An Anti-State Journey of Their Own: Erik (aka InTheEndIWasRight)

 

I was surprised to see this when I first found it today because even though the specifics may differ, the overall picture of how this guy came to the views he has is strikingly similar to my own. No, it had nothing to do with secessionist-minded thought. I never even heard of the arguments about Lincoln practically being a dictator that Thomas DiLorenzo makes in his book, “The Real Lincoln” until several months after I went anarcho-capitalist.

 

Needless to say I find it interesting that the person who made this had almost the same starting point politically.

Libertarianism is Dead (Again)? – July 2011 Edition

Just thought I would throw this out here since it looks like this will be a repeating theme over the next decade or two.

 

While it was once hard to find an organized movement that favored the freedom to make the market exchanges you wanted as well as do what you desired in general (so long as you did not impede others from doing the same thing), Libertarianism as a political ideology has flourished quite a bit since then.

 

I mean much more than simple name recognition, I mean wholesale acceptance of things I think everyone should have figured out by now.

 

Slate is a popular news source for those that are far left of center. There are of course plenty of online bastions of left-wing commentary. These offer interpretations of everything from the alleged blessings of compulsory unions to Thanksgiving itself. But what makes this source different is that from what I can discern, Slate actually seems to reflect a sizable majority of those who self-identify as standard liberals, while not generally going so far as to calling themselves Democratic Socialists, or anything else of a radical nature.

 

A few years back, Slate published this sorry piece claiming that the Housing Crisis of 2008 somehow proves that Libertarianism is flawed. Central to this article’s claim is the notion that giving people more freedom to make the economic exchanges they wished (deregulation) caused one of the biggest economic crashes in our nation’s history.

 

According to the author (Jacob Weisberg), counter-arguments exist for all the objections Libertarians make towards the idea that the free market caused the housing crisis:

 

“There are rebuttals to these claims and rejoinders to the rebuttals. But to summarize, the libertarian apologetics fall wildly short of providing any convincing explanation for what went wrong. “

 

Weisberg refuses to elaborate on just what these rebuttals are. Maybe if someone spends enough time on Google, they can expect to find a “response” to just about anything. But surely the answers are out there, and us ill-informed liberty-lovers just plain refuse to listen.

 

But this is not the main issue with his article, though it is highlighted elsewhere. What I think is ironic about the article is that Weisberg appears to have spoken far too soon. Despite the fact that 2008 should have been the deathbed for Libertarianism, it seems Slate still takes this “failed ideology” seriously.

 

They have done so with the publication of an article, well two actually that claim Robert Nozick (who is purported to be the father of Libertarianism according to Slate) abandoned his Libertarian views altogether. So there you have it folks. Libertarianism is so dead at this point that Slate feels that it is necessary to lie about what Nozick really thought towards the end of his life.

 

I will tackle the content of the articles themselves in future posts. I think I need a break from trying to write the vaguest autobiography possible. But in the meantime, consider this to be the first post in an ongoing series where I show how ironic it is for people to claim that a growing movement is “dead.”

Before (and How) I Got Into Politics: Part III

It should be pretty obvious that I knew very little about the candidates in question. But to be frank, who really does? And unless there happens to be some compelling event that motivates people to blame one party or another for a mishap, who really cares? At the time, first impressions were all that mattered to me because that was all I had to go on.

 

If you happen to read the preceding posts and conclude that my initial experiences were a bad way to decide which party best suited my taste, you should check yourself at the door. So far as I know, everyone starts off with a blank ideological slate. What actually gets written on that slate will always begin with a superficial judgment about one party or another:

 

  • My mother decided to cast her vote for Obama because she thought a speech his wife gave was “down to earth.”
  • An older sibling of mine decided to do the same because she thought he was “cool.”
  • Someone I know said they would never have voted for Barack because his name was too “shady” for him.
  • I once heard likely voter insist that if John McCain were to acquire the presidency in 2008, he would go to war with Afghanistan.
  • And the number of people who paid more attention to Barack’s minister than his own political platform speaks for itself. Not to mention people like this:

     


     

Even though I regret joining a party because Bush Jr. “looked” like he had more experience, I can safely say my mistaken approach was no where near as bad as the methodology others have made.

 

Just to help me get over myself in making that choice, here are a few more videos that make me feel so smart.

 

 

 

And this last one features an experiment I myself wish I could carry out sometime…

 

Now you have a pretty basic idea of how I actually got into politics. All I have left is to explain why the hell I decided to stick with supporting an administration that – like all others before it – took it upon themselves to run this country into the ground.

Before (and How) I Got Into Politics: Part II

I personally was never the type that wanted to spend the bulk of my time reading about what was grinding the gears of people I almost never meet in person. If anything all that mattered was what directly affected my day to day routine, which does not include finding out how many people agree that a picture is cool or that the online status of someone else is funny.*

 

Still, that was no where near enough to satisfy my desire to feel like I was a part of something that mattered. That meant putting my time and effort towards something more consequential. I wanted to have a say in something that actually mattered to us as a society. Not just the style of glitter comments on someone’s Myspace page.

 

Enter politics.

 

Of all the things that actually matter to society as a whole, the process by which the winners of a popularity contest dictate the details of your personal and public life ranks pretty high. By that I refer of course to government and the people that perpetuate it through whatever system of rule happens to be in place. When I first took a look at how government works, questioning the necessity of such a thing never came to mind.

 

I remember a class project I took part in (well over a decade ago) in which we had to decide who we would rather vote for. Would we rather devote our say to putting George W. Bush in office or Al Gore? In retrospect I think the project was a little unfair since it not only marginalized third party candidates, it never even acknowledged them.

 

Even higher education today seems to carry that tradition nice and strong. You would think they might take the importance of “diversity” a bit more seriously.

 

Not knowing nearly as much about politics, American affairs, or current events in general as I do today, I decided I would cast my “vote” (a slip of paper with someone’s name on it that we put in a box at the front of the room) to George Walker Bush. He was the older guy and thus that meant he would handle the job better. Oh how sophisticated my reasoning was!

 

*There, I just summed up half of Facebook in that sentence alone.

Happy Fourth – 2011 Edition

Even though I have a few more posts that I am on the brink of finishing and meant to post before anything else, today is a day where an exception makes pretty good sense.

 

Happy birthday America!

 

American Flag Tattered

 

235 years ago the people that brought you to life realized the inanity of having a central authority thousands of miles away attempt to dictate as well as punish the progress they were making.

 

Taxes, inflation, and attempts to restrict firearm ownership all led to many of that time to realize the implications of good ol’ Common Sense. Time and time again England did what they could to oppress the people that led to your inception.

 

And so the American Revolution began.

 

You America, are something akin to a newborn that survived a fall down the stairs while you were still exiting the womb; gross but true. England was quite the deadbeat for not letting you realize your full potential. Not the most painless of the many nation-state geneses humanity has brought forth, but it had to be done. 😉

 

Now it appears that the same secessionist anti-authoritarian spirit has greatly diminished, but this is not permanent.

 

Our symbol in distress

Though times may get tough, all is not lost.

 

May the citizens of America and people the world over take this day to recognize the dichotomy that exists between government and freedom itself.

Before (and How) I Got Into Politics: Part I

I will try my best to keep all of this as vague as possible in terms of when these things happened, what my occupation was at the time, or anything else that might make it easy for someone to decipher who I am. But in the process I hope to somehow keep it detailed enough for readers to the point where they may begin seeing the same things unfold right before their own eyes.

 

It does not stem from being ashamed of how I think; I would just rather not deal with people approaching me on the streets and starting an argument. There is a time and place for everything, and occasions when I am confronted with someone who has beef with my views is something I would rather decide on my own terms.

 

Nothing mischievous, just a personal preference – that’s all.

 

The kind of person that has a strong interest in anything political tends to be someone who cares about more than what happens at home, their workplace, school, or anything else we all must encounter. This person is not satisfied with overlooking current events in society; they have some kind of opinion about how we would be best off in the ways we associate with each other.

 

So instead of unleashing a virtual holocaust on their free time by getting a Facebook, they find other ways to kill time in a more meaningful way. At least this is how the stereotype applied to me.

 

I say this of course because most of what I tend to see on Facebook is people sharing details of their personal lives that are only marginally relevant to those around them – if they are even relevant at all. Not that I actually have a Facebook, but a little shoulder-surfing tells me pretty much everything I need to know.

Nostalgia is as Nostalgia Does

As I type the first couple paragraphs of this I’m on a computer that I have booted up Ubuntu 11.04 on from a CD-R. Just learned how to do that a while back and boy has it opened the door for experimentation! I have been messing with it for a couple weeks now, and Windows seems even worse than it already did to me before I really even knew what Linux was. In the future, I plan on doing routine posts on Linux, seeing as there are several thousand different distributions of that work of art.

 

I know I am supposed to explain where exactly I come from politically (as I said before becoming an Anarcho-Capitalist does not happen overnight). To be honest, I’m still trying to piece together how that happened. The other day I thought of reading whatever books by Bernard Goldberg I happened to have on my shelf just to get an idea of how far my views have changed – as well as for a shot of nostalgia I am eager for.

 

Speaking of nostalgia, a relative of mine just so happens to be graduating from high school now. Yesterday she was watching a two-part video series made on the last day seniors were “allowed” to show up at the place. It sure brought back memories for when I went through the same process. Knowing what I know now about the societies we live in and the origins of our Prussian-inspired education system gives the day I graduated a whole new perspective.

 

I took a little time off from posting to jog my memory a bit before I write my less than perfect intellectual autobiography. It’s been so hard to piece together where I came from politically – I guess I just can’t accept the fact that I was as wrong as I was about so many things – especially when I look back at how much effort I put into defending those earlier views.

 

While I have yet to jog my memory to recall every last detail of my transition, I fortunately know enough to say where I started. I am an ex-neocon – and no, this is not an attempt to make it look like I made a massive 180-degree change in perspective.

 

If I could join the ranks of the rest of society and promote something everyone else already approved of, I would do it in a heartbeat. I literally have nothing to gain from labeling myself a market anarchist. When you hold that less than one percent the human populous knows what would work out best for everyone else, it gets very lonely indeed.

 

But there’s nothing of significance in promoting views everyone else has to being with, and all changes in popular opinion have to start somewhere…

 

Current Ventures Underway

Alright, so I’m a little late in posting the weekly update. There is so much going through my head right now as I think back to what my previous political world view was and how that has changed. It has made me a bit nostalgic, but until I get the chance to put more thought into all that here is a short and sweet summary of other aspects of the State Exempt project that I have underway.

 

For starters, my Youtube Channel is now fully functional. I ‘ve yet to see if I will make any videos of my own, but I do have plans for organizing playlists for all Libertarian-minded viewers, or at least for those who have yet to see the light.

 

Along with that I’m familiarizing myself with the Ubuntu operating system. Which is taking a lot less time then I expected. (2014 update: Holy crap have I advanced greatly in tech aptitude since I first made this post…)

 

And of course, the book itself (State Exempt) is underway. If anyone is interested I might start posting excerpts on here for input before finally publishing it and webbing the book altogether. (2014 update: those are now being done almost once a week)

 

Posting Agenda for the Next Several Months

While it would be nice to start the process of posting whatever ideological insights I feel like sharing with the world, I have decided on something different.

 

In my view it would be a little rushed to begin posting on anything political – it would be the equivalent to a speaker starting every lecture without introducing themselves to the audience. Besides that the things I plan on covering are bound to seem unusual to most people, especially the perspective that I cover them from.

 

Who the hell decides that the market is preferable to politicians in deciding how goods, choices, and services are allocated? Better yet – how can anyone decide that that government should be removed from our society? Do you think I simply labeled myself what I do now because I never became accustomed to conventional political thought? Did I always think this way for as long as politics was even on my radar?

 

For the next several months, I plan on giving what will be a less than perfect intellectual biography. To be honest, the inspiration for this came largely from an economist I admire that had done pretty much the same thing. By highlighting the journey that got me here, you may better understand the destination. Perhaps you’ll find yourself taking a route that parallels mine as well.

 

The Homestead Commences…

Procrastination is a stupid lapse in time where the separation of inspiration and initiative persists. And it’s always for worse. Hopefully my lapse of this sort is over now, and if all goes well it should stay that way for some time to come.

 

For the past several days I’ve pondered what keystrokes would best mark the first signs of life on this lonely sector of the world wide web. Actually, several months might be a more accurate way of putting it. But recently with the introduction of some new aesthetics to this site (namely the installation of WordPress) – as well as being content with what I already had – the gates have opened at last.

 

Yeah, this is a political site set up for a political book that seems to have it’s estimated date of completion pushed back by a year every, uh… year or so. My views are not about what politician would do best in office or for what level, which legislation needs to be passed or why, or what government ought to do or how. Rather, they are a wholesale rejection of the political system we have altogether. Anyone can profess to be an advocate for freedom – only those who do so with the goal that I (and a growing number of others) have in mind can affirm this for every issue government has attempted to get involved in.

 

While there are many who think laws against choices and behaviors that harm no one but those that initiate them should be taken off the books, I don’t think that goes far enough.

 

While there are many who hold that people have a right to decide how the fruits of their own labor are put to use, and that confiscation of wealth should be strictly limited, this by itself is still a starting point as I am concerned.

 

While there are some who feel government should be substantially smaller than it is today – to the point where it is limited to protecting use from waste, fraud, and abuse both domestically and internationally – I take that platform a step further.

 

I am one of few who hold that government – a regional sovereign of legitimized coercion – is unnecessary for allowing us to live our lives as productively and fulfilling as we can. Your standard Libertarian wants government to be limited, I want it to be removed from the picture altogether.

 

This is not a conclusion that I accepted suddenly out of nowhere; for me it was a process that began years ago. Nor is this something that I, or anyone else can persuade you to adopt in this post alone, there are much better attempts by like-minded individuals at doing that already. Even reading those probably won’t be enough. Being the first post of what I hope will one day number in the thousands – this is only meant to state the intentions of this blog.

 

Anarcho-What???

I am a market anarchist – an advocate of what is better known as Anarcho-Capitalism. I hold that all functions of government should be replaced with market solutions to all the necessary services it provides, namely security and dispute resolution. Operationally a government generally** differs from a market institution in three ways:

 

  • It excludes other persons or institutions from providing certain services within a given territory.
  • Within that territory it is permitted to express a wide variety of privileges ordinary citizens are prohibited from doing – taxation (wealth confiscation) being one of them.
  • No one is permitted to opt out from this scheme unless they want to change locations altogether – nor is explicit consent given to be part of it.

 

As I will defend in the years to come, I doubt there is a single case in which a good or service can be better handled by a group that has extended privileges over everyone else without undesirable consequences – nor do see any reason why such a group would want to. To say an institution with such traits is what sustains civilization itself is to reject the very standards we use to evaluate every other group entity that has ever existed.

 

To me, government is often the exception to every rule we apply to every other institution or individual. If I told you we should give a corporation a monopoly within a given region, as well as the power to take and do what it wants to the populace that surrounds it, you most likely would object to such circumstances. Highlight the fact that this is precisely the means by which governments operate (and that electoral incentives don’t fix much), and suddenly I start hearing a variety of circular arguments for why it’s “different” if government is the one doing the monopolizing.

 

Basic Rationale for my Views and This Blog  (I know what you’re thinking)

Most who stumble upon this blog will likely dismiss the views I express here on the grounds of popular opinion alone. The desirability of government is no lesser or greater based upon how many people approve of it or not. If it was then we should refrain from objecting to the actions of every democratically elected dictator that ever lived for the same reasons.

 

While I think it would fill in the room for improvement over our current political/economic system, by no means do I believe in utopia. Let me state this in simple terms:

 

  • It’s not that I think wars or shootouts between people would be non-existent, I just don’t see why anyone would spend millions of their own money on cruise missiles and other armaments to make enemies while also risking other assets of their own.
  • It’s not that I think private judicial systems would never take bribes, I just can’t see any reason why the coercively-financed system we have today has more of a reason not to take them – especially when your stuck with the judge you get depending on where you live.
  • It’s not that I think we have no say whatsoever in how the government we live under treats it’s own citizens, rather I see no need for imposing the policies of a politician on others because you outnumber them every 2-4 years.
  • It’s not that I think businesses strive to be perfectly ethical all the time, I simply see no way a food or drug company could raise revenue by killing their own customers instead of getting repeat business from serving them well.
  • It’s not that I think we shouldn’t care about those less fortunate than us, I just think there are far more effective ways to do so than forcing other people to pay for it.
  • It’s not that I think people shouldn’t be allowed to own property (trust me, I’m all for it), I just don’t see how we can promote innovation by giving someone an absolute monopoly on an idea – especially when it limits how others can use property they already own.
  • It’s not that I think there would be no free riders under any circumstances that would arise under market anarchy, I just doubt that government can handle this issue without creating an even bigger problem: When taxing the hell out of people, how do we decide that enough is enough?
  • It’s not that I think Somalia is a total paradise, I just do not see how the region was any better overall when it was under a government.

 

For the time being, I intend for this blog to serve as a foxhole for market anarchist thought, a place where every post has some food for thought that will help others change the way they see even the most basic of political policies. While intended mainly as an extension to a book I have in the works, I think this blog will have a life of it’s own.

 

I will update this blog with enough posts to just barely last a couple years – the reason being that this is not the only ideological venture I am trying to surmount. In the meantime I have some other writing to do…

 

-RJ Miller

 

Privatize + Legalize + Decentralize

 

**I say “generally” because I am speaking in reference to most governments in existence today. At a bare minimum, a government is an institution that can initiate force within a given territory without the surrounding populace objecting to the practice altogether. In practice, this minimalist definition means anyone living in it’s territory is forced to financially contribute a portion of wealth while excluding the choice of using that same wealth for a different “provider” or something else altogether. I will go into greater detail how I define government in a different post.