Tag Archives: counter-economics

Smuggler’s Creed

“Every new law is another business opportunity.”

– The Smuggler

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Moneybomb each other, not politicians

From PostPolitical.us:

By Harold (admin) on May 5, 2011

Illustration of old-style bomb with dollar sign on itThe grassroots efforts during the 2008 presidential campaign season spoke to the power of collective action toward a common goal. One of the most striking examples of this power was the success of “moneybombs” for Republican candidate Ron Paul. Rallying under the banner of the Paul campaign, thousands of people — most of whom had never met — donated money and worked together on a scale unprecedented in US electoral history.

In November 2007, these moneybombs helped Ron Paul raise more than $4.2 million in a single day. The very next month, Paul raised more in a single day than had ever been done previously; a total of more than $6 million, a record that still stands. Other grassroots campaigns also sprouted, each putting hundreds and thousands of hours and dollars toward the goal of raising money and awareness for Paul… and I was one of them. Motivated by Ron Paul’s presidential announcement, I launched my own grassroots effort to put up billboards in the early primary states.

The sum of all of these efforts became an important historical moment for grassroots political activism via the internet. It demonstrated what could be accomplished by “crowd-funding” projects using social media and other online platforms. The only problem was that it was all directed toward electoral politics; so all of that time, energy, and money was essentially wasted on trying to get “the right person” in office in order to make a change. A counter-argument is that even though Paul lost, his message was able to be spread throughout the country. The issue with that argument is that there are numerous individuals and groups already educating the public (and not just during election season) on a host of important viewpoints and issues; people whose efforts we could support to greater effect, given the same amount of time and money.

And who ends up with this money anyway? Large media conglomerates and corporate banks are often the final destination of funds; due to the fact that so much of it is spent on television advertising and other high-overhead, centralized methods — the (in)famous Ron Paul blimp, for instance. The term “moneybomb” seems pretty appropriate… considering that the money is essentially blown to bits by being used this way.

Now is the time to change the concept of moneybombing from something for politicians, to something for each other. We are increasingly living in a peer-to-peer world thanks to the internet; we need to utilize this technology to cut out the political middlemen, by working on solving issues for ourselves. Who is more fit to address the issues that affect us but us! Whether you have a great idea that needs funding, volunteers, or materials; or you want to contribute to others instead (or both!), we can achieve this without the bureaucracy and inefficiency of politics.

My Philosophy of Liberty – by Anthony Freeman

From Anthony Freeman:

The following is a loose overview of my personal “Philosophy of Liberty” which I have developed up to the present time. It warrants further refinement and I’m sure I will continue to modify it as I continue my studies of economics and liberty. Those champions of individual liberty that have contributed to my personal philosophy are too numerous to list here but I have provided links below to sources where you will find many of their works. I hope that my philosophical observations may be of benefit to you and give you some ideas in the development of your own “Philosophy of Liberty”.

Simplified Definitions

Liberty: the ability to live one’s life as one wishes while respecting the lives of others.

Property: the goods that man produces or acquires through voluntary exchange and/or gift. Claims of land ownership are included here as well.

Murder: the taking of man’s life without his voluntary consent. This deprives him of his future (and future productivity).  Excluded from this definition is the taking of another person’s life in the act of self-defense against an aggressor (when one believes one’s life is threatened) or in the defense of others when the lives of these others are threatened.

Slavery: the taking of man’s liberty without his voluntary consent. This deprives him of his present.

Theft: the taking of man’s property without his voluntary consent. This deprives him of his past (the time energy and talent that he used to produce this property).

Plunder: The ill-gotten gains from theft.

Foundational Axioms

Man occupies space and consumes energy.

Man seeks happiness (and seeks to remove uneasiness).

In order to live man must consume those things that sustain his life (food, shelter, etc.).

In order for the necessities of life to be consumed they must first be produced.

An infant cannot produce for himself so he must rely on the production of others through charity.

As a child matures he must continue to rely on the charitable production of others until he learns to produce for himself.

In the process of producing for oneself man usually develops a specialization resulting in a surplus that can be traded for the specialized products of others (comparative advantage/specialization of labor). This process of production results in what is often referred to as “the fruits of his labor”.

These products are an extension of man because they are the direct result of his expended time and energy (life).

First Conclusion

Based upon the propositions set forth, anyone who seeks to take another man’s life, liberty or property against that man’s voluntary consent is an enemy to human life. With this understanding I propose to label my philosophy of liberty as “pro-life” as I am vehemently opposed to murder, slavery, and theft. This is not to be confused with the label of “pro-life” as it relates to abortion although abortion is certainly an issue to be considered within this broader philosophy (the issues regarding abortion will not be addressed in this missive).

Further Observations

There are some men who seek to take away the property and liberty of others in order to use this production for personal profit. These men choose this path as they find it preferable to producing for themselves.

This short-term benefit is not only dangerous to the thief but it is detrimental to his long-term well-being because his victims must divert a portion of their resources toward protection services instead of to production. This loss of production reduces the overall societal standard of living as there are less products and services available for trade.

Despite this, the thief is not concerned with the detrimental, long-term effects of plunder as he only cares about the immediate benefit. Therefore, the rest of society must take protective measures if they wish to safeguard their life, liberty and property. It follows then that the degree of man’s freedom is proportionate to the level of protection he has secured.

The Ignorant Plunderers

These are the individuals that participate in plunder as they have not thought through the consequences of their actions. Those in this category are the majority of all plunderers and, unfortunately, a large percentage of society.

The Purposeful Plunderers

These are the individuals who know that their actions are contrary to human well-being and they continue in their plunder anyway. They can be thought of as “anti-life” or “evil”. Those in this category are in the minority of all plunderers.

On Advancing Liberty

It appears then that there are three worthy endeavors that must be undertaken if one wants to enhance life (freedom):

First: One must work to master himself.  Self-mastery.  Self-control.  He must work to adjust his actions so that he is no longer a participator in plunder.  Robert LeFevre referred to this as Autarchy or “self-rule”.  Freedom is self-control, not license to impose on others.

Second: One must work to educate those individuals that are Ignorant Plunderers so that they can recognize the negative consequences of their actions and then, hopefully, change those actions.

Third: One must invest a portion of his resources toward the protection of his life, liberty and property from both types of Plunderers. Harry Browne recognized this when he said that “freedom is self-defense” in his fantastic Rule Your World seminar.

On Self-Defense

There many strategies for defending one’s life, liberty and property which will not be addressed in detail here. Instead I direct you to resources such as those found at www.KeepYourAssets.net.

One strategy for dealing with the Purposeful Plunderers that I will call your attention to is the one put forth by Marc Stevens in his book Adventures in Legal Land. His key observation is that the Purposeful Plunderers must maintain a veneer of legitimacy or moral authority in order to continue their plunder. Marc’s techniques for destroying that veneer are powerful and they warrant further study, analysis and practice.

On Education

Thankfully for the internet there are now numerous resources where people can learn the ideas of liberty. A few that I will mention here are The Freedom School, LewRockwell.com, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

On Self-Rule

On this wise I will refer you to two, short discourses that explain this principle better than I ever could.  The first is Robert LeFevre’s Autarchy.  The second is A Way To Be Free – Epilogue which I feel are some of the finest words ever written concerning the cause of liberty.

Conclusion

With my personal philosophy I can easily be referred to by any of the popular labels: Libertarian, Liberal, Classical Liberal, Voluntaryist, Autarchist, Capitalist, Free-Market Capitalist, Anarcho-Capitalist, Anarchist, Agorist, Counter-Economist, Idealist, Realist and so on but when you really get to the heart of the matter I am ultimately “Pro-Life”.

Attack Tyranny at its Weakest Link: Enforcement

From Kevin Carson:

Goo-goo liberals and “good citizens” of all stripes are fond of saying that “We must continue to obey the law while we work to change it.”  Every day I become more convinced that this approach gets things precisely backwards.  Each day’s news demonstrates the futility of attempts at legislative reform, compared to direct action to make the laws unenforceable.

The principle was stated most effectively by Charles Johnson, one of the more prominent writers on the libertarian Left (“Counter-economic Optimism,” Rad Geek People’s Daily, Feb. 7, 2009):

“If you put all your hope for social change in legal reform, …then… you will find yourself outmaneuvered at every turn by those who have the deepest pockets and the best media access and the tightest connections. There is no hope for turning this system against them; because, after all, the system was made for them and the system was made by them. Reformist political campaigns inevitably turn out to suck a lot of time and money into the politics—with just about none of the reform coming out on the other end.”

Far greater success can be achieved, at a tiny fraction of the cost, by “bypassing those laws and making them irrelevant to your life.”

Johnson wrote in the immediate context of copyright law.  In response to an anti-copyright blogger who closed up shop in despair over the increasingly draconian nature of copyright law, he pointed to the state’s imploding ability to enforce such laws.  The DRM of popular music and movie content is typically cracked within hours of its release, and it becomes freely available for torrent download.  Ever harsher  surveillance by ISPs in collusion with content “owners” is countered by the use of anonymizers and proxies.  And the all-pervasive “anti-songlifting” curriculum in the publik skools, in today’s youth culture, is met with the same incredulous hilarity as a showing of “Reefer Madness” to a bunch of potheads.

The weakest link in any legal regime, no matter how repressive on paper, is its enforcement.

I saw a couple of heartening news items this past week that illustrate the same principle.  First, a judge in Missoula County Montana complained that it would soon likely become almost impossible to enforce anti-marijuana laws because of the increasing difficulty of seating juries.  In a recent drug case, so many potential jurors in the voir dire process declared their unwillingness to enforce the pot laws that the prosecution chose to work out a plea deal instead.  The defendant’s attorney stated that public opinion “is not supportive of the state’s marijuana law and appeared to prevent any conviction from being obtained simply because an unbiased jury did not appear available under any circumstances…”  The same thing happened in about sixty percent of alcohol cases under Prohibition.

Public agitation against a law may be very fruitful indeed — but not so much by creating pressure to change the law as by creating a climate of public opinion such that it becomes a dead letter.

Another morale booster is the rapidly improving technology for recording cops, which Radley Balko (a journalist whose chief bailiwick is police misbehavior) describes in the January issue of Reason Magazine (“How to Record the Cops”).    Miniaturized, unobtrusive video cameras with upload capability can instantly transmit images for storage offsite or stream content directly to the Internet — which means that the all-too-frequent tendency of thuggish cops to seize or destroy cameras will result only in video of the very act of seizure or destruction itself being widely distributed on the Internet.  “Smile, Officer Friendly — you’re on Candid Camera!”

The practical implication, according to Balko, is this:

“Prior to this technology, prosecutors and the courts nearly always deferred to the police narrative. Now that narrative has to be consistent with independently recorded evidence. And as examples of police reports contradicted by video become increasingly common, a couple of things are likely to happen: Prosecutors and courts will be less inclined to uncritically accept police testimony, even in cases where there is no video, and bad cops will be deterred by the knowledge that their misconduct is apt to be recorded.”

As such technology becomes cheap and ubiquitous, police will increasingly operate in an atmosphere where such monitoring is expected — and feared — as a routine part of their job.  Even the most stupid and brutal of cops will always carry, in the backs of their minds, the significant possibility that this might be one of the times they’ve got an audience.

New technology, empowering the individual, will soon deter cops in a way that decades of civilian review boards and police commissions failed to achieve.

So the goo-goos have it backwards.  Don’t waste time trying to change the law.  Just disobey it.

 

Recipe for Revolution

We share with you this inspiring post submission:

A Recipe for Revolution

by Lady Liberty

These are exciting times! The opportunity for a peaceful (although not painless) revolution is upon us.  The masses are slowly coming to the realization that central planning does not work. Witness the failure of existing foreign policy, financial mismanagement, and currency debasement.

In Dr. Gary North’s recent article Digits and Revolution he shows that the revolution is already happening.  To help it along, the recipe is to create Free Market alternatives that put the governmental (central planning) systems out of business.

Many folks are already achieving more personal freedom by actively engaging in counter-economics like the Agorists.

Here are a few excerpts from Dr. North’s article with my comments below:

Years ago, my friend Robert Thoburn, the entrepreneur who developed Fairfax Christian School, was standing in line at the Post Office at Christmas time. The line was very long. He turned somebody next to him and said it would sure be better if the system were run by the government. He got an incredulous look; then that person smiled. Thirty years ago, that seemed like a fruitless observation. Yet, as it has turned out, we could lose the Post Office tomorrow and barely feel it. We don’t use first-class mail to communicate any longer. We use the Internet. We use Federal Express and UPS and other delivery systems to deliver anything really important that we have to send. The Post Office in effect has gone senile.

We don’t sense that it’s gone. Yet the reality is this: we have replaced something with things that are better. Therefore, at some point, we will see the Post Office either go out of business or become simply a forgotten memory. Yet the Post Office is part of the Constitutional system. The Post Office has always been a way for the government to control the flow of information. As Robert Nisbet said in an autobiographical essay, in the year he was born, 1913, the only contact that the average American had with the Federal government was the Post Office. How much contact do you have with the Postal Service today? It delivers mostly junk mail to you. We ought to think of the U.S. Postal Service not as snail mail but as junk mail. It is the junk mail service for the junk mail industry. Even this is subsidized. It gets cheaper rates.

We have seen the demise of the Post Office operationally over the last ten years, yet we have paid almost no attention to this. There has not been a revolution in our thinking about the Post Office. There has simply been a kind of forgetfulness. We haven’t paid much attention to the fact that we don’t need it anymore. This has not taken any kind of an organized political movement.

Dr. North goes on to say:

The Post Office is sacrosanct. It is untouchable. But now it is simply ignored. This is the best way to have a revolution. Create a free-market alternative to a particular government institution, and then refuse to use the boondoggle anymore. At some point, we can simply vote to de-fund it. We can privatize it. Nobody will care, because hardly anybody is using the system any longer.

Here is my slogan for political reform: Replacement, not capture; then de-funding.

Let us take this slogan and begin to apply it to all the government institutions that we deal with on a regular basis. Apply it especially to the Federal government.

We are seeing the creation of a new economy in which we really do not need the Federal government, except for welfare services for the aged. It is going to go bust because of these welfare services. So, the primary objective that we ought to have is to create alternatives to the welfare system. We don’t need to call for the shutting down of a particular government agency tomorrow, although in principle that would be the best way. But that would be an overnight political revolution, and I really don’t believe in overnight political revolutions.

Overnight political revolutions always centralize power. That is what Frederick Engels taught, and that is what I believe. What I believe is best for the country is a quiet social revolution, which is marked by a shift of reliance away from all government money toward free-market and charitable funding. We will simply walk away from the system. When enough people walk away from the system, and the rest of them lose their shirts when the system goes belly-up, we will be in a position to have a real revolution, one in favor of freedom.

This revolution will be one of decentralization and some form of operational secession. I don’t think states are actually going to break away from the union. I believe that the governors and mayors are not going to bother to get Federal grants, because the money is either not available or won’t buy anything. When we get to that stage, we will be prepared for a new period of liberty. That day is coming. The government has shot his wad, and the Federal Reserve, in shooting whatever wad it has left, is going to debase the currency.

The transformation is taking place right under our noses. As George Orwell said, it is a constant struggle to see what is happening under our noses.

How can you participate? If you vote, stop.  Recognize the immorality of voting as so eloquently articulated by Lysander Spooner in his essay No Treason VI: The Constitution of No Authority and in Ken Schoolland’s Philosophy of Liberty.  Realize that voting is what happens when two wolves and a sheep decide on what to have for dinner.  Simply start using Free Market alternatives to central planner programs.  Vote with your dollars.  Withdraw your support of central planners like the Voluntaryists.  If you are an entrepreneur you have the opportunity to profit by creating and offering alternative services at a lower cost.  If you work for a government agency start making plans to move into the private sector where you will be better recognized for your talents.

Will the central planners give in easily?  No, they will do whatever they can to maintain power.  They will continue to woo voters with the promises of  sharing in the stolen property they take by taxation and majority vote.  If man is to achieve freedom he must stop living off of the backs of others.  Education is the key to freedom.  The internet is helping to make this happen.

Man does not instinctively wish to be the slave of another.  It is against human nature.  Only in his ignorance does he continue to make choices that enslave him.  The innate desire to live is that same desire for liberty.  Without liberty you do not have a life that you can call your own.

Parasites cannot live without hosts.  We can starve the parasites and educate our fellowmen by sharing articles like this one.

Yes, these are exciting times!