A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Agora! Anarchy! Action!’ tag

Three May Keep a Secret, If Two of Them Are Dead

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Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanack wrote, “Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.” This quote rings true time and time again. The most recent example is the legal mess surrounding the now shuttered website Backpage:

Carl Ferrer, the co-founder of Backpage, the notorious and now-shuttered site that once hosted a vast quantity of prostitution-related ads, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges.

[…]

Ferrer agreed, in combined plea deals with both Texas and California authorities, where he faced outstanding charges, that he will shut down Backpage “throughout the world,” will aid authorities in ongoing prosecutions of his co-conspirators, and will make all Backpage data available to authorities.

This outcome is very common in cases involving multiple suspects. The first suspect to offer their services as a snitch against the others is usually handed a sweetheart deal.

Benjamin Franklin’s point should be taken to heart by anybody performing illegal activities. For example, if you’re an agorist who is selling cannabis, you probably don’t want to enter a partnership with another cannabis dealer. You can’t control the actions of another person. Even if you take every precaution to avoid being caught by the authorities, you can’t guarantee that a partner will do the same. And if their mistake causes them to be arrested, there’s a good chance that they’ll offer you up in exchange for a sweetheart deal.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 13th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Agorism’s Greatest Contribution

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When people think of the counter-economic strategy advocated by Samuel Edward Konkin III they usually think about it in terms of toppling the State. While Agorism as a strategy can be useful for wounding the State I think its greatest feature is the establishment of enterprises divorced from the State.

So-called legitimate businesses are more often than not coupled to the State. Consider all of the technology companies that reside in the United States. The rely heavily on the State to defend their intellectual property. Patents and copyrights are an American technology company’s bread and butter. Without the State to subsidize defending their intellectual property, technology companies would find themselves facing an even vaster sea of competition than they already do on the international market.

Above ground agricultural enterprises, likewise, have become dependent on the State. Without the State’s crop and livestock subsidies many agricultural enterprises would likely collapse.

Statism isn’t a permanent condition. There isn’t a single chunk of land on this planet that has been ruled by the same state for all of human history. States come and go and with them the enterprises that rely on them. Agorist enterprises, however, can survive the collapse of states because they were never reliant on states to begin with. If anything, the collapse of a state will benefit an Agorist business.

Agorist enterprises can ensure goods and services continue to be provided when a state inevitably collapses. That is probably a greater overall contribution than its ability to injure states through counter-economics.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 12th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

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There is a belief among statists that laws can prevent undesirable behavior. But statists have been passing laws for thousands of year, which is the same amount of time that other people have been ignoring them. Any law that is found to be inconvenient is ignored or bypassed:

But in an effort to cut down on the drunken mayhem, the town imposed a public drinking ban over the holiday—a law that apparently didn’t stop a few crafty, determined drinkers from setting up their own boozy sanctuary off the coast.

According to the BBC, the group spent Sunday building a makeshift private island off the Coromandel Peninsula, constructed out of sand, seashells, and a few wooden planks. The revelers set it up at low tide, and dragged out a picnic table and a cooler so they could get blasted out on “international waters,” see some fireworks, and stay away from the cops.

Sometimes I think nobody learned from Prohibition. The government of the United States went so far as to amend its constitution to prohibit alcohol throughout the country and yet people continued to manufacturer, trade, and consume alcohol. The United States’ War on (Some) Drugs is yet another example of undesirable laws being ignored. In fact the desire to ignore drug prohibitions is so strong that many individual states have announced that they’re no longer bothering to enforce them for cannabis. And why should they? While cannabis may be illegal people are still using it.

Prohibiting an activity doesn’t make that activity go away. At most it pushes that activity underground. But oftentimes a prohibition is blatantly ignored as is the case with these heroes who went so far as to construct a small sandbar in international waters.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 3rd, 2018 at 10:30 am

Decentralized the Internet

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I’m glad to see that other people are beginning to understand the need to decentralized the Internet:

Net neutrality as a principle of the federal government will soon be dead, but the protections are wildly popular among the American people and are integral to the internet as we know it. Rather than putting such a core tenet of the internet in the hands of politicians, whose whims and interests change with their donors, net neutrality must be protected by a populist revolution in the ownership of internet infrastructure and networks.

In short, we must end our reliance on big telecom monopolies and build decentralized, affordable, locally owned internet infrastructure. The great news is this is currently possible in most parts of the United States.

I’ve been saying this for years. If you want a feature like net neutrality, you have to control the infrastructure. Personally, I’d like to see a decentralized Internet that encrypts all traffic by default for both confidentiality and anonymity purposes. What people are calling net neutrality would be enforced by default on such a network because nobody could see the traffic to throttle or block it. However, it would come at a performance cost (TANSTAAFL).

One thing is certain, begging the Federal Communications Commission Fascist Communications Club (FCC) to enforce net neutrality isn’t a longterm solution as we’re seeing today. Under the Obama administration net neutrality was enforced by the FCC. Under the Trump administration it looks like it won’t be enforced. When the next administration comes into power it could go either way. Begging Congress isn’t any better because what one Congress passes a future Congress can eliminate.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 8th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Being an Agorist is Easier than Ever

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Samuel Edward Konkin III introduced me to the idea that the State can be starved of resources if more economic activity moved into the unregulated black market. However, I always figured entering the black market would require dealing drugs, guns, or some other highly controversial good or service. I never imagined that I could enter the black market by selling household pets:

California could become the first state to outlaw so-called puppy mills with legislation that bans pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits that do not come from rescue organizations or shelters.

Animal rights activists believe that this bill will eliminate “puppy mills” and other breeding operations that often raise animals in inhumane conditions. However, that won’t be the outcome of this bill. What this bill will do is create a black market for household pets. On the upside, this will deprive California of any licensing and tax revenues associated with breeding pets.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 4th, 2017 at 10:00 am

I’m Back

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I’ve returned from AgoraFest. I consider this year to be successful. Although we changed venues for the third time this year’s venue; the Buffalo Ridge Resort in Gary, South Dakota; was probably my favorite. It had more modern facilities than our original location, Villa Maria, and wasn’t as rustic as Turtle Creek Glen, which we used last year.

There were fewer overall presentations and workshops, which was actually a good thing since we didn’t have to deal with schedule conflicts. Obviously my presentations were of the highest quality but the other presentations I attended were also very high quality. Part of the reason the quality of the presentations has increased is because us presenters are finally get somewhat competent at presenting.

I’m glad I prepared for the worst weather since I was tent camping and the first two nights got damned cold and it rained during the last night. If you’re going to camping, be prepared to deal with any type of weather because the weatherman doesn’t know what he’s talking about (it wasn’t supposed to rain at all according to the forecast), especially here in the Upper Midwest.

Even though it’s a lot of work, I’m looking forward to beginning plans for next year. Fortunately, we shouldn’t have to be as rushed since this venue worked out well enough that I expect we’ll just use it again (part of this year’s delay was finding a venue that was more palatable to some of our city dwellers who aren’t used to the “hardships” of camping).

Written by Christopher Burg

September 12th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Events

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Going to AgoraFest

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I’ll be celebrating Agorism at AgoraFest for the rest of the week. Blogging will resume next week.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 6th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in Agorism

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Want to Say Whatever You Want? Pursue Entrepreneurship!

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I’m not a fan of bitching for bitching’s sake. When problems arise I like to propose solutions. Since a lot of libertarians have suddenly become aware of the power an employer has over an employee I feel as though the time is right to reiterate something. If an employer can fire and employee for what they’ve said, how can an individual speak their mind? The answer, as agorists known, is entrepreneurship.

Samuel Edward Konkin III periodically discussed wage labor. He gave wage labor credit but also pointed out that there was something even better: entrepreneurship. In his rebuttal to Rothbard’s criticism of agorism, Konkin touched on that very subject. As a wage laborer one is subject to the person paying their wage. As an independent contractor, an entrepreneur, one is subject to themselves. While an independent contractor may gain and lose contracts based on what they’ve said, they don’t find themselves tossed to the street with nothing in hand because they own their own means of production. If they lose one contract, they can seek another and may already have other ongoing contracts that keep them going.

The more aspects of your life you personally control, the more freedom you can enjoy. If you want to enjoy more freedom to say controversial things, pursue entrepreneurship. If you’re your own boss, you don’t have to worry about being terminated over what you’ve said.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 11th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Lead by Example

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My earlier post about the bakers that refused to bake a Trump theme cake lead me to another thought. I oppose discrimination. Personally, I find disassociating with somebody because of their race, religion, gender, age, etc. to be a form of collectivism and you know how much I hate collectivism. Even though I oppose discrimination I also oppose forcing people to associate with people they don’t want to associate with. This puts me at odds with a lot of people who oppose discrimination. In their eyes, because of my unwillingness to use force to solve what I see as a problem, I don’t actually oppose discrimination but merely pay lip service to doing so. This is a common argument between people who use force to get what they want and people who try to convince people that what they want is a good thing.

Most of the people I know who identify themselves as alt-right really dislike me because I don’t believe pushing national socialists out of helicopters is an effective way to bring about an individualist society. How can I claim to be a serious anti-collectivist if I’m not willing to kill collectivists? As I’ve said before, the ends reflect the means. If you use force to make people bend to your will, you’re not moving individual freedom forward. In the end you’ll simply replace one tyranny with another form of tyranny.

Discrimination is similar in that regard. If you force, say, a white man who is racist against blacks to associate with blacks, you have furthered discrimination. Of course, some will say that discrimination against white racists is acceptable just as many alt-righters will say that violence against collectivists is acceptable. However, the problem of discrimination hasn’t actually been solved, it has just been amplified. Instead of there being a white man who discriminates against blacks we now have him and a government that discriminates against white racists. Simply forcing somebody to act against their will doesn’t solve the problem. At best it will conceal the problem, at worst it will motivate the target to increase the severity of their actions in an act of rebellion.

How can discrimination be reduced without coercion? First, if you want to protect a discriminated group from violence, help makes of that group harder targets. Teach them how to defend themselves, help them organization mutual defense groups, walk them through the process of obtaining a carry permit and firearm, etc. That increases the cost of violently discriminating against them. Second, lead by example. Choose your friends by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Do business with people who are being discriminated against. Stand by them when somebody is discriminating against them. Show everybody who watches you that your life has benefited from not discriminating.

This applies to anything. If you want to advance individual freedom, lead by example. Live a life as free as you can, discuss the benefits of individual freedom with statists, and continue to educate yourself about individual freedom so that you can answer questions put forth by both sympathizers and critics. Make yourself what you want to see in the world. If people see that your benefiting from your way of life, they may decide that your way of life isn’t as terrible as they expected it to be and come around to your way of thinking. Then the problem you perceive will actually be solved instead of covered up or amplified.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 10th, 2017 at 11:00 am

The Dark Web’s Fight Against Gun Control

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The Dark Web, which is a sinister sounding label given to hidden services usually available through Tor or I2P, has become a major thorn in the side of the State. By combining technologies that allow users to interact anonymously with cryptocurrencies that allow transactions to be complete anonymously, the Dark Web has established a peaceful marketplace for goods and services declared illegal by the State. For example, a recent study, which is likely bullshit but I digress, found that the Dark Web has allowed people in repressive countries to acquire firearms:

Another revelation is that the weapons available are far newer, and are of a far higher quality, than would have been available on the analog black market. As New Scientist points out, “lax gun laws in the US are undermining stricter rules elsewhere,” especially in Europe. In addition to guns and ammunition, people can buy tutorials explaining how to make bombs or convert or reactivate replica and deactivated firearms.

What they really should have said is that lax gun laws in the US are undermining efforts to more thoroughly disarm serfs elsewhere. And, of course, the article should point out that those tutorials explaining how to make bombs can be found in even basic chemistry books (fun fact, making bombs is little more than combining chemistry with a small amount of mechanical or electronic engineering).

Of course, the article tries to drum up fear of the Dark Web by saying that, queue the sinister music, terrorists are using it to acquire weapons. They can only point to a single incident of this happening but facts are unimportant when writing propaganda. The point is that you’re supposed to be scared of the Dark Web and be thankful to your government for defending you against it even though, at least if you live in the United States, your government is one of the biggest arms dealers to terrorist organizations in the world. Moreover, the effectiveness of terrorist attacks is reduced if the population they’re targeted at is able to defend itself. Since the Dark Web enables people living in repressive regimes, such as many of the countries in Europe, to arm themselves in spite of the law it is actually offers to increase the cost of perpetrating terrorist attacks against civilian populations.

We should all take a moment to thank the Dark Web for its effectiveness against gun control and for offering a mechanism to make it costlier for terrorists to perpetrate attacks against civilian populations.