Tag Archive | law

Debate on the Nature & Scope of Self-Defense

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

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

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

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

Addiction to Power

One of the more bizarre aspects of the United States’ attack against Syria is the fact that no one bombed us when we killed 230 civilians, a showcase of moral hypocrisy rooted firmly in the idea that might is right. We know that “coalition forces,” meaning the United States for all intents and purposes, killed 230 civilians in a single airstrike, and we know that the death toll doesn’t stop there: more than a thousand civilians were killed in Iraq and Syria by the United States through the month of March.

Here, a lot of significance is placed on the method of death, as though death by suffocation in toxic gas is inherently worse than death by conflagration. The reality is that I sincerely doubt that the dead people would agree–by almost all accounts, burns are worse than suffocation, being overwhelmingly more painful and causing deaths nightmarishly horrific. This isn’t to say that death by sarin gas is good–it certainly isn’t. However, it is the height of arbitrary moral hypocrisy that we proclaim civilian deaths in one type of attack as indisputably more evil than civilian deaths in another type of attack. This is all the more curious since a number of American bombs are explicitly designed to create vacuum pressure by consuming all nearby air–these were used to “great” effect in Operation Iraqi Freedom to suffocate Iraqi forces deeply entrenched in tunnels. Even with bombs not specifically designed to have this effect, death by smoke inhalation (surely a “death by chemical attack”) and heat suffocation (heat being a chemical product of fire, and all) are real threats.

Yet no one took it upon themselves to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at the United States for its wanton and careless murders of civilians throughout the Middle East. In Iraq alone, we have killed more than one hundred thousand civilians. Ignoring all of that, though, as recently as last month we killed more than a thousand in reckless drone strikes–more than ten times the number for which we’ve so gleefully punished Assad for allegedly having killed.

In a certain sense, we have to cling to the ridiculous idea that death by chemical agent is somehow worse than death by combustion agent, because, while we’re frivolously dropping combustion agents all across the world, and unleashed billions of tons of napalm in Korea and Vietnam, we’ve refrained, for the most part, from using what most people would call “chemical weapon strikes.” It’s rather inconsequential, though. Whatever doublethinking mental gymnastics we have to use in order to convince ourselves that what we are doing is okay, but what others are doing is not okay, we will successfully perform. If it wasn’t “Chemical attacks are a special kind of evil” it would be some other excuse.

The idea that someone probably should have fired 590 Tomahawk missiles at the United States (if 100 civilian deaths = 59 Tomahawk missiles, then 1,000 civilian deaths = 590 Tomahawk missiles) is met by two problems. Only the first of these is the moral problem, and the inability of Americans to grasp the idea that if it’s not okay for Assad to kill a hundred civilians, then it’s not okay for the United States to do it. This is rooted more in “Us and Them” than it is the addiction to power–whatever factors are involved, they cannot possibly be completely congruent between Our actions and Their actions, and any one of those factors will be seized as an excuse for why our actions were, like totes 4 real, not that bad. I think by the time we have people honestly arguing with a straight face that it’s better to be exploded into ludicrous gibs than it is to be suffocated by poisonous gas, we can say definitively that any differentiating variable between two actions will be latched onto and given moral significance aimed at justifying one while condemning the other.

The second problem the idea confronts is that it’s positively laughable: there isn’t anyone who could fire 590 Tomahawk missiles at the United States, at least not with impunity. It’s arguable, because of the Strategic Missile Defense System*, whether anyone could strike the United States, but only a few nations in the world even have the technological capabilities of doing it, and most of those are some sort of ally.

I’ve always found Christianity curious, particularly the Old Testament, because it contains some truly horrific acts attributed to its deity. Yet the very idea that, based on literal interpretations of the Old Testament, the Old Testament god is as guilty of mass murder as anyone, and should be punished accordingly, is met with sneering dismissal. “He who has the gold makes the rules,” quipped the genie at the beginning of Disney’s Aladdin. Today, of course, it’s “Whoever can’t be defeated makes the rules,” and that’s the same idea on display with the top-down Biblical morality and deity exemptions here. Typically, Yahweh can’t be punished for doing something wrong, because the fact that Yahweh did it in the first place means that Yahweh wasn’t wrong. Whatever Yahweh does is right, because he’s the one with the power, and therefore the one who determines what is wrong and what is right.

The United States has now sent carrier groups to the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against North Korea and in an attempt to dissuade Kim Jong Un from testing any nuclear weapons. How very curious. We have nuclear weapons. Of course, it’s true that we no longer test our nuclear weapons, but that’s only because we no longer need to–we’ve left the testing phase and remain the only nation in the world to have used them against people. It’s rather like how we condemn developing nations for high, Industrial Era level Carbon emissions–now that we’ve progressed beyond that and no longer really need to burn a bunch of coal, we sneer down our noses and condemn those who haven’t left that phase.

It’s really just a way of forcefully preventing their technological ascension, isn’t it? It’s a way of putting so many roadblocks in their way that they can never catch up to us. Meanwhile, we couldn’t have been condemned for the insane degrees of pollution of developing America because we were at the forefront of development, and no one knew when Ford invented the automobile that we were inadvertently pumping massive amounts of carcinogens into the atmosphere. And there’s nothing they can do tell us to fuck off and mind our own business, because we’re Yahweh. We have the gold; we have the power. We make the rules.

And the idea that anyone can challenge our rules is almost as laughable as the idea of shouting to an omnipotent deity that it did something morally wrong.

“The world’s only superpower,” people like saying, an idea that I’m delving into considerably in this week’s upcoming podcast. It’s absurd. We’re not the world’s only superpower, and we haven’t been since the 90s–we’re simply the only one of the world’s superpowers that uses that power without restraint in an attempt to dictate over the entire globe. It is still true that we’re the reigning champ and that we stand a good distance above everyone else along the world’s totem pole, but the notion that we’re on a special totem pole all by ourselves… It’s not only wrong, but I have to question the mentality of the people who think that and yet still advocate military action against other countries like Syria and Iraq. Isn’t that like arguing that Mike Tyson should beat an amateur high school boxer to death?

No one, not even China, questions the United States’ right to put a bunch of warships in the Korean Peninsula while making threats against a nation that hasn’t attacked anyone in at least 60 years. What if, right now, warships from nations throughout the world, orchestrated by the United Nations, were rallying off the coast of California and Virginia, threatening to “cut off the head” of the United States if we didn’t cease launching missiles at other nations? Such a strange world we live in. Merely from the threat that he might do it, and even though he hasn’t done it, we’re doing exactly that to Kim Jong Un and North Korea. Yet we, the same people doing this, bristle and become furious at the idea that the United Nations would dare coordinate an effort among the world’s nations to do the same to us.

But I suspect we’re on the brink of collapse. Donald Trump’s attack against Syria–failed though it was, by all accounts, since that airstrip was sending Assad’s forces into the air less than 24 hours later, and reportedly only about 35 of them hit the target (maybe we do need to do some further testing…)–has bolstered his confidence. It’s like the first time I smoked marijuana. Well, the second time, actually–the first time, I got so sick from friends shoving sweet food down my throat (an expectation that I played along with, “having the munches” even when I didn’t, because I was a stupid kid), that there was no enjoyment from it. There was about a 4 year gap between the first and second time anyway, and I’d spent most of my life hearing about how horrible marijuana was, how devastating it could be, how dangerous it was, and why no one should ever, ever do it. I successfully resisted peer pressure for years, and then gave in, for no reason in particular.

“Hey, that’s pretty good!” I thought.

Undoubtedly, Trump feels the same, now that he’s nodded and pressed a button, which immediately led to a missile strike against another nation. I have no doubt that the power rush, the adrenaline, of it was orgasmic. He probably had the best sex of his life just a few hours after giving the command, and I’m not trying to be grotesque or anything–I’m being sincere. Murderers notoriously get off by murdering people. And what we’re talking about here goes well beyond murder, and is simultaneously socially acceptable. No one will condemn Trump at a dinner party for being a mass murdering lunatic who fucks his wife after killing people.

I think that Trump is probably not reckless enough to really do anything rash, because the possible consequences are so high. I’m not suggesting that Trump will, chasing after that dragon, fire missiles at China if the Chinese President even squints at him funny. But not only is it in Trump’s blood now (and has been for a few months), but his use of force against Assad instantly earned him the respect of people who have been criticizing him for a year. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

I’ve seen people suggest that if we attack North Korea, China won’t move to stop us. While the Chinese people are sick of Kim Jong Un’s antics and exerting pressure on the Chinese government to get Kim under control, that will change the moment we attack North Korea, because such an act will be taken as a direct challenge to China’s sovereignty and regional authority. Imagine how we would respond if Russia invaded Puerto Rico. If we attack North Korea, we will find ourselves at war with China. We might be able to get away with assassinating Kim Jong Un, but that isn’t the way the United States does things. Presumably.

I’m more concerned with the possibility of finding ourselves bogged down in a war against Syria, Russia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries that we’ve either directly attacked, are presently at war with, or are likely to end up at war with them the moment one of the other two world superpowers has had enough of our bullshit. I honestly don’t think that Putin is going to let us have Syria and Assad, and that situation has the terrifying capacity to develop into a direct war between the United States and Russia. We’re already at war with them, for fuck’s sake–that’s what it’s called when one nation allies with another and supplies them with jets, bombs, AA guns, and other shit against another nation. It’s why claims of U.S. neutrality during World War 2 are such bullshit–everyone knows we weren’t neutral. We simply weren’t active combatants.

Anyway, that’s a rather long list of countries to be at war with, and the only one that doesn’t unequivocally belong on that list is China. We are still at war with North Korea, though we do have an armistice with them. We’re at war with Pakistan. That’s what it’s called when you drop bombs on them, and we dropped bombs on them last year.

Courtesy of http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-president-barack-obama-bomb-map-drone-wars-strikes-20000-pakistan-middle-east-afghanistan-a7534851.html

What an astounding coincidence that those happen to be the exact countries from which we don’t want to accept refugees! Amazing! What are the odds of that? What are the odds that these countries with refugees we don’t want to accept because they run a relatively high risk of wanting to kill us happen to correspond perfectly to the countries we’ve been dropping bombs in? If it was actually a coincidence, the odds would be extremely low. No one in Vegas would take that bet. But it’s not a coincidence, of course. We might as well have Americans saying, “You see these countries we dropped bombs in last year? Yeah, those are the ones we don’t want to accept refugees from.”

I don’t think China will allow us to attack North Korea.

If that statement caused you to bristle, please understand that your belief in American dominance and rightness in global hegemony is the problem.

I intended to call attention to the remarkable similarity between this and the idea that we must have a government that is ultimately in charge, because the same thread runs through both. We need police, we need judges, and we need laws–we need someone at the top who cannot be challenged, goes the argument. So yes, the global chaos we see today is again a direct result of statism. People say that we need some domestic authority figure, and they say that we need some international authority figure. This is why it’s okay for the police to tackle and beat the hell out of someone for jaywalking, and this is why it’s okay for the United States to launch missiles into a sovereign nation.

Because “authority.”

 

* I know that this was leaked as a failure, but seeing as we’ve since blown up a satellite in orbit from Earth (which operates on exactly the same principle) and apply the same principles in unarmored assault vehicles that utilize moving guns and camera coverage to shoot incoming bullets out of the way, no one should still believe the idea that we failed to do this. Why else would we have surrounded Russia with missile batteries? Hell, the official reason given is that we intend to shoot Russian missiles out of the sky!

What is Anarchy?

It occurred to me earlier today that if we’d never (stupidly) allowed Congress to begin taxing us without apportioning the funds (debatable anyway), then we wouldn’t have to deal with the silly “But muh roads!” arguments that we see so very, very often. I mean, it’s the Go To response for statists (a word that means “non-libertarian, non-anarchist”). I’ve seen a few statists recently be offended by being called that, but… it’s simply true. If you’re not a libertarian or anarchist, then you ipso facto favor the state, in which case… you’re a statist.

It’s just what the word means.

Granted, some anarchists may call you a statist as an insult, but to equate it to “infidel” isn’t accurate. It’s more like “fag,” honestly, but even then it’s not always used with negative connotations. When I call Gary Johnson a statist, I mean it condescendingly. But I only mean it condescendingly for people who claim to be libertarians or anarchists and… aren’t. It’s definitely a word that I do try to avoid, though, because I tend to reject dichotomies and, to my recollection, the only person I’ve ever called a statist is that pig Gary Johnson.

Fuck him.

Anyway.

There’s no religion or belief going on here. Anarcho-capitalism is built on science, human nature, and an abhorrence of violence. The scientific case can and has been made for anarcho-capitalism; the rest of the world simply has not caught up. Sorry, but that’s simply true. Anarcho-capitalism is only a belief in the same sense that “People should be free” is a belief.

Anyway, my recent video goes into direct apportionment and how it helps us to avoid ridiculous situations like this. Most damningly, if a billionaire has to pay $5m on his $100m yearly income, then we can readily assume that a person’s “tax liability to society” (terms that statists adore throwing around) must be $5m. If a person’s tax liability to society is not $5m, then we have forced the billionaire to overpay and have robbed him.

So we must proceed under the assumption that the highest dollar figure anyone in the United States pays is the tax liability that a citizen owes. If the dollar figure is lower, then we are stealing money from the people who overpay, right? Since no one is going to admit to doing that, it follows that I’m correct: the highest dollar figure that anyone pays is the citizen’s tax liability…

And this means that we all have underpaid and owe the government a ton of money.

Another addition to the series was Part 5, where I explained why the previous three videos were of lower quality than my usual work, and how that whole thing came about. It was primarily a response to one person in particular, to whom I said, “Fine. My shoes may suck, but the emperor is still naked.”

I’m also pretty sure that Part 4 hadn’t been uploaded when I posted the last update about the series, and in it I addressed a question that Tyler had actually asked before. This was tremendously bothersome, and he never explained why he did it, except that he might have been reading someone else’s question the second time (unclarified presently). Simply put, on 8/7/16 or around then, Tyler and I had a brief back-and-forth through videos where he ended up asking if there could be such a thing as voluntary taxes. In my reply, I specifically answered the question and its more general cousin: “What if it doesn’t rely on force, violence, and coercion?”

The answer, of course, is that then it’s a free market solution and not a state at all. It wasn’t until after I uploaded Part 4 that I realized Tyler had asked that question before, driving home for me the idea that he and the others might have been just playing games. In such a scenario, people intend only to keep asking the same questions repeatedly until we start giving short answers and start telling them to go educate themselves. At this point, they intend to declare victory with asinine statements like, “I guess you can’t put forth arguments then! lol!”

It’s a common tactic, covered excellently in TheraminTrees’ videos on Transactional Analysis:

It’s possible to see that in Tyler’s actions.

By asking questions, he is appearing to be a genuinely curious Adult (per TA terms). “I want to know the answer to these questions, and I am being skeptical. So here are my questions.” Naturally, people like me (who cannot resist) then answer the questions. Then something weird happens–often, time passes. Then subtle variations on those initial questions are asked again. Instead of “What if taxes were voluntary?” it is “Does everything the state does end in force, violence, or coercion?” which, yes, is the same question–just phrased differently.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not accusing Tyler or anyone else of playing games. I’m saying that this is how it appears/feels in this case. It is not an allegation or statement of anyone’s intent or motives, because miscommunication and need for clarification are common the Internet, and especially Twitter’s 160-character limit. Any number of miscommunications, oversights, or poor phrasings could jam communication without anyone being playing games. Even with this clarification the language is still harsher than I intended it to be. I am sorry. I write a lot of fiction, and it trains you to use strong language.

Then, upon answering the question, the players repeat back “criticisms” of the answers that we have already addressed, a vicious cycle, in fact.

“Question.”

“Answer.”

“Follow-up question” / “Criticism”

“Answer” / “Clarification”

Then, the next thing you know, the entire process repeats anew. Once we become too frustrated and block them, victory is declared:

tyler blocked

No, Tyler.

He didn’t block you over anarcho-capitalism.

He blocked you because he doesn’t think you are listening, and probably because of statements like:

tyler being dumb

I’d love for you to demonstrate how that has anything to do with me. Maybe be more careful with your use of “all.” I’d love for someone to try to justify calling me selfish.

Anyway, I’m referring more specifically to this:

C'mon, man. You're being downright insulting here.

C’mon, man. You’re being downright insulting here.

The claim that statists have “blind faith” is stupid, yes. It’s not blind at all. You can see the state and its actions. You may close your eyes to its horrors, but you’re still not blind to them. However, you’re blatantly wrong to say there are no examples of anarchy, and you know that I gave you two of them. You know that, because I told you that, and you acknowledged that. I specifically told him I provided two examples dealing with the modern New York Diamond Traders and the Maghribi traders of the 11th century. He said he hadn’t watched the video, but that he would. Fair enough, I said, because the video did suck.

To say “there are no examples of anarchy” after choosing to ignore my video (on whatever grounds, considering at this time he knew that it had information that proved his statement incorrect) that presented them is horrific intellectual dishonesty, and yes, I’m surprised to see that from Tyler, because I’ve seen him correct himself in the past. It also shows, as I pointed out on Twitter, that anarcho-capitalism has been routinely demonstrated, through all of human history, and that he is revealing that he is not aware of what anarcho-capitalism is.

Anarcho-capitalism is simply allowing people to solve problems without a state. That’s all it is. Seriously, that’s it. That’s 100% of it, the entire ideology in a single sentence. The only rules are no violence, no force, no coercion, and no stealing. Do you see, then, how we have billions of examples? Any example of people solving problems without a state–without force, violence, coercion, or stealing–is, ipso facto, an example of anarchism, and if they do it in search of benefit, then it is an example of anarcho-capitalism. Such a sweeping statement, but also entirely true.

I needed to go to the store earlier. So I went to the store. It didn’t involve the state. That is an example of anarcho-capitalism.

Apple invented the iPhone. Android came into existence, with BlackBerry and Microsoft expanding as well. The state was never involved. That is an example of anarcho-capitalism.

The Maghribi traders working out trust relationships across thousands of miles in the 11th century just by talking and working together. That is an example of anarcho-capitalism.

Because that’s all anarcho-capitalism is. It’s the idea that people can solve problems without violence. That’s not me putting some weird spin on it–that’s literally what it is. The only question to be asked regarding anarcho-capitalism is this:

“Can we solve x problem without the state?”

Just think about it for a moment. What does the state do? It exists to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (ostensibly).

Can we protect life without the state? Absolutely.

Can we protect life without the state against foreign states? Absolutely, and covered here.

Any and all examples of people solving problems without the state are examples of anarcho-capitalism.

Can we protect liberty without the state? For fuck’s sake, the state is constitutionally incapable of protecting liberty.

Can we protect the right to pursue happiness without the state? Absolutely, as only force, violence, and coercion can eliminate a person’s right to pursue happiness.

The question is, and has always been, “How do we solve this problem?”

Because let’s face it–there will always be problems. We’re humans, and we fuck up. In addition to our fuck ups, the universe isn’t exactly kind to us, and neither is the planet. There is always shit to be done, and on top of that we’re an ambitious species. We don’t just want what we have. We want to turn what we have into something better. We didn’t land on the moon and go, “Cool. That’s probably far enough. Seen one lifeless rock, seen ’em all, right?”

There’s never just one way to solve a problem. A few decades ago, humanity gave itself the problem of needing handheld computers capable of mobile internet and phone usage. The smartphone was the answer we came up with, but it was not the only answer, was it? No, we also came up with the pager, didn’t we? And the tablet. We conceived multiple solutions, some of them better than others, and the winners lasted. Tablets are deprecated and fading out, and pagers are… Well, who do you know who has a pager?

We once were presented with the problem of needing to figure out how to make electronic devices talk to one another. Ethernet is common today, but did you know that it wasn’t the only option? There was also Token Ring, and a few others that I don’t remember because they had basically vanished even before I reached college. Then we had the problem of how to do it wirelessly, and the 802.11 IEEE–a completely voluntary body of experts who set standards of protocols for technologies. Linksys’s routers are 802.11b/g/n compatible because this ensures they will be compatible with all other devices that are 802.11b/g/n compatible, and no state was ever needed to enforce a standard for everyone to use. Just give people the chance to solve their own problems.

This is all anarchy in action. It’s just… people doing stuff.

In fact, there’s probably no better example of anarchy in action than IEEE. Virtually every electronic device manufactured in the past 30 years is compatible according to standards set by IEEE, but there is no law on the books forcing Linksys to make routers that are 802.11b/g/n compatible, and no law on the books forcing Apple to ensure that your iPhone can connect to 802.11b/g/n technologies.

Just think about that for a moment!

Think about the logistics! Think about what a monumental task that is!

“We want any phone made by any manufacturer running any operating system on any carrier to be able to connect to any wireless device made by any manufacturer.”

Can you even imagine a more monumental task?

Rest assured, we had at least two ways of handling this.

And IEEE handled it flawlessly, beautifully, and masterfully, without one single fucking law ever being passed. The system is completely voluntary. Apple uses it because no one would buy an iPhone if it couldn’t talk to everyone else’s devices. Linksys uses it because no one would buy a WRT54GL if no one could connect 90% of phones to it. Samsung uses it because no one would buy an S7 if you couldn’t connect it to most wireless networks. It’s in everyone’s best interests to use the standard, but there’s no law, no requirement, no prison, no fines for not complying.

Possibly the most monumental task humanity has ever been faced with! And we succeeded brilliantly.

Anarchy succeeded brilliantly.

Rest assured, the state would have fucked it up.

The State

You’re looking at the state as the creator and maintainer of society, and that simply isn’t true. The state is just some thing that exists over there to the side. All we have are people doing stuff. That’s all that exists in the entire world–humans doing stuff. Countries don’t exist, businesses don’t exist, nations don’t exist, and even states don’t really exist. There are only people doing stuff. I think you’re still viewing “anarchy” at least partially as the chaotic bullshit that occurs when a state fractures into smaller states. But as I pointed out here, what people commonly call “anarchy” is actually just several smaller states at war with one another.

Because we are social animals and recognize that our interests are best served through cooperation rather than antagonism, we sometimes come together and form groups, deciding to pool our resources and work together toward a common aim. When two people do this with romantic intent, we call it “marriage” (we are discussing formal agreements here). When two people do this with business intent, we call it “partnership.” When several people do this with business intent, we call it “corporation.” These people set the terms of their agreement, the goals of their agreement, and how they will work together to achieve those goals.

No new entity is created when two people enter into a marriage. There’s not really any such thing as a “family.” That’s just a collective idea we came up with to describe their agreement, to describe their relationship, to make it easier to communicate. Instead of saying “This woman and I pool our finances, live together, go out on dates, sleep together, have sex with each other, and do not do these things with other people,” then I simply say, “This is my wife” / “We are married.”

Businesses and corporations function under exactly the same principles, but their relationship goals and parameters are different. Just as I need other members of my marriage’s permission before dropping $8,000 on a vehicle, so does someone in a corporation need other member’s permission before dropping $8,000 on something. I realistically need my wife’s permission before I quit my job and take up a different career path, and a member of a corporation needs other members’ permission before they start working on a new invention. But the marriage isn’t a thing, the business isn’t a thing, and the corporation isn’t a thing.

It’s just people doing stuff, and finding that they can pool their resources to do better stuff. I may be great, but having a loving, awesome wife makes me greater, yes? Two heads are better than one, and all that? The same holds true for businesses and corporations.

The state is just another one of those businesses. In fact, you’ll find that the state is nothing more than a corporation that has the “authority” to use force, violence, and coercion to achieve its ends, relying on parasitism rather than productivity to acquire resources, and utilizing forced monopolies instead of competition to ensure it has consumers. This is why we aren’t on the same page here–you’re not seeing the state for what it is. It’s just a group of people who do stuff, but who are allowed to use force, violence, and coercion, while no one else is allowed to.

The only relevant questions for anarcho-capitalists involve things that the state is supposed to do:

Can anarchy provide a way to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

All other questions are irrelevant, because we do know that “people doing stuff” can solve limitless problems, and that force, violence, and coercion are never necessary for solving those problems. Roads, schools, technology protocols, whatever–force, violence, and coercion are not necessary. These all come back to that simple question: if we can solve the problem without using violence, then isn’t it worth every possible effort to solve it without violence? So we can erase all the questions about roads, schools, NASA, etc.

Whether anarchy can protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can certainly be discussed, and we can also find real world examples of anarchy doing it. However, it isn’t necessary, because there has never been a greater threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than the state, for reasons that I mentioned here: https://anarchistshemale.com/2016/04/22/a-crash-course-on-rights/

Any act that threatens life or liberty is, by definition, a state act, at the very least an attempt by one individual to become an authoritarian tyrant over another. It is irrelevant whether this tyrant rules over only one person or one hundred million; a state is a state. It becomes impossible, and is obviously so, to use force, violence, and coercion to prevent force, violence, and coercion. The only thing that can protect life is not killing people. The only thing that can protect liberty is not restricting people’s rights. If violence is universally rejected (as it would be, though, as I’ve pointed out, it’s ridiculous to demand 100% compliance, and neither anarchy nor the state can deliver that) and punished accordingly, and there is no mechanism in place to achieve goals with force, violence, and coercion… then there can’t be force, violence, and coercion.

And Society

Society is another example of people just doing stuff, but it’s one that happens organically and without conscious agreement; it’s just the product of people naturally having their own self-interests served by working together. It is of critical importance to remember that society is older than the state. Society created the state; the state did not create society. It is impossible that the state could have produced society, just as it’s impossible that religion could have produced morality. Just as religion is a product of humans doing stuff, so is the state, so is agriculture, so is the Internet*.

Society isn’t real, either, and can’t produce anything. Only people can. And people did. Without ever agreeing that we would work together, the overwhelming majority of humans get along relatively fine with one another and can have a functional society. The state isn’t really forcing me to work with my clients, or the people at the gas station, or the people at Subway, or the people at Facebook. I’m doing it because being an asshole isn’t in my best interests, and it’s obvious that, as a social animal, my best interest lie in working with other people.

The state did not produce morality, either. We do not think murder is wrong because the state told us so. We do not think stealing is wrong because the state told us so. We do not think rape is wrong because the state told us so. No, we individuals came up with this, and the state took the majority’s moral code and turned it into law. This is also how we ended up with anti-transgender, anti-homosexual, and drug laws. Once again, we find parallels to religion: religious people say that we get our morality from their holy book, but we know that isn’t true. The holy book is merely a reflection of their morality, just as the state’s laws are merely a reflection of our morality. And just as it’s hard to get religious people to change the morality they get from their holy book, so is it difficult to get the state to change its laws.

People do stuff all the time cooperatively without the state enforcing it. This is anarchism in action.

* I throw these last two in just to make it clear I’m not drawing another parallel between statism and religion, or asserting that all social products are bad.

When Push Comes To Shove

I do want to take a brief moment to say goodbye to Toni, who I actually just mentioned by name in a post. She died yesterday. She was found dead in her home, and the cause is probably an overdose, but that’s just conjecture on my part, based on what I know of her. She wasn’t murdered, at least. And while I’m not going to fall into the mindset of “She had such a bad life!” and “Heaven gained another angel!” the fact is that the last decade of her life was tragic.

And self-caused.

Worse yet, I was a way out for her, and I wasn’t going to let her fall back onto that path. It was the reason that her family loved me to death. I owned my own company, had my own place, had fought my own battle with drugs and knew how vicious that could be, and kept my eyes on her. But it was for nothing. She slowly slipped back to it, and, to my knowledge, she never tried to climb back out again.

Anyway.

I want to expand on something I’ve mentioned several times, because a lot of people are still arguing that the solution to the problem, the problem that caused the shooting in Orlando, is more gun control. While I’m not going to say everything on that front is fine, I am going to say: that’s a red herring. It can never work.

The reality is that a law can do two things: it can punish a crime, and it can make it a little harder to do something. But if human history has taught us nothing, it should be that a law will NOT prevent anything. Just look at how easy it is to get marijuana in the United States. Marijuana is illegal. Yet people want to smoke it, and so they do. When abortions were illegal, we had back alley abortions. People wanted abortions, and so they got them. In the 1920s, we established Prohibition and outlawed alcohol, and it created two years of horrifically violent crime and people like Al Capone. We attempted to throw more cops, more laws, and more federal agents at the problem, but it was for nothing; we could not weed out all of the Al Capones. What did? Repealing Prohibition. As soon as we repealed Prohibition, people like Al Capone vanished, replaced with Anheiser-Busch and Budweiser.

Outlawing something that people want to do will not prevent them from doing it.

Okay, now take a deep breath.

Deeper.

Be calm, and say it with me.

There are some fucking psychopaths out there who want to kill people.

Okay, so let’s apply everything we know. Murder is already illegal, and the law certainly isn’t preventing murder. People are murdered every single day. Not all of those people are murdered with guns. In fact, a fair portion of those people are murdered with hammers, baseball bats, crowbars, knives–whatever the murderer can get their hands on. Whatever the murderer can get their hands on.

Making it harder for these people to acquire guns is not going to stop them. What do you imagine happening? Do you think Marteen would have sat there in his apartment, thinking, “I sure would love to wage Jihad against the infidels and kill a bunch of gay people, but damn! I just can’t find a gun!”

Of course not. Such an argument is silly.

Radical Muslims have been using homemade bombs for ages, and the availability of guns and ammunition did not really make things easier for Marteen. It meant only that he had to do a little less legwork, but there is no chance that the inability to get a gun was going to stop him. And trying to prevent him from getting a gun is another red herring–a lot of people seem to not understand how extremely long American borders are.

Gun control requires a fence on both borders, and it requires illegal immigration to be totally and completely nipped in the bud. The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants (Note: I think borders are ridiculous, and think anyone who wants to come to our country should be allowed to, no questions asked–if they can get here, then… then they can get here.) are great, ordinary people, but you’re a fool if you think that smugglers aren’t using those very same channels to sneak drugs and weapons into the country. They simply are. No, these are not the same people trying to find a job at the Home Depot, but they are using the same channels and coming from the same place, and you cannot stop one without stopping the other. If one is possible, then both are possible.

Nor do we even have the resources or manpower to station someone every 50 yards along both borders to make sure that no one is sneaking in guns–and they are sneaking in guns. You can buy unmodified AK-47s in the United States. You just have to know where to go. Gangs in Chicago know where to go. Don’t get into the habit of denying these realities; you will never fix the problem if you deny the facts. And I’m not making a judgment assessment of this. I’m simply pointing out that: it is the case. So even if we outlawed all guns and confiscated everyone’s guns, it really wouldn’t be that difficult for Marteen to get one.

And if he, for some reason, couldn’t get a gun, he would have simply built a bomb. It’s not really that hard to do. And by that point, he obviously didn’t care about whether or not he was caught, so all cards were on the table; he was going to do whatever he had to do, because he wanted to kill people. No law was going to stop him.

When he walked into that club and opened fire, that is the exact moment when push came to shove. There is not a law that could be written that would have protected the people in that club when Marteen walked in and opened fire. Even if security guards and armed police officers had been stationed in that club, they would have been Marteen’s first targets, and he had the element of surprise. Even armed police officers being present would not have stood a chance of stopping Marteen before he gunned them down.

Fuck this asshole.

Under the “best” of circumstances, this disarmed population of 300 people would then have immediately called the police. And, after a 7-10 minute delay, police would have arrived outside the building. Meanwhile, Marteen and his guns are inside the building, with 300 innocent people who are being killed and held hostage. At the very least, there would have been more delay as the police prepared and executed a plan to take out Marteen. And we’re looking at 14-20 minutes with this maniac and his gun having totally free reign over everyone in that club.

What would have stopped him? A law obviously wouldn’t have. None of the present laws stopped him, after all. They were probably no more than inconveniences to him, and it is irrelevant how tight the laws could have been–criminals have spent all of human history finding ways around laws. See Prohibition, marijuana, abortion, homosexuality. So what would have stopped him?

Well… what did stop him?

A bullet.

Hours later, and after fifty people were dead and fifty more injured, someone was finally able to put a bullet into this piece of shit. Is it not obvious? Is it not inescapably clear? What we needed, what would have stopped Marteen and saved a bunch of lives, was if even 10% of the people in that club had been carrying their own weapons and knew how to use them. Marteen would have come in and pulled his shit, and absolutely people would still have died. As we’ve agreed, it was impossible to prevent. All we can do is minimize the damage. And as soon as these 10% of people realized what would happen, one of them would have put Marteen down.

How many lives might have been saved?

I’m not blaming the people in that club for not having guns or for not knowing how to use them. I’m simply pointing out that, yes, the presence of guns and a group of people who knew how to use them would have put the bullet in Marteen hours before the police finally did. His little escapade of terror would have been over very quickly, and it’s extraordinarily probable that fewer people would have died.

The question isn’t “How can we stop this from happening?”

It’s “How can we stop it when it happens?”

Because trying to answer the first question… is impossible. It simply can’t be done. Even a totalitarian police state with absolute control over its citizens wouldn’t be able to accomplish it. Even the Orwellian nightmare of Big Brother in 1984 wasn’t able to stop random criminal acts like those perpetrated by Goldstein. Focusing on that question leaves us distracted and not answering the real question:

How could lives have been saved?

That is the question. How could lives have been saved?

The Foundations of Empathy

It’s very strange when people—usually religious people—talk about an Absolute Morality. The very idea is preposterous. There are many beliefs about Morality (all of them wrong, because they miss point), and not all of them deal with religion. Virtually all modern religions, however, operate under the belief that we human beings receive our “Moral Sense” from some god or another. If this was the case, then what our Moral Sense told us would never change.

But it has changed. After all, 300 years ago, burning witches at the stake was perfectly acceptable. Having 25 year old men marrying 13 year old girls was perfectly acceptable until about 130 years ago. Slavery was perfectly acceptable until about 200 years ago. 2,000 years ago, “Eye for an eye” was a perfectly acceptable moral standard in most parts of the world. My point isn’t that any of these ideas are inherently right or wrong; just that they have changed. And we all know it. Even though several years ago I challenged my Uncle, since he claimed to believe that his unchanging god had been just in ordering the Israelites to rape and murder non-believers, to go get a knife and come back and kill me, because I wouldn’t resist, he opted not to do so. Clearly, he understood—on some deep subconscious level—that what was acceptable then wasn’t the same as what is acceptable now. He would never admit it, of course, but there’s no sense in denying reality.

What Society deems as acceptable has changed over the course of human history; it has changed significantly. There’s no telling what we find acceptable today but future generations will look back and be disgusted by. There’s no telling what we allow today but which will be disgusting 200 years from now. It’s impossible to predict in what ways the zeitgeist will move when it comes to detail, but one thing is clear: society tends, for whatever reason, to become more tolerant of differences over time.

There are, really, two kinds of Morality. There is Social Morality and there is Individual Morality. Unless we lie to ourselves, the truth of the matter is that we will get away with anything which we can get away with. This is true of every human being—though many will deny it. There is a hidden force, however, which affects “what we can get away with” apart from any conditions inflicted by Society. After all, it’s nearly impossible to get away with murder—but even if you could get away with murder, and you knew for a fact that you would get away with it, would you murder someone? Almost certainly not. Society’s Laws will have no impact on your decision to forgo murder. Instead, “something else” will cause you to decide not to kill anyone.

That “something else” is the same force which causes our Laws to change as we become more tolerant: Empathy. Before slavery was contested, white people didn’t have any problem with slavery because they did not apply Empathy to their relationships with blacks; instead, they did not accept the fact that black people were more similar than different and that only the color of skin distinguished them. It was not evil that caused massive amounts of people to allow slavery; it was intolerance. This intolerance left them utterly unable to extend their Empathy to apply to their slaves. As they became more tolerant of the differences, their Empathy began to apply, and the idea of slavery became repulsive; finally, Society reflected this influx of Empathy and outlawed the institution.

While we can postulate any number of reasons for Individuals within a Society to become more tolerant of the differences which distinguish them, the ultimate cause is Familiarity. As Familiarity with different races, different people, different cultures, and different beliefs increases, it becomes clearer and clearer that they are, ultimately, People, just like everyone else. Society is becoming more tolerant of gays and lesbians because we are more familiar with them. Gays and lesbians began expressing their lifestyles in the open, thereby forcing Society to familiarize with them, and Society has responded to this Familiarity with Tolerance. The same is currently happening with Atheists in the United States; as atheists express their lifestyle in the open, thereby forcing Society to familiarize with them, Society is responding to the familiarity with Tolerance. While not very long ago, open Atheists were more likely to be attacked and killed than gays and lesbians, the situation has already changed so drastically in the United States that I hardly ever get any death threats any longer. That’s always the point of these Expressionist Movements: to express the lifestyle in question, to force Society to become familiar with that lifestyle, and this yields the result of Society becoming more tolerant of that lifestyle.

Morality, then, is nothing more than a reflection of what actions Society at large is willing to accept and tolerate. It doesn’t exist as a thing independent of Society; it is intimately tied to Society. The concept may be independent, but “what actions are moral and what actions are immoral” are entirely dependent on Society’s familiarity with—and therefore tolerance of—a variety of lifestyles.

And ultimately what guides the Morality is Empathy. Left unrestricted by the bigotry imposed by unfamiliarity, Empathy creates a Society of total tolerance. If a Society could instantly and completely accept any lifestyle, then Empathy would reign supreme. It’s important, then, to understand—since Empathy is the ultimate driving force behind “what is acceptable and what is not”—what exactly Empathy is.

Empathy is… narcissism.

Every single sentient being views the world through the being’s eyes. This is more than a literal truth; by the virtue of existence, any living being has a perspective limited to experiencing reality as that being. Everything we see, everything we taste, everything we touch, and everything we experience is a relation to us. We judge everything by how it affects us and by what impact it leaves on us. We judge food by how it tastes, looks, and smells to us; we judge music by how it sounds to us; we judge friends by how they impact and modify other experiences, but also in how they impact us directly; we judge everything in terms of relation to ourselves.

These are obvious truths. This the nature of Subjective Experience, and that is actually a redundant term, since Experience is, by definition, Subjective. Everything within our lives and our lives as a whole are subjective experiences; they never can be objective because we are subjects. We are not hive minds; we are not omnipresent patterns of energy permeating through the entire universe feeling all at once from limitless perspectives. We are beings, and this means our experience will be subjective.

When you see a homeless man lying sick and hungry on the sidewalk, cold and shivering, thoroughly beaten around by life, you are affected. You are filled with pity, with remorse, with sympathy for this man, and these are all negative emotions. So when you later try to help the homeless man, you aren’t really doing it for his sake; you’re doing it to negate those negative emotions which he brought out in you and replace them with positive emotions. The reason you forgo murder is the same. You do not forgo murder because you think it’s wrong. You forgo murder because you anticipate that doing so would crush you with negative emotions like guilt, remorse, anxiety, and sorrow; you avoid these emotions by not committing the action.

The reason we do “good deeds” is exactly the same, as well. We do good deeds because we have negative emotions and we want to supplant them with positive emotions; or we do good deeds because we have neutral emotions, no emotions at all, in other words, and we want to supplant those neutral emotions—or the lack of emotions—with positive ones. Even doing a very minor good deed will fill a person with positive emotions. Even something so simple and mundane as paying for the McDonald’s order of the car in the drive-thru behind you will fill you with positive emotions, and you do the good deed in order to be filled with those positive emotions.

As a subjective being, there are only two ways in which Empathy could possibly function as a human condition in the first place. Either Empathy functions by the imagination, by the ability of a person to put oneself in the shoes of another, or Empathy functions by the subconscious desire to experience positive emotions and avoid negative emotions. There really aren’t any other options.

In actuality, if you examine these two things closely, you find that these two “functions” of Empathy… are actually the same thing. By using our imagination to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we also bring along the negative emotions which would come to us if we were in that person’s place. We use our imagination to empathize with our friend when she’s going through a break-up, and doing this fills us with those same negative emotions which we want to avoid. Once we’ve done this, we’ve connected ourselves to the situation so completely that we must help our friend get rid of those negative emotions; we must try to help our friend and supplant the negativity with positivity, for our own sake. And we become confused when we do this, because we don’t stop to think that it’s really our negative emotions which we’re trying to get rid of, not our friend’s.

And even if we do recognize that we’re removing the negative emotions from ourselves as well as our friend, rare is the person who can accept that our motivation is to remove them from ourselves and that if we remove them from our friend, it’s hardly more than a happy accident. So great is our Ego, our sense that we “must be good, noble creatures” that we are fully capable of ignoring this reality and instead operate under the delusion that our friend is the target of our efforts, not ourselves; we do not want to admit that we’re so selfish that we would be working to remove our own negative response to imagining ourselves in her situation when the convenient scapegoat is right there and we can easily say that we’re trying to remove her negative feelings and removing our own is just the happy accident.

One or the other must be true. We’re either trying to remove our friend’s negative emotions and accidentally remove our own in the process, or we’re trying to remove our own negative emotions and accidentally remove our friend’s in the process. We can very quickly determine which of these is true. As soon as your friend leaves your company—to return home or to work or whatever—and your friend’s situation falls from your mind, what happens? You forget about your friend’s problem, unless some event happens which recalls it to your attention. But you’ll forget about your friend’s problem as you go on about your own life, and the negative emotions you felt while empathizing with your friend will fade; they are no longer affecting you, and you no longer have any desire to do anything about your friend’s problem. Until your friend’s problem is brought back to your attention and those negative emotions return, you don’t have any desire to do anything about your friend’s problem. If you were truly acting for the sake of your friend, you would work toward removing her negative emotions, even when you were not feeling them for yourself while imagining yourself in her position or otherwise empathizing with her.

It’s clear then, that the real cause of Empathy is narcissism: we feel Empathy because we are instilled with negative emotions by certain circumstances and our desire to rid ourselves of those negative emotions leads us to invest time and energy into alleviating the circumstances which produced those negative emotions. Everything we do is selfishly motivated, is the done with the intention of bettering the way we feel. Morality is nothing but an extension of our ability to feel negative emotions based upon the conditions of others, and our ability to feel negative emotions based upon the conditions of others is nothing but a reflection of our tolerance of those others, while our tolerance of others is nothing more than a representation of our familiarity with that person “type”.