The Libertarian Standard » Gil Guillory Property - Prosperity - Peace Sat, 19 Jul 2014 20:32:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A new website and group blog of radical Austro-libertarians, shining the light of reason on truth and justice. The Libertarian Standard clean The Libertarian Standard (The Libertarian Standard) CC-BY Property - Prosperity - Peace libertarianism, anarchism, capitalism, free markets, liberty, private property, rights, Mises, Rothbard, Rand, antiwar, freedom The Libertarian Standard » Gil Guillory TV-G For A New Activism Mon, 28 Mar 2011 02:40:30 +0000 Unlike the political activism of the past, I’m excited to see that direct action, especially entrepreneurial action, is the libertarian activism of the 21st century. If you missed the online-only conference etienne this weekend, please visit the archives of the conference. The introduction to the conference by George Donnelly is here. There were four channels that ran concurrently. I participated in the channel sponsored by the AnCap Entrepreneur Network, a new site founded by Mark Thomas that is just kicking off and organizing. I spoke about my research and “open source entrepreneurship” which you can find here.

Relatedly, I have also learned recently of The Society of Libertarian Entrepreneurs which are a series of meetups dedicated to self-improvement and the building of libertarian networks and businesses.


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A Short Defense of Punishment Fri, 22 Oct 2010 04:27:49 +0000 It is particularly prevalent among libertarians and practitioners of Restorative Justice to favor restitution and reject punishment, or to at least reject retribution (private punishment “owed” to the victim / “just deserts” / “getting even”). I find this brief argument, from Getting Even: Revenge as a Form of Justice by Charles K. B. Barton, p. 93, to be persuasive:

1. Humans are innately social beings who can flourish and achieve their full humanity and potential in terms of moral and spiritual maturity, only in society.

2. A human society is a moral community.

3. A moral community is such that its members are mature, morally responsible individuals who hold one another accountable for wrongs to fellow members and to the common good.

4. To hold persons responsible and accountable for wrongs to fellow members and to the common good is to consider them liable for blame and punishment for such wrongs, independently of functionalist and instrumental considerations, such as expressing disapproval or deterrence—though obviously such considerations are not irrelevant to impositions of punishment.

5. To consider persons liable for blame and punishment for wrongs independently of functionalist and instrumental considerations is morally to accept retribution.

Using this explanation as part of an argument, there are two conclusions which follow:

6. Human individuals can flourish and achieve their full humanity, including moral maturity, only if they morally accept retribution and retributive liability for their wrongful actions.

7. Since individual flourishing and the achievement of one’s full humanity, including moral maturity, are good things worthy of being pursued, retributive punishment within the limits set by the principles of justice is also a morally good thing which may be pursued and, unless contra-indicated by countervailing instrumental and functionalist considerations, or by the appropriateness of mercy and forgiveness, ought to be pursued.

I highly recommend Barton’s book Getting Even. And his book Restorative Justice: The Empowerment Model is likewise excellent.

For a more comprehensive discussion about the key role that mediation must play in any legal system that aims to achieve justice, see my working paper A Call for Mediation Casebooks.

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Vis-Ed – An Example of How IP Doesn’t Matter Fri, 24 Sep 2010 00:38:38 +0000 Visual Education has sold language flashcards for years. Part of the value of the product is selecting *which* 1000 words to include in a set of language cards. I’m sure this information was hard-won by consulting linguists, or more likely paying a professor to compile a list and format the cards the first time. They charge a premium for the cards vs. the same cards blank (compare their set of 1000 Portuguese flashcards for $14.95 versus their set of 1000 blank flashcards for $6.95). I willingly pay this premium, but any entrepreneur could put together a set of language cards and sell them just like Vis-Ed.

Indeed, they could copy Vis-Ed’s list of words. I have no idea whether Vis-Ed can or does have a copyright on their list of words. Hard to see how they could. And yet, the premium charge is there and consumers willingly pay it.

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Libertarian Themes in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Sun, 30 May 2010 19:37:27 +0000 SPOILER ALERT: I try my best not to “spoil” the movie, but some plot elements are revealed.

Prince of Persia

There are lots of things to like about the movie Prince of Persia: Jake Gyllenhaal‘s abs, the parkour, Gemma Arterton‘s attitude and beauty, or Ben Kingsley’s well-proven ability to portray the bad guy. But I like the libertarian themes.

The movie is inspired from the video game franchise of the same name. All of the important elements of the movie are directly from the video game: the parkour, the street rat, the princess, the dagger of time. The fact that videogames are perhaps becoming in our age the leading form of art for the young is well explained in the lecture series Commerce and Culture by Paul Cantor. Many libertarians have underscored this essential link between market and art, and especially the way that copying is at the heart of artistic development.

The plot itself has libertarian themes. The antagonist, seeking political power, lies the Persians into a war of conquest on the false report of weapons manufacturing and collusion with a known enemy. After the invasion is over and won, there is a scene where the king admonishes one of his sons for his act of invasion, which could be interpreted as an unintended allusion to the foreign policy fiasco perpetrated by George W. Bush over the counsel of his father George Bush, among others.

But the overt libertarianism in the movie is a running gag throughout the movie delivered by Alfred Molina‘s character Sheik Amar, whose role in Raiders of the Lost Ark we cannot forget. The gag is that Amar is the proprietor of a community whose reputation is crafted to prevent tax collection, reminding me of Ralph Raico’s point (I believe he raises it in this lecture) that the Arab stories of caves full of wealth were likely based on the reality of businessmen hiding their wealth from the tax man. Molina/Amar makes many anti-tax comments throughout the movie, which were cheered in the theater where I saw it. As another homage, Molina’s famous scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark is replayed in Prince of Persia between the male and female leads.

Not only for its libertarian themes, but also for its action, characters, plot, and overall impact, I highly recommend the movie. Great summer movie for the family, rivaling the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean.

For my family it had an additional appeal, since the setting was the Persian Empire, and we’re preparing to leave for Turkey in a few days. PFS meeting, here we come!

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Security, Identification, and the State Mon, 03 May 2010 02:32:03 +0000 The fact that the state is deeply imbedded in the production of security and identification makes clear thinking on these matters difficult.

Some people think that since the use of identification cards is ubiquitous in transactions of almost every stripe (rent a car, borrow a book, borrow money or get a credit card, sign a contract, drive a car, rent videos, etc.) that libertarians are just bonkers to insist that people have a right to withhold tendering ID to a police officer. So, let us draw distinctions that matter.

When you provide ID to a private party, you have a choice NOT to provide ID. Since those parties are subject to competition, they only require ID as a condition of doing business if it’s necessary. That’s why you have to provide ID to get credit, to rent something (unless you provide a deposit of money), or when paying by check; but, you don’t have to give ID when buying groceries, eating out at a restaurant, or going to the movies.

The state proclaims ownership over roads, and sets all policies on those roads. For this reason, it was the state that came to be the issuer of drivers’ licenses, which claim to serve as proof that the driver is competent to drive and that the driver has corrected or uncorrected vision of a certain standard. Since almost every adult in the US has a driver’s license, they have also come to be used by many private companies as definitive proof of identification, and are also used by police for the same purpose.

Technological advances in computing and printing have made counterfeiting of IDs less costly and more successful, especially in the last decade. It is well known that just about any 19 year-old college student can get a fake ID to drink.

When the state requires the presentation of identifying documents (or more broadly, an inquiry into the identification of someone), some purposes are legitimate, but most are illegitimate. This is because some of what the state does is legitimate, but most of what it does is illegitimate.

On the legitimate side of the register, it deploys police to patrol to prevent crime, respond to crimes, and nab the bad guys. In the course of nabbing a bad guy, they “book” him, which is a procedure of identification (taking fingerprints and pictures, finding out where he lives by asking for a driver’s license, etc.). Of course, private security can and does nab bad guys, too. They don’t typically do the “booking” of a bad guy because they are required by law to turn him over to the state.

On the illegitimate side of the register, the state enforces a number of malum prohibitum offenses. Among these are the supposed crime of living and/or working in a country without the state’s permission and possessing contraband. Both of these supposed crimes are difficult to enforce, since they are victimless crimes. Because of this, states have evolved low standards of detention and search of people, including the requirement to show ID to officers.

Nowhere is this farce more ludicrous than in the crackdown on security at airports since the September 11, 2001 attacks. IDs are now checked 2, 3, or 4 times in the course of checking in, entering a screening area, passing through a metal detector, and boarding a plane, all with a government-issued ID — either a driver’s license or a passport. Even people as young as me, now 39, can remember a time (before the TWA flight 800 disaster) when showing ID at an airport was not even done once. This hyper-scrutiny of ID documents assumes that the IDs shown are not fakes, which is not at all a credible assumption.

Likewise, with the recent passage of the unjust law Arizona SB 1070, I expect that the industry of producing fake IDs will boom. Who will benefit? Well, some good guys will benefit, being able to evade the state’s crackdown on the non-crime of illegal immigration. But the burgeoning industry will probably cause the cost of fake IDs to fall, giving lots of bad guys these benefits as well.

So, SB1070 will probably cause an increase in “identity theft” and other acts of fraud.

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Summary of Ten Rules for Dealing with Police Thu, 01 Apr 2010 02:32:14 +0000 If you don’t have time to watch all of this excellent video from that premiered at Cato a few days ago, then here’s my summary:

1. Obey, be respectful (“lick boots”), or you may be tazed. (14:00)
2. Remain silent, but lick boots. (16:00)
3. Memorize and use this line: “I don’t consent to searches.” (17:50, and 18:35 is hilarious)
4. Police lie, especially to trick you into consenting to searches. Don’t believe them. (19:28)
5. Memorize and use this line: “Are you detaining me, or am I free to go?” But lick their boots. (20:00)
6. These things are mostly avoidable: don’t expose yourself. (23:52)
7. Don’t run, lick boots. (26:50)
8. Never touch a cop, lick boots. (28:00)
un-numbered but good: “I’m going to remain silent. I’d like to see a lawyer.” (28:55)
9. Police misconduct: remember everything and hopefully someone’s filming it. (33:05)
10. Don’t let the police into your home. (39:22)
un-numbered but good: “I can’t let you in without a warrant.” (40:40)

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