A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Not So Crazy Libertarian Ideals’ tag

We Have Spain’s Answer

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Last week Catalonia declared independence. I noted that what happens next will depend on Spain’s response. If Spain decided to ignore Catalonia, the country would realize its independence. If Spain decided to put the boot down on the Catalans’ throats, civil war could erupt. Now we know which direction Spain wants to go:

A Spanish judge has jailed two key members of the Catalan independence movement.

Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, who lead prominent separatist groups, are being held without bail while they are under investigation for sedition.

I’m sure this is going to go over well with the Catalans. But I also suspect that Spain is eager to egg the Catalans into a violent response so it has an excuse to send its shock troops in to cleanse the region of any and all dissidents (and non-dissidents that happen to look at the shock troops in the wrong manner).

Once again we see the futility of democracy. If a group of people decide to vote for an option that isn’t approved by their rulers, their “voice” (which is what I’m told votes are) is stifled and, if necessary, the people who voted the wrong way are violently dealt with. There are few cases that I can think of where secession has been accomplished through a ballot box.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 17th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Catalonia Declared Independence

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Yesterday the region of Catalonia declared its independence from Spain:

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and other regional politicians signed a document declaring Catalonia’s independence from Spain, but it was unclear if the document would have any legal value.

“Catalonia restores today its full sovereignty,” says the document, called “declaration of the representatives of Catalonia.”

“We call on all states and international organizations to recognize the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state. We call on the Catalan government to take all necessary measures to make possible and fully effective this declaration of independence and the measures contained in the transition law that founds the republic.”

I’m amused by the article noting that it’s unclear if the document has any legal value. Legal value to who? If the question is in regards to Spain, then the document has no legal value because as far as Spain is concerned it is illegal for any territory within its realm to leave. If the question is in regards to Catalonia, then the document has legal value because the Catalans believe that they have a right to secede from Spain.

The actual question of importance is, what will Spain’s response be? Spain must decide to either recognize Catalonia’s independence (officially or unofficially) or forcefully prevent Catalonia from operating independently. If Spain chooses the former, Catalonia becomes independent regardless of legality. If Spain chooses the latter, there very well could be a civil war.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 13th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Why Government Licensing is a Bad Idea

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Everybody seems to be a fan of government licensing until a politician they don’t like abuses it or threatens to abuse it. Donald Trump became upset with NBC because it reported that he said that he wanted a tenfold increase in nuclear weaponry. I wasn’t at the meeting so I can’t say one way or another whether he said that. However, in response to the report, Trump threatened to bring the weight of federal regulations down on NBC:

WASHINGTON — President Trump threatened on Wednesday to use the federal government’s power to license television airwaves to target NBC in response to a report by the network’s news division that he contemplated a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

In a story aired and posted online Wednesday morning, NBC reported that Mr. Trump said during a meeting in July that he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, stunning some members of his national security team. It was after this meeting that Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson reportedly said Mr. Trump was a “moron.”

Mr. Trump objected to the report in a series of Twitter messages over the course of the day and threatened to use the authority of the federal government to retaliate.

Libel and slander are usually dealt with in court. Normally if somebody believes that they have grounds to retaliate over what somebody else said or wrote, the courts would be the place where they would take their case. But most of us aren’t high ranking members of the State. Those that are have access to other forms of retaliation that doesn’t involve potential roadblocks like juries. One such form of retaliation is licensing. If you’re involved in a business that is required to be licensed by a governmental body, pissing off any petty bureaucrat could result in your licensed being revoked without so much as a bench trial.

I’ve seen a lot of self-declared leftists decry Trump’s threat. A few of them have even recognized that this form of licensing can allow the government to violate the First Amendment. Unfortunately, I expect this recognition to disappear once one of their guys is in power again. At that point self-declared rightists will again recognize the dangers of government licensing and the cycle will continue. Until enough people can recognize the dangers of government licensing for longer than their opponent is in power we’ll never see this practice dismissed.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 12th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Learning Lessons the Hard Way

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My view of politics is bleak. I don’t believe voting is capable of bringing about meaningful change nor do I believe that the system can be changed from the inside even if decent people are elected to offices. No matter how often I point out the redundancies that prevent meaningful change from occurring within the State, people continue to argue that we (by which I assume they mean the royal we) have to keep trying. Perhaps those individuals, like this individual, will someday get a job within the State and learn the lesson the hard way:

This summer I got to see how Illinois government works from the inside when I accepted a high-level position at the governor’s office.

A lot of people have asked why I took the role, considering I have spent the bulk of my career railing against the government.

It came down to this: If I declined the job, I’d watch Illinois’ problems go unfixed and wonder if I could have made a difference. Or, I could enter the nucleus of state government and attempt to change the system from within.

[…]

The experience was eye-opening, but after six weeks I decided to leave the position. It was a dysfunctional workplace in a flailing administration. The bad I saw far outweighed any good I could do.

But perhaps worst of all is that I learned early on that there would be no fixing the system from within, especially from my role; this is a state government that has been broken for decades. It is designed to reject improvement in every form, at every level.

Then again they, like most people who enter government, might realize how awesome it is to receive a paycheck for doing nothing meaningful and forget all about their plan to change the system from within. But I digress.

The article is a great read and, although it’s discusses the Illinois government, the issues it brings up apply to any governmental body (or any bureaucracy in general). Promotions aren’t based on merit but on seniority and connections. Since promotions aren’t based on merit, apathy is rampant. Tradition rules. “We’ve always done it this way,” is considered a valid argument for doing something in governmental bodies. The combination of apathy and tradition dictating direction is a recipe for failure. Just ask any number of companies that failed due to apathetic employees pursing the things the company has always done.

Every single member of government is an interchangeable cog in a complex machine. Even an office as powerful as the presidency of the United States of America is unable to bring about any meaningful change, regardless of how much people believe otherwise, because the other cogs don’t want to shake up what they perceive to be a pretty good thing (being a government official is a pretty cushy job).

Written by Christopher Burg

October 11th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Catalonia Claiming to Declare Independence in a Matter of Days

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It seems that Spain’s clubs failed to break the spirits of Catalans. Even though Spanish law enforcers beat down over 800 people, Catalonia is still planning to declare its independence:

Catalonia will declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, the leader of the autonomous region has told the BBC.

In his first interview since a disputed vote on Sunday, Carles Puigdemont said his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.

If the Catalan government follows through with its promise, Spain will have to either acquiesce or use force. Judging by its response to the vote, I’m lead to believe that Spain isn’t planning to acquiesce. Needless to say, this could escalate into a civil war. Hopefully Spain will recognize the fact that it has no right to claim ownership of Catalonia or its people and steps aside. But history has shown that few government will recognize or admit to their illegitimacy.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 4th, 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

Spain Apparently Wants Civil War

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The vote on secession in Catalonia has come and gone. The overwhelming majority of voters voted in favor of secession. However, in order to cast that vote they had to risk beatings from Spanish law enforcers:

The Catalan regional government is holding an emergency meeting to discuss the next steps towards declaring independence from Spain, a day after millions of Catalans voted in a tumultuous poll that left more than 800 people injured.

Preliminary results from Sunday’s vote showed that 90% of people cast their ballots in favour of independence, according to the Catalan government.

At least 844 people and 33 police were reported to have been hurt on Sunday after riot police stormed polling stations in a last-minute effort to stop the vote.

This vote wasn’t even binding and Spain’s law enforcers were willing to beat down over 800 people, which really shows Spain’s attitude towards Catalan independence. As far as Spain is concerned, the only way Catalonia is leaving is in a body bag. However, secession appears to be extremely popular in Catalonia so Spain is unlikely to succeed at keeping the people there under its boot indefinitely. If things continue down this road, Spain will eventually have to decide whether it will let Catalonia secede peacefully or require it engage in a civil war. I’m hoping for the former but based on Spain’s actions so far I fear the latter may be inevitable.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 3rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

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

Secession is Good for the Soul

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I’ve written about Catalonia’s strive for independence from Spain on several occasions. But Catalonia isn’t the only region trying to break away from a larger government. The Kurds in northern Iraq are also trying to break away from Iraq:

People living in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence for the Kurdistan Region in Monday’s controversial referendum.

The electoral commission said 92% of the 3.3 million Kurds and non-Kurds who cast their ballots supported secession.

The announcement came despite a last-minute appeal for the result to be “cancelled” from Iraq’s prime minister.

As with every vote related to independence, this vote isn’t binding. But it does show the amount of support in northern Iraq for independence, which will hopefully give proponents for secession more motivation and hope.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 28th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Selective Collectivism

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One of the most fascinating characteristics of collectivists is how they tended to individualize bad ingroup behavior and good outgroup behavior but collectivize good ingroup behavior and bad outgroup behavior.

Let’s use a supporter of the Democratic Party (party chosen at the flip of a coin) for an example.

If another member of the Democratic Party commits murder, our hypothetical supporter will likely be quick to point out that that murderer is a bad apple and not typical of democrats in general. If another member of the Democratic Party gives money to a homeless man, our hypothetical supporter will likely point out that that charitable individual is proof of the good acts of the Democratic Party.

If a member of the Republican Party commits murder, our hypothetical supporter will likely be quick to accuse the Republican Party of not doing enough to distance itself from the murderer and therefore everybody in that party is tacitly supporting the murderer. If a member of the Republican Party gives money to a homeless man, our hypothetical supporter will likely point out that that charitable individual is an exception and that the Republican Party in general hates the poor.

We see this everyday. How many Christians point out that the misdeeds of a handful of Christians aren’t representative of Christianity but then imply or outright claims that Islam is a religion of violence because a handful of Muslims commit violent acts? How many Americans continue to excuse the terrible acts of the country’s politicians as the acts of a few bad apples who aren’t representative of America as a whole but then collectivize all North Koreans because of the acts of the country’s leader?

Collectivists tend to be selective. They want all of the good credit for their side and all of the bad credit to the other side, which leads to a significant amount of philosophical inconsistency.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 26th, 2017 at 11:00 am