Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thought Experiments on The Violence of The State

Michael Suede of LibertarianNews.com has some excellent thought experiments on the violence of the state:
-Your mother grew illegal vegetable matter and gave it to her sick friend. If found guilty, she faces 1 year in jail and a 1000 dollar fine. – would you convict her?

-Your mother is the CEO of her privately owned corporation and she hid corporate income in order to avoid taxation. She used the money she kept to help you pay for your college. If found guilty, she faces 5 years in federal prison and a 100,000 dollar fine. – would you convict her?

-Your mother owns a restaurant and she agreed to allow a 15 year old waitress to work overtime during the summer so she could save money up for a car. She is guilty of violating child labor laws. If found guilty, she faces 6 months in federal prison and a $10,000 fine. – would you convict her?

-Your mother installed an addition to her home without asking the State permission before doing so. She is guilty of failure to obtain a building permit. She was supposed to pay a $6,300 fine for avoiding the permit, but refused to do so based on principle. She doesn’t feel she should have to ask the State permission before adding on to her home. Now she faces criminal contempt charges. If found guilty, she faces 6 months in jail and a $10,000 fine in addition to the $6,300 dollar fine for avoidance. – would you convict her?

-Your mother hired a nanny to help raise you. You absolutely loved the nanny and view her as a second mother. Your mother paid her under the table and the nanny was in this country illegally. Your mother faces tax evasion charges and labor law violations for hiring an illegal. The nanny has already been deported. If found guilty, your mother faces 5 years in prison and a $100,000 dollar fine.

-Your mother purchased a handgun for your father from a friend because they live in a high crime California neighborhood. Their landlord happened to spot it laying out one day and called the police. It turns out the handgun was not on the approved gun list and was not registered. If found guilty, your mother faces 3 years in State prison.
My answer is NO!, on every one. The theory of "jury nullification" has intrigued me. So much so that the next time I get a call for jury duty, rather than throwing it away I'll be responding to it in hopes of being selected. If the opportunity presents itself to bring real justice via an act of jury nullification, I'll seize it. I encourage you to do the same.

(cross-posted at www.everything-voluntary.com)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The So-called Divinely Inspired Constitution

Here's something that I just wrote up for an online conversation regarding the Constitution:

Derek, let's start from the beginning. For the moment, let's not even consider whether or not God established the Constitution. Let's pretend that we don't know that yet.

Is the Constitution a socialist document? Did the Founders establish a socialist government with the Constitution? The answer to both questions is yes. The Constitution is a socialist document and the Founders used it to establish a socialist government. Read Hoppe's "A Theory of Socialism & Capitalism" to better understand what socialism is. He tackles totalitarian, social democractic, conservative, and constitutional socialism in his treatise.

Did it establish totalitarian socialism? No. It established limited socialism, but socialism nonetheless. Study socialism from those who understand socialism, and you'll understand why these are true statements. There's a one line spectrum in politics (the use of violence in society), with totalitarian socialism on one end, and libertarian anarchism on the other. That's it. A move away from libertarian anarchism is a move towards totalitarian socialism. The Constitution is a move towards totalitarian socialism. A further move than were the Articles of Confederation.

Next, consider all of the counsel that ETB, et al, have given in relation to socialism. They abhorred it and counseled very heavily against adopting it. Very good.

Now, consider all of the counsel that ETB, et al, have given in relation to the Constitution. They considered it scripture and commanded us to uphold it.

Now, consider D&C 134, specifically those parts I emphasized in the ETB as Anarchist article I linked to above. Also consider D&C 98:5, and what is says about maintaining rights and privileges.

Now, let's go back to fact that the Constitution established a limited socialist government. Socialism is a violation of our rights. Insofar as the Constitution established socialism, however limited, it has violated our rights. I abhor socialism as much as ETB, et al. Yet, they seemed to have been confused. They tell us to abhor socialism and uphold the Constitution. In other words, they tell us to abhor socialism and to uphold socialism at the same time. This is a blatant contradiction, the likes of which they failed to comprehend. That's my only answer to this confusion.

That the Constitution is a socialist document and established a socialist government is indisputable among those who understand socialism. It just so happened to be a very limited form of socialism, that only violated our rights a little, but in a very dangerous way. It demanded a monopoly on the use of force at the national level. At least that's what Lincoln would have us believe.

A side-note, I am completely open to the idea that the Constitution was a voluntary agreement among the States. That's a minority position today. Not even most Constitutionalists believe that. They, along with ETB, et al, praised Lincoln in his trampling over the idea of secession. If the Constitution was a voluntary agreement, then the States had every right to secede at will. Lincoln used violence to prevent this, and ETB, et al, have praised Lincoln's actions. That tells me that they, ETB, et al, don't see the Constitution as a voluntary agreement among the States. This makes the situation even more confused because it makes the case that the Constitution is a rights-violating socialist instrument even stronger.

At this point the Constitution is a dead letter, and certainly among those who never signed it and never agreed to it. It was agreed to by those who are long since dead. It has no authority over the living, and we can't force it onto the unwilling (see Spooner). Forget the Constitution. It had it's chance, and failed. To argue that God established it, and then to witness it's utter failure to limit the Federal Government is to make the case that God failed. I don't believe that that is the case. The Constitution's major flaw was that it relied on mortal beings to uphold it. Super-major flaw, if you ask me.

It failed just like the king over Israel failed. God (supposedly) established both knowing (with his omniscience) full well that it, the Constitution, would fail. Did it serve a purpose? Quite possibly. There were both good men and wicked men in that convention. Insomuch as the Federal Government was given any power over the unwilling, it was evil, and insomuch as it limited that power over the unwilling, it was good. The good came from it's limits, not from it's illegitimate power over the unwilling. And that may have bought just enough time to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to keep the Federal Government out of the bitter persecution the Saints experienced. But I don't believe it was because of it's power, but because of the limits placed on it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Government Debt and the Libertarian Solution

Government debt's a big problem in the US and all over Europe (and I'm sure elsewhere). What's to be done? For starters, governments need to cut spending across the board. That'll prevent more debt. As for the existing debt, there's only one libertarian solution. I give you Rothbard via "The Ethics of Liberty", chapter 24, paragraph 5:
Many libertarians fall into confusion on specific relations with the State, even when they concede the general immorality or criminality of State actions or interventions. Thus, there is the question of default, or more widely, repudiation of government debt. Many libertarians assert that the government is morally bound to pay its debts, and that therefore default or repudiation must be avoided. The problem here is that these libertarians are analogizing from the perfectly proper thesis that private persons or institutions should keep their contracts and pay their debts. But government has no money of its own, and payment of its debt means that the taxpayers are further coerced into paying bondholders. Such coercion can never be licit from the libertarian point of view. For not only does increased taxation mean increased coercion and aggression against private property, but the seemingly innocent bondholder appears in a very different light when we consider that the purchase of a government bond is simply making an investment in the future loot from the robbery of taxation. As an eager investor in future robbery, then, the bondholder appears in a very different moral light from what is usually assumed.
And there you have it. Number 1, don't buy government bonds, and number 2, if you do, you have no right to payback, ie. from future plundered loot. Therefore, the US government, and all governments, should default and repudiate their debt, cut spending, live within their means, and finally, shrink their budgets drastically (to non-existence). That's the only truly libertarian solution to the government debt problem. Anything else is hacking at the branches instead of striking the root.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ron Paul, The Only One We Can Trust

This video is absolutely superb. If you value life and freedom at all, Ron Paul deserves your support.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ezra Taft Benson, Anarchist

I'm not sure why I've been fixated on this the last few days, how it entered my mind's eye, but I can't shake it until I get it out. I believe that Ezra Taft Benson, former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, and prophet of God, was an anarchist of the voluntaryist/libertarian sort, and that's a good thing.

He spoke often about the need to defend and preserve the Constitution of the United States. Now, it is also my belief that constitutional government is a "pure manifestation of Socialism". How do I reconcile the belief that Ezra Taft Benson was both an anarchist and a Constitutionalist? That's easy, for the same reasons that I'm both an anarchist and a Constitutionalist.

One of the most popular essays of Ezra Taft Benson is his "The Proper Role of Government". He begins this essay with these verses of LDS scripture on the proper role of government:
We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life... We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience. (D&C 134:1-2,5, emphasis added)
On the source of government power he writes:
The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form? A hypothetical question? Yes, indeed! But, it is a question which is vital to an understanding of the principles which underlie the proper function of government.
You see, it's right there. Government cannot wield any power not first possessed by the people. Person A is not justified in using force to get Person B to pay for the services of health-care for Person A, nor is Person A justified in using force to get Person B to pay for the services of security for Person A. This is a basic principle, and the bedrock of voluntaryist anarchism. Because Person A is not justified in using force against Person B in this manner, Person A is not justified in giving this illegitimate power over Person B to a group of others he calls the "government".

Not being forced to pay for someone else's needs is an inherent and inalienable right of every person. If the government violates these rights, it has violated it's "proper role". The state violates this proper role in two ways, 1) it uses force to extract payment from non-consenting persons, and 2) it uses forces to protect it's arbitrary territorial monopoly on the use of force. The state is unjustified in doing these. I have written on how the state violates the proper role of government here.

Voluntaryist anarchism is "the absence of the state". If the state violates the proper role of government, and Ezra Taft Benson promotes that all government strictly adhere to it's proper role, then it follows that Ezra Taft Benson is anti-state, and thus a proponent of voluntaryist anarchism. What about his support for the Constitution?

The only conclusions that I can make is that he either was unknowingly or unintentionally inconsistent with his views, or it was certain principles within the Constitution, that didn't violate the proper role of government, that he supported. Roderick Long wrote a very good piece looking at the idea of the separation of powers and how they are fulfilled under anarchism here. That's a good starting point in separating constitutional principles from the Constitution itself.

Consider also Ron Paul. He defends the Constitution, but can also be considered a voluntaryist. The US Federal Government has all but completely destroyed the idea of Constitutional restraint. It's illegitimate powers are seemingly unlimited. Promoting the Constitution as a means of scaling down the Federal Government is a worthy endeavor, even for anarchists. Ezra Taft Benson spoke in favor of the Constitution at a time that the Federal Government was discovering all sorts of new powers. He was a necessary voice of warning for the American people.

Based on his beliefs that government must adhere to it's proper role, and that the state does not, it follows then that Ezra Taft Benson was an anarchist and a voluntaryist libertarian (whether he knew it or not!).

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Socialism & Capitalism - Hoppe

Oh boy I wish I read this book sooner. I would have become an anarcho-capitalist a long time ago had I started with this book. Hoppe completely obliterates the argument for socialism in any degree, from a limited nightwatchman state to democratic socialism to full-blown Soviet Union totalitarian socialism. And he does it in under 300 pages.

How great is this book? His first 6 chapters look at every degree of Socialism, and using step-by-step logical deduction shows it to be economically inferior to free market, voluntaryist capitalism. Included in this analysis is an attack on empiricism used by mainstream, non-Austrian, economic theory. He then takes Socialism down with a rock solid ethics/moral argument. But he doesn't end there.

Hoppe completes his masterpiece with a case against the fear of a monopoly producer in a free market, and for the private production of security. He even takes down the "public goods" argument for the state. This book truly has it all. From limited government constitutionalists to totalitarian socialists, all are shown to be economically and morally unjustified and an affront to both reason and liberty. The Mises Institutes offers this book in PDF and ePub, for free! There's no excuse not to read this book, other than you're already deeply committed to the anarcho-capitalist ideal of a voluntary free market in everything. If you aren't, read this, and you will be.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Consistent For 30 Years

The below video demonstrates rather briefly the consistency in the fight for liberty, sound economics, and a non-interventionist foreign policy that has permeated Ron Paul's congressional career.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"How It's Made" - Market Miracles

My 6-year-old son's always asking me how different things are made. He sometimes has some unusual requests. I can only tell him so much before he just gets confused. Enter the Science Channel's "How It's Made". I've watched this program in the past, but he was too young to care. I re-discovered it while channel surfing. I quickly got him to watch it with me, and he fell in love with it. We set up our DVR to record the last 2 episodes, so there's always something new for him to watch.

What is "How It's Made"? To me, it's Leonard Read's "I, Pencil" on steroids. For those unfamiliar with Read's essay, it's a story of creation from the perspective of an everyday pencil. The essay's thesis is that it's impossible for any single person to make a pencil. The story traces the pencil's coming together after it's parts are found all over the world. It takes thousands of people, all of whom are working to satisfy their own self-interest, to manufacture the machines, which then manufacture the parts of the pencil, all coordinated by market prices, to make your common, everyday pencil, sold for pennies on the dollar. It's a testament to how the market works, in near-miraculous fashion.

"How It's Made", unintentionally accomplishes the same demonstration of the market. It shows how ingredients, all of which took a countless number of self-interested people to assemble, come together to make such items as an organ, balloons, nails, a wooden door, a bicycle, light bulbs, and on and on. The program's only a half-hour, and usually showcases between 3 to 4 items. Each item could easily take an hour to showcase it's entire story of creation.

"How It's Made" is a must watch for anyone interested in knowing how different products are manufactured, but also for anyone interested in just how important the free market is in allocating scarce resources and raising our standard of living. That point cannot be stressed enough. Even the slightest government intervention acts as a wrench thrown into the machine that is the economy. The economy recovers and adapts, only to be less efficient than it was before. As my son gets older, I'll be able to use this show, among other things, to teach him all about how an economy works.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ron Paul, Electable, IF He Survives

I've been debating with myself on whether or not I should even make this post. My thoughts on what I'm about to say have a dual meaning. First, on just how far-reaching and consistent Ron Paul's libertarian principles are, and Second, how far I believe we've strayed as a society from the Christian principles to love our neighbor as well as our enemies.

In theory, everything points to Ron Paul being electable. He can out-left the Left and out-right the Right. But I think that's also his downfall. He has too many enemies, and those enemies have too much power. Just look at this list:
  • The Federal Reserve
  • Wall Street Bankers
  • Military Contractors
  • Federal Drug Warriors
  • Big Labor, Unions
  • Big Agriculture
  • Foreign Recipients of Federal Aid
And the list goes on. I see too many special interests with too much on the line (money) to allow a Ron Paul victory. He wants to capsize the boat that is Big Government. And here's the really disturbing part, I even go as far as believing in the possibility of Ron Paul being assassinated if he even gets closes to winning the election. Blood follows money, and his enemies have a lot of money. I wouldn't put it past them to fill pinched enough by a potential Ron Paul presidency to resort to murder. The ex-Federal drug warrior or military contract employee who'll lose his job because his skills are no longer needed would be the perfect pawn to be manipulated in such a way to get the trigger pulled.

I hate that I believe this to be a real possibility. I hate that I see our society as one obsessed with entitlement, the desire to benefit at the expense of others, and the desire to control unpopular habits and behavior at the point of a gun.

And another point, I'm not sure we deserve a Ron Paul presidency. Our cup is filled to the brim with this belief that the American government can do no wrong, and if it does, all we need is a little reform. Reforms haven't worked, and won't work. Ron Paul is the only one running for the presidency that understands this, and will do something about it. And that just might get him killed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

When Does Law Become Criminal?

If you've ever criticized taxation in front of an average statist, be them liberal or conservative, you know that it quickly turns awkward. They insist that taxation is necessary for certain services and that they're happy to pay it. They sometimes even assume you're advocating not paying taxes, then the conversation turns towards a discussion on the merits of "obeying the law".

We are just supposed to obey the law, people say. My fellow Latter-day Saints are even more insistent on this, throwing out the knee-jerk 12th Article of Faith reaction. We are supposed to support "government" and obey the law. We are supposed to be good little citizens. If we don't like the law, we can write a letter to our congressman, our run for office ourselves, etc.

But what about when the law becomes criminal? What, you don't believe the law can be criminal? You say: "Taxation isn't criminal. Government interventions in my business transactions isn't criminal. The state deciding what I can or can't consume isn't criminal. No, not at all. We've all tacitly consented to the social contract that legitimizes the government that passes laws that create taxation, economic interventions, and consumption laws."

At what point would you begin to question the legitimacy of the law? If everything the government does is kosher, then can it ever do wrong? You would think not. It can steal, ie. tax, with impunity. It can control our consumption. It can insert itself into every one of our relationships or interactions with others. It can even force us to fight it's wars. It can do no wrong, you see!

Or can it? Surely your average liberal or conservative statist would be horrified if their government started killing all but one of their children. Or if the government started requiring your entire income, leaving you with food stamps and housing vouchers. Wouldn't they? Wouldn't they be absolutely horrified? They would! And rightly so! The government has become a criminal gang. Before, with it's minor taxation (and inflation) and economic interventions, we were okay with it. We blithely assumed that tacit consent and the social contract kept us all fat and happy. That government was there for our good.

But it wasn't. It never was. There's no such thing as a social contract. Authority must be explicitly granted, and few people living today have explicitly granted power to those who exercise authority over them (and dissenting others). Every state today is illegitimate for the majority of the people it rules over. Only when their laws, already criminal, become obviously criminal do people see the illegitimacy of the state. Don't wait for that. It could be too late.

Take the time now to study the origin and nature of the state. Free your mind from it's control, first and foremost, and then you will be free. You will have changed your mentality. You will see the state for what it is, and you will understand why it's important to obey it's laws. Not because they are good and right and legitimate, but because if you don't, you will either wind up in a cage, or dead.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ron Paul, Raising the Title of Liberty

Chapter 46 of the Book of Alma, in the Book of Mormon, chronicles the time that Captain Moroni of the Nephite Armies rallies his people together to fight for their liberty. The seminal moment came when he created "the title of liberty":
And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah. And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it:

"In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children,"

and he fastened it upon the end of a pole. And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land."
With this in mind, I invite you to watch the below video.

It is my belief, that Ron Paul is raising our Title of Liberty today. May all of us, black, white, old, young, have the courage to recognize this, and follow him into battle!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scarcity and Property Rights

It is a simple fact that our world is a world of scarcity, that is, that human wants exceed the amount of usable resources to satisfy them. This is not say that usable resources are not being discovered, or that human wants will not change. Of course change happens. Oil was once considered a nuisance, but now it's considered a usable good.

When people need the same resources (economic goods) to satisfy their wants, conflict ensues. This is what economists call the "economic problem": How are things to be produced and the factors of production allocated in a world of scarcity? There are ways of handling conflict over scarce resources. People can fight over them, and to the victor go the spoils. Or, people can reason. They can use the resource between their ears to come up with ways of ending, reducing, and preventing conflict, leading to the creation of wealth and prosperity. One of those ways has been through the formulation of a theory of property rights.

Every school of economic thought today recognizes that we live in a world of scarcity, and that property rights are a necessary tool in avoiding conflict. In other words, they are all trying to solve the economic problem. Here're some resources to better understand scarcity and property rights:

Scarcity - Russell Shannon
The Ethics and Economics of Private Property - Hans Hoppe
Economists and Scarcity - Steven Horwitz
Economics for the Citizen, Part 1 - Walter Williams

What each of these resources will explain is the fact that we live in a world of scarcity. If we didn't, we'd have no use for the study of economics or a theory property rights. Through economic progress, scarcity is transformed into abundance. Things become abundant because human beings figure out ways to improve their processes and reduce their costs. When government creates artificial scarcity, as they do with schemes like licensing laws, economic regulations, and patent and copyright protections, progress is stifled.

One final point. To argue that God has made for us a world of abundance, and that everything is plentiful, is to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the above. Yes, God has made for us a world of abundance, but we have yet to completely discover it. It's all there, just waiting for us, but until economic progress advances to the point that everything anybody will ever want can be had in abundance, it's a little silly to insist that we don't live in a world of scarcity. And remember, the way to abundance is a market free from government intervention.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ron Paul, a Scholar, Not a Politician

It's perfectly clear to me that Ron Paul is unlike anyone else in Washington, and unlike any of the other candidates vying for the Republican nomination for President. But it may not be perfectly clear to you. I'd like to invite anyone unfamiliar with Ron Paul's breadth of principle and scholarship to look at a few things.

Books - Ron Paul has written or co-written several books, all of them (except his medical works) with one purpose: to spread the message of freedom. You'll also notice that not a single one of them engages in self-aggrandizement, unlike many others. In chronological order:

 - Ron Paul has delivered hundreds of speeches on the House floor, and written hundreds of articles and columns on liberty and freedom. Here're a few compilations:

What should be obvious is that Ron Paul is a man who stands on and is guided by his deep commitment to principle. Despite heavy opposition, he's been a relentless defender of liberty. Ron Paul will do everything within his power, as he's done, to restore liberty in America. He doesn't promise what he can't deliver. He's been around quite a while and knows a thing or two about the political game, and he's refused to play it. I hate to see a man of Ron Paul's caliber wrestle around in the putrid mud puddle that is Washington DC, but I believe he does it out of selflessness and out of a love for liberty and his fellow man.

Multi-Million Dollar Copyright Infringement, Every Day

Over the last few years, I've pitched my tent on the anti-copyright and anti-patent side of the libertarian camp. In other words, I don't hold that ideas are property, or can be property, and the granting of such monopoly privileges by the state is an act of theft and wealth redistribution of all real property owners.

John Tehranian of the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law has written a fantastic paper for the Utah Law Review that looks at the disparity between copyright law and copyright norms. It's worth a full read, however, what I wanted to share here is his making plain just how often the average person, in this case the average college professor, infringes on copyright, to the tune of billions per year:
To illustrate the unwitting infringement that has become quotidian for the average American, take an ordinary day in the life of a hypothetical law professor named John. For the purposes of this Gedankenexperiment, we assume the worst-case scenario of full enforcement of rights by copyright holders and an uncharitable, though perfectly plausible, reading of existing case law and the fair use doctrine. Fair use is, after all, notoriously fickle and the defense offers little ex ante refuge to users of copyrighted works.

In the morning, John checks his email, and, in so doing, begins to tally up the liability. Following common practice, he has set his mail browser to automatically reproduce the text to which he is responding in any email he drafts. Each unauthorized reproduction of someone else’s copyrighted text—their email—represents a separate act of brazen infringement, as does each instance of email forwarding. Within an hour, the twenty reply and forward emails sent by John have exposed him to $3 million in statutory damages.

After spending some time catching up on the latest news, John attends his Constitutional Law class, where he distributes copies of three just-published Internet articles presenting analyses of a Supreme Court decision handed down only hours ago. Unfortunately, despite his concern for his students’ edification, John has just engaged in the unauthorized reproduction of three literary works in violation of the Copyright Act.

Professor John then attends a faculty meeting that fails to capture his full attention. Doodling on his notepad provides an ideal escape. A fan of post-modern architecture, he finds himself thinking of Frank Gehry’s early sketches for the Bilbao Guggenheim as he draws a series of swirling lines that roughly approximate the design of the building. He has created an unauthorized derivative of a copyrighted architectural rendering.

Later that afternoon, John attends his Law and Literature class, where the focus of the day is on morality and duty. He has assigned e.e. cumming’s 1931 poem i sing of Olaf glad and big to the students. As a prelude to class discussion, he reads the poem in its entirety, thereby engaging in an unauthorized public performance of the copyrighted literary work.

Before leaving work, he remembers to email his family five photographs of the Utes football game he attended the previous Saturday. His friend had taken the photographs. And while she had given him the prints, ownership of the physical work and its underlying intellectual property are not tied together. Quite simply, the copyright to the photograph subsists in and remains with its author, John’s friend. As such, by copying, distributing, and publicly displaying the copyrighted photographs, John is once again piling up the infringements.

In the late afternoon, John takes his daily swim at the university pool. Before he jumps into the water, he discards his T-shirt, revealing a Captain Caveman tattoo on his right shoulder. Not only did he violate Hanna-Barbera’s copyright when he got the tattoo—after all, it is an unauthorized reproduction of a copyrighted work—he has now engaged in a unauthorized public display of the animated character. More ominously, the Copyright Act allows for the “impounding” and “destruction or other reasonable disposition” of any infringing work. Sporting the tattoo, John has become the infringing work. At best, therefore, he will have to undergo court-mandated laser tattoo removal. At worst, he faces imminent “destruction.”

That evening, John attends a restaurant dinner celebrating a friend’s birthday. At the end of the evening, he joins the other guests in singing “Happy Birthday.” The moment is captured on his cellphone camera. He has consequently infringed on the copyrighted musical composition by publicly performing the song and reproducing the song in the video recording without authorization. Additionally, his video footage captures not only his friend but clearly documents the artwork hanging on the wall behind his friend—Wives with Knives—a print by renowned retro-themed painter Shag. John’s incidental and even accidental use of Wives with Knives in the video nevertheless constitutes an unauthorized reproduction of Shag’s work.

At the end of the day, John checks his mailbox, where he finds the latest issue of an artsy hipster rag to which he subscribes. The ’zine, named Found, is a nationally distributed quarterly that collects and catalogues curious notes, drawings, and other items of interest that readers find lying in city streets, public transportation, and other random places. In short, John has purchased a magazine containing the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, and public display of fifty copyrighted notes and drawings. His knowing, material contribution to Found’s fifty acts of infringement subjects John to potential secondary liability in the amount of $7.5 million.

By the end of the day, John has infringed the copyrights of twenty emails, three legal articles, an architectural rendering, a poem, five photographs, an animated character, a musical composition, a painting, and fifty notes and drawings. All told, he has committed at least eighty-three acts of infringement and faces liability in the amount of $12.45 million (to say nothing of potential criminal charges). There is nothing particularly extraordinary about John’s activities. Yet if copyright holders were inclined to enforce their rights to the maximum extent allowed by law, barring last minute salvation from the notoriously ambiguous fair use defense, he would be liable for a mind-boggling $4.544 billion in potential damages each year. And, surprisingly, he has not even committed a single act of infringement through P2P file-sharing. Such an outcome flies in the face of our basic sense of justice. Indeed, one must either irrationally conclude that John is a criminal infringer—a veritable grand larcenist—or blithely surmise that copyright law must not mean what it appears to say. Something is clearly amiss. Moreover, the troublesome gap between copyright law and norms has grown only wider in recent years.
Simply WOW! The best part about this is that as absurd as this shows copyright to be, his examples are things we all do every day. Little infringements like humming a or singing along with a tune on the radio, or capturing a painting in a photograph of a friend. And these add up to billions every year. We are all guilty. Unless you live under a rock, literally, you have probably infringed on somebody's copyright today.

Take this for what it's worth. It's not even a reductio ad absurdum. It's an every day example. Something is clearly wrong here, and I believe it begins with treating ideas, non-scarce and infinitely reproducible, as objects of property. The square blocks that are ideas do not and cannot fit in the round hole that is property rights.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's About Love

I am wont to harp on non-libertarian political philosophies because of their foundation in violence. I'd like to take just a moment to explain something that I haven't done a good enough job explaining.

Libertarianism to me is about one thing, Love. I've said that the libertarian political philosophy can be summed up in one phrase, "Keep your hands to yourself." Why should we do this? There're all sorts of reasons why we should practice libertarianism, but I believe the primary reason should be out of love and respect for other people.

I want liberty for you as much as I want liberty for myself. I know that freedom is the only way that prosperity can be achieved, and I want you to have prosperity. I want you to pursue and find happiness. I want you to be free from the control of others. And I want you to be free to serve your fellow man.

Liberty implies responsibility. If the social contract exists, it exists as an implied contract between civilized men to keep their hands to themselves. To treat and behave towards each other how we want others to treat and behave towards us. We are not truly committed to the philosophy of liberty if we are not committed to allowing others the freedom we want for ourselves. Focus on loving your neighbor, and liberty and prosperity will naturally follow.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Supporting Ron Paul

I have shared content and posted about Ron Paul a little more often than usual lately. For those who know me, you know that I don't care to waste my time voting nor get involved in elections. However, Walter Block has convinced me that I should be doing all I can to promote Ron Paul.

Now, let me explain why Ron Paul is different. Yes, he's the only candidate, nay, the only member of the Federal Government that can be considered a voluntaryist. All the rest are coercivist crooks. The entire lot of them. Ron Paul has been battling these crooks for 30 some-odd years, in and out of Congress. He's been consistently principled, and has consistently fought for liberty. He's truly an anomaly. That's not a platitude. That's not something that you can say about any candidate since the founding of the United States. That is a fact.

I've studied Ron Paul the last few years and own several of his books. I've added him to my list of people I consider Great. He truly is a Great Person. He's not only fought for liberty, he's fought for life. He has a large family and has delivered over 4,000 babies during his medical career. In my opinion, he represents everything I believe in politically and spiritually. 

I tip my hat and give my praise and my support to the one that would fix America

Ron Paul!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ron Paul is a Voluntaryist

I've noticed a certain type of libertarian that not only follows and promotes Ron Paul, but that Ron Paul keeps around him. They include Lew Rockwell and the crews at LewRockwell.com and Mises.org. The overriding theme among them all is that they are voluntaryists, or anarcho-capitalists. Since first studying Ron Paul and following this crowd, I've believed that Ron Paul is in actuality a voluntaryist, posing as a Constitutionalist. The video below demonstrates this using quotes from Ron Paul's books, and clips from a few interviews.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The By-product of Freedom

I am primarily a libertarian for philosophical reasons. This wasn't always the case. My ascent into libertarianism began with a study of economics. It began with the columns of Walter Williams. He frequently gives an economics lesson woven within his commentary on current events. I read almost every one of his columns available in his archive. I soon discovered his "Economics for the Citizen" series, a concise introduction to several principles of economics.

From here, I discovered Thomas Sowell, a close friend of Williams. His "Basic Economics" was the first book I purchased on economics. (I've since purchased several of his books.) It taught me all about supply and demand, and why price floors and price ceilings have negative unintended (supposedly) consequences in an economy. I understood, from an economics point of view, the disaster that is government interference with voluntary trading among people, ie. "the market".

I soon discovered the Austrian School of economics. I've read Walter Block, Henry Hazlitt, Robert Murphy, Thomas Woods, and Murray Rothbard. I've learned all about praxeology, or the study of human action. From basic logical axioms, one can not only explain why government interference in the market hampers or destroys economic progress, but why only voluntary trade and social cooperation can produce prosperity.

And there you have it. Prosperity is the by-product of freedom. True prosperity, the generation of wealth, everyone's economic condition improving, can only be achieved through freedom, or through voluntary trade and social cooperation. It cannot be achieved by force. It cannot be achieved by government.

What I discovered first was that government interference in the market was bad for economic reasons. Thus I was a libertarian for economic, or consequentialist reasons. Later, I came to the belief that government interference in the market was bad for philosophical and moral reasons. Two approaches, one conclusion. What I've discovered on both paths are complimentary. That's what truth is. Truth cannot contradict truth. The libertarian political philosophy is true and good. Freedom is the only path to true prosperity.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You've Got a Gun Pointed at Your Head

You can't truly embrace liberty and the libertarian political philosophy until you understand something very important. Every second of every day, you have a gun pointed at your head.

What do I mean? It's obvious. Right now, you have a gun pointed at your head, ready to shoot and kill you. But you can't see it. My goal is to help you see it. It's there. It's always been there. Since the day you were born, it's been there.

There are people in this world, many of them, who want to control you. They aren't content with controlling only themselves. They want to control you, too. And the only way to do this is with violence. Some of them will walk up to you, point a gun at your head, and tell you to either hand over your money, or to get into their car. Others will walk into a ballot box and file a secret ballot, voting for the candidate who's made all sorts of promises that amount to controlling you. The means are somewhat different, though not really, but the end is the same. Control.

Why? Why do they want to control you? Two reasons: 1) Because they are dissatisfied with their lot in life. They don't like having to live off the sweat of their own brow. They want to live off the sweat of yours. It's much easier and less painful to live off of others. And 2) because they don't like what you are doing. You aren't hurting anybody, but what you are doing is offensive to them. And how dare you do something offensive to them!

How do I know that you have a gun pointed at your head? Because the moment you resist their control, the gun will become visible. It's just waiting to show itself. For now it's content with being invisible. That's been enough to keep you in line. The moment you decide to resist is the moment the gun takes forms. Try not paying your taxes. Try consuming certain plants in the privacy of your own home. Try paying an unlicensed practitioner for a service. Try buying raw milk. Try operating a lemonade stand. Try worshiping the wrong god. There are thousands of ways that we are being controlled. Resist any of them, and you will soon find yourself looking down the barrel of a gun. Resist further, and you will be shot.

Until you understand this hard truth, you cannot understand liberty. Learn it. See it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Button Pushing and the Radical Libertarian

Since I claim to be a radical libertarian, the question presents itself, "What is a radical libertarian?" Though I'll give my own thoughts on the question, I could not answer this any better than one of the greatest of radical libertarians, Murray Rothbard:
The true test...of the radical spirit, is the button-pushing test: if we could push the button for instantaneous abolition of unjust invasions of liberty, would we do it? If we would not do it, we could scarcely call ourselves libertarians, and most of us would only do it if primarily guided by a passion for justice.

The genuine libertarian, then, is, in all senses of the word, an "abolitionist"; he would, if he could, abolish instantaneously all invasions of liberty, whether it be, in the original coining of the term, slavery, or whether it be the manifold other instances of State oppression. He would, in the words of another libertarian in a similar connection, "blister my thumb pushing that button!"
Simply beautiful! He smacks the nail once and it's flattened. I wholeheartedly agree with Rothbard and joyfully claim to be such a radical. So then, in my estimation, what would the button that I've pushed abolish exactly? I'll start at home and move outward:
I think that about does it. I may have missed one or two things, but since all public funding of government would be abolished, what I missed will disappear. I encourage the inquirer to explore each link above. That, my friends, is what it means to be a radical libertarian.

Legend of the Guardians - A Libertarian Allegory

What a wonderful movie this was! I was enthralled the entire time. It had everything a libertarian could hope for. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is a story about good versus evil, cowardice versus bravery, slavery versus freedom. I don't want to give away any spoilers but allow me to run it down.

The story begins with a family of 5 owls, 2 parents, 2 brothers, and a little sister. One of the brothers, Soren, loves to repeat his father's stories about "the Guardians of Ga'Hoole", a "mythical group of warrior owls, who once saved all owlkind from the evil 'Pure Ones' in a great battle in which the Guardians' leader, Lyze of Kiel, defeated the Pure Ones' leader Metal Beak" to his little sister, Eglantine. The other brother, Kludd, teases Soren for his "dreams" and soft-headedness.

After the brothers are given a lesson in flying from their father (Soren being the better flyer) and their parents leave to go hunting, the brothers fall from their tree and land on the ground. They're being attacked by some sort of large muskrat when two other owls swoop down and save their lives. However, these owls, it turns out, are part of the "Pure Ones" and have kidnapped the brothers. They're brought to St. Aegolious, the home of the Pure Ones, where Soren is enslaved as a "picker", and Kludd, after denying his brother, becomes a favorite of Nyra, the wife of Metal Beak and second-in-command. She, of course, poisons his mind.

Meanwhile, Soren meets a smaller owl, also kidnapped, named Gylfie, and promises her that the two of them will escape. As pickers, they're job is to break apart the discarded owl waste looking for shiny metal fleks. These are used to build some sort of super weapon. The two are able to escape when one of the Pure Ones admits he's been looking for someone like Soren to help escape, and to find the Guardians for help.

After an eventful journey, they find the Guardians' island and convince them to help all those who have been kidnapped. I won't go any further in the story, but I will point out a few things. The Pure Ones tactics are evil and cowardice. They kidnap young owls, then tell them that their parents abandoned them and have become orphans. They brainwash and "moon-blink" them (a sort of hypnosis) into serving their purposes. The Pure Ones' goal is to take over the entire owl kingdom and become their rulers. They are a pure manifestation of "the political means".

The Guardians, by way of contrast, lead a community of the virtuous. There's is a society of voluntaryist institutions. They are brave defenders of the weak. And on top of that, Ezylryb, who is in fact Lyze of Kiel, and chronicler of the Guardians' stories, makes it very clear to Soren that battle is not glorious and is not heroic. Battle is a horrible thing but something that must be done in order to protect their freedoms.

What this movie demonstrates is exactly the libertarian argument. Good is voluntary institutions, bravery, and doing all you can to avoid war. Evil is conscription, slavery, brainwashing, and the desire to rule over others. It provided a wonderful mentoring opportunity for my son. We talked all about these things when the movie ended. I made it clear to me son that being a "coward" means you are afraid of responsibility, and that cowards try to force others to do something that they don't want to do. And that doing so is wrong. I couldn't recommend a better movie for kids to see the difference between good and evil in a fun and exciting way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Call Me Mr. Radical Libertarian

A few months ago, my Bishop, as part of an introduction of sorts to someone else, called me a "radical libertarian". Ever since then, I've put a lot of thought into that title, and have decided to completely embrace it. I've since added some flare to my website in that same vein (adding "anarcholibertarian" to my title image and an anarchocapitalist emblem I designed 2 years ago on the left panel). I've become very comfortable with these types of titles. In fact, I've started to wonder why more people don't wear their politics "on their sleeve", as it were. And I think I have an answer.

You see, unlike my "radical libertarian" politics, Democrats and Republicans rely on the coercive and violent power of the state. Their political philosophies depend on government force. Mine doesn't. The only way that Democrats can "spread the wealth around" is by picking up a gun and pointing it at the heads of the wealthy. The only way that Republicans can prohibit drugs and prostitution is by picking up a gun and pointing it at the heads of consenting adults. The modus operandi of Democrats and Republicans is picking up a gun and pointing it at someone's head in order to control them or take their money.

Every statist political philosophy from limited government Constitutionalists to totalitarian Socialists depend on pointing guns at those unwilling to play along with their schemes. Only the political philosophy that I adhere to, call it libertarian, voluntaryist, or anarchist, claims that this is immoral and unethical. You cannot point guns at people's heads in order to control them or take their money. It's wrong, PLAIN and SIMPLE.

For this reason, it's obvious why most people aren't open about their politics, why they don't wear their politics on their sleeve. They're ashamed of them. They know they rest on violence, and that doesn't sit well with their inner light, with their conscience. Pointing guns entails conflict, which is why they're silent about it. They don't want to contend with others, and face the consequences of their politics. Not everyone is mum about them. There are many outspoken liberals and conservatives. I think these are the ones that either don't know what their politics are based on, or don't care. They're either ignorant or okay with using violence and coercion as a means to an end. And that's what's wrong with the world today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Joseph Smith's Prophecy on the US Government

I just read this great paper titled "Joseph Smith: The Profile of a Prophet". On page 16, he shares a prophecy given by Joseph Smith while in conversation with Stephan A. Douglas, which reads:
unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the saints in the state of Missouri and punish crimes committed by her officers, that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left, for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished, thereby perpetrating a foul and corroding blot upon the fair fame of this great republic, the very thought of which would have caused the high-minded and patriotic framers of the Constitution of the United States to hide their faces with shame.
The author of this article goes on to explain that he believes this prophecy concerned mostly the Whig party (see 3b) at the time. I thought I'd offer some speculation on an alternative interpretation (3b in the last reference touches on this somewhat).

It is argued by many in the austro-libertarian camp, including Thomas DiLorenzo, that Lincoln was a tyrant who violated the Constitution and destroyed the concept of state sovereignty. In light of this prophecy, is it not conceivable that what Joseph Smith is referring to here is the destruction of the government as it was then known, a voluntary republic of sovereign states, limited and decentralized in it's power, relative to the government that existed after the Civil War, and continues to this day? In other words, Joseph Smith is here prophesying of Lincoln's trampling of the Constitution and overthrowing of state sovereignty and decentralized government. Further, Lincoln and the Republican's rise followed the Whig Party's demise. Paired with his prophecy on the Civil War, we have a pretty accurate view of how things turned out, do we not?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Social Contract Theory, Defined & Destroyed

Social Contract theory has been a thorn in my side for quite some time. I knew it was bogus, have studied some things that argue such, but could never quite shake it. Stefan Molyneux to the rescue:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stanislaw Burzynski, Saver of Lives, Modern Superhero

I've recently watched an incredible documentary detailing the bitter and greedy persecution of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. As of this post, that documentary can be viewed here for free.

I highly recommend watching this documentary in order to completely understand the evil and tyranny that has slowed down this very important progress in cancer therapy. It shows the relentlessness of the Texas Medical Board, the Food & Drug Administration, the US Federal Government, and the devious practices of the National Cancer Institute, in protecting the profits of special interests in the cancer therapy "industry".

For his courage, his perseverance, and his medical breakthroughs, I am adding Dr. Burzynski to my list of people who I consider "great". More information on this documentary can be found here. Dr. Burzynski's clinic's website can be found here.

I will also add, if I or any of my loved ones have to go through the ordeal of treating cancer, I will do everything in my power to be treated by Dr. Burzynksi's clinic.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Polygamy and the Liberation of Women

Yesterday, I shared three articles that have given me a brand new perspective on the institution of polygamous (plural) marriage. I thought I'd say a little bit about them. Here they are again:
The first one does a good job at expelling the notion that polygamy is weird or unusual. It explains how many Americans are today polygamous, mathematically speaking. I don't have much else to say about this one.

The second one introduced to me something about polygamy that I had never considered, how it's beneficial for women. Married men of high status (prestige, wealth, or both), would no longer be considered off-limits. They would very much still be in the running, competing with other men. I think this would cause a higher number of men to improve themselves, their skills, their attractiveness, and so on. That's what competition does, and should do. But it will also cause women to improve themselves. Women wouldn't hold the belief that "all the good men are married," and so they would improve their attractiveness, their lady-like skills, and so on. Of course, as the article notes, men suffer. Those men who don't care to improve themselves so as to compete with other men would be less likely to find a good wife, one who has made herself more marketable by improving herself in various ways. Women have the upper hand over men under polygamy.

The third article as well introduced to me something that I had never considered, and that is the liberating factor. If a woman was less adept at homemaking and child-rearing, she could partner with a woman who was. She would be free to have as many children as she would like, and still work on her career outside the home. She would have an intimate knowledge of her husband, and her fellow sister-wives, and how her children would be raised. They wouldn't be raised by strangers in the local daycare. They would be raised by her sisters, of whom she shares common values. The husband and his wives could all share in the duties inside and outside the home, all working together to make the job of raising a large family easier to bear. This is incredibly liberating for women. Just imagine the possibilities, and consider those Mormon women that lived this way for quite some time.

Now, I want to be clear, I'm not advocating that anybody start practicing plural marriage. The only time plural marriage should be practiced is under the direction of the Holy Priesthood of God. (I'm not saying that that is the only time, legally speaking.) It was for a time, but the state got it's way and the practice since ceased. It's unfortunate, I think. If you look at the early Saints, their lives, their liberty, and so on, one can easily make the connection that the institution of plural marriage as practiced by the Saints of God was a beneficial part of their society.

I have to be completely honest. I see, as did Joseph Smith and his brethren, the righteousness in this institution, and would gladly practice it if allowed to do so. But only under the direction of the Holy Priesthood, and only as a free man. The black market a la Warren Jeffs has done horrors to this once sacred practice. May freedom be restored one day, is my wish.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Celebrating July 4th Properly, Post-4th Thoughts

I did a lot of complaining this year on the State of Utah recent lift of their ban on the private use of aerial fireworks. It, along with the everdepressing show of blind nationalism by everyone, kept me in a rather dreary mood all throughout the holiday (which in Utah, isn't over until after Pioneer Day, the 24th of July). In order to avoid this hard-heartedness next year, I've been thinking of ways that I can celebrate.

This got my thinking about why we celebrate the 4th of July. It's call'd Independence Day for a reason. What happen'd on the 4th of July? 200+ years ago, our American ancestors seced'd from the largest empire in the world, Great Britain. They claim'd their independence from a distant tyrant. So we could celebrate the 4th by studying that seemingly ancient history, OR we could celebrate the 4th by studying modern history. What do I mean by that?

What a better way to celebrate the 4th than by studying the growth and tyranny of the largest empire in the world, the United States?, than by studying the principles of nullification and secession, and how they are at work today, all over the country, and the world? I think that's what I'll do. I'll use this time each year to teach my family the history of the American State, of all the ways it has violat'd it's own Constitution, and violat'd the rights of it's citizens. I'll teach them about nullification, when it's been used successfully, where it's being used today, and where it should be used tomorrow. We'll explore current nullification movements. I'll teach them about secession. About Lincoln's tyranny, and shredding of the Constitution. I'll teach them about modern secessionist movements around the world, like South Sudan, Southern California, and Scotland.

Yes, I think that's how I'll be celebrating the 4th of July each year, in it's proper spirit!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Full-body Cavity Searches For Everyone

That's it. What a scary revelation. Terrorists could be hiding bombs inside their bodies. I can't believe this. It is absolutely paramount that the TSA start conducting full-body cavity* searches on all passengers. If they don't do this, then how am I going to feel safe getting on an airplane? How am I going to feel secure that I won't be blown up by a terrorist hiding a bomb inside his body? The only way the TSA can guarantee my safety in light of this new information is to require a full body cavity search of every passenger. That's it. That's the only way. Nothing else will do. Terrorists are a serious threat to everyone, and the TSA should take that threat seriously. If the TSA is going to be trusted as having our security as their number one priority, they will immediately start full-body cavity searching every passenger on every flight. They can't be trusted otherwise.

* When I say "full-body cavity" search, this includes finding surgical incision marks, however old, and ripping them open to search inside. This is absolutely imperative!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Utah Gives License to Aggress

Emitting a loud noise can be an act of aggression. The test of whether or not you are committing aggression through your emission of loud noise was given by Rothbard:
Most of us think of homesteading unused resources in the old-fashioned sense of clearing a piece of unowned land and farming the soil. There are, however, more sophisticated and modern forms of homesteading, which should establish a property right. Suppose, for example, that an airport is established with a great deal of empty land around it. The airport exudes a noise level of, say, X decibels, with the sound waves traveling over the empty land. A housing development then buys land near the airport. Some time later, the homeowners sue the airport for excessive noise interfering with the use and quiet enjoyment of the houses.

Excessive noise can be considered a form of aggression but in this case the airport has already homesteaded X decibels worth of noise. By its prior claim, the airport now "owns the right" to emit X decibels of noise in the surrounding area. In legal terms, we can then say that the airport, through homesteading, has earned an easement right to creating X decibels of noise. This homesteaded easement is an example of the ancient legal concept of "prescription," in which a certain activity earns a prescriptive property right to the person engaging in the action.

On the other hand, if the airport starts to increase noise levels, then the homeowners could sue or enjoin the airport from its noise aggression for the extra decibels, which had not been homesteaded. Of course if a new airport is built and begins to send out noise of X decibels onto the existing surrounding homes, the airport becomes fully liable for the noise invasion.
When I purchased my home in Salt Lake City, aerial fireworks for private use were illegal 12 months out of the year. Fountain and lesser fireworks were legal during the month of July and end of December. Recently, Utah passed HB22, legalizing the sale and private use of aerial fireworks during July and the end of December. Because of this, the decibel level around my house has increased several-fold. So much so, that the week leading up to Independence Day, my son was unable to sleep until the noise subsided. He's always had sensitive hearing. He's never liked the noise emitted by aerial fireworks. I don't care for the extra "noise invasion" either. It's a nuisance.

It is my charge, based on Rothbard's theory above, that Utah, along with my neighbors, have now committed an act of aggression by legalizing the use of these louder fireworks. I usually applaud the legalizing of a formerly prohibited act, but those acts which violate the rights of others should remain prohibited by whatever legal authority that exists. That's supposedly government's job, to protect our rights, and in this instance the State of Utah has authorized and licensed the violation of our rights. It's no different than if the State of Utah allowed access to my home by the uninvited, during the months of July and end of December. It would be as much an act of aggressive invasion as what Utah has done by legalizing louder aerial fireworks.

Let me be clear. I don't care if you use aerial fireworks. I only care if they are done near my property, where I had the right to a certain level of noise, that which was established before I bought my home. Now the State of Utah has given my neighbors permission to exceed that level, thereby committing an act of aggression against all those who find the louder noise offensive. Shame on Utah. And shame on those who call themselves libertarians and fail to recognize what the State of Utah has done.

UPDATE: I realized that this same type of aggression happened when Salt Lake built their Triple-A baseball stadium, currently named Spring Mobile Ballpark, in the middle of a residential area. They have fireworks night once a month or so, and they are extremely loud. I've decided to boycott fireworks nights.

UPDATE 2: I must concede one thing, no, I should not be using monopoly government to do anything. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do I Hate My Country?

I've several times been accused of hating my country with the accompanying suggestion to move, but this is plain and simply a false accusation. That people would infer as much by my opposition to my [many layers of] government is a testament to just how badly people have been educated regarding the state and society.

I want to be perfectly clear, I absolutely love my country. I love our genius and our ingenuity. I love our passion and our charity. I love most of everything there is to love about my country. HOWEVER, I don't confuse "my country" with "my government" or "my nation". In fact, I see, as Albert Jay Nock wrote, that the state is the greatest enemy of mankind. That is, my government is my country's public enemy number ONE.

I take Christ's commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves seriously, which is why I not only want bad government (though I repeat myself) out of my life, but also out of my neighbors'. I want liberty and freedom as much for my fellow countrymen as much as I want it for myself and my family. This is the very reason I am so open about what I believe, and try to share all I can via my website and social networking on the principles of liberty, so that my neighbors may understand as I do the face of our common enemy.

I love my country very much, but I don't make the dangerous mistake of confusing my country with my country's government.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Click-it or Ticket" Rant

I don't understand the "Click-it or Ticket" campaign. It makes no sense to me. I recently attended a driving class to get out of a ticket. The question was asked of the instructor if one can be pulled over for not wearing their seat belt. The instructor unhesitatingly answered, "No." He said that not wearing your seat belt was a "secondary offense", but that it's very easy for a traffic officer to find a "primary offense" of which to stop you, in order to ticket you for not wearing a seat belt.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Socialism or Anarchism

I'm reading Murray Rothbard's "Betrayal of the American Right". Chapter 7 talks about his conversion from conservatism to libertarianism, then to anarchism. I found it refreshingly similar (the logic) to my own conversion. Thought I'd share:
My conversion to anarchism was a simple exercise in logic. I had engaged continually in friendly arguments about laissez-faire with liberal friends from graduate school. While condemning taxation, I had still felt that taxation was required for the provision of police and judicial protection and for that only. One night two friends and I had one of our usual lengthy discussions, seemingly unprofitable; but this time when they’d left, I felt that for once something vital had actually been said. As I thought back on the discussion, I realized that my friends, as liberals, had posed the following challenge to my laissez-faire position:

They: What is the legitimate basis for your laissez-faire government, for this political entity confined solely to defending person and property?

I: Well, the people get together and decide to establish such a government.

They: But if “the people” can do that, why can’t they do exactly the same thing and get together to choose a government that will build steel plants, dams, etc.?

I realized in a flash that their logic was impeccable, that laissez-faire was logically untenable, and that either I had to become a liberal, or move onward into anarchism. I became an anarchist.
Ditto for universal health-care, etc. Government-provided goods and services, be they security (police, army) and judicial protection (courts), or health-care and education are "socialistic" by nature. Either you're a socialist, however limited and discriminatory, or you're an anarchist. That's all there is to it. The logic is indeed "impeccable".

Friday, April 29, 2011

Overtime Regulations Hurt Workers

Since the beginning of the year, I've held a second job working as a part-time cashier for Lowe's. This is my first job in this type of retail environment. My mother has worked at Target for over decade, and what I'm about to say as held true for her as well.

Most states, if not all, have some sort of law requiring employers to pay their employees 1.5 times their pay for overtime. Most states stipulate that overtime is any thing over 40 hours a week. Other states look at it daily, and require anything over 8 hours be paid as overtime. Here's why these laws hurt works, and are inconsistent.

Both Lowe's and Target do a very good job at keeping their employees from working anywhere too close to 40 hours. And one of the ways they do this is by hiring more employees, and diluting everyone's hours. I hear it all the time from upper management, "Are you near 40 hours?", "Don't hit 40 hours", etc. I submit that it's the overtime laws that do this to employees. Why else would an employer care if an employee worked over 40 hours a week, or 8 hours a day? What they do is hire more part-time positions, and use 2 employees to cover 20-30 hours a week each. The law is hurting the would be full-time employee with it's requirement of time and half.

Consider also, the law doesn't apply from an employee stand point. With my full-time and part-time jobs, I work anywhere from 60-70 hours a week. I choose to do this. If the law required my second employer to pay me time and half, I probably wouldn't be working there. I need these hours, and am thankful they're available to me. Others like me have to work two jobs, with their commutes and inconsistent scheduling, in order to get the hours they need. Time to let employers decide their own overtime rules, and compete for employees.