Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Nobody asked but  ...

The free market is the Sun, while regulation is the Moon.  From time to time,  the smaller, closer body may shield the very much larger (by orders of magnitude), farther body from our view.  But for a few moments, we see the world as upside down, out of reconciliation.  The raindrop becomes an ocean that would threaten the Earth with flood.

-- Kilgore Forelle


Part of the challenge of lifelong learning is to understand that the goal is not to add to your collection of "well what do you know's", but to assimilate your new knowledge with the creation of, revisiting, modification of, or withdrawing (shedding) from your current set of principles.

It does one no good to regard new information as just "interesting," one needs to test that new learning against the structure, the principles, of one's information system.

For instance, my information system is built, in the main, on the principle that all human interactions should be one-to-one and voluntary on both sides.  An incorporated principle is the Golden Rule.
I have other principles that are complementary to the above.  I believe that I am personally responsible for myself.  I believe that I own my space and time.  I believe that unnatural violence is always wrong.  I believe that it would be wrong to infringe on others' space and time unless they give them voluntarily in full view of consequences.

What is the structure of your principles.  First of all, your principles should be connected, each to each of the others.  This is the way the Internet is structured.  If a node on the Internet becomes inoperable then all of the undamaged nodes can still reach all of the other undamaged nodes.  The Internet can survive the temporary nonavailability of any node, part, or segment, short of total loss.

Voluntary individuality works the same way.  For every relationship that a voluntaryist keeps, all of the dependencies should be strictly on a one-to-one footing.  All features of the relationship are voluntarily agreed upon between the two parties.  Each party is able to maintain as many similar relationships, independently, as she chooses.  One-to-one relationships do not require license from some 3rd party individual or collective.  In software engineering, my professional calling, we refer to a system having high cohesion and low coupling.  Cohesion is the degree to which an object fulfills a single function (desirable).  Coupling is the degree to which an object is dependent on more than one other object (undesirable).

As one's set of principles is an interlocking complex, effectiveness and efficiency are raised by high cohesiveness, but low coupling.  Let's look at some examples.  

The non-agression principle (NAP) is a mainstay of libertarian voluntaryism.  It is cohesive in that it governs only one aspect of any human relationship.  Is it violent?  Yes or no?  I define the NAP as prohibiting violence, in all cases.  If the relationship is violent it cannot be under the NAP, because it does not follow the principle.  The rest of this piece concerns itself with coupling.

There are a few critical subsets of the principle.  Has the individual initiated the violence -- as children may insist, "he started it it?"  And, did one party act in self-defense.  Note that self-defense does not comply with the NAP; it is only an exception by which the perpetrator may not be condemned (dependent on the clear cut definition of the behavior).  I repeat, for clarity in a seldom acknowledged fact, self-defense does not comply with the NAP, it is merely a condition under which the NAP may not be applicable.  Likewise, non-initiation is not an excuse for ignoring the NAP.  It is merely a possible mitigation for analyzing the NAP.  If either party initiates violence, the NAP is moot -- it cannot be stretched to fit the case.

Some people will say that the NAP is not a pacifist doctrine, but despite popular opinion to the contrary, it is pacifist.  The composition fallacy often arises because self-defense (in a true sense) is a natural right, and it appeals to common sense when considering complex or fuzzy cases.  Some extend this composition fallacy to cover retaliation (committing delayed violence in retribution for an earlier violence).  It is not true that capital punishment or any form of revenge is under the wing of the NAP.

The NAP is a principle that requires very careful and close parsing or expression.  This is true as well for its associated principles: self-defense is a natural right and if violence is initiated then the NAP is out of the question for the initiator.

The purpose of a principle is to set a plan for action for similar cases in the future.  The NAP, for instance, gives us a narrowed selection of choices when we encounter violence from another or feel compelled to initiate violence.  But all cases do not fall into neat rows.  The ability to deal with fuzziness arises from a multitude of highly general (one size fits most) principles, along with very few and very specific exceptions.

Every event in the present and past should be reviewed with principle in mind.  Important questions are these:
  • Does the event invoke a principle?
  • If the event is not within the four corners of a principle, are there associated principles that account for the differences?
  • Are there other principles that come into play?
  • How do these other principles relate to the primary principle?
  • How clear is each of the principles that apply to the event?
In consideration of the last question above, let's look at an example, the Golden Rule:
  • The Golden Rule is "Treat others as you wish to be treated."
  • Treat others as they’d like to be treated.
  • Treat yourself as you’d treat someone else.
  • Don’t let other people treat you badly.
  • One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form).
  • What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form).
As we can see the Golden Rule covers its own scope, but there are related maxims outside of its literal scope.  The individual must decide for each rule and the area covered by it.

Lastly, we might considered the mathematics of interacting entities.  If two individuals interact on one principle, there are 4 possibilities; both are right or A is right while B is wrong or A is wrong while B is right or both are wrong.  If two individuals interact on 2 related principles:

Principle Y True Principle Y False Principle Z
Principle Z False
Horizontally, there are 16 cases, while vertically, there are 16 cases; 32 in total.  By adding one related principle, we have increased the possibilities by eightfold.  

If we add a third related principle, we multiply by 8 again, arriving at 256 different sets of agreement/disagreement.  The same kinds of multiples show up if we increase the number of individuals.

It is very daunting to keep multiples of principles straight, or multiples of individuals straight.  That is why a voluntaryist wants to keep interpersonal relationships on a one-to-one footing, and principles as close to Ockham's Razor as possible.  My version of Ockham's Razor is:  the simplest set of matters which fits all of the facts, no more, no less.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Markets II

Nobody asked but ...

I feel remiss in not citing one of the greatest markets in the world -- the 127 Yard Sale.  I live in a Kentucky community through which passes US Highway 127.  Decades ago, folks who live along this way, from Grayling MI to Chattanooga TN, decided to have one big yard sale, from stem to stern along this road.  It is a spectacle!  It is freedom unbound.  In recent years, local and state police have been constricting how close to the road you can set up your tables, or where on the right-of-way buyers can stop their cars.  And there are probably a few tax collectors who parasitically raise their work output.  But I hope the intervention fizzles out beyond this.  Viva le yard sale.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Nobody asked but ...

I have a solution to the monument problem.  Quit erecting them!  Read Ozymandias!  Statues generally were put up by somebody who is not around anymore, and who probably had a way of thinking that is now outmoded.  It is not erasing history to either dismantle a monument or just not put one up in the first place.  If one needs to travel to some shrine to honor someone or some idea, if one cannot honor anything in meditation without changing location, isn't it really an ego trip?  I love my late parents every day.  I have never seen a monument to either of them.  I honor my ancestors every day.  I cannot possibly be everywhere that may have been special to them.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Nobody asked but ...

I love markets.  I am sure I remember every one at which I have been, in more than 74 years..  Whenever I travel, at my destination I quickly scout the area for all of its markets of perishable goods.  I remember when I was a toddler, taking an afternoon walk in Chattanooga to a private home where a lady sold my mother freshly squeezed and bottled fruit juices from her kitchen -- I have never tasted anything better.  A trip to a local food market will tell you more about a geographic spot than I could possibly relate in a blog entry.  I love supermarkets, new and used book stalls, flea markets, art galleries, sidewalk vendors, newsstands, tradesperson workplaces, restaurants, fairs, craft shows, auctions, theaters (movie, stage, concert and opera).  I buy recordings, baseball caps, posters, microbrews, coffees, magazines, videos, gifts, means of transportation, and local specialties.  And I love all of the information I gain about a new place by plunging into its markets.  I cannot recall a single instance of regret from this behavior.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Cognitive Dissonance

Nobody asked but ...

Today I saw a pickup truck that had a front plate that messaged "Don't Tread on Me!"  Then, when he passed I noticed the driver had an American flag decal on his back window.  I wondered just who he thought was treading on him, if not the government that has usurped that flag as its avatar.  Where do flags come from in human endeavor?  Their original use was as military position markers.  The flag standard is deployed so that troops can see the rallying point amid the fog of war.  Also, symbolism is used so they can see who is on their side (I have often wondered how effective this may be with all the foppery shown with units, uniforms, and standards.)  As distinct harbingers of war, the flag and heraldic symbols are not part of how I express my patriotism.  I would rather plead my patriotic case for America by experiencing as much of its peaceful splendor as I can.  I would rather give a narrative account or share pictures and sounds.  A flag tells you nothing about Kentucky's Red River Gorge, or the Land Between The Lakes, or Western Kentucky BarBQ, or a Spring day during the Keeneland Horseracing Meet, or a court-side seat for a University of Kentucky basketball game.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Words Poorly Used #98 -- Culture

Throughout the life sciences, "culture" is a flowering, while degradation is a rotting.  Why are we using the one word where the other should be?  Culture is the means by which we evolve in a general forward sense within a generation.  Degradation is the failure to survive by the unfit.  Civilization advances by evolution, and thereby, in part, by culture.  Degradation spins out the downward arc of extinction.

 -- Kilgore Forelle