A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Individualism’ Category

Laws Are Irrelevant

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When you allow yourself to succumb to magical thinking, such as believing that society is a thing in of itself, you leave yourself vulnerable to other magical thoughts such as believing that laws are what establish safety and stability.

Whenever an act of violence makes it to the front pages of news sites, a lot of people start demanding laws be passed to protect people. When I see such demands being made in comment sections on the websites I frequent, I like to point out that laws are just words on pieces of paper and have no power to protect anybody. The believers in law then point out, as if I was unaware, that my argument should apply to all laws. They mistakenly believe that I’m only talking about whatever law they’re proposing but their rebuttal is correct, as I point out, I am talking about all laws. After that the believers in law tend to have a psychological breakdown and start screaming about how laws are what makes society possible.

Laws are not what make society possible. First of all, society isn’t an actual thing, it’s an abstraction that lives entirely in our imaginations. What most people commonly refer to as society is actually a complex collection of human interactions. And therein lies the truth of the matter. Laws aren’t what make those interactions possible. The will of the individuals is. The reason these complex collections of human interactions don’t regularly devolve into mass murder is because the individuals will it not to. It is you and your neighbor deciding not to kill each other that prevents either from being murdered at the hands of the other.

The impotency of laws is demonstrated every time a murder is committed. Murder has been declared illegal in pretty much every nation on Earth. But words on pieces of paper can’t interfere with an individual’s will. If an individual wills an act of murder, a murder will be attempted. I say attempted because realizing on a subconscious level that the law is incapable of protecting them the intended murder victim will likely attempt to defend themselves. Again, the law doesn’t offer them protection, their will to act does.

Even if every law were repealed tomorrow, people would still choose to act against those who act against them or others. That is what establishes safety and stability.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 20th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Identifying Yourself with a Group Is Exhausting

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People really like identifying themselves with groups. We have a lot of self-proclaims libertarians, communists, atheists, theists, gamers, intellectuals, and so on. While these labels can serve as a sort of shorthand for explaining one’s beliefs, hobbies, etc., it seems like a majority of the time spent by individuals who identify themselves with groups is denouncing all of the other individuals who also identify themselves with the same group.

Consider the self-proclaimed libertarian. He may not have a racist bone in his body but he may be accused of being a racist by somebody who doesn’t identify themselves as a libertarian. Why? Because another self-proclaimed libertarian has openly espoused racist ideals and identity politics is all about guilt by association. So our hypothetical self-proclaimed libertarian must denounce the racist self-proclaimed libertarian. They might claim that racism and libertarianism are incompatible. They might claim that the racist isn’t a real libertarian for other reasons. They might apply an additional label, such as paleo-libertarian, to create distance between their libertarianism and the racist’s libertarianism. This is a lot of work. I know, I’ve been there.

The problem with identifying yourself with a group is that different people define different groups using different criteria. A self-proclaimed libertarian may define libertarianism as a belief in private property or the non-aggression principle. A self-proclaimed communist, on the other hand, may define libertarianism as a belief system that allows racism to thrive.

As a naturally lazy person, I’ve reached a point where I’d rather avoid all of the work identifying myself with a group entails. And, frankly, life is too short to fret about imaginary nonsense.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 15th, 2018 at 11:00 am

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Imaginary Collectives of People

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There are few things in the universe as precious as an edgy atheist who makes a snide remark about imaginary sky people only to turn around and discuss societies, cultures, and other imaginary concepts as if they were real.

These individuals usually claim to have given themselves over entirely to reason. If something cannot be proven, they claim to not believe in it. Despite their claims though, most of them believe in plenty of things that can’t be proven. As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no way to prove societies exist because societies, like all collectives of humanity, are concepts that only exists in our head. Ditto for cultures. In reality there are only individual human beings. Any attempt to treat individual human beings as a cohesive group becomes a fiction.

Thus I’m lead to conclude that most of these self-proclaimed atheists are actually theists but instead of, as they put it, believing in imaginary sky people they believe in imaginary collectives of people.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 14th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Technology Isn’t the Problem, You Are

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Earlier this year several of Apple’s investors tried to pressure the company into working to combat iPhone addiction. This proposal makes sense, right? After all, Apple has created an addicting product so shouldn’t it take responsibility for its creation? No on both accounts. Why? Because Apple isn’t at fault, its users who have become addicted to its devices are:

I know intimately that if we want to achieve tech-life balance, people must start taking responsibility for their choices. No one is forcing consumers to buy an iPhone, use Facebook, stare at Twitch, masturbate to porn or any of the other millions of things you can do with technology. Every single one of those actions is a choice we make, and if there is one lesson from addiction treatment that everyone should hear it is that it is nearly impossible to help someone who doesn’t want help.

Apple isn’t forcing you to buy or use an iPhone. In fact, unlike government, no technology company is forcing you to use its product. Just like alcohol, you have a choice whether or not you use an iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, or any number of other technology products. If you’re an alcoholic, then you need to take responsibility for your actions. Likewise, if you’re addicted to a technology product, then you have to take responsibility for your actions.

Addiction isn’t a legal or technological problem. An addict will find ways to work around any external controls that are placed on them. Heroine addicts manage to get their fix even though their drug of choice is illegal. iPhone addicts will turn off or bypass any technological controls that Apple puts into place. Breaking an addiction requires an addict to first admit that they have a problem and then to personally take actions to break their addiction. The choice to overcome an addiction needs to be made by an addict, not by an outside party.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 6th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Dedicate the Year to Personal Greatness

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Welcome to 2018. America seems to be starting off the year the same as it starts off most years. Law enforcers continue to act without accountability, the endless wars in the Middle East continue to be waged, and the dollar continues to fall in purchasing power. However, you can’t control any of those things. What you can control is yourself so why not dedicate this year to personal greatness?

Have you always told yourself that you’re going to start working out? Start working out today. Have you been thinking about reading a particular book? Start reading it today. Have you been thinking about learning that new skill so you can make more money? Start learning it today.

While you can’t control the actions of others, you can control your own so why not make yourself superior to everybody else?

Written by Christopher Burg

January 2nd, 2018 at 10:00 am

Individual Morality and Consequences

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As a radical individuals I don’t subscribe to the idea of objective morality. If such a thing as objective morality existed, the human race would have had no choice by to agree with each on the matter. But if you ask 10 individuals to describe their beliefs of what is moral and what is immoral, you’ll likely hear 10 different systems of morality.

When I express my disbelief in objective morality, especially to libertarians, I’m usually met with a lengthy explanation of how a world without objective morality would devolved into a world of murder, rape, and pillage. It’s the same argument Christians often make against atheists. Without a belief in God, they believe people will just murder, rape, and pillage. However, people who make these arguments make two mistakes. First, they assume that all morality must be established by an outside force. Second, they believe morality and consequences are interchangeable.

My disbelief in objective morality doesn’t mean I don’t have a system of morals. As I noted above, if you ask 10 individuals to describe their moral beliefs, you’re likely to get 10 different answers. Each of those individuals will express a system of morality to you, indicating that they do have an established system of morality, but disagree on the definitions of moral and immoral. They will disagree on the definitions precisely because they have established their own system. While their system may be heavily influenced by outside forces, such as philosophy, it is a system unique to them. I, for example, have a self-defined system of morality. While I think that it’s a pretty good system and the world would be a better place if everybody lived by it, I have no way to prove objectively that it is a good system and the world would be a better place if everybody lived by it.

The second failure objective moralists often fall into is treating morality and consequences as interchangeable concepts. While an absence of a moral system may give an individual the excuse to murder, rape, and pillage, they very well might avoid performing those actions because they realize doing so could lead to severe consequences. If you try to murder or rape somebody, they might kill you in self-defense. If you try to pillage a neighborhood, the people living there might kill you in self-defense. Even if you managed to get away with such actions, somebody is likely to search for you or hire somebody to search for you so that their idea of justice can be exacted. Even sociopaths tend to understand that actions have consequences and that can often regulate their behavior.

Socialists and libertarians strongly disagree on what constitutes morality. Even though they disagree on morality they can often live together in relative peace. Why? Because they both recognize that their actions have consequences. If a socialist tries to appropriate a libertarian’s means of production, the libertarian might use violence to dissuade the socialist. Likewise, if a libertarian decides that a group of socialists is a threat to their private property and attempts to use violence against them, the socialists may respond with violence of their own.

Just because somebody doesn’t believe in objective morality, or morality of any kind, doesn’t mean they’re going to murder, rape, and pillage.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 19th, 2017 at 11:00 am

What I Need Is None of Your Business

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I was involved in yet another debate about gun control that lead to the inevitable question of why I need and AR-15. This has to be one of the most entitle and pointless questions one can ask.

First, where do they get off thinking that they’re in a position where I have to justify anything to them? Nobody has declared them emperor as far as I know.

Second, why does it matter? Humans need food, water, clothing, and shelter to survive. Beyond that everything else is a luxury. You don’t need a television, cell phone, couch, bed, etc. They’re damned nice to have but you won’t die with out them. So asking why somebody else needs something is pointless because need is obviously not a criteria for legality.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 21st, 2017 at 11:00 am

Using Politics is Akin to Using Astrology to Solve a Physics Problem

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According to gun control advocates we have a gun problem. Gun rights advocates have been rebutting their opponent’s claim by claiming that we have a mental health problem. Who the hell is this “we” they’re both talking about? I have neither a gun nor a mental health problem.

The biggest problem with political debates is that they rely on collectivism. Collectivism is a concept that exists solely in our heads, it doesn’t exist in the real world. Each individual is a unique entity. Just because they share some common traits with other individuals doesn’t mean they are like those individuals. If membership in a group controlled an individual’s actions, we would never have any schisms.

The political means fails to solve problems because it doesn’t operate in the framework of reality. Using politics to solve a problem is no different than using astrology to solve a physics problem. When the very premise of your strategy is make believe, you can’t expect to develop a real solution.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 8th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Controlling Property

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What is property? This seemingly simple solution ends up being quite complex when you realize that nobody can agree on the matter. A libertarian will tell you that your property is whatever resources you’re able to homestead or voluntarily trade for. A mutualist will tell you that your property is whatever you’re putting to productive use. A statist will tell you that your property is whatever the State allows you to keep after it has collected its desired taxes. A communist will tell you that you don’t own any property but you might be allowed some possessions of the community can come to a consensus on the matter.

Property isn’t something granted by an organization or by “society.” It certainly isn’t divined by nature. Property ultimately boils down to what you are able to exert your control over. Libertarians, mutualists, statists, and communists usually become quite upset when I point this out. Part of their displeasure arises from the fact that they only understand control as it relates to force. Control can be exerted in many different ways though.

Let’s say I build a house surrounded by a fence and declare the fence and everything inside of it my property, is it my property? A libertarians will say that it’s my property if I either homesteaded the land or voluntarily traded with somebody for it. A mutualist will say that it’s my property if I’m making productive use of the house and the land within the fence. A statist will give me some wishy washy answer about how it’s my property but the government also has the right to control it in whatever way it sees fit (this is probably the least sensible response). A communists will say that it’s not my property but communal property. In actuality though, it is my property so long as I can prevent others from taking it.

Arguments over the nature of property steam from a desire to control property through argumentation. When, for example, anarcho-capitalists claim that private property rights are a natural right derived from homesteading or trade they are trying to convince other people to recognize anything that another individual homesteads or trades for as their property. However, argumentation isn’t the only means of trying to control property. Statists opt to control their property through a proxy. They believe that if all property claims are controlled by a heavily armed gang then everybody’s property rights are protected. It’s a ridiculous belief in my opinion because it actually makes everything the property of the individuals who compose the gang. Egoists hold up their middle fingers at everybody and just declare everything to be their property. I think they tend to recognize the nature of property better than anybody else.

By hook or by crook, if you can establish your control over something then it becomes your property. How you control your property is up to you. I personally prefer starting with argumentation since it is the lowest cost mechanism I know of for controlling property and I see no point of controlling property if I have to spend more to control it than it is worth to me. But being able to backup your claim with force is also important because you’re not going to be successful at convincing everybody else to respect your property claims. An anarcho-syndicalists, for examples, gives no shits whatsoever about Lockean homesteading and will simply seize whatever means of production you’ve claimed as your property.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 25th, 2017 at 11:00 am

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You Can’t Control Anything Outside of Yourself

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If I had a dollar for every time I heard a communist claim that real communism hasn’t been tried, I’d be sitting on a mega yacht in the middle of the ocean drinking scotch that is older than I am instead of sitting in front of my computer. But there is a lesson to be learned from communist countries and, really, everybody successful movement in history. Those who advocate for something generally have an idealistic view of it. Communists, for example, probably see a future where nobody is hungry, everybody has a home, and inequality is a thing of the past. It’s actually a pretty wonderful fantasy. Unfortunately, nobody can control things outside of themselves.

If you read the writings of many of the United States’ founders, you’ll realize that there was significant disagreement on many points. One faction, the smarter faction in my opinion, wanted a federal government that couldn’t even collect taxes whereas the other faction wanted a powerful federal government. While each founder had their view of an ideal country, none of them got everything they wanted.

The problem with movements of any kind is that your vision will never match the result. This is because you’re a cog in a great machine and as a cog you will have limited control. Even if you manage to attain a position of power within a movement, you can’t control how others execute your orders. You may be the Dear Leader of a great communist utopia and have the best intentions in mind but your underlings may be secretly building gulags and offing everybody who looked at them wrong in high school. You could be the founder of a new country with the intention of keeping the newly formed government as small as possible but your fellow revolutionaries may be putting together the foundation for a massive, tyrannical government behind your back.

I gave up on movements quite some time ago after realizing that the result will never match my vision. Instead I’m focusing on myself. I’m working to make myself freer, stronger, smarter, wealthier, and otherwise better. Unlike my time working in movements, I’ve actually had a great deal of success in pursuing my personal goals because I am in full control of all the actors that matter: me, myself, and I.

You can’t control the actions of others but you can control your own actions. Needless to say, if you want to actually accomplish something you have to do it yourself so you might as well do something that directly benefits you instead of something that you believe will benefit others (others, I might add, who you have no right to decide what is beneficial for).

Written by Christopher Burg

September 28th, 2017 at 11:00 am