Video: Austin Petersen at LibertyFest NYC “Should Libertarians Learn To Fight?”

46 thoughts on “Video: Austin Petersen at LibertyFest NYC “Should Libertarians Learn To Fight?”

  1. jim

    Posting just the video is a time-waster. I (and most people, I suspect) can read far faster than a person speaking to a public gathering can speak.

  2. paulie

    Then maybe you can transcribe it for us or find someone who has. Otherwise, we’ll keep posting the videos, and if you feel they are a time waster (I don’t) just move on to another article that is not. If you can’t find any other articles or discussions here that you don’t think are wasting your time, I presume you know what to do.

  3. Thane Eichenauer

    I agree with Paulie. There is much a person if they are willing and able can learn from a video or audio recording that can never quite be distilled into mere letters. In this case I disagree with Dennis Miller and his oft recounted words “Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but…” and end with “…of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”

  4. Wang Tang-Fu

    I think the written words show more deliberation than the video remarks, but both should be taken into account.

  5. paulie

    I agree with Paulie. There is much a person if they are willing and able can learn from a video or audio recording that can never quite be distilled into mere letters. In this case I disagree with Dennis Miller and his oft recounted words “Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but…” and end with “…of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”

    I wouldn’t have a problem with it if we could get a transcript, but that’s not always available. And if Petersen puts something in writing it’s fair game as well. Just as with your oblique reference to Invictus, we have and will continue to publish and discuss both the writings and videos – and audio only, when we can – as well as outside coverage of Petersen. All are fair game here and we’ll put it out there for those who find it interesting as much as we can. For those who don’t find it interesting, we understand. If something does not pique your interest at IPR, please find something that does. If nothing does, well, the answer should be obvious.

  6. Jill Pyeatt

    LOL about the poll. I just looked at it, and he’s doing worse than this morning when I looked.

    This was his recent response on a FB post, where I pointed out that he ridicules our NAP:

    ” Liberty is fine. Pacifism is not.”

    I find it hard to believe he’s so dumb he doesn’t even understand the concept. It’s one thing to not agree with the NAP, another thing entirely to be ignorant and too arrogant to keep that a secret.

  7. paulie

    As of both times I checked, he is third in his own poll behind Kerbel and Johnson. Granted it’s not a scientific poll but still..

  8. jim

    The point I was making is that to post a video ONLY, without a transcript IF IT IS AVAILABLE, is a waste of time. Those who want their material shown should be advised that most viewers don’t want to have their time wasted waiting for a person to SLOWLY speak, and they ask for (and indeed demand) that a written transcript accompany the video if it is to be put on this kind of blog.

  9. paulie

    Most of these kinds of videos that we find do not have a transcript available. If you find one or make one yourself, please do let us know.

  10. jim

    I was curious about what this Austin Petersen really believes re. libertarianism and pacifism.
    So, I did a Googlesearch of ‘austin petersen libertarianism pacifism’.
    I did, at least, find SOME references to quotations which indicate (if we can believe it) that libertarianism ISN’T pacifism. But one was in 2013.
    I suggest that others here do the same search, and notice the results. Maybe Petersen is simply very erratic and inconsistent. Maybe he changed his mind, perhaps more than once.

    Also, in one such found url
    http://www.examiner.com/article/austin-petersen-s-case-against-libertarianism
    which included the section:

    “#2. An anarchist society is unable to protect its citizens from foreign invasion.
    A fully anarchist society with no collective means of defense is at the mercy of foreign powers who have not abdicated such means of survival. An anarchist state is at the mercy of anyone who wishes to expand into their territory unchecked. The Native Americans can attest to this.”

    While the response ostensibly debunks Petersen’s position,

    “This is a straw man fallacy because no one is seriously proposing a fully anarchist society with no collective means of defense. In fact, most proposals involve private defense agencies armed with nuclear weapons to deter states from invading, along with a heavily armed population that is ready and willing to exterminate invaders on contact. This fallacy is made quite strange by Petersen’s previous mention of the Arizona militia.
    Petersen is also shifting the burden of proof because the burden of proof is on the person who makes a positive claim. The statist must show that the state is the only way to provide military defense; it is not incumbent upon the anarchist to prove that the state is not the only way until the initial burden is met. One can understand why Petersen would shift such a burden, of course. The burden is impossible to bear because for the state to take a portion of one’s property to fund a defense of one’s property makes it a expropriating property protector, a contradiction of terms.”

    ….I notice that Petersen is falling into the mode of thinking of David Friedman, who said it was a “hard problem” (Google search ‘David Friedman hard problem’) which I SOLVED with my AP idea and essay in 1995.

    Now, I can’t really strongly criticize Petersen for not knowing that I’d fixed that “little” problem, but I think he should become aware of the flaw in that continued reasoning. It is unfortunate that David Friedman doesn’t publicize my solution to his “hard problem”: It fixes precisely the problem that Austin Petersen still believes is a problem.

  11. jim

    I just sent this to Austen Petersen at: austinpetersen[dotcom]

    On May 23, 2015, an article appeared examiner[dotcom]/article/austin-petersen-s-case-against-libertarianism#comments ostensibly debunking your opinions about Libertarianism. One was that a true libertarian society couldn’t defend itself. You may not realize it, but that was David Friedman’s (son of Milton Friedman) “hard problem” he described in his book, “machinery of freedom” published 1973, updated 1989, and also updated 2014. You may not realize it, but I FIXED David Friedman’s “hard problem” with my Assassination Politics essay in 1995 cryptome[dotorg]/ap.htm
    Friedman’s problem was solved, and your current echo of his position is wrong, too.
    Jim Bell

  12. jim

    Paulie: I just did a Google search for “austin petersen website”, and the first one I saw. I left a comment. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that a person would respond to an email that, at best, declares him ‘wrong’ on a subject that, no doubt, he has previously thought himself to be right. If anybody has a better email address, by all means inform me, and feel free to inform him, as well.

    I consider the foolish reaction that some other people have had on IPR to my Assassination Politics idea and essay to be indicative: It is far too easy to screw up your face, say “Eeeuuuwww!!!”, and declare it detestable and too extreme. But they so quickly seem to forget that I’m advocating a system which I claim would virtually completely get rid of war: Totally and completely. War is extremely ugly, and I recall estimates that governments have kiiled well over 260 million people in the 20th century alone. http://www.infowars.com/democide-government-killed-over-260-million-in-the-20th-century-poised-to-kill-billions-more-in-the-21st/
    I think it is intellectually dishonest to summarily reject a solution to such a horrific problem without spending a great deal of study as to whether it would do what I claim it would do. After all, if my system dropped the rate of killing from 260 million over 100 years to, say, 1 million, that would be a hell of an improvement! Better yet, those 1 million would probably DESERVE to be killed, unlike the 260 million.

    To those who are still waiting for a better solution, don’t forget the old joke which ended, “God sent you two boats and a helicopter! What more did you want?!?”

  13. paulie

    Petersen is pretty accessible on facebook. He has an ask me anything thread, etc. You can also comment on his youtube videos and so forth.

  14. jim

    I rarely use Facebook. I find it to be clunky. Further, seemingly because I have decided not to “friend” anyone, Facebook is unusable, or at least it looks that way. A requirement that you have to BE on Facebook to — USE Facebook is tyrannical, and a system which is self-sabotaged to prevent useful things from being done without “friends” is completely manipulative.

    How do I FIND Austin Petersen’s FB page? I have found FB’s “find” function to be laughably ineffective. I look for names I’ve known, and when I get given other examples which aren’t the correct one, I can never seem to find the “right” person. And it’s not because I’m searching through dozens of examples: I often find only two or three, and NONE of them are correct, and I SHOULD be able to see many more. What is going on???

  15. jim

    I put the following item on Austin Petersen’s Facebook page. Could somebody more familiar than I am with FB check to see that it appears correctly?

    On May 23, 2015, an article appeared examinerdotcom/article/austin-petersen-s-case-against-libertarianism#comments ostensibly debunking your opinions about Libertarianism. One was that a true libertarian society couldn’t defend itself. (see below.) You may not realize it, but that was David Friedman’s (son of Milton Friedman) “hard problem” he described in his book, “machinery of freedom” published 1973, updated 1989, and also updated 2014. (Google search ‘David Friedman hard problem’)
    You may not realize it, but I FIXED David Friedman’s “hard problem” with my Assassination Politics essay in 1995 cryptomedotorg/ap.htm
    Friedman’s problem was solved, and your current echo of his position is wrong, too.

    What you said:
    #2. An anarchist society is unable to protect its citizens from foreign invasion.A fully anarchist society with no collective means of defense is at the mercy of foreign powers who have not abdicated such means of survival. An anarchist state is at the mercy of anyone who wishes to expand into their territory unchecked. The Native Americans can attest to this.
    [end of quote]

    In my Assassination Politics essay, I explain how a completely Libertarian society (even to the point of anarchism) can defend itself against all attackers, and even win.

    Jim Bell

  16. jim

    Paulie: I also put a copy of that letter into the two former url’s that you listed above. While I hope Petersen doesn’t think I was spamming him, I do think that this issue is sufficiently important to command his attention, at least for a while.
    I will also look at the other points made by that article that criticized Petersen. I cannot yet tell whether he HAS, or HAS NOT, equated libertarianism with pacifism, or both…

  17. Jill Pyeatt

    I’d be surprised if he answers you, Jim. If he does, it will most likely be rude, flippant, and/or insulting. That has been his mo the past couple of weeks.

  18. Andy

    “What you said:
    #2. An anarchist society is unable to protect its citizens from foreign invasion.A fully anarchist society with no collective means of defense is at the mercy of foreign powers who have not abdicated such means of survival. An anarchist state is at the mercy of anyone who wishes to expand into their territory unchecked. The Native Americans can attest to this.
    [end of quote]

    In my Assassination Politics essay, I explain how a completely Libertarian society (even to the point of anarchism) can defend itself against all attackers, and even win.”

    “National” defense is actually covered in my Libertarian Zone concept (I put “national” in quotes because The Libertarian Zone would not really be a nation as we know it, it would be a zone where people live in the same area and agree to operate their lives under the terms of a Libertarian Zone contract). There’d be no official military as we know it in The Libertarian Zone, but there’d still be ways to defend against and deter military invasions from outside The Libertarian Zone. Read about it in the article and the comments below the article linked below.

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2014/07/andy-jacobs-the-libertarian-zone/

  19. jim

    Jill Pyeatt: You said, “Jim, he equated the NAP with pacificism to me in a FB comment on Monday.”

    Okay, that is apparently his current line.

    I hope by now you (and the others here) realizes that my AP argument will be very useful at defeating Petersen’s position on this matter. He doesn’t understand that NAP is not equal to pacifism. But he also thinks that you can’t defend a purely libertarian society (or an anarchist one).
    You can easily disprove the former, but even Reece http://www.examiner.com/article/austin-petersen-s-case-against-libertarianism could not readily do for the latter, in large part because he didn’t know about David Friedman’s “Hard Problem”.

    I did, so I immediately recognized the error Petersen had made. Incidently, I have already sent a comment to Reece about this; I will alert people to any response I get from either Petersen or Reece.

  20. wredlich

    On the comments about posting videos, it helps to realize that some people prefer video while others prefer the written word.

    Personally I much prefer the written word. Videos like this are far too slow and it’s hard to skip through what you don’t care about.

    But it’s worthwhile to do these for other people who prefer video.

  21. wredlich

    Watching the video now and I can’t take it. I’ve always liked Austin.

    On this video he has a pleasant demeanor and he’s not a bad looking guy. But he comes off as smug and talks about things most people don’t care about.

    I can’t tell from the video but he does seem to connect with some of the audience, and maybe he’s tailoring his remarks for the audience. But ultimately I don’t see him as connecting with voters.

  22. jim

    wredlich: You said,
    “On the comments about posting videos, it helps to realize that some people prefer video while others prefer the written word.”
    “Personally I much prefer the written word. Videos like this are far too slow and it’s hard to skip through what you don’t care about.”

    Further, you can skip back to previous lines, readily.

    “But it’s worthwhile to do these for other people who prefer video.”

    I don’t know if you are aware, but I occasionally click on some….well…ads that have a person speaking seemingly very slowly, what would end up (I think) being 10 minutes of audio. This, when I could be reading at easily 10x faster. When I get tired of it, which is quite soon, I click to close the window. Sometimes, the website offers to let the read the actual text. Apparently they have already gotten the message that the public is tired of being handed information VVVVVEEEEEERRRRRRYYYYYYY SSSSSSLLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWLLLLLLYYYYYYY.

  23. paulie

    Yes, so the thing is those ads have companies with a lot of money behind them. This is not that sort of thing. We take what we can get and it rarely comes with any transcript available. If it’s available and we know about it, we post it.

  24. paulie

    But ultimately I don’t see him as connecting with voters.

    I guess it depends on which ones. And is he open to advice or does he think he already knows everything?

  25. Jill Pyeatt

    His attitude on Facebook is very much like he doesn’t care to make new supporters. He’s rude, he doesn’t answer valid questions, and sometimes the answers he gives aren’t answers to the questions asked. He seems to think he’ll be the candidate just by virtue of being who he is. I find him to be very unlikeable.

    It really doesn’t seem like he’s taking this seriously.

  26. Wang Tang-Fu

    I think it would take Green Party Conservatives and PLAS supporters working together functionally and frugally in a US Parliament, but the problem can be solved.

  27. jim

    Matt Cholko:
    “If only someone could solve David Friedman’s “Hard Problem”…….”

    Been there, done that.

  28. jim

    Reece has responded. This was his article. http://www.examiner.com/article/austin-petersen-s-case-against-libertarianism

    Here is my email back to him, after his response:
    Mr Reece,
    Thank you for your quick response. Yes, I was aware that that was what HE said, not you. I was originally copying to a blog (IPR), and then I decided to copy that to you as well, but I figured there was no need for me to repeat to you what you knew you already said.

    You can see that I copied you on the note I sent to Austen Petersen, within my email to you. Sorry if the whole thing ended up being a bit confusing.
    I think you parried Petersen quite well. I am amazed how he persistently claims that the NAP (Non Aggression Policy) is somehow equivalent to “pacifism”. Perhaps the acronyn NIOFP (Non Initiation of Force Policy) is a better term.

    The reason I sent him some notes, copied on 3 of his Facebook pages, is that his error seemed to come straight out of David Friedman’s book, “The Machinery of Freedom”. No doubt Mr. Friedman THOUGHT that his “Hard Problem” was really hard; I was actually not even aware of the existence of the “Hard Problem until 2010, as I recall. Friedman was a fellow blogger on the Cypherpunks email list during the 1995-1997 period when I was there. I don’t recall reading about his “Hard Problem” on CP during ’95/’97, although the archives for that might shed more light on that.

    In 2010, I couldn’t blame Friedman, because the last time he had revised his book had been 1989, more than 5 years before I wrote my AP essay. However, he also revised that book again in 2014. At this point, I have no idea whether he acknowledged my solution, even though it was 19 years old by that time.

    If you want to see another analysis of my AP essay, Bob Vroman and Bob Murphy, two business partners, did that in 2002. Vroman made 2 articles, Murphy made one. If you are interested I can direct you to them; Murphy’s seems only to be on The Wayback Machine, an Internet archive. Vroman’s are called vroman8.html and vroman9.html, I think.

    You will notice within my AP essay that I carefully addressed the question of whether an AP-type system would comply with the NAP/NIOFP. I did that, because as a lifetime libertarian (having learned about the LP in 1975), I figured it would engender intense scrutiny, as it should have. Seemingly, I satisfied people in my analysis.

    Keep in mind that the November 2013 “Assassination Market” thing, done by “Sanjuro”, was and is nothing I was involved with. I don’t know who or where “Sanjuro” is. The limit of my ‘involvement’, other than writing the AP essay in 1995, was that a person claiming to be “Sanjuro” sent me an email, apparently run through the TOR network (I had never before, or since, received a TOR email), perhaps a few days prior to November 17 (??) 2013, before the story had hit. Naturally, I was a little skeptical, fearing some kind of setup. Wanting to get this ‘hot potato’ out of my hands, I wished him well, and directed him to Andy Greenberg, a writer at Forbes magazine, who incidently covered me in his book.

    Turns out Greenberg bit, wrote an impressive article http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/11/18/meet-the-assassination-market-creator-whos-crowdfunding-murder-with-bitcoins/ , which you can tell using Google-search was followed by seemingly every other reporter in the world, doing a very similar, superficial story.

    If you intend to want to do a story on THAT, you ought to talk to me, too.
    Jim Bell

  29. jim

    Matthew Reece,

    Sorry for seemingly flooding your inbox, but I wanted to point out that AP would not merely eliminate war, but would also make it essentially for anyone to own nuclear weapons. You said,

    “This is a straw man fallacy because no one is seriously proposing a fully anarchist society with no collective means of defense. In fact, most proposals involve private defense agencies armed with nuclear weapons to deter states from invading, along with a heavily armed population that is ready and willing to exterminate invaders on contact. This fallacy is made quite strange by Petersen’s previous mention of the Arizona militia.”

    Now, yours is a valid response, as far as it goes, for a person unaware of my AP idea. But with AP, the analysis would be thus: The only realistic purpose of a nuclear bomb is to destroy a huge target, for example a city. At the same time, the owner of that bomb is highly unlikely to have a dispute with ALL of the residents of that city, or for that matter ANY city. But all the citizens of that city, and ANY city, would be effectively ‘threatened’ by the mere existence of that bomb, even if it seemed for the moment that the bomb was in the hands of a person who is unlikely to use it. Thus, the citizens of that city, AND the citizens of every other city, would have a powerful motivation to donate to an AP-fund to kill the person, or people, who own or control that bomb. That bomb owner, therefore, would effectively come under AP-attack by millions of people: He can’t fight back, certainly not with that bomb, or many bombs. To do so would be suicide for him. He has no choice: He would have to immediately disassemble that bomb, in a proveable way. He must show all potential targets that the bomb is actually permanently unuseable.

    For many decades, there have been people who said, “Ban the Bomb”. It was a worthy sentiment, but none of them ever actually proposed a mechanism to achieve that outcome. With my AP essay, I have done precisely that. An implemented AP system destroys all nuclear bombs.

    Jim Bell

  30. jim

    I would think that among people who presumably would agree with the sentiment of eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons, they would respond differently (actually, to respond at all!) to my claim that 20 years ago, I forecast the solution to that problem.
    If you don’t think I’m right, say so. Explain why.

  31. Andy

    Here’s a response from Larken Rose to “5 Reasons Why I’m not An Anarchist,” by Austin Petersen.

    Five Bogus Excuses for Opposing Freedom

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