Tuesday, May 26, 2015

moo; like a cow's opinion.


The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.
- Thomas Sowell

i read this quote a couple of weeks ago and it sums up what i've been formulating in my head for some time, to come to terms with people's behavior.

it's a characteristic of human behavior to alert others to information that may help them, so when i learn something new, especially if it's of vital importance to humanity, my tendency is to pass it on. of great frustration has been the inability to convince others of simple ideas, of monumental importance, through impeccable logic. it's as though i see a crowd chanting, "2+2=5!", and i tell them, "hey guys, here's a mathematical proof that shows why 2+2=4!" unabated, they continue their chant.

why?

it's been a great source of frustration and has been difficult to come to grips with.

i've wondered if i'm a genius to whom concepts that seem very simple are unfathomable to the average person, but i notice in the crowd of "5ers" many people of whom i'm certain possess greater intellectual horsepower than i (hopefully, my use of "whom", twice doesn't reflect that). i've thought that maybe i have a special gift for understanding and integrating concepts. maybe i do. but i think that the answer is much simpler than that. i think that sowell's quote, above, sums it up:

I think while others merely feel.

i don't know why this is. it could be from being a dumbass kid and my dad always telling me to "think, son!", or maybe a natural or defensive mechanism that allows me to separate intellect from emotion.  whatever it is, it seems to be an uncrossable gulf that divides the few from the many. uncrossable, mainly, because the very condition of confusing thinking with feeling precludes one from thinking about the concept of thinking!

if i tell bob that 2+2=4, but he doesn't know what it means to think, then he will react emotionally with no recourse to logic. he will not be able to understand why i'm right, nor will he be able to understand the means through which i came to be right. he won't even be aware that there is another way to come to conclusions! he'll think that he and i are equals and that my ideas are no better than his and therefore, argue, or even (absurdly) condescend to me about his position.

because of this, i'm not sure of the value of disseminating truth to the masses, and it shows in my decreased interest in doing so. there are, of course, others who may understand thinking and need developmental guidance, and it's valuable to be there for them, but at what cost?

it's important for a thinker not to take the ideas of the masses seriously. they're like children, saying whatever comes to them without critical thought, but also without the cuteness. we should, most times, just nod and move on.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

I punched your mom

well, not yet, but i think you'd be cool with it if i walked up to your mom and punched her right in the lip.

the defining principle of libertarianism is the Non-Aggression Principle. it states that no one has the right to initiate force against another person. if you believe this, then you wouldn't be cool with me punching your mom. but the fact is that an overwhelming majority of people reject this notion.

people everywhere support the initiation of force against others. taxation, regulation, prohibitions, social and corporate welfare, military, police, etc. all rely on one group of people initiating force or threatening to do so against others. if you don't pay taxes, ultimately, they will come for you with guns and you know that from the start. that's why you pay; because you know there's an "or else" hidden in there. regulation, be it social or business is the same. do as we say, or else. everything governments do carry an "or else".

this violates the non-aggression principle. the people who call themselves government, have no right to do the things they do, because they're just people and no person has rights that another person does not. no person can give rights that they don't have to another person who doesn't have them. no amount of votes changes that fact.

it comes down to this: you either believe in freedom, or you don't. you either accept the non-aggression principle or you're cool with me punching your mom.

there's no in-between.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

how to think about flag desecration

there's been a controversy recently in a nearby college town in which a group of protesters were desecrating a U.S. flag by walking over it. during the protest, michelle manhart, a veteran, was offended by the display and took the flag from the protesters. she was arrested and later released for those actions.

video and article are here.

the situation sparked controversy with some siding with the protestors and some siding with manhart. large nationalist counter-protests were organized and executed, with thousands turning out to support the flag.

i'm not exactly sure what the protesters were protesting, but if i had to guess, it would be based on some somewhat true, but mostly ignorant ideas about what the united states is and what it stands for. manhart's idea is that the flag stands for freedom and it deserves respect. basically, it comes down to people taking sides in an argument where, as usual, both sides are wrong.

the u.s. flag is a symbol of the united states government. sadly, most people are conditioned to think of the flag as a symbol of "america", "freedom" and anyone classified as an "american". that's false. what most people think of as "our country" is really little more than a large, open-air prison, bound by imaginary lines, called borders, inside of which all people are subjected to the rule of a group of people calling themselves a "government". these people use violence, or the threat thereof, to control and plunder the hapless population residing inside the borders.

in order to make their activities easier, the government uses propaganda to convince the population that they (the government) are necessary and good and that the population is, in fact, a part of the government and that "we're all in this together". of course, as anyone should be able to see, that's not true. governments want people to view a flag as a symbol of "the people", so that people will rally around it, thus allying themselves with the government that victimizes them. that way, the government can continue to victimize the population without much worry that they will ever cease to submit.

the effectiveness of the propaganda is especially clear when people not only associate the flag with themselves, but with freedom. as i pointed out above, the flag is a symbol of a government. governments, by their very nature, are explicitly anti-freedom. at their core they use violence and the threat of violence to force people to bend to their will. that's not only not freedom, but the destruction of freedom. propaganda has to be good if people use the symbol of a freedom-destroying organization as a symbol of freedom.

according to the woman in the story above, michelle manhart, "...to walk on the flag is walking on our symbol of freedom." it's ironic, then, that she, in order to save a so-called symbol of freedom, actually destroyed freedom when she took the flag away from its owners. she stole the property of the protesters, thereby limiting their freedom.

to sum it up, the flag is not a symbol of freedom. it is not a symbol of "the people". it's a symbol of an anti-freedom organization that exists by victimizing a certain population through force.

if protesters want to buy a flag and then walk over it, it's their right to do with their property as they see fit. if nationalists want to support the people that exploit them by flying government flags, then it's their right to do with their property as they see fit. 

there is no other issue here.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

i'm ignoring the baltimore riots

it seems that no matter how much i try to ignore the riots in baltimore, i can't escape hearing about them.

why would i try to avoid such an important story?

the way i see it, the whole thing is a waste of time. nothing good is going to come of it. no one involved seems to have any idea what the problem is (if that's even a thought that crosses minds) and, therefore, the problem won't be solved.

the problem is socialism. socialism is government control of the means of production. in baltimore, as in every other place, the the means of production in policing are controlled by the government. so, the police do the bidding of the government and the government wants to control and exploit the population. therefore the police act to control and exploit. over time, people get more and more upset about the exploitation and abuse and they lash out. on its face, that sounds like a good thing: people fighting back against their abusers. the problem with that is the people don't understand that socialism exists, nor do they understand what it is, nor do they understand that they should be free rather than have markets held captive by socialists.

if the rioters (many of whom simply use the occasion to do harm to innocent people) were to successfully oust the police force, they would simply institute another government-controlled police force and, over time, it too would descend into greater and greater abuse.

i don't see any way that human progress can be made here. it's one big black hole. if the rioters were principled, educated people who were overthrowing a government, eliminating it and allowing people and markets to run free, then i'd be all over it, cheering them on (maybe even participating). instead, it's just fighting for the sake of fighting and no one's going to win.

i'm not interested in hearing about that kind of negative crap. if you want to learn about how policing should be done, visit this link.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

the wut? files: i love my country but i hate my government

this is a common, but nonsensical phrase amongst newly-minted libertarians. they're starting to get it, but they don't quite got it.

i'll just get to the point(s - there are many):

first, let's define what a "country" really is. a country is nothing more than an area of land dominated by a particular government. countries aren't natural occurrences. they aren't denoted by mountain ranges or oceans or rivers or deserts, etc. they are only the "turf" of the criminal gang controlling people and resources through a monopoly on the use of force. the united states of america was not formed in the aftermath of an earthquake. china was not the result of a tsunami. russia was not formed out of volcanic activity. some very arrogant people got together, looked out at the land and decided that whatever they saw, whether yours, mine, or no one's, was, in fact, theirs. they called themselves many things, but we know them mostly as "governments".

unfortunately for them, other crap people were doing the same thing from other vantage points. where their views met, they fought for control in some way. when the dust settled, lines were drawn and the god-like people, calling themselves Government, named these imaginary lines "borders".

the u.s. government said, "within these silly lines that cannot be seen except when drawn on a map, all land, resources and people, not like us, but some lower form of human more similar to a monkey, are under our beneficent control and we will bid them do as we please, lest they perish 'neath our merciful sword".

that's paraphrased, but it was something similar.

the canadian government said, "within these silly lines that cannot be seen except when drawn on a map, all land, resources and people, not like us, but some lower form of human more similar to a monkey, are under our beneficent control and we will bid them do as we please, lest they perish 'neath our merciful sword".

(they're all pretty much the same)

the mexican government said, "something like the above, but in spanish".

and, through the wonders of violence, "countries" were born.

without a government, there is no "country".

i guess it's possible to "love" the area of land violently dominated by a government, but it seems unlikely. for the most part, i like the area where i live (i'm not sure i'd say i love it), but this area is in the same "country" as boise, idaho. i've never been to boise. i don't love it. i don't even like it. i have virtually no knowledge of it.

the bahamas are much closer to me than boise. they seem nicer, too. i've never been there, but how should i feel about them? they aren't in the same "country", so should i not love them? what about someone living within one foot of the canadian "border (map-line, pretendy thing)" in washington? should he LOVE miami, but be ambivalent about vancouver?

washington resident: "i love miami, even though i don't know anyone from there and i've never been there, because i get kicked in the balls by the same people who kick miamians in the balls! i work in vancouver, have many friends there, go there every day, but i have no feelings towards them at all, because they get kicked in the balls by some other group of nasty people."

next (and this should be obvious), it's not your country. not any more than the place where you got mugged is your crime scene. it's like the slave calling the plantation "his". you don't own it. you have no control over it. it ain't yours.

likewise, it's not your government. except in very rare instances where someone let something slip through the cracks, you don't have any say in it. you have no power. it's like a cow referring to the shepherd as "my shepherd". "on your way to the slaughterhouse"? "yep, me and my shepherd".

i understand the temptation to say that - my government - but have some self-respect! it isn't "ours", it's "theirs". it isn't "us". it's "them".

"i love my country but i hate my government" is like saying, "i love the fact that the land, resources and people in this more-or-less random area, only visible on a map, are violently dominated by a select group of morally deficient individuals, but i wish they were different individuals". that's pretty weak. it's kind of pathetic, really. oh boy, so rebellious!

if i had to put a phrase on a bumper sticker, i'd prefer, "there's no government like no government".

no rulers. no countries. that's what i'm about.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

what's my problem with socialism?

i complain a lot about socialism, but i'm not sure that, in over 100 posts on this blog, i've ever specifically pointed out what my problem is.

it's pretty simple. there are two issues; one philosophical and one practical.

philosophically, socialism requires the rule of some over others. duh. so what? the problem is that no person has the right to rule over another person. we're all people. if any one of us has the right to rule over others, then we all must. if one of us does not have the right to rule over others, then none of us do. there aren't any super-humans and there aren't any sub-humans. we're all human and we all have the same rights, specifically, to our own person and property. socialism, therefore, requires the immoral violent rule of one over another. if one advocates socialism, how can this problem be rectified? it can't.

the second issue is practicality. socialism has a fatal flaw: it can't work. there is an economic idea called "the economic calculation problem", in which the state can't efficiently or effectively determine appropriate allocation of resources. for example: if you make toasters, but you force everyone to buy one, then how can you tell if you're making the right amount of toasters? only individuals, by themselves, in their particular life circumstances, can determine value. some may not eat bread and therefore don't need a toaster. some may eat lots of bread and need two toasters. some may prefer their bread untoasted. so, if everyone has to buy a toaster, how do you know that you haven't made too many? how do you know that the resources that went into the toasters wouldn't have been better served in some other goods or services? you can't. that's the problem. unless you're providing goods and services on a market, where people have the ability to buy or not to buy, you can't tell if what you're doing actually has value. governments suffer this problem in every aspect of production, be it defense, police, justice, or what-have-you.

it's immoral and unpractical and therefore leads to the degradation of human sociaety. there you have it. a short, concise summary of why i oppose socialism.

yes, conservatives are socialists, too.

socialism, like most of the other broad economic ideas, has a very short definition: it is the state's ownership of the means of production. the "means of production" just means the processes and tools used to make goods and services, or, to put it even simpler - stuff that makes stuff.

i alter the popular definition this way: socialism is the state-titled control of the means of production. that definition, though it sounds more confusing, is meant to separate the idea of ownership from the idea of legal title. true ownership is the entitlement to goods or services obtained voluntarily, or without the use of fraud, threats or violence. governments come by virtually everything they have through the use of fraud, threats or violence - taxation relies on threatening people with fines or imprisonment, inflation requires fraud by undermining the value of a currency without the consent of those forced (by legal tender laws) to use it. land is often confiscated by force for use in government projects or to be given away to political allies in the pseudo-private sector; the list goes on.

so, when i say "state-titled control", i'm pointing out that a government doesn't actually legitimately own anything, they simply have a legal title to it and forced control over it. it avoids mixing up philosophical ideas.

anyway, all of that is just to let you know why i call conservatives socialists. of course, i also call liberals socialists, but i call every stripe of statist a socialist. it's really pretty simple: if you support, call for or advocate the state-titled control of the means of production in any market sector, you're a socialist - by definition.

when conservatives call for the government to control defense, justice or police, or immigration or agricultural production, or anything else - which they commonly do -  they are calling for socialism.

anyone who calls for socialism is a socialist and conservatives, as well as others, are socialists.

if that makes you uncomfortable, then stop calling for socialism. there's only one thing that solves so-called social problems and that's the market. i know that isn't obvious to most folks, but all it takes is a little reading to understand it. here's a great place to start:

http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp