A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘You Can’t Cure Stupid’ tag

The Importance of Proving Guilt

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People are trying to identify of the national socialists who attended the Charlottesville fiasco. The people leading this operation want to identify those individuals so they can be publicly shamed and fired from their jobs. I nominally have nothing against such a tactic. After all, it was a public rally so anybody there should have been aware that they had no expectation of privacy. However, if you’re going to ruin somebody’s life you damn well better be sure that you have the right target. Unfortunately, as is common with these Internet lynch mobs, people have been less concerned about evidence than about nailing somebody to the wall:

After a day of work at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Kyle Quinn had a pleasant Friday night in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague. They explored an art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and dined at an upscale restaurant.

Then on Saturday, he discovered that social media sleuths had incorrectly identified him as a participant in a white nationalist rally some 1,100 miles away in Charlottesville, Va. Overnight, thousands of strangers across the country had been working together to share photographs of the men bearing Tiki torches on the University of Virginia campus. They wanted to name and shame them to their employers, friends and neighbors. In a few cases, they succeeded.

But Mr. Quinn’s experience showed the risks.

A man at the rally had been photographed wearing an “Arkansas Engineering” shirt, and the amateur investigators found a photo of Mr. Quinn that looked somewhat similar. They were both bearded and had similar builds.

By internet frenzy standards, that was proof enough.

Following Blackstone’s formulation, which states that, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer,” doesn’t make me the most popular person in the world but I’d rather have clean hands than be popular.

Justice cannot exist when there is no concern for evidence and proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before inflicting punishment. The only result of a lack of a substantial burden of proof is a system of chance. Maybe some guilty people will be punished, maybe some innocent people will be punished. If you’re accused of a crime, you will be facing a flip of a coin.

If you want to name and shame national socialists, that’s fine. However, you should actually have enough evidence at hand to prove that they’re national socialists. Likewise, people on the Internet shouldn’t take any accusations at face value. If somebody claims that an individual is a national socialist, you should demand to see the evidence and decide if the evidence proves that the individual is a national socialist beyond a reasonable doubt. If both of those conditions are missing, everybody will effectively be holding a gun to each other’s head and the only rule will be to shoot somebody before they have a chance to shoot you.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 16th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Why Collectivism is Doomed to Fail

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Nazism is in the headlines again because there are people who still take the ideology seriously. The fact that anybody takes Nazism seriously is evidence that not enough people have read Ludwig von Mises. Mises thoroughly destroyed Nazism in his book Omnipotent Government. One of the most important points he made was that Nazism, due to its foundational principles, was doomed to eternal strife:

The strong man, say the Nazis, is not only entitled to kill. He has the right to use fraud, lies, defamation, and forgery as legitimate weapons. Every means is right that serves the German nation. But who has to decide what is good for the German nation?

To this question the Nazi philosopher replies quite candidly: Right and noble are what I and my comrades deem such, are what the sound feelings of the people (das gesunde Volksempfinden) hold good, right, and fair. But whose feelings are sound and whose unsound? About that matter, say the Nazis, there can be no dispute between genuine Germans.

But who is a genuine German? Whose thoughts and feelings are genuinely German and whose are not? Whose ideas are German ones—those of Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller, or those of Hitler and Goebbels? Was Kant, who wanted eternal peace, genuinely German? Or are Spengler, Rosenberg, and Hitler, who call pacifism the meanest of all ideas, genuine Germans?

There is dissension among men to whom the Nazis themselves do not deny the appellation German. The Nazis try to escape from this dilemma by admitting that there are some Germans who unfortunately have un-German ideas. But if a German does not always necessarily think and feel in a correct German way, who is to decide which German’s ideas are German and which un-German? It is obvious that the Nazis are moving in a circle. Since they abhor as manifestly un-German decision by majority vote, the conclusion is inescapable that according to them German is whatever those who have succeeded in civil war consider to be German.

This isn’t a problem exclusive to Nazism. Any philosophy that defines what is right or wrong by the “will” of a collective will suffer this exactly problem.

Another thing that Mises pointed out is, “All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.” A collective has no will. It cannot think, reason, or act. Individuals within a collective can think, reason, and act but the collective itself is nothing more than an abstraction. Discussing the “will of the people” is nonsense.

But the abstractions don’t stop there. Once somebody allows themselves to believe that a collective can have a will they inevitably start grouping individuals into various collectives. Usually these collectives are poorly defined. In Mises’ book he points out how poorly defined “genuine German” was. Under Marxism people are grouped into either the proletariat or the bourgeoisie. In the Soviet Union the government threw anybody it didn’t like into a catchall group called kulaks. What constitutes a genuine German, proletariat, bourgeoisie, or kulak? It depends on who gets to define those collectives. Usually the “good” groups, like genuine Germans and proletariat, are defined as “everybody who agrees with me” whereas the “bad” groups, like bourgeoisie and kulaks, are defined as “everybody who disagrees with me.”

The national socialists in this country are already busy defining their collectives. They obvious hold anybody who is white in the highest regard. However, if one happens to be both white and Jewish then they are relegated to the dregs of society because, according to national socialists, Jews are the lowest collective. I’m not sure how Asians rank in their system although I know they certainly rank below whites. Blacks certainly rank pretty low in the national socialist system although I think the current consensus amongst its proponents is that they’re still slightly higher than Jews. These definitions, being abstractions, will shift over time as new people gain influence amongst national socialists. The definition of each race will shift as well as the ranking of the defined races amongst each other. And, of course, battle for influence amongst national socialists will involve a lot of arguments over the minutiae with insults of people who disagree being “race traitors.”

Collectivism is doomed to fail because it relies on poorly defined abstractions. Any system that ignores reality in favor of arbitrarily defined abstractions will implement policies that don’t work in the real world and will therefore eventually collapse.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 15th, 2017 at 11:00 am

A Debate Between National and International Socialism is Hardly a Debate

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In America, much like in Europe, the concept of individualism is almost entirely absent. The political spectrum is synonymous with the socialist spectrum. On the left are the international socialists. On the right are the national socialists. Since the end of World War II, due to their side losing the war, proponents of national socialism have been more or less relegated to the shadows. That has started to change since the election of Donald Trump. The national socialists believe they were critical in getting Trump elected so they also believe that they have a great deal of influence and power, which is probably part of the reason why they are crawling out of the shadows and onto the streets:

Chanting “blood and soil,” “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us,” scores of white nationalists holding torches marched across the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Friday night.

Scuffles broke out between them and a small group of counter-protesters calling themselves “anti-fascists” who were surrounded as they demonstrated in advance of Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which is expected to be one of the largest far-right gatherings in the U.S. in at least a decade.

As you’re probably aware, the Unite the Right rally didn’t remain peaceful. Several scuffles broke out and one person drove a car into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring 19. This shouldn’t have surprised anybody though since this was a political rally and politics is nothing more than a ritualized form of violence.

It seems like most people have either sided with the national socialists or the protesters. If there is a silver lining to this two-sided split it’s that it has revealed many of the crypto-statists who have been hiding amongst the anarcho-capitalists. I’m not a fan of purges but I am a fan of duplicitous people outing themselves. Unfortunately, this being the United States, the protesters seem to be primarily made up of international socialists, which differ from their national socialists brethren only in minor ways.

Under national socialism you’re either a member of the nation and gain the “benefits” of socialism or you’re relegated to the slave class, which means you’re forced to provide the resources necessary for the members of the nation, executed, or the former followed by the latter. What defines a member of the nation or the slave class is largely arbitrary. American national socialists put a lot of emphasis on race, which they also define rather arbitrarily. For example, if you’re white, you’re likely considered a member of the nation… unless you happen to be Jewish as well. This sounds familiar doesn’t it? Replace “member of the nation” with proletariat and “slave class” with bourgeoisie and you have international socialism. So the political debate here in the United States is one of arbitrarily defined definitions.

The only way out of this socialist death spiral is a resurgence of individualism. But if there’s an ideology that is less popular than national socialism here in the United States, it’s individualism. Because while national and international socialists have their disagreements, they can both agree that people who view the individual, not the collective, as supreme are a threat to their power and beliefs and therefore must be exterminated. Since the only alternative to socialism is relegated to the shadows the predominant political debate in this country will hardly be a debate at all.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Only a Fool Would Let His Enemy Teach His Children

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One of my friends posted this article on Facebook. The article is from a year ago but what it discusses is still valid today. Even though Venezuela is collapsing under the weight of socialism, socialism remains appealing to many people. The fact that a majority of people still support socialism even though it has been one of the greatest killers of the 20th and 21st centuries is probably the greatest argument against democracy but I digress.

How can people still love socialism even though it has caused so much death and misery? I think I can explain this fact using two quotes. Lenin one said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Malcom X said, “Only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.” The ideas of socialism usually take root in the minds of children in government schools indoctrination centers.

All states are socialist to some degree. Some countries, like the United States, have become extremely socialist in nature. Since government indoctrination centers are concerned with ensuring children in their confines develop a love of Big Brother, it’s not surprising that children subjected to a government “education” develop a love of socialism. It’s literally programmed into them at a young age.

People have a tendency to make things fit their bias. This is especially true with biases that were programmed in at a young ago such as political ideology and religion. Even if you present objective truth to somebody that one of their programmed beliefs is incorrect they will more often than not find a way to dismiss that truth so they can continue believing what they believe. The reason socialism remains appealing to so many even though mountains of evidence show that it’s a horrible idea is because parents have let socialists educate their children.

Lenin wasn’t even shy about the fact that he wanted to ability to educate children and why. Malcom X pointed out that it’s foolish to let your enemy educate your children. Yet people who should know better continue to subject to children to government indoctrination centers and are surprised when their children turn out to be mindless statists. That’s how you know Lenin was a strategic genius. He didn’t hide what he was doing and his enemies still fell into his trap.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 4th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Might Makes Right

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Most people are appalled by the idea that might makes right. They seem to believe that just because somebody has the might to force their will on others doesn’t mean doing so is moral. However, the response is different if I change the phrasing just a little bit. If I say that the plurality of voters agreed to something then suddenly the use of force becomes moral.

Democracy is nothing more than a popularity contest. For some reason a single individual wanting something and resorting to force to get it is considered immoral to most people. But a plurality of voters, regardless of how small that plurality is, wanting something and resorting to force to get it is considered moral to the same people. What those people are actually saying is that they believe popularity contents determine morality.

We see this attitude whenever somebody justifies aggression against a nonviolent person by saying, “He broke the law!” What is law in the United States is determined primarily by what the plurality of a political body say it is. Since a plurality of voters in Congress voted to ban cannabis and they managed to get a president to sign off on it (if he didn’t then Congress would have just had to override his veto by voting harder), using cannabis is against the law and it is therefore moral, at least in the eye’s of those who support democracy, for law enforcers to go as far as killing cannabis users.

Every single law is enforced with force. Every single law exists because a plurality of voters; in this case usually voters in the United States Congress, state congresses, or city councils; endorsed the law. Democracy is nothing more than might makes right with a single additional stipulation. Might makes right so long as might wins a popularity contest first.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 3rd, 2017 at 11:00 am

The Ends Reflect the Means

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There has been an upsurge in what I like to call libertarian nationalism. I’m sure you’re aware of the type of individual I’m talking about. They usually claim to be libertarians but also claim that the only way to fight the “leftists” is through tactics that look, walk, and talk like fascism. They remind me of a quote from Ludwig von Mises’s Omnipotent Government:

Omnipotent Government is Mises’s chronicling of the rise of the Nazi Party and it’s a valuable read for anybody who believes that totalitarian tactics can be used to fight totalitarianism. Those who are unfamiliar with the history of the Nazi Party might not be aware that before it decided to fight Jews it fought the Bolsheviks. The Nazi Party, which was a national socialist party, and the Bolsheviks, who were international socialists, were both fighting for control of Germany. The Nazi Party used totalitarian tactics to fight totalitarians and the result, not surprisingly, was totalitarianism.

Libertarian nationalists subscribe to the idea that the ends justify the means (which is also the idea that communists tend to subscribe to). However, the ends always reflect the means. If you use totalitarian means you will get totalitarian ends. On the other hand, as Mises pointed out, if you use the unconditional principles of freedom then you will get freedom in the end.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 2nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Idiots Harassing Idiots

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It appears that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has been harassing one of the local militia groups:

To the FBI, they were part of a Minnesota militia group possibly gearing up for a violent showdown with the government.

Members of the group, called United Patriots of Minnesota 3%, say they’re nothing more than patriots defending hard-won liberties secured by a handful of forefathers who stood against tyranny.

No one has been charged in the investigation, which spilled into public view recently when a federal judge unsealed search warrants in the case. But the probe underscores the complexity of balancing protected speech with trying to root out domestic terror.

I wonder how many members of the United Patriots of Minnesota 3% are undercover feds. It seems like most of these groups have at least three or four. Sometimes I wonder if many of these groups are made up entirely of undercover feds. But I digress.

The FBI and the III%er movement are a match made in Heaven. One is a government agency that spends most of its time manufacturing terrorists to “catch” so it can declare itself a hero. The other is a group of individuals who claim that they will rise up if the government takes any of their rights but never does even though the government is constantly taking their rights. Both of these groups could write volumes about doing nothing.

I’m sure this case is going to be a laugh riot. The FBI is harassing the III%er’s for their speech (yet, ironically, they still refuse to rise up even though their First Amendment right is being infringed) so it really doesn’t have a case that anybody should give a damn about. But the case will result in choice statements made by the III%er members being made public. Those statements will show a lot of impotent rage, which is always good for laughs.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 1st, 2017 at 10:30 am

Cool Things Like This Never Happens to Me

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There is probably some lucky Canadian with a slightly used grenade launcher:

A multi-grenade launcher fell off the back of a truck in British Columbia, Canada. A member of the Integrated Emergency Response Team lost their grenade launcher with ammo. Now the launcher is non-lethal and shoots gas grenades. However it is not something you want to have falling out of your vehicle.

Law enforcers losing weaponry isn’t all that uncommon. It happens here in the United States from time to time. Apparently not having to pay for their weaponry makes law enforcers careless. I do hope that some lucky Canadian came across the launcher and decided to keep it for their personal collection. It would make a neat conversation piece if nothing else.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 1st, 2017 at 10:00 am

Preventing Death with Death

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It’s no secret that certain drugs can kill you if you use too high of a dose. This problem has been made worse with drugs that the State has declared illegal because their prohibition has motivated manufacturers to increase the potency so more can be smuggled in smaller packages. Opiates have increased in potency significantly and therefore have lead to greater deaths related to overdoses. Even I know somebody who died of an opiate overdose not too long ago. However, I fail to see the logic in how killing more people is going to improve the situation:

This unfortunate reality raises a very uncomfortable question: Do we need to go to war with Mexico to ultimately win the war against opioids and other death drugs? By “go to war,” I mean a formal declaration of war by Congress against Mexico in which we use the full force of our military might to destroy the cartels, the poppy fields and all elements of the drug trade. Ideally, as our fight is not with the Mexican government, its military or its people, which try to weaken the cartels, we would try to partner with those entities against the cartels, much as we partnered with the South Vietnamese government and military against the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army.

It sounds crazy, I know – unless you acknowledge we are already fighting a war with Mexico.

This guy’s logic is batshit insane. Yes, people are dying from opium overdoses. But the reason they’re dying from opium overdoses is because of prohibition, not because of anything the Mexican government or people have done. Moreover, the Mexican government is fighting the drug cartels so shouldn’t it be considered an ally in this fight? At the end of the day though, the real insanity is believing that the solution to people dying from their own actions is killing a bunch more. Opium users are dying because of their own actions, they’re not being killed by other people (although the actions of the United States government have certainly increased their risks of dying), so the usual justification for war, national self-defense (which is absurd as well since a “nation” is an abstraction and therefore cannot be aggressed against), doesn’t even apply here. The author’s entire argument is stupid and he should feel bad for writing it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 19th, 2017 at 10:30 am

What the NAP Is, What the NAP Isn’t

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The non-aggression principle (NAP) is a pretty straight forward ethical guideline that states that the initiation of force is unethical. It’s basically a rewording of the Golden Rule and forms the foundation of libertarianism. However, there seems to be some confusion regarding what the NAP is and isn’t. Most of this confusion originates from the “libertarian” nationalists who, for whatever reason, want to associate themselves with libertarianism but don’t want to actually abide by libertarian principles.

“Libertarian” nationalists have been saying that the NAP doesn’t apply to non-libertarians. If somebody, for example, espouses communist ideals then, according to these individuals, you can initiate as much aggression against them as possible. Leave it to nationalists to espouse collectivist ideals while simultaneously claiming that they oppose collectivism.

The NAP, like all ethical systems, applies only to the individuals practicing it. If you practice the NAP then it applies to you. If you don’t practice the NAP then it doesn’t apply to you. While there is some disagreement about what exactly constitutes aggression, in general libertarians tend to believe that if everybody abided by the NAP then the world would be a better place. To that end many libertarians have formed relationships with others who abide by the NAP. In such cases the NAP applies to each individual in those relationships because they all choose to abide by it.

In addition to being simple, the NAP is also philosophically neutral. Libertarians aren’t the only individuals who can abide by the NAP. Anybody who practices voluntary association can abide by the NAP. That means somebody who doesn’t believe in private property but believes in voluntary association, such as voluntary socialists, can abide by the NAP. If they do, then the NAP applies to them. If a libertarian chooses to aggress against them then it is the libertarian who the NAP cease to apply to since through their act of initiating aggression they demonstrated that they do not abide by it (moreover, the voluntary socialist being aggressed against is well within their rights under the NAP to defend themselves aggressively).

“Libertarian” nationalism is an oxymoronic philosophy because it claims to be both individualist and collectivist in nature. This nonsensical combination of philosophies leads its proponents to make rather absurd statements such as claiming that the NAP applies to collectives instead of individuals who choose practice it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 13th, 2017 at 11:00 am