SandySandfort on November 03, 2010, 08:10:44 am
... I thoroughly enjoy the comic.

Good start.  ;)

... As I understand the purpose of the comic is to introduce these ideas to positively bring them into the public focus...

No, not really. The purpose of the comic from my standpoint (and I think that of the rest of the team, but I will let them speak for themselves) is to entertain. So why the market anarchy sub-text? Well, that is what entertains me. I like stories where the "good guy" win and the "bad guys" lose. Of course the stories have a particular zeitgeist, but so does every other creative work involving language. Think Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant, Macbeth, Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. First and foremost, they endeavor to entertain, second, to make some money and then maybe to introduce some philosophical stance. Trust me, if I want to "send you a message," you will get an email. I won't push it in my writing or hide it in crop circles.

So my point is to present a challenge to the leadership.   Are the persons who hold the idealogy of ANCAP ready and willing to positively work with those of us who like the idea, and would like to help clarify or fix those issues that team "challenge ANCAP toward betterment" sees as impediments to implementation?   I know we can be annoying and like a dog with a bone, but if we truly didn't care we would just make personal insults and try to cause problems (or most likely, just not be involved).

First, there is no "leadership." The writers and artists of EFT are in the business of offering an entertainment product. We hope that you will enjoy the strip enough to buy the books. (We'd also like to snag a movie deal, but that's another story.)

Second, everything you have asked for in your "challenge," we have done. However, after we have gotten the umpteenth "yeah, but what if..." unsupported hypothetical, from the same people who are unwilling to, or incapable of, understanding our responses, yeah, we do get a bit testy. If any reader asks a sincere question in order to gain understanding, instead of an argument disguised as a question, I will do my best to answer it. I may do this directly or by pointing the reader to external sources of information. 

terry_freeman on November 03, 2010, 09:58:29 am
Quadibloc, you are so ready to believe that the opposition is "insane" or "has had the wool pulled over their eyes."

I've been around 54 years, and I've observed a lot of this cold war nonsense in the papers. There is a consistent pattern, repeated over and over ad nauseum; if you don't spot the pattern, I suspect you of considerable cluelessness.

Pattern: posit a Great Unthinkable Threat. Posit that American expenditure on "defense" - which now equals the entire world "defense" spending - is clearly inadequate to the task. Boost "defense" spending. Five or ten or twenty years later, prominent "Leaders" admit that they lied us into War number X. Rinse and repeat for X+1, X+2, etc.

After a while, if you don't see the pattern, it is you who are "insane", or "have the wool pulled over your eyes" - not the rest of us. You are like the character in the Peanuts strip who is always ready to believe that this one time, Lucy will not snatch the ball away.


quadibloc on November 03, 2010, 10:13:50 am
You are like the character in the Peanuts strip who is always ready to believe that this one time, Lucy will not snatch the ball away.
Well, at least you've explained why the comic La Muse is appropriate to Big Head Press despite being in some ways superficially left-wing.

But my goal wasn't to engage in an ad hominem attack on those people who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid when it comes to the Cold War. I personally don't think that threat was overblown, and I certainly don't think the threat posed by the Nazis in World War II was overblown. But I don't blame you for being suspicious of how politicians use falsified external threats to make excuses for wars of aggression - so as to strengthen their hold on power.

It's just that I think it's the "other guy" that follows this pattern more closely - whether it's Hitler or Hu Jintao.

Instead, what I was trying to point out is that a lot of people do take the Cold War - and nearly everyone takes World War II - very seriously indeed, and if you need to disabuse people of that sort of thinking, you're fighting an uphill battle.

So I was responding to the offhand remark about "chartreuse aliens" to point out that what some may think of as hypotheticals are instead the living everyday reality of many people's lives.

Another set of "hypotheticals" I've occasionally raised, as have others, are questions about how private security firms could really replace the police - you know, would they fight with each other, or favor the rich, and so on.

But if someone speaking out for AnCap were in a meeting hall in a mining town in Pennsylvania, and I was coming up to the microphone to ask him a question, I wouldn't frame some detailed hypothetical question about how one might imagine that private security agencies could conceivably have problems in an AnCap society that need to be anticipated in advance.

Oh, no.

I'd just innocently bat my eyes and ask, "Oh, do you mean like the Pinkertons?"

I'm telling you this stuff now because I do like the idea of people having more freedom, not less. So I think it's a shame when I see people who love freedom, and want to have more of it, seem to be wasting their time with notions that aren't likely to deliver - and which aren't even likely to get a chance to be tried.

J Thomas on November 03, 2010, 01:16:52 pm

From this point of view, it seems, crazy as it might seem to you, that within about a week of the United States voting in an AnCap President who abolishes taxes peacefully... the free and armed American people would enjoy the thrilling delights of fighting a guerilla war against Chinese and Muslim invaders.

Within a week? Chinese and Muslims both?

I'm having trouble seeing how that would go. Maybe we sell them the troop carriers that the Marines used to use, and they ride those over? I just don't see it. I can see an invasion from Mexico easier than from China or a Muslim nation. The USA is the only one that currently can project power much. Most nations are stuck fighting wars mostly with their close neighbors. So for example the US Navy said the British could not re-take the Falklands, though they managed it with US assistance. What other nation in recent years has waged war far from its own borders? Only the USA, and NATO nations assisting the USA, and nations "assisting" the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq and Vietnam and Korea. The USSR used to send troops various places, and Cuba sent troops to Angola a long time ago, and sent engineering troops to some little island we then invaded only about 20 or so years ago. I'm having trouble coming up with examples.

Funny how that goes. Most nations need a military only to protect themselves from their nearest neighbors -- and from the USA. nobody but us is ready to attack distant nations. So if we gave up our military, the risk of short-run attack would be from Canada and Mexico and mostly nobody else. It's subtler dangers where we could lose out. Like, we might stop getting favorable oil deals from nations that no longer thought the US military would protect them if they obeyed or attack them if they disobeyed.

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Maybe free men can effectively defend themselves, but if anyone thinks this is an improvement over the current situation in the United States... I have doubts about their rationality.

We still have a whole lot of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert in case somebody nukes us. And their reason to nuke us? We are a threat. There is no other rational reason for them to nuke us. You think the status quo is something that's hard to improve on?

Meanwhile, people say that military spending is only 4% of GDP, so who cares? If we had an extra 4% to spend on everything including investment, do you know how long it would take to double GDP just from that? Eighteen years. Eighteen years to double GDP compared to what it would be otherwise.

And is military spending 4% of GDP? If I read it right, US federal spending is around 25% of GDP in 2010.
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1990_2010&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy10&chart=F0-fed&bar=0&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

And military spending was about $0.9 trillion in 2010 out of total federal spending about $3.7 trillion.
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/defense_budget_2010_3.html

So military spending was over 6% of GDP, and it has been for years -- 2010 was the first year they didn't pay the war costs in supplemental payments which they conveniently left out of the budget.

How fast would it take GDP to double if investment etc was 6% higher? About 12 years.

What do we get from it? We get to be the only nation that can fight wars anywhere in the world. And as a result we are the only nation that has enemies all over the world.

Well, but what might happen if we didn't have a military? Consider for example the Panama canal. This has military significance which has a lot to do with why we have invaded and occupied Panama so many times. Some Nazi leader pointed out that they could disable the canal with just one bomb, but they never got an airfield to send the bombers from. If we didn't control the canal, would it be run by a private entity who let anybody through on principle, provided they could pay the fees? Or would there be a local government that tried to make deals with foreign navies? If the latter, it isn't AnCap America's problem. So, a private entity runs the canal, and some government decides to occupy it because it's an important military resource. Their enemy promptly bombs it, because it's far easier to deliver submarine based or sailboat based cruise missiles than it used to be. We wind up with a canal nobody can use, which is a net benefit to one side in the war. If we had a military that could defend the canal zone against invasion and against cruise missiles etc, we would instead have a working canal that we could deny to our enemies while letting our friends use it.

Moral: AnCap societies should avoid owning or living too close to things that governments consider vital strategic military assets.

There are few of those in the USA. Ports, maybe. Base stations for satellite photo services. If you publish high-resolution satellite photos somebody might want to blow you up to keep you from publishing the photos they want to keep secret. A few other things.

And it might turn out that AnCap might have a vital resource -- they can proselytise. Get it running in the USA, and spread it to Mexico as quickly as practical. Then the Mexican government can't host foreign armies as they prepare to invade AnCap USA. It's just more AnCap and whatever they'll face across the border is what they're already facing from the time they first occupy Mexico. If it works, and people see that it works and they want it themselves, then it could dominate the western hemisphere. Who's going to do that invasion, and why? And of course, as fast as eastern-hemisphere nations work at expanding, they get subverted by anarchists so it falls apart. It could happen. People support their own government over a foreign government that has no reason to take as good care of them as it does its own citizens. How much would they support their government over a bunch of people who are no offensive threat and who just want to make stuff and buy and sell? A government surrounded by AnCaps has no use for a traditional army, only a population-control force to keep its people from rebelling.....

I don't know what will happen. But I can easily imagine an AnCap society might not get invaded. And if they do they have lots of choices, not just guerrilla warfare. For example, the AnCap girls can go out and proselytize the enemy soldiers. Tell the soldiers they can't fraternize, that they can't go on picnics with local girls who won't do any violence.... Of course the local AnCap guys wouldn't like that, but do they get a vote?

jamesd on November 03, 2010, 05:51:52 pm
But my goal wasn't to engage in an ad hominem attack on those people who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid when it comes to the Cold War. I personally don't think that threat was overblown, and I certainly don't think the threat posed by the Nazis in World War II was overblown.

I think that the threat posed by the Soviet Union was real indeed, as demonstrated by the numerous falling dominoes, terror, and mass murder that followed our collapse in Vietnam.  I also think that the Soviet Union did not fall by itself due to the communist party going sane and dumping communism, but rather than when it was defeated in Afghanistan, the dominoes fell, at first on the utmost periphery of the Soviet Empire, but eventually all the way to Moscow itself.  

If the Soviet Union collapsed due to wise and moderate reformers in Moscow, it would have collapsed in Moscow first, and the periphery would have been last to change.  Instead it first collapsed on the furthest periphery, and Moscow fell only when Moscow had lost control of most things outside Moscow - the sequence indicates that military defeat was the cause of its collapse.

And how was it defeated?  Not by state to state combat, but by a multitude of small military groups with no central command.

Similarly, in our conflict with Islam, the US army only won when sponsoring a multitude of small private military groups, only won when privatizing war, as in the Iraq awakening movement and the initial victory over the Taliban.

Similarly, it has become obvious that the only solution to piracy on the horn of Africa is private forces - privateers, or white settlers on the Somali coast.  As the settlers in Gaza made Israel safe, settlers on the horn of Africa could make the ocean safe.

State to state operations from 1800 to 1830 failed to solve the Barbary pirate problem.  It ended only when Christendom started settling the Barbary coast in 1830.  The same looks like being true of piracy problem on the horn of Africa.

I favor, therefore, a less pacific form of anarcho capitalism than some in this group, because states are not doing very well at slaying our enemies.

I'd just innocently bat my eyes and ask, "Oh, do you mean like the Pinkertons?"

The pinkertons attacked union thugs who invaded private property with the intent of murdering scab laborers.  You have accepted left wing myths about our non statist past.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 06:13:29 pm by jamesd »

quadibloc on November 03, 2010, 10:11:38 pm
The pinkertons attacked union thugs who invaded private property with the intent of murdering scab laborers.  You have accepted left wing myths about our non statist past.
Perhaps I have. Of course, since many other people have accepted those myths as well, it's still a problem AnCap advocates will have to face if they propose private security forces as an alternative to police.

jamesd on November 03, 2010, 11:02:01 pm
The pinkertons attacked union thugs who invaded private property with the intent of murdering scab laborers.  You have accepted left wing myths about our non statist past.
Perhaps I have. Of course, since many other people have accepted those myths as well, it's still a problem AnCap advocates will have to face if they propose private security forces as an alternative to police.
I don't expect an anarcho capitalist political party to win by taking a vote, and if it won that way, anarcho capitalism would not ensue.

Rather I expect the transition to anarcho capitalism resemble the transition to floating exchange rates.  One day the system of fixed echange rates simply collapsed, as it had often done before.  The usual efforts to put things back together ensued - but this time, they were mostly unsuccessful and have continued, for the most part, to be so.

Financial collapse and military defeat tends to be followed by state collapse.  We are seeing in Europe collapse looming.  If people doubt, as I doubt, that recreating European states will fix things, anarcho capitalism may well ensue - probably not following the first major collapse, but after several similar crises where recreated states do not successfully address the underlying problems.


jamesd on November 04, 2010, 12:43:44 am
But I've been trying to point out that the question of "how do you cope with a massive foreign invasion, or a long drawn-out struggle like the Cold War" isn't exactly all that hypothetical. The massive, apparently paranoid, military expenditures and preparations of the United States seem, instead, not just to me, but in my opinion, to most people, given the history of World War II, and then the similar threat posed by the U.S.S.R. - another country, like Nazi Germany, with secret police, labor camps, the knock in the middle of the night and so on - entirely necessary and justified.

Americans did OK with decentralized militias against the British, and centralizing control did not seem to improve matters much.

Before American forces were united under George Washington, they followed a policy of harassing the British, and denying them control, but were unable to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose.  After American forces were united under George Washington, they got hammered whenever they tried to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying whatever they chose, so resumed a policy of harassing the British and denying them control.

Which policy, you may recall, also defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, and arguably led to the fall of the Soviet Union.


jamesd on November 04, 2010, 01:04:43 am
From this point of view, it seems, crazy as it might seem to you, that within about a week of the United States voting in an AnCap President who abolishes taxes peacefully... the free and armed American people would enjoy the thrilling delights of fighting a guerilla war against Chinese and Muslim invaders.

In Australia, Muslim efforts to subjugate infidels to Sharia law are not going so well as in Europe, not because the government is effectually stopping them, but because one of their efforts led to something than damn near turned into a pogrom.

Now if anarcho capitalism reflects the pacific and utopian views of some in this group, yes, probably evil people would smell weakness and attack, but my preferred models of anarcho capitalism are the yankees who settled California, and the Norse who settled Iceland - and if a substantial portion of future anarcho capitalists resemble that lot, the Chinese will be very peaceful, and the Muslims will be hiding under their beds.

J Thomas on November 04, 2010, 08:31:41 am
But I've been trying to point out that the question of "how do you cope with a massive foreign invasion, or a long drawn-out struggle like the Cold War" isn't exactly all that hypothetical. The massive, apparently paranoid, military expenditures and preparations of the United States seem, instead, not just to me, but in my opinion, to most people, given the history of World War II, and then the similar threat posed by the U.S.S.R. - another country, like Nazi Germany, with secret police, labor camps, the knock in the middle of the night and so on - entirely necessary and justified.

Americans did OK with decentralized militias against the British, and centralizing control did not seem to improve matters much.

Before American forces were united under George Washington, they followed a policy of harassing the British, and denying them control, but were unable to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose.  After American forces were united under George Washington, they got hammered whenever they tried to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying whatever they chose, so resumed a policy of harassing the British and denying them control.

Americans took pretty many casualties this way, particularly among disorganized militias. And the British -- or the general disruption, whatever --did a whole lot of damage to the economy. Farms burned down, bad inflation, malnutrition, etc.

If Americans could have financed a better military, one that would stop the British army from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose, then Americans would have been better off. But they didn't have the resources to do that.

I guess the bottom line is that every now and then a whole lot of people get together and do crazy things. They build pyramids, or try to convert the world to some religion, or pay for expensive armies to invade and occupy other countries. And what can you do about it? Try to stop them from building pyramids etc? Unless you want to create another group as big and as crazy to oppose them, you have to accept that big groups of crazy people can hurt you, and do little things to try to change their minds or harass them, and hope eventually they'll go home. There are no guarantees. Creating your own big crazy group is not particularly safe either.

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Which policy, you may recall, also defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, and arguably led to the fall of the Soviet Union.

It seems to be defeating the USA in Afghanistan pretty handily too. Afghans aren't real good at keeping us from going wherever we please -- in force -- and destroying whatever we want, but they've been real good at keeping us from getting anything worth having when we do. These wars are costing us something like 2.5% of GDP. And Obama hasn't had the guts to get out.


quadibloc on November 04, 2010, 11:25:41 am
Unless you want to create another group as big and as crazy to oppose them, you have to accept that big groups of crazy people can hurt you, and do little things to try to change their minds or harass them, and hope eventually they'll go home. There are no guarantees. Creating your own big crazy group is not particularly safe either.
Some people, of course, like myself, think that American democracy works well enough that the U.S. as presently constituted, while imperfect, isn't really a "big crazy group", and so we shouldn't tamper with success.

Although I can agree that this success is wearing around the edges, so we do need to keep our options open.

jamesd on November 04, 2010, 11:41:40 am
Before American forces were united under George Washington, they followed a policy of harassing the British, and denying them control, but were unable to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose.  After American forces were united under George Washington, they got hammered whenever they tried to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying whatever they chose, so resumed a policy of harassing the British and denying them control.

Americans took pretty many casualties this way, particularly among disorganized militias. And the British -- or the general disruption, whatever --did a whole lot of damage to the economy. Farms burned down, bad inflation, malnutrition, etc.

That is war.

And what can you do about it? Try to stop them from building pyramids etc? Unless you want to create another group as big and as crazy to oppose them, you have to accept that big groups of crazy people can hurt you, and do little things to try to change their minds or harass them,

You can kill as many of the crazy people as possible, and people they care about, and people they rely on for support.  I especially commend the contras, another group of groups with no central command, for setting fire to collective buildings with enemy administrators forced to remain inside them.  It works.  It works very well.  The Indians reversed forced collectivization by this procedure.


terry_freeman on November 04, 2010, 11:46:17 am
For most people, security means neither the US Military, nor the local Police, but something much closer to hand. "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." Americans are already discovering the virtues of self-defense.  The response of many Americans to the events of 9/11 and the subsequent economic troubles ( caused by the government and GSEs) was to buy guns and ammo.

As for hired security, it's easy for left-wing nutcases to whine about a hundred-year-old incident with the Pinkertons, but "what have they done lately?" There are more private security guards in America than police forces. How many incidents of police brutality do we hear about on a regular basis? How many incidents of private security brutality? Do the math; we have more to fear from government police than from private security forces.

In fact, we are statistically in more danger from our own government police than from foreign terrorists.

As for the "need" for WW I and WW II - America wiped out the enemies of Communist Russia and China. We all know how that turned out. These great allies of America slaughtered many millions of people - far more than Germany and Japan combined.

As for the outside-in theory of conquest, all empires tend to collapse from the outside in; the control of the periphery is weaker than at the center. This does not prove a military conquest; anybody who has been around for more than a few decades knows that the
former USSR was not conquered militarily, and anybody who claims otherwise is merely trying to rewrite history for his own convenience.

When the USSA finally collapses, it is certain that the Beltway Bandits will be the last to admit defeat. They'll still be celebrating "victory" even as states in the hinterlands seceded from the Union.

jamesd on November 04, 2010, 05:57:42 pm
As for the outside-in theory of conquest, all empires tend to collapse from the outside in; the control of the periphery is weaker than at the center. This does not prove a military conquest; anybody who has been around for more than a few decades knows that the
former USSR was not conquered militarily, and anybody who claims otherwise is merely trying to rewrite history for his own convenience.

The Soviet Union was held together by fear.  Thus if one domino falls, every other domino trembles, as the people underneath start to wonder what they can get away with.

If defeated in one place, trouble makers are emboldened in every place.

In May 1988, a few days after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan began, Hungary had another go at doing the things it tried in 1956 - they took a big risk of war, but this time was not crushed.

They reason they were willing to take this big risk is that they judged that war was less likely, and if war ensued, victory more feasible.  They took this gamble within days of the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan beginning.  The connection is direct and obvious.

In January 1989, a few months after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan began, and a few days before the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan, Hungary's parliament voted to allow freedom of association and independent political parties. One month later, the Hungarian Central Committee approved a new constitution that omitted mention of the leading role of the communist party.

The Hungarians tried on stuff that had previously led to war. They took risk of war.  When war did not eventuate, everyone joined in.

One domino fell immediately after the first, and then another domino, in a cascade, pretty good evidence that one domino caused the next.

Afghanistan made the poles unafraid. Poland made the hungarians unafraid.  Afghanistan, Poland, and Hungary made the East Germans, Czechs, and Bulgarians unafraid.

Anyone who considered opposing the fall of communism was thinking "what if I wind up like those poor gits trapped in Kabul?"  And, of course, Ceausescu did oppose the fall, and did wind up like those poor gits trapped in Kabul.

The Soviets ruled by fear - and proof of this is that when people stopped fearing them, the Soviets stopped ruling

Subsequently, in a more dramatic provocation, Hungary cut the barbed wire on 1989 May 3rd, seventy seven days after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan was completed, again testing Gorbachev's willingness to start a new war directly after defeat in Afghanistan, and Gorbachev again blinked, a classic illustration of the domino effect.

Hungary cuts the wire 1989 May 3rd, testing Soviet will.

Gorbachev announces Sinatra doctrine 25 October 1989

Soviets began withdrawing 1988 May 15, and withdrawal was completed in 1989 February 15.

The "war of the laws" - Soviet puppet organizations publicly cutting their puppet strings began around May 1989, about sixty days after withdrawal from Afghanistan was completed, and the "war of the laws escalated directly into the collapse of the Soviet Union one year later,





jamesd on November 04, 2010, 06:42:14 pm
Some people, of course, like myself, think that American democracy works well enough that the U.S. as presently constituted, while imperfect, isn't really a "big crazy group", and so we shouldn't tamper with success.

Success?

We are losing against Islam, and national insolvency is looming.