Monday, October 26, 2009

The Bailout That Wasn't

This has been talked about before, but just to remind you in the hail of disinformation that's been going down the pike...
The problem that started the cascade of financial failures in Oct 08 (keep in mind that october is almost always when stock markets crash, in a year that they are going to) was the packaging of securities out of bad mortgage loans.
When the term "bailout" was first being thrown around, lots of people had the idea that maybe they'd make the bad assets good by helping people pay back their mortgages. This would have had a leveraging effect that would have reflated the market by making the packaged securities at each level of derivation "non-toxic" again.
Instead of doing that, they just gave the money straight to the banks. When pressed by the media, Paulson (may he rot in banker's hell) said specifically that he had no interest in using Tarp money to help mortgagees with their loans, even though this would have cost less in the long run and had the desired effect of fixing the derivative collapse.
Of course we all remember that when AIG got their bailout money they used it first and foremost to pay bonuses and to give their execs a nice trip to the bahamas, right? When called before Congress, they expressed no remorse, and did it again later when the heat died down.
Now I hope you've been following the trail to Goldman Sachs lately. If not you can go read some big long essays by Matt Taibbi that basically lay it all out.

So now, recently, the Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs International said the public should "tolerate the inequality" of large bonuses to bankers. "If we said we're not going to have as big bonuses or the same bonuses as last year, I think then you'd find that lots of City firms could easily hive off their operations to Switzerland or the far east"

It wasn't a bailout, folks. It was the biggest case of fraud and graft in history. It was raw theft. They could have fixed the impending collapse and saved a lot of people's mortgages, if they wanted to.
But that was never the plan. Besides, the worse things get for all these ex-homeowners, that will help prevent price inflation, allowing these guys to cash out their stolen money into various protected asset classes before the currency collapses. They WANT lots of poverty. It directly improves their bottom line.
If we wiped out poverty tomorrow, there would be a massive "economic collapse" from price inflation and wage costs. Of course it would only be a collapse for the crooks. For the rest of us, it would look like prosperity. I'm not saying that inflation is good here, what I'm saying is that the money has already been inflated, it's just almost all going into the hands of the super-rich.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some more thoughts on the Economic Scam going on.

Thinking about some things I've read lately, and over a longer stretch of time, and the old quote of Jefferson about "first by inflation, then by deflation" makes a lot more sense. Of course they had just come out of a war with England, and they had England as a living example of how it was done, and their own relatively stable monetary situation to compare it to.
The Fed is technically "inflating" right now, printing money and giving it to crooks. But at the same time, they have to induce structural deflation elsewhere, so that the value of that money they're printing stays relatively high enough to be useful, and to prevent "hyperinflation" effects. (keep people from ditching the dollar as currency, etc)
Some of this is handled through "globalization" which is why the G20 and its ilk are important to these people. They need to have more and more cheap labor working for their capital so they can keep the prices of certain goods low.
(of course other goods, they want to inflate, in order to make labor rates relatively cheaper, but that gets too complicated for a facebook note)
Another aspect of globalization that is rarely looked at is the effect of religion and other superstitions. The last thing the global money trust wants is for the third world to develop a cosmopolitan, enlightened culture, because then their breeding rates will slow down and they might even try to develop capital of their own. So they need to keep the traditional/religious cultural tropes in place there, even though that leads to other forms of conflict. They are ok with that to a large extent because war is considered "manageable" and helps destroy local capital (the less capital outside the sphere of control of the money trust, the better, in their perspective, because it makes capital more scarce, thus more valuable).
The other way they will induce structural deflation is by calling in debt. This is one reason why banks aren't renegotiating mortgages, even though it seems like it would be in their interest to do so. They might lose money on the foreclosures, they might not. But they'll lose a LOT more if the dollar collapses too suddenly (a gradual degradation is ok, because they can come up with some other fiat currency to use as the universal default over time). That would basically undo all the work of printing all that money for themselves and their buddies in the first place.

The working class and freedom

I saw an idiotic comment on YouTube recently where someone who claimed to be a Rothbardian said that labor would get paid much less in a free market. Well I'm not sure if Rothbard ever addressed this directly, but Mises says otherwise and Hoppe implies otherwise.
According to Mises, the one thing that can permanently, universally raise wage rates is the application of more capital into the market, so if you want to help the working class, you should increase the amount of capital in the market.
The more capital there is looking for labor to work with it, the more valuable labor is relative to capital. Seems pretty simple, right?
Almost everything the government does right now acts to destroy capital, prevent capital formation, or restrict the application of capital. This is no accident because it makes the capital already in the hands of the existing owners more valuable, by making capital more scarce.
In a free market, the amount of total capital applied to labor would skyrocket, creating not a surplus of labor as we have now, but a permanent labor shortage. Wages would rise to eat up all profits beyond the natural rate of interest. And as Hoppe pointed out, as capital continues to grow, the natural rate of interest will fall asymptotically towards zero.
Thus, the free market is the workers paradise, not the capital owners paradise.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The interminable argument

*sigh*
No matter how many times people try to break through these orwellian terms, these bundled irrational ideological labels, other people seem to have a hard time listening.
It's one thing if someone actually pops out and tries to argue for a particular bundling as it is commonly understood, but this isn't what one encounters very often. Instead, what you see is that people's listening/processing function in their brain just shuts down and starts spilling out reflexive objection, once certain "trigger words" appear.
I'm talking about the "isms" (and their related terms) of course. Let me poke your brain for a minute:
Liberal, Communist, Fascist, Conservative, Capitalism, Socialism, Democracy, Anarchism, Left-wing, Right-wing, Collectivism, Individualism.
Ok, go ahead and freak out for a bit. Now let your brain settle down again before reading further.
Very few of these terms seem to be used the same way by any two different people. So maybe we should stop using them?
Some others that seem to constantly elicit confusion:
Private, Public, Free Market, State, Voluntary
At least these terms have the potential for clarity, and don't immediately turn people's consiousness off, as much the ones on the first list seem to do.

Unfortunately by abandoning all these labels, we have to do a bit more work to explain ourselves. These linguistic shortcuts come in handy... when you're dealing with people who mean the same thing by them as you do. Otherwise, it is as if they are designed to create a "tower of babel" effect where everyone is talking past each other.
When I have managed to get my point across to someone who doesn't agree with me, but is willing and able to listen and process what I'm talking about, our disagreements are usually relatively civil and our discourse remains reasonable.
But whenever I fall into the trap of lazily falling back on political trigger words, people get emotional and defensive. I'm going to try to avoid using these "zaxlebax"* phrases and I suggest other people do as well, rather than "reclaiming" these terms or trying to push them in other people's faces to trigger emotions, so you can feel like the rational person sitting above it all.

In closing, I'd like to end with a quote by Bastiat that I really like:
From the point of view of the producer, competition doubtless often clashes with our immediate self-interest; but, if one considers the general aim of all labor, i.e., universal well-being—in a word, if one adopts the point of view of the consumer—one will find that competition plays the same role in the moral world as equilibrium does in the physical world. It is the basis of true communism, of true socialism, and of that equality of wealth and position so much desired in our day; and if so many sincere publicists and well-intentioned reformers demand arbitrary controls, it is because they do not understand free exchange. (italics mine)


* this is a reference to Roderick Long's brilliant speech "Rothbard's 'Left and Right': 40 Years Later" which I highly recommend that anyone and everyone read. He addresses this problem of language and inspired me to examine it more in my own writing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our existence is proof enough.

I've seen a lot of people worrying about the future collapse of the USSA. They probably envision some sort of Mad-Max-like "after the bomb" scenario or maybe US as Somalia.
First off, I'd like to say: Would you tell someone in the Soviet Union of the 80s that they should be worried about the collapse of the USSR in the near future? Do you think they were worse off for it? I mean sure, Putin's Russia is no utopia, but it has to beat the USSR.
But even then, the situation here is much different. Why?
Us. Or rather, people like us, all over the place. Agorism/Anarchism is working. It's doing its job. You might not see the results in front of your face, but it's doing its job. Of course the media is not going to report things that way as long as they can help it. If you're waiting to see CNN saying "free market at last?" you'll be a waiting motherfucker...
But let's look at things not in theory or in propaganda, but in practice. Anarchism, to me, is merely an understanding that the supposed "legality" of a particular act means nothing.
How many people do you know that avoid doing something simply because it is "illegal", even if they know they can get away with it and want to do it?
I don't really know anyone like that, personally. I know they exist: for instance, people who make a big deal out of "illegal immigration" as some sort of meaningful category of immigration. But most of the people I know just don't think that way. If they obey the law it's because they think it's the right thing to do anyway, or they're afraid of getting caught. Even though these people may not call themselves "anarchists" in theory, even though they might shudder at the thought, they are acting anarchistically, whether they know it or not.
Most people that want to smoke pot, do so.
There are more and more people each year that either don't file tax forms altogether, or don't report significant amounts of their income. Lots of people who own their own small businesses pay at least some of their vendors and employees in direct cash payments. Lots of people ignore regulations that they don't think they'll get caught disobeying.
And our own philosophy is growing. Look around at the interwebs. Sure there are plenty of social-democrats and neocon fundamentalists and the like... but imagine the internet of the 70s if such a thing were to exist... we've come a long way baby.
The fact that a large number of congressmen want to Audit The Fed, which, while it's a small act, is still historically significant.
We are having an impact. We might not be able to see it up front and center all the time, but life happens at the margins.
Many "agorists" expect something like the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to show up. But really, that's unlikely until near the very end of our struggle, when they will be willing to risk being shut down or exposed. I think people expect that because it fits the model of what they were raised on, large organizations that one can simply plug into and follow. But this ironically goes against the whole point, the very strength of our philosophy.
The state will make more rash moves forward, but each time they do, they will lose more people at the margins... and we will pick up more people at the margins.
Productive people of the world, Untie!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All that shit they sold you about ceramic space rockets and albedo suits was just memetic heroin...

Part of the reason why I seem a bit more optimistic than a lot of people who now see our current society as a dead end... is that I never saw it as a living end to begin with. It would be kind of horrific to me to think of what currently exists being made to "work".
I never thought of modern postwar technoptimism as a progression over the long run, just a spasm of relief maybe. Like after you pee. You haven't gotten any better, you've just relieved something particularly troubling. (i.e the first 4 decades of the 20th century, basically a descent into total horror)

Only now, once we shrug off corporatism and WWII-based thinking, are we in a position to make any real historical progress from the mean. And if it is temporarily painful, it will be the pain of withdrawal from the most horrible drug ever devised.

The future looks very bright indeed, once you dismiss the 20th century as a sick aberration. We are not meant to live like this, and we'll be better off, even if we have to amputate some of the more pleasant aspects of the last 100 years...

I'm not talking about going back, I'm talking about going forward in the direction we should have in the first place, if only we hadn't made that left turn at Albequerqe.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I'm going to tell a story. It's not a "true" story, maybe, but it is a real story.
1. Life, the universe and everything.
Basically, the universe is a shear thickening fluid.
It is also a non-uniform fluid, it's "lumpy" in other words. Some parts of this fluid seem "solid" to us because their coefficient of adversity, that is the amount of resistance they put up to force applied against them, is very high. All force creates a resistance. This creates a counter-resistance, ad infinitum.
As a different metaphor, imagine a bowl of very soft jello that's been banged on from many different directions at once, creating ripple patterns that interfere with each other.
Even though at any local position, the composition of the universe is constantly changing... overall, in the aggregate, nothing changes. That's right, nothing changes, when the universe is looked at as a single fluid. There will always be the same amount of matter-energy in the universe.
We are also part of this fluid, and everything we encounter around us is as well. Everything that has a beginning, has an ending. Just as our bodies will die one day, so will the universe, in that it will no longer be a dynamic system. Everything will be uniformly spread everywhere and there will be no more rippling and shifting of the fluid. It will just sit there. The fluid is settling out.
The good news has to do with time. Time is eternal. There is nothing before time, because the concept of "before" implies time. There is nothing after time either, for the same reason. Time is the rate of change of the composition of the fluid. When the fluid stops changing, there is no time. Part of all of us, humans and maybe other things in the universe too, maybe, is made of time in addition to the fluid. That part of you can never die. You can never experience anything outside of time. You can't "be dead". It's not possible. To exist as a person, implies being alive. Your body can die. But you can't actually die. I'm not quite sure how it works near the endpoint either.
2. How human life works.
Every action has a reaction. Everything you do creates resistance from the world. There is a lag between your initial undertaking and the resistance. Even lightning takes time, as Nietzsche said. Remember the fluid? The harder and faster you "push out" into the world, the harder and faster the resistance will come. By moving slowly and smoothly, you can push through this resistance. The Slow Blade Penetrates The Shield.
Or as wikipedia said "The dilatant fluid would disperse the force of a sudden blow over a wider area of the user's body, reducing the blunt force trauma; against slow attacks, such as a slow but forceful stab, the dilatant would not provide any additional protection."
People don't perceive imaginary time very well, maybe because we're partially made of time. That is, we have trouble imagining time correctly when we look back at the past or into the future. In 5 years, if you move one inch, only one inch, per day, you will have travelled half the length of a football field.
5 years seems very long when we imagine it into the future, but looking back through the past, it doesn't seem very long to us. Just one inch per day.
If you move 2 inches per day, you can go endzone to endzone in 5 years.
This is an analogy, I think you can see where I'm going with this.
Most people (myself included, I'm not being an elitist here) like to move very fast when they first undertake a project... they are very excited about what's going on, etc... then the resistance hits and they are slowed or stopped by it. This is usually when they give up, maybe they'll try sprinting into the hardened cornstarch a couple of times. One inch per day...
The downside to the slow, easy way to do things is that it's boring and frustrating. See, repetition breeds confidence. This is a phrase my friend Jesus told me once after a night of drugs and music. Not that Jesus, the hispanic raver Jesus. No matter how you interpret that last sentence, we're venturing into lulz territory. Anyway, the important thing to remember is that repetition breeds confidence.
If someone asked me to build a computer for them, I could undertake such a project with no hesitation, because I've done it so many times now. I know that even if something initially went awry, I have a strong model/map for how to get around that and fix it. I wouldn't think of it as anything scary or challenging at all. But it would be, if anything, boring. And when something did go wrong it would be frustrating. "Not this shit again"...
So the slow, easy way to do everything can be boring and frustrating. It might be more fun to run fast, create walls of resistance and overcome them, so in the end when you get where you're going, you can say "I did it, against all odds!" But really, it was always just you. You made your own odds.
In a way, I'm not doing you a favor by telling you this. I am taking some of the excitement and fun out of it. On the other hand, your brain will probably make you forget most of this, for that very reason, when you're in the middle of living your life.
But on the other hand, a lot of people are upset by life... mostly because it hasn't matched their expectations. They don't understand the implications of their own life strategy. As an example, I have a friend who basically lives life by a series of explosions. He bursts, then gets hit by an immense backpressure of resistance, and then gets really angry at everything. Then he bursts forward again, rinse and repeat. I mean, if he saw how he was creating this, and was just doing it for fun, cause he likes living that way, on the other hand... he'd at least have the option to accept and expect that pattern or try a different approach. There are all kinds of ways to play with the fluid.
Rollercoasters are fun because we expect them to do crazy shit. But if someone put you in one for the first time, and you had no idea of what a rollercoaster was, and they said before you left, "oh this is a nice train ride"... you'd flip out.
But that would definitely be the most exciting rollercoaster you'd ever ride. So sometimes knowing that it's just a rollercoaster can take a bit of the drama and intensity out of it.
3. Made in G-d's image.
What does that phrase really mean? That God has a body that looks like our bodies? A lot of people used to think that, but that's kind of ridiculous. The people who promoted that sort of interpretation either were scamming someone or really didn't think about what they were reading.
It is the part of us that is made of time that is an image of God. Or, to put it a different way, we are acting in a movie being made by God. God is the director and the audience. So are we. It's all part of the greatest piece of performance art ever.
In order to be able to be the director, audience and actor and still have a good time, there needs to be a separation of consciousness so the left hand doesn't realize what the right hand is doing, so to speak. If it were simply imagination, well, you'd know what all the characters are going to do... when you played with dolls or "action figures" as a kid, you knew what you were going to make all of them say.
When do you not know that? In a dream. We are all being dreamed by God at once. We are the dreamer, and the dream self, and we don't even know sometimes what we're going to do next. This makes it interesting. Again, I have done you no favor here. By reading this, if you hadn't already, you have now begun a path toward becoming a lucid dreamer.
Eventually your particular dream-self will find its endpoint in the story.
What happens to you when you get to the end of a dream?

Friday, July 10, 2009

On "Sociological Calvinism".

If people at large were really Evil at heart, the safest way for us to live would be anarchism (do you want to give Evil people power over you?). If, as I suspect, they are not, then the state is needless and irrelevant. Only if you believe in a small elect group of moral persons, and a larger group of evil persons, can you justify the state... and yet even still, you must devise a way that the elect can end up in charge. I dare you to.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Can we put a price on basic standards of quality?"

Actually we have to. The alternative to quality allocation by price, which generally amounts to Regulation, ends up becoming allocation by status. Of course the people who propose these non-priced solutions tend to be people of high status. Coincidence?
Schools are one example. "Public" schools really are just one aspect of a multi-tiered system of regulated education. The only truly private school in the US is the home school. In some places that isn't even the case any more.
If the logic of Regulation is taken to its conclusion, the only beef allowable by law would be Filet Mignon or better, and since its price would be regulated, it would not be available to the peons at all. Only the well connected would get beef. And maybe people on welfare could get "government beef" which would probably be decent (I know the government cheese was) but only available on a first come first serve basis.
Does this remind you of a certain Union of Republics? Soviet Republics?
Well that's also no coincidence. They know the hard limit now, but they will try to get us as close to that asymptote without breaking the engine of "white market" labor power altogether. Fortunately, I doubt their ability to pull off this brinkmanship for long, no matter how many PhDs and other supposed "experts" they've got trying.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"But there's nothing wrong with her"

These lyrics explain what I find disturbing about most (but not all) "right libertarians"

"And every single day, without much to say
These apparitions raise a toast to their kind

The people who are these things
Are not afraid with you

And caring must go with the wisdom
Of their selections

Never can touch their sign language
So is the cost of sound barriers "
- from one of the greatest songs I love: Guided By Voices - Christian Animation Torch Carriers

it's easy to dismiss the concerns of people when you don't realize the dangers they face...

Yet I am a libertarian/anarchist and I do not want a super-mafia as my guardian, because it is, and must necessarily be, my oppressor as well.

Give unto Caesar... not a damn thing.

"Since the core ambition of the state is to displace God while enriching its Faustian associates through redistribution, none of this can be a surprise."
- Lew Rockwell

This is one of the best, most concise ways of putting it that I can imagine.

Abandon your earthly god. Find spirituality in the small places. Do not seek power, even for what seems good. It will not remain good long once touched by power.

It comes down to this.

As many of you are aware, there's been a schism in the left-libertarian world, over "cultural leftism" etc, more specifically targeting queer folk as if we're the most egregious of the lot.
Personally, I don't want to ditch anyone who has good ideas, but when it comes to things like this, it's important to have some realistic idea of what goes on. Usually my standard of judgement about these things comes from a thought experiment:
If I or some other trans-woman were getting beat up, with the specific aim of permanently mutilating and/or killing me (as most beatings of trans-women are, they go for the face right away, probably for deep-seated sexual reasons, almost all of the time), how would this person react?
Would they applaud/cheer my attackers?
Would they do nothing and watch?
Or would they jump in and defend me?
If they heard about it later, would they be reviled at this open display of aggressive violence?
Or would they laugh?
Would they say something like "they had it coming"?

I try to envision this in my head, because THIS is my standard. This is what MTF trans people and femmy males of all kinds have to worry about every time they are around other people. I am an anarchist, I don't want the state to be my guardian. But if it's going to be, I'd rather have it protect me while it's protecting everyone else. The fact that the people that ruined my life or ended it were not wearing a badge (though they often are) is irrelevant after the fact.
It doesn't give me my face or my life back.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

All your economic base are belong to us.

The logic of the War on Drugs is the logic of all government wars. It is to make what is "illegal" vastly more profitable for the benefit of a small oligarchy who can get away with it. This oligarchy are who is running the government behind the scenes.

The drug lords fund the "drug warriors". Draw your own conclusions about the war on terror, or the drive toward more financial regulation, farm subsidies, the tightening of border controls, etc.

You have no chance to survive, make your time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Unless you’re a self-hating closet dweller, there’s no such thing as a case against sexual equality that doesn’t consist of some mix of bible-thumping & childish “EEW!” factor*."

- B-psycho (psychopolitik 2.0 in my blogroll)

Well fucking struck.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

(1:26:41 AM) annamnesis: I don't want to slowly pull liberty back, like pulling teeth
(1:26:49 AM) annamnesis: I want to see it while I am alive.
(1:26:58 AM) name withheld: haha, yeah
(1:27:27 AM) annamnesis: I want to knock out the damn teeth
(1:27:33 AM) annamnesis: till there's no more bite
(1:27:47 AM) annamnesis: we already have won the drug war, more or less
(1:27:56 AM) annamnesis: we're going to win the copyright war
(1:28:01 AM) annamnesis: which is a big one
(1:28:28 AM) name withheld: Pirate Party
(1:28:32 AM) annamnesis: hell yes
(1:28:43 AM) annamnesis: we have a seat on the goddamn EU parliament
(1:29:05 AM) annamnesis: the big war coming up is the sex war
(1:29:10 AM) annamnesis: and that one is a tough one
(1:29:25 AM) annamnesis: because a lot of our natural allies are squicked out by many of us
(1:30:01 AM) annamnesis: but it's the same principle
(1:30:38 AM) annamnesis: I generally don't like crack heads and junkies (while they are on the shit)
(1:30:54 AM) annamnesis: but I don't think they should be in jail for it.
(1:31:55 AM) name withheld: right
(1:33:10 AM) annamnesis: but religion doesn't attempt to control drugs as much as they try to control sex
(1:33:42 AM) annamnesis: there is no westboro baptist church picketing drug rehab places going "god hates junkies"

Monday, June 08, 2009

Patri Friedman, you are an agorist!

In a blog post, Patri Friedman, a fairly well known libertarian (and the only well known 3rd gen lib) says:
Despite my broad agreement with much of the underlying philosophy, I find this chain of events ludicrous – and I am not using the word lightly. Let us consider one of the largest black markets in the world, the market for illegal drugs, which has been thriving for decades. Has this resulted in market demand for protection agencies to replace the government? Um, no. It has resulted in exactly the opposite – a strengthening of the monopoly provider of security and law. It has given us the militarization of policy, legalized theft via civil asset forfeiture, and a well-funded DEA.
...
I agree that the direct effect of the black market for recreational drugs is to increase freedom – it provides something the government is trying to ban, thus ameliorating the effect of that ban. As an occasional user of illegal drugs, I think that’s fabulous. But to see black markets as the route to indirectly weakening and eventually toppling governments just doesn’t match up to the evidence. Coercive geographic monopolies on violence work, folks, much though we may hate it.

Ahh so much material for dismantling here.
First: "Has this resulted in market demand for protection agencies to replace the government? Um, no."
Well first off I'd say, your own approach to this game has clouded your ability to see what is relevant. You may actually have a point here, but assuming you did, that's not what the black market in drugs is attempting to solve. It's attempting to provide people with drugs, at which it succeeds admirably. That is one avenue of government interference that is thwarted.
Then again, you might be wrong about that also. As Jim Davidson said:
The answer is yes, it has. And most drug dealers provide their own protection, often in concert with other dealers in their area. These private protection agencies are referred to as “gangs” and their leaders as “drug lords.” They employ violence to enforce contracts, control territory, and defend the sovereignty of their members.

Secondly, we don't live in a free market, which is the whole thing we're objecting to in the first place with all this libertarianism! Can we adequately measure the demand for private protection services? All we can measure is what is supplied, which is filtered by what the government allows to be supplied.
All you're really saying here is that the government is somewhat effective at suppressing/containing private protection agencies for now. (which has some interesting implications for what their priorities really are)
Secondly, the natural market for illegal drugs is almost certainly not as massive as the government propaganda wants us to believe in the first place. To look at this as the one marker of what agorism stands for is like saying the free market in drugs would be the shining example of the free market, overall.
Certainly the people want drugs! But we want a lot of other things much more. Look at the Copyright War as a more classic example of agorism in action, doing it's job, providing alternatives.
And in the long run, the war for freedom is won in the minds of the people. What has brought more people to question the legitimacy of the government than the fact that they won't give us what we want... and that when we say "fuck the law", we can get it?
How many budding young anarchists or at least potential anarchists have been sparked (excuse the pun) by becoming stoners and/or "pirates"? The answer, is, a whole shit load.
Now also there's this part:
"But to see black markets as the route to indirectly weakening and eventually toppling governments just doesn’t match up to the evidence."
Again, there is this sort of mental filtering, this lack of relevant response.
We aren't "indirectly weakening" the government... we're not trying to slink into liberty. We're playing "Operation" with the body politic.
"Oops, there goes control of drugs!"
"Oops, there goes intellectual property"
We don't care if the government raises it's hackles in response. Let them come! This will only make more of us. You're thinking of a war of attrition. We're thinking of 4th generation warfare. The bloated, wasteful MEGASTATE cannot survive very long. A state that is 80% free, but still authoritarian? That would be a fearsome opponent and far more dangerous to us, in our opinion. Nonetheless, all other things being equal, agorism is the most functional strategy in almost all cases, except possibly near the end game, when the state is almost about to fall, when other approaches might become effective.
Here's some more from the same post by Patri:
"I believe in a different indirect path: global competition between governments. Let’s hit states where they are weak – at providing good services to their customers, not where they are strong – at holding onto territory with violence. We can do this by competing for citizens and capital, not for territory. Whether this is done through seasteading, free zones, or some other method entirely, I think it is a far more plausible route to indirectly improving political institutions."
Well, we can't improve political institutions. This actually again points at what I mean by "meta-agorism". What makes a government a "government" and not a mafia?
Perception.
Agorists want to kill the state, piece by piece, not improve it gradually.
Meta-agorism wants people to understand that there's no such thing, there never was, and you're being imprisoned by a mafia.
In that sense, what you are doing is extremely valuable, because you're giving people somewhere to escape to.
And as an "illegal" provider of defense service you are also an agorist!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Post-Democratic State

Hoppeans concerned about "democracy" really don't have anything to worry about, as far as the United States is concerned. There is truly almost no power the people at large have to influence the government. Once the government can lie to the population on matters of "national security" on the grounds that if the people knew the truth, they would withdraw their support, all pretense of "democracy" is transparently thin indeed. And it's not this pretense that keeps people from revolting. Frankly, most people probably don't care.
It's fear of police brutality, and fear of economic privation. The triumph (so far) of American Corporatism has made most people economically dependent on the State, either directly or indirectly through the banks and large corporations. To rebel would be to become rapidly impoverished, let alone in danger of imprisonment or death, whereas to go along with things, for most Americans right now, means a life of comfort and peace.
During the days of the American Revolution, the economy was at least somewhat disentangled from the State. The "patriots" were still able to eat regularly, save maybe the common soldiers of the Continental Army, which is a whole other story. Nowadays that isn't so much the case. This is yet another reason why only some form of agorism or meta-agorism can work as a liberation strategy. Unless we have a counter-economy running in parallel to the official economy, any attempt at rebellion would fizzle out pretty rapidly. Once we do have one, the resistance, such as it might be, will largely take the form of self-defense against an ever-more-desperate police state hunting down "black marketeers".

perhaps not so unintended at all...

"Almost everyone believes that the state should be in the business of setting national goals in every area of life, of guiding its subjects' paths, of reordering their lives and the world. Most people argue only about particular choices and the degree of control involved. Almost no one will challenge the principle itself."
- Arthur Silber

And this, this right here, is the only ideology that actually matters, when it comes to the State. The rest is just gas and bullshit to fool the rubes. The "republicans" handle one side of the con, and the "democrats" handle a different side of it. In the long run, they're both working together to extend their collective power over us. Any real disagreements are like two farmers disagreeing over livestock management techniques.

"These are only some of the very bitter fruits of foreign intervention: uncontrollable consequences are always set loose and, all too often, those consequences are directly opposed to what the original stated purpose had been. And yet, like the insane man, we repeat this behavior over and over again, insisting that this time the result will be different, and it will finally work -- and we'll get exactly the result we want, and no others at all."
- Arthur Silber (from a different essay)

Ahh but to this I would say, if you keep throwing the baby out with the bath-water, maybe it was the baby you wanted to get rid of in the first place.

After 100+ years of practice, those playing this game must have at least some vague idea of the praxeology of intervention. Certainly, if you or I have figured some of it out in the short span of our years of analysis.
At the very least they must understand that the more chaos and capital destruction, outside of their "walled city" of private order, the better it is for them. If you're a water oligpolist, a world-wide drought is just what the doctor ordered. Extend the pattern... and voila!

The game really has to work that way, because that is functionally how it works, either that or they're just all insane. Either explanation makes at least some sort of sense.

Friday, May 15, 2009