Friday, September 07, 2007

Blog Stuff: I have some very, very smart friends...

...and sometimes the best and most perspicacious stuff is buried in their comments sections. You don't want to miss out on this whole discussion. It shouldn't be buried in a blog comments section; it should be on the front page of a textbook someplace...

41 comments:

7.62x54r said...

Anybody who's paycheck comes from gov't is living by theft. That they have the audacity to complain about it is unreal.

Tam said...

Anybody who receives one iota of benefit from stolen funds and calls another a thief is flirting with hypocrisy, n'est ce pas?

Or are we going to pick fly poop theft out of taxation pepper?

7.62x54r said...

Any "benefit" my family receives is far below the value of the property confiscated to fund the "benefit". Any "benefit" my family accepts is because there is no choice due to gov't imposed restrictions on competition. It's not hypocrisy to point out the truth while living in the current reality.

Matt G said...

Why is is that I can nod *and* shake my head with equal vehemence at two respective sentences, written sequentially in the same post, by the same author?

brbiswrite said...

To 7.62...

By your fuzzy logic, cops, soldiers, firefighters, etc. are thieves. How many of those folk have you accused personally of theft?

"Any "benefit" my family accepts is because there is no choice due to gov't..." Don't like the gov't? Work to change it. Get all your like-minded friends together and lobby, buy, vote for politicians. Don't like politicians? Neither do I. Use some of those 1st ammendment rights and work for change. You may be only one drip hitting the stone, but enough become a torrent.

Sitting behind a blog and whining about gov't theft isn't very effective.

7.62x54r said...

I do my best not to interact with minions of the state ;-) so I don't have a lot of opportunity to speak to them personally. However, I wouldn't have a problem telling them to their face that I think working for the state is theft. Even if I didn't say it to their face, that doesn't change the fact and simply demonstrates prudence in not irritating those with the guns and force of gov't behind them.

Why would I work to change something that I believe is wrong in it's very foundation? Talk about "fuzzy logic".

You may regard it as whining. I prefer to think of it as educating. If enough people come to the realization that gov't is wrong then it will cease to exist. Whether you'll admit it or not, I've planted a seed in your mind. Besides, if it's ineffective then it shouldn't really bother statists who disagree with me, should it?

brbiswrite said...

7.62...

I have no arguement for that last comment. I have lived with an anarchist for years, and even he realizes that humans need some sort of order for civilizations to succeed.

7.62x54r said...

I agree that order is necessary. I don't agree that gov't is necessary to provide it.

Billy Beck said...

Does anyone here like, say, chocolate?

How would you like it if I dropped a box on your doorstep every morning and demanded payment on the bill on threat of force?

This is the essential problem under discussion here, ladies and gentlemen. Something that a person would consider a "benefit" when they acquired it voluntarily with their own effort is categorically different from when that exact same thing is forced on them.

And ever motherfucking time I see a discussion like this among people who do not take the effort to make this elementary distinction, and then one of them flounces along to say something like, "Just work to change it," I rack my motherfucking pistol. That's because reason has failed, force is prevailing, and it's time to get in the game.

7.62x54r said...

Before you shoot me ;-) I do understand the distinction, and apologize for not making it clear to others. Thanks for doing so.

alex. said...

As a former active duty U.S. Marine, and as a present state government employee, all I can say is, well, "Thanks for the cash!" Please note, however, that this "thief" is quite happy with his illgotten gains, no complaints at all, just keep it up.

comatus said...

Remember when you'd always bump into somebody who just found Jesus and had to tell you all about it? Looks like somebody just found Murray Rothbard (Or is it Harry Browne?).

'Tsokay. I'd just found Rand once. I was 17, though.

Billy Beck said...

"Comatus" --

You read like a person with something caught in his throat who should bloody spit it out.

brbiswrite said...

Billy Beck,
I was gonna stay out because I have no answer to your arguments and logic. However:

Racking your "motherfucking pistol" against those who disagree with you sounds like a threat. If you or any of your little friends threaten me or my family in person, you can repeat "I was right" all the way to the grave.

Billy Beck said...

"Racking your 'motherfucking pistol" against those who disagree with you sounds like a threat."

Oh, and forcing me to pay for things that I don't value isn't a threat that's already in action?

Save it.

I don't fucking care what it "sounds" like: I know exactly what I'm saying and I'm doing it on deliberate purpose.

Don Gwinn said...

I rack my motherfucking pistol.

Wow, you are hardcore. I have several pistols for several purposes, but I don't have one for that.

Don Gwinn said...

. . . . and I'm really more of a summoned creature than a minion.

LabRat said...

We've already got plenty of areas where everyone is armed, there is no governing authority, no public anything, and people routinely resolve their ideological differences with gunfire. Most of those remaining end in -stan or -ia.

True freedom is but a plane ticket and a series of negotiated hitch-hikes away.

7.62x54r said...

comatus, I'm much deliberate than that. It's taken me years to come to the natural conclusion in my philosophical growth. The good news is, there's still hope for y'all.

7.62x54r said...

Same old tired "love it or leave it" routine. Here's an answer much better than any I'd give.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/vuk2.html

Billy Beck said...

"True freedom is but a plane ticket and a series of negotiated hitch-hikes away."

That's just wonderful: warmed-over Spiro-ass Agnew.

Look, son: he meant nothing to me back in the day, and you mean even less.

LabRat said...

My intention was not to say "love it or leave it"- I find that almost as annoying as people threatening to shoot others over a verbal disagreement because they consider a position illogical- but simply to point out that anarchists' paradises already exist. The experiment, as it were, is being tried- and if you want you can join in.

Also, if I'm anybody's son it'll be one hell of a shock to my mother.

alex. said...

Labrat, stop making sense and being polite. Can't you see that it infuriates billy beck? If you keep it up he might run out of cuss words, God forbid.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

Interesting conversation. I wish it was a debate, but it doesn't read like one.

As one who feeds on the public tit, but at the same time deeply resents much of what we pay in taxes, I somewhat understand several viewpoints here.

I am a teacher. If anyones interested I'll detail of what and for whom, but it's irrelevant to the discussion.

Since I teach in a public school, even though a few steps removed financially, my income is derived from tax money.

I also understand that all government, including tax collection, comes from the muzzle of a gun. The concept is well understood by me.

Making all that clear, I'll try to make my perspective and thoughts understandable........

While I am not a fan of unlimited and voracious government, I am a supporter of limited government.
Specifically, I like the concept our own federal government was originally formed under and around.

I most specifically believe in a well armed populace as a counterbalance to government overstepping it's bounds.
It doesn't appear to always work out well, but it's the best thing going at the moment.

(In my more vicious moments I think all government officials should be forced to operate OUTSIDE the rule of law completely, including it's protections.... (insert evil laugh here)).

I think those who espouse the view that all government is evil miss the point that NO organized government IS a form of government.... the government of the strong over the weak.

Once we have the concept of 'society', we automatically must deal with the 'organization' of that society. Within that organization is some form of government, even if it's the government by force inherent in anarchy.

Humans are social pack animals, generally. We are also imperfect animals. Much of 'government' is about one of two issues: Power over others, and service to others.
Sadly, the two seem to go hand in hand, and eventually stand corrupted by baser human nature.

It's not a black and white issue, but an extremely complicated and evolving issue that changes dramatically over time. It's for this reason the study of history is just so blasted important. I believe the old saying is very true: Understand history, or repeat history, there is no escaping the choice.

7.62x54r said...

Those "anarchist paradises" are no more anarchist than the US is.

carteach, I think it's mostly semantics, but your "gov't of the strong over the weak" is pretty much what we have now. It certainly wouldn't be any worse, and I never said it would be perfect. I think it would be a lot better because I would have all my resources available to defend myself against the strong, and not have the disadvantage of the strong being protected under the cover of "gov't authority".

Jay G said...

1. If said person receiving paycheck from government is actually working (big "if", I know, no offense meant), then it ain't theft. End of fucking list. They provide a service, they get paid for it. They are not "stealing" anything except in some anarcho-cryptic kinda way.

2. Some of y'all just need to lighten the fuck up, Francis. Sheesh.

alex. said...

So, 7.62x54, let me get it straight: "gov't is wrong", but "order is necessary". How do you reconcile those two statements? As carteachO? points out, any society will have a de facto government, whether you call it that or not. I believe Jeff Cooper wrote that he would prefer to live in anarchy than under a totalitarian government, but we're not there yet, and won't be if we keep our powder (political, rhetorical, and actual) dry.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

Do we now have a govt of the strong over the weak? Yes, I suppose that's true in many instances.

I think it's mostly a symptom of the degradation of the ideal..
Government formed with good intent and purpose, turned to serve the darker side of human nature.

Which humans? Those seeking power for their own gain. What nature? Greed, fear, arrogance, and bigotry.

On the other hand, despite the flaws of our government, what would the alternative be?

First, this discussion would not be happening. No internet, no computers, no large base of commerce...... we would be living in agrarian feudal states, with short life spans and pointless lives.

The 'means to defend' against the strong would most likely have been taken away under pain of death by a 'band of the strong' who decided to take them. Resistance begets war on some scale, with all the joy that brings.

I'm no profit nor seer, just doing some old fashioned thinking.

A 'society' without government of any kind is shaped by the nature of the people making up that society.

From what I have seen of people in my life, I think I'd rather live with a pack of wild dogs than ungoverned humans. It would be safer and way more honest.

LabRat said...

Those "anarchist paradises" are no more anarchist than the US is.

There is no one in charge who can effectively enforce law, deliver the mail, organize a unified military, or speak to other nations with diplomatic authority, as opposed to merely being the nearest available strongman. There is no government as I understand the term.

Instead, there are bands of people who have come together in the interests of grabbing as much as they can get, and some of them dress up as though they would govern. Humans are social, predatory animals; organizing into groups led by the most powerful is basically our default setting, and it's one that goes back many millions of years. Many young men with weapons can overcome one small family, even if that family is armed. It's a very basic force equation.

People will trade liberty for the security of having the irritable men with the guns nominally on their side in a heartbeat- it means they get to live another day and maybe keep enough resources to live a little longer. Societies that exist under these conditions tend to produce very little- they haven't got time, all of it is taken up with finding basic resources and defending them.

So far, every description of "real anarchy" has read to me just like descriptions of "real communism"; they might have a chance of working if human nature were other than it is.

Billy Beck said...

"My intention was not to say 'love it or leave it'...

There is no other serious implication in what you said.

"I find that almost as annoying as people threatening to shoot others over a verbal disagreement..."

This is not some bloody parlor-game, sir, and nothing about your analyses here is yet accounting for the threat of violence necessarily implicit in the position you're holding, or at least defending.

And no one has the least moral obligation to "agree" to that. If you find this fact disagreeable, then I suppose that's regrettable, but there is nothing to be done for it, and you would do well to think about what that means in its broadest political implications.

"This ain't no disco."

LabRat said...

There is no other serious implication in what you said.

There is the difference between a command and an invitation. If you feel there is no other LOGICAL answer to the invitation, then the implication was that you are not being entirely logical, not that you should just hop on the next slowboat to China if you don't luv America enough.

nothing about your analyses here is yet accounting for the threat of violence necessarily implicit in the position you're holding, or at least defending.

I wasn't aware it needed to be accounted for. Your assertion that rule of law operates through an implicit threat of force is entirely correct. What I'm defending is the idea that there can and should be a social contract that does punish contract-breakers with force- as long as the rules have been agreed upon through careful (and preferably democratic, but I'll take almost any over anarchy) process. As opposed to people threatening to shoot anyone who supports an idea they don't like, or has something they want, or is just looking at them in a funny way.

And no one has the least moral obligation to "agree" to that.

Perhaps not- you didn't sign a contract when you were born into citizenship- but since when has the running of a society ever actually depended on moral obligation? Despite your ideals, I'm pretty sure you're NOT going to shoot me for supporting an idea you hate. Putting aside your not shooting me because you have a warm and tender heart, if you do shoot everyone who pisses you off, you will be arrested by the same system.

People don't put up with police because they terrorize radical ideologues with their existence. They put up with police because they also terrorize the impulsive, the greedy, and the violent, which we still have plenty of even WITH an implicit threat of force- which begs the conclusion that it's a very difficult trait to change in humanity.

It's not a morally absolutist position ("no violence ever"), it's a pragmatic one whose practicality rests on there usually not being time to meditate on morality when you're being beaten by a fourteen-year-old boy with an AK. Another common feature of life in societies with no real civil authority.

Don Gwinn said...

This is not some bloody parlor-game, sir

This is the comment section of a blog, sir. It's several steps less serious than the average parlor-game, and your frothing is beginning to appear rude.

7.62x54r said...

jay g, while a gov't employee may "earn" their check, it was stolen from the taxpayers in the first place. I think this is typically referred to as theft by receiving.

alex, there is order in society every day without gov't. When you go grocery shopping and make your purchases and pay for them it's an orderly mutual transaction between you and the grocery store. Do you think this would not occur without gov't? Certainly some people would try to run out without paying, but they do that now. Before long they would no longer be allowed to even set foot in the store, or any store in the area and would be ostracized from society. Gov't would not be necessary for that. That's how you can have order without gov't.

carteach, you have hit upon the fatal flaw of gov't, whatever "type" it is. Power naturally attracts the corrupt and evil who will use it for their own gain. It cannot help but degrade. The alternative is simple, no gov't.

Do you honestly believe that we only have the internet and computers, along with all the other benefits of modern civilization? The Wrights, Edison, Bell, ad infinitum didn't work for gov't, nor does Gates or Jobs. I believe most of what we enjoy is in spite of gov't.

Certainly society is shaped by the nature of the people in it, and there are some pretty scummy ones in ours. However, just like technology, I believe the shortcomings can be laid at the feet of gov't. Dumbed down gov't schools, welfare programs, and and ineffective "justice" system have done more to create the dregs of society than to control them.

labrat, you are confusing anarchy with chaos. You did not specify any countries, but most areas of the world have someone in charge, which is typically considered the gov't. If someone is in charge, then by definition there is no anarchy. It is the very people who are in charge that usually promote the chaos because it is the source of their power.

People will trade liberty for the security of having the irritable men with the guns nominally on their side in a heartbeat- it means they get to live another day and maybe keep enough resources to live a little longer. Societies that exist under these conditions tend to produce very little- they haven't got time, all of it is taken up with finding basic resources and defending them.

I agree with the first statement above as that is exactly the society that we live in. However, our society disproves the second statement. I believe that if enough people ignore the men with guns we can render them ineffective to the benefit of all of society. The problem is certainly human nature. Fear of the unknown and insisting on doing it the same way your parents did it.

In your other comment you say that "They put up with police because they also terrorize the impulsive, the greedy, and the violent, which we still have plenty of even WITH an implicit threat of force- which begs the conclusion that it's a very difficult trait to change in humanity." I think this pretty much proves my position. We have bad people in society regardless of the threat of force. I submit that removing the threat of force will not suddenly cause more people to "turn bad", but will actually remove a source of power that naturally attracts those who are greedy and would use violence to further their own agenda.

Billy Beck said...

"...since when has the running of a society ever actually depended on moral obligation?"

I don't know how anyone could ask a more illuminating question, in this context.

"This is the comment section of a blog, sir. It's several steps less serious than the average parlor-game,..."

Oh, really? Is that all you think of it?

Stingray said...

"Oh, really? Is that all you think of it?"

Well obviously this blog is pumped directly into the White House, UN, EU, and any other ruling body you care to think of, so the global political changes will be commencing shortly, but personally, ma'am, I'm just here for the geek jokes.

Don Gwinn said...

Is that all I think of it?

That's what I said, so clearly the answer is yes. That's all I think of it. I realize you don't understand this, but your posturing and threats and Ideological Purity Patrol are ridiculous in the literal sense of the word. They are silly and invite ridicule.

You are making yourself sound like the Official Anarchist Kommisar. It's ironical, but it's not impressing anyone. It raises the question of how long you'd survive in your anarchist utopia, since you start "racking your motherfucking gun" when you hear speech with which you don't agree. I always thought anarchy was supposed to force us all to be live-and-let-live kind of folks.

And we've all been nice enough so far not to point out that you and 7.62x54r are both upset to the point of making these silly threats and speeches about public servants daring to complain about their pay, when Tamara actually linked to a post by a public servant who explained why he [quote]doesn't[/quote] like to complain about his pay. I know that's what the post said, 'cuz I wrote it. You might as well be reading me the riot act about the evils of gun control, because I'm against that, too.

You are clearly guilty of mopery today. Tomorrow's a new day.

7.62x54r said...

I have not made any threats silly or otherwise and would kindly ask that you not include me with billy beck. If force is involved it's certainly not anarchy.

Don, the original post that Tam made linked to Matt's post complaining about your low pay, not to your original post.

LabRat said...

while a gov't employee may "earn" their check, it was stolen from the taxpayers in the first place. I think this is typically referred to as theft by receiving.

Only if you reject the idea of taxation as a legitimate part of a social contract. I consider it a problematic part, but not illegitimate; I assume you feel different. This makes it a difference of premise more than a failure of thinking on either side.

When you go grocery shopping and make your purchases and pay for them it's an orderly mutual transaction between you and the grocery store. Do you think this would not occur without gov't?

Today? No. But a GREAT many travelers have observed that you can tell much about a society by whether they're willing to behave like this; in places where stable, orderly governments have not been the historical norm, there is essentially no such thing as people spontaneously queueing up for anything, no matter how much of it there is; it instantly turns into a yelling, pushing scrum. In places where there has been something of an excess of government, they'll do it whether there is really anything there or not without much question.

Before long they would no longer be allowed to even set foot in the store, or any store in the area and would be ostracized from society.

Alternatively, they can come back with ten friends who would like free beer, well-armed, and sack the store. Maybe everybody at the store is armed too, and there's a battle, but it's certainly not necessarily a simple matter of shunning people who behave badly.

Power naturally attracts the corrupt and evil who will use it for their own gain. It cannot help but degrade. The alternative is simple, no gov't.

Government is not necessary for power differentials to exist. A man who beats up his wife because she irritates him or just because it makes him feel big to have her fear him is abusing a power differential. A criminal who has superior arms, numbers, or just the drop on a person he intends to rob is abusing a power differential; in fact, often he chose his prey specifically because there was one to abuse.

In a group of social primates in an environment with abundant enough food that that doesn't take up all their time will spend an astonishing amount of that free time simply being unpleasant to those weaker or lower in status than themselves. Why? They can. Human social psychology experiments usually bear out the fact that humans will do the same, often on the flimsiest of rationalizations. Abuse of the weak by the strong isn't a human invention- but any environment where the weak can have any expectation of the lack thereof IS.

Do you honestly believe that we only have the internet and computers, along with all the other benefits of modern civilization? The Wrights, Edison, Bell, ad infinitum didn't work for gov't, nor does Gates or Jobs.

No, but I believe that scientists- or really, any specialist, including businessmen, artists, writers, cooks, anything that's not a hunter-gatherer or a farmer- can exist because of things that some form of enforced social organization make possible. What determines that the goods I buy from you are what you say they are and not useless or even poison? The power of the contract. Who enforces the contract if not the government? Me? That puts me in the same position as a drug dealer, who always has to wonder if he's being given drain cleaner and who he's going to have to kill for that. All criminal economies exist outside the contract- it's part of why there's so much crime-related violence among criminals and not just criminal-on-innocent violence.

However, just like technology, I believe the shortcomings can be laid at the feet of gov't. Dumbed down gov't schools, welfare programs, and and ineffective "justice" system have done more to create the dregs of society than to control them.

I don't disagree that plenty of ills have been caused by the very systems put in place to try and control them, but it doesn't follow that they would then go away absent ALL controls. Monkeys don't have a system to blame and they're plenty horrible to each other. Young children who aren't given any form of discipline quickly become little monsters. Why on earth should adult humans suddenly behave radically differently from all their antecedents, and all their fellows living under an absence of any form of rule, because you say they will?

Because this really is the root of our disagreement, I'll skip the direct point-and-counterpoint and go straight to here:
"I submit that removing the threat of force will not suddenly cause more people to "turn bad", but will actually remove a source of power that naturally attracts those who are greedy and would use violence to further their own agenda."

In essence, you assert that enough people- which is ALL people, otherwise we quickly come back to the question of force- will behave in the manner that has defined the very best and noblest of human nature, and totally contrary to all historic example.

I assert that any system that depends on all humans being the very best they can possibly be all at the same time forever is doomed to failure by fatal design flaw.

7.62x54r said...

I never signed a "social contract". I was born into it with no choice in the matter, that makes it null and void.

Frankly I'm not worried about other parts of the world or other eras of history.

And when the store has been sacked and they have no source of food at any price, then what? People "sack" stores now, I see it on the news every night in ATL. I'm not saying the world would be perfect under anarchy, I'm just saying it wouldn't be any worse.

All these power differentials currently exist and are abused. Gov't just adds another one which is even greater and more subject to abuse under the guise of the social contract. I repeat myself, but, I'm not saying the world would be perfect under anarchy, I'm just saying it wouldn't be any worse.

People are not sold poison by business primarily because there is no market incentive to kill off your customers. Gov't enforcement of contracts has very little effect on it, as evidenced by the recent failures so prevalent in the news. In fact, most of the recent recalls were issued voluntarily by the US marketer as they were notifying the gov't about them. Should I repeat myself again?

I don't say that people will behave any differently, just that they won't behave any worse. The benefit to everyone is the opportunity to keep 100% of their property to use as they see fit. This might even include effectively defending themselves from the predators in society instead of depending on an ineffective gov't to do so!

Again, I'm not saying everyone will be little angels. If any system depends on people to behave with the noblest of intentions it is gov't which concentrates the majority of power in the hands of a minority. You have made a very effective argument for anarchy and I thank you for the input.

comatus said...

I'm going to have to say this again so Billy can understand (and Billy? Your grammar is fucking awful! It's "bloody well" spit it out; your pseudo-anglicisms are as weak as your Shakespeare):

7.62 and Billy are right! Yes they are! They may even be 100% right. They are also giving everyone a good lesson in why people don't take libertarians seriously. They come on like 70's Jesus freaks. They preach and yell and call you names. They've just discovered the Big Truth and have to share it to make themselves whole. They're obviously not welcome in the bar anymore, and have a burning, aching need to let you know how pure and straight they are. This is their forum.

Been there, done that, when they were still shitting yellow (which, from my perspective, they still are). After you have to argue, agree, work and produce with the unenlightened for a few decades, you figure out that The Revolution is not going to happen because 3% of us load up one morning and take the palace by storm. The otherwise good people who get sucked up into a system of one-ended contracts, profiting from oppression, and seeing evil as just the way things work, have to see a way to get from where we are to a free world without you shooting their ass. That takes time and patience as well as persistence and moral purity, and most of all it depends on not insulting the hell out of them every chance you get.

Kids, you are not trolling Kos here. Tam's posse are already individualists who already recognize governmental oppression and bureaucratic silliness when they see it. Not a one of them is going to join your club if you identify sympathetic and open-minded fellow gun nuts as The Enemy.

Try this: Good teachers are only going to get compensated in line with their high level of talent and concern when we develop a market-based educational establishment, and eliminate the blood-sucking middlemen of the political education machine. See how easy that is? That way you're FOR something, not just whining. Now the only ones hanging up on you are PhD candidates in Educational Administration, and I haven't caught one in here yet.

7.62x54r said...

Exactly who is calling names and alienating people here? I think you need to read my comments and billy's comments separately before you lump us together. I haven't "suddenly discovered" anything and haven't "shit yellow" in a long time. I know full well that we're not going to storm the palace and I have no intention of shooting anyone, no matter what side of the debate they're on. I know education is the key and my children are taught at home. My wife and I do everything we can to encourage and enable others to do the same and it's bearing fruit. I may not see the end of gov't in my lifetime, and really don't expect to, but there's hope for my children and grandchildren. Personally I think "individualists" like the people who frequent this blog are exactly the type to try to reach. Most of them are anarchists, or very close, and just don't realize it themselves.

FWIW, I'm not a libertarian and haven't been for a long time. Libertarians try to work within the system and are minarchists for the most part. I know the system is broken and want no part of it.