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What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Via Postal Mail - You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to: WikiLeaks (or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country), BOX 4080, Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch, Victoria 3052, Australia

Friday, August 14, 2009


The epilogue to The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible by Ken Schoolland

(ANALYSIS) The Philosophy of Liberty Guiding Principles

My philosophy is based on the principle of self-ownership.

(problem-1: define the "self" in a consistent, non-paradoxical, and universally applicable concept)

You own your life.

(premise-1 "life can be owned", false premise, problem-2: define "property" and "ownership")

To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do.

(premise-1 is false, but even if true, denying premise-1 does not imply anything other than its negative, "life can not be owned". There is a set of unspoken assumptions in this statement: "others exist", "others can own life", "others want your life", but the real mistake is the claim "there is an implication", there is no such implication.)

No other person, or group of persons, owns your life nor do you own the lives of others.

(premise-1 is false, therefore this statement is correct and true via the implication. Life can not be owned.)

You exist in time: future, present, and past.

(premise-2 "time exists", false premise, problem-3: define the concept of "time" in an internally consistent, non-paradoxical, and universally applicable way. By extension, the concepts of "past", "present", and "future" are called to question, and after extensive analysis their illusionary nature will be shown to be a result of our own limited form of consciousness, and a finite definition of the "self". Which brings us to premise-3, "YOU exist" or "I exist" or simplified "existence is", true premise, the only indubitable premise. premise-4, "we exist in time", truth-value unknown, insufficient information to form a meaningful answer.)

This is manifest in life, liberty, and the product of your life and liberty.

(as premise-2 is false, this does not follow. However, I like the implied metaphysical correlation, defining "life", "liberty", and "property" in relation to "time")

The exercise of choices over life and liberty is your prosperity.

(nice definition of "prosperity", but alas, I think you meant "freedom", for "prosperity" is no mere exercise, but, instead, the positive result of one's actions.)

To lose your life is to lose your future.

(A colloquial definition, but workable)

To lose your liberty is to lose your present.

(Internally consistent, given your premises and metaphor. I define "liberty" as a combination of "freedom" and "responsibility", where actions are accountable. )

And to lose the product of your life and liberty is to lose the portion of your past that produced it.

(seems a stretch, at best you could say that you have lost ... what ... the result of your actions? But what if your action was to educate your mind, or blow soap bubbles, or run a marathon. Can anyone take away these things? Indeed, can they be lost at all?)

A product of your life and liberty is your property. Property is the fruit of your labour, the product of your time, energy, and talents.

(so far a workable definition of "property")

It is that part of nature that you turn to valuable use.

(questionable: unspoken assumptions - "property must be tangible" and "property must have a valuable use")

And it is the property of others that is given to you by voluntary exchange and mutual consent.

(Something strangely legalistic, and extending the unsaid assumptions as above. This seems to imply a definition of "just trade", perhaps to set up a future definition of a "free market", or perhaps based upon the flawed premise that such exists.)

Two people who exchange property voluntarily are both better off or they wouldn't do it.

(Ditto last. Dangerous assumption "voluntary trade makes both parties better off" - imagine a drug-dealer, and an addict; or a gambler and a casino; or a stock-broker and a client. "or they wouldn't do it", seems like a weak justification, perhaps you should add, "given their current level of understanding and rational ability" {aside; are people better off when they pay taxes?})

Only they may rightfully make that decision for themselves.

(Only whom? Those two involved in voluntary trade? Regardless of agency, rational ability, or understanding? Where is that thing about "fraud"? What is this "rightfully", implying universal "right action"? What about potential complications like collateral effects on others outside the trade agreement? {aside again; and what about thorny situations like representatives of many, involved in mutually agreed upon destruction, for localized personal gain? With multiple agreements, the complexity grows exponentially. This seems potentially sociopathic.})

At times some people use force or fraud to take from others without wilful, voluntary consent.

(Good, you acknowledge my concerns, by understating the obvious.)

Normally, the initiation of force to take life is murder, to take liberty is slavery, and to take property is theft.

(I like the extension of your logical metaphor to define "murder", "slavery", and "theft", but what do you mean with the caveat "NORMALLY". Is there some undefined area where taking life, liberty, and property by force is ethically justifiable? If so, who decides such a thing? Obviously, not the parties involved. Did you leave a crack in your philosophy, so wide to allow for the implication of the authority of Government?)

It is the same whether these actions are done by one person acting alone, by the many acting against a few, or even by officials with fine hats and fancy titles.

(By implication, using your arguments, there is "normally" justification for any combination of force by individuals or groups.)

You have the right to protect your own life, liberty, and justly acquired property from the forceful aggression of others.

(Ah, a "right" comes into being. premise-5, "we have rights", insufficient information for a meaningful truth value, problem: define "we", define "rights", define "others", define "aggression", define "justice". {aside; can being born into, and prospering from, trade agreements, wether just or unjust, imply obligation onto people without their foreknowledge or understanding?})

So you may rightfully ask others to help protect you.

(There you go again: define "right action" and why it should matter in this case, when you ask others to protect you. If it is "right" or ethical to ask at any time, then what limits you impose are arbitrary, given that these protective "others" are presumed by your arguments to be the only agents with the right to make decisions for themselves? If you mean that, one may only ask others for protection if one is justly protecting themselves, their liberty, or property, then this should be a combined part of the previous sentence.)

But you do not have a right to initiate force against the life, liberty, or property of others. Thus, you have no right to designate some person to initiate force against others on your behalf.

(premise-6: "we do not have rights", inherent contradiction, incompatible with premise-5. Seems like an arbitrary distinction, with out an objective basis, who decides what is "just" when conflicts are initiated? If I stockpile weapons on your borders, for my protection, is it "right" to use force and initiate conflict simply because I might use them? With this paradox you have sealed the fate of all, and guaranteed unending use of force to deal with conflict. Implying a never ending struggle, that only the strongest and most clever, if any, shall survive.)

(Suggestion: perhaps, instead of rights you should speak of choices. "You have the choice to protect your own life, and you may choose to ask others to help you." i.e. create a government system, further "Yet, presuming universal equality, you should never choose to initiate use of force, or choose to instigate others to use force on your behalf." see KANT and the categorical imperative.)

You have a right to seek leaders for yourself, but would have no right to impose rulers on others.

(More "rights". A seemingly fair statement, as long as you don't try to apply it in a practical way.)

No matter how officials are selected, they are only human beings and they have no rights or claims that are higher than those of any other human beings.

(Again seems fine, until you see the flaws, replace the word 'officials' with 'parents', define "human".)

Regardless of the imaginative labels for their behaviour or the numbers of people encouraging them, officials have no right to murder, to enslave, or to steal. (Ditto. {aside; can one rightfully murder, enslave, or steal from one's self?})

You cannot give them any rights that you do not have yourself.

("rights" left undefined become arbitrary. Use "choices" instead.)

Since you own your life, you are responsible for your life. (Now, our questionable "ownership" is burdened with undefined "responsibility".)

You do not rent your life from others who demand your obedience.

(Sounds preachy, but solves the parenting problem. I like it, so I do not challenge it. But you see the problem, if one can own the resources necessary for life, then one can rent them to those who need them for a price. Monopolize the resources, and you rent them life. Difficult conundrum for property rights.)

Nor are you a slave to others who demand your sacrifice.

(No more military draft, no more compulsory education, no more taxes. What happened to that undefined "responsibility"? If you could find some solid premises, with a few minor {pun intended} modifications, we could create a workable system of voluntary self-government. {aside: solution - Get rid of taxes, and debt. Just give the government the unique legal right to print the official currency and pay it's bills. This solution creates a natural balance. If government prints too much currency, then that currency becomes worthless, curbing the government buying power. Print too little currency, and government fails to provide the basic services that make government valuable, like just courts and honest police security, and thus become irrelevant. Some say this ideal is a recipe for failure, but not if political speech is limited to citizens, and citizens alone.})

You choose your own goals based on your own values.

(Impractical at best, here we have to account for the piratical nature of human existence, and the unintended paradox: if you have values and goals different from those of this libertarian philosophy... {aside: reality dictates that children will be influenced by parents, and some basis for civil law will be socialized in schools, but we can add a citizenship ceremony for every 18 or 21 year-old, so that they can 'choose' to accept citizenship or reject it. If too many reject citizenship, then their protest might pressure social change.})

Success and failure are both the necessary incentives to learn and to grow.

(premise-6, truism. However the consequences of failure, if left to their ultimate end, are so brutal that they prematurely end life. Further, given our technological realities, our failure could end all life. These unintended consequences demand some compromise, else the point of all this philosophy is moot.)

Your action on behalf of others, or their action on behalf of you, is only virtuous when it is derived from voluntary, mutual consent.

(False definition. I guess it's not enough to ask for a definition of "right action", now you confuse things with "virtue" ethics, too. Not all acts of voluntary, mutual consent are conventionally "virtuous". I'm imagining some sexual situations. Regardless, your implication is group action, and given finite beings with limited knowledge, there is ample room for grave mistakes with dire consequences. Thus the practical implications are unquestionably unacceptable, as the War on Iraq demonstrates.)

For virtue can only exist when there is free choice.

(premise-7, false premise, problem: requires definition of "virtue" and some objective judgement value, as of yet undefined, and I would argue undefinable. Freedom of choice, or will, is highly debatable, but assuming its existence, for sake of argument, there is no proof that it needs an objective foundation, it simply requires an arbitrary act of faith in reason. Therefore virtue, becomes no less arbitrary than one's faith. This is the problem of postmodern relativism.)

This is the basis of a truly free society.

(By "This", I presume you mean either undefined "Virtue" or arbitrary "Free Choice", both of which are clearly inadequate to define "truth". So, the term "truly free society" is meaningless. However, I like your spunk. Statements of absolute truth are rare these days.)

It is not only the most practical and humanitarian foundation for human action; it is also the most ethical.

(Well we've seen what I've said about the "practicality" so far, but, honestly, it is no less practical than any other theory. As for "humanitarian", another undefined term, I'm assuming you're trying to brag that it's just plane better. But "Ethical", please, as morality goes, you haven't invoked deity yet, but ethics are dependent upon circumstance, and usually, ethical action quickly becomes an unaffordable luxury when limited resources and human ignorance are factored. Which ethical standards are you using anyway: 'greatest good for greatest number', 'middle-road balance of extremes', 'don't do unto others as you wouldn't want done unto you', there are hundreds of theories. This might be a practical and just theory of human political relationships, but the "most ethical" requires proof.)

Problems that arise from the initiation of force by government have a solution.

(premise-8, good premise, yet unproven.)

The solution is for people of the world to stop asking officials to initiate force on their behalf.

(What if the officials initiate force on their own? Or more likely "people of the world" just initiate force on their own. Government is only necessary BECAUSE people initiate force. Therefore, to provide justice and security, government needs the ability to defend itself and the weak. The best solution, so far, is a series of checks and balances to limit the power of government and include representative voices to protect minority groups from mob rule. It's not perfect, requires constant vigilance.)

Evil does not arise only from evil people, but also from good people who tolerate the initiation of force as a means to their own ends.

(undefined term: "evil". Question: Can people be evil? or do people just do evil actions? / Question: is knowingly choosing inaction, actually an action? and do 'good' people take 'evil' actions? {aside: I define "evil" as "the knowing destruction of another sentient life", thus action are defined as evil, and people that take evil action can be held accountable.})

In this manner, good people have empowered evil throughout history.

(Truism. Different problem, lack of courage, due to limited understanding and inadequate forethought. Said better by Churchill, "All that is necessary for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.")

Having confidence in a free society is to focus on the process of discovery in the marketplace of values rather than to focus on some imposed vision or goal.

(Seems a convoluted statement. 'confidence in a free society is to focus on the process of discovery in the marketplace of values'?? How about "No imposed goal or vision of a free society can replace the process of discovering one's own values in the marketplace of ideas." Now, that is a statement with which I can fully agree.)

Using governmental force to impose a vision on others is intellectual sloth and typically results in unintended, perverse consequences.

(Too true. Again, American participatory government, inclusive, and slow to change, but the best we've got on the planet. Could be better with some reforms, like opening the public air-waves to the public, rather than the monopoly of corporations.)

Achieving a free society requires courage to think, to talk, and to act - especially when it is easier to do nothing.

(Always end with a call to action, Bravo! - the last is redundant.)

2 Spelling Errors: wilful = willful, behaviour = behavior
Conclusion: Disregarding the fundamental logical flaws and leaps, I like the style and the sentiment. If you could remove the absolutism, concede the underlying unprovable premises, and accept a few practical limitations, this might be a useful Political Philosophy. However, I think we both know you're trying to lead people by the nose toward an Economic Philosophy, and that just will not work. Unless everyone begins on a level economic playing field, and we have unlimited resources, then there is no way for a meritocracy to arise. Accepting the uniquely American premise of EQUALITY, each individual must have the right to enough resources to fulfill their basic needs (air, water, food, shelter, basic health, basic education, access to information, so forth), and all children must be protected until they are capable of making informed, rational decisions at a reasonable level (i.e. protecting themselves). Then, and only then, can we fairly compete in an open market, and have real fair trade, but there are no true free-markets. There will always be some things that lie outside the realm of commerce, things that have infinite value, and are beyond market forces. No person can own the sky, or the water, or the shine of the sun, and no one should have a monopoly on life, or health, or education, or the fish in the sea. Else, all are doomed.

Michael E. Russell

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Libertarian Values

I very much like this simple video that describes Libertarian Values.
Question: Are all men created equal?
Question: If so do they have inalienable rights?
Question: If they do, what are they, and which takes priority?
  • Right to Life
  • Right to Liberty
  • Right to Happiness (Property)

Define Life, Liberty, Property ...
Can Life be owned?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


U.S. Treasury Dept. Attacks Barofsky for publishing their own numbers.

In a report that came out this week, Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), defined the total commitment and support of the U.S. Government to deal with the BUSH DEPRESSION. With 50 programs, and all the money the Federal Reserve (a private, non-government entity) has given out in Loans (guaranteed by our our government), we are potentially on the hook for as much as $23.7-TRILLION, according to the Barofsky report.

Jake Tapper and Huma Khan of ABC News report via podcast here.

I want to personally thank Neil Barofsky for putting these numbers out in an official report where the sunlight can shine, and policy makers can make informed decisions, but further where the public can begin to see the seriousness of our current position.

Most of the current federal government obligations were set-up BEFORE Obama took office. Most of these measures were taken to deal with what the BUSH Administration created or failed to regulate.

Since Obama took office, he has spent only $400-billion of the TARP, and about $60-billion of the Stimulus, and succeeded in slowing the economic decline. The rest of what has come to pass under the Obama era has been done by the Federal Reserve (a non-government private bank) which is beyond the President's power to control. These numbers were available last year, our economy has no clothes, anyone surprised wasn't paying attention.

I find it difficult to believe that the people taking time to express their shock were so ignorant that they didn't notice the $TRILLIONS in emergency loans that the Federal Reserve (a private non-government entity) was giving away, beginning in September 2008. All that money is created out of thin air, and the American Taxpayer is obligated for those loans, essentially the guarantor of last resort. Yet, the FED can make such loans without government oversight.

That is the real outrage. That the FED can make loans in your name, without permission, and while you fight over an insignificant TARP $700-Billion, they sell the country out from under you, in a desperate attempt to shore up a failing economy.

Many shills for the republicans are propagandizing, misusing this report to build a stance against the new Obama Administration. This is ridiculous, because no person who understands what has happened over the last eight years, would be so stupid as to blame Obama, who is doing his best to sail a sinking ship.

It is worrisome that Treasury wanted to squash this recent report about our POTENTIAL obligations, but Treasury is full of the guys who got us here in the first place, and they seem to be playing a MARKETING strategy, to keep the public ignorant of the man behind the curtain, because they believe that PUBLIC PERCEPTION is reality, and are afraid of a run on the markets if the common investor (i.e. 401k crowd) knew their money was worthless.

I only hope that the Whitehouse is smart enough to let the masses finally realize what has happened, and what the potential damage could be if we don't stop squabbling over who gets rich and begin to work together and create a new economy, with true green, progressive values. Because if the economy, supported by these government guaranteed loans, ultimately fails, it will be because we all failed to produce anything of value.

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