03 Mar 2017

Potpourri

Potpourri 112 Comments

==> I am not a fan of using political courts to punish liars, but it’s pretty amazing what Greenpeace was forced to admit in court as a result of a lawsuit.

==> My latest IER post highlights a new Fraser Institute study (not by me) that shows the British Columbia carbon tax hasn’t been revenue neutral for at least two years, even though the BC government has claimed that it was.

==> Josh Hendrickson tries to defend the Austrian theory of the business cycle from the rational expectations objection.

==> A pretty clever ploy by Uber to evade the h8ers.

112 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Aisling says:

    “The hardcore environmental activists who support a large carbon tax (in addition to other measures) do not worry about “revenue neutrality,” and indeed they admitted as much in the failed ballot initiative over a proposed carbon tax in Washington State.”

    Judging by your link, one of the organizations you are apparently calling “hardcore environmental activists” is the Sierra Club.

    At least the director of that organization isn’t. (It’s a large organization, not say they’re all fake, but still.) He endorsed Hillary, not as a “lesser evil” but as if she were actually green. See here:
    http://sierraclub.org/michael-brune/2016/06/hillary-clinton-endorsement

    #fakegreens

    If you want to see what a “hardcore environmental activist” looks like, look at Chase Iron Eyes.
    https://www.facebook.com/lastrealindians/videos/1374089105946049/

  2. Aisling says:

    Resolute Forest Products is not an innocent corporation. They have used police force while invading the land of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake indigenous people.
    https://ipsmo.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/barriere-lake-threatened-with-arrest/

    While I won’t give blanket approval to everything any Greenpeace member has ever done or said, they are, unlike the Sierra Club, a real green NGO. (Though in all fairness, Sierra Club isn’t the worst either… more mixed.) Greenpeace supports nuclear disarmament, they are strongly anti-war/pro-peace, they did not endorse Hillary Clinton, they do not ignore indigenous people as many of the fake green NGOs do, they’re international, and they’re willing to practice non-violent direct action.

    It’s possible some Greenpeace members may have gotten carried away when criticizing Resolute Forest Products, but that does not make resolute Forest Products an innocent corporation any more than a libertarian over at antiwar.com getting away in critiquing some warmonger would make that warmonger innocent.

    Antiwar.com might not be able to defend each and every statement made on their website if subjected to court scrutiny either. There’s an article here which is heavily critical of Mr. Elliot Abrams. Supposing, in addition to calling for phone calls to stop Mr. Elliot Abrams from being appointed to Deputy Secretary of State, antiwar.com also called for a boycott against Mr. Elliot Abrams, and then Mr. Elliot Abrams found something in this article that antiwar.com could not defend in court and sued antiwar.com for defamation. What would it say about me if I were “amazed” by what antiwar.com might be forced to admit in court?
    https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2017/02/06/stop-elliott-abrams/

    Anti-defamation laws and other anti-free speech laws are often used by violent corporations and individuals to silence those they have harmed and the friends of those they have harmed. These laws put a veil of silence over violence, and not everyone has the resources Greenpeace has to even try to defend themselves in court.

    • Darien says:

      The question to hand is not whether or not Resolute is “innocent” in some cosmic, metaphysical sense, but whether or not Resolute is innocent of the charges laid against it by Greenpeace — and even then, only the ones Resolute objected to. Given that Greenpeace itself has now admitted so, it’s not easy to see what the argument is.

      As for the weird, imaginary antiwar.com scenario, well, I won’t speak for you, but I would be vastly *more* amazed to hear that antiwar.com makes up its facts than I was to hear that about Greenpeace. For instance, if the statement “Abrams was indicted and convicted in the infamous “Contra-gate” scandal of the 1980s, when he collaborated in a plot to cover up paying ransom to Iran for the hostages they had taken” turns out to be false, antiwar.com will lose an awful lot of credibility in my eyes. Should it not be so?

      • Aisling says:

        You want to talk about making up facts? Why not talk about facts made up by the government? It really feels like many libertarians hate us greens even more than you or they hate the government. It’s most baffling.

        Josh Fox said, “They shot my colleague, Erin Schrode, in the back, with a rubber bullet, in the middle of an interview. I witnessed it. […] They completely denied that this happened. […] They used water cannons in 20 degree weather against peaceful protectors, causing instant hypothermia. They also denied that this happened, even though it’s on tape. […] They hurled a concussion grenade at an unarmed protector, Sophia Wilansky, completely obliterating her arm. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department completely denies having done this. […] The rubber bullets and the concussion grenades have been recovered. They didn’t just fall out of the sky, they came from the police force. When the police are blatantly lying, they’re no longer the police. And they’re certainly not a credible source of information.”(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)

        Jordan Chariton, “Okay, basically, that gentleman was the ATF officer that just testified against a water protector (name: Michael Marcus). He put out information without having any evidence. He says that the water protector told him that he poured gasoline on the bridge and other, not him, but other people then lit vehicles on fire. The water protector, Michael Marcus, says he did not light gasoline on anything and he did not tell that officer that he poured gasoline. That-that-that’s he main reason they’re holding him right now, because that officer said Michael Marcus, they have evidence that he poured gasoline. This is evidence that is concocted out of thin air. […] What’s happening here in North Dakota is police who are bowed down to by the legal system, the judges, they’re allowed to just say people are doing X, not provide evidence, create evidence out of thin air, get away with it, and put Native Americans in prison for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, possibly life. That gentleman that I just confronted who wouldn’t talk to me is an ATF officer. He’s an officer of the government. We pay for his fucking bill. We pay for his paycheck, and they not only will not talk to us, but he’s allowed to concoct evidence out of thin air. Meanwhile Native Americans been in jail for a week on nothing. On nothing. He also on the stand said that 32 water protectors, there’s been 32 incidents of injuries. I’ve been to place—I’ve been to demonstrations that there’s been 32 injuries within 15 minutes. This man just said there was 32 injuries in over this seven or eight month demonstration where police and water protectors have clashed. It’s not been a clash, because this side has been peaceful. That side’s been shooting off grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets. So that’s a lie.”(14)

        Look through the references if you like. “The question to hand is not whether or not Resolute is ‘innocent’ in some cosmic, metaphysical sense, but whether or not Resolute is innocent of the charges laid against it by Greenpeace — and even then, only the ones Resolute objected to.” I would say a better question would be, do you really trust a government court to determine what the truth is? Should any central authority be trusted to determine what the truth is and silence those who disagree? Do you really want a Ministry of Truth? Have you read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four?

        Even if you do trust the government to decide what is the truth, do you really think a violent corporation subjected to a peaceful boycott deserves that kind of protection? Using police force against indigenous people is quite tangible — we aren’t talking about Resolute’s innocence in a “cosmic, metaphysical sense”, but in a very real sense. Should criminal standards of evidence be meant in order to have a peaceful boycott? And I would point out even in a criminal court, you can still get convicted if even one of the charges the prosecutor brings is determined by the court to be true.

        “Given that Greenpeace itself has now admitted so, it’s not easy to see what the argument is.”

        Technically, Greenpeace’s lawyers admitted that Greenpeace did not meet legal standards of evidence. There are many different standards of evidence for deciding what to believe, and legal standards can be high, especially when you’re being sued by a rich corporation.

        Let’s look at some of Resolute’s complaints, “They compiled a litany of outlandish assertions: We were ‘forest destroyers,’ for example, aggravating climate change, and causing a ‘caribou death spiral and extinction’ in Canada’s boreal habitat.”

        Well, logging is technically forest destruction, so I wouldn’t call that outlandish, but really quite factual. The morality or desirability of forest destruction, and how well Resolute does by that standard of morality or desirability, and how well Resolute does by those standards compared to other logging companies, these are different questions, but certainly logging is a type of forest destruction. As for “aggravating climate change”, there’s a lot of disagreement within the scientific community about how climate change works and what aggravates it. Should all scientific debate on the topic be silenced for failing to meet legal standards of evidence? And why stop there? Why not ban all science for “conjecture” if that’s a crime? A quick look at the history of science should show that most of the scientists who have ever lived were wrong about some things. Does that make them all criminals? As for a “caribou death spiral and extinction”, Resolute did apparently lose a certificate for failing to protect caribou.(15) Whether or not that’s sufficient to call out Resolute for causing a “caribou death spiral and extinction” is a matter of opinion.

        Regarding the antiwar.com article I linked, “No matter what you think of Trump, Abrams in a key State Department position represents a grave threat to peace.” That’s conjecture. Antiwar.com was trying to predict what effect Abrams in a key State Department position would have on the future. It happens to be a conjecture I agree with, but it is conjecture. Conjecture is an important decision making skill. If that’s a crime, we are all criminals.

        “Tens of thousands of Salvadorans are today showing up at our southern border due to Abrams’ activities in the Reagan era.” See, a lawyer could probably argue that Abrams wasn’t personally responsible for that. Lawyers can twist words around. They’re like that. It’s what they were taught to do.

        “For instance, if the statement ‘Abrams was indicted and convicted in the infamous “Contra-gate” scandal of the 1980s, when he collaborated in a plot to cover up paying ransom to Iran for the hostages they had taken’ turns out to be false, antiwar.com will lose an awful lot of credibility in my eyes. Should it not be so?”

        Sure, but that’s no reason to endorse a warmonger suing a pro-peace organization in court. Withholding trust is a good healthy thing to do, but there’s no good reason to go to court over it.

        1. Fox, Josh. “Filmmaker Josh Fox witnessed activists getting injured at Standing Rock — and the sheriff’s dept. is lying about it.” Facebook/NowThis, December 10, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/1260090350747753 (accessed February 2, 2017).
        2. Schrode, Erin. “WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO. Speechless. I was shot by militarized police WHILE interviewing a peaceful man at Standing Rock live on camera. […]” Facebook, November 3, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/erinschrode/videos/10209534018401713/ (accessed February 2, 2017).
        3. Hartmann, Thom, and Erin Shrode. “Congressional Candidate: ‘I Was Shot At Standing Rock.’ (W/guest: Erin Schrode).” Youtube/Thom Hartmann Program, November 10, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei8Q8myPg5k (accessed February 2, 2017).
        4. Berg, Chris et al. “Lt. Tom Iverson of ND Highway Patrol discusses recent DAPL protest events.” Valley News Live, November 2016. http://www.valleynewslive.com/content/misc/Lt-Tom-Iverson-of-ND-Highway-Patrol-discusses-recent-DAPL-protest-events-400080491.html (accessed February 20, 2017).
        5. Unicorn Riot. “Police Attack Unarmed Water Protectors w/ Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and Water Cannons; 300+ injured.” Unicorn Riot, November 21, 2016. http://www.unicornriot.ninja/?p=11191 (accessed February 3, 2017).
        6. Unicorn Riot. “Police Tear Gas #NoDAPL Water Protectors.” Facebook, November 20, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/unicornriot.ninja/videos/377743139226580/ (accessed February 3, 2017).
        7. Digital Smoke Signals. “Arial view of water cannon spraying and other actions.” Facebook, November 20, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/DigitalSmokeSignals/videos/10155452771834746/ (accessed February 3, 2017).
        8. Haze, Meko and Kevin Gilbertt. “Collection of Kevin Gilbertt’s livestream from Standing Rock.” The Daily Haze, November 20, 2016. http://thedailyhaze.com/collection-kevin-gilbertt-livestreams-standing-rock/ (accessed February 17, 2017).
        9. Stelloh, Tim et al. “Dakota Pipeline: Protesters Soaked With Water in Freezing Temperatures.” NBC News, November 21, 2016. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/dakota-pipeline-protests/dakota-pipeline-protesters-authorities-clash-temperatures-drop-n686581 (accessed February 20, 2017).
        10. Graber, Remi. “As my friend attempted to flee, they were struck in the left arm by a concussion grenade causing severe injuries to their left arm.” Facebook, November 21, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/remi.graber.14/posts/10154832499835559 (accessed February 20, 2017).
        11. Chariton, Jordan et al. “EXPOSED: Oil Police Lies About Maiming Sophia Wilansky’s Arm.” Youtube/TYT Politics, November 24, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEMLoYmrnz4 (accessed February 20, 2017).
        12. Iverson, Tom. “Explosion among protestors a result of their criminal activity.” Morton County. http://www.co.morton.nd.us/vertical/Sites/%7B90CBB59C-38EA-4D41-861A-81C9DEBD6022%7D/uploads/11-22-16_Explosion_among_protestors_a_result_of_their_criminal_activity.pdf (accessed February 24, 2017).
        13. Unicorn Riot. “Chemical/”less lethal” munitions fired at #NoDAPL water protectors by Morton County Sheriff and supporting agencies Sun night/Monday morning.” Twitter, November 21, 2016. https://twitter.com/ur_ninja/status/800911726594129920 (accessed February 25, 2017).
        14. Chariton, Jordan. “Jordan Confronts LYING Officer At Standing Rock Hearing.” Youtube/TYT Politics, January 31, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bOLL2MlaQQ&t=3s (accessed February 2, 2017). ~8:38-11:02.
        15. FSC Canada. “Resolute Forest Products’ Caribou Forest FSC Certificate Terminated.” FSC Canada, January 13, 2015. https://ca.fsc.org/en-ca/newsroom/id/362 (accessed March 5, 2017).

        • Harold says:

          Aisling “I would say a better question would be, do you really trust a government court to determine what the truth is? Should any central authority be trusted to determine what the truth is and silence those who disagree?”

          The general philosophy of this place is that the Government is not suitable to determine these things. RPM favors the removal of Government, so many here would certainly agree with you on this point.

          • Aisling says:

            “RPM favors the removal of Government”

            Really? Is Mr. Murphy a real anarchist? I’m not entirely convinced of this. But perhaps you would prefer to hear an explanation from one of your fellow libertarians rather than from me.

            See here, Volume 1.13, October 1, 1969, article entitled “Anarcho-Rightism”:
            https://mises.org/system/tdf/Complete%20Libertarian%20Forum%20%281969-1984%29_Vol_1_3.epub?file=1&type=ebook

            However, more anarchists could be helpful right now, but unfortunately, right-wing anarchists seem to be under-represented at present time in our attempt at a non-violent revolution. So, will the real libertarian anarchists please stand up?

            Also, the revolution will not be televised. Since we are on the topic of truth, I would point out that this statement is conjecture, however, given mainstream media’s competence in such matters, I consider it a reasonable conjecture.

            See here, between 2 and 4 minutes into this video, “the revolution will not be televised.”
            https://www.facebook.com/johnnykdangers/videos/1889586334616477

            • Craw says:

              When you get schooled by Harold …

              • Craw says:

                Bob,
                Remind me, how old were you in 1969?

            • Harold says:

              “one of your fellow libertarians rather than from me.”

              I think you must have me confused with someone else.

              I think Mises was a second rate philosopher, however good at economics he was. His work is full of inconsistencies and implied arguments that fall apart when examined.

              • Aisling says:

                If you click the link, I didn’t cite Mises. The attribution of the article is a bit unclear, but I think I cited Rothbard. At the very least, he edited it.

              • Harold says:

                I have much the same opinion of Rothbard.

                I am not suggesting that these people did not make huge contributions, but that their philosophical underpinnings were shaky.

              • Aisling says:

                I mean, not being a libertarian, I would not disagree, but what about that specific article? Are you an anarchist by any chance? Because that would make this more relevant to you.

                To quote a paragraph from it, “A strategic argument has been raging for some time among revolutionaries whether or to what extent the anarcho-rightist offers prime material for conversion to the revolutionary position. Basically, how much time one spends working on any given rightist is a matter of personal temperament and patience. But one gloomy note must be sounded: there is a grave tendency among many rightists to be solipsistic: in short, to not give a damn about principle, about justice, or, in the last analysis, about liberty. There is a tendency for rightists to be concerned only with their own narrow monetary profits and immediate creature comforts, and therefore to score those of us who are dedicated to liberty and justice as a cause. For these ignoble solipsists, any form of dedication to principle smacks of ‘collectivism’ or ‘altruism’. I had wondered for years why so many Randians, for example, place such great emphasis on combatting ‘altruism’ (which has always struck me as an absurd social philosophy of little importance.) Now I am beginning to realize that for many of these people, ‘altruism’ means any form of devotion to principle, to liberty and justice for all men, to any principle, indeed, which may disturb their own cozy accommodations to the statist evils which they recognize in the abstract.”

                To quote a bit more of it, “Several of such people have recently declared that I, or rather the revolutionary libertarian movement of which I am a part, am ‘more of a threat to them’ than the State. Why? There appear to be two reasons. First, that any revolution will disturb their cozy accommodations, their petty profits, their lousy classes. In short, their dedication to liberty is so weak, so feeble, that they oppose bitterly any rocking of the boat, any disturbance of their cozy little lives. They don’t really oppose the State, certainly not in practice. They can ‘live with’ the State quite contentedly. The second reason is that many of these people cringe from revolutionary justice, because they know that much of their income and wealth have derived from unjust State robbery.”

              • Harold says:

                I am not a libertarian, but I don’t necessarily agree that they are not adhering to a principle. It seems to me that libertarians cling very strongly to the principle of individual freedom. Many deny consequentialism has any valid basis at all. Adhering to the principle of freedom is ostensibly more important than any outcome and thus one person should not be forced to pay tax even if it were to save the world.

                True, I think the libertarian believes that such an outcome is unlikely (that one person’s tax could save the world).

                The problem arises because the philosophy of Mises and Rothbard and Hoppe is flawed. You cannot allow this freedom without undesirable consequences, so compromises are made. Once the door is open, where you stop is simply arguing about the price.

              • Dan says:

                Every system has undesirable consequences, and nobody abandons their system because it doesn’t create utopia. It’s a stupid baseline to judge a political philosophy. The question should always be what provides the most prosperity for the most amount of people, and libertarians of all stripes would say it’s freedom.

                The difference is some people believe they can change human nature to fit their system, while others accept human nature and look to the systems that gives people the right incentives. For example, libertarians don’t try to eliminate greed, they try to make sure that greed is rewarded by serving your fellow man instead of stealing from him. Liberals try to change human nature when it comes to greed. They fight to force employers to pay higher wages against their will, they tax more the more you make, they try to put caps on how much money a person can have, etc. This is why I believe that liberals and libertarians will never see eye to eye. We don’t view the world in remotely the same way.

                I’m pretty sure it was Tom Woods talking to Michael Malice about a Thomas Sowell book that crystallized this realization for me. Some people account for human nature and others want to change it, and neither will ever see things the same with that dynamic in place.

              • Aisling says:

                I am not attempting to convince libertarians to support taxes. If anything, I should think it would be more moral not to pay taxes to a country that bombed 7 others in 2016 than to actually pay taxes to said government. That said, I’d prefer not to dwell on the topic because I tend to find most libertarian arguments against taxation depressingly weak (i.e. avoiding the topic of all those bombs) and because I don’t have any control over the taxes levied by the government anyway.

                I’m more interested in awaking the libertarian/anarchist heart on the topics of opposition to war, opposition to eminent domain and other land theft, and opposition to chattel slavery.

                Look, a lot of us greens are wary about words like “freedom” or “liberty” because we are confused about what they mean in any given context.

                Lee Camp, a left-leaning green, expressed this wariness sarcastically, “Literally, they’re telling us freedom is walls. Oh, great, freedom’s inside this cage, sure, alright, yeah. Hey, hey, tie my hands behind my back. I wanna be extra free.” See this video from 8:42-8:51:
                Camp, Lee et al. “[138] New Proof CIA Pays Drug Lords, Trump To Gut Education, Dems Show Corruption.” Youtube/Redacted Tonight, March 3, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAdornflbPI (accessed March 7, 2017).

                All that said, Rothbard was not wrong to be wary of utilitarianism, especially hedonistic utilitarianism. “Psychic pleasure” would be a terrible excuse indeed for killing redheads. (See “For a New Liberty”, Chapter 2, page 32.) Often times, the plight of individuals is representative of the plight of many individuals, it’s just not possible to interview all of them, so examples are chosen to illustrate the point even to those who are not individualists.

                That said, if you picked a different sort of utilitarianism, say, utilitarian war-reduction, I should think that the causes of such a utilitarianism should often overlap with both libertarian and green causes.

                The United States military dropped over 26,000 bombs on 7 countries in 2016.
                Zenko, Micah. “How Many Bombs Did the United States Drop in 2016?” Council on Foreign Relations, January 5, 2017. http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2017/01/05/bombs-dropped-in-2016/ (accessed March 7, 2017).

                Many believe that oil and/or other resources played some part in the motivation for many of these wars. Yes, technically we don’t actually know the motivations of world leaders, generals, etc… but it certainly seems plausible.
                Macalister, Terry. “US and Britain wrangled over Iraq’s oil in aftermath of war, Chilcot shows.” The Guardian, July 7, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/07/us-and-britain-wrangled-over-iraqs-oil-in-aftermath-of-war-chilcot-shows (accessed March 7, 2017).
                Chossudovsky, Michel. “‘The War is Worth Waging’: Afghanistan’s Vast Reserves of Minerals and Natural Gas.” Global Research, June 16, 2010. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-is-worth-waging-afghanistan-s-vast-reserves-of-minerals-and-natural-gas/19769 (accessed March 7, 2017).
                Glaser, John. “War in Libya Fought for Oil.” Antiwar.com, June 11, 2011. https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2011/06/11/war-in-libya-fought-for-oil/ (accessed March 7, 2017).

                Locals frequently object to oil and ‘natural’ gas drilling an infrastructure in their regions, so the outbreak of wars in many oil-rich regions does not seem surprising. As an example of locals objecting strongly, see:
                Ross, Alexander R. “Algeria: fracking and the Ain Salah uprising.” Ecologist, March 14, 2015. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2792950/algeria_fracking_and_the_ain_salah_uprising.html (accessed January 16, 2017).
                BBC. “Algeria’s Fracking Frontline – BBC World News.” Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CGlfFj8phQ (accessed January 16, 2017). ~0:45-1:05

                Greens should be happy with solar and wind energy because those industries can operate non-violently. I would think libertarians, even the pro-war libertarians, would be happy with wind and solar as well, because those industries can operate without eminent domain and other methods of land theft, unlike oil and ‘natural’ gas. I should think anti-war libertarians would be even more in favor of wind and solar. I can’t see what objection anti-war utilitarians or anti-climate-change utilitarians should have to wind and solar either. Additionally, contributing to the causes of wind and solar do not take a powerful lobbyist organization — this can be done on the grassroots level. Surely there must be some causes on which we can agree, on which it is worthwhile to work together in solidarity.

                The arguments in favor of oil, ‘natural’ gas, and coal (or at least mountaintop removal coal mining) would seem to be hedonistic, and not even a utilitarian hedonism, just, hedonism for those in power or at least in the upper classes. And for those sorts of hedonists, I genuinely don’t see being able to find much in the way of common causes.

                Ultimately, such hedonists remind me of this, “He gave his time also to any who wished to interview him, remarking that he was surprised by the fact that had he claimed to be a physician for the teeth, everybody would flock to him who needed to have a tooth pulled; yes, and by heavens, had he professed to treat the eyes, all who were suffering from sore eyes would present themselves, and similarly, if he had claimed to know of a medicine for diseases of the spleen or for gout or for running of the nose; but when he declared that all who should follow his treatment would be relieved of folly, wickedness, and intemperance, not a man would listen to him or seek to be cured by him, no matter how much richer he might become thereby, as though he were less inconvenienced by these spiritual complaints than by the other kind, or as though it were worse for a man to suffer from an enlarged spleen or a decayed tooth than from a soul that is foolish, ignorant, cowardly, rash, pleasure-loving, illiberal, irascible, unkind, and wicked, in fact utterly corrupt.”
                Chrysostom, Dio. “The Eighth Discourse, on Virtue.” University of Chicago. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/dio_chrysostom/discourses/8*.html (accessed March 7, 2017).

              • Aisling says:

                Dan — I’m not talking about “liberals”, by which I assume you mean Democrats. I’m talking about greens. While there are left-wing greens and right-wing greens, the heart of the green movement tends to range from anti-colonialist/anti-imperialist to anarchist… not anarcho-socialist or anarcho-capitalist… just… pacifist.

                This gives an example of a type of green anarchist position. As a sample quote, “Nonviolence is not just a theory; it means responding to injustice with action. Nonviolence should not be confused with inaction. Withholding support and refusing to cooperate with institutions and policies of violence, exploitation and injustice is a principal tactic of nonviolent resistance.” Also, “Campaigns of violence, even against the most unethical opponents, can be very disempowering and, even if successful will usually install new institutions that rely on violence to protect their authority.”
                Keith, McHenry and Bufe, Chaz. “The Anarchist Cookbook.” Food Not Bombs. https://www.foodnotbombs.net/a.%20Anarchist%20Cookbook%20interior%207-30-15-1.pdf (accessed March 7, 2017).

                To give a sample of an anti-colonialist/anti-imperialist green, see John Trudell. To quote a few passages, “We’re faced with a very serious situation in this generation. There are insane people who wish to rule the world. They wish to continue to rule the world on violence and repression, and we are all the victims of that violence and repression. […] You see, this cannot be. We cannot allow this to go on. We cannot do it. We cannot expect that the pro-nuclear oppressor, that other side, we cannot expect that they’re going to change for us. They are going to become more brutal. They are going to become more repressive because it’s a matter of dollars and their illusionary concepts of power. […] the brutality of the American Corporate State way of life is nothing more than violence and oppression and it doesn’t have anything to do with power. It is brutality. It’s a lack of a sane balance. The people who have created this system, and who perpetuate this system, they are out of balance. […] That has been the consistent history of Western civilization and the American Corporate State Government – that’s reality. They are not our friends, they do not care about us. We have to face the reality that we have an enemy… […] For 500 years my people have resisted. For 500 years we will resist again if it becomes necessary.”
                Trudell, John. “John Trudell’s Thanksgiving Day address 1980.” Science of the Spirit. https://www.sott.net/article/334767-John-Trudells-Thanksgiving-Day-address-1980 (accessed March 7, 2017).

                Human nature can change… read Miss Manners or the work of numerous other etiquetteers for details.

                Democrats — or at least pro-war Democrats (and overall the Democrat party is pro-war) — have very little to do with the green movement, other than trying to falsely misrepresent it as theirs.

                Also, “The difference is some people believe they can change human nature to fit their system, while others accept human nature and look to the systems that gives people the right incentives.” That’s silly. The people create the system, so changing the people is the only way to change the system, short of killing or otherwise repressing the people.

                “For example, libertarians don’t try to eliminate greed, they try to make sure that greed is rewarded by serving your fellow man instead of stealing from him.”

                And for all that, so many libertarians seem perfectly happy to reward thieves with their business.

              • Harold says:

                Dan, yes, maybe I am describing a version of libertarianism I got from MF. He seems to me to be a fundamentalist who follows the principle whatever the consequences. This may not be representative.

                but this view does explaina philosophical basis that rejects consequentialism.

                If we agree that some form of “greatest good to greatest number” is the basis, we basically agree that morality is consequentialist, but may argue over the methods to attain this.

              • Aisling says:

                “Primum non nocere.” First, do no harm. I would rather worry about not harming people than bringing them the “greatest good”… the “greatest good” can go somewhere lower on the list of priorities than primum non nocere. For greens, harm generally means violence.

                If you want to translate that into utilitarian or consequentialist terms or whatever, try “least harm to greatest number” or “harm to the smallest number” or something like that. War/violence reduction, basically.

              • Aisling says:

                As a practical example, please join our boycott against nuclear weapons:
                http://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016_Report_final.pdf

              • Dan says:

                Harold, you’re misunderstanding the point I was making. I was saying it is wrong to say “You cannot allow this freedom without undesirable consequences, so compromises are made.”

                I mean, there are undesirable consequences to every political philosophy. Unfortunately, bad things happen and will always happen no matter what. There is no utopian answer.

                So, I don’t believe you compromise your principles because undesirable consequences exist. And I don’t think you judge a political philosophy on whether it does the impossible task of creating utopia. I think you stick to your principles, but if you want to judge the merits of political philosophy A vs B then you judge them based on which provides the most prosperity for the most people.

                Aisling, you seem well intentioned, but I have no interest in boycotts or political activism.

              • Aisling says:

                Dan — “So, I don’t believe you compromise your principles because undesirable consequences exist.” “Aisling, you seem well intentioned, but I have no interest in boycotts or political activism.”

                I’m glad I’ve at least managed to convince you that I am “well intentioned”, but how are you not compromising your principles (whatever those are) if you do not at least attempt to figure how how to lead your own life in accord with said principles as best you can under your own personal circumstances? In what way are your principles actually connected to the real world?

                “Unfortunately, bad things happen and will always happen no matter what.”

                You can’t stop other people from causing “bad things” to happen, but you can examine your own role in causing “bad things”. (For some definition of “bad things” relative to your own “principles”.) To clarify, I’m not proposing martyrdom, but there may potentially be many way to avoid causing “bad things” without martyring oneself.

                Look, you seem interested in the topic of minimum wage, for whatever reason. (Is it safe for me to assume that you only support this where the sub-minimum-wage is being accepted voluntarily and not as the result of some sort of forced labor situation?)

                In that case, I would make point out that it is technically legal (within the context of synthetic law) to work for below minimum wage, though the following criteria (and most likely others I neglect to mention) must be met:
                1. One must not meet the legal classification of an “employee”. That is, one must instead by legally classified as self-employed, an independent contractor, or whatever. (Which of course begs the question, “What is the legal classification of an employee?”)
                2. One must meet all education and licensing requirements for the profession in question.
                3. One must fill out the proper tax paperwork.
                4. One must be a legal resident.

                I leave you to guess for yourself how often people who accept sub-minimum wage jobs, voluntarily, meet all these requirements. (I would also point out that not all of these jobs are voluntary — that is, some are forced labor — and also that there might be some dispute over what precisely qualifies as voluntary.)

                The US portion of the shadow economy has apparently been estimated at $2 trillion per year. I’m not sure how this estimate was made, personally I think it’s an underestimate, but here’s an article:
                Koba, Mark. “$2 Trillion Underground Economy May Be Recovery’s Savior.” CNBC, April 24, 2013. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100668336 (accessed March 7, 2017).

                “And I don’t think you judge a political philosophy on whether it does the impossible task of creating utopia.”

                No such thing as utopia? Really?

                From Weston A Price’s book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”, “The people of the Loetschental Valley make up a community of two thousand who have been a world unto themselves. They have neither physician nor dentist because they have so little need for them; they have neither policeman nor jail, because they have no need for them.”

                Maybe that’s not utopia in the strict sense, but no police, no jail, no physician, no dentist, no need for any of them, sounds a lot closer to utopia than many of the things that idealists manage to dream up on paper.

              • Dan says:

                “I’m glad I’ve at least managed to convince you that I am “well intentioned”, but how are you not compromising your principles (whatever those are) if you do not at least attempt to figure how how to lead your own life in accord with said principles as best you can under your own personal circumstances? In what way are your principles actually connected to the real world?”

                Who said I don’t live my life according to my principles? I simply said I don’t get into boycotts or political activism.

                And I don’t know what your point was with the minimum wage rant. You have a tendency to needlessly throw in at least one or two tangents in every comment you make. Do you have some quota you have to meet for the amount of words you type every day?

                “Maybe that’s not utopia in the strict sense, but no police, no jail, no physician, no dentist, no need for any of them, sounds a lot closer to utopia than many of the things that idealists manage to dream up on paper.”

                I looked it up and the place sounded awful to me. I wouldn’t live there if you paid me. To each their own, I guess.

              • Aisling says:

                “Who said I don’t live my life according to my principles? I simply said I don’t get into boycotts or political activism.”

                Really? Perhaps I could better understand if I knew what your “principles” were. What sort of “principles” do you have that you can find no company which offends them enough to persuade you to cease doing business with that company?

                “And I don’t know what your point was with the minimum wage rant”

                Because you earlier complained about minimum wage, “They fight to force employers to pay higher wages against their will, they tax more the more you make, they try to put caps on how much money a person can have, etc. This is why I believe that liberals and libertarians will never see eye to eye.” If the issue of forcing “employers to pay higher wages” has anything to do with your “principles”, one would think you might also be interested in way people avoid doing that.

                “I looked it up and the place sounded awful to me. I wouldn’t live there if you paid me. To each their own, I guess.”

                Could your proposed “political philosophy” improve upon a system which requires no police and no jails? Really? Pray tell how it will work.

                “Do you have some quota you have to meet for the amount of words you type every day?”

                I wonder if these libertarian courts/legal systems I keep reading about would have a maximum number of words we are allowed to speak in our defense? Exceed the limit and you get found in contempt of court and sentenced to be killed, enslaved, shot with rubber bullets, water cannoned, or otherwise physically attacked?

              • Dan says:

                “Really? Perhaps I could better understand if I knew what your “principles” were. What sort of “principles” do you have that you can find no company which offends them enough to persuade you to cease doing business with that company?”

                None of my principles require me to not do business with people who offend me.

                “If the issue of forcing “employers to pay higher wages” has anything to do with your “principles”, one would think you might also be interested in way people avoid doing that.”

                I’m not. It’s good that some people can avoid evil minimum wage laws, but what hoops the state makes people jump through to do that doesn’t interest me.

                “Could your proposed “political philosophy” improve upon a system which requires no police and no jails? Really? Pray tell how it will work.”

                What’s with the quotes around everything? Are you intentionally being obnoxious or do you not realize that would mean you don’t really think it is a political philosophy?

                And, yeah, the awful system we have now is better than what they were living in 80 years ago. Heck, the people who lived there apparently did like it too much considering how few of the farms were still around 70 years after that book was written and how few people worked on them. I could go on a deserted island and live a life without police or jails, but it’d be awful. That’s a dumb benchmark.

                “I wonder if these libertarian courts/legal systems I keep reading about would have a maximum number of words we are allowed to speak in our defense? Exceed the limit and you get found in contempt of court and sentenced to be killed, enslaved, shot with rubber bullets, water cannoned, or otherwise physically attacked?”

                No, they wouldn’t.

                See how concise my defense was?

              • Aisling says:

                Okay, you want concise?

                Where are your libertarian courts? Where do we go to sue libertarians for peace, i.e. to stop sending your protection agencies to kill, enslave, and otherwise attack us and those we care for?

              • Dan says:

                “Where are your libertarian courts? Where do we go to sue libertarians for peace, i.e. to stop sending your protection agencies to kill, enslave, and otherwise attack us and those we care for?”

                Libertarians oppose the initiation of violence. In a libertarian society you could go to just about any court, I’d imagine, to seek restitution for the crimes of murder, slavery, or assault.

              • Aisling says:

                Unfortunately I do not know where to find a libertarian court?

                Also, in the interests of promoting non-violence, it would really be preferable just to talk the judge or whomever into encouraging folks to stop, not to seek any sort of forcible restitution.

              • Dan says:

                “Unfortunately I do not know where to find a libertarian court?”

                We don’t live in a libertarian society.

                “Also, in the interests of promoting non-violence, it would really be preferable just to talk the judge or whomever into encouraging folks to stop, not to seek any sort of forcible restitution.”

                Well, you’d be free to not ask for restitution from criminals. No libertarian would argue that a victim must receive restitution if they don’t want it. Heck, if someone robs you, you can even encourage the folks to stop doing it all on your own without involving courts at all. That’s up to you.

              • Aisling says:

                “We don’t live in a libertarian society.”

                There’s no libertarian society? Really? Gary Johnson got over 4.4 million votes in the latest US presidential election, plus I understand there are non-voting anarcho-capitalists, plus as I understand it there are libertarians outside the US as well. That looks like a libertarian society of millions of people to me.

                You know, I was really hoping your websites might be courts. Courts of public opinion.

                “Well, you’d be free to not ask for restitution from criminals. No libertarian would argue that a victim must receive restitution if they don’t want it.”

                Not asking for forcible restitution also addresses the problem that I might be speaking (as best I know how) on behalf of people other than myself and am thus not qualified to even know what sort of restitution (if any) they might want or how it might be delivered to them. However, for practical reasons, the dead cannot speak on their own behalf, nor can those currently held captive in slavery, etc. etc. However, I should think asking for a voluntary boycott on behalf of people other than myself should still be acceptable (and compatible with pacifist values). Also, I really wouldn’t expect a libertarian court at this stage of libertarian society to be powerful enough to actually enforce judgements.

                “Heck, if someone robs you, you can even encourage the folks to stop doing it all on your own without involving courts at all. That’s up to you.”

                I mean, the advantage of a judge is it might be someone that libertarian society might be more willing to listen to than they are to me. I hoped Mr. Murphy might be a libertarian judge, but that seems to have been a miscalculation.

              • Richie says:

                “There’s no libertarian society? Really? Gary Johnson got over 4.4 million votes in the latest US presidential election, plus I understand there are non-voting anarcho-capitalists, plus as I understand it there are libertarians outside the US as well. That looks like a libertarian society of millions of people to me.”

                LOL, now this is a great example of failing reading comprehension.

              • Craw says:

                Richie
                That’s not just failing. It’s not even trying. Pavlovian.

              • Aisling says:

                Society. Noun. “an organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.”
                http://www.dictionary.com/browse/society

                Libertarians look like an organized group of persons associated together for political purposes to me. Therefore, a libertarian society.

              • Craw says:

                Aisling wins the Harold of the Month prize!

                “We don’t live in a libertarian society.”

                “Wrong. Lots of Johnson voters.”

                “Johnson voters aren’t society.”

                “Wrong! I saw a Libertarian chess club once! That proves it.”

              • Aisling says:

                Are you seriously more interested in arguing the semantics of what qualifies as a society than in questioning why is there no libertarian court you can think of to direct people to?

                The libertarian movement is large enough that y’all ought to have a libertarian court, if not in the traditional sense than at least some method of listening to debate and evidence and rendering judgements or recommendations of some sort.

                Greens have courts. We call them documentary films and alternative news sources. Our judges are spiritual leaders, film makers, journalists, and anyone who wants to watch things, form an opinion, and take some form of non-violent action accordingly.

                I’m not sure if the Anonymous hacker group has any sort of cohesive philosophy or not, but they apparently have enough of a court too in order to make decisions and act on them.
                http://www.unicornriot.ninja/?p=11303
                Please not that I am not suggesting that libertarian courts should endorse hacking, if only for practical reasons of not getting shut down by the US government.

                So why no libertarian court you can think of?

              • Dan says:

                “Greens have courts. We call them documentary films and alternative news sources. Our judges are spiritual leaders, film makers, journalists, and anyone who wants to watch things, form an opinion, and take some form of non-violent action accordingly.”

                Oh, I didn’t realize we were using words in ways no normal person uses them. But, yeah, libertarians have those kind of “courts” too. Heck, they even have arbitration.

              • Aisling says:

                Dan — Fantastic! Just what I wanted to hear! So, where to find one of these libertarian courts?

              • Tel says:

                Aisling wins the Harold of the Month prize!

                I find her more entertaining and better spirited than Harold. Aisling embodys Sun Tsu’s ideal of formless aggression (errr … non-violent of course), but Harold just changes his argument when it suits him.

                There’s a difference.

              • Dan says:

                “Dan — Fantastic! Just what I wanted to hear! So, where to find one of these libertarian courts?”

                Based off of your definition of courts, you could just use google.

              • Aisling says:

                Heart you too Tel.

              • Aisling says:

                “Based off of your definition of courts, you could just use google.”

                Fantastic. Do you have any suggestions regarding which of these libertarian courts and judges are most qualified to deal with questions regarding killing, chattel slavery, physical violence, and mass poisoning?

              • Dan says:

                No, I don’t have an suggestions. Use google.

              • Aisling says:

                Dan — I see. Well, in that case, thanks for your time.

              • Tel says:

                You may be right. With Harold the prevarication and goal-shifting are a deliberate ploy. With Aisling it seems more like a stutter.

              • Craw says:

                Tel,
                You may be right. With Harold the prevarication and goal-shifting are a deliberate ploy. With Aisling it seems more like a stutter.

              • Harold says:

                Tel, I would like you provide an example where I changed the argument to suit myself. That is certainly not how I see it, but if you could provide some evidence I an prepared to review it.

                Obviously our personal perspectives are suspect, but it seems to me that I try to maintain discussion about a point whilst distractions are introduced by others to avoid the issue at hand.

              • Harold says:

                That to Craw too. A recent discussion about Trump’s characteristics was diverted by a side issue about Obama. It was not me who shifted the goalposts or changed the subject.

              • Harold says:

                Still, it is heartening to know there is an award in my name 🙂

              • Aisling says:

                Harold —

                “Obviously our personal perspectives are suspect, but it seems to me that I try to maintain discussion about a point whilst distractions are introduced by others to avoid the issue at hand.”

                One person’s distraction is another person’s interconnectivity. Sideways thinking and all that. As Jane Wells of 3 Generations, a documentary film-making group, explained, “Some people ask: What is the method at 3 Generations? Here it is: Everything is connected. Sex trafficking, genocide, environmental degradation. All these issues are happening side by side, often intertwined and very often under our noses in plain sight.”
                Wells, Jane. “What Does Sex Have to Do With It?” Huffington Post, February 19, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-wells/what-does-sex-have-to-do_b_9276498.html (accessed March 9, 2017).

                And avoiding the issue at hand makes total sense if people are asking the wrong questions. I am reminded of the old joke, “On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

              • Craw says:

                Sidetracked?

                “Trump shows some similarity to a fascist. He did X and Y.”

                “True. So did Obama.”

                “Impossible.”

                “He did X and Y.”

                “Lies!”

                Proof offered.

                “Doing X and Y doesn’t make Obama a nazi! Stop distracting.”

                As for your denial to Tel … well all the regulars are laughing harder than they would if Bob gave Krugman a wedgie.

              • Harold says:

                Aisling.
                Interconnectivity is fine and there is nothing wrong with changing the subject per se. But it is wrong for the person who digresses down one of these interesting interconnected subjects to accuse the other of changing the subject because they did not follow the down the digression.

                Craw, you misrepresent the discussion.

                “Sidetracked?
                “Trump shows some similarity to a fascist. He did X and Y.”
                “True. So did Obama.””
                “Impossible.”
                “He did X and Y.”
                “Lies!”
                Proof offered.”

                Except you did not offer proof. You dd not offer evidence. You changed the subject

                The only example you gave of a fascist thing that Obama did was not to close Guantanamo. You then changed the subject to whether he was “thwarted”. It doesn’t matter if he was thwarted or if he was lazy or if he was incompetent. Not closing (but significantly reducing) Guantanamo is not much evidence of fascism. You continued to avoid the initial discussion and bang on about Obama not closing Guantanamo and whether he was thwarted.

                Any other example you want to add to demonstrate my point?

              • Craw says:

                Harold, you are the gift that keeps giving. You are the one who introduced “thwarted”. You said Obama, in possession of a majority in the house and a super-majority in the senate, was “thwarted” in his attempts to close Gitmo.
                Google “5 year plan wreckers”

              • John says:

                “Where do we go to sue libertarians for peace, i.e. to stop sending your protection agencies to kill, enslave, and otherwise attack us and those we care for?”

                You don’t. You have no respect for the property rights of others, therefore you deserve to be enslaved.

              • Harold says:

                Yes, I mentioned “thwarted” You questioned it and I did not defend it because it was a side issue. I said I was happy to withdraw thwarted, but you continued to bang on about it, thereby diverting attention away from the fact that you had no argument.

              • craw says:

                It wasn’t a side issue, it was your bogus attempt to deny evidence that Obama too did certain things. This is an example of what Tel means.

              • Aisling says:

                “Aisling.
                Interconnectivity is fine and there is nothing wrong with changing the subject per se. But it is wrong for the person who digresses down one of these interesting interconnected subjects to accuse the other of changing the subject because they did not follow the down the digression.”

                Touche. Touche.

                Come to think of it, repeated distractions into other people’s arguing techniques are not an interconnected subject I personally am all that interested in. Especially from someone who thinks that mere length is sufficient to render something disrespectful, while seemingly having little to no interest in any issues affecting people who are not safely behind computer screens facing no worse danger than a large number of words.

                Go Harold!

              • Harold says:

                Craw.
                By the way, when you referred to my denial to Tel did you mean the one where I asked fro evidence and was prepared to re-think my position if any were offered?

                “It wasn’t a side issue, it was your bogus attempt to deny evidence that Obama too did certain things. This is an example of what Tel means.”

                The side issue was whether Obama was “thwarted”. That was a side issue that I was happy to concede because it was not important to the issue. Whether Obama was thwarted or whether he did not close GITMO because of some other failing on his part may be an interesting subject in its own right but it had very little to do with the issue of whether Obama has as many fascist characteristics as Trump, which was the subject under discussion.

                You made an issue of something I was not even defending – pushing on an open door. Trouble is it was the wrong door.

                The sensible thing to do when someone concedes a point is to accept it and move on to present your case. Since you did not do this I presume it was because you had no case to move onto.

                Above you claimed that you had proved Obama did fascist things and more importantly that I had declared these lies. Can you please find that exchange and show me the proof and when I called you a liar?

        • Harold says:

          Aisling
          “Well, logging is technically forest destruction”

          I would say that forestry is certainly tree destruction, but the forest is the sum of the trees. It is certainly possible for forestry to be conducted without destroying the forest as long as the trees are replaced.

          Obviously if old growth trees are replaced by mono-culture trees that is not “replacement”.

  3. trent steel says:

    I know the Murray line on this (at least I’m pretty sure), but now I wonder.

    If I say something untrue about my product, that’s fraud and punishable. If I say something untrue about my competitor’s product (and in a sense Greenpeace is a competitor, in that they are after control of the same resources), is that not “fraud”?

    And what if my business is made off of my name, so that in a sense I am my own product; is saying something untrue about me fraud? Not technically “Fraud,” but the same concept, and thus subject to the same analysis. Hmm…

    • trent steel says:

      I mean if I, or a competitor, say something the speaker knows to be untrue. Not just an accidental untrue statement.

      • Aisling says:

        Who determines what is true or not? And for that matter, even if something is determined to be untrue, who determines if it was accidentally untrue or deliberately untrue?

        There is such a thing as fraud; but there is also great danger in allowing anyone a monopoly on deciding what the truth is, or what was on purpose and what was by mistake. In a way, allowing a great many untrue things to be said is the price paid for also allowing the truth to also be stated, lest it be quashed in the name of preserving The Official Truth.

        Also, I think fraud could technically be considered breach of contract (assuming there was a contract), whereas a boycott frequently happens without any contracts… but I don’t understand libertarian contract theory all that well to be sure about that, so you should probably ask one of your fellow libertarians about that and not me.

        Even if you really trust The Official Truth, should allowances not be made for the fact that people often get emotional in criticizing a violent person or organization? If someone repeatedly dunks my head and holds it under water to frighten me, and I later call them a psychopath, this may be classified a lie in so far as the person has not been officially diagnosed by a professional as a psychopath and may not meet the diagnostic criteria. On the other hand, “psychopath” is often understood to mean something different in layperson’s speech, such as emotional venting, than it does within the psychiatric industry. Should I or any of my friends then be sued by the violent person for using the term outside of the official psychiatric definition? And what if there were no witnesses to the head-dunking? Who besides the two of us would really know the truth anyway, and why should the rest of the world presume to offer an Official Truth?

        • Craw says:

          You complain about how Libertarians dismiss you then you ask “who gets to decide what’s true?”
          Maybe you are making a point somewhere under your mountain of irrelevancies and verbiage, but I gotta say, if you want to convince people, 10,000 words to say “what is truth?” is not the way to succeed. Have some respect for your readers.

          • Aisling says:

            Dear Lord Craw,

            We have respect for you. We believe that you are human beings. We are fighting for you too even if you do not understand that you need water too.(1)

            But it seems that not all libertarians believe that we are human beings.

            “Any white person who brings the elements of civilization had the right to take over this continent and it is great that some people did, and discovered here what they couldn’t do anywhere else in the world and what the Indians, if there are any racist Indians today, do not believe to this day: respect for individual rights.”(2)

            “$6 million dollars for cleaning up their stinking mess?!?! Mind boggling. Little shit environs ran home to where its warm when the North Dakota winter hit and they left a pile of garbage behind.”(3)

            “yeah i work with one of those sjws. he spent the whole month of december protesting, so nice it was all for nothing. the irony is they caused more damage with their garbage then that pipeline ever will”(3)

            “Haha fucking horseshit, Obama blocking the pipeline was a breakdown in the rule of law. Jesus tap dancing Chris”(3)

            “There’s plenty to be mad about Trump at, but restoring the rule of law after the Obama Admin blocked a legal pipeline is not one of them”(3)

            “If pipelines were the grave danger these fucktards keep trying to make them out to be you know the media would be falling down over themselves to write up every incident that occurs. Or they’re just too stupid to realize there’s a boatload of stories that will write themselves and fit the Narrative.”(3)

            “Everything about the term ‘water protector’ is specious and has nothing to do with the territorial questions that may actually have some legal teeth to them. The ‘water protectors’ have done nothing but endanger the local water supply while their ‘enemies’ have actually been doing all the work to ‘protect the water’ in spite of the ‘water protectors’ and their dumb-ass behavior.”(3)

            “The pipeline was lawfully approved. Then Obama ignored the law and undid the approval. I don’t see how Trump resetting the decision back to the lawful one is an affront to the rule of law. Isn’t reinstating a lawful decision in place of an arbitrary unlawful one affirming the rule of law?”(3)

            “As much as I don’t trust police, isn’t this the same crowd (not literally!) which was braying for violent action to end the Oregon standoff? Fucking hypocrites. Cry me a (cold) river.” (4)

            “Time to repurpose some hunting rifles.”(4)

            “Putting them in jail for what is almost certainly trespassing seems about right to me.”(4)

            “They have no concept of liberty, freedom, or history, so trying to argue with them over their emote is impossible”(4)

            “I will continue to sneer at hypocrites who get what they demand for others and then don’t like it, whether or not it’s the government that does the giving. Hypocrites who want to enslave me but not themselves deserve all the scorn they get, and more.”(4)

            “Of course they aren’t just protesting, they’re preventing the conduct of legitimate business.”(4)

            “The purpose of a government is to protect the rights of the individual including property rights. The idea is that we allow them a monopoly of violence to carry out that function with the idea that the violence will be held to the minimum. Yes, there is violence, but if I have to choose between the violence of the almost certainly lying, howling mob of self righteous progressive morons or the violence of the almost certainly lying LEOs. I am going to notice that the LEOs are protecting private property in this case. Knuckling under to the violence of a lawless mob does no one’s liberty any favors in the longer term. Saying ‘get the fuck off my property before I shoot you’ is one of those quintessentially American things I accept. I have little patience for the ‘I feel I am entitled to your rights and property because I am saving the world’ crowd.”(4)

            “If they stayed on Corps land and danced around a fire I’d agree with you….but they are not. They are fucking with a legally approved project on private property. The Tribe also refused to comment during the comment phase and now say they weren’t consulted. They are lying. Not to mention out of state anarchist types looking for a fight who have made up the bulk of the arrests. Fuck ’em.”(4)

            “The out-of-state inciters get no sympathy from me either. There are some people who are just looking for any place they can try to play victim. I think I saw a story in which the protestors were asking people who weren’t specifically invited to stay the hell away.”(4)

            “The government didn’t do this for protesting, they did it for impeding others’ lawful activity.”(4)

            “At some point, the Luddites need to be told to get out of the way or nothing is ever accomplished.”(4)

            “The idiots are endangering their own goddam health in this case.”(4)

            “If you’re non-violent then you deserve to get shot/gassed/bombed.”(4)

            “The cops have to go home to their families tonight. If a few people die it’s worth it. Leisure time watching TV is more important than human lives.”(4)

            “They protestors making the news aren’t protestors anymore. They are agitators and rioters. I am just as against police brutality as others here, but I think the LEO’s have shown amazing restraint in not giving into their agitation.”(4)

            “I get it that Reason’s favorite sport is calling cops thugs (usually for good reason). But this story is a stretch. I live in North Dakota and have been following this story since day one. Regardless of the crap the ‘water protectors’ spew, the real story here is the lack of police brutality. This ceased to be a peaceful protest months ago. The professional protestors and eco-terrorists are doing what they do best; breaking laws and pushing cops to use too much force. The police have showed amazing restraint.”(4)

            I could go on, but you don’t seem to like long things.

            How do libertarians — particularly the far-right wing ones, for I know this is not representative of all libertarians (and it’s also possible some of those quotes were satire, hard to tell over the internet) — justify these double standards? This code of etiquette you have where some people are due respect and others are not? Does the answer lie in your theories of land ownership? What? Can anyone explain to me the libertarian concept of a “just war”?

            Your most humble servant,
            Aisling

            1. “URGENT Message from Standing Rock as Police Surround Their Camp.” Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk10TGMSYHI (accessed March 5, 2017).
            2. Norton, Ben. “Libertarian superstar Ayn Rand defended Native American genocide: ‘Racism didn’t exist in this country until the liberals brought it up.'” Salon, October 14, 2015. https://www.salon.com/2015/10/14/libertarian_superstar_ayn_rand_defended_genocide_of_savage_native_americans/ (accessed January 11, 2017).
            3. “Comments of Trump, Obama, and the Approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Reason.com. http://reason.com/blog/2017/02/01/trump-obama-and-the-approval-of-the-dako#comment (accessed March 5, 2017).
            4. “Comments of Tactics Reported from Dakota Pipeline Protest.” Reason.com. http://reason.com/blog/2016/11/22/brutal-police-actions-tactics-reported-f#comment (accessed March 5, 2017).

          • Tel says:

            Craw, you are such an old curmudgeon.

            Everyone knows the NYT gets to decide what’s true.

  4. Tel says:

    Sorry, this is unrelated to anything above, but after all this is the potpourri thread.

    Seems like the Australian government has just had a bright idea… they want to create Fannie Mae because it will make housing more affordable.

    This creates more potential corruption and places upward pressure on house prices in a market that appears to be in short supply.

    Scott Morrison has backed the idea of using government bonds to raise cheaper, long-term finance for affordable housing to be deployed through an affordable housing finance corporation.

    In an interview with Radio National on Friday, the treasurer also signalled that the government would cut or redirect funds from the $1.3bn-a-year national affordable housing agreement, saying he was “very frustrated” with its performance.

    Under the bond aggregator model, the commonwealth would raise up to $200m through government bonds, which could be used to give loans to community housing providers or the private sector to provide social or affordable housing.

    Unbelievable, they are digging up failed FDR policies from the Great Depression.

    Is there any book I can send this guy which might wake him up? Even a little bit??

  5. Aisling says:

    In theory you could “create affordable housing” (for some definition of affordable) just by redefining what counts as a house. A 5x5ft self-storage in the U.S. usually costs about $40-50 per month — far less than the hundreds or thousands of dollars legal housing (according to the synthetic law) generally costs in the U.S. An unknown number of people do live in such places.(1) One of the reasons given for not permitting people to reside in such places — including criminal prosecution, in some cases, of those there with children — is that they are allegedly unsafe; however, there are plenty of even less safe places that are legal to spend the night.(2)(3)(4) For example, sometimes women are threatened that child protective services will be called if they leave or do not comply with the rules of a homeless shelter at which they are regularly pressured into sexual activities that they do not wish to engage in.(5)

    You can find an excuse to destroy affordable housing just by redefining the houses as trash, as was recently done to the camps on Sioux treaty land.(6)

    Then there is the question of whether something counts as a house if you are locked inside.(7)

    One method of gentrification (deliberately increasing the value and cost of housing) popular in Brazil is killing homeless and other poor people.(8)(9)(10)(11) Semantics can be quite deadly.

    Regarding Australia, Green senator Scott Ludlam mentioned investment properties. I’m not sure I follow all the details, but I believe he is of the opinion that people buying investment properties they do not actually intend to live in is causing housing prices to rise, making the houses less affordable for people who do actually wish to live in them. Regardless of whether I understand that part correctly, what I really like about his article is this, “The greatest single cause of homelessness in this country right now is domestic violence. It is women-many of them with kids-fleeing homes that are too unsafe to remain in.” The link between violence (not always domestic violence, often community violence or war violence) and homelessness/other poverty is strangely absent from most upper class discussions on the topic, as if most upper class people would prefer to pretend violence does not exist or at any rate is infrequent enough to not be worth mentioning, and instead go on and on about housing prices and wages and every factor except violence.(12)

    1. Brochu, Nicole. “In the shadows: Some homeless living in storage units.” West Hawaii Today, June 1, 2014. http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/nation-world-news/shadows-some-homeless-living-storage-units (accessed March 11, 2017).
    2. Brochu, Nicole. “In the shadows: Some South Florida homeless living in storage units.” Sun Sentinel, May 9, 2014. p. 3. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-05-09/features/fl-homeless-storage-units-broward-20140509_1_storage-unit-public-storage-uncle-bob/3 (accessed March 11, 2017).
    3. Farnham, Alan. “Answer to Recession: Houston Family of Eight Living in Self-Storage.” ABC News, July 6, 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/houston-texas-family-living-storage-shed/story?id=14009261 (accessed March 11, 2017).
    4. Alcorn, Chauncey et al. “Horror stories show why NYC’s homeless resist shelters despite frigid temperatures.” New York Daily News, January 4, 2016. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/horror-stories-show-homeless-avoid-nyc-shelters-article-1.2485417 (accessed March 11, 2017).
    5. Miller, Renee. “I Went Undercover at a Homeless Shelter: You Wouldn’t Believe the Shocking Abuses I Found There.” Alternet, February 18, 2013. http://www.alternet.org/i-went-undercover-homeless-shelter-you-wouldnt-believe-shocking-abuses-i-found-there (accessed March 11, 2017).
    6. Dangers, Johnny. “Oceti Oyate Clean-Up and Barricade Update.” Facebook, February 19, 2017. https://www.facebook.com/johnnykdangers/videos/1888294021412375/ (accessed March 11, 2017).
    7. Coalition of Immokalee Workers. “Fresh allegations of ‘human slavery’ emerge from the tomato fields of Immokalee.” Coalition of Immokalee Workers, December 10, 2007. http://www.ciw-online.org/blog/2007/12/no_slave_labor/ (accessed March 11, 2017).
    8. Sandy, Matt. “In Brazilian city, homeless face ‘extermination.’” Al Jazeera, October 25, 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/10/25/brazil-homeless-killings.html (accessed January 7, 2017).
    9. Kaplan, Michael. “Road To Rio: Police Sweep Away ‘Street Children’ Ahead Of Brazil Olympics.” International Business Times, April 18, 2016. http://www.ibtimes.com/road-rio-police-sweep-away-street-children-ahead-brazil-olympics-2353865 (accessed January 7, 2017).
    10. Williams, Evan. “Death to undesirables: Brazil’s murder capital.” Independent, May 14, 2009. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/death-to-undesirables-brazils-murder-capital-1685214.html (accessed March 11, 2017).
    11. Watts, Jonathan. “The Rio favela transformed into prime real estate.” The Guardian, January 22, 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/23/rio-favela-real-estate (accessed March 11, 2017).
    12. Ludlam, Scott. “The Homeless, the Liberals and their investment properties.” The Greens, February 23, 2016. http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/articles/homeless-liberals-and-their-investment-properties (accessed January 16, 2018).

    • Ailsing says:

      “Unbelievable, they are digging up failed FDR policies from the Great Depression.”

      Also, on the topic of semantics, “a system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.”

      Do you think Mr. Roosevelt ever meant to protect the poor?
      “Category: Theodore Roosevelt.” Eugenics and Other Evils: The True Story of a Past and Present Danger. http://eugenics.us/theodore-roosevelt (accessed March 11, 2017).

    • Tel says:

      In Australia, the definition of a house is determined by state building codes (mostly brought in as make-work programs for unions along with licensing laws to throttle the supply of skilled labour) and also by local councils and their by-laws (note they are not a law-making body under any constitution, their job is to provide the service of sweeping the street and taking out the garbage, and yet they make laws). Since strong vested interests are involved, none of this will change soon.

      The Australian Greens political party are classic “watermelons” with a thin green skin on the outside, using environment as their cause celeb, and a fat red communist core with their fundamental objective being big government, more big government, and destroying private ownership wherever possible.

      Interesting that you link to Scott Ludlam playing his very small and very hypocritical violin for the benefit of the poor. Does he care about his policies increasing the cost of electricity and leaving the elderly unable to run air-conditioners in summer and unable to have cooking and heating during winter? Probably not. So Scott Ludlam is lambasting other Australian politicians for owning investment properties, because somehow investing in the property market (i.e. creating economic incentive for property construction) is bad for housing availability. Yet, if you want even more hypocrisy, check out the “National Rental Affordability Scheme” which is basically what they call “social housing” or in the Old Tongue that’s “socialist housing”. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

      Currently, housing affordability is a problem in Australia. For society to function people need to live affordably in or around areas where they work. Key workers such as nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, ambulance operators and other members of society need to be able to access housing which is affordable. This generally means that they do not spend more than 30% of their household income on rent.

      Gosh, what a coincidence that all the “Key Workers” also happen to have strong union representation. How about that? Who gets to decide what is the correct proportion of income that should be spent on rent? Does that mean if I lose my job I should tell my landlord that 30% of nothing means I automatically get to live rent free? I guess if I own the house and lose my job then I probably don’t matter as much.

      So how does this scheme work? Well, in a nutshell they milk the taxpayers (Greens love doing that) and transfer the money to their chosen constituents (people likely to vote left-wing, or else union members). Here’s another Wiki quote:

      As the NRAS aims to encourage large-scale investment in affordable housing, it is not directly available to small-scale, private, individual investors in the rental property market. Under Round Three of the scheme which is currently running, direct applications can only be made by those with 1,000 or more dwellings.

      How surprising! If you have one, two or three investment properties then Scott Ludlam will blast you for being an evil property speculator; but if you have 1000 investment properties then apparently you become a good guy and Ludlam wants to generously bestow other people’s money upon you for your efforts. Of course there’s a catch, in return for tax money this investor with 1000 properties must submit the management to the Department of Social Services so they can find a tenant who most landlords wouldn’t want. Then they can build their special housing communities like Redfern where drugs and crime tend to be high, and where looking after those houses is low priority. In other words, a government managed slum which is strangely much better than a private slumlord.

      In Victoria, this sort of thing has gotten so bad the gangs aren’t even afraid of the police because they know the police have been given political instructions to not get involved. Regular citizens get to live in fear, but the Apex Gang do whatever they like.

      Speaking of Victoria, here’s Green policy for increasing the prices of houses in that state:

      http://greens.org.au/residential-tenancies-amendment-housing-standards-bill

      This bill will return to landlords a legal responsibility of ensuring their properties are of an adequate quality. This bill is modest in its aims and will provide security to our state’s poorest and most disadvantaged. This bill in and of itself does not impose any cost. The financial burden for operators of substandard dwellings will be determined in the processes of setting regulations that are to be issued by the minister, no doubt, after a regulatory impact statement.

      ‘Who should bear the cost and gain the benefits?’ The purpose of this bill is to share equitably, the costs between landlords and tenants while capturing the broader benefits to society such as the avoided health costs that arise from the correlation between draughty, poorly sanitised houses and ill health. The task for the minister in setting regulations is to select those measures that generate a net benefit to society as a whole.

      Tenants and landlords are free to enter into contracts and the amount that someone is willing or able to pay will result in a commensurate quality of living. But as with contracts for many other goods and services there is a baseline below which philosophies of contract can no longer be ethically applied.

      What a load of garbage, the more regulations you put on landlords, the less available stock of rental accommodation. If the house is “poorly sanitised” then the tenant goes to the local supermarket, buys a bucket of bleach and some rubber gloves and comes home and uses these excellent tools known as “initiative” and “a bit of effort”.

      This is the same fallacy as people who believe that putting a tax on smoking will discourage people from smoking, but at the same time believe that raising the minimum wage will have no effect on employment. They don’t care of course, because they are communists to the core, they want to destroy the free market and everything else is window dressing to justify this outcome.

      And I repeat one more time, these people are also happy to drive up the cost of living in other ways such as energy costs. They also constantly find reasons to raise the tax on everything. Next in line is a tax on sugar… that’s sure going to help the poor.

      I will give Ludlam some credit in as much as he blocked the implementation of Internet censorship under Conroy, but that was basic self preservation (always bet on self interest, because that horse is trying). If Internet censorship got underway very quickly it would become a political tool and the major parties would do their standard trick of getting together to stifle all the minor parties (including the Greens).

      So Ludlam knows how to protect his own interests, and he also knows how to ensure the maximum number of people living in poverty who will then be 100% dependent on big government and unable to escape that trap. Guaranteed votes for more socialism (could be votes for the ALP but who cares, they share preferences with the Green anyhow).

      Ludlam’s home town is North Fremantle and I just looked up the median property price in that area is about $1.6 million. I’ll bet he’s never lived around these government constructed housing projects, nor ever rubbed shoulders with these poor people that he has great paternalist plans for. It’s a good thing his expertise in graphic design makes him so knowledgeable about electricity production and economics.

      The greatest single cause of homelessness in this country right now is domestic violence. It is women-many of them with kids-fleeing homes that are too unsafe to remain in.” The link between violence (not always domestic violence, often community violence or war violence) and homelessness/other poverty is strangely absent from most upper class discussions on the topic, as if most upper class people would prefer to pretend violence does not exist or at any rate is infrequent enough to not be worth mentioning, and instead go on and on about housing prices and wages and every factor except violence.

      Sure, the problem is the Green policies don’t address this. Where do you think violence is greater? In those investment properties owned by a private landlord who only owns one or two and puts a lot of effort into getting good tenants (the people Scott Ludlam considers scum property speculators), or in those government run housing commission suburbs where a big corporation slurping tax subsidies owns 1000’s of rentals and manages it like a sausage factory? How about The Block in Redfern… high violence or low violence do you think? How about the schools in Sydney where it is school policy that boys don’t even shake hands with female teachers because of some religious prohibition… sign of respect?

      Let’s see the Greens start addressing the causes of violence, because what I keep hearing is “All men are bastards, and it’s all your fault” until someone points out domestic violence amongst some protected minority group, then we get people being hauled up on charges for the audacity to talk about taboo subjects. Bill Leak the great cartoonist would regularly bring up these topics, now dead from heart attack after a combined lawfare campaign against him waged with tax money, and death threats coming from the religion of peace forcing him to move house and hide. Any time the Greens want to talk about violence, lets encourage them to live in some rough neighbourhoods for a few years to give them a bit of real experience in what sort of things really have an effect on the poor.

      Sure devalues your house when you have regular burglaries and the cops turn up the next day, shrug, make a one line computer entry then piss off again.

      For a while the Greens were a good spoiler to make sure the major parties didn’t get too comfortable. Now there’s plenty of better spoilers to choose from, like David Leyonhjelm or dare I say it Cory Bernardi.

      • Tel says:

        In memory of Leak and his persistent takedowns of the clueless do-gooders.

        http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03525/610_3525906b.jpg

        • Aisling says:

          While I favor open debate and would oppose using court violence or any other form of violence against those with disagreeable views, Mr. Leak’s cartoon does not resonate with us. It seems ill-informed and disconnected from reality. A cartoon about unwanted resource extraction in third world countries would have been more meaningful.

          According to Naomi Klein, “In India, Blockadia-style uprisings have been on full display in recent years, with people’s movements against coal-fired power plants significantly slowing the rush to dirty energy in some regions. The southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh has been the site of several iconic struggles, like one in the village of Kakarapalli, surrounded by rice patties and coconut groves, where local residents can be seen staffing a semi-permanent checkpoint under a baobab tree at the entrance to town. The encampment chokes off the only road leading to a half-built power plant where construction was halted amidst protests in 2011. In nearby Sompeta, another power plant proposal was stopped by a breakthrough alliance of urban middle-class professionals and subsistence farmers and fishers who united to protect the nearby wetlands. After police charged a crowd of protesters in 2010, shooting dead at least two people, a national uproar forced the National Environment Appellate Authority to revoke the permit for the project. The community remains vigilant, with a daily rotating hunger strike entering its 1,500th day at the beginning of 2014.”(1)

          According to a recent news article, “Day-long protests and hunger strikes have becoming common in Neduvasal, where farmers are determined not to let the oil extracting program ruin their lands.”(2)

          The Australian Green party may follow if they know how to listen, but the greens are in large part lead by indigenous people and local communities — often very poor by financial standards, and certainly at risk of becoming much more impoverished if their land, water, and air is taken from them. The divest-from-prisons campaign I told you about the other day, indigenous people were leading the meeting where I found out about that.

          If you want to find “paternalism”, you can find plenty of it in libertarian philosophy. John Locke used paternalistic arguments to justify taking land from the natives. Just look at his second treatise.(3) Ayn Rand used paternalistic arguments to justify outright slaughter.(4) Ayn Rand also waxed eloquent on how wonderful Aristotle was,(5) and Aristotle used paternalistic arguments to justify chattel slavery and warfare, for example, “But is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature? There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule. […] And it is clear that the rule of the soul over the body, and of the mind and the rational element over the passionate, is natural and expedient; whereas the equality of the two or the rule of the inferior is always hurtful. The same holds good of animals in relation to men; for tame animals have a better nature than wild, and all tame animals are better off when they are ruled by man; for then they are preserved. Again, the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind. […] When several villages are united in a single complete community, large enough to be nearly or quite self-sufficing, the state comes into existence, originating in the bare needs of life, and continuing in existence for the sake of a good life. And therefore, if the earlier forms of society are natural, so is the state, for it is the end of them, and the nature of a thing is its end.”(6) Also, “And so, in one point of view, the art of war is a natural art of acquisition, for the art of acquisition includes hunting, an art which we ought to practice against wild beasts, and against men who, though intended by nature to be governed, will not submit; for war of such a kind is naturally just.”(6)

          I can see no evidence that there has ever been a non-violent form of either capitalism or socialism, indeed the two don’t even appear all that far apart. Capitalism is just like, slightly less efficient at perpetrating violence than socialism is. If I’m wrong, point out to me a capitalist culture not built on chattel slavery or war or other violence. Though the point would perhaps be less relevant, in conversing with libertarians, if at least libertarians were less intent on forcing their capitalism on others via violence.

          1. Klein, Naomi. “Chapter 10 — Love Will Save This Place: Democracy, Divestment, and Wins So Far.” In This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate. New York: Simon & Shuster, 2014.
          2. Madhav, Pramod. “Tamil Nadu: Farmers unite to protest Centre’s hydrocarbon extraction program in Neduvasal.” India Today, February 26, 2017. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/tamil-nadu-hydrocarbon-extraction-methane-fracking-protests-neduvasal/1/891801.html (accessed March 12, 2017).
          3. Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government. Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/7370/7370-h/7370-h.htm (accessed February 27, 2017).
          4. Norton, Ben. “Libertarian superstar Ayn Rand defended Native American genocide: ‘Racism didn’t exist in this country until the liberals brought it up.'” Salon, October 14, 2015. https://www.salon.com/2015/10/14/libertarian_superstar_ayn_rand_defended_genocide_of_savage_native_americans/ (accessed January 11, 2017).
          5. Rand, Ayn. “Review of Aristotle by John Herman Randall, Jr.” Ayn Rand Institute. https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1963/01/01/review-of-aristotle-by-john-herman-randall-jr/page1 (accessed February 28, 2017).
          6. Aristotle. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. “Book One.” In Politics. The Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.1.one.html (accessed February 27, 2017).

      • Aisling says:

        “In Australia, the definition of a house is determined by state building codes (mostly brought in as make-work programs for unions along with licensing laws to throttle the supply of skilled labour) and also by local councils and their by-laws (note they are not a law-making body under any constitution, their job is to provide the service of sweeping the street and taking out the garbage, and yet they make laws). Since strong vested interests are involved, none of this will change soon.”

        The definition of a house can change in someone’s mind even if it doesn’t change on the lawbooks. Redefining words in a more empowering way is an ancient Stoic tradition. There’s really no reason to let the government tell you how words should be defined. Take back the dictionary!

        “The Australian Greens political party are classic ‘watermelons’ with a thin green skin on the outside, using environment as their cause celeb, and a fat red communist core with their fundamental objective being big government, more big government, and destroying private ownership wherever possible.”

        I’ll admit the Australian Greens are left-leaning, upper class greens, not hardcore anti-colonialist greens or green anarchists, (though I’d also note that Gary Johnson is no anarcho-capitalist) which only goes to highlight how much less respect for private ownership the other parties have, that the Greens do the most to protect private ownership of any of them — unless you don’t count Aboriginals or people in Afghanistan or other war-torn nations (or countries that may potentially be war-torn in the future) as having any “private ownership” rights, in which case, I’d love to hear the reasoning.

        Ludlam, Scott. “To declare war, Donald Trump needs to get the US Congress to agree. To send Australia to war, Trump just needs to convince our Prime Minister, who can’t even stand up to his own back bench. US personnel have more protection from the US President than Australian personnel do.” Facebook, February 9, 2017. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/videos/10155104835829470/ (accessed March 12, 2017).
        Ludlam, Scott. “Mr Netanyahu seems determined to wreck any chances of a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” Facebook, February 20, 2017. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/photos/a.10150326711144470.368416.17351204469/10155148950444470/?type=3 (accessed March 12, 2017).
        Ludlam, Scott. “A massive global campaign has seen more than 125 countries pledge to sign a treaty banning nuclear weapons.” Facebook, April 8, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/photos/a.10150326711144470.368416.17351204469/10154161683399470/?type=3 (accessed March 12, 2017).
        Ludlam, Scott. “60 years on and there’s still mess to clean up. and there always will be.” Facebook, September 26, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/10154631989059470 (accessed March 12, 2017).
        The Australian Greens. “Amazing work from The Juice Media and @Wangan Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council.” Facebook, December 4, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/Australian.Greens/posts/10154106696318663 (accessed March 12, 2017).
        Ludlam, Scott. “yet again it is aboriginal people bearing the brunt of the impacts of this industry.” Facebook, August 15, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/10154506440209470 (accessed March 12, 2017).
        Ludlam, Scott. “Australia has a long history of failed plans to locate national nuclear waste dumps. Those plans have disproportionately targeted Aboriginal land.” Facebook, June 10, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/10154322660429470 (accessed March 12, 2017).

        Also, I wouldn’t call telling people how to commit crime (with relation to the synthetic law) to be supporting big government. Scott Ludlam clearly stands with the non-violent criminals. See this video from ~6:06-8:40.
        Ludlam, Scott. “‘You will be judged for this’ – Scott’s data retention message to Govt and ALP.” Youtube/The Australian Greens. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brTMGNOTLTg (accessed January 18, 2017).

        “I will give Ludlam some credit in as much as he blocked the implementation of Internet censorship under Conroy, but that was basic self preservation (always bet on self interest, because that horse is trying).”

        See, protecting the internet from mandatory data retention and whatnot helps non-violent criminals commit non-violent crimes more easily, including whistleblowing on Australian detention centers. See? The Greens stand with the non-violent criminals (with relation to the synthetic law).

        Ludlam, Scott. “How can we remain passive and silent while asylum seekers are held indefinitely, tortured and raped in detention?” Facebook, December 3, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/10154852892809470 (accessed March 12, 2017).

        “Interesting that you link to Scott Ludlam playing his very small and very hypocritical violin for the benefit of the poor. Does he care about his policies increasing the cost of electricity and leaving the elderly unable to run air-conditioners in summer and unable to have cooking and heating during winter? Probably not.”

        If the worst danger someone has to worry about is high electricity prices, they are not poor. If you benefit from the amount of violence — poisoning, landtheft, and outright war — that goes into making electricity cheap, then you’re in the 1%. As long as we are defining poverty in terms of external causes and not the Stoic sense, living in a city that is being bombed is poverty. Being trapped in a detention center after fleeing a warzone is poverty. Not having clean water (even after being boiled) is poverty. Air so polluted you die or nearly die of asthma is poverty. Being told you must work in exchange for nothing but food and water or be deported back to a warzone is poverty. Being locked in and told to make carpets (or whatever) or be beaten is poverty. Sleeping in a ditch or other outdoors location and counting it as an improvement over wherever you just fled from is poverty. Being told your family will be harmed if you don’t have sex with at least 5 customers a day and you will be harmed if you are not pleasing enough is poverty. Having no worse concern than high electricity prices is not poverty.

        In terms of caring about those who are actually poor or at risk of becoming so, I can think of no better party in Australia than the Greens. Which other has opposed the wars on Afghanistan and elsewhere so strongly? Which other has been so strongly opposed to the detention of refugees fleeing war? Which other has stood with the Aboriginals against the attempt to build the Carmichael Coal Mine?

        “So Ludlam knows how to protect his own interests, and he also knows how to ensure the maximum number of people living in poverty who will then be 100% dependent on big government and unable to escape that trap.”

        Nature is the world’s oldest social safety net. In order to protect people from being dependent on the violent, protecting the gifts of nature — clean water, clean air, clean land — should be the priority. Since the Greens are more committed to that than any other party, they are actually doing more to protect people from dependence on the government or any other violent organization than any other Australian political party.

        [to be continued]

        • Tel says:

          As Obama and Hillary demonstrated, the US executive can take military action quite easily without explicit consent of Congress (Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, secret kill lists) and now even out of executive office Obama and Hillary are doing their best to provoke a war with Russia.

          Strangely Ludlam sat on his hands all those years watching it happen while Obama was President and now wants to criticize President Trump. Forgive me if I feel the urge to call him a hypocrite one more time. I believe that his motive is that he just doesn’t like Trump, because that would be the simplest explanation of his actions. Either that, or else Ludlam is a fool… which shouldn’t entirely be ruled out.

          Trump may not be the best US President, but he hasn’t started a war (yet) and he has at least opened the door to ending the Cold War and a stable relationship with Russia and perhaps some stability in the Middle East.

          In terms of caring about those who are actually poor or at risk of becoming so, I can think of no better party in Australia than the Greens. Which other has opposed the wars on Afghanistan and elsewhere so strongly?

          If the Greens had full power in Australia then after about 20 years, or perhaps a bit less, it would be at a similar poverty level to Afghanistan, or various other Middle Eastern backwaters. They would squander everything, just like what happened in Venezuela. Perhaps they would be left with a warm moral glow at the end of it, but the result would be more poverty and less wealth.

          For what’s it’s worth here is Tanya Plibersek’s speech when the Australian Parliament debated going to war in 2001.

          http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/chamber/hansardr/2001-09-17/toc_pdf/1534-2.pdf

          Some people have drawn comparisons with what happened in Pearl Harbor. Yet it is wise to take heed of what former Secretary of State Warren Christopher said in relation to Pearl Harbor: there is one mistake that we should not repeat when we are talking about the response, and that is that after Pearl Harbor many citizens of Japanese nationality were locked up for no reason other than that they were Japanese. In my final comments, I want to say that we must not compound the tragedy of this event by punishing the innocent. When we are talking about pursuing Osama bin Laden perhaps in Afghanistan, we have to remember that the civilians in Afghanistan have suffered perhaps more than any other people on earth. And they are suffering still: from famine, drought and the rule of the Taliban government. When we set out to punish those who are responsible, it is also worth remembering not just the civilians in the countries such as Afghanistan but also that the US, when they seek to punish, sometimes make mistakes. When the United States initially backed the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan in the hope of fighting communism, they created part of the monster that we are dealing with today. When we seek to punish, we need to be accurate and to be sure of who we are seeking to punish.

          You will note that she did NOT oppose the war in principle, nor did she speak in favour of individual property rights, nor even of national sovereignty. She certainly did not speak about limited government. She believes that powerful governments are fully entitled to make use of their power, but she had some quibbles over finding the appropriate people to punish.

          If your point is that the others at the time did not even quibble that much then I must admit, it’s true. At the time although Parliament debated the issue, that debate was meaningless because Howard ended up claiming executive power to do whatever he wanted (OK, more accurately he did whatever George W Bush wanted).

          FWIW, there’s a speech by the Honourable John Howard in the same document, where he talks about freedom, he talks about “stand up and fight for the things that we really believe in” (without ever explaining what he meant by that), he talks about being a Christian and even about “values”. Except, we know that Howard never believed in freedom because he was a gun grabber, and I’m not sure what part of being a Christian involves invasion of another country in retaliation for an act by a small group of people (I’m not a Christian nor do I pretend to be)… but there you go, anyone can give a nice speech. The difference between Howard and Plibersek is that we saw the real Howard when he took action, thus we don’t have to take his speech seriously; but Plibersek can say anything because nothing she says will make a difference. If she ever was in a position to take action, I doubt she would be better than Howard on military matters, and on economic matters very likely a lot worse.

          If you want to vote Green as a protest then be my guest, but don’t complain about the people who voted Trump as a protest either.

          • Aisling says:

            “If you want to vote Green as a protest then be my guest, but don’t complain about the people who voted Trump as a protest either.”

            I am mostly interested in cheering for my own team, including those who don’t necessarily pass a philosophical purity test. In order to pass a philosophical purity test, I think a politician would have to abstain from nearly every vote — otherwise, the job requires a certain level of comfort with some version of utilitarian decision-making. Even from the perspectives of anarchists and other anti-government types, harm reduction doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, though this seems to have been largely forgotten due to lack of conversation between different types of anarchists and other anti-government types. Even from some version of a harm reduction standpoint, changing things one policy at a time will usually result in collateral damage — simply consider any of the laws that provide some sort of check against the government’s power, even if only in specific circumstances, and consider also how often various legal changes come in bundles of compromise rather than separately. Also consider that collateral damage might not always be obvious.(1) To whole-heartedly endorse such a policy change, even if convinced that the policy would reduce harm more than it caused harm, would also be to endorse the collateral damage. Hence, the purist anarchist (or other anti-government type), determined to avoid utilitarian arguments, really ought to be abstaining from offering any firm recommendation regarding such policies. Certainly, pointing to someone’s reluctance to support a utilitarian measure as a purity test is ludicrous, even between people who measure harm reduction by the same standards. Seriously, the excessive focus on disagreements over harm reduction is detrimental to the anarchist/anti-government movement as a whole, or more accurately, perhaps partially responsible for the lack of any unified movement.

            More broadly speaking, any idealist (barring perhaps completely hedonistic idealists) who strictly applied their ideals to their actual life would probably wind up dead like Socrates, which explains why so many idealists are terribly inconsistent so as to preserve their own sense of innocence and/or fail to attempt to apply their ideals to actual life, instead preferring to discuss the matter in theoretical terms disconnected from the actual world, preferring to blame matters on the fact that the world is not structured how they might wish rather than take action to change things. It’s easier to be a realist and acknowledge the existence of values that cannot always be lived up to — as Judith Martin wrote, “When a society abandons its ideals just because most people can’t live up to them, behavior gets very ugly indeed.”(2) Ultimately, this makes realism more powerful than idealism in terms of pushing for actual change, since the realist can acknowledge his or her own flaws and work to overcome them, rather than allowing those flaws to defeat him or her, either by forcing a change in values or double standard to preserve sense of innocence or else by feeling compelled to become a martyr over some trivial issue.

            In any case, a Green is not quite the same as a green, just as a Libertarian is not quite the same as a libertarian, but there is danger in focusing too much on internal disagreements, particularly on matters which are not close to your heart anyway. The imperialist regimes have a long history of using divide-and-conquer tactics against their enemies, and excessive focus on internal disagreements plays into that. I would prefer to abstain from offering decisive opinions about most specific policies, particularly those where I think collateral damage is likely an issue, I really don’t see why I should be pressured into offering firm opinions about policies I can’t change anyway, but I will still cheer for politicians like Scott Ludlam who I feel have some type of a green heart, even if not exactly the same as my own.

            It is not my intent to guilt-trip the people who voted for or in some way supported Trump because they felt he was less likely to start a nuclear war with Russia than Hillary, and as for complete warmongers who voted for Trump, I doubt they would listen to me anyway. Indeed, Jill Stein went on record saying she was more afraid of Hillary than of Trump because of the fear of nuclear war with Russia, though there was a great deal of disagreement among greens regarding which of the two was the greater threat when it came to likelihood of starting/continuing wars.(3) I can’t find the speech at the moment, but I recall one in which Ludlam expressed concern that many of the Trump voters did not intend the present regime and had been betrayed.

            However, I would make several points. Firstly, that criticizing Trump is not equivalent to criticizing the people who voted for him or supported him in other ways. Secondly, that there’s something to be said for living in the present — Trump has already won, and regardless of who you voted for or otherwise supported during the election, there are plenty of things about his current actions to criticize — for example, many of us are concerned about Trump’s potential to incite a war with China, another nuclear power. As Seneca wrote, “The better man may win; but the winner is bound to be the worse man.”(4) Simply by virtue of having won, Trump is now positioned to do more damage than Hillary is. Speculating on alternative universes where Hillary may have won is not productive towards trying to improve our own universe. Thirdly, that there are a great many things that individuals, teams, and communities can do regardless of who is in power. Plans to weaken the imperialist power structure using non-violent methods should continue regardless of who the world’s leaders and powers-that-be are.

            “As Obama and Hillary demonstrated, the US executive can take military action quite easily without explicit consent of Congress (Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, secret kill lists)”

            If you listen to his February 8 speech (5, ~4:00-5:30), Ludlam does acknowledge the difference between US law in theory and practice and recommend that this be improved, “The US requires congressional approval before sending troops into war. They have more protection from this kind of impetuous action of their President than Australia does. Now I recognize that the nature of modern warfare — it’s been some time, it’s been decades, I suspect — since that kind of formal declaration of war against another state. And I recognize that the nature of warfare itself has mutated quite radically in recent decades. Nonetheless, the idea that US congressional approval would be sought and required before a deployment is an important principle. I would argue that under US law, that needs to be upgraded to take better account of the way in which warfare is practiced. Other democracies: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey — troop deployment in all of those countries is set down in constitutional or legislative provisions. Parliamentary approval, or consultation at least, is also routinely undertaken in Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway. Now in 2013 the UK avoided embroilment in the disastrous conflict in Syria thanks to the House of Commons saving Prime Minister David Cameron from himself.” Ludlam uses the term “disastrous” to refer to decisions to deploy into war multiple times throughout the speech, so I do not believe he is condoning any wars — I believe this is primarily a pragmatic argument that declarations of war are less likely to be made if parliamentary approval is sought, and that having the debate under the light of day would give us a better chance to expose the weakness of warmonger arguments.

            [message split due to length]

          • Aisling says:

            “Strangely Ludlam sat on his hands all those years watching it happen while Obama was President and now wants to criticize President Trump.”

            This statement simply isn’t true. Simply because I picked more recent examples of Ludlam’s opposition to war does not mean he hasn’t been opposing it for a long time. He spoke on the topic of removing the ability to declare war from the prime minister before, in 2015, and even that wasn’t the first time.(6)(7) From about ~6:25 into that speech, “Can you show us that this won’t make things worse?” He doesn’t say as much outright, but listening between the lines, I’m pretty sure that in any foreign war, the answer to that question is always “no”. At around ~9:10, he specifically critiques United States actions in the Syrian conflict. Multiple times throughout the speech, Ludlam expresses his concern for “the people of Syria”. In 2011 he gave a speech about the Afghanistan war in which he mentioned the “profoundly disturbing numbers of civillian dead”.(8) In 2012 he quoted criticism of Obama specifically, “I absolutely believe that another 9/11 is possible. And the reason I believe it’s so possible is that people like Andrew Sullivan — and George Packer — have spent the last decade publicly cheering for virtually every act of American violence brought to the Muslim world, and they continue to do so (now more than ever under Obama).”(9) Ludlam has also critiziced Obama’s drone program and advocated in favor of pardoning whistleblowers.(10)(11) Would you like me to continue digging up more examples?

            Quite frankly, these types of false, unsubstantiated accusations that various greens didn’t criticize Obama and administration’s actions merely because the Democrats or the Labors didn’t (and apparently it’s really hard for many libertarians to tell the difference between a Democrat or a Labor and a green), this denial of so many green voices who did speak and non-violently fight against Obama and his actions, it’s quite tiresome, and an example of why there ought to be some dialogue between greens and libertarians not restricted to what mainstream media happens to pick up. Even if you hate us, at least get to know us. As Sun Tzu wrote, “Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”(12)

            “If the Greens had full power in Australia then after about 20 years, or perhaps a bit less, it would be at a similar poverty level to Afghanistan, or various other Middle Eastern backwaters.”

            As much as I dislike alternative-universe speculation, do you genuinely believe that Australia would be bombed under Green rule?

            “They would squander everything, just like what happened in Venezuela. Perhaps they would be left with a warm moral glow at the end of it, but the result would be more poverty and less wealth.”

            Venezuala is not the equivalent of Afghanistan, but you’re missing part of the message here, which is that a good green should, on some level, care about all the people of the world, not merely those in Australia or any other single country. As Giordano Nanni said, “Only slaves heed nationality.”(13) If some portion of Australian society — not even all of Australian society, just a portion of it — is unable to remain rich without perpetrating violence abroad and violence at home against Aboriginals (via corporate intermediaries and the states that back them up) — then perhaps they do not deserve to be rich. On the other hand, perhaps wealth for some small fragment of the population and non-violence are not mutually exclusive, there are alternatives to oil and gas after all, but either way, I do oppose violence — whether or not wealth for some small fragment of the world’s population is compatible with non-violence is not relevant to my values. Certainly, less violence would mean less poverty, even if it also meant less wealth, for suffering frequent or continuous violence is the most severe form of poverty short of death, by any sensible definition of poverty that considers external circumstances.

            However, it is interesting that you should mention Venezuala. I would point out that the type of economic collapse witnessed there could potentially happen anywhere, regardless of who is in charge, indeed it’s far from the first time that sort of thing has happened. I don’t see how you are any safer under the rule of warmongering Labor or Liberals than you would be under Greens. However, where you find problems, you can also see solutions. See how many people survived said collapse in Venezuela. A quick glance at the news reveals that many Venezuelans have been bartering. The news articles are light on details, but I am not surprised. I am familiar with barter and its use in the US shadow economy. “The best ideas are common property.”(14) I do wonder, though, why if libertarians are so concerned about an economic collapse, is it so difficult to entice y’all into discussion of barter and/or the shadow economy? If you are going to predict doom, why not counter that with advice on how to survive doom?(15)

            “For what’s it’s worth here is Tanya Plibersek’s speech when the Australian Parliament debated going to war in 2001.”

            So far as I am aware, Tanya Plibersek is Labor, not Green nor green. That doesn’t preclude possible alliances for the anti-war cause, but so far as I know she is not one of us and has never claimed to be.

            1. Archon, Sofo. “Short Story: The Taoist Farmer.” The Unbounded Spirit. http://theunboundedspirit.com/short-story-the-taoist-farmer/ (accessed March 13, 2017).
            2. Martin, Judith. Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children. 1979. Reprint, Antheneum: Simon & Schuster, 1984. p. 232.
            3. Pesca, Mike. “‘We Are on the Verge of a Nuclear War’: Jill Stein on why peace is more likely under Trump and the threat of an emerging Demo-Republican party.” Slate, October 19, 2016. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/gist/2016/10/jill_stein_thinks_nuclear_war_is_less_likely_under_trump.html (accessed March 13, 2017).
            4. Seneca. “Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 14.” Wikisource. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_14 (accessed March 11, 2017).
            5. Ludlam, Scott. “To declare war, Donald Trump needs to get the US Congress to agree. To send Australia to war, Trump just needs to convince our Prime Minister, who can’t even stand up to his own back bench. US personnel have more protection from the US President than Australian personnel do.” Facebook, February 9, 2017. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/videos/10155104835829470/ (accessed March 12, 2017).
            6. Ludlam, Scott. “We don’t trust this government’s motivation, nor its competence. the decision to go to war should rest with parliament, not the prime minister alone.” Facebook, September 9, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/videos/10153658624429470/ (accessed March 13, 2017).
            7. Ludlam, Scott. “In the UK the Prime Minister had to present the grave decision to militarily intervene in Syria to the House of Commons – to the elected representatives of the people – and they said no. We don’t have that power in Australia – and that must change.” Facebook, September 2, 2013. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/10151814713929470 (accessed March 13, 2017).
            8. Ludlam, Scott. “Senator Scott Ludlam – Afghanistan speech 31 Oct 2011.” Youtube/The Australian Greens, November 2, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAQ20GTH1A4 (accessed March 13, 2017).
            9. Ludlam, Scott. “‘I absolutely believe that another 9/11 is possible.'” Facebook, June 13, 2012. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/331081356967078 (accessed March 13, 2017).
            10. Ludlam, Scott. “Drones do not save lives.” Facebook, May 6, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/10154232983804470 (accessed March 13, 2017).
            11. Ludlam, Scott. “Yes. ‘Edward Snowden did this country a great service. Let him come home.'” Facebook, September 14, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/SenatorLudlam/posts/10154598679984470 (accessed March 13, 2017).
            12. Tzu, Sun. Translated by Giles, Lionel. The Art of War. The Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html (accessed January 13, 2017).
            13. Nanni, Giordano et al. “The World Coup: THIEFA vs Brazil [RAP NEWS 26].” Youtube/thejuicemedia, June 21, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2ydVHVGW5U (accessed March 13, 2017).
            14. Seneca. “Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 12.” Wikisource. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_12 (accessed March 13, 2017).
            15. Seneca. “Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 13.” Wikisource. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_13 (accessed March 13, 2017).

          • Aisling says:

            “If some portion of Australian society — not even all of Australian society, just a portion of it — is unable to remain rich without perpetrating violence abroad and violence at home against Aboriginals (via corporate intermediaries and the states that back them up) — then perhaps they do not deserve to be rich. On the other hand, perhaps wealth for some small fragment of the population and non-violence are not mutually exclusive, there are alternatives to oil and gas after all, but either way, I do oppose violence — whether or not wealth for some small fragment of the world’s population is compatible with non-violence is not relevant to my values. Certainly, less violence would mean less poverty, even if it also meant less wealth, for suffering frequent or continuous violence is the most severe form of poverty short of death, by any sensible definition of poverty that considers external circumstances.”

            To expand on this point, in case it wasn’t clear: experiencing high levels of violence in one’s life is a form of negative wealth, unless the person in question has managed to reach the Stoic goal of no longer caring (which most Stoics didn’t actually succeed in doing, at least not consistently, so we can probably assume the vast majority people experiencing high levels of violence in their lives didn’t either). Violence is also a highly efficient way of increasing wealth — just look at chattel slavery. (I can provide numerous examples if you disagree.)

            So if you reduce the amount of chattel slavery, you will reduce poverty, since the freed chattel slaves can be said to be less poor (i.e. to have less negative wealth in the form of violence), but you will also reduce the amount of wealth, since freeing them reduces economic efficiency. Thus you reduce both poverty and wealth at the same time.

            From an anti-violence standpoint, it is much better to free the chattel slaves. But from the perspective of the hedonistic consumer, freeing them will reduce wealth and is therefore not preferable. Anti-violence and hedonistic consumerism are therefore incompatible in this scenario.

            As Seneca wrote, “liberty cannot be gained for nothing. If you set a high value on liberty, you must set a low value on everything else.”

            Seneca. “Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 104.” Wikisource. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_104 (accessed March 13, 2017).

            • Dan says:

              “So if you reduce the amount of chattel slavery, you will reduce poverty, since the freed chattel slaves can be said to be less poor (i.e. to have less negative wealth in the form of violence), but you will also reduce the amount of wealth, since freeing them reduces economic efficiency. Thus you reduce both poverty and wealth at the same time.
              From an anti-violence standpoint, it is much better to free the chattel slaves. But from the perspective of the hedonistic consumer, freeing them will reduce wealth and is therefore not preferable. Anti-violence and hedonistic consumerism are therefore incompatible in this scenario.”

              Slavery is not only immoral, but it is also horribly inefficient. Eliminating slavery not only increases liberty, but it also increases productivity and prosperity overall.

              “As Seneca wrote, “liberty cannot be gained for nothing. If you set a high value on liberty, you must set a low value on everything else.”’

              Well, lots of people say stupid things because they have ignorant views on economics. Nothing new there.

              • Aisling says:

                Slavery is very efficient. This has been known for millennia, but for some reason the upper classes felt better believing otherwise. I’m sure it’s a very convenient belief. Lets people think they can be hedonists and still be abolitionists. In fact, if you truly believe that, why would you object to joining anti-slavery boycotts? If slavery is allegedly inefficient, what could you have to lose?

                Baptist, Edward. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books, 2014.

                Edward Baptists entire book is basically a refutation of the claim that racial slavery in the US was not efficient. On pages 142-143, “Hard forced labor multiplied US cotton production to 130 times its 1800 level by 1860. Slave labor camps were more efficient producers of revenue than free farms in the North. Planter-entrepreneurs conquered a subcontinent in a lifetime, creating from nothing the most significant staple-commodity stream in the world economy. They became the richest class of white people in the United States, and perhaps the world.” Page 144, “The whip drove men and women to turn all of their bodies and much of their minds to the task of picking faster and faster.” Pages 129-131, “And perhaps most conclusively, after the Civil War, when many cotton planters would pay pickers by the pound at the end of a day’s work, free labor motivated by a wage did not produce the same amount of cotton per hour of picking as slave labor had. What enslavers used was a system of measurement and negative incentives. Actually, one should avoid such euphemisms. Enslavers used measurement to calibrate torture in order to force cotton pickers to figure out how to increase their own productivity and thus push through the picking bottleneck. The continuous process of innovation thus generated was the ultimate cause of the massive increase in the production of high-quality, cheap cotton: an absolutely necessary increase if the Western world was to burst out of the 10,000-year Malthusian cycle of agriculture. This system confounds our expectations, because, like abolitionists, we want to believe that the free labor system is not only more moral that systems of coercion, but more efficient. Faith in that a priori is very useful. It means we never have to resolve existential contradictions between productivity and freedom. And slave labor surely was wasteful and unproductive. Its captives knew it wasted the days and years and centuries extorted from them. They would never get those days back. Yet those who actually endured those days knew the secret that, over time, drove cotton-picking to continually higher levels of efficiency.” Page 142, “Thus torture compelled and then exposed left-handed capacities, subordinated them to the power of the enslaver, turned them against people themselves. And thus untold amounts of mental labor, unknown breakthroughs of human creativity, were the keys to an astonishing increase in cotton production that required no machinery–save the whipping-machine, of course. With it, enslavers looted the riches of black folk’s minds, stole days and moths and years and lifetimes, turned sweat, blood, and flesh into gold. They forced people to behave in the fields as if they themselves were disembodied, mechanical hands that moved ever more swiftly over the cotton plant at the wave of the enslaver’s hand. Enslavers forced the sleight of the left hand to yield to the service of their own right-handed power.”

                Quakers attempted to organize a boycott of US racial slavery, but, “The American Free Produce Society disbanded in 1847 as there was insufficient support of the boycott.” Regarding free-made goods, “prices were always unsustainably higher than the slave produced goods they were trying to replace.”

                “Boycotting Goods Produced by Slaves.” Quakers in the World. http://www.quakersintheworld.org/quakers-in-action/153/Boycotting-Goods-Produced-by-Slaves (accessed March 14, 2017).

                Aristotle, an ancient Greek, remarked that artisans became more efficient the more enslaved they were, “For the slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave. The meaner sort of mechanic has a special and separate slavery; and whereas the slave exists by nature, not so the shoemaker or other artisan. It is manifest, then, that the master ought to be the source of such excellence in the slave, and not a mere possessor of the art of mastership which trains the slave in his duties.”

                Aristotle. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. “Book One.” In Politics. The Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.1.one.html (accessed February 27, 2017).

                In modern-day Ivory Coast, plantation owners complain that they have to use slave labor because they simply cannot afford to pay their workers, even making vague promises that they will eventually pay if they can afford to.
                46. Raghavan, Sudarsan, and Chatterjee, Sumana. “A Taste of Slavery.” Knight Ridder Newspapers, June 24, 2001. http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/atasteofslavery.html (accessed January 10, 2017).

                From an interview with some freed Ivory Coast slaves, “Our master used us as slaves. He took us there and never paid us a penny. He said that if anyone escaped he would be caught and killed. No one dared challenge him, he was too powerful. We were all terrified of him, no one dared escape. If you ran away he would catch you, tie you up, beat you, then lock you in a hut. They would tie your hands behind your back. Then one person would beat your front and someone else your back. When you’re beaten your clothes are taken off, and your hands tied. You’re thrown on the floor, and then beaten, beaten really viciously. Twice in a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.”

                True Vision of London. “19 Freed Chocolate Slaves.” Slavery: A Global Investigation. Vimeo/Free the Slaves, 2001. https://vimeo.com/39383629 (accessed January 10, 2017). ~14:50-21:30.

                According to Neil Faulkner, “[The Roman] conquests more than paid for themselves in booty, slaves and tribute. War was highly profitable.”

                Faulkner, Neil. “Overview: Roman Britain, 43 – 410 AD.” BBC, March 29, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/overview_roman_01.shtml (accessed January 15, 2017).

                From an interview with a freed carpet slave in modern-day India, “In the morning at 5 o’clock I wake up, then start to work. Then at night at 12 o’clock we stop working. […] Here, you know, here, they [the fingers] are cut. The loom is so tight, then we do like that. Then this finger moves, and here it’s cut. And here also it’s cut. […] He had one big stick. […] Then if we are not working he beats. […] Okay, I’m working I’m working, don’t beat me.”

                True Vision of London. “Carpet Slavery in India.” Slavery: A Global Investigation. Vimeo/Free the Slaves, 2001. https://vimeo.com/39383629 (accessed January 10, 2017). ~39:28-58:22.

                Would you like me to keep going or is that enough?

                “Well, lots of people say stupid things because they have ignorant views on economics. Nothing new there.”

                I would say Seneca was far less ignorant than someone who theorizes about some idealized version of economics but can’t be bothered to study history nor current events about slavery. Seneca lived in the Roman empire, one of the most brutal imperialist empires in history, so he definitely had far more to go on than someone who has never witnessed chattel slavery or other severe violence first-hand.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Aisling,

                I don’t think slavery is efficient, in the same way I don’t think war is efficient. Yes, war still occurs, but war is still a terrible policy for the average person, even for the victors.

                I spell out some of the points in these articles (I and II).

              • Craw says:

                You can only maintain that slavery is efficient if you either
                1) discount the slaves as persons, or
                2) do not know what efficient means.

              • Dan says:

                Aisling,

                Those guys you linked to could use Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt. They make the same mistake that everyone who doesn’t study economics makes. They only look at the seen and not the unseen. For example, they don’t account for the cost of feeding, housing, medical care, security etc. that comes with having slave labor. It is horribly inefficient. See the articles that Dr. Murphy posted.

                “In fact, if you truly believe that, why would you object to joining anti-slavery boycotts? If slavery is allegedly inefficient, what could you have to lose?”

                Because I have no interest in boycotts.

                “I would say Seneca was far less ignorant than someone who theorizes about some idealized version of economics but can’t be bothered to study history nor current events about slavery. Seneca lived in the Roman empire, one of the most brutal imperialist empires in history, so he definitely had far more to go on than someone who has never witnessed chattel slavery or other severe violence first-hand.”

                I’m sure he seems very impressive to someone that makes basic mistakes when it comes to studying economic topics like the efficency of slavery.

              • Dan says:

                Aisling,

                You should especially read that second article. If you can’t see how inefficient slavery is intuitively, then think of how inefficient it is to have carpenters, doctors, scientists, NBA players, teachers, etc. forced into labor camps to pick cotton.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                I agree with Dan: My second article on slavery was particularly awesome.

              • Craw says:

                Dan, Bob, what you guys miss is this. Imagine the slaveowner puts everyone in the same job he’d have in a market, and pays him the same amount, and basically leaves him alone, BUT in process saves and keeps to himself all the transaction and negotiation costs. More efficient!

              • Craw says:

                Seriously, is it not obvious that Aisling has simply confused the notion of slavery being a very effective tool of mass theft — which is true — and the claim that it’s economically efficient.

              • Aisling says:

                Dear Dr. Murphy,

                If you genuinely believe that non-slave labor is more efficient, what would you have to lose by joining anti-slavery boycotts? Say something specific, where there is relatively decent documentation, such as buying slave-free chocolate instead of slave chocolate?

                Mr. Mises wrote and you quoted, “If one treats men like cattle, one cannot squeeze out of them more than cattle-like performances.” Human beings can use tools like shovels and looms and whatnot. Cattle can’t. A great example is forced prostitution, a widely practiced form of modern chattel slavery.(1)(2) In this case, human beings utilizes tools and aspects of humanity to deliver an experience that could never be manufactured by cattle. Moreover, in Roman arenas and colosseums, fights between talented human gladiators were considered far more entertaining than fights between animals, a living testimony that humanity presents an aspect distinguished from animalistic nature.(3)(4)

                Why should any of these concern us? A comparison between aforementioned analysis and Mr. Mises would suggest a contradiction between his study and empirical evidence. It is perhaps due to the fact that Mr. Mises was never a chattel slave, or did not witness chattel slavery, and so far as I know, never interviewed a former chattel slave. As a result, he possess no more familiarity with chattel slavery than other Austrians or his academic contemporaries.

                Aristotle, a Greek slave owner, considered slaves the most valuable of possesions, and considered oxen to be inferior to human slaves, “Now instruments are of various sorts; some are living, others lifeless; in the rudder, the pilot of a ship has a lifeless, in the look-out man, a living instrument; for in the arts the servant is a kind of instrument. Thus, too, a possession is an instrument for maintaining life. And so, in the arrangement of the family, a slave is a living possession, and property a number of such instruments; and the servant is himself an instrument which takes precedence of all other instruments. For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poet, ‘of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods;’ if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves. Here, however, another distinction must be drawn; the instruments commonly so called are instruments of production, whilst a possession is an instrument of action. The shuttle, for example, is not only of use; but something else is made by it, whereas of a garment or of a bed there is only the use. Further, as production and action are different in kind, and both require instruments, the instruments which they employ must likewise differ in kind. But life is action and not production, and therefore the slave is the minister of action,” and, “the ox is the poor man’s slave.”(5)

                Even setting aside for the moment the question of the wide variety of things that humans can do that animals can’t (excepting in some cases other primates), Mises seems to be implying here that slaves are naturally inclined to be lazy or otherwise unmotivated. That might be the case if slaves were merely unpaid, or rather, paid at around the subsistence level (food/water). But that’s not quite what we mean when we say chattel slavery. There are people who voluntarily, without the threat of violence (at least, not by the employer), accept jobs that pay nothing but food and water. While the desperation that drives people to accept such jobs is another interesting and not unrelated topic, for it is often people who have recently escaped violence, that’s not what we’re talking about here. While it’s not my intention to delineate the exact distinction between chattel slavery and other types of violence, as if they could all be divided into neat little boxes, the chattel slave is generally regarded by the master as a tool to be used, and the use of this particular tool often involves inflicting pain and fear. There are many ways to inflict pain, beating, whipping, etc etc. Some leave little or no trace of physical damage.(6) The way Kevin Bales explains it is, “Slavery is what slavery has always been. It’s about one person completely controlling another person using violence and then exploiting them economically, paying them nothing. That’s what slavery is about.” (7, 7:52-8:05)

                Necessity is the mother of invention.” And great necessity arises from pain and fear, which activates our survival instincts. In these moments of desperation, our talents for innovation, creativity, and efficiency are greatly heightened. Our capability frequently extends beyond our knowledge of such capabilities.

                Also from your Mises quote, “The upper limit beyond which it is impossible to lift the quality and quantity of the products and services rendered by slave and serf labor is far below the standards of free labor.”

                This has been proven untrue repeatedly throughout history. I already quoted some examples for you. Did you read them?

                To repeat one, from an interview with a freed carpet slave in modern-day India, “In the morning at 5 o’clock I wake up, then start to work. Then at night at 12 o’clock we stop working. […] Here, you know, here, they [the fingers] are cut. The loom is so tight, then we do like that. Then this finger moves, and here it’s cut. And here also it’s cut. […] He had one big stick. […] Then if we are not working he beats. […] Okay, I’m working I’m working, don’t beat me.” (7, 40:34-41:40)

                Go watch the interview for yourself if you don’t believe me. Better yet, watch the whole documentary. 5 AM to 12 midnight is a 19-hour workday. A 133-hour workweek. For no pay other than food and water, and under threat of beating. Have you ever heard of a non-slave willing to work those kind of hours for that kind of pay? If only one could solve the problem of figuring out how to escape, one can get a better deal from Nature, just by foraging, assuming the local Nature hasn’t been destroyed by polluting corporations or whomever. Or dumpster-diving in a city environment, either way. You know what, even if you aren’t confident in your ability to forage, dumpster-dive, barter, pickpocket, busk, shoplift, or find some other way to make it without an employer, plenty of people have chosen hunger over violence.(8) (And yes, I realize libertarians would object to some or all of the possible methods I listed for making it without an employer post-escape, doesn’t matter, the point is, it happens whether you like it or not. Austrianism is about modelling human behavior, no? Well, crime is part of human behavior, and escaping violence is a strong incentive to commit crime. Thomas Hobbes understood this, hence his handy list of “Totall Excuses.”(9) In fact, on page 172 of Mr. Mises’ Human Action, he does indeed mention that people can choose to withdraw from civilization, though I would disagree with Mr. Mises equating civilization to peace. Civilization is quite violent.)

                I also gave you several quotes from the book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.” Edward Baptist’s book is well-researched, based on interviews and other sources, and gives details on how torture was used on African American slaves to inspire them to new heights of productivity. I hate repeating myself, but since you don’t seem to have read them before, on pages 142-143, “Hard forced labor multiplied US cotton production to 130 times its 1800 level by 1860. Slave labor camps were more efficient producers of revenue than free farms in the North. Planter-entrepreneurs conquered a subcontinent in a lifetime, creating from nothing the most significant staple-commodity stream in the world economy. They became the richest class of white people in the United States, and perhaps the world.”(10) Page 144, “The whip drove men and women to turn all of their bodies and much of their minds to the task of picking faster and faster.” Pages 129-131, “And perhaps most conclusively, after the Civil War, when many cotton planters would pay pickers by the pound at the end of a day’s work, free labor motivated by a wage did not produce the same amount of cotton per hour of picking as slave labor had. What enslavers used was a system of measurement and negative incentives. Actually, one should avoid such euphemisms. Enslavers used measurement to calibrate torture in order to force cotton pickers to figure out how to increase their own productivity and thus push through the picking bottleneck. The continuous process of innovation thus generated was the ultimate cause of the massive increase in the production of high-quality, cheap cotton: an absolutely necessary increase if the Western world was to burst out of the 10,000-year Malthusian cycle of agriculture. This system confounds our expectations, because, like abolitionists, we want to believe that the free labor system is not only more moral that systems of coercion, but more efficient. Faith in that a priori is very useful. It means we never have to resolve existential contradictions between productivity and freedom. And slave labor surely was wasteful and unproductive. Its captives knew it wasted the days and years and centuries extorted from them. They would never get those days back. Yet those who actually endured those days knew the secret that, over time, drove cotton-picking to continually higher levels of efficiency.”(10) Page 142, “Thus torture compelled and then exposed left-handed capacities, subordinated them to the power of the enslaver, turned them against people themselves. And thus untold amounts of mental labor, unknown breakthroughs of human creativity, were the keys to an astonishing increase in cotton production that required no machinery–save the whipping-machine, of course. With it, enslavers looted the riches of black folk’s minds, stole days and moths and years and lifetimes, turned sweat, blood, and flesh into gold. They forced people to behave in the fields as if they themselves were disembodied, mechanical hands that moved ever more swiftly over the cotton plant at the wave of the enslaver’s hand. Enslavers forced the sleight of the left hand to yield to the service of their own right-handed power.”(10)

              • Aisling says:

                You wrote, “Well, in order to compel the slaves to produce (such as picking cotton), the owners and their subordinates would have to announce minimum standards of output, below which the slaves would be punished. In setting this threshold, the owners couldn’t be too unreasonable, because frequent physical punishments would reduce the health of the slaves. Yet this means that all of the slaves who actually were ‘above average’ would have no reason to excel. They would have the incentive to do the bare minimum to avoid punishment.”

                First off, slaveowners and overseers were quite capable of setting individual quotas for slaves. To pull another quote from Edward Baptist’s book, from page 133, “The overseer, wrote one owner in the rules he created for his Louisiana labor camp in 1820, ‘shall see that the people of the plantation that are fit to pick cotton shall do it and Pick clean as much as possible and quantity conforming [to] their age[,] Strength & Capacitys.’ Sarah Wells remembered that near Warren County, Mississippi, where she grew up, some slaves picked 100 pounds a day, some 300, and some 500. But if your quota was 250 pounds, and one day you didn’t reach it, ‘they’d punish you, put you in the stocks,’ and beat you. If a new hand couldn’t meet the set quota, that hand would have to improve his or her ‘capacity for picking,’ or the whip would balance the account. ‘You are mistaken when you say your negroes are ignorant of the proper way of working,’ wrote Robert Beverley about a new crew transported from Virginia to Alabama. ‘They only need to be made to do it… by flogging and that quite often.’ A few years later, having received another batch of people, he wrote, ‘They are very difficult negroes to make pick cotton. I have flogged this day, you would think if you had seen it[,] without mercy.’ Learning how to meet one’s quota was difficult, and those who met it before sunset had to keep picking. As William Anderson moved toward his quota in a Mississippi field, his new enslaver repeatedly knocked him down with a heavy stick, claiming William was lagging.”(10) Furthermore, these quotas increased over time, from page 134, “After Israel Campbell figured out how to meet his quota, Belfer raised Campbell’s requirement to 175 pounds per day. John Brown remembered that ‘as I picked so well at first, more was extracted of me, and if I flagged a minute the whip was applied liberally to keep me up to my mark. By being driven this way, I at last got to pick a hundred and sixty pounds a day,’ after starting at a minimum requirement of 100. Cotton-picking increased because quotas rose. In 1805, Wade Hampton and his henchmen gradually increased their demands on Ball until he was picking 50-odd pounds a day. By the late 1820s, enslavers in Mississippi and Tennessee demanded 100 pounds. Five years later, that total had gone up by another 30 pounds. Hands now moved ‘like a bresh heap afire’–‘as if,’ a Mississippi planter wrote, ‘some new motive power was applied in the process.’ As if, in other words, mechanical engines hummed inside the enslaved, as if the disembodied hands of whites’ language moved by themselves over the cotton plants in the field. By the 1850s, ex-slaves reported, enslavers demanded 200 pounds or more of most slaves on some places, and even 250 on others.”(10)

                Secondly, slave owners typically feel no need to be reasonable or worry about “reducing the health of the slaves”. Slaves these days are regarded by their masters as disposable, and they have throughout much of history as well. Slaves die all the time, either from the hard work or the punishment itself. “The health of the slaves” is simply not a concern most of the time, and even when it is, see discussion of inflicting pain without leaving a trace above. Kevin Bales says, “There is a glut of slaves, and when you use them, you throw them away if you don’t want them anymore. They’re disposable.” (7, 8:45-8:53)

                In Qatar, slaves often die from heart attacks.(11) In a period of 3 years (2011-2013), there were 1,239 documented Indian and Nepali deaths in Qatar. If Bangladeshi workers are included, the number jumps to around 1,800.(12)

                According to a Burmese man who escaped slavery in the seafood industry, “People said, anyone who tried to escape had their legs broken, their hands broken or were even killed.”(13)

                From Bharti Tapas, a former prostitute, “When I arrived at the brothel, I refused to do what they told me to and they beat me and starved me for 10 days. I thought I would rather kill myself than be forced to work as a prostitute.” From the same article, “She was just a schoolgirl when she found herself in Bombay, along with thousands of other girls who are beaten, locked in tiny cages or hidden in attics. Some are forced to have sex with as many as 20 men a day under the watchful eyes of madams and pimps. […] It can take 10 years for a woman to buy her freedom — if she doesn’t first succumb to AIDS, other STDs, complications from repeated abortions, malnourishment, malaria, or TB. Most don’t make it to the age of 40.”(1) Does it sound like these madams and pimps care about “the health of the slaves”?

                There’s a whole book called “Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy” with numerous examples of how little regard modern masters have for “the health of the slaves”. For example, in an e-mail the author received, “We had a rescue operation and rescued seven children from a carpet loom in Allahabad. All seven children are aged between ten and twelve years. Two of them are very sick, suffering from jaundice, and the others look malnourished.”(14)

                Tell me, does this description from an Ivory Coast chocolate slave sound “reasonable” to you? “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten. The beatings were a part of my life. Anytime they loaded you with bags and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead, they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”(15) From another former Ivory Coast chocolate slave, “When we were rescued he had been beaten so much he couldn’t walk. After you were beaten your body had cuts and wounds everywhere. Then the flies would infect the wounds, so they’d fill with pus. You had to recover while you worked. […] When he beat someone to the point that he couldn’t move, he took him out of the plantation. He took the person away. We never saw that person again.” (7, 19:15-19:57) It costs about 15 British pounds to buy a slave in the Ivory Coast. That’s how little human life is valued on the market, when the human is not counted as a person.(7, 1:04:58-1:07:25)

                The disposability of slaves is nothing new, Roman gladiators were disposable too. From Cicero, “Just look at the gladiators, either debased men or foreigners, and consider the blows they endure! Consider how they who have been well-disciplined prefer to accept a blow than ignominiously avoid it! How often it is made clear that they consider nothing other than the satisfaction of their master or the people! Even when they are covered with wounds they send a messenger to their master to inquire his will. If they have given satisfaction to their masters, they are pleased to fall. What even mediocre gladiator ever groans, ever alters the expression on his face? Which one of them acts shamefully, either standing or falling? And which of them, even when he does succumb, ever contracts his neck when ordered to receive the blow?”(16) It wasn’t only the gladiators, according to Galen, “When I was a young man I imposed upon myself an injunction which I have observed through my whole life, namely, never to strike any slave of my household with my hand. My father practiced this same restraint. Many were the friends he reproved when they had bruised a tendon while striking their slaves in the teeth; he told them that they deserved to have a stroke and die in the fit of passion which had come upon them. They could have waited a little while, he said, and used a rod or whip to inflict as many blows as they wished and to accomplish the act with reflection. Other men, however, not only (strike) with their fists but kick and gouge out the eyes and stab with a stylus when they happen to have one in their hands. I saw a man , in his anger, strike a slave in the eye with a reed pen. The Emperor Hadrian, they say, struck one of his slaves in the eye with a stylus.”(17)

                The master sees himself as the owner of the slaves, not as a steward. An owner, in the Western sense of the word, has the right to destroy. And slave owners often do destroy their slaves.(18)

              • Aisling says:

                You wrote, “In this environment, one plantation owner perceives the problem. He makes the rounds and gives speeches to all of the slaves held by his neighbors. He says, ‘I know the conditions you face here, and I know some of you have the ability to produce much more, if only it were in your self-interest. So if you volunteer, you can come to my plantation for a trial period of one month. I will expect you to pick twice as much cotton as your current master expects. However, if you do so, then I will give you twice the standard of living you currently enjoy here. Further, if you don’t live up to my expectations, you won’t be punished; I will simply return you here. You will find that the slaves at my plantation are all treated with courtesy, because I’m running a business. I have made an arrangement with your current owner, so that if you end up staying with me permanently, I’ll pay him a price 50% above your current market value for you. He wins, but so do I, because you’ll produce double at my plantation what you would produce anywhere else under their existing framework.'”

                Okay, there are so many problems with this… first off, consider the carpet slave above. He was already working a 133-hour workweek.(7) A 266-hour workweek would be impossible. There’s only 168 hours in a week, and that’s if you never sleep. And I’ve already covered the allegation that slaves don’t work that hard. You realize slave-made carpet prices undercut free-made carpet prices? Go watch the documentary if you don’t believe me. Also, twice the standard of living? What, twice the food? Double of almost nothing is still almost nothing, certainly not enough to inspire someone to break the laws of time. Also, while not being beaten would be nice, threatening to return someone to a violent situation is still a sort of violence. Certainly, dragging them back is a sort of violence. (This does happen in the shadow economy when some employers threaten to call immigration if their employees do not agree to very bad terms.) Also, the carpet slave would have absolutely no way of enforcing this contract. Contracts are ultimately useless to those who do not have the power to enforce them. Indeed, broken promises/contracts are how a lot of people are lured into slavery to begin with. See Qatar for example, though it happens everywhere.

                Regarding Qatar, from one interview, “They promised me $600 a month. But in Delhi [in transit], they tore up my contract and threw it away. On the plane I saw my new contract was for just 900 riyal a month. It was for a construction job. Even then, I didn’t get paid for five months. I took a loan to come here, [but without a salary] I couldn’t pay it back.”(19, 3:32-3:55) (900 riyal is about 240 USD.)

                This sort of thing, broken promises or contracts or treaties or whatever, is one of the common motifs in chattel slavery and other forms of violence. According to a former slave named Roseline here in the United States, “She made a promise. While I’m her [inaudible] she was going to send me to school. So I came here. I was helping her, and I’ve been here so long but she didn’t do what… she didn’t send me to school. […] I get up at around like um 6 o’clock something 6:30. I go back to bed like around 2, 2:30. […] I wasn’t allowed to use the phone, and um, I can’t write. If I write, they were going to open it and look what’s inside. […] They used to hit me. I can’t go for three days without them hitting me up. […] She calls me, she says um, you motherfucker. You’re so dumb. You’re stupid. Asshole.” (7, 35:30-38:20)

                In the second article you linked, you wrote, “Besides being immoral, it would be ridiculously inefficient if TODAY the black surgeons, dentists, accountants, musicians, etc. were instead transported by gnomes into the hands of large landowners, to be put to work in the fields picking cotton under threat of whipping.”

                This argument is ridiculous. First of all, you realize most of the chattel slaves these days have not received much if any formal education? I’m sure there are exceptions, but generally speaking, surgeons, dentists, and accountants are not currently being targetted. These are typically people who were born into slavery or fell into it after receiving little or no formal education. Secondly, not all chattel slaves work in fields and not all who work in fields are chattel slaves. Even in the narrow context of US racial slavery, not all the slaves actually worked in the fields. George Washington’s cook was a slave, for example.(20) In ancient Rome, some slaves were in fact used as doctors and accountants.(21)(22) Aristotle, an ancient Greek, considered the public performance of music to be the domain of slaves, being too vulgar for free persons to engage in.(23)

                You also wrote, “Why did slavery persist so long, if market forces should have abolished it quickly? The answer is that we didn’t have an otherwise free market, within which the slave system operated. There were all sorts of regulations on slave holders; they weren’t actually able to do whatever they wanted with ‘their property.’ For example, there were state laws regulating or banning outright manumission (the practice of an owner freeing his slave), and in some places it was illegal to teach your slaves how to read.”

                You realize chattel slavery was never abolished? I mean, I’ve given a bunch of examples already and you can find more in my sources. The victims have changed and the form has morphed, more of it happens overseas than actually in the US, but chattel slavery is quite common. You realize all the slave masters in the Ivory Coast and India and most other places are operating illegaly? There’s no legal slave system helping them — this is part of the shadow economy. The dark, violent part. Though the products are still legal to buy. In any case, they could manumit or educate their slaves any time they wanted. In fact, in some cases it is more efficient for them to release worn out slaves and get new ones.(24) That doesn’t result in slavery ending, though. Regarding the situation in the Ivory Coast, some abolitionists blamed the removal of the price floor on chocolate for worsening the slavery situation. “Until last year, the price farmer’s got for their cocoa was guaranteed by the government, but the World Bank felt farmers were being cheated, and believed they’d do better dealing directly with the cocoa buyers. So the World Bank made the government scrap the price guarantee system for the Ivory Coast to qualify for patial debt relief. Since then, the cocoa price has plummetted reaching a record low this February. Farmers now get less than ever before for their cocoa. One of the ways they can deal with the squeeze that puts on them, the pressure that puts on them, is to pay even less for the labor they use in the fields, in the plantations, or, if they’re unscrupulous to enslave the labor. And the situation of structural adjustment has put the pressure on the farmers to use slave labor to produce cocoa.” (7, 27:40-28:44) I know Austrolibertarians are hypersensitive on the topic of price controls, so, perhaps you’d care to respond to that?

                Look at yourself — you are probably still buying slave-made chocolate rather than free-made chocolate (or whatever other good, if you do not buy chocolate), and it’s not because the government is telling you which to buy. (Feel free to object if I am wrong.) Many abolitionists, including myself, blame hedonistic consumer habits for the prevalence of slavery, “[Sachs?] estimates that as many as nine out of ten carpets that don’t carry the Rugmark may have been touched by the small hands of slavery. With so many child slaves involved, it’s perhaps suprising that so few UK retailers support the Rugmark scheme.” (7, 54:25-55:33) From Kevin Bales, “Why is it, when I go to big department stores, aren’t all the rugs carrying the Rugmark? You know, why doesn’t, why aren’t all the consumers saying, ‘we want to only buy rugs with the Rugmark label.’ Because, it’s a very simple thing to do, to be able to say, ‘I’m only going to buy a good if you can show me that it’s not made by slaves,'” and, “We have to make it clear to the multinationals that slavery is too high a price to pay for cheap goods.”(7, 54:25-55:33, 1:08:40-1:08:46)

                Historically, the Romans allowed manumission and educating of slaves. Epictetus was an educated and manumitted slave.(25) Slavery was still common in ancient Roman society — manumission and education were the exceptions, not the norms. I believe most ancient Greek cities permitted manumission.

                In Qatar, you actually can blame the government for not allowing the slaves to leave the country or switch employers… but oh, wait, you don’t actually believe in freedom of movement.(19)(26) Seriously, can you explain what definition of “self-ownership” you have that does not include freedom of movement? I genuinely don’t understand this point. Unless you are using the Stoic definition of merely owning one’s own will but not one’s actual physical person, and that was really a practical argument, an acknowledgement of how much in life is not under our control — it was not a moral argument. Though given your apparent lack of concern for landowners harmed by eminent domain, split estates, and forced pooling, it is hard to believe you even think all landowners deserve this “self-ownership” of which you speak, let alone landless escapees fleeing violence. I suppose only some landowners count as human beings to you?

                It’s worth noting that in the post-war south, anti-vagrancy laws were passed in which the allegedly freed slaves could be condemned to forced labor simply for being homeless or unemployed or whatever.(27) Supporting free movement is a simple matter of not standing in the way of people fleeing from war, slavery, other types of violence, or any situation sufficiently undesirable to them that they would rather sleep outdoors in the elements.

                I have personally fled, more than once. Relative to my physical person being regarded as an outlet for the benefit of other people’s PTSD or whatever the latest excuse was, storms seemed kind by comparison. Nature, at least, is not angry. A storm does not try to make you hate yourself, does not try to tell you how to live your life, does not blame you for things that happened decades before you even met the storm, does not tell you not to fight for yourself, does not tell you the world would be a better place without you, and while there is physical discomfort in a storm, it is not an attack specifically targetted at you or your community. A storm simply is, and you simply figure out how to survive it as best you can, without need for all of the emotions frequently associated with countering a human threat. Nature also frequently provides some sort of shelter, if only a tree to lean against. Nature also provides a variety of edible plants and insects, such as dandelions and ants.

                I understand that this most likely makes me some sort of non-violent criminal by libertarian standards — probably tresspassing and theft of plants to start with. So what are you going to do about it? I’m pretty sure y’all don’t have those hyper-draconian libertarian police yet (more moderate libertarians excluded). Whatever, it doesn’t really matter, seeing as how a number of you don’t seem to count us “externalities” as human anyway. I simply want you to understand that I am not at all impressed with your violent “civilization”. That I fear neither chocolate shortages nor electric power outtages. I realize that you have some sort of inhibition against offending students, so I want you to understand that I am no student. I am a non-violent enemy scout (and most likely a criminal by libertarian standards) attempting to get you to defect for the purpose of waging non-violence against whatever form of severe violence I can get your attention on (at the moment, chattel slavery). So please, don’t worry about offending me. Whether or not I feel offended is irrelevant. It’s too late to worry about it anyway, I already read your little anti-loitering spiel on page 73 of Lessons for the Young Economist, among other things.(28) (Just so we’re clear on semantics, you are aware that loitering, as the police generally use the term, can include sleeping, playing music, and bleeding out the back of one’s head, right?) So, if you wouldn’t mind being direct and forthright, that might increase the productivity of this conversation.

                Your most humble servant,
                Aisling

              • Aisling says:

                1. Raphael, Rebecca et al. “Girls Forced Into Prostitution.” ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=132685 (accessed March 16, 2017).
                2. Kristof, Nicholas, and Manaal. “7 Agonizing Stories From Within The Brothels That Will Literally Shake You.” Emlii. http://www.emlii.com/1cd605b7/7-Agonizing-Stories-From-Within-The-Brothels-That-Will-Literally-Shake-You (accessed March 16, 2017).
                3. Keith, Hopkins, and Beard, Mary. The Colosseum. 2005. Reprint, London: Profile Books, 2006.
                4. Kyle, Donald. Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome. London: Routledge, 1998.
                5. Aristotle. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. “Book One.” In Politics. The Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.1.one.html (accessed February 27, 2017).
                6. Payne-James, Jason et al. “Medical Examination.” In Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine. Second edition. Amsterdam: Academic Press. “Torturers may select methods of torture because they leave no physical evidence, or they may modify methods of torture to reduce the possibility of producing physical evidence.”
                7. True Vision of London. Slavery: A Global Investigation. Vimeo/Free the Slaves, 2001. https://vimeo.com/39383629 (accessed January 10, 2017).
                8. Seneca. “Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 17.” Wikisource. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_17 (accessed March 15, 2017). “Men have endured hunger when their towns were besieged, and what other reward for their endurance did they obtain than that they did not fall under the conqueror’s power? How much greater is the promise of the prize of everlasting liberty, and the assurance that we need fear neither God nor man! Even though we starve, we must reach that goal. […] Will any man hesitate to endure poverty, in order that he may free his mind from madness?”
                9. Hobbes, Thomas. “Totall Excuses.” In Leviathan. Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0358 (accessed March 14, 2017). “If a man by the terrour of present death, be compelled to doe a fact against the Law, he is totally Excused; because no Law can oblige a man to abandon his own preservation. And supposing such a Law were obligatory; yet a man would reason thus, “If I doe it not, I die presently; if I doe it, I die afterwards; therefore by doing it, there is time of life gained;” Nature therefore compells him to the fact. When a man is destitute of food, or other thing necessary for his life, and cannot preserve himselfe any other way, but by some fact against the Law; as if in a great famine he take the food by force, or stealth, which he cannot obtaine for mony nor charity; or in defence of his life, snatch away another mans Sword, he is totally Excused, for the reason next before alledged.”
                10. Baptist, Edward. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books, 2014.
                11. ESPN UK. “‘A 21st Century slave state’ | Qatar World Cup 2022.” Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjqQLVRZyyw (accessed January 10, 2017).
                12. Stephenson, Wesley. “Have 1,200 World Cup workers really died in Qatar?” BBC, June 6, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33019838 (accessed March 14, 2017).
                13. BBC. “What does modern slavery look like?” BBC News, May 31, 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36416751 (accessed March 14, 2017).
                14. Bales, Kevin. “Preface to the Revised Edition.” In Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. 1999. Revised edition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. p. xiii
                15. Raghavan, Sudarsan, and Chatterjee, Sumana. “A Taste of Slavery.” Knight Ridder Newspapers, June 24, 2001. http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/atasteofslavery.html (accessed January 10, 2017).
                16. Imber, Margaret. “Spectacles of Blood: Roman Gladiators and Christian Martyrs, Primary Sources for Gladiatorial Games.” Bates College. http://abacus.bates.edu/~mimber/blood/gladiator.sources.htm#Cicero (accessed March 16, 2017).
                17. Galen. Translated by Harkins, Paul. On the Passions and Errors of the Soul. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1963. http://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/28933/GALEN_ON_THE_PASSIONS_AND_ERRORS_OF_THE_SOUL.pdf?sequence=1) (accessed March 16, 2017).
                18. Academic Affairs Library. “A Slave is Tortured.” PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3h1516t.html (accessed March 15, 2017). “I could tell of more slaveholders as cruel as those I have described. They are not exceptions to the general rule. I do not say there are no humane slaveholders. Such characters do exist, notwithstanding the hardening influences around them. But they are ‘like angels’ visits — few and far between.”
                19. Pattisson, Pete. “Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup ‘slaves.'” The Guardian, September 25, 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/revealed-qatars-world-cup-slaves (accessed January 10, 2017).
                20. Lenhart, Chelsea. “Hercules.” Digital Encylopedia of George Washington. http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/hercules/ (accessed March 15, 2017).
                21. Kobayashi, Masao. “The Social Status of Doctors in the Early Roman Empire.” In Forms of Control and Subordination in Antiquity. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1986. p. 416.
                22. Bradley, Keith. Slavery and Society at Rome. 1994. Reprint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. p. 161.
                23. Aristotle. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. “Book Eight.” In Politics. The Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.8.eight.html (accessed March 17, 2017).
                24. Bales, Kevin. Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. 1999. Revised edition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. p. xiii
                25. Daily Stoic. “Who Is Epictetus? From Slave To World’s Most Sought After Philosopher.” Daily Stoic. https://dailystoic.com/epictetus/ (accessed March 16, 2017).
                26. Murphy, Robert. “Law without the State.” Mises Daily Articles, November 4, 2011. https://mises.org/library/law-without-state (accessed March 17, 2017).
                27. Tarter, Brent. “Vagrancy Act of 1866.” Encyclopedia Virgina. http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Vagrancy_Act_of_1866 (accessed March 15, 2017).
                28. Murphy, Robert. Lessons for the Young Economist. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010. https://mises.org/system/tdf/lessons_for_the_young_economist_murphy_0.pdf?file=1&type=document (accessed March 15, 2017).

              • Dan says:

                Seems pretty racist to believe that slaves would be too stupid or uneducated to become carpenters, doctors, plumbers, professional athletes, farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists, etc., and that they produce more wealth by being slaves. I mean, it is clearly dumb from an economic perspective, but it is highly insulting to be so demeaning to all the good and talented people that have ever been forced into slavery.

              • Aisling says:

                Dear Emperor Dan,

                I gave you quotes from actual people who have experienced slavery (two of the quotes I gave you from that post met that criteria), and you accused those people of needing “Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt” of making the same mistakes “that everyone who doesn’t study economics makes” of looking “at the seen and not the unseen”. You accused people who have actually lived through slavery, who by the way are not white if you check the references and watch the interviews for yourself, and you call me racist? You deny their voices, the voices of all us who have actually lived through violence, and you have the audacity to call me racist? Either you are illiterate or you are racist yourself. So which is it?

                Perhaps illiterate. If you read what I actually wrote, I pointed out that the Romans did use slaves for educated roles. And it’s not as if these people are being given an opportunity to become educated anyway. And sure, everyone can become more with education, but my point is that educational resources aren’t being expended on these people anyway.

                Why are you even bothering with this argument? You’ve already made it clear repeatedly that you have no problem hiring slaver corporations to do your dirty work by enslaving others on your behalf. Every penny you spend on products you know are made with slavery, or should know if you bothered to do your research, is a vote for slavery. Libertarians for slavery! Libertarians for war!

                Your most humble servant,
                Aisling

              • Dan says:

                Dear Slavery is Mad Dope Aisling,

                For you to say that slavery is more efficient than the free market is to say that black slaves were more productive picking cotton and whatnot in America than had they been free to pursue jobs in carpentry, farming, doctors, etc. That is an obviously ludicrous position, and anyone who holds it doesn’t know the first thing about economics and has such a low opinion of black people to make their racism crystal clear. I mean, I gave you the benefit of the doubt in the beginning because I thought maybe you hadn’t thought of how many of the slaves who were picking cotton could’ve been doctors, lawyers, etc. just as black people are today. That Ben Carson being a brain surgeon is more productive than being a cotton picker should be obvious once it is pointed out to you. But to continue to denigrate all those black slaves, and to say they produced more wealth in those fields even after having this obvious flaw in the “slavery is efficient” theory pointed out to you is racist.

                Oh, and I think the people you are quoting who believe slavery is efficient are or were extremely ignorant about economics. And I’d say I believe they are racist if they continued to promote that idea after having the flaws in that theory pointed out to them. It is such an obvious truth that I can’t believe intelligent people would promote such a stupid idea unless they were ignorant (which is understandable) or racist (which is deplorable). Now, some people are just stupid and they can’t help it, but I’m putting you in the intelligent category for now, so I’m left to conclude that you must be racist. Who knows, though, maybe you just didn’t understand those articles and you’re still in a state of ignorance.

              • Aisling says:

                Dear Emperor Dan,

                “For you to say that slavery is more efficient than the free market is to say that black slaves were more productive picking cotton and whatnot in America than had they been free to pursue jobs in carpentry, farming, doctors, etc.”

                The fact that you keep saying this is my argument proves your illiteracy. Here is the relevant quote from my letter:

                “This argument is ridiculous. First of all, you realize most of the chattel slaves these days have not received much if any formal education? I’m sure there are exceptions, but generally speaking, surgeons, dentists, and accountants are not currently being targetted. These are typically people who were born into slavery or fell into it after receiving little or no formal education. Secondly, not all chattel slaves work in fields and not all who work in fields are chattel slaves. Even in the narrow context of US racial slavery, not all the slaves actually worked in the fields. George Washington’s cook was a slave, for example.(20) In ancient Rome, some slaves were in fact used as doctors and accountants.(21)(22) Aristotle, an ancient Greek, considered the public performance of music to be the domain of slaves, being too vulgar for free persons to engage in.(23)”

                To break that down for you since you apparently didn’t understand — questions of education and profession are separate from questions of whether or not someone is (relatively) free or a chattel slave. If your objection is putting people in the wrong professions, that’s an indictment against lack of access to education and restriction of profession based on class; it’s entirely separate from the question of whether someone is offered positive incentives like wages or negative incentives like torture or what level of choice they are given. If someone’s potential is being wasted due to lack of education, that is true whether or not they are enslaved.

                “Oh, and I think the people you are quoting who believe slavery is efficient are or were extremely ignorant about economics. And I’d say I believe they are racist if they continued to promote that idea after having the flaws in that theory pointed out to them.”

                Many, many of the quotes I gave, two from the original thing you replied to and more from the longer letter, were from actual slaves who have been through slavery. And most of them were not white. And here you are ignoring their testimony, their voices, their personal experience, using the insult “racist” to silence them. Whatever word you use to do that, silencing their voices, discounting them simply because they don’t match your theory, is a form of racism. And quite frankly an insult to all of us who have lived through severe violence, to say that you in your safe academic space know more of violence than we do. And it’s not just that… this false narrative of idyllic slaves and paternalist masters is racist… this idea that it wasn’t that efficient downplays the issue of reparations… this idea that it can be defeated by a hedonistic market distracts from real solutions like boycotts and on-the-ground abolitionism and community resilience.

                I am not talking about theory. I am talking about actual practice. I quoted actual slaves. Actual activists who have worked with freeing slaves. Actual historians who have read through interviews with slaves. Practice, not theory.

                I had really hoped to avoid taking this argument in such a dark direction, but since you seem to be incapable of intellectual debate, I suppose there’s no other way. I can describe to you various methods by which pain can be inflicted on people and the physical sensations involved with being on the receiving end.

                If someone puts a bag over my head, ties it off, the carbon dioxide will build up, causing a very severe headache. I remember it being the worst sort of headache I’ve ever felt, even worse than a migraine. There’s also a sort of panic as you gasp for air but the air lacks oxygen. In terms of real time, it can’t have been longer than a few minutes, but in terms of subjective time, it felt a good half hour or longer. They can do this repeatedly, giving you time to recover in between, until you give in to their demands. The bag itself leaves no visible evidence, though whatever they are using to keep you restrained so you can’t take it off might.

                Neurotoxins can be even worse, though I think most exposures are due to carelessness rather than a purposeful attempt to inflict pain. They are unpredictable… different people will react to the same does of the same neurotoxin in different ways with different magnitudes of reaction. It’s worth noting, however, that there’s no visible trace afterwards. For me the pain came very slowly, but gradually increased to the double the intensity of like a migraine covering half my body… eventually culminating in a paralysis that lasted some hours before subsiding. My right arm never fully recovered… it mostly has, but it’s still a bit weaker and has random pain flashbacks. The paralysis makes it a poor choice if someone wanted to extract physical labor from me, but if they only wanted, say, information….

                Sometimes people will poke you, pinch you, dig their fingers or other instruments into you, in sensitive areas of your body that do not bruise easily, at least not for the level of pressure necessary to produce pain. Any of the erogenous zones will do (and additionally inflict humiliation), but other areas are underneath people’s arms, a bit below the armpits, the muscles of the upper back, and anywhere near the spine. I have found the last — near the spine — to be exceptionally painful. Very sharp and intense.

                These are just methods that don’t leave much evidence. And a small sample, at that. If someone isn’t worried about evidence, there’s plenty more they can do.

                From this and other experiences I would prefer not to go into at this time, I am well aware of the levels of efficiency I can be inspired to if provided with sufficiently cruel motivation. You are more or less attempting to convince someone who has been bitten by a copperhead that there is no such thing as snakes, metaphorically speaking.

                Torture can be brutally efficient. But if that’s the cost of efficiency, it’s better to destroy the efficiency of “civilization”.

                Your most humble servant,
                Aisling

              • John says:

                In the case of Aisling I agree that slavery would be more efficient. Just imagine how much more useful she could be if someone forced her to stop posting socialist nonsense no one wants to read and forced her to do something customers actually want instead.

          • Aisling says:

            Also, you won’t agree with all the views expressed in this article and will probably feel triggered by them, however, if you put that aside, it’s a great explanation of the pointlessness of judging someone by their vote and offers great tactical advice for what to do besides voting that you can adapt to causes of your choice.
            Castro, Frank and Allen, Jean. “Organize or Die: Never in the History of the World has an Election Destroyed a System of Oppression.” Medium, January 12, 2015. https://medium.com/@FrankCastro/organize-or-die-c284624e005e (accessed March 13, 2017).

            • Craw says:

              Triggered? If you paid the slightest attention you’d notice Tel is not the kind to be “triggered”. You object when I say you don’t respect your readers, but then you write stuff like “you … will probably feel triggered” .

              • Aisling says:

                Dear Lord Craw,

                Wow, you managed to get triggered by a trigger warning. That’s actually fairly impressive.

                In all seriousness, if there are any libertarians who are not easily triggered, I’d love to meet them.

                Your most humble servant,
                Aisling

      • Aisling says:

        “How about that? Who gets to decide what is the correct proportion of income that should be spent on rent? Does that mean if I lose my job I should tell my landlord that 30% of nothing means I automatically get to live rent free? I guess if I own the house and lose my job then I probably don’t matter as much.”

        That’s really between you and your landlord — not any of my business, assuming there’s no violence between you two. Perhaps it means moving somewhere else where the rent really is free, like a tent city or wherever — if only tent cities were legal in more places. Also, I can’t speak for all greens, but I think we’re generally against evicting homeowners, though I would point out that poisoning someone’s well water could be considered a form of eviction.

        While I always thought the 30% figure was ridiculous, you do realize that a job and an income are not the same thing? You can have a job and receive no monetary consideration, or you can have no job and have an income. An example of the former might be harvesting crops and receiving only food and water as payment, and an example of the latter might be playing an instrument on the streets in exchange for tips — at least until the police come threaten to arrest you and in some cases follow through. I really suspect that the reason the government cracks down so hard on the self-employed is because some of those in power know that by taking away that option as best they can, it’s easier to get people to do jobs that only pay in food, water, and in some cases the threat of beating or other violence.

        “If the house is ‘poorly sanitised’ then the tenant goes to the local supermarket, buys a bucket of bleach and some rubber gloves and comes home and uses these excellent tools known as ‘initiative’ and ‘a bit of effort’.”

        I’d personally use vinegar and baking soda rather than bleach, but it’s your apartment. However, all the vinegar and bleach and baking soda in the world won’t help if the tap water is flammable.

        Solomon, Dan. “The Texas Supreme Court Rules That a Fracking Company’s Defamation Suit Against a Guy Who Claims His Tap Water Is on Fire Can Proceed.” Texas Monthly, April 28, 2015. http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/the-texas-supreme-court-rules-that-a-fracking-companys-defamation-suit-against-a-guy-who-claims-his-tap-water-is-on-fire-can-proceed/ (accessed January 23, 2017)
        Fox, Josh et al. Gasland. Online streaming. Directed by Josh Fox. Brooklyn: International WOW Company, 2010.
        Fox, Josh et al. Gasland 2. Online streaming. Directed by Josh Fox. Brooklyn: International WOW Company, 2013.

        “Sure devalues your house when you have regular burglaries and the cops turn up the next day, shrug, make a one line computer entry then piss off again.”

        Count yourself lucky (relatively speaking) if the worst the cops do is decline to help. I’ve had cops take me against my will just for bleeding out the back of my head. (And no, I didn’t call them, they just found me because they’re busybodies like that.) The police caused me more harm than the guy who did actually hit me in the head that night. And that’s nothing compared to what the police have been doing in North Dakota lately. Apparently it was a case of mistaken identity — it seems they (not the cops, the other guys) didn’t know I was a woman until they removed the blanket that was covering me, so the guys took a few things including my phone and let me go after that. Of all the times I’ve been attacked, it was really one of the more civilized occasions, until the police got involved.

        Fox, Josh. “Filmmaker Josh Fox witnessed activists getting injured at Standing Rock — and the sheriff’s dept. is lying about it.” Facebook/NowThis, December 10, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/1260090350747753 (accessed February 2, 2017).

        The police are a criminal gang. That includes Australian police too.
        Meldrum-Hanna, Caro et al. “Australia’s Shame.” ABC, July 2016. http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2016/07/25/4504895.htm (accessed January 11, 2017).

        “Sure, the problem is the Green policies don’t address this.”

        I’m skeptical that any policy will ever truly address domestic violence. But just talking about it helps. If upper class people won’t even talk about it, it will make it easier to justify taking a page out of Brazil’s book and sending the police to kill us outright. Tell me, if libertarians are allegedly so concerned about private property rights, then what are the private property rights of someone fleeing war, community violence, domestic violence, or any other kind of violence, from a libertarian perspective?

        “In those investment properties owned by a private landlord who only owns one or two and puts a lot of effort into getting good tenants (the people Scott Ludlam considers scum property speculators), or in those government run housing commission suburbs where a big corporation slurping tax subsidies owns 1000’s of rentals and manages it like a sausage factory?”

        External circumstances won’t change whether or not any given landlord — public or private — actually regards you as a human being or not. That comes from inside, not from government policy or lack thereof.
        True Vision of London. Slavery: A Global Investigation. Vimeo/Free the Slaves, 2001. https://vimeo.com/39383629 (accessed January 10, 2017).
        Fitzpatrick, Terry. “2016 Highlight: Rescue Frees 11 Boys from India Carpet Slavery.” Free the Slaves, December 21, 2016. http://www.freetheslaves.net/2016-highlight-rescue-frees-11-boys-from-india-carpet-slavery/ (accessed January 10, 2017).

        “at the same time believe that raising the minimum wage will have no effect on employment”

        Do you even know what minimum wage is? It’s not the minimum wage you’re allowed to work for. It’s the minimum wage you’re allowed to work for while being legally classified as an employee. What you should really be asking is not “what effect will minimum wage have on employment” but rather, “what is the legal definition of an employee?” And regardless of the answer to that, the statist narrative that people actually follow laws is really old, especially coming from anti-government types. Even putting aside forced labor for the moment, there are plenty of people who, given a choice between a legal above-minimum wage job and an illegal sub-minimum wage job, choose the latter. Libertarian commentary on minimum wage and other laws would be so much more interesting if y’all remembered the shadow economy more often.

        “Now there’s plenty of better spoilers to choose from, like David Leyonhjelm or dare I say it Cory Bernardi.”

        Does David Leyonhjelm even have a stance about wars against foreign nations? I can’t seem to find it.

  6. Craw says:

    Dear Emperor Dan,
    I am merely “Lord” Craw. It seems you outrank me!

    • Aisling says:

      Dear Craw,

      I actually like you at the moment since you said that slaves are human beings and that slavery is theft, so you’ve been demoted to merely Craw. There’s another letter for you in the moderation queue with some links to some anti-slavery things for you to participate in. Here’s one of them:
      http://www.freetheslaves.net/

      Heart heart.

      Best wishes,
      Aisling.

      • Tel says:

        Most readers are busy and thus “time poor”, and you apparently have a genuine agenda to change people’s minds and get them thinking about topics such as modern slavery.

        In light of this, do you think the effort is better spent by annoying people over “trigger warnings” and other associated BS like “Lord Craw” that just serves to intentionally piss off your readers?

        Or perhaps if you would be able to deliver a concise and well explained case with a clear point to it. Not that I’m telling you what to do, but if I see three reasons to dismiss out of hand whatever you are on about and only one reason why it might be interesting, then it’s economically efficient to avoid wasting further time on that.

        • Aisling says:

          The fact that many of my readers seem more concerned about their precious feelings than about the fate of people suffering from slavery, war, torture, and other violence quite frankly says more about them than about me. It’s not as if y’all cared any more before I started saying such things.

          To quote you from before:
          “I think there is a problem with eminent domain, but there’s also a problem with one guy on a small block of land being able to hold out and prevent a much larger group from using their property.”

          More recently:
          “I guess if I own the house and lose my job then I probably don’t matter as much.”

          Also from before:
          “I would guess that third world cacao farmers are a more photogenic oppressed group than first world Christians selling their products through a family business, but that’s the problem with coming up with new definitions for old concepts.”

          Calling you easily triggered is a polite way of putting it, in all honesty. Did you even check my references to see what the cocoa slaves were going through before you wrote that?

          Here:
          http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2017/03/potpourri-342.html#comment-1814656

          The references are still in the moderation queue.

          • Tel says:

            Did you read what I said?

            I said, I don’t want to waste my time, if you have a point then go ahead and make it.

            Whether you care about your concern causes enough to put together a cohesive argument in a way that might be convincing is entirely your choice. I guess it depends on whether your own moral posturing is more important than achieving something.

            • Craw says:

              Pssst, Tel. Remember my Harold award comment?

            • Aisling says:

              Well, if you read this post, starting from the paragraph that starts”I had really hoped to avoid taking this argument in such a dark direction,” I have more or less admitted to having been tortured or whatever the word for it is when people deliberately inflict pain to get something out of you.
              http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2017/03/potpourri-342.html#comment-1814719

              This isn’t moral posturing. This is very, very personal. And the only person here even acting as if I’m a human being at the moment is Craw of all people. Harold was decent, but he doesn’t seem to be here right now and he also stated he was not a libertarian.

              So far as I can tell, most of the people on this blog have no problem hiring violent corporations to enslave, kill, steal land, and otherwise do their dirty work for them. You’re too worried about your feelings and your precious time and your cheap electricity prices. See, if it were only me you did not regard as human, I would just avoid you, but it seems there are a great many people I care for that you do not regard as human.

              What do far-right-wing libertarians even stand for these days? It’s as if you’ve reduced violence to mean government and government to mean taxes and regulations on large businesses, while being perfectly happy to ignore all the other violence (both governmental and non-governmental) in the world.

        • Aisling says:

          Here, since I don’t know how long it will take the references to get through the moderation queue:
          http://environmentalistreflections.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-brutal-efficiency-of-slavery.html

  7. Craw says:

    Aisling
    Noblesse oblige. You are not using the word efficiency, as in economic efficiency, correctly. When you say torture is efficient you mean it is effective, and from one point of view, expeditious. But it is not efficient economically and it does not matter how many slave drives you quote saying ” I found it quite efficient.” Economic efficiency refers to something else. You should learn what before you embarrass yourself further.

    • Aisling says:

      Dear Craw,

      And what does “economic efficiency” mean when most of the people I am talking to seem to measure things in terms of the prices the end-consumer pays? From the perspective of the consumer, yes it is efficient. From some other perspective? I don’t know, how would I convince such people to take the slave’s “utility” or whatever the technical term for their well-being is into their calculations? I don’t know how to convince people that myself or anyone else actually counts as a human being and not an “externality”.

      Heart heart.

      Best wishes,
      Aisling

      • Dan says:

        “I don’t know how to convince people that myself or anyone else actually counts as a human being and not an “externality”.”

        Seriously? You’re the person saying violently preventing people from living their own lives the way they want, and choosing their own professions by their own free will is economically efficient. We are saying that violence is not only morally reprehensible, but by taking people’s free will away from them you also make that individual and the world poorer in material terms. The only person putting a positive spin on slavery is you, and it’s because you are so far out of your depths discussing economic issues that you aren’t even able to see how embarrassed you should be by your arguments.

        You might as well be on a physics blog posting quotes from people denying gravity, and talking about how your personal experiences with falling on your head makes you more capable of understanding gravity than those dummies studying physics text books and numbers and stuff.

        • Aisling says:

          Dear Emperor Dan,

          To repeat what I already posted elsewhere:

          I had really hoped to avoid taking this argument in such a dark direction, but since you seem to be incapable of intellectual debate, I suppose there’s no other way. I can describe to you various methods by which pain can be inflicted on people and the physical sensations involved with being on the receiving end.

          If someone puts a bag over my head, ties it off, the carbon dioxide will build up, causing a very severe headache. I remember it being the worst sort of headache I’ve ever felt, even worse than a migraine. There’s also a sort of panic as you gasp for air but the air lacks oxygen. In terms of real time, it can’t have been longer than a few minutes, but in terms of subjective time, it felt a good half hour or longer. They can do this repeatedly, giving you time to recover in between, until you give in to their demands. The bag itself leaves no visible evidence, though whatever they are using to keep you restrained so you can’t take it off might.

          Neurotoxins can be even worse, though I think most exposures are due to carelessness rather than a purposeful attempt to inflict pain. They are unpredictable… different people will react to the same does of the same neurotoxin in different ways with different magnitudes of reaction. It’s worth noting, however, that there’s no visible trace afterwards. For me the pain came very slowly, but gradually increased to the double the intensity of like a migraine covering half my body… eventually culminating in a paralysis that lasted some hours before subsiding. My right arm never fully recovered… it mostly has, but it’s still a bit weaker and has random pain flashbacks. The paralysis makes it a poor choice if someone wanted to extract physical labor from me, but if they only wanted, say, information….

          Sometimes people will poke you, pinch you, dig their fingers or other instruments into you, in sensitive areas of your body that do not bruise easily, at least not for the level of pressure necessary to produce pain. Any of the erogenous zones will do (and additionally inflict humiliation), but other areas are underneath people’s arms, a bit below the armpits, the muscles of the upper back, and anywhere near the spine. I have found the last — near the spine — to be exceptionally painful. Very sharp and intense.

          These are just methods that don’t leave much evidence. And a small sample, at that. If someone isn’t worried about evidence, there’s plenty more they can do.

          From this and other experiences I would prefer not to go into at this time, I am well aware of the levels of efficiency I can be inspired to if provided with sufficiently cruel motivation. You are more or less attempting to convince someone who has been bitten by a copperhead that there is no such thing as snakes, metaphorically speaking.

          Torture can be brutally efficient. But if that’s the cost of efficiency, it’s better to destroy the efficiency of “civilization”.

          This is what you call putting a positive spin on slavery? (Granted, I’m not technically describing chattel slavery here, but torture is a common experience shared between slavery and other types of violence.) The only way that’s putting a positive spin on violence is if you’re a sadist. And sure, I might not have any dignity left after revealing such intimate details of my life, but embarrassment is irrelevant what matters is freeing the slaves.

          Also, you’ve made it clear multiple times you have no problem hiring companies to enslave people on your behalf:
          “Aisling, you seem well intentioned, but I have no interest in boycotts or political activism.”
          “None of my principles require me to not do business with people who offend me.”
          “Because I have no interest in boycotts.”

          Clearly, you do not think slavery is morally reprehensible when you’re so perfectly eager to spend your money on it even when it’s well-documented. Clearly, you do not regard slaves as human beings. You can say “We are saying that violence is not only morally reprehensible,” but when your spending habits say something else, clearly you are lying. You are just one more pro-slavery hedonist.

          And if a bunch of physicists told me that apples fell upwards from trees, then yeah, I’d say their textbooks were wrong.

          Your most humble servant,
          Aisling

  8. Trinity says:

    Libertarians: People of color who disagree with white male libertarians are racist.

    It was a heroic effort, Aisling, but you are wasting your time with these clowns.

  9. Ayana says:

    Wow, we actually have people who would support slavery? Shall i point out that it’s 2017 outside, not the 15th century. Indeed the very word makes me shudder. Did we miss the fact that people do indeed have a right to have their freedom? 0.o

    quoting John here: “In the case of Aisling I agree that slavery would be more efficient. Just imagine how much more useful she could be if someone forced her to stop posting socialist nonsense no one wants to read and forced her to do something customers actually want instead.”

    It ain’t nonsense, it’s her opinion and she is indeed entitled to it. Same as any other person. And how exactly is she forcing you to read it? You took the time to reply, so that tells me you cared enough to bother 😛

    How the fuck exactly is it okay for one person to own another human being?

  10. Kurotora Iga says:

    Uhm Slavery is no good for anyone as it is, and those that support such things should get a life, my guess is it is just trollls trying to stir the fire and no need to bother about them because all they want or am craving for is attention, which is really sad as it is.

    Whichever actual political standpoint people have is another thing, but just because socialistic or capitalistic or whichever does not brand one as a communist or nazi either lol.

    Look at Europe for an instance, high living standards making the USA look like a 3rd world Country or Union where they only can feed people with mac and cheese.

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