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NeoNote — Free market produces fewer losers

It's not that capitalism produces no losers, it's that the free market produces fewer losers by a couple of orders of magnitude.

Notice that I am distinguishing between capitalism and the free market.

Again, I'm talking about a "bottom-up" self-organizing exchange versus a "top-down" system imposed by force. In a free market, the way to get ahead is providing what others want. In any other system, it's about controlling the system.

ANY artificial controls will be exploited by the most powerful at the expense of the weaker. Resources are diverted into controlling the rules rather than producing value.

"Moral obligations" will be used to shut competition out of the marketplace in the name of compassion, and it will be backed by government force, diverting still more resources away from the market and into government and control.

The free market has only one real justification, it has produced more wealth and more freedom for more people than anything else we have tried. The key is individual choice, not controlling the system.

In a free market, competition keeps us honest and choice is the only control that works.

The two most important phrases in human history:

“Let me help.”

“I can do better than

It's not the tools, it's the results.

The free market is an example of people choosing for themselves. Government is controlling people by force.

And yes, the world is changing. It's embracing choice. That doesn't mean that the politicos and technocrats will give up power willingly. But they can't control everything that happens. Who could have foreseen the world wide web, Snicker's bars, or topless maid services? What government agency would have tolerated those things? What Congress critter would have sponsored legislation creating flash mobs, radar detectors, or fantasy football?

I want more freedom for more people today. I want more of the same tomorrow. Choice is the best way to get freedom. That's it, plain and simple. That's my objective.

See, you're still talking politics. "Arrange." "Cap." That's about controlling others, implying that government force will be involved sooner or later.

Why should their choice control my action? Why should my choice control your action? Why should your choice control their action?

It's not about creating the framework or tweaking the system. They've got something I want, so I have to find something they want. Voluntary exchanges between consenting adults, and no third party taking a cut or dictating rules.

Freedom and wealth. The Apaches could not produce steel knives, antiseptics, or a horseshoe. In one sense they were free, but they didn't have wealth. What freedom and wealth they had was taken at the expense of others.

Freedom taken at the expense of someone else is privilege and is generally recognized as a Bad Thing. Perhaps the keystone to Western Civilization is the Ethic of Reciprocity. This is what makes freedom more than a privilege grab. It also can't be imposed by another.

I'm proposing that the free market makes freedom and wealth possible while making things mostly better today than they were yesterday. So we have steel tools, paracord, duck tape, battery drills, and lights at the flick of a switch. These and seven million and thirteen other things weren't even a possibility with a hunter/gatherer culture.

Freedom is only one part of the payoff.

Nice things result in greater freedom.

I grow stuff in my garden, but that is not my source of food. I can go to the grocery store and find a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than I could ever hope to grow myself. My choices are increased by the store, and it couldn't happen without the free market.

A few years back I was looking at an aquaponics set-up. Beyond the design and construction, it would have taken about twenty hours a week and between two and three hundred dollars more per month. And that is if everything went right and I never left town.

Is it necessary that I use the supermarket? No, but it's a better use of my time and resources than if I tried to do it on my own. It lets me use the labor and skills of others at a minimal cost to myself.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNote — Save us from the crusaders

Save us from the crusaders. “Here I come to save the day!”

Whatever form WestCiv and America specifically ends up with, you're still going to have to live with people who disagree and hate everything you stand for. You don't build communities by excluding people you don't like.

Crusading just means "your" side will win for a short while. And the the whole cycle starts again.

Unknown today. In his time, his writings were very well known and pretty influential. He wrote Our Enemy, the State among other things

I cited him in the first place is because a top down approach doesn't work for very long, if it works at all. People resent being told what to do, especially if you force them. I don't have a detailed plan because I don't think that any one person or any one group has all the answers. I think a big, big part of the problem is that we usually phrase our social problems in dualities, this or that. Dualities exclude other choices, it's all or nothing. So when I see phases like "save Western Civilization," it tells me that someone is reinforcing the original problem, not finding a solution.

No matter how good their plan may be, anything based on a dual choice and only a dual choice is doomed. That's the point that Nock tried to make in that article. People won't submit to Greater Authority for Their Own Good. The people you might convince won't listen until after the stuff hits the fan.

To start with, we could enforce the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment clearly outlaws most of the Federal government.

Given how little the Federal government pays attention to the Constitution and it's own laws, I don't think additional restrictions would work.

The Constitution was designed to rein in government. I'd encourage anyone interested to read the Federalist papers and the anti-Federalist papers. Unless the power is specifically granted in the Constitution, the Federal government doesn't have it. Or at least it shouldn't.

The one time that the Constitution was amended to restrict the people was a disaster.

It wasn't until the progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th that the public perception of limited government turned to expecting an activist government with virtually unlimited powers.

I don't care about SCOTUS in the 20th Century, I'm pretty sure that time travel causes unintended consequences.

See, I'm not sure if adding more government is the solution to bad government. Hmm, I might have said something like that before.

And I don't think trading insults is the way to go. Sometimes winning isn't nearly as important as keeping the other guy from reaching the goal.

Isn't adding things like term limits and engineering the constraints adding to government?

I wasn't talking about insulting the voters. Imagine a boxing match. Which shows more skill, the ability to take and dish out punch after punch? Or the ability not to get hit while letting the other guy hurt himself trying to hurt you?

Which leaves you better able to go to work after?

Yes, the Constitution is a restraint device. But it hasn't worked. Why should another work? This is where you lose me.

Whatever Trump may or may not be, what happens next? Trump is rare, most people can't fight dirty for an extended time. If the only structure we can build depends on fighting dirty for every advantage, how are we better off?

No, it hasn't, not for at least 85 years. Although I think a strong case can be made that it hasn't more than a century. What we've been living under is the illusion that the Constitution is working and that more government is a good thing.

I've argued that term limits are meaningless when the major parties control who gets on the ballot. I've also argued that primary elections divert attention away from the real stakes. CGP Grey has a great video explaining why first part the post voting is not a good thing.

I keep returning to this because I think it is critical. We've been indoctrinated for generations to think that the way to fix a corrupt system is through system management. We've moved beyond the black mold stage, the pieces are so radioactive that using them not only risks our health but also could contaminate any new pieces we add. The benefits of "playing the system" and exploiting others and yes, even fighting dirty and ugly so outweigh long term thinking that there are actually severe disincentives to a long term IPD.

Case in point, and this one isn't even a libertarian thing. The US has more military bases in more foreign nations than any other power in history. Our military spending is bigger than the next thirty nations combined. We actively discourage other nations from establishing their own bases. We meddle in their internal affairs and throw hissy fits when people from other nations buy advertising aimed at our own elections. We bully others and tell ourselves that we fight the really bad bullies "for the little guy."


Do you think that Trump would stand down? Maybe close ten percent of our overseas bases? Do you think that American intervention leads to a safer world? Would you accept it if other nations did the same to the US?

Why is it bad when the deep state does it, but OK when Trump uses the same tools?

You misunderstand. I'm waiting for the system to rip itself apart. I don't have to work actively against it, I just don't have to patch it up or compensate for it's failure.

One area we do disagree is that the right is somehow more moral than the left. Another is that a system controlled by the right is preferable to one controlled by the left. The right gave us the USA PATRIOT Act, and the left gave us Obamacare. Hard to say at this point which has done the most damage. As for Trump, well, trade and tariffs alone are balanced on a knifeblade between what might possibly work if we are extremely lucky and what might cause disaster so epic as to make the Great Depression and World War II look like last Tuesday.

It's not the voters I don't trust. I don't trust the "options" the voters are allowed to have. You can have your left arm or your right leg cut off, but you must choose one.

I'm willing to let my principles compete without the coercion of the state or what is "morally right." That's more than either the right or the left want, they want to hold a gun to people's heads for Your Own Good.

The right is self-limiting? The War on Drugs. Too big to fail. An ongoing overseas war that for the first time in American history, has soldiers fighting who weren't even born when it started.

While I marginally prefer conservatives, no one and certainly no institution gets a pass because of the label. Branding is a horrific way to govern. What have you done for me lately?

The duality is an illusion. More accurately the duality is a condition required for the system to work. But that doesn't mean the system is a good idea or the best idea. Yet that duality by it's nature locks us into either/or and calls it the best choice.

The system wants us to choose the best baseball team when I want to swim.

My problem is that I see statists on "both" sides, and the right is no less threatening than the left. Your premise is that the right is a better choice and my premise is that statists (any statists) threaten freedom.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNotes — news bias and agendas

I reserve the right to tie anyone in semantic knots if I can do it with truth.


The “Tea Party” scares the political leadership

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at

The “Tea Party” scares the political leadership

Something they can't control, even if it's not enough to take control away

Jesse Walker over at Reason Magazine sums up the Tea Party exactly.

The issue isn't whether "the" Tea Party will do those things. The Tea Party isn't an actual party; it's an extremely decentralized movement with room for several different points of view. It is not libertarian in itself, but it has opened a space for libertarian ideas; it includes good guys like the Campaign for Liberty, and it includes its share of scamsters and authoritarians as well. And it includes a lot of people who are not pure libertarians but are motivated by a libertarian take on one or more pressing issues.

My take is that the various Tea Parties scare the daylights out of the existing political parties because they are a bottom up movement instead of a top down organization. They don't take their "marching orders" from anyone except themselves. That's exactly opposite of how protests have been organized for the last thirty or forty years.

It's the politics of the everyman, not necessarily tied to election cycles.

The Republican leadership believes it can be subverted because they did it before. You may not remember the "Republican Revolution" in the 1994 midterm elections. When the newly minted members of Congress took their seats, the wheeling and dealing began. There was no way those freshmen Congressmen and Senators would get committee assignments unless they toed the line. The institutions of Congress and the political parties were designed to seduced and subvert anyone who might make change. That is exactly what happened.

This could be different. And I really stress that "could be." If people accept that the real change is only going to happen if they are involved and watching closely, then yes, it could get better.

Otherwise we're waiting for the system to collapse. And when the government starts spending more on debt service than anything else, it won't take long.

They established institutions of both major parties aren't interested in reform, they want power. Even if every candidate elected for the next three national elections was a "Tea Party" candidate, it wouldn't be enough to stem the tide. The only way the party leadership will accept reform is if they are running scared.

Posted: Mon - September 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM

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NeoNotes — Taking over the world

Some of the comments I make on other boards are worth saving

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