A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for October, 2013

The War on 3D Printers Has Begun

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The United Kingdom has begun its war on 3D printers. Police in Manchester reported seizing parts for a 3D printable firearm:

British police have seized a 3D printer and components “suspected to be a 3D plastic magazine and trigger.” Police made what they’re calling a “milestone” discovery when executing a number of warrants in the Manchester suburb of Baguley late last night. The Greater Manchester Police Department says it’s the first seizure of this kind in the UK, where personal firearms are illegal without a hard-to-obtain permit. The parts have been sent for forensic analysis to establish if they could be used to construct a genuine firearm, and a man has been arrested “on suspicion of making gunpowder.”

In a prepared statement, Detective Inspector Chris Mossop called the discovery “really significant.” Mossop says that, if the components are genuine, “then it demonstrates that organized crime groups are acquiring technology that can be bought on the high street to produce the next generation of weapons.” He goes on to note that, as the components are plastic, they are easy to conceal and smuggle past current detection methods. “A lot more work needs to be done to understand the technology and the scale of the problem.”

I was fortune enough to attend a Sky Talk about the Liberator, the famous 3D printable handgun. The first thing anybody interested in 3D printable firearms should know is that the current technology is in the very early prototype stages. Plastic, as it turns out, isn’t the most sturdy material and firearms, being little more than controlled explosions inside of pipes, require a fairly sturdy material. Even if the Manchester police captured parts for a 3D printable firearm the bust wouldn’t have been significant. But they didn’t seize parts for a 3D printable firearm, which brings us to another issue police departments trying to enforce gun control laws are going to run into:

In what could turn out to be a major embarrassment for the Greater Manchester Police Department, the “3D-printed gun parts” could well be spare parts for a printer. Verge user Theobald02 points out that the parts look like upgrades to the Replicator 2 (the printer pictured above, which was also seized by the police). The “trigger” is part of an extruder, while the “magazine” is a holder for non-Makerbot filament spools.

3D printers allow for the rapid creation of new parts. This makes enforcing laws against manufacturing impossible to enforce. Police departments may seize 3D printed parts but will have no way to know exactly what those parts are meant for. Laws against thought are impossible to enforce and 3D printers are devices that effectively allow one to translate his or her thoughts into physical objects.

Make no mistake, the state is going to do its damnedest to crush 3D printers. The technology’s potential is too disruptive. If 3D printers became widely available they could destroy centralized manufacturing. Most centralized manufacturers are joined at the hip with the state. Those manufacturers provide the state whatever it needs and the state will protect those manufacturers from possible competition. This raid by the Manchester police is only the beginning. Thankfully, in the end, the state will lose. Suppressing a technology has never worked in the long run and it’s not going to work this time.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 28th, 2013 at 11:30 am

You Can’t Own Property, Man

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One of the more quaint beliefs people commonly hold in the United States is that individuals can own property. It would be wonderful if we could own property in this country but we can merely rent it form our landlord, the state. At any point the state can choose to evict us with its power of eminent domain. Statists argue that eminent domain powers are critical because it allows the state to reclaim property that would better serve the “public interest” (which is a fancy statist term for the state’s interest). More often than not eminent domain is used for really stupid shit, like this:

SEATTLE — The city is forcing a 103-year-old Spokane woman to sell her parking lot in Seattle to make way for, well, a parking lot.

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to take the lot near the waterfront by eminent domain, using a portion of the $30 million provided by the state to take care of parking issues around the waterfront. Hundreds of public parking spaces will be lost when the state begins dismantling the Alaskan Way Viaduct for the digging of the tunnel. The construction will last until 2020.

The lot is owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson. She doesn’t want to sell, so the City Council voted unanimously to use it’s power of eminent domain to take it after paying Woldson “fair market value.”

My guess is that the Seattle City Council had dollar signs in their eyes when they voted for seize the parking lot. As it currently stands a privately owned parking lot doesn’t add much for the city’s coffers. If the city owns the parking lot it gets to keep all of the parking fees, which can be a very profitable endeavor for a large city.

Eminent domain isn’t only used for stupid shit, it’s also used to line the pockets of the politically well-connected:

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline faces a court challenge in Nebraska, where three property owners contend state lawmakers gave the governor illegal power to take away their land for the project.

The Nebraska Legislature transferred to Governor Dave Heineman and, through him, to Calgary-based pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. (TRP), its authority over eminent domain in violation of the state constitution’s separation of powers, the landowners said in a court filing.

Much of the Keystone XL pipeline has only been made possible through the state’s use of eminent domain. Individuals wanting to keep their property have had it forcefully seized by the state so it could help its corporate buddies build a pipeline. If you have enough money to buy the politicians you can have whatever property you desire seized.

So long as eminent domain powers exist individuals cannot own property. Like serfs we can only live on a piece of land and make use of it for as long as our feudal lords allow.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am

Oak Park Heights to Get a New Gun Range

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Good news fellow Minnesotans, we’re getting a new gun range in Oak Park Heights:

A gun range, retail space and Airsoft practice facility will replace the abandoned Denny Hecker Ford dealership at the southeast corner of Highway 36 and Stillwater Boulevard in Oak Park Heights.

Minnesota Outdoor Shooting Sports hopes to open the Minnesota Shooting Academy on the site by July 1 next year. The city council approved the site plan review and variance to allow a 40-foot freestanding sign Oct. 22.

The 56,000 square-foot facility will be modified to include two gun range areas, a small gym and lounge, retail space and a small cafe.

When it comes to places to shoot the more the merrier.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 28th, 2013 at 10:30 am

Monday Metal: Get Your Anarchist On with Arch Enemy

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I’ve been pretty lax with the Monday Metal entries as of late. My weekends have been pretty busy and that has interfered with my traditional Sunday metal hunts. But I plan to make up for my slack by combining two of my favorite things: metal and anarchism.

Arch Enemy is a pretty awesome death metal band. Its actually one of the few death metal bands with a female vocalist that I enjoy listening to (no, I’m not sexist, I just tend to find women growling less than pleasant to listen to). But the awesome doesn’t stop there. Themes of anarchism run deep through the many of the band’s songs. This post will preset three of those songs from the Khaos Legions album.

First of all, we know that anarchists fly a black flag. The black flag is a sort of joke. It doesn’t represent an actual flag but the absence of a flag. By flying a black flag anarchists declare themselves without obedience to any country, which is the theme of Under Black Flags We March:

A common phrase used by anarchists is “No gods, no masters”. The phrase, at least in English speaking countries, gain popularity through pamphlets handed out by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). For those of you who don’t know, the IWW is a radical anarcho-syndicalist labor union. Unlike most of the labor unions we’re familiar with, the IWW actually practices what it preaches. All the talk about empowering workers is nothing more than lip service give by most unions in an effort to line the pockets of union bosses. The IWW doesn’t play such games. It only has a handful of (low) paid staff. While anarcho-syndicalism isn’t my thing, I respect the IWW for being principled. But I digress.

“No gods, no masters” isn’t a slogan I go by. As far as I’m concerned you can have as many gods as you want. My primary goal is to abolish masters. But the phrase is fun to say and makes for some great music:

The last video is about rebellion. Yesterday is Dead and Gone shows what most people think of when they hear the word anarchist. While violent revolution isn’t my thing it makes for some awesome videos:

Perhaps I’m partial to Arch Enemy because of their anarchist theme, but I really enjoy listening to the band. Its fast, loud, and has a message I can relate to.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 28th, 2013 at 10:00 am

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The Left-Right Paradigm

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OK everybody, it’s time for Uncle Anarchy to tell you a story. Way back in 1789 the French were were having themselves a little revolution. The rebels weren’t happy with King Louis XVI because he was acting like an asshole. Before actual war broke out the people tried to address the issue at the National Assembly. Those who favored the king sat on the right of the assembly and those who favored revolution sat on the left side of the assembly. Thus the left-right political paradigm was born. After the National Assembly was replaced by a Legislative Assembly the people who favored change sat on the left, the people who favored constitutionalism sat on the right, and those boring moderates sat between the two more interesting sides.

I told you that story so we discuss the left-right paradigm as it exists here in the United States. Somehow the left became associated with Democrats and the right became associated with Republicans. This makes no sense when you consider how the left-right paradigm came into being. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are supporters of the king (the current system) and both of them support keeping things as they are instead of implementing radical changes.

I believe this country needs to reconsider how it uses the left-right paradigm. Here is my proposal: both the Republican and Democrats should be placed on the right side of the political spectrum while libertarians, communists, anarchists, and other groups that favor radical changes should be placed on the left side of the political spectrum. The Republicans and Democrats both want to maintain the current power structure while the other groups I mentioned want to change it.

To my Democrat friends I kindly ask that you stop calling yourself leftists. You guys aren’t fit to be on the side of revolutionaries and, frankly, you’re giving us a bad name. Go sit by your Republican friends on the right. While us revolutionaries discuss actual changes you two can continue pretending you hate one another while agreeing on everything besides totem animal and party color.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 25th, 2013 at 11:30 am

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Where Marx Went Wrong

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I know what you’re thinking: this is going to be a very long post. To cover all the ways in which Karl Marx went wrong would take volumes (and volumes have been written on this very subject). But this post is going to cover every what in which Marx went wrong. Instead it’s going to focus on one specific failure: the idea of a vanguard party.

Marxism, and philosophies based on Marxism, advocate for a revolution by the proletariat (working class) to overthrow the bourgeois (holders of capital). After the revolution concludes Marxism argues that a vanguard party, made up entirely of people from the proletariat, must claim dictatorial control and use that control to guide humanity towards the socialist future.

Socialism, by itself, isn’t a terrible idea. Ensuring everybody in a society has the bear necessities of survival is a bit utopian but not an evil idea in of itself. Having a society where everybody enjoys the same rights is a damned good idea. Both of these are two of the primary goals of socialism. Under Marxism these goals are to take the form of laws enforced at gunpoint by a vanguard party.

Marxism falls apart because it attempts to create social equality using social inequality. The vanguard party, by its very nature, has privileges other members in a society lack. It has a monopoly on interpreting the “true” definition of socialism. Every program it puts into place is based on its interpretation. The vanguard party quickly becomes the new ruling class and the proletariat merely becomes the new bourgeois.

History has demonstrated all of this. Think of every Marxist revolution. Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and North Korea were or are nations where the old ruling party was replaced by a vanguard party based, at least in some amount, on Marxism. Social equality never gained a foothold in any of those nations. They were instead turned into authoritarian states where anybody not liked by the new ruling party were declared bourgeois and eliminated. The dictatorships of the proletariat became no different, and sometimes far worse, than the former rulers in frighteningly short order.

I think the key failure of Marxism is its reliance on coercive hierarchy. One cannot bring equality about by establishing inequality. As soon as one group has coercive hierarchy over another equality is destroyed. Compounding that is the tendency for power to attract vicious individuals. The Soviet Union would almost certainly have been far different is Stain hadn’t succeeded Lenin. But when Lenin died the most ruthless replacement, Stalin, was able to seize power and bring a reign of terror to the fledgeling union. Death wasn’t enough to remove Stalin’s authoritarianism from the Soviet Union. His actions justified more vicious actions by his predecessor. The result of the October Revolution wasn’t social equal, it was a society starkly divide between members of the Communist Party and everybody else.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 25th, 2013 at 11:00 am

Skirting Responsibility

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I really don’t know what I can say about this story that would add to the hilarity:

A bridegroom has been jailed for 12 months after staging a bomb hoax on his wedding day to try to prevent his bride discovering he had failed to complete the paperwork required for them to marry.

He’s fortunate to be in that cage. I’m fairly certain if he didn’t have layers of concrete and armed guards between him and his (most likely former) fiancé she would kill him.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 25th, 2013 at 10:30 am

Reversing the Continuum of Force

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The continuum of force generally dictates that one should start with the least amount of force necessary and move up the scale from there. I guess nobody told this police officer:

According to police documents, now-former Officer Jody Putnam was inside a Dollar General Store when employees noticed the squirrel. Putnam apparently shot his firearm at the squirrel inside the store. When that didn’t work, he used another weapon; pepper spray.

I would think pepper spray would have come before a firearm. Then again, if I was trying to run a squirrel out of a building I probably wouldn’t use either. Open the door and chase the little bastard with a broom. Eventually it will make a quick exit.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 25th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Anarchy and the Law

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When I tell people that I’m an anarchist they often (usually) assume I oppose all laws. This is untrue. In fact anarchists tend to have more respect for law and order than statists.

Anarchy translates into “without rulers”. The philosophy opposes coercive hierarchical rule, which is a fancy way of saying no person or persons receives special privileges. This is the opposite of statism, which involves one group of people (those comprising the state) having special privileges over everybody else. The recent healthcare debate demonstrates one of the privileges of state. While those of us outside of the state are required to purchase health insurance, members of Congress are exempt. Another example involves police officers. A police officer is legally allowed to lie to you but you’re not legally allowed to lie to a police officer.

A classic example of law and order in a state of anarchy would be medieval Iceland. While medieval Iceland didn’t have a state it was notable peaceful, especially when compared to its European neighbors. Laws were a byproduct of spontaneous order, not decrees handed down by a ruling class. When left to spontaneous order, laws tend to address instances of actual harm, which was the case in Iceland. Nobody will normally invest the resources necessary to instate a prohibition against smoking a plant but many people will invest the resources necessary to protect their lives and the lives of those they care about. In fact the defining feature, in my opinion, of law and order developed as a side effect of spontaneous order is a focus on efficiency.

Law and order is necessary for a society to function but it is one of those things nobody wants to sink more resources than necessary into. Violence, in general, is very costly. You must either put yourself at risk of death or pay somebody else enough to convince them to put their life at risk to enforce your desires. As I said, Iceland was notably peaceful. All out war was almost unheard of during its stateless period and what violence did break out tended to be ritualized. Instead of relying on expensive violence most disagreements in medieval Iceland were resolved through less expensive arbitration. When two individuals had a disagreement they would find a gothi, a mediator, whom they both trusted. The gothi would hear both sides of the disagreement and make a decision.

Another example of law and order that arose from spontaneous order is the lex mercatoria, or merchant law. Finding state justice systems too slow, merchants during the medieval period created a series of private courts along popular trading routes. These courts were designed to resolve disagreements quickly, since any time invested in dispute resolution was time not spent trading. When trade disputes would arise the involved parties would seek mediation from a nearby court. The court would hear all sides of the disagreement and deliver a ruling.

Why would people abide by either of the above mentioned legal systems? Isn’t the threat of violence necessary to make people abide by laws? As it turns out, no. Violence is an expensive method of enforcing laws. There is a more efficient method known as social ostracism. Our lives are composed of constant human interactions. Everything we do is effectively the result of interactions with others. When entire swaths of society refuse to associate with us our lives become far more difficult. Specifically, the lack of human interaction leads to a de facto status known as outlawry.

Outlawry means “outside of the law”. When an individual refuses to abide by the socially acceptable practices of a community he usually finds himself in a position where nobody will defend him if needed. Imagine if you murdered somebody. Hoping to resolve the situation the family of your victim attempt to arrange mediation between themselves and you. You decide that you have no interest in attending their little powwow and tell them to sod off. Members of the community, seeing your unwillingness to attend mediation, see you as a threat to the community. Now let’s say somebody, possibly a family member of your victim, decides to murder you. Since you’ve burned bridges nobody is going to come to your defense or prosecute your murderer. By refusing to participate in the community’s legal system you no longer received the protection of the law.

Outlawry tended to be the ultimate punishment in societies developed by spontaneous order. If a person wasn’t going to abide by the law then the community decided that individual didn’t deserve the protection of the law either, meaning anybody in the community could steal from, assault, or even kill that individual without legal consequence.

Under a system of social ostracism individuals had to invest their own time and effort into enforcing laws. Crimes involving actual harm such as theft, rape, assault, and murder were enforced while victimless crimes such as smoking cannabis, political speech, and sedition weren’t enforced. In a state of anarchy crimes require a victim, not a mere decree passed down by a privileged class, because few are going to put themselves at risk to enforce a victimless crime. Even if somebody is determined to enforce a victimless crime they will likely run into trouble as other members of the community will likely view that enforcement as criminal and deal with the zealous enforcer.

Anarchy isn’t a state of lawlessness, it’s a state where no class has special privileges to decide what others can and cannot do. Statism, on the other hand, tends to be far more lawless since members of the privileged class are allowed to violate laws at will. When I say that I’m an anarchist I’m not saying I want lawlessness, I’m saying I want a society where nobody has the privilege to violate the law.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 24th, 2013 at 11:00 am

Getting Them Used to the Surveillance State

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Colleges are great places where students can be subjected to years of rabid neo-liberalism in their pursuit of getting a piece of paper. On top of being beat over the head with statist propaganda, college students also have something else to look forward to: widespread surveillance:

It monitors email and social media accounts, uses thousands of surveillance cameras to track behavior and movement, is funded by billions of dollars from the federal government, and has been called “the most authoritarian institution in America“.

The National Security Agency? Nope. It’s your average college or university.

This makes sense. In fact, I would be shocked if colleges weren’t surveilling students. Colleges have been little more than an arm of the Ministry of Truth for decades now. Students are fed bullshit ranging form social contract theory to Keynesian economics. Anything that may justify the actions of the state are shoved down the throats of students who just want to get a piece of paper that says they’re qualified to do a job so they can join the ranks of the unemployed with everybody else.

But colleges are supposed to prepare students for the real world. Spying on them will ready them for being spied on for the rest of their lives.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 24th, 2013 at 10:30 am