I’ve had good luck with converting Statists into non-Statists and I think I can write a little primer on it. Before I lay it out below, keep in mind this very important observation – Statists have been subjected to decades of brainwashing to believe what they do. They attend schools where the questions, “Are you intelligent” and “Can you regurgitate what I tell you” are synonym questions. Breaking this conditioning is a lot like getting someone hooked on smoking. At first they hate it, then they get used to it, and finally they like it. Because of this, you will not be able to stand on a street corner and free peoples’ minds en masse. You will have to work with people you are around a lot, and it will take a while.
Step One: Know thy adversary
The first, and most important, thing to realize is that Statists share the Hobbesian view of mankind. This is the view of mankind put forth by Hobbes in his book “Leviathan”. If you can, you should read the first half of this book. If not, read this. Read it, and understand that Hobbes was wrong. Hobbes makes the assumption that given a choice between peaceful trade and murderous theft, the average person prefers murder and theft. Hobbes was a Calvanist that lived the vast majority of his life in the English court, surrounded by murderers (generals and kings). Of course he felt this way – it was all he knew. He never lived as a common person, or even spent any time with a common person. He was writing about something for which he had no knowledge. However, his views are the very core of the Statist position.
Disproving Hobbes –
… is surprisingly easy. First, point out to your Statist company that no gov’t program forced you to meet up. Point out that you are not discussing screwing anyone over or violently taking over anything. Therefore, Hobbes was wrong. People get together because people enjoy the company of other people. Human beings are pack animals – we like to be social. Therefore, we do not need to be forced to get along – we do it naturally.
How mankind really is –
Two things describe humanity well – they are like electricity and they are like dogs. People are like dogs in that they like to form groups and in these groups there is usually some sort of pecking order that can change depending on various situations and so forth. People are like electricity in that they prefer the path of least resistance to get the things they want and to accomplish their goals. Sometimes these two things work in unison, and that is great, and sometimes they work against each other, and that sucks.
Rules vs. Rulers
“Aha!” Your Statist friends will say. “There is a reason to have a gov’t! Sometimes people hurt each other because that is easier than peacefully getting what they want. Thus, we need a gov’t to make hostility too costly to be used.”
At this point, you will plant the seed that will one day sprout freedom and make it so that their love of Statism dies.
RULES are what are important –
Yes, we need rules of engagement for dealing with each other. There are bad people out there. There always will be. We need a way of making it so that dealing with bad people is ok and not to be feared. This is why we have rules. We really only need two rules – The Non-Aggression Principle and Property Rights. Property Rights is a heavily loaded term. Please be sure that you are referring to where people own everything and there is no such thing as “publicly owned” anything.
RULERS are not important –
“But who will enforce those rules if you don’t have a gov’t to do it? Anyways, once someone begins to regularly enforce those rules, isn’t that a gov’t?” is the conclusion your friends will invariably jump to.
First of all – point out that the rules we have now are not enforced. How many bankers went to jail for the financial catastrophe? One – some Indian guy that nobody has ever heard of. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs? He’s free. John Corzine of Golman Sachs and MF Global? He’s free. The gov’t only selectively enforces laws, which means that it doesn’t enforce laws.
But to the question – with no gov’t, how do you have courts? Wouldn’t everyone just start shooting each other since there would be no peaceful way to resolve conflicts, such as what courts are purported to do? This is the core fear that keeps a Statist a Statist in the face of all the gov’t failure we see before us.
The answer that will eventually turn that light on:
We live in a new age with the internet. We already rate products online. We can rate people too. If we decide to go into a contract with someone and there are no courts, what do we do? I can’t predict the future, but here’s what I would do:
- Pick a friend to be my arbitrator.
- Other guy picks a friend to be his arbitrator.
- The arbitrators pick a third arbitrator as a tie-breaker.
- All three arbitrators sign off on the contract.
- In the event of a dispute, they hear the case from both myself and the person I contracted with.
- Arbitrators decide and then both I and the person I had a dispute with rate the arbitrators.
- I rate the person I had a dispute with. He rates me.
- Other people that decide to contract with me or him can see that we had a dispute, why we had it, what happened, who ruled over it, etc.
- Other people will decide whether to do business with either me or him depending on the results.
- Other people will choose their arbitrator depending on the ratings of each.
That’s how I would do it. No gov’t needed! At the very worst – it would be only as bad as what we have now.
“But what if the other guy doesn’t pay the fine or whatever the judgement was against him? How do you punish him without a gov’t?” Your Statist friends will rebuttal.
The fine affects only my pocketbook if I win and he pays. If he doesn’t pay, then the whole world can see what a douchebag this guy is. He will be ostracized. He will have a very hard time finding work. People won’t want to contract with him to do work for him. He’ll find it hard to be a member of society without people always whispering behind his back, asking if he’s currently trying to screw them over. He’ll have to work harder to rebuild his reputation. He’ll do that work too, because he’s a human being and wants to be part of the human “pack”.
Also note that a gov’t would not rise out of this. There would be literally millions of “courts”. Sure, some arbitrators would become preferred, but they can’t hear all cases. They’ll become very expensive as demand for them goes up. An arbitrator that gets bought off will have bad reviews and won’t get used much. In the beginning, things would be fairly rough (as with any new idea), but with use this process would smooth out. Certainly, today we don’t worry about ratings on products when the product is popular and there are hundreds or thousands of ratings.
As you go through this process, you will see impossible scenario arguments tossed at you that would never happen in the real world – denounce the scenario immediately and ask if they can come up with something more realistic. You will see blind adherance to Hobbes’ views, no matter how you show that people really do like each other and want to be around each other because we all get direct enjoyment out of each other’s company – keep disproving Hobbes. You will see blind terror creep into people’s eyes at the thought of no gov’t there to “save us all” from bad people – point out that the gov’t doesn’t save them currently. They will jump to one extreme of human behavior to another, but ardently avoid the vast majority – keep them focused on the majority and allow that the extremes will be dealt with at least as well as they are now with the court system mentioned above. The people you talk to will continually forget that you are assuming the Non-Aggression Principle is something that everyone will want and will follow. They will forget, because deep down, their knee-jerk assumption they will make of you is that you are all for murder, rape, fraud, theft, etc – this is a product of all that mental conditioning – reiterate the benefits of the Non-Aggression Principle. As that mental conditioning breaks down, they’ll slowly recognize that they can affect the social environment around themselves, and then they’ll stop being Statists.
Iran has a lot of folks nervous, and I can understand why. A response seems appropriate – but what kind of response?
Off the top of my head there are four categories of response that we could do: Aggressive, Passive Aggressive, Binding, Endearing. We already do the Passive Aggressive thing – sanctions – and they don’t work. They injure the Iranian people, but not the Iranian government. Their gov’t has the Chinese and Russians to provide for them. Worst of all – the sanctions give legitimacy to the Iranian gov’t in the eyes of the Iranian people. I mean, it’s pretty intuitive for them to say, “Hey, the US is doing these sanctions to keep you poor, but don’t worry, we’ll get back at them for you.”
Aggressive response? That would be another Iraq. That’s worked out so well for us and the Iraqis. In the end, we’d just be hurting the Iranian people even more. Sure, we could eliminate that one regime, but several others would take its place. Worst of all – it is only temporary. Sooner or later they would rebuild. This should be the last option and we can’t initiate it. We can always do this option later if needed.
Endearing? Impossible for the US at the moment because of the Passive Aggressive technique.
The only sane proposal:
Binding Response – this would be where we remove the sanctions and allow our businesses to do business with the Iranian people. Specifically: remove tariffs on all goods shipped in from Iranian merchants. Become Iran’s biggest trade partner. They may not like us any more than they do now, but the entire populace would have a vested interest in not being enemies with us. Do you think their gov’t officials don’t have relatives that want to trade with us? You bet they do.
What about Israel?
Israelis are tough, smart and motivated. We should treat them like adults and let them do what they think they need to do. If they want us to park an aircraft carrier in a harbor and have a nuke missile sub nearby in case something happens to that carrier – sure. Nukes tend to hurt large areas and Israel is awfully small. The X-Rays from a nuke blast alone would almost certainly harm that ship – an act of war against us. If a country were to attack Israel, they’d have to use conventional weapons.
Why I like this proposal:
It does two things that I think are important:
- It treats the Iranians and Israelis like adults. This is a level of dignity we’ve denied both countries since WWII.
- It harms nobody and actually helps a developing country, while creating bonds that the developing country will be loath to break. This translates into security for us.
The markets have sure been on a wild ride – particularly since the end of September and early October. I like watching all those neat little charts. I work very long shifts overnights and so I get to watch Asia open up and close, then Europe open up and about the time I get home to go to bed the US opens. What I’ve noticed is that the markets – regardless of which markets – have all had a behavioral change.
How it was:
Asia follows the US. If the US goes up, they go up. They’re heavily manipulated, so sometimes they buck the trend, but generally they imitate the US. Europe imitates Asia for about 3 hours after opening, then they go up right before the US opens, and after that they follow the US until they close.
Always, there would be some industries doing well and some that weren’t – and this was influenced by economic reports and the health of large corporations in any given industry. It was very rare to have days where all the stocks in the major indexes were ALL up or ALL down. There could often be a majority, but not unanimity.
How it is now:
The pattern of who follows who still holds true, but a new thing has started – goosenecks. This is a description of a chart where the index is low or flat all day and then at the end it suddenly skyrockets, followed by a little dip before it closes. The result looks like a swan swimming from left to right. It used to be that these only happened when something splendiforously fantabulous happened economy-wise. They were very rare. Nowadays, they are common.
So what’s up?:
Central Bank interventions – that’s what’s up. So here’s how this works: Asia opens up (Australia first, then Japan, then Shanghai and Hong Kong. India is inbetween these and the EU) and their stocks imitate what the US did the previous day. If the previous day for the US was down, then their stocks will trend down by similar amounts until one of their central banks intervenes. Suddenly, and for no reason – ZOOM! Up go their stocks – led by banks. Then the EU opens up (3:30AM EST) and their indexes follow whatever Asia was doing right at the moment – so usually up, with banks leading. Then, they drop for a bit until about 11am GMT -1 and suddenly the ECB or IMF jumps in and ZOOM! Up go the EU indexes.
Unlike Asia, EU intervention ALWAYS comes with some sort of rosy sounding headline. Today’s is this:
Wrong. Last week there was an occurrence of this kind of BS and German 1yr bonds actually had a NEGATIVE yield. That means that the expected payoff for purchasing one was that you would LOSE money. Who invests in something that guarantees a loss? The ECB does.
So, then the US futures get excited because the EU markets are all excited and the US markets open with gains, but immediately start dropping off. Around 10:30 to 11:00 AM EST the Fed hops in and pumps some cash into banks and presto! Instant rally. Of course there are the appropriately rosy articles that come out about how everything is going to be fine in the EU and then some fluff story about our own debt and spending troubles getting in hand, etc, etc, blech.
The economy is a dead body and the central banks are propping it up.
What this means for regular Joe:
Don’t be in the stock market. Keep enough money in the bank to cover your expenses and keep the rest in cash or whatever you like, but don’t leave it in an institution that dabbles in that mess. All banks invest in the markets, and when the central banks finally get to the point they can’t prop them up any more these banks are going to implode. When that happens, you can forget about 401K plans, pensions, IRAs and any other savings you might have tucked away.
People like to talk about hyperinflation and whatnot – and that is a clear possibility given what the central banks are doing – but the first thing that will happen is that you won’t be able to get to your money. For this reason, have most of it on hand in cash. Don’t mess around with risking it in some bank’s hands.
When will trouble start?
I can’t say for sure, but consider this – if things really do turn around and economic indicators (particularly producer’s indicators) get better, unemployment gets back down to 5%, and wages start increasing while prices decrease – then put your money back in. Until that stuff happens (and I don’t think it will for the foreseeable future), don’t risk your money with somebody else.
Unemployment is still at just under 10%, or as some people reckon – 23%. New numbers are coming out weekly and I thought it might be fun to think of a new way of looking at employment figures.
Most of the figures, like the one above, are based on the notion of “how many people are looking for work, or are not working as much as they would like, or would work if they could but have given up?”. I think this is a good notion to have, but there is another I think we should consider once we have answered that one.
This notion should be “what is the ratio of people adding to the economy versus subtracting from the economy?” I would define jobs that add to the economy as any job that is for a private company that receives less than 30% of it’s receipts from any form of public money – i.e. money that comes from any sort of governmental entity. The reason for this is because government, in any form, is not a wealth maker. Everything that the government does, requires money to be taken from someone in order to do it, since government does not generate its own wealth.
So, look for super rosy jobs reports around 2012 and when they come out, ask yourself if those jobs are additive or subtractive. If 100,000 jobs are added, but 80% of them are subtractive and require tax dollars (or borrowed money in lieu of tax dollars) to fund them – that isn’t helping.
That’s actually worse.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the progression of social order. Hans Herman Hoppe has an interesting lecture called “Parasitism and the Origin of the State” that touches on why a social order rises and I’d like to blab about a piece of it.
The basic progression of society he puts forward is this:
None > Cannibalism > Slavery > Rudimentary Government > State
I think he’s inaccurate. I think the last two are just obfuscated versions of Slavery. The big difference is that with slavery you know exactly who owns you and you have no delusions about becoming free except by some massive turn of good fortune or something unusual happening. With Rudimentary Government (Feudalism) or a State, you are presented with the notion that you chose to have these rules and obligatory fealty put over you and that you have some control over who arbitrates them.
In short, you are subservient to the Feudal lord or the State and the only way of ending that condition is to run away – but anywhere you run you will just be in the same position under someone else. Because of this centralization of power, it is very attractive to be the number one arbitrator of rules (it’s good to be the king). It’s best to be the slave master and not the slave.
What is a contract?
A contract is an agreement between at least two people that both agree can be arbitrated by a third person of their choosing (they have to agree). The contract has an inception date, a conceivable ending date, and a means of being broken by either party through the arbitrator (such that both parties will have some sort of satisfaction after the break).
There are different contracts, but the most difficult to grasp are spatial contracts – contracts that have to do with space (house, land, mines, wells, etc).
One way to solve the difficulty of Spatial Contracts is to use slavery. When one person or entity (such as a state) owns everything (including the people), then it is really easy to just divide, confiscate and distribute these spatial concerns without objection. This is the basis of Social Justice, Marxism, Socialism, Eminent Domain, etc. This method is always beneficial to the state, and the slaves have no place to complain – though with a State it is possible to give the illusion of having an avenue of complaint by allowing the slaves to pick their master periodically and the ability of the State to give gifts to the slaves to make them happy.
The Social Contract Myth:
Proponents of the State contend that we are required to adhere to the tenants of the State because by living in the State we agree to follow the rules of the State. This is stupid. A slave who has no choice but to follow the orders of the master (or else be punished or killed) does not therefore agree to be a slave because he has followed the master’s orders. There must be a reasonable expectation that the arrangement can be ended at any time – but in the case of a State or Slavery there is no such expectation.
Furthermore, when a new child is born, that child has no choice but to become a ward of the State, and none of us have ever been given the option to cease being a ward of the State. There was never an agreed upon third party arbitrator of the contract. If we try to cease being a ward by not paying taxes or adhering to the laws we don’t like, then we get fined and go to jail – i.e. we are punished like the slaves that we are.
This indicates that there is no contract. We should be able to cease paying taxes in return for the expectation that we also will cease to receive anything provided by the State – while still living within the State. Furthermore, this “contract” extends beyond death (death tax). That means that there is no expiration date and so never could reasonably be expected to be a contract.
I’ll write something on solving Spatial Contracts without the use of a State soon, so stay tuned!
Here we go again. This time, however, Germany has cold feet. They know they are the only true economic force in the EU. France and the UK are sort of treading water (after a fashion), but certainly are not drivers. So Germany doesn’t want to be the only country bailing out Greece – especially without some sort of restructuring to make sure this is “the last time”.
Other talking heads will be quick to point out that other countries have pledged to support a bailout, but let’s take a look at this:
The other PIIGS are on the verge of total collapse:
Portugal – Just received a bailout and the Chinese have just recently bought billions of € of their debt. They have made absolutely no changes to improve their economy.
Ireland – Just received another bailout in return for the loss of their sovereignty. Their finance minister that penned the deal died of “pancreatic cancer”. Maybe he did, but then again, it sure was convenient timing.
Italy – The biggest conversation for Italy right now is “who is the most corrupt politician in Italy?” They dug their hole a long time ago and are quite happy staying right there. At least they’ve mostly stopped digging.
Greece – Can’t help itself. Their politicians are behaving just like African warlords without the murder. They just take billions straight from the public coffers to their own pockets. Very little of the money from the last bailout is accounted for.
Spain – Unemployment is still in the 20s. Their banks are running to South America to get the heck out of Madrid. The only way they stay afloat is to pay current liabilities with promises to collect on other liabilities. To do so, they need to collect from… Greece – and Ireland. Portugal too. Oops.
So who’s going to help the Germans bail out Greece? The USA, surely. But the USA will just be printing useless money and that will actually hurt things after the initial payment. Norway isn’t likely to lend to a lost cause. Switzerland just got its arm twisted by the USA to release the names of American tax dodgers… so they probably aren’t too keen on helping the USA to bail out the Greeks. The English and French couldn’t help bail them out last time and are in even worse shape now. No, it’s all Germany, all the way.
So, I can understand why Germany is upset. The smart thing for the Germans to do would be to get out of the EU, but that won’t happen. Their political parties are also political parties in other countries. Don’t think for a moment the SPD members in France and Italy are going to let their elected officials in Germany withdraw from the EU, thus collapsing their homes! Not unless the populace rises up and kicks the party system entirely.
Greece needs to just be kicked to the curb and Germany needs to leave this gang of losers (EU).
The new presidential elections will be getting going soon, and I think now is a good time to talk about types of political philosophies and how to identify them. Basically, everybody can be loosely lumped into two main categories – Maturist and Leftist/Statist. I am completely coining the term “Maturist” right here and now. You will not see it elsewhere.
Maturist – someone who understands bad things happen to good people, and take care to prepare for such things well in advance. They prefer to handle all problems themselves and are able to handle stress. They can turn calamity into fortune. They approach other people’s problems with logic and will help in meaningful ways that enable the other person. You know, acting maturely.
Leftist/Statist – a perpetual myopic child that cannot think more than a few weeks ahead and who will run to anyone in authority whenever something not exactly to their liking happens. They supplant their parents with government when they get older. Furthermore, they are arrogant and each considers him or her self to be the only person in the world with a conscious and by virtue of this, each feels that he/she must force the rest of the world through government to behave as he/she thinks they should. These are the people ruining our society.
Now, looking at these two it seems like it would be easy to categorize people into one or the other based on their political views, but it is not. There are various political views that are popular right now and different people can have more than one, as most people tend to pick the view they like the best for any given issue.
Let’s check out some distinctions:
Socialism – This is the view that private property does not exist. Everything is inherently owned by the state and so it is up to the state to make sure that the proper people get what they need to support society. An example of this is welfare, where the property of a productive person (i.e. his/her money) is taken away by the state and given to an unproductive person.
- People who have this view: Barrack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, most University professors, bureaucrats, most Democrats, George H Bush.
Fascism/Mercantilism – The idea that free enterprise is ok, as long as the government is the entity to pick the firms that engage in it. The reason these are paired is because the Mercantilists are the ones who put the Fascists in power and the Fascists ensure the Mercantilists are protected from competition. For example: The new debit card processing fee legislation. This will ensure that only the very large processors stay in business as it will obliterate their smaller competitors.
- People who have this view: Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Government Regulators, George W Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Gingrich, Karl Rove, Dick Morris, most Republicans, Mike Huckabee, Hannity
Libertarian/Individualist – This is a view of “leave me alone and I’ll take care of it”. Most people of this persuasion view government intervention as unnecessary, and at times, outright hostile. They believe in private property. These are people that feel it is ok for people to make bad decisions as long as the decisions do not negatively impact other people. For example – “End the Fed” by Ron Paul.
- People who have this view: Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Rand Paul
Where the problems are:
If people were principled and firmly set in their views regardless of situation, then we could decide how to categorize them more efficiently. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Take Mike Huckabee for example – he’s all about reducing taxes and he wants to cut “government waste”, because those sound good, but at the same time he is all about turning to government for regulations and controls to ensure what he feels are “the right people” are the only ones that can engage in business. In other words, he’s a fascist dressed in maturist clothing.
The easy way of identifying a Leftist/Statist: If someone thinks that having government force people to be “better” is a good idea, then that is a Leftist/Statist. If someone is against out of control spending, against wars in far off places, against ballooning health costs, but is ok with having the government tell you what you can put in your body, where you can live, or if/how you do business, then that is a Leftist/Statist. Do you see the problem? Half sounds like maturist ideas and the other half are not.
If even ONE Leftist/Statist idea is ok with that person, then that person is a Leftist/Statist.
Consider this when you are reviewing the potential candidates this coming election.