56/.223 muzzle brake

5. Springfield XD-40 tactical slide assembly

6. Sound Moderator – slip on

7. “The Dirty Diane” 1/2-28 to 3/4-16 STP S3600 oil filter silencer adapter

8. 12 gauge to .22 CB sub-caliber insert

9. Voltlock electronic black powder system

10. VZ-58 sight

 

Now comes the fun part: Can anyone take a guess just how many of those objects listed are actually capable of killing anyone? Keep your guess in mind, because I would like to have the joy of highlighting the State Department’s fuckery first hand by showing what each of these actually are. Let us begin!

 

First, let me clarify what is actually classified as being under the State Department’s control:

Guess just how many of the ten files they were ticked about actually fall under this critera.

Guess just how many of the ten files they were ticked about actually fall under this criteria.

 

This is the checklist if you will of what the ITAR deems to be under their control. The screenshot comes from this document.

 

Now in the next post I will begin with the first two objects. The next will cover objects three through five, and then part four will cover parts six through ten. I shall conclude the series with some questions I have for the State Department about this matter. Hopefully all five posts will be done by the end of the week.

 

Selected Bibliography for State Exempt: Part III

Well, I mean to have this post scheduled to be auto-posted but it looks like I failed to set the draft up for that purpose. Anyhow, here it is.

 

Now the third part of a series of posts detailing a list of selected readings related to the subject matter of “State Exempt.”

 

1. The P.I.G. to Capitalism

2. Concise Guide to Economics

3. Economics in One Lesson

4. How Capitalism Saved America

5. Economic Facts and Fallacies

6. Freedomnomics

7. Free to Choose

8. P.I.G. to the Great Depression and the New Deal

9. The Creature from Jekyll Island

10. New Deal or Raw Deal

11. FDR’s Folly

12. The Case for Legalizing Capitalism

13. The Big Ripoff

14. Myth of the Robber Barons

15. Myths of Rich and Poor

16. Markets Not Capitalism

17. Hidden Order

18. Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism

19. What’s Yours is Mine

20. Future Imperfect

21. The Left, the Right, and the State

22. The Triumph of Conservatism

23. Crisis and Leviathan

24. Losing Ground

25. In Our Hands

26. Priceless

27. From Mutual Aid to Welfare State

28. The Tragedy of American Compassion

29. Man, Economy, & State w/Power & Market

30. Out of Work

31. Free Market Cure

32. Shadow Bosses

33. Meltdown

34. Why Men Earn More

35. How Privatized Banking Really Works

 

Out of the five lists I have planned, this one is likely to grow by at least another additional ten books by the time State Exempt hits the shelves. Economics in general involves quite a bit of things to take into account, so I guess I can’t complain.

 

Selected Bibliography for State Exempt: Part II

Continuing with my prior post listing a series of key books I either have read – or plan to read – to get myself in the proper mindset for writing the first State Exempt draft, here is my second list of books in no particular order:

 

1. No Treason - Lysander Spooner

2. The Dirty Dozen - Robert A. Levy & William Mellor

3. The Myth of the Rational Voter - Bryan Caplan

4. Anarchy, State, and Utopia - Robert Nozick

5. The Structure of Liberty - Randy Barnett

6. The Logic of Collective Action - Mancur Olson

7. Gaming the Vote - William Poundstone

8. Democracy: The God That Failed – Hans-Hermann Hoppe

9. The Real Lincoln - Thomas DiLorenzo

10. How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution – Richard Epstein

11. Beyond Politics – Randy T. Simmons

12. Restoring the Lost Constitution – Randy Barnett

 

By now I suspect some readers will start to notice a pattern here if they’ve come across an outline of what will be covered in the five chapters of State Exempt.  :-)

Selected Bibliography for State Exempt: Part I

Recently a twitter user named “FreedomBookClub” began following me and asked me if I had read any books lately worth recommending. As simple as this question was, it really got my head spinning because all this time the blog has been up I should’ve had some kind of bibliography of recommended reads up.

 

I sure am glad that question came up, and so now begins the process of listing all the books I either have read or will read so I can perfect the content of the first draft for “State Exempt: Guide to a Voluntary Society.” This will be the first of a five-part series listing books that I think are relevant to the subject matter of the book. So here is the first list of books off the top of my head:

 

1. The Machinery of Freedom - David D. Friedman

2. Enterprise of Law - Bruce L. Benson

3. To Protect and Serve - Bruce L. Benson

4. Chaos Theory – Robert P. Murphy

5. The Market for Liberty - The Tannahills

6. For a New Liberty – Murray N. Rothbard

7. Anarchy & the Law - Edward P. Stringham (editor)

8. Law’s Order - David D. Friedman

9. The Law - Frédéric Bastiat

10. More Guns, Less Crime (3rd edition) – John R. Lott

11. The Bias Against Guns – John R. Lott

12. Shooting Blanks - Gottlieb & Workman

13. Wired for War – P.W. Singer

14. Ain’t Nobody’s Business if You Do – Peter McWilliams

15. The Myth of National Defense - Hans-Hermann Hoppe

16. Pursuit of Justice - Edward J. Lopez

17. License to Kill - Robert Pelton

18. Master of War - Suzanne Simons

 

So that just about does it for now. I likely will be linking to places where these can be purchased and/or downloaded but for now readers will have to Google these or judge them by their titles alone.

 

Stop Blaming Blackwater on the Free Market – No Really

Of all the various talking points espoused by anyone critical of private protection services in place of government police, none are nearly as ubiquitous as the idea that the “private” defense company Blackwater (later “Xe” and now “Academi”) is somehow an example of how the market would handle protection in practice. But any question about whether it is the private or public sector’s fault that the firm even exists can be answered synonymously with the following question: Who is their biggest customer?

 

In case you have been isolated from current events over the past several years, Blackwater gained infamy through several incidents that involved the death of employees, or Iraqi citizens. The Former CEO (Erik Prince) had tried to downplay much of this by noting that these are just a few missions out of 16,500 or so that they took part in.

 

Whether or not this is actually the case is does not change the fact that this company still  fought a government’s war of aggression that had no real justification to begin with.  Also given the fact that the task Blackwater was given was to escort persons or equipment rather than directly pursue enemy combatants (which is what the military as a whole does), this incident rate could have been much higher if the company was tasked with the same kind of missions that the army or marines carried out. As a whole, it is nearly impossible to tell what the actual casualty rate was. But there are other criticisms I would have against the firm that go beyond the question of whether or not they were as reckless as our ordinary military (as if there actually was a clear distinction).

 

Which brings me back to the objection that they are a good example of the free market in action. Naomi Klein and other progressive critics tout Blackwater as exhibit “A” in their war against free markets. There is just one problem with this appeal: Blackwater as we know it would not have existed in the absence of government influence and support.

 

 

Let us look at the reasons Blackwater is the cause of the State and not the market:

 

1. The family fortune Erik Prince relied on to buy the land that later became Blackwater Headquarters was the result of a government-issued patent on lit sun visors. Without this government-granted monopoly, Prince would have lacked the resources to even start Blackwater in the first place. (1)

 

2. Erik Prince began his interest in military affairs by becoming a Navy SEAL. With this job title gone, as well as the pro-State nationalism that fuels it, it is highly unlikely Prince would have ever had an interest in starting what was essentially a target practice firm that evolved into a defense contractor. (2)

 

3. The original CIA contract to train the first batch of Blackwater employees was what first turned Prince’s training facility (which otherwise would have gone out of business) into the private military company it later became. This contract came about because an associate of Prince actually knew people in the CIA – an example of cronyism in action and not free market demand. (3)

 

4. Let us not forget the actual justification for this CIA contract: The war on terror had been launched, and the very event that helped spur that into action (the 9/11 WTC attacks) was the direct result of an interventionist foreign policy that did not make us safer. To get specific, consider why Osama Bin Laden was so upset in the first place:

 

 

5. The very conflict Blackwater gained the most notoriety for was a case of a government declaring war against another government. In the end, Blackwater/Xe/Academi exists because of actions by the government. Thus, anything Blackwater did wrong cannot be blamed on a capitalism because free market capitalism never created the firm. (4)

 

With all this in mind, I was particularly disgusted when Erik Prince claimed that he viewed Blackwater as the “FedEx” of the military. This analogy is wrong on so many levels; for one, FedEx actually acquires it’s wealth primarily by responding to consumer demand and not government mandates. Fedex actually generates value for paying customers by delivering goods – not by participating in the legalized widescale destruction of both resources and people.

 

If you are still convinced that Blackwater would still exist in the absence of all these government-granted privileges – namely providing the demand for such a firm – then you have placed yourself on some pretty shaky ground. Unlike the private protection services I and other Voluntaryists would advocate, Blackwater did not have to worry about not having a demand for it’s “services” let alone a limited budget.

 

Despite the government factors listed above that led to Blackwater even existing, the bigger hypocrisy in using Blackwater as an argument against free market protection services is that any atrocities they committed do not come close to that of the US military as a whole. If the abuses committed by Blackwater count against the private sector – which they do not for reasons highlighted above – then abuses committed by all branches of the military as well as the mismanagement of the Executive Branch of our government should be held to the same standard.

 

NOTES:

1. See page 10 of “Master of War: Blackwater USA’s Erik Prince and the Business of War” for details.

2. Master of War is also a great reference on this, see also pages 290-291 in “Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror”

3. See 36-41 of “Licensed to Kill”

4. This one is pretty self-explanatory – Blackwater’s primary roles have been in Iraq. They have also been in Afghanistan but the same logic applies: it was the government that hired them.

 

New Year’s Resolution and the Gift of Defense Distributed

I have failed to keep up with this site as much as I intended to (what else is new). But then again, this delay happened during the holiday season so I cannot put the blame all on myself. This year I want to do something differently for once. Each week I will force myself to throw together a draft of a given section from the State Exempt book notes and let people give input. Nothing radical or unusual, except for the fact that it would actually gear this site towards what I started it around in the first place. Aside from this blog, I have also started using Twitter.

 

In the meantime I hope anyone familiar with recent calls to renew the “assault” weapons ban in new form has taken a look at what a group calling itself “Defense Distributed” has managed to accomplish in recent times:

 

 

 

I call this a ray of hope because this looks like an excellent way to render heavy firearms prohibitions meaningless. While I cannot cover in a single post why I think this is a good thing, I will say that this seems to be a key example of how not everything is going to hell in a handbasket these days. Yes, I know that claim needs a fair share of defending too. If anything, check out my previous posts on both “assault” weapons and my next post which makes the case for eliminating nearly all gun regulations in general.

Why I Call Myself a Voluntaryist or Market Anarchist – Part II

In my last post I covered various political labels that have been used to describe the means of association that I advocate – all of which I rejected for reasons covered there. Now I want to cover terms that I do have some sympathy with and explain my preference for them.

 

“Polycentric Law” seems to be a term used by those who admit that voluntary market associations lead to better legal structures, but are worried about alienating anyone with any reference to “anarchy.” To be honest, I think the term is too unfamiliar to the general public, but then again most who cannot grasp what this term means would likely have trouble grasping how the system it refers to would operate in practice anyway. I actually like this label enough to possibly use it to describe what I advocate. The reason being is that explaining what the term means leads to giving a straight-forward explanation of how my preferred system works: You would not be stuck with a single provider of dispute resolution or protection based on your place of residency – simple enough.

 

A much less common phrase that has popped up from time to time is “Panarchism.” At face value, this term seems extremely similar to “anarchism” but there is a critical distinction: Panarchism is actually a form of government that allows you to opt ought in favor of competing states or no government at all – without having to relocate.

 

Now comes the two terms I personally  identify with most: “Voluntaryism” and “Market Anarchy.” While they both communicate more or less the same general means of association, they place greater emphasis on different elements in the process. Market Anarchy simply means an absence of government with free market interactions providing law and other goods/services. Voluntaryism expresses support for any system that allows people to associate in whatever means possible that does not involve coercion.

 

At face value, there seems to be very little difference between any of these, but the subtle message that each of these terms communicate does differ slightly. Sure this is all semantics, but with such a plethora of terms that essentially mean the same thing, I figured it would make sense to clarify why I prefer two labels in particular.