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Published: 6 years ago

An Early Plan for Open Source Peaceful Evolution

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When does the banditry of government end? How do we get our lives back? In traditional voluntaryist fashion, I’m convinced we need to liberate 6 billion minds worldwide simultaneously. But pure educational efforts are not enough. We have to live our principles, as exemplified in agorism. We need an organizational model that is resilient, efficient and easy to plug in to, as we see in open source efforts such as Linux and Wikipedia. Innovative developments in warfare, such as seen in the Iraqi insurgency (4th & 5th generation warfare), can inform our plans as well. If you’re ready to get the government monkey off your back join me in building a libertarian insurgency with the following principles.

Step 0: Liberate Yourself

The prerequisite is to evolve yourself. Study the principles of liberty unrelentingly until you live them like muscle memory. Clear out your pro-state brainwashing. Get your debt load under control. Become self-employed, if possible or at least build up a nest egg of time and resources. Get your kids out of state or Prussian-style schools. Live a sustainable lifestyle. Don’t give the bad guys your sanction. In other words, get right with the universe. As Albert Jay Nock said:

[A]ges of experience testify that the only way society can be improved is by the individualist method … ; that is, the method of each ‘one’ doing his very best to improve ‘one’.

Once you’ve got that process going (not complete – it’s a process after all), and I’m sure many of my readers are very advanced in that area, move on to outward activism. The Survival Podcast’s Modern Survival Philosophy is an excellent start for personal independence.

The 11 Principles of Open Source Peaceful Evolution

I’ve adapted these principles from thinking on fourth-generation warfare, principally John Robb’s. I will soon publish a series of articles with increasingly specific examples of how we can apply these principles to the fight for liberty. I know you have ideas as well.

1. Break Networks

Breaking networks is about cleaving the opposition (and never about dividing ourselves). Those who support the state are not a monolithic group. Despite the fact that republicans, democrats and even many independents and libertarians support the state, they do vicious battle over their differing visions of the state. Our job is to exploit those differences (peacefully) in such a way as to draw attention to the differences within the pro-state coalition with the ultimate intention of weakening, fragmenting and co-opting it.
As Sun Tzu said:

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

2. Grow Black Economies (Agorism)

This is the more obvious aspect of agorism. Hollow out the state by peacefully trading with your fellow man “under the table”, in silver, gold or barter if need be. But don’t let the state track you or tax you. Don’t collect taxes for the state (sales tax). Build networks outside the state’s purview and eventually market defense providers will be viable enough to hold off the statists’ last attack, leaving us in a stateless society.

3. Virtualize Your Organization

Open source means that we organize in a loose fashion. There are no formal leaders, there is no chain of command, there are no elections or orders handed down. Individuals work together or not as they see fit. Individuals organize for “ops”, do the job and disperse. The exact same teams may not work together more than once. Even among libertarians there are diverse interests, priorities and comfort levels.

4. Repetition is more important than Scale

Don’t do a few big ops, do a huge number of small ones. Easy, inexpensive and uncomplicated ops that you can repeat often are more sustainable and produce greater impact. Getting arrested (going to jail, dealing with court, etc.) is not sustainable (though we have to prepare for it). This means that we resist up until the moment the gun will come out and then we back off. As John Robb said, “The great is the enemy of the good enough.”

5. Coopetition not Competition

Everyone who opposes the state is our ally. Perhaps even those who oppose just this state are our allies (up to a point). We will work in a space where we can simultaneously grow our effort and accelerate our growth as we complete with each other. Consider the Visa card system as an analogy. Banks’ credit card offerings compete against each other while all sharing the Visa payment system. As the competing banks grow, the shared Visa platform grows, and vice versa.

6. Don’t Fork the Insurgency

We can not allow major disagreements to become more important than our shared vision. In other words, no infighting. The kind of organization contemplated here is so ephemeral, you don’t have to work with anyone you don’t want to. There are no votes to be won or lost that you can’t simply walk away from. It’s a free market; forking it is dumb because the more participants in the market the more efficient it will be. People who lack tact or common courtesy, who start pointless arguments should be ostracized.

7. Minimalist rule sets work best

In the best case, a peaceful evolution leads to a government going away. In a traditional guerrilla paradigm, the guerrillas roll in and take power. They need a rule set to govern with. But since we want precisely to liberate people from all governments, we need a rule set that everyone can understand and enforce themselves.

8. Self-Replicate

Self-replication is about making more of yourself. In other words, persuade more people to abandon aggression and embrace voluntary interaction. Anything that leverages people, that multiplies a person’s productivity is also included. Videotaping your productive activism is an example of this, since it can put you on the computers of potentially millions of people. Effective use of social media can be self-replication. Pamphleting, campaigning and other face-to-face activities can also qualify. Sharing how to duplicate your ops is also self-replication

9. Share or Copy Everything that Works

The value of open source comes from sharing innovations openly and freely. Nothing is held back. Theft of ideas is your bread and butter. If it works, use it. This practice benefits all parties.

10. Release Early and Often

Innovations must be released quickly and frequently. Perfectionism, secrecy and other practices that slow down or impede the distribution of information to allies are deprecated.

11. Co-Opt, Don’t Own, Basic Services

This means that if the insurgency needs something, it gets it from someone else. This could be via a free market transaction or via what has been called “parasitically rid[ing] on a degraded form of the global/national economy’s corporate and public services”. But the insurgency itself should avoid building services itself. So we don’t create A[gorist]Bay, we co-opt Ebay instead.

Is 4/5GW an Appropriate Paradigm for Peaceful Evolution?

It might seem curious at first to apply the principles of fourth- and fifth- generation warfare to the struggle for peace (liberty), but let’s consider the definition of guerrilla. Bandits with bandoliers in Latin America may at first come to mind but my dictionary says a guerrilla is “a member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces“. Since fighting doesn’t have to include aggression, and we liberty lovers are currently small in numbers (and very independent) and in opposition to the ostensibly very large forces of the state, we qualify as guerrillas. Of course, we must be guerrillas for firm love, peace and respect. Let us get our inspiration from brilliant warriors without ourselves becoming aggressors.

Is It Just Agorism?

Some agorists might say that this is just agorism. That’s fine. Call it what you like. I think at the very least it connects agorism with tactics from other schools of thought. If it advances the front lines of agorism to a place where more people can better grok how they can practice it, I’ll call it a success.

Emphasis on ‘Early’

This is an early draft, so I welcome your comments. What principles would my fellow market anarchists add?

Further Reading

Photo credit: elfon. Photo license.

Comments
  1. I’ve been thinking this through from fundamentals, and I think I have the beginnings of a detailed roadmap, at least for #2, but it ties in to most of them.

    First, think of the axes on which growth depends, the elements of infrastructure. I’ve come up with: Communications, Transportation, Money, Land (Geography), Security, Reputation, and Dispute Resolution. These have to grow roughly in parallel, and one cannot get too far ahead of the others .

    Second, think of the sphere of the Agora vs the sphere of the state. The agorasphere is effectively, for now at least, contained within the state’s sphere. There’s a border, or a frontier, at the edges of the agorasphere where it interfaces with the state sphere. Extend the above axes from the center of the spheres, and where they intersect that frontier is where all the action is.

    Those nodes of intesection are where organizations and businesses can sit, one foot in each sphere, and act as intermediary. They take a lot of risk, but they also have the most potential for profit. Inside that frontier lie the fully agoric enterprises, buffered from the state sphere by the frontier enterprises. Less risk, and less profit.

    As the frontier expands, it moves beyond the interfacing enterprises. They have a choice then. They can stay within the agorasphere and play it safe and steady, make money safely and slowly, but with the advantage of experience and reputation. Or they can follow the frontier outward.

    The early work then is to identify where those nodes are, and communicate that to those ready to take advantage of the positions. This is just a start, I haven’t had time to flesh it all out. In particular is the network effects, as local agoraspheres grow large enough to start breaking clean through the interface and interact with each other.

  2. I like how you’re thinking.

    FSK had some useful, tho less theoretical, comments on this the other day.

    http://fskrealityguide.blogspot.com/2009/09/criticisms-of-stefan-molyneux.html

    I like your “The State is a Maginot Line” article as well:

    http://fr33agents.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-state-is-a-maginot-line

  3. I like how you’re thinking.
    FSK had some useful, tho less theoretical, comments on this the other day.
    I like your “The State is a Maginot Line” article as well:

    It’s slowly starting to come together. I’m trying to drill down from principles and strategies to more and more concrete actions and tactics. FSK seems to be thinking along the same lines, though maybe less formally. Many of his ideas fit right on some of the nodes I was talking about, or where the nodes could be fairly quickly if this gets rolling a bit.

    I was looking over some of the notes I’ve been writing, and another point jumps out as being important at this stage. The agorasphere starts out as completely isolated inside each of us. That ties into your “Step 0″ (very apt labelling, by the way). It’s only after we’ve each planted and nurtured that seed, and pushed that sphere out a bit, that it is appropriate to try to connect it with others in any concrete way.

    A concrete example of what I am talking about: on the axes of communication and transportation, the first place your agorasphere intersects the state sphere is mail and delivery services that come right to your house. The first step in pushing the frontier out along those axes is to set up a PMB, or mail drop. For money, it is your checking/savings account and your credit cards. Set things up so you pay cash for as many things as possible, don’t use credit or debit cards, and only keep enough money in the bank to pay bills that can’t be paid any other way. Use a web proxy for web browsing, and get used to encrypting emails as a matter of course.

    Similar issues can be found along all of the axes, and in the spaces in between the axes.

    Those are baby steps, (and none of them violate the law, btw). But it is important to lay the groundwork at each stage so that the next stage is resilient, scalable, and replicable. And so that the earlier stages remain self-sustaining and growing.

    Free and Unashamed have an article “50 things you can do right now” that overlaps this idea a bit as well.

  4. Concrete examples of early agorist businesses that can lie along the interface that tie into these baby steps for your customers: own a mail drop (like a UPS Store, but independent) and sell money orders. Run a web/mail proxy. Start a freight and snail-mail consolidation/forwarding service. It’s not as spectacular or dramatic as some of the other things proposed, but it is necessary infrastructure.

  5. Kyle, those are exactly the kind of concrete, specific steps people need. When can I read the details about this agorasphere concept?

  6. FSK

    The problem with using E-Bay is that E-Bay is required to report all transactions to the State/IRS.

    If I buy a gold coin from you on E-Bay, then the transaction is reported to the IRS and you owe capital gains taxes. That defeats the purpose of agorism.

  7. Hi FSK. We just use EBay, Amazon etc to connect buyer and seller. Transactions are consummated outside of Ebay/Amazon/etc. So we co-opt the state-approved marketplace in order to find each other and then go outside of it when need be. Now it’s harder to find us and shut us down.

  8. FSK

    I see what you’re doing now.

    That doesn’t work for all goods and services. If you want to operate an unlicensed taxi service or an unlicensed medical care service, you can’t use E-Bay or other State venues.

  9. Well nobody sells taxis and medical care on Amazon or Ebay. But it is sold somewhere and we can co-opt those platforms as well. It will require ingenuity, but I’m confident we can do it.

  10. Co-opting platforms and infrastructure is fine for those frontier business that have to interface between the two spheres. It’s really a given that they will. The goal there, the services these enterprises provide is to not only buffer the agorasphere’s interaction with the state sphere, but to move the activity of that enterprise to the agora side of the interface over time. To move it off the co-opted infrastructure into infrastructure it creates. That is how the frontier gets pushed outward. That’s the high risk/high reward function – high reward because it is so valuable to the agorasphere.

    As to when you can read the detals…. Open Source, man! I’m trying to draw a map, for my own benefit and for others’, but a map is just a drawing of what the world looks like, with certain features selectively emphasized for clarity and cohesiveness. Everyone has to do their own trip planning. I can’t do that for them, that is what the free market and competition is for, to let the best practices emerge, and to adapt them to local conditions.

    I’m working on the map, (slowly, I just finished an 11-hour workday), but it really is itself an open source project.

  11. By the way, when I say “enterprise”, and “profit”, I mean them loosely. Any activity that is consciously agoric, whether organized and for monetary gain, or just somebody doing their own thing, I’m calling an enterprise. Any accumulation of resources from that – which includes skills, networking, knowledge, etc., as well as actual monetary profit – is what I’m calling “profit”. It just keeps the conversation simple.

  12. As long as it’s a form of insurgency, there seems to be no sense in building one’s own basic services. IOW, he who leeches off the state has lower costs (and an advantage) plus accelerates the demise of the state. The insurgency part is mainly what I’m interested in talking about right now, i.e., the getting started part. After that it should work itself out.

    Open source is about sharing – immediately. So I’m not understanding your comment. Are you saying because it’s open source it’s taking a long time?

    Are you saying you’re not sharing all your thoughts in order to hold some kind of competitive advantage? That’s your prerogative, but it’s not in the spirit of open source insurgency.

  13. he who leeches off the state has lower costs (and an advantage) plus accelerates the demise of the state.

    I think just the opposite is true. While it may keep costs down, it also limits the accumulation of resources. Those resources in turn allow more things to be pulled out of the state’s grasp, and thus hasten it’s demise. We don’t drain the state from the demand side, by consuming it’s resources, when it has an effectively unlimited supply. We do it from the supply side, by choking off the sources of its resources.

    It’s not about insurgency by itself, its about creating an alternative system, and bypassing the state, ultimately to let it wither on the vine. We still need and benefit immediately from any building we do, even if it does not starve the state. Insurgency and building infrastructure are an integrated whole.

    I’m saying it’s taking a long time due to my own circumstances, but that you don’t have to wait for me. Even if I was thinking in terms of competitive advantage, I can’t see any in holding back. Any profit I might see is from the doing, and the more the merrier. If I can figure out how to get time to write a book or something, I might think about selling it, but the more important thing to me is to get the info and ideas out there.

    I’m also saying that there are parts of this that cannot be done by one person, for everyone. Each of us need to figure out our own way. I’m just hoping to offer a framework that can be fleshed out by others, and even that is better done collaboratively. It’s not *my* plan, or *the* plan, it’s *a* plan.

  14. While it may keep costs down, it also limits the accumulation of resources. Those resources in turn allow more things to be pulled out of the state’s grasp, and thus hasten it’s demise.

    For an insurgency to accumulate a lot of infrastructure approaches self-destructiveness. It makes us less agile and more vulnerable. Eventually it will be there, but not in the early or even middle stages of insurgency I suspect.

    You can’t accumulate something like an AgoristBay website/service while the state is still strong, i.e., in the early stages, because the state will just take it. Hence why one of the principles is to co-opt, not own basic services.

    The FARC insurgency in Colombia accumulates resources, but they do it in the state sector, by turning their red/black market profits into “legitimate” business – restaurants, hotels, factories, malls, etc. I don’t think that’s entirely compatible with what we’re doing but maybe we can bounce off that to find something that is.

    We don’t drain the state from the demand side, by consuming it’s resources, when it has an effectively unlimited supply. We do it from the supply side, by choking off the sources of its resources.

    I’m not grokking the difference completely but why wouldn’t we do both? Isn’t that partially what agorism is about – transferring demand for defense services from the state to private providers? I think so.

    It’s not about insurgency by itself, its about creating an alternative system, and bypassing the state

    It’s about both. To do the latter you have to be smart about the former.

    Thanks for your comments btw. I think we’re getting into really useful stuff. :D

  15. George,

    We’re talking past each other a little bit… or more accurately, talking sideways to each other. I’ll explain, but first… I’m sure you’re aware of it, but be careful taking too many lessons from existing insurgencies. All of them are free of the moral proscription from initiating violence on innocent people, and in fact, most of them are all about gaining the power to do just that. The fact that our principles bar us from that affects our strategies and tactics at a deep level. There’s things we can learn from them, but they are highly abstracted things (Robb is excellent at this), and we have to be careful not to draw too concrete a comparison.

    When I say “sideways”, I am talking in terms of how we divide the problem space. The line you draw through it to cleave it into two parts is perpendicular to the line I draw. How one divides the problem space shapes the entirety of the thinking subsequent to that primary choice.

    For example, you say: “You can’t accumulate something like an AgoristBay website/service while the state is still strong”. That is correct, but where you see the problem as resource accumulation vs not accumulating resources, I see it as which resources can be accumulated at what stages. We cannot have highly visible and concrete resources sitting out there early on.

    But when I say resources, as I said in my sidebar comment re enterprises and profit, that also means smaller, more personal things. Having a mail drop is a resource. Knowing how to co-opt the mail and package services for shipping is a resource. Knowing how to use encrypted communications is a resource. Having a network of trusted trading partners, even a small local one, is a resource.

    Early on, the resources we accumulate will necessarily be small, local, personal, and somewhat abstract. But having the kind of resources I just mentioned allows us to think about starting a secret “AgoristBay””, or “agslist” based on encryption and trust.

    It’s not free of risk, there is no imaginable approach that is, but at each stage we can push the limits of acceptable risk and accumulate resources behind firewalls set up along that frontier I talked about.

    I think the FARC example is a great one, and goes directly to what I’ve been calling those interface enterprises. The important thing here is that the line dividing the problem space goes right through the middle of these. I see these as kind of “front” organizations. They have one foot firmly in the state sphere, operating completely legitimately. They have another foot solidly in the agoraspere, and what they do behind that line is none of our or anybody else’s business who isn’t directly involved.

    The accumulation of resources happens in the both spheres, but those in the public sphere are put at the disposal of those behind the line, and eventually are moved entirely behind the line, buffered from direct interaction with the state by the enterprises that bridge that interface. They are still at risk, but the valuable service these enterprises provide comes from insulating those behind the line from the full brunt of the risk.

    There’s no conflict between this and insurgency – they are one and the same – so long as we properly understand the nature of the kind of insurgency we are morally allowed to wage. It is not a violent one, and especially not violent (or fraudulent) against innocent bystanders. It is a war of, by, about, and with economic resources. Draining the state’s resources through consuming them just pushes the burden increasingly on the state’s innocent victims. That is the demand side I talked about, increasing the state’s demand for resources.

    The alternative is draining the state’s resources by cutting off supplies. Instead of increasing the burden on innocent victims, we give those victims a way to stop being victims. We offer them a choice in the matter.

    The demand side increases state power by putting more and more activity within the state sphere. The supply side reduces activity in the state sphere, and drains their power as well as their resources.

    You say, regarding insurgency vs building an alternate system, that we have to be smart about the former to accomplish the latter. That’s the sideways thing again, I say we have to be smart about the latter to accomplish the former. Counter economics, in the sense of *alternate* economics, *is* the insurgency.

    Our kind of insurgency, by its nature as purely economic and based in voluntary interactions, ceases to be an insurgency as most people understand it. It becomes the “invisible molotov” in which there is no violent enemy to confront. There are only peaceful people minding their own business. But most importantly, it places our focus on that which we can control directly – on us, and on our own actions. We stop focusing on the state, and that, ironically and counter-intuitively, is the most sure way to take the state down. We topple it by no longer trying to topple it. It’s “direct action”, but only indirectly aimed at the state.

  16. We’re talking past each other a little bit… or more accurately, talking sideways to each other.

    Yes. I am trying hard to grok you.

    be careful taking too many lessons from existing insurgencies

    Do you disagree that most/all of the things a 4/5GW insurgency does with aggression, a libertarian insurgency can do with peaceful means, or at least in self-defense?

    Even Konkin counts on violent self-defense to make his plan work. So let’s not tip-toe around the topic or, worse, pretend it won’t be necessary.

    but where you see the problem as resource accumulation vs not accumulating resources, I see it as which resources can be accumulated at what stages.

    Me too. That’s why I said “Eventually it will be there, but not in the early or even middle stages of insurgency I suspect.” :D

    at each stage we can push the limits of acceptable risk and accumulate resources behind firewalls set up along that frontier I talked about.

    Principle #11 is about basic – not all – services. So there is probably no disagreement there.

    I think the FARC example is a great one

    Those FARC businesses almost certainly pay/collect IVA (value-added tax of 17% on almost everything), so I’m not sure how great an example it really is. Colombian police dedicate a lot of resources to shutting down stores that even just appear to evade IVA, so it’s hard to be legit and evade.

    There’s no conflict between this and insurgency – they are one and the same – so long as we properly understand the nature of the kind of insurgency we are morally allowed to wage. It is not a violent one, and especially not violent (or fraudulent) against innocent bystanders.

    Do you mean to substitute “aggression” for “violent” in the above?

    Violence in self-defense is entirely permissible (to say the least), just not always tactically intelligent. That’s stating the obvious.

    Define “innocent bystanders”. Are people who actively support the state in this category? Are people who passively support the state in this category? Who is *not* an innocent bystander?

    Draining the state’s resources through consuming them just pushes the burden increasingly on the state’s innocent victims. That is the demand side I talked about, increasing the state’s demand for resources.

    This relates back to the question of whether it’s moral to use assets that have been created or appropriated by aggression, as discussed at:

    http://morelibertynow.com/libertarian/would-it-be-there-anyway

    And you argued there that government assets are unowned and subject to homesteading. I’m not sure what the right answer is here. I find some validity to both the conclusions you’ve stated but they conflict – don’t you think?

    Does the state actually have any innocent victims of their resource extortion process? Is someone who claims he’s happy to pay taxes an innocent victim?

    My main thrust is to co-opt the state-approved marketplace, as I mentioned above, but if we go with your statement in that earlier thread, why is it wrong to homestead the state’s resources?

    The alternative is draining the state’s resources by cutting off supplies. Instead of increasing the burden on innocent victims, we give those victims a way to stop being victims. We offer them a choice in the matter.

    So are you saying that instead of homesteading a government datacenter we should convince taxpayers to stop paying for the datacenter?

    Wouldn’t righteous homesteading that leads to government increasing their demands on the taxpayers constitute a powerful argument for the taxpayers to stop paying?

    The demand side increases state power by putting more and more activity within the state sphere.

    This assumes that people will always submit. But clearly people have breaking points. Just as you can’t infinitely inflate the dollar, so you can not infinitely expand government power.

    You say, regarding insurgency vs building an alternate system, that we have to be smart about the former to accomplish the latter. That’s the sideways thing again, I say we have to be smart about the latter to accomplish the former. Counter economics, in the sense of *alternate* economics, *is* the insurgency.

    Is this sideways or are we just in opposition?

    In a sense your last sentence is right. It depends on how you define counter-economics. It’s like I said in the article, you may see my mashed-up plan as just one way to do agorism, or you may see it as something that encompasses agorism. It’s probably not worth arguing over until there are concrete examples that we can weigh and measure and say “This is agorism” or “This is not agorism”.

    Our kind of insurgency, by its nature as purely economic and based in voluntary interactions, ceases to be an insurgency as most people understand it. It becomes the “invisible molotov” in which there is no violent enemy to confront. There are only peaceful people minding their own business. But most importantly, it places our focus on that which we can control directly – on us, and on our own actions. We stop focusing on the state, and that, ironically and counter-intuitively, is the most sure way to take the state down. We topple it by no longer trying to topple it. It’s “direct action”, but only indirectly aimed at the state.

    This kind of nice-sounding thought needs close attachment to rough reality in order for people to implement it. That’s what I am trying to do. That’s what libertarians most need right now – concrete, specific, current-reality-grounded principles, plans and steps they can take to get the government monkey off their backs – in more than just a hide-and-evade kind of way.

    What does “purely economic” mean? Violent self-defense can fall within the realm of economics. You can’t think your way out of the inevitable violent confrontation that even Konkin admits is coming.

    Only principle #1 is focused on the networks arrayed in support of the state.

  17. FSK

    This is an important point. “Agorism is in my rational self-interest, because I prevent the State from leeching my labor and property.”

    Agorism can succeed, because you’re making a profit and hurting the bad guys at the same time.

    Initially, you need to focus on low-risk, high-reward activities. At the counter-economy progresses, there will be more options.

    I still think “Use E-Bay” is a bad idea. There probably is an obligation to report all transactions to the IRS. State enforcers can request such information from E-Bay, without even needing to inform the victims.

    There are many goods and services that you can’t advertise at all in public, but would be really valuable. Another example would be a decentralized gold/silver warehouse receipt banking system.

    It isn’t immoral to partially reinvest your profits in the State economy. For example, an agorist can use his profits to buy land or a house. The drawback of this approach is that the agorist must pay property taxes on his State-licensed investment.

  18. Even Konkin counts on violent self-defense to make his plan work. So let’s not tip-toe around the topic or, worse, pretend it won’t be necessary.

    Not avoiding it at all, but as you said, it is not tactically wise at this point. As far as more generally, see “Maginot Line”. For mopping up, for clearing obstacles, for defense against immediate threats yes, but not as the main thrust. It can’t be a primary strategy, just a supporting tactic, and only when others are not sufficient. They most definitely will insufficient be at some point, and there needs to be preparation for that. But it is adjunct, initiated by them (or their threats), not something we incorporate into our broad strategy.

    And you argued there that government assets are unowned and subject to homesteading. I’m not sure what the right answer is here. I find some validity to both the conclusions you’ve stated but they conflict – don’t you think?

    Moral vs tactical. Yes, the are subject to homesteading. Tactically it is not always wise to actually do so until the proper time.

    Define “innocent bystanders”. Are people who actively support the state in this category? Are people who passively support the state in this category? Who is *not* an innocent bystander?

    For tactic’s sake, lets try to treat anyone not actively engaged in violence as innocent. If they starve because the state they are dependent on can no longer support them, tough shit for them. But we don’t need to be attacking them directly. Hearts and minds.

    So are you saying that instead of homesteading a government datacenter we should convince taxpayers to stop paying for the datacenter?

    That’s exactly it.

    Wouldn’t righteous homesteading that leads to government increasing their demands on the taxpayers constitute a powerful argument for the taxpayers to stop paying?

    Clearly, but how do they do that? Where do they go? Cutting off the supplies they depend on -removing them from the state sphere entirely, and placing them in the agorasphere – provides an equally compelling argument, but lays out a red carpet for acting on that argument. Tactically, we become their way out, instead of the ones backing them into a corner.

    Is this sideways or are we just in opposition?

    It’s sideways, I think, because we overlap on the insurgency part, its just a matter of which we see as primary. Where I think you see a choice of going directly at one or the other, I see going at both simultaneously, aiming at the point where the two intersect. Our means are economic, not strictly insurgent.

    This kind of nice-sounding thought needs close attachment to rough reality in order for people to implement it. That’s what I am trying to do.

    It’s what I am trying to do, too. But as I said, the way we slice the problem defines all subsequent thought. My concrete ideas depend on a specific way of slicing the problem. If we don’t agree there, all of my suggestions will look skewed to you, they’ll seem unimplementable, or counter to the model you have for how to proceed. We don’t have to agree rigidly, in entirety, but to share a general concept of how the problem is cut up.

  19. I still think “Use E-Bay” is a bad idea. There probably is an obligation to report all transactions to the IRS. State enforcers can request such information from E-Bay, without even needing to inform the victims.

    My proposal is not “Use E-Bay” per se but “Co-Opt, Don’t Own, Basic Services”. Don’t convict the principles on the basis of my first suggestion for implementation. :D

    Of course, there does not have to be a transaction when you use E-Bay, Amazon or similar. You list the item. The buyer contacts you securely and outside of the state marketplace. You consummate the deal securely and outside of the state marketplace. On Amazon you probably don’t have to do anything, since it’s just a long-term listing. On E-Bay you didn’t reach your reserve, so the auction fails, or you just retract it. E-Bay also has classifieds, which might be more appropriate (i.e., like Craigslist). These are just basic examples, better ones or better methods will surely evolve.

    Critical here is the need to protect the seller, since that is the only significant link to any suspected transaction. Kyle’s idea about using mail drops and encrypted communications comes in here. You create a fake identity to interface with the basic service you’re co-opting so it’s difficult if not impossible to trace it back to you.

    There are many goods and services that you can’t advertise at all in public, but would be really valuable.

    If you give them code words you can. You could offer marijuana for sale on Amazon under the code word Organic Maine Prawn, just as an early example. Code words would change regularly and be privy only to agora members who have passed some kind of reputation test.

    Here enters the reputation service concept I think you have discussed.

    Another example would be a decentralized gold/silver warehouse receipt banking system.

    This is an important nut to crack. Anyone know of any resilient historical examples of similar services? I don’t like using bank safety deposit boxes because some states confiscate the contents after as little as a few months if you don’t touch base with them regularly. There was an article about that 6-12 months ago.

    It isn’t immoral to partially reinvest your profits in the State economy.

    However it is not strategic and therefore should be avoided as much as possible.

  20. “Co-Opt, Don’t Own, Basic Services”

    OK, I see where you are going with that. It’s correct, but it is not static. The more basic the service, the later in the game it gets owned, the longer it remains merely co-opted. Think roads, power lines, internet. The more concrete and specific the service, the earlier it gets privatized. At first, nearly all services are co-opted. And it does not mean that the whole of some given service is either co-opted or owned. Like your eBay example, it is a hybrid of the two. As things progress pieces of these services become private, until the whole service is, or at least until the majority of our needs can be provided by the private part of them.

    Remember, those other insurgencies have different goals. Their ultimate aim is to co-opt all services, and all power structures. Our ultimate goal is to decentralize and privatize all services, and eliminate the existing power structures entirely. We’re really trying to create a new world, a new civilization, even, not simply take over the old one.

    Think of this frontier not as a static line, but as a moving front. It is not moving through concrete space, but through an abstract space defined by the lines of force (the axes I described earlier), power relationships, and networks. Ahead of the line are coopted services that are leveraged to pull the line forward. Behind it are privatized services, free markets, true wealth accumulation. This is the engine that is driving the line forward economically, and it is the safe haven we invite fellow victims of the state to join us in.

  21. FSK

    The only example of a good agorist banking system is hawala. You can use a hawala system to make a deposit in New York City and a withdrawal in Saudi Arabia. It works because all the participants are family members.

    You have to use some State services for awhile. It’s hard/impractical to make your own electricity (at least where I live).

    As another example, if you want to start an agorist gold/silver dealer business, you will need to sometimes buy from State-licensed gold dealers.

  22. Is hawala analogous to a gold/silver warehouse receipt banking system tho? Doesn’t seem like it. I thought hawala was just for money transfer? Is there anything analogous to this?

  23. I’m not sure I like this concept of a leading frontier. You liken it to a firewall, but what’s stopping that line from being breached at any time (before the agora is large enough to defend itself) by the state? You might build A-Bay behind the line, host it in Panama or the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and put it on Tor, but the state can still take it out.

    It seems like our differences can be summed up as follows. Do you agree?

    – You prefer to maximize the building of agoric infrastructure while I argue for maximum co-option of existing state-ish infrastructure.

    – You want to just starve the beast. I want to do that but I also want to confuse it, infect it, konk it over the head and homestead cookies from its pantry.

    – You don’t like the word insurgency while I think we can harvest useful principles and tactics from it while leaving the aggression behind.

    I’ve probably not been generous to you in the comparisons but you get the point. :D

    You argue for “draining the state’s resources by cutting off supplies” but won’t that – just as much as righteously homesteading unowned property claimed by the state – result in government stealing more? If so, picking one over the other based on the expected results seems pointless.

    It seems like we’ve gotten lost in the minutae of #11. I think we might progress faster if we focused more on concrete examples.

    The agorasphere starts out as completely isolated inside each of us. That ties into your “Step 0″ (very apt labelling, by the way). It’s only after we’ve each planted and nurtured that seed, and pushed that sphere out a bit, that it is appropriate to try to connect it with others in any concrete way.

    So it seem voluntaryism is a prerequisite for agorism. Heeheehee. :D

  24. You might build A-Bay behind the line, host it in Panama or the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and put it on Tor, but the state can still take it out.

    As long as there are living, breathing people operating in meatspace, the state can take them out.

    Again, the agorasphere is not a physical space, it’s just a term for the sum total of agorist activities. They have to be decentralized, distributed, and numerous in order for the sphere as a whole to be resilient.

    You’re a bit generous in the comparison, but it is not too far off. We don’t disagree so much on what to do, as in what to emphasize, what direction to move when. There’s a huge overlap in concretes. But more importantly, the model I’m looking at implies a certain ordering of things, certain arrangements of priorities. Not in a “to follow me you must do this” kind of way, but in a “do it this way and its much more likely to work” kind of way. Your model implies different arrangements.

    Let me try one last analogy, just to describe our core difference. This is only about the model, but the model implies the concretes.

    Draw a graph, with the Y (vertical) axis labeled, “The State”, and the X (horizontal) axis labeled “The Market”. The bottom of the Y axis is all-powerful state, the top is no state. The left of the X axis is no markets, the right is fully free markets. Draw a “freedom” arrow from the bottom left (all state, no markets) to the top right (no state, free markets). It’s a 45 degree angle upward, and that is the line we both want to follow. No disagreement there, I hope.

    Now, draw a horizontal line near the bottom, above the X axis. That is your slicing of the problem. Your view is to move that line upward. As it does, the point on the freedom arrow that intersects your line moves up and to the right. Less state, freer markets. Great! that’s moving the right direction. Still no disagreement, I hope.

    Now erase your line, and draw a vertical line, just to the right of the Y axis. That’s my slice of the problem. I want to push that line to the right, so that the point where the freedom arrow intersects it moves up to less state, more markets. I think we still agree that is a good result. It’s the same result.

    In fact, both lines can coexist.

    So the question is, which line do we push on? Look at the axes again. The one labeled “State” could also be labeled “Them”. The one labeled “Markets” could also be labeled “Us”.

    Now, is it easier and more effective to push “Us”, or to push “Them”? Which is more likely to produce blowback – both from the state, and from those attached to or dependent on the state? Which is more positive, more oriented toward growth rather than destruction? Which axis do we control already?

    You see, if you are pushing the horizontal line upward, and I say, for instance, “we need to invent a new internet protocol”. You’re going to think I am crazy. It doesn’t help you push that line upward. It doesn’t fit your model. It fits mine, and it is something friends and I at work have actually examined in some detail. When I say “leave the gold and silver banking for later”, you might think I’m being too timid, or not thinking big enough. I see it as something that comes at a definite point based on my model, a point I’ve already defined (loosely), and where it does not have to be forced, it will be demanded. Profit potential will be the signal that the demand is there, and that it is time.

    It doesn’t mean we can’t work together, only that we aren’t on the same page. I’m just afraid that you, pushing the line upward, are going to find that the weight of the world rests on that line, but me, pushing the other line, will have the wind at my back. So to speak, anyway, neither is going to be that easy.

  25. Oh, another quick argument for my model, for my slicing of the problem: if this was Mad Max world, no state, no economy at all, the things I’m talking about would be the only thing left to work on, the only thing still necessary. If we go to pure tyranny, the groundwork we lay now will be a huge boon to a resistance movement, and could still be further built upon. If things somehow get better both politically and economically, we’ve been building resources and are still in better shape.

    No matter what happens in the future, from tyranny, to economic collapse, to a second renaissance of freedom, my approach still works.

  26. You’ve caricatured my proposal. I’m not shorting the development of a free market in favor of the destruction of the government.

    Perhaps I haven’t communicated this well enough, but my whole point is to explore how the principles of open source insurgency can be applied to agorism (and voluntaryism).

    If agorism is so general that people have a hard time figuring out how to practice it, these principles only make the libertarian insurgency (which is what agorism is) slightly more specific.

    There are many details to work out. Let’s work on that instead of splitting hairs. :)

  27. You’ve caricatured my proposal.

    arrggghh. It’s an analogy, of course it is grossly oversimplified. In any case, I didn’t mean to demean any of your proposals, if you took it that way.

    If agorism is so general that people have a hard time figuring out how to practice it, these principles only make the libertarian insurgency (which is what agorism is) slightly more specific. There are many details to work out. Let’s work on that instead of splitting hairs.

    Sure. I’ve just about beat that dead horse to death anyway. This has always been about the concrete steps for me, I just need to have a solid model in place to organize them, it’s the way I am.

    We’ll get around to butting heads on specifics, just be aware that that is generally going to be a result of the different models, not different goals. And I don’t know of any other way to express it than “Here where the transportation axis intersects the frontier, we have an opportunity for X”.

    So the next order of business is to expand on what I wrote in my earlier post, about those lines and where they first encounter the state sphere. I came up with things like mail drops, encryption, moving to all cash, and web proxies. What are the basic individual pieces that need to be in place along the other axes? And how to apply the eleven principles to them? Cause that is exactly what I am working on right now. Haha, I’m going to go home and make another graph. :-)

  28. Hehe no worries, I just really want to identify where we differ. :D

  29. Good ideas, but how do you tackle the problem of intellectual property rights, or do you think every writer and thinker wants to work for free typing into Wikis and remaining anonymous?

  30. This made yesterday’s Strike the Root. Thanks, Chris. :)

    http://www.strike-the-root.com/2009/september/090918.html

    TL. if you want credit, by all means set up your own blog, facebook page and/or twitter account and start writing. Just let me know where it all is so I can subscribe/friend/follow. :)

  31. FSK

    Intellectual property is not a valid form of property.

    I don’t bother with wikis, because either nobody reads them, or it degenerates into an edit war.

  32. Mighty fine collection of thoughts here, George. And even though we might bicker with each other at times over details, miscommunications and misunderstandings, the comparatively few humans who are past your Step 0 ought to be well-equipped to gather together in those loose network for trade and action, just as you suggest. [sarcasm]Now we just need a central registry of all Open Source Peaceful Evolutionaries.[/sarcasm]

    Kyle, I’ll bet a lot of people would find it interesting to contemplate the graph/model you’re describing here. @libertysnippet did a YouTube narration of a powerpoint presentation recently which might have something in it for you as a communications model, at least, though the content there isn’t want you’re on about: Morality vs. Legality: A Framework

  33. LOL Mike. I think we could use pseudonyms and a web of trust while piggybacking on existing certificate authorities to create a directory without compromising anyone’s privacy. Tie it into reputation management (like ebay’s feedback rating feature) and we have an accountable nework. Thanks for commenting.

  34. Sounds good, George… ok, you give me your nym first…

  35. Yes, one person may have to sacrifice their privacy to get it going. I’m not sure. I need to think it through completely. I have no problem with it being me to a limited extent. We’ll see. Would love to hear any thoughts on it you might have. :)

  36. When I get to thinking about these things, I stumble upon two immediate problems:

    1: All of the relationships we’ve built up with and among our fellow Open Source Peaceful Evolutionaries (let’s call ‘em “ospeys”, for short) can’t transfer into nymspace. If I contact George under his real identity via the anonymous anarcore using my “Oscar Wilde” nym and reveal Mike==Oscar to George, I and George are at some risk (eavesdropping, subsequent message capture, any of the three screwing up or selling out). Additionally, George can’t then go on and make introductions to other ospeys for Oscar, because Oscar basically has no network reputation, only George’s word. Getting to critical mass becomes a problem. Likewise, if Oscar contacts George’s “Trader Joe” nym, the two of them would be smart not to share real-world details. It would seem to me for this reason that the likely starting point is with people who have long been trading with each other under cypherpunk-type nyms already. Getting to anything like the critical mass that the division of labor in our present society seems to call for seems really hard (know any anarchist rice farmers?).

    2: Trust is very poorly transitive. If A trusts B (A->B) and B trusts C (B->C), there’s effectively no reason why A->C or any other relation there to hold. Of course, I fall myself into a trap of “I trust X” being a yes/no proposition, when what we really operate off of day to day are trust continua (e.g.: I trust the guy at the convenience store to give me a pack of cigarettes when I hand him some banknotes, but I’m not necessarily going to accept his offer to house-sit for me while I’m away).

    There are functioning for mitigating the problem in (2): pure authoritarian (you will trust Carlo because Don Cebolla trusts him, and I’ll break your legs if you disagree), quasi-authoritarian institutional (you will trust Nigel because Nigel is a Master Mason), peer-to-peer trendy (I ought to trust Kevin because I’m a punk and Kevin wears similar clothes), and so on. They all have their strengths and weaknesses (philosophical, structural and against external attack), but can provide some level of mitigation.

    Lemme know if you come up with anything else, for sure! I have many times over the past few years found myself modeling some sort of trade/services directory for anti-statists to register themselves with an be able to make introductions to each other and others… and thus far have always come away thinking “risks too high, uptake too weak”. Only one thing’s for sure: we’re not the only ones devoting bits of brainpower to the problemopportunity.

  37. Wonderful ideas and exchange! I’ve bookmarked this and will be back. Can’t think of anything to add right now. :)

  38. FSK

    There’s one way to make trust transitive. If you introduce X into the trust network, you’re taking partial responsibility for X if he later causes a problem. If you’re really sure that X is trustworthy, you can say “I take 100% responsibility for X.” If you’re partially sure, you can say “I take 5% responsibility for X.”

  39. Whoa, Mama’s here!

    @FSK: It doesn’t *really* work that way, though. I mean, “George takes x% responsibility for Kyle” doesn’t translate into each actor’s context the same way. Someone in the network ought to be able to downgrade that “x%” by saying, “yeah, but George is a pathological liar”, and have that observation be reflected in some kind of rankings — provided that one trusts the accuser more than one trusts George (sorry, George, now, for leaving you as an example case!).

    But then, this is part of what is meant by reputation markets. If Dick says “Dick->(30%)Jane”, and Dick is only trusted on average 40% by his immediate contacts, there should be some way to aggregate those factors to determine how trustworthy Dick and Jane really are…

    Abstracted out to yet another level — and this is something I discussed in an interview some months ago with Sunni Maravillosa — we have trouble even looking at these things and knowing that Dick=Dick, Jane=Jane and George=George. Unless we are first parties to the relationships and transactions, we need some kind of identity-certifying authority to refer to in order to resolve the “is A really A?” questions with regard to people. If this can be piggybacked on existing CA services, well, fuckin’-A, man!

    I’m about to post this to my own site, but Wikipedia admin/mod people just certified me as having properly posted my own Social Security card as the example image for the pertinent articles. I’m not sure if my perversity tickles me just too much, but being a someone who’s slaughtered all chance of being “private” vis-a-vis the system in this fashion might put me in an interesting position with regard to validating others’ identities. I mean, fucking everyone knows who I am by now…

  40. FSK

    “I take 100% responsibility for X.” means “I take personal responsibility for losses if X causes a problem.” That’s a promise backed by my property and reputation.

    If you know I’m a deadbeat, then why am I in your trust network? If you think I’m a deadbeat, then X can try to secure a trust backing from someone else, or post collateral.

    I’ve become very good at identifying parasitic people. I don’t think an undercover Statist or deadbeat could fool me.

  41. “X is a deadbeat” isn’t a 100% proposition.

    X might always meet hir obligations in trade, but if hir family is threatened, exhibit different behavior.

    As I suggested, trust is not a yes/no proposition. Not if George, Mike, Kyle and FSK are to form a trading network, anyway.

  42. “Kyle, I’ll bet a lot of people would find it interesting to contemplate the graph/model you’re describing here. @libertysnippet did a YouTube narration”

    I hope so. Not everybody naturally works from explicit models, but it works for me. Time management is killing me, living in mode zero is brutal,and working out of it just adds to the time pressure. I look at it as paying my dues for past indiscretions. I’ve got a milestone identified that will allow me to move to Wyoming (for the FSW), and hopefully to have more free time to work on small hobbies like rebuilding civilization from scratch in an environment hostile to the first one, let alone v2.0. I’m gaining on it rapidly.

    I’ll get something on the Agorist Roadmap compiled ASAP, along with my “Agorist Manifesto in 95 Theses”, suitable for nailing to a door near you.

    Libertysnippet is a very smart woman, worth checking in on regularly. I particularly liked this article that came in shortly after the one you mention:

    http://libertysnippet.com/75/a-nation-of-laws/

    Note how she implicitly drew on Robb’s “OODA Loop” idea, though she tells me she hadn’t known of it when she wrote this.

  43. @George: “Yes, one person may have to sacrifice their privacy to get it going.”

    I don’t think so, though it might expedite things. I think a trust network can bootstrap itself. Add in cryptographic authentication to verify unique identity, and meatspace identity is not strictly necessary. In fact, you never trust the face, only the nym, unless and until you have first-hand knowledge that they are the same. Any such network is going to be a hybrid, with much of the trust being established face-to-face (as I’ll get into below), but in either case, centralizing the authority is a recipe for trouble.

    @Mike: “All of the relationships we’ve built up … can’t transfer into nymspace.”

    They can. Sure, any time you connect your nym to your meatID, you open yourself up to risk from that person. So choose wisely. But picture a crypto-ID’d network where every node has a trust rating for the nodes it has had contact with (positive or negative), and software that enables you to walk these nodes and find an aggregate trust rating weighted by the trust *you* have for the nodes in the chain, and the trust they have for the nodes further down, etc.

    Simple case, you trust George with your life, and George trusts “Frank” with with his life, its a pretty good bet you can trust Frank. The beauty of this is that George never has to reveal that meatspace Mike is actually nymspace Oscar, he can simply set his trust rating for Oscar to whatever he has for Mike. More complicated cases might involve hundreds or even thousands of nodes being evaluated (oh that we had such a large network). This means the error bar on the final evaluation is higher, so you may choose only to do low risk transactions with this person at first. Buy a poster, if he rips you off for $20, no big loss, and now you can poison his reputation across the network. But you can’t unilaterally destroy it, because you are just one rating of many, and not everybody trusts your opinion yet anyway.

    In some cases, even the trust rating might be better hidden from untrusted onlookers, but there could also be a less granular public trust mechanism that allows for “public opinion” evaluation for interactions that aren’t all that risky to begin with. Kind of like eBay feedback, but a bit more targeted.

    “Trust is very poorly transitive.”

    This is why the weighted ratings, and you’re absolutely right, it is rarely a binary question. Imagine A trusts B at a level of 6 (out of 10). B trusts C at 8. Does A trust C at 8? Not likely. More like 4.8 or something. Now if C trusts D at 10 out of 10, you may also rank D as 4.8, or maybe even attenuate it further based on the extra distance involved. The precise algorithms would have to be worked out, and everybody can choose their own, perhaps even varying them by type of contemplated transaction. Computer networking theory, AI, process control software, neural networks, the PGP key registration infrastructure that exists now, and even credit ratings agencies, have existing solutions that can be adapted to this problem.

    This is not only for virtual transactions. Walk into a store, swipe a card, or bump your iPhone against a terminal, and the store owner can evaluate how much he can trust you. You’ve probably checked out the store before even going into it. This brings in risk of connecting nymspace and meatspace, but it does not have to involve meatspace IDs at all. Somebody walking in in Grouch Marx glasses and mustache, wearing rubber gloves to prevent leaving fingerprints need not arouse the slightest suspicion, if his nym checks out. You could even have your store counter set up like a Catholic confessional box.:-)

    @FSK: Yes, the “sponsoring” idea is very important. There have to be consequences to misplaced trust, or it becomes no better than friending people on Facebook. Your rep takes a hit if the guy you vouch for fails to live up to it, and/or if you fail to make good on your “co-signing”. Watch the movie “Donnie Brasco” for a much more severe example of the same idea (poor Al Pacino).

    The bottom line is that I think cryptography is an absolutely fundamental concept for large portions of agorist activism, far beyond just privacy, but crude versions of this can be worked out with pencil and paper, they just won’t be as effective, nor be able to incorporate as much information. Studying and practicing the necessary crypto techniques and technologies is high on my list of fall and winter project priorities.

    There’s a lot of work involved in all this, its not going to be in place next week. But I think the basic concepts can be reduced down and adapted to less technical means in the meantime, and the technical support added in gradually. There’s many of us that have the skills necessary.

  44. Hey Mama, thanks for stopping by. :)

    FSW, huh? I’m still considering WY too. Let me know how it goes please.

    Remember, we can’t build any basic services, so how are we going to have all these ratings and nodes? It’s too complex. It has to be simple and resilient; easily restored if something happens to the data.

    Yes, we’ve built up a lot of reputation with our real names (presumably, hehe). So it would be a net loss to use a system where that becomes useless. It’s a risky business either way. Perhaps we just have to pick those options that most serve us and let the chips fall where they may. You only live once and if it all goes wrong at least you can go out with a bang, right? :D

  45. “Remember, we can’t build any basic services,”

    I vehemently disagree, you’re applying Robb’s abstraction too literally to an application that pursues goals very different than the goals the principle arose from. The whole goal of agorism is to privatize infrastructure. The principle still applies, but as a transitional, opportunistic measure. Besides, there is no trust network of any kind to co-opt, whether we do it technically or by scratching notches in tree bark, it’s still infrastructure. Here’s another principle, from the business world, “Don’t outsource your core business”. Trust and reputation are core, damn near definitional, to the agora, they are the things that allow abandoning the rule of universal law.

    We’ll just have to work around that disagreement.

    “so how are we going to have all these ratings and nodes? It’s too complex. It has to be simple and resilient; easily restored if something happens to the data.”

    Resiliency and complexity are not mutually exclusive. There’s the internet, for one counterexample. Resiliency can come from redundancy, decentralization, stealth, and entanglement with other resilient infrastructure. This is complex, but it is how trust networks work, even if you’ve never heard of the concept and do it all in your head. Software allows us to expand the volume of data we can incorporate, and to expand the reach of the network. Until that gets developed, the same principles apply, they just have to be adapted to the tools available at hand.

    But you are right in one respect, I’m leapfrogging the immediately doable steps. Its that roadmap concept again. If I am going to drive to New York, I still have to get to the end of my block first. But until I know where New York is, I have no idea which way to turn at the first stop sign.

  46. “we’ve built up a lot of reputation with our real names (presumably, hehe). So it would be a net loss to use a system where that becomes useless.”

    It would be far from useless, it would be multiplied, leveraged.

  47. Some good advice on immediately doable steps in this direction here: http://bit.ly/2Qb8r

  48. Kyle, this is not state-protected business, this is a form of insurgency. There is no web of trust to co-opt? Sure there is. See LinkedIn, Facebook, the OpenID networks and eBay just to start.

  49. “this is not state-protected business”

    LOL, no this is how you protect business from the state. Business *is* the insurgency, the insurgency *is* business. That’s counter-economics in the full meaning of the word – both *anti* state econ, and *other than* state econ.

    The best insurgency is one that is done before the state is even aware of it. Short of that, it’s one that is already self-sustainable and growing before the state is aware of it. The Germans were practically marching through the Arc de Triomphe before the guys on the Maginot line figured out they shouldn’t be pointing their guns eastward anymore. I’m trying to figure out how to get to France, not how to smash the Maginot Line.

    Don’t confuse business with corporations, state subsidies, and rent-seeking.

    Do you trust my Facebook friends? Hell, I hardly trust some of my Facebook friends. LinkedIn, eBay, and openID in particular offer some opportunities for early co-option, but none of them provide a fully robust standalone trust network (openID is close enough that it is worth looking at, I hadn’t though of that one).

  50. Forgive me for butting in here, gentlemen, but you “might” be forgetting that there is no need (and no real possibility) of just ONE system or method to serve all.

    I can see the potential for MANY different, and different size systems, networks and organizations. They may decide to associate, or not, for all kinds of reasons. Some will succeed and grow, some fail and fade – for all sorts of reasons. That’s the nature of the free market, of course.

    Nobody is going to know the absolute “right” way to do this – possibly ever, but certainly not until a few have been done for a while and others learn from their mistakes. And here I’m talking especially about the encryption, trust rating thing of larger, more formal operations.

    The FSW people in my area have a fairly good, informal and simple “agora” working now and we don’t bother with encryption – though many of us have that capability. We know each other personally, so don’t need codes or even much record keeping.

    But it is still evolving, of course, and as more people become involved things may change. We shall see. :)

  51. Business *is* the insurgency, the insurgency *is* business. That’s counter-economics in the full meaning of the word – both *anti* state econ, and *other than* state econ.

    What makes you think I do not know this?

    Don’t confuse business with corporations, state subsidies, and rent-seeking.

    What makes you think I am?

    I feel you tend to lecture me on agorism, which is fine, could you please just tie it back to something I said that demonstrates why I need the remedial education?

    Do you trust my Facebook friends?

    As Mike said, there are different levels of trust. Facebook and the other examples I mentioned can be co-opted to suit our purposes. It is possible to build applications for Facebook. Just as there is an application for my best friends there could be an application for my trusted trading partners (as a very simplistic example of the concept).

  52. there is no need (and no real possibility) of just ONE system or method to serve all.

    Sure but our discussion doesn’t hinge on that. We’re talking about possible ways to do it, in search I think it’s safe to say for a best way to do it.

    Nobody is going to know the absolute “right” way to do this

    How is that relevant? We do the best we can at this time and don’t worry about the fact that it’s imperfect stop us. The perfect is the enemy of the good enough and all that.

    The FSW people in my area have a fairly good, informal and simple “agora” working now

    Kudos. I for one am working on a supply of how-to guides on practicing agorism so everyone can grasp how to do it, right now. I’d like some real world tools for it too, and to facilitate more than local trades. I think Kyle is thinking along similar lines.

    I’d love to hear any insights you have along those lines as many people are dying for direction and leadership in this area.

    BTW you are *not* butting in. Everyone is welcome to comment here.

  53. Sorry, George! It just seemed to me that you and Kyle were discussing the “right” way to do this rather than that there would be many different ways. Forgive me.

    Not sure I have any insight relevant to the level of discourse here – especially since I seem not to understand it…

    Our trade and relationships among the FSW, and with some non FSW neighbors increasingly, are extremely informal and fluid. I can’t really tell you much about how they work because each contact and trade or mutual assistance is truly an individual effort, based on the people and the situation. We have only one rule: non-aggression.

    For us, for me, the important thing is to live it, do it, work with it each day.

    But I wish you the best in your efforts to codify and map it out for others. I’ll be watching as I find the time. :)

  54. @MamaLiberty “Forgive me for butting in here, gentlemen, but you “might” be forgetting that there is no need (and no real possibility) of just ONE system or method to serve all.”

    As far as I am concerned, you are always welcome to “butt in”. :-). (Not that anybody else isn’t) You’re right, centralizing to one system would be disastrous. I’m not on about the way *evrerybody* should do it, only the way *I* want to do it (and to convince George and others to help ;-) ) . I see the competition of methods as vital to the evolution of means toward the most effective and safest possible avenues, but even then, there will be multiple means, applied to multiple contexts and multiple goals. What we’re trying to do here is to flesh out as fully as possible one of those concrete ways. And I’m looking to see how we can spread the information, and later the concrete tools as widely as possible in keeping with the 11 points above.

    The one area where George and I are butting heads on a “best” way is the co-option of infrastructure question, but we’ll almost certainly end up doing some measure of both, so it is not a serious conflict.

    “The FSW people in my area have a fairly good, informal and simple “agora” ”

    This is the huge advantage I see of Wyoming vs New Hampshire. New Hampshire has different advantages, and neither one is perfect by itself. I think they are very complimentary, bur I prefer the Wyoming approach. I’m very impressed with what’s been done there, and I wouldn’t want to change it. It’s already going in a direction that fits my vision of things, so there’s no reason to anyway – and you folks wouldn’t let me if I tried. I do want to get up there ASAP and start adding to it, though.

    @George, I’m sorry if it comes off as lecturing. The last thing I want to do is have this turn confrontational or patronising. You’re comment “this isn’t a state-protected business”, I took as opposition to an emphasis on business methods, and maybe a belief that I am advocating using state-protected business methods as an avenue for this. I was arguing against both possibilities. I see where that comes off as lecturing if I misinterpreted your comment. What did you mean by it?

  55. Guys, what *is* going on in WY? I hear lots about NH, but almost nothing about Wyoming. Are you guys keeping it quiet on purpose? I’m considering moving to somewhere else here in PA, NH or WY but it would be helpful to know more about the good work you’re doing …

    Kyle, I was just suggesting that maybe the concept of core competency is not as relevant to agorism as you seem to want it to be? That’s all I meant. :)

    Online discussions are nice because one can calmly and thoroughly explore topics, but have the obvious disadvantage of losing the body language info. ;/

    This is a great discussion and I want to see it continue and expand. :)

  56. To learn more about FSW, take a look at our general website here: http://www.freestatewyoming.org/ for lots of information. To get to know us and our current activities, join us at our forum: http://www.fundamentalsoffreedom.com/fswforum/index.php

    For the very best introduction to FSW life in Wyoming, and lots of face to face experience with the crazy cowboy folks, plan a visit and we’ll roll out the green carpet. (We’re partial to green here in the great American desert – and some of us don’t “do” red in anything but meat!) LOL

  57. Oh, and I didn’t mean “green” as in any sort of whacko environmentalism. I mean green as in springtime grasslands and forests! :)

  58. Mama, already done that. I just don’t see what is going on there. Has anyone considered a blog that publicizes good stuff you’re doing? Take a lesson from the FSP in NH. I would like to visit, that’s a priority for me. Thanks.

  59. Several of us have started blogs, but FSW – as a whole – isn’t “doing” much of anything. The only real reason for the FSW is to promote Wyoming as a freer place to live as good neighbors and friends.

    We have the forum and an annual camp out, but everything else is strictly local and personal. We have no real organization, no officers or meetings, no dues or funds, and no particular structure or by laws except the statement of intent on joining. FSW is strictly non political, though many members participate in politics. Many of us do not.

    We have no membership rolls and nobody keeps track of anything beyond the forum software for forum members. Not all FSW members participate in the forum, and not all forum members are FSW members.

    So, the only way to learn what FSW is “doing” is to get to know the individuals and what THEY are doing, which is the actual sum total of FSW doings.

    Clear as mud?

  60. “Kyle, I was just suggesting that maybe the concept of core competency is not as relevant to agorism as you seem to want it to be?”

    Well, we’ll have to put a big ol’ asterisk next to that idea to mark it as an area of deep disagreement. That way we can tiptoe around it as necessary, and maybe hash it out explicitly one day. So long as we don’t just pretend its not there and let it fester.

    “Guys, what *is* going on in WY?”

    I’m not in Wyoming, but I’m active in the discussion boards, and I’ve visited twice, but whatever I say doesn’t speak for anyone else there, just my own impressions. So….

    “I hear lots about NH, but almost nothing about Wyoming. Are you guys keeping it quiet on purpose?”

    Not so much on purpose as the fact that it is a much quieter approach. Less confrontational, less “in your face”. That’s in keeping with Wyoming’s culture. It’s a more reserved, more live and let live culture, and the tactics used in NH wouldn’t play as well there. I don’t mean just the FSWers, but the culture of the place as a whole.

    In Wyoming, its more about fitting into the communities, getting to know people, and working with them. The natives are already hugely pro-liberty, and they don’t need to be pushed into anything. Moving there really means wanting to adopt that lifestyle, you can’t expect to move to a big city like Manchester and keep up the same lifestyle you came from. The population of the whole state is less than 5 times the population of Manchester, and less than the city-limits population of Tucson, AZ, where I currently live. The biggest population towns are Cheyenne and Casper, both at about 50K. The next biggest after that, I think, is Gillette at around 20K.

    What’s going on there is people quietly adapting to living a pretty free life on the whole, and helping each other out, building relationships and informal trading networks. And doing things like OC in town as a means of outreach, going to city council and county board meetings, etc. It’s more oriented toward the long-run than the more immediate activism of NH.

    The political strategy difference is that FSW aims at the county level, more than the state as a whole. The plan that has been loosely followed is to encourage moving to the smallest counties first, such as one of the counties I looked at moving to – Crook – that has 6000 people and one traffic light.

  61. “everything else is strictly local and personal. We have no real organization, no officers or meetings, no dues or funds, and no particular structure or by laws except the statement of intent on joining.”

    The FSW has #3 absolutely nailed.

  62. A lot of people confuse the goals and methods described in the book, “Molon Labe” (by our founder, Boston T. Party) and the actual day to day reality of the FSW here now. Many seekers are very unhappy that we are not busily carrying it out.

    I don’t really know if Ken (Boston) originally envisioned the reality as conforming to the story, but it just isn’t happening and he’s made no pretense of insisting that it do so.

    FSW has achieved a life of its own, that’s all. :)

  63. So, the only way to learn what FSW is “doing” is to get to know the individuals and what THEY are doing, which is the actual sum total of FSW doings.

    And is that a secret?

    I know all these things you guys are telling me about the FSW. I have actually looked into it quite a bit. I just don’t see any activity. You might get even more persons of high moral character if you let those of us outside WY know of your accomplishments. It’s a sales thing.

  64. “A lot of people confuse the goals and methods described in the book, “Molon Labe” (by our founder, Boston T. Party) and the actual day to day reality of the FSW here now. Many seekers are very unhappy that we are not busily carrying it out.”

    When I said “loosely”, I meant it in the sense of “not really at all” :-)

    On the other hand, there seem to be a disproportional number of FSWers in Crook and Weston, and I think that the book has had at least an inspirational effect on whatever individual strategies people choose. I seem to remember somebody on the board saying they started a campground, didn’t they?

    But it is not anything close to “strategy” in the sense that the FSP was originally envisoned.

    I saw a great quote on Facebook today that reminds me of how the FSW is going:

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

  65. @George, there’s no accomplishments to point to, at least not in the sense you are looking for. Yet, when the SHTF, I’d rather be in WY, with FSW people than in NH with FSP people, ten to one. No offense to the Porcs. I think that in their own way, they’ve accomplished more concretely than NH has. And for long term success, my money is on the FSW – (my money will be literally so pretty soon).

    Foundations are invisible above ground, but without them, nothing of lasting value can be built.

  66. [quote]
    I just don’t see any activity. You might get even more persons of high moral character if you let those of us outside WY know of your accomplishments. It’s a sales thing.
    [/quote]

    Well, let me try it again. Kyle said it pretty well, but let me emphasize… The ONLY activity done “officially” as FSW is the annual camp out, and that is organized, put on and paid for by individuals in a completely voluntary and more or less random manner. It is chaos and unorganization to the max that somehow magically WORKS to produce exactly what everyone wants or can live with. It’s true anarchy in motion. :)

    The campground and new shooting range are other examples, in a way. Both are the private property of an individual who has made these facilities available to FSW – and other folks as he wishes. It has been the pleasure of those involved to work with him and donate time/materials to help make them a reality. It isn’t an FSW “project – the owner and some of those participating just happen also to be FSW members.

    And so it goes. I could tell you some of what the FSW individuals choose to do to improve their lives and community, but the fact that they are FSW members isn’t really central to it. They’d be the same good neighbors if FSW vanished tonight.

    And, for us, that’s just exactly the way it should be. If “quality” people are not attracted by that, then I don’t know what to say.

  67. Mama, you’re not hearing me. I’m suggesting you publicize a little what you guys do – whether it’s “official” or not. I don’t even hear about your official stuff and I am very connected to news of liberty events and whatnot.

    Ridley Report, Free Keene, the open carry litter pickups and all that other stuff done in NH also is NOT “official”. But lots of people here about it anyway and it attracts them to NH.

  68. Just thought of another example, for whatever it is worth. Some FSW members here have a “library” to gather and preserve as many good books as possible, especially freedom philosophy, freedom fiction and material involving survival and other skills that might be lost in a catastrophic breakdown of society.

    Membership is open to anyone who wants to pay the small fee, but right now I think mostly FSW folks are members. The books are kept, many or a few, in the homes of the members and loaned by mail or as folks travel. The forum is a vast help in this, of course.

    Many FSW members homeschool their children, and we’ve talked about doing some “apprenticeship” type things so young people can learn skills their parents can’t teach them.

    But again, this is between individuals and is not any formal part of the FSW unorganization. [grin]

  69. [quote]
    Mama, you’re not hearing me. I’m suggesting you publicize a little what you guys do
    [/quote]

    This isn’t a new idea, of course. We’ve had people post at the forum urging this and all sorts of activism, publicity and so forth. Most of us simply do not care to advertise our individual private lives that way. And that is why we tell people that the best way to get to know who we are and what we are doing is to visit and see for themselves.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s just the way it is here. [smile]

  70. “Some FSW members here have a “library” to gather and preserve as many good books as possible, … and we’ve talked about doing some “apprenticeship” type things so young people can learn skills their parents can’t teach them.”

    Cool. I wasn’t even aware of that. I’ve been saving books, too, for the same reason. When I move, the majority of the U-Haul will be books – I’m somewhere over 1000 right now (after donating ~200 to a local homeschoolers’ association). I figured when I got up there, I’d start a lending library. Nice to see something like that already going on.

    One of the entrepreneurial ideas I’ve been kicking around is some kind of school, or just freelance teaching, aimed primarily at homeschoolers for supplemental education in history, science, math, computer science, etc. I’d never go for any kind of accreditation, and wouldn’t teach to any state curriculum, but I think it could be valuable to parents who want their kids to have an education and don’t care about the official piece of paper.

    Which, I think, fits very nicely with agorism in general, and even the topic of this thread. It’s another one of those things that dilutes state power, builds resources – both for myself and the young ‘uns – helps create trust and trading networks, and is open source, resilient, replicable, etc.

  71. [quote]
    I figured when I got up there, I’d start a lending library. Nice to see something like that already going on.
    [/quote]

    Well, it’s not much more than an idea looking for a place to happen at this point. With the folks so spread out, a central location wouldn’t help much and sending books by mail is expensive.

    The ideal we’ve talked about is the establishment of reading room/cafe’ type businesses in various parts of the state where books would be available for reading by anyone, but could only be checked out (except core research material) by members. The businesses would have to be self supporting, of course, and strictly private with a “franchise” type connection to the FSW library.

    Some of us (those with broadband) are also downloading the freely available cyber copies of books and material that would be valuable in a SHTF situation. So, these library/cafe’ places would also have computers and internet connections.

    Some see the cafe’ part selling sandwiches, etc. And some see numerous other enterprises being available, including classes in various things – and not just for kids.

    That part has already started with various seminars and instruction being given at the annual camp out each year. We now have a world class instructor giving wilderness survival classes and I’ve offered a basic pistol class there for several years already.

    We have also talked much about a freedom oriented newspaper, radio program/station, or other such outreach. These would require purchase of an established outlet, or a new startup. Obviously, the initial investment would be a major thing and nobody has put their money and time on the line to get the ball rolling so it’s all just speculation now.

    All of this has been discussed at some length at the FSW forum, though some of it is in the “founding members only” section. Do a “search” and you may be surprised.

  72. @MamaLiberty: “With the folks so spread out, a central location wouldn’t help much and sending books by mail is expensive.”

    There’s two ideas that popped into my head that fit the broader topic here, and also have beneficial secondary effects. First, a bookmobile. One weekend in Newcastle, next weekend in Lander, that kind of thing. Return what you borrow when the bookmobile comes around again. It could be done out of the back of a pickup truck at first, or from a cheap used box van. I’ve always wanted to buy one of those anyway.

    The other comes from the idea that there seems to be a lot of travel around the state, FSWers visiting each other. This could be co-opted as an ad-hoc transportation network. Jones in Lander is going to ride his motorcycle into Casper this weekend, via Thermop. He puts the word out that he can carry some things people need transported – a small stack of books, some elk-jerky, or that gold ounce that Smith owes Johnson for services rendered. At some point, if people are willing to pay for this, someone could be a weekend courier, make a circuit of the state picking up and dropping things off.

    The bookmobile could serve the same purpose secondary to its book lending, and in either case, a resource is created that helps make trading a little more efficient, and also helps make the entire community a little more socially cohesive.

    That’s not to take away from the other ideas. I love the cafe idea and the branch library idea, and those have a lot of secondary benefits as well. They also would have add-on effects in combination with the above.

    I loved that movie “The Postman”. I could see myself being that guy.

  73. [blockquote cite=”First, a bookmobile. One weekend in Newcastle, next weekend in Lander, that kind of thing. Return what you borrow when the bookmobile comes around again. It could be done out of the back of a pickup truck at first, or from a cheap used box van. I’ve always wanted to buy one of those anyway.”]

    Great! When can you get started? LOL

    We do tote things around for each other on our various rambles, just nothing organized. I’ve introduced the idea at the forum (and others have) but most of us have privacy issues that keep it out of the public area.

    The bottom line is that any and all of these things will take some individual with the vision, ability, capital and time to do it. Even if a group of individuals decide to take it on, someone has to take the point and make it happen.

    Opportunities abound. When did you say you were going to get here? [laugh]

  74. “The bottom line is that any and all of these things will take some individual with the vision, ability, capital and time to do it. Even if a group of individuals decide to take it on, someone has to take the point and make it happen.

    Opportunities abound. When did you say you were going to get here? [laugh]”

    Oh, yer killin’ me. I’d be doing it today if I was there. This is exactly the kind of thing I’d be working on, I got me a knack for logistics, and I’ve already got a good start on the books. I’ll be there as soon as I am free to go, gotta serve out my self-imposed sentence here first, so long as doing so remains within my power. That’s step zero.

  75. Most of us simply do not care to advertise our individual private lives that way.

    I understand and respect this. I just don’t understand why it took so much back and forth for you to say it.

    Kyle, a newspaper is cheap. A radio station, maybe make it pirate and multiple transmitters?

    Great idea on the transportation network!

  76. No, George, I’ve been telling you that from the beginning. You just don’t listen. :(

  77. No. You avoided my questions (largely with lectures about things I already knew) and never, until the comment I quoted at 09.24.09 at 6:32 pm, said that FSWers did not publicize their activism out of concern for their privacy. This tangent has now officially been exhausted.

  78. Hate to resurrect a non-conversation here – but privacy does not need to be an issue for us. All the tools necessary for privacy in activism currently exist and can protect against all but the most vast and concentrated efforts effectively as long as you behave as if you’re always under surveillance. Some of them are less than perfect from a usability standpoint, which is something that will hopefully improve soon.