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Is it Moral to Use Assets Brought into Existence by Aggression?

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Is it morally acceptable to use assets that result from aggression? I’m talking about things paid for by taxes or caused to come into existence by government regulations. That’s the question I debated with Ian of Free Keene yesterday (starting at comment #81912). Ian argued that things like cable-access channels and public squares exist and we didn’t cause them to exist, so there is no moral objection to using them. I argued that to use such products of aggression, when there is a choice, is to validate the aggression and is therefore immoral. I wasn’t happy with Ian’s answer and I know mine needs improvement.

It’s There So … Why Not? Also, as Compensation

Now I may not be understanding Ian’s perspective completely, so any distortions are my responsibility, but as I understand it, he is saying that (1) aggression-produced assets/services like Cheshire TV (CTV, a cable-access channel created due to government demand) weren’t created by people like him, so they aren’t culpable for its existence, yet it would be a real shame not to use it; and (2) that money taken from him and his comrades helped fund the process that created CTV, so they might as well get their money back any way they can. See these quotes from Ian:

I have reinforced nothing through my actions. Whether I participate or not that channel will exist. If no one submitted programming, they would populate it likely with pro-state trash.

You assert that … by taking CTV’s airtime, I’m implicitly validating the coercive process that made it available. This is an intellectual point that is completely lost on most people. Even I who understand your point, do not agree with it. The violence is done, the entity exists, and is the best cable TV video delivery venue in the Keene area. My actions don’t imply anything of the sort – not in most peoples’ minds.

I’m having over $5,000 stolen from me each year. In return, the criminal gang allows me access to some tools helpful to seed the ideas necessary to achieve a free society.

Not using CTV would mean no Marc Stevens, Stefan Molyneux, and other great thinkers reaching new eyes and ears. You are cutting off your nose to spite your face. I suggest reconsidering your position.

I just walked by Cheshire TV and saw several voluntaryists who help out behind the scenes. They are no less voluntaryists despite your personal beliefs about their actions. These are people working with the tools they have available to make a better world.

If criminals have stolen money from you, you are within your rights to get it back – so I support people who have decided to do things like collect unemployment. It may be a distasteful action to the supplicant, but it’s not immoral to recoup or minimize your losses.

Don’t Reinforce or Validate the Aggression

I argued that to use assets that result from aggression is to validate and reinforce the aggressive process (i.e., government). I feel that by extension of Ian’s logic, if someone robbed me and handed the loot over to Ian, he would be content to keep it, since he had nothing to do with the aggressive act. This strikes me as being willfully blind. Trying to get back in services what was stolen from you looks too much like acceptance that the process of taking from some to give to others is legitimate.

What About When You Have No Choice

When you have no choice, though, morality goes out the window. Take this example: if tomorrow the government nationalizes the food industry – everything from farms to restaurants – and I eat, am I doing something immoral? Of course not. Their aggression has left you no choice. It is the same thing with the roads. It is not immoral to use the roads because the state nationalized them or stole to build them, and thus left you no choice.

If all television stations and cable channels were claimed by the government, I would be able to agree with Ian that using CTV is entirely moral. He would have no choice but to use a government asset. Morality does not apply when you have only one choice.

Is the Reasonable Existence Rule a Third Way?

Is there another way to slice this issue? How about this: would the government asset or service you want to use likely exist even if the government didn’t use aggression to cause it to come into existence? Would there be a commons in your town – a public square open to reasonable use by all – even if it wasn’t owned by the government? I think that’s reasonable. Would there be roads, sewers, water service … a community cable TV channel? I think so. This is a very moderate approach as even parking tickets and speed limits might exist in a voluntary society.

Does this Hypothesis Make Sense to You?

What do you think? Is a reasonable existence rule compatible with the Zero-Aggression Principle? Please evaluate this hypothesis and let me know what you think: Is it morally acceptable / reasonable to use services and/or assets currently controlled by government that would probably exist anyway if there was no, or a radically minimalist, government?

Photo credit: Henry M. Diaz. Photo license.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

43 replies on “Is it Moral to Use Assets Brought into Existence by Aggression?”

I think you and Ian each have valid points. Perhaps the difference between your positions lays in definitions (I’ve often found this to be the case with my own thinking and discussions).

I this case, I think my definition of “choice” differs from yours, George. If tomorrow the government nationalizes the food industry – everything from farms to restaurants, you said that the choice of whether to eat government-backed food versus non-government-backed food is removed. But that’s not true; you could still grow your own food or slaughter and cook your own animals, etc.

While the above is an extreme example, I think it helps me point out my definition of “choice.” It doesn’t matter what you choose, so long as you are free to choose it (the exception being the choice to initiate aggression on others). Here’s another extreme example: if a man holds a gun to my head and threatens to kill me unless I take his 2nd gun and kill a stranger standing nearby, and I do kill that stranger, I think I have made a choice but I don’t think I made it freely. I don’t think there is free will where there is aggression. I don’t think I’m morally responsible for the death of the death of that stranger (although I will nonetheless probably be psychology fucked up if I do make that choice).

So in a free world (imagine with me), if I wanted to use the facilities of a private business that allowed me to give them a video tape and they would broadcast it onto televisions within a local region, I could. But in this world, I am unable to make the same choice because government’s licensing and regulations prohibit such a private business from existing. Because government initiates such aggression, should I not still be able to make choices as freely as I’m able, despite someone else (i.e., government) initiating aggression? While it is still a “choice,” it is made behind the threat of aggression, and thus I don’t think I can be morally responsible for that aggression. I didn’t aggress against anyone, and yet I was affected by the aggression.

Part of the problem is you can’t give back the money the government took, only the government can. So it’s more like you know who took your friends money and the only way to get it back is to get them to use it in a way that benefits your friend. Or you can tell your friend sorry, I don’t want to encourage them and someone else comes along to use the item.

you said that the choice of whether to eat government-backed food versus non-government-backed food is removed. But that’s not true; you could still grow your own food or slaughter and cook your own animals, etc.

Either your cultivated land becomes a farm and is nationalized in my hypothetical example, or you don’t have enough food cultivated at the time of the nationalizations to start harvesting now and eat, so you have to buy it at the now government grocery store.

But in this world, I am unable to make the same choice because government’s licensing and regulations prohibit such a private business from existing.

Is that true though? Does the government prohibit a competitor to CTV? Or is that not what you mean?

Mike you may have a point. Can you boil it down to a simple moral rule? Thanks for commenting.

Chris, perhaps but at the same time reinforcing/validating the aggression is in no one’s interest. Thanks for commenting.

This is a very difficult question. Where does one draw the line? To be absolutist either way seems wrong, but the dividing line has to be arbitrary (until someone devises a consistent moral principle that can be applied in a way that isn’t absolutist).

For example, the government controls virtually all roads — but not all. And regardless, there are alternatives to road travel. So could it be reasoned that using government roads validates government aggression? What if only 2/3 of roads were government-owned and -controlled? What if I COULD avoid using government roads but at great inconvenience? What if only 1/10 of the roads were government-owned? Well, what about today, when 99.9% of roads are government owned? When does my level of inconvenience reach a point at which it is acceptable to use the government product?

I think the “reasonable existence” rule is “reasonable” — but open to interpretation. What would exist in the absence of the state? If you ask Walter Block and Kevin Carson, two anarcho-libertarians, you’d get radically different views. It seems the natural application of this rule would be “whatever I want to use would exist in the absence of the state, and things that I don’t like wouldn’t.” You can try to be objective, but there would clearly be internal bias. I think a “public access” TV station wouldn’t exist because I have no use for it. Bernard disagrees. Who’s to say the nature to which his opinion is colored by his own desire to use the particular asset? And, even assuming that such a think is “reasonably” likely to exist, it doesn’t answer the questions: (1) Does that mean I shouldn’t show preference to the free-market alternative? (2) If I should show preference to the free-market alternative, how much is “reasonable”? It is right to use government schools because they have a “near monopoly” on education and your tax dollars fund them?

The reason this is a difficult question is because almost everything is touched by the state, and tainted by it. The most extreme application of not using assets brought into existence by the state would be locking yourself in a box in the name of freedom. The most extreme application of the opposite is entirely anti-agoristic and clearly immoral — i.e., showing no preference for free-market produced goods over government-created ones.

On Facebook, someone said that you shouldn’t take advantage of government subsidies. I pointed out that gold and silver are effectively subsidized by world governments, particularly the U.S., with the price-suppression schemes. The guy agreed and said it was therefore immoral to buy gold or silver.

I too yearn for a thoroughly consistent rule to apply to these situations, but haven’t found any yet.

The issue is irresolvable under thin (vulgar) libertarianism. This is one of the prime examples where the Non-Aggression principle does not apply. The basis for evaluation one’s actions in this regard must come directly from the principles on which the ZAP rests. They are orthogonal to the ZAP.

The reason this is a difficult question is because almost everything is touched by the state, and tainted by it.

Good point. Can we say then what will definitely not be present in a voluntary society and at least exclude that? Maybe that’s too slippery as well.

Or maybe this whole topic is pointless to explore?

Does anything go when it comes to defeating aggressors? By any means necessary?

Kyle, so how is it resolvable?

Thanks for your comments.

I said how in my previous comment. What do you base the NAP on? Is it the same thing I do (the nature of consciousness, for starters)?

We can’t get into a discussion of your main question without regard to a concrete set of principles that validly underlie the NAP. Agreeing on which ones to use might take a while. Then we can discuss whether those principles allow the use of goods and services created coercively. Sorry if that doesn’t seem immediately helpful, that’s just the way it is.

I don’t see why we have to get into the ZAP and what it’s based on.

Rough try at why I accept the ZAP: I can choose to live or die. I choose to live. To live I need to perform activities that sustain my life. To do that I must exercise my rational faculty. Aggression interferes with this and leads inevitably to death. But I reject death. Ergo, aggression is bad.

Is that what you are looking for? Probably not. And I still don’t see why we have to get into that.

That is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for, (though it may need to be fleshed out in more detail). If you derive the NAP from that, would it be fair to say that stealing something you want or need diminishes the ability to sustain your life through the exercise of your rational faculty?

If not, then the above is not what the NAP rests on, not in full, at least. If so, then apply that standard to answering the questions you ask.

As to why we cannot resolve these questions without recourse to this level of principle, first, empirical evidence from the above conversation, and many like it that I have had, indicates that it is not possible to resolve them simply on the basis of the NAP. Second, the NAP by itself leads to self-contradictory answers, or to answers that seem to satisfy the NAP, but contradict deeper principles that each of us hold explicitly or implicitly. The evidence of that is apparent in both your article, and the subsequent comments. The use of reductio ad absurdum – common to discussions of this type, and what I took to be implied in Jason’s bit about gold, for instance – is an indication that there are deeper principles in play than the ones explicitly being discussed.

would it be fair to say that stealing something you want or need diminishes the ability to sustain your life through the exercise of your rational faculty?

You mean if a third party steals from someone with whom I might trade something I want?

I suspect the gold thing is an example of the government leaving one with no choice through their aggression.

No, I mean does your use of aggression diminish the sustenance of your life through reason? In other words, is that the standard you use to bar *your* use of aggression? If not, then, for you, the NAP is based on something else, either instead of or in addition to the above.

Whatever conclusions can be made about the gold issue, it is an example of reductio ad absurdum: this principle leads to barring me from buying gold, not buying gold is absurd (it violates some other, more important principle), so this principle is not valid for the case of buying gold.

Absolutely, any use of aggression by me is self-destructive.

Re/ gold I disagree with the man’s conclusion but I want to understand the “work” that goes into reaching that answer. Kind of like in algebra, showing your work is more instructive than just finding out the answer, right?

Right. Morality is not a black box that you can program to take as input some dilemma and give back one absolutely right answer. It takes reason and logic and work, every time. It’s not as important to show your work to others as it is to show it to yourself.

The underlying principles can answer any of these questions entirely on their own merits. We have derivative principles like the NAP because we can identify that all questions contained within a certain context are answered in the same way, and so that way becomes a principle in its own right, for that particular context (or group of similar contexts). We can then use that principle to save some work for common cases. The danger is that we sometimes try to apply it to things outside the context(s) in which it was derived, and we end up with absurd conclusions. That is a sign to step back and work out the answer the long way.

It’s not as important to show your work to others as it is to show it to yourself.

Well, I’d say that there are benefits from showing it to others, as collaboration usually produces a better end product.

So let’s hear your answer on this topic. :D

I didn’t say it was unimportant, only less important.

I’ll give a general answer, with the caveat that you and I may differ somewhat in our underlying principles. They seem pretty close, but we haven’t gone into in enough detail to know how much we share in common.

Government assets are unowned – unless they can be traced back to an individual owner – and thus are subject to homesteading and/or casual use. I have a right to camp out in a national park and claim that portion of it which I make use of as my property. I do not have the power to defend that right, so I won’t be homesteading Yellowstone if I move to Wyoming.

Beyond that, I won’t use services that are themselves immoral, such as calling the police on my neighbor for his using drugs.

I won’t use government goods or services that I can reasonably acquire elsewhere, or reasonably do without, on the basis that it is too easy for that to become a habit which undermines my independence.

I will seek to increase my ability to acquire goods and services outside the mechanism of government, on the basis that doing so increases my independence.

I will never promote or support the creation of such resources beforehand, on the basis of the NAP itself.

I will seek always to minimize the effect my consumption of them has on incentivizing the further creation of them.

I will never sacrifice my life or my well-being to any of the above rules.

In each concrete case, I have to apply reason to the concrete contextual facts, measured against these contextual rules, the absolute principle of the NAP, and those absolute principles underlying it.

That may be as good a rule as can be set under these conditions. Nice job. I agree with what you’ve said entirely.

I’m not satisfied that it’s as specific as it could be, but of course that’s not a criticism of you but a challenge to myself.

No, it’s not nearly as specific as it could be. We’re getting into contextual rules here, less abstract than principles, and as such, there is a multiplicity of them. The less abstract the principles/rules, the more of them are needed. I only hit the high points.

I think it is probably wrong to use assets created by force when voluntary alternatives exist. However, this also needs to be decided on a case by case basis while weighing other external factors.

For example, I’m guessing that buying infomercial time at a private station costs quite a bit more than publishing on a public access channel. So if Ian only has enough money to afford the public access slot, then is it better to broadcast his message by the available (to him) means or to not broadcast at all?

However other things should also be taken into consideration, how much is your message diluted by broadcasting anti-state information via state owned media? How large of an audience are you actually reaching via the public station vs a private station with more viewers?

In my opinion, (if cost is the major factor) it is better to broadcast your message on the public access channel vs. not at all. Perhaps with the broadcast of the message on the public channel you will recruit more people to your cause, and in doing so raise more funds for future broadcasts on a privately owned station.

Remaining ideologically pure is nice, but being lonely and self-righteous isn’t a very good way to change the world.

Matt, thanks for commenting.

Case-by-case is a not a moral rule tho, so it may do in a pinch but it doesn’t satisfy me.

Remaining ideologically pure is nice, but being lonely and self-righteous isn’t a very good way to change the world.

That’s a fnord. Aligning your actions with your principles is either what you strive for or you’re a blatant hypocrite. Describing that as being self-righteous and leading to loneliness is a smear job.

(I assume you didn’t mean to say that, but that you simply repeated a common cultural meme.)

It’s arrogant and simplistic to talk about changing the world. The only person I have a reasonable chance at changing is myself. That’s why I’m into voluntaryism.

I certainly didn’t intend to smear or offend. If your goal is to only change yourself, then you probably wouldn’t be bothering with creating a message for broadcast to begin with. Is all of your blogging and twittering simply a means to change only yourself, George, or do they serve multiple purposes? Certainly your blogging has changed my own way of thinking. Was that just an unintended side-effect? ;)

I don’t think there can be a moral rule that you can consistently keep while continuing to live under a government. At some point you will decide to compromise your principals. You say there’s no choice but to use the state built roads and your state licensed vehicle, but it could be argued that you could conceivably walk everywhere you needed to go.

You could argue that to do so is unrealistic, but it could also be argued that to broadcast on a private tv station is also unrealistic, given a (hypothetical) monetary situation. Would it be immoral to take a cab that indirectly feeds money to the state by driving on state roads and following state licensing? if so then wouldn’t it also be immoral to broadcast on a private station that follows FCC licensing and government controlled radio waves? At some point we will all make a compromise.

Perhaps one choice is better than another, but both options are moral compromises from a certain point of view.

I will never sacrifice my life or my well-being to any of the above rules.

I think this is an important and necessary part of Kyle’s rules above, it leaves the door open to compromising the prior principals. ;)

If your goal is to only change yourself, then you probably wouldn’t be bothering with creating a message for broadcast to begin with.

That’s not what I said though. My point is simply that talk of changing the world is very touchy-feely, pie-in-the-sky-ish. The change-oneself thing is a difference in jumping off point kind of thing.

Is all of your blogging and twittering simply a means to change only yourself, George, or do they serve multiple purposes? Certainly your blogging has changed my own way of thinking. Was that just an unintended side-effect?

Primarily yes, “I write to know what I am thinking” is a maxim I live. And I try to lead an examined life so I seek out other folks interested in ideas, such as yourself, to discuss these things with the end in mind of finding the truth and using it to live a better life. :)

Some stuff I do is geared towards working with a group of like-minded folks towards my goals. Such as, here is this interesting link, what do you think about it?

I don’t think there can be a moral rule that you can consistently keep while continuing to live under a government. At some point you will decide to compromise your principals.

Can you give me an example?

it could be argued that you could conceivably walk everywhere you needed to go

They claim ownership of the sidewalks too! ;D

Would it be immoral to take a cab that indirectly feeds money to the state by driving on state roads and following state licensing? if so then wouldn’t it also be immoral to broadcast on a private station that follows FCC licensing and government controlled radio waves?

I don’t think either is immoral because in both cases the vendor is as much a victim of government as I the customer am.

If the vendor is just as much a victim as you are, then why would it be wrong to use a public access channel? Simply because the government claims to own it? Isn’t it just an entity that is run by people who are just as much victims of the government as you are?

Are you saying that it’s not okay to compromise your principals but it is okay to purchase services from people who don’t follow your principals/hold to the opposite of your principals? Is that like saying it’s not okay for you to own a slave but it’s okay for you to buy products from a company that uses slave labor?

Take the taxicab. He is offering a service and the customer is looking for the service. There is a trade to be made here with or without the government. But the government gets in between them and puts a gun to their heads. Both are victims.

Take the public access cable channel. The government puts a gun to the cable company owner’s head and forces him to make this channel. He is a victim. Now I come along and say, “Cool!” and I use the channel. I am not a victim here (or feel free to make the case that I am).

I’m not sure if I’m an aggressor but it sure feels like it. I feel the only ethical approach to take is to boycott the channel. IOW, the owner has to provide the channel, but no one is obligated to use it. And if no one uses it, perhaps it reduces the amount of theft. Sure, others will use it, but the point IMHO is keep one’s own hands clean, to live in alignment with one’s own principles.

From a propaganda perspective, you’re also shooting yourself in the foot. You claim you’re for the free market but here you are using this government-mandated TV channel. It makes libertarians look like idiots. It leaves the people who use the channel open to the charge that their protests about liberty have been enabled by aggression (the government)! That’s fail.

I don’t understand where your second paragraph questions come from. How are they relevant?

I agree that there is going to be message dilution/irony broadcasting anti-state information via a public access station.

You say that the government forces the cable company to create the station, but no one is forced to use it. Well the government also collects taxes and fees from a cab company but no one is forced to take a cab ride either. By entering into a voluntary transaction with the cab company you are also feeding the beast. Is this similar to using the channel that the government has forced to be created? There’s a difference here, but I don’t have time to articulate it (my wife is on her way to pick me up from work, so this will probably be my last comment tonight).

The relevance of my second paragraph is that the cab company agrees to the government fees, taxes, etc. as part of the cost of doing business. Is this against voluntaryist principals similar to the slavery example?

Well, if we stopped all economic activity that required taxes to be paid or otherwise supported the government, we would soon be dead.

I agree with Ayn Rand when she says: “Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins.” So when a bad guy makes a credible threat of force against you, your compliance is not immoral because force has been applied against you.

I’m a little uncomfortable with that principle but I think she’s right.

The relevance of my second paragraph is that the cab company agrees to the government fees, taxes, etc. as part of the cost of doing business.

Why choice do they have? The choice between doing business and going out of business is none at all.

“I don’t think there can be a moral rule that you can consistently keep while continuing to live under a government.”

This is the most important point in the latest exchange. More broadly, one of the insidiously evil effects of ongoing immorality is that it ends up pitting moral principles against each other. Like you pointed out, George, they own the sidewalks, too. You can’t stay in your house without violating a moral principle. You can’t leave your house without violating a moral principle. Even just laying down and dying triggers expenses for the morgue, medical examiners, police, etc. You have no choices that are strictly moral.

Rand’s quote refers to moral agency. Your actions have to be moral if the agency is yours. If someone usurps your moral agency, by holding a gun to your head, morality is out of context. There’s a nice definition of coercion for you, by the way: stripping someone of their moral agency.

I don’t think using the government-stolen streets and sidewalks is immoral though – because you have no choice.

It’s not immoral for the same reason that if the government nationalized the food industry – including your garden and your pantry – it would not be immoral to eat.

I think a principle or rule can be made, I just haven’t found it yet.

Thanks all for your help.

But a rule is the result of understanding, not the cause of it. And it is not the cause of living right, it is a tool for living right. If I can be so presumptuous, I suggest really looking at what you expect from rules, what you think they can do for you, and how much power you want them to have. Its a far from simple question.

Exactly, I seek to understand so that I can articulate the principle, or rule.

Exactly, I wish to use the understanding/principle as a tool for right living.

I suspect you’ve misunderstood me. And it feels like we’re getting off topic.

“I suspect you’ve misunderstood me. And it feels like we’re getting off topic.”

It’s possible, but I don’t think so. And I think it is right on topic, though not in the way you’re looking for. Think of it as a “moment of zen” kind of thing. Don’t worry about it for now, just keep it in the back of your head for another time.

Rothbardian theory on state-produced assets:

Assets which states claim ownership of are not legitimate subjects of property, since their acquisition and holding is based on plunder, rather than labor.

Assets which are not legitimate subjects of property are unowned.

Unowned assets are subject to righteous homesteading by the first comer.

The example of the public-access television station is more complex, but we can observe, accepting the reasoning above, that:

A: Utilizing the station’s assets carries no moral taint at all.

B: StealingLiberating the station’s assets might be preferable to merely using them, as this takes assets out of the hands of criminals (i.e.: the city government) and puts it into the peaceful sector.

C: There is an even more complex question with regard to the supporting services, staffing, power and so on that let the station operate. How much of that is paid by tax?

While I personally have no issue with Ian’s use of CTV, I see his reasoning here as seriously flawed:

If criminals have stolen money from you, you are within your rights to get it back – so I support people who have decided to do things like collect unemployment.

This calculus fails because it’s impossible to get the “it” back that was stolen from you by the state, except at the actual point of the robbery. Committing the horror of quoting my own wee self (at http://www.nostate.com/1942/renouncing-privilege-and-fake-solidarity-595-12-5274/),

The money that was taken from me in Social Security taxes between 1987 and 2003 is effectively gone. I cannot justify taking a Social Security pension twenty years from now in order to reclaim those funds, because to do so would be to support a system that will steal anew from other people in order to pay me. The notion of rightly getting back what you put into such a program is fallacious.

If you’re going to get something “back” from the state, liberate it. Don’t ask for it, don’t fill out forms, don’t stand in line. Just take it.

Mike, I don’t think CTV is operated by the government. I think it is operated by the cable company. The government told them, “You must do it,” and they complied.

So it may be analogous to a city government telling you that in order to keep your job you have to give free cookies to every one who asks you for one at your house. The government doesn’t own the cookies, they’re not something that is unowned and needs to be liberated. They’re my property that the government forces me to offer to you.

Good explanation of why the “getting something back” meme is morally bankrupt.

Thanks for your comments. :)

Well you betcha!

Aha, so it’s that sort of arrangement. Well, since the cable company is a state-protected monopoly of some sort, I support the righteous homesteading of all its assets anyway. And the bit about potential taint from operational and staffing costs largely falls away. This leaves me saying “GO IAN!”, because better that his content is aired than almost any of the other drivel that typically fills public-access channels in that fair land.

The end justifies the means argument just doesn’t cut it with me.

Everyone benefits from state actions one way or another. Even us gold and silver buyers benefit from the way government or semi-government actors keep those prices down. So am I a “state-protected monopoly of some sort” (or reaping the rewards of one) ripe for my assets being homesteaded? I find that kind of attitude leads to a very fuzzy line between the good guys and the bad guys.

Ends-justifying-means isn’t an argument I presented.

Also, prospectively “benefiting” from market distortions caused by state action is not the same thing as being a quasi-state actor enjoying massive privilege, a la a cable company. Anyway, I’ve got a Krugerrand I’ll sell you for about $2k if you’re really feeling guilty about it.

This leaves me saying “GO IAN!”, because better that his content is aired than almost any of the other drivel that typically fills public-access channels in that fair land.

This is an end-justifies-the-means kind of argument.

Cable companies enjoy massive privilege? So where is the line drawn?

In response to Mike G:

Unowned assets are subject to righteous homesteading by the first comer.

I cannot justify taking a Social Security pension twenty years from now in order to reclaim those funds, because to do so would be to support a system that will steal anew from other people in order to pay me. The notion of rightly getting back what you put into such a program is fallacious.

Isn’t a social security pension an unowned asset subject to righteous homesteading by the first comer?

Or, isn’t righteous homesteading by the first comer a form of getting back what you put in – and as a side effect causes the system to steal anew from other people in order to pay you and/or replace what you righteously homesteaded?

We live on and draw our food and water from blood stained ground. Our ancestors conquered this continent and killed several million of its occupants either directly or indirectly.

If one lives south of the Mason Dixon line and east of say west Texas or so the one lives on territory that was conquered anew by our own government, the same govt. that went west and finished off the indians in the late 19th century.

This is all so much intellectual gum chewing. This world we live in is about survival. Most of the common sheeple have enough common sense to understand this because they live their lives with a government or corporate bit in their mouths, usually both.

Until those who would end collectivism come up with a real alternative to it we will remain in its yoke.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

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So what about the past? Wasn’t me there. You’re right, it is about survival and that is what I am concerned about. My resistance to aggression and its results is about survival for me, my family and the world. People who aggress and happily benefit from it are working towards their own death. That’s the opposite of survival.

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