Ideology, Identity, Solidarity, and Collective Action

The interrelated complex of ideology, identity, solidarity, and collective action form the ground level in fruitful social analysis. Leaving out this complex, as both mainstream and Austrian economists usually do, means that one sacrifices the opportunity to understand what otherwise seems inexplicable or gets explained only by bizarrely twisting the standard model. At least, so I have argued since the early 1980s, most fully in chapter 3 of Crisis and Leviathan, but with some elaboration and many applications in later works. Read the full thing

What Does a Punishment-Free Home Look Like?

I’m always a little surprised when people are horrified to hear I don’t punish my children. “How will they learn right from wrong?” is usually the first question, and I can see them picturing a household run by unruly hellions jumping on furniture and swinging from the ceiling fans. It’s not that we don’t have those moments (maybe not quite that extreme) — but as much as I want punishment-free to mean always calm, always peaceful, and rules always followed, that isn’t the truth either. Read the full thing

Be More Antifragile

One of the major points of the book is that by designing all the danger out of things, trying to make the randomness and volatility go away and keep things smooth and “safe”, you make the danger worse. It’s inevitable and natural. Completely unavoidable. Just like how anti-gun “laws” actually increase the risks they claim to want to solve. The people who embrace these ideas may have good intentions, but they are idiots. Read the full thing

Oppression: Symptoms and Causes

It doesn’t take any great perceptiveness or astute powers of observation to notice that a lot is wrong with the world today. But if those loudly reporting the “wrongness” aren’t also aware of the root causes, and what can be done to actually change things, then mostly the message just becomes frustrating and depressing to listen to. And if people continually express righteous anger and indignation at the injustice they see, only to then propose pointless, worthless solutions—or no solutions at all—that doesn’t really help. Read the full thing

Con Trolling

Here’s how it works: a troll preys on your need to be affirmed. Nearly everything that a troll does is to signal a message to you that says “I don’t like you and I’m not going to grant you the gift of my approval.” Once you start using arguments as a means of begging the troll to become your ally, the troll wins. Now he/she can simply play the easy and endless game of using everything you say as a basis for offering responses that make you feel more desperate for their acceptance and more frustrated for not receiving it. Read the full thing

Fake News, Fake Politics, and Fake Policy

Fake news is as old as news itself. Political reporting in particular has always served as a tool of those who hold or seek to gain a grip on power. Respectable news sources, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, are not and never have been strangers to the distribution of false, twisted, or selectively partial and slanted reports. Less prestigious news outlets have also played the game. Perhaps the only new development on this front recently is the use of the Internet to spread fake news quicker and farther than the old media could. The news cycle revolves constantly now, and hence news, true and false, is placed before the public on an instant, worldwide scale as never before. Read the full thing

The Role of Capitalism in Anarchy

Anarcho-capitalists have a tendency to fancy themselves as too far outside the normal sphere of anarchy when we are actually just anarchists who understand both economics and human nature. In a free society devoid of the fiction that is authority, some people would indeed acquire, improve, and trade natural resources. Ergo, capitalism. This would happen not because a system of capitalism was established but simply because no one was stopping production and trade from occurring. Read the full thing