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Why Bitcoin Block Size Definitions Must Be Removed

When I saw the news that Valve had dropped support for Bitcoin, my first thought was, “Wait a minute, Valve accepts Bitcoin? How did I not know that? It’s at the intersection between the two of the three biggest areas of my life (the other being music–so yes, writing about gaming and cryptocurrency while listening to music puts me as close to Nirvana as I can get).”

Then it occurred to me that I haven’t bought a game since April anyway. In fact, the last game that I purchased was Rise of the Tomb Raider. I still love video games, but… Why would I buy The Witcher 3 when The Witcher 2 failed to impress me any more than The Witcher had? Why would I buy Civilization 6 when it realistically offered no more enjoyment than could be had from playing another few games of Civilization 5? Video games are increasingly samey as they move into a homogeneous, genre-less blob. But that’s another matter.

Valve cited as their reasons high transaction fees and the volatility of Bitcoin. The former is what I really want to discuss, and the latter is something I’ll only mention briefly.

Volatility

If by “volatility” people mean “has an unmistakable trend toward increasing in value exponentially,” then sure. Technically, yes, the value of Bitcoin is volatile. It changes often. I fail to see this as a problem when that “change” is overwhelmingly toward the positive end of the spectrum, to the tune of increases from $650 this time last year to nearly $20,000 today. If that kind of “volatile” scares people away, I don’t know what to tell them. Yes, it dipped back to $8000 after it broke $10,000 the first time. Then, as I predicted, within a few days it had reached yet a new plateau of $15,000. Treating its volatility as a problem requires a strange sort of short-sightedness. Yes, if we zoom in on Bitcoin’s value graph to a specific one hour period, we would see a snapshot of “Oh, no, it lost 20% of its value in a few hours!” But if we zoom back a little, to two months, we’ll see an entirely different picture.

“I don’t want a currency that gains value” is essentially what people are saying when they criticize Bitcoin’s volatility.

What can we say to them?

Have fun with your Federal Reserve Notes, dumb ass.

High Transaction Fees

The more I’ve dug into cryptocurrencies–and I’ve really dug into them in the last few months–the more apparent it has become that Bitcoin exists for the miners. Earlier today, I paid more than $25 in Bitcoin transaction fees to move about twice that in Bitcoin. That’s right. To move 0.005 BTC, I paid a transaction fee of roughly 0.002 BTC. This makes Western Union look like a bargain. It makes sales tax look acceptable. My USD bank doesn’t charge me that much through an entire month, and they typically process hundreds of my transactions.

Yes, this is necessary. I’m sorry, but we have to keep this in perspective in-line with the ordinary person’s expectations. In a given month, my bank charges me $7.95, and that’s only if I have the account below a specific balance. If I’m above that balance, they charge me nothing. They provide me with a new debit card every two years, do all the back-end stuff, have security systems in place, and all that other crap, and they charge me roughly $2 a week for this service, while a typical week will see at least 15 transactions. So the typical transaction through my bank costs me about fifteen cents or so, if I’m being lazy, and that’s only if I keep my balance below a certain amount.

With cryptos, it’s slightly different, of course. Although they have the ledgers, miners do not have the wallets. In the U.S. banking system, banks basically have both. If Coinomi had Bitcoin miners that processed your transactions for really low fees as long as the transaction originated with a Coinomi wallet going to a Coinomi wallet, we would be somewhat closer to what the average person expects, but banking systems make their money by loaning out your money. We wouldn’t tolerate Coinomi doing that with our cryptocurrencies, and they can’t do that anyway, since they don’t have the private keys. This gets into the differences between cryptocurrencies and the banking system, though, and there’s no reason to get into all of that.

Proof of Work clearly has the problem that the algorithm, becoming progressively more difficult, requires ever more processing power, and therefore gets increasingly expensive. The end result is that fewer and fewer people can afford the overhead, transaction fees have to increase, and the power is concentrated into the hands of an ever smaller number of people. Inevitably, we will see 3 or 4 major mining companies, with everyone else having been eliminated from the game. Even Proof of Work proponents (I take neither side) see this as a problem, hence we now have Bitcoin Gold, which forked from Bitcoin with the intention of being ASIC-resistant, hopefully side-stepping this issue. We also have the attempt to create a shitcoin known as Bitcoin Platinum, where the guy who had the idea basically laid out Bitcoin Gold, but was too dense to realize what he wanted already existed. There is also Vertcoin, which shares a number of similarities to Bitcoin Gold, though it’s called “the poor man’s Bitcoin,” aiming to take similar measures to combat this inherent problem to Proof of Work.

The Simplest Solutions

Satoshi implemented block sizes in 2013 (I believe it was 2013–it was long after Bitcoin came into existence, at least) in order to make DDoS attacks on the network prohibitively expensive. Most DDoS attacks consist of sending unreal amounts of very small packets (such as the Dyn attack), clogging the network and grinding it to a halt. These packets are usually no greater than 1 KB in size–1/1024 the size of a Bitcoin block. This effectively makes attacking the Bitcoin network about 1024 times as expensive (in financial terms, processing power, and bandwidth requirements–one would need to generate hundreds of gigabytes a second to accomplish it). Sorry. I know this is getting kinda technical.

The irony is that a congressional official was criticized years ago for describing the Internet as “a series of tubes,” but the truth is that he wasn’t really wrong. And those tubes can get clogged. Let’s not get into that, either.

By requiring that any transmission on the Bitcoin network be at least 1 Megabyte in size, the problem was averted and Bitcoin was allowed to grow without fear of DDoS attacks, which would have undermined confidence and stability during critical periods of its lifespan. However, that time has passed. Today, DDoSing the Bitcoin network is prohibitively expensive, but block sizes have nothing to do it. It’s because the Bitcoin network has more processing power than the Tor network. It’s because the Bitcoin network is massive, and miners are already programmed to take the highest value blocks. So what’s the solution I’m getting at?

Remove the block definition entirely.

Let each miner define their own blocksize. If a miner attempts to take seventy transactions and cram them into a single block that is 80 MB, the incentive is certainly there. Grabbing seventy transaction fees all at once would be great, wouldn’t it?

Except oh no!

While that greedy idiot was trying to calculate that gargantuan block, someone less stupid will grab five of those transactions, crunch them into a block, do the calculations, and add them to the blockchain while the other one was still trying to sort out its mess. The greedy one’s efforts would be instantly curtailed, all of its calculations invalidated as it synced with the network and found that the transaction IDs it was trying to process already had been processed. Miners would be encouraged to grab as many transactions as they could, but not so many that they would run the risk of other miners beating them to it.

Are you seeing the problem?

Block size definitions have created a monopoly among miners, and they are using it to beat the ever loving shit out of us, and we are doing nothing about it, presumably because so few people understand the situation.

Miners don’t have to compete with one another, because blocks are pre-defined. There is obviously still some competition, because miners have to have rigs powerful enough to actually be quick enough to mine a block, but that’s not where the real competition lies. Where does the real competition lie?

Transaction fees.

Instead of miners competing with one another for transactions, the end users are competing with one another to get their transactions processed in a decent timeframe, and sometimes just to get them processed at all. The Bitcoin network already slows down during periods of high congestion, and transaction fees increase to absurd degrees. I’ve seen 1500 Satoshis per byte. So if the Bitcoin network is going to slow down either way, why are we paying these ridiculous fees?

Let’s be clear about something. Miners want higher fees. Of course they do! Why wouldn’t they?

But here’s the snag: higher fees encourage holding and strongly discourage spending or moving. This destroys Bitcoin’s viability as a currency. It has become an asset. It has become a stock, not just in the eyes of the masses who hungrily lick their lips at “all the money” they didn’t make, but to the Bitcoin miners as well, and, evidently, to most of the powers that be in the Bitcoin community. SegWit was a not-very-good idea on its own, but S2X had merit for the 2X part, but the whole thing crumbled. Why? Because miners began pulling out. Why did they pull out? Because the show was over, they could do so without losing face publicly, and they didn’t like the idea of doing twice the work for the same amount of money.

We have to be honest about this stuff and what’s actually happening in the Bitcoin world. The existence of the block definition has created a price floor and a bottleneck. Widening this bottleneck failed, but wasn’t ever going to work out in the long-run anyway. It has pitted you and me against one another to get our transactions processed, instead of pitting miners against one another to be the first to process our transactions. It has become entirely backward.

Bitcoin exists now for the miners, and only for the miners.

Well, and for the people who want it to be an asset instead of a currency.

But it doesn’t exist for you and me.

Valve, perhaps the most benign and progressive company that ever existed (seriously, Valve has quite a culture), has dropped support for Bitcoin at a time when Bitcoin needs to be getting more companies to support it. But it is going the opposite direction. Hint, hint, people.

Remove the blocksize definition from Bitcoin entirely. Let the miners fight over our transactions. Don’t let us fight over the miners. Bitcoin must exist for us, not for the miners. It’s already set on the wrong path. And there’s so much money at stake that I sincerely doubt it can be changed. But if Bitcoin is to survive, it has to change.

it cannot be stated too many times:

Miners should be competing with one another to get to our transactions first; we should not be competing with one another to get to the miners first.

The block size definition is what has created this bottlenecked mess.

This article not bought and paid for by Peter Ver. I dare people who parrot such nonsense to dispute anything I said.

 

Is Bitcoin in a Bubble?

No. Next question.

Are Cryptocurrencies generally in a bubble?

No. A bubble is when investors drive a stock’s value beyond its actual value, distorting the market through their cognitive biases, and the inexorable market forces inevitably reveal this to be a sham, which plummets the value of the stock back to its market value. There are a few considerations to be addressed here, because a bubble is the result of “believers” recruiting people to the investment in speculation, and an ultimate correction that causes most people to lose lots of money. The 2007 recession was caused by the bursting of a housing bubble that was brought about by low interest rates as decreed by the Federal Reserve, which gave the illusion of economic strength and created easily-received credit. This was illusory because most people did not have the economic strength to purchase a home on the credit they received, defaulted, and caused banks to lose large amounts of entirely made-up money. Not to get too out there with it, but banks didn’t actually lose any money during the Great Recession, because when people take out loans, banks just invent that money out of thin air (no, really, that’s what they do–they just add the money to their ledgers). Then, when you pay back the loan they gave themselves or another bank in your name, you’ve converted that imaginary money into real money. It’s stupid, counterintuitive, and an obvious ripoff for us. But anyway.

It’s true that crypto believers are attempting to recruit new people to cryptocurrencies, but there are a few things to this that are exceptional and worthy of taking notice. First, this is part of a global battle against globalized tyranny, which we are seeing take place with Brexit, threats of withdrawing from NATO, the Catalonia independence referendum, Kurdistan, and even the Californian possibility of secession. Throughout the world, people are rising up and stating unequivocally that they do not want to be controlled by others. Since the western world is dominated entirely by the USD and by state control of the economy, we in the west have decided to attack the power structure that allows for this tyranny, rather than trying to eliminate the tyranny itself. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and DASH have done more to challenge government authority than 40 years of the Libertarian party. This will only continue going forward.

Because that’s what cryptocurrencies are–they are currencies just like any other, except decentralized and created directly by We the People. Although Spain sent police forces dressed in all-black to beat the hell out of people who advocated independence for Catalonia, we in the United States have… different methods. And we know that we cannot survive a direct fight with our government. We’ve learned this lesson from the Afghans, from Al-Queda, from DAESH, from Iraq, and from countless others. The American military machine has simply become too powerful to fight directly. It’s true that the military machine would probably be unable to ultimately defeat us all, but the resistance would be decimated very early on, and there would be no realistic chance of ever defeating the American military machine, just as DAESH has no realistic chance of ever doing so. This being the case, we must all rely on subterfuge and strategy. It is in this vein that cryptocurrencies were invented (and other reasons).

Rather than throwing away our lives in violent revolution against the state (which would only produce a new state in its place), the anarchist and libertarian communities (because there is a strong overlap between libertarian/anarchist communities and the crypto communities) went one layer deeper: to the currency that funds the monstrous beast. Naturally, the leviathan that inflate our currency to avoid taxing us into oblivion, relying instead upon the hidden tax of inflation, which not even one in ten thousand people is capable of identifying as the reason they are poorer, is not going to take this lying down. This is why other features of cryptocurrencies are so important. They can be held anonymously. The state has made it virtually impossible to buy cryptocurrencies anonymously (though it is possible on the Onion network, but you have to be careful not to throw your money away), but, once you have them, there are several ways to store them securely, safely, privately, and anonymously. The state cannot tax what it cannot find.

In that sense, cryptocurrencies and anonymous wallets like Jaxx (which, if I recall correctly, screwed people over with the BTC/BCC split, and may do so again come the SegWit2x hard fork in November, but I actually do avoid Bitcoin, so I didn’t follow it closely) function as offshore bank accounts for the masses. There’s a digital trail, sure, but even the best hackers and NSA spies will find it nearly impossible to track cryptocurrencies as they move across the digital space. In New Hampshire, to where I am moving (hopefully around January! Yes, that soon! You can help the effort to help me move from bum-fucked Mississippi to the Free State by buying my book from Amazon, for only $2.99 for the eBook or $7.49 for the paperback), you can go an entire day, buying your cigarettes and dinner and whatever else, without ever using a USD. It’s not untraceable, but it’s damned close. Other cryptocurrencies are rising specifically to be completely untraceable.

Just as importantly, the ledger, which contains all BTC transactions, is kept in full on every BTC miner. Just as importantly, just about any noteworthy wallet will have non-American servers. Remember when the government tried to shut down The Pirate Bay? Well… Remember, the one time they actually succeeded for a few months? There were copies of TPB’s full server data all over the place. TPB themselves even have servers in multiple countries, many of which don’t give a shit about piracy or the U.S. government. Cryptocurrencies are like that, except even less centralized–there are miners and servers everywhere. If it became necessary, the entire history of BTC could be rebuilt from a single mining node.

Consider the German hyperinflation of the early 20th century that led directly to Hitler’s rise. Overnight, the German government wiped out everyone’s wealth. Imagine going to bed a millionaire and waking up unable to afford a loaf of bread. While it wasn’t quite that drastic, it was extremely severe, and it has happened with every paper currency that we have a record of. If the government attempted to wipe out everyone’s digital wealth, they would fail, because even a single copy could be used to restore all of it. Let there be no doubt on this note: every single day, we are relying on the goodwill of our government to not wipe out our wealth in USD, and they could do so in minutes. If they did, there would be no way to restore that.

Believers

The only real correlation between the rise of crypto values and “market bubbles” is that crypto believers are recruiting people to convert their money from USD into BTC, ETH, LTC, and others. This is very, very different from convincing people to invest their money in one specific stock or another. It is true that people who convert their money now into crypto currencies are likely to see remarkable gains to its value–BTC has gained 19,000% since Bitcoin China first opened–meaning a $1 conversion at the time BTCC first opened became $19,000 today. That’s true, but it won’t be true forever. People who get in early enough (probably a period of time within the next 2 years) stand to make a lot of money, but the gains will level out as more people convert their wealth into crypto currencies.

By the typical standards, crypto currencies are certainly in a bubble, but the real question is whether it’s an artificial or real bubble, and whether it will burst. The answer is “No.” Cryptos are here to stay. Like so many other things, they represent Pandora’s Box–once opened, they cannot be undone. The abortion issue is another one. AI is yet another. Mind reading technologies are still another. Blockchain and digital currencies are certainly one, as well. There’s no going back now, and it was designed to resist state authority.

The crypto bubble isn’t going to burst because Brexit happened, Kurdistan happened, California secession demands happened, Catalonia happened. All throughout the world, people are resisting centralized control of their lives, and the most powerful control any government wields is its direct control of our lives through the very means we use to secure our lives and sustenance. Cryptos will certainly continue to fluctuate, but their general trend is an indisputable up. This isn’t some new market; it’s a currency. It’s meant to be a store of value for your money. I understand that people don’t like risk and uncertainty, especially, when it comes to their wealth, so even though the USD has steadily stolen wealth from them since its inception, has defaulted at least three times, and has been inflated to the point that we have a twenty trillion dollar debt, it feels less risky to most people to simply continue using the USD.

I’ll be honest with you, though. Your money is a lot safer in ETH and LTC than it is in USD.

And congratulations to Catalonia on their vote, though I suspect its too soon to congratulate them on independence. They haven’t won independence yet. They’ve simply declared war on Spain (well, to be accurate, Spain declared war).

The Inevitable State War on Crypto

I’ve been watching the crypto market for a long time. Naturally, being a tech person and an anarchist, Bitcoin was something that I was deeply interested in, but it wasn’t until last year that I actually started putting any money into it–and even then, only small amounts. More recently, I’m putting in literally every penny that I can afford. It’s pretty clear to me that crypto-currencies are the future, and that fiat currencies are going to be crushed. But before we get into that, let’s discuss this idea first that BTC and other cryptos are “fiat” currencies.

Fiat?

Fiat means “by decree,” basically. A fiat currency is one that some authority figure decrees to be the currency. This is why the USD is a fiat currency–the U.S. government has made it our currency and has, in the way that monopolies do, fought very hard to keep any competition from existing. It’s not being inflationary that makes a currency “fiat.” It’s having a government say, “This is your currency.” If the USD was abolished and the government switched to BTC, then BTC would be a “fiat currency.” In fact, a isn’t the right article to use when discussing fiat currencies; the is usually more accurate. The USD is the fiat currency.

The Past

In the past, kings and nations had to pay for wars using their gold and silver coins. War is expensive, and it has always been expensive. Historically, men who otherwise could have been doing something productive are instead paid to go out and be destructive. This obviously constitutes a net drain on wealth. You not only have people not being productive–and being paid to not be productive–but they’re also being deliberately destructive. Resources, gold, labor, man-hours… all of these things are destroyed during war, and all of them could have been used in a more capitalist sense by investing them and turning them into more wealth and resources.

Taxes were historically high upon barons and lords, who in turn taxed the shit out of their peasants to pay the king’s taxes. The peasants were not usually taxed directly by the king; the king commanded the barons, dukes, and lords to give him money, and they did so. However, the barons, dukes, and lords didn’t really do anything to earn money (neither did the king, of course), and so they had to steal it from the peasants through taxation. The king had to pay his soldiers to fight the wars, had to pay for swords and ships, and all of these other things, because an unpaid soldier is a disloyal soldier.

Soldiers are always the first people to be paid by the ruling power. We see this today in Venezuela where, despite crippling national poverty, soldiers still enforce the government’s bidding because they are still being paid, and offered extra toilet paper for their service. It becomes a matter of survival for the soldiers–everyone else is starving, but they can keep themselves and their families provided-for by continuing to serve the system that has made everyone else poor, but if they refuse to serve, then their families will starve with everyone else.

Because it was a necessity to pay soldiers and because it was impossible for any king to do everything they needed to do while also paying for a war, they instead resorted to inflation. Inflation is when the amount of currency increases while the amount of wealth it represents stays the same or decreases (typically, it decreases). Let’s use a silly example to explain it.

I give you ten M&Ms and I say “These are worth $100.” This means that each M&M is worth $10, yes? Then I say, “I’m going to make you more wealthy. Here’s twenty more M&Ms.” But you find, once you have thirty M&Ms, that they’re still only worth $100. You have more M&Ms, sure, but you still only have $100. Instead of making you richer, you have the same amount of money that you had before. This is inflation. The value of the M&M was inflated. Real life inflation is more dangerous than this, because I don’t actually give you the other twenty M&Ms. In reality, I keep them, and let you keep yours. You still have ten M&Ms, but they’re only worth $33.33 now. I didn’t make you wealthier, did I? I made you poorer.

I robbed you.

Instead of paying with pure gold coins, kings stretched their gold further by taking cheap metals like tin and plating them with gold. It was still “a gold coin,” but it was worth much, much less than a pure gold coin. Instead of having only one thousand gold coins, the king had ten thousand of these gold-plated coins. So if a soldier was paid one coin a week, then he was able to pay ten thousand soldiers that week, instead of only one thousand.

Today the United States Government does this by printing money instead of adding tin to gold coins, but it has exactly the same effect. Earlier today I watched a video of some obnoxious twats who rented dinosaur costumes to go to the White House and “protest” with signs saying that the government should fund national sciences. They may think that now, because the government’s inflation allows them to mask the true cost of this crap. But if the government had to actually steal from us tax us to pay its bills, they wouldn’t be out there asking for their taxes to be increased.

You know, people think our taxes pay for our roads, our education, our bridges, Medicare, Medicaid, and these wars… That’s so untrue. Our taxes leave a huge deficit, to the tune of about $600 billion dollars every year, and that deficit just increases, raising the National Debt ever more. Even with obscene taxation (because we are taxed far more heavily than the colonists would have stood for), the government must inflate the currency to obscene degrees by borrowing it from the private banking cartel that is the Federal Reserve Bank.

The Future

So how do crypto-currencies fit into this? Well, the U.S. government can’t inflate them. They’re decentralized, so they can’t be inflated like that. The U.S. Government can drop money into bank accounts and buy large amounts of crypto, and it’s certainly doing so, but this is pouring value into the cryptos because the USD represents value because it’s easier to exchange and is used in wage payments. If clients paid my invoices in LTC and ETH… That would be fantastic. Anyway, if they did so, then my labor would be pouring value into LTC and ETH, and every new coin would be a representation of the work that I did to earn it. As it is now, it’s a representation of how much USD I spent and, in theory, the USD is a representation of the work I did to earn it.

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The government can’t just tell Crypto Managers, “We want 35 Bitcoins to pay for something,” because there are no “Crypto Managers” they can tell it to. This is the way the Federal Reserve System works, of course–the government tells this cartel of privately owned banks that it wants money (which has Interest attached to it, naturally), and the bank coalition hands it over, because they’re assured to make money in the long-run since the government will steal from us to pay it back. This money is created out of thin air, devaluing all the existent money like the M&Ms above.

If the government wants crypto, it has to buy them. To do that, it must raise money. To do that, it must steal from us. This will work for a while, and the government will buy cryptos, but the continual increase in value that cryptos are seeing will continue to cause people to move away from the USD and into cryptos. Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target will inevitably start taking the more popular cryptos. We saw exactly the same thing with credit and debit cards, and with personal checks. There are minimal differences, because the debit cards and the personal checks also represented wealth. When people store their wealth, they want it to still be there when they go to retrieve it. A history of it “not being there” is why we have FDIC today, and is what the movie It’s a Wonderful Life is sort of about. Think of each crypto as its own MasterCard or Visa or Discover or American Express. Right now, I’d say BTC is Visa, ETH is MasterCard, LTC is American Express, and DASH is probably Discover.

In the beginning of cards, no one took them, because not enough people had the cards for the companies to justify the expense in setting up their systems to accept them as payment. There are also legal hurdles, but let’s put those aside for the moment. As more people make money in cryptos and find that they are excellent places to store wealth, more people will store their wealth in them, and more people will carry the “cards” and motivate Target et al. to install “card processing machines.” In time (and, due to how accelerated social changes have become, I’d bet it will be within ten years), larger corporate employers will offer employees the option of being paid in crypto currencies.

This is something that cannot be stopped. Pandora’s Box is open, and the only way to pull the plug now is to shut down the entire Internet and never let it come back online. Every BTC miner has a full copy of the blockchain and could restore the network. There is no amount of cracking down that could get and destroy every single part of the crypto networks. They will try, of course. They have no choice. To survive, they must try. We’re getting to that.

There already exist completely anonymous wallets like Jaxx, which allow a person to send and receive crypto without giving up any personal identifying information. This stuff is extremely difficult (although not impossible) to track. I purchase through Coinbase and then send to one of three other wallets. If the state zoomed in on me, they could certainly figure out exactly how much money I have where, but they can’t do this for everyone, and eventually they’ll be overwhelmed solely by numbers–it’s like how torrent sites openly exist today, such as the Pirate Bay. And even if The Pirate Bay one day finally goes down, a hundred will pop up in its place.

The Internet gave us far more power than they ever anticipated, and cryptos are the next stage of that. Once we have cryptos, we can be paid, and we can make purchases, all without ever touching the USD. The USD, which steadily loses value, is a terrible investment. It takes $20 today to buy what $1 bought in 1913. Meanwhile, it takes 0.1 BTC to buy today what it took 1 BTC to buy a year ago. Cryptos have been moving in the opposite direction from the USD; while it becomes less valuable, they become more valuable. Which would you want to be paid in? Which would you rather have–a one hundred dollar bill, or 1.2 Litecoins?

To make matters even worse, they will find that it’s very, very difficult to tax. And it’s impossible to tax in large amounts. Every single person would have to be audited. Massive amounts of wealth will slip right through the IRS’s fingers. “How much crypto do you have?”

“I plead the Fifth.”

They can easily look up your social security number to find your checking and savings accounts, and to find your stocks and shares, and tax you accordingly. But how are they going to find your crypto wallets? What if you store your crypto wallet on an Onion server–on the Tor network? Anonymity within anonymity.

What will happen when Saudi Arabia says, “Sorry, man, but you have to pay us in ETH for our gas”?

It won’t matter by that point, of course. By that point, every American citizen will have started moving away from the USD. Wal-Mart and other corporations will accept it as payment, and they’ll offer to pay people in the same currency. The government’s stranglehold on our wealth will have been broken. So how will it pay $300,000 to teach hookers in the Phillipines how to use condoms? How will it pay $1.6 trillion to fight in foreign countries? The soldiers wouldn’t accept the USD as payment, and neither would the tank and missile manufacturers.

“Taxation” is the only way–inflation will have been ruled out, because they don’t control the currency and can’t inflate it.

And this is why the anonymity matters. They cannot tax what they cannot track. And if they begin kidnapping random people to extort money from them, I don’t believe even the slothen, lackadaisical Americans would put up with that. “We’re going to institute a 0.01 BTC tax to pay for a hammer for NASA to use.”

lol.

Yeah, right.

Once we have to actually be directly taxed to pay for this shit, these government schemes will evaporate. You want to End the Fed? You want to abolish the Department of Education? You want to end Medicaid and welfare? You want to stop the wars? You want to keep the government from paying ludicrous amounts of money to teach hookers how to use condoms?

It’s done with cryptos.

I don’t know if Bitcoin will be one of the holdouts in the end. It has a lot of baggage attached to it. To many people, Bitcoin is used for money laundering and for paying ransoms. It’s going to be very difficult for BTC to get out from under that shadow, even if it’s possible. And I know BTC people are celebrating as it approaches $5,000 per (and I would be, too), and I congratulate them–but their excitement is a little undue. We’re still in the very, very early phases of this. We haven’t even come close to 5% adoption rates. We’re still deep in the Early Adopter phase.

Once we get around 5%, television shows and movies will begin featuring cryptos. Popular mainstream figures and shows like Pewdewpie, Family Guy, Rick & Morty, and South Park will begin mentioning it in regular conversation. They’ll show characters making money with it, making purchases with it… Then, with the Trend Setters like them on board, we’ll reach about 15% adoption. The Trend Setters will bring in the Trend Followers, and that is when Target et al. will start accepting it at the cash registers.

Many people will enter expecting to multiply their wealth by twenty times, hundred times, and so on, but that phase of the cryptos will mostly be over, and a few primary cryptos will be in the lead, and there they will stay until the next paradigm shift. Some new crypto with some new, novel algorithm won’t sway the masses of people. They won’t be impressed by Newcoin’s shiny new algorithms, and will stay with whatever cryptos are in the lead. I think it’s going to be Ethereum, Litecoin, and something else–probably not Bitcoin, because of all its baggage (and its price). Adoption rates will slow down, as these trend followers tell everyone that the “wealth people were making” must have been greatly exaggerated, because they’re only making 1% or 2% gains. The late arrivers will finally get on board, leaving only the iconoclasts, rebels, and conservatives out of the loop, and by then the Gold Rush will officially be over. There will be no more meteoric rises from $40 to $100, or from $600 to $5000.

And there will be losses. I see a lot of people excited about LTC’s climb right now–myself among them, and I really can’t afford for it to plummet–but it did plummet earlier this year, coming in at about $15 per and dropping to less than $2 each around February. Someone who bought 100 LTC while it was $15 each and sold them when it fell to $2 each lost $1300.

I don’t like Bitcoin, to be honest. It has too much baggage, and I’m more than a little envious of the people who bought it at $10 a pop and now have tens of thousands of dollars. What can I say? I’m honest about my motives. I want to see BTC collapse because I’ll feel better about having missed that boat, and I want to see the smugness wiped from Bitcoin Champions’ faces. It’s petty, I know. But the smugness! My god, the smugness. They act like it’s impossible for BTC to rapidly collapse. And it’s not only possible, it’s extremely likely to, around the time the Trend Setters start coming in.

The dumbest thing I heard this week was someone saying that “the number of coins purchased doesn’t matter–its percentage of growth relative to the USD is all that matters.”

That’s Old Paradigm thinking. In fact, the amount of coinage is all that ultimately matters. If the USD collapses, which it ultimately will, and cryptos will be the reason why, it won’t matter one tiny freaking bit that BTC was valued much more highly, according to the USD, than ETH. 0.01 BTC may be worth $100 right now, but if you take that USD away, what do you have? You have 0.01 of a currency. And without the USD, that 0.01 of a currency is a lot less than 1.00 of another currency. Without the USD measuring these currencies relative to one another, the amount of coinage will be all that freaking matters. You could have your wealth vanish in a heartbeat if people decide that a car is worth more than 6 BTC. Without the USD there saying those 6 BTC are worth $30,000, how are you going to get anyone else to accept that your 6 BTC are an even exchange for a car?

This is why the amount of coinage matters. If you get trapped in the Old Paradigm and attempt to apply it to the New Paradigm, in the end I don’t think you’ll have any wealth left at all. Right now, the only thing keeping BTC so valuable is literally the existence of these other currencies. Erase them from the equation, and what do you have? 0.04 BTC. Well, I’ll have quite a lot more than that of ETH and LTC.

And most people intuitively understand this, even if they couldn’t elucidate it. Most people won’t be willing to drop $500 on a tenth of a Bitcoin when they could spend that same amount of money and get five Litecoins. Who would buy a tenth of a BTC instead of five LTC? Not very many people. And their reasoning is solid, even if they don’t realize it, and even if they don’t know why, exactly, they prefer “five of one thing” to “0.1 of another thing,” even if the values are theoretically equal: those values will vanish. Cryptos themselves will make sure that those values vanish, and that the only thing that will be left is “five of this coin” and “0.1 of that coin.”

The Myth of American Self-Governance

Here in the United States, we are absolutely in love with this thing that we call “public property.” It sounds like such a great and noble idea–have the state take control of property and resources, and use them for the good of “the people.” Never mind that this is a verbatim description of socialism.

The Federal Government alone owns nearly 28% of all land in the United States, and much of it is in the west, where it owns nearly fifty percent. In Alaska, the situation is even worse, and the Federal Government owns nearly 90% of all land, even though, by all rights, the whole of Alaska was a private purchase. But never mind that, too. This handy resource incidentally lists “Public Land Ownership” by state.

“Public land ownership.”

If you add “state government land ownership” and “federal government land ownership” together for each state, you get figures that are absolutely shocking.

We colloquially call this stuff “public land,” in the same way that we say “We are the government.” After all, if the government owns all that land, and we are the government, then we own all that land. It’s a simple step of logic. Resting as it does on the assumption that “we are the government,” it would follow that, if it should turn out that we are not the government, then we do not own that land–some third party called “the government” does. So let’s move to Rothbard and have some logic dropped on the subject.

First, there is the argument of self-harm: if “we” are the government, then anything that the government does to us is considered voluntarily, and it is taken that we did it to ourselves. Quite to many people’s surprise, Hitler’s Nazi regime was democratically elected. By this reasoning–that in a democracy, “we are the government”–the Jews were not systematically murdered by the government. Instead, the Jews committed suicide.

This is not some word game. It is the logical conclusion of the fallacious notion that “we” are this third party entity that does stuff. Most assuredly, I am not the government. I have no hand in governance, and my votes to do so are routinely thrown away entirely. The people with government power–they are the government. Not you and me.

Then there is the argument of voluntary conscription. If “we” are the government, then if the government institutes conscription and sends many young men against their will to fight and die in foreign countries, then nothing untoward has happened. Because “they” are somehow the government, they weren’t conscripted; they volunteered to be sent, against their will, to foreign countries. I would hope it isn’t necessary to point out the absolute absurdity in saying that they volunteered to be forced to do something against their will.

Moreover, if the government criminalizes homosexuality, then the homosexuals who are arrested and imprisoned “did it to themselves.” After all, “they” are the government, so “they” somehow voted that they should be considered criminals and imprisoned against their wills.

It’s painfully obvious that we are not the government. In fact, this is so obvious that it wouldn’t be necessary to point out at all if this banality hadn’t propagated largely unchecked throughout western society. Those people who make up the city council? They’re not me. They and I are different people. Those people who make up the state legislature–they are not me. They and I are different people. Those people who wear badges and enforce the rules of the state and federal legislatures–they are not me. They and I are different people. We are not “them.” We are “their subjects.”

Representatives

“Fine,” the American liberal begrudgingly admits. “We aren’t literally ‘the government.’ But we do elect our representatives, who act in our best interests. Obviously, every single person can’t be their own government agent, and this is why representative democracy [what others would call “a republic,” of course] exists. So while you aren’t literally ‘the government,’ you are in control of it, because you pick your representatives.”

What a statement of astounding privilege. It must be nice to be so firmly within an ideological majority that one is assured representation among the government that rules us and that we have agreed “we are not.” Let there be no doubt: if you want to know what genuine privilege in the United States looks like, that is it–the notion that because we vote for our representatives we are represented.

As a Nietzschean Anarchist, I am an extreme ideological minority. In fact, I’m the only person I know who is a Nietzschean Anarchist. My ideal form of governance cannot be enacted by a third party representative, because the representative himself would be ruling me, and, as a Nietzschean Anarchist, I reject his authority to do so. So even if there were ten million other Nietzschean Anarchists out there, we could not be represented within the government, and the idea here is that if we do not think the governance system in place is compatible with our worldview, then we are not entitled to have the governance system that we want.

“Some exclusions apply,” would be a fitting end to the statement that “We elect our representatives.”

This state of affairs, where minorities of whatever flavor are not allowed a seat at the governing table, is entirely democratic–the rule by the mob, by the majority. Whoever has the most numbers makes the rules, and anyone who isn’t in that majority can get over it. Because I’m a minority of one, I am not entitled to self-governance as they are, and they are entitled to rule over me, whether I like it or not.

Already, the idea of “representatives” is on shaky ground. Some people have representatives. Have we not heard throughout the last 9 months that “Donald Trump doesn’t represent me”? Welcome to my world, where none of these people represent me. It doesn’t feel very good, does it, to be ruled over by someone with whom you disagree fundamentally? This is what you force upon me every time you elect your representative. You force me into the exact position that you are in right now because you are ruled by a government entirely controlled by Republicans. And those Republicans who felt this way in 2008, when President Obama was elected with a largely democratic congress–you are forcing upon liberals and people like me governance that we do not want. So it quite obviously isn’t “self-governance,” because it’s “governance by representatives.” And these representatives quite obviously do not “represent us.” They “represent some.” Those not represented… can just get fucked, as far as the ruling power is concerned, and this is ubiquitous throughout human history and American history, regardless of whatever political party or political ideology controlled the government.

As if all that wasn’t enough (which it should be), there is a deeper fallacy underlying the idea that, just because we can elect people to government, these people constitute “representatives” and are actually bound to do anything that we want them to do. Senator John McCain’s voting against the bill to “slim repeal” the Affordable Care Act is incontrovertible proof that “representatives” are what we already knew them to be–individuals with their own predilections, preferences, and concerns. They act in accord with our wishes only when our wishes overlap with theirs. It is a simple matter, when our desires conflict with theirs, to smooth over the matter and hold onto power anyway. If this was not true, then we would not have terrible approval ratings and such absurdly high re-election rates. While these ratings and rates are exaggerated on social media, there is still truth to them. As much as Mississippi despises Roger Wicker for being a typical neo-con, he’s not going anywhere.

As it happens, Rothbard also addressed the Representative Myth:

We cannot, in this chapter, develop the many problems and fallacies of “democracy.” Suffice it to say here that an individual’s true agent or “representative” is always subject to that individual’s orders, can be dismissed at  any time and cannot act contrary to the interests or wishes of his principal. Clearly, the “representative” in a  democracy can never fulfill such agency functions…

If these don’t sound like the “representatives” you think we have, then I would suggest the “representatives” that you think we have are not “representatives” as much as they are “people elected to power whose desires theoretically overlap with the electing individual’s to some degree, and, ideally, this overlap would cause the elected person to behave in a way the elector desires.”

In practice, however, the government and its members do, more or less, whatever they want. To restrain them, we produced a piece of paper and called it “The Constitution.” It is not “the highest law of the land” as people often suggest; it is more than that. It is the document that defined our government. It is the charter that defined our government. It is also completely meaningless today, with every single part of the Bill of Rights lying tattered and buried beneath 6,000 pages of legalese bullshit. Because if a judge can produce such an argument about how stopping and frisking people “totally” doesn’t violate people’s Fourth Amendment rights, then the government can freely violate the Fourth Amendment with impunity. The sheet of paper does nothing to stop them. It basically says “You must not do that.” Yeah, but they do that, so…

Back to Public Property

So if we are not “the government,” and if our representatives do not represent us, then what is the government? It is a cabal of people with the power to rule over us all. We are not those people, and those people only do what we want if it happens to coincide with what they want to do anyway. If this is sounding less and less like the “land of the free” that you think we’re in, I’d suggest that you probably attended a public school. Of course, their goal is not to create free-thinking, independent, autonomous citizens. That’s the last thing any government would want. Do you expect Wal-Mart to open up seminars and education programs on how to become self-sufficient? Of course not.

If this “government” is not us and is, in fact, some external thing that rules over us, then it follows that property it owns is not “public property.” It’s government property. If this was true, then we would expect the government to create all sorts of rules about how its property can be used, we would expect severe usage limitations on it, and we would expect it to use its enforcers–police–to ensure that “we the people” who allegedly “own” this property abide its rules and regulations. And, in fact, that’s exactly what we find.

Ostensibly, the American people are taxed to pay for roads that snake across the country. Supposedly, these roads belong to us, and we can use them as we want. Except that’s obviously not true, is it? Sobriety checkpoints, random insurance checkpoints, vehicular registration, drivers’ licenses, inspection stickers, and all kinds of other shit are required to use these roads that supposedly belong to us because we paid for them. And this state of affairs is supposedly okay because “we are the government,” so we imposed these rules on ourselves. Except we know this last statement is untrue, because we already proved it to be untrue. The government imposed these rules on us. It doesn’t matter if you agree with them or not–you didn’t impose them, and you cannot depose them if you have a change of heart.

Imagine that for a moment, if you truly think that we imposed these regulations on ourselves. Put yourself in the position of becoming a Mormon and having the epiphany that insurance is tantamount to gambling (which it is), and that you cannot, in good conscience, participate in the scheme (because it is a scheme–imagine if everyone was required to go to a casino and spend $100 in a slot machine every month knowing that “the house always wins”). What can you do about it? What can you do about it once you have decided that these laws imposed upon us are unjust?

Nothing.

Because you didn’t impose them, and you don’t control them. You are at their mercy, and the only reason this is somewhat escapable is because so many Americans reflexively have decided that the insurance scam is a positive thing (especially now that it has extended to health insurance scams).

This argument about “public property” applies to all public property. It’s a fiction. There is only personal property and state property, and we must stop confusing the two. If we understood that we are most certainly not “the government,” then this myth would have to fade, because it would become obvious that we and the government are entirely different things. We are the subjects of government.

Even if you agree with the Republican federal government, you are not governing yourself. You are being governed by other people, and you knew this eight years ago when you were pitching a fit because the Democratic federal government was governing you. You knew this to the extent that you flooded the White House website with secession petitions. And you, liberals, you know this now–you are not the Republican government, and neither are you represented by it. It rules over you, whether you like it or not.

And if you don’t obey, it will send its footsoldiers to kidnap you and imprison you against your will. If you resist this kidnapping, its footsoldiers will murder you. If you don’t respect its authoritah! to order you around and tell you what you can and can’t do, then it will send people to kill you. The bullshit lie that democracy and republic governments are somehow different, and that these truths are no longer truths.

We hold these truths to be self-evident–that all governments are created evil, that they are endowed by no one with the power to commit crimes without repercussions; that among these crimes are murder, assault, theft, and kidnapping.

Liberty Today, 8-28-17

Unmarked Police Cars

The Libertarian Party of Tate County (of which I am the Chair) voted by two-thirds majority Saturday evening to strongly condemn the usage of unmarked police cars in Tate County, because they’ve been appearing in great numbers in the last few weeks. Our reasoning for this is simple: they create dangerous situations. As recently as July, 2017, a woman was pulled over by an unmarked patrol car, and then was raped and brutalized. Of course, we soon learned that this person was not a law enforcement officer, and was actually just someone who purchased a Halloween costume and a blue light from, perhaps, Alibaba.

Let there be no doubt of this: if LEO did not occasionally use unmarked police vehicles, then any person who saw blue lights in their rearview mirror emanating from an unmarked police vehicle would immediately know that the person attempting to pull them over is an imposter. It is because of this ambiguity, that the person might be a cop, that people are reluctant to continue driving. Besides which, we have all seen countless videos of people who specifically called 911 to verify the person behind them was a LEO in an unmarked car, only to be brutalized by the officers once the car was verified as legitimate, and accused of “resisting arrest” and “attempting escape.”

The use of unmarked squad cars is the clearest possible evidence we could ever hope to receive that Law Enforcement Agencies do not care about “serving and protecting,” and that they are instead motivated by revenue from moving violations. The only benefit to using unmarked cars is to catch drivers acting more naturally–where they are more likely to speed, less likely to use turn signals, more likely to run red lights and stop signs, and so on. However bad we might think these behaviors are, we cannot deny that women are being raped because LEO would rather ticket more of these people who run red lights thinking there is no cop around than they would rather prevent rape.

To combat this, various agencies have released statements and guides, but these fall short–it is rather like telling someone to get a bucket for the blood being spilled when you stab them, instead of simply ceasing to stab them. It’s like handing a smoker a cough drop instead of suggesting that they quit smoking. Besides which, LEO are increasingly likely to discard all of these decades of advice about “waiting to pull over until you are in a clearly publicly visible place” and are likely to treat such people as “attempting to flee the scene.”

It’s an absolute disgrace that any agency that exists to “serve and protect” would create a situation where a woman driving alone at night would not be absolutely certain that the person attempting to pull her over is a Law Enforcement Officer, and terrified that, if she does not immediately pull over, she will be brutalized. In fact, there is a high chance that, even if the patrol car is with law enforcement, she will be raped anyway while police dig inside of her vagina for drugs. The situation between We the People and Law Enforcement in this nation has never been so strained and so precipitously on the edge of disaster, with outright war likely just around the corner, and it is solely up to Law Enforcement to regain community trust.

It is true that such behaviors have not spread to Tate County, and it is also true that Tate County was one of the first places in the nation to require that its officers wear body cams (for which Mississippi and Tate County received no credit, of course), but not ten miles to the north of us is DeSoto County, where the Southaven Police Department recently invaded a man’s home and executed him without a warrant and without any cause. This must be nipped in the bud now, before this has the chance to spread to Tate County. Again, we could lead the nation in officer accountability by having our Sheriff’s Department either sell their unmarked vehicles, or pay to have them repainted.

Toward this end, we are doing a few things. First, we are drafting a letter to the local paper to gauge public response. Secondly, we will be collecting petition signatures demanding the Sheriff’s Office immediately cease all usage of such vehicles, and immediately begin ticketing and arresting any persons attempting to enforce any and all traffic or moving violations in an unmarked police vehicle. Thirdly, we will be going before the city councils, aldermen, etc. to attempt to get legislation passed criminalizing any police work executed in unmarked vehicles, and requiring that any evidence obtained from the use of such vehicles be discarded and destroyed, just as is the case for evidence obtained by warrantless searches.

We are coming down as hard as we can on unmarked police vehicles, because we actually care about police accountability, and we demand that our Law Enforcement Officers take steps to actually make the community safer, not more dangerous.

Libertarian Socialists

Once upon a time, I wrote something to the effect of “libertarian socialism is nonsense.” I don’t remember how I phrased it. I made this statement based on my understanding of what “libertarian” means and my understanding of what “socialism” means. Having now discussed it with some libertarian socialists, I fully stand by my statement: as the words are most commonly used, “libertarian socialism” is an oxymoron.

In fact, reading the ideology makes two things clear. First, when they say “libertarian,” what they actually mean is “anarcho.” Secondly, when they say “socialism,” what they actually mean is “communism.” I discussed this with Matt Kuehnel, and he repeatedly stated that “libertarian socialism” isn’t a problem because “anarchism is the logical completion of libertarianism.” I don’t disagree, and I’ve said it myself, but the fact remains that “libertarian” does not equate to “anarchist.” There are minarchists, and there are classical liberals who do call themselves “libertarian.” I’ve argued extensively that the NAP, fully applied, yields anarchism, but that doesn’t give me the right to redefine “libertarian” to mean “anarchist,” which I’ve pointed out in the past by saying I wouldn’t support an anarchist who ran for the Libertarian Party as an anarchist.

He pointed out, rightly, that I call myself an “anarcho-capitalist,” even though I don’t mean “capitalist” in the sense that almost everyone else means it. That’s true. I’m also fully cognizant of that, and spend much of my time on Quora trying to show people that what we have in the United States is a more lenient form of socialism, not capitalism. It’s why I described the best argument “for” anarcho-capitalism as being “an explanation of what anarcho-capitalism is.” This is because most people think “anarchy” means “chaos,” and that “capitalism” is the mess of socialist government policies we have today. Because of this, they think anarcho-capitalism must mean some weird amalgam of these two things–rule by corporate elites, or something to that effect.

This is why many people who happen to share the same general ideology that I do instead call themselves “free market anarchists” or something like that–because the word “capitalism” is heavily tainted, was conceived disparagingly by Karl Marx in Das Kapital, and isn’t taken to mean “capitalism” as we of the Austrian persuasion mean it. It’s also part of the reason why, when push comes to shove, I call myself a Nietzschean Anarchist far more often than I do an “anarcho-capitalist.” People always ask me what I mean by “Nietzschen Anarchist,” while fewer people ask me what is meant by “anarcho-capitalist.”

Even the definitions that Marx and Engels used, though, cited “socialism” as a middleground between capitalism and communism. Marxism prescribes socialism as the eye of the storm through which society must pass to break free of the bourgeois and restore ownership and equality to the workers in a communist society–a communist society that is, in fact, anarchic in nature. Communism is anarchic; anarchy is not communistic (much to the dismay of Anarcho-Communists). Speaking as someone who is routinely a Most Viewed Writer in Anarchism and Anarcho-Capitalism on the closest thing we have to a market-based system of peer review, Socialism is when the state seizes all capital and uses it for the benefit of the workers, while Communism is when the workers seize the capital directly and eliminate the state as the middleman.

As I’ve pointed out before, Socialism and Communism both would be better called “Consumptionism,” because they restrict private ownership of all goods to only consumption goods, whereas Capitalism is called “Capitalism” because it allows the private ownership of all goods, including capital goods. There is, of course, a recognized and critical difference between a consumption good and a capital good. This reality is recognized by capitalists, communists, and socialists alike. After all, the toothpaste manufacturing facility, as a capital good, may be privately or communally owned, but no one on any side of this discussion would agree that a tube of toothpaste must be communally owned.

I’ve even gotten socialists to agree with my statement that fascism and socialism are identical. They rebuffed that the “difference” is the intent of the rulers, and that in socialism the rulers act in the best interests of the working class, but they ultimately were forced to admit that it is identical in behavior and appearance to fascism. In fact, they are two flavors of the same ice cream.

So I don’t take issue with Libertarian Socialists any longer. However, they’re anarcho-communists, which is exactly what their own ideology describes. They just don’t call themselves Anarcho-Communists. That’s fine–they can call themselves anything they want, and redefine things in whatever way they want. But they can’t blame other people for not knowing that they’re using their own special definitions, you know? I can’t (and don’t) blame people for not knowing what capitalism is when I describe myself as an anarcho-capitalist. In fact, probably a third of my answers on Quora briefly spend time pointing out that “capitalism,” as used by anarcho-capitalists, bears no relation to what most people think of as “capitalism.”

Rent is Theft?

This is popping up a lot lately, so Matt Kuehnel and I are going to debate “rent is theft” in September (the date is TBA). I’ve proposed that we do this one 2v2 standard team format, to shake things up a bit. I think that would be more fun, anyway. I’d forgotten how much I love formal debates. I mean, I was just in one three days ago, and I’m already itching to do another. It has been nearly a decade since I did one, so I was rusty, but I think it will be alright. This was also going to be last night’s segment of Libertarian Drama of the Week on “Call to Freedom” with Will Coley and Thom Gray (I’m kinda like a permanent guest at this point), but we had technical difficulties and had to call the show early.

And that’s what is presently going on.

Debate on the Nature & Scope of Self-Defense

Friday night, I debated with Matt Kuehnel of “Dankertarians,” who run the website https://dankertarians.com. I don’t really follow the site or the page, but I think they make memes or something. I’m not entirely sure. Matt is a hard-left leaning libertarian of the anarchist persuasion and calls himself a Libertarian Socialist. From my reading of Libertarian Socialism, it’s basically anarcho-communism by a different name. C’est la vie, it’s not important.

After we’d each been cross-examined, we featured Will Coley of Muslims 4 Liberty to talk about his MALIC center project, where he is opening a mosque and interfaith place of worship in Keene, New Hampshire to serve the community there. As a fun bonus, it is opening within five miles of where now felon Chris Cantwell lives. The project has been funded well, but it could use your support, and not just to make a Nazi cry by having a mosque open up in his backyard; even as an atheist, I’m fully on-board with the project. You can find it here, and I hope that you can throw $5 his direction.

I took basically the position that you’ve heard me describe before: there are limits to what is and isn’t self-defense–objective criteria by which we determine an act was self-defense. This is critically important, because saying “I was defending myself” is not just an excuse for one’s own actions; it’s an accusation of criminal behavior. In order for me to be “defending myself,” the person attacking me must be guilty of a crime–assault, battery, etc. Yet this person has the right to be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty (socially or legally–as I reminded Matt several times throughout the debate, we’re not talking about law as much as we are social custom and what is right). If my claim of self-defense is to hold up, I must prove beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that the person against whom I defended myself was guilty of a crime. This often gets lost in the self-defense debate, but there’s never just one person: both sides are prosecutor and defendant, and both must be presumed innocent.

Anyway, all that said, I was really rusty, and it showed. I haven’t formally debated anyone in years. And after all the bitching about formality, wouldn’t you know it? It was I who cross-examined someone when I shouldn’t have. Anyway, the debate weighs in at just over an hour, and we take questions at the end, so I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for watching.

Anarchy in Action

So… I’m at Anarchist Shemale Fest, which is kinda like the Porcfest pre-party. The more radical and audacious people come to Anarchist Shemale Fest, and I’d wager the guess that nearly everyone here is an anarchist/voluntaryist. There’s no practical difference between an anarcho-capitalist and a voluntaryist, except that the AnCap recognizes that capitalism is the most efficiency and most likely method of voluntary interactions.

Anyway.

It’s Shirefest, Muslims 4 Liberty Fest, Anarchist Shemale Fest, Somalia Fest… It’s Individualism Fest.

Last night, we had a rave. A Muslim was the DJ. An anarchist shemale took videos and pics, and danced with some gay dudes and a half naked chick while her boyfriend fucked an American flag that was on the ground. There are really no rules here, and no one makes the claim that this Individualism Fest is family friendly, but there are kids running around anyway.

You can’t walk fifteen feet without smelling someone smoking weed, drinking, or doing something heavier. Obviously, there are overarching laws, since this is taking place in the United States, a nation which has about as many laws as it does people, and within New Hampshire, a state that has made phenomenal strides toward libertarianism yet still has far to go. But none of those laws really apply here. They’re not on anyone’s mind, not even distantly.

People open carry hatchets, knives, and guns. There is no theft here–any theft that’s occurred here has been the result of family members who weren’t libertarians. There is zero chance that any of the kids wandering around are going to be kidnapped or molested, and if they happen to stumble across sexual activity, someone will stop and send them away.

It’s anarchism in action.

It really goes to show the power of libertarian ideology. Individualism, and the mutual respect that is born of compassion, empathy, and peace. In the five years that Will has been coming, there’s never been a fight. The only real altercation occurred when Cantwell–general alt-right bullshit–got drunk as hell and, reportedly, tried to drive his van through a crowd of people. But Cantwell is no longer allowed on the premises.

He has been shunned from the anarchist society. He wasn’t attacked by thugs with guns for his unacceptable behavior. He was shunned, and forbidden from returning to this private property.

This is what peace, love, and liberty can do.

The whole thing is a lot like Woodstock, to be totally honest, except there’s an ideology and a central principle that guides us all: non-aggression. No one wants to be the victim of aggression, and therefore no one uses aggression to make someone else such a victim. There is also the lack of live music, and I was going to bring an acoustic guitar for exactly that purpose. I will next year. Of course, next year I’ll be here as a vendor; this year I’m getting a feel for things and meeting people.

I’ve talked with Liberty Radio Network about getting a show on there, and right now the general idea is that it would be better, since I’m trans, to have me on the two gay dudes’ show as another co-host. However, I prefer flying solo, so I’m going to keep podcasting and liaising with them now that I’ve met them and have that connection.

I should have made a bunch of those perler bead anarchy symbols, but it didn’t even occur to me. I’m currently looking into “Godless & Lawless” bumper stickers and similar things, all of which would be good merchandise for here. C’est la vie. Now I know.

Of course, there’s no sales tax on things, because taxation is theft, and no one is getting robbed here. This is an anarchist paradise that we’ve carved in the center of the fascist, overblown, military-based United States, and, at least here, we are free.

Anyone curious about how anarchy can actually work should really come to Somalia Fest next year. I’m also hoping to speak at Porcfest next year, since I’ve been building a lot of connections this year and amplifying my voice.

Most of the people here accept crypto currencies as payment.

Will is running The Cultural Appropriation Grill. In fact, Will has made it a point to say that he’s cooking and selling culturally appropriated food because he’s a dirty capitalist.

One guy is selling 3 hours of cell phone charging for $1.

If I was willing, I could change outfits and make $300, at least, by the end of the day. My cash supply is fast depleting, too. 🙁

It would have been alright, but I ended up having to pay part of two hotel rooms that I wasn’t anticipating having to pay for (The plan changed frequently, but it was never mentioned that I’d need to pay for part of any hotel room), and I was hoping for a $150 loan from a friend that didn’t pan out.

But hey! That’s why I brought hot dogs, bread, and lunch meat. The only thing I’m worried about now is being hit up for gas on the trip back to Tennessee, since we’ve already come close to the figure I was initially quoted, and that was on the drive up here… I’m not complaining, just saying. This is AnCap city. Things will work out.

I’ve derailed from my initial point–this is what an anarchist society looks like. If I want to change clothes and throw up a sign that says “Your place, $30,” no one will judge me for it. And this place is a total sausage fest. There would be plenty of takers. Just saying.

Anyway, I don’t know if there will be a podcast today. Tomorrow, Porcfest begins, so there will be plenty to discuss then.

Call to Freedom (LRN Show) 5-21-17 & Aftershow Discussion

The Call to Freedom With Will Coley & Thom Gray

Last week and this week, I was a guest on the Liberty Radio Network show “The Call to Freedom” hosted by former Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Will Coley and Thom Gray, who doesn’t get an awesome title before his name but doesn’t need one, because that’s how awesome he is. Due to it not having a podcast form, I wasn’t aware the show existed (without a permanent form, it doesn’t get picked up at the RRND, which is where I learn about such things). While I tried to get a recording of last week’s, I got the time wrong and forgot about it, but did get this one.

We discussed vice chair Arvin Vohra’s statements about veterans. Well… Jim Babbs and Larry Sharpe discussed it. I barely touched on it. Partway through the episode, I asked why Larry brought it up again, and this is something that badly needs to be explained. I did so in this article, where I elaborated that he kept bringing it up, even though he said he’d forgiven it and let it go. Live on the air, I couldn’t formulate my thoughts in a way that didn’t sound antagonistic as hell, so I instead chose to let it go and to just sound like an idiot instead. C’est la vie.

It was a great show, and, personally, I think the aftershow was even better, primarily because I was looser and more relaxed. By that point, I was beginning to get comfortable and fall into a groove, so any future appearances (crossing my fingers) won’t have me quite so silent. If you’re interested in liberty, be sure to check out these links.

I did edit the Aftershow. For one, all of my input was lost due to how I recorded it. Because of this, I had to record today’s encore airing, and then re-record and re-impose what I’d said during the aftershow discussion back into the audio. I think I achieved about a 99% accuracy, though I knowingly added one remark (and made note that it was an added remark not said during the conversation). Much of the aftershow discussion, about the possibility of me attending Somalia Fest and PorcFest with Will Coley and his family, was personal in nature, and so I removed it. Additionally, there is some beeping, because a few things were said that wouldn’t have been said if it was on the air. In consideration of all involved, I’ve beeped out some names, and removed one brief section about someone.

I cannot say that I will record and upload every episode of “Call to Freedom,” but it is something that I would like to do, and I’m generally available on Sunday nights. I know that I’ll record and upload any future episodes that I’m in, but I think it would be a little narcissistic to do only episodes that have me as a guest (even though it is a bit of work to do all this–removing commercials, tweaking audio, normalizing, compressing, adjusting EQ bands…).

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Sunday night I was invited again to be on “The Call to Freedom” hosted by Thom Grey and former libertarian Vice Presidential candidate (and possible future presidential candidate!) to discuss the neverending Libertarian Drama and the current status of the Libertarian Party, with two other guests: James Babbs and Larry Sharpe. It was a really good episode, though most of it was (frustratingly, honestly, as I had a lot I wanted to say, but I don’t get into shouting matches, and I try very hard not to interrupt people unless my point is very critical, like when I interrupted Jim at one point to say that if he wanted the LP to be a “safe place” for people to learn about libertarianism, than we can’t call people “murderers”), but it calmed down for about the last half hour and I got some words in.

Funnily, Thom messaged me through the episode and jokingly said something like, “When the cis men keep talking over the trans woman.” I lol’d, and I know he was joking, but my silence was 100% on me, and no one else. It’s true that Jim and Larry weren’t perhaps as considerate of the fact that they were co-guests were two other people, but my silence was totally on me for making the choice to sit out the shouting match, and for being extremely reluctant to interrupt anyone. I’m not knocking them–that’s often how these things go, and I don’t blame them for that. It’s just not how I prefer to do things. And it doesn’t seem to be how Will and Thom prefer to do things, either, as they were mostly silent through it all, too.

It made for a pretty good show, though.

It also brought a few things to my attention. First, I am extremely out of practice with having to think on my feet and formulate replies on the fly. Through the last two years, I’ve more or less avoided all “live” discussions of politics and religion (and, honestly, I just about don’t discuss religion at all any longer). When clients start talking about it, I simply listen, because they’re wrong on so many levels, and I know better than to try to point that out to them. When friends dive into it, I know I’m the only anarchist present, and trying to explain to someone why the entire tax system enslaves the American people is a bit too much for a light political discussion over a few glasses of wine when other people are interested in talking about a tax increase or decrease. Being an anarchist is like being the quantum mechanics physicist in the room full of people who are all discussing gravity, and each and every other person is wrong about something in spectacular ways. Does the physicist jump in to correct everyone? Almost certainly not. He instead quietly shakes his head and listens, lamenting all the way that they have failed themselves. Even with my family, I’m extremely unlikely to jump into a conversation, because trying to explain what libertarianism is and why I’m a libertarian is a fifteen minute ordeal, at best, and no one–absolutely no one–is going to sit and listen to you for 15 minutes. You might get thirty seconds before you’re interrupted, but even through those 30 seconds they won’t be listening–they’ll be thinking about what they’re going to say as soon as you finish talking.

During high school, I was an amazing debater. I don’t mean to brag, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. I have a knack for analyzing things and picking them apart until nothing is left. I’d even call it my best skill. But once you start picking apart people’s assumptions, they always reply in a few predictable ways. They’ll either say that you’ve brought it to the level of reductio ad absurdum by asking them to demonstrate why it’s better that humans should survive instead of go extinct, when the reality is that it’s a completely fair question: there is much argument to be made that Earth and the universe would be much better off if humans suddenly ceased existing. Some other animal species would probably rise up at some point, and maybe they wouldn’t be as consumed by their egos as we are. Who knows? Regardless, it’s not an absurd question; it’s a totally fair question, and one that they can’t answer. That it’s better for humans to survive is an assumption, and the assumption is based on their value system, primarily the idea that “life is good.”

Anyway… So I’ve been very out-of-practice when it comes to arguing on my feet, though, luckily, stage fright has never been a problem for me. I intend to resolve this by going back to doing one “on-the-fly” response video on Youtube, where I record myself watching and replying to a video that I’m likely to disagree with. That’s essentially the same thing, and doing it allows me to go back to creating content, and has the added benefit of getting me back into practice, since it’s a skill like any other–use it or lose it. Anyway, so tonight’s podcast…

…is an episode of someone else’s show.

Dancing in Hellfire

Last year, I wrote a book called Dancing in Hellfire. It is essentially my autobiography, except that I didn’t stop at simply relating events that had happened. Instead, I looked back on them and thought about what I learned from them, because the functional mind is always learning–any mind that refuses to learn is effectively dead. To be sure, I’ve had some really screwed up things happen in my past: both parents are/were drug addicts, my father killed a woman when I was 4, my mother was murdered when I was 12 (her body never found, so she’s still listed as a missing person), and other, generally awful things that you would rightly expect to happen in circumstances like that. Before we even factor in transgenderism, there is easily enough material to fill an 80,000 word autobiography (a bit on the heavy side for a memoir anyway), and I found myself chopping out entire recollections to make room for the transgender stuff.

Really, you’d think in today’s political environment that it would be an easy sell. That’s opportunistic of me, and I don’t deny that, but I also don’t see it as a problem. Identifying a niche in the market and targeting that niche isn’t a bad thing–in fact, it’s a smart thing to do. Only in the past six months, as my search for a literary agent has hit a dead end, has it dawned on me that I still made a mistake with the targeting. As I said, the book isn’t about “Oh, poor me, this happened and society didn’t do anything to prevent it!” Instead, it’s a book about “This happened, and this is what I learned from it.”

The critical difference is that the former marks me as a victim; the latter marks me as a beneficiary.

Without a doubt, I’d rather have my mother alive today, but there’s also no disputing that it has marked me in many ways that are very positive. Foremost among these is surely my awareness of justice as a function of forgiveness rather than vengeance. Those wounds are real, and they are painful–however, those very wounds have also made me ask the excruciating question, “How might I have closure on this?” The answer to that is not “…by seeing the murderer in prison!” The murderer has already been to prison for an unrelated murder, and it did nothing to make me feel any better. While it sucks beyond the capacity of weak words to convey how much it actually sucks to have my mother gone, absent without a trace, like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, I can detach myself from that enough to recognize that having a mind that is more focused on forgiveness than vengeance is a positive result.

It wouldn’t be worth asking whether I’d rather have my mother alive, and to still consider vengeance and justice to be the same thing, or if I’d prefer the current state of affairs. Just because these things happened in a way that are causal doesn’t mean they’re mutually exclusive. Maybe my mother could still be alive and something else could have happened to lead me to that realization. There’s no way to know, and so the hypothetical is useless–built, as it is, on the assumption that I can’t have both simply because I don’t have both.

I’ve neglected to talk about it publicly before now, but we do live in a society that glorifies victimization, and this is no more evident than in the bizarre way that Glamour magazine named the Stanford rape victim their Woman of the Year. This perplexes me in countless ways. I’m not demeaning her fight within the system to see Brock punished for what he did, but “having been raped” doesn’t strike me as a particularly good reason to be named “Woman of the Year” any more than being trans was reason to name Caitlyn Jenner woman of the year. Why don’t we celebrate accomplishments rather than victimization? It is an absolute slap in the face to the female biochemists who lead breakthrough research, the females at CERN, and the leading female experts in countless industries, to be passed up as Woman of the Year because someone was a victim of rape and the case was very public. Again, this isn’t to say that the rape should be ignored, but it certainly shouldn’t be celebrated.

Bad Stuff Happens

… all the time.

Earlier this month, I attempted to drive ~150 miles to see A Perfect Circle live, for probably the last live tour they’re going to do, and it was an ordeal just to get tickets, much less to find someone who would go. To give you an idea of how much this meant to me, a few weeks beforehand, in an article about scalpers, I wrote:

I bought tickets to the A Perfect Circle concert next month for well over what they cost initially, and the reason was precisely because my demand exceeds other people’s. I can’t even convey with words what A Perfect Circle’s music means to me. Being able to see them again–probably for the last tour they’re ever going to do, since no one expected this one and it’s been 14 years since their last one–is one of those experiences that literally makes life worth living (no exaggeration). Because of scalpers, I was able to acquire a ticket, and I would say it’s far more important that I was able to get a ticket than Random Joe who kinda likes their music and has nothing else to do that evening. The seats aren’t even that good, and I don’t even care. It’s A Perfect Circle. It means more to me than it will anyone else in that audience.

And you know what happened? Shortly after I got onto i240, headed for i40 and the long eastward trip to Nashville, I saw that my temperature gauge was way higher than it should have been–like “about to overheat” high. I whipped over and got off the interstate, stopping on Airways. Not being an idiot, I’d left with more than an hour to spare, in the event that something weird happened. However, it took my car nearly 45 minutes to cool off enough to hold water, and we discovered that the upper radiator hose had come completely off, which is the rarest and most unlikely thing that could possibly happen with a working clamp (not to mention, of course, that the months of driving before that had no issue, so it happened at the worst possible moment). In doing so, it had brushed against the alternator belt, and had been cut open, so even after it was cool enough to travel again, it had a steady leak that meant the hose had to be replaced. This meant we had to go to an Auto Zone, buy a replacement hose, put it on, and then refill the thing with water (if you’ve ever driven a Chrysler, you know this isn’t as straightforward as with most vehicles). When we were finally heading back toward the interstate, the GPS called out, “Estimated time of arrival is 9:23 pm…” which was two hours after the concert started. That’s right. We lost nearly three hours due to that overheating.

This actually took me completely down for about ten days, as some people may have noticed, because I didn’t post anything. I didn’t have the strength. I was depressed; it’s really hard to convey how much it hurt to miss the concert over something so extraordinarily unlikely that no one would have taken the bet that it was likely to happen. Yet life goes on, I recovered, and got back to it–though I was down longer than I would have anticipated. Because I’m moving to Vegas and the state of Mississippi said “lol, fuck you” earlier this year, setting me back on that plan far more than I’d have liked, I don’t make plans to go and do things very often–spare money is better put toward moving to Vegas than going to see a concert, but this was no ordinary band–this is the band that has influenced my music more than any other. I didn’t really learn anything from that experience, because there was nothing to really learn. It was a freak accident at the worst possible time, and I’d checked my car that very morning. It’s true that I didn’t inspect the hoses, but, c’mon, no one does. That’s absurd. One might as well pull out and check each and every fuse. While I did inspect everything (on a different vehicle) before driving to Vegas in 2015, that was 1800 miles, not 180 miles.

I tend to think that I’m so anti-authoritarian because of the horrifically bad parenting of my mother and father, a point that I call attention to in Dancing in Hellfire. Through most people’s childhoods, and well into their adolescences, they have this idea that their parents are indestructible and supreme. I remember well being in the third grade and having Danny, a friend of mine, stand beside me in line at the cafeteria and put his fist to one of the cinderblocks in the wall and ask, “Do you think your dad could punch through this? My dad could!” Even then, at nine years old, it struck me as ridiculous. No, his dad could not punch through the cinderblock, but I didn’t challenge the idea with him. It did not occur to me then how odd it was that he would have this unrealistic idea of his dad, but it happened again much later, in the seventh grade, when a kid described his dad’s hand as “alligator skin,” proud of his dad being a Working Class Hero, and remarked that a puppy could chew on his fingers for hours and never draw blood.

I didn’t have any of that. When I was six years old, the state showed up with its footsoldiers to kidnap my sister and me, and our mother was powerless to do anything about it. All she could do was cry. I learned that day that my mother–who I’d been with since I was born–was ultimately not the one responsible for me, and that these other people called “the police” had usurped her authority. A brutal lesson for a six year old to learn, but one that has served me well since. My dad wasn’t ultimately the one in charge of me–my mother had trumped him by taking me in the first place, so clearly he was ranked below her in the hierarchy. My mother was also not ultimately the one in charge of me, because her impudence in the face of the state and its footsoldiers left no room to believe that.

And what of my father? Well, you lose the image of your father as the Glorious Personification of Everything Great around the time you see him faceplant into the dirt at a baseball field after eating too many Xanax and drinking too many beers. And if that doesn’t do it, then watching those very same police officers arrest him after a vehicle wreck and place him, powerless, in their police car will shatter that image. There’s absolutely no doubt: some of my earliest and most jarring experiences involved the state exerting its authority. I have very little doubt that this is what left me inclined to view the state as what it is: the slavemaster.

Would I be an anarchist now, if none of this had happened? Another useless hypothetical.

Every experience is not just an opportunity to learn; it is also a choice. No matter what happens, we never lose the power to choose how we react. We are not* mindless machines who operate on extremely complex if-then programming that dictates our responses; we are not powerless. We are not at the mercy of our reactions; our reactions are at our mercy, and nothing changes this. Just because some people choose to let their responses unfold emotionally, with no tempering or self-control, doesn’t mean that they have no choice in the matter, and we shouldn’t allow them to so easily escape the fact that their reactions to things are their reactions. We are not wild beasts braying in the field. We are human beings, and it’s time we acted like it.

If someone says “Fuck you, you’re an idiot” to me, it’s true that I have very little control at this time over my initial emotional reaction of anger and desire to retaliate. Evidence suggests, however, that extensive meditation and self-reflection can, in fact, put us in control of even that lightning-fast emotional reaction. And that’s the key: “lightning-fast.” Emotions are instantaneous. That anger lasts only a flash of a second. If left to its own devices, it would immediately die out, but more often than not we embrace it and purposely keep it going, stoking the fires. Larry Sharpe Sunday night (and today at 2pm Central at www.lrn.fm) is a clear example. After saying that he’d accepted Arvin’s apology and forgiven him, and that they were “good,” the indignation and anger in Larry’s voice were still audible–he was clearly still clinging to those emotions. I actually initially attempted to call attention that, but couldn’t formulate my thoughts quickly enough in a way that weren’t antagonistic, so I instead let it go immediately. While saying that he had let the matter go, he kept bringing it up, even after we tried to move on to other matters, and his voice was absolutely dripping with emotion. Regardless of what he said, it is clear that Larry is keeping those emotions alive rather than releasing them.

Still, that I would immediately react with anger and a desire to retaliate is still on me. It’s still my emotional reaction, and my failure to control my emotions to that degree is my failure. It’s not this person’s fault. They didn’t “make” me angry. I made me angry. They were merely the catalyst–they merely presented me with the choice of how to react, and I chose to react in anger. However, I would typically choose within a second or two to let it go and to release the anger, rather than dwelling on it. Unlike Larry Sharpe, if I forgive what I perceive as a transgression, then I’m not going to bring it up again, because forgiving someone is an internal thing–it has nothing to do with the transgressor, which the Vegas Chick made me realize when I pondered whether she could do anything that would “cause” me to forgive her–the answer was that whether I forgave her had almost nothing to do with her. Demanding contrition or restitution isn’t forgiveness, even if that restitution comes in the form of a simple apology.

Through my own failure, I have no control over the initial emotional reaction. Through much work, I have largely (though certainly not perfectly) taken control of the following moments. My own failures lead me to make the wrong choice in the first place, by reacting with anger, but the choice that immediately follows is whether to release that anger or to embrace it. Both of these are choices.

* At least, we don’t appear to be.

Why Does the Libertarian Party Exist?

There are two main sides within the Libertarian Party these days. One side believes the party exists to win elections, and the other side insists that the party exists to spread the principles of liberty. We can definitively settle the matter right now by taking a look over at the Libertarian Party’s official website and checking out its official platform, wherein it states:

Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.

It’s pretty explicit and hard to misinterpret. So if you happen to fall in the “the party exists to win elections” camp, then I’m going to have to ask you to free your mind for a moment, because you’re wrong. The party exists to set the world free in our lifetime; winning elections is one of many ways of achieving that goal. The goal is “to create liberty,” basically, to  keep things short. The method–that is, how we get from here to “a world set free”–is not explicitly defined, except in the platform that follows, but that’s more or less just a list of ways that we aren’t free. There is nowhere in the platform any suggestion that we must or, heaven forbid, should go through the state in order to achieve liberty.

That is by design.

It is entirely possible that we may one day set the world free by doing nothing more than spreading the word and making people aware of the reality of the state, and that one day we might have the numbers to simply shake off the fleas and be done with them, without ever electing someone to a political office. That so many people assume that we must go through the state simply shows how trapped in the statist mindset they are. Not only have there been countless sweeping changes throughout human history that did not go through the state, but the best changes have always not gone through the state, and have always been spontaneous creations of individuals acting in liberty, not because of a mandate.

Anarchists Versus Minarchists/Classical Liberals/Statists/Big Ls

This is closest to being honest I’ve had one of the Big L Libertarians get. I’m sure many people reading will instinctively agree with what Tristan said. However, read what Tristan said. “This is our party, and we’re going to do what we want. If you don’t like it, leave.”

It’s been my contention for some time now that when Big L Libertarians talk about “compromise” they don’t mean “with anarchists,” and they actually mean “with Republicans and Democrats.” They love talking about compromise, but when it actually comes down to it, they’re typically intransigent and seem to think that “compromise” means that they get whatever they want, and dissenters get to go along with it or stfu. Compromise is a two-way street, and it means that one side gives up something to secure something that would be tolerable, while the other side gives up something to secure something that would be tolerable. If the nominations of Gary Johnson and William Weld, of all people, didn’t prove beyond any doubt that Big L Libertarians have absolutely no desire to make any concessions–when so many superior Vice Presidential candidates were available, like Will Coley–then I’m not sure what will.

I think that’s the part that Big L Libertarians don’t get: compromise means that they have to make concessions, too. The anarchist-preferred candidate of 2016 was undoubtedly Daryl Perry. Compromising on John McAfee would have been excellent middleground between Big L Libertarians and Daryl Perry. However, they had no reason to compromise, did they? No, because they outnumbered us and have always outnumbered us. We were willing to compromise with having Daryl Perry as a libertarian (not anarchist) candidate. And “we” (I say “we” meaning “me,” but surely most anarchists would have happily agreed) were more than willing to compromise with having John McAfee as something more like a minarchist (whether McAfee is a minarchist or anarchist, I don’t know, but he is certainly easier to sell in the mainstream, simply by weight of his name). And, of course, we had already compromised by playing at all in the system that we want to destroy.

We are, and remain, willing to compromise… with minarchists.

I gladly admit that I have no desire to compromise with Republicans and Democrats. I do not compromise with people who are so blatantly wrong and whose modus operandi is force, violence, and coercion. I will not compromise my freedom to people who see nothing wrong with outlawing abortion, or to people who want to steal from me to pay for other people’s stuff. Not only am I unwilling to compromise with the people who devastated the Middle East and the people who are gleefully beating the Drums of War with Russia, but if you are willing to compromise with such people, then that throws your judgment immediately into doubt, as far as I’m concerned.

If Big L Libertarians want to compromise with Republicans and Democrats, there’s not much we anarchists can do about it, because we are outnumbered–we seem to comprise about 15-20% of the party. Obviously, they are perfectly free to compromise with whoever they want… Or are they? Does compromising with a tyrant or a sycophant not stain one’s hands? Isn’t this a bit like compromising with Charles Manson–“Okay, Charles, we’re going to compromise. You can’t kill anyone, but, I tell you what, we’ll let you torture one person every six months, as long as you don’t kill them. Deal?” How clean would one’s hands really be in such a compromise? And aren’t we all aware that the state is infinitely more horrific than Charles Manson?

Regardless, the issue is that Big L Libertarians act and speak as though what they want is to compromise with the anarchists who actually belong in the Libertarian Party. This is part of the leadership crisis that we face, but we’ve also got a major problem with collectivist thinking having infected the party. They regularly talk about how they wish that the in-fighting in the party would end, and I have to agree, but I dispute their understanding of the in-fighting. The rift is between anarchists and minarchists, or radicals and moderates, however one would like to put it, and exists because the minarchists/moderates have convinced themselves that the Libertarian Party belongs to them and that, at best, anarchists are the red-headed stepchild.

It is not and has never been a minarchist party–nor is it an anarchist party. It is, however, every bit as much an anarchist party as it is a minarchist party, and as it is a classical liberal party. Larry Sharpe came under fire recently (does the drama never end???) for making a video that people interpreted as his saying that he didn’t want anarchists in the party. Even though that isn’t what he said or meant, the whole thing still dances around the issue without actually stepping foot on it: it’s not Larry Sharpe’s party. It’s not minarchists’ party. It’s not their party to say they do or don’t want us in it.

This is my house that I’m writing this from. It belongs to me. If I don’t want you in it, that matters. But if I’m in Bob’s house and I don’t want you in it, that doesn’t matter, because it’s not my house. The very idea that Larry Sharpe or anyone else is in any position to want or not want anarchists in the party is patently absurd–this house belongs every bit as much to the anarchists as it does anyone else. It’s not Larry Sharpe’s house for him to proclaim who he doesn’t want inside, and neither is it any other minarchist’s or anarchist’s.

And the entire root of this rift is that the Big L Libertarians (of whatever variety) do think that it’s their house, and that we’re simply guests whom they allow to sleep on the couch. That… is… wrong. It is factually and historically wrong. Minarchists simply told themselves and convinced themselves that it was their party, and then they began marginalizing the anarchists. However, proclaiming something to be true does not make it true.

The Libertarian Party of the United States was founded in 1971–some of its founders are still around, and you can find them on Facebook and discuss it yourself with them (assuming they are willing). Merely three years later, the Dallas Accord was struck between the anarchists and the larger minarchist faction, wherein the two sides agreed that the question of whether a state was desirable would be intentionally avoided until such time as a libertarian society had been achieved; it was the agreement that the Libertarian Party was neither a minarchist nor an anarchist party, and this was only three years after the party was formed.

In 2006, the minarchists took control and became hostile to the anarchists, deleting most of the party platform and replacing it with things like “Government exists to protect rights…” This doesn’t make it right, and it’s an outright betrayal of the anarchist faction. It caused a mass exodus of anarchists from the party that had betrayed them so brazenly, and was dubbed the Portland Massacre. Now we have a party platform that says that a state-owned military is necessary! It was an obvious stab in the back to the anarchists, and in the years since the minarchists have not only betrayed anarchists further but have betrayed themselves and leaped right into classical liberalism and something very much like Constitutionalism.

I dread to think what the Libertarian Party would become if there weren’t still anarchists out here trying to stick it out and keep the party tethered to its principles, because it has betrayed so very many people, factions, and ideas. Now we have language that says the state should use immigration laws to “protect” us, which not only is patently un-libertarian, but it’s not even classically liberal–it’s full-blown statist, as even the Constitution didn’t grant the Federal Government the power to control immigration. In its desperation for mass approval and Quixotic quest for electability, is there any principle that the Big L Libertarians won’t betray?

Politics & Elections

As stated clearly, the party exists to cause liberty to happen. It is certainly conceivable–although I find the idea incredulous for reasons I’ll detail in a moment–that winning elections could be a valid method of achieving that goal. However, it is foolish, absurd, and narrow-minded to act like it’s the only possible way of achieving that goal, or even acting like it’s the best method of doing so. Given the results so far (widespread betrayal of anarchists and libertarian principles, schisms in the party, some Big L Libertarians even calling people like me enemies…), I’d argue that it’s not even an acceptable way of achieving that goal, even if it is possible in theory.

There seems to be this idea that we can pull a Bait & Switch on the electorate, and that we can run a “moderate Libertarian” who gets into office and enacts actual libertarian policies. This is called “deceit,” and it is generally frowned upon. It is false advertising, and it is considered to be deceptive–because it is deceptive. It’s like marrying a woman not because you love her (as she thinks you do), but because she’s a millionaire with no kids and no one to leave all her money to when she dies. It’s a clear case of false pretenses–everything about it is immoral, and that’s before we get into whether or not it would actually work.

Hint: it wouldn’t.

It is strangely denialistic to think that if you can convince Bob to legalize marijuana, then you’ll have an easier time convincing him to legalize all drugs. If there was any truth whatsoever to that, then the repeal of Prohibition in the 1920s would have prevented any further substances from being outlawed in the first place, because, in American history, Bob was convinced that outlawing alcohol was more trouble than it was worth, didn’t actually eliminate alcohol, created a black market, created gangs, and was a gross violation of people’s liberties. That didn’t stop Bob from turning around and making marijuana illegal barely a decade later, or from adding methamphetamine, heroin, and countless other substances to the list of banned narcotics.

Libertarian: “Bob, Prohibition isn’t working. We need to repeal it and just let people be free. This has done nothing but caused death and misery.”

Bob: “You know what? You’re right. Repeal Prohibition!”

Libertarian: “Alright! Let’s not make this mistake again, either.”

*Ten years later*

Bob: “We’re outlawing marijuana.”

*Seventy years later*

Libertarian: “Bob, marijuana prohibition isn’t working. We need to legalize it and just let people be free. This has done nothing but caused death and misery.”

Bob: “You know what? You’re right. Repeal marijuana prohibition!”

Here we enter Fantasy Land.

Libertarian: “Great! Let’s repeal prohibition of heroin, too! And cocaine! And crystal meth!”

Bob: “Hey, you’re right!”

… That’s so obviously not what would happen. Bob would reply, “Are you out of your mind? Marijuana is one thing, but heroin? No way! That’s something else entirely!”

That’s the flaw with the incrementalist/moderate approach. Just because you can get me to drive five miles doesn’t mean you can get me to drive five hundred miles. It’s absurdly unrealistic, and I find it hard to believe that anyone actually thinks such an approach will have any success. Legalizing marijuana won’t end the drug war; it won’t shift Bob’s position on the Drug War even the tiniest bit. I can already point to at least a hundred people I know who want to see marijuana legalized but who would recoil in shock and incredulity if I suggested to them that we should also legalize heroin.

Phase 1: Legalize weed!
Phase 2: ????
Phase 3: The drug war is over!

Phase 2 is “something magical happens.”

The “legalize marijuana” versus “end the drug war” thing is such a wonderful parallel to the radical/moderate divide, because this is true in nearly every sense. I’ve convinced plenty of people that a business owner has the unalienable right to choose the people with whom they associate, and that they therefore don’t have to serve LGBTQ people if they don’t want to. It’s not too difficult to convince people of this. But the next thing out of their mouth is always, “But what if they’re racist and don’t want to serve black people? We can’t allow them to do that!”

It’s insane. It’s either a huge misunderstanding of reality or a purposeful self-delusion about human nature. Though I’ve convinced at least twenty people that discrimination of LGBTQ people by business owners is an unalienable right, I have never convinced anyone that discrimination of black people by business owners is an unalienable right. According to the incrementalist approach, once I convince them that discrimination against LGBTQ people is a right, they should be receptive to the “more extreme” form, yes?

Except they’re not, and they never are.

A World Set Free

It should come as no surprise that the Big L Libertarian faction (which doesn’t include every libertarian, minarchist, or classical liberal) seems incapable of grasping the idea that there might be some other ways to set the world free than by going through the established political system. For anarchists, the established political system is optional–however, we do not deny that it is an option. In contrast, the Big L Libertarian faction denies that there are any other options: they know only the state, and so they only know to go through the state. But that’s where libertarianism starts to contradict itself in the first place, because anyone who follows the ideas to their logical conclusions will end up as an anarchist, since aggression is the only way that the state can do anything while still being a state.

It’s just another example of how anarchist ideology isn’t even being considered by the larger faction, and, if they’re not even considering it, they can’t possibly be able to compromise with it. It’s like that Jody guy who blocked me when he claimed to be an anarchist immediately after saying that the state should exist to protect liberty. If you’re unwilling to even learn what anarchists think, then how can you compromise with them? If you’re trying to sell something to a person, don’t you kinda have to know what they’re offering to pay? But, of course, they’re not willing to compromise–as we’ve established–and they aren’t willing to even consider anarchists enough to learn what we have to say. If they were, then they would already know that going through the existing state is most certainly not the “only” way to set the world free (and, if one follows the ideas to their conclusions, it’s actually impossible to use the state to set the world free because the state is literally what you’re trying to set the world free of).

To compromise with someone, you must first know what they want and what they believe. Judging from my person experiences, the Big L Libertarians (which, again, isn’t inclusive of every minarchist, libertarian, and classical liberal) have no idea what anarchists want or believe. Jody’s silliness was the most flagrant, but it was hardly unique.

These Big L Libertarians seem to operate solely on their belief and their idea of what they want the Libertarian Party to be, making whatever assumptions they like, and from there they seem wholly resistant to facts. This Travis person has the idea in their head of what the Libertarian Party is (and, it’s worth mentioning, that their understanding of the Libertarian Party just coincidentally is exactly what they want it to be), and nothing will shake that delusion.

To say that the Libertarian Party exists to win elections is to say that anarchists aren’t welcome in the party, because we imagine different ways of achieving the Libertarian Party’s goal (which, one will read, is to set the world free, not “to win elections, duh!”). Having our methods spit upon and waved away even as we’re willing to go along with their methods, as long as they agree to the standards that we laid down in 1974 to solve exactly this problem… We’re using our preferred method, but we’re also willing to help you and use your preferred method to get libertarians elected to office. Our method and your method are only at odds because you set them to be by saying our method is meaningless, that yours is the only method that matters–by usurping the entire party and proclaiming it to be nothing more than a vehicle for your chosen method!–and that we’re not even welcome in the party if we don’t cease our method, shut up, and meekly go along with you.

This is our party, too.

And that’s why the goal of the party is to set the world free, not to win elections. Like the liberals I’ve talked about before who associate their emotion with their preferred method, it has trapped you and left you unable to even fathom that there might be some other way of achieving that goal. After all, the liberal takes “There shouldn’t be anyone starving in America!” and links that directly to “We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour!” It’s the basest and most confused of human behaviors to link a given goal inextricably to one’s preferred method of achieving that goal, and then dogmatically sticking to that method regardless of whether it works (like how liberals continue to demand increases to the Minimum Wage, despite the unemployment that it has caused).

Our method is 100% as valid as yours, and the Libertarian Party is 100% as valid as a vehicle of our method as it is a vehicle of your method.

We are anarchists, and this is our party, too.