Friday, 26 July 2013

My 2012 questions answered in 2013

I feel that I have answered for myself the questions which had bugged me about NAP. I still have curiosity about NAP though. Here are the questions replayed + my answers. This is the summary of the NAP wisdom I gained in the last year :-)

Q1. In what sense is NAP a 'principle'? What happens if you break it? What happens if you follow it?

NAP is more of a strategy than a principle (see NAP is one of many strategiesShort-range NAP for individuals). However, if you break it, someone somewhere will surely suffer. Maybe even you (see NAP and childrenTwo bad policemenA silicone factory in Shenzhen, China).

Q2. In what situations (if any) is it worth to or ethical to breach NAP?

The answer depends on the moral standard. But if your standard is getting your life needs met, which is a sensible standard for an organism, then it may be worth breaking NAP skilfully when you face scarcity. This is perhaps a sad conclusion (see A counter example for NAP).

Q3. How to respond to people violating NAP?

From best method to worst: avoid, run, finally deescalate or fight (see Defence against violenceFinal word on emotional self-defenceHandling verbal abuseNon-violent non-cooperation for a stateless societyMy own Bill of Rights).

Q4. What other ethical principles are natural extensions of NAP?

Verbal NAP (see Does NAP apply to language?Verbal warning signalsCab con), skillful deescalation of violence (see Defence against violence) and intimacy (see Beyond NAP: intimacy).

Q5. How to precisely define violence? Is violence just one thing or is it many different things?

I like this definition: violence is any unwanted interaction.

Q6. How does NAP spread?

Parenting, non-cooperation, propaganda (see NAP and childrenCreating new social norms on a Victoria trainNon-violent non-cooperation for a stateless societyTaxation-is-Theft-Notes). And building new and better social networks (see Building voluntary social networksWhat I want from the movementBook review: Radical HonestyHow to change things).

Q7. Is the state just one thing or is it many different things?

It is many different things (see Which type of violence is the state?).

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Liberty Positive

Here is my friend's and my new project called LibertyPositive. This sub-reddit will be covering news and other content about all forms of liberty from personal to global. We will specialize in stuff which is uplifting, inspiring, mind expanding or actionable in a positive way. 

I believe in the importance of exchanging good news about the progress of freedom. This makes liberty-positive people informed, motivated and happy! We believe that there is too little liberty-oriented news in the mainstream and too much negativity in traditional libertarian sources. We want LibertyPositive to be a solution.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Non-violent non-cooperation for a stateless society

Non-aggression and non-violence sound similar.

I believe that voluntaryists could apply Gandhi’s non-violent non-cooperation but that it would take a lot of effort to develop this capability.


Gandhi’s main concern was individual’s search for truth which he called Satyagraha. In his mind Satyagraha was a religious pursuit. He believed that truth can only be achieved through non-violence. (This belief is similar to Rand’s – that aggression negates reason.)

Non-violence implies non-cooperation with violent authorities. As opposed to agorism, Gandhi’s non-cooperation is always overt. It is an open fight. It is always active and always risky. Ghandi thinks of non-cooperation as an expression of love towards the opponent and non-aiding her in self-destructing evil.

Gandhi recommends the following non-violent non-cooperation escalation ladder:
  • Giving up of medals, titles and honorary posts
  • Non participation in government loans (any T-bills in your pension plan?)
  • Non participating in partied organised by officials
  • Suspension of courts by lawyers and replacing them with private arbitration
  • Boycott of government schools by parents and providing alternative education (xoxo un-schoolers!)
  • Giving up posts at universities by scholars and offices by counsellors
  • Refusal of military service in selected foreign countries

The most extreme forms of non-cooperation are called civil disobedience. The last two escalation steps require so much discipline that Gandhi did not think that his movement was ready for them.
  • Withdrawal from government service
  • Overtly breaking unjust laws
  • Withdrawal of the police and army
  • Suspension of taxes

Gandhi’s people

Ghandi attracted and developed devoted Satyagrahis whom he describes as “disciplined soldiers”.

Satyagrahis pledged to follow the rules and resolutions of the movement’s central Committee and near absolute obedience was required. Gandhi would suspend civil disobedience if he felt that his idea of non-violence was not followed closely enough by his people.

Before Gandhi deemed his followers ready for the fight, they prepared though ascetic life of work, fasting, chastity (no, not the kinky type) and prayer. They trained for long marches, for withstanding cold, severe beatings, and starvation. They were happy to accept imprisonment, part with their property and even life. Those who could not contribute by active involvement were contributing labour and funds.

A part of their preparation was extensive networking. Satyagrahis were in contact with all their neighbours and were offering help and personal services. They combined charity with widespread agitation.

Gandhi’s strategy

Gandhi was skillful and precise in projecting his power.

The regulations targeted for civil disobedience were selected very carefully by the central Committee. These were the only laws Satyagrahis were allowed to break. Otherwise they were expected to be exemplary citizens.

Central Committee was targeting laws which were commonly considered immoral and which simultaneously placed a heavy burden on people. The best example was the state monopoly on salt production resulting in a ban on desalination of salt from sea water.

He would first present respectful petitions and carefully listen to the needs of the opponent. His careful listening was perhaps, as Gandhi wants it, an act of love towards the opponent. It also allowed him to be scrupulously exact when dealing with the opponent later.

After a petition failed, Gandhi would announce that a specific form of non-cooperation would start on a given day in a chosen region unless the decision is revoked. Next, he would escalate non-cooperation one step at a time. Sometimes thousands would go to prison in the process. They accepted this suffering as their battle wounds.

He did not escalate non-cooperation if he thought his movement was not capable of the next level of mature, non-violent opposition.

How I recon it worked

The strength of non-violence was that it was simultaneously a religion-based ideology for the masses, an inspiring idea for the intellectuals and a language acceptable for the movement’s opponents.

The precise control Gandhi had over millions must have been worrying for the English ruling class. In my opinion, the effective command of this large movement was the main source of his success. No political system can survive determined, intelligent opposition of a large group of people.

The second source of Gandhi’s success was the ability to shame opponents for violating the moral standard of civility which they themselves accepted for unrelated reasons.

Gandhi said he always aimed at converting his opponents through self-suffering and love, not by embarrassing them. Yes, most likely self-suffering of Satyagrahis did soften many hearts. However, he did shame many people into surrender too. He actually admits it here:

But it is my deliberate conviction that had we but acted with uniform honesty and dignity, behoving Satyagrahis, we would have disarmed all opposition on the part of the Government and such strictly honourable behaviour on the part of so many prisoners would have at least shamed Government into confessing their error in imprisoning so mane honourable an innocent men. [1]

To avoid ostracism he only non-cooperated on issues which had a wider social support. This added social pressure to his arsenal. The following passage shows his appreciation of good public relations:

                Awakened and intelligent public is the most potent weapon of a Satyagrahi. [1]

I think shaming sucks. But he gets a pass because he used it as defence against worse forms of violence.

(Please notice that non-aggression seems to be a good subject to shame people on.)

I also think that you can only shame into civility authorities who hold civility as a value. There were no Gandhis from Communist Russia or National Socialist Germany probably because they were all killed early in their struggle.

Did it work?

I understand that in the end, the non-cooperation movement was not the ultimate force in defeating the British in India. Instead, it gave the various national political parties something to unite around. Finally, the British occupation turned into a domestic occupation. So on a large scale it was only a partial success at best.

It did work on a medium scale though. Gandhi invented the method for 60,000 Indians opposing racist tax laws introduced in 1906 in South Africa. It worked. The laws got repealed in 1914 after multiple campaigns of civil disobedience. South African Indians succeeded despite being an immigrant minority in a racist society.

This is the scale which might apply to the voluntaryist movement one day.


If it worked for Indians, could it work for voluntaryists? We have different objectives, but there are striking similarities between Ghandi’s movement and the voluntaryist movement:
  • both movements aspire to use non violent means
  • both movements value reason and truth
  • both dislike violence for ethical reasons (NAP)
  • both oppose unjust governments which have overwhelming military power
  • in both cases passivity means unwilling cooperation with the opponent

In many ways we are in a better position than the Indian movement. Our case is more logically consistent. Gandhi was distracted by promoting Indian economic protectionism, alcohol prohibition and other silliness and voluntaryist do not have this problem. Also, most of us do not waste energy on crazy spiritual practises and emotional self-repression. Finally, we are operating under a democratic system, which does leave more tools of political pressure.

On the other hand, voluntaryists do not have a disciplined movement and, perhaps rightly so, they fear one. More importantly and regrettably, our moral case is being successfully dismissed by the wider public because it contradicts the moral code of altruism. Finally, today’s dependent class are not foreigners but our own, often members of our families and social networks.

To replicate Gandhi’s method, we would need to:
  1. Agree which laws we can convince the public to be immoral. Which part of the state feels really unjust to you? The tax code? Military interventionism? Central banking? Central schooling? None?
  2. Oppose the injustice by creating a disciplined movement dedicated to personal integrity even at the cost of suffering financial and political repression.
  3. Members would have to show real concern for the general betterment of their local communities.
  4. Finally, we could start climbing the non-cooperation ladder. 

This seems like a challenge to me. But maybe that’s the way to go.


[1] Mohandas K. Gandhi – Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha), 1951
[2] Mohandas K. Gandhi – The Story of My Experiments with Truth, 1927

Friday, 14 June 2013

Book review: Radical Honesty

Brad Blanton believes that intimacy comes from transparency. His book “Radical Honesty” proposes a way to strengthen voluntary relationships which is simple in theory, takes courage in practice and he swears it works.
Blanton thinks that after young people learn how to form concepts, they immediately start overusing them. They stop relating to real objects and start relating to ideas of objects instead. Or they confuse the two. This disconnects people from the real thing and turns them into unhappy jerks.

To grow beyond adolescence you must recognise that there is cognition outside of ideas. And that being right is not the most important thing in life. Blanton believes that there is value in fully experiencing the world even if the experience is not organized into concepts. The opposite of over-focussing on ideas is noticing.
I wish he mentioned that new experiences may eventually lead to a new wave of concept formation and that the process is cyclical but he does not say that.

Blanton believes that the substitution of concept for the real thing is most damaging in relationships. Holding on to ideas and memories about the other person kills relationships even if people officially stay together. Healthy relationships are based on telling the whole truth, noticing and providing support accordingly.

For me, the most original idea of the book is that you can break free from overusing ideas by telling the whole truth about your feelings and observations to yourself, to friends and to family. This includes telling people what you resent and appreciate them for, telling them a complete history of your life and sharing with your partner all your sexual thoughts, desires and memories.

Blanton takes the liberty to use the words "bullshit", "idiot" etc. a lot but it somehow does not bother me. He is simply being true to his attitude towards certain ideas and people.
He does come from a slightly socialist angle and he thinks that profit is bad, but this is not the core of his message. I resent him for being an ignorant arrogant prick about economics but I appreciate him for articulating the liberating power of telling the truth in relationships.
Interesting fact for Intelectual Property resisters - Blanton says he published the book in violation of copyrights of his former publisher.

We need more and better voluntary relationships to replace coercive hierarchies. If you also think this way, you may find “Radical Honesty” useful.

Monday, 27 May 2013

NAP and children

Some good research about a commonly accepted form of violence in our society: parental corporal punishment of children.

Of course, this post is not a comprehensive digest of all research on the subject. Instead it gives a good idea where to look and what to look for. I put this together to prepare for a short talk in my home Libertarian Meetup in London (come along, have a pint).

Prevalence of corporal punishment

Corporal punishment is an act aiming at controlling behaviour by causing pain but not injury.

Corporal punishment of children is common. In the US, 65% of children under two experience it, 80% of children are being hit by the time they are ten and 85% are corporally punished at some point of their lives. 50% of children reported having been hit with a belt or similar object [Gershoff].

When children are being hit, it usually is repetitive. In the US, 42% of children were spanked, hit, slapped, shaken or hit with an object in the last month alone [Lansford].

UK data shows a similar pattern. 55% of parents admit "smacking" the their children before the age of five. Add to this milder forms of parent on child violence like shaking, pushing or restraining to get a full picture [Hansen].

Interestingly Swedish parents are 4 times less likely to use corporal punishment than American parents [Lansford].

Spanking violates NAP

Unless a parent hits the child in self-defence (not very likely), they are initiating physical violence against the child. By definition, this violates the Non-Aggression Principle.

If the moral theory of NAP is correct, then this parent-on-child violence has negative consequences. Below are more findings about this.

Consequences of NAP violations

According to meta analyses of research [e.g. Durrant], corporal punishment leads to a number of shitty things later in life. Some of them are: increased aggression, depression, unhappiness, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, use of drugs and alcohol, reduced intelligence, delinquency, spousal assault, deteriorated parent-child relationships and attachment disorders. The fact that corporal punishment leads to family violence later in life completes the life cycle of aggression.

Neuroimaging studies suggest that physical punishment may reduce the volume of
the brain’s grey matter in areas associated with performance on IQ tests. Physical punishment can cause alterations in the dopaminergic regions, which can make it difficult for a person to experience happiness [Durrant].

Here are some examples of detailed research.

Spanked children are more aggressive. For example, 2-years-olds who are spanked three times a month are 50% more likely to demonstrate aggression just two years later [Taylor].

Children who are harshly physically punished (but not harshly enough to leave marks or bruises) are twice as likely to develop anxiety, substance addictions and severe personality disorders [Afifi].

All around the world, children who are spanked are less intelligent. Spanking of children aged 2 to 4 reduces IQ on average by 5 points. Even a small amount of spanking makes a difference. Also, the more frequent the spanking, the higher the intelligence drop [Straus].

Unfortunately for most people, negative effect of spanking are long lasting. For example a study of 16-years-olds showed increased adolescent depression and reduced self-esteem in people who were harshly corporally punished in childhood [Bender].

All the above analyses controlled for demographic and parenting variables other than spanking to remove correlations with other risk factors. Additionally, some research controls for initial level of child's aggression to address causality [Durrant].

The society mirrors the family

It seems like aggression against children may be a more prevalent form of violence than even the state!

People who grow up to be unintelligent, depressed and aggressive will not bring about the change. Similarly, those who cannot experience happiness will not hold it as the highest moral purpose as objectivists want it.

If you want the society to accept NAP, the most important thing you can do is to apply NAP to your own children and help others apply it to theirs.

And one day there will be enough people on the planet capable of de-normalising state violence that voluntaryism will become the dominant social paradigm.

Beyond politics

If you have been spanked as a child, do you understand how it shaped you? Do you know someone who is spanking? Tell them how they are unintentionally harming a child. Know a child who is being spanked? Support the child.

"Peaceful parenting" is the term to google if you want to learn more.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Freedom in Professional Life

There are three (3) approaches to freedom you can take in your professional life.

No more. No less. Three shalt be the number of approaches, and the number shall be three. Four shalt thou not it be, neither two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.
  1. Geek
  2. Sovereign
  3. Sage
This YouTube video explains what I mean.

Yes, I still need to work on the technical angles, but I hope you will enjoy the video anyway.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


This piece of cultural subversion is very exciting

... and this method has a long tradition.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My own Bill of Rights

A whole bunch of Bills of Rights were introduced all over the planet to limit crazy governments. Most of them did not quite work as intended.

In the face of these epic failures, I decided to make my own Bill of Rights. (OK, I borrowed the idea from Peter Gerlach. Thanks Peter!)

Here it comes. Bestowed upon blah-blah-blah. I claim the right to:

1. Actions
1.1 Do things just to see if I like them.
1.2 Enjoy a process without an aim in mind.
1.3 Make mistakes.
1.4 Need more resources such as information, time, help to succeed in any tasks.

2. Feelings
2.1 Love every part of myself unconditionally.
2.2 Feel any feelings and to describe them to others.
2.3 Have unjustified preferences.

3. Thoughts
3.1 Be conscious of anything that is going on.
3.2 Not know or not remember things.
3.3 Think any thought and say it.
3.4 Have conflicting thoughts.
3.5 Change my mind on things.

4. Relationships
4.1 Choose relationships I invest in.
4.2 Escalate relationships.
4.3 Choose my own level of involvement in other people's things.
4.4 Not be interrupted.

5. Amendments
5.1 Amend this Bill of Rights in the future.

What is your Bill of Rights?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

What I want from the movement

People join communities because they expect to benefit from it. So to attract people to the voluntaryist movement we need to offer stuff.

Here are some things I would like the voluntaryist movement to do for me. Maybe others would be attracted to this too. This is not going to happen by itself but I do not give a shit, I still want it.

1. I want to experience efficacy in making the world freer. I want to meet people who make freedom for themselves and I want to learn from them. I want to see non-coercive approaches to relationships, parenting, education and career management implemented in people's lives.

2. I want more opportunities for friendship. Shared interests and no desire to pull guns at each other are great starters. I need more varied opportunities for friendly socialising - parties, concerts, camping trips, kayaking escapades, barbeques, anything.

3. In particular, I want more friendships with women in the voluntaryist movement. We need to cherish the females we do have. Contrary to most views I heard, the reason for the shortage of females in the voluntaryist ranks is that male libertarians suck at pick up. Simple as that. Improve your pick up. It is not a shallow pursuit, it goes deep into who you are and how you relate to the world. Then start bringing your GFs along for god's sake. Look up pick up artists on for starters.

4. I want a balanced magazine with relevant quality coverage and commentary of world events using voluntaryist insight into social structures. I am bored with The Economist but I also do not want to hear how the dollar is about to collapse at any moment. I want voluntaryist entertainment which is free from statist sympathies and from state hatred also.

5. I want an opportunity for rational but limited political action (bribing, lobbying, maybe even voting etc.).

6. I want an option to join a voluntaryist housing co-op where I can can live relaxed amongst peaceful and rational people. And I do not want this co-op to be on the surface of an ocean, at the bottom of an ocean or in any other place inside the ocean.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Final word on emotional self-defence

Peter Gerlach's explanation of emotional self-defence has gotta be the final word on enforcing the verbal Non-Aggression Principle. There is nothing else to add as far as I am concerned. The end. Finito. Koniec.

He explains how to defend against boundary violations by confronting violators using respectful assertion. He claims this prevents future violations.

I love how Peter's strategy intelligently recognises the psychological development of the target of your confrontation. He says that if the target is an unaware "grown wounded child" (which most people are), they will not hear your confrontation as it was voiced. They will instead counter-attack, change the subject, cry etc.

You then need to empathetically recognise their points and repeat your respectful assertive confrontation until you are heard.

I strongly believe that emotional self-defence is necessary for voluntaryists to master if they want to influence the social fabric. As always, only engage if you cannot avoid or escape!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

NAP is one of many strategies

For some people NAP is an universal and objective ethical requirement.

For example NAP is the foundation of Stefan Molyneux's argument from morality. His logic is that any ethical theory must be NAP-compliant for it to be possible to be universally successfully applied (or at least this is how I understand his theory of Universally Preferable Behaviour). But a theory saying "it is good to have as many of my needs met as as possible" also can be universally accepted and yet result in initiation of violence by some.

Ayn Rand also thought that initiation of aggression was universally immoral. Her objection to violence was that violence contradicts reason. But I do not think that by initiating aggression a person necessarily gives up their reason. 

Here are a few examples where NAP does not apply:
  • Price Harry lives off the system of state violence and he probably gets his needs met fine. Because the same applies to other members of the political class, he is not an isolated case.
  • If anyone close to me was starving, for whatever reason, I would steal food to feed them. I would not consider it immoral. This is a rare "lifeboat situation", but still it counts.

So maybe NAP is just one strategy for getting your life needs met. I think it is a deep and good one and it works 99% of the time. But I do not think it is the only one.

Brainwashing and threatening people is a working strategy for some.

Being a skilful thief can also work for some situations. Especially if you know how not to get caught.

This is just not something people like to talk about, because it is a bit creepy. But I gave two examples above to prove that what I say is true.

What are some other strategies? How to choose which one to use? I do not know. I am not sure if it is worth figuring this out for me at this moment. But on the other hand, it is interesting... Perhaps it depends on the person and their situation? Did our rulers discover the answers to these questions?

Perhaps Leonard Cohen features this dilemma in "Story of Isaac". Obviously I have no idea what he really meant. Who the fuck knows such things anyway?

And if you call me brother now, 
Forgive me if I inquire, 
"just according to whose plan?"

 [preference for NAP strategy]
When it all comes down to dust
I will kill you if I must, 
I will help you if I can. 

 [preference for other strategies]
When it all comes down to dust 
I will help you if I must, 
I will kill you if I can.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Building voluntary social networks

To change things good people need to build strong voluntary social networks to make the existing coercive hierarchies obsolete. Fighting existing systems is good but so is creating new networks. Or maybe it is better.

Other people came to this conclussion before. Rand's fictional Galt's Gulch, Konkin's Agorism, libertarian enthusiasm for peaceful parenting and techniques like Nonviolent Communication and coaching are all about building non-coercive social networks. I think they are right. This is where the freedom begins.

And there is no other way of creating new voluntary networks and institutions than improving personal relationships first. Here are some examples of what I mean.

I worked on this chart for an hour so hopefully you like it. Hard to believe that there was a time when I treated anything remotely resembling management workshop materials as complete nonsense.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

How to change things

This meme inspires me.

To make the state obsolete, we need the following new models:
  • strong voluntary social networks -- to give people real safety nets
  • robust moral systems -- to replace state supported dogmas as source of life wisdom
  • efficient ways to protect against violence -- so people need less police
  • fair dispute resolution mechanisms -- to replace the "justice system"
  • reliable non-coercive defence against foreign states
Excuse me while I go and build some of the above.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Short-range NAP for individuals

A strategy optimal for a system as a whole is not necessarily one that is best for each individual. The prisoner's dilemma is an example where the best strategy for individuals is one detrimental from a global perspective.

In the same way the Non-Aggression Principle being optimal by some global criteria (economic efficiency, Universally Preferable Behaviour) does not necessarily imply its universal superiority for individuals. The example of Prince Harry - and other members of the political class - is the case in point.

In reality most people are not anti-NAP, they just follow a short-range version of it. They limit non-aggression to friends, family, clients, trading partners, friend's friends etc. Hence they support programs which benefit their immediate social network at the expense of other people. 

A world where individuals follow a short-range NAP is divided into millions of often overlapping and relatively peacefully cliques with violence increaseing in relationships between people from different cliques. The simplified schematic borrowed from Animal Social Networks shows such world.

This is more-less what the real world looks like. Each clique represents one individual's social network connected with a short-range NAP. Violence may emerge where the cliques meet.

This is a state of things which the Voluntaryists oppose. 

But is it necessarily beneficial for all individuals to extend their short-range NAP to a full NAP and therefore eliminate all areas of violent conflicts? I have not seen empirical evidence that it is. Each individual needs to decide by themself which range of NAP serves their needs best.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Which type of violence is the state?

As Barack Obama said, a state is a legal monopoly on violence.

Well said. But which type of violence? There are four major types of violence: resource predation, process predation, monkey dance and group monkey dance. So which one is the state?

Let's look at the example of the American federal government.

I think we can safely discard the monkey dance option. At least in theory, a good policeman or soldier is expected to deeply regret that violence is "necessary" as he is applying it. His violent triumphs are not his own, but the state's.

So the people who call themselves "the state" must be something between resource predators (aiming at controling vitim's stuff and otherwise leave the victim free) and process predators (aiming at controlling the victim itself). Let's see where the major executive departments and agencies sit on the spectrum.

Pure resource predators

Department of the Treasury. That's an easy one to classify because they run the IRS. The video below shows that people operating the tax system think about it as a tool for efficient resource extraction from the population.

IRS is the enabler of all the predations of the government.

Department of Veterans Affairs. Takes money from one group of people and gives it to 
another group of people so a clear resource predator.

Department of Agriculture. As above.

Social Security Agency. As above.

Department of Housing and Urban Development. As above, except they take money from one group of people and give houses to another.

Both resource and process predators

Department of Homeland Security. Customs Service, which is a part of this department, is a resource predator like the IRS. Uniformed people telling others where they are allowed to live and how they must travel are process predators.

Department of the Interior. Their function is to manage selected natural resources. Their involvement in managing lives of the Native people seems like process predation.

Intended to be process predators but with a resource side-effect

Agencies in this category have an official mandate to be process predators. However their actions result in cartels which makes them enablers of resource predation.

Federal Reserve. Their objective is to coordinate productive efforts of the population using monopoly money.The wealth transfers they create as side effect makes them the champions of this category.

Department of Commerce. They collects data on people's productive activities to intelligently coerce them to achieve Department's aims. This is so process.

Department of Labor. As above

Department of Health and Human Services. They coerce people into using methods of medical treatment the Department prefers (including limiting access to medicines), which is a process predator thing to do.

Department of Transportation. They coerce people into using methods of transportation the Department prefers. Control of transport routes results in control of movement which is a form of process predation.

Pure process predators

Agencies in this category are not completely pure process predators, because they draw salaries from the federal budget and also they monopolise any useful services may render. They are also openly used as tools by resource predators (for example by enforcing tax laws). But the functions they perform are as close to process predation as it gets.

Department of Justice. They will prosecute you if the instruction say so, regardless if it makes any sense or makes anyone any money.

Department of Education. They do not run schools directly (its state level counterparts do). But the compulsory schooling they represent is a particularly ugly form of process predation because it applies to children.

Department of State. The executioner of foreign policy. Uses all available means to make people who live in designated locations behave in the way which serves other people's objectives.

Department of Defense. An extension of the Department of State so the same logic applies. It applies additional process predation during drafs when it enslaves people into the military. But even during "normal" times it applies a lot or process predation towards its own people. The video below shows what I mean.

Department of Energy. They produce nuclear weaponry so they belong to the same category as Department of Defense.

So overall, the American federal government is a half way house between a resource predator and a process predator.

The largest difference between different states on the planet is location on the resource / process predation scale. The best ones are limited to efficient resouce predation and run reasonably free economies with low taxation. The worse ones, like Pol Pot's Cambodia or North Korea, are more into pure process predation regardless of the economics of it.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Spooky amusement parks in people's heads

Discussing politics with a group statists is like walking through a radioactive jungle growing on top of a spooky amusement park. You can expect any half-baboon-half-diggerswing-half-zombie to jump at you from the depth of someones subconsciousness at any moment. Any crippled idea, any incorrect fact or non-fact, any logical fallacy and any creepy reaction are to be expected at any moment.

Here are some zombie-thoughts which flew in a discussion I had last night with my fellow students.

1. There is no such thing as the European Common Agricultural Policy.
2. Governments have no power over people (because it is really all about money).
3. But it was not the case 20 years ago. Back then governments and money had their proper role.
4. The more totalitarian a country the nicer its government employees (becuse they need to make up for their lack of legitimacy).
5. Chimp herds with a dominant alpha male are less violent and therefore we need a state.
6. All parasites benefit their hosts in some way (otherwise they would die out).
7. All people deserve to have equal access to wealth.8. North Korea is safer to live in than Switzerland.
8. Rape in a government prisons is not as bad as rape on the street and does not count as "danger".
9. Slavery in America in 1700s is very similar to poor working conditions in London today.
10. Chimp herds with a dominant alpha male are less violent and therefore we need a state.
11. People are evil by nature which is why they need to form governments.

I am not sure what I leaned from this, but here are some ideas:
- I do not enjoy it.
- If I really want to engage, it is better to drastically lower my expectations.
- These discussions need strong, active facilitation: focus, clear terminology, loop breaking, monitoring progress to make any sense.
- If I really want to to engage, next time I can try the Socratic method on one person instead of presenting my own ideas.
- If I really want to to engage, I should focus on the least crazy opinion.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Beyond NAP: intimacy

Intimacy is the state of being close to another person: emotionally, intellectually and physically. Intimacy is a social value which is not discussed a lot in writings of libertarians and anarchists. But intimacy is at least as important as NAP. Babies who do not experience it die. Grown ups who do not experience it wither.

Intimacy is related to NAP because NAP is generally necessary for intimacy. But it is not sufficient. Non-aggression is passive and intimacy is active. Ones behaviour and language can be completely NAP, but he may have no closeness with anyone. On the other hand many people who are a bit aggressive still manage to have intimacy with someone some of the time.

Here is a table showing what people who influenced me over the years think about the Non-Aggression Principle and about intimacy. For completeness, I also added a column for rationality.

The last row is what I currently think. I have not completelly made up my mind on many detals.

Rationality (private)
Universal NAP (social)
Intimacy (social)
The pope and his crew
Good but faith is better
Good but does not apply to children. Also the need to defend some beliefs, serve in the army and help the needy triumphs non-aggression.
OK, but you should not have greater intimacy with anyone than you have with Jesus.
Murray Rothbard
Yeah, obviously, that's what intelligent people generally do.
People have a natural right to fully own themselves.
Not elaborated on other than in an (incorrect) observation that family is a small communism.
Ayn Rand
The foundation stone. Man's main tool of survival.
Good because violence negates reason and also there are no conflicts between rational men.
Admire great people and spend time with them. Have hot sex with them if they are opposite gender.
Ludwig Wittgenstein
We cannot think or articulate in any other way.
Not interesting philosophically.
Not interesting philosophically.
Stefan Molyneux
Equals thinking. No alternative available. Man's basic survival tool.
Good as the only universal ethics (universally preferable behaviour).
A great thing to achieve with your friends, lovers or family. Possible only with virtuous people.
My thinking now
We cannot articulate thoughts in any other way. Also man's main tool of survival.
1) required for intimacy
2) good amongst your social circle, people you directly interact with and people they care about


a) there are conflicts even between rational men (I disagree with Rand on this)
b) no clear reason why every individual's ethics must be universal. It would be elegant and productive and if they did but moralities of different people can also conflict, like the morality of a lion and a gazelle do (so I do not agree with Molyneux on this)
A great thing to achieve with people. Different degrees possible with different people. Also man's secondary tool of survival.