06 February 2014

the farmer, we need him but he feeds off us?

Peter Schiff, in his hour long response to a practical joke of an interview, claims almost reasonably that "people aren't lining up to be exploited" in regards to demand for jobs at typically unromantic locales such as McDonald's or Wal-Mart. Only almost because Schiff's wider political milieu directly invalidates the claim.

A staunch critic of centrally managed inflationist and fiat monetary policy, Peter Schiff (much like other belles of the libertarian celebrity circuit) claims some fame from his own "end the fed" argument. How can an expected-intelligent financial adviser (an interesting form of central planning as such) on the one hand spew the horrors and ill-effect of the all-unknowing money changers and with the other cracks the whips for the succubi empowering the printed-money masters.

Wal-Mart doesn't exploit anyone? How quickly we forget the extent of federal and lower level meddling in industry. Today more than ever we might also note the effects recently established international organizations have on events worldwide and locally.
The crops we subsidize, insure, haul away for ration donations in third world countries. These have a real wealth transferring impact on the finances of people at all levels. The wealthy literally milking the public trough in quantities the working class does not fathom.

When Peter Schiff says people don't like up to be exploited, he's obviously forgetting that when we receive coerced government entitlements, we are exploiting ourselves as much as we exploit the collective fellow man from whom we stole the hand-out. Not only do big box employees line up to be exploited (these companies contribute heavily to federal individual assistance programs) but the rich too line up to beg for money so they don't have to work in a free market.

Can you think of any big box retailers who found benefit in federal intervention? The US, supposedly most free economy on the planet, has plethora examples. Pick your favorite and join the conversation.

18 February 2013

Praxeology, what does it do? (first draft, first thoughts)

Praxeology distinguishes itself from science [social/statistical or physical/empirical] in seeking to describe the circumstances under which human interactions proceed, while avoiding accidentally prescriptive methodologies.
A scientist or any curious and ambitious individual wants to shape the world around them to satisfy their interests, aspirations and expectations. We expend effort to accomplish those things and in doing so demonstrate through experience, rather than assumption, that we can achieve arbitrary goals we set.
In MES and other Austrian School works that deal with using praxeology for economic [or other] analysis consider these brief thoughts.
The concepts of apriori and aposteriori, essentially before and after the fact/act/event/exchange, contrast knowledge acquired through creative thought and  that through experience. Contrast adding numbers in your head to counting sheep in a field. If you're still of mind you can probably add many numbers together in succession, but even the keenest eye will need require some better process than simply eyeing his stock because those woolly little bastards move around a lot.
If you count them one at a time that may work but will also require much time, at least if your stock is large. And thereafter if we're talking economics simply counting cannot account the quality or retrievable profit on the individual sheep.
So all the sciences, so called or not, rely on tremendous amounts of knowledge and supporting data.
Therefore praxeology analyzes events before they occurs to help guide the efforts human's put forth to shape the environment and those events. I rehash likely one of the more common fundamental examples, "inaction":
You wake up [for whatever reason, either alarm clock, or just been in bed too long] and then get out of bed. That was not the necessary course of events and your choice says something about you, even if you don't want to admit it. You wanted to get out of bed more than you wanted to stay in bed.
Now semantic/philosophical considerations aside, this knowledge I now have about you, whoever and whatever you are, is profound.
The economic parallel is the free market exchange. (Before though please remember that we're talking about thoughts in our head, ideal types like a perfect circle, which by all reason is impossible in reality, and certainly in our reality there is not a free market here or much of anywhere, at least not at a large scale, and so much more can be said about that)
When two individuals participate in some exchange, be that barter, sale or other we know that at least in the moment of exchange each individual values what they get more than what they give up.
From there many great thoughts proceed.

wealth sinhole

this image from keiser report:

I've long heard there was data suggesting this, and in my personal experience it has been the case. This geometric expansion rests upon linearly rewarded effort.
Ethics aside,distance between the two eventually leads to violence and unrest of various manners. Is anyone more familiar upon the topic? Would like to see both the data collected and the methodology guiding the research.

  • in which  [ongoing and recent] foreign conflicts does class war as opposed to politiacal war motivate physical war?
  • this wealth trend, is alarming, what exacerbates it? 
  • do government regulators arm-twist businesses in to shitting where they eat or does the notion of there being a free-market in the United States smell of said turds?
  • where do we go from here?
Help me expand this with some good ideas but also data or history.

13 January 2013

where does the time go?

Quite honestly, I don't post enough to this blog. I've never posted enough to any blog I've created. I suppose you could say that following through on plans (and obligations!) is something of a weakness of mine.

That being said, each Sunday, I will post a new blog entry, a good one. Each Sunday by 6 pm. Today, I will post one by 7 pm. I'm allowing myself a bit of time because of the suddenness of this new plan.


And what happened until seven pm?

13 August 2012

Let the wealth flee...

One of the biggest arguments against a progressive system of taxation and regulation is that the rich flee with their wealth to places more accommodating to its growth.

This otherwise legitimate fear can be powerfully allayed with a recognition that the wealth they cannot take are only those with fundamental use to human progress: the land.
As the rich e-transfer zeroes to the left of the decimal in their accounts the poor of a nation have no similar option to migrating digital wealth they don't possess, but the radical quality of digital wealth is that it doesn't really exist!

So let the wealth flee, but damn them when they come for the land.

28 March 2012

ignorance as part of delusion

I've been very slowly working my way through an essay by Nikola Tesla. I don't know much about Tesla, though it seems he was quite an ambitious and persistent fellow. While I way address the content of that work more thoroughly later, my interest presently is to textually pursue a train of thought brought on by Tesla quoting Buddha, "Ignorance is the greatest evil in the world."

Buddhism makes use of an epistemological methodology quite estranged in my society of residence. The quote comes in a portion of essay concerned with limiting those aspects of humanity which decrease our access to energy and progress; so a Buddhist epistemology may provide useful insight as to how ignorance produces the evil which ever limits human potential.

[I will presently compose my thesis. This will then be contrasted to some rudimentary research I'll do on ignorance in Buddhism.]

In failing to diligently separate experience from abstraction, many cognitively confuse the two. Consider how the scientific method empirically separates experience from abstraction, while the human scientist may not always.

What does it mean to know? Novel treatments for contemporary diseases--often discovered through accident--are commonly later better understood as accompanied by side effects. Prescriptions treating mental disorders illustrate this evil of ignorance. (And in the development of this evidence of the thesis, please excuse a lack of concision)

05 January 2012

on discerning the status quo

Though not giving undue credence to the upcoming presidential election, the ongoing media charade surrounding this national-political sock puppet theater serve as a prime and contemporary example of a rather frightening truth, about which we will say little.
The concision of mainstream media narrative on current events give America more concern for fictitious Iranian nuclear weapons than mass killings of civilians in various nations throughout the planet, from Bahrain to Colombia. Unfortunately ignorant Americans cannot concern themselves with how long it may take before the Mexican Drug War's incredible collateral damage spills onto US streets?
Perhaps self-titled patriots shall rest proudly with troops being stationed in Australia to promote our influence in that region. Surely the Chinese or Russians fear little in this move. Upon whom does the US expect to impose it's influence?
Why don't American citizens concern themselves more with what we might say is actually going on than what we are told goes on. As though local tv-personalities reported on crimes for which the evidence neither existed nor was requested, we accept a just-so story on the status quo that can render any attempt to discern reality coherently futile.

04 April 2009

An Open Letter to Someone Who Called Me Unpatriotic

On facebook, my icon is an upside-down American flag. An upside down flag is a symbol of distress. I, along with a number of other people, originally started using this as my user icon when Obama was nominated, for reasons obvious to anyone who knows my opinions. I've taken periodic flak for it, and in particular, one recent facebook message that led me to decide to submit a lengthy response.

In this message, the sender suggested, immune to the obvious irony of messaging a complete stranger on facebook about such a thing, that I "get a life and grow up," after suggesting that I go to Russia, or any other country and try such a thing, which action, he said, would result in my head being forcibly inserted into a certain area of my body.

Insults aside, this message got me thinking about what it means to be patriotic. Is it unthinking assent to limitless power, or thoughtful dissent and calling for limitations on power, no matter how unpopular such a position may be?

My response is reproduced in full, with light editing.

Mr. S.A.,

I have been to other countries, and that's why I don't believe the "Best country in the world" song and dance. In rural Canada, I saw just as modern infrastructure as in the United States, and none of the shocking poverty that characterizes places like Louisiana or Mississippi. Now, I'm certainly not a fan of the welfare state, but at this point, the US government takes nearly as large a percent of GDP as does the Canadian government, so the difference in governments seems like a rather moot point to me.

But think about this: let's say I had turned the Mexican flag, or the Chinese flag, or any other flag upside down?
Would you have sent me this message? I don't believe so.

But you did. And why? What makes this particular collection of lines on a map "your" country, which must be praised, protected, and if necessary, killed for? Why, but for an accident of birth, isn't Mexico, or France, or Uzbekistan "your" country?

You can insult me, and tell me I should leave, but you should also consider the ways, often inflammatory, in which some of the most brilliant writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a much freer time in many ways, mocked and parodied the government.

Consider, for instance, the woman who, during the war of 1812 when the capital was being burned, drove her carriage to the White House, stopped it, loosened her long, blonde hair, and commented loudly to everyone in earshot that her fondest hope was that her hair could be made into a noose with which the president could be hanged (for getting the country into a disastrous war.)

Or Mark Twain's anti-imperialist writings, such as the War Prayer, in which the true meaning of killing strangers for an abstraction is unveiled, or his version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, included in full below.

These mockeries and attacks upon the pretenses of government, of which my upside down flag is but the barest reflection, for 150 years, beat the expansion of government back, and are what REALLY kept us free. The mess in which we now find ourselves is not due to me or anyone like me, but to people who bowed before patriotic symbols, cowered like whipped dogs in front of state officials, and refused, at any cost, to question their own government.

In other words, to put not too fine a point on it, to people like you, who condemned dissent and demanded unquestioning, immediate loyalty and obedience.

Ben Kilpatrick

The Battle Hymn of the Republic Updated
by Mark Twain

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
His lust is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps--
His night is marching on.

I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal;
Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel;
Lo, Greed is marching on!"

We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;*
Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat;
O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet!
Our god is marching on!

In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom--and for others' goods an itch.
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich--
Our god is marching on.

* NOTE: In Manila the Government has placed a certain industry under the protection of our flag. (M.T.)

04 January 2009

A note on a note

Having reread my previous post, I'm beginning to notice an issue that I hadn't really considered before in the status and meaning (or extent to which an allowed freedom makes free the person who holds it) between expressive freedoms and non-expressive freedoms.

I call expressive freedoms expressive because they involve, primarily, self-expression. They don't create other freedoms for one's self, and exercising them does not (necessarily) involve a threat of any sort to the state. In other words, restrictions on activity for no purpose as far as the State is concerned (and this is where things get interesting) other than to restrict them.

I call non-expressive freedoms such because they are the opposite of expressive freedoms insofar as they are primarily activities which could pose a threat to the state - such as owning weapons, financial privacy, homeschooling children.

Now, the question of whether there is some essential difference between expressive and non-expressive freedoms would seem to be related to the extent to which private customs and customary power centers within society either buttress the state or retard the advance of the state - typically, by either promoting an ethic of violence (for instance, an abusive or authoritarian family) or retarding state hypertrophy (any voluntary association).

Further, it is possible that the prohibition of an expressive freedom could so enrage people that they may come to consider the value of non-expressive freedoms as well. But this might be a two-edged sword - for instance, for every person who considers marijuana prohibition and extends his analysis to the rising police state and busy-body culture in this country, how many people are there who continue to vote for good, gray, respectable democrats in hopes that marijuana will be decriminalized, taxed, and regulated?

Just a few thoughts.

A note on social control

I wrote this for my livejournal in late October, about something which I read on the LRC blog.

From here

"That’s why it is so imperative that we take action, and take it now. The college is revamping the gen ed program. Maybe it’s time to require a class in diversity. Or maybe we start branding perpetrators with a scarlet letter, like in that Nathaniel Hawthorne book. Except instead of an A for 'adulterer,' as is the case in the novel, we use a B for 'bigot;' or an I for 'intolerant;' or maybe an S, for 'small-minded-prick-that-will-be-left-behind-the-times.'"

It's interesting how adaptable sheep-pen morality is. When more traditional forms no longer cut it, the filthy s--- who sleeps around can be, quite conveniently, replaced with another outgroup for the Respectable members of society (in this case, private liberal-arts college kids) to witchhunt (in this case, nasty Bigoted people.)

The role of "tolerance" in a corporate liberal culture is, essentially, to simultaneously change and limit the number of acceptable behaviors in a given society - "diverse" activities become generally acceptable, and anything done by "diverse" people is included under a broad rubric of being at least potentially defensible, if not fully; simultaneously, genuine forms of dissent, such as refusal to pay taxes or fulfill other government mandated obligations, or any thorough-going objection to the commonly prevailing way of life becomes totally unacceptable. People who choose, for instance, to home school their kids, to break contact with society at large, or to do any number of other things, which, under less "tolerant:" systems, would have been mere personal eccentricities, now become (or rather, are now recognized to be) vital threats which could, potentially, strike at the heart of the ruling order.

"Tolerance," then, is a means by which tyranny, or at least social control, is focused - behaviors irrelevant to the State and its attendant institutions (such as alternate sexual expression, moderate drug use, other odd cultural choices) are ignored so that greater resources can be concentrated on those who pose a greater threat (peace activists, secessionists, drop-outs, "gun nuts", people who "think different.)

19 June 2008

Time to bring this back

Well, I haven't posted here in nearly two years. I suppose it's time to bring this blog back.

To that end, from Salon.com:

Targeting Steny Hoyer for his contempt for the rule of law

I'm not going to summarize the article - it's there to be read. But I will say this: things like this are why I don't trust the Democratic party any more than I trust the Republican party. The vast majority of their rhetoric against the war, against the police state, against Bush is just that - rhetoric.
From the very beginning of the War [of] Terror, they've consistently voted for these utterly evil plans, and then mildly criticized them at election time.
When elections come, voters, who are smart enough to know that they're getting it good and hard from the GOP, turn to the Democrats in hopes of reversing that, only to be met with Clintron's criticism that the War in Iraq was "mismanaged" (I was unaware that there is a right way to manage an endeavor which has been more deadly to Iraqis than anything since Timurlane , and, really, far more deadly to Iraqis than was the Unspeakably Evil Worstest Dictator Ever, Saddam Hussein. And that's not to mention the million and a half Iraqis dead from starvation or disease imposed by the sanctions. They were, after all, "worth it.")

25 June 2006

The Middle Class

Massachusetts, and New England, and the East Coast generally, are typically held to be welfare statist areas where generous programs look after the needs of the poor to the expense of everyone else. My time, albeit brief, in Worcester, MA, taught me otherwise. I have never encountered any area in this country where things seemed so well-designed toward the goal of relentlessly screwing the poor as much as humanly possible, whether it be the 1-dollar trashbags mandated for "environmental" reasons or the hordes of towtrucks that would descend on random streets in the early morning and tow hundreds of illegally parked cars, which cost several hundred dollars to get back. The most important element seemed to be the educational system. As far as I can tell, people who go to technical school or whatnot are typically expected to start drooling in their oatmeal at any moment. In other words, everyone who can goes to college, and those who don't encounter extremely significant class-based prejudice. What's the purpose of this? Education plays an extremely important role in the ascription of status - very few jobs actually require a college education, but the sacrifice involved in getting one is greater than what most of the poor can afford, so they are denied entry to the higher classes. Even with financial aid, the foregone income is easily the most important element in this inability to attend school further.
So why are some people kept on the bottom like this?
Keeping people on the bottom keeps them from being able to fill middle-class jobs, which ensures that the present middle-class has a steady supply of work.
I would bet that several trillion dollars have been spent to subisidize this middle class (which I consider to be artificial because of those same subsidies) over the past 50-odd years, through road building, schools, other public works, student loans, and government backing/financing of home mortgages.
So what's the purpose of all of this?
The answer becomes fairly apparent once one looks at what the middle class support. They are typically the strongest backers of the status quo. And why? Because the status quo has given them easily trillions of dollars over the past few decades in subsidies.
And there's always a but! This system is growing increasingly unsustainable, hence the steadily widening gap between the rich and the poor. Our quasi-corporatist system is reverting to what it would have been without this support, and without this support, it won't last.

01 May 2006

Be Angry At The Sun
By Robinson Jeffers

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante's feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

*Italics mine.

27 April 2006

I hate the government - a rant

So I want to get from Florida to California. I'm relocating.
I figured a train would be cheaper than a plane, and could carry more. Stupid me, I forgot the government runs it.
No only does it takes many days (yes, days) longer to get from FL to CA by train (because Amtrak basically forces you to go to DC first, then it sets you through a series of other transfers to eventually, you hope, get to your destination) but it's also just as expensive as going by plane. Not only that, the only luggage benefit I could see from going by train is that you can take your bike on SELECT trains.
I'm so glad that POS organization some call our protectors is protecting me from the inefficiences of poor train management, service, and monopoly prices.

Oh wait.

23 April 2006

Convoluted Rant for the New Generation of Snooty Philosophers

When I get into political arguments with others over rights in the like, I often find (and comment accordingly) that fundamental differences in justification for political positions render debates about specific topics rather pointless.
This gets best illustrated with my claim that "empirical problems" are not at all. Maybe I say it so calmly, confidently, and frequently because the Matrix had a larger impact on me than I care to admit, or rather, let me give credit to a much forgotten film, eXistenZ, which drove paranoia home a lot more than the Matrix ever could for me.
I exist in a universe of ideas--ideas with much more worth than any self-assured claim to knowledge of the real world. As afeared of math as any person, I still hold more strongly to the claim 2+2=4 than that which states George Bush faces difficulties pronouncing words. I heard it with my own ears, "nuke-yule-er," didn't I?
This must seem a jumbled mess: three dubiously connected paragraphs, but to what end?

So let me try to make sense now, and that will hopefully shed light on the situation, and create a good topic of discussion.
I advocate a notion of natural rights based on an assumption about nature. I advocate abolishing all forms of violence (I suppose save those associated with lesser animals agressing against eachother in search for sustenance & other silly adventures), including, but not limited to, governments, slavery (nudge, nudge, milita enforced sweatshop labour), non-consentual brawling, thievery, and meanness (ok, maybe meanness does not count as a form of violence, but it counts as form of un-niceness!) which impede on the natural rights I aforementionedly advocated.
Beyond this, any attempt to delay a movement toward the abolition of all violations of natural rights, regardless of their pragmatic merit, will not have my support. Such include the argument of forcefull eliminating publicly traded corporations as they tend to violate others' rights. This brings us back to where I began, "empirical problems." Pre-emptively attempting to prevent large scale rights violations by means of a smaller scale rights violation (if such a thing is) has as much appeal to me as an argument for eliminating all of humanity to avoid the entirety of future violatoin of rights by the hands of human beings: none. I have empirical reasons for not accepting this argument, but more imporantly I have fundamental philosophical problems with the paradigm of the argument itself.
I find making plans and attempting to get things done in the real world fun, but not real. Ideas are reality.

Seeing as this is my first post. And I haven't had much sleep the last few nights, I may edit it somewhat, or tremendously, to save myself embarrassment. Reasons for editing, beyond that, include clarity, and possibly making my point clear, which at this hour, I am not at all certain I did. Haha!