Why We are Failing Miserably to Fix America

I had been planning to do this article last week, but simply didn’t find the time to do it the way that I wanted to do it, so it got pushed to tonight. I have found myself increasingly frustrated as I watch the goings on in Washington DC. It isn’t simply because the Dems are in charge and I don’t like what they are doing, although that certainly does play into my frustrations. The GOP is every bit as bad at getting us back to where we need to be. I found that the frustration I was feeling was because what I feel is breaking the back of the American economy is the progressive movement’s continued moves to increase the size and scope of government. The bottom line, no matter what it is that you believe politically, is that we simply cannot afford to do all the things that we are attempting to do. Health care, welfare, extended unemployment benefits, more regulations on top of the regulations that were already not being enforced, two wars that we should no longer be in, stimulus, and pork, pork, and more pork. Our federal government has gotten to the point where they are spending money like Britney Spears. And there doesn’t seem to be a psychotic father to step in and take over control of the finances.

And what this leads us to is the discussion that we have attempted to have before, but have never been able to have any sort of fleshed out discussion. In fact, I don’t know that I have seen anyone even bend in regard to the answer. But I also see so many times that folks avoid the discussion completely if they see that they cannot justify their thoughts. So I hope that more folks will join in and attempt to really discuss the topic. It may be tough to justify your position on either side to opponents, I encourage everyone to talk it out, challenge not only those who question you, but your own opinion as well. The question is simple, but the answer is certainly anything but:

What is the proper role of government?

No matter what your answer there are a couple of things that I believe are realities that we have to face. I will address them as individual topics. But I think that it becomes clear that the government, no matter what you would like to believe it has the authority to do, simply cannot do all that is being promised.

HEALTH CARE – This is as good a place to start when we discuss the absolute out of control spending in Washington DC. A trillion dollars. That is the claim. We all know, whether we admit it or not, that the health care reform cost will be far more than that trillion dollars that they promised. Already we have revised estimates raising it anywhere from 100 million more to 600 million more. Given the history of government programs, I think it is absolutely realistic to say that it will end up costing two or three trillion just in government spending, which of course means taxpayer spending since government does zero to actually create wealth or revenue. Three times the cost means three times the taxes needed, which means more dollars coming out of your pocket and mine.

Even if you fall into the belief that health care is somehow a “right,” the fact is that we simply cannot afford to provide health care as has been proposed. On top of government spending on the health insurance reform bill that passed, there is the fact, and it is a fact, that health care costs are going to rise, not fall, as a result of the government interference. And that means even more money coming out of people’s pockets around health care, leaving fewer dollars for spending on other areas of their lives, which further strains that rest of the market. I have heard from some friends and have seen myself that companies are already looking to find a way to “spin” things so that employees won’t realize that they are getting screwed as a result of the health care passage.

TWO WARS – As you all know, I am not a fan of continuing the two wars we are fighting. I did not feel that we were wrong to do what we did. But I do believe that we have done a terrible job of ensuring that we had an exit strategy that was both viable and timely. As a result we are funneling hundreds of billions of dollars endlessly, despite the false bravado that the White House is putting out there about a “timeline for withdrawal.” The timeline that they have proposed is a farce, and will do little more than embolden our adversaries as we draw closer to it. The White House will alter the plan, and spin it to either show how necessary it was to do so or to draw attention to the 30% of troops they pull out rather than the 70% they keep there.

And the bottom line is that these wars have been fought foolishly and without a valid strategy, which has cost us far more in both money and lives. We have the technology to wage war the way it was meant to be waged, while limiting the collateral damage and causing massive casualties on the enemy. Instead we have opted to being politically correct. This has saved no lives in collateral damage, in my opinion. Because it prolonged the conflicts by two or three times what was needed, it just took longer to take those lives. And by the way, instead of finishing the war in three years, it has taken nine (so far), at a cost of over 100 Billion a year. We cannot afford the wars, especially the cost of fighting in the modern “play nice” bullshit way that we are being forced to fight them.

WELFARE AND UNEMPLOYMENT – Beyond the fact that I don’t like these programs at all, there is the fact that they are massively expensive to implement. Now we find Obama having rescinded the Clinton Welfare Reforms, which effectively put an end to the timeline for receiving benefits. That means that people stay on welfare longer and with fewer ways to find a way off of the program (the reforms had built in training and work programs).

On top of that we have the unemployment situation that we are facing (10% admitted, but 17% actual), which is getting worse, not better. No matter how they spin the numbers, the fact is that we see steady increase in government jobs and a steady decline in private sector jobs. Given that government creates no wealth, that means an increase in jobs paid for by the taxpayers rather than the private market. And we keep seeing the Congress work to extend benefits, at a time when the program has already been pushed to the point where you can collect benefits for 99 weeks, almost two years. Even more government spending rather than finding ways to let the market create jobs. Uncle Sam only creates jobs when he starts wars, and given that manufacturing has left the US, even that doesn’t work anymore. We cannot afford these programs.

FINANCIAL REGULATION – I have grown weary of watching the debates over financial regulation. The debates really go like this: No matter how ridiculous the proposals being presented are, any opposition to them is painted in the media as opposition to the idea of regulating the financial industry. But I digress. These financial regulations are doing nothing but increasing costs. The costs to regulate go up, and in today’s environment the go up rapidly. Each passage creates a new government agency that needs to be funded. And this is on top of the fact that the regulations to stop the bad things from happening was already in place, just not enforced. And when the government keeps the market from enforcing itself and subsequently also fails to do the job, we get what we should have expected to get. The increased spending on “financial regulation” is little more than a smokescreen that puts more tax dollars in a position to be gobbled up by pork projects. Congress never had any intention of regulating anything.

I will add to the mix of financial regulation the false notion of “too big to fail” that we have seen throughout the last three years. The banks were too big to fail. The auto companies were too big to fail. The unions are too big to fail. Everything is too big to fail and as a result, government has to bail whatever it is out. We hear all the whining about how the horrible companies used to take advantage of people until unions and government starting holding them accountable. I hate those claims as that was simply a few bad companies being used as the reasoning for action. But you know what didn’t happen back then? Companies being too big to fail. All of these bailouts, which happened under both administrations, are more of those things we simply cannot afford.

SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE/MEDICAID – As we are all aware, these programs are among the most expensive that the government has, and can single-handedly eat up the entirety of the income taxes collected in a given year. Social security is one that we are all aware of the failings around. What started as a well intentioned plan has evolved into a glorified ponzi scheme that takes the money I contribute today and gives it to folks who are retired today. That certainly doesn’t sound like the the savings and investment plan that was sold as a bill of goods in beginning. Social security is going broke. We all know it. And the money is being used to slush fund whatever else the government wants to fund in the meantime.

Medicare and Medicaid were set up to offer a solution so that no one is denied basic health care, regardless of age or income. Gee, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And it has done such a bang-up job that they had to sell us yet another solution meant to ensure that no one is denied basic health care, regardless of age or income. The programs have expanded well past the point of being something that is operating in the black. Both programs are leaking money faster than, say, a busted oil well in the gulf of Mexico. Add in George W’s Medicare Part D addition and we simply added another hole to the leak. Let’s be clear, more than anything else that we are spending money on, these are programs that we simply cannot afford.

I think that this is enough of the examples. I think all of us who frequent SUFA are well versed enough in the workings of government to have a firm grasp of the massive amount of spending involved. And we are simply unable to afford the spending that is taking place, on all of the above and everything else that we are seeing spending on. Despite the fact that we simply cannot afford to do all the stuff we are doing, that doesn’t seem to stop government from ever expanding their scope, size, reach, and wealth collection. THAT is what I despise about the progressive movement: the fact that they, more than the other side, constantly look to expand government spending, scope, and size. What is worse is that they are well aware that government simply cannot afford to do what they promise, yet they still sell an ignorant public on the idea that they can. That isn’t a reprieve for the other side of the ledger, who does the same thing at a slower rate. But it is the primary reason I loathe the progressive movement as it exists today.

The fact is that no matter whether it serves the greater good or not (and you all know what I think the answer is to that question), government simply is NOT CAPABLE of doing what they promise to do. I present that as fact. I am sure some of you will argue, but the consistently increasing amount of the fruits of our labor claimed by government would back up my claim.

So let’s start having this discussion. I am going to let this be the main article for the next two days. I will do the open mic on Wednesday night instead. But I want to hash through some discussions on what the proper role of government is, according to each of you. No matter your answer, be prepared to justify your answer. I am open to any and all thoughts, but I will push back, as will others I am sure. And let’s not get caught up in the whole, “government is evil and should serve no purpose” argument. We all know that argument, and this is not the article for it. We operate in a world that has government. I submit that it has far outpaced its proper role. But we are not in a reality where we can simply do away with it completely. So we should discuss some ideas on what it should and should not be doing, along with what it is possibly capable of doing.

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Comments

  1. Truthseeker says:

    Great article Weapon! It is rare that I post as I mostly do the reading, but something I read this morning really rained on the parade. Clinton just gave Pakistan 7.5 billion dollars. This is a travesty and contributes to the downfall of our great country:

  2. Truthseeker says:

    Strange, my link didn’t post:

    Free Money for Pakistan!

  3. I think the true role of government is pretty simple, but we are not much closer to that than we are to no government at all as far as being realistic. The true role of government is:
    1) to protect the rights and freedoms of its people. This involves defensive military action and an enforcement arm of the legal code.
    2) To protect the integrity of the free market. By “integrity” I am talking about logistical soundness, not some moral standard. Enforcement of contracts, fraud laws, etc. and settling of contractual or transactional disputes are key. Also, there may be a place for bankruptcy laws to prevent things like debtors prisons. Essentially, corrupt forces that would try to steal from individuals and damage the freedom of the market should be defended against.
    3) Act as liazon with countries with whom we would like to trade but who will not operate directly with a business. Act as liazon with foreign governments for whatever is called upon in the international community, even if the standard response is “not my problem”, which it frequently should be.

    That’s pretty much it.

    However, I do not see us getting to that simple and constricted level of power overnight without hurting people. A LOT of changes need to be made, not just in government, but in the people, to make a government that abides strictly by the roles I described a functional one. I will do another post later, after some more feedback has come in, to go into some changes to the current role that would send us on the right path.

    • I think that you are dead on Jon Smith and your point that we have a long way to go is absolutely true. I like that you say that changes in the people are key. The “ruling class” has taken great pains over the past century to change the people mostly through education and until the people are educated again no changes can happen.

      BTW: USW, you used the graphic from my blog button “Proper Role of Government” at the top of this post . . . very nice.

      • Michelle

        How have you been?

        Can you fill us in on the latest about the Tea Party status up your way and perhaps your WA neighbor?

        Hope you summer is going well.
        Should be getting to the best part if I remember right.

        JAC

      • USWeapon says:

        As I recall Michelle, you have a lot to say on the proper role of government, especially the role in public education.

        Hope you are well.

        USW

      • Michelle. I have a friend in the Tea Party Patriots from Cedartown, Georgia. Her name is Jennifer. Maybe you know her. Like you, she is VERY active in the movement.

        She keeps me up to date with all the lastest from Washington. She is my 1st cousin’s wife.

  4. d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 says:

    USW – “What is the proper role of government?”

    d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 – What makes this article so good is that there is no definitive answer to this question. The answer is dependent upon individual political philosophy.

    The question itself is the dividing/defining line between all political ideologies…the political “Bottom Line”, if you will.

    My answer to “What is the proper role of government?”: It depends on how you define rights and responsibilities.

    • Then lets ask the question a different way-What is man capable of taking care of his self without involving governmental power which further endangers our liberties? But lets remember that we are discussing the role of government in society had the complete removal of it.

      • USWeapon says:

        When you place the question in that format, I would say that there is VERY little that man is not CAPABLE of providing for himself.

    • So then, how do YOU define it. In a society, one must find a balance or a consensus on those proper roles. Also, “responsibilities” begs the question, “whose responsibility?” There are many things that I could agree with or at least support the idea that there is a “responsibility” to take care of. However, in nearly all those cases, the burden of responibility is born by the individuals in a society, or even certain individuals in a society. It is not the role of government to handle those responsibilities, or even ensure that all individuals own up to them. This is in large part becuase, as you say, things will vary depending on your belief system and what you consider rights and responsibilities to be. Because it varies among individuals, it cannot be a government enforced action.

      • That’s the problem that word nearly all cases-I think we should as a society try to take care of those exceptions, but doing so does not turn it into a right, to those who benefit and it doesn’t cause it to cease being a imposition on individual rights. It endangers freedoms but it is also what makes us a civilized society.

      • d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 says:

        Jon Smith – “So then, how do YOU define it.”

        d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 – I would say that the government has no responsibilities to provide for and/or right to enforce anything. I would say that…

        Government = Law = Enforcement = Coercion = Violence

        But this isn’t the article for that discussion…See…

        USW – “And let’s not get caught up in the whole, “government is evil and should serve no purpose” argument. We all know that argument, and this is not the article for it.”

        Our founders defined their version of it in the constitution. Since then it has been redefined a thousand times and we’re still arguing over it.

        I rather like the way you put it when you said:

        Jon Smith – “Because it varies among individuals, it cannot be a government enforced action.”

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        “In a society, one must find a balance or a consensus on those proper roles.”

        No, no, no, no, no, no, no, and NO!

        A CONSENSUS is an agreement by a bunch of people to do what is WRONG because the people who are willing to do what is RIGHT are most often in the minority!

        As such, when it comes to HOW TO ORGANIZE SOCIETY ON MORAL PRICIPLES, a CONSENSUS APPROACH is always doomed to failure.

  5. Haven’t we been down this road many times already? Everyone has a different opinion of what government should be. It gets spoken about here daily just in broken down snippets. It’s difficult to actually put in paragraph form. If I say government should be there for A, B, C the next guy comes behind me and says well what about D,E,and F. Seems to be a circular diiscussion. It has come into discussion lately about splitting the country. I’m beginning to like that angle more & more. It might be much easier to manage that way. There could be a “tastes great” side and a “less filling” side but it could still all be the USA

    • I’m pretty sure that State Rights were supposed to insure the right to differences while still allowing us to be a united country. Unfortunately, State Rights are the first thing that was attacked to pave the way for a big federal government.

      • Indeed V, that was the tragedy of the civil war.

        Anita I think splitting the country up is a great idea. Maybe the fracturing into 4 or 5 subnations could be a peaceful solution, I always pictured it as the result of a civil war…

        • EsomHill says:

          I too think splitting the Country is becoming more viable every day. And I also see 4 or 5 Nations, instead of the two the Civil War would have created. We are much divided than that now.

          I also see this maybe becoming a reality, if not in my lifetime, then maybe in my children’s.

          The divisions and differences are becoming too deep and bitter to resolve. I don’t think it’s too late to reverse our course, but the time is fast approaching.

          The only thing I wonder about is if will come peacefully, or with a hell of a lot of blood.

          • I absolutely agree. There are just too many variances in the thinking of the people here, and those differences are very extreme. The issue I see is that its not just red state/blue state. There are a few large pockets of areas where people are like minded, but for the most part, a 5 way split along ideological lines would still require a LOT of displacement. A lot of people would find themselves in an area where their worldview was not in line with the new, smaller country they were in. Unfortunately, I fear this makes a bloody split more likely than a peaceful one. 😦

      • I hear ya V. Well maybe you are on to something. Maybe instead of attacking this question from the federal level and never coming to a consensus, we should start asking what is the role of the states and ignore the federal level for now. We might get somewhere then.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Anita,

      It becomes a circular discussion because NEARLY EVERYONE in this country today believes that the Federal Government should have the power to do things that were not originally intended in the Constitution.

      There are basically 4 things the Federal Government was empowered to do (see my post below). ANYTHING beyond those 4 tasks was reserved to the States and the People.

      Right now, the Federal Government does INFINITELY more than the 4 things that it was originally tasked with. In my opinion, anything outside of the “big 4” would be much BETTER handled by the States or by private individuals.

  6. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Having experienced mistreatment at the hands of the British government, writers of the United States Constitution were careful to limit the powers of government and protect the rights of individuals. The primary purpose of federal government was to:

    1. Defend the shores
    2. Establish a system of currency
    3. Deliver the mail
    4. Protect individual rights

    Consider Amendment X, the last in the Bill of Rights:

    Amendment X

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    Interesting question: Does the U.S. Constitution grant rights to its citizens?

    Answer is, No. Looking back at the forerunner of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, we find the Grantor of individual rights:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    So, the Constitution does not grant rights. It assumes people have those rights from the Creator and establishes that government shall not take them away.

    The Constitution could be a dangerous instrument if it granted rights, because by amending it, those in power could take our rights away. The founding fathers were adamant that citizens already had those rights.

    How far we have come since then! Look again at Amendment X. The founding fathers wouldn’t recognize us, would they?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Oh, by the way, here is my opinion:

      #1 has been taken way beyond the bounds of reasonable, and the government now uses a Standing Army as an offensive weapon of interference in the soverignty of other nations.

      #2 has been punted to the Federal Reserve, which is not an offical or publicly elected part of the government.

      #3 has actually been shown to be something that can be better handled privately (the USPS is losing money while UPS and FedEx are generally profitable)

      #4 has been a complete disaster. The Federal Government actively destroys individual rights- the exact opposite of protecting them!

    • PeterB in Indy and Jon Smith

      Actually between your explanation and Jon Smith’s articulate summary both of those just about cover darn near the entire discourse of ‘rights.’ Normally, anything stated further would be either the same thing albeit clothed differently or just flat out redundancy. Both of your perspectives are quite nicely stated and accurate.

      Any other form I believe falls under the unique classification of “Rights Talk” (or the proverbial spinning of the same wheel). However I read something to this effect on the previous forum and again albeit very briefly here.
      Background: Currently I am writing a book that deals with the notion that the reason Article 1 Section 5 whereby Congress shall set up an immigration and naturalization procedure deal (paraphrasing of course!). What is surprising to me is in the notion that never in the history of this country has there been a real attempt at either securing English as an official language, or with the inept legislative bodies have for so many years, turned a blind eye at the possibly. In 1986 Reagan on the promise of military duty, learning civics, and being able to speak the language of English was to be acquired prior to any mention of naturalization or even a green card. Then again in 1996 Clinton with his Immigration Control and Immigrant Responsibilities Act did precisely the same thing. The net result is 12 million illegal aliens.

  7. Heading out of town-will miss everyone-be back in a couple days. One question before I leave-Where are you-Sir Matthius?

    • This is what John Adams had to say about government:

      “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it. – John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

  8. What is the proper role of government?

    Nothing.

    There exists no proper role for men to attack non-violent men.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Would you agree that if the government actually stuck to the four things I listed in my post above that those 4 tasks could be accomplished without imposing upon non-violent men in any way?

      If so, how would we limit it to simply performing those 4 tasks, and if not, why not?

      • Peter,

        I don’t want to hijack the intent of USWep’s thread here too much.

        (1) Doesn’t need a government; defense of “shores” can be easily achieved through civil militia.

        (2) Not at all!! – the establishment of money and currency SHOULD NOT be in the hands of a monopoly -ever-

        (3) I do not know why this has to be part of government – again, free market easily would take this task (or not, if it is not economical).

        (4) Same as (1), unnecessary for government to act here

        Your comment “accomplished without imposing upon non-violent men in any way” is interesting.

        How would the “government” maintain its monopoly in providing these “services” – preventing competition in, say, defending the shores or coining money – without imposing on non-violent men?

        The problem with using the concept of government to form the questions above is that government requires a monopoly on initiation of force.

        Without that monopoly, competing entities would appear in the nation offering alternative services.

        If a government seizes such monopoly, this entity would doom society – as it would continue to expand and grow like a cancer within society seizing more and more power and domination until total tyranny and collapse.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Excellent response BF

          I just wanted to show people how even these 4 basic items could (AND WOULD) be handled in the absence of government, and I knew you could answer it even better than I could!

          Thanks 🙂

        • BF and Peter.

          Government would carry out the powers delegated to it by cooperative efforts with the citizens who grant it that power.

          There is no need for the govt to use violence against non-violent men.

          Nor is there need to impose upon the non-violent men.

          The citizens will give willingly to the defense of our nation against attack. And those that don’t wish to give freely are not compelled to give.

          • JAC,

            How would your “government” prevent competition to its services?

            • BF

              By doing a better job than the competition.

              If a State wants to fund a militia then so be it. But why would citizens support a state militia if they felt confident that the national milita was doing a good job and was not being used as an offensive weapon?

            • Why do you presume that government must monopolize anything? I believe there must be a law of the land, i.e. a respect of the freedoms and rights of individuals, and no “competing” police force or local law can override this. Outside of that, any government service can be opened to competition.

              • Jon,

                Then what is this “entity” called government?

                What would it be?

                So far, it has not army, no police and no services!

                It is appears to me your government exists in the same realm as the tooth fairy – in everyone’s imagination.

              • As does your self-governed world. To state mine is impossible but yours is possible without precedent for either is life arguing that Santa is real but the Easter Bunny is not.

              • Jon,

                The quip is in response to your setup where “government” is providing nothing.

                Then why does it exist??

        • I started to post my own thoughts, and ended up arguing with myself on all but one.

          Role of Government

          Protect it’s citizens from threats, foreign or domestic.

          I think that we need an organized government to insure Al Capone does not take Chicago hostage, nor the KKK. Would Japan have invaded Hawaii without our military to fight them off? Each citizen might have a rifle, but damn few would have a P51.

          On the other three roles, I agree government is not necessary.

        • USWeapon says:

          BF,

          You are operating on the premise that the government must have a monopoly on the following areas. I submit that they are within the proper role of government, but they need not be a monopoly. There is nothing wrong with government having a standard currency available to anyone who chooses to use it. There is nothing wrong with a strong military protecting our shores. If a militia finds a way of accomplishing the task better and cheaper, then the military will serve no purpose and find itself without volunteers.

          • USWep,

            So you are merely advocating for USWep’s Corner Store Government, a normal business that is competing with JAC’s Corner Store Government and Peter’s Corner Store Government and LOI’s Corner Store Government and Charlie’s Corner Store Government and Buck and Mathius Corner Store Government and *gasp* Well Red’s Corner Store Tyranny Government… and a citizen would chose (or not) to buy (or not) any one or mix of services.

            • What service are you speaking of? A government service that could also be supplied by a private entity would mean, not a lot of governments, but private options outside of government. Unless you are conceding that some things can only be provided by government and therefore only another government could be a competitor.

  9. The proper role of government is determined by the philosophical system that supports it.

    In this respect D89 is correct in that how one defines rights will play a large role.

    For example, if you subscribe to positive rights theory then a right is the same as the freedom FROM some action or condition. Such as freedom from hunger, cold, sickness, poverty.

    If you subscribe to negative rights then you support the freedom TO TAKE certain action. Such as the freedom to speak against govt, to act in self defense, to associate with those you choose, to practice the religion of your choice.

    But before Rights comes ethics and morale philosophy. The ethic of Altruism vs the ethic of Rational Self Interest for example. In short, Sovereignty of the group vs. sovereignty of the individual.

    Ray Hawkins please note, this is where I release Ayn Rand once again from the closet.

    The debate is not circular if you build the solid and defensible foundation first. Circular arguments about WHAT should be included occur because of a conflict in the philosophy itself. For example, mixing the altruistic ethic with some concept of “efficiency” or reducing cost. That is how you get the “well yeah, but what about this…….”.

    If your core is firm and based on individual Liberty and rational self interest, then there is no debate. Govt has NO role in the vast majority of the programs it currently carries out. Because it can not carry out those programs without violating the prime ethical tenant, that is it can not initiate the use of coercive force.

    Anita and V.H.: We are divided into enough units (50 states) to address the diversity in our population. Some of the State boundaries need to be adjusted though, :).

    As we move forward we need to recognize the difference between the levels of govt., federal, state, county, local. As V.H. suggested, it might be helpful to work up instead of down. But you still need to isolate your base first.

    I hope everyone had a great weekend.
    Now time for some hard thinking.

    JAC

    • JAC, JAC, JAC,

      This is where I start losing my attention span every time. USW says “what is the role of govt”? You start talking ethics. Don’t you have a list of dos and donts like what Peter listed. Throw them out there like a bone & see what happens. I know you’re gonna tell me that we can’t start from the middle but let’s just see what happens. What’s on your list. I know you have one just waiting to get put to paper. What’s on it?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Anita,

        “For every 10 people who are clipping at the branches of evil, you’re lucky to find 1 who’s hacking at the roots.”

        — Thoreau

        I believe JAC is saying that most of us are clipping at the branches when we SHOULD be attempting to hack at the roots 🙂

      • Anita

        Peter’s comments about roots and branches is right on.

        But let me put it another way.

        What is the proper roll of the Bull?

        Do we create a long list of what the Bull can and can not do? No.

        We put him in the corral and then he can do what ever he wants withing the confines of the corral.

        So, do the same with government.

        The ethical base is Rational Self-Interest. Primacy of the individual over the group. Rational because to simply exercise self-interest without constraint is destructive to one self in the long run. Thus comes the next layer of ethical constraint. You do not have a right to initiate force against another.

        If that ethical standard applies to you then it MUST apply to your government. This is the corral. Anything you want to consider as “proper” is then tested against this base.

        If it passes then it is proper. If it can be done but could be corrupted, then is there a way to prevent that corruption? If so, then it can be proper. If we can’t constrain it then it is wrong.

        But let me address one specific topic.

        I believe govt has a proper role in defending our nation from attack. Especially given the evolution of military weapons and wealth of potential enemies.

        Its proper role is in protecting our “individual” rights and liberty. So this means primarily law enforcement and courts, which in turn means that authority can flow down to the lower levels. I see very little need for a Federal Police Force.

        Now let me add this. What is proper does not mean that government is required. Maybe we could accomplish it some other way. But WE, as humans, decide to organize a government to accomplish certain things. What those things are and how they are to be done is then once again governed by the philosophical system that supports it.

        Let me give you one thing to ponder for a short spell before we move on.

        Ayn Rand identified her moral/ethical “political system” as “laissez fair capitalism”.

        Given all the rabbits we have chased here, can you tell me why you think she picked this as the one true moral political system?

        • JAC,

          The issue is not the corral – the issue is the Bull gets to build his own corral and the Bull is the one who decides when and where the Bull can leave the corral.

          Government makes the law, including the law on itself – and chooses which and when law is enforced.

          • BF

            Man creates a government. It does not exist otherwise.

            The power of government flows from those who create it. The question is what type of govt will they build.

            That in turn depends on the nature of the men who build it.

            • JAC,

              You embed a contradiction.

              You want to establish government so to establish law.

              Thus, for you, government makes the law.

              Therefore, it makes the law for itself.

              OR

              The People make the law for government – which begs the question – if the People make the law for government, why can’t the People make the law for themselves too?

              • BF

                No. It makes the law on my behalf.

                Because I do not have the time to negotiate with 300 million people on every detail of law.

                But if the govt passes laws that violate the power I/We granted it then WE will replace those who violated that trust.

                It is the PEOPLE who hold the ultimate authority, at least in a moral society.

              • JAC,

                What happens if it passes a law I don’t agree with, why would I be still bound by it?

              • BF

                Depends on the particular law.

                You may be allowed to ignore paying taxes.

                But you will not be allowed to ignore the law against murder or theft. You would do so at peril of forfeiting your freedom.

                You would be bound by the same moral/ethical standard from which the law was created.

              • JAC
                …and as such I can agree or decline on my whim, and no one elses.

              • BF

                If you decide based on whim then you have violated the ethical standard.

                Depending on your whim you may pay a dear price.

              • JAC,

                Ethics are subjective ergo whimsical.

                Thus, you are saying I have to obey your whims, yet you deny me mine.

              • JAC,

                LAW is violence – it is not merely a ‘suggestion’.

                All LAW uses violence to enforce itself.

              • BF

                And that my friend is our greatest disagreement.

                Ethics can be objectively identified.

                There is a correct ethical and moral standard consistent with the nature of man and the laws of the universe.

                The selection of ethics based on whim is how we have come to this point in human history. Shall we move forward based on reason and logic or will we continue to be whimsical.

              • JAC,

                LAW:
                Recognized cause-effect (causal) link or principle whose violation must or should result in a penalty as failure, injury, loss, or pain.

              • JAC,

                Ethics: A theory or a system of moral values

                Morals: Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character.

                Values: beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment

                You claim that “a system of ‘judgments of good or bad’ regarding ‘beliefs’ based on ’emotion’can be objectified.

                Good luck!

              • BF

                Not “objectified” but objectively identified.

                How did you arrive at your ethical/moral standards?

                I don’t think it was by whim. After all, you are always mentioning consistency with the laws of the universe.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              You just inadvertantly pointed out why the Bull and Government comparison is invalid.

              The Bull EXISTS, regardless of man.

              Government only exists as a CREATION of men.

              The Bull will live by his own rules UNTIL you put him in the corral.

              The Government would simultaneously have to be BOTH the bull and the corral in order to have “reasonable limits”.

              The Bull does not put himself in the corral by choice. The government will not put itself in the corral by choice either.

              We have already seen that the people are an ineffective corral for the bull, because the bull makes his own rules.

              • Peter

                Perhaps the bull analogy isn’t perfect but lets not attack the bull.

                But if we stick with it, the Bull exists but not necessarily where WE reside.

                The Bull has existed as long as man invented the concept of Bull. Who knows what it was called before that.

                It is not until WE bring the bull to our land that HIS nature must be considered. We know from history that at times he can be docile and help us create great wealth. But if ignored or abused he can become destructive. We also know that if he left to run free that he will corrupt our entire herd and they will run over us.

                So we must construct a corral of some type to prevent this calamity.

              • JAC,

                Absolutely false.

                Men established Government, thus Men existed BEFORE government.

                Government is unnecessary for men.

              • BF

                True, True

                Not necessarily.

                In fact history tells us differently. It appears that the formation of government is in fact part of man’s very nature.

              • JAC,

                Actually, no it does not.

                Man, for 99.9% of his existence had no concept of government.

                Government is a recent historical anomaly.

              • BF

                All we know about such things are what man has recorded.

                So none of us can say with any certainty that this concept of govt did not exist throughout history.

                And of course, it depends on how you describe govt.

              • JAC,

                And of course, it depends on how you describe govt.

                My description is clear and relevant to every government that has ever existed in history.

                What’s yours?

        • I thought you guys had all the roots discussed out in the past! How many roots can there possibly be? At least I got a couple ideas out of you JAC. Now that I have yous shaking your heads at me like I’m crazy…its on to the more important things in life. My boat needs company again. See ya!

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Just because the roots have been discussed does not mean that they have been understood, nor does it mean that all agree on the same roots.

            It is why we keep coming back to them. I know it is annoying, but it is necessary unfortunately.

  10. Back on topic;

    To “solve” the current problems contained within government programs, the answer is stunningly simple;

    Send the responsibility of welfare, money and currency, and warfare to the individual States and essentially dissolve the Federal Government.

    Each State would be responsible for the welfare of their own citizens. How they tax and spend would be the State’s issue, not a National issue.

    If one State was onerous, the citizens would abandon that State and move to a neighboring State. This natural migration will tend to ‘brake’ State’s impositions.

    Same with currency. If a particular State abused its currency, the citizens would naturally shift to another State’s currency for trade – again creating a natural ‘brake’ on abuse.

    This ability of natural mobility does not exist between Nation States. However, if articulated within a Nation State, such as the United States, it would serve a powerful restraint upon abuse of government power – that is, avoidance.

    The Articles of Confederation are a far better starting point then the Constitution.

    In the Articles, The United States of America was defined as a tight Confederacy of Independent States where;
    – the right of the citizens to be unrestricted in their mobility between the States;

    – the right of equal treatment in the law of each State (that is a New Yorker could not be denied by a special law targeting New Yorkers in the State of Texas);

    – the immediate and mutual defense of all the States against any attack or provocation upon a State or States;

    – the prohibition of acrimonious behavior among the States, that The United States would provide the sole and binding jurisdiction to resolve disputes between the States.

    This is probably a more reasonable starting pointing to reestablishing a reverse-beauty contest of who is the least worse example of government, and the starting point to the long path to dissolving government completely.

    • Oh, I missed the explanation of warfare.

      Since each State maintains its own militia, the extent of warfare would reside ultimately in the States themselves.

      As happened in 1812 – where the States sent their militias to repel the Canadian invasion of the United States, the American invasion of Canada failed because many States – most significantly Kentucky – refused to leave the United States as an armed force as it was prohibited by their State Constitution.

    • This I like. A lot. The Federal government would exist only to handle conflicts between states (and possibly to organize individual state militias into a unified force if they consented), and possibly to handle negotiations with other nations in the event they did not recognize the individual state governments. As such it would be tiny, and would likely be funded by the states themselves.

      The States would have the option of running their state largely as they see fit as long as individual rights (free speech, right to bear arms, etc.) are still honored. As you say, this removes the monopoly of those governments, allowing the market to determine which form works most effectively, and basically forcibly teaching those in government how to act.

    • I like this approach as well. Then all that would have to be reigned in would be the State and local governments, and with voting able to be done by our feet…that should simplify things quite nicely. Thanks BF!

    • I like this approach also. Get it down to the state level.

  11. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    The whole premise of government is that human beings are incapable of handling their own lives on their own.

    The premise is fatally flawed because there is nothing on the planet capable of higher reasoning than human beings.

    If an individual is incapable of running his own life, an aggregate of “selected or elected” individuals isn’t going to do any better at it – they are just going to fail on an even grander scale.

    “To err is human, but to really screw things up requires a design committee of bureaucrats.”

    — Henry Spencer

    “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

    — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    • The goal is not to have government run lives, but to handle specific tasks. It is just another job. A specialist is required for many tasks. I fix computers. I am good at it. My clients are not. They pay me to do what they have neither the expertise nor the time to do.

      D13 is/was a soldier. He was good at it, went through specific training, etc. I can handle myself, but I have never flown anything, nor do I have the expertise he does with a variety of weapons. I do not have the time to learn these things, I pay him and those like him to watch my six. I have a grandmother, she is retired and has the time to learn to fight and fly, etc. However, she is nearly 90. She does not have the ability to accomplish these things effectively. Soldiers watch her 6 too, as do the local police.

      Government is not necessarily there because people cannot run their own lives. It is there to handle certain tasks, and it is there because, while all are able to follow the rules, many do not. If all followed the rules, rules would not be needed, nor would a military or police or courts or anything else. Government exists to assist with the suppression of those who violate the rules.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Government is NEVER a “specialist”. Most often, government PREVENTS “specialists” from solving problems in an efficient manner.

        I would argue that free men who are specialists do MUCH BETTER at handling specific tasks than government ever could.

        Please come up with a list of what specific tasks MUST specifically be handled by government, and WHY such tasks could not possibly be carried out even better by individuals or groups of freely cooperating individuals.

        I bet if you REALLY think about it, such a list of tasks that actually REQUIRE government would either be vanishingly small or non-existent.

        • 1) Courts.
          2) National representation (for interfacing with other governments).
          3) Jurisdictional issues among states or between competing police forces (if private).
          4) Law enforcement.
          5) National defense and oversight of treaties.
          6) Immigration processes

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            1) Maybe
            2) Almost certainly
            3) Probably
            4) Maybe
            5) Maybe and Almost Certainly
            6) Maybe

            The “Maybe” items are things that we could probably find ways to handle either privately, on a local or state level, or by the cooperation of the various states.

    • No, government does not exist because people can’t handle their own lives, but because people won’t restrain themselves from harming their neighbor.

      Government is out of control because people want so badly to handle their neighbors lives and legally steal their money.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I would disagree with you here.

        The vast majority of people do a fine job of restraining themselves from harming their neighbors on their own.

        If someone is intent upon harming their neighbor, government in no way prevents such behavior anyway.

        It may (or may not) punish such behavior after the fact, but it is pretty lousy at prevention of such behavior.

        • Legal codes prevent a great deal of action. Some of that may not need to be prevented, but it prevents a great deal, even if that “prevention” is actually “discouragement”. Certainly there are those who will ignore such laws. Law enforcement is designed to catch such offenders and punish them. I do not have an issue with this, there must be retribution for vile acts or more people would engage in vile acts. People make decisions based on consequences, this is a truth proven in the workings of the market. When you remove consequences (such as the consequences for bad financial decisions, like failing to save for retirement), people will engage in activities that are bad or stupid because there is no consequence. A sufficiently wealthy or independent/self-sufficient person could harm to steal with impunity if they chose their victims carefully and no punishment was allowed outside of shame and refusing to trade with someone. What do they care, they have no shame and do not need to trade. They can simply harm. If punishment is allowed, such persons can be removed from society. IF you ignore the rules of society, you face the consequences. If, however, your “rules” restrict anyone in society from acting outside of ignoring bad people and active, immediate defense, then the weak people will be preyed on by the strong criminal. This is what is not accounted for by you and BF and others.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            I personally believe that there are ways to prevent “the weak being preyed upon by the strong criminal” that do not require the existence of government.

            It is not that I do not account for such things, it is simply that I do not agree that government is REQUIRED to deal with it.

            The government is quite often the PRIME EXAMPLE of the strong criminal preying upon the weak, which is what YOU fail to account for.

  12. Common Man says:

    Everyone;

    Prior to this I asked for USW permission, which he was kind enough to give.

    My good friend started a Web Site http://www.bye-obama.com in order to provide individuals another way to display their disapointment with our government. He is selling car/Truck magnets that are between 8×12 – 14×24 inches in size and offer several political statements. They won’t harm your cars finish and because they are magnets you can remove them should you be parking your vehicle in a “Liberal Zone”.

    IT’s a great idea for broadcasting your thoughts and letting people how you feel about the current regime.

    Check them out!

    CM

  13. We got here through an enormous case of public apathy.

    If you want to get this country back to where it belongs, then you have to cure the apathetic public of their laziness . . . . .

    Just my not-so-humble opinion.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I agree with you to a point; however, I think that some of the main sources of apathy and laziness has been the government monopolization of “public education” and the increasing attempts by the government to monopolize information.

      • The government can only succeed in any of that if “we the people” just sit back on our lazy butts and let them . . . which we have been doing since WW2 that I know of!

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          I think that that is partially true. I also think that too many people TRUST THAT GOVERNMENT HAS GOOD INTENTIONS when it does something, and so they react with little or no concern when the government acts.

          This is because they have been taught that whatever the government does, the intentions are good.

          However, it has become abundantly clear that either:

          A. The intentions of the government were not “good” to begin with, or

          B. The result of the “good intentions” was not good, because the result ended up in violation of indiviual liberty and freedom.

  14. An “Out of this World” question.

    Do we get to have a government controlled space program?

    1. Because I really, really want a space program, Star Trek, etc..
    2. Armageddon. If an asteroid come our way, only science or prayer will stop it, I think it wise to use both.
    3. Might be helpful for when Marvin the Martian decides the time is right to invade.

    Consider this an infrastructure measure, if we build it, they will come.
    Business will look to space for profits, but only after the road to profit is paved.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Businesses would do a fine job ON THEIR OWN of paving the road into space. Look at Virgin Atlantic. They are going to give “space tours” and will very likely make money on such a venture!

      The road to space will be paved by SOMEONE who discovers resources on Mars or in the Asteroid Belt, or somewhere else in the solar system, and then they will get INVESTORS to pay for the exploitation of these resources for resale at a profit.

      Government has been in the space business for 60 years, and aside from some innovations which were not developped for profit until they were given to PRIVATE COMPANIES, not a whole lot of progress has been made.

      Each space shuttle has less RAM than an old 1979 Apple II computer for God’s sake…

      🙂

      • Peter,

        Virgin Atlantic, time will tell, hope you are correct.

        “The road to space will be paved by SOMEONE who discovers resources on Mars” (I don’t buy that one, someone will have to pay to go there first, economics will not support that for centuries, if ever.)

        Asteroid Belt, Moon and even earth orbit could be used for profit in a reasonable time span, so why isn’t it happening?

        • LOI,

          Asteroid Belt, Moon and even earth orbit could be used for profit in a reasonable time span, so why isn’t it happening?

          Duh, because it isn’t profitable!

          When it is profitable, someone will do it (like Virgin).

          But arguing government should do it because it is unprofitable is insanity!

          Why engage in UNprofitable business??? It’s unprofitable, dummy!

        • Not all private enterprise is done for profit. There are those who will seek space and support science for its own sake. Mandating payments for that by force is not good. And, invariably, science will follow the money, just like everything else. If it is politically expedient to fund certain research, that will be what is funded. If it is not, then it will not. If the scientists know their funding depends on the results of their study, they will bias their study. It has happened a great deal. Science is able to be done inside and outside of profit, but it must always be paid for voluntarily. If you are passionate about space, start a foundation for space science, I am sure others will join your cause and donations will build up enough to fund the way to Mars. If it does not, then you must realize that not enough people really care about it, at least not people with means. In that case, you would demand that people who do not care about warp drives fund them anyway? You have too little faith in humanity. We are discoverers and curious by nature, science will never cease. Government is not needed, and in fact hampers science. I can give a host of examples of this.

          • Jon,

            “Mandating payments by force is not good”

            On the whole, I agree, but I see a need for research that is unlikely to be pursued by private enterprises. While I still champion the ideals of VDLG, this is one of those things I think require some government. Forgive the humor I threw into the debate and consider that we KNOW that all life on earth could be destroyed by an asteroid strike. And if you consider statistics, it’s more a question of when, not if it will happen. And no, this isn’t something that keeps me up at night.

            I do not think the world, or even most Americans have matured to the point where NO government is a workable reality. Therefore, some government is necessary. The question then is how much? I think defense and an ongoing effort in space would need to be a part of that government. After all, how can anybody make a profit from astronomy?

            I also like JAC’s thinking on the EPA. Maybe the federal roll should be research funding and advising, never mandating.

            an article on astronomy,
            http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4482

    • LOI,

      (1) Why do I have to pay for your “vision of Star Trek” which is a world I have ZERO desire to suffer under?

      (2) Do you believe business, whose income MUST come from living human beings, have no interest in preventing the mass extermination of human being (which, incidentally, would include themselves!)

      (3) If there are Interstellar Life forms and they find us, rest assured – we are utterly doomed regardless of what government, non-government or anything

      • Flag,

        (1) Why do I have to pay for your “vision of Star Trek”
        (Did it hurt for me to ask?)
        “a world I have ZERO desire to suffer under?”
        (I don’t want their world, just their toys)

        (2) (Maybe you can help me talk them into paying for it? They may have interest, but I can’t compete with those “Save the Whales” people. A good point, earth destroyed means whales ALL die with the rest of us)

        (3) “If there are Interstellar Life forms and they find us, rest assured – we are utterly doomed”
        (Today, yes. What about in a thousand years? And you ignored the asteroid thingy. With enough warning, could we divert one today? Be a real shame to not save ourselves just because it was someone else’s job. That would be the ultimate Darwin Award)

        • LOI,

          (1) Point being, I don’t to be forced to pay for your toys.
          (2) Can’t make money off dead people (unless you’re an undertaker) – trust that, LOI, business is not interested in killing their customers. Further, saving human life is very good business (see Health Care). People don’t want to die, and will pay a lot of money to avoid it for as long as they can. Asteroid coming, there will be a LOT of money to pay for stopping it.
          (3) Thousand years? Gee, I look back at my life 5 years ago, and I could not guess I’d be where I am – and you want me to project out a 1,000 years?????????

          (4) Asteroid. Yes, with enough warning it is highly probable we could divert it. But TIME is the key.

          The most probable solution, with the least negative risks is a “push” off trajectory. Given the Mass/Velocity, the current calculations of our ability would “shove” the rock @ 0.00001m/sec off course, taking about 10 years to shift the orbit satisfactorily and safe distance.

          So we need (1) 10 years to push PLUS (2) 5? years 10? to get there.

          So a 20 year warning…..

          …given the last “close call” (went between the Earth and the Moon) we knew about 3 days before the passing….:blink:

  15. Jac,

    Not “objectified” but objectively identified.

    How did you arrive at your ethical/moral standards?

    I don’t think it was by whim. After all, you are always mentioning consistency with the laws of the universe.

    I established my own ethics upon my own subjective beliefs.

    I am under no illusion that mine are right or not – for you

    My only obligation to the universe it to be consistent to myself.

    My root principle: which are NOT rooted in ethics is established by reasoning building on a Law of the Universe.

    For me to establish my own, unique ethics and standards of behavior – I need Freedom to makes such an establishment.

    Logically, for any man to establish his own ethics, requires the same Freedom to do so, too.

    Thus, an attempt of a man to impose upon another man is the only evil, for that imposing man would claim his subjective ethics are superior to that of other men.

    Thus, the root core of Freedom of Men, that is Free from the Impositions of other Men, is the premise by which to exists the only way to establish sustainable social order.

  16. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I have been thinking about the man, the corral, and the bull some more.

    Something like the Bull existed in the wild before man domesticated it and corralled it. Man domesticated it and corralled it in order to use it as a resource, primarily for the production of food.

    Government did not exist in the wild. In reality, using the man/corral/bull analogy, Government is the “man”, which creates the corral, which is used to imprison the domesticated bulls (men) which the government then uses as a resource in order to perpetuate the existence of government.

    The problem is that the government is made up of men, and the corralled bulls are also men, so what you actually have with government is one group of men corralling and domesticating another group of men, for the purposes of enriching them men that control the corral through the usurpation of the resources of the group of men who are forced to inhabit the corral.

  17. To Buck,

    This year Las Vegas made it illegal to give food to homeless people in parks.

    http://vegasblog.latimes.com/vegas/2006/12/las_vegas_vs_ho.html

    • Buck, again.

      Government Stopping Charities From Feeding The Homeless

      http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/government-stopping-charities-from-feeding-the-homeless/

      Government hates competition.

      • d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 says:

        I was in the Vegas area for the better part of ’06 when the city started trying to push the whole don’t feed the wild humans in the park thing.

        I remember the local media, and especially one of the radio personalities throwing a fit about it.

        She started her own food drive with local businesses and started taking it down to the homeless squatting in the parks. I think she got fined too. She was competition.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Not entirely sure why this is directed to me…

      Just because I am a so-called statist does not mean I agree with everything every single government does – federal, state, city, locality, school board, etc. On the surface, from the very little I know if this (based solely on your post and skimming the link), I would disagree with this. (Though on the other side of the coin there is a nuisance argument I can pretty easily make in support of this law…)

      • Buck the Wala says:

        By the way BF, was skimming through the weekend’s post and you make a very interesting argument about IP rights. Needless to say I completely disagree with you on that score.

        Not to rehash the entire debate, but since I wasn’t around to get involved over the weekend wanted to just say my brief piece — Intellectual Property is most certainly property. You are correct in that what is in your mind is yours and what is in my mind is mine. However, stealing what I created using my mind is still theft. Take a novel that I wrote. How is it ‘yours’ simply because you were able to buy a copy of my book, reprint the exact same words, and then sell it to millions? How is that not theft? How is there no harm? Clearly the book you purchased from me is yours and you can sell that single copy to anyone for any price, but reprinting the entire book to sell to millions of people…?

        • Buck the Wala

          Not to rehash the entire debate, but since I wasn’t around to get involved over the weekend wanted to just say my brief piece — Intellectual Property is most certainly property.

          Prove it.

          Demonstrate how the knowledge that you have in your head is diminished by me having the same knowledge.

          Demonstrate how the knowledge that you have in your head is restricted and inaccessible by me having the same knowledge.

          Demonstrate how the knowledge that you have in your head is destroyed by me having the same knowledge.

          However, stealing what I created using my mind is still theft.

          Theft is defined by my taking and you not having

          If I steal your car, you cannot use it.

          If I steal your money, you cannot spend it.

          If I steal your food, you cannot eat it.

          However, my breathing air does not prevent you from breathing air. Thus, my breathing is NOT stealing.

          Knowledge – my knowledge does not prevent you from using it. Thus, my knowledge is NOT stealing.

          Take a novel that I wrote. How is it ‘yours’ simply because you were able to buy a copy of my book, reprint the exact same words, and then sell it to millions?

          Those “books” are mine, because I spent money on the paper, the ink, the typesetting, and the marketing – and you did not.

          The “books” you spent money typesetting, the ink, the paper and the marketing are yours, because I did not do that.

          You make money on your books and I make money on my books.

          How is that not theft?

          Because I did not steal your books.

          How is there no harm?

          I did not take your property, so what harm?

          Oh, you are confusing your fictitious lack of gain as if it was a loss.

          Because I did not make $1500 an hour, and only $1000 an hour is not a claim against my customer for stealing $500 from me.

          It is NOT harm to fail to gain MORE profit. You got what you asked for when you sold your books.

          Clearly the book you purchased from me is yours and you can sell that single copy to anyone for any price, but reprinting the entire book to sell to millions of people…?

          If I am able to market YOUR book better than YOU DO, why can’t I?

          Why is the consumer left to suffer your idiotic marketing?

          Why do you believe you can interfere with my genius of marketing because you are an idiot at it?

          • USWeapon says:

            BF,

            You are way off on this one. It is theft because you ARE denying Buck by stealing the book that he wrote. You are denying him the fruits of HIS labor. It was his labor that conceived the book, took the years to research it and write it. You did nothing and feel that you have the right to benefit from his labor without compensating him for it.

            I have seen you attempt to make a rational argument around intellectual property rights for months now, yet you are no closer to doing so. The only way you win this argument is if you get to write your own definitions and define your own terms. And that, my esteemed friend, is not reality.

            • USWep

              The irrational twists of logic just amaze me.

              Before there can be theft of property, you have to have property.

              Yet, you cannot prove knowledge is property.

              Ergo, you cannot prove theft.

              It is theft because you ARE denying Buck by stealing the book that he wrote.

              I have not at all.

              He is as capable of producing the book before or after my act.

              I am not destroying his printing press – an example of property.

              I ma not destroying his paper – an example of property.

              I an not destroying his ink – an example of property.

              At no time can you show any property damage.

              You are denying him the fruits of HIS labor.

              I am 1,000 miles away. How can I possibly deny his actions whatsoever?

              You are giving me supernatural powers.

              It was his labor that conceived the book, took the years to research it and write it.

              So?

              You did nothing and feel that you have the right to benefit from his labor without compensating him for it.

              No, I’m benefiting from putting ink on paper, binding paper into a book and marketing the book.

              He wants to be paid for doing nothing of the above.

              Test:

              If he does not put ink on paper, bind paper into a book and market the book – how much money will he make?

              Ans: ZERO.

              I have seen you attempt to make a rational argument around intellectual property rights for months now, yet you are no closer to doing so.

              To enforce copyright laws and the like is to prevent people from making peaceful use of the information they possess.

              No one has been able to demonstrate the “property” aspect at all for intelligence and knowledge.

              They fail every time – so, like you, you ignore it and pretend that “somewhere” someone has proven the three requirements of property

              (1) It is scarce. (That is, it can be consumed)
              (2) By use or division, it is diminished.
              (3) Its use by one human physically denies its use by another human.

              The economic case for ordinary property rights depends on scarcity.

              But information is not a scarce resource in the requisite sense.

              If A uses some material resource, that makes less of the resource for B, so we need some legal mechanism for determining who gets to use what when.

              Real goods are scarce and this fact leads to inevitable competition among men for their use.

              For example, since one chair can not be used in the same manner and at the same time by two individuals, it was necessary to determine who should use the chair.

              The concept of property resolved this problem.

              But this problem would not exist if one could *by magic* create an infinite number chairs upon a wish – each man, by merely wishing, could have a chair. Thus, the problem of scarcity would not exist nor would the solution of Property Rights exist.

              But information is not like that; when A acquires information, that does not decrease B’s share, so property rights are not needed.

              In fact, an infinite number of people can hold the same information at the same time with no scarcity, thus Property Rights are not invoked, as there is no conflict due to the scarcity of information.

              It is only by the assaults of people upon the non-violent to enforce their bizarre understanding that conflict in this matter exists.


              It would be interesting to discover how far a seriously critical view of the benefits to society of the law of copyright … would have a chance of being publicly stated in a society in which the channels of expression are so largely controlled by people who have a vested interest in the existing situation.

              — Friedrich A. Hayek, “The Intellectuals and Socialism”

              “… the patent monopoly … consists in protecting inventors … against competition for a period long enough to extort from the people a reward enormously in excess of the labor measure of their services, — in other words, in giving certain people a right of property for a term of years in laws and facts of Nature, and the power to exact tribute from others for the use of this natural wealth, which should be open to all.”

              • USWep,

                To expand a bit on my reply here:

                It was his labor that conceived the book, took the years to research it and write it.

                So?

                If I labor in digging a hole, and filling it again, and do this for 10 years, do you believe I can demand from you a tribute for my years of labor?

                There is no value in an idea until it is manifest – as I said, if ink does not strike paper, and paper is not bound, and book is not marketed, the idea is worthless.

                To demand a payment on something worthless is bizarre.

              • See below.

              • USWep,

                On the concept of “protecting inventors/and writers”

                So you advocate attacking non-violent men so to improve or enhance other men’s economic situation.

                I often hear the argument “…but if there were no laws against (this non-violent action), the economy would slow down” … as if the performance and speed of the economy justifies brutalizing non-violent men.

                I do not care if the economy “goes faster” or “expands” or “contracts” – nothing about that justifies assaulting non-violent men. If you fall for this argument, you’ve justified the seizure of your property by writ so to improve other men’s economic situation – but you on this site argue strenuously against this – and yet, here in this circumstance you argue strenuously for it!@!!@

                Guess who will win?

            • USWep,

              More background to consider:

              Intellectual Property & Scarcity

              Many arguments focuses on assigning property rights so as to give the proper incentives to invest or use resources efficiently.

              This is basically a utilitarian approach, which is of course, problematic, as Austro-libertarians well know.

              Property rights allocate who has the right to control a resource. Obviously the very purpose of this is to specify which person, of multiple possible users, gets to use the thing.

              If there is no possibility of conflict over the thing, property rights are simply pointless.

              It is when two or more potential users might both want to use something that only one can use–because use by one excludes use by the other–that we have a potential conflict that can be avoided by use of property rights.

              It has nothing to do with incentives to invest or other utilitarian concerns.

              Property rights should be assigned only to address a possible conflict over the use of a (necessarily scarce) resource–“necessarily scarce” because if it is not scarce (some use the unwieldy economic concept “rivalrous”) then there cannot be conflict over its use, by definition.

              What rule should be used to assign property rights, in the case of scarce resources, is a debatable issue.

              Libertarians believe it is the first-use homesteading principle–”finder’s keeper’s”–the should be used to assign property rights.

              But regardless of the rule adopted, a conflict-avoiding rule can only be applied to a situation where conflict is possible–i.e. where there is a scarce resource at issue.

              Only one person can use a patch of land, because his use excludes that of others. Two people cannot simultaneously use it. If they try to, there is conflict. Thus a property rule can specify which one gets to use it.

              However, the “things”–”ideal objects” as Tom Palmer calls them–that are protected by intellectual property rights are things like arrangements of characters on a page, techniques for doing something, functional arrangements of matter.

              In short, patterns, or information, or knowledge.

              Clearly two people can use the same recipe, or arrangement of matter, at the same time, without excluding the other’s use.

              This elementary point escapes notice of mainstream theorists who do not have an Austrian view of economic theory nor a libertarian view of ethics and property rights.

              The very function of a property rule is to prevent conflict.

              Conflict is only possible over scarce resources.

              Property rights therefore apply only to scarce resources.

              Moreover, since property rights are always enforced against scarce resources–e.g., your body, in the case of punishment; or your computer or printer in the case of copyright–granting property rights in non-scarce things always comes at the expense of property rights in scarce things.

              In other words, any kind of right in a non-scarce thing results in a redistribution of wealth–from the owners of real things, to those to whom government grants an IP privilege.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                All I can say is :::sigh:::

                I took another look through the arguments made over the weekend and USW’s reply to this thread. Every argument has been made, refuting your position and specious definitions to somehow argue that taking what I have created is not causing me any harm. It is amazing to me that you come up with this position when you are so solid and consistent in your convictions on every other topic.

                For instance, above you write: “So you advocate attacking non-violent men so to improve or enhance other men’s economic situation.” How is that individual who steals my creation (the words of my novel) non-violent? And then you go further to say that I am being violent and imposing upon said non-violent man by demanding redress for his theft!?

              • Buck

                What is your proof of PROPERTY?

                You blubber along, yet you have never provided one.

                You cannot have theft without property.

                You cannot prove property. Every test you apply fails.

                How is that individual who steals my creation (the words of my novel) non-violent?

                First, to steal he must have stolen property.

                Since he did not steal the book you made, he did not steal your property.

                He did not hit you, threaten you or even interact with you in anyway – you probably do not even know he existed.

                Yet, – you bizarrely claim that he is violent on you!.

                And then you go further to say that I am being violent and imposing upon said non-violent man by demanding redress for his theft!?

                YES!

                You do not even know who he was until you saw HIS book.

                You sent the agents of violence upon him to enforce your fantasy property rights.

              • I stole your stuff when you were not around. You have no idea who I am. You never saw me, I did not commit violence. You did not even know anyhthing about it till you saw me with stuff that looked like yours!

                That is not HIS stuff, it is a copy of the author’s stuff. An unauthorized copy, which is the same as an unauthorized possession of a piece of property.

              • Jon,

                I stole your stuff when you were not around. You have no idea who I am. You never saw me, I did not commit violence. You did not even know anyhthing about it till you saw me with stuff that looked like yours!

                But you stole my PROPERTY.

                It is something tangible, something I cannot use because you have it, and if you destroy it, it is gone.

                That is not HIS stuff, it is a copy of the author’s stuff. An unauthorized copy, which is the same as an unauthorized possession of a piece of property.

                But he still has it, it is not gone, he can hold it in his hand. It is not destroyed, he has it right now!

                It cannot be theft.

          • “Demonstrate how the knowledge in my head is damaged by you having it”

            It is not.

            The fact you have the same knowledge does nothing to my knowledge. Knowledge has no value. The COMMUNICATION of knowledge has value, that is the product. If you copy my book (the communication of knowledge) you make it less scarce, thereby hurting its value. I do not care that you have the knowledge, I care that you have reduced the value of my property by copying it without my permission.

            Does this indicate harm or theft? Yes.

            • Jon,

              It is not.

              The fact you have the same knowledge does nothing to my knowledge. Knowledge has no value. The COMMUNICATION of knowledge has value, that is the product.

              Tooth fairies may have value to you – that does not make them property.

              Prove Property

              Communication itself is not scarce – nor diminishable. I can speak to a group proclaiming an idea – and that idea is not scarce (everyone has it), it is not diminished (it hasn’t degraded), and when I gave out my idea, the one in my brain did not disappear the moment someone held it.

              If you copy my book (the communication of knowledge) you make it less scarce, thereby hurting its value.

              My head is spinning.

              Did you just say making more of something makes it more scarce??? :blink:

              I do not care that you have the knowledge, I care that you have reduced the value of my property by copying it without my permission.

              Prove Property

              • Um, no, I said if you copy it (make more) you make it LESS scarce.

                Speaking to a group of people is fine and dandy. However, it has value, it is a commodity, or else no one would pay for education or advice.

                A book is also communication. I can choose to make it scarce. I can only print 100 copies. This makes owning this form of communication a rare commodity (assuming there is demand for my book, if its crap, no one cares if there are only 100 copies). If you copy it, you decrease the scarcity. If this is outside of the terms of my transaction, then it is unauthorized use of that property, as it is outside of the terms agreed upon in the transaction.

                Before you paid for the communication form, it was my property, because it was a tangible object. When I sold the book to you, I had fewer books, meaning my property was consumed, reduced, etc. It was property. I had terms attatched to the sale that you agreed to, or I would not have sold it to you. You then violate those terms, then it is theft of property because you have committed an act which changes the value of my remaining property.

        • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

          Give it up Buck, that one is going nowhere fast.

          I see no difference in stealing my livlihood as an inventor or author than in stealing my livlihood if I were a farmer. Flag disagrees. He feels there is a difference.

          On the issue of intellectual property, Mr. Flag comes periliously close to Communism, which I am sure that he will disagree with. The thought however did, like a lead brick, cross my mind.

          Have fun, I will try to stay out of this but you have my support.

          • SK,

            Communism

            Huh???

            Intellectual Property

            No such thing.

            Stealing livelihood

            Hmm, justifying attacking a man to stop using his brain so that you have exclusive use of your brain.

            Sounds like Tyranny to me.

      • Buck,

        It was in reference to a few posts back regarding Charity vs Government – were it was argued that Charity declines because government forces it out of the market.

  18. While I agree with much of what USW stated (regarding this government being unable to do what it claims it will; that it is too big and that we some can’t argue if there was no gov’t — because there is and we have to live with that), the problem for me becomes what do we do with all those who cannot survive without help (gov’t or otherwise). They can’t be ignored, killed deported, etc. Also out of the starting gate (for lack of a better anology) is the fact that big business WAS granted bailouts and most of US weren’t–that needs to be addressed in my book.

    The wars, of course, need to end forthwith. Yesterday, in fact.

    First we have to deal with as close to a finite population as possible (i.e., securing borders and uppending current automatic citizenship via being born here), then comes a complete overhaul of our current representatives (all government officials) and starting anew with term limits, etc.

    But from that point on, amici, I’m at a loss. I understand how bureaucracies are destined to fail but I don’t kid myself about the free market system being self correcting (where I think many of you here are somewhat delusional). A absolutely free market eventually leads to powerbrokers who are going to seek to protect their interests. Last year the fruits of my sweat went to Goldman Sachs. Like Sweeny Tood, I don’t forive or forget so neither major party will ever get my vote again. To be fair, had it gone to those truly in need, I’d be less upset. If that makes me a “slave” by Ayn Rand’s definition, so be it. I have no problem with taxes doing good. I have HUGE problems with taxes bailout out big business.

  19. So, carrying on from Post #10.

    That is why I suggest SUFA abandon national politics in mind and discussion – it is hopeless.

    The next steps must contain a plan to engage Local State and Civic Politics.

    No matter what, the future will be the dissolution of the Federal Government
    – it may be violent,
    it may be peaceful,
    it may be disorderly,
    it may be devastating,
    it may be manageable,
    it may be designed

    ….but it will happen.

    At that time, what will evolve from that will be solely up to the State’s themselves. It could be out-and-out independence, or a reformation of a small, limited role per Articles of Confederation or some similar concept.

    But now is the time to work to obtaining political control of your respective States and organizing a nation-wide, State-level political movement.

    I would suggest that the new inter-state political party be called “Stand Up for America” – because it is a catchy, positive, clear name that articulates specifically the purpose and goal of the party – a revitalization of America based on the original founding documents – The Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

    It must have NO interest in Federal Politics.

    It MUST focus exclusively in electing SUFA leadership in as many States as possible.

    If it is well organized, the SUFA movement could conceivably be elected into power across a significant number of States and City governments and combine each State into a new Confederation under many of the articulated VLDG concepts.

    • Cyndi P says:

      Good idea, BF. I like it. The national focus here isn’t a productive use of my time. Not to trash anyone, but I have only so many hours in a day to gather information, thus I must prioritize. I find other sites more useful as of late.

      • I understand your sentiment Cyndi. I am trying to focus my time on a specific task, even tho it is national for similar reasons. It is too much to handle it all and actually get anything done.

  20. BF,
    So an idea is worthless until it is manifest, thus the effort to create is irrelevant and worthless. You may copy, which requires no ingenuity and comparatively little effort, but you consider it equal in value to creating something, because you do not value talent in any way.

    By this logic, consider the following predicament you may find yourself in:
    You have 40 acres. You clear the land and cultivate it. You plant this 40 acres in crops. You tend those crops and watch over them all season. You protect them from vermin and parasites and disease, you ensure proper watering and so forth. Yet these crops have no value until the fruit is “manifest”. You have an expectation of such a manifestation, but no garauntee, any number of things could happen to prevent a harvest, but you take the risk. It is as investment.

    I have a farm as well, and I have a lot of capital resources, including some advanced harvesting equipment. I notice your crops are ready to harvest. In fact, you are harvesting one acre at this very moment with your basic harvesting tools. You are not currently present on the other 39 acres, you are not “using” those acres at that time. I am able, because of my capital, to harvest all 39 acres in the time you harvest one. Since I do not want to be a thief, I hand you a bag of seed equivalent to the seed you planted on those 39 acres, thus no property of yours was stolen.

    1) I have not committed violence against you.
    2) I am not on property that you are using.
    3) There was no conflict on that property because you could not have been using it at the same time, since you were busy on other property. The same physics that keep two people from being in the same place at the same time also prevents one person from being in two places at the same time, thus there is no way that my actions could have interfered with yours, so by your logic and definition of “property rights”, there is no conflict.
    4) Since there was no value in the work leading up to the harvest, because nothing of value was “manifest”, I have not stolen anything of value.

    I have taken the majority of your harvest, you have only 1 acre of crops and some seed out of the 40 acre farm and all the work involved in it. Have I harmed you? There was no violence. Have I stolen? Your definition of property rights does not apply. Do you have any recourse? You can badmouth me and refuse to trade with me.

    Sound ok to you?

  21. Jon,

    So an idea is worthless until it is manifest,

    Correct!

    Think about it (pun intended)

    You lie in bed “thinking of ideas”. Are they worth something? Nope.

    Only when you get out of bed and manifest that idea is there worth.

    Some where by someone at sometimes the idea must be manifest before it is “something” tangible.

    thus the effort to create is irrelevant and worthless.

    How do you make this leap?

    “Manifestation” is creating.

    I have an idea for a picture. Until I “create” it by painting in on canvas, it is NOTHING.

    Once it is created – it is something – a painting on canvas.

    You may copy, which requires no ingenuity and comparatively little effort,

    Who are you to judge my effort or genius is “adequate” to enjoy the fruits of my labor?

    but you consider it equal in value to creating something, because you do not value talent in any way.

    I do not care if your subjective values are “equal” or not.

    If you value “talent” good on you. If I do not value “talent” good for me. You go and pay more for the talent, and I will not. That is the Free Market – you pay for the value you receive.

    By this logic,

    Uh, just a note – your logic broke in sentence one where you confused yourself by declaring that until an idea manifests it is worthless, but you actually creating the object (ie: make manifest) has no value. A bit of white “not equal to” white argument….

    You have 40 acres. You clear the land and cultivate it. You plant this 40 acres in crops. You tend those crops and watch over them all season. You protect them from vermin and parasites and disease, you ensure proper watering and so forth. Yet these crops have no value until the fruit is “manifest”.

    No. Again you have the same confusion as Buck and USWep – you do not understand the concept of Property.

    Property Rights exist to determine the use of scarce resources, such as land.

    The use of land is not an “idea” – it is tangible, physical and scarce.

    Your analogy fails since the subject “land” is a tangible and scarce and is Property whereas an idea is NOT tangible and is NOT scarce and is NOT Property.

    • I make my “leap” based on your equating the development, or manifesting, of a novel to digging a hole in the ground and filling it back in repeatedly. This was no leap, this is simply the way you are treating the work that goes into manifesting an idea.

      I agree that an idea that is not manifested is worth nothing. However, once it is, it is then tangible, and thus it is property. Intellectual property is not a dispute about who owns ideas or knowledge, but about who owns the manifestation of an idea, which should be the creator.

      Ideas are, in fact, very scarce. My ideas are scarce until you learn of them. They are, in fact, MINE until you learn of them. If I choose to teach them or communicate them freely, so be it. If I choose to do so with strings attached, then I have that right. The COMMUNICATION of my idea, the manifestation of it, is my property. If you decrease the value of that property by copying it without my authorization, then you are stealing. I demand retribution, and I am within my rights to do so. Ideas are not tangible, but they are scarce. Manifested ideas are as scarce as I choose to make them. If you gain that knowledge, I have no problem with it, I do not desire to withhold knowledge from you. If you, however, start messing with property that I own (the manifestation of my idea) by decreasing its scarcity, or by claiming that you created it, then you are a thief.

  22. Jon Smith

    I make my “leap” based on your equating the development, or manifesting, of a novel to digging a hole in the ground and filling it back in repeatedly.

    Go back and re-read my post; it was a dialogue about value – just to pull up to speed, we are talking about PROPERTY.

    You are -again- trying to justify violence based on utilitarian dogma.

    Utilitarian arguments do not prove PROPERTY

    However, once it is, it is then tangible, and thus it is property.

    Right! That “thing” in your hand now exists, and that thing in your hand is yours.

    When I build that “my thing”, it now exists, and that “my thing” in MY HAND is MINE.

    Intellectual property is not a dispute about who owns ideas or knowledge, but about who owns the manifestation of an idea, which should be the creator.

    Prove IDEA is PROPERTY

    Ideas are, in fact, very scarce.

    You can prove that if you give me your idea, the idea is diminished? That is, once you tell me your idea, the one in your head starts fade and disappear?

    You are bizarrely twisting the meaning of scarce in our reference here.

    Please avoid that puerile waste of time.

    They are, in fact, MINE until you learn of them.

    It is in your brain, you own your brain, your thoughts are yours – true.

    It is in my brain, I won my brain, my thoughts are mine – true.

    If I choose to teach them or communicate them freely, so be it. If I choose to do so with strings attached, then I have that right.

    Make what ever agreement you wish with whomever you wish.

    It does not bind me in anyway.

    The COMMUNICATION of my idea, the manifestation of it, is my property.

    You keep saying it, you have yet to Prove it

    m

    • You consider value and property seperate, and you do not accept utilitarian arguments. This will be a little difficult, because my core principle, maximize potential, involves utilitarian thought, therefore I am unaccustomed to operating without it. For the sake of the excersize, however, I will try to work without it.

      I assume then, that in the case of tangible items we agree are property, a book for example, loss of value, regardless of reason is irrelevant to the concept or argument of property or theft of property (with the possible exception of the loss of value being directly related to a direct theft (taking of the item without permission) or damage to the property (loss of value of the book due to ripping off the binding and making it a mere sheaf of papers all out of order).

      The concept of whether an idea is property is nearly irrelevant to this discussion also. If I have an idea, so long as it is unique (meaning I thought of it and no one else has, this discussion does not involve an idea that we both thought of independently), then it is mine. I own it, I have the option to manifest it or not, I have sole control over the idea. It is not tangible, it is merely potential. It is potential that only I have, and that I have total control over. This makes it mine, and owned by me, but it does not necessarily enter the realm of property rights.

      If, in the future, a means were developed to take an idea, to make it into a communicable form without the consent of the one who comes up with the idea, then an idea may be, in fact, property. If you can take my idea without my consent and without my making it into anything through a mind probe or something, then you have taken something that was mine by force or deceipt. Until that time, however, there is no quarrel over ideas, only over their manifestation. I proved scarcity, but not consumability, thus the idea itself is not property for the sake of this discussion.

      However, if you read my post, you will note that I am not speaking of the idea, but the manifestation of the idea. I said: “Intellectual property is not a dispute about who owns ideas or knowledge, but about who owns the manifestation of an idea, which should be the creator.” You responded: “Prove idea is property.” I was stating that intellectual property is not about idea, but about what is done with the manifestation of it, and who has the right to determine ownership of the manifestation. I have repeatedly said, no one has a problem with you having the idea or the knowledge, only with using the manifestation of that idea, and that manifestation, we both agree, is property.

      *comic relief moment*
      You said: “It is in my brain, I won my brain, my thoughts are mine – true.”
      Where did you win your brain, was it in poker? The lottery? I must say it was a great prize to win. 😀
      *comic relief off*

      I said the manifestation of my idea is my property. You agree that this is true, yet you say I have not proved it. I did not say that all manifestations of my idea are my property. I agree that there is, in fact, no property dispute according to your definitions, there is only a contractual dispute. If in the terms of my contract I state that I retain rights to the value of all manifestations of my idea, then you must either not agree, or be subject to the consequences. If my contractual terms allow me to use force to make certain that the terms are abided by, then you are subject to those specific consequences.

      A contractual dispute? Yes. Does it absolve you of a consequence that may include violence? Depends on the terms of the contract.

  23. Jon,

    Um, no, I said if you copy it (make more) you make it LESS scarce.

    Sorry, you’re right – I misread it.

    You said it made it less valuablebut again, we are NOT taking about value – we are talking about PROPERTY

    Human’s value subjectively – including things that do not exist, like Santa Claus, tooth fairy etc.

    A sense of value does NOT create PROPERTY

    Speaking to a group of people is fine and dandy. However, it has value, it is a commodity, or else no one would pay for education or advice.

    And so what? VALUE does NOT create PROPERTY!

    I can choose to make it scarce.

    You bet! You can stop printing YOUR books.

    But that does not stop me from printing MY books.

    I can only print 100 copies. This makes owning this form of communication a rare commodity

    It makes YOUR book a rare commodity. It does not make MY book necessarily as rare.

    If you copy it, you decrease the scarcity.

    No, I am not printing YOUR books – I am printing MY books – it has no bearing on YOUR printing whatsoever.

    Your books are SCARCE, mine my be plentiful.

    If this is outside of the terms of my transaction, then it is unauthorized use of that property, as it is outside of the terms agreed upon in the transaction.

    Agreed – you can make what ever deal you wish with whomever buys your books.

    I can make whatever deal I wish with whomever buys my book.

    Before you paid for the communication form, it was my property, because it was a tangible object.

    Prove your idea is a tangible object

    When I sold the book to you, I had fewer books, meaning my property was consumed, reduced, etc. It was property.

    Correct. The books YOU print are YOUR property.

    The books I print are MY property.

    I had terms attatched to the sale that you agreed to, or I would not have sold it to you.

    Perhaps – but, so what? – I’m a scum and I copy it – I breach a contract. As I’ve said many times before, that still does not give you a right to use violence on me

    But let’s keep it simple – you still have not proved PROPERTY.

    You are now engaging Contract Law – and not part of this dialogue. Whether we make a Contract on fantasies or reality has no bearing in CREATING PROPERTY.

    You then violate those terms, then it is theft of property because you have committed an act which changes the value of my remaining property

    NO!

    It has NOTHING TO DO WITH PROPERTY

    It is a Contract Dispute!

    • See my reply to your post above. Just wanted to point out that, once again, I say that my communication form (which could be a book or a lecture, etc.) is the tangible asset. If you do not accept that speech is property (which I do not fully understand yet), then perhaps a recording or written version is acceptable since you can physically touch the item. I would sy speech should also qualify because it is consumed. When I speak, the idea is transfered (not property), but the speech, once the sound vibrations cease, is then gone. That precise speech can be copied or repeated, but it is, in a sense, unique (scarce). It can be spoken to a group or an individual, but it does not change the properties of the speech itself. It is definately consumable. Either way, that is the tangible property I refer to, not the idea that is being transfered.

      • So then, should government handle intellectual property laws? Perhaps not directly, but settling and enforcement of contractual disputes could be. Does it have to be? Of course not. That, again, depends on the terms of the contract.

        • Also, just one note, I still define any form of manifestation of an idea as property and once there is a manifestation, I do not ignore the relevance of creation. I also define creation as different than making. If I write a novel, I created something. If I copy a novel, I made something. Creation is something out of nothing. An idea is nothing, a story is something. The fact that it is in book form is not relevant.

          I understand that you (BF) may define things differently, but I do not consider your definitions valid, because you are seperating the various aspects of the whole, narrowly defining each section in order to make your argument winnable. Within your definitions, I was forced to agree with you about whether a created item was property or not, but I still found that you were potentially subject to use of force as terms of the transaction (contract). If you ignore the validity of contractual terms, then there can be no free market, as there can then be no truly valid transaction.

          The inventor of something gets to decide how the manifestation of his idea is used. However, I do not think that copyrights and patents can be sold or willed or given away. I think that would be a valid restriction to a standard copyright law (assuming we were back in a world with government). The patent or copyright is not property, as it is now. In a contractarian society, such rights might be transferrable in theory, but I do not think that is a realistic world at this time.

          I think that selling the right to your idea or dying should terminate exclusivity, that would be the ideal sunset on a patent or copyright.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      BF,

      Explain one thing to me — above you write that it is not property but contract law that should govern as there is no property.

      Jon posited that he had terms attached to the sale of his book that you had agreed to when purchasing the book; you then republished the book and sold it to others; you then state that you clearly breached a contract but that still does not not entitle Jon to use violence against you!?

      If you are to breach the terms of a contract that you agreed to, how is it that you are still the non-violent one, and Jon is using violence against you by trying to enforce the terms of your mutually agreed to contract??

      • Buck,

        That is NOT what I said.

        I said IF he decides to create a contract, that is his right – but such a contract does NOT create property out of fantasy.

        I DID NOT say it was a way to govern things if there is no property.

        ———-

        Contract Law:
        Correct. The use of violence to enforce a voluntary exchange is an act of evil.

        You are a lawyer, Buck – even the perverse law of the land TODAY does not claim that me taking your money but failing to provide you a good by contract is THEFT – it is NOT theft – it is a breach of contract.

        It cannot be THEFT because you VOLUNTARILY handed me your money. I did NOT use violence to take it from you. I merely did not adhere to our agreement.

        Now, in the perverse mind of violent government, the best it can figure out on how to enforce VOLUNTARY agreements is to turn them into INVOLUNTARY agreements – and use violence to force them. But even government understood that the agreement breach was not theft in the first place

        It is an act of evil to use violence on non-violent men.Period.No exceptions

        If you voluntarily gave me something, it is mine. I did not use violence to obtain it. I may be scum and not fulfill my end of our deal – but that is what VOLUNTARY MEANS – I do it because I WANT TO, not because YOU DEMAND IT.

        (PS: There are plenty and powerful non-violent enforcement of contracts – government simply is too stupid and impatient to use them)

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Please enlighten me.

          I sell you a book with the agreement that you will not steal my ‘intellectual property’ and republish the book word-for word. You agree to these terms in purchasing the book. We have a contract. (Take whether or not there is property out of the equation). You breach the contract by republishing my book word-for-word.

          You are arguing that “The use of violence to enforce a voluntary exchange is an act of evil.” How do you propose I enforce our mutually agreed upon contract? How is it that I am still the violent one in this hypo when you are the one that breached our mutual agreement? As Jon wrote above, this is an integral part of the free market – contracts.

          • Buck

            Please enlighten me.

            That’s my job!

            You are arguing that “The use of violence to enforce a voluntary exchange is an act of evil.” How do you propose I enforce our mutually agreed upon contract?

            You tell me

            You are a very smart man – I am incredibly confident that once you stop being lazy-brain AND THINK, you’ll come up with ..oh… a thousand ways to enforce non-violently a contract.

            The rule is immutable, though. No violence.

            You cannot use violence on a non-violent man

            (Oh yeah, you can’t perversely redefine violence … “Revolution in the Form” is not allowed)

            How is it that I am still the violent one in this hypo when you are the one that breached our mutual agreement?

            Because YOU ARE THE ONE PICKING UP THE BIG STICK AND BEATING ME WITH IT.

            As Jon wrote above, this is an integral part of the free market – contracts.

            And I agree.

            But that does not create an alternate universe where in a FREE (voluntary) Market uses VIOLENCE (involuntary)

            The moment VIOLENCE enters the FREE market, it is NO LONGER A FREE MARKET – it is something else other than FREE.

            Contracts are very important in a free market, which is why there are thousands of NON-VIOLENT enforcements of contracts in a Free Market.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              I would still like one single example of a method to enforce a contract that is violentally breached by one party that would satisfy your requirements.

            • “Thousands of non-violent enforcements” Really? How about an example.

              I can attempt to affect you through market action or by attacking your reputation.
              Scernario:I am a hardly known writer. This novel, the work of many years while I worked whatever jobs I could find. I have limited resources, but this novel is brilliant. I publish it with the contractual agreement I have discussed made with all purchasers. The small market I have been able to reach is quite impressed, and my market is slowly growing. As yet, however, I do not have the resources through my fame or network of people, nor to I have the resources through my meager wealth to affect you with accusation or market share. You have stated that this book was written by you, and with your resources or the resources of a big publisher, you blanket the market with advertising. The media thinks my plight is not newsworthy, so I get no publicity. No one I know is charitable enough to fund my attempts to enforce my contract via market forces. Because you have become famous, few, if any, believe I am the original author of the book you are selling.

              What is my recourse? Suffer because I am financially weak? Did I make a bad decision by creating something? Did I make a bad decision by selling to you? Should I have to do background checks on my customers to make sure that they have a history of abiding by the tems of contracts before I will accept their agreement as valid? What did I do wrong?

              You have taken from me via deceipt and breach of agreement my ability to create wealth with a peice of property of my creation. You are vile and I have no recourse other than law (violence) or personal revenge (violence). I hope you bought yourself really good personal protection, because I rather doubt, after a slight such as yours, that I would care about market forces and shunning against me for chopping off your head.

              • Buck and Jon,

                Shunning.

                Jon, you amaze me.

                You put in “miles” of thought on how to use violence, but not one inch of thought on how to avoid it.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                And please provide one reason why someone who imposes violence on others (through breach of contract) should be granted the benefit of non-violence.

                Shunning may work in certain instances, but definitely not in all and it does no good to me who was harmed by your breach of our contract.

              • Buck,

                You will need to explain how a man who is not beating is beating you.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Not much to explain here: You and I enter into a contract. You then proceed to violate said contract. How is that not violence against me?

                All you can argue here is that I somehow need to come up with an explanation for using violence against an individual who has violated a mutual agreement and thereby caused me harm. This is completely illogical on your part.

              • Buck,

                The words I type are English.

                Show
                me
                where
                I
                am
                beating
                you
                with
                a
                stick

                Saying “NO, you can’t have MY property” is not an act of violence, Buck.

                Buck, are you a lawyer?

                You went to law school right?

                Did they not teach you that there is a difference between

                THEFT (the use of violence to seize property) – which is a crime

                and

                breach of contract (which in not violent, and it NOT theft and is NOT a crime)

                So it is utterly strange to me, a learned man in a field of law who is utterly confused about a basic tenant of his own profession!

              • Buck the Wala says:

                And you chide Jon for the ignorant ad hominem attacks…

              • Buck,

                What ad homemin?

                Did I insult you by calling you a lawyer?

                Or a “learned man”?

                Hmmm…..

              • Buck,

                If we accept your Utilitarian argument – that shunning doesn’t always work, and therefore is invalid…

                …you invalidate your violent law by the same Utilitarian argument because it doesn’t always work either.

                Thus, your argument here is fallacious as it applies equally against you.

              • Buck

                I have an idea. Since he thinks the govt has no role in such manners why don’t YOU simply use the group he does think has a role.

                Why don’t you just hire the Mob to ENFORCE your contract.

                ROTFLMAO……….snort….sneeze…..cough.

                Your welcome

              • Buck the Wala says:

                LOL, I definitely needed that! 🙂

              • JAC,

                I do not fear a man with a gun.

                I fear the 100,000 men trained as professional killers, brainwashed to kill and die for a piece of cloth while blinding following orders of men thousand miles away.

              • You apparently put miles of thought into finding a way to benefit from being a slimeball. The way to avoid the issue would be to have customers respect the terms of sale. Or, if they copy a product, at least have the decency to name the author accurately. By lies and deceipt you benefit greatly, yet your only consequence is “shunning” and that is only by the person you harmed and those he can convince to join him in shunning.

                If shunning would be sufficient, that would be fine, but it is not difficult to find people who have the means to escape the effects of shunning, or that care nothing about it. You presume a fully informed humanity, as human state for which there is NO precedent whatsoever.

              • Jon,

                dYou apparently put miles of thought into finding a way to benefit from being a slimeball</blcckquote
                Stuff the ignorant ad hominems somewhere else, it has no place in a dialogue with me.

                You have a rote definition of property shoved into your brain -untested-

                It appears you have accepted it -which is fine- but the consequences of your acceptance will justify the seizure of all your property and your enslavement – because you do not understand what you agreed to.

                Property Rights exist to determine ownership of scarce resources.

                If I use a thing – a real thing – you cannot use that same thing at the same time.

                Some how a determination of who has a right to use that thing is necessary.

                However, this determination is unnecessary if you have that thing and I can have that thing at the same time

                By muddling up things that everyone, in infinite number can have at the same time, to be subject to a process designed to allocate ownership of things where ONLY ONE can have it at the same time will introduce massive, and unnecessary conflict in social order.

                As for shunning, as typical a Statist, you have no patience or willingness to understand human action.

              • Jon,

                You constantly fall back to the irrational argument of Utilitarianism – where you justify assaulting a non-violent man so to improve your economic situation

                Under stand something clearly, Jon.

                No matter which set of political theories you wish to use to resolve human conflict there will be winners and losers

                In this current (and multi-screwed up system), with copyright, etc. you are screwed every day – but because you are simply conditioned to it you accept it.

                You pay an artificial premium for much of your goods and services by no reason greater than a writ of government.

                Further, you have no human possible way to know if what you are doing now violates someone else’s government-permitted use of a good

                http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/article/832485–court-tells-men-at-work-to-pay-royalties-for-copied-flute-riff-in-global-hit-down-under?bn=1

                They played a short flute riff in their song, and were successfully sued.

                Utterly bizarre. Yet, this is what your understanding says must happen!

                You easily rationalize these bizarre things – like men patenting “life” – and ideas (it must make perfect sense to you that a man can patent “1+1=2”, or the patent on “left-click”) – but this is the utterly bizarre consequences of declaring arrangements in matter, ideas, and other non-property (ie: do not suffer economic scarcity) creates.

                Any time man creates a contradiction in Nature and attempt to manifest it – evil is created. And here is but another example.

              • Seemed like a fair judgment to me!

                🙂 🙂

              • JAC,

                The issue as I’ve pointed out – because there is a bizarre understanding of property – that you have no human way of knowing what is or what is not property

                There are companies that are patent preditors, that buy up all sorts of defunct and weird patents and the go and prosecute companies for violation. (See Research in Motion’s fight against such a predator).

                Further, the concept of property continues to be violated by your stance.

                Why is it property – but only for 1/5/7/25/35/life plus 20 years and then its not “property” and anyone can use – at the same time!

                Nothing about IP makes any sense – and arguments in favor of it always end up in some Alice in Wonderland bizarreness.

              • BF

                I fully understand your property argument. But as far as I am concerned “property” is simply a name that society has come to assign to this class of “product” produced by ones efforts.

                You will not dissuade me of my belief that a person should be able to protect the income potential that is a product of their labor. Books and music generate income for the artist. If we do not allow them some form of protection mechanism how can be expect them to benefit from their creation? This is not utilitarian. It is Individual right to the product and thus fruits of one’s labor.

                I see the copyright and patent as a public notice of contractual obligation that the buyers may not duplicate said product and sell it for profit.

                I also think the copyright and patent laws need fixed. I am thinking the inventor/artist should be protected.

                They can produce with license or contract to the manufacturer/printer etc but the protection lies with the creator, not with some company who goes around buying patents and copyrights.

                Another option is to limit the number of years to something reasonable. Like 10. yes its arbitrary but I picked it because most modern investors look to 10 years as their planning horizon.

                Perhaps the creator can pay different fees for different periods of contract protection. Something like the stamp tax we discussed for contracts.

                As for Govt registration or issuance of patents and copyrights, I have no problem with that. It makes sense to have them all registered and stored in single base, with backup of course. That reduces litigation over disputes of different filings within different states.

                Registering such is not violent nor does it create an imposition. It is simply a centralized service.

  24. USW – “What is the proper role of government?”

    I would like to take a different approach to this question.

    Most people express the need for government to provide stability in society, provide protection from “bad” things, provide needed services to the people, etc. There is also a lot of discussion about how government is out of control, expanding beyond the original intent, a monopoly on violence, etc.

    It might start with “The government should protect you from dangerous foreign countries” or as simple as “I can do you a favor”.

    Hmmm… What is that last part about? Has anyone thought about the parallels between government and organized crime?

    Protection money — Taxes and law enforcement
    Numbers racket — NC State Education Lottery
    Bootleg liquor — ABC Stores
    “Hit” men — Capital punishment
    Counterfeit money — Printing money

    I am not advocating increasing organized crime but merely thinking about parallels. They may start out with the best of intentions or minor favors but both rapidly get out of control as they follow their objectives to do “good” for “someone”. Both are monopolies in a turf battle.

    One major difference might be how quickly and severely punishment is meted out (organized crime probably wins that race). A similarity might be how inconsistently punishment is meted out.

    So, if you agree there are parallels, I will ask the question in a different form…

    What is the proper role of organized crime in society?

    • USWeapon says:

      Interesting post Drew. I am on the road traveling all day. I will try to reply tonight when I get where I am going.

      USW

    • Quite Interesting perspective, Drew.

      I’m sure I’ll surprise almost everyone on SUFA by saying:

      Organized crime (as we know it in society) has a role where as government NEVER has a role

      The existence of Organized Crime in society comes from providing goods and services that have been prohibited by law by government.

      Organized crime survives mostly on drugs, prostitution, tax evasion and gambling, and provides access to these things to individuals in exchange for money.

      It does “other things” too – but in reality they are minor deviance from the core of their business.

      • The services prohibited by Government that Organized Crime provides:

        Lender of last resort services
        Immigration services
        Importation and Sale of Constrained Goods services
        Risk management and Speculation Services
        Intimate Encounter and Companion Services
        Self Defense Heavy Weapon Procurement Service
        Banking and Transaction Privacy Services
        Alternative Investment Services
        Conflict resolution service
        Jobs and Education for the under privileged

        • I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand.

          This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.

          Vote early and vote often.

          When I sell liquor, it’s called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it’s called hospitality.

          Al Capone

        • The difference between Organized Crime and Government is the OC sells its services to the People. You do not have to by Companion Services if you do not want to, and OC does not take money from you for NOT using their service.

          Government provides nothing it did not take first.

    • Organized crime, in a society with no government or very limited government, would likely not exist. To the extent that it did, it would be a market provider of theft and violence, since those would be the only thing that would be “crime”. As such, it would be out of place in society, and the only way to remove it would be to have no one trade with them. This would require everyone in the society to believe in a path of non-violence and respect for property. As this would not be possible, considering human nature, organized crime would exist and it would be one of the reasons for law enforcement.

    • Drew,

      I think your analogy would work a bit better if your example started with a

      “Psychopathic paranoid murderous thief”

  25. Let me add another role to the list this morning.

    I think the current EPA was established in violation of the Constitution, as do our environmental protection laws.

    However, I do think the Federal govt has a proper role in these matters. Two roles in fact.

    One relates to impacts on human health. The other on general environmental impacts, such as habitat of various species. Now what should that role be.

    Currently, human health involves setting standards and then enforcing by inspection and fine. This in effects sets a standard for “legal” pollution. While that is true technically, the issue is whether those thresholds are TRULY linked to human health.

    I think the Federal role is in establishing the thresholds but not in the enforcement. The latter should be accomplished through civil and criminal courts of the states. The laws need to be modified to allow this process to be streamlined, including cross state jurisdictions.

    This would eliminate Corp need to lobby the enforcement agencies and corruption with the “inspectors/enforcers”. It leaves an issue with lobbying the standards setting but this may be easier to protect from such force. It also removes what I see as a major conflict of interest in our govt. Financial incentives for establishing more onerous standards and/or in the enforcement of such standards.

    One thing I have wrestled with over the years on these ideas is why we think we need a govt agency instead of using a private entity. We tend to believe that a GOVT agency will be “independent” of the power from outside forces, including the corruption of profit seeking. But we now know this is not true in the long run. All humans are subject to the same temptations regardless of where they work.

    The next influence is the cost of “profit” in using private vs public services. This was the health care debate if you remember. The theory is that costs will go down if “profit” is eliminated from the equation. But we know that eliminating profit does not reduce price if the product is “scarce” (remember BF’s discussions on this matter). Whether is will be “less expensive” than it would otherwise at any point in time is also debatable. You see the “profit” motive is the one factor that works to control costs in the private sector. From my own experience working in govt., without a profit motive the only control govt has is the budget. But all you have to do is increase the budget the next year and claim you can not meet your goals otherwise. Then it all gets political again.

    So back to my thoughts on human health and environment. I support the govt’s role because it is the most efficient use of our resources and it reduces the chances of profit motive affecting the outcome of the science. We have enough evidence to know that science can be influenced by politics and profit. Setting standards and conducting the science to support such standards is not a profit seeking business. There is no market for the service except by those who might be affected. And since they don’t know who they are until after the fact, it makes sense to make this a proper govt function.

    As for the general environment, I think the Fed’s role should also be that of research and publication. Facilitating scientific and policy information exchange between the states. Federal lands should be given to the States with certain restrictions on the resale of those lands.

    Again, interstate compacts for protection of species and habitat are then made possible by eliminating Federal control over the regulatory authority.

    Another thing to consider in enforcement. One of the theories of using Federal vs State or local enforcement is the power of the purse. The Feds can stand up to BP or Exxon in court but the city or State can not. However, that same power of the purse can also be used against the state and city, and it has been abused in many, many cases against individuals.

    The power needs to be given to the lower courts and not to federal agencies. Expedited trial by jury will go to solve many of our problems. And it will keep Buck and his fraternity from spending their time thinking up new laws or how to “redefine” the constitution (sorry Buck, just couldn’t resist a little anti lawyer jab this morning). Also want to see if you are reading along.

    OK, not my usual focused lofty philosophical discussion I will admit. But just wanted to share with everyone while you think about the “proper role” of govt.

    Best to all
    JAC

    • Buck the Wala says:

      I’m always reading along JAC…

      Interesting idea. I find it a bit surprising that you would want enforcement to be by state and local courts. For one thing this would only serve to expand the power of the judiciary, leading to more so-called activist judges. For another this would result in a lack of uniformity across municipal and state lines which could be very hazardous when dealing with anything related to the environment, which has no politically-drawn boundaries.

      • Buck

        Get ready for the shock…………… I think the judiciary needs to be greatly expanded and streamlined. I would eliminate agencies and use some of the money to increase funding of courts.

        I think if you looked into it you would find there are not that many significant differences between neighboring states on these issues. Currently, States can sign compacts the make the rules uniform and to set standards for pollution and what will be done. Wyoming and Montana just did one as did Montana and Canada.

        I think part of the issue you raise can be resolved in how the Federal laws were revised. It may be that the Federal District courts may still be the place to go, but I think JURY trial is critical to reform. This is how we get back to the concept of the community deciding if something is harm and what should be done about it.

        By the way, I think the same should be done for many law suits filed against the Feds by the green groups. I am tired of some Federal Judge deciding what is good science and what is not. Of course, elimination of lifetime appointments might resolve that issue as well.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          I would have no problem with expanding the role of the judiciary in this regard, but would argue for the need to keep it in the federal courts to maintain a uniform standard.

          I understand your skepticism at having a federal judge decide what is good science. But should a state judge or municipal judge have that role? Should a jury of laypersons have that role?

          • Buck

            On most environmental matters a lay person has just as much knowledge as a judge.

            As I said, perhaps a federal district court is appropriate. But first I would want to see if we could establish certain “uniform” standards for the State courts via the Constitution or federal law.

            For example, which State court has jurisdiction? The location of those harmed by the water pollution, the location of the pollution or the home state of the corporation or person causing the pollution?

            Am curious as to what standards you are concerned with regarding uniformity. Is it the hearing and trial conduct itself?

            • Buck the Wala says:

              No procedurally I’m fine with state law governing. But if in your world the feds are conducting/funding research, then there must be uniform standards governing acceptable levels of pollutants for instance.

              • Buck

                OK, I get it. There wouldn’t be any “standards”, only thresholds of hazard/risk.

                So then the action against the polluter is brought by those who are harmed. The question is always whether “harm” occurs. The threshold addresses that.

                So a class action is filed by those within a community whose water is being polluted beyond the threshold. A jury will then have to deal with evidence as to whether the threshold is legitimate, did the polluter in fact pollute and what compensation or action is needed to remedy.

                Now I grant you this is much less efficient than using a Federal or State agency. That in fact is the underlying reason we created those entities. But I think the loss of efficiency works better for protecting our freedoms and for dispensing justice.

    • I have to think on this one, from where I am standing, the FDA and the EPA have done FAR more harm than good, and I am not sure how such a thing would not become the case if health and planet were under government jurisdiction. Certainly putting it at the state level could help, but I do not think that is the answer either.

      My first thought is to put environmental concerns under property law, damage to property must be cleaned up, damage to shared property (like air) included.

      Health would be under manslaughter law. If you serve food that kills your patrons, you would be charged with manslaughter just as if you had accidentally run over them.

  26. Jon,

    Re: Property.

    You ignore a requisite component for your argument.

    Prove it is Property. Simply “declaring” it is NOT satisfactory.

    I have provided the conditions of Property numerous time in past posts. They are your reference.

  27. JAC

    I fully understand your property argument. But as far as I am concerned “property” is simply a name that society has come to assign to this class of “product” produced by ones effort

    Explain why you need to own “property”?

    Explain how you can own land – you did not “produce” it.

    • It is an assett, and unless it was gifted to you, it is still a product of your effort, or a storage of that value, or an investment to increase value. There are also intangible assets, such as one’s name/reputation. Damage to this, such as libel, is damage to one’s assets. Typically one would sue for this, but you would consider that violent since it would involve a court and a forced taking of property based on the court’s findings. Of course, I would also say that one would sue for breach of contract, but that too would be “violence” because I force compliance. If there is no force of compliance other than a damaged reputation and potentially lost trading partners, that is a feeble set of consequences to offset the potential gains of a vile act. This is what I do not accept about your methods. There are things that I demand a greater response to. Is this just the “impatience of a statist”? Perhaps. If someone rapes my sister, “shunning” is NOT going to cut it. “Skinning” might tho. I do not agree with consolidation of power, and I do not like the authority to commit legal violence to be uncontrolled, but I do not fear violence, and I am not willing to live and let live with those who do not return the favor and respect, with those who would steal and kill and harm, I will deal with based on their understanding of human rights. If I am judged by that same standard by another, so be it. I do not think I can live with myself being so “enlightened” that I allow harm for the sake of some lofty ideal. The ends do not justify the means. The means, also, do not justify the ends. My mode of non-violence, if it leads to tyranny and harm to those I love, is not a worthy means because its goal is a failure. My end of a peaceful world is not worthy of violence committed on those I love along the way. I alone have the right to take that risk upon myself, I will not put others in that path of danger.

    • BF

      Your questions make no sense given my comments.

      I already told you I understand your view that it is not property. Using YOUR definition of property it would not qualify as “true” property.

      It has come to be called intellectual property by society. So call it something else if you like. If you want you can call it a WUFDA.

      The nature and character of the thing doesn’t change. It is the product of ones labor, both mental and physical.

      The copyright is nothing more than a symbol representing a “common law” concept of contractual restriction. You buy this thing with this mark and you agree you will not copy it without the author/publishers permission.

      Now I have one for you. Trademarks. Do you hold that they also can not be protected?

      • JAC,

        Your questions make no sense given my comments.

        That is the simply the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen you type.

        My question are straight forward and pertinent

        If you do not know why you need property, it makes ownership completely redundant to men.

        You insist that property is produced, yet you cannot demonstrate how you “produced” land – which we both agree is property.

        If you cannot articulate the basis of your belief, you hardly can claim an objective basis at all!

      • JAC,

        Now I have one for you. Trademarks. Do you hold that they also can not be protected?

        Protected, how?

        Why can’t I use a symbol simply you use a symbol?

        Why do you believe it requires violence upon non-violent men to protect a symbol?

        • The opening of trademarks, business names, etc., would be in direct conflict with your stated recognition of the importance of reputation for a company surviving in the free market. Once again you are operating on the assumption of all people in the marketplace being informed and moral. Also, you are apparently not respecting the concept of marketting. If I make an exact copy of a Tide detergent box and fill it with a worthless detergent, or kitty litter, or something of that sort so that I can make a quick profit. Even if I make it an equivalent product, and my actions do not damage Tide’s reputation, I am taking advantage of their marketing without the cost. This is dishonest at best, and it gives me a boost in business without incurring the marketing cost. Regardless of whether or not this is “fair”, it is yet another example of competetive advantage through dishonesty, with no available retribution or means of equalization by the competitor, despite them being the “original”. In your quest for non-violence, you are destroying the mechanism for your society – the market. Is this a utilitarian argument? Sure, but ultimately I care nothing for a philosophy or socioeconomic theory that does not function, thus utilitarianism must be in play or its just another academic mental exercise.

          • Jon,

            The opening of trademarks, business names, etc., would be in direct conflict with your stated recognition of the importance of reputation for a company surviving in the free market.

            Not one bit.

            A symbol does not make a reputation.

            I agree that using duplicate names, and symbols etc. would lead to confusion – and one might argue that confusion would create some sort of negative impact on commerce –

            However Confusion still is an insufficient justification to attack non-violent men

            • No, it does not create a reputation, I made no such claim. It is associated with a name or brand that DOES have a reputation. If, by using this same symbol, you change the damage reputation of the name or brand associated with the symbol, then that is damage to the business and therefore the owner of that business.

              Ooh, here is a question, is business property? It seems like it would fit your qualifications…

        • BF

          I never said “property” as you define it, was produced. I said that this “thing” that was produced has come over time to be called “intellectual property” by man. The concept is pretty broadly accepted among most in our society. And it has been accepted long enough to probably qualify as a concept of “common law”. In other words, if the govt protection were removed a jury trial would still result in the “counterfeiter” being punished. Then again maybe not.

          And thus, your questions of me regarding property make absolutely no sense. I am not challenging nor defending this issue on the basis that it is property as you define it. I am defending it on the basis that this “thing” is a product of a man’s mental and physical effort. And that he should be able to have this thing protected for being copied and used without his permission and/or compensation IF he chooses to sell or exchange this thing in the market place.

          • JAC

            I never said “property” as you define it, was produced. I said that this “thing” that was produced has come over time to be called “intellectual property” by man.

            But what makes it property? A declaration out of thin air?

            What are the properties of Property that makes this property the same as Property like land?

            If we call two DIFFERENT things to be the SAME thing, what is the SAMENESS that binds these two different things?

            The concept is pretty broadly accepted among most in our society.

            JAC, rote acceptance of evil is pretty broad too. Hardly a test of definition….

            And it has been accepted long enough to probably qualify as a concept of “common law”.

            You are arguing that even though it is a contradiction, we must continue using it because we’ve used it in the past.

            Hmmm….

            In other words, if the govt protection were removed a jury trial would still result in the “counterfeiter” being punished.

            Perhaps. And they hang innocent men too – so the acts of a jury hardly qualifies as proof.

            And thus, your questions of me regarding property make absolutely no sense. I am not challenging nor defending this issue on the basis that it is property as you define it.

            I am not asking the question based on my definition.

            It is simple logic, old friend, that a solution exists because there is a problem.

            I am asking “What is the problem you are applying a solution?”.

            You are having a hard time articulating the problem in a manner that explains the use of your solution, sir.

            I am defending it on the basis that this “thing” is a product of a man’s mental and physical effort.

            You argue – by declaration – that an idea is property.

            Do you argie then that you can prevent a man from using the concept 1+1=2 if you patented it?

            And that he should be able to have this thing protected for being copied and used without his permission and/or compensation IF he chooses to sell or exchange this thing in the market place.

            Why should he have the right to prevent the use of what is in my brain?

        • BF

          So you do not view the use of someone’s trademark to sell a product as fraud. Correct?

          You are not intentionally using this symbol to mislead the buyer of your products or to borrow their “reputation”?

          • JAC,

            No, I do view using someone else’s name/symbol to sell a product as fraud.

            We are not in dispute here at all. Saying something that is not true is lying and/or fraudulent.

            I am saying Lying is NOT sufficient justification to use violence on non-violent men.

  28. Hello Ya’ll,

    I have a quick question for BF and anyone else who likes the PMs. A while back, I read a post about how to tell if a gold coin is the real deal. This can be done by balancing the coin on a finger and gently tapping it with another coin. The sound should ring true. I tried this with my gold eagles. They sound wonderful. I tried this with my silver eagles and noticed that the sound was not very true, and worse yet, very short lived. The gold coins rang for several seconds at the same pitch, where the silver rang for only a second or two. I repeated the test with a 1921 Morgan silver dollar. The coin rang much more like the gold eagle though of a different pitch and slightly shorter duration. My question is: Am I correct in being suspicious of my Silver Eagles? I would appreciate any advice/thoughts that can be given. Thanks!

    • Cyndi,

      If you bought from a reputable dealer, you have no worry.

      Further, why would a thief counterfeit a Silver Coin (maybe 25$) – and not a Gold Coin (maybe 1200$).

      And, I’ve never tried this test! I didn’t know it would ring! Neat.

      • Cyndi P says:

        Good point about anyone wanting to counterfeit a silver coin, lol. I didn’t think of that. I do believe this dealer to be reputable. I’ve purchased quite a bit of silver and about a dozen 1/10 oz Australian gold koalas. My gold eagles came from Gainesville Coins.

        As for the ‘test’, I didnt know that it wouldn’t ring! I was very surprised at the sound. I ‘rang’ the Morgan and got the result I had expected with the Eagle. The Morgan has a nice ring to it, though not as nice a ring as the gold eagle. I enjoy ‘playing’ with my coins. My daughter is here visiting me. The sound of the ringing gold eagle had a similar effect as a dog whistle to her. I was surprised she could hear it from across the room. She said the pitch hurt her ears. Funny, it sounded like music to me!

        🙂

  29. While I am waiting for your links (which I am admittadly using to buy some time to flesh out my own definitions and source them, etc.) I would like to further this discussion thusly:

    Let us say that I accept that ideas and their style of manifestation are not true “property” (I say “style of manifestation” because we both agreed that the actual manifestation, i.e., a book, is property, but a copy you made is your property, not mine). I basically did agree that, within your definition, it would, at most, be a contract violation, not a property issue per se.

    Let us also say that we agreed not to have a government database of patents, that the only thing governing the use of my novel was the contract of sale.

    If you violate that contract, you say that there is no violence.

    Let us say that I agree that violence only includes physical harm.

    You say that it is not theft. There we disagree. Theft I would define as a willful act of taking something from me. It would be defined by value. If you take from me something against my will, it is stealing, whether it is my land or my breath. It does not matter so much if it is property per se, because value definately comes into play.

    I understand an argument against “potential value”, but then there is the example from earlier about harvesting your farm in your absence. It was never garaunteed until you had possession of a mature crop. Value or potential value is a big part of the damage done by such a theft.

    I would also consider the printing of money to be a theft of wealth, robbing you of the value of your currency. Certainly the wise recourse is to no longer use that currency, but the theft was committed by the perpetrator, the counterfeiter.

    So here, then, is my real question. What recourse does one have with theft of property? If I come in the night while you are not present and harvest your crops. If I come while you are at work and take your property. In neither of those cases have I committed violence. Do you have the right to get your stuff back? Do you have the right to coerce me into giving it back? Is a threat of reputation destruction coersion? How about a threat of force? Is “shunning” really the only viable recourse? What about for physical harm? Is there legitimate recourse for violence against a previously violent person. If so, then does that apply if the violence was against another? If not, then what are the options? Is the past always the past at all times?

    I do not understand your issue with violence against those who have intent to harm, to defraud, to steal, and to otherwise show that they have no respect for the rights of others, nor the “universe”. I do not understand how you determine that the “universe” sets these immutable laws. It seems like a mystical answer for questions about your philosophy that you have settled in your own mind but have no true explanation for.

    • Jon,

      Let us say that I accept that ideas and their style of manifestation are not true “property” (I say “style of manifestation” because we both agreed that the actual manifestation, i.e., a book, is property, but a copy you made is your property, not mine). I basically did agree that, within your definition, it would, at most, be a contract violation, not a property issue per se.

      So let me rephrase it my way so that you know I’ve understood what you wrote (since I’ve misread you once before!)

      For argument (only at this time), you’ve accepted

      – that “ideas” (by standard definition of what an “idea” is) is not property.

      – that the physical item, such as the book you made is your book and the book I made is my book.

      – that me copying the ink squiggles in your book into my book does not make my book your book.

      – that if I copy your book in breach of a contract between us that specifically prohibited copying does not make my book your book. Our dispute becomes contract breach.

      So far am I on track?

      Let us also say that we agreed not to have a government database of patents,

      Such a database would be redundant – what would it record?

      that the only thing governing the use of my novel was the contract of sale.

      For argument sake, I will accept that (for reasons why, I don’t know) I accepted your contract when I purchased your book.

      Do I also assume this contract is perpetual?

      Contract, however, cannot be perpetual – I will die one day as will you. So all contracts (Buck may correct me) must have a performance component, an exchange of value, and an end (either by date, or completion of performance).

      I’m not sure how a contract could apply to a “book” – but I won’t muddle up your argument here with a technicality (because I may be wrong about this, too).

      If you violate that contract, you say that there is no violence.

      Not only do I say, so does Legal Theory.

      That is why there is Criminal Law – things that are crimes, like theft – and Civil Law – things that are not crimes, like breach of contract.

      When a judgment is rendered in Criminal Court you get a Criminal Record and often go to jail and/or pay fines to the government.

      When a judgment is rendered in Civil Court you do not get a criminal record – you get no record at all, and you do not go to jail and you do not pay a fine to the government.

      Let us say that I agree that violence only includes physical harm.

      You say that it is not theft. There we disagree.

      Then you disagree with all legal systems as well as me. At no time in any civil action is there a declaration of theft, violence or criminal act.

      In a civil action MAY EXPOSE a criminal action, but that action is moved to CRIMINAL COURT, and is not judged in Civil Court.

      Theft I would define as a willful act of taking something from me.

      …against your will. I agree. The use of violence to seize property.

      It would be defined by value.

      But you have not made any argument or case whatsoever that says:

      Subject value=Objective Property.

      If you take from me something against my will, it is stealing, whether it is my land or my breath.

      Your breath is yours and property (as it fulfills all the requirements of property) as is your land.

      It does not matter so much if it is property per se, because value definately comes into play.

      Back to the lack of argument and proof that makes:

      Subjective value=Objective Property.

      I understand an argument against “potential value”, but then there is the example from earlier about harvesting your farm in your absence.

      No, land is not subjective – it is real. You cannot make a “potential” which by definition does not exist in reality equate to something which by definition (land) does exist in reality.

      It was never garaunteed until you had possession of a mature crop.

      It’s state of growth does not change the fact it is real and is property as it satisfies all three requirements of property.

      Value or potential value is a big part of the damage done by such a theft.

      Not one bit.

      Whether I steal a thumb tack or a Rolls Royce, the law calls both “Theft”.

      Value NEVER defines Theft (it however may define the punishment in current legal theory)

      I would also consider the printing of money to be a theft of wealth, robbing you of the value of your currency.

      No. It is counterfeiting. The Law does not charge the man with “theft” – if they could, counterfeit would be “redundant”.

      Again, you are grossly twisting common legal definition and theory to fit your need for argument. Do not do that. If your understanding and argument is failing, it may be because it is your argument that is failing! Withdraw and correct your argument, and don’t start distorting and twisting definitions.

      Certainly the wise recourse is to no longer use that currency, but the theft was committed by the perpetrator, the counterfeiter.

      It would be wise, but it is not theft. It is counterfeiting.

      So here, then, is my real question. What recourse does one have with theft of property?

      As you can see, you have these problems:

      (1) You have not defined property properly or completely. You have tried to join a SUBJECTIVE (value) to be OBJECTIVE (like land) – it can’t be done – they are opposites.

      (2) You have a completely incorrect definition of theft (it is not a breach of contract and it is not counterfeiting)

      So, my recourse to violence has been well-documented in SUFA, I cannot agree that there is any violence here for such a recourse.

      • I see I am getting very lost with terms and definitions. I am incorrect with both of those as you pointed out several times. Let me simplify my question to you for the purpose of clarifying my issue with your general position.

        By breach of contract, you have impacted my financial position (my property is worth less on the open market because you have engage in counterfeiting). That is essentially what you do when you copy my book and sell it. If you copy it and sell it, claiming YOU are the author, you also are committing fraud.

        In your post you mentioned that contract violations are handled in civil court. Are civil courts allowed? Do I, in your world, have access to civil court? A judgement in civil court impacts your financial record, etc., but it also has the right to seize assets, garnish wages, etc. The amount is determined in court, and there are limits on how which assets can be grabbed, but it seems that it would not be theft at that point IF you accept the concept of a civil court. Do you?

        Because I assumed you did not accept this, I considered your position disfunctional, perhaps this was in error.

        Now, currently fraud is a criminal act. Are you saying that fraud should no longer be criminal? Is that civil as well? What options do I have to handle a fraud case outside of shunning? Remember, we are talking the modern world. Information can be widely known and a david can slay a goliath. On the other hand, information can be false and considered true because it is widely known, and a goliath can slay an army of davids. It all depends on the resources in play, and the willingness of other people to go along with you. In other words, if you have plenty of property and plenty of people willing to trade with you and take your word over mine, you do not care if I shun you, it will have no real effect. Whether my argument against you is true or not is not relevant in FUNCTION. You frequently say that those who consider shunning an insufficient means of recourse against a criminal do not understand human behavior. I submit that it is you who does not. I get the power of shunning, a banished person cut off from all around him has received a great punishment. This is not my issue with shunning. My issue is that it would be exceedingly difficult to accomplish sufficient shunning in a vast number of scenarios.

        I also would like to know what recourse is in cases of actual property theft. Let us say that you did not copy my book, you snuck in and took my supplies from my warehouse. Again, you committed no violence against me, but you did commit a criminal act. Is violence justified to get my property back? Can I threaten you at gun point and come onto your property and retrieve my stolen books so long as I do not actually harm you (unless you fight back) and I do not harm your property in the process?

        • Jon

          By breach of contract, you have impacted my financial position (my property is worth less on the open market because you have engage in counterfeiting).

          Let’s break this down into its requisite parts.

          A breach of contract is the first part.

          Consequences is the second part.

          I assume because you haven’t articulated the terms of this ‘contract’ that it entails a prohibition on action – that is a negative performance requirement.

          Now, in a positive performance requirement, consequences are easier to discover in case of breach – if you were to deliver X product for Y money, and you did not, the judgment would be a requirement to deliver the X product, or the return of Y money.

          But in your contract, there is no such thing. It has “if you pay X and promise not to copy, I will sell you Y”.

          I pay, but I breach by copying – thus, the judgment as I can see can only be forfeiture of X payment and the return of of the original Y.

          Now, some may argue punitive damages – but that would entail the concept of “punishment” and as you know, I do not agree any man for any reason has the right to punish another man. But that is an other big topic another day….

          But my point being, there is no way to determine loss of non-existent sales.

          Example scenario:
          You write and print your book, but you have no sales.

          I copy your book and print MY books, and I have lots of sales.

          You argue that MY books are actually YOUR books and that you have a right to my money earned by me selling MY books.

          But what right exists?

          If the content was the value, then your books would have sold – but they did not.

          Therefore, it is my effort in selling (marketing) that the consumers appreciated because my books sold when yours did not.

          So how can you possibly claim the content was the value when you failed to demonstrate that value by your sales?

          Next point – value is subjective. It cannot be determined that a copy has made your book less valuable – indeed, the opposite is entirely possible as well because value is subjective.

          Economically, an increase in a commodity lowers its price. Do not muddle price and value. One (price) measures the other (value), but one (price) does not make the other (value).

          In the case of books more books on the same topic does NOT decrease the price of that book – it often INCREASES the price due to popularity. The number of books for sale across all topics DOES decrease the price for ALL books across all topics (with specific exceptions due to particular rarity or popularity).

          You cannot prove that a copy has increased or decreased your wealth. You cannot prove that the sale of my book displaced a sale of your book – it is equally possible that your book would never have made that sale whereas mine did.

          (This is self-evident. Since I am able to enter the market AFTER your First-to-Market product, my offering MUST be different somehow to be able to sell. If my book does not sell, you have no complaints. If my book does sell, it must be for a reason different then why your book sells (or not). Which ever way you wish to cut this cake, either I make no difference or the difference is wholly my effort.)

          That is essentially what you do when you copy my book and sell it. If you copy it and sell it, claiming YOU are the author, you also are committing fraud.

          I agree.

          In your post you mentioned that contract violations are handled in civil court. Are civil courts allowed?

          Why not? I think an unbiased conflict resolution service is a good idea.

          Do I, in your world, have access to civil court?

          Why not? I think being able to use an unbiased conflict resolution service is a good idea, too!

          A judgement in civil court impacts your financial record, etc., but it also has the right to seize assets, garnish wages, etc.

          A judgment in civil court does NOT impact YOUR financial record. There does not exist “your” financial record.

          Your financial record is actually owned by a Finance service company. What rules they chose, to whom they disclose, and what particulars they record or not are not yours to determine.

          Though it is true that the current legal system declares the right to turn a VOLUNTARY action into an INVOLUNTARY action, I argue that is an act of evil.

          You entered – willingly and voluntarily – into an agreement. You have no right to unilaterally change the basics and remove the voluntary by demanding FORCE and VIOLENCE.

          If the agreement is voluntary, then it remains voluntary even in dispute – that is, one party has refused the deal. The discourse is merely the timing of that refusal.

          If it was done earlier enough, you would have no complaint. But it was done late, and now you have a complaint. However, early or late, no force or violence was imposed upon you therefore you have no right to impose violence upon anyone else.

          A judgment of a “Civil” court in a free society would simply offer you an argument to your fellow men that the society should apply the maximum of non-violent enforcement upon the breaching party.

          Your fellow men will ask “Why do you, Jon, wish us to shun this man?”
          You would raise the judgment and say “I have tested my claim on our unbiased conflict resolution service and they have agreed with me. I have urged this man to comply with his promise in this light. He has refused.”

          The people will say “We see the agreement. Jon has tested it and it has been shown to be good. This man will not do good. If we choose to exchange with this man, he will likely not do good for us too. It is in our best interest to not do business with this man”.

          Do you?

          No, I do not agree that you can use violence on a non-violent man no matter who may agrees with you.

          You entered the agreement voluntarily (without violence). Your resolutions must without violence as well.

          Because I assumed you did not accept this, I considered your position disfunctional, perhaps this was in error.

          It is not dysfunctional. It is consistent. You cannot use violence on non-violent men no matter how hard you try to redefine words.

          Thus, without the right to pummel those you do not like and that are -in your opinion- slimeballs, you will have to work a bit harder than 10 seconds of thought to discover how you will enforce yourself without violence.

          Now, currently fraud is a criminal act. Are you saying that fraud should no longer be criminal?

          Correct.

          Fraud is a non-violent breach of societal norms – a more grievous circumstance of lying.

          However, if you cannot demonstrate an initiation of violence, you cannot respond with violence.

          Is that civil as well? What options do I have to handle a fraud case outside of shunning?

          You underestimate the tremendous power of shunning. It is probably the single most powerful force in society – even more powerful than violence.

          Even today, a man will go to jail FIRST before he will suffer the loss of access to the voluntary society.

          Remember, we are talking the modern world.

          And why would reason and logic change just because we may be talking about non-modern worlds?

          Information can be widely known and a david can slay a goliath. On the other hand, information can be false and considered true because it is widely known, and a goliath can slay an army of davids.

          Perhaps and maybe – but none of that justifies violence on non-violent men.

          It all depends on the resources in play, and the willingness of other people to go along with you.

          In all voluntary relationships, everything depends on the willingness of people. Period.

          In other words, if you have plenty of property and plenty of people willing to trade with you and take your word over mine, you do not care if I shun you, it will have no real effect.

          If a person is willing to lie to you, he is willing to lie to me.

          You frequently say that those who consider shunning an insufficient means of recourse against a criminal do not understand human behavior.

          I have said this.

          People in general have NOT studied this matter in any significant detail or understood any current or historical examples.

          Being shunned by society is a dead-man-walking death sentence. You will last about two weeks and then they will bury your corpse.

          My issue is that it would be exceedingly difficult to accomplish sufficient shunning in a vast number of scenarios.

          What “vast” number of scenarios?

          So far, the only ONE you’ve used is that you are some wealthy SOB.

          But how did he get wealthy? He most certainly did not get wealthy by being an SOB!! He would not have survived the shunning. Thus, he must have fulfilled all of his agreements to be able to accumulate his wealth.

          Now you are trying to make me beleive that a man – whose entire wealth has been earned by meeting his agreements – will suddenly risk all his wealth and life by doing the opposite!! Utterly bizarre!.

          Jon, I often also say in regards of people understanding the consequences of freedom is like fish swimming in an ocean.

          The fish do not understand water because they cannot see it as they are “in it”.

          You do not see the real and current operations of voluntary action because you are “in it” and blind to it.

          I have used this before, but you need to thing about it again.

          A Japanese fellow sells you his car. How does he know you will pay him?

          The fulcrum of this transaction is TRUST.

          The Bank of Japan has no way to enforce itself on the Bank of America. If the Bank of America decides to not honor a Letter of Credit, the Bank of Japan is screwed without recourse.

          Yet, the transaction occurs. Why?

          Because the Bank of Japan and the Bank of America become wealthy because of trust, and not by breaching it.

          If these guys and their peers deal with literally hundreds of billions of dollars every day in this way –why are you so damn afraid of dealing in the same manner for your pittances??

          I also would like to know what recourse is in cases of actual property theft. Let us say that you did not copy my book, you snuck in and took my supplies from my warehouse. Again, you committed no violence against me, but you did commit a criminal act. Is violence justified to get my property back? Can I threaten you at gun point and come onto your property and retrieve my stolen books so long as I do not actually harm you (unless you fight back) and I do not harm your property in the process?

          • Jon,

            Whoops, accidentally hit the button before I was finished.

            I also would like to know what recourse is in cases of actual property theft. Let us say that you did not copy my book, you snuck in and took my supplies from my warehouse. Again, you committed no violence against me, but you did commit a criminal act. Is violence justified to get my property back?

            Yes.

            Can I threaten you at gun point and come onto your property and retrieve my stolen books so long as I do not actually harm you (unless you fight back) and I do not harm your property in the process?

            Yes.

            • Then you consider theft to be violence even if no harm came to you. Why? How does it get classified as violence? Is property an extension of self?

              • For a man to live, he needs exclusive access to resources.

                This is defined as “ownership of property”.

                Without exclusive use, he cannot live.

                Thus, “Life, Liberty and Property” as the three immutable principles. Without all three, all are moot.

              • Jon,

                Our argument is NOT about whether property is a right. I feel even JAC, USWep, you and I all agree here.

                The argument is what is property

              • I know, but I have seen you put so much emphasis on non-violence, and you use the “beating me with a stick” measure in most cases. This is likely just to simplify your point, but I wanted to understand why theft is violence.

                If theft is violence because you need exclusive access to resources to live, and the violation of that access is violence against your life, then there arises two other questions:

                1) Is it possible to own property that you do not require to live? I would say yes, I do not require a punching bag to live, but I own one. Is it still harm of someone steals it?

                2) If my means of life is creation through art or writing or invention, and I need at least a portion of the proceeds of those things to live, how is that different? I do not say they are property per se, but if I need the revenue to live, how is that different than a farmer needing his crop and the revenue from it to live?

                Our argument is no longer “what is property”, I think I can agree that innovation is not property.

                Our argument is not whether property is a right, we have agreed on that for some time.

                Our argument is “what is violence”?

                And our argument is “should ideas be protected by some method and why or why not?”

                You say no because it is not property.

                I say yes because it is the fruit of ones labor and the means for some to live.

          • It is unlikely that your sales alone could sell the books without the content being of value also. You cannot say that the sales are “solely” due to your sales ability and marketting anymore than I can say that they were due to my content. If it were just your sales ability, you would not have needed to copy my content, you could have just made books with randomly arranged characters, and not have had to violate any contract in the process. Is the value able to be assigned objectively to either factor? Can I say “it was 40% sales and 60% content”? No, not really, but there remains a split usage of value. This is why such a thing would be a matter for a civil court.

            I am suprised you support courts at all. I know you support an unbiased arbiter, but what is the method when an arbiter cannot be agreed on? What about if you ignore that there is a conflict, can I compell you to go to court? Can the court find against you and give me access to your assets (wage garnishment, etc.)? Can they do so if you refuse to show up?

            Can a contract include consequences? Can a contract include violence as a consquence for breech? If the contract is entered into voluntarily, shouldn’t a contract be able to include anything?

            Consistency does not prove function. I still feel that your method is dysfunctional.

            I do not doubt the power of shunning. I doubt the enforcement, the manifestation, of shunning. I know how shunning works. I do not know how to reach enough people to effectively shun you for breach of contract. I also do not know if people will respond. Some will, certainly, others will take advantage of the situation (you selling a product cheaper because you incurred less cost), because many people are greedy, rather than honorable and philosophically consistent.

            A man who gained his wealth on his own is indeed unlikely to suddenly “turn evil” and start screwing people. A man who inheritted his wealth may not have any such scruples, just look at the Rockefeller children. Also, there are people who have gained their wealth through dubious actions for years, what is to stop them from continuing if they prey on the weak and trade with the unscrupulous? Also, people can be greedy opportunists. If I am a hermit or workaholic in my writing and you buy a book, knowing my circumstances and knowing that my only recourse is to shun you, a task that would require me to change my lifestyle and cease productivity, you see low risk of consequences. Why would you not then proceed to take advantage of me if you have no moral code preventing you? Many people make decisions based on fear, not morality. Your system requires an informed and moral society. Maybe I am just too pessimistic about humanity to accept that such a society could or would exist.

  30. Jon

    I do not understand your issue with violence against those who have intent to harm,

    I have no issue, its called self-defense.

    to defraud

    No violence has been done. A broken promise, a lie – perhaps. But he has not touched you in any way, nor threatened you with physical harm, etc.

    No violence, no violence in response. If you do violence on him here, you are the criminal, not him

    (PS: The current legal system supports this too – you cannot claim self-defense when you pummel a man for defrauding you. You will be charged and probably convicted as a criminal for assault (at the minimum) or murder (should he die).

    , to steal,

    Taking of your property without your permission.

    But there must exist property before there is theft. This is your primary stumble. You cannot prove ideas, etc. are property.

    and to otherwise show that they have no respect for the rights of others

    What right do you speak?

    He has not breached any of your rights by lying to you. There is no human right called “Freedom from Lying”.

    I do not understand how you determine that the “universe” sets these immutable laws.

    The law of the Universe is simply applied here.

    Freedom from the imposition of another man. Lying does not impose upon you.

    It seems like a mystical answer for questions about your philosophy that you have settled in your own mind but have no true explanation for.

    I think I have been more than abundantly clear. The issue is you hold an untested and false paradigm – taught to by rote by your “superiors” and you have accepted this to be true.

    When faced with a contradiction between immutable principle and your paradigm, you hold to true to your paradigm – which will mean you must twist and alter everything else around you so to make it true. But it never was. The consequence, an ever increasing series of bizarre arguments that quickly spiral into irrationality.

    (My “Magician in the Pub” story would go here).

  31. Jon,

    because my core principle, maximize potential, involves utilitarian thought, therefore I am unaccustomed to operating without it. For the sake of the excersize, however, I will try to work without it

    I seemed to have missed this post – I’m tired tonight so I’ll probably pick up this one tomorrow.

    But I wanted to flush this out a bit more so that I can try to understand where YOU are coming from too.

    Core Principle: maximize potential….

    Jon, how do you know one action vs. another action maximizes potential? What is your test and what is the time period?

    If it doesn’t maximize in 10 minutes, is it ‘evil’ and must be discarded even though maybe in a year it would?

    How could you test the infinite possibilities of consequences all actions and reactions create so to measure by means yet to be articulated as a maximizing?

    • You mention the same weaknesses of utilitarian thought itself, it is difficult to be flawlessly objective. That does not change the importance of functionality to me. In another post you said “it is not dysfunctional, it is consistent. I submit that consistency does not prove functionality. Humanity is not objective in its actions or in all of its characteristics. It is possible that an entirely objective and consistent concept will still fail among inconsistent and subjective players, actions, and factors. Because functionality is key to my thinking (whether this is consistent or objective or not, I believe in function over form), I will oppose even a perfectly consistent argument based on flawless objectivity if it fails to work in real life.

      • Jon,

        You mention the same weaknesses of utilitarian thought itself, it is difficult to be flawlessly objective.

        I don’t think a requirement of “flawless” is necessary.

        I think my question is even more basic: “How can you possibly measure “potential”?

        Potential does not exist in reality. That is its definition “a possibility”. Possibilities are not real – they MAY become an eventuality – or they may not.

        So how can you measure “potential” in such a manner for you to act for or against a man in reality?

        As I ask, how much “time” do you allocate for a potential to become real? 10 minutes, 10 years, 10 decades, 10 centuries?

        I submit that consistency does not prove functionality.

        I agree. You can be consistently dead.

        Humanity is not objective in its actions or in all of its characteristics.

        Agreed. Not a requirement.

        It is possible that an entirely objective and consistent concept will still fail among inconsistent and subjective players, actions, and factors.

        Do not agree with this statement.

        You have defined “fail” as not measuring up to your definition of an outcome.

        It is impossible for you to fail if you remain consistent. You may die regardless of your consistency – but that is not a definition of failure.

        I go back to Poker – you can be consistent and play 100% perfect Poker, and still lose the pot. You do not judge outcomes as a measure of good/bad/success/failure. You measure you consistent good play.

        If you fail to remain consistent with your core principle, you will fail, no matter what your core principle is

        If one is stuck on measuring outcomes as a judge of good and bad, then one has assumed the “End justifies the Means” argument.

        Because functionality is key to my thinking (whether this is consistent or objective or not, I believe in function over form), I will oppose even a perfectly consistent argument based on flawless objectivity if it fails to work in real life.

        As above, if you discard your measure, how can you possibly know whether it is functional?

        • Good questions. I am not sure. I will noodle that too. Damn I have a lot of thinking to do these days, lol.

          The key will be in defining “function” and it may also be in using the term “opportunity” rather than “potential”.

          For your base principle of freedom, you must define freedom, else you would be subject to as much variance as I in your measure of whether or not something is free.

          • Jon,

            I have a lot of thinking to do

            There is no time limit to this “test” 🙂 Take a year or 10, the Universe is patient.

            define freedom

            ..no imposition of another man…

  32. Okay, the world as we know it has ended-the government is gone-how do we start? We must organize begin building a structure on a local level for survival. What do we do?

    • V.H.

      I would suggest you keep the existing political structure and processes. No need to create more anxiety by trying to upend the rest of the cart. Then focus on those things that are local:

      Water
      Sewer
      Electric/Gas
      Roads/Transport
      Garbage Disposal
      Communications
      Law Enforcement

      Then start to organize groups to deal with shortages in those areas. Such as Power or gasoline.

      But keeping in the context of USW’s question lets stay on roles rather than Armageddon. I would guess that the vast majority of cities and towns function within the realm of what is proper. The biggest problem is their dependence on Federal or State funding. But perhaps that is because some program areas could be eliminated.

      I would look to local laws for those that impose upon innocent people and eliminate them. Such as RENT CONTROL laws or the use of eminent domain for “improving the tax base” type projects.

      The one big issue I have with all our levels of govt is the lack of representation. We have to few elected representatives for the size of our population. At the City/Town/County level the ratio should be something like 1:2,000 at the most. So if it is a city, then it should be divided into smaller administrative units for those things that do not need the larger group.

      How about your ideas?

      • Let me jump in for a second, JAC. This is what I’ve been YELLING at you about or trying to get across. This is how I would like to see things go down regarding smaller govt. Like V is saying…where do we start? You,JAC have proposed eliminating the Dept of ED. Why? What is it there for? What is its purpose? Has it lived up to it’s purpose? NO, YOU SAY? GOOD! Get rid of it. IT’s Gone. We don’t need to deal with it any more. NEXT. EPA.. What is it’s purpose? Has it lived up to its purpose. Why or why not. Is it worth the money spent? NO? GOOD IT’S gone. We don’t need to deal with it any more. Social Security. Do we need it? Yes. Why? How can we phase it out? Who will be affected? What are we going to do about it? ETC. ETC. ETC..Do you see what I’m getting at and would this approach work?

        • OOOH, I like this approach too. What if several people, like a party movement (libertarian, tea, etc.) campaigned on a unified platform to do a certain task, or maybe two, and lets say they got in. It could be at a state level, but lets go with the ideal and say they got in at the federal level in enough numbers to get something done.

          The tasks would be:

          1) Halt the growth by the following means (this is a platform I have been thinking through how to articulate and accomplish, because it might be somewhat effective even if only one congressperson on this platform got elected.): Take every single bill and if it has pork or secondary issues not related to the main issue of the bill, vote no and place it on a website in detail with a statement of why you voted no. If a bill passes that test, look at the specific issue, if it increases government power and/or spending or is redundant with an existing law (or even in conflict with an existing law) vote no, post it on the web, and give an explaination. If it is conflicting with an existing law, the existing one must be repealed first.

          2) Use your idea Anita and set up a commission for means testing. If a program is not needed, scrap it. If a program is not functioning, scrap it. If a program is poorly functioning and not accomplishing what it should, but cannot be scrapped immediately, phase it out.

          • RIGHT….YAY !!!!!!……Now we’re making progress……Forget the commission. The commission is the next set of candidates. We need to get people who would tackle the govt piece by piece. DISMANTLE IT.

            • Ok, that makes sense, no means test (that would be a rod unto itself which is unlikely). We put people in that will do step one and step two is done by putting through repeal of agency one by one and just start knocking them down. I would not even be opposed to phasing some things out by selling off the department to a private industry. For instance, the FDA could be sold off to a private food inspection company, or 20 of them, if there were assets and personnel worth anything, since private agencies like that would be in demand to replace its function.

              • Cool. I like your idea of using a website to sort thru the trash bin too. Justify why your trash is needed and then maybe it can fit in somewhere or like you say sell it off to the private industry.

                See we got all the nations troubles solved in a matter of…uh oh…we need deadlines too, Jon.

                You get two weeks per problem. If you can’t figure out a reasonable answer then your dept. or project or whatever is GONE!!!

              • Too fast V, there has to be deadlines, but 2 weeks is way short considering the entrenchment level. I do like the idea of the departments having to justify themselves. If the people who do the job cant come up with why they do it, then it really doesnt matter what anyone else thinks, its useless.

              • 🙂 Yeah V !

                Jon, These guys waste too much time, period. If they would just sit down and do their job… How long does it really take to figure out a problem and fix it.

                I know I’m wishful thinking but, for real, you and I could go in there and do a better, quicker job.

                Keep a fire under their ass or they’re gone too.

              • Oh I know what will keep them busy tho. Another proposal I have had for some time is to sunset all laws. This means they have to be repassed every 10 years or so. That way, if a law is bad, it is more likely to get outmoded. Also, if a law coonflicts or is redundant, it will get dropped, or if technology makes a law irrelevant (like a local statute about where you can put your horse, or like the local one in my city that you have to honk twice at every 4-way stop. I have been so tempted to do this in the downtown residential area of richmond where there are 4 way stops at 50% of the intersections. At 2am. Just to make a point about how stupid our laws are.

        • Anita

          I understand and I thought I was trying to stay on task this morning. V. asked about local so that is what I was commenting on.

          I think your approach would work but I would ask more basic questions rather than does it work properly. I would start with those areas we think need addressed, like maintaining clean water and air. Then I would ask whether it must be a govt vs private function and then whether Federal vs. State vs. local function.

          Your way will work. I just think mine would take less effort because anything we didn’t identify would be automatically eliminated. But using the existing list could also help us identify the broader categories also.

          I’ll start with a couple you mentioned.

          Dept of Education: Education is completely controlled and executed at the local level. So there is obviously NO NEED for any Federal centralization. The excuse that a single repository of new thinking (that was way back when) would be helpful has been replaced by the internet and a rapid growth of private sector products/services. So the only remaining reason is “FUNDING” college for the poor. I happen to disagree with these programs but even if we had them, we don’t need a Dept of Education to hand the money to the States. The State and the Universities can administer the program.

          Lets take soc. sec.. Is there some overriding need for a Uniform Retirement system across the country? If so, then does it require Federal administration or does it just require uniform laws that the states could administer.

          In this case, I say there is NO need for a Uniform National Retirement system. Your retirement is yours to take care of and mine is mine. To establish a uniform system that treats us all the same is counter to the prime ethic of self interest and individual sovereignty. A system that treats us differently, more money for those of higher income, is a duplication of what could be done privately.

          Same for all welfare programs, medicaid, medicare, etc. Again they violate the base principle and Charity can serve the same purpose. In fact federal programs act against the goal, affordable health care. They contribute to the increased cost by trying to force supply of a scarce resource by increasing the demand. It violates the basic laws of economics.

          Now it is YOUR turn.

          Heh, heh, heh.

          By the way, how was your boat yesterday?
          JAC

          • What do you mean it’s my turn? To name something to get rid of? How about Homeland Security since they aren’t doing their job anyway? Isn’t that what the Armed Services are for? Securing our homeland? Get rid of Janet Reno Napolitano and all her cronies. Dept of Energy. What the hell do they even do? GONE. IRS? HEEHEE… Gone.. Your turn.

          • I dont know if we should do an autoeliminate. For one thing, there is SO much crap to go through, that a lot could be eliminated that needed a better process for elimination or even was needed but got overlooked in the process of evaluating other things. The other thing, is, of course, an autoeliminate makes too much change too fast. Just the unloading of government employees onto the market alone would be a massive economic impact. Its not something you want to dump in large segments. One step at a time.

        • Anita

          I had to go clear my head. Pulled a few weeds and got some fresh air.

          Your reaction this morning had me confused. Then I responded to where I thought you were going. But after posting my answer I read your and Jon’s exchange and got very, very confused. So let me regroup if you will.

          The Question posed by USW was “What is the proper role of government?”. I am trying to stick with that task, although as usual it is hard. This is in fact the correct question to ask FIRST, not whether some agency is needed or not. Just as the ethical base is needed to address the question of what a “proper” role is.

          You and Jon were constructing an “action” that in my view will get you no where. It is in fact the same plan used by every politician in my memory. It will not work because there is no VISION of what things SHOULD look like. So the debated becomes one of technical merit and efficiency instead of whether it fits the desired vision. Unless we can articulate the broader vision and give the citizenry the philosophical defense for its primacy, we will be run over by those who cry “but what about the poor, you heartless bastards?”.

          That is why the proper FIRST question is what is the proper role. So lets revisit my comments from yesterday. At least the two or three on the topic.

          Our base is individual sovereignty. I will not review how that is supported right now, but I have done so before. But to be absolutely free to do what we want is irrational. Thus the base ethic becomes Rational Self Interest. So within this context I have proposed that govt’s proper role in general is to protect our rights and our liberty. Withing this context I have proposed the following as proper roles of the Federal Govt.

          National Defense: Because there is a need for centralized planning and execution at the national level. Because protection of our liberty is paramount and can not be done by me alone or even with my neighbors.

          Environmental Protection Air/Water: Because air and water move and the pollution of these can sicken and/or kill people. An absolute violation of their liberty and rights. National standards make sense because not all pollutants and the effect of such can be traced to a single polluter.

          So now let me rephrase my question to you.

          What do you think the “proper” role of government is, and why?

          Now one we have not addressed and which is linked to V.H.’s question, is whether that “proper role” changes as you move to the local level. Or is it just the technical implementation that increases. Things like “zoning” and “building codes”, for example.

          Now I would like to know your opinions on the main question USW gave us.

          🙂 🙂

          • OMG I’m going to have to inflict some violence pretty soon. I WAS getting somewhere with Jon but you, you, youuuuuuuuuuuuu make things difficult! 🙂

            FINE! Federal government is around for leadership not dictatorship. It’s who you’re going to look to to solve problems that your state cannot handle or fund. How many things is that? Very few. National Defense. International cooperation on things like commerce. Agriculture- some rules need to be in place there.

            You’re going to get to that point of what government’s role is if you just start getting rid of what you know is not necessary at that level. but you keep wanting to do things backwards.

            Runnin my ass off for cover 🙂

            • Anita

              No reason to run and hide. In fact I am making a very hard effort to NOT debate anyone’s position today. I would like to hear what others are thinking. I can then take that, mull it over, and perhaps construct a more comprehensive and pertinent response some other time.

              Here is what I am trying to do.

              First, develop a general “desired condition” if you will. That is the nature of “what is govt’s proper role”. It is a general statement from which to evaluate the details later.

              Second, put a little structure to the “desired” but don’t get carried away. This is like you and V.H. building from bare ground. And that is where I come up with Military for defense, and some role in air and water quality.

              Third, compare existing to the desired. This comes later and seems to be where many want to start. Or maybe many already have a “desired” but just haven’t shared it. Anyway, this is when it becomes easier to show why XYZ Agency should be eliminated.

              Now maybe my method is messed up. If you think so just explain. But it seems to me if we just start taking agencies one by one we have no criteria to determine if they are “necessary”.

              Does this make any sense or am I just raising your frustration further?

              Now tell me how your time with your boat went yesterday. 🙂

            • Antia and V.H.

              One more thing.

              I am willing to use V.H.’s idea and build it from scratch or Anita’s and just tackle one at a time.

              I will try to step outside my own box for the sake of getting some ideas on paper.

              I have been waiting for this discussion for months and it seems we are stuck in first, spinning in circles.

              See, you guys are not the only one that gets those feelings.

              • I replied but it got stuck somewhere..Let’s wait & see if it pops up.

              • Anita

                Let’s start over at the bottom.

                I was waiting for V to post some ideas.

                Lets just go with building from scratch for now.

                If you have some then put down there and I will join you two.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      V.H.

      Local structure is not only necessary for survival, but it is necessary in order that we THRIVE! Survival is nice, but going way beyond survival and actually thriving should be the goal.

      Think of the goods and services you currently rely on government for, and begin to think of ways that these could be provided by voluntary cooperation and competition. As I stated in one of my posts above, there are few (if ANY) services which actually REQUIRE what we currently call government. The key is to change the mindset completely and come up with practical ways to provide the same goods and services without requiring the use of coercion and violence to get the job done!

      • The idea was more how would we start over from scratch without government as our structure. What problems would we encounter and how would we solve them. What type of government would we end up creating if we were the “founding Fathers” of a new America if she ever falls. By looking at it this way, maybe we could actually see how we became what we are and how to stop it from happening again. Work our way up from local survival into growth and then into state cooperation and see what federal we need. Work our way through a natural progression of building a society to hopefully help highlight what man can take care of his self and what he needs governmental structure to handle. But maybe I’m wanting to go to far back-it would just be nice to progress through what the problems would be and what our solutions would be-keeping our knowledge of what went wrong in mind and seeing if we can come up with a better plan or maybe just plug some of the holes that man crawled through.

        • I had proposed something similar to your idea to USW a while back. Has anyone ever heard of The Blog Cabin? It was an actual project conceived on a website where the participants actually voted on how this cabin would come to fruition. They voted on ideas such as should it be a two story, should it have a garage, should it have two or three bedrooms, etc, and the ideas were put to blueprint and the cabin was actually built. It was shown on the DIY network. I suggested a scenario where we were all sudenly dropped on the bare ground of America and we build the country from there. Everyone is equal weather you are black, white, mexican, polish, jewish, or catholic.

          • I like the idea even though I know it would be a long discussion. I also like your idea of looking at every government agency and determining what they do-can it be done privately, are they doing more than they should, etc.

    • V.H.

      Contrary to JAC’s idea, local politics will dissolve as well – a Police man will not be sitting outside your door fighting off criminals, he will be at home protecting his family from you!

      You must reach out NOW to your neighbors. Those physically close to you have a shared interest – the further away they physically are from you, the shared interest drops proportionately.

      You must be fully self-sustaining for at least 30 days – no dependency on water/electric/heat from “public” services. Within those 30 days, the shock will have been worn off and turned to functional desperation – primarily access to food and water. If you are in a city at this time, you will probably not survive this stage.

      • Fine, the 30 days are over-people have died-what then-I assume our paper money is worthless-so we turn to trade-we trade our labor and what we have for what we need-we start growing food. We have a criminal element harrassing and stealing. What do we do? Do we form a police force? Do we just self-protect. Do we need a government at this point? We should still have power plants,water processing systems, TV stations, radios etc. but no organization to run them, we get together locally and see what assets we have to get these systems running. Do we pass any laws to deal with the illegal activity????

        • V.H.
          What do we do?

          You will be dead, so don’t worry about it.

          …..

          A total collapse, over night, of government would be the end of Western Civilization, result in the deaths of tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people.

          I do not see this happening – but if it happens, I’ll be as dead as you.

          The scenario you should prepare for is as I suggested in post #10 – dissolution of the Federal Government

          • Okay, I’m confused-Per you-Jac is wrong-local government will fall too-which would mean that we are all dead per you-but I should prepare and worry about the fall of federal government. What have I misunderstood here? and just as a point the idea was to explore the founding of a new country to point out what problems would arise and how we should fix them with or without government.

            • V.H.

              Here is the ONLY thing you need to know.

              You and Anita and who ever else are welcome to come hang out with me if the shit hits the fan.

              WE ALL will be just fine.

              🙂 🙂 🙂

            • V.H.

              Do not look for solutions for a scenario about a collapse of government – you can guess and prepare until the end of time, and I can almost guarantee it will make no difference to your survival. You will need to be extremely lucky – in the odds about equal to winning a State lottery. Read: you will die.

              Work on dissolution of the Federal Government. It will no longer be able to pay its bills or enforce itself.

              Now what are you going to do?

              • I’m wishing I hadn’t said America has fallen-I wish I had just said lets construct a new civilized society from scratch and discuss what problems would arise and how we should handle them in order to determine what kind of society we would develop. It wasn’t my intent to get into a debate on whether or not all would die. But from your statements it would seem that staying involved in government and trying to gradually take away it’s power is important because if it just self destructs we will all be dead.

              • V.H.

                Okie Dokie.

                Start a new thread at the bottom including some of your ideas on the “new society”.

                I will join you there.

              • V.H.

                Correct.

                Like removing knife blades out of a body.

                Their presence is killing the body – but stopping the hemorrhage.

                Sudden removal of all the knives will definitely kill the body.

                The knives have to be removed before they kill the body.

                Thus, careful, timely extraction is vital to save the body.

              • Sounds like a plan. 🙂

              • Sorry, this is suppose to be an answer to JAC’s post

  33. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.”

    Thomas Jefferson

    • Peter

      Come in my friend, lets stay on topic. I know you have some good ideas regarding the “proper role” of the various levels of govt.

      🙂

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        JAC,

        This was a large part of the topic yesterday.

        Is “protection of intellectual property rights” within the proper role of Government?

        I would say no.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Also,

        Using the definition of government as follows:

        “Government: The entity with the self-proclaimed monopoly of the right to use coercion or force to enforce its edicts upon the non-violent.”

        By THAT definition (which I believe quite a few of us agreed upon months ago when we were discussing what the definiton of government is)…

        There is NO “proper role” of government, because it is not proper to use coercion or force against the non-violent.

        Now, if we want to CHANGE THE DEFINITION of what government is and what it is and is not allowed to actually DO, then we MIGHT come up with a societal organization which does actually have a proper role of some sort.

        However, by the definition I have given above, the “proper role” of government is “nada”.

        An improper thing cannot have a proper role.

        • Peter

          That is not the definition most of us agreed to. It restricts govt’s action to those against “non-violent” thus setting up, by use of the definition, an impossible scenario for govt to exist in a moral world.

          That is the goal of the definition. It is not a rational approach in my view to the evaluation of govt and an exploration of what it is and what its proper role should be.

          Another well accepted supposed definition is that “Govt is the monopoly on the use of legal force”.

          Now notice how significantly the other questions change by using this definition, yet maintaining the concept of monopoly on use of force. The debate now becomes over moral and ethical “law” and how to keep govt from imposing its own “collective” will upon the citizens by the use of “law”.

          • JAC,

            Peter’s definition is absolutely correct.

            It applies to all governments, present and past, without exception.

            You want to change its definition so to “keep it around”. But to do so does not alter its core premise, and thus, you will suffer precisely the same defects 100% of every other government has suffered.

            The monopoly on force cannot be enforced – for you would need to deny self-defense.

            If you allow self-defense, you no longer support a monopoly on force.

            This is the problem with USWep’s “Corner Store Government” – unless “government” can prevent competition – by using force on non-violent men – government as a concept cannot exist.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            I believe that you should go back to the discussions we had this past Spring on what the definition of the word “Government” actually is.

            I believe that at the time, a good number of us did actually agree to the definition which I gave, with almost that exact wording.

    • JAC,

      You hate it when you are on the wrong side of Jefferson in an argument, don’t you….

      🙂

      • BF

        Not really. But notice the quote is discussing IDEAS not “things” created from that effort.

        I am simply trying to get back to the topic at hand. Most of the time and space yesterday was taken by one small item in a vast list of items that should be explored.

        And the debate is going nowhere. I felt it was time to move on.

        • JAC,

          A man whose brain has an idea, but prevented from using his brain by force is an act of evil and you know it.

          I agree the THING you create is yours, and the THING I create is mine. Your trouble begins when you believe the THING I create with my brain and hands is yours.

          The debate is moving great. You simply refuse to answer pertinent questions – such as “what is the problem you are using this solution to solve?”

          You have claimed property is nothing but a society definition. You have not answered why society needs such a definition to begin with.

          You have claimed that something that is not real holds similarity to things that are real – but you have not offered the similarity that for you is able to define both the unreal and the real to be the same thing.

          Your Subjective Objectivism is suffering.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          We must all remember that copyright and patent laws in the United States were a COMPROMISE.

          One camp believed as Thomas Jefferson did, that ideas did not constitute property (therefore if you could DUPLICATE AN INVENTION RESULTING FROM AN IDEA which had been made public, there was NO PROBLEM)

          The second camp believed that although ideas were CLEARLY NOT PROPERTY, a writer or inventor should be ALLOWED EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS to the RESULT OF HIS IDEA for a FINITE PERIOD OF TIME.

          This essentially meant that the RESULT OF AN IDEA (an invention, a book, etc.) resulted in PAYMENT TO THE INVENTOR OR AUTHOR by READERS, PUBLISHERS, or DUPICATORS OF SAID INVENTION for a set period of time.

          After that set period of time, in theory anyone could duplicate a book or invention or use the associated ideas to make similar books or inventions or make improvements to such WITHOUT RECOMPENSE to the original author or inventor.

          So, the question should not be “are ideas property” because clearly they are not. The term “intellectual property” is technically moot. The question should be, “Is the original author or inventor entitled to EXCLUSIVE PROFIT from the RESULT of his ideas, and if so, does the patent/copyright system do this properly?

          • Peter,

            Does a man have the right to impose upon another man for his exclusive economic gain?

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              BF,

              I think that this is why Jefferson believed as he did in the quote I gave above.

              The ONLY way out of this mess using the concepts of freedom and liberty when it comes to ideas is “when it is out there, it is out there!”

              There are those who will clamor that “it isn’t FAIR” to the person who wrote the book or invented the light-bulb to have others immediately able to freely duplicate or improve upon it without recompense to the author or inventor.

              However, last I checked, “Life Ain’t Fair” is pretty much a maxim.

          • To BF:

            NAPSTER !!

            • Anita,

              Indeed!

              Though JAC has used the argument of “broad society support”, I find his argument fails. It is not broad – it is elistist.

              Only the elite and their adherents, actually a less than 1% of the population, enjoy the fruits of economic tyranny.

              The “broad support of society” measured in the millions actively bypass it or attempt to bypass it.

              • 🙂 You misunderstood me, brother !

                The people who used Napster got in trouble if I recall.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Anita,

                They got in trouble because of existing copyright law, which is contradictory to what I quoted from Jefferson above.

                Broad swaths of society were PERFECTLY HAPPY TO USE NAPSTER, in spite of existing copyright law.

                Most ARTISTS found that Napster resulted in INCREASED SALES OF THEIR WORKS rather than DECREASED SALES.

                Napster PROVED that the free market works, even when it comes to ideas (in this case music).

                It also proved that the government will go to any lenghts necessary to SHUT DOWN something which is exhibiting perfectly good free-market behavior!

            • Peter, The way I remember is the artists were pissed because Napster was providing free music instead of people purchasing it so they (the artists) were actually losing money.

              Same thing with BF wanting to grab Jon’s book and resell it. It’s Jon’s book not BFs. If BF resells it shouldnt he be in the same trouble as the Napster free music people?

              Napster has since reworked it’s site where you have to pay for music.

              • Anita,

                First, it is MY book, because I made it, so I can sell MY book as I see fit.

                I am not interfering with Jon selling his book.

                Whether group of economic terrorists scream and yell about their fictitious losses makes no justification for them to attack non-violent people by proxy of government.

                Napster’s move to a “pay” model was ineffective.

                The book “Spider and Starfish” is a great description of how center-less organizations will begin to dominate society, how the music industry’s assault on peer-to-peer music has destroyed their own industry, and the power of the aggregate in overwhelming the gatekeepers.

              • How about we call it by a new name -moral ownership vs immoral stealing and claiming it as your own. Would it exist for you to “own” if someone else haven’t invented it.

              • V.H.

                “Ownership” requires “Property” and we end up in the same bizarre scenarios we suffer already.

                These things are easily covered by Contract Law.

                There are huge advantages

                (1) it is specific in detail.

                (2) it defines boundaries and limits on all parties.

                (3) it is voluntary.

                (4) terms of use are well defined.

                (5) the parties involved are well-defined.

                (6) failure and breach resolutions can be well-defined.

              • How does a person who writes a book or sings a song enter into a contract with the millions of individuals who buy their product. I was pretty sure that you said a copyright form inside the product intself would be unenforceable.

              • V.H.

                You tell me.

                The core principle is immutable.

                You can NOT use violence on non-violent people

                After that, what you design is up to you.

                It could be a technology solution.

                It could be a contract solution.

                It could be something I haven’t ever thought of.

                But if it is valuable enough to you, you will figure it out.

              • Perhaps but why should it be made so difficult?

              • V.H.,

                Oh, sure, you can use the easy answer that other men have used for the last 5,000 years – kill anyone who disagrees with you.

                That is easy.

                Picking up a club and pounding someone on the head is easy.

                Trying to figure out an non-violent, mutual agreed solution to a conflict is hard.

                Civilization is hard work meant for a species with high intelligence – which is why other animals don’t have civilization.

                You want easy, live like an animal.

                You want civilization, it will be hard work.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Anita,

                The REASON that people got in trouble was existing copyright law.

                This is the same reason why BF would currently get in trouble for making “illegal” copies of “Jon’s Book” and selling the “illegal” copies.

                As I recall (and I will have to look this up), artists were losing royalties when their songs were being “illegally” copied; however, the use of Napster was actually INCREASING sales of the CDs of these artists because overall it generated more interest in their music.

                The increase in overall sales would certainly offset the loss in royalties, at least in my opinion.

                However, the key is that you have to properly define property, and as I showed with my Jefferson quote above, ideas can only be property if you keep them to yourself.

              • d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 says:

                When broadcast radio came to be, the recording industry threw a fit out of fear that people would listen to the radio for music rather than buy their vinyl records.

                They shut up when their record sales experienced record sales.

                Radio acted as free advertising for them.

              • Yes, I would be a fool to get mad at flag for copying my book and distributing it, or copying it and putting it online. I would be fine with that. What I do not want is him selling them and not sharing profit. More importantly, I do not want him selling it with HIM listed as the author, that is not just counterfeiting, it is fraud. NApster did none of those, neither did the radio.

  34. Facebook unrestrained amid NY ownership lawsuit

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook may continue business as usual while it fights a New York man’s claim he has a contract with founder Mark Zuckerberg that entitles him to 84 percent ownership of the world’s leading social networking site, a U.S. court heard on Tuesday.

    Paul Ceglia of Wellsville, New York, sued Zuckerberg and Facebook Inc last month claiming a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg to develop and design a website now entitled him to a majority stake in the privately-held company.

  35. I’m not trying to force anyone to discuss this from this angle. I just thought it might give the discussion more focus. So if I was going to try and have a civilized society. WE would need food, water, shelter and protection. I’m gonna figure most people will have some way of getting food and water-farming, trading their skills, etc. , shelter-hard work but build yourself a house. So first question-people who can’t provide for themselves-family’s take care of them-the community voluntarily helps? Second question -protection-we have weapons-protect ourselves-we create a police force-private or not-who pays-how do we decide? That’s a start. 🙂

    • V.H.

      I’ll walk with you.

      I say we have a police force. One that consists of two parts, whether distinct units I don’t know but for sure two primary emphasis. First is Prevention, Second is Enforcement.

      I would have a Council of representatives selected by smaller groups within the community. Representatives of neighborhoods, wards, whatever. As I said before, one for about every 2,000 folks, with a minimum of three or five.

      I would have one official responsible for administration of the local govt who is accountable to the council.

      I would add sewer and water treatment to the list of “local govt” responsibility.

      • V.H.

        I say we have security services that act as “Guardians of the Peace”.

        A council of “Elders and the Wise” to which resolutions of conflict would be delivered.

        No government – wholly unnecessary.

        All services would be easily provided by the People directly. No need whatsoever to entangle any concept of “public” services.

        • Okay you both are talking about starting a town 🙂 Now if I’m reading you right you both are talking about some form of majority vote to decide who these representatives or Elders are going to me and what they make decisions about. So is this a government are we giving these people control over us-yes or no-if yes, how do we limit their power, how do we keep them from governing themselves. If no-why not?

          • All we need is a secretary to record what everyone in the town has discussed. Mandatory attendance by everyone in the town. Majority vote or 2/3 or 3/4 votes wins. Don’t like it? Go make your own town.

          • V.

            Sorry, I was kind of jumping ahead, and to the conclusion there were quite a few of us in this “community”.

            It won’t take long before some conflict arises over somebody’s rights. At that point you are moving towards selecting someone (single or group) to act as Judge in resolving those disputes.

            Then we must decide whether we defer to his/her/their Judgment or do we write down a set of rules so everyone knows what they are and the Judges can decide without being arbitrary.

            • You jump where ever you wish-I don’t know what I’m doing so I might go wayyyyyy to slow 🙂 so we need some type of police for protection and we need a court system or elders to settle disputes. I personally like the idea of there being some rules which we at least as a majority agree with instead of just letting one man or a few decide for us. But again does this equate to government? I would say yes.

              • V.H.

                Yes it is govt. in my view.

                Just as the Tribal elders are a form of govt, so is our council.

              • So anyone, what laws would we need to protect against the basics like theft and murder-how about the cost of building prisons for the guilty and the other expenses related. How about paying the representatives. Then we have property ownership in the town-are there any regulations about what is built where-help me out here people-what next. 🙂

            • You’re going to have to write down some rules. So who gets to make them? I suggest taking a cross section of the people in the town. A mechanic, The barber, The grocer, The vet. The stay at home mom. This is the majority demographic in any town so they are the ones who get to make the rules. No lawyers, no cops, no billionaires.

              The first rule is Thou shall not kill.

              what is the second rule?

          • V.H.

            a government are we giving these people control over us-yes or no

            No.

            There are a resolution service – non-binding.

            Their job is to provide an unbiased adjudication to resolve conflict.

            If the participants agree or not, is not relevant.

            The Service allows YOU, the individual, to not have to spend your life-energy figuring out what’s going one between to conflicted persons.

            When the Service gives a ruling – and says “A is right”, you don’t have to delve into the particulars yourself (you can if you want) to decide how you will respond to A or B.

            As exampled with Jon above, the People say “Jon has a problem, the Service says Jon is right, the other man has refused Jon’s goods. Because the Service is wise and just and unbiased, I can reasonably act in a favorable manner toward Jon and a dis-favorable manner to the other man without having to delve into the minutiae of the issues.

            • Okay, I have a group of people who give their opinions, for the benefit of conversation I will accept they are honorable men-so they have no guidelines to follow simply their opinions-and they have no enforcement capabilities-So someone kills my neighbor-how is this handled-shunning IMO wouldn’t work very well.

              • d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 says:

                Why not just cut out the middle man and protect ourselves with things like guns and neighborhood security forces and such.

                IE – Put a couple armed neighbors on rotating watch duty patrolling the neighborhood. If something should happen that is beyond their control, have a hundred more neighborhood “minutemen” on standby.

                Anyone intent on causing harm would be dead in a matter of minutes.

              • Because I don’t feel that killing is always necessary -if it is so be it-but if not-what do we do with the criminals.

              • d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 says:

                That is up to you and your neighbors.

                Just a thought…

                Perhaps if you catch someone in your neighborhood trying to do something like steal a lawnmower, you could capture them and cuff them to a ball and chain, make them do yard work for the whole neighborhood. Feed them well, serve them lemonade, etc… when they are done, release them. If they come back to start more trouble – THEN kill ’em.

              • Not much for mob rule, myself-kinda like to give people a chance to defend themselves-don’t think I want to live in your country. 🙂

              • d89ghleem3n8kchcv9 says:

                Then give them a chance to defend themselves. Hold neighborhood court or something.

                Like I said,(what do do about the criminals) is up to you and neighbors.

                I was just throwing the above thought around loosely.

                I suppose if you catch someone breaking into your garage or whatever, you could just simply chase them off – If they resist or try to run off with your stuff – THEN kill ’em …and retrieve your stuff.

                In a post-collapse society, I personally wouldn’t want to try to rebuild government at all, but rather replace it with a social order based on natural law and personal responsibility.

              • What D89 said…

              • So in order to have a government free society, one must become a criminal. There is actually enforcement it just has nothing to do with justice.

              • I’ve gotta get ready to go out to dinner if anyone actually wants to talk about this from this angle feel free-I will be back later. 🙂

              • V.H.

                How is a man defending himself a criminal?

      • I dunno about water sewer. My first instinct is to keep government out of utilities and infrastructure just because they are so important, and government has a bad record for “keeping with the times”. That said, some things like roads are difficult to bill for without major privacy invasion. I will have to think that through. Infrastructure of that type is innefficient of duplicated, but also innefficient of regulated or government run…..

  36. Esom Hill says:

    I don’t believe there is a “fix” for America as it stands now. I think we have gone too far in the wrong direction, and have too many divisions among us, to EVER repair the damage.

    Maybe it would be better if we just split up into the individual factions and displaced to our own corners and said to hell with it.

    And for the naysayers that are sure to jump all over me for saying this, let me reply in advance.

    Do you really think, with the direction the Government is headed, with the deep divisions in philsophy and political beliefs, and with the bitter feelings all of this has caused, that we will back up as a nation and try to heal all the rifts in the fabric of this Nation?

    • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

      Esom,

      Methinks you are right. Just to undo what has been done in the last 18 months would take 20 or more years and that is assuming that you have a consensus that it needs to be undone. For openers, you would need to control both houses and the presidency. You then need to convince the majority in both houses that say,Obamacare has no merit. Just how easy is that? Of course you would also have to assume that characters like Bush the younger and Tom Delay would not be in positions of power. Then of course you have to assume that the courts wouldn’t louse up the whole thing.

      I have no idea what the answer is. I would hate to see the country physically break up. Even if this were possible, the regional conflicts involved might make 1861-65 look like a summer school picnic. Think of NY and NJ wanting to invade Ohio to stop the pollution from their coal fired electric plants. When one section became intolerable, how would you handle the migration? Not very likely to happen.

      Looking to the past for answers, I suspect the system will bumble along until it collapses of its own weight. Something like the Weimar republic will follow where people give nice speeches but unemployment and inflation will be the rule. A leader will emerge, he will not be George Washington, nor even an FDR he will probably be more of a Huey Long. In the absence of a Jewish dentist with balls, he will be elected to “save” us all. He will then set us against each other, bloodshed will result and the country will be a tyranny for X amount of time. After the internal enemies have been crushed (whomsoever they may be) he will need an external enemy to keep the folks eye on the ball. Canada and Mexico should watch out. I would not be surprised to see some type of nuclear war precipitated by miscalculation. After all, even Hitler blew a sure thing. If not, things will just continue. We will be in a sort of eternal 1960’s Albania or 1990’s North Korea. Since the “last, best hope for mankind is gone” don’t expect anything to change. Unless you believe in kindly space aliens, there is no cavalry out there to help. Depressing enough for you?

      Years ago there was a SF novel called “Vandenberg”. It was about a Soviet invasion a la “Red Dawn”. Well these folks made all the right preparations to wage their guerella war against the opressors. In the last chapter, they put on their extra sox and waterproof boots, loaded their rifles, mounted their horses and headed to the mountains. Within three pages they were all dead, victims of a Soviet Hind with night vision equipment.

      If nobody said it during the holocaust, they should have, “After all the books are burned, who will remember us?”

      • SK: Off Topic
        Re: Red Dawn

        My brother is a cop in Dearborn, Mi. His job for the last several months has been providing security on the set of the remake of Red Dawn. Release date Nov 2010. The only recognizable name is Connor Cruise, son of Tom Cruise. Good movie in 84. Hoping for the same on the remake.

        • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

          Unless it is John Milius directing and writing, it might be a PC disaster. Sort of like what was done to “Starship Tropers”. Felt like shooting up the theater after that one but realized I needed to get the director/screenwriter first.

          Why would anyone want to re-make perfection anyway?

          • Good point. I’m looking forward to seeing how Detroit looks in the movie. Right now it looks like a nuke just hit it. Just went to a Tiger game at Comerica Park last night and had to get through all the rubble to get to the stadium. Miles of rubble. 😦 On top of that the Tigers got shut out 8-0. Meow!

            • SK Trynosky Sr says:

              A PC/EO mayor for over 25 years (Coleman Young) pretty much explains a lot of what happened.

              There are other reasons too, some that people don’t even think on. The Success of many of the cities of the US relied on cheap energy. Windmills and solar ain’t going to do it. A major manufacturing center like Detroit devoured energy.

              I think back to .09 cent a gallon heating oil in 1972 and look at $ 3.00 per gallon oil today. Cold clime northern cities don’t make a lot of sense anymore when the bulk of rental housing income goes for fuel and taxes with little for maintenance. So, if you combine that with the cost of industrial energy, well that explains a lot about the economic end.

              Not having the will to crush the evil doers who used to have such fun trying to burn the place down helps too.

  37. Jon,

    This is likely just to simplify your point, but I wanted to understand why theft is violence.

    A detailed description from Dr. Hoppe is here:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe11.html

    1) Is it possible to own property that you do not require to live? I would say yes, I do not require a punching bag to live, but I own one. Is it still harm of someone steals it?

    Good question!

    The determination of what is required to live rests solely on YOU for yourself, not someone else.

    For you, the thief, to declare that I do not need “something” is invalid. You can only determine for yourself what you “need” or “don’t need” and I for myself.

    2) If my means of life is creation through art or writing or invention, and I need at least a portion of the proceeds of those things to live, how is that different?

    It has not be prevented.

    You have full and unfettered access to the free market to sell your services/wares at will.

    I do not say they are property per se, but if I need the revenue to live, how is that different than a farmer needing his crop and the revenue from it to live?

    You need to sell your sevices/wares like the farmer and his crop.

    How the market values such is the market’s choice. No one is interfering with you whatsoever.

    I am not locking you in a jail and stopping you.

    And our argument is “should ideas be protected by some method and why or why not?”

    You say no because it is not property.

    Correct.

    Ideas ARE NOT property.

    Property and Property rights exist to deal with scarcity and ideas are not scarce – therefore using property rights to manage idea and their use will end up with bizarre situations.

    But let us be clear – I have NOT said – ever – that ideas don’t deserve protection

    I can consider that ideas could be protected – and we have already gone through a number of scenarios – such as contract law – to do so.

    What I find interesting is given that there are identified solutions that do not entangle property, both you and JAC (and others) have thrown them away immediately.

    So what I see is this:

    (1) Ideas are not property
    (2) Idea “makers” appear to want to extract value from their “ideas”.
    (3) Idea “makers” attempt to use property – a solution to scarce resources – to protect their ideas – something that does not resemble anything as a resource, let alone scarce – creates bizarre and irrational issues and consequences.
    (4) Providing Idea “makes” with a viable alternative is immediately discounted as impractical while continue to demand the continuation of incredibly irrational situations.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      BF,

      On the one had you argue that contract law can (and possibly should?) be used for the protection of ideas.

      On the other hand you argue that going to court and ‘punishing’ the individual who breaches the contract is akin to using violence against a non-violent man.

      This leaves us where exactly? Returning once again to our book example — I have an idea. I manifest that idea in a book which I publish to sell. Through a mutually agreed upon contract, I agree to sell you the book and you agree not to republish the book. Despite our contract, you republish the book and sell it to others. I take you to court and the court finds that you did, in fact, violate our contract. Now what? Where does this leave me? All I have now is a non-binding, meaningless judgment from others that you broke a contract. You are still free to sell the republished book. In your society I seemingly have absolutely no recourse except the hope that you will be shunned. How is this a beneficial solution? Why should I conduct business with anyone if no one can be held liable for breaking a contract?

      Perhaps I am missing something in your views on the issue and how your society would operate? To be fair I haven’t had much time today to read through everything said from our debate yesterday.

      • Buck

        On the one had you argue that contract law can (and possibly should?) be used for the protection of ideas.

        Sure, it’s an idea whose time has come!

        On the other hand you argue that going to court and ‘punishing’ the individual who breaches the contract is akin to using violence against a non-violent man.

        Yep! No violence on non-violent men. Not ever. Nope. nope. nope.

        This leaves us where exactly?

        It leaves you turning on that 120+ IQ and thinking about it.

        You will figure it out – if it is valuable enough to you.

        If it is not valuable, you’ll not spend a second on it.

        If it is valuable, you’ll figure it out. Oh the irony, you’ll figure this fantastic great way that meets the above requirements and the first thing you will protect is this “great solution!” 🙂

        I take you to court and the court finds that you did, in fact, violate our contract. Now what? Where does this leave me?

        If I refuse to abide by the ruling – well, you’ve have learned a valuable albeit expensive lesson – do not do business with that scoundrels.

        You should have -before even starting the contract- investigated my background and history, finding out that I’m a “slimbag” and prone to ripping off authors.

        But your 120+ IQ somehow failed you and you went into a contract with a complete and total stranger as if he was your oldest best buddy.

        And you got burned.

        I bet you’ll not make that mistake twice.

        All I have now is a non-binding, meaningless judgment from others that you broke a contract.

        Hardly meaningless. It confirms your position as being good.

        This is incredibly valuable for society to enforce its non-violent actions upon the scoundrels.

        He is a walking dead-man. He’ll be lucky if he lives two weeks.

        In your society I seemingly have absolutely no recourse except the hope that you will be shunned.

        Hope???

        You been to court? Now there is vain hope! You “hope” the judge isn’t drunk that day and at least holds some sort of concept of logic. The odds, frankly, are low – because if he did, he’d be doing some real work in the real world!

        People do not deal with bad people because that tends to end badly. That is why BBB is a booming business model.

        As I pointed out above, the fault started with you.

        You failed your due diligence.

        You did not investigate.

        You blindly jumped into a relationship with someone you did not know. Without much surprise, you came away with cooties.

        Bet you won’t do that again!

        And look at the positive side, you taught all your friends, neighbors and family the lesson too, and saved them from making the same stupid mistake you did! You were their example of how not to enter into a business relationship. Your legacy is secure.

        How is this a beneficial solution? Why should I conduct business with anyone if no one can be held liable for breaking a contract?

        Why should you conduct business with anyone?

        Frank question, Buck. Have you ever owned, operated or managed a business?

        In my crazy life, I’ve not ever gone “into business” with strangers. I investigate them, find out their history, who they are, who they hang with, what they do and did and how it worked out – well before I work with them.

        The reason is simple. At some point in time, I will become vulnerable – it is a requirement in any relationship. As some point, trust will be involved and it will be unilateral. Either the other guy will have to trust me or I will have to trust him.

        If I can’t trust him, why the hell am I doing business with him.

        Now, on mundane things, this isn’t typically an issue – I’m not going to lose my shirt if the grocer sells me a rotten apple. My loss is small, and my response is huge – he will never get my business again.

        But where things are important – as in your example, where the value transacted could represent a figure involving a few zero’s behind it, it does matter.

        Caveat Emptor, Buck.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Once again, you are long on words and definitions but very short when it comes to a viable solution. You keep saying for me to use my brain and come up with a non-violent solution. I don’t believe holding someone accountable in court is violent. I also don’t believe shunning in and of itself is that viable a solution.

          How about if the contract specifically states: “If you breach this contract, you agree to submit yourself before a Judge and agree to abide by the Judge’s determination of reasonable punishment” or something to that effect. Would this then be violence under your definition? How is it violent if you, the breacher, are voluntarily agreeing to such?

          You are very quick to blame me in our little hypo for failing to do my due diligence. Would it matter if I did do my due diligence – I fully investigated you, found out that you have never breached a contract before in your life, that you have a solid reputation?

          Sorry if I’m coming off as a bit terse at the moment – still under a pile of papers and unable to spend nearly as much time on this as I would like…

          • Buck

            Once again, you are long on words and definitions but very short when it comes to a viable solution.

            I do Not Need To Provide a Solution.

            The People will make a solution if they want one.

            That is how all solutions evolve.

            We do not need to wait for the perfect solution for us to abandon evil.

            We abandon evil and work out how we go forward from that.

            I do not need to supply you all the recipes you need for the new kitchen – I built the kitchen, now you go start cooking.

            You keep saying for me to use my brain and come up with a non-violent solution. I don’t believe holding someone accountable in court is violent.

            Attacking a man is not violent to you?

            I also don’t believe shunning in and of itself is that viable a solution.

            *shrug*
            It’s only been the most powerful way to enforce moral standards in society since beginning of history, but its not viable to you….okie dokie.

            How about if the contract specifically states: “If you breach this contract, you agree to submit yourself before a Judge and agree to abide by the Judge’s determination of reasonable punishment” or something to that effect.

            …and what if I renege on that?

            How many ‘if then else’ do you need until you’ve justified attacking a non-violent man?

            You are very quick to blame me in our little hypo for failing to do my due diligence. Would it matter if I did do my due diligence – I fully investigated you, found out that you have never breached a contract before in your life, that you have a solid reputation?

            And, for you, I’ve decided to throw away decades of diligent and honorable reputation to screw Buck…*blink*

            Sorry if I’m coming off as a bit terse

            Terse is no prob, Buck – burn that paper!

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Interestingly put, but again, as you say “The People will make a solution if they want one”…

              One such solution as people came up with is establishing a judiciary and endowing it with the authority to hold individuals accountable for their actions that the people (society) deem wrong. You may find this to be imposing violence on the non-violent. I just don’t see that as the case.

              Shunning will work in many instances, I don’t doubt that. It works extremely well to enforce moral standards in a relatively small community. However, in today’s world it cannot work as you envision in all circumstances and it cannot operate to redress a wrong to an individual, such as economic harm. I can shun you all I want; I can try to get others to shun you. But this alone is often not enough, even if I can get others to join me.

              You seem to believe that it is ridiculous that someone who has never breached a contract in the past will breach one (at least thats how I take your “blink”). But why is that so hard to believe?

              • Buck

                One such solution as people came up with is establishing a judiciary and endowing it with the authority to hold individuals accountable for their actions that the people (society) deem wrong. You may find this to be imposing violence on the non-violent. I just don’t see that as the case.

                I’m positive you close your eyes when you see the club striking the bloke, and thus, violence doesn’t exist to you.

                You have long ago agreed that you love evil too much not to use it.

                Shunning will work in many instances, I don’t doubt that. It works extremely well to enforce moral standards in a relatively small community.

                Again, you’re argument is fallacious.

                Your system of evil doesn’t always work either, so by your complaint it should be discarded immediately.

                Buck -again- if the argument you use against my position also invalidates your position will make your argument a fallacy.

                You seem to believe that it is ridiculous that someone who has never breached a contract in the past will breach one (at least thats how I take your “blink”). But why is that so hard to believe?

                It isn’t hard to believe that it may rarely happen.

                But that’s the rub – extremely rare.

                It would be a very rare person who has spent decades creating a good reputation will throw it away on you.

                So your fear of a very rare circumstances causes you to inflict massive violence on everyone else to prevent it….*blink*

              • I am not talking about the guy with a good rep. I am talking about the standard asshole that bought a book. There are a lot of those.

            • Decades of reputation? For a guy who bought my book? I have to do background checks on every customer that buys a $20 book? Once again, you have found a way to squelch sales for anyone who wants to protect their invested work by not just handing the hard earned knowledge to anyone.

              I have no problem with doing copyright by individual contract. What I do not get is why an agreement that involves a court settlement if you breach contract cannot have enforcement. If the court decides I get a portion of proceeds of your sales of your copies of my book because the right to profit from the content is mine according to the contract, then it should have the same authorization to seize property that represents the value.

              Also, if there was fraud, then you damaged my business. We have not yet addressed whether business is property.

    • Contract law is fine. Unenforceable contract law is irrelevant. If the contract says I am owed value, and that you are withholding said value, how is it different than theft? Am I not owed value in that case as well? What is the difference?

  38. http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/07/21/2010-07-21_naked_cowboy_sues_naked_cowgirl_underwearclad_times_square_performer_says_she_st.html

    Naked Cowboy sues Naked Cowgirl, underwear-clad Times Square performer says she stole his idea, name

    **sigh**

  39. HI Ya’ll 🙂

    My lack of posting as of late has benn long and tough, but well worth it. Almost fully relocated in the wilds of PA. Hope to be up and running at full speed by mid-August. I have taken some time for taking pictures, which I will send to USW and ask that he forwards to everyone.

    Miss all of you!

    G!

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