Skip to main content

Against the IFP

Centralizing control over a currency’s infrastructure is a seemingly obvious mistake.

One would think any Austro-libertarian worth their salt would be able to see thru such a charade. Yet here we are, again. Face to face with economic illiteracy. Not garden variety lefist economic illiteracy, but one far more stinging and painful - one which comes from within our own community, rather than from without. 

First, Bitcoiners faced the economic illiteracy of maximalism and small blockers. Attempts to masquerade money’s primary function as value storage (Ammous) or rejecting Menger’s Regression Theorem altogether (Szabo) are luckily demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the shock of our fellow Bitcoiners illiteracy was like an unexpected slap in the face. Suddenly, we were forced to confront the fact that the ignorance of our allies in the fight for sound money, had led them astray. Yet, thru BCH we were thankfully able to keep Satoshi’s dream of peer to peer cash intact. 
Well, crypto anarch…

Limits to self-defense?



Where do we draw the line for what is acceptable self-defense? When can we start acting in self-defense? That, plus recollections of an interesting conversation at a local pub over the subject of a brightly yellow book and some ponderings on physical removal-memes is on today's menu. Bon Appetit! | Alex Utopium

One of my dearest hobbies is reading books and one of my preferred spots to read them is in a local pub- There is something very special with the ambient noises of the pub, to me: The clinking glasses, bar stool scraping, low-volume conversation. Its harmonious to me. The atmosphere can turn a trashy book to at least a readable experience by the virtue of the surroundings.

This one time a guy sat down next to me and started asking questions about the book I was writing down notes from, in the company of a huge cup of coffee. It was the color of the book (extremely yellow, screaming for attention) that drew his eyes in the first place, but it was the title of the book that got him interested. "Homemade guns and homemade ammo? Isn't that illegal?"




"It's not illegal to read about, no", was my distracted reply, maybe with more annoyance in my voice than intended. I was, after all, trying to write notes and he was distracting from that.

Putting my pen away, signaling I was open for a discussion. We had a talk for about fifteen minutes, give or take, that I tried to steer in the direction of self-defense: We should be able to defend ourselves, right?

He took my bait, responding: "Well, that's true, but only the police should have guns!". Noting, of course, the irony in that here in Norway, not even that is solidified - Police officers need to ask for permission to get their handguns out of a safety deposit box in the police cruiser to prevent a crime in progress, unless given permission beforehand (as protection against a specific threat, known prior to being dispatched out on the streets).

The obvious follow-up question is of course "Why?", followed by some more talk, mainly about how dangerous guns are in the wrong hands and so forth. The usual stuff. The conversation was eventually ended when he had to go back to his buddies at a table further in the pub, but he left me with a sinking realisation. The whole conversation, he didn't include himself at all as a potential weapon owner (he could outsource protection, I assume) - What appeared to be the most important thing for this guy was that nobody else was armed.

That realization made it crystal clear to me that you can bring forth the moral argument all you want, it won't affect this kind of person. We agreed that everyone should be able to defend themselves, but using a force multiplier  (a gun) equalize the terms between aggressor and victim? No way, man. Arguably, you can't be for self-defense in that case since not everybody is physically equipped to fend off others, so to restrict access to defensive tools, you are fine with restricting a portion of the population from defending themselves.

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." - Mahatma Gandhi

 To most Libertarians, this is nothing new, but it is important to underline that last part - Because the result of your action is more important than your words, so it's healthy to put a spotlight on hypocrisy whenever you can.

For us Libertarians, there is something in the borderland, the gray zone of self-defense aspects, that might pose a greater disagreement amongst us. It is digitally manifested in the Physical Removal and Helicopter Ride memes, but those are merely a comedic version of something more serious.


But, its a fairly wide range of ideas that get crammed under the same umbrella. From Liberty Machine's interview with Curt Doolittle where he stated he wanted to "murder socialists on an industrial scale", to Hans-Herman Hoppe's arguments that to keep a libertarian society intact you need to 'physically remove' anyone threatening private property as a concept (examples given is communists and democrats).

A much vaguer Murray Rothbard suggests in his essay Program for Right-wing populism that bums get kicked out from the streets - But its hard to tell if he means the public or private property, a future society or the society of lunchtime tomorrow?




How wide can you cast out the concept of self-defense? When is it right to apply it? Is a credible threat to you and your property enough? Can you only stop aggression when it is right at your doorstep? It is a sticky subject.

Perhaps I'm looking too hard through the lens of today, where I'd be properly screwed if a band of Antifa-likes would gain parliamentary power and ushered me into some nightmarish Marxist state of being.  Maybe this is a trivial issue in a free Ancapistan? The skeptic in me is a skeptic, though.


- ALEX UTOPIUM 
Scandinavian anti-establishment blogger, editor for the Utopium Blog. Counter-economics, agorist-separatism and Free Market advocate.


Comments

  1. This is my problem with Libertarians - the NAP is nonsensical and meaningless. one man's self defence is another man's murder.
    My take is: no body or group of people has any more right to prosecute violence than any other. I am entitled but not obliged to to counter evil with as much force as I deem necessary. If you can't recognise evil then you are part of the problem and deserve no quarter given.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The NAP is, funnily enough, sort of a social contract theory which many libertarians I know despise - Except in the case of NAP. I am more leaning on the (David) Friedmanian school of thought, ie that we give each other sovereignty and accept laws in clusters in a Free World and the market will decide which of those are the most successful (have most subscribers).

      That leads to bargaining with people outside your cluster and, as a last resort, violence if someone else wants to (in your view) use force upon your cluster.

      Delete
  2. IMO in a free society the right to defend property would always be retained by the individual but in all likelihood be delegated voluntarily to PDAs or insurance companies, as Bob Murphy outlines in Chaos Theory.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Global Warming & Economics

Libertarians who deny the existence of global warming run the risk of making us all look like a bunch of illiterate fools.

Much like economics, being ignorant of planetology or climate science isn't a crime, but having a "loud and vociferous" opinion on the subject while remaining in a state of ignorance can be a dangerous thing. And frankly, the science behind climate change is elementary.

Sunlight enters our atmosphere and warms our planet. Earth then gives off that heat in the form of infrared radiation (this is the same principle behind those cool goggles our collapsitarian friends have). However, and this is a crucial point - the CO₂ molecules in our atmosphere do not allow IR to easily escape back into space. This is known as the greenhouse effect. As the temperature of the planet increases, polar ice caps melt and eventually surface water will begin to evaporate. Since H₂0 also prevents IR from escaping our atmosphere, the additional water vapor only compounds th…

Technological Agorism I: Digital Feudalism

We live in the age of digital feudalism.

In earlier times, peasants saw their productive capital rerouted to their feudal lords. Likewise, we modern serfs see the monetary value of our digital presence being rerouted to big tech CEOs. And just as medieval lords used this capital to maintain their elaborate manors & their status in the nobility (thru kickbacks to the monarch), these modern day lords do precisely the same. The advent of tokenization promises to change this.



Big tech has profited enormously from the digital peasantry in two ways. 
They earn money based on the popularity of user-generated content. In other words, we use FB, Twitter, & IG to view content posted not by these companies, but by the individuals who use their platforms. Big tech collects & monetizes our personal data & has been doing so for quite some time. Own Your Content The tokenization of digital content has already started the process of disrupting legacy business models. Seeing as the fir…

The Economics of BTC Maximalism

BTC maximalism is a flawed doctrine, fallacious in numerous respects. 

First, if you'd prefer to hear these arguments in audio, check out this recent episode of ABNP, where @mrpseu & I discused these same topics. 

Also, a qualifier: I'm not capable of making, defending or refuting technical arguments. I'll leave that aspect of the debate to others. My concerns with BTC maximalism are entirely economic and can be divided into four areas. 


Based on the criteria for saleability as laid out by the austrian school, BTC is not the most marketable digital commodity.A lack of portability relative to other cryptocurrencies implies BTC isn't as sound of a commodity. Value storage is a secondary function of money and cannot satisfy the use-value requirement of regression theorem. BTC maximalism lays waste to the Hayekian notion of competition as a discovery procedure. This final point was addressed in detail on episode 50 of The Agora, Crypto-Economics and thus, isn't elabor…