31 July 2005

Species of forum threads

As you work your way through various forums and comments pages on the internet you begin to see similar patterns emerge. Two that I have most recently encountered go along the following lines:

Type 1 - A new user posts a torrent of mindless drivel, usually under the pretext of being so sophisticated and above the grasp of the other forum members. The forum regulars then, quite rightly, deride the post for being an inane stream of nonsense. Then up pops the original spammers knight in shining armour, who points out to the forum regulars that they should stop being so snobbish and engage the spammer. The thread is then usually abandoned, as there was never coherent point to it in the first place.

Type 2 - The classic grammar/spelling attack. Now I have some sympathy with this as it is annoying when someone cannot be bothered to make their posts generally conform to some kind of comprehensible English, however this type of response is usually nitpicking and there are situations where posters are either very young or are afflicted by dyslexia and the like. The entire thread then degenerates into an argument about spelling, grammar and punctuation, which is not particularly interesting to anyone except pedants.

Type 1 really annoys me, but I could be prey to being involved in Type 2 as some people could really do with brushing up on their English. If anyone else has noticed threads with recurrent themes, post them here!

24 July 2005

The benefits of subjective morality

Just to clarify the last entry, it would seem to me that subjective morality is an advantage to ancap for two reasons. Firstly it makes the idea of positive claims on others impossible as there is no objective standard by which to judge such moral claims between individuals. Secondly ancap does not need a moral framework, as such, to be valid since no individual is bound to abide by anothers subjective judgement on moral issues.

Obviously the area is more intricate than I can state in a couple of blog posts and I know a great issue of contention is the definition of positive and negative rights. Perhaps the term 'negative rights' is misleading and it would probably clarify the issue to say that they are not a type of right at all, but simply a lack of postive rights.

With reference to lawmaking the distinction between positive rights and their absence should be clear. As Murray Rothbard states:

"It is not the business of the law to make anyone good or revant or moral or clean or upright."

20 July 2005

When is a right not a right?

Well, when you are a moral relativist for one. The arguments for and against natural rights theory are long and intricate, so for this piece of commentary I will assume one is a moral relativist and explore how this would affect holding Anarcho-Capitalist principles.
The essence of moral relativism is that morality is subjective and hence an individual creation, be it through the prism of genetics and/or upbringing. Since all morality is derived from an individual perspective it follows that there can be no objective moral definition outside of the individual, in other words there are ethical systems intrinsic to us as subjective beings, but no independently verifiable moral code that we should follow. This point of view has some immediate benefits, the most obvious being that if morality is subjective there is no right to impose your version of morality on others. At first glance this all ties in well with the general consensus of Anarcho-Capitalist ethics, i.e. the principle of non-coercion and/or non-aggression.
Unfortunately it is not as straightforward as this. For example if morality is subjective an individual can, from their point of view, quite self-coherently create what they consider a set of moral absolutes. Then we are back to the situation of the potential imposition of morals with force, one of the hallmarks of the state. However, this situation can be avoided. This is so because it is still a logical truism to say that positive hypothesis need proving whilst negative hypothesis stand until a positive hypothesis can be verified to counter the negative situation. In more simple terms, the Anarcho-Capitalist does not need to acquire absolute rights to go about his or her business, but only to take the logically sound position that no such right exists to impinge upon their business until such time as a positive right can be objectively verified.
To my knowledge no one has ever conclusively verified a positive right and, as such, Anarcho-Capitalists can be moral relativists without accepting either the 'ethics' of those who wish to impose an absolute morality or those who in any other way act as if they held positive rights to another's liberty.

19 July 2005

Anarcho-Capitalists, one and all... maybe

I have just added several links to Anarcho-Capitalist blogs, at least they all seem to be anarcho-capitalist to me, but if anyone feels they are not I will be happy to revise my link structure!
The good thing about Anarcho-Capitalists is they generally are happy to call themselves such, at least if not in a room full of bloodthirsty statists. It does seem that humans work the best together when they have something fundamental to hate, and the state is pretty fundamentally hated around these parts. There would of course be disagreements on how best to live ones life in an Anarcho-Capitalist society, it is simply that no one would be in the position to use the state apparatus to dictate the outcome of those debates.

17 July 2005

A good start to making poverty history...

Make Socialism History

A nice little logo for all of you who were annoyed at the SSP's anit-freedom propaganda campaign. Just to let them know, we can doctor logos too.

In a very perceptive post, idlejimbo puts across the 'anarchists' side of the story in the regards the Edinburgh 'protests' and their aims and objectives.

With regards the comments on this blog, they are now open to all and since I know 'at least' two people have read this blog I await further enlightenment!

08 July 2005

Confirmed: ID cards will not prevent terrorism

The BBC reports what we have been saying all along, specifically ID cards 'wouldn't stop attacks' like the ones in London. When asked if ID cards would have prevented Thursday's atrocity the repugnant, spineless Charles Clarke answered:

"I doubt it would have made a difference. I've never argued ... that ID cards would prevent any particular act."

So we should be sure to remind Mr Clarke of this statement repeatedly in the future.

07 July 2005

Terrorists can always find a target

It looks very much like Al Qaeda have struck London in a sickening attack on the Capital's infrastructure. Currently four bombs have been confirmed and there seems to be some possibility of more that were not detonated.

Tony Blair made a statement at midday and claimed that we would defend our way of life against such terrorists. It would be relieving to think that he was sincere in defending our freedom, however it would be a manipulative ploy to use this as an excuse for such un-liberal measures as ID cards. It can only be hoped that such blatant opportunism will not be forthcoming. At this moment we would do well to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin;

"Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve
neither security nor liberty."

I can only hope that there are no more bombs and the number of casualties are few. Like everyone I hope friends and colleagues in London have not been affected by this tragedy and for the people who have, my heartfelt condolences. Samizdata is currently covering events in London where I think the sentiments expressed here are generally echoed.