Saturday, April 29, 2017


Nobody asked but ...

We can only create one association at a time.  Each is voluntary, each is individual.  Why waste time and effort building opponent associations?

-- Kilgore Forelle

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Voluntaryist Completes the Proust Questionnaire

For the sake of brevity and expedition, I have previously published the answers to the first half of the questionnaire. The first 18 questions are answered at this link. I now return to complete the set.

Remember the premise, to wit: This would be a good architecture for an interview with a very objective voluntaryist. So I have put myself into the personification of a scholarly, principled, individualist voluntaryist to imagine how honest answers to these questions might look.

On we go:

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
In the time period immediately following the 9/11/2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, I began my conversion to formal non-statist principles and philosophy. I knew I had been sorely disappointed in the choices presented to Americans on national election days, I knew our country was in the direst of straits, and I was discouraged with the shallowness of public discourse. I was thrashing around for a new concept, but I became gradually aware of a strong streak of individualism that ran in my veins. I knew that we could not return to the lack of direction of the prior administration, but I was disgusted with the dogged determination to go in the wrong direction by the then current administration. I read both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, before the end of the year. Then I became aware of Sheldon Richman, Robert Higgs, Frédéric Bastiat, Harry Browne, and Ron Paul. By the time we had begun raining shock and awe on Iraq, I was a full-fledged anarcho-capitalist. My development continued until 2013, when I began writing for EVC, wherein I learned the higher reaches of my path, Voluntaryism.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I am not sure that I could continue to live in the confusion that plagues humanity about how to be free. I would need to simplify. At this writing, the life that appeals to me is that of the migratory water fowl. I would hope to keep, on an elemental level, a memory of how treacherous and deadly are homo sapiens.

21. Where would you most like to live?
I would move to New Zealand immediately, if the ones who are there had not clamped down on newcomers. This is the conundrum. Places that are free need to resort to statist coercion to remain small enough to be free, thus being less free.

I would also like to live in Ireland in the day of the Tuatha. But my lack of access to a time machine is problematic here. Ireland poses a hard truth -- any place that has already reached a zenith is currently on another reach of its trajectory.

Perhaps it is best to grow where one is planted, to attain freedom in the spirit, wherever you are.

22. What is your most treasured possession?
Myself. My individuality. My space and time in the Universe.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
War is the most devastating Horseman of the Apocalypse.

24. What is your favorite occupation?
If one is lucky, one cannot tell the difference between one's vocation and one's avocation. Therefore, the best occupation is living your unique life. You can share this unique experience with any 1-to-1 relationship you devise. Don't be a leader, and don't be a follower. If your story influences others, so it may. But don't recruit. Don't intervene.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?
I am an individualist -- so, not only am I unique, I am made up of a unique set of experiences. One is all of the stations in space-time one has ever filled. One is all the dynamic action you have ever done.  If you have lived in a dozen places, you are made up of those places. If you have visited a thousand places, your qualities draw character from those places. Whatever unique combination of music you have ever listened to, you wear it as a badge. If you begin to list experiences you have had, ask the people in the room to hold up a hand if they too have had that experience. You will see many hands with each telling. But if you ask them to hold up a hand on the first case, but ask them to lower that hand as soon as you name a case that they do not share, at some point you will be the only person in the room who has shared all of the experiences. You are 1-of-a-kind.

26. What do you most value in your friends?
I find value in a friend who has befriended me voluntarily, not to become a parasite on some other association I have cultivated. I am more than happy to introduce friends to my other associations, but they should accept me and the association as voluntary acquisitions.

27. Who are your favorite writers?
In the fiction world, Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Albert Camus, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein, Ross Macdonald, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Lewis CarrollCormac McCarthyand Michael Connelly. For nonfiction, I love John McPhee, Bill Bryson, Frédéric Bastiat, David Hume, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, H. L. Mencken, Lysander Spooner, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Robert Higgs. In poetry, I admire Homer, William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Donne, T. S. Eliot, and William Butler Yeats. This is to name but too few.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Heroes began to acquire clay feet in the 60s. I will have to refer here to protagonists. Jack Burns in Lonely are the Brave, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Cool Hand Luke, in the book and movie of the same name. If the thread among these characters is not apparent, let me just say that each made a difficult choice, and suffered for it, in the face of the status quo.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I often identify those who were villains of history. They far outweigh the admirable figures. It takes principle and good luck to make it through a fulsome life with nothing to go awry. Those who came closest might be Gandhi, Blaise Pascal, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John Harrison, John von Neumann, Jesus, and Lao Tzu. This list contains no politicians, officeholders, conquerors, or rulers.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?
Ted Williams, the baseball nonpareil who stood apart as the greatest hitter in the game, without compromising his stellar individualism, would be first. Others would be Andrew Carnegie, Larry McMurtry, Mark Twain, James B. Eads, Theodore Judah, Socrates, and Plato. This list contains no politicians, officeholders, conquerors, or rulers.

31. What are your favorite names?
Alphonse and Gaston, Punch and Judy, Frick and Frack, Dog and Pony, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Joe and Frank Hardy, Rockford, Hannibal Lecter, Edmund Dantes, Dashiell Hammett, Sam Spade, Atticus Finch, Chicago, Auckland, Boston, Great Lakes, Torremolinas, Kentucky, Waddy, Derby, Porkpie, Ploughman, Private Eye, Yeats, Shakespeare, Donne, Robert Frost, Zoroaster, Laugharne, Knobs (controls, hills, door handles), Dorothy Parker, Emily Dickinson, Sherlock Holmes, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Jacques Tati, Hector Berlioz, Olympics, Liechtensteinerklamme, Lamborghini, Hupmobile, Gran Prix, ...

32. What is it that you most dislike?
Short lists are objectionable because they imply that there are only a few choices, when 7 billion are available.

33. What is your greatest regret?
I quit having regrets when I became a voluntaryist. I keep only the regret of not becoming a voluntaryist sooner.

34. How would you like to die?
I would not like to die. I want to live at least long enough to upload the vastness that has been my life to a data store. I have no illusions that everybody would like my life, but there could be some who draw something from it.

35. What is your motto?
He can't even run his own life, I'll be damned if he'll run mine. -- Jonathan Edwards
-- or --
Always do right. This Will Gratify Some People and Astonish the Rest. -- Mark Twain
-- or --
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken
-- or --
Ockham's Razor: the simplest explanation that fits all of the facts is usually the correct one.
-- or --
Therefore, send not to know. For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee. -- John Donne

Two Peas in a Pod -- Part B

Nobody asked but ...

How are FDR and DJT alike, let me list more ways:
-- Rich
-- Bigoted
-- Elitist
-- Tax leviers
-- Pugnacious
-- Nepotists
-- Liars
-- Dilettants
-- Silver spoon types
-- Fearmongers
-- Hypocritical Fearmongers
-- Kept predecessor's FBI Director, er, wait, what?
  ... to be continued

-- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two Peas in a Pod

Nobody asked but ...

How are FDR and DJT alike, let me list the ways:
-- POTUS's ego is the highest entry on the agenda
-- Nothing is stable.  The ground trembles beneath our feet.
-- Daily chats.
-- Sucks up to the military.
-- Puts the judicial branch on its back foot.
-- New Yorkers
-- Arrogance.
-- Populist via xenophobia.
-- Warmonger.
-- Hypocritical warmonger.
  ... to be continued

-- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Words Poorly Used #84 -- Scientist

Once again we've see this too-broad-by-multiples word, scientist, asked to carry far more straw than would break a camel's back.  If we look at its etymology, we can see the truth that it was not meant to tote all the baggage attached to it today.  The Online Etymology Encyclopedia describes the oldest usage as "scientist (n.) 1834, a hybrid coined from Latin scientia (see science) by the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, by analogy with artist, in the same paragraph in which he coined physicist (q.v.)."  This directs us to "science," the entry for which reads "(12c.), from Latin scientia "knowledge, a knowing; expertness," from sciens (genitive scientis) "intelligent, skilled," present participle of scire "to know," probably originally "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish ... "  I like that.  That is "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish."  You can see that there is nothing there that pins us down very hard.  The upshot is that scientists call themselves scientists because they give themselves permission to call themselves scientists.  This renders absurd the sentence, "X % of scientists agree that A is true."  There is no definite denominator for the percentage calculation, nor is there a stable numerator.  Caveat Emptor!   Labels call for the very greatest caution.  Consider this Zen Koan:
Shuzan held out his short staff and said, “If you call this a short staff, you oppose its reality. If you do not call it a short staff, you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?” -- The Buddhaful Tao, Some Great Koans
Let me paraphrase this, if you call this wooden object a thing only related to its current use then you have to ignore all the other truths about its multilayered reality.  But if you don't call it a name by way of recognizing its current use, you forget why it exists, at present in its current form.  So, when we refer to science we refer to some vast field of endeavor with multitudinous and separate rule bases, not a static entity.  If we refuse to label a scientist as such, we ignore the right of any human being to label herself as such.  And we expose ourselves to the risk that this "scientist" may in fact know enough to state a truth that might change our lives profoundly.  I myself am a scientist, a computer scientist.  But does that mean I am fluent in marine biology?  It should only mean that I am conversant with Bayesian logic operations, combinatorics, numerical analysis, conversion of digital code to decimal code,  hexidecimal code,octal code, structured programming, and directly related fields.  Do I know how to set up my family members' home computers?  No, probably.  Furthermore, by virtue of being a scientist to I get to join a consensus in any other or all fields scientific?  No, definitely

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Science March III

Nobody asked but ...

Why wouldn't economists march for Science?  Why do science supporters believe they must insist that economics is a pseudoscience to validate that the so-called hard sciences are precise or predictive.  Neither of these are the objectives of science.  The objectives of science are to increase the discovery of fact and to use fact to gauge probability.  Surprise!  These are the objectives of economics.  Isn't observing and recording X dollars every bit as precise as observing Y degrees of temperature?  Making science a separate class of behavior was very useful in the days of Newton and Descartes.  But why do we today insist on making it separate and abstract today?  The need is for critical thinking, not silos.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Science March II

Nobody asked but ...

What good is science if it doesn't take its place among the arts?  Science has become an enemy to both the ignorant and those knowledgeable enough to know that it takes more than science?  Art has its root meaning in making do.  The Online Etymology Encyclopedia says,
"art" (noun) -- early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar(ə)-ti- (source also of Sanskrit rtih "manner, mode;" Greek artizein "to prepare"), suffixed form of root *ar- "to fit together." Etymologically akin to Latin arma "weapons."
In Middle English usually with a sense of "skill in scholarship and learning" (c. 1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc. Meaning "human workmanship" (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. Meaning "system of rules and traditions for performing certain actions" is from late 15c. Sense of "skill in cunning and trickery" first attested late 16c. (the sense in artful, artless). Meaning "skill in creative arts" is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s.
Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead. [William Butler Yeats]Expression art for art's sake (1824) translates French l'art pour l'art. First record of art critic is from 1847. Arts and crafts "decorative design and handcraft" first attested in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London, 1888.
I take "art" in its earlier senses to mean the putting into effect of the knowledge gained from experience and inspiration.

So if an art cannot be applied to concrete effect, what good is it?  If the art of science is not about solving human problems, what good is it.  Just as thought must be mixed with behavior to have a practical effect.  Science must be made into a synthetic that works in the real world.  That synthetic must involve economics, else the result is not of this world and of  no practical use in this world.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Science March

Nobody asked but ...

A car goes with specific inputs.  Economy goes with many more inputs, but less specific.  It is no less a science than physics and chemistry.  These sciences are interdependent.  Economics may not be in the march for two reasons; 1) scientists often mistrust economics as being unspecific, and 2) scientists only trust fictional data wherein input is controlled, and nonspecific output (undesired) is ignored.  Non-linear, unspecific, unquantifiable, complex output need not inquire.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Words Poorly Used #83 -- Pseudo, Quasi, Para, Alternative

Pseudo, Quasi, Para, Alternative
These are four very subtle word parts -- either prefixes or modifiers.  Let's look at each, then we'll look at the lizards' thicket in which they thrive:

Pseudo -- from a Greek word signifying "falsehood, untruth, a lie."  As in "a lie is a pseudo fact."  A pseudofact is totally apart from a real, corellary fact.  A shortstop is an outfielder.  That's a pseudo-assertion from one who sounds as if he knows baseball, but may not.

Quasi -- from Latin quasi, "as if, as it were."  To wit, "different way of looking at or seeing a thing that is much like the thing itself, the degree to which it is a lie is in the degree that it omits important, fundamental likeness."  An infielder is a shortstop.

Para -- from Greek para- from para (prep.) "beside, near, issuing from, against, contrary to."
One might say "his version apparently comes from a parallel universe, maybe bizarro world."  A baseball manager is a para-player, someone who needs to know all the techniques of all of the players.  An assistant manager is a para-manager.  That a football coach (manager) could manage (coach) a baseball team is a paradox -- from Greek paradoxon, ... "contrary to expectation, incredible," from para- "contrary to" + doxa "opinion," ... [m]eaning "statement that is seemingly self-contradictory yet not illogical or obviously untrue"  POTUS "T" says his inauguration crowd was bigger than that of POTUS "O."  Baseball manager "A" says his team can beat the team managed by "B."

Alternative -- from Latin alternatus, past participle of alternare "do one thing and then another, do by turns."  In other words, "his take, being either a lie or the truth, precludes the existence of alternative fact or fiction.  You cannot do two things at once.  Your "facts" as compared to my "facts" cannot be fact both at once.  A is A.  A is not B.  B is B.  B is not A.  A shortstop is not any of the other positions on the field.  Of course both "facts" or one "fact" can be fiction.

These analyses are not formal syntax, but they do point toward the possibility for much semantic mischief.  In computers, as in society, semantic errors can produce vastly larger effects than syntax errors.  Syntax just causes stoppage, semantics can allow an incorrect statement to perform as if appropriate until the system breaks.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Will Grigg

Nobody asked but ...

It was with the greatest sadness that I read Sheldon Richman's farewell to Will Grigg this morning.  I, as with Sheldon, had never personally met Will, but the world of voluntaryists and I have lost a great friend.  He has left a legacy, though.  Go to the Libertarian Institute web site, and read or view or listen to Will.  Every writing, every podcast I do from now on, as in the past, will be heavily influenced by what I learned from Will.  It is hard to decide which is greater, my grief or my gratitude that he lived and shared.

"May we send the State back to the Hell that spawned it." -- Will Grigg

-- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Mother, on the Chattanooga City Bus

I don't remember a great deal about this adventure.  I was very young.  But as I recall, my mother, Ruth Marjorie Ryan Carigan, went up against the back-of-the-bus norm of Chattanooga during World War II.  She, a white and very young mother from Boston, rode on the back of the bus, with her two toddlers and the black people of Chattanooga

A few days ago, several of our OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UK) teammates reported on a field trip to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the remaining effects of Rosa Parks' stand.  These were museums, churches, gathering places, neighborhoods, cityscapes, and so forth.  They also stopped in Birmingham to visit the 16th Street Church, scene of some of the most significant events of the fight for humane civil recognition of skin color (and origin).  After all, these things were not relevant to natural human rights.

When I had revisited both of the scenes in my imagination, this time aided by the direct recollections of friends, I thought of a misty series of events from my early childhood.  I was about 4 years old and fairly well still protected from contexts.  I did not understand that one human being didn't count when compared to others.  But I carried the events with me for the rest of my life.  Every day you live, whether you can analyze it or not, stays a part of your makeup, no matter what follows.

We had been downtown in Chattanooga, and we caught a city bus to go home to Signal Mountain or Red Bank; I can't remember which of these -- maybe a third place.  No one is left alive who can pin down the time line with an adult memory.  But what happened was that my mother sat down near the front to get out her fare.  Then taking Pam and I by the hands, she led us to the back of the bus so we could play on that big, wide bench seat under the rear window.  Mom sat 1 row in front of us, and as was her normal habit she struck up a conversation with a lady fellow passenger.  I realize now that the lady was a black-skinned person.

At the next stop, the driver came back -- I suppose to reason with my mother.  I don't think it did him much good, because she stayed right where she was.

In those days, Chattanooga had segregated bus seating, public restrooms, drinking fountains, department stores, schools, churches, theaters, restaurants, and who knows what else.  The buses are the only place I recall seeing anybody of a kind different than me.  I don't think Mom rode on the buses again.

I recollect that my aunt once took me to a minstrel show, put on by whites in blackface.  When I had asked earlier in the day, Aunt Joann told me we were going to see a funny show.  That brought about embarrassment for Mom in another day, when a black man came to our house, seeking work, and I called him "funny show."  Which could it have been -- my mother probably sent me inside so she could pay the man a small bit for doing some chore.  I hope she didn't send him away to avoid him and her being embarrassed by her ignorant son.

My father was not around usually.  He was on the aerial photograph analysis team at the Tennessee Valley Authority.  He and his colleagues evaluated the aerial images for mapping the bomber runs over the Ploesti oil refineries in Romania, along with other Allied targets.

Dad was not at home to help Mom to learn the idiosyncrasies of living in the South.  Dad had grown up in Liberty, KY, Casey County, a place where even today there may not be any inhabitants of African, or any descent other than Scots-Irish.  Mom was from the South side of Boston -- also heavy on the Irish.  They had met when my father was a civil engineering student at the University of Kentucky and my mother was an English major at Transylvania College, both in Lexington.

They too were, I suspect, babes in the woods.  Very few white people had a day-to-day source of knowledge about black people.  My Dad was a hard-boiled bigot when I was young, but he changed drastically in the years of my adulthood.  My mother on the other hand was predisposed toward openness, having at least learned more about the world through her education at Boston Latin High School -- the Alma Mater of Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Hancock, George Santayana, et al.

Many years passed between my few and brief encounters in Chattanooga, before my hermetically sealed whiteness would fall away.  I never went to public school with black students until I was 16 when I moved to one of the top 3 biggest high schools in Kentucky, and even then there were only 3 black students -- children of faculty at Kentucky State College, an HBC (historically black college).  When I went to UK in 1962, I don't believe there were any black students in an enrollment of 7 thousand.

A few years later, there was at least one black young man.  One night he accompanied two other friends and I to Martin's, a Lexington beer joint in the near North side, where frequently we went to hear live Bluegrass music.  When Ma Martin quickly asked our guest to leave, we did the same.  I never told my mother about it.  I wish I had.  She would have been proud.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Kenny and Kilgore

Kenny Kelly and I got together for the first time last Saturday, even though we live just about 30 minutes apart.  I finally awoke to the idea that we could meet up.  I motored over from Waddy to Kenny's current Bluegrass town.  We had a fine breakfast at a place with a history in his downtown.

One of the things we kicked around was the idea of doing a dialogue column in which we bat the parlez-vous to and fro about some voluntaryist thesis.  So here we go.

SOME VOLUNTARYIST THESIS:  Many of us frequently say that voting in elections is not a voluntaryist thing to do.  To be sure, we can choose among several candidates, or we can choose not to vote.  But on today's scene the above is more of an exercise in futility than it is the making of an effective choice.  If in the end, there is no choice of a candidate who will really change the shell game, aren't the multifold paths all representative of a compulsory bad choice?  Isn't there a difference between a voluntary choice and a voluntaryist solution?

Kilgore Forelle:  I agree that there is a difference between a voluntary choice and voluntaryism.  Voluntaryism is a long term choice made to be responsible in the short term cases.  Principles are for the long term.  Actions generally affect the cases in the present in the short term, but with longterm consequences.  The voluntaryist takes responsibility for considering and choosing actions in light of all the consequences.

Let me illustrate with my personal voting principles.
  1) I will not vote ... as a duty owed to any state or other collective.
  2) If I do vote it will be either
    -- with respect to loyalty for family and friends, I may vote for someone like Gary Johnson, who does no particular damage to my principles, and whose quest is oxymoronic, or
    -- for people I know personally, so I can grab them by the lapels, when I see them in town, to learn why things are not going better.
    -- I never vote for a candidate because he or she is a member of a party

Kenny Kelly:  Fellow EVC writer, Kilgore Forelle, wrote a thoughtful piece explaining why, as a voluntaryist, he votes in political elections. He argues the "voluntaryist takes responsibility for considering and choosing actions in light of all the consequences."

By voting, a libertarian is wanting to reduce or abolish the government. In the case of the voluntaryist, he is wanting to abolish it, whether or not he goes down the reduction path. The point is to compromise time, not compromise principles.

Kilgore illustrates "I may vote for someone...who does no particular damage to my principles [or] for people I know personally, so I can grab them by the lapels... to learn why things are not going better."

This is, by no means, a call for voluntaryists to vote for politicians. But a call to understand why they make these decisions and to hold them accountable when they vote for someone who grows government.

It should be noted, many voluntaryists first got involved in libertarianism through the works of Dr. Ron Paul, a Republican congressman and twice a Republican presidential candidate and once a Libertarian presidential nominee. Dr. Paul would refer to voluntaryism and allude to the deeds of nineteenth-century anarchist Lysander Spooner during his farewell address in front of Congress in 2012.

Since then, many influential members of society have come out as anarchists. From former judge and judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano to the eccentric millionaire and software pioneer John McAfee; from actor Woody Harrelson to entertainer Penn Jillette; anarchists are coming out of their political closets. And some are running for public office, to reduce and abolish much of the government as they can.

It would not be prudent to alienate them, but to understand them, praise their actions when the government is reduced, and to criticize their actions when the government grows.

Kilgore Forelle:  Kenny, I love your line, "The point is to compromise time, not compromise principles."  I'll tell you why right after a chance for a do-over.  Kenny wrote above, "Kilgore [is] ... explaining why, as a voluntaryist, he votes in political elections."  I was also explaining why I mainly do not vote in elections.  In general, according to my voluntaryist principles, I find that the least damaging option is to not vote, in a particular race.  I will not, with my vote, approve the system or block an evil with a lesser evil.  My voluntaryist principles, for instance, told me I could never vote for either Trump or Clinton.

Now, why do I like the idea of compromising time?  Kenny paints a beautiful picture which shows that a short term compromise can be a choice that is hopeful about the future.  This would be unlike many compromises which are actually retreats.  For example, I revile the NRA (National Rifle Association) type of compromise, in which we ratchet away from the pure essence of the Second Amendment.  The NRA gives up ground in every encounter in hopes of keeping a piece of the original ground, and a piece of the very lucrative pie -- worse, they are doing this with the money and proxy of some of, but only an immediate gratification tending part of, affected citizens.  They claim to have the same interests as citizens, yet they gamble, poorly, with Constitutional guarantees that belong to someone else.  Their compromises are with the principles.  They cannot be compromising with time because the ratchet effect takes them farther and farther from the proper goal -- a situation in which there are NO "infringements" on the right in question.  The NRA defends the slippery slope, where retreat is recognized as strategy.

Kenny refers, I feel, instead to compromising time in order to let our principles grow.  Nothing permanent, and hardy, was made in a day.  If we have motives concerning improvement, it cannot be an error to accept a step, an increment of better, to keep the momentum going toward the objective.  Whereas we started, in the case of the Second Amendment with the freedom to defend ourselves (the goal), we cannot approach the goal again without retreating from it.  The NRA is ransoming our guarantee by turning it into their cash cow.  In another example, the Russian retreat from Moscow, against Napoleon in 1812, did achieve the subsequent retreat of Napoleon, but at the cost of the burning of Moscow.

Fight your battles, but win your endeavors.

Kenny Kelly:  Exactly. I would point out that in mainstream politics, the false dichotomies are manufactured to manipulate the people. They do it with guns, drugs, immigration, abortion, taxes, and marriage, as well. They want people to fight within these artificial industries as to prevent free market solutions.

Kilgore Forelle:  Distraction is the nuclear weapon of the oligarchs, whom I often refer to as the manipulators.  But distraction is also fraud when it is used to boggle our longer term vision.  As you suggest, Kenny, the natural and free marketplace is where the solution resides.  We don't need central planning, we need incentives to behave in a simple and natural way.

For instance, if we want a true freedom from infringement, we don't need hired thugs to coerce the coercers.  We just need to embrace the freedoms we want.  No state is powerful enough to shut down exchange.  How did Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity, in The Matrix, understand, at some level, that defeating the Matrix involved the maintenance of exchange and interaction, despite the Matrix.  The Matrix was masking isolation with artificial comfort.  To escape, the protagonists had to preserve the longer term options by operating across the matrix structure.

It can be done easily by the voluntaryist.  Stay in touch, exchange, communicate.  If many of us reject the state's faux life support (actually life taking), there is some level of voluntaryism that will collapse the state.

Why not just have our guns, our markets, our property, and our freedom.  The state may have some short term pushback, but in the long run, it cannot manage its own micromanagement schemes.

Kenny Kelly:  So true. The government, or the manipulator, relies on the majority being complacent. The minority who prefer natural freedom go the way of voluntaryists and agorists. Agorists actively compete against the state much in the same fashion as the protagonists in the movie, the Matrix. By showing people there is another way, an alternative, they could be persuaded to unplug themselves from the system. The more and more examples of peaceful, voluntary exchange there are, the more power and influence the government loses.

How refreshing it was to have a real time exchange with an intelligent guy who is as well-versed in voluntaryist matters as Kenny.

Here's what I take from this exchange:

  • I would vote for Kenny, even if he showed the unexpected desire to seek public office.
  • Voting (or not voting) is only a small part of being a voluntaryist. 
  • Those of us who claim to be principled voluntaryists do well to revisit those principles every day, not just during political seasons.
  • Our apolitical actions speak as loudly as our political actions toward long term thinking.
  • Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, that we should consider actions to have both short and long term outcomes and that there are many types of effects for different individuals and groups, applies not just to economics, but to the full range of human actions.
  • Voluntaryism is a 24/7/365 undertaking.
  • We need to be aware that the established order wants us to think only of the short term and only with our narrowest interests at heart.
  • The manipulator can only assert the influences that you grant to the state.
  • Break out!  Follow one's interests but broaden them, think longer term, and think freedom of choices.

Cognitive Bias #2 -- Bandwagon Effect

Nobody asked but ...

Just this past Friday, we went to war with heavy reliance on the fact that we are susceptible to the bandwagon effect.  We might also refer to this as "monkey see, monkey do" (while adding the cautionary "monkey get in trouble, too.")  We humans can't seem to resist the spin and flash of a circus bandwagon.  It comes as no surprise that low forms of life, such as fish, love structure.  Here in Kentucky, where we have lots of big, man-made lakes, the fish are said to gather on underwater structures, stumps, fallen trees, and human building ruins.  Surely, we must be a step or two up the evolutionary ladder from fish.  Ya think?  Last Friday night, POTUS gave the order to launch 59 missiles against a Syrian government air base.  It looks as though this is suspiciously timed because the mainstream media have often left for the weekend by Friday night.  This is referred to as the news cycle but it has nothing to do with the rhythms of news, it concerns the biorhythms of news folk who have not broken themselves of the 40-hour work week.  The Friday night flight from the city is one of the largest bandwagon effects of modern life.  So we, like fish, huddle along structural icons of formalism.  The next huddle will be seen by the jingoistic huzzahs emanating from bars and sports stadia between Friday and Monday.  The spin machine, speaking of structure, roared into life Saturday morning, cranking out endorsements from right wing celebs, the Speaker of the House, and the Majority Leader of the Senate.  By the time the workaday media got back to their desks on Monday, the bandwagon has almost reached the fairgrounds.  A Google News search, as of Tuesday afternoon, shows that the only mention, in the first six stories, of the act of war concerns a squabble between the US and Russia about how to spin the story, "Trump administration says new evidence discredits Russia's claims on chemical attack."  The next 5 stories are about the passenger who was dragged off of a United Airlines flight, a political race in Kansas, a school murder/suicide, alleged illegal immigration, and European soccer-related violence.  No mention of what could be the start of WW III is seen.  Not only did we have a bandwagon, but several which served to obliterate the trail of the first one.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Monday, April 10, 2017

Casus Belli II

Nobody asked but ...

When you encounter a war lover, ask them what is the worst human depravity.  When they name one, point out that war creates more of what they detest,  then ask them how they can support war knowing that is the case.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Casus Belli

Nobody asked but ...

Can there be a human more debased than one who makes excuses for war?  By making such excuse one excuses every depravity -- as these are part and parcel of war.  Think of any sin.  Does war do away with it?  Or does war make its commission more easy?  Think of any justification for war.  Does war make it more or less likely that another occurrence of a justification will arise.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Oligarch's note to self

Nobody asked but ...

Oligarch's note to self -- Next time use some other narrative.  People are starting to talk.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Words Poorly Used #82 -- Process

Process overwhelms purpose.  We wanted to live in a world free of crime, so we asked the state to make that guarantee, now we are guaranteed the abuses of crime and the abuses of the state.  Substitute any antonym for a "public good" for which we have whored ourselves, and the statement holds.  For instance replace "crime" with "illegal immigration," "homelessness," "poor roads," "terrorism," "war."  Process replaces the purpose alluded to in political promises.   A mission-free bureau soon replaces any effort with day dreams of power, revenue, placebos, and continuation.  If anyone calls them out, they change their name and transfer a few placeholding personnel to othe bureaus, equally without purpose.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Monday, April 3, 2017

Words Poorly Used #81 -- Voluntarist/Voluntaryist

I thought I had one of those rare occasions in which I disagreed with Bob Higgs, when he published this opinion on his Facebook page:
I have never understood why Auberon Herbert's neologism "voluntaryism" should be preferred to the standard English word "voluntarism." The latter evidently denotes exactly the same thing as the former. (The use of "voluntarism" to describe a certain philosophical view or school of thought is neither here nor there in the present context.) Moreover, the former is nearly unpronounceable, and when pronounced is an awkward and ugly word in English.
I was jarred by this, as I think of myself as a "voluntaryist," that is, I think of myself as believing in long term principles calling for voluntary agreements in all relationships between and among individuals.  I take the "-ist" (from "-ism") to signify a belief system, as opposed to an ad hoc, situational ethic.  But these are reasons why I misperceived Dr. Higgs' point.  So, I did some research.  The dictionaries do a good job of blurring the word.  They are heavy on connotation (the baggage that words carry) but not annotation or denotation, or etymology for that matter.  The effect, for our language in general, is that too many words are adrift -- "voluntaryism" being one of them.  Dr. Higgs is right, our precious label is just another unmoored word.  The word "voluntarist" was used in many contexts prior to Auberon Herbert's selection of a variant, "voluntaryist," as a label for his thoughts, and his thoughts differ critically from mainstream voluntaryism of today.  Now what?  Where is there some formal recognition of what either "voluntarist" or "voluntaryist" means as a label for a coherent set of principles.  Coming up with a neo-neologism would just restart the vicious cycle -- if it's borrowed, the older meaning pollutes the newer meaning, or if it's invented from scratch, it has a snowball's chance of catching on (see "anarchy").

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Words Poorly Used #80 -- Preside

What does it mean "to preside?"  The Online Etymology Dictionary says, among other things, that it comes from the Latin for "to sit in front of."  What a multitude of sins we have hidden behind that facade!  What a clever analogy for the idea that in the name of order we can invent any process.  Not only is the office of "president" a loose cannon, but we usually fill that office with loose cannons who manipulate a vast minionhood of loose cannons.  Mr. POTUS, please sit down and behave.

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Nobody asked but ...

Divide, isolate, frighten, gaslight, ...

Kilgore Forelle