Monthly Archives: June 2014

Competition for Liberty

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Last summer’s calls by libertarian activist Adam Kokesh for armed marches on Washington and on the fifty State Capitals elicited multiple responses from Shawn Gregory on his WeebulTree Blog.

I was particularly struck by the closing words of one post. He essentially wrote the best description yet of what Concurrent Voluntaryism all about:

In other words, what the liberty movement needs right now are practical solutions that the average person can immediately use and understand. We are living at a time when the technology is available for us to create a complete set of alternatives to what the State provides people now. It’s up to us to build it, and to invite our neighbors and friends to join us in using it. That’s something that we must do regardless of how the State eventually falls, so we might as well use it as our primary means for challenging the State. In this way, the State will eventually seem like a useless dinosaur, and no one will have to fire a shot to destroy it. It will simply fade away into history. That doesn’t mean that the State won’t put up a fight, but unlike a shooting match for which the State is well prepared, the free market is far too nimble for the State to outrun the death by a thousand cuts that it is on the brink of facing.

Get on the front lines and create or support a market alternative to the State today.

Read the full version of The Revolution For Liberty: Will It Be A Violent One?

Practicing Political Pacifism

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To vote or not to vote, that is the question – that brought Will Shanahan to a conclusion very similar to our ongoing discussion here about ‘Concurrent Voluntaryism’:

This just leaves one question to answer; how should one go about changing the current state of affairs if not through voting? The answer is through voluntary interactions among those whom are needed to change the world in the way that you see fit. Don’t attempt to change the world through voting or through the use of government. After all, government is force and brute force is the lazy way to solve any problem. Regardless of the immorality involved, an idea that requires forced cooperation of the people involved is probably not that great of an idea. What would you prefer? A world you changed dramatically through the instruments of coercion or a world you changed minutely through voluntary interactions?

Read Will’s original post from the Humane Condition.

Concurrent Voluntaryism Hits The Blogosphere

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Even though Voluntaryism theory starts with the sovereignty of the individual, from there it builds into social philosophy. Voluntaryists tend to be independent, but not anti-social. So, the (current) small number of voluntaryists may lead them to feel somewhat isolated. A major goal of the Veresapiens blog is to help create a greater sense of community.

The Veresapiens concept of Concurrent Voluntaryism, voluntary society in parallel with the existing State, is spreading via social media like twitter. And, some of my favorite freedom writers have blogged about it. One of the earliest blogs to mention Concurrent Voluntaryism was WeebulTree Blog. In this post, Shawn used a long quote from the Veresapiens blog in his concluding paragraphs…

To put it bluntly, we need to stop wasting time trying to engage the State in some kind of liberty death match. James Howe put it this way:

But what hope is there for ever achieving a voluntary society if it can’t operate in the presence of bad things or bad people?

Under the best of conditions, there will still be criminal gangs, demagogic and violent dictator wannabes, and lots of people who just don’t have the self-discipline to be voluntaryists. Under any realistic conditions, a voluntaryist society will be composed of only those who voluntarily participate, and a voluntaryist community will be faced with many external challenges.

We have those conditions today.

Now, the Government will violently interfere with voluntary interactions within our society. And, the Government will require, at gunpoint, that people in our voluntary society do things that they do not want to do. But why should that stop us from conducting ourselves, in all other ways, in a completely voluntary manner?

If those of us who have the desire and will to form a voluntary society begin to build up the basic structures and mechanisms of a voluntary, free-market society today, we will be, at the same time, creating a better world for ourselves and demonstrating to the non-believing masses that our ‘utopian’ ideas actually do have real-world value.

As Gary North likes to say, you can’t beat something with nothing. It is true that we can’t sit around and theorize about what a voluntary society might look like forever. At some point, we need to put it in practice. To that end, the greatest need right now in the liberty movement is for people to start building alternatives to the State. To some degree, this has already started with services like Bitcoin, Silk Road, and even a private police company, but we need lots more of it. We need liberty-minded entrepreneurs, inventors, developers, investors, consumers in a wide variety of areas, and we need to build up these products and services to the point where they are robust enough to withstand attacks from the State. If we are able to do that, then defeating the State won’t be a matter of trying to convince people intellectually. The benefits of voluntaryism will be evident, and the State will become more and more irrelevant.

You can read the rest of Shawn’s post here.

Truly Human Police

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Imagine a police force focused on prevention of crime rather than on ‘law enforcement’. Imagine a police force dedicated to protecting people rather than on feeding the justice system and prison/industrial complex. Imagine a police force intent on preventing violence rather than monopolizing it.

I would really like to find a private security service like Threat Management Center near my home. That’s who I would want to call in case of trouble.

(But what about the poor? See the not-so-surprising answer in the video.)

 

What You Focus On, You Empower

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Where attention goes, energy flows…

The State As Chinese Handcuffs
by Shawn Gregory (@WeebulTreeShawn)

There’s a lot of talk in the liberty movement about revolution – about taking on the State and defeating it.

There is talk of active resistance – armed resistance. There’s talk of 1776!

This talk – these notions, these ideas – do not, however, serve the cause of liberty as much as they strengthen the State.


The liberty movement is, at its heart, a peace movement, and peace is not the byproduct of violence or aggression.

It’s the State that feeds on violence. It’s the State that thrives on aggression. It gains its power from these things. It gains legitimacy from exercising its monopoly on violence.

There’s a lot of talk in the liberty movement about revolution – about taking on the State and defeating it.

There is talk of active resistance – armed resistance. There’s talk of 1776!

This talk – these notions, these ideas – do not, however, serve the cause of liberty as much as they strengthen the State.

The liberty movement is, at its heart, a peace movement, and peace is not the byproduct of violence or aggression.

It’s the State that feeds on violence. It’s the State that thrives on aggression. It gains its power from these things. It gains legitimacy from exercising its monopoly on violence.

Recent history has shown that as various elements of society lash out at the State, the power of the State is not diminished. It grows.

Like Chinese handcuffs, the State uses our own efforts to resist it to its advantage. The struggle against it becomes endlessly futile as we direct our energy toward the State instead of directing our creative energy toward building up new ways to peacefully cooperate without the State. But, once it’s realized that the State is not legitimate – that the State is not necessary – the State’s power to restrain completely disappears.

Diminishing the power of the State is not about taking it on and defeating it. It’s about ignoring it into oblivion.

As people create and use alternatives to the State, the State becomes irrelevant, powerless, and liberty wins – one idea at a time, little by little, until the State disappears.

~ Read the original post and more Liberty Movement commentary at the WeebulTree Blog!

Concurrent Voluntaryism

Concurrent Voluntaryism – The Plan

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Wouldn’t it be nice to minimize the level of government coercion in your own life right now, without having to wait for the whole country to wake up?

We have lots of interesting theoretical discussions about how we could better organize our society if we could just get rid of, or at least minimize, government, but no one seems to have a working plan to deal with that 800 pound gorilla blocking our path to a better society.

Maybe we’ve just been going down the wrong path.

Instead of spending all of our time and energy fighting the gorilla, perhaps we should simply follow a different path…

Earlier, I announced The Start Of A Truly Human Society and explained How We Can Have A Voluntary Society And The State.

In short, a voluntary society does not want to govern, so it is not competing for the right to govern. It considers those who govern to be ‘a criminal gang writ large’. The presence of a large, well-armed criminal gang is unfortunate, but does not preclude non-coercive people from conducting their affairs in voluntary ways, in every way possible.

Some of the big goals I have for our concurrent, voluntary, Truly Human Society are:

  1. To enable individual voluntaryists to gain the benefits of a community of like-minded people and organizations.
  2. To expand the range of voluntary options available to those who prefer to avoid coercively funded or operated organizations.
  3. To allow us to demonstrate that voluntaryism is not utopian.
  4. To instantiate voluntaryist structures and mechanisms ahead of time so as not to be caught unprepared in case any fortuitous changes lead to a period of anarchy or minarchy.

So here’s the plan…

The path to our voluntary Truly Human Society is actually simplified in some ways by the fact that the State is still present. Because we are not talking about ending the State as part of our plan, it means that we do not have to include in the plan such things as how to manage the transition of everyone who is currently dependent on the State.

This concurrent approach also simplifies our task in that we are not trying to satisfy everyone. Our Truly Human Society, being voluntary, will be comprised of only those who want to participate. We can implement just those things that we voluntaryists are interested in implementing.

In the plan itself, there is a primary piece and an optional piece. (The optional piece is actually aimed at the gorilla, because I can’t resist the urge to give him a poke.)

The primary part of the plan is aimed at reducing our day-to-day exposure to coercion.

Everything involved with government and its cronies entails coercion.

Government uses coercion to give itself monopolies in many areas, such as postal service, police, etc. And, government uses coercive regulations to support cartels for cronies in almost every area where big business has an interest.

Beyond the open coercion of enforcing monopolies for its ‘services’, there is also the method in which those services are funded. Voluntaryists well understand that government can’t offer them anything that wasn’t originally taken via coercion from someone else. Usage of government services, then, involves us in the coercion of others.

So, the primary part of the plan is to find ways to shun the monopolies and cartels that government attempts to force us to patronize.

Alternatives may be hard to find, in many cases, thanks to the successful efforts of the criminal gang. But we can all look – and share with each other what we do find.

Sometimes alternatives are not hard to find, just expensive relative to the coercively funded monopolies and cartels. (Private schools, for instance.) But if we purposefully direct more business to these alternatives it will encourage more start-ups and help bring down prices through greater competition.

Even where the alternatives do come at a relatively higher cost, that may still be acceptable, given the added value to you and I of thwarting the monopoly.

For instance, I used to go to a shooting range at a state park, which charged just $3 per hour. It was a very nice facility, and clearly the $3 from users was not fully funding it. Now that a private range has opened near me, I quite willingly give them my business at $18 per hour.

One potential bonus effect of enough of us shunning the monopolies and directing all of our business to their competitors can be seen in the looming bankruptcy of the US Post Office. Maybe that will become a template.

It seems that most people think poorly of politicians and government bureaucracies. But they also hold to the belief that government, even though composed of only politicians and bureaucrats, somehow provides valuable, necessary, even critical, services.

When people complain to us about government, we say “So why don’t we just get rid of it?”. But they then simply fall back on their list of important things “only government” can do.

So, for the second (optional) piece of our plan, I envision us identifying and supporting, or even creating, private equivalents to government services, so that every time the doubter says “only government can do X” we can point to an existing private alternative.

And, the private alternatives will no doubt provide better, more useful, services.

Take consumer protection, for instance, which lots of people see as a critical function that justifies the existence of government. Do you remember when all electrical devices (in the US) used to have the little round UL tag on the cord? UL was (is) a private company that rigorously tested new products for safety, and awarded them its seal if they met the appropriate standards.

UL was basically incorruptible. They knew that if they ever gave undeserved certifications and lost their reputation, they were finished. Same thing with Consumer Reports.

Contrast that with government ‘watchdog’ agencies that have well-deserved reputations for being bought and paid for, or ‘captured’, by the big crony industries they are supposed to be protecting us from.

All we seem to get from the government consumer protection agencies are lots of ugly, moronic warning labels all over products, and then when products are proven, by others, to be unsafe, they simply blame their ‘limited’ budget and go right back to work protecting their crony bosses.

If you think back to the recent controversies over Bovine Growth Hormone (rbGH) in milk and BPA in plastic bottles, the FDA fought tooth and nail to support the use of both of them until private organizations like EWG were able to bring enough public visibility and outrage to force the industry to ‘voluntarily’ abandon them. As far as I can tell, the FDA continues to support the use of both chemicals.

So the second piece of the plan is about continually undermining the path the gorilla sits on.

But remember, the primary reason to start our own Truly Human Society is to rid our lives of as much coercion as possible right now by working together as a community to find and support all of the private alternatives that will enable us to shun coercive government monopolies and crony cartels.

I will be blogging my ideas for our Truly Human Society on this site, and will be re-blogging pertinent posts from other sites here as well. Please add your ideas and suggestions in the comments, or tweet to @veresapiens, or send emails to ths @ veresapiens.org.

Let’s get it started!

 

One Of These Is Not Like The Others. Or Is It?

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Quick thought experiment…
If one of these is not like the others, why is that?

1. Members of the local Church voted to collect money from every resident of the area the Church served in order to pay for Church programs. After a few of the local residents who refused to pay were harshly punished, most residents then paid the Church ‘voluntarily’.

Are the Church’s actions ethical?

2. Members of the local Charity voted to collect money from every resident of the area the Charity served in order to pay for Charity programs. After a few of the local residents who refused to pay were harshly punished, most residents then paid the Charity ‘voluntarily’.

Are the Charity’s actions ethical?

3. Members of the local Government voted to collect money from every resident of the area the Government served in order to pay for Government programs. After a few of the local residents who refused to pay were harshly punished, most residents then paid the Government ‘voluntarily’.Govt Ethics

Are the Government’s actions ethical?