A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Not So Crazy Libertarian Ideals’ tag

Mutual Aid in the Real World

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As an opponent of statism I’m often confronted with statists who want to know where welfare would come from without a government. Explaining how mutual aid has worked before governments involved themselves in the industry doesn’t appease them because they can simply write such examples off as archaic solutions that cannot work in the modern world. I therefore keep my eyes open for examples of mutual aid being practiced in the modern world.

I’ve been reading Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. So far it has been a really good overview of modern history in various African countries. The opening of the chapter on Senegal introduced a fascinating Islamic Sufi order. From pages 255-256:

In 1895 the Senegalese Islamic mystic and poet Cheikh Amadu Bamba Mbacke got out of the boat that was taking him to exile in Gabon and, kneeling on a mat that appeared miraculously in the water, prayed to Allah. Then he walked across the water back to Senegal and founded a global African trading company based on Islamic principles. Those who work for it are known as Mourides. In any city in the world today, if an African street trader offers you jewellery, belts or bags, he is almost certainly a Mouride, a follow of Amadu Bamba.

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The movement he founded is based on three rules: follow God, work and provoke no-one.

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Later his followers founded dahiras, prayer circles where they could meet, socialize and read the Koran and Amadu Bamba’s poems. They were also required to pay a subscription to help follow members in trouble and to contribute to the expenses of the whole movement and its leader.

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For rural people arriving in town for the first time, the dahira provides a base and a network. The subscription enables new members to find accommodations and work. If one of their number dies, it gives money to bring the body home for burial.

Furthermore, taxes aren’t paid in the city where the order was founded, an autonomous zone in Senegal. From pages 257-258:

One shopkeeper in a long robe and Muslim kufi, selling music CDs and tapes, tells me that he came here and joined the Mouride because no-on pays taxes in Tourba. ‘Touba is not part of the state,’ he says.

If there is a problem that requires money the Marabout calls a committee and they ask everyone to contribute. And immediately everyone gives, it’s called Adiya. They give because they follow the Marabout but also because if they give, people know the road will be fixed and the water will run again. This is not like Dakar … It’s all one family here. If you believe in the father, you believe in his sons. Then there is the money you pay for the poor here — two and a half percent of your profit, so no-one suffers.

Entrepreneurs who have setup a network of mutual aid to help other members of their entrepreneurial order? And membership in the order is voluntary? I’ve been told that such a thing is impossible.

I’m not claiming that Tourban is an anarchist utopia or that the Mouride are anarchists. But they are practicing a way of life that provides the commodities most people ascribe to statism without statism. The Mouride are demonstrating today that there is more than one solution to the problems statists mistakenly believe can only be solved by governments.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 12th, 2017 at 11:00 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

A Modest Proposal to End Arguing Over Tax Legislation

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Now that they have power the Republicans are pushing through new tax legislation. If you listen to Republicans, the legislation will leave more money in all of our pockets’. If you listen to Democrats, the legislation will lead to the death of billions of people. However, like the Affordable Care Act, the tax legislation is being slammed through too fast for anybody to actually read so nobody can even refute the claims of everybody else. But that hasn’t stopped people from arguing incessantly.

Because I’m a peacemaker by nature, I’ve decided to make a modest proposal to end all of this arguing. That proposal is simple; let’s just abolish taxes.

Without taxes there is no need to argue about tax legislation. By abolishing taxes we can return trillions of hours of unproductive time to the American people so it can instead be used productively. Imagine the economic boom this country will enjoy with trillions of additional hours of labor!

Written by Christopher Burg

December 5th, 2017 at 11:00 am

What Could Have Been

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The last presidential election is where third parties had a chance to shine. Both major parties were fielding the worst candidates that they could find. Unfortunately, the Libertarian Party threw away its chance of making itself known by once again nominating Gary Johnson when it had the chance to field this man:

There, naked but for an ammunition belt, was 71-year-old tech tycoon and former fugitive John McAfee, spraying bullets into the wall and ceiling of the living room.

That right there is the future libertarians want; a future where everybody has the freedom to wear nothing but an ammunition belt and fire rounds into their own damned property!

What’s really funny is the fact that this man has a better grasp of libertarian principles and is better at expressing them than the Libertarian Party’s nominee.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 30th, 2017 at 10:00 am

It’s the End of the Internet, or Something

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The Federal Communications Commission Fascist Communications Club (FCC) announced its plan to revoke Title II status from Internet Service Providers (ISP) and to preempt state laws that would enforce net neutrality:

In addition to ditching its own net neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission also plans to tell state and local governments that they cannot impose local laws regulating broadband service.

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It isn’t clear yet exactly how extensive the preemption will be. Preemption would clearly prevent states from imposing net neutrality laws similar to the ones being repealed by the FCC, but it could also prevent state laws related to the privacy of Internet users or other consumer protections. Pai’s staff said that states and other localities do not have jurisdiction over broadband because it is an interstate service and that it would subvert federal policy for states and localities to impose their own rules.

Predictably a large percentage of the Internet is in full on panic mode. Supposedly this is the end of the Internet and the only way to stop it is to call the FCC and your congress critters to demand that they, for the first time ever, listen to the will of “the people” (quotations used because “the people” doesn’t exist and therefore cannot be listened to).

Let’s take a step back, calm the fuck down, and actually think about this situation. First and foremost, the Internet was thriving before ISPs were granted Title II status. There’s no reason to think that everything is going to turn to shit if that status is revoked. So take a deep breath and relax.

Now let’s consider the situation as a whole. Everybody panicking about this seems to be recommending the same thing, contact the FCC and your congress critters and demand that they stop this. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Neither the FCC or your congress critters give a shit about what you think. You’re a pleb. You can’t afford to buy these people. “Oh,” I can hear one of you saying, “I’ll threaten to vote them out of office during the next election!” Here’s the thing with threats, they only work if the person your threatening can be convinced that you have the power to follow through. Your vote doesn’t matter and your congress critters know that. Moreover, the head of the FCC is appointed, you don’t get to vote for them. And by the time the next election rolls around the damage will have been done anyways.

The real problem isn’t that the FCC is planning to take away Title II status and preempt state laws enforcing net neutrality, it’s that the FCC has power. Why should a single agency have the power to regulate the entire United States Internet? Why should the word of a single man decide whether net neutrality is mandatory or illegal? Take away the FCC’s power and suddenly it can’t decide what rules the entire damned country has to play by. If you want to do something, work to take away the FCC’s power. Whether you want to waste your time with a political solution or a real solution like replicating the work of the people who built the Guifi.net mesh network in Catalonia is up to you. But nobody has ever won a war by fighting the same battle over and over again. This battle between “the people” and the FCC has already been waged several times and will continue to be waged forever if a change in strategy isn’t made.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 22nd, 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

They’re Just Teasing Us

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Nobody likes a tease:

This week, the 78-year-old Koskinen began his third retirement. And he says the IRS is still a distressed organization. “When Eisenhower left office, his message was: Beware the military-industrial complex,” Koskinen said. “My message is: Beware the collapse of the IRS.”

The collapse of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Why is he trying to get our hopes up so high? I think most of us know that there’s no way in hell that the federal government would allow its revenue generating arm to collapse. If anything, the IRS would be the last department that would be allowed to fall.

But can you imagine a world where the federal government didn’t take a huge chunk of our income? Not only would you have more money in you pocket to do with as you please but it would severely hamper the federal government’s law enforcement and military capabilities. Perhaps the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives wouldn’t be able to run guns to Mexican drug cartels; the Federal Bureau of Investigations wouldn’t be able to radicalize random isolated individuals, give them a fake bomb, arrest them, and claim credit for thwarting a terrorist attack; the National Security Agency wouldn’t be able to continue its massive surveillance program against us; and the Drug Enforcement Agency wouldn’t be able to continue waging its lethal war on drugs. A world without the IRS could be a beautiful one indeed. Let’s all hope that Koskinen’s warning has some kernel of truth behind it and that someday the IRS could collapse.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 17th, 2017 at 10:30 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

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

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Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes wear business suits and work as accountants and lawyers who specialized in defending their client’s assets from thieving governments:

The world’s most profitable firm has a secretive new structure that would enable it to continue avoiding billions in taxes, the Paradise Papers show.

They reveal how Apple sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax practices by actively shopping around for a tax haven.

It then moved the firm holding most of its untaxed offshore cash, now $252bn, to the Channel Island of Jersey.

Apple said the new structure had not lowered its taxes.

It said it remained the world’s largest taxpayer, paying about $35bn (£26bn) in corporation tax over the past three years, that it had followed the law and its changes “did not reduce our tax payments in any country”.

The article appears to be implying that Apple is lying about its tax payments not changing. However, I’m betting that Apple is being truthful and the move prevented its tax payments from increasing after the crackdown in Ireland (Ireland had a sweet deal until its neighbors, upset that Ireland was getting a lot of business, put pressure on it to bring its corporate tax structure up to their standards).

The accountants and lawyers that Apple hired to pull this off deserve the same applause as anybody else who stops a thief from mugging another person. Unfortunately, the world is populated with statists so those heroes will be treated like villains.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 8th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Increasing the Forced Labor Pool

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The Pentagon has begun pushing for a policy to require women to also register for the draft. Why would the United States even bother with continuing the draft now that it’s using mercenaries for so much of its fighting? Because mercenaries want to get paid and the Pentagon wants to have the option of free labor available to it:

Not surprisingly, the Pentagon, the report reminds us, wants the Service Program to continue indefinitely. No surprise there. But now, the Pentagon wants to expand draft registration so it can include millions of young people who had not previously been eligible.

This proposed change will be couched in a variety of irrelevant issues like “gender equality” and “women in combat.” At the heart of the matter, however, is the fact that the Pentagon wants an even larger list of potential forced laborers who can be paid below-market wages. In other words, draft registration offers — and has always offered — a list of people who can be forced to pay higher taxes in the form of mandatory “service”:

“Conscription is slavery,” Murray Rothbard wrote in 1973, and while temporary conscription is obviously much less bad — assuming one outlives the term of conscription — than many other forms of slavery, conscription is nevertheless a nearly-100-percent tax on the production of one’s mind and body. If one attempts to escape his confinement in his open-air military jail, he faces imprisonment or even execution in many cases.

When you stop paying a mercenary, they go home. When you enslave draft an individual and fail to pay them or pay them below the market rate, they can’t go home because they’ll be arrested for desertion. The other downside with mercenaries is that you can’t force them to do anything. They’re contracted for a specific type of work. Drafted individuals, on the other hand, can be forced to perform any task:

Should the American state decide that it’s necessary to finally make use of the Selective Service lists, the new draftees won’t be people sent to carry rifles on the front lines. The military doesn’t want poorly trained conscripts in combat, anyway. But this fact by no means precludes the potential usefulness of conscription to the federal government.

What the US state does want — especially in case of dropping revenues due to economic crisis — is cheap labor to build military bases, drive trucks, prepare food, load cargo, mop floors, and perform the countless non-combat tasks that are required to further expand military prerogatives both at home and abroad. Yes, the US government can pay people to do all those things now. But conscripts could be much cheaper.

The Pentagon can have its cake and eat it too. By paying mercenaries to fight its wars, the Pentagon can have access to professional soldiers. By drafting people into slavery, the Pentagon can save money by having the infrastructure required to fight the war built for less than the market going rate.

Requiring women to register for the draft would offer the Pentagon an even larger pool of potential slave laborers, which would give it the option to expand itself further than it currently could without having to invest a lot more money.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 31st, 2017 at 10:30 am