Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quit Yer Bickerin'

Have you found yourself on Facebook constantly fighting with someone who posts something you disagree with or when someone disagrees with one of your posts? Have you found yourself debating, yelling, and bickering non-stop with the same person over and over again? Have you come to the realization that nothing has changed since the time you have spent rambling on about your position? I would be a liar if I said I had not realized that for some time. But I have come to the realization that although healthy debate is useful , for those of us that approach a debate in good faith of opposing views,it gets us no where. We can bicker for ages over if the state should exist, or if there should be a limited government, or a bigger government in certain areas.

As anarchists, liberals, conservatives, libertarians or whatever you call yourself it should be apparent that politicians are not doing much to help society progress. Be it for the poor, the middle class, equality, healthcare and so many other essential areas of concern for people. So what are we doing as people to help each other because arguing helps no one other than our intellectual egos.

We all have many friends that we disagree whole heartedly on many subjects, but we are still friends. A good friend of mine, and one that challenges me intellectually, is a left leaning anarchist. I have another good friend who is a constitutional libertarian and we can bicker for years on end over the existence of the state. I have good friends who are typical republicans and typical democrats. What do we all have in common though? We all typically want to help everyone else. None of us like people being poor, lacking healthcare, or being unable to pay for life's necessities. We all have different ways to help provide people with these things but we all want to help them.

So what can we do with one another to further help society? Legislation is hard to get passed for all the things people want so that probably is not the best way. What path has the most efficacy?

I think our best bet is to start locally in our own communities.

Have a liberal friend who is disgusted that the poor have such a hard time getting food? Grab that liberal friend and do something about it. Donate to local food banks, if money is hard to come by go volunteer your own time. Help people grow gardens so as to help them become more self sufficient, because not even liberals want people to be dependent on government.

Have a conservative friend who is disgusted over our failing public school system? Grab that conservative friend and go volunteer at tutoring centers for the subject which bests suits you. There are kids out there that need help and who are looking for it, I would know private tutoring paid for many of my hobbies throughout high school and college. Parents know that schools can't physically help each individual student so help them out. Make your community smarter by helping kids think through physics or algebra problems.

You have an "other side of the road" anarchist friend who you disagree with fundamentally on many issues as I do? So what, shake their hand, and go out and help your community in whichever way you best can.

Lastly, live a life of kindness and humbleness. Live your life to help each other because none of us can depend on anything but each other to promote the advancement of society. Whatever your ideology is, or your friends, go out and make a difference in this world because sitting behind a keyboard just arguing will get us nowhere.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Issue of Equality

The recent discussion caused by the SCOTUS's review of Proposition 8 is most frequent among Facebook status' including my own. People are coming out with their belief over same sex marriage and its legality. This topic has made me think about equality in general.

It should go without saying that people should be able to marry whomever they wish, whatever marriage might mean between consenting adults. This is because their choice to enter this agreement has no bearing over your life and you must initiate force to deter such an agreement. This is true if that "marriage" is between two adults of the same sex, different sexes, different races, or a multiple of these sexes and races. It should also go without saying that no one should be forced into any type of marriage to which they do not agree to.

Many people go and say that allowing, specifically, gay and polygamous marriage, which goes against their religion or beliefs, they would be forced into recognizing such agreements. This is not true in the slightest and should not be allowed to be true. You do not have the right to not be offended by people's choices like marriage, just like you do not have the right to not be offended by stupidity. It stands to reason that not everyone is like you and because of that their differences have no concern to you. But what cannot be defended is forced association. If people, and by extension companies, do not wish to associate with people different than them that IS their right. It is NOT your right to force people to associate with you if they do not wish to, even it is because of your choice on marriage. It is up to individuals how they want to live their lives and whom they want to associate with.

But to extend this issue of equality even further I urge you to question if equality can ever exist under our current system of governance or any governance for that matter.

I hold that true equality is IMPOSSIBLE when the State exists and we can't be equal people until the State is dissolved. This is because for the State to exist it must perform actions that are illegal for citizens to perform otherwise. If it is wrong for citizens to murder, steal, and kidnap it should be illegal for the State to murder, steal, and kidnap. If it is wrong for citizens to dictate how others should live it should be wrong for the State to dictate how others should live. For true equality to exist all individuals should be subject to the same actions and the consequence of said actions.

Without the State comes freedom, with freedom comes equality, and with equality comes the advancement of the human people in all aspects of life.

Monday, March 11, 2013

In Response to Christopher on Logic

This is in response to a post by an anarchist without adjectives about the logic concerned with those that believe in Anarcho-Capitalism. I believe his post has a lot of merit and a lot to add to the discussion of a stateless society. The post can be found here. I hope a lively discussion can continue from all of this.

His argument starts from giving a little tutorial on logical constructs, something he is correct about and I have no problem with. His tutorial is over sufficiency and necessity and how they are used. His examples for necessity are that for "john is a bachelor" to be true he must be a male, married, and an adult, these are NECESSARY conditions in order for the first statement to be true. As for sufficiency one can say that "john is a bachelor" and by saying that it is a SUFFICIENT condition to say that john is a man. He also makes this statement.
Now let's evaluate how these two concepts work together. A condition can be either necessary or sufficient without being the other. For instance, being a mammal (Q) is necessary but not sufficient to being human (P). A condition can also be both necessary and sufficient.
A good lesson over what he is about to lay out.

We must remember that all attacks on the definition of some term is always stemmed from ones own belief of what that word really means. Many people identify themselves as libertarians but we don't all agree on what libertarian means and many of us with the general same goal stick our nose up at other "not really libertarians". Christopher's attack is based off his (and others) definition of what anarchism is based off history and their own subjective beliefs. AnCaps do not fit the definition he has for anarchism therefore they are not anarchists.

Christopher does not go bashing on AnCaps and their beliefs he merely asserts that they are not the anarchists they claim to be by his standards. From his article it seems that he defines anarchism as both the opposition of state authority and capitalist hierarchy. He claims that since AnCaps only oppose state authority they only have a necessary but not sufficient condition to call themselves anarchists.

With his definition of anarchism you cannot disagree with him that AnCaps aren't anarchists as he defines it. But I question the logical consistency of any form of anarchism even from the left leaning side. Christopher quite brilliantly balks at the logic behind how AnCaps oppose the State and not private property or as he says
to turn the bad ("ultimate decision-making power over a given area" The State ) into the good ("ultimate decision-making power over a given area" A private individual).
Bold added by me

It is something I have never thought of in terms of logical consistency and I truly believe this point alone is engaging and is the purpose of me wanting to respond because it truly made me think about my position. But do not worry fellow voluntarists I have not stepped away from my beliefs as I am still a market anarchist! I think there is much merit to that point but I also think it can be used to attack left leaning anarchists logically.

That is because at its core if the "ultimate decision-making power over a given area" where that area is my body and the land my feet lay upon is not given to me to whom can claim it? If not the person whose mind has total control it must be either someone else or a group others. Rothbard lays this out in many of his books starting from an island populated only by Crusoe and then going to Crusoe and Friday. If Crusoe does not have the ownership over his body then it must belong to Friday or a group of unknown people. As left leaning anarchism is typically defined as common ownership of scarce resources then it follows that every person on Earth "owns" all the scarce resources. This now holds that every person on Earth has "the ultimate decision-making power over a given area" where that given area is Earth itself. Every person on Earth has power over every other person on Earth therefore IT also fails to be sufficient to his definition of anarchy since there really would be no opposition to power.

The question then becomes whom should have the "ultimate decision-making power over a given area"? The individual whom has the control over his own body or a group of individuals, be it a State or whole group of individuals?

I'm sure you know my answer.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What About the Children?!?! Part 1

In discussions when we can sometimes, not often, but sometimes get passed the question about roads, chaos, and other things that are wrongfully attributed to a free society the question of children's education is often next. I don't find it to be a silly question but rather one that is caused by virtually everyone's upbringing in a public school. It is easy to believe that if schools are not tax funded the poor would be left without education while only the rich will have access. I feel this is completely unfounded and also believe that no publicly funded schools would greater enhance the education of our children, free society or not.

First, I'll present an attack on our current system and how it has failed to educate taking away the argument that we need publicly funded schools to educate in the first place. Secondly, I will show how a pure private approach to the education of our children will greatly improve the ability for them to learn. Lastly, I will provide the argument that even the poor will have access to education, a much better education.

The belief that our current education system is good or can be saved is why so many people hang on to it. The belief that our k-12 schools pump out knowledgeable students ready to enter college is strong in the hearts of many. But what if I was to claim that they are wrong? What if I claim that we aren't knowledgeable and ready for college? I am a recent product of the public school system and am very aware of the way teaching is done. Teachers teach what they are told to teach, not all because they want to but because they have to. Standardized tests are set to the lowest denominators by bureaucracy. There's no way teachers can adapt to the many ways different kids learn. They have to just make sure, for the sake of their job, that their students can pass the standardized tests. Although it is good that there are advanced placement classes for the brighter kids, I'm more particularly concerned about those that have a tougher time learning. The smarter kids do well regardless of a public education, while those with different learning capabilities are left in the dust.

My next argument against public education is one most people don't like to hear. It is my belief that public education is an indoctrination center set up by the State for the State's intended goals. Pumping out as many citizens that will not think and abide by what they say no matter what. We are taught history and economics the way the State wants us to learn history and economics not the way it actually happened or how economics actually is. We are taught that certain presidents have been the best and others bad while certain policies have saved us and others have hurt us. We are offered one point of view and we must accept that point of view as fact. We are only taught that Keynesian economics is good for the economy while the Chicago school and especially the Austrian school are ignored and pushed aside. We are only taught what the State wants us to learn with no other alternatives. So instead of public education providing for a well informed student ready to enter the next level of learning, public education provides sheep ready to accept anything the major media outlets informs them to believe because the government is never wrong.

All you have to do is ask the regular student about politics and depending on whatever party he's affiliated with he'll accept everything they have to say as truth without attempting to analyze the effects of any given policy. Part 2 will contain the rest of my argument, stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fighting The Word Greed

One of the biggest emotional arguments I hear when talking about true capitalism is the issue of greed. I call it an emotional argument because it is not one based on reason but off a reactionary knee jerk of failure to understand economics. What is missed is the fact that I use greed as a logical argument FOR capitalism. I believe greed is a necessary and important facet in the cogs of a free market. It is not because I believe greedy people hurt the poor it is because greedy people in fact help the poor.

I've heard it from those on the left and on the right that without a social safety net backed up by theft, I mean taxes, people will die on the streets. They will have no ability to have food, shelter, and other necessities. The greedy rich WOULD NOT just voluntarily help those in need, no they will allow them to fall to the floor and die. This argument is for one not backed by any historical data or true economic understanding.

Without going to deep into the causes of higher prices for many goods like health care and living expenses we need to look into the historical data before the introduction of the welfare state. I will leave it to you to look up the data of how people lived just fine without a social safety net. In the case of health care there were many "clubs" that people paid and donated to to be a part of. These clubs were completely financed by private efforts to take care of not only yourself but for those that could not pay on their own. These clubs were known as mutual aid fraternities and were common before the introduction of heavy regulations that were used to INHIBIT competition.1 Greed did not hurt the poor, the free market did not hurt the poor, the State with its regulations hurt the poor.

On the economic side without going into charities and the like greed is a very important attribute to helping the poor. This at first would seem to be the opposite case, but this is not so. Capitalists have money because they are good at investing into projects that hold value in the future, value that gives them more money than they would have in the present case. With their ever growing "greed" and continuous want to create profits for themselves they don't just stay idle with the money they have. Remember they are good at turning their present stock of monies into a greater stock of monies in the future. It should be obvious that they WANT to make more money in the future so it follows that they will want to continue to invest.

When they invest they allocate resources into their project for capital goods. These capital goods are bought because they increase the efficiency of how the products are made. With this efficiency caused by the investment into capital goods they are able to create more products for the same amount of inputs, lowering the cost to make each product. With the lower cost to produce their goods they are able to lower the price they charge for their products. They want to do this because they would attract MORE customers from other competitors charging higher prices for the same good.

Well what happens next? It should be obvious that now prices are lower so poor people can now afford these goods or afford more. But it doesn't stop there. Other greedy entrepreneurs and greedy capitalists in the same industry see that their is a chance to make money in this market. So they will invest ever more money into capital goods in an attempt to be able to produce cheaper products so they can also get a piece of the pie.

So you see greed in this case is actually good, this greed fuels competition among the capitalists. It is the greed that allows people to afford goods that at first could only be afforded by richer people. It is the greed that has allowed for the poor to afford cars, tv's, and cell phones as opposed when they could only be afforded by the richest of people.

Greed is not the problem, the State and its regulations to restrict competition is the problem.

1 http://mises.org/daily/5388

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In Defense Of The Firearm Price Gougers

With recent shootings and even more political drama over the use of firearms everyone has been in a frenzy of buying anything and everything they can get their hands on. I myself have been guilty of buying bulk amounts of ammo when I could find some in stock. It's not a rare sight to see people buy everything on the shelves.

With a basic understanding of your Economics 101 class it should be obvious that demand has sky rocketed and supply has plummeted. With this comes a new supply and demand curve leading to a higher equilibrium price for anything firearms related.

I'm not here to talk about these obvious actions of the market, but of something more prevalent right now. That's those pesky price gougers that have marked up ammo, firearms, and magazines by up to 100% if not more. Those that are fans of firearms tend to lean more to the right. They tend to believe, more or less, in competitive free markets. They tend to yell at those on the left for using emotional arguments that are in favor of gun control instead of facts and logical arguments.

With the current shortage and price gouging they don't realize they're using emotional arguments against those companies that are price gouging.

I'd like to offer the logical argument in favor of price gouging so that we can get away from useless emotional arguments that we all hate to hear. I intend to defend the price gougers for their essential role in a free market.

First we must quickly bring up the facts about acting man and his role in the market. It should suffice to merely say that in any transaction, two actors in order to fulfill their wants rate what they are willing to sell and buy at that certain moment in time. This lists of rated wants is not constant and actually changes depending on the ever changing situations of life.

So what does this have to do with price gougers? Why are they pricing their goods so ridiculously high? It must be noted that prices aren't set by production costs or even distributor costs. Prices are set by what sellers believe buyers are willing to pay for any good. Right now these price gougers believe that people are going to be willing to pay their outrageous prices and that's why they do it. It has nothing to do with greed and everything to do with the consumers.

Price gouging obviously does not originate with firearms crisis. Natural disasters are another time when price gouging becomes the norm. And bringing up government intervention of price ceilings, price gouging is very important here as well.

I believe this analogy to be of importance-

A hurricane hits and people are left without power to their homes. People are now in need of, let's say, ice in order to keep their food from going bad. Some have a good amount of canned food that doesn't need ice while others haven't prepared and have only food that can stay good cold.

So everyone starts going to their local grocery stores. One situation exists where the government has set a price ceiling and the other where no price ceiling exists. Where price ceilings exists and companies are not allowed to set higher prices for their goods people are hurt. If the price ceiling is set at 3.00$ than the first people to arrive at the store are going to quickly buy the ice regardless of their situation at home. It won't matter if they have more canned goods than frozen because at that price they believe they can take it home and use it. Those that arrive later to the store for the ice will quickly find that all the ice is gone, and they might need it because they don't have canned goods but only frozen.

The other situation is where price ceilings are not enforced. Groceries see it fit to price their very limited stock of ice at a price of 15.00$ which is a tremendous mark up from what it was before. Aren't the grocery stores greedy now for price gouging when people are in times of need? Not at all, in fact they are helping people by price gouging. This is because as everyone races to the groceries to stock up on ice not everyone is now willing to pay 15.00$ over the 3.00$ for the bag of ice. Those people who have a stockpile of canned goods see no reason to pay such a high price for ice when they can suffice off what they have, so they forego the ice. Those that have little to no stockpile of canned goods and are actually in a great need of ice ARE willing to pay the 15.00$ so that they can save the food they do have. It no longer becomes a race to the grocery store where if you show up late you're left out. It now becomes a matter of need, a matter of who is willing to forego the extra price in order to get what they want. Now those who actually need ice have a higher probability of getting it instead of losing it to those who might not.

What does this have to do with firearm price gouging? The lesson is exactly the same.

Someone like me, where I have a comfortable amount of ammo, magazines, and already have an AR15 I'd be willing to start buying more ammo, magazines, and another AR15 or AK47 at prices that we are accustomed to seeing. But now that the prices have skyrocketed by the price gougers I'm not willing to forego the extra money for more of something I already have. By not being willing to pay the extra cost I'm leaving the available stock to those who might not have a comfortable amount of ammo, magazines, and an AR15 already. Those who now realize they might want to buy them now and are willing to pay the extra price are going to be able to pick up these goods when they wouldn't be available had the prices been left to what we are used to seeing.

Price gougers help those people that are in actual need of goods, there's no such greed involved.

You either support capitalism or you don't and price gouging has an essential role in the intricate gears of a free market.