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Practical anarcho-capitalism

What would anarcho-capitalism look like, if we had it? How would it work? How would we solve all the problems that government now solves for us? It is easy to see how the need met by such things as government postal delivery might be met. It is not so easy to see how defense would be handled, or how we would be protected against tyranny.

Many people love the original Constitutional United States government system because they believe it to be the best system mankind has discovered for protecting liberty. Often you'll see such good patriots attempting to educate today's public about the fact that the U.S. system is not a democracy; it is instead the superior system of a Republic. Of course, in practice our system has been attempting to devolve from republic to democracy, and from there to socialism (did you ever know a Communist nation that didn't like to refer to itself as "The People's Democratic Socialist Republic of [Region]?"). And personally I think the similarities between republic and democracy are greater than their differences. But I do agree that Republican government was a great protection for liberty, and a great check against tyranny.

History has produced a long list of such checks against tyranny:

  • the rule of law

  • Constitutional government

  • law applying to the ruler as well as the ruled

  • democracy

  • republicanism (not the political party, the form of government)

  • separation of powers

  • bills of rights

  • checks and balances

In the end, though, none of these is sufficient to guarantee liberty is never violated. And in fact some of them don't work nearly as well as advertised. And unfortunately many of them get equated with "liberty." Right now we say we want to spread "democracy," and we act as if that means spreading "liberty." The very definition of democracy is actually incompatible with liberty.

Anarcho-capitalism surpasses them all. And what's more, anarcho-capitalism actually is liberty.

I think a Republic was a great advance and a great protection for liberty, but in the end I think it always devolves again into tyranny. I do not believe one government can check itself, even if you have separation of powers. I believe governments can only be checked by the people, or by other governments.

Being checked by the people has always been a part of government's existence, even under tyranny, even since the first raiders rode into a peaceful town and proclaimed themselves kings. The government takes a lot from its people, in the form of liberty and resources. It loudly gives a large portion back in the form of services. They give enough back to keep the people from revolting, and this keeps their power and income sources secure. It's a little more civilized under a Republic, thankfully.

This necessity that government be checked by the people is always the reason for the need for the rights granted by the US second amendment to be secure and absolute. I know a lot of people think the 2nd amendment is about hunting (I used to), or personal defense against local criminals (I used to think that, too), but the reason the founders talked about was the need to protect from the main criminals of history: government.

The second way of checking government is why a Republic is not the greatest hope for human government, and anarcho-capitalism is. Under such a system, every person would have the right to secede from their government, as well as the right to form new governments within the same territory. Noone would have the right to compel anyone to be a citizen of their government; government would be by true contract. If a government became tyrannical to its citizens, they could form a new one (or several) to protect themselves from its depradations. If a government acted tyrannical to those who were not its citizens, they could protect themselves by forming their own government. And this is pretty much exactly what the Declaration of Independence says, that government is an institution with the special purpose of securing rights, and that all people have the right to form such an institution as seems best to them (though I doubt Jefferson envisioned multiple such institutions in the same geographic region).

Noone has the right to do that which is wrong, not even governing officials, and in all history the biggest threat to man's rights has been the government; therefore the most pressing reason to form a government is to protect its citizens from another government. Under our present system government does much which is wrong. As it exists, taxation is simply legalized theft (indeed, the government is simply a group that has a monopoly on breaking laws such as this with impunity), and much of the rest of what governments do is simply legalized slavery. Under a system of anarcho-capitalism this could not be the case. A government's only citizens would be people who had explicitly agreed to its terms, which would include whatever fees the previous citizens or founders had deemed necessary. Governments could actually compete for citizens by trying to offer the best protection for the best price.

People who wanted to keep the existing institution, the United States federal government, could do so. They could support it with their taxes, pledge their allegiance to it and salute its flag, think of it as the greatest country on earth, and everything they want to do now. They just couldn't compel other people to do so, and they'd have to allow their children to make the decision for themselves when they grew up, and they certainly couldn't force everyone who lived in their land after they died to be bound to the same institution for hundreds of years or forever. They'd have to grant everyone else the right to be free.

I'm going to say something you might not have realized anarcho-capitalists believed: we do need government. At least, we need to have our rights protected, and we need to create institutions to do that for the common good. What we don't need is to take away the rights of other people in order to protect that for ourselves. Government as it exists today rests on the premise that you and I cannot protect ourselves unless we force other people to furnish the means and manpower to do it, and to surrender complete allegiance to our system and any decisions it makes as well. This is not true! It might provide some form of protection, but it is inferior to what could be developed in a world of true freedom, it weakens the foundations of society by making us interact together in forced ways rather than those we would naturally choose, and it damages our economy because of the damage to our freedom, resulting in decreased wealth and therefore decreased capacity for the very defense we were trying to achieve, as well as decreased capacity to enjoy the fruit of our labors.


One world government?

If the state is such a good thing, why don't we just have one of them? For the entire world.

When I was younger, I accepted all the good things people told me states were responsible for. Civilization would be impossible without them. States were the only way people could be protected. States provided needed services that couldn't be obtained in any other way, such as roads, schools, and certification of income tax preparation experts. Through democracy, states permitted completely diverse groups of people to peacefully coexist and cooperate and form civilization, in a way that would be impossible without a government. And through federalism local groups of people could have their own local government but still share the benefits of a common state.

So why in the world did the earth have many nations? Obviously the best thing in the world would be for every existing nation in the world to become a state in the United States. And then we'd all live happily ever after, or so I naively thought.

The reality is that the state is pretty much only a good thing when it is protecting us from the next level up, and/or the rest of the world. Increasing centralization wrecks the structures that man creates through the voluntary association of the free market. And unfortunately our trend is toward increasing centralization of everything. Apparently a lot of people still believe what I believed as a boy. I wonder why those same people still want nations to retain their sovereignty? If their logic is true, they should accept that one government would be good for everybody.

In the early united states, education was the private decision of each household. Near universal literacy prevailed. Then education was assumed by the community, then the state, and now finally the federal government (a federal government legally prohibited from doing so by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). It's only gotten worse, but at each stage flaws in the system have been used as justification for fixing things at the next higher level. Somehow making only one decision instead of fifty is supposed to magically work better. Somehow federal government is a magic realm where people can solve problems they can't solve in states. Somehow state government is a magic realm where people can solve problems they can't solve in cities or counties. Somehow government in general is a magic realm where people can solve problems they can't solve on the free market. Remember the big lie: the risk of leaving this up to people we don't control is too great.

Health care tells the same story as education, and so do a thousand other issues.

Morally, why should people in New York have the right to tell people in Kansas what to do? Why should people in Houston have the right to tell people in Dallas what to do? Why should people on the north side of Boston have the right to tell people on the south side of Boston what to do? Why should a household in Denver, Colorado have the right to tell the household living next door to them what to do? The answer is that they don't, and in fact when they do the economy produces less than it would have if left alone.

Somehow people can see that it wouldn't do to have people in China telling America what to do. Somehow they can even see that it wouldn't do to have people in England telling America what to do. Why then don't they follow that logic through to its obvious conclusion: any such institution which compels people to obey it, rather than protecting those who voluntarily join it, is immoral and damaging? If it's a bad idea for America to give up its sovereignty to a one world government, it's a bad idea Wyoming to give up its sovereignty to Washington, D.C., and it's a bad idea for Muncie, Indiana to give up its sovereignty to Indianapolis, Indiana, and it's a bad idea for the household on the north side of town to give up its sovereignty to city hall.

An institution that protects us from possible violation of our rights by other people, including by other people in institutions called states, is a good thing. In fact, it is so much of a good thing that I think we should have several of them, competing with each other, and you should choose which one you want to belong to (hire), or several if you choose and they are still willing to serve you under such an arrangment.

But compelling other people to be a member of your institution is wrong. Compelling your children to be a member of your institution after they are grown and emancipated (and even after you are dead) is wrong. The Americans of 1789 created an institution to protect their rights. (They had earlier declared their right to do this in 1776. Interestingly enough, at the same time they declared the rights of man to abolish such institutions and replace them with new ones that they thought would better secure their rights.) But creating this government in 1789 didn't obligate people who were born after 1889 to keep the agreement. (Especially since it's now conveniently reinterpreted and ignored.)

Right now the basic message defining our system of government is: "I can't protect myself from violation of my rights unless I violate your rights and compel you to help me." The reality is that individuals can protect their rights, and when they can't they can band together voluntarily in many ways to do so. The household that perceives some benefit to a local rights protecting organization can join it voluntarily, just as the household that perceives some benefit to shopping at the grocery store can shop there voluntarily.


Government-certified money

Once upon a time, people had to barter in order to trade. If you raised chickens and needed butter, you had to take a chicken to a dairy farmer and hope he needed chickens, and hope he'd give you enough butter that you wouldn't be shortchanged for your chicken, and hope you could find a use for all the extra butter, because it's hard to make change for a live chicken.

Then the free market discovered money, and if you haven't read the book I just linked to on the words "discovered money," I encourage you to leave my site immediately and go read it before finishing here, because the information there is more important than just about anything I have to say. The free market selected gold and silver as its two forms of money for several natural reasons, and soon anybody could make a better living by exchanging what they produced for money and then exchanging money for what they wanted or needed.

Of course, when you accepted a gold or silver coin as payment for something valuable you produced, you wanted to make sure you didn't get shortchanged, and you therefore wanted to make sure that you really got the amount of gold or silver you were promised. If you'll go bankrupt producing chickens for a half an ounce of gold each, then you want to make sure the one ounce gold coin you've been given really does contain an ounce of gold.

So the minting business arose and created spectacular innovations to protect its customers: gold and silver ("money") was turned into coins for portable convenience. A coin would be a uniform shape and size and contain a uniform amount of precious metal. The precious metal would be alloyed with a uniform amount of base metal in order to make the coin more durable so that the precious metal wouldn't wear away. (I have made the incredibly expensive and stupid mistake of dropping a United States gold bullion coin on my ceramic tile floor. Gold bullion coins are way too pure to be used in general circulation; there is very little base metal in them. The coin in question suffered ugly dents and little flecks of gold were seen flaking off from those dents.) The edges of the coin would be reeded so that if anyone tried to clip precious metal off the edges (do this often enough and you can make a new coin!) it would be obvious that the coin no longer contained its stated quantity of gold or silver ("money"). And the mints stamped the coins with their own seals or other indicator, giving them the chance to build a reputation for reliable coins. In Joachimsthal, now in the Czech Republic, one particular mint did such a good job that the name of its world-renowned silver coin, the Joachimsthaler, became the standard for other coins and eventually became the generic name for coins of the same weight and composition. The Joachimsthaler became the Thaler, which became the Dollar. (And then the United States government appeared and assassinated the dollar, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)

The free market therefore managed to provide the best possible protection against being cheated in money. If you didn't provide just weights and a just balance, people would actually find out, word would get around, and people would be visiting your competitors.

But liberty dies on a lie, and this is the lie: government persuaded everyone that the risk of adulterated or counterfeit money (gold and silver, remember) on the free market was too great. Despite the fact that the very best in money protection had been innovated by the free market, the government told people that this was not enough, that their money was at risk, and that they could magically help. You see after liberty is mortally wounded by the first lie, and that is that government is somehow a magic organization of people that can do what people organized in other ways cannot: protect you from the unacceptable risk of adulterated money.

And so the government had "proved" that it naturally must have a monopoly on the money supply. The government became the sole supplier of coins. Now money was government certified, and finally everybody could trust it. They could trust it so well the government hoped they didn't even find it necessary to check it. And it wasn't long until every time the government got its hands on a coin that the coin was clipped, or melted down and mixed with more base metal than it was supposed to have, in order to give the government more coins and trick people, for a while at least, into accepting less payment for the product of their hard work which government desired. So the government lied about protecting people and then perpetrated the same harm on those people. Sadly, one definition of government is a group of people with a monopoly on breaking the law. Note that in this case, the law already existed before the government even regulated the issue: private sellers have an incentive to keep just weights and a just balance; the government does not, especially when it comes to the money supply.

The big lie isn't just about money. Everywhere government tells the same story in order to kill liberty and expand its own power: there is a danger, and the risk of this danger is unacceptably great, and even though the government is just a bunch of people with fancy hats and titles they are somehow magically able to protect against this danger in a way that people organized in other fashions cannot.

Parents can't select who will teach their children; only somebody certified by the government should be allowed to do that! (And if parents want to teach their children by themselves, heaven forbid, we simply must regulate the situation and insist that the parents are certified.) It's too dangerous for people to simply select their own health care providers; the state must certify certain people as "doctors" and only they should be allowed to practice medicine. Food could contain dangerous additives and the government must look it over. Noone would preserve great natural wonders or historic monuments if the government didn't take care of them, with your money. The roads would be a warzone if we didn't license drivers. If government doesn't step in to regulate cheese, somebody might sell a lesser-quality cheese under the same name, or an identical-quality cheese from a different location which people would buy instead of the real thing, or people might even begin to think that quality is subjective. Chances are, you felt a gut feeling of agreement with some of these sentences.

Of course one of the biggest dangers to the state is the idea that anybody should be allowed to read the law and have their own opinion on it, and so practicing law without a license is of course completely forbidden.

Are there real dangers if the state isn't allowed to regulate and certify things? Yes, there are. As I showed above, in the realm of money the the free market protected against these dangers better than the government, though. Lord willing, I will later blog on two ways in which the free market protects against such dangers in general.


Three reasons not to be a part of democracy

I was going to title this post "Three reasons not to vote." But actually, I do vote, just in a very unorthodox way that I have found to register my disapproval of the system. So here are three reasons not to vote. Much. Or at least, not in a normal way.

  • It's ineffective: Change is never going to come by this route. I voted Republican in 2000 and 2004 because I believed in smaller government. It didn't work. Even when your candidate wins you don't get what you want. (Even if you wanted bigger government you wouldn't get what you want, because the costs of reality and the impossibility of centralized economic calculation always prevent big government planners from fulfilling all of their promises.) And the candidates always believe in expanding some portions of the government's power. (George W. Bush, for example, believed in socializing healthcare, which distressed me greatly because "we" Republicans had stood against this staunchly when Hilary Clinton wanted to try it. I compromised. May God forgive me for supporting a man who would steal from other people.) And of course all politicians believe in taxation. The history of elections in the United States has been the history of the expanse of federal power and the decline of liberty and the intent of the founders of the country. Even politicians who believe in a limit to government power seem to weaken their principles with only a short time in office; some believe this is because power is simply so intoxicating.

    Meanwhile I have two avenues to effective change. As a Christian, I may have confidence that if I practice the things God requires of me, which include prayer and the preaching of the Gospel, change will occur in my life and in the lives of those who come in contact with me. If Christians really believed this we would see a dramatic decrease in the amount of time they spend discussing politics and a dramatic increase in the amount of time they spend discussing the word of God. Secondly, I may spend my time peacefully persuading people that anarcho-capitalism is best for them and best for everybody; throughout history governments of all types, tyrannical and democratic, have survived by throwing out enough "benefits" that the populace never gets mad enough about the violation of their rights and continues to support the government. Eventually as enough people cease to support the government, there is a tipping point where its power will begin to rapidly decay. Some optimists think this tipping point is very small, at somewhere near 10% or 25% of the population. All I know is I'd rather reach that than obtain a temporary majority for some flawed candidate in an election.

  • It legitimizes the system: When I vote for a politician, I'm saying that I pick him to represent me, to act on my behalf. As the declaration of independence says, the government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. I can delegate my right to self-defense to an agency to defend my rights. I can delegate my right to decide what to do with a portion of my land to a group that is going to pool land and use it for a particular purpose. But since I don't have a right to dictate to other people (other than requiring them to respect my rights), I therefore can't delegate to the government all of the powers it is exercising. Selecting a representative means picking a person to act as my agent. If I get together with someone and ask him to steal for me, he is acting as my agent and we are both guilty. This is government as currently practiced. This is "we the people."

    Furthermore, when I've picked someone to hold the king powers for a term, I'm stuck with him, and if he doesn't do what I need or want, or what is right, it's my fault for picking him. As I said above, no person can or will use the king powers in the "right" way (there is no right way, other than using those powers to destroy themselves). But under our system, you have three options, and no matter what it's your fault:

    • You can vote for your man and win. If things don't go well, it's your fault for picking the wrong man. And all the men are wrong, and things will never go well for everybody for any length of time.

    • You can refrain from voting. In this case when they come to take your money your haughty voting neighbors justify their theft by saying you didn't vote and therefore you granted your consent to everything they wanted to do. I wish it were more obvious that this couldn't be more wrong, but we were all taught this in government school and almost everybody believes it. Funny, that.

    • You can vote for your man and lose. In this case you have to suffer all kinds of things being done to you that you did not consent to, but you agreed to participate in this democracy and you are told you have no room to complain and should work for change within the system. What a joke.

    Funny how the government keeps taking money that doesn't belong to it, keeps keeping people from using what belongs to them, keeps abusing people ... and then tells people that it is their fault, not its. When this happens between a man and a woman we call it domestic abuse. Interestingly enough in many domestic abuses the abuser tells his wife that all the bad things he does are her fault, and she often believes him. (This without loss of generality; I don't mean to imply that all abusers are men.)

    Democracy is a domestic abuse situation. The people are battered. It's time to realize that we need to abandon this partner once and for all. We're not really married to him, anyway. Worst shack-up we ever made. Let's get on with our real lives.

  • It sacrifices real change: There were a variety of views on slavery in the 1800s. Some believed in immediate, total abolition: free all the slaves immediately, no compromises. Some believed in gradual abolition or various compromises: slowly free the slaves, slowly truncate slavery's territory, have the government buy some of them, send them back to Africa, etc. The fiery insightful abolitionists recognized the truth: if you argue for gradual change, real change may never happen. The change to anarcho-capitalism should happen now because it is right, because the current system is wrong, because it is better, because the current system is far, far worse, and because any gradual transition period would really just be another formation of the current system, which is tyrannical and wrong as well as damaging; an instant transition to doing what is right might be destabilizing, but it would actually be healthier than a tyrannically managed transition, as well as being the moral thing to do. The truth is that if you argue for complete change, what you will really get is gradual change as more and more people accept the truth. If you argue for gradual change, nothing meaningful will ever happen, and thousands of years from now we will still have all-powerful government.

    Voting for "the guy who is going to shrink the government the most" or "the guy who is going to grow the government the least" may seem like the libertarian or even Christian thing to do. But the reality is that you give your approval to someone who is not going to shrink the government, someone who is going to do wrong things in your name, and you perpetuate the situation rather than sounding the message that reform must come swiftly.



As a laissez-faire capitalist, I support the privatization of everything the government does. Everything.

Unfortunately, many governments at various levels (state, local, federal) have made trials of something that they have called "privatization" without trying real privatization. Since this pseudo-privatization is really not based on letting the market work, it doesn't work to efficiently meet needs, and often people are dissatisfied and become fearful of privatization. They become more convinced than ever that government is necessary to meet our needs and is somehow magically able to do so in ways that cannot be done by voluntary self-organization. Government becomes like a powerful drug addiction that people will not turn loose of. And unfortunately those of us who aren't addicted and would like to refuse to be a part of it have no choice but to deal with the consequences anyway.

For example: suppose a city decides to "privatize" its garbage pickup. True privatization would be this: the city stops collecting the taxes and fees used to support the garbage pickup service. It sells (possibly by auction) all of the buildings, equipments, dumps, etc. that have been used in providing its service. It discontinues the service entirely. After that, the city does nothing.

Now the people have an unmet need to have their garbage hauled away. Entrepreneurs realize that the people of this town have this need and get to action because there is money to be made. Some of them obtain land and turn it into private dumps. They may contract with citizens to give them a place to take their garbage to. But of course most people don't want to haul their own garbage. So more entrepreneurs, or possibly the same ones who start the dumps, obtain vehicles and start businesses hauling garbage away to the dumps. If they don't run the dumps themselves, they contract with the people who do. Anticipating these needs, some of these entrepreneurs probably arranged to buy some of the city resources at auction. Some of them might even be people who were formerly employed by the city for garbage pickup.

Some garbage services might offer daily pickup. Others offer twice weekly pickup for a lower cost. If the garbage pickup is late (as it often is in my neighborhood under the socialized garbage pickup system we have today), people switch to a competing service. If there is no competing service, then there is money to be made starting one, and some entrepreneur may do this, starting a more reliable service that will be able to charge higher rates, assuming that people care enough to pay for a more reliable service. Some entrepreneur realizes he can save money if he creates automated garbage pickup trucks, and this service is offered. Some entrepreneur realizes his pickup service can be available on call, any day of the week, so this service is offered. Some entrepreneur realizes he can make money offering an additional service where your garbage pickup men also clean up your yard. A dynamic market forms where people are constantly seeking to do a better job of picking up the garbage because doing so makes them money.

Unfortunately, cities don't do true privatization. Instead, here's what happens: the city scraps its own garbage pickup service and puts out a request for bids from private services. The city makes ONE choice of a private service for everybody. The city might pick the cheapest service. Or it might not. You might think it's better to pick a more expensive service that's more reliable. Or you might prefer to do it as cheap as possible. Either way, your individual preferences, and those of your neighbors, are not likely to be respected. The city might not even use price and quality of service to make its decision: the contract might go to the mayor's brother-in-law. Cronyism. (You'll note that such a situation can't occur under the true privatization scenario, where if somebody picks his brother-in-law he has to live with the consequences himself and can't impose them on other people.)

And of course the city signs a two year contract with the service provider. Lock in.

The garbage pickup company now has a lucrative government-granted monopoly. They'll pick up the garbage. But if they are late once in a while, their customers can't fire them. If they were in a free market, their customers would vacate them one by one at their own pace. But a city government cannot possibly react that fast, and may be locked in by a contract any way. The garbage pickup company has no incentive to come up with new services, or make its existing service better to customers. They just have to make sure they do the worst and cheapest job possible without making enough people angry enough to call the city council that the city council actually reacts strongly enough to affect their bottom line.

As more and more cities "privatize," such companies grow fatter, bigger, and less responsive. There's no market for little, agile, companies to spring up and meet needs with a fresher more energetic approach, because nobody has the money to consider switching to an alternative to the city monopoly service.

This, my friends, is what your government calls "privatization." But the truth is that it is socialism. You are meeting your needs as a collective, not individually. The city gets to brand the failures of a system that is collectivism, socialism, communism as if it were the failures of privatization, the free market, capitalism.

Over and over governments use this technique to brainwash you into fearing the free market. They make you and your neighbors fearful of what would happen if you didn't have the government to take care of your needs. You might sometimes notice that the government doesn't do a very good job of meeting some needs, but you'll be too afraid that without the government doing the job (complete with compulsory funding and compulsory participation) things would be worse to consider that there might be an alternative. And they'll try to work hard to meet enough needs that nobody gets too unhappy, as governments have since the first conquerer rode into the first conquered peaceful community and proclaimed himself "king." Like those kings, the governments will use its successes and what few services it does provide as propaganda to show people how benevolent their government is and how it helps them in ways that could never be done by ordinary people working together on their own accord.

By the way, you'll see the same thing with "deregulation." Deregulation means getting rid of the regulations. Governments never do this. But they will eliminate a couple of rules, possibly making others, and they'll take the opportunity to make a lot of noise about how great they are for trying "deregulation," just before the new system fails. Perhaps dramatically, as in the case of the California energy crisis, spawned by "deregulation." Of course, when you look at such failures, you never actually see a market without regulations. You see a situation where companies where regulated to the hilt and then suddenly allowed to set their own prices, or you see a situation where a government granted monopoly was suddenly forced to produce and sell its services at a forced price, possibly below cost, to new competitors. Of course these systems fail, but they don't represent a failure of freedom.


Whole Foods bludgeoned by Mafia for serving the public

Right now, the Whole Foods Market chain is trying to buy the Wild Oats chain. This is an honorable move: Whole Foods is exchanging money that it has earned through serving society for a business with the consent of the owners of that business. Other than that, it's nobody else's business.

But the federal government is attempting to stop the trade. The federal government does not own Wild Oats, and therefore if they attempt to force their way on the subject, they are effectively stealing Wild Oats and/or Whole Foods. They may permit the true owners of these companies to retain some ownership rights, but as long as these owners have to get permission from some other party to do as they wish with what is their own, they are no longer truly owners, but instead stewards appointed by the true owners: government.

And that government says that it is representing you and me. I don't own a single share of either company. Do you? Could you explain why your agents are harassing these free citizens? If it's not moral for you to tell Wild Oats who they can and cannot sell their company to, then how did you delegate that authority to the government that is acting on your behalf and claims to derive its authority from you?

You can find a lot of writing demonstrating what a bad idea it is to allow government to forbid mergers and acquisitions that arise naturally in a free market. It harms all of us. But assuming you're a Christian reader, shouldn't it be enough to just know that God does not give us dominion over the property of other people, instead commanding us "Thou shalt not steal?"

You can also find Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's blog and read the case he makes, that Whole Foods purchasing Wild Oats will help, not harm, consumers. Of course it will help them! Whole Foods cannot make money without helping consumers. That's how businesses get consumers to give them money. The alternative is to steal the money, which can be accomplished by direct force or by using one's government to enact laws and use force indirectly. Isn't it strange that the government says it's a bad thing when Whole Foods tries to serve people, but says it's a good thing when they (the government) restrict private property rights and the free market and damage the market's ability to help people?

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil." (Isaiah 5:20)


Misimpressions about pollution

Problem: "people wrongly believe that the world is dirtier and less healthy today than in the past."
Problem: "they blame capitalism."

Reality: "the free market is the greatest cleanser and disinfectant of the environment — the most successful pollution fighter that the world has ever known."


Why America today can handle more immigrants than ever before

How many people can America support?

Okay, now that you've answered, how do you know that your answer is correct? What reasoning lies behind it? Is there any other rational reasoning process that could lead to a different result?

America today is far wealthier, healthier, resource-rich, and spacious than it was a century ago. Our ability to absorb immigrants is greater than ever. There's one reasoning process, and it makes perfect sense to me.

Of course, the fact is that the correct answer will be decided by the free market, if it's not injured and deprived of its free and moral character by regulation and socialism. And for that matter, a free market will be able to absorb more people, anyway, because it creates wealth and prosperity. But the thing you should realize is that you really have no idea how to decide how many people can be absorbed into our economy, and therefore you shouldn't seek to impose policy based on your estimate on everyone else.


Optimus Prime and the rights of all sentient beings

Admittedly I liked the Transformers as a boy (I think every boy who was my age did). And admittedly I'm excited about the upcoming movie, which will be released tomorrow. And I'm particularly excited that Peter Cullen, the voice of the original Optimus Prime, will be reprising his role.

Optimus Prime was presented as the ultimate hero. He was completely noble, with perfectly pure motives. In multiple versions of the Transformers story (the cartoon and the comic books carried completely different stories, and the movie is starting yet another new version) that purity and nobility led him to give his life to save others. Sometimes multiple times -- it's science fiction, and that kind of thing happens.

Now as an adult I can ask serious questions like "Is it really good for kids to invest so much hero-worship in a fictional character, and an animated one at that?" And "if I'm using the word hero-worship, should I be a little worried, theologically?" And I definitely don't hold up Optimus Prime as the supreme example of morality, as I might've been more inclined to do at age seven or so. Obviously some people took Optimus Prime very seriously as a role model. And I confess I just bought a Softimus Prime for my second boy's first birthday. Probably he'll mostly just chew on it, not view it as a role model. (But it really transforms!)

But Optimus Prime got a lot of great heroic lines, and some of them taught good morality. And one of them forms the basis of my slogan for the work I do through this weblog and my writings and conversations elsewhere: "Secession is the right of all sentient beings."

Prime's original slogan was "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings." What a great 80's American slogan, huh? :) No wonder Optimus Prime is conspicuously colored in red, white and blue. But the American ideology of freedom is a good one. At least when you mean true freedom, the ideology of the founders, not the ideology of today where we pretend that "democracy" means "freedom" instead of "everybody voting on taking turns violating freedom."

In our world we don't have freedom, because we're missing a particular right. Without that right, freedom is meaningless. Ironically, tomorrow, the day the Transformers movie comes out, is the day that we have set aside for the past 231 years to celebrate men exercising that right: the right to secede. But today we have eliminated that right, and we brainwash children to create a public that actually thinks that not having that right is a foundation of freedom. The mind boggles.

The founders recognized that government was not an institution that magically deserved blind obedience from its subjects. The Declaration of Independence specifically states that government is an institution created by men in order to protect rights. It states that people are free and have the right to abolish and reform that government and create their own whenever the government isn't securing their rights. And when people do establish their government, nothing permits them to commit their descendants to give that government perpetual fealty, generation after generation. Nothing permits them to take away their descendants' rights as expressed in the Declaration of July 4, 1776.

How many things can you name that your government does that do not secure rights? Will your government recognize your right to secede? And if you want to stay with your government, will you recognize the right of other people to make a different choice?

Optimus Prime teaches children that all sentient beings, anything that can think, anything which, as the Christian might say, "has a soul" deserves freedom. He teaches it on a child's level. But adults wrote the declaration of independence, and if the message of Independence Day really is true, then Secession really is the right of all sentient beings. I acknowledge your right to secede, and may I suggest that you celebrate Independence Day by acknowledging mine, and that of others?


Immigration policy for "our" country

This morning somebody asked my opinion of an email about illegal immigration, which began as follows:

Our country is worth reading a 8 minute speech. It is our country and to those that disagree go home as our fences keep people out not in.

I disagree starting with this fundamental premise.

It is not "our" country. Any time you start arguing from a "we" I submit that it's a sign that your thinking is off. Perhaps only off a little, but sometimes off a lot.

This is not "our" country. Only limited parts of it are mine. A small chunk in Dallas/Fort Worth, to be exact. The rest of it belongs to someone else. Some of it belongs to you guys, most of it belongs to people who aren't involved here.

God only gave me dominion over my part.

When you quit saying that some of it is mine, some of it is yours, etc., and start saying that all of it is "ours," you're thinking collectively, socialistically, Communistically. We are not a commune.

And you've also usurped property rights. "Thou shalt not steal" says the Lord. But the 'patriot' blurs the lines of ownership, pretends we all own it collectively, and thus justifies himself in exercising ownership over the property of others. I don't think God is fooled by such justification.

Hopefully all of us here would scream bloody murder if a movement started in the country that said "The children belong to all of us. Therefore we will all vote on how they are to be raised. We will vote to outlaw spanking, we will vote to outlaw parents teaching religion to their children, we will vote to remove children from the homes and raise them in government centers where they can be taught to seek the greater good, to serve society as good people should. They are OUR children, and OUR children deserve the best." We would rightfully respond "They are most certainly NOT 'our' children. These two are MINE." And we would fight or flee in order to see that our children do not become the state's children.

Of course there's a gigantic power in this country that exercises dominion over the entire thing. And it even offers to let us have a say in how that dominion will be exercised, and to vote on who is going to take turns having the power. The gigantic power continually repeats the collectivist mantra: that we are all in this together, that it all belongs to all of us, that we all have the right (really those who happened to get the turn at power this term) to tell individuals what they may and may not do with what is theirs, or even to take away all or some of it, to make completely blameless actions into illegal acts.

But since I can't exercise dominion over what is not mine, I can't legitimately delegate such a right to that power. Of course, God commands me to submit to it, and so I do. Even when it is not just. Even when it exercises dominion over the little pieces of property God has given to me. But I won't exercise that dominion over others, and I won't authorize anyone as my agent to do so on my behalf.

So in the end, here's what I think about immigration: the entire thing can be easily resolved with property rights, and that's the only righteous way to resolve it.

Here's some links to articles where I've seen this view expressed, or similar views expressed, or have expressed the same myself.

It's wrong for me to tell someone they can't hire someone based on where they were born or happen to live. It's wrong for me to tell a property owner he can't sell or rent his property to certain people. It's wrong for me to take money and resources that don't belong to me to provide services to other people, whether they are "citizens" of "my" country, or not. It's wrong for me to exercise force against other people when they want to compete with me in whatever market/industry I participate in, rather than being industrious and adapting and finding another way to survive. It's my responsibility to provide for my family, by doing work that other people find valuable and will pay for, not by using force to prevent other men from fulfilling the same responsibility. It also so happens that economics teaches us that it is best for the economy if we do it God's way, rather than exercising such force.

What does the Bible say about immigration? Plenty. Look for "alien" and "stranger" in your Old Testament. You won't find a single statement that is encouraging to the view that God looks favorably on those who want to restrict immigration. That's my position.