SandySandfort on May 15, 2010, 10:00:29 am
I just read a compelling essay by security expert, Bruce Schneier. It's called "Worst-Case Thinking" and can be found here:

   http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-1005.html#1

Please read it. Its relevance to the current silly arguments against an NAP/ZAP society should be obvious. Ultimately, life offers no guarantees. All we have to guide our actions is cost-benefit analysis within the context of a rational assessment of probability.

sams on May 15, 2010, 11:16:08 am
Thanks for linking this great Essay Sandy.

This reminds me of someone who posted in the Armed Forces as a Distortion of AnCap Ideals thread that an AnCap society was impossible because it couldn't survive : a) A Genocidal War, b) Nuclear Holocaust, c) A 13th century style Radical Islamic Invasion.

It is really a cheap shop of making lame arguments, since they want you to give answer about a scenario that have very few probability to happen and are completely impermeable to context.

quadibloc on May 15, 2010, 01:15:59 pm
I've noted that one of the reasons we have drug laws is because the State wishes its citizens to keep themselves fit for military service. I had been reminded of another reason behind the drug laws recently by a news item: a woman was raped and murdered by a man who, prior to the attack, had been drinking... and using Salvia Divinorum, which was a psychoactive plant that the law had not yet gotten around to prohibiting.

My own political beliefs are far from being Libertarian. I do, however, think that the Constitution of a democratic nation should prohibit the government from restricting which political opinions may be expressed and contended for. While I might think it unwise for the government to enact wide-ranging laws banning all forms of pornography, however, I think it inappropriate to restrict this at the Constitutional level. (In practice, though, it may be necessary because of embarrassment or pressure tactics involving legislators.)

When Canada enacted a "hate literature" law which went beyond what even my narrow vision of First Amendment rights would allow, it was conspicuous that Jewish organizations supported this measure. (Including, in some cases, the Canadian branches of organizations whose American branches rejected asking for such measures, because as loyal Americans they support the First Amendment.)

While I found it regrettable (what could be better calculated to turn anti-Semites into martyrs and help spread their poison) I also found it understandable.

What major category of individuals can be most easily called upon to join campaigns to shut down strip joints, peep shows, or stores that sell adult videos? Or to support campaigns to outlaw the sale of beverage alcohol?

How about a category of individual who, on the average, tends to be weak and frail compared to an adult male human, and who could be the target of an attack from one of them who is lust-maddened or otherwise not sober and rational?

Just as the Jews have suffered from many pogroms - and most lately a genocide of immense proportions - and thus fear a racist movement getting organized... women have cause to fear men, who are bigger and stronger than they are, if for some reason they are likelier than usual to act up (they've been drinking, they've been thinking impure thoughts, they belong to a lower social class).

It is true that fear often prompts irrational behavior. And allowing ordinary citizens to own and carry guns again would perhaps do a lot to dispel the climate of fear that authoritarian politicians exploit. Given that freedom is a worthy goal, the role that fear plays as an obstacle to freedom needs to be addressed.

sams on May 15, 2010, 02:45:44 pm
I've noted that one of the reasons we have drug laws is because the State wishes its citizens to keep themselves fit for military service.

There no more Draft in the US, so if the State don't own teen why prohibiting them to self-waste themselves ?

I had been reminded of another reason behind the drug laws recently by a news item: a woman was raped and murdered by a man who, prior to the attack, had been drinking... and using Salvia Divinorum, which was a psychoactive plant that the law had not yet gotten around to prohibiting.

dhu ?
I have some questions :

1- How many crimes are commited under psychotic effects of drugs ?
2- Wasn't it being drunk enough to go on commiting a crime ?
3- How many crime are ready to tolerate, after creating a black market for narcotics, to prevent the few crime that happen when people smoke dope ?
4- You don't have a point or you are just giving an example of stupid fear mongering ?

terry_freeman on May 16, 2010, 05:27:04 am
Milton Friedman did a little study of the correlation between the War Against Politically-Incorrect Substances, and found out that, the harder that war is fought, the more violence we suffer. This echoes an observation by Lao Tze: when there are many laws, there is much crime.

This makes sense for several reasons. When possession and/or ingestion are banned, as opposed to the actual acts such as rape, murder, theft, and fraud, an opportunity for arbitrage is made available to anyone who does not mind violating the law to make a profit. Is that an incentive to crime, or what?

Such criminals, of course, corrupt the police in order to reduce the risks to their business activities.

The police, who are tasked with enforcing too many laws, must spread their efforts; they spend less time dealing with male in se crimes.

Mala prohibitum laws drive a wedge between the police and the communities, which reduces the efficiency of police work still further.

In short, the argument "some drug user did something nasty and terrible and we must end all such nasty and terrible acts" fails. It tries for an impossible objective ( the complete abolition of mala in se crimes ) with a tool which actually increases the incidence of such crimes. That is nothing but a recipe for failure.

NemoUtopia on May 16, 2010, 10:59:00 am
I still find it amazing that America hasn't learned from Prohibition and the effect that instituting ABC stores has had. If I can find them I'll link them, but there are studies essentially destroying the concept of the 'gateway drug' and providing strong evidence that the rates of drug use does not vary significantly between when a substance is outlawed, regulated, or unrestricted. Part of the problem is that outlawing minor drugs like marijuana gives law enforcement something easy to target, low hanging fruit to 'prove' they're doing their jobs. As a strong supporter of law enforcement in general, you have to understand how much it sickens me that this is the undeniable reality...the focus should be on preventing real crime and catching the truly heinous, not on locking up citizens based on purely arbitrary laws to fill quotas and provide false effectiveness numbers. But then if law enforcement truly focused on To Protect And Serve, public opinion would be very different about it.

Put more simply, a state that was truly working to serve the best interests of its citizens would have only limited regulatory laws which are not-surprisingly-at-all enacting what a Libertarian society such as the Belt in UW would unofficially enact based on common sense. That is essentially, 'you want to recreate, do no harm.' [Most] People who drive drunk based on current risk-assessment would not be stupid enough to drive drunk if they knew unequivocally that the realtives and even community would hold them responsible to the point of their own life for any accident.

Speaking on the subject of essentially ubiquitous personal ownership of firearms...many people who know me IRL are surprised (my rants against the NRA likely don't help), but I support it. My reasons are essentially Libertarian and limited only by realities of the current American system of fire-arm ownership. In a truly Libertarian society, the idea of gun ownership is responsible gun ownership. Not just guns: strip 124 "Promise me you'll sign him up for lessons." -> "First order of business." My rant isn't against NRA supporters/members, many and possibly most of whom have similar ideas of responsibility. My rant is that in the current American system of legalities, specifically the NRA as a lobby, this is not the effect it has and has become a rallying point for every kind of bad sterotype assosciated with guns. Put in perspective: I'm with NRA to a point, and many people I know in the organization are as Responsible ownership and safety as anyone could wish. In a system that is NOT Libertarian and for better or worse regulates weapon use, true deregulation is actually counter-productive. So yeah, in America I'm for safety, cleaning, and marksmanship requirements. In a Libertarian society I wouldn't have to be. The true anti-gun folk may have compelling reasons, but the reasoning is still wrong. The times gunmen DON'T make national headlines? When they're shot by a responsible citizen carrying a firearm. De-arming the populace is essentially begging to be vulnerable to the same situation they experienced and are trying to prevent.



On the subject of worst-case scenarios, particularly any variation on 'invading army', the straw-man holds little weight. For all our might, America as a country is just as vulnerable to the worst case scenarios and arguably less able to handle the consequences. I haven't responded to such threads because the asker inevitably fails to support how any other system, much less their own current government, is better able to prevent such a scenario or survive the eventuality.

Scott on May 21, 2010, 12:55:26 pm
The reason we have drug prohibition in this country is that it is a make-work scheme for ambitious political functionaries, as well as for police and prison guards. All the other arguments presented in its favor are just manipulation playing on popular fears. See my on-line graphic novella, A Drug War Carol, for details.

NemoUtopia on May 21, 2010, 07:16:09 pm
That's actually a very powerful take that gives the facts. I'm reccomending it to those I know...and considering distributing links and copies to quite a few people. I'm going to be sure to add the figures on direct consequences not just to Americans in the U.S. sense but in a pan-geographic context: violence, corruption, and crime in Mexico, as well as all the misery effectively enforced by U.S. power. Perhaps the best moment in the Carol from my perspective is that drug violence is not caused by the addicts and drugs: it's caused by the arbitrary price of addiction and the drug war. I've got my own modern Carol take in the works (has been for a long time, i just need to get off my ass and finish it) that I think you all will like giving the facts about American welfare. It's true that it helps many survive in America...not because they lack the will and ability, not because they are not entrepenuers pursuing the Dream, but because our system forces them into positions where charity is the only option left.

terry_freeman on May 22, 2010, 01:29:59 am
How does the government make people poor? Let me count the ways.

1) the poor do pay taxes, but don't know it. Sales taxes tax consumption; Social Security/Medicare/UI taxes begin with the first dollar of every paycheck.
2) minimum wage laws saw off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder
3) licensing and zoning restrictions make it harder to start small businesses. Want to braid hair? Got to spend 1800 hours at a beauty school. Want to babysit your neighbory's kids? Got to get a daycare license. 
4) savings are discouraged. interest rates are artificially low, the value of your dollars steadily declines, and you get taxed on the so-called "interest income".
5) availability of a "safety net" reduces your incentive to work harder.
6) the "safety net" reduces the incentive of families and communities to work together with you.
7) crappy government schools do a terrible job of educating your children, and your alternatives are unduly complicated, expensive, and inefficient, due to government regulations,
8) the productivity of the economy as a whole is diminished by these and other anti-business policies.
9) your tax dollars - or those of prospective customers and/or employers - are squandered on vast quantities of government waste.

ContraryGuy on June 10, 2010, 08:44:38 pm
How does the government make people poor? Let me count the ways.

1) the poor do pay taxes, but don't know it. Sales taxes tax consumption; Social Security/Medicare/UI taxes begin with the first dollar of every paycheck.

So nobody should pay taxes, right?  How does not paying any of these taxes benefit me?

2) minimum wage laws saw off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder

From a macroeconomic viewpoint, the statement "minimum wage laws cost jobs" is true; but, in a real world context, the opposite is true.  Minimum wage laws were created to avoid legalized sweatshops as were seen in the past and are seen now in overseas countries.

In a perfect libertarian world, everyone is rich and honest; no-one tries to take advantage of their workers to shave a little "extra" profit.

3) licensing and zoning restrictions make it harder to start small businesses.

The reason zoning laws exist is to group certain activities together.  In my nice residential street, I do not want a coal burning power plant next door; or even a sheet metal pressing plant.

>> Want to braid hair? Got to spend 1800 hours at a beauty school.

Maybe where you live.  Trying fixing your local laws where your voice has some effect instead of just bitching about it.  Youre a libertarian, accept some responsibility for your life.

>>Want to babysit your neighbory's kids? Got to get a daycare license. 

Again, maybe where *you* live.  The teens in my neighborhood are able to babysit children they already know with only a phone call.

4) savings are discouraged.

No, saving is encouraged; but only by people who are not sheeped to the corporate economy.  You dont *have* to keep up with the Joneses, you know.  Be happy where you are or strive to be better. 

>> interest rates are artificially low,

At the request of those people who benefit the most from AnCap libertarianism.  You know: the Fortune 500.

>> the value of your dollars steadily declines,

Which is a function of a truly free market; or didnt you know that?

>>and you get taxed on the so-called "interest income".

Ok, I'll concede this.

5) availability of a "safety net" reduces your incentive to work harder.

No; it doesnt.  The same amount of people who are lazy to begin with does not automatically increase with the presence of a safety net.  Trust me on this.
I have seen what people go through to try and avail themselves of the "safety net".

6) the "safety net" reduces the incentive of families and communities to work together with you.

It isnt the "safety net" which has caused the degrading of communities.  Can we say "white flight"?  Good, I knew you could.  Did you know there is no such thing a a black or hispanic Tea Partier?
The downfall of communities is because of the downfall of community jobs.  I happen to be lucky to live near Boeings factory; but you know, boeing management wasnt happy with the bribes and concessions offered by local government, so they moved the new factory to S. Carolina, where they have to pay no taxes for the next ten years.

It is refreshing to see that rich white guys can be just as blind to the real world as naive liberals.

You really should wake up and learn some actual history, instead of just whining because the world doesnt conform to your ideals.

7) crappy government schools do a terrible job of educating your children,

I dont see you getting involved in *your* local schools.  Maybe if you and your neighbors kids had some discipline at home, the school teachers wouldnt have to spend all day disciplining them and they might actually learn something.

>> and your alternatives are unduly complicated, expensive, and inefficient, due to government regulations,

No, its called "what the market will bear".  Govt regulations dont forbid you from sending your kids to private school.

8) the productivity of the economy as a whole is diminished by these and other anti-business policies.

Right; I'll be sure to tell all the Gulf fisherman that theyre out of a job because of too many govt regulations of BP.

9) your tax dollars - or those of prospective customers and/or employers - are squandered on vast quantities of government waste.

Which you have asked for, or they wouldnt be there.

This is why I'm the Contrary Guy.


Azure Priest on June 11, 2010, 08:42:00 am
The reason we have drug prohibition in this country is that it is a make-work scheme for ambitious political functionaries, as well as for police and prison guards. All the other arguments presented in its favor are just manipulation playing on popular fears. See my on-line graphic novella, A Drug War Carol, for details.

I suppose that the fact that some of these drugs kill people being used correctly (See the history of COCAINE as a prime example) has nothing to do with it.

terry_freeman on June 11, 2010, 08:42:46 am
How does the government make people poor? Let me count the ways.

1) the poor do pay taxes, but don't know it. Sales taxes tax consumption; Social Security/Medicare/UI taxes begin with the first dollar of every paycheck.

So nobody should pay taxes, right?  How does not paying any of these taxes benefit me?

If you don't pay taxes, you have more to spend on what you value.

2) minimum wage laws saw off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder

From a macroeconomic viewpoint, the statement "minimum wage laws cost jobs" is true; but, in a real world context, the opposite is true.  Minimum wage laws were created to avoid legalized sweatshops as were seen in the past and are seen now in overseas countries.

Nonsense. If minimum wage laws helped the poor, why not set the minimum wage at $20 per hour? See the copious research by Sowell, Williams, and numerous others. The actual effect of minimum wage laws is to saw the bottom rungs off the economic ladder; this is why young and minority groups have such high unemployment rates in America.


3) licensing and zoning restrictions make it harder to start small businesses.

The reason zoning laws exist is to group certain activities together.  In my nice residential street, I do not want a coal burning power plant next door; or even a sheet metal pressing plant.

There are other ways to accomplish the same ends. You can prate about your "good intentions", but the fact is that zoning restrictions make it hard to start small businesses, which are not coal burning power plants but, for example, hair salons or dog grooming facilities.


>> Want to braid hair? Got to spend 1800 hours at a beauty school.

Maybe where you live.  Trying fixing your local laws where your voice has some effect instead of just bitching about it.  Youre a libertarian, accept some responsibility for your life.

Most cities in America have such absurd licensing laws. Vidal Sassoon, a well-known hair stylist, had to begin at the bottom of New York's licensing treadmill in order to practice his trade in America. Escalante, the famous math teacher, had to duplicate his schooling in America before he was permitted to teach.

>>Want to babysit your neighbory's kids? Got to get a daycare license.  

Again, maybe where *you* live.  The teens in my neighborhood are able to babysit children they already know with only a phone call.

Teen babysitting slides under the radar. Try to open anything which looks like a "daycare facility", operating 5 days times 12 hours. See how far you get.

4) savings are discouraged.

No, saving is encouraged; but only by people who are not sheeped to the corporate economy.  You dont *have* to keep up with the Joneses, you know.  Be happy where you are or strive to be better.  

You can claim to refute anything by simply saying "no, no, no, I can't hear you" -- but you sound a lot like a five year old. The reality is that interest on savings is below the rate of inflation; putting money aside means losing the value of your money. Even worse, you get taxed on the imaginary "profit."

>> interest rates are artificially low,

At the request of those people who benefit the most from AnCap libertarianism.  You know: the Fortune 500.

You are really off the mark. The Fortune 500 are not an example of AnCap libertarianism.

>> the value of your dollars steadily declines,

Which is a function of a truly free market; or didnt you know that?

How many falsehoods can you pack into a single post? In a free market, the value of your dollars increases, or didn't you know that?

>>and you get taxed on the so-called "interest income".

Ok, I'll concede this.

Well! Hello! I thought you were shooting for a perfect 000 score, and you went and actually conceded a point, demonstrating that you are not entirely a "wrong-way larry".


5) availability of a "safety net" reduces your incentive to work harder.

No; it doesnt.  The same amount of people who are lazy to begin with does not automatically increase with the presence of a safety net.  Trust me on this.
I have seen what people go through to try and avail themselves of the "safety net".

6) the "safety net" reduces the incentive of families and communities to work together with you.

It isnt the "safety net" which has caused the degrading of communities.  Can we say "white flight"?  Good, I knew you could.  Did you know there is no such thing a a black or hispanic Tea Partier?
The downfall of communities is because of the downfall of community jobs.  I happen to be lucky to live near Boeings factory; but you know, boeing management wasnt happy with the bribes and concessions offered by local government, so they moved the new factory to S. Carolina, where they have to pay no taxes for the next ten years.

It is refreshing to see that rich white guys can be just as blind to the real world as naive liberals.

You really should wake up and learn some actual history, instead of just whining because the world doesnt conform to your ideals.

7) crappy government schools do a terrible job of educating your children,

I dont see you getting involved in *your* local schools.  Maybe if you and your neighbors kids had some discipline at home, the school teachers wouldnt have to spend all day disciplining them and they might actually learn something.

Why would I waste time in government schools, when home schooling is so much more effective? I am still waiting for you to find just one government school which teaches negative numbers to 5 or 6 year olds, and algebra to 8 year olds.

Contrary guy, it's one thing to dig up actual facts; it's another to just say "no, no, no" and to be totally and completely ignorant of economics.

SandySandfort on June 11, 2010, 08:55:17 am
The reason we have drug prohibition in this country is that it is a make-work scheme for ambitious political functionaries, as well as for police and prison guards. All the other arguments presented in its favor are just manipulation playing on popular fears. See my on-line graphic novella, A Drug War Carol, for details.

I suppose that the fact that some of these drugs kill people being used correctly (See the history of COCAINE as a prime example) has nothing to do with it.

Certainly it does. It is the rationalization for prohibition. Alcohol kills people, but impure hooch killed more during prohibition. Ditto with cocaine. In both cases, though, the people who died, assumed the risk.

Narcs and other cops kill too. The difference is, the 7-year old girls they kill, were not volunteers, they were victims of the cynical, evil, pointless War on Freedom.

terry_freeman on June 11, 2010, 11:07:46 am
Even though we no longer have the draft - for now! - the military still claims to have an interest in keeping Americans "fit for duty" - there have been rumblings recently about how obesity and lack of exercise affect the recruiting pool, for example.

As the military finds it harder to recruit volunteers, I expect a push to revive the draft.

The military may even fold on "don't ask don't tell" and other anti-gay policies if today's youth decide that being identified as homosexual is less of a problem than being drafted.

In WW I and WW II, Americans were well fed and fit; since the Vietnam War era, the level of fitness has declined; children are far too used to being driven by soccer moms and bus drivers than walking.

Regarding the drug war, the libertarian position is that one is responsible for acts of aggression, such as rape, murder, and theft, regardless of whether one has consumed alcohol or herbs prior to those acts of aggression. Criminalizing possession of politically-incorrect substances is wrong on many fronts - moral, logical, and pragmatic.

As Sandy pointed out, many of these "precautionary" policies suffer from serious defects; they impose costs far out of line with the actual risks, in the effort to create an "ideal" world where no harm ever happens to anyone. It's like the endless anti-gun debate - the politicians never admit to the costs of people not being able to defend themselves, but always claim that their policies will somehow, magically, end aggression with guns - if just one more law is added to the tens of thousands already on the books. Likewise, just a few billion dollars more, a few million people more in prison, will finally end the harm due to illicit substances. In what universe?



dough560 on June 12, 2010, 04:13:11 am
Prior to Alcohol Prohibition, Drug Prohibition and the National Firearms Act, people got drunk, stoned and owned machineguns / sound suppressors.  For their time:  The alcohol and drugs were a known purity and generally inexpensive.  The guns and suppressors were well made and generally inexpensive.

Crime was limited and violent crime was "Big News".

People who have a "Need" for power began thinking, "What's the worst that can happen?"  Then they convinced others, they knew what was best for everyone.

Then regulations began.  Alcohol, Drug  and Gun Prohibitions.  With each Prohibition, Organized and Unorganized Crime gained power.  Gangs use tools (guns / suppressors, regulators deny to individuals), controlling their territory. Regulators denied guns /suppressors to individuals, while using the same in attempted more social controls.  One method to control access was to "Tax" these items.  Failure to pay the tax often resulted in the death of individuals.  (See Ruby Ridge and Waco where it was alleged individuals had not paid a $200. tax per item.)

Societal costs of these regulations are not just financial.  These costs include individual loss of liberty, the lack of individual responsibility and the public denial of any individual responsibility for personal actions.  All lost to increased regulatory power.

Regulation and restrictions resulted in "Black Markets" where Alcohol and Drug contamination, quality and availability is not constant. These factors increased death rates for misuse associated deaths.  Additionally the use of drugs changed from something done when Ill or during limited circumstances to something done to be "Cool", as social action, re-action, and rebellion against regulators.  More people died and regulators use their deaths to justify more and more regulation.  As more users became addicted, their addiction was used to justify more regulation.  Costs increased for now sub-standard products.  Violent Crime increases as addicts attempt to afford their addiction.  Currently many individuals who initiate violent crimes, believe they have a "right" to do so, due to perceived social inequities.  Substances which once cost a few dollars or cents, now costs much more and generates billions of dollars for a "Black Market" economy.

Is it any wonder, some of us began looking for a better social condition and began a movement which may bring about a society fit for adults?  It won't be neat and people won't be regulated.  It'll be messy at times, but it will work.  The alternative will make the "Black Ages" and the "Inquisition" look like kids in a play pen. 

 

anything