Self-Defense, Children Cussing, Yoga Pants, Entitlements, & Freedom (22m) – Episode 273

Episode 273 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: teaching children to defend themselves from bullies; allowing children to use cuss words; the emergence of yoga pants fashion; how entitlements are antithetical to liberty; the dumb phrase “freedom is not free”; and more.

Listen to Episode 273 (22m, mp3, 64kbps)

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How Hard Would It Be To Enslave You?

Do you believe you’re free?

Ask yourself how hard it would be for someone to enslave you – politically, emotionally, financially, physically, relationally, mentally.

Do you have debt? We may no longer have debtor’s prisons, but for all intents and purposes, you are one collection away from losing your choice.

Do you have compromised character? While you live a lie, you must beg for others to accept your version of reality (H/T to Ayn Rand). You have become their slave.

Do you give in to bullies or crowds? If you don’t stand up for yourself now, how long will you be able to resist when you face real pressure?

Do you work for someone else? How many paychecks away from dependence are you?

Do you spend wealth instead of investing it? Are you building a future of independence or a future dependent on continued luxury?

Are you borrowing someone else’s values and purpose? How will you stand for yourself in any relationship with others? You will be at the mercy of others.

Do you take things you haven’t earned? The bill from the benefactor comes due at some point.

Are you dependent? Will you keep what independence you do have when things get bad?

Are you unskilled? How will you be able to take care of yourself without turning to dependence?

Are you ignorant? How will you know you have been led astray if you cannot think and do not call on wisdom?

Are you shortsighted? You will not see the consequences that will leave you in chains.

These are all questions which come back to character. In the end – as great thinkers from the Romans to today have told us – it is what keeps us free.

“How hard would it be to enslave you” is the same question as “how virtuous are you, and how virtuous are you willing to be?”

Many of these are questions I ask myself. I hope they can be helpful to you.

Originally published at JamesWalpole.com.

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Stand Your Ground, But Don’t Start Trouble

There was a recent shooting, which is being promoted as a”stand your ground” incident, in Florida. It has turned into one of those “big things” on the internet, with people picking sides.

In some ways it seems like exactly the sort of thing anti-gun bigots warned would happen– trigger-happy bullies looking for a fight (because they can and because they feel confident they can win)… and finding one.

To others it seems a clear case of self-defense.

Personally, I’m torn.

Without more information I can’t come down definitively on either side. The information it would take to make this clear-cut either way is unlikely to ever find its way to me.

So, let me tell you what I see from both sides.

Yes, it looks like the guy who got shot initiated force– it seems clear he was the first to touch the other. But to me, it also looks like he was backing away and was no longer a threat when he was shot. “Stand your ground” wouldn’t apply if that’s the case. But maybe he was just staging for a charge. Or maybe he was de-escalating at the sight of the gun. I don’t know. Without knowing what each person was saying it’s not possible to know for certain what was going on.

It is known that the shooter first approached and exchanged angry words with the soon-to-be-dead guy’s girlfriend. (It is claimed that the shooter has a history of confrontations over handicap parking spaces, but who knows if this is true.) What did he say to the woman, and was he making a credible threat to initiate force? If so, then he’s the one who started it, even if he wasn’t the first to actually use physical force. You don’t have to wait until someone takes a swing at you to rightfully defend yourself if he’s telling you he’s going to swing at you.

How can you tell if a threat is credible or not?

Some random blowhard on the internet saying he’s going to come to your house and kill you, when he doesn’t know where you live, is hundreds of miles away, and has no real way to carry through with what he’s saying is not making a credible threat.

Someone in your face screaming that he is going to beat you (or your friend) to a bloody pulp is making a credible threat. He is clearly saying he intends to initiate force, and due to his proximity, he is able to carry through immediately. You have the right to believe him and to use force against him in that case, even before he actually touches you. The Zero Archation Principle isn’t a suicide pact.

Now, since I wasn’t there I don’t really know all that went on. Parking in the handicap space was a loser move, not because of the state’s permit system, but just for the human decency of healthy, capable people leaving the close spots for those who need them, blue paint or not. Getting bent out of shape because someone parked there without the “required” permit is also a loser move. After those two things, I can’t have much sympathy for either combatant, even before admitting I think fighting over such trivial things as a parking space is always a loser move.

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Serving Up Hot Coercion

If you work for the State you are not “serving”.

If your “job” comes with a paycheck extorted from people who didn’t value your effort enough to pay for it voluntarily, you are not serving.

You don’t “serve” in the military, in congress, or “on the bench”. You prey on people’s life, liberty, and property, but you don’t “serve” anyone beyond the political bullies who hold your leash and steal money on your behalf.

If you really wish to serve, provide a service which people will be willing to pay you for. One which they won’t have to force their neighbors to chip in for. Be a good guy like Ross Ulbricht, not a bad guy like Donald Trump or Barack Obama.

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Misplaced Trust

If someone hated you and wanted you to die, would you follow their health advice? Would you let them talk you into behaviors you knew were risky? Would you listen to them at all?

Yet, people let government employees tell them what rights they have.

I see this all the time in responses from people when I say something about the right to own and carry weapons. Particularly on Quora, and especially among those who are saddled with a government which doesn’t want them to have guns. (Even more than the U.S. government’s aversion to an armed population, I mean,)

They constantly tell me what that specific gang of bullies says their rights are (and are not). They act as though I’m a barbarian for recognizing natural human rights.

If I pointed this out to them they might object that “their” government doesn’t hate them nor want them to die; that it is only looking out for their best interests. Judging by the actions and the results of those actions, they sure could have fooled me. If they want the best for their subjects, that is.

It’s a sad thing to see. I don’t want to see people enslaved, especially when they do it to themselves. I don’t want them trusting a gang of thugs to tell them what their rights are, or fooling them into believing rights are only privileges, and that only Neanderthals like me would expect anyone to respect rights.

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Forced Association Compounds Bullying

I had a student years ago that was the target of bullies. He wasn’t as socially adept as others, and few people liked him. The fact that he didn’t act pitiful made it so he didn’t get the people who want to feel good about themselves to take his side.

One day, I see a group of older girls picking on him. This is to the point that he yells something very angry at them. Some teachers overheard and came over and lectured him about not saying mean things.

Another day, those same girls who liked to pick on this kid came up to me and said that he hit one of them. I blew it off. Eventually, it became a big issue and I kind of got in trouble for not making a bigger deal of it. The kid almost got kicked out of the organization I was teaching in for this instance. I told his mother and the board that I fully took this kid’s side and that I knew those girls kept acting really jerky to this kid.

This is something people don’t consider about rules, culture, forced association, and incentives. The incentives of this group made it so this kid could get bullied to the point where he lashed out, then the bullies could get him hurt more by getting “authorities” on their side to act against him for reacting to their behavior.

Bullying behavior emerges from the incentives of cultures and systems. By punishing bullies and making strict rules, you will often just make it so another brand of assholish behavior emerges.

Disassociation is the only thing that can align interests properly. People who want the money of the customer makes systems that protect their customers, while individuals can leave at anytime to other systems that they feel act in their interests better. This incentive structure protects people and ends bullying. Trying to end bullying without having freedom of association turns into a game of whack-a-mole. You make rules and punishments for one behavior and it just shows up in a slightly different form somewhere else.

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