Consumers Punished by Intellectual Property Again

Are you looking to by a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? Too bad, sales of the device have been banned in the United States because of a patent dispute between Apple and Samsung:

A court has banned sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the US while it decides on the firm’s patent dispute with Apple.

Apple has claimed that Samsung infringed its design patent and copied the look of its popular device, the iPad.

The Samsung tablet is considered by most analysts as the biggest rival to Apple’s iPad.

The ban does not apply to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 II, the tablet’s new edition.

This is yet another example of consumers losing because of the patent system. While Apple attempts to extort money from Samsung over a non-scarce resource consumers are unable to purchase Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. Somebody could probably make a little money (not much mind you, the Tab 10.1 is getting up there in age now) by doing some agorism and selling Tab 10.1s in a “black” market.

The Paradoxical Philosophy of Obedience

As a general rule if your philosophy involves paradoxes then it’s not a good philosophy. Supporters of authoritarian philosophies have this problem, they preach that we must followed a strong leader in order to be free. What these people don’t see is that one cannot be free if they are following mindlessly, which is why this New York Times column is nothing but dribble:

These days many Americans seem incapable of thinking about these paradoxes. Those “Question Authority” bumper stickers no longer symbolize an attempt to distinguish just and unjust authority. They symbolize an attitude of opposing authority.

The old adversary culture of the intellectuals has turned into a mass adversarial cynicism. The common assumption is that elites are always hiding something. Public servants are in it for themselves. Those people at the top are nowhere near as smart or as wonderful as pure and all-knowing Me.

There is a reason the common assumption is that elites are always hiding something, because they are. Public “servants” are in it for themselves. All actions are based on self-interest and politics is the art of force. Politicians are people who have decided to use the means of force to achieve their end of self-interest. Since people generally respond poorly to being forced into action the politicians must hide their intentions, they must wrap their political interests in a layer of “greater good” and “public service.”

You end up with movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Parties that try to dispense with authority altogether. They reject hierarchies and leaders because they don’t believe in the concepts. The whole world should be like the Internet — a disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king.

What? Both groups believe in authority. Occupy Wall Street generally believes in authority of the masses, commonly referred to as democracy. The Tea Party generally believes in the authority of the republic and representatives (otherwise they wouldn’t move to get desired representatives elected). Of course, according to the author’s beliefs, I can see why he would think both movements oppose authority altogether:

Maybe before we can build great monuments to leaders we have to relearn the art of following. Democratic followership is also built on a series of paradoxes: that we are all created equal but that we also elevate those who are extraordinary; that we choose our leaders but also have to defer to them and trust their discretion; that we’re proud individuals but only really thrive as a group, organized and led by just authority.

I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem.

In other words we should all learn to be good little slaves and shut the hell up. I’m curious what this man would have been writing before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. It’s obvious that he would have supported the “just authority” of the British king but I’m curious how he would justify it. Now that I think about it, I’m curious how he justifies supporting “just authority” now. For all the talk the author makes about “just authority” he never actually says what kind of authority is just. Is devine authority just? Is a person elected by popular vote granted just authority? Is the most heavily armed individual a holder of just authority? The author never says, he only says that we must obey just authority.

Just authority can only be voluntarily granted on an individual basis. You can choose to delegate authority over aspects of your life to another. I cannot choose somebody to rule over your life though, just as you cannot choose somebody to rule over my life. This automatically means democracies are not just, just because the majority of people agree on something doesn’t mean it’s right (a majority of people once believed the Earth was flat after all). Likewise, just because a larger group voted to grant a man authority over a geographic region doesn’t make it right. The people of Iceland had the right idea during their 300 years of statelessness. Individuals could voluntarily agree to recognize the authority of a godi and if that godi was no longer to an individual’s liking they could seek another (and his choices weren’t restricted by geographic regions). That form of authority could be considered just as it was voluntarily granted and could be reclaimed at the granter’s choosing.

I will give the author credit on one thing, he’s one of the few authoritarians who actually admits that paradoxes exist in his philosophy. He doesn’t properly identify them or realizes that the existence of paradoxes should indicate one reexamine their beliefs, but he at least acknowledges they are there.

Eventually People Tire of Abuse

I belong to a rather small club. While libertarians are rare enough in the United States I’m a member of an even more exclusive club, voluntaryists. Unlike constitutional libertarians or minarchists, voluntaryists oppose the state in its entirety. We don’t want a small state or a minimum state, we don’t want any state at all. This obviously makes me sound a little kooky to a majority of the population (and probably a great deal of my readers) and it would seem I’ve set myself out for failure as ridding civilization of the state appears to be an insurmountable task. As they say, nothing worth doing is easy. I do hold out hope because history has demonstrated that people will only allow themselves to be pushed around for so long before they fight back.

Let’s take a look at some groups that finally had enough and decided to oppose the status quo. One of my favorite examples is this very country I live in. At one point the United States wasn’t the United States, it was a British colony. The British king wasn’t a very smart man. A smart man that ruled over vast territories would have contented himself with mostly leaving people alone. Instead he kept pushing the colonists. Wanting to bleed the colonists for more money the British kind decreed that all published material in the United States carry an official stamp that had to be purchased. From there things just kept getting worse. The powder keg really started smoldering with minor acts of civil disobedience, such as throwing ship loads of tea into the sea. Eventually the colonists got fed up with the king and decided to toss him and his people out.

All was not well in the newly formed United States though. Regardless of the claims made by some during the early days of this country, all were not created equal. Slavery was still legal and women didn’t have the right to participate in political matters. Needless to say women eventually became sick of having all political decisions made by men and thus began the women’s suffrage movement. Members of the suffrage movement held massive demonstrations. Although it seems rather absurd today there was actually a very strong anti-suffrage movement during the time and opponents to women’s suffrage went so far as to physically attack demonstrators (it should go without saying that the police did little to prevent such attacks). In the end the nineteenth amendment was passed.

African Americans had a longer fight. Even though slavery ended after the Civil War the newly freed African Americans found themselves treated like shit. Jim Crow laws were passed that dictated public facilities could be separated based on race so long as they were “equal.” In reality facilities for blacks were seldom, if ever, equal to facilities for whites. Other laws dictated that blacks sitting in the front of the bus had to surrender their seat to any white person wanting it. Even interracial marriage was restricted. Like the American population and women before them, eventually the African Americans got fed up with the inhumane way they were treated and began the Civil Rights Movement. Though massive acts of civil disobedience the Civil Rights Movement eventually overcame the obstacles put in their way by the state. The Jim Crow laws were wiped from the slate, blacks were no longer required to surrender preferred seats to whites, and blacks were allowed to marry whites.

Speaking of marriage, we’re currently in the middle of another battle that revolves around the state’s control of the institution. Much like Jim Crow laws in the past attempt to treat blacks like second class citizens, bans on same sex marriages are attempting to do the same for homosexuals. The gay community has come a long ways over the years. Gone are the days when brilliant minds who reshaped the entire world were chemically castrated for being gay and police routinely harassed homosexuals. Things didn’t come this far because the state became benevolent and decided to stop harassing homosexuals, things came this far because the homosexual community decided they had enough. In 1969 the police decided to raid a gay club and the people at the club rebelled. They pelted the police officers with anything at hand and a riot broke out. Thankfully their battle is concluding and I suspect the idea of prohibiting marriage based on gender will become as an absurd a thought as banning marriage based on race.

My point in this post is that every battle, no matter how insurmountable it appears, can be won in the long run. Whether the battle for true liberty will be one by quick destruction of the state or through a slow and deliberate movement is unknown to me (although I’m guessing the latter). History demonstrates that people are only willing to take so much shit until they finally declare that they’ve had enough. Eventually people will tire of having their shit taken and violence brought against them when they violate random state decrees and will fight back. My desire is that when the fight comes it will be peaceful with counter-economics and civil disobedience being the primary tools. In fact part of the reason I write about such tactics is because those are the ones I want to see used. Violent revolutions seem to turn out badly in the long run while revolutions that take place through education seem to turn out well for everybody.

Agorism Alive and Well in Spain

Agorism is a strategy many of us in the voluntaryist movement advocate. It’s a simple idea that many people partake in without ever realizing it. Whenever you work for “cash under the table” you’re performing an act of counter-economics as you’re disobeying the state’s decree regarding income tax. In Minnesota you perform an act of counter-economics every time you buy something online or in a state with lower sales tax and don’t pay the difference to the state. Most of us are agorists in some way or another and such practices become more common in failing economies such as Spain:

More than six months ago, a 37-year-old worker here named Juan was laid off from his job delivering and assembling furniture for customers of Ikea, joining the legions of unemployed in Spain. Or so it would seem.

Since then, Juan has continued doing more or less the same work. But instead of doing it on the payroll of Pantoja, a transport subcontractor to Ikea, he hovers around the parking lot of the megastore, luring customers of his own by offering not only to deliver their furniture but also to do “general work,” like painting and repairs, all for the bargain price of €40, or $51, a day.

“I will do anything except electricity and plumbing, where I really don’t have enough expertise to guarantee a safe and decent job,” said Juan, who did not want his full name used because he does not declare his income and did not want to run afoul of the tax authorities.

One nice benefit of not having to pay income tax is the ability to undercut those who do. If you pay income tax you must make enough money to not only survive but to also pay the state its tithe. Those who don’t report income tax don’t have to worry about the additional money that will be stolen by the state and therefore can work much cheaper and still get by.

When you consider the amount of money that goes to the state in the form of taxes, licenses, and compliance with regulations you realize a great deal of economy goes to feed the state. How much of your life is spent working for the state? What percentage of the money you spent on your computer went to the state?

When you think about it we’re not better off that then serfs of yore. Serfs were those who worked land owned by or rented from nobles. In exchange for working the land they were “granted” the privilege of protection and the use of some fields for their own subsistence. Those of us living in the United States are in a similar situation although the illusion of freedom is presented to us. Like serfs our land is owned by another entity, in our case the state. We are allowed to use the land so long as we pay rent, usually referred to as property tax. The state promises to protect us from outside enemies and criminals living within its borders (and like the nobles’ promises of protection the state never really fulfills their end of the “agreement”). If we fail to pay our tithe the state kidnaps us, holds us in cages, and steals our property under the “debt” is paid off. When we lack property to take we become bonded laborers, our wages are garnished until the “debt” is paid off.

Serfdom never went away, the nobles merely changed their title to the state and pretended to give us the ability to elect a representative government.

The serfs of yore eventually awakened to their plight and revolted against the nobles. Agorists are revolting but not by using violence. Instead the agorists analyzed the enemy and discovered its weakness, it survives only on what it can take by force. If the state has no income, if they are unable to seize wealth by force, it eventually starves and dies. Why wage a violent revolution against an entity that specializes in violence? When you challenge a specializes you are likely to lose unless you are also a specialist. While the state specializes in violence it is utterly incompetent when it comes to economics and economics is something individuals specialized in. The golden rule of a fight is to never fight fair.

Fortunately for agorists the state recruits people for our movement as it attempt to bleed the serfs dry. When the serfs no longer have anything to give they must fact facts and decide whether they’re going to continue providing to the state at the cost of their lives or keep what wealth they can scrounge and disobey the decrees of the states. Most people will follow their survival instinct and give the state a giant middle finger and it is at that point that they become agorists.

My Modest Proposal

Every election seems wrought with accusations of corruption. The Republicans blame the Democrats and the Democrats blame the Republicans. Accusations of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) being controlled by the Republican and Democrat parties and therefore biased against third-parties are often brought up. Republicans tell their supporters to be election judges to protect against tampering by Democrats while Democrats tell their supporters to be election judges to protect against tampering by Republicans. The losing party in an election will often accuse the winning party of committing election fraud and begin an expensive recount and possible court battle.

It’s easy to see why all of these accusations are thrown around, both parties are extremely biased. As a general rule it’s a bad idea to have biased entities in control of events they have vested interests in. Having political parties in control of elections is a recipe for disaster and that diaster hurts the genera populace more than anybody. These squabbles almost always end in expensive state solutions, court battles, and recounts. None of those actions are productive in any way yet syphon money from other state tasks like building drones and enforcing decrees that prohibit victimless crimes.

Since I hate seeing inefficiency and suffering I have a moderst proposal of my own, put us anarchists in charge of running elections. As a general rule we don’t really care about elections, we realize that we’re going to get fucked either way. Whether a Republicrat or a Depublican win is irrelevant to us. For many of us elections are mostly a form of amusement, similar to baseball, and the outcome truly has no consequence.

You don’t have to worry about us being biased against third-parties because we usually have more in common with third-parties than the Republican and Democratic parties. There is no need to worry about doling out more campaign money to one part over another because we don’t want to give any money to any party. Voters can rest assured that nonpartisans are overseeing each polling place and counting the votes. We can’t be accused of committing election fraud to ensure victory for our candidate because we don’t have a candidate. It’s win/win for everybody involved, with the possible exception of us but we’re willing to make a few sacrifices to help alleviate your suffering because we’re generous and kind.

Free Market Currency

I read that Ron Paul introduced HR 1098, the Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011. The bill is straightforward, if passed it would abolish current legal tender laws that are used by the state to enact tight economic control over the populace:


This Act may be cited as the ‘Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011’.


(a) In General- Section 5103 of title 31, United States Code (relating to legal tender), is hereby repealed.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections for subchapter I of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 5103 and inserting the following new item:
‘5103. [Repealed].’.


(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law–

(1) no tax may be imposed on (or with respect to the sale, exchange, or other disposition of) any coin, medal, token, or gold, silver, platinum, palladium, or rhodium bullion, whether issued by a State, the United States, a foreign government, or any other person; and

(2) no State may assess any tax or fee on any currency, or any other monetary instrument, which is used in the transaction of interstate commerce or commerce with a foreign country, and which is subject to the enjoyment of legal tender status under article I, section 10 of the United States Constitution.

(b) Effective Date- This section shall take effect on December 31, 2011, but shall not apply to taxes or fees imposed before such date.


(a) In General- Title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking sections 486 (relating to uttering coins of gold, silver, or other metal) and 489 (making or possessing likeness of coins).

(b) Conforming Amendment to Table of Sections- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 25 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the items relating to the sections stricken by subsection (a).

(c) Special Rule Concerning Retroactive Effect- Any prosecution under the sections stricken by subsection (a) shall abate upon the taking effect of this section. Any previous conviction under those sections shall be null and void.

Money, in the true sense of the word, is nothing more than a good that facilitates trade. Barter is a pain in the ass because it’s very difficult to find the exact goods somebody else needs. If you want to buy a box of ammunition and the person selling ammunition needs a dozen eggs, half of a pound of ground beef, and a pair of socks you’re going to have to trade for all of those items first. To overcome this complexity the market eventually began using what we think of as money today.

Historically speaking gold and silver have been chosen as money as both commodities have several traits that are desirable in money. Gold and silver coins are easily divided for the performance of smaller transactions, durable (they won’t rust away on you), and portable. Both metals also have intrinsic value meaning they can actually be used to manufacture stuff if nobody is willing to take them as money anymore.

Most states now legally mandate a currency and that currency is always fait, that is to say it has no intrinsic value. Fiat currencies are the stuff of dreams to governments because it allows them to effectively dictate the value and print whatever quantity they need to pay for whatever exorbitantly expensive project their heart is currently set on. Unfortunately these traits that make fiat currency the cat’s meow to the state also make that very same currency toxic to individuals like you and me. The phenomenon known as inflation is a product of fiat currencies. When the state prints more money to pay off whatever project it deems desirable it decreases the purchasing power of everybody holding that currency.

Unfortunately one needs to hold United States dollars because the state mandates you pay all taxes in dollars and requires individuals to accept dollars as payments for debts:

United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts.

Legal tender laws are downright evil. When the state demands all individuals accept Federal Reserve notes they are really saying, “OK serf listen up, you will trade any good or service you have for this piece of paper with a number and the picture of a dead president printed on it. This piece of paper will also constantly be in a state of devaluation.” The libertarian in me love this bill but the agorist in my doesn’t really see the point.

The only thing you need to do to accept an alternate currency is… accept an alternate currency. Do you want to be pain in silver bullion? Trade your goods or services for silver bullion. Want BitCoins? Only trade your goods and services for BitCoins. In fact one of the keystones of the agorist movement is alternative currencies. Let’s face it, the state derives a great deal of power from forcing people to use their currency. It is both the reason why agorists prefer dealing in alternate currencies and why this bill will never pass.