Friday, December 14, 2012

Is it Time to Legalize Murder?

Written in December 2012
Edited in May 2014, and on April 22nd, 2016

In "Utopia", Sir Thomas More wrote that the government should stop focusing on enforcing harsh penalties for theft, and instead focus on eliminating the policies that led to the impoverishment of the tenant farmers (namely, encroaching on and fencing-off their lands, effectively forcing them to compete for labor in the city centers to survive).

Abbie Hoffman wrote that the decades-long prison penalties for violating anti-marijuana laws made it so that young people may feel pressure to commit acts of violence (including, potentially, murder) against witnesses in order to prevent being punished for the original crime.

Why do people turn to theft, drugs, and violence? They perceive that they have few other options. They harm themselves, others, and others' property, often as a way to feel in-control; while society has conditioned the set of legitimate alternative courses of action available to them.

It should make sense, then, that several of the last few famous American mass shooters were on prescription anti-depression and anti-schizophrenia medications. Depression and schizophrenia are over-diagnosed, and the medications prescribed to treat them often have suicidal thoughts as side effects.

We must begin viewing many of these shootings as symptoms of the ills of society, not simply as ills. Saying that a mass shooter was "deranged" is a cop-out. But calling for "free" psychiatric care for all Americans (as a preventive measure) is an expensive proposition that diminishes the value of the labor of the people who perform psychiatric evaluations for a living.

Capital punishment (execution) is not an effective deterrent for murder; like the marijuana example, it only leads to (and, in the criminal mind, excuses) further violence. But prison - with its routine beatings and rapes (corporal punishment, whether sanctioned or overlooked) - is no creative or effective way to humanize the criminal justice system.

In some non-industrialized societies [including the Babemba tribe of Africa], when a person commits a crime, it is seen as a cry for help, and the village comes together to praise the criminal, and tell him about all the good things he has done in the past, in order to convince him that he is a good person (no deterrence necessary). Similarly, Socrates suggested that as "punishment" for corrupting the youth of Athens he should not be sentenced to death but instead given free food for life.

The trial of Socrates undoubtedly led his student Plato (who wrote, "[g]ood people don't need laws to tell them to act responsibly, and bad people will find a way around the laws") to wonder whether justice is truly good or instead simply a necessary evil. It is an appropriate question, especially given that today some homeless commit acts of petty theft so that they will be arrested and taken to jail, thus ensuring them shelter for the night, and possibly also a meal or two.

It should seem obvious by now that once a man has killed, he is willing to eliminate witnesses without blinking an eye. So too police, and whatever non-witness innocent bystanders happen to be between him and his getaway car. Thus, the fear of being confronted with deadly force is not an effective deterrent for these people who have little or nothing to lose.

But what good, exactly, would result from the legalization of murder? In all likelihood, nothing. But what good has resulted from its decriminalization (i.e., reduced penalties, and augmented rights of the accused)? It depends on whether you ask a civil-libertarian or someone who thinks society "coddles" criminals and the disadvantaged.

So why, then, even bring up the idea of legalizing murder (that is, repealing laws against murder, and eliminating sentencing guidelines for it)? We may remember from the First Book of Timothy " is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels...". Just as "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns", when murder is outlawed, only outlaws will commit murder.

Actions are not immoral because they are illegal, but illegal because they are immoral. Those who believe that murder is wrong will not commit murder, and nothing will stop those who do not care whether murder is wrong from committing it.

Nothing, of course, except threats by individuals (and threatening by the State, called "laws") that such actions will be met with violent retribution. And, naturally, in the absence of Statism, the same set of threats would have the same potential to prevent aggression and enact retribution against its victims.

In addressing the complaints of voters upset by the legalization of gay marriage, stand-up comic Daniel Tosh remarked that the fact that gay marriage is legal doesn't mean that people who participate in homosexual civil unions are not going to go to Hell, saying "Just because the state says it's legal, it's not like God's gonna let 'em into Heaven."

Maybe if legalizing murder doesn't work, we can always replace those "gun-free zone" signs in schools with "murder-free zone" signs.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

New Institutional Economics: Eleven Commandments to Free the Market

The First Fundamental Theorem of Welfare Economics states that any competitive (or Walrasian) equilibrium leads to a Pareto-efficient (or Pareto-optimal) allocation of resources. The following is a list of eleven rules – with added explanations written in the format of the Ten Commandments – regarding how to sustain a competitive equilibrium.
  1. Enlightened Rational Consent. Thou Shalt Not Participate in Markets - Nor Associate with Market Actors - Unless and Until Thou Art Sufficiently Well-Informed and Rational – That is, Self-Interested (and Assumed to Sell Where Marginal Costs Meet Marginal Revenue So As to Maximize the Generation of Profit) and Utilitarian (Although Not Necessarily – and Preferably Not – Selfish or Amoral) – to Legitimately and Verifiably Consent to Agree to Be Subject to the Obligations and Consequences of Doing So, and Unless and Until Thou Shalt Assume That All Consumers and Producers Have Perfect Knowledge of Price, Utility, Quality, and Production Methods of Products.
  2. Relief of Suffering. Thou Shalt Act to Relieve the Causes and Symptoms of Scarcities, Dissatisfaction, and Desire, and to Temper and Moderate One's Own Dissatisfactions and Desires.
  3. Property Rights and Lack of Malice. Thou Shalt Not Cause Intentional Nor Malicious Diminution of the Utility of the Property of Non-Consenting and / or Unaware Third-Party Others Which is Justly Acquired and Protected in a Well-Defined System of Property Rights with Special Attention to Buyers' Rights.
  4. No Information Hoarding. Thou Shalt Not Wield Disproportionately Asymmetric Amounts - Nor Varieties - of Information.
  5. No Values Suppression or Entry or Exit Barriers. Thou Shalt Act to Ensure That Market Participants Are Free to Be Price-Takers Which Are Uninhibited from Ranking Their Preferences and Comparing Values, Thou Shalt Act to Provide for the Freedom of an Infinite Number of Consumers and Producers Willing and Able to Purchase and Supply Products at Certain Prices, and Thou Shalt Act to Ensure That There Are No Barriers to Entry Into Nor Exit From Markets.
  6. No Retardation of Price Adjustment. Thou Shalt Act to Promote the Instantaneity of the Adjustment of Market Prices.
  7. No Concentration of Influence. Thou Shalt Act to Oppose Unnatural Monopolistic and Oligarchical Actors Which Wield Disproportionate Influence on the Share of Trade Volume, Thereby Disproportionately Influencing Prices, Supply, and Demand, and Come to Effectively or Literally Set Prices, or to Influence Prices at All.
  8. No Accidental Harm. Thou Shalt Not Cause Unintentional Nor Negligent Diminution of the Utility of Non-Consenting and / or Unaware Third-Party Others, Nor Shalt Thou Cause Moral-Hazard Nor Social-Cost Problems.
  9. No Accidental Benefit. Thou Shalt Not Cause Unintentional Nor Negligent Increase of the Utility of Non-Consenting and / or Unaware Third-Party Others, Nor Shalt Thou Cause Free-Rider Problems.
  10. No Usury Nor Transaction Costs. Thou Shalt Not Speculate with Less Than Full Assets, Nor Shalt Thou Impose Transaction Costs Which Are Not Negligible, Nor Shalt Thou Calculate Profit Improperly, and Thou Shalt Act to Ensure That Buyers and Sellers Do Not Incur Costs in Making an Exchange of Goods.
  11. Mobility of and Access to Factors of Production. Thou Shalt Act to Ensure That Market Participants Have Equal Access to the Factors of Production, That the Factors of Production Are Perfectly Mobile So As to Wield to Adjusting Market Conditions, and that Qualities and Characteristics of Goods and Services Do Not Vary Between Suppliers.
At a later date, I will add a few points about the Coase Theorem; the Jevons Paradox; the theory of the second best; and the lack of increasing returns to economies of scale.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Joe Kopsick vs. "Fighting Bob" LaFollette: Compare and Contrast

Before unveiling my general platform for the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race - and before delving into the complicated world of secession, nullification, interposition, and expatriation - it will be necessary to succinctly explain the most important similarities and differences between myself and Republican-turned-Progressive Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Senator Robert M. LaFollette, one of the most influential senators - and most successful third-party presidential candidates - in American history.

This is especially appropriate in light of the praise of LaFollette which was recently voiced by self-described progressive Republican Arthur Louis "Art for Gov" Kohl-Riggs, the young man who ran against Governor Scott Walker in the Republican gubernatorial primary earlier this year (2012).


I stand with LaFollette in his support of freedom of speech during wartime, his opposition to the prosecution of admitted socialists, and his opposition to needless American military interventionism and involvement in foreign conflicts.

As LaFollette opposed the League of Nations, I view the modern United Nations as a potential threat to the self-determination of the country of the United States of America, and - more importantly - of the nation and the people of Wisconsin. I believe that international legal bodies of any kind pose a risk that human rights standards may deteriorate - and / or become irrational, by imposing unwarranted responsibilities upon others - due to failed leadership and corruption of wealthy and powerful nations, and due to complacency of weaker and poorer nations. This is especially risky given the veto power which the United States currently wields in the U.N. Security Council, which I see as nothing more than a form of tyranny, albeit shared with the governments of four other nations.

As LaFollette opposed the open arming of American merchant vessels during wartime, I would do the same. However, I would take a "laissez-faire" - or (for lack of a better phrase) a "don't-ask-don't-tell" - approach on this issue; that is, I would not support open admission that such ships be armed, nor would I demand that such ships be unarmed. I believe that such a position would prevent needless casualties of crew members, which could seem feasible and excusable in the eyes of our rivals, were it to become known that the crews of such ships would have insufficient means to defend themselves against initiatory aggression.


I praise LaFollette's efforts to make government more accessible to citizens and tolerant of alternative political viewpoints. Not only this, but I would call for an augmentation of many of LaFollette's projects.

These projects include - but are not limited to - voting rights for women and minorities (naturally), open and transparent government with a direct role for citizens in proposing and passing legislation, non-partisan elections and a direct and open primary system, and collegiate research on - and development of - public policy.

Additionally, I join LaFollette in his support of the home rule of municipalities, as well as of the state of Wisconsin as a "laboratory for democracy". However - being that I support municipal home rule as part of my wider support of political subsidiarity (the notion that decision-making should take place at the maximally-locally-oriented level which would not risk undermining competence), I would criticize LaFollette's support of the direct election of U.S. Senators, which became federal law in the form of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.

To mix the language of LaFollette and former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson, if Wisconsin is to become a laboratory for the innovation of democracy and public policy - and if we are to support "home rule" and subsidiarity in general - then we should urge our representatives at the state and federal levels alike to allow the legislatures of the states to re-assert their influence on the country at large, by pursuing a repeal of the 17th Amendment, thereby restoring the principles of republicanism and dual-federalism as envisioned by our Founders.


As LaFollette was outspoken in his opposition to political and economic corruption, so too would I oppose the hierarchical decision-making and power structure in the two dominant political parties, the very existence of which undermine political speech, and drown out important voices and viewpoints.

I also share LaFollette’s concerns about corruption, corporate welfare, and the dominance of corporate special interests over the interests of the public, which in LaFollette’s time were known as “patronage” and “vast corporate combinations”.

Like LaFollette, I would resolve to make decisions which are in the interests of consumers and workers. Additionally – as LaFollette was outspoken in his opposition to railroad trusts – I would be vocal in my opposition to trusts in general, and in my support of anti-trust laws, as I would apply them to commerce and governmental structure alike.

However, I differ with LaFollette in his support of a protective tariff on domestic goods, being that I believe they impose an unnecessary and artificial barrier to international trade, and due to the potential that such tariffs could stand to inappropriately benefit domestic industry. I believe that the idea of “the invisible hand” is an assertion that consumers naturally act to protect and favor domestic industry through their economic choices.

They would especially do so in an environment of diminished corporate influence on public affairs, and consumers would have sufficient influence on trade such that attempts by the government to ensure that domestic production persevere would be superfluous, egregious, self-serving, and inclined towards the very sort of business corruption which has been a scourge to political freedom, and to diverse and competitive markets.


I side with LaFollette in his championing of the workers’ compensation system, the enactment of child labor laws, and social security and old age benefits, although I would take the sustainability of the ratio of revenues to disbursements of the latter program into serious consideration, with an emphasis on means-testing for recipients.

So too would I join LaFollette in his support of progressive taxation; I would support the closing of any loopholes which deviate from a graduated, accelerating (exponential) tax on income and wealth in property, especially on such wealth which is the product of the inappropriate perpetuation of unearned privilege bestowed upon special individual and business interests through means of government coercion.

While I would praise LaFollette for his efforts fighting for an eight-hour work-day and for collective bargaining in general, my support of the labor movement would be based on principles such as freedom and diversity of competition, diversity of ideology and goals within the labor movement, the right of consumers to influence trade and the labor markets, respect for the rights of minorities of all varieties, and rational and humane wage policies towards the poor and disadvantaged.

I believe that Wisconsin and the organized labor movement should not submit to the authority of the National Labor Relations Board to permit nor deny the right to strike; this undermines the freedom of union members to pursue negotiation goals which are more moderate or more radical than the goals of their leadership. There should be no such thing as wildcat strikes; in other words, no strikes should be illegal, being that the future of the labor movement relies on its independence and self-sufficiency in affecting its ends.

Were government favors and privileges for large and multinational business to be removed - and their lasting ill effects to be compensated for – I do not believe that government power would be necessary to uphold the gains of organized labor. If labor standards were to significantly deteriorate, I would call for a general strike, and for workers across the state to adopt similar standards on wages, additional compensation, and safety and health in the workplace, so that companies failing to uphold such standards remain neither fully-staffed nor profitable.

Unlike LaFollette, I would pursue the nullification of federal minimum wage laws, and the repeal of state minimum wage laws. Although laborers and the organizations which represent them will always pursue increased wages, benefits, and conditions, there would be no need for government to uphold these gains (given adequate compensation for the lasting ill effects of corporate welfare and domination of public policy by private interests).

Additionally, I would adopt the position of scholars such as Milton Friedman; that legally-enforced minimum wage laws constitute undue barriers to entry into the labor market, especially for the youth, the elderly, the disabled; and the economically disadvantaged, the under-educated, and the under-skilled; as well as the racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, and linguistic minorities which are disproportionately affected by the aforementioned deficits in skills, education, and job experience.
I also believe that the endorsement of minimum wage laws by unions – as well as of the politicians who support them (and increases in minimum wage rates), and even, sometimes, the standards themselves – contributes to a lack of solidarity in the labor movement, and to unnecessary animosity between demographic groups of laborers.

While I believe that the right to strike exists independently – and regardless of – government might and fiat, I believe that the power of public employees to engage in collective bargaining undermines political and economic liberty whenever and wherever they attempt to do so in an environment of monopoly government (Statism). As such, I would support the independence and self-sufficiency of organized labor, while opposing monopolistic governmental jurisdiction on anti-trust grounds – and in the interests of diversity of political association and consent of the governed – as well as first examining how fraud and abuse may be eliminated from the state government, and sustainable government finance and balanced budgets may be restored.


I wholeheartedly support Robert LaFollette’s dedication to peace, a humble foreign policy, non-interventionism, opposition to belligerence, support of American national sovereignty, civil liberties such as the freedom of speech and ideology, voting rights, election reform, open government with direct citizen involvement, political subsidiarity, opposition to corruption and to the control of public policy by private and business special interests, opposition to trusts in industry, support of consumer’s rights and interests, social programs and individual welfare, and the struggles of organized labor.

However, LaFollette’s views on local governance and progressive economic issues (such as minimum wage laws) leave something to be desired. Luckily, after nearly a hundred years, developments in the economic and political sciences – especially in the fields of free-market economics and market-anarchist political theory – enable us to learn from the history of successes and failures of the progressive and liberal movements how LaFollette’s shortcomings may be corrected, and how his ideas may be supplemented and completed.

In truth, there is little daylight between the progressivism of Bob LaFollette and the left-libertarianism of the Agorists, the market-anarchists, the individualist-anarchists, and the classical liberals. As a candidate for governor, I hope to – as much as possible – unite and reconcile the ideologies subscribed to by the likes of the modern American socialist, Green, Libertarian, Constitution, and other political parties; not just on issues like military interventionism and civil liberties (on which they already - for the most part - agree), but also on issues which seem to be the greatest impediments to a solidified front against the domination of the political ideological landscape by the two-party duopoly, especially the most fundamental principles of such groups’ economic theories, and theories of what makes governance and authority legitimate.

Please support me - former U.S. congressional candidate Joe Kopsick – in my campaign for governor of Wisconsin in 2014. Putting a true political and economic independent – neither affiliated with nor supportive of the Democrats or the Republicans – in the Governor's Mansion will send a strong message to the nation at large that the two-party duopoly’s days are numbered.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Similarities Between the Anti-Zionist Satmar Jews and the Shi'ite Muslims

The anti-Zionist Satmar believe the Zionist State is premature, because the Mashiach for whom they have been waiting has not yet arrived. The Shi’ites believe that a Caliphate would be premature, because al-Mahdi for whom they have been waiting has not yet arrived. They also oppose the Zionist regime.

The anti-Zionist Satmar believe the Zionist State is usurpative of God’s authority, because Statist Jewish governance is administered by men, and not by God; but rather they support governance of Jews administered by panels of Rabbis, who have special religious authority.

The Shi’ites believe that a Caliphate would be usurpative of God’s authority, because Allah has not yet sent the prophet who would govern the Muslims; but rather they support governance of Muslims administered by the Imams, who have special religious authority.

Is it so unreasonable to conjecture that both religions could co-exist, and simply wait for their [savior / prophet] to arrive before jumping to conclusions about whether the other should be destroyed?

Is it unreasonable to say that the world would be safer - at least temporarily - if all Jews became anti-Zionist Satmar and all Muslims became mainstream Shi'ites?

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Molinari Meets Stirner

There is a market in legitimate coercion, and the federal government wants to monopolize. It horizontally integrates with other States through internationalism and globalism, and it vertically integrates with state and local governments, making them into their ostensibly co-sovereign subsidiaries.

"...the production of security should... remain subject to the law of free competition... no government should have the right to prevent another government from going into competition with it, or to require consumers of security to come exclusively to it for this commodity." - Gustave de Molinari

The State is a governance corporation which has monopoly over permit and charter, and thus wields the power to contractually enjoin those who would compete against it. The State thereby takes advantage of the fact that order, security, protection, defense, judgment, justice, and civility are high-demand commodities, for which the average person is willing to pay dearly, whether in freedom, in money and resources, or in both.

The State - in the quasi-infinite knowledge that comes with the territory of those who seek to monopolize information - wants to maintain a monopoly over the legitimate allocation of social and economic welfare, because it believes that, as the representative of the people en masse, it is the only entity capable of judging what is in "the people"'s best interest.

It professes to give voice and effect to the interests of the individual, while undermining the ability of the individual to judge for himself whether he has retained a choice between his undiminished set of alternatives, and how and in what manner he may wish to act in accordance with the desires of others.

Right-conflationists tend to interpret the works of Ayn Rand as meaning that there is a kind of moral imperative to act according to one's own self-interest, and to be more self-interested, and also to reject the existence of reciprocal altruism out of a tendency to reject selfless altruism without promise of reward, all of which can express themselves as an imperative to be more selfish, and to only give to others if you think it may benefit yourself.

Acting in pursuit of self-interest is not so much a moral imperative as much it is a prerequisite for the scientific study of rational economic behavior. It is assumed that individuals act in accordance with the pursuit of their own self-interest under rational expectations. I feel that seeming to promote this pursuit as imperative often fails to account for determination of actions which could be described as irrational due to expectations based on incomplete and unique possession of necessary information and conscientiousness. Appearing to tell people to behave rationally only enables the voodoo economic scientists to manipulate us and control the circumstances around us better.

The establishment economic scientists are studying us,
and they think their manipulation is part of the experiment.
For their voodoo science to work, they need to assume
rational behavior and local non-satiation of preferences.

They think that the assumptions of the experiment
are conditions which they need to create
in the laboratory which is the tax-farm society.

And so they instill in us a desire to behave "rationally"
(i.e., in accordance with their own expectations)
and create local non-satiation of preferences
through artificial shortages and manufactured desire.

Their experiment can be ruined if we act "irrationally"
- keeping in mind that roots of most integers are irrational,
and that to be radical is to "get to the root of things",
and also that "rationality" is defined as
"the pursuit of self-interest with rational expectations" -

by tempering our desires and making thorough use of resources
- with an underlying goal of alleviating the symptoms of
the establishment of written contractual permit and charter law
to uphold unmerited claims to private and public property rights
which perpetuate existing artificial shortages -

to build a society based on voluntary cooperation and voluntary interaction,
thereby transforming all taxable commercial interchange into gifts,
being that exchanges which both parties do not see as beneficial would not occur.

Let us expect what it is unreasonable to expect:
that we may come to structure social relationships
around the desire to rationally serve the interests of others,
in reciprocity and mutuality.

Let us free the market to abolish capitalism.
Let us see the abolition of capitalism as a market service,
and that that market should be freed, and opened to competitors.
Let us not pretend that capitalism can be replaced by
monopolists, oligarchs and autocrats.

 Let us reject too the idea of a revolutionary workers' state
- which simply replaces the existing system with another unitary Leviathan -
being that Molinari rejected communism as "an extension of monopoly".

We must have a revolution which is freely participated-in
by proponents of the various ideologies which oppose so-called capitalism
(really neo-corporatism, integral nationalism, tripartism).

We must have Revolution by a Union of Egoists and of Egoist Collectives;
a society comprised of societies which perceive an admittedly non-corporeal oneness.

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