After nearly a year of pause (at least in terms of new articles as I’ve still been publishing some references/links), I’ve published two new articles on Libervis.com. This follows after a redesign and a revision that was done recently which is meant to revive this long standing project as one of the key components in my web publishing “agenda”.
Here are the new articles:
1. How phishing scams show the need to evolve with technology
2. “Intellectual Property” a Violation of Real Property
The first reflects one of the basic issues that the site’s content is and will be tackling, which is the issue of our mental, cultural and social preparedness for the power of new technologies. Since it gives power to its user which can be both negative and positive technology changes the potential of certain mental, cultural and social norms to affect the society.
Second article is more philosophical, but mainly pertains to the issue we’ve been addressing since the founding of Libervis.com, which is the issue of proprietary software and Free Software and the currently believed paradigm that copyright law operates on. Software is a type of technology whereas copyright law and this “intellectual property” paradigm reflects some social and cultural norms. This has consequences some of which have been outlined in that article.
Libervis.com will continue to actively be used to address issues all across the spectrum that lies between society and culture as we know it and the technology that we use from such a perspective. I think it’s a set of issues which is going to tremendously increase in importance as the accelerating technological evolution continue in face of all the social, cultural and economic turmoil and shifting.
Tags: Culture, Libervis, society, Technology
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I just exited a thread I titled Anarcho socialism worse than statism? started on July 27 and currently eight pages long. Before and during that time I’ve had a number of on and off discussions with people whom could probably most precisely be described as anarchists which oppose property ownership at least to some extent and in some forms. From a perspective of what I believe to be most voluntaryists and all anarcho-capitalists they’re typically dubbed anarcho-socialists.
During that time I have occasionally doubted my assessments as my understanding of their positions changed. After all they are different individuals possibly holding somewhat differing variation of the general idea. However at this point I remain generally disappointed and even frustrated with it. Here are some of the core arguments which from my understanding represent various anarcho-socialist positions, and my responses to them.
1. “Property is theft” (represented by multiple arguments leading to that conclusion).
This is a famous statement by Proudhon which according to what I’ve been explained is also commonly misinterpreted. In any case however it is the ultimate conclusion of a number of anarcho-socialist arguments. I’ll start with the one least problematic to me.
“Property stolen by means of state is theft.”
According to this argument Proudhon was referring to “property” in terms of the state rather than in terms of the free market, that is, property which was essentially stolen by means of the state such as the institution of a corporation. Since the means of the state typically involve force and fraud rather than voluntary trade a lot of what is currently considered as legal property (in state’s language) is actually stolen property – thus enforcement of this property is enforcement of theft.
Any instance where the law assigns supposed “property rights” where none would be acquired by voluntary trade would be an example of that. One example are eminent domain laws which can sometimes be used to essentially steal from one to give to the other and then proclaim it as legal property of the other.
Because of this it is rather hard to discern genuine from stolen property since the state is so deeply involved in the market. For example some argue that any and all property acquired by corporations is illegitimate because the corporation actually is not a real person, but rather just a conceptual or institutional puppet of a real person, with privileges assigned to it by the state. Thus it acts with powers that a real person otherwise wouldn’t have, powers assigned to it by the state at the expense of other market actors. Anything that a corporation could not acquire without these powers yet acquired with them is therefore considered as stolen property.
It isn’t surprising then that some would take this to the extreme and argue that all property must be stolen property quickly assuming the position that property ownership is impossible to enforce without the state, which is the second argument I’ll address. Indeed, that is the current popular belief and a claim by state actors themselves. What the state says is legal property is considered to be the legitimate property, as if it has nothing to do with individual and voluntary trade in the market itself, and everything to do with arbitrary decrees of state actors (even if elected through a democratic process).
I am inclined to agree with Proudhon if this argument is the correct interpretation of what he said, but only when it refers to property which truly was stolen by means of the state. It I however act independently of the state to produce or acquire something it is reasonable to assume my property was earned, not stolen.
“Property is theft because it cannot be enforced without the state.”
As mentioned above this is what the extreme extension of the above argument leads some towards. Since the state steals and yet it is the one defining property and most people believe it, property and theft are conflated. It is then enough to observe someone’s house being taken from them by law only to be teared down and the land transfered to a corporation who is to build a mall there to put an emotional seal to this reasoning. Since the state does this in the name of property and the land is proclaimed as the property of the corporation yet the scene clearly depicts an act of theft, property and theft seem like the same thing.
In that instance the concept of property is so out of shape that it is hard to imagine how property could even exist without the state. It no longer refers to the control of that which you produced or acquired by your own efforts or through trade, but rather to a mere arbitrary entitlement by people with the guns, regardless of effort and voluntary trade.
Thus the argument that property cannot exist without state enforcement takes shape which also provides the seeds for the argument that any defense of private property is itself immoral initiation of force.
Unfortunately, this is all based on terrible fallacies. It is as if in the process of being maimed and pillaged the people lost sight of who their tyrant was and what his actions were. It’s as if they begun believing their masters lies and are now using those lies as arguments against those who would otherwise be their friends against the tyrant (typical affront between anarcho-socialists and anarcho-capitalists). It is as if they forgot what ownership used to mean, because it was just the opposite of theft.
In any case, ownership as defined by voluntaryists and anarcho-capitalists indeed has nothing to do with what the state decrees it is. It has nothing to do with arbitrary expropriation by force. It has to do with earning what you have by your own effort and being responsible for your actions. For my more specific exposition on property please see here
Thus how is it possible that the ones who are the biggest violators of property could be the only ones that can enforce it (the state)? This is a question I think every anarcho-socialist ought to honestly try to answer because it directly challenges their assumption that property requires the state.
So if property does not in fact require the state, the question that pops up is who will enforce it? The answer is relatively simple. Property owners or their agents. Today the state seemingly plays a role of an agent, but it actually is not. Since it is a coercive monopoly on the service of property protection (which is actually just a form of self defense) it does not so much provide that service as much as it forcefully imposes it. You don’t hire a state agent to protect your property. The state agent never gives you that option. Instead they take your money as supposed payment for this “service” through taxation against your will which is exactly the opposite of protecting property. It is its violation.
In fact real property protection today doesn’t really exist. If it did it would protect you from the state itself. So it’s not only that property protection does not depend on the state. It is actually supposed to remove the state altogether to function.
“Property is theft because its enforcement depends on initiation of force.”
This is just the evolution of the above and as I’ve shown it is thus based on really shallow grounds. It stems from conflating state violence in the name of protecting property with actual protection of actual property. The state’s actors often claim to do their work in the name of noble ideals such as freedom, even when they invade foreign countries and homes of innocent people. Are we supposed to then dismiss the idea of freedom because this is what they do in its name?
It’s the same thing with property. They violate property in the name of defending property. Are we supposed to dismiss true defense of property then as violation of property as well? Because that’s what this argument essentially boils down to.
However, while this argument may have evolved from the conflation of statist inversions of property with actual property it does have a life on its own, which isn’t surprising since most people who use this argument probably don’t typically make a connection between their animosity against property and their animosity towards the way state acts about it yet they need to defend their position and then try to find the best arguments to back it up.
Unfortunately even these arguments rehash the statist thinking. For instance, they provide examples of poor or homeless people taking the property of others in order to sustain themselves and the property owners purported attempts to defend from such theft as initiation of force. Such arguments attempt to use human tendency to empathize with the poor and unfortunate to trick one into reversing the defense of property into initiation of force, thus becoming consistent with the “property is theft” ethos. This reverses the roles of the poor thief and a richer property owner defending from such theft so as for the property owner to be the one who stole (by denying the poor to take) and the poor thief as the one who is stolen from.
What is easily missed here is that the fact that the property owner by virtue of his ownership may rightfully defend his property does not mean that he has to. It only means that the decisions pertaining to the way his property is to be used belongs to him.
Since it is the human tendency to empathize which this argument uses it is reasonable to assume that this argument assumes that empathy IS important and even common enough. If it wasn’t then why appeal to it in the first place? Yet if empathy is common enough for an empathy based argument to be worth using isn’t it reasonable to assume that most property owners confronted with a poor thief wouldn’t just force him out, but instead try to help and even let him use some of their property?
And as a final straw for this argument there is the fact that it sets a dangerous precedent in that it puts ownership to the subjective whims of those who claim a need that is supposedly large and immediate enough to override it. Suddenly anyone who can present his wants as severe enough needs can justify their theft. This of course can backfire at the very those whom this reversion of property is supposed to benefit: the poor.
Fundamentally, a claim that defense of property or property enforcement is *initiation* of force rather than defensive force leaves very little room for self defense, or at least makes it dependent on subjective whims as mentioned above. Unfortunately this relativization of property and thus self defense makes self-defense always a potential crime because the extent to which your self and your property extends is constantly at the whim of a society or social norms rather than a verifiable facts of your just effort and trade. That is, whether you have acquired something by honest action and trade no longer matters if someone can claim a “higher need” and still steal it from you.
I mentioned that these kinds of arguments rehash the statist thinking and here is how. Statist socialists use the same “think of the poor” kind of arguments appealing to the same human empathy to justify theft in form of taxes. The only way in which anarcho-socialist argument differs is that they outright redefine theft so as to reverse its meaning, but the outcome is the same.
This makes the anarcho-socialist position which uses this argument no better at all than the statist socialist position.
2. Pure capitalism leads to the state.
Above I’ve addressed the idea that property ownership, which is fundamental to capitalism, requires the state. In other words it was the idea that capitalism cannot exist without the state.
This argument is a little different in that it implicitly presupposes the existence of pure capitalism without the state first and then an inevitable devolution of it to state capitalism. The way this is supposed to happen is by the greed and selfishness of the capitalists going beyond voluntary trade and into the realm of force and fraud thus establishing conglomerates which ultimately become the state. There are probably many ways to be thought of exactly how this may happen, but addressing all of them isn’t my point.
In fact I wouldn’t even argue that this cannot happen. I would argue instead that if it does happen all it means that capitalists who started perpetrating force and fraud failed to be capitalists, or rather they weren’t capitalists, and that the system that resulted wasn’t capitalism at all, but the statism that we all know and love (NOT). Essentially it is corporatism. Even minimal state overseeing a free market has the seeds of corporatism and becomes real corporatism as soon as it establishes the limited liability and “legal person” institution called the “corporation” (LLC, LTD, Inc., Gmbh etc.)
In other words it is not pure capitalism that leads to statism, but rather the lack of capitalism. This boils down to my old argument about not blaming peace for war. If we are living in peace, meaning that everybody respects everybody and there is no violence and then after some time someone comes out and starts inciting conflict and initiating violence what will we blame for this state of violence? Will it be the fact that we had peace? Of course not. We will blame the fact that this individual started using violence.
In the same sense, if we have pure capitalism it means we have individuals respecting individuals and their work (their property) and trading voluntarily and peacefully. If someone then comes out and starts cheating people and initiating force to get more business, will we blame capitalism or will we blame the person who violated the very principles of capitalism?
This is also why it is extremely unintelligent to blame recessions, including the current crisis, on capitalism and the free market. It is precisely like blaming peace for war. People cheat and steal and we blame those who propagate against cheating and stealing for it. Government bails out corporations and we blame the free market? Those kinds of things boil my mind.
Imagine a brother hitting his sister who was just playing in peace and the mother shouting at the peaceful sister because she is just playing in peace and “causing” the brother to hit her. It’s truly a WTF moment, but tell that to the millions upon millions of people out there, including Michael Moore, currently spitting at capitalism and free markets. They have no sane idea what they’re doing.
So this argument doesn’t really make sense. The only resort it has is to claim that capitalism itself is flawed which would probably come down to the arguments against property which I’ve addressed and hopefully debunked above.
3. No authority should be admitted, thus no authority derived from property ownership.
This was pointed out by my friend when he described briefly the position of mutualists he has had some discussions with. According to him they actually believe in self-ownership, but instead of as seeing it as a base of property ownership they see it as the very reason why property ownership (beyond the self) should not exist. To quote: “I own myself and therefore others have no authority over me, and as a result, no authority over others is acceptable. From this principle, property rights MUST conflict with self-ownership.“
However this position is self-contradictory and ultimately leads to the same issues pointed out with the above addressed reversal of property ownership into “theft”. If nobody should have any authority over you then the poor people taking something you believe belongs to you don’t either. Their needs, no matter how basic, do not establish their authority over your desire to keep what they’re taking.
Then it might be argued that your authority ends where their authority begins, but since this position espouses no-authority that would clearly be a contradiction. In fact a no-authority position transmutes into a no-liberty position because your liberty ends where someone’s liberty begins which inevitably implies some kind of an authority. Thus denying all authority is denying all liberty. This just doesn’t work, at least if your goal is liberty to begin with.
Thus the no authority position seems to overspill each individual’s “jurisdiction” (for lack of a better word) all over each other rather than establishing a balance. The area of overlap is the area of conflict. By saying nobody has any authority over you under any circumstances whatsoever you’re essentially taking an absolute authority position over everyone else. If everyone makes this assumption and acts on it this is essentially anarchy as chaos, that is, everyone against everyone according to their own whims.
4. Property vs. Possession
From all that I’ve heard about the concept of possession so far I am compelled to conclude that possession actually is nothing more than a crippled, relativized and subjectivized version of property. The concept is essentially designed to give way to socialized defining and redefining of what may a person possess and keep, basically submitting the individual to some extent to the established social norms. This is because the main reasons that possession is even admitted to the individual are subjective, namely, the “basic needs” of the individual – what he needs to live.
One person may feel his basic needs to be quite different from another so one person may claim more possessions than another. If one person believes the needs of another person to be lower than that person believes himself this leads to conflict. There is no one size fits all objective model of needs. Not only do they to a large extent depend on personal evaluations, but even to the physical and mental capacities of each person which cannot as easily be evaluated by another on sight. Some people are more efficient in their consumption of life giving resources than others depending on their physical build up, skills, experience and so on. It also isn’t uncommon for people today to claim needs which a lot of other people would feel are luxuries.
Who then is the final arbiter of this? Apparently nobody and everybody which is just another way of saying “the society” in reference to popular social norms. Since it is precisely on this determination on which the difference between self-defense and initiation of violence may be determined it is clear how this could leave a lot of people with an experience of being tyrannized by the majority. This is essentially mob rule, even with less pretense than the idea of democracy.
I have very little respect for socialism, both with or without the state. As a voluntaryist I clearly have no respect for statism so it goes without saying that I find socialist statism unacceptable.
Anarcho-socialists tend to say that they are the “real anarchists” and that the label “anarcho-socialists” is superfluous. They also say that anarcho-capitalism is an oxymoron. This comes from their understanding of anarchy as “no-authority” rather than “no coercive rule” or their reversal of “coercive rule” through denial of property ownership in which the defense of property which would otherwise be considered self defense, becomes itself coercion.
Unfortunately this reversal tactic is what’s most disgusting about all socialism in general. Socialism as the name implies is ultimately never really about the individual, but rather about the abstract “society”, something that does not exist without individuals to begin with. Socialist positions and arguments sometimes pretend to defend the individual, yet the outcome is paving the way to socialized control. An affront to property ownership is used to cut into the individual by infecting the objective realm that underpins property ownership, causality, with subjective whims the aggregate of which is represented in form of social norms that are accepted as the “common sense” and thus “the truth” (provided this is even believed in anymore).
Anarcho-socialists however are a particularly sad case since they seem like a traumatized version of a socialist. They’ve recognized the ills of mainstream social (dis)organization yet they’re still pretty severely infected by the memes which make such social organization possible. They’ve learned to oppose the state yet they still operate on the memetical paradigm that the state itself operates on which makes them into excellent treadmill runners, going absolutely nowhere. Besides, when have ever the anti-globalist and anarchist protest resulted in any kind of real change other than to parade violent rioting as the de-facto image of “anarchism” and thus taint the perception of enlightened and intellectual anarchists with it.
Anarcho-socialism is socialized control without the state. They may passionately deny this, but the consistence of ideas they typically advocate inevitably lead to this. Why else restrict or relativize property ownership, bringing some extent of it to the whim of society?
The trouble is, the state itself to a very large extent exists precisely because the stateless socialized control is already established. It is ultimately the ideas, the memes, which run the world. State is just the ultimate reflection of prevalent social norms. If the masses didn’t believe that it is right to steal in some limited instances taxes would not exist. If the masses didn’t believe that violence is acceptable in enforcing “good ideas” a coercive monopoly on law would not exist. If the masses didn’t believe that violence is an acceptable way of solving some social problems war against citizens either in other countries or “at home” (“war on drugs”, “war on terror” etc.) wouldn’t exist. And so on.
Violence of course is the ultimate result of any “socialization” of the individual, any part of the individual. It may be renamed and redefined, but still exists. Socialization by definition means absorption of one individual into another, which is exactly what conflict is. Metaphorically speaking, it is the collision of individuals in terms of their values. This is because a society does not really exist as any one thing in reality. Only individuals do. So sacrificing any individual for the society is in reality sacrificing one individual for another, or absorbing a part of one individual into another.
Socialism, in any form, thus inadvertently promotes conflict in the name of harmony.
Tags: anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-socialism, anarchy, capitalism, ownership, property, socialism, state
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In my discussions with anarcho-socialists and others who question the idea of property ownership I’ve been thinking quite a bit about property, what it is, where it comes from and how to prove it. I am somewhat disappointed by the typical libertarian and even anarcho-capitalist explanations because I feel that they don’t do well enough to address certain concerns.
The typical reasoning goes like this. Ownership is defined as exclusive control and since “I control my body” proven by the fact I’m writing this I own myself. Therefore by extension I own the products of my actions or labor. Yet at the same time it seems that some libertarians, voluntaryists or anarcho-capitalists consider property to be a mere concept, something not derived from reality, but rather just a nice idea that is successful at creating harmony between people, so long as property is actually respected (unlike with the state).
So there are four problems I see here:
1. If ownership is solely defined as “exclusive control” and property as “that which is exclusively controlled” then if someone steals something he becomes the owner since at that point he’s the only one who controls it (exclusive control). This completely removes the possibility of theft occurring.
2. “I control my body” and subsequent “I own my body” and even “I own me” doesn’t satisfy anarcho-socialists because in a statement “I own me”, “I” and “me” refer to the same thing yet they tend to insist that property must be external to its owner. I think we have to do better than what we typically do (from my experience) to resolve this.
3. Why exactly does self ownership extend to ownership of things other than self? What is the logic behind that? Also, what happens if we stop being human-centric about this and look for evidence of property outside of the human sphere? This is important if such evidence exists because it provides a significant additional proof for property beyond the disputed “I own me” reasoning.
4. How can you at the same time say that self-ownership arises from a physical objective fact that you control your body and then go about speaking of property as if it doesn’t have roots in the physical and objective world and is rather just an abstract, but useful concept that we can dismiss once we have abundance and infinite resources?? Do infinite resources suddenly change the fact you control your body?
My responses to these issues, albeit they are to some extent a work in progress, follow.
PROBLEM 1. If ownership is solely defined as “exclusive control” and property as “that which is exclusively controlled” then if someone steals something he becomes the owner since at that point he’s the only one who controls it (exclusive control). This completely removes the possibility of theft occurring.
Apparently defining ownership as “exclusive control” makes violation of property, that is theft, impossible. Regardless whether you take by trade or just steal something, ownership is just transfered, as physical control over an object is transfered. I don’t think any supporter of property ownership actually means it like this so this definition fails to communicate the actual meaning properly.
The most simple alternative definition would be “the right to exclusive control”. However, I’m becoming quite vary of references to rights, something I’ve realized in a discussion I had yesterday with another anarchist (socialist type). To illustrate consider the moral of non-coercion which basically says that “to coerce is wrong”. On this basis we typically describe “not coercing” as right, yet it isn’t right, but rather just the absence of “wrong”, an unmodified natural state. In that sense “right” doesn’t even exist. Whenever it is thus invoked it actually involves a positive entitlement or a positive obligation. If we’re speaking of negative moral statements (“you should not coerce” or “coercion is wrong”), rights don’t exist.
Thus defining ownership as “right to exclusive control” seems faulty because it implies a positive obligation where none exists. All we’re then left with is a negative moral statement, but we don’t quite know what it is yet because we haven’t yet defined ownership. We have a scaffolding of a statement, which is basically “do not act as if you own what you do not own”, but we haven’t yet defined what “own” is.
So I would take another approach. Let’s define ownership by including every condition necessary for it to be in effect. We will then know exactly which conditions need to be met before we can proclaim someone an owner and before we can classify any particular action as a violation of someone’s ownership, or theft.
The definition I thus propose is the following:
“Ownership is exclusive control of object B by object A where object A caused the object B’s current form and position or existence in time and space”.
This definition of ownership rests not only on exclusive control, but on causality and a principle of priority which I will explain below. Therefore exclusive control is no longer the only thing necessary for something to be owned, but rather we also need there to be the closest causal relationship between an owner and the object’s current form and position or existence in time and space. In other words, you only own what you caused into existence as such by your own actions (or labor).
Problems with this definition?
There is one thing about this definition which may seem problematic at first. It’s the fact that action and reaction is a continuous process to which we know of no beginning (except the big bang perhaps) and no end. It could thus be said that a thief who moves a thing from your garage to his own garage now owns this thing by virtue of causing it to exist at a different point in time and space and if he modified it, in a different form as well.
Principle of Priority
The antidote to this problem however is implicit in the very definition of ownership put forward above and it is what I might call a “principle of priority”. In simplistic terms it is about asking the question: who owned it first? If someone already owns something then it is only that someone who can cease that ownership before another can take over. Overriding that would be theft as I explain below.
This isn’t any more silly than the fact that action causes a reaction. The fact that a thief moved a thing from my garage to his own and modified it doesn’t change the fact that for him to be able to do that I had to be the one to acquire it and put it in my own garage first. Thus his subsequent possession is completely dependent upon and predicated by my prior actions which is precisely what makes me into an owner.
What makes him into a thief, however, isn’t just the fact that his possession depended on my prior actions, but the fact that my action wasn’t the one that caused him to come to possession of it, such as the act of trade or giveaway. My exclusive control of an object ends where my stream of actions is terminated by the final act of disposal yet he terminated that control before me, taking advantage of the fruits of my actions or my control without acknowledging those actions and this control.
To take an example from fundamental process of the universe, the process of causality or action-reaction, it is as if a reaction happens without absorbing the energy of an effect of a prior action that caused it. It is like removing an “effect” from a domino effect while still observing the dominoes falling. Obviously, this is impossible as causality cannot function without both cause and effect. Every action essentially “pays” for the effects of prior actions the costs imposed by a prior actor in the same sense as a force that pushes in one direction pushes equally in another.
Thieves try to override that on a macro scale of human interaction by absorbing the effect without absorbing the energy costs of it. When this happens a natural imbalance occurs. The non-paid actor is diminished (which humans express as a sense of loss and injustice and frustration that comes with it) whereas the thief is enriched. But just like everything else in the universe seeks a state of equilibrium, so will the violated person seek reparations or even revenge, causing violence in a society.
Another issue that might be raised against this way of defining ownership is that it seemingly makes parents into owners of their kids because parents caused their kids into existence at some point in time and space. However to stop at that conclusion would be to fail to acknowledge the nature of an “object” that is a human being. Namely, it cannot be externally controlled exclusively and if you somehow created beings who could by some technological means (The Borg drones bred in an incubator?) they wouldn’t really be humans anymore. The nature that makes them into humans would not be developed.
Since this is obviously not the case with pretty much all babies born it is safe to assume that to the extent to which a child exercises self control it cannot be owned by its parent. Instead it is self-owned. It directs itself to its own form and position in time and space. This ties to the established ideas about sentience, sapience and self awareness as differentiators necessary to discern between external ownership of animals and external ownership of humans whereas former becomes acceptable and latter not.
More could be said about the innards of animal ownership however which would reveal more about these extents or degrees of ownership which is oppositely proportional to the objects capacity to exclusively self-control. I will just say that every object does possess some extent of self-control which factors into its nature as itself. A rock for instance exhibits enough self-control to merely sit in place and keep itself together until outside forces break it down or move it. Given the huge gap between control that humans can exercise over a rock and control that rock can exercise over itself it is clear why humans have no qualms about owning rocks and other inanimate matter yet have huge qualms about owning other humans and some qualms about owning animals.
PROBLEM 2. Statments like “I control my body” and subsequent “I own my body” and even “I own me” don’t satisfy anarcho-socialists because in a statement “I own me”, “I” and “me” refer to the same thing yet they tend to insist that property must be external to its owner. I think a defender of property ownership has to do better than what we typically do (from my experience) to resolve this.
The basic issue here is the assumption that if I AM me then I cannot own me that comes from the assumption that what is owned must be separate or external from the owner itself. From my experience defenders of property ownership don’t do a very good job at tackling this issue because most of the time they don’t even try. They generally take self-ownership as an axiom and then call everyone who denies it as crazy because they evidently use ownership of their bodies to deny it.
I do largely agree with this, however, but I don’t think stating this is enough if you really want to have an anti-property person understand property. Sometimes even seemingly self-evident “axioms” need explaining. What use is an axiom if a person fails to see it due to his pre-conceived notions. If many religions prove anything it’s that preconceived notions can make people utterly blind even to the most obvious self-evident realities.
That said, there are two questions to be asked here.
1. Does the definition of ownership require the owner to be separate from what is owned?
Let’s take a look at the definition stated previously.
“Ownership is exclusive control of object B by object A where object A caused the object B’s current form and position or existence in time and space”.
Identifiers A and B imply a separation between objects, but it is not explicitly stated. So if we would favor the explicit over implicit we could say that the requirement for separation doesn’t exist in this definition. Otherwise it would.
But there is another thing that is more explicit in this definition and that is the statement of a causal relationship. It could be worth asking if causality itself requires two objects in a causal relationship to be separate? Can an object have a causal relationship with itself? Can an action of an object cause a reaction of that same object? To answer that question we have to define the object itself. In other words, we have to answer the second question, since the object in reference here is the “self”:
2. What is “self” or what is “me”?
There can be varying ways to define the “self”. In psychological terms the focus may be solely on the brain and its chemistry, the headquarters of who you are as a person, mentally speaking. Physically however we may need to refer to an entire body as this is the vessel which you travel in and by which you are to a large extent identified and discerned from other selves. We cannot however refer to anything that is outside of a body, that is, which refers neither to the brain nor any other part of the body nor the entire body since we simply do not have any evidence that this is where “self” resides. Indeed, such claims are in the realm of the mystical and religious.
The typical argument by property ownership advocates does however involve “control over my body” so I think it would be reasonable to take that as the definition of the “self” here. We can now return to questions asked above:
“Can an object have a causal relationship with itself? Can an action of an object cause a reaction of that same object?”
The object referred to here is the “self” and it is above defined as “the body” and a body is actually consisted of a multitude of organs which are further consisted of a multitude of cells and then finally molecules and atoms. For this body to be alive and animated many processes must be ongoing within it which essentially represent action and reaction between organs, between cells and between molecules. In other words if we define the object as a consistence of many other objects then that object can have a causal relationship with itself by means of one part of an object having a causal relationship with another to in turn make the entire object be what it naturally is.
In other words, self consistence (the state of being formed by structure of smaller parts which harmoniously interact with each other) allows self-ownership. It’s of course worth pointing out that the same is true of all objects in the macro universe we are living in. Rocks are self consistent as well and thus self-owned. Trees are self-consistent and thus self-owned. We sometimes describe certain object by what we say to be its “properties”. This is quite interesting because as we’ve established here, it indeed has properties within the very context of ownership. It owns its properties.
We may for instance describe the properties of a flower to be its shape, composition, color, smell etc. Incidentally, the causal processes within a flower allow it to have these properties. These processes and smaller parts that it’s consisted of define the flower’s “self”. The flower thus owns itself and these properties as what it caused into being, consistent with the definition of ownership expressed above.
The objection that might be put forward at this point is that if flowers own themselves, how come we can own flowers. To respond I would refer to what I’ve said when I addressed the issue of parents owning their children which is the reference to the nature of the object itself. It changes everything. A flower may be self owned, but its ownership cannot include the capacity to consciously say no to a man cutting it down. So it has exclusive self-control only to the extent to which it by its nature CAN have exclusive self-control. This is also precisely why cutting it down is not a violation of its property. Its ownership extends only as far as its capacity to control does.
As an interesting side not, if there were beings so superior to humans that they would look at us the way we look at flowers, according to this they would be right in considering us their property because our capacity to own doesn’t extend as far as theirs. However the existence of such beings is currently limited only to the realm of pure fantasy. In any case, we are evolving and just like flowers we can strive to the maximum capacity that we can muster, but no further.
PROBLEM 3. Why exactly does self ownership extend to ownership of things other than self? What is the logic behind that? Also, what happens if we stop being human-centric about this and look for evidence of property outside of the human sphere? This is important if such evidence exists because it provides a significant additional proof for property beyond the disputed “I own me” reasoning.
I think that my answer to the resolution of this problem is dispersed in my answers to the above two problems. My definition of ownership is completely agnostic to humans and simply applies to “objects”, whatever they may be. The definition rests solely on exclusive control, causality and an implied principle of priority. When either of these conditions isn’t met ownership ceases. Control itself has a built-in limitation to ownership in that it only extends as far as the object in question is capable of controlling another object or itself. Human beings are capable of controlling more than just themselves and to the extent to which this is so they can thus own objects external to themselves.
There is also no fundamental distinction between the self and other objects in terms relevant to this definition of ownership. Both involve exclusive control of objects whose existence in time/space and form is caused such as they currently are. This fits a libertarian explanation of homesteading as means of acquiring the most disputed kind of property; ownership of land. The homesteading principle involves “mixing your labor” with the land which is just another way of referring to actions which cause the land in question to change some of its properties. A simple enclosure of the land typically does the trick and the more is done with the land the stronger the ownership case for it.
PROBLEM 4. How can you at the same time say that self-ownership arises from a physical objective fact that you control your body and then go about speaking of property as if it doesn’t have roots in the physical and objective world and is rather just an abstract, but useful concept that we can dismiss once we have abundance and infinite resources?? Do infinite resources suddenly change the fact you control your body?
This problem is expressed in form of the above rhetorical questions which by themselves illustrate the contradiction and my point which is the gist of my answer to such a contradictory practice.
Ownership as defined above relies on processes which are fundamental to everything in reality. Control is a stream of actions and causality is the relationship between an action and a reaction whereas an action is a cause and a reaction is an effect. The principle of priority which I derived from it also directly derives from a chronological nature of causality as we can observe it. Denial of priority would essentially be akin to the denial of time. So all of the components of ownership as defined here are completely fundamental to the functioning of the universe as we know it.
Ownership is essentially about the relationship between the cause and the effect whereas cause owns the effect. While causality refers to cause and effect themselves and the fact that they form an ongoing process, ownership refers to the very relationship between that which causes and that which is caused. To fully understand ownership would be to fully understand how a particular effect relates to any act within the causality chain it is a part of and to which extent can that act be credited for it.
It’s not too difficult to see how this applies to humans. We are after all a part of the same universe, the same ocean of causality chains. We have our specific natures which gives us specific capacities and therefore specific potentials to cause and therefore control and therefore own. To fully understand ownership as it pertains to humans is to understand how exactly does the effect (a particular piece of property) relate to all of the acts in the action-reaction chain that was necessary to put that object in the form it is, at the time it is in and in the place that it is at. Who was the first cause? Did he or she act to dispose of it? Who was the next controller? Did he act to dispose of it or was it stolen against his will? Etc. etc.
Infinite resources or infinite amount of desired objects never changes the fact that ownership exists any more than it changes the fact that the process of cause and effect continues. It merely changes the amount of value assign to the exclusive control of any given object and the likelihood that a dispute over its ownership will arise. Just because prosperity removes the distinction between haves and have nots doesn’t mean that what made them prosperous to begin with ceased to exist – the capacity to act in order to cause what is needed or desired, control the resulting effect and trade it in for effects caused by others – the free market of caused properties.
Tags: definitions, free thinking, ownership, Philosophy, property
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After writing an article for the Nuxified blog about KDE4 possibly overtaking GNOME in terms of usability and getting over 6000 views of it I’ve been contacted by a “marketing guy” of dot.kde.org interested in rewriting the article for them.
I thought it was a good opportunity and pretty much the same day (or more technically, next night), I wrote a piece and it was after minor editing and approval published by the KDE promo team here: KDE4 Demonstrates Choice Is Not A Usability Problem.
Feel free to check it out.
Tags: kde, kde4, nuxified
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So far this site has been nothing more than a personal blog that served as a bin for anything I want to express that didn’t specifically fit any other sites. While I will continue to use it for that purpose, albeit erring towards more professionalism, I am expanding its purpose into a wider presentation of myself and my projects.
“Daniel Memenode” is the alias that I have adopted some time ago for my online identity across multiple venues. It is a kind of personal brand that I am more comfortable with using than my real name.
“Memeverse Media” is a name for all of the projects that I am doing online. While that may seem a little superfluous it has multiple purposes. It’s a brand that I can use to represent all of my work online in an unified manner, such as through this site. It is a convenient shorthand for all my projects. And it has personal meaning to me. Not only does it represent an “universe of ideas”, but it helps me think of my projects not as a necessarily disparate collection, but something with a particular direction to pull towards. It’s basically like the name of any other business or company which has multiple products, but a single brand associated with all of them.
I’ve done something similar before with “Libervis Network”, but the difference is that I assigned a rather limited set of meanings to that brand. It was meant to represent projects related to “digital freedom”, mainly free open source software, creative commons and such. Another difference is that I treated it as if it was an entity in some manner separate from me, but owned my me, which is a common but silly fiction.
With “Memeverse Media” I’m being open ended and more individualistic. I don’t consider it a fictional entity, just a name for all of my projects online, not something pretended to be separate. “Memeverse” seemed like a logical name since it has a great meaning and ring to it and has served as the name of my personal blog for quite a while.
So in addition to being my personal blog this site now also serves information about my projects and services, which is after all still fitting for a personal blog. There is a page outlining my current projects and a page with the services I am currently offering and examples of prior work (yet to be finished). I will also, in addition to typical blog entries, post references to articles and other material I create elsewhere on the web. So if I publish a new article on Nuxified.org I will post a reference to it from here. Same for any other of my sites.
This way the memeverse feed truly becomes a feed that represents me on the web, the way I see fit, which should help build better relationships with my readers and customers. In other words I’m unifying my web presence under one identity and one brand.
Tags: branding, memeverse.com
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Would you believe me if I said that even the most staunch rationalists, like me, are sometimes tempted to jump off a bridge of empiricism and logic and into the abyss of nihilism and post modernism. Consider the benefits. As a rationalists you have to acknowledge that there will always be at least 1% possibility that everything you know is wrong meaning that you’ll never reach 100%, yet at the same time you will always unabashedly strive to reach 100% and you know that 100% true truth exists because your senses give you the evidence of objective reality.
You also know that any of the conclusions you make, or rather milestones, could be a part of that 1%. In other words while there is at least 1% probability that you’re wrong, 100% of what you think you know is a candidate for what you’re wrong about.
Now consider post modernism. As a post modernist you give up this fight, you throw in the towel and just “admit” to yourself: “Meh, nothing is certain. Frak this constant struggle. Even the theory that objective reality exists is a candidate for this 1% probability of being wrong. Everything is, including the thinking that the probability of being wrong is only so low. What if the probability is 50%? I might as well pretend truth doesn’t exist and live from moment to moment. I know I wont change the world this way because I really don’t have a “one true way”, but at least I’ll live a life of adventure. Believe in nothing and nobody, throw yourself against the momentarily perceived reality and see what you get. Enjoy the exhilarating experience of a free fall to nowhere! Weee!”
Yep you are hearing these hypothetical words uttered by a rationalist, a guy who believes even morality can be determined empirically and logically and who believes that the non-coercion principle passes the test and remains a fundamental moral premise, a guy who despises post modernists and hates contradictions. How in the world is someone like me capable of uttering the above words without acting? Because of all contradictions the ones I hate the most are the ones I don’t yet know about! And it drives me nuts sometimes. Nuts, like all you post modernist frauds.
But there is something so devious and evil about this. I can smell it like the bad breath of a hypothetical devil lurking in the shadow waiting to reap your soul. If I let go, if I throw myself into the abyss of nihilism and post modernist thought. Me, the rationalist, me the despiser of nihilism. What hope is there for anybody else? If everyone gives up like this, if everyone throws themselves off this bridge, if everyone gives up on truth and begins accepting contradictions – we’ll contradict ourselves – we will destroy ourselves. Self contradiction is self destruction. That much would be certain. Because a sentient species which cannot resist the temptation of this nihilist abyss is the species whose days are numbered.
Nihilism is an ideological suicide. Suicide follows.
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Few would deny that the market is an integral part of every economy. The market involves all of the processes necessary for the economy to function, from the efficient management of resources to the setting of prices by means of differences between supply and demand and subsequent economic growth that results from a tendency to produce more value than is consumed.
Wikipedia defines the market as follows:
A market is any one of a variety of different systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby persons trade, and goods and services are exchanged, forming part of the economy.
So the essence of every market is in trade, which is also defined as a voluntary exchange of goods, services, or both” and “voluntary” is defined as “a word meaning “done, given, or acting of one’s own free will“. Since what is being voluntarily exchanged can be both goods and services every act by a trader can be considered a service so everything an individual does for another individual, for it to be a part of the market as hereby defined, must be completely voluntary, of one’s own free will rather than by compulsion or coercion. Thus the essence of a market is voluntary interaction.
It seems obvious then that any form of compulsion or coercion is incompatible with the market and is exactly opposite of the kinds of interactions that happen within the market. Since the market is a crucial part of the economy then voluntary interaction is crucial to the workings of a healthy economy. Any economic management that involves coercion therefore harms the market. One would argue that such coercive intervention on the economic activity brings more good than harm, but the harm can hardly be dismissed while the good remains to be proven.
The argument that coercive intervention on the market brings more good than harm (since it is fundamentally anti-market) generally stems from the assumption that the one coercing knows better what is good for the economy than the one being coerced and thus implements his “better knowledge” or wisdom by means of force. However, in addition to arising an obvious question of trust into the coercers wisdom, this also gives rise to flawed logic.
The purpose of the economy is the management of value or wealth. Natural resources, products of human labor (such as technology) and human labor itself (or services) all have certain values. However value is subjective since one person may value something to be worth far more than another depending on their individual needs, desires and personal value systems. Yet nothing in the universe and natural world by itself has a specific inherent price tag on it. Nothing in the universe inherently values itself relative to human beings. It simply is the way it is and human individuals are the ones who mentally assign value to it.
So when it is claimed that the one has higher wisdom and thus the right to force another to act against his will, it is in fact claimed that one’s values trump another’s without leaving any further objective justification of why that is so, because such justification is impossible. It is one essentially forcing another to do his bidding. The “higher wisdom” is a thus a fallacy, because it merely matches one’s personal values, no matter how many people agree with such values (majority doesn’t make coercion right).
Government is based on compulsion or coercion. It is founded on the assumption that a group of people chosen by means of a particular process or ritual is justified in forcing others to do another’s bidding. They want to help the poor by stealing from those a little more well off (not even necessarily the rich). They say the price of security can only be paid by money which is taken against your will and so on. All laws include punitive laws as threats of incarceration, extraction of money or worse for disobedience, which is what qualifies each and every instruction in these laws as coercive.
So how does this government harm the economy?
1. It is a coercive monopoly.
Even the most minimal governments outright monopolize at least a few markets, by threatening force against competition and thus essentially denying even the existence of these markets since markets are about voluntary interaction not compulsion. The typical examples of these markets are defense (police monopoly) and arbitration (court monopoly), but very often includes far more such as the monopoly on provision of roads, telecommunications monopoly, healthcare monopoly and so on.
Every industry monopolized by a government is one less opportunity for an individual to use in order to achieve greater economic success. An individual either has to work for the government or he can’t work at all or in limited cases can work only if licensed by the government and still under their rules, which hardly in any way allows any real competition. This lack of competition in these industries thus ensures that certain people who would have otherwise prospered in them don’t, that advances in quality of service in these industries are not made or are made very slowly and that prices remain static or even increasing (essentially determined by an arbitrary tax rate).
It’s not only that these industries are monopolized in the sense that you have nobody else to turn to if you need these services, but in most cases you are not even allowed to refuse them. You must pay for it whether you’d like to use it or not. The only way to escape this is by exile, leaving the country only to enter a jurisdiction of another monopolizing group (another government).
2. Fiat money currency
In theory some say it is possible to trade with currencies other than those government provides, yet history (even recent history in cases of certain electronic currencies like e-gold) is filled with examples of governments clamping down or trying to control currencies that are alternative to their own. Yet their own currency is in modern world backed by absolutely nothing except the largely unfounded faith of the people using it. The government or agencies which it has exclusive partnership with, such as Federal Reserve in the US can arbitrarily print more or less of the currency or just create it by typing a number in the computer. This gives them the unearned power to manipulate the value of every dollar you hold on a nearly daily basis.
When using such a currency for trade individuals are using a measure of value which by itself has no value whatsoever. It is just paper or numbers in a computer. It means nothing and is worth nothing and you cannot exchange it for anything other than more worthless paper or worthless numbers. You can buy things with it so long as enough people have unfounded faith in it, but if you are foolish enough to hold it as a storage of value you in reality have nothing. You are gambling.
This faith never can and never does last forever. Currencies not backed by something of actual tangible and measurable value not determined by arbitrary whims of a certain central government agency (or even a non-government agency doing its bidding like Federal Reserve) but rather by actual supply and demand in the market always do and always will collapse. That day is coming for the US dollar just as it is eventually for the Euro and every other fiat currency in existence.
This creates a ridiculous situation in which every economy is essentially pre-destined for a monetary collapse because its lifeblood, the currency, is in fact poison – a fraud, a lie everybody believes in, unreal and subject to malicious manipulation. Yet the government with all its force stands behind it and tends to look very unfavorably to more solid alternatives such as gold – usually banning its use for currency once it is most needed and thus once its popularity rises more than the government can tolerate. The government wants you to use their monopoly money, not real money, because that’s what gives it power over your wealth.
3. The Corporation
If you think corporations are the product of a free market you have been living under a rock, but don’t feel bad because most people have too. Corporations have very little to do with the free market. The power of a corporation is largely the extension of government power. Corporations are “legal entities” not individual human beings nor groups of them. They are fictional and exist merely as a set of promises, permissions and restrictions provided by the government. They are analogous to sock puppets pulled by actual human beings which is why you can see business people talking about their corporations as if they were persons separate from them, even when said business people seem to run the said corporation and all its dealings.
The problem with this arrangement is that it basically shields said corporations from the effects of the market (the voluntary interactions described earlier) since instead of being subject solely to the natural laws of supply and demand based on individuals pursuing their values through voluntary trade they are subjected to not only restrictions, but also powers and benefits they have not earned through the market. This is evident from the very separation of the corporation and the individual actually running and owning it. This separation makes it possible for the corporation to be ran as if IT and not its owner was the one doing the jobs, so if IT uses bad business practices or perpetrates fraud, IT is to blame, not the actual individual running it, yet IT doesn’t exist in reality – it’s just a fictional entity based on said promises, permissions and restrictions to the said individual, all of which can be arbitrarily manipulated by their provider, the government.
So there is no real liability and no real accountability to the market. Corporations are thus such a great tool for business people to gain unearned power. It is hard for a smaller business to sue them without being in an unfavorable position, because the power of government favors the corporation.
Of course, there are not only unearned promises and permissions, but also restrictions which gives people the illusion that government actually doesn’t empower these corporations, but merely “keeps them in check”. However these restrictions often end up merely scrubbing off the part of the whole of power they already gave to the corporation and often end up in merely shifting the power from one to the other corporation. For instance, antitrust laws punishing one corporation only means that another corporation just gained a free unearned boost. A particular new regulation prohibiting a particular way of doing business will punish one set of corporations depending on such a business practice thus effectively giving a free boost to those who don’t.
Therefore no restriction and no government regulation can actually ensure that all corporations are “kept in check” at once. All of it has “unintended” consequences which beat the whole supposed purpose of regulation.
Finally, the whole concept of regulation even if idealized in some manner is completely flawed because whatever the powers the institution of a corporation as a legal entity provides the business owners or whatever restrictions it imposes on them are both artificial because they are unearned through the market. Thus the whole scheme completely routes around the market, removing YOU from the power of affecting the value and wealth of the corporation, removing your power to vote with your wallet. Even boycotts become ineffective. No wonder some people end up feeling quite futile in their attempts to thwart the big corporations. The problem is they are blaming corporations themselves and then the free market for this instead for the source of their empowerment: the government. People shout at the “free” market (which we don’t have) saying it gives free reign to corporations yet it is government, the supposed savior, which by itself has free reign and empowers corporations with it.
Needless to say, omitting market forces has generally bad effects on the economy. Corporations get bigger, competition is stifled and when the compound of all the ways in which government harms the economy collide creating a huge economic crisis, government fails the last test of their credibility as those keeping the bad corporations in check: they don’t let them fail, instead they use the money they took from you with taxes or created out of nothing (devaluing, again YOUR money) to BAIL THEM OUT, claiming this will save the economy, when in fact they merely expand the very practice that caused economic failure in the first place – coercion = involuntary interaction – anti-market activity – forcing you to pay for something you don’t want to pay for thus perpetuating win-lose relationships rather than win-win relationships upon which the health of the economy and continued growth depends.
4. Taxes and bureaucracy
This may be somewhat redundant given point number 1 about the government monopolies since I already pointed out that people don’t have a choice but pay for government services regardless of whether they want them while being denied the right to form competing ones. However it bears special mention in one aspect: it makes getting into business as well as maintaining it harder, thus making a larger amount of the population into what some call “wage slaves” rather than innovative entrepreneurs that create competition and push the economy forward.
Taxes serve as a disincentive to doing business since they rob you of a good chunk of what you’ve earned by application of your own mental and physical effort. Bureaucracy ties well into this motivation crushing effect as, unlike being a simple employee, as an entrepreneur you become obligated (forced by government) to deal with tax filing, various registrations, licenses, keeping up with latest regulations etc. all of which obviously increases your costs of time and effort even further. Government thus makes doing business as an entrepreneur much harder than it otherwise would be which means less entrepreneurs, less competition, less innovation, less economic growth, worse economic conditions for too many people and lower level of satisfaction and happiness.
It then feeds into the self-reinforcing chain of poverty, which is often the reason cited as justification of poverty, that someone must feed the poor. Continuous free hand outs of band aid charity to the poor without provision of education and motivation only prolongs their poverty, and when an inevitably economic collapse occurs, even these hand outs stop and the poor become even poorer if they can even survive. Thus instead of actually fighting poverty, taxes act as a double edged sword against the solution to poverty: free handouts without entrepreneurial education keep people poor continuously while the bureaucratic and tax costs make it that much harder for them to actually become entrepreneurs and thus rise out of poverty.
Taxes create poverty rather than solve them. People have been using the same old justification for taxes for decades and centuries, yet poor still get poorer while rich (the corporations above) get richer. And you still keep pretending.
5. Perpetuation of personal irresponsibility
The government and the ideas which justify it are surrounded by myths of its far reaching power, wisdom and ability, even as people continue to view its talking heads make fools of themselves on TV on an almost daily basis. It is as if people believe that government is something beyond the group of people actually calling themselves the government, as if it’s some sort of an all powerful entity that has the ability to protect them from all harm, like a father extending his strong arms around you or a mother keeping you in her arms.
This submission to coercive authority that can punish the “bad” and reward the “good” despite a lack of an apparent definition of the two out and keep all harms away indeed very much fits the typical family setting. Parents are seldom well practiced in philosophy and science to the point to which they can with great true authority actually define good from bad, and besides they never really try. They simply tell you what you can or can’t do regardless of their definitions and justifications. You are treated as if you don’t need to know why something is “bad” and another thing “good”. You simply learn that those things which are prohibited and for which you get punished are “bad” and those for which you aren’t or are rewarder are “good” and that sits with you on an emotional level till adulthood and becomes the way your persona operates, completely bypassing the rational examination of the empirical world around you.
The government then merely replaces the parents. Their justifications for punishment are filled with contradiction you’re incapable of seeing because you’ve never been taught to think critically about them and you simply end up accepting everything on the basis of them being a government, having all the power and thus they must be right. What they say is “legal” and everything they prohibit is “illegal”. If you do “illegal” things you are bad and so you must always obey, always do the legal, always “be clean under the law”, even when such law contradicts reality and human nature.
How does this affect the economy? The inhibition of critical reasoning as well as the learned adherence to coercive authority rids the individual of much of the sense of personal responsibility. Instead (s)he outsources much of it to said government. Let them take care of the big issues, of the ills in the world, let them cure the economy, let them cure violence and poverty – they should do everything and you the individual are supposed to simply vote for the right people. Whenever something bad happens, like the current economic crisis, everyone turns to the daddy/mommy government and tells it how bad it is, how it failed, how it sucks and how it should change immediately, like a child shouting in frustration at his or her parent. It’s not a sign of a child being less submissive to the parent, it’s just another protest “you’re supposed to protect me from this, so do it!”.
Personal responsibility is dead. Instead when such people talk of personal responsibility they talk of fraud that took its place, mere personal allegiance to the government and the mythical “nation” or “country” it represents. How can such a mentality help create a prosperous economy if it is fundamentally based on submission of the individual creative power and critical thought to the one entity which by nature exists as an anti-market force? It can’t.
I have never understood the justification of war except on an emotional level which I would describe more in terms of mental illness than in terms of healthy reasoning. The reason people support war is because they are emotionally manipulated into hating the mere image of an enemy. They never see the people branded as the enemy, they don’t imagine them as human beings just like them, they don’t imagine their suffering and their struggles in life nor their honest successes and achievements. They merely imagine them as evil drones bent on destroying them. This is what war brainwashing does. In an attempt to defeat this terrible image of an enemy, they are willing to support or actually perpetrate even the worst of atrocities.
Thus the government uses such support to commit billions if not trillions of funds from taxes and money created out of thin air into massive war efforts which by their very nature are impossible to be defined as mere defense of any kind. Defense is an immediate reaction to an attack or an individual’s increase in his own security measures. It most certainly is not an increase in the likelihood of getting shot by a police officer or a clamp down on your privacy (the “security measures” of the post 9/11 USA) nor is it a vengeful destruction of almost an entire country followed by years of chaos and violence on its streets. Vengeance is not defense. It is merely a blood thirsty destructor of both the perceived enemy and the self.
This self destruction is the effect of war on economy as its efforts tend to drain the economy to the limits and beyond, albeit the actual effect on individuals is postponed by the governments arrogant and arbitrary ability to create money out of nothing. The resulting devaluation of currency takes time to make its way through the economy, but such a process is absolutely inevitable. In case of the current economic crisis, it has in fact slowed down the process by countering said inflation with deflation, but given government’s absolutely stupid and malicious moves to respond with 10 trillion fold inflation, the corrective power of said deflation was effectively cut and hyperinflation is to follow sooner or later. USD’s days are being numbered.
Another way in which it affects the economy is the rise of the threat level. If you have an enemy designated as such and one you bully on a regular basis you’re seldom to expect safety from his retaliation and this would go on forever if you take every sign of his potential or actual retaliation as only further justification for continued violence. Violence breeds violence and it is only destructive of value and thus completely and diametrically opposed to economic growth. It’s more expensive to do business if fear is pumped up and pretty much impossible if bombs are whizzing over your heads.
7. The inevitable diminishing of liberty
Since it is based on coercion the nature of government is by itself anti-liberty for the same reason it is anti-market. Liberty is the ability to choose for yourself how to think and act without fear. Coercion, however, depends on fear. Thus all of the 6 previous points are already examples of particular ways in which liberty is diminished to the detriment of economy, which is to say, the detriment of well being of nearly all individuals in a country.
However this particular point is primarily about the inevitability of diminishing of liberties, something that is impossible to avoid so long as the very idea of government continues to be believed and pursued, regardless of what illusions to the contrary you may hold. Needless to say that less liberty, the ability to choose for yourself without fear, also means less economic activity – since economic activity directly depends on you choosing to act upon your values. If you are afraid to do a particular kind of business, produce a particular kind of good, offer a particular kind of service or just generally afraid to make money to begin with out of fear of misstepping in your tax obligations you are that much more likely to simply not bother, thus robbing yourself and others of the wealth you could’ve created.
The reason diminishing of liberty is inevitable is simple. Just as violence breeds more violence government breeds more government. It feeds in on itself in order to justify its very existence. If government starts very small, monopolizing solely the arbitration and protection industries, it wouldn’t be too long before people would question the necessity of it being a monopoly in these areas. Why can’t people establish other agencies to offer the service of arbitration (private courts) or protection (private defense)? Thus in order to continue being a government (a coercive monopoly) it must continuously keep active, it’s not enough to simply sit in place and keep things just right as they are. Instead it must keep raising issues and fuss and campaign for new legislation and yet more legislation eventually monopolizing new industries and as it keeps biting into more and more of the market and thus inevitably more and more of individual liberties, there is more and more fuss, more and more issues to keep addressing, more and more laws to pass to supposedly address said issues.
People end up being duped into believing that every problem can be solved by a yet another law being oblivious to the fact that law merely increases the government power at the expense of their liberty and consequently their own power to solve said problems so the circle of hell continues until the government effectively eats up the whole market, and so little of civil liberty is left that people are essentially boxed. Just holding the wrong views may get you kidnapped (jailed) or murdered (executed) by the government for whom now more than half of the entire country works.
In such conditions the economy is effectively at a stand still since people are literally afraid to be themselves and thus liberate their own creative potential that is necessary to innovate and create more value in the market. In fact the market barely even exists. All production is centrally coordinated and only produces what is necessary for basic subsistence of what was already achieved when the country was still relatively free.
This totalitarian nightmare thus keeps living on the brink of total collapse just waiting for an event to trigger it, whether it is a yet another “glorious” war with the nightmare inspiring image of an enemy or the few brave martyrs inciting general rioting that leads to the violent implosion of the regime.
This, my american and european friends is where we are inevitably heading if you continue believing that a group of people willing to use threats of violence or actual violence , no matter how you elected them to such a position, are the ones who should solve your economic and societal problems. Government is not a magic bullet that you may believe it to be. It is not an answer to everything. There is no magic bullet in fact, not even anarchy.
Anarchy is not an answer. Anarchy – as the admission that violence is not the way, but rather exclusively voluntary interaction, a free market – is merely the recognition of the fact that there is no single answer and that solutions are best found when individuals are let free to apply their unique creative abilities, without compulsion, to find solutions to the problems that we face. And that’s the only way we stand a chance at building a stable and perpetually prosperous and accelerating economy which can last for not merely decades before the collapses or years between recessions, but centuries and millenia.
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