Saturday, July 14, 2012

State law and parenting – Another aura of moral legitimacy

According to the LA Times, the law says, “If a parent caused a child’s death through abuse or neglect, then the other children in that parent’s care can be made court dependents, and child welfare workers can remove them from their home.” In other words, if you screw up once in a big enough way, then the state will come along and isolate you from those who care most about you. The LA Times says it sounds logical, at first: “… if government ever is justified in taking children from their parents, that’s when it should be done.”

While the mainstream media tends to do the bidding of the rulers, often without realizing it, more and more people are waking up to the true nature of government as an organization that enjoys an unhealthy sanction to violate fellow citizens. We provide that sanction – the citizens – until we exhibit civil disobedience or take another road less traveled. The best civil disobedience is the violation of laws in order to maintain one’s ethics. Another road less traveled can be explored at the Fully Informed Jury Association, where the primary function of a jury, to judge the law, is spelled out.

Consider Mr. C from the LA Times article, who decided that getting his daughter to the hospital was more important than obeying the child-restraint laws. This is someone attempting to be a better parent than the state wants people to be. This is a man who is removing his sanction, at least to some degree. Now that the state has punished him for flaunting legislation by taking his remaining children from him, his obstinacy grows. He now argues “that the law could be used in absurd ways”, as if the loss of his living children isn’t already absurd.

The unnamed writer explains, “Yes, parents should use the proper car seats for their children.” “Proper” here can only mean “legal”, since Mr. C drove his 18-month old with a relative who held the baby in her lap. Relatives are apparently less proper child restraints than a “certified child safety seat”. Is there any insidious propaganda here? Perhaps not.

The last sentence has all the trimmings of excellent writing: “When the law confronts a parent with the possibility of losing his children regardless of the choice he makes, perhaps the problem is not with the parent, but with the law.” This seems logical and agreeable, at first. However, when the law does not confront a parent with such a dire possibility in such restrictive situations, the problem is still with the law. What is a law, after all?

A law in any realm other than legislation is a tool we use to invent and predict. Legislated laws are promoted as tools to invent and predict, but when the inventions and predictions prove more beneficial to the private sector than to the government, legislation changes.

Legislated law is inherently violent because it is useful only to the degree to which it will be enforced, either through implied threats, or positive violation of the rights of those who ignore it. When legislated law doesn’t need to be enforced, there is no use in creating it. A better approach in that case is to publish a whitepaper, or offer a seminar.

Who then, you might ask, has the right to tear a family apart when one of the parents is destructive to the rest of the family? If we don’t agree to let the group we call “the state” and its minions we call “social workers” do it, then no one would do it. Some people think that would be terrible, and that is because they lack faith in Mother Nature. When the illusion of security that blinds friends and neighbors is finally starved to death through rampant tax avoidance, the family with the destructive parent will find its own ways to heal. For now, we have one arm of a parasitic leviathan supporting that illusion, so we can ignore the destructive parent in peace… at least until some writer who dares to put his name on his writing stands out to remind us that the state is a parasite.

The social workers and the judge should be put on trial for taking this man’s children away from him. During that trial, some other facts not in this article, but in another, written by Maura Dolan, and referred to in a comment by “camorton”, would come to light:

“County social workers received a report a week later that Valerie’s siblings, Ethan, 3, and Jesus, 8 months old, were being neglected…. After more than a year in foster care, his children were returned to him after he took several parenting courses…. ‘This was a family that was greatly in need of social services,’ [Kim Nemoy, principal deputy county counsel] said.”

The report came from a person who may have attempted to get William C. to learn better parenting skills, or it may have come from someone who was tired of the screaming his two kids did. The state is a tool that can be used for all kinds of reasons, but it is the only tool that provides coercion as a means to achieve your ends. It’s also a crutch for those of us who like to be negligent in our neighborly relations.

Thanks to that coercion, there is no way currently to determine the market price of the intervention that (presumably) made this man’s parenting skills tolerable enough for the state to let him have his children back. The service it provided cost more than it would have if the private sector performed it. In CAPDM’s report, Government, Industry, and Privatization, the conclusion explains that “… and the trend towards privatization, have been accompanied by a considerable increase in productive efficiency.” This is tempered with a warning about “allocative inefficiency” that may have increased. This means not providing services people don’t want, and providing more of the services people do want.

The private sector, if left to its own, may not have performed the service at all. Many people think this would be terrible; but are they charitable enough to give up some or all of what they are currently paying in taxes in order to provide that service? It is a sickness specifically of democracy that people think a lack of service is terrible even when they wouldn’t pay for themselves, but on which they would happily spend other people’s money. Given the intractability of this disease of democracy, what is the best way to assess what is good parenting?

The answer will not appease those who look for easy solutions to implement. The problem lies in the framing of the question. For many people, it comes down to a choice between some body of parents, some appointed or elected body of government employees, or a mix between the two. In all cases, the decision is officially removed from the individuals closest to the situation. The best way to determine what is good parenting – or, rather, what parenting is bad enough to justify interfering – is up to you and everyone else close to a situation in which parenting skills are lacking. The multitude of answers and opinions will compete and cause disagreements and arguments, but everyone involved will take personal responsibility for their own interference.

This is natural, common, neighborly social interaction, and something that easy answers and monolithic solutions obviate to the severe (subtle, insidious, and persistent) degradation of society. This, in essence, is why states eventually fail. The answer is personal responsibility.

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, 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 (, the Free State Project (, the Fully Informed Jury Association (

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...