Friday, November 8, 2013

Firearms Refresher Course

Firearms Refresher Course
Edited and Reblogged by Bevin Chu
Taipei, China
November 9, 2013


-- Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
-- If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.
-- An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
-- Gun control is not about guns. It's about control.
-- The Second Amendment is in place in case politicians ignore the others.
-- What part of 'shall not be infringed' do you not understand?

-- You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
-- A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
-- 911: Government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.
-- Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

-- If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
-- If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.
-- 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
-- Assault is a behavior, not a device.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A is for Anarchy is Starting Up!

A is for Anarchy is Starting Up!
by Bevin Chu
Taipei, China
September 15, 2013

Dear Readers,

A is for Anarchy is starting up. It is now my "flagship blog."

My previous "flagship blog" was The China Desk. 

Why the change?

Because my most urgent concern back then was China issues.

But the situation in China, on both the mainland and on Taiwan, is now largely on track. The mainland has jettisoned Maoism and implemented market opening. One of the most worrisome concerns, Taiwan independence, has evaporated. Taiwan independence as a political movement is defunct, and even the most ardent zealots know it.

As a consequence, my attention is now drawn to a much larger issue -- Anarcho-capitalism, aka Free Market Anarchism.

For the moment, I have merely copied the Free Market Anarchist oriented articles I penned at The China Desk and reproduced them at A is for Anarchy.

But beginning now, future articles will focus exclusively on Free Market Anarchism, on how to how to promote and implement it in China, the US, and around the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Minarchism Always Becomes Maxarchism


Innovation, Integrity, Intensity, Imagination
I am TSA
Transportation Security Administration

Minarchism Always Becomes Maxarchism
by Bevin Chu
Taipei, China
January 24, 2013

“The end state of every government is tyranny!”
-- John Stovall


Or as The China Desk has noted on various occasions:

“Minarchism always becomes maxarchism.”

“Limited government always becomes unlimited government.”

“The difference between limited government and totalitarianism, is the difference between the caterpillar and the moth.”

“Limited government is merely totalitarianism in its embryonic stage.”

“Limited government is merely the larval stage of totalitarianism.”


Corollaries by fellow anarcho-capitalists at Eric Peters Autos:

"The freest minarchies become the most vicious tyrannies."
-- methlyamine

"Limited government is like limited cancer."
-- MoT

"Democracy is the apotheosis of institutionalized slavery."
-- d.c. sunsets

Monday, September 10, 2007

Libertarian Purity Test

Libertarian Purity Test
by Bevin Chu
Taipei, China
September 10, 2007



Market anarchist Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Caplan has posted a useful "Libertarian Purity Test" at his website.

See:
http://www.bcaplan.com/cgi-bin/purity.cgi

As Caplan explains:

"This is the Libertarian Purity Test, which is intended to measure how libertarian you are. It isn't intended to be any sort of McCarthyite purging device -- just a form of entertainment, hopefully thought-provoking. I like it a lot better than the more famous "World's Shortest Political Quiz" because I haven't stated the questions with any intent to give an upward bias to a test-taker's score, and because it gives a clearer breakdown between hard and soft-core libertarians. Enjoy, suggest your friends try it out, and see how you compare to other test-takers."

Market anarchists and non market anarchists alike may want to check it out and see how they score. 

For the record, the author scored a perfect 160. Yup. Hardcore. 

Friday, September 7, 2007

Chinese Liberalism vs. Western Authoritarianism

Chinese Liberalism vs. Western Authoritarianism
by Bevin Chu

Taipei, China
September 7, 2007


It is by no means easy to feel one's way into such a remote and mysterious mentality as that underlying the I Ching. One cannot easily disregard such great minds as Confucius and Lao-tse, if one is at all able to appreciate the quality of the thoughts they represent; much less can one overlook the fact that the I Ching was their main source of inspiration. I know that previously I would not have dared to express myself so explicitly about so uncertain a matter. I can take this risk because I am now in my eighth decade, and the changing opinions of men scarcely impress me any more; the thoughts of the old masters are of greater value to me than the philosophical prejudices of the Western mind.
-- Carl Jung, famed Swiss psychologist


300 (2006) directed by Zack Snyder, written by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad
 
The Asiatic hordes arrive on the doorstep of the Civilized World!
 
Dilios: For 500 years they've served the dark will of Persian kings. Eyes as dark as night . Teeth filed to fangs. Soulless. The personal guard to King Xerxes himself. The Persian warrior elite. The deadliest fighting force in all of Asia. The Immortals ...

... commanded by a ruthless and decadent Oriental Despot

... who "hates our freedoms"

Faceless ciphers, devoid of humanity and individuality

Monstrous subhumans

Queen Gorgo: Freedom is not free, it requires great sacrifice. The price is paid in blood.

King Leonidas: A new age has begun, an age of freedom. And all will know that 300 Spartans gave their last breath to defend it.

King Leonidas: This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!

Dilios: The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one. Good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a world brighter than anything we can imagine. Give thanks men, to Leonidas and the brave 300! To Victory!

See:
The '300' stroke, Hamid Dabashi writes on pride, prejudice, Persia and other empires

Let's try a little experiment.

Sit down in front of your PC and Google the words: "authoritarianism, liberalism, Western, Chinese".

Type them into the search box in any order you choose, hit return, and see what you get.
Come to think of it, save yourself the trouble. I'll tell you what you'll get.

Except for a link to this article, and a solitary Wikipedia article on "Chinese liberalism," you will get page after page on "Western liberalism" and "Chinese authoritarianism".

Every one of these pages will assume that the West is heir to a noble tradition of democracy and republicanism rooted in Periclean Greece and Republican Rome. Every one of these pages will demand that a "congenitally authoritarian" China emulate the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave by adopting "American style democracy."

Never mind that the Founding Fathers of these United States made quite clear that they detested democracy, and went to great pains to note that they founded a constitutional republic, not a democracy.

Every one of these pages will assume that China is heir to an ignoble tradition of "Oriental Despotism". Every one of these pages will demand that China jettison its benighted "Oriental Despotism" in favor of enlightened "Western Progressivism".

Never mind that China's unfortunate "dictatorship of the proletariat" is a Western European political invention, devised in Great Britain by two progressive Western European political philosophers named Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

As the old joke goes, "When you assume, you make an ass of you and me."

Economic history tells us a different story. It tells us that China, for much of her history, was as free or even freer than the West, "Athenian democracy" and "Roman republicanism" to the contrary notwithstanding.

China is the most populous nation in the world. More to the point, China has been the most populous nation in the world for most of recorded history. Most people are aware of this. But most people aren't aware of its political implications.

Economics tells us that only a society that is free is capable of generating sufficient wealth to support a large population. Large human populations are simply unsustainable without freedom. Any society that limits freedom, limits economic productivity. Any society that limits economic productivity, limits its population, through a process called famine.

Without knowing anything else about a civilization, one can confidently conclude that if a civilization has a large population, it is free or was free in the recent past. This is not feel good speculation. This is hard economic fact.

And so it is with China.

China was a hereditary monarchy for millennia. But China was hardly alone. China in this respect was no different from Europe before The Enlightenment. China had her "Mandate of Heaven". Europe had her "Divine Right of Kings". China had her Son of Heaven. France had her Le Roi Soleil (Sun King).

Where was the legacy of Athenian democracy then? Where was the legacy of Roman republicanism then? Nowhere to be found.

In fact, the Chinese people often enjoyed a high degree of de facto freedom under China's nominally "absolute" monarchy, as evidenced by the popular expression "Tian gao, huang di yuan", meaning "Heaven is high, and the emperor is far away."

This de facto freedom enabled the Chinese people to prosper and multiply, and enabled China to become the most populous nation in the world.

To be sure, the freedom the Chinese people enjoyed was not unbroken. It came and went, just as freedom came and went in the West. But when it came, it was real. And when it went, it was missed.

Between 1958 and 1961, a Western political system introduced into China by champions of Western style political reform caused widespread famine, resulting in an estimated 30 million deaths. The name of this Western political system was Marxism-Leninism.

The champions of Western values responsible for this man made catastrophe tried to blame Mother Nature, referring to it as the "Three Years of Natural Disasters". More disinterested, less self serving observers say the disaster was 35% natural misfortune, and 65% the folly of central planning.Rabid Sinophobes would have us believe that China has never been free, that it has been either authoritarian or totalitarian for the entirety of its 5,000 year history.

But three short years of totalitarianism caused the death of 30 million Chinese. If China was no freer during the remaining 4997 years of her history, how did she get to be most populous nation on earth? Obviously these self appointed "champions of freedom and human rights" are asking us to ignore a total non-compute.

In case anyone thinks the de facto freedom individual Chinese enjoyed in ancient times was mere accident, mere happenstance, mere serendipity, think again.

Ancient China had no lack of philosophical arguments for individual liberty. Western critics of "congenitally authoritarian" China to the contrary notwithstanding, the earliest arguments in favor of small government (limited government, or minarchism) and no government (anarchism), were advanced by Chinese, not Western political philosophers. 

The ancient Chinese philosophers Laozi (老子), Zhuangzi (莊子), Bao Jingyan (鮑敬言), and Sima Qian (司馬遷) were the first explicit champions of libertarianism and anarchism in recorded history. 



As the late, great Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard wrote in Chapter One of his book, "An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought":

The Taoists (Daoists) were the world's first libertarians, who believed in virtually no interference by the state in economy or society.


Laozi 老子 (Lao Tzu), the World's First Libertarian

To the individualist Lao Tzu, government, with its "laws and regulations more numerous than the hairs of an ox," was a vicious oppressor of the individual, and "more to be feared than fierce tigers." Government, in sum, must be limited to the smallest possible minimum; "inaction" became the watchword for Lao Tzu, since only inaction of government can permit the individual to flourish and achieve happiness. Any intervention by government, he declared, would be counterproductive, and would lead to confusion and turmoil. The first political economist to discern the systemic effects of government intervention, Lao Tzu, after referring to the common experience of mankind, came to his penetrating conclusion: "The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished. The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be."

The worst of government interventions, according to Lao Tzu, was heavy taxation and war. "The people hunger because theft superiors consume an excess in taxation" and, "where armies have been stationed, thorns and brambles grow. After a great war, harsh years of famine are sure to follow."

The wisest course is to keep the government simple and inactive, for then the world "stabilizes itself."

As Lao Tzu put it: "Therefore, the Sage says: I take no action yet the people transform themselves, I favor quiescence and the people right themselves, I take no action and the people enrich themselves." 


Zhuangzi 莊子 (Chuang Tsu), the World's First Individualist Anarchist

Two centuries later, Lao Tzu's great follower Chuang Tzu (369—c.286 BC) built on the master's ideas of laissez-faire to push them to their logical conclusion: individualist anarchism. Chuang Tzu, who wrote in allegorical parables, was the first anarchist in the history of human thought. Chuang Tzu's fame spread far and wide throughout China.


Chuang Tzu reiterated and embellished Lao Tzu's devotion to laissez-faire and opposition to state rule: "There has been such a thing as letting mankind alone; there has never been such a thing as governing mankind [with success]." Chuang Tzu was also the first to work out the idea of "spontaneous order," independently discovered by Proudhon in the nineteenth century, and developed by F.A. von Hayek of the Austrian School in the twentieth. Thus, Chuang Tzu: "Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone."
Chuang Tzu concluded, the world "does simply not need governing; in fact it should not be governed."

Chuang Tzu, moreover, was perhaps the first theorist to see the state as a brigand writ large: "A petty thief is put in jail. A great brigand becomes a ruler of a State." Thus, the only difference between state rulers and out-and-out robber chieftains is the size of their depredations. This theme of ruler-as-robber was to be repeated, as we have seen, by Cicero, and later by Christian thinkers in the Middle Ages.


Bao Jingyan 鮑敬言 (Pao Ching-yen), China's own "V"
no image available

Taoist thought flourished for several centuries, culminating in the most determinedly anarchistic thinker, Pao Ching-yen, who lived in the early fourth century AD. In the earliest days, wrote Pao, "there were no rulers and no officials. Placidly going their ways with no encumbrances, they grandly achieved their own fulfillment." In the stateless age, there was no warfare and no disorder.

Into this idyll of peace and contentment, wrote Pao Ching-yen, there came the violence and deceit instituted by the state. The history of government is the history of violence, of the strong plundering the weak. Wicked tyrants engage in orgies of violence; being rulers they "could give free rein to all desires." Furthermore, the government's institutionalization of violence meant that the petty disorders of daily life would be greatly intensified and expanded on a much larger scale.

To the common charge that he has overlooked good and benevolent rulers, Pao replied that the government itself is a violent exploitation of the weak by the strong. The system itself is the problem, and the object of government is not to benefit the people, but to control and plunder them. There is no ruler who can compare in virtue with a condition of non-rule.

Pao Ching-yen also engaged in a masterful study in political psychology by pointing out that the very existence of institutionalized violence by the state generates imitative violence among the people. The common idea, concluded Pao, that strong government is needed to combat disorders among the people, commits the serious error of confusing cause and effect.


Sima Qian 司馬遷 (Ssu-ma Ch'ien), the World's First Laissez-Faire Economist

The distinguished second century B.C. historian, Ssu-ma Ch'ien (145-c.90 BC) was an advocate of laissez-faire, and pointed out that minimal government made for abundance of food and clothing, as did the abstinence of government from competing with private enterprise.


He saw that specialization and the division of labor on the market produced goods and services in an orderly fashion. To Sima this was the natural outcome of the free market. "Does this not ally with reason? Is it not a natural result?" Furthermore, prices are regulated on the market, since excessively cheap or dear prices tend to correct themselves and reach a proper level.

But if the free market is self-regulating, asked Sima perceptively, "what need is there for government directives, mobilizations of labor, or periodic assemblies?" What need indeed?
Sinophobic "champions of freedom and human rights" assume that China is heir to a long and unsavory tradition of "Oriental Despotism". They demand that Beijing jettison its
"Oriental Despotism" in favor of "Western Progressivism"

Their simplistic calculus is: 

China is Communist
Communism is authoritarian
China is congenitally authoritarian

The first problem with this facile calculus is that Chinese Communism was not a Chinese form of authoritarianism. It was a Western form of authoritarianism, correction, Western form of totalitarianism, imported into to China.

In a sense, it was a lot like the opium imported into China at gunpoint by Great Britain. To turn Karl Marx's aphorism back on him, "Marxism was the opiate of Western style reformers." Today of course, the opium being imported into China by Western reformers is not Marxism, but another defective and dysfunctional political system known as "democracy", or is it "Democracy"?The second problem with this facile calculus is that China is not "congenitally authoritarian". China does not need to emulate an "intrinsically liberal" America. China boasts an ancient and venerable tradition of liberal political thought all its own. 

Did I say liberal political thought? That is far too mild. That is damning with faint praise.
Ancient China boasts a legacy of hardcore individualist thought, libertarian thought, anarchist thought. This priceless legacy may serve China well in the coming century. More importantly, it may serve mankind well in the coming millennia.

Who knows? The day may come when Googling the words: "authoritarianism, liberalism, Western, Chinese" may yield page after page on "China's Historic Contribution to Global Freedom in the 23rd Century."

See:It all began, as usual, with the Greeks: Taoism in Ancient China, by Murray N. Rothbard

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Of Geeks and Wonks

Of Geeks and Wonks
by Bevin Chu
Taipei, China
September 01, 2007


Jeffrey Tucker, Editorial Vice President of www.Mises.org

"A Political Theory of Geeks and Wonks" by Jeffrey Tucker, editorial vice president of www.Mises.org., is one of the best articles ever posted at LRC.

It neatly sums up the psychological and philosophical dichotomy between Pragmatists and Idealists.

It correctly affirms that despite appearances, Pragmatists do not have their feet on the ground, and Idealists do not have their heads in the clouds.

It has far-reaching implications for the Democratic status quo and the inevitable Market Anarchist political future.

Market Anarchist Geeks may strike Democratic Wonks as Ivory Tower Utopians. But in fact Market Anarchist Geeks grasp the comparative merits of political systems far better than "realpolitik" Democratic Wonks.

Market Anarchist Geeks know that the structural defects built into conventional monopolistic forms of government such as Democracy doom them to eventual, inevitable failure. They know that in the long term, mankind will have no alternative but to adopt Market Anarchism, the only political system completely consistent with natural rights and individual sovereignty.

See:
A Political Theory of Geeks and Wonks, by Jeffrey Tucker

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Biggest Obstacle to Freedom

The Biggest Obstacle to Freedom
by Bevin Chu

Taipei, China
June 25, 2007

 
The biggest obstacle to freedom is not logical, but psychological. We the Sheeple are accustomed to Big Brother's definition of freedom, as carved on the face of the Ministry of Truth:

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. 

We cannot imagine life without government. We cannot imagine not having to pay taxes. We cannot imagine not being told what to do. We dismiss as "lunatic fringe" those who suggest that maybe, just maybe, we could actually live our lives perfectly well without Big Brother watching over us. Genuine freedom, not the slavery passing for freedom that we know under democracy and other forms of dictatorship, elective and non-elective, is quite literally unimaginable to us.


The Shawshank Redemption (1994, directed by Frank Darabont, written by Stephen King and Frank Darabont): Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

Voter/taxpayers in "advanced democracies" are little different from the prison inmates in The Shawshank Redemption. Both voter/taxpayers within democracies, and inmates within prisons are thoroughly "institutionalized."

Voter/taxpayers within democracies are institutionalized first by the psychological bars within their minds, then in the event some of them wise up to the scam, by physical bars around their bodies.

Inmates within prisons are institutionalized first by the physical bars around their bodies, then with the passage of the years, by the psychological bars within their minds. 

104 EXT -- PRISON YARD BLEACHERS -- DUSK (1954) 104

ANDY
I just don't understand what happened in there, that's all.

HEYWOOD
Old man's crazy as a rat in a tin shithouse, is what.

RED
Heywood, enough. Ain't nothing wrong with Brooksie. He's just institutionalized, that's all.

HEYWOOD
Institutionalized, my ass.

RED
Man's been here fifty years. This place is all he knows. In here, he's an important man, an educated man. A librarian. Out there, he's nothing but a used-up old con with arthritis in both hands. Couldn't even get a library card if he applied. You see what I'm saying?

FLOYD
Red, I do believe you're talking out of your ass.

RED
Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. After long enough, you get so you depend on 'em. That's "institutionalized."

JIGGER
Shit. I could never get that way.

ERNIE
(softly)
Say that when you been inside as long as Brooks has.

RED
Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that's just what they take. Part that counts, anyway.


Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding, inmates of Shawshank Prison, played by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman

Champions of democracy smugly assure us that democracies, unlike other forms of dictatorship, are "responsive to the will of the people" and "provide for peaceful regime change."

Oh, really?

As Ron Paul noted in his recent debate with other 2008 GOP presidential candidates, 70% of the American people oppose Gulf War II and want the troops to come home, yet the Bush II regime remains stubbornly indifferent to their clearly expressed wishes.

So where is democracy's "responsiveness to the will of the people?"

The only candidate with the guts to openly oppose the war and who has explicitly sworn to end it if elected, is libertarian Ron Paul. Guess what? He is being shut out of future debates. Both the liberal and conservative wings of America's Demopublican one party system intend to trot out someone "mainstream" who will parrot the same Chickenhawk policies as Bush II.

So where is democracy's "provision for peaceful regime change?"

Apparently any regime change under a democracy must be non-peaceful, just like under other forms of dictatorship. Unless one is willing to resort to the desperate extreme of non-peaceful regime change, one is just going to have to lump it.

The cruel irony is that democracy makes regime change even more difficult than under other forms of dictatorship. Democracy's bogus claim that it provides for peaceful regime change inside the system makes the Great Silent Majority unwilling to sign on to non-peaceful regime change, even when peaceful regime change under a democracy is impossible. Democracy's bogus reputation for "accountability" enables an unresponsive regime to dig its heels in even more deeply, enriching the "players" who know how to work the system, and impoverishing the nominal "masters of the nation."

The result is an elective dictatorship, even less responsive to the Will of the People than other forms of dictatorship, and even less susceptible to regime change, peaceful or otherwise.That is why a benevolent dictatorship such as Singapore's can sometimes be better than a democratic dictatorship such as Taiwan's, Indonesia's, or the Philippines'.


The Shawshank Redemption: Andy Dufresne "de-institutionalizes" himself

The solution to the problem of dictatorships is not to pick and choose among different forms of dictatorship, including democratic dictatorships.The solution is to reject all forms of dictatorship. The solution is to "de-institutionalize" ourselves.

The solution is to choose free markets, to privatize each and every function "normally" provided by government monopolies, including the police, the military, and the courts. The solution is to choose free market anarchism.

But that requires that we overcome the biggest obstacle to freedom, fear. That requires that we psychologically "de-institutionalize" ourselves, the way Andy Dufresne physically "de-institutionalized" himself in The Shawshank Redemption.
 
We must conquer our fear of the unknown. We must reclaim our hope for the future. We must reject the attitude embodied in the expression "better the devil you know than the devil you don't."

As the tagline from the film put it so well: Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.