23 April 2006

Eureka! This is Seriously My Pin-Up Girl

War, Profit, and the State

Thursday, April 20, 2006
Stefan Molyneux


All decent economists know the ‘fallacy of the broken window’, which is that the stimulation of demand caused by a vandal breaking a window does not add to economic growth, but rather subtracts from it, since the money spent replacing the window is deducted from other possible purchases. This is self-evident to all of us – we don’t try to increase our incomes by driving our cars off cliffs or burning down our houses. However it might please car manufacturers and home builders, it neither pleases us, nor the people who would have had access to the new car and house if we didn’t need it for ourselves. Destruction always diverts resources and so bids up prices, which costs everyone.


The State Is War

If the above is understood, then the hostility of anarcho-capitalists towards the State should now be a little clearer. In the anarcho-capitalist view, the State is a fundamental moral evil not only because it uses violence to achieve its ends, but also because it is the only social agency capable of making war economically advantageous to those with the power to declare it and profit from it. It is only through the governmental power of taxation that war can be subsidized to the point where it becomes profitable to certain minorities. Destruction can only ever be ‘profitable’ when the costs and risks of violence are shifted to the taxpayers, while the benefits accrue to the few who directly control or influence the State.

... [snipped]

Civil Rights and the Right of the State to Remove Them


I am interested in discovering a general rule for when exceptions to "inalienable rights" apply.

I believe that citizens/humans do/should have rights.

For example, I believe in an armed citizenry but a homidicial maniac citizen clearly should have his automatic assault rifle taken off him.


It is related to a demonstrated misuse of rights that have impinged on the rights of others.

For example, you impinge on the rights to person/property of others and you lose temporarily or permanently your right to your life/liberty.

You misuse your gun and your gun can be taken away from you.

So, how do we establish some sort of correlation or proportion or both?

How do we stop a fascist government (or merely the majority of citizens) from misusing the power to remove rights due to misuse of those rights?

For example, should you be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread?

Does my right to keep and bear arms mean I can bear them outside the militia? Establish my own private militia? Just own a gun? Automatic, semi-automatic or merely bolt-action? Carry them in public? Carry them concealed in public? What about a rocket launcher? A tank? A jet fighter?

Killing 25 people might disqualify me from life - that seems reasonable. But having a surprise inspection revealing a speck of dust on my rifle - do I lose it for a day? a year? for life?

How do we establish misuse of a right? Who decides? How do we establish which right was misused? Should it be that right that is removed?

For example, why do we deprive the liberty of someone who has deprived someone of their property? Is it because they misused their liberty to steal the property? Isn't that rather a long bow to draw?

Surely restoration of the property plus even a punitive fine would be more appropriate? Why jail? Or is jail appropriate for repeated offences. Why? I can see practical reasons - people fear for their property because this guy with an established pattern of stealing is lurking around. This reduces the efficiency of society.

So, deprive someone of their right to join the Army Reserve because they have a history of shooting people - ok. But because they committed non-violent theft?

How do we enforce these lines of reasoning?

The Real First Casualty of War

Interesting article by John Pilger, especially the first paragraph or two.


During the 1970s, I filmed secretly in Czechoslovakia, then a Stalinist dictatorship. The dissident novelist Zdenek Urbánek told me, "In one respect, we are more fortunate than you in the west. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and watch on television, nothing of the official truth. Unlike you, we have learned to read between the lines, because real truth is always subversive."

I think however that Pilger is as guilty of the things he accuses others of. If he hadn't been driving his own political agenda rather than sticking to journalism, the good he could have done may well have happened.

For example, I want to know about things like:

It was during this time that I made a series of documentaries about Cambodia. The first, in 1979, Year Zero: the silent death of Cambodia, described the American bombing that had provided a catalyst for the rise of Pol Pot,...

whether because I care that my government's (or its allies') actions are evil or only that they are counterproductive.

But when he says things like:

The target was another impoverished nation without resources: Nicaragua, whose "threat," like Vietnam's, was in trying to establish a model of development different from that of the colonial dictatorships backed by Washington.

he loses credibility. I would counter that it was perfectly plausible (even if untrue) to argue that Nicaragua was not "merely" trying to develop using a different model (after all, what was Japan, or Western Europe?), but was the pawn of an evil empire bent on world domination (oddly enough the same "Stalinist dictatorship" he seems to be trying to distances himself from).

He should take a line from Fox News: We report, you decide, (to which they are more famously but equally unfaithful).

The tragedy then is that, at least in a pragmatic sense if not an ideal sense, he "deserves" to be censored - and we are all the poorer for it because he tries to use these important stories to make great logical leaps to support his assertions about the biggest issues in the world.

In fact it is Pilger's unfaithfulness to the ideals of his profession that deprives us of an important alternate source of information.

Columbine copycat plots

Why bother? I can think of much more constructive outlets for one's explosive emotions.

Columbine copycat plots

April 23, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald

THREE separate plots to shoot up US high schools have been foiled exactly seven years after the worst US school shooting, at Columbine, Colorado.


The pair - Trevor Fattig and Sean Amos, both 17 - allegedly told classmates they planned to use guns and explosives in a shooting rampage at Platte County High School in Platte City on Thursday, Mr Zahnd said.


A student told school officials about the alleged threat.

A second plot was foiled at a Minnesota Indian reservation, the site of a shooting one year ago in which 10 people died.


In a third incident, in Midwestern Kansas, several youths were taken into custody for a similar plot on the April 20 Columbine anniversary, US ABC News said.

"There's still a lot of attention to that [Columbine] event. And it's also the birthday of Adolf Hitler," Riverton School District superintendent David Walters told CNN television.


Five boys aged 16 to 18 were taken into custody in Riverton, reported ABC News, which said a hearing was scheduled for the boys late yesterday.

Authorities learnt of the plot from a woman in the US state of North Carolina, who saw threats posted on a youth-oriented website.

... [snipped]


My Pin-Up Girl

Helicopter hijacker to be freed

By Alex Mitchell and Erin O'DwyerApril 23, 2006

Lucy Dudko, the gun-toting librarian who hijacked a helicopter to airlift her lover from the maximum security Silverwater prison in 1999, will be released on parole on May 8.

The State Parole Authority has decided to set her free in two weeks' time after model behaviour behind bars and because she is a first-time offender.


The earliest the "Bonnie and Clyde" couple can be reunited is 2013 when, at the age of 71, he becomes eligible for parole.



08 April 2006

The Shanwei Shootings and China's Situation

The Shanwei Shootings and China's Situation

By George Friedman


China is a mass of dispossessed farmers, urban workers forced into unemployment by the failure of state-owned enterprises, and party officials who are urgently working to cash in on their position. It is a country where the banking system has been saved from collapse by spinning off bad debts -- at least $600 billion worth, or nearly half the GDP of China -- into holding companies. This maneuver cleaned up the banks' books and allowed Western banks to purchase shares in them, shoring them up. But it also left a huge amount of debt that is owed internally to people who will never see the funds. Imagine the U.S. savings-and-loan scandal growing to a size that was nearly half of the national GDP. As it happened, in the United States the federal government swallowed a great deal of the S&L bad loans -- but in China, these bad loans would just about wipe out the country's currency reserves, assuming that the numbers provided by the government are valid.


[my italics]

01 April 2006

Country Studies

Guarantees of Liberty

Among the natural rights…are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.


- Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (November 20, 1772)


A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”

- George Washington - Speech of Jan. 7, 1790,in the Boston Independent Chronicle, Jan. 14, 1790


A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

- 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution, commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights




Li Ka-shing

Li Ka-shing
($18.8 billion)

The greatest accomplishment you might expect of a high-school dropout selling artificial flowers might be a graduation to selling real ones. But top 10 billionaire? Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing never benefited from an advanced education, but it hardly seems to have deterred him. Asia's richest person, also known as "Superman," accumulated his self-made billions through diverse interests ranging from real estate to cell phones, which allowed him to build empires out of his Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa corporations.Quote: "Money isn't as important as teaching sound principles about money."