Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dare to Depart the World of Allowable Opinion

I listen to the Tom Woods Show and one of the last lines in the audio intro says, "Beware citizen. You are now departing the world of allowable opinion." That is truly one of the themes of the show as Tom Woods and the guest will often have discussions and debates on questions that would absolutely never be allowed on mainstream media outlets. In contrast, typical mainstream discussions center around questions that are mostly inconsequential and irrelevant. Such discussions are meant to make sure that the "world of allowable opinion" remains small. I believe that everyone should strive to expand their horizon and have discussions that are more meaningful. I am not saying that everyone needs to have a more extreme opinion. I simply think that people need to explore more broadly and be prepared to shift their opinion based on facts and logic. I decided to put together some examples to illustrate what I am talking about. Each example will introduce a topic and include a trivial question and a relevant question.

Trivial: Should we pull the troops out of Afghanistan within five years or ten years?
Relevant: Why are we not pulling every last soldier out of Afghanistan as we speak?

Central Bank
Trivial: What interest rate should the Federal Reserve set?
Relevant: Is a central bank beneficial or harmful to the economy?

Trivial: How can we stop the federal government from granting citizenship to anchor babies?
Relevant: Does the federal government need to know anything about anyone?

Trivial: What limitations on government did the Founding Fathers put into the Constitution?
Relevant: After independence from Great Britain, did the States need a constitution or a federal government?

Trivial: What is the best public policy to discourage drug use?
Relevant: Will the elimination of public policies on drug use discourage drug use?

Trivial: How can we direct more tax money towards education?
Relevant: Is school the best place for children?

Trivial: How can we ensure that Social Security benefits will be there when people need it?
Relevant: How can we let people opt out of Social Security?

Trivial: How can the government save the environment?
Relevant: How can property rights protect the environment better than regulation?

Foreign Policy
Trivial: How can the United States shape world events to their advantage?
Relevant: What lessons can we learn from Switzerland's armed neutrality over the last 200 years?


Trivial: What should we replace Obamacare with?
Relevant: What are the economic benefits of eliminating not only Obamacare, but also Medicare and Medicaid?

Trivial: Who was a better leader? Lincoln or Churchill?
Relevant: Are the "great leaders" of the past actually responsible for unnecessary death and destruction?

Trivial: How do we stop the influx of illegal immigrants?
Relevant: How can immigration increase my productivity?

Trivial: How can we fix our crumbling road system?
Relevant: What is the best way to privatize public roads?

Trivial: How can the United States help Israel?
Relevant: Would I materially support Israel if I were not already taxed for it?

Trivial: How can we stop the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries?
Relevant: Is the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries a bad thing?

Trivial: What new laws need to be passed?
Relevant: Which law should we get rid of first?

Trivial: Should we allow gays to get a marriage license?
Relevant: Should we allow the state to license marriages?

Minimum Wage
Trivial: What is the best minimum wage?
Relevant: Is a minimum wage at any level economically beneficial?

Trivial: Under what circumstances can a policeman search someone against their will?
Relevant: How can private police do a better job than public police?

Public Land
Trivial: Should we use public land for logging, recreation, or conservation?
Relevant: How can the complete privatization of land benefit everyone?

States' Rights
Trivial: Will Arizona's law withstand a Supreme Court challenge?
Relevant: Does Arizona need to be a part of the United States?

Trivial: What should the tax rate be for the top tax bracket?
Relevant: How can we eliminate the income tax?

Trivial: What is the best way to kill terrorists?
Relevant: Why do some people feel so strongly about harming the United States?

Trivial: What type of person should you vote for?
Relevant: Should you vote?

Trivial: How should California enforce its water rationing during the drought?
Relevant: How can a price system help Californians in regards to water?

Trivial: What should be taken into account when crafting zoning laws?
Relevant: What are the moral implications of zoning laws?

I hope that you now have an idea of the vast range of ideas that should have a part in any debate on any important topic. The next time you are engaged in a discussion on something that affects many people, ask yourself if the scope of your discussion is trivial or relevant.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Technology is Liberty, Part IV: What can Bitcoin do for Me?

Special thanks to Mike Hearn who provided many of the concepts that form the basis of this post.

We have seen how Bitcoin can do some amazing things that benefit humanity in general. Despite those long-term benefits that I outlined in Part III, you may be wondering, “What can Bitcoin do for me personally?” Bitcoin allows people to do some really cool things that can directly improve their lives*. There are probably too many to discuss here, but I will attempt to describe some of the most significant of them. Keep in mind that, while the actual execution of all these things is fairly complex, eventually software will be able to make them as easy as sending an email.

Multi-Signature Wallets

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I am Against State Marriage

There is a lot of debate about gay marriage and whether or not states should institute it. A lot of gay people feel that their rights are being violated if they cannot get married. A lot of other people feel that the state has no right to redefine the definition of marriage. Many libertarians feel that the obvious answer is to get the state to allow gay marriage since it does not matter what peaceful choices individuals make. I disagree with that answer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Anarchy is Not Anti-Organization

I believe in self-ownership, meaning that each individual owns himself and is his own sovereign. I believe that the non-aggression principle is valid, meaning that the initiation of force is illegitimate. The consistent application of these principles leads me to completely reject the legitimacy of the government. That is what makes me an anarchist and anti-government.

A lot of misunderstanding arises after people hear that I am anti-government. Many people assume that I must be anti-organization and anti-cooperation but nothing could be further from the truth. I believe I have identified the root of the misunderstanding. It is actually my fault and it is due to my use of ambiguous terms.

Ambiguity: Is this a duck or a rabbit?