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  • Levi,

    No one I have ever read on the subject of anarcho-capitalism or libertarianism ever said it was a utopian philosophy. I believe the one thing that all schools of all disciplines can agree is that an utopia is not possible in this world.

    There was a time in the USA in which we collected significantly less taxes than we do now as a nation. The income tax has only been around for roughly 40% of this nations history. Yet, there are roads previous to 1913. The US has had a standing military of one form or another previous to 1913. I work in a private corporation which has a complex series of roadways and helipads as well as armed security and even a co-generation power station which provides a significant amount of the companies energy use at its main plant… all without the cost of indirect expenses such as Government to provide any of them (but yes, Government to pay taxes to for having them).

    The military or the protection of the State from other States, seems to be an objection that always comes up. In fact, the Minarchist Camp always brings up the State’s duty to protect its citizens as the foremost chief duty of government.

    The United States fought in Vietnam. We had technological superiority, in air strikes and land. We had everything a standing army could possibly want (save the American riffle arguments for a later date) yet we could never break the resistance to our forces in Vietnam. They had significantly less technology, significantly less everything. Taxes did not win the war against America during the Vietnam War. Stalin had a standing army during WW2. All he did is use and abuse the forces and threw them at Hitler while Hitler overwhelmed himself…. but taxes didn’t save Hitler and they did not defeat him either. As not to be misunderstood here, I am not saying that an army does not cost money, or that large armies are fed only with donated xyz.

    If you were to look at the Persian Invasion of Greece we can better illustrate both of our points.

    The Persians tried to invade Greece in 490 BC, but Darius 1 was defeated. Darius 1 had a son Xerxes 1.

    Xerxes 1 told the Greeks he would be back.

    Themistocles was an Athenian who basically tricked the populace by selling them a lie. There was a silver deposit which was discovered in Athens and every single Athenian was going to get a piece of that silver deposit. It was a substantial amount of silver per citizen too. Themistocles tells the populace that one of these merchant island buddies is being attacked and they need to help defend them, and it is in their best self interest to do so because they are a hub for commerce for Athens. The citizens agreed to give up their claim so that Themistocles can start building ships. BUT HE LIED! In reality Themistocles was building these ships to fight Xerxes 1 who would return 10 years after Marathon. With out the silver deposit funds, they would not have been able to build up the ships in time to defend themselves from any invasion by any foreign States (Greece was a bunch of small city-states and not a unified country).

    In 480 BC Xerxes 1 did come and Themistocles defeated him at the Battle of Salamis. This happened at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae with King Leonidas, which Leonidas lost but it galvanized Sparta and the Cycladic States and eventually concludes at Plataea with Xerxes 1 being completely driven off (479 BC).

    The ships required being built way ahead of time. The ships required that there be significant training to be able to man. The Spartans were their own standing army (at least the class in their society which was free – that its own complex subject) so the training and knowledge of war was with that class automatically. But, the rest of Greece did not share this culture, yet they played a significant part in defending and beating back the Persian army.

    So it is with this idea that there can be said something for the build up of a defense structure in order to prevent a foreign power from coming over and making war. But what if you knew that “ever blade of grass has a riffle behind it?” Would a country in which there is an armed citizenry be a enough of a deterrent to prevent an invasion? I tend to side with history to say that this is a great deterrent, observing that it also does not automatically create for someone a comfy life. But if you are to be an individual, responsible for your self in all ways, your defense is only part and parcel with your ability to feed and cloth yourself.

    I think Tom Woods did great job in this podcast with Bob Murphy: http://tomwoods.com/blog/private-defense-my-discussion-with-bob-murphy/

    Andrew Deckert did a great job giving a quick outline of the topic here:

    And of course, you cannot talk about Privatization in a Libertarian conversation and not bring up the work of Walter Block:



    in reply to: How we come to own ourselves #20433


    I assumed a minarchist mind set when the term Libertarian was used in the original post. While that could be my own projecting, I tend to think that libertarians generally do not see themselves as full on anarchists. When I come into contact with a Libertarian in my daily life, when push comes to shove on a stateless society, generally they will always grasp to some semblance of a state. One minute we are laughing together at someone who says “Muh Roads” and the next they are defending some type of public good/service because _________________.

    The jumping to a Minarchist mind set is mine and I can concede that.


    in reply to: How we come to own ourselves #20431


    Personally, I do not agree we need any kind of minarchist state. But that was not the original question you raised.

    This is a popular Venn Diagram, and a good starting point I feel, for the breakdown of different political concepts as discussed above:


    Libertarians might encapsulate Classical Liberalism, Minarchist, Paleo-Conservatism or Voluntarism, but cannot really be applied to Modern Conservatism, Liberalism or Total Socialism. Though it can be said that the NAP is heart of the Libertarian philosophy, Libertarians would have to admit that even the least invasive of these classifications into someones life is still an invasion, and only true Voluntarism does not ethically violate the N.A.P., it would generally go to underline the saying “I was a minarchist till I ran out of excuses”.

    Look into these classifications as a base line. Then your question exists in several different shades of Libertarian thought, and even beyond.


    in reply to: How we come to own ourselves #20429


    just as a point of order: I am not conceding anything to a social contract. I stated originally that I am coming from a minarchist perspective, which is still a Statists perspective.

    My own views, and the views expressed here, are necessarily aligned.



    If I came to your house with a gun, took money from you, but as I was doing so told you about how I was going to take this money and feed and shelter over one thousand homeless people, does it morally change the act of robbery?

    Frederic Bastiat might have said it best in “The Law” with:

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

    Taxation is still an act of removing from someone by violent means a part of their earned wealth. Spending it “responsibly” or “irresponsibly” does not change the fact that taxation was theft.

    I might be wrong on this point, and if I am please call a point of order here, but the concepts of what is held up as a Classical Liberal were seeds not yet planted until The Enlightenment era’s a few hundred years or so after Western Civilization to 1500 AD.



    in reply to: the free market VS. big pharma #21476


    The question has multiple facets. For one “Big Companies” would be much more rare under an economy run in a way of a free market. I am assuming by Big Companies we are talking about corporations, which are products of state/business device. Generally, where you see a large corporation, with multifaceted smaller divisions and such you are looking at a business which has regulatory state parameters which hinder outside competition. With less competition you can increase the moral hazard a company faces because it can be in a position to try and scam people, in one head of the hydra, yet have the beast stay alive.

    However, the question rises why a company would purposefully kill off that which is making it money? Cigarette companies are providing potentially harmful products to a person, but they choose to take that product. But in the same way we all go out to eat at a restaurant, and I bet you 99% of us have never asked the waiter if we can go inspect the kitchen to make sure it is prepared correctly. We take it for granted and based on the reputation of the restaurant that the food will not kill you or that you will enjoy it. Why do most of us not walk into the kitchen to see how it is prepared? Because we are conditioned with the idea there is a nanny overlooking all that for us. Take away the nanny (FDA and local health codes) and it would be selling point of any restaurant that they have “X” high standards.

    A brand, say Viagra, still trees up to one umbrella corporate entity.
    As a food example:
    Mountain Dew, Lay’s Potato Chips, Gatorade, Tropicana Beverages, Doritos Tortilla Chips, Quaker Foods and Snacks, Cheetos, Ruffles, Aquafina, Sierra Mist all tree up to PepsiCo. Pepsi is the company and the reputation which will feel the pinch if one of their drinks started killing people.

    Just recently we had Martin Shkreli who decided to purchase the rights to an AIDS drug, and boost the price from $13.50 a pill to $750. This was only allowed to try and gouge costumers because of lack of competition for one. And secondly, he has lost business opportunities because people do not wish to be associated with him. Precisely because reputation and heuristics mean something to the consumer. PepsiCo owns Dorito’s and if they started killing people in mass, PepsiCo cannot just say, “Guys Guys Guys… settle down. That is Dorito’s not Pepsi”.



    in reply to: How we come to own ourselves #20424


    Was the person originally held against their will and then they decided to submit and follow their “captors” demands?


    in reply to: How we come to own ourselves #20422


    How is the State continuously kept in a perpetuated boundary?

    If you have not already, I would recommend Anatomy of the State by Rothbard


    On the great ability of the State in keep its own power limited.


    in reply to: How we come to own ourselves #20420


    Before I respond, these are great questions, and I do not propose that I am a libertarian spokesperson, nor an expert, but a fellow researcher like yourself. So with that in mind, I look forward to your responses to my responses to your questions, as I think we can eventually squeeze out some gems from this back and forth, but it might not be a quick process.

    Each one of those topics has a subtle difference to the overall idea of self ownership.

    First, if we are to assume the Libertarian umbrella, I believe we can safely assume a minarchist mindset, which still includes the trappings of statism. It may be a more subdued and less intrusive form of the State but a State non-the-less. So from that view point, I will address your argument (as apposed to a strict Anarcho-Capitalist view point).

    – Parents and children disagreeing over whether a child is ready to be “on their own”
    As there is a State, there is a “legal age” in which a child is still the financial liability of the child’s parents and/or guardian. The child does not own its actions, as it is not financially liable for them. If it were to act violently in a crime, of which it can be proven the child acted in full knowledge/understanding that their actions were violent, they may be tried as an adult (that would be up to municipalities/individual States).

    – Custody disputes
    Since the child does not posses full custody/responsibility of their lives until legal age (i.e.- 18 years old) they are the responsibility of two parents in the case of custody disputes. It should be a 50/50 split unless one can be seen as dangerous to the child. It would not be automatic given to the wife (just using a nuclear family in this example. Check tumbler for the 700 new genders which exist now – *sarcasm font*) and it would not be given automatically to the parent of greater means.

    – Rights and self-ownership of the developmentally disabled
    “Does someone have the legal obligation to take care of someone who cannot take care of themselves who have reached legal age under a libertarian umbrella?” is more the question.
    If they are disabled from birth, the parents have been legally responsible for this child for 18 years. Kicking this person out of their house onto the street would result in this persons potential death (different degrees of probability here depending on many variables). This hearkens back to the idea that if you push someone into a lake and they are now drowning you have a responsibility to help right that wrong, but if you didn’t push someone into a lake you do not have a responsibility to help that person, as you did not cause the harm to begin with. I am not suggesting that someone born developmentally disable was harmed intentionally or unintentionally by their parents, but that the parents do take a calculated risk in having a child, and part of that is the state of how the child is born.

    – Rights and self-ownership of the mentally ill
    First, there needs to be a mechanism to determine “mentally ill” (voting for Bernie based on sound economic policy comes to my mind – *joke font*). But society/state would need a body which decides when someone is mentally ill and is a danger to others. Not themselves. They own their body and can do what ever they want to themselves. If they are mentally ill and want to stay a hermit and eat nothing but frozen pizza’s and watch Fuller House that is up to them. If they want to try and kill the neighbor lady with the left over frozen pizza for making him watch Fuller House, which was just voices in his head telling him to do so (but it could have been self defense as Fuller House is a terrible show) then the local hand of the State would have to get involved in order to keep that person from harming others. If that person becomes mentally ill later in life, after being a self directing member of the country since the legal age (18) then they are responsible for their actions, if they have always been mentally ill, it gets a bit grey – many variables here including being mentally ill and falling into your last question. But lets say they have the voices in their head like the pizza dude/Fuller House, but they have it at age 12. I kind of think the parents are obligated to help their child, and it would be in their best interest as they are legally/financially responsible for their child’s actions.

    – Rights and self-ownership of the mentally incapacitated (e.g., loner in a coma)
    Generally, the beneficiary or person with power of attorney would have the ability to make legal decision on behalf of someone in this state, much like the courts have now. If that person was married, the spouse has this right under contract law (I believe). If they are not married, the next of kin would be my next reasonable guess. Any express written instructions would have to take president, and would direct the family and any legal guardianship over the body by those written wishes.

    – Rights and self-ownership of elderly with dementia (with or without aggressive tendencies) – You always retain rights. A unborn child has a right to life while it is imprisoned in the mothers womb. It can not act on its own, and it has no idea of where it is, what name it has, who is president, who is running (lucky them), and an even worse case of dementia than an elderly person who might even retain the memories of yesteryear. I would argue that once you hit legal age and are not the liability of anyone you are always in retention of self-ownership, even if your mind has dementia. Kind of like my response on the mentally ill applies here.

    While I am in two masters math classes at the moment, I do not have a lot of time to dive into the texts to find great “reference this” and “reference that” points, but I was hoping to at least get a dialogue started, as these topics interest me as well.



    in reply to: Questions about majoring in economics #20395


    I started in 2008 like you did, reading and teaching myself as much as I could on the topic. I was lucky enough to have an employer who would help pay the way through college for undergrad and graduate programs (though the time on that second one is running out due to a recent corporate purchase by Lockheed Martin), as soon as I became eligible I decided I wanted to formally study economics.

    I reached out to many of the heavy hitters you would see on Mises University YouTube videos. I emailed them (many of them heroes of mine) and received marginal guidance every step of the way. I even asked about my masters program on this very board, only to receive similar responses. I had to remove it on advice that a search for my name and economics might hurt my eligibility chances for acceptance (it did come up on Google). Mostly, it was simply “move down and go here or here” when the actual details of my life which play a significant role in my decision making were not in the strategy (kind of like taking aggregates and forgetting about the individual human action). I already have a B.A. so while I am three classes from finishing my B.S. degree in Econ/Finance from Southern New Hampshire University, I am currently in a Masters Program at Johns Hopkins University studying Applied Economics (not because I believe it is the greatest way to learn Austrian Economics mind you).

    First: it all depends on what you want to do. I want to go into academia and be a marker in time for when the world is ready for actual economics and lifestyle which are inline with liberty and prosperity, so a PhD is pretty much the way to go. A B.S. degree is a great base, but it would not land you very many teaching gigs. But a B.S. in Economics with larger dive into another discipline could give you a greater range of understanding (Think Tom Woods – PhD in History but solid understanding of Econ). I am on the Masters route, because I want to study with Professor SOTO and HÜLSMANN for my PhD in Economics. But getting a masters degree can open up doors to work in think tanks, business, government (if you want to experience for future reference) etc.

    A B.S. in Econ on its own is not a large enough achievement to set you apart competition wise (while I do obviously feel it is valuable). What are you goals? What are your strengths?

    Dr. Block had a great debate with Dr. North where they debated getting a PhD in econ or not…. both men gave great points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwWoY3OuBYA

    There is no set strategy which will work best for all people who are minded towards Austrian Economics. For me, I believe learning the Keynesian/neo-classical/public choice/progressive ways but tempering that with altering view points allows me to pick up things like someone who would be studying different religions would study religion. You can be a Buddhist and study Catholicism very deeply and intellectually, and then study Islam with just as much intellectual involvement, yet stay a Buddhist. Of course, if one were to see evidence that their way was broken, it would be apparent because an alternate would have a possible way of solving that problem.

    “When a given norm is changed in the face of the unchanging, the remaining contradiction shall parallel the truth.” – Saul Williams

    What way to better understand the ideas of Austrian Economics than by understanding the same subject matter from a different lens? And thanks to Liberty Classroom, we have great professors and a way in order to keep the information in Austrian Econ coming into our formal educational conscience. As well as Mises.org and Mises gatherings etc.

    Sorry for the length. But the first step I guess is to ask what doors do you think you will be the best at opening and then what level of formal education is the best fit for that endeavor.

    – Mike

    in reply to: Removed #20386


    I am starting the Masters in Applied Economics degree with Johns Hopkins University in January 2016 (starting it while finishing out my last three classes in Economics with SNHU).

    in reply to: Removed #20385

    Thank you for the reply Robert.

    I live in the New Hampshire/Connecticut area, but GMU was one of my first choices as its “more” Austrian approach than other universities, and if distance was not an issue, I would most definitely pursue it.


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