Beyond Civil Disobedience

September 21st, 2013   Submitted by Ben Stone

LegoBefore you can build something new you have to tear down something old. So, we’re going to do some tearing down. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but given the situation we’re in today, it’s time to get serious. Too much is at stake. There have been too many missed opportunities in history to win this fight, and if we’re not smart about this we’re going to leave this task on future generations.

We have a lot of activists in jail today. Irwin Schiff will probably be in jail for the rest of his life. Rich Paul and Adam Kokesh were thrown in cages this year. Without endorsing any particular activist, there are a lot of people who would be more useful to the liberty movement if they were free, but instead they are behind bars.

We can’t afford losses like these. People say “they can’t lock us all up,” but they absolutely can! They could create an entire agency specifically to lock us all up if they wanted to. The State has done this throughout history, and it will again.

Playing the State’s game is not the way to beat the State. If you want to fight this fight effectively, you can’t do it foolishly. If you want to fight Muhammad Ali, you’re a fool if you step into the ring. You sneak up behind him and hit him in the head with a board. You don’t fight an enemy according to their strengths. If you fight the State on the State’s turf, the way the State wants to fight, you will lose. That’s just a fact. We have to fight in ways that don’t get us thrown in cages. Martyrs are no good to us, because the State can tarnish anyone’s reputation.

The final stage of the State is the unification of all nations under a single governing body. That’s the natural progression of this monster. It’s going to go through this final stage before it collapses completely, and when it falls we are going to have a brief opportunity to put it down for good, but we have to prepare now. Understanding our role in this process is critical.

Think of David and Goliath. Goliath was this great warrior. He was a Phoenician, meaning he had iron plate armor, unlike the Greeks’ bronze armor. That made him virtually invincible by the standards of the day. He had a spear. He had a personal shield bearer who walked in front of him. And at close range he had a sword.

David was a shepherd who decided not to fight the way Goliath expected him to fight. David had a sling, not a slingshot. It wasn’t a child’s toy. In its day it was an advanced weapon, and favorite among shepherds. A long strip of leather with a pouch in the middle that was loaded with a round projectile, and spun to build velocity. Maximum velocity of a bullet or a stone from a good slinger is estimated around 140 mph based on ancient accounts, as well as modern tests. Now think about this. Nolan Ryan holds the world record for the fastest baseball ever pitched, clocked at 100.9 mph. Try to imagine driving a convertible 40 mph toward Nolan Ryan as he pitches a fist sized rock at your face.

Goliath expected a conventional battle, but David hit him in the head, knocked him on his back, and lopped off his head with his own sword. Goliath had no defense against it, because David used an unconventional strategy.

We can’t fight the State the way it expects to be fought, and we can’t fight it according to its strengths. We can’t all show up in Washington DC with rifles and expect it to be some kind of a solution. We can’t be tied to one strategy. We have to find our own individual, unpredictable strengths.

Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience is largely a pacifier. It’s not useless, but let’s consider what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and whether it will accomplish our goal. First, some definitions.

“Civil disobedience is a symbolic or ritualistic violation of the law, rather than a rejection of the system as a whole. The civil disobedient, finding legitimate avenues of change blocked or nonexistent, sees himself as obligated by a higher, extralegal principle to break some specific law. By submitting to punishment, the civil disobedient hopes to set a moral example that will provoke the majority or the government into effecting meaningful political, social, or economic change.” Merriam Webster

John Rawls published, A Theory of Justice in 1971 which is still considered to be a definitive work on modern political philosophy. He was not an anarchist, but this is how civil disobedience is viewed in the mainstream. He defines civil disobedience as:

“A public, non-violent and conscientious breach of law undertaken with the aim of bringing about a change in laws or government policies. On this account, the persons who practice civil disobedience are willing to accept the legal consequences of their actions, as this shows their fidelity to the rule of law.”

Both of these definitions regard civil disobedience as a rejections of a specific law, but an endorsement of the existing system as a whole, because the activist not only expects, but accepts punishment as part of the demonstration. It is an anticipated part of activism inside the system. So, no matter the intention of the anarchist, an act of civil disobedience is an act of protest, but ultimately an act of submission to the authority of the government.

Civil disobedience is in the same category as voting, petitioning, lobbying, speaking at a town hall, writing letters to representatives, political donations, volunteering for a political campaign, jury nullification and others. Civil disobedience doesn’t fulfill the long term goal of the anarchist.

Actions with purpose within the Zero Aggression Principle

I’m talking about something completely different than civil disobedience. This is not for immediate action. It’s something we need to lay the groundwork for.

The Zero Aggression Principle is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate. Aggression is defined as, “the initiation of, or realistic threat of violence against a person or their legitimately owned property.” Specifically, aggression is any unsolicited act by an individual that physically affects another individual or their property, no matter if the result of the action is intended to be damaging, beneficial, or neutral. In contrast to pacifism, the Zero Aggression Principle does not preclude violence used in self defense or in the defense of others.

Principled anarchist activism needs to accomplish four things (in order of importance):

  1. Educate people on the evils of government. The moral argument.
  2. Expose the failures of government, especially the things they claim to have the exclusive right to do. The practical argument.
  3. Make money from the failures of government and funnel that money into our mission.
  4. Assist the government in it’s path to self destruction.

The vast majority of anarchist activism must be in the realm of education, and insulating ourselves and our families from the evils of the State by finding black market ways of making money within the Zero Aggression Principle. However many anarchists will be driven from deep inside to go further, to fight, to take direct action, to go full on Fight Club against the State.

This can be productive, but only if it is done according to wisdom, and according to the Zero Aggression Principle. Any activity outside the Zero Aggression Principle must be rejected because in the long run violations of the Zero Aggression Principle are always punished, and only activities within the Zero Aggression Principles are rewarded. That’s how natural law works. If you’re taking actions that are outside the Zero Aggression Principle you are not helping our mission. You are legitimizing aggression.

The problem with fighting the government directly is that it’s collectivist thinking. If you take up arms against a collective you’re going to end up harming innocent people who are not guilty of aggression. We have to strike at the belief in the State, not at agents of the government. If you think striking one agent of the government is self defense because another agent is aggressing against you, you’re just a right-wing socialist. That’s collectivist thinking. We need to reject the idea that government oppressing us as a collective justifies retaliating against government agents as a collective.

The anarchist has to operate with love in their heart, and understand that they have the moral high ground. We have to have compassion for the people who have been brainwashed their whole lives, and find peaceful ways to accomplish our means. Thankfully, there is a lot of stuff we can do that does not involve physically attacking human beings, does not involve collectivist thinking, and does not violate the Zero Aggression Principle.

Damaging “Government Property”

If you were standing on unowned land, and you fired a gun into the ground, you wouldn’t have violated the Zero Aggression Principle because you haven’t harmed any individual or their property. What about so-called government property? Is there any such thing? To the anarchist “government property” can’t exist, because there is no collectivist entity called “the government” in existence. There are only people acting based on their belief in the State. There is only owned property, and unowned property.

It’s impossible for government to legitimately own anything. Everything that is commonly considered “government property” is actually unowned property, and it is perfectly legitimate to damage it. Breaking a window in a government building is not a violation of the Zero Aggression Principle. It may be unwise, but it’s not aggression. However, if you accidentally harm a person in the process you have violated the Zero Aggression Principle. There is no situation where an exploding device should ever be used by an anarchist, because there is always too great a risk of harming an innocent person. You’re actions must be according to wisdom.

Further, it’s impossible to steal from the government because government has no legitimate claim to property. You can homestead so-called government property without violating the Zero Aggression Principle.

Encouraging Government Spending

We need to encourage as much government spending as possible, to bleed the government with a million tiny cuts. Every time they waste money on useless programs that helps our mission. It’s ammunition for us to expose government failures. That does not violate the Zero Aggression Principle, because, again, government in not a person. They are a group of people who rob us. It’s the thief who committed the act of aggression, not the welfare mom who spent the money.

Left-socialists tend to think government money is in endless supply. Right-socialists tend to think that government money is “their tax money.” Both are wrong. Once the money is stolen it’s not yours anymore. Thinking it’s still yours is right-wing collectivist thinking. It’s thinking that you are part of government. Government will always steal as much money as they can, but they can never steal enough to cover all their spending. That means the more they spend, the more they have to print, which exploits one of their greatest weaknesses. So, encouraging more spending assists the government on its path of self-destruction.

Don’t Piss in the King’s Well. Piss in his Soup.

If you’re a slave and you want to harm the King you don’t want to piss in the King’s well because all the other slaves drink out of that well. You want to find ways to harm the King as an individual.

Targeting individuals for retaliation is not against the Zero Aggression Principle, as long as it’s done individually, and not according to collective guilt. But you have to understand, even if you are morally justified in retaliating against an aggressor, it may not be effective. You have to expect the blowback to be incredibly dramatic. So, you have to consider what the result will be. In the long run it will most likely do more harm than good.


Consider this quote from Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block:

“What, exactly, is blackmail? Blackmail is the offer of trade. It is the offer to trade something, usually silence, for some other good, usually money. If the offer of the trade is accepted, the blackmailer then maintains his silence and the blackmailee pays the agreed-upon price. If the blackmail offer is rejected, the blackmailer may exercise his rights of free speech and publicize the secret. There is nothing amiss here. All that is happening is that an offer to maintain silence is being made. If the offer is rejected, the blackmailer does no more than exercise his right of free speech.”

Blackmail is completely within the Zero Aggression Principle. You involve politicians in the right scandal and their career is over. Governments do this all the time. It’s a weapon of our enemy, but it’s a legitimate weapon, so we should consider using it. But, like everything else, there is a practical argument to have. There will be serious repercussions if you get caught.

Plausible Deniability

The time will come when we must take action, and now is a small window of opportunity to prepare ourselves for that day. An important part preparing is establishing parameters of behavior. We need to devise ways we can take action and remain consistent within our principles, and we need to establish systems of support, funding and communications ahead of time.

It’s foolish to poke a dragon. It’s better to leave legos out for the dragon to trip over, and hopefully fall down a flight of stairs. We need to establish two separate groups, with very little crossover, and no verifiable connection. One group will focus on education, making money, and fostering the public image of anarchists as a lovable nuisance to the State, but not a threat. The other group will actively put out the legos, laying traps for the government to trip over. There must be no solid link between them. But here’s the key; no one acts alone, and yet everyone acts alone.

No one can act alone, because that sends people down a dark road that usually leads them toward violating the Zero Aggression Principle. But everyone who risks apprehension by the government must appear to be acting alone. There must be plausible deniability.

The Lego Underground

Every underground anarchist must be unencumbered by family and property. If you have a child, or a spouse, or great wealth, the government will see that as leverage to coerce your cooperation. Being part of the Lego Underground will be dangerous. If you are vulnerable to intimidation, and you might fold in that situation, that makes you a liability to the rest of the Lego Underground. You need to be honest with yourself and stay in the aboveground part of the mission.


Activists in the Lego Underground must be as invisible as possible. Every light on their car must be functioning properly. Their back seat should be clean. They should have a valid registration and insurance. They shouldn’t have anarchist bumper stickers, or anything that would appear suspicious. Their style of clothing should fit in with their surroundings. No 420 shirts. No Gadsden flags. No visible firearms. They should not look like someone a cop might want to question. They need to look like Barack Obama, or Harry Reid, or a bank teller, or a school teacher.

I’m not saying anarchists must look a certain way. I’m saying if you’re part of the Lego Underground you need to be hiding in plain sight. If you can’t be invisible for some reason, if you’re part of a targeted class, or your appearance can’t blend in for some reason, don’t work in the underground part of the mission.


Assume that every insecure communication is being recorded. If you’re working on a company computer assume your employer is recording your keystrokes. Lots of companies record the activities of their employees, and if the government requests that record there’s a good chance they’ll hand it over without a warrant.

There is government software in place now to search the internet for 377 so-called “problematic phrases.” This is an opportunity for aboveground activists, who are clean, to flood the internet with so many “problematic phrases” that the government searches are useless. It’s like pouring molasses into the gears of government. But you shouldn’t do activism like this if there’s any reason that you can be arrested, so if they come to your house they can’t trump up unrelated charges.

The Lego Underground needs to be using Pidgin, Bit Message, encrypted email, and secure telephones. Their communication needs to be as secure as it can possibly be.

Turning the government against itself

Government tries to recruit people from subversive groups and infiltrate them with their own agents. Fear of infiltration is often more harmful than infiltration itself. Infiltration should be expected in aboveground groups, but the Lego Underground should be so invisible there appears to be nothing to infiltrate. Keep in mind, anyone who is vulnerable can be compromised. Anyone in a position to know the secrets of the mission is going to be a target. If the government thinks you’re useful they’re going to attempt to entice you or threaten you into cooperation. So, the Lego Underground groups must be small, and extremely careful with newcomers.

We can do the same thing. We can seek out disheartened, disgruntled or even just bored government employees and attempt to recruit them. We need to open their eyes, and we must not encourage them to resign. Instead, we need to find strategies for them where they work. They can start just by doing a bad job. Just pour that molasses right in. Find ways to look busy. Keep your job. Don’t quit or get fired. Use your position to drain as much wealth out of the government as possible and funnel it into our mission.

Hackers and Grifters

Anarchists need to embrace the hackers and the grifters. It’s a logical marriage. They need to understand us, and we need to understand them. We need to learn the hackers skills at compromising security systems, and the grifters skills at confidence games. These are skills which are within the Zero Aggression Principle and can be incredibly powerful tools to our mission. They could flood the IRS with fake tax forms, or fabricate fake arrest records, or photoshop scandals anonymously leaked across the internet.

Many hackers can steal identities, which is of no use to us, but imagine if they could create new identities. Imagine an activist with access to 1000 clean identities, complete with passports, birth certificates, social security cards and everything else it took to function inside government systems. He would have the ability to step in and out of the Matrix at will, do what he needed to do, and then discard the unwanted papers.

To move within the system this way also requires the skills of a grifter. The government is big, powerful, stupid and lazy. We understand those flaws, but the real secret is to understand the individual bureaucrat, not the collective. Are they lazy? Are they greedy? Are they afraid to lose their job? Are they misguided by a desire to do good? This is the expertise of the grifter. A grifter can identify their strengths and weaknesses, and use that against the individual government agent to get the job done.

Imagine if you had a team of people with the ability to walk into a government facility, lay down all the appropriate paperwork, con all the appropriate clerks, remove a political prisoner from custody, and move them out of the country.

We have an opportunity right now. These are the final moments when the old system of rubber stamps and signatures is falling away, and a new digital system is replacing it. In two years it’s going to be harder to fake government credentials than it is today.

Above all else, avoid direct confrontation

In his book, Don’t Get Mad, Get Even, George Hayduke wrote, “The one thing the establishment is prepared for is a violent frontal attack. They may be pure lard inside, but they’ve got twenty-four inches of armor plate in the front.”

We have to avoid attacking them the way they expect to be attacked. They expect marches, and protests, and voting, and civil disobedience, and even a violent uprising. That’s behavior they’re prepared to deal with, but there’s lard on the other side of that armor. Never attack an enemy the way they expect to be attacked. Thats the way the Lego Underground should operate.

As I said, most of this is not for immediate action. Now is the time to lay groundwork for the Lego Underground, and other actions beyond civil disobedience. I am only trying to lay that philosophical groundwork. In reality, I am not the right person take these actions. I’m too conspicuous. I look too much like the type of person a police officer would want to talk to. People who wish to take these actions, or actions like them, should make a concerted effort not to contact me, not to tell me about it, and not to form any meaningful connection with me, or any other public persona in our mission.

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54 Responses to “Beyond Civil Disobedience”

  1. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    Nice article! I really like the premise. I have a few things to comment on, though.

    You write

    “So, no matter the intention of the anarchist, an act of civil disobedience is an act of protest, but ultimately an act of submission to the authority of the government.”

    I disagree with this. Let’s pretend I’m an anarchist who will violently resist any act of aggression by the state. Let’s pretend I kill several police officers until I’m finally surrounded, and then I surrender. Isn’t that also an act of submission to the authority of the state? At what point does one no longer submit by these standards? Does one literally have to be killed by the state in order to never have submitted? My opinion is that just because a person surrenders does not mean that they are submitting to any authority. Just as troops surrender in battle, it is not seen as a submission to any authority, merely as a temporary concession to a superior enemy.

    You write

    “Civil disobedience is in the same category as voting, petitioning, lobbying, speaking at a town hall, writing letters to representatives, political donations, volunteering for a political campaign, jury nullification and others.”

    Again, I disagree. Civil disobedience can and often is met with severe brutality, unlike like voting, political donations, etc. Those are acts encouraged by the state. Civil disobedience is not.

    In context of government employees you write

    “They can start just by doing a bad job. Just pour that molasses right in. Find ways to look busy. Keep your job. Don’t quit or get fired.”

    Don’t they do that already?

    I really liked all of the different ideas one can employ to throw molasses in the gears of the state. But what I liked the best is this line

    “We can’t be tied to one strategy. We have to find our own individual, unpredictable strengths.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Our philosophy is that of individualism. Individualists all doing the type of activism that they enjoy and excel at is what will bring about the most rapid change. I learned that lesson from reading Ron Paul’s chapter on why the draft is a bad idea. One of the reasons he mentions is that it misallocates what activities recruits are doing. You’ll get a computer whiz digging trenches and burly guys pushing pencils. Okay, he doesn’t use those examples, but the point he made clearly is that it puts the wrong people in the wrong job.

    One of the things I’ve never done as an activist is holding signs at protests. In fact, I avoid protests like the plague. I can’t stand them. But I sure am glad that the people who do enjoy those things are doing them. Likewise, I no longer vote, but I appreciate those activists who do and who run for office.

    My mother one day was lamenting the fact that tons of other activists in New Hampshire are going to meetups all the time and going to protests and stuff, and how she wasn’t interested in any of that stuff. I told her not to worry. That there are a lot of other Free Staters that don’t do big, public social events like that, but instead opt for low-key forms of activism.

    For example, one of my favorite Free Staters never does any sort of in-your-face activism. But when I arrived in New Hampshire for a spontaneous visit and had no place to stay, no money, and barely any clothes on my back, he let me crash at his place for a week, even though he just met me. He’s a real nice guy who just hangs out, smokes, drinks, is social, and loves to tell newcomers about his wonderful experiences in New Hampshire. In other words, his activism is selling the Free State Project and he does a great job of it. But most people wouldn’t really think of him as an activist.

    The goal is to find whatever it is you enjoy and excel at and do that, damned what other anarchists think.

    • Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for the comments.

      As I read your objections, it seems I can sum them up like this:
      1) Surrendering at a time of arrest doesn’t indicate submission to the authority of the government.
      2) Civil disobedience can and often is met with severe brutality, therefore the State must hate it, unlike voting.

      On the first point, you are mostly correct. Surrender is generally an act of self preservation, not submission.
      But where you misunderstand the point is in the application of the phrase “civil disobedience”. Civil disobedience is done for the express purpose of drawing attention to one law or one small group of laws, and forcing the existing government to change them. This is exactly like voting in the sense that it is the purpose of both the vote and the act of civil disobedience, to change the current behavior of the existing government. Many times, if not most of the time, a person engages in civil disobedience for the purpose of getting arrested and challenging the law in court, or through the court of public opinion.
      This definition of civil disobedience is not my definition, it is the generally accepted dictionary definition.
      So in your example of killing cops, that wouldn’t be civil disobedience unless you were attempting to get the law against killing repealed.

      On your second point, I think you have made two flaws.
      First, keep in mind; there have been many governments who would have killed people who attempted to use the vote to change aspects of government. Some governments have allowed vast amounts of civil disobedience without meeting it with brute force. Some governments would kill or jail someone who gives money to a politician to support a cause, while others accept this as normal.
      But no matter the reaction of government, the standard definition of civil disobedience is an act to adjust government, not do away with it. Again, not my definition, the accepted legal definition.
      Your second flaw is in understanding the difference between “government” and what I refer to as the “State”.
      Imagine that “government” as an association of people who use violence and fear to maintain power, but the “State” is the condition of mind that makes a person believe government to be legitimate, useful and/or necessary. Now we have two separate entities.
      Individuals in government will generally do anything to maintain their power. And if they perceive a threat to that power, be it a vote, or a protest sign, or an act of disobedience, they will meet that threat with overwhelming violence.
      But the State is different. The State doesn’t just live in the minds of the individuals in power. The State is vastly larger than any government, and far older and wiser than any government. The State lives and functions in the minds of believers world wide, and is something like 9000 years old. The State sees what the riot cop or the greasy politician can’t see. The State is willing to use a violent mob of anarchist protesters to instill in the hearts of people sitting safely at home watching on TV, that the State is their only hope of safety and civilization. The State will, at any time, kill a government; so long as the people demand that a new government spring up in its place.
      So with every protest, every act of civil disobedience, and every revolution, it’s further imbedded into the minds of the people that the State keeps them safe from the radicals. And for the radicals, every time a protest is successful, and every time civil disobedience causes a government to change a law, it is further cemented in their minds that government can be changed and can be used for the purpose of good.


      • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

        “Imagine that “government” as an association of people who use violence and fear to maintain power, but the “State” is the condition of mind that makes a person believe government to be legitimate, useful and/or necessary. Now we have two separate entities.”

        “But the State is different. The State doesn’t just live in the minds of the individuals in power. The State is vastly larger than any government, and far older and wiser than any government. The State lives and functions in the minds of believers world wide, and is something like 9000 years old.”

        Fallacy of reification. You say that the state is “the condition of mind”, but then you say that the state is “older and wiser”. You treat a mental abstraction as if it’s a concrete object. You claim to be able to teach people the difference between the “government”, and the “state”, but you are obviously confused yourself.

        • Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

          Chris, just because I don’t explain it in a way that’s acceptable to you, or just because you can’t see what I’m saying, doesn’t make it invalid.
          Look harder. Don’t allow my failure as a teacher nor your inability to open your mind to a new concept, stop you from considering the option that I may be saying something new that you have never considered. And I may be right.
          Look past your bias, you may be shocked at what you see.


          • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

            Ben, just because I pointed out how your reified a mental abstraction that does not mean I have a bias. Quite a leap there, man.

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        civil disobedience
        Refusal to obey civil laws in an effort to induce change in governmental policy or legislation, characterized by the use of passive resistance or other nonviolent means.

        Okay, by that definition, you win.

        I drive without permission. My license expired years ago. I let it expire because I do not want to give the state money, $31, or as for permission and let them constantly dangle the threat of losing my license as a means to get me to do other things.

        I consider this civil disobedience. It is civil because I am not being violent, and it is clearly disobedience by not doing as I’m told. What would you consider it?

  2. RagnarNo Gravatar says:

    Personally, I welcome our new ant overlords.

    Your comment about no visible firearms as part of blending in was interesting. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you don’t live in Northern Idaho, East Texas, or rural Arizona. There are some places where a firearm and an NRA hat are the next best thing to a Romulan Cloaking Device. Gadsden flags, likewise, are nearly as common there as pickup trucks.

    Beyond that, perhaps it’s best I withhold my comments on this.

  3. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    I think the author made some decent points, but nothing profound really. It’s not like the strategies the author posits haven’t been tried before, or are actively underway right now. The red flags went up for me with the constant usage of “we need to”, and “our mission”.

    I think the author makes a few errors in this essay. The first is the general-to-specific logical fallacy by assuming that every civil disobedient shows their fidelity to the law by acting out against it. Intentions matter a whole bunch, and I think the author would be hard pressed to show that this was the intention of every civil disobedient. If the state went “poof” tomorrow, there would still be civil disobedience. Activists would still act against whatever they saw as wrong or oppressive. I’d ask the author, in this instance, would the disobedient still be showing their fidelity to the government’s law?

    My point is this: the definitons the author provided relies on the current state of affairs. It is not “government disobedience”, or “state disobedience”; it’s CIVIL disobedience. That concept is not exclusively remanded to this reality; it can be used in many others, to include a reality where coercive governments do not exist.

    Another error is the embarrasing appeal to authority by citing Rawls’ definition as basically the final word on civil disobedience. An “expert” wrote a book, and it’s considered a “definitive work on modern political philosophy”, and since he’s the expert, and his book is a definitive work, we should use this definition. That was another red flag for me.

    It is quite possible that the civil disobedient just wants to try to live as free as possible, and a change in the law may not be the disobedients’ primary objective, although that may be the outcome. Again, the author would have to show that a change in the law was the primary objective of the civil disobedient.

    When an individual struggles to live free in an unfree world, it is downright insulting to say that their actions ALWAYS lend legitimacy to the very people who are oppressing that individual.

    • Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the critique.

      You said, “Intentions matter a whole bunch, and I think the author would be hard pressed to show that this was the intention of every civil disobedient.”
      Actually you have tossed a straw man at me. I never said it was every civil disobedient’s intention. Also, as for “Intentions matter a whole bunch”, I would say that’s a generalization that’s just not accurate.
      Example: If its your intention to feel better about your situation, and getting arrested for being handcuffed to a the front door of a court house makes you feel like you have done something, then your intentions matter. Now you feel better. But if your intention is to rid the world of governments, getting handcuffed and arrested at some rural courthouse very likely will mean nothing in the fight against governments, and will only reinforce the idea that government is good for all those people who are happy that you are in jail and not keeping them from getting their hunting license or their fishing permit that day. No matter your intentions, the local belief in government is stronger because you are no longer in their way.

      Also, you said; “If the state went “poof” tomorrow, there would still be civil disobedience. Activists would still act against whatever they saw as wrong or oppressive. I’d ask the author, in this instance, would the disobedient still be showing their fidelity to the government’s law?”
      I think part of your confusion could be alleviated if you read what I wrote to Seth above. Your blending the concepts of government and State are confusing your point.
      As to civil disobedience happening without government, who would you be disobeying? Doesn’t the use of the word “disobedience” require an authority that you normally show obedience to? How can you disobey if no one is trying to make you obey?
      Maybe I’m confused. Can you give me an example of disobedience without some authority that requires obedience?

      As to the appeal to authority argument, this would be a valid critique if I didn’t also point out the logic on which it rests. Again, see my response to Seth. There is nothing wrong with referring to an expert, so long as that isn’t used as the end-all of authority. Only then does it become the logical fallacy of Appeal To Authority.

      Finally you said; “When an individual struggles to live free in an unfree world, it is downright insulting to say that their actions ALWAYS lend legitimacy to the very people who are oppressing that individual.”
      Again, you have tossed out a straw man. I never said anything like that. You assume the very odd notion that I’m saying that since civil disobedience lends legitimacy to government, all actions lend legitimacy to government. I would suggest a reading of Bastiat’s “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen” You are committing the same fallacy that Bastiat’s critics were committing.


      • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

        “Actually you have tossed a straw man at me. I never said it was every civil disobedient’s intention.”

        The definitions you supplied to help you make your argument were all-encompassing. You did not qualify them what so ever. Therefore, the reader must assume you mean all civil disobedients. How am I wrong here? You accused me of shifting the frame of the debate, now I’ll need you to directly pinpoint where I did that.

        Further, to help solidify my point, this is what you said directly following the definitions you provided.

        “Both of these definitions regard civil disobedience as a rejections of a specific law, but an endorsement of the existing system as a whole, because the activist not only expects, but accepts punishment as part of the demonstration. It is an anticipated part of activism inside the system. So, no matter the intention of the anarchist, an act of civil disobedience is an act of protest, but ultimately an act of submission to the authority of the government.”

        You said, “the activist”, not “some activists”. You also said, “the anarchist”, not “some anarchists.” You used these concepts in the universal, not the particular. Therefore, it’s only reasonable for the reader to come to the conclusion that you meant it in the universal, as in ALL activists, and ALL anarchists.

        Your definitions do not simply overrule the individual intentions of the people who choose to engage in civil disobedience. Your definitons attempt to put all people in one group, and it fails in the same way the theory of macroeconomics fails.

        “I think part of your confusion could be alleviated if you read what I wrote to Seth above. Your blending the concepts of government and State are confusing your point.”

        Ummm…no, you’re confusing the point with semantics. I’m very easy going on the concepts people choose to use as long as I am able to understand the referents. You know the concept to which I was referring to, so would anyone else who chooses to read this. It’s not confusing.

        “As to civil disobedience happening without government, who would you be disobeying? Doesn’t the use of the word “disobedience” require an authority that you normally show obedience to? How can you disobey if no one is trying to make you obey?
        Maybe I’m confused. Can you give me an example of disobedience without some authority that requires obedience?”

        I’m sorry, are you claiming that governments are the only authority in society? That’s weird coming from a self-proclaimed anarchist. There are myriad of norms and societal laws that are horizontally enforced by the individual members of society that many people may have problems with. The need to protest, and be active will not suddenly disappear with the belief in the state.

        “As to the appeal to authority argument, this would be a valid critique if I didn’t also point out the logic on which it rests. Again, see my response to Seth. There is nothing wrong with referring to an expert, so long as that isn’t used as the end-all of authority. Only then does it become the logical fallacy of Appeal To Authority.”

        But, you were attempting to build that “end-all authority”, Ben. That’s why you laid the groundwork you did with the “definitive work on modern political philosophy” statement. I’ve not read the book, but I do wonder what makes it a defining book, especially in the area of “modern political philosophy.” Can you tell me what’s so definitive about it?

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        I think there is also a difference between open civil disobedience, like chaining yourself to the front door of a court house, and civil disobedience whereby you’re simply ignoring the state, like driving without permission or working under the table.

        • Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

          You said, “…difference between open civil disobedience, like chaining yourself to the front door of a court house, and civil disobedience whereby you’re simply ignoring the state, like driving without permission or working under the table.”
          This is partly my purpose in breaching this topic.
          Lots and lots of activists, and would be activists, are confused about this point.
          By its definition, civil disobedience is breaking the law for the purpose of being seen, either by government or the public.
          Driving without a license, earning money in the underground economy, and other covert activities, are not, by definition, civil disobedience. This is the kind of activism I am advocating. Actions for the purpose of supporting ourselves and our cause, are the kind of actions I am pushing for.
          This article, along with the 6 hours of podcasts in the series, are partly for the purpose of educating activists in the difference between civil disobedience and positive anarchical and market activism.


          • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

            “…civil disobedience is breaking the law for the purpose of being seen…”

            I disagree as a sovereign individual who has practiced civil disobedience for 71 years. I have done so openly, but mostly by covert means as I decided early the life of a martyr is not my goal. First, I want to live as freely as possible in an unfree world. Second, I want to help others be free.

            I have achieved my goals by living a life of active/passive resistance, voicing my voluntarist opinions, and writing philosophical tracts on foundations of freedom. I hold that the illusion of control is maintained not by reason, but by force and fraud. Fraud is by far the most effective. For example, redefining words (which stand for concepts) to destroy their original meaning, or omit (hide) key concepts is evidenced by the definition you used for civil disobedience. When the “expert” is finished he has gutted the concept, turning an act of defiance into an act of compliance. Clever, but dishonest. See also, “capitalism” which can only exist in the absence of force, redefined as product of or partner with the state, as in “crony capitalism”. And “all property is theft” as an attempt to use the concept of violation of property to confuse and deny the concept of property. Oxymorons are a collectivist tool for destroying critical analysis. The rulers want obedience, not thought. Most people want to think but have been discouraged and crippled by state indoctrination from childhood. Dependence, obedience, and conformity are rewarded. People are their own worst enemy but they can be helped to change by voluntarists. We can convert our enemies into comrades by giving them new ideas to replace the old lies. We can provide a new paradigm for social interaction. The old one will fall by default.

            • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

              Very good comment, Don! Yup, leave it up to the intellectuals to completely twist a concept until it means precisely the opposite of its original meaning.

  4. FranzNo Gravatar says:

    I am new to the anarchic sciences and so I found the article very useful. But, this question then arises: what steps should each wing of the movement take now? Are these plausible actions, in your opinion? (a) set up secure communications with end-point security (e.g., TAILS) with an option for anonymous, offshore email accounts if needed in order to communicate with inside sources of information (e.g.,, (b) start collecting lists of individuals who need to be dissuaded from their totalitarian ways or, if they cannot be dissuaded, collect dossiers on them for later prosecution, (c) begin to assemble intelligence networks that can operate under oppression (“Moscow Rules”) with the associated training in tradecraft. What other immediate actions would be appropriate?

    • Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for your comments and your question.
      You have laid out some basic first steps that would be very helpful, or even critical to success.
      The podcast series I did on this topic is over 4 hours long and there are still 2 hours unpublished, so its difficult to say very much here in text. But I think one important thing is to secure a stream of funding. Ideally this funding would be in the form of money gained from our enemy. This aspect of the plan is difficult to talk about in the open as it requires doing things considered illegal by those who hold the power of government.
      Another thing that I think is critical is a network of secure location where sympathizers to our cause can temporarily house and transport activists to safety.
      Also, some hands-on training on things like the use of freight trains for moving activists to and from areas. The European anarchists seem to be better accustomed to this than the Americans.


  5. Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

    Unfortunately, the purpose of this article has been mostly ignored due to the fact that I chose to use the dictionary definition of a phrase, rather than the common vernacular, to distinguish the difference between two very different types of activism. We have a serious problem in our movement, but it seems people would rather banty word meanings than acknowledge that there is a vast difference in activism aimed at making government aggression more palatable and activism aimed at ending government everywhere and forever.

    I’ll be the first to admit my limited ability to express myself through written text. But at the same time it would be helpful if the reader who is already an anarchist and recognizes government as nothing more than organized crime, would make a little effort to see the bigger picture.
    After all, the anarchist movement is now almost 200 years old. Isn’t it time to consider the idea that doing the same thing over and over is not going to produce a different result?

    In plain words, the purpose of this article is to show the folly of begging the government for freedom, and rather organizing a movement to actively exterminate government.


    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      Ben: I agree with you when you divide our problem into two parts: Government and the state. Government is the physical manifestation of the idea that force trumps reason, what you call “the state”. That idea is ancient but not wise. Is is mistaken. It has held our species back. We would still be living in caves or extinct if it was all we had. But our personal relationships are governed by the idea that non-violent, voluntary interaction is best. All progress (peace & prosperity) has come from that idea. War and poverty come from the state. The two ideas have existed side by side from the beginning. Voluntarism has produced and statism has consumed. Civilizations rise when voluntarism is dominant and fall when statism is dominant. This boom/bust cycle happens on a mini scale and macro scale within cultures. With improved technology came improved communication which is creating a world wide culture. This could be a giant leap forward, but not if statism continues to parasitize voluntarism. One world government would result.

      The way to fight a lie is with the truth, not with brute force. Force, direct or indirect is playing the statist game. If you win, you lose, because the means become the end. It follows we need a non-violent strategy. Propaganda is mass deception which enforces mass indoctrination. We need to counter this. This will kill the state. No physical attack on the government is necessary, in fact it would be counter productive. Exposing corrupt govt. employees does little to damage the idea of the state. (They do a good job of exposing themselves and nothing changes except the faces.)

      We need to communicate our alternative to the masses so effectively that the state is finally seen for the monster it is. Not just the U.S. state, but the idea of the state. There is no need to “tear down” a lie when we can replace it with the truth in a way that people can understand.

  6. Ben, you said many things I think are wrong, but in the interests of time, I’ll just point out the most major (up through the point I’ve read to):

    “To the anarchist “government property” can’t exist, because there is no collectivist entity called “the government” in existence.”

    This is like saying Wal-Mart doesn’t exist. The reason why governments don’t legitimately own any property is not because governments don’t exist, but rather is because they gained control of the vast majority of the land they claim illegitimately through conquest, any any land that they might have gained legitimately they owe as restitution to others, since they owe far more in restitution than they have in their possession to possibly give.

    “Everything that is commonly considered “government property” is actually unowned property, and it is perfectly legitimate to damage it.”

    No, while some property government claimed (e.g. out in the middle of the woods) is unowned, a lot of the property government claims has already been used by many people (e.g. city streets). To say this property is unowned would be absurd. It’s been homesteaded and used by many people. Surely somebody has the best title to it. Just because it’s difficult to identify the person or group of persons with the best claim to it does not mean that it is unowned.

    “Breaking a window in a government building is not a violation of the Zero Aggression Principle. It may be unwise, but it’s not aggression.”

    The unbroken window is worth more as restitution to the state’s victims than the broken window. Title to the building may not have yet been assigned to someone since the state still keeps full control over it, but you can assume that title will eventually be assigned to *someone* who the state owes restitution to. By damaging it you are denying them restitution. I’d say damaging state property is usually aggression as well as unwise.

    • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

      Nope, you’re wrong here, and Ben is right. The government doesn’t exist. And as much as Ben likes to trash Ayn Rand’s political philosophy in his podcasts, his ideas accord with Rand’s epistemology — at least in this regard.

      Wal-Mart doesn’t exist; they might have building that say Wal-Mart on them, but Wal-Mart is still only an idea. If humanity vanished from the planet tomorrow, the idea of “Wal-Mart” would vanish with it, but the buildings would still stand.

      To say that Wal-Mart exists because it has property is to commit the fallacy of begging the question. It’s like saying God must exist, because of all of the churches. It’s false on its face.

      By using Ben’s argument, at least when it comes to the government not existing, you can avoid the ethical argument, or the arguement you’ve attempted to make here.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        When I say the govt. doesn’t exist I mean the justifications for it are fallacious. I mean one cannot protect rights by abusing rights. I don’t imply that people do not pretend to be protectors, and their victims do not pretend to be protected. In fact, the sanction of the victims is essential to the existence of the illusion.

        The aggressors are real and so are the victims, even if they refuse to believe it.

        The challenge we face is how to avoid being victims day to day while working long term to expose the mass illusion (superstition) and thereby freeing everyone. A direct frontal assault does not build a new society. That can only be done by offering an alternative, a new social paradigm. Building is a lot more work than tearing down. But that is our only hope. It requires beginning with semantics. It begins with political philosophy. Fortunately, the heavy lifting has been done by thinkers like Rand and Rothbard. We need to give their theories practical applications, which will weaken the state.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        Well said! Until the average person can recognize that corporations like Wal-Mart do not have legitimate ownership of anything, it will be impossible to fight back against the corporate/state partnership.

  7. “Encouraging Government Spending”

    This is a bad idea too and almost always involves aggression. When the government spends it controls the use of scare resources that it does not own and has no right to control.

    • Ben StoneNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for your comments. I’ll let Chris’ answer to your first post stand for me.

      In regards to government spending, consider this thought.
      Governments in all times and in all places, tend to steal by way of taxation or any other means, the maximum amount that their respective tax slaves will tolerate. Sometimes they wander over that line, but if they are to stay in power, they don’t go over that line very far or for very long. They constantly try to get their tax slaves accustomed to more theft, but in the long run they have to allow the slaves enough to live on, otherwise revolutions replace one government with another and the cycle repeats. (see Machiavelli)
      Other that direct theft, governments rely of clandestine methods like inflation and borrowing. Once they start down this path things usually go even more sour.
      But in all times and all places, governments tend to take as much as their slaves will tolerate.
      The idea that government spending is somehow based on its expenses is simply part of the myth of government legitimacy. Government only spends on things like roads, welfare, community protection, etc., the bare amount it needs to keep the slaves from revolting. Once a government begins to use debt and inflation for the purpose of expanding its power base (empire building), any money spent at home is money the empire can’t use to bomb, kill, and destroy, people in other lands. Cutting an empire’s budget is a fantasy. Spending an empire into the dust is a proven method. Better to get that money into the hands of anarchists who can use it to educate and free the masses, rather than allow the empire to buy more bombs and kill more people.

      In other words, if the government can cut its welfare budget today by $100,000,000 then it will buy $150,000,000 worth of murder machinery tomorrow. But if we can all cost government $100,000,000 more than it expected today, it means the empire is closer to its death tomorrow.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        I like the theory. In practice I doubt the USA will spend itself into oblivion. The brainwashing that has been going on in our socialist schools for several generations now will keep people largely in line. This is one reason why the non-aggression principle is so bad for libertarians. At some point aggression will be necessary to throw off the yoke of tyrrany.

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          Fritz, I think you misunderstand the NAP. It is not aggression to capture or kill criminals. At least not by my definition. Aggression is the initiation of violence against peaceful people.

          What you’re thinking of I would consider a “violent offensive” which, again, is okay in my book.

          • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

            Seth, I do and did understand what NAC is. Yes, what I describe can be looked at as a form of self defense, but many would be squemish about such defense fearing accidentally lapsing into aggression. So I promote thinking about such scenarios ahead of time so as to have your philosophical house in order so one can react quickly when the time comes. But beyond that, I am not necessarily opposed to using violence in an aggressive way. We humans have been practicing violence for all of our existence as a species. It is an integral part of our pyche. We enjoy watching violence. Consider the NFL, pro hockey, UFC fighting, and probably most Hollywood movies all sell violence in a more or less controlled setting. Bullfighting and cockfighting are entertainments with less controlled violence. The point is that just because our rational minds tell us that violence can be counterproductive will not change our human emotional response. We can control our actions, but the emotional drives will be there. I say accept this and either use violence or not according to the situation. Do not try to create an all encompassing rule that limits one’s options. Most people won’t think twice about using violence to further their agenda. If you refuse to use violence except in defense you will probably lose out to those who have no qualms about initiating violence.

  8. FranzNo Gravatar says:

    As for me, I would rather spend my time taking action to bring down the fascist state than debate how many hyperboles can dance on the head of a pin. In that regard, I believe that the war for freedom will be fought primarily in cyberspace and only secondly through force of arms. The era of the democratization of insurgency has arrived: a massive, centrally-controlled, state and all its zombies and hardware cannot survive the disruption that could be perpetrated through cyber attacks. That’s where I might be able to make a contribution in some way. For me, sitting around whining or passing news stories back and forth about the evils of this politician or that bankster, or arguing semantics, is doing nothing but taking time away from taking real action. But I AM enjoying reading the debate here.

  9. Greg AllmainNo Gravatar says:

    regardless of the previous comments, “Lego Underground” is a great phrase!

  10. Chris BeamisNo Gravatar says:

    Why not get rid of forcible (I use the word forcible because it is possible to have a government without the use of force, the most well known example is probably the Iroquois Confederacy) government with a sneak attack to its belly by changing our money into a tool for measuring the health of our living world?
    We the people could easily do it in two steps:
    1) Change our definition of the word “dollar”. From nothing, which has been the effective definition of the word since President Nixon closed the bank on August 15th of 1971, to X grams of oxygen that have been exhaled by a living plant on someone’s property. (Before 1971 the definition of the word “dollar” was 1/35th oz of gold, and a dollar bill was a piece of paper that effectively said IOU one dollar. After this change a dollar bill would be a piece of paper confirming that a living plant somewhere had exhaled X grams of oxygen.) In other words, every time a plant on your property exhaled X grams of oxygen, all the rest of us would pay you by allowing a new dollar bill to be created and added to your bank account. This would have three practical benefits.
    First, it would enable a more distributed way for new money to enter the system because both the central governments and individuals own land with trees and other green plants. As opposed to the current system where all the new money comes from the treasurer of the USA. The effect would be a massive reduction of poverty as it became easier for people to keep up with price increases.
    Second, we could choose a value of X such that the trees and other plants on government property would exhale enough money to pay off the national debt in say, 10 years. This would remove the hardship to people who depend on government benefits and therefore buy their support for this change. It would cause linear price inflation that would decrease percentage wise every year, and which would be more easily handled by individuals because of the way the new money enters the system in a distributed fashion, so that everyone tends to get the new money before prices have increased so much. It would give the treasurer of the USA a new source of funds so he or she would not need to borrow, or at least not so much.
    Third, it would implicitly give the health of our living world a place in our financial books. Now, before clearing an acre of land for that new parking lot, the income you expect to generate has to be greater than what your living trees are already generating. In effect, it gives all the rest of us a way to painlessly pay you to not cut down your trees. Our payment to you is not a freebie either, because those trees of your are providing valuable services to the rest of us. They exhale that substance we like a lot, oxygen. They clean our air and smooth our weather, give us shade, and provide living space for countless creatures both above and below ground. In short they make our environment healthier which makes us healthier and so we’re all happy to pay you to not cut down your trees.
    2) After taking step 1 which happens purely in your thoughts, take step 2 which is to confirm to the rest of us that you really changed your thought about what is the definition of the word dollar. For example we the people of the USA could all sign a contract with each other promising that our definition has changed. We could for example confirm our signature by securely signing in to Google Earth and clicking on our home. Or, we could instruct the POTUS to sign an executive order, or we could instruct the congress to pass a law or amendment to the constitution. After that it would be done, and we would all know that it was done.

    How would it work? Easier than you think, because once this change had happened there would be a demand for the service of trustedly measuring the amount of O2 exhaled by your plants, and from there the laws of economics take over. First of all, the law stating that demand causes supply. The treasurer of the USA would issue an RFP (Request For Proposal) to biologists and remote sensing specialists, who would in turn form up companies to do those measurements. Second, the law stating that competition improves the breed. Once we the people had taken that first step of changing our money into a force for good on the planet, we will understand that O2 dollars are just a starting point, and that our money can evolve to be an ever improving tool to improve our lives. We will understand that money is a product like any other and that competition between providers of that product will cause the product to evolve and improve. We the people will understand that we have the power to cause that to happen simply by repealing all legal tender and tax laws. This will not cause disruption in the lives of the people currently depending on taxes because we were clever enough to set the value of X in step 1) so that the national debt was to paid off in 10 years without the need for an income or other taxes.
    And of course without taxes and legal tender laws, and with the eventual removal of people from the government dole as economic conditions improve both due to the new money entering the world in a distributed fashion and due to the new jobs created to measure the new dollars exhaled by the trees and credit to their proper owners, and due simply to the improving health of our living world, the forcible governments of the world will simply fade away like the evil spirits they are.
    Best of all, without tax and legal tender laws, and with truly useful ways of measuring the actual costs of business by measuring how much they cost our living world, our money will evolve to do the greatest good for us all.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      C.B.: You don’t accept G. Washington’s definition of govt. but you don’t give us yours except to site the Iroquois Confederacy. Really? Could you find a more obscure reference? I don’t think so and I’m not going to spend hours reading about it find out what the hell you meant.

      What are “…actual costs of business…”? How do they differ from “costs of business”? Doesn’t lack of business cost society? Could you even imagine a world without commerce? Even the cave man had commerce. What do you mean by the term “…our living world…? How is it different from “world”?

      You recommend we “instruct the POTUS” or “instruct the Congress”. You are delusional. The people do not, have not ruled. Democracy is an illusion, as is govt. protection or service.

      • C.B.No Gravatar says:

        Hi D.D., thanks for the reply. I’m just seeing this almost 3 weeks after you posted so you probably won’t see this, but nevertheless:

        Sorry about the confusion with definition of government. I was actually trying to avoid getting picked on by someone who might point out that all governments aren’t bad, just the ones with a tax man and tax funded police who force you to pay the tax man. I could have been more clear, my fault. Let’s just say “forcible government”.

        When I say actual costs of business, I’m talking about costs to our living world, however you want to measure them. If I cut down 100 acres of trees to build a factory what did it cost me financially? Gasoline and equipment and such, and that’s all my books know about it. But it cost all the rest of us the O2 from those trees. And the ecosystem support they provide in the way of living space for various critters, and the air and water they clean, and the weather they smooth and the soil they anchor. With a dollar that was literally invented on someone’s whim we only know what it cost the rest of us, and imperfectly at that because of the compound interest effects of the existing money creation system. The idea is to make a subtle change to the existing money
        a) to make it a tool for optimising the health of our living world, which means the health of us all since we are part of it.
        b) to eliminate or at least radically reduce poverty, since the new money will enter the system in a more decentralised fashion. This is one of the reasons gold eventually won the evolutionary arms race for best money by the way, because it is approximately evenly distributed throughout the earth’s crust and therefore many people could get their hands on some.
        Yes, I’m on board with you, lack of business totally costs us all. As a matter of fact that is the point of all this, namely that without a well functioning and high division of labour billions will die, meaning we absolutely must have something we can use as money. It is the center of our human economic system. The problem is that the tax man has a monopoly on the production of it and so quality goes down and cost goes up. The cost of our existing fiat monetary system is poverty and environmental degradation as prices constantly run away, causing poor people who often end up scrabbling at the ground to find something they can sell for money.
        By our living world I just mean all us people, human and non. The human people, the dog people, the cow people, the starfish people, the giant redwood people. I guess you could also say “the world”, but I’m specifically focused on the health of us living creatures.

        Yes I concur, I’m dreaming. I’m thinking of ways this could happen, and I keep thinking of ways to pitch this in order to persuade a very large percentage of the citizens, or voters, or tax payers, or whatever, to take this small but world changing action. I didn’t intend to recommend that we could instruct the POTUS or congress, just pointing out that it could be done. No laws of physics prevent say 90% of us 300 millions sending an email to the POTUS or their congress person instructing them to do it. With such large percentages, and such large benefits, our “servants” would presumably do as instructed. And even if they don’t, if all of the rest of us ignored them and simply made a pact with each other to define the word “dollar” in this beneficial way, say if 99% of us, as determined by the IRS list, said it was done, then it would be done. Every one of us would know, and every one of us would know that every other one of us knows, that the tree in your yard now has some monetary value to you just for not cutting it down, and that you simply need to get the O2 from it measured. All the land owners in the country, which is all of us according to “their” own words, would suddenly have an interest in getting that measurement and getting our bank accounts properly credited. For all of us that would mean the accounts of the FedGov would get supplied by the trees on USA central gov land, and for many of the rest of us it would mean the trees on our private land would also generate income for us by not cutting them down. Since demand causes supply, the rest would take care of itself. Remote sensing and biology experts would step up to get paid for the service of providing those measurements.
        And yes, I know that it seems delusional to imagine that, say, 90% or 99% of us could be persuaded to sign up for such an abstract act.
        But here’s the thing: people are hurting, and they continue to get hurt by the acts of other people who are funded by the tax man (meaning government employees). They aren’t hurting some time in the future after we’ve somehow magically convinced everyone that forcible governments are their worst enemies, not their sugar daddies, and I’m trying to think of a way to help them right now. As a matter of fact, it isn’t just some people hurting, it’s all of us. Every one of us suffers from the effects of the tax man.
        So what if we approach it the other way? There’s nothing physical preventing all of us from using the internet to communicate such a definition change to each other, and therefore it is possible. But how? How about an old fashioned advertising campaign, paying experts, the best in the field. For example, look up “Virgin Earth Challenge” and you’ll find $25 million for removing CO2 from the atmosphere still waiting to get spent. Their existing proposals basically use new machines and technologies, and mostly accomplish just one goal. Defining the word “dollar” as X gm O2 exhaled by a living plant accomplishes multiple goals, in one fell swoop. And it doesn’t matter if global warming is a hoax, we still accomplish multiple goals.
        And the best part is, after all of us causing the definition change to happen, and after it has really sunk in that we can in fact take simple but important actions together, it will become obvious that the next step is to let our money evolve like any other product, and we’ll free our money to evolve by eliminating all legal tender and tax laws. Paradise is just a simple step away.

        • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

          Good luck with this. I promote a similar concept, but I call it “real” free enterprise as opposed to the corporate/government tyrrany of the people to protect the power and perqs of the ruling elite. Thinking we can change it by writing about it is undoubtedly ludicrous. I do it to keep the seeds of freedom alive for when circumstances change as they always do.

          • Chris BeamisNo Gravatar says:

            Hi Fritz,
            Can you share any details of the “real” free enterprise idea? I sometimes try to write my idea in forums like this partly to help wring it out and solidify it in my own mind, and partly hoping to enlist the thinking powers of other minds.
            I’ve been putting together a pitch for this using Prezi, and have been targeting the Virgin Earth Challenge since I found out about it. I feel like if I could just do a good job of explaining it their judges would have to pick it, it solves so many problems at the same time.

            • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

              I know nothing of Prezi or The Virgin Earth Challenge. I fear if you are depending on rational ideas influencing most people, you are going to be disappointed.
              “Real” free enterprise is exemplified by barter between two individuals. Whatever the medium of exchange be it wheat, gold, or dollars the same essentials are there. Two or more people figure they will benefit from a trade so they work out the particulars and swap. This simple essence has been so screwed up by governmental interference that it has morphed into something almost unrecognizable, corporate capitalism. To get to a real free enterprise society a first step would be to get rid of the laws giving corporations legal status as individuals in court and legal advantages over individual ownership. But ultimately government and freedom are antithetical. A real free enterprise will require an anarchistic society, but it may be possible to take major steps towards freedom before the uiltimate step of anarchism. One such intermediate step would be to limit all international trade to only those areas that do not practice what is essentially slave labor. In general this would mean that trade with Canada, Australia, Western Europe, or New Zealand would be largely OK while trade with Mexico, Red China, Viet Nam, or African nations would not be. You can’t have free enterprise when one side uses financial slavery. All that you succeed in doing is to screw your own working class, make huge profits for the giant corporations, and promote hatred for the USA by the workers in other countries who recognize their own enslavement. Since we have no control over other counties, we should try to become as self sufficient as possible. For example, using alternative energy would kill off the oil wealth of Russia and the Arabs. Not selling weapons to the third world would save millions of lives. But the biggest advantage woud be to our own workers who would have the chance to make a living without trying to compete with 30 cent per hour Chinese.
              Hopefully our example would ultimately lead to free enterprise throughout the world to have a relatively equal standard of living everywhere so that open borders and true human freedom could exist. But for now just getting the USA back on path is all we can hope to handle. So lets say if you sell it here you must make it here and only trade for those few things we can’t produce ourselves. And do not trade with the enemies of freedom like the communists or petty dictators. Hell, over the past 40 years we have made Red China into a viable enemy. We need to stop fucking ourselves.

  11. Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

    The non-aggression principle is absurd. If one seriously practices it he will be defeated one way or another by those who are willing to be violent first. Justifying non-aggression as staying within “natural moral law” is also absurd since natural moral law is a convenient fiction with no practical meaning outside the ivory tower. Power exists and can be demonstrated. An ounce of power beats all the moral law you can find.
    Non-aggression is probably a good general rule to get along in most societies, but it is not an absolute. If you are in prison for example there are times you had better be willing to initiate violence if you wish to intimidate others enough to survive. Violence is a useful tool. Do not hamstring yourself by refusing the option of initiating violence when the circumstances warrant it.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      NAP is not based on an arbitrary social convention. It is based on the nature of man, e.g., as a rational being. Coercion bypasses reason as if man was driven by emotions or instincts as his primary means of survival. But the vast majority of social interactions refute that assumption. Even animals respond to violence with aversion but non-violence is non threatening and allows interaction.

      To declare non-violence absurd is to declare everyday life absurd.

      You declare morality as having no practical use. But that is all a moral code is: a guide for living. I know why you think otherwise. You have examined the dominant moral code (worldwide for 2000 years) and found it absurd. I agree, but that does not mean all morality is useless. Or that what people call moral is really moral. The present code is suicidal. If practiced completely, our race would become extinct. And it might still but for a counter force that is rational: NAP. That is the unofficial moral code. And that is what we owe our progress to. When that becomes general knowledge and coercion is abandoned, our species will not self destruct.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        Don, your assumption that mankind is more rational than emotional would be hard to proove. I am not arguing that some aspects of nataural moral law would not be a practical means to help people live amongst each other. What I am stating is the obvious fact that NAP has no reality outside our minds. Power on the other hand is demonstratively real with often serious consequences for trying to ignore it unlike NAP. To live our lives noncoercively would probably be wonderful, but it would be dependant upon everyone doing so. In the real world those who ignore NAP would run roughshod over those trying to live non-coercively. They do now. I think freedom can only be found in the balance of power brought about by an armed populace who are willing to use violence if needed.
        By the way, libertarians are constantly talking about morality. Their meaning is like yours but quite different than most people’s definition. My brother points out that morality is a religious concept. Some folks look at it as a social construct embodied in our laws and social conventions. With such a wide diversity of definitions, morality seems like a poor way for libs to influence folks. Lets try pragmatism instead. The free market works. Individual liberty seems to be a desire for nearly all humans. Lets use these and similar arguments rather than some amorphous NAP that most practical people laugh at. Believe me, coercion will never be abandoned. Balance of power is the best we can hope for until we can become space entities and isolate ourselves.

  12. Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

    Non-aggression does not mean non-violence. NAP is not pacifism. It does not preclude violent self defense.

    Ideas move the world. Bad ones destroy it. Hierarchies require violent support. But that support would not be possible without the sanction of the victim. Faith in a system of rulers/ruled enforced by violence is what gives government its moral support. Without that moral support, governments fall. But faith in the idea of government, the promise of govt. to protect remains. So, while the faces change, the irrational belief (faith) keeps the illusion alive. NAP challenges the common virtue of sacrificing the individual (a concrete) to an unreal abstract ideal of “the common good”. So when a person who does not share the common delusion of altruism hears a statist justify coercion, he laughs. He has a different moral code, and it is practical, without coercion. It is not based on the authoritarian religious code which goes against human nature. All power comes from rational ideas. Irrational ideas result in death and destruction. A mixture of rational and irrational ideas have been the norm. For example, NAP versus coercion. They are mutually exclusive, i.e., one creates, one destroys. Voluntarism creates, coercion destroys. Some people will always use coercion. When an entire society uses it, that culture dies. For example, technology is used to coerce. But coercion did not create technology. It cannot create. Technology is the creation of free minds. That is why North Korea is poor. And the less enslaved nations have more wealth.

    • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

      Excellent comment, Don! You’ve got a good handle on it.

    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      Don, you make many excellent points which I largely agree with in a general sense. I just realize that it is totally impractical to promote the non-aggression principle for there are times that aggression is necessary. One can posit that such times are really proactive self defense, but I see that as splitting hairs. I just accept that violence is part of the human psyche and always will be. Statists use it as a tool of oppression, but free men can use it as a tool of liberation. Since the statists definitely have it in their toolbox, I think it counterproductive for free minded people to reject it out of hand thus handing victory to the statists on a silver platter. Violence works because people are afraid and will usually submit rather than fight a battle they realize they are unlikely to win. Keeping aggression in the toolbox of liberty gives freeminded folks a sense of possible victory not likely without such violence.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        Historically, the concept of aggression, i.e., violence, i.e., force, i.e., coercion, contained no distinction between initiation and retaliation. Making that distinction is not “splitting hairs”, but essential to the concept of voluntarism.

        The NAP is rooted in the nature of humankind. Aggression is not. NAP works because it reinforces/encourages cooperation and friendly, constructive competition. Aggression creates fear (as you noted) and submission. Submission promotes resentment and passive resistance. Submission by superior force requires constant maintenance and non-productive energy. That is why is was replaced by indirect force, i.e., fraud. Fraud is less expensive but still not productive overall. It is unsustainable. It is parasitic. It destroys the host. Force can command physical compliance but not psychological acceptance. Indirect force (fraud) induces psychological compliance, but is unstable because it short-circuits the rational process. It is lying. It is misrepresentation of reality. It induces resentment, anger, and rebellion.

        When people interact by peaceful means reason is their means of persuasion. Since we are rational beings no fundamental conflicts arise. All conflict is due to miscommunication and ignorance. This is temporary and correctable. Interaction is win-win overall, unlike the win-lose relationship of rulers/ruled.

  13. Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

    I really do not understand how anyone could consider NAP as being rooted in human nature, much less that aggression is not! Look at little kids playing if you wish to see natural aggression at work. Check out how aggressive young males with high testosterone counts usually are. There is a lot of conjecture amongst psychologists as to how much or how little humans think rationally. Most evidence right now tends to show most humans as being very emotive using “rational” arguements to bolster their emotional responses.
    NAP could work in a society where the vast majority believed in it and tried to practice it, like libertarians. It won’t work in most societies where most people don’t think very well and react with the natural aggression that we humans have practiced for many thousands of generations with great success. Sure, voluntary cooperation is often better than coerced cooperation for the society, but not for the ruling elite. No matter what you do they will not stop using violence as their ultimate enforcement tool. To get rid of them and keep them at bay free men need to be psychologically prepared to use violence as needful. In all human history violence has been shown to work. Itawill not go away just to please the sensibilitiles of a few libertarians.
    Your idea that peaceful people use reason to persuade is circular. It assumes being peaceful is reasonable. That “ain’t necessarily so”. Just like in football, the best defense is often a good offense. Those who practice killing their enemies may develop more enemies, but are not concerned by those they already killed. Look at history and find that the most ruthless in almost any endeavor are the most successful. I do not like it, but that is reality.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      Fritz: You refute me with: “…little kids playing…natural aggression at work.”
      Golding in “The Lord of the Flies” makes your argument with even older kids. I wrote a term paper on the book. His argument was that less than one world govt. results in the chaos of gang warfare. Of course, we see the chaos of a police state is no better than the chaos of a local gang, except the smaller gang is easier to defend against.

      Can you prove the aggression is natural? Are toddlers blank slates? Or have they been influenced by adults/older siblings? Can early behavior be permanently instilled? Or are we born violent or passive, with the violent ones becoming the rulers? That is what you seem to be saying.

      I attribute all progress to non-violence. I gave psychological explanations for my observations of common day-day living/wealth creating. I contrasted that against the hierarchical-violent system. You did not address my examples. Instead, you claim that the elite will not stop using violence, and they must be defeated with violence. Why? For, a new ruling elite? Ruling elites have been defeated over and over thousands of times, and nothing fundamental changed.

      Larken Rose has pointed out that the elite do not have strength of numbers and rely on public support. Ayn Rand attributed the power of the rulers comes from ignorance or cowardly subservience and called it “the sanction of the victim”. See: Etienne De La Boetie: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, 1548. Or read H.D. Thoreau. Or Gene Sharp.

      You conclude by stating “that the most ruthless”…”are the most successful”. Let’s look at recent history and see how the top three biggest killers did.1.Mao killed about 150 million citizens. Was that “successful” in producing material well being, or only a hierarchical, subservient, society? 2. Stalin killed about 100 million and created a socialist monopoly. It was unsustainable. 3. Hitler killed about 20 million and would have been assassinated because he was so ruthless he was seen by all around him as mentally unstable. He is shown in the documentaries as inspiring god-like reverence. That did not last. It seldom does.

      Aggression can only end in destruction, even when everyone supports it.A non violent society has never existed. But the less violent societies have progressed more than the more violent ones. For example, in the 1800s the non-slave states were more prosperous. And the East Berliners had to be kept in with a wall because they wanted material wealth found in a freer West Berlin.

      When you and the masses face the reality that aggression is immoral and impractical, we can all get on with the business of living in a free society.

      • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

        Don, I am sorry if I have not taken the time to try to refute each point you make. I usually am a bit rushed for time andthus try to make my basic points and probably gloss over some things I should pay more attention to.
        Perhaps part of our disagreement has to do with definition of terms. What is “successful”? I am using it in its more common parlance of the society around you considering you a “winner”. I would tend to agree with you that people like Hitler or Stalin were monsters. Nevertheless history considers them “great” men. They certainly had huge influence upon their worlds. We remember people like Ghangis Khan or Alexander the Great even though they were not productive and were only good at destruction. In a more general sense ruthlessness is associated with success in business, athletics, and any area where competition is important. I think this is true partly because we humans, especially males, are genetically wired for aggression (testosterone is definitely associated with aggressiveness). It also reflects the reality that very often aggressiveness gives one the advantage. For example, in a fight the first punch usually “wins” or places the recipient at such a disadvantage that he never recovers.
        The “proof” that aggression is natural lies physiologically with response to testosterone and probably other hormones I am less familiar with. The young child is as close to a blank slate as we are liable to get, so I tend to see their aggressiveness as natural. The fact that humans all over the world like violence in their entertainment is a good data towards the conclusion that aggression is natural. I could go on, but you already know the general idea. You obviously do not accept it. It is a case of two men seeing the same data and drawing dlifferent conclusions. We may be both subconsciously advocationg our positions partly out of bias from our own life experiences. I worked in very physical construction for about 45 years. I was a jock. My father was 36 and 0 in the ring and was for a short time a strongarm boy for the mob. All of this and more tell me that life is physical. In the physical world at least, aggression pays off for the individual if not for his society. Historically ruthlessness got individuals what they wanted a lot more than being a nice guy. I prefer being a nice guy, but I see where that has hurt me a lot over the years. I likely will die young partly because my lack of ruthlessness has kept me poor.
        I think you are incorrect in stipulating that the less violent societies have been more successful, but perhaps I am using a different definition of success than you do. In materiel wealth the USA is probably the most successful society in history. Yet it is hugely aggressive and has been for most of its existence. It started in a revolutionary war, had innumerable battles and wars with the Indians, fought a super bloody civil war to supress the states right to suceed, and during the Soviet era fought worldwide in over 50 conflicts. It continues today to aggress all over the world. Now China is flexing its military muscles as it increases its materiel wealth. No, I’d have to say that aggression does not preclude materiel success. I have seen it postulated that war brings on scientific advancement and thus materiel wealth. I would say that there is a huge cost for such wealth, but historically it seems accurate that war focuses the minds of men and promotes some types of physical advancement.
        You use the example of East Berliners being walled in to prevent them going to the freer places. But that has little to do with being less aggressive. The more free market societies had a huge advantage over the socialist ones because of individual incentive which is tied to human aggressiveness and greed.
        I kind of agreee with Rand about the “sanction of the victim”, but most humans are fearful for often rational reasons. A government does not need to control all the people, just those who dare stand up. Look what happened to Bradley Manning or even Snowden for daring to tell the truth. What rational person wishes to pay that price?
        Since most people, myself included, do not care anything about libertarian morality, the fact that libs consider aggression immoral is a non-starter. I think history and daily life show that aggression often pays off handsomely for the individual and is thus quite practical. so getting on with the business of living in a free society will require being able to deal with constant potential violence. To get there will probably require lots of aggressive violence. I say accept that we are violent by nature, but we also have a brain to choose when such violence is appropriate. A free society will likely be a balance of potential violence where neighbors have the capacity to kill each other but are balanced in power to do so. They rationally choose to cooperate but keep the option of violence open. Remember that aggression does not preclude cooperation. Intelligence allows us to cooperate despite our violent natures when we percieve it to be in our own self interest.

  14. CKNo Gravatar says:

    Ben, good article. Except….

    This idea sounds like a good plan, but as I have asked people before, from groups such as anarchists, Free Staters, Tea Partiers, etc., “How is this expected to improve ‘things’?” & “How does America and Americans benefit from this?”

    Ok, so we supposedly get rid of corruption. We supposedly get rid of taxes. We get rid of…when you get rid of the government you also get rid of the services the government provides, services that you and I cannot do for ourselves. This brings in private enterprise, which is in itself not any different that government. I can see it becoming much worse, really.

    The government had guidelines and protocols to follow. Right now that doesn’t mean much because even the government ignores those when it feels like it. Why? Because the government has essentially become a private enterprise under the name of the Federal Reserve. But even then you still have some recourse. To an outright private enterprise, it’s not as accountable. “If you don’t like us, you don’t have to do business with us. Take your money elsewhere.” Which can be in some instances used more as an illegal venture than what the government does.

    You really do not do away with the slavery we have now, but you stand a fair chance of making it worse. The haves versus the have-nots. And when you destroy the government, you are, even as non-violent as you make it seem, attacking those that are not as physically wealthy as you, by destroying their primary resource. In some instances this may seem right and justified. Until you are there where they are.

    Without government, what are you expecting to be done to replace those services? You do realize that with “government property”, you have access to far more than if it was private. You can hike out into the forest, and camp out and hunt and fish, granted with some restriction such as fishing and hunting licensing, but you can do it if you want. Perhaps not in Iowa or Texas, where there is very little public land for such uses.

    We have the forests, and the deserts, the plains and the mountains and even beaches and (I think) a few islands that the public can access. Through the anarchism you suggest, we lose that. For what benefit? I don’t know about you but I enjoy being able to go drive out into the USFS or BLM lands and camp out without paying fees or “bowing down” to the owner. Is it “bowing down” to anyone? Compared to what it is now, yes. Ok, you pay the user fee to the farmer or rancher, and you go camp out. With far more restriction than you have now. That farmer can tell you what you can and cannot do and have more legal basis than the USFS or BLM have. If that farmer or rancher tells you “no pink tents and any other breed of dog is allowed except for Border Collies”, he can. The USFS and BLM both really don’t care. I know this because I have worked with and for both. Yes I see where they need to make improvements. But I assure you it’s still better than if we didn’t have them.

    Now lets talk about roads. Now they become toll roads. Sure, no licenses on the vehicles or drivers. Or insurance. What value is that? You save money? No restrictions on who can drive or under what conditions? As a volunteer firefighter I have responded to a number of car wrecks. I have seen first hand, and even experienced myself, the damage a drunk driver can cause. With no licensing and no restrictions, no insurances, do you have ANY concept of what comes from that? I am now 100% disabled from a wreck I was in that was caused by a drunk driver. No government means no laws…I presume. No insurance, what does the victim do then? Sue in…what court? And then, how does one pay the doctors bills? It appears you would expect the victim to pay them since there is not insurance requirements. I’m not on welfare Ben, yet I am still indigent. But without having insurance requirements set by the same government you feel we need to get rid of, I would be in a far worse spot than I am now. How is that making anything better except for the drunk that nearly killed me?

    Then, national security. Do you really think that other countries will step back and leave America alone when the government is gone? Please Ben, don’t give me the attitude of “maybe they would if America wasn’t the bully it is now”, because you have good and bad everywhere. When the government goes down, you have at best a minimal means of national defense, and worst we have NO means of keeping other countries from laying claim. We will be then, doing ourselves as our government does now- dealing with countries that quite honestly don’t care what is right or wrong, but with our proverbial hands tied behind our back. They just want what we have here.

    Looking at this from the stand point of the entire planet…last I knew the US has around 286,000,000 people…back in the days of the 13 colonies I think this might be a workable plan- no government. But this is 2013, not 1786.

    I don’t like a lot of the things that’s wrong with our government right now Ben, but I guarantee you we cannot be anywhere near as prosperous or efficient without them. Yes a lot of improvements need to be made in the government. But they are, for the most part, providing services for us that we cannot do for ourselves with far less corruption than what we could and likely would face without them.

    • FritzKneseNo Gravatar says:

      Wow! It is difficult to begin responding to your writing for we are so diametrically oppossed. I guess the simplest way is to point out that freedom lovers will take the risk of using the free market to get the services they need rather than continue the slavery which government puts upon us all. If you wish to live as a slave go ahead. I only object to your trying to enslave us all in the name of socialist efficiency. You wish to sell out MY freedom for your benefit. Fuck you. Your type of “thought” is the enemy of all free men! Whether you realize it or not this is pure evil.

      • CKNo Gravatar says:

        Hmmm. Your response shows me that you either did not read it or you didn’t comprehend what was said.

        I’m not going to waste my time replying to you since you have made it clear that you didn’t read it.

        • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

          I read it again to see if I missed something important. Nope. I stand by what I wrote before. Government does nothing positive that can’t be done by free enterprise better and cheaper. That includes roads, security, and charity for those few unfortunates who can’t make it in a free economy. As for public property, that is a blight not an advantage!!! Harry Browne suggested selling off all public lands to finance paying off the government’s legitimate debts if a libertarian government occured. I agree, but it would be better if put into the hands of the poor first to help make up for the economic slavery we suffer under because of government rules and regs protecting the ruling elite. One example, if privately owned the lands in the west that now burn in huge forest fires would largely be cleaned up and have private roads accessing them that act as firebreaks. There would be innumerable advantages to private ownership. Public ownership simply means the rulers control it all and we peons get stuck with the bills.

  15. CKNo Gravatar says:

    I read you rebuttal, and I don’t see it really answering anything. I will say that the discussion I presented in response to Ben’s article prospered only in a response I get from all three groups mentioned- anarchists, Free Staters and Tea Partiers. In my my response to Ben’s article I never verbally abused anyone, but stated questions. In your second response Fritz you tried to approach those, but I really don’t see much there.

    Which is why my initial response was to Ben. If he wishes to reply, that would be nice. Otherwise I really have no interest in more vulgarity and insults. No it’s not much from you so far Fritz, but I didn’t respond for that.

    I would think that if anarchists, Free Staters and Tea Partiers were to try working with & educating the unknowing and help educate the unknowing, like (I presume) myself, on the party reasoning, they may find more allies than they have now.

    • CKNo Gravatar says:

      Yes, I typoed big time in that post, but it still holds true.

    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      I think the real reason you do not respond is that socialist BS is pretty indefensible to those who question it from a standpoint of individualism. I do hope you and others will come to see the asininity of the socialist position, but I fear in your case it is a lost cause for you are really in the deep end. Anarchism is about ending government interference in our lives. Your original post was promoting it.

  16. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    According to Ben, the win condition of liberty is to remove the religion of the state from the mind of the average guy. The idea of a Lego Brigade that cheats money out of the government, frees political prisoners, and tries to oppose the government secretly and indirectly, none of this aims at the real target. I have a blog entry at ate-while.html where I explain this in detail.