James Street I'm advocating not giving a bunch of criminals the legitimacy to kill you and get away with it just because they have a little piece of metal with fancy words on it. If you want to know what I'm advocating, read Hans Herman-Hoppe's "The Great Fiction," Murray N. Rothbard's essay "The Anatomy of the State," and Ron Paul's "For a New Liberty." We've tried State coercion for millennia. Let's try something different.
James Street I believe in non-aggression, not pacifism, but part of that includes believing that my paycheck shouldn't be aggressed against, either. I can't believe my money is being confiscated to (in part) fund this mess. We're all just little puppets, like "Villagers" in Age of Empires, whose task is to spend our entire lives working for the State, producing wealth to be looted so that those in power can enrich themselves and expand their power at our expense. Don't you just love being a slave?
James Street You're not seeing the whole picture, David. Those governments use their monopoly of legitimized violence to steal your wealth, often to force kids into government slavery, and they kidnap and lock in prison people guilty of harming no one. They then turn around and use that same monopoly to force their will on the economic sector of the country, destroying certain companies and using the aforementioned stolen wealth to enrich and protect favored corporations. No government exists within the proper boundaries that you described. Every government uses its monopoly of violence to assert its will on every other facet of private life. Thus, liberty is destroyed. That's what you're advocating.
James Street Agreed. Generally the disconnect is when one says "rational," often the hearer (or reader) assumes that objective rationality is meant, when like you said, all actions are made based on a scale of value which is derived from a person's personal subjective perception of the world around him. Inevitably, the biggest contributor to "status quo bias" is ignorance. People aren't aware of anything other than what they're accustomed to, thus rendering them largely incapable of understanding how things could conceivably be different. Summed up in one phrase: "But who would build the roads??"
James Street Great piece, Jeff. Though, I wanted to suggest that all human action is rational action, specifically internally rational, in that it is rational to the actor, not necessarily a third part. I'm excited to see what things like Bitcoin can do for the future of liberty in the world.
James Street You said: "Any functional government must have a monopoly on force and...well, not much else, actually." That demands limits. If you give a specific group of people a complete monopoly of force, then you cannot seriously expect them to remain within the boundaries of power you create for them. It has never worked in the history of the world, so it's completely illogical to think that it would in the future. Ergo, the idea of a monopoly of force is very bad.
James Street Race-baiting at its finest. Sometimes I wonder what the qualifications for being a PolicyMic editor are: professional muckraker, at least three years experience with the SPLC, and a good eye for stirring up racial tensions?
James Street It's a free* country, Google can do what they want. (*Freedom not available in all areas, some restrictions may apply. See DHS or FBI for more details.) The biggest problem is the government-granted monopoly of "Intellectual Property" through the bogus patent law system, meaning that Google will have long-term exclusivity to anything even remotely resembling Glass. If the free market were allowed to compete in the way it should, then we would see many companies entering a Glass-like product into the marketplace which would both force Google's price down and spur them to innovate more rapidly. Again, score one for government.
James Street "Sure, Estes was implicated in a whole lot of bad things. His connection with Lyndon B. Johnson and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of people investigating Estes' operation are suspicious at best, and at worst, he may have even been a murderer or conspired to have someone killed..." Did you even read the article? I didn't condone his actions. I just compared his piddly con-man act to the great fiction perpetrated on mankind by the State. No, it's not OK just because the government does something. You're missing the point. The point is that if Estes was a criminal, then the actions of the government, writ large, are criminal. In fact, I would argue (http://www.jameslstreet.com/2012/10/the-legitimized-mafia/) that organized crime is far more noble than government, since the mafia doesn't claim the moral high ground when it coerces, commits violence, or kills people.
James Street The vehemence of their labor doesn't change the fact that they are in fact leeches on the taxpayers. They do not produce, they only consume. They will do much better in the private sector where they can actually contribute to the economy.
James Street Just shut the darn thing down already. That's what happens to private individuals who can't pay their bills. The government is bankrupt, and it's time for it to just die. Especially gutless shills like Boehner. At least the Democrats don't make overtures about cutting spending: you *know* they're all in to make this bankruptcy as massive as possible.
James Street J., the "Free Silver" movement was in response to a problem caused by government regulation and price controls on precious metals. Had a market economy instead influenced the value of the dollar, those issues wouldn't have existed. It always comes back to government involvement causing problems. Why can't you realize that?
James Street J., you're ignoring the fact that those numbers are radically different from GDP/Standard of Living figures from today, since on a hard-money standard, the value of money *increased,* meaning that while wages in terms of dollars may have gradually decreased, the purchasing power of that money was increasing at a rate equal to or more than the wage decreases. That's what real money does: it becomes more valuable. As for "real wages," they are at the lowest now that they've been since the 90s, I believe. That's hardly a feather in the cap of Keynesian economics. Under a hard-money economy, though, the real wages were continually on the rise, since interest rates allowed real savings to be encouraged, which spurred capital investment and real economic growth, not credit-based bubbles and bail-outs on the taxpayers' dime. The Industrial Revolution is proof of the macroeconomic benefits of Laissez-Faire.