A-Bombs in the Neighbor’s Basement and the NAP

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Objections to the Libertarian foundational premise – the non-aggression principle – often raise  outlandish, even hysterical scenarios designed to push the envelope of people’s fear tolerance  . . . in order to get them to accept being restricted and punished for actions that have not directly or actually caused harm to others.

Thus, the atom bomb in the neighbor’s basement – and the “speeder” doing 120 in a cul-de-sac.

Both scenarios are possibilities, of course. It would be silly to make the argument that, in the absence of laws prohibiting it, someone might decide to build himself an A bomb or drive 120 in a cul-de-sac.

But here’s the thing: Laws prohibiting such things do not absolutely preclude those things, either. Some people will do such things regardless – law or not.

People sometimes actually do drive 120 MPH in the cul-de-sac. Or try to.

But it’s very rare, because most people aren’t reckless on purpose and usually don’t do such things.

But laws – which are always far more restrictive – impose harms on everyone, for things that fall well below the scare scenario of the atom bomb in the basement or the 120 MPH driver in the cul-de-sac.

We get restricted – and punished – for driving 80 on highways designed 70 years ago to safely handle speeds higher than that, in cars made 70 years ago. We are Hut! Hut! Hutted! not for building an A bomb in the basement but for “possessing” a pistol that can fire more than 10 rounds; the same pistols armed government workers are not only allowed to possess but given by the government to be used to threaten and not infrequently kill us – not infrequently without our having done anything to justify it.

That risk, of course, is considered acceptable.

The outlandish/hystericized scenario (applied to us) is used to scare people into accepting restrictions and punishments for actions that are much less outlandish and far less likely to result in harm to anyone.

But even if my neighbor did bolt together an A bomb in his basement, is he any more likely to use it than the government which has actually used it?


I know my neighbor – his first name and everything – and would rather he have the thing than the distant psychopaths in far-away DC whom I have never met and who value my life to the same degree that a Cape Buffalo ponders the consequences of trampling voles on his way to the watering hole.

Also, my neighbor’s homebuilt would likely be for display purposes – and defensive purposes; i.e., he would use it to immunize himself from aggression. Which is why, of course, the government does not want him (or you or me) to have such capability.

We might decide we no longer “owe” it money.

In any event, the central lost point is that while my neighbor might possibly cause harm with his basement bomb and someone might cause harm by driving 120 MPH in a cul-de-sac, everyone is harmed when the government restricts and punishes people for actions that haven’t directly actually caused harm to anyone.

Harm is actual. Risk is hypothetical.

We are harmed by the threat of violence, first of all. Living under constant duress exercised as a means of control constitutes an abusive environment; it is the defining essence of terrorism.

In marital relations, a husband who threatens his wife with violence if she fails to obey is (rightly) considered an abuser and even a criminal. His actions are grounds for divorce.

Everyone understands that the  wife is the victim; that her freedom and dignity have been violated. It works the same outside the bounds of marriage, as when we are terrorized by the government which treats us as presumptive terrorists and presumptive drunk drivers, etc.

We are also harmed by being constrained.

You aren’t allowed to do X or Y – or forced to do Z, contrary to your own wishes, because someone else believes their judgment ought to override yours and uses threats to extort your obedience.

Some people are quite capable of safely driving much faster than the posted speed limit – because they are naturally better drivers, have more skill and so on – while others are incapable of driving safely at the speed limit. Why should the former be punished while the latter is left in peace?

The answer is, arbitrarily – just because.

There’s no objective standard. Just bureaucratic decrees – and generalized prohibitions (and punishments). It doesn’t matter that what you did – or did not do – didn’t cause harm.

But it ought to matter very much.

In fact, it ought to be the only thing that matters.

Which is better-sounding to you: The possibility that a relative handful of people – none of whom wield legally enforceable power over you – might do something that could result in harm, not to everyone, but to one or maybe a few people? Or the certainty of everyone being harmed or threatened with harm for doing – or not doing – things that haven’t caused harm to anyone?

Risk of harm will always exist. The choice is whether to bureaucratize, codify and enshrine it or accept it as a peripheral vicissitude of life that will probably not visit most of us, most of the time.

How many of you reading this have ever been hit by a drunk driver? How many of you have had to produce “papers” at a checkpoint? Would you rather be free to travel, secure in the knowledge that no armed government goon could molest you without cause – or accept molestation without cause so that the armed goons are better able to catch the occasional drunk?

If you believe seriously in the idea that men aren’t cattle – or rather, that some men aren’t cowboys, entitled to herd cattle – then you must take seriously the idea that a man who hasn’t harmed anyone has a right to not be restricted or controlled or punished until his actions actually have caused harm.

But that’s not an idea that’s even considered much these days – most people having been scared into cringing submission by outlandish, hystericized scenarios about A bombs in the basement and 120 MPH “speeders” running amok in cul-de-sacs.

. . .

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  1. From what I heard , Montana went to a speed limit the highways and freeways because the feds wouldn’t give them funds unless they instated speed limit laws. Not because of problems from people driving too fast. 90 mph on the freeway in Eastern Montana was normal for me in good weather. One drawback of sustained high speeds is that my mini van motor didn’t live very long.

    • No, you were misinformed.

      There was a guy ticketed for 120mph on a narrow winding two lane and took it all the way to the MT supreme court because he considered himself some sort of race car driver and thought that 120 mph was “reasonable and prudent” for HIM. The court ruled that the law was too vague and threw out both the ticket and the law, so the legislature went back to posted limits, generally 70 mph outside of city limits. There was a short space of time where there really was NO speed limit on rural roads, between the court ruling and the new law and signs going up.

      I followed all this in the local newspapers and remember when they were changing the signs. The ticket location was about 60 or 80 miles from where we lived if I remember correctly (Winnett/Mosby area). It pissed me off that this one wiseguy had to screw it up for the rest of us. I wish people would stop surmising and spreading false information about things they don’t know.

      • Hi Anon,

        Ok, but this gets to the meat of the issue. Maybe the guy was operating at “reasonable and prudent” speeds… for him. The only way to know otherwise – as opposed to asserting it – would be if the guy lost control of his car. If he didn’t, then at a minimum no harm was done and I cannot understand punishing anyone for harms they have not caused.

        It seems to me to be fundamentally tyrannical.

        What is “reasonable and prudent”?

        To a Clover, it’s 55 on an interstate highway.

        Now, granted, the 120 MPh guy might have lost control. Maybe he just got lucky. But I’d still rather accept the risk that attends some people pushing their envelope (or even being outright reckless) and then holding them – and only them – accountable – if they cause harm as opposed to pre-emptively punishing everyone for harms not caused, on an ever-more-dumbed-down basis.

        • I’ve had vehicles I thought nothing of doing well beyond 120 mph. I see stopping him as merely harassment and revenue hunting. I have probably lost a bit in that dept now and if I had a car that would do 150 or so, I might drive it 120 for extended periods of time but probably not push it as I used to. The problem being, I thought my mother was over driving her abilities when she drove 40 mph from the main highway to our house. I don’t recall ever goading her to drive faster.

          • Wellllllll, you have to understand that our highways are not as good as in Texas. Most of the two lanes are narrow, bad pavement, and have no shoulders at all and often a steep drop into the drainage ditch. Eastern MT isn’t as flat as you might think. There are lots of coulees and bluffs and hills, and these paved stagecoach roads sort of follow the terrain and often go from dead flat to “interesting” all of a sudden. Then, pretty much any month that there isn’t snow on the ground there is likely to be some huge piece of farm equipment chugging along the road. And (YOU should appreciate this!) truckers can buy a standing over-wide permit. They have these fold-out wings on flat beds so they can haul two big round bales side by side with another on top, like the old days in Oregon hauling three huge logs. And they often have a pup trailer loaded like that too! If you’re not meeting one of these trains head-on, then maybe they are coming out of a side road real slow. And then there is wildlife, loose livestock, and the odd rancher’s kid putting down the highway on an ATV.

            So knowing these roads, I can’t imagine how anyone would consider 120 mph reasonable and prudent. On I-90, sure – unless you’re going through Billings or Butte or Missoula.

            Oh, BTW … a few years ago there was a fellow got killed crossing US 12 on his tractor about 30 miles from here 🙁

            • Texas has plenty two lanes with no shoulder. Many of the roads I drive have some of the worst ups, downs, tiny curves to bridges that aren’t wide enough. I used to practice on some of them. I knew them like the back of my hand.

              And yes, there might be “anything” on the road, the source of most of my automotive wrecks. Down in the bottom and up over the top doing 130+ one day the road was covered in 500 lb calves. Amazingly I manged to avoid hitting one but when I got to town and was about to wash the car, I found this tuft of red hair from one of them between the chrome and the body. Plenty close for me. A friend saw it first and asked “living dangerously?”. Of course I was. It’s been my MO my entire life.

                • I watched all my hero race car drivers die simply for not wearing a seat belt and a roll hoop. I felt I had a much better chance with a Malibu.

                  My ideas about a hardtop coupe were bore out when a friend rolled his in excess of 120….in the snow and ice. He wasn’t hurt and the car and chassis were a long ways from each other when it was over. It looked like the whole body had been removed from the frame and running gear.

              • Ha. That’s the punchline that bloody’s every nose *including* even those as would “secure” every aspect of life into straightjacket “life vests.”

                But each fail only seems to make that safety pin the tail on the donkey type double down, add layers of corsets upon chainmaille upon chastity crusts…never figuring out how much worse, more dangerous all that junk makes life.

                Whatcha’ run toward, way up there in the distance, retreats & whatcha’ run from, way back there in the rearview, pursues, advances, gains on ya’. Appointment in Samarra syndrome, illusion of control, & self-fulfilling prophecy.

                Saw a docu on Carroll Shelby. Natural born racer (as all racers are), among other things. Had a congenital heart defect. In the ’59 Le Mans race he was having heart attacks, put nitroglycerine under his tongue, kept going, won. “The experts” (that Block defers to, & as one hisownself you just know wants to be deferred to, too…) told him he had to quit racing. Told him he only had 5 years to live. “So what?” he said, & started building his cars, company. (See Phil Remington, too, for some more startling truth.) The 5 years came & went. Lot later, he was dying again. “Again.” Needed a transplant. A 34-year old had an aneurysm, went brain dead, Shelby got the heart, was still doin’ burnouts at 85, died in ’12, at 89.


                “Iatrogenic” expertise is 3rd leading cause of death (for one very massaged stats example – it’s worse than 3rd) behind heart disease & cancer (which swap places back\forth) in color o’ law “healthcare.” Despite that, the humanimal wave continues to gather more & more momentum in its roll toward drowning all in “free” iatrogenics.

                Absent observing stuff like this, you could never make it up.

                Nothing fails like “success” – especially when subsidized (to include propagandized\conditioned\inculcated & locked in law colorized “inside the lines”).

                But, standard caveat, receptacles can’t be “filled” unless they’s already receptacles. It ain’t tabula rasa being writ in from outside – it’s the opposite of that.

                Except “outside,” which ain’t TR either – but *is* chocabloc full o’ Teddy Roosevelt types — gets treated like it is & so the graffiti just pours. “We” puts “its” heads all together & invents “laws” that’ll surely save the day, extend the day, lock in the rightful 4 score & 7 – if not immortality.

                “Is it safe?” (Marathon Man) Can’t\don’t\won’t see or hear ~ accept ~ what this woman did:

                “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ~ Helen Keller

                Thanks(random roll o’ the dice for)giving me eyes that see the turkeys. & the tofurkeys, too.


        • Hey Ya, Eric!

          Sometimes you can almost understand the clovers arguments with regards to issues like this- in THIS society, anyway, where those who cause harm are often relieved of any real liability, and instead are ascribed some signatory “punishment”; and where the victim is prevented from extracting any justice.

          Case in point: My idiot sister used to know this moron who lamented the fact that he was in an accident for which he went to jail “though it was the other guys’ fault, ’cause he pulled out right in front of me”.

          The moron forgets to mention (and probably doesn’t even “get it”) that the accident was HIS fault, because he was doing about 90 on a suburban street, where the were parked cars, and small hills, so that the person who “pulled out in front of him” never had a chance to see him coming, as it was physically impossible given the nature of the road, where the speed limit was 30.

          Of course, we know that the real answer is hold those who actually cause harm, liable- which would be a far better deterrent to irresponsible behavior than armed goons ticketing the innocent for statutory transgressions- but the clovers never consider that, as it is completely foreign to them, as they have been indoctrinated in the religion of statism their entire life, as were their predecessors; and since we currently live in a world where enacting such justice is not possible, because Uncle restrains the victims- so in this way, the religion of statism propagates itself, because it is seen as the “only thing keeping them safe”. (Although, you’d think, if they’d just raise their heads and look around for a second, they’d see that their god/Uncle is not doing a very good job of keeping them safe at all!).

          But I think such scenarios are why a lot of people reject libertarianism- simply because they see it as an abandonment of responsibility, rather than in fact what it is- a reclaiming of responsibility and justice.

          They fail to realize that the present system most often only punishes the innocent who have caused no harm, but who have broken some arbitrary statute; while usually being no deterrent to those who actually would and do cause harm- and on the contrary, usually embraces such and protects them, while making all of us foot the bill for their “punishment”. (Always punishment; never restitution!)

          • Where our gravel county road meets the posted 70mph highway about ten miles from our house, there is a curve one way and a little hill the other, so you can’t see furlong (LOL!) either way.

            There is very little traffic but sometimes after looking both ways carefully and pulling out there is a car right on top of you. It gets even trickier if you happen to be pulling a loaded six horse gooseneck.

            I guess if anyone is willing to sacrifice themselves like “Big Joe” then they are welcome to drive as fast as they please 😉

        • Let chips fall as may vs chips off the old block & tackle. Ratio’s about 20:1 against free flight, or liberty (& risks & rewards attending) anything else.

            • Good parts of 20:1: Job security. Fighting “in the shade.” Early retirement.

              But in any kind of literal domain? Qualified: Only when cornered. And then with all & maximal effort at making a hole just big enough to zip thru & flee. Twenty’s too many.

              This stuff of virtual domains (including pre-internet scribing, rescribing, rerescribing…: all the best stuff, truly great stuff, has been written & recited over & over again to no generalized avail — learning\education absolutely do not have the traction its worshipers continue to mantra on about)? Is good exercise, mang. Really. For its own sake & for dividends paid across real domains – at least that’s what it does, how it works, for me.

              And the best rep of each set is the last one (ok, maybe its each & every rep…) when this fortune cookie slip flutter-floats out with & upon the explosive exhale: “not to be taken seriously!”

              Or, Watzlawick’s good title & read, “The Situation is Hopeless, But Not Serious.”


              Besides, only Barnes can kill Barnes (Platoon) – & “he” does, every time. Self-defeating is self-correcting. Just not permanently-correcting. Waves never stop propagating. Hell, they never *start* propagating – they just are. (Interesting poetry how the vehicle Barnes “made” – let out of the barn – to do him in seems to have turned round & did himself in actual life. Maybe method acting gave Sheen method ptsd.)

              So, what would the waterwalkin’ dude do?

              Laird Hamilton tows in hot, at an angle, behind a jetski, & rides right back out, at an angle, even hotter.

              Old surfers, bold surfers, prolly not too many old bold surfers…& if there are any, even just seemingly so, those can act like random rewards to over-dopamine’d nervous systems in the audience…as if Park(ing, or taking “a” stand – your last — at those hot gates as the Persians swarm)inson’s ain’t bad enough without the gamblin’ sex addict symptoms the l-dopa meds add.

              Picked up Dardik’s The Nature of Nature recently. Starts awful redundant, but gets a better wave rhythm after awhile. There’s a flipside & more to waving bye, bye miss murikan pie.

              “*putting it by its separate lonesome in case you don’t want all that de-linearizing.
              Hmmm. Laws are discovered, not invented, manufactured, penstroked & wandwaved…so, law•nerizing…law•ndry at the law•ndromat…lines of force lathering rinsing repeating in the Jekyll-Hydraulic spin…&, of course, law•n darts is where the rubber meets the rode & the oxen get gored…. Maybe I oughta’ just send the transcribe to you direct…when I’m done with it.”

              You’re good at what you do, Eric. You’re a wordsmith. If that’s good to you, for you, you’re golden.

              What increases the karat all the way, my perspective, is “dents” being side effect, rather than raison detre. You do it to do it – end in itself. Then it’s, the dents too, authentic. But also unimport•dent. Because not the point. Your dents land where they may. Behind you. You’re focused on nailing just the next bit of track before you.

              Those riders behind you know dentclods are comin’, ain’t personal, & attend to their own protective gear…that so many don’t know that, or accept that, is on them, which is to say in them. Each & every individual one of “them” – not the assembled e pluribus unum ommmmm, even if that is the real wavy gravy i\you\we•scream reality.

              But if you need, are compelled, to dent, or need other people to convert, join por la causa denta, or if proselytization conversions are the raison dent, that’s a problem. That’s trouble. But that’s the history, so of course the nature, of humanimal. Mushy Chef Boyardee from a can, steada’ al dente from personal individual non-nonstick non-melting pots.

              Also interesting to try & find within that wave where liberty is something other people must be sold & must buy into before sellers themselves can be free.

              But…wherever that is, those coordinates are, it sounds like “please release me, let me go, for I don’t love you anymore” don’t it? (Damn, Englebert, just humperdink on outta’ there! There’s 50 ways at least to leave yore lover.)

              Try to parse it: if “we” ain’t all free – & how free’s free, anyway? – ain’t none of “us” is, can be, free? Sounds like some kinda’ licensing scheme. Can I have a liberty not license license, please? So’s I can pass(go)port & collect the free at every arbitrary-imaginary line on the map ya’ll tattoo-youse majorities project-inked onto pieces of official paper?

              Coalition of three western states some here are hottotrot…or, above as below the Mason-Dixon line…or, or, or…is the flaming wave prerequisite reflex that precedes all the mothic immolation.

              Then the mythics “come,” after all the cogdis rewrites of flesh to ash, for to fuel the next bonfire of the vanities, inanities, majorities & minorities & us & them humanimal wave.

              Humanimal’s mainly incorrigible. Uneducable. But like pavlov pups, seaworld seals, circus elephants, s\he’s trainable, domesticatable. And s\he calls that, cosmetically, “civilized.”

              Since what you espouse ain’t gonna’ fill the kibble bowl by “loved” authority’s hand, you’ll be coated in cosmetics, too: “uncivilized” – by Moobeline.

              Comes down to the same unreasoning reason there are “no” atheists in foxholes.


              A particular, common, response to fear.

              Including fear of deprivation, caloric & otherwise (social proof stuff, Pascal’s empty room o’ heart o’ darkness horrors).

              Fear score & seven years ago “our” fearthers brought fearth on this con•tinent, a “new” notion, con•ceived in gibbetry, & dead•icated to the proposition that all wo\men are cremated equal, said Lincoln logroller abattoir.

              Yeah, but some swine is more equal than other bbq, said the orwell NAPoleon pig, & “those” lesser pulls o’ pork oughta be afraid, very afraid – since & cuz “we” are…& who’re “they” ta’ think “they’s” bettern’ “us”? If it’s good enuf fer “us” its good enuf fer “them” too.

              Comes down to biology. The substrate that strafes. The Walking Dead Foxholes. Amygdalic blackholes.

              Or backs up to ontology. Or biontology, maybe.

              Didja’ know the same guy that handled human nature so adroitly, in Lord of the Flies, among others, Golding, also came up with the Gaia idea (sorta rhymes)?

              20:1… So it better oughta’ be fun (or otherwise subjectively valuable, satisfying).
              Not serious.
              Anything but serious.
              Cuz this ain’t a serious place.
              Surreal’s serviceable, serious isn’t.

              So, surreally, of course serious & seers does most of the self-fulfilling searing.

              If Hobbes weren’t a hobbit — Dr. Lorena Jekyll & Mr. Hyde John Wayne’s Bobbit — he’s loved by ‘em that is. Whatever he was, & I know what he was, he weren’t no Roy Hobbs (Redford, in The Natural.)

              That “revival” scene, again, is spot on. Rust Cohle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RfUj09pWfM

              Clapton. Unplugged’s a good idea. Plugged in is where most of the sooner than later getting plugged happens.

              I was born with a ragin’ thirst,
              A hunger to be free,
              What I’ve learned through the years.
              Don’t encourage me.


        • Even the clovers in Montana are used to seeing speed limits well in excess of 55 on interstate highways, where speed limits on some city streets are 55, which is why they tried suspending speed limits on the highways.
          The problem comes with the inconsistencies between drivers and cops as to what constitutes safe and prudent.
          Several years ago, I entered Montana from Idaho with a driveaway vehicle and found the port closed. As usual, I proceeded to the scale at Bozeman, where I paid $40 for the permit and an $85 fine for entering the state without it. This demonstrates that there is an inconsistency between what an honest trucker and a tyrannical DOT thinks is fair and appropriate.

  2. The Isle of Mann Tourist Trophy races began in 1905 (bikes in 1907) and for the same reason. Even then, British law forbade speeds of any motor vehicles in their Empire above 20 mph. IOM is a sovereign State that decided to permit otherwise and the TT remains the longest standing legal open-road race in the world.

  3. Ha. Know thyself. & thy “neighbors,” too.

    What’s to know, bottom line? This: when that cul de sac full o’ neighbors “becomes” a life raft, & the rationality rations, amongst others, won’t make ends meet, the votin’ on who’s hindmost begins.

    Which is where abomb’inableness comes in.

    Remember — amongst so many “others” — “the japs’-n-jews’” neighbors?

    Plenty don’t remember: viva los\t Alamos•t made it (Get Smart: “missed it by *that* much). Some here (just about everwhwere) I’ve read are amnesiac AF.

    Neighbors can & do go to nay burr grinders, like *that.*

    Wo\man “shouldn’t” be c\h\attel. But – not a belief – most are.

    Chattel entribed, entrained, operantly conditioned athletes millipede feet, humongous fungus among “us.” And wanna’ be what they are. Which is just as well, since nobody nor nuthin’ can be other than what they are.

    Sancho knew there was no unbuttering that Quixote loaf. & that when life gives ya’ loafs you may as well make grinders, hoagies, subs, torpedoes…in the basement, if that’s where yer kitchen is…**but** the hero’s 1000-faced (& you thought 2-faced was bad) earl of sandwich journey is gyro•scopically fixed: we•ebles wobble, on their vertical rotisseries, but they don’t fall down – until they’re cut down, served up…which is the soylent green constant that, so far, has trailed replacement birthrate.

    Morlocks got the eloi key – which ain’t nuthin’ more than an understanding of eloi’s inner morlock…so, yeah, commutative: eloi got the morlocked up, too.

  4. I’m going to stay out of the libertarian (and Libertarian) discussions, because, as much fun as they can be, they have a nasty habit of turning circular.

    I’m going to look at things like roadblocks in the same way I always have. Look them up in your local news rag. Get the details on how many are charged with drunk driving vs. how many are charged with other infractions/crimes, such as seat belt violations. That ratio is going to be a surprise for most people. These things aren’t about law enforcement or even safety. What they’re about is revenue. All those tickets add up to a tidy extra sum for whatever .gov agency/s that get on the gravy train.

    • Circularity requires inflation and most contemporary libertarian arguments are flat tires.
      That is why it is very important to go to places like LRC for properly constructed arguments.

    • Hi Freeholder,

      Yes, absolutely. But while it’s good to point those things out, it’s the principle that’s most important. In a free country – not even a Libertarian one – no person should be compelled to establish their innocence – especially in the absence of any evidence to suspect guilt.

      Roadbocks and random “papers” checks are tyrannical affronts to what used to be a bedrock principle of American law: The burden – on the government – to establish probable cause before it may lawfully detain/question/search any person.

      The “justices” who vitiated this ideal should have been tried for treason.

  5. I once had a similar conversation with someone, although discussing lower speeds.

    I was asked what about the guy doing 50 in a 30 and hits a kid because he couldn’t stop in time?

    I pointed out that in the given scenario, if the guy was doing 60, then he’d miss the kid too.

    The issue isn’t speed. It’s being able to safely operate at the speed given the conditions.

    • The very brief and failed experiment with elimination of speed limits in Montana proves nothing more than the state’s desperate need for control.

      • Do you actually know why it “failed” or are you just spouting off ???

        I’m too tired to type out the story yet again, but I well remember the court case as reported in the newspapers about 20 years ago.

    • The old what if a kid runs into the road / what if someone pulls out in front of you speed kills argument.

      I’ve used the if going faster the timing would be different and no crash argument but the best argument to use against this is to say what if he was going 30 and the kid ran out 3ft in front of him?

      No matter the speed it is possible to work these scenarios as going too fast. Like you wrote, it’s about going an appropriate speed for the conditions.

      • Yep, Brent.

        This kid, Ralphie, who lived across the alley from my sister when I was a kid, got hit in a parking lot- how fast could the car have been going?- The driver wasn’t charged with anything- Ralphie lived…but was in a body cast for a long time. So I guess even 10-15MPH would be too fast for the “What if a kid ran out?” crowd…..

  6. Remember that the only reason atom bombs are a problem is because the State believed someone else was developing them. They weren’t but $2B later they had a weapon that has literally never helped it’s creators.

    • Yup, then Truman had to demonstrate our “great achievement” to the world by burning alive thousands of Japanese, after their leaders had already indicated to the US their complete willingness to surrender. Truman’s reasoning was on the level of the school-yard bully who picks a kid at random to beat up, to show how tough he is. But, in his defense, the bully generally only hurts one person at a time.

      • Truman was influenced by a group of warmongers who also wanted to document the effects of atomic explosions on human beings, so they’d have something to extrapolate from. Nothing could have told them what to expect with several subsequent thermonuclear tests where the yields were several times those predicted. Given that nuclear testing has been banned for some time, the certainty that any of the new warheads will detonate has been falling. Things were more certain for those who didn’t survive tickling the tail of the dragon.

        • Hi Vonu. Truman’s own chief of staff, Admiral William D. Leahy, said:

          the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. … My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

          Eisenhower and MacArthur also opposed using the bomb. Everything I’ve read makes clear that this was Truman’s decision, and his alone. He said as much himself.

          • Hi Robert,

            Yes, indeed. My understanding is the bombs were dropped to get a point across to Stalin. Not to end the war with Japan. Speaking of that…

            It has always interested me that the British and French didn’t declare war on the Soviet Union for also invading Poland. And then Finland. Also that the British offered to let the Soviets keep the half of Poland they’d divvy’d up with the Germans if they would join an anti-German compact (this was before Germany attacked the Soviet Union).

            Realpolitik is a thing that doesn’t bear a very close look.

            • Hi Eric. For sure — the stated rationales of foreign policy are always a farce — if they were applied indiscriminately, the world would be a very different place. Our treatment of Israel vs. the rest of the world is a perfect example.

              As for why France and Britain gave the Soviets a pass, I would guess it’s the same reason as in the US — their foreign policy operations were run by Jewish Commies who hated Germany and thought they could turn the USSR into a giant kibbutz. What’s your theory?

          • These days with podunk countries like Pakistan and North Korea having A-bombs I think its easy to forget what a shock to the world it was when they were first used. One – how powerful they are and 2 – that we were ruthless enough to use them against a defenseless country. There were plans to basically carpet bomb the soviet union with them but limited because we basically used the only two we had at the time and then finally canned after the Soviets started making their own.

            • Mark3, a fact nobody ever seems to mentions is the Japanese govt. had been trying for several months to surrender but Truman wouldn’t talk with them or let anyone else. All they wanted was to retain their emperor.

              After dropping those horrific weapons, then the US was ready immediately to accept their surrender and allowing them to keep their emperor.

              Regardless of the motive, whether to see(they were told by the builders what the bombs would do)the results, pure vengeance or a warning to the other Axis countries, it was completely unnecessary as Japan had no ammo even for rifles. Their people were starving and the “national guard” consisted of women and children armed with bamboo sticks. The US knew all this since it’s not like they didn’t have spies.

              But one evident thing was the lack of ships and planes and Japan’s almost complete lack of fuel. I consider it the largest black mark against this country in wartime. Of course 9/11 was worse to the people of THIS country and it becomes worse every day. Death by a 1,000 cuts or to be more specific, death by tens of thousands of cuts.

              • Iran, Venezuela, and Bolivia have been the recipients of similar treatment as that we afforded Japan.
                Militarily attacking any of them would bring the world down on our bullying.
                Watch for Son of 9-11.

              • Amen, Eight. I’ve also heard that the Japanese were eager to negotiate peace with the US before entering into war, as was our Japanese ambassador. But Roosevelt wanted war, and ignored the overtures of peace, instead goading the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor, which he’d deliberately left exposed to an air assault.

                The evil of our government — particularly our presidents — is unspeakable. Yet, ironically, we teach our kids that the worst war criminals are our greatest heroes. Such are the spoils of war, I suppose …

                • Every generation or so, they need a new “shock & awe” event to make the parishioners fear the power and gawk in awe at “what’s possible in this amazing day”….

                  The “Moon Landing”.

                  Anything that consumes copious amounts of money and or lives, and accomplishes absolutely nothing of any value, but which is instead destructive/parasitic.

  7. Eric’s column isn’t the right place to debate the finer points of libertarian self defense theory. He can choose to do so but really these subjects require a lot more exposition and space.

    That being said, I will make only one short point. The “nuke in the basement” or meth lab, poison factory, the 105 mm howitzer pointing at your living room from across the street, are all instances of what is termed “menacing.” In short that is an act of threatening by someone who explicitly or implicitly seeks to intimidate you by demonstrating their ability to inflict great pain/harm on you or your property. This is real crime and dates back to ancient times. (A secret nuke lab in the neighbor’s basement is different; that is an uninsurable risk being imposed on potential victims w/o their knowledge/consent.)

    A noticeably drunk driver, or impaired, weaving in and out of traffic is also menacing others. When you spot that you always slow/move/exit their area. That might not be their “intention” but it is the effect. A seriously impaired/distracted driver on the road you aren’t aware of is like the secret nuke lab. They are imposing an uninsurable risk on others (death). There are of course more fine details to consider in these cases. Basically libertarians don’t ignore threats or imposed third party risks which cannot be otherwise mitigated or made whole by payment. We all have the same right to live peacefully and free from the intentional or even accidental bad acts of others when others ignore the possible consequences of their actions.

    • While I’m curious where you could possibly have come up with such a specious understanding of menacing, I’ll just leave it at pointing out that police departments should henceforth be called menacing departments because of the majority of us who feel intimidated by their officers everywhere we go.
      When the definition of any crime moves from the infliction of actual, provable harm to merely making someone else uncomfortable, it is time for the Minority Report society to become normality.

    • Mugsy,

      Vonu just said most of what I wanted to say- for which I am thankful, as he did so likely much more efficiently than I could have- but yes, “menacing” is a specifically implied threat. Merely being in possession of a weapon in close proximity to someone or their property is NOT menacing, if there has been no demand imposed by it’s possessor, nor any indication that it will be used against the “complaintant” for offensive purposes rather than self defense.

      Such as the example given of the police: There is an implied and even stated intent that if you do not worshipfully obey them, they will use their various weapons against you. THAT is menacing!

      • Agreed, Nunzio and Vonu. In a crazy society like ours, where “hate” is a crime and feelings matter more than actions or the rule of law, this kind of definition of “threatening” would be a dream-come-true for the gun grabbers. I can easily imagine a lot of woke-tards who would claim to feel threatened by, say, an NRA sticker on a neighbor’s pickup, and would just love to have their local SWAT team raid the neighbor’s house in search of “dangerous” weapons, solely on the basis of not feeling “safe.” Hell, these are the kinds of people who close down a school because a kid draws a PICTURE of a gun — so we know exactly where that kind of thinking leads. Destination: gas chamber.

        • So true, Robert!

          Imagine if the .357 in pocket “prints” in the presence of one of those ‘tards?!

          And that’s pretty much the way it is in every major city in ‘Merca already.

          Even here in gun country- a few years ago, a guy walks into Walmart open-carrying his rifle…..they made a fuss (at the behest of some customer) and called the fuzz. Nothing came of it. The guy was able to go on his merry way, only with having the inconvenience of being “interviewed”.

          NY? The guy would likely be dead; and if he lived, would be serving a lengthy jail sentence, and would forever be vilified as some kind of dangerous monster.

          Here: Shop in Walmart with your CC handgun; no problemo.

          NY? Call the SWAT team and the hearse/paddy-wagon!
          (I like how the “solution” to a person going about their own business while merely bearing a firearm,….is to call a gang of other men with more and bigger firearms, and who have no qualms about using them, and who are above punishment!)

          • I’m not sure where “gun country” is, but the customer would be told “Welcome to (either) Wyoming (or) Arizona,” even in Walmart.
            That is the reason why those are my two favorite states, where 2A is respected, enforced, and obeyed.

            • Vonu, I love Wyoming- if it weren’t for the cold/snow, I may’ve gone there instead of KY- but I think we actually have a little more 2A freedom here- like concealed carry without permit, and probably the best castle law in the country.

              But damn! WY is gorgeous, so sparsely populated….. (If Eric doesn’t mind the cold and snow, it would probably suit him well- what with the big mountains and all)

              • Wyoming has constitutional carry for residents.

                It’s not all big mountains. Most is sagebrush and desert. Rich folks have already bought up the pretty places in the West.

                • That’s another reason I didn’t move there- when I was looking, acreage was absurdly expensive in the ‘pretty areas”; ranch land, etc.- but noticed later that there’s plenty of cheap acreage in the sagebrush areas (with some good views) with dirt/gravel roads…..be kinda like living in the desert without the heat or California/Nevada over-government.

                  Meh…”Constitutional carry” is a big styep down. Better not to show your hand.

                  • Constitutional carry doesn’t require any showing of anything. It just allows anyone to carry a lawfully owned firearm either concealed or open, pretty much anywhere they want.
                    How is that “show(ing) your hand?”

                    • My bad, Vonu. I thought Constitutional Carry was the same as “open carry”.

                      WY gets another star!

                      (NY has Hari Kari….you’re risk suicide by living there!)

                  • That’s NOT my understanding from living right next door. I always keep it uncovered when driving through.

                    MT might be great if we could ever get rid of Democrap guvners that keep vetoing constitution carry. It’s an embarrassment! Kansas and Oklahoma have it now, for crissakes!

              • Hiya Nunz!

                I have been to Wyoming; it is a beautiful state… but the cold is a deal-killer for me. I dislike long, cold winters almost as much as I dislike the DMV – and do my best to avoid both! Plus – as related here previously – I’m too got-damned old and tired to pick up and start over. The divorce left me at 70 percent (best estimate) of the capacity I used to have and I’m unwilling to lose my friends and the familiar things at this point. Let them come. It’s ok. I hope they don’t. But if they do, it’s ok. I’ve had a pretty good life. I have a bottle of top-shelf whiskey and the other necessaries, should it get bad.

                I continue to pray it doesn’t – for all our sakes.

                • Maybe a little off topic, but I been drinkin’ whisky. So, Eric…git you a Montana LLC. Put all yer vee-hickles in it and any thing else you “own”. No “safety ” inspections and any vee-hickle over ten years old gets a perm tag. Have done it for almost 30 yrs now and haven’t set foot in MT in bout 25 yrs….Also, NM has “blind” LLC’s…they don’t even record the name of the owner…own nothing but control everything. Just sayin’.

                  • Interesting. Rooted around a bit: “Montana llc’s”. A Louisianan did his RV this way – & survived (prevailed) in the court case LA hurled his way. There’s a GA exotic car collector\enthusiast on youtube discussing that state’s lightswitch closing of the “loophole” & attendant havoc it is wreaking. There’s a MI lawyer pointing out how this can, likely will, result in denial of claims from insurance companies. Ever filed an insurance claim on your Montana llc vehicle\s? How’d it go?

                    • That’s one I read.

                      Noteful a lawyer would label “scam” what other lawyers have wrought…when most all “laws” (a handful line up with actual laws, busted clock fashion) are merely rules writ to separate the scammers from the scammed.

                      Some succeed with this particular use of llc. Some did, like in GA, now don’t. Some prolly got smashed up on it quick.

                      That’s the most relevant aspect of rules, as opposed laws. Bread butterin’ can change to mayo, mustard, whatever, *like that.*

                      There was a poor movie – didn’t know Streep made such — re a Panamanian shell co mill that got sunk, clients outed & burned, by a deep throat insider. A nasty bathwater motive was emphasized, but the babe thrown out with it was not as prominently mentioned.

                    • Ozy,

                      I’m sure Bill Shakesbeer probably expressed the sentiment somewhere, much better than could I; but those who make their money in the court, care more about upholding the interests of the court than of the one paying them; for there will always be more to come to pay them, but the court remains the same.

                      Now, I don’t know about no Merle Streep movies….I only watch the good ol’ black & white variety [Whereas most of ’em these days are just black] – Although I did see a movie once with Alpo Chino in it when I was young….

                    • Nunzio…The Spear shaker had a good idea for lawyers. But it’d never be able to keep up with the propagation.

                      This was the streep\ensemble one:

                      In misty memory, this one was black & white…nature’s first green is gold, then sepia, then black, then white (some bleached bones, a few teeth):


                      Lancaster’s character was splitting for TX. Depp split for Hollywood, then ‘the continent.’ Thompson split for Woody Creek.

                      The tune with the ironic title goes: If you choose to you can live your life alone. Some people choose the city. Some others choose the good old family home.

                • Eric,
                  That is why I treasure having two states with constitutional carry to bounce between. Wyoming is too cold in the winter.
                  Arizona is too hot the rest of the year.
                  Neither one requires any kind of permit to carry a lawfully owned gun concealed or open.
                  More important than the weather is the presence of a predominance of CLEOs and CLEOish LEOs in both states.
                  There are two things that there are more of than people in Wyoming: antelope and guns. I’ve got friends that will put me up during any insurrection in Wyoming, should that be necessary.

                  • I like it, Vonu!

                    Here in VA, I got a concealed permit – disgusting that I have to obtain permission – out of necessity, in that without the permit, it’s a felony bust if an AGW finds a handgun in your glovebox or on your person (not in plain sight). Of course, now the government knows I have guns. Well, I did. Sold ’em all to some guy on Craigs a long time ago 😉

                    • eric, I thought you still had one till that day we were fishing and that huge boat capsized us and we lost all our guns. I got banged on the head hard enough I can’t even remember where we were fishing.

                    • Yeah, but the gub’mint still *thinks* he has ’em…..and will act accordingly 🙁 (Unless he actually uses ’em, then they’ll make like they don’t know…and act accordingly 🙁 )

                • Hey Ya Eric!

                  I’m certainly with you on the winter stuff! The mild winters here in KY are more than enough for me- and they only last about 3 months, and often with no or very little snow (And the inch or two of snow we may get, is usually gone the next day; and we’ll often have 50-70* days in january and February…..and I STILL complain!

                  But yeah, moving from state to state is pretty pointless these days- unless you live in NY or CA and a few others, ’cause they’re all going the same way anyway- and what little gains you make either go away before long….or are just replaced by detriments in other areas.

                  The thing I’d like about WY. though is the space!

                  • While I was driving long haul, in the early 1990s, I spent 3 days stuck in Horse Cave because of an ice storm that hit Kentucky overnight, closing the highways.
                    We had to wait for people and equipment from Indiana to come and reopen the state. I enjoyed the break because the little private truckstop had just received a delivery of fresh fish, so I got to pig out on something that I rarely saw in a truckstop.
                    I also spent 3 days stuck in Villa Rica, Georgia because I decided to take a more northerly route in ignorance of the fact that there was a blizzard headed to western Georgia. I went to bed in an empty truckstop and woke up in one crammed full of trucks. I had to carry diesel to my reefer 2 gallons at a time, and on the third day I had to break the seal on the tomatoes to drain the ethylene, and then lower the temperature several degrees over several hours, to prevent them from arriving overripe. I will never forget my sole trip from Immokalee, Florida to Denver.

                    • You ate in Horse Cave?! 😮 Yikes!

                      I think what you meant to say was: “I spent 30 days there one night”. 🙂

                    • Hi Vonu,

                      “How would you feel about a coalition of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming after the coming secession?”

                      That’s our only hope, Obi Wan.


                  • Kentucky is the most beautiful state I have ever lived in. The weather is temperate to cool. Springs can be brutal with the rain. The summers are spectacular with temps generally in the mid-high 80s and long days. Sun sets at 9:45 in the summer. Except for the north south routes like I-65 and I-75, even the superhighways are uncongested. It’s possible to get in a car and see yourself at 90 mph because no one is impeding your path. I suspect property taxes are lower and income taxes are slightly higher. Not sure about how the cops are today, but they were a relatively rare sight in 1993-94 when I lived there. I used to live in Lexington. The women were absoultely beautiful there.

                    • I’m lucky, Swamp, I’m just far enough west to be in the central time-zone, so we don’t get those ultra-late sunsets.

                      Usually high 80’s to low 100’s from May thru Sept.- but it’s usually dry, so I’ve actually come to like it, despite the fact that I used to hate the heat.

                      Yeah…the roads are great; and in the rural counties, you rarely see a pig; and many of the pigs here are still locals, so they’re dealing with friends and fambly and neighbors, and still have some respect for the culture, so they’re not as pernicious as elsewhere these days.

                      Lots of beauty, that’s for sure.

                      So many positives, (Oh, and add cheap cost of living and low property taxes- Dunno about income taxes; don’t pay ’em) and ironically (and what was the primary attraction to me) is that land is still cheap! I’m not talking junk land, either!

                      Women though? Well…Lexington, yeah…there some lookers for sure- but down here in the south, they’re mostly fat and fugly- which in my book, is a plus, as it’s less temptation!

                      Nice thing too: Ya can run into some interesting characters to talk to now and then. Some of these old Scots, -they may not be libertarians, but they definitely march to the beat of their own drum, rather than asking “How high?” when someone says “Jump!”.

                      I really wish that this country wasn’t crumbling into even darker tyranny, ’cause I could see myself staying here the rest of my life it weren’t so- It’s gonna be hard for me to leave. I have a great piece of property with 360* views, that only costedid me $1100 an acre (Worth about 4 times that now- but still pretty cheap).

                      Way I see it, I bought myself 18 years (and counting) of greatly increased freedom, joy and even better finances by moving here- whereas if I had stayed in NY, it just would have been all downhill.

                      I basically got myself a MUCH better life….for the price of a mediocre new car.

                • The long cold winters up here in the Northern Rockies help keep out the riff-raff, or at least reduce their numbers to a somewhat acceptable level.

                  • I live in east Idaho. The riff raff is coming in by the hordes here. Our winters are generally Thanksgiving to March or longer. Highs in the 40’s and 50’s in March and April aren’t uncommon. Yet they still come in. There are no acceptable levels for me. There was already plenty of riff raff here, but it worsens.

                    Permittless carry for anyone over 18 here. The cops aren’t as out of control on the eastern side of the state as they are win western Idaho–as long as you avoid Idaho Falls and Pocatello. They seem to be especially trigger happy as of late. But, where aren’t they trigger happy lately.

                    There’s no escaping statism in this country. In some ways MT is better than Idaho. In others, ID is better. In others, WY is better. You just trade one statist problem for another.

                    • ****”There’s no escaping statism in this country….. You just trade one statist problem for another.”****

                      ^^^^THIS! Unless one is in one of the really loony lefty strongholds, like NY, MA, CA. etc. there’s usually not much to gain from moving from one state to another, unless ya have to move for some other reason- then it can be propitious to pick the specifics that are most important to you- and since the government model is the same in every state (as are the Federal stipulations) it’s just a matter of time until the loopholes are sewn up and it’ll be the same everywhere.

                      When I moved here to KY 18 years ago, there was no seatbelt law (NY had had it since ’84); no child seat BS; people could still walk around the supermarket smoking a cigarette, etc. Now those things are already long gone.

                      And now it looks like they’ll be out-lawing using a phone while driving, too….

                      What ever BS starts in Europe, comes here to the coasts; and what ever gets established on the coasts, spreads sooner or later to all the rest of the states.

                      In the past, it could take decades for the BS to spread; now it happens much faster.

                      If I were Erick in VA. though, I’d move if only because of their pernicious traffic enforcement/laws. Even if it’s not far- like just to TN or KY. (Eastern KY sucks though- Eastern TN is pretty nice- though it doesn’t have all the perks of KY).

                      I was sick of that in NY- every time I’d go out, had to make sure everything was just perfect; and every time i saw a pig-mobile I was paranoid. Sucks to live like that- and VA. is even worse in that respect than NY.

                      Heh, few years ago, I’m coming home with a mower on my single-axle trailer; trailer had a blow-out, and no spare when I was more than 50 miles from home. I’m flopping down the road at 15MPH…now about 20 miles from home, when I pass a state pooper sitting in an intersection. I think “Oh crap, here we go!” (I don’t get on good with pigs). A little ahead, my turn-off is coming up, and I look in my mirror and see the pooper coming up from behing…” “… I turn off, and he keeps goiong straight ahead.

                      If that had been NY, not only would he have pulled me over, but he would have had a field day, what with the trailer loping down the road with a blown out tire half disintegrated, and bunch of other things on my rickety trailer.

                    • And yet another reason to despise Lincoln! I got that blow-out just as i was passing his birfsplace. I had cursed him before the trip. He got back at me!

                    • Yer lookin’ at it the way yer sssposed to: lawmakin’ *is* loopholin’. I.e., the enclosures is for the enCAFO’d pecupeople, & the lariat loops is for the cowqueros. Which ain’t to say neither a cow nor quero be is impossible – it’s just never gonna be a static set it & forget it proposition. Fluid environment it is. Just say nunzio to anzio.

                    • If the permitless carry is open only, it is as gross a violation of 2A as any other.
                      How would you feel about a coalition of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming after the coming secession?

        • Actually hate is not treated as a crime under the laws where it is mentioned.
          Hate is what is called an aggravation or an aggravating circumstance, being part of the motive rather than the criminal act.
          If hate were a crime, we would have seen convictions for hate by itself, with multiple occurances taking place in courtrooms, eliminating any need for probable cause and reasonable doubt.

          • Hi Vonu,

            Hate crime legislation allows for increased penalties and is thus more than just a part of motive. Hate alone is not a crime (yet), but the additional penalty is criminal punishment for “hate”. In that sense, “hate” is singled out and criminally punished.


          • Vonu

            There’s no permit to carry concealed in Idaho for anyone over 18.

            Depends on what you mean by “coalition”. Southern MT, Eastern ID and Western WY are linked economically right now in a big way. Especially Western WY. It’s a good thing excepting the shithole of Jackson WY. Teton county WY and Teton county ID are like tiny Orange counties in ID/WY.

            Intersting too, while Idaho has some of the loosest gun laws in the country, the castle laws are more on par with Califoinia.

            I can run red diesel in everything in ID/WY and never have an issue. Get pulled over in MT with a diesel and the cop will dip your tank. They will dip your tank at every weigh station in MT too. They’re nazi’s like that. But their castle doctrine is great.

            Ever had a speeding ticket in WY? Minimum of $225 bucks. ID is $60 unless you are 20 over, but they almost always reduce it down.

            Basically my point in my previous post stands. You trade one freedom for another in our 3 state region. It’s only getting worse because Cali is moving here. And only the worst of people run for office to govern the rest of us.

            A coalition of very tiny independent communities in this region? Yeah I’d be interested. But any kind of centralized capital over that coalition? No. It won’t do any good to replace Boise/Cheyenne/Helena with any miniature versions. Too much statism.

    • Hi Muggles,

      “Eric’s column isn’t the right place to debate the finer points of libertarian self defense theory.”

      Why not? After all, the premise of the “what about (insert some highly unlikely and hysterical possibility here)” objection is predicated on the Statist belief that those living in a libertarian world (either no State or a powerless State) would be at the mercy of crazy people. Seems like a perfect place to discuss libertarian self defense theory.



      • Hehe, yes, ironically, Jeremy, this is one of the few threads where even I actually seem to be “on topic” for a change! Muggles criticism could have been SO appropriate in so many other places! 😀

    • Dennis weren’t actually a menace. But feelings, nothing more than feelings, of the “menaced” – plus a decent rhyme, sold the show.

      ADD diagonal•gnosis came along. Lyin’ nurse Rita Ratched dosed Ritalin. Dennis the “menace” became Denise the quiesce. Ah, sweet treacle peace! Only thing better’s a huge Injun with a smothering pillow.

      I like that “I come in peace” “You’ll go in pieces” bit. Viva the pièce de résistance.

  8. Eric, this entire “well, should Joe Six-Pack have his own NUKE” is a complete red herring argument if one ever existed at all. As a Nuclear Engineer, I have some insight into this scenario:

    (1) The biggest question would be, WHERE would “Joe Six-Pack” get the fissile material in the first place? WEAPONS-grade Pu239 or HEU is rather scarce and well-monitored, and not LEGALLY available to private citizens. Even if for some crazy reason it were, just imagine the regulatory controls that’d be imposed, and it’s unlike that even Bill Gates could afford them or would be maniacal enough to spend the money.

    (2) Second, with what FACILITIES would the fissile core be shaped and machined? It’s not as if one could do this with $100K worth of machine shop equipment! And never mind the negative-pressure clean room and other facilities that’d be needed to ensure that the assembly crew didn’t get poisoned in the assembly process. Or, as with the fissile material, sourcing the necessary explosives and then designing them for either the very intricate implosion process, or, if one has a shitload of HEU and just wants to make a “gun-type” weapon, he still needs to fabricate the “gun”, itself a specialized artillery barrell, and design the HEU rings and “bullet” as was done with Little Boy to attain a 2.5x supercritical mass upon detonation to ensure that the thing will go off at all…and in the early days of atomic weapon testing, misfires were common with both the gun-type and the implosion type before the optimal designs were realized. It’s kinda hard to re-invent the wheel in one’s own basement!

    (3) More than likely, rather than BUILD a “homebrew” weapon, a maniac, as the President’s opponents characterized him being, would try to BUY one, but that would require various clandestine connections that “Joe Six-Pack” wouldn’t have the means to even propose…and the groups that could potentially steal, say, an ex-Soviet weapon won’t deal with an amateur anyway.

    It might be more reasonable to ask if a private citizen could acquire, say, a surplus main battle tank, and somehow clandestinely “re-militarize” the main weapon and somehow acquire ordnance, and run amok with it. Of course, as was shown in San Diego in 1995, it was easy enough to STEAL an M60 belonging to the Cal Guard and go crazy on the streets of “Padre-town”, even without firing a shot. One could do that with a bulldozer as well, but I don’t hear any calls to regulate my ability to obtain a bulldozer or a combine.

    • Why would anyone bother with plutonium with tons of depleted uranium just laying around the middle east?
      Of course, there is the slight engineering issue of creating plutonium in a breeder reactor, making the reactor more important than the feedstock.
      I, single-handedly, shut down the PR department at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant by threatening to repeat what AO Williams had said about how much plutonium it would take to make a warhead.

  9. Government psychopaths. Is that the same government that says you owe taxes on money that in the same breath they say you do not own? Government is constructed of people who are not very good at anything, rarely intelligent and highly insecure…as many of them are utter control freaks. It is in that desire to control everything that we find ourselves mired in endless and severely stupid laws, regulations and insane decrees. In the mind of government, the only safe world is one where all subjects and slaves are imprisoned in boxes with absolutely no freedoms. They even want to control your thoughts. This is the direction that the world is going in and most people haven’t a whisper of a bare butt clue.

  10. I agree in general, but I think there has to be some limit, no matter how libertarian you are. I don’t know what that limit is, and I certainly don’t think that anyone should be punished for something they might do. However, at some point, say drag racing at 120 mph, down a residential street or school area, “society” ought to be able to say no, asshole, you can’t do that

    • Hi Florida,

      A couple of thoughts:

      One, most people – not being sociopaths – don’t do such things anyhow. I might run my sport bike to 150-plus for a quick moment on an empty stretch of open road – but not through a neighborhood. Because I don’ want to hurt much less kill anyone, including me!

      Two, if we had a system based on property rights, the owners could determine terms of use. We have these problems because government (effectively) owns everything.

      Three, all of these “what it?” scenarios are mostly just that – hypothetical – while the “cure” (laws and more laws) entails the certainty of harm to everyone, either by prohibitions and punishments for harms not caused and by the harm caused by being forced to subsidize the enforcement thereof.

      Risk will always be with us. I prefer not to institutionalize it!

      • Hi Eric and Florida,

        Most of these what if scenarios could be addressed by PDO’s (private defense organizations). Of course, nobody can know with certainty what would develop in a truly free market but, absent the State, it is likely that PDO’s would develop and compete for the provision of defense, security and adjudication, much like private firms currently compete for the provision of any valued service. Such services already exist, but are severely hampered by the State; both by onerous regulation and the “free” provision of this service by the State. In theory, being a customer of such a service would be valuable to the individual consumer and serve as a check on what you describe. Those without a contract would likely be deemed “outlaws” by others and find it hard to join a community, do business, sign contracts, etc…

        In addition to PDO’s, all property would be privately owned, but many would still choose to live in a community. Such communities would likely create binding covenants as a condition for living in that community. Of course, these would vary greatly. Some would prefer to live in a strict community, others a more permissive community. The market would cater to the desires of most. Such a scenario seems unimaginable to those not familiar with An-Cap theory, but it’s not as crazy as many believe. As Murray Rothbard once noted, if the government had always provided shoes, people would react incredulously to the suggestion that they could be provided privately.

        Many services now considered “public goods”, including private defense and security, were once provided by the market, absent the State. As libertarians we’ve all had to endure the ignorant question,”what about the roads, education, radio and TV stations, lighthouses, environmental protection, etc…” All of these things were provided by the market and, considering the average wealth of the time, better, cheaper and more efficiently. The myth of “public goods” creates an excuse for the State to co-opt these services and arrogate to itself a near monopoly on their provision. Over time, most people believe that such services can only be provided by the State, and react with incredulity and hostility to any suggestion otherwise. It doesn’t have to be this way.


        • I get it guys, I really do, but don’t you think that you would want some rules? Imagine that you leave your kid, or in my case grandkid, at the bus stop, and some asshole drives at 85 mph down the street every morning. Or maybe some dickhead wants to do some target shooting, so he goes to the Publix parking lot to plink away with his AR at soda cans that people throw away on the ground. Or maybe my buddy and I go to the bar, and he has 14 beers, and 5 shots of tequila. I should just let him drive home? After all, he hasn’t hurt anybody yet, right? Come on, I get freedom, I understand that that people shouldn’t be punished for maybes, etc. But I also believe that there has to be limits. The non aggression principle says that we should do no harm to others or their property, but does it allow us to do stupid shit that will likely cause harm?

          • Hi Floriduh,

            “…but don’t you think that you would want some rules?”

            There would be rules, in some cases stricter than we have now, in some cases, less so. Those who violate the rules of their community or PDO would be in breach of contract and means of dealing with this would likely develop naturally. There is a lot of literature on this at the Mises Institute. Go there and search for private law and private defense.


            • Florida, Jeremy,

              “…but don’t you think that you would want some rules?”

              Just the age old 3.

              1.) Shoot
              2.) Shovel
              3.) Shut up

              Darwin tends to remove the undesirables one way or the other.

              • In keeping with my The Government Wants To Be God theme from other posts; and how the government’s code of morality(law) is usually the diametric opposite of God’s revealed “law of liberty”:

                I’ll never forget my first time reading the Bible 35 years ago, and coming across the part about how the next of kin to a person who is killed is the avenger of blood, and has the right to kill the murderer; and in the case of manslaughter, the manslaughterer is to be confined to a city of refuge- and that if he left that city, the avenger of blood could kill him without penalty.

                By contrast, the modern god of state gives refuge to most murderers- and will punish the avenger of blood just as severely, or more likely, even more severely than the murderer (And just imagine if the murderer is black and the avenger of blood white!)

            • Nunz, the “statists” that write dictionaries have tried to turn anarchy into a thing it never was, i.e., chaos and lawlessness. Historically, anarchy meant “rules but no rulers”. Chaos and lawlessness is a couple descriptors those who want to defend the “state” have begun using.

              God, it was horrible, it was complete anarchy. Changes the meaning if you believe that doesn’t it?

              And my entire life I’ve looked for anarchy. It’s as elusive as one of those deep sea creatures you’ll never see.

              • Preaching to the choir, 8.

                I don’t even know what to call myself anymore, ’cause the media has so perverted any and all terms.

                “Libertarian”? Elicits images of Gary Johnson and E-Loon Musk[rat].

                “Anarchist” [which is the best word for what we are] is now equated with Neo-communists who want to create chaos to break down the current system (Sounds like all of our politicians are now anarchists); and people who make bombs….

                “Voluntaryist”, like Bevin and Larken Rose use, is pretty good; and to my knowledge has not yet been corrupted….but no one knows what it means!

                “I’m a Voluntaryist”.
                “Oh, whadduyah, go to Africa with the Peace Coirps and stuff?”.

                And if it ever got popularized enough for the average schmoe to know what it was…the media would corrupt it to!

                Oh, and 8, I was thinking of you yesterday! This telemarketer credit-card scammer calls 15 minutes after I get in. I put on this Texas accent (The stereotypical “rich Texan” like in the cartoons), and when they want my CC number, I say “Now, ah’m from TEXiss, and ya know, everything’s BIG in Texas! So this here num’r is a big’un. Are ya ready for a big’un?”

                They say “Yes, sir, go ahead”.

                I then hold the phone up to my speakers and play a long, loud disgusting fart from a youtube video that I had cued up just for the occasion!

                Heard the little Jamaican muttering “You m—-F—er…yada yada” then hang up.

              • My only problem with anarchy is that if we had complete anarchy tonight, by ten o’clock tomorrow morning some folks would be starting a committee to form a new government.

                • Anon, in a libertarian world they would get nowhere. You can’t create an overnight authoritarian tyranny and as such, everyone would be watching them intently and ready to pounce should they try to create some all-controlling govt……or any govt to be honest.

                  There are some cartoons that tell it like it is on L. Neil Smith’s site….my hero.


                  • 8, it would be interesting to see how people might again embrace and love freedom if they ever got a taste of it.

                    I think of Russia, where although it’s nowhere near Libertarian, it is certainly freer than here now-a-days- and after having endured communism for so long, a good part of the population there are now very mindful of the principles of liberty- more so than most people here in this country.

                    I think once the snowflakes died off here, and the rest got a taste of what they’ve been missing, they’d be diligent about keeping it- which maybe is why Uncle tries so hard to keep any taste of the real thing at bay.

                    I think of myself, and how utterly loathsome the idea of ever setting foot back in the northeast is.

                    My niece in PA once said to me “You should move here to PA!”. Now, after having been here just once for a few days, she wishes she could move here!

                    • I buy pocket copies of the Declaration and Constitution to pass out and I’ve found that 70% of the people I offer them to are afraid of them. There aren’t too many people who are brave enough to be free.

                    • Sad but true, Vonu.

                      And who can forget the ubiquitous: “Oh, if I want to know what the law is, I just ask a cop”!

                      I think though, that a good number of people if they actually got a TASTE of real freedom- vs. just the idea of it- which they’ve been taught to fear, there’d be a lot more proponents of it.

                      But what we have currently, is a society of trained rats, who only know how to navigate the maze they have been placed into, with the prospect of getting some cheese if they follow the rules which have been imposed on them.

                      Much like long-time welfare recipients faced with the prospect of having to provide for themselves- they would rather live under the conditions imposed, and only have to deal with navigating the system which has become familiar to them, than to be independent- but those who truly break free of the system, for whatever reasons (Truly free from it, not just on some “program” of partial subsidy) often end up seeing the light, and regret having wasted so much time in a situation that they thought was advantageous, but then come to see only after the fact, that it was really detrimental; and thjat what they used to imagine as being detrimental, is in-fact liberating.

                      Troiuble is, with government around, few will ever get to that point, for one truly must yearn for liberty just to overcome the inertia of the tyranny that we live under- or to even question it and realize that there is an alternative and that what is now the norm is in-fact a gross aberration.

              • Dictionaries are not written by statists. They are written by lexicographers. The purpose of a dictionary is to explain what the meaning of words are in their current usage. As such, words with political meanings will wind up being defined as politicians wish.
                The original source of any word is determined by its entomology. According to Google, the entomology of anarchy is “mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos, from an- ‘without’ + arkhos ‘chief, ruler’.” There is no mention of rules, just an absence of a ruler. Where there are no rulers, how can there be rules?
                Since anarchy is the absence of rulers, it is, literally, a vacuum of political power. Just as a free market is collapsed by government regulation, anarchy is collapsed by the presence of a functioning ruler.
                No vacuum will be filled faster than a political one, giving an exceedingly short period of time to observe its existence.

          • Two things that often get overlooked in these types of discussions:

            a)The type of people who are so irresponsible that they do things like drive 120MPH where it is not appropriate, STILL do those things, no matter how many rules, or how draconian the punishments. It is only the INNOCENT people who are unduly hassled for “breaking the rules” in a police state- i.e. some driving 120MPH in the middle of nowhere on a desert road- who will suffer the same punishment as the moron who drives 120 in the cul-de-sac.

            That describes exactly what modern society has become: The innocent are searched and scanned and terrorized just for the privilege of boarding an airplane- but a real “terrorist, be it our rogue government or an individual or group intent on causing real harm, will not be detered by such efforts- and yet the lives of countless millions of people are turned upside down for the pretext of “safety”.

            b)If we were to operate under the principle of strict liability, those who trulyu caused harm would be desalt with in such a manner so as to quickly deter others from committing acts which may result in harm, damage aqnd death.

            E.g. our system of law essentially limits liability, so that it often becomes the defacto protector of the miscreant.

            Someone destroys your car or breaks your leg, resulting in medical bills, lost wages, lost transportation? Under this system, if it’s some homie who who has nothing and no insurance; or a hustler who makes himself “judgment proof” the worst that may happen is that he may go to jail for a short period and pay a fine TO THE STATE (not the victim).

            Absent this system, that person could be forced to work if his debt- if it took him the rest of his life (bond servitude) or forfeit his life if he, say, took the life of your kid, and you offed him. That is justice.

            And meanwhile, the guy doing 120 but endangering no one and causing no harm…is not molested. He is also greatly deterred from doing 120 in the cul-de-sac, knowing what the consequences may be if he causes harm.

            That is hoiw the world operated for most of it’s existence in most places, until government became a monopoly. That government which promised “safety” in exchange for the abandonment of many rights and liberties, has NOT made us safer; if anything, as we see before our eyes, it has embrazened evil-doers and the irresponsible, AND increased our chances of being harmed, because that government which ostensibly exists to “protect us” is often the very entity that is most likely to harm us.

            No matter how ya slice it, there are going to be bad guys who may do you harm- whether on purpose, or due to their irresponsibility and lack of care. Giving up our liberties does not make us any safer- so why not have our liberties- since the choice is really liberty with risk, or tyranny with the same risk? And as ‘splained above, we could actually be safer WITH our liberties.

          • At this point in time, government and cops do more to protect the lawless miscreant than they do to protect decent peaceful people. In a Just World, there would be no cops or jails because evildoers would be shot dead by their would-be victims. As it is, one must call the Brute Squad because you will be arrested and prosecuted for protecting your life and property except under very narrow circumstances. Then they come out (eventually!) and file a report or go “talk” to the aggressor and nothing really has changed except now the Brute Squad knows who to go looking for if the evildoer suddenly expires.

            Because most people abdicate their responsibility to look after their own safety and security, we are all less secure with a system of Brute Squads that care neither about our safety or security but only about how much they can steal from the peaceful folk for infringing on the King’s Edicts.

            • Exactly, Anon!

              I have seen that, illustrated before my very eyes. As a former resident of NY, where decent people live with bars on their windurs, and where (for some reason) the 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply, and robbers and rapists and murderers are treated as though they are an endangered species-…now living in KY where we have the best Castle Law in the country (If someone breaks into your home, it is presumed that they are intent on harming you, and you can use deadly force), and where we can conceal carry without permit- guess what? In the rural area where I live, where I and my neighbors take our responsibility to protect ourselves and ours, and thus there are abundant guns in every home…no bars; and virtually no random crime in the 18 years I’ve lived here, ’cause if you rummage through someone’s yard at night or break into their home while someone is home (or if they’re not and a neighbor sees it), you’re leaving in a body bag…no ifs, ands, or buts.

              NY: You can’t walk down the street without encountering a pig; it’s a veritable Orwellian police-state…and crime rages- evcen in small towns and rural areas.

              Here? If someone’s stupid enough to call the fuzz, it’ll likely take at least 25 minutes for ’em to get there; we still have some freedom; and not only are the miscreants a lot less brazen, but even the pigs are a lot more careful/respectful, ’cause we average peons have not been rendered helpless yet.

              And that’s what it comes down to:
              Gun control vs. gun rights=
              Tyranny vs. freedom=
              =helpless mice vs. free men.

              And rendering the innocent helpless is the same as empowering evil-doers, because only the innocent are restrained by preventative laws.

        • We’ve already seen PDOs in action: they’re called gangs or Mafia families. The notion that private enterprises that are armed and enforce law for whatever territory they run would never be corrupted is ludicrous. For example, Blackwater.

          There’s the matter of odds. People doing 30 mph on a residential street will–and the use of “will” is deliberate–do less harm than clowns racing down the same street at 100 mph. Society has every right to forestall certain types of insane or reckless behavior–it’s an absurdity to say that no one can be stopped until after he’s killed someone.

          The problem is that all of us have failed to keep law enforcement in its place. There are too many cops with too many weapons enforcing too many chickenfeces laws. Aside from the externalities of perhaps dozens of private badgewearers in a single city, it’s a complete misunderstanding of human nature to think that dividing law enforcement into fiefdoms will somehow eliminate the temptations of power. Eternal vigilance is needed, and its lack is what has led us to the current mess, not some badged leviathan.

            • My stepfather lived in Las Vegas when the mob ran it in the early ’80s, and again in the early ’00s after the government had taken control and his experience was that the city was richer, cleaner and better managed the former gang rather than the latter.

          • Ross,

            The Mafia is not a PDO, Blackwater is not a private company in any meaningful sense, society is a meaningless abstraction; if by it you mean groups of people, I never said that they lack rights. Law enforcement is in its inevitable place. It is there because that is the necessary consequence of considering governance to be the sole province of a monopoly, coercive institution. That institution will always favor itself over the people it supposedly serves, and it has no competition. Also, if it is our responsibility to hold these people in check, why do we need the State, which will always make that job much more difficult or impossible.

            Perhaps you could actually read something on the theory before making your certain, but ignorant, proclamations. Note, I didn’t claim certainty in my posts, nor am I using ignorant as a pejorative, just a fact. You clearly haven’t read anything on this topic. As for misunderstanding human nature, you assert that the current State is our fault and that leviathan can be held in check by our eternal vigilance. This weird belief, common among constitutionalists and many minarchists represents a staggering misunderstanding of human nature and reality.

            Minarchists, which I presume you to be, often ask, “when has anarchy ever worked”. It’s a fair question, but begs what is meant by “works”. There have been periods where “anarchy worked” in the sense that a Statist means; a relatively stable society, well understood laws, a justice system, etc… In fact, they “worked” better than statist societies. But, anarchy “works” in another way. Namely, most people cooperate with each other, not because they’re afraid of law enforcement, but because it’s easier and, perhaps, in their nature. Getting everything one wants by force is dangerous, most won’t choose it. There will always be outliers, advocating a State to deal with this problem has proven to not work because the State attracts sociopaths.

            The “eternal vigilance, it’s our fault” narrative misunderstands human nature profoundly. First, people tend to care much more about what is close to them, family, friends, community, etc… than abstractions. Most people value these things more than being a martyr in a futile cause. Second, the State does not mitigate the damage cause by outliers, it enhances it. These outliers will co-opt the State for their own ends. The State is created for this purpose, and will always produce the same result. It may be true that anarchy can’t work, but it is certain that Statism doesn’t work. So, the correct rejoinder to the minarchist question about anarchy is “show me an example of a stable, minarchist State, that protects liberty and does not metastasize?”

            “Society” functions despite the State, not because of it. The State prevents natural order from developing by claiming the sole authority to deal with outliers, provide governance, law and justice. Absent the State, it is likely that organizations would form to combat the predations of the “mafia”. Currently, this is illegal. This grants a de facto power to the mafia. I don’t know what would develop in a free society. I do know that every problem supposedly created by anarchy already exists, and is exacerbated by the belief in the necessity of a State.


            • If it pleases you to call me ignorant then I’ll wear it, although I’ve done some reading and pondering on the subject. Clearly it is naive to expect vigilance to always be there, because it clearly hasn’t, at least not permanently (but did work at times). But I see no viable alternative.

              To return to Eric’s point: Few things seem clearer to me than that society has a right to preemptively demand sane behavior of its citizens, even before they do any harm. Allowing a 100 mph speed limit on the street in front of a busy school is lunacy, even if by the grace of God no one got killed that day. Randomly firing a gun in populated areas, even if no property damage or personal injury results, seems to me an action perfectly suited to justifiable restrictions.

              • Hi Ross,

                The problem here is severalfold. First, who is “society?” It is like “government” – a rhetorical device; neither is a living entity with rights. Only individual people have rights.

                Second, there is the issue of subjectivism. Who defines “sane behavior”? To a Clover it is not “sane behavior” to drive 80 on the highway, or to buy a car without air bags. It is not “sane behavior” to carry a gun. Etc.

                So, what you end up with is a handful of busybodies who claim to represent “society” constituting “the government” who then impose their standards on everyone – usually by positing extreme and unlikely scenarios such as 100 MPH on a busy sidestreet in front of a school in order to impose least-common-denominator rules on everyone, such as the infamous Drive 55 (and almost all current speed limits).

                Per my article: Either we accept the possibility we might be harmed be the occasional reckless/thoughtless person – but in exchange, are free men . . . or we accept being owned men for the sake of a King Canute-like effort by those who believe they represent “society” to remove all risk (as they define it) from life by cosseting and micromanaging and punishing everyone over ever-more-idiotic “risks” to “safety.”

                I prefer accepting the risk that something bad might happen every now and then to the certainty that countless bad things will be unavoidable, all the time.

                • I’ll kick this dead horse just one more time and then shut up.

                  Eric, it’s an evasion to try to dissolve the problem like the positivists of old by bringing in semantics. We have a decent idea of what society is–even von Mises said as much, contrasting it to the State. However you care to define it–majority vote, the cultural “slant” of a given civilization, the milieu we were raised in–it’s no big mystery. Even libertarianism couldn’t exist without a society espousing it.

                  Closely related is the topic of subjectivism. There is usually a reasonable standard we can adhere to–not everything is subjective nor could it be. I use exaggerated examples to make a point: only a crackpot would insist that we drive
                  5 mph everywhere for safety’s sake; only a libertarian would maintain that anyone should be allowed to travel at 100 mph past a crowded school. If we can’t reach a reasonable agreement on what’s excessively dangerous or undesirable (and multi-culti societies have this problem) because there’s no such thing as objective good sense, then we really are lost. Doing something so recklessly regardless of others as the school speeding example and then shrugging when the speeder creams some kid and saying “that’s the price of liberty” I find unacceptable.

                  Some in law criticize the “reasonable man” standard, but try coming up with something better. If everything is relative, then anything goes, literally. Our duty as citizens is to make “reasonable man” regulations concerning societal actions. Smoke marijuana? Fine by me, just don’t drive while you’re high. (I know you disagree with this since the toker hasn’t hurt anyone until he has, but from someone who rightly disparages half-blind oldsters behind the wheel I don’t see how you can consistently hold that position). You want to practice parkour on your own spiked fences? Be my guest, but I sure as hell don’t want to see you doing that in a public mall while discharging your 1911 at random, whether anyone’s hurt or not.

                  I don’t feel enslaved by reasonable laws, and yes, I do think there are such things as reasonable laws. What’s reasonable? Here’s an idea: two nights ago at 1:15 a.m. at our quite isolated country home there was a knock at the door. Very unusual. A mentally disturbed man was there. Nothing happened but I was prepared to defend myself. Now there’s a reasonable law–the castle doctrine. Here’s the unreasonable version you espouse: I should be allowed to wave a firearm around and discharge it anywhere in public with no consequence or hindrance unless I hurt someone or damage property. Now that would be tyranny: having to live in a society in which there is no law whatsoever, except restitution after you’ve been damaged or killed.
                  Of course we are far beyond reason these days, but that wasn’t always so and we could return to those days if we wished. But we don’t, and allowing anyone to do anything anywhere he pleases no matter how dangerous to others is not the answer.

                  You might be comfortable with that kind of risk, but you also might not want that kind of open hazard for your children or family.

                  In sum, we needn’t accept Hobbes’s leviathan cure to recognize that he had a point that totally “free” men lived lives that were “nasty, brutish, and short.”

                  Happy Thanksgiving, and I will host a turkey leg to you and your columns.

                  • Hi Ross,

                    The problem comes down to who gets to decide what “reasonable” means? You and I probably have approximately the same definition – but what about the Clovers? Once you establish in law that “reasonable” can be the basis for punishing people absent harm caused, then it is inevitable the law will be expanded (by Clovers) to encompass a definition of “reasonable” that is most unreasonable. Just look at what has happened to our society – to use that word!

                    Speaking of that.

                    I don’t consider it evasive to characterize “society” as I did previously because it is dangerous to endow a collective anything with rights, because individual’s rights will inevitably be abused by those who claim to “represent” the will of this collective.

                    Rights are individual – and aren’t fungible. I can only give you proxy power to act on my behalf as regards me. I cannot give you proxy power to act on my behalf as regards others. And I cannot endow you with additional rights that I do not possess myself.

                    You describe some extreme scenarios – which I admit are possible. But the point I make is that “reasonable” laws do not prevent such things from occurring; they only set the intellectual and legal precedent for . . . unreasonable laws.

                    The choice then is between the potential risk of the occasional extreme scenario you describe – a crazy person waving a gun at people or driving 100 MPH on a crowded road – and the certainty of government (and armed government workers) depriving everyone of property (money) and imposing ever-escalating restrictions and ever-more-punishment on everyone, on the basis of ever-more-expansively defined “risks” that must be curb stomped.

                    You write:

                    “…allowing anyone to do anything anywhere he pleases no matter how dangerous to others is not the answer.”

                    I don’t think I advocated this.

                    I did advocate people being free to do as they like provided they are not violating the rights of other people – as defined by not causing them harm.

                    No one has the right to do “anything they like” on someone else’s property, for instance. That would be a violation of the property owner’s rights.

                    And they are obliged to be held responsible for their actions when they do cause harm others. But not until they do.

                    I understand this position makes many uneasy. But it’s a clear and objective standard that positively limits what government may impose – as opposed to the inherently open-ended “reasonable” standard.

                    I think the uneasiness comes from (forgive me) an unreasonable fear of chaos and rampant murderous recklessness, absent “reasonable” laws. But I think most people conduct themselves reasonably regardless of the laws. I do not believe most people would kill or steal or drive 100 MPH through a school zone with kids milling about even if they were no laws forbidding such things.

                    These exaggerated fears are used by those who seek to terrify us into accepting the yoke of their authority. I submit that society would be much more civil – as well as far more adult – if people were free to act according to their own best judgment and bore the consequences (good and bad) of that freedom.

                    This would be a kind of free market of action.

                    And much to be preferred over a planned economy of universal control, directed arbitrarily from above.

                    Thanks for the thoughtful post – and Thanksgiving wishes. I send the same in reply!

              • Hi Ross,

                “We’ve already seen PDOs in action: they’re called gangs or Mafia families. The notion that private enterprises that are armed and enforce law for whatever territory they run would never be corrupted is ludicrous. For example, Blackwater”.

                I was reacting to the above statement of yours, which seemed to me to be an example of extreme certainty expressed about a topic, combined with little or no knowledge of the topic. All of us are ignorant about many things, that is no crime. But, to paraphrase Rothbard, to give an opinion, loudly and vociferously on a topic, while remaining in ignorance, is frustrating. To indulge in new speak, I was “triggered” by your comment and I apologize for the tone of my response.

                Still, I disagree that either the mafia or Blackwater are examples of PDO’s. The mafia, ironically, is given a competitive advantage by GovCo because it is illegal to form real PDO’s to combat their predation. Doing so would be a crime and most will not willingly bear that risk. Also, Blackwater exists primarily to provide “defense” services to governments. The “product” they offer is funded with stolen money and would rarely be voluntarily purchased in a free market. Such companies, along with “private” prisons, are not private in a meaningful sense.

                Also, I never claimed that PDO’s will never be corrupted, of course they will. I’m not even sure the idea would work at all, just that what we have now does not, and cannot, work. The An-Cap hypothesis about how “society” could function, absent the State, is theoretically possible and, whatever its likely abuses, would not suffer from the problem of monopoly, which renders theoretical limits to government impossible.

                I also never claimed that “society” cannot impose preemptive rules against the behavior you describe. In fact, I suspect that, in an An-Cap world, such rules would be commonplace. But, they would be agreed to voluntarily by those in covenant communities. There would also likely be different models, appealing to different people. Competition in the provision of defense, security and adjudication, currently barred, would likely create alternatives. The question is what type of institution is best suited to this task. I posit that coercive, monopoly institutions cannot make rules that generally benefit “society”, as their interest is always directed toward the maintenance and expansion of their own power.

                “Clearly it is naive to expect vigilance to always be there, because it clearly hasn’t, at least not permanently (but did work at times). But I see no viable alternative”.

                I see very few examples of this working in the sense that the power of the State is held in check. I see isolated examples of resistance that, more often than not, lead to the expansion of State power. The problem is that, once the legitimacy and necessity of the State is generally accepted, the game is up. No such institution can be held in check and harnessed for the “general” good. It will always metastasize, growing until it collapses on its own, or becomes so oppressive that the risk/reward ratio tips in favor of revolution. But, as long as the belief in the legitimacy and necessity of coercive, monopoly government exists, it will just be replaced by another such institution.

                It may be that we will be forever saddled with government. But, a stable “night watchman” State, envisioned and promoted by many libertarians, will never exist as long as people believe that political authority is legitimate and necessary. If accepting this belief and being eternally vigilant is the only viable alternative, we are doomed.

                Kind regards,

                • Jeremy,
                  Blackwater doesn’t exist in any form today.
                  Prince changed it’s name to Xe Services in 2009, and it’s new owners changed it’s name to Academi in 2011. The CIA pays more for mercenaries than the Pentagon does.

                    • Why do you think that Google created Alphabet to hide behind?
                      It was more than a name change. Prince moved the company from mercenaries to corporate security before he sold it.
                      FWIW, his sister is Betsy DeVos, who changed her name when she got married, unlike Liz Cheney.

                  • Hi Vonu,

                    Fair enough. I suppose I should have written, Blackwater, when it existed, was not a private company in a meaningful sense. It doesn’t change the overall point, though.


                  • What were once vices (– crimes, even –) are now habits. Well, I built me a raft & she’s ready for floatin’ Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’ Black water keep rollin’ on past just the same….

                    Faces & names – superficialities (&\but that’s all it takes) — change, but the black(mirror)water has always existed, in exactly the same form. Those merc\antilist\s that turned boston harbor into black tea water was just a’ mirrorin’ the across the pond•opplegangsters, for one example.


                    Scene I had in mind: (ain’t up. But the “words” bit, including even those more special ones “in writing,” in link, applies)

                    Scumbag U.S. politician says, of Britain, the setting, “Yeah, well, it’s all quite refined.

                    Logan Roy (scumbag billionaire media mogul): Refined? Ahh. Slaves. Cotton & sugar. This country’s nothing but an off-shore laundry for turning evil into hard currency. And now it just lies here, living off its capital, sucking in immigrants to turn it & stop it getting bed sores.

                • Jeremy,

                  Statists typically berate libertarians, saying that libertarian ideas will not create a utopia (though they may not actually use the word). Of course neither does the State but that seems to escape them, as does one of the first libertarian principles I can remember learning: Utopia is not an option.

                  • The thing about libertarianism(or more properly, Anarchy) is that while NOTHING can create utopia for everyone, at least without others trying to impose their ideas of utopia on others, we are all free to create our own private utopias (alone, or in conjunction with others on a purely voluntary basis) if in as much as the consequences or rewards of our actions and choices will let us.

                    Many of us live largely in such utopias (I sure do), with the only threat to our happiness/success/liberty being government- i.e. their attempts to force us to participate in and pay for their various ideas of forced “utopia”.

                  • Yeah. That beration projection happens.

                    The beration that actually indicts, convicts & imprisons tho is libertarian et al projection of mentality\psychology – on all that mass of humanimal that has other mentality\psychology.

                    Deification o’ tabula rasa – “but, we can\need to *teach* them, for they know not what they do! — is delusional whether that’s synonym’d “utopian,” or not.

                    I enjoy the irony, & fundamental attribution error, o’ tenure-ensconced (& prolly votin’, social security check cashin’ too) academician parish publishing, & their standard bearers, tho.

                    Walter Block commented on this bombs in basements piece, for a loading light example. Them that can…don’t “teach.”

                    • At 14 I had an “ag” teacher who taught us everything from metal fab, wood working, animal husbandry and even parliamentary procedure via Robert’s Rules of Order(and went to the state finals). He was a man of many skills so he’s teaching us a specific type of welding one day and said to do it like “this” and then proceeded to attempt it as an example. Somebody pointed out it wasn’t exactly as he’d shown and he replied “Do as I say, not as I do, those who can, don’t teach”. I was very lucky to have him as a teacher and later, as a friend through life.

                      He taught me more in 3 years than I learned in the rest of school. Before I graduated, I knew how to conduct a debate, build what I needed no matter the material, to take care of nearly any animal including minor surgery and emergency techniques. I wouldn’t begin to try to list everything he taught me.

                      Never quit learning and adversity is the best teacher. The Veterinarian I use gave me a crash course in performing a Cesarean section on a heifer….at 3 am in 10 degree weather.

                      Keep an open mind and the attitude to do anything that needs to be done when need is of the utmost. And never back down from a good celebration.

                    • I like a good rule-proving exception as much as the next guy, Eight. (& even the rule-aligned specimens are lessons, albeit wholly unintended ones.)

                      But I start from the Galileo bit – can’t teach anyone anything, can only help them find it, whatever it is, in themselves – if it is in fact there to be found.

                      I.e. them that can don’t teach but even them that teach don’t teach. I.e. self-taught is best & it’s all self-taught, as in “lookee here what I found!”

                      Next, particularly when it comes to mavens of Libertarian theology, preach-teachin’ as tenured apparatchiks in state universities (but fractal down iterations, too) are just a hoot.

                      Or maybe a hootowl, in block’s case, what with his evictionism (abortion) nonsense.

                      Learners learn (excavate). They can’t help it any more than the rest, others, can help whatever it is they do.

                      So the Darwin bit’s relevant, too: “Thought, however unintelligible it may be, seems as much a function of organ as bile of liver. This view should teach one profound humility, no one deserves credit for anything. Nor ought one to blame others.”

                      Adversity, yeah. & the ptsd cherries on top are free bonus. TANSTAAFL…or cherry.

                      As for celebrations, interesting left field cannon. I’ve struck all the official ones from the official calendar. Those are all “taught,” eh? And with benign-to-benificent intent aforethought too, eh?

                      I ring, salivate to, my own bells. Ya’ can’t cheat, nor bellcurve, an honest wo\man…think it was WC Fields that said that. ☻

                    • Oxy, you misunderstand my meaning of “celebration”. As “official” celebrations go, I’m not keen on them.

                      My version of celebration could mean just about anything. Put in a long, hot day? Jump in a cool river, pool, whatever. Get a difficult chore/task completed with good results, tip a cold one.

                      It could be difficult to know when I’m celebrating.

                    • Just leave people alone. Some will create their own utopia; some will create their own hell.

                      When one tries to impose their utopia on others (especially upon the ones who create their own hell) they don’t prevent the hell-creators from creating their hell….they just prevent the utopia-creators from living out their utopia, and impose a good deal of the hell upon them.

                      Socialism is large-scale utopian scheme, which, like all utopian schemes, just results in the “equal sharing of misery” for all but the few at the top.

                    • 8, those were the days!

                      TODAY if you were 14, you’d be more likely to have a FAG teacher, than an ag teacher……

                      Funny thing I’ve been thinking about recently from childhood:

                      Going to Jr. High school on Lawn Guyland, we actually had mostly really good teachers- real professionals; learned men; who had character and dignity, and weren’t just in it for the money or summers off (7th grade math teacher was an older guy- early 60’s at least- and he’d work construction in the summers; another teacher worked his clam boat in the summers…etc.)- It was a very maturing experience- it was more like college (NOT modern wacky SJW-librul colleges!)….

                      Then we moved to a small town in MO….. You would THINK that the teachers there would be like that ag teacher- and just exude practical knowledge- but holy crap! What a bunch of losers! It was like the kind of people there who were attracted to teaching, were the ones who too lazy to do real blue-collar work or farming (Though a good number of the female teachers sure resembled cows)….and they were just there to have a good time, talking about sports and stuff with the jocks- and to be in an environment where they wouldn’t have to deal with real men who might be superior to themselves. A good number of ’em- ‘specially the males, were just plain weird.

                      Sadly, the schools on Lawn Guyland are nothing like they used to be, today; despite the fact that the teachers make well over $100K there, with lavish benefits and 6-figure pensions (And people wonder why they’re paying $14K a year in proporty taxes there!)- Now it IS all about the money….and just “follow protocol and do what ever you’re told, so you can get your time in and get that pension, so you can get out of here when you’re 55, and live on a golf course in FL”)….

                • “Loud and vociferous”? My assertion that private companies can be and often are as easily corrupted and subject to the dark side of human nature as government entities are didn’t strike me as apodictic or an unverifiable rant. It seemed an obvious observation.

                  Vigilance is the only cure for tyranny, as Jefferson noted. Without it minarchy, libertarianism, what have you, are hopeless. If we lack vigilance (and we do as a people) NAP will do us no good. Check Bionic Mosquito sometime, for a “right” libertarianism that makes a lot of sense.

                  • Hi (again) Ross!

                    I like to think that while I’m a romantic I’m not a fool – and I understand the realities of the world we live in as well as human nature.

                    The Libertarianism I espouse is based on a revolutionary principle. This has its good and bad points, of course. Among the bad ones, that it is alarming to many people because it is revolutionary. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t practical; just not yet. And it doesn’t mean a working majority of people won’t be swayed by it; just not yet. The premises of the Enlightenment were revolutionary once, too. And they eventually swept aside the previous world order.

                    Libertarianism may one day do the same.

                    I will probably not live to see that day – but it doesn’t dissuade me from working toward that day!

                  • Hi Ross,

                    As I noted, I was paraphrasing Rothbard, specifically this quote,

                    “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

                    Your comment that private companies can be corrupted is, of course, obvious. Your assertion that they are as easily corrupted as government is far from obvious. Your comment was both dismissive of An-Cap theory, implying the idea was ludicrous, and a strawman as no An-Cap theorist argues that private companies cannot be corrupted. The question, as is always important in economics, is compared to what?

                    Consider a few observations:

                    – Governments are easily corrupted, as is made clear by history and supported by theory.

                    – Governments are not subject to market discipline, cannot use prices as a guide for resource allocation and face little or no accountability for poor actions.

                    – The primary mechanism by which private companies are corrupted is Government. Public choice theory describes the perverse incentives created by Government that guarantee corrupt practices.

                    – Democracy, sold as a means of limiting Government power, enhances it, grants it legitimacy and neuters other means of holding it in check.

                    You claim, “vigilance is the only cure for tyranny”. Perhaps so. But, an obvious question, at least to me, arises. Under which system are people more likely to be vigilant? Statists, including Minarchists, argue that political authority is legitimate and necessary, Minarchists argue about the proper scope of political authority, not its legitimacy. The Minarchist position strikes me as unsupportable, as their preference for less Government does not seem objectively more valid than the Progressive’s preference for more. Most people believe in political authority, and this belief is backed up by a lifetime of propaganda. This fact conditions most people to be less vigilant with regard to Government than they are to private services.

                    Government also criminalizes, in whole or in part, the most effective means of vigilance, tax resistance, jury nullification, civil disobedience, private defense and adjudication, etc… The Government also hampers private social institutions attempting to provide alternative governance, the family, charitable organizations, churches, healthcare provided by fraternal organizations (lodge practice), etc… What they allow us to do is vote and petition lawmakers to change policies, neither of which have shown to be very effective. Also, Government is obviously much more amenable to public cries for action that increases their power, than those that limit it. Finally, government is a monopoly that jealously guards its turf and has an incentive to prevent effective private governance from forming.

                    Every structure of Government, even in a theoretical Minarchy, works against the vigilance you see as necessary. All of these problems would likely be mitigated, though not eliminated in a system of competing private governance. Corrupt people will still exist and still seek power over others. However, few will accept legitimacy without performance, all such institutions will be subject to some form of market discipline and the customer will have choices. All of this makes it far likelier that people will be more vigilant under a system of private governance vs monopoly Government.

                    I have been following BM for years and find it interesting and encouraging that you refer to him. His evolution from a “NAP is enough” libertarian to a “shared cultural values are necessary and the NAP is not enough” libertarian was heavily influenced by Hans Hoppe. HHH believes that a system of private governance, under covenant communities, is necessary for liberty to flourish. He also believes that those communities that form around shared, conservative cultural values will be most likely to succeed. By my reading, BM shares this view. He doesn’t seem to believe that liberty is possible under the State, even a Minarchist State. Finally, to once again address your point about reasonable rules, such are more likely to flourish, and be reasonable, under the theoretical system espoused by Hoppe, BM and myself than under any form of Statism.

                    Kind Regards,

              • The (tragedy of the) common(s) implicits, telegraphs: there’s gotta be something more, something more powerful, something larger-stronger…than lil ol me…& who am I to not prostrate before that quality of quantity theory of value – if not metavalue?; security (conformity), in numbers (peer capitulation, tribal gangsterism) & in deference to numbers, & in social security prisoner numbers…forget cleansing the door o’ perception & just go to the mat, tap out w\banality, be the mat. And then, projection (& envy): if “who am I” applies, then who are *you* not to also be a mat?

                Society? A sewing circle the wind sowers try, & mostly succeed, sewing every little kid that comes along into. But nothing fails like “success.” That wind sowers’ garment is emperors’ robes. & here comes the whirlwind. Again. & again. & again. ∞

                To go along with this, ouroborus facilitate it: vilification of ego. Them as stump for being mats at (Trump, etc∞) doors had egoectomies before they ever even knew who they were. And so of course are now deity right-hand preachers & tenured professors of the evils of ego. Munchausen by proxy’s got most o’ the votes, & more than enough to swing the board out over the side: let the plank-walkin’ “begin” (shite, it never ends…).

                But it’s low-to-no ego following weak ego that makes humanimal world spin & wobble. That’s also answer why to Pascal’s observation. Wo\man of low-to-no-to-weak ego cannot sit quietly in a room alone. So here come the problems. That recognition made ol Pas so anxious he went max leverage wager on “something larger” hisownself. The spirit may be willing but the flesh is claymation.

          • Well-said, Ross!

            In order for a true Libertarian society to exist, the emphasis must be on the individual, family, and community- and NOT paid mercenaries who just essentially replicate what cops and soldiers and other organized thugs do.

            There would be just as much abuse- nay, probably more under private protection organizations, because there would be no oversight, constraints or punishments- so we’d essentially have the very same problem that we currently have the roided bullies.

            Also, in a true Libertarian society, such organizations would be unnecessary, since all people could possess all kinds of weaponry to their heart’s content, thereby eliminating any superiority that a criminal might have, and which they rely upon for advantage in a society where the innocent are constrained but where they are not.

            Also, what type of men would join these supposed private protection orgs? Even now, with their highly privileged treatment; endless taxpayer-funded resources; blue-discounts; and an unarmed public, you only get the worst scum, who glory in controlling and abusing others, and depriving them of their rights- people who desire unwarranted respect and admiration, and who are accorded preferential treatment by law….

            Could you imagine what type of men would be attracted to such an analogous position, where they did not have the protection of a grid of accomplices in black robes; where they had no right to demand “papers, comrade!”; where they coulkd not imprison people who might constitute a threat to them, on some minor issue or technicality; and where most citizens were heavily armed, and had no incentive to defer to the roided marauders; and where such marauders could be held accountable for their actions by individuals/families/communities?

            Only the insane would want such a job (More insane than the ones who currently seek such positions in the present world, where they have all of the protections and advantages).- So we’d essentially be right back where we are now: Having a class of organized protectors from whom we need protection, or else we suffer abuse as bad or worse than that which they were supposed to be protecting us from.

            In a Libertarian world, the community must be willing and able to repel any organized group- it matters not if that group is composed of robbers or supposed “protectors”; either way, if we didn’t maintain diligence to dissuade any group intrusions, we’d be right back where we are now; and if we would be dilkigent, we wouldn’t need hired mercenaries.

            This is why I reject the Lew Rockwell brand of Libertarian society, in which a world much like the one we now have is proffered, but just with private corporations replacing government agencies. a)Corporations only exist because GOVERMENT invented a scheme in which men can create fictitious beings to do business through while eliminating their liabilities. and b)Corporate tyranny/fascism is as bad or worse than the governmental varieties of those things.

            A true Libertarian world must be based on personal responsibility which manifests itself through the individual, family and community. Once we cede our responsibilities to organizations and mercenaries, it is no longer a Libertarian world; we are just replacing “votes” with currency, and essentially establishing a government over others and ourselves.

            • Hi Nunz,

              You’re applying Statist thinking to address a theoretical possibility. State enforcers are largely immune from consequences, and thus populated by sociopaths. The biggest advantage corporations have is that they can use the force of the State to get what they want, satisfying customers is often not necessary. This advantage would not exist absent the State. The “corporate tyranny/fascism” you speak of is meaningless without the State.

              “Also, what type of men would join these supposed private protection orgs?”

              Again, absent the State, it is likely, or at last possible, that good men would join. Detroit Threat Management is such a group. The founder is interviewed here.


              It is possible that all you describe would come to pass, but I see that as unlikely. All of the horrors you describe are ether created, or exacerbated, by the State. Nunz, I love you but you seem to have both an overly pessimistic and naively idealistic understanding of human nature. You oppose any practical suggestions that might lead to radical decentralization which, in my opinion, is the only hope for liberty to flourish; and you discount the possibility that free people could create a means of providing security and justice (obvious human desires), absent the problems that currently exist. You write this,

              “There would be just as much abuse- nay, probably more under private protection organizations, because there would be no oversight, constraints or punishments- so we’d essentially have the very same problem that we currently have the roided bullies”,

              which displays a profound misunderstanding of the difference between State oversight and market oversight, and the role of competition. PDO’s would likely be subject to far more “oversight, constraints and punishments” than we have now (which is practically zero) because they would not have the legal right to force customers to buy their services.

              Your dismissal of decentralization and private defense seem to stem from a flawed appreciation of the role incentives play in influencing human behavior. The State creates incentives for sociopathic behavior, but you believe that people would behave the same way, maybe even worse, absent those incentives. By arguing so, you’re just making a case for the State. I don’t think this pessimistic view of human nature stands up to scrutiny, as we rarely see it in our daily lives. By looking at human action, absent the perverse incentives created by the State, it seems obvious to me that most humans are hard wired for cooperation. Whether this is formed through self interest, a God or nature given “good nature”, or some combination of both, I do not know.

              Yours is a more sophisticated version of the “eternal vigilance, it’s our fault” narrative. This narrative is wrong, misunderstands human nature and is worse than useless as a means of acquiring and maintaining liberty. To paraphrase Hannah Arendt, if liberty requires the eternal vigilance of angels, we’re doomed. You have often asserted that if the “people” were vigilant in the early days, “we” could have kept the beast in chains, this strikes me as obviously false. The fact that the government was small, and imposed few burdens on people, renders eternal vigilance irrational. Few sane people will risk their lives, families friends, etc… in pursuit of said vigilance. Also, they had other, far more pressing, concerns; survival comes to mind. The “people” will not revolt until the consequences of inaction greatly exceed the consequences of “going along to get along”. We are getting close, but we’re not there yet; “we” certainly weren’t there in the beginning.

              It seems obvious to me that conditioning liberty on eternal vigilance, and believing that the State can be controlled by such vigilance, is hopelessly naive. The path to liberty will not be gained by appeals to our better nature. It may be gained by removing the incentives for bad behavior created by the State. Absent these incentives, that attract and reward sociopaths, it is possible that a much freer society would emerge. Not due to inherent goodness, but to self interest. Achieving what one wants through force is dangerous and transitory. Those who pursue this path would be hated by the “people”, their trespasses against us would not be deemed legitimate and they would always be susceptible to challenge from others. Most would not pursue such a path.

              Kind Regards,

              • Hi Jeremy,

                Oh, I don’t think you read my post to which you are replying carefully enough.

                I wasn’t advocating for the state; but rather just stating that trying to continue on with “private” organizations which would just mirror government agencies which we have now; or even holding such statist attitudes in general, would essentially lead to the very same tyrannies we have- “private” just essentially meaning that those chosen to do the work were “voted for” with dollars instead of ballots.

                In a real Libertarian society, there would be no need for such things anyway- as all would be well-armed (Not to mention that the profitability of many illicit activities would be eliminated or severely decreased by way of there no longer being any such thing as “illegal”).

                I agree completely with you- by what you sum-up in your last paragraph- absolutely no argument. The diligence of which I spoke, was that of being diligent to be personally able to protect ones self, property and family- and thus, the majority of sane people in a given area would be capable of working together if need be, against any larger organized threats- thus rendering any hired mercenaries irrelevant.

                I’m in the midst of something right now, so I did not read you post to which am I replying too thoroughly- so I will look at it again later- and I don’t believe that you quite understood what I was saying earlier- and the fault could well be my own- but I think we are in agreement here…just misunderstanding each other a little.

                Catch you later, my friend,

                • Hey Nunz,

                  I know that you’re not advocating for the State, God forbid! Just that your claim, “there would be just as much abuse- nay, probably more…”, is a classic Statist argument. Check out Thomas Piketty’s ludicrous assertion that the State allows for “the better angels of our nature” to flourish; it does exactly the opposite.

                  You write, “…trying to continue on with “private” organizations which would just mirror government agencies which we have now… would essentially lead to the very same tyrannies…” This assertion seems highly dubious to me, as private organizations, funded by “dollars” freely given, exist in an entirely different world than “public” institutions, funded by stolen dollars, extracted through force. The two are different in kind, not degree.

                  You write, “In a real Libertarian society, there would be no need for such things anyway- as all would be well-armed…” How do you know this? I suspect that many would rather delegate this responsibility to others. What about them? I imagine many communities, formed around shared values, flourishing in an An-Cap world. Some would likely value self protection, and perhaps require the means for such, as a condition for membership. Others would likely adopt a PDO model. Both are consistent with libertarian theory and both would likely develop.

                  Cheers my friend,

                  • Ah! Thanks for the clarification Jeremy!

                    I would tend to disagree though. Have you ever dealt with private security guards? 🙂

                    Jason’s point about The Guardian Angels was a very good one. As someone who used to ride the NYC subways back when the Angels were a thing though, I can say that to me, they did not inspire a great deal of confidence, as many of them were kind of shady- and really, being in their presence was a like like being around cops.

                    You’d definitely get the feeling that a good deal of them were just there because they were on a power-trip- just like the pigs.

                    As an aside: I saw a very young Curtis Sliwa once, with his group and wearing a red baret…. I had to choke back laughter, as for some reason, he looked really goofy in the attire of the group! (Not to detract from what good they did do though).

                    I’ll tell ya though, I feel a lot more secure living here where all the neighbors are well-armed. No worries about the shadier ones who are also armed, because they are greatly out-numbered- and the fact thaty if anything were to “go down”, knowing that all the participants have some skin in the game (Their own lives; reputations; homes/land; families; etc.) which tends to make people protective, and yet moderate irresponsible behavior, is quite different than if those same neighbors got together and hired some goons whose primary motivation was to receive a paycheck.

                    I remember years ago, walking my dog down the road late at night- a truck comes down the road, and it was someone unknown to me at the time, but who identified himself as a neighbor- He inquired if everything was O-K, and was obviously checking out a stranger who was walking near his property. No problemo- he introduced himself, and I myself, and all was well.

                    I imagine that same scenario, but with some group of mercenaries rather than the neighbor pulling up, and saying “What’re ya doing?! Who are you?!”. That would not be so pleasant, and there likely would have been some animosity, to say the least.

                    I mean, not that anyone could prevent anyone from hiring some private security in a Libertarian world….but I think once such a world was established, and the profitability of crime, and the deterents to it were recognized, it would be much less of an issue than it is today; and I think that all, except those who truly couldn’t accept personal responsibility and Libertarian life, would likely feel the need to counter any mercenary groups- and ditto, gangs of miscreants could also do the same, so what would be the point of having said groups?

                    In fact, what would prevent such groups from working for the highest bidder- say if the highest bidders were the miscreants? (Just as our current “law enforcers” work for and thus guard Uncle’s interests, instead of ours).

                    I really think that the whole group dynamic is a slippery slope, that leads away from personal responsibility and accountability.

                    Conversely, people who share like self-interests and have some skin in the game, can be just as or more effective than mercenaries, without any of the pitfalls.

                    Just my $0.02


                • Hi Jason,

                  Yes, and absent the State, which either criminalizes or regulates them to death, many more would likely form. But, they would likely be better than private “vigilante” groups as they would be “regulated” by the desires and funding of their communities. It is unlikely that free people would pay exorbitant funds to imprison drug users, for instance.


            • Externalities (there ain’t nuthin’ out there…).

              It ain’t about the bike. ~ Lance Armstrong (Nor about the ped’s, either.)

              An inanimate weapon does not animate the will to use it, or face consequences of using it, does not reanimate tigger into tiger.

              Humanimal ain’t “libertarian.” Never has been, never will be.

              A few INTJ’s (or whatever) out in the tail can write about it all they want, that fiction’ll never be science (or reality).

              Media, using first-middle-last name rule o’ thumb, will interview-beat “the neighbors” bushes – who watched it all go down from behind drapes & blinds (& to whom it never crossed minds to pitch in) — for the expected “s\he was always such a nice, quiet person.”

              Two hundred million guns are loaded, Stasis cries, “Take blaim!”


        • Jeremy,
          It is quite possible to know what things would be like in a truly free market economy. Simply look to the first decade of the United States of America, the one before the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation.

          • Hi Vonu,

            Yes, there are glimpses of how a truly free market society would function. The not so wild West is a good example of a near anarchic society functioning quite well. But, once the Feds grew strong enough that the locals could outsource their libido dominandi over the natives, risk to themselves, by pursuing violence, was drastically reduced, and the incentive for cooperation along with it. Of course, by using the Feds against their “enemy”, they also lost the ability to practice self government. Such is always the path of centralization.


              • Hi Vonu,

                Nothing, except many people don’t understand that the economy encompasses more than mere trade. Thus, I find free “society” to be helpful shorthand for a vision of all voluntary cooperation. But, I do have problems with the term and, perhaps, should not use it.


      • I do disagree with this at one level. Young men under the age of 26 seem to do a lot of stupid things. Many of those stupid things are as described. Without strong mentors and elders guiding them to real adulthood they end up causing a lot of the stuff the saaaaaafety cult complains about.


        This doesn’t excuse their stupid behavior, but it does explain “boys will be boys.” With the death of rational thought in law enforcement, along with the elimination of testosterone from the society at large, the collective knowledge of men who lived through that time seems to be gone.

  11. Of course they have to keep everyone scared of the terrists, otherwise there’d be no need for the TSA…….oh wait there isn’t a need for the TSA, just Uncle’s way of indoctrination to being treated like cattle. There hasn’t been a single hijacking thwarted by the TSA-holes since 9/11, and the few attempts that occurred aboard planes were stopped by other passengers. Pretty obvious since the passengers outnumber the douchebag and have no interest in dying in a plane crash. I fly a few times a year to visit family in Florida and California and it both angers and saddens me to see how one of the greatest scientific achievements – the ability to travel great distances in a short time – has been totally destroyed by Uncle and his minions.
    When I was a student in the 60’s I rode the Eastern shuttle between Boston and Newark; it was easier than riding the subway, you just walked up to the gate and got on the plane, paid the fare onboard, and grabbed an empty seat. Way too easy to be tolerated by the bureaucracy which now allows the airlines to also treat their “customers” like cattle as well. The next logical step is the Con Air experience, where you’re strip searched and chained into the seat for the duration.

    • “TSA-holes” really made me chuckle. Yeah, I’m not doing the new ID thing that lets you fly. Not worth the infringement on my rights and driving is more fun anyway.

    • Lord I feel old. But when dad and I flew back to the states from Alaska in 1970, he had his 38 snubbie on him. I recall flying back from some fire in the late 80’s with my 6 inch folding Kabar on my belt. 9/11 would never have happened had not the passengers been able to exercise their right to carry military weapons. (Assuming it did happen anything like the myth…)

    • I’m pretty sure flight crews are trained to capitulate to the hijacker demands, keep the passengers sedate and let the “professionals” negotiate via radio. For sure there’s a process for the captain to inform the ground (squawk 7700 on their transponder, as happened at Schiphol airport a few weeks ago), with the goal of getting the aircraft on the ground and in a place where the hijacker can be bargained with. If people were permitted to follow their instincts for self-preservation I doubt anyone would ever successfully hijack any public transportation.

      Oh, and the primary reason why no 9/11 style hijackings since 2001? Because the cockpit door is locked. That alone did more to improve security than anything else.

      • I guess we will have to assume from your last paragraph that you believe that a “9/11 style hijacking” would be different from any other hijacking.
        Would you care to explain what the difference would be?

        • The golden age of skyjacking was the 1970s, when it seemed to be happening once a week. D. B. Cooper comes to mind. This set the stage for the law enforcement playbook of get the plane on the ground, lock it down, and start negotiating. This works fine when the hijackers want Earthly delights, but when they’re playing for a line cut into Heaven there’s really nothing man can offer.

          The Nazis had “guided bombs.” The Japanese had Kamikaze. There’s a long history of leaders brainwashing stupid kids to take their own life for the state. It’s a failing of humans. 9/11 was a complete failure on many levels (assuming it wasn’t an inside job), including falsely believing suicide homers were going to play by the hostage negotiation rulebook. The passengers of flight 93 figured it out and figured out that they were dead either way, so might as well minimize the damage (or the pilot wasn’t as good as he thought, or it got shot down, or there never was a flight 93, depending on what you happen to read).

          Meanwhile our wonderful spy agencies were looking for Ernst Blofeld and other cartoon supervillains instead of keeping their own dogs from turning feral.

        • It doesn’t matter if you believe that the planes were hijacked if you believe NIST’s completely fallacious story about why towers 1, 2, and 7 actually fell.
          Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth have completely debunked NIST’s premises.

          • A 2nd year mechanical engineering student should be able to debunk NIST’s report on the towers if given not only the report but the detail drawings of the floor trusses and their connections to the core and tube.

  12. Has anyone thought about laws/fines and atomic bombs as deterrents? Governments like ours and Russia use their nukes as deterrents. Penalties for not wearing your seat belt or speeding are by designed to be punitive so people follow the law because the alternative is expensive and can lead to losing your license,and higher insurance rates. I believe that the Russians and the Chinese would have attacked the United States many years ago if we did not have an arsenal of nukes at out disposal. I believe some people would be driving at 70 mph in a active school zones if there were no laws on the books addressing this. I guess what I am saying is that most people would use common sense and drive in a “safe” manner, but there are always those that only will do what is “proper” or “safe” because there is a penalty for not doing so. Where do you draw the line where the potentially dangerous actions of few thoughtless individuals causes the creation of laws that impact the overwhelming numbers those that drive responsibly?

    • You don’t need laws. You just give them the finger and go on about your day. I’ve driven 70 in an active school zone before. The school was set back a quarter mile off a highway road in a rural environment. I used my good judgement to drive a speed I felt was safe and I got to my destination faster than I would have obeying the arbitrary useless law AND without mowing down any children I might add.

    • Ok, now instead of it being your neighbor, how about a “rouge nation?” Venezuela comes to mind. They go off and put a Communist in charge of the place, nationalize the oil company and immediately the US imposes sanctions and shuts them out of the world banking system. Sure a lot of what happened to their citizens is self-imposed, but when Team America® decides you’re not playing by the mostly arbitrary rules it’s time to get out the rubbleizer. For certain we American people have no dog in that fight, no more than I have any say in how my neighbors should run their household. And any business operating in Venezuela shouldn’t use the US as their muscle. They risked their capital by operating there. If they find themselves kicked out without compensation, well, that’s a problem for sure, but maybe if they wouldn’t have just extracted resources and ripped off the locals they might still be operating there.

      As much as I want to believe the narrative about the riots in Hong Kong, the US flags (including plenty of Gasdsen flags, which I would think are somewhat obscure outside of flyover country) make me think that this is a CIA operation more than a grassroots uprising. The timing is just a little too on the nose too. But the fools in the CIA and state department don’t realize what they’re playing with. Their hubris will be our downfall.

      • ReadyKilowatt, I’m glad to see others think the same about Hong Kong. I’m certain there is concern amongst people who were relatively free under the British Empire being increasingly under the control of the communist Chinese government but considering the CIA’s role in the Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere I can’t help but think it’s being supported as part of a “color guard” operation. Unfortunately the real downfall doesn’t fall down on the people who initiate these “uprisings” but the people who lose their countries and have to suffer under the consequences of civil unrest, martial law and terrorism that follow.

  13. I often think of harm vs risk in terms of tort law. It is common for us to rail against tort lawyers, but in my final analysis, tort law is great for liberty! Think of it, if you cause me to suffer loss, then my recourse is to sue you. People would otherwise restrict their actions under threat of being sued. People thereby unconsciously making decisions as to not inflict any harm on someone.

    I also think this as far as driving a car goes, as aggressively that I do. I only owe my fellow motorist to not cause him to suffer property damage, or physical harm. To hell with his feelings! Keeping an inch gap *does not* cause him property damage! (Yes, it is risky, but no harm no foul!) The more I face suffocatingly oppressive rush hour traffic, moronic drivers and overall incompetence, the less I care about how any fellow drivers FEEL.

    • Amen, Tom!

      The principle goes back to English common law – damages must be established in order to compel restitution or impose punishment. It strikes as fair and reasonable. Much more so, at any rate, than all this punishing of people out of “concern” that they might cause harm.

  14. In fact, I most definitely prefer my neighbor’s nuclear weapon to the state’s. My neighbors have not demonstrated they are sociopaths, while the state constantly does so. Perhaps my neighbors nuclear weapon would even pose an effective counter threat to the sociopath’s.

  15. Great piece, would be even better without the cheesy “abusive husband” part. We know at this point that the vast majority of abusers in relationships are and have always been the women. Let’s not toe the line on any of these sacred cow issues any longer.

  16. Wify is going to pay our yearly home lease, and register our cars at the County and School landlord office today. Another year while we can still barely pay for it…. Need a new septic system. Paid $350 for “permission”. Another $10k to make sure it meets Corpgovs environmental requirements. Think I’ll go on a diet this year….

  17. Plutonium pit production was halted in 1989 after EPA and FBI agents raided the facility[5] and the plant was formally shut down in 1992. Operators of the plant (Rockwell) later pleaded guilty to criminal violations of environmental law.[6] At the time, the fine was one of the largest penalties ever in an environmental law case.[7]

    Uncle can’t run a nuclear facility without screwing it up, so obviously no one can. Uncle can’t keep track of firearms, so obviously no one can. Uncle can’t keep hackers away from Baltimore’s computer network, so… oh wait, never mind. Of course Rockwell got away with ignoring safety and environmental protocols because they could. Their regulators were able to look the other way for decades while the facility contaminated much of the midwest (although the scale of the contamination isn’t likely to harm anyone). If the people working at the plant weren’t under the false impression that the regulators were doing their jobs they probably would have walked away. And if the people living near the plant were aware of all the issues they would’t have put up with it either. And if the shareholders were on the hook for the safe operation of the plant, well you get the idea. But because a few regulators were in charge of plant safety it was permitted to spiral way out of control.

    Of course, that’s all ancient history, right? No way the regulators would allow that to happen today right?


    • The Rocky Flats fisaco was one of the biggest DOE fuckups, ever, if not their worst. Because of it, the Navy had to make do for many years with a relatively limited stock of the W88 warheads which were a significant improvement over the W76 (still in the inventory) in terms of maximum yield and reliability. This warhead, along with the UGM-133 SLBM (aka Trident II D5), gave the Navy the ability to hit the Soviet elites in their hardened bunkers in and near Moscow, which in effect sent the message, “you can run, but you can’t HIDE”! This also rendered the hugely expensive MX missile program that the Air Force was pushing moot, as the Navy’s birds’ had almost the same range and with the stealth of an SSBN, far less vulnerability to a first strike. It also gave the President better confidence that if NORAD got a launch warning that we could afford to affirmatively confirm the initial strike before launching a counter-strike, eg., the “use ’em or lose ’em” paradigm no longer applied.

    • Uncle didn’t run the plant. That was done by Dow and then Rockwell.
      DOE’s biggest mistake was giving away their depleted uranium so that it could be scattered around the third world.

      • OK, but where did they get all the feedstock? The DOE, who controls all the fissile material in the US. Who is responsible for enforcing the safety protocols? The DOE and DOD. Who was willing to look the other way?

        A friend of mine used to work in a bumper factory, in quality control. The plant made bumpers for Ford and Toyota. He had the Toyota account, while the older guys had the Ford account. Ford would accept whatever trash came down the line as long as the old guys took the Ford guys to the strip club. The Toyota QC guys would scrutinize every bumper with a micrometer and would reject an entire run if more than three were out of spec. And every once in a while a guy who my friend describes as “Yakuza” would come along for the inspections, just to make sure everyone understood the need to improve quality.

        Rocky Flats was a shining example of incompetence on every level. And I’ll bet at the core are stories of inspectors who spent more time at Shotgun Willy’s than they did checking the ductwork for plutonium.

        • Depleted uranium is not fissile material under standard conditions but it makes great armor-piercing rounds. Unfortunately it is pyrophoric and produces a highly respirable dust cloud that our troops have been inhaling since Bosnia. DU causes birth defects that rival thalidomide.
          The plutonium fires took place on Dow’s watch.
          My experience with the national security secret blurting general manager took place on Rockwell’s watch.
          There is little difference between Rocky Flats as a nuclear weapons plant and a wildlife refuge aside from the buildings being gone. The plutonium residual is still there, causing a 10-fold increase in juvenile leukemia in northern Jefferson county, that the inspectors never looked for.

    • Hi T,

      Well… let’s see… I’m thinking…

      I could probably come up with some, in retrospect. But even my bad decisions are better than “good” ones made for me, contrary to my will.

      I am no one’s pet – or minor child.

      I’ll drink a gallon of got-damned warm bacon grease every night if I want to.

    • Great comment which brings up moral hazard. If you are in control of all of your decisions then you usually consider the impact they will have on you, and on you as a result of its effect on others who might harm you. If government makes all the decisions for you, you never grow, feel, think, or consider the repercussions of any of them. Voila! Here we are today as a result!

      • Brazos,

        “ If government makes all the decisions for you, you never grow, feel, think, or consider the repercussions of any of them. ”

        The prescription for a nation of retards.

        Side effects include the environment you see when opening the blinds every morning.

    • Define “better.” Most choices are between good enough and good enough. There might not be a “best.” Ford vs Chevy, Coke or Pepsi, Canon or Nikon. All this stuff will probably achieve the same end, but in a slightly different way. The hubris of the regulator is to judge a decision to be the best, forever.

        • “Technical specification of zero”

          Now I know why my 7th-grade math teacher- one Martin Fartin’ Hart- used to walk down every aisle of the classroom, checkiing for homework- “Homework?….homework?….” and when he’d come across a student who didn’t have it, he’d say “NO HOMEWORK?! COMPLETE. ZERO!!!”.

          (I wonder if it’s like absolute zero?)

          • He must have been a joy to learn from. My grandfather was so “loved” by his students and the rest of the faculty that on his retirement he had a life-size poster of himself made and snuck into the teachers’ lounge on the first day of the following year.

            Difference of course is that once in a while he’d have a student come by after graduating college with a technical degree and thank him for teaching them math.

        • All this stuff we have around us are ultimately just tools. You can use an adjustable wrench to hammer nails, or you can use a hammer. Is there a hammer that’s better than another? Well, there are framing hammers, finish hammers, glass hammers, ball-peen hammers, gavels, etc. So now you decide that the glass hammer and gavel probably aren’t suited to the task at hand, and choose a framing hammer. OK, which one should you use? The 100 year old one passed down from generation to generation? The brand new one with the tuning fork handle and comfort grip? The Horrible Fright one you got for free with a coupon? Who cares, it’s a hammer for cryin’ out loud. If you are a “professional hammer operator” you probably are using an air nailer anyway.

          That’s what I mean by two choices of “good enough.” Most of the choices we have today are just ant f***ing over the minutia.


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