Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paypal Apparently Suffering from NSA Letters

Paypal has updated their policies.  One of the changes that struck me explains:

PayPal will give notice of a hold, Reserve, or limitation it makes to comply with a court order or other legal process, unless the court order or other process directs that PayPal not provide you notice, in which case the court order or other process supersedes any notice obligation PayPal has undertaken or agreed to under the terms of this Agreement. PayPal has no obligation to contest or appeal from any such order or process.

I added the bold and the hyperlink to the section about Paypal being directed not to provide notice to those affected.  Paypal has decided not to defy the government when the government chooses to give unconstitutional commands.  Paypal is not a conscientious objector to the depravity of the state.  It's sad.  Who will stand up to this gross thug we call the US Government if not a company founded by one of the winner's of Libertopia's Sovereign Awards in 2010, Peter Thiel?

I just withdrew all the money I had there.  I recommend that course to everyone else.  I've also resisted getting their Credit Card, even when they offered me money to take it.  I recommend that course too.  Oh- unless you love the parasite and are willing to continue being its host.  If that is your disposition, then you should put all your money in the bank, whether it's Paypal or some other institution.  And make sure you pay your taxes!  Pay a little extra just to make sure you can't be blamed when the country goes broke.  Oh wait, it already did.  Well then, when government workers riot because they haven't been paid for too long.  And don't forget to vote!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Physical Education Brainwashing

[Note, in this article, I misuse the word "authority", which is why it links to an explanation.]
My daughter asked me for a note to get out of PE this morning.  She later explained that her P.E. teacher does trust her decision about whether or not to participate, but if she doesn't have a note, she doesn't get as many points.  In other words, part of the grade in P.E. comes from giving away the responsibility about what you do with your body to your parents, or to the teacher, who is then expected to control whether or not you participate, based on your input.

So I wrote her a note.  She has it, but I don't know if she'll use it.  It said something like this:

    My daughter should be trusted with the decision whether or not to participate in P.E.  She asked me to write this note because her ankle hurts.  Her request not to participate should be honored regardless of any notes from her parents.  It's an important part of growing up.
    Thanks, Dave Scotese
She read the note and I asked her what she thought of it.  She ignored my question, so I asked again, and this time she mumbled something.  "What?" I asked.  "I hate when you do that," she said.  She lost her appetite; she was going to eat a yogurt for breakfast but no longer wanted it.  This only puzzles me a little bit. 

I think the reason is that her teachers and parents are supposed to be on the same page, and here they are disagreeing.  They disagree about whether or not she should hold the sole responsibility about participating in a program designed (supposedly) to keep her fit.  The "normal" course of things is that the parents acquiesce to whatever the teachers decide, and the teachers decide whatever their bosses tell them to decide, and thus, the power rests at the top of the authority structure.  Kids get used to normal, and when things go otherwise, they become uncomfortable.  For the thugs in charge, this is a great setup because once people leave school, they have been conditioned to leave the important decisions in their lives up to the authorities, and stick with the status quo.

What effect does this have on the people themselves?  Well, just look around.  Economies grow because of the entrepreneurial spirit.  Entitlements grow because of political pandering.  Perhaps it is a stretch to claim that the P.E. programs in public schools are designed to keep the ruling class firmly entrenched by thwarting competition (the entrepreneurial spirit) and making people dependent on them through entitlement growth.

So I make a different claim: P.E programs like this are teaching kids who are just getting old enough to start being responsible for themselves that "they get more points" by appealing to their primary authority figures.  I claim that this lesson is bad for society.  I claim it because I believe (and have experience to back it up) that the vast majority of human beings are good and wish each other well, and thus, that ignoring authorities and making decisions without respect to or for them is one of the important trends that will support human progress.  We need more entrepreneurs and fewer entitlements.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My First City Council Meeting Speech

Sometimes we have stupid laws.  Does anyone here have a good strategy to deal with them?

The primary function of the independent juror is not to dispense or condone punishment, but rather to PROTECT fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government.

Another way to put it is that sometimes we have stupid laws, and it's up to the jury to say so.  Check out fija.org for more information.

There are laws prohibiting risky behavior.  These laws replace the natural consequences of risky behavior (both good and bad) with expensive artificial consequences.  In this way, all adults, foolish and wise alike, are prevented from taking risks. They are prevented - at significant cost to: everyone.  They are also prevented from gaining first-hand experience (both good and bad), and that, perhaps, is the greatest cost.

For example, gun control laws hinder good and brave citizens who might otherwise put down people like James Holmes and that idiot in Oak Creek before they do so much killing or simply make their plans too risky to start in the first place.  Laws against the use of marijuana prevent this cheap and abundant medicinal plant from providing relief to multitudes.  Laws requiring the payment of taxes fund horrendous wars and encourage presidents to lie about them.  And don't forget that prohibiting a behavior prevents law-abiding citizens from discovering the results on their own, and that, perhaps, is the greatest cost.

All of these bad effects of legislation can be decreased by jurors who understand their proper role. I urge the city council to help all Murrietans become fully informed, perhaps by providing a link to fija.org on the city council website, and lobbying the county to do the same.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Developing Human versus Computer Languages

While human language is used to entertain, inform, and manipulate, computer languages are used only to control the behavior of machines. With human language, both sender and receiver are humans, but computer languages are received only by machines. No one has any control over how human language is able to produce these effects, but for computer languages, there is always a controlling authority that specifies exactly how the language controls the machine.  Read More

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Interview with Ernest Dempsey

This post previously directed readers to what is below, but posted on greenheritagenews which was vandalized.  Thankfully, the web archive had a copy, so I was able to undo the vandal's damage and restore this post.

Ernest Dempsey — Dave Scotese, founder of the online literary community 
Litmocracy, is a brain at work – whether online or offline. 

Dave is a software consultant whose interest borders on the language of advanced gadgets, philosophical matters, and the human situation in the broader context. Above all, Dave is a critic gifted with the faculty of looking beyond the obvious. No wonder then that a question I recently happened to ask him led us into talking about power and subordination. Dave pointed to Tolkien’s popular fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings in which the bearer of the ring is influenced by its immense power, compelling him to venture into dangerous situations. What parallels we find in our lives with the motifs of slavery, possession, and power are the central element of the following discussion with Dave Scotese.

Ernest: Dave, let’s get directly to “power”. What does it mean to you and how do you relate it to “authority”?

Dave: Power, to me, is the ability to intentionally cause change. Of course, there are uses of the word that attribute it to things that can’t have intention (powerful cars, powerful lights, etc.), but I’m assuming that you mean powerful human beings. So how does the ability to intentionally cause change relate to “authority”? Authority is two-faced. On one hand, the marriage of openness and intellect can make a human being into an authority on whatever subject the human wishes. I am an authority on the computer systems of my largest client. On the other hand, the marriage of secrecy and coercion can make a human being into an authority over other human beings. My father explained a distinction he’d heard from someone that this second kind of authority is “official” whereas the first is not. There is no office that recognizes the authority of an expert whose openness and intellect put him in the position he holds. Without an office to legitimize the use of coercion, however, the other kind of authority cannot exist.  How does the ability to intentionally cause change relate to these two versions of authority? Both kinds are effective at enhancing a human being’s power, but one leads to war and the other to peace. Since I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, it follows that over time, we move closer to peace.

Ernest: What determines whether a relationship—particularly between humans—is one of “master” and “slave”?

Dave: There are many factors that contribute to the division of people into slave/master relationships and the, unfortunately, small minority who refuse the game. At the top of my list are the conditions under which one is raised. While good parents will help turn their children into creatures who will always struggle against slavery, “effective schools” can turn them into creatures who offer up their liberty for security. When such creatures have their own children to raise, the parental efforts to raise free people are much weaker and it takes a loud minority to remind them that individuals do not own each other, and that happiness flows from choice.

The Rite of Passage seems to me to be a point in the life of a child where they are to choose the mindset: Am I to remain a slave to whatever force I think can care for me, or become my own responsible party? I am an example of a creature who will always struggle against slavery, because I saw that choice after I finished college and took the second route. I have enough faith in myself to take the red pill, so I did. I was once an employee; but, since I wasn’t playing that master/slave game, I quit when I didn’t like the conditions. The same group of people still uses my services, but I have to please them, and they have to please me in return in order for us to continue our relationship. Many people with jobs have replaced their parents with their employer, or their government. They have chosen the blue pill, perhaps because their childhood drained them of faith in themselves. I think most people can see that happen a lot in schools.

Ernest: Let’s take the point a little deeper here. Do you see close similarity between the way a computer is programmed and how a child is led into, or away from, a particular way of living?

Dave: Certainly there is a similarity, but it’s quite shallow. The intent of the programmer is met to whatever degree the programmer follows the deterministic workings of the machine. The programmer aims to arrange the computer to exhibit certain behaviors. Likewise, a teacher or parent aims to arrange a child to exhibit certain behaviors – at least the poor ones do – but the crucial distinction is the will of the child.  Computers have no will, but children do. The better approach for teachers and parents is to guide that will in achieving whatever goals it sets for itself.

Ernest: How have religions—and I mean organized, institutionalized religions like Christianity, Islam, etc—used and still use the average human through  authoritarianism and dominance?

Dave: Your question makes an assumption with which I strongly agree, but which many people will find offensive. The trick here is to help them see freedom in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote “the law of God is written on the hearts of men.” It’s actually right there in the book of Genesis too – to eat of the Tree of Knowledge is to claim for oneself a knowledge of Good and Evil. To avoid making a claim for yourself on such knowledge is to discard the gift of self-determination. This is what most religions unfortunately encourage by providing earthly authorities and books (books “authored” by God himself, according to… the books themselves…?) to interpret and explain “the law of God”. While religions attempt to make people better at living together in peace, the individual people need to cross that Rite of Passage: if you think a behavior will do more harm than good, but it is “evil” according to your religion, which will you follow, your reason, or your religion? Which does your religion tell you to follow? Don Eminizer interpreted Nietzsche as explaining it thus: Religion tends to replace the self with a godhead.

Ernest: Now from a political angle. In our contemporary, mainly democratic world, we choose our own leaders—at least it appears so—and determine our own laws. Are we “free” in this sense, like living in “self-rule”?

Dave: What the voters of democratic states choose are not leaders, but rulers. Choosing your master does not make you free. It makes slavery more palatable. If that is what we are doing, and many of us appear to be doing that, then it doesn’t make us free. “We” is not a conscious being, capable of intent, freedom, or “self-rule”. Individuals are required for that. Speaking of individuals and government, Bill Thornton (of 1215.org, an homage to the Magna Charta) explains that a plaintiff is someone who holds a court. A court is a place where the sovereign (aka plaintiff) explains his own laws and then proceeds to publish evidence (to those attending court – a jury nowadays) that a defendant has violated those laws. The jury then decides, primarily whether the laws are just and reasonable; and, if they are, whether or not the defendant violated them and therefore deserves to be coerced into making restitution. If we ran things that way, then we could choose leaders (who can offer guidelines, but not enforce rules), but we wouldn’t need elections (your leader doesn’t have to be my leader), and we’d still be sovereigns, able to determine our own (individual) laws, and be free. Some of us already do that, and we recognize the state as a criminal violating our laws, but we have no court because there aren’t enough of us. However, our number grows: Check out The Dollar Vigilante (http://www.dollarvigilante.com/), the Free State Project (http://freestateproject.org/), the Fully Informed Jury Association (http://fija.org/).

Ernest: In general, does contemporary education system—like that in America—serve to enable a child to grow into a truly independent person?

Dave: In general, nowadays, as I mentioned above, it tends to postpone or even suppress the Rite of Passage, leading to the slave/master mentality. However, for those with strong wills, either inborn or developed by wisely challenging parents (as I like to think of myself), school indoctrination can provide a child with opportunities for real learning about the mechanisms of the parasite (another term for “master”), as well as a bit of useful real-world knowledge. This, however, requires constant vigilance on the part of parents and students, lest they be sucked into the trap. For example, Student Body Associations (SBAs) are political organizations that students can apply for and possibly be accepted into, and then enjoy privileges that are available not through the efforts of the SBA, but through the efforts of those who support the educational institution (usually “tax slaves”). By providing the kids with benefits, this leads them to believe that such political arrangements are good. By letting them share in the perks of the master for a while, the slavery system buys their loyalty.

Ernest: Like the ring’s power in The Lord of the Rings, is the human fascination with power or mastery a burden that makes life difficult for some segment of our population on this planet?

Dave: I suppose it does, but a warm sun likewise comes as a burden to the vacationer who has finished off his soda. It dehydrates him and will eventually kill him if he doesn’t get another drink. If he does get another drink, the warm sun can be converted back into the pleasant life-giver it was in the first place. Likewise, the fascination with power is not the essence of the burden. The essence of the burden is an unwillingness to endure that Rite of Passage through which children become adults. The Ring encourages this unwillingness, either through coercion or the sharing of the master’s benefits, and so freer people, whose freedom, by the way, makes them far more prosperous, suffer from hordes of slaves/zombies who, rather than thinking for themselves (fruit of the Tree), follow orders blindly. The Power of the Ring is “evil”, but either Frodo or Smeagol could have tossed it into the lava before it took them over. Instead, they fought like children. Every individual has the power to enslave weak-minded people, and any concentration of such power (a state, the Ring) will attract those who wish to use it. Wars are fought in earnest for the tribute of the citizens (tax slaves) in the conquered territory. When there are no such citizens, there will be no point to (earnest) war. Dishonest war, on the other hand, encouraged by the sellers of arms, might still be waged. Better people discard the wish to use concentrations of political power because they recognize the much higher value of people who will always struggle against slavery.

Ernest: So can you think of some forms of power that are essentially constructive – that don’t cause people to compromise their freedom?

Dave: The pen, as an open expression of intellect. That better kind of authority leads to “essentially constructive” power. For example, Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense, which argued that the American colonies would be better off without Great Britain as a (parasitic) protector. His power came from his healthy understanding of things and his ability to write. Words themselves. Socrates, to my knowledge, never actually used a pen. He asked a lot of questions, and because his questions penetrated, he is regarded as an authority in philosophy. The names and ideas of the people who forced him to drink poison are all but forgotten, but the “Socratic Method” is still widely used to… free people’s minds. The essentially constructive forms of power don’t just avoid causing people to compromise their freedom, they actually encourage people to defend and strengthen their freedom. This power is based on the mind and its ability to reason, rather than the body and its ability to suffer.

Ernest: And my last question here: as I have read and experienced personally, in the state of creative imagination, we attain freedom—or at least have the illusion that we do. How do you respond to this view?

Dave: Watch the movie Brazil and pay attention to what the protagonist experiences at the end of the movie. His is the pinnacle of freedom. When you reach that place, you no longer have anything desirable to the parasites. When there’s no one left for it to live off, it will die. I can’t wait!

Ernest: Thank you Dave! It’s always a pleasure to discuss questions with you. Hope to have another discussion soon with another topic of human interest.

Dave: Thank you Ernest!  I enjoyed your questions.

Taxpayers' say in Space Research

With each annual budget announcement for NASA's research and exploration, a question asked numerous times already starts crossing one's observation: what exactly is the real worth of all this space exploration to the life of an average American? And this question is tied to the pocket of an average American citizen since his/her tax goes into funding the projects and enterprises that venture into the vastness of space. NASA has a pretty colossal budget—$17.7 billion, according to this document. For what is it mainly used? Like all entities governed by committees, Read More...

Introduction to Voluntaryism

Voluntaryism is a purposeful misspelling of volunteerism or voluntarism (take your pick) because it is not founded on providing services for free. Instead, it's founded on the non-aggression principle. More precisely, it's founded on the idea of never threatening to violate another person's rights. That makes it sound very common, and I believe it is, but threats of right-violation can be hidden. For example a tax is a state demand for property, and if it weren't backed by the threat of violation of property (seizure) or movement (incarceration), then it wouldn't be a tax. Sadly, most people accept taxation while also remaining largely voluntaryist otherwise. I believe this duplicity has been a core reason for human suffering for many centuries.  Read More...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tyrannical Thugs

Dear Congressman,

Please examine the following piece of legislation:

U.S. Code § 486. Uttering coins of gold, silver or other metal
Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title [1] or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

What is the point of this law?  Go ahead, try to explain it.  If you think you've got it, and you think it makes sense, you ought to go back to the encyclopedia and look up "lawful money".  Here it is in the same body of law:

§ 411. Issuance to reserve banks; nature of obligation; redemption
Federal reserve notes, to be issued at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the purpose of making advances to Federal reserve banks through the Federal reserve agents as hereinafter set forth and for no other purpose, are authorized. The said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues. They shall be redeemed in lawful money on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve bank.

I think you already know that the Treasury doesn't actually redeem Federal reserve notes for "lawful money" as the law requires.  Why bother enforcing § 486 against legitimate businessmen like Bernard von Nothaus, while not bothering to enforce § 411 against one of the most important government agencies?

Would you people PLEASE get off your asses and fix this problem IMMEDIATELY.  You are in danger of being recognized as tyrannical thugs when you pick and choose which laws to enforce, and the victim is a private citizen and the benefactor is a government agency.