Tag Archives: Soldier

Thoughts about the current NFL/protest situation.

I’m glad I genuinely don’t give a shit about the NFL situation right now. By “not giving a shit”, I mean not getting angry about the whole situation. I have my opinions about the whole situation, but I’m not as angry about it as it seems like everyone else is.

In fact, I actually find myself siding more with the players. I’m not going to preach at anyone, but raising awareness about police brutality should not be an issue. It especially shouldn’t be an issue if your problem with it comes from the fact that people aren’t obeying ridiculous customs towards a piece of cloth and a song. You had family that died. That’s tragic. But if you say that person died “protecting our freedoms”, why are you getting mad when anyone exercises those freedoms? I can understand that you want people to show respect to those that died believing they were protecting freedoms (whether or not they were is a separate issue). But what freedoms are being defended if people can’t take a knee during the national anthem? Or keeping their hat on? Once again, I get the whole “respect” thing, but you have to see the point that dying for freedoms is pointless if people can’t exercise them. And yes, I know, “You have the freedom to complain about people kneeling”. But I’m going to side with people raising awareness about police brutality more than I’m going to side with people who unquestioningly worship the American flag and support American soldiers, no matter how unjust their involvements may be. If you always believe that the soldiers from your country are always doing good things in the world, and are always commanded to do good things in the world, you have a very naive way of looking at the world. And for that, I side with the players. Their cause makes a HELLUVA lot more sense.

And, besides: Doesn’t the NFL raise awareness for causes? Don’t they wear pink for breast cancer awareness? Why can’t the players raise awareness about police brutality? Especially when your problem with it is that a piece of cloth isn’t being worshiped, and soldiers aren’t being unquestioningly worshiped, even though many of them come back full of guilt for the heinous acts they were “commanded” to commit? If soldiers keep coming back with PTSD because of the violence they either saw happen or committed themselves, maybe we should start asking why they are making the decisions to subject themselves to that in the first place? Why isn’t “protecting the freedoms of Americans” enough for them to avoid the PTSD of witnessing bloodshed? Perhaps that’s the question we should start asking instead of worshiping the stars and bars and those that fight for it.

I like what Adam Kokesh has to say about his service in Iraq. He doesn’t like being “thanked” for his service. Check him out if you’ve never heard of him. He’s got a good perspective about it.

Anarch.

Voluntarism and Capitalism.

Sports.

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Devin Stevens on the pledge of allegiance.

“Instead of the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, we should stand and recite parts of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence from memory.”

See more of Devin’s work here.

Devin Stevens.

Murray Rothbard – Education: Free and Compulsory.

More Murray Rothbard.

Voluntarism and Capitalism.

#CalExit.

Gray hair from a civil/revolutionary war probability. (Gray from tyranny = granny?)

If one doesn’t find enjoyment or pleasure out of trying to eliminate injustices or right wrongs, one should find something else to do that he or she enjoys.

There’s a reason why people who stay at home to watch football on Sundays are happier than those that go to church.

And why does happiness matter? Well, if Heaven is so great, what does that really mean unless it brings one complete joy?

Is Heaven sitting around griping about the gays? Is it a never-ending Bible read? Do they sit around, constantly complaining about how corrupt the young people in Hell are?

The idea that happiness on Earth doesn’t matter spits in the face of the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was a perfect paradise. Doesn’t that mean that Adam and Eve had to be happy? Of course, if they were perfectly content, why did they eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Well, to use an analogy, is it not the case that one can be having a great time, but make a grave mistake that directly affects his or her life negatively forever? Can’t a man, driving to the beach to go on vacation, accidentally strike and kill a child with his car, and thus, spend significant time behind bars?

Of course, Adam and Eve disobeyed a direct commandment. But they did not know just how negatively it was going to affect them, and the rest of the world (for the entirety of its existence). This does not mean that they should not have been punished. One, of course, can lament about “why they [we] were ever doomed to failure”, much like one can lament “why the child ever ran out in front of the car”. But what happened happened. Nothing can change it.

In saying all of this, I am very thankful that I am [no longer] like most religious conservatives. To the religious conservatives, the entire world is a lost cause. All of us sinners are going to Hell (except for the 30 or so that meet in this specific building every Sunday). The rules and regulations to live by to avoid Hell are simply impossible to live by. It is the equivalent of a government with hundreds of thousands of various laws, most of which no citizen really understands (or is even aware of), and many of the rules are so nonsensical that it truly takes a fear of punishment to make one ever even consider abiding by them. You live in constant fear of violating even one of the countless laws, and the government of God will have no mercy on a law-breaker after one dies (which one is never sure of, so this anxiety continues in perpetuity). But the difference between government and God is that, at least to many, an unjust government is possible. But the idea of an unjust GOD is NOT possible to Christians and conservatives.

I am ashamed to admit that I used to BE one of those religious conservatives. My life was anxious and Puritanical seemingly constantly (I was lucky enough to get minor breaks from my own self-torture every now and then). It truly was Hell on Earth. I know you probably won’t believe me, but I was fucking MISERABLE. More miserable that I can describe in this piece (but I discuss it a lot here). But by divine intervention, my life changed completely, and forever. I know how that sounds, because I know how typical conservatives use it. But I can only say that I am being genuine, and it is up to you whether or not you believe me. I understand skepticism. It is warranted (thanks to religious conservatism that I used to be a part of).

It is only by the grace of God that I value my happiness here on Earth. (I understand many will say “Well, I’m not religious, and I value my happiness”, or “But you never would’ve gone through that had you never been introduced to religion in the first place.” I’m not going to debate it here. Agree to disagree? Call me a “dumbass believer” on your own blog?) I may never know why He saved me that Hell, of believing that my suffering somehow created my path to Heaven (thus making me purposefully torture myself psychologically), but I am eternally grateful for it. Clearly, there is a difference between the paradise that Eden was and what happened to the world after the fruit was eaten; a difference between me driving to the beach, and me killing a child with my car accidentally. Me killing a child with the car didn’t create the happiness that I had when I envisioned what the beach was going to be like. Clearly.

I get to experience the goodness of God, without EVER being ABLE to “repay” Him in any way, shape, or form. There is no gift that I can give to the Almighty. I was merely given the gift of eternal life through Christ. And it wasn’t because of anything I did: it was merely because God cares about me.

I think this will, ultimately, be the only thing that keeps me from pulling my hair out when I notice government becoming more and more tyrannical, with, seemingly, not enough people realizing it. I think this will be the only thing to keep me sane if I am unfortunate enough to live through a revolutionary war, or if I am kidnapped by my government. Thankfully, if they kill me, they will have only freed me.

#Calexit (#Brexit, etc.).

From Chapter 5 of Murray Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty – The Libertarian Manifesto” (1978) entitled “Involuntary Servitude”

If there is anything a libertarian must be squarely and totally against, it is involuntary servitude—forced labor—an act which denies the most elemental right of self-ownership. “Liberty” and “slavery” have ever been recognized to be polar opposites. The libertarian, therefore, is totally opposed to slavery.1 An academic question nowadays, one might object? But is it really? For what is slavery but (a) forcing people to work at tasks the slavemaster wishes, and (b) paying them either pure subsistence or, at any rate, less than the slave would have accepted voluntarily. In sort, forced labor at below free-market wages.

1There is one exception: the punishment of criminals who had themselves aggressed against or enslaved their victims. Such punishment in a libertarian system would at least involve forcing the criminal to work in order to pay restitution to his victim.

Thus, are we really free of “slavery,” of involuntary servitude in present-day America? Is the prohibition against involuntary servitude of the Thirteenth Amendment really being obeyed?2

2Significantly, the Thirteenth Amendment’s only exception is the punishment of convicted criminals mentioned in the previous note: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Conscription

Surely, for one example, there can be no more blatant case of involuntary servitude than our entire system of conscription. Every youth is forced to register with the selective service system when he turns eighteen. He is compelled to carry his draft card at all times, and, at whatever time the federal government deems fit, he is seized by the authorities and inducted into the armed forces. There his body and will are no longer his own; he is subject to the dictates of the government; and he can be forced to kill and to place his own life in jeopardy if the authorities so decree. What else is involuntary servitude if not the draft?

The utilitarian aspect permeates the argument for the conscription system. Thus the government uses the argument: Who will defend us against foreign attack if we do not employ coercion and conscript our defenders? There are several rebuttals for a libertarian to make to this line of reasoning. In the first place, if you and I and our next-door neighbor think that we need defending, we have no moral right to use coercion—the bayonet or the revolver—to force someone else to defend us. This act of conscripting is just as much a deed of unjustifiable aggression—of kidnapping and possibly murder—as the alleged aggression we are trying to guard ourselves against in the first place. If we add that the draftees owe their bodies and their lives, if necessary, to “society” or to “their country,” then we must retort: Who is this “society” or this “country” that is being used as a talisman to justify enslavement? It is simply all individuals in the territorial area except the youths being conscripted. “Society” and “country” are in this case mythical abstractions that are being used to cloak the naked use of coercion to promote the interests of specific individuals.

Secondly, to move to the utilitarian plane, why is it considered necessary to conscript defenders? No one is conscripted on the free market, yet on that market people obtain, through voluntary purchase and sale, every conceivable manner of goods and services, even the most necessary ones. On the market, people can and do obtain food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc. Why can’t they hire defenders as well? Indeed, there are plenty of people being hired every day to perform dangerous services: forest firefighters, rangers, test pilots, and. . .  police and private guards and watchmen. Why can’t soldiers be hired in the same way?

Or, to put it another way, the government employs countless thousands of people for all sorts of services, from truck drivers to scientists to typists; how is it that none of these people have to be conscripted? Why is there no “shortage” of these occupations to supposedly force the government to resort to compulsion to obtain them? To go a step further, even within the army there is no “shortage” of officers and no need to draft them; no one conscripts generals or admirals. The answer to these questions is simple: there is no shortage of government typists because the government goes out on the market and hires them at the market wage; there is no shortage of generals because they are paid handsomely, in salaries, perquisites, and pensions. There is a shortage of buck privates because their pay is—or was, until very recently— abysmally below the market wage. For years, even including the monetary value of the free food, shelter, and other services supplied the GIs, the earnings of the buck private were something like one-half the salary he could have earned in civilian life. Is it any wonder that there has been a chronic shortage of enlistees? For years it has been known that the way to induce people to volunteer for hazardous jobs is to pay them extra as a compensation. But the government has been paying the men half of what they could earn in private life.3

3Cf. James C. Miller III, ed., Why the Draft? (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1968).

There is also the special disgrace of the doctors’ draft, in which physicians are subject to the draft at ages far beyond anyone else. Are doctors, then, to be penalized for their entry into the profession of medicine? What is the moral justification for onerous burdens placed on this particular, and vitally important, profession? Is this the way to cure the shortage of doctors—to put every man on notice that if he becomes a physician he will be sure to be drafted, and at a specially late age? Once again, the armed forces’ need for doctors could easily be satisfied if the government were willing to pay physicians the market salary, plus enough to compensate them for the hazardous labor. If the government wishes to hire nuclear physicists or “think-tank” strategists, it finds ways of doing so at extremely handsome salaries. Are doctors lower forms of humanity?

The Army

While conscription into the armed forces is a blatant and aggravated form of involuntary servitude, there is another, far more subtle and therefore less detectable form: the structure of the army itself. Consider this: in what other occupation in the country are there severe penalties, including prison and in some cases execution, for “desertion,” i.e., for quitting the particular employment? If someone quits General Motors, is he shot at sunrise?

It might be objected that, in the case of enlistees, the soldier or officer has voluntarily agreed to serve for a certain term, and he is therefore obligated to continue in service for that term of years. But the whole concept of “term of service” is part of the problem. Suppose, for example, that an engineer signs a contract with ARAMCO to serve for three years in Saudi Arabia. After a few months he decides that the life is not for him and he quits. This may well be a moral default on his part—a breach of moral obligation. But is it a legally enforceable obligation? In short, can he or should he be forced by the monopoly of weaponry of government to keep working for the remainder of his term? If so, that would be forced labor and enslavement. For while it is true that he made a promise of future work, his body continues, in a free society, to be owned by himself alone. In practice and in libertarian theory as well, then, the engineer might be morally criticized for the breach, he may be blacklisted by other oil firms, he may be forced to return any advance pay tendered to him by the company, but he will not be enslaved to ARAMCO for the three-year period.

But if this is true of ARAMCO, or of any other occupation or job in private life, why should it be different in the army? If a man signs up for seven years and then quits, he should be allowed to leave. He will lose pension rights, he will be morally criticized, he may be blacklisted from similar occupations, but he cannot, as a self-owner, be enslaved against his will.

It may be protested that the armed forces is a peculiarly important occupation that needs this sort of coercive sanction that other jobs do not have. Setting aside the importance of such occupations as medicine, agriculture and transportation that need not resort to such methods, let us consider a comparable defense occupation in civilian life—the police. Surely the police perform an equally, and perhaps more vital, service—and yet every year people join the police and quit the force, and there is no coercive attempt to bind their labor through years of enlistment. In addition to demanding the end of conscription, then, the libertarian also proposes to do away with the entire concept of a term of enlistment and the practice of slavery this implies. Let the armed forces operate in ways similar to police, firemen, rangers, private guards, etc.—free of the blight and the moral crime of involuntary servitude.

But there is more to be said about the army as an institution, even if it were made completely voluntary. Americans have almost totally forgotten one of the noblest and strongest elements in the original America heritage: determined opposition to the entire institution of a “standing army.” A government that has a permanent standing army at its disposal will always be tempted to use it, and to use it in an aggressive, interventionist, and warlike manner. While foreign policy will be dealt with below, it is clear that a permanent army is a standing temptation to the State to enlarge its power, to push around other people as well as other countries, and to dominate  the internal life of the nation. The original aim of the Jeffersonian movement—a largely libertarian factor in political life—was to abolish the standing army and navy altogether. The original American principle was that if the nation attacked, then the citizens would hasten to join to repell the invader. A standing armed force, then, could only lead to trouble and to the aggrandizement of State power. In the course of his trenchant and prophetic attack on the proposed Constitution in the Virginia ratifying convention, Patrick Henry warned of a standing army: “Congress, by the power of taxation, by that of raising an army, and by their control over the militia, have the sword in one hand, and the purse in the other. Shall we be safe without either?”4

4Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr., The Civilian and the Military (New York: Oxford Universitiy Press, 1956), p. 28. For a trenchant attack by a Jeffersonian theorist on the American executive as a commander-in-chief of the armed forces, see John Taylor of Caroline, An Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States (1814, rep. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950), pp. 175ff. On the important influence of seventeenth-century English libertarian theorists and their hostility to a standing army upon the American Revolution, see Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological  Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967), pp. 61-64. Also see Don Higgenbotham, The War of American Independence (New York: Macmillan, 1971), pp. 14-16.

Any standing army, then, poses a standing threat to liberty. Its monopoly of coercive weapons, its modern tendency toward creating and supporting a “military-industrial complex” to supply that army, and last, but not least, as Patrick Henry notes, the taxing power to finance that army, pose a continuing threat of the army’s perpetual expansion in size and power. Any tax-supported institution, of course, is opposed by the libertarian as coercive, but an army is uniquely menacing for its amassing and collecting into one set of hands the massive power of modern weaponry.

PDF available here.

Devin Stevens (aged 27) on millennials.

“Only last year did I learn what ‘millennial’ meant. A person growing up in the late 1900’s and into the 21st century who generally has no sense of love, hard work, or integrity. I, along with many others, fall into that timeline. So we must be worthless human beings.

Ah yes, arrogant old men. God knows how important you are to history. Having power, wealth, and religious influence, we foolish children just stand no chance. But then, why should we really respect you if you have nothing better to do with yourself than lament how godless this generation is? My parents taught me love and respect; they never dreamed about WW2 all day to where they did nothing for their youth.

And besides, what if the Baby Boomer generation just didn’t raise us kids right, and that’s how we’ve ended up as unbalanced as we are? Are you elders really the only ones who care about anyone? But then, if you really did, you’d have more faith in us. Treat us with respect and we young folk will look up to you more.”

The World According to Devin Stevens.

Devin Stevens Presents Literature.

Vex not Thou the Poet’s Mind.

Sit Down for a Second.

Patchwork of the Mind: 16 Short Stories by Devin Stevens on Amazon.

Logic > conservatism.

Violent video games desensitize people to violence. But by God, we need to go bomb them foreigners! And all of that other violent media: just desensitizes people to violence. But by God, I’ll go over there and kill every goddamn one of them if I HAVE to!”

Logic.

Christianity.

Liberal.

Fem.

Economics.

Voluntarism and Capitalism.

Anarch.

Politic.

War.

The parts of Human Action by Mises that I most intimately relate to (updated as I currently read and find more things to add).

1. “It is vain to object that life and reality are not logical. Life and reality are neither logical nor illogical; they are simply given. But logic is the only tool available to man for the comprehension of both. It is vain to object that life and history are inscrutable and ineffable and that human reason can never penetrate to their inner core. The critics contradict themselves in uttering words about the ineffable and expounding theories—of course, spurious theories—about the unfathomable. There are many things beyond the reach of the human mind. But as far as man is able to attain any knowledge, however limited, he can use only one avenue of approach, that opened by reason.”

2. “The revolt against reason, the characteristic mental attitude of our age, was not caused by a lack of modesty, caution, and self-examination on the part of the philosophers. Neither was it due to failures in the evolution of modern natural science. The amazing achievements of technology and therapeutics speak a language which nobody can ignore. It is hopeless to attack modern science, whether from the angle of intuitionism and mysticism, or from any other point of view. The revolt against reason was directed against another target. It did not aim at the natural sciences, but at economics. The attack against the natural sciences was only the logically necessary outcome of the attack against economics. It was impermissible to dethrone reason in one field only and not to question it in other branches of knowledge also.

The great upheaval was born out of the historical situation existing in the middle of the nineteenth century. The economists had entirely demolished the fantastic delusions of the socialist utopians. The deficiencies of the classical system prevented them from comprehending why every socialist plan must be unrealizable; but they knew enough to demonstrate the futility of all socialist schemes produced up to their time. The communist ideas were done for. The socialists were absolutely unable to raise any objection to the devastating criticism of their schemes and to advance any argument in their favor. It seemed as if socialism was dead forever.

Only one way could lead the socialists out of this impasse. They could attack logic and reason and substitute mystical intuition for ratiocination. It was the historical role of Karl Marx to propose this solution.”

3. “There was still the main obstacle to overcome: the devastating criticism of the economists. Marx had a solution at hand. Human reason, he asserted, is constitutionally unfitted to find truth. The logical structure of mind is different with various social classes. There is no such thing as a universally valid logic. What mind produces can never be anything but ‘ideology,’ that is, in the Marxian terminology, a set of ideas disguising the selfish interests of the thinker’s own social class. Hence, the ‘bourgeois’ mind of the economists is utterly incapable of producing more than an apology for capitalism. The teachings of ‘bourgeois’ science, an offshoot of ‘bourgeois’ logic, are of no avail for the proletarians, the rising class destined to abolish all classes and to convert the earth into a Garden of Eden.”

4. “It is certain that many intellectuals envy the higher income of prosperous businessmen and that these feelings drive them toward socialism. They believe that the authorities of a socialist commonwealth would pay them higher salaries than those that they earn under capitalism.”

5. “Sometimes a superficial observer may believe that labor performed by other people gives rise to immediate gratification because he himself would like to engage in a kind of play which apparently imitates the kind of labor concerned. As children play school, soldiers, and railroad, so adults too would like to play this and that. They think that the railroad engineer must enjoy operating and steering his engine as much as they would if they were permitted to toy with it.
On his hurried way to the office the bookkeeper envies the patrolman who, he thinks, is paid for leisurely strolling around his beat. But the patrolman envies the bookkeeper who, sitting on a comfortable chair in a well-heated room, makes money by some scribbling which cannot seriously be called labor. Yet the opinions of people who misinterpret other people’s work and consider it a mere pastime need not be taken seriously.”

6. The Creative Genius: Far above the millions that come and pass away tower the pioneers, the men whose deeds and ideas cut out new paths for mankind. For the pioneering genius¹² to create is the essence of life. To live means for him to create. The activities of these prodigious men cannot be fully subsumed under the praxeological concept of labor. They are not labor because they are for the genius not means, but ends in themselves. He lives in creating and inventing. For him there is not leisure, only intermissions of temporary sterility and frustration. His incentive is not the desire to bring about a result, but the act of producing it. The accomplishment gratifies him neither mediately nor immediately. It does not gratify him mediately because his fellow men at best are unconcerned about it, more often even greet it with taunts, sneers, and persecution. Many a genius could have used his gifts to render his life agreeable and joyful; he did not even consider such a possibility and chose the thorny path without hesitation. The genius wants to accomplish what he considers his mission, even if he knows that he moves toward his own disaster. Neither does the genius derive immediate gratification from his creative activities. Creating is for him agony and torment, a ceaseless excruciating struggle against internal and external obstacles; it consumes and crushes him.

¹²Leaders [Fürhrers] are not pioneers. They guide people along the tracks pioneers have laid. The pioneer clears a road through land hitherto inaccessible and may not care whether or not anybody wants to go the new way. The leader directs people toward the goal they want to reach.”

7. “Neither society nor single individuals can substantially further the genius and his work.”

8. “Men cannot improve the natural and social conditions which bring about the creator and his creation. It is impossible to rear geniuses by eugenics, to train them by schooling, or to organize their activities. But, of course, one can organize society in such a way that no room is left for pioneers and their path-breaking.”

9. “He who interprets might as physical or ‘real’ power to carry on and considers violent action as the very foundation of government, sees conditions from the narrow point of view of subordinate officers in charge of sections of an army or police force. To these subordinates a definite task within the framework of the ruling ideology is assigned. Their chiefs commit to their care troops which are not only equipped, armed, and organized for combat, but no less imbued with the spirit which makes them obey the orders issued. The commanders of such subdivisions consider this moral factor a matter of course because they themselves are animated by the same spirit and cannot even imagine a different ideology. The power of an ideology consists precisely in the fact that people submit to it without any wavering and scruples.

However, things are different for the head of the government. He must aim at preservation of the morale of the armed forces and of the loyalty of the rest of the population. For these moral factors are the only ‘real’ elements upon which continuance of his mastery rests. His power dwindles if the ideology that supports it loses force.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Logic.

Intelligence.

Insightful.

Economics.

Politics.

Mises.

Libertarianism and Capitalism.

Genius.