“The Machinery of Freedom” Illustrated Summary

One of my favorite authors of all time gave a presentation not to long ago that summarized the thesis of his first and most well-known published work. And not to long after the speech was available on YouTube, another one of my favorite Libertarian artists created an illustrated version over the audio of the presentation. The result is twenty-three minutes of intellectual inspiration that has already begun to help me focus on the first draft of State Exempt.

 

 

A Declaration of Independence from YouTube (Sort of)

After taking the time to look back at all my older posts and reflect on the site itself, I think the topic of this post is probably more relevant than I thought. Recently I temporarily lost the ability to comment on YouTube because several “enemies” of mine decided to flag all my comments as spam. While I cannot claim to know how Google’s algorithms handle this process, I suspect the disappearance of most of my comments as well as new ones I write is due to the following:

 

  1. I have been a prolific debater; in my most recent ongoing debate I once left fifty comments in less than an hour, which in turn took my opposition over three hours to reply to the next day. Typing at 65+ words per minute has it’s benefits I suppose.
  2. This kind of tenacity has made me the enemy of so many other users, to the point where some have left YouTube altogether. I suspect that several of them began an unannounced campaign to flag my comments. More on that in a later post.

 

I have spent a lot of time in quasi-flame wars with people on YouTube over various political issues – some important, others trivial. They range from things like the possibility of a private highway system to the state of Somalia versus pre-1991 conditions. Usually the topics are either really obscure, or they are subjects involving arguments that have been repeated for decades – if not centuries.

 

My first intention of establishing a presence on YouTube was to attract attention for my site. That would appear to be a pretty ironic justification at this point given that it led me to neglect this site. In fact, many of the previous posts on this blog were about my endless YouTube encounters. Spending that time relentlessly arguing has turned out to be a sunk cost that has cut into the quality of this site. I never even bothered to update the homepage for a year or so and make any attempt at improving it.

 

The second reason was probably more practical: I wanted to seek a diversity of opinion that I did not get when I attending college, and I wanted to seek out critical dialogue from any willing participants. Well, there is no doubt I have gotten plenty of both and I do think I have benefited. In particular, the most recent debate I had was probably one of the most thought-provoking debates I have ever had in my entire life. That is, until other users began marking my comments as spam.

 

But now even that justification seems to have lost merit. With one notable exception, all the debates I have read or engaged in have been repeats of the same bland arguments that are exhausted of any originality. Appeals to Somalia from both sides of the state/no state debate, short rants about how the US spends more than any other country on healthcare or that there are millions of uninsured people, claims that Blackwater in the war between the US and Iraqi governments should be blamed on the free market, accusations of selfishness from liberals because I object to them spending other people’s money as they see fit, etc.

 

Aside from the general lack of originality in the debates I have had there, I have found an even better way of achieving the same intended goal. Rather than seek the short rants of an average YouTuber, my time is better spent reading policy papers and opinion pieces from opposing camps. A while back I mentioned two articles that appeared in Slate that I was unimpressed with (and still have not given my critiques towards). To be honest those were of much greater quality than the average comments I tend to find on YouTube. Of course I disagreed with the content, but they sure did do a better job of presenting something coherent from an opposing perspective. Couple this with books from a wide variety of ideologies – many of which my YouTube opponents get their talking points from – and the case for using YouTube to see what the other side has to say gets vaporized.

 

Which brings me to my final reason for why I am breaking off from YouTube. My goal was to learn through debate, and that was supposed to serve the purpose of improving the content of both my future books, as well as the content of this blog. Instead, what has mostly come about from my endeavors is total neglect of the very things I promised myself I would work on.

 

The most striking example of this is the fact that State Exempt – the book I have been gathering notes for during the past few years – has been delayed in it’s completion. Last time I made a time estimate of how long it would take before the final draft’s completion I came to the conclusion that the book would not be done until 2015. That is a far stray from what I intended, but now that I have settled into new time constraints the outlook appears a bit more positive. Combine this with using the hour or so that I would normally spend commenting on various videos to instead work on the book itself.

 

With these two factors in play, I still estimate the release date for the book to be early 2015. But one key difference is that now I will have the chance to release drafts of the book itself in PDF form in order to receive feedback. The book will still come out much later than I originally planned, but the chance to perfect it more before it actually becomes available in physical form makes it all worthwhile.

 

So on this fourth of July, I wish to declare my independence from YouTube. The only use I have for it at this point is to watch and favorite videos, as well as network with like-minded people I have encountered on there so far. Other than that, all the tenacity I placed towards Youtube debates will now go towards this site – and more importantly – the book itself.

 

Only time will tell how big of an impact this change in time spent will have, but I can say that it will be a drastic improvement over what I have been doing so far…

Putting Elizabeth Warren in Proper Context

Elizabeth Warren in Context

In this image I am essentially highlighting the biggest intellectual hypocrisy inherent with the left and their war on “selfishness.”

 

Of course, the reflexive response to this parody is that the money she intends to spend does not legitimately belong to the people she is taking it from. To which I ask the following question: 

 

Which is a more legitamite way of acquiring wealth – by convincing a consumer that you have a product or service that is valuable enough to exchange wealth for, or insisting that someone must have a significant portion of their income/wealth confiscated and face imprisonment if they resist?

 

Quite a bit to wrap one’s mind around – especially if you found Warren’s reasoning sound (in it’s original euphemistic context of course). Perhaps this may explain the widespread acceptance of allowing an institution the privilege of initiating force (through forced wealth confiscation) against the very citizenry it claims to protect.

 

As participants in a free market, we would only buy or sell goods and services if both the buyer and seller felt they would be better off. If that is an immoral way of acquiring wealth, then I see no reason to think that confiscating that wealth for what you deem to be desirable is any better.

Book Cover Preview

As usual work and various errands – the latter of which often happens to be relevant to the subject matter of this site – have kept me pretty busy the past few months. I am currently in the process of adjusting to a new and improved set of living circumstances, but all is not lost.

 

Just to show some signs of vitality around here for once, I thought I would post a preview of something I made and modified over the past few years.

 

Book cover for State Exempt

I apologize for the poor contrast

 

The one aspect about the cover that I have reworked the most so far would undoubtedly have to be the subtitle. What was originally intended to be a short primer of less than a hundred-fifty pages has ballooned into what could potentially be 350+ pages long. I hope the final product will be far more condensed so the lay reader may find it useful, but then again the material I am covering has much to be explained.

 

And besides, if anyone wants a short concise summary of what Market Anarchy/Voluntaryism is, they can always consult my first blog post – or better yet – any of the following resources:

 

But Wouldn’t Warlords Take Over?

 

Anarcho-Capitalist FAQ on how it would operate.

 

David Friedman on Private Law.

 

“Chaos Theory” by Robert P. Murphy in PDF form.

 

 

As usual, do not assume that an unannounced several week hiatus means that I have abandoned this project. I can assure you the best is yet to come…

 

If Only Perpetrators Felt the True Cost of War…

War Fees

Would you pay this out of your own pocket?

2012 – Looking Back and Looking Forward

Now that I actually plan on doing something with this blog and not leave it idle, here are some quick observations I have made:

 

1. My homepage obviously sucks (I sure think it does), and that should be fixed in the next month when I set up a new design that actually looks like it has a layout of some kind.

 

2. The previous biographical entries are insanely mediocre – so bad I almost want to take them down and start from scratch. But I think the real problem is that I just dove in on what I remember without really taking the time to understand how I arrived at my present destination. I should take care to do that as I continue that (poorly written) summary of my ideological development.

 

3. “State Exempt” – the book I have been putting notes together for since late 2009 – is once again going to take a lot longer than I originally presumed. When I first set out to write it I had the intention of it being no more than a hundred-fifty pages long, and would be completed within a year. But then a year became two, three, etc, while the page length itself looks like it will be around 350-375 pages in the form of a 6×9″ paperback made through Createspace (yes, I want full rights over this project and want to eliminate any publishing overhead). A webbed edition will also be available because copyright to me is nonsense.

 

I wish to make as few and as broad predictions as I possibly can because I honestly do not know what will become of this blog, or my book. Distractions continue to become apparent but the solution now seems to be to stop relying on deadlines altogether. If I really wanted to commit myself to a strict publication date, “State Exempt” would be available on Amazon and my personal Createspace store by President’s Day of 2015, or maybe early November of that year so as to mark the seventh anniversary of my relief from statist views altogether.

 

But I cannot make any promises. At the very least what I can do is give updates on how far I am with the book and give sneak peeks to the actual content itself. All I can say is that it will be quite the milestone for me when “State Exempt” becomes available. In the meantime, it looks like I have some explaining to do as to why I wish to write under a pen name…

 

The Unannounced Hiatus is Over

The past several months have been a little dry here to say the least. I guess this is what happens when you succumb to the addictive venue that is Youtube.

 

As soon as the holidays are over I will bring this blog back into full swing. 2012 will not be a year of absence on my part in producing new material for this site. Next post, I will give access to the condensed outline for State Exempt so readers will know what to expect in 2014 when the book itself is complete.

 

While I may not always keep posts on here coming at a regular basis, you can usually catch me through my Youtube channel.

The ACES Acronym (Or Why Anarchy != Chaos)

UPDATE: This post is now was a sticky. Because of the relevance this post has for my book and wish to receive input on the matter, I have also allowed comments on this post, though I did not want that enabled until this November.

 

Starting this September I will attempt to write the first draft of this segment as a submission to Libertarian Papers. But for now here is the original post as it would have appeared on DA:

 

If you have ever debated the merits of having a stateless society, you should probably know by now that the most frequent counter-argument thrown your way will be the notion that Anarchy leads to chaos.

 

For whatever reason we are supposed to believe that giving a group of people the power to initiate force within a given territory is necessary to sustain civilization. It is so cliche that people do little to justify the claim aside from pointing to Somalia as evidence. Ask those same people what the situation was like when it was under a government (especially during the civil war sparked by Siad Barre), and you can easily see how far people will go to dodge the burden of proof. (see note below**)

 

A couple years ago I came across what I am now convinced is probably the best introduction to Anarcho-Capitalism around. Robert P. Murphy wrote an article for Mises Daily that summed up the argument for anarchy as follows:

 

“What the anarchist does claim is that, for any given population, the imposition of a coercive government will make things worse.”

 

 

Society without government need not be perfect to be desirable – but better than other alternatives people have to offer. My system cannot guarantee utopia but neither can any other.

 

In his article, Murphy makes an excellent point regarding the incentives of private defense agencies. Bill Clinton would have been far less likely to fire off dozens of cruise missiles into third world countries if he had the option of selling those on the open market. So what are the factors that make market protection services less chaotic than government ones?

 

Enter ACES, a short and simply way of explaining why private protection agencies or individual contractors are less inclined to start war – the simple reason being that they must pay the cost of it themselves. This is an acronym that sums up the following:

 

  • Assets – These are anything from bullet-proof vests to smart torpedoes to armored vehicles – direct expenses for starting conflicts. If you fire the first shot, it will cost you dearly to have other protection agencies fire back.
  • Customers – You need a salary for assets, but no one wants to pay you to turn their home into a warzone.
  • Employees – Would you work for a company or client that insisted you get into meaningless shootouts?
  • Suppliers – Why would anyone sell guns and ammo to you if you might use it against them or their customers?

 

These four factors all come into play to make armed aggression a costly endeavor indeed.

 

When the cost of assets come into account we can see that protection agencies/contractors would think twice before firing millions of dollars worth of cruise missiles since they have to foot the bill themselves. This assumes of course that there would be as much of a demand for such things at all. Even worse, if you establish yourself as an aggressive protection agent or even a criminal, the result of having every potential victim mobilizing against you will cost you dearly.

 

To attract customers private providers will only use force when the consequences of not doing so would be worse (such as a robbery or home invasion) instead of making enemies with everyone they meet. Starting a gunfight with everyone you come across does not fly well with potential clients that would rather not have bullets fly past their head when they come home from work.

 

No potential employees would want to work for anyone that insisted they put their life on the line without just cause. You would have to really pay up to persuade anyone to do so, which transfers costs back onto those that hire you. So what we end up with is employees of clients/companies demanding higher pay (which increases what you have to charge clients – putting you at a competitive disadvantage), or quitting to work for someone else altogether.

 

What kind of weapons supplier would knowingly sell munitions to someone that might kill some potential customers or come back and use those assets against him or her personally? It can be pretty hard to maintain business when you are dead. Not to mention the reaction of the surrounding population who will now see the supplier as an extension to the rogue protection agency or criminal.

 

With all of this in mind, consider how government responds to these incentives.

 

 

Recently in Libya government demonstrated just how resistant it is to the four factors mentioned above. Within a short time the asset costs went through the roof:

 

  • Nearly 200 Tomahawk missiles ($1,500,000 each) were fired into Libya; a total cost of three-hundred million dollars.
  • Keeping a fighter jet in the air for an hour: $10,000
  • 500+ one-ton bombs dropped: $40,000 each for a total cost of twenty million dollars.
  • One downed F-15 cost the government sixty million alone.
  • Maintaining a no-fly zone cost anywhere from thirty to a hundred million per week depending on how aggressive we are in the process.
  • And arming rebels is estimated to cost a hundred billion per year; and we all know how accurate spending “estimates” turn out.

 

Why is government so careless about all this and why would private protection firms be less violent? The simple answer is that the government’s cost of assets is simply passed down to unwilling tax payers such as you and me.

 

Does government stand a chance of losing customers? No, we are stuck with the protection we have because government claims a right to the incomes of everyone in the territory it covers. Even if we think bureaucrats turn our homeland into a war zone (such as the blow back we faced on 9/11), we cannot switch to a less aggressive protector.

 

Now what about employees? If those in power deemed it necessary, they could draft us to fight in whatever conflict they felt was worth fighting. Or at the very least they could lure in potential recruits and use them for whatever causes they desired while they remain in the service.

 

Suppliers in the long run can always face the threat of being forced to produce the tools of war whether they like it or not. Such was the case in World War II when resources were diverted to making bombs, planes, tanks, you name it. Aside from having more revenue than any other group to buy the weapons of war, government as a supplier also cares little about the consequences of handing over weapons to foreign fighters to promote “necessary” conflicts in other regions – which is precisely what had happened when it indirectly gave money and weapons to the mujahideen in order to fight the Soviets. Did the politicians that authorized such actions have to pay out of their own pocket?

 

Of course not. Government simply subsidized the whole thing at the expense of the very people it claimed to be protecting. Because market alternatives to the military and police we have today must use their own wealth to pay for conflicts they engage in, why should we expect them to be just as violent?

 

**What do I mean by “burden of proof?”
 
The vast majority of all skeptics of Market Anarchy hold that giving anyone the right to force out competitors in an area and allow them to coerce (initiate force) others in that territory is wrong and unnecessary. No one I know thinks that you should allow a business to force people to pay for goods and services exclusively from them and imprison them if they refuse.
 
If that is the way they think of market institutions but feel that government deserves to be exempt from the same standard, I conclude that the burden of proof is on the skeptic of anarchy to explain why government deserves to be an exception to the rule and how it improves the situation for any geographic location.
 
This especially goes for those who claim Somalia was better under a government.
 

Some Reasonable Perspective on the London Riots

The Most Pathological Argument for Government Consent I Have Ever Seen…

For some time now, I have been spending plenty of time debating on Youtube the merits behind Anarcho-Capitalism. That is the primary reason I have not been posting nearly as much for some time on here, not that I have ever been a ferocious blogger on my site to begin with.

 

Still, I must admit that I never really spent too much time debating the merits of Market Anarchy with others on the net until now. I did raise a little hell on an alternative news source in mid-October of last year, but that was probably the first and only time I engaged in a sustained discussion on the topic with people who did not share my views. I know enough by now that convincing someone that Anarcho-Capitalism is the way to go can really be broken down into two steps:
 

1. Explaining to the skeptic what government is, and how it differs from the market. Piece of cake if they wish to avoid contradicting themselves.

2. Convincing them that everything government does is either unnecessary – such as enforcing victimless crime laws – or can be better handled by market participants.
 

So far it appears that getting a skeptic to acknowledge that government is a regional sovereign of legitimized coercion takes a lot more effort than I once thought. By that definition I refer to the fact that what makes government distinct from ordinary citizenry is that it can initiate force within a given territory. Taxation, asset forfeiture, imprisonment, and a whole host of other things can fall under the umbrella of activities that “initiate force.” The only way you can opt out of the system altogether without changing it is to switch countries, plain and simple.
 

I will not go into great detail here about the meaning of these terms or the difference between State and market activity because that is not the main point of my post here – distinguishing government from free market associations between people will be the subject of a later post as well as the introduction to my book.

 

Once someone comes to realize the difference between the market and government, it can be smooth sailing from there in terms of convincing someone that Market Anarchy is the way to go. All you have to do is explain how the market would handle anything from drug safety to national defense. Some people have more questions than others, but for me personally I declared myself an Anarcho-Capitalist as soon as I had a coherent understanding of what government was. Though I did not know how private law would work in practice, I did know that giving a group a monopoly on enforcing it while exempting themselves from the very rules they applied to everyone else was ineffective.
 

But needless to say, it appears that the main rhetorical escape hatch from acknowledging the distinction that government has is to say that we somehow consented to the whole ordeal, thus making it an ethical institution after all. Do you dislike the way government is handling healthcare? Then leave the country. Are you upset that this is a religious country? Same thing applies. Are you a Christian being persecuted under a totalitarian regime? Then get up and leave. Even though this is what plenty of Christians had to do to get away from Soviet tyranny, that still leaves the question of what gave the Communist leaders the legitimate authority to harass them in the first place.

 

This is where formless777 and I have found ourselves in disagreement. He (or she – though no woman I know has ever been this pathological) seems to think that the Jews actually did consent to the holocaust in the first place. Formless777 was asked by yours truly how I ever “consented” to government control in the first place. His response was that because I live under a government, that gives it the authority to impose it’s will on me even if I feel private alternatives to the “services” it provides are more desirable. From there I asked him if the same logic applied when the Jews were being mass-murdered since they resided under a tyrannical regime.

 

Scroll down until you get to the partially highlighted comment by formless777:

 

The Mind of a Sociopath

Now THAT kids, is what democracy looks like

 

Had it not been for the fact that we had been debating for a few weeks (which still has yet to subside), I would have presumed that this guy was just trying to make a sick joke. Not necessarily a troll, but just throwing out some dark humor for the hell of it.

 

Sadly this is not the case, formless777 actually believes that the Jews consented to mass murder simply because they did not make any coordinated attempt to resist. I guess if the gang gets large enough to the point where resistance is futile it can become a moral thing after all.

 

Philosophical Pathology Continued

Yep, he stands by every word.

 

Who knew?

 

I mean, I am well aware that those who wish to defend the existence of government will go to great lengths to convince people that we all consented to the beast in the first place. But this one really takes the cake. This will not be the end of fallacious arguments for consent; claiming that government has rightful power over someone because they live there is a circular argument that assumes the State has the moral high ground. This manner of begging the question may never go away, but hopefully this is the last time I will see someone promote it in the manner that formless777 has.