News from Our America Initiative

News from Our America Initiative (via email):

Gov. Johnson on the IRS Scandal: “None of it Surprises Me”

For 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the ongoing controversy at the Internal Revenue Service is further proof the agency should be eliminated.

“Imagine life without having to deal with the IRS,” Johnson told New Mexico Watchdog in an interview just two days after a new development in the IRS story, in which former IRS official Lois Lerner warned colleagues to be careful about what they write in emails amid congressional inquiries.

“None of it surprises me,” Johnson said. “To a higher degree or a lesser degree this is what happens when you have bureaucrats in charge that can manipulate the system any way they so choose.”

A federal judge on Thursday ordered IRS officials to explain under oath how Lerner’s emails disappeared and how they might be recovered.

“Come on, loss of emails? Give me a break,” Johnson said. “If that doesn’t outrage anybody who looks at this, then you’re out to lunch.”

Presidential Debates: Did You Know…

In the 1980’s, after the Republican and Democrat Parties took control of presidential debates with the formation of their Commission on Presidential Debates, the League of Women Voters, who had traditionally organized and moderated the debates, withdrew their participation, saying “the demands of the two campaign organizations (Republican and Democrat Parties) would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

And, in 1987, when the two “major” parties announced the formation of their Commission on Presidential Debates, both the Chairman of the Republican Party and his Democrat counterpart stated publicly that it was likely that “third party” candidates would be excluded from the nationally-televised debates.

Give them credit for honesty, at least. Go to Our America’s Debate Challenge to learn more about the effort to end this “fraud on the American voter”.

Reduced Sentences for Nonviolent Drug Offenders Long Overdue

In a decision that is in line with positions long advocated by Gov. Gary Johnson and Our America Honorary Board Member Jim Gray, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has voted to retroactively reduce prison sentences for thousands of nonviolent drug offenders. With a majority of Americans now favoring legalization of marijuana and a growing recognition that the “War on Drugs” is a failure, it is not only fair, but good public policy to scale back the sentences for minor drug offenses. Overcrowded prisons, courts with unmanageable backlogs and wasted law enforcement resources are just a few of the consequences of the government’s stubborn criminalization of personal choices.

Reducing sentences for nonviolent federal offenders is a modest step, and certainly not a real solution, but it is a step in the right direction. Read more: Sentencing Reductions.

Texas Chapter Joins Call to Slow State Budget Growth

The Our America Initiative joined the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, NFIB and other members of the Conservative Texas Budget coalition last week to urge state legislators to limit state spending increases to a level reflecting population growth and real inflation. Our America’s Texas State Director Gil Robinson, M.D., was one of several advocates of spending restraint who appeared at a news conference July 15 to release the coalition’s budget report and recommendations.

Our America Needs YOU

Unlike many national advocacy organizations, the Our America Initiative is truly a grassroots organization. There are no big special interests or corporations subsidizing our efforts. We only have YOU and thousands of other supporters of less government and greater freedom. Your support is vital, and appreciated!

86 thoughts on “News from Our America Initiative

  1. George Whitfield

    Harry Browne was great. I wish he had been included in the Presidential candidate debates in 1996 and 2000.

  2. paulie Post author

    George – I agree!

    Gary Johnson is IMO the best candidate we have run for president since then. Badnarik was too obscure, although he did manage a better campaign than I expected, and Barr was too conservative-leaning.

    I do hope Gary reads and watches plenty of Harry Browne, especially before he runs again, assuming he does. Lots to learn there.

  3. paulie Post author

    I don’t remember the Marrou campaign well. I did vote for him, and listened to him speak on NPR and CSPAN, maybe some other places (memory hazy on that) but did not pay as close attention then as now. I am speaking of the candidates we have had during my active involvement as an LP member and organizer, that is from Browne forward.

    The party was growing in the early 90s, starting from a membership and budget that was lower than now, so we would do well to learn from what they were doing.

    I do remember that a lot of what convinced me was written material that I was studying, and some debates I had with people, more so than anything any candidate did or said. I also do recall that what Marrou said made sense, but I think my decision to vote for him and other LP candidates that year was more based on party than candidates per se.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    Wow, I’d not seen that Marrou interview previously, thanks!

    For the first 6 minutes, he sounded REALLY good. I met Marrou back in the day, and he seemed fringy to me. Here, for 6 minutes, I’d give him an A+, actually. But then he lapsed into fringiness…

  5. Jill Pyeatt

    How has that anti-fringiness been working for you, Robert? Are you spreading the Libertarian word, since you’re not fringy?

  6. Robert Capozzi

    JP, it works great for me, since I’m comfortable with my political ideology. I’ve not been terribly effective in persuading other Ls that NAPsolutism is a non-starter, candidly. I’m OK with my relative ineffectiveness, since I have no investment in being effective. I simply share and trust that the truth will eventually set us free.

    NAPsolutism may well be the truth, but I’m not seeing it.

  7. Martin Passoli

    Do you have any luck with persuading non-libertarians to be more libertarian, or is that just not something you do at all?

  8. Mark Axinn

    All good clips. Thanks for posting them. The one of George is from the LPNY chapter in Albany.

    I met Marrou in 1992 and of course supported his campaign, but Harry Browne was my favorite LP Presidential candidate by far. C’mon, the guy even looked Presidential.

    Four years before Marrou, we endorsed some Congressman from Texas who had a small following in the Republican (boo! hiss!) Party in 2008 and 2012 with people who weren’t even alive in ’88!

  9. Jill Pyeatt

    Well,I appreciate your honesty, Robert. I’m different than you, however. It’s very important to me that I make a difference somewhere with at least some people. I believe it’s my differentness–you might call it “fringy”–that puts me in a position to do that.

  10. Andy

    “Mark Axinn
    July 28, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    but Harry Browne was my favorite LP Presidential candidate by far.”

    Same here. It was seeing Harry Browne on C-SPAN back in 1996 that got me to join the Libertarian Party.

    Incidentally, Harry Browne was also the first Libertarian that I met in person. I joined the LP back in 1996, but I never attended any meetings until 1999. The first meeting I attended was a Harry Browne exploratory meeting for him to run for President a second time. I walked into a meeting room in a hotel and there were a bunch of people standing around, and then Harry Browne popped up right next to me. I spoke to him and got him to autograph my copy of “Why Government Doesn’t Work,” and I also got my picture taken with him. The second Libertarian that I met that day was Michael Cloud.

  11. Andy

    Harry Browne and Ron Paul are the two best candidates that the Libertarian Party has had so far.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    mp: Do you have any luck with persuading non-libertarians to be more libertarian, or is that just not something you do at all?

    ME: Yes. In my travels, when politics come up, I ID myself as L. Often, people recoil, frightened that I might go all Manson or McVeigh. Instead, I do my best to offer the core teaching of L-ism (as I see it): Anything peaceful. Rather than the neck-vein-bulging, table-pounding approaching, I offer others a more peaceful way to see things.

    NAPsolutists tend to find my approach threatening. MNR taught them to “hold high the banner.”

    If I can help others undo suffering in some small way, I do, if so indicated….

  13. langa

    In my travels, when politics come up, I ID myself as L. Often, people recoil, frightened that I might go all Manson or McVeigh.

    Yes, because we all know these are the two guys that most people associate with libertarianism, right?

    *rolls eyes*

  14. robert capozzi

    No. They were the two notable psychotics that came to mind. Do you have better suggestions?

    Point is. fringe positioning leads to being associated with crazy.

  15. langa

    And my point is that (in my experience, at least) identifying oneself as a libertarian does not cause people to assume that you are a mass murdering psychopath. Unfortunately, it does often cause people to assume that you are a fan of Glenn Beck and other “Tea Party” types, but as bad as those people are, they are a far cry from the likes of Manson (or even McVeigh).

    Of course, I’ve never met you in person, so perhaps you just give off that “psychotic” vibe.

  16. Matt Cholko

    I can’t say that the “you’re a crazy libertarian” reaction is a very common one. Most of the time, when I ID as L, people either don’t know what that is or ask me some questions about L-ism and/or the L position on some issue. Once in a while I get a very positive reaction, along the lines of “yeah, government screws up everything. I’m with you.”. And very rarely a very negative one, along the lines of “you ultra-conservatives are living in fantasy land.”

  17. paulie Post author

    I get a range of positive and negative responses. The negatives are usually from the liberal/left side that associate us with the Tea Party, and every once in a while from conservatives who think that the only issue we care about is legalizing drugs, which to them means we are all about personally getting high, or who themselves only care about homosexuals and abortion (in a negative way, of course). The positive reactions IMO are becoming more common over the years.

    I’ve also met Capozzi and I don’t think he comes off as a Manson/McVeigh type at all. Seems pretty chill in person. I don’t think I come off as a Manson/McVeigh type either, do I?

  18. Jill Pyeatt

    I don’t get reactions of horror ever, from anyone, and I’m not afraid to stay away from “fringy” topics. In fact, those are things people generally want to talk about.

    They are pleased to hear someone speak honestly. Apparently, they don’t hear that often from Republicans or Democrats, and they know the MSM lies most of the time.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    L: ….identifying oneself as a libertarian does not cause people to assume that you are a mass murdering psychopath.

    me: Right. My examples are not meant to be literal, just as some Ls say about the SoP’s “cult of the omnipotent state.” They recognize that there is no such thing, it’s rhetorical hyperbole designed to elicit (some sort of) effect.

    Yes, Beck is a better example, thanks. I’ve watched him perhaps 5x and found him to be borderline unhinged. I would not be at all surprised to hear news of Beck doing something seriously daft some day in a Sean Young or Anthony Weiner-type manner, something more extreme than O’Reilly was alleged to have done.

    I would say that King was crazy-baiting Marrou at about the 6 minute mark, and unfortunately Marrou took the bait. Marrou recovered a bit, but the rest of the interview was wobbly. It’s too bad, IMO, since he was actually quite impressive, with great presence and articulateness for the first 6 minutes or so. In fact, purely from an articulateness perspective, I can’t think of a better L pol, based on the first 6.

    I’d like to see people like Sarvis and GJ watch that interview as a tutorial on what to do and what NOT to do on TV.

    PF, yep, I’m not only chill, I’m ultra chill!

  20. Jill Pyeatt

    Robert: That was 2004. So many outrageous things have happened by celebrities since then (such as Michael Vicks’s unbelievably horrible behavior with dogs) that people I meet are somewhat immune to worries about crazies. I also find that people are genuinely looking for a new way to approach government. Libertarians ARE different–and we should market that to everyone we meet! Marketing is something I DO know about (and, admittedly, so is being different)..

  21. Robert Capozzi

    JP, if they are immune now, then why are there no Ls in Congress?

    I certainly agree with you that “different” can be excellent positioning, especially when the Rs and Ds are so obviously dysfunctional to strong majorities. But, I’d submit, for even significant percentages — say 30%+ — the difference cannot be SO jarring as the LP’s has been and is.

    I’d be surprised if 10% of the pop would agree with Marrou’s answer to King on education, although it was a bit vague. The tragedy, as I see it, is there ARE 30%+ answers, but the impulse to offer macho flash answers leads to the L propensity to self sabotage.

    A shame, given the upside possibilities.

  22. paulie Post author

    I thought you were talking about something more recent. I am aware of the 2004 incident.

    if they are immune now, then why are there no Ls in Congress?

    I don’t see the connection. What does fatigue with outrageous behavior by public figures have to do with Libertarians being elected to congress?

    I am not sure that LP inability to elect anyone to Cogress yet has much to do with messaging. There are moderate alt parties out there and they are not electing anyone to congress right now either. It takes a lot of money, organization, or perhaps a stroke of luck – maybe all three – to beat the massive institutional advantages of the gigantic political machines, their massive warchests and volunteer databases, the power of incumbency and the widespread expectation that they always will win and anything else is a “wasted vote.”

  23. Robert Capozzi

    pf: I don’t see the connection. What does fatigue with outrageous behavior by public figures have to do with Libertarians being elected to congress?

    me: Hmm, let me make this crisper. JP seems to think that the “people [she meets] are somewhat immune to worries about crazies.” IF the people she meets are unconcerned with crazy, fringe politicians TO THE EXTENT that significant minorities want to move forcefully in the direction of liberty, I’d think you would see that manifest in either Ls winning or more libertarian Rs (Ds?) getting elected.

    JP may well be inappropriately extrapolating from her experience. It may well be that 60-70% of the folks she meets want immediate heroin legalization or abolishing the DoD or Social Security. Anything’s possible, but she lives in the largest metro area in the US, and I’da thunk we’da heard about polls telling us that.

  24. paulie Post author

    Politics is, shockingly to many LP members and alt party folks, not all or even mainly about messaging.

    As for LP members, I think our poll numbers and electoral percentages are going up. That’s not translating into a lot of wins yet but given some intelligent organization – I am talking about things that have nothing to do with messaging – it eventually will.

    And more libertarianish establishment party candidates are in fact getting elected and/or becoming more prominent: Amash, Massie, Rand Paul and so on.

    We’re also passing more long standing libertarian issues that used to be fringe issues such as marijuana legalization into law in various states. Further and more widespread steps will come later. The dam is visibly cracking, and freedom will flow and grow.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    pf, yes, all good. Although I’d note that progress has been restricted to social issues. Economic matters and foreign policy…I can’t think of any cracks there, other than MAYBE Bitcoin, which is extra-governmental.

    Liberty may well prevail in the end, in some form, long after I give up the ghost. I’d like to see the pace pick up. My judgment is the pace is slowed by legacy NAPsolutism which still weighs the LM down and curbs its influence in the Public Square.

  26. paulie Post author

    Although I’d note that progress has been restricted to social issues. Economic matters and foreign policy…I can’t think of any cracks there, other than MAYBE Bitcoin, which is extra-governmental.

    On the economy, there has been plenty of deregulation in the official realm, albeit not nearly enough. Globally, most nations have moved towads more economic freedom, including the ex-Soviet bloc, Scandinavia and others. And even in the US there have been deregulation trends in many industries. In the unofficial realm, taxi alternatives such as lyft and uber, motel alternatives like airbnb and many equivalents in other fields.

    Public trust in government and its solutions is eroding. So is public trust in other large hierarchical institutions in other fields of endeavor. The establishment parties, while still outwardly strong, have lower and lower poll numbers.

    In foreign policy, Americans of most ideologies are war-weary. The would-be war with Syria was stopped last year, as have other prospective military adventures.

    See also http://lfb.org/how-the-internet-saved-civilization/

    The there’s the growing libertarian movement (aside from partisan or even electoral politics) and its increasing mindshare, especially among young people who will become the leaders of the future. Just a few years ago libertarian views were relatively obscure.

    Liberty may well prevail in the end, in some form, long after I give up the ghost.

    No telling how long any of us will live, but I don’t think it is necessarily in some distant future at all.

    My judgment is the pace is slowed by legacy NAPsolutism which still weighs the LM down and curbs its influence in the Public Square.

    We disagree on that.

  27. Jill Pyeatt

    Robert said: “JP may well be inappropriately extrapolating from her experience.”

    I guess you’ll never know if it’s true or not, unless you get out and meet new people in new venues. You’re welcome to not believe me, but I’m too busy spreading the message of liberty to bother with negative people–and you’re in that category with me.

  28. paulie Post author

    I should mention 3D printing as an another emerging technology that is making government attempts to control the availability of goods obsolete.

    The internet as a whole, meanwhile, and other modern decentralized communication technologies, are making it much harder for governments and large government-partnered corporations to control information, knowledge, news and entertainment. Alternatives to government and corporate media are springing up everywhere, and everything from porn to “intellectual property” to government misconduct is becoming harder and harder for government and other top-down structures to contain.

    And while police militarization, brutality and corruption is endemic and growing, also growing is public awareness of it,with video, images, sharing of them through social networks, etc.

    Even the Arab dictatorships were unable to shut down public demonstrations or information sharing.

  29. Robert Capozzi

    pf, yes, tech changes could AT SOME POINT obsolete much government. Emphasis on could! Overall, regulation is WAY up along with government spending. Stipulated that there are a few industries that have had some deregulation.

    “War weary” =/= non-interventionism.

  30. Robert Capozzi

    jp: I guess you’ll never know if it’s true or not, unless you get out and meet new people in new venues.

    me: Actually, I’m humble enough to admit that my anecdotal observers prove nothing!

    jp: You’re welcome to not believe me, but I’m too busy spreading the message of liberty to bother with negative people–and you’re in that category with me.

    me: Valid feedback, thanks. I’d say I’m the most positive person I know, since I accept that it is what it is. You may not appreciate my opinion when I find some of what is as being dysfunctional at times, although I also accept that life always includes its share of dysfunction.

    From what I can tell of your survey of the state of the world, I can’t say that I’d describe you as “positive,” fwiw. You seem to have bountiful grievances.

  31. Andy

    “Jill Pyeatt
    July 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm
    Robert said: ‘JP may well be inappropriately extrapolating from her experience.’

    I guess you’ll never know if it’s true or not, unless you get out and meet new people in new venues. You’re welcome to not believe me, but I’m too busy spreading the message of liberty to bother with negative people–and you’re in that category with me.”

    Jill, I get the impression that Robert Capozzi rarely interacts with anyone who is not on a computer screen.

  32. langa

    I’ve also met Capozzi and I don’t think he comes off as a Manson/McVeigh type at all. Seems pretty chill in person. I don’t think I come off as a Manson/McVeigh type either, do I?

    Well, I’ve never met either of you in person, so I really couldn’t say. But based strictly on my interactions with the two of you here on IPR, I would say that you definitely come off as saner and more in tune with popular opinion than Capozzi.

  33. Jill Pyeatt

    Andy said: “I get the impression that Robert Capozzi rarely interacts with anyone who is not on a computer screen”.

    That’s my opinion as well, so it’s rather humorous that he seems to think he knows my community better than me..

  34. Robert Capozzi

    jp: That’s my opinion as well, so it’s rather humorous that he seems to think he knows my community better than me..

    me: Yes, my political interactions at this point are limited to IPR, true, aside from the occasional random discussion in everyday life. But, no, I don’t know your community better than you. I’m simply skeptical that the Southland is lousy with abolitionist NAPsolutists, as you seem to suggest. Surely I could be incorrect, I’ve not been there in years, and it was only on business trips. I’ve only driven by Carl’s, fer chrissake!

    Maybe you could share your sense of greater LA’s embrace of the NAP and its implications. 10% of the population, 20%?

    Those sorts of numbers would be HUGE news. 1% would be shocking, in truth. In fact, if it’s true, I will definitely reconsider my moderate ways and go back to square one, buy a new copy of FOR A NEW LIBERTY, study Lew Rockwell.com like a Talmudic scholar, etc.

  35. Robert Capozzi

    langa: I would say that you definitely come off as saner and more in tune with popular opinion than Capozzi.

    me: You may not understand this, given what I know of your thought system, and I don’t have any idea how one would gauge such things, but I hope that’s true, not only of PF, but you as well! There is no scarcity of sanity or being in tune.

  36. paulie Post author

    There’s plenty of people here who have met me. They can gauge whether I come off like Manson or not. I don’t think I do but I lack that outside perspective.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    PF, based on one observation, in the continuum of Manson to first-6-minutes Marrou, you are 95% toward Marrou. 😉 You also have last-3-minutes of Marrou moments, which is in the 70-80% toward 6 minute Marrou.

    The blue skinned L candidate for Senate in 06 and the congressional L candidate who advocated for the right to private nukes were perhaps in the 30%s toward Manson. Crazy, but perhaps not quite bat-shit crazy.

    Of course, you and Langa could well be more in touch with the center of public opinion, but that’s my sense of things.

    I’d say I’d like to see the LM consistently at least at 90% 6-minute Marrou ESPECIALLY because the ideas can come across as radical and disturbing. Anything less and the ideas are easily dismissed.

  38. paulie Post author

    in the continuum of Manson to first-6-minutes Marrou, you are 95% toward Marrou

    Thanks! Even better than I thought 🙂

  39. Robert Capozzi

    Well, it was only ONE observation. Plus, Andy was there, providing contrast. 😉

  40. Robert Capozzi

    Tucker: This whole culture of Chicago, even today, is a monument to a salient fact of history: government doesn’t always get its way.

    Me: Yes, thank goodness! But the truth is it very often gets its way. Chicago is not a Nonarchy Pod. In fact, it’s a highly taxed, highly regulated place. There’s no evidence that the Ghost of Sam Konkin has hypnotized the residents to embrace statelessness as a way of life.

  41. paulie Post author

    Actually, people everywhere embrace statelessness. Even though the state exist, it is not omnipresent, and everyone or just about everyone breaks multiple state edicts and regulations every single day.

  42. langa

    I’d say I’d like to see the LM consistently at least at 90% 6-minute Marrou ESPECIALLY because the ideas can come across as radical and disturbing. Anything less and the ideas are easily dismissed.

    I think it’s a mistake to assume that for most people, “radical” and “disturbing” are a package deal. For example, just in my lifetime (which is significantly shorter than yours and even slightly shorter than Paulie’s), there have been many inventions and technological advances that have seemingly come out of nowhere and “radically” changed the world. Yet the vast majority of these innovations have been met with overwhelming approval by the general public.

    Sure, there are always going to be a few reactionaries who oppose any type of “radical” change, but most people tend to embrace things that make their lives better, no matter how “radical” they are.

    The main challenge is getting people to understand that the free market’s ability to improve their lives is not limited to purely technological innovations, but extends to all areas of life.

  43. Robert Capozzi

    langa: I think it’s a mistake to assume that for most people, “radical” and “disturbing” are a package deal.

    me: True for technological advances. Not true IMO for political change.

    Do you disagree? If so, please explain why you think yours is a valid analogy.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    pf: Actually, people everywhere embrace statelessness. Even though the state exist, it is not omnipresent, and everyone or just about everyone breaks multiple state edicts and regulations every single day.

    me: OK, then please be kind enough to explain how “breaks multiple state edicts” = “statelessness” in your mind.

    When I drive 65 in a 55 zone, I’m not thinking, Gee, I think all government should be abolished. Odds are very high that other speeders have similar experiences.

    Do you have evidence to the contrary?

  45. paulie Post author

    I think it’s a waste of time trying to explain it. I think the articles by Jeff Tucker I referenced explain things pretty well. I don’t like endless back and forth. If I think of something else good to add to the discussion I’ll let you know. I have a bunch of projects I am way behind on.

  46. Robert Capozzi

    Yes, it IS a waste of time to ATTEMPT to explain nonsense! Think the Wizard of Oz once the curtain has been drawn back by Toto! He sputters, denies, and deflects.

    Tucker doesn’t even try to explain it, either. He points to workarounds of government overreach, NOT statelessness.

    But, ever open minded, DO let me know.

  47. paulie Post author

    Workarounds are all you need. Enough workarounds and the state becomes irrelevant. Nonsense would be your attempt to believe the state has to remain relevant as long as it claims to exist.

    A state claims to exist in Somalia, too, but hardly anyone takes it seriously. Its effective jurisdictions as of the last time I checked was several blocks in Mogadishu, no more than many other gangs that don’t try to claim to be sovereign over all of what used to be the Somali nation.

    In other parts of the planet and other points in time, different gangs claiming large areas of territory (some of which they may have some control over, or not) are, were or will be taken with varying degrees of seriousness by different people.

    Other people give them the respect they deserve and find workarounds.

    Enough workarounds and a critical mass may consider the state irrelevant and act accordingly.

  48. Robert Capozzi

    pf: …hardly anyone takes it seriously.

    me: If you could make the case that NO ONE takes the state seriously, and it does nothing, you’d close me. But it appears you cannot, as it flies in the face of virtually the entire land mass, including Somalia.

  49. paulie Post author

    I am not making any such case. I was showing ways that the statist facade is cracking in other ways besides just marijuana legalization in a few states and some other social issues, and beyond just some libertarian-leaning Republicans getting elected here and there. I provided a bunch of other examples including increasing ways technology is allowing people to find workarounds to government and government-intertwined industries. Among many other examples I cited.

    Yes, I do believe that libertarianism activism, including political activism, including the LP and including both extreme and moderate libertarians of various degrees all plays a role. I think what I already said is more than sufficient to explain my position. Me going on to other discussions has nothing to do with inability to defend my position. I could do so until I drop dead, but I have other things to do.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    pf, you’d said earlier: “Workarounds are all you need. Enough workarounds and the state becomes irrelevant.”

    All one needs to do is consider the weapons the State has at its disposal to see the it is HARDLY “irrelevant.” When entities can kill the entire population in an hour or so, they are and will remain QUITE relevant.

    Unless, of course, one can come up with a way to “workaround” nuclear fallout!

  51. Robert Capozzi

    No. I’m saying states are relevant. There are workarounds to lift the load of the state off to SOME extent, but — barring the Singularity — states will remain relevant.

    If state’s exist and continue to exist, the best we can hope for is to limit its scope and scale. Statelessness is an unattainable mirage.

  52. Robert Capozzi

    And, btw, I just use WMD to negate this idea of “irrelevancy” of yours. They also have well-armed cops and armies that could be employed to quell too much (from their perspective) off the grid behavior.

  53. Robert Capozzi

    Oh, yes, you, Andy, and Jill think Cheney’s a war criminal. Jill and Andy think he collapsed several NY skyscrapers. If you all are correct, then the next Cheney might be willing to do even more harmful stuff to preserve the state.

  54. paulie Post author

    Willing? yes.

    Able to get enough people to cooperate? Less likely.

    Able to stay in power and enact their totalitarian fantasies? Also less likely in the medium to long run.

    You keep missing the forest for the trees and I am way past the point of diminishing returns in trying to explain it to you. Maybe someone else can give it a go. You are distracting me from other things I need to be doing.

  55. Jill Pyeatt

    Robert said: “Oh, yes, you, Andy, and Jill think Cheney’s a war criminal.”

    Yes, I do believe it. I believe it strongly enough that I’m willing to risk my reputation and my career on it. I believe it strongly enough that I carefully use my time to reach out to people who are most likely to help spread the word and possibly get him charged with war crimes, or at least make it go down in history what a monster he was/still is..

    The thing is, Robert, you don’t pick your battles. You argue everything, and often your arguments are hypotheticals that we could never answer to your satisfaction, so why bother? We know you won’t have your mind changed. You admitted within the past couple days that you don’t spend time on other websites. I seem to recall you admitted recently to everyone’s suspicion that you rarely get out. So, why would I waste my time? This is why I rarely discuss things with you more than a few exchanges. It obviously provides entertainment for you, but I’ve got too much else I want to do.

  56. paulie Post author

    Robert said: “Oh, yes, you, Andy, and Jill think Cheney’s a war criminal.”

    Yes, I do believe it.

    We’re in the good company of millions in the US and billions of people around the world who share this truthful belief.

  57. Robert Capozzi

    jp: We know you won’t have your mind changed.

    me: Please pay attention. I’ve indicated MANY times that I CAN and HAVE changed my mind on many things. I was a Randian/Rothbardian for many years, from which I’ve recovered. Although I’ve also said I’m willing to reconsider my fall from grace! 😉

    It strikes me as very odd that you care how I spend my time. It seems profoundly irrelevant. I ask simple questions, and you huff and puff and throw out distracting tangents that have nothing to do with anything, near as I can tell.

    It seems obvious that if one is going to take an extreme position, one should be prepared to make the case for his or her position. For ex., if one wants to advocate anarchy — a very extreme position — one should be prepared to paint a picture of why we’d want to go there and how we’d get there. The anarchist — like any good salesperson — would know how to overcome the most obvious objections.

    Groupthink works great when you’re in the group, but the group is tiny.

  58. Jill Pyeatt

    Robert, I mention how you spend your time because you seemingly have plenty to waste. I do not. I simply won’t waste any more time attempting to teach you something. The info is out there, and all you need to do is look.

    Instead of asking me questions that I’ve told you I will be no longer be answering, I’d like to make a suggestion. How about you research one of these topics yourself? Go to your favorite search engine and type “Dick Cheney war criminal”. It’s possible you might learn something. Most of what I believe, I’ve learned through research.

  59. langa

    langa: I think it’s a mistake to assume that for most people, “radical” and “disturbing” are a package deal.

    me: True for technological advances. Not true IMO for political change.

    Do you disagree? If so, please explain why you think yours is a valid analogy.

    I already explained. People tend to support changes that they perceive to be beneficial to themselves. It makes no difference whether these changes are “radical” or not, nor does it make a difference whether they are political or not. For example, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there were a number of “radical” political changes (Patriot Act, DHS, TSA, and so on). Most Americans gladly went along with these “radical” changes, because they (wrongly, IMO) perceived them to be in their own self-interest. Same sort of stuff happened during WWII.

    It seems obvious that if one is going to take an extreme position, one should be prepared to make the case for his or her position. For ex., if one wants to advocate anarchy — a very extreme position — one should be prepared to paint a picture of why we’d want to go there and how we’d get there.

    On the contrary, I would say the burden of proof clearly falls on those who defend a system which relies on putting guns to people’s heads (or threatening to do so), in order to dictate their behavior in virtually every aspect of their daily lives. That seems to me to be a far more “extreme” position, and much more in need of a thorough philosophical justification.

  60. Robert Capozzi

    jp: How about you research one of these topics yourself? Go to your favorite search engine and type “Dick Cheney war criminal”.

    me: Thanks for the suggestion. Last time this subject came up, I did. I was already very much persuaded that Cheney lacked wisdom and gave every appearance of being a master manipulator. My research indicated that “war criminal” is rhetoric, not very good rhetoric, IMO, since the US went to the UN with its evidence. Recall that I’ve reported that I was opposed the Iraq War before, during, and after it, so I’m not a hawk or a neocon. I just find such hysterical rhetoric damaging to the L brand.

  61. Robert Capozzi

    L: For example, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there were a number of “radical” political changes (Patriot Act, DHS, TSA, and so on).

    me: Yes, I see you put quotes around “radical.” While I personally opposed those moves, I don’t think most saw them as radical. Hasty overreactions or prudent would be the perception of most, I’d venture to say.

    L: On the contrary, I would say the burden of proof clearly falls on those who defend a system which relies on putting guns to people’s heads (or threatening to do so), in order to dictate their behavior in virtually every aspect of their daily lives. That seems to me to be a far more “extreme” position, and much more in need of a thorough philosophical justification.

    me: “Proof” requires experience. So you might well SAY what you say, but you lack observations of statelessness at work. Contemporary examples are none. This puts your line of argumentation into a utopian construct area, one that Marrou himself said was not possible.

    This is one of the many problems with the deontological approach that Rothbard so infected the LM with. It misses the obvious fact that there are states, always have been states, and with the weapons they possess, always will be states, barring some kind of massive shift human consciousness and the laws of physics.

  62. langa

    Yes, I see you put quotes around “radical.” While I personally opposed those moves, I don’t think most saw them as radical. Hasty overreactions or prudent would be the perception of most, I’d venture to say.

    Did you notice I have put quotes around “radical” every time I have typed it in this thread? The reason is because “radical” has become a generic term of derision employed in lieu of substantive argument, which is exactly the way that you have been using it in this discussion.

    If you consult the dictionary*, you will see “radical” defined as “very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary”, which certainly describes the effect of the policies I mentioned earlier. If you doubt that, talk to frequent flyers, and ask them if their experiences in airports were “radically” different after 9/11 than before. And you wouldn’t call the introduction of Japanese internment camps during WWII a “radical” political change that was nevertheless accepted by the vast majority of the American public? If that wasn’t “radical”, what was?

    Hell, at the beginning of Hitler’s reign in Germany, he instituted tons of “radical” changes that were not only accepted, but enthusiastically supported, by the German public. That these changes were all in the direction of more government and not less only reinforces my point that the primary challenge for libertarians is to overcome the brainwashing of the public regarding the efficacy of the state, rather than to overcome some inherent aversion to “radical” change.

    * http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/radical

    “Proof” requires experience. So you might well SAY what you say, but you lack observations of statelessness at work.

    You miss the whole point of my argument. I don’t need to make the case for anarchy. Rather, you need to make the case for the state. Surely, if you were as much of a libertarian as you claim to be, you would agree that the burden of proof should be imposed upon those who advocate a system whose very existence relies on the constant threat of aggression.

  63. Robert Capozzi

    L: Rather, you need to make the case for the state.

    Me: Actually, all due respect, I don’t. There are states, there have always been states, and there will always likely be states (barring PF’s Singularity). I DO make the case for a significantly smaller state going asymptotically toward no state.

    I don’t need to make the case for the state any more than I need to make the case for gravity. It just is. I deal with it, and suggest you and anyone should. It is what it is.

  64. paulie Post author

    US went to the UN with its evidence.

    The “evidence” was laughable lies, and the liars who told those lies knew damn well they were lying. See the links I already provided in the discussion I just linked above.

  65. Robert Capozzi

    So, Colin Powell is a war criminal then, too? And most of the UN? And most of Congress?

    Could be, of course. Think: Reign of Terror.

    btw, this “…billions of people around the world who share this truthful belief.” lacks credibility. I doubt “billions” of people could identify Cheney at all. No, make that 100 million!

  66. paulie Post author

    Oh, I think they could. It’s OK if you want to disagree. My experience with people from and in other countries is that they are more up on world news than USAmericans.

    As for who all is a war criminal, I’d say the folks you mention are a mix of war criminals and gullible fools/suckers for war criminal lies. The categories are not necessarily mutually exclusive and I’m not necessarily sure for all of them which one they are, but Cheney would be well within the war criminal end of things.

  67. Robert Capozzi

    langa: The reason is because “radical” has become a generic term of derision employed in lieu of substantive argument, which is exactly the way that you have been using it in this discussion.

    me: Yes, in common usage, the word “radical” is generally considered unattractive by most in a political context, and can be considered positive in a technological context.

    I prefer the term “extremist” in a political context myself. In many of my posts on IPR, I identify myself as the most radical L on the planet. That is because philosophically I think it’s wise to get to the root of the matter. Of course, sometimes when we go to the root of the matter, we find that there is no single, discernible answer to an inquiry. For ex., is monopoly power wielded by a state objectively justified?

    My answer is that it’s neither justified or unjustified. It just is.

    It’s my contention that much L thought confuses radical inquiry with extremist conclusions. MNR was not a radical, as I see it. He was unwilling to see that his thought system was not equipped to provide him or us with a serviceable model for how the world either works or could work. Instead, he posited simplistic axiomatic thinking that is divorced from reality.

    Unfortunately, from my perspective, his thought system continues to pervade and render largely ineffective the LM. That sort of extremism is counter-productive, IMO, which should be no surprise, since the premises are false.

  68. paulie Post author

    there have always been states,

    The Westpahalian nation-state is only a few hundred years old. Competing jurisdictions overlapping have been common throughout history, as have been effectively stateless zones (yes, they were generally claimed by some state or another). And statelessness is somewhat beyond the scope of the original tangent that led to this pointless and repetitive back and forth. Your original question/point was something like what areas are we seeing advances in liberty in besides social issues. I pointed out several articles, only one of several things pointed out in some of them being technological workarounds that make it less possible for the state to effectively control the availability of various types of goods, services and information. None of that means or implies that the state immediately surrenders and disappears entirely, but as usual you seem hellbent on turning this into another endless argument about anarchy, which is far from any original point, and far from useful since I’m pretty sure we have debated the subject more than enough in past threads.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    That’s because I’m a radical, Paulie, ever wishing to strike the root where appropriate.

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