Violent Radicals, Avoid Becoming an NPC, & Maximizing Earnings (40m) – Editor’s Break 108

Editor’s Break 108 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: violent radicalism and the religion of Islam; why people become NPCs (non-player characters), and how to avoid becoming one; the ins and and outs of on-demand food delivery and why you should maximize your earnings; and more. (Apologies for the audio quality. Still working on it.)

Listen to Editor’s Break 108 (40m, mp3, 64kbps)

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On Constitutions

I learned early on in my journey toward voluntaryism that “constitutional limits” were a temporary hurdle at best and totally invisible at worst in “chaining” down the state authority-expanding actions of opportunistic politicians and bureaucrats. It was obvious to me during my Constitutionalist phase that how these people should go about expanding their [supposed] authority was not via interpretation or re-interpretation of the Constitution (or straight up ignoring), but by amending the Constitution to say exactly what they wanted it to say. If an article, clause, or section of the Constitution or it’s later Amendments were less than perfectly clear, then the default position should be to protect life, liberty, and property, not to embolden and license the agendas of expansionist politicians and bureaucrats. There’s an amendment process for a reason. But alas, what use are strictures and limits to those who seek authority over other people to begin with? Humanity was conquered along time ago, and though the forms and rituals change throughout time, the facts do not: the people who call themselves “government” have assumed jurisdiction over other people arbitrarily and coercively, constitutions notwithstanding. And that’s today’s two cents.

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Blindly Trusting the Experts

Years ago, my mother went to amazing lengths to provide formula for my baby brother. She boiled glass bottles; she boiled nipples; she boiled water to make formula, she boiled the spoon to mix it. My wife nursed our children, and my daughter nurses hers; this was “radical” 35 years ago, but is pretty “mainstream” today.

So I asked my mother why women, equipped with two convenient built-in milk dispensers, went to so much trouble to use formula. She replied, “we all used formula, we were told that it was more scientific, it was better for our children.“

The same with schools. She was told not to allow me to learn to read early, which might lead to boredom in school. The “experts” supposedly knew better than the rest of us. Home schooling stood that on its head – when parents with only a high school education often outperform professionals, the professionals might be doing something wrong.

A small but growing and influential corps no longer blindly trust the government and its tame “experts.” Is the government now losing legitimacy?

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The World Would Be a Great Deal Better

I’m not a moral philosopher or a theologian. I was once a half-decent economic historian, but that’s another story. Anyhow, I’m going to offer you a few words of unsolicited moral advice along with some observations on the nature of the world in which you live. You may not need this advice, in which case I apologize for bothering you, but it’s clear that many people do need it.

First, you should take note of the great diversity of people in the world. People have different ethnicities, languages, religions, customs, ideologies, habits, and tastes. This variation in itself need not trouble you, amigos; it’s better for everyone if you do not hate people who differ from you.

Second, it’s especially important that you not try to kill these people unless they happen to be carrying out an actual violent assault on you. Also important, you should not call on the criminals who rule your society to kill these “others” on your behalf on the pretense of protecting you.

Third, you should not mislabel events such as peaceful “others” crossing your nation’s border as an “invasion” or some such, because this kind of talk not only corrupts language, but fosters serious mischief. If people come into your area from El Salvador or New Jersey, don’t freak out. They might be a lot nicer than you imagine. But in any event it’s wrong for you to hurt them simply because they are not carbon copies of you.

If you take the foregoing advice to heart and act accordingly, the world will be a great deal better for everyone, including you. In time you might even come to recognize that people are people, that you are just one of them, neither inherently better nor inherently worse unless your actions show that you are truly a demon or a saint in disguise.

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The Gift of Gab: Pennsylvania AG Abuses Authority to Chill Internet Speech

On November 8, Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro’s office issued a subpoena to web host and domain registrar Epik, “pursuant to “an ongoing civil investigation.” The subpoena demands “any and all documents which are related in any way to Gab.”

Gab, as you’ve no doubt heard, was accused Pittsburgh synagogue killer Robert Bowers’s social media platform of choice. In the wake of the Tree of Life massacre, the site was cut off by its web host (Joyent), domain registrar (GoDaddy),  and payment processors (PayPal and Stripe). After more than a week offline, it found a new home courtesy of  Epik.

While Shapiro and company remain mum as to the subpoena’s purpose (and in fact asked Gab not to publicly disclose it, a request the site’s owners declined to honor), there’s nothing unclear about that purpose. Shapiro is abusing his position of legal authority to intimidate those who do — or might do — business with Gab, in hopes of driving it back offline.

In recent years, larger social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter (followed by payment processors, web hosts and domain registrars) have acted with ever-increasing vigor to silence selected voices in the public square.

Their excuses range from “Congress says they’re terrorists” to “that’s fake news” to “meddling in elections” to “hate speech,” but visibly looming over every such action is the  shadow of potential government force.

The chilling message to social media companies from assorted agencies and congressional committees boils down to a thinly veiled “if you don’t censor for us ‘voluntarily,’ we’ll force you to.”

Shapiro isn’t talking to domestic news about the subpoena, but last month he was fairly forthcoming about his motives with foreign media.  “My office is reviewing this platform [Gab], which was used by the killer to spread his hateful messages,” he told Israeli newspaper Haaretz, adding that “[w]e cannot tolerate” “speech that includes incitements to violence” or sites that “explain how violence is going to occur.”

Subpoenas to Gab itself might have served an understandable legal purpose — for example, determining whether Bowers acted alone or used the platform to conspire with others prior to the attack.

The only plausible purpose of this subpoena is to intimidate those who might provide microphones to speakers Josh Shapiro doesn’t want the rest of us to hear.

Josh Shapiro is proving himself far more dangerous than Gab. It is he who should be investigated — and hopefully shut down.

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Theft Makes “Society” Happy

Is it good to take your property from you if doing so makes me feel good, and makes the person I give it to feel good?

What if almost everyone says they are made happier when I take your property?

People who believe in “public good” are OK with it. And, it seems that everyone who believes in political government thinks it’s OK.

Even if you say you only support a “night watchman government” you’re advocating the same thing with the same justification. But you can keep your “night watchman”; I don’t need or want one. I have better things to spend my money on. If I come to believe I need a night watchman I would rather spend my money on security cameras and more weapons. If for some reason I feel particularly scared for a while I would rather hire a night watchman of my own choosing, and I wouldn’t expect you to chip in to pay him… unless you want to.

I see people who support government making this kind of argument all the time. They believe if enough people are happy that my money is being taken, then it’s good. I would be crazy to object– my opinion isn’t a serious opinion. I am not one of the “adults” contributing to the conversation. All because I don’t support theft just because “the majority” are made happy because of it.

Funny that I don’t see it that way at all. There is nothing I want bad enough to have someone steal from you to pay for it on my behalf.

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