Friday, March 30, 2007

Introduction to liberty

So today we will actually discuss liberty. Liberty is a philosophy where you are free to do what ever you want, really. The main objection with this definition is that "you can't go around killing people". This objection while valid doesn’t apply to most people. Most people want to be liked or loved by other people and will work toward being a liked or loved person.

So here we are, free to do whatever we want. So we pose a question. If you could ONLY do one thing what would that be? Well, I don't know about you, but I'm going to eat. So I can either grow my own food or trade something of value for food. Most people trade their time (work) for the necessities of life. Now that we got the basics out of the way we can spend our time doing other things. Some people might want to work more so that they can obtain more goods. Other people might want to read books, hang out with friends, or read blogs. What ever you want to do you have the liberty to do it. The main thing is that everything that transpired is voluntary. Your employer wanted to hire you and you wanted to work for that pay. The only limit is what other people will agree to do.

Now say someone wanted to come and take the fruit of your labor. You might not agree to give up your goods. So it might happen that the person will threaten harm if you don't cooperate. This is an example of a violation of liberty. If someone threatens harm you they are infringing on your liberty. It makes no difference whom does the threatening or how they threaten. An example of a liberty violation is taxes. If you want to pay taxes then your liberty is not being violated. If you don't, then your liberty is being violated.

This idea is a little hard to wrap your head around at first. Life without taxes, what would it be like? Am I crazy? Perhaps, but then again the United States didn't have a peacetime federal income tax until 1913. Over one hundred years without any federal tax, and America seems to have done alright.

In later posts we will discuss some of the ways that securing liberty for ourselves should change our social institutions. Ultimately, with true liberty, society will be much more flexible.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

evolution of a man

When I was little the news spoke derogatorily about war lords.
I asked my mom.
"Mom, what's a war lord?"
"It's someone you pay to protect you," she responded.
"What's so bad about that, we pay police"
"They'll shoot you if you don't pay"
Later I would then pay taxes or go to jail.

When I was young I read the bible;
I asked my mother.
"Mom, why don't we sacrifice animals?"
"It's what they did long ago," she responded.
"But the bible says that we should sacrifice."
"We just don't."

When I was young I read more of the bible.
I asked my father
"Dad, what's cirr-cuum-cis-ion?"
"Well you see ... "
I stopped reading the bible.
I wanted to be good in my parents' eyes and the more I read the less holy it sounded.

When I was a little older I was in Sunday school.
I was told that reading the bible would strengthen my faith.
I asked "How is that, reading about animal sacrifice?"
It was suggested that I read a specific book of the bible,
read a chapter a day 31 chapters in all.
I was told my teacher did it.
I couldn't understand why he decided to read only one chapter a day, deciding to stop before he starts.

When I was a little older I was in Sunday school.
I was told that evolution was a lie.
I brought up how we observe life changes.
I was told that that was micro-evolution not macro.
I mentioned how our family dachshund was bred from a wolf.
They said that that was man-made and not natural.

Before I left my parent's house,
I tried an experiment.
I stopped praying, for two weeks.
I realigned my mind, restructured my thoughts,
addressed my thoughts to me not to Him.
I never prayed again.

When I was in college,
I went to a service.
The people were strange and nice.
We read Revelations, and we were told be hot or cold for the Lord, not luke warm.
I didn't want to be hot and I was told not to be warm.
So, that meant that I should be cold.

Later, I had to restructure my thoughts.
Figure out what life meant to me.
Figure out what I was going to live for.
I had to realign my complete world view.
I found plenty of good things around me.
Things I could see, touch, taste, and read.

Then I heard a man argue that warlords should serve as police.
He made more sense than my mom.

Friday, March 16, 2007

New money? and other issues

Today we discuss actual news, the third paragraph. News that you might not get from the mainstream press.

I think that Ryan Fugger will change the world. You might ask, Who is Ryan Fugger? Well he's a Canadian who has decided to try to put different concepts of money into practice. The result, Ripple monetary payment system. Ripple is a program currently being beta tested, which provides a different payment system. At first the basis of the idea behind the payment sounds a little out there, but after review its surprising properties are discovered. The principal is that payments are processed merely by creating a debt or erasing a debt between trusted parties. To pay a party that you don't trust, ripple must find a chain of trusted relationships and will create/erase a chain of debts. Ryan promotes his payment system as a natural competitor to a bank. Simply put, with ripple, trusted relationships can serve the same purpose as a bank and credit card. Ryan is focused on keeping track of debt in the various national fiat currencies around the world. Another application of ripple is that, once established, it would make micro-payments a piece of cake. Also I, and at least a few others, think that there is the possibility that ripple monetary payment system could completely supplant traditional currency.

And now for the news. Dialstation, a prepaid telephone calling service, has an interest in integrating ripple into its service. The idea is that you could pay for phone service and receive a credit on a ripple server. The customer then could establish credit relationships and use the ripple credit to purchase other goods and services. The phone service could act like a value backer for ripple debts, and it is pondered that this could seed the ripple program. For dialstation users that do not want to be caught up in this new idea, they could not establish any credit relationships and the addition of ripple will have no effect on their account.

Now for a twist with commentary. I categorize this idea of ripple as a free thought, a thought that is reasoned out without any constraints that society may provide. Freethoughts lead to other freethoughts, and freethinkers are drawn to other freethinkers. It turns out that there is another freethought embedded in this story. This dialstation is somehow connected to Telekommunisten. Notice the word "kommunisten," Communist in German. So now if you are of a free market persuasion like me this word strikes fear into your heart. This article(german) from Süddeutsche online newspaper refers to this bout of "Venture-Communism" as an application of the "sozialistischen Anarchismus" (socialist anarchist) model. As a proponent of free markets I am sceptical of this venture. At the same time if this actually works, and no force or violence is used to secure this telephone service. I don't see any reason a free market proponent would complain. In fact I would welcome the peaceful competition of different business models, as long as everyone involved agrees to their involvement. Now that I have supported peaceful competition I will discuss some worries that I have.

Socialist anarchist could be another term for a group of people that call themselves libertarian socialists in the United States. There have been a few libertarian socialist uprisings in the United States. You can surely identify a libertarian socialist uprising by the black clothes, and the black (or red) handkerchief that is worn over the face of protesters. These uprisings sometimes involve protesting on the street blocking traffic. I also saw a video that showed vandalism perpetrated by libertarian socialists. I have an interest in these libertarian socialists because they are anarchistic. I certainly do not agree with the tactics of blocking traffic and vandalism. I consider these actions to be against the "non-violence axiom" that is central to free market anarchist thought. I sometimes consider if a libertarian socialist population could peacefully co-exist with a free market anarchist society. I think that they could, and there has been some written about this concept. The divergence between the two ideologies is based on property rights. The co-existence issue revolves around people learning to respect different forms of property rights perhaps even in the same town. I would love to know an actual libertarian socialist's view on the idea of co-existing. Telekommunisten however states that it's goal is to own the world, by that they mean that libertarian socialist own the world. I think that this goal is unobtainable, and misguided, however it should be interesting to see what unfolds.