“For Medicinal Purposes Only”

Libertarians who support Big Government “Border Security” remind me of the Nigerian scammers who start their emails saying “Dear Beloved, May God’s peace shine on you“.

Maybe they are sincere, but I don’t trust them. There’s something “off” about them. Alarm bells go off in my head when they show up. There’s always that appeal to the State’s “protection”; lending an unearned air of legitimacy to the State.

They remind me of abolitionists who don’t really want to get rid off all slavery, just the slavery they don’t like.

Or teetotalers who drink moonshine “for medicinal purposes only“.

Yet, I sympathize. It’s scary to not have a dangerous Big Brother at your back when you fear you may not be enough to meet the threat. Even if the threat is mostly in your head, the fear is still real.

Borderism– big government welfare statism by another name– is apparently a very seductive cult, leading a lot of liberty supporters down into its depths, from which there seems to be no escape.

Statism, “for security purposes only“, is still full-blown statism.

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Preferences Provide Opportunities

Preferences are a personal thing. Some people prefer dogs while others prefer cats, and some like both species equally. None of these choices is wrong, even if one choice might make more sense or be more right for some people.

If dogs are preferred, there are those who prefer large dogs and others who prefer small dogs. Some people prefer aggressive dogs while other people want a more sociable dog.

It’s all OK unless your preference is to prevent others from making their own choice based on their personal preferences.

If you decide your preference for large sociable dogs means cats should be banned or tightly regulated, and small, aggressive dogs must be confiscated and destroyed, your preference has crossed the line. It is no longer acceptable; it’s antisocial.

Even if the majority of people take your side.

Yes, there are acts that aren’t the same as preferences. You can’t just say your preference is to break into houses and steal what you want instead of earning money with mutually voluntary trade to pay for those things.

Well, you can say that’s your preference, but no one is obligated to sit by while you act on it. Anyone has the right to stop you when your preference violates others.

Very few of the things people choose between harm anyone. You might be bewildered by someone’s choice. You might even believe it’s immoral. Unless it “picks your pocket or breaks your leg” — to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson — it’s your responsibility to mind your business.

Differing preferences provide opportunities. If everyone liked the same thing, there would be no need to make different kinds of food. Generic “Human Chow” would be good enough. Everyone could wear the same style clothing, in the same color. All cars could be identical.

Life would never have a chance to improve because there would be no reason to experiment with different things.

Look how many innovations were stumbled upon by accident. Often the underlying cause was someone trying to fulfill their own, or a pool of potential customers’ preferences; some that are known and others that are a mystery even to those who possess them.

It would be sad if everyone were the same and liked the same things. I’m glad people like different stuff. It exposes me to things I might not otherwise experience, it gives me options and enriches my life. And it might someday introduce me to something I had no idea I was going to love.

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Scott Adams Defends Socialism

On a recent podcast, I noticed a bit of pro-socialism dishonesty from Scott Adams. I wasn’t really surprised, because he is a government supremacist, after all. And you can’t really have a state without embracing socialism.

It was hard to listen through to the end, but I did because I knew it would be important to refute the dishonest claims he was making.

He was first saying that it’s meaningless to be against socialism because socialism is not a thing; it’s multiple things and no one can explain why they believe it’s bad. He attributed this to people being brainwashed by the “anti-socialist” media (FOX News?) they absorb.

But, no one can explain why they believe it’s bad?

Challenge accepted– Socialism is the attempt to base a “society” on theft (usually, by government); driven by envy and entitlement. Taking anyone’s rightfully owned property from them when they’d prefer not to have it taken is theft, even if you like what the property is used for.  Even if the stolen property is used for “good” purposes. I believe this is bad. Pro-socialism people think it’s OK. Who is being reasonable here?

Then he went on to claim that socialism didn’t destroy Venezuela because other countries do fine with socialism. That it was because Venezuela had a tyrant (who imposed too much socialism) rather than because Venezuela was socialist.

He claimed that America does fine with the “little bits” of socialism the US government imposes, and that European countries do fine with the socialism they have. This is also dishonest.

Yes, the US is socialist. I’ve been pointing this out for ages. Democrats are openly socialist, and Republicans are socialists in denial– they still want socialism, they just call it “national security”, “border security”, or whatever socialist programs they like. Am I OK, or better off, because of that “little bit” of socialism?  I’m more than willing to get rid of it to find out which is better.

But, he’s almost right. A little bit of (antisocial) socialism won’t destroy a society just like a small robbery won’t wipe out an individual. But it’s still theft and it still isn’t good. You might survive it but you’re better off without it. And, socialism and robberies frequently escalate into the thief killing the victim. Not always. You probably won’t be murdered as long as things don’t go off the rails in directions which shock, threaten, or thwart the thief, but your death is always on the table for thieves.

If you’ve convinced yourself that ethics aren’t a real thing, that being pragmatic is the way to go, you can justify anything. I hope you don’t follow anyone down that path.

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A “State” is a Failed Society

I’ve seen various places referred to as “failed states”– Somalia being a frequent example. The term is used in an attempt to insult.

The most insulting part is that anyone tolerates those trying to impose a state on them, or that anyone is dumb (or evil) enough to do it to themselves.

If you have a state, you’ve already failed. You’ve failed to find voluntary ways to live among other humans and have decided you’re going to cheat.

A state is a failed society.

To fail at something which is unnecessary is a tragedy which can bring disaster where none was inevitable before.

Yes, a failed state can be deadly. Any failure can be.

If a dishonest surgeon performs an unnecessary heart transplant on a patient, and it fails, the patient will die. Even if it doesn’t “fail”, it was a really bad idea. The patient has been harmed whether he realizes it or not. The heart transplant was not a good idea, nor was the one performing it a good guy trying to help.

A state is the same. It’s unnecessary and harmful– even if it doesn’t fail. The state is antisocial; based on theft and aggression. It is your enemy. There will be consequences when it fails.  And it will fail eventually. They all do.

And when it fails, tragedy is likely. Once you’ve crippled a population– trained them out of responsibility, competence, independence, and ethics– by imposing a state on them, how do you expect them to form a functional society if your state fails? You’ve done the damage; own it.

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Sure It Exists, but Don’t Promote It

One of the most common excuses for statism is that we have to accept “The world as it really is“. As if I’ve ever said otherwise.

Lots of bad things exist. I accept that they exist, and can do so without embracing or using them.

The whole “The world as it really is” thing is a cop-out. It doesn’t justify evils. It doesn’t work with statism, nor does it work with other bad things.

Rape exists, so according to this type of “thinking”, we’d better not speak out or rally against it. That would be Utopian. Embrace rapists and work to make them safer and more efficient. Don’t you dare point out that rape is a violation of someone’s rights; that nothing can change this fact or make it OK. Just accept that it exists, will probably always exist, and find ways to use this fact to your advantage to get what you want.

Right?

Yes, statism exists. The majority even seems to like it. That doesn’t make it right. I can accept that statism exists without contributing to it. Refusing to voluntarily participate in something harmful– even if you can’t necessarily stop it from happening– is better than justifying propping it up, helping it continue, and criticizing those who won’t go along.

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Let People Opt Out of “Good Ideas”

Would you rather live in a world where it’s normal for people to try to convince each other of something, or a world where it’s acceptable to just give an order and shoot anyone who doesn’t immediately comply?

I’m firmly in the “convince others” camp.

To convince people, you’ve either got to have reasons or ways to play with their emotions. If you convince them with good reasons, the convincing sticks.

If you use emotions, someone with stronger appeals to emotion will come along and get them to change their minds again.

If you rely on threats, as soon as the threat is out of sight they’ll go back to their old path.

This is why I’d rather convince others with reasons and avoid using force. It doesn’t matter to me what the issue is.

I prefer everything to be voluntary. Work together, ask for help, or do what you can on your own. Don’t try to force anyone to join you. If you need to use threats or force, you probably ought not do it at all. I don’t support or need those who use coercion.

In your personal life you probably already avoid force. I’m assuming you aren’t a thief or murderer.

You and I don’t need to be threatened and forced; it’s only “those other people.” Well, they see it the same way. Someone’s got to be the first to grow up.

Gandhi is quoted as saying “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It’s true enough even if he never said it.

You don’t need to wait for anyone else to do the right thing with you. You can start now. You don’t have to wait until others join you or until they agree with you. You don’t need to wait until the law changes to allow you to do the right thing. Yes, there’s danger in stepping out first, but who said life is supposed to be safe? Do the right thing anyway.

Don’t violate the rights of others. Liberty is the freedom to do everything you have a right to do; everything that doesn’t violate anyone else’s equal and identical rights. Anyone who violates your liberty isn’t one of the good guys.

Be big enough to let people opt out of your “good ideas” if they can’t be convinced. Of course, you’ll still need to defend yourself against people who refuse to cooperate. That’s a fact of life nothing can ever change.

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