A Step Back Toward Peace Keeping

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I grew up in an America with cops in the background. Most people – being not criminals – had almost no interaction with them and when they did it was generally civil and far more important, almost always on equal terms – with the cop respectful of the citizen. peacekeep 1

It goes without saying that’s all gone now. Cops are a menacing omnipresence – and when they deal with us, it is usually order barking Command Voice style. You do not discuss, much less dispute. You Submit and Obey. Or else.The least recalcitrance – merely to question anything – is often sufficient to bring down a Fallujah-style escalation. People are routinely dragged out of their cars, roughly thrown to the ground, pummeled, kicked – and much worse than that. Often, over trivial things. Police even in small towns have become indistinguishable from soldiers.

It is out of hand – obviously so – and if left unchecked will grow much worse, much sooner as the vortex picks up speed. What was inconceivable 20 years ago is routine today. What will be routine 20 years from today?

We face a choice: Either we accept being treated as “indigs” by an army of occupation that accepts no limits to its authority and which regards us as disposable as themselves as untouchable. Or we step back from the abyss before it’s too late. We recover our senses. We no longer accept the unacceptable.

Here’s how, in a few simple steps:

* Cops must be bound by the law -

As citizens, we are told that ignorance of the law is no excuse. That it is our obligation to know the law. Surely, the same ought to apply to those charged with enforcing it. Yet cops routinely ignore the law, even when it is pointed out to them in literal black and white. Many states, for example, have open carry laws. It is legal to wear a gun in plain view in public. Yet cops will often waylay at gunpoint, detain, disarm and question individuals who have done nothing in violation of any law – who are merely open carrying in full compliance with the letter of the law. They will justify this illegal assault by referencing “concerns” – either their own or those expressed by some unnamed person who “called in.”

Similarly, cops now routinely abuse people for lawfully taking video/audio in public. They will back each other up, too.

A cop must be as willing to defend legal action as he is prepared to defend against illegal action. This includes intervening against fellow officers when he knows they’ve committed a crime or are acting in a way that does not comport with the law. If it is intolerable for a citizen to break the law, it is doubly so when a cop does – because he may do so with relative impunity.

Until the doctrine is established and respected that the law applies equally to everyone, including cops, there will be increasingly less and less respect for cops – who increasingly hold themselves above the law.

And us in contempt.

* The Right to Resist -

Self-defense is perhaps the most basic human right, without which other rights are largely meaningless. One of the worst abuses of our era is the denial of this elemental right when a physical assault is perpetrated by a person acting under color of law. If a cop does not have the legal right to lay hands on a citizen, to violate his personal space (including his personal property) then the citizen has every ethical right to resist. To walk  away – and to defend himself against aggression if he is aggressed against.

His legal right to resist must be acknowledged in law.

That means if a SWAT team got the wrong house number and executes a no-knock raid in the middle of the night, the sleeping (and innocent) citizen should be considered within his rights to defend his home and himself, even if it results in the unfortunate death of a cop.

The burden is on the cops who got it wrong – not the citizen who acted out of justifiable fear for his life.

If a cop attempts to seize your person or things without legal cause, you ought to be able – legally – to defend yourself to the extent necessary. If citizens witness out-of-control cops administering a beat-down, they have the same right to intervene that would obtain if they witnessed a gang of thugs beating on an innocent.

Special costumes and badges should not render the wearer  a member of a privileged caste whose person may not be touched even when they have crossed the line and committed an act that if committed by any other person would be defined as criminal.

This business of demanding supine submission to every barked order is unworthy of a free society. It is in fact a mortal threat to a free society.

Cops must be reminded they’re not special. That our “safety” is just as valuable to us as their “safety” is to them. And that if they go after someone physically, they’d better have good – defensible – cause. And if they do not, that their victim has every legal right to defend himself – and will not be punished for having done so.

This doctrine, once established, would re-establish a balance that has been lost – and which must be recovered.

* Personal Liability -

Ordinary citizens are vulnerable to civil suits when their reckless or criminal actions result in harm/damage to others or their property. They are personally liable. This acts as a strong incentive to be prudent, to act responsibly. The same incentives are vitally necessary to assure police restraint, curb the worst abuses – and effectively deal with those who do abuse their authority.

As things stand, the reverse is true.

Cops have every incentive to not behave prudently, to act recklessly – since they know that any consequences will probably not be born by them directly. They will not lose their house, have their wages garnished for the next 20 years. If there is a lawsuit, the county  – the taxpayers – will pay. The cop may not even lose his job. And if he does, there will be probably be a new job in another county, another state.

This cannot continue.

All police must be held personally liable for gross misconduct. Knowing that violating someone’s rights could lead to the loss of everything is just what’s needed to keep cops from violating people’s rights. Anything that insulates police from being held personally accountable is an open invitation to ever-greater escapades of abuse. We expect much more in terms of personal accountability from airline pilots – whose careers can be ended at a stroke if the faintest whiff of alcohol is detected on their breath.Doctors have to self-insure against malpractice – and may be sued into ruin if they botch an operation. Surely, those entrusted with lethal weapons and legal power to use them ought to be held to a comparable level of personal accountability.

Most of us manage to behave ourselves – and never find ourselves on the wrong end of a civil suit. Surely, it is not asking too much to ask cops to behave with similar restraint – and to be held personally accountable when they do not.

As cops so often advise us: If they haven’t done anything wrong, then they’ve got nothing to worry about.

* Higher standard for use of deadly force -

It is an awesome responsibility to carry a gun. To threaten its use even more so – and to actually use it, an irrevocable act that is acceptable only in the most extreme circumstances and which ought to be subject to rigorous scrutiny afterward.This is the standard applied to civilians.

Why should it not apply to police?

Cops ought to be held to a standard at least as high as that expected of ordinary citizens – and arguably, to a much higher standard. This in fact used to be the case. Unholstering a gun was regarded as a major escalation requiring objective justification – as in, an imminent lethal threat. Cops today have become all too trigger-happy (as evidenced by the recent case of cops blasting away at a van full of kids because the mother/driver fled a traffic stop).

“Officer Safety” cannot be a license to kill. Cops must relearn restraint. And when they cannot restrain themselves, the law must restrain them as fully, as completely as any mere citizen.

No more double standards.

No more “special rights.”

It would be a start.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  347 comments for “A Step Back Toward Peace Keeping

  1. JoePA
    January 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Eric, the answer to misconduct from my experience is to stop holding police responsible for what people do and stop having the police respond to every minor infraction.

    The first video shows what happens when the police are responsible for every action a person does. He should have been able to do a drive by and radio to dispatch the guy is harming nobody, case closed. Unfortunately if he does that and that guy harms someone the cop gets screwed…..big time. From my experience the cop did good questioning that guy.

    The second video shows a man who got out of his car during a traffic stop and was not compliant. He was tased by the officer who was working alone in the middle of nowhere. I would have juiced him too. Juicing is better then shooting as later in the video he was standing talking to his girlfriend probably realizing he acted like a dick.

    The third video shows that the officer is in deep shit and the system is working. He shoved that women causing her injuries and will pay…..big time. By punishing that officer the rest know they are responsible for their actions.

    The only thing that I see that went wrong in the forth video was the officer shooting into the car for no legitimate reason. He was fired as a result and currently has a criminal and civil case pending against him. Justice is being served in regards to his actions. The women who was driving the car and acting like a total moron is no victim in this either. The other officers conducted themselves in an exceptional manner.

    • eric
      January 22, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Criminalizing every little thing is, indeed, a big part of the problem.

      So, though, is over-reaction and escalation in response to these little things.

      Mouthing off to a cop, for instance, should not put a citizen in jeopardy of being Tasered. In that video of the motorist being Tased, the guy was not a physical threat to the cop. He was argumentative over a minor traffic ticket. It’s ridiculous that things could escalate to the extent they did. Why not call for a supervisor? So long as the citizen – who was clearly just a regular dude with his wife, out driving – did not attempt to flee or assault the cop (he did neither) simply arguing over a ticket ought not to be sufficient reason to draw a weapon – and a Taser is a weapon.

      In my opinion, the motorists who got Tasered had every right to fight back once the cop assaulted him.

      • JoePA
        January 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm

        Eric, what is a “regular dude”? Calling for backup is great but from looking at that video they were alone in the middle of nowhere. Every move a person makes is suspect and a bad situation occurs real fast. That second video clearly shows the driver was acting suspicious and uncooperative. I would have tased him as soon as he refused my first order to get back into the car. Its too easy to smile saying “what’s your problem dude” then jump the officer and fight for his gun….with passengers helping out. Happens all too often. If I put you into that situation would you let a stranger walk up to you in the middle of nowhere knowing they already hate you cause you will summons or arrest them?

        • michael.white
          January 23, 2014 at 12:13 am

          Joe – It seems there’s a better case for the reverse. If I’m stopped in the middle of nowhere, that cop could murder me, rob me, and rape my wife, and the worst that would likely happen to him is a paid vacation, especially if there’s a “camera failure”. He’s parked behind me with lights blinding me, he’s obviously armed, and his cohorts (if not he himself) have a recent history of abuses.

          If I’ve got “Ron Paul” or God forbid a “strike-the-root” bumper sticker on my car, the cop likely already hates me because of my political views. Who should be afraid at that point?

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

            Dear MW,

            Exactly.

            William Grigg cited an instance when a couple of porkers were rousting a citizen.

            One of them became alarmed and “warned” the other, shouting:

            “Watch out! He’s a Constitutionalist!”

            Talk about Kafkaesque! Don’t cops have to take oaths to defend the Constitution???

        • eric
          January 23, 2014 at 7:39 am

          Joe,

          The guy was retreating. The guy never did more than argue with the cop. He did not approach him threateningly. He did not raise his hands. Your statement about “jumping the cop and grappling for his gun” has no basis in fact. It’s an example of the hysterical over-reaction based on a phantom “threat” that has become commonplace these days.

          The fact is the cop escalated. Needlessly so.

          This stop is exactly the sort of thing I was writing about. A minor thing – a simple traffic ticket – that devolves into the use of over-the-top (because uncalled for) force. Implicit in your objection is this idea that we civilians are obliged to Submit and Obey. To just do what we’re told. Or else. Summary physical punishment meted out by the side of the road.

          You confess you are ready to use violent force on someone merely for not immediately doing as ordered – and irrespective of the fact that they were not doing anything physically threatening; indeed, even if the “suspect” was backing away from you.

          The affront is refusal to bow before your authority.

          That is exactly the problem.

          In a free society, one ought to be able to argue with a cop over a traffic ticket. Unless the driver did something to genuinely indicate a physical threat to the cop, the cop had no cause to use force against him. The driver in such a situation should be immune from the threat of physical violence. Attacking people because they argue with you is what bullies and thugs do.

          More deeply: Why not get rid of the underlying reason for the hatred you’ve described? If cops weren’t armed tax collectors who spent a great portion of their time extracting fines based on trumped-up nonsense charges, and instead spent their days protecting society from actual criminals, perhaps ordinary citizens would not hate them so much.

          It is telling, is it not, that most people feel a mixture of fear and dislike whenever they are in the vicinity of a cop? Most people are not bad people, let alone criminals. Yet most people do not feel “secure” and “safe” when they see a cop car in the rearview.

          What does that tell you?

          It ought to tell you something.

          • JoePA
            January 23, 2014 at 10:15 am

            The scenario is always the same. Suspect is pulled over. Suspect appears friendly but gets out of his car anyway. Suspect walks back to patrol car….realizes the officer is alone or vulnerable. Suspect goes back to the car – informs fellow suspects – retrieves weapon.

            All this goes back to my original statement. Stop using officers as tax collectors. Officers should only be responding to stop crimes. Also simplify all the laws. I understand most of the laws but still get nosebleeds when dealing with them.

            An understanding must be held as to everyone’s rights. Telling people they do not have to do what an officer tells them is dangerous and counter productive. Currently law enforcement (in my opinion) exceeds their job description in that they now violate everyone’s freedoms….on a whim This was done by your community boards (neighbors), politicians and lastly by the department itself.

            Police are and have always been a necessity in life. Regardless of your political beliefs, any society in history always sooner or later has a constable of a sort. Again, I would like to see law enforcement go back to helping people solve their issues rather than being used my our masters to keep everyone walking the tightrope.

          • eric
            January 23, 2014 at 10:34 am

            But Joe, you miss the point:

            Citizens are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. We’ve reversed this – put the “safety” (based on any exaggerated fear) of the police over that of citizens.

            This is wrong.

            If anything, citizens have far more to sweat as far as their “safety” than does the cop. He is armed – and has the full weight of the state behind him. The citizen is at his mercy.

            Aren’t we told that cops are “heroes” who put their lives on the line for the public?

            The fact is that’s not true. The fact is they’re terrified of us – and treat us accordingly – despite the unequal power relationship and despite the fact that cops abuse (and kill) people far more often tan the reverse.

          • BrentP
            January 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm

            Police are and have always been a necessity in life.

            Police as we know them are really a rather modern invention. They would have been quite foreign to people living in 1776 Boston.

            You object to dealing with other things than crime, but in the 19th and 20th century police became the tools of the utopia builders. One of the mechanisms by which they would perfect human society. The side effect has been road side tax collection, but ultimately the modern cop is a tool by which to perfect society.

            This is why cops are involved in every little thing. It’s the quest to bring about utopia at the barrel of a gun and cops wield the gun.

          • Fred
            January 24, 2014 at 11:49 am

            Eric you’re wasting your time with a such “Wertvolle Juden” as JoePA

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

            Hi Fred,

            Joe’s made some reasonable comments int he past and doesn’t seem to be a bad guy; that’s why I engage him. I’m hoping I can get him to see things from a different perspective. Unlike Clover, I think Joe is reachable.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

            Dear Joe, Eric,

            This has been referenced before, probably several times.

            But it still bears repeating, since it is clear that its central message is not yet second nature in our society, the way it ought to be.

            The Great Escalators

        • methylamine
          January 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

          …then jump the officer and fight for his gun….with passengers helping out. Happens all too often.

          Bull. Shit.

          Being a cop isn’t even in the top ten most dangerous jobs–their deaths-per-year constantly decrease. Most cop deaths are due to their assinine driving “skills”.

          This officer-safety-uber-alles mantra must stop, right now. YOU chose to engage in a semi-dangerous job. YOU are carrying a weapon and wearing body armor. YOU then must exercise the utmost discretion–and accept the danger that YOU signed on to…and that danger is not that great.

          And knowing all that, perhaps the cops would exercise more restraint, would behave more Andy Griffith-like and less Officer 82nd Airborne.

          Stop using “command voice”–any reasonable person gets pissed off being barked at and it escalates, putting the cop and person in danger.

          Stop expecting “compliance”–who the fuck do you think you are, my master? NO–you work for ME, you arrogant prick!

          If I put you into that situation would you let a stranger walk up to you in the middle of nowhere knowing they already hate you cause you will summons or arrest them?

          Here’s a very easy solution to that–don’t harass them in a manner that will cause them to hate you. Don’t hassle them for victimless crimes. Don’t speak to them like they’re Aborigines in the Outback. Don’t assume you can give them “orders”–because once again, who the fuck do you think you are?

          I’m so thoroughly sick of this us vs. them mentality police have adopted, of their sickening superiority complex. Superior to what, dog shit? I’m far better educated, far more skilled with weapons than most beat cops, a better carpenter, a better programmer, a better…

          Since when do our inferiors, our SERVANTS, dare mouth off to US?

          And that is the heart of the problem–the inversion of the common law master/servant relationship.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

            Dear MW,

            Exactly.

            William Grigg cited an instance when a couple of porkers were rousting a citizen.

            One of them became alarmed and “warned” the other, shouting:

            “Watch out! He’s a Constitutionalist!”

            Talk about Kafkaesque! Don’t cops have to take oaths to defend the Constitution???

          • MamaLiberty
            January 24, 2014 at 11:53 am

            I don’t want “servants” any more than I want masters. Why would you?

          • methylamine
            January 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

            @Mama–

            “Servant” in the sense of employee. Although I’m a contractor, I serve the people who pay me…why else would they pay me?

            Don’t misunderstand. “Servant” is a term of contract, not subjugation.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

            Dear meth,

            LMAO!

            Re: most dangerous professions.

            Absolutely correct.

            Cops? Firefighters? Not even in the top ten.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/22/americas-10-deadliest-jobs-2/

            1. loggers
            2. commercial fishermen
            3. airline pilots
            4. roofers
            5. steel workers
            6. trash collectors
            7. linemen
            8. truckers
            9. farmers and ranchers
            10. hardhats

          • MamaLiberty
            January 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

            Meth, use whatever words you like. Cops are neither my servants nor my employees. I have zero to do with hiring, firing or discipline – and wouldn’t if I could because I do not want any such “servants” or employees. They are predators, that’s all. The service you perform for your employers is not remotely related.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

            Dear meth,

            The notion that being a cop is “one of the deadliest jobs in the world” is bullshit.

            Labor statistics prove that it is waaay down the list.

            Unless of course one by “deadliest” one is referring to the cops’ victims!

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

            Dear ML,

            Re: servants

            I assume meth is merely calling the statists on their bullshit, not pleading for a statist arrangement of servants and masters.

            After all, don’t the mottos on the sides of cop cruisers read “To protect and serve?”

            Isn’t someone who “serves” a “servant?”

            Aren’t we constantly reminded by government officials that they are “public servants?”

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

            Thanks for that, Meth!

            A magnificent double-barreled riposte that I hope will wake Joe up a little…

          • GW
            January 24, 2014 at 7:28 pm

            @ Meth
            You and I think pretty much alike – if you ever get to the Tampa Area I will buy you a beer….I am sure Eric will give you my direct email off-line…

          • methylamine
            January 24, 2014 at 9:53 pm

            @Eric–no problem, thanks Eric. Once in a while it really gets to me; I see them bugging their eyes out, puffing out their chests and I think to myself “he’d never dare do that without a badge and a costume!”

            I had a semi-epiphany the other day; I told my new good friend David at work about it. We have our “token liberal” at work that we routinely drub in arguments. I said to David that’s it’s time to show anger. Not shouting, not name-calling, but a deep, righteous anger. Call them on their bullshit, and tell them it’s dangerous, it’s stupid, and it’s going to get a lot of people killed. Collectivism never fucking works, stop deluding yourself; it WON’T work “this time”, it WON’T work because “this time we’re doing it right” and all the other times they just “didn’t do it fully”.

            It. Just. Doesn’t. Work.

            And it kills people, it impoverishes people, it hurts people. It kills little kids, it starves them, it abuses them, it orphans them.

            Stop it.

            @GW–you bet, mang! Maybe PM me on the forums? I haven’t done that yet so I don’t know how but I’m sure it’s possible.

            @Bevin–exactly so, thanks for the clarification. ML I don’t want servants, except in the sense of appreciative and mutually benefiting employees. And I certainly want nothing to do with any State employee/parasite.

          • Lineman
            January 27, 2014 at 10:59 pm

            Amen Brother…You took the words right out of my mouth…I work a job that is way more dangerous than theirs and I don’t have any special privileges so why the f%#k do they think that they deserve them…

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 7:47 am

            Hi Lineman,

            Indeed.

            The whole “occifer safety” schtick belies their whine about how “dangerous” their job is.

            No, sir. When you are wearing body armor, carrying a military grade weapon – and legal sanction to use it – your job is a whole lot less dangerous than the situation in which your victims find themselves.

            If, on the other hand, you regularly put the “safety” of ordinary citizens above your own – which would include giving people the benefit of the doubt, not shooting first, and so on – then you might have some basis for claiming your job was unusually dangerous.

          • Bevin
            January 28, 2014 at 3:23 am

            Dear Lineman,

            The public needs to rethink its assumptions about who is “cool” and who is not.

            Cop shows written by “liberal” Hollywood screenwriters typically include a scene in which a LEO is contrasted favorably with a “Rent a Cop.”

            The public needs to wise the hell up. This glamourizes the authoritay abusing LEOs at our own expense.

            This is Stockholm Syndrome admiration for our victimizers.

        • uka
          January 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

          how the f#ck does the cop with a bullet proof vest and a 20 shot pistol have to worry about an unarmed powder puff yuppie like that guy? I like to run into you Joe I really would

        • Shawn McEwen
          January 26, 2014 at 11:43 pm

          Joe, if you’re that worried about ANYONE being a thug who will jump you and struggle for your gun at a moment’s notice maybe it’s time for a career change.

          • eric
            January 27, 2014 at 7:11 am

            Hi Shawn,

            Exactly. I hope Joe responds.

            We’re constantly told that cops are “heroes.” If so, they should be willing to put their safety in jeopardy for the sake of others, to give those others the benefit of the doubt. That’s what “heroes” do. Real heroes do not have a hysterical fear for their “safety” – such that they see “threats” all around them – and are willing to do violence (often extreme violence) pre-emptively, “just in case.”

            The truth is cops are cowards. They bully people behind the authority of the state, while wearing body armor and fingering military grade weaponry, which they’ll use at the drop of a hat.

        • Bill in IL
          January 30, 2014 at 5:05 pm

          Joe, find another line of work. You are a huge part of the problem.

      • Joethecuckleburr
        January 24, 2014 at 9:19 am

        If we can be given tickets when the only evidence is our tag number on a traffic light camera, then why can’t cops let an uncompliant motorist just drive away, if the only probable cause is a minor traffic violation, and then just process the ticket? And cops should be “in deep shit” for each and every criminal act they commit, not just when it rises to the level of shooting up a van full of kids (On camera) or bashing a woman’s face on a concrete bench (On camera).

        And there’s another absurdity that has never gotten the attention it deserves. A study that was done many years ago revealed that the most dangerous thing one could do on an Interstate highway was to stop their vehicle on the shoulder, then get out and walk around. At the time this was the most frequent cause of fatalities on Interstates. So, what’s the first thing that happens when some sociopath (Who the hell else?) with state costume jewelry and a state costume pulls someone over on the shoulder of an Interstate? This is just more proof that it’s never been about safety; it’s always been about theft and extortion.

      • garysco
        January 28, 2014 at 3:24 am

        The root of the problem is trust and the loss of it.

        LAPD officer awarded $260,000 over arrest by Pomona police
        A jury found that LAPD rookie Sergio Arreola was the victim of excessive force by two Pomona officers. Arreola refused to resign or take a plea bargain, arguing that the other officers were lying.

        January 24, 2014, 7:53 p.m.

        A jury has awarded a Los Angeles police officer $260,000 after finding that Pomona police used excessive force on the young cop and unlawfully arrested him.

        The verdict reached Wednesday evening was a final step in a nearly two-year effort by Sergio Arreola to clear his name after the 2012 encounter that left him fired from the LAPD and facing a possible prison sentence.

        “This was about showing the officers and showing Pomona that they can’t be treating others the way they treated me,” Arreola, 27, said.

        The Times first wrote about Arreola’s case last year as he was fighting to get his job back.

        In the morning on April 11, 2012, Arreola, who was then a rookie in the LAPD’s Central Division, finished a night shift on patrol and drove to Pomona to meet his wife. While on the way, his wife called and asked Arreola to meet her in a nearby neighborhood where a relative had gotten into a minor traffic accident.

        Things spun out of control quickly after Arreola arrived. Although Arreola identified himself as an off-duty LAPD officer, within minutes he was on the ground with Pomona officers piled on top of him, placing him in handcuffs.

        One of the officers, Eric Hamilton, said in his arrest report that Arreola was aggressive and belligerent from the outset, refusing to obey the officer’s commands. Hamilton and another officer, Chris Tucker, described Arreola’s demeanor as “extremely angry.” Tucker said in a report that when he tried to handcuff Arreola, he “began to twist and tense up, pulling his arms from our grasp.” The officers alleged that Arreola tried to punch Hamilton in the face as they restrained him.

        Pomona police officials notified Arreola’s LAPD supervisors of the arrest and the account of his behavior that Hamilton and Tucker had given. The next day, Arreola’s commanding officer called him into the station and gave him a choice to resign or be fired.

        He refused to resign, saying that he had done none of the things the Pomona officers accused him of doing.

        Out of a job, things worsened for Arreola when prosecutors in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged him with three misdemeanors of resisting arrest, assaulting Hamilton and obstructing the officers’ work. They eventually dropped the assault charge but refused to budge on the others. Arreola refused to consider a guilty plea in exchange for a lenient sentence. “They’ve ruined my life, they’ve ruined my name,” he recalled saying to his attorney at the time. “What’s the worst they can do? Send me to jail?”

        At his trial, jurors heard a starkly different account of the morning than the one the officers had told.

        Arreola took the stand to challenge the officers’ allegations, saying that Hamilton had been the aggressive one, cursing and yelling at him. He denied ever resisting the officers, saying that Tucker had intentionally pulled him off balance while he was being frisked and, when Arreola stumbled, the officer used it as an excuse to take him to the ground.

        In an audio recording of the encounter captured by a recorder Hamilton carried, the officer is heard telling Arreola repeatedly to “stop resisting” and Arreola saying that he is not resisting. Arreola is also heard pleading with onlookers to record the scene. Once on the ground, Arreola said, the officers punched him repeatedly. Hamilton, he said, bent his left arm back violently and Tucker attempted to subdue him by using a choke hold.

        Later in the recording, Hamilton told Arreola’s wife, “I’m going to make sure your husband is never a police officer in the state of California again. I’ll talk to Chief Beck myself personally,” referring to the LAPD chief.

        And jurors listened as Hamilton and Tucker recounted the arrest for other officers. “I just about broke his left arm. I wanted to break his arm,” Hamilton said. “I had my arm around him to choke his ass out,” Tucker said.

        The jury found Arreola not guilty. After the acquittal, the LAPD offered Arreola his job back.

        Pomona police officials could not be reached for comment. It is unknown whether the department has conducted an internal investigation into the conduct of Hamilton and Tucker.

        Matthew McNicholas, Arreola’s attorney in the civil case, said that although the jury did not award Arreola as much money as he had hoped, the verdict sent a message.

        “The jury saw these officers beat him, just abused him intentionally. They took everything away from him…. This verdict completes Sergio’s vindication.”

        Only the Sheriff’s, Police Chiefs and the fereralized system of hiring and training can correct this. Until then it will continue to spiral out of control.

    • January 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Joe,
      I read the article and your rebuttal. It seems very simple to me in that you feel anyone who does not comply with unlawful actions by the police is a “moron” or a “dick” I suggest you re-locate to a dictatorship and leave this country to people who believe in, and want a return to, liberty. I am a former police officer from a time before the “jackbootification” of the police and I can assure you that there is never a time where firing your weapon into a moving vehicle simply because the driver is acting like a “moron” is justified….ever! The article is COMPLETELY correct and this trend has to be stopped!!!

      • eric
        January 24, 2014 at 5:18 pm

        Thanks for the back-up, Kevin!

        I hope Joe begins to understand the nature of the problem – and that he eventually comes around. We need to sway as many people as possible – especially those who aren’t psychopaths and are operating from good intentions. I think Joe is one of these….

    • Joseph
      January 27, 2014 at 4:04 am

      This is grossly misguided. One of the key principles of the 2nd Amendment movement is that the only person legally responsible for YOUR safety is YOURSELF. This is based on Supreme Court rulings (which have been upheld multiple times since the initial ruling) that stated Law Enforcement Officers do NOT have a legal responsibility to protect or save citizens. If they wanted to (which they have before), they could stand a watch a criminal commit violent act after violent act and all they would be required to do is apprehend the individual at the end and give an account of what happened.

      The fact that they regard themselves as these “super-hero warrior cops” who are above the law makes them think that they CAN get involved in every minor infraction. And, because they’re above the law, they cannot allow any citizen to forget it. By holding officers personally accountable for their actions you are giving an officer every reason to handle each situation more carefully by putting the citizen’s rights and well-being in the front of their mind… where issues are resolved logically, with everyone’s best interest in mind.

      • eric
        January 27, 2014 at 6:57 am

        Well-said, Joseph.

        Exactly so.

    • David
      February 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Joe PA. You are the problem. You ignore the “false emergency lights”. There is only one aggressor and those are usually the cops. They have no rights to “question” anyone about anything unless there has been a crime. Being suspicious “is not a crime”. I think every cop is suspicious! They are hired for their low intelligence and taught to lie in basic training. They are for the most part hired thugs who commonly are expected to lie for each other to secure their position and to move up the ladder.

  2. Mike in Boston
    January 22, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I agree with Eric’s stance that costumed thugs ought to be held to the same standards as us mundanes, unfortunately that’s rarely the case. The courts will always side with the cops, even acknowledging their testilying behind our backs. Prosecuters are in the same maggot class, only wanting a conviction regardless of your innocence. The way things are headed nowadays I don’t see much chance of reversing things, we’re just sliding down the slope into fascism.

    • eric
      January 23, 2014 at 7:26 am

      I still hold out hope – if only because it is becoming uncomfortably apparent to more and more people (regular people, not activists like us) that things are not swell.

      Some of the things I’ve outlined amount to basic fairness that any child ought to be able to understand. Why, for example, should a man in a uniform be held to a lesser standard for criminal conduct than anyone else?

      Obvious unfairness is a powerful thing. It generates resentment, which is even more potent.

      The entire system is losing legitimacy. It rules not by consent but by murderous force only. That cannot abide.

      Ultimately, any system has to have the tacit approval of a working majority. Take that away and it won’t be long before the system dies from within.

      This is happening already.

      The work now is to prepare for the aftermath.

      • Burke
        January 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        “I still hold out hope …” (EP)

        []

        Well, OK — but your main posting here proclaimed: ” Here’s how, in a few simple steps…” {to fix this terrible police problem}.

        But you did not present any “How” !

        Instead, you just asserted a few strategic goals/objectives — with no practical methods offered to achieve them.

        Your primary “How” stated: ” * Cops must be bound by the law “.
        Nice objective but certainly not a how or method to make that happen.

        You state the police-problem well, but quickly drift off into vague exhortations & hopes … when discussing solutions. You sense some larger causal issues, but can’t pin them down.

        IMO this police problem is a symptom of a corrupt criminal justice system, which in turn is a symptom of a corrupt political system.
        The political system is corrupt because the citizenry does not control it — we have rulers not public servants. Oligarchy.

        All the supposed nobility of our constitutions, laws, voting rights, etc. has NOT protected us from this sorry situation. Please contemplate this larger picture as you search for the actual “how” of a solution.

        • Tor Minotaur
          January 24, 2014 at 5:01 am

          It is comical, that you demand hierarchical direction from Eric. He is not a hierarch, a high priest. The point is, there is no one man who will get us out of this situation. If it is to improve, many individuals and associations of individuals will need to take action.

          Right now. This is how Ukranian problems similar to ours, are being solved. There is recapturing of public property for eventual redistribution. Or elimination of oppressive oligarch capital infrastructure. Will it pass to the fists of new masters, or to a new sovereign society, who can say?

          The system in the US is not immune to this kind of action. Perhaps it is taking a dive by design, who knows what happens at the highest echelons?

          Regional state admin in Cherkasy, Ukr
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efNUCz2uGuQ

          Lviv, Rivne, Zhytomyr government buildings are occupied
          http://www.euronews.com/2014/01/23/ukraine-live-coverage-protests-spread-to-lviv-rivne-zhytomyr-/

          EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine
          http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/euromaidan-rallies-in-ukraine-jan-23-live-updates-335389.html

        • CGB
          January 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm

          You can do what I, and a few others here do, use the commercial lien process to sue the officers involved and the attorney general personally (not their office, but the man), then place a lien against their bond. I have hear of a case where their lien was eventually paid out by the IMF as the government refused to pay out the established lien. A good notary public is a great ally to have. Even an unsatisfied lien against a public official causes them no end of grief, the insurance company underwriting the bond really does not like it.

          Regardless what anyone says, when another man causes you harm, they are personally liable, just following orders is not a defense.

          • Shoal Creek
            January 24, 2014 at 10:19 pm

            Even better, get a judgement against them in Federal court for civil rights violations, then use that judgement to lien their bond and even their personal property if their bond isn’t big enough to cover the judgement. (Yes, you can sue an officer personally for acting under color of law and violating your civil rights. This is done in Federal court. These are the same laws that enabled the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s to gain real traction. Also, if you can show a real civil rights violation occurred, the fact that they were enforcing a “law” in their official capacity is immaterial to the case and they cannot use it as a defense).

          • methylamine
            January 25, 2014 at 12:23 am

            @CGB and ShoalCreek:

            Are these 42 USC 1983 civil-rights violation and “color of law” lawsuits you’re talking about?

            And HOW do you file these liens?

            I’ve heard of this….and I badly want to do it against City of Houston “officials”. Is there a good, truly effective website to learn about them?

            So much of the sovereign citizen/UCC stuff is pure crap. But it contains enough truth to make it compelling; for instance, we really DID go bankrupt and into receivership in 1933/1934. The Social Security number really IS your slave card, and the “full faith and credit” is the sale of your personal bond.

            This stuff is out in the open; the Rothschilds via their agents–including FDR–openly stole America.

            But the UCC, fringed-flag-admiralty-court, ALL CAPS straw man etc. are garbage as far as I can tell.

          • CGB
            January 25, 2014 at 1:06 pm

            Shoal Creek and methylamine, I am in Canada, but it doesn’t make much difference. Using commercial liens does not require you to ever enter a court or follow any codes of any kind. You require only a witness to the process, usually a notary is best for this. A notary acting as witness to the process can issue a valid and judgment that can not be over turned later. The process is very simple, takes only a few months and cost of registered mail and notary services, less than $100. No need to speak with lawyers (the bane of society) or judges. Sheriffs do recognize judgments from Notaries. Lawyers hate notaries because notaries are very powerful (though most notaries don’t realize how much power they have) and they make lawyers redundant in real law.

        • Burke
          January 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

          Civil courts are almost as corrupt as criminal courts. ‘Qualified Immunity’ is still granted to cops automatically. You, as a private citizen accuser, must prove everything in indisputable detail to pro-police judges/courts under absurdly complex legal rules; you need a good lawyer (easily costing tens of thousands $$) and a lot of time (a year or more). And success rate is extremely low against cops. You will likely be counter-sued by the cop’s lawyer, to further bleed you dry of resources and determination.

          The cop’s lawyer(s) is usually paid for by his government employer (ultimately your fellow taxpayers), or the police labor union. For a civil complaint only, the cop can normally continue working at full pay & benefits. And all the other cops in town now have you and your family as a clear target for further harassment.

          Civil-Rights prosecutions are generally civil court cases. The few successful cases you hear about are normally Federal Government initiated actions against state & local cops/cop-departments. The Feds have unlimited time/money/lawyers & friendly Federal Courts to pursue their carefully selected cases.

          That ‘commercial Lien’ tactic is painfully short of necessary detail, but seems to be a temporary stealth end-run against the target defendant; a low key court filing unnoticed by the defendant, plus a summary judgement. Once the target realizes the situation — he lawyers-up… and you are basically back to square one.

      • Paladin
        January 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

        My mother is 83 years old. Even she now fears the local cops. She lives in a town of 3700. She sees police at the gas station or grocery store and says they look scary on purpose. She seldom drives anymore because she fears being pulled over for a minor error. This is a woman who has led a productive life and has been what would be called a “model” citizen. She is the last person on earth who should fear a small town cop, but she does. She says things have changed. She is not some conspiracy nut reading strange stories on the net. She is what you would call an “average” person. In my opinion if she feels something has gone wrong, she is probably right.

        • eric
          January 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

          Hi Paladin,

          My mom – 70s – feels the same way.

          So do I. And I’m a college-educated, married, middle-aged homeowner who ought to have no fear of cops. After all, I am not a criminal; I don’t have even have a traffic ticket to my credit (not in the past several years). Yet I dread cops – because I know they can (and may) ruin my life at the drop of a hat, over… nothing.

          I could be out driving my antique car, for instance, and run into a checkpoint. I object to having some uniformed goon’s got-damned dog jumping on the fenders of my car… before you know it, I’m Tazered and charged with “resisting” and probably a variety of felonies.

          Paranoid?

          Ask the guy in New Mexico who was forcibly anally probed after he got stopped for a minor traffic violation.

          • BrentP
            January 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm

            It’s so bad now I know an old retired cop who won’t call the cops.
            Cop behavior is just that far out of line now.

          • t05
            January 24, 2014 at 9:16 pm

            Here is some good news ab out a cop that got caught by “law enforcement” and has been found guilty.

            http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/trooper-pleads-guilty-after-fishers-bar-incident

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

            BrentP wrote, “It’s so bad now I know an old retired cop who won’t call the cops.”

            That’s refreshingly good to read.

            At the same time, it’s not. But I think you know what I mean.

  3. January 23, 2014 at 12:31 am

    I agree with everything Eric says in this article.

    One thing I don’t understand (And I know Eric will not disagree) how in the world is “mouthing off” to a cop illegal? Isn’t that a violation of our 1st amendment rights? My aunt disagreed with me on this one when we discussed it at the end of last year because “you have to have order.” Oh, the wonderful statist cop-out.

    • eric
      January 23, 2014 at 6:44 am

      I don’t think it’s technically illegal. That is, I don;t think there’s a specific law against it. But you and I know what will happen regardless if you do. There are so many laws that it’s not difficult for them to claim you broke one or another of them. Disorderly conduct, for example. Or, maybe the cop will say he “smelled marijuana” – and proceed to roughly search you, then drag you to the cop shop for “testing.” They know we know they have this power over us – and they use to intimidate us.

      • David
        January 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

        I think it depends on state. The laws are utterly unconstitutional, not to mention violating the NAP, however.

      • EricB
        January 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm

        If I recall correctly, NYC has a law that makes it illegal to annoy a cop – whatever the hell that means (I’m sure it’s up to officer interpretation).

        Other countries continue to look better and better!

        • eric
          January 24, 2014 at 7:07 am

          Hi Eric,

          That one didn’t pass – but de facto, it’s still “illegal” to annoy a cop in the sense that if you do it, they will find some excuse to jack with you. “Disorderly conduct” is a common tool. Also “interfering with an investigation.” Granted, the charges usually don’t stick – but being arrested and dragged to the clink is no fun – and they know you know it. It’s a strong deterrent not to mouth off.

    • libertyx
      January 24, 2014 at 4:31 am

      From Burke: “But you did not present any “How” !” (Eric P)
      Good point and all to prevalent today. Hundreds of “commentators” telling everyone what is wrong – which I already know – but not providing solutions – talking the talk but not doing the personal walking the walk.

      • eric
        January 24, 2014 at 6:43 am

        Hi Liberty,

        The problem, of course, is that “everyone” does not know what is wrong. Most people do not, in fact. What we are embarked upon is above all else about spreading information – new information/new points of view – and changing people’s minds.

        We did not get to where we are right now by just deciding to. It took years – decades – of propagandizing the general public to accept (to embrace) such things as violations of the 4th Amendment in the name of “safety.” It will take years to undo the damage – but progress is being made.

        Think how much less fringe Libertarian ideas are now vs. say 20 years ago. It is remarkable.

        As far as “walking the walk.” We each do what we can in our own lives. For me, that means living according to my beliefs and whenever the occasion arises, explaining those beliefs to others. It also means mocking the system and – when possible – evading/disobeying it.

        What more would you like me to do?

        • libertyx
          January 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

          From Eric P: “What more would you like me to do?”

          1) Check with the Founding Fathers, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Michael Badnarik, or Snowden.

          2) In general – “Strike the Root” – not the symptoms. States’ rights – not an unconstitutional federal monstrosity. Your informative article “Where Do Cops Come From” was an example of addressing the “root” – we shouldn’t have “police” – sheriffs only.

          • MamaLiberty
            January 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

            libertyx… where would “states” or “sheriffs” obtain legitimate authority over others? What makes them different than any other kind of government “authority?”

            The root is the natural, inalienable authority and responsibility each individual has over his/her own life. There is NO other legitimate authority. Now anyone can delegate some of that authority to another person if they wish, but it breaks down to tyranny when they attempt to delegate that for someone else.

            The local dog catcher has no more or less legitimate authority over others than does the US president… for the same reason.

    • vincent
      January 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Yes, THERE VILL BE ORDER!!!

      ORDER is the obsession of every dictator. The Third Reich was about an orderly society, and they set about to order every detail of daily life—and death!

  4. MikeFromWichita
    January 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

    There is really no reason that a cop on Duty (they claim to be on duty 24 X 365 btw) should ever be allowed to bear arms of any sort.

    The Reality though is that these predators will never be brought under control except by force. I can see a day when someone knowing that a 20 mph over is going to earn them draconian punishment runs unsuccessfully, realises that a worthwhile life is over and decides to go down fighting and takes out a cop or two. Cops become even more aggressive. Some Ordinaries decide that any contact with cops is an occasion where they are likely to attempt murder and act accordingly. Gets worse after that.

    Personally, I am attempting to persuade my neighbors (modest town of 20000) that we need no armed cops and maybe no cops at all as the eventual goal. A first step is going for a local ordinance which would require any out of town cop to check his weapon at city hall immediately upon entering our town and leave it there until immediately prior to leaving town.

    • eric
      January 23, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Good stuff, Mike –

      And, I think that “day” has already arrived. People faced with life-altering consequences over some relatively trivial thing face a Hobson’s Choice: Either submit and know your life is probably ruined (or severely damaged) or try to get away (first) and (if cornered) fight back.

      Solzhenitsyn was absolutely right when he noted that a man who has nothing has nothing left to lose – and is dangerous.

      • JdL
        January 24, 2014 at 7:57 am

        Solzhenitsyn was absolutely right when he noted that a man who has nothing has nothing left to lose – and is dangerous.

        Of course, in Solzhenitsyn’s famous lament (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/34738-and-how-we-burned-in-the-camps-later-thinking-what), he’s regretting that people did NOT become “dangerous” to the criminal government thugs. Hopefully Americans today will heed his words, and won’t make the same mistakes that his compatriots did nearly a century ago by supinely accepting their enslavement.

    • BrentP
      January 23, 2014 at 11:57 am

      In an stupid a political deal a legislator in Illinois agreed to 26 over the limit being punishable by up to 6 months in jail and some huge fine. He did this as a compromise to make 70mph the speed limit… so he thought. Dufus. Speed limit in the greater Chicago area remains 55mph. 85th percentile speeds about 75mph… which is probably 3-5mph depressed from true free flow without enforcement fears.

      But let’s go with 75mph being the correct speed limit. 6 mph over can now be life altering. Even life ruining.

      Not sure how the state troopers are going to handle this. What were rountine revenue speeding tickets will now ruin people’s lives. 30 over just meant a court appearance where the judge would collect the money to keep his and all the other actors’ salaries flowing and that would be that. Now it’s a serious trial with jail time on the line paying thousands for lawyers. It’s gone beyond just a scam to rip people off now. It’s still that in hyperspace but jail, for harming no one and doing something so perfectly safe it’s considered the norm in civilized driving countries.

      I would not be surprised if people start doing desperate things. It’s only been in effect since Jan 1. But when the stories of sally soccer mom facing 6 months in jail start hitting the media people are going to know their entire life is on the line when a state trooper picks them out.

      Perhaps the troopers will write most people up for 80mph instead. But the person they go to ticket for doing 82mph doesn’t know that. He knows his life is about to be ruined. No telling what his emotions might cause him to do. The cops of course won’t be any better. They think why is this guy running from a lousy speeding ticket? They don’t know that the driver doesn’t know it’s SOP for them to round it down to 80. He hasn’t been pulled over in years… he just remembers hearing that he’ll go to jail for this. Nor does he know that with 82mph it will just cost him a pile of money but jail usually isn’t done. So he’ll run on fear. Then he will do unsafe things and then people will get hurt or he’ll just be shot, tazered, and or beaten.

      Get to see how this plays out this year. Hopefully not personally. I don’t need that kind of clovercam video.

    • MamaLiberty
      January 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      That’s just a reverse double standard, Mike. Are the ordinary citizens going to be required to check their sidearms at city hall as well? No?

      How about if the “cops” leave their attitude and “powers” at the city line instead? The gun is not the problem for cops, any more than for the rest of us. It is the intent, the will, the action… the finger on the trigger to commit aggression that is the problem. Taking guns away from cops won’t solve that any more than attempting to disarm everyone else.

      • January 25, 2014 at 2:53 am

        I get your point here, but I don’t agree. The reason being, cops are inherently aggressors because of their jobs, so it isn’t wrong to force them to disarm. To me this is of similar moral status as not allowing someone who has already committed armed robbery to commit a firearm.

        I’ve defended the intentions of some cops at times, but as far as their actions go, they are aggressors. When they are in uniform, they need to be treated as such.

        • eric
          January 25, 2014 at 7:29 am

          It’s not a bad idea – as a step in the right direction – to have cops disarmed. To put them in the position of not being able to easily escalate a situation to deadly force. They’d have to talk, use persuasion. In 90 percent of the situations cops deal with, this ought to be sufficient. Their pussy whines about “officer safety” are just that – pussy whines.

          Britain went for a long time with unarmed “Bobbies” so we know it can work.

  5. Linda
    January 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Dear Eric,

    It seems to me that the Jekell/Hyde lives they are living are starting to take its toll in both cops and the military. More murders and suicides.

    Cop in Utah takes out his own family and mother-in-law.

    http://news.yahoo.com/husband-5-murder-suicide-deaths-39-unimaginable-39-182317636.html

    • eric
      January 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Yes, indeed.

      IIRC, cops have among the highest rates of depression/suicide/family break-ups (and violence). No surprise to me.

      I would venture to say that the better the person behind the badge, the greater the stress and unhappiness. I can’t imagine being a cop myself – because I can imagine how I’d feel about being compelled to bully people over the myriad and endless victim-free laws cops must as part of their daily routine enforce. It has to eat at you, if you have any decency. And given enough time, it probably damages your soul permanently.

      • Inconsistencies
        January 23, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        We need good libertarians to become cops to bring it down from within. After all, that’s the tactic they use on us. In every protest/demonstration, how many undercovers are there? I’d consider doing it if I was 15 years younger (knowing what I know now, of course).

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          January 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm

          Libertarians becoming cops to change things is quite a bit like libertarians running for political office.

          “Why? Because the fundamental fight is not against the guns wielded by statists; most people decry the brutality of police and other dramatic shows of force. The fundamental fight is against the idea of state legitimacy” … from, Libertarian Party Moves Us Away From Freedom By: Wendy McElroy

          http://www.safehaven.com/article/32483/libertarian-party-moves-us-away-from-freedom

          Also, consider your suggestion in relation to the thought experiment called “The Fable of the Shoes” explained here:

          http://thedailybell.com/editorials/34960/Wendy-McElroy-The-Competitive-Provision-of-Security/

          • January 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm

            I for one think we do need more Ron Paul type people running for office. Maybe you win, you probably don’t, but you get your ideas out there. Unfortunately, too many people don’t care about political issues except in the context of politics, so its a way to reach them. I don’t condone compromising principles, of course, but I don’t think running for office inherently does, and with the exception of a few bad votes, I don’t think Ron Paul did either.

            On the other hand, I admit I don’t know how much good a libertarian could do as a police officer. Being a cop has little, if anything, to do with the spreading of ideas. You’re expected to enforce the laws. I’d say that a cop who doesn’t enforce victimless crimes laws, even giving allowances for any issues which libertarians in good standing disagree on, is a good cop (and in this case, I don’t put that in quotation marks.) I’m not sure this cop exists, and if he does, I suspect he’s rare. I don’t think the police would voluntarily let you stick around if you did that. In fact, I’m pretty sure they have quotas and such for how many tickets you have to give in a month. So, I don’t think its really comparable.

        • Bevin
          January 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm

          Dear Inconsistencies,

          “We need good libertarians to become cops”

          I hope you realize that in itself is a flagrant “inconsistency?”

          • Inconsistencies
            January 24, 2014 at 10:48 am

            Bevin, yes. I’m a radical extremist libertarian.

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 8:08 am

            Dear Inconsistencies,

            Well, okay then.

            LOL.

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 25, 2014 at 9:28 am

            Possibly, it makes sense to attain office, be hired as a cop, if you utterly and completely fail to perform.

            The longer you can hold your position, while not going against the NAP, the better.

            Adhering to NAP would of course mean being in complete derelection of official duties. Throw the paychecks in a drawer and never cash them. Leave the squad car, office building unlocked. Milk the system as dry as you can.

  6. Bobbye
    January 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Eric, how long are you going to continue to defend and support the police? You and JoePa are two wings on the same bird. Are you really afraid to live in a land without ‘peace officers?’ In Asia,(including India) police and criminals are rightly depicted in a symbiotic relationship. Criminals cannot exist in large numbers without police and the injustice system protecting them from the citizens. Conversely, police do not need to exist at all without large numbers of active criminals. Why as a libertarian do you endorse and protect this corrupt system. Yes I know in America, the land of the exceptional people, we cannot allow our eyes to be opened to see the truth. We are better than others. Our people cannot be corrupt. We are too moral. Well morals are the chains that keep you a ‘law-abiding citizen'; a slave. Do a thought experiment: Imagine there is no government, no cops,no courts. Where did all the criminals go to? All of them simply ceased to exist as criminals because there is no law defining them as criminal. Drive in the manner you want to. Use whatever chemical you want to put in you body. Associate with whom you want or shun whomever you want. Want to be a whore? It’s ok,no law against it. What about violent people? Most of them would die quickly. Oh! Does your morality tell you that would be evil? Then enjoy your slavery to your masters who claim to have morals, but do not.

    • eric
      January 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      I’m inclined to agree, Bobbye.

      But, I’m still open to the idea of civil/criminal courts, provided they’re based solely on the NAP and not supported by mandatory “contributions” – i.e., taxes.

      As I see it, if you take away statutory “offenses” – i.e., those actions that do not entail harm to others or their property – and limit the definition of “crime” to harm caused to persons or their property – you’ve already eliminated what’s essentially wrong with the system as it is.

      And there is real value (good) in having some mechanism for arbitrating disputes, for dealing with violent people in an equitable, objective way.

      I think it’s not inconceivable that such a mechanism can exist without contradicting our ideals, much less violating our rights.

      I agree there are details to be fleshed out, but the basic idea doesn’t strike me as dangerous.

      • Bevin
        January 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        Dear Bobbye, Eric,

        For me, the crux of the matter is whether one is talking about a system of justice with a legal monopoly.

        As long as there is no legal monopoly, and individuals can subscribe to one PDA or another at their own discretion, then bottom line, one has a market anarchist system of justice.

        If these preconditions are hashed out and made clear, I don’t see any conflict between your two positions. I think you are framing the issue in different terminology, making it look like there is a conflict.

        If I am mistaken about your respective positions, I stand corrected.

        • Bobbye
          January 23, 2014 at 7:46 pm

          What you suggest would be fine as long as government did not exist.

          • Bevin
            January 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm

            Dear Bobbye,

            Yes! Totally agree.

            Government must not be allowed to even come into existence. The Myth of Authority must be rejected at its root.

            Some sort of institution to ensure justice is necessary. It must not conflict with the NAP. This is only possible if it is not government. Government by definition must be a violation of the NAP from its very inception. The territorial monopoly aspect is what does it.

            It would have to be some sort of Private Defense Agency that individuals subscribe to voluntarily. It would actually do what government claims to do but doesn’t.

            This video sums it up nicely.

            Minarchism: Great Start, Horrible Finish

          • January 23, 2014 at 11:46 pm

            @Bevin- I liked the video, but I think he kind of misses the fact that vigilance is going to be required to protect our rights no matter what system you have.

            I agree that anarcho-capitalism is less likely to fail because, the monopoly on force doesn’t exist, but ultimately, if people want authoritarianism, they will impose it no matter what.

            I don’t view minarchism as a valid end goal primarily because, as Larken says, its not consistent, not because I think its impossible.

            That said, I’ll still support, and yes, oh the horror, vote for, people like Ron Paul, Greg Brannon, Thomas Massie, and others who stand for limited government principles. Is that the ideal? No. Is it far better than the alternative of essentially unlimited government? Yes.

            Admittedly, I find the likelihood of electing 400 Ron Pauls pretty darn unlikely, but if it happened we would have a heck of a lot less government than we have today. And I consider that a moral good even as I oppose all government. Sort of like we’d view a 50% reduction in rape occurrences as a great thing even though there is no such thing as morally acceptable rape.

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 7:18 am

            Well-said, David.

            It is important to consistently advocate for a principle. But I submit it is just as important to embrace the possible. Any good is better than no good – and much better than bad.

            Now, this doesn’t mean I endorse Tweedledee Republicanism over Tweedledum Democrat-ism. But when presented with a meaningful choice in at least one important area (for example, a politician who strongly defends the 2A) he is worth supporting on that point.

            I don’t think we get anywhere by insisting on absolutism in the real world. In our counsels, among ourselves – and when asked – certainly. We never deny our principles. We defend them vigorously when challenged. At the same time, we make whatever progress we can wherever we can.

            It’s not unlike a major project, such as restoring a car. You can’t transform a basket case into a concourse show winner overnight (usually, it takes months if not years of work). The project seems overwhelming if you think about all the work that has to be done. But it becomes manageable if you break it down into sub-projects. For example, you start with the frame. Stripped of the drivetrain and suspension, with the body in another corner of the garage, you have a manageable “bite” to begin chewing. You chemically strip it (or sandblast it), repair any structural problems… then paint it. Now you have a glossy black frame that looks (and is) better than new. Progress. The car begins – albeit slowly – to take shape. In another few months you have the suspension rebuilt/installed. Now you’ve got a rolling chassis – and something that actually resembles a car. More progress… and so it goes until one day, it’s done.

            The same process applies to political-ethical rebuilding.

          • January 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

            @Eric- Regarding politicians, one area where I feel the liberty movement is failing is they seem to be too focused on winning the Presidency. Unless you have someone who’s nearly completely “pure” like Ron Paul, the Presidency shouldn’t be the goal. Too easy to get corrupted with that much power. Better to try to take over Congress, state legislatures, governorships, and other lower level offices.

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm

            I think there’s much in favor of that, David. Arguably, every successful movement began small, at the local/grassroots level. And if the S does H the F, things will get real local, real quick. Knowing your neighbors – and having them know you – may be much more than just good politics.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm

            Ah, David.” Better to try to take over Congress”?

            Have you read these?:

            Non-Voting Archive

            http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig2/non-vote-arch.html

        • Jean
          January 24, 2014 at 12:26 pm

          A thought, though: what happens when there are competing organizations who lay claim to the same individual?
          Easy example, one group has a Shariah based system. Another is less stringent – basis is irrelevant. Crime is theft (of food, which has been consumed.) Punishment in Shariah is still amputation, IIRC.

          Now, the person who stole was in the Shariah-dominated PDA region, but is FROM an external region – pays for services to his PDA. He was just passing through.
          For simplicity’s sake, he DID intend to steal the food (a loaf of bread). He was able to escape with it, the resolution is after the fact.
          He is out of the Shariah jurisdiction at this point, as well.

          I think we can all agree that deportation/rendition would be aggressive. However, not impossible.

          What about the rest of it? How would justice be arranged?

      • Bobbye
        January 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm

        The problem with hoping for a government based on NAP is that it requires human beings who are not ‘corrupt'; corrupt meaning only that people tend to apply and interpret rules to their own benefit. That is why never in the history of man did such a government exist. Eliminate the power centers of government and you mostly eliminate the temptation and ability for corruption.

        • Bevin
          January 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm

          Dear Bobbye,

          Agree.

          This is why I stopped adhering to Ayn Rand’s brand of minarchism years ago, and switched over the Rothbardian market anarchism.

          Government base on the NAP is a contradiction in terms.

          • ernie
            January 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

            Anarchism is an unattainable ideal. Kind of like outlawing disease- sounds like it might be a good thing but just can’t be done in practice. When you get rid of one government, another will pop up in its place- just like the disease/parasite it is.
            I am one of those libertarians who has gone into politics- I have been a small town mayor for years. I highly recommend it- there is no better education, it is a great way to defend yourself from some of the predations of others, and you can give your opponents conniption fits.
            But you will learn to your shock and horror that there are many little people who treasure their slavery and believe all should be equal in it. They believe that you HAVE to OBEY every law (Jefferson was quite correct- the tyrant’s whim).
            When the people laugh at them, then they summon enforcement to abuse, steal, and kill. All the while they are hypocritically venerating the criminals who dumped protected competitors’ tea in Boston harbor, and when attacked, they grabbed their guns and started killing the governments enforcement officers.
            For the record, I don’t recommend killing the bastards even though we have every moral right to do so. It is time for massive civil disobedience- refuse to buy Obamacare, keep your unregistered gun on your person or in your presence. Don’t pay the tickets. Don’t pay the fines. Don’t respond to the warrants. Make it difficult for them at every turn. Eventually don’t pay the illegitimate income taxes.
            We are winning, the cost of their force, the cops and overpriced weapons, and keeping huge numbers of harmless people in prison will break them. When they decide to start just murdering us for efficiency’s sake, that will be the time to defend with violence. Right now they are just starting. And it is not a systematic policy by most politicians, cops, and lawyers, just stupidity, arrogance, and shortsightedness.

          • methylamine
            January 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

            Excellent stuff Ernie, thank you.
            In particular:

            We are winning, the cost of their force, the cops and overpriced weapons, and keeping huge numbers of harmless people in prison will break them. When they decide to start just murdering us for efficiency’s sake, that will be the time to defend with violence. Right now they are just starting.

            I agree completely. We ARE winning the “infowar”. No, people are not where “we”–the regulars on this board–are in understanding, yet.

            But they’re pissed–rightly so. And they’ve lost almost all trust in “authority”–6-13% approval for Congress, mid 30’s for Asshole-In-Chief. 23% trust for Dinosaur Media. MSNBC/CNN losing half their viewers in one year.

            That’s massive.

            The institutions erected by the Elites are failing at every turn. The Elites themselves are being exposed.

            Educate, educate, educate. I agree with the Silver Shield guy–we’re going through Kubler-Ross’ stages, and people are now fully into the Anger phase. It’s not going to be pretty. But at least they’re out of Denial.

            The ones who are still in Denial–might as well be the zombies in Walking Dead. Ignore them, they’re background noise.

            The people who are feeling something now–they’re our targets, because they can go either fully authoritarian…like the so-called “liberals” and “progressives”…or they can come around to OUR way of thinking.

            So I’m with Jean when it goes to the extreme–paraphrasing a founding father, “if it’s a war they want, it’s a war they shall have.”

            But Not Yet–because every un-earned tazing, beating, and death turns the Anger against them just a little more. Just a little more, and one day when that lady in the van shoots back and kills the fucker, she will be cheered.

            THAT’S the moment we’re waiting for. Not because we want violence–but because once the general mood is to cheer her self-defense, we’ve won and further violence will not be necessary!

            Put another way–we want THEM to escalate the violence, while we retain the ability (which drags it out because they’ll go more slowly)…all the while we’re educating, until our violence is accepted…

            …at which point our violence will not be necessary; because we’ve won the minds.

            And when the minds are won, the consent withdrawn, the entire edifice collapses in a heap.

        • eric
          January 24, 2014 at 8:20 am

          All true, Bobbye – but it works the other way, too.

          That is, individuals (bad people) will still violate the NAP; some will organize gangs to do so. Keeping in mind that people like you and I (adherents of the NAP) are by definition not violent and simply wish to go about our business, we are uniquely vulnerable to such people. Even if you are a strong man skilled in personal combat, a master of weapons, you can only do so much. And you will get old.

          Mind, I am not advocating for a coercive monopoly on the use of force. I am suggesting that a voluntarily supported means of dealing with the relative handful of “bad people” – as well as for adjudicating everyday disputes – is not necessarily antithetical to a free society or individual liberty and may, arguably, be essential to its existence.

          It’s a discussion well worth having, I think.

      • to5
        January 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        We will also want to keep lawyers and their goons out of the system. Lawyers are part of the state stasi system also.

  7. January 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Eliminating all laws, even against violent crimes, is to go back to square one. We’re already in that society. There are no laws against anything: including forming The State. See what I’m getting at?

    I’m not necessarily saying there have to be police, if everyone wants to defend themselves, that’s cool. Though I seriously doubt most will. But to not have ANY form of justice system for dealing with criminals is to go back to square one. I don’t believe it should be monopolistic like the current system, though. In Ancient Israel, everyone in the community participated in the punishment of violent criminals, not a specific enforcement class. I’m not saying copy the OT law word for word (There are some unlibertarian laws in there because Israel was the chosen nation in the OT) but I think the general idea of having everyone experience the gravity of violence first-hand rather than having someone else do it for them and allow them to “pass the buck”, we’d see a lot less governmental violence.

    • PanarchistamericanHelot
      January 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      David wrote, “I think the general idea of having everyone experience the gravity of violence first-hand rather than having someone else do it for them and allow them to “pass the buck”, we’d see a lot less governmental violence.”

      Public hangings and the use of guillotines were quite popular with many. A lot like the Christians being thrown to the lions by the Romans, having everyone experience the gravity of the violence first hand does not seem like it would reduce governmental violence. Jmho.

      Have you read, The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality By Thomas J. DiLorenzo?

      “property rights were protected and civil order prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved” (1979, 10).

      What were these private protective agencies? They were not governments because they did not have a legal monopoly on keeping order. Instead, they included such organizations as land clubs, cattlemen’s associations, mining camps, and wagon trains.” …

      http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=803

      Burke was asking for a “How?”… that article covers the “How?” somewhat, for instance, “When government bureaucrats failed to police cattle rustling effectively, ranchers established cattlemen’s associations that drew up their own constitutions and hired private “protection agencies” that were often staffed by expert gunmen. This action deterred cattle rustling.” … I guess a modern version of that would include this, Yet Again: DON’T Call 911, And DON’T “Help” the Police

      http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/yet-again-dont-call-911-and-dont-help-the-police/

      • eric
        January 24, 2014 at 8:16 am

        Hi Panarch,

        Ultimately, I see this as coming down to self-policing. To a great extent, most people already do this. They do not need laws to tell them not to murder or rape and would not do those things in the absence of such laws. Or even in the absence of (to put a finer point on it) an enforcement/punishment mechanism.

        The big hurdle is edumacating more people to personally accept that theft and coercion are always wrong – no matter how gussied up by exigencies such as “safety” or “the public good” and so on.

        Achieve that, and the state (authority) will become to a great extent irrelevant – and simply fade away.

    • Bobbye
      January 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Eliminating all laws, even against violent crimes, is to go back to square one.
      Whats wrong with going back to having the LORD as our ruler? Do you really think that without government and police that nobody in the community would do anything to protect themselves and their families from harm? As I said ,I do not believe violent people would live very long at all.

      • eric
        January 24, 2014 at 8:05 am

        You lost me there, Bobbye.

        You decry arbitrary authority – and then urge obedience to the LORD. What LORD is that, exactly? Which sky god are we referring to? Whose sky god – and whose interpretation thereof – shall be the “word”?

        My intent is not to mock you. Just to make a point.

        To answer your questions: No, of course I do not believe that “…without government and police that nobody in the community would do anything to protect themselves and their families from harm.” The question I have is whether not having some objective/dispassionate means for dealing with crime (and adjudicating disputes) is a good thing – or a very bad thing.

        Are individual liberties threatened by laws based on the NAP that codify murder, assault and theft as crimes – and provide mechanisms for dealing with offenders, such as specifying punishments (or means of compensation)? I don’t see how – provided of course the system is not funded by coercive taxation and is limited to keeping the peace (based on the NAP).

        The parallel example is a community volunteer fire department. It does not threaten my liberties (or yours) if such an organization exists – and there is a positive benefit to be had, even if you yourself do not provide any monies toward its maintenance. Probably, you will decide the benefit of fire protection is worth providing some financial support – but of course, you are not compelled to provide support.

        In the same way, you benefit from the presence of peace keepers, even if you do not yourself financially support them. And provided they do not do other than enforce the peace, they present no threat to your liberty – or mine.

        I grant that any agency/entity will incline over time to abuse. That power in the hands of anyone is always a potential danger. But that is the age-old human tragedy.

        As per my earlier comments to David, I try not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. And, accordingly, I would embrace a return to even the relative modicum of liberty that existed in this country during my youth. And I would be ecstatic were we able to scale things back to the degree of personal liberty that existed before the ascension of Dishonest Abe and the War for Federal Supremacy.

        • Bobbye
          January 24, 2014 at 9:40 am

          My comment about the Lord as ruler was directed to David who has professed to being a believer and yet seemed leary of not having government/police/human protection. I should have done one of those @david things. That being said ,the idea that a voluntary contract community might consist of 320 million people is a stretch. I would envision multitudes of communities of various sizes with the specifics of each communities covenant being very varied. Many would be religious like the Amish, others Mormon, or Catholic, or Muslim, or Jewish. Others would be secular. The rules in each community may vary, but people would be free to stay or leave as they chose. I am not threatened with secular folk; nor did I mean to threaten them. Sorry I was not clearer.

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 10:01 am

            Sounds good, Bobbye.

            The concept you’ve expressed has been described as “Phyles” – IIRC. Basically, independent communities – as opposed to a monolithic continental authority.

            It’s an idea that appeals to e a great deal, especially if there is free movement between Phyles.

          • Giuseppe Crowe
            January 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

            Bobbye, Eric, et al,

            When a figure of 320 million is mentioned, one could wonder what really ties that number of people together? In my mind, we have a phony political structure that was implemented over 200 years ago by a bunch of landed aristocracy (1%ers) and foisted off on a largely disinterested and partially resistant populace. The U.S. Constitution that many libertarians hold in such high esteem is just a piece of paper with high-sounding words, much like the Soviet constitution. But in essence, it maintained that the government had legitimate functions and supposedly recognized through the first ten amendments that individual citizens has certain inalienable rights. But it’s a logical fallacy based on the assumption that a government forced from above on any individual residing in the phony political region has any legitimacy to start with. The only thing the 320 million people in the USSA have in common is that they are forced to obey whatever myriad laws politicians and bureaucrats make up. As Eric points out, most people don’t need some set of scumbags pointing out from on high that murder, rape and robbery are not positive acts. What all governments end up being is a collection of legally sanctioned (by their own laws) murderers, rapists and robbers. The U.S. is absolutely no different in that respect. People praise Thomas Jefferson for his rhetoric on freedom, but his behavior was one of a petty tyrant….as if the hoi polloi were mere tools and freedom was to be applied to the landed aristocracy. Of the writers of that era, only Lysander Spooner got it right. Once the USSA collapses, and it surely will, we can only hope that some people will be free to make voluntary, co-operative agreements with their neighbors to survive and thrive…..Rant mode off…..engage

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

            Agreed, Giuseppe –

            I’ve always preferred the sentiments expressed by the Declaration – and come to see the Constitution for what it is: A document enshrining limitless-in-principle authority. The Bill of Rights was only grudgingly tacked on to appease the entirely well-founded fears of delegates who could smell a rat and had a good idea what Hamilton, et al, were up to.

            I’ve also had to accept that one of my childhood heroes – Jefferson – was a deeply flawed man, despite his genius.

            Of all the founders, I esteem Franklin and Paine highest and have come to a new appreciation for Aaron Burr.

          • methylamine
            January 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm

            @Eric–

            I still mightily admire Jefferson. We’re all blinded by our culture to some degree. My introspection is far from perfect.

            My only reservation about Aaron Burr is his timing–he killed Hamilton much too late.

            Same objection to John Wilkes Booth–poor timing, 4 years too late.

          • Phillip the Bruce
            January 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

            Bobbye – your proposal sounds a lot like “Panarchy.” Check Mike Rozeff’s writings on Lew Rockwell. Panarchy consists of multiple, voluntary “governments,” with none of them having any sort of monopoly.

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 5:19 pm

            I like this idea – it smacks truly of “consent.”

            It’s really not unlike joining a club – which you do freely (and which you may elect to leave just as voluntarily).

            You agree to abide by the rules – but you’re not forced to agree. And if you find the rules intolerable, you’re free to leave.

            A confederation of communities could conceivably be based upon this model.

            Of course, the catch is they’d all have to agree on the fundamental – the NAP – for it to work!

        • LSJohn
          January 24, 2014 at 10:29 am

          ” I try not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

          OK, but there is usually a clear distinction between not opposing moves you think are toward the “good,” and overtly supporting those things despite the fact that the violate your most important principle, the NAP.

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

            True, John –

            One must be careful to not endorse violations of the NAP even when there is a “good” involved.

        • January 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

          “Dishonest Abe”… I love it. I bought the Lincoln myth for a long, long time. Took Tom Dilorenzo to wake me up.

          • eric
            January 24, 2014 at 5:32 pm

            Abe was a truly odious person – whose reality has been transformed into a cult, almost.

            The humble rail splitter was in fact a big-time corporate lawyer who represented the railroad interests – at the time, among the most corrupting influence on American politics there was. He was in the pocket of New York financiers (the Republican Party was the successor of the Whig Party, which succeeded the Federalists of Hamilton’s time) and his sole object upon election was to cement federal authority – in particular, its taxing authority. He was a virulent racist who (as DiLorenzo notes) promised to enshrine slavery in the Constitution provided the South accepted the tariff and forgot about secession.

            The tragedy is that the South could have gone its own way successfully had it not foolishly allowed itself to be maneuvered into firing the first shot – and had it fought a purely defensive war, emulating the successful tactics of the American colonial forces against the British. You do not go head to head with a militarily (and materially) superior opponent.

            Lee’s invasion of the North was both a strategic and political debacle. Before circa 1863, there was general sentiment in the North that the Southern states should be left in peace and allowed to go their own way. The war itself was far from popular and the CSA could very plausibly have achieved its political objectives simply by maneuvering the North into the morally dubious position of being the invader. In that case, the Southerners would have held the psychologically crucial high ground – they would have been fighting for their land and homes against a foreign army. Marching into PA pissed that all away.

            Mind, I do not look upon the Confederacy as a Libertopia. But it would have been healthy to have regional rather than central authority – and also to establish the principle of secession, which is nothing more than peacefully withdrawing when consent is no longer operative.

      • JdL
        January 24, 2014 at 8:20 am

        Whats wrong with going back to having the LORD as our ruler?

        Is that the same LORD who, in the Old Testament, claims it’s a mortal sin to wear cloth made of wool at linen at the same time (Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 22:9-11)? Surely we can do better than that idiotic fantasy.

        • Bobbye
          January 24, 2014 at 10:14 am

          @ JdL: I hope you read my reply to Eric concerning the LORD. When a person reads a Science Fiction or Paranormal/Ghost novel, the enjoyment comes from accepting the authors premises, entering in to the story and thereby understanding why the characters do what they do. You allow yourself to think, and feel and behave like the characters, at least in your mind. This extension of the soul/psyche is seldom extended between believers and unbelievers and thus common ground is not found. I hope that we can rise above that urge to shut out those with whom we do not completely agree. That way we can learn from each other.

      • Bevin
        January 24, 2014 at 9:07 am

        Dear Bobbye,

        I was right there on the same page with you until you suddenly started dropped the terms “the LORD” and “ruler.”

        As a sovereign individual, I don’t want lords lording over me or rulers ruling me. I want self-ownership and self-rule.

        I don’t care whether those lords and rulers are religious or secular. Having lords lording over me, and rulers ruling me, religious or secular, doesn’t strike me as remotely compatible with natural rights and individual liberty.

        I agree with the following:

        If a person doesn’t already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won’t discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran… We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.

        We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn’t make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely… Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.

        From:
        10 myths—and 10 Truths—About Atheism
        By Sam Harris
        The Los Angeles Times

        • JdL
          January 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

          10 myths—and 10 Truths—About Atheism
          By Sam Harris

          Excellent stuff! Here’s a link to the full column:

          http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/10-myths-and-10-truths-about-atheism1

        • Bobbye
          January 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

          @ Bevin: Please red my reply to JdL.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

            Dear Bobbye,

            I agree. As you rightly said, no need to “shut out those with whom we do not completely agree.”

            You stated your position. I responded my stating mine. Neither of us “shut out” the other merely because we did not completely agree. We partially agreed, and partially disagreed.

            On a theoretical level, I think religious ethics are not conducive to liberty.

            But on a practical level, as long as a person’s religious ethics do not result in him violating the NAP, there truly is no problem. Not for me anyway.

            Example: The Amish, who are so scrupulous about not violating the NAP they turn the other cheek. Or the Quakers.

          • Bobbye
            January 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm

            @ Bevin: “On a theoretical level, I think religious ethics are not conducive to liberty.”
            On a real level religion is not conducive to liberty. But God has nothing to do with religion. The only ‘religion’ God endorsed is stated in James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” All other religion is man made. If you read the Gospels you see that Jesus’ harshest criticism was for the religious and for Rulers (Herod). God’s personal interactions with individual people is always and has always been in the form of a voluntary contract (testament) between God and that person. Mom and Dad may have a contract with God, but each child ,when of age , must voluntarily decide whether to enter into a contract or not. It cannot be forced. Obviously religion is different. That said, even within the religion called Christianity there are those who have entered voluntarily into that contract with God. They could mostly be revealed simply with a law making the worship of Jesus a death-penalty crime , instantly carried out with no appeal. What percentage of the congregations would die or live?
            The contract between God and each person is consistent with liberty and the NAP.

        • Fred
          January 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

          Some people’s “moral hard-wiring” tells them the knockout game is just good fun.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

            Dear Fred,

            Correct. There are such things as sociopaths. They are all too real.

            Example: Tomás de Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition

            Fortunately for mankind, they are a minority.

        • Zorg
          January 24, 2014 at 10:45 pm

          Atheists have no basis for morality. Their religion dictates that life is objectively meaningless, purposeless, and valueless. Surely we can do better than this idiotic fantasy.

          • InalienableWrights
            January 24, 2014 at 10:56 pm

            Not sure where you came up with the atheist thing Zorg. I think you are assuming that anarchists are atheists. I am a Christian anarchist BTW :
            http://www.anti-state.com/redford/redford4.html

            It has also been my experience that atheists hold much higher moral standards than most Christians. Most all Christians worship government, and do not really believe in Inalienable rights at all. While most of the atheists that I know Zorg believe very strongly in Inalienable rights, whether they are anarchists or not.

            Not wanting to enslave your fellow man through government is the gold standard of morality IMHO and atheists hold in the high ground on this account.

          • eric
            January 25, 2014 at 8:09 am

            Well-said, WR.

            I am neither an atheist nor a theist myself; I simply do not know (either way) to a great extent because this question is not amenable to definitive, inarguable, factual proof. It is about conjecture, belief. There may indeed (and probably is) more to “the universe” than we now understand. But that, to me, does not mean “Jesus is Lord.” (Or Hare Krishna or Allah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster).

            As an individualist, as a liberty advocate, I believe each of us has a right to pursue answers to these questions – but also that we have an obligation to not impose our beliefs on anyone else.

            I am – like Bevin – “ok” with anyone’s personal beliefs, so long as their outward guiding principle is the NAP.

            No Christian, for example, needs to fear me. I have no desire to interfere with their personal, private devotions – and will defend absolutely their right to live their own lives according to the tenets of their faith.

            But I do fear some Christians, those who cannot abide “unbelievers” and would – if they had the power – enforce their dogmas using whatever violence they had at their disposal.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm

            Dear Zorg,

            Interesting you should advance this argument.

            1) Accusation: Atheists believe that life is meaningless.

            Response: On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived. Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless.
            — Sam Harris

            The “It’s either religion or nihilism!” is classic false dichtomy. It is no better than “If you don’t vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Barack Obama.”

            Ever heard of philosophy? Ever heard of ethics? Ever heard of natural rights?

            The life of the sovereign individual is sacrosanct. Rational human beings understand that. They do not need to be commanded by a “lord” or “ruler” to respect other individuals’ rights.

            The Golden Rule, for example, predated Christianity. Many philosophers championed it, including Chinese philosophers.

            己所不欲,勿施於人。
            “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”

            子貢問曰:“有一言而可以終身行之者乎”?子曰:“其恕乎!己所不欲、勿施於人。”

            Zi gong (a disciple of Confucius) asked: “Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?”
            The Master replied: “How about ‘shu’ [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?”

            Lack of religion hardly equals “values vacuum.”

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

            Dear IW,

            Amen to that! Irony intended. Courageous of you as a Christian to say what you did.

            Religion is not necessarily statist. The Amish, the Quakers, Ron Paul, the self declared Christians who comment at EPA are clearly highly ethical individualists who hold the NAP sacrosanct and reject state violence.

            If a person is a libertarian, and his religious beliefs do not motivate him to violate the NAP, I for one have absolutely no problem with it.

            My only concern is that statistically speaking, historically speaking, religion has in fact often motivated believers to violate the NAP.

            For example:

            December 14, 2005
            Bush and the Constitution
            “Just a Goddamned Piece of Paper”
            by GARY LEUPP
            http://www.counterpunch.org/2005/12/14/quot-just-a-goddamned-piece-of-paper-quot/

            Excerpt:

            (Capital Hill Blue has earlier noted his “short temper and tirades” during cabinet meetings. Thompson and Teresa Hampton, citing “a number of White House staffers” wrote in June 2004 that “[Bush] who says he rules at the behest of God can also tongue-lash those he perceives as disloyal, calling them ‘fucking assholes’ in front of other staff, berating one cabinet official in front of others.” The Drudge Report has carried similar stories. The most recent Newsweek contains a report that Rice has to warn foreign diplomats, “Don’t upset him” before meeting the Chief.) The man told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2003 that “God told me to smite [Saddam Hussein]. And I smote him.” Why should a man who conducts such conversations care about a document which makes no reference to God?

          • methylamine
            January 24, 2014 at 11:54 pm

            @Bevin–

            I once heard or read a theory so far out there I stored it away for future mulling and cud-chewing because it was really intriguing.
            It was this: Jesus Christ was actually the lost, or orphaned, son of a deposed or killed Egyptian Pharaoh or royalty. He spent time in what is now Tibet and learned ancient Chinese libertarian principles…then ended up in the gospels’ Christ story.

            Crazy, I know. But I’ve made it a practice to learn crazy things :)

          • eric
            January 25, 2014 at 8:00 am

            I’ve been down that rabbit hole myself!

            Here’s another: That Adolf Hitler was actually a Rothschild; that the family deliberately “seeds” society with blood-related pawns/tools to further their agenda.

            Bill Clinton’s history is interesting, too.

            And take a look at Abe Lincoln’s background.

            All three men had opaque/unusual origins, especially as regards their biological fathers.

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 1:02 am

            Dear meth,

            The Chinese Connection — with Jesus! Pretty wild!

            No idea if it has any historical basis, but it’s certainly an intriguing notion!

          • January 25, 2014 at 2:08 am

            As a Christian anarchist, I agree with what Zorg posted. Don’t know what he meant by it, but I do agree with what he said. I wouldn’t say it that way to people who I otherwise generally respect and consider to be intelligent, but I believe that the idea that the world brought itself into existence is insane.

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 3:14 am

            Dear Zorg, David,

            You guys say you are “Christian anarchists.”

            Here is where I stand on that.

            As long as someone is a “[ Fill in the blank ] anarchist” I’m fine with it.

            The only part I care about is the anarchist part.

            Christian anarchist. Muslim anarchist. Hindu anarchist. Jewish Anarchist. All okay with me.

            I might not like the religious component. It may make me nervous. But as long as the religion is happening inside your own head, and the religious doctrine is not being rammed down my throat, then everything is hunky dory.

          • eric
            January 25, 2014 at 8:18 am

            Hi Zorg,

            That is simply not true. It’s an unfounded smear used to delegitimize non-believers; to make them appear untrustworthy, even “bad” people.

            The golden rule (what we call the NAP) does not require an appeal to any deity. It is simple logic that you must treat others decently if you wish to have any rational basis for expecting decent treatment in return.

            But it is also much more than that. The NAP is premised on a conscious awareness of suffering – and a desire to mitigate it. To – at minimum – have no part in causing suffering. To make the world a better place by extending the hand of friendship to others. By seeking to do no harm. To live – and let live.

            If you think about it, secular ethics are superior to religious morality in that the non-religious person behaves decently because he wants to, because he believes it to be right and proper – while the religious person merely does as ordered because he fears his “lord” (or expects to be rewarded by him). The person is not decent – good – because he is good. He is a sort of automaton, playing by a rulebook out of the basest human desires: The desire to avoid punishment and the desire to be rewarded for good behavior. On the other hand, people who abide by the NAP have freely chosen to be decent toward others because they’ve decided it’s the right thing to do. They expect no reward as such – and are not acting out of fear that some all-powerful entity is going to punish them for noncompliance. They feel empathy toward others. And the live their lives accordingly. They eschew theft, meanness and brutality in all its forms. They feel compassion toward others and do their utmost to not be the cause of harm.

            Seems pretty doggone ethical to me.

            And: Not believing in any specific god does not mean that the non-believer considers life to be meaningless. We value life as such, as well as the work of life, the things on achieves in life, the relationships one forms during life. It’s a cheap shot – and easily shot down – to accuse non-believers of regarding life as “meaningless.”

            I’m not hostile toward believers. You have every right to believe whatever you like.

            Why then the hostility toward those who do not share your beliefs? We’re not out to harm you; we support your right to believe whatever you want to believe.

            Is live – and let live – really an “idiotic fantasy”?

    • MikeFromWichita
      January 24, 2014 at 10:45 am

      as I recall the period of Rule by Judges in Israel which Yahweh had deemed best for His Chosen ended when the chosen(but stump dumb) whined for a King so as to be like the Nations around them. Yahweh gave them what they wanted, but warned them they would not like it. We get to see to how Kingship turns even the best of men into the very worst over time.

      • eric
        January 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

        Hi Mike,

        Yup. What, after all, is a king but a thug by another name? Put him in a special costume, give him a title, pomp and circumstance. He has no more right to rule – to direct and control other men’s lives – than a street criminal has to mug you for your wallet.

        Throw ‘em all in the woods!

        • to5
          January 24, 2014 at 8:26 pm

          Making sure the woods are full of hungry elephants, tigers, wolves and piranhas!!!

        • Bevin
          January 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm

          Dear Mike, Eric,

          Recently watched “White House Down” and “Olympus Has Fallen” on video.

          I knew what to expect. I wanted to examine the worship of authority under a microscope.

          What is a president but a king but a thug by another name? What is the Secret Service but the Praetorian Guard? What is the White House but Tony Soprano’s MacMansion writ large?

          Once one has seen through the Myth of Authority it all becomes appallingly clear. One wonders why one failed to see it decades ago. Which of course proves that “brainwashing” is not confined to Manchurian Candidates, but includes most people living under most gubmints.

          • methylamine
            January 24, 2014 at 11:57 pm

            This thread, and Bevin’s V for Vendetta mask avatar just reminded me…a few days ago I re-watched V for Vendetta.

            If you haven’t seen it recently, it is absolutely brilliant.

            The most anti-statist movie I’ve seen in a very long time, perhaps forever. And the lessons in it are directly applicable to our situation. It is SO subversive it gives me a Chris Matthews (tingle up the leg).

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 12:54 am

            Dear meth,

            That is a funny coincidence!

            I just rewatched (apparently that is not a word, as I’m getting a red underlined spell check alert) “V for Vendetta” a few weeks ago.

            It was the first time I watched it from beginning to end since seeing it first run when it premiered.

            Amazing how much more radicalized and hardcore I’ve become since then. My tolerance for minarchist compromises has plummeted.

            Yes. V for Vendetta is definitely hardcore. As it should be!

            “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”
            — famed Barry Goldwater speech, ghost written by libertarian Karl Hess

          • eric
            January 25, 2014 at 7:52 am

            The solution is simple: Lie to the bastards. They do so routinely to us. It’s payback time. Give them every answer they want to hear. Do whatever it takes to be seated as a juror. Then do what you want to do. Decide the case according to right and wrong – and fuck their “instructions as to the true meaning of the law.”

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 5:08 am

            Dear meth,

            Also, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” just came out on DVD.

            I’ve been watching it again. It too is absolutely loaded with subversive anti-authoritarian messages. Way too many to even begin to list.

            You know how some books are so good that if you use a highlighter to mark “the good stuff,” the whole book ends up highlighted? That’s The Hunger Games as well.

            Definitely add it to your Need To Watch list.

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 8:00 am

            Dear Eric,

            Lie. Exactly.

            Honesty is the only policy — when dealing with other sovereign individuals in the free market place.

            But when dealing with “crime families with flags,” aka governments, absolutely do lie through your teeth.

            “Jury what? Nullification? No, never heard of it. What’s that?”

            Unless of course you need to get out of jury duty for personal reasons.

  8. libertyx
    January 24, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Not to forget “Fully Informed Juries” which can nullify bad laws and convict police for unjust actions. http://www.fija.org

    “The primary function of the independent juror is not, as many think,
    to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various
    laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from the tyrannical abuses
    of power by government.”

    The Constitution guarantees you the right to trial by jury. This means
    that government must bring its case before a jury of The People if
    government wants to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property.”

    Jurors can say no to government tyranny by refusing to convict.”

    • JdL
      January 24, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Jurors can say no to government tyranny by refusing to convict.

      Agreed; I’m a big supporter of jury nullification. Of course, it’s undeniable that it cuts both ways: the cops who brutally and pointlessly murdered Kelly Thomas were prosecuted, and from all I can tell, the prosecutor presented all the evidence needed to convict them, but the jury acquitted anyway.

      • anarchyst
        February 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

        Yes, the jury acquitted these scumbags. It is not generally known that fellow cops made sure that the names and addresses of the jurors were known and “paid them visits”. Jury tampering?? Of course, but who is going to come out and state it??
        The jurors were intimidated by those of the “thin blue line”. . . despite video evidence of police “misconduct”.

    • PanarchistamericanHelot
      January 24, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      libertyx wrote, “The Constitution guarantees you the right to trial by jury.”

      Ah, yes. Except in states such as Illinois – if there is no jail time and the amount at risk is low – then they will deny your request for jury trial.
      Funny how that works.

      • Bevin
        January 24, 2014 at 10:01 pm

        Dear libertyx, Pan,

        I belatedly came to the conclusion that the “Rule of Law” is also a part of the Myth of Authority, and must be rejected outright.

        If the Rule of Law as normally spun were actually possible, and all men were equal before the law, I would of course be all for it. In fact, when I didn’t know better, I was all for it. It struck me as the epitome of fairness and justice.

        Now however, I realize the Rule of Law is the Rule of Those Who Make the Laws and the Rule of Those Who Enforce the Laws.

        It is merely legal cover for those who wield “official” authority to do whatever they damn well please.

        Make no mistake. The Rule of Law is an integral part of the Leviathan State’s territorial monopoly on the use of force. It can never result in justice.

        The only genuine alternative and solution is COMPETING PDAs under Market Anarchism.

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          January 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

          No doubt about that Bevin. I met a guy helping Ron Paul run, he said he went before the judge and mentioned to the judge how ‘this or that’ was against the Constitution.
          The judge said he didn’t care what the Constitution said. It didn’t apply in his courtroom.

          • Bevin
            January 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm

            Dear Pan,

            Exactly.

            As The Chimp put it, “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It’s just a Goddamned piece of paper!”

            Well, as Larken Rose has eloquently noted, that is a sword that cuts both ways.

            If the PTB are going to ignore the Rule of Law, why must we hold it sacrosanct???

            I’m allowed to rob you!
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngpsJKQR_ZE

      • InalienableWrights
        January 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm

        You forget family courts PanarchistamericanHelot. You can get a jury trial for littering in the land of the free but not when it is something as trivial as the fate of your children….

        • methylamine
          January 25, 2014 at 12:03 am

          @IW–“Family courts” (sic) are a bubonic blight on the country. They’re festering stink-holes of injustice, a Luciferian feasting on destroyed innocence and love.

          I would do anything to stay out of them.

          There are two things in this world that mean instant, unthinking violence on my part–come for my kids, or come for my guns.

          The first because they’re my kids.

          The second because that’s the last thing that stands between us and absolutely naked slavery…as opposed to the kind of guilded-cage slavery we currently enjoy.

          I’m convinced that’s the one thing that’s put them so seriously behind…and why they’re so dementedly driven to steal the guns.

    • Bevin
      January 24, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Dear libertyx,

      An addendum:

      Even though the Rule of Law is a sham, I agree that in today’s context, deliberately engaging in jury nullification is a brilliant move and the right thing to do.

      It does not imply that one endorses the state. It merely asserts that the accused ought not be persecuted.

      I heartily agree with jury nullification.

      • methylamine
        January 25, 2014 at 12:05 am

        I have jury duty on February 3rd.

        I will go. I will answer questions as dully, quietly, and briefly as possible.

        I will do whatever I can to get on that jury; because I might have the chance to save someone’s life.

        And even if they voir dire my ass off that jury, it’s one strike they’ve used up…and the guy sitting next to me, doing the same thing, might make it on to strike that blow against the State.

        • libertyx
          January 25, 2014 at 12:55 am

          methylamine: “I have jury duty on February 3rd.”

          Surviving Jury Voir Dire
          By Clay S. Conrad

          How can FIJA advocates keep from getting kicked off of juries, by the Judge or by the Prosecutor? Frustrated FIJs regularly report being excluded during voir dire (jury selection). But if our advocates can’t get seated on juries, FIJA is limited in its ability to affect the law, or to see justice done in SPITE of the law.
          Voir Dire, which is French for “to speak the truth,” consists of having the Judge, the Prosecutor and the Defense Attorney each ask the jury a series of questions. It exists for two reasons. For the most basic, it allows the Court to find and eliminate partisans – the Defendant’s brother, the arresting officer, etc. Going down the excludability ladder, it allows both sides to challenge jurors for bias, for familiarity with facts or witnesses, etc.
          The rules for exclusion of jurors are spelled out in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP). First, FIJA members should realize that some veniremembers are absolutely disqualified. For instance, if a veniremember is under 18, or is not a citizen of Texas, the veniremember may not legally serve. The Court is required to exclude such jurors from service.
          More importantly, veniremembers may be challenged FOR CAUSE. These challenges are unlimited in number, and are spelled out in CCP Art. 35.16. A juror may be challenged for cause if he:
          1. Is not qualified to vote;
          2. Has been convicted of a theft or felony;
          3. Is under indictment or other legal accusation for a theft or felony;
          4. Is insane;
          5. Has “such a defect in the organs of feeling or hearing, or such bodily or mental defect or disease as to render him unfit for jury service, or that he is legally blind, and the Court in its discretion is not satisfied that he is fit for jury service in that particular case”;
          6. Is a witness in the case;
          7. Served on the Grand Jury which indicted the defendant;
          8. Served on a Petit Jury in a former trial of the case;
          9. Has a bias or prejudice in favor of the State or the Defendant;
          10. Has established a conclusion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant that would influence him in his action in finding a verdict;
          11. Cannot read or write;
          12. Is related to either the defendant or the victim;
          13. In a capital case, has conscientious scruples in regard to the infliction of the death penalty (only to be used by the Prosecution); or
          14. Has a bias or prejudice against any of the law applicable to the case.
          If the Judge finds the challenge to be good, he MUST exclude the juror. It is not discretionary; failure to exclude will be reversible error.
          Additionally, both the Prosecution and the Defense have a limited number of PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES. In a misdemeanor case, both sides have three, in most felonies, ten, and in capital cases, both sides have fifteen. Peremptory challenges may be exercised for any reason or for no reason whatsoever, EXCEPT that they may not be used to exclude women or minorities from the jury merely because of their gender or race. (See CCP 35.261, Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986)). Peremptory challenges are used to “stack” the jury, as well as the attorneys are capable of (they attempt to get people whom they believe are friendly to their side, by excluding the ones they believe will be really bad to their side.)
          Many lawyers believe that the intelligent use of peremptory challenges is the most important skill of a good trial lawyer; yet research shows that few lawyers are good at it. Perhaps that is something to be glad about; try as they may, most jurors will not be so plainly “defense” or “prosecution” jurors that voir dire is much better than a crap shoot.
          It certainly is frustrating for a veniremember, especially a FIJA member, to be excluded from jury duty. They have taken time from work, have submitted themselves to questioning, and have been rejected – almost always taken as a personal affront. Yet FIJA members often have only their own eagerness to blame for their exclusion, as I have tried in my answer to the E-Mail post below.
          [The following exchange of posts appeared on a FIJA echo on a BBS no longer in service.]
          From: LZ
          To: all Msg #43, May-16-96 00:27:00
          Subject: fija
          LZ> The FIJA got me out of jury duty too. [Here is] the transcript [of my dismissal]:
          Judge: Is there anyone here that believes that they should not follow the instructions of law given to them by the court.
          Me: Yeah, I guess I do. You mean the fully informed Jury?
          Judge: Hold on, sir. I don’t want you to taint the panel. I’ll just ask you a couple questions.
          he asked my name and juror #
          Judge: okay, Mr. LZ, you heard me explain– you believe that you would not — and you have to answer yes or no, because I don’t want to taint the panel. You would not be able to follow the instructions of law given to you by the court? Just answer yes or no.
          Me: Depends if I think the law is legal.
          Judge: Well, all right. And I’m saying to you, it’s not your judgment of what the law may be. The court’s responsibility to tell you what the law is—-
          Me: Not if I’m in a jury. It’s my responsibility.
          Judge: Okay, well, I think we’ve heard enough from you, sir, in terms of your responsibility. You’re not giving me direct answers. The answer I’m asking you is if you say to yourself and tell me, “Judge, I know you have responsibility to tell me what the law is, but the fact that you’ve told me what the law is isn’t going to change my mind at all. I believe that I have an absolute right to determine what the law is.” Is that your position?
          Me: That’s right.
          Judge: All right. Thank you. Then we’ll excuse number 48. Report back to the jury commissioner. Okay, We’re not— we’re not being incriminatory to anyone or condemning anyone’s beliefs, but that’s the only way we can operate.
          end of transcript
          Now think of this in light of John Adams, our second president who had this to say about jurors:
          “It is not only his right, but the duty….to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”
          In 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court formally recognized jury nullification in Sparf vs. United States. The court held that juries have the power to return verdicts contrary to law and evidence.
          Taken from the Arizona Republic by Richard Lessner Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages.
          I was denied the right to serve on a jury by this judge and would like to know where I should go to file a complaint.
          From: Clay Conrad
          To: LZ Msg #44, May-18-96 10:12:50
          Subject: fija
          It does not appear that you wanted to serve on the jury.
          In voir dire, if you intend to serve, the less said, the better. And if you do want to make a speech in voir dire, it should be aimed at informing the other jurors as much as possible.
          Finally, the juror does not determine what the law IS, so much as he determines whether the law should or should not be applied in the case before him. Even the best laws can be misapplied, and when misapplied should be nullified. There is no human way to write a law so complete and perfect that an ambitious prosecutor can’t find an excuse to charge a morally innocent person with its violation…
          As for any “violation” of your rights because you were excluded as a juror, don’t waste your time. The rights involved belong to the people on trial, not to the jurors, with one exception: racial or gender discrimination in jury selection (“Batson” violations.) The Court has every right to exclude someone who has made themselves excludable under the Code of Criminal Procedure. I don’t know the specifics for your state – or even what state you are in – but I do know enough to assert that any Court in America will exclude a juror who answers as you did!
          HINT: NEVER mention FIJA in voir dire…. NEVER answer more than the bare minimums. If the judge asks if you “CAN” do something, always answer yes if the action would be physically possible to you… he didn’t ask if you WOULD…
          After you are seated, if you believe nullification is an appropriate response, tell the other jurors that you do not believe the defendant is guilty, because you don’t believe the law should be applied in this case, and tell them why. Then try to show them that they have the power to do what is right, and that that is why we have trial by jury. Don’t quote, don’t rely on authority. They can’t check your quotes or look at the authorities.
          Talk to them as one individual to another (11), and put the doctrine in your own words. Convince the other people prone to vote to acquit that a hung jury is not a bad outcome, if the panel disagrees. A compromise – voting for conviction when not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, or voting guilty on lesser charges in order to short-circuit the process and go home – IS a bad outcome, and is very much a violation of their duty. Juries are empowered to HANG, but never to COMPROMISE.
          What needs to happen is for people to get to sit on juries who know something about nullification, and then to politely bring other jurors – who believe that an injustice is being done – around to an understanding of the power which is in their hands.
          If you are lucky, the defense attorney should have given you all the ammunition you need, while in closing arguments, voir dire, etc.
          COURTS DO NOT LIKE TO EXCUSE JURORS. What they want to avoid is “busting the panel,” excusing so many jurors for cause that they don’t have enough left to try he case. If you avoid a dogmatic posture, and if you are respectful and say the minimum, chances are the Court will not find cause to excuse you. (You may still be struck with a peremptory challenge; even if you had not been struck for cause, I am sure, in your case, that the prosecutor would have sent you out of their expeditiously anyway. So, so far as you were concerned, there was no harm done.)
          Let me give you a few examples of how the answers could have gone.
          1> Judge: Is there anyone here that believes that they should not follow the instructions of law given to them by the court?
          FIJA jurors can’t know whether they should follow the instructions of law until they have heard the case and the instructions. AS A GENERAL RULE, the instructions probably SHOULD be followed. We should assume the system to be just until proven otherwise. So we should, AS A GENERAL RULE follow the instructions of the court, and therefore I would not raise may hand in
          response to this question.
          2> Judge: okay, Mr. LZ, you heard me explain– you believe that you would not — and you have to answer yes or no, because I don’t want to taint the panel. You would not be able to follow the instructions of law given to you by the court? Just answer yes or no.
          FIJA jurors would be ABLE to follow the instructions; whether they WOULD do so is another question, and not one the court asked. So the answer to this is no, it is not true that you would not be able to follow the instructions… got it?
          3> Judge: Well, all right. And I’m saying to you, it’s not your judgment of what the law may be. The court’s responsibility to tell you what the law is—-
          LZ: Not if I’m in a jury. It’s my responsibility.
          Here, you are being combative, when if you had answered either of the above questions more discreetly, this question would never have been almost asked – I say almost because you never let the Judge finish.
          And you are WRONG. It IS the court’s responsibility to tell you what the law is; it is your responsibility to decide whether the law should be applied – whether to convict or acquit.
          4> Judge: Okay, well, I think we’ve heard enough from you, sir, in terms of your responsibility. You’re not giving me direct answers. The answer I’m asking you is if you say to yourself and tell me, “Judge, I know you have responsibility to tell me what the law is, but the fact that you’ve told me what the law is isn’t going to change my mind at all. I believe that I have an absolute right to determine what the law is.” Is that your position?
          LZ: That’s right.
          This is a misstatement of the jury nullification doctrine. The juror does not have an absolute right to determine what the law is in every instance. For example, if a person is innocent according to the Court’s instructions, the juror does not have a right to CONVICT. Nullification is a doctrine of mercy, not of anarchy.
          Secondly, the juror should listen to what the Court says; he should not determine before hearing what the court says that it won’t change his mind at all. Many jurors may have their minds changed and decide TO nullify after hearing the Court’s charge.
          ———
          Even worse, your answers were unenlightening to the other jurors. They probably just dismissed you as a kook, without knowing why you were being so adamant or what you were being adamant about. You speak of your responsibility, without explaining anything about that responsibility: a better answer (for someone who wanted off the jury) would have been: it is my verdict, your honor, and that is a serious responsibility. I could not participate in committing injustice, if following the law led to an unjust result.
          THEN the Court would have to deal with either a jury of nullifiers, or dismiss the entire panel – a wasted day in Court, which the Judge would not want to have to deal with…
          The most important thing, in the end, was the DEFENDANT. Did your attitude and actions make it more or less likely that he would have at least one potential nullifier on his jury? I would say less likely – you got kicked off – and he may well have been unjustly convicted.
          Perhaps remembering that a morally innocent man may well be sitting in prison, being beaten and raped by his cellmates while his wife files divorce papers against him and his family goes on welfare may somewhat blunt your sense of self-righteousness in so belligerently challenging the Court.
          Without having to have told one lie in Voir Dire, you could have arranged to have been seated in that case – just say the minimum and answer honestly, candidly, but precisely! And that man – a victim of the system – would still have his life in one piece. Think about it…
          ___________________________________________________________________________
          Consider what is at stake here. A FIJA advocate may choose to spout off in voir dire, in order to teach that pesky judge a thing or two… or he or she may choose to wait until jury deliberations start, and then REALLY teach the judge a thing or two… Which is more effective? Which approach would you want the veniremember to take, if YOU were on trial?
          FINAL COMMENT: I AM NOT ADVOCATING HAVING ANYBODY EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LIE DURING VOIR DIRE. If you are forced to announce that you are a FIJA member (Have any of you ever heard of the Fully Informed Jury Association?), admit it. But answer very, very carefully… if asked if you are a member of the organization, but have never officially joined, or if your dues have lapsed, the answer would be NO. Say nothing!
          And if you must answer a question which will lead to your being excluded, blurt out as much about the doctrine as you can! Try to make sure that every single veniremember knows as much as possible about jury independence, and that under NO circumstances must a jury commit injustice. You may “bust” the panel; you may force the Judge to send them all home, and you may even get seated on the jury (the judge may be embarrassed to disqualify a juror who has stated he believes in justice, and count on the Prosecutor to use a peremptory challenge on you.)
          Just remember that a criminal trial is not the place for political grandstanding or membership recruitment. Our goal here is not to convert, not to show off, and not to challenge the authority of the Judge or Prosecutor, but to see JUSTICE done. Keep your eyes on the prize, and when you get on that jury, do the right thing!

        • Bevin
          January 25, 2014 at 1:25 am

          Dear meth,

          My thinking exactly.

          I understand the desire of many of our libertarian comrades to “go to the mattresses.”

          But specific problems have specific solutions. The problem of authoritarianism is not to “throw the rascals out.” That’s way too easy, and way too useless. That merely replaces Authoritarian A with Authoritarian B. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

          No. The solution is to discredit the Myth of Authority, to deprogram a critical mass of humanity. That is not “doing nothing.” That is not “being an armchair revolutionary.”

          That is damned hard work. That is a Sysyphean ordeal. Thankless and protracted. Reaching for your battle rifle to man the barricades is fun by comparison.

          Activities such as jury nullification are part of that larger process.

      • libertyx
        January 25, 2014 at 12:40 am

        Bevin: “I heartily agree with jury nullification.”

        Thanks for the endorsement.

        Another avenue towards restoration of liberty and justice: The little understood Grand Jury – not the one-sided farce prosecutors are fond of.

        http://www.nationallibertyalliance.org/

        DUTY OF THE “COMMON LAW” GRAND JURY – “If anyone’s unalienable rights have been violated, or removed, without a legal sentence of their peers, from their lands, home, liberties or lawful right, we [the twenty-five] shall straightway restore them. And if a dispute shall arise concerning this matter it shall be settled according to the judgment of the twenty-five Grand Jurors, the sureties of the peace.” MAGNA CARTA, JUNE 15, A.D. 1215, 52.

  9. lberns
    January 24, 2014 at 7:35 am

    “That it is our obligation to know the law. Surely, the same ought to apply to those charged with enforcing it. ”

    Their costumes are made from magic fabric assembled by little elves in a far away land that grant extra rights when worn. I thought everyone knew that.

    • Jean
      January 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      But does their magic uniform BURN well….?

      :-D

      • methylamine
        January 25, 2014 at 12:16 am

        Why yes, Jean, they DO burn beautifully when soaked in gasoline. Have you see the pictures from Kiev?

        Burning Pork 1

        Heartbreaking…naw

        Pork Flambe

        Polyester has the unfortunate properties of flammability and melting into the burned flesh underneath.

        But it sure LOOKS spiffy!

        My heart goes out to each and every one of these fine Heroes.

        • methylamine
          January 25, 2014 at 12:17 am

          Last link mis-typed, sorry:
          Pork Flambe

  10. derfel cadarn
    January 24, 2014 at 7:46 am

    In reference to legal self defense up to the justifiable unfortunate killing of an officer. Justifiable,yes unfortunate for the officer but for society not in the least. Simply if the officers had been competent and had operated within the law the situation would never have arisen. Others can not be held liable for the officers incmpetence or violations of the law.

  11. anarchyst
    January 24, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Eliminate “qualified immunity” for ALL public officials. This includes police, firefighters, code enforcement officials, child protective services officials, prosecutors and court officials and politicians. If these “public servants” knew that they could face being personally sued (and possibly lose everything they own), they might be inclined to “behave themselves.
    A “video audit trail” should be required for ALL interactions between citizens and “public officials. This is especially important when it comes to interaction between citizens and police and firefighters. All interrogations must have this “video audit trail”; this would help to eliminate “coerced” false confessions. Tampering with “video audit trail” equipment should be a felony. If this equipment is malfunctioning (yeah right), all interactions and interrogations must stop.
    These two things would go far in reigning in the abuses that public officials heap upon the honest citizenry.

    • Tor Minotaur
      January 24, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Why does anyone advocate giving more resources to the maggots?

      All their stolen crap should be auctioned off as it is. Give them recording equipment? Pay more parasites to monitor the video feeds? Are you serious?

      It’s painful to read things like this.

      • JdL
        January 24, 2014 at 9:07 am

        Pay more parasites to monitor the video feeds? Are you serious?

        I see your point but on balance agree with anarchyst. To address your issues, how about if we establish a voluntary fund, the proceeds of which will provide video equipment for cops, which, once provided, they must wear and use. The video cameras will provide live feed which can be independently monitored by non government thugs, and can be used as evidence in court, either of cop wrongdoing, or of cop non-wrongdoing (I know, it’s a stretch, but it does occasionally happen ;-j ).

        I would contribute to that fund.

        • Tor Minotaur
          January 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

          Willing to follow any streams of thought, let’s see where they lead…

          Pros of cameras
          1) My indignation may not apply to Germanic, Commonwealth, 1st world East Asian police forces, where there are only a few non lethal shooting per year. Wherever law enforcers don’t even have weapons.

          2) Why not a new impartial civil authority above all enforcers? Drones and cameras only controlled by citizens or judicial branch?

          Cons of cameras
          1) they will be used to manufacture evidence and increase incarceration rates. Go pro squads with facial recognition. This will be worse than Minority Report. No chance they will be a net benefit to mundanes.

          2) You’re begging for 1984 to come to further fruition! Do you not see that? You can’t consume and indebt yourself back towards freedom.

          3) Road to Serfdom 101: reformers and dogooders are always negated by powerful strongmen. Always. When US sovereignty collapses, I’m sure the UN blue helmets will appreciate these new mandates.

    • Bevin
      January 24, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Dear anarchyst,

      I’m going to assume that was merely venting. We all do it. I know I have. I’m sure your motive was good.

      But providing more resources to “The Government” is hardly conducive to the advancement of anarchism. And, as I’m sure you will agree, hardly something that someone with the handle “anarchyst” ought to be advocating.

      Whaddaya think?

    • LSJohn
      January 24, 2014 at 10:45 am

      “Eliminate ‘qualified immunity’ for ALL public officials. ”

      This is a good idea, but we need to think about how often these people — whose jobs usually involve p!$$!ng people off — are going to be sued, even on occasions when they have not overstepped the bounds. Anyone can file a suit that has little or no merit and cost the target a lot of time, money and aggravation to defend it.

      I think qualified immunity should be limited to immunity from civil penalty/restitution. The agency that employed them could still be responsible for civil damages, and the individual perps vulnerable to criminal prosecution.

  12. Some
    January 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

    What is missing from most of these discussions is that the system is working exactly as intended. The police are used to physically terrorize or oppress people on a random basis, so they become conditioned to living in a state of fear. At the same time, the various universities, media, and other social institutions are used to mentally tear down the average person, pumping lies and propaganda at them 24/7 so they begin to doubt what they believe and become mentally neutered. The evil that resides at the top levels of government and corporations is the problem, where they are willing to destroy the old nation and create a new one which is a mix of subservient slaves and technologically useful toadies who exist primarily to serve them and make their lives as comfortable as possible, while they serve their own tyrannical impulses toward greed and cruelty, not unlike the most shameless ruling classes in world history. It’s not a question of “reform,” because “reform” would assume there was still some merit to the system. At this point, there’s not much to be done, outside of hoping we don’t get caught up by the state’s physical or social enforcers and made an example out of. We have long made the mistake of assuming that “comfort and leisure” means “freedom,” and now that the “comfort and leisure” are going away because of economic manipulation, we’re going to be left with nothing but a “wooden shampoo” and filth thrown at us through the media all day long. As Frank Zappa said, prophetically: “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

    • LSJohn
      January 24, 2014 at 10:50 am

      “What is missing from most of these discussions is that the system is working exactly as intended.”

      Two thumbs up!

    • Eightsouthman
      January 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Some, you got it. Try wresting any power from the cop to the judge and you’ll find yourself being a victim of “some thing”. Once again, their power at work….for them. It’s just a bad system that needs to be destroyed. They will eventually bring about their own demise. Remember the mafia? It began as a way to address the abuses of an abusive form of govt. and its retributions. For the most part, you can deal with the mafia. They understand everyone must make money, not so for the just us system.

  13. John
    January 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

    DEANCLIFFORD.INFO

    THE EXPERT ON SOVEREIGN RIGHTS.

  14. Kitty
    January 24, 2014 at 10:36 am

    An excellent idea Eric. If police knew that they would always be personally financially responsible for all judgments and awards against them, instead of them being paid by taxpayers, then they would probably start to seriously think twice a

  15. Kitty
    January 24, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Sorry. . . my computer hiccupped above. What I meant to comment was:

    An excellent idea Eric. If police knew that they would always be personally financially responsible for all judgments and awards against them, instead of those being paid by taxpayers, then they would probably start to seriously think twice before they would violate a tax cows rights.

    Let a few cops pay these $1-and-2-million-plus judgments OUT OF POCKET, and we would probably see policing change overnight. Hopefully.

    LEOs in America are totally out of control, and it has put a black eye on any of the good ones that are still left, no matter how few of those still exist.

    I, for one, do not feat the police, mostly because I am a law-abiding tax cow, and my path does not generally cross with LEOs. I do know my rights, and I will bravely, calmly, and respectfully exercise them if I ever do have any police encounters — and unfortunately as I do I will then fear their capability, as I know that they now routinely murder and abuse civilians with impunity.

    I see so many of these LEOs being asshats daily, that I send my list a daily email entitled “Asshat Cop of the Day”. Here’s todays:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/01/william-norman-grigg/cooperate-with-the-cops/

    • eric
      January 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Kitty – and, amen.

      The fact is people like you (and me) are now in the crosshairs, potentially at least. Consider, for example, the recent case of the man who was subjected to repeated anal probing and a forced colonoscopy … after having not come to a complete stop at a stop sign on his way out of Wal Mart.

      This incident is not isolated. Such things can happen to any of us, and it could begin over something seemingly trivial that quickly escalates to utterly out-of-hand.

      I hope enough people come to their senses while there is still time…

  16. Bobbye
    January 24, 2014 at 10:58 am

    “Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor.” Augustine
    Of course Augustine believed that a government could be just despite the fact that all must break the Commandments against stealing and coveting.
    People have to get this through their head. There is ABSOLUTELY no rule of law. These tax collectors can interpret whatever they want. It is your obligation to fight in court and you will not win. So there is never a rule of law under the American system. This is why the law Barbara Boxer sneaked in the Highway Bill that “IF” the government THINKS you owe money under and theory whatsoever, they revoke your passport. They could revoke your passport if the THINK you have not turned over gold. They can and will do anything they like. When they stack the courts with former prosecutors, good luck. They rule in favor of government. Martin Armstrong. Knows history and has some interesting ideas.

  17. Dave P.
    January 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Only ever had one encounter with a cop and, thankfully, it was a case of a rare good one. I was driving home after a particularly bad day and work and the light ahead just turned yellow. I began to slow down but the guy behind me floored it. I managed to react in time and quickly sped back up. We both ended up running the red and a cop was getting ready to make a right turn, so he fired up his lights and pulled us both over. He approached me first and said, “I saw what happened. Since you acted to prevent an accident, you’re free to go.”

    I didn’t stick around to see what happened to the other guy.

    • eric
      January 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I’ve had some ok encounters too – in the sense that the cop was not a dick and treated me politely. However, when you get to thinking about, politeness and not being a dick don’t efface the fact that you got pulled over for no legitimate reason (that is, you didn’t harm anyone or do anything that could fairly be said to pose an imminent danger to anyone else). We’re grateful when the cop “gives us a break” – but the truth is they ought to be leaving us alone, not “giving us breaks.”

      • Dave P.
        January 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        Agreed. The encounter took place several years ago, before I woke up.

      • January 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        Yeah, see, there’s a rare case where the second guy probably did deserve a ticket. In fact, he probably should have had to pay the ticket to the person posting above (Assuming his story is accurate, which I have no reason to doubt). If he hadn’t reacted more quickly than an average person is able to, the second guy could have caused an accident. That’s just stupid.

  18. bgarrett
    January 24, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I agree with eric peters. what we are seeing now is cops get a PAID VACATION when they do wrong, then the injured citizen is paid off with TAXPAYERS MONEY and the cop keeps his job.
    In general cops are people who arent smart enough to get jobs as productive members of society

    • eric
      January 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks, BG – good to have you with us!

  19. Gail Higgins
    January 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    A lot of us grew up with the cop on the corner being presumed to be the ‘good guy’. No more.

    Now, I am going to get flack for this ‘elitist attitude’ but – think on it.

    Everyone has seen the movie where the two childhood friends go separate ways – one becomes a gangster; one becomes a cop. But for….

    Rule one: Criminals are generally stupid. (The smart ones become politicians.)

    Rule two: A lot of good folks become cops. If they stay good, they don’t stay cops. If they stay cops, they don’t stay good. (Rule probably holds true for some military, too and definitely for politicians.)

    Run three: With Court-sanctioned Caps on IQ these days for prospects seeking employment as cops, the government is seeking relatively stupid, order-followers to fill the ranks and control the sheeple.

    A lot have (well-deserved) low- self-esteem, and seek power over others to fill the void. (The school-yard bully syndrome) A lot have low-self-control, and lash out (often with any weapon at hand) at any perceived threat to their status and control (trigger tempers). A lot are border-line psychopaths who are masters at lying to cover their actions. (There are studies about lower-IQ correlations with increased white matter in the pre-frontal cortex… Hell, there are studies purporting to prove anything)

    Gee, can’t remember if I was talking about the kid-who-became-a gangster or the kid-who-became-a-cop. No problem – there’s no difference.

    • eric
      January 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Good stuff, Gail (and welcome to EPautos)!

      Yes, there is a definite correlation between lower intelligence and poor impulse control, a tendency to lash out violently when frustrated, etc.

      Another reform I’d like to see is military “service” an automatic disqualification for police work. The mentality fostered in the military is antithetical to civilian peace keeping. Soldiery and keeping the peace are two mutually exclusive things.

      • Phillip the Bruce
        January 28, 2014 at 5:46 pm

        I’ve got a better idea than having military “service” disqualify you as a peace officer. Do away with the military, at least as it now exists. Return to the State militias referred to in the 2nd Amendment. NO standing armies, one of the primary hatreds of the Founding Fathers (not that they were perfect, but they had some good ideas).
        Ever wonder what the term “Commander-in-Chief” is supposed to mean? When Congress declares war, they request that the States send their militias, each of which has a Commander. The Commander-in-Chief coordinates all these State Commanders.

        • eric
          January 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm

          Well-said, Phillip!

          America has not been invaded since 1812; all subsequent wars were optional – and undertaken for reasons not having to do with self defense.

          The war against Mexico – territorial aggrandizement exactly of a piece with Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia (and Poland).

          The war of federal supremacy (the misnamed “Civil War) – imposing the leviathan central state at bayonet point.

          The Spanish American war – more territorial aggrandizement.

          WWI – the war to save New York bankers (and profit munitions makers).

          WW II – the war brought to you by the makers of WW I.

          Korea/Vietnam – maintaining spheres of “influence” (and access to important metals/resources).

          Iraq/Afghanistan – Oil, Israel, munitions…

          All bullshit for the power/fortune of the few at the expense of the many.

          • January 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm

            I’m reminded of a thing Dennis Kucinich once said on Freedom Watch on the subject of Iraq and Afghanistan: “underneath the democracy there’s gold and lithium and copper and other precious metals that may require our presence.”

          • eric
            January 29, 2014 at 8:03 am

            Exactly.

            Kucinich is a lefty – but like Gore Vidal – an honest one. I respect that.

    • Bevin
      January 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      Dear Gail,

      You wrote:

      Rule one: Criminals are generally stupid. (The smart ones become politicians.)

      Amen to that!

      Or, “Stupid criminals become gangstas. Smart criminals become banksters.”

      Ever see this movie?

      “Under New Management”

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0887966/
      “Sparks and bullets fly when a Wall Street yuppie must steer a Brooklyn mob crew legit before a beautiful FBI agent can build RICO indictments against them.”

      http://www.undernewmanagement-themovie.com/synopsis.php
      “Before the Bernie Madoff scandal and the bailout of AIG we had this idea to make a movie about the thin line between Wall Street and Mob Street,” says screenwriter Denis Hamill, about the genesis of Under New Management. “I’d known plenty of wise guys and Wall Street guys from covering stories over the years for my column at the New York Daily News. Problem was, I was finding it harder and harder to distinguish between the Gotti brothers and Lehman Brothers. I didn’t see a whole lot of difference between a yuppie gambling with derivatives on Wall Street and a wiseguy taking book in Bensonhurst. The only difference between a robber baron and the mafia don was that one was legal and the other wasn’t.”

  20. senior citizen
    January 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    All this discussion is well and good, however I realized there is little hope in changing the current paradigm when I discovered that the community I live in has two unmarked police vehicles for each one that is marked. I believe that statistic alone tells us where their mindset is at.

    • eric
      January 24, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      I alternate between pessimism and optimism; there’s good reason for both.

      We can only hope for the best – and strive to see it realized.

  21. InalienableWrights
    January 24, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Love what you are doing my friend.

    Just one suggestion: I hope you update this article from time to time, and hopefully add some thoughts on the horror of police investigating themselves in cases of misconduct, rather than a COMPLETELY independent group of citizens.

    I am also fond of the thought of completely disbanding this standing army. We did well without them until 100 years ago. In places like the “Icelandic Free State” they did not exist at all and the detectives that would find criminals after a crime were entirely free market.

    • Bevin
      January 24, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Dear IW,

      “In places like the “Icelandic Free State” they did not exist at all and the detectives that would find criminals after a crime were entirely free market.”

      Yes!

      Market anarchism is provably not “utopian.”

      If it were “utopian,” how could it have existed and flourished for three centuries — longer than the unitedstate has even been in existence?

      • InalienableWrights
        January 24, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        Belvin glad to know that I am not alone in knowing such things.

        There are many examples of stateless societies if one looks close enough. Some of the North American Indian tribes had ceremonial “chiefs” that really had no power over the people. The Sioux were organized this way as I recall.

        • Bevin
          January 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

          Dear IW,

          I later read that Ireland was once similar to the Icelandic Commonwealth.

          For me, learning about the Icelandic Commonwealth was a shot in the arm. Before I supported market anarchism based solely on the internal logic.

          But once I learned about the Icelandic Commonwealth, I was reassured by historical fact. I then knew for certain that market anarchism not only could work, it had already worked!

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 25, 2014 at 1:19 am

            Iceland – age of the Sturlungs
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_Sturlungs

            So what happened to the Icelandic Commonwealth?

            Middle Ages Settlement c. 870–930
            Old Commonwealth c. 930–1262

            1 Christianization c. 999–1118
            2 Sturlung Era c. 1180–1264
            3 Norwegian rule 1262–1380

            Old Covenant 1262
            Reformation 1536–1627
            Danish Trade Monopoly 1602–1874
            Independence Movement 1809–1847
            Home Rule · Independence 1885–1918
            Kingdom 1918–1944
            World War II 1939–1944
            Invader relationships 1940–1945

            So what happened to America. Good old days.
            1 Christianization.
            2 Sturlung Era (Rockefeller, Morgan, rule by few powerful clans)
            3 Coming soon: External Rule

            I keep returning to the suspicion there is something sinister about Christianity. Not about Jesus or his followers. They were self-contained and self-sufficient.

            Jesusness is cool and noble, and I say God bless it, God speed, and all that to them. In some ways I am one of them, though they may disagree or reject me as heretical.

            Jesus anarchists, who could be an American plurality, should they rebel and become self-ordered spiritual sovereigns, they might become the saviors of us all.

            Christianity? It seems sinister. A mafia front for great evil. Banksters. Kazars. Eugenecists. Zionist Supremicists. Reptilian Aliens Even. All manner of bad actors seem to lurk behind the scenes. It’s not about spirituality at all. It’s never been what it claims to be. It’s some kind of blood ritual puppet show, as near as I can tell.

            Jesus didn’t care about circumcision and abortion. Celibate priests, not a word about it.

            But they seem so adamant about their inhuman rules, to the exclusion of so many more important things. The untranslated original language scriptures are normal. The King James cult version OT & NT, subtly altered, stealthy modified, pure unmitigated evil, more like an animal husbandry and slaughterhouse manual than a spiritual tome.

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 2:00 am

            Dear Tor,

            Excellent analysis!

            Also, consider this.

            Icelandic Anarchism / polytheism / Paganism / competing proto-PDAs

            Icelandic Statism / monotheism / Christianity / monopoly government

            Eery correlation, no?

          • methylamine
            January 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

            @Tor and others re: Christianity

            What strikes me is how violently the State loathes Christians. NOT the captive state-run “Christian” churches–the big mega-preachers and their sickeningly coiffed hair-dos, but the quiet, self-sufficient peaceful practitioners with their ranches, guns, and smart polite home-schooled kids that can pull headshots at 300 yards with open sights.

            They HATE them–they even have a name for them, “Bitter Clingers”

            You know what? I may not subscribe to the full Jesus story, but count me in–I’m a Bitter Clinger!

  22. Zorg
    January 25, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Is it a pipe dream to hope that some little town somewhere, or some county – whatever the local seat of power is from which the cop-goblins spring – will one day come up with a new system that does away with the whole police paradigm? I mean, this is not rocket science. A handful of reasonably intelligent and ethically-minded people could sit down for an afternoon over tea and biscuits and hammer out a decent plan to eliminate copdom from our fair cities forever. Yet nothing ever happens. I think I’ve read of a couple of tiny communities doing away with police, but then it’s said that the county cops then have jurisdiction.

    There are so many ways to eliminate copdom just from a statist perspective that the failure to do it speaks louder than the problem itself. We are always up against mass indifference (to be kind) and the mere inertia of politics. Aside from some concerted effort like a mini Free State Project catching on in a city or country, there seems to be no hope for libertarians and our brilliant and simple plans to rid the world of needless violence and corruption.

    I hope that eventually some small towns and cities/counties will stumble upon a wonderful reform of lawn enforcement (you like that one?) just by accident, and that it will become trendy and heralded by “democrats” and “civil libertarians” as the latest thing in progressivism or something. I’d settle (not really) for anything that brought improvement. Maybe the trick is to make radical libertarian stuff sound like it’s the next wave of hand-holding socialism or something because we don’t do a very good job of selling the idea of liberty.

    Liberty doesn’t sell. What seems to sell is “progress” and “democracy.” These are words that lull the sheep so much that I’m convinced you could sell outright secession to the masses and their leaders as long as you couched it in servile politically correct language dripping with all the buzzwords and appeared non-threatening saying, “After all, we’re all in this together.” If you make it sound like it’s actually improving the government, then they’ll buy it. Make it sound like new social technology or something, the latest thing, the product of a progressive democratic power-to-the-people think tank, and it has a chance. Maybe if you sold it as the Affordable Policing Act, it wouldn’t even be possible for anyone to oppose it without coming off as a Neanderthal. Hell, mention a “union” and “grants” for “community-based policing” and you’re halfway there. So what if the bill actually strips police power. They pass laws all the time that strip us of our liberties and these oppressive laws sound about as threatening as fluffy clouds of kitten fur.

    This would be a great social experiment for some devious libertarians to work on in their spare time – actually sit down and write up a law that does away with local policing as we know it and do it in a way that sounds like it’s just business as usual. Isn’t this what the nutcases in government do every day? Every cockamamie law they come up with sounds reasonable and normal and just par for the course. And they push the most radical crap like this – all the time – and manage to get it all passed like it’s nothing. In fact, anyone who opposes any “reform” is deemed to be a dangerous kook. So let’s write laws that empower the government to dis-empower itself so that we can say we’re empowering the government to serve the people or whatever. The funny thing is that this isn’t really radical at all. It’s how things get done. And it’s not really subterfuge either. It’s something people actually love and pine for. They love to hear about how you’re going to make them all safe and not do anything weird and scary like bring back liberty. No, you’re just going to bring better social technology to bear on fighting crime.

    Libertarians have too long been pigeonholed as wanting to take away this or that, or tear down this or that. Instead, we should wise up and give the people what they want. They want safety and security? Give them safety and security. They don’t want radicals rocking the boat, so don’t be a radical rocking the boat. Be a normal legislation-loving social engineer with a great plan to improve the efficiency of local government and “keep our community safe.”

    This is a little tongue-in-cheek, but just a little. I’m half serious. What have we got to lose? Does this approach not work for the Fabian socialists? Then why shouldn’t it work for us? I’m sure that all the smart libertarians who inhabit the dark corners of the web could develop thousands of new laws which sound like run-of-the-mill democratic nonsense but are really libertarian to the core. Sounds like fun project, eh? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

    They peck away at our liberties while telling us they are empowering us and keeping us safe from evil phantoms. Why can’t we peck away at these same ruling monstrosities while telling them we’re empowering them to take care of us?

    So who would like to be the first to write up a totally devious sample reform law for local lawn enforcement that sounds like regular democratic progressive socialist milquetoast it’s-going-to-pass-anyway-even-though-no-one-really-supports-it-because-we’re-too-bored-to-care legislation?

    • Garysco
      January 25, 2014 at 2:04 am

      Why is there no hope that the “Proles” will ever revolt and overthrow the “Party” in Orwell’s 1984?

      Economic restraints and violence have long been used by totalitarian governments. These techniques work in the short, but have historically proven to encourage the revolt of the common people. In Orwell’s society, however, he has added the Thought Police. By learning to control the thoughts of the people through language and torture, the Party ensures their power. The Party is able to change the beliefs of the people by changing the way they think abou things – this is the principle of Newspeak. In addition, as happened to Winston, when a person demonstrates rebellion, the Party is able to tap into their deepest fears and then uses those fears to gain allegiance. The Party will not execute anyone until that person has been converted. Therefore, no rebel is a martyr to the cause, but instead a willing victim. Willing victims do not rebel.

      http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/why-there-no-hope-that-proles-will-ever-revolt-13975

      • Bevin
        January 25, 2014 at 3:27 am

        Dear Gary,

        Can an authoritarian regime impose such airtight control, not just over bodies, but also minds, such that political awakening and revolt becomes impossible?

        It’s an important question.

        I tend to think that the ever tightening controls contain the seeds of the Leviathan State’s eventual undoing.

        One metaphor is the pressure cooker eventually exploding. China’s 5000 year history tends to bear this out.

        Most market anarchists have read Rothbard. They are familiar with his commentaries on Chinese Daoist philosophers being the world’s first libertarians and anarchists.

        But interestingly enough, and sad to say, the world’s first totalitarians were also Chinese philsophers. This was the Legalist school of philosophy.

        What’s interesting and relevant, is that the two dynasties that implemented totalitarian Legalist political policies, the Qin dynasty and the Sui dynasty, were among the shortest in China’s history. In other words, the worse the repression, the sooner the implosion.

        I think there is something in human nature, hardwired, that is always going to rankle and lash back at the imposition of external controls. That is one reason I tend to remain optimistic.

        • Jean
          January 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm

          The trend towards freedom is hardwired in human DNA.
          However, the technology is coming which will be implanted or injected into humans to enforce thought control.

          Seriously:
          There are experiments in forcing a rat’s tail to move based on a human’s thoughts.
          There are designs to make computers at the nano scale, so they can modulate hormone secretions. (think SSRIs across the population – or extra dopamine when the correct product is shown on a screen…)

          Google Glass, ubiquitous cameras and drones, bugs in every apartment/home, and cell phones and laptops and TVs and game systems which watch your every move and report it to a central database.
          Got an XBOX K’nect? that already checks the body count, to not exceed licensed users…
          Cable boxes are becoming more intelligent, too – tracking your watching history, to recommend shows you might like. And to tailor advertisements to you – say, lingerie and perfumes and “toys” when the adults are watching TV, and sugar-loaded cereals and action figures for children.

          Lots of problems on the way, IF we allow it to happen. And soon enough, we WILL be tagged, and computerized, and delimited – all in the name of Safety and Security.

          Think of how things would be, if your child could be instantly tracked by GPS? Wouldn’t that be awesome? No one could steal little Honey Boo-Boo away, even WITH a forklift… You could find out exactly where the blessed angel was (even without knowing where the cookie jar was.)

          But it goes further! Because in the name of “safety”, we’ll want to keep violent offenders from committing violent acts. Sheeple will cheer the V-chip for humans! Only Violent Offenders will have their thoughts controlled, after all. Society will be so much safer!
          And then, it will creep into psychiatry or discipline in the schools…. A “disciplinary problem” child will need their chip implanted to return to (mind-numbing) school, and it will make them SO MUCH BETTER….
          And the gossip-group mothers will find out the former problem child is now pulling A’s, and insist THEIR children get the impanted (injected?) chip, too….

          You can see the sort of trend, it’ll be like the Brand-Name vs. the store brand of basics like Band Aids. The “General Populace” will have something identical to the “Brand Name” (IE, for criminals) mind-implant/thought control device… But of course, “The People” would never have thought constraints in THEIR model….

          Look around. It’s not paranoid if they really ARE out to get you. Borg, or Cybermen…. Same thing, we are to be ants in the colony. Worker bees. It’s just a question of how HARD they can clamp down our humanity.

          • methylamine
            January 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

            A good question is–where does this twisted sociopathic fantasy of control COME FROM?

            I had an excellent talk with a friend this weekend, going over some fundamentals of philosophy. They were working toward truth until we got Hegel, Social Contract theory, the utilitarians, and now their watered-down, dumbed-down, useful-idiot totalitarian offspring–the “Progressives”.

            And it all comes down to one central fallacy–The external perfectability of Man, formulated as “tabula rasa”.

            Is Man’s nature infinitely malleable? Can man be trained to ANY range of behaviors; is “culture” an external imposition…and then, is Natural Law also a cultural phenomenon, and we don’t have a truly innate revulsion for deceit, theft, violence, and murder?

            Because if we ARE tabula rasa then we can be molded, prodded, “nudged” (Sunstein’s word) into submission, made into the New Man, Aldous Huxley’ed into “perfection”.

            And the State can do it!

            But ancient, deeper philosophy holds that things and creatures have an innate nature; flexible to a point, but the thing remains the thing. Man has a nature and it will not be violated.

            In large part the pushing comes from psychopaths–who really DON’T have empathy–and for whom deceit, theft, and murder are not inherently repulsive. And so, they try to project that onto us–“Well *I* don’t feel that, hence they can be remade in my image!”.

            Whether or not you’re a deist you have to decide this question for yourself. I suspect most everyone on this board would fall on the side of “Man has a certain nature, inviolate past a certain range of behaviors.” Because if we don’t have an innate urge for freedom, sense of basic justice, and free will–then why are we arguing for freedom? It’s an illusion!

            This also argues against the current (very vehement) trend to denigrate free will. They WANT us to be automatons; all the better to soothe the consciences of the Brown Shirts tasked with exterminating us.

          • Jean
            January 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm

            Methylamine,
            I agree that it is twisted to want to control others.

            I believe it comes from a feminine “need” [psychological need] to feel “protected.” Lots of Game theory in there, I don’t know I can hit most of it – typing at work here, so may have some issues.

            http://mattforney.com/

            Matt Forney, originator of “In Mala Fide” (“In Bad Faith”) has creted a new blog – sometime back now – but these two posts caught my eye today.
            http://mattforney.com/2014/01/09/politics-is-a-waste-of-time/#more-15539 – Commenting that even bothering is a waste, this was a guest post – but accurate as far as it went. Can’t use the nihilistic bit, but interesting anyway. Need to turn the nihilism into something else, whether it’s opting out of the society that has abandoned us, or physically leaving, or even fighting to correct the problem.

            But the seconds – http://mattforney.com/2014/01/08/the-key-logger-a-forbidden-glimpse-into-the-true-nature-of-women-by-nicholas-jack/ – Ah, THERE is where it gets interesting.
            This is a book review, of a man’s actions while dating 10 American women. After you see a handful, that “general population” becomes easy to work with, that “n”-sized sample is easy to extrapolate.

            Anyway – he put a keylogger on his computer, which the girls were allowed to use when at his place.
            Long story short, EACH AND EVERY ONE thought that keeping in contact with her ex-es or dating other men or just “other guys” they were consistently in contact with, it was OK for her to do it – nothing wrong, nothing to see here…
            What if the situations had been reversed? If he had kept a girl on the side? If he had a harem of women? Would they have tolerated that?

            I think we know the answer.

            But it’s the same thing. Same sort of “rules for thee, but not for me,” that we see in the authoritarian mind set.
            She thinks her genitals give her a superior authority. Does the cop not think his (or her) General-talia (rank insignia) gives the same? Right to do WTF they want, when they want – with no consequences?

            Look at the federal budget, especially WRT social programs (the “safety net”) that has sprung into being, since women got the vote. THAT is when the budget went vertical.
            It MUST be something about that mindset, the “protect me because I’m special” mindset.

            Women see their offspring as extensions of themselves (mine included). They must protect that piece of themselves from harm, regardless of cost. Helicopter Mom making sure Bubble Boy never has any issues.
            And then, one day, the Real World asserts itself – and Bubble Boy (or girl) has no comprehension of what is happening, or why, and is unable to comprehend – and thus (re)act in reasonable ways – to the absurd situations we encounter in life.
            What do you mean, (s)he can’t drive 90 MPH in the parking lot? (S)He KNOWS the Speed Limit, yes! But why are you hassling HIM(HER)?!

            And that’s a minor example – imagine an Army Grunt whose first “Real World” moment is at home, doing “Disaster relief” or similar. Let alone as an occupying force in hostile territory.

            Add in to that “shielding” part, that men like to shield and protect women – even from the results of their own bad decisions. SHE chooses to sleep with him, gets pregnant – HE must marry her. At shotgunpoint if necessary, but he WILL “man up” and accept responsibility. Or maybe like Joe Biden’s family dispensed justice – if Cupcake squeeled, fussed, or was upset, the boys got smacked. Even if they had nothing to do with it.

            Imagine that childish attitude in an adult frame?

            I think that’s what we have.
            We don’t have concern for others, we have enforced charity – which means, we aren’t capable of deciding what is right to do with our money. And while we might well want to support widows and orphans, we’re supporting crack whores, willful indigents, the intentionally single mothers – some of whom DO NOT need our “assistance,” BTW. And yet the people who NEED our help? They never see a cent of that money.
            The man whose wife beat him (or even attacked him with a knife) and threw him out of the house – then got a restraining order against him? He can’t get any assistance. If he even gets visitation in the divorce – the courts won’t enforce THAT, but let him miss a support payment (because he’s UNEMPLOYED and UNABLE to pay)…? They’ll break down the door and kill him.

            Taking things to the logical extremes, I see women’s fear of being “alone” (defenseless: Imbues herd mentality, safety in numbers – like a school of fish, the individual may fall to a predator but the herd/school lives on) and fear of the unknown (not female-exclusive, but men handle the unknown better; this translates primarily to “Safety”), and their (non-existent / mythical) “mothering instinct” and the “belief” that their children are extensions of themselves… They’ll be HAPPY when the Matrix evolves. ALL the “SAFETY”, no risk, no responsibilities.
            (Note, BTW, there were only two women on the Nebechudnezzer, Trinity and Switch. And I had forgotten about Switch, she was so Integral to the story. Yet she also was the “woman”, dying without fighting, whereas Trinity showed her “woman” side by going with Neo – submission – yet then proceeded to kick ass left, right, and center, and even Neo, the “Chosen One” got beaten up. Amazon Princess Warrior don’t need no MAN, AND she doesn’t even get a scratch… But The Chosen One gets shot. Hmmm….)

            These themes keep playing out, too, in Western mythos. Hunger Games, for example. Pacific Rim. Ultraviolet. Avengers. Twilight. GI Joe. Underworld. Powerpuff Girls. Even as far back as Transformers (Generation 1 cartoon, let alone the movies or recent cartoons).

            Compare with Battle Royale, the Japanese equivalent of “The Hunger Games.” Girls not do so well… Psychopaths do well.

            Our country has been wallowing in Protectionism, Hero Worship, Helicopter Mom, Supermom, anti-masculine & anti-male themes for over 30 years now.

            All so Buttercup can feel she’s IN CONTROL. And she can’t feel IN CONTROL unless no one ELSE has control (loosely translated to “power”, whether physical, political, legal, or moral.) And women – like it or not – are NEVER truly in control; their logic is overridden by emotion, all the time. How she FEELS is more important than what is REAL.
            She’ll justify everything later, anyway. (Men do that too, but use a different mechanism to justify it. ;-) ) But she didn’t WANT to do the gang-bang, her boyfriend / the liquor / the roofies did it, she was just along for the ride…
            And the evil men involved in that brutal rape MUST PAY because she’s NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL….
            That same temper tantrum is in ACA/Obummercare, Social Security, even the Fed – it’s control, to make the illusion of things being “in control,” instead of a free-fall existentialist nightmare.

            We have control over WHAT, exactly. We can control how WE RESPOND to the situations in life. A woman loses control of her children about 5-7, when she’s no longer able to physically enforce her will on them. Oddly enough, that’s when Spartan boys went to camp; when Catholics receive first communion; etc. It’s the time of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, right? (Meeting in 5 minutes, not googling it now.)
            We expect those children to show some sign of maturity, some concpet of a world beyond themselves. They KNOW there’s a world they will inhabit. That it doesn’t do what they want, when they demand.

            Buttercup is still a child, UNLESS she is taught to listen to something besides her FEELINGS… Men, after all, are told to “Man Up!” by 5… Mocked for showing feelings, mocked for being weak, girly, or effeminate.
            There is no equivalent for women. No “Woman up!” or “Show some emotions!” or “Why don’t you cry?” Not even “show some restraint!” is allowed any more – whether regarding dress, drinking, driving, security (IE, don’t dress like a slut, keep your drink in sight, don’t go into dark places alone pretending you’re He-Man.)

            The female mind seems incapable of tying causes to effects at times…
            But demands there BE no effects EXCEPT what she wanted. (IE, she can dress like a slut to have “Jack” notice her. She’s upset when Tom, Dick, and Harry notice, though – ONLY the Alpha Male shuold notice, the others aren’t even “men” to her perceptions… Tom, Dick, and Harry should all respond as if she were an 80-year-old in a burqa. And Jack should see her as the HOT-to-trot 18-year-old even if she IS an 80-year-old in a burqa.)

            Since she can’t force the men to respond that way, she appeals to a “higher power” (God as represented by the State) to make and enforce LAWS that make the men respond as she wants…. And reality, too, so that fire should not burn, water not be wet, and gravel not scratch her flesh… Even if she’s sliding on a glass-shard waterslide, she should be perfectly coiffed, uninjured, and dry at the bottom…

    • eric
      January 25, 2014 at 7:47 am

      Interesting concept, Zorg!

      The problem, of course, is that our ideals are fundamentally at odds with active legislation of the sort you describe. Though on the other hand, one of Hitler’s tricks was to say essentially nothing – beyond platitudes that almost anyone could agree with – while haranguing the crowd, in order to get its support, and then pursued his own policy very effectively.

      Here’s my take:

      “Democracy” and “progressivism” have sold – but the con is wearing thin. These philosophies work until – as Thatcher put it – you run out of other people’s money to give away. We are reaching that point – and it’s becoming more and more plain to more and more people that the system does not benefit them. This is our opportunity.

      I know it seems daunting – impossible – that a working majority will ever even partially come around and reject collectivism, redistribution, all that cal.

      But it has happened before. There is real precedent.

      At one time – and not so very long ago – a working majority in this country did respect property and (to a great extent) leaving people free to live their own lives according to their own lights.

      There is no reason in principle that such a working majority cannot arise again.

      It begins with exposing the con (which does not require a philosophical awakening, just an appeal to self-interest) followed up with an effective campaign of de-legitimizing authority (which is philosophical and as such, the “hard part”).

      It’s doable. Just not easy.

    • methylamine
      January 25, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Zorg, this is an excellent thought!
      Very much worth exploring.

  23. LSJohn
    January 25, 2014 at 3:08 am

    @David

    ” I believe that the idea that the world brought itself into existence is insane.”

    There are many questions about the Universe for which scientists offer answers, but they are beyond the comprehension of most of us.

    Infinite Universe; Big Bang; the relationship of space, velocity and time; bent space; etc.

    To believe, with great confidence, that one knows how the Universe originated, seems a little crazy to me. But I must admit, it’s a little easier to grasp the idea that some Super-Being intentionally created it than either that it always existed or that a Big Bang of a really small, really dense something started it all.

    By the way, saying “I don’t believe in God” is not the same as saying “There is no God.” Most atheists I have known say the former, not the latter, but theists often seem to prefer to believe that the reverse is true.

    • eric
      January 25, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Hi LS,

      That saying – “man is the measure of all things” – comes into play here. The human mind (most of them, anyhow; there may be exceptions such as Hawking, Einstein, etc.) cannot even begin to deal with the numbers involved when a discussion of the universe comes up. We can get our heads around nine planets, the distance from the Earth to the Moon. But when you start talking about the number of stars in the Milky Way (not even touching on Andromeda, the Local Cluster or the millions of other galaxies out there) the mind begins to boggle. Who, really, can understand 14 billion years? Light that takes longer than the Earth has existed to get from its source to the point that it is visible to us now – the sun that emanated it long since supernova’d?

      We are naked apes flitting about for 70 or 80 years or so. Most of us have no idea who our great-great-great grandparents were – and that covers a span of perhaps 200 years.

      It is much easier – and much more comforting – to say, “God did it!” than to come to terms with our precarious existence and the daunting enormity of the universe, which may indeed exist without end and forever. Or perhaps something far more baffling such as a universe that re-creates itself endlessly through the ages.

  24. Tor Minotaur
    January 25, 2014 at 5:51 am

    North Port Florida Dec 20, 2013 Ukrainian Rally.

    It’s an authoritarian race to the bottom. We’re burning our crops for fuel. Our cattle herd is at an all time low. There are shortages here already. It’s a war on food, and the heroes plan to win that war. Happy Holodomor everyone!

    Ukraine took billions in stimulus from the Russians. They’re paying a very high price for fuel. The Ukranian people are only paying 20% of the government’s cost of fuel, their government would rather risk collapse, than have to sell public assets, seek allies, or downsize somewhere.

    Regulators are shutting down energy production facilities everywhere. There are 1/2 trillion notional dollars in carbon credits, and this market is increasing. Soon, being granted the right to generate power will be the new
    world gold standard. Happy Holocaust, new 3rd worlders with soft hands and useless 1st world skill sets that require industrial capital.

    Every big business, big city, big newspaper, big TV, big radio, big social network, nearly everything of consequence in America is hyperscripted and supercontrolled. America is totalitarian to the point of rapidly diminishing returns.

    Somebody is going to have to be paid. Or we will have to crush our lenders and enablers. Somewhere a new balance will have to be reached.

    We the people need to listen to other people. The people in less or differently totalitarian nations. At this point, we should start acting our wage and debt status. Which is to say, a lot more humbler and open to suggestion than we currently are.

    Hayden Panettiere alongside Ukrainian fiancée Vladimir Klitschko
    http://www.euronews.com/2013/12/07/keep-fighting-klitschko-fiancee-hayden-panettiere-tells-ukraine-rally/

    Go Pro Kiev, Ukraine Rally

    There is no need for theoretics, or armchairism. 46 million people, every bit our equals, are fighting and striving for autonomy and sovereignty.

    These are educated, literate, skilled, cultured, productive, artistic, storied, valiant, accomplished, brave, hearty, peoples. Will they be assimilated by the Russian Orthodox Mafia or Euro Borg, or will they stand on their own? You don’t really believe resistance is futile, do you?

    • Bevin
      January 25, 2014 at 6:09 am

      Dear Tor,

      Will they be assimilated by the Russian Orthodox Mafia or Euro Borg, or will they stand on their own? You don’t really believe resistance is futile, do you?

      As the authorities in The Capitol of Panem would say,
      “May the odds be ever in your favor!”

      But as rebel graffiti in the Districts would say,
      “The odds are NEVER in your favor.”

      • Tor Minotaur
        January 25, 2014 at 6:53 am

        Indeed. Every image or footage I’m allowed to view without considerable maddening effort, has captions and voice-overs telling me what it is. Framing its context in the all-grid. Always it is lies piled upon lies.

        These proles are protesting for the Ukraine to be included in the EU. These proles are anti-Putin. Those are nationlist proles. Those are socialist proles. They are Party of Regions, Fatherland, UDAR, Freedom, Communists, Neo-Nazi, Pro-Russia, Anti-Russia, always everywhere, the proles are in an enumerated district, never are they an individual or self-directed human.

        Biden urges Ukraine leader to put an end to bloodshed

        http://www.modbee.com/2014/01/23/3150016/biden-urges-ukraine-leader-to.html

        You can’t make up this comedy gold. Vice President Corialanus Snowflake Biden who smells of blood and roses. A lovable psychopathic buffoon.

        Look, he’s phoned in a drone murder of 100 people, one of whom has dirt on Obama. Now he’s gotten drunk and fallen down some stairs at a gala and ended up entangled in Oprah’s corset and high heels. Silly Joe, you rascal, you!

        “The smell of roses and blood has grown stronger now that only a podium and teleprompter separates us. There’s a rose in Vice President Biden Snowflake’s lapel, which at least suggests a source of the flower perfume, but it must be genetically enhanced, because no real rose reeks like that. As for the blood… I don’t know.”

        “Vice President Biden Snowflake: [voice over] War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child. This was the uprising that rocked our land. Thirteen federal reserve districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them.

        “Her entire species must be eradicated.
        (Plutarch Heavensbee:) Her species, sir?
        President Snow: The other victors. Because of her, they all pose a threat. Because of her, they all think they are invincible. ”

        Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new deal united nations era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the germanic italian soviet traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again.

        And so it was decreed, that each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up in tribute, thousands of brave heroes, young men and women, to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice and televised wars.

        The lone victorious nation, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our world alliance’s generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our common wealth future. ”

        http://hungergamesdwtc.net/quotes/catching-fire/

        Down With The Capitol !!!!

        • Bevin
          January 25, 2014 at 7:55 am

          Dear Tor,

          The Hunger Games really is a treasure trove of political allegory.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if future generations hold it in the same esteem as other famous dystopian novels, such as 1984, Brave New World, Farenheit 451.

        • methylamine
          January 25, 2014 at 5:36 pm

          Tor you are on fire!

          I’m still ROFL from just this one among the other gems:

          Look, he’s phoned in a drone murder of 100 people, one of whom has dirt on Obama. Now he’s gotten drunk and fallen down some stairs at a gala and ended up entangled in Oprah’s corset and high heels. Silly Joe, you rascal, you!

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 25, 2014 at 9:15 pm

            I owe it all to my ancient Chinese secret stash – of 1970s era Calgon bath salts!

            Some hot shot!

            Calgon (Na6P6O18) bath salts, take me away!

            The traffic!, the boss!, the baby!, the dog!, that does it!, Calgon take me away!

            Modern Serbian Secret – washing machines live longer with Calgon!

            Calgon is a brand registered trademark of different corporations. When this amorphous sodium polyphospate is ingested, it complexes with your ambient calcium ions and certain other cations, preventing formation of the standard metabolic biological salts and elevating your neuron’s electro-chemical metabolics to a whole new level of awesome.

            Its name is a portmanteau derived from the phrase “calcium gone”. It was originally promoted for general use in bathing and cleaning, but now mainly sold as a water softener.

            Currently manufactured Calgon water softener contains the active ingredients zeolite and polycarboxylate, which are less problematic in wastewater treatment than phosphates, and also completely useless to anyone seeking the original Calgon transcendental experience of its original formulation.

          • eric
            January 26, 2014 at 7:25 am

            Calgon bath salts! Now that’s a trip down memory lane!

            How about Rula Lenksa… remember her?

          • Bevin
            January 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

            Dear Tor,

            There really is a larger lesson involved.

            “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

            Too many counterproductive solutions to things that were not problems to begin with.

    • Garysco
      January 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      @Tor – We are witnessing the death spiral of Socialism. But those at the wheel will not go peaceably and will trash the world to stay in power. Even in the face of all their failures.

      Venezuela slashes US dollar allowance for Florida travel to safeguard local greenback supply
      Associated Press By Joshua Goodman, Associated Press
      CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro’s government is slashing the amount of U.S. dollars Venezuelans traveling to Florida and other popular destinations take with them under decade-old currency controls.
      Travelers just to Florida will be allowed to charge a maximum of $700 annually on their Venezuelan credit cards and will be allowed to buy no more than $300 in cash. That compares with limits of $2,500 in credit and $500 in cash they were previously allowed for trips to Florida, an amount that will be maintained for the remaining 49 US states.
      The restrictions published Friday in the Official Gazette follow a partial devaluation of the bolivar that has made it costlier for Venezuelans to travel abroad and which the government hopes will help safeguard a dwindling local dollar supply.
      Venezuelans have been flocking to south Florida and other easily-accessed international destinations to shuttle abroad as much hard currency as they can under the rigid foreign currency exchange system.
      The demand for air travel has overwhelmed airlines, which are sold out months in advance, and contributing to capital flight that has drained central bank reserves by 30 percent over the past year.

      Airlines halt ticket sales in Venezuela
      Associated Press By FABIOLA SANCHEZ
      CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Tempers flared at airline offices in Caracas on Friday as Venezuelans reacted angrily to international carriers’ refusal to sell tickets after the government devalued the bolivar for flights abroad.
      The offices of American Airlines, Delta, United and Panama’s Copa were all either closed or had halted sales for several hours on Friday as the higher exchange rate took effect, adding to uncertainty as carriers try to collect $3.3 billion they say they’re owed by the socialist government.
      “Don’t waste your time,” a United representative, sticking her head out from behind a closed glass door, told a group of 10 waiting customers standing outside a ticket office at Caracas’ Centro Lido shopping mall. “It’s out of our hands. We can’t sell any more tickets.”
      When customers protested that they would never experience such poor service in the US, the agent, who didn’t identify herself by name, said “our situation is different than the US” and then quickly closed the door shut.
      Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for United in Chicago, said the airline continues to sell tickets in Venezuela but acknowledged that they had been halted for a few hours as prices in its system were adjusted. United has a single daily flight between Houston and Caracas.

      • Tor Minotaur
        January 26, 2014 at 6:55 am

        There’s always precious metal specie payments, and Bitcoin. Just say no when they ask you “paper or plastic.”

        Tower of David – Caracas, Ven. – a 45 story tall favela
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1p9jlQUW0k

        Socialist Critique of Capitalism
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_critique_of_capitalism#Socialist_criticisms

        Capitalist policies limit the incentive system of the market by providing things such as minimum wages, unemployment insurance, taxing profits and reducing the reserve army of labor, resulting in reduced incentives for capitalists to invest in more production.

        In essence, social welfare policies cripple the capitalism and its incentive system and are thus unsustainable in the long-run. Marxists argue that the establishment of a socialist mode of production is the only way to overcome these deficiencies.

        Socialists and specifically Marxian socialists, argue that the inherent conflict of interests between the working class and capital prevent optimal use of available human resources and leads to contradictory interest groups (labor and business) striving to influence the state to intervene in the economy in their favor at the expense of overall economic efficiency.

        Venezuela TV – Globovision – Live
        http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/8409.htm

  25. Tor Minotaur
    January 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

    The infatuation with atheists increases my fear that politically controlling Christians are a real and ongoing problem.

    What happened to open agora Grateful Dead type meetups? Why all the functionaries and buildings now? Churches with alarms, armed security, chem-lawn and pest control, it seems like a pathological assault on God’s creatures, doesn’t it?

    Atheists comprise an estimated 2.01% of the world population, or about 143 million. Why not attend to the 7 billion believers first, why the Borglike fixation on total assimilation?

    According to Gallup, more than 9 in 10 Americans say “yes” when asked the basic question “Do you believe in God? That’s a lot of people, many of whom are in a world of hurt right now.

    The churches could at least collectively set one beneficial goal, and make it happen, if they insist on being political.

    How about full employment, anyone who goes to a major church, is given a job that day. No forms, no minimum wage, just a dinarius, a days wage.

    All those who work, all receive an equal share of the collective take from the church. Divided evenly without exception. That is a healthy, Yeshua-worthy system, one truly inspired by the scripture and the acts of the prophets.

    May the demons in power who argue about which apostle wore which cloak, and such, all the while feeding, suckling, and coddling Leviathan, burn and roast in Hell with the rest of the damned demons and the damnable demonic system.

    • eric
      January 25, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Indeed, Tor.

      Organized religion is big business . . . what is the Pope’s net worth?

      If the Vatican liquidated its vast holdings and put the proceeds toward endowments to provide free or subsidized education to deserving but poor students…jobs training, medicine and food (and so on) imagine the amelioration of suffering it would provide.

      I have always wondered how Catholics can reconcile their religious beliefs – which eschew materialism – with the gross materialism of their church.

      I don’t expect the pope to live like Mother Theresa. But living like a Renaissance prince is a bit much to swallow.

      • Tor Minotaur
        January 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

        There are several videos saying the Vatican controls the single largest aggregation of wealth in the world. I don’t know if that’s true or not. In 2012 the economist estimated it spends $170 billion a year.

        Here’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis’, inaugural homily:
        http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/homilies/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130319_omelia-inizio-pontificato_en.html

        Forbes says he is the 4th most powerful man in the world. Not bad for someone who officially and legally, is merely the bishop of Rome.

        Supreme pontiff calls the Internet a gift from God
        http://www.nationaljournal.com/technology/pope-francis-in-social-media-message-calls-internet-a-gift-from-god-20140123

        The Pope Gets an Ipad
        http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=92e_1388393201

        • Zorg
          January 26, 2014 at 3:13 am

          “There are several videos saying the Vatican controls the single largest aggregation of wealth in the world. I don’t know if that’s true or not. In 2012 the economist estimated it spends $170 billion a year.”

          There are one billion Catholics in the world, so that’s about $170 per person. That sounds like a pittance to me. That’s less than what most people spend on coffee in a year.

          Try adding up the amount of money that goes into all local Catholic churches, schools, hospitals, charities, etc. all over the world. What do you think that figure is?

          Try adding up the collective net worth of all Catholics in the world, then you’ll get some truly wicked number.

          Are you surprised that Catholics have money and give some small portion of it to the Church every year?

          “Forbes says he is the 4th most powerful man in the world. Not bad for someone who officially and legally, is merely the bishop of Rome.”

          It would be scandalous if he didn’t have any social power, wouldn’t it?

      • LSJohn
        January 25, 2014 at 11:31 am

        “Organized religion is big business . . . what is the Pope’s net worth?”

        How many more charitable resources would U.S. Christians have if all U.S. churches had been constructed for half the cost?

        Jesus would throw up if he could see the ostentatious mega-churches built “in His name.”

      • Zorg
        January 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        “what is the Pope’s net worth?”

        I believe the Pope takes a vow of poverty when he is elected. All of his needs are met, of course, because he’s in full-time ministry. Net worth is a meaningless concept here. His life is given totally to the service of the Church.

        What, do you think the Pope personally owns all Church property? Whatever property the Church owns is institutional property. The Pope is just like any other institutional administrator. He is a steward. He is not the owner.

        “If the Vatican liquidated its vast holdings and put the proceeds toward endowments to provide free or subsidized education to deserving but poor students…jobs training, medicine and food (and so on) imagine the amelioration of suffering it would provide.”

        What kind of insane advice is this? The Church should liquidate? You sound like a commie. And the Church has a zillion social programs that it spends a zillion dollars on continually. What on earth are you talking about? The Church does nothing but spend money on programs.

        Surprisingly, it takes billions of dollars to administer an organization of billions of people. Strange, I know.

        “I have always wondered how Catholics can reconcile their religious beliefs – which eschew materialism – with the gross materialism of their church.”

        Wow. What materialism? This is like saying libertarians hate poor people! It’s just a ridiculous charge that people unthinkingly throw out because it makes them feel self-righteous or because they hate the Church, but it’s utter nonsense. The Church is materialistic because she holds property and manages billions of dollars? She’s supposed to hold property and manage billions of dollars! There are a billion Catholics in the world, and the Church is a 2000 year old institution!

        You’re saying she would be more “spiritual” if she were broke and had nothing? Seriously? This is something you recommend? To all people, Eric, or just Catholics? We shouldn’t build churches and schools and ministries because property makes us materialistic? We should liquidate in order to be spiritual? And then what? What do we do after we liquidate? We can’t build any new institutions because building institutions, holding property, and managing money is evil, right? So what then?

        “I don’t expect the pope to live like Mother Theresa. But living like a Renaissance prince is a bit much to swallow.”

        That’s curious. We all live like Renaissance princes. The current wealth of society is actually miles above what it was back then for royalty. What exactly do you mean by this? He shouldn’t live in the papal residence? Or shouldn’t have a retreat and have a maid or a driver or whatever? So in other words he should cease being the Pope and instead spend his days doing household chores?

        I’m really shocked that someone as smart as you would say these sorts of things.

        • eric
          January 26, 2014 at 6:57 am

          Hi Zorg,

          I was trying to make the point that the Catholic Church is immensely wealthy – and immense wealth (whether nominally held by an individual or the entity he heads) is not something that seems compatible with Christ’s injunctions to eschew materialism. The Pope needs shoes and a car, certainly. But Prada – and Mercedes Benz?

          But I did not intend primarily to criticize the Catholic Church. I meant to criticize your statement that one must be a religious believer in order to behave morally (ethically).

      • January 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

        I don’t know. I don’t give the RCC the slightest bit of consideration because their doctrines and dogmas are anti-Biblical. Combined with the fact that they claim to be the “one true church.”

        As for my personal beliefs, nothing wrong with having property if you earned it. Just be willing to give it away if and when God asks you to do so.

    • Bevin
      January 25, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Dear Tor,

      “The infatuation with atheists increases my fear that politically controlling Christians are a real and ongoing problem. ”

      It is rather disquieting, isn’t it? It casts doubt on the sincerity of their assurances that they tolerate dissent. Pejorative terms such as “infidel” “unbeliever” “heretic” come to mind.

      After all, libertarianism, especially market anarchism, the purest expression of libertarianism, is all about the NAP and “live and let live.”

      So why the compulsion to condemn those who don’t base their adherence to the NAP and to “live and let live” on religious doctrine?

      Non-theistic libertarians base their adherence to the NAP and to “live and let live” on firmly held, non-religious moral and ethical philosophies. Including the Golden Rule. Why is that so intolerable to theists who have declared themselves to be libertarians and anarchists? Why can’t we set aside the religious aspect, and confine ourselves to right and wrong rooted in morality/ethics and political theory?

      As you said, rather unsettling.

      • Tor Minotaur
        January 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm

        Having attended Catholic day prisons in my formative years, I feel compelled to disclose their shortcomings. Their alleged benefits are already well publicized and widely assumed as fact.

        While incarcerated, I was told all other forms of Christianity are invalid. Non-Catholics and atheists are equally in need of conversion and to renounce their false dogmas.

        We can each be oases from violent aggression and application of group force. But should not exceed our domain. We can guard a space where neighbors can ride in on their Hobbesian horses and drink or refuse to drink. Sometimes, they may even defecate on our paths, so we should be ready to efficiently shovel away the droppings we each leave, and use them as fertilizer as best we can.

        Adherents of NAP should expect to compete against other ideologies and win or lose on their philosophical merits. Time is best spent safeguarding and diversifying our own well, not poisoning the wells of others. Our enemy is not specific individuals, but rather individuations with arise and depart within all people, including ourselves.

        Personally, I individuate in different ways at different times. My NAPacity is not an unwavering constant, in the way yours seems to be. Instead, my NAPacity ebbs and flows. I pray it never runs dry, and that I never return to the old, less cumbersome ways of interacting with others through force both seen and unseen.

        From youngest age, I have always marched to the Carol of My Own Drum, which of course remains a source of grave disappointment to my family.


        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oquDxAt-EhY

        • Bevin
          January 25, 2014 at 11:39 pm

          Dear Tor,

          I hear you.

          There are of course bright spots amidst the gloom. As I mentioned before, the Amish, the Quakers, and other pacifist Christian sects really do adhere resolutely to the NAP.

          They actually bend over backwards to adhere to the NAP, through resolute pacifism. Never striking back. Never resorting to physical coercion. I genuinely admire their principled stance, but could never see doing it myself. To me, the requirements of self defense make physical resistance essential.

          Unfortunately militant theocrats always seem to hijack the dialogue, and do their damnedest to bring about Armageddon.

          • eric
            January 26, 2014 at 6:59 am

            The Amish do show us a way. They have managed to “opt out” of several collectivist programs, including Social Security. I believe they are also exempt from Obamacare. If they could do it, others could too. Any successful challenge of the state’s authority is a victory for all of us.

        • Zorg
          January 26, 2014 at 12:28 am

          “Having attended Catholic day prisons in my formative years, I feel compelled to disclose their shortcomings.”

          Yikes. So private schools are now “prisons”?

          “While incarcerated, I was told all other forms of Christianity are invalid.”

          Incarcerated? In private school that your parents paid for voluntarily? What, you were held there in chains against your will? You parents were child abusers?

          You mean you expected Catholic teachers to teach you that ANY or ALL forms of Christianity are “valid”? Why the hell would they do that? Would you teach that ANY or ALL forms of political/social/economic order are “valid” if you were “incarcerating” students in a private school you owned? (Now we know that libertarians cannot own private schools because sending a kid to school is tantamount to false imprisonment and child abuse. Private schooling is unethical and against the NAP apparently.)

          “Non-Catholics and atheists are equally in need of conversion and to renounce their false dogmas.”

          And you expected them to teach that false dogmas, of whatever stripe, should not be renounced? Do you teach that false dogmas should not be renounced? Because falsehood and truth are equivalent and one should hold equally to both? Or holding to falsehood is inconsequential? That’s a curious approach to truth. And you hold to this standard?

          “Adherents of NAP should expect to compete against other ideologies and win or lose on their philosophical merits.”

          But they should not claim that NAP is true and anti-NAP is false? If so, what is the basis of this competition? It has nothing to do with truth and falsehood, but more to do with arbitrary likes and dislikes? Then why are you speaking about “philosophical merits”? Are you trying to say that when you preach NAP it has philosophical merit but when Catholics teach historical Christianity according to Apostolic Tradition then they don’t make a philosophical case against other contradictory claims for Christianity based on merit? As far as Christianity is concerned, any number of falsehoods or contradictions are fine because they are equally meritorious, but when it comes to NAP there is no room for non-NAP or anti-NAP? Why? Shouldn’t you be “tolerant” of anti-NAP philosophy? If you teach your children NAP, is that brainwashing? If you pay for them to attend a private school which teaches libertarian values, is that considered child abuse?

          You guys really love to pile it deep, don’t you?

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 26, 2014 at 7:05 am

            Not everything that is familiar and commonplace is good. What passes for “education” in much of the world has a very real, very negative aspect to it that most people never even think about.

            A prison by any other name – Josie Outlaw & Larken Rose

            Some Vid Comments
            1
            You forgot to mention the fact that the children are forced to do work that produces no goods and services to anyone and they are not paid for their work!

            If children instead went to actually work for money in the labor market voluntarily, instead of the “education” labor camps, they would make at least $100,000 by the time they turn 17.

            And the most horrible thing is that we spend about $150,000 for every child from 1st grade to the high school graduation! It’s not that the system doesn’t work. It’s that the system is the problem!
            2
            I was always told I don’t listen. I still don’t if it doesn’t feel right to me I will not follow. You very much rock for making these videos and getting some of us off our butt to do something as well.

          • Bevin
            January 26, 2014 at 10:45 am

            Dear Zorg,

            You wrote,

            … but when it comes to NAP there is no room for non-NAP or anti-NAP? Why? Shouldn’t you be “tolerant” of anti-NAP philosophy?

            I hate to have to say this, but it is embarrassingly clear that you have not clarified your thinking on a conceptual level. Your comments about the NAP are a total muddle.

            What is the NAP?

            It is the “Non Aggression Principle.” Non aggression means no aggression. It means tolerance.

            What is rejection of the NAP?

            Rejection of the NAP is rejection of non aggression. Or to avoid the double negative, acceptance of aggression.

            Got that? Rejection of the NAP means acceptance of aggression. It means intolerance.

            Therefore how can one be “tolerant” of rejections of the NAP?

            It is obvious you haven’t bothered to consider the logical implications of your own statements.

        • eric
          January 26, 2014 at 7:14 am

          I was merely bored (by church, Sunday school). I never felt coerced or even pressured. Just … bored. I finally “opted out” when I was old enough to simply refuse to go anymore – and my parents didn’t push the issue.

          Going to church, participating in the rituals, the sense of community, etc. – are very comforting to some people. And of course, some people find genuine meaning in the doctrines/beliefs. I don’t disparage any of that. It’s just not for me – and so long as we both agree to live – and let live – there’s no problem.

          I would venture to say that most non-theists don’t sweat what others believe (or don’t) but only get nervous when religious people begin insisting they “know” – and that those who do not embrace this “knowledge” (and live accordingly) are morally defective (or worse) and in need of being educated or reformed or otherwise brought up to snuff.

          For me, religious belief is exactly that. . . belief. It is in a different category than knowledge. One can assert authoritatively that “2 plus 2 = 4″ – and look askew at anyone who refuses to acknowledge this. But to make categorical statements about beliefs that are not subject to empirical proof – e.g., “Jesus is Lord” – that’s taking things a step too far.

          I don’t doubt for a moment the sincerity of believers’ beliefs. But that’s not the issue. The issue – for me – is simply: Is the claim/statement factually supportable? Is it beyond mere opinion/assertion? Can you prove it to be true?

          If not, please don’t insist that it is true – and that my refusal to believe it is true makes me a moral defective.

          • LSJohn
            January 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm

            When people are taught — and convinced — to fervently believe even though sufficient empirical evidence is lacking, it instills a manner of thinking and analysis of all things that is counter-productive both for them and their neighbors.

            As long as flawed thinking does not lead to misBEHAVIOR, maximum tolerance should be offered, but tolerance ends where flawed thinking leads to rights-violating action. (Even voting can be rights-violating action. It can be — usually is — an attempt to use the power of one’s vote to force an outcome on those who prefer otherwise. Voting is only ethical/moral if all affected by its outcome have voluntarily agreed to be bound by the result.)

            WWJD? Would Jesus vote? I think not.

      • eric
        January 26, 2014 at 7:23 am

        Morning, Bevin –

        As you’ll probably agree, all the Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant. It’s an unavoidable corollary of asserting universality. Since they can’t all be “right” – they each regard the others as wrong. And once you go down that road . . .

        Buddhism – which of course isn’t really a religion in the same sense as the Abrahamic religions – is, so far as I have been able to determine, the only system that genuinely embraces live – and let live. The ethical lessons it teaches are appealing to me in part because they appeal to our humanity rather than a belligerent (and jealous) authority.

        Again, I am not interesting in pestering anyone over what they believe – provided they extend the same courtesy to others in return.

        • Bevin
          January 26, 2014 at 10:18 am

          Dear Eric,

          “Buddhism – which of course isn’t really a religion in the same sense as the Abrahamic religions – is, so far as I have been able to determine, the only system that genuinely embraces live – and let live. ”

          Spot on.

          Encyclopedias refer to Buddhism as a “nontheistic religion.” Nontheistic? Definitely. But as you correctly note, it isn’t even a religion. It is a philosophy.

          Buddhism is astonishingly unconcerned about proselytizing. It feels no compulsion to “spread the Gospel,” let alone conduct Crusades or Jihads. Buddhism is not out to conquer the world in the name of The One True God. Buddhism doesn’t even have God! It’s nontheistic, remember? Buddhism is not about worshiping a deity. It is about seeking individual enlightenment.

          Buddhism is not a mass movement. Buddhism focuses its energy on the individual’s quest for inner understanding. Buddhism says, “Here are some techniques by which you can learn about your higher nature and experience inner peace. If you like it, great. If you don’t, no sweat.” Buddhism does not command its practitioners to “Kill the infidel!”

          I find Zen Buddhism particularly appealing. Zen Buddhism is Indian Buddhism married with Chinese Daoist philosophy. Daoism as anyone familiar with Murray Rothbard knows, is hardcore libertarian anarchist in orientation.

          It is no accident that Buddhism genuinely embraces live and let live.

          • eric
            January 26, 2014 at 11:43 am

            Hi Bevin,

            The more I read up on (and am informed about) the tenets of Buddhism, the more I feel – for the first time in my life – that I may have found a spiritual system that works for me.

            Is there any particular “primer” you can recommend?

          • Bevin
            January 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm

            Dear Eric,

            Actually, there is a guy I think, I hope, you’ll really like. He’s one of my favorite teachers.

            The late, great Alan Watts — British born American Zen philosopher
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts

            Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.

            See Publications section for his published works.

            I loved listening to his taped lectures on the radio many years ago when I lived in LA. Some of those tapes have been uploaded to YouTube. Listen for free and get a feel for Zen Buddhism without having to spend any money.

            https://www.youtube.com/results?q=alan%20watts&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-beta&channel=sb&gws_rd=cr&um=1&ie=UTF-8&gl=TW&sa=N&tab=w1

            Also, if one of the larger cities in Virgina has a New Age bookstore, go there and browse through their inventory. See what resonates with you.

          • Bevin
            January 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm

            Dear Eric,

            This might be a good place to start. A seven part lecture that explains the differences between Eastern Mystical Philosophy and Abrahamic Theistic Religion.

            Alan Watts – Buddhism: The Religion of No-Religion Pt. 1/7

        • Hot Rod
          January 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm

          Bevin and Eric,

          “Buddhism – which of course isn’t really a religion in the same sense as the Abrahamic religions – is, so far as I have been able to determine, the only system that genuinely embraces live – and let live.”

          I agree that Buddhism is an intersting philosophy. The one issue I find with it is the end result. The end result of Buddhism is “the bliss”…”the nothingness”..kind of a quantum foam we all dissolve back into of “nothingness”. If the motive is to become “nothing” then that is by far a deconstructionist philosophy that kind of destroys the fun of being conscious and aware of reality. Without the “self” then I have a hard time defining myself, much less the value of anything else. No I can’t believe that the “self” is but a mirage because then I would have to reject Murray Rothbard’s subjective analysis of the self in determing something’s worth (smile). I choose life and higher order though and not entropy into nothing which seems too easy. Give me the hard road anyday as I’ll learn more from it, I’ll give the simple lay down and die to the sissies of the world. Though I agree that it may be peaceful to assume a suicidal position ( a resigned position) that nothing matters including “the self”, does it make a person fruitful though to be stoned out of one’s “self” so much so that nothing matters?

          Further like all cults Buddhism exhibits its on monkish “pharisee” priestly too good to touch behaviorism as well. Don’t believe me then just watch some Youtubes showing how the monks act when touched by a menstruating woman.

          When put to the test Buddhism just doesn’t hold up to me. Though again I don’t mind Buddhist as people because they usually don’t violate the NAP. Overall I love eastern philosophy and religion as a intellectual study, they were wise indeed on many things. But my feet get numb standing in one spot too long as I find that like anything there are nuggets of truth along with a whole lot of BS that needs sifting out.

          Best Regards,
          HR

          • Bevin
            January 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

            Dear HR,

            If… Buddhism principles necessarily led to the “cultish” syndromes you cited, I would be leery of it.

            Subscribing to any set of principles can and often does result in some exhibiting “cultish” symptoms. As a recovering “Student of Objectivism” I know this first hand.

            That does not invalidate the body of principles in toto. It merely means that one must as I noted earlier “cherry pick” what one finds worthwhile.

            Some belief systems are of course far more likely to encourage such “cultish” behavior than others. Those are the ones to be the most leery of. Those are the ones that command one to “Kill the infidel!”

            You expressed concerns, saying: “No I can’t believe that the “self” is but a mirage because then I would have to reject Murray Rothbard’s subjective analysis of the self in determing something’s worth (smile). ”

            If that’s what Buddhism actually meant, I would of course reject it flat out. But it doesn’t, not in that sense. Much confusion surrounds that concept. But that is a whole ‘nother tangent.

            For the time being, just let me say that as you know from our past dialogues, I am hardcore individualist anarchist. I would never in a million years endorse the notion that the individual is a mirage.

  26. LSJohn
    January 25, 2014 at 11:22 am

    @EricP

    “I am neither an atheist nor a theist myself”

    This sounds as though you believe an agnostic is not an atheist. I understand — and use — the term “atheism” to mean “non-theism.”

    Non-belief is not — necessarily — denial of possibility (but one can deny the possibility that the Bible reflects reality without denying the possibility of a Super-Being responsible for creation as we know it.)

    In other words, one MUST be either a theist or an atheist.

    • Giuseppe Crowe
      January 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      LSJohn wrote:

      “In other words, one MUST be either a theist or an atheist.”

      In the emphatic word of my Italian teacher/friend….”Sbaglio!!” Incorrect. I’m uncertain why people feel the need to put a label on others as if that ties a neat knot around a complex issue. A lot of people don’t actually care…..and do not proselytize either position. In point of fact, I find that group of people a lot easier to deal with because their intellectual environment is not wrapped up in the religious or anti-religious tendency to force their versions of right vs. wrong on others. I don’t know, and frankly don’t care, if Jesus existed…..I do, however, reject emphatically the notion that enslaving human beings in the name of a dogma that supposedly came from the mouths of possibly mythical beings has any validity…ever. Such fundamentalist notions are not only the norm for many religions-Christianity, Judaism, Moslemism- but are also dogmatically pursued by single issue movements that rely of faith in the natterings of so-called experts like the AGW movement propelled by the IPCC. Basically, dogmatic fundamentalists just want to own and control individuals……and most often their dogmatism trumps consideration for the individual rights of others…..

      • Bobbye
        January 25, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        @ Giuseppe: I am a follower of Jesus Christ my Lord. I know God, Father ,Son, and Holy Spirit by experience. This assertion of mine makes it seem as if I am bat-shit-crazy to most people. Most ‘Christians’ would also think me bat-shit-crazy. As I have said before, religion has nothing to do with God. In fact the purpose of religion is so that people can think of themselves as righteous and justified without actually having to have anything to do with God personally. Religions become like governments; little (or big) power centers. Anyone raised in a religious organization has felt those power centers, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. Religions and government enjoy a symbiotic relationship. Governments need the moral obedience to magistrates and laws, and religions need the monopoly of power protection and preference as the religion accumulates property and wealth.

        • Bevin
          January 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm

          Dear Bobbye,

          You wrote:

          “Religions and government enjoy a symbiotic relationship. Governments need the moral obedience to magistrates and laws, and religions need the monopoly of power protection and preference as the religion accumulates property and wealth.”

          Well said.

          Ayn Rand addressed this symbiosis in her essay, “Attila and the Witch Doctor.” You probably know it already. But those who don’t can probably guess that Attila stands for organized crime (which sometimes goes under the name “government”), and the witch doctor stands for organized religion.

          The sad thing about this is that the quest for something that transcends material existence is not bad per se. Organized religions do not have an exclusive franchise on spirituality. Non-theistic mystical philosophies also seek higher meaning. They just go about it differently.

          Many human beings do not subscribe to the notion that an omnipotent, omniscient being created everything around us. That hardly means they don’t seek higher meaning.

          The quest for higher meaning is good. But if it becomes codified into rigid dogma, and organized into a rigid order, especially an order that feels justified in undertaking crusades or jihads, “for a higher good, on higher authority,” that eradicates any good it might have represented otherwise.

          • Zorg
            January 26, 2014 at 2:35 am

            “The quest for higher meaning is good. But if it becomes codified into rigid dogma…that eradicates any good it might have represented otherwise.”

            Dogma simply means teaching. If a teaching is held to be true, why wouldn’t it be held rigidly? Aren’t we not supposed to hold to truth rigidly?

            And as for Rand and her “witch doctor” narrative, that’s nothing but name calling. Anyone can make disparaging remarks about other people.

            “religions need the monopoly of power protection” (quoted from the other guy’s post)

            No, they don’t. That’s absurd. Christianity grew and spread for 300 years under official persecution. The Jews were persecuted in Egypt for 400 years. Other numerous examples exist of not needing “the monopoly of power protection.”

          • Garysco
            January 26, 2014 at 5:27 am

            @Bevin – In other words her caution against believing in “mystics” of any sort. Govenment or religion. Genius.

          • Bevin
            January 26, 2014 at 6:06 am

            Dear Gary,

            Yes. Absolutely.

            Qualifier: After the “Great Schism” Nathaniel Branden made some finer conceptual distinctions concerning the term “mysticism” that I agree with.

            He said mysticism had been given a bad name within Orthodox Objectivist circles (here I go with the organized religion metaphors!). He said mysticism involved intuition, which is an integral part of the human mind’s way of understanding the world around us, and was not a bad thing.

            He said that the antonym of reason was not “mysticism,” but rather “irrationalism.” I think he is correct on that.

            Anyway, it doesn’t change the substance of Rand’s original point on Attila and the Witch Doctor. Merely use “search and replace” for the word “mysticism” and everything else stays the same.

          • Bevin
            January 26, 2014 at 6:11 am

            Dear Zorg,

            My full remark was,

            “The quest for higher meaning is good. But if it becomes codified into rigid dogma, and organized into a rigid order, especially an order that feels justified in undertaking crusades or jihads, “for a higher good, on higher authority,” that eradicates any good it might have represented otherwise.”

            You edited out the critical middle portion, which read,

            “… and organized into a rigid order, especially an order that feels justified in undertaking crusades or jihads, “for a higher good, on higher authority… ”

            So presumably you agree with this portion?

        • Zorg
          January 26, 2014 at 2:04 am

          “In fact the purpose of religion is so that people can think of themselves as righteous and justified without actually having to have anything to do with God personally.”

          That’s a subjective statement if I ever heard one. Maybe you should look up the term religion first and then think about what you are saying. You are apparently projecting some of your own personal thoughts about hypocrisy and pride onto the term “religion.” This is about as meaningful as people ranting against “wealth.”

          “As I have said before, religion has nothing to do with God.”

          I’m so sick of hearing that. I suppose religion has to do with dry cleaning then? It has nothing to do with God? So the seeking of God, the study of God, the formulation of a system of belief about God and a set of practices related to said beliefs is called what then? I guess we’ll have to come up with another word because religion is not it – even though we’ve been using the term for millenia and everybody knows what it means. Ugh.

          Well, I just learned above from Tor that private school is prison and that Catholics should embrace relativism and heterodoxy, from Eric that Catholics should liquidate all their corporate assets, and now from you I learn that religion has nothing to do with God! It’s been a full day of learning for me.

          • Bobbye
            January 26, 2014 at 2:44 am

            @ Zorg: So you venerate Religion. The worship of Baal, or Mithera, Or Zeus,Athena, Shiva, Allah, Set or even Satan? All Religion. Go ahead and tell me of the virtues of these Religions. Oh! What you really mean is that all of these are ‘false’ Religions and therefor not really Religions at all. “the seeking of God, the study of God, the formulation of a system of belief about God and a set of practices related to said beliefs is called what then?” Yes that is called Religion. The Creator of heaven and earth is a person; just like you are a person, or your mother,father,wife,son,daughter are persons. God is not a thing to be studied, nor is He a concept to be systematized. He is your Father and He is to be known, and fellowshipped with. You ought to be ashamed to think that your Lord should be studied or reduced to a system.

          • Bevin
            January 26, 2014 at 4:08 am

            Dear Zorg,

            Carl Jung offered the best known variant of that observation. As he put it,
            “Religion is a defense against the experience of God.”

            Other observations are related. For example,
            “The map is not the territory.”

            The goal of any spiritual quest is to achieve a spiritual experience, not to box oneself in with dogma, or to endlessly regurgitate catechisms.

            I have no doubt that the medieval Christian mystics successfully used Christian “scaffolding” to achieve transcendent spiritual experiences. But the means is never the end. The end is enlightenment. Just as in architecture, the scaffolding is removed once the edifice is complete.

            The scaffolding is not a weapon to beat non-believers into submission. It’s a map for one’s own inner journey.

        • eric
          January 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

          Hi Bobbye,

          I do not consider you bat shit crazy!

          Adhering to one’s “gut” feeling is something we all do – in contexts both religious and not.

          I have no beef, no axe to grind with anyone’s personal faith . . provided they do not insist I share it. Or denounce me if I do not.

          I’m cool with discussing almost anything. And I am an extreme individualist in that I take the position every individual has every right to believe whatever they like and do whatever they like, with the proviso that they aren’t hurting anyone else by doing so.

          Thus I have no issue with, for example, polygamists or S&M people or gays (and so on) provided everyone’s a consenting adult. If someone wants to live in a van down by the river, never brush their teeth – and dress in a chicken suit and dance in the moonlight, that’s ok with me too.

          Different strokes. Variety is the spice of life. Do whatever turns you on. Have fun.

          So long as you don’t insist your way is the right – and only – way. And that others must agree.

          • Bobbye
            January 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm

            @ Eric: “Different strokes. Variety is the spice of life. Do whatever turns you on. Have fun.

            So long as you don’t insist your way is the right – and only – way. And that others must agree.”
            Hope you’re not talking to the Ted Bundy types there.LOL My way is the right way. I have strong convictions. I would expect you to say that your way is the right way, because you have strong convictions. Wishy-washy people are distasteful to me. Coercion never advances the agenda of God. God has not given me nor anyone else the ‘right to coerce any of those who belong to Him, and they all belong to Him. You, without knowing God, know that to be true. Such wisdom is rare even amongst the religious folk, but not altogether absent. I think it would be easy to be your friend.

          • eric
            January 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

            Hi Bobbye,

            Of course, I couch my comments with the caveat – provided you don’t hurt anyone else.

            Also, tolerance of things that might justifiably be called vices is not the same as approving of them. For example, I think it’s stupid to smoke – but would never support laws punishing people for smoking, or imposing “sin” (or any other) taxes on them.

            No doubt I do things that other people probably think I ought not to. And that’s ok. They’re free to avoid me/not deal with me – and so on.

            The “line” is crossing over from disapproval to actively trying to force me to act (or believe) differently, or in accordance with their view of what’s appropriate.

            The world would be a much better place if only people agreed to live – and let live. And left their fellow man alone unless he is actually causing a tangible harm to some other person.

        • Bevin
          January 26, 2014 at 8:32 pm

          Dear Bobbye,

          “I am a follower of Jesus Christ my Lord. I know God, Father ,Son, and Holy Spirit by experience. This assertion of mine makes it seem as if I am bat-shit-crazy to most people. Most ‘Christians’ would also think me bat-shit-crazy.”

          Actually, that raises your street cred in my book!

          It suggests that you are the one in touch with the actual spiritual experience underneath the labels, whereas the pro forma Christians, including authoritarian conservative Republicans such as The Chimp, are on the outside looking in!

          Anglican theologian turned Zen philosopher Alan Watts often spoke at length about the difference between the substance and the style of religions and mystical philosophies.

          • Bobbye
            January 26, 2014 at 8:52 pm

            @ Bevin: Thank you. I like the word substance, as in “faith is the substance of things hoped for…”(Heb 11:1) Spirit as something real and tangible bothers or frightens many people. But spirit is the source of making sense of so much of the world /universe to me. I hope to you also.

          • Bevin
            January 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm

            Dear Bobbye,

            “Spirit as something real and tangible bothers or frightens many people.”

            Exactly!

            As Carl Jung put it, “Religion is a defense against religious experience.”

            Alan Watts talked about how the spiritual seeker uses a raft to cross a river, but leaves it behind once he steps onto the opposite shore.

            Uptight crusaders who are trapped in religion as a defense against religious experience never step off the raft. They keep going back and forth, back and forth across the river, without ever reaching the other shore.

      • LSJohn
        January 25, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        Giuseppe, I think you jumped to a conclusion about what I was saying, why I was saying it, and what I believe. I agree with everything you wrote, except that one need not be either theist or atheist, with which, of course, I disagree.

        One either believes in “God” or gods, or doesn’t. If one does, he/she is a theist. If not, an a-theist.

        As I said before, not believing is not the same as denying the possibility. An agnostic is one variety of atheist; one who does not believe, but does not deny the possibility.

        • eric
          January 26, 2014 at 7:52 am

          Hi Les,

          There is a third alternative.

          It amounts to: I don’t know, I don’t dismiss categorically and I am open to evidence.

          One need not profess belief in god (any god) to be open to the possibility that such may exist. This position does not make one an atheist or a theist.

          I choose the term agnostic for this reason.

          Perhaps there is something beyond ordinary human reason. In all probability, this is likely given the finiteness of our intelligence, the imperfection of our senses – and so on. Even a superficial study of, for example, quantum mechanics will unnerve the intelligent reader, cause him to grapple with his conceptions about physical reality.

          But does it mean “god”?

          Perhaps.

          But no one knows.

          We enter a realm of speculation, of belief. It is a wondrous – but also scary – world and we would be well-advised to tread lightly.

          • LSJohn
            January 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm

            “I don’t know, I don’t dismiss categorically and I am open to evidence.”

            How does this NOT fall under, “I don’t believe?”

            “I don’t believe” does not foreclose possibilities, but qualifies as a-theist.

            Isn’t there a distinct difference between NOT believing there is a “God” or gods, and believing there is NOT? The former qualifies, IMO, as “I don’t know.” The latter proclaims — at least strongly implies — knowledge.

            Maybe I’m making a distinction between “I believe” and “I think” that others don’t make. “I believe” seems to me to assert much more positively than “I think.” In everyday parlance this distinction doesn’t exist, or is ignored. On philosophical, moral, ethical questions, I think it should (I believe it should :>)

          • eric
            January 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm

            It means I am open to evidence; that I do not claim omniscience; that I do not have a closed mind.

            Belief is not the issue here. It is knowledge.

            I do not know – and neither does anyone else.

            Why the insistence on absolute statements about that which is beyond objective proof (yet which may nonetheless exist)?

            Consider as a related example the notion of multiverses – string theory, dimensions beyond our ken.

            It’s silly, I think to say “I don’t believe” about such things. Perhaps they exist; it’s conceivable. I await more information – and in the meantime, regard the matter as speculative but not impossible.

            For the same reasons I do not assert that I do believe – that multiverses exist (and so on). Because it is conjecture, supposition; a possibility – but no more (according to the evidence at hand thus far).

            I take the same view of the supernatural. Perhaps.

            It does not mean it is. But also does not mean it isn’t.

          • Bobbye
            January 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm

            @ Eric: “I do not know – and neither does anyone else.” And again,”But no one knows.” In all honesty I think that all you can really claim is that YOU do not know. Saying no one knows puts you in the position of speaking on behalf of all people who exist on earth. I, for one, claim to know. It is one thing to say ” I don’t believe you” and another to say, “no you do not know”. How can you be open to evidence when you have already judged that no person on earth knows? And by extension, are you saying no one can ever know?

          • eric
            January 26, 2014 at 7:51 pm

            Hi Bobbye,

            One can of course claim to know anything. But if you cannot prove it…

            I can prove that 2 +2 = 4. It’s not speculation; not belief. It’s a demonstrable fact.

            One cannot prove that “Jesus is the son of God” – and to claim one “knows” he is in fact the son of God is nothing more than a gratuitous assertion. Of a piece with saying one “knows” that UFOs exist.

          • Bobbye
            January 26, 2014 at 8:42 pm

            @ Eric: ” But if you cannot prove it” Proof is a very tricky thing. One day you might find yourself arrested and brought before the judge and asked to ” prove that you are innocent of the charge” “Do not require of others that which you do not want required of yourself” There is a reason for ” innocent until proven guilty” and a reason for giving others the benefit of the doubt.

      • Hot Rod
        January 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm

        Bobbyeye said:

        “As I have said before, religion has nothing to do with God. In fact the purpose of religion is so that people can think of themselves as righteous and justified without actually having to have anything to do with God personally. Religions become like governments; little (or big) power centers.”

        I’m pretty much in alignment. Strangely I tell religious war dogmatics all the time that the USA isn’t going to heaven, the US army isn’t going to heaven, their imaginary or real platoon they kill others with isn’t going to heaven, but only the individual is going to be judged one at a time. The accountability of self to a higher order of justice is the only place redemption can occur, group think therefore is secondary to the individual like in all other things in this life. And by the same account the Christian anarchist that believes the “church” is heavenly ordained and going to heaven is also deceived. Many of priests will not go. No the “church” which is composed of the righteous and unrighteous is not going to be delivered to heaven in a group, just like nations and soldiers aren’t. So this should dilute our faith in listening to members of a particular belief without some due diligence of our own?

        Further I liken most every church I’ve been to like this. “Simon says stand up”. “Simon says sit down”.. “Simon says we pray now”… “Simon says stand up”. “Simon says shake your neighbors hands”. Did Jesus (Yeshua) ever teach this way? Further didn’t he say that we should talk in earnest to God (pray) in a closet away from others prying and judgemental or approving eyes? Believe me if church was about discussing the greatness and intellect of God instead of trying to emulate a certain imposter secondary master than I’d be a member, but I still wouldn’t relinquish my own self accountability to reality and thus God. Obedience to mankind’s doctrine is seldom the same as obedience to natural law (basically God’s law).

        And I would say that the hardest part for me in this life is to discriminate the “natural” law from the “man made” equivalent. If you believe what your grandad told you because he said so, then you will end up the same place as grandpa for better or worse. How then should we ever aspire to rise above a fairly small fountain, which most of man’s work is still small? Though that may be good or bad to follow grandpa, an aware person will sift carefully every wisdom shared to verify its validity on it own merit. Because sometimes the man made beliefs and law coincide with truth and reality and sometimes they don’t. It’s really up to the individual with the help of God’s intellect (Holy Spirit?) to discriminate the truths and falses. I’ve read it many times in the bible that God puts false prophets here to test our love for it. God bless and good luck on your journey finding that truth my friend.

        Hot Rod

  27. Dick Lawson
    January 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    For the consideration of all:

    These 2 statutes shift the burden for misbehavior from the taxpayers to the individual perpetrators. They are well hidden, and most lawyers won’t touch ‘em.

    Title 42 Section 1983 Lawsuits
    Civil rights lawsuits are one of a number of methods of holding the government, or people who act in a governmental capacity, responsible in court for their actions. This largely class of actions is called Public Law, a distinction commonly made in countries with a Civil Law system, but rarely so fundamentally defined in a Common Law system.
    The main statute that authorized federal civil rights lawsuits is Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983, commonly called a “1983″ suit.
    Sec. 1983. – Civil action for deprivation of rights
    Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia
    The Civil Rights Act of 1871 is found in Title 42, section 1983 of the United States Code and so is commonly referred to as section 1983. It provides that anyone who, under color of state or local law, causes a person to be deprived of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, or federal law, is liable to that person.
    In short, if a government agent violates your God-given (Constitutional) rights, they can be held personally liable. What’s the difference in suing an individual verses the agency he/ she works for? In most cases the law only allows a certain amount (a maximum financial payment) to be issued and these cases are often settled out of court with no court orders being issued to the defendants prohibiting them from doing the same thing again. By suing an individual you are asking the court to renounce that persons action and hold them to the standards of law. This statue also provides for “vicarious liability”, meaning the agent’s supervisor, commander, trainer and anyone else who can be shown to have provided inadequate training and/or supervision is also liable for the actions of the defendant.
    Defendants in 1983 lawsuits can be broken into two main categories, individuals, usually governmental employees or agents, and governments themselves. Among governments, distinctions are made between the federal government, state governments, and local governments. For example, as a result of the 11th Amendment to the United States, state governments can generally be sued for a violation of civil rights in state court, while local governments are routinely sued in federal court for violating an individual’s civil rights.

    18 USC § 241 – Conspiracy against rights

    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or, If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured; they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    18 USC § 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law

    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    • Boothe
      January 27, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Dick Lawson – Good stuff. The only trouble is if you aren’t a student of The Erwin Rommel School of Law (http://rommellaw.com/) or an otherwise heavily educated non-licensed non-lawyer litigator, the Title 42 lawsuit process is essentially out of most people’s financial reach. Heck, around here defending yourself against a bogus drug charge will cost you a minimum of $2500 just to plea out! I you have to hire a shyster to handle a federal suit it cold easily break the bank for a millionaire unless it is done on a contingent fee basis.

      It is my understanding that RICO also has civil provisions that can be used against practically any organization or “conspirator” and those charges, if prepared properly, are practically indefensible. I’ve toyed with the idea of going after some of the miscreants in gun-vernment and bankstering with these tactics, but it requires a lot of time and effort that will deprive one of most of one’s free time. There are a lot of things I enjoy a lot more in this short life than researching case law, writing and submitting complaints and motions, etc. If that’s what floats your boat, more power to you. I just pray that I’ll never have to do it out of self defense.

      • Jean
        January 27, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        Would be great if we could arrange RICO actions against the corrupt government.
        charge the Pols with their corruption, even if we have to invent the corruption (For example, there was a story recently of a man hasseled on suspicion of selling drugs; he had actually given a homeless man some spare change.) I think it was Chitcago….
        Maybe “arrange” money in a Governor’s lunch order? Large enough to be an obvious bribe… RICO the SOBs right into penury, like the rest of us….

        • Garysco
          January 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm

          @Jean – Did you forget how to spell just-us?

          • Bevin
            January 27, 2014 at 10:05 pm

            Dear Gary,

            I love it!

            As in

            “Department of Just-us”

            “just-us, not you”

            Really sums it up.

  28. Tor Minotaur
    January 26, 2014 at 2:39 am

    Murica, is it even broken? Does it need fixing?

    leave well enough alone
    never change a running system
    don’t change a winning team

    Phrasology of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” – Bert Lance
    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it.html

    Bert Lance – advisor to Jimmy Carter
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bert_Lance

    On Saturday Night Live, soon after Lance’s resignation from the Carter administration, John Belushi (playing Lance) and Dan Aykroyd (playing Carter) appeared in an advertising parody of an American Express credit card commercial.

    On an episode of Good Times, J.J. referenced Bert Lance while offering to make out a check for the family budget knowing they have no money.

    Disruptive Thinking: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

    http://www.disruptive-thinking.com

    The attitude, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the enemy of disruptive thinking. It’s the seemingly unbroken aspects of a situation that provide the richest opportunities for innovation. They tend to be the things we ignore, precisely because they don’t change.

    It’s more effective to start by identifying something in your business that’s not necessarily a problem, in a place where others wouldn’t expect to look. In other words, think about what usually gets ignored, pay attention to what’s not obvious, and start with things that ain’t broke.

    – Rather than worrying about fixing America, which may not even be a good idea, maybe it’s more productive to learn more about somewhere similar to America that is less broke, like the United Kingdom, or the Dutch.

  29. Tor Minotaur
    January 26, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Rula Lenska of Unilever’s VO5? The Anglo-Dutch Conglom with €51.32 billion Revenue? Lots of hype$s for a few droplets of chemicals.

    “When goods (like VO5) don’t cross borders, soldiers will”

    VO5 Ingredients:

    Mineral oil, Petrolatum, Lanolin, PEG-8 Dilaurate, Paraffin, Isopropyl Myristate, Panthenol, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Biotin, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, BHT, & Fragrance.

    VO5’s Unilever has 4 divisions: London HQ Unilver / Hindustan Unilever / Unilever Australasia / Unilever Pakistan

    It’s impressive, the expanse of goods and the global reach of the UK and the Nederlands.

    Dutch Verwantschapslanden: Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Indonesia and South Africa. Also Guyana, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Ghana.

    Obama lived in behind-the-scenes Dutch-hegemonned Indonesia from 1967-1971 and understands and speaks the bahasa indonesia language.

    Pomade Shop EU
    http://www.pomade-shop.eu/Alberto-VO5-Hairdressing-Normal-/-Dry-Hair/en

    I think the Dutch hold the seat of power for the EU – in Benelux, and also have some power within – Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties – UNASUR – which is a union of all of South America.

    Not meaning to disparage other power groups like nations, movements, and churches, but rather put America in its rightful place, which is most likely not at the top of the pyramid.

    US is 3rd In Top Export Products:
    http://global.kita.net

    China produces 1,485 items that take first place in the world export market, Germany follows with 703 items, United States has 603 items, and Japan produces 231 items that are the best in the world export markets.

    I wonder what products Murika’s best at making? Coca-cola, Facebook, Twitter, McD Cheeseburgers and things like that?

    • Garysco
      January 26, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Nigel Farage UKIP : We Are Now Run By Big Business, Big Banks and Big Bureaucrats !!

  30. Tor Minotaur
    January 26, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Freegans, the new ‘Murika normal

    DC free shit:
    -Dell XPS 410 (without hard drive) (Rockville (Twinbrook)) map
    – FREE Queen Bed! (Reston, VA) pic map
    – Free fridge – 2 door. must pick up today (7674 Richmond Hwy, alexandria VA)
    – Double stroller (Laurel)

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/zip/

    1 one guy buys a newspaper, everyone else reads it for free, there’s even a bin provided to “recycle”
    2 boosters 5 finger employee discounters in low income neighborhoods stop in bars and offer you various things from their work trucks at major discounts
    3 people usually “know a guy” who gets you free cable, or whatever else, for a small one time fee
    4 no one’s legally allowed to sell anything unless they construct a building bigger than 10 football fields, and have a MaoMart or MussoliniMart logo on the side of the building.

    The evil isn’t necessarily the freegan ideal or the one’s doing it, it’s the sinister oligarchs (should they exist) who are doing it in a targeted and socially debilitating way.

    Even if all freebies were destroyed, doesn’t the author of the book get far less than .01% of the actual profit(not revenue) from his writings? This is what makes ‘Murika an authoritarian hell-hole. The creators of value and the one’s making a profit are often two entirely different people, in a very destructive way.

    You can’t buy directly from an artisan or maker in most cases, you have to buy things in a giant big box prison complex, complete with tax agent panopticons, where you have no idea who makes the stuff or where its made or anything really.

    Chef Boyardee, I mean come on, Campbell’s SpaghettiO’s maker is at least as creepy and authoritarian as Stalin, I’d say.

    The Campbells Are Coming

    Should you eat it? Ingredients:
    Water, Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Enriched Macaroni Product with Added Calcium and Vitamin D (Wheat Flour, Calcium Phosphate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D) (All Nutrients in Excess of Standard), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Contains Less than 2% of: Salt, Enzyme Modified Cheddar Cheese (Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Calcium Chloride], Water, Disodium Phosphate, Enzymes), Flavoring (Natural Flavoring, Vegetable Oil (Corn and/or Canola), Onion Extract, Thyme Oil, Laurel Leaf Oil, Cottonseed Oil), Potassium Chloride, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, Canola, and/or Soybean), Enzyme Modified Butter (Milk), Skim Milk, Paprika Extract, Citric Acid.

    mmm mmm mmm good!

    • eric
      January 26, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Hi Tor,

      I can tell you that’s how publishing worked – and that was back in the good ‘ol days (about 10 years ago).

      It is much worse now.

      At least, back then, you’d get an advance when you signed a deal to do a book. This compensated you for the months of work spent writing the book, going through the editing process, etc. Now advances are – for the most part – history. As are book deals, period. A few already famous/already rich authors do get them, of course. But the people next rung down – guys like me and guys below me – are shit outta luck.

      The other way they’d rape you – and again, this was when things were “good” – was on royalities. If you were really lucky, you’d get 10 percent of the net profit per book. So if your book had a cover price of $25.00 you got $2.50. Not even that, though. Because they’d elaborately chew that down, citing various “expenses” (such as “marketing” and “re-stocking”) so that you ended up, typically, with about 2 percent of the cover price.

      I have no problem with a publisher making money off a book; they provide a service and are certainly entitled (ethically) to recoup their expenses and to make a profit. But they take almost all the profit. It is grossly unequal, bearing no relationship to work/time inputs. Surely, the author – without whom the book would not exist, who is the essential factor – deserves to earn at least half of the net profits generated by his book? Yet few authors ever see even 25 percent.

      It’s an outrage.

      • Tor Minotaur
        January 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm

        Eric,

        Thanks for clarifying further. For me books are the highest wealth commodity imaginable.

        Adorning yourself with gold, which anyone has a right to do of course, is far lower IQ than fuhhtballism even. It’s beneath chimps even. Something crows would do, but not for beings of higher aspiration.

        Wikipedia is the absolute pinnacle of wealth, it my estimation. Yet it has a darkside. One can only assume most of its “free” content, was at one part of “for profit” reference works. I’m not proud of being an agorist, but I see it as an evolutionary imperative to be one, unless there is a better way for myself. To forgo all the “free shit” knowledge seems altruistic, and disastrously so.

        Countless value creators spent years of their lives organizing, distilling, expiating, and summarizing complex data and concepts into purified encyclopedic knowledge wealth.

        And these wealth creators will well rewarded for doing so, and made honest livings doing so.

        I don’t want wikipedia to go away, but I don’t want knowledge artisans to become extinct either. Certainly new paradigms have to be constructed and then those of us who love knowledge will have to make these new constructs manifest.

        That’s why Atlas Shrugged is the most important novel I know of. Not for any of the usual reasons given, but for what it opens up for discussion.

        The most destructive type of slavery, is the one in which the creators of the highest value are robbed and then subjugated to the robbers and to many other cohorts chosen by the robbers on a whim.

        A world where gold is the highest standard is worse than a planet of the apes even. It’s a planet of crows and thieving carrion eaters. A world that’s for the birds, really.

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          January 26, 2014 at 10:07 pm

          Tor, I think, unless I’m missing something, you went a tad too far in saying, “Adorning yourself with gold, [...] is far lower IQ than fuhhtballism even.”

          I think, maybe, it’s the attitude you’re referring to? I.e. worshiping a golden calf, showing off excessive bling as an uber status symbol, that sorta thing?

          Definition:
          adorning: serving to add beauty.

          As if people shouldn’t give their loved ones gold jewelry?
          As if chicks shouldn’t try to be attractive?

          After reading Ferfal’s stuff, I think everyone should keep some gold on them, jewelry is the best way, especially if you’re in a quickly rising inflationary environment.

          I believe I get the whole transcendental/enlightenment stuff, but to say that wearing gold is beneath watching and whoreshipping football? That, I don’t get.

          In the background a film from the 1970’s is playing. A group of Vietnamese are trading everything they have for paper thin sheets of gold to use to tide them over as they adjust to the new environment after the unitedstate pulled out of South Vietnam.

          A monk shuffles past the camera, no children in tow, along with no other responsibilities.

          A Christian yells out, “God will take care of you!” as the helicopter takes off.

          Anyway, I never set out across the desert without a spare tire and a bottle of water.

          Pardon my lack of precision. It’s a huge subject.

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 26, 2014 at 10:47 pm

            Pan I thought of that exact point as I was writing, and considered adding an asterisk of systematically marking beautiful and exceptional people but decided not to try to include it.

            Chicks, now that you mention it are a higher value even than knowledge, at least for me. The highest use of knowledge is related to winning and keeping a mate, of course.

            I live in a society with a surplus of attractive chicks, yet more than anyone else, they may also be near the root of all the authoritarianism I dislike, I must admit.

            The Question – Should every word be purged from America, or every female, if you put it that way, is a no-brainer. Knowledge persists without the physical scaffolding, as Bevin would put it.

            It’s a judgment call, but I include all jewelry, and fashion, in the same boat with metrosexualism, which I try to stay far away from. I come from the Duck Dynasty school of attractive mates.

            Females are attractive psychologically because of the hips to waist ratio difference, psychologically. Jewelry shouldn’t even be in the top 100, as far as I’m concerned. Clothes are also something that are completely irrelevant.

            Though an easy reference system makes sense, I still find intelligence as a more antifragile marking system. Higher than wikipedia of course, is the body of mechanical knowledge that one needs to enjoy all the mecha we enjoy that make us so much freer than any men before us.

            The surplus we enjoy doesn’t come from Christian Science. It doesn’t come from mined precious metals. For bad or for worse, it comes from the industrial revolution.

            That isn’t to claim I can prove the Industrial Revolution could have ever happened without Christian social pacification. Or without the specie payments of gold doubloons, silver pieces of eight, fur pelts, and other numerate rationing tokens.

            Gold is merely robust, there’s only 120,000 tons of it that ever been mined(est.) and it is simple yet elegant and non-counterfeitable at the same time.
            It’s the best we can do for now, but by far not the best potentially, I would argue.

            To me the ultimate status symbol, would be to adorn the best females with the most technological, and the most artistic adornments.

            Kind of like in Harry Potter, the highest power known to man is the Elder Wand.

            I don’t want to cheapen this discussion by more sports mentality such as comparing the whole Christian Tableau, or the Precious Metal Tableau. I think those things are rightfully Titans.

            Not everything is a competition. N. Taleb, to name one, abhors all conventional competition as its usually conceived. To say S. Hawking is the gold medal scientist and R. Feynman is the silver medal scientist, or something similar, is infantile in the extreme I would argue.

            Thomas Paine made a good point that the scriptures themselves are barely even above mediocre, there are certainly other writings far more worthy, if you insist on benchmarking the OT stories with other ancient writings.

            Though I loather hierarchies, let me attempt to construct one on the fly.

            Christians if judged on their works, deserve credit for 0.001% of innovating everything we enjoy right now. You don’t live in Christian built homes, drive their cars, use their computers, collaborate on their internets, and so forth.

            Christians if judged on their power, can claim credit for ~90% of everything we enjoy, I am guessing. Nothing is a more powerful opiate. Nothing is better at making people labor so intensely, and then completely surrender all they’ve accomplished and produced to nobodies for next to nothing.

            Perhaps what I am proposing, is a Jesupedia. Go back through the OT and NT and follow it back to the original languages, and the original cultures and oral traditions.

            Noah’s Ark. Job being challenged to close the Southern Corner of the world (the antarctic ozone hole?). Tilling the soil. Shepherding the flock. The power of the word over creation.

            There are no Black Holes, Only Grey – S. Hawking
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2545552/Stephen-Hawking-admits-no-black-holes-GREY-holes.html

            Now that there is this whole new plasma based reality called the internet, it is possible to create all kinds of new hybrid reference materials, that would never have been allowed to see the light of day.

            Isaac Newton
            http://www.newton.ac.uk/newtlife.html

            Newton’s work on biblical chronology, alchemy, and other things, for me, are of greater import, than the things he studied that everyone now accepts as obvious facts.

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 27, 2014 at 7:17 am

            The difference between fuhtball and gold, is they’re trying to drop gold’s very existence and the reasoning why it has value down the memory hole.

            I fully support the idea of a store of value. I just don’t get what attracts people to gold. It is toxic to microbes, so making silverware out of silver or plating plates, glasses, spoons and so on makes a lot of sense.

            But no one does that. Like morons, people use metals and materials that make excellent hosts for all manner of filth. Then they get put them in the bacteria haven of a dishwasher when they have food on them. Then they use soap that doesn’t even kill the bacteria.

            In other posts I’ve mentioned flags and clothes as bacteria riddled rags. I have no idea why people make or use flags or clothes either. Detergents available to proles don’t kill organisms any more, because they’re a protected part of the environment I guess.

            That’s not to say I don’t understand the value behind a uniquely identifying symbol or color pattern. I just don’t get why people like flags.

            That’s not to say I don’t understand the value of wearing a portable shelter on your body. One that prevents your body from being touched directly by foreign objects or other people. I just don’t get why people like clothes.

            We’ve been conditioned to believe that saying something is stupid or makes no sense means it should be outlawed or banned. I don’t mean that in any way.

            In my mind, on the internet, every thing is possible, and nothing has to connect to anything in real life.

        • Bevin
          January 27, 2014 at 2:37 am

          Dear Tor,

          “Adorning yourself with gold, which anyone has a right to do of course, is far lower IQ than fuhhtballism even. It’s beneath chimps even. Something crows would do, but not for beings of higher aspiration.”

          The way some gangsta rappers do it comes across as harmless but silly.

          On the other hand some libertarians are using gold jewelry to avoid gubmint confiscation in customs and immigration. The premium for jewelry over bullion is high, so obviously So it’s a desperate measure, but not one we ought to condemn.

          http://dollarvigilante.com/blog/2014/1/13/why-you-should-absolutely-never-sell-your-gold-jewelry-buy-m.html

          • Bevin
            January 27, 2014 at 2:41 am

            Also,

            February 3rd, 2010
            Accessories, Black History Month
            Black History Fashion Trend: Gold Rope Chains
            By Claire
            http://fashionbombdaily.com/2010/02/03/black-history-fashion-trend-gold-rope-chains/

            100% Gold Jewelry:
            An Investment You Can Wear
            http://www.owingsmetals.com/24k-gold-jewelry/?utm_source=TDV&utm_medium=Blog&utm_content=24K&utm_campaign=Val1814&aff_id=%3C88603

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 27, 2014 at 3:54 am

            Which caveman is wealthier?

            Storyteller Slark is the best storyteller in the village. He can make up incredible tales that everyone enjoys. He even writes stories using pictures. Deep in the cave, he has miles and miles of history drawn out in word pictures. And instructions on how to do things. And draws places no one has ever seen or imagined. He has the most friends of anyone in the village.

            Chieftan Zog owns 2 pounds of diamonds and 1 ton of gold.
            He has many dozens of wives and spoils them and provides them anything they ask for. He is kind and generous to all in the village in his favor and indiffernt to those he dislikes.

            Warrior Bung controls the most fertile bottom land around for miles. Anything hunted or gathered in this land must first be offered to him, before taking it back to your cave. He selects scores of woman to lay down with and give him sons. Usually he sends the women away for whatever reason and keeps his sons and lets them take their daughters. He is surrounded by fierce friends, he keeps intruders away from the village.

            Anarch Ooga lives a spartan life on an isolated rocky outcrop at the top of the waterfalls. He has a magic ladder everyone is fearful of, and no one knows how to use it or is able to get up there, and everyone is afraid of him because he turns wood and vines into spirit machines that can do awesome and terrifying things.

            Ooga constructs the giant stone wheels. They are ten feet tall and it takes 5 men to get them rolling. They can support a great cart and many other devices useful to the village.

            Medicine Man Mugg is a great caregiver and lawmaker. He has many herbs and says powerful prayers to the animal spirits. Whatever he commands all thousand members of the village to do, it must be done, except by Zog and Bung. Zog and Bung enforce all his decrees. Sometimes they roll one of Oogas great wheels down a hill to crush and kill the law breakers.

            Ooga has also created musical instruments for the chiefs symphony. He provides the great colors used to paint the villages murals and portraits.

            Ooga made a great wheel out of wood which he keeps in the river rapids. Through a long pole connected to a land wheel, he provides a great spinning wheel which powers a system of irrigation canals, grinds grain, and many other beneficial labors more difficult with human hands alone.

            Ooga is the women and children’s favorite, because before him, all they did was work and labor doing back breaking chores from waking until sleeping. With his contributions, they have leisure time to pursue other things besides serving the strong and powerful of the village.

            There are many villagers more powerful than Ooga. More athletic. More brave. More attractive. Better at storytelling. Better at remembering things. Better at planning things. Of higher moral character. More popular and kind. It doesn’t matter to Ooga, because he is the only one who doesn’t need anyone else. He enjoys the villagers to a point, but sometimes he prefers to remain alone at the top of the waterfall.

            Sometimes Ooga journeys far away in one of his carts, maybe he’ll find somewhere better, and never return. Either way he is relatively content with his life. He would only involve himself in the village happenings if he sensed something was wrong that would directly affect him or the villagers he cares about in a negative way.

          • Tor Minotaur
            January 27, 2014 at 4:21 am

            Primary assets for adornment. Food that keeps a woman looking healthy and vibrant. Medicines that keep a woman at a pleasing weight and in a pleasant mood. Shelter that keeps women clean and unscarred. Weapons that a woman can use to keep unwanted men from spoiling her or damaging her. Plastic surgery that enlarges breasts, and removes unwanted fat.

            Secondary assets for adornment. Corsets. Brazzieres. High heels. Flaw concealing makeup. Plastic surgery that perfects the nose, smooths wrinkles.

            Tertiary assets for adornment. Clothes with attractive designs. Sparkly gems and shiny gold, silver, and platinum. Makeup that increases colors and contrasts.

            Malinvestments for deception and confusion. Paper currency that you are forced to accept for real assets, or you get a punch in the face and a broken jaw. Strong liquor and drugs that are used to ply you into thinking someone diseased or ugly is actually attractive. Badges that command men to choose you over more attractive females, or else the badge wearer can blow a whistle and soldiers will arrive and kill you.
            Clubs that hobble and cripple all available woman except the daughters of the king so that all men will prefer the daughters of the king.

            Gold is better than false assets. But it is not the asset of highest value. It has proven itself and needs no cheerleader or allegiance. If I send out a million emails and buy all the billboards and adspace in Nevada and say gold is only purchased by morons who are ginned up by charlatans, it won’t affect its price one scintilla. Only malinvestments require faith, belief and good press, to continue the illusion of value.

      • David
        January 29, 2014 at 11:56 am

        Wow, that’s insane. I guess I’ll just go the self-publishing route and throw ‘em in the woods.

        Just out of curiosity, WHY do you think it is that publishers make so much compared to authors? Would that still be the case in a free market? Thoughts?

        • LSJohn
          January 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm

          “WHY do you think it is that publishers make so much compared to authors?”

          My guess is that if an author is previously unpublished, the author wants it published worse than the publisher does, so the strong negotiating position is with the publisher. A rare exception might occur if the publisher thought the manuscript was unusually good and/or marketable.

          “Would that still be the case in a free market? Thoughts?”

          I think so, and maybe even more so. Many free market advocates reject the concept of intellectual property rights.

          Once published, sales success or failure would probably determine negotiating positions for each, given that the author can take the manuscript to someone else.

          • l
            January 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm

            My final paragraph above refers to a second manuscript/book after the first has been published and has a sales record.

  31. LSJohn
    January 26, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    “It’s silly, I think to say ‘I don’t believe'”

    Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems to me one either believes or doesn’t. It seems to me that “I don’t know, but maybe” fits well under “doesn’t.”

    Also, I’m still trying to figure out exactly how your forum works. I noticed that there was no “Reply” button at the end of your last post to me. Is that a feature you use to mean “I don’t want to talk about it any more?”

    • dom
      January 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      Hi John, the comments here only nest five levels deep (beyond that is too much to follow). Once at five the reply button is no longer displayed. You’ll have scroll up to the last instance of the reply button and go from there.

      • LSJohn
        January 27, 2014 at 2:18 am

        Thanks dom.

        I thought maybe I was being blown off, but I sure haven’t gotten the impression that Eric is the kind of guy to do that.

        I was confusilated.

        • eric
          January 27, 2014 at 7:04 am

          Hi LS,

          The only people we blow off here are people who resort to personal attacks and who are not capable of coherent discussion.

          Obviously, that’s not you!

    • eric
      January 27, 2014 at 7:53 am

      Hi John,

      I think the confusion arises from equating “believe” and “know.”

      One can believe anything; demonstrating the truth of it is not necessary. I believe UFOs exist, for instance. Well, good for you. I’m sure you do believe that. (I’m speaking rhetorically – not stating that you believe in UFOs!)

      But to claim knowledge amounts to an assertion of fact. If facts cannot be produced, the assertion of knowledge is dubious. You may believe you know – but if you can’t demonstrate it (using objective, indisputable facts) all you really have is belief, no matter how strongly felt.

      Assertions about the supernatural fall into the “belief” category. They cannot be objectively confirmed and remain speculative.

      I understand that some people are utterly convinced in – as an example – the deity of Jesus and the remission of sins and that they will ascend to heaven after the death of their physical bodies. They will say they know it to be true. And of course, to them, it is true.

      But it’s a rhetorical device, not an accurate statement in the same way that stating “2 plus 2 equals four” is a statement of fact, of knowledge.

      To deny that 2 plus 2 equals four would be silly; it would mark one out as an ignoramus or a fool. But to deny – to question – whether “Jesus is Lord”?

      Hardly.

      In terms of our broader discussion, why must one be Either – Or?

      I do not exclude the possibility of something beyond our present knowledge, perhaps beyond our senses (and our intellect).

      That does not make me an atheist – or a theist.

      I take the position that if there is a benevolent deity running the show, he will not condemn for me being unsure, for wanting evidence before I say I know.

      • Bevin
        January 27, 2014 at 8:16 am

        Dear Eric,

        “I take the position that if there is a benevolent deity running the show, he will not condemn for me being unsure, for wanting evidence before I say I know.”

        Agree. One of the oft cited arguments against blind faith is the human intellect.

        According to theists, “god” created us in his own image. If that’s true, he has brains and he gave us the same brains that he has. If that’s true, he would want us to use them, and not swallow any random assertion offered up by some ancient scribe.

        Who knows? Maybe it’s a test. Only the skeptics get into “heaven.” The True Believers are refused entry for not passing the test of self-reliance, for failing to make full use of his god-given intellect!

        LOL.

        • LSJohn
          January 27, 2014 at 1:46 pm

          “Who knows? Maybe it’s a test. Only the skeptics get into “heaven.” The True Believers are refused entry for not passing the test of self-reliance, for failing to make full use of his god-given intellect!”

          I’d give you two thumbs up, but I need one hand to hold my belly while I’m laughing this hard, and the other hand to type. :>)

          • Bevin
            January 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm

            Dear LS,

            I guess it is pretty funny, isn’t it?

            But in fact I was merely following the internal logic of the premises to their logical conclusion.

        • Hot Rod
          January 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm

          “A righteous heretic is more likelier to get to heaven than a wicked Christian”
          Ben Franklin

          I’d have to agree and my take on it is that the “lawless” (as in natural law and moral law) cannot go to heaven. Because if morality is a form of natural law like physics. Its apparent to maybe only me that there is a moral law like not murdering others (just as real as 2+2=4 that also can’t be proven) lest destruction comes to the beholder of the act, but each man must ask this question or axiom of morality leading to higher order and it inverse immorality leading to destruction for himself. Does moral law follow as a tenet just like physical laws or mathematical laws? If so our success or failure in life and therafter depends on knowledge and nothing less will do. Those more predisposed to search and find the truth and utilize it properly are also most likely to succeed and flourish inside a superset of truth of outcomes.

          The danger from the lack of knowledge of a moral law could be just as painful as not knowing about gravity. You can truly be ignorant in man made law’s and not be guilty of any real crime, but if you are guilty of not knowing natural (lets say God’s or universal) law then you may or may not fall into despair depending on the circumstance and conditions.

          Some time ago we saved some kittens in a cave, one of them perished because it fell down into a crevice. As cruel as it might seem the world abhors ignorant things. Life perishes all the time because of lack of knowledge (thus natural law) or miscalculation, this is of course why we have parents and guardians as children. But at some point we must become self cognizant and self accountable, then it is up to us (not a government or parent or church) to know the truth. Test it and verify it as God did give you that big brain for a reason. While the religions will tell you its easy to be deceived by your own eyes or this world, its even easier to be deceived by someone elses beliefs and perspective.

          As far as Christian church, should I disavow the one thing (reality) that I have to live in (the universe and world) to believe in some made up world they plan to sell me at a profit? That is what uncle Paul and the church tells you is not to believe yourself and your own eyes and brains, but it also tells you that truth doesn’t matter only faith. Is it suprising why such believers were against knowledge of science? Oh and lets not foget that most Christians believe that the “moral law” no longer applies, well I’m a scientist so I tell you if God had an original intent in making this world then he damn well didn’t change it when Jesus died. In fact if Jesus served any purpose then it would be to show us an application of such law and how to better ourselves. Time and universe certainly hasn’t ended nor as its original intent.

          Ultimately, you are captain’s and God (the universe of possibiities) is your sea. Use precaution, skill and knowledge to navigate, but have a fun voyage and love its beauty while sailing. Listen to wise men always, but be wise judge of even them all on your own.

          Regards,
          HR

          • LSJohn
            January 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

            “Does moral law follow as a tenet just like physical laws or mathematical laws?”

            It might, be we can never know for sure.

            With physical and mathematical laws, if we are given sufficient data, we can reliably predict outcome. With moral laws it may be the same, but we can never have sufficient data because of the incredible complexity and inscrutability (is that a word?) of each actor’s mind.

          • Hot Rod
            January 27, 2014 at 11:54 pm

            LS

            Too many wierd things have happened to myself to make me doubt a connection between reaping what we sow morally. Of course when I make these kind of statements I’m appealing to others that have seen weird spiritual unexplainable events in their own lives. If that doesn’t apply to you then please disregard as I have no way to prove it to you otherwise, nor would I pretend that the metaphysical is measureable like the phyiscal world.

            Though I do believe that mathematics is metaphysical. I’ve said it many times on here but where does a number, or line, or function really reside if its not necessarily physical? Many mathematics are known that have no place in this universe does that make them nonexistent? Where does any abstract idea reside for that matter if not in the physicial world and with a little thought you will see that this physical world is but one possible outcome of a infinite possible mathematical sets. Likewise you can break a calculator in the physical world but you aren’t breaking the body of general math. You can break your body, but the logic and functions and data don’t reside in this world but in the abstract mathematical function world of what some would call a spiriitual world.

            Because we are not the only intelligence in this universe but share it with each other and possibly more, its very likely that a a maximizing function exists that results in maximum creation very similar to a derivative taken to zero.

            Maximum creation being what happens when individuals follow the algorithm to get the result of the derivative equal to zero. Like any algorithm of maximum a law of morals would be such. But again I don’t pretend that you should believe in such complexity though as an engineer I can tell you such complexity exists in determining the radius to height of pop can to get the maximum volume of pop to the least amount of surface area of aluminum. If the world of maximums work for a pop can, then I think it very likely to conclude that one exists for maximum creation of all inhabitants wouldn’t you agree? Or if that theorem is too complex could it be approached by fuzzy logic or differnetial approximation?

            The subject of morality most likely is about real society and real maximum creation of all intelligent humans instead of just one person being God and having the world to himself. That said whether the laws of morality were found by enlightenment (intuitiiion, God, etc) or empirical (measurement) makes no difference to me as its still just as valuable to humanity even if it cannot be fully understood.

            On another place on here you have made the distinction between just theist and atheist as being incorrect. I agree a person can be neither theist or atheist, as in a person who simply doesn’t care. But then again I don’t think not caring is a trait of enlightenment. Since when has the greatest not cared to know anything?

            So let me state it in a way that we might agree? Do you think that the world might be theist, versus non-theist? A theist looking for a connection to a higher intelligence. Whereas a non-theist is someone that doesn’t believe in a higher intelligence or worth his effort to know? But what if it is worth knowing, but you don’t know it worth knowing because you decided you could never know and it wasn’t worth it? I mean how can we never know what something is worth if we never bother to search for its worth? At least an atheist doesn’t sign off so easy on an intellectual debate. I admire atheists that give me a good run for my intellectual money actually. Its too easy to say we can never know so it doesn’t matter. I disagree as we can never know infinite either but we still use it in calculus.

            Regards,
            HR

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 7:36 am

            Hi HR,

            I actively seek to learn as much as I can – to understand what I can – about as many things as I can. This includes being open to – and actively thinking about – “more than meets the eye” (i.e., the possibility of the supernatural).

            You’re absolutely right that mathematical abstractions should get us thinking about a lot of things. The first time I came across the Heisenberg principle – and began to read about things at the quantum level – I began to realize that much of what we take to be “existence” is by no means the actuality. It is a template of sorts constructed by our senses and organize by our brains.

            Other brains may see a very different existence.

            However, I won’t leap from awe about the nature of creation to “Jesus is the only begotten son of God” and so on.

            While I am by no means able to make sense of the entirety of existence, I can discern too many flaws in the doctrines of organized religion to regard them as anything more than the creation of human minds, to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

        • Hot Rod
          January 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm

          “A righteous heretic is more likelier to get to heaven than a wicked Christian”
          Ben Franklin

          I’d have to agree and my take on it is that the “lawless” (as in natural law and moral law) cannot go to heaven. Because if morality is a form of natural law like physics. Its apparent to maybe only me that there is a moral law like not murdering others (just as real as 2+2=4 that also can’t be proven) lest destruction comes to the beholder of the act, but each man must ask this question or axiom of morality leading to higher order and it inverse immorality leading to destruction for himself. Does moral law follow as a tenet just like physical laws or mathematical laws? If so our success or failure in life and therafter depends on knowledge and nothing less will do. Those more predisposed to search and find the truth and utilize it properly are also most likely to succeed and flourish inside a superset of truth of outcomes.

          The danger from the lack of knowledge of a moral law could be just as painful as not knowing about gravity. You can truly be ignorant in man made law’s and not be guilty of any real crime, but if you are guilty of not knowing natural (lets say God’s or universal) law then you may or may not fall into despair depending on the circumstance and conditions.

          Some time ago we saved some kittens in a cave, one of them perished because it fell down into a crevice. As cruel as it might seem the world abhors ignorant things. Life perishes all the time because of lack of knowledge (thus natural law) or miscalculation, this is of course why we have parents and guardians as children. But at some point we must become self cognizant and self accountable, then it is up to us (not a government or parent or church) to know the truth. Test it and verify it as God did give you that big brain for a reason. While the religions will tell you its easy to be deceived by your own eyes or this world, its even easier to be deceived by someone elses beliefs and perspective.

          As far as Christian church, should I disavow the one thing (reality) that I have to live in (the universe and world) to believe in some made up world they plan to sell me at a profit? That is what uncle Paul and the church tells you is not to believe yourself and your own eyes and brains, but it also tells you that truth doesn’t matter only faith. Is it suprising why such believers were against knowledge of science? Oh and lets not foget that most Christians believe that the “moral law” no longer applies, well I’m a scientist so I tell you if God had an original intent in making this world then he damn well didn’t change it when Jesus died. In fact if Jesus served any purpose then it would be to show us an application of such law and how to better ourselves. Time and universe certainly hasn’t ended nor has its original intent.

          Ultimately, you are captain’s and God (the universe of possibiities) is your sea. Use precaution, skill and knowledge to navigate, but have a fun voyage and love its beauty while sailing. Listen to wise men always, but be wise judge of even them all on your own.

          Regards,
          HR

          • eric
            January 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm

            Franklin is among my favorite Founders. He seemed like the kind of guy you’d be very happy to have as a friend. I particularly admired his earthy attitudes toward life. He was the opposite of that prig Hamilton, who must have been insufferable to be around.

            On the other stuff:

            If god (assuming such exists) is benevolent then a basically good and honest man striving to do the right thing, to live a decent life and behave decently toward others ought to have nothing to fear. If, on the other hand, the deity is malignant – which I define (in part) as a jealous control freak who expects abject submission and veneration then – to quote Conan The Barbarian – to hell with him!

            Conan has some pretty good nuggets o’ philosophy, including this one:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKMG-FdCGtM

          • Hot Rod
            January 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

            Hi Eric,

            Yeah I think Ben Franklin was quite humorous and intelligent. All those guys back then seemed to be rather articulate on stating things honestly in a rather non BS way.

            “If god (assuming such exists) is benevolent then a basically good and honest man striving to do the right thing, to live a decent life and behave decently toward others ought to have nothing to fear.”

            Exactly the 10 commandments aren’t that hard to follow. Even Yeshua never denied the 10 he just distilled the same to two and tried to stress the need to forgive and not hold grudges. He even said he didn’t come to change the law in his own words exactly. And he said God’s laws were light and not a burden, which agrees with your statement.

            Apostle Paul and his followers say the opposite though. They say the 10 laws of morality don’t apply since Jesus was strung up, all that was replaced by faith in him only. So the cheap answer to having to carry your cross in this world is just “believing in Christ”. The laws (morality and 10 commandments) were nailed to the cross with him they say! They say that works don’t matter only faith in Jesus Christ. They say not to believe in the fake world of the creator’s making because you can be deceived by it, but they ask for us to believe in a phoney world of their own making that can’t be verified. To question their projection or visions is to be damned to hell. And finally these people are the wicked Christians (in my opinion) that Ben Franklin talks about, simply because they follow no morality (lawless) and live each day of their lives carelessly (inconsiderate and destructive of others) because they have no doubt that they can be forgiven by faith in calling out Jesus’s name only at their last dying breath. They have two masters and try to love them both but keep coming back to the lawless one whenever it suits them better in this world, which is most the time.

            I have no doubt that a hard working and honest man trying to follow the simple laws of morality (10 commandments) and forgiveness of Jesus, the hard working man getting by without being a parasite to his fellow man, will make it in heaven simply because he tries to be the best morally he can and be fruitfull along the way. But the other type of charlatan will not make it simply because it wouldn’t be heaven if these wicked and poisonous fruit of people were residents.

            Though I’m not God and I certainly don’t know everything, I do know people and types of peoples and all the wierd doctrines empowering them very well after living on this earth for 40 some years. You have to be acute because there are so many deceived and fearful, but the answer of course to morality is always very simple. It has to be if its right. That is in physics and its also true in morality. The hard part is overthrowing self righteous institutions that have been in a person’s bloodline and familial beliefs for generations. It takes courage to admit the truth even when it means throwing off the way grandad explained it along with his handed down concerns that doubting could get you into the hell fire. But the biggest hell is believing in nonsense in my opinion.

            Regards,
            HR

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 28, 2014 at 1:05 am

            eric, your quote, “then – to quote Conan The Barbarian – to hell with him!”

            I get that.
            [What a great film/story that was, eh? Such a freedomista theme!]

            But at the same time, I think it”s amazing we get that choice.

            Then I think about those guys dodging spears in the Mel Gibson film, Apocalypto.

            …Humans are a lot like birds.
            [in more than one way.]
            God, he feeds them.
            Some, he does not.

            Life is a damn struggle to see who is who?:

            http://www.examiner.com/article/pope-alerts-pope-francis-peace-doves-attacked-pope-john-paul-s-blood-stolen

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 7:24 am

            Conan did have a great freedomista theme.

            Quoting Thulsa Doom: What is steel compared with the flesh that wields it?

            Indeed.

          • LSJohn
            January 28, 2014 at 1:07 am

            @ Hot Rod

            “Too many wierd things have happened to myself to make me doubt a connection between reaping what we sow morally. ”

            I think there’s certainly a connection, but it’s not reliably predictable the way physical laws are. In general, doing good will bring you good, and doing bad will bring you bad.

            There are many cases when someone at least seems to have gotten away with “bad,” and many others in which someone has led an exemplary life but suffers unspeakable tragedy.

            To call it a law in the same sense as physical laws, I’d have to state it: One is more likely to do well by behaving well; the likelihood of suffering harm is increased by doing harm.

            I’ll go out on a limb and say: Physical laws are about what WILL happen. (Physical laws may not be quite what we humans have decided they are, but whatever they are, they reliably predict the result of interactions between energy and matter under specified conditions.) Moral laws tell us what we should and should not do to be a good neighbor, and, whatever they are, they are infallible as to the “shoulds.” (They may not be quite what we humans think they are, but… you get the picture.)

            “where does a number, or line, or function really reside if its not necessarily physical?”

            They reside only as ideas shared by humans as the ways to understand and describe aspects of physical laws. (I guess one could say they are physical because they are represented or evoked by very physical electrical impulses in human brains.)

            “If the world of maximums work for a pop can, then I think it very likely to conclude that one exists for maximum creation of all inhabitants wouldn’t you agree?”

            I may not be grasping the thrust of “maximum creation,” but moral principles (laws?) seem to have their most merit by being suggestions about behavior that will (would) bring about the most peace, harmony, and pleasure from human interaction. Since they are only suggestions, not inviolable laws the way physical laws are, the responses to our individual moral behavior are far less than certain. IOW, looks to me like worthy principles, but not laws.

            “That said whether the laws of morality were found by enlightenment (intuitiiion, God, etc) or empirical (measurement) makes no difference to me as its still just as valuable to humanity even if it cannot be fully understood.”

            Indeed. Very good.

            “I agree a person can be neither theist or atheist.”

            I suspect that this is just a matter of our defining “atheist” differently. I contend that one need not deny the existence or possibility of existence of a Super-Being to qualify as atheist. I think we are born atheist — having no knowledge, opinion or belief — and sometimes later become theists as we develop a belief in “God” or gods.

            “Do you think that the world might be theist, versus non-theist? A theist looking for a connection to a higher intelligence. Whereas a non-theist is someone that doesn’t believe in a higher intelligence or worth his effort to know?”

            My best guess it that the human desire for answers finds solace in One Big Answer to every possible unknown. I think humans have an inclination toward believing in a Super-Being, and find plenty of evidence that is sufficient for them to believe One exists. This inclination might have been instilled in Man by God, or maybe not.

            Like Eric and many others, I simply don’t know, so take no position and don’t reject the possibility. I don’t believe, but I don’t deny. I think this makes me an atheist; others would say it makes me an agnostic. Maybe it’s no more than semantics, but it seems a little more than that to me.

            “I mean how can we never know what something is worth if we never bother to search for its worth?”

            I have done more than a little searching, but I must admit that much of my search is like W.C. Fields’. (If you don’t know the story, a friend was visiting Fields when he was in hospital and found him reading a Bible.The Friend says, “Why, Bill, I didn’t know you were a religious man.” To which Fields replies, “Lookin’ for loopholes, lookin’ for loopholes.”)

            Perhaps I prefer NOT to believe because I don’t want Anyone looking over my shoulder, but I have found more than enough in the Bible — not to open a vast new subject — to make me skeptical of the Biblical version of God if a Super-Being does exist.

            I hope you won’t take it as sarcasm for me to point out that I also haven’t been to Ecuador searching for gold artifacts, even though I have what appear to be some very good clues about possible existence and location. One has to pick the searches that seem most important and most likely productive. Ecuador fails for me on “important” and search for God fails — for me — on “likely productive.”

            “I disagree as we can never know infinite either but we still use it in calculus.”

            We know it as a concept well enough to usefully plug it into some of our calculations (I said “we” and “our” but I should have said “you” and “your”) but unless those skilled in higher mathematics can fully grasp its implications, none of us can.

            Thanks for an interesting response.

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 7:20 am

            Excellent stuff, guys!

            My only quibble is with the definition of atheism – which to me is a definite assertion of non-belief in the possibility of the supernatural. Not merely, “I do not believe in (put your brand of deity here)” but the very notion of the supernatural is absurd, an impossibility, a contradiction in terms. There is existence – and everything that exists is subsumed within existence. There is nothing “outside” of existence (i.e., the supernatural).

            That, to me, is a step too far.

            I can’t prove that there is anything “outside” of existence, something super natural. But since I am not omniscient – my senses and awareness and intellect at best able to apprehend and comprehend a small slice of that which exists – it seems incredibly presumptuous (and foolish) to dismiss out of hand that which might be possible – and to insist that it is so.

            To me, that is as rigid – and bereft of factual support – as an absolute insistence on “Jesus is Lord.”

            Maybe.

            But keep an open mind until it can be proved.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 28, 2014 at 1:38 am

            Crap, LSJohn. I want to read your post and soak it all in, but the whiskey is kickin’ in and I can’t do it.

            I do so hate, ‘can’t’s, and don’t’s”.

            [Grandmaw says I hate too much, prolly you too? If not, lucky you.]

            Anyway, I’m getting a taste of how the world sees what I think you’re saying, and the world takes the position of: the world is the knuckleheads on a Star Trek episode I saw once which is summed up best this way: “Just make it go faster!”

            Originally I had intended to visit this blog to add to what Jean was talking about when he said the bastards would rule microscopically/nano-technologically, here’s just a stepping stone in that direction:

            Schumer Pushes Law to Put Trackers on Autistic Children

            http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/27/Schumer-pushes-Avonte-law

            The overlords of Americans really are bastards.
            Worse than that, even.
            Problem is, Americans don’t think they have OverLords.

      • Tor Minotaur
        January 27, 2014 at 10:05 am

        Making the Earth your sovereign. Making a spirit or a God your sovereign. That is a problem. Saying “Jesus take the wheel,” is a terrible idea, how would he even know how to drive?
        http://vimeo.com/4909986

        Let’s take this story of the confusion of language
        http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/the-tower-of-babel-and-the-confusion-of-tongues/

        At face value, it seems like YHWH wants the people to struggle and have a hard time. Surely this included immense death and suffering. You have to struggle against confusion. Don’t let anyone, even the creator, confuse you and stop you from getting what you need. Give it your best shot to get what you want while not abandoning your values. Don’t fall into the divine ego/earthly altruist slave mentality. God’s words pass through middlemen with worldly agendas.

        “The master-slave, egoism-altruism dynamic, goes on forever. The pursuit of emancipation and liberation is a never ending strive.”

        Gian Piero de Bellis – Polyarchy : a Manifesto

        Satanism is masquerading behind Polyarchy – meetchristians
        http://www.meetchristians.com/new/tr_fr_view_thread.php?TID=1383933&r=&F=4

      • LSJohn
        January 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        “I think the confusion arises from equating ‘believe’ and ‘know.'”

        Yes, and you and I agree about everything except whether an agnostic is an atheist.

        My position is that the prefix “a” means “non,” and applies to anyone who has not arrived at a level of opinion strong enough to assert, “I believe.”

        IMO, even though “I believe” does not mean “I know,” it is considerably stronger than “I think,” or even “Probably.” I think this difference should be noted in discussions at the depth we are attempting, even though in everyday language it is ignored (and because it is routinely ignored, many people don’t think about the fact that it exists.)

        In my experience, the people most likely to see the difference are dedicated Christians, but they apply the difference only part of the time. When they say “I believe in the Lord Jesus” they do not mean to be simply offering an opinion, but when they say “I believe it’s going to be colder tomorrow,” it’s clear to both them and us that opinion is all that’s intended.

        For a final thought I can’t resist repeating myself, but I hope you won’t take it as an insult to your intelligence: If one has not reached a level of conviction that allows saying “I believe,” one does not believe, but it certainly doesn’t rule out “I don’t know,” because not believing is not the same as denying the possibility.

        Thanks for an interesting discussion — but don’t take that as my declaring it to be ended. :>)

      • Bobbye
        January 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm

        Yesterday I was so happy. Yesterday I knew my wife loved me,even though I could not prove it. I knew my children loved me. I knew my friends liked me. How happy I was knowing these things, without a hint of doubt in my soul.Today I have learned that I must only say that I believe my wife loves me because there must be a hint of doubt because I cannot prove her love. How happy I was yesterday, secure, without a doubt. Oh, how low and unhappy I am today with all these doubts.

        • eric
          January 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

          Ah, but Bobby, surely you see the flaw in that argument?

          Your wife is a tangible reality. You literally do know her. She exists. This cannot be denied. It is demonstrably true.

          You cannot (honestly) say the same thing about god. It is a qualitatively different thing.

          • January 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm

            Ray Comfort once used this argument on an atheist who asked him if he admitted he could be wrong about God. He said “no” on the grounds that atheist would not admit that he could be wrong about whether or not his wife really exists.

            I already know you view people like me as being “crazy” on this point, but I can say that I have experienced God. There is absolutely no, zero possibility that he doesn’t exist. To me, its as ridiculous as telling me my mom doesn’t exist or that you aren’t actually discussing this with me.

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 8:35 am

            Hi David,

            I don’t doubt your belief for a moment. The issue I have is with asserting it as being equivalent to knowing that NY City exists.

            But, so long as you’re anchored by the NAP – then whatever you believe is ok with me.

            The thing that freaks me out about believers in general is that it’s all to easy to cross the line from believing what you want to believe to insisting that others believe it too.

            History is all too replete with examples of this to dismiss it as an unfounded concern.

            It is in fact only in relatively recent (modern) times that religion – in the West – became (generally) pacific rather than militant.

            In other parts of the world religion remains extremely militant. Genital mutilation, beheadings; stoning to death for apostasy.

            Such things (things of a piece) were also very common in the West as recently as 200 years ago.

            The fundamental problem is the arbitrary assertion of universality – the “one true god” – and of his various interpreters asserting the “correct” expression of his will. Descent into intolerance and fanaticism is all too easy.

            And very scary to those of us who do not “believe.”

          • Bobbye
            January 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm

            I’m sorry that you missed the point. The subject was not my wife. The subject was my wife’s love. Love was the subject. Does love have a tangible reality? Can you touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it, see it? Can you literally know love? Does love exist? David’s post just below has it correct. The other aspect that was not perceived is ‘nuance’.
            nu·ance noun \ˈnü-ˌän(t)s, ˈnyü-, -ˌäⁿs; nü-ˈ, nyü-ˈ\
            : a very small difference in color, tone, meaning, etc.

            Full Definition of NUANCE

            1
            : a subtle distinction or variation
            2
            : a subtle quality : nicety
            3
            : sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuance

            Nuance. The dictionary definition makes it seem very small, but to those with understanding it is huge. Nuance makes life rich and expansive. Nuance is what happens when you are attempting to learn or comprehend something new or difficult and suddenly something clicks and you know. “Wow,now I get it, now I understand”. And you know that you know, and your soul rejoices. To know that you know is beautiful. To believe that you believe is banal.
            Beyond these feeble attempts, I cannot imagine how I could cause you to understand how important to the human soul and spirit knowing is, even intangible things, that you can never demonstrate or prove to another. Did you never know that you were in love?

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 8:19 am

            Hi Bobbye,

            I did not miss the point. Your wife’s love is a function of her reality. You literally do know her (and she, you).

            You are attempting to paint an equivalence between the love of a real person – and the imagined love of a deity, a creature whose existence is entirely subjective (no matter how strongly you may “believe” otherwise).

            The love of an actual person does have a tangible reality – it flows, first of all, from the fact of the person’s tangible reality. It manifests by specific, tangible responses and actions such as expressions of affection, putting the other person first (and so on).

            I understand that religious believers believe they “know” God – and feel his love.

            But it is not even remotely the same thing as the love of a spouse, whose tangible reality (and the reality of their love) objectively exists.

          • David
            January 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

            I’m in class ATM, but just as a quick response, Christianity was mostly pacifistic for 300 or so years before Constantine.

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

            True, David… but then, it was a minority sect and lacked the power to impose itself. Once it acquired secular power… well, you’ve got 1,500 years (post Constantine) of horrid history that must be acknowledged.

          • David
            January 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

            Well, I don’t really have to answer for anyone but myself, but I get your point. I go for sola scriptura myself, but if you’re going to go by history, wouldn’t earlier history be more valid an indicator of what Christianity really is than later history? After all, they were closer to the apostles.

            Its my own position that the visible church mostly died under Constantine, for precisely those reasons.

          • Bevin
            January 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm

            Dear David, Eric,

            Re: Christianity before and after acquiring power it could abuse, a well-known quote comes to mind.

            “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

            It was a profound truth, uttered ironically by a man who failed the test of character dismally — Abe Lincoln.

        • LSJohn
          January 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm

          “Yesterday I knew my wife loved me,even though I could not prove it.”

          I usually find an extremely high degree of confidence — if it is based upon experience that is not called into question by provable facts — to be sufficient for me to make my choices as I would make them if I were absolutely certain, but I try not to confuse the difference between the two levels of knowledge.

  32. bubbamustafa
    January 27, 2014 at 4:31 am

    ALL cops/LEO are fucked, corrupt, and on an evil small-dicked power trip.

    • eric
      January 27, 2014 at 6:56 am

      Hi Bubba,

      Minimally, they all “enforce the law.” Given that so many of the laws are fucked up, the cops, by definition, are fucked up for enforcing them.

      So, I agree with you.

  33. Randy
    January 27, 2014 at 11:51 am

    @JoePA

    The “situation is always the same”????? Show me where every “situation” happened the way you describe. And then do me a favor, go back to the hole where you came from if you are not willing to stand up for the same documents those cops swore an oath to. And by your twisted logic everyone a cop pulls over is guilty? Sounds like communist China or North Korea. I am so proud to have a “citizen” like you in my country (sarcasm). I am disgusted by your indignant comments. And you might avail yourself of the this website:
    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

    • eric
      January 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Randy,

      I hope Joe responds. So far, he has been silent.

      I’m hoping he’ll begin to see what we see – the contempt that cops have for us; the assumption that we’re all scumbags and should be treated as such… in the name of “officer safety,” which trumps all other considerations and justifies almost anything.

      The unconscious expectation that they are entitled to abject submission – and that anything less amounts to a challenge to their authority that must be stomped.

      It’s the attitude of an occupying army – not citizen peace-keepers.

  34. January 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    To JoePA RE: Comment Made January 23, 2014 at 10:15 am You begin your comment with the premise “The scenario is always the same.” I want to emphasize your use of the term “always.”

    I myself am an ex-deputy sheriff, and I totally disagree with that premise. That premise is not a statistical fact, nor even an actual truth. That mindset is very much an integral part of the training you received as an officer, but it is not reality.

    You, just like I did, took an oath to PROTECT and SERVE, but you obviously misunderstand as to whom. The attitude you have displayed in your comments strikes me in the following ways:

    1) You believe that your life is more valuable than the life of those over whom you are exerting authority under color of your office. At the end of the day, it will ALWAYS be YOU that goes home instead of the other individual. Why? Because you will KILL them under the color of that authority to ensure that you do, even if the shooting was the result of a situation that you yourself escalated because of something as simple as an argument over a ticket, like is shown in the 2nd video.

    2) That your badge grants you special rights and privileges to harm and abuse others through the exercise of authority attached to it. As an officer, you SHOULD know what is truly a “law” and what is actually not. Statutes that command you to falsely accuse every-day people of committing “crimes” that have no actual victim and intent to harm is just one example. You KNOW that you are simply out there for revenue generation and not actually to serve and protect, and it’s truly an admission of your lack of integrity to say that you’re not or that you didn’t know that.

    3) You are willing to justify harming or killing another human being while knowing full well that there was no imminent danger to yourself or anyone else, while under the exact same conditions and circumstances, the average man/woman would be charged with aggravated assault of an officer if they resisted your excessive use of force. Even if the alleged aggressor was an every-day Joe, and some man/woman did exactly the same thing you did for the same reasons and in the same situation, the man/woman would almost certainly be charged with voluntary manslaughter at a minimum, but more likely murder, just so some prosecutor can make a name for themselves. Why? Because police officers are given special treatment and consideration that are denied the average Joe who finds themselves in the same situation as the officer. And, once again, this would be true even if YOU escalated the use of force and violence yourself in order to ensure your own safety over that of the person that YOU accosted in the name of illegitimate tax revenue disguised as fines and fees.

    No victim, no intent to harm, no crime. This should ALWAYS be the mindset of every officer, regardless of what is written in the books. They are called UNJUST laws for a reason. As a deputy, I refused to write tickets for anything. I made it my mission to know and understand the real purpose of law, which is a far cry from where it is today. I read, studied and researched everything I could find on the subject of what law is and what its purpose MUST be in order to protect everyone equally. But, it is no longer a tool of protection and the means of providing justice, nor is it in any way whatsoever “equal” in it’s application and protection. “Law” has been relegated to instituting illegal and unapproved methods of extracting excess taxes and/or the “legal” theft of property from the people without justification or accountability. The “law” has become the very abuser and oppressor that YOU took an oath to defend the people against, but, from your statements herein, I can clearly see that you have forgotten that, or you never actually understood it at all. In either case, you are a perfect example of this modern problem known as the “thin blue line.”

    An officer has absolutely no more right to arrest or cause harm to another than the average every-day human being does. And no statute can give it to him/her. The legislature cannot authorize its agents to perpetrate crimes and call that a legitimate assignment of power and authority, because it simply isn’t. As both an officer and a fellow human being, you should know and understand that as well.

    No paycheck is worth the harm that you must perpetrate in order to earn it when that harm has no real justification based on the threat of an undeniable ACTUAL and IMMINENT probability of serious harm to yourself or another. If the ordinary individual cannot justify a shooting, stabbing, or assault simply on the basis of “I thought he might or could harm me, so I shot/stabbed/beat him,” then neither can an officer. To assert otherwise is to assert that your person/life is more valuable than the person/life of all other people simply because you are an officer.

    You might fell like you are one of the good guys, but those demonstration of how you think and would act in these same situations tells a far different story, and that is the continuous disappointment associated with the police mentality of today. Sorry sir, but you ARE a part of the problem.

  35. LSJohn
    January 27, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    @ Bevin

    “I was merely following the internal logic of the premises to their logical conclusion.”

    Do you watch South Park?

    Cartman (a uniquely rotten kid) straps on plywood wings to fly from the roof of his two-story house. Off he goes, and, of course, splat! It merely follows the premises to their logical conclusion… but I can’t keep from laughing.

    • Bevin
      January 28, 2014 at 2:02 am

      Dear LS,

      I hear you!

      LOL!

      • PanarchistamericanHelot
        January 28, 2014 at 2:44 am

        Some lyrics from Pink:

        “If God is a DJ,
        Life is a dance-floor.

        Life is a the rhythm.

        You are the music.

        It’s all how you use it.”

        Then there’s this other popular song I heard:

        “Don’t. Bring. A. Knife. To. A. Gunfight.
        You lose.”

        The song seems to trash both Oboma and Bush. But I’m not certain, Heh, find a teenager and ask them which way the wind blows?

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          January 28, 2014 at 3:04 am

          RE: “It’s all how you use it.”

          My better half is out of town and I was going to try and sell you all some apple bread,… but it seems I ate it all.

          Maybe next time?

          There’s just bacon and meatballs left.
          You guys can buy the bacon in the store, and I’m not sharing the meatballs, but the bread,… Fucking heroine. …It’s like the Christmas cookies. Pleasurable killing morsels? Christmas crack? I imagine you guys have the same weakness I do.

          I keep telling her, “Next year it’s just cards and Primal cookies!”

          O.k. I finished the bottle. Vegemite sandwiches, for everyone.

          • eric
            January 28, 2014 at 6:50 am

            Hi Panarch,

            Throttling back on bread was extremely tough for me. I love bread. Used to enjoy few things more than buying a just-out-of-the-oven loaf baked by the local Mennonite ladies, and sitting down with it and some fresh butter for an orgy of consumption…

            But now it’s an occasional treat – and I feel much better overall. Lost 25 pounds – and can eat pretty much what I want (so long as it’s not wheat/complex/refined carbs) and not balloon right back up.

            Works for me – but your mileage may vary!

  36. Tor Minotaur
    January 28, 2014 at 2:14 am
  37. LSJohn
    January 28, 2014 at 3:16 am

    @PanarchistamericanHelot

    “[Grandmaw says I hate too much, prolly you too? If not, lucky you.]”

    Naw, hardly ever.

    Only when I watch TV… or listen to the radio…

    Or read a newspaper…

    Or hear a name like McCain, or Kerry, or Clinton, or Bush, or Obama, or Boehner, or Pelosi, or Reid or……… you know

    Or see the number 1040…

    Or see a random checkpoint…

    Or try to figure out the derivative scam…

    Or talk to my sister-in-law…

    Hardly ever.

    • PanarchistamericanHelot
      January 28, 2014 at 4:09 am

      LSJohn, did I write that bit, or did you>?

      Whoa.

      maybe IWe, we gotta take the advice I gave to some other fellla here awhile back.

      Do not hate, Or it will consume you.

      …Or, something like that.

      Just about every morning I tell my better half, “Do Not fight with the retards.”

      There’s a lesson there.
      But I’m done for the night.

      • PanarchistamericanHelot
        January 28, 2014 at 4:14 am

        Also, I forgot to add at the top, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        Ok, now I’m done.

        Goodnight, everybody!

      • LSJohn
        January 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm

        You wrote the “Grandmaw told me not to hate…” part, and I wrote the rest… jokingly.

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          January 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

          I could relate, especially to the “Or talk to my sister-in-law…” part.

          Funny stuff. It was a good read.

    • eric
      January 28, 2014 at 6:47 am

      Hi LS,

      I tend to get mad, too. But I try to channel it into a productive outlet, such as my writing (it’s more productive than stomping my feets or going out in the backyard and shooting old TVs, Elvis-style).

      It’s better to ridicule and mock the control freaks and all their schemes. Letting them get you mad is a partial victory for them. Making them look ridiculous is a big victory for us.

      • LSJohn
        January 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        “It’s better to ridicule and mock the control freaks and all their schemes. Letting them get you mad is a partial victory for them. ”

        I agree completely. As I told PanarcdhistamericanHelot, I was joking (75% at least) :>)

  38. Tor Libertarian
    January 28, 2014 at 9:38 am

    What if there are supernaturals living among and within us. Immortal Celtic sidhe, who change their names from time to time, get new official id’s and names, and change their backstories because it is their culture and means of survival? Ones traditionally most numerous in the woods among the varied ephemeral beings of the fae-rest, increasingly driven to the herds of men.

    Lost Girl – Kenzi = a comedic succubus played by Ksenia Solo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eto3DH_FYg4

    Zohar 3:76b-77a

    For 130 years Adam kept separate from his wife and did not beget. After Cain killed Abel, Adam did not want to copulate with his wife. From the hour in which death was decreed upon him and upon the whole world, he said ‘Why should I beget children for terror?’ and instantly separated from his wife.

    And female spirits [two of them are named Lilith and Naamah] would come and copulate with him and bear children. and those whom they bore are the individium – spirits of the world who dwell within and pass between and have become a part and parcel of the souls of mankind.

    After 130 years Adam clothed himself in zeal and had union with his wife and begot a son and called his name Seth

    They are the blonde, brunette, and redhead beauties in the Matrix. The models and adult fantasy role players who continue to beguile and sustain the sons of man. They live in our fantasies and dreams, dwell in the doorways, and dark locked rooms, in darkened taverns, and dim bawdy houses, lonely roadsides, cisterns, wires, pipes, and latrines.

    Sometimes they manifest for a time as female flesh. The young beauty and beguiling glamor starlet, powerful few who feed off the energy of the weakened few. Sometimes they show themselves temporarily during libations or episodes of passions, only to leave soon afterward, and for the woman to return to her former earthly self.

    Lost Girl, the supernatural crime drama series, follows the life of a typical succubus, as she learns to control her supernatural abilities, help those in need, and discover the truth and meaning of her origin.

    A succubus is a female demon or supernatural entity in folklore traceable to medieval legend, that appears in dreams and takes the form of a human woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual activity.

    Natural theological traditions hold that repeated sexual activity with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or even death. Not the worst way to go, say those for whom longevity isn’t everything.

    Religious doctrine says a succubus harvests seed from the men she seduces. Sometimes she uses the seed to impregnate human females. Children so begotten – cambions – are less logical and concrete minded, they are highly susceptible to supernatural influences.

    In modern fictional representations, a succubus may or may not appear in dreams and is often depicted as a highly attractive seductress or enchantress; desirable and gorgeous, yet also frightening and sometimes with a touch of the demonic.

    Are we only attracted to the humanity of the female. Or is there also somethingly fleetingly compelling, does not elle a un je-ne-sais-quoi qui m’intrigue?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succubus
    http://jewishchristianlit.com/Topics/Lilith/seductress.html

    “Life is hard when you don’t know who you are. It’s harder when you don’t know what you are. My love carries a death sentence. I was lost for years. Searching while hiding. Only to find that I belong to a world hidden from humans. I won’t hide anymore. I will live the life I choose.”

    “It’s kind of tough growing up thinking that you might have a shot at being prom queen and find out that you’re part of some ageless secret race that feeds on humans.”

    “One hair from someone she loves. Two from someone she trusts. And three from her own head. Put them in the bottle and the Druid will do the rest.”

    Having the power to absorb the life force, the “chi”, of humans and Fae by drawing it out through their mouths. She feeds from chi intake; and heals from the absorption of chi, and from the energy created by intimate encounters. She can also seduce and manipulate both humans and Fae with the touch of her skin. When first reaching maturity, she could not feed without killing her partners, she learned to control her drive and chi-drawing powers so that she could live among both Fae and humans without injuring or killing them.

  39. LSJohn
    January 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I think your thoughts and mine about the supernatural are almost identical. Our only difference seems to be the definition of the term “atheist.” Not enough to worry about.

    I observe this: Theists prefer to categorize anyone who calls him/herself atheist as denying the possibility so they can — fairly, I think — contend that such a position is just as or more faith-based as their own, since there is at least some evidence for God’s existence and none is possible for the negative. That amounts to unfair criticism of people like me who are agnostic but believe that agnosticism is one variety of atheism.

    In my experience, many atheists (or agnostics as you prefer) take a very strong view that the version in the Bible has too many flaws and too many contradictions and too little reliable evidence to be taken seriously, but do not deny some other Super-Being possibility. That’s me, so I think you would agree that I have atheist views about the Bible version, but not about other possibilities.

    • LSJohn
      January 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      @EricP

      Looks like I am replying to myself here, but another thought:

      I think lots of people who call themselves atheist (but I may be projecting) do so because they reject the possibility that the Bible version is valid, and most of the theists with whom they correspond on the subject are Bible-believers.

      • eric
        January 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        Hi John,

        It’s more than that – for me, at least. I don’t reject just the Bible. Also the Koran – and all other religious texts. At least insofar as their claims to be the “word” of god – as opposed to the product of human writers, edited and re-translated through the ages.

        The Bible, like all the religious texts I’ve read, is often impenetrable; frequently vague – and subject to almost endless parsing as to its “true meaning.” Not even Christians agree what it “really” means – and squabble amongst themselves over their respective exegetical interpretations.

        Tell me that there is a city called New York that lies at such and such longitude and latitude… and I can accept it because it’s objectively verifiable. There is a city called New York. It lies at “x” latitude and “x” longitude. One can go there and see it – confirm its existence.

        But “Jesus is the only begotten son of God”? Not so much. Same goes for Allah – and all the other gods, past and present.

        The Egyptians believed in Ra and Isis and Set and Seti for thousands of years – far longer than Christianity has existed. I’m sure their belief was just as certain, just as fervent. It doesn’t make it valid, in terms of being factual.

        If people find comfort in religion, I have no problem with it. If the structure and the rituals are meaningful, great. I feel the same way about people who are into Star Trek and dress like Klingons. I wouldn’t do it myself, but if it’s what you want to do… .

        But I get nervous when believers in various (or singular) gods insist they know… because of the implicit challenge toward (and repudiation) of those who do not believe.

        • LSJohn
          January 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm

          ” I don’t reject just the Bible. Also the Koran – and all other religious texts.”

          I suspect very strongly that you’re right… I haven’t more than passing knowledge of any of the others, so I limit my criticisms to the Bible where I can cite chapter and verse if someone politely requests.

          “If people find comfort in religion, I have no problem with it. If the structure and the rituals are meaningful, great.…

          But I get nervous when believers in various (or singular) gods insist they know… because of the implicit challenge toward (and repudiation) of those who do not believe.”

          Yes, except I don’t really even mind the implicit challenge… its the explicit — manifested in political activities that I think Jesus would deplore — that worries me. You may have seen me mention earlier that I can’t imagine that Jesus would vote or encourage voting, nor approve of the concept of majority rule in the first place. WWJD? is ignored by CINOs (Christian In Name Only) who I think represent a considerable majority of U.S. “Christians.”

        • January 30, 2014 at 12:44 am

          I get why you hold that position, but I don’t think I’m ever going to accept it. That may be something we just have to agree to disagree on.

          I’ve seen too many miraculous answers to prayer. I’ve seen too many examples of prophecies in the Old Testament being answered in the New. Atheists ridiculed the story of Jonah, until something similar happened right in front of them in the 19th century. Public Schools ridicule the creation account (Let me be clear here that I am not necessarily saying whether it actually took place in 6 days or a longer period of time, I consider this relatively unimportant) and teach macroevolution and their “Survival of the Fittest” ideology which is the very foundation for the State. The unbelieving ridicule the fact that we believe that we are certain that our God exists, yet they claim to be just as uncertain that he does not, yet without any actual experience to confirm that he does not exist.

          The Bible has certain elements that are confusing, but the gospel is not confusing. It is only confusing to those who God has blinded. If God opens your eyes it is easy to understand.

          • LSJohn
            January 30, 2014 at 2:27 am

            @David

            “The Bible has certain elements that are confusing, but the gospel is not confusing.”

            Have you ever considered the possibility that the New Testament is reliable (although I am quite skeptical of Paul) and the Old Testament, not so much? I think particularly noteworthy is the difference between the vengeful Yahweh of the OT and the Loving God of the New. I find it hard to think that Jesus would have approved of the punishment of Jericho, Sodom and Gomorrah, for starters, or for that matter “The Flood.”

          • eric
            January 30, 2014 at 6:40 am

            Agreed, David!

            (On agree to disagree; again – so long as we neither of us try to impose our views on the other, everything’s cool. That includes religious people accepting that their concepts of “sin” and “vice” do not rise to the level of NAP violations and so are off limits (to restraint/punishment, etc.) no matter how much they may frown upon these things.)

  40. LSJohn
    January 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    “The thing that freaks me out about believers in general is that it’s all to easy to cross the line from believing what you want to believe to insisting that others believe it too.”

    That’s the half of the problem that primarily affects neighbors. The other half may be a greater problem because it undermines the rationality of the believer on other issues which also can have a profound effect on his neighbors: Fervent belief despite the absence of sufficient evidence trains the mind to accept many comfortable ideas as undoubtedly true without the foundation necessary to be so sure. (Democrat good, Republican bad, and vice-versa; Conservative good, lib’rul bad, and vice-versa; Global warming, pro and con; Homosexuality, inborn or learned?; Genetic inferiority or superiority of ethnic groups; etc, etc, etc.)

  41. LSJohn
    January 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    “wouldn’t earlier history be more valid an indicator of what Christianity really is than later history? ”

    Yes!

    I wish we could place more confidence in the alleged quotations from Jesus. Since those of us who do not believe everything in the Bible was/is Divinely-inspired have to pick and choose what seems to make the most sense to us — and a lot of it does — I can conclude that the things I believe he actually said and did reflect the core of an admirable moral code. That later “followers” — especially post-Constantine and post-Nicea — didn’t do a very good job of following, we have a distorted picture of Christianity’s merits and demerits (if there are indeed demerits.)

    Sounds like you are what I would call “The Real Deal” and I hope that doesn’t feel like an insult coming from someone like me. :>)

  42. January 30, 2014 at 12:15 am

    “People are routinely dragged out of their cars, roughly thrown to the ground, pummeled, kicked – and much worse than that. Police even in small towns have become indistinguishable from soldiers.”
    ==========================

    Soldiers don’t do that, or shouldn’t.
    Criminals do that.
    God help the fukhed that *attempts* to do that shit to me.
    It will die where it stands.

    • eric
      January 30, 2014 at 6:43 am

      But soldiers do do that, Ghostsniper. Are you unfamiliar with the checkpoints the “troops” routinely operate in Iraq and Afghanistan?

      And now, we have essentially similar checkpoints here, too.

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