28 Feb 2017

Abbandonato’s Murphy Smackdown

Environment 61 Comments

I can’t remember if I already posted this? But the writer put so much work into it, I want to make sure I don’t neglect it.

In response to my IER post on the Clean Air Act, Aisling Abbandonato wrote a very lengthy critique. And here are the references to the article.

Unfortunately I’m swamped with “day job” stuff so all I can do is link…

61 Responses to “Abbandonato’s Murphy Smackdown”

  1. Tel says:

    Is Aisling Abbandonato entirely serious? I ask because she takes the so called “market price” of a can of air, based on an article that clearly explains this is a stunt for promotional purposes not a real business. This gets multiplied up into some astounding cost in a very strange economic calculation, if ever I’ve seen one.

    Then there’s this business of conflating particulate sooty carbon (easily filtered out and hasn’t been a problem in the West for about a century) with CO2 (colourless and odorless gas, that might be causing some Global Warming, but we don’t know how much because global temperature calculations are loaded with adjustments and possibly not a meaningful calculation in the first place). Normally I would blame the Sydney Morning Herald for such misdirection but could be Abbandonato is working it for comic effect (or maybe she really believes it… so difficult to tell these days).

    Before long the topic wanders and turns into a long laundry list of complaints, kind of interesting, but poorly structured. 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. Of course property rights can be redrawn to any compromise position you care to name, so then we are left deciding which will work better and that’s far from obvious. Fair point though, in Texas there’s probably too much power given to oil companies… but having said that, inevitably part of property rights is the ability to use money, and one possible way to use money is to buy power, and no Libertarian society is ever going to stop that. If you snatch money away from people, you aren’t a Libertarian anymore, and if you try and tell everyone, “Hey only accept money when it’s in the interest of the community” then you are left with the problem that it’s vague and unworkable, and besides that people simply won’t do it.

    With regards to more violent barter culture, fear can be substituted for popularity, but since a lone thug isn’t likely to pose much threat in an otherwise nonviolent culture, the real problem is when violence becomes normalized. The two ways I can see violence being normalized are when it is either openly considered acceptable by the prevailing codes of etiquette, or when it is deliberately ignored, when people choose not to see it, for example when people declare that they are being “tortured” just by being shown evidence that their chocolate is being made with slave labor, that the person showing them the evidence is a psychopath for not caring about their delicate sensibilities, and that it’s their God-given right to continue buying chocolate in ignorance of how it is made. I suppose you could add a third, outside invasion, but that requires violence to first become normalized elsewhere.

    At this stage, the topic has wandered so far this isn’t a reply to Murphy anymore. Come to think of it I still can’t figure out where Abbandonato stands on Murphy’s original question “Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?”

    Is it better to have more centralized property rights (in the form of an EPA) or better to divulge those rights out to some level (e.g. city, community, individual) ? The whole point of the Global Warming movement is to bring those powers to an ultimate central body with power over the entire Earth. Some of Abbandonato’s examples (e.g. China) show where a very powerful central government exists (they are still Communist, there’s only one party) but the central government has not delivered environmental benefits. Other examples, such as the town of Dish shows a case where a more powerful government (the state of Texas) has overruled a less powerful city Mayor, and once again failed to deliver environmental benefits. I’m not entirely clear which side Abbandonato is supporting here.

    When it comes to entertaining rants, it’s OK, I might even go back and finish to the end… but I think a shorter, more to the point essay that actually addresses Murphy’s issue might be better.

    If Tom Woods ever runs into writer’s block and needs a long list of controversial issues as topics for his show, this might be a useful source of inspiration.

  2. David R. Henderson says:

    It wandered so much, with no apparent unifying theme,that I quit reading and just started skimming after about 5 paragraphs. This person needs a good editor.

    • Aisling says:

      The unifying theme is war and violence vs. nonviolence.

      • Craw says:

        An article about the Clean Air Act?

        If an article on legislation needs a “unifying theme” it needs an editor too.

        • Aisling says:

          Whatever made you think it’s about the Clean Air Act?

          As Epictetus wrote, “Thus in life also the chief business is this: distinguish and separate things, and say, ‘Externals are not in my power: will is in my power. Where shall I seek the good and the bad? Within, in the things which are my own.'”

          It’s really much more likely to be an article about whether or not I can persuade Mr. Murphy to install solar panels on his home, or some similar action, than something so far out of my control as the Clean Air Act.

          • Craw says:

            Another error on my part. To be a reply to Bob it *would* be about the Clean Air Act. It is actually, to the extent it is about anything, about Aisling Abbandonato.

  3. Aisling says:

    “When it comes to entertaining rants, it’s OK, I might even go back and finish to the end… but I think a shorter, more to the point essay that actually addresses Murphy’s issue might be better.”

    A huge part of my point was that Mr. Murphy was focusing on the wrong things. It’s silly to ask what the government should do or not do when you are in no position to control the government. Also, we are really tired of fake greens like Mr. Krugman falsely representing the green movement as only being about government intervention and only caring about the United States (or whatever country) when we actually spend a lot of time fighting governments (non-violently) and the green movement is actually worldwide — as Giordano Nanni said, “only slaves heed nationality.” Given Mr. Krugman supported a pro-nuclear pro-war candidate without reservation, and thus could only be even an incompetent green if he was completely oblivious to Hillary Clinton’s warmongering ways, I wanted to give Mr. Murphy a real green position to react to. And as long as I was trying to redirect Mr. Murphy’s attention elsewhere, I saw no reason to limit myself to his specific points in that article any more than a chess player should focus on reacting only to the moves his opponent has already made and not try to anticipate his opponent’s moves and plan accordingly.

    The thing about barter culture was for Mr. Murphy’s benefit too… I know he had more or less the same theory on the matter as Mr. Rothbard as of the time he published “Lessons for the Young Economist”… see chapters 6 and 7 in that… it’s not really that unusual, it seems to be a false conception that a lot of money-centric economists have… but going after the late Mr. Rothbard seemed a less confrontational way of pointing it out, and given that Mr. Murphy has cited Mr. Rothbard numerous times, not only in that article, it seemed that Mr. Rothbard’s premises were likely quite similar to Mr. Murphy’s premises. As for misunderstanding of barter culture, it really is an error from which a lot of other errors spring… if you understood barter culture, you could better understand how a good code of etiquette can provide a certain level of resilience against government regulation, against violence, against oil companies, etc…. there are tools for fighting back. A significant portion of the shadow economy is barter culture and given how few people in the upper tiers of society seem to have even noticed… for example, those price controls Austrians like Mr. Murphy keep complaining about are actually really easy to ignore. Ultimately, whether you are trying to resist something, or just improve the life of yourself and your community, good etiquette should improve just about any economic system, and it’s something people can do besides sit around and wait for the government to either change or back off or whatever. As for the specific quote you chose on the violent corruption of barter culture, “when people choose not to see it” was intended among other things to imply that the failure of Mr. Murphy and other Austrians to focus or even acknowledge a lot of the problems I mentioned has the effect of normalizing violence to the libertarian community — a lot of libertarians probably buy slave-made chocolate without a second thought, probably not even knowing about slave labor in the chocolate industry. People do not react to problems they don’t even see. The silence from Mr. Murphy and the Austrian community on such issues is deafening.

    For example, a search for the term “slave” in Mr. Murphy’s “Lessons for the Young Economist” returns only four results… one says, “Slavery occurs when some individuals have the legal right to the bodies (and the services they perform) of other individuals. Both for moral and practical reasons, slavery forms no part of a pure capitalist system,” another is a repeat of that definition, another is a metaphorical use of the term “slave”, and the final is, “Capitalist countries also participated in great historical injustices such as the African slave trade, extermination of indigenous peoples, and imperialist exploitation of colonies. Naturally the proponent of a pure market economy would point out—quite correctly—that these actions were either (a) necessary measures of self-defense to protect property and lives, and/or (b) deviations from the principle of private property rights and thus not an indictment against capitalism as an institution.” I was really hoping to persuade Mr. Murphy tell me whether he thought the various issues I listed were A or B, and go from there.

    The air might’ve been a publicity stunt, but people still bought it. “The market set a price for it” or whatever your technical expression for it is. If anything, the fact that it was a publicity stunt could mean it was subsidized, but regardless, the customers still paid for it. People keep complaining that there’s no way to know how much to compensate someone for loss of clean air, because they market allegedly hasn’t set a price for it, so, there’s someplace where the market has set a price for it. As for humor, that’s not mutually exclusive with also being serious.

    I’m not trying to say CO2 and coal pollution are the same… I barely even mentioned CO2. The phrase “carbon dioxide” appears once in my letter, and that’s within a quote. As for climate change, I only mentioned that briefly, one paragraph.

    I realize I haven’t addressed all of your points, but I have to get going now, so I will have to continue later.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Hi Aisling,

      I can totally endorse this sentiment! 🙂

      “Also, we are really tired of fake greens like Mr. Krugman falsely representing the green movement as only being about government intervention and only caring about the United States”

      • Aisling says:

        Dear Mr. Murphy,

        So can we at least count on you not to dignify Mr. Krugman with the label “environmentalist” anymore as you did in your October 28, 2013 article on IER?

        Also, if I made no progress in convincing you to install solar panels on your roof or something of that nature, could I at least perhaps convince you to join us in protesting nuclear weapons by boycotting the financial institutions listed from pages 70 to 101 of the following report?

        Sincerely yours,

    • Aisling says:

      To continue my reply to Tel:

      “Is it better to have more centralized property rights (in the form of an EPA) or better to divulge those rights out to some level (e.g. city, community, individual)?”

      That is a question that idealists focus on. I wasn’t joking when I said “God save us from idealists!” The realist question is, what should each of us do under the present circumstances? Sitting around complaining about how bad things are because the world isn’t structured in an ideal way and we’re all doomed seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy, and those who would do that should seriously read Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus. Trying to live in this world as we might in an ideal world sounds like trying to steer a ship through the storm by the same methods one would use on calm seas, as though no difference in strategy were called for. Even in China, we resist against the status quo, because there are people focused on what they can do rather than what the Chinese government should do. References 13, 16, 17, 18, 132, 133, and to a lesser extent references 21 and 22 all give examples. While libertarians complain about how bad communist/socialist governments are and how the governments should either become more capitalist or go away entirely, greens wage nonviolence against those very same governments, the bravest among us risking their lives to do so.

      However, in so far as answering the question may be necessary to try to figure out why so many libertarians are ambivalent or downright hostile towards indigenous peoples, why we have seen so little solidarity from libertarians on #NoDAPL for example, suffice it to say that I consider the entire question to be a false colonialist/imperialist dichotomy, but that since I cannot give a comprehensive explanation of why it is a false dichotomy without giving an overview of thousands of years of imperialist/colonialist philosophy as compared to indigenous philosophies, I shall delay answering until I am ready to publish my next letter to a different libertarian.

      My side? I am on the green side, the anti-war side, the non-violence side. In the case of Dish Texas, that happens to be on the mayor’s side, since he was standing up for the people whose land and health were being taken by the pipeline corporations. Whether or not we share the exact same political ideology, or whether I even have a political ideology, is besides the point: the US government has a long history of trying to divide and conquer its enemies, and focusing on insignificant differences of opinion at the cost of presenting a united front would play into their hand. Besides, interjecting my own opinions constantly (assuming I even have an opinion on every insignificant topic) would defeat the point of trying to present the diversity of opinions in the green movement — the fact that we have right-wing greens, for example. Indeed, part of why I picked that example was because I hoped Mr. Murphy, as another right-winger, would be able to relate to it easier.

      “The whole point of the Global Warming movement is to bring those powers to an ultimate central body with power over the entire Earth.”

      First, “global warming” is a bit of a misnomer, second, that’s just not true… read the paragraph about “climate change” and also the last 10 paragraphs… or at least the paragraph about “climate change” and look at reference 128.

      “particulate sooty carbon (easily filtered out and hasn’t been a problem in the West for about a century)”

      First, we care about people worldwide, not just in the West, but even so, that’s not true.

      From the documentary “Time to Choose”, which was discussing mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia, one person said, “We would play in the stream as kids. We would gather water from the stream. This is now a pollution spillway.” Jennifer Hall-Massey said, “Everyone thought the water was safe, you know, that’s well water, it’ll have a little color, a little odor, but you know, will not harm you. My brother, he was probably 28 years old at the time and he had noticed a knot starting to appear on his forehead, it was on this side. It was very aggressive in growth. October 6, 2006 was a Friday, he you know worked all week, the next day, mom woke up and the alarm was still going off, and he just never woke up. We go to the church and we start talking, and at that moment in time, I realized there was actually six neighbors who had brain tumors, that live in about a 10 house span. There was a little girt that was one of my brother’s friend’s daughters. She was a toddler when they had found her brain tumor. And she passed away. The same contaminants that were in the sludge ponds was what they found in our water. Barium, nickel, arsenic, lead. I apologize, I can’t remember all the of the chemicals.” (14:28-16:23) From the narrator, “The destruction and pollution caused by coal guarantee that no other industry will locate in the region.”(17:12-17:20)

      Even looking at the power plants themselves and not the actual mining, a 2010 report estimates 13,000 Americans die from coal power plant pollution per year. That’s not near as bad as China, but that’s still 13,000 people per year.

      • Tel says:

        In that “Toll from Coal” article, there’s a photo on the first page looking up at the sky. What’s that stuff in the middle of the photo?

        • Aisling says:

          Do you mean the smoke? Or lower down? The smoke stacks?

          • Tel says:

            I don’t believe there is any smoke in that picture… and that’s my point. Whoever took that photo wanted you to see smoke.

            As I said already, in Western countries our steam turbines don’t produce particulates, because they are heavily filtered, so all the people running around with iPhones can’t find any smoke to photograph. There might be CO2 involved, but CO2 isn’t visible in a photo (nor to a human eye).

            Here’s a hint: where is the sun in that picture? That is to say, which angle is the lighting coming from?

            • Aisling says:

              I’ll confess I’m no expert in photo analysis — I’d sooner trust the analysis of what chemicals they found than a still-shot photo.

              CO2 isn’t the only thing that’s not visible to the human eye. There’s plenty of toxic things that aren’t. Part of the reason I chose Dish Texas as an example is because I thought their locally-sponsored air study appeared to be of higher quality than EPA studies or the work of those who cite the EPA. (See references 28 and 29.) The pollutants they found included “Benzene, Dimethyl disulfide, Methyl ethyl disulphide, Ethyl-methylethyl disulfide, Trimethyl benzene, Diethyl benzene, Methyl-methylethyl benzene, Tetramethyl benzene, Naphthalene, l,2,4-Trimethyl benzene, m&p Xylenes, Carbonyl sulfide, Carbon disulfide, Methyl pyridine, and Diemethyl pyridine.” Admittedly, their problems appeared to be related to “natural” gas, not to coal, but even so, plenty of toxins aren’t visible to the naked eye.

              However, going back to the “Toll From Coal” report, sulfur dioxide is, as I understand it, invisible to the naked eye. Not being visible doesn’t make something safe. As for nitrogen oxides, not sure if those are visible.

              As I understand it, our emissions-reducing technology in coal plants substantially reduce toxic emissions, but do not eliminate them. But even if they did, that doesn’t help the people being affected by pollution from mountaintop removal.

              • Tel says:

                What you see in the photograph is steam (i.e. water) and not smoke. It is chemically the same as clouds.

                The photograph was taken either late in the day or early in the morning with the sun behind the steam plume. This backlights the steam and makes it look dark. There’s nothing environmentally damaging about clouds, regardless of whether they look like fluffy white clouds, or dark storm clouds… that’s just lighting.

                Such photographs are a classic environmentalist trick, intended to mislead people into thinking this is smoke (i.e. particulate matter pollution). It’s a trick that works… fools a lot of people. It also discourages me from believing the rest of the report since they wouldn’t start with a photo like that unless they had dishonest intent.


                Most of those photos show steam, with the sun low on the horizon taken from an angle to make it look dark. People tag the photos with “carbon emissions” because they don’t care about accuracy and CO2 is a hot topic so they are more likely to get paid for the photo.

                CO2 is invisible, but the convenient misdirection is great for business, whipping up emotions in the environmental movement.

                As for sulfur dioxide, it’s stringently monitored. Power stations have scrubbers fitted that remove most of the sulfur.

                If it was around in any significant quantity then you could smell it (very strong and distinctive smell), but the sort of quantities they measure are microscopic. In Australia we measure in parts per hundred million, and typical readings are either 0.0 or 0.1 so it’s right on the limit of what can be measured with scientific equipment. Obviously there’s no smell evident at such low levels, and frankly I doubt it is effecting my health either.

                Sure, if your power plant is running on the type of coal that contains a lot of sulfur, and also if you don’t fit suitable scrubbers, that level will be higher. At that point we can have an honest discussion about how much people are being effected by that… but first we need to get to the point where environmentalists want to have that honest discussion, instead of pretending that steam is smoke.

              • Aisling says:

                That’s plausible, I guess. They are also citing the EPA for data, and not trusting the EPA is something I can understand. Unfortunately, I do not know of any other cities or towns or other communities in the US that have done their own air study as Dish Texas did, and the Dish study applies to natural gas pollution, not coal pollution.

                Even setting aside the question of coal plant pollution in the US due to lack of trustworthy information for the time being, the effect of mountaintop removal mining on people and communities in West Virginia is still a major issue. Even if the filters and whatnot on the actual plants are absolutely perfect, it doesn’t justify what is being done to the people in those communities.

                The major issue with coal in Australia right now, that a lot of us are upset about, is the attempt to build Carmichael Coal Mine on Wangan and Jagalingou land in spite of their objections. References 130 and 131 cover that issue. There was also apparently an issue with a fire at Hazelwood back in 2014:

    • Aisling says:

      “one possible way to use money is to buy power, and no Libertarian society is ever going to stop that. If you snatch money away from people, you aren’t a Libertarian anymore, and if you try and tell everyone, “Hey only accept money when it’s in the interest of the community” then you are left with the problem that it’s vague and unworkable, and besides that people simply won’t do it.”

      To clarify, I’m not just talking about “in the interest of the community”. I’m talking about violence. Is “Libertarian society” okay with spending money for corporations to go commit violence for you?

      • Tel says:

        Don’t be silly, the money will be spent to ensure general agreement that what is being done does not constitute violence.

        Powerful stuff is money, makes people believe the things they need to believe in order to get more money. Could happen to anyone.

        • Aisling says:

          Errr… in that case, could I get your opinion on reference 37 please?

          • Tel says:

            For convenience of all concerned, I enumerated your hundred odd references (ignoring duplicates) here…


            With luck, reference 37 is the one about “modern slavery” and the Global Slavery Index. If my counting does not match yours then I apologize, feel free to suggest an alternative.

            Moving to the slavery question: I often stop and look closely when I see a word being replaced with the conjoint of an adjective plus a word:
            “justice” vs “social justice”
            “education” vs “public education”
            “slavery” vs “modern slavery”

            So of course I took a peek at how they define this concept, presuming that it might not be the traditional definition. Here’s the relevant quote:


            While definitions vary, in this report the term modern slavery refers to situations where one person has taken away another person’s freedom — their freedom to control their body, their freedom to choose to refuse certain work or to stop working — so that they can be exploited. Freedom is taken away by threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power and deception. The net result is that a person cannot refuse or leave the situation.

            OK, I can see what they are getting at here… it would include every bakery and photographer in the USA, on the basis that they cannot refuse certain work (e.g. a gay wedding for example). This “modern slavery” is backed up by threats of violence coming from the Federal Government.

            It might include 457 visas in Australia (and I think that maps to H1B visas in the USA) depending on how you see the indentured nature of their work. Let’s ignore that direction for the time being, because it’s borderline.

            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. You need to be very careful to get the definition right… it might end up long, complex and nuanced just so you can identify that key group who need attention.

            I didn’t provide a very clear answer, but then you didn’t ask a specific question either. Hopefully there’s enough dots for the outline to become apparent. It’s about violence, non-aggression and tricky definitions. Of course you get to decide what you are passionate about, but if you want other people to also be passionate about the same things then you need a way to explain it to them… and you need something simple, easy to understand, and most importantly not too open to interpretation. It’s not easy.

            Money can help. With money in their hands, people are more likely to see it your way (when you supply the money). That’s a transaction, it’s part of the way an economy works. See what I’m getting at?

            • Aisling says:

              “For convenience of all concerned, I enumerated your hundred odd references (ignoring duplicates) here…”

              All of the numbers are here:

              Originally, I had the numbers integrated into the letter, but I guess numbered references were against Being Libertarian editorial policy. My 37 is apparently your 38. But both the same topic — chattel slavery / modern slavery. I included the Global Slavery Index because they attempted to come up with a numerical estimate. However, references 37-48 in my numbering (38-47 in yours) provide more specific examples, which I hoped would provide context regarding what sort of slavery I was talking about.

              “OK, I can see what they are getting at here… it would include every bakery and photographer in the USA, on the basis that they cannot refuse certain work (e.g. a gay wedding for example). This ‘modern slavery’ is backed up by threats of violence coming from the Federal Government.”

              I won’t disagree with this, for a broad definition of the term slavery, in so far as the baker or photographer might theoretically wind up in jail or prison if they resisted hard enough, but there are types and degrees of slavery, and, as a matter of prioritization, it helps to differentiate between those types and degrees. Typically the terms “chattel slavery” or even “modern slavery” are referring to a more narrow type, a more extreme degree… even in the USA there are much worse examples than bakers and photographers. (Though you did list one of those… H1B visas are terrible.) If you really want to see an extreme degree of government-endorsed slavery, see references 44 and 45 in my numbering.

              Money is often not helpful. It might not be helpful when you don’t have any, for example if you aren’t being paid, it might not be helpful when you live with chronic violence and find that the money is repeatedly taken from you or you simply hand it over in the hopes of reducing the violence (which can include a wide variety of domestic and community violence situations), and it might not be helpful any time you are in a situation where someone realizes it is more efficient to simply take the money from you than to persuade you to hand it over. In short, for those who are unable to protect their physical person from violence, money is often useless or close to useless.

              People have known this for thousands of years, probably for as long as violence has existed. See for example Seneca, “For Stilbo, after his country was captured and his children and his wife lost, as he emerged from the general desolation alone and yet happy, spoke as follows to Demetrius, called Sacker of Cities because of the destruction he brought upon them, in answer to the question whether he had lost anything: ‘I have all my goods with me!’ There is a brave and stout-hearted man for you! The enemy conquered, but Stilbo conquered his conqueror. ‘I have lost nothing!’ Aye, he forced Demetrius to wonder whether he himself had conquered after all. ‘My goods are all with me!’ In other words, he deemed nothing that might be taken from him to be a good.”

              I really find Stoicism much easier to relate to than any of the mainstream philosophies or economic theories.

            • Aisling says:

              It’s also not merely a matter of prioritization. If you use a broad enough definition of slavery, if you say that any threat of violence in a person’s life is sufficient to classify them as a slave, then even Trump could claim to be a slave based on the threat of nukes from China and Russia. But it should also be obvious under such a definition a) that being oppressed and also being an oppressor are not mutually exclusive b) that not all are equally oppressed — I’d prefer to avoid mathematical calculations of oppression because I think they’re ridiculous, but Trump clearly can’t claim to be as oppressed as someone locked up and forced to make carpets c) that there is a hierarchy of sorts here, that is, that some of the oppressed are profiting at the expense of those even more oppressed, and d) there is a danger of false equivalence, if you use a really broad definition of slavery — if we talk about the person locked up and forced to make carpets, saying that the baker is a slave too, even if technically accurate for that broad definition, does not make the baker’s situation in any way equivalent to the locked-up carpet-maker’s situation.

              I do not advocate for throwing anyone in jail or prison for refusing to do business with some people they do not like, no matter how silly their reasons, but I would make several points, that the typical US baker is living on land stolen from American Indians, most likely doing business with corporations that continue to do violence against American Indians, trading in currency that is tainted with the blood of historical racial slavery, and most likely doing business with corporations who continue to use chattel slavery in their supply chains. Again, I am not advocating for throwing the bakers in jail or prison, and I realize that some make more of an effort to do business ethically than others, I am merely stating that it is pointless to fight oppression if you ignore your own role in causing oppression (including things you may have done unintentionally, not knowing of the violence that was happening).

              We have a satirical video that attempts to explain this point.

              • Tel says:

                Well prioritization is fairly subjective, personally I would say that the H1B visa holder was given the choice to stay home, and voluntarily chose to accept the terms of the visa. This is presuming the people had accurate information and were not lied to (in the case of immigrants from India, etc they are well educated people with access to Internet and other resources, so they should be well informed).

                On the other hand, the small business owner who is forced to work for someone, or forced to do a job they don’t want to do has never voluntarily entered into any agreement. They simply had this dropped onto them. Yes we could say this person agreed to the Constitution (although there’s arguments against that) but as far as I see, the US Constitution does not say one man should be forced to work for another man. Various judges might disagree with me on that score.

                The land ownership of various native people is quite a difficult one. Pretty much all land on Earth has been subject to conquest one way or another. For example, in Australia we are arguing over “colonization” vs “invasion” as the theme of white settlement. If it was “invasion” then the ancient rule of conquest is victory in battle extinguishes prior title (England was invaded by many groups, each one claiming title). Legally in Australia our courts have decided the original title was not extinguished (therefore legally no “invasion” happened) but it’s kind of in limbo. Then again, being white doesn’t give you the right to own land either… I own a “Torrens Title” which is essentially an extended lease agreement (not ownership at all). My land is claimed by the State of New South Wales, based on what amounts to a declaration of superior force. I pay them money in return for being left alone… a classic protection racket which is the basis of all human civilization.

                Libertarians don’t accept the right of conquest (and grumble about protection rackets), but the problem there is this implies rejecting all nations… even it implies rejecting tribal style “first nations” … the native Americans were warlike and used force against each other. In Australia we know that there were at least two waves of Aboriginal settlement, with the second wave driving out the first (except in Tasmania) so their property rights also depend on the ancient rule of conquest.

              • Aisling says:

                True, prioritization may be subjective, but when the same people who are willingly buying products made with chattel slave labor are also complaining about restrictions which have a minor chance of landing them in jail or prison… I’m not saying the former justifies the latter (especially since some actually do buy fair trade chocolate or whatever), but I would prioritize attempting to reduce the amount of chattel slavery. Even if you wanted to focus on the prison/jail issue in your own country… well, apparently we will be talking about “prison and detention center divestment” in a meeting in a couple days, but I would point out that Christian bakers would seem to be an insignificant portion of the US prison population.

                “Libertarians don’t accept the right of conquest”

                Neither do greens.

                “but the problem there is this implies rejecting all nations… even it implies rejecting tribal style ‘first nations’ … the native Americans were warlike and used force against each other.”

                Part of the issue was that the settlers, historically, were so brutal, that they inspired tribes who were previously enemies to unite against them. With hundreds of tribes now peacefully standing together in common cause, it seems that pointing out that they used to war against each other hundreds of years ago would not help the anti-war cause. For example, they extinguished the Seven Council Fires and lit a new fire, the All Nations Fire, to replace it… to symbolize how this has united indigenous people and many non-indigenous people globally.

                I’m not saying the indigenous people were ideal, historically… but they also had different conceptions of land ownership in many cases… not Western… I think many of these tribes did not believe in sovereign immunity as a moral concept. Land ownership minus sovereign immunity would leave more room for coexistence… more compatibility with pacifism. And the current spiritual leaders like Chase Iron Eyes are very committed to nonviolence.

                The US government (and many other governments), on the other hand, are clearly not committed to nonviolence… see nuclear weapons stockpile, bombing of foreign nations, drone strikes, huge prison populations, police brutality, etc etc.

              • Aisling says:

                So, our plan for non-violently fighting prisons is to divest from Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, and U.S. Bancorp.
                “Report: The Banks That Finance Private Prison Companies.” In the Public Interest, November 17, 2016. https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/report-the-banks-that-finance-private-prison-companies/ (accessed March 8, 2017).

                Note that this is targeting private prison companies in the United States. It’s possible there are other plans for non-violently fighting public prisons, but I have not been made aware of them. Regardless, I’m certain less prisons would help the Christian bakers you seem so concerned about, and many other people as well.

                I do not know of a more Australia-specific list, but you might consider divesting from Norges Bank if you have any assets there.
                “Australia Institute urges Norges Bank to divest from offshore centres over alleged arbitrary detention & human rights abuse of asylum seekers & refugees.” Business & Human Rights Resource Center. https://business-humanrights.org/en/australia-institute-urges-norges-bank-to-divest-from-offshore-centres-over-alleged-arbitrary-detention-human-rights-abuse-of-asylum-seekers-refugees (accessed March 8, 2017).

    • Aisling says:

      “Come to think of it I still can’t figure out where Abbandonato stands on Murphy’s original question ‘Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?'”

      If the answer isn’t evident from references 119, 30, 31, and 121, I’m not sure there’s any real point in explaining. I’m really not sure why it would even matter whether or not I agree with Mr. Murphy on the answer if I disagree passionately with his premises.

      I really don’t understand why so many upper class people feel the need to have an opinion on every subject, to express that opinion as quickly as possible, and to figure out what everyone elses’ opinions are as quickly as possible, all so… what? You can quickly determine who is on your side and who isn’t? Because whether or not you agree with them is more important than any information they might present to you? What? I do not understand where this insistence on jumping straight to opinions comes from.

      • Craw says:

        Part of the problem is that you think “disagreeing passionately ” is more convincing than disagreeing.

        • Aisling says:

          Gandhi and his followers didn’t persuade the British to leave India by being dispassionate.

          • JSR08 says:

            No, but as part of his unwavering non-violent resistance Ghandi didn’t write rambling near-incoherent letters and think them persuasive.

            • Aisling says:

              A letter you apparently did not read as of yet, which makes me wonder how you are so certain it is incoherent.

              Though I would mention that the original version had numbered citations. The numbered citations were removed by an editor.

              • JSR08 says:

                True story: I once approached a homeless lady I spotted across the street and gave her a bag of donuts I had just purchased. She ended up rejecting the donuts and scolding me for purchasing something so unhealthy. She then handed me a single piece of paper that was absolutely covered in words, run-on sentences, small drawings, etc, on both sides. The words and sentences were oriented left-right, up-down, around each other, all over the place. This paper was photocopied and she had a stack of them, so she clearly thought she had something profound and made copies to share with people. After she handed it to me she rambled on and on about the information contain on it for about 20 minutes until I excused myself and left, thoroughly confused by the encounter.
                Her paper was the definition of “incoherent.” I specifically called your piece “near-incoherent” because while it contained complete sentences and was written left to right, as a practical document it was basically as devoid of useful, thoughtful information as that homeless lady’s paper.
                As an aside, that lady was clearly “passionate” about her inane scribble, too.

              • Aisling says:

                “Well then, I guess we should all just pack up and go home and be subject to the whims of whatever “the government” collectively decides to do to us.” — you

                I’m still not convinced that you actually read it, particularly the last 10 paragraphs.

          • Craw says:

            There’s my error. I thought you were discussing if a law lowered pollution. You were actually manifesting sainthood.
            Seriously, your “passion” does not convince me. Quite the reverse actually; dispassion is a virtue in assessing data and assertions.

            • Aisling says:

              Without passion, by what yardstick will you measure data and assertions as good or bad? Of course, everyone has their own passion, their own heart, so perhaps the real question is finding people whose values are similar enough to your own that they might react in a desirable way.

              • Craw says:

                “I know the accounts balance, but do they *passionately* balance?”

              • Aisling says:

                Presumably, at least some level of passion must have existed to bother balancing the accounts rather than, say, going off to live on a mountain, if only a passion for providing for oneself and/or one’s family.

              • Aisling says:

                To put it another way, Craw, I passionately feel that you should try to buy slavery-free chocolate the next time you purchase chocolate.

                If you do not share my passionate opposition to chattel slavery, then it is doubtful I will be able to convince you.

                If you hate chocolate, or at any rate do not care for it enough to bother buying it, then this may be a moot point.

                If you are also passionately opposed to chattel slavery, but do not believe that the chocolate industry has any chattel slavery to worry about, then I might stand a chance in convincing you that there is indeed a problem to worry about.

                If you are passionately opposed to chattel slavery and do believe that it is a problem in the chocolate industry, then it might make sense to discuss which brands are most likely to be slavery-free.

                If you are passionately opposed to chattel slavery and already buy chocolate from such brands, then I would be preaching to the choir.

              • Harold says:

                “It makes little sense for the federal government to impose air quality regulations ”
                Equally, it has little cost if regulations are imposed that were going to be done anyway. A law prohibiting discrimination against tall white people has no effect because there is no such discrimination, therefore changes no behavior and has no cost above the costs of passing the law. his is no the same as no cost at all, so I do not advocate passing nonsense laws. But it does mean that such laws are not very significant and should not draw much attention.

                Some of the Abbondonato article is nonsense, such as the price of canned air. The suggestion that one cannot be a true green if one supports nuclear power is absurd, as the evidence seems to me to be that nuclear power is relatively harmless yet CO2 could be very harmful. Reducing CO2 by using nuclear seems to me to be a clear reduction of risk.

                However, the issue of toxic molecules invading ones property does seem to be crucial. A strict interpretation of the NAP requires that property owners have the right to prohibit trespass onto their property. This does no even require proof of damage or harm as this would require an external assessment of the property owner’s own assessment of their status. Once we start down that road the NAP has gone. So a strict implementation of the NAP would allow the property owner to prohibit the production of such chemicals that might stray onto their property, unless they could be paid off sufficiently to accept the trespass.

                It seems that only MF has been prepared to back such a radical interpretation of the NAP. Most everyone else has required some proof of harm, or basically abandoned the NAP in favor of a system of balancing costs and benefits.

                Which is fine as far as I am concerned, because that is the system I favor.

              • Dan says:

                “Most everyone else has required some proof of harm”

                What a bunch of weirdos. Why would anyone require proof of harm before convicting someone of doing something illegal?

              • Dan says:

                Why would you ever think requiring proof of harm is not compatible with the NAP?

              • Aisling says:

                Harold — Did you check references 51 and 52 regarding nuclear? And whatever gave you the impression that real greens are solely concerned with carbon dioxide? Are you certain you know what a green is?

                As for the canned air — the market set a price for it. I was under the impression I was conversing with right-wingers who believe in that sort of thing. Are you going to tell me the market was wrong and the customers did not actually value the air enough to pay that price?

              • Harold says:

                Aisling. I think the canned air is a different niche market and cannot realistically be extrapolated air in general. Like mineral water costs a lot more than tap water.

                Do I know what a green is? No, not really.I guess we can all decide what we think a green is and my definition is someone who is concerned about he environment. I think the evidence for CO2 being a great risk is more convincing than nuclear power being a great risk. My view is that considering the evidence points that way does not prevent one from being a green. My view on CO2 is not shared by many on this site, I think.

              • Harold says:

                Dan, I had understood that a property owner was entitled to prevent trespass without proof of harm. How can the outsider declare what has harmed the property owner?

                If I come onto your property and dig a vegetable patch in your lawn, have I harmed you? Lets say we go to a tribunal and they decide that a vegetable patch has made you better off, so you have not been harmed. I think the dedicated NAP supporter would reject this way of doing hings. If you think you have been harmed then you have been harmed. It is impossible for members of a tribunal to decide whether or not you have been harmed or helped.

                Thus the property owner is entitled to prevent trespass without proving harm, or harm is something that can be decided by others. Which do you think is the case?

              • Aisling says:

                Harold — Being concerned with the environment is not sufficient to make someone a real green any more than being concerned with economics is sufficient to make one a real libertarian.

                Even in the event of a nuclear war, the Earth will most likely still go on. Most of the species including humans might die, but life in some form would probably continue and we would essentially be replaced. The green heart believes in non-violence, to one extent or another (strict adherence to 100% non-violence isn’t necessary, though those who are not totally committed to non-violence should probably avoid the front lines, at least), and in the context of the environment, that includes keeping the environment habitable for human beings.

                Uranium extraction has been occurring at the expense of indigenous communities, often without their consent, for decades now. See references 51 and 52 if you haven’t already. A person who is aware of that, but does not have enough of a belief in non-violence to have a problem with it, does not have a green heart. Someone who is unaware, might be an incompetent green. Either way, fake greens have been the public face of the green movement for way too long. It would be as if George W. Bush and those like him were the public face of the libertarian movement.

              • Aisling says:

                Harold — Regarding canned air, where the reason people are buying canned air is because the regular air is full of high levels of human-caused pollution, that’s not like mineral water, that’s like buying bottled water when your well is heavily polluted by oil or gas drilling. (See references 119, 30, 31, and 122 — the whole things not just selected excerpts.)

              • Harold says:

                “Uranium extraction has been occurring at the expense of indigenous communities, often without their consent, for decades now.”

                Uranium mining has such problems but so does coal mining and oil exploration and transportation. I don’t believe a shift to nuclear necessarily will make that aspect worse.

                On canned air, the article you link to says “A Chinese entrepreneur is selling fresh air in soft drinks cans, similar to bottled drinking water, as north China is once again choking in toxic smog.”

                So I don’t think the comparison with mineral water is too fanciful.

                The heavy pollution clearly does have a very significant cost. I don’t think the bottled air is the right way to establish this cost.

        • Aisling says:

          I would make several other points as well, firstly, that I wouldn’t even bother stating my disagreement publicly if I were not passionate about it. As Seneca wrote, “Let us, therefore, see to it that we abstain from giving offence. It is sometimes the people that we ought to fear; or sometimes a body of influential oligarchs in the Senate, if the method of governing the State is such that most of the business is done by that body; and sometimes individuals equipped with power by the people and against the people. It is burdensome to keep the friendship of all such persons; it is enough not to make enemies of them. So the wise man will never provoke the anger of those in power; nay, he will even turn his course, precisely as he would turn from a storm if he were steering a ship. 8. When you travelled to Sicily, you crossed the Straits. The reckless pilot scorned the blustering South Wind, – the wind which roughens the Sicilian Sea and forces it into choppy currents; he sought not the shore on the left, but the strand hard by the place where Charybdis throws the seas into confusion.”

          It is only passion that would inspire me to disregard caution enough to even attempt to attract Mr. Murphy’s attention — and possibly that of his friends and opponents who are also upper-class — to begin with. People who have enough wealth to file anti-free-speech lawsuits and all sorts of other annoying stuff. Without passion, any disagreement I had would be silent, or at any rate, shared only with my friends.

          Secondly, Mr. Murphy himself does not appear to be passionless either. From his article, “The path to such progress is saving and capital accumulation, so that workers have better tools and equipment and thus a higher productivity per hour of labor. If we take a society on the verge of starvation and simply pass laws prohibiting the business practices certain observers find distasteful, we won’t magically make these people more productive. Instead we will condemn them to death.” Regardless of what I think of Mr. Murphy’s premises here, “instead we will condemn them to death” is clearly a passionate argument. I’d rather not go on listing examples, since I do not presume to know Mr. Murphy’s heart based on a few quotes off the internet, but if I thought Mr. Murphy was utterly passionless, I would’ve looked for someone else to pick an argument with.

          Thirdly, it is not immoral for those of us non-violently fighting for our lives and/or the lives of those we care for to be passionate about it. Killing people or injuring people or enslaving people, or paying others to kill or injure or enslave people on one’s behalf — I wouldn’t say doing such things dispassionately changes the moral implications. Passionate pacifists are not the problem here.

    • JSR08 says:

      “It’s silly to ask what the government should do or not do when you are in no position to control the government.”

      Well then, I guess we should all just pack up and go home and be subject to the whims of whatever “the government” collectively decides to do to us. There’s no point in educating ourselves about what our government is doing or thinking logically about the results of policy because, as you say, the nameless plebs like us are in no position to “control” the government. If you didn’t post at a blog called “Being Libertarian” I’d have a hard time not mistaking you for nanny-state progressive…

      • Aisling says:

        Read the last 10 paragraphs of my letter and say that again if you still believe it.

      • Aisling says:

        If you’d prefer not to read it, then let me ask you this. Suppose people were advocating for an End Prison Act, banning prisons in the United States, or, if you’d prefer a less radical version, banning the imprisonment of people not convicted of violent crimes. (Take your pick.) Even supposing for the sake of argument that these people managed to get their act passed, do you really think US authorities would actually set all those people free?

        In any case, we do apparently have a plan for “prison and detention center divestment”. I am not sure what the details are, but apparently it will be discussed during one of our meetings on March 7.

  4. Craw says:

    This is a puzzling post. Bob doesn’t usually go in for bear-baiting, but I really cannot see any other reason to call attention to such stuff. Not that I begrudge Bob a little cruel fun, but it does seem uncharacteristic.

    • Brian says:

      Alex Jones will have the next guest post in a rebuttal to Aisling.

  5. ax123man says:

    Was this page hacked by the Russians?

  6. Anon says:

    I can’t believe a libertarian website published this socialist trash.

    “That said, as of 1979 he rated far better than Ms. Ayn Rand on his views towards American Indians, in that he at least felt the tragedy of the horrendous slaughter”

    The link on Ayn Rand goes to a site that bashes Ayn Rand for pointing out what a favor Americans did by bringing civilization to this continent. The Indians were socialists and they should be thanking America for bringing them capitalism and individual liberty, but instead many of them sit around on reservations collecting welfare that we the taxpayers pay for. Ayn Rand was right, but every time Aisling mentions Indians she is always on their side.

    “You could probably partially fix Western conceptions of ownership if you divorced the concept from the “castle doctrine.” According to Margaret Johnson, “Related to this doctrine, the home, historically, was ‘the castle’ where the male head of household could govern the inhabitants as he saw fit. As a result, if the head of the household inflicted physical or other forms of abuse in the home on his wife or children, the state was unable or unwilling to step in and enforce criminal laws. For many years, there was a sense that the home is, or should be, an inviolable place even if violence was being perpetrated by one family member against another.”

    Mr. Rothbard would seem to be a supporter of the castle doctrine. Take the last two paragraphs on page 53 for example, though it is not nearly so dark an example as domestic violence. Still, by what other means would a prohibition against speaking in a home be enforced?”

    Well of course the home owner should be able to do what he needs to do to enjoy some peace and quiet in his own home. His house his rules. Apparently, Aisling has been homeless multiple times, she mentions it both in this article and on her blog and seems really upset about domestic violence and likes the socialist Indians because they believed in state intervention instead of the castle doctrine. Maybe if she knew how to shut up and make her man happy or at least get a job so she could afford her own place she wouldn’t have had to be on the streets paid for by taxpayers.

    She also links to some socialist website that claims that John Locke was against freedom. She’s a brainless anti-libertarian socialist and I can’t see why Being Libertarian published her stupid letter or why you dignified it with a link. It’s too bad being homeless all those times didn’t teach her to shut up already.

  7. Anon says:

    I can’t believe a libertarian website published this socialist trash.

    “That said, as of 1979 he rated far better than Ms. Ayn Rand on his views towards American Indians, in that he at least felt the tragedy of the horrendous slaughter”

    The link on Ayn Rand goes to a site that bashes Ayn Rand for pointing out what a favor Americans did by bringing civilization to this continent. The Indians were socialists and they should be thanking America for bringing them capitalism and individual liberty, but instead many of them sit around on reservations collecting welfare that we the taxpayers pay for. Ayn Rand was right, but every time Aisling mentions Indians she is always on their side.

  8. Jagoda says:

    Bob, can you actually check this claim?

    The history of serfdom, feudalism, indentured servitude, and racial slavery of England and her colonies and empire is long, but I would like to draw your attention to one of the vestiges of feudalism that exists into the present: manorial mineral ownership, or as it is more often called in the US, mineral rights. When severed from surface rights, it is often called a split estate situation; this is when the legally recognized landowner is not legally recognized as owning the minerals beneath their land, and the mineral rights are often dominant, meaning the mineral rights owner is legally permitted to destroy the surface, often with little or no compensation, to access the minerals. If you look again at the town of Dish website, you can see that mineral rights are another thing the locals there are worried about.

    Here are a few quotations from interviewees in the documentary Split Estate, all from within the first seven minutes of the film:

    “We are in a split estate situation, where we own the surface and someone else owns the mineral rights, and what happens in Colorado and in I think in most western states is the mineral rights are dominant.”

    Another said, “We have uh 70 acres here, and I can’t convince them that they need to drill somewhere besides 200 feet from our house.”

    Another, “Sometimes I said, you come out here and live, you come out here and live in my house for a week. I have no rights.” Another, “Don’t believe for one minute that anything is off limits. 150 feet away from your house, one and a half times the length of the derrick. So if it falls over, it won’t hit your house. We see this look on people’s faces, and they get that look, and they say ‘Well wait a minute, that can’t be right. That’s not fair. That can’t be.’ But it is. That’s the way it is.”

    I don’t want to trust anything some greenie says, but if this is true, then how do I find out if I own the mineral rights to my land?

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