Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Quoted for Thought: More on money

A second thing to note about modern monetary systems is that the market value of these exchangeable monetary points lies, for all of their users, purely in their exchange value. That is, the only value that attaches to the acquisition and possession of money comes from the knowledge that money can be exchanged for other things. It is true that people also seek to acquire money as a “store of value” that they save for indefinite periods and have no definite plans to spend. But the only reason one can be successful in storing value when one saves money is that other things continue to happen out in society that preserve the use of that money as a medium of exchange. If at any time people became unwilling to accept that form of money in exchange, the saver would no longer be storing value when they saved their money, but valueless points on a meaningless scorecard.

Taken from here. Long article, worth looking at. And likely the rest of the series is as well.

Quoted for thought: Jim Bovard on the Post Office

“The Postal Service has often acted as if mail delivery was a mere nuisance distracting from the gainful pursuit of pensions.”

Read the rest here.

Thinking about: Collectivist versus individualist valuation

One of the basic differences between collectivists and individualists – socialism versus the market – is how the different subspecies of H. Sapiens view value. An individualist values an item based on its worth to him. The most expensive and finely crafted .40S&W handgun is of little value to me in its own right, as I do not have any .40S&W ammunition, nor do I intend to acquire any. As such, it has value only for potential resale or retrade to someone else who did value it more highly. This is not to say it has no value, or that I wouldn’t give value for it, if I thought I could receive an increase in the resale or retrade. This is, of course, the only realistic means of establishing value – the price of an item as exchanged between willing buyer and willing seller at the time of the exchange.

Collectivists, however, are not comfortable with individual choice not duly approved by the herd, however, and will find other means to value items. The concept is ridiculous on its face – what is the value of a gallon of water? In the desert? In my kitchen? Trying to set a “single” value for that gallon of water is impossible, and so a collectivist is forced to begin adding all sorts of adjectives such as time, place, etc. to the valuation … in other words, moving closer and closer to the same system used by individualists.

One of the common measurements beloved of collectivists is “amount of time invested.” Time can certainly add value to an item – aged wines, custom crafted items, slow-cooked BBQ – but time, by itself, is irrelevant as a measurement without knowing what exactly that time is being used for. We are told, for instance, that Italy Works 20% More Than Germany, as though that means something. Absent a definition of “work,” it’s about as useless a factoid as might be imagined. A typical defendant in a landlord/tenant matter may well work 100% – 500% – 10,000% more than I do on a case, due to his inexperience and lack of education and training – but that does not mean that his product (a winning verdict) is going to be better than mine. The time value of labor is one of those lovely feel-good Marxist theories that, in real life, turns out to be nothing more than wishful thinking equivalent to most of the childlike theories advanced by Mr. Marx in regard to economics.

Thinking about: Credibility in the Media

Can someone explain to me just exactly how all the hoplophobe – gun fearing – organizations in the United States retain any credibility with the supposedly objective mainstream media? Every time a state has decided to stop prosecuting law abiding citizens who choose to carry firearms for self defense, these grasseating pantywetters get all lathered up and scream, rant, and rave about how there will be shootings over parking spaces and blood will run in the streets after every fender bender. And yet, Gunmageddon (hat tip to Brian Wilson) never happens. In fact, crime goes DOWN, and concealed carry holders are among the most crime free in the nation – better than most legislatures, as a guess.

Now the grasseaters are all het up about the federal proposal to make concealed carry permits reciprocal, predicting blood in the streets and etc. Chuckleheads who are willing to bend over for any other sweeping federal mandate suddenly have discovered the Glory Of States’ Rights.

The question, though, is how the grasseaters get any traction in the media? I’ve never heard a reporter stick a microphone in a grasseater’s face and say, “You’ve been wrong the past 27 times you predicted Gunmageddon, why should people believe you now?” The fact that the mainstream media doesn’t ask the hard question like that, the fact that the media gives the grasseaters unwarranted credibility on this issue (and so many others) is just more proof that the mainstream media is in agreement with the grasseaters in regard to their agenda.

Which wouldn’t bother me so much if the media didn’t pretend to be objective and honest. If they would just admit to having their own agendas – none of which include “fairness,” “honesty,” or “accuracy” when such are in conflict – I’d like to think we’d see a bit of a change how things happen in this nation.

Thinking about: Government defending the right to life

If one of the purposes of government, as argued by Thomas Jefferson, was the protection of life – wouldn’t this potential decision by Pakistan to say enough is enough with the US killing noncombatants be over long in coming and well in keeping with that purpose?

Of course, what if the US leaves off the drones and goes to aircraft? Will Pakistan follow through and shoot down something with Actual American People in it, just to protect a bunch of nameless Pakistanis? And if it does, what then? Does Obama get his wish for war with a nuclear armed Muslim country?

Stay tuned, and keep your popcorn handy!

Thinking about: Fear

Self defense courses, particularly ones relating to firearm use, often discuss the difference between “rational fear” and “blind fear?” The difference between a tighter feeling in your gut because you’re going to have to go do something about that “bump” downstairs at 2AM, versus “ZOMFGWTFBBQ DO I DO NOW? chicken with its head cut off” response?

I was thinking about that the other day when looking at some knuckle-dragging chest-thumpers spewing testosterone laden words about how “they” need to be killed to “protect America.” Besides the flat out stoooopid, a plan of action that would never be carried out by those who would not be obligated to even try to carry it out (really, Sportin’ Life? You’d go and stick a knife in a two year old girl’s chest because of her religion? That’s not protective, that’s psychotic. You need to get professional counseling and medication and not be advocating on foreign policy.) the tenor of their speech struck me as being a perfect example of blind fear. Not a rational, thought out, understanding of the threat and a proportionate response to same. Rather, it was the whimpering of a two-year-old hiding under his bed* because of the monsters in the closet.

Yet without any sense of irony, these idiots will assure me that they are living in the Land Of The Brave. Maybe they are – but they aren’t part of it.

*not a bad analogy, because unbeknownst to the kid, he’s managed to breed up a gigantic monster under the bed, in the form of all the new post-9/11 freedom killing laws, that will eat him long before any closet-dwelling moooslim does.

Thinking about: 4G Warfare as applied to non-military areas

Any relationship that is not consensual must, perforce, be coercive. It exists because the parties want it to exist, or because it has to exist on pain of pain.

The nature and structures of coercive relationships are as manifold as can be – all the way from simple emotional “guilting,” up through “continuing the floggings until morale improves” all the way until perfectly credible “do it or I’ll kill you.” But this is not to say that coercive relationships start out at the maximum level. Coercive relationships are nothing more than war between two or more individuals, a contest of wills – or abilities – and, as such, are subject to the same analysis as any other war-related activities when it comes to determining which generation of war is being fought.

For instance, the losers in an election are told that they “have to take it, because they lost.” Torocaca. Winning doesn’t make you right, it just means you get your way. Nor does participation in a vote create any consent in the results on the part of the loser, any more than losing a war creates consent. It simply creates a losing side that does not wish to be injured any more.

But assertions that losers are stuck with the results are a perfect example of a 2G warfare mindset. The British Redcoats whined about American riflemen shooting from behind rocks and trees instead of lining up in neat rows. Tough kibble. There’s no rule that says a side is obligated to fight the same style of war as the other, and there’s no penalty for being “unfair” in war. Likewise the winners of elections who say that the other side has to live with the results – true, but only so far as the other side accepts. If the losers mount a “guerilla” action of, say, slowdowns, noncompliance, or out and out defiance, it can certainly bump things back into armed conflict (also known as “calling the police or National Guard”) initiated by the winners, but that can, as regimes have found over the years, backfire dramatically when the police and troops decide that maybe they’re better off with the “losers.”

One interesting facet of 4G warfare, as applied to non-military areas, is that individuals and groups in power often, after time, take that power for granted, and forget that such power ultimately rests on nothing more than forbearance, rather than consent, of the other side to not take remedial action. Civil wars are messy, nasty, but are often the end result of one side forgetting the lessons that history teaches.

Got popcorn?

Thinking about: Society

Though it pains me to use the word “society”* in place of “social group,” it’s common parlance for people to use it as a noun, rather than the verb that it is.

So, that being said, let’s take a short thought at just what holds a group – a society – together.

There are only two ways that a society stays in one piece. Consent. And coercion. You are with someone else either because you want to be, or because you have to be.

Up until 1865, the theory was that Americans were going to be together because they wanted to be. After 1865, it was painfully obvious that they were going to be together because they had to be.

Unfortunately, forcing association can only last for so long. It’s the sort of society that Adam Smith referred to as a “brittle” society, one which has no real strength and resilience in times of stress. While it may hold up to some degree under an external threat – which is why politicians are constantly working to manufacturing them – nevertheless internal stresses will gradually wear it down, and you’ll come to the point where the ruling class can only hold power at the point of a gun. Once that stage is reached, the crash is inevitable, because eventually those on the other side of the gun will realize that they outnumber by far the number of people with guns – and the slide to doom commences.

Though this is just part of a pattern, it may also be a starting gun on the race to the end.

Got popcorn?

Thinking about: The free market

Looking at the current economic mess, it’s now become fashionable to claim that the free market doesn’t work. But doing so is no different than taking the steering wheel and brakes off of a car, then claiming that cars don’t work as it goes plunging at full speed over a cliff. Markets only work if you don’t screw with their processes, and the market, in order to work, is going to have to involve pain for bad decisions. Backstopping investors with tax dollars, or cutting huge checks out of the Treasury to “to big to fail” institutions is no different than taking the brakes and steering off of a car careening toward a cliff. That’s not the “free market,” that’s “crony capitalism,” and attempting to conflate the two so as to tarnish the one system that can potentially produce the maximum of human weal is madness.

Or a concerted effort by those who do not like the idea of human weal – for other humans, anyway.