Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is government fast enough?

President Obama recently gave an interview with The Daily Show host Jon Stewart. Overall, I thought the interview was very well done (I especially enjoyed it when Jon called the President "dude"). However, during the show, Jon brought up a point that I see as the fundamental problem with most political positions. He asked the question of the president, "is the government fast enough?".

Is it? Can the government possibly be expected to be able to keep up with a dynamic society? No, and it never will. Government is a bureaucracy, it is both cynically and realistically slow. In order for government to function efficiently, it has to slow down the economy that it governs. The more rules and red tape, the worse off we are (and this has become increasingly evident, historically).

By the time a government got around to legislating and regulating something, new issues, technologies, and economic factors have probably arisen (that is how fast our society changes). All of a sudden, those rules aren't entirely compatible with these new things, and they slow progress down.

What if, on the other hand, we could develop a system that can cope with the changing landscape; do it better and faster (also, harder and stronger). The awesome thing is, this system already exists: the free market. Government is trying to regulate a market that is always changing. If we left the market alone, it could change at any speed, any time, and in any direction within reasonable bounds (not forced bounds). If a market goes down a bad path, it gets selected for extinction (my one biology reference) and disappears. The government can't do that; instead, it attempts to jury-rig every snag the market comes upon. The problem with a jury-rig? It's bound to break and become worse than what you attempted to fix in the first place.

It's a cycle, really. The more you jury-rig, the more stuff breaks. You then have to jury-rig it again, only to have it break further down, and so on and so forth. It will eventually reach an asymptote; a point where the government no long has the capacity or speed to solve the problem. A point where things will break down.

On the other hand, true free market capitalism doesn't jury-rig problems: it fixes them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Limewire users of the world, unite!

A federal judge in Manhattan has ordered Limewire to cease functionality of its software (and network) after the RIAA sued for copyright infringement. Limewire is notorious for being a hub of P2P media sharing, and is the latest in a series of RIAA lawsuits against similar companies.

This is ridiculous, and proves even more to me something that I've always thought: current copyright law is RETARDED.

Oh wait, you say, isn't it good to protect people's intellectual property? Sure it is, but the current system has so many flaws and vague rules that you can sue anyone for anything under it. Copyright is a freedom reducer, and is simply a tool that allows copyright holders to become frivolous with their lawsuits.

To change this, the rules regarding fair trade need to be broadened and clearly defined. It should be fair use to use intellectual property as long as:

1. The property is not being used for commercial purposes (i. e. to make money)
2. The property is not being claimed as one's own

That's pretty much all you need. If you're not making money off of it and not claiming it as your own, you shouldn't be violating copyright. Sharing files, over a P2P network, would be counted as fair use under these rules.

So this begs the question: does P2P sharing really cause millions of dollars in lost profits for those record companies? Absolutely not, and no survey of the music industry has EVER shown a decrease in profits after P2P sharing became widespread. In fact, there may even be a NEGATIVE correlation; recording companies may be making even more money nowadays!

P2P sharing serves the portion of music buyers who probably won't buy the music anyways. If those people aren't going to buy the music in the first place, and therefore couldn't possibly account for a LOSS in profit (because they wouldn't be giving any PROFIT anyways). It could also be argued that P2P sharing encourages people to buy more physical music because they are exposed to a greater range of musicians.

Nonetheless, don't listen to the dumbass RIAA when they whine and cry about losing millions of dollars; it's just BS. Share away, my friends!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Darwinism? Wrong!

People who accept evolution are often called "evolutionists", or "Darwinists". In actuality, both of these terms are false. The term evolutionist doesn't make any more sense than calling someone who accepted the theory of gravitation a "gravityist". Darwinism, however, is a little more deceiving. It would make sense to call someone a Darwinist because it is his theory of evolution.

Wrong. First off, you don't get a name for every different piece of scientific data you accept or reject. Secondly, Darwin's theory of evolution is barely used in modern biology, rather, it is the springboard that modern evolutionary theory did a back flip off of.

The modern theory of evolution is called "modern evolutionary synthesis". This theory is the culmination of our knowledge of evolution. It combines Darwin's theory of evolution (that species evolved through natural selection on heritable traits) with the rest of our understanding of biology (allele frequency, genetic drift, mutations, etc.)

So, if you're going to mock us, get it right. We're modern evolutionary synthesisists, not Darwinists!

What do new Atheists actually believe?

Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon and intelligent design advocate has issued this challenge to Atheists. Here are my answers to the questions he asks.

1. Why is there anything?

The problem with this question is that it assumes there is an reason for the existence of "anything". The evidence we have, to the contrary, seems to give rise to the idea that existence may have simply been a big cosmic accident. Why does everything have to have a reason?

2. What caused the universe?

Once again, we've come across the assumption that something caused the universe, when in reality it may have simply just happened. Even if there was a cause, we couldn't test it (or prove it), so therefore you couldn't accept that the universe has a "cause".

The best explanation for how the universe actually came into being that we have is what is colloquially known as Big Bang theory (note: the term Big Bang is a misnomer, and was actually given to the theory by a detractor). We can't know a cause, but we can know a how.

3. Why is there regularity (law) in the universe?

Once again, note the why.

Cynically, I would argue otherwise (that there is nothing regular about the universe, just compare relativity to quantum mechanics). If he's asking why we have deduced various laws of nature, then its because those laws of nature are just simple generalizations about a natural process. There is regularity because nature tends to act in the same ways every time. Solids displace their own weight in water, electrons orbit atoms in shells, nature selects for the most adaptive species; these are things that happen in nature not for any specific reason (if there was one, there would be no way to find it), but because it just happens.

4. Of the Four Causes in nature proposed by Aristotle (material, formal, efficient, and final), which of them are real? Do final causes exist?

The only causes that are observable or measurable are the material and formal cause. The other two are non-scientific philosophical ideas in that they postulate that nature has purpose, or principles guiding its purpose. As I've said before, they are not testable and therefore cannot be shown to exist. So, only the material and formal cause are real, and no, final causes do not exist.

5. Why do we have subjective experience, and not merely objective existence?

Because we can only perceive what our brains interpret. There is no way in nature to have an "objective existence". But, this does not mean that we cannot objectively determine the universe around us. Science lets us do that.

6. Why is the human mind intentional, in the technical philosophical sense of aboutness, which is the referral to something besides itself? How can mental states be about something?

I don't even think that's a question.

7. Does Moral Law exist in itself, or is it an artifact of nature (natural selection, etc.)

There's no such thing as "moral law" because morals are subjective, and depend on circumstance. However, current evolutionary understanding indicates that "morals" (i. e., a general sense of right and wrong) developed naturally because they might allow for greater group survival. In that sense, morals are in fact an artifact of nature.

8. Why is there evil?

Define evil. Is it evil to kill someone? Maybe, is it evil to kill someone in self defense? I wouldn't think so. Evil, like morality, is extremely subjective. To ask why there is evil, we would need a good definition of evil.

So, lets just say for argument that evil is just the act of doing bad things: killing, stealing, raping, mortgage fraud, etc. Those behaviors develop naturally. Some behaviors are good, some are bad. The bad ones tend to get weeded out because of natural selection, but they may persist. It could be said that evil is just evolutionary psychology gone wrong.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why, for the most part, government fails

The question comes up a lot in debates involving government efficacy. Why can't the government run the health care system, they ask. Or, why can't the government regulate our drugs, or our food. There really isn't a good answer to these questions. The government could in fact run our health care, or regulate our food and drug. It's not that government physically can't do these things (although constitutionally the federal government can't, but that's for another time), it's that they don't do them as well as private alternatives.

One of my reasons for this is that the government doesn't have an efficient division of labor. You have tons of industries, but only one regulatory body to control them (the government). How could you expect one body to effectively or efficiently manage an entire industry? It just doesn't work like it should, corruption can so easily leak through.

Take the FDA. The FDA is the only body that can approve drugs, and they are expected to do so on behalf of the ENTIRE pharmaceutical industry. There's no way that one organization could really do this, so it causes problems like delays in approving drugs, or letting drugs pass that are dangerous, etc.

On the other hand, what if we had private "regulatory bodies" that oversaw industries. What if there were 10 such companies that tested drugs, and competed against each other to do it more efficiently and accurately. There would be a sufficient division of labor that all of a sudden regulation could become more efficient and less destructive on the industry.

You can't get that with government. Even if the government created 10 FDAs, they wouldn't be competing because they all fall under the government umbrella; they are on equal playing fields.

So, in short, government fails because there is no division of labor in government. One agency attempting to control an entire industry simply cannot succeed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Retirement ages aren't necessary in the first place

It's been 8 days. 8 days of protest in France, over what seems like a silly issue. The issue? The French government would raise the retirement age by 2 years.

Yes, there have been protests in France for over a week because the retirement age MIGHT be increased by 2 years. Jesus.

Ultimately, I don't care what happens in France with regards to this issue. It does allow me, however, to point out something that is translatable to the US. We don't need a retirement age. In fact, we don't need government run retirement at all. Why should you have to retire when you reach a certain age? Why is it that you don't get to make that decision for yourself? I'm not saying government control over retirement is absolute (some retire earlier, some later), but if you want to see any of that money from your lifelong investments (SS, 401K), you have to retire at the government age. The very idea of having a set age for this isn't right.

Retirement should be a private decision, driven by private investment. In no way should the government have any control over your retirement. Social Security is incredibly inefficient and doesn't produce benefits equal to a private system. As an example, Galveston County in Texas, through a loophole in the original SS law, has a private retirement investment system. Money is paid into IRAs, which on average pay out 4 times as much as SS when it comes time to retire.

Government isn't all that great at securing your retirement, unlike what the politicians (Republican and Democrat) will tell you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The MD Conspiracy

So, my biology professor went off on a tangent about this massive conspiracy on the part of MDs to pay off student loans and buy yachts. All that while studying about the lymphatic system, nonetheless. His problem with the MDs (in this case, anyways) was that they take out organs like the appendix, tonsils, and spleen even when they serve an important purpose so that they can pay off student loans and buy their yachts.

Of course, that's mostly bullshit.

Those organs are taken out when the could potentially pose a threat to the health of the individual. There are cases in the past where the tonsil and appendix were taken out during routine surgery because they had a great potential for health issues. That was then. Nowadays, we recognize that the appendix and tonsils should be left in unless a condition develops. Doctors don't just remove organs for shits and giggles, or even if the patients sign papers. They have reasons.

He went on to blame capitalism for this, and I immediately facepalmed. I mean it, I put my face in my palm right then and there. What a ridiculous statement to make, capitalism is the only thing that keeps doctors from making even more stupid decisions. While our healthcare system is barely capitalistic, it is still enough to prevent a lot of stupid doctors from making stupid decisions, because they can be sued for malpractice. You want to change it so that capitalism isn't a factor? Fine, you get rid of the only system that truly checks a doctors work, because the government sure as hell isn't.

Anyways, onto something else. A student in lecture told my professor that he thought the appendix didn't do anything, and my professor answered that it wasn't the case. I just wanted to elaborate because my professor is both right and wrong, but his being wrong has mostly do with the poor phrasing of the question. I felt this was interesting enough to write about.

The appendix is a vestigial organ. This means that over time the organ has lost its PRIMARY function. The capitalized PRIMARY should send up some flags. The appendix does not have a primary function, HOWEVER, its placement in the GI tract gives it a SECONDARY function. Something it has developed over time just by being in that specific location.

We now know the appendix, because of its location, may have some function in the immune system. It stores bacteria that protect the function of the colon. It also helps protect those bacteria from things like diahhrea, which can flush out important bacteria.

So, the appendix is both vestigial and serves a function. Whoa!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Those Chilean miners

It angers me to know that there are preachers out there who are praising "god" for rescuing those Chilean miners. I mean, how deluded can you be?

I have a question for those preachers. Why were those miners stuck in the damn mine in the first place? If "god" is responsible for everything, wouldn't he be responsible for putting those people in danger in the first place?

Of course he would! Jesus! It would be hypocritical to say otherwise. What kind of "god" puts people in danger. Is he just fooling us, to try and get us to believe?

Yeah, a loving god for real.

You are special

You are special, whether you know it or not. You're special because you exist, not because it is granted to you by God. I wish people recognized this more often, instead of relying on a god or spirituality to provide their lives with meaning. You create your own meaning, you create your own "specialness".

Next time you have a problem, don't wait around and hope god fixes it for you. Don't rely on faith to get you through, rely on yourself. It's an empowering feeling to succeed in life due to your own perseverance and trial, It's empowering to know that failure can always be corrected because it's you that controls your life, not some figure in a book.

This may sound like some bs self help crap, but I'm being serious. Be all you can be, don't put it on the shoulders of a being that doesn't exist and hope everything turns out all right. Work hard and do your best, and a good life will follow. Remember, you're special because you're you. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Hate 'em Too

Lobbyists. They're annoying as hell, and in the end they screw us all over. They represent special interest groups, corporations, small businesses, farmers, christians, and the list goes on and on. They pay huge sums of money to get politicians to lean one way or another, skewing the system.

So, is the problem capitalism? Is it that big companies are trying to force their way into government so that they can make more money from beneficial legislation? Is it them just being their greedy, capitalist selves?

Well, the answer is yes and no. They are being greedy, but they are also being enabled. Do you know why businesses lobby? Because there's a good chance that they can get legislation passed on their behalf that might make things favorable for them. Now, not all of them do that of course, but if you don't believe there are at least some you must be nuts.

Who is this enabler? The enabler is a government that is willing to legislate on their behalf. In the real free market, businesses wouldn't lobby the government, because they know the government wouldn't respond.

Nowadays, we have people who want to regulate lobbying.

I've touched on this before, so I won't rant, but understand that rampant lobbying is the result of rampant government intervention. If you untie government from the economy, then you can be rid of all those pesky organizations.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So, who has the burden of proof?

"Prove that god exists."

"Prove that god doesn't exist."

"Prove that god exists."

"Prove that god doesn't exist."

And so on and so forth. This is usually how arguments revolving around the idea of burden of proof go. Let's make it perfectly clear that when it comes to theism versus atheism, the theist is the one who has the burden of proof. Why? I'll tell you.

One simple way to put it is that the burden of proof lies with the person, or group, that is making the claim. Atheism makes no claim about the existence or nonexistence of god, but theism does. Therefore, for this reason, the theist has the burden of proof. It's not because we don't want to make an argument (the atheists), it's that it isn't philosophically on us to prove anything. You don't have to prove a lack of belief.

So, there you have it. The burden of proof is on the theist. Now, here's a funny little anecdote from Ricky Gervais explaining why it is fallacious to have to prove atheism.

"It annoys me that the burden of proof is on us. It should be: 'You came up with the idea. Why do you believe it?' I could tell you I've got superpowers. But I can't go up to you and say 'Prove I can't fly.' They'd go: 'What do you mean prove you can't fly. Prove you can!'"

That pretty much sums it up. Oh, throw him a bone with regards to the first sentence. Everyone makes a mistake. :)

What is a _______?

I've decided to designate this post for some splainin'. Every post I look at regarding atheism, agnosticism, and theism always gets it wrong, and it makes everyone look bad. So, here's a little lesson on the differences between them, as well as some other definitions that may make your world easier.

Theism: the belief in the existence of a deity. The theist is the person who makes the claim that a deity exists. Who or what the deity is is not important, just that the claim is being made.

Agnosticism: the belief that both the existence or nonexistence of a deity is either unknown or unknowable. An agnostic is a person who believes that it is impossible to know whether or not a deity exists. Contrary to popular belief, an agnostic is not someone who is between theism and atheism. It is also not a person who is undecided as to the existence or nonexistence of a deity.

Atheism: the rejection of the belief that a deity exists. As I'm sure you would expect, I'm going to go into this one into a little more length. An atheist is a person who lacks the belief that a deity exists. The atheist does not, however, turn around and claim that a deity does not exist. This is one of the most common misconceptions regarding atheism, and needs to be corrected. We atheists do not believe god doesn't exist, we just lack the belief that he does. I'll explain it with a couple of analogies in a second. Right now, I need to make this more confusing.

Some philosophers in the past decades have attempted to branch atheism into smaller parts. While there are others (implicit/explicit atheists for example), TheseThere exists two forms of atheists: positive and negative. Positive atheism is also known as hard or strong atheism, and is characterized as having the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. A negative atheist, also called a weak or soft atheist, is characterized as having the belief that deities to not exist, but they are not exactly claiming that the statement is false. Many times, atheists will hold both of those forms of belief at the same time, but with reference to different gods.

Nontheism: a religious or nonreligious ideology that rejects belief in a deity. This is a broad group of beliefs or philosophies that reject belief in god.

Freethought: a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or dogma.

Skepticism: denote any questioning attitude, or some degree of doubt regarding claims that are elsewhere taken for granted. Essentially, this is a group of people who are skeptical of common beliefs.

Humanist: a rationalist who believes that humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without reliance on supernaturalism.

Apatheist: a person who thinks the question of God’s existence is irrelevant and unimportant.

New Atheist: a person who not only is an atheist but believes that religion is, on the whole, harmful and should be opposed whenever it conflicts with science or threatens societal interests.

Secularist: a person who opposes the injection of religion into civil affairs, particularly public education. Can also mean a person who rejects all forms of worship and religious faith.

Rationialist: an individual who relies on logic and reason for knowledge and a system of ethics, rather than on faith or religion.

To explain a couple of these positions a little more clearly, a good analogy is a courtroom. The theist is like the plaintiff. They are the ones claiming that the person is guilty (analogous to "god exists"). The defendant however, is claiming innocence (similar to "god doesn't exist"), and is therefore the nontheist. The other categories are in the jury, because only the theist and nontheist are actively making claims about something. The atheist is the person in the jury who votes "not guilty". Note that the atheist is not voting "innocent", i. e. there is no god. He is simply saying that there isn't enough evidence to vote guilty (pro-god). The agnostic is the person in the jury who would not vote due to lack of evidence both for and against, and just leave the room in an angry fashion.
I hope that little analogy works. It helped me get a hang of the little differences.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Capitalism has no flaws

The very title of this post will probably make you think that I'm crazy, but hear me out for a second. I want to talk about why capitalism itself is not flawed, and why what we live in today is not really capitalism.

I will argue that capitalism is not really an economic system. To say something is a system is to imply that it is planned out, that it has forethought, or that it follows a series of steps that lead to a single logical conclusion. Socialism is an economic system because it has all of those things. It's goal is to create a more egalitarian society by redistributing wealth to lower classes in order to bridge the gap between high income and low income. There are a series of steps, things you can do, in order to achieve this (whether or not it is achievable is something that can be argued). To call capitalism an economic system is like calling evolution a system. It follows a basic set of fundamental rules (laws), but ultimately it has no forethought and doesn't follow a particular pathways.

Capitalism is the result of nature. Much like evolution is the result of natural forces (laws) acting upon organic molecules, capitalism is the result of natural economic forces (laws) acting upon a society. It is not a planned out process, it is not a process that occurs because of the decision by an individual, a population, or a government; it occurs in nature. Laws of capitalism, like supply and demand, act much like the law of natural selection does in evolution. It guides it, but with no predetermination.

So, why does capitalism not have any flaws?

Let me ask you this question. Is natural selection flawed? Does it do what it's supposed to, and nothing else? Sure it does. Now, to simply claim that capitalism has no flaws because of what I just said is a logical fallacy (argument from analogy), but it leads me to this question. Does supply and demand do what it's supposed to do? Of course it does, and that same answer applies when you ask the question of all of the natural laws of capitalism. They work because they occur naturally in a society. People trade out of necessity, people are given incentives by commodities, etc. That doesn't matter if you are an Arab, European, South American, or Canadian, they apply to everything.

That is the reason why capitalism has no flaws, but, there is something related that does have flaws; qualities that bend the rules of capitalism. Human beings.

Human beings are flawed. When you apply capitalism to human beings, it will work with them, but they will not always work with it. They will steal, kill, commit fraud, or a whole bunch of other little things that warp capitalism. Essentially, human beings are the cause of capitalisms "flaws".

What we live in today is not capitalism; far from it. It is the human interference with capitalism that has given us the current state of affairs today. This is unfortunate because when something goes wrong economically it gets blamed on capitalism when in reality, it is the fault of those individuals. Capitalism works, it's people that don't always reciprocate.

So, what is the answer to human economic flaws? Should we regulate the economy, in order to minimize those faults? The problem with regulations is that it intertwines the government and the economy in a way that it shouldn't. The more the government regulates, the greater incentive there is for businesses in the private sector to lobby for their own interests. They see that the government is willing to legislate private sector matters, so they will try to push legislation that will benefit them and possibly reduce competition, all in the guise of "economic security". However, if there was no regulation, there would be no incentive. Businesses couldn't lobby a Congress that isn't going to pass legislation for or against them. Regulation has created this pseudo-capitalist, pseudo-socialist, corporatist state that we live in today.

If we want capitalism, the only way to do so is to return it to its natural state (without regulation). That way, mass action on the part of society can cause the necessary change without restricting the rights of other individuals. Capitalism in its natural state is beautiful, efficient, and self correcting. Regulation is ugly, slow, and cannot correct itself easily. You pick which one you want.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The fall?

So, I was reading through the Bible, as I sometimes do, and I decided to revisit Genesis. It's a fun read, and is full of stuff that any rational person would see as myth. In particular, I wanted to look at the story of the fall of man (Genesis 3). The story goes a little something like this: the devil in the form of a serpent told Eve to eat the fruit, she and Adam did, and mankind got kicked out of the garden. Of course, that was the short version. The thing I noticed as I read it, though, was something that I hadn't really thought about before.

The serpent that tricked Eve was never actually referred to as the Devil. The exact quote is here (Genesis 3:1-5)

"Now the serpent was more subtil [sic] than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall nto eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

See, no devil. The only thing mentioned is the serpent. This leads me to believe that the story has been modified over time, whether it was 10 years after it was written or 1000. It appears to have happened sometime. Now, I'm not going to go flip through the Bible and find every page that the serpent is referred to as the Devil, but I can assume that because the Bible is in a mostly chronological order (though, the Epistles of Paul were written before the Gospels), that any mentioning of the Devil/serpent combo would have been an afterthought.

That's just my thinking on the matter.

The Bush Tax Cuts: Extend or Expire?

Taxes are fundamentally a form of coercion. You either pay them and live free, or don't and go to prison. This is the one form of coercion that seems to have fallen into the chasm of American apathy, and I wish greatly for people to understand that taxes are BAD. Taxes make it harder for the small businessman to run his shop, or for the homeowner to pay his mortgage. Through tax laws, the government takes almost 40% of your hard earned income, and you don't have a choice in the matter. Taxes, no matter what the supposed benefit, are coercion, and thus are BAD!

On December 31, the tax cuts legislated by the Bush administration are due to expire. Obviously, this means that taxes are going to go up. So, the big question is, do we let them expire or do we renew them?

I say we not only renew them, we make it permanent and start cutting government spending. The best thing to do in a recession is to let the people keep more of their money. If we lower taxes, then we can do that. If we lower spending enough to create a budget surplus, then we can start to pay off our massive debt.

That's the way I think it should go.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Four Roles of Government

So, libertarians are always bitching about what it is the government can do. In fact, among academic circles libertarians are often confused with anarchists because of our anti-government sentiment. Let's make this clear, tonight, that libertarianism and anarchism are two similar, but separate ideologies. Government can't do a lot of things, but according to libertarians it does have some function. In fact, it has four of them. I'll list them here for ya.
  1. Courts
  2. Police, fire, and prisons
  3. National defense
  4. Prevention of corruption
First off is the court system. It is the job of the government to make sure that criminals are dealt with and that laws passed by legislative bodies are bound to the constitution (the US constitution for the feds, and the State constitutions for everything else). Courts also tie in with the fourth role of government, but they are listed separately to distinguish their criminal and constitutional role with their civil role.

The reason court decisions have to be constitutional is to prevent legislative law from becoming the entire law of the land, meaning you don't want federal or state laws restricting the citizens or over-empowering the government. The majority of rules in a free society come from Common Law. That is, law determined by the decisions of judges and not from legislation. This will help prevent laws from affecting people they aren't meant to affect, or to prevent laws from affecting too much of society.

The second role of government is its police, fire, and prison system. These are industries, like the military, that do not work under a private model because they are required to keep society safe. It is absolutely the governments job to find and arrest violent criminals, put out fires (for a reason I will discuss later), and maintain its own prisons. Once again, it is the governments job to keep people safe from those who would want to do them harm. Most libertarians agree that the police should be working to keep violent criminals out of society, rather than some non-violent criminals (like drug offenders).

That principle applies to the third role of government: national defense. Now, this means that it is the job of the government, not the private sector, to provide for and maintain the armed forces (including navy, air force, and army). The key word in this role, however, is defense. The armed forces are not meant to be an offensive force that actively invades other countries who have not first attacked us (think every war after WWII, and some before). They are meant to provide defense against nations who wish to do us harm. If we are attacked, the government has a right to defend us. This does not mean they have the right to preemptive warfare (though, if there was ever a situation in which intelligence was 100% sufficient, it might be), and they do not have the right to offensive warfare. Just as an example, if this role was truly implemented the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wouldn't have happened and troops would not be allowed to be stationed in countries outside of the US.

The fourth and final role is a confusing and broad role, but it applies to the two rules of a libertarian society and how they prevent corruption. Those rules are:
  1. You cannot force an individual to give up their private property or to engage in non-consenting activity
  2. You cannot fraudulently acquire the private property of an individual.
These roles can be interpreted and applied broadly, but that is largely their intent. These two rules would be enforced by the decisions of local courts, NOT by federal courts and NOT by legislation. So, how about some examples of how these rules would be applied.
  1. The right to unionized labor is not lost, but their ability to force companies into an agreement is.
  2. A company cannot force you to buy a product or requisition a service
  3. A company cannot fraudulently sell you something that doesn't work or not perform a service that was paid for
  4. A person getting a divorce would be entitled to only what was agreed upon when the separation was mutually agreed upon. If one party failed to meet that agreement, then they have committed fraud against the other.
There are literally a million other things those two rules could be applied to, which is what makes them so powerful. Those two rules by themselves would get rid of much more corruption than any legislation could. So, how are these rules enforced, you might ask?


I know, everyone gets all uppity about lawsuits because it seems everyone is suing everyone for everything, but you have to understand that lawsuits are one of the ways that the free market corrects itself and doesn't affect those not involved. Lets give an example.

I placed my money into a savings account. No big deal, right? Well, let's just say that this bank is secretly taking money from my account and depositing it into a large pot that would be distributed back to me when I made a withdrawal (kind of like a Ponzi scheme). This is of course fraudulently using my private property (money) in a way that I did not consent to. So, what do I do? I sue them. The local court sides with me on the basis of the fraud rule, I get reparations from the bank, and I go about my life. No regulation was added to make sure that this didn't happen again, and no one else will be affected by that decision (unless, they happen to go through the same thing). This make sure that those who were corrupt got what was coming to them, but the market as a whole was not compromised by regulation. The bank would learn from its mistake and correct them so that they don't have to go through another lawsuit.

It's beautiful ain't it?