Archive for the ‘Falling through the Net’ Category

The Machinery of Freedom?

Lately I have engaged in a number of arguments with people supporting anarcho-capitalist notions. Many of the most extreme of these not only will throw out ambiguous desires for no government, but some of them have stumbled upon a few obfuscatory references to support their claims – or so it appears. Many those immediately point to the same video on youtube (The Machinery of Freedom).


I’m reluctant to post a link to that post, because it’s a bunch of nice sounding rhetoric that makes the ideas of the Anarcho Capitalists seem workable – or at least sound more appealing. From what I understand, it’s an excerpt from a book (?) of the same name. I will admit I have not read the book, as of yet, I see no compelling reason to do so, especially if this excerpt is a representative example of the kinds of arguments the book attempts to make. The video in particular is talking about how police and courts can be handled by private ‘agencies’ like insurance agencies but with policing powers.

My take on ‘Anarchistic’ (non) government

Let me take an aside for a moment and speak to my own opinions of Anarchistic systems I have heard proposed and what I assert the consequences would be. In general, any time in history an anarchistic system is either established intentionally or results consequentially anywhere that a prior existing ‘government’ system (tyrannical or representative), the inevitable result in virtually all cases is for the society or region to fall quickly into tyranny. About the only exception to this is ‘frontier’ states where a migration of people are in the process of moving in, and the government they came from eventually moves in with them. (in other words, the desire is to bring not only themselves, but their culture and the means to maintain it with them)
As a result, I assert that the only time an anarchistic system can exist is when any other form of government is impracticable. Namely when the population is so low and the people are so spread out that a formal government is not only something that would be unfeasible, but is mostly unnecessary.

Some banter around words like ‘anarcho-socialism’ which is even more of an absurdity. A pseudo-marxist voluntary system where everyone just gets along and shares out of their love of the common good. (Whenever I hear this one, I start looking to see if the person is wearing Ruby slippers and chanting “There’s no place like social utopia… There’s no place like social utopia…”)

The basic conclusions that I arrive at whenever I examine suggested ‘anarchistic’ systems is that they will degrade into uncontrolled in fighting between ‘factions’ that spring up – aka ‘tribalism’ and ad-hoc governments will start to spring up despite any desire forbid governments (or certain types of them) to exist. Ultimately, the most brazen and charismatic leaders of these tribal factions will begin to gain a power base which will cause others in less powerful factions to side with the few remaining. The more brutal and irrational, without a basis of rules, will be the one that wins and it will either be beholden too or have to outright attack those with the most wealth first in order to achieve it’s ends. And those ends are tyranny rampant with brutality.

To the credit of the ‘anarchist’ thinkers, I am prone to agree with them that government based systems are also prone to a slow creep to tyranny regardless. But I’m also prone to think that a properly formed government will last far longer and produce better results than any ad-hoc system which is what ultimately results from any anarcho-based system. The best argument I ever heard in favor of anarchy was someone that didn’t describe it as lack of organized government, but a lack of ‘rulers’ – based on the original etymology of the word. At least the view is honest. (although the individual that communicated this to me was one of the ones that forwarded me the link to the video mentioned above)

So what about these Agencies?

In regard to the system outlined in the video itself (and any closely related to it), upon watching the whole thing, my most immediate questions are:

  1. how is that not going to continually erupt into conflict when two (or more) ‘competing’ agencies are marketing their ‘services’ to different groups with different interests and goals?
  2. what is going to prevent that from eroding into serving primarily the ‘clients’ with the biggest pockets and/or most friends?

posseI used to bring up examples of the old west, and while I understand that the stories of the shootouts were more the exception than the norm, the nature of the law being somewhat ‘flexible’ based on whoever had the most gumption and the biggest posse was the only ‘working’ example of what they were talking about that I was aware of. And there were enough examples in the old west of that system failing to reach proper ‘justice’ and thus not being as ‘peachy’ as they describe it. So i always challenge people supporting such ideas to give a ‘working example’.

The honest ones will try to suggest, that just like the minarchism (which is what I support) in the US, it’s a bold, new idea that has never been tried but should be. The less honest will try to point to places where the anarchistic nature of the (lack of) government was simply a consequence of the nomadic or spread out population involved. One such example someone raised was Greenland – I looked it up. As soon as the population started to rise, the imperial influences in Europe came in and enacted a totalitarian regime.

Has it really never been tried?

But as I watched that video, something about what they were describing sounded familiar. And not from the old west. But at first I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I ended up watching some portions of it a couple of times and finally it hit me. It has been tried. A lot. The thing that I couldn’t hit on is that I had this impression in my head – it came initially as just a hunch, but once I realized the nature of what they were describing, I realized there were examples of it – that the only way there can be ‘multiple agencies’ in a single region is if the agencies have very similar goals and if those agencies have formal agreements (i.e. “government”) between one another not only as to how they will pursue those goals to mutual benefit, but to address what to do when their goals come into conflict.

Any other instance of multiple agencies with competing goals being in the same geographical region, as I was inclined to think, break down into endless conflict or results in the multiple agencies drawing lines in the sand based on whatever geography each of them can secure and defend. And even then, the feelings of resentment from their ‘customers’ carry on for years, even decades and centuries and conflicts at their borders generally continue with that resentment. People who used to live on one side of the line want back what they had. People who were moved against their will want to strike back.

Then the money and influence is also exemplified over and over again. Agencies as they describe, do in fact pander and cater to specific desires of the ‘customers’ they claim to represent. If those in charge of an agency, once confined to a given set of geography, feel bold enough, they will even turn on their customers and use the power they have amassed for their own ends. And even when this doesn’t happen, money and influence constantly peck at the doors and convince some running or working for the agencies to suit their needs above the needs of the rest of the ‘customers’.

History is the evidence

No, the anarcho-capitalist’s “agency” approach isn’t anything new at all. They just fail to see how the mixing of opposed ‘customers’ does turn into an endless shootout. It’s happened. In Israel. In Ireland. In Rowanda. In Korea. In Viet Nam. In Cambodia. In Eastern Europe.

If you haven’t figured it out yet yourself, the corollary is international politics. And ask anyone if they want a system that mirrors the one that spawned holy wars, inquisitions, imperial conquests, world wars, nuclear cold wars, etc. I have a feeling, anyone with a brain will say ‘NO’!


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No doubt we’ve all see the zombie Jesus by now

but seriously folks – same concept if done without the sardonicism:

  • that out of this huge, trillions of years old, trillions of trillions of miles across universe full of literally countless numbers of galaxies each of those full of countless stars – many with dozens or even hundreds of planets, some with surrounding moons….
  • that it was all created by a single God (and here’s the good part):
    • who looks just like us!
    • who built it all just for us!
    • and just because of us.
  • and that despite the absolute immensity in both size and age of the universe, it all is here just so a little ape that learned to walk upright and come up with a few thousand word vocabulary can eventually die in a few short decades and go to some magic place (outside this immense universe mind you) where nothing ever goes wrong.
  • and of course, on this little rock alone, there are over 5000 different versions of that particular type of story – and the vast majority of any group believing any partilcular story, each thinks they are the only one(s) that have it right and thus the only one(s) going to the ‘magic place’.

uh, yeah. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

(and to think I’ve been called arrogant and self-righteous by the religious.)

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The following is a response I recently sent to an email that was forwarded to me.  The email included a number of quotations of sales figures of Walmart (with what appeared to be old numbers) comparing them to other chains and eventually criticizing government operations going on in the present. From what I could tell it was praise of Walmart in light of all the demonization going on by the progressive left. But I expanded on it a bit.

From the original email:

  1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day.
  2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
  3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.
  4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target +Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.
  5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world’s largest private employer, and most speak English.
  6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.
  7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined, and  keep in mind they did this in only fifteen years.
  8. During this same period, 31 big supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.
  9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.
  10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had five years ago.
  11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at Wal-Mart stores. (Earth’s population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)
  12. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart.

I then went on to add:

Here’s some other numbers. Walmart currently employs 2.1 million people worldwide. For those of you counting, that amounts to about 1.5% of all the working people (amounting to 140 million) in the country. i.e. if we had about 9 more companies like Walmart, there would be no unemployment right now. The average wage of those employees is not high, but the average skill needed to work at a Walmart isn’t incredibly complex. The average is about $11.75 per hour. (the national average for retail employees is right about $12 per hour, but Walmart also has many programs that involve part-time employment of retirees and special ‘needs’ people. This average is also well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25)

The national poverty line is currently at $22,000 which would also place the annual wage of walmart ($20,744) slightly below that amount, but they also offer benefits and profit share programs to many of their full-time employees. But one should also consider that if a single household has two people working at Walmart making the average wage, that places the total household income above $40,000 per year, well into the so-called ‘middle class’.

Just for sake of argument though, Walmart did post $15 billion in profit last year. So perhaps they should increase wages. With 2.1 million employees and annual (net profit) earnings of 15 billion, if they spent every cent of their profits on raises, that would amount to a great big whopping $3.50 per hour raising the average annual earnings of each employee to $29,000 per year.

Of course, large corporations don’t exist to post no profit. Stockholders don’t buy stock to have no earnings.

So how’s about some other numbers? The US government spends $121,000 dollars per second. To pay for this, they have to borrow $52,000 every second. This means that in 1 minute, the US government eats up $7,264,020 in money that otherwise could have been profits for companies such as Walmart. That’s $435,841,200 per hour, $10,460,188,800 per day.

And of course, the government doesn’t exist to post any profit. So what are they paying as an average salary from all this money they are spending from other people’s productivity? The average federal employee made about $68,000 per year in 2008. And we are upset at Walmart? For what? Making money? THOSE BASTARDS!

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I came to realize something blatantly in error with one of my prior self quotes. It’s one that I am rather fond of so the realization was something I felt worthy of clarification. The problem isn’t so much an inaccuracy of the sentiment as it was a fault of omission. Below is the quote I refer to from my facebook stati tab:

I intend to leave the quote as is, but will point a link back to this posting for further details. The omitted concept is one that any reasonable person would consider implied within the statement and thus it’s not immediately necessary to belabor the quote with unnecessary detail. But since some folks like to stir muck, additional pre-emptive explanation should steal any such deviant’s thunder before they get the opportunity.

The omitted concept is in relation to the words ‘should not morally do’ in relation to a role a taken on behalf of the people by a government entity. When I say that the government be enlisted to do things that the people “morally” should not undertake for themselves, this assumes that the thing being undertaken exists as a moral action to be done on their behalf.

Upon discovering this omission, it occurred to me current government behaviors such as the act of ‘redistributing’ wealth (a role I condemn as both immoral and unconstitutional) might be considered condone-able actions for a ‘government’ to undertake in their stead by way of this omission. This is not what I meant in the slightest.

Instead, I refer to things such as the prosecution of criminal acts after-the-fact or the execution of foreign relations and the role of national defense when facing an imminent threat from a foreign power. Acts of diplomacy must reflect the combined will of the entire population governed and no one individual or small group should be morally allowed to endanger the lives of others or take it upon themselves to extol justice or declare war on foreign nations.

So I just wanted to clear this up before anyone chose to make an attempt at exploiting any potential ambiguity in that particular quote’s wording.

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I have spoken on this before in other threads, but I was updating the comments on a picture by repeating it so I thought it might also be worthy of a blog post to re-iterate the statements. (not to mention, I have been busy with work and haven’t had the energy to post much, so why not?)

Religion supersedes self-esteem by replacing the source of it with what I call ‘God-esteem’. When you combine the church notion that you can’t understand God or his mysterious ‘plan’ with the fact that the purpose for being is to ‘please God’, the notion of anything that is good or bad, including yourself and all your choices, actions and behaviors, is only good if God says it is good. Then you end up with a surrogate esteem through the perceived ideal that is the religion’s notion of ‘God’.

Of course, without proof of this God or proof of the alleged consequences of him (proof that it is his ‘word’ in the bible/torah/koran/book-of-the-dead, etc, proof that he/she/it speaks through the religion’s priests/ministers/missionaries/rabbis/monks/imam, etc.) then you are just as bound to the notion of faith to believe in this God as you are bound to rely _only_ on faith to know what this God wants and that what you are being told he wants is in fact true. (and I have as of yet to see a single instance where what is wanted is communicated by anything other than ‘other men’ or women)

For some time I was confused as to how people so boldly and arrogantly hung on to beliefs and stubbornly not only disagreed with, but ultimately “shut out” any valid or reasonable criticisms of those beliefs — and then in turn called that process of shutting out alternate views as virtuous! It was like they cling to their faith-based ideas as though their lives depended upon it.

But if their entire sense of self-esteem, all they have lived for and based their choices upon is hinged upon the existence of this being and the faith-derived notion that this being sees their life as good, then their entire sense of esteem does in fact rely upon that God existing, and existing as they perceive it to exist.

They cling to those beliefs as though their life and all that is good about it depends on it…. they cling to it as such, because in fact it does!

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I used to worry that natural selection was being contradicted in modern civilized society.  We’re doing things like creating ‘super-bug’ diseases through over-use of antibiotics, meanwhile we seem to be coming up with ways to allow people with all sorts of maladies and genetic no-nos live and produce offspring. A human thing to do, but hardly a way to upgrade the gene pool!

I also worried that ideas were subject to the ‘noise’ factor, especially since the exploding popularity of the internet and talk radio. There is so much information out there and many of the sources are so highly questionable. (I would qualify this with ‘on the net’ but it seems with a couple hundred cable channels, even television is not a reliable source for ‘accurate’ information and journalism is more about ratings chasing than about integrity of information)

I realized last night, neither is true. Or at least neither is worth worrying about.

The Helix Epiphany

Sometimes it is funny how seemingly unrelated concepts can come together to give you a better picture of something else. Someone was talking the other day about a new theory on how DNA and RNA came into existence over hundreds of millions of years. Some scientists apparently now think that a pseudo natural selection process took place with certain ‘bubble’s or collections of chemicals that proved to be more stable than others eventually spawning primitive re-producing cells. But of course, the story started out mentioning the churning cauldrons of primative earth’s volcanically timultuous seas.

What I realized in regards to natural selection is you can’t look at just your own lifetime or those immediately before and after. Natural selection is a process of many many many generations. To assume it is going to be averted by a hundred years or so of technological civilization that still hasn’t sorted out it’s optimal ‘form(s)’ yet is short sighted.

Internet and Computers as a Collective Memory Aid

And the noise on the internet and talk radio? That is not much unlike that early timultuous sea. One of the other unrelated ideas that came to me was when I was thinking about how useful it has been for me to start blogging. I’ve found since I started it, that it helps me keep my ideas on track and gives me something to refer back to, review and revise as my ideas take form – sort of an external surrogate for my own brain. I can write down and retain small details of events or thoughts that I otherwise might not remember in full clarity as my mind moves on to other things. This is probably not much different than has been the case with people writing journals and diaries for thousands of years…. but!

Now there’s this internet thing, this tumultuous cauldron of untested ideas where everyone is now blogging their thoughts and ideas.  The internet is having a ‘shared’ collective memory and little by little the more radical among them move to the top or the edges to be tested against the extremes of the rest of the bubbling soup. Some succeed and some fail, some gain prominence some are dismissed as idiocy. And the process of technology allows all these noisy intermingling ideas to do this more rapidly than ever in human history.

So then you might worry well ‘what if the bad ideas’ win out somehow? Or worse, what if a ‘bad’ idea proves to be the most ‘fittest’ to survive in such conditions. Really? Then I look at current events. I see socialist ideas failing in Greece and Spain. I see socialist ideas failing in America. I remember back to socialist ideas failing in Russia.  I see comments about Cuba and Venezuala having problems. I see people fighting for more freedoms in China and Libya and Iran.

What gives me hope are the new conventions and arenas for the ideas that advance mankind. Sure, they can be prone to the same misuse and abdication as things in the past, but the sheer velocity of how new ideas can spread now and gain prominence is amazing. It’s like giving gun rights to early Americans. You build in a new expectation upon individual freedom that the anti-gun folks have been spending more than 100 years trying to demonize and destroy. How many people do you suppose would willingly give up their internet access after having it now for less than 15 years?

The key is to not focus upon such a narrow slot of time as an indicator of the dominant trait. It’s a form of anthropomorphism more specific to our own reference point of our own lifespan. Sure, I’d like to see robot shells that could instantly transport me to alpha centauri and back for an afternoon luncheon at the Andromeda Cafe’ – but that’s unrealistic. Change takes time and the process of that change is speeding up. But it’s still going to take time.

It’s a rough ride, but the natural selection is live and well and I welcome the noise! Bring it on!!! The cream rises to the top!

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Any time the conservatives try to scale back government social welfare, the progressive camp fires up the smear machine to try to convince the dupes in society that the cut backs are going to be solely responsible for kids starving and old people eating cans of dog food. (Yet they never point out that progressive programs such as these led to many people becoming dependent on the government teet in the first place)

So if any of our wonderful progressive leaders are truly worried that the constituents they and their cohorts on the left have put into a state of ‘government dependency’ are going to suddenly need to start living on alpo and tender vittles, send them a can opener so they can make them available to those in need.

The idea was inspired from the last time the progressive machine churned up this same nonsense back in 1995. Rush Limbaugh, speaking at the GOPAC meeting that year stated in mockery of the nonsense at that time:

“I want to welcome all of my fellow extremists as we sit here and plot the death of American seasoned citizens. And I just want to let you people know, I am taking it seriously. I went out and I bought my mother a brand-new can opener so she’ll have no problem opening the dog food.”
– Rush Limbaugh

So as the progressive machine fires up yet again for another round of propaganda nonsense, let’s respond with can openers for their constituents!  For any interested, I started a group on facebook called:

Send ’em a can opener

Click the link and join up to show your support of the idea.

How to contact your representatives

Here are some helpful links to find the addresses for your representatives to help find where to send your can-opener today!

US Senators of the 112th Congress

Write Your US Representative

Places to get can openers online

There are many great sellers online that not only sell can openers but will ship them to the recipient of your choice.  Amazon lists many and they do ‘gift’ based shipping where you can specify the recipient:

Harold 889 can opener

Or if you prefer American made, they also have Coleman brand starting at $0.01

Coleman 807-376T 2 Can Openers

Finally, I understand that the ‘Swing-a-way’ can opener is not only made in the good ole USA but even has an American flag on the package.  So for those of you so inclined I offer one final link as a place to get this option for a few dollars more:

Swing-a-way Can Opener

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