Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole? Neo: You could say that. Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that's not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo? Neo: No. Morpheus: Why not? Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life. Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about? Neo: The Matrix. Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is? Neo: Yes. Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.
« Last Edit: 2015-10-03 20:37:00 by David Lucifer »
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #1 on: 2015-10-03 20:45:38 »
I started this thread to document my loss of faith. Not my loss of faith in God, that happened so long ago I don't even remember, probably in my very early teens. No, I'm referring to my loss of faith in the State. I no longer believe it exists, at least no more than God exists as a fiction used by a group of unethical mortals to literally subjugate their fellow humans. I've been on this path for many years, increasingly skeptical of political authority. But it has only been in the last year that I've understood what it really means to be an anarchist in the same sense that I am an atheist. I am an infidel (and in today's climate, a heretic) in both senses now.
I call it the Red Pill because it Morpheus was right, we were born into a kind of servitude, a prison for your mind.
« Last Edit: 2015-10-03 20:56:34 by David Lucifer »
“Without government, there would be chaos! We must have rule of law!”
“Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead. These procedures are known as the Rule of Law.” —Edward Abbey
The problem is that the people are taught that when violence has been made “legal” and is committed by “authority,” it changes from immoral violence into righteous “law enforcement.” The fundamental premise upon which all “government” rests is the idea that what would be morally wrong for the average person to do can be morally right when done by agents of “authority,” implying that the standards of moral behavior which apply to human beings do not apply to agents of “government” (again, hinting that the thing called “government” is superhuman). Inherently righteous force, which most people generally agree is limited to defensive force, does not require any “law” or special “authority” to make it valid. The only thing that “law” and “government” are needed for is to attempt to legitimize immoral force And that is exactly what “government” adds, and the only thing it adds, to society: more inherently unjust violence. No one who understands this simple truth would ever claim that “government” is essential to human civilization. —Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition
« Last Edit: 2015-10-03 21:01:39 by David Lucifer »
Sometimes very simple questions can cause profound cognitive dissonance. Here is a series of very simple questions I like to pose to people at random, especially if I want to make their heads explode. (For the record, my head was long ago exploded by these simple concepts, so I’m not claiming superiority here.)
1) Can you delegate to someone else a right which you don’t have? For example, if you don’t have the right to punch me in the nose (just for fun), can you GIVE the right to do so to someone else?
The answer is self-evident: no, you can’t. If it’s bad for you to do it, you can’t make it good for someone else to do it, whether it be murder, assault, theft, vandalism, etc. If it’s immoral for YOU to do something, how could you possibly have the ability to make it moral for someone ELSE to do it?
2) Can TWO people delegate a right that neither of them has? For example, if TWO of you want me to be punched in the nose (but neither of you has the right), can you GIVE a third person the right to punch me? What if 50 of you wanted it? How about a million people?
Again, the answer is pretty obvious: no, the NUMBER of people who want to do something bad doesn’t make it into something good; numbers cannot create the moral RIGHT for someone to do something. And note, I’m talking about moral justification, not mere ability. Almost everyone is ABLE to punch me in the nose–especially if there are a million people who want my nose punched–but that’s not the same as having a moral RIGHT to do so. It doesn’t matter how big the group gets: if NO ONE in the group has a right to do “A,” then they can’t give that right to someone else.
Up to this point, most people follow along without much protest. The answers seem patently obvious to almost everyone. However, if I add a third, equally simple question, it sends most people into a philosophical crisis:
3) If people cannot delegate rights they don’t have, where did “government” get the right to do what it does?
Sure, a few “laws” are just the exercising of rights we all have: the right to defend yourself (or others) against thieves, murderers, invaders, etc. We have the right of self-defense, so–if we feel so inclined–we can delegate that right to someone else. But consider how many so-called “laws” are things which you and I would never dream of doing on our own, because we know we don’t have the right.
For example, do you personally have the right to demand money from your neighbor, just because you want it? Do you have the right to imprison him for smoking a leaf you don’t approve of? To take his money for driving his car without your permission? To tell him what he can eat, where he can live, who he can work for, who he can hire, who he can fire, how he can run his business, what he can sell? And do you have the right to put him in a cage if he chooses to disobey any arbitrary command you care to fling at him? If YOU don’t personally have the right to play intrusive control freak, how did those in “government” get the right to do it? Who gave it to them?
At this point, many people jump to the popular excuse of necessity. “We NEED to have government doing those things, or there would be…. ANARCHY!” That’s nice, but it doesn’t answer the question: from whom did they get the right? Based on the self-evident answers to my first two questions, they didn’t get the right from YOU, or from any of your six billion neighbors (none of whom have the right themselves). So, where did it come from? A piece of parchment? A magical voting booth? If we mere mortals didn’t give them the right (and we didn’t), who or what DID?
We talk about “representative” government. What does that mean? If someone really “represents” me, he may do only what I may do. For example, I could authorize my “representative” to do business for me. I could do it myself, but I allow him to do it instead. What I may NOT morally do, however, I cannot authorize him to do either. To be a “representative” just means acting on someone else’s behalf. If I have no right to do a particular thing, it should be painfully obvious that someone “representing” me doesn’t have that right either.
So, upon whose behalf are the federal “representatives” acting? If YOU don’t personally have the right to “tax” me (and you don’t), neither does your “representative.” How, then, did we reach a point where almost everyone accepts as indisputable doctrine that our “representatives” have rights that WE DON’T? On its face the idea is absurd, and yet 99.9% of the country unquestioningly accepts it as a given.
I’m going to stop there for now, because I have found, after doing this little mental exercise with dozens (if not hundreds) of people, that those few simple concepts are enough to stir up some serious turmoil in the minds of 99% of the people who consider them. Why? Because those few simple, obvious answers very plainly lead to a conclusion that scares the existential heck out of most people. It’s so scary, in fact, I won’t even say what that conclusion is … yet.
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #7 on: 2015-10-04 22:48:29 »
It seems to me the nation of God is departing and the next epiphany that is upon us, is the end the 'Nation State'.
This rather Sanctimonious piece, albeit narcissistic, still has the notion of the end of nations as we have known them, at its heart : with 11 million views is pushing a meme to this end. I suspect as we plug in further to the 'collective' the institutions of nationhood will be less necessary, but we have a long way to go before all the psychopaths, we have nurtured, are defused.
It seems to me the nation of God is departing and the next epiphany that is upon us, is the end the 'Nation State'.
I hope you're right, that we're seeing the advent of a new Enlightenment. But given that it has been 300 years since the first one and over 80% of the population still has faith in god, I'm not holding my breath
Peter is a wealthy man and has $1,000 in his wallet. He plans to use it for a variety of things—some groceries, taking his wife out to dinner, and buying some new golf clubs he’s been admiring.
Enter Paul. Paul thinks that Peter’s money could be put to better use, like helping low-income families get healthcare and putting children into preschool, among other things. As a result of his beliefs, Paul threatens Peter. Peter can “voluntarily donate” to these programs, but if he refuses, or doesn’t offer “enough” of his income, Paul will take Peter’s money anyway and hold him in captivity.
Would you consider this to be fair? Probably not. Just because Paul wants Peter to spend his money on certain honorable causes doesn’t mean that Paul has the right to take Peter’s money. Paul is stealing from Peter. He is violating Peter’s rights by stealing his property.
Most people would take issue with the above scenario. However, many people advocate this kind of activity everyday. Instead of just Paul and Peter, however, it’s Peter, Paul, and the government. Paul thinks Peter should spend his money in some particular way and Peter disagrees. Since Paul is not powerful enough to compel Peter to fork over his money for certain causes, he lobbies the government and votes to raise Peter’s tax rate. Quote:
“Peter is rich,” Paul says. “He’s in the top 20 percent of income earners! He should do his part to help his fellow man.”
This is frequent rhetoric for those who advocate higher taxes for wealthier people in society. But just because such arguments are used frequently doesn’t make them correct or give them moral traction.
If we agree that the first scenario is theft, then why does the introduction of a middleman, the government, make a difference? Theft is theft. Coercion is coercion. If you wouldn’t steal Peter’s wallet and give its contents to some cause you deem worthy, why is it OK for someone you voted for to steal it on your behalf?
I posed this very question to a friend after she told me she had voted for Obama (in 2008) because “her brother needed healthcare and Obama would create universal healthcare.” I asked her why other people should be forced to pay for her brother’s medical expenses when they are paying for their own and working to support themselves. Why is it their responsibility?
I’m still waiting for an answer to this question that doesn’t invoke emotion as its only authority.
There are two general forms of direct taxation. First, there are taxes based on a person’s ability to pay. Second, there are taxes levied in proportion to the benefits received by an individual from her fellow tax-payers. The vast majority of taxes in the U.S. (and in many countries) are of the first variety. Income taxes, for example, represent nearly 50 percent of tax revenue. These individuals aren’t likely paying for services from which they benefit, but their money is being used all the same.
I fail to see how these types of taxes represent any notion of justice or occupy the moral high ground. If we accept private property rights, then advocating for increased taxation because “someone should give up more of their money” or they aren’t paying the “fair share” (a totally vacuous concept) is advocating theft.
Taking from someone who has earned a great deal of money to give it to the poor, doesn’t make a robber a moral person. It makes him a thief! Calling on the government to rob Peter on Paul’s behalf doesn’t magically make the situation morally good.
As the late economist Murray Rothbard said, Quote:
Just as no one is morally required to answer a robber truthfully when he asks if there are any valuables in one’s house, so no one can be morally required to answer truthfully similar questions asked by the State.
« Last Edit: 2015-10-07 10:53:13 by David Lucifer »
Slavery existed for thousands of years, in all sorts of societies and all parts of the world. To imagine human social life without it required an extraordinary effort. Yet, from time to time, eccentrics emerged to oppose it, most of them arguing that slavery is a moral monstrosity and therefore people should get rid of it. Such advocates generally elicited reactions ranging from gentle amusement to harsh scorn and even violent assault.
When people bothered to give reasons for opposing the proposed abolition, they advanced various ideas. Here are ten such ideas I have encountered in my reading.
1. Slavery is natural. People differ, and we must expect that those who are superior in a certain way—for example, in intelligence, morality, knowledge, technological prowess, or capacity for fighting—will make themselves the masters of those who are inferior in this regard. Abraham Lincoln expressed this idea in one of his famous 1858 debates with Senator Stephen Douglas: “[T]here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
2. Slavery has always existed. This reason exemplifies the logical fallacy argumentum ad antiquitatem (the argument to antiquity or tradition). Nevertheless, it often persuaded people, especially those of conservative bent. Even nonconservatives might give it weight on the quasi-Hayekian ground that although we do not understand why a social institution persists, its persistence may nonetheless be well grounded in a logic we have yet to understand.
3. Every society on earth has slavery. The unspoken corollary is that every society must have slavery. The pervasiveness of an institution seems to many people to constitute compelling proof of its necessity. Perhaps, as one variant maintains, every society has slavery because certain kinds of work are so difficult or degrading that no free person will do them, and therefore unless we have slaves to do these jobs, they will not get done. Someone, as the saying went in the Old South, has to be the mud sill, and free people will not tolerate serving in this capacity.
4. The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves. This idea was popular in the United States in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries among people, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who regarded slavery as morally reprehensible yet continued to hold slaves and to obtain personal services from them and income from the products these “servants” (as they preferred to call them) were compelled to produce. It would be cruel to set free people who would then, at best, fall into destitution and suffering.
5. Without masters, the slaves will die off. This idea is the preceding one pushed to its extreme. Even after slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, many people continued to voice this idea. Northern journalists traveling in the South immediately after the war reported that, indeed, the blacks were in the process of becoming extinct because of their high death rate, low birth rate, and miserable economic condition. Sad but true, some observers declared, the freed people really were too incompetent, lazy, or immoral to behave in ways consistent with their own group survival. (See my 1977 book Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy, 1865–1914.)
6. Where the common people are free, they are even worse off than slaves. This argument became popular in the South in the decades before the War Between the States. Its leading exponent was the proslavery writer George Fitzhugh, whose book titles speak for themselves: Sociology for the South, or, the Failure of Free Society (1854) and Cannibals All!, or, Slaves Without Masters (1857). Fitzhugh seems to have taken many of his ideas from the reactionary, racist, Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle. The expression “wage slave” still echoes this antebellum outlook. True to his sociological theories, Fitzhugh wanted to extend slavery in the United States to working-class white people, for their own good!
7. Getting rid of slavery would occasion great bloodshed and other evils. In the United States many people assumed that the slaveholders would never permit the termination of the slave system without an all-out fight to preserve it. Sure enough, when the Confederacy and the Union went to war—set aside that the immediate issue was not the abolition of slavery, but the secession of eleven Southern states—great bloodshed and other evils did ensue. These tragic events seemed, in many people’s minds, to validate the reason they had given for opposing abolition. (They evidently overlooked that, except in Haiti, slavery was abolished everywhere else in the Western Hemisphere without large-scale violence.)
8. Without slavery the former slaves would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem. Preservation of social order therefore rules out the abolition of slavery. Southerners lived in dread of slave uprisings. Northerners in the mid-nineteenth century found the situation in their own region already sufficiently intolerable, owing to the massive influx of drunken, brawling Irishmen into the country in the 1840s and 1850s. Throwing free blacks, whom the Irish generally disliked, into the mix would well-nigh guarantee social chaos.
9. Trying to get rid of slavery is foolishly utopian and impractical; only a fuzzy-headed dreamer would advance such a cockamamie proposal. Serious people cannot afford to waste their time considering such farfetched ideas.
10. Forget abolition. A far better plan is to keep the slaves sufficiently well fed, clothed, housed, and occasionally entertained and to take their minds off their exploitation by encouraging them to focus on the better life that awaits them in the hereafter. We cannot expect fairness or justice in this life, but all of us, including the slaves, can aspire to a life of ease and joy in Paradise.
At one time, countless people found one or more of the foregoing reasons adequate grounds on which to oppose the abolition of slavery. Yet in retrospect, these reasons seem shabby—more rationalizations than reasons.
Today these reasons or very similar ones are used by opponents of a different form of abolitionism: the proposal that government as we know it—monopolistic, individually nonconsensual rule by an armed group that demands obedience and payment of taxes—be abolished. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide whether the foregoing reasons are more compelling in this regard than they were in regard to the proposed abolition of slavery.
Fallacy: It’s not “the state” that is taxing you and coercing you; in a democracy “the state is us”, so we’re doing it to ourselves.
“Since outright slavery has been discredited, “democracy” is the only remaining rationale for state compulsion that most people will accept. Democracy has proved only that the best way to gain power over people is to assure the people that they are ruling themselves. Once they believe that, they make wonderfully submissive slaves.” —Joseph Sobran
“We must, therefore, emphasize that ‘we’ are not the government; the government is not ‘us.’ The government does not in any accurate sense ‘represent’ the majority of the people. But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority. No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that ‘we are all part of one another,’ must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.” —Murray Rothbard
“Also, if ‘we’ are the government, then why would it be a sin to stop paying taxes? Am I required to pay myself?” —Gary Wingrove II
A good reductio ad absurdum for the false premise that “the state is us” is that since Hitler was elected, and Jewish people were part of the population that elected him, they weren’t murdered in the concentration camps, but rather committed suicide, since they were the state.
More fundamentally, however, the fallacy rests on the false premise that voting is consent and that infringement of individual rights (to life, liberty, and property) is justified if a majority wills it. But individual rights do not come from states or majorities, but are a property of individual self-ownership (see Introduction to Voluntaryism).
« Last Edit: 2015-10-08 21:53:24 by David Lucifer »