Libertarian Ramblings

Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

Fruit of the Poisoned Tree

Posted by gravisman on November 11, 2012

One of the ideas I find myself most often thinking about and evangelizing is the general philosophy of non-aggression ethics in creation of laws. That is, the idea that any law that aggresses against citizens, or takes liberties from the same, is unethical. By far the most typical form of aggression is that which steals from the citizens – i.e. through income taxes.

I find that virtually every argument in favor of the modern governmental system which steals 1/3 or more of citizens’ income is, rather obviously, centered around bragging about the wonderful services rendered with the plundered coin. Moreover, proponents of large government like to make a counter-factual argument by supposing that if we did not have a large government, surely we would not have anything that is good like health care, electric service, roads, or any other necessities of life. That might be true or it might not be – none of us can know because do not live in that world. That is precisely why the counter-factual argument is a fallacy, but that’s the beside the point for the moment.

The more important idea, philosophically, is that even if it is true that without government, society would lose a lot of great things, the government is still unethical. We would not have a good highway system, health care, or (god forbid) even the internet itself. Even if all of that is true, a government funded via income taxes is still not justified. The issue is that income taxes are simply stealing, even if the masses tacitly consent. If all the voters but me believe taxes are good, but I would rather keep my earned income, the masses use their strength via the “legal” system to steal of my income without my consent. Therefore any income tax which lacks 100% agreement from the citizenry is certainly stealing from some.

Returning to thoughts of the wonderful services provided to us by the government, of which there are arguably many (with trillions of dollars in operating budgets, there ought to be). Problem is, no matter how great the services provided, they are all stained with the red hands of the thief, and therefore none of them can be considered ethical. They are all fruit of the poisoned tree, so to speak.

What I say to those who justify taxing people like me against our will is that your argument boils down to this: “Look at all the cool stuff we can build by stealing from people.” I have no doubt you can do great things by stealing great amounts of wealth. Stealing is still wrong.

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Resisting arrest

Posted by gravisman on December 19, 2008

For a few years now I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of resisting arrest as a crime. On a regular basis I find myself coming across stories of individuals who are wrongly attacked by police officers, and despite being cleared of any wrong doing prior to the attack, are still charged with resisting arrest. Since this is a felony, people can do jail time and have their lives severely thrown off track by something clearly caused by police error.

While many stories of this nature have come across my desk, the one that gets me thinking today this one. It’s beyond me that anyone could find it logical to call resisting a kidnapping at the hands of men who do not identify themselves a crime. That’s exactly what Galveston police are doing, though, charging a girl with resisting arrest for fighting back against unmarked police officers who jumped out of a van at her.

I would actually consider this a mild case, and one where the girl will probably get off. There are many more horrific stories. Another that comes to mind is this¬†one where people are arrested seemingly because they resisted arrest (don’t ask me to explain that) and because they attempted to run away from a situation.

I see two problems in logic here. First, every person has the right to defend his or her self against unwarranted aggression. Second, we all have the right to flee a threatening situation.

Consider the following situation: you walk down the sidewalk and men jump out of a car and tackle a man walking near you. Scared for what might happen, you start running. Upon seeing you run, the men start chasing you. You throw things back at them as you run, and flail at them when they finally catch you and tackle you. You soon discover they are police officers. It doesn’t take long before everyone figures out that you were not at all involved with the man the police wanted – you are innocent. Good to go, right? Wrong. You will still be charged with resisting arrest. The only reason you were ever arrested in the first place is because you were scared and ran.

I propose two legislative changes to rebalance the power of the people and restore basic liberty. The first is to mandate that simply running or attempting to flee an area should not be considered probable cause for an arrest. The second is that resisting arrest should not punishable unless a suspect is convicted of another crime. That is, if you were falsely arrested in the first place, you cannot be charged with resisting arrest. We can still have our go at the real criminals who are rightly arrested – we just don’t need to be ruining the lives of people who are proven innocent.

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Free Market Government

Posted by gravisman on October 28, 2008

Link – Dealing with Police

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Ubiquitous Wifi

Posted by gravisman on July 9, 2008

Sometimes people criticize me or libertarianism in general for being too cold and seamingly selfish. They argue that people can do great things if they work together. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. People naturally work together to accomplish their greatest work. This is why we form corporations, and is really the heart of free enterprise and capitalism. One of the greatest benefits of true liberty is the freedom to work together and to find great ways to work together without governmental meddling.

One of the greatest ways in which we could all work together for mutual benefit is right at our fingertips in millions of homes across the USA. I’m talking about ubiquitous wifi. Ubiquitous wifi is the idea that virtually wherever you go, there will be an open wifi network with which to connect to the internet. We already live in a world where you can pick up a wifi signal almost anywhere, but the odds of that signal being unencrypted are getting lower every day.

The basic logic behind locking down wifi networks with encryption is that people don’t want others leeching their connection. Ok, that makes sense. But, what if you could share your connection under the expectation that most of the time nobody will be using it anyway, and even when they are, you probably won’t notice, and then in return you could have the awesome reward of accessing others’ connections wherever you go. The small loss of bandwidth you would give up to allow visitors on your network from time to time would be greatly overshadowed by your awesome ability to connect all around whatever city you live in.

I understand that we’re all sort of stuck in a prisoner’s dilema here. Everyone is afraid that they will be the only one to open their network, and people will leech off them without getting any benefit. I think this is a movement worth starting, though. Open your network. And when you do, put a comment saying “I opened my network.” After that, tell everyone you know or meet with a closed network that they should open theirs, too. Even in the beginning you can quickly get positive benefits by having easy access to the internet whenever you’re hanging out at any of your friends’ houses – because you will have made all them open their networks. With one circle of friends all enjoying easy access, you can grow from their. Things can only get better.

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