Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You just... you have to laugh at the absurdity of it all...

Well... This is one of those things that would be funny... and is just... absurd...

Mel was transferring the rest of our stuff from a friends house to our storage unit, and had put a bunch of that stuff up on the front lawn, waiting to load it into the truck.

Then she and our friend went into the garage to get that stuff ready to load in the truck.

While they were in the garage, someone came by the front yard, and took most of what was out there.

It ended up being a couple thousand dollars worth of clothing, shoes, electronics, and furniture that they took... Including a lot of Mels clothes, a lot of the boys clothes, and most of what was left of my business wardrobe (I'm now apparently down to 3 pairs of pants, three collared shirts, and two button downs... That's not good).

It was also several hundred pounds worth of not obviously saleable things (all but the furniture was packed in bins ready to load up).

...And this is in Milton, a town with effectively zero crime, on a quiet side street in a nice neighborhood etc... etc...

Honestly... It may have been an overzealous charitable donation van, or someone assuming we were putting out trash, because I can't imagine someone just pulling up a van to grab all that. It just wouldn't look like it was worth much, and it would have been a fair bit of effort to move it.

And... I just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all... Just... Wow.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Taxation CAN be ethical and legitimate... I just wish it actually were...



"ALL TAXATION IS THEFT!!!"

"TAXES ARE THE PRICE WE MUST PAY FOR CIVILIZATION!!!"

Hmmm... would it surprise you to learn that neither of those things are true... but that both are based on valid, and nonconflicting, principles?

... Yes, valid and non conflicting. Yes, even for libertarians and other individualists, not just statist and collectivists...

Being a libertarian... or even broader, being one who recognizes and accepts the notion of fundamental and inherent individual rights, regardless of ones political philosophy surrounding them... means that you must recognize that all people have equal rights, AND equal responsibilities.

It means you must recognize that the exercise of rights (even the right to attempt to continue living) has consequences, which we must own in the entire, as we own ourselves in the entire.

This includes recognizing and understanding that our actions, including those that are within and pursuant to our rights, DO impact others, including in ways which MAY create obligation.

Social debt is a real, valid, and legitimate concept; even... in fact especially...in a system of individual rights. To claim otherwise is to twist the notion of individual rights, and self ownership, to exclude certain cases of responsibilities and consequences... and to ignore basic economics for that matter.

Social debt is incurred by all who gain direct benefit or substantive indirect benefit, from a social good, or from the use of property held in common, even without their explicit consent; unless that social good is forced on them, both against their will, and without direct necessity.

For example, babies can't consent to incurring debt for police, courts, and national defense, however they both gain benefit from these social goods, and such costs are necessary to the functioning of society as it exists today (and it can be argued, some "things" which serve these unctions will always be necessary, as anarchy among a large population, always and inevitably results in the tyranny of the strong over the weak).

A man who is left unconscious, in the cold or heat, without food, water, and shelter, will die. If he is then given food, shelter, water, and medical care, necessary to sustain his life, he incurs debt for these goods, even though he did not consent to it. If he does not wish to accept such debt, then he must ensure that should he become unable to consent or refuse, that he be allowed to die rather than incurring such debt.

Of course... If "society", or the state, do not allow him to make this decision, to die rather than incur such debt... if we force him to accept such treatment against his will... then no debt is incurred. Otherwise, any debt whatsoever could be justified, by claiming it was necessary. This would abrogate the ownership of oneself, and arrogate such ownership to the state, or to "society" (of course, many people already believe that we are owned by "society", so this concept is not a problem for them).

Thus, yes, simply being born into, and living in, a nation or a "society", incurs obligation, even without your explicit consent. If you do not wish to incur such obligation, then do not live in that country or society. If you are unable to leave because of your circumstances, unless you are being explicitly forced to remain against your will, and not as a consequence of your own actions and choices (no matter how poor or limited your options), this does not free you of your obligations.

There must be some system for satisfying such obligations. Taxation, as a broad concept, is one such system (or set of systems, as there are many different types and means of taxation) for doing so, though there are others.

THIS, is how involuntary taxation CAN BE ethical, and legitimate, in a system of individual rights.

HOWEVER... in order to be ethical and legitimate, such obligations must be strictly limited.

Taxation is only ethical, and legitimate, if such burdens are: minimized, provide direct or substantive indirect benefit, and are either necessary, or voluntary. And no, majority decision is not "voluntary" automatically, unless one has consented to be governed by such decisions.

We implicitly consent to some degree of governance by accepting or maintaining citizenship, or residency, in this country... However, we also do so under the conditions of the constitution, AND those of our preexisting fundamental and inherent rights, which the constitution recognizes and protect.

Actions of the government can only be legitimate.... and can only legitimately create obligation... if they align with such principles; among which are that any impingement on one's rights (including property rights, which includes your wealth, cash, assets etc...) even as allowed by the constitution, must still be minimal, must effectively serve a compelling interest, and must be applied equally under the law.

Now... I don't know about anyone else... But I don't feel that our current regime of taxation... and much of what those taxes are used for... are aligned with either the constitution, or our individual rights, nor do they impose the minimum necessary burden, nor do they effectively serve a compelling interest, and they are most certainly not applied equally under the law.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Individual rights, collective anathema

What makes America different from all nations which preceeded it (and I believe, all other nations still), is that we are a nation fundamentally and entirely based, on the recognition and protection of fundamental, inherent, preexisting, individual rights.

Not royal right, not divine right, not collective rights... none of these things exist, they are artificial and false concepts used to subjugate individuals... but individual rights.

Though our constitution calls itself the highest law of the land, it is not... It explicitly recognizes that the highest law, is that set of fundemental, inherent, and pre-existing individual rights, from which its authority, legitimacy, and powers, are entirely derived.

Our constitution and all our laws derive their entire legitimacy and authority from the rights of the individual; it's powers derived from and with the consent of, the governed.

We are a nation with a government of strictly limited and enumerated powers, and a people of unenumerated and nearly unlimited individual rights and powers; wherein the people, and their individual rights and powers, are always superior to the government

Our constitution, and our nation, have no existence whatsoever, outside of or without, fundamental and inherent individual rights.

This concept is absolutely critical to liberty, and to the function of our nation, and our government.

... Which is why so many have spent so long, and worked so hard, trying to eliminate the very notion that inherent individual rights exist.

Their worldview cannot be validated, their desires and plans cannot be fulfilled, so long as individual rights exist.

... Which is why so many people are now falsely taught that the very concept does not exist, or that it is wrong. That there are no rights at all, or that rights are granted or determined by government or society.

These people believe that there are no fundamental and inherent rights... Only those privileges which "society"... or the "right people" in society... collectively decide are appropriate or beneficial, and which they falsely chose to call "rights".

They believe that "society" or government can grant such "rights", define them, limit or expand them, and take them away; as it wills.

Many believe that is how things are now, how they should and must be, and do not even understand how any other way could possibly exist, or function, or be true.

They are of course entirely wrong... and dangerously so.

This false "collective rights" concept is anathema to the American ideal, to our constitution, and to human liberty.

Rights, are those things inherent to individuals, which cannot be infringed, abrogated, or violated, without force, fraud, or willing consent.

Rights cannot be granted or taken away, they can only be recognized, respected, and protected; or violated, infringed, or abrogated.

Rights are not subject to or contingent upon the will of others, nor the vote of the majority, nor any law or government.

Rights are always and only a property of individuals, inherent to them, and inalienable.

Collectives, and entities other than individuals cannot have rights, they may only exercise the rights and powers that individuals within those entities have delegated to them. As such, they may not exercise any right or power which is not posessed by the individuals within them, nor can these rights and powers be in any way be superior to those of any individual.

... Which is why so many deny that such rights exist.

Without fundamental, inherent, and preexisting individual rights, we have nothing but the consent and approval of others, to protect us from being subject to the will of others.

... Which is what so many people would prefer.

With such rights, there are many things which cannot be denied or stripped away from you, simply by the will of others.

... Which is why so many disparage such rights.

With such rights, there are many things which cannot be forced on you, simply by the will of others.

... Which is why those who believe in the false notion of "collective rights" have worked so long and so hard to, and are still attempting to; deny and destroy the very concept of individual rights.

Because so long as we have individual rights, individuals can legitimately disagree with, and prevent, the will of the majority from being enforced on the minority, if doing so would violate those rights...

... No matter how many people want it...

... No matter how "important" it is...

... No matter how bad the problem they want to "fix" is...

... No matter how "good" or "beneficial" the idea or plan is...

Those who believe in "collective rights", simply cannot tolerate this.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Problem is People

The problem with violence is people... always, and nothing but.

No substance, no object, no tool, no law, no government, no society, no state... just people, always and nothing but.

People are violent, and they cannot be controlled by the laws against violence we already have, nor by any new laws, nor by the state and it's agents, nor by other people directly.

The only control any person has, is over their own choices and actions. If people chose to act in ways that harm others, then there is very little anyone else can do, except to attempt to use force against those people, in order to stop them.

Laws do not keep one safe, nor do they control the actions of others. They simply codify the rules by which force may be used to attempt to prevent their violation, the means and manner of force which may be used to attempt to prevent such violations, and the means and manner of force which may be used to punish such violations when they occur.

LAW IS FORCE. If any control is exerted by this, it is through nothing but fear of said force, by those who would otherwise violate the law.

As should obvious to all... though many attempt to ignore and deny it... fear of this force, has but little restraining influence on those who would do violence against others.

Control over anything but ones own choices, is an illusion. Safety is an illusion. Both illusions are incredibly dangerous. There is no such thing as control, or safety... Only probabilities and degrees of risk, and mitigation of that risk. Acting as if it were otherwise guarantees only that the risks are greater, and the damage greater when that risk becomes reality.

This set of objective factors and principles, presents a truly, incredibly, difficult; intellectual, emotional, and moral understanding. It violates all of our closely held precepts of what society should be, how people should behave... simply the way things SHOULD be... and accepting it can be nearly impossible.

Some accept this, and decide that they have a moral responsibility to take what actions they can when confronted with it. Thus they prepare to use force personally and directly against others if necessary, and bear the consequences if they do so.

Some accept this, but also believe, or decide, that they cannot personally and directly use force against others, or have the means to do so, even in defense of themselves or others. They must then accept that when confronted by such violent acts, that either someone else must intervene, or violence will be done to them or others.

Some accept this, but believe morally or ideologically, that whether they would be capable of doing so or not; using force directly and personally against others, or having the means to do so, even in defense of themselves or others; presents an unacceptable risk or threat to themselves, to others, or to society as a whole. Thus they delegate such use of force to society as a whole, or to the state, and must accept that if the state fails to prevent it, violence may be done to them or others.

Many people simply cannot accept these things at all... or at best, only parts of them, or in limited ways. This creates extremely strong cognitive, emotional, and moral dissonance in them. Things simply SHOULD NOT BE this way. They CAN NOT BE this way. They feel out of control, unsafe, and threatened.

Many people cannot bear... or believe they cannot, or cannot even consider... the responsibility and moral weight, of personally using force directly against another, even in defense of themselves or others. Nor can they bear the understanding, that this moral weight falls not just equally upon them, but in fact greater upon them, when others do so on their behalf; whether as individuals, or as agents of the state.

In defense of their own sense of self, they create a false moral separation, and false sense of control and superiority, in order to partially resolve the emotional and moral dissonance of this state. They then partially resolve the cognitive dissonance, by rationalizing the false notion that they are too moral, too compassionate, too civilized... and therefore they are morally uncompromised, and superior... for being unable to, or refusing to, use force personally and directly against others.

Perhaps worse, they may also (or instead) rationalize the false notion that individuals (sometimes all individuals, sometimes all others but not themselves, sometimes just a subset of others they disfavor, sometimes all others except agents of the state) are morally and actually incapable of preventing, attempting to prevent, or having the means to prevent; such acts of violence against themselves or others (either entirely, or without engendering unacceptable risk or actual harm, to others, or to society). They falsely believe this then absolves them of the moral weight of the use of force against others, and the violence which might otherwise have been prevented.

Yet, they also cannot accept this utter lack of control over the actions of others. This presents an existential threat to their person and their psyche, which they cannot resolve within their intellectual, emotional, and moral framework. They feel out of control, unsafe, and threatened, with no means of resolving these problems.

Thus, in a state of profound cognitive, emotional, and moral dissonance, they will attempt ANYTHING they can justify in the slightest, no matter how poor the justification, no matter how little evidence or reason, to reassure themselves. They will seize on any rationalization, any symbol or totem or fetishes that they can cling to. Any way, in which they can at least partially resolve this dissonance, in order to regain and maintain the illusions of control and moral superiority.

In so doing, they have no problem with compelling others to use force on their behalf, and to enforce the symbols which maintain that illusion of control, on all people; falsely believing that such action absolves them of both the moral responsibility for the use of force against others, and the violence done to others that might otherwise have been prevented.

It doesnt matter if what they are doing is useless, or even harmful. Even that which harms others, and violates the rights of others, is inconsequential to them, so long as they can restore and maintain their illusion of control, to resolve their cognitive, emotional, and moral dissonance, and to dismiss the existential threat.

They will justify and rationalize it in any and every possible way. Compassion, justice, morality, safety, "civilization"... but in reality, it is simply their desire to restore their comfortable illusion of control and safety, without having to take moral responsibility for the use of force against others.

Any person, principle, argument, or fact, that threatens this set of illusions and rationalizations... or breaks it...  must be destroyed or dismissed. or the painful dissonance and existential threat will return. They will feel out of control, and unsafe, and this cannot be tolerated.