Tag Archive | competition

The Failure to Pair Workers With Work

According to the known liars in the Federal Government, the unemployment rate in the United States is a mere 4.3%. That number is obviously wrong, but it’s really not important. Any degree of unemployment is a bad thing, even if it’s only 1%, because that means one in every one hundred people cannot find a job in order to earn money.

Now, let me point out something that many people seem to have overlooked…

Ridiculous amounts of work are going undone in the United States. Bridges and road signs are covered in graffiti, streets are littered with trash and refuse; storefront windows are smudged with fingerprints and streaks of rain, buildings need to be repainted, countless yards need to be cut, and statues and monuments throughout the nation are covered in bird droppings and graffiti. If you simply begin looking for it, you will see thousands of things, just on your daily commute to work, that need to be done–things that could be done. Things that, you would think, someone would be willing to pay to have done.

And then there’s that number looking at us: 4.3%.

It’s not simply a matter of location, obviously. If only we could make the assertion that our unemployed people are nestled in the valleys of the Smokey Mountains, where there are no bridges to be cleaned of graffiti or monuments to be cleaned. Yet we know that isn’t the case. These unemployed people are scattered throughout the United States unevenly, just as are the tasks that need to be done. This sort of “undone work” exists in the city of Southaven, Mississippi, and, yet, there are unemployed people in the city of Southaven.

The question we have to ask is simple:

If there is work to be done, why isn’t it being done?

The answer is just as simple: the Minimum Wage.

I learned about the Balance of Power when I was a preteen, when I was required to cut the grass each week (in addition to household chores) to earn my $1.50/week allowance. My sister had similar household chores to complete, but didn’t have to cut the grass, and yet she earned exactly the same amount that I made. I pointed out that I had to spend one entire Saturday every two weeks cutting a rather large yard, while my sister didn’t, and I received basically no payment for it, and I argued that I should have been given a raise to my allowance.

“I’ll give you a raise when you start doing a better job of cutting the grass,” my grandmother replied.

I’m sure the problem is obvious. My grandmother could make me cut the grass; I had no real choice in the matter. I couldn’t simply say, “Well, then I’m not cutting the grass anymore.” Yet, she could say, “I’m not paying you anything. You’ll get out there and cut the grass, and that’s that.”

I was at her mercy regarding payment. She didn’t need to pay me, but I needed her to pay me.

The same thing is true in the United States today, especially in regard to Minimum Wage jobs. The individual worker is not needed by the employer, because there are ten others waiting in line if that particular worker proves to be a hassle. Just like my grandmother didn’t need to pay me, so does McDonald’s not need to pay Jim. If Jim demands a higher wage, they can simply fire him and hire from among the 4.3% of people who need that job in order to survive. As it was with my grandmother, the Balance of Power is tilted entirely toward the employer.

If there is one job and ten potential employees, then the workers compete with one another for the job. Think of it like an auction. Each worker offers up the most labor for the lowest cost to the employer, because all of the people bidding for the job need the job.

“I’ll do it for $9/hour plus health insurance,” says the first.

The second laughs. “I’ll do it for $8/hour. Forget the health insurance,” says the second.

The third laughs. “I’ll do it for $6/hour! Forget all the benefits!”

The Minimum Wage then prevents the first and second people–and the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and however many more there are–from proceeding to undercut the third guy. They can come forward and match his offer, but they cannot stack the odds in their favor by lowering the wage for which they will work. This is why Unions despise “scabs” so much. The second person might go away, grumbling, angry that he didn’t get the job, saying, “It’s not fair! He shouldn’t be able to undercut me like that! There ought to be a law!

That “law,” of course, is the Minimum Wage.

The other consideration to this is that the employer may have already decided that the task is not worth more than $7 an hour. By the employer’s calculations, it’s just not worth more than that to hire someone to keep their parking lot clean of litter and trash. So, unknown to him while he cries that the third person shouldn’t be able to undercut him, the second person had overbid anyway.

It’s similar to the television show The Price is Right. Overbidding in the show is an instant loss. If one says $550 for a washing machine that MSRPs for $349, the contestant cannot win that round, no matter what. This is also the case with demanding a wage that is higher than the employer is willing to pay: the worker cannot “win that round.” The worker cannot get that job. It’s instant disqualification. Though the employer, like on the show, has hidden the actual value of the job, the first two people have overbid and have disqualified themselves. This is why everyone cuts their eyes angrily at the person who bids $1–on the show, if everyone else overbids, that person is assured to win the round; that employee who bids the lowest intentionally is assured to get the job, if they are otherwise qualified–and, often, even if they are not.

What happens, though, when everyone is disqualified, because no one is able to bid below a certain amount, and the employer has already calculated to find out that the value of the job is lower than the “certain amount” they aren’t allowed to bid below? Everyone is disqualified. No one gets the job. The job goes undone.

Imagine the foolishness of having on the show The Price is Right the rule that “No one may bid under $100 for an item.” Now imagine the added folly of featuring a toaster that is valued at $40. What happens? Everyone overbids, because everyone must bid over $100. Yes, it’s a rather stupid state of affairs, isn’t it?

Yet the “toasters,” such as they are, exist. There are jobs–tens of thousands of them–that need to be done, but simply aren’t worth $7.25 an hour to the person who would pay to have them done. In our analogy, the toaster is on the show, and the toaster can’t be removed from the show. The circumstances we’ve created are idiotic. We see the toasters on the show, and we know they’re going to have to be bid on, we see the requirement that no one can bid below a certain amount, and we see that this means people are overbidding by default and can’t do anything about it. It’s truly idiotic.

Yet our stakes are so much higher in the real world than round after round of contestant overbidding on the toaster because they can’t bid below a certain amount. In the real world, we end up with unemployment. We end up with people being fired because the employer is unwilling and/or unable to pay someone $9 an hour to do some menial task. We watch a father of three panic over money because he can’t find a job–even McDonald’s continues to hire one teenager after the next, because there are more potential workers than there are jobs available, and the father of three inherently involves more hassle than hiring another pimply seventeen year old nerd.

Yet imagine the opposite! Just as there are, right now, more potential workers than there are jobs available*, so could there be more jobs available than there are potential workers. Look at what this does to the Balance of Power–instead of having a condescending interviewer ask, “What can you do for the company?” we have a grinning worker asking one interviewer after the next, “What do you have to offer me?”

Instead of the workers undercutting each other out of necessity, the employers undercut each other.

“I’ll give you $8.25 an hour,” says the first.

“They offered you $8.25/hour?” asks the second. “Ha. We’ll match that, and we’ll give you stock options.”

“Hm, those are pretty good offers,” says the third. “I tell you what. I’ll give you $10/hour, stock options, and a 3% 401K match.”

That world is possible. It’s a world that exists only when there are more jobs to be done than there are workers to do them. The Minimum Wage ensures that this world does not come to fruition; the Minimum Wage guarantees that workers compete with one another for a job, instead of employers competing with one another for workers. The Minimum Wage is at the heart of this issue. Just look around, at all the stuff that needs to be done–yet isn’t being done. And then look at the millions of Americans who are unemployed, and ask yourself, “Why can’t these unemployed people be hired to do this stuff that isn’t being done?”

The answer, of course, is “Because we made up the rule that contestants couldn’t bid below a certain amount.”

Because, for some weird ass reason, we thought that doing so would make the toaster more valuable.

* Note that, per the title, this isn’t strictly true–the jobs are available, but no one is allowed to hire anyone to do them because of the requirement that bids be a certain amount.

Cultural Buffets: I’ll Debate You, Michael W. Miller

I’ll spare you all the details and give a brief summary. Arvin Vohra criticized Liberty Hangouts publicly, and members of Liberty Hangouts defended themselves. This led Arvin to apologize and correct himself, and on this thread of comments there appeared a discussion between Jason Weinman (with whom I’ve had disagreements with the past because, if I recall correctly, he went hard for Gary Johnson) and Michael William Miller of Liberty Hangouts about various things I don’t really care about. During the name-calling and pedantry, Michael said:

If you mean we support traditional values, yes, but we have never called once for legislation forcing anyone to do anything.

And, moments later:

[D]o you want to debate this on a livestream? [W]e’d be more than happy to host it on Liberty Hangout. 🙂

While, from what I can gather, the debate invitation was to discuss whether or not Liberty Hangout had called for legislation of traditional values, Jason Weinman declined the invitation. However, I would gladly debate anyone at Liberty Hangout on “traditional” values, and whether it’s a concern that they’re being eroded.

My Values Are My Values, and Therefore Correct

Everyone believes this to be true. It’s an application of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, in fact. Just as we use our ability to play the guitar to understand how skilled another guitar player is, so do we use our own values to judge the values of other people. When we look at uncontacted tribes that segregate girls from their tribe when they hit puberty, we reject the idea as backward and immoral, because our values tell us that it’s wrong to treat people that way, it will have severe permanent damage on the girl’s self-esteem, and there’s nothing magical or mystical about periods. Yet this assessment itself is built on our values that it’s bad to cause severe permanent damage to people’s self-esteem, and our values that positive self-esteem is a good thing. I’ve discussed this countless times before and won’t go into it in full detail. Instead, just check out this article on the subject. Or check out this one.

Cultural Competition

More importantly, the reality of the situation isn’t just that “traditional values” are being eroded from within, although many right-wing figures would deny this and focus their efforts on controlling immigration, in full disregard of the fact that America influences the rest of the world, not the other way around, but also that we are seeing cultural competition, and it functions exactly the same way as economic competition. Worldviews compete in the market in exactly the same way that businesses do, and the one that proves to be most efficient wins out in the long-run. In terms of culture, efficiency appears to be measured primarily in inclusiveness. This also makes sense in economic terms, as exclusiveness reduces a business’s customer base.

For example, acceptance of black people as equals won out the culture war when the two sides pitted against one another: one side advocated continued open racism and segregation, and the other side advocated an end to these things. Motivated by self-interest, the majority of people would have put their personal feelings aside, in the event that they were racist, to advocate for equality, because this, in Mississippi for example, increased their customer reach by 37%. An openly racist business in Mississippi immediately loses 37% of all customers, and more, when it’s considered that many people who aren’t black would refuse to do business with such a company. Many others are motivated simply by empathy, which is also self-interest, since no one wants to be filled with negative emotions like guilt and sorrow.

I have no desire to argue whether one side is right or wrong, even when it comes to “traditional values” (one assumes this to mean heterosexuality, anti-transgenderism, etc.) versus contemporary values, because both sides are subjective. Each can be demonstrated as desirable by its own parameters, and each can demonstrate the other as undesirable by those same parameters. Someone who thinks that transsexualism is a mental illness will obviously think that the normalization of transsexualism is a bad idea, because it openly accepts what they consider to be a mental illness, and they find treating mental illnesses as normal to be a bad idea.

Cultural values change over time, and they clearly move in some direction that I won’t try to name. The arc of human history is pretty evident, though, in that we’ve moved toward secularization and acceptance, rather than toward heightened religiosity and bigotry. We’ve also moved from despotism toward liberty and individualism, at least until the rise of fascism in the 20th century that has set us back so drastically. I’d hazard the guess that there is a common thread that connects these things–the move away from bigotry, the move toward secularization, the move toward liberty–but it’s something to think about some other day. The fact remains: cultural values change over time. Whether they are improving or getting worse is up for argument.

It would seem obvious that a stagnant culture would self-destruct in very short order, but it’s equally obvious that there has never been such a thing as a stagnant culture. Today, our culture changes at a shocking speed and is incredibly robust–so robust that many people don’t consider the United States as having a culture. Compare that to the relatively defined culture of Venice, France, and Saudi Arabia. Here in the United States, we have a culture that includes hateful assholes like Steven Anderson (a pastor who openly says that he wishes more trans teens would kill themselves), wonderful nameless Christians who don’t give a shit if someone is trans, atheists like myself who take no part in religion, people who openly believe themselves to be witches, people who openly worship the devil, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and even scientologists. The only description that will fit these many disparate beliefs and worldviews is that the United States’ culture as a whole values religious freedom.

In another sense, we have goth culture, emo culture, jock culture, snob culture, cheerleader culture, Christian culture, white culture, black culture, Japanese culture, Mexican culture, and so many others that it’s immaterial whether every single individual actively enjoys and embraces all of these different sub-cultures, because, again, on the whole the result is that the Unites States’ culture values cultural differences. This literally allows us to pick and choose what we like from each culture and incorporate it into our lives for personal fulfillment.

I think Michael and I both will agree that “cultural appropriation” is a positive thing, and that SJWs can fuck off.

This allows even the most ardent transphobic Christian to watch and enjoy Japanese anime, to eat burritos, and to have a goth son who listens to Megadeth (though the parent, because of the cultural conflict, won’t be happy about it, hopefully the parent realizes the futility and counterproductive nature of denying the teenager the ability to embrace their own preferences). The United States is basically a gigantic buffet of different cultural elements, and we are actively encouraged (nevermind the lunatic progressives) to take only the dishes that we like, while ignoring the dishes that we don’t like.

My wording in my willingness to accept a debate with Michael isn’t accidental. I have no desire to argue with him about the utility and value of “traditional values.” He has gone to the buffet and taken different dishes–that’s fine. I have absolutely no standing to tell him that the dishes he took are inferior, bigoted, hateful, or narrow-minded. They’re the dishes he likes, and that’s okay. My argument is that it’s not a problem that the Accepting Trans People Dish has been placed on the buffet. I’m not arguing that the “traditional” dishes should be removed from the buffet, and, evidently, Michael isn’t arguing that contemporary dishes should be removed from the buffet (so, really, there’s not much of a debate there).

However, it remains true that anyone who subscribes to traditional values will consider those traditional dishes to be superior to the contemporary ones–and that, in my estimation, is wrong. Not only is it a subjective assessment of different values that is based on the values that go into the assessment (it gets really hard to explain), but the closest we have to “objective” criteria (economic growth, prosperity, and peace) suggests that it’s a positive thing when culture shifts from “whatever it is” along the unnamed thread toward liberty, secularization, and acceptance. This becomes subjective because I value economic growth, prosperity, and peace, and I have absolutely no objective reason that I can point to in order to suggest that economic growth, prosperity, and peace are good things (see Darkside Philosophy for an idea of how deep that rabbit hole gets).

So the questions are ultimately:

  • Does the presence of contemporary values on the Cultural Buffet in any way decrease the value of traditional values?

The answer is “No,” but, to be fair, I don’t think Michael would make that argument in the first place. This is sort of counterintuitive. If we laid out a buffet of ten different currencies, all of them equal to 100 of whatever currency they are (one hundred dollars, one hundred pounds, one hundred euros, etc.), it would seem to cheapen the value of the 100USD if the USD customarily were the only option. However, given that monopolies are inherently wasteful and inefficient (whether cultural, currency, or business monopolies), the presence of competition would more likely increase the value of the USD.

  • Is the presence of contemporary values on the Cultural Buffet a negative detriment to the traditional values?

This is very similar to the first question. If a child of one of the traditional diners is intrigued by the look of some contemporary values dish, it could be argued that the mere presence of the dish piqued the child’s imagination, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. But here we have to point out: if the traditional dish is superior, then there is no harm in allowing the child to taste the contemporary dish. If we place a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and a bowl of sprinkle-covered shit on the buffet, it wouldn’t really be a problem, no matter how much one didn’t want one’s child to eat sprinkle-covered shit. If the chocolate ice cream is better, then even if the child does get the chance to taste the shit, the child will surely go running back to the ice cream at the first opportunity. This is the cowardice and weakness that underlies cultural protectionism: if their values were truly superior–as they profess to believe–it would be unnecessary to prevent others from being exposed to other values. I have no issue with my clients trying out other I.T. companies, because I know they’ll come running back to me in very short order.

  • Are traditional dishes likely to survive the diversity of the buffet in any noteworthy sense?

The answer here is “no,” just as the traditional dish of “divine right of kings” hasn’t survived the buffet. Sure, a few people every once in a while can be found eating that dish, but the total impact that dish has on the overall culture is negligible. Greek Mythology is another traditional dish that hasn’t been treated well by the buffet. Even though we can find people today who worship Zeus, Greek Mythology is widely considered mythology rather than a religion, and the total impact that Zeus worshipers have on wider society is negligible. As long as no one comes along and removes the dish from the buffet, it’s up to the people who like and prefer that dish to convince other people that it’s a dish worth having.

If one can’t do that, then I guess the dish isn’t that good after all. I don’t have to convince people to try my chicken enchiladas, because they’re freaking delicious, and smelling them while hearing everyone raving about them (no joke, my chicken enchiladas are amazing, but it’s not my recipe) will entice them to try them. I don’t have to convince people to not eat the beef burrito; I just have to convince them to give my own dish a shot. And if my dish is really as good as I say it is, after that it will speak for itself.

What if we repealed all Health Care Laws & Regulations

The system is currently in a tizzy and can’t decide what to do–it is every bit the proverbial dog that finally managed to catch one of the cars it’s been barking at and chasing for years, now sniffing around the tires and just generally trying to find out “What the fuck.” After pointless gestural votes showing their support for repealing the Affordable Care Act, House and Senate conservatives now have the ability to put some actual weight behind those votes, but instead are seemingly doing everything in their power to not do that.

I discussed that idea briefly in this podcast:

It’s a long one, at nearly an hour, so get comfortable. Also be aware I’m not doing any more podcasts in that voice, because I inexplicably sound angry, due to how I edit out most of the silence. While recording, I actually speak almost exactly like Obama did, and when you remove the gaps the result is what sounds like a continuous angry rant.

Anyway, that’s just there if you’re interested.

It’s a little weird that I have the solution to America’s health care crisis, but the people we’ve elected to solve such problems have no idea what to do. Actually, it’s not weird at all: the solution is for them to do nothing, because they’re absolutely useless anyway, and we have this strange idea in the United States that the government should do stuff and try to solve problems. Politicians don’t just believe that bullshit; they are the primary peddlers of it, because if people knew that politicians can’t solve problems, then politicians would be out of a job and out of power. It’s far better for them to look like they’re doing something productive–such as repassing the Affordable Care Act under a different name–than to do nothing at all and run the risk of the masses figuring out that a law wasn’t necessary in the first place.

Imagine, for example, if computer problems had the observable habit of fixing themselves. To be clear, they don’t–they may be intermittent problems, but a computer problem does not just go away or fix itself. However, let’s pretend that they do. My job, of course, is to fix people’s computer problems. It’s in my best interest to do anything that I can to attempt to fix the computer problems, and it’s obviously against my best interest to do nothing: if I do nothing, then your computer problem will fix itself, and you’ll realize how unnecessary I am to the process. Ideally, my tinkering with the system would actually make the problem worse–fixing one problem by creating two more–and then you’d need me to fix those two new problems. Would you ever notice that you would have been better off if you’d never gotten me involved? Perhaps once the one problem had morphed slowly into nine hundred and sixty problems, you would be raising your eyebrows.

In the real world, it wouldn’t get anywhere near that far. If you called me out to fix your computer problem, and I temporarily resolved it, only for it to return a little while later and be even worse than it was before I touched it, you’d only give me a few more chances to actually fix the issue before you called someone else. “You were supposed to fix my Internet!” you might say. “Now Outlook doesn’t even open and my computer crashes five times a day! Fix it or I’m calling someone else!”

Imagine, though, that you couldn’t call someone else, because I was in charge of all computer problems and fixing them–there was no one else to call. If I implemented a solution, then no one could undo that solution and no one could work against that solution–if they did, their act of working against that solution would be illegal, and they would face fines and incarceration for doing it.

Do you see how, in this scenario, I have you by the balls? I can do anything I want to your computer, and you can’t do anything about it. Perhaps every four years we have a vote to either give me the power to fix your computer, or to give another person the power to fix your computer, but when it comes time to vote everyone always chooses me or this one other person. Neither of us ever actually fix your computer, and your computer goes from “working but with intermittent issues that fix themselves” to being a total clusterfuck of contradictions and problems. And there’s nothing you can do about it, because you’re not even allowed to call someone else or to keep us from tinkering with your computer.

That’s the government.

We can’t just call another government to fix our health care system–we only have the one, and whether that government currently consists of Republicans or Democrats doesn’t much matter as far as the health of your computer is concerned. Whether we’re Republicans or Democrats just determines how we screw up your computer; it determines the fixes we attempt to implement, and the mechanisms we use to make the problem worse. Believe it or not, our analogy also gets worse than what I just outlined.

The government isn’t just trying to fix your computer. No, quite bizarrely they promise that they can fix everything in your life. They can fix your house, your health care, your vehicles, your electricity, your food, your computer, your fridge, and any other problem that you might have. At least with a dedicated specialist, you could ask for their qualifications and shop around until you found someone who you felt was qualified to fix your problem. In the case of government, we have people who realistically know almost nothing about these areas attempted to fix problems in those areas.

No one is capable of repairing a fridge and a computer, monitoring a coal or nuclear power plant, and determining how much rubber a vehicle’s tires should contain. No one enjoys such a sweeping array of specializations and talents. We all know this intuitively. If your fridge repair guy offered to disassemble your motor and replace your head gaskets, you’d probably be a little hesitant about letting him do it, and if he then offered to provide you with recommended [mandatory] regulations for the plumbing in your home, you’d definitely be cautious and unlikely to take him seriously. But when it comes to government, it’s “Nope. These guys and girls can do everything, because they know everything.”

This is why we hate it so much when a politician dares reveal to us that they don’t know something. Our entire system is built on the assumption that politicians are omniscient and omnipotent. When Gary Johnson asked, “What is a leppo?” people turned against him more than if he’d said, “I just think that we don’t need government telling us that we can’t marry little kids.” How dare Gary Johnson reveal that he didn’t know something?! That’s unacceptable to western society. We make a token effort of criticizing Politician’s Answers, when they go on lengthy tirades about something unrelated to anything that was asked of them–just watch the presidential debates and count how many times Trump brings up Isis or immigration while answering a question that has nothing to do with either, and how many times Hillary brings up Russia while answering a question that has nothing to do with them. We’ll accept anything except “I don’t really have the answer to that.”

Saying “I don’t have the answer to that” would destroy a candidate’s chances of winning, and that’s because we need that conceit. We need to believe that our politicians have all the answers, because somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that government has all the answers.

So what about health care, then? What is this solution that I profess to have?

It’s simple: get the government out of it. Repeal every law and every regulation.

That’s Nuts!

And that’s a kneejerk reaction. Clear your mind of that emotional reaction, and then proceed.

The Effects

Unsurprisingly, most people aren’t really sure what laws and regulations are even on the books, so they have no way of knowing what the effects would be if those laws were repealed. It’s beyond the abilities of anyone to give a comprehensive list, but here are some things that would go away:

  • Pharmacies would no longer be regulated and could fill prescriptions written by anyone, and could even pass out “prescription drugs” without prescriptions.
  • Doctors would no longer be required to be certified–rubberstamped–by the government.
  • Doctors would no longer be required to attend 8+ years of school.
  • Anyone with the startup money could open up a medical practice or a pharmacy.
  • The doctor could purchase drugs directly and fill your prescription instead of sending you to a third party.

I haven’t so lost touch with the average person that I’m unaware of how horrible all of that sounds. Each of those sounds like a terrible idea. This, too, is a kneejerk reaction that only focuses on the negative consequences. I don’t deny that there would be negative consequences. There would also be positive consequences.

If anyone could open a medical practice, then we would have quacks opening up doctors’ offices in their basements and garages, and then attempting to diagnose people and write them prescriptions. We would have pharmacies who were willing to give anyone just about any drug in exchange for money, with no hesitation about turning people into drug addicts. We might even have people dying because the quack they went to see misdiagnosed their pneumonia as a common cold.

Let’s take those in reverse order. It’s not exactly hard to diagnose pneumonia. A stethoscope is all that’s necessary, and anyone can watch a YouTube video to learn what pneumatic lungs sound like–they have fluid in them, which is pretty easy to listen for. If you went to a doctor because you had pneumonia and he didn’t even take the time to listen to you breathe, and then he told you that you had a cold, you would almost certainly ask to see that doctor’s credentials. If he couldn’t provide them, you’d probably request a refund and would go see another doctor. We even do this today, with our spiderweb of regulations and oversights meant to eliminate quacks, because often we don’t trust a doctor’s diagnosis and want a second opinion.

A pharmacy that would sell anyone whatever drugs they want is nothing more than a drug dealer with a brick-and-mortar building. That’s… not really a problem. Trying to keep people from securing drugs they want to take has observable and severe consequences. It has also never worked. Prohibition has never worked. If you eliminate someone’s ability to do something openly, but they still want to do that thing, then they will invariably find ways to do that thing in secret. Alcohol Prohibition didn’t stop the manufacture, sell, and consumption of alcohol. The regulations and laws didn’t keep me from getting addicted to pain killers. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t stopped people from smoking pot. Abortion Prohibition didn’t stop people from getting abortions–

And let’s discuss that last one for a moment, shall we? Because we know it for a fact, and it’s an argument in liberals’ toolkits in favor of legalized abortion. Even the most diehard liberal will admit that prohibiting abortion didn’t prevent abortion from happening; it merely chased it into the black market, into society’s shadows, where standards of safety and decency were non-existent. Prohibition doesn’t work.

On anything.

Ever.

So this pharmacy develops a reputation as being a drug dealer, and that causes them to lose the business of the “respectable people.” The soccer moms, Catholics, and other “upstanding citizens” wouldn’t be caught dead going into that pharmacy, because anyone who saw it would say, “Oh… She’s a drug addict?” and the gossip and rumors that would result would sink that person’s reputation. This is an observable thing already. “Why is our youth minister cruising Brooks Road at midnight? Is he seeing prostitutes?”

Who cares that drug addicts will have an easier time getting drugs? That’s a good thing. And it would be even better because the addicts could just buy heroin, crystal meth, crack, and whatever else from a pharmacy, out in the open, and not in danger. They wouldn’t have to worry about the person running off with their money when they were supposed to be right back. They wouldn’t have to worry about heroin laced with lethal chemicals to kill them because they were suspected of being informants, because there would be no one to inform to. See? These “negative consequences” that people inherently have a kneejerk reaction to… are actually positive consequences.

These are all good things. We may or may not like it that the coke addict up the street suddenly has an easy and affordable way to get his fix, but that coke addict was getting his fix anyway. Our laws and regulations weren’t stopping him. And even if we did bust him and send him to prison, there are a thousand more ready to fill his place. I shouldn’t have to go into the inherent dangers of the black market, and how it creates violence and people like Al Capone. When was the last time Budweiser was in the news for breaking the kneecaps of its competition? When was the last time that Bayer was in the news for putting fentanyl in its hydrocodone to punish people for buying from Watson?

Never, that’s when.

And it’s an observable fact: black market drug dealers don’t ask for an ID. I never met a drug dealer who told me that they wouldn’t sell to me because I wasn’t 18 years old. Legalizing drugs reduces the number of teens using drugs. If we had a pharmacy repeatedly being called out for selling percocets to fifteen year old kids, that community would rally together and shut down that pharmacy quickly.

And what of the people who have no qualifications at all for treating people’s illnesses? Well, we have those already! There is no scientific evidence to support homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, and similar things, but they exist today, and have ardent defenders who fight tooth and nail against attempts to restrict them. We do have people dying because they think they can pray their illness away, or pierce it away with needles, or flush magical toxins from their body with enough fucking wheatgrass. These people exist already, and not only can you not protect them from their bad decisions, they resist every attempt for you to protect them from their own bad decisions. They don’t want you to tell them that they’re being idiots and playing with their health.

Neither do you have the right to. As loyal as I am to scientific methodology, and as much as I reject homeopathic medicine, the Placebo Effect is a real thing, and something that we have only begun to understand. We know that it’s possible, if someone believes that drinking carrot juice will cure them, they may very well walk away cured. This is why every drug ever synthesized stacks its effectiveness against the Placebo Effect, and things like aspirin provide a noticeable improvement in headache reduction over placebos. But this doesn’t mean that a person can’t take Vitamin E and have their headache cured. If the Placebo Effect and homeopathic remedies [sic] are enough to cure them, then let them have the cure they want.

Besides, we don’t have the right to tell other people what they can and can’t do. This gets murky when we’re talking about children, but I’m not even going to touch that one, because the issue persists today and would continue to persist regardless. This means it’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

We don’t need the government breaking into people’s homes and arresting people for using hair dryers in the shower to prevent people from using hair dryers in the shower. If they’re irresponsible and reckless enough to do that, then it’s senseless to try to spare them the consequences. It can’t be done, and attempting to do it means that everyone has their homes broken into by the police several times a day in the attempt. Liberty and privacy are destroyed for everyone in our misguided attempt to protect reckless people from the consequences of their own poor decisions.

If someone is reckless enough to just take the word of an unqualified and untrained doctor, we can’t protect them from that. Worse, it could very well be the case that there are people out there more than capable of diagnosing the flu, the cold, pneumonia, and other things, but who lack any formal training. These people obviously wouldn’t be able to charge as much as a doctor with an 8 year degree. If they came across something that they couldn’t diagnose, they would direct you to someone who was more qualified.

You know, like what already happens today.

“I don’t know about that mole,” your general practitioner might say. “It’s irregularly shaped. You should go see a dermatologist about it.”

Obviously, the dermatologist will charge you more than the general practitioner, because the dermatologist is better qualified. So the girl with a two year degree in Physical Fitness and the guy with a four year degree in Human Physiology may not be able to diagnose your cancer, but they would be able to diagnose a lot of things, and they would not cost nearly as much money.

And that is the key.

No one would pay $150 per visit to go see a doctor whose only qualification was a 2 year degree in physical fitness. They would, however, pay that doctor $20 for a visit, to get a yearly physical and checkup, or to get a prescription for their pneumonia or whatever. Neither would anyone pay $150 per visit go see a doctor with a 4 year degree, but they would probably pay $50 to get a more accurate assessment and physical, or a diagnosis.

This increases our options. It’s no longer just “I need to go see a doctor over this relatively minor thing, but each one is going to charge between $100 and $150 for a visit, so… I’m just screwed, I guess. Let’s see, that’s www.webmd…”

I know lots and lots of people who abuse the Emergency Room precisely because they refuse to pay $150 to have their flu diagnosed and to receive a few prescriptions. This not only increases ER wait times, it’s always a loss for the hospital, because those bills never get paid. The hospital can’t turn people away, and they didn’t turn people away before we made it illegal; doctors and medical people have always taken the Hippocratic Oath seriously, and it wasn’t until we forced them to that they began shirking it. A fair number of these people, however, would spend $20 to be looked at by someone capable of diagnosing the flu.

The system would work just fine.

Sure, there would be occasions when someone died because they went to see a quack, or because they believed in homeopathic medicine that proved incapable of treating their leukemia. Lawsuits brought by family members against these reckless institutions would be in order, and those who were reckless would quickly be put out of business. If you die because I told you that you had the cold and you had pneumonia, then that’s on me for overstepping my qualifications, for putting my arrogance and desire for money above your life, and your family has a legitimate lawsuit against me for recklessly playing with your life in pursuit of profit.

This doesn’t do you any favors, but your family should have tried convincing you to go see someone else about the time you started coughing up blood, too. Let’s not deny your own responsibility to your health, or your family’s responsibility to talk some sense into you.

But if you let this fear of the consequences motivate you to let the government try to fix something with a law, then this health care mess is the result. Why are doctors so expensive? Because they’re protected from competition by people who could easily compete with them at lower price points. A doctor can charge you $125 for a visit because I can’t undercut him by saying, “You don’t need to go see him and pay that much. I can diagnose the flu, and here’s the 4 year degree that proves I’m probably capable of diagnosing such a common illness. Pay me $40 and I’ll take a look at you.”

Voila! We reduced the cost of your visit to the doctor from $125 to just $40. We cut out two-thirds of the price. And we didn’t need the government for it to happen. We didn’t need insurance companies to jump into bed with one another and with doctors and pharmacies and drug companies. We didn’t need price controls. We didn’t need monopolistic insurance industries. All we needed was to get the government out of the way and let people be free.

 

Alt-Right-Del

I’m going to do something that I don’t do often.

Rik Storey is an idiot who has no idea what he’s talking about, cherry-picks to support his chosen ideology, ignores evidence that conflicts with his internal ideas, and spreads this madness for other people to absorb. The only reason I know about this alt-right goon is that he’s a member of a Voluntaryist/Anarchist/Libertarian group I’m in on Facebook, and no one has seen fit to kick him from the group yet for constantly talking about his alt-right positions and why they’re not only part of libertarianism–his latest post is about “the alt-right faction of the Libertarian Party”–but are critical to libertarianism–such as his post “Why Libertarians Need Protectionism.”

This is the idiot who said that multiculturalism is bad.

I’m not going to go into a line-by-line analysis of his writing and where his reasoning breaks down. I’m going to instead talk in broad strokes, because I don’t have the patience right now to read his trite dribble again. I have read his stuff, and I have countered his stuff; he has ignored the counters and continued peddling his inanities anyway.

Culture War?

Anyone who thinks that the United States is at risk of losing its culture needs to turn their sights inward. America runs the world, not just politically but also culturally. Our movies are cherished, our music is highly prized, and our video games are widely praised. Video games are the only cultural area where we don’t run the full sweep, but Bethesda, Bioware, and Blizzard–interestingly, all of whom begin with a “B,” although I think Bethesda is Canadian?–clearly show that the U.S. is a major player in the video game industry, even if it is dominated by Japan. Mass Effect: Andromeda released today, and has surely already sold millions of copies. World of Warcraft, anyone? Fucking Skyrim?

The wonderful thing about mainstream culture is that it’s always representative of the wider cultural values at home. This is obvious when you think about it. No movie in the 1950s would have depicted a gay marriage scene, because gay marriage was almost universally reviled, and the movie makers wanted to make money. Putting in a gay marriage scene would have resulted in widespread protest of the movie, and they wouldn’t have made any money. Culture, of course, is a multi-faceted thing, but the point still stands: America is projecting its culture out into the rest of the world, influencing the rest of the world.

Not the other way around.

We’re not sitting at home watching Bollywood movies and being increasingly influenced by Indian cultural values. We’re not watching Chinese sitcoms and slowly being pushed away from individualist thinking and toward collectivist/clan-based thinking that is more dominant in Asian cultures. American values are a teenage girl telling her middle aged father, “No, father! I will not marry that man, because I do not love him! I don’t care if he can save the family fortune!” An Indian or Chinese film would have the teenage girl saying, “Yes, father. I will do what is best for our family.” Remember, I said we’re speaking in broad strokes.

That kind of stuff influences people. We’re constantly being influenced by movies, television, music, video games, and literature. Take “The Purge,” for example, a movie that I boycotted on the basis of promoting facetious reasoning and the assumption that legality is what keeps people from killing one another. Show people movies like that long enough, and they will come away from it having concluded that the government is what keeps people from killing one another in the streets.

It’s far beyond my abilities to explain how art becomes a catalyst of cultural change while also attempting to be safe enough to make money, but it’s an observable phenomenon. It probably has something to do with the Marilyn Mansons and GG Allins of the world who take refuge in audacity, and whose outlandish behavior breaks down many barriers, opening the door for more mainstream musicians to safely mimic some of that behavior without going quite as far. Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle, and Nine Inch Nails all sang about dead gods and anti-religious sentiments, and now no one bats an eye if a rock band says something anti-religion. The dam is broken.

I’ve no doubt that a culture expert can explain this, but it’s not really important to the point at hand. The point is simply that American culture is, by an enormous margin, the most influential culture in the world today. The question we must ask is: What values is American culture promoting? The recent re-release of Beauty and the Beast features a gay kiss, and a lot of conservatives are up in arms about it. This is hardly ultra-liberal, but it doesn’t have to be ultra-liberal, because that dam is already broken. There have already been gay couples in all manner of entertainment, and openly gay musicians and actors. Having a gay kiss is now a safe spot to be in.

Protectionism won’t protect your values if the culture of your society doesn’t reflect your values. You can go as far into isolationism as you would like, and it will not save your social values now. It’s too late. Your values are dying, and nothing can be done to stop that. We will never have an American society again where being gay is criminalized or hidden. We will never have an American society again where being transgender is a capital offense. We will never have an American society where women are depicted as anything less than the equals of men. The tide has changed, and whether your values go as far as these straw values or not, the fact remains that progress is a one-way street. Once people realized that those other people are other people, you can’t convince them that they’re not. Once you convince people that black people are just like white people, you can never again convince them that black people are inferior, because they already identify with them.

The values you wish to protect with your cultural protectionism are already on the chopping block, and isolationism and protectionism can’t save them. Your values are being eroded from the inside, from within America itself. It’s not outside cultural elements convincing us that gay people are ordinary people, too, and that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. That’s something we came up with all by ourselves. We weren’t propagandized by German movies into believing that transgender people are deserving of dignity. We weren’t corrupted by Chinese music into believing that black people are equal to white people. We weren’t twisted by British propaganda into believing that women are equal to men. Again and again and again, these ideas originated–at the very least, in their modern movements–in the United States. We are Ground Zero for these social changes, and we emanate them outward into the rest of the world via our entertainment, which is a reflection of our culture and the very social changes that the alt-right has a problem with.

Outside influences aren’t corrupting us. If anything, we’re corrupting outside influences.

You morons.

Why do you think China is relentlessly screening what movies, music, art, and literature enters their country? Even video games have to be screened, censored, and, often, changed before China will allow them in. Why? Because China is engaging in cultural protectionism. We are the influencers, you idiots. We are the ones influencing them. We’re not sitting around going, “Oh, I hope this famous Chinese movie has no subversive communist elements in it!” Dumbasses! We’re going, “Sweet! This movie is fucking awesome! U! S! A! U! S! A!”

This notion that outside elements are trying to influence us is so bizarre to me that I wonder if we’re even in the same reality. What cultural influences are impacting us? Paris has long stopped being the art capital of the world. We still have a lot of fondness for European culture–and, for some reason, we consider it more highly valued than our own, as though the Eiffel Tower is just inherently better than the Sears Tower–but it’s not influencing us. Europe is increasingly socialist, and that’s influencing some of our youngest who look to Europe as a utopia, but protectionism won’t change that, either, because it’s not Europe that people like Rik Storey have a problem with. In fact, they want to include Europe in their protectionism, and save it from all the “icky brown people” who are trying to change the culture that we’re literally influencing everyone else with.

These people are nuts. Fully detached from reality. Anyone with even a tenuous connection to reality can see plainly that it’s the United States that is influencing everyone else, not vice versa. It’s our movies that rock the world. It’s our musicians that rock the world. It’s our television shows that break new ground. It’s our Broadway. It’s our Fiddler on the Roof. It’s our Citizen Kane, our Gone With the Wind, our Titanic, our Avengers, our Avatar. What the hell are you worried about? You’re backward. We are influencing them.

High Trust

The basic idea of Rik Storey’s idiocy is that we need protectionism to keep out “bad elements” because a libertarian society is a high trust one, and so we need to be able to trust other members. I call this “idiocy” because it is.

As always, let’s begin by dissecting assumptions. What is “trust?” Trust is nothing more than a conditioned expectation to stimuli. There’s no such thing as trust; there’s just an expectation that this action will have this result, or that this other person will do that in response to this. It’s not about trust; it’s about expectation. We don’t trust the mailman to come everyday; trust is unnecessary to the process, because we know from experience and real-world examples that the mailman will come everyday. We’re not pulling from some emotional idea and faith in the mailman; we’re pulling from real experiences and real data to establish an expectation that is in-line with our experience.

Similarly, I don’t “trust” that my girlfriend would be pissed off if I cheated on her. I know she would; trust has nothing to do with it. I’m extrapolating from past experiences–not personal experiences, to be clear–and establishing an expectation based on those past experiences. Neither do I “trust” that she won’t cheat on me; I expect that she won’t, based on my past experiences with her. Trust never, ever enters into the picture. It’s just a misnomer, a colloquial way of saying “I have this expectation based on previous experiences.” A betrayal of trust isn’t a betrayal of trust; it’s when someone does something counter to our expectations that impacts us in a negative way.

That said, I dispute the idea that a libertarian society is a high trust one in the first place. I don’t have to trust that Bob won’t rob my house if there is no law against it, because I can shoot Bob for trespassing and violating my property. The state society involves exactly this same trust, too, because we know that laws don’t create moral behavior; they merely provide a framework by which immoral behavior is punished. No one is out there going, “Damn. I would steal, rape, and kill, if only there were no laws against it!”

So a stateless society–or a libertarian one–doesn’t involve more trust than any other sort of society. It doesn’t matter whether there is a law against it or not; trust isn’t the factor distinguishing the two. We don’t operate under the good faith trust that Bob won’t break into my home and steal my stuff in a libertarian society, just like we don’t operate under the good faith trust that Bob won’t break the law in a state society. We expect moral behavior based on our experiences with most people and we have ways of dealing with immoral behavior when it occurs. That doesn’t change in a libertarian society.

For That Matter, WHO Are You Trusting?

Rik Storey makes it pretty clear that he trusts straight, white people. He constantly talks about the greatness of western society, claiming credit for the work of the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, and the American ancestors. This is common for such people, of course: by taking credit for the great things that other people did, they give themselves an ego boost by identifying with those other people. “I’m great, because people who were just like me did great things! I can take credit for the fact that the Greeks invented democracy, because I’m white and they were white!”

I can’t speak for everyone, but if I was motivated to be racist, sexist, and sexual orientationist, then straight white men would be the last people I would trust. This is where Rik’s “logic” really breaks down: he wants to claim credit for all the great things that–there’s no reason to be coy–white people did, while he says nothing about the abominable acts that white people have done. If we’re talking about “white people” as a single collective unit, then, yes, they invented democracy, libertarianism, self-governance, and other cool things.

They also started two World Wars, executed the Holocaust, enjoyed American slavery for centuries, annihilated the Native Americans, have invaded countless sovereign nations, have tried more than any other race of people to conquer the world, and have dropped not one but two atomic weapons on civilian population centers. They systemically oppressed women, black people, Asians, Native Americans, LGBTQ people, non-Christians, and anyone else who wasn’t exactly like them. So yeah, if you’re a straight white man with Christian leanings, I could see why you’d be okay trusting other straight white men with Christian leanings. They’ve never turned their viciousness onto you, after all.

But if you’re literally anyone else, then the notion that you should simply trust straight, white Christian men is absurd in the highest degree. There is no other demographic less worthy of trust. Rik Storey’s inability to see this and realize it is exactly because he is part of that demographic and, in the classical sense of that demographic, is incapable of seeing the world through anyone else’s eyes. Straight, white Christian men must be trustworthy, he concludes, because he’s a straight, white Christian man and straight, white Christian men have never done anything to him.

He claims credit for the great things his ancestors have done and uses those great things as reasons why his demographic is inherently more trustworthy, as far as a libertarian society goes. His thinking is that white people invented libertarianism, and thus only white people can be trusted in a libertarian society. He conveniently ignores the fact that white people also invented the nuclear weapon, the cluster bomb, the UAV, and a host of other things that add up to being pretty good reasons why not to trust those people.

Of Course…

I don’t buy any of that. There is no “straight, white Christian male” group that acts and thinks in unison, that is more or less worthy of “trust” than anyone else, because there are only individuals with various characteristics. The above rant is not an attack against men, white people, straight people, or Christians except as an extension of Rik Storey’s own thinking–which I reject in the first place. If Rik Storey truly believes his own spiel, then his conclusion must be that straight, white Christian men whose culture is under threat from the outside world aren’t worthy of trust in the first place, and that it must be a good thing that those outside cultural influences are impacting his values.

Everything about his thinking is backward, skewed, and confused. In a libertarian society, we don’t have to trust our neighbors won’t violate the NAP, because we will have ways of dealing with it if they do. The existence of laws against violence don’t mitigate our trust or increase our trust; they are unrelated to the entire affair, as they are nothing more than the framework we use to punish people when they violate our morality. The morality remains in a libertarian society, and so does the tendency to punish people for violating it*. Just as you’d use law and the state to punish people for stealing from you in a state society, so would you use the NAP and some mechanism to punish people for stealing from you in a stateless society. Trust has nothing to do with it.

And if you really want to ride that demographic identity train, I don’t think it will arrive at a destination that people like Rik Storey will be comfortable with. Because if you’re going to take pride in all the great things that white people, men, straight people, and Christians have done, then you must also take responsibility for all the absolutely horrible things those same people have done: the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the bombed abortion clinics, both World Wars, Nagasaki, Hiroshima… I’d be moderately interested in seeing Rik Storey’s tally where he has added up all the positive things his demographic has done and stacked them against all the negative things his demographic has done, and whether the math shows he is correct in trusting his demographic.

But he isn’t correct, and it’s stupid anyway, because we are individuals, not amalgams of characteristics and not extensions of people who lived and died thousands of years ago. I think it’s interesting that Storey wants to take credit for the Greeks inventing democracy, but I’d bet my shiny new A Perfect Circle tickets [Yes, that phrase again] that Rik Storey vehemently opposes the notion of reparations for black Americans.

So do I, as it happens, but I oppose it because individuals who didn’t do something shouldn’t have to pay for something that other individuals did to individuals who didn’t have it done to them. That is what a position of consistency looks like. “White people are worthy of trust because they invented libertarianism! But that they invented and remain the only people to have used nuclear weapons? No, that isn’t a factor” is not what a position of consistency looks like.

The alt-right is replete with this sort of cherry-picking, denial of history, and doublethink. I don’t criticize white people for the Holocaust; I criticize Hitler. I don’t praise white people for democracy; I praise the unidentified individuals who conceived it. I’m not worried about outside influences impacting American culture because I’m not a blind moron, and I can easily look out into the world and notice that it’s the other way around; American culture is heavily impacting the rest of the world. And even if I shared Storey’s timid, insecure values, I still wouldn’t be able to get on board with his “conclusions,” because I’m capable of noticing that America’s values are changing from within.

And if he’s arguing that those individuals who are fighting to change America’s values from within need to be excised or killed, then he obviously isn’t a libertarian of any sort, but that’s okay, because the alt-right isn’t a faction of libertarianism anyway. Libertarians means liberty for ALL, and let the consequences of freedom be whatever they will be. If liberty means that Rik Storey’s values are eroded and ultimately wiped from history, then so be it. Libertarianism means liberty for all, even non-white, non-straight, non-Christian, non-men. Liberty for one demographic obviously isn’t liberty; it’s tyranny.

So no. Alt-right ideas are fundamentally incompatible with the precepts of liberty. Libertarianism means other people are free to come in and influence your culture, because they aren’t using force, violence, and coercion. If your culture is so weak that it can’t survive that, then there you go–your culture is weak.

I tend to think that Storey must know this. Protectionism is all about insecurity, after all. If Microsoft is so scared of competition that they have to engage in protectionism, then it means they know their products suck and can’t stand up against competing products. If Storey is so scared of competition that he has to engage in protectionism, then it means he knows his culture sucks and can’t stand up against competing cultures.

Letting the weak be defeated by the strong through competition absent force, violence, and coercion? That is libertarianism.

So it’s not other cultures that are incompatible with libertarianism, Storey.

It’s you.

* Which I’m not on board with anyway, but that’s a more complex issue.

Let’s Have A [Trade] War

Recently, a Chinese official warned that they don’t want a Trade War but, if there is one, then the United States would lose. I think this shows a lot of confusion about what is meant by “trade war,” because there isn’t a winner or loser in a trade war. Well, at least not in the sense that the Chinese government can win a trade war and the American corporations can lose one. In fact, the winners of a trade war are consumers, and the losers are producers. A trade war would be a good thing for the American People.

People talk about a possible trade war, and I get excited–fuck. Yes. Bring it on, please. There’s not a better way to save our economy than a trade war. As long as it doesn’t escalate into an actual war, there is absolutely nothing to fear from a trade war–in fact, they happen all the time, and they’re to be desired, because competition is the key element that drives down the cost of production by encouraging companies and nations to increase efficiency, cut waste, and lower prices.

But let’s get to a real example to explain what I mean.

Consider the Foxconn hardware, which has its various devices used in all sorts of consumer items from iPhones to Acer laptops. There are also Foxconn network cards–though they’re increasingly uncommon, and I think Realtek usurped them and Foxconn became just the chip manufacturer… It’s complicated and not really important to the point at hand–so consumers in the United States can buy Foxconn directly.

In real terms, a trade war with China would mean that they intentionally drove down the price of Foxconn hardware in order to drive American manufacturers of out of business. It’s similar to how Wal-Mart has a history of lowering prices to drive other companies out of business. It’s the same principle here: take a loss now to annihilate the competition, and then enjoy a monopoly.

But oops! We’ve already seen the problem, haven’t we? Indeed, there is no American manufacturer that competes with Foxconn. America doesn’t make network cards, are you kidding me? We may nor may not have research teams that devise new chipsets that are leased to other companies, like NVidia does, but I don’t think we even have that. So the grand effect from China driving down the cost of the devices manufactured by Foxconn would simply be to lower Apple’s and Acer’s costs in producing new iPhones and laptops. If it costs less money for Apple and Acer to make laptops, then that benefits consumers, even if it’s not at a 1:1 ratio. I mean, if Apple saves 3%, we wouldn’t see a 3% drop in iPhone prices, but we would see some drop–possibly 0.5% or even 1%.

We know this to be true, because it was only about a month ago that I finally replaced the television that broke down last year. The one that broke down last year was an off-brand I’d purchased from RadioShack for $200. It was a 27 inch television that didn’t handle 1920×1080 especially well, though it did do it. I replaced it with a 32 inch Sanyo television that cost $128 after taxes. Regrettably, the universe conspired to throw that television from my wall, where its screen smashed rather unceremoniously on my hardwood floor, but I can still buy another 32 inch Sanyo–not imminently, though in a few months, when things have calmed down–and will effectively have bought two larger televisions for a price only slightly higher than what I paid for one smaller television a number of years ago.

We lose sight of how much progress we have made in the United States, and how high our standard of living is, because we enjoy all the luxuries of modern society. Fifteen years ago, a 70 inch television would have been unheard of, and would have been either an imaginary item or a pipe dream for the majority of Americans. Today, you can get one for about $1,000. I remember one Black Friday sale around 2004 that Wal-Mart put 27 inch televisions on sale for under $100. But they weren’t flat screens, lol. They were enormous, about the size of a mini-fridge, and maybe had a single composite and coax input. Fast forward to last year, and Black Friday saw sales of 27 inch flatscreens capable of 1080p with 3 HDMI inputs, 2 composite inputs, 1 component input, 1 USB input, and 1 VGA input for the same price.

This is the hidden progress that Americans generally haven’t noticed. We complain about the American poor not making any progress, completely glossing over the fact that in less than 2 decades the American poor went from buying the gigantic CRT-type televisions while only the wealthy could afford LCD screens to having multiple LCD screen televisions, most of them ranging from “very large” to “uselessly large.”

Do you remember when a “big screen tv” meant this gigantic thing that took up an entire living room wall and was two feet deep? Do you remember when that “big screen tv” was a big deal, when it was a point of pride to own one? Again, just compare that to today, when it’s a rarity for someone to not have a widescreen, LCD television pushing at least 720p. The cost of televisions has steadily gone down over the decades, as a result of competition and things like the Foxconn example I gave above. It probably wouldn’t be instant, but the price of phones and laptops would steadily lower as the savings get passed onto consumers, who don’t stop to realize that they’re buying the iPhone 7S today for the same price that they’d have bought the iPhone 6S only a year before, only now the 7S is the latest and greatest and the 6S is a model or two behind. We haven’t stopped to notice that we’re routinely buying and discarding televisions that would have cost three children, half an arm, and one testicle twenty years ago for a half of week of minimum wage labor today.

The other direction that China could go is to increase prices. This also only benefits the United States. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand, and the relationship between them setting the price. Just as selling something for less than it’s actually worth will create a shortage of that item, so will selling something for more than it’s worth create a surplus of that item. One hundred people may be willing to license a Foxconn chipset for $0.50, but if only fifty people are willing to license the chipset for $0.75, then Foxconn has lost money, and that’s how economics works, and why economics always uses curves.

Demand and supply lines are only straight in simplistic economic exercises. In the real world, things never work that way. If I can make one hundred televisions for $50 each, that doesn’t mean I can double production and make two hundred televisions for $50 each. Average laws tell us that I would expect doubling the production to increase costs to about $60 per television. It works in terms of selling things, too, and is the reason that everyone in the world is used to things being cheaper when bought in bulk. One roll of toilet paper may be sold for fifty cents, but four rolls of toilet paper will be sold for $1.50, not $2. This is mathematically a curve, of course, because it’s obviously not a linear progression.

It’s obvious when we stop to think about it, and it’s the reason that a trade war–artificial changing of prices–benefits consumers and ultimately hurts producers. The consumer benefits from buying 4 rolls of toilet paper for $1.50 instead of buying four individual rolls for fifty cents apiece. The consumer has benefit from all the technological innovations and pricing wars over the last twenty years, and now a widescreen, flatscreen LCD television is as much a staple in American homes as the microwave. Oh, there’s another, of course. Microwave ovens were once the property of the rich and wealthy. Today, they’re so cheap and abundant that entire YouTube channels exist of people microwaving random things in order to destroy them. Ditto for refrigerators, washing machines, driers, hair blow driers, and just about any-damn-thing else you can think of.

It wouldn’t be all sunshine and daisies if China foolishly took this route, but it would, in the longrun, help the United States. There is a demand for Foxconn devices, after all. If I can produce bananas so cheaply that I can sell them at a cost that no one can compete with, then the bar of entry is so high that new companies won’t be able to enter the banana production industry. They won’t have the resources or knowledge necessary to compete with me, the very same reason that we see companies like Microsoft dominating industries with inferior products and shady business practices. There’s really nothing that can be done about this except wait until their monopoly destroys itself, because monopolies are self-destructing in the market.

As a monopoly dominates, it grows larger. This increases waste, inefficiency, and loss, not just because production costs and profits don’t scale linearly, but also because competition is the driving force that minimizes waste, inefficiency, and loss. Without someone to compete with in the OS market, Microsoft can release one terrible Operating System after the other, and practically force an “upgrade” onto everyone, while also losing money and absorbing losses due to bad ideas, waste, and inefficiency. They continue to grow, of course, because they’re the only option, and this only generates more waste, inefficiency, and bad ideas. With more and more money being lost to these things, Microsoft has to raise prices to continue making money, so Microsoft Office 2016 goes from $199 to $249. At first, this is bad for consumers, but it also means that a new company making an Office competitor has an extra bit of padding they can work with to improve their software. Maybe they couldn’t afford to implement this feature, because it would have increased the price of their software from $180 to $210, and selling their software for $210 would have made it more expensive than Office. Office, being the champion already and being cheaper, would win that contest. But if Microsoft has to mitigate its increased waste and inefficiency by increasing prices to $249, then the new competitor can implement that feature and still be cheaper than Microsoft Office.

Maybe the company American Network Chip Manufacturers would like to make its own chips, but can’t afford to because Foxconn’s chips are so much cheaper. Foxconn raising the cost of its chips just might mean that ANCM can finally afford to hire American manufacturers and still produce a chip that is cheaper than Foxconn’s. Oh, no, what a disaster! Hiring Americans and creating American manufacturing jobs?! Woe is me, how awful!

Although such a thing would still result in higher prices for consumers, which is the problem with protectionism and tariffs. If we put a 20% tariff on Mexican bananas and Jose starts selling his previous $1 ea bananas for $1.20 to cover the tariff, then obviously it’s the people buying bananas who are paying for the tariff, not Jose. But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, because it also means that American Banana Producer can now charge up to $1.19 per banana and still beat out Jose in the market. Maybe American Banana Producer was about to go out of business because its banana costs can’t be lowered beyond $1.10. This is bad for consumers, who now pay ten cents more to buy an American banana picked by an American worker, but it also means there is now another American manufacturer with a job. And though banana farming isn’t the most lucrative industry, I would guess, industrial manufacturing jobs generally are.

It’s true that we’ve become a society of service people. Very, very little is manufactured in the United States, and that is a problem in the grand scheme of things. The only reason it works now is because much of the world hasn’t noticed that we’re giving them sheets of paper in exchange for actual goods they manufacture, but that gravy train is inevitably going to crash. I make a living fixing, installing, and configuring computers and networks, almost none of the components of which are manufactured in the United States. What happens to my job, when the USD collapses and China, Japan, and South Korea stop accepting the USD as payment? I’ll have nothing to service if Americans can’t buy the things I service. The very existence of our service-centric economy–from auto mechanics to gas station employees to I.T. people to fast food workers–is dependent upon the USD and the willingness of manufacturers to accept it. The moment–and I mean the very moment–that they stop, the United States will enter a depression that makes the Great Depression look like Disneyland. And that’s not hyperbole; the entire American economy will collapse, virtually overnight. The only reason it persists today is that we’ve managed to keep the world using a dollar standard–often by invading nations who want to stop accepting it. That can’t last forever.

Even so, the way out of that is obvious. It would take a while and would be tremendously unpleasant, but the solution would be to re-open all the American factories that have since been exported to China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea. A trade war with China would allow this to happen slowly, as opposed to all at once with the collapse of the USD, but it’s inevitable. The chips will fall eventually, and the gravy train will be derailed. We can count on it with as close to absolute certainty as a person can get. Having it happen slowly and over a years-long trade war with China would drastically reduce the hardship, starvation, and interim poverty. Having it happen suddenly at some unknown point in the future will result in widespread starvation. And that’s just a fucking fact.

So yeah. Bring on the trade war. Let’s do it. Let’s get it over with. The longer we kick the can down the road, the more devastating it’s going to be when it finally happens–like the requests to raise the Minimum Wage that are the most blatant examples of kicking the can down the road that we can look to. The Minimum Wage is a Price Floor on the price of labor, of course, and is only “necessary” because the market price of some labor is lower than the Minimum Wage. There’s a disparity between what a job is worth to an employer and what an employer has to pay, so any non-critical task results in a fired employee, because the employer isn’t going to pay someone $7.25 an hour to clean windows when the market price of a window cleaner is $2.50 an hour. So increasing the Minimum Wage just causes a greater overlap between “non-critical tasks” and “not worth it to pay someone to do,” the result of which is unemployment.

Economic law tells us that reckoning is going to happen sooner or later. The market will come to equilibrium one way or another, and it won’t be pretty when it happens. We should be reducing the Minimum Wage–or abolishing it altogether, I’d prefer–incrementally until such time as we can abolish it, not increasing it. Making the disparity greater is the dumbest thing we could do. Let’s get it over with. Let’s crash the train.

Let’s have a war.

As long as force, violence, and coercion are forbidden and it remains a market matter solved by non-violent competition, of course.

The How & Why of Anarchy, Part 5: Crime & Punishment

Included links won’t work, and I’m not up to fixing them at the moment… I’m sorry about that. I will fix them in the future, though.

In the previous installation of the series, we discussed war, its causes, its nature, and how a Society with no Government would protect itself against foreign Governments. There is little to add to that discussion, except that there may be some confusion about why we could expect corporations and businesses to come to our aid in the same manner with which Government provides for our national defense. To answer this question, we must first ask another question: Why do we expect our Government to come to our aid and provide for our national defense?

Corporations and businesses could, after all, be persuaded by foreign Governments into turning a blind eye to an invasion, into selling us out, and into allowing the foreign Government to conquer us. Suppose that a foreign Government promises to give the Corporation more power, a monopoly in their industries, and other benefits. Wouldn’t a corporation naturally want to take that offer, since it is the desire for profit that drives corporations in the first place, and since being promised a monopoly is guaranteed to yield a profit? Well, yes, it’s a possibility.

But the very same things could be said of our Government. Politicians within our Government could be made the very same offers. “We’ll install a new Government and give you the authority of Kings!” the foreign Government could say. What would keep our Government from selling us out to some foreign Government if that foreign Government made a tempting offer? “Turn a blind eye to our invasion, and we’ll give you…” What would keep anyone in our Government from accepting that offer?

Nothing, really, except that the American People wouldn’t stand by and let our Government do it. The only thing preventing our Government officials from selling us out to a foreign Government… is us. It’s we, the American People, who provide for our National Defense, as the Government and its members could always turn a blind eye to an invasion by a foreign Government, and the only thing preventing them from doing that is the fact that we wouldn’t allow it and we would fight it. We’d remove from power any Government and any Government official who attempted to turn a blind eye to an invasion.

The bottom line is that we’re currently “unprotected” from this possibility. If all of Congress and the White House suddenly decided to send all our soldiers to Afghanistan while the Russians invaded us, there would be no mechanism in place to protect us from this screw-over by our Government. There are no defense systems, no mechanisms, and no other systems with which we can ensure that our current Government doesn’t sell us out to a foreign Government. By abolishing our Government and switching to an Anarchy governed by Principles rather than people, we wouldn’t lose any ability to ensure that we weren’t sold out to foreign powers.

Our Government is as capable of selling us out to foreign Governments as the corporations and businesses would be in an Anarchy.

But our Government officials won’t sell us out to foreign Governments. Just as you have an intense love for your homeland and a patriotism to your land, so do the people in Government–and so do CEOs and small-business owners. The CEOs, Representatives, and Senators all have the same passionate love for our homeland as do you and I. Just as neither you nor I could imagine turning a blind eye to a foreign Government by allowing that Government to invade and conquer our homeland, neither can they. Bill Gates loves his homeland as much as you do; Donald Trump loves his homeland as much as you do; David Rockefeller loves his homeland as much as you do; the CEO of Wal-Mart loves his homeland as much as you do. Just as you would fight tooth and nail, devoting everything you had to fighting an invasion, so would they–just as our Government does.

Most CEOs recognize that they need us far more than we need them. They’re replaceable; we are not. Worse still, they can and will be replaced if they don’t treat us well and competition rises which will treat us well. As I demonstrated in Part Four, corporations and businesses, when there is proper and unrestricted competition, go out of their way to treat their employees and customers well, because competition means that if they don’t, then they will be brought down by the Free Market and consumer choices very, very quickly. When there is competition, corporations have to treat us well, they have to treat their employees well, and the better they treat consumers and their employees, the better consumers and their employees treat them. This is exactly why, in the Middle Ages, laws were passed preventing serfs from freely moving from one lord to another; the competition created by allowing the serfs to move to a lord who paid better or treated them better forced other lords to behave better and pay better, and the other lords did not appreciate this. Read Ken Follet’s “World Without End” if you’re curious about how a wage increase by one lord could make other lords furious. Now, of course, we’re not dealing with lords and serfs; we’re dealing with CEOs and employees, and it is understood that employees can freely move from one corporation to another and that they will go to whichever corporation treats them the best. This forces CEOs, whether they like it or not, to treat their consumers and employees better. The more competition there is, the better the CEOs must treat their employees and consumers. If, then, we lift all restraints on competition, the standards of consumers and employees will increase drastically. 

With a Free People fighting for their freedom, no force on Earth can defeat them. And when you apply the principle that these Free People are voluntarily contributing all that they can to the effort, instead of having it forced upon them, you end up with a Free People fighting tooth and nail with everything they have against invaders.

When a Free People fight for their freedom, no force on Earth can defeat them.

Corporations will have as much to lose as do the Individuals and would therefore contribute just as wholeheartedly to the cause. Sure, there may be some corporations who are willing to turn a blind eye to the invasion, and there may still be others who are actually willing to sabotage our efforts, but there are now Government officials who may be willing to turn a blind eye to an invasion, and there may still be other Government officials who are actually willing to sabotage our efforts. Our current system leaves us no recourse to reprimand or prevent the President of the United States, if he so chooses, to sell us out to a foreign power. With the President being wholly in charge of our military, we could be sold out to a foreign Government by a single person, and nothing really prevents him from doing this. However, in an Anarchy governed by Principles, no one person could singlehandedly sell us out to a foreign Government, and if any one person tried, they’d quickly find themselves boycotted, blockaded, and brought down by consumer choices, competition, and the rivalry of the Free Market. Only a love for his homeland and his People prevent the President (any President) from selling us out to a foreign Government. A love for the homeland and the People, and the Free Market consequences of trying (as outlined previously) prevent a corporation from trying to sell us out to a foreign Government. Since no force on Heaven or Earth can defeat a Free People who fight for their freedom, the Free People would inevitably win, and if the corporation which sold them out managed to survive to that point, it would not survive much longer. Betrayed and angry, the Free People would rally against that corporation like never before, and any corporation which rose in competition that was led by someone who had fought bravely in the war would overtake the treacherous one in a matter of days.

The Free Market and Free Market consequences save us from being sold out by any corporation. Moreover, the people in charge of these corporations, like you and I and like the people in Government, love their homeland, the principles of their homeland, and their People just as much as everyone else. They would fight for their homeland just as strongly and devotedly as you would.

Okay… I’ll Reluctantly Accept That… Just Move On. What About Murder?

Ah, for murder we must examine Laws. Governments pass laws, yes, but those laws are only reflections of what Society thinks is right and wrong. When Society accepted slavery, the Government allowed it. When Society turned against slavery, the Government outlawed it. When Society accepted drinking, the Government allowed it. When Society* turned against drinking, the Government enacted Prohibition. When Society turned against Prohibition, the Government allowed drinking again. When Society* turned against mairjuana, the Government outlawed it. Now that Society is turning around again to allow marijuana, the Government is following suit.

My point in all of this is that Society, and not Government, dictates what is and isn’t allowed. Society makes the decisions, and Government just writes them down. Government, however, is slow to change its mind and slow to modify existing law–hence the current marijuana situation. Though huge portions of the country want to see marijuana legalized for medical purposes and still more want to see it legalized for recreational purposes**, the Government is still very reluctant to do this and has instead simply said that it won’t try to overturn some State laws about it. Rather than actually being on the cutting edge of social progress, the Government always is a few steps behind. It follows that, with the Government always being a few steps behind, Government often gets in the way–as it is now doing with marijuana.

At any rate, even if Government timed its legislation to perfectly coincide with the decisions and values of Society, then Government still actually contributes nothing to the process. All the Government does is write down Society’s values and prescribe punishments for people who violate those values. Firstly, writing it down isn’t necessary and, as I pointed out in the preceding paragraph, does more harm than good: it causes Government to lag behind Society, often getting in the way of social progress. There is no reason, for example, to write down that murder is illegal, that rape is illegal, or that theft is illegal. Society decided these things a very long time ago, and writing them down contributes nothing to the function of Society.

Laws also do not protect anyone from having anything happen to them. A law making murder illegal doesn’t prevent anyone from committing murder. If it did, you’d be able to type in the comments, “The only thing keeping me from murdering people is the fact that it’s illegal.” The same is true of rape and theft. If laws against these crimes were actually preventing anyone from doing them, then people would be able to say, “The only thing that keeps me from stealing, raping, and killing is the fact that we’ve made it illegal! Thank God for these laws! Because if it wasn’t illegal, I’d rape, torture, and kill you, and then steal everything you owned!”

But no one thinks that way. The law isn’t deterring anyone from committing any crime. People don’t commit crimes because their Morality holds them back, and when that Moral Restraint breaks down, then they are capable of committing rape, theft, and murder. But as long as that Moral Restraint holds up, no amount of anger or desire can entice them into killing, raping, or stealing. And once that Moral Restraint breaks down, no law can stop someone from killing, raping, or stealing. Once their Morality breaks down, for whatever reason, then no Law will stop them from doing whatever they want. At that point, the Law will only provide a framework within which they can be punished. But since the Law isn’t actually deterring anyone and the Law is only a reflection of Society’s value (thus, a reflection of Individuals’ Moral Restraints) in the first place, why is the Law even necessary?

Violations against Society’s values, however, that have victims would still require some sort of punishment–though “victimless crimes” would not. And this is because there’s no such thing as a “victimless crime,” and a Free People understand that. A “victimless crime” isn’t a crime; it’s a choice. In modern America, smoking pot is a “victimless crime,” and it is one that can send someone to prison for several years. Not too long ago in most states, sodomy (and hence homosexuality) was a “victimless crime,” and it was also one that could send someone to prison for several years. Society has changed its mind about tolerating these things, but they should never have been crimes in the first place. Nothing that does not have a victim should be considered a crime. The idea is absurd, and a Free People find it abhorrent. “Victimless crimes” are choices, and just because one Individual or another does not approve of the action in question doesn’t give anyone the right to make it a crime which warrants punishment. Only crimes with victims are crimes; anything else is simply a choice and must be tolerated, no matter how much you disapprove of it.

Any action can be made into a crime if we allow this notion of “victimless crimes” to exist. Turning on a fan when it is Sunday could become a “victimless crime” which sends people to prison if we allow some religious sects to have power over legislation. The very same intolerance has allowed sodomy, gay marriage, and marijuana to all be made illegal–one religious group or another determined that the action was a sin and that, even though there was no victim, it needed to be punished with imprisonment. We can’t let this happen; the only way to prevent it is by abolishing this notion of victimless crimes. When we abolish victimless crimes, we are left only with crimes which have victims:

Murder, rape, and theft. We have the taking of life, we have the violation of rights and autonomy, and we have the violation of property rights. When we abolish victimless crimes, we are left with only three crimes, and those three crimes are:

  • Violating someone’s right to Life.
  • Violating someone’s right to Liberty.
  • Violating someone’s right to Pursue Happiness.

Those are the only crimes in a Free Society, and those are the only things we need to prevent any Individual from doing. As there is no greater violation of someone’s right to Life than killing them, murder would necessarily not be allowed. As there are few violations of someone’s right to Liberty (autonomy, self-governance, and choice) than forcing oneself upon them, rape would necessarily be not allowed. As there is no greater violation of someone’s right to Pursue Happiness than by stealing the property with which they would pursue that happiness (as Part Two demonstrated, the right to pursue happiness requires the right to private property), theft would necessarily not be allowed. Now that we’ve protected everyone’s Life, Liberty, and right to pursue happiness, what else is there left for Society to ensure?

Nothing. Everything’s taken care of at this point. We established in Part Two that the only things we must protect are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, because trying to protect anything beyond these three things require sacrifices of these three things. In regard to health care, I demonstrated that we can only protect someone’s “‘right’ to receive healthcare” by sacrificing the right to pursue happiness (by violating the right to private property of others). Every Individual does, however, have the right to pursue healthcare. But that is where their rights end when it comes to healthcare.

With Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness now protected by Social Agreement, we must only ask…

“Okay, Fine. But Not Everyone Follows the Law or These… ‘Social Agreements’…

No, that’s true. As I stated above, people break the law. People commit rape, theft, and murder every single day. And this is true, even though we have laws in place which have made these things illegal. What good are these laws doing? Would we have more rape, theft, and murder if these things weren’t illegal? If we would, then you think that the only thing stopping people from raping, stealing, and murdering is the fact that it’s illegal. There’s no justification for thinking this, especially since the only reason these things are illegal is because we have decided that they’re wrong.

In the process of Law, first the People decide that the act is wrong. Then the Government makes it illegal. So even if you remove the Government and even if you remove the whole concept of legal and illegal, the People still think it’s wrong, because they were the ones who decided in the first place that it was wrong, and this decision is what created the Law. The Law didn’t make Society think that rape, murder, and theft are wrong; Society decided these things are wrong, thus the Government passed a Law that said so. But whether the Law is there has no impact on whether or not Society thinks something is right or wrong–again, see the marijuana changes sweeping our nation.

What Society says is Moral, Immoral, and Amoral is completely independent of what the Government decrees. After all the Government had once decreed that slavery was okay. Society said slavery was not okay, even though the Government had already passed laws saying it was. The Government had once decreed that homosexuality was illegal. Society said that homosexuality was okay, even though the Government had already passed laws saying it wasn’t. Over and over again, we find that Society dictates what is right and wrong and Government only passes laws to reflect that. Over and over again, we also find that the Government’s laws make no difference to the Society and have no impact on the entire process. Over and over again, we find that the Laws aren’t necessary because they don’t do anything.

The only things the Law accomplishes which Society’s Values do not is that the Law provides a framework for punishing people who violate the acts. There is a rigid system for this which defines rigid punishments, and the further we go into bureaucracy, the more rigid this framework becomes. Already, trials are by the State and not by the Jury, as demonstrated in Part Two, and already Jurors are restricted only to delivering verdicts based on the law and the crime. This was not always the case. Jurors were once able to weigh the circumstances of the crime, whether or not the action was justified by the circumstances, the Constitutionality of the law, the rightness of the law, and all sorts of other factors that have since fallen to the homogenization of bureaucracy.

Just as we have Trials today, so would we have trials in an AnarchyThe Government doesn’t have a monopoly on Justice. Society does. When someone is accused of violating another’s Life, Liberty, or right to pursue happiness, Society can try this person by a jury of peers just as Government is supposed to today. Individual counties, cities, and neighborhoods can come up with their own methods for incarcerating people while trials are organized and can allow the jury to decide the consequences if found guilty, allowing the circumstances of the crime and the Individual’s history to guide their sentencing if the person is found to have done wrong.

Justice is not and can never be a one-size-fits-all thing.

Circumstances matter, and by not trying to homogenize the process and by not trying to make one-size-fits-all systems of sentences, we allow the impartial Jury to weigh the action, the effects of the action, the motive behind the action, and the circumstances of the action to determine a sentence that is fitting to the crime. Trial by jury has been a staple of Western Society for centuries. It’s not going anywhere, because Society dictated that crimes shall be handled by a jury of peers. Government didn’t decide this. Society did. All Government did was write it down. And Society will still have trials by jury, even without a Government making them do it, because we as Individuals figured out centuries ago that the only way to ensure Justice and not revenge was to allow an impartial jury of peers to deliberate–and to assign a sentence relative to the heinous nature of the crime.

Um…

It has been amply demonstrated here that Government is not necessary to the Criminal Justice process. It has been amply demonstrated that Laws do not have any actual utility and that they are only documents that provide a framework for punishing criminals–and then it was amply demonstrated that trying to have such a framework to punish criminals is a bad idea. So not only do laws fail to provide a deterrent for criminal behavior, but their only other function, to provide frameworks for sentencing, is flawed and should be abhorred by a Free People. Since Laws have only the purpose of acting as a deterrent and fail to do that (I dare you to type in the comments, “Only the fact that it’s illegal is keeping me from raping every woman I see and want.), and since their secondary purpose is to provide a framework for sentencing (which is abhorrent to a Free People, as a Free People recognize that motive and circumstances matter far more than the actual act itself), it is shown that Laws have no place in our Society. 

Furthermore, it has been shown that since there is a lag between Society’s Moral Restraints and Government’s laws, the Government’s Laws frequently get in the way of social progress and that, even if Government laws perfectly coincided with the changes in a Society’s Moral Restraints, the Law is still not desirable because it contributes nothing to the process–if it might as well not be done as be done, then it shouldn’t be done. If it has no effect, then there’s no reason it should be done. Doing things that have no discernible effect, even in theory, except to occasionally slow or halt Social Progress, and at best simply “don’t get in the way,” we’re creating waste and burning resources on irrelevant actions that have no impact and no bearing on reality. It requires time and resources to pass laws, to work out homogenized sentences, to defend the homogenized sentences against the ACLU and other organizations who argue that normalized sentencing is contrary to the principle of Liberty, and all of these resources could be better spent elsewhere, especially since burning them as we’re now doing on things that have no positive benefit, even in theory, is doing nothing but wasting resources.

Brief Summary

Since there are only three things which Society needs to protect and since those three things are Life, Liberty, and the right to pursue happiness, we only need, ultimately, one law:

Each Individual has the right and freedom to do whatever he or she desires and own whatever he or she may acquire, so long as he or she takes no action that impedes negatively, with malice or intention, the ability of another to do as he or she may desire or own whatever he or she may acquire.

That one law takes care of everything, and it wouldn’t even be a “law,” since there would be no Government which would pass it. It would be a Social Agreement, built on the principles which we all hold dear to our heart. It does not allow for any action to be labelled as a “victimless crime,” yet it adequately handles the Big Three: rape, murder, and theft, as well as other things such as torture, coercion, inhibitions of free speech, and violations of privacy (since privacy is an extention of the right to private property, including oneself). Nothing else needs to be addressed, and anyone found to have violated any part of the above Social Agreement can and would be apprehended by Society and given a trial by a jury of peers who weighted the evidence and delivered a verdict, and who then weighted the circumstances and the motive to deliver a sentence. Everything is handled. Everyone is free.

With national defense already protected as outlined previously and further elaborated here and with criminality and criminal behavior adequately handled by a Free People acting within their rights to protect the Life, Liberty, and right to pursue happiness of all Individuals, then there is nothing left for Government to even do. We’ve rendered Government pointless. We’ve taken the primary roles which our Government performs and we’ve demonstrated that all of these roles would be filled and served better by a Free People. What is our reason for surrendering our rights, powers, and responsibility to handle these things ourselves to a Government when the Government could never be as effective, as just, or as devoted?

* Well, when radical lobbyists within the Society turned against…

** Marijuana, after all, is thousands of times superior to alcohol… It’s non-habit forming, it doesn’t cause men to beat their wives, it doesn’t cause parties to erupt in violence, it doesn’t cause thousands of vehicular deaths each year, it’s natural…

The idea that we can have a Government which protects our Liberty runs contrary to common sense, logic, and reason. Government exists only to destroy Liberty–we are charging with protecting Liberty an institution whose primary function is to destroy Liberty.

The How and Why of Anarchy Part 4: The State, War, and Anarchy

Well, here we are, with three lengthy discussions behind us about the Free Market and the nature of the State. The main thing now to do is move on and ask ourselves… “If we know that Representation is inherently flawed, as is Democracy, and if we know that the Constitution has failedand we know that the Free Market solves the problems of Government better than Government itself does, then… what do we need to do, as a Society, to safeguard our Liberty, Lives, and our right to pursue happiness?”

On a brief note, if you dispute any part of the above question, then I encourage you to read Parts 1 through 3. All of these concepts are demonstrated clearly in the previous parts of this series. Representation has been shown to be inherently flawed (even if it was what we wanted it to be); Democracy has been known for thousands of years to be inherently flawed (a dictatorship over the few by the many); the Constitution has clearly failed to protect the rights which it was established to protect; the Free Market has been shown to handle issues like health care, Social Security, and Medicare much better than any Government ever could. All of these things are true and have already been demonstrated.

To continue, we must return to our previous definitions:

  • The State is the collective governmental body which oversees a given society. The State is a collective whole which, in the United States, consists of the Federal Government, all of its branches, and all pseudo-governmental agencies such as the Federal Reserve.
  • The Society is the collective body of People. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that Societies do not require the existence of a State; the existence of a Society is independent of whether or not the Society has a Government. Any group of people of any size who work together, whether voluntarily or by being forced, is a Society.
  • Once a Society has a State over it, the two collectively are the Nation. That is, the Nation is a Society and its Government.

The question is that, since the State in its current incarnation (and all past incarnations) has clearly failed in its duty to act in our best interests and under the mantra of Liberty, what kind of State do we need?

If the goal is to protect our Lives, Liberty, and right to pursue happiness, then we need NO state. Governments are incapable of protecting any of these things, and Governments have, throughout all of human history, been proven to be detrimental to these things. Who causes war? Governments. This is at least true in the modern world, although it is true that, in the past, societies actually waged war against one another, but this comes from the days of ancient history and has not been true in a very, very long time. Moreover, wars against societies are much more localized and much less destructive than wars between Governments.

In the modern world, if there was no Government, there would be no war; there could be no war. In order to justify this statement, we have to stop the car and reverse a little bit. It’s one thing to say that Government is the cause of modern wars; it’s quite another to say that if we removed Government, there would be no war. Before I slam on the brakes, though, I want to point out that hardly a month goes by that I don’t get into a conversation with someone (generally under 30) who shows sincere confusion and says, “I don’t… I don’t get it. Why are we fighting? It’s the 21st century–shouldn’t we have… ‘evolved’… past war by now?”

Modern Warfare: Revolutions

The vast majority of warfare in the world today is insurrection and rebellion. These are not our concerns. Rebellions, revolutions, and insurrections happen, and there is nothing anyone will ever be able to do to stop it. As long as there is Government, there will be rebellions and insurrections. Without Government, there is nothing to revolt against. One cannot revolt against Society, because there is no such thing (as Part Two demonstratedas Society; there are only Individuals.

Revolutions happen when a Society (using the term colloquially; do not make the mistake of thinking that any “Society” actually exists) becomes unhappy with its Government to the point where Individuals are willing to risk their livelihoods and lives bringing it down and/or replacing it. This can happen because the Government is oppressive and totalitarian; this can happen because the Power in the Nation (Nation = Society + Government, remember) is concentrated almost entirely in the Government or because power is more evenly distributed among the Society and the Government yet the “Government” is made up of too few members, thus the power the Government contains is concentrated with too few Individuals for the comfort of Society (Constitutional Monarchies, for example); in short, revolutions happen because there is Power and because the Individuals who revolt want to take back that Power which belongs, rightly or wrongly, to the Government.

This is always true, and there could never be an exception to this rule. When Cuban rebels led by Castro overthrew the Cuban Government, it was because they did not like the previous Government holding the power which it did and they, whether for the good of other Cubans or merely for the good of themselves, wanted that power for themselves. When the American Colonies rebelled against the British Empire, it was becasue they did not like the previous Government holding the power which it did and they, whether for the good of other American colonists or merely for the good of themselves, wanted that power for themselves.

All revolutions are a matter of seeing power, wanting power, and taking power.

So when you remove this apparatus which maintains this concentrated power, there is nothing to see, nothing to want, and, therefore, nothing to take. Revolutions cannot happen when there is no Government because there is no entity which has this power concentrated within it. Without Government, the Power which a Society has is vested and distributed equally among all members of whom the Society consists. If 100 is the value of a Nation’s Power, then, in theory, 51 would be the Society’s power in a Constitutional Republic and 49 would be the State’s power in a Constitutional Republic. A revolution will occur when the members of Society determine that they want that portion of power back, since any power the State has necessarily comes from the Society’s consent; the Society gives up certain rights and power and vests them instead in a State. In practice, the 51/49 ratio will not last more than a century or so, and the power of the State will grow while the power of Society (distributed still evenly among its members; there is just less of it to distribute because a portion of it has been handed over to the State) weakens. We have reached a point in the United States where it can be argued that the State holds 51% of the power–or more–and that Society now holds 49%–or less*.

Individual Power Within a Society

Economic power is important to the discussion, especially if Free Market principles are to determine the course of Society. Naturally, in a Free Market, power is evenly distributed amongst all Individuals; even if one Individuals owns 99% of all the wealth in the Free Market, then that Individual has no more power to dictate the flow of Society than any other Individual. This comes back to “voting with the wallet,” as mentioned in Part Three, except that it should be noted that one person can have no impact on the Free Market simply because that Individual has an inordinate amount of wealth.

For a time, one Individual could keep alive any number of corporations and businesses which other Individuals do not support. If Bob owns 99% of all the wealth in our economy and Bob loves Monsanto, he can continue pouring his wealth into Monsanto, voting with his wallet to keep Monsanto alive. But without the support of others, the money he pours into Monsanto will, because of their employees earning money and spending money elsewhere, be redistributed from Bob to Monsanto to Monsanto’s employees to other businesses and corporations. By standing alone, Bob is actually redistributing his wealth to everyone else, temporarily propping up Monsanto in the process. But if no one else likes or approves of Monsanto, even its employees who just work there because they need a job, then Monsanto isn’t getting any other income, and Bob’s investments cannot return any profit–his investments can only return losses, as surely as if he’d simply set his money on fire. Bob will continue pouring money into this corporation which he alone supports, and he’ll eventually run out of money and be able to do it no more. Even though Bob owns 99% of the Society’s wealth at the beginning, that wealth purchases him no more power or authority than any other Individual has.

In a Free Market, boycotts have an effect, as does rallying around one business or another to support it. A single Individual cannot simply throw a bunch of money at this corporation or that industry and have any lasting effect; it is a black hole, and there is no surer way to bankrupt oneself. But if 30% of Americans stand with Chik-Fil-A’s right to spout ignorance and bigotry–as I do stand with the owner’s right to do so–then those 30% have a real, lasting impact on the corporation. If, however, 70% of Americans stand against Chik-Fil-A’s spouting of ignorance and bigotry (Though they must acknowledge the owner’s right to say it and enforce whatever policies he desires), then those 70% who boycott Chik-Fil-A will quickly override the 30% who support it. Thus, Democracy, in effect, happens, and no State or social protocol was needed in order to accomplish this.

But Democracy Is Bad…

Democracy as a form of Government is bad, because it allows the Majority to become dictators over the Minority. But the will of the Majority overriding the will of the Minority isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it only can become a bad thing when the principles of Life, Liberty, and the right to pursue happiness are not revered as they should be. If Liberty is held in proper esteem, then the 70% will recognize that, even though they despise what the ignorant dick thinks and says, they have no right to stop him from saying it and no right to make him change the policies of his company. Similarly, those 70% have the right to not do business with his company. No one is being forced to do anything and no one’s rights are being violated.

Yeah, But Couldn’t We Just Do This With a Government?

In theory, yes, but as I just showed: a Government isn’t necessary to the process. Government isn’t necessary or even mentioned in the above Free Market boycott scenario involving Chik-Fil-A. We could have the Government do this or do that for us, but it can only do that through the use of force and not through the voluntary choices of a Free People. What could the Government do in the above Chik-Fil-A situation? The Government can do absolutely nothing that doesn’t violate someone’s rights. Perhaps, with a Government, Chik-Fil-A approaches bankruptcy because of the boycott, so they go to the Government and ask for a bailout. “We’ll have to fire all our employees if we go bankrupt! And that will mean ten hundred quadrillion jobs will be lost, and the sky will fall, and terrorists will have gay sex with puppies in front of children on the front steps of family homes!”

At this point, the Government can say, “Okay, we’ll bail you out, but in exchange, you must open your doors on Sunday and you must recant your position on homosexuality.” At this, the 70% will cheer and the 30% will cry “violation of rights!” Or the Government can say, “We can’t bail you out… 70% of the People are against you, and they’d never support you,” at which point pragmatism on the part of politicians has made the decision. “If you step down and install a new CEO, one who is less anti-homosexuality, then we could probably bail you out.” At this change in leadership (which is precisely what happened in Dodge, GM, AIG, and other corporations, though for different reasons), the 70% will cheer and the 30% will cry “violation of rights!” Or the Government can say, “You’re right. We can’t let unemployment rise! Here, take some money. Will thirty billion dollars be enough?” At this, the 70% will cry foul and will say that their tax money shouldn’t be used to support corporations they are against, but the 30% will cry that it is a victory for Liberty. Or Chik-Fil-A will be denied a bailout altogether, and some other portion of people will scream that the Government should have done something instead of allowing all those jobs to be lost. There is no way to please any significant part of the population once a Government becomes involved.

Moreover, why should we want to give over any amount of our power to a Government when we can use that power at least just as effectively as the Government? What is our motivation for installing a Government with part of our power when we can accomplish our goals while also maintaining our power? 

Modern Warfare: Terrorism

The bulk of international wars now raging in the world stem from one thing and one thing only: American occupation of the Middle East. In fact, other than the Middle East, there really aren’t any international wars right now. And make no mistake: it is our presence in the Middle East that has made us into the enemies of Middle Eastern Peoples. They don’t hate us because of our values, because of our Liberties, because of our religious beliefs, because of our free speech, because of the sex on our television shows, or because of our “democracy.” They hate us because we’re allowing our Government to have occupational forces in their lands.

It has been demonstrated over and over again that American presence in the Middle East creates terrorism. Prior to the American invasion of Iraq, terrorism was non-existent in Iraq. Now terrorism reigns Iraq, and people die there every single week in terrorist attacks. Terrorism is more problematic in Afghanistan than it has ever been, mostly because we brought down the Taliban (which opposed the Caspian Pipeline that we wanted) and made them install a government of our choosing. It should be noted that, whether we like it or not, the Taliban did have the consent of those who they governed; if the Taliban did not have the consent of the Afghan People, then, as mentioned above, there would have been a revolution against the Taliban. As Murray Rothbard points out in “Anatomy of the State,” it is not just democratic governments that need the consent of the majority of the people–all governments need the consent of the majority. If they do not have the consent of the majority, then revolution occurs. We didn’t like the Afghan Government, so we invaded and deposed it, but this doesn’t mean the Afghan People didn’t approve of their Government and it doesn’t mean that they approve of the one they’ve installed under our guidance. In fact, given the way insurgents are kidnapping and killing political officials–something that never happened to members of the Taliban–it is pretty clear that the Afghan People do not consent to this new Government.

The Taliban’s role in 9/11 was clear, and there needed to be consequences for that. I do not dispute that, nor do I excuse the Taliban’s involvement. However, we can’t just punish the Taliban and think that doing so will end terrorism. After all, the Taliban was not the cause of terrorism. Al-Queda is not the cause of terrorism. Osama bin Laden was not the cause of terrorism. Terrorism is, in fact, as has been pointed out even by a former leader of the CIA and the world’s foremost expert on the now-murdered Osama bin Laden, caused by American occupation of the Middle East. This isn’t providing an excuse–it’s pointing out the motive. And motives are critically important.

After all, when criminals are on trial, whether motive can be demonstrated is a major part of the trial. If there is no motive, there is generally no crime. Nor is pointing out why we’ve agitated the terrorists “making up excuses for their actions” or “blaming America.” If a murderer’s motive was to kill the man with whom his fiancee was cheating on him, asserting that this was the motive is not “excusing” the actions of the murderer, nor is it blaming the fiancee or blaming the man with whom she cheated. It’s simply pointing out what the motive was. These things are common sense; use your critical thinking skills. 

The idea that saying, “America’s presence in the Middle East pissed off Muslims so badly that they flew two planes into the World Trade Center” is the equivalent of trying to excuse their actions or trying to blame America is preposterous. C’mon, people–use your gifts of critical thinking and reason. It’s not “blaming the victim” when we say that the murderer killed the man because the murderer’s girlfriend was committing infidelity; it’s just pointing out the murderer’s motive. It’s not “excusing the murderer’s actions” when we say that the murderer killed the man because the murderer’s girlfriend was committing infidelity; it’s just pointing out the murderer’s motive. So I am neither excusing the actions of terrorism or blaming America. I’m simply pointing out the motive behind terrorist acts and asserting that, if we want to stop terrorism, then we need to not give them a motive to commit terrorism. What would we say if the fiancee continued cheating on her murdering boyfriend (who somehow kept getting out of prison for some reason) and the murdering boyfriend continued murdering the men with whom she cheated? How many people would have to be killed in this scenario before it was recognized that the fiancee had some responsibility for the deaths?

And that statement is not placing the blame on the American People. It’s not even asserting that the American People bear some portion of responsibility for the deaths of Americans which were brought about by terrorism. I am, however, asserting that some portion of the blame rests on the American Government. As I pointed out in Anarchocapitalism, Part Two, we have developed the tendency to identify ourselves with the State, rather than with “Society” or with ourselves. I alleged that this is predominantly because many people have no achievements from which they can draw a sense of pride or a sense of satisfaction, so they are forced to identify themselves with the State so that they can share in its accomplishments. Because people have no successes of their own, they tend to identify themselves with the State, a mechanism which allows them to feel proud, to have self-esteem, and to revel in glory without having to actually do anything to earn a sense of pride or self-esteem. They need do nothing when they identify themselves with the State; they are great simply because they are Americans and live in the land of the free. No further effort required.

But as Part One demonstrated unequivocally, we are not our Government. We therefore have no justification in feeling any connexion with our Government or its actions. We are not responsible for the wrongdoings of our Government any more than children are responsible for the wrongdoings of their parents. We cannot take pride in the achievements of our Government any more than children can take pride in the achievements of their parents. While we do have some amount of control over our own Government, this does not justify holding the American People responsible for the actions of our Government, especially since the disconnect between the Government’s actions and our desires is steadily growing. This was made abundantly clear by Obama’s insistence that he was free to strike Syria no matter what Congress said and no matter what the People wanted. We are not responsible for a Government that does not abide our wishes. And even if the Government did abide the wishes of the Majority, then, as Part One explained, we are still not responsible because there is a necessary disconnect between our Representation and ourselves, even if there is a 99% Majority.

Modern Warfare: International War

Aside from an imperialist American presence in many parts of the world and terrorist acts which result from that presence, there are hardly any international wars to speak of. Nearly all of them are motivated by our presence in the Middle East, which motivates terrorist acts against America, which in turn motivates militaristic retaliation against those who committed the terrorism. Eliminate the prime motive, which is American presence in the Middle East, and terrorism abruptly ends–as does the international militaristic retaliations, since there is nothing against which we would retaliate.

This is not to say that there aren’t other conflicts in the world–there are. But these are exclusively the province of Governments wanting more territory or having ideological differences with other Governments. Wars are not a matter of one Society against another; Societies have not fought wars against each other since the time of ancient history. We believe that these wars are being fought against the People whom they involve, but this hasn’t been the case in thousands of years. Wars are fought between Governments, and the first goal of Government in these wars is to convince its people that they are the ones who are being threatened. In reality, though, it has been the case for thousands of years that the Government, and not the People, are the ones in danger from war.

Wars are fought between Governments, and the People only become involved when they are convinced that the enemy Government wants to kill them, but this is hardly ever the case. Even Adolph Hitler didn’t want to kill the British People–he only wanted to depose the British Government and install a new, German-controlled government (Hitler did, however, want to eliminate the Jews–or so it is alleged–but since the Jews had no Government to protect them in the first place, or to be destroyed, this is, actually, irrelevant to the discussion at hand).

We must not lose sight of the truth of war, which is that Governments fight against other Governments. This is why attacks on civilians are held to be so horrible and why they are generally avoided at all costs: wars are fought between entities, not between Peoples. While attacks on civilians do happen, wars are not explicitly declared against civilians, nor are wars fought with the intention of fighting civilians. Instead, wars are fought with the intention of fighting against another Government and its army.

Defenseless? No. Better Protected Than Ever.

It is alleged that, if nothing else, we need the Government to provide us with defense against other Governments. This overlooks, first, the obvious truth that it is not us who other Governments–or even terrorists–want to impact; it is our Government. If we have no Government for them to fight or impact, then they have no motivation for messing with us. However, it is asserted that if we have no Government, then others will be irresistibly tempted to conquer us and make themselves into a Government over us. If we had no Government, then the Russians or the Chinese would invade to fill the gap in power.

What they would quickly find, however, is that the apparent “gap in power” was illusory and that we were, in fact, more powerful without a Government than anyone would ever be with a Government. Not only would Individuals, now that Individual Responsibility was recognized as critical, rise up to fight against any invading force, but the corporations and businesses for whom we provide luxury would have more interest in protecting us than any Government ever would. While it’s true that the CEOs of multibillion dollar companies don’t care much for their minimum wage employees, if their way of life is threatened, they will contribute wholeheartedly to the protection of that way of life, because they have more in danger than even the Individuals who would be fighting tooth and nail.

It was quite common in the Middle Ages for wealthy merchants and individual lords to purchase mercenary armies for their defense and for the defense of the people who they needed to protect. At their own expense, lords hired mercenary armies to protect their way of life, protecting, in the process, the people over whom they were in charge. While an anarchocapitalist society would not have lords and peasants, it would have CEOs and workers (just as we do now), and the two systems are much more alike than you think–and this is why many people call our current system “Feudalism 2.0”. Just as the lords of the Middle Ages hired mercenaries, purchased catapults, walls, castles, and trebuchets to protect themselves, their way of life, their power, and the people who gave them their way of life and power (those in charge need the underclasses much more than the underclasses need those in charge), so would the CEOs of today hire mercenaries, purchase drones, satellites, tanks, rocket launches, missile defense systems, and invest money in better ways of protecting their lives and livelihoods (thus protecting our own lives and livelihoods).

In World War 2, the Government forced many industrial companies to do this, but many of them wanted to do it anyway. Some of them wanted to because they wanted State-sanctioned monopolies (impossible in a Free Market system), but some of them wanted to do it because their lives, livelihoods, and ways of life were being threatened. And yes, we can rely on corporations to do the right thing and to be good to us, because the only thing that allows evil corporations like Monsanto and Tyson to fuck us over is the fact that the Government allows them to maintain a monopoly in their markets. If Individuals had a choice, no one would choose to use either Tyson or Monsanto, and both corporations would either go out of business or would quickly have to modify their behavior. Through competition and choice, we are assured to have corporations who protect us, who pay us well, who treat us well, and who recognize us as living beings who have the same rights and privileges as they, because if they didn’t do these things, we would vote with our wallets and would shut them down just as surely as the 70% shut down Chik-Fil-A above.

We can’t presently trust our corporations. I freely admit that. But the only reason we can’t trust our corporations is because they don’t have any competition and because we have no choice but to continue supporting them, even as they screw us over and commit acts of evil. Farmers have no choice but to continue supporting Monsanto’s tyranny because the Federal Government has regulations and codes that are preventing Monsanto from having any competition. Look at the Mississippi Casino market. All of the casinos offer health insurance, 401ks, Paid Time Off, opportunities for advancement, and all sorts of other perks to their employees, even though they don’t have to. They do this to attract better workers; to help themselves, they realize that they must help their workers and that the more they help the workers, the better the workers they will attract. People now compete with one another for these good jobs, allowing the casino to pick the best candidate. While this is true in every company in times of high unemployment, the casino has more of an advantage and gets much better applicants than, say, Domino’s Pizza. This is because the casinos offer substantially better pay, benefits, and perks. Many corporations already know that if you scratch your workers’ backs, they will scratch yours. If, however, all of the casinos were owned by a single conglomerate, then there would be no competition and the corporation could strip away most of these perks and benefits. And they would. But if suddenly a new casino opened and offered those perks and benefits, all of the best employees of the old casinos would leave and would go to the new casino. The old casinos would lose their best workers because the best workers would apply and would get jobs with the new casino because of the perks it offered them. At this point, the old casinos would have to reintroduce the perks in an attempt to get good workers back.

Competition protects us because Competition makes businesses and corporations need us as much as we need them. If the Communist China attempted to attack an America ruled by Anarchy, then the corporations and businesses of America would fight tooth and nail against the invaders, using the power of voluntarism and free will to create a force far more powerful than the conscripted and choice-less invaders. With not only their livelihood threatened, with not only our livelihood threatened, but with also the very notion of Capitalism and private property being threatened, everyone would voluntarily unite and fight to protect their individuality and their right to be free. Even if a non-Communist Government attempted to do this, the same thing would happen.

Competition and private property give us multitudes more power over corporations than we could ever have over our Government. And this is why I supported the secession last year–it would provide competition for the United States Government. As long as we have no other choice, the American Government can do what it wants to us, because they have no competition to which we can devote ourselves instead. If some of the States seceded and formed a new confederation with more desirable policies, then people would flock to this new Confederation, attracted by its perks and benefits in exactly the same way that people would flock to a new casino if it offered health insurance and a 401k but their old casino didn’t.

* For example, in 2012 Colorado and Washington had on their election ballads proposals which would decriminalize the possession of marijuana in quantities of less than an ounce, making it legal for Individuals to have and smoke weed. When this legislation passed, there was some concern that the Federal Government would overturn these initiatives and would re-criminalize the possession of marijuana. Obama announced that he would not have the Federal Government ignore the decisions of a Free People who voted democratically to legalize the plant, but it remains possible that he “could” have. President Obama could easily have thwarted the will of the People of Colorado and Washington, despite the fact that they legalized marijuana through a general vote, thus ensuring that the Majority felt that way. Violating this result would have been saying to the People of Colorado and Washington, “You do not govern yourselves. We govern you.” While President Obama chose not to do this, he still maintains that he had the power to do so. So how much power does Society really hold when the results of a vote held within a general election can be overruled by the State?

The How and Why of Anarchy, Part 2

While Part One discussed primarily the advantages of a Free Market and stacked them against the “advantages” of Interventionist Economics (Keynesian economics), Part Two shall focus more on the Government itself, and not its economic methods.

Let’s return to our definitions from yesterday:

  • The State is the collective governmental body which oversees a given society. The State is a collective whole which, in the United States, consists of the Federal Government, all of its branches, and all pseudo-governmental agencies such as the Federal Reserve.
  • The Society is the collective body of People. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that Societies do not require the existence of a State; the existence of a Society is independent of whether or not the Society has a Government. Any group of people of any size who work together, whether voluntarily or by being forced, is a Society.
  • Once a Society has a State over it, the two collectively are the Nation. That is, the Nation is a Society and its Government.

In addition to noting that this creates within a Nation two distinct bodies (the Government and the People), one other fact can be drawn: Societies create Governments, but Governments do not create Societies. To understand this, we must go back a very long time, to the foundations of Society and then the foundations of Government.

Thomas Paine wrote in “Common Sense,” that:

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labor out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune would be death, for though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.

Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness, will point out the necessity, of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.

Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of Regulations, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right will have a seat.

But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those have who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would act were they present. If the colony continue increasing, it will become necessary to augment the number of the representatives, and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number; and that the elected might never form to themselves an interest separate from the electors, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the strength of government, and the happiness of the governed.

It would be intellectual dishonesty to say something along the lines of, “Surely you wouldn’t argue with Thomas Paine, would you?” But that’s just as well. We don’t have to use only Thomas Paine’s words to explain the origins and nature of Government. We can also turn to Murray Rothbard, who wrote:

The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the “organization of the political means”; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory.[4] For crime, at best, is sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline may be cut off at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society.[5] Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation. The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute.[6] One method of the birth of a State may be illustrated as follows: in the hills of southern “Ruritania,” a bandit group manages to obtain physical control over the territory, and finally the bandit chieftain proclaims himself “King of the sovereign and independent government of South Ruritania”; and, if he and his men have the force to maintain this rule for a while, lo and behold! a new State has joined the “family of nations,” and the former bandit leaders have been transformed into the lawful nobility of the realm.

It should be demonstrated amply by this point that Societies do, in fact, create Governments and that no Government has ever created a Society. Furthermore, written in the Declaration of Independence itself is:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Let us say no more about whether Societies create Governments or Governments create Society. It is abundantly clear, by reason, by evidence, and according to the words of some of the greatest governmental thinkers in the history of mankind, that Societies create Governments and not vice versa.

Therefore, a Government cannot exist without a Society, but a Society can exist without a Government. If Societies create Governments, then it is logically inescapable to recognize that at some point there was a Society which had not yet created a Government; in order for a Society to create a Government, there must first be a Society with no Government.

Okay, You Made Your Point. Now Move On. This is Getting Boring.

Governments, by all reckonings, exist as a method for acting out the Will of its Society. When Society decided that the Government shall act to preserve “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness,” they created a Government with the goal of ensuring these things. The Government was created as a means of achieving the end, and the end was the preservation of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. This does not mean that Government is the only means of achieving this end, nor does it mean that Government is the best means of achieving this end.

It is important to think back to the founding of the United States. We basically had 13 independent and small nations who agreed on these things: “We need a method to protect our Lives, our Liberties, and our rights to Pursue happiness.” That is the extent of their needs and it is the extent of our needs. We need nothing more than a method of protecting these three things, and, indeed, anything beyond these three things can come only at the expense of these three things. I.e., in order to protect our “right to health care,” the Government must sacrifice our right to pursue happiness, since we cannot “pursue happiness” without the financial backing to do so, and in order to protect our “right to health care,” the State must take a portion of our money to pay for the health care (as opposed to letting us pay for the health care ourselves).

If the Government which governs best is one that governs least, then the Government which doesn’t exist must be even better than “best”. It’s difficult to get into this topic without expounding the principles of the Free Market. 

Let’s consider, then, that it is our goal to establish a means of protecting our Lives, our Liberties, and our right to pursue happiness. Before we can do this, though, we must examine in detail what these three things mean. This is obvious: in order to establish a means of protecting our Lives, we must understand what is meant by “our Lives” and what is meant by “protecting.”

Life

Any being which is living has the unabashed right to continue living. Once something has life, no force on Earth can legitimately take that right away, expressed in killing the person in question. Not even Society has the right to take life. Neither does the Government have the right to take life.

It must be clarified that any action which an Individual could commit that is clearly morally wrong is generally perfectly acceptable when it is done by the State. Murder is an example of this. When an Individual murders another, the punishment is occasionally quite severe*. But when the State does it, either through war, assassination, or the death penalty, it is considered to be perfectly acceptable. This is a Moral Hazard. Let it be clear: if an action would be morally wrong if committed by an Individual, then the action is morally wrong if committed by the State. The fact that the State is doing it does not make morally wrong actions suddenly morally right; it means only that we’re allowing the State to get away with things it should be punished for.

Theft is yet another example. If you broke into a bank and stole a bunch of money, and then donated all of that money to various charities, your Robin Hood attempt would still land you in prison. But when the State breaks into your wallet and steals a bunch of money, and then donates all of that money to various State-run charities, it is suddenly considered to be morally right. Again, just because the State does it means not that it is somehow morally right; it is still morally wrong.

Theft and Murder? You Create Slippery Slopes, Anarchist Shemale, and I Think You Know It

It is not a slippery slope or exaggeration, though this is often the counter to the statement that Taxation is theft. But, just as religious proselytizing always ultimately comes back to the threat of eternal damnation, so do Government actions always ultimately come back to the threat of force. As much as Christians talk about God’s love and forgiveness, under all of that is Hell and eternal damnation, forming the underpinning of the entire system. After all, if that threat wasn’t there, then they would have no need to preach to anyone and there would be no reason to actually follow the system. A religion which doesn’t involve eliminating a threat generally gets no converts–see Buddhism for a terrific example. But by underpinning the entire framework with the threat of eternal torture, Christians give themselves both a motive and a weapon to instill fear and help convert non-believers. Like it or not, underpinning the whole of Christianity is the threat of eternal damnation, and without that threat Christianity would be irrelevant.

In the same sense, everything that the Government does is ultimately backed by threats. Taxation, for example, involves some pretty severe threats. What happens if you don’t pay your taxes? You go to prison–Federal prison. And, as bad as State Prisons are, Federal Prisons are rumored to be much worse. Not only does the Individual not get a choice when it comes to Taxes, but if the Individual contests the State’s attempt to steal their money, then the Individual is punished with imprisonment and/or severe fines. Underpinning the entire Taxation system is the threat that if you don’t pay, you will be subjected to massive punishments. The State might as well be holding a gun to your head and telling you that they will shoot you if you don’t hand over your money, especially since 10 years in a Federal Prison will leave a person with a shattered mind**.

So Taxation is theft; moreover, Taxation is theft at the point of a gun, wherein refusing to hand over your wallet will result in extreme penalties and punishments. But let’s return to the issue at hand: the protection of Lives.

If the goal is to protect our lives, then there are a few examples we need to think about in regard to our current Government. Firstly, we must consider the Draft. How can we believe that the Government actively protects our Lives when it has the authority to send us off to fight and die? This is a direct contradiction. Nowhere in the Constitution does the Government have the authority to take our Lives from us, and this is so obvious it doesn’t need to be pointed out. The idea that the Government could take our Lives from us runs contrary to the most basic of human rights: that the Individual owns himself. If the Government can, for any reason it desires, conscript us and send us of to die, then we are, in all honesty, the property of the Government. Let it be known that the State does not own us.

We must also consider the numerous wars we have fought in the 20th century, all of which resulted in the deaths of Americans, and most of which would not have caused a single American death if they hadn’t been waged. No American would have died because of the Korean War, for example, if the State hadn’t sent Americans to fight in Korea. The Korean War was never a threat to American security. The War in Iraq is a more recent example: Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the American People. Terrorism was not present in Iraq and the Iraqi Government had no way to threaten the American People; they didn’t have anti-aircraft weapons, they didn’t have long-range missiles, they didn’t have ICBMs, and the record shows they didn’t have “biological and chemical weapons.” If we hadn’t invaded Iraq, no American would have died because we didn’t invade Iraq. But because we did invade Iraq, thousands of Americans did die, and we increased the Muslim world’s hostility toward us. Muslim terrorists all rally around the cause of getting America to withdraw from the Middle East, and the greater our presence in the Middle East, the greater the presence and threat of terrorism. This is a fact which even the CIA has recognized. Our Middle East invasions are pissing off the Middle Eastern People, and we react to their being pissed off by invading more Middle Eastern nations, thereby pissing them off even more. There are only two ways to solve the Middle East problem: withdrawing completely from the area or completely conquering the entire area and oppressing all dissent–and this would be distinctly anti-Liberty and anti-American.

So how is the Government “protecting our Lives” when the State is singlehandedly responsible for both sending Americans to die and taking actions which result in a large portion of the world being very pissed off at us and very hostile toward us? After all, the catalyst of 9/11 was known for a fact to be our presence in the Middle East. It’s not our “freedom” or our “values” or “their religious insanity” that causes them to hate us and want to kill us. These are just pieces of propaganda put out by the State to convince us that the Middle Eastern People are our enemies because they hate us. It is far from the truth.

Take note, America: Muslims in the Middle East do not hate us because we are free, because we have this value or that value, or because we don’t share their religious conviction. They hate us because of what our Government has done and is doing and because we are allowing our Government to do it. They don’t hate us because we’re free, because we have sex on television, or because we listen to Lady Gaga. They hate us because we’re allowing our Government to invade them, to tear down their governments, and to dictate to them what they can and can’t do. We would not tolerate this if someone did it to us. If the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China invaded and conquered the United States, abolished our Government, and told us that we had to put in place a Communist Government, how would we react? We would hate the Russians and Chinese who had allowed their governments to do this to us. And since we couldn’t fight in legitimate battles against the Russian or Chinese militaries, we would have no choice but to resort to terrorist tactics to achieve our goal of self-governance and independence.

The actions the State takes is not protecting the Lives of Americans, and the actions of the State usually threaten, either directly or indirectly, the security of Americans. We are in greater danger now that we have ever been. Americans travelling abroad frequently pretend to be Canadians. It is not very safe for Americans to travel abroad in the first place, and this is even in countries that are officially allies of the United States; there is a reason more American women disappear in European nations than do European women. Our arrogance and self-righteousness causes us to be valued more highly among people who like degrading and humiliating others. I’m sorry–that is a fact. And it is our Government’s fault.

Liberty

No one in their right mind can accuse our Government of protecting our Liberty. Not much needs to be said about this. Our Liberty has been under attack for more than a century, and we have recently been attacked through unconstitutional legislation (the NDAA2013, which abolished our right to a trial, for example) and through bureaucratic regulations (the EPA has the authority, though none of its workers were elected by the People, to act unilaterally and make whatever regulations it wants, regardless of the damge done to the People, in the name of “protecting the environment”).

All of these things are done in the name of one cause or another, and it is here that we went wrong, because somewhere along the line, we concluded that the end justifies the means. And it doesn’t. It never has. It has been known for centuries that sacrificing Liberty to ensure Security destroys both Liberty and Security. And yet the sacrifice of Liberty is frequently justified by the allegation that it must be done to protect us. We need the NDAA2013 to protect us; we need the State to be able to arrest and detain Americans indefinitely and without a trial so that the State can protect us from terrorists. We need the Patriot Act to protect us; we need the State to be able to listen on every conversation, hack into every email account, read every Facebook post, and intercept every text message so that the State can protect us from terrorists. We need the President to be able to make Kill Lists and use UAVs to kill American citizens because we need the State to be able to protect us from terrorists. Somehow, the State convinced us that we need to be protected from ourselves and that, in order to protect us from ourselves, they had to have unquestioned power to control us, to watch us, and to do whatever they want to us. The fallacy of this is obvious: how can they be protecting us by harming us?

The Pursuit of Happiness

statue of libertyTo honestly and sincerely pursue happiness, one must have Life, Liberty, and a few other things. One must have the right to own property, for example. But in the United States, our right to own property is non-existent. We don’t have the right to own property; we only have the right to RENT property. Even when you have paid off your 30 year mortgage (which you were a fool for getting), you still don’t OWN your home–you still only rent it. You must pay Property Taxes, and if you don’t pay those Property Taxes, then your home is taken from you and you are evicted. That is renting. If you owned the home, then you couldn’t be evicted from it and the State would be Stealing it from you if they tried. But you’re renting, so if the State evicts you and takes your home, it isn’t considered stealing.

Taxation in general amounts to purchasing the State’s permission to do something or own something. The idea that we now pay for the rights for which our ancestors fought and died is ridiculous. Our ancestors did not fight and die so that we would have the right to buy the State’s permission to live in our homes, and our ancestors did not fight and die so that we would have the right to buy the State’s permission to drive or flush our toilets. We have fallen so far from having the right to pursue happiness that the right to pursue happiness has become “the right to purchase the right to pursue happiness.” If you want to do something, there is almost certainly a Tax involved. If you want to drive, you must purchase a Driver’s License, thereby purchasing the State’s permission to drive. If you want to drive your own car, you must purchase a License Plate, thereby purchasing the State’s permission to drive your own car. If you want to buy a lightbulb, you must pay a Sales Tax, thereby purchasing the State’s permission to buy a lightbulb. All through America, the only way to do anything is to first purchase the State’s permission to do it. And that is not the “right to pursue happiness.” It is the right to purchase the right to pursue happiness.

The Founders would never have consented to such a system–nor should we. The State was not designed to require us to purchase its permission to do things. We must purchase the State’s permission to marry, to own a home, to drive, to buy a car, to have electricity, to have a cellphone… All of these things have Licenses or Taxes attached to them, and if you want to do them you must either buy the License or pay the Tax. If you DON’T, then the wrath of the State will fall on you, punishing you (often) more severely than you would have been punished for murdering someone.

What part of this is supposed to represent the right to pursue happiness? What part of the Government’s actions is protecting our right to pursue happiness? The Government does nothing to protect this right. In fact, the Government works against this right, allowing us to purchase the right to pursue happiness–but if you don’t purchase the permission, then you don’t have the right to pursue happiness.

The Society and the State

A failure to recognize Individual Responsibility has caused many Americans to identify themselves with the State, to share in the State’s successes and to draw pride from the accomplishments of the State. As Murray Rothbard points out in “Anatomy of the State,” most people have an intense love for their homeland. But because we don’t recognize Individual Responsibility and because Americans largely draw their self-esteem from the accomplishments of the State, many Americans have become Nationalists. Often, people identify themselves and borrow pride from the accomplishments of the State because they have no accomplishments of their own and borrowing the accomplishments of the State still allow them to feel superior and prideful without their having to actually do anything.

“We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world!” and other similar exclamations all allow the individual to feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, and greatness without any effort on the part of the individual. The individual gets to be terrific, great, and unrivaled simply because they are a member of the nation in question, and the Individual doesn’t need to do anything in order to feel terrific, great, and unrivaled. The Individual doesn’t have to become educated, successful, or anything else, because the Individual can always borrow from the accomplishments of the State and fill themselves with pride simply because they are underneath that wonderful mechanism. The Individual needs to do nothing in order to be filled with pride, a sense of accomplishment, and success.

This has done great harm to the notion of Individual Responsibility by preventing many Americans from wanting to take responsibility for themselves and their own situations. After all, if we acknowledge Individual Responsibility, then the State gets all the credit for its accomplishments and they cannot, since they did not contribute to the accomplishment, feel any pride or receive any self-esteem from the accomplishments of others. This is the reason most people now loathe the idea of Individual Responsibility.

They need to draw self-esteem and pride from the accomplishments of the State mechanism because they have no accomplishments of their own from which to draw self-esteem and pride. Indeed, the most vocal fighters against Individual Responsibility are generally people who have accomplished nothing and who have nothing for which they can be proud. And, in contrast, the most vocal fighters for Individual Responsibility are generally people who who have accomplished something and who have something for which they can be proud.

As long as people can draw self-esteem from identifying themselves with the State, Individual Responsibility cannot take hold. And, as I demonstrated in part one, a person’s identification with the State is built on contradiction and logical fallacy. We are not the State; we cannot, therefore, share in any of its accomplishments or have any pride whatsoever in anything it does–nor any blame for anything it does. The State is a body external to its Society, and individual members cannot, therefore, take any credit or blame for any of the State’s accomplishments or wrongdoings.

If you work for a corporation, then you can take pride in the accomplishments of that corporation and you must take blame in the wrongdoings of that corporation, weighted proportionately to the role you played in the corporation and the amount of influence you had to prevent or further the actions in question. But being the subject of a State is not the same as being an employee of a corporation. As I demonstrated, we don’t have any real authority over the State and the State is not us. The State is an entity over us, of which we can become members, and which does, from time to time, consist of people who are held by our desires. But this does not serve to adequately justify any identification of “ourselves as the State.” We cannot, then, take any pride in its accomplishments or any punishment for its wrongs.

We need Individual Responsibility, and not just because it will drive the people who suddenly lose the ability to draw pride from the accomplishments of the State to themselves work harder and make accomplishments of their own. We need Individual Responsibility because it is the only way to reaffirm Liberty and to curb our Nationalist tendencies. Liberty and Individual Responsibility are inseparable.

An Individual’s Subordination to Society

It is also often alleged that the Society’s needs outweigh the needs of the Individual. This is only possible because we have taken this abstract, unidentifiable notion that is the Society and we have given it needs, desires, and other characteristics, none of which can be justified or demonstrated. It may or may not be “for the good of Society” for Individuals to sacrifice this right or that right, but what is overlooked is the obvious fact that the Society consists only of the Individuals which comprise it, and, as such, anything that is detrimental to any of those Individuals is, therefore, detrimental to Society.

Society is not some external thing that has needs, desires, and other characteristics. It is just a term we use to label a mass of Individuals working together voluntarily for mutual benefit. The Society does not have needs, desires, and other characteristics; there is no such thing as “the good of society” and there is no such thing as “the needs of society are more important than the needs of individuals.”

This notion that we are selfish if we do not subordinate ourselves to the non-existent body called Society is a logical fallacy and a misidentification in exactly the same vein as those people who identify themselves through the State–it is just in reverse. Individuals do not identify themselves with Society, and this could be because Individuals instead identify themselves with the State. It is also because Individuals consider the State to be the mechanism which protects Society and makes it prosperous, even if it can only do this at the expense of the Individuals who comprise that Society. The very idea is preposterous and easily refutable. It’s as preposterous as the claims made in Vietnam that, “In order to save the village, we had to destroy it,” and George W’s more recent claim that, “In order to save the Free Market, I have abandoned Free Market principles.”

This type of Doublethink is unworthy of any People. We cannot benefit Society by harming, in any way whatsoever, the Individuals of which that Society consists. No, we are not the Government, but we are Society–at least in the sense that anything is Society. But, really, Society as an entity doesn’t even exist. There is no Society to which we are or should be subordinate. There are only Individuals. And no one has the right to make any Individual make sacrifices to benefit other Individuals, even if “more Individuals” would be benefited than harmed. 

It quickly comes back to a matter of Liberty and the notion that the State has the right to force a minority to do what the Majority thinks is right. The Majority, having become convinced that Society exists and that it is the right and duty of the State to harm Individuals, if it must, in order to benefit Society, force this notion on the Minority, and this is morally wrong. Forcing anyone to do this or that because one thinks it would be morally right for others to do this or that is never morally right. It is morally wrong to force someone to do something, and the notion that it is the right of the State to harm Individuals in order to benefit Society is exactly this: the notion that it is the right of the State to harm Individuals in order to benefit other Individuals. It is Taxation and Welfare all over again.

All Related

As it hopefully has been demonstrated, all of these things are related, and they all ultimately stem from the failure of Individuals to take responsibility for themselves, their decisions, and their actions. This failure has resulted in Taxation, State-sanctioned murder, the loss of rights, the loss of Liberty, the loss of our right to own ourselves, the loss of property rights, the tendency of Individuals to identify themselves with the State rather than identifying themselves with themselves, and the notion that the Individual is subordinate to the non-existent Society.

I have here demonstrated that Taxation amounts to Theft and the use of force, that State-sanctioned murder is still murder, that we have lost numerous rights, that we have lost substantial amounts of Liberty, that we have lost the right to own ourselves, that we have lost the right to own property, that Individuals have the tendency to identify themselves with the State, and that many Individuals believe that the Individual’s needs and rights aren’t as important as those of the Society’s. I have also explained why all these things happened. The inability of Individuals to take Individual Responsibility has led to all of these things, and taking Individual Responsibility is, at this point, the only way to reverse any of these trends–and all of these trends need to be reversed.

In Part One, I demonstrated the basic principles of the Free Market and how Welfare programs do more harm than good–and how State-run Welfare could easily be replaced by the much more efficient and productive Free Market. I also demonstrated in Part One that we are not the Government, so if you need clarification on why I assert that we have no right to claim the successes of the State as our successes, then refer to Part One for that clarification.

In Part Three, I intend to address Anarchy, what it means, and how it functions. In short, I plan to explain what a Society which has no State looks like and how a State-less Society handles things likes murder, theft, and other things that are considered morally wrong. I will also explain how an Anarchic Society does not mean lawlessness or chaos, nor does it mean that we would have no ground on which to stand in punishing murderers, thieves, and rapists, that these are pieces of propaganda put out by dishonest intellectuals to cause people to reject Anarchy out of ignorance.

 

* Sometimes the death penalty is given. I am not an advocate of “eye for an eye justice” and I don’t think that murdering someone in punishment is any more morally right than the actions of the murderer. Moreover, the evidence shows that the death penalty is used disproportionately to harm minorities and, particularly, black Americans. This is the very reason why Ron Paul recanted his position on the death penalty. It was absurd to hear people accuse Ron Paul of being racist, considering that his position on marijuana (and other drugs) is that outlawing these substances has disproportionately harmed minority communities and resulted in a disproportionate amount of black Americans being imprisoned for decades over trivial offenses that harmed no one; and considering also that Ron Paul ceased his support of the death penalty when he learned that it is used most against black Americans and that white murderers are sentenced to life in prison more often than death and black murderers are more often sentenced to death instead of life in prison. Ron Paul objected both to the death penalty and drug laws because they harm black Americans disproportionately; how can anyone justify calling him a racist?

** The American Prison System is fucked and is a bastion of evil and tyranny. In order to fix it, we must reassert the rights of criminals. Yes, they committed crimes–but they’re still People. However, because of wording in the Thirteenth Amendment, once a person is guilty of a crime, they can and do become Slaves to the State:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. [emphasis added]

Slavery is never morally acceptable, and you should be able to agree with that. Involuntary servitude and slavery are never acceptable, no matter what a person has done. And this issue is more serious than you’d think, considering that we’ve given the State the sole authority to dictate what is and isn’t a crime and we’ve also allowed the State to run trials. In the modern American Justice system, trials are not by a jury. People instead receive Trials by the State. Let me explain.

We still have jury trials in most cases in the United States and it is up to the jury to deliver a verdict of Guilty or Not Guilty. However, Jurors are now sworn to deliver a verdict “according only to the evidence” and this means that whoever decides what evidence is allowed and what evidence isn’t ultimately is in control of the verdict. By taking this oath, Jurors ultimately become as predictable as computer programs: feed the information to them and they will deliver a result which depends entirely upon the information you feed them. As surely as 2x + 4y = 22 when you feed in the information that x = 3 and y = 4, the jury’s verdict becomes Guilty or Not Guilty when you feed in certain information. Having sworn themselves to consider only the evidence, Jurors will deliver a verdict that can be predicted with precision and certainty, so long as certain evidence is given to them. 

And who controls what information is allowed to the jury and what evidence is not? The State controls what evidence is admitted. Judges are part of the State apparatus, and many judges have agendas, as demonstrated by the FISA Courts and the revelation that many of these judges have an interest in simply approving whatever requests are made. Judges are not members of the People; they are members of the State, of the Judicial Branch. The State includes all branches and all quasi-government agencies. It is an inescapble conclusion that the Judicial Branch is part of the Government, because… well, the Judicial Branch is a part of the Government.

As such, we are allowing the State to dictate what evidence is admitted into trials. Since Jurors are sworn to deliver a verdict that depends entirely on the available evidence, the State ultimately controls what verdict is delivered. If Jurors deliver verdicts based only on the available evidence, then whoever controls what evidence is available controls the verdict. And that is where the American Justice System has gone wrong. Let ALL evidence be admitted, and let the Jury decide what evidence is valid and what evidence is not. We must not allow the State to control verdicts by binding Jurors to oaths and then restricting whatever evidence they desire. That is not a trial by Jury; it is a trial by the State using the Jury as a method of carrying out the State’s wishes. Juries, in effect, unwittingly become Puppets of the State. I urge you, my fellow Americans, to add the addendum to the oath that you will deliver a verdict according to the evidence “only under the condition that all evidence, no matter how tangential, is admitted.” If we do not require this, then we allow the State to dictate the verdict. And, in the long run, this will yield very bad results. This is, after all, how most Chinese trials go: the State doesn’t allow evidence that would go against the verdict the State desires. We already have a mechanism in place which will allow our own Government to do just that. We need to dismantle the mechanism before the Government “starts” doing this (if they haven’t already–we wouldn’t know, after all, if we weren’t being given relevant information because someone had an agenda and wanted to see a specific verdict).

Anarchy’s Benefits, Part 1

I wrote this about two years ago, I think; it’s a five-part series showing, more or less, how I evolved from “Libertarian” to “Anarchist,” as I went into the idea with the plan of tearing the idea of anarchocapitalism to pieces. But I quickly realized that, far from being unstable, it was absolutely brilliant, and by a wide margin the best solution.

In the following blog, a few things need to be clarified and defined.

  • The State is the collective governmental body which oversees a given society. The State is a collective whole which, in the United States, consists of the Federal Government, all of its branches, and all pseudo-governmental agencies such as the Federal Reserve.
  • The Society is the collective body of People. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that Societies do not require the existence of a State; the existence of a Society is independent of whether or not the Society has a Government. Any group of people of any size who work together, whether voluntarily or by being forced, is a Society.
  • Once a Society has a State over it, the two collectively are the Nation. That is, the Nation is a Society and its Government.

Note that this creates two separate bodies within any nation: the Society and its Government. This seems to contradict the general perception and “common knowledge” that, in a democracy, “we are the government.” Indeed, I’ve said in the past that “we are the government,” usually as a way of allocating blame properly to the People who allow its Government to do something which is morally wrong (such as the imprisonment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War 2). It has come to my attention, thanks to the work of Murray Rothbard, that this is nonsense. We are not the government, and this is readily apparent when you consider the use of force by the government to achieve its ends.

If we are the government, then nothing the government can do to me counts as making me do something against my will. If we are the government, then if the government kills me, it is a suicide. “But, Anarchist Shemale, you’re making a logical fallacy! If you are conscripted and sent to fight in Iraq against your will, it still is ‘the government’ forcing you to do it–it’s not you volunteering to go (for obvious reasons). You’re only a small part of the government, as is each of us.”

Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head, and the counter here demonstrates that we are not the government after all. If we have 100 people in our Nation, and 5 of those people in a democratically elected Government, then if those 5 people force the other 95 to fight in the army, it doesn’t count as the 95 people volunteering, because “we are the government” means, really, that “we elect our leaders.” It doesn’t mean that we actually are the government; it means only that we, in theory, can impact the government substantially through the use of Representatives, or that we can actually ourselves “be” the government by being ourselves elected. It is, of course, now possible (thanks to the Internet) for a true Democracy to actually exist, but this point is irrelevant to the topic at hand. We are not a Democracy; we are a Republic with democratically elected representatives. There is a substantial difference, but I’m not going to explain it.

But there is no justification for equating “having a representative” with yourself being a “part of the government”; it is a false equivalency. Having amount of influence over Representatives doesn’t guarantee or imply that our desires will be catered to, and no one expects it to mean that. There are too many People with too many different opinions for this idea that “we are our representatives” to hold any weight. Even if a given representative always had 99% of their people in agreement with the representative, then there is still a 1% minority that is clearly not the government, and any disagreement with the majority is going to be unaddressed in a democratic republic.

Representatives, furthermore, want to get re-elected. For one reason or another, Representatives almost always want to be re-elected, and, as their constituents are much more localized and concentrated than a Presidential candidate’s, there is considerably more accountability for Senators and Representatives to abide the will of their constituents. Presidents very rarely have to worry about what the majority of Americans want: they can only be re-elected once in the first place, and a 51% majority of Americans means nothing in the American System–see the 2000 Presidential Election, wherein the Electoral College thwarted the will of Americans and hardly a ripple went through our nation. It is for this reason–the desire for re-election–that Representatives and Senators always listen to the 51% and the 99% and never the 49% or the 1%.

Anyway, Representatives generally obey the will of their constituents, and the only reliable way they can do this is by frequently polling their constituents, holding town halls and other meetings, and just generally knowing their area and what the majority of their constituents want. There’s no need for Roger Wicker to poll Mississippians to learn what the majority thinks about gun control, but he (and other representatives) will gladly send out probing emails and hold town-hall-style meetings to learn the desires of their constituents and act in accordance.

The problem is obviously that, even if it was the case that Representatives consistently polled their constituents to learn what the majority wanted (something they obviously don’t do), and acted as true Representatives by always making their decisions in accordance with the results of their polls, then what we have is what Plato recognized as Democracy’s greatest failing: a dictatorship over the few by the many.

Representation is, then, fundamentally flawed. Even if we did have a true Representative System (which we do not) and even if our representatives did constantly learn our desires (which they do not) and act in accordance with our desires (which they do not), then the system is still one that is not to be desired by any lover of freedom and liberty (and it is not); it is an unjust tyranny over the few by the many (which it is). In such a system, whatever 51% of the People tell their Representative to do is what their Representative does, and the other 49% have to go along with whatever is decided.

Any system which has the inherent capacity to alienate and violate the rights of almost half of any Society is fundamentally flawed and undesirable. The only difference between the Representative System and the despotic system of kings, nobilities, and fiefs, is that the Ruling Caste is made up of a larger portion of the People. Their power over others, however, is equal; in a Representative System, any Majority has the same amount of power over the Minority as King Henry VIII did over England. And that is a flawed system.

In order to address these flaws and to safeguard the American People against the Tyranny of the Majority (which the Founders understood as a problem, as this fundamental problem of Democracy had been recognized since Plato) they chose a Democratic Constitutional Republic. The Majority would choose the Representatives, and the Representatives would then act in accordance with the Majority, so long as they did not violate the constraints placed on them by the Constitution. After all, if the Constitution did not restrain the power of the Majority over the Minority, then nothing would stop Congress from declaring that all Red Headed woman (or any minority) (or all women who think that women should be allowed to vote–this is said only to point out that minorities also exist because of ideological and philosophical differences, not just because of racial and other physical properties) would forced to work as concubines for the President and Supreme Court Justices. The Majority (which can be an ideological majority, such as those who think women should not be allowed to vote) simply cannot dictate the Minority, because if they do, then the Democracy is no different from the Monarchy.

The Constitution has clearly failed. Not only has the Constitution’s value been lost to the complacency induced by time, thereby allowing the state to take for itself far more power than was ever intended, but the failure also allowed the Majority to take for itself far more power than was ever intended. If the Majority of Americans support Welfare and Taxation, then there is no chance of Welfare and Taxation to ever be repealed or undone, even though this means the Minority who is against Welfare and Taxation will have the right to private property grossly violated in the process and will, in effect, become slaves of the State.

If the Majority of Americans support the President’s claim that he can send the military to police the world without a declaration of war by Congress, then the President effectively has that power. In modern America, small disputes and trivial issues often have it pointed out that the Majority doesn’t have the right to enforce its beliefs onto the Minority, but when it comes to fundamental questions of policy, there is no debate and the Minority’s opinions are thrown out the window (under one misunderstood or deliberately misapplied label or another), and the Minority is told that it simply has to put up with whatever the Majority wants to do, often because “we put these people into office.”

Again, Welfare is a terrific example. It is automatically presumed by the Majority that Welfare for the Elderly (in the form of Medicare and Social Security) is a positive and desirable thing and that, at most, we just aren’t currently doing it right. The Majority has no intention of discarding either of these systems unless it is to replace them with better [government]*^* systems. The idea that it is the duty of the State to steal some portion of the productivity of the Working Class and redistribute the confiscated wealth among a non-Working Class is assumed, and no questions which would dispute this assumption are tolerated with any amount of honest consideration. Moreover, in regard to Social Security and Medicare, it is automatically assumed that if we did not have these systems, then the Elderly would starve, become homeless, and go without medical treatment. The past 10,000 years of Society are completely disregarded by these beliefs. 

In no Society in the history of homo sapien have we allowed our Elderly to be stripped of their homes, their possessions, their health, and to starve to death [It should also be noted that the United States is the only country in the world which worries about this happening, because we are the only country in the world which is so out of touch with reality, decency, and common sense that it’s even a possibility]. Our species has always cared for its elderly and its sick. The idea that we should abolish Social Security and Medicare is not the idea that we should allow the Elderly to go untreated or starve to death; it’s the idea that the current Social system we have in place to take care of them is not working (and is morally wrong) and that we have, in the past, used better systems–and we can use better systems today.

Libertarians do not dispute that we have a duty to take care of the Elderly. In fact, no one disputes this. What we dispute is the idea that it is productive to allow the State to force people to do this when history has shown, for thousands of years, that Societies voluntarily take much better care of the Elderly than any State ever could. If you feel that it is your responsibility to contribute to the well-being of Elderly People who you don’t even know, then private Elderly Welfare charities exist for you to do just that. However, the vast majority of Americans would not labor under the hopelessly utopian fantasy that it’s their moral duty to take care of random strangers; most Americans instead would consider it their duty to take care of their own Elderly relatives (and perhaps any neighbors who may need it). And having the 15%+ of their income back in their hands–instead of the State’s–to be used for any purpose they want, including caring for their Elderly Relatives, would certainly make that a lot easier.

Moreover, the Free Market handles these things in ways that we can demonstrate now without theorizing about what Americans would do without Medicare and Social Security to act as Moral Hazards. The next time you are shopping, ask the clerk whether they offer a Senior Citizen’s Discount. You will almost always receive a, “Yes.” What is this phenomenon, if it is not the Free Market taking steps to care for the Elderly? 

Indeed, it is so common for a place to offer a Senior’s Discount that I’ve seen the Elderly become outraged when they visit a place that does not offer such a Discount. We will only see more of this if we dial back our taxes by eliminating Medicare and Social Security. If corporations are willing now to give 10% discounts to the Elderly and that is with the State taking huge portions of everybody’s money, then when you make the State stop stealing that huge portion of their money, their profit margin increases; with an increased profit margin, they can give Seniors greater discounts. To that end, every business would have its profit margin increased–giving them funds to bring more employees up to full-time, to use the latest technologies, to hire consultants to improve efficiency, to hire more workers, and to, if they so choose, provide their employees with extra perks (thereby allowing them to attract better workers), and this includes those companies not offering a 10% discount to Senior Citizens.

What sounds better to you? Forcefully stealing 10% of everyone’s money in order to give money to the Seniors or letting everyone keep their money and spend it how they wish? Before you answer, you should keep in mind a few things.

  • At least thirty cents of every dollar spent by the Federal Government is eaten by waste, inefficiency, fraud,and bureaucracy. For some departments and systems, this percentage lost to waste is higher (Medicaid being a prime example–up to 50% of money allocated for Medicaid is lost to waste). http://www.smpresource.org/docs/The_Sentinel_May2012_HBABCs_Fraud_Estimates.pdf lists that Eighty BILLION dollars of Medicare money is lost to fraud each year. It is extraordinarily difficult–if not altogether impossible–to be defrauded of your money when you are personally spending it on your grandmother’s doctor visits and prescriptions [or giving it to her to do it herself; it doesn’t matter].
  • It follows that, by median estimates, a family would really need to spend only 70 cents for each dollar spent by the Federal Government to take care of these things.
  • Moreover, because of the reproductive nature of humans and family structures in American Society, there are typically two to three working adults available to split the financial burden of an Elderly Relative. This is because the average American has 2.5 kids (in the past, this was actually much higher). These kids will get married, which doubles the amount of people from whom the financial resources can be drawn. A typical woman of 75 will have five working children, and zero to ten working grandchildren, all of whom can voluntarily chip in to help take care of Gran-Gran^^*.
  • Because the State will not be sucking away 10% to 35% of the income of these family members, if we assume an average salary of $25,000 (accounting for working teens and young adults), then between five adults, that is $12,500 that can be used to take care of Grandma. And since they can get with that $12,500 the same amount of care which it would have taken the State $17,857 to accomplish the same thing*, ol’ “Gran-Gran” might not be doing too badly after all.*^^
  • The above $12,500 is acquired simply by allowing adults to keep their own money and to spend it on whatever they choose. No American Family would allow their Grandmothers and Grandparents to go without medical care. Nor would any American Family allow their Grandmothers and Grandparents to starve, go homeless, or anything else. However, this figure ($12,500) does not include the incredible jump in wealth and prosperity which the entire country would experience if we accepted Free Market Principles (including a commodity currency). Competition creates wealth. 

It’s important to remember that when we talk about getting rid of Social Security and Medicare, all we’re saying is that the responsibility to care for your grandparents… should be on YOU, not us. I have my own grandparents I would take care of. So do you. There’s no reason you should be taking care of my grandparents–who you’ve never met–and there’s no reason I should be taking care of your grandparents.

We’re simply saying: GET RID OF THE MIDDLE MAN. Because the middle man is incompetent, wasteful, bureaucratic, inefficient, naive, and can only accomplish his tasks through theft and the use of force. We aren’t telling you to let your grandparents starve or be untreated for illness. We’re saying: TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN DAMNED GRANDPARENTS. 

Social Security and Medicare amount to this: The State steals money from you and then uses that money they stole from you to take care of your grandparents. Does that seem right to you? Does that seem efficient to you? Does that seem like a good idea to you? No, no, and no. It makes thousands of times more sense for you to take care of your own grandparents. If the State stops stealing from you, then you’ll have the free money to do just that.

Counter 1: What About Old People Who Have No Family?

In the rare event that we come across an Old Person who has no family who can take care of them, then we must rely on the benevolence of Society to care for that Old Person. What is the issue with this? If there was a private (“private” in the sense of “not related to Government”) charity to which you could donate some of your money, wouldn’t you do it? Even if you are a complete dick and wouldn’t donate $5 a month to such a charity, there are still churches and secular institutions that collect voluntary contributions and would do it anyway. No Church would allow its elderly members to go without health care or starve or go homeless. And there are many secular institutions that would be just as appalled by the idea. And that’s only necessary if you yourself wouldn’t contribute–plenty of people would. And it would be entirely voluntary.

When you stop stealing from people, you find out that people don’t need motivation to do the right thing. People don’t need a reward to entice them into giving $5 a month to a charity that provides health care to the elderly. And when you stop stealing from them, and you’ve stopped forcing them to do things that you believe would be morally right for them to do, then they have more money they can use to make these contributions. And if your concern is being morally right…

Then you have no justification for supporting Welfare systems like Social Security and Medicare in the first place. It may be morally right to contribute to the care of the elderly. But you must remember that you believing it to be morally right doesn’t give you any authority to force other people to do what you think is morally right. And that’s precisely what the Taxation/Welfare system are. “If it’s morally right for me to contribute a portion of my money to the care of the elderly, then it must be morally right for me to FORCE everyone else to contribute a portion of their money!”

See? That logic doesn’t hold up, does it? Forcing people to do what you think is the right thing… is never itself the morally right thing to do. Forcing someone to do anything is always morally wrong, and it doesn’t matter what exactly you’re forcing them to do. Forcing someone to do anything is morally wrong. And if you can’t agree with that, then you are the reason that Liberty has died. It’s a simple statement.

If you support Medicare, Social Security, or any other form of Government Welfare (including Obamacare), then don’t bother to comment this post unless you begin your comment with, “It’s morally right to sometimes force other people to do something.” If you comment to dispute any part of the Welfare discussion and you do not begin your comment with that sentence, then whatever else your comment says, it will not be approved. You have been warned**. 

It is a false equivalence that “doing the right thing” is morally right, so “forcing someone else to do the right thing” is also morally right. In a Free Society, the use of force is loathed, detested, and contrary to the principles of Freedom. This is where the Non-Aggression Pact enters the picture. In a Free Society, the Non-Aggression Pact is critical to the continuance of Liberty and Prosperity; it is, simply, an acknowledgement by Society and all its Members that it is morally wrong and unacceptable to initiate any form of violence. It doesn’t mean you can’t fight back. It means only that you can’t start fights. 

I can’t speak for everyone, but even with the State taking about 45% of all my money (being a small business owner, I am hit really hard… You wouldn’t believe it. Quite often, by the time the money reaches me personally, it has been taxed three or more times), I still make contributions to charities: The Mises Institute, the Foundation for Rational Economic Education, the United Way, the Animal Liberation Front, The Pirate Bay^*, and the Campaign For Liberty. The key thing to note is that I and I alone dictate and decide to which charities, organizations, and causes I give my money. The State doesn’t get to decide I should give amount of money to the Mises Institute, and you don’t get to decide that I should give amount of money to whatever cause you support–even if that cause is caring for Senior Citizens who you don’t personally know.

Voluntary Yields Greater Success Than Force

In fact, Force yields almost no success. We see this all over the world. When the World Bank steps in to a third world country with the intention of “ending poverty,” two things always happen. This has been documented and demonstrated over and over and over. Any time the World Bank steps into a country with the intention of “ending poverty,” poverty ALWAYS increases and the wealth gap between the rich and the poor ALWAYS increases. Well, not “always.” But the success rate is like 3%. I don’t remember. You can watch the documentary “Zeitgeist: Addendum”*^ if you’re curious about the World Bank and its ineffectiveness.

Knowledge of this general failure is also causing many people to speak out against Obamacare. If the State intends to lower the costs of health care or health insurance, then the only way it can accomplish this… is by getting the health out of the fields. Ooh… That was really bad. I’m sorry about that.

The best way to lower the costs of health care and health insurance is not to pass laws but to repeal laws; the way is not to intervene more in the health care field, but to intervene less. Ron Paul has noted on many occasions that in American Government, Failure is Success. While I’m not going to devote the time today in explaining what has caused the costs of health care to skyrocket, the blame lies almost entirely on Government intervention in the health care field in the first place. And when the Government’s failure to do any good was obvious and resulted in insanely high health care costs, what happened? The People demanded more intervention by the Government! “Hey, you fucked this up by messing with it! Now mess with it more and try to fix it!” Have no doubt, America. The Affordable Care Act will NOT help average Americans get health care. It will do the EXACT opposite of everything we want it to do. And when it fails, the Government will tell us that they need to intervene MORE in order to fix the even MORE broken system that THEY broke. If Obamacare is meant to bring health insurance to more Americans who currently don’t have it, then you know with certainty that in a few years, people who NOW have health care will NOT have it or the health care’s value will be so low that they might as well not have it.

It’s not that the Government can’t do anything right. It’s that if they want to do something right, they have to try to do something wrong. And if the Government wanted to do something wrong in the health care field, what would they do? What’s the most wrong thing they could do about the insanely high health care costs? That’s right: they could back completely the hell out of the health care field. Doing nothing is the most “wrong” thing they could attempt to do. And, interestingly, when it comes to any matter dealing with economics, having the Government do nothing will always lead to the right thing. Having the Government do nothing (“do nothing” includes ceasing all interventions in that market) will lower health care costs, because it was only ever regulations and restrictions that drove them up in the first place. Get rid of those regulations and restrictions, and what happens?

That’s right: Health Insurance becomes a matter of INSURANCE again. No one in the United States considers health insurance to be insurance. And that’s what caused the problem. We became convinced–mostly by lobbyists of huge insurance companies who benefited from the regulations–that we could use our health insurance for every trivial thing. Got to do a routine checkup? Good–you’ve got insurance. Got to get some penicillin? Good–you’ve got insurance. Got to get a physical? Good–you’ve got insurance. And yet… we all know that this attitude would break every other insurance market out there. Moreover, attempting to apply this attitude to any other type of insurance would quickly put us back in our place.

If you attempted to use your auto insurance over every trivial thing that happened, your insurance company would deny most of your claims. And if they didn’t deny your claim, they would raise your monthly premium. And if they didn’t raise your monthly premium, they would drop you entirely and no longer cover you. That’s why people don’t try to use their auto insurance when they run over a nail or when they have a fender bender. People tend to use Insurance only for emergencies. And that is what Insurance is for.

But, no, when we turn to health insurance, suddenly it’s okay to use the insurance for stupid stuff. And do you know why it’s okay to use your health insurance for trivial, non-emergency things? It’s because Government Regulations prevent health insurance companies from denying your claims; it’s because Government Regulations prevent health insurance companies from raising your monthly premium; and it’s because Government Regulations prevent health insurance companies from dropping you. Government Regulations have tied the hands of health insurance companies and have prevented them from using the methods of Insurance. Because insurance companies had to be so careful to avoid looking like they raised your prices or dropped you out of discrimination or because you developed a chronic illness, they could only offset the losses they suddenly incurred from everyone using their insurance for trivial matters by raising everyone’s prices. And doctors and hospitals returned by raising their prices; we’ve known for more than a decade that when you tell the doctors you have insurance, they are far more likely to run expensive diagnostic tests on you. All of this combined together to raise the costs of Health Insurance, and all of it happened because of Government Regulations and Government intervention in the Free Market.

And you expect me to believe that more Government Regulations and more Government intervention in the Free Market is going to help the problem? No, America: the problem is only going to get worse. The more the Government intervenes, the worse the problem will get; the worse the problem gets, the more the Government intervenes. At some point, the system will become so broken that there are only two choices: Socialized Medicine or a return to Free Market Principles.

And we will choose Socialized Medicine. Because we are terrified of the repercussions of the Free Market; we’ve been brainwashed into believing that Free Markets are dangerous and that we need Government Regulation to protect us from the corrupt corporations. And they point to places like Monsanto to evidence this.

Let’s Use Monsanto As an Example

Monsanto does a lot of really fucked up things, but let’s focus on its soy beans. Monsanto makes the poison Round-Up and they also own the copyright (see below–I’m vocally anti-copyright) on a special type of soybean that has been genetically modified to be resistant to Round-Up. Monstanto has a 97% market share in the soybean supply market; 97% of farmers who grow soy get their soybeans from Monsanto. Monstanto also requires that all farmers return their beans at the end of the season and unleash hell onto any farmer who doesn’t. Monstanto has people cruising through Iowa and other states every single day to find anyone who is violating any of their copyrights. They are ruthless and farmers simply cannot fight against them.

What is the root problem here, though? Is it Monsanto? Or is it the copyright law and the inability of farmers to purchase other soybeans of equal quality from other corporations that wouldn’t be so evil? Exactly. What Monsanto is doing is clearly wrong, but the farmers have no one else to whom they can turn. Monsanto has no competition, and Monsanto has no competition because of Government intervention in the free market. In a Free Market, not only could the farmers keep the beans that they purchased (actually, they’d be able to keep the offspring of the beans they purchased, but they should be able to do that, too), but any enterprising individual could buy some of the beans from Monsanto and become a supplier himself. Rest assured that if Monsanto had competition, they would not be Evil. And the only thing preventing Monsanto from having competition… is Government Intervention in the Free Market. The Soybean market is begging for competition. There is a huge gap for a non-evil corporation, and those 97% of farmers, all of whom hate Monsanto and consider it the most evil corporation in the world, would immediately switch to the new competitor and would tell Monsanto to get fucked.

The Free Market would solve the Monsanto problem almost instantly. It wouldn’t take more than a year. Within a year from the end of Government Intervention, Monsanto would simply be a bad memory.

“But What About All the Employees? What About Their Copyrights?”

In answer to the question about copyrights, look at what Monsanto’s copyright has caused! If you’re ignorant on the subject, watch the documentary “Food, Inc.” It addresses the evils of both Monsanto and Tyson, both of which are steeped in absolute Evil. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say that Monsanto and Tyson are steeped in Absolute Evil, then you really need to watch the documentary, because Tyson provides almost all of the poultry you consume and some of their practices are unforgivable–even to non-vegans and non-vegetarians, Tyson’s actions are simply Evil. And Monsanto… They’re the single most evil corporation on the planet.

What is keeping these evil corporations in power? Surely none of us would choose to work with or for an evil corporation if there was a non-evil competitor. No matter how much money we save by working with Monsanto, if there was competition, everyone familiar with Monsanto would abandon the corporation instantly. The only thing keeping these evil corporations in business is the fact that they don’t have any competition. The Free Market DEPENDS on competition and the idea that everyone is free to compete on a level playing field with everyone else. This competition creates Abundance, Productivity, and Prosperity in ways that we cannot imagine. They also destroy Evil. Monsanto couldn’t be evil if there was competition, because no one would work with them and their evil ways if they could avoid it.

So what about those employees? Yes, what about the people who are actively taking part in the absolutely EVIL practices of Monsanto? What about these people who are knowingly and willingly committing acts that any sane person recognizes as evil or, at the very least, despicable? 

In case you missed the subtlety, FUCK THEM. I can’t be nice about this. If a corporation routinely does Evil and competition rises and, by not being evil, threatens to put the Evil corporation out of business, then let the fate fall upon them which they set for themselves. Let them reap what they have sown. Let them sleep in the beds they have made. Let them lie in the graves they have diggen.***

You’re not really arguing for the continued existence of an evil corporation, are you? 

“No, Anarchist Shemale, But Not All of Monsanto’s Employees Are Evil”

Then they shouldn’t be working there. It’s that simple. If you’re taking any part in evil actions, then you are committing evil actions. It’s that simple. If your corporation is doing things of which you do not approve, then you leave that corporation. And in a Free Market, where Competition, Liberty, and the Right to Property are the reigning principles, then you will have other corporations for which you can work. If you choose not to leave, then you’re choosing to commit actions of evil–in which case you deserve the unemployment that will fall on you when the non-evil corporation takes all your clients.

“But… That’s… That’s…”

That’s what? That’s making people take responsibility for their own decisions and actions? How inexcusable and barbaric of me! Yes, I believe that an individual bears the responsibility for their own decisions and actions and that they should, therefore, receive whatever consequences result from those actions and decisions. I don’t believe that people who comply with evil should be able to avoid the consequences of that, no. I believe people should be accountable for the things they do. And, like it or not, if a person chooses to stay and take part in the evil actions of a corporation, then they are choosing to take part in evil. There’s no way around this logical connection. And, having chosen to take part in evil, they should face whatever Free Market consequences fall on them for that.

And, since it’s a Free Market, anyone who doesn’t want to take part in evil actions can leave and go to a different corporation–to one that isn’t evil. And, since it’s a Free Market, anyone who doesn’t want to make an evil corporation richer is free to do business with a competitor (so long as they don’t violate any contracts into which they entered voluntarily and without coercion). And, since it’s a Free Market, Monsanto would no longer be able to corner the market, maintain a horrendously unfair advantage, and would no longer be able to stifle all competition with lawsuits and the theft of property.

To Be Continued…

This blog simply lays the framework of the Free Market and clarifies what the Free Market can do and how it does it. Understanding the role and power of the Free Market is critical if we ever want to prosper or be free again. There are four principles here that must be inviolate and that must be understood before we continue, so if any of these four principles are still unclear to you by the time you’ve finishes this blog, please leave a comment (this supersedes the requirements noted above) so that I can clarify. These four principles are:

  • Liberty / Individual Responsibility (they go hand-in-hand)
  • Right to Private Property
  • Right to Contract
  • The Free Market and Competition

If these four principles are clearly understood, then go on to “Anarchocapitalism Part 2″ to continue my analysis. Note that I have not written “Part the Second” yet and will post a link as soon as I do. Probably tomorrow. Maybe not. In a few days, for sure. Part the Second will focus more on the “anarcho” part, whereas this Part focused mostly on the “capitalism” part. Part Three will likely explain the concept as a whole, putting parts one and two together. 

* I think I did that wrong… Well, if the math was done incorrectly, you still get my point.

** I despise euphemisms and dishonest intellectualism. If you stand in support of any Welfare system, then you think it’s morally right to steal from someone so that the money can be spent on what you think is the right place for it to be spent. This is why this blog has this requirement: to force you out of your dishonest intellectualism and euphemisms and make any would-be-commenters face what it is they really believe. Yes, Taxation is force. It is, therefore, theft. Yes, Morality is subjective (and one of the tenets of our nation is that no one’s morality may be forced on another person), and as such, it is not an Objective Truth that it’s “morally good” to care for the elderly. That means it’s your system of morality that dictates it’s morally good to do so, and someone may have a system of morality which does not agree with you. There is no difference between Taxation to pay for Medicare and taxation to pay for abortions or taxation to pay for gay marriage. They are all stealing from others to pay for the actions that someone else thinks is morally right–and anyone who disagrees has their opinion completely discarded and is forced to go along with the system anyway, despite their beliefs. This is the very definition of tyranny. 

^* I read a book last night called, “Against Intellectual Property” by N. Stephan Kinsella that, I am pleased to say, presented a cogent, economical, and Libertarian argument against the entire concept of Intellectual Property. As an artist (and musician… and fiction writer… and poet… and non-fiction writer… and game designer… and world designer [D&D3.5/Pathfinder]…), I’ve argued against Intellectual Property and asinine copyright laws frequently in the past, but I never had anything other than Reason to stand with me on the subject. Now I have Economics, Liberty, and the Right to Private Property on my side in standing against the entire idea of Intellectual Property. As I’ve said numerous times in the past, I don’t download music/games/movies/whatever because I’m against rewarding artists for their effort and creativity. Once I experience a piece of art in question, I, like almost every other downloader, will not hesitate to pay the artist for the work. When I downloaded Orcs Must Die! 2 and found it to be one of the funnest games I’ve ever played, I immediately purchased the game, even though I “technically” already had it.

I believe that the asinine idea that we can copyright sound waves, patterns of light frequencies displayed in a specific manner, and strings of words and prevent others from accessing them fully (even if they purchased them) is related to our asinine belief that we can make Nature illegal. When we made shrooms (psilocybin cubensis), marijuana, and peyote illegal, that is exactly what we did: we made Nature illegal. What arrogance! Nowhere in America is our arrogance displayed more clearly than in our attempt to make NATURE illegal. And the idea that a pattern of sound waves can similarly be owned by an Individual is equally arrogant–or a string of words or an assortment of particles that reflect and absorb different frequencies of light arranged in a specific way. It’s asinine and arrogant.

*^ Zeitgeist: Addendum is the last of the documentary series that I would recommend, and I really don’t recommend it fullyZeitgeist was a terrific, powerful, and eye-opening documentary (despite its flaws and exaggerations), and it has a Companion Guide which can be downloaded if you want to fact-check it (you should want to). However, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward just went completely off the rails and the series went from attempting to spread information to attempting to spread Communism. Don’t get me wrong: I actually don’t object to Communism out of ignorance (and I don’t object to it entirely; I object only to our attempts to mix Capitalism with Communism and Socialism). But the Zeitgeist Series has become a launchpad for Communist tendencies and Communist goals. It is no longer worth watching. Peter Joseph’s agenda is no longer to spread truth or information; his agenda is now to spread the idea that Communism would solve the world’s problems. And it is THAT to which I object.

*^* It should be noted that Libertarians and Free Market advocates do, in fact, propose an alternative system which would replace Social Security and Medicare. It is, though, a voluntary system, and not a system that achieves its ends through the use of force, violence, coercion, and dishonest intellectualism. People who advocate the Government providing Welfare are, in fact, asserting that they’d rather force people to do what they think is right than they would allow people to choose to do what they think is right. We propose a Free Market System that relies on volunteers contributing in goodwill, instead of relying on Government Guns to force helpless subjects to do things, often in spite. The notion that only force can effectively provide the needy with care is absurd and proven wrong by the whole of human history; force has always been inferior as a means of achieving goals which could also be achieved through strictly voluntary means. The great success of our military has much more to do with the fact that it is all volunteer (for the moment) than it does anything else. Career soldiers who entered the military of their own volition are much more effective warriors than are those who were forcefully conscripted.

*** That is meant as a joke, but for some reason… “diggen” seems like it should be a word. So does “embiggen” (to make bigger), for that matter–“embiggen” was (created?) popularized by The Simpsons. And judging from Google Chrome’s spellcheck feature, “embiggen” is now recognized as a legitimate word. I propose “diggen” should receive the same treatment. “I dug a hole” and “I have diggen there before.”

^^* No, I don’t and have never called any of my grandparents “Gran-Gran”.

*^^ Especially since in a society where Individual Responsibility is recognized as a thing critically important, Gran-Gran would have used her 401k effectively and combined it with an IRA or two to save up plenty of money through her 45 years of working and would, as long as inflation didn’t steal all her money (which it is, in the U.S. economy), be quite capable of taking care of herself. But if not–hey, what are friends and family for?

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In closing, I’d like to ask a few questions. Do you really believe…

  • that allowing competition would be a bad thing in any market or sector?
  • that changing the length of a foot or yard could somehow make a piece of wood longer? That’s what our money system effectively is and does. A Dollar is simply a foot; it’s just a measurement of labor and resources. That’s it. It has no purpose or value beyond that. Those who believe that creating more money (the Fed, Congress, and others who support Quantitative Easing and other inflationary schemes) will create more wealth believe that changing the length of what we know as a foot or yard will somehow give us more wood when we measure it. The fallacy of this is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be pointed out. No matter the size of a foot or yard, the amount of wood we have will not change. No matter the value of a dollar, the amount of resources and productivity we have will not change. Dollars cannot create wealth any more than inches can create wood.
  • that we can trust our Government to do anything?
  • that it’s better to let the State steal x% of your money to spend on something than it would be for you to keep x% of your money to spend it yourself on that same something, eliminating the middle man?
  • that the State has any purpose other than acquiring more power and securing its continued existence?
  • that you are the Government? …or even that the Government cares about you?
  • that Democracy is a good thing?
  • that Regulations serve as a better safeguard against evil corporations than Competition?