Shameless Self-promotion Sunday #53

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What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.

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  1. Little Alex

    I haven’t the time to do much of any writing because of work, lately. But this last Monday, Stefan Molyneux recorded a chat we had on international affairs: http://littlealexinwonderland.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/international-affiars-discussion-with-stefan-molyneux-mp3/

  2. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    An agorist friend of mine told me there is an uproar over the new crasher in chief at BCS. Pete E was a decent guy, but I don’t like this new dude’s resume. I haven’t fully checked out his views, but the below does arouse concern:

    “5) Between classes in Law School I started the blog, “Copious Dissent - Your Daily Dose of Liberty,” as a hobby, writing under the alias “Devil’s Advocate.” Copious Dissent soon was linked to most of the major Conservative/ Libertarian blogs, including Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, Instapundit, Gateway Pundit, Pajamas Media, Right Wing News, Ace of Spades, NewsBusters and Rush Limbaugh’s top headlines, etc. As a result, I was invited to numerous conference calls with Senators, Representatives and the American Petroleum Institute;

    6) After I passed the Illinois Bar and began looking for work, I started the YouTube Channel, HowTheWorldWorks, in mid-December 2008, which currently has over 8,000 subscribers;

    7) As a result of my YouTube videos, I was asked to blog exclusively for Right Wing News with John Hawkins;

    8) In Mid-May of this year, I made a video critique of “The Story of Stuff” that was picked up by Fox News and emailed around to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is how BureauCrash found me;”

    Michelle M? Rush Limbaugh? The same Rush Limbaugh who said more white people need to go to jail for drugs and then got rehab when caught himself.

    Investigate for yourself: http://bureaucrash.com/

    After I have some dinner and wake up, I’ll share my experience at the Tea Party with you all. There were some interesting discussions about racism, sexism, and homophobia in libertarianism. The consensus was pretty much on the side of the anti. Angela Keaton said the LP wanted Bob Barr to be seen with attractive women as a means of promotion…

    Words fail me! Suffice it to say that attractive women means stereotypes that will pander to conventional taste.

  3. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Here are some of his views culled from debate on BCS:

    “The fact that the government violates its own laws doesn’t change the fact that it is my government”

    “The world that we live in is ruled by force I just happen to want the force to be in the hands of the best of the worst people”

    “The ONLY reason why certain civilizations have stayed in existense was because of might”

    “You should accept that might makes right…and that is why we have a government”

    “Since America has the most powerful military we are in control”

    “I’m willing to have America as the most powerful Nation”

    “The government is there to protect life liberty and property”

    “What happens next after freedom?”

    “Of course I state it over and over…because I have followed history and limited government is necessary”

    “The fact that limited govenrment expanded ignored what life was life before govenrment, if you didn’t have a strong government….that is how you became a REAL slave”

    “Did I like McCain….no. Did I vote for him over Obama yes.”

    “Terrible…McCain’s explaination for the financial collapse was greed”

    “Look, you cannot support the Free Market and ignore the concept of trade-offs”

    “Look, you’re welcome to dream about a fantasy world that doesn’t exist and base your life on a fantasy, but the world exists as such that the strong win, and it might as well be us”

    His might makes right puts him on the philosophic level of Attila the Hun ~ about where the right wing bully pundits are. It’s completely incompatible with the idea that government exists to protect life, liberty, and property.

  4. Chris Lentil

    The second issue of ALLiance was completed this week. You can read more about it (and download the source doc) here.

  5. Roderick T. Long

    Ugh.

    Look, you cannot support the Free Market and ignore the concept of trade-offs

    I assume he meant something stronger than that — namely, that once you’ve grasped the concept of trade-offs you can’t hold any value A (e.g. rights) as trumping some other value B in every situation, since a sufficient amount of B will have to outweigh A. Which just shows he doesn’t grasp the difference between ordinal and cardinal utility. If you think the superiority of liberty to candy sprinkles is cardinal (say, liberty is 10,000 times more valuable than a candy sprinkle), then maybe we’d have to trade liberty for 10,001 candy sprinkles. But if utility is cardinal, then nothing prevents the possibility that liberty would be preferred to any amount of candy sprinkles.

    Angela Keaton said the LP wanted Bob Barr to be seen with attractive women as a means of promotion…

    What does the LP have against attractive women?

  6. Soviet Onion

    What does the LP have against attractive women?

    Join the Alliance of the Libertarian Left, we love attractive women. And the men don’t even look like Dilbert’s boss, either.

  7. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Roderick,

    LOL

    I had to look at that for a second or two to get the joke. I am pondering writing letter to the CEI or doing a blog post on this. I even considered writing him an open letter criticizing his philosophic fundamentals in a tone of non-swearing irritability ( :

  8. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Roderick,

    LOL

    I had to look at that for a second or two to get the joke. I am pondering writing a letter to the CEI or doing a blog post on this. I even considered writing him an open letter criticizing his philosophic fundamentals in a tone of non-swearing irritability ( :

  9. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Mike,

    Could you clarify rumors of your BCS deletion on this public forum? People need to know about censorship going on there. I am also looking to assess whether to leave in protest or not.

  10. Ariadne (is not an Amazonian *nationalist*)

    Unfortunately, not all attractive womyn love attractive womyn. This confuses and infuriates me. Those who do not love attractive womyn may be upset by the implied membership requirement.

  11. Roderick T. Long

    I had to look at that for a second or two to get the joke.

    Yeah, when I posted that, I was worried that people might think I meant “What do the LP’s critics have against attractive women?”

  12. Rad Geek

    The ONLY reason why certain civilizations have stayed in existense was because of might

    Well, I suppose that’s probably true. For certain broad meanings of the term civilization.

    The fact that the government violates its own laws doesn’t change the fact that it is my government

    I certainly agree that the fact that the government violates its own laws doesn’t change the fact that it is his government.

    Hence, anarchism.

  13. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Am I the only one who notices that he’s echoing Mao? “Power grows out of the barrel of a gun”

    Many a past empire can claim to have stayed in existence due to killing lots of people…

  14. Soviet Onion

    Am I the only one who notices that he’s echoing Mao? “Power grows out of the barrel of a gun”

    It just sounds more like banal Machiavellianism to me. Mao at least saw a point to power beyond power itself.

  15. Mike Gogulski

    First, I like attractive women. Preferably several at a time, especially if they come bearing hard liquor and enjoy allowing my cat, Henry, to sprawl on them.

    I was banned on Bureaucrash Social on Thursday, and Friday (I think) I found my account was deleted too. This was shortly after 2 events:

    • I posted my audio recordings of New Libertarian Manifesto in several groups, plus a blog posting
    • Lee Doren announced his new job at the main Bureaucrash site

    No explanation was given.

    After the founding of a “Mike Gogulski banned/deleted?” group, two inquiries of my own via the “you’ve been banned form”, several mentions of the situation to Lee last night and today via comment threads and on BCS live chat, someone (randomly) alerted me that my account had been reinstated, a few hours ago.

    Again, no explanation was given.

    The display of support I received there from other crashers was surprising and gratifying in its strength and diversity — the only personally happy note on a frazzling, distressing day. Thanks, y’ALL :)

  16. Roderick T. Long

    It just sounds more like banal Machiavellianism to me. Mao at least saw a point to power beyond power itself.

    In fairness to Machiavelli, I think he did too. He may have been consciously advising people who valued only power, but I don’t think Machiavelli himself did so.

  17. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Mike,

    Attractive women are nice, but I suspect the LP wanted to cater to a vary narrow archetypical conception of attractiveness.

    Charles,

    Feminist comment? ( :

    I spoke up for you on BCS! Glad to see you’re back.

  18. Soviet Onion

    Roderick,

    Well yes, the final chapter of the the Prince, “Exhortation to liberate Italy from the barbarian yolk”, does betray a certain degree of patriotism and anti-imperialistic sentiment, at least as far as Italy’s victimization is concerned. It just so happens to be situated in the context of a ridiculous of level of obviously self-serving flattery directed toward his potential employers. The whole book is just a social climber’s resume.

  19. Roderick T. Long

    Attractive women are nice

    Some of them are nice and some aren’t, just like unattractive women. (Unless you build niceness into the concept of attractiveness — as Aquinas did, though one could argue that this area wasn’t really his specialty.)

    On a vaguely related note: I remember arguing a few times with people about whether appearing intelligent (not necessarily being intelligent) contributes to attractiveness; I think it does, but others have argued either that a) there’s no such thing as appearing intelligent, or b) if there is, it’s irrelevant to attractiveness.

  20. Rad Geek

    Soviet Onion:

    The whole book is just a social climber’s resume.

    Well, it’s also not the only book that Machiavelli wrote. The Discourses present a very different sort of view from The Prince, and the former are usually taken to be the more serious exposition of Machiavelli’s political philosophy.

  21. Roderick T. Long

    I bet the barbarian yolk is something even scarier than the barbarian yoke.

    I certainly prefer the Discourses on Livy to the Prince; but I don’t find the Prince to be mainly an exercise in “obviously self-serving flattery.” I think there’s a lot of genuine political insight in both books.

  22. Roderick T. Long

    P.S. - I have some kind words for Machiavelli here and some less kind words for him here.

  23. Aster

    “…I like attractive women. Preferably several at a time, especially if they come bearing hard liquor and enjoy allowing my cat, Henry, to sprawl on them.”

    Then I know a woman in San Francisco you must meet. She worships Bast. She keeps seven cats. She has horrendous veterinary expenses.

    She’s also a playwright and author. Ooh. I promised to buy her book. Oops.

  24. Friend of Liberty KC

    Just a bit of Rand outreach over at Belledame’s blog: http://fetchmemyaxe.blogspot.com/2009/06/and-yet-why-satire-is-dead-part-blazoon.html

    “Ayn Rand repudiated American conservatism. She considered Reagen a “moral monster” and thought there was “no inspiration to be found in the God-family-tradition swamp”. Her philosophy does indeed counsel a person to avoid all religious faith. The recent selective adoption of her rhetoric by Christianist conservative pundits is very misleading. Rush Limbaugh would never quote her on prostitution decriminalization, because that likely won’t go over well with the people giving him his ratings. Rand thought of herself as having transcended the American liberal-conservative dualism. She considered herself a radical for an unknown ideal of a social system. It’s really irritating to see Objectivists and Libertarians cozying up to the cesspool that is the mainstream right. This video’s pairing of Reagen and Rand is the sad result. The best individuals I know inspired by Ayn Rand are so far apart in terms of fundamentals from conservative Christianity. A person would never rationally arrive at the conclusions of James Dobson using Rand’s philosophic methodology.

    And to all you leftists out there: Rand called National Review the most dangerous magazine in America. How’s that for image improvement? ( :”

    Read the script from the video she posted. It’s pretty funny! Conservative say we’re just like you social gospel esque liberals, but we just don’t want the government to do it.

    With political choices like that: who needs nuanced and robust political science?

  25. Friend of Liberty KC

    “It just sounds more like banal Machiavellianism to me. Mao at least saw a point to power beyond power itself.”

    Hmmmm

    Isn’t he claiming that power is the means to an end? The alleged protection of life, liberty, and property would strike me as an end. What’s most disturbing to me are the philosophic implications of claiming that truth about right in politics is subordinate to might. That makes right a derivative of might, so the cause of truth in justice is now dependent on the number of nukes you have. The internal logic of this is dangerous beyond belief. Predictably, I’ve been told he’s a defender of torture ~ albeit I am not sure in what context. He also brought up summary execution in the context of WW2 when discussing the Gitmo situation. The lame “they don’t wear uniforms” excuse reared its head. As if whether or not you wear a uniform, as defined by the U.S. government has anything to do with a rationally arrived at definition of what constitutes a prisoner of war. A dude without a uniform in custody is still a human being. Why does Dick Cheney not grasp this?

  26. Aster at Sukhimvit and Soi 15

    How did we get to the point of discussing Machiavelli and attractive women on the same thread? 0:)

    ~~~

    Please keep this thread going until I’ve time to include my own serious 2c. I’m heading for the airport in 4 hours, and I need that time ‘cause I’m totally suitcase-packing-challenged.

    It’s been an unspeakably wonderful trip. I’m officially in love with Bangkok- the last 4 weeks have utterly changed my life, and it’s been not just a wonderful tuk-tuk whirl though an impressive, beautiful, georgeous, and utterly ginormous city but also, by-the-book, a comedy. Religiously speaking, ‘as you like it’ comes to mind.

    Interesting. Stopped by EMPOWER Foundation earlier in the day, and did everything humanly possible to find the proverbial needle in the haystack- and this one is truly and irreducibly(=) under Rule 79. Took me to midnight to courier a letter with a few words in esperanto to help encouragae them to get them to the right person, which gave precisely enough time to do final sighteseeing. Got to the guest house at 2:30 AM. after staying up two late reading William of Ockham.

    Bubye, guys. When I get back, I hope you’ll all read our new left-libertarian blog. Oh, and I really ought to read the Discourses instead of faking it via Bloom and Strauss. Top of list.

    And official promise to the big Mom: next time I come to Bangkok, I ask not to do it as a freakin’ tourist. I never believe in guilt for living the best life I can in a world I didn’t create, but obvious neocolonialism is obvious, and the entire country of Thailand lives it’s life for the convenience of people in rich countries. But given how damn well they are Doing It Right, I think Westerners ought to learn how to speak some Thai and learn to make smiley faces when their given ridiculously small bills in Thai baht. Because history is moving with the sun, and as Cornel West said, the Age of Europe is over. By 2100, Americans will be learning how to wash Asian toes. The technology is in many ways better here than in either Wellington or San Francisco.

    (=) Yes, I know that this natural philosophy is out of date, but it’s less out date than the standard way people talk about these things, which is just plain Medieval. And more modern stuff gets mixed up with OBVIOUS antisemitic stereotypes. So I’ll stick to steampunk.

    ~~~

    Now, please continue with attractive women and Machiavelli. Laters

  27. Friend of Liberty KC

    Don’t mean to preempt Aster’s contribution to the M debate.

    Treat this as a public service announcement: http://fetchmemyaxe.blogspot.com/2009/06/someone-please-call-cps-on-rob-williams.html

  28. Aster

    FLiKC-

    Thanks for the link to the Belledame peice. She’s awesome- she’s not a sex worker and doesn’t want to be, but she’s a pro-sex feminist and it’s a loss to the sisterhood that doing math just isn’t her cup of tea. She does run a salon, Salon Rose, which it’s about time for me to go read actively. I’ve learned and borrowed (=) quite a bit from her style, not least how to take pride in being a girl geek and write with silver arrows in the blood. Official thanks. Deep bow.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    (=) Copyleft and proud! And, as Camille Paglia would say, loud. IP bites; the RIAA are a bunch of terks who buy off a few privileged and lucky artists who appeal to numbers; they hold down real individualistm and quality and force free spirits to quarry, starve, and scrape for gigs. No thank you. The parallel between the mainstream recording studios and musicians, or between movie studios and the vast majority of actresses/actors, is precisely parallel to the relation between pimps and sex workers. We don’t need these class addicts and they don’t work for our interests.

    IP is the mercantilist monopolisation of human knowledge and creativity at the expense of the energy circuit and free flow of ideas; it is defended primarily by bosses and their very blonde hirelings who have made permanent alliances of the sort I find restrictive and unprincipled. Corporate patronage is a matter of personal business and forgivable as a necessity in a statist world; it is not freedom, and I refuse to accept that the defense of civilised values requires the enablement of rights violations or spiritual colonialism.

    And I thought the deal with that was that the Open Society stands forth and does it better. Not ‘I got here first so here’s the street to everyone else’. I thought that when you forget first principles History does the causality bites thing and reminds you of the Rules rather bluntly. Admittedly, I’m a shadowrunning farang who cheats at metaphysics, so I don’t go by that edition and know what I’m talking about. But I do think the secular logick adds up to favour me on this one. IP doesn’t fly by libertarian principles, magistra Rand notwithstanding.

    Artists and scientists get into their flow state when they can use each others’ ideas as fast as they come off the printing presses, and constraints upon this traffick for the sake of a few privileged dogs in the manger is a barbarous restraint of human progress. The current attempts by the corporate media wing of the Empire to close the intellectual commons and make the rest of us pay for access the basics of human knowledge are one of the more harmful forces acting for re-barbarisation today. And while I’m sure more scared of the mob than the Count most days, it’s not prudent to turn your back on the tsate. The boss is never really a friend to individualists and will sell you and me down the river the moment we forget that.

    And as anyone who follows Monsanto and patent medication knows, IP kills. Anything which keeps farmers from saving their own stock seed is playing with famine.

    What we need is not the dream of jumping up by writing one hit single, but rather the control of our own labour and a fair chance to use our own talents to work for our own damned living. Support the Pirate Party! Fellow workers!. Classism, and the established corporation, is a form of oppression which I do not intend to sanction. Those who do sanction it work for their own destruction and, tragically but objectively, for mine. Counter-economists- defend yourselves! We have not yet begun to fight.

  29. Friend of Liberty KC

    One advantage of IP: Nazis can’t use your work commercially…

  30. Friend of Liberty KC

    Adam Reed made a response to me that I thought was worth discussing:

    “The primary “National Sponsor” and main organizer of this event is, as can be told from the red fist logo, a Left Libertarian organization, one called “FreedomWorks Foundation.” Their idea of “Freedom” includes the “freedom” to make “free” permanent copies of rented DVDs to one’s hard drive - regardless of copyright. Back before the present plague of Pragmatism, even Conservatives, much less Objectivists, would have had qualms at associating with such an outfit. But under the cover of Pragmatism, with its the rejection of principles qua principles, the Left Libertarian position (with its disregard of individualist principles - such as the principle that a creator rightly owns the product of his creative action - for the sake of some “larger” social or political “freedom”)”

    “Nick,

    “Left Libertarian” is not a homogeneous category, or a coherent political position. It is mainly a tendency to disregard individualist principles - such as the principle that a creator rightly owns the product of his creative action - for the sake of some “larger” (social or political) “freedom.” It fits.”

    http://borntoidentify.blogspot.com/2009/06/ayn-rand-center-still-needs-quality.html

    Given the own fractured nature of ALL ranks, he has a point ~ guess Keith Preston has been expunged of sorts. I should let y’all know I am not a convinced left-libertarian anymore ~ already became more of a proto anarchist than an anarchist. I won’t report anyone for IP violations, because I am not sure how I feel ~ plus I generally value friends who disagree with me. I have ordered a copy of Rand’s text on her theory of knowledge. I am going back to reassess Objectivist thought with a better understanding of the specifics of her way of getting to her arguments in the first place.

    Y’ll are nuts and cranks anyhow ( :

  31. Roderick T. Long

    the Left Libertarian position (with its disregard of individualist principles - such as the principle that a creator rightly owns the product of his creative action - for the sake of some “larger” social or political “freedom”)”

    Adam can think what he likes about IP, but I wish he wouldn’t distort our position. One of the main arguments that anti-IP libertarians (left or otherwise) have made against IP is precisely that it interferes with the right of individuals to own the products of their creative activity. That’s one of the chief arguments in Kinsella’s piece, for example, as well as in this piece of mine.

  32. Victoria

    I’m amazed at the slander on the public airwaves, of transgender children….see what we’re up against out there?I’m really, really sad to see the same eight-year-old in Omaha NE whom I praised here the other day getting ridiculed and belittled by bullying fools on the air in Sacramento. Thanks, Nick and FLiKC for calling attention to this.

    My radio listening, btw, is mostly listener-sponsored KPFA Berkeley CA 94.1 fm, or online at kpfa.org. This is a sane, progressive, totally non-commercial so they’re free to tell the truth. See also democracynow.org. Intellectual snob lefty radio!

    I should say that after Aster’s warm reply here, I re-wrote my post for the Radical Faerie lists, and received two responses there that assure me that at least one trans kid is going to benefit from my posting, and the other provided a link http://www.genderspectrumfamily.org, a highly informative and supportive resource for parents of a TG child.

  33. Aster

    “Adam can think what he likes about IP, but I wish he wouldn’t distort our position.”

    Seconded. What really crossed the line with me in Adam’s piece was an aside mentioning an organisation’s ‘strong and unwavering commitment to conservative, pro-family and pro-faith values’ as ‘the lesser evil’. I’m not entirely sure I’m reading him right here, even after a double-take- but if I did, then this really breaks the rules. A ‘lesser evil’ to whom? By what standard? As I might say in New Zealand, that one tanked with me.

    I used to wonder why Orthodox Objectivists shared so many commitments and so much moralistic rhetoric with the privileged Cavalier religious class I grew up under in the South- and why they (like Rothbard), end up ‘objectively’ (in Lenin’s sense) lining up with Christian bourgeois moral heirarchies at the end of the day.

    I think I just figured out the math on this one, and stripped of rhetoric the essential reality isn’t pretty. I’ve been here before. This is classism’s double standard. Pursuing one’s interest by politely coercive and exclusive intellectual property games is noble creation; pursuing one’s interest by borrowing and sharing ideas freely and asking forgiveness rather than permission is base thievery. Forget that. And the aroma suggests a hint of patriarchy. I’ll order a Cosmopolitan instead, khorb khun kaa.

    IP doesn’t agree with reason, it’s unprincipled, and it’s totally against my spiritual and material self-interest. That’s a total loser. The bigotry, condescension, disrespect, and injustice which the unexceptional Orthodox Objectivists show their rhetorical opponents doesn’t help, and now that’s I’m holding together flying solo I will mention that I haven’t forgotten any of that.

    Adam is the most brilliant and cultured human being I have ever met. He is what we might be and ought to be. But he’s wrong on this issue, and I think OO’s are wrong down the line on many similar ones for very similar reasons. Class corrupts- and I’ll gladly side with Emma Goldman and Noam Chomsky over A.R. on this one- it’s called solidarity. Left libertarianism groks the working reality of individualism better than does the Orthodox Objectivist Church. We may have a mongrel pedigree, but we’re the heir apparent to the Promethean spirit, and we should pick up the torch that the Orthodox Randians dropped a long time ago. Chris Sciabarra and Roderick Long are on our side, and the few honourable names left in Objectivism contrast sharply with the desolate mediocrity which surrounds them.

    I’m not scared of this. We’re young and human and can argue and we can win against the Man. I like left-libertarianism. It tells it like it is. Here one can speak one’s mind freely. It’s called integrity. Welcome to Earth.

  34. Marja Erwin

    I can’t respond at Adam’s site, but he’s simply wrong.

    It just isn’t possible to define a theory of property from first principles. For example, the conventional Lockean standard leaves questions regarding:

    • How much labor does it take to gain owenership of an unowned object?

    • How much non-labor does it take to lose ownership through abandonment?

    • If we reject the theory of abandonment, how can we know who owns anything?

    • How can we identify and correct all claims derived from past theft?

    • How much is “enough and as good?”

    • If we accept intellectual robbery in principle, do patents on new discoveries diminish “as much and as good?” That gets into theories of knowledge, but given the near-simultaneous discover of various historical facts [e.g. natural selection] and near-simultaneous invention of various technologies, a strong case can be made that leading-edge technologies in any one field are limited, and awarding monopolies to one discoverer actually denies rights to very real would-be-discoverers, or very real co-discoverers with fewer lawyers.

    However, my perspective on property is more individualistic than Adam Reed’s. It derives from my interests in my projects and my negotiations with other equal parties to protect my interests and respect theirs. In principle, it helps me avoid disputes, and protect my access to rivalrous goods. Intellectual robbery, however, creates disputes, and closes off access to non-rivalrous goods, in order to obtain control of non-rivalrous goods. Intellectual robbery, which is called property, is no better than the legendary tradition of bridge trolls, who, by the service of not eating passers-by, produce value, and charge passers-by a fee in goats.

    Property systems are culturally-specific understandings, which protect human-universal considerations. We can say that some systems work better than others.

  35. Friend of Liberty KC

    Aster,

    Your writing on Rand needs to be collected. Do you mind sending me it? As I study her again, I need to hear her intelligent and well informed critics.

  36. Aster

    “This is a sane, progressive, totally non-commercial so they’re free to tell the truth.”

    It is not commercial interest which prevents one from speaking the truth. It is a lack of independence.

    Viva la vi boheme.

  37. Roderick T. Long

    Marja,

    I agree that neither Lockeanism nor any other system can settle all property issues down to every last detail without some resort to convention. Still, I don’t think Lockeanism is quite as much without resource as you do:

    How much labor does it take to gain owenership of an unowned object?

    Rothbard’s conception of the relevant technological unit seems like at least a fair start here.

    If we reject the theory of abandonment, how can we know who owns anything?

    Most Lockeans don’t reject the theory of abandonment.

    How can we identify and correct all claims derived from past theft?

    We don’t have to, any more than we have to sentence all murders. We sentence the ones we can prove guilty, and everyone else gets the benefit of the doubt. Likewise, we correct land claims when we can trace how to correct them, and otherwise not — a la Rothbard.

    How much is “enough and as good?”

    While my preferred version of Lockeanism doesn’t include that proviso, if you apply the proviso in Schmidtz’s way you can justify appropriation without settling the “how much” question.

  38. Aster

    “Intellectual robbery, which is called property, is no better than the legendary tradition of bridge trolls, who, by the service of not eating passers-by, produce value, and charge passers-by a fee in goats.”

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!

    It’s a suspension bridge- it involves actual engineering. And we prefer Svartálfar to trolls.

    Thanks for the support.

    FLiKC-

    Let met collect my thoughts when I’ve the group blog up. Actually, if I really want to do this I’ll have to go after Rand on first philosophy. Unfortunately, I must first get my business together before I can afford to order the books I’d need in order to do the necessary research.

  39. Rad Geek

    FoLKC, quoting Adam Reed:

    The primary “National Sponsor” and main organizer of this event is, as can be told from the red fist logo, a Left Libertarian organization, one called FreedomWorks Foundation.

    Time out.

    FreedomWorks? Really, dude?

    If Dick Fucking Armey’s outfit counts a a Left Libertarian organization these days, I want out.

    Roderick,

    There you go again, with your sacrificial-morality demands that the productive waste their labors on intellectual charity. Altruism! Altruism, I say!

    Incidentally, did you know that I have an argument against property rights in improved land and that my Anarchism/Minarchism essay constantly appeals to a supposed lack of any possibility of objective criteria for rights? It’s true: I read it on the Internet.

    (The link actually points to my local mirrors of my replies to Adam, because Adam later zapped the comment thread on that article without explanation.)

  40. Marja Erwin

    Well, certainly, if the swartalbos build and maintain the bridge, then they can request payment. However, if someone takes over bridges which other people maintain and use it is another story.

  41. Friend of Liberty KC

    Y’all don’t want to lose me to the forces of Adam Reed style Objectivist thought; do ya? Well I’s love to settle down with a movement featuring a gun toting dude from Chicago and a no doubt supra hot escort intellectual lady in New Zealand ~ no romantic overtures intended, Aster. Just telling it like it is.

    Then there’s Roderick. The jolly ole philosophy professor with a feminine accent of sorts.

    I am ready to kick statist butt.

  42. Friend of Liberty KC

    I just need to know where I should be kicking it at and who to kick it with ideologically.

    What is Nick’s program?

    1. Start a revolutionary writing business supporting gun runners to RAWA against NATO occupiers.

    2. Enjoy a nice revolutionary whore after said business allows Nick to pay a living wage for her company.

    3. Advance Objectivist thought or left-libertarian thought?

  43. Soviet Onion

    Nick,

    If there’s one thing Firefly has taught us, it’s that whores and smuggling are a natural mix.

    I’m down for some runnin’ if I can convince a hot and well-refined escort to join me. I’ll need to flesh out the roster a bit before I can reasonably call it a crew. Maybe talk to that guy from New Jersey who’s even more of a gun nut than I am, find a precocious techie just outta school, maybe already from that part of the world; a top-notch doctor from a good school and a privileged background (read: 23% of all libertarians), that goofball delivery driver from my last job and his assertive girlfriend, a Christian anarchist and possibly a mentally unstable gymnast.

    I figure that after we liberate Afghanistan and change the name to Ancapistan, my prairie harlot and I’ll open up a saloon together in Qandahar, and invest the remaining proceeds into the soon-to-be-booming film industry. That terrain is just perfect for the Western genre, much like Italy during the era of spaghetti Westerns. Afghani-Westerns; now that spells potential.

  44. Aster

    “The link actually points to my local mirrors of my replies to Adam, because Adam later zapped the comment thread on that article without explanation.”

    Yes. He does that. He memory holed a large number of mine as well, with explanation: the explanation that he was trying to make money with his blog and found my comments a distraction from that end. Some were silly fluff and deserved it, but some were teh good writing and reasoning. Let each choose his own hierarchy of values.

    I would, incidentally, love to read through the Anarchism/Minarchism anthology, but I doubt I’ll be able to any time soon. When the book came up on my old salon, Adam helpfully directed me to the book’s imposing price tag for more information.

    Insert your own joke here. Halp! I’ve a stone in my shoe! Someone run off and buy me a new one! Adam, you have an irreproachable greenhouse. Please quit it with the rocks.

    It is his website, and he is within his rights to do what he likes. Some of his articles are really good, and his ideas often surprisingly converge with mine. I extremely deeply don’t wish an extended quarrel with him. I respect him immensely. But he’s saying unfair things about you guys, to the point of insulting people’s honour and dismissing human achievement. That’s very unfortunate. He not only ought he to know better, but considering the jaw-dropping Roark-level excellence of which he is capable I find it hard to believe he doesn’t know better. His treatment of Carson and Long is just getting the facts wrong, and his treatment of left-libertarianism doesn’t do the homework. I’m very close to saying that he owes us an apology.

    I understand that he opposes left-libertarianism and opposes its nonexistent party line, but he could stop raining on a real celebration- as Roderick said, we’ve a spiffy coalition and it’s dancing away. ‘Nuts and cranks?’ ‘Snobs and cultists!’ I know good company when I see it, and at a minimum it’s like Rule 1 of the ars belli not to make the fatal error of underestimating one’s opponent. Good programming is capable of handling errors and borderline cases gracefully. Anyway, I honestly have zero knowledge as to why he is acting so out of character.

  45. Roderick T. Long

    In my experience Randians (with many honourable exceptions, natch) tend to view their intellectual opponents through a filter of Rand-inspired expectations as to what sort of positions an opponent is likely to hold, and it can be astonishingly difficult to get them to see past the filter to what you’re actually saying.

    but considering the jaw-dropping Roark-level excellence of which he is capable

    Can you point me to some of his Roark-like contributions?

  46. Aster

    “Advance Objectivist thought or left-libertarian thought?”

    Well, you will obviously have to decide which political philosophy is true by the judgment of your own mind.

    Meanwhile, let me lay out the bad reasons:

    ~~

    Organised Objectivism will snub, torture, and betray you if you display serious and respectful interest in:

    • Transgenderism
    • Polyamory
    • Prostitution
    • Narcotics
    • Counter-economics
    • Bohemia/Counterculture
    • Working class justice
    • The Left
    • Many fascinating philosophers and artists.

    Yes, a few will honour essential Randian principles and will treat you decently. But they will not support you sufficiently against Objectivist society, which expects such interests to remain hidden, due to inhuman and irrational demands for ‘optimality’ and ‘integrity’ which at heart are expressions of the material and spiritual entitlements of class privilege. You will be expected to either hide yourself or you will be shown the social door, at which point you will be expected to smile gratefully for any crumb of respect, access, or recognition which the good cops may magnanimously choose to offer you.

    Ellen Stuttle, who understands human society, warned me of all this before I tried to offer my mind to Objectivism. I refused to believe her, arguing that the philosophical individualism, Promethean values, and classical legacy of Objectivism should agree entirely with my own values and projects. I tried attending five different local and virtual Objectivist intellectual groups (and had dealt with one other in my previous life, where I was mistrusted for my interest in Nietzsche, existentialism, and Beethoven), and every time came away emotionally bleeding. Yes, I was young and recently out and made twenty thousand gaffes and learning curve errors, but social-intellectual organisations which cannot handle inexperienced enthusiasm or cannot put prejudice aside fail at their basic educational purpose. Mrs. Stuttle proved entirely right, and my failure to listen to her cost me irreplacable years of my life and a very black period of spiritual darkness.

    Left-libertarianism, by contrast, defends its own. During the recent Civil War four or five people loudly stood up on precisely the right spiritual note of respect for authenticity and Promethean individualism. Furthermore, left-libertarianism is tolerant in the sense that it is not an exclusive religion. No left-libertarian who have not themselves clearly shown themselves distant from the spiritual centre of the movement has ever given me trouble for my post-Randianism. But organised Objectivism will sneer at you if you so much as breathe the word ‘left-libertarianism’. Think about which appeals to you.

    Left-libertarianism supports people- perhaps not perfectly, but amazingly by any comparative standard- regardless of gender, class, race, and social convention. People here care about you, and will appreciate who you are instead of expecting you to meet an external standard which is only the dead image of human excellence.

    Left-libertarianism is poor and cannot directly help you financially, but Randianism is a class game and will not help you financially, and will recognise and support you only and precisely to the degree that your participation in their circles is a class asset- and one expectation of all charmed circle class games is that respectable people betray their friends and forget where they came from.

    Left-libertarianism can only do a little to help you against the horrible reality of a bigoted and failing civilisation which is collapsing into dictatorship. But Objectivism will not help you despite having ample means to do so, and has repeatedly collaborated with the conservative wing of the establishment. Organised Objectivism respects those who succeed in good standing with the existing and established social institutions, and, like existing patriarchal and state institutions will only allow one to use one’s talents and gain access to public intellectual life at the price of a spiritual submission to existing authority. I know that authority works by controlling the means of survival and and that there is no moral answer when faced with massive oppression. But if left-libertarianism can’t change the world’s injustice with a wish, organised Objectivism refuses to, and will offer you no better options than does the rest of respectable society.

    Objectivists control corporations and could easily, for instance, help intelligent and talented fugitives from oppression flee across international borders by contacting corporate friends in foreign countries, who could then sponsor a fugitive’s work visa. They don’t. And they know this is how it is done. If left-libertarians really had the power and access to do such things without soul-killing self-sacrifice, my bet is that someone like Charles or Golguski would.

    Neither movement will offer you a free lunch. But neither does life, unfortunately. Left-libertarians do take after anarchists and dumpster bagels for friends, and if left-libbism does not match social anarchism’s promise of collective support, it does show interest in mutual aid and does not, as the mainstream and anarchist Left too often do, ask that you feel ashamed of self-interest, profit, and commerce. I think that left-libertarianism’s acceptance of a diversity of economic systems is one of its greatest strengths(=). You are allowed here to both share and care and make money. Reality does not provide better options.

    Left-libertarians practice friendship and have formed a community- a community based on chosen and shared values, no less. That’s might shiny in civilisational terms. And friends can offer you advice, information, survival skills, concern, support, solidarity, and kindness- if you are honest to yourself and others about who you are and what you care about. I know you can’t eat that. But if left-libertarianism offers you insufficient bread, Objectivism offers you a stone. And you can’t eat that on principle.

    ~~

    These are, again, the wrong reasons to adopt a political theory. But they are not totally inappropriate reasons to commit yourself to a specific political movement, and a movement which offers material and spiritual incentives- and a community- to its members has a powerful advantage over one that does not.

    ~~

    (=)One place this could be salubriously developed would be in the appreciation of both masculine and feminine economic networks; women help each other out with stuff and teach each other life skills as a seamless part of building friendships and relationships, and it holds half the world together. The sexist underestimation of female culture has many parallels to the classist underestimation of decentralised economic systems.

  47. Aster

    “Can you point me to some of his Roark-like contributions?”

    He speaks seven languages. Fluently. He’s read every book ever written in all of them. He’s maintained an adolesecent’s love of life despite having grown up in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe to a family which survived even worse. He’s a scientist, and keeps a rigorous scientific mind sans the standard agnostic positivism which mars scientific culture. I’ve learned an immense amount from watching how he spiritually carries himself, and find it very distressing to now find myself on the other side of a barricade, even if he is wrong.

    Oh, and he invented the Internet or something (ask him about the tech stuff; not my preferred field).

    What more do you want? I suppose many of these are more ‘excellences’ than ‘achievements’, and could be called useless, but I have never cared much for the ethos of social contributions- I prefer the eudaimonism of a Kaufmann, Rand, or Allan Bloom. I can’t deal with his class politics, and I’ve had it with the double-standard condescension. But this is what human stature looks like.

  48. Friend of Liberty KC

    Aster,

    Adam doesn’t have control over whether or not the articles in that can be published in public. I recall him telling Starchild that the article he wrote was too long to post and his obligation to the publisher would be violated.

    Anyhow, I had trouble wrapping my head around his criticisms of Charles too.

    Charles,

    You probably ran afoul of the Objectivist theory of rationality ~ what I am trying to get a better handle on.

  49. Friend of Liberty KC

    Aster,

    I did not see your extended response until now. Thank you for taking such an interest. I do confess that the lack of material benefit from left-libertarianism’s more romantic brand of individualism can be frustrating ~ religious leftist and orthodox socialist anti-materialist diatribes notwithstanding. I never got a single donation for the writing I did on Life, Love, and Liberty. This is not to suggest that anyone had a duty to donate irrespective of what they thought of my writing. Nonetheless, I did spend a lot of time building that site. I spent a lot of time editing and revising for both technical/creative perfection.

    The material attractiveness of a given idea doesn’t make it untrue, so that’s not a good reason to abandon it. What you cite doesn’t theortically disprove O ism, but it does suggest that its practical application in the existing world may be severely limited. I generally appreciate the rebellious in your face attitude of agorist reading. I like the people I’ve built connections with in it. It has more of an emotional pull for me than Oism does right now.

  50. Soviet Onion

    I do confess that the lack of material benefit from left-libertarianism’s more romantic brand of individualism can be frustrating.

    Hey, I offered you passage on the best ship in the quadrant and room & board for a simple share of the costs. Speaking of which, did you buy that bus ticket yet?

  51. Friend of Liberty KC

    Eh not yet. Let me get back to you soon.

  52. Roderick T. Long

    Most of us, alas, are not terribly good at raising money. Exception: Brad Spangler. What he’s done to raise money for C4SS is amazing – we’re actually <paying a couple of people.

  53. Nick M

    Well if I stick with this as a primary focus of my life, then I’ll Brad for a job ( :

  54. Friend of Liberty KC

    Roderick,

    The M Society/Institute and C4SS have become the left-lib equivalents of CATO or Mises. They still have a lot less funding though…

    Get this: I went to a Reason release party and was reading the list of people who donated. They included Goldman Sachs and Chrysler. The same bailed out companies…

    Crazy ( :

  55. Friend of Liberty KC

    To the Reason foundation…

  56. Marja Erwin

    I am aghast. I am unable to sleep.

    Now rational people can differ about inflicting suffering as part of restitution, rehabilitation, or deterrence. There is at least an intelligible aim beyond the suffering.

    But, unless they are speaking a different English than the English I have spoken since my earliest childhood, nobody can defend retribution. Retribution, by definition, is what’s left over when there are no intelligible aims. It is, among other things, inflicting suffering for its own sake.

    To treat retribution as its own aim is dodging the question. It still means the purpose of inflicting the suffering is to inflict the suffering. It is the same kind of unreason as the supposed divine right of kings, as militarism, as legalism, and every other attempt to turn injustice into its own moral principle to justify it.

  57. Aster

    Marja-

    Non sequitur? Was this meant for another thread? Could you please link to what your objections to retribution refer to?

  58. Friend of Liberty KC

    Aster,

    Marja is reacting to Adam Reed’s piece on hate crime legislation. It’s one of his most recent blog posts.

  59. Aster

    “Enjoy a nice revolutionary whore after said business allows Nick to pay a living wage for her company.”

    Not me.

  60. Friend of Liberty KC

    Aster,

    Given how public my past friendship with you has become, I feel confident in saying that you read far too much into my posts on here. I don’t fault you ~ given my past behavior. I do think we would have a much more cordial relation without all the subconscious readings ~ if what I say is subconsciously related to some enduring affection for you, then I am not aware of it. I don’t wish to have an extended conversation about this on here. I just wanted to respond to your comment intelligently.

    As a qualifier: I of course understand my plan is dependent upon the consent of an individual sex worker.

  61. Aster

    FliKC-

    I will discuss this with you privately.

  62. Nick M

    I’d greatly prefer that.

  63. Friend of Liberty KC

    Hmmm

    Not sure why it was posted as Nick M.

    Whatever! People; I have insomnia and am disappointed there is no new raging debate on here to read.

    Soviet

    Charles

    Aster

    William

    Marja

    Roderick

    Gary

    Entertain me! ( :

    Y’all know that would be very er individualistic of you.

  64. Friend of Liberty KC

    http://news.aol.com/article/abortion-opponents-protest-at-funeral/516680

    Oh yes; the poor guy “deserved” to die. O’ “fascist” Relliy can talk about him being a “babykiller” and then lament his death ~ while still insisting he was a “babykiller”.

    If he had his way; the state would have figuratively killed him via imprisonment ~ perhaps death if he resisted his captors.

    Soviet,

    If someone assassinates my NARAL worker stepcousin; I need you as my personal hitmen ( :

    Dark humor for dark times.

  65. Friend of Liberty KC

    A question:

    Would the left-libertarian community be generously willing to help me pay the costs of TG-TS transformation? If it should ever become a necessity…

  66. Soviet Onion

    Dark humor for dark times.

    And it’s a dark path that I’d have to walk down. One that I don’t think I could come back from. Sorry Nick, I have enough trouble convincing myself that I’m worth getting up in the morning for.

    Of course, if a fascist does it, all bets are off. Some things are worth the price of a soul.

    Sorta joking, sorta not.

  67. Friend of Liberty KC

    You’re just the most inspiring cowboy I know, Soviet ( :

    BTW, I repeat my question to all of you about how far this solidarity thing goes. I do provide contributions to this forum of intellectual merit.

  68. Friend of Liberty KC

    Eh I don’t mean to be pushy. I am just desperate and poor.

  69. Friend of Liberty KC

    Charles doesn’t have his new Sunday thingy up! So; I am announcing I am off to Kansas City gay pride.

    Woot!

  70. Soviet Onion

    You’re just the most inspiring cowboy I know, Soviet ( :

    Nah. According to the D&D alignment test I’m …

    Chaotic Good

    A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.

    —excerpted from the Player’s Handbook, Chapter 6

    I wonder what race/class combo fits me best. Let’s find out.

  71. Soviet Onion

    Hmm, so apparently I’m also a half-elf

    You are caught between two worlds and feel like no one else can quite understand your situation. You’ve tried many times to express your feelings in song or prose to covey just how the situation makes you feel, but you cant help but feel it is all for naught. You shall outlive your human kin, but you are young yet by elven standards. You live between the two societies, never fully a part of either. Those you trust and call friend you guard well from harm. Sometimes they feel like the only family you truly possess.

    and a rogue.

    Rogues are cunning and elusive adversaries. Rogues slip into and out of shadows on a whim, pass anywhere across the field of battle without fear of reprisal, and appear suddenly only to drive home a lethal blade.

    As a rogue, you might face others’ preconceptions regarding your motivations, but your nature is your own to mold. You could be an agent fresh from the deposed king’s shattered intelligence network, an accused criminal on the lam seeking to clear your name, a wiry performer whose goals transcend the theatrical stage, a kid trying to turn around your hard-luck story, or a daredevil thrill-seeker who can’t get enough of the adrenaline rush of conflict. Or perhaps you are merely in it for the gold, after all.

    With a blade up your sleeve and a concealing cloak across your shoulders, you stride forth, eyes alight with anticipation. What worldly wonders and rewards are yours for the taking?

  72. Marja Erwin

    Can you link to the class and race quizzes you used?

  73. Soviet Onion

    They were on Wizards.com. Here’s the alignment one. Here’s the class one. I couldn’t find a race quiz there, so I used this one on OkCupid.com

  74. Marja Erwin

    Which leads to some odd questions:

    Ginger or Mary Ann? Who are they?

    Pepsi or Coke? No.

    According to those tests, neutral good, cleric, and human.

  75. Soviet Onion

    Sounds about right.

  76. Marja Erwin

    Good thing then. Enough experience, and I’ll be able to resurrect our enemies after you deal with them and we loot their bodies. Right? ;)

  77. Roderick T. Long

    Turns out I’m a Chaotic-Good Wizard/Artificer. I guess that doesn’t especially surprise me.

  78. Gabriel

    I couldn’t get the race one to work, but neutral good and ranger otherwise.

  79. Soviet Onion

    Marja,

    Don’t forget the part where I draw funny mustaches on them in permanent marker while they’re out.

    Rod and Gabriel,

    If that race quiz doesn’t work for you, try this one on Quizilla.

  80. Roderick T. Long

    Then I’m also a Half-Elf.

  81. Soviet Onion

    Then I’m also a Half-Elf.

    So, wanna hang out?

  82. MBH

    Half-Elf here too.

  83. Aster

    I got…

    …neutral good gnome warlock!

    Gnome? Being shorter would be nice, and I’m pretty pro-gnome, but I’ve always identified as a tiefling.

    Neutral Good!? Ok, WTF? I answered the questions as honestly as possible, including a few replies that I wouldn’t want others to see, and I get… this?? This is terrible for my reputation. I call defamation of character. I chose chaotic neutral and, by Pandemonium, I’ll have chaotic neutral! ‘Neutral good’ is not going to get me a job involving bat wings. How do I sue WOTC?

    I self- categorise as a CN tiefling mage/er… bard, except with divine instead of arcane magic. But warlock sounds pretty shiny.

    Neutral good!?!? I’m clearly not eating enough live kittens.

  84. Roderick T. Long

    Then I’m also a Half-Elf. So, wanna hang out?

    That depends. Are you elf on the left side and human on the right side, or elf on the right side and human on the left side?

  85. Friend of Liberty KC

    I suspected Roderick was an elf when meeting him the first time. I just thought it’d be impolite to ask.

  86. Soviet Onion

    Shut up and take the quiz, Nick.

    This party is a little unbalanced at a moment. Where are all the dumb meat-shield melee warriors and barbarians?

    Oh, that’s right. Over at the ARV listserve.

  87. Marja Erwin

    Soviet,

    Clankers - sorry, fighters and paladins and the like - make too much noise. It’s better to sneak around when possible. You’re the rogue, you ought to understand this.

    Eventually, of course, I hope to have the figure for the chain bikini, and screw the armor check penalties, but not yet.

  88. Soviet Onion

    You displease me, Nick. I offer the chance to play my little game and you reject it like an ungrateful child. Swine. You can’t begin to see what a privilege it is you’ve denied yourself.

    Still, I am forgiving. You will have the the chance to make it up to me and regain my graces … by taking the damn quiz, motherfucker.

    Marja,

    Of course, the better to distract the guards while I execute the real plan. I mean, these are ARV types we’re talking about. What do I care if a couple national anarchist warriors bite the blade? More loot for me in the end.

  89. Aster

    Soviet-

    Hey! We’re all libertarians here! And, as you know:

    The man
    Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.
    Power, like a desolating pestilence,
    Pollutes whate’er it touches; and obedience,
    Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
    Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,
    A mechanized automaton.

    I thought you were supposed to be chaotic good. You don’t want the Dm. to assign you alignment penalties, do you?

  90. Soviet Onion

    Aster,

    Hey, it wouldn’t be roleplaying if I kept consistent to my actual alignment. Plus I’m a little out of practice as a Dungeon Master, and feel like honing my demeanor on whatever suitable victims wander into view.

    *… slips back into the maze of shadowed alleyways from whence he came. Does our lonely rogue seek redeem the world? Or just mock those that do?

  91. Aster

    To the degree that their world considers pride a sin, virtue must take on the attributes of viciousness to preserve the privilege of expressing pride openly. In a world where respectability increasingly means the loss of independence, freedom increasingly entails the embrace of criminality. For those seldom historically permitted to stand openly in the sunlight, it usually has.

    “Everything in my head is singing!”

  92. william

    chaotic-good human warlord

    …was unaware that class even existed. i’m not so sure how i feel about that.

  93. Soviet Onion

    Gillis rules the Wasteland!!!

  94. Gabriel

    I was hoping for half-elf but I got gnome. Gnomes weren’t even in Lord of the Rings, who came up with them?

  95. Roderick T. Long

    Actually gnomes were in the early drafts of the material that eventually became the Silmarillion; but they were just one kind of elf — they didn’t look like the Travelocity guy.

  96. Roderick T. Long

    Hmm, my last response was supposed to have “nerd” and “/nerd” in angle-brackets before and after it, but I guess they were interpreted as actual attempts at formatting and so rendered invisible.

  97. Rad Geek

    It would take some hunting to find where, but my recollection is that he did go so far as to very briefly mention Gnomes in The Hobbit and the Appendices of Lord of the Rings. In any case, when he used the term it was intended as an English form for the Noldor (with Gnomish being their dialect of Quenya). Apparently part of the idea was the older connection of gnome with knowledge or craft, before it became associated with knobby little bearded men in conical hats. By that time though he had mostly rejected the term, as being too misleading, so for the most part you just hear about Noldor straight-up, and exclusively so by the time of the published Silmarillion.

    I decline to use <nerd></nerd> markup, because I’d just have to wrap it around everything I write. But if you want to get a <tag> printed inline, the thing to do is to write &lt;tag&gt;.

  98. Marja Erwin

    I tend to skip the opening bracket and just type the closing one:

    [/snark] [/rant]

    etc.

    Yes, Tolkien originally used Gnomes to refer to the Noldor but stopped later on. His notes were published starting in the late 1980s.

    I think D&D Gnomes were introduced in the late 1970s. Perhaps drawn from the garden Gnomes?

  99. Roderick T. Long

    Tolkien’s elves, of course, also went against the then-dominant (and still-breathing) stereotype of elves as tiny pixies — though Tolkien was drawing on earlier traditions of elves as rather more imposing folk (or Folk). (Same of course for Fairies, a term he may have used in some of the early material; I forget.)

    Things like Elfquest seem to be trying to merge the Tolkienish conception of elves with the tiny-pixies conception. I don’t know why they would want to do that, but whatever. (One of the artists behind Elfquest tried to make an animated Elric movie, and did produce a book of drawings. My complaint is that it makes Elric look too, well, pixyish.

    Back in the late 70s/early 80s there was an enormously popular picture book called Gnomes that strongly influenced the pop-culture conception of gnomes. I mean, the book was everywhere. Haven’t heard/seen it mentioned for quite a while, but its influence lingers.

  100. Aster

    I wrote a 5¶ post on the </nerd> issue, but the power flickered and crashed my laptop, so I’ll just give you the shorter girl geek(=):

    “Nerd is kewl right now. Matrix. LOTR. Weak tea RPGs are mainstream. Done right a nerd aspect is socially useful. This is a Good Sign in pretty nasty times. Run with it. Nerd Pride! Tone down the 4chan manners and invite girls and brown people. We can make the active intellect socially attractive again and rebuild the broken prestige of philosophy. Let’s do it. Again.”

    Oh, and Charles and Jeremy (and likely others) get to use <geek></geek> as well as <nerd></nerd>, no?

    (=) I have a hopelessly dated minor in computer science, but ‘girl geek’ is IMHO actually the feminine for ‘nerd’. The word declines irregularly in all languages. Besides, I’m pretentious.

  101. Aster

    Our adventuring party, so far…

    • CG Human Warlord
    • NG Gnome Ranger
    • NG Human Heal Bi… I mean Cleric
    • CG 1/2 Elf Wizard/Artificier (like 12th level)
    • CN Gnome Warlock
    • CG 1/2 Elf Rogue

    Sounds like a very well balanced and compatible party to me.

    I think we can take on a 16th level Lawful Evil Pureblood Human Wizard (warning: first clear minions). Our Antifa Warrior (prestige class) can tank him. Roderick can nuke him for high dps. But Marja has to gain some experience levels first before she can raise dead(=). Soviet can toss poisoned daggers and watch my back while I summon a lesser Tanar’ri to do someone’s bidding (I can’t get properly get that spell for a few more levels, but I have a couple of scrolls tucked into my spellbook already).

    There will be loot involved?

    (=) Hey, if you get transmute water into wine, how come you haven’t started your own bootlegging company? And why aren’t you drunk more often?

  102. Roderick T. Long

    By the way, this is the bestselling book that was insanely all-pervasive in the late 70s (as in getting discussed on the primetime news; I’m not just talking about fantasy fans and such). Although garden gnomes of more or less this appearance have been popular in northern Europe since the 19th century, there were plenty of other depictions too; I think this book really helped to narrow the popular conception of gnomes to precisely this image.

  103. Rad Geek

    I wasn’t quite around in the late 70s, but I did see the picture book a few times. And in any case those of us who were watching a lot of Nickelodeon in the 1980s encountered the same character designs, at one degree of separation, through David el Gnomo

    Of course, Tolkien was dropping Gnomes out of The Hobbit and LOTR back in the 1940-1950, at which time it already strongly suggested short men with magical powers connected to the element of Earth, even without the specific canonical drawings from the book + cartoon series. (Turns out he used it in the early editions of the Hobbit, but later, during the round of revisions he put through for continuity with LOTR, he had it edited out in favor of High Elves and Deep-elves, and then was going to mention it briefly in the LOTR Appendices to link up with the mention in The Hobbit, but later dropped it in favor of a discussion of the use of Elves and inveighing against the pixy-conception.) In any case, on the popular meaning of Gnomes, Tolkien blamed Paracelsus.

  104. Roderick T. Long

    Another influence, at least in the u.s., was the “Nomes” in Baum’s Oz books, which were referred to as “Gnomes” in the post-Baum Oz books. They were indeed “short men with magical powers connected to the element of Earth”; on the other hand, they didn’t much resemble the stereotypical garden gnome; so they perhaps count as available alternatives that were crowded out by the Gnomes book. Ditto for Arthur Rackham’s paintings of gnomes.

  105. Nick Manley - Legal Name

    Hey y’all,

    I am back with a very interesting news development. There is a LOT of political ferment going on in Iran right now. It should be of interest to students of liberty.

    Read all of the following news stories:

    1. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/06/20096932010636766.html

    2. http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/06/200968114647880273.html

    3. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/06/200961104040823718.html

    William Pfaff correctly notes:

    “The second highly interesting development has been the spectacular presidential election campaign in Iran. The vote takes place this Friday. The battle against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his politically conservative and culturally reactionary backers has turned into an unprecedented brawl.

    Ahmadinejad’s leading opponent, Mir Hossein Moussavi, who led the country during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, attacks Ahmadinejad for “adventurism, illusionism, exhibitionism, extremism and superficiality,” including his notorious Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, all disgracing the country internationally.

    Ahmadinejad and his supporters attack Moussavi because his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a university professor of politics, has assumed a public role at her husband’s side in the campaign, and demands expanded higher education for women. They are also attacking corruption amid Moussavi’s establishment backers.

    The campaign has included dramatic television debates on usually forbidden issues of policy and religion, and has taken to the streets in a way that Western correspondents compare with raucous and acrimonious Western presidential campaigns.

    There are nightly street demonstrations and weekend stadium rallies with tens of thousands of young participants. To quote The New York Times, “Every night, parts of the capital become a screaming, honking bacchanal.” This is unprecedented in modern Iran — and surely not the conduct of the “false democracy” that Washington likes to call Iran.

    It is true that these are public manifestations that both reveal and conceal shifting rivalries and alliances among the senior clerical forces who intend to have the last word (one more time?). But this is again an affair in which the U.S. will profit from keeping its distance.”

    http://original.antiwar.com/pfaff/2009/06/10/world-events-challenge-us-assumptions/

    I noted the likely necessity of another Iranian revolution on a past post on here. It could be prudent to translate liberal literature into Persian or Arabic.

  106. Marja Erwin

    Charles,

    The system just ate my comment. It claimed I was posting comments far too frequently, for my second comment today.

    Nick,

    Perhaps we need something different to lure you into roleplaying? Something with more personal character motivations and adventure structures? Something oriented less around combat and more around relationships? What if there were The L Word: The Roleplaying Game? ;)

    Shane: Not again! I failed my will save.

    Carmen: We just spent how many sessions getting here, and you do this!

    Shane (hands in the air): Hey, don’t blame me. I’m on your side. Blame the dice.

  107. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Awwwww! Shane and Carmen are so loveable. There should totally be a L Word roleplaying game ( :

  108. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    On another important note: I’ve recently thought about the minarchist-anarchist divide in the Alliance. I consider myself a radical minarchist. The arguments of Adam Reed and Aster made me more cautious about anarchism. I consider Roderick Long and Charles among its most informed/intelligent defenders. My study of basic concept formation/philosophic method should help me further clarify my independent thoughts on the issue.

    If radical minarchists like me are unconvinced that an anarchy can protect individual rights in the classical liberal sense, then what happens when anarchists push for anarchy? What do we minarchists do? The way I reasoned it: the anarchists in the Alliance don’t consider or intend to promote anarchist entities that violate a basic market liberal set of individual rights. I can therefore trust them as principled allies with a difference of degree…

    Given that Roderick made clear he didn’t support anarchy without cultural change; I am more confident. I do wish to start a public debate among ALLies about this.

  109. Soviet Onion

    Given that Roderick made clear he didn’t support anarchy without cultural change; I am more confident. I do wish to start a public debate among ALLies about this.

    Another Left-Libertarian Civil War!!

    I’ll craft a detailed response to you a little later.

  110. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Not a civil war per se. I do see some issues to be fleshed out here though.

  111. Aster

    Soviet-

    Please see my forthcoming email on this issue.

  112. Soviet Onion

    Randian minarchy:

    It occurs to me that her conception of government has no real need to for democracy, because then there’s no guarantee that popular support for a decision will have anything to do with respecting people’s rights, anymore than a constitutionally enshrined monarch or dictator. At the very least there’d be no need for elections, because history has shown that they elected politicians are no safer. It supposes something like a Platonic elite with only a fraction of the power and license, a role in which no human can realistically be bound to follow the rules, which is why I wasn’t surprised at all to hear Rand describe rational government as an “impersonal robot”.

    It also logically requires world government, because any interaction between foreigners would be done outside the authority of a single, rational government equipped to act as a final arbitrator above them. This doesn’t pose any practical problems if you intend that all interactions should be local, but you can say goodbye to long-distance travel and trade (and see below for the origins of international commercial law). To acknowledge that separate states can arrive at certain mutually-agreeable standards between them, and associated trappings like extradition treaties, that satisfy objective standards of justice gives lie to the idea that justice requires a single authority. And if you accept that those are satisfactory solutions, why shouldn’t these “governments” be able to overlap? In fact, why wouldn’t that be beneficial from the standpoint of the “citizens”, since choices are good and competition keeps providers honest?

    If you don’t agree, then think about what your position logically implies. Are you comfortable, as a libertarian, advocating for a single world government? Won’t this create irreconcilable problems when private groups begin colonizing space? Do the helium-3 harvesters on the moon need to submit to the Terran Authority as a precursor to fair and beneficial trade and travel? More likely, frequent interaction would compel them to import some of the principles and mechanisms favored on Earth, and enforce them independently, if for no other reason than the benefits of smooth operation and standardization.

    Rand’s invocation of the Declaration of Independence to justify full monopoly on force is not quite right either. Jefferson intended that the government have a monopoly on retaliatory force in service of court rulings, but not defensive force. Hence private gun ownership. There’s also the further competitive check of the masses moral authority to overthrow an unjust government, yet nothing guarantees that they will act on fair grounds, and with just and proper motivations in doing so. Where do they get their objective principles from, and why are they suddenly equipped to act on them when they weren’t in any routine situation before?

    There’s also the question as to whether enforcement is even needed for all types of contracts, let alone the cheapest and most efficient alternative. The rebirth of commerce in the High Middle Ages inspired the creation of the Lex Mercatoria, a non-coercive arbitration system who’s rulings were enforced solely through reputation and blacklisting, and who’s protocols were actually more standardized and universal than any of the local state systems that couldn’t support international commerce. It was later absorbed by the rising national states and forms much of the basis for existing international commercial law.

    Fast forward nine centuries and you have eBay, which rarely settles things through its complaints department and functions more heavily on the reputation and rating system that its participants use. Sex workers run online blacklisting sites for similar purposes. None of these systems deal with unsophisticated or short-range forms of commerce and contract-making.

    As for things that would or could involve a forceful element, to the extent that I’m not skeptical of anything, I’m least skeptical of polycentric law and dispute resolution mechanisms (and anything with the prefix “poly”, really). I won’t go into the usual talking points about how competition weeds out bad practices from good, and bad practitioners from good ones. What you want to know what guarantees that it will be satisfactory performance at enforcing the right protocols?

    Two points:

    1. That having people pay, directly, voluntarily to enforce their prejudices will tend to leave these underfunded in the face simple defensive force on behalf of the people being attacked.

    That’s probably true to an extent; more so than in a state (local or otherwise), but an anarchy that begins with a suitable degree of prejudice will tend to suppress that mechanism and lock the process down in the first place, to the point that it’s absurd to even speak of anarchy in that context.

    2. Commerce, travel and communication are good for society, because they break down the normative barriers that keep such prejudice isolated and safe. First, because they give people so many de facto independent lifelines to run to and make it much harder for society as a whole to clamp down on people than if it were a monocenterred system like a village commune, self-contained small town or planned economy.

    Second, because they facilitate the dissolution of normative barriers between between people; burns the extraneous material away like a furnace and guides people toward seeing and emphasizing (in themselves and from there to the larger culture) what’s really important in others: their rational capacity first and foremost. People tend to become more open minded after meeting enough different people that they see what’s essential and what’s just local quirkiness, to prioritize their concerns appropriately and in turn, let that enlightenment filter down into their societies and change them for the better.

    It’s telling that both the Nazis and Communists hated commerce, thought it vulgar and associated it with the Jews.

    This is, of course, an evolutionary process over the long-term, and it doesn’t solve the issue of perfect culture and implementation upfront. But then neither does anything else. Cultural activism is necessary no matter what your ideal mechanisms look like. And once you have that suited critical mass, wherein a violation of liberty by one person draws the censure of more members of society than it is worth, anarchy becomes both sustainable and infinitely preferably to a state.

    It’s also safer, because whereas cops are fat, slow and abusive, a society of good-but-not-altruistic Samaritans could intervene quickly whenever they saw someone being attacked. Unlike cops, the bystanders in question would probably see the situation develop and be poised use that knowledge to step in and deescalate it. Cops, because of their militarized look and behavior, tend to ratchet up the tension with their very presence and usually enter the situation from outside, with little foreknowledge beyond what they hear over the radio. Deescalation and resolution takes knowledge of the situation, but violence is easy and more likely to happen when you’re acting from a position of stoopid.

    Justice has knowledge problems just like everything else. Competition tends to minimize those problems and and find ways to come to peaceful and equitable solutions more easily. None of that is consistently possible under Rand’s ideal.

    Will all defense and resolution services work perfectly? No, by neither will government courts. For familiar Hayekian reasons, they’re a lot more likely to fuck up even when proceeding (or pretending to proceed) with the correct principles. To quote Rand:

    These three categories involve many corollary and derivative issues—and their implementation in practice, in the form of specific legislation, is enormously complex. It belongs to the field of a special science: the philosophy of law. Many errors and many disagreements are possible in the field of implementation, but what is essential here is the principle to be implemented: the principle that the purpose of law and of government is the protection of individual rights.

    We have to be willing to accept a few iterations and failed attempts no matter what system we favor. The objective principles on which it’s based will just have to be written into the constitution of the culture.

    I won’t even bother with her strawman description of the irreconcilable chaos of anarchy. Everything she’s saying could apply just as well to two individuals, or two governments. I mean, we all get into Mexican standoffs every time we have a conflict with other people, right? It’s not like there’s any natural incentive to just work things out like the civilized people that Rand somehow trusts to populate her society.

    Now, witness the wonders of Soviet-style third party arbitration in action, and in high quality, if possible.

  113. Aster

    Lindsay Perigo has stated on the air that social wage recipients should be forbidden from voting.

    I’m a perfectly content agnostic on the minarchist/anarchist issue. My responsible mind says ‘minarchist’, but I usually ignore what my responsible mind says, because it gets me into boredom. My attitude, life, and respect for authority favour ‘anarchist’. Since neither philosophy is likely to achieve complete victory in my lifetime, it seems sensible to choose attitude over responsibility.

    The primary difference in practice is that minarchists get frowned upon more heavily if they too obviously ignore sociopolitical authority- anarchists are beyond the respectable pale in the first place. I think more than half the difference between minarchists and anarchists is an arbitrary class line- you probably can bring your minarchist co-worker or business partner to the dinner table; you probably can’t bring an anarchist. A minarchist is likely to find obtaining and using a passport a much easier affair. Yes, there is a real political issue to be settled, and it’s worth talking about, but the practical question is whether one at heart recognises the illegitimacy of conventional authority in a contemporary context. If the answer is good, I don’t care if something is called ‘minarchism’.

  114. Roderick T. Long

    I think more than half the difference between minarchists and anarchists is an arbitrary class line- you probably can bring your minarchist co-worker or business partner to the dinner table; you probably can’t bring an anarchist.

    Well, there a fair number of (more or less) “respectable” anarchists, people who socialize with and get published by establishment venues yet who make no secret of being out to smash the state. (Bryan Caplan comes to mind.)

  115. Soviet Onion

    Aster,

    Bah, your no fun. I come here looking to scrap and shuffle and you give me COMPROMISE!! My inner cowboy is crying out in pain as we speak.

    Any more of this and I’m gonna have to get childish.

    Rod,

    Bryan Caplan still seems like he’s solidly on the snooty side of the class tracks.

  116. Roderick T. Long

    Bryan Caplan still seems like he’s solidly on the snooty side of the class tracks.

    If so, wouldn’t that confirm my point?

  117. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Soviet,

    This issue is very critical for friends of liberty. Jim Davidson responded to someone asking for proof of counter-economics leading to protection agencies by citing drug dealing street gangs. That may prove that illicit demand for protection will create some kind of a supply. Nonetheless, I’d like to see someone point me to a drug dealing street gang that respects due process or the Bill of Rights ~ innocent people are frequently killed in drive by shootings conducted by such entities. I prefer the U.S. Supreme Court to any tribal mafia or street gang. A street gang isn’t an individualist institution. The U.S. Supreme Court will at least rule against sodomy laws/habeas corpus violations on individualist grounds. The court ruled against Bush twice on habeas corpus. There is merit to a separation of powers approach.

    I have yet to read Adam Reed’s attempt to inductively rebuke anarchism by talking about the closet historical parallel to Rothbardian protection agencies. He claims such agencies became dictatorships. Roderick Long responded to my request to comment by saying Reed makes the error of supposing one bad example of anarchy doesn’t entirely refute the anarchist project. If anarchists always respond by saying it isn’t “true” anarchy, then how can we approach it without creating floating abstractions?

    Afghanistan and the more tribal areas of Pakistan are real world examples of more decentralized polities that are absolute nightmares for anyone like Aster, me, or you. The best areas for women in Afghanistan are still the ones controlled by the centralist ISAF/NATO forces. That doesn’t mean it’s the utopia Bush claimed. It does mean that the areas closest to the central state/its military backers are relatively more hospitable to liberal ideas of female freedom ~ NOT ideal by a stretch. The regime in Kabul is incredibly corrupt.

    You can be on a U.S. military base in Iraq and not have to wear a burqa. That doesn’t justify the war, but it shows that relative freedom from religion isn’t to be found in the more grassroots Sadrist controlled areas. The central Pakistani state has a Supreme Court judge who will condemn the flogging of a 17 year old girl for a sexual “crime”. The more tribally centric Taliban are not so generous.

    Re: your critique of Randian minarchy:

    “It occurs to me that her conception of government has no real need to for democracy, because then there’s no guarantee that popular support for a decision will have anything to do with respecting people’s rights, anymore than a constitutionally enshrined monarch or dictator. At the very least there’d be no need for elections, because history has shown that they elected politicians are no safer. It supposes something like a Platonic elite with only a fraction of the power and license, a role in which no human can realistically be bound to follow the rules, which is why I wasn’t surprised at all to hear Rand describe rational government as an “impersonal robot”.”

    What consistent friend of liberty has need for democracy in the corrupt form of institutionalized civil war? Rand seeks a non-state centric polity ~ therefore things like charity-mutual aid are not properly sought through coercive statism. This does not preclude anyone seeking to establish democratic cooperatives or whatever. Rand does support charity and lays down guidelines for engaging in it. You must also acknowledge that Rand saw statism as destructive of economic health ~ leading to institutionalized poverty. This is something that free marketeers of all stripes have contended.

    What’s wrong with the government being an impersonal robot? It’s a way of saying that politicians shouldn’t inject faulty subjectivist preferences into their governing e.g. George Bush shouldn’t be able to lock up redheads. There is a difference between actions of no coercive import and those with such such import. Rand is saying that coercive power should be strictly controlled/delimited. You and all other ALLies agree that the initiation of force constitutes a violation of rights ~ leaving aside questions of normal and emergency ethics. On what grounds would you enjoy politicians injecting their own personal tastes into policy at the expense of your individual rights? Politicians can have evident personality quirks, but that’s not the same thing as injecting irrationality into statecraft. A consensus method applied within a non-coercive voluntary association is not the same as elective majorities trashing the rights of minorities. Why object to Rand mostly precluding government as a locus of activity in society? Doesn’t that make it more friendly to your anarchistic sensibilities? ( :

    Lindsey P’s comments cited above are not reflective of what Rand herself wrote on the subject. I’ve never heard of any other Objectivist who seriously thought that. Rand’s view that all individuals should be politically equal necessitates that everyone be allowed to vote. It strikes me as fairly altrustic and instrinic to basically say that welfare recipients have a duty not to fuck with Lindsey P’s plan for Objectivist transformation. Should no welfare recipient vote against Christianist tyranny here? On a related side note: a non-supportive friend pointed out to me that Lindsey should include corporate welfare recipients for consistency’s sake ( :

    “It’s not like there’s any natural incentive to just work things out like the civilized people that Rand somehow trusts to populate her society.”

    What do you mean? Are you referring to something innate? Rand didn’t believe self-interest was instrinic i.e. innately part of the human constitution. Rand doesn’t just faithlike “trust” people to be civilized. She saw her ideal government as coming into being via a process of rational philosophic education.

    Soviet, I don’t know you to be a mystic proponent of original sin, so I am puzzled by your answer. Do you think it’s not possible for people to be rational beings and maintain a stable individualist culture over time? If so, then how do you plan to realize a non disastrous anarchy? People will get their ideas about objectivity and principle derived with that in mind from a process of reason ~ is not the world around us somewhat of a product of this?. Do you not think there is an objective reality? If so, then what is the point of this conversation between us about what is achievable in reality? I am pretty sure you do, but the argument you’re making depends on there not being one e.g. “where will people get these objective principles?”.

    “Everything she’s saying could apply just as well to two individuals, or two governments. I mean, we all get into Mexican standoffs every time we have a conflict with other people, right?”

    Do we? I don’t engage in actual duels or violence due to conflict with others. One may involve actual murder ~ the province of law. That’s different from you and I having a flame war on this blog. There may be a situation where that constitutes a breach of legally bindable contract with Charles of some kind.

  118. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    I feel like this is the most rational non-emotionalist inclined thing I’ve written on here in a long time ( :

    Yay for me!

  119. Rad Geek

    Nick,

    I have yet to read Adam Reed’s attempt to inductively rebuke anarchism by talking about the closet historical parallel to Rothbardian protection agencies. He claims such agencies became dictatorships. Roderick Long responded to my request to comment by saying Reed makes the error of supposing one bad example of anarchy doesn’t entirely refute the anarchist project. If anarchists always respond by saying it isn’t “true” anarchy, then how can we approach it without creating floating abstractions?

    What do you mean by a floating abstraction here? (A) An abstraction for which the reasoner has not recognized any actually observed concrete instances, or (B) an abstraction for which the reasoner cannot recognize any possible concrete instance now or in the future? If you mean (A), then I don’t know what’s wrong with a floating abstraction; there are lots of things worth discussing that are possible but have not ever actually existed. In any case, it’s no argument for Properly Limited Government, which also hasn’t existed anywhere at any time in history, any more than True Libertarian Anarchy. Both are, if anything, achievements for the future radically different from anything that has ever existed heretofore.

    If (B), then I don’t see what the basis is for accusing anarchists of using floating abstractions. Certainly, simply our having argued that a single historical example is not a good example of libertarian anarchy is not a sufficient basis for doing so.

    As for Adam’s essay, I don’t think very much of putatively inductive arguments that are based on a sample size of N=1.

    I think even less of inductive arguments where a larger sample is available but deliberately excluded for polemical purposes. (As Adam does when he mentions medieval Iceland only to say that he won’t be considering it.)

    As for drive-by shootings, they are of course appalling. Which is part of the reason why I think that red-market operators like the Mafia or the Crips can only provide very limited lessons about genuinely free-market mediation and defense. (Just as Anglo-Saxon common law or Iceland’s Grey Goose laws can only provide very limited lessons — since both of those, while much more polycentric than modern law, weren’t actually anarchic either.)

    But do you really think that collateral damage is a problem that the State somehow solves?

    As for Mexican stand-offs, I think you misunderstood SO’s point. I believe he was being sarcastic about the inevitability of violent conflict.

  120. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Charles,

    You’re right about the lack of a 100 percent true blue example of minarchy in history. I thought of Chris Sciabarra’s point about Rand’s ideal government. I just didn’t mention it in my already lengthy reply to Soviet. As you probably know, it’s similar to yours.

    I’d like to discuss philosophic method further with you. I am just feeling very sick right now. Let me rest up and think more about your points! I know you and Adam clashed on this in Aster’s former Salon ~ about the ethics of unintentionally killing innocent bystanders in war. It’s a shame that you two have such mutual hostility. It has been a pleasure being witness to both of your minds at work.

  121. Gary Chartier

    Late to the party as usual … . The quizzes peg me as a neutral good sorcerer who is … a half-elf. There’s a certain predictability here.

  122. Gary Chartier

    Nick: you observe, “I prefer the U.S. Supreme Court to any tribal mafia or street gang.”

    Surely most or all of us would agree. But it seems as if the success of the Supreme Court as an arbiter is a function of its perceived legitimacy. The institutions of a minarchist society could function effectively only if people regarded them as credible, as worth respecting: the threat of force isn’t the principal source of social order. But why, in principle, should people regard these institutions as more worthy of respect than the multiple sources of social order and mechanisms for dispute resolution available in a stateless society? Is it your point that people couldn’t or wouldn’t regard the institutions of a stateless society as legitimate, but would so regard the institutions of a minarchist society? If so, why?

  123. Aster

    “Well, there a fair number of (more or less) ‘respectable’ anarchists, people who socialize with and get published by establishment venues yet who make no secret of being out to smash the state. (Bryan Caplan comes to mind.)”

    True. The label ‘anarchist’ is a -3 penalty to many dice rolls, not an absolute prohibition. To call yourself an ‘anarchist’ performatively challenges the legitimacy of state and possibly social authority, so those who wish to relate well to these authorities (or to others who want to relate well to these authorities) will be that much less likely to want to be associated with you. Caplan’s an anarchist, but he is conspicuously ‘on the snooty side of the tracks’, and prominently frames his anti-Communist politics in the form of a museum. This kind of thing cancels out the negative modifier.

    Please don’t misunderstand me- I’ve some differences with Caplan’s anarcho-capitalism, but I think a combination of fearless radical politics and good form can be a valuable thing, not least for those who favour radical politics. But I suspect that Caplan’s less likely to be arrested on suspicion of being a hippie freak than most anarchists I know, and the reasons have little or nothing to do with Caplan’s laudable intellectual stature or anything else of concern to rational human beings.

    This piece illustrates the point precisely:

    http://laughnet.net/comparison-of-libertarians-and-anarchists-p-510.html

    I’m pretty sure this makes me an unsinkable anarchist- but one advantage of left-libertarian synthesis is that it doesn’t require a choice between libertarianism and anarchism. Not either/or, not compromise,- but both/and.

    More to come.

    to Charles (or others): Can one alter fonts on this page?

  124. Soviet Onion

    Slightly off topic, but does anyone Chris Sciabarra’s thoughts on this whole crazy left-libertarianism thing? We’d seem to make a good home for homeless individualists who’ve been scorned by the Objectivists and see the LP-centered movement as hopeless and narrow-minded, even before the posertarians turned it into the GOP-lite.

    Mary Ruwart is another person I would like to ask, for obvious reasons.

  125. Soviet Onion

    er, does anyone know Chris Sciabarra’s thoughts this whole crazy left-libertarianism thing, I mean

    Damn it, you idiot, slow down and proofread.

  126. Aster

    Chris Sciabarra has chosen to remove himself from active involvement with political debate for the time being. I would very much like to convince him to do otherwise, but believe that my chances of effectively communicating with him will be better at a future time than they are today.

    I suspect he would be easier to convince were left-libertarianism to

    1) clear show the beginnings of success as an intellectual project 2) clearly come out for reason and individualism

    I don’t know Mary Ruwart, but appreciate her work.

    My suggestions for 1) and especially 2):

    ~~~~~~ I think it would be a very good idea if libertarianism adopted a policy of outreach to those libertarians who remain individualists and who have been rendered once again politically homeless by the collapse of the libertarian centre and the perversion of much of the movement by Hoppean paleolibertarianism.

    This can only be done, however, if left-libertarians themselves first clearly articulate that theirs is an individualist movement- that it defends the freedom of individuals to live their own lives as they choose, not just formally but also in spirit. If it were to do this, then left-libertarianism would prove itself the genuine heir to the ideals of the original 1960s-1970s libertarian movement symbolised by the early Rothbard’s Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty. A conscious emphasis on cultural thickness might ensure that this time it would remain so.

    I think it would also be an extremely good idea to make outreach efforts to those who (like Sciabarra) work largely within the Randian tradition. The best minds are all available to us, given that with a few exceptions most independent thinkers have been snubbed or excommunicated from Objectivist institutions.

    Granted, Objectivism is by nature classist, but a collapsing economy and a corrupt, grossly unjust socio-economic system will incline the truly fiery individualists to economic radicalism. The collapse of America’s cultural infrastructure will make an appeal to Randians easier than it would be otherwise. The blunt reason is that the people who are truly best are usually hurting. Those Randians who take their philosophy seriously and prize their independence are mostly feeling very unsympathetic to established wealth and power these days.

    We have the immense advantage of being able to explain to individuals bursting with spiritual strength and talent that their problem is not that they are failures in a capitalist society but that they are failures in a mad, near-fascist collapsing empire. My sense is that this is largely what turned Arthur Silber. It certainly turned me. And this line of thinking will especially appeal to Randians who happen to be women, LGBT, working class, and/or of colour. None of these people are well served by the current Randian Orthodoxy.

    Those Objectivists who have stuck to the vulgar capitalist party line can do so precisely because they are isolated from reality by their place in a social structure which almost demands irrationality and willful blindness as a prerequisite for status. They may adhere to Rand’s every word as dogma, but Howard Roark wouldn’t think about them. In other words, those who can’t be reached aren’t, with a few exceptions, worth having.

    Of course, organised Objectivism would scream bloody murder and use every dishonest smear and poisonous accusation taken from the worst pages of history to oppose such an outreach project. But who cares what organised Objectivism thinks? There aren’t that many people who aren’t Randians themselves who cares what ARI or TOC think. The average Kiwi loathes Lindsay Perigo as a tool of the twits. And bad press from apologists for imperialism and mass murder can be a useful compliment.

    But they will not join- nor should they join- unless they are convinced that left-libertarianism is an individualist movement which recognises the basic groundwork of reason and the Enlightenment. It must be clear that left-libertarianism rejects the relativism and religion as grounding principles.

    One way this could be accomplished is if aspiring left-libertarian writers sympathetic to reason and individualism would give themselves the right to passionately express their philosophical and moral convictions.

    Nevertheless, were left-libertarianism to clean up its own individualist house, it would be in an excellent position to out-libertarian the LP and out-Rand the ARI, and (a topic for another time) out-Left the anarchist and cultural Left.

    That would be sweet as.

    ~~~~~~ Does anyone here know Thomas Gramstad?

  127. Aster

    “(and anything with the prefix “poly”, really)”

    You’re against polynomials? Barbarian! :)

  128. Marja Erwin

    Don’t forget poly dice!

  129. Soviet Onion

    Aster,

    You’re against polynomials? Barbarian! :)

    No, you’ve got it all backwards! Good things start with “poly”, like polytheism or polyamory. It’s the Hoppeans that want to bury us under their monotype, monotheistic, monochrome mentality.

    It must be clear that left-libertarianism rejects the relativism and religion as grounding principles.

    So you’re saying I shouldn’t be sacrificing people to Cthulhu?

    Damn, I thought the plan was supposed to go something like this:

    1) Awaken Self 2) Awaken Old Ones 3) Feed Bureaucrats and CEO’s to squid 4) Institute gold standard 5) Restore Constitution

    “the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth….Then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with polycentric law and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would found competing security firms to more efficiently shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.”

    I mean, why did you think we were taking an interest in seasteading all of a sudden?

    In all seriousness, I agree with insights into the Randian population. There’s high quality low-hanging fruit in every sector of greater Libertaria. Left-libertarianism has the unique advantage of being able to encapsulate the best qualities of each if it really decided to make that intellectual effort. Sloughing off the grotesque parts of Objectivist Orthodoxy, the paleo taint in Rothbardianism and the Establishmentarian GOP-litedom of the LP/CATO camp is really quite an easy task in itself, but we’re not yet in a position to look like we could offer a credible and philosophically-grounded alternative to any of those things. I do feel like we’re making progress.

    I mentioned Ruwart because she’s one of those wonderful left-Rothbardians like Chris is a wonderful Randian, and it would be awesome to offer her a better outlet in a community that truly appreciated all her contributions. She’s the quintessential “bleeding-heart” libertarian and honestly believes that liberty will benefit everyone. She’s done extensive anti-poverty work, is very good on health care, and being a doctor and a surgeon could lend the same kind of credibility to our health care radicalism that Milton Friedman lent to opposition against the Drug War.

    Nick,

    Well, I certainly reserve the right to lock up redheads. You have no idea the kinds of naughty things they get into without a firm hand to guide them.

    Anyway, getting back to my critique, I think you mistook the tone in which certain things were said. Rad is correct that my Mexican standoff comment was meant to be taken sarcastically, although given that it’s me talking I can understand why you might think differently. I’ve only had a weapon pointed at me once, and that was distinctly unbalanced situation. A Mexican standoff would have been an improvement.

    Same deal with the “impersonal robot” bit. I was trying to say illustrate absurd that notion is given that rulers are people just like the rest of us, and cannot be depended on to limit their power anymore than sharks can quell their appetites.

    If anything allowing even the limited rivalry of electoral campaigns is an implicit acknowledgment that competition among providers of “governance structures” is beneficial, even when contained within an overall monopoly. Ditto for “checks and balances”; Rand’s reason tells her that competition between the different branches of government helps to curtail abuses of power.

    I’d very much like to hear your, or Rand’s, take on the matter of international trade and other contractual relations between the residents of different states. If this poses a problem, then doesn’t globalization demand a world government? If not, and citizens of different political entities can interact just fine under cover of international law and extradition treaties, then why couldn’t these “governments” overlap, and why wouldn’t such competition for “citizens” benefit them?

    Jim Davidson responded to someone asking for proof of counter-economics leading to protection agencies by citing drug dealing street gangs. That may prove that illicit demand for protection will create some kind of a supply. Nonetheless, I’d like to see someone point me to a drug dealing street gang that respects due process or the Bill of Rights

    Well, whether or not Agorism provides a sound strategy for the development of market anarchy is a separate issue from whether or not market anarchy could be stable and/or follow due process in accordance with individual rights at all. The commonly-cited examples of stable proto-market anarchy tend to provide a closer approximation than any nearby states of a broadly similar culture, even without the benefit of conscious, widespread cultural activism on behalf of Enlightenment ideals and against the psychological roots of violence a la Alice Miller.

    Yes, I’m a very strange cowboy. Speaking of which, this perfectly suited historical case study is just littered with little examples of market-based security and dispute resolution mechanisms springing up organically in response to demand, and in the context of a society that was fairly advanced, mobile and could not depend on extensive kinship links to hold it together. It doesn’t paint quite as entertaining a picture as the movies, but I like it anyway ;)

  130. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Soviet,

    Whatever praise for existing economic figures or inconsistencies Rand may have had; she did view capitalism as an unknown ideal. Kevin Carson even acknowledges that principled left-Rothbardians use capitalism to refer to an unknown ideal. Chris follows the unknown ideal model. He’s done a blog post about the whole debate over capitalism as a useful term. I’d characterize him as similar to Roderick Long. He’s acknowledged his role in the development of left-libertarianism. Nonetheless, I don’t believe he’s ever trumpeted the label to any great degree. He uses the more generic libertarian. If not Chris’s best friend in these circles; I am certainly one of the closest to him. I can put in a good word for you, Soviet ( :

    That quiz is a poor one. I come out as a mixture. I have no problem with acknowledging the morality of private property. It’s a semantic debate. The anarchist collective around here locks its door at night. You can’t take the worst example of property being used to exclude and claim it refutes the very notion of private property i.e. some kind of space to call your own. There are naive and unrealistic anarchists. I’d say the same individual exist among Libertarians too. Both are hardly homogeneous groupings.

    I am not feeling up for answering your anarchist related stuff right now, Soviet. We’ll have time to discuss this all in person at Porcfest.

  131. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Another comment about that: there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to throw bricks through windshields. I am not impressed by imagery of violence parading around as representative of an ideology devoted to non-coercion. Those hipster anarchist individuals who imagine themselves better for willingness to engage in martial activity parallel the snobbishness of schoolyard bullies who attack the “weak” kids. People who think in such terms should try living in a country where violence really is socially accepted and considered first response to injustice i.e. Afghanistan. Unless they are completely repressed; I doubt they will trumpet its beauty any further.

    My stepsister and her friends rode in a limo to their highschool prom. There are anarchists who really need to get over their romanticization of asceticism ~ particularly considering the economic background some of them come from.

  132. Ariadne (is not an Amazonian *nationalist*)

    My stepsister and her friends rode in a limo to their highschool prom.

    An oppressive patriarchal institution which celebrates male control over female sexuality. I will never admit I wanted to go there. Never.

  133. Rad Geek

    Nick,

    Kevin Carson even acknowledges that principled left-Rothbardians use capitalism to refer to an unknown ideal.

    Well, Kevin’s view (and mine as well) is that Rothbardians tend to use the word inconsistently, sliding back and forth between an analysis of free markets and apologetics for actually-existing economic hierarchies as long as they aren’t present in the most obvious beneficiaries of state violence, e.g. the banking cartel or defense contractors. (Hence the praise, or watered-down critique, of big business power-players like Wal-Mart or third-world sweatshops, which depend mainly on the ripple effects of state violence, rather than the direct exercise of violence.)

    The most consistent left-Rothbardians these days mostly tend to agree with Kevin’s critique, and just don’t use the term “capitalism” much at all except in scare-quotes.

  134. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Heh

    It’s ok, Marja. We forgive you ( :

    My point was that you can want to ride in a limo and not be oppressing people. The quiz doesn’t allow for that complexity.

  135. Rad Geek

    Soviet,

    No, you’ve got it all backwards! Good things start with “poly”, like polytheism or polyamory. It’s the Hoppeans that want to bury us under their monotype, monotheistic, monochrome mentality.

    Well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with monadic functions. And I’m a fan of monotonic logics.

    Also, I think Monoclonius is pretty rad.

    You’d better think so too, if you know what’s good for you.

  136. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Charles,

    Right. That’s true of Matt Jenny, Long, and some others I am probably forgetting. Chris hasn’t consistently used the term with scare quotes.

    No?

    The more generic point I am making is that self-styled capitalist thinkers will acknowledge the non-free elements of existing economic orders. There is a convergence there about the unknown ideal quality of the free market.

  137. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    “The ~problem~, however, is that most of the trading arrangements currently at work—-even the ones that are, ostensibly, “free” trading arrangements—-are filtered through political mechanisms: the International Monetary Fund, the Export-Import Bank, the World Bank, Federal Reserve monetary and interest-rate manipulations, outright subsidies, guarantees, and so forth. These mechanisms create political “pull-peddling” and massive distortions across the globe.

    That’s why, ultimately, the call for capitalism, the unknown ideal, is a call for world-wide revolution.”

    http://rebirthofreason.com/cgi-bin/SHQ/SHQ_FirstUnread.cgi?Function=FirstUnread&Board=2&Thread=295

    I just added Jennifer I, Barbra Branden, and Thomas Gramstad on Facebook. I suspect they would follow in Chris’s path above.

  138. Marja Erwin

    Nick,

    Yes, but there are good reasons to distinguish free markets from capitalism.

    Aster,

    I suppose you won’t like my idea for monohedral dice. Of course, they can’t be regular monohedra, but they can use Möbius strips instead. Because they only yield one result, they can avoid the unnecessary randomness, and emphasize the proper authority of the gamemistress.

  139. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    On another important note; Chris doesn’t embrace an anarcho-communist or syndicalist style traditional union seizure ~ with the implied threats of violence. He’s much more Konkinte ~ browncoat? I for one have no interest in shooting CEOs who don’t embrace the anarcho-dream. Adam Reed’s wife would be a victim of that. I admittedly have an emotionalist bias against violence, but I also contend such action would be grossly immoral ~ according to liberal standards. One reason I like Libertarian thought is due to its reliance on non-coercive economic power/philosophy.

    Aster suggests looking to left-anarchists for allies. Left-libertarianism strikes me as relatively distinct from what dominates most self styled existing left-anarchist culture. Ian Mackay will not grant the ALL much respectability ~ although Rad is right to point out his willingness to let Shawn and Kevin inject themselves into the FAQ. The question arises: how does someone like Rad or Gillis work with a Sciabarra? Both seem much more open to the direct seizure model. Aster has stated rights don’t apply when social peace breaks down ~ what this portends for people deemed “counterrevolutionary” enemies in ensuing physical scuffles should be spelled out clearly. If we’re going to throw classist around as an insult, then we should at least examine the collective tensions our own ideological systems imply. For example: the former chairman of BB&T didn’t get involved in the same type of disastrous financial products as other major banking corporations. This is not meant as an endorsement of his approach to life. It does show that perceived “class enemies” do not all think and act alike. In fact, there are smaller firms where being CEO probably doesn’t amount to nearly the same thing as what it entails in extremely large businesses ~ as a matter of scale and reduced potential for ever increasing layers of authority.

    Objectivist criticism of Libertarians as right-wing subjectivists partially centered on alleged willingness to embrace the traditional Red Brigade style leftist tactics of revolutionary warfare/murder over philosophic education e.g. the government can’t use force against person or property but we can.

  140. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    I can’t stress that fact enough. On Belledame’s blog, she said the defeat of a bill in the Senate to have government stop all foreclosures was a sign of the banks getting everything they wanted.

    Well head of BB&T said his bank was working with people to refinance their payments and stay in their homes ~ what do we need a house for? Was his comment. Once again, I don’t cite this to disprove Carson or Rothbard’s take on cartelized banking. I do so to show how vulgar leftist economic class categories obscure individuals. Let left-libertarianism not suffer the same fate.

  141. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    Ergggghhhh

    I hate life in America ) :

    Do any of you know foreigners with connections? Canada? If I do the degree route; I’ll be here for 3 years more probably.

  142. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    The get a Phd and compete for a foreign teaching job seems dangerous in light of how badly things are going here.

    I am not even done with 2 years yet ~ apathy and depression.

  143. Nick Manley ~ Legal Name

    This is really the most authentic community I have…

    Truly

    I don’t have much of anywhere else to turn ~ losing upper middle class perks in the recession.

  144. Aster

    Rand was willing, citing Isabel Paterson, to seriously consider the possibility of restricting the vote to landowners:

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=regarpolitics

    Begin listening at 26:42.

  145. Aster

    (sigh)

    let’s try that link again:

    [http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=regUNDERSCOREarUNDERSCOREpolitics]

  146. Roderick T. Long

    By Lockean standards everyone’s a property owner (since they own themselves).

  147. Roderick T. Long

    Nick,

    Roderick Long responded to my request to comment by saying Reed makes the error of supposing one bad example of anarchy doesn’t entirely refute the anarchist project. If anarchists always respond by saying it isn’t “true” anarchy, then how can we approach it without creating floating abstractions?

    Although I agree that it wasn’t true anarchy, that’s not actually the response I gave. I was just saying there’s something weird about thinking that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth refutes anarchy but Nazi Germany doesn’t refute government. (And I offered a hypothesis about why people make that mistake.) Plus of course there are plenty of near-anarchic or quasi-anarchic systems that worked out better than the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

    What’s wrong with the government being an impersonal robot?

    See here.

  148. Aster

    No, you’ve got it all backwards! Good things start with “poly”, like polytheism or polyamory. It’s the Hoppeans that want to bury us under their monotype, monotheistic, monochrome mentality.

    Forgive me if I seem out of character here. This is different line of thought:

    I’m not sure I would call polytheism a good thing. I’m up too late in the morning to think clearly about this, but I just received a video from a friend (on political psychology) that deeply rattled me. I’m really wondering if my openness on religious issues isn’t leaving me defenceless against precisely the subversions, betrayals, and imitations of Enlightenment ideals with whom I find myself continually and consistently at odds. Anarcho-pluralist excuses for village collectivism sound far too much like my own excuses for polycentric spirituality.

    I want to be very, very careful on this issue. I have had some very, very deep experiences. Religious issues are matters of first philosophy and are by their very nature priority zero. My life is currently changing a great deal extremely rapidly, and I’m very concerned that in the whirl of new experiences and possibilites and a virtually overnight recovery of years of lost mental and physical capacity I don’t make a crucial decision for the wrong reasons… by which I mean illogical reasons (in ethical matters, I have a very definite concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ reasons which, qua egoism, doesn’t accord well with what most people and most institutions mean by the term).

    I have a headache and can’t think well on this right now, but I would like to further elaborate and explore.

  149. Roderick T. Long

    I think monotheism, polytheism, and atheism all come in better and worse forms….

  150. Rad Geek

    Nick,

    The question arises: how does someone like Rad or Gillis work with a Sciabarra? Both seem much more open to the direct seizure model.

    As I’ve repeatedly said before, Nick, I’m not in favor of the use of force or general expropriations of existing capitalists, by unions or by anyone else. My view is that organized workers can and should achieve our goals by means of nonviolent exercises of our rights to strike, to slow down work, to exchange information, and to pool resources to create alternative institutions like union hiring halls and worker co-ops.

    I do support the right of workers to make factory takeovers and similar actions in three limited situations, where it is an exercise of the right to homestead or compensation for money that workers have been bilked out of: (1) when factories are simply abandoned by their former owners (as happened in Argentina during the monopoly money crisis) or (2) as compensation for unpaid back wages that the boss owes to workers (as happened recently in Chicago) or (3) when the institution is either directly controlled by, or effectively an arm of, the State (as with most colleges and Universities, military-industrial complex firms, or now, increasingly, bail-out mooches like CitiBank or GM, which are substantially owned by the United States government).

    But, these cases aside, my main interest is not on trying to take over currently-existing capitalist firms, certainly not by force and generally not by nonviolent means; I think that the most effective and the most important project for wildcat unions to engage in is not trying to evict bosses from currently-existing firms, but rather to work towards accumulating land, capital, information, and experience with self-management in the hands of workers, and to put that to use in resisting the plutocratic state, and to put it to work in creating alternative, worker-controlled institutions, which, when they are fully free to compete, and their corporate-capitalist competitors are no longer bailed-out and subsidized by the State, will easily outpace and replace the bloated dinosaurs of the last century’s state capitalism.

  151. Nick Manley - Legal Name

    Apologies, Charles. I did not mean to distort your position. I was wondering about the implications of even a non-violent mass takeover.

  152. Nick Manley - Legal Name

    I have a bit of fluff to share with you all. I watched The Daily Show tonight and was witness to the humanization of the “enemy”. Jason Jones was in Iran for a special series he’s doing. What struck such a deep emotional chord with me was how Iranians he talked to praised the American people ~ no doubt overly generous at this point. They didn’t spout death to America or death to Israel. There was a part where he went into a private Iranian residence and shared some time with them. The couple had the most adorable little girl. He played videogames with her and the son. They danced around to music. After watching it, I just realized how decrepit and morally bankrupt crude trbalist warmongerers are. These were real human beings who could be ripped to shreds by the bombs of “liberators”. The utter evil of the American empire was driven home to me all over again. These are the people who suffer its effects. I don’t give a damn whether or not this was a practicing Muslim family. I don’t care if the woman believed she had a moral duty to wear that head scarf with her beautiful smiling face fortunately still showing. These individuals were not the pure “savages” of orthodox Randian legend.

    To the moral cretins of The Ayn Rand Institute; I only have one thing to say. How DARE you? Your editorials on war read like rationalistic excuse for collectivistic murder. The contrast between your blood soaked proclamations and real inductive reporting about Arab individuals is astounding. Is there nothing beautiful about the benevolent innocence of this young girl? What about the generous hospitality of the Muslim mother? Try listening to the beautiful sounds of deep Arabic singing.

    Do all of this and ask yourself: are you pining for a war that will destroy pure anti-American Iranian “evil” or people who don’t measure up to your purist conceptions of reason with a capital R? I don’t wish to be psychologistic, but I can’t help but notice the churchly aura you wrap around war.

  153. Life, Love, and Liberty

    Guess who is back in business? I just published a piece I confess I was afraid to post for fear of disapproval from my “tribe” of left-libertas.

    That attitude ain’t working. Here it is:

    http://www.lifeloveandliberty.com/2009/06/18/populism-is-not-an-ideological-primary/

    Expect more releases of back posts like this in the coming days.

    “I will state my anti-statist position clearly. As long as the state exists, then it’s only just that the facilities it owns and controls be operated in an equitable fashion. When Federal authority overrides unjust local authority, then we have a case of a more liberal authoritarian structure doing battle with a more illiberal one. The doctrine of liberty will always be a liberalistic one. By its individualist impetus, it strikes at the root of tyrannical tradition — be it racial, sex, or sexual identity based — and brings the whole tree of traditional tyranny crashing down.

    If anarchists and libertarians wish to be seen as defenders of a culture of individual rights and not defenders of grassroots bigotry, then they must not confuse decentralist tyranny with freedom.

    I applaud the judges who are doing battle against premodern mobs seeking to overturn any remaining vestige of freedom and equality in America.”

    A taste ( :

  154. Rad Geek

    Nick,

    Well, I mean, what’s the worry, then? Either the capitalist in question has a business model which is sustainable on a freed market with a full range of alternatives to corporate capitalism, or she does not. If she does not, then that’s her problem to work out; fortunately, since the new world will have a vibrant network of mutual aid associations and entry-level opportunities for honest labor, she’ll have something to fall back on until she figures out a better plan for making her living. If, on the other hand, she does have a business model that’s sustainable on the freed market, then she’ll sustain it (although, in such a market, she might very well have to adopt a different approach to labor relations, and would be more likely to co-own the enterprise with fellow workers, or simply to be hired on as a consultant by enterprising workers who want to take advantage of her awesome ideas).

    Incidentally, as for the social anarchist scene, it’s a big scene, and the folks that you encounter being loudest on the Internet aren’t necessarily representative of the broader movement. Hell, even as Internet anarchy goes, Chuck0 is nobody’s model of even-keeled equanimity, but he’s been much, much more welcoming towards ALL and self-identified market anarchists than Iaian has. And the experiences I’ve had offline working with fellow (A)’s in Alabama and here in Vegas have been overwhelmingly positive, even though I make no bones about my individualism — much more positive than the encounters I’ve typically had with the general run of LP types, Pauliticos, and other minarchist-dominated libertarian venues.

  155. Aster

    All-

    I have a social engagement tomorrow night, and will be absent from the internet for a period of approximately 24 hours. I would like to write a couple of posts here and elsewhere at a moment which I think is of significant importance, but I have to sleep well.

    Please excuse my personally regretted poor timing. I will pick these conversations up again when I can.

    Oh, and I’m an atheist.

    I absolutely refuse to cease admiring statues with language which would be irrational if it were not primarily poetic. Literary pagan. Quirky superstitious Camille Paglia atheist, maybe. But no God, no gods, no masters.

    There are polytheistic traditions historically associated with sex worker culture which collectively comprise a narrative and aesthetic language which expresses who I have chosen to be, and this language and the trust and understanding it permits is a tool which sex workers facing an always essentially hostile patriarchal world cannot afford to lightly put aside… and would be very, very wise to reclaim in full. But these things are not truth, and now could not possibly be the worst time to leave behind a damaging reliance on myth.

    If one believes, as I do, in the possibility and present partial reality of human progress, and would wish to take an interest in the progress of the larger world, then one must first be progressive oneself. I should be progressive here. Aeternum vale, Dea.

    To those who would criticise: yes. It is irrational to allow oneself to become enchanted by poetry. But to become the victim of this self-deception (and we can unknowingly deceive ourselves), one must first be capable of enchantment by poetry. Preserving that capacity can cost a great deal in this terrible world, and at times it might arguably be worth one’s mind. I am grateful for the good fortune that in a rational animal the mind and poetry are capable of being brought into accord.

    Atheist.

    The result may at times still sound religious- as Nietzsche, Rand, and Freud could be deeply religious as stylists. And I can use strong language in the symbolic expressive plural if I want to.

    Atheist.

  156. Marja Erwin

    Aster, you’re probably going to chastise me for my Christianity as much as you have chastised yourself and others for your paganism. And that’s fair. But it means it requires some response. And this cold isn’t helping…

    I’m not convinced that much of anything is irrational in itself, but in its uses. A scientific concept, taken out of its proper context, can become nonsense. In the same way, poetry, taken as abstract observation, can become nonsense.

    Now - setting aside my personal experiences - I think it is important to distinguish particular reason, or culturally-specific reason, from universal reason.

    For example, late antique rationality assumed that everything created was imperfect and less-than-divine. This assumption led both Christian and pagan religions to turn against their older teachings. In retrospect, this assumption seems… misguided.

    A more recent rationality has assumed that the political discourse of the state, including setting policy, and criminalizing people, is the highest expression of the rational discourse of the people within it.

    In this sense, we need counter-rationalities, to challenge these particular rationalities and show that they fall short of universal rationality. A range of myth-systems provides one source of counter-rationalities.

  157. Life, Love, and Liberty

    Marja,

    With your pacifism, Aster’s selective hawkisness, and Charles’s Gandhi posturing; I wonder sometimes what a coherent left-libertarian defense against aggressors would look like.

    Would you be willing to work support or abstain entirely from supporting a war effort? Would Charles be logically compelled to shoot Aster or someone else of similar view as an aggressor for doing what’s bloodily necessary?

  158. Life, Love, and Liberty

    I move to endorse Roderick Long as the benchmark: http://libertariannation.org/a/n030l2.html

    Incidentally, Charles is in agreement here.

  159. Marja Erwin

    Life, Love and Liberty:

    I would refuse to participate in war - except to avoid or deescalate violence.

    1. retaliatory and preclusive violence is still violence
    2. I oppose it because violence directly hurts people and dehumanizes people.
    3. I oppose it, further, because the logic of violence - the necessities of defense and warfare - leads to massacres of civilians as well as conflict between soldiers. e.g. the Eichenfeld massacre.

    The direct harm is, in my opinion, much more important than the dehumanization. I’m not, for example, opposed to insults, and not consistently opposed to shoving which causes neither severe pain nor injury.

    For the record, I saw this in secular terms before seeing this in religious terms. The religious expressions are beautiful and close to my heart but they skip the arguments and slip over the ambiguities.

    1. Military practice escalates violence. I think we need an anti-military praxis which deescalates violence - but that’s not going to come from within warfare.
  160. Rad Geek

    Nick,

    I’m not sure what you mean by my Gandhi posturing. I’m not a Gandhian pacifist. I’m a pacifist if that means being opposed categorically to all government wars; not if it means (as it did for Gandhi) being opposed to any use of physical force (or force-intended-to-harm) at all, even in individual self-defense.

    I do think that Gandhi’s recommendations for nonviolent community defense are morally preferable to any form of government war, because Gandhi’s recommendations don’t involve massacreing a lot of innocent people, whereas government war always does. And I’m not impressed by complaints that Gandhi’s methods would have resulted in a lot of people dying in the defense, given that the suggested alternative killed over 160,000,000 people in the course of the 20th century.

    And I also think that, while Gandhian methods are not morally obligatory, as a matter of strategy or tactics, they have often been dismissed in favor of violence without any serious consideration or any objective demonstration that violence would actually be more effectual. In general, the efficacy of violent resistance is constantly overestimated, and the efficacy of nonviolent resistance constantly underestimated, in discussions of conflict. Which I think has something to do with the romance for violence in a re-barbarizing culture and the cultural association between violence and masculine power. Both by the armed factions with the bomber planes, and by the armed factions with the body-bombs.

    However, if it is actually the most effectual method of self-defense in a given situation and if it can be carried out without slaughtering a bunch of innocent third parties, then I have no problem with either individual or co-operative uses of force in defense of one’s own, or others’, person and property. The question is whether those two if’s are actually satisfied by reality; I think government wars never have, will, or can satisfy the second if; and I think that large-scale uses of genuinely defensive force far more often fails to satisfy the first if than insurrectos and their supporters typically realize.

  161. Life, Love, and Liberty

    Charles,

    I was just recalling the exchange you had with Aster about Ghandi’s Tolstoyian approach. You’re right to remind me of the distinction between a governmental framework and a non-governmental one. Nonetheless, I was pondering the general idea of a scenario where unrelated third parties may be killed ~ presumably this could arise in a future minarchy or anarchy. There seems to be a split in the community on how to approach a situation of collective defense. I identified what I thought were the three philosophic opinions voiced. Marja’s mention of her Christianity triggered these thoughts on my part.

  162. Rad Geek

    Nick,

    Well, that’s fine, but my point is just that my philosophical position is neither Gandhian nor Tolstoyan. Both were opposed to any use of physical force intended to harm the target, whether the force was aggressive or defensive. I’m not.

    I defended Gandhi on one particular count (the extent to which his strategies called on people to die) because I thought the criticism was unfair. Not because I agree with all of his views on the use of force.

    Like I said, my own view is that force can legitimately be used in genuine self-defense, either at an individual level or as a cooperative enterpise, subject to constraints of proportionality and least-necessary-force. And subject to the constraint that the defensive force does not dispossess, maim, or kill innocent third parties. (What about human shield cases? Well, I think in genuine human shield cases it’s not the defender but rather the aggressor is the one morally culpable for dispossessing, maiming, or killing the shield. But the conditions needed for that transfer of responsibility to be plausible are very limited, subject to especially strict constraints of proportionality, and more or less never satisfied in the kind of warfare-State collateral murder that the shield cases are so often invoked to defend. For much the same reasons that Roderick discusses in “Thinking Our Anger.”)

    For what it’s worth, in cases where one armed faction (call them the Invaders) aggresses and another armed faction (call them the Retaliators) retaliates against the Invaders, if the Invaders retaliation involves collateral murder against some innocent Bystanders, then either the Bystanders themselves, or anyone who the Bystanders consent to have defend them, can legitimately shoot back at the Retaliators. (Again, supposing that the shooting back does not itself endanger innocent, um, fourth parties.) And the Retaliators, as aggressors against the Bystanders, have no right to try to defend themselves against the Bystander’s counter-attacks, any more than a burglar or a rapist has a right to try and defend himself against his would-be victim. Of course, the Retaliators have a right to defend themselves against the Invaders, but they have no right to do so in a way that massacres a bunch of people who have nothing to do with the Invaders’ crimes, and, as often as not, are among the Invaders’ primary victims. (Things may get more complicated when the people that the Bystanders consent to have defend them are in fact the original Invaders, as sometimes happens, but it doesn’t complicate things in any way for the moral illegitimacy of the Retaliators’ violence against the Bystanders.)

  163. Life, Love, and Liberty

    Charles,

    It’s clear I’ve carelessly distorted your position again. I must offer a second apology and do better next time. I do still believe I’ve been adept at bringing up some unresolved philosophic issues within ALL lately. I am curious to see what conversations continue to develop therefrom. I still need to address Gary, Soviet, and you on several issues. Unfortunately, my mind is a bit hazy right now. I will have to eat something and rest to freshen myself up. Until then, I’d like to post something in keeping with our discussion of war and innocents:

    http://www.rawa.org/rawa/2009/06/19/brave-new-films-partnership-with-rawa-to-help-afghans-displaced-by-us-war.html

    I would suggest that any person of individualist convictions concerned with the future of the world take serious interest in RAWA. Afghanistan is a political hotspot where forces claiming to represent liberal civilization are waging a cynical irrational geopolitical game. I don’t wish to emulate the fearmongering of a Bush, but the country has served as a safe place to spread Islamist ideas. The facts of reality do not allow me to pretend RAWA is on the verge of triumphing. Nonetheless, there are many individuals on here willing to intellectually fight for liberalism in solidarity with others. If you wish to be a fighter, then I recommend RAWA. They have organizationally survived under the worst conditions imaginable. I was surprised to see myself recently followed by them on Twitter, until recalling I’d exchanged a few emails with their office in Pakistan.

    P.S.

    The footage in that video is NOT for the faint of heart. There are displaced Afghani children going barefoot in the cold and literally dying for lack of basic amenities. Some of them eat grass.

  164. Life, Love, and Liberty

    Tell me what the generic you really thinks please. Does anyone still want me posting here? Do all of you see me as a psychological basketcase incapable of uttering something rational, profound, and otherwise intellectually worthwhile?

    If I am just bringing you all down, then I’d rather have it said to my face. I am not accusing anyone of anything. I’d just rather not impede the functioning of a small tight knit political movement.

    Charles is a very generous and hospitable soul. I am glad for the kindness he’s shown me, but I’d rather contribute to the quality of the blog rather than detract from it.

  165. Life, Love, and Liberty

    Most importantly: do any LGBT people see me as contributing to their oppression by posting under the moniker of my blog title? My genderqueerness is no secret. My shifting names have made it clear enough. As it undergoes final resolution, I’ve chosen to have that reflected in my recent monikers ~ now settling on LLL.

    I must state that the collective well being of TS-TG people is not my Christian duty. I can’t painstakingly craft everything I write to ward off any conceivable stereotype or cruel assumption. If someone wishes to project my behavior or personality onto all people associated with gender variance, then that is their stupidity at work. Nonetheless, I do wish to know if I am harming any of my LGBT friends posting on here.

— 2012 —

  1. Discussed at whoplanswhom.com

    The Incoherence Of ‘Consequentialist’ Libertarianism « Who Plans Whom?:

    […] That thinking has led him to make such statements as (I confirmed many of the quotes, with slight typographical editing, given here on another blog.): […]

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