Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Freemen



I have read a captivating novel, The Last of the Freemen, by Carl Trotz (his blog can be found here).  From the Amazon description of the novel:

In a future America, trapped under a brutal and corrupt regime, Erin Gordon becomes a target for reasons beyond her control. Help comes to her from an unlikely source, as her neighbors - the secretive, agrarian descendants of suppressed medieval freemen - prove willing and able to intervene. Accepting their protection, she witnesses a people - unbeknownst to the world - who hold stubbornly to their traditions, and remain defiant in the face of modern tyranny.

The author, Carl Trotz, weaves together many themes and narratives that we find ourselves discussing and otherwise dealing with daily – some already in place and others feared to come.

The aforementioned Erin Gordon’s unlikely source of help is an individual named Harm.  In many ways, he might be compared to Ayn Rand’s John Galt.  Both characters are larger than life.  Both offer an intellectual and philosophical wisdom, combined with physical action.  In Galt’s case, the intellectual and philosophical attributes are much further developed by Rand.  In Harm’s case, let’s just say you better bring an army (no, bigger) and know where to look (good luck). 

I plan to write two posts regarding this novel.  In the second, I will explore two topics: The Stellinga and Thomas Müntzer – both referenced in the novel, both I find of interest.

In this post, I will offer the themes and narratives woven together by Trotz into this tale.  From this, I hope to convey a sense of the breadth of the work.  The following might seem somewhat dry; believe me, the novel turns all of this to life.

The Government
·        False flags abound: government-paid thugs create fear in the population in order to increase support for the government.  Shockingly, the government is never able to catch them!
·        Anti-government graffiti is removed immediately; graffiti advancing the government-paid thugs for some reason always remains.
·        The Feds override local police; there are numerous random checkpoints.  License plate scanners, drones and satellites are employed for monitoring and tracking.  Convoys of armored vehicles are a regular sight.
·        Loyalty Counselors ensure compliance.
·        The news is the government’s public relations department; controlled opposition is offered.
·        The government doesn’t have to prove your guilt – you have to prove your innocence.
·        Currency manipulation, money printing, and devaluation funds it all.
·        Guns are illegal.
·        Social workers check on (and remove) children.
·        Government schools teach five-year-olds about sexual intercourse.
·        They turn boys into criminals.
·        Laws against medicinal plants.
·        Destroy a culture in order to make the people easier to control.
·        Mash together the cultures – because folks without roots cannot stand.
·        Replace natural law and custom with their incontestable social-contract.
·        No more allodial title to land.
·        Price controls, carbon taxes, cholesterol tax.
·        Cashless society.
·        Leverage in all forms – this is for the well-connected to get what they want.
·        Government laws protect the government, not the people.
·        Anglo/English Empire.

The Sheep
·        Government eco-cars.  An access code is necessary even to open the hood.  It can be controlled remotely; it can be switched off. 
·        Many have a recurring belief that the next vote will change things.
·        Accepting the system, even knowing it is corrupt.
·        Killing for the state is spiritual for much of the population – listen to the words of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
·        We are taught to idolize the brutal killers.
·        Neglected kids, broken families; broken cultures make for broken people.
·        The Constitution can’t save you – a piece of paper doesn’t create freedom.

The Freemen
·        In their Germanic tradition, the safest place is family and extended family.
·        The government doesn’t publicize those who successfully defy it – it would demonstrate their vulnerability.
·        You can be a free man or a self-shearing sheep.
·        Black market = free market.
·        Freedom = illegal activity.
·        Gold without a plan to launder it isn’t worth much.
·        Kindness is made criminal.
·        All the good people are fugitives.
·        The purpose of voting is to choose the next thief.
·        You’re not paranoid if they are really out to get you.
·        Defend your children at all costs – this is your nature.
·        Don’t send your children to government schools.
·        Don’t fight them on their terms.
·        You can’t stop what is coming, you can only be prepared for it.
·        Hunting season and hunting licenses are for subjects of the crown – do you need a license to hunt on your own land?
·        No authority above the family level.
·        Follow custom, not man.
·        Social pressure to behave a certain way – always true, so it only depends on what type of social pressure.
·        Gray areas work themselves out.
·        Absolute thought is fertile soil for the roots of tyranny.
·        Those who suffer the consequences for defiling the natural order deserve all that they get.
·        Regarding the government and connected: they will eventually rot – they always do.
·        There is a remnant.

I have written nothing about the characters beyond Erin and Harm.  Trotz brings many characters to life.  Through their dialogue and actions, you understand the depth necessary in family, community, and culture in order to hold freedom together. 

Freedom doesn’t happen merely by chanting “NAP.”  This is demonstrated clearly through every page of this novel.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Outsourcing the Border



I will begin where I ended in my last post on this topic:

The Turkish Bazaar

Ankara aids, trains, shelters and otherwise supports those causing the destructive conditions in Syria and Iraq.  Members of the President’s family are allegedly in the middle of a smuggling operation for oil from the war-torn regions.

Turkey is a key contributor to causing the conditions necessary to create a flood of refugees.

And Europe is willing to pay Turkey to help solve this problem.

It should be obvious that the problem will not be solved by Turkey even after these measures.

Visa-Free Travel

One of the key conditions Turkey placed in exchange for its support on the refugee situation was visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens.  Many, but not all, of the normal conditions the EU requires in order to grant visa-free travel have been met by Turkey, for example:

One of the points of contention is a Turkish anti-terror law so broadly defined that it makes it possible for Erdogan to go after anyone he decides to label as a terrorist, even journalists who report critically about him. Inside the European Commission, some believe this law gives a "blank check" to Turkish security agencies to do as they please. Parts of Turkish law are also inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.

I think this means the United States is also not eligible for EU membership, but this is a bit off the subject.

Meeting the normally expected conditions is now deemed irrelevant in the conversation, as Turkey is holding the cards on the refugee situation.  It is certainly deemed irrelevant by the Turkish government; apparently it is also deemed irrelevant by many in Europe.

…even if Ankara hasn't yet fulfilled all 72 of the conditions set out by Brussels. That's the price.

Turkey has met about 50.

Europe must turn a blind eye.  It's likely that it will do so.

Keep in mind the German resolve when it has come to the financial crisis – no bending the rules, deficit targets must be met, handcuffs on the ECB, etc.  That apparently was the standard line on this issue at one time also:

In March, Merkel had assured that, "The Turks must fulfill all conditions, there will be no exceptions."

Apparently no longer.

Erdogan has a different view on the matter:

"Erdogan is prepared to go as far as he has to," says Metin Corabatir, president of the Research Center on Asylum and Migration (IGAM) in Ankara. "If the EU rebuffs Turkey, then the deal will be history. Then Erdogan will hardly be willing to serve as Europe's doorman."

Now Merkel has become Erdogan’s whipping boy…well, girl…OK, person (I know, I stepped into a hot one here):

In Dresden, the director of the Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra has claimed that Turkey's delegation to the EU tried to strong arm the European Commission to defund a concert planned for Saturday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Then there is the case Turkey is bringing against German satirist Jan Böhmermann for insulting Erdogan. Finally, there's Erdogan's battle against journalists who are critical of the Turkish leader. This year again saw certain foreign journalists prevented from remaining in the country.

 There are fears that refugees will just be replaced by other migrants from Turkey:

Fears also persist in Berlin that the policy will result in an influx of poverty migrants from Turkey who will go off the grid and make ends meet with under-the-table jobs rather than leaving after 90 days as stipulated under the visa-waiver program.

Gareth Jenkins, a prominent British expert on Turkey, believes that a substantial number of Turks would come to Europe and either apply for asylum or disappear into the underground economy, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, where so many Turks have relatives.

There are hundreds-of-thousands of displaced Kurds in the southeast regions of Turkey – visa-free travel will allow a sanitary solution for Erdogan toward the Kurdish issues, much cleaner than the approach taken a century ago toward the Armenians.

The German government is proposing a “snap-back mechanism”:

The mechanism would stipulate that the visa waiver program could be suspended if it turned out that large numbers of Turkish citizens were fleeing to Europe in order to apply for asylum or to illegally immigrate.

I am sure Erdogan would respect this suspension without issue.

A Final Thought

Frankly, Erdogan could hand Turkish passports to the refugees from Syria and elsewhere and just laugh himself silly all the way to the bank.

Sound Money



Part 10,253


All I hear and read from libertarians is that we need sound money, and specifically our money to be based on gold.

Note: Eric is asking about gold as money in the context of libertarian discussion.

To me, the gold standard is totally overrated. It would expressly require force that violates the NAP.

Eric is quite correct – in the theme of this line of discussion, I would say he is 100% correct!

Why do libertarians hold the gold standard so closely?

As libertarians, I do not understand why either.  As Austrians?  I will come to this later.

Money should be whatever people deem as money, whether it is tied to gold or rice patties or nothing.

Eric is 100% correct again.  That somewhere back in time some people chose gold, or that gold has demonstrated its effectiveness as good money is a secondary (and irrelevant) issue to the question at hand.

Eric offers one example of competition in money and currency.  My intent is not to address his specific example, but more importantly the aspect of competition.  In this, Eric comes to the right answer:

The competition that would ensue for the “best currency” would be fantastic, and a boon to the common man.

Competition is the key.

I’ve been told I am crazy by many people who are in fact crazy (those that believe in government)...

Eric, there is no shame in this; I have been told I am crazy by many people who don’t believe in government.

…but I needed to ask a non-crazy, like you [Walter], if this idea is, in fact, crazy.

Walter does not answer the question, instead sending Eric a reading list.  I am familiar with some – but not all – of the items listed.  My guess?  None of these will address Eric’s question, at least based on my experience of reading dozens of articles, books, etc., on this topic.

Libertarian theory is the non-aggression principle based on private property – and in this discussion, respect for contract (inherent in “private property,” but worth noting).  What might be derived from this on the topic of “good money and currency”?  Nothing more than “money is whatever two or more people decide.” 

Nothing.

One-hundred percent gold requires the initiation of force.  What if two or more decide on silver (recognized as an alternative even by some proponents of gold)?  What if two or more decide on a currency backed by 40% gold?  Ten percent?  Half gold and half silver?

What objection, in libertarian theory, can be raised to stop them? 

None.

Now…what about the objections from some corners of the Austrian world (including my favorite corner)?

To my knowledge, Austrian economic theory is by far the most consistently free-market economic theory to be found.  Austrians accept free markets and competition in all facets of economics.  Why not when it comes to money?

Gold offers sound money.  Competitive money in a free market offers the soundest money – and more sound than a requirement for a 100% gold-backed money.  For an economist to suggest otherwise calls into question the entire belief in free markets.

(In a free-market, there will even be fractional-reserve banking…but that is a different topic entirely.)

Update: Mike Rozeff has offered a reply or two to Block; a very good example is here.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Preconditions




UC

I write about libertarianism as theory and also the possibilities for libertarianism in practice.  I write about theory (and can sometimes be biting in my defense of theory) because without a clear focus on the target, there is never hope to come close to hitting it.  I write about practice because merely chanting “NAP, NAP, NAP” will not make such a society spring forth, nor will the chanting maintain such a society if we somehow happen to find one.

I believe, generally, that you and I hold similar views on the above.

We share the same enemy, the state, but not the state in the abstract, but in the particular- The American Federal Government.

I am currently of the opinion that libertarianism in theory is decentralization in practice.  I can read into your comment that we hold a similar view regarding this (and to deflate this false god, one reason I write so much about the lies and the evil perpetrated by this same American Federal Government).

There have been many examples in history of such decentralized political power; the one that I have written the most about is the European Middle Ages.  Aspects of this period I find to be valuable models for libertarianism in a world populated by humans.

With this said, I will offer some thoughts on your further comments:

What I don't like is failing to recognize the need for a sovereign beyond individual property owners.

The law was sovereign (to the extent there was such a concept) during the Middle Ages.  The law, generally, was relatively libertarian: it was the old and the good.  It was not man-made, it was generally accepted custom.  Further: what is your oath?  You were bound to that which you swore an oath.

The king had one function – to uphold the law.  He could not write the law – such a concept was outside the possibility of thought at that time and place.  If those who swore oath to the king felt he was not properly upholding the law, any one of them could veto his decision.  Of course this did not always happen without violence, but the violence was contained.

Of course, the law was only as effective as it had those to defend it.  Today, we have little of the moral / ethical grounding that once made this an effective means of exercising sovereignty (this to your point, I believe).  Perhaps it is most certainly true where political power is centralized and far less true where it is decentralized (this to my point).

In order to minimize the State as much a possible (as you would like) it would be necessary to have a strict process of selecting members for a society and having rules that non-members cannot own property.

Immigration and border control within a libertarian framework is almost impossible to envision in a world of state control of borders.  Unfortunately, the state isn’t very good at it today.  Or they are VERY good at it (getting what they want in much of Europe), which is even worse. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Property, Discrimination, and Exclusion



There has been some ongoing dialogue at a couple of recent posts (here and here) regarding the topic of discrimination and exclusion.  I would like to explore this topic further, interactively (to the extent such is possible given the format of this blog).  I continue to reflect on the following (from one of the aforementioned posts):

Inherently, property is exclusionary.  Conclusions can be drawn from this; these conclusions do not make all libertarians happy.

Gay, Moslem, Mexican, whatever.  For sake of this post (and to avoid getting caught up in the emotion of any supposedly disadvantaged group), please picture “Martians” when you think about what group it is to which I might be referring.

I will build from what I believe to be the more basic concept to the more complicated concepts on this topic.  With each step, I ask two questions:

A)     Does the above conform with libertarian theory?  If no, please explain why in the comments below.

B)     If yes, yet you do not like it, what would you do to stop the practice and on what basis do you justify your intervention?

To not over-complicate this, I assume “property” as those with a reasonable respect for property in the west generally understand it; more specifically, land and any improvements on it that are claimed owned by an individual or other legal entity.

With that, let’s begin:

1)      Regarding my home and the land on which it sits, I have the right to exclude whomever I choose from access or otherwise manage to whom I allow or disallow access.

2)      My neighbor and I have agreed to certain parameters on the conditions raised in question 1) above.  We agree to implement common conditions in accord with these parameters and further have agreed to support the other in defense of these parameters.

3)      The two of us have found that twenty other property owners in our immediate neighborhood like what we have started.  They have agreed to join us under the same conditions.

4)      One of these property owners also owns several rental units.  He decides that similar conditions will be applied for these properties.

5)      This same rental-property-owning tycoon is in a consortium of such property owners; many like what he has done and they have agreed to similar conditions for their properties. 

6)      There are others in the larger community that like the concept of what we have implemented, but do not agree with the specific conditions we have placed.  They therefore have decided on a different set of conditions for their neighborhood.

7)      In any / each / all of the above, the relevant property owner(s) has (have) decided to hire an agent to implement these decisions.

In your response, please identify specifically to which item(s) from the above list of seven you are addressing.