How To Do Things With Words

I propose some new terminology: left-conflationism and right-conflationism.

Left-conflationism is the error of treating the evils of existing corporatist capitalism as though they constituted an objection to a freed market. Right-conflationism is the error of treating the virtues of a freed market as though they constituted a justification of the evils of existing corporatist capitalism.

Bosses of the Senate

Yes, these are basically just Kevin’s “vulgar liberalism” and “vulgar libertarianism” in new garb. And yes, the new terms sound more awkward and jargony than their predecessors.

But the advantage I claim for them is that they also sound less insulting than their predecessors. Of course neither set of terms entails anything about the etiology of the views it names. Nevertheless, left-conflationism and right-conflationism sound like intellectual mistakes, ones that well-meaning people might fall into; by contrast, vulgar liberalism and vulgar libertarianism sound like character flaws – the outlooks of, well, vulgar people. And to be sure, in many cases they may be. But not all; and we only make it harder for ourselves when our terminology alienates the very people we’re trying to persuade.

I’m not suggesting that we should simply junk the terms “vulgar liberalism” and “vulgar libertarianism.” There’s a time for polemics, and when we want polemical terms it’s handy to have them. But when we’re not engaged in polemics, it’s also handy to have a term for our interlocutors’ position that isn’t a conversation-stopper.

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140 Responses to How To Do Things With Words

  1. Less Antman December 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Chrome 8.0.552.224 Windows XP

    I agree. Assuming our purpose is to persuade, our selection of language should be made in a way that both honestly expresses our views to the listener and increases the probability they will actually listen. Personally, though, I prefer right-zaxlebaxy and left-zaxlebaxy.

  2. Sheldon Richman December 27, 2010 at 8:38 am #

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    I like it! Er, them.

  3. Shawn P. Wilbur December 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Firefox 3.6.13 MacIntosh

    Those seem useful. There also seem to be some other varieties of conflation, that I find harder to label: the tendency to treat existing market injustice as necessarily a matter of corporatist capitalism, which therefore will not emerge in freed markets; and, the tendency to simply conflate all actions of government with “violence.”

    • Roderick December 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

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      the tendency to treat existing market injustice as necessarily a matter of corporatist capitalism, which therefore will not emerge in freed markets

      I wonder if that might count as a form of thin libertarianism — perhaps grounds thinness?

    • MBH December 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

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      [...]the tendency to simply conflate all actions of government with “violence.”

      If it makes sense to talk about left and right conflationism — which I agree it does — then that phenomena should be libertarian-conflationism.

      • Paul Wakfer December 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

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        Although I would agree that the vast majority of libertarians are guilty of one or other kind of conflationism, I strongly disagree that:

        the tendency to simply conflate all actions of government with “violence.”

        is conflationism at all. This is because all actions of government are based on the use or threat of physical force. Without such use or threat all decisions of the State would be impotent and moreover it would necessarily cease to exist. That is why I constantly maintain that the State minions who need to be influenced by Social Preferencing are first and foremost the enforcers.

        • MBH December 28, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

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          Your contract functions,

          [...]to maximize the probability that my Rational Actions will accomplish the immediate purposes for which I Choose and Perform them.

          I think though that a rational agent can reflect over the “immediate purposes” throughout his or her life — since immediate is an indexical term with countless references — and be thankful that their probabilities for accomplishment were not higher on countless occasions. To me, the ability to not seek the accomplishment of immediate purposes is extremely valuable. And please don’t respond that not seeking such accomplishments is an immediate purpose. (1) That’s tautologous and so senseless. (2) The very purpose of not seeking higher likelihoods of success is to avoid the rule of immediacy. Long-run purposes often conflict with the myriad immediate purposes.

          [...]all actions of government are based on the use or threat of physical force. Without such use or threat all decisions of the State would be impotent and moreover it would necessarily cease to exist.

          My concern is not necessarily to doubt that. What I doubt is whether certain situations — caused, not caused, or partially caused by the government — are so deeply embedded that counter-economics and proper education cannot take hold without large-scale pre-plays. Agorism is too costly for most people unless they believe they will re-orient on a more optimal level. I don’t see many people with that belief in the absence of third-level regulations/deregulations that permit or even encourage pre-plays.

        • Paul Wakfer December 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

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          Note: I have done a reply to my own message because there is no “reply” button for MBH’s reply to my message. Perhaps there is a depth limitation to replies on this blog software?

          MBH wrote:

          Your contract functions,

          [...]to maximize the probability that my Rational Actions will accomplish the immediate purposes for which I Choose and Perform them.

          I am pleased to see that you have examined my Natural Social Contract (NSC).
          Contracts do not have anything technically defined as “functions”. They have definitions of terms (particularly necessary to avoid the ambiguities inherent in most vernacular language usages) and they have clauses (stipulations) specifying what are often called “rights and responsibilities”. They also generally have a set of “whereas” statements at the beginning as purely introductory information to give some idea of where the contract parties are coming from and what is their general purpose for concluding this contract. What you have quoted above is from the Whereas section of the NSC.

          I think though that a rational agent can reflect over the “immediate purposes” throughout his or her life — since immediate is an indexical term with countless references — and be thankful that their probabilities for accomplishment were not higher on countless occasions. To me, the ability to not seek the accomplishment of immediate purposes is extremely valuable. And please don’t respond that not seeking such accomplishments is an immediate purpose. (1) That’s tautologous and so senseless. (2) The very purpose of not seeking higher likelihoods of success is to avoid the rule of immediacy. Long-run purposes often conflict with the myriad immediate purposes.

          1. My capitalized words/phrases (Rational Actions, Choose and Perform in the above) are precisely defined technical terms used within my system – but for ease of learning, generally very close to one of the vernacular meanings of the word. Therefore, it is only possible to discuss the meaning of my statement above after thoroughly examining my technical definitions for those terms in the statement which are capitalized. (BTW, this is no different than when trying to understand a branch of mathematics or any single science.)
          2. WRT “immediate purposes” (used in the vernacular sense), I assume that one has already considered all Available Actions and has reduced them to those which it is reasonably possible to accomplish immediately (meaning within the very near term time-wise), while still leaving sufficient time for Actions toward the accomplishment of longer-range goals.
          3. I am concerned that you do not have a correct idea of the meaning of “probability” (or “likelihood”). Either that or I am totally misunderstanding you. Otherwise, why would anyone ever “be thankful that [his] probabilities for accomplishment were not higher”? I was talking about the likelihood that my best judges action (my Rational Action) will actually accomplish its purpose (the reason that I chose it). Surely I always want that likelihood to be the highest possible.
          4. Your (2) above makes no sense to me. Perhaps you mean that the reason for not always and only seeking immediate accomplishments is so that one will have sufficient time to apply to longer-term accomplishments. But if so, then I totally agree, but find what you wrote to be very confusing.
          5. While I think that I understand and generally agree with your last sentence above, I never think in terms of “conflict”, but rather would simply say that my overall lifetime happiness will be maximally increased by judiciously splitting my time between near-term and long-range happiness-generating accomplishments. How much split depends on moment-to-moment evaluations largely subconsciously done.

        • Brandon December 29, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

          Chromium 10.0.622.0 Ubuntu 10.10

          Note: I have done a reply to my own message because there is no “reply” button for MBH’s reply to my message. Perhaps there is a depth limitation to replies on this blog software?

          Yes, there is a limit because I don’t want to have comments so thin they’d be one word per line. You did the right thing, which is click the nearest reply link in the thread.

        • MBH December 30, 2010 at 2:19 am #

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          I was talking about the likelihood that my best judges action (my Rational Action) will actually accomplish its purpose (the reason that I chose it). Surely I always want that likelihood to be the highest possible.

          You should try this Open Yale class on Game Theory. First day of school you’ll learn two principles.

          (1) Do not play a strictly dominated strategy.

          (2) Rational Choice can lead to outcomes that suck.

          If your framework is too rigid to process hidden variables, then your criteria for “Rational” prompts mis-calibrated measurements.

        • Paul Wakfer December 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

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          MBH wrote:

          Paul Wakfer wrote:

          [...]all actions of government are based on the use or threat of physical force. Without such use or threat all decisions of the State would be impotent and moreover it would necessarily cease to exist.

          My concern is not necessarily to doubt that. What I doubt is whether certain situations — caused, not caused, or partially caused by the government — are so deeply embedded that counter-economics and proper education cannot take hold without large-scale pre-plays.

          I had to follow your link to understand what you meant by “preplays”. That is what I have done and advocated for many years, for both social decisions and purely personal ones. I call it doing “what if” exercises and it is akin to what are called “thought experiments”. It is also similar to the idea of “floating a trial balloon”, a technique which I did successfully for a cryonics funding project in the 1990s (Google – The Prometheus Project” cryonics), even thought the project itself did not proceed as originally planned.

          But yes, I totally agree that such pre-plays will be highly necessary for most of the timid guided by the examples of the few extremely long-range thinking, highly principled pioneers who are willing to take the arrows in their backs.

          Agorism is too costly for most people unless they believe they will re-orient on a more optimal level. I don’t see many people with that belief in the absence of third-level regulations/deregulations that permit or even encourage pre-plays.

          From the evidence of current society, I agree. Thankfully there are still a few courageous very long-range thinkers/actors who will act contrary to their own medium-range best interest because they could not retain their self-esteem if they did not and because they know that this is the only way to show and guide others how to act. “If you don’t try to get to some destination, then you will certainly never get there.”

        • Paul Wakfer December 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

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          MBH wrote:

          Paul Wakfer wrote:

          I was talking about the likelihood that my best judges action (my Rational Action) will actually accomplish its purpose (the reason that I chose it). Surely I always want that likelihood to be the highest possible.

          You should try this Open Yale class on Game Theory.

          At 72.9 years and with a wide knowledge and experience base (including being conversant with the ideas of Game Theory), I rarely watch videos for learning new ideas. This mainly because they are not conducive to effective analysis of the information presented.

          First day of school you’ll learn two principles.

          (1) Do not play a strictly dominated strategy.

          (2) Rational Choice can lead to outcomes that suck.

          If you took the time to read my definition of a Rational Action and the related annotations and comments/further elucidations on my group, you would see that (1) would not be a Rational Action (unless done initially by error – which error should Rationally not occur again). WRT (2) since all that one can do is attempt to maximize likelihood, certainty of success is never assured. However that does not imply that maximizing likelihood is not still the best choice (“best” in the sense of Rational as I have defined it).

          If your framework is too rigid to process hidden variables, then your criteria for “Rational” prompts mis-calibrated measurements.

          My definition of Rational is as flexible as I think it can possibly be. Please read it thoroughly and comment (at my group or any other public forum) about it or about any other aspect of my system for founding a truly self-order society of total Liberty and maximal Freedom.

        • MBH December 31, 2010 at 12:00 am #

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          It is also similar to the idea of “floating a trial balloon”, a technique which I did successfully for a cryonics funding project in the 1990s (Google – The Prometheus Project” cryonics), even thought the project itself did not proceed as originally planned.

          (1) Causality describes relationships between phenomena and phenomena.
          (2) Relationships between the phenomenal world — as a whole — and anything other than its contents qua phenomenal contents, is beyond causality’s jurisdiction.
          (3) Materialism, Idealism, and Solipsism explain the relationship between the phenomenal world — as a whole — and its contents qua not necessarily phenomenal contents. (e.g. substance is the cause of/behind everything we see, ideas are behind everything we see, ‘I’ am behind everything we see)
          (4) Materialism, Idealism, and Solipsism describe a relationship that is necessarily beyond causality’s jurisdiction. [from (2) and (3)]
          (5) Materialism, Idealism, and Solipsism describe the cause(s) of the relationship between the phenomenal world — as a whole — and its contents qua not necessarily phenomenal contents.
          (6) Materialism, Idealism, and Solipsism rest on causal explanations where only non-causal descriptions are appropriate. [from (4) and (5)]
          (7) Causal explanations that describe non-causal events are nonsense.
          (8) Materialism, Idealism, and Solipsism all rest on nonsense. [from (6) and (7)]
          (9) Cryonics rests on Materialism.
          (10) Cryonics is nonsense. [from (8) and (9)]

        • Paul Wakfer December 31, 2010 at 1:24 am #

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          MBH:

          Since you did not respond to my text regarding the issues of our discussion, but instead chose only to pounce on one example that you think is “nonsense”, I see this is as a diversionary and discrediting tactic. However by doing so you have only discredited yourself to the extent that I am no longer interested to discuss with you, not even to demolish your purported logic in “proving” that cryonics is nonsense.

          If you ever learn some human physiology, biochemistry and cryobiology then, you may come back and talk to me. Otherwise I see no value in dealing with you further.

        • MBH December 31, 2010 at 2:19 am #

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          I see this is as a diversionary and discrediting tactic.

          You brought it up.

          I am no longer interested to discuss with you, not even to demolish your purported logic[...]

          I see this as a diversionary and discrediting tactic.

        • MBH December 31, 2010 at 6:14 am #

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          OK. I was being harsh. Let me be a little bit more specific. I don’t doubt the possibility that memories can be brought back hundreds of years after death. I doubt that the entity through which they’re brought back is — in any meaningful sense — the person whose wetware once ran through that body. It may even be possible that wetware is run again on the first-level hardware, but what I’m referencing as nonsense is the idea that the specific wetware run on the first-level hardware could be restored after the wetware — by definition — becomes merely first-level hardware.

          A 2010 Batman animation — Under the Red Hood — describes this concept.

          Spoiler Alert:

          Robin is restored after his death. His memories are the same and his personality is kind of similar, but something parahuman runs his wetware.

          Again, I don’t doubt that in a hundred or so years, the first-level hardwares will be able to run some form of wetware. But it doesn’t make sense to say it would be the same second-level software that originally shut down. The only way that’s possible is if wetware is 100% reducible to first-level hardware, or even second-level hardware if the impulses are restored. That — by definition — is not the case since the concept ‘wetware’ entails a simultaneous presence of second-level hardware and second-level software.

          You may doubt the concept ‘wetware’ makes sense. But without something to account for the phenomena of second-level software, you’re omitting the life space. And if you want to say that it’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve first-level hardware irrespective of the life space, then I suppose you’re a Rational Actor, but your Purpose is not Rational.

        • Gene Callahan January 4, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

          Chrome 8.0.552.231 MacIntosh

          “This is because all actions of government are based on the use or threat of physical force.”

          In the fervid imagination of anarcho-capitalists, that’s true.

      • Roderick December 29, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

        Firefox 3.0.19.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

        If it makes sense to talk about left and right conflationism — which I agree it does — then that phenomena should be libertarian-conflationism.

        But left-conflationism and right-conflationism conflate the same two things; they just have different evaluations. What you’re calling libertarian-conflationism conflates different things.

        • MBH December 30, 2010 at 1:48 am #

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          One could though rephrase libertarian-conflationism — without supplanting the original meaning one bit — as the error of treating non-freed market activity as constitutive of existing corporatist capitalism.

          Left-conflationism = C –> – F
          Right-conflationism = F –> C
          Libertarian-conflationism = – F –> C

          To piggyback on Gary’s example: when anyone lectures as an employee of the public university system, they’re not engaging in freed-market activity. The barriers to entry are set by the government and the compensation — in exchange for sparking forth — pulls from a treasure chest of stolen goods.

          OTOH, from my time at Auburn, I wouldn’t consider a single lecture of yours constitutive of existing corporate capitalism. For instance, when you show why Frege rejects psychologism and why Wittgenstein rejects every polylogism, you never say “down with the state!” But if the listener hears the significance and examines his or her prior misconceptions, then he or she doesn’t necessarily become an anarchist, but at least sees that the space of reasons contains more truth than the function of any authority. That cannot be constitutive of the existing corporatist system.

          That does though provide a counterexample to Rothbard’s arguments on p. 139. According to the argument, the Socratic method justifies Rothbard’s attack on taxation, by showing this triad to be inconsistent.

          (a) Compelling people by threat of force to surrender their assets is robbery.
          (b) Taxation compels people by threat of force to surrender their assets.
          (c) Taxation is not robbery.

          That would seem inconsistent, and yet the prior hypothetical about your actions as for existing corporatist capitalism would also be — by Team Socrates/Rothbard’s logic — “inconsistent.”

          (a*) To systematically and knowingly exchange a service for a thief’s stolen treasures — while keeping less well-degreed players out of the game — constitutes collusion.
          (b*) S systematically and knowingly exchanges a service for a thief’s stolen treasures — while keeping less well-degreed players out of the game.
          (c*) S systematically and knowingly exchanging a service for a thief’s stolen treasures — while keeping less well-degreed players out of the game — does not constitute collusion.

          Like Team Socrates/Rothbard’s (a) and (b), (a*) and (b*) are both apparently conceptual truths while (c) and (c*) seem to have a different form.

          Nothing in the Wittgensteinian insight about the connection between meaning and use rules out this sort of Socratic strategy.

          I don’t know if that’s correct. In (b*), it’s just as likely the case that S is actively working to bring down degree-criteria within the game. Similarly for Team Socrates/Rothbard’s (b), it’s just as likely the case that taxation compels a population because — unlike (b) — they feel the government is legitimate, and they desire to fund it well. (Jibson sights the former DDR on p.13)

          You could object that, in both (b) and (b*), counterexamples may exist, but they aren’t mutually exclusive from one another. That might bandage it up for a second, but here’s another potential problem. (a) and (a*) are actually much stronger propositions than (b) and (b*). (a) and (a*) are close to necessarily true. (b) and (b*) are true only in the right context. I don’t think that Team Socrates/Rothbard are right to call them conceptual truths. (c) and (c*) are either contradictions or paradoxes. In the correct contexts though, (c) and (c*) are conceptual truths because they’re paradoxes.

          What are your thoughts?

        • MBH December 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

          Safari iPad  iOS 4.2.1

          Should read:

          Libertarian-conflationism = – F –> – C

        • MBH December 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          JK. It should read: – F –> C

    • Gary Chartier December 29, 2010 at 11:12 am #

      Chrome 8.0.552.231 MacIntosh

      Shawn, can you clarify these a bit–or at least let me know if I’m understanding you correctly?

      1. Would the following be examples of the first? (a) Vast dispossession (say, via land theft or land engrossment) happens in a society. Previously state-governed, the society becomes stateless. But nothing is done to remedy the past injustice. Because rules in place after the state’s demise don’t feature any special privileges, so that the market is able to operate freely, some people maintain that the existing distribution of wealth is just, since it is, in the short term, the product of “a free market,” even though past injustice hasn’t been remedied and therefore dramatically skews the distribution of wealth? (b) A community in a stateless society non-violently maintains a variety of racist norms governing employment, service to consumers, etc. Because there are no implicitly or explicitly violent supports for this racist structure, some people maintain that it must be a product of economic rationality, and so unobjectionable, and they challenge those who wish to protest it. (We may suppose, a more regionally or globally integrated market would, in fact, undermine the economic viability of racist practices. But whether it would is not central to my example.)

      2. Would the following be examples of the second? (a) Treating, say, Roderick’s work at Auburn as inherently violent because of the state’s sponsorship of the university tax funds? (b) Regarding a state agency’s provision of unemployment benefits, say, as violent, because the funds themselves are acquired at gunpoint? That is, in this case, are you trying to emphasize the distinction between inherently violent acts on the one hand and, on the other, basically neutral or positive that are, in turn, funded or otherwise made possible by violence but are not themselves violent?

      Are we thinking about the same sorts of things? If not, I’d be curious to know what kinds of examples you might have in mind.

      • Shawn P. Wilbur December 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

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        Gary, with regard to #2, (a) is a good example, and (b) seems to me like a mixed bag. After all, it isn’t actually the case that taxes are collected at gunpoint, and Paul’s notion that “all actions of government are based on the use or threat of physical force” seems a woefully inadequate characterization of what actually happens. The complexities of actually existing “government” (with its mix of regulated markets and marketed regulation) are reduced down to rule “at gunpoint.” There certainly seem to be folks out there who believe that “the market” (or “the freed market”) can do no wrong (#1), and “government” can do no right (#2).

        With specific regard to #1, I’m more concerned with the “before the revolution” stuff. Presumably, the existing capitalist market is still sufficiently market-like, that, for example, when we complain about legislative capture — which appears to be the marketing of regulation — it doesn’t seem sufficient to say that the reason that commercial concerns have captured government is that the market is regulated by government. But I hear that sort of thing fairly often.

  4. Paul Wakfer December 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

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    I heartily approve of your statements describing these errors, but fear that you are also conflating by embedding the terms “left” and “right” within your defined words. Such political categorizations as “left” and “right” cause more confusion and misunderstanding than benefit to any attempt to persuade others about the choices and actions which will best serve to maximize their lifetime happinesses – which actions necessarily must also do the same for others (for why this last is so, see my treatise on Social Meta-Needs).

  5. Paul Wakfer December 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

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    the tendency to treat existing market injustice as necessarily a matter of corporatist capitalism, which therefore will not emerge in freed markets

    I would term this “market anarchist conflationism”!
    Unless praxeological principles are extended to apply consistently and uniformly to all types of social value, there will be insufficient influencing feedback to terminate/prevent such injustices. My term for that self-ordering feedback is Social Preferencing.

  6. Paul Wakfer December 30, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

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    MBH wrote:

    when anyone lectures as an employee of the public university system, they’re not engaging in freed-market activity.

    Far worse than that, such employees of the State are guilty of being the receivers of stolen funds and of living off the avails of theft, which is why, after being an Asst Prof of Math at U of Toronto from 1964-70, in 1972 I decided to abandon completion of a PhD and academia in total. In 1980 I tried my best to convince Murray Rothbard of this fact, but he maintained it was not relevant in the current state of society. (I was one of 4 from Toronto who had just formed the UnParty.) With other options then, and far more now enabled by current technology, I have always viewed Rothbard’s answer as a dodge, and his clear annoyance at my suggestion convinced me that deep down he knew better.

    • MBH December 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

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      MBH wrote:

      You might want to read further. I also say:

      But if the listener hears the significance [of what an employee of the public university system says] and examines his or her prior misconceptions, then he or she doesn’t necessarily become an anarchist, but at least sees that the space of reasons contains more truth than the function of any authority. That cannot be constitutive of the existing corporatist system.

      We’re dealing with a paradox: these professors’ activity is not freed market activity but it’s also not constitutive of the existing corporatist system. Plenty of these kinds of instances present themselves, which is why the occurrence of non-freed market activity does not necessarily imply something contrary to the existing corporatist system.

      Libertarian-confliationism: – F –> C

      But my experience — and I’m sure that of countless others who just aren’t interested in this debate — is that plenty of non-freed market structures and the interactions therein can highlight and point away from corporatist consciousness.

      The reality is: – F –> (C), (- C), (C or – C), or (C and – C)

      That’s much less sexy. It makes it more difficult to rouse up folks. And if you need a political theory that appeals to emotion, then hide the conflation. If potential human capital thinks freedom is complicated, they might not give you the time of day. Hide the libertarian-conflation and get back to emotional rhetoric!

    • MBH December 31, 2010 at 2:42 am #

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      I have always viewed Rothbard’s answer as a dodge, and his clear annoyance at my suggestion convinced me that deep down he knew better.

      Which makes your next comment look like projection.

      I am no longer interested to discuss with you, not even to demolish your purported logic in “proving” that cryonics is nonsense.

      By your logic, I should assume that deep down you know better.

      On the brighter side, here’s a super cool description of what you’re doing when you work toward a PhD.

      Paul’s right that there’s plenty of already-established space that goes unexplored, but I don’t know that he understands: some dents in the boundaries of human knowledge change the hermeneutics of the white areas.

      • The Nick That's Not Fooling Anyone January 1, 2011 at 11:38 am #

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        re: the super cool PhD description

        That’s the theory. Does the practice map 1:1 with the theory?

        Pushing past the bounds contained in the description: Before there even *were* PhD’s, people achieved the same result without them. But since their are PhD’s now, must you now work toward one to achieve the same result? (Or it is more that since there’s so much knowledge now, it’s harder to push the boundary, in however narrow a discipline, without being in a PhD program?)

        (BTW, I think it’s a super cool description too, as far as it goes. It’s just a tad too neatly just-so, “educationist-industrial complex” hawking for me.)

        • MBH January 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

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          Response here.

  7. The Nick That's Not Fooling Anyone January 1, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Firefox 4.0b8 Windows Vista

    “there are” Oy.

    I should not post while ill and hung over. (Is that a resolution? Glad I got that resolved.)

  8. MBH January 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

    Well, if it’s educationist-industrial complex hawking, then it’s awkward that I found it on Open Culture — specifically, The Best of Open Culture 2010 article.

    As to the map’s relation to reality: you’re certainly right to say it’s not 1:1, though I doubt the map’s creator would consider it 1:1. In reality, human knowledge is hardly a circle with dents at the edges. In fact, a lot of contemporary philosophers would say that proper PhD’s in philosophy aren’t boundary-bending, but instead help us better understand the starting point from which we learn outward. In that respect, you’d have to see the circle in 3D as a, for instance, a multi-platter hard disk.

    The case of cryonic resurrection might be described as a higher level platter on which neither its boundaries, nor its very center (nor anything in between) are sound and valid. The problem with Paul’s suggestion that I have to understand high-level biology and chemistry is that he’s saying this from a high-level platter that contains no knowledge.

    Consider that Nasa-funded scientists reported December 1, 2010, that biologists misapply the concept ‘life’. Yet, how many disciplines stand on the platter whereby ‘life’ applied in the wrong way?

    (1) I would concede the point that insofar as a PhD is something that dents the boundaries of knowledge on an unspecified platter, then a PhD is worthless.

    (2) I would qualify the platter in question as one bound — rigorously — by philosophical grammar, and say that a PhD on that platter is fucking awesome.

    (3) That leaves open whether the PhD is necessarily an educational industrial complex. I would say that some are and some aren’t. PhD’s that are based on unsound/invalid platters are. PhD’s that are based on sound/valid platters aren’t.

    (4) To what extent do even the non-educational industrial complex PhD’s contribute to the broader corporatist-complex? — It probably depends on the barriers to entry for the PhD, and/or the barriers to entry the person with the PhD constructs to learning what they know.

  9. The Nick That's Not Fooling Anyone January 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Firefox 4.0b8 Windows Vista

    Yes, perhaps that it doesn’t expressly declare that the familiar school(ing) path it illustrates is your garden variety corporate&state-regulated education, means that it implicitly admits of alternatives, but I forgive the reading that reads it *as if* it did not.

    So you’d say that if chkdsk was performed on the set of (human?) knowledge, cryonics would be marked as a bad sector, while some other items would be recoverable errors instead, or whatnot? (I have no idea; I haven’t studied it, like so much else in my lazy-ass self-uneducation.)

    I’m not sure I have much relation to your numbered points. What I meant to get at is the question of if there can be boundary-pushing (or foundation-bolstering, etc.), defining, etc., “PhD’s” de facto that aren’t PhD’s de jure, so to speak. (And I don’t mean simply honorary ones, either, of course.) That is, let’s say the link aptly describes what a PhD is. This does not mean that *only* PhD students can do it. That’s a separate claim requiring its own backing. I was just wondering how much water that separate claim holds. That is, how much room is there for PhD making outside of academe (given that a PhD was posited by Matthew Wright as an extension or furthering of knowledge, *not* something granted by a person or institution)?

    Sidelong that, does one make that “dent” called a PhD by figuring out a new arrangement of material that performs an old function better, or performs an entirely new function than previously thought-up man-made things? Is such an innovation or invention a PhD in Matthew Might’s terms? Was the light bulb a PhD? The cotton gin? The printing press? The pulley? The wheel? Or does new knowledge of what can be done with specific materials (which might be loosely called “new technology”) not qualify as the *sort* of knowledge a PhD is meant to refer to? (Sure, one could say that the *concepts* one had to suss out in order to make some or all of those devices would constitute the PhD. It just seems to me that once upon a time, new function and new knowledge went hand-in-hand, with the latter more driven by the former than the other way around. Has that pole shifted?)

    • MBH January 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

      Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

      So you’d say that if chkdsk was performed on the set of (human?) knowledge, cryonics would be marked as a bad sector, while some other items would be recoverable errors instead, or whatnot?

      Yeah, that’s a really good way to put it. I mean, the parts of cryonics that demonstrate the ability to preserve the cells that store memory is sound and valid — recoverable errors. But the framing that those cells could preserve a person after death is not — bad sector.

      This does not mean that *only* PhD students can do it.

      Of course not. Anyone can. I would only say that the likelihood is exponentially less insofar as non-PhD students (a) don’t have the same access to research at the boundaries, and (b) don’t have external pressures on their thought-process that prompt disciplined thinking.

      If those barriers can be eliminated through Open Education — and I don’t see why (a) can’t, (b) is the only question — then I think the likelihood of boundary-pushing will be equal. But can Open Education override (b) is the main question. I think that works only if there’s a sphere with that design — a forum that Open students feel like they need to join. And I actually think if we can get there, it has a tremendous advantage over the brick-and-mortar design: questions are relatively anonymous. I’m inordinately extroverted, so that doesn’t bother me. But plenty of people won’t ask questions because they feel uncomfortable with the eyes on them.

      [...]does new knowledge of what can be done with specific materials (which might be loosely called “new technology”) not qualify as the *sort* of knowledge a PhD is meant to refer to?

      I don’t see why not.

      It just seems to me that once upon a time, new function and new knowledge went hand-in-hand, with the latter more driven by the former than the other way around. Has that pole shifted?

      Maybe. I mean, with the level of technology, the design/model plays a key role between knowledge and function. Most inventions today connect a whole bunch of concepts, whereas even a hundred years ago, inventions could come from a few concepts.

      I really don’t know; I haven’t thought about it much before. But if the design comes in between form and function, in an unprecedented way, it doesn’t necessarily mean that form and function don’t work hand-in-hand. It may just mean there’s more distance between them now.

      If that’s the case then it would take research and action to bring the two closer. Then you’re looking at the form of forms functioning. Plenty of that is going on with Open Source Ventures attempting to build platforms that transcend the digital/analogue divide and function in the real world — providing real physical value.

      I mean, just imagine a google-size OSV that functions that way. That would be something that takes the form poll and the function poll and essentially makes them — together — a single point. I have no idea if that answers your question, but that kind of activity would take actual PhD’s, PhD students, and Open students.

      Thoughts?

    • MBH January 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

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      Here is a summary of our exchange, and here is a link to the Open Source Venture I reference. As I understand it, this particular Metacurrency project makes all the anarchist talk — usufruct vs longer-term property rights vs absolute rights — relatively moot.

      • The Nick That's Not Fooling Anyone January 3, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

        Firefox 4.0b8 Windows Vista

        Sorry, I’m not really up on this stuff enough to say anything worthwhile, as I’ll now proceed to demonstrate.

        A system of OSV’s as described by Robb sounds like it could function as sufficient impetus for PhD seekers to remain disciplined, offhand. I think there has been movement toward Open-er Education (with various free literature, lectures, content, etc. available from numerous sources, like Khan Academy), without anything like a concerted, organized push in that direction wide-scale. But I’m also kinda a “forests are only made of trees” means-focused guy, so that regardless of whether Open Education is anything like a general system anywhere, it’s likely been successfully instantiated here and there for individuals already, for all I know. Ditto for OSV’s. Now, google-sized for any of it would be very cool, but it doesn’t happen anywhere if it doesn’t happen somewhere. Or something.

        I’m not sure what I’d say I think about property, beyond that independent of any theory, sound or unsound, its the general implicit or explicit ideas as practiced by the general populace in any given area that determines how ‘property’ *actually* functions (or fails). If OSV’s and Metacurrencies were scaled to millions of participants, yeah, I might say that’d make not just anarchist, but *any*, talk of which kind of property is “best” or “just” or “right”, etc., moot.

        At the same time, it’d be well within the bounds of what I think of as ‘anarchy,’ (sans adjectives) which is something like ‘whatever happens unless someone stops it.’

        Thanks for the links and the thoughts. Something to keep an eye and a neuron on, for sure.

        • MBH January 4, 2011 at 12:46 am #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          I mean, I’m learning it on the fly too. I agree it would count as anarchy — though I’m not a fan of the word.

          If OSV’s and Metacurrencies were scaled to millions of participants, yeah, I might say that’d make not just anarchist, but *any*, talk of which kind of property is “best” or “just” or “right”, etc., moot.

          That’s the most exciting part. A lot of people get upset about the in-fighting. Well, money mouth replacement equation.

  10. MBH January 3, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

    Roderick, file this under random and general praxeology questions.

    In his defense of extreme apriorism, Rothbard identifies “a handful” of assumptions for praxeology to yield absolute truths. The one we always hear, “man acts,” and another (of 4) less well-known assumption:

    [...] the most fundamental–variety of resources, both natural and human. From this follows directly the division of labor, the market, etc.

    We’ve got a Trojan Horse here. Another assumption is built inside this assumption. We’re made to assume every resource is rival, and yet we’re not told that we’re making that assumption.

    My question is: to what extent are you willing to admit (1) that an Open Source Ecosystem — already here — makes praxeology moot. And (2) that even within the somewhat-rival ecosystem, the presence of a competing principle of organization — that’s non-rival and non-governmental — cripples what Rothbard calls the “applied economist” into silence. Meaning that: (post-OSE) praxeology applies nowhere.

    • Roderick January 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

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      We’re made to assume every resource is rival, and yet we’re not told that we’re making that assumption.

      So if a body of thought, A, contains one claim, B, that you allege contains another claim, C — even though you admit that no explicit assertion of C is ever actually made, but is simply being conjecturedby you — then not only the truth of B but the truth of A stands or falls with the truth of C? I’m sorry, that sort of thing is just silly.

      • MBH January 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

        Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

        I’m sorry, that sort of thing is just silly.

        You’re right. I would though be interested to see your answers to this — some serious questions.

  11. Bystander January 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

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    Actually, this reminds me of a proposal I have for semantic redrift.
    Right now, there seem to be three different political tendancies squabbling over their rights to political labels. These groups are . 1.libertarian minarchists, 2.anarchocapitalists and 3. left anarchists. All three groups claim the label “libertarian”. 2 and 3 both claim the label “anarchist.”
    Now, left anarchists seem to have given up on their rights to the label “libertarian” ceding it to groups 1 and 2. However, they seem to strongly object to the rights of ancaps to use the label “anarchist.” Some might think them a bit rude in this regard, but the left anarchists probably feel that they have already had one of their labels stolen, and that they should not give up their second label without a fight.
    At the same time, libertarian minarchists have, in the past, claimed that the social democrats have stolen their original name for themselves, “liberal.”
    However, as anyone who reads the nation knows, social democrats no longer call themselves “liberals.” They call themselves “progressives.” (Which makes sense, since their primary enemies call themselves “conservatives.)
    This creates an opportunity. My suggestion isthat libertarian minarchists begin to call themselves what they actually are, “liberals.” This would leave the ancaps with the opportunity to reclaim the label of “libertarian” which is perfect for them, since it has an anarchist history and, in the present, capitalist connotations. And the left anarchists can keep the name of “anarchist” for themselves.

  12. MBH January 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

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    Comments seem to be closed on Koched to the Gills. But Roderick said,

    This is strained to the point of desperation. Claiming that someone else is threatening your life is not itself a case of threatening your life.

    So what about when that rhetoric — predictably — results in six murders? I’m just curious: the Kochs fund organizations that tout death panels and Nazi takeover of HC. Unstable individuals hear that and kill a bunch of people. What now? No negligence still? How many need to die before you’ll admit this goes beyond free speech?

    • Rad Geek January 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

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      MBH:

      1. You have literally no idea what caused Jared Lee Loughner to shoot up the supermarket in Tucson. He has remained silent and has not announced his motivations. The marvellously strained attempt to connect this in some way — any possible way — to the Koch brothers is pure speculation on your part.

      2. Pretending, arguendo, that this were something other than pure speculation on your part:

      Unstable individuals hear that and kill a bunch of people. What now? No negligence still?

      Man, you’re really looking hard for excuses to criminalize speech.

      So, just to be clear: if a Koch funds an organization, which (among many other things) puts out false or inflammatory statements about X, but does not order anyone, exhort anyone, or even suggest that anyone ought to shoot people over X; and then an admittedly irrational, unrelated third party might possibly have heard some of those statements (among many other things put out by other, unrelated outlets), and might possibly have drawn the independent, unsolicited, admittedly irrational conclusion that what he ought to do is to start shooting people over X, you now intend to jail, fine or kill Koch for this absurdly attenuated, indeed purely speculative, causal relationship between his funding of political speech and some unrelated nut’s independent decision to shoot people over some of the issues addressed by that political speech?

      How many need to die before you’ll admit this goes beyond free speech?

      Good God, really? As you ought to know already, the answer is that the number of people who die is irrelevant to this issue. What’s relevant is whether those people were killed or ordered to be killed by the person you intend to direct the force of law against, in any meaningful sense. On most accounts, commands can count as the right sort of causal relationships. Some people think exhortations can too, but I dissent. Random-ass free association and conclusions independently drawn by independent third parties generally do not, even if those third parties killed a lot of people.

      I can speak only for myself, not for Roderick or anyone else here, but speaking for myself, I am perfectly willing to stick to my free-speech principles even for Streicher and Der Stuermer (i.e., I think that his trial and hanging were an exercise in tyranny, victor’s justice, and judicial murder), even though we’re talking about not just 6 people, but 12,000,000 dead. I’m certainly not about to be convinced of the need for criminally prosecuting the funding of political speech just because some unhinged stranger independently decides, without being ordered to do so, or even exhorted in the way that Streicher exhorted his audience, to use violence against a handful of politicians and innocent bystanders based, possibly, in part, in some way, on his admittedly irrational reaction to nonviolent political rhetoric.

      • MBH January 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

        Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

        You have literally no idea what caused Jared Lee Loughner to shoot up the supermarket in Tucson.

        Reading his “Final Thoughts” gives me literally no idea what caused him to do that?

        Man, you’re really looking hard for excuses to criminalize speech.

        Negligence is not a crime; it’s a civil wrong.

        [...] you now intend to jail, fine or kill Koch [...]

        WTF is wrong with you? Do you think I also intend to murder you, submit a reply, or rape you? Cause you’re right. I intend to do one of those.

        The whole point is that the Kochtopus is institutionalizing neuroticism. Of course you wouldn’t say what a tragedy this is: you bank on neuroticism. What percentage of your anti-state followers are rational objectors and what percentage are black-helicopter fearing poop-eaters? You wouldn’t really mind if rational people were turned into black-helicopter fearing poop-eaters so long as they help bankrupt the state, would you?

        Let’s get rid of the state, but for the sake of sanity, let’s not do it by scaring the shit out of people. Even if it does work, your stateless world wouldn’t be worth living in.

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 3:28 am #

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          MBH: Reading his “Final Thoughts” gives me literally no idea what caused him to do that?

          Correct. Reading that incoherent, almost purely meaningless ramble, which says nothing about shooting anyone and nothing about death panels or Obamacare or Koch-funded organizations, provides you with literally no idea what motivated him to shoot people, and it especially gives no evidence for the speculative claim that he decided to start shooting people because of any conclusions who drew from any Koch-funded organization’s statements or rhetoric.

          Negligence is not a crime; it’s a civil wrong.

          Negligent homicide is generally considered a crime, which can be prosecuted as manslaughter or murder in most jurisdictions. However, if you intend to make up a novel meaning for the word “negligence” which is unmoored from its actual legal use, and “merely” to initiate a legal process which will end with sticking a gun in their faces and seizing wrongful death damages from them — a few mil here and there, I guess — on threat, as usual, of jail or death if they refuse to comply with the court order — well, then, it’s the gun in the face that object to, not whether you call the gun “criminal” or “civil.” In either case, it is an overtly tyrannical legal assault on freedom of the press.

          The whole point is that the Kochtopus is institutionalizing neuroticism.

          Suppose it is. So what? Being “neurotic” is not a crime, and neither is encouraging other people to become neurotic. Incidentally, your ongoing and increasingly vitriolic efforts to abandon the field of rational argument, and simply pathologize those who disagree with your political conclusions, whether through pseudoscientific diagnosis-at-a-distance (“neurotic”? really?) or through flat-out cartoonish personal abuse (“poop-eaters”? seriously?), are despicably authoritarian and really quite disturbing.

          What percentage of your anti-state followers are rational objectors and what percentage are black-helicopter fearing poop-eaters?

          I wouldn’t know. You’d have to ask “my followers,” whoever you imagine those to be. But I will say that this is an obvious and crude argumentum ad hominem (abusive form): if 75.4% of the “followers” of position X turn out to be crazy, that’s not an argument against position X at all.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Radgeek,

          Reading that incoherent, almost purely meaningless ramble, which says nothing about shooting anyone and nothing about death panels or Obamacare or Koch-funded organizations, provides you with literally no idea what motivated him to shoot people [...]

          It’s so incoherent that the originator of the ideas said this to the NY Times,

          He’s probably been on my Web site, which has been up for about 11 years [...] The government does control the schools, and the schools determine the grammar and language we use. And then it is all reinforced by newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and everything we do in society.

          It’s incoherent except that you probably think the government does do all those things. You also represent the event as a “shoot up [of] the supermarket in Tucson.” Really? Not a premeditated assassination? Weird, since Loughner himself describes it as an assassination. If crazy people just do this sort of thing, why has it only happened to someone who voted for “Obamacare” and who doesn’t want to ship all the immigrants out tomorrow?

          Negligent homicide is generally considered a crime [...]

          Funny. The negligence I’m talking about is institutionalizing neuroticism and not expecting it to channel the crazy into a specific act like assassination. Not that you have a problem with that. You seem to condone it when you say that the government is already off your back, you just have to make sure they stay there. That “Obamacare” might mean they aren’t staying there, right?

          Your use of the term “Obamacare” is funny. You ask Bystander,

          Could you tell me what part of the “media monopoly” the Koch brothers own?

          The part that passes the term “Obamacare” around like it describes HCR. Non monopolized media (Brad DeLong for instance) refer to it as “Romneycare” since it derives every main structural change from Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts’ HCR.

          Suppose [the Kochtopus] is [institutionalizing neuroticism]. So what?

          Exactly. You don’t care. As long as an act is — by your definition — legal, then it doesn’t matter who does it, how often they do it, or how widespread it occurs. What could possibly be more disturbing than that? What could possibly be more authoritarian than that?

          Radgeek, your the worst kind of shill: the kind that doesn’t know he’s shilling.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Should read: Radgeek, you’re the worst kind of shill: the kind that doesn’t know he’s shilling.

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          Me:

          Suppose [the Kochtopus] is [institutionalizing neuroticism]. So what?

          MBH:

          Exactly. You don’t care. As long as an act is — by your definition — legal, then it doesn’t matter who does it, …

          This is absurd, and indeed intellectually negligent to the point of dishonesty. As you well know, there are many kinds of speech which I consider to be stupid, destructive, or immoral, but not criminal. (I specifically mentioned the example of Julius Streicher above.) You do realize that there is a difference between the claim (1) “Saying X is not a crime,” and (2) “It doesn’t matter who says X,” yes?

          MBH:

          What could possibly be more disturbing than that? What could possibly be more authoritarian than that?

          Well. Legal censorship of the content of political speech, for one.

          MBH:

          You also represent the event as a “shoot up [of] the supermarket in Tucson.” Really? Not a premeditated assassination?

          I didn’t say that it was not “a premeditated assassination.” Lots of assassins have carried out their assassinations by killing a lot of people in a public place. (E.g. during the era of “propaganda by the deed” it was common for assassins to toss bombs or grenades at their intended targets, which often killed bystanders.)

          I don’t know what you’re trying to prove here, but the claim you’re attributing to me is not one that I made.

          Your use of the term “Obamacare” is funny.

          If you say so. But you are aware that sometimes people use terms to describe a third party’s positions that they do not, generally, use in propia voce, aren’t you? Of course you are, because you did it yourself when you led off talking about “death panels” and “Nazi takeovers” without inverted commas. As far as I can recall, I’ve never used the term “Obamacare” in propia voce at any time, anywhere on the Internet, not because I have some bug up my ass about identifying government programs with their primary advocates, but because I think the coinage is ugly, derivative and not especially descriptive. But your attempt to make some kind of big point (to what effect?) out of my writing the word — as if I were using it in propia voce, rather than mentioning it to describe your own theory about Loughner’s state of mind — is, in any case, based on something you attributed to me. Not on anything I said.

          You seem to condone it when you say that the government is already off your back, you just have to make sure they stay there.

          The essay you linked to (“Liberty, Equality, Solidarity”) does not claim that “the government is already off your back.” It claims no government has any rightful authority over you, which is quite a different claim.

          It also says nothing about whether or not political assassinations are justified as a tactic (*), or about anything else you’ve mentioned here, so I really don’t know what you’re trying to prove by mentioning it. Certainly you haven’t given any kind of argument against the specific claims made in the essay.

          (*) The essay defends an unconditional right of revolution, but of course the right defended in that essay is explicitly separated from any particular claim about the appropriateness or usefulness of violent tactics such as armed insurrection or one-off political assassinations. (You may recall that part of the point of mentioning revolution was specifically to reject the claim that “revolution” necessarily entails either of those approaches.) Like most rational people I believe that sometimes political assassinations are justified — I don’t think, for example, that there was anything wrong with the various unsuccessful plots to assassinate Hitler; do you? — and sometimes they are unjustified.

          If crazy people just do this sort of thing, why has it only happened to someone who voted for “Obamacare” …

          Good lord, seriously? If someone set out to shoot Congresspeople completely at random, there would be the odds would be better than 1:1 that they shot someone who voted for the PPACA (219:212). It is certainly quite possible that Loughner’s motives were political. I don’t know that they were, and neither do you, but that’s a plausible inference from some of the extant evidence (e.g. his alleged use of the word “assassination”). What you don’t know, and what I’ve objected to, and what you are simply making up on the basis of speculation and tea-leaf reading, is the claim that he was specifically motivated by a desire to retaliate violently over some aspect of the corporate health insurance bill, and (further speculation, without even the tea-leaves) that this purely speculative anger was to some degree inspired by statements put out by groups which were to some degree financially supported by the Kochs.

          MBH: It’s so incoherent that the originator of the ideas …

          You’re pretty heavy on sarcasm here, but pretty light on evidence. You quote the story as if you were quoting a statement from Loughner, but a quick read shows that the “originator of the ideas” you’re referring to is not Loughner, but ‘David Wynn Miller, 62, a former tool-and-die welder from Milwaukee who describes himself as a “Plenipotentiary-judge” seeking to correct, through a mathematical formula.’ Miller has no known ties to Loughner, but merely advocates views which the SPLC and the New York Times consider “similar” to the fragmentary, incoherent rambles that Loughner posted to YouTube; and when a newspaper called up this self-aggrandizing crank to ask him whether he thought Loughner had derived something from his views, the self-aggrandizing crank said “Sure, probably,” and took the opportunity to pitch his website to the reporter.

          Perhaps David Wynn Miller influenced Loughner; and perhaps he didn’t. I don’t know, neither do you, and neither does the New York Times. “Similarity” is not necessarily evidence of influence, and self-aggrandizing cranks often grasp desperately to claim influence even when they have no idea one way or the other. In any case, none of this says anything about shooting people, or about claims issued by Koch-sponsored organizations, or about anything else on which you have been issuing very strong conclusions based on very thin evidence.

          This is, in other words, just more speculation and tea-leaf reading. It does not constitute having any idea what Loughner’s motives were.

          The word “incoherent,” in any case, was applied to a rambling, incoherent YouTube video by Loughner which said nothing about shooting or about the Kochs or about any of the health insurance politics that you were ranting about above. You now change the subject to a completely different statement, in a completely different venue, by a completely different person — which also doesn’t have anything to do with the shooting, or the Kochs, or health insurance politics. In order to show … what, exactly? That I was wrong to describe the YouTube video as rambling, incoherent, and failing to support your out-of-your-ass speculation that Loughner was motivated by Kochtopus-fueled anger over health insurance politics? If so, how does it show that? Or are you just throwing random shit out to try to prove you’ve read something about this story, and hoping that people won’t click through to the links to find out how little what you’ve read could possibly have told you?

          In any case, this obvious rhetorical bait-and-switch is dishonest, and you ought to be embarrassed that you engaged in it.

          It’s incoherent except that you probably think the government does do all those things.

          Well. (1) Government does control schools. And (2) government schools do have a significant effect on grammar and language. And (3) the kind of language taught in government schools is reinforced by newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and all kinds of social interactions. Isn’t it?

          Do you seriously intend to claim that either (1) or (2) or (3) is false? If so, which one, and why?

          David Wynn Miller seems to have many other beliefs, besides (1)-(3), which are false or even crazy. But I am not so mentally infantile that I would feel I have to spit up everything a person says, even to the point of rejecting the most common-place observations about the world as it is, simply because other things that that person says are false or crazy.

          You speak with tremendous scorn, but on what basis? Most rationally capable people, as far as I know, believe that (1)-(3) are all true. Perhaps most people don’t think that it is worth mention. (And David Wynn Miller’s reasons for thinking that it is worth mention are probably false.) But this reminds me of nothing so much as the commentators who were shocked and indignant that Jeremiah Wright would mention that the U.S. government’s bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more civilians than the 9/11 attacks. As if they didn’t!

          It sounds to me like you are throwing a lot of shit at a wall here and hoping that some of it might stick.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          As you well know, there are many kinds of speech which I consider to be stupid, destructive, or immoral, but not criminal.

          Well then, point me to where you condemn talk of death panels, etc. I won’t hold my breath.

      • JOR January 10, 2011 at 1:25 am #

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        Indeed, since congresscritters and their enablers (voters and taxpayers) use not just rhetoric but direct commands to professional thugs to cause all manner of death and destruction, I guess they’re fair game after all.

  13. Bystander January 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

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    Hmmm… Is Radgeek guilty of some (out of character) right conflationism in equating the media monopoly with “free speech.”

    • MBH January 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

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      Good observation Bystander.

    • JOR January 10, 2011 at 1:47 am #

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      I think we need a fancy shmancy new term for people who think that because the government/big business controls or has undue influence in some area of life, that they therefore ought to brutally expand their powers to regulate consensual activity in that area, lest anyone do or say anything naughty.

      I think I’ll call them “Left-Hoppeans”.

      • MBH January 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

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        Because you’re lost without labels. Sad.

        • JOR January 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

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          I mock someone’s silly application of a silly label and you infer that I’d be “lost without labels”.

          If anything, I’ve always found the urge to pathologize idiosyncratic or disagreeable (and often genuinely horribly wrong) people, or file them away into convenient, hateable groups they have tenuous connections to at best, is one of the more irritating and frustrating impediments to enlightening conversation. Hence my occasional clashes with you and Aster.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          The government’s already off your back. Make sure they stay off. Use guns if necessary.

          How do I misrepresent Radgeek’s point of view? Enlighten me.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Let me be more specific: how does this not say,

          Of course, that leaves the question of how best to defend your revolutionary state from counter-revolutionary invasion. Declaring yourself independent really is enough to release you from any obligation to your former government—but try telling that to the judge. Still, the first task is to recognize your situation for what it is. Minarchism, by leaving the myth of legal authority unchallenged, concedes moral dignity to the statists that they have not earned. The point is to challenge not only the abuses of government authority, but the normal uses of that authority—to see the taxmen, policemen, hangmen, and Congressmen who invade your liberties not as unruly representatives of a State with authority over you, but a sanctimonious gang of robbers, swindlers, and usurpers bringing war upon you.

          By that logic, Jared Loughner would have been justified if he limited his shooting to just the Congresswoman. She was, after all, “bringing war upon [him].”

          How am I wrong? Enlighten me. How would Radgeek not condone the killings of the Congresswoman? Enlighten me.

          You’ll notice no labels, so you’re free engage in enlightening conversation. Go on. Enlighten me.

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          You know how I know when someone has almost certainly not followed the logic of the source that they are supposedly replying to? When they lead off with “by that logic ….”

          As you already know, or ought to know if you do not, the passage you’re quoting from is specifically a passage which is discussing why the unconditional right of revolution need not necessarily involve armed insurrection or other uses of force. It says literally nothing — deliberately so; it says that it says nothing — about what strategy or tactics for resistance I am or am not willing to adopt, suggest, condone, accept, or tolerate. You cannot possibly have missed this point if you read the essay seriously and with understanding. As you already know, I do not think very much of most violent tactics, and I specifically advocate strategies (such as agorism and nonviolent syndicalism) which avoid violent confrontations, even in many situations where I think that such confrontations would be well within the rights of the resisters (e.g. people defending themselves against imminent assault by cops, soldiers, border guards, tax collectors, etc.).

          As you may also know, I endorse the right of tyrannicide. (I have written about this in places other than the L/E/S essay — e.g. in my Tyrannicide Day posts — and it would be more on point to mention those than it would to try to pull it out of L/E/S.) However, believing that someone is within their rights to do X (i.e., should not be themselves forcibly restrained, gunned down, jailed, etc. if they try to do it) is not the same thing as believing that someone is acting rightly to do X. (Acts which are within one’s rights may well be foolish; and they may indeed be immoral.) More to the point, I also don’t think that killing 1/435th of 1/2 of the legislative authority in the U.S. constitutes a legitimate act of tyrannicide, and considerations of proportionality would rule out any kind of use of deadly force (particularly since the force would in no conceivable way remove the threat that Congress poses). The issue in tyrannicide is the threat that an individual poses by exercise of their political power; but Caesar exercises a kind of unilateral individual power that Gabrielle Giffords does not.

          That said, while it’s sad when anyone dies, Gabrielle Giffords is a moral criminal, and I’m a lot more concerned about, say, innocent 9 year olds being killed than I am about what happens to Congressional conspirators.

          Do you have an argument against that position?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          [The Congresswoman is part of a] sanctimonious gang of robbers, swindlers, and usurpers bringing war upon you.

          Do you mean that literally or figuratively?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          Literally.

          Do you have an argument against that conclusion? Or a logical response to the arguments that I’ve already given for it?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Do you think that telling people they’re literally at war with the government is not going to provoke some people to commit violence against their opponents in war?

    • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 2:53 am #

      Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

      Bystander: Is Radgeek guilty of some (out of character) right conflationism in equating the media monopoly with “free speech.”

      1. Could you tell me what part of the “media monopoly” the Koch brothers own?

      2. Supposing, counterfactually, that they did have a “media monopoly,” that’s a good reason to seek to undermine their monopoly — by removing the legal restrictions on other people’s freedom of the press. It’s no reason to try to control their monopoly, by imposing even more legal restrictions on the monopolist’s freedom of the press.

      This is the same kind of reasoning that leads many statist “Progressives” to believe that, e.g., they should be able to force drug companies to subsidize AIDS drugs for the developing world — “Well, these sky-high prices are the result of a government granted monopoly, so where’s the harm in having government force them to sell at lower prices?” Well, why not just get rid of the damn monopoly instead of trying to contain its effects?

      The only difference is that the control proposed, when it comes to political speech and the press, is an even more dangerous and politically toxic form of control, which has already repeatedly been used in the past by tyrannical governments (among them the government of the United States of America, where I live) to spy on, disenfranchise, beat, jail, deport and murder political dissidents — including, as you may recall, quite a few Anarchists — for their “seditious” speech.

      If that be right-conflationism, let us make the most of it.

  14. martin January 10, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Opera 11.00 Windows XP

    MBH,

    What if someone reads your posts, concludes that you are right and shoots the Koch brothers.

    Will you accept responsibility?

    • Brandon January 10, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      Chromium 10.0.634.0 Ubuntu 10.10

      His rules only apply to evil rich white guys promoting ideas he doesn’t like.

      • MBH January 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

        Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

        Satyagraha knows no race or class.

    • MBH January 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

      Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

      Martin, I never say that anyone should kill them. In fact, any violence toward the Koch’s would be completely antithetical to my advocacy (satyagraha). I would say that any interpretation of what I write that sees violence as OK is absolutely incorrect.

      How many Tea Partiers will say that? — None. Because 2nd Amendment remedies have to be on the table for the movement to be exciting. Just ask Radgeek, the government is already off your back. You just need to gun-up to make sure they stay there. “Obamacare” represents them not staying there. He’ll let the reader decide what they should do with those guns.

      • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

        Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

        MBH:

        Martin, I never say that anyone should kill them. In fact, any violence toward the Koch’s would be completely antithetical to my advocacy

        As I recall, you specifically stated that you thought they should be held legally liable for (the downstream effects of independent third parties’ reactions to) the political rhetoric of groups that they provided money to. How exactly do you think government holds people legally liable for torts? With soul-force?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          As I recall, you specifically stated that you thought they should be held legally liable [...]

          From the perspective of a polycentric legal system, any organization that refused arbitration in a court that held persons responsible for a particular kind of negligence would be aggressive organizations. Do you think that Fox News or the Kochs, for instance, would accept arbitration in a court that held persons responsible for this particular kind of negligence?

          In a polycentric legal system, what do you do when an organization refuses arbitration?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          MBH:

          From the perspective of a polycentric legal system, any organization that refused arbitration in a court that held persons responsible for a particular kind of negligence would be aggressive organizations.

          Whatever you want, man. So, since you regard the Kochs (in this rather strange hypothetical scenario? about a nonexistant polycentric legal system?) as being involved with “aggressive organizations,” you support using violence towards them in order to extract damages, yes?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Not necessarily. I support — at the very least — an official categorization of these organizations as manifestly irresponsible. You would rather them be on equal footing with organizations that were held responsible for their actions?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          MBH:

          Not necessarily. I support — at the very least — an official categorization of these organizations as manifestly irresponsible.

          1. What does “an official categorization” mean in the context of a polycentric legal system?

          2. You can call people “irresponsible” all you want. Maybe they are. (Certainly, there are all kinds of nasty things you could have called Streicher; “irresponsible” if anything is too kind.)

          But then why the repeated and extremely vitriolic effort to make it out as if this obviously came under a specific legal term for a specific violation of rights? (As I recall, this “negligence” bit came about after people repeatedly demonstrated to you that it could not correctly be categorized as “fraud”; so you settled on a different sort of rights-violation instead.) Why the repeated references to arbitration and to legal systems? If you don’t intend to uphold this kind of prosecution of speech by means of force, then what logical purpose does all this legal mechanism serve in the first place?

          MBH:

          You would rather them be on equal footing with organizations that were held responsible for their actions?

          I have no idea what this means. Certainly, I don’t think that Fox News should be immune from criticism. I have criticized them repeatedly in the past. Nor do I think that what they say should be accorded equal weight with what other, more reliable sources of news and commentary say.

          I do think that they have an the same right to freedom of the press that everyone else has, regardless of their political beliefs or their rhetorical practices. And also that they should not be subjected to political prosecutions over the content of their reporting or commentary. Not because the stuff they put out is particularly good, but because the appropriate response to printed horseshit is not to destroy the press that prints it, but to use another press to print the truth, and call out the horseshit.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          What does “an official categorization” mean in the context of a polycentric legal system?

          A minimum universal standard of operation.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          If this guy thought the government would be overthrown by his action, would he be justified in shooting the Congresswoman in the face?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          A minimum universal standard of operation.

          I have no idea what any part of this means. “Operation” of what? “Standard” in what sense? “Universal” amongst whom?

          What would it mean for a workaday court in a reasonably libertarian polycentric legal system to accept — or not to accept — a declaration by somebody, somewhere, that a news organization ought to be thought of as “manifestly irresponsible”? What difference would it make in how they conduct cases? What would make that “official” or not “official”?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          If it would overthrow the government, would it be correct to shoot the Congresswoman in the face?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          MBH:

          If it would overthrow the government, would it be correct to shoot the Congresswoman in the face?

          What does this have to do with (1) what Loughner actually did in the real world; (2) the Kochs; (3) Fox News; (4) negligent homicide; (5) legal liability for political rhetoric; (6) the use of force to enforce (5); or (7) polycentric legal systems and what it would mean for something to be “official” within one?

          I’ve repeatedly answered your questions — as I answer this one, below — and repeatedly asked you to clarify where questions are ill-formed, or to give arguments for the positions you seem to want to take, rather than just slinging shit and tossing out a bunch of “by that logic….” In response, you have steadfastly refused to answer direct questions; as well as made shit up I didn’t say, and repeatedly changed the subject in an attempt to discredit me as an interlocutor, rather than addressing the issue under discussion. Your antics are increasingly insulting, increasingly dishonest, increasingly evasive, and increasingly tiresome.

        • MBH January 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

          Radgeek says,

          What does this have to do with (1) what Loughner actually did in the real world; (2) the Kochs; (3) Fox News; (4) negligent homicide; (5) legal liability for political rhetoric; (6) the use of force to enforce (5); or (7) polycentric legal systems and what it would mean for something to be “official” within one?

          First, (4) and (6) are irrelevant because I’m taking the perspective of (7). (5) is only relevant in terms of tort law — something you continuously supplant with (4). (2) works through (3) which encourages (8) “second amendment remedies.” (1) just may follow from normalizing (8). (7) entails metacurrencies, which happen to be the opposite of the precious precious gold standard (you know, the one Jared Loughner thought it was OK to shoot Mrs. Giffords in the face in order to implement — you know, like you advocate (under the right revolutionary conditions, of course).

          In (7) a metacurrency is an (at least quasi) universal unit of account, and any organization, like (2) or (3) would have a nearly impossible time capturing market demand if the currency itself is led away from companies that refuse to arbitrate in courts that hold them responsible for singing the praises of automatic weapons in the public sphere and declaring immunity when something goes wrong. Don’t worry, you’re in good company.

          I bet this is tiresome for you. You probably have that sense that you are wrong — something I’ve never seen you admit. I’ve seen “I might be wrong” from you, but never an admission of being wrong on a non trivial issue. With epistemic humility like that, someone might as well place their trust in an automaton.

        • Brandon January 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

          Chromium 10.0.634.0 Ubuntu 10.10

          Are these the right revolutionary conditions? Where did Charles specifically say that Loughner’s actions were justifiable, or where did he, or any of us, directly order Loughner to do anything, or explicitly sanction it afterwards?

        • MBH January 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

          Of course you wouldn’t explicitly sanction it. The MSM would take a population-wide shit on your face. And that would be a goddamn shame because I think a large percentage of what Roderick writes is bona fide genius.

          But Charles, on the other hand, is having trouble with elementary arithmetic. X broadcasts that Y is waging literal war against A-W. L ends up killing one of the Y’s literal warriors, and now X says only a crazy person would do that. I don’t doubt L is suffering from a psychopathology of some sort, but in this particular case, it’s not a matter of a crazy person taking something metaphoric as literal. Charles says that he means this literally.

          Either Charles is insane himself, or he knows he’s potentially in deep shit either with the Feds or with a smidgen of MSM attention. How many segments on CNN do you think it will take before Charles has a mighty smelly reputation? You know he likes to talk about the magnifying glass on an ant hill metaphor; he won’t like that metaphor when it turns on him.

          Keep in mind the dynamic:

          X: Y is trying to kill A-W!

          L: Well I think I’ll kill Y and anyone who gets in my way!

          X: No don’t do that! That’s crazy!

          For a bunch of folk that pride themselves on rationality, you folks just fell on your sword.

      • martin January 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

        Opera 11.00 Windows Vista

        MBH,

        Martin, I never say that anyone should kill them.

        You’re completely missing my point here.

        I quote:

        So what about when that rhetoric — predictably — results in six murders? I’m just curious: the Kochs fund organizations that tout death panels and Nazi takeover of HC. Unstable individuals hear that and kill a bunch of people. What now? No negligence still? How many need to die before you’ll admit this goes beyond free speech?

        What if unstable individuals read this quote, conclude that the Kochs are very dangerous and kill them and a bunch of bystanders in the process?

        Are you then (partly) responsible for these deaths as the Kochs are (partly) responsible for the deaths in Arizona? Just curious…

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          The Tea Partiers explicitly shoot guns together as part of a campaign. They talk about second amendment remedies. Where do I even hint at violence as a response?

        • martin January 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

          Opera 11.00 Windows Vista

          MBH,

          Is it the “rethoric [about] death panels and Nazi takeover of HC”, or is it the shooting of guns? Is it the Kochs or is it the Tea Partiers? (Do the Kochs go to Tea Parties and shoot guns?)

        • MBH January 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Martin, the Kochs are the Tea Parties are the guns.

          (1) Kochs = Tea Parties

          (2) Tea Parties = Guns

        • martin January 12, 2011 at 8:16 am #

          Opera 11.00 Windows XP

          MBH,

          I’ll take your word for it, but it doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t mention the Tea Parties’ guns as (part of) the motivation for the killings in your original argument.

        • MBH January 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

          I’ll take your word for it, but it doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t mention the Tea Parties’ guns as (part of) the motivation for the killings in your original argument.

          If say “A, B, C, D, E, F, G” would say that I can’t use “the beginning of the alphabet” since I didn’t say so explicitly?

        • MBH January 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

          Should read: If I say “A, B, C, D, E, F, G” would you say that I can’t use “the beginning of the alphabet” since I didn’t say so explicitly?

        • martin January 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

          Opera 11.00 Windows Vista

          MBH,

          I fail to see the analogy.

          Let me summarize the discussion so far:

          MBH: The Kochs say X about governement, which motivates unstable individuals to kill people.

          Martin: By that logic, you saying Y about the Kochs could motivate unstable individuals to kill the Kochs. (Y being that the Kochs induce unstable individuals to kill people.)

          MBH: But the Kochs shoot guns and I don’t.

          Martin: So the unstable individuals are not motivated just by hearing X, or not by hearing X at all, but by the shooting of guns, or the combination of X and the shooting of guns. Therefore your original statement is false.

        • MBH January 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

          Your first step is an invalid step:

          MBH: The Kochs say X about governement, which motivates unstable individuals to kill people.

          I’m not saying that. I’m saying that:

          The Kochs = Tea Parties

          Tea Parties = Guns

          Now: you’re welcome to tell me why either of those links are incorrect.

        • MBH January 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

          Your second step is invalid:

          Martin: By that logic, you saying Y about the Kochs could motivate unstable individuals to kill the Kochs. (Y being that the Kochs induce unstable individuals to kill people.)

          The Kochs say: the government is trying to kill you — take up guns — protect your rights.

          I say: the Kochs/Tea Parties are using irresponsible rhetoric — Charles says he’s literally declaring war on the government.

          I don’t even want to illustrate what an analogous claim would be against Charles, the Kochs, or the Tea Parties, because, even though I think they’re devastatingly wrong, I respect the relevant parties (and my own dignity) enough to not fight fire with fire. I you can see where my finger is pointing.

  15. Bystander January 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Firefox 3.6.13.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

    Maybe “left Tuckerite” would be a better term. I am not certain that merely freeing markets will work at this point. It is possible that the corporate interests have grown so powerful (as the result of state intervention) that they may no longer need government support. OTOH, I may be wrong. Nobody can be totally certain about an empirical prediction.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said anything about the Koch Brothers or about specific policies. But I will say that the Tea Party is a splendid example of the media monopoly and astroturf political methods channeling popular anger into partisan victories for the political duopoly. And it *is* arguable that the Arizona shootings are a byproduct of this process

    • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

      Bystander: I am not certain that merely freeing markets will work at this point. It is possible that the corporate interests have grown so powerful (as the result of state intervention) that they may no longer need government support.

      I’m inclined to doubt that that is the case. (*) But supposing for the sake of argument that it is the case, I don’t know why pessimism about the economic means of undermining monopoly would lend any support to favoring the political means as an alternative. (1) If corporate interests are so overwhelmingly powerful that they cannot be eroded by means of bottom-up competition, grassroots action, etc., then why expect that they would be powerless against political campaigns aiming to control them through government mechanisms? That would make sense as a suggestion only if it were somehow harder for overwhelmingly powerful corporate interests to capture, co-opt or resist efforts to move (oligarchical, bureaucratic) government against them than it is for them to overcome grassroots efforts to undermine them. But, well, why believe that?

      (2) In any case, if one has moral objections to the invasive use of violence — as I do — then the moral objections aren’t going to go away simply because non-invasive tactics aren’t likely to work. It just means that the world is a harder place than one might hope, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do.

      Bystander: Please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said anything about the Koch Brothers or about specific policies.

      Unfortunately, due to problems with the threading of these replies, I’m not sure who you’re responding to here. If you are responding to me, I’m sorry if you feel I’m putting words in your mouth. But if you did respond to a comment that was about the Koch brothers (because MBH is trying to make a specific claim about them, and I was responding to that claim), in order to characterize what it said (about the Kochs’ rights to freedom of the press) as a possible example of “right-conflationism,” then it doesn’t seem like a response discussing the Kochs further is “putting words in your mouth,” exactly. If you didn’t mean to associate them with “media monopoly,” why bring it up in reply to a comment about them?

      If you were replying to a different comment, well, never mind.

      Bystander: But I will say that the Tea Party is a splendid example of the media monopoly and astroturf political methods channeling popular anger into partisan victories for the political duopoly.

      I certainly agree that the “Tea Party” movement is an example of channeling popular anger into partisan victories etc. Which is very sad. (**) But, you know, I do wish that more of us on the Left could discuss seemingly popular movements we disagree with without resorting to increasingly empty accusations of “astroturf.” The term was originally coined to refer to campaigns in which alleged popular support for a predetermined government agenda was fabricated — when, for example, stories about fictional people were simply invented by PR firms and presented as true, or actors paid to pad out political demonstrations, or when party committees handed out pre-written form letters to the editor, which were then signed by local contacts who did not write them. Whatever the Tea Party is, it is not generally an example of fictional just-folks being manufactured for media consumption, or of people turning out to claim that they believe in things that they don’t really believe in, or people mechanically repeating literally scripted statements written by others. Popular movements can be wrong, and there is no reason, other than democratic romanticism, to pretend like a popular movement is somehow not really popular, or somehow “fake” in its popularity, just because they believe in things that you think they were manipulated into believing.

      (*) Tucker’s late-in-life argument for pessimism was that the big trusts had, after decades of government-protected monopoly, accumulated enough concentrated wealth that they could simply take massive losses for years, simply in order to burn out competitors, without seriously endangering their long-term financial sustainability. Hence, he held, the kind of free-market competition that would have destroyed them in 1890 no longer could. But even if that was the case then — I don’t know whether it was or not — it doesn’t seem like it’s the case today. Bank of America, Chase, Citi, General Motors et al. would be would simply be bankrupt if not for ongoing direct infusions of cash from the U.S. government, and folks like Microsoft, Apple, AOL TimeWarner, Roche, Pfizer, et al. depend on ongoing government privilege (in the form of copyright and patent protection), not merely barricades of accumulated wealth, to survive as profitable enterprises.

      (**) Although, of course, some significant amount of the “popular anger” that has been so channeled is not popular anger that was worth much to begin with. When people are pissed off about bailouts or corporate insurance mandates, I’d like to see that anger channeled into more productive forms of action, outside of party politics. When they’re pissed off about Mexicans living where they damn well please, or Muslims exercising their religious freedom, I guess that anger may as well go down into the gravity well of ineffectual party politics as anywhere else. I’m no expert, but my impression is that which kind of anger dominates varies a lot from person to person, and to a certain extent from city to city. (Here in Las Vegas, it’s pretty bad, in terms of the degree to which they’re motivated by anti-immigrant politics.)

      • MBH January 10, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

        Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

        Radgeek says,

        The point is to challenge not only the abuses of government authority, but the normal uses of that authority—to see the taxmen, policemen, hangmen, and Congressmen who invade your liberties not as unruly representatives of a State with authority over you, but a sanctimonious gang of robbers, swindlers, and usurpers bringing war upon you.

        You stand by that?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          Yes, I do. Do you have an argument against it, or a logical response to the arguments given for it?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          You say,

          Congressmen who invade your liberties not as unruly representatives of a State with authority over you, [is] a sanctimonious gang of robbers, swindlers, and usurpers bringing war upon you.

          You think that Jared Loughner is justified in killing the Congresswoman?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          MBH:

          You think that Jared Loughner is justified in killing the Congresswoman?

          No, I don’t. I think that the shooting was foolish, and also that it probably fails a test of proportionality. (Certainly, carrying out the shooting by murdering innocent bystanders does.)

          Again. Do you have an argument against that? Or against anything said in the passage you are quoting?

          Hell, if I did (as I do not) think that the shooting of Giffords (but not the innocent bystanders) were justified, would you have an argument against that conclusion? Or just some more shit to sling at the wall?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          I think that the shooting was foolish, and also that it probably fails a test of proportionality.

          If Jared Loughner shot and killed enough federal officials to end the government, then would that constitute proportionality?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          MBH:

          If Jared Loughner shot and killed enough federal officials to end the government, then would that constitute proportionality?

          I don’t know; it probably depends on the details. (You’re imagining a lot of violence in a situation where it’s not at all clear why or how it would work, or how it would be carried out without endangering a lot of innocent people in the process. If you’re imagining a magic process that immediately and simultaneously cornfields exactly enough government agents to disrupt continuity of government, and somehow prevents anyone else from stepping in, O.K., sure, I’ll buy that on a hypothetical level. But I don’t know where you’d find such magic.)

          As a general thing, I do think that armed insurrection, if it stood a reasonable chance of success, would be justified against the U.S. government as it currently exists. But I think that’s a mighty big “if.” Particularly if one understands “success” to mean what I understand it to mean.

          Do you think it would not be justified? If not, why not?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          You say,

          I do think that armed insurrection, if it stood a reasonable chance of success, would be justified against the U.S. government as it currently exists.

          So if Jared Loughner was under the impression that every other federal official were going to be assassinated that day, then he would be justified in shooting the Congresswoman in the face?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          MBH:

          So if Jared Loughner was under the impression that every other federal official were going to be assassinated that day, then he would be justified in shooting the Congresswoman in the face?

          Nope. The standard for proportionality, as I understand it, are the objective facts about what are the morally serious features of the actual situation. Not what an admittedly deranged person wrongly believes the situation to be.

          Anyway, to return to the question you’ve dodged, do you think armed insurrection against the U.S. government as it presently exists — even if it stood a reasonable chance of success, would not involve violating the rights of innocents, etc. — would not be justified? If not, why not?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          So if the government was being overthrown, and shooting the Congresswoman in the face was an integral part, you’d think it was morally right to shoot the Congresswoman in the face?

        • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

          Well, is the overthrowing of government justified or unjustified? If one were shooting at people in order to, say, protect her power to shoot immigrants or murder gay people, then that’s not a successful revolution, in the sense of “success” and “revolution” that are discussed in L/E/S; it’s just a coup d’etat.

          To save you the next couple steps: let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that the overthrow is part of a justifiable revolution (i.e., one aimed at destroying government as such, not simply taking over or reforming government along different lines). Let’s also suppose that there aren’t any defeaters in the revolutionary’s individual character or motives (e.g., bad motives hidden under the cover of revolutionary activity, etc.) that might make the act morally wrong even though the cause is justified.

          With all that specified, then yes, of course, I believe that, in the purely hypothetical, imaginary case in which there is a justified armed insurrection in progress which is reasonably likely to succeed without hurting innocents, etc., people fighting against government repression do have a right to shoot their immediate enemies (e.g. armed police or soldiers who are attacking them) and also the commanders of their immediate enemies (e.g. officers and members of the government). I take it that this is part of what “a justified armed insurrection” means; if the situation is such that it weren’t legitimate to shoot anyone, then that seems like it’s just a situation in which armed insurrection is not justified.

          Anyway, to return, once again, to the question you’ve dodged, once again, do you think armed insurrection against the U.S. government as it presently exists — even if it stood a reasonable chance of success, would not involve violating the rights of innocents, etc. — would not be justified? If not, why not?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Since no one could ever carry out an insurrection with objective knowledge of the outcome, you imply that if someone thinks they have good reason to believe the insurrection will be successful, then they ought to do it. And yet, out of the other side of your mouth, you see no connection between rhetoric like yours and someone who decides to assassinate their Congressman.

          Weird. Really weird.

          I’ve already addressed why it’s not correct to shoot Congressmen in the face.

          I’m going to watch the national championship game. Maybe you should spend some time thinking about the message you send readers. Don’t hate your creation.

        • Brandon January 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

          Chromium 10.0.634.0 Ubuntu 10.10

          Don’t hate your creation.

          Are the Beatles responsible for creating Charles Manson because he listened to Helter Skelter?

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Are the Beatles responsible for creating Charles Manson because he listened to Helter Skelter?

          It’s only analogous if the song suggests the use of guns or that killing people is justified in certain situations.

        • Brandon January 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

          Chromium 10.0.634.0 Ubuntu 10.10

          Killing people is justified in certain situations, such as self-defense. And guns are also justifiable.

          Well, let’s take a more explicitly revolutionary song, like “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine. If you look at the lyrics, it can be interpreted as a call to violent action. And I’m sure this guy heard it. You’ve heard it. It plays as the credits roll at the end of The Matrix. Why couldn’t that band be responsible for Loughner’s actions (certainly Loughner isn’t responsible. That can’t be considered.)

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Why couldn’t that band be responsible for Loughner’s actions [...]

          Pure speculation: I don’t think he is a black nationalist.

          Besides, a poem that calls itself a poem and suggests “he may be a brave contender [if he embraces]” black nationalism, is nothing compared to prose whose author says it’s to be understood literally and calls for violence against the government if it will — if the individual believes it will — end the government.

          So the distinction is between poetry and prose. That’s guilt you’re starting to feel. It’s a healthy emotion in this instance.

          You’re starting to see that your prose implies it’s right to do what Loughner did to Gabrielle Giffords if he believed it would at least spark an overthrow. You can quibble all day that shooting her in the face is only OK if it will actually result in an overthrow. But epistemically, you can never make that assessment and so your advocacy is for shooting her in the face when you believe it will result in an overthrow. It could be the case that Loughner thought he would spark an overthrow. If he did think that, then you imply support for him shooting Ms. Giffords in the face.

          You do realize this puts you in some mighty strange company? Just let me know when you’re ready to go back to the drawing board.

      • MBH January 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

        Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

        You want to walk that back maybe?

      • Rad Geek January 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

        Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

        MBH:

        Since no one could ever carry out an insurrection with objective knowledge of the outcome, you imply that if someone thinks they have good reason to believe the insurrection will be successful, then they ought to do it.

        Well, no. You seem to have inferred that, but nothing I said implied it; your inference involves an especially crude confusion of metaphysical and epistemic claims (as a brief reminder, “If P, then it is permissible for Smith to do V” does not imply “If Smith believes that P, then it is permissible for Smith to do V”).

        you see no connection between rhetoric like yours and someone who decides to assassinate their Congressman.

        Well, I didn’t say anything about “rhetoric like mine.” You started talking about the Kochs and I (among others) answered and then decided to change the topic to me. That said, I am pretty confident that the contents and the rhetoric of “Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Toward a Dialectical Anarchism” played more or less no causal role in the Loughner’s decision to shoot up a supermarket in Tucson. If it did, I have a much broader readership than I imagined.

        However, if it did, I will also simply say that someone who reads the essay and comes away thinking “It’s time for me to shoot a member of Congress,” they have not read the essay carefully or honestly, and while I am perfectly happy to take intellectual responsibility for the conclusions that people might reasonably draw from things that I write, I think it is fundamentally absurd to expect anyone to take intellectual — let alone legal responsibility — for admittedly irrational reactions that admittedly irrational people might independently decide to take after reading something that they did not understand.

        I’ve already addressed why it’s not correct to shoot Congressmen in the face.

        Not at the link you just pointed to. That’s a discussion of the gold standard and government regulation of hedge funds. Did you mean to point to something else? Or is this yet another example of you throwing shit around and expecting people not to read what you link to?

        I asked you for an argument for your position. You haven’t, as yet, given one.

        • MBH January 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          No one ever has metaphysical knowledge of the outcome. That could never be a realistic justification. Insurrection could only ever be justified by the belief that it will work.

          My link explains how a monopoly of force could be self-defense. If it is self-defense, then insurrection isn’t justified. Read it again.

        • JOR January 10, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

          Firefox 3.6.10 Windows 7

          You’ve been dishonest the entire discussion. Your real point of contention with Charles and others here is that you simply disagree with anarchist and libertarian theories of justice – you’re not against violence, nor against speech that provokes violence (you have engaged in speech that has as good a chance of inspiring violence as anything Charles has ever written – calling for government controls on speech, for instance), you just think violence engaged by the current government is just and any resistance to said violence is unjust. Trying to frame this disagreement as a neutral disapproval of provocative speech is just a self-serving and possibly deliberate attempt to distract and derail.

          Since you have argued for the justice of a monopoly on force, and since it follows trivially from the nature of monopoly and the nature of force that whatever a justified monopoly entity does within its own territory is justified, perhaps you should take some time to enjoy your many creations.

        • MBH January 11, 2011 at 12:56 am #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          [...] you have engaged in speech that has as good a chance of inspiring violence [...]

          Wow. You dip shits can’t tell the difference between scolding someone and asking people to take up guns against their oppressor. How am I supposed to argue against someone who refuses to make this distinction?

          Then, you don’t understand that the only monopoly on violence I advocate is in response to massive theft. How am I supposed to argue against someone who refuses to distinguish between self-defense and aggression?

          Your real point of contention with Charles and others here is that you simply disagree with anarchist and libertarian theories of justice [...]

          Incorrect. Mises vs. Mises operates entirely by the NAP. How am I supposed to argue against someone who refuses to take on perspective? How am I supposed to argue against someone who does nothing but project strawmen?

          I’ll tell you one thing that I won’t do: I won’t tell you take up guns against my opponent.

        • MBH January 11, 2011 at 1:30 am #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Two more things,

          (1) I have yet to hear a rebuttal to Mises vs. Mises. The only person to respond to it directly is Julian Sanchez; he doesn’t disagree.

          (2) WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!

        • Rad Geek January 11, 2011 at 2:49 am #

          Firefox 3.6.12 Windows 7

          MBH,

          (1) If Jocasta is not really Oedipus’s mother, then there is nothing wrong with him sleeping with her.

          (2) If Oedipus (reasonably?) believes that Jocasta is not really his mother, then there is nothing wrong with him sleeping with her.

          Some people believe that if (1) is true, so is (2). (Generally because they are internalists about justification.) I do not believe that. Perhaps you believe it; but you claimed to be sussing out my views. Of course, if you want to cherry pick some of my views here and there, ignore the rest, then roll them up with some views I don’t hold, which you made up, and pretend that this constitutes a knock-down response to my views, I can hardly stop you. But I don’t know what you think it proves. Certainly, when I explicitly tell you that my view about justification is P, and then you immediately proceed to repeat a counter-argument that depends on the claim that I accept not-P, what you are doing is hard to count as an even minimally honest response. And I do know that it’s not a game that’s worth my time to play.

        • MBH January 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

          Radgeek,

          Slow your horses bub. I’m not an internalist nor an externalist when it comes to justification. I believe that John McDowell‘s epistemology has successful destroyed that dichotomy.

          Act like I’m not taking about your position all you like. If the reader follows, then s/he knows what’s happening. Here’s the problem — McDowell may want to say — with you’re example.

          The antecedent in (1) — If Jocasta is not really Oedipus’s mother — is not analogous to the relevant antecedent — (1a) If a particular instance of violence will end the relevant government. (1) can be knowable epistemically (all propositions are, after all, indexical and even after your temporally successful insurrection you wouldn’t know epistemically if (1a) is true); (1a) cannot be knowable epistemically. Unless, Radgeek, you have created an epistemology that comes with a flawless crystal ball.

          So here we are: Radgeek is — logically — limited to epistemic knowledge as justification for armed murder of federal officials. Congratulations. Your mind/brain has a dead-spot that makes you a criminal. If it were up to me, we’d just talk it out. Let’s hope it’s up to me.

        • MBH January 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

          Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

          Since you still haven’t responded to my first argument, here’s a second argument for why federal officials aren’t literally warriors waging war against you.

          Happy reading, and please remember the dynamic of your argument:

          (1) Charles: Y is literally trying to kill A — W!

          (2) L: Well I think I’ll kill Y and anyone who fights with Y!

          (3) Charles: No don’t do that! That’s crazy!

          The second you can explain how in hell (3) follows (1) and (2), I’ll stop hammering. Good luck irrational revolutionary.

  16. Bystander January 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Firefox 3.6.13.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

    You guys seem to be reaching a point where “the world is left as it is.” It isn’t clear to me where, in the scheme of things, force can be identified as being “initiated” and thus, what can be identified as “self defense.”

    • Rad Geek January 11, 2011 at 2:27 am #

      Firefox 3.6.12 Windows 7

      Bystander,

      Well, I’m inclined to agree that “initiation” is not the most useful conceptual framework for this, but I don’t think it’s obviously unworkable, either. We could start with examples. It seems to me that when Emma Goldman is speaking in a hall, and not physically attacking anyone, and when some police roll up on her and physically attack her and force her off to jail at gunpoint, that’s initiating violence against someone who was not herself engaging in violence. (Even if, say, she made an argument to the effect that people have the right to resist or rebel.) Now, perhaps I’m oversimplifying matters. But if so I’d like to know how.

      To return to the earlier discussion about media monopoly and right-conflationism, I’m done trying to engage with MBH’s trolling, so I’ll beg your leave to come back around again and say things a bit more succinctly, and more clearly, in response to your specific question.

      “Right-conflationism” and “left-conflationism” are terms that apply to the analysis of structural outcomes, not of individual market transactions. (Claiming that BP’s business model would not exist in a free market is one thing; claiming that BP did not have the right to sell me gasoline last time I took a road trip is another.) If one were to claim that the prevalence of a particular viewpoint in the (profoundly constrained and monopolized) media indicated that the idea must be genuinely popular, or that it must have won out in the “marketplace of ideas,” that would be an instance of right-conflationism. (Because there isn’t a genuine “marketplace of ideas;” access to the press is profoundly constrained and monopolized, etc.) But I don’t think I made that claim.

      On the other hand I don’t think that defending the individual rights of people — including those who might plausibly be called media monopolists — to print their own views, in a particular instance, without forcible interference would be an example of right-conflationism. Certainly I didn’t anywhere claim that the virtues of a freed market in ideas justify the evils of right-wing advocacy in the media. What I said is that the right way to deal with those evils, where they occur, is not by forcibly censoring them.

      If it’s not right-conflationism, my position might still be an example of some other error — although, of course, I don’t think that it is. Besides the fact that allowing that precedent would be extraordinarily dangerous (when they start clamping down on “irresponsible” or “inflammatory” speech, it’s always the Anarchists they have come for first), I think it is also fundamentally immoral to treat your fellow human beings that way. As I said, it seems like the natural response to such a monopoly is to remove the prohibitions on others. Not to lay down some new prohibitions on the monopolists. Does that make sense?

      • MBH January 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

        Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

        Did you have a rebuttal to Mises vs. Mises? If not, I’m going to have to assume you’re just trolling. This piece explains why it’s not fine and dandy to shoot Gabrielle Giffords in the face under revolutionary conditions — specifically, how the government can temporarily protect us from the state.

        Please, by all means rebut that piece, and rebut this equation:

        (1) Kochs = Tea Parties

        (2) Tea Parties = guns

  17. Bystander January 11, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    Firefox 3.6.13.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

    As a resident of Eugene I congratulate the Auburnites on their victory. The home of Market Anarchism defeated the home of Green Anarchy.

    • MBH January 11, 2011 at 1:31 am #

      Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

      That’s mighty gracious of you Eugenite. It was a great game.

  18. Bystander January 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Firefox 3.6.13.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

    RG,

    Gotcha, and I withdraw my charge of conlationism.

    There is something that bothers me slightly, but I am not sure if I am simply confusing tactics with ethics.

    Suppose someone where to hack into your computer (or physically invade your residence) and post embarrassing private information about you on the web. I would consider it to be an immoral act.

    Now, if someone were to do the same thing to the US State Department or to BP, I would not consider it to be an immoral act, for a number of reasons, primarily having to do with the illegitimate concentration of power these entities have.

    Now, you might argue that both actions are immoral, but even if
    you were to convince me, I might tactically refuse to condemn the actions against BP or the State Department, since I am not under any obligation to condemn every immoral action, especially when I view those actions to ahve positive consequences.

    Does this make any sense?

    • Rad Geek January 13, 2011 at 2:16 am #

      Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

      Bystander:

      Now, if someone were to do the same thing to the US State Department or to BP, I would not consider it to be an immoral act, for a number of reasons, primarily having to do with the illegitimate concentration of power these entities have.

      Well, I generally agree with you about that. (Particularly in the case of the State Department, which I would argue is simply a criminal organization, which has no property rights and no legitimate expectation of privacy that anyone is bound to respect.) I would feel differently, in the case of BP, if we were talking about, say, breaking into their computers so as to permanently disable their equipment or prevent them from publishing a public statement. (To be clear, I also think BP is very close to simply being an arm of the State — especially as of late — and so its property rights are dubious at best, but I prefer to err on the side of not breaking other people’s shit where possible. In any case, there are differences among being let in by a leaker, on the one hand, and sneaking in to get information, on the other, and sneaking in to trash the place, on the, um, third.)

      In any case, I think what’s wrong with posting a bunch of embarrassing private information online, in the case of an ordinary individual person, is not that it’s a violation of their rights (I don’t believe in intellectual property and so don’t think people have a right to control information in that way), but rather that it is a mean thing to do – – a real dick move, and one that most people don’t deserve. But a corporation has no feelings to be hurt and is not due the same sort of consideration for its secrets. The people in the corporation do, and are, but the purpose of revealing these kind of corporate secrets is hardly ever to inflict that kind of personal damage on people, or to invade the sphere of their private lives, but rather to scrutinize their dealings, and the way that those affect the rest of us. And while a person’s private life may not really be the business of random strangers, the kind of things that people are generally trying to hide within a big business like BP very often are.

      I am not under any obligation to condemn every immoral action, especially when I view those actions to ahve positive consequences.

      Well, I don’t think that doing what you described would necessarily be unethical. But I also agree that you’re not under any obligation to go out of your way to condemn every action you consider to be unethical. But I do believe in being honest, so if somebody specifically asked, you should probably tell them.

      Anyway, I think that the virtue of being considerate and decent to others is an important one, but a distinct question from the question of respecting their basic human rights. I would have no problem with someone being rude or heckling or downright nasty to, say, a uniformed Klansman giving a speech on the street. But I do think that everyone has a right to express their ideas without being threatened or attacked for it; so I don’t think that said Klansman should be given a beat-down. Let alone arrested and prosecuted by the government (which is far bigger and more dangerous than even the most thuggish Klansman). Same goes for corporate sleazebags, raving warhawks, various political flunkies, etc. etc. etc.

  19. MBH January 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    Chromium 9.0.597.19 Linux

    May I simply remark at the meta-irony of our comments in a section titled “How to do things with words.” And the further irony, that the majority of participants are claiming that you cannot do terrible things with words.

    • Roderick January 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      Firefox 3.0.19.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

      the majority of participants are claiming that you cannot do terrible things with words

      I can’t see that anyone has claimed that.

  20. MBH January 13, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

    I’d also like to say that Radgeek is coming off much like Sarah Palin.

  21. Bystander January 14, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Firefox 3.6.13.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

    RG,

    We seem to be in agreement, then, although you probably see more of a difference between BP and the State Department than I do. I am not sure if our different perceptions of this difference are important enough to matter.

  22. MBH January 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

    I’m not sure where in this comment section, but at some point Radgeek, Roderick, and/or JOR accuse me of sidestepping the real issue: whether or not Loughner is right about the manipulation of grammar by the government.

    What’s ironic about the belief that the government manipulates grammar through state-funded education is that it amounts to a desire to have someone else think for you — something even more ironic coming from an individualist anarchist site. Here is my rebuttal to that line of “thinking”.

    • Roderick January 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      Firefox 3.0.19.NETCLR3.5.30729 Windows XP

      I’m not sure where in this comment section, but at some point Radgeek, Roderick, and/or JOR accuse me of sidestepping the real issue: whether or not Loughner is right about the manipulation of grammar by the government.

      Nope, this is pure fantasy on your part; no such remark occurred anywhere in this comment section. The closest thing was this by RadGeek, where he simply asserts an obviously true point you had just implicitly denied, but he never said it was the “real issue” or that you were sidestepping it.

      • MBH January 17, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

        Firefox 3.6.13 Ubuntu 10.10

        Pure fantasy in the same way praxeology is pure fantasy?

        Radgeek says,

        (1) Government does control schools. And (2) government schools do have a significant effect on grammar and language. And (3) the kind of language taught in government schools is reinforced by newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and all kinds of social interactions. Isn’t it?

        Do you seriously intend to claim that either (1) or (2) or (3) is false? If so, which one, and why?

        This show why (2) is misleading and even implies authoritarianism. Note: I agree that state-funded schools have a significant effect on language, but there is a very real sense in which philosophical grammar (which is Loughner’s intended but missed reference) cannot be touched by any external agency or institution. And I’ll say again: it’s absolutely bizarre that this would be challenged on individualist anarchist site. Bizarre.

  23. smally January 18, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    Chrome 8.0.552.237 Windows 7

    Hi MBH.

    At your linked post, you write of “Loughner’s inability to see that ‘grammar’ is not only a printed word but also references a concept”.

    How can Loughner be using grammar in the sense of “philosophical grammar” if he’s unable to see it as more than just a “printed word”?

    • MBH January 18, 2011 at 12:52 am #

      Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

      He’s not. I say he intends to. After all: he’s talking about the internal universe and the external universe. He’s probably referencing this guy‘s use as an excuse to assassinate someone he hates. But to reference another person’s use of a word is not the same as using their reference.

    • MBH January 18, 2011 at 1:47 am #

      Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

      Here‘s a better link to the NY Times discussing the influences on Loughner’s.

    • MBH January 18, 2011 at 2:04 am #

      Chromium 9.0.597.45 Linux

      If there’s any doubt that Loughner doesn’t understand the reference of philosphical grammar, just listen to his video. He’s spouting talking points without an understanding of why they’re supposed to be the case.

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