Thursday, 2013 September 19, 08:31 — politics

degrees of treason

Peter Ludlow (linked from Reason):

The former United States ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, argued that Snowden “thinks he’s smarter and has a higher morality than the rest of us … that he can see clearer than other 299, 999, 999 of us, and therefore he can do what he wants. I say that is the worst form of treason.”

(I haven’t found a more direct source for Bolton’s remarks.) If Snowden had instead sold his info to a rival state, at least he’d be keeping it in the family, as it were, rather than giving it indiscriminately to people who have never taken a government paycheck nor come anywhere near Yale; and it wouldn’t be the great sin of acting on his own initiative.

Later: Rather than go public on his own, Snowden shoulda given the files to 299,999,999 other Americans and let them vote on whether or not to publish.

Friday, 2013 May 24, 16:39 — me!me!me!, politics

down with “capitalism”

I posted this, which is mostly a condensation and paraphrase of part of Roderick Long’s zaxlebax speech.

Except for the chicken part.

Wednesday, 2012 April 25, 23:30 — politics


Do we not continually hear them quote Blackstone’s assertion that “no subject of England can be constrained to pay any aids or taxes even for the defence of the realm or the support of government, but such as are imposed by his own consent, or that of his representative in parliament?” And what does this mean? In affirming that a man may not be taxed unless he has directly or indirectly given his consent, it affirms that he may refuse to be so taxed; and to refuse to be taxed is to cut all connection with the state. Perhaps it will be said that this consent is not a specific, but a general one, and that the citizen is understood to have assented to everything his representative may do when he voted for him. But suppose he did not vote for him, and on the contrary did all in his power to get elected someone holding opposite views – what then? The reply will probably be that, by taking part in such an election, he tacitly agreed to abide by the decision of the majority. And how if he did not vote at all? Why, then he cannot justly complain of any tax, seeing that he made no protest against its imposition. So, curiously enough, it seems that he gave his consent in whatever way he acted – whether he said yes, whether he said no, or whether he remained neuter! A rather awkward doctrine, this. —Herbert Spencer: Social Statics

Saturday, 2012 February 18, 08:29 — ethics, politics

best libertarian book evar

When did this happen? Mary Ruwart has webbed the first edition of Healing Our World.

Wednesday, 2011 August 24, 11:13 — politics


Charles Johnson:

For the individualist, half of human decency in political thinking is just learning to keep your personal pronouns straight.

Found by some indirect chain of links from Roderick Long’s blog.

Friday, 2011 August 19, 13:18 — politics


Penn Jillette: I don’t know, so I’m an atheist libertarian

Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It’s just ganging up against the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid.

Wednesday, 2011 March 30, 22:20 — constitution

but of course you all thought of that immediately

Reading some neglected mail from 2007, I happen to see a quotation from Prof Paz’s speech in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress:

“You might even consider installing the candidates who receive the least number of votes; unpopular men may be just the sort to save you from a new tyranny. Don’t reject the idea merely because it seems preposterous–think about it! In past history popularly elected governments have been no better and sometimes far worse than overt tyrannies.”

Of course, if everyone knows this is the rule, the candidate elected will not be the least popular but the least unpopular, the one who inspires the fewest voters to say “anyone else!”.

But this gives an inappropriate advantage to unknowns. There ought to be a qualifying round of positive voting before the negative vote.

Approval voting takes care of both phases at once, meseems.

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