A Conservative

A Conservative.

WHY I AM ONE

The bizarre bohemian bilge that plagues conventionally left-wing schools of thought, whether from Marx or Rawls or Chomsky, is just not for me. For the most part anyways. Since I’ve become more (this is an understatement; I have gone much farther than, say, Glenn Beck) of a libertarian (a classical liberal while socialists are usually just reverse reactionaries), I’ve learned to make some exceptions. This has tended to be more on the level of semi-reluctant tolerance than on that of open-armed embrace. Continue reading

Comments Related to Tucker/Wenzel Feud (Hint: ©)

Comments Related to Tucker/Wenzel Feud (Hint: ©).

The feud has to do with their respective stances on intellectual property, but seems to have spilled over into very petty nitpickery of late. Tucker criticizes IP as monopolistic. Wenzel defends it as no different than private property. I think that economics* and Natural Law Theory are on Tucker’s side and that Wenzel, like most anyone on at least one issue, has his blinders on. In a related debate between Kinsella and Wenzel, I see the same thing going on. My comments touch on this a little, but also briefly on the distinctions between Anti-IP Natural Law anarchists (Tucker, Kinsella, Hoppe), Pro-IP Natural Law anarchists (Rothbard and Wenzel), and certain minarcists (in this specific case, the Theonomist, Gary North, but for other minarchists that support IP, look to the Objectivist school of Ayn Rand, and for minarchists that despise IP, start with this wonderful article), as well as the similarity between Rothbard’s “Pro-IP” views and certain later Rothbardians’ “Anti-IP” views. This similarity resides in their agreement that the human will trumps contracts. So, technically, even Rothbard was Anti-IP where enforcement of copyrights as contracts amounted to “voluntary slavery.”

Continue reading

Patriotism versus Nationalism (versus Internationalism?)

Patriotism versus Nationalism (versus Internationalism?).

Also syndicated here.

Patriotism to me can be a love for the place where one lives, which need not necessarily exhibit irrational feelings of superiority or inherent exceptionalism. It also can mean a love for the exceptionalism (which may be incidental or dependent on factors other than race and geography) of a culture, often within geographical confines. It can extend to a willingness to die to preserve the place or the ideas in question. Patriotism can manifest itself in both agreement and dissent.

Nationalism, on the other hand, is blind love for a specific geographical or racial entity for irrational reasons, such as perceived inherent superiority or traditional feuding. Most often it is manifested in a subtle form of groupthink, the consequences of not conforming to include: ostracism, ridicule, bigotry, prohibitions of expressions of culture or language, and even confiscation of property. In extreme forms, and much less subtle, overt violence and genocide. It is often mixed with or perhaps intentionally covered by higher ideals. Democracy. Social justice. Equality. Brotherhood. Humanity. Liberty. To this extent is has an appeal with both the base and the virtuous, and is thus pervasive and not even all those who hold some of the views (for very few hold all of them) realize where they originate, or what their intended purposes are in the form they are presented.

Both ideas rest on that of taste. One acknowledges it as a personal preference and in relations with others it either defends from attacks (ideally not overreacting) or promotes its underlying ideas through persuasion and not force, and the other (according to its own idealism, though not always according to the practice of its leaders) seeks to foist it equally upon all (assuming, of course, you are one of the ones it suffers to live), the consequences and human rights be damned.

According to these definitions, which are my own but not too far distant from how they are defined by others, individual persons and conventions of persons, experts in fields and students of ideas, nationalism is very much the more problematic of the two.

And if you break it down further this is true for two reasons. One is the way it treats outsiders (geographical foreigners, ethnic inferiors, and so on). The other is the way it treats its own. Eliminating nationalism and replacing it with a generic internationalism (some would call this world government) only eradicates the first problem in the best case scenario. A highly decentralized internationalism (some would call this globalization) would go a long way towards reducing, and in some cases eliminating, both problems.

Amongst those that agree that globalization (even those afraid to use the word for fear of being associated with, or who recognize that the word has been misused by; those who either openly embrace, or whose proposals and ideas in some way perpetuate; world government) is a good idea, there is some disagreement about the way to go about it. I won’t go into arguments for or against (uni/bi/multi)lateral/free/managed trade or international law as it pertains to evident violations of human rights or other controversial subjects with well meaning and intelligent individuals on either side of the argument. I would instead like to delineate between potent attempts at world government and relatively impotent (but still menacing in their own right) attempts.

In the first category (potent) I would put imperialism, where it should be obvious that internationalism is in fact just nationalism applied to the world stage. Attempts such as this never fully succeed (partly because they may not really be conscious of what they are doing, or if they are, may have different goals in mind than that of tyrannizing the globe) in subjugating the entire world, but are potent in the sense that they cause much suffering and disorder and do so under a gradually increasing authority (in terms of both power and geography).

Also there is mercantilism. This often goes hand in hand with imperialism. Sometimes they have the same origin. Other times they just “benefit” from each other. And still there may be some combination thereof. In a sense, aspects of it have been practiced by every “traditional” empire going back to the Sumerians, but not until the rise of the modern, benevolent, humanitarian nations did it come into its own. France, Britain, the United States. And though not “true” mercantlism in the sense of application to one nation, several aspects of it have been incorporated into the cooperative efforts of the civilized nations (treaties and alliances; NATO being a prime example, the IMF another).

I wouldn’t even rule transnational corporations (in some instances being creations of, though not always faithful servants to, the state) and Non-Government Organizations out of having at least a small part in this category (potent attempts at world government), but at the present I would like to refrain from theorizing about possible conspiracies.

In the second category (impotent) I would put such things as failed attempts at international cooperation. Take the League of Nations or the United Nations. I do not deny that they were/are to be feared. But the reason has more to do with the stupidity and inefficiency of bureaucracy than it does the greed or violence of imperialism. But more than that it is not so much the bodies themselves that should be of concern, but rather the ways they may be used by the member nations in their imperialistic and mercantilistic endeavors. 

Things such as the World Trade Organization I would have a hard time categorizing. Besides, as I said, I do not wish to formulate arguments on the issue of trade nor delve into conspiracy theories.

New Discovery: Jacques Delacroix (I had not read his piece in its entirety until moments ago, so I hope no one thinks I wrote this as some sort of response to it) goes into all of this as well (I had no idea until, for the purpose of seeing what others had to say on the subject I did a search for “WTO” on my friend Brandon Christensen’s blog), but is far less charitable to these types than I am (I think mirroring his overall more establishmentarian variant of libertarianism).

Anyways, at this stage I am not a flag burner. But neither am I a flag worshipper. At the present, this one will do:

File:Flag of Montana 1905.svg

An Open Challenge to Barry Germansky

An Open Challenge to Barry Germansky.

He is a technocrat, a legal positivist, a utopian, a totalitarian, a nihilist, a Canadian, and a socialist.

I stand by those words.

He’s denied the label technocrat already, and I suppose that’s not what he “is”, its just a likely outcome of some of his ideas. It is worth noting that experts should certainly govern their own fields and fields have their own terminology and their own rules. It does not follow, however that their is a strict separation from the other sectors, spheres, and fields, nor that the rules and terminologies by which they are governed are wholly, or even mostly unrelated to those that govern other sectors, spheres, and fields.

Legal Positivism is the best description and the easiest to prove besides Canadian.

Utopianism and Totalitarianism are not really a subjective terms, but I suppose there are nuances.

Nihilism is the hardest charge to make stick, so I am willing to modify it to moral relativism, but that aspect of things is not my primary focus.

Canadian was sort of a nationalistic dig on my part, but I don’t harbor any ill-will towards my brethren to the North, I just like to give them a hard time.

And Socialist, much like technocrat, is not necessarily what he portends to be, but just another outcome of his political philosophy.

I’ve noticed an uptick in the hits on this piece, as well as related posts, and have been paying attention to the search terms. I really hope Barry drops by one of these days and attempts to refute an attempted refutation. I do always enjoy picking his brain and honing my skills. Barry has been one of my better whetstones. It’s nothing personal of course, he has just been one of the most willing to engage and I welcome and encourage that. So if it Barry himself stopping by, I ask him to stay a while and unload his thoughts. Or if it is someone who knows Barry, I ask you to pass this challenge along. We could discuss a few things. It doesn’t have to be Ron Paul, the election is over.

Regardless of whether he accepts this challenge or not, and I won’t judge his actions one way or the other, I want him to know I still have a few more things to say to him, as promised. Look for them in the coming days and weeks.

Funding for AXED: the End of Green Starting to Get on Pace

Funding for AXED: the End of Green Starting to Get on Pace.

AXED -- Kicktraq Mini

The project raised $7,492 on Wednesday, moving our average amount needed per day till the end of the project from about $2,500 to about $1,500. We are confident we can raise the $13,599 needed to reach our goal in the next week. If you are reading this on Thanksgiving, and/or plan on shopping till you drop on Black Friday, please save this link to the project somewhere you will see it over the weekend and donate $1, $5, $100, or whatever you can afford. This is an independent, grassroots effort and I can attest to the abilities of all of the individuals involved.

If you have a problem with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, malaria in Africa, bed bugs in major cities, US dependence on foreign oil, United Nations treaties and initiatives, takings of private property, restrictions on your ranching/agricultural and hunting rights, your tax dollars going to waste on the pet projects of special interest groups with an often anti-industrial, anti-economic, anti-autonomy, anti-liberty, and/or anti-human bent, then get involved; this film will not disappoint.

FREE GIVEAWAY PROMOTIONAL, PHASE SIX

Anyone who reblogs this (or related posts) on any blog platform will receive a free copy of the finished product when it arrives (slated for Earth Day 2013). Those using a platform other than WordPress will need to contact me and let me know at hank@axedthemovie.com. I have 20 DVDs to give away and 2 of them have already been claimed. Those that pledge have the chance at additional rewards.

Press Release for AXED: the End of Green

Press Release for AXED: the End of Green.

For Immediate Release

Three Weeks Left in Kickstarter Campaign to Fund AXED: the End of Green, a Film About Counteracting the Effects of Green Radicalism

The Film

Billings, MT – November 8, 2012 – AXED: The End of Green is an innovative new documentary from award-winning independent filmmaker Jeffrey D. King. It is currently in the fundraising stage and has been pledged some $17,282 from 153 backers so far. The team is ramping up their efforts for the final push and Mr. King is enthusiastic that he can reach his $50,000 goal by his November 30th, 1:59 AM EST deadline, especially now that the election is behind us. But not without more help from backers. He will not receive a dime unless the project is fully funded, to $50,000, the minimum needed to produce this film.

The subject has been touched on before, but Jeffrey and his crew maintain that their claim that this film will help effect the end of the green movement should not come as a surprise. While people like Al Gore and Lisa Jackson and things like Solyndra and Climategate have been conservative fodder many times over, these are seen by the makers of AXED as mere branches and blossoms on the tree that is the modern environmental movement. They instead seek to hack deep down to the roots and expose and cut off things at their source. Hence AXED. Not all by themselves, as they hope their film “will serve as a catalyst, a rallying point, for people concerned about abuses by the green movement in both government and the media, as well as to educate those not yet fully aware of what is going on around them. All that is really needed to bring this dangerous movement to its knee’s is a well timed, well placed, and well delivered blow. What better time than now? What better place than here? What better medium than film?” to quote J. D.

The Message

Rather than slosh together a few nature scenes, economic statistics, and interviews, the film will pay attention to quality and detail, which are key to keeping the audience engaged. To this they need the right team, sufficient funding, and a plan both cohesive and comprehensive. But this is just the technical side of things. What are the actual points the film is trying to make? We have asked one member of his marketing team to give us a few of them. Here’s what he has to say:

“The green movement has failed at it’s stated and/or publicly acknowledged objectives. What many of the more sincere ones, who are the bulk of the movement but tend to be low in the ranks – this is a fairly standard arrangement in top-down movements – neglect is that economic growth, private property rights, and bottom-up, decentralized modes of organization and governance are actually all conducive to a healthy, clean environment, and not the other way around as maintained by many on the left. This is even more the case when these things are in combination. The benefits are multiplied. So when their goals are to save the environment and yet they fail exceedingly to do so, in many cases making things worse or creating new problems, no amount of political power they have accrued and policies they have implemented can be cited as evidence in their favor.”

“The green movement has succeeded in co-opting the coercive power of government to achieve specific policies. But these policies do not help the environment, per se. What they accomplish in the main is to tie up resources, tie up jobs, tie up growth, and tie up our liberties. These things are not conducive to helping the environment and so can and often do cancel out the supposed benefits of the policies, if there even were any. Most rank-and-file greens don’t seem to know this. They are well-meaning but easily manipulated. But I honestly think that the higher-ups do know it, yet it remains of little concern to them because their real intentions inevitably have little to do with clean air, clean water, or clean energy. Raw power is their motive. It is a hard thing for those who make it to the top to remain pure, to enact policies that some how don’t increase their power. It is a rare person in such a position that does not seek to use corrupt means to magnify it. I take a few pages from Hayek on this: the worst rise to the top, but also Lord Acton: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

But there is an upside:

“Free Markets work! They are essentially an amalgamation of voluntary exchanges between individuals and groups of individuals. Things that can be exchanged are goods and services, which can include anything and everything that can possibly be traded for something else. Such exchanges would not occur if they were not beneficial to all the parties involved. Not unless coercion or fraud is a factor, but these things would are to be discouraged, prohibited even. Neither of these is present in a consistent free market system, by definition. And just how is such a system conducive to preservation of the environment? Because it is not in anyone’s best interest (in a system which discourages coercion and fraud) to pollute or erode or use up because the consumer will do his business elsewhere, once he realizes how detrimental it is to him in the long run. The facts can not be hidden from him if he has the initiative and faculties to uncover them and seek out alternatives, and there are no state-sanctioned roadblocks in his way. That’s what competition is! We do not have truly free markets these days.”

“Federalism works! It is a system of interlocking voluntary compacts on various levels of jurisdiction. It does not root out all problems by itself but it keeps the powers that be jealous for the loyalty of their shared or potential individual members. Ideally, like any other form of competition, the main beneficiary is the consumer, i.e., the citizen. The more levels of federalism there are the more competition, which is why when we essentially only have two levels vying for the hearts and minds of the people, one of them is at the mercy of the other, and they are both as far away from the individual as possible, the products, these jurisdictions, are greatly diminished in quality. We have not had true federalism for close to a century, some would say more. It has been eroding since the day the Constitution was ratified.”

So instead of just decrying the problems that they see, they will offer up solutions and ways to take charge so the that same problems do not arise again.

The Perks

Backers for the project can pledge any amount of $1 or more. Backers who pledge $5 or more will be credited in the film. Backers who give an amount of $25 or greater will not only star in the credits, they will receive special thank-you gifts in the mail. What these gifts are depends on the specific amount, at intervals of $25, $42, $60, $125, $250, $500, $750, $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000. As a sort of extra incentive,  the gifts handed out for amounts of $1,000 or more, have a limit of how many of these gifts can be claimed. First come first served on those, but there is no limit for the other rewards.

The Producer-Director

Jeffrey D. King (J. D.) is a 21 year old independent filmmaker from the Big Hole area of Montana. There he grew up in a ranching community and became familiar with many of the subjects the film will delve into. Growing up under the Big Sky gave him not just a love for the world around him, the environment, but also a love for freedom. His previous film (Crying Wolf, 2011), about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park, was the 2012 winner of the SAICFF “Best Creation” Jubilee Award. He was a self-taught filmmaker from a young age. An ambitious and passionate young man with a hunger for the truth, he has a B.S.B.A. in Business Management from Thomas Edison State College and makes his living making commercials and promotional videos. He currently resides around Billings, Montana.

For more information about AXED: The End of Green, contact Jeffrey at jd@axedthemovie.comor Hank at hank@axedthemovie.com

The AXED: The End of Green Kickstarter funding campaign can be found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jking/axed