Archive for the 'Libertarianism' Category

The Conet Project TCP / 1111 is funded!

Monday, December 31st, 2012

We just received notification that The Conet Project: TCP / 1111, the five disc edition, has successfully reached its funding goal, over by one percent.

Thank you to everyone who blogged, tweeted, emailed, encouraged, and put their money where their mouths are.

The further in to the twenty first century we go, the better it gets. Crowdfunding. Bitcoin. The Free State Project.

Exiting times ahead, for certain.

Happy New Year to all BLOGDIAL readers!

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The New Icelandic Constitution

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

We have had a long term interest in constitutions, rights and the legitimacy of government. Now we get a chance to see some people in a country attempting to create a constitution from scratch.

A few people living in a place that is today called ‘Iceland’ have decided, unilaterally, that they want and have the right to lay down the basic law of the place where they happen by chance to live, and that will be binding upon everyone, wether they like it or not. Central to this scheme is the fact that no one will be able to opt out of this new ‘Constitution’, which will be imposed upon all people living there by violent force.

No doubt, people who are for this bogus process will claim that since the new constitution is to be put to a vote, that it is “fair”. Democracy is not fair. It is not just. It is mob rule and nothing more. It is not a justifying balm for immoral acts like stealing (taxation) or war-making. One thing is for sure, this constitution guarantees that the men living on what is called Iceland would be turned into slaves by this constitution. They would be robbed of their property, children and rights, and that is never a good thing.

Here we go…

Preamble

We, the people of Iceland, wish to create a just society with equal opportunities for everyone. Our different origins enrich the whole, and together we are responsible for the heritage of the generations, the land and history, nature, language and culture.

Most of this is a statement of fact. Nothing wrong with that. There is a problem from the off however, with the idea of collective responsibility. People are only responsible for what they agree to be responsible for, and they cannot be made responsible for something by force. If this were not the case, anyone could be held responsible for the crimes of other men. If they had left out the word ‘together’ this problem would not have arisen.

Men are responsible for the works they create, the land they own, the nature they use, and the culture they leave behind as the excrescence of their intellect. Curators of history and art preserve these artefacts for posterity. There is no need to invoke collectivism to make sure that this happens, and in fact, most of the history we have has been preserved and transmitted to us without it, by the charitable acts of good men.

Iceland is a free and sovereign state, resting on the cornerstones of freedom, equality, democracy and human rights.

This is the real start of the problems. Someone, some man, is declaring that there is a place called “Iceland” and that in this fictitious place, the borders of which they have arbitrarily drawn, a “free and sovereign state” exists. They do not define what free means in this context; is the sovereign state free, or are the people who live there free? If the sovereign state is free, does it have an opinion on anything? Is it a living being that can be asked wether or not it is sovereign? Heaven knows there are some environmentalists out there who would seriously consider asking the ground if it consents for humans to live upon it.

Iceland is an island, that rests on a tectonic plate. It does not rest on freedom, equality, democracy and human rights. If you are going to claim that it does this, then you need to be plain about what these words actually mean. Rather than resort to bad preamble poetry, it is far better to speak plainly and carefully about these very important matters.

The precise nature of freedom is something people disagree about. There are some that use this word incorrectly, and use this mis-definition to create false rights, like a “right to the internet”. What if you are unfortunate enough to be born in Iceland and you want to have freedom from taxation? No doubt the people who are drafting this constitution would declare that this is not a valid freedom or right, but all the other things that they are declaring are, are.

The same goes for equality. Equality for them means that an employer must be forced by violence to pay all of his workers the same money no matter what his ideas are or contracts freely entered into specify, or what it means to his profitability and efficiency, or the capacity of the person offering her skills. In fact, this line does not even state what things it deems should be equal; do they mean that 1 should equal 1 in Iceland? Surely this cannot be the case, because their money is printed on and made out of paper and is backed by nothing, so they cannot be so rigorous in their maths.

The government shall work for the welfare of the inhabitants of the country, strengthen their culture and respect the diversity of human life, the land and the biosphere.

The inhabitants of a country should work for their own welfare, and keep the fruits of their own labor. If they are good people, they will reflexively support charities and the weak. They should not need a constitution enshrining a violent, immoral and thieving government that is going to carry out their civic and religious duties for them.

The same thing goes for culture. The Icelandic culture, its language, music arts and people came into being without central planning or ‘support’. It also did not need a State to support the diversity of human life, which is diverse without the help of bungling bureaucrats.

I’m not even going to start on this idea of the ‘biosphere’ which extends beyond the imaginary boundary lines of Iceland into the rest of the world. Is Iceland gong to go to war to stop people on the other side of the world from farting to protect the ‘biosphere’? This sort of lose language is very troubling, and displays a complete lack of understanding of the nature of man, of nature and of the State and the proper role of government.

We wish to promote peace, security, well-being and happiness among ourselves and future generations. We resolve to work with other nations in the interests of peace and respect for the Earth and all Mankind.

In this light we are adopting a new Constitution, the supreme law of the land, to be observed by all.

It is a good thing to wish to promote peace, security, well-being and happiness. The question is how you do it, and can you do it without becoming a violent criminal?

If Iceland doesn’t have an army, it cant participate in wars. This is important, because when these people say they want to promote peace, it really means sending armies to other countries to commit murder. You want to promote peace? Peace where exactly? Iceland is a peaceful place already by all accounts, so what this is doing here without specifics is very odd and ominous. The answer comes a few lines later, where the authors of this document declare that they want to work with other nations interests of all mankind. This actually means more war, more inflation, arbitrary and violent Statist restrictions and insanity. More, “one size fits all”, “our way of life is right and yours isn’t” totalitarianism. Absolutely disgusting.

The same goes for security; security of what and of whom? Wellbeing is a matter for doctors and their patients, and it has no place in a constitution. People are free to seek whatever care they like, on terms and with treatments that are suitable for them and this is no one’s business but yours. It certainly is not something that should be guaranteed in a constitution; healthcare is a good, not a right.

Now for happiness. Sado Masochists are happy when the flesh on their backs is being flayed off by a cat o nine tails. Should the constitution ensure this happiness? What on earth are these people talking about?

Chapter I. Foundations

Article 1 Form of government

Iceland is a Republic governed by parliamentary democracy.

Is it now? And why is it? Whose decision was it? Why not some other form of government, or no government at all? Why a parliamentary democracy and not a democratic republic like the United States of America? Why not a country ruled by the Sharia? Who picked this form above all others? What are their names, and just who do they think they are that they can violently impose this on anyone?

Article 2 Branches of government

The Althing holds legislative powers under a mandate from the nation.

How can the “Icelandic people” remove this mandate? Is there a mechanism? If not, why not? Why this and not some other new body? You are redesigning the way the country is governed, why not throw everything out and start from year zero?

The President of the Republic, Cabinet Ministers and the State government and other government authorities hold executive powers.

What are ‘executive powers’? For those of you who do not know, executive powers are powers what put the executive above the ethics and morality that bind you as a non executive. Executives can order murder and theft without any consequence to themselves, whereas you cannot. They are a class above the law, immune from prosecution and able to wreak bloody havoc without fear of reprisal of any kind. There is no basis for creating a super class that is outside of morality and ethics. They are not super humans; all they need to do is collect enough votes. There is no clean logic behind this; its absurd and offensive that a law exempt group like this can be unleashed to steal, command and murder with impunity.

The Supreme Court of Iceland and other courts of law hold judicial powers.

Just like that, by dint of thirteen words, the power to sit in judgement over men is granted to an unelected body, with an absolute monopoly on dispensing justice. In a free country, men would be able to select whatever court suits them in their philosophies, contracts and dealings. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why the State should have a monopoly on justice, or anything else for that matter. Icelanders are building themselvs a geothermal prison island, pure and simple.

Article 3 Territory

The Icelandic territorial land forms a single and indivisible whole. The boundaries of the Icelandic territorial sea, airspace and economic jurisdiction shall be decided by law.

What this part is saying is that the drafters of this constitution are claiming the island of Iceland for themselves, and they are daring anyone to come and take it from them. They have no authority to claim this land over anyone else, they have no prior claim over the whole territory, and their claim is just as valid as anyone else who decides to whip up their own constitution in a drunken stupor and who can rally enough people to defend their property. This is gorilla chest beating, and nothing more.

Article 4 Citizenship

Persons with a parent of Icelandic nationality shall have the right to Icelandic citizenship. In other respects, citizenship shall be granted in accordance with law.

No one may be deprived of Icelandic citizenship.

There is no “right of Icelandic citizenship”; what they are actually referring to here is the privilege of Icelandic citizenship. Or more accurately, this is a clause consigning all Icelanders and their offspring to perpetual slavery by birth. Note how there is no language here to say what steps can be taken to renounce or escape from Icelandic citizenship.

An Icelandic citizen cannot be barred from entering Iceland nor deported from Iceland. The rights of aliens to enter and reside in Iceland, and the reasons for which they may be deported, shall be laid down by law.

I believe that someone behind this part is a fan of The Pirate Bay. Does this mean that the government of Iceland will never sign extradition treaties with the other nations of the world? They are so keen to promote and, “work with other nations in the interests of peace”, how are they going to refuse to extradite ‘terrorists’ when Uncle Sam comes asking? Their country was already called a terrorist state over the Landsbanki affair; perhaps this is why this clause is in here.

Do you see what I did there? I called it, “Their country”. The Statist disease is very infectious!

Article 5 Duties of citizens

The government is required to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the rights and freedoms provided for in this Constitution.

Everyone shall observe this Constitution in all respects, as well as legislation, obligations and rights that derive from the Constitution.

This is nothing more than a declaration of war against the free people living in Iceland. What if you are living there and you do not want to enjoy the “rights and freedoms” this scandalous document pretends to confer on you? What if you are philosophically opposed to this constitution, or even a small part of it? You are being told here, if you are “Icelandic”, that you shall observe the Constitution in ALL RESPECTS. Its outrageous, presumptuous, disgusting and extremely violent.

But it gets worse.

Chapter II. Human rights and nature

Article 6 Equality

We are all equal before the law and shall enjoy human rights without discrimination with regard to gender, age, genotype, residence, financial position, disability, sexual orientation, race, opinions, political affiliation, religion, language, origin, family or position in other respects.

Men and women shall enjoy equal rights in all respects.

You cannot have a section like this without defining what ‘human rights’ are. Part of the reason there is such an absurd and long laundry list of what the authors of this scabrous document assume are different types of people is that they do not understand what rights are, where they come from or what a human being is. Anyone who understands what rights are does not have to make a comprehensive list of the different things people can classify, believe and do with themselves. Human beings have rights that encompass all of these things automatically, but in order to understand this, you must know what rights are; the people who wrote this garbage, do not.

Article 7 The right to life

Everyone is born with the right to life.

Article 8 Human dignity

Everyone shall be guaranteed the right to live with dignity. The diversity of human life shall be respected in every regard.

There is no “right to life”. Everyone that is alive has a property right in themselves; this is the true right that these people are trying to and are failing to enumerate. The bogus “right to life” is what men use to stop women from having control over their bodies. Once again, Statists are making up rights that they use as a pretext for their violent State.

Similarly, there is no “right to live with dignity”. What you might think is dignified is anathema to Muslims. Will this Icelandic constitution enshrine arranged marriages, female circumcision, Halal butchers, all of which are considered necessary for Muslims to live lives of dignity? What about the right to commit suicide, home educate your children, live up a tree with birds or down in a hole with snakes? When they talk about the diversity of human life, do they really mean it, or do they mean just the diversity that they find acceptable in the Icelandic culture of their forefathers? What If someone doesn’t like their courts, and wants to set up a Sharia court? Will this be “respected in every regard”? I think not somehow. This is nonsense on stilts, and an invitation to conflict.

Article 9 Protection of rights

The government is at all times required to protect the citizens against violations of human rights, whether committed by public authorities or others.

What are rights, and where do they come from? Do I, as an Icelander have a right to my own property, and if someone from public authority wants to steal from me (taxation) against my will, will the Icelandic State run to my defence? Without defining what rights are, these passages are nothing more than hollow rattling noise. Dangerous nose. Dangerous because any Statist can hang whatever they like on the phrase, “Human Rights” and then use that as a pretext to violate Icelanders.

Article 10 Security

Everyone shall be guaranteed security and protection against violence of any kind, such as sexual violence, inside and outside the home.

Violence of any kind; like theft? And guaranteed? Do these people even know what the word ‘guarantee’ means? And of course, these guarantees are not in force if the theft is done to you by the State of course, when they steal your money, or force your children to attend their vile schools.

By saying that they are going to protect people inside their homes, they are saying that they are claiming the power to enter your home on whatever pretext they can dream up in their nightmare of a system. You are not safe anywhere in Iceland under this constitution, which is an interesting byproduct of this clause that is meant to enshrine your safety.

Article 11 Protection of privacy

The protection of personal privacy and the privacy of home and family shall be guaranteed.

Bodily or personal search, or a search of a persons premises or possessions, is permitted only in accordance with the decision of a court of law or specific permission by law. The same applies to the examination of documents and mail, communications by telephone and other telecommunications, and to any other comparable interference with a persons right to privacy.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the first paragraph above, personal privacy and privacy of the home or family may be restricted by a specific provision of law if urgently necessary for the protection of the rights of others.

The only threat to privacy in any country is the State. The State, which has backdoor access to almost everything is the number one violator of privacy world-wide. Iceland has its Icelandic ID number (kennitala) which is forced upon all Iceland dwellers at birth, without a chance to opt out. Without even bothering to check, I will bet that you cannot open a bank account without one, or rent a property or travel outside of Iceland unless you have been issued one. So much for their pipe dreams of privacy being guaranteed. It’s utter rubbish.

Note how they say ‘bodily search’ by whom? They are referring to the police of course, who are also a monopoly service. They are referring to the airport customs officers who can search anyone, not for security, but for revenue generation for the State, and who are also a monopoly. And who makes the laws permitting these violations? Why, the monopoly State of course.

There is no ‘right to privacy’; this is another made up right that has no basis in the nature of man, and even if it did, they claim that Icelanders have this right with their left hand, but then with the right hand they erase this right by saying that the police, customs and other ‘officials’ can violate this right for the purposes of the State. It is as insane as that last passage reads.

And now, the Pice de rsistance

Article 12 Childrens rights

All children shall be guaranteed by law the protection and care that their well-being requires.

The best interests of the child shall always take precedence when decisions are made regarding a childs affairs.

A child shall be guaranteed the right to express its views regarding all its affairs, and just account shall be taken of the childs views in accordance with its age and maturity.

This is nothing more than a Paedophile’s Article, claiming all Icelandic children as the property and chattel of the State.

Parents are the owners of their children, and we have been over this many times on BLOGDIAL with reference to Home Education. This is the sort of clause that destroys human nature, corrupts the human family structure and replaces the parent with the State.

This clause does not define who determines what is in the best interest of any child unfortunate enough to live in the Icelandic prison state, it does not say who makes these decisions, and does not specify what a child’s affairs are as distinct from the lives they live as members of a family.

These people are absolutely horrible, inhuman and disgusting. Its no wonder that there is only one Home Educating family in Iceland.

Children are granted the right to express their views. What? They already have the property right in their own bodies, that includes their mouths, which they can use to utter whatever they like. They do not need the State to give them what they already have. As for “a just account shall be taken”, what exactly does this mean? Who will take a just account, and who decides what is just and what is unjust? How dare these subhumans try and usurp the property of a parent in this disgusting way? Who decides what age is appropriate for what thoughts and desires? Who decides who is mature and who is not?

The people who wrote this are extremely sick and dangerous.

Article 13 Right of ownership

The right of private ownership shall be inviolate. No one may be obliged to surrender his property unless required by the public interest. Such a measure requires permission by law, and full compensation shall be paid.

Ownership rights entail obligations as well as restrictions in accordance with law

The right of private ownership is inviolate, unless its your money, your self, or your children, which the Icelandic State is making a de-facto prior claim on if this constitution comes into force. What the public interest is is never defined in this absurd document, which means that it can mean anything at all. Your children can be forced to go to school for the public interest, 90% of your earnings can be stolen for the public interest, you can be forbidden foods and drink in the public interest, your house can be destroyed so that a road can be laid down in the public interest, and so on. Full compensation? For a child’s life? For a lifetime’s work? I think not.

Ownership rights, like any other fake right created by the State, is not a true right at all, but is instead, a noose around your neck. It is a means to justify stealing your money and your children from you. These documents always include leverage points where any law can be passed and subsequently nullified by the constitution, “in accordance with law” which is the phrase that achieves this. It means that the paedophiles, thieves, crony capitalists and scumbags in any future Icelandic parliament simply have to pass a law to sweep away your rights. This is not how decent people think or behave.

[…]

http://stjornarskrarfelagid.is/?page_id=2619

Thats enough; I cant do anymore.

For the record I am not picking on Iceland because Iceland is a particularly bad example, or Icelandic people are inherently evil or anything remotely like that. All of the Icelandic people I have ever met have been perfectly gentlemanly, kind, considerate and peaceful. This is an examination of principles that can be applied to any country with a constitution or that is considering one like it, and this proposed basic law is nothing more than a convenient foil. I could have just as easily chosen Honduras, whose monopoly judiciary has just unilaterally declared that men cannot build a free city, because it would be ‘unconstitutional’. This proposed constitution is but one of many such bad, fundamentally flawed documents, most of them already in force somewhere on the globe, and Iceland drew the short straw because the people there have had the guts to fend off the banksters, and seem to understand that they can build a different sort of country from scratch. This is very brave, and I wish them luck.

What they need to do if they are going to redesign their country is to work from the correct principles, understand what the true meaning of the words they are using are, try and get a grip on Economics, rights and why monopolies in law and security are a bad thing, and then, maybe, just maybe, they will be able to come up with something robust that will increase their prosperity and protect their rights from predation. One thing is for sure; what this proposed constitution is, is as far away from what is needed as you can get.

Sadly, none of the people who are behind its drafting are even named, so that you cant put the blame where it belongs. It also gives you a false sense of consensus; for all we know, it was written by three drunks and a smack addict on a copypasta binge. It makes you wonder what they are frightened of, that they cannot put their names a document they purportedly believe in, which is going to be used to violently control the people of the entire country. The founding fathers of the United States of America, for all their flaws, all put their names to the documents they produced to create that great country. That is the act of men with guts, who actually believed what they were doing was right, and who were willing to die for what they believed in.

In any case, all of this would have been be moot if Peter Theil and the other Libertarians working to create a free country in Honduras had been successful. Everyone with a wish to be free would have fled to that new free country. The entrepreneurs, the creative and the able, fleeing countries like Iceland, would have left only the incapable, the unable, evil, socialist and stupid. No one would have been left to run the economy, make things or operate anything.

Does this sound familiar? If the people shaping Iceland’s future have any sense at all, they should call Peter Theil and ask him how to set up a country for maximum prosperity and liberty, rather than drafting hollow imitations of broken constitutions.

The Friction-Free Bitcoin Economy

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

As the barriers to competition evaporate, the world is becoming Bitcoin’s oyster.

Guess who it is you’re fighting now? Everybody.

In his old book, The Road Ahead, Bill Gates wrote of “friction-free capitalism,” a type of marketplace that he argued will be ushered in by the spread of a technology like Bitcoin. This is like heralding the Net as a harbinger of instantaneous transaction while dispensing with hard cash and the credit card. Forget the Banks — we already inhabit what has become a remarkably low-friction internet economy. That’s why today’s marketplace feels so competitive. And it’s why some businesses are prospering beyond all expectation while others are wondering who changed the rules of the game.

Economic friction is everything that keeps markets from working according to the textbook model of perfect competition: Distance. Cost. Restrictive regulations. Imperfect information. In high-friction markets, customers don’t have many suppliers to choose among, or are restricted to suppliers hampered by regulation. Owning a factory — or a store with a good location — counts for a lot. It’s hard for new competitors to get into the game. The marketplace moves slowly and predictably. Low-friction markets, as are found on the internet, are just the reverse. New competitors crop up all over, and customers are quick to respond. The marketplace is anything but predictable. Bitcoin exacerbates these effects exponentially, because it removes barriers to securely collecting money from customers.

The single most significant change in the economy over the past 36 years has been a wholesale reduction in friction, affecting nearly every industry. Some of the factors are obvious: increased air travel, overnight delivery, credit cards, cellphones, the internet. They put faraway companies on a competitive par with local ones; they enable Lands’ End, Amazon and a hundred other mail-order houses, for example, to match the convenience and price of a neighbourhood store. Other factors are less visible but no less important: Deregulation opened up many industries; local truckers, for instance, may face competitors from half a world away. The growth of high-risk, high-return capital markets has transformed other fields. Today a local Bitcoin entrepreneur must worry about the entrepreneur in Kiev showing up two clicks away in her browser.

Sure, the Internet will grease the market’s machinery still further. But friction is declining every day anyway. Banks face new competition not just from the occasional startup fiat money site (like Linden Dollars) but from distant competitors using Bitcoin technology. Entrepreneurs in Kansas or New York, according to the Wall Street Journal, must now compete with entrepreneurs from Bangalore and China, whose Bitcoin services are only a click away.

There’s little need to elaborate on the threat posed by a low-friction economy; it means more competition, often from unexpected parts. The opportunity is pretty plain as well. In principle, at least, the world is any small company’s oyster. Bitcoin services selling in Dallas can be offered in Dakar or Bangladesh with zero extra time and expense. The thing is, the rules of a low-friction marketplace are different. And if you’re not playing by the right rules, you’re out of the game before it starts.

Rule Number One is merely a caution: Don’t expand blindly. The fact that you can open up a plethora of locations or launch a public relations operation or even integrate into the mainstream banking system doesn’t mean that you should. After all, everybody else can do the same, or something new and disruptive that will outmanoeuvre you. You may be able to peddle your products or services in Minneapolis or Brooklyn, but nobody has to buy them. Having 100,000 outlets is meaningless when it comes to being outflanked by a more nimble competitor.

Rule Number Two: Offer a distinctive something to your customer. This seemingly trite piece of advice is more revolutionary than it sounds. Your job is to take care of the customer — to deliver good value. All the business gurus harp on that one theme, albeit in many variations: Quality. Service. A fair price. In a low-friction marketplace, however — particularly if you’re expanding — the old nostrums are nowhere near sufficient. You have to have something that sets you apart from all the other suppliers offering quality, simplicity, service and a fair price. What should the something be? In the internet age, the company that provides the best privacy and usability wins, especially with Bitcoin.

There’s a hidden secret of the low-friction marketplace, which I’ll call Rule Number Three: What you sell doesn’t need to be a unique product or service. It can simply be the ability to do something better than anybody else. If that puzzles you, think of Google. None of Google’s strategies — search, webmail, storage — is exactly a secret. Indeed, most of the big search engines have at one point or another tried to be Google, only to discover they can’t. They just don’t know how to do what Google does and still make money at it.

You can be a lot smaller than Google and still do things that leave most competitors baffled. New, agile Bitcoin Businesses, will learn how to guarantee, for example, the delivery of Bitcoin in 30 minutes, without fuss or privacy issues. You think people wouldn’t welcome that capability? There will be many market players entering the Bitcoin space who will offer friction free services that will be a no brainer when you compare them to the stifling complexity and Orwellian surveillance state features of other services.

We get dazzled these days by glossy visions of information superhighways and electronic bazaars fuelled by Bitcoin. No doubt we’ll all have to deal with the commerce of Bitcoin sooner or later. Meanwhile, the friction-free economy is already here. The entrepreneurs who recognise what it means are the entrepreneurs who are going to prosper.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/19960601/1690.html

Examining the new site ToS;DR ‘Terms of Service; Didn’t Read’

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

There is a very exiting new service online called ToS;DR ‘Terms of Service; Didn’t Read’. With it, companies offering services over the web have their TOS pages parsed and line items rated.

Here is an example of some of their rated services:

GitHub Class B
↑ Changes can happen any time, even without notice
↓ Your personal information is used for limited purposes
→ GitHub requires cookies
→ Choice of law: California
↑ Your account can be suspended and your data deleted any time for any reason
↓ You don’t grant any copyright license to github
↑ You must provide your legal name
↑ You shall defend and indemnify GitHub
↓ GitHub will notifiy you before transfering your information in event of merger or acquisition
↓ Transparent security practices

Delicious Class D
↑ Only for personal and non-commercial use
x No Right to leave the service
↑ Your content can be exploited
↑ Non-transparent use of cookies and third party ads
↑ Your personal information are an asset for business transfers
↑ Third Parties

Twitpic Class E
↑ Reduction of legal period for cause of action
↑ Your content is for Twitpic and their partners
x Deleted images are not really deleted
→ Jurisdiction in Delaware
↑ You indemnify Twitpic from any claim related to your content
x Twitpic takes credit for your content

Those familiar with Libertarianism and BLOGDIAL can guess what we are going to say about this.

First of all, the people who run this service do not know what rights are. In the Delicious entry for example, they say that users have ‘No Right to leave the service’. There is no such thing as a ‘right to leave a service’; you may have have the power to leave a service and to stop using it, but not a ‘right’.

The promises made to you under contract on a website are a private matter of contract between you and the people or company that owns that site. If they give you the power to delete your account, that is a good thing, but you have no right to other people’s property, and no right to force them to offer you a service on any particular terms.

The difference between a right and a power is an extremely important one because (separate from mistaking a right for a power being entirely wrong) when you assert that someone has a right to something, the next step is that the violent State is called in to force people to do what they would rather not do, like force websites to offer an opt out on cookies.

Lets go through these bad entries one by one:

Github:

“Changes can happen at any time, even without notice”
Github is a privately owned website. The people who run it have the absolute right to change anything at any time. If you do not like it, do not use it and go and create your own web service based on Git.

GitHub is not lying to its users. It tells you in advance what it is going to do with the data you store there. They are completely free of evil in this respect. They are responding to the needs of their users at a very high standard. This is why they are hugely popular, and why they come to the attention of people who want to attack them.

You must provide your legal name
I absolutely loathe sites that require your legal name. I closed our account at Quora and deleted all of our thoughtful answers there because Quora admin demanded that we use real names and not the user name ‘Irdial’. Nevertheless, the position on this is clear; Quora owns their servers and service, and I have no right to demand anything from them. It is up to me to either change my user name or quit the service. The same goes for GitHub. If you do not like their ‘Real Names’ policy, do not use GitHub.

You shall defend and indemnify GitHub
Once again, if you do not want to defend and indemnify GitHub, do not use their service. Also, try and think about it from their point of view; if some user ‘steals’ source from somewhere and posts it on GitHub, this exposes the owners of the service to the possibility of an infringement lawsuit and crippling damages. In order to protect themselves from this, they need to add this language to protect themselves from stupid or malicious users. This is perfectly reasonable and logical, and is in no way an attack on GitHub users.

Conclusion
There is nothing in the GitHub TOS that is unreasonable. They are open about what they are doing, and provide an extremely useful service that you do not even have to own an account on to be able to pull some source. They, as the property owners of the service, can operate it under any terms that they like.

Delicious:

Only for personal and non-commercial use
Non commercial use restrictions make perfect sense; they have to find a way to monetize the service. If you don’t like it, store your bookmarks elsewhere, like in your browser.

No Right to leave the service
There is no such thing as a ‘right to leave the service’, and if you delete all of your entries, that is the same as leaving, and you can do that. Once again, use the word ‘rights’ correctly and understand property rights. Every item where this fallacious ‘Right to leave the service’ is listed as a defect in a TOS, ToS;DR is in grave error.

Your content can be exploited
What does ‘exploited’ mean? This service is out to make a profit. If you are socialist, and do not believe that people or companies should make a profit, that’s fine, but you cannot force other people to live by your standards or contract under terms that are not acceptable to them, and it is dishonest to condemn or vote a site’s TOS down due to this. And again, if they tell you in advance that they are going to use your bookmarks to make money, you can choose not to use their site and service. Some people take this bargain and accept it as the price of using the service. There is nothing inherently wrong in this.

Non-transparent use of cookies and third party ads
The browser running on your computer can be set to refuse cookies. It is up to you to make this setting, and to refuse to accept cookies from sites. You do not need the State or anyone to hold your hand like a child, and if you do, that is your problem, not the problem of Delicious. Caution must be the default on the web.

Your personal information are an asset for business transfers
Once again, business as a practice is not in and of itself unethical, and if you believe so, that is a personal prejudice that you should keep to yourself, if you want to remain objective. Business is not harmful!

Third Parties
With tea and cake presumably.

Twitpic:

Reduction of legal period for cause of action
Twitpic needs to do this to protect themselves from Ambulance Chasers and hostile collectivist users who like Class Action Lawsuits. If they do not have this clause, the service will be attacked for sure. There is no standard legal period for a cause of action, and in jurisdictions where there is, there should not be. Its up to you to either accept or reject these terms.

Your content is for Twitpic and their partners
They need to find a way to monetize the content on their service, otherwise it will cease to exist. This is entirely reasonable, and you have advance warning that they are going to do this.

Deleted images are not really deleted
Once you upload your pics to their service, they can do with them what they like under the terms of service. It they are lying about deleting photos, this is fraud, and they should not do that. This is a correctly flagged item, of the kind this site should focus on.

You indemnify Twitpic from any claim related to your content
Same as for Delicious. Content in a copyright world can be a hostile trojan horse, and they need to protect themselves. If you really want to make these clauses redundant, advocate for the end of the State.

Twitpic takes credit for your content
If you give your content to Twitpic under terms that say they will own your pics after you upload them, this is an explicit contract. IF they do so without telling you explicitly they are going to do this, once again, this is fraud, or ‘passing off’; its illegal and immoral. Once again, this is a true example of a correctly flagged flaw.

This is a great idea for a service clarifying and distilling TOSes for the masses, but there are some problems with the thinking behind the categorisations and descriptions of the problems described in each TOS where a fault is found.

Some faults are not faults at all, but simply terms of service designed to protect the service owners, and others are actual flaws. A clear set of ethical standards needs to be applied to each TOS, one that is free of bias.

It would be interesting to write a plugin that flags up TOS flaws or changes on every site you visit, so that as you surf the web, you are alerted to potential offences against your sensibilities.

On sites where you already have an account, where the TOS has changed, you could be alerted that this has happened for you to review. Im sure someone has already though about this.

If these people want to really help both users and the sites they visit, they need to think hard about their assumptions on the basic parts of this idea; who owns websites, what are rights, what obligations do sites have to users of their services? All of the answers to this can be found in ‘For a New Liberty‘ which spells out very clearly in simple language, everything you need to know when writing your TOS.

Sit down and shut up!

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Jon Matonis has another great article up at Forbes which replies to Fred Wilson the venture capitalist and principal of Union Square Ventures question about Bitcoin.

Below is the text of our comment on this post, spurred on by a man asking people to essentially “sit down and shut up with the Anarchism jive”.

Before I copypasta, something interesting related to this has just happened. Australian-based trading firm @SpendBitcoins has decided to pull out of the U.S. market, citing “regulatory obstacles”:

https://spendbitcoins.zendesk.com/entries/21806042-spend-bitcoins-out-of-the-us-market

Just what those obstacles are are not specified; in fact, there are no regulations or laws covering Bitcoin buying selling or transferring anywhere in the world. Bitcoin is unregulated, free of legal constraints and its up to the people who use it to do what they want with it on whatever terms they see fit.

That being said, if there were regulations controlling Bitcoin, we can see by this abandonment of the US market exactly what the effect of regulation would be.

Entrepreneurs would not be able to enter the market and compete, thanks to artificial barriers to entry. This is great for early entrants, who also happen to be the advocates for regulation. This is called ‘Crony Capitalism‘; where businessmen use the violence of the State to keep competition out and entrench their positions so that they are unassailable.

Bitcoin is going to be a different case when it comes to the Crony Capitalists and their plans to dominate the market by the force of the State. Because it lives on the internet, and is essentially a new hybrid between pure information, money and a certificate of ownership, the dynamics of the internet and telecoms, specifically Warez (MP3s Torrents), Instant Messaging, SMS and email are going to come into play.

When we look at all of these unregulated services, it is clear that Bitcoin will be absolutely unstoppable, and the Crony Capitalists will not be able to dominate because each computer and mobile phone on Earth will act as an input and output point, circumnavigating them. They will be as Apple’s iTunes DRM files are to the pirate music scene; large in number and market penetration, but dwarfed by the total amount of transacting going on world-wide. For certain, this State sanctioned walled garden Bitcoin world is a goal of such massive proportions that any business man would kill to be the owner of it. What I am saying is that it is not ethical to use the State to get to that position of domination.

Bitcoin will see regulation as damage and it will route around it.

In the end, only the inured 5% will move their Bitcoin in systems that are expensive and regulated, whilst the rest of the world will live and profit in a Bitcoin ecosystem that is pro-human, unregulated, open and free.

That is the scenario where the pro-regulation camp ‘wins’.

And now, on to the reply:

*******

First of all, Bitcoin is not money. If you receive it in exchange for goods and services, it is more like an intangible barter instrument rather than money. Since it is intangible, you can argue successfully that you have received nothing in exchange for your work. It is therefore not possible to be taxed on income when you have taken Bitcoin (nothing) in exchange for your work, any more than you can be taxed for receiving the telling of a story or a concert of music, or a soft whisper in your ear in exchange for your labor.

This is obviously different to receiving physical precious metals issued by the State in exchange for your work, and yet, we can look to a recent case that went to court on this very act for insights in to how Bitcoin might be treated if people were to be paid in it.

In the Kahre tax case, a company paid its workers in US Government issued gold and silver coins. Since the face value of these coins is one thousand times less than the Federal Reserve Note value (in the case of gold), all the wages of the workers at that company fell beneath the reporting and taxation thresholds. They were taken to court by the State on multiple counts of tax evasion and other ‘financial crimes’, and won:

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/10/366287.shtml

In the light of this, it would be hard to argue that wages paid in Bitcoin were more taxable than silver and gold dollars issued by the United States Mint, when the State does not even recognise Bitcoin as money in the first place.

While we are at it, it might be possible to bring a case for tax evasion on gold and silver coins paid as wages by valuing them at the spot price on the day the wages were paid, but this is not how Federal money works; the face value of the money paid in wages is the value for reporting. That is why they won.

Do you see what they did there?

Then there is the matter of who owns Bitcoin as a system and the perception of it. The developers of services that run on Bitcoin do not own the Bitcoin system and are not responsible for what other people say about it or do with it. There is no pecking order that puts developers and their opinions above the opinions of the users of Bitcoin.

Some people believe in tight integration with the state, through licensing, registration, ‘compliance’ and other forms of disgusting, degrading destructive, irrational and anti-human regulation. Others believe that Bitcoin users and service owners would be better served by the ecosystem growing as the internet did; organically and exponentially, without regulation or interference from the computer illiterate luddites of the State poking their noses into other people’s private business.

To say that linking Bitcoin with tax evasion is, “not helpful”, implies that there is a central aim to Bitcoin that everyone must be on board with. Helpful to whom exactly? If someone’s aim in developing Bitcoin and promoting it is to defund the State, then promoting Bitcoin as a way to prevent having your money stolen by the State is an extremely helpful thing. Everyone should promote Bitcoin to their constituencies and not concern themselves with what other people are thinking or are doing. Of course, the flaw in this logic is abundantly clear when you consider that the State will not let people who do not conform to its ideas live in peace. But that is another story.

Jon’s pieces in Forbes, are the best pieces of writing on Bitcoin to date. They are compact, crystal clear, factual and informative, without being bombastic or overtly skewed to a political philosophy. Reading between the lines, I sense a pure Rothbardian hatred of the State, but that is probably just me projecting my own philosophy on his words.

Bitcoin changes everything. All of your assumptions about money, how it is moved, what it is and is not are blown to pieces by it. Rather than trying to squeeze Bitcoin into a Procrustean Bed, it is better to embrace it on its own terms and build services that work on those terms, and not on the assumptions and qualities of physical money or the demands of the State. Its analogous to designing a surf board to surf waves, or an aircraft to fly. What you would prefer these things to look like is of secondary importance to aero and hydrodynamics. The aim of a surfboard is to allow you to shoot the tube at Teahupoo and live. The aim of Concorde is to get you to London from New York in three hours instead of six. Bitcoin is designed to destroy the State. It is designed to destroy Western Union. It is designed to wipe out the banks. This mission is implicit in its architecture and design.

Accepting Bitcoin for what it is, on its terms, will enable you to build better, revolutionary and disruptive services that better serve people. You wil be able to identify these services by how close they bring you to the core of the service. The most innovative services will balance and blur the distance to the ‘raw network’ and the user experience. This is the sort of Bitcoin entrepreneurialism that we are going to eventually see, and it will not come from people who are trying to build a new kind of Bank.

[…]

In reply on Google +

Attention statists: You lost. Give up. Start learning.

Friday, July 13th, 2012

This is just too good not to share:

[…]

I cant believe that I still have friends who still accept the state as either legitimate or necessary. Statism, or the religion of government, is the belief that a coercive government is necessary for social order and is a legitimate institution.

Ill put this challenge out there: if you are a statist, get your smartest statist friends, get your political science professor and your [insert non-austrian school of economics] professor together, in one place and ill debate all of you, at once, and I will guarantee my own victory. How can I make such a statement? two things:

  1. You cant justify the rule of one man over another.
  2. You cant overcome the calculation problem.

There; I just beat you. Both philosophically and practically (theyre both tied together, really), I just showed that the state cant work and is unjustifiable, even if it could.

  1. Now, from now on, I dont want to hear about how im stupid because, obviously, without government,
  2. Whos gonna build the roads, dummy?
  3. Youve gotta have some kind of defense from terrorists and invasions!
  4. Oh, you dont want there to be schools (as your drool gets all over the irony)?
  5. You want warlords, feudalism, etc. to take over?
  6. Etcetera.

Look, those questions arent even good questions. theyre crap you thought of right off the top of your head in less than 5 seconds. do you really think that in the hundreds of thousands of pages of scholarship on the subject, we havent considered that stuff? when I mentioned the calculation problem above, you didnt even know what I was talking about (admit it), but you thought of something we havent thought of after thinking about it for zero seconds? get a clue.

This post is for the hard cases: folks who just wont let go of the love of violence against peaceful people. I could go on and on about why government (in the common usage) cant work and is unjustifiable (and I do), far beyond the two simple points above, but really, theyre all you need to know.

So, from this point forward, you should know to ask questions and get educated about market anarchism. Im happy to help you understand things as best I can, or you could use the wealth of information available on the internet. If you have an objection, instead of letting me know youre a moron by spouting off some condescending yet ignorant bullshit to me, try that website called www.google.com to find the answer. I know it isnt something that will come overnight. People need time to overcome the decades of indoctrination theyve endured. Its ok to start from scratch. We all had to. If youre too lazy or dont care to learn (theres nothing wrong with that), then please, for the sake of the rest of us, assume im right and forget all your statist ideas and opinions.

I often say that there are three kinds of people: libertarians, the ignorant, and the evil. You are in one of those categories. Theres nothing wrong with being in two of those categories, but if youre in that third one, maybe you should take a long look at yourself.

The battle was over long ago. Statism lost. now its time to start understanding why. I am at your service.

From http://the-empyre.com/?p=384

… AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

McDonalds Money: the solution to the banking and monetary crisis

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

It seems that another crack in the dam has appeared:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/thoore-scandalous-than-libor/

How long can it be before it cracks all the way and the whole creaking edifice bursts and the pressure is relieved?

Bad stuff is what happens when the state is involved in the production of money and the regulation of banking. Banking is no different to flipping and selling hamburgers; money is a commodity just like any other. The state should regulate neither banking nor burgers. If McDonalds was in the business of manufacturing money, there would be standardized, reliable, consistent money, redeemable everywhere on every high street, at a stable price.

As revolting an idea as this sounds at first, being people who know a little about good food:

it makes perfect sense. The McDonalds consistency ethic superimposed on the manufacture of money, free of regulation, would solve all the problems of unsound money.

Selgin outlines the foundation of this:

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Money-Birmingham-Beginnings-1775-1821/dp/0472116312

if you superimpose the Birmingham button maker money from the 1700s with McDonalds and modern computers, how this would work becomes instantly clear.

Dystopian Pingit from Barclays cannot win

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The Financial Services Club Blog has an interesting piece on Barclays Pingit:

http://thefinanser.co.uk/fsclub/2012/05/case-study-barclays-pingit-for-consumers-and-corporates.html

Pingit is the new service from Barclays that runs on iPhones and Android. In order to use it, you need to be a Barclays customer.

Barclays Pingit is growing fast. They have over seven hundred thousand users. They are using the PayPal “recipient becomes a user” as a way to spread the service. This is a fascinating trend, and they probably have so many initial users because they were able to target existing account holders directly in the branch or through the post or other points of contact to offer them their new free app.

Pingit is very interesting for anyone interested in Bitcoin, banking and liberty, for several reasons, and it is a bad product for anyone interested in the future of money transfers over devices that is beneficial to the users. Look at the onerous and invasive sign up procedure you have to go through to use Pingit, and you get a taste of what that service is all about; arbitrary controls and restriction:

As a non-Barclays customer you have to go through a very complex account verification process that involves not only a PayPal like penny drop into your current account with a reference number that you need to enter; but this is followed by a letter to your house via snail mail with another verification number.

More on this in detail below. None of this ‘account verification’ has anything to do with the utility of the product, how it works, its security or anything else. If Barclays did not have to do this, Pingit would be on the phones of seventy million people, not seven hundred thousand. And this is a very good thing, because once a service becomes entrenched it will be hard to displace it.

Or maybe not.

Everything has changed in the internet mediated world. Pingint might have seven hundred thousand users today, but there is nothing to stop another app developer creating a product that sits four millimetres adjacent to it on your iPhone’s home screen that does a better job without any nasty restrictions or requirements.

Pingit users could then move their money into that app and then never open Pingit again. Think of it as similar to MySpace users migrating to Facebook, and of course, all the people who are un-banked and who do not live in the UK are also on the same internet with the same mobile phones that Pingit users are on. The market for these users is bigger than the population of the entire UK. On this basis alone it is clear that Pingit will eventually reach an upper limit that is a subset of the UK population. The field is wide open to disrupt and capture the money on mobiles market, and the winner will not be Barclays Bank.

Imagine the following scenarios. Barclays doesn’t like what you are doing on your mobile phone. They can unilaterally or by order of the State, freeze your account and disable your Pingit access. They have total surveillance of every transaction you make, on both ends, to whom, when and from whom. Their 4,123 word long terms and conditions include the following arbitrary restrictions:

  • You need to be 16 or older to use Pingit.
  • You can send 1 or more but not less than 1.
  • You must have a UK current account.
  • You must give them your UK mobile number.
  • Pingit can reverse payments at any time.
  • There is a maximum daily limit of 300 for payments.
  • The payment can be made only once the Payee has registered for the service.
  • There is a maximum daily limit of 5,000 for all payments received through Pingit. Barclays will refuse to process a payment if it exceeds the arbitrary limit.
  • Barclays places arbitrary restrictions and limits on how you use your Pingit account.
  • Users may not be able to install or use the app on a jail-broken or rooted device.
  • You may not attempt to derive income from the use or provision of the service, whether for direct commercial or monetary gain or otherwise.
  • Pingit can refuse to process a payment if they believe that you have not met any of the conditions.
  • You must authorise Pingit to display the full name of the account and your mobile number to the payer when they input your mobile number into the app.
  • Depending on the information you provide when registering, Barclays may require you to complete registration at a Barclays branch or to provide us with further information before you can use Pingit.

Arbitrary, absurd, completely ridiculous and even astonishing.

These terms and conditions, and this is only a cherry picked selection of them, are unacceptable to all decent people with an intact moral centre, and none of them are needed for Pingit to work if it had been designed properly; they are made to surveil the user and to be compliant. People in other countries or of no country at all will not be bound by these arbitrary, anti human, anti market restrictions, and when an entrepreneur launches a rival e-money app, they will eviscerate Pingit and all other competitors that are spawned by banks.

This might be the reason why Blockchain.info’s Bitcoin app was removed from the iTunes store after having been approved. It is exactly the sort of app that is an existential threat to Pingit and products like it. Both Pingit and Blockchain.info’s apps are free, so there is no friction there. One surveils you and you cannot use it ‘out of the box’ upon download. The other works as soon as you run it and does not surveil you. Bitcoin allows you to send and receive very small fractions of Bitcoin. The arbitrary one pound limit, apart from being denominated in fiat Sterling, means that the world of micro-payments is forever shut off from Pingit. It is a major flaw. Blockchain.info’s app wins over Pingit.

Blockchain.info’s app and service has no KYC restrictions, no fees and no ability to arbitrarily shutdown your account. It is a friction free service. It has no default surveillance, and you do not need to identify yourself in order to use it. There are no limits to the amount of money you store on it. It is international, ‘instant on’ and interoperable with a plethora of different services. By any measure Bitcoin running in Blockchain.info’s app is infinitely superior to Pingit.

On top of all this, Pingit only allows you to send Sterling back and forth. This means that the money you use in Pingit is deflating, losing purchasing power on a monthly basis, by design. Quite apart from the fact that you cannot use this ‘money’ anywhere else but in the UK, the inflation tax is another reason why people will opt for Bitcoin rather than Pingit when the two apps are installed side by side on their phones.

This has implications for Apple also. If they continue to refuse to allow Blockchain.info’s app to be given away for free on iTunes, people will turn to Android phones where they will be able to run the apps that they need without any fear of arbitrary shut down. Imagine that you have 50BTC on your iPhone and you run iTunes to update your apps. Apple, because they have disallowed Blockchain.info’s app, prevents you from getting updated versions, and if you need to download it again, you cant. This is an unacceptable risk, quite apart from being insulting and anti consumer. Its clear that Android phones are the future when it comes to e-money provided by third parties, because Apple cannot be trusted to allow you to use your device for what you need it for. Add to the mix the rumours that Apple is working on iWallet, and you get a sense of what Apple’s motivations might be in removing Blockchain.info’s app. They don’t want any competition… CAPISH?

Barclay’s Pingit service is interesting because it means that money on mobiles is going to happen in a big way. Now it is a matter of who has the best product that will fit into the space, avoiding the bear traps like iTunes, the attacks from the banks (shutting down the accounts of Bitcoin businesses), the technical difficulties and the State.

On top of this, and perhaps the biggest barrier of all for Bitcoin, is the PR problem; getting the public to understand what Bitcoin is, how it works and why it is superior to services like Pingit. In order to make this happen, the merchants are the first line of attack. Bitcoin, if it is accepted in many places will trigger installation of the clients on phones, and a spread of the ecosystem. Blockchain.info’s app is potentially, a key piece of this puzzle.

It should now be clear to anyone with an interest in this that regulation and registration of Bitcoin services will not help adoption. If this is a race between services, clearly Bitcoin has the advantage and the better potential to go viral far more than Pingit or MintChip or any of these broken by design bank offerings.

In order for the chain reaction to happen, nothing must stop the flow of money in the system. Registration and regulation are carbon rods in the pile. What is needed is a runaway chain reaction so that the Bitcoin is spread everywhere, into every device in every pocket. Tying down Bitcoin into jurisdictional boxes, hampering it with onerous regulations, KYC and other arbitrary nonsense will allow Pingit and other services to mature, spread and solidify. Once again, this does not mean that their dominance will be permanent, it will simply mean that for a time, the market is broken and people are hurt. It would be far better for humanity if Bitcoin wins without going through a stage of broken e-money, and there is no reason why this should not happen.

Pingit cannot win. By popularising e-money on mobile phones, they are educating the users about money on mobiles. Once this information is spread everywhere, a new challenger can arrive and wipe them out in a matter of months, and there will be nothing they can do to stop it.

Bitcoin and the State: Asking permission to be free

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Should people who want to see the widespread and rapid adoption of Bitcoin seek tight regulation and integration with the State, or should they rely only on their skills as developers, marketers and entrepreneurs to create the rock solid, reliable and trustworthy products that people will use in their millions, like the other well known internet companies that have changed the way we do things?

*****

A Bitcoin innovator has just applied for and received a registry entry from the US Federal Government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network:

http://www.fincen.gov/financial_institutions/msb/msbstateselector.html

on that linked page you can read the following statement clarifying FinCEN’s position on each entry they list:

“The inclusion of a business on the MSB Registration Web site is not a recommendation, certification of legitimacy, or endorsement of the business by any government agency.”

This disclaimer appears on the certificate as the first paragraph, in large letters. The certificate also says that, FinCEN does not verify information submitted by the MSB. Information provided on this site reflects only what was provided directly to FinCEN. Read the rest of this entry »

Unethical collectivist fail on steroids in the Grauniad

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Peter Beresford keeps referring to the ever elusive, imaginary ‘we’ in his piece, which is a typical Grauniad screed against liberty and the spirit of man.

There is no ‘we’. Man is an individual, he is not the same as a cell in algae, or a telepathic race of aliens who share consciousness. Beresford and his ilk have no right to co-opt people into his sick collective by force. His position is nothing less than advocating slavery.

The so called overclass is able to be an overclass because people Beresford cannot think. They cannot use reason to find the true nature of anything outside themselves, and even of themselves. They cannot understand economics, which includes the true nature of money. If they could, the superclass would not cease to exist, but instead, would be proportionally and symbiotically buffered by the billions of consumers all asserting their natural rights equally.

Ideas like this, to the economic illiterates and the people who do not know what rights are, are simply incomprehensible. They do not have the knowledge or language to understand these ideas, and make no mistake, this lack of comprehension has been deliberately nurtured by government schools. This brainwashing is used to keep people in their place; what is so appalling is that the truth of how everything really works is there and has always been there for the taking in libraries and now on the internet at near zero cost. Read the rest of this entry »

Bitcoin is voluntarist, not socialist

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

The idea of socialism is diametrically opposed to the core philosophy of a voluntary peer to peer system like Bitcoin. Peer to peer systems dis-intermediate the transfer of information and eliminate the need for an arbitrary governing authority or service provider. Bitcoin, like maths, has no philosophy and is neutral.

*****

Socialism’s basic premiss is that ‘property is theft’, and that all property, goods and services should be collectively owned for the benefit of all people in a coercive State with no opt out. Under a socialist system of forced organization, individuals do not have free use of their inherent rights, which are violently suppressed.

This is an inherently immoral proposition, where one group of people inevitably coalesce into an illegitimate ruling class to control and administer other people ‘for their own good’; the good of the collective. Even if this aggregation of power were not the case, no man or group of men has the right to force another man to relinquish his property.

Libertarians understand that there is no such thing as ‘the rights of the collective’ and that only a living individual human has rights. Chief amongst these rights, the ‘root right’, is the right of property. Read the rest of this entry »

The confusion over the nature of corporations

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

There is a great deal of deeply seated confusion about corporations, their origins and true purpose. People who are intelligent and well read in the field of the philosophy of liberty sometimes fall short when it comes to understanding what a corporation is, why people use them and what the true nature of them are. On the one hand, they are for voluntary association, and yet on the other, they rail against corporations. This is illogical.

As it is with anything complex, clear thinking is needed when you try to think about corporations. Lets begin by taking apart the myth that they exist as creatures of the State.

There is no reason that in a free society without a State that a group of people cannot band together to work on a project under rules that they select for themselves. They pool their risk, and (for example) decide that they do not want to put all their capital on the line should something go wrong and face a court, however founded, deciding that they are liable. Read the rest of this entry »

Why advocates for peace should support Ron Paul

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Take a look at this:

Stephan is a great thinker, but it seems that what he cannot do is empathise with other people.

While he is sipping coffee in his house in Canada, Hillary Clinton and Obama are at this moment concocting another lie / pretext to unleash mass murder on people, namely Iran:

http://politics.salon.com/2011/10/12/the_very_scary_iranian_terror_plot/singleton/

Canada, which he funds with his taxes by his own admission, will no doubt be a part of this criminal act.

Should Ron Paul become president before they are able to launch this mass murder, he will be able to prevent it.

For this reason alone, Ron Paul should be supported. Its all very well sitting in the safety of your own home in the empire, and paying taxes to support it, complaining that Ron Paul doesn’t want to dismantle the state, while your money is being used to kill Iranian children. Read the rest of this entry »

Refuting George Monbiot’s attacks on Libertarianism

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

George Monbiot, world famous environmentalist and renowned anti C02 campaigner has chosen to launch an attack on Libertarianism.

Articles like his are more useful than annoying, because it provides Libertarians an opportunity refute all of his carefully made points, and introduce people to the true core philosophy behind Libertarianism.

First things first.

What is Libertarianism?

Libertarianism is one thing and one thing only. It is the philosophy carefully described by Murray Rothbard in his book, “For a New Liberty, the Libertarian Manifesto“. It is not anything other than this.

Libertarianism is not a basket of contradictory ideas that you can mix and match to suit your personal prejudices. It is an absolutely coherent, logical and perfect basis for ethical behaviour when it comes to other human beings, outside the realm of your religious beliefs.

It is important that this definition is set out before I begin. Murray Rothbard has exposed a system of philosophy that deals with the rights of man in the same way that Newton uncovered the laws of motion. It is air tight, irrefutable, testable and completely sound.

This is very important, because there are some who use the word ‘Libertarian’ as a prefix so that they can keep the bad ideas they are wedded to and graft them on to the soundness of the Libertarian philosophy, in an attempt to lend the purity and logic of Libertarianism to their broken ideas.

Libertarian Socialism (an transparent oxymoron) is a good example of this. You can read a refutation of Libertarian Socialism here. There is no ‘left libertarianism’, ‘rightwing libertarianism’ or any other word combination Libertarianism, just as there is only a singular form of gravity, or the Strong Force, with a single nature that you are bound to deal with in this reality.

And now, to Monbiot.

Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation.

If two people agree voluntarily to exchange goods, no exploitation has taken place. This is a common mistake that Statists like George Monbiot make. We will see in this essay that his thinking is very muddled in this and many other areas.

Throughout the rightwing press and blogosphere, among thinktanks and governments, the word excuses every assault on the lives of the poor, every form of inequality and intrusion to which the 1% subject us. How did libertarianism, once a noble impulse, become synonymous with injustice?

Libertarianism is not an impulse. A frog’s leg touched by an electrode is an example of an impulse. Libertarianism is a carefully defined explanation of the rights of man. It is neither right nor left wing.

The Occupy Wall Street term ‘the 1%’ are able to prey upon people because the State is the great facilitator of predation. Sadly, people from George Monbiot’s position will not consider that the State itself is the cause of all his problems.

In the name of freedom freedom from regulation the banks were permitted to wreck the economy.

This is not true. As usual, people like George Monbiot do not have any understanding about the true nature of money and banking. This makes it impossible for him to come to a correct analysis of anything to do with this subject.

The banking industry is a State controlled monopoly. The State mandates the reserve requirements, and prevents competition through arbitrary licensing. It also controls the form of money (fiat currency), which is backed by nothing and which loses value by a minimum of 2% per year by design, in the case of Sterling. The economy has been ‘wrecked’ not by the banks, but by the State, its fraudulent money and its Keynesian brainwashed regulators that have no understanding of what money is, where it comes from or what it is for.

I have a feeling that if George Monbiot had a complete understanding of money, he might move towards the Austrian School, and away from the idea that the State should control money. This might be a good place for him to start.

In the name of freedom, taxes for the super-rich are cut. In the name of freedom, companies lobby to drop the minimum wage and raise working hours.

Taxation is theft. The same State that steals money from the poor through its fraudulent money printing and inflation, uses violence to steal money from the productive who create jobs with their capital and enterprise. The idea that because someone is successful they should have more of their money stolen from them is not only pure evil, but it is why industry has fled the UK for countries where hard working and inventive people are not arbitrarily preyed upon.

The minimum wage is an unwarranted interference by the State in private contracts. It stops people from gaining work experience, and acts as a disincentive to hiring. It is completely misguided to think that the minimum wage helps the poor; it does not. It simply reduces the number of jobs available. This is, of course, a separate issue from the immorality of the State interposing itself where it is not needed or wanted or morally justified in interfering.

In the same cause, US insurers lobby Congress to thwart effective public healthcare;

The provision of healthcare has been distorted almost to destruction in the USA. Where treatments were once inexpensive, they are now exorbitant. Where insurance was once affordable, it is now out of reach of millions of people. This is entirely the fault of the State. Those who are old enough to remember a time before the State interfered in medicine understand that this is the case, from first hand experience.

the government rips up our planning laws;

Planning laws are not collectively owned; it is nonsense to say that they are ‘our planning laws’. Furthermore, everything beautiful in Britain was built before the introduction of planning laws; in fact, most of Britain was built without the regulation of the State, and it produced one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. The idea that the State is needed to regulate building is a very modern and very bad idea, and it is demonstrably so. It violates people’s property rights, makes buildings uglier and more expensive and these regulations should be scrapped.

big business trashes the biosphere.

Libertarianism is the best solution to the problem of pollution. The only reason why companies can get away with pollution is because the land and rivers are not owned by individuals. If they were owned privately, pollution would be stopped over night. There is an excellent section on this in the Libertarian Manifesto, and Lew Rockwell has a superb essay on this subject that you should read.

This is the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor.

Actually, this is the effect of the State, which keeps people weak, facilitates the exploitation of everyone, including the poor, who under the wing of the State, are keep in a condition of penury.

Rightwing libertarianism recognises few legitimate constraints on the power to act, regardless of the impact on the lives of others. In the UK it is forcefully promoted by groups like the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the Adam Smith Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Policy Exchange. Their concept of freedom looks to me like nothing but a justification for greed.

There is no such thing as ‘Rightwing libertarianism’. Libertarians accept as a fundamental principle the non aggression axiom which means that they cannot initiate force against anyone for any reason. This puts a very large constraint on the power to act on Libertarians, and it also means that Libertarians are very careful not to aggress against other people, meaning that their acts should not impact on the lives of others.

That George Monbiot does not know this, demonstrates that he has had no contact with or exposure to Libertarianism. If this were not the case, he could not have written these lines.

Greed is a subjective term. It is very much like preferring chocolate over strawberry. How much money is too much, how many houses are too many and all these choices are completely personal and arbitrary, and as long as you do not steal to get what you have, its up to you how much you want to accumulate. To put it simply, greed is not something that can be measured scientifically. In this context, it is a word used to smear people and nothing more.

So why have we been been so slow to challenge this concept of liberty?

What George Monbiot has done is craft a huge straw man. “This concept of Liberty” is not what Liberty is at all; it is his idea of what Liberty is, and it is key to his position that you are never exposed to true Libertarianism, because if you are exposed to it, it is very likely that you will be swept away by its purity, beauty and the sheer unadulterated truth of it.

I challenge anyone who thinks that I am wrong to read For a New Liberty for themselves.

I believe that one of the reasons is as follows. The great political conflict of our age between neocons and the millionaires and corporations they support on one side, and social justice campaigners and environmentalists on the other has been mischaracterised as a clash between negative and positive freedoms. These freedoms were most clearly defined by Isaiah Berlin in his essay of 1958, Two Concepts of Liberty. It is a work of beauty: reading it is like listening to a gloriously crafted piece of music. I will try not to mangle it too badly.

This is not the true nature of the conflict, and it exposes the lack of depth of Monbiot’s thinking, which cannot penetrate any further than what is before his eyes.

The true conflict is between the State and every living human being.

Social justice campaigners and environmentalists are all fighting inside an Inception scenario, where they believe they are battling for a win where in fact, the board that they are playing on is a completely controlled artificial space where it is not possible for them to do so.

If these groups want cleaner rivers and air, they should embrace Libertarianism and property rights, and push for an end to the State. In a world where there are no public spaces, pollution becomes absolutely intolerable. Smoke stacks, acid rain, litter, dumping sewage and industrial waste into rivers and every other act of vandalism becomes impossible, because everyone, literally everyone wants to keep their own property clean.

When a space belongs to no one, that is where the garbage goes. Environmentalists that truly want to clean up the earth actually want everyone to have a stake in keeping it clean. That means property rights in everything, no public property owned by the collectivist State. It is a hard pill to swallow for many people, but in reality, it produces what they want; a clean environment where everyone is converted into an environmentalist by default.

Put briefly and crudely, negative freedom is the freedom to be or to act without interference from other people. Positive freedom is freedom from inhibition: it’s the power gained by transcending social or psychological constraints. Berlin explained how positive freedom had been abused by tyrannies, particularly by the Soviet Union. It portrayed its brutal governance as the empowerment of the people, who could achieve a higher freedom by subordinating themselves to a collective single will.

I shall leave this to the pen of Rothbard himself:

27. ISAIAH BERLIN ON NEGATIVE FREEDOM

ONE OF THE BEST-KNOWN and most influential present-day treatments of liberty is that of Sir Isaiah Berlin. In his Two Concepts of Liberty, Berlin upheld the concept of negative libertyabsence of interference with a persons sphere of actionas against positive liberty; which refers not to liberty at all but to an individuals effective power or mastery over himself or his environment. Superficially Berlins concept of negative liberty seems similar to the thesis of the present volume: that liberty is the absence of physically coercive interference or invasion of an individuals person and property. Unfortunately, however, the vagueness of Berlins concepts led to confusion and to the absence of a systematic and valid libertarian creed.

One of Berlins fallacies and confusions he himself recognized in a later essay and edition of his original volume. In his Two Concepts of Liberty, he had written that I am normally said to be free to the degree to which no human being interferes with my activity. Political liberty in this sense is simply the area within which a man can do what he wants. Or, as Berlin later phrased it, In the original version of Two Concepts of Liberty I speak of liberty as the absence of obstacles to the fulfillment of a mans desires.2 But, as he later realized, one grave problem with this formulation is that a man can be held to be free in proportion as his wants and desires are extinguished, for example by external conditioning. As Berlin states in his corrective essay,

If degrees of freedom were a function of the satisfaction of desires, I could increase freedom as effectively by eliminating desires as by satisfying them; I could render men (including myself) free by conditioning them into losing the original desires which I have decided not to satisfy.

In his later (1969) version, Berlin has expunged the offending passage, altering the first statement above to read: Political liberty in this sense is simply the area within which a man can act unobstructed by others.4 But grave problems still remain with Berlins later approach. For Berlin now explains that what he means by freedom is the absence of obstacles to possible choices and activities, obstacles, that is, put there by alterable human practices.5 But this comes close, as Professor Parent observes, to confusing freedom with opportunity in short to scuttling Berlins own concept of negative freedom and replacing it with the illegitimate concept of positive freedom. Thus, as Parent indicates, suppose that X refuses to hire Y because Y is a redhead and X dislikes redheads; X is surely reducing Ys range of opportunity, but he can scarcely be said to be invading Ys freedom.6 Indeed, Parent goes on to point out a repeated confusion in the later Berlin of freedom with opportunity; thus Berlin writes that the freedom of which I speak is opportunity for action (xlii), and identifies increases in liberty with the maximization of opportunities (xlviii). As Parent points out, The terms liberty and opportunity have distinct meanings; someone, for example, may lack the opportunity to buy a ticket to a concert for numerous reasons (e.g., he is too busy) and yet he was still in any meaningful sense free to buy such a ticket.7

Thus, Berlins fundamental flaw was his failure to define negative liberty as the absence of physical interference with an individuals person and property, with his just property rights broadly defined. Failing to hit on this definition, Berlin fell into confusion, and ended by virtually abandoning the very negative liberty he had tried to establish and to fall, willy-nilly, into the positive liberty camp. More than that, Berlin, stung by his critics with the charge of upholding laissez-faire, was moved into frenetic and self-contradictory assaults on laissez-faire as somehow injurious to negative liberty. For example, Berlin writes that the evils of unrestricted laissez faire . . . led to brutal violations of negative liberty . . . including that of free expression or association. Since laissez faire precisely means full freedom of person and property, including of course free expression and association as a subset of private property rights, Berlin has here fallen into absurdity. And in a similar canard, Berlin writes of

the fate of personal liberty during the reign of unfettered economic individualismabout the condition of the injured majority, principally in the towns, whose children were destroyed in mines or mills, while their parents lived in poverty, disease, and ignorance, a situation in which the enjoyment by the poor and the weak of legal rights . . . became an odious mockery.

Unsurprisingly, Berlin goes on to attack such pure and consistent laissez-faire libertarians as Cobden and Spencer on behalf of such confused and inconsistent classical liberals as Mill and de Tocqueville.

There are several grave and basic problems with Berlins fulminations. One is a complete ignorance of the modern historians of the Industrial Revolution, such as Ashton, Hayek, Hutt, and Hartwell, who have demonstrated that the new industry alleviated the previous poverty and starvation of the workers, including the child laborers, rather than the contrary.9 But on a conceptual level, there are grave problems as well. First, that it is absurd and self-contradictory to assert that laissez-faire or economic individualism could have injured personal liberty; and, second, that Berlin is really explicitly scuttling the very concept of negative liberty on behalf of concepts of positive power or wealth.

Berlin reaches the height (or depth) of this approach when he attacks negative liberty directly for having been

used to . . . arm the strong, the brutal, and the unscrupulous against the humane and the weak. . . . Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep. The bloodstained story of economic individualism and unrestrained capitalist competition does not . . . today need stressing.

The crucial fallacy of Berlin here is insistently to identify freedom and the free market economy with its oppositewith coercive aggression. Note his repeated use of such terms as arm, brutal, wolves and sheep, and bloodstained, all of which are applicable only to coercive aggression such as has been universally employed by the State. Also, he then identifies such aggression with its oppositethe peaceful and voluntary processes of free exchange in the market economy. Unrestrained economic individualism led, on the contrary, to peaceful and harmonious exchange, which benefitted most precisely the weak and the sheep; it is the latter who could not survive in the statist rule of the jungle, who reap the largest share of the benefits from the freely competitive economy. Even a slight acquaintance with economic science, and particularly with the Ricardian Law of Comparative Advantage, would have set Sir Isaiah straight on this vital point.

http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/twentyseven.asp

By all means, read The Ethics of Liberty. It is the epitome of clear thinking and reason.

Rightwing libertarians claim that greens and social justice campaigners are closet communists trying to resurrect Soviet conceptions of positive freedom. In reality, the battle mostly consists of a clash between negative freedoms.

There is no such thing as a ‘right wing Libertarian’. Once you have read For a New Liberty you will understand why this is the case. Justice applies only to man, and not to groups of men. Man does not have rights in groups (gay rights, black rights, women’s rights etc) and so when the accusation of closet communist is bandied about, you can understand where it is coming from.

As Berlin noted: “No man’s activity is so completely private as never to obstruct the lives of others in any way. ‘Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows’.”

Man is not a fish, and only man has rights. This analogy is self evidently nonsense.

So, he argued, some people’s freedom must sometimes be curtailed “to secure the freedom of others”. In other words, your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. The negative freedom not to have our noses punched is the freedom that green and social justice campaigns, exemplified by the Occupy movement, exist to defend.

Another bad analogy. Swinging your fist to punch someone in the nose unprovoked is violent aggression. Swinging your fist for any other reason is entirely your business. If you hit someone in the nose by accident, this is not aggression, it is an accident. You can therefore punch someone in the nose without aggressing against them. Boxers do it every day for sport. A better way to put this would be to say that you should not deliberately and without provocation, punch people in the nose because doing so is an act of violence. Thinking clearly and cleanly about these matters is essential if you are to get to the bottom of them. If you start from the wrong initial premiss however, it is difficult if not impossible to arrive at the correct conclusion.

The Occupy Movement, by the admission of some of them who have managed to get on to television, does not know exactly what it wants. It has no leadership, no centrally organising body, and anyone who turns up there has an equal voice. There are many Libertarians at the Occupy gatherings, and so to attempt to co-opt that movement in this way is simply misleading.

Berlin also shows that freedom can intrude on other values, such as justice, equality or human happiness. “If the liberty of myself or my class or nation depends on the misery of a number of other human beings, the system which promotes this is unjust and immoral.” It follows that the state should impose legal restraints on freedoms that interfere with other people’s freedoms or on freedoms which conflict with justice and humanity.

Unbelievable. Happiness is subjective, not objective or measurable. The State is not required to dispense Justice. Equality is a trigger code word that Statists use to justify their fallacious ideas. When it is used in this way, it usually means you are reading the words of a man like George Monbiot.

“If the liberty of myself or my class or nation depends on the misery of a number of other human beings, the system which promotes this is unjust and immoral.” This line is self evidently fallacious. First of all, man by his nature, does not exist as classes of men. This is a one hundred percent artificial construct. Your liberty is a function of your ability to exist free of coercion. This has nothing to do with with the emotional condition of other people (misery). You have no right to coerce others, and so as long as you do not do so, other people’s misery is not of your creation, and you cannot be blamed for it, or held responsible for it (outside of any religious obligation).

Rothbard never makes wooly statements and unfounded declarations like this. That is why I always recommend his books and essays, because there is no bad thinking in them, no leaps that depend on common knowledge. Rothbard’s thinking is a seamless, solid platform that is irrefutable, complete and absolutely correct, exposing the fundamental particles of the true nature of human interaction. Once you read Rothbard, bad thinking of the type we see here, jumps off the page with its wrong-ness.

These conflicts of negative freedom were summarised in one of the greatest poems of the 19th century, which could be seen as the founding document of British environmentalism. In The Fallen Elm, John Clare describes the felling of the tree he loved, presumably by his landlord, that grew beside his home. “Self-interest saw thee stand in freedom’s ways / So thy old shadow must a tyrant be. / Thou’st heard the knave, abusing those in power, / Bawl freedom loud and then oppress the free.”

The landlord was exercising his freedom to cut the tree down. In doing so, he was intruding on Clare’s freedom to delight in the tree, whose existence enhanced his life. The landlord justifies this destruction by characterising the tree as an impediment to freedom his freedom, which he conflates with the general liberty of humankind.

I actually laughed out loud at this part.

Clare has no ‘freedom to delight’ in someone else’s property the landlord has an absolute right to cut down any tree on his property. If Mr. Clare wants trees, he should spend less time viewing the much admir’d trees of the Landlord, and work to secure his own property, whereupon he can have his own trees to rest under with his decedents.

Of course, if Mr. Clare is a French citizen he has no incentive to own property, because the French State declares that primogeniture is illegal and families cannot pass down property as they see fit. This forces the French Monsieur Clare to marvel at the trees owned by the State or other people, and it means that eventually all people will only be able to marvel at trees owned either by the State or by its cronies.

A small digression, but illustrative nonetheless. Property rights are the foundation of a free and prosperous society. It solves all the problems of the environment, and its beauty, and has many other side effects that are entirely beneficial.

Without the involvement of the state (which today might take the form of a tree preservation order) the powerful man could trample the pleasures of the powerless man.

On the other hand, the monarch is very good at preserving the land is it not? Richmond park is a beautiful example, with its deer, 500 year old trees and tranquil spaces. What does the State do to help Richmond Park? It builds tower blocks at its edge. Preservation orders are nothing more than theft, masquerading as an act for the ‘public good’.

But rightwing libertarians do not recognise this conflict. They speak, like Clare’s landlord, as if the same freedom affects everybody in the same way. They assert their freedom to pollute, exploit, even among the gun nuts to kill, as if these were fundamental human rights.

No one has the right to pollute, this is false, and no one asserts that they have the right to pollute. They can have a license from the State to pollute, but that is an entirely different thing.

When people agree to work for each other, this is not exploitation, it is a mutually agreed contract. If someone owns a tract of land and allows a mining company to mine it, this is not exploitation, it is trade.

No one who is sane and who owns guns owns them to kill. Self defence is not the same as murder, and you have a right to defend yourself. Period.

People like George Monbiot have a very confused (no wonder, look at the books he reads) idea of what rights are and where they come from. Without a proper understanding of rights, it is impossible to have a logical perspective on all of these matters, and logical thinking is essential if you are to solve any problem in logic and ethics.

They characterise any attempt to restrain them as tyranny. They refuse to see that there is a clash between the freedom of the pike and the freedom of the minnow.

The State controlling the money, movement, biology and property of man is nothing less than tyranny. The State and its many apologists have no right to control others, and the only way they can justify their inherently immoral stances is by invoking poetry. It simply will not wash.

Last week, on an internet radio channel called The Fifth Column, I debated climate change with Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas, one of the rightwing libertarian groups that rose from the ashes of the Revolutionary Communist party. Fox is a feared interrogator on the BBC show The Moral Maze. Yet when I asked her a simple question “do you accept that some people’s freedoms intrude upon other people’s freedoms?” I saw an ideology shatter like a windscreen.

Monbiot needs a new prescription for his glasses… LOL!

I used the example of a Romanian lead-smelting plant I had visited in 2000, whose freedom to pollute is shortening the lives of its neighbours. Surely the plant should be regulated in order to enhance the negative freedoms freedom from pollution, freedom from poisoning of its neighbours? She tried several times to answer it, but nothing coherent emerged which would not send her crashing through the mirror of her philosophy.

No plant has the freedom to pollute; this is a plain straw man argument. In a Libertarian society, any lead smelting plant that poisoned a tree on someone else’s land, let alone a person, would be subject to a withering legal attack. Knowing this in advance, all lead smelters would move to the most remote and desolate places on the earth to avoid poisoning people and being hit by thousands of vigorous lawsuits.

In the land of the State however, pollution is openly permitted and merely limited to different degrees, so that businesses can deliver cheap lead ingots to industry. A lead smelting plant in the middle of nowhere that has to deliver its ingots thousands of miles before they are used would have to increase their prices dramatically. Once again, it is the State that is the problem, not industry. It is the State that permits, condones and promotes pollution. It is the State that shields the polluters. It is the State that disempowers the victims of environmental poisoning.

Environmentalists like George Monbiot fail to understand that Libertarianism, property rights and Statelessness provides them with a means to have an environment that is cleaner by orders of magnitude. It takes an insightful thinker who has read the right books to come to this conclusion however.

Modern libertarianism is the disguise adopted by those who wish to exploit without restraint. It pretends that only the state intrudes on our liberties. It ignores the role of banks, corporations and the rich in making us less free. It denies the need for the state to curb them in order to protect the freedoms of weaker people. This bastardised, one-eyed philosophy is a con trick, whose promoters attempt to wrongfoot justice by pitching it against liberty. By this means they have turned “freedom” into an instrument of oppression.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/19/bastardised-libertarianism-makes-freedom-oppression

Libertarianism is the philosophy that disempowers the exploiters who use the State to license their systematic destruction of the environment. Libertarians understand what the true nature of the State is. They understand what liberty is, where it comes from and how to define it.

Libertarians understand the true nature of money. They understand how banking works, what inflation is and where it comes from. They also understand how contracts work, and your right to enter into them on whatever terms are suitable to both parties. They understand what the word ‘free’ means as it applies to man. They understand this unambiguously, without contradictions or sleights of hand, sophistry, or doublespeak.

Libertarians understand the true nature of the State, its predatory nature, and the truth of its institutionalised theft and mass murder. Libertarians understand what weak people have the same rights as the strong and that the needs of the weak are best served by understanding, defining and protecting the rights of everyone, equally.

Libertarianism is not a bastard child. It is of a clean lineage that stretches from Frdric Bastiat to Murray Newton Rothbard to Ronald Ernest Paul to Llewellyn Harrison Rockwell. It is anything but cycloptic. It embraces everything and every possible situation where man must interact with man, and it approaches every possible scenario with the same rock solid set of irrefutable fundamental principles.

Libertarianism does not rely on deception or changing the meaning of words to suit its purpose or befuddle the reader, a perfect example of which is given to us on a plate when Monbiot says that people who promote Libertarianism pitch it against liberty. This statement is absurd on its face.

Freedom can never be an instrument of oppression, by definition, if you are not working from the bespoke dictionary of George Monbiot.

You do not have the freedom to pollute other people’s land or bodies, or to steal money or property from them. When you participate in these immoral acts you immediately cease to be exercising freedom. But you know this.

The meaning of words is important. When people misuse them deliberately, they do so in order to confuse and deceive their readers. If you cannot construct an argument against something without changing the meaning of words, you have a strong indication that your position is incorrect.

In this piece, George Monbiot has demonstrated that he knows absolutely nothing about Libertarianism, has not read any of its foundational texts and is simply using the word ‘Libertarian’ as a axle to spin his attacks on the villains that are polluting the environment.

As the Ron Paul presidential bid gains momentum, we can expect many more empty attacks like this to emerge, as writers who have never read a single libertarian work are forced to tackle his philosophical positions. What this will do is expose either their complete ignorance about what Libertarianism is, or their inherently violent Statist philosophies, or their complete lack of the ability to think clearly.

In which of those three categories would you place George Monbiot?

Save us from the lawyers and the luddites

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

John Matonis has a new and excellent post on his ‘Monetary Future’ blog.

In it, he logically goes through some of the issues surrounding Bitcoin. It is well worth reading.

One section however, spurred this BLOGDIAL post. It’s the part about Vili Lehdonvirta’s ideas on ‘virtual goods’…

[…]

I am worried that Bitcoin is a step too far as it leaves no possibility for even democratic governments to enforce their laws. This is a topic I would love to debate with the community and hear opposing views. I think the end result could be a better understanding for me, but also a better understanding for the Bitcoin community on how to live in harmony with democratic authority.

Absolutely astonishing. A ‘step too far’? Towards or away from what exactly? We do not want to live in harmony with democratic authority. Democratic authority, to us, is inherently illegitimate, evil, immoral and completely unjustifiable. There are people who are attracted to Bitcoin precisely because it is beyond the control of ‘democratic authority’. As for it being a step too far, we must bear in mind that no one is forcing anyone to use Bitcoin. You decide on your own to use it, and if it succeeds or fails, you take the benefit or profit or losses respectively. Violent Statists are of course, vehemently opposed to free trade, voluntary exchange and liberty. Bitcoin is to the Statist as sunrise is to Dracula.

Matonis chimes in with…

For the most part, I respect Vili Lehdonvirta’s academic work on virtual goods ownership, but he harbors confused thoughts on the broader acceptance of bitcoin through dilution of its most beneficial properties, because he mistakenly extends the notion of virtual goods legal recognition to virtual currency legal recognition.

Fascinating. The Statists from the legal profession class are described by Murray Rothbard in ‘For a New Liberty’ as follows:

We see clearly why the State needs the intellectuals; but why do the intellectuals need the State? Put simply, the intellectuals livelihood in the free market is generally none too secure; for the intellectual, like everyone else on the market, must depend on the values and choices of the masses of his fellow men, and it is characteristic of these masses that they are generally uninterested in intellectual concerns. The State, on the other hand, is willing to offer the intellectuals a warm, secure, and permanent berth in its apparatus, a secure income, and the panoply of prestige.

[…] since the early origins of the State, its rulers have always turned, as a necessary bolster to their rule, to an alliance with societys class of intellectuals. The masses do not create their own abstract ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and promulgated by the body of intellectuals, who become the effective opinion moulders in society. And since it is precisely a moulding of opinion on behalf of the rulers that the State almost desperately needs, this forms a firm basis for the age-old alliance of the intellectuals and the ruling classes of the State. The alliance is based on a quid pro quo: on the one hand, the intellectuals spread among the masses the idea that the State and its rulers are wise, good, sometimes divine, and at the very least inevitable and better than any conceivable alternatives. In return for this panoply of ideology, the State incorporates the intellectuals as part of the ruling elite, granting them power, status, prestige, and material security. Furthermore, intellectuals are needed to staff the bureaucracy and to plan the economy and society.

[…]

In all societies, public opinion is determined by the intellectual classes, the opinion moulders of society. For most people neither originate nor disseminate ideas and concepts; on the contrary, they tend to adopt those ideas promulgated by the professional intellectual classes, the professional dealers in ideas. Now, throughout history, as we shall see further below, despots and ruling elites of States have had far more need of the services of intellectuals than have peaceful citizens in a free society.

[…]

For States have always needed opinion-moulding intellectuals to con the public into believing that its rule is wise, good, and inevitable; into believing that the emperor has clothes. Until the modern world, such intellectuals were inevitably churchmen (or witch doctors), the guardians of religion. It was a cozy alliance, this age-old partnership between Church and State; the Church informed its deluded charges that the king ruled by divine command and therefore must be obeyed; in return, the king funneled numerous tax revenues into the coffers of the Church. Hence, the great importance for the libertarian classical liberals of their success at separating Church and State.

For a New Liberty

The whole idea of ‘Digital Goods’ is a fallacy, created by Statist professionals in order to gain a foothold in the emerging digital economy that threatens to disrupt their authority and completely replace the old world economy in many areas, specifically the delivery of films, books and music, and now through Bitcoin, the process of moving money around the globe.

The fallacious notion of ‘Digital Goods’ is pyramided on the idea that copyright (an artificial concept of the State) is legitimate and logical. As is the case with copyright, the idea of Digital Goods conflates the correct idea of property rights in real-world physical goods with a false right in intangible pure information, which can be infinitely copied, transmitted and transformed without loss.

An idea can have a human originator, but once that idea is conveyed to another man, it resides in the mind of that man. The only way that you can prevent that second man, the receiver, from using this idea is to initiate force against him. On this basis alone copyright as a legitimate idea falls, since it violates the non aggression axiom. I will leave it to you to explore the rest of this idea at your leisure. I also strongly recommend that you read ‘Against Intellectual Monopoly‘.

Bitcoin is an extraordinary and important innovation. It is the first system where a ‘Digital Good’ cannot be double spent. That means Bitcoins can be duplicated perfectly an infinite number of times, but they cannot be spent more than one transaction at a time between two people.

Bitcoins retain all the qualities of information (near zero cost transmission, infinite transformability, infinite lossless replicability), but the Bitcoin ecosystem changes them into something that has some of the qualities of physical property, whilst retaining all of the advantages of pure information. You can actually own a Bitcoin secure in the knowledge that even though everyone can read your Bitcoin, make copies of it, and see it in the Block Chain, they cannot steal it from you and spend it. You can copy Bitcoins ad infinitum, but inside the system is the only place where they have value or more accurately, utility. Bitcoin is the first instance of a digital representation that has some of the scarcity properties of a physical good.

Interestingly, this idea if transposed onto a music file, picture or film, could not work to prevent people using (double spending) those things, because there is no inherent value in owning a digital copy of a music file, film or book.

Imagine that instead of digital signatures, the Bitcoin block chain was used to control signed MP3 files. You could then have an ecosystem where unique copies of tracks (unique in that they were digitally signed, could not be forged and ownership was verifiable) could circulate for payment. The problem with this is that in this scenario music has two uses, one when it is stored in a file, and another when it is played in a music player, as well as being a string of numbers stored somewhere. There is also the ‘problem’ of the intent of music creators being that the same music is available to many people all at once.

Bitcoins do not have any use other than to confirm that they are owned by someone. This is why they can be used to transmit money over the internet. A digression, but interesting nonetheless, because this is the sort of thinking the large media companies should be doing or paying to have done for them, if they want to survive in any form over the next decade.

Apart from the revolutionary and singular case of Bitcoin in the Bitcoin ecosystem, all digital representations of ideas have zero intrinsic value, because they can be copied at a cost that approaches zero. In fact, the more copies there are, the lower the cost of obtaining a copy becomes because there are more storage locations to get them from and the cost of your time to search for them decreases. On some level, the law industry understands this, as they put pressure on Google to remove search results that point to files they claim contain ‘intellectual property’ belonging to their clients.

Digital technology has changed the way the world handles information forever. Trying to superimpose the outmoded, ridiculous and erroneous 19th century ways of thinking about property and business on people living today is a fruitless and anti-human endeavour. What’s more, it does not make everyone more honest and make business more efficient. Look at the dispute resolution mechanisms in eBay and Amazon, and you get a glimpse of how the free market works to protect everyone and benefit everyone. The State does not poke its snotty nose into the dispute resolution systems of these online services and the vast majority of transactions happen without any problems, and where there are problems, they are resolved within the mechanisms of the services to everyone’s satisfaction.

Just as the buggy whip makers, the lake ice industry and all superseded industries were eliminated by progress, the notion that music, books and any work that can be digitised should remain scarce, by force, is an astonishingly evil idea. The difference in people today as compared to those living in the age of the horse and cart it seems, is that this generation of men is not sufficiently agile, and a subset of them is unwilling to pivot and change business models to deal with the new reality. This is probably due to the very rapid pace of change, and the fact that there appears to be no future whatsoever for the people in the business of hoarding and supplying scarce information distributed in physical containers. They are squeezing this model for every drop of blood they can get before it becomes untenable to ask for money in exchange for physical discs or files.

Ill informed and self interested cronies and Statists are trying to keep man in horses and carts when the internal combustion engine car is in the garage of every home. It simply doesn’t make any sense on any level, is immoral, and the only reason why they can get away with it is they have an agent with the monopoly of violence to back them up: the State. In absentia of this force, no one would listen to the Statists, the MPAA/RIAA, the luddites, the lawyers, the buggy whip manufacturers and the Statists. Since they offer nothing of value, they would simply be ignored.

I predict that there will come a time when none of these people are taken seriously, and they are ignored and sidelined. The world simply will not be held down to the level of Stone Age Man to suit the needs of a vanishingly small number of venal, violent and ignorant men and their blinkered apologists. The dispute resolution systems that are an emergent property of sites like Amazon and eBay will spread out into the real world, making the State and its proponents redundant. It would be a fascinating project to try and separate these arbitration services and generalise them so that the public could use them instead of the courts of the State.

The fact of the matter is that lawyers have no right to tell anyone how to voluntarily exchange goods and under what terms those goods are to be exchanged. Their role is to arbitrate in disputes where both parties agree to be subject to the rules of the arbitrator, and nothing more. Because the vast majority of humans can exchange without disputes, they must create conflict in this area to maintain their social status and incomes, with the help of the State. This is why lawyers support the fallacious idea of copyright, and why they want to extend this sickness to Bitcoin, and all areas online.

The Statists refuse to accept reality, or cannot understand it, or understand it and actively fight to control it with violence. Lawyers especially have the most to gain from keeping the immoral, illogical and absurd copyright laws in force.

Or do they?

The fact of the matter is that once copyright laws are removed from all statute books, the amount of work for lawyers will not decrease, but will in fact increase, as creative people adapt to the new business models.

For example, no one has the right to steal a physical disk from anyone. If a musical work is created and stored in a fixed medium, and the right to be the first to sell it is sold to someone, a person who steals that disc and releases what is stored on it could be held liable for the damage caused to both contracting parties.

A disc of an unreleased highly anticipated pre-sold masterpiece would have an agreed value that is set out in a contract, and a value in pre-sales. Once it is leaked by theft and no one will pay for it, losses have been imposed upon the creative party, since exclusivity has been broken by the thief. In this scenario, damages are not calculated by how many copies are in the wild but by the fact that a physical disc has been stolen, its contents leaked and sales potential has been destroyed through cancellations. This is of course, completely separate from a work that is released on a disc, sold to a person, and that person making a copy for whatever reason. This is entirely legitimate, for reasons laid out clearly in Against Intellectual Monopoly.

This scenario is the same as someone breaking into a jewellery store and stealing a diamond necklace. Once that necklace has been stolen, it cannot be sold to someone else. The scenario of a pre-release disc being stolen and released is even worse, because the irreplaceable, unique first use opportunity has been destroyed forever. This is the true nature of the damage and theft done to both parties by this sort of act; the value of such a theft can be estimated and a valid moral claim made against a thief. Once again, this has nothing to do with the subsequent copies made by people who got a hold of the data by whatever means.

I use the example of the theft of a necklace deliberately, because it is used by the copyright monopoly to justify everyone being forbidden from making copies of what they own. Note how I am separating the act of copying what you have legitimately purchased from the destruction of potential by an unauthorised pre-release of a stolen disc.

There are many other circumstances where fault can be placed in this scenario. For example, if one party fails to maintain security and this is the cause of the leak, someone is at fault and has to pay. This can be laid out explicitly in a contract. These byzantine details are the job of lawyers to sort out, set terms for and organise. It is for lawyers to define these agreements, fix the agreed penalties, pursue the wrong doers in case of a breach of information. This would be a huge amount of complex work, worth an enormous amount of money. Lawyers are major beneficiaries of a world without copyright.

Of course, once a suite of music or book or other information is released, it can be copied ad infinitum, but then the next thrill is the thing that is valuable, and the public has an insatiable appetite for the new; this is just one possible model for the creative to explore, and of course, since they are the creative, its up to them to think of new ways of approaching the market in a reality where every idea can be copied and can spread world-wide in a matter of hours, if you hit exactly the right note.

The ignorant, imagination-less Statists want to prevent this astonishing world of the super abundance business model from fully emerging. They are doing everything they can to wreck the exponential growth of tools, contracts and technology that will unarguably benefit the entire planet, for the sake of a handful of ignorant, comfortable, computer illiterates.

Unfortunately for them, the harder they push against the internet, the stronger it becomes. Every service they have tried to cripple has either resulted in that service strengthening or spawning new services. Bulletin Board Systems, IRC DCC channels, Napster, Gnutella, Bittorrent are all examples in chronological order of how software outpaces the luddites, and of course, that list excludes the peripheral discoveries like MP3 that fuel the creation of new services.

This is a battle that they cannot win and which they should not win, because they have no case or moral foundation whatsoever.

Read this article in Hungarian.

Robots, socks and gloves

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Whilst reading over the comments to the video of some robotic, brainwashed OWS chanters trying to disrupt a Ron Paul speech, I noticed something that seemed vaguely familiar; a comment, which in content and form looked like many other comments I have been coming across that try and discredit Ron Paul by misrepresenting his ideas.

Unfortunately for the people who are doing this, Google can help us find out if they are an organized group or not.

Here is the root comment that looked suspiciously like many comments that I have read, from Raw Story:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/21/ron-paul-gets-mic-checked-by-new-hampshire-protesters/#disqus_thread

and here is another example from a YouTube comment stream:

http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=lI1gvPmA_c8

You can find your own examples yourself. There are quite a few out there, with slightly different wording and in different contexts. A cursory search indicates that there might be a small group of people who are behind these comments. I don’t have time to research who they are with any precision. But we can do an analysis of what they are up to.

This activity is called ‘Glove Puppetry’ or more commonly Sock Puppetry.

Groups of people with an agenda to change the tone or direction of an online discussion, for money or the lulz, take on positions that are different to (opposition for money) the polar opposite of (opposition for lulz) the dominant group in a thread or stream of comments, to manipulate them, troll them and destroy any chance of a reasoned linear discussion.

Sock puppetry is also being done by the State, to try and influence public opinion. You can read about this practice in these links.

This is a very interesting subject, on many levels. Can Sock Puppetry work in the age of the internets? Google is only a click away from any instance of puppetry, so any lie can be instantly neutralised. Also, a Sock Puppet entering into a nest of people who are thinking in one way (correctly or not) cannot gain traction without being exposed as a troll and voted down where a down arrow is available. Sock Puppets do not believe what they are typing, they are working off of a script. Within one or two replies you can spot a Sock Puppet because their thinking and writing is not coherent. When the script comes to its end, all they have is ad hominem attacks, which means they lose.

We wrote about this as an example of Baudrillard’s ‘Mass’. You should read ‘In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities‘ for some insight into the difficulty of penetrating coherent groups of people who are thinking in one way, though in this case the fit is not exact.

In the meantime, now that you have these two examples, you know the format of the current organised poison trolling that is taking place wherever a Ron Paul discussion or stream of comments is in progress. I will leave it to you to find your own examples, and to discover who the source of these troll / Sock Puppet posts is.

Hopefully, if enough people find out about these Sock Puppets, their effect will be neutralised. Its good to refute the bad arguments of people who are misguided, but wasting time on Sock Puppets is not a good use of time.

Crony Capitalists deploy glove puppet schizophrenic luddite

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The crony capitalist copyright monopoly has rolled out its latest delusional computer illiterate schizophrenic luddite, Jeremy Hunt, to try and cripple the internets.

First things first.

Culture does not need a secretary. The idea that the State should have a position to ‘have a say’ in matters to do with culture is absurd on its face. Art galleries, artists, authors, music makers, sculptors and anyone involved in culture in any way do not need to be overseen, managed, given ‘guidance’ or ‘represented’ by a ministry. Only States like the USSR have traditionally had such corrosive, totalitarian and frankly, disgusting posts. Actually, France has a Minister of Rock & Roll, but France doesn’t count.

Even if you accept that the State should have a ‘Culture Secretary’ the internet is a technical brief, not a cultural one. No doubt there are moves afoot to create a new ‘Secretary for Digital’. The State should not be able to produce these new positions willy nilly, since they are public servants.

OK, Lets do this.

Google should join fight on piracy, says Jeremy Hunt

Culture secretary calls on advertisers and search engines to make life more difficult for those that ignore copyright laws.

What a disgusting, irrational and ridiculous call; to ‘make life more difficult’ for people. The internet exists to make life easier. What Jeremy Hunt is calling for is to cripple the internet, to make service providers divert capital away from improving their services into something that no one but a tiny group of venal beasts want. This is not the call of a human being, this is a call from a monster that wants to destroy progress, inhibit the utility of the greatest invention since fire, and to harm millions of people all over the world. Absolutely repulsive.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, is to tell Google and other search engines that they should play a greater role in the fight against online piracy. Mr Hunt will ask them to make life more difficult for pirates.

And they are all going to tell him, politely, to go straight to hell. Jeremy Hunt is in good company; he is spouting the same garbage that Andy Burnham used to on this matter.

Copying music is not piracy. It is not theft. The BBC even said so, in a grovelling apology after they aired a scandalous, unforgivable, stupid, retarded and evil attack on Bittorrent and were taken to task for it:

First though, an apology. File sharing is not theft. It has never been theft. Anyone who says it is theft is wrong and has unthinkingly absorbed too many Recording Industry Association of America press releases. We know that script line was wrong. It was a mistake. Were very, very sorry.

If copyright infringement was theft then Id be in jail every time I accidentally used football pix on Newsnight without putting Pictures from Sky Sport in the top left corner of the screen. And Im not. So it isnt.

No where near enough of an apology, but as far as the BBC goes, this is grovelling, first class.

He is expected to tell the Royal Television Societys Cambridge Convention that reasonable steps will make a significant difference, and also make the suggestion that if the industry does not help the Government it will legislate via the new Communication Bill. We intend to take measures to make it more and more difficult to access sites that deliberately facilitate infringement, misleading consumers and depriving creators of a fair reward for their creativity, Mr Hunt will say.

The world is changing. The number of people who know about crony capitalism, the abuses of the RIAA/MPAA and the rest is growing exponentially. Even the scumbag lying State shills at the BBC say that people like Hunt, “..(are) wrong and (have) unthinkingly absorbed too many Recording Industry Association of America press releases”.

Jeremy Hunt is on the wrong side of history, and he hasn’t got the brains to know it. If he does know that what he is saying is unfounded, illogical codswallop, then he is a coward for not stating the plain truth, which is that the internet has changed the way people consume media, these changes are benefits which will bring prosperity to everyone, and the old business models are dead as the Dodo.

The Government wants search engines to penalise website whose content is ruled unlawful. Less prominent results would have a direct effect on revenues from advertisers as well as sales.

If you removed all the links to any torrent site or site that provides links to other sites, what would happen is that someone would write an application that will absorb and re-distribute all those searches. It would spur the creation of a one stop place to find everything you need, and it could be designed in such a way that it can not be shut down. It would make the distribution of links more efficient, and this would mean more file sharing.

The internet sees Jeremy Hunt and his luddite ideas as damage and routes around him and them. Anything that is done to stop people communicating will cause more robust systems to be developed and deployed to bolster communication. We have seen this again and again. Napster was shut down and that caused gnutella to be developed. Then, the Bittorent protocol was developed as a direct answer to the problem of hosting files on central repositories. The same thing can be done with links. A distributed search engine, unstoppable, with no central point of attack will up the stakes and Jeremy Hunt would be the one that caused it to come into being. That is what is called an ‘own goal’ in the UK.

Mr Hunt will argue that online businesses deserve the same legal protection as physical ones. We do not allow certain products to be sold in the shops on the high street, nor do we allow shops to be set up purely to sell counterfeited products. Neither should we tolerate it online, he is set to say.

This is a fallacious, straw man argument. Physical goods are not the same as information and it comes right out of the MPAA script. When you copy a file or an idea, nothing is lost, and more to the point, Google does not facilitate copying, it merely points to resources that may or may not ‘infringe copyright’. There is no reason whatsoever to call upon business to take proactive measures against links that potentially point to items that are not even criminal in the first place.

He will add, however, The government has no business protecting old models or helping industries that have failed to move with the times. But those new models will never be able to prosper if they have to compete with free alternatives based on the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.

This is double talk. Government is protecting the old business models by insisting that there is such a thing as copyright. It is helping industries that have failed to move with the times, explicitly, the music and film industry. Secondly, Hunt says ‘free alternatives’ are bad; what if the new business model is the free model?. By saying that free is not acceptable, Hunt is picking winners, helping the dinosaur media and failing to move with the times. It is not the place of Jeremy Hunt or any public servant to determine which business models are and are not appropriate. Jeremy Hunt is talking nonsense on stilts.

Despite campaigns from internet freedom activists, the high court ruled in July, after a lengthy process, that the internet service provider BT should block a website that flagrantly infringed copyright, called Newzbin. Although the Internet Watch Foundation is able to use a sped-up legal process, it currently can only do so for sites relating to illegal online pornography. Google, however, claims that takedown requests from reliable copyright holders are dealt with in four hours. The government moving its pressure from ISPs to search engines marks a new approach to its multi-faceted attack on digital piracy.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8759414/Google-should-join-fight-on-piracy-says-Jeremy-Hunt.html

They will fail.

Since the advent of modems running at 14.4k people have been sharing files, and it has grown year on year without fail every year. The mainstream media and the copyright monopoly have lost both the war and the argument. The movie studios still pull in hundreds of millions for their blockbusters, and so the much reported death of their industry has not materialised, as it never does whenever they whine that a new technology is going to wipe them out.

It is nothing short of absurd that Jeremy Hunt and his cohorts want to turn Britain into a leader of all things internets, but in the same breath, they do everything they can to cripple the companies that work with it. You cant have it both ways; either you want your East End Fantasy to take root or you do not. If you do, get out of the way, and let business flourish. If you do not, carry on as you are, making these ridiculous paid promotions for the copyright monopolists and watch everyone write you off as a potential place to locate.

In the past, anyone thinking about writing an innovative service, like a CD Ripping service, would have run a mile from the UK. Only now, as the CD is dying as a format will it become legal for a company like this to set up… or will it? Who knows? What is for sure is that if you plan on starting an internet business in the UK, you are taking a huge risk that Jeremy Hunt & Co. are going to suddenly, at the behest of your competitors, put you out of business either by directly legislating against you, or scaring investors away by giving a speech.

One thing is for certain; the tide is turning against Jeremy Hunt and all the glove puppets who sound suspiciously similar. What do I mean by that? Hmmmm, Which one is Jeremy Hunt, and which one is Andy Burnham? can you tell?:

Hunt or Burnham?:
“We must ensure that copyright delivers maximum benefit to performers and musicians. That’s the test of any model as we go forward”

Hunt or Burnham?:
“Let me be absolutely clear so there are no misconceptions about where the Government is on this. We share a real support for artists and musicians.”

Hunt or Burnham?:
“Music has been hit hard over the last ten years, and if we dont do something there is a real danger that parts of the music industry will be washed away.”

Hunt or Burnham?:
“Developments in communications have changed the music world and I think we are now at a time that calls for partnership between Government and the music business as a whole: one with rewards for both of us; one with rewards for society as a whole.”

Hunt or Burnham?:
“My job Governments job is to preserve the value in the system.”

Hunt or Burnham?:
“What do we need to do to help our businesses grow and evolve between now and 2025? Where can regulation help and where is it a barrier? What can we do collectively to enhance the whole UK market?”

Hunt or Burnham?:
“We have an extraordinarily strong and diverse media landscape in this country, combined with a remarkable wealth of talent in our creative industries.”

They are indistinguishable are they not?

Honestly, I dont care about what these people think; the only thing that matters is that they have the guns. As long as they have the monopoly on violence, they will be able to distort, destroy, corrupt and damage. If they did not have the monopoly on violence, Jeremy Hunt might be a school teacher somewhere, harmless, quiet and of no concern to anyone.

Thankfully, the market, the internet, and the people on it are more powerful than Jeremy Hunt. No matter what he says, no matter what he asks for, and no matter who he can bully into obeying his luddite wet dreams, the internet and the market will route around him and his disease and the spice will flow!