john mccain appreciation day

No time to blog tonight. Busy working my plan to trick all the Libertarians into the sea. I did want to pass along this video, however. It’s of a student at New York’s New School, Jean Sara Rohe, addressing her fellow graduates as they prepared to hear their commencement speaker, presidential candidate John McCain.

It’s almost completely unrelated to the McCain speech, but I also learned today that a gram of human feces can contain up to 10 million viruses.

In defense of McCain, it should be noted that he’s not without his well-informed supporters.

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58 Comments

  1. Brackache
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Once all us libertarians start talking and dressing like pirates, you’ll change your tune, gunless land lubbing serf. Arrrrr.

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Oh, although for different reasons than BA, I do love the idea of stocking an island full of libertarians with crack and AK-47s to drift gleefully about the open seas.

    I doubt my very dear libertarian friends could afford the first-class ticket, but I’m sure they’ll find gainful employment on said vessels gutting fish and shoveling shit into the sea. I will miss them deeply, but, most of all, seeing their children thrive in their newly perfected tax and regulation free world.

    But, what if these islands of utter independence don’t come to fruition? If only there were a place for this social experiment to land…

    Wait! Maybe there is! As I understand it, Sudan currently is a De facto libertarian state replete with both guns and free-range goats (and low to no taxes, to boot)! If one of my friends is willing to go there for several years, I volunteer to subject me and mine to the icy cold and incredibly heavily taxed and regulated Finland.

    After five or ten years, we can get together again, and debrief.

  3. Brackache
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Arrrrr… I’ve a shipmate whose steadfast demeanor might suggest he knows what he’s talkin’ aboot, but upon e’en the most curs’ry inpecktchin o’ the Wikipedia article on Sudan shows’m hoisted on a yard arm, kickin’ and screamin’ and turnin’ blue slow-like. Here’s some quick exserps… see if ye can spot any libertarianism in thar… yar:

    “Recently, both the Sudanese government and government-sponsored Muslim militias have launched large offensives against the rebel groups, resulting in more deaths and more displacements. Clashes among the rebel groups have also contributed to the violence.”

    … and it continnies:

    “Sudan has an authoritarian government in which all effective political power is in the hands of President Omar al-Bashir. Bashir and his party have controlled the government since he led the military coup on 30 June 1989.”

    Arrrr! I pitched it at ye red hot, ye torey lap dog! What say ye t’THAT!

  4. EL
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    re your feces observation, it do bring to mind a nice little Swift bit of poesy, although true I know this isn’t a direct comparison…

    —–
    So, naturalists observe, a flea
    Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
    And these have smaller still to bite ’em;
    And so proceed ad infinitum.
    —–

    maybe other readers with world enough and time can come up with a “poo and its many wee beasties in a gram” rhyme?

  5. gregg
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I’d rather take my chances on the high seas than hang around here waiting to be rounded up.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/5/20/21950/7576/933/518756

  6. Teabag
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Have fun swimming this summer!

    http://www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/pdf/Wanted_poster.pdf

  7. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Brackache,

    You’ll note that’s why I modified with “De facto.” From Wiki:

    De facto is a Latin expression that means “of the fact” or “in practice” but not spelled out by law. It is commonly used in contrast to de jure (which means “by law”) when referring to matters of law, governance, or technique (such as standards), that are found in the common experience as created or developed without or contrary to a regulation.

    Sudan’s government strives for authoritarian control, but, the reality, as it’s been explained to me, is regulation and rule of law is oft non-existent. (I know of a certain orphanage that was given $500. They used it to buy a water purifying system and blankets. Then they had to hire security to guard their stuff.)

    But, I’ll give you that I picked Sudan for hyperbole. What, existing, libertarian society would you substitute?

  8. Posted May 20, 2008 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    love u folks. you honor our lord the flying spaghetti monster (http://www.venganza.org/)well with talk of pirates and libertarian utopias.

    alas i will now return to my work, where i sell my labor in exchange for fiat currency that is utilized to pay rent, and purchase organic food stuffs from local, regional and national capitalists.

    oh yes… Biggie’s is open again, red hot links anyone?

  9. Posted May 20, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    PS- Ms. Rohe’s comments were of the most excellent variety. It is not surprising to see a Democracy Now logo in the corner of the video. Thank you for this post, Mark.

  10. Brackache
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Ol’ E. Cross: I knowed ye’d rely on yer use of “De Facto!” If’n ye accept the false premise that “de facto” libertarianism is the chaos and violence caused by Gov’mint-paid gunmen in an attempt to establish authoritarian control, than aye, Sudan fits the bill. But that’s wot we in our rum-soaked Tortugan brothels refer to as “circ’ler reas’nin’.” It in fact better supports me case aggin relyin’ on Gov’mint than it do yers.

    Does yer whole arg’ment depend on the false premise that if there’s no libertarian societies right now, that libertarian societies are a bad idea? I may be simple fo’castle scum, but that logic springs leaks fore and aft.

    If’n ye want some good examples o’ Stateless societies that reflect wot we Bretheren o’ the Coast refer to as “spontaneous order,” ye’ll oney have t’look as far as an ant nest. “It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

    I know it’s much easier fer sluggards t’rely on someb’dy else’s guns (which ye do) to do their dirty work for ’em and tell ye wot t’do, all the while lookin’ down their noses at the thought o’ relyin’ on guns. That’s just bein’ lazy and hypocrit-like. It weren’t always that way in America ye know.

    I s’pose many Native American tribes were good examples too… not so much the more vicious gov’mint-minded ones like the Aztecs and Iroquois though. Per’aps we can go to the Good Book an’ include the Israelites ‘fore they rejected the Lord and He punished them by grantin’ them Kings with all their warfares and taxations, like they begged him to. Ye get the gov’mint ye deserve, y’see. And gov’mint at all is a punishment in and of itself.

    Ye might also ask yerself if’n ye owe the love of yer neighbors to taxation, laws, and threat of force/imprisonment, or if’n yer neighbors love ye of their own accord. I fer one hope ye do good fer the community on account o’yer a good person who uses yer freedom t’do good, not cause a gov’mint makes ye. Too bad if I’m mistook.

    Also, show me where yer precious gov’mint and rules made up by humans has rescued us from crack, whores, and violence. Ye’re pretty free in usin’ the threat o’ such as a reason t’fear liberty, when we got it right here and now with all yer rules and taxes meant t’cure it.

    Gov’mint’s a protection racket with flags ‘n’ badges that harms more’n it helps, historical-speakin’.

  11. UBU
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    OOOOO my head — and they PROMISED there would not be a Pirates of the Carribean Part IV! There should be laws if only to protect us from protracted fake pirate speak! And no Elvish or Klingon either!

  12. Brackache
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Bilge rats!!!

  13. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    If a society where everything from blends of fabric to how to get rid of mildew, where multiple levels of taxation (aka offerings) are mandated, and every fifty years all debt is forgiven and property returned to the original owners is libertarian, perhaps I’m far more libertarian than I realized.

    As far as neighbors, you have to look both to the east and the west to get the full measure of man, me hardy!

  14. Brackache
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Okay, let’s talk about the Bible from the perspective of a believing Christian for a bit: there were still no cops in the period of the judges to my knowledge (stone-armed militias, I suppose), rulers, or human lawmakers (therefore no Government of Humans), and the laws of God via Moses were given to reveal and increase sin (as well as be sketches of Heavenly things involving the Messiah) to show God’s abundant grace, not to cure sin… at least according to the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans anyways, because that’s what sin does when it encounters law. It gets worse, not better. Grace and freedom enable people to not sin, laws increase sin.

    I’ll give the first century Christian church as an example then, before The Roman State polluted the Church with it’s big Government bullshit via Constantine. Be prepared for me to throw Ananias and Saphira right back atcha, and Church leadership hierarchies, and submitting to the governing authorities to boot.

    Also libertarianism does not depend on humans not being evil. It just decentralizes it to minimize its impact, and recognizes that humans being at liberty often leads to spontaneous acts of charity. Besides the fact that it is just plain morally wrong to be an overbearing authority figure, to meddle in other people’s business, to rob people of their wages and treat individuals as expendible members of a make-believe collective whose collective rights (whatever that means… usually oligarchal bullshit) trump individual rights. Centralized human power leads to shitloads of dead people and collapsed economies, not to mention corruption, legalized theft and kidnapping, etc. etc. etc.

    These things happen on smaller, decentralized scales when people are at liberty, sure, but they happen on smaller scales when they’re not at liberty too, in the presence of powerful governments. So Governments are damn near useless at doing good compared to humans at liberty and are a far greater evil than humans at liberty. The point is so easily defended from the fruits of Governments during the 20th century alone that I can make it with one hand tied behind my back, and the other punching myself in the balls talking insufferably like a pirate.

  15. The Exterminator
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I don’t get where the division of labor would factor in to the floating citadels… what are the natural resources? Fish and salt water? Who would you trade those with? People in boats who already have fish and salt water? Would the floating fortresses of liberty be the only place you can hire 50 desperate unshaven computer I.T. guys who are immune to sea-sickness? What would the carpenter or farmer libertarians do for a living? Would you be all like Water World and trade sexual favors for dirt to put on your blacktop island to grow weed with? Maybe that’s it: you could be a trading post for illegal items/services and produce nothing of real value!

    Actually that would probably be really lucrative. And with your computer savvy, you could run the world Lex Luthor style in 40 years.

    Genius. Count me in for illegal insecticide trader.

  16. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Brackache,

    The pre-king OT had a well-defined legal system, taxation, social services, health department, etc. The lack of full-time cops doesn’t make it a libertarian society. Life was far more directed by a single authority (God) than ours with priests and stones as law keepers.

    As far as I can tell, every society demands its members give up certain freedoms for the good of others. The Amish, as I think we discussed, can seem like they live a libertarian life if that’s simply defined as low-tax and low-cop. But, try showing up wearing a red silk shirt and feathered cap for the barn-raising and they’ll seem quite the opposite.

    The only places I know of where someone or something doesn’t ultimately keep the worst neighbors in check are areas where all authority has broken down (i.e., Iraq, Sudan) and chaos, not mans better nature, tends to ensue.

    Gotta go now, a kid is calling…

  17. Brackache
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    OEC: there’s way more to libertarianism than low taxes and a lack of government monopoly on force. There’s also a respect for each individual’s rights, quite importantly. The Amish system falls short of respecting each individual’s right to dress however they want, but it exists in a nonsecular voluntary religious community, so that right is essentially contractually, voluntarily signed off on. As I understand it, all the members of the community are voluntary adherants to the religion, and part of that religion is not wearing red scarves or sequined bannana hammocks. It is a voluntary agreement that the members are more than able to withdraw from if they become unwilling to abide by that social contract. The “punishment” is a community-wide refusal to accept the person as an adequate adherant to the faith (and therefore the community) while the violation continues. Force or the threat of force is not employed as a punishment, unlike in our morally upstanding State-run society, which has eradicated human injustice via legislation, taxation, and police.

    The promise of Government is that it will give you guilt-free recourse against the Kirchers of the world for a mandatory cut of your income, but it does not deliver: you are not absolved of the use of force just because you’ve voted someone else to do it (or threaten it), nor does the justice system reliably deliver on its contractual obligation to punish unloving people. If someone ran a business that automatically charged everyone money with no contract and no guarantee of a job well done, but used naked force to extract that regular fee (if refused) regardless of performance, you would demand Government intervention to punish that unethical business. But because it’s called Government and has flags and badges, it’s somehow exempt from common ethical standards of business, no matter how many people it kills along the way to not achieve its stated goals (war on poverty, war on drugs, war on terror, ad infinitum). I call believing those false promises after such a track record of failure utter madness.

    …Again with the equating the chaos and destruction caused by intervening and/or authoritarian governments (Us, Iraq, Sudan) with liberty. Sigh. We need to clear up that obviously false premise one of these days.

    I will happily concede that the period of the judges before the period of the kings was far more legalistic than libertarian, seeing as how it was steeped in those same laws being broken repeatedly and the oppression and tyranny that resulted. A similar pattern emerges during the period of kings, but even worse. Law increases sin. Only after grace and permissiveness via the Spirit of Love in people’s hearts became the “law,” and people were freed from the written code and overbearing leadership of humans did “lawlessness” (i.e. — lovelessness) lose it’s dominance in that part of the community in question (the first century church in Jerusalem). The more humans work to abide by a written code of how to love, the less loving we become, due to our inherant loveless tendancies. Laws kill love. Future conflict in the church usually resulted from fraud or force being introduced by overbearing people who did not respect unconditional grace and permissive liberty leading to beneficial, uncoerced, community oriented choices.

    Government is no solution to human evil. It is the purest form of human evil: a hypocritical, overbearing, violent parasite on society that pretends you owe it and fosters passive resignation to its abuses and insults against human dignity.

    At least whores and crack dealers are honest about who they are, and they give you what you pay for.

    Matey.

  18. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    BA. Since your “laws kill love” and perspective on the negative impact of laws seems to derive from the Book of Romans, I’m curious what the libertarian “government sucks” interpretation of the first seven to ten of Romans 13:

    1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,”and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    I know your ready with a reply, I’m just curious what it is.

  19. Brackache
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Just a few thoughts off the top of my head before the big essay: that was Emperial Rome over which the very few Christian citizens at that time had zero influence and therefore no responsibility. You’ll find the same argument was made to justify slavery. There’s more to it than that, I’m just rattling off some things (because I can hear all your slippery slope counter arguments already…)

    This is the USA, a Federated Constitutional Republic wherein our governing authorities are described in the Declaration of Independance and Constitution (highest law of the land), which specifically spell out that it’s a government of by and for the People, and that the People have the right to keep and bear arms… and like the passage says, we don’t bear the sword for nothing.

    Also, Paul was falsely imprisoned and executed unjustly by those same governing authorities of which he speaks. So were many Christians who would not “submit” to the governing authorities by worshipping the Emperor. So if you hear him saying “government is good and just, and Roman soldiers (who crucified Jesus) are the good guys,” you’re not hearing him correctly.

    Also I should clarify that it is not law that is evil, but sin that is evil and kills love. Law, even good law, increases sin. Therefore, legalism or depending on the written code kills love. “Law kills love” was kind of my shorthand for that process.

    Last but not least, I pay my taxes and submit to the governing authorities. I don’t even speed very often. My wanting to remain unmolested by cops doesn’t make them right, nor does my obeying the law guarantee I won’t be molested by cops.

    God’s sovereignty and use of ruthless evil people as wrath against the inhabitants of the earth doesn’t make them good anymore than it made Nebuchadnezzar or Nero good.

    Okay, that was longer than I first intended.

  20. egpenet
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    McCain wins in November … sad but true. My %20 says so. And I am NOT happy about this.

  21. egpenet
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    $20 … not %20 … can’t see outta my right eye … may be blind by then, so who cares. I care if he wins … may move to Point Peelee or even further north.

  22. Brackache
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Just for laughs and a more appropriate mental picture:

    1Everyone must submit himself to [Hitler], for there is no authority except that which God has established. [The Nazi Party has] been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against [Hitler] is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For [The Nazis] hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of [the SS]? Then do what is right and {they] will commend you. 4For [Hitler] is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to [Hitler], not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the [Nazis] are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

  23. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    BA. You’ve offered what you think the passage doesn’t mean, you haven’t said what you think it does mean.

    The Romans weren’t nice people. Their methods of rule by the sword are a lot closer to the Nazis than our government, so inserting it isn’t all that comical or far off. Clearly, Paul and the early church drew a line at worshiping the emperor. But, they didn’t organize jail breaks or try to overthrow the gov. Romans was written during an oppressive regime. At the end of the book Paul mentions folks risking their lives to smuggle him around. But, Paul paid his taxes for the roads and aqueducts and maintained a respect for even the worst of governments.

    Of course, this all tangential to my point, that I simply think you’re stretching to use Levitical law and Romans to build a case for low tax, limited government.

    And, it’s very hard for me to imagine the early church voting no on a school millage. Likewise, it’s hard for me to picture them voting to deprive anyone of rights or freedoms.

    You can keep your guns. I just want your money.

  24. Brackache
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I give my money generously to those who don’t demand it. God loves a cheerful giver, not one who gives because he has too. Forced charity is no charity at all.

  25. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Having just watched Mary Poppins with my daughter, I learned it’s possible to be cheery even when you’re doing something you’re being forced to do, like clean the nursery. Just a spoon full of sugar is all it takes.

    And, I meant to say, “Ye may keep yer blunderbusses, I jest wants yer booty.”

  26. Brackache's secret identity
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I propose that the Government can take our taxes only so long as they can follow our complicated treasure maps and survive the booby twaps. That seems fair to me.

    A spoon full of sugar… and some freaky Mary Poppins magic, that she most likely learned at Hogwarts… a private school.

    Here’s how you seem to think: choas, greed, and violence are the result of not having human legalistic government. Therefore, every instance of chaos, greed, and violence is an example of de facto libertarianism, even if they’re the direct result of Government intervention. Therefore, libertarianism is bad because it results in chaos, greed, and violence. In addition, Government results in charity, peace, and order. Therefore, every instance of charity, peace, and order is a result of Government, even if no Government intervention took place in any way. Therefore, Government is good because it results in charity, peace, and order. It seems like circular reasoning based on false premises.

    Here’s a little parable about the inherant immorality of taxation: suppose I club you over the back of the head and take your money. That’s obviously bad. Now suppose I gave that money to a homeless person. Less bad? Now suppose the homeless people voted for me to club you over the back of the head and take your money, so I could give it to them and take a small service fee for myself. Still bad? What if I didn’t club you, but only threatened to club you? Or what if I just threatened to club your boss if he didn’t give me a cut of your wages before they even got to you, so I could give it to a bunch of homeless people (who for all anybody knows you would have willingly let sleep in your garage after Kircher evicted them if left unclubbed). Now suppose I gave you a vote too, but you were out-voted. …Somehow by giving people a vote, giving away some of the loot against your will in a perversion of charity, and making the threat less direct, my robbing you becomes a good and necessary function of society.

    Somehow in the real rural America (not the one in Deliverance), people help each other out without Government intervention. People generally refrain from dumping Nuclear waste on each others’ properties without Government intervention. People defend themselves from aggression and fraud without Government intervention. There certainly are instances of human evil that happen away from Governments’ direct intervention, but they are fewer than in sophisticated, civilized urban areas that believe strongly in Government intervention where cops and courts abound. I lived among hostile future-frat-boys and rednecks, and sported a 1 1/2 foot tall mohawk. There was considerable peer pressure and threat of real forceful aggression against me because I did not conform to the culture around me. Did I rely on courts or cops? No, I grew a pair. I didn’t back down and eventually earned the grudging respect of my peers. At some point, freedom does require independance, courage, and assertiveness. Either you do it yourself at your own expense, or you vote for someone with a club to do it for you at someone else’s involuntary expense. That’s just immoral theft a few times removed.

    I’m going to make you wait on the Romans passage a while longer because, though an intriguing tangent (and I completely agree about the Hitler thing being approriate), it’s a bit of an alligator roll to a red herring regarding the inherant evil of human legalistic Government, and it took me years to figure out much of the meaning behind Timothy 2:11-15 with all due dilligence to history, culture, greek and hebrew words, and all that good stuff. But I’ll take a good shot soon, or if I don’t I’ll look like a dancing jackass.

  27. Brackache
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and I’m not organizing jail breaks or trying to overthrow the Government either. I pay my taxes and submit to the Governing authorities. I’m not sure where you heard otherwise, but I assure you if someone’s slandering me I will voluntarily turn the other cheek rather than use the considerable means of violent revenge I possess. Because I’m free.

  28. Posted May 25, 2008 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    One might argue about a libertarian experiment being set up and then about whether or not it failed because of government interference.

    I’m speaking of the early 19th century settling of the North American West. The homestead act granted individuals a plot of land. The only stipulation on keeping that land was to live on it for a specified length of time. Aside from the homestead act itself, those early settlers were largely free from government rule. It is true they were still part of the USA, being on de facto US soil. But, those early settlers were not heavily taxed, if at all.

    In the beginning there were no law officers and no local government. The only real government sponsored law was in the form of US Army who were occasionally sent out to subdue the previous land owners (Cherokee, Blackfoot, Crow, Apache, etc.).

    In those days, people set up farms and/or ranches. If someone came onto their land to steal from them, the strangers were shot. This justice was not a written law of the land. It was simply “the way it was.” A horse thief who got away with the pony, but was later caught, had the pony taken from him and returned to the previous owner. To prevent him from stealing someone else’s horse, the thief was hanged.

    The settlers were happy in their libertarian lifestyle until bands of “outlaws” formed and terrorized those settles. Unable to cope with being outnumbered by these bands of outlaws, the settlers themselves banded together and hired “lawmen” to protect them. This first cooperation by the settlers was probably the downfall of libertarianism in the Old West.

    Libertarianism out West continued to deteriorate as populations grew. When some groups of “lawmen” themselves became “outlaws,” the settlers tried to preserve their “libertarian” lifestyle by taking things into their own hands, banding together as vigilantes and hunting down and hanging the corrupt “lawmen.” While the vigilantes were non-governmental, as soon as they took over, they were duly elected.

    Government, in the West, became more and more like our modern governments.

    Now, it may be said that most of the settlers were not libertarian of thought and wanted government. In part that may be true and may have contributed to the downfall of that libertarian experiment. But I will tell you, as one who grew up in the West, that no group of people is more fiercely independent or more desirous of being left alone by Eastern majority government, than those in the West.

    I am not a libertarian. Most other Montanans are not libertarian either. I want paved roads; libraries; city, county, state, and national parks; police; a well regulated militia to protect me from Canadians, Sioux, Iraqis, and other unfriendly foreign governments; and a whole litany of other services that I find essential. On the other hand, I don’t want my government to record my internet activity, tap my phone lines, regulate who I can or can’t marry, etc.

  29. egpenet
    Posted May 25, 2008 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Libertarianism, John on Forest, is neither lawlessness nor retribution by hanging. Real democracy is exactly as Lincoln put it … which we shall hear repeated at the cemetary tomorrow … of by and for the people.

    Last week I suggested that no one can make a recommendation about what to do about ANYTHING in this town unless they pay $100 or otherwise have a financial stake in this 4.2 square miles.

    “Borrowing” from William F. Buckley, another way to put all of this is, I’d rather be governed by the top 100 names in the Ypsilanti telephone book than by the top 100 recent graduates of the University of Michigan Law School.

  30. Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Ed,

    I didn’t say libertarianism was lawlessness. A very clear sense of “the law” was known in the Old West. “Retribution by hanging” was not libertarianism, either. It was a part of The Law.

    What I called libertarianism was the fact that Law and Order in the Old West was done without the need for a tax supported government. That law and order was in fact carried out “by and for the people.”

    I went on to point out that libertarianism did not work in the long run. The people found a need for government regulated police and law keeping. I chose the need for government sponsored police service as my example in the Old West as response to an assertion above that individual citizens could carry guns to protect themselves rather than hire someone to do the gun toting.

    I could have chosen a whole host of other government services as example of things that were found lacking at the beginning in the Old West. The development of rules and regulations surrounding water rights is equally a good example of a need for government service that wasn’t provided by a government-less land.

  31. Paw
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Am I to believe that sheriffs were paid with pumpkin seeds and shiny glass beads in this Old West paradise?

  32. Brackache
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Coming back from a weekend camping, it occurs to me that if I didn’t need to pay taxes, I would camp for the rest of my life and be far happier. I’m trying to find where I’m full of shit for thinking that, but I honestly can’t.

  33. Posted May 26, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Paw,

    No, that’s my point. The settlers had to form a government and collect taxes to pay for sheriffs because they were unable to cope with bandits individually.

    Brackache,

    I don’t know where you camped; but, I’ll bet it was on tax payer supported facilities.

  34. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    JoF,

    Thanks for the old west story. And, the question of where BA camped. When I heard about Ron Paul, my first question was, what about state/national parks? (Don’t worry BA, if the parks go under, as a wealthy landowner, I’ll gladly let you camp on my property for $350 a month … rustic, of course).

    BA, to your club, what if I club you on the back of the head and take your 100 bucks and give you back 200 bucks worth of water, education, public health, safety, and defense, as well as Sesame Street and a few NAEA projects?

    Honestly, BA, you and I come from a long line of interesting, lovable malcontents. To varying degrees, we each strive for utopias and eke out moments of misery in the most beautiful circumstances. My personality will find something to bemoan, eventually, anywhere.

    Our peculiarities will follow us anywhere, and so will those of all humankind, good and bad. I believe in working to make systems better, but I don’t think any particular system will inherently make us better. Some libertarians, I think, want a system that will force them to survive on their own. “If only I had to chop down that tree to survive, I’d do it!” Yet, there are plenty of trees and, for better or worse, most libertarians aren’t the ones chopping them. This isn’t about you, but most just seem angry that they might have to swing an axe to give someone else a bit of sunlight.

    It seems like a handful of libertarians, may want necessity to force them to do what they aren’t doing on their own free will.

    There is always a “force.”

    If you and I are not happy living here in blessed, high-tax Ypsilanti, we won’t be anywhere. If we’re not law abiding here, we wont be anywhere. If we think we should give more and expect less, we already can. We can community police. We can volunteer. We can join a militia. We can be a big brother or sister. We can reduce taxes by offering more of ourselves. We can reduce our dependence on foreign oil. If we’re not doing it now on our own free will, we won’t ever, unless somebody makes us. And, if somebody makes us, it’ll probably be turn out for our collective good.

    That’s all. I’m physically exhausted from days of labor and not self-censoring. Good night.

  35. Brackache
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    John — it was, and I am not ignorant of that factor in my calculations. For one thing, I still had to pay to go there, which oddly just about equalled how much I would pay per day to rent my non tax-subsidized apt, which has walls and plumbing and stuff (whereas my campsite merely had dirt, trees, and a firepit).

    Here’s how I broke it down: I realized how much happier I was just working to survive by gathering firewood and building a shelter, as opposed to working a job I sometimes enjoy (but often don’t) to pay for gas heat and rent a shelter someone else built. I figured: if I’m so much happier doing this, why am I doing that? Why don’t I just buy myself some land and make a shelter and live a subsistance-farming and/or hunter/gatherer life? The answer: property taxes. I have to have a job to pay for property taxes. If someone knows a way around this so I can live the life of a wilderness subsistance farmer, let me know. I’ll accept donations.

  36. Brackache
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    OEC: I would rather spend my $100 on stuff I wanted than get $200 worth of crap I didn’t ask for and a big bump on my head, with Mr. Clubber going around thinking he was my benefactor.

  37. Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Brackache,

    Don’t you ever watch Discovery Channel. There are stories of guys living in a cabin somewhere in Alaska or even lower 48 for years at a time.

    Property taxes are not that much. Sell all your cars, house, and other assets. Then invest the proceeds and pay property taxes out of the investment income. If you’re building a lean-to anyway, you’ll not have to use any of those proceeds for new digs.

    OEC, You’re most generously welcome for the story. I’ll take only $300 for a camp site in my backyard, pending approval from my wife.

  38. Brackache
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    How bad do inner city public schools have to fail before you can accept that they fail and the foundation of your philosophy is wishful thinking and self-perpetuating incompetance? I’m not after a Utopia, I’m after dissolving an institution that hurts humanity more than it helps, doesn’t reliably fulfill its few legitimate functions, would be better disciplined by applying competitive market pressures like every other business, and is probably not really necessary anyway compared to private sector replacements (or none at all).

    We had real asshole neighbors camping next to us, yelling all manner of whitetrasheries at each other all night. I submitted my thinking to be open minded about our little discussion here, and I thought, “maybe OEC’s right… maybe I do wish there was a park ranger here rather than none at all.” Then I realized that we were, in fact, under the jurisdiction of park rangers, and they just weren’t there. Also, I contemplated intervening myself, and I thought, “wouldn’t it be easier if a park ranger was doing this and not me?” Well, maybe, but he wasn’t there — besides, all they were doing was annoying me. They didn’t pose a threat to me or our other neighbors at all, so I figured I’d just adopt a self-defense-only attitude and be patient. Sure enough, they left on their own at 1:30 am, having settled their little dispute without anyone’s meddling. Patient nonintervention was the cure. The next morning at dawn, the park rangers showed up and were told the offenders left in the night. Later, when we were checking out, the park ranger told us that he’d checked the ranger logs, and that a park ranger had evicted the offenders himself, which was complete C.Y.O. bullshit and a blatant lie. So park rangers were completely useless and unnecessary at their one simple job. (The park rangers were playing the part of police in our little camping analogy here, in case that wasn’t apparent).

  39. Brackache
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the advice, John!

  40. Brackache
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Also OEC, that’s not a bad rate at all and I appreciate the discount, but I may have to scavange some of your flora and fauna. I will make it up to you by digging big holes for no reason and chopping stuff.

  41. Posted May 27, 2008 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    You are welcome, Brackache.

  42. Brackache
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Also, though I do respect park rangers and cops for having to do what must be a pretty crappy job, I can’t think of a single violent or potentially violent conflict in my life that was resolved by law enforcement personel. A couple of those situations were in public schools, a couple were backwoods situations, a couple were in heavily taxed, well-patrolled cities in very public places (Boston outside a downtown supermarket, Ann Arbor in the middle of the street in broad daylight). I had to solve those problems on my own, either by fight, flight, or diplomacy. Cops have done nothing for me but give me tickets or decide to not give me tickets.

  43. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    BA,

    Okay, let me suggest a few alternative ways of viewing some of the things you’ve raised.

    Let’s go with the park ranger as campground cop. Like all campers, I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve also seen radios click off at the sight of the ranger making his/her rounds. I’ve seen them tell people to pipe down. If they didn’t make a difference in this case, that’s hardly grounds for generalizations. But, I’d suggest that they did make a difference, even if they didn’t show up. Who knows why the trasholes left at 1:30, but it’s reasonable to think they knew they were breaking the rules and repercussions would evict them. Also, government works best with the help of good citizens. If you had gotten your warm and lazy ass out of bed and walked to the ranger station the problem could’ve been solved earlier. Peering out our windows watching a gal get raped and saying, “Damn, the cops ain’t stopping it, they suck,” ain’t exactly good citizenship. I’m sure your fellow campers who are less physically menacing and well armed would’ve appreciated your attempts at intervention be that going to the rangers or pistol whipping the offenders.

    Likewise, your personal experiences with confrontation without cops is hardly grounds for public policy. And, I’d also suggest that your confrontations may have escalated more if the aggressors didn’t know that, at some point (i.e., standing over your lifeless body), they’d have to answer to the cops. I’ve had to call the police. Once after I was holding a bat facing an intruder who was pretending, turns out, to hold a gun. They came and were very helpful. They even had fancy dogs that tracked him down. Yes, cops have also given me tickets (bastards!). Even so, you and I are both strapping young men who can fight off whatever evil lurks with our laser eyes. Place weaker loves in a world without cops or campground rangers…

    I also have a different take on the harm of government. It’s hard to agree with someone who says government does harm or is screwy. It’s true. Likewise, it’s hard to argue with someone who claims religion, corporations, marriage, education, or push-pops do harm. Everything involving humans is imperfect. I’ve worked for the private and public sector. Segments of each, suck. And, we pay extra for what sucks. Our taxes may be too high because of some dumb policy but what we pay for pizza, hotel rooms, and guitar strings is too high because somebody, somewhere is milking it. In my limited personal experience, compounded with reports from friends, I actually have found my government work to be of a higher standard than the private sector. It’s under far more scrutiny. My point is, anytime you buy anything you’re paying extra for legal services afforded some rich guy’s son, lazy employees surfing the web, lavish “business” trips, backroom trading, etc. It’s easy to say government is imperfect. But, I honestly don’t believe it is measurably more imperfect than any other function involving people. Just because the Ypsi KFC ran out of biscuits on Memorial Day, doesn’t mean I want to scrap the whole secret recipe. If biscuits were ballots it’d of been front page news. The private sector fails us all the time. I’d argue, at the near the same rate has government.

    Finally, part of the broader libertarian platform that creeps up in your text from time to time is they “what have cops done for me” question. This gets down to a more philosophic, moral, thing. I think part of being involved in a society it paying for things that don’t directly, or even indirectly, benefit us. What if cops save my life someday but not yours? Not worth the tax dollars? I’ve never had to call the fire department. So I should stop paying taxes to the fire department?

    And, given our income brackets, if you measure everything government services provide each of us in a day, from when we flush the toilet to rev our engines, I think we’re still getting a pretty good deal.

    I just spent close to the amount of my annual city tax bill to send my shit down a few feet of new sewer line. Once it hits the main, what is costs me to send my shit, combined with the rest of my neighbors, all the way to Detroit is pennies on the dollar in comparison. Government provides a very fine economy of scale.

  44. Brackache
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering when the intangible benefit of police would make an appearance. I was tempted to make it myself under a different alias. I will concede that it has an effect on common citizens who are not reckless enough to be disposed to commit heinous crimes in the first place. The intangible benefit of an armed citizenry is like that but x1000 (but still no guarantee against a desperate, reckless villain). There’s a world of difference between watching a girl get gangraped and listening to a bf/gf obscenity fight at top volume for three hours. The difference is harm. No real harm was being done. I was quite willing and able to intervene if violence was a real threat, and I was able and willing to meet that threat with deadly force in the form of defensive stabbing if it got to that. If other campers felt the verbal dispute intolerable, which I didn’t, they were quite capable of going to get the ranger themselves, which I’m sure they tried in vain. The idea that I could pistol whip the campers into submission is humorous hyperbole, I expect, especially as I would have been arrested for assault. My recourse was a pocket knife, to be used only if a threat to life or limb was imminant. Your analogy is imaginative but not realistic.

    “Government works best with the help of good citizens.” Meaning, Government can not do it’s job properly without relying on the non-taxsubsidized voluntary assistance of the very people who don’t need them in the first place but are forced to pay for them in a mandatory parody of charity. I also suggest that a private firm capable of using bloodhounds to show up after the home invasion to help track down the perpetrator could have done as good of a job without making your neighbors pay for it against their will. Yes, the poor could have recourse to them too, via charitable contributions from rich folks who care. There are a lot of said rich folks who care, and they make our society function without getting the credit they deserve. Our society needs rich people to function. At some point, often intangibly, taxing them depletes their numbers and our primary source of revenue.

  45. Brackache
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    For entertainment purposes, I’ve been making my arguments from the Libertarian philosophy of AnarchoCapitalism rather than Minarchism (which is probably closer to what I am). From that standpoint, I ask one thing to tie my two previous points together — that funding for and use of government services be voluntary, like anyone else’s services. Wealthy people can choose to donate to Government assistance services, if they trust it, like any other charity. People can opt out of sewer services and their cost like having their cable or gas cut off, for example. Cops will only respond to calls from subscribers (again with charitable help from wealthy people where offered voluntarily). If they’re worth it and necessary, they can compete like everyone else. If not, they will go belly-up and good-riddance. No more justifying the sin of stealing that (often questionable) good may result.

    From a minarchist standpoint, I only ask that the Constitution of the US and the various State Constitutions be obeyed as explicitly by our public servants as the lesser laws that we are expected to obey on a daily basis (and that we are punished with force or the threat thereof for not obeying). These constitutions are the highest laws of the land, and were authored with the intent to restrain human evil in our public servants, who have the ability to do far greater economic harm with the Federal Reserve than can some local jerk who rips me off on the price of silver; and far greater physical harm with our armed forces here and abroad than can a biscuitless KFC, or one nutcase with a gun in a mall that laws and cops can’t stop anyway (no, I don’t mean me). Any of our representatives, judges, or law enforcement personel (our servants) who does not obey his or her oath is a lawless man, and rebelling against the authority God has established (and armed with the sword) in the United States — the People with our inalienable rights and our Federal and State Constitutions.

  46. Brackache
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Here are two things that haven’t changed after all that — it is immoral to steal from people, even if they are rich assholes, everybody voted for it, it’s partially spent on beneficial things for society, only the threat of force is used, and someone we’ve never met in a uniform threatens it. It’s still just plain robbery to take someone’s money against his or her will, when they haven’t been convicted for a crime for which fines are punishment.

    The other thing that hasn’t changed (and is related) is that Government and its services are not optional, they are mandatory. If it’s that necessary and helpful, it could compete on its own merits. As it is, it acts like the worst type of monopoly — it has often inferior product (sometimes not), and has the ability to punish those who refuse to pay for its product with death or a life of being assraped in a cage (I mean… humanely reformed). I submit that you’d react quite differently if an oil company could do that (and might even use that as an argument against a free market)… now that I think of it, oil companies do something close to that via manipulating our own Government not adhering to its highest law and supposed function.

  47. Brackache
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Part 2 there is actually supposed to follow part 3. It wouldn’t let me post it as written.

  48. Brackache
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Ooo oo, also, we’re not really getting a good deal on the public sewers. The guys who fix it and operate it still need to get paid, the materials it costs to make and fix it still cost what they cost, so market forces still are in charge. It costs money just like it would if it were privatized. The cost saving is merely an illusion involving misdirection: the bulk of the payment comes from somewhere other than you (similar to the way we save money on sweat-shop items). Either some super taxed rich guys who still havn’t moved away to greener pastures yet for whatever reason, or freshly printed fiat money that will devalue all of our money by inflation (and therefore tax us invisibly), or money borrowed from other countries (which we or our progeny will have to pay back). Market forces can not be permanently controlled, and the price is always the price eventually.

  49. Johnny Cash
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Brackache, you remind me of a fellow I used to know.

  50. Brackache
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate the compliment, Johnny, but I still don’t think my songs are quite as good as yours.

    Which reminds me: private-funded Muppets was better than tax-funded Sesame Street.

  51. Brackache
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Compare and observe Johnny’s obvious preferance for free-market muppets.

  52. The Exterminator
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Brackache you ignorant slut: you voluntarily agreed to use public sewers and pay for them when you signed your lease, just like the Amish voluntarily agree not not wear rainbow condoms by their choosing to live in an Amish community. If your beef is the mandatory nature of it, there you go. You choose to live here. And it’s not like you don’t have further recourse: you can go bitch to your city council rep (do you even know who it is, you insufferable jackass?) to change the tax code or pass voluntary sewer use laws, run for council yourself, and even post incessantly on someone else’s blog to garner public support for the idea (at mark’s expense, might I add, you thief).

    And it’s funny how free market forces can solve any problem but Libertarianism’s unpopularity in the unregulated marketplace of ideas.

  53. Brackache
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Usually I charge $20 bucks if you want to watch me pwn myself.

    Alright, I’ll help collapse your crack-baggy filled sewers with my freedom fudge.

  54. Mike doesn't have a clever name
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Public schools are an unregulated marketplace of ideas.

  55. Brackache
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    One definition of irony is to state something by saying the exact opposite of what you really mean. Not being able to hear your tone of voice Mike, I’m not sure if your statement is supposed to be ironic or not. There should really be an emoticon for dead-pan irony, but it would probably be just as ambiguous as text.

  56. Mike doesn't have a clever name
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    : |

  57. Brackache
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Hahahaha!!!

  58. Brackache
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    If I can’t think up a floating libertarian island free-market solution to a situation like this in one week, I will eat 5 heaping tablespoons of refrigerated bacon grease in front of OEC.

    Oh yeah, I brung it.

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