I think Naive is probably my favorite. These people don't know anything about the real world and think that if America cowers in the closet every asshat in the world who hates us will somehow go away. That just isn't reality. You can scare people into leaving you alone or kill them but just wishing they will go away doesn't work. The bizarrely hypocritical are fun also.
I think we Americans do ourselves a great disservice by the artificial divides of political labels and parties. While the liberal vetting criteria of abortion or the conservative litmus test of the Second Amendment are meaningful in their own right's we get too carried away with them. This is seriously to our detriment as individuals and works into the hands of the political power structure.
For example Miley is visiting us. If we looked at the two of us in terms of political labels or parties we would be polar opposites. However lets set abortions and guns aside for a minute. We are both personally quite frugal. Saving and planning are a big part of our respective lifestyles and long term plan. We like getting very cheap or free stuff whenever possible. We cook staple foods.We like doing things ourselves. For slightly different reasons alternative energy interests both of us.
Interestingly enough she has expressed some interest in setting up a serious pantry. It is quite possible that she and her husband, who I haven't came up with a blog name for yet, will become part of our long term preparedness plans. She can cook, sew, garden, etc and he is quite handy in all sorts of ways. Assuming they contributed to a solid logistical footing (really a prerequisite for anybody, no point in having a big starving party) they would be enjoyable and useful folks to have around.
I recall somebody once saying that if the far left and right every get together and realize they have more in common with each other then the center, the center will be in trouble. I don't know if that is totally true. Some differences are probably irreconcilable between the two. However some elements of them might have a heck of a lot more in common than previously thought.
Don't worry about someones political views or identity. Focus on how they conduct themselves in the world and towards you and yours. Good honest hardworking people have all kinds of political views just the same way that lazy people and moochers can. Especially in personal interactions and preparedness planning a person's view on a theoretical political issue doesn't matter (if at all) anywhere as much as their personal conduct.
Also a teaser of my comment. "Until we are willing to give up our pay offs in order to end the screwing Peter to buy Paul's vote AND deal with our neighbors annoying stuff; we are going to continue to be screwed by a lot of people and also have others mess with our lifestyle."
Most of my readers do not need any more reasons to prepare. Their heads are constantly filled with various threats and what they can do to mitigate them. For a few folks who are either more towards the liberterian or gun side of the house, as well as the elusive armchair survivalist, a bit of a nudge might be needed.
I think there have been survivalists in some form or another for ever. Back when people lived differently they were just a person with a bit more food, equipment and weapons than the norm. In the Cold War bomb shelters were the cool thing to do. There was a brief lull after the commies went broke and suddenly became very enthusiastic capitalists.
In the last decade I can think of 3 big reasons to get prepared.
The first was September 11th, 2001. The end of the Cold War brought a tense and potentially very dangerous situation to an end. However when that tense situation ended it was replaced with a very chaotic and in some ways far more dangerous one. [A sane if hostile neighbor with a rack full of guns really isn't a threat because they want to keep life going on. However a crackhead with a razor knife might do something crazy.] By and large that chaos and danger was kept to people in 3rd world counties killing each other. While a revolution here or a civil war there might bother someone that keeps track of international news or worries about random people they will never meet it doesn't affect your life in Omaha or whatever. There were certainly signs that September 11th was coming but like all things it is a bit easier in hindsight.
On September 11th 2,974 Americans died. Terrorism struck America for real. Not some criminal with vague revolutionist leanings but legitimate and serious terrorists. It was a big deal, I don't think I need to tell you that.
Lots of people got scared. People bought guns, stored food, water and all that. Some would say that their risk is next to nothing because they live in a remote or less populated area. To a certain degree I would agree with that theory. In my home town 6 military aged Arab national males would stick out like a sore thumb. It would be 50/50 if they could manage to shoplift gum from the grocery store, let alone some larger more nefarious thought. However I would submit to those people that some risk likely exists. Over the course of a year most people get on a plane, or go to see a pro sports game or take the wife to the big city to do some shopping, attend a business conference, etc. It doesn't matter if you spend 364 days a year working at your isolated retreat if you happen to be shopping at a mall (or whatever) on the day a bomb goes off.
So depending on your location and lifestyle there is at least a small risk you could be caught in a terrorist attack.
Hurricane Katrina made august 2005 pretty darn interesting. No point in whipping a dead horse but the government and emergency response was depressingly lacking. Katrina made it explicitly and painfully clear that if there is a significant regional disaster you're going to have to fend for yourself. It was really Welcome to the Jungle time. More than any other single factor Katrina pushed me into preparedness.
Probably more interesting than how crazy NO and the region got was how long it took for real organized relief efforts to get on the scene and provide logistical support (food, water, ice, medical). The old and fairly accurate advice that several days of food and water was plenty got tossed out the window. Four to six weeks is probably more reasonable. [Not suggesting to only prepare for that parse. If nothing else charity would be a reason to store additional food.] Also some people ended up firing a lot of warning shots. The legal and tactical use of warning shots is another discussion but lets just say that 25-50 rounds of ammo for the pistol/shotgun/ whatever would not give me a warm and fuzzy.
So depending on your location and lifestyle there is at least a small risk you could be caught in a terrorist attack. Some regions, like say the Southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast and in particular areas there below sea level are more dangerous than others. However all regions are prone to some disaster or disasters. If these disasters are major and on a large scale you could be on your own for weeks instead of days.
The Subprime Mortgage Crisis and consequent worldwide economic downturn was a huge event. There have been booms and busts forever. When cave men were living as hunter gatherers they had booms and busts of roots and woolly mammoth meat. In any case I got two meaningful things out of this whole mess. First for awhile there it looked like there was a real chance our entire financial system would collapse. Of course it didn't but if things had gone a slightly different way.... Second and to me more significant it was a big fat reminder that events far and removed from you can radically change your life. Even if you didn't own any derivatives the value of your 401k probably took a big hit. Maybe you don't have an adjustable rate mortgage but the value of your home almost surely changed. If you don't own a home or stocks but lost your job because of the overall economic downturn it sure affected your life.
So depending on your location and lifestyle there is at least a small risk you could be caught in a terrorist attack. Some regions, like say the Southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast and in particular areas there below sea level are more dangerous than others. However all regions are prone to some disaster or disasters. If these disasters are major and on a large scale you could be on your own for weeks instead of days. Also our current financial system is pretty fragile and events that are far and removed from you (sub primes were only huge in a few states) may dramatically affect your life. Still need a reason to prepare.
I talk a lot about ways I prepare. The fact that I choose to put my time/ money and energy there says pretty clearly they are the ways I see as most prudent. Take my advice and adapt it to suit your unique situation or just round file it, I truly don't care. However the world is a wild and crazy place. All indications show that it is going to get wilder and crazier for the foreseeable future.
Take some steps to prepare for whatever may come in order to best take care of yourself and your family no matter what comes.
So I was reading Galts Gulch earlier today. There was a post about some political stuff, sorta looking at different philosophies. There were some great points about the Neo- Conservative movement and also Libertarianism. I wrote this as a comment: I just don't know. Voting libertarian gets nothing done because they don't win anything and all voting Republican does is keep those darn Democrats out of office. While better than nothing it sort of makes my skin crawl to have such limited goals.
My lack of any good answers has lead me to putting time and energy into other areas. Caring less about what they do and more about what I do is my personal answer.
I thought about this on and off through the day. I just don't see a great answer. That has made my thoughts and energy's turn more inward. Instead of being politically active or whatever I worry about and focus on how to make our place in life better.
The blogosphere has a combination of predominantly preparedness/ survivalist and liberty/ libertarian/ political folks. Not an unnatural combination as the two do blend but it is distinct all the same. Many folks who are hanging around here and are on the facebook and such are really political. Some of them are very involved in grass roots efforts for candidates that share their beliefs and they have faith in.
I applaud these folks and really with them the best. Personally I have a hard time putting energy or effort into ventures where the likelihood of success is minimal. I occasionally think and talk about politics but that is about it. As someone who is pretty dispassionate about things I have a hard time 'just believing'. Even if thousands of liberty loving people managed to each genuinely convert one other person every week it would be YEARS before anything close to a significant voting block. My desire to spend time and energy on something that seems futile just is not there.
This is amplified by my current somewhat nomadic existence making city, county and even to a certain degree state elections largely meaningless. I live someplace for awhile and don't get to really pick where then after awhile we move somewhere else. When I move to a place and grow some roots then who is elected to the city council or county commission or even to state office. If a place decides to royally suck I will just not move there.
So apparently my little sister reads the blog. She is wanting to get back to her paranoid roots and become a bit more prepared. Of course I wanted to write something which might help her. Also it got me thinking. What if some of my more political/ libertarian type readers who are not so into the preparedness/ survivalist side of the house wanted a decent place to start. Not everyone wants to buy guns or rifles and cases of ammo and enough food to live forever. Not everyone has a half dozen machetes in their closet in case of a zombie attack. Also more surprisingly some people don't even want them, they shirk the idea of being able to arm a Zombie killing squad to fight off the undead. Other folks say that while a Zombie Apocalypse is a low probability why not have a bit of insurance for less than the price of dinner out.
Anyway I wanted to think of a few simple things someone could do to become significantly more prepared than the average person. I wanted them to be low cost or revenue neutral and more importantly have little effect on ones overall lifestyle. There are lots of ways you can become drastically more prepared on little money if you are highly motivated and willing to accept significant lifestyle change. There are also lots of ways you can become very prepared if you have minimal acceptance for lifestyle changes but a lot of disposable income. My goal of being low cost and having little lifestyle change admittedly limits what sort of situation one can prepare for. Planning to ride out a Zombie apocalypse or a genuine full on Mad Max style end of the world in this manner is not realistic.
I wanted to limit it to a few basic things. Settled onto five with one that is almost a gimme. They are in no meaningful order.
1. The first is a good first aid kit. You might want to supplement its relatively shallow (but broad) inventory with some additional items. A big box of band aids, some neosporin or equivalent and a huge bottle of Tylenol/ ibuprofen would all be very useful. If you regularly use any OTC drugs then keep an extra bottle around. Know how to use this stuff. Get a book on it or take a class if need be.
Seriously this one is an underhand pitch. Most houses should have a decent first aid kit now and this simple stuff isn't rocket science. However I have heard stories of people waiting in line in front of hospitals after hurricanes for band aids and simple bandages. Having the ability to take care of basic common injuries yourself is essential.
In terms of impact I would say this one should cost about $30 and take a trip to the store. If you somehow made it to this point in life without being in scouts or the military or taking a first aid class then find one. They can generally be had at very reasonable costs and will probably take between part and all of a day.
2. Food. This is pretty easy. The good thing is that done properly it will SAVE YOU MONEY. Your goal is to build up a surplus of shelf stable foods you normally eat. Think of it as running your car on a full tank instead of fumes. You are going to pay a few bucks more right away but in the end it does not cost you more. In fact having a decent surplus of food allows you to wait for sales and then buy a bit more at lower cost.
For example if you have no food in the house and want to make something you will need to purchase all of the ingredients. It doesn't matter if they are on sale or not because without them there isn't going to be dinner. Now lets say that you have a few spares of every ingredient for this meal. Knowing that you do not need an item this time allows you to wait (they seem to be on cycles) until items come on sale and buy more of them. When you get far enough 'ahead' to be able to wait for sales on most items the grocery bill will plummet.
There are many reasons you might need to have some food stored at home. Floods, ice storms, blizzards and hurricanes can all interrupt our normal supply system and leave us to feed ourselves, at least for awhile. If nothing else I think it is nice that when you just don't want to go to the store there is something to eat for dinner. Also being able to make a dish or recipe when you suddenly run out of a key ingredient because there is a spare is a great feeling.
How much food to have? Building up to two weeks worth of food is easy enough to do and many have it just in their cupboards now. This is enough to get through most short term events like natural disasters or what not. A month might take some intentional effort but is solidly practical. Katrina showed that if a disaster is regional instead of local it might well take longer for normal resupply to happen. A months worth of food would at least give you some solid breathing room to think about what to do next.
This one doesn't cost much but is a constant effort albeit a low intensity one. You are going to need to build up a decent supply of foods you eat regularly and rotate that supply to make sure it stays fresh. Sorry there just isn't a way around it. You do want to be able to eat don't you?
3. Water. Water is important for drinking, hygiene and cooking. Storing some water makes sense. Either use hard plastic jugs like 2 liter soda bottles or big juice containers. Also those blue square water jugs from Walmart work well. Being able to purify water would be very useful. Iodine tablets and preparations to boil water are good to have also. Storing two weeks worth of water or more if you live in a dry area is reasonable.
In terms of impact if you drink lots of soda or juice the cost is nil. If you go out and pick up some of those blue jugs from Walmart they are about $7 a piece and you will want two or ideally 4 per person. Aside from rotating your water supply twice a year or so the impact is negligible.
4. Guns, Ammo and Mags. * If you do not own a useful defensive firearm I would strongly suggest getting one as soon as finances allow.* If you have a center fire pistol, a shotgun or a rifle of some sort you are ahead of the game. I am not even going to talk about what sort of gun you should own or buy, let alone what model. That isn't the point of this. You have a gun which will allow you to protect yourselves and your property, that is what matters. Your gun is useless without ammunition. Ammunition often sells out during disasters and as we noted not too long ago it can just vanish from shelves entirely for other reasons. Getting a couple hundred rounds of ammunition for your firearm will not make you king of the wondering tribe of punk rock dressed punks in a strange retro apocalypse but it will help ensure you can defend yourself in any halfway likely scenario. Also purchase accessories like a holster, mag pouch, sling or magazines.
In terms of impact this will of course cost some money. Price depends on what kind of gun you have. For impact on your everyday life there is none. Those boxes of ammo can sit in the closet until you need them. Hopefully you will not need them. Over the long run you will either want to put them into an ammo can or just rotate the supply. If you plan to go shooting buy a couple boxes of bullets and put them in the pile. Take a couple boxes from the pile to the range.
5. Cash. Cash is how we buy stuff. Even if the power is not on or the ATM system isn't working it would be good to have some cash around. $300 in ones fives and twenties is not going to charter you a jet if things get bad but it would get a few tanks of gas, maybe some food or a place to sleep for the night.
I consider the cost of this one negligible. Most of us have at least a few bucks set aside for emergencies/ savings anyway. Just store some of it at home instead of the bank.
Is this plan perfect? No it is not. It definitely has some holes and such but I think it is a good place to start.
Some days I question how much I agree with most of you and why I am even here. Had a couple of those days this week. Not sure what can be done about it and even less sure what I am willing to do about it. Maybe I am being a whiner and need to just quit caring what y'all think. I started off doing this because it is fun and continue to do so because it is still generally fun even though it has become a sinkhole for my time. Maybe I am a bit burned out this week.
I have had a couple comments recently about how I have changed. They may have had a point, hell if I know.
I think in some ways I certainly have. I know that getting out of college, marrying and starting a real job has made me a lot more practical in my concerns. Instead of thinking about theoretical barter items I am worrying about saving money and budgets. Instead of thinking about how to fight the neighboring town for resources I am thinking about how to avoid getting mugged on the way home from dinner out.
Also I am finding some folks here are just as blindly sticking to group think as liberals. Seriously on some recent topics I could said to myself before hand to myself "what would the most stereotypical gun rights/ liberterian viewpoint on this be?" and some folks are spouting off with it. Now I completely understand why folks can see things differently than me but I just ask you to think critically and harshly. Do not just go with the regurgitated answer that meshes best with your political/ social beliefs. I really hate a leming, even a freedom oriented one.
If a belief is accurate and sound letting it see some questioning and a bit of discussion is just fine. If a belief is not accurate or partially not accurate then maybe it deserves to be revisited no matter how much it fits into a central vision or belief system.
As for my political beliefs heck if I know. I am libertarian on a lot of issues and conservative on a few. Sometimes when I wake up early in the morning and am tired and out of coffee I think we should invade any country that looks at us sideways or doesn't send us a nice Christmas card and that they don't celebrate Christmas is not an excuse. I am also fairly militaristic in general and really don't like people messing with my country, at all. I am still pissed at Iran over the whole hostage crisis thing though it happened before I was born. Not sure if that is entirely compatible with a lot of my libertarian view, in fact I am fairly sure it is not. But it is probably not less compatible than the masses of people who belong to a religion where premarital sex is forbidden yet have sex with someone who they are not married to on Saturday night and go to church on Sunday.
Also I just want to say that sometimes I say outlandish things that are questionably appropriate. Always have and always will. I am like a militaristic libertarian version of Shauna Glenn but with an outie instead of an innie.
I also tend to have a bit of fun with some stereotypes. I mentioned fat drunks in trailers earlier today. I have lived in trailers and then later in life had a fat and drunk period in them. If it seems like I am taking a shot at you or something you do the odds are very high it is just a friendly easy jab to the shoulder. That is just sort of how I roll and just about every group gets one from time to time. My friends and I do this to eachother all the time and we don't like eachother any less for it.
Tomorrow I think I will write something really boringly easy to agree with. As for the day after that I am not so sure. Not sure if I want to stick to safe easy topics that do not question what you hold sacred (politically not religiously) or just rant.
Some political parties and groups say that America should never initiate force. I personally believe they are well intentioned but none the less significantly misguided. Here is why I believe that.
The idea comes from two main places. First some various political/ philosophical theories about natural rights and such and secondly that your momma might have told you that you should never hit someone first but can hit them back if you must. While nice ideas and not bad for little kids they certainly don't measure up in the real adult world.
I don't remember my Mother ever telling me that. I do remember my Dad telling me when I was little that sometimes you have to fight to stand up for yourself. Even if someone else is bigger and stronger and a bully if they know you will fight if they mess with you they will almost always go pick on someone who will not fight. Experience and observation have shown this to be true. Somewhere around the double digits Dad and I had a conversation about actually fighting (not little kid playground shit) which is a subject he was well versed in. He said if you have to fight hit them first and knock the hell out of them.
It has been a long time since that conversation. During that time I have been in enough fights to confirm my Fathers words as truthful. I have gotten into fights at parties and bars and most other places you can get into a fight, winning most, having others which were closer to a draw and occasionally taking a random shot to the dome. Not saying these experiences are something to be proud of but like a lot of growing up they are what they are. While my experiences are by no means exceptional they then again are almost becoming so. So many people are fucking pussies these days. In any case I come from a place where people (particularly younger men) sometimes settle disputes with physical violence. I hope that my children grow up in such a place lest they might become fucking pussies.
The world really is much more polite in places where people realize that if they step too far out of line someone might well smack them in the mouth. People sure think a lot more about what they are going to say and do. The same thing that can be said about an armed society can be said about a society where people are willing to physically fight with each other.
Matter of fact if the two sides are halfway even matched the guy who gets a good first shot and follows up on it (never got the idea of getting a real good punch then letting someone recover and come at you) almost always wins. If a 140 pound guy who has drunk them self strong decides to sucker punch a behemoth or a serious MMA guy they are going to have a bad night. I once saw a behemoth of a fellow take out about 5 of those guys in a row, pulled him off the last one because after the second time he kicked the guy in the face I was a bit concerned he would kill the fool. Never understood the "I am going to get really drunk and hit that huge/tough guy right in the face" train of thought but alas I digress. The point is that the person who gets the first shot usually wins.
In a larger and far more serious context these days (really the last 60 years but increasing with precision guided missiles and bombs and bad assed planes in the last 30-40 years) military engagements are faster and more final than ever before. The Jeffersonian era where a country could just hang out (aided by relatively weak neighbors, wild indians and an ocean then later weak neighbors and two oceans) and have a tiny army then get word something is going to happen and then have at least a year to call up, train and equip a huge force are over. [Also not to stomp too much on the "we could just defend our country with a militia of riflemen" myth (really another post for another day) but it is also a lot more technological and complicated now than training men to load muskets on command and walk in tight lines.] Mechanized warfare put that era to bed and modern air power put it entirely to sleep. Both of the Arab Israeli wars illustrate what can be done with a devastating first strike. Numerous other examples apply.
Matter of factly the "don't hit them unless they hit you" rule is best left to elementary school children on the play ground. Adults need to be brutally realistic about things and when it is time to fight (without getting into details social groupings and countries both have somewhat clear lines here) it is stupid to intentionally let the other guy take the first shot and is almost a sure way to get your ass beat. Take the first shot yourself and capitalize on the advantage to decisively finish the fight.
I remember much discussion about this on Conservative Talk Radio (Rush and Hannity mostly) at one time and have been meaning to talk about it. I say Conservative as opposed to Republican because by and large the issues and positions are not that different at least from the observation angle of this discussion. A recent conversation on facebook got me thinking about it again. So here we go.
First I think it is essential to take a real look at how American politics work. Not even talking about our two party system but the essence of winning elections and thus power. Unlike a Parlimentary System there is no benefit to winning 49% if someone else gets 51%. The folks who get 51% have all the power and the ones who got 49% get to take it like a champ for a few years. In this respect I like Parlimentary systems better because people can come out and say what they really mean. Look at the English Parliment, they have a few nazis, a few commies and probably somewhere in the back a gay midget who ran on a pro drunken driving platform. Yeah they have that whole Coalition boondogle but we are getting too far from the main point anyway. Comparing and contrasting our system with a parlimentary system isn't my objective. The point of this paragraph is again that those who get the majority win totally and those who (even by a tiny margin) come in second get nothing.
Think about this for a second. To win a party needs to grab a significant amount of "the center" (in the analogy where some folks are left/ liberal and some are right/ conservative and the middle are centrists with roughly equal amounts in each group) in order to win that essential majority and have power. By definition having a highly conservative fringe agenda is not going to lead to serious political power. It might work for an elected official here (Ron Paul) or there (Nancy Pelosi) but to win real broad power parties need to be able to appeal to a broad range of beliefs. Of course within a party there can be some serious extremists but as long as they can win their district/ state they can contribute to their party and of course their own agenda.
The tent analogy is one that keeps coming up. People talk about a "Big Tent" as a party that is willing to accept almost anyone who is willing to show up. The talking heads say that Conservatives need to stick to their core beliefs and "get back to what the party is all about" often throwing in Regan's name somewhere. I think something of a middle approach is best.
First of all in any party all the elected officials are not going to perfectly tow the party line. To be honest people who perfectly and mindlessly chant the party themes sort of scare me. A Democrat from ND or MT probably has little in common with one from MA or CA. If all the reps can't get entirely on the same page there is no way all the voters possibly could or even should. People come to parties as elected officials or voters for many different reasons. If the Republicans reject people who do not completely believe in every party position they are going to have an empty tent and not a lot of seats in congress. Conversely if they accept everyone regardless of all of their beliefs they will not have a cohesive party which is capable of coming together to push through or block various legislation. Recently we have seen how essential it is in a fairly balanced legislature how it is essential both to be able to pull your party together for essential legislation and to be able to prevent the other side from picking off a couple key votes.
I sort of look at it like friends (talking more about attitudes and behaviors than politics but you will see where I am going), if I only was friends with people who absolutely agreed with me on everything I would be a very lonely guy hanging out all alone in my tent. Conversely of I surrounded myself with anyone who wanted to hang out in my tent there would be a bunch of assholes who I have nothing in common with in my tent. Some of us would want to go shooting, some would want to sit around and play cards, a couple others would be getting down in a sleeping bag in the corner and some stoned asshole would be eating all the hotdogs. My tent would be full of people but we couldn't do anything cohesive plus also my tent would smell of sex and we would be out of hotdogs.
While my friends don't necessarily believe or act exactly like I do in everything but they tend to generally agree with me on most things. Not all of us even eat breakfast let alone the same thing. Maybe one friend will skip the shooting because they want to take a nap and another friend will want to go for a walk alone later but we will all get together after dinner (which we can have because some stoner didn't eat all of the hot dogs) and have a few drinks (an average with one person having one and one picking up their slack) while listening to some country or classic rock on the radio and talking in a loud manner about how we can easily fix all the country's problems well into the night. And best of all in this scenario my tent doesn't smell of random sex and nobody ate all the hotdogs.
Expecting a party which will perfectly stick to the tenants absolutely is not realistic and at best would be a very small party but then again a party that believes in nothing will not get anything done. Getting a party where most people stick for the most part to the core beliefs is probably realistic and the best course of action.
To a lesser degree I think this applies to the libertarians also. While much can be done by spreading the word about your party and trying to get people to see that they actually fit there at the end of the day without being able to get a significant amount of whatever given population we are talking about a party cannot be effective.
Yeah I know that is quite a title but I couldn't really come up with a better one. This post has been brewing in one form or another for quite some time. None of the individual points are quite enough for their own post but they all sort of blend together.
When asked how their magical not cohered by evil government force society would work they were either so naive or stupid to say that everyone would just get along perfectly or they basically said they would just shoot anyone who didn't follow what they thought were the rules. The first of these is so frickin ridiculous I don't even know what to say about it. As for the second I find it amusing that people who think police enforcing laws we (directly or indirectly) voted on is horrible evil force but that them just shooting someone who didn't immediately say the fender bender was their fault is acceptable.
The major falacy in the whole "voluntary association" idea is that it might work for a relationship or a family or a hippie compound but our world isn't based on voluntary association. That means for the association your community to live by at least one person isn't going to like any rule you make. For example Chimo Jeffery will think it is fine to bugger little kids.
The bottom line is that everyone just doing the right thing will not work and everyone just shooting someone who they think does the wrong thing doesn't work either. Any argument for anarchy basically boils down to one of these equally ridiculous points that utterly fail the reality test.
I self identify as a libertarian because I cannot associate myself with the democrats and the republicans aren't much better. Democrats are basically socialists with a touch of fascism (or at least a desire to pull the strings) and Republicans are barely different on many issues though they are a bit closer to being a split between fascism and a theocracy. I don't believe wealth should be redistributed on a massive scale (some short term assistance and reasonable disability payments aren't a bad thing) any more than I think big businesses should get constantly bailed out and given (sold really) pet legislation. I am somewhat religious but I sure as heck don't want any church making laws which will effect my life (if you want to voluntarily follow their rules then God Bless but I stop short of thinking theocratic rules [no matter how good of ones] should be forced onto anyone by anything other then good old fashioned religious and family guilt.
Mostly I consider myself a libertarian because I believe that unless there is a truly compelling reason (Jim's right to rape is less than Sally's right to not be raped, etc) otherwise the freedom to make choices should rest with the individual. Not to say that I am by any means 100% believe the libertarian party line, to be honest anyone who is truly strait party line scares me. I do however believe that the libertarians have at least in a very big picture sense struck at a good balance between maintaining law and order (as much as it can ever be maintained) having codified law, enforceable contracts and systems in place to let people function with each other in a decently orderly fashion without impeding individual rights any more than necessary.
The problem with a lot of libertarian views is that they fail to take into account how one thing effects another with direct and or unintended consequences. I don't have the time or inclination to get into their party views line by line but this point certainly strikes true in some of them. The visual of throwing a stone into a puddle is a good one.
For example, lets say prostitution is legal. It is in a few places in the US and in a lot of the rest of the world. Also lets say that laws like loitering are axed because they don't directly hurt anyone. Would you like Pervo Jim and Crackwhore Tanya discussing how much he is going to pay her to flip his flop and then twizzle his whistle for how long on the street in broad daylight while you were having a nice lunch in a little cafe with your kids? Did they directly break what we could call the liberterian rules (pretty much do anything you want as long as noone is underaged, cohersed or forced), no they did not. Is it pretty darn uncool and something nobody would like, yes.
Another example is what if the people next door decide to start selling drugs. (not trying to open the drug discussion just making a point) It is a nice middle class neighborhood where the chemist next door decided to start a small phramacutical business. Yeah in the liberterian ideal world you would be able to buy pot, coke, crack and heroine at 711 but they invented something really cool and are selling a lot of it. Weird sketchy people and hookers are outside all the time and minor property crimes have spiked up. Legally (under a strict interpretation of liberterian beliefs) they would be doing nothing wrong and thus you would have to choose between accepting these individuals free choices or selling your home at a huge loss because nobody wants to buy a nice 3 bedroom ranch on a big lot with a basement and a wood stove next to the drug haven. So either your home now sucks, you loose a bunch of money or you torch that fucker at 4 am and risk the consequences.
[This is a great example with an interesting point. This case is a good point that balance needs to be used even on the most sound logic. For example taking that logic to a bit of an extreme leads us to increadibly limiting Zoning rules and CCR/ HOA situations. Because the extreme use of a line of thinking is bad doesn't mean the whole line of thinking is bad, just that extreme stance.]
My two examples are a bit extreme but as Larry Flint has noted and proven freedom isn't tested or proven by those who live nice simple boring lives.
A great example of good/ bad laws has come up to me recently. I will skip the details but a few weeks ago I had to spend an evening basically hauling drunks back to the barracks to keep them from getting into trouble. Here in Germany bars do not have to close at any time and if you do not yell a lot, puke or start a fight an establishment will literally serve you booze until you choose to leave, run out of money or die. I have seen people pass out on the bar for awhile to wake up and mumble enough semi coherent gibberish to get another drink stay in a bar here. On a side note it is very interesting what the Germans do and don't care about but that is for another day.
In most of America and Canada (haven't been out that late there in awhile but if I recall) bars and stores are required to stop selling alcohol at 2AM. In my honest opinion this is a good law because people just plain do not need to be out drinking or getting more booze past then. A few buddies sitting on the couch with a case of beer in the fridge and a bottle in the freezer is one thing but people out and about drinking or going to the store for more is another.
The libertarian perspective would be that an independent business owner has the right to keep their place open whenever they want and that people are free to choose what they do. For awhile in college I worked swing shift at a 711 right by campus on the weekend. We sold a lot of beer and some smokes and munchy food. In any case I observed a lot of party goers and drinkers while in a sober state. Even by a fairly adjusted standard not 1 in 10 people who came to buy beer anywhere close to 2AM needed any more to drink. If nothing else watching some guy who was so drunk he had lost his wallet/ ID and could not remember his social security number piss himself at 3AM a few weeks ago was a pretty stark example of why bars closing at 2AM (really like 1:45AM) is a good thing.
You could argue that whatever happens to these drunks is there choice or a product of it and be somewhat right. This however fails to take into account that often their drunken violent property damaging stupidity hurts well behaved responsible people. Casing point, drunks love to break glass. Actually I think everyone loves to break glass but drunks do it more often and to the wrong glass (store window, random car windshields, etc) far more than sober people. The old lady who happens to have owned a house for 20 years doesn't deserve to have her glass regularly broken because some guy decided to buy the corner house and turn it into a bar which doesn't close.
Matter of factly some freedom must be ceeded to a powerful entity called government in order to maintain some semblance of order. I think in choosing how much freedom we will retain as individuals and how much we will ceed to the beast that is government it is essential to consider reality, freedom and consequences in that order. Simply put for any prospective government/ political system we must first consider concrete reality, Not how we want things to be or people to behave but how things are and how people actually behave. Secondly I believe within a realistic framework people should retain their freedom until the probable and actual consequences of said freedom are not patatable to society.
Honestly I'm not trying to pick a fight or an argument or anything else. I genuinely want to understand your views and how you think that having no government at all would actually work. My life experiences have shown me that we need at least some rules because without them people basically do anything they think they can get away with, heck we have rules now and people still pretty much do everything they think they can get away with.
I just don't understand what life experiences folks have had that could lead them to believe that everything would be great and hunky dory without any sort of government/ police/ rule of law.
Do keep in mind that I am a practical concrete sort of guy. I do not care about "what should be" or "how people should behave" or "what could work"; these are nice theoretical discussions to have but I am interested in what is and what real people do in the real world.
Do you genuinely believe Anarchy or some super limited essentially Anarchy lite sort of situation would work in the real world?
If so how do you think it would work? Do you think people would be safe and free to move about, earn, spend and generally conduct business? What life experiences have lead you to believe this sort of system (or lack of a more comprehensive one) would work?
I get comments which allude to or talk briefly about this sort of system (or more properly lack of a system) but really want to hear your full thoughts on how you think it would actually work.
A couple people have recently questioned my political self identification. I decided to take the worlds smallest political quiz out of idle curiosity. I think it is fairly accurate. In this recent post I talked to some length about my political beliefs if you are curious. As for me being a libertarian or not?
I certainly fall more into the displaced republican (who is against big government and doesn't want to get involved in peoples private lives) side of the house than the pseudo Anarchist side of the house. I think there are definitely some folks hanging around who believe that any sort of government is too much. They live in a world that is at a minimum completely unrealistic.
On some matters like defense and border security I have distinctly Republican sympathies. On lots of other matters I am in camp with the libertarian party.
Upon reflection I still look at myself as a libertarian albeit one who looks at the world how it is not for how they wish it would be also I just plain dissent on some matters. For lack of a better place that is where I identify myself.
TOR says: Well said. I was actually going to write about the topic of government today but what Coachteet said sort of beat me to it and since it covered most if not all of my ideas I just put his comment up into to main page.
Now for my thoughts. I have been having a fairly ongoing conversation with Brass and a couple other folks about this issue. No ding on them and my tone might have been a bit different than Coachteets but in any case what he said was so darn close to what I was going to say that it made more sense to post his comment instead of writing the same.
In terms of political identity here are my thoughts.
If I had to answer what my political orrientation is in one word I would say "liberterian".
If I had to answer it in a single sentence it would be "something between a 'small l' liberterian and a republitarian.
If I had a paragraph I would say that I cannot identify as a republican because I think they mettle too much in the personal affairs of people and that I lean towards the small government side of the liberterian party. I am for a balanced budget and low taxces. I am for some reasonable laws to protect workers and various at risk groups such as children. The militarizatiion of our law enforcement at all levels concerns me greatly. I think something of a minimal safety net is a good thing but a welfare state is evil. I lean against abortion but am probably not for banning it outright. I don't care what sort of guns are in your safe, what substances you enjoy or who shares your bed. I am for securing our borders and getting illegal immigrants out of our country. I am for a strong military to protect our nation but think our international military footprint could shrink significantly. I am conservative on some topics and liberal on others. I do not neatly and completely fit into the beliefs of any political party and find people who truly 100% toe any party line scary.
I do not believe any rational person can truly say we would be better off without any form of government. Also I think lots of fancy liberterian/ anarchist ideals about how things could work do not measure up to the tests of history or reality. The amount of government we should have can certainly be debated but I do not think its presence or worth can be argued.
With everything in life there is the theoretical/ philosophical answer and what actually works in real life, often the two are not the same. Look at it like this. It is the way to build a house that an engineer or a construction management major knows and the way that my uncle who has built houses for 20 years knows. It is how a sociology or criminal justice professor views crime and criminals vs the observations of a beat cop who has 20 years on patrol. It is the difference between the views on fighting of some tacticool instructor who wears nice crisp 5.11 clothes and gets his credibility from winning a bunch of competitions vs a Delta Guy who has spent the last decade shooting people in the face. Lots of fancy liberterian/ anarchist ideals about how things would work do not measure up to the tests of reality or historic examples.
We need government to protect us from each other by punishing those who abuse or violate others and by keeping property rights relatively secure (fucking eminent domain) among other things. If someone steals my stuff, assaults my wife or whatever government will probably not be able to stop them but there is a reasonable chance it will seek out and punish them. That certain acts are censured means that most people will not do these acts. Because of logistical issues government can not often protect people but it can and does punish those who break the law after the fact. This punishment goes a long way toward keepiung most people from violating the rights of others. I like being able to leave my residence with the knowledge that my property will almost surely be secure. I like knowing that contracts will generally be followed and if nothing else there is a reasonable way to pursue grevances in a legal manner instead of with a rifle.
We can certainly have an interesting debate about how far government should go into fiddling with our lives to protect or help people but I don't think the essential nature of some amount of government can seriously be questioned.
Well folks, I have moved over to my new place, and, don't have the internet. I am not sure how much I am going to be able to blog very much... Hopefully I will have it in the next couple weeks.
I have been giving a lot of thought recently to combining my libertarian side to my DA side. The basic conflict being that right now its my job to put people in jail for actions which I don't believe should be punished criminally. A good example is pot (people don't go to jail, but you get the idea). Should it be legal? I think so. However, that really doesn't matter. Regardless of whether it should be legal, it is illegal. As Putin said, " You must obey the law, always, not only when they grab you by your special place." Basically, the libertarian movement is a political movement, not a legal movement.
One of the things which is debated in libertarian legal circles, is which form of constitutional interpretation ought to be used. Justice Douglas used a living constitution theory. This used legal activism to push libertarian ideals. I think this is the wrong way to do things. The great thing about this country is that we create our own world. If we get enough people to agree with us we can basically do what ever we want. The constitution rarely gets in the way. However, just because we don't have the votes doesn't give us a reason to use the constitution to achieve the ends we cannot get democratically.