Right and Wrong

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Right and wrong are not sides of a coin.  Right is according to principle.  That which is not according to principle is wrong.  Ethicists like to do thought experiments that only muddy the water.

Take, for instance, the trolley problem.  The problem is defined at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as follows:

 … a trolley driver must choose between turning a trolley so that it runs over an innocent man attached to a track and allowing the trolley to run over and kill five innocent people.

But we make a mistake by trying to find a principle that will fit either leg of this dilemma.  There is no principle, and certainly not a lame one such as the lesser of two evils, a pseudoprinciple.  There is no right choice.  There are only wrong choices.

Relax.  The trolley problem is unlikely, but one may nevertheless encounter gray-area problems.  These usually involve two or more wrong choices, however, they may hide a good choice.  There are unnumerable actions that may have forestalled the trolley problem.

It is always a right action to follow the NAP — the non–aggression principle — do not initiate aggression.

— Kilgore Forelle

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The Mount Rushmore of Voluntaryism

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I recently read a fascinating article, listing the Mount Rushmore for each MLB franchise.  For examples, the Bosox had Williams, Yastrzemski, Martinez, and Ortiz; the Cincinnati Reds had Rose, Bench, Larkin, and Votto; the Giants had Mathewson, Mays, McCovey, and Bonds.

The article inspired me to design my versions of two monuments elemental to Voluntaryism.

Mount Classical Liberalism:

  • John Locke
  • Frederic Bastiat
  • Lysander Spooner
  • Thomas Paine

Mount Modern Voluntaryism

  • Ludwig von Mises
  • H. L. Mencken
  • Murray Rothbard
  • Robert Higgs

Enjoy.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

 

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Swamp Gold

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<sarcasm alert>Yeah, right.  Thieves will refund stolen money, with interest, when their need for crime disappears.</sarcasm alert>

I read yesterday where Ted Cruz thinks we can pay for The Wall by redistributing El Chapo’s ill-gotten gains — just when I thought that politicians couldn’t get any stupider.  Now today I am slapped upside the head with the idea that we can get money from the dissolution of DEA.

When funds go down the rat hole of government, only rats will gain.  Money never sees the light of day thereafter.  Although the state can own nothing, its minions like Cruz, POTUS, and Ocasio-Cortez can, and do, pretend that it owns all.  Certainly, once stolen, lucre like forfeiture of assets funds stay stolen for all time.

Politicians are so spoiled by the ease with which they pull the wool over our eyes that they will never quit the dodge.

— Kilgore Forelle

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McCarthyism, Then and Now

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The stale whiff of McCarthyism stole across the venue of the State of the Union address last week.  POTUS played the “socialism” card, or rather he just showed the back of the card, allowing no peeks at the face of the card — not of its value, not of its suit.  He was deliberately vague and ambiguous.  He traded in his wall and immigration, in favor of an even more nebulous concept, gearing up for 2020.  Wonder why he didn’t go all in against communism?

I am all in against both communism and socialism.  I believe that nothing should be subjugated to state interests.  That is why I believe that when politicians use fear of these preposterous systems, they are playing with fire.

Let’s face it, immigration and the border wall had 6 years of exposure under Bush II, and now another two under POTUS (clown car edition).  That’s more than double the mileage that Joe McCarthy got out of the era of McCarthyism.

All adult Americans should consider it a mandatory educational chore to learn, in some depth, the who, what, why, when, where, and how of the fervor against communism that distracted us, to the benefit of exploitative politicians, in the 1950s.  Google “books, articles, and research on McCarthyism.”  Make your own choices — you are responsible for what you learn.  Further, you are responsible for what you make of that knowledge.  It may be instructive to note that POTUS has invoked the words “witch hunt,” it seems, I could be wrong, more than has been done by any politician since the era of McCarthyism.

— Kilgore Forelle

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In the Grain

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As has been made clear by countless libertarian sages, there are only two classes — the first seeks freedom and the second wants to intervene in that search for freedom.  I have been listening to an old set of podcasts from the Mises Institute’s The Libertarian Tradition, presented by Jeff Riggenbach. In one episode, Jeff points out that European civilization in the North American new world was founded by two distinct types of adventurer, the first sought freedom from the old order, while the second sought to impose a new order.  We Americans, as a people have been in fundamental conflict ever since.  Riggenbach says it is the instance of individualists versus the zealots.  Individualists make their own goals, take their own actions, and accept all responsibility for the consequences of those actions.  Zealots want to dictate your goals, command your actions, blame you for consequences, and blur the lines of responsibility.

Throughout the history of society, there have been struggles for the collectivization of individualists.  But in the new land that would become the USA, the battle lines were far more clearly drawn among those who would colonize America, those who would seek freedom according to individual codes against those who would create new empires modeled upon the old empires.

A libertarian/voluntaryist/individualist/anarchist always looks for the simplest rule of thumb by which to gauge the self’s deeds with regard to consistency of principle.  Let me suggest the question, am I doing a thing that is my business, or am I doing a thing that will shape somebody else’s business?

— Kilgore Forelle

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Rurality/Urbanity

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It is a voluntaryist’s decision to live in town or in the country, even on-the-grid or off-the-grid.  I, for instance, live at the edge of the grid.  But these things are in constant flux.  From the 19th century until the mid-20th century, in America, there was a vast migration of people from the farm to the city.  Then, in the 1950s, a new direction arose, spanning into the millennium, where people fled the center city, creating suburbs, which in turn became satellite urban areas,  And gradually, these urban agglomerations became the center city again, in character.  As an example, Chicago became Chicagoland.

All of this activity is underlain by an individual-by-individual seeking of simplicity, escaping from complexity.

The two poles, rural or urban, have existed since early civilization, with each having a pull.  People each choose the complexity of the marketplace that he or she will tolerate.  A person will gravitate toward a level of simplicity/complexity that gives her the optimum lack of unease.  People orient themselves through market choices.  The city attracts through multiplicity of choices of goods and services, whereas the countryside beckons with the choice of task focus.

Today, in America, it is obvious that goods and services exert a far greater pull on a far larger number of people, therefore we are an urban nation.  But we are past the point where the city pulls at its maximum.  Technology is spreading the market choices with less and less regard to geographic location of the buyers and sellers.  Concentrated nodes of transportation and communication are becoming less needed.

— Kilgore Forelle

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