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USA: Understanding the dynamics behind todays political situation
It's almost shoking how suddenly everything about the USA makes much more sense to me.
It doesn't even matter on how much of it you agree, it seems impossible to me not to agree on the core statements. Do yourself a favor and read it!

I've participated in the recent debate about gun control and I thought it was absurd that everyone would focus on gun laws instead of the underlying problems leading to mass shootings.
I'm currently participating in the debate about wealth inequality and I was simply baffled - until now - that so many choose to turn this into a debate about (the role of the) state instead of talking about making tax laws fairer.
Suddenly, I do not only have an explanation - other than propaganda - for all this, but also an increased understanding of America - past, present and future.

Thank you very much +Timothy Matias for taking the time to write this essay!
 
On the Fallacy of Force: Neutralizing the Libertarian Objections to Statism

The following essay, inspired by and written also to address objections made by +Noel Yap and other libertarians (including myself), and which +J. M. Weber has inspired implicitly but yet to explicitly incorporate into our discussions on the matter. To further refine our discussion on the role of the state, and determining how to best leverage its scalability to optimize, rather than interfere with free society:

Is the State Forceful? This is the most compelling argument libertarians have made, and the one that made me most sympathetic to their cause. After all, since everyone has at least slightly different morals, ethics, values, priorities, and perspectives, and different ideas and theories about the proper implementation of the objectives concerning these things, it's impossible for any power, no matter how wise, considerate, knowledgeable, or democratic it is, to provide a world or even nation that all of its people will be happy to live in. 

Voluntaryism: This being the case, Libertarians make a cause for Voluntaryism, a conditional government solution that wishes to convert the theory of the "social contract" into an actual contract with the government, one that is voluntarily signed and accepted by those that wish to participate in the government system. Those who do not wish to participate in the system, Libertarians argue, should not be forced to participate in it; they should have the freedom to opt out of it, and forfeit both taxes/laws, and the benefits ("entitlements") they provide. So long as they are not infringing on other's life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness, the government has no right to interfere with theirs.

The Fallacy of Force: Here is where the libertarian argument goes from logic and idealism to propaganda and ideology: the idea that the state is forcing anyone to pay taxes or to conform to laws. Libertarians argue-- but wait,it is force:

1. If you don't pay taxes, you will be fined...and compelled by the courts to pay the fines and the taxes, and upon further refusal, you will be eventually be arrested with threat of force (law enforcement), and imprisoned.

2. Your property can be repossessed by the state at any time it deems justified, and if someone does something the government doesn't want, even if it harms no one, they can and do freeze assets, block travel, cut off contact, and detain them indefinitely, in some cases (i.e. the NDAA) without even due process.

3. The state holds a monopoly on the right to force people to follow its laws, which span virtually every aspect of life, including the economy, business, health, food, transportation, weaponry, foreign relations, the press, telecommunications, and even religion and non-profit organizations. The state can and has regulated everything that can be regulated, effectively imposing its will on every aspect of our lives.

4. Theoretically, the state's powers are broad and pervasive enough so as to be tyrannical, and very effectively so, should they choose to be. The issue of government abuse of power has become a major concern in recent years.

5. The state's power to control the money supply and regulate the free market interferes with laissez-faire market dynamics, undermining the merits of capitalism and exploiting its weaknesses. This prevents anyone from living economically independent from the state, effectively forcing them to live in some way dependent on the fiat currency policies that influence global economics.

6. The state's heavy involvement in the educational system and aggressive public awareness campaigns distort our perception of core human issues, brainwash our youth, encourage the people to embrace conformity and complacency, and promote systems which deteriorate or psycho-social and physiological health, and condition an unhealthy system of waste, consumerism, immorality, and ethical depravity.

7. The state is morally, ethically, rationally, and culturally incompatible with society, and as such its policies, regulations, laws, and legislation is counterproductive, hypocritical, inefficient, and ultimately futile. No matter what kind of laws the government makes, they people cannot or will not follow them all, simply because they are conditioned and/or encouraged by society not to.

There's a lot of truth to this: all of these arguments are true within the Libertarian viewpoint of the government and its impact on our lives, and to an extent, we can all agree that the state can or does have all these defining attributes, powers, and flaws. No government is perfect, of course. But libertarians argue that, for this reason, everyone should be free of the government's control over their lives, and decide for themselves how to live their lives, and make their own mistakes.

The problem with this logic is that libertarians aren't forced to participate in this system, as they claim. Every single one of the aspects the state has control over is rooted in institutions that have their origin in government. Not a single one of these institutions controlled or influenced by the state even exists outside of the government, nor could the state realistically control anything outside of its domain. The government can only control what it has created, and this of course includes capitalism, one of the greatest inventions of the government. More on that later- for now, let's go through some of the institutions that originated in the government and could not exist without the government:

1. Money: This is the big one- a lot of people don't realize that while barter has existed for a while and symbolic trade itself was not created by the government, the money system- a universal system of trade agreed upon by the people to permit the buying and selling of goods asynchronously (being able to sell one kind of goods to one party, and buying with the money earned from another), was developed and standardized by the government.  

Yes, we now have systems of money that can exist outside of government (such as Bitcoin), but notice that shocker Bitcoin is not affected by government inflation, trade dynamics, or money controls. However, Bitcoin is affected by its own system and the people who develop and maintain its code, and that is in itself a government system, an economic statism. This fact will become important later, so keep that in mind.

2. Taxes: Without using the government's money, you can't pay taxes, simply because legally, you didn't make any money to be taxed. If you are being taxed, it is thus because you made money by making use of the government's economical system, and it is unreasonable to not pay the dues decided upon by the government for the use of that system.

3. Property: Outside of the government, there are no laws to enforce property rights- indeed- the very concept of a "right" does not and has never existed outside of the government. Without the government, you would have no property except that which you alone control and defend against usurpation, in which case you would, by definition, become your own government, deciding what you own and what you don't own.

4. Business: There is no requirement for you to do business with people using state money or state-occupied land, to make use of government infrastructure, roads, or framework. By making use of anything funded or facilitated by the state, you implicitly agree to the government's rules and regulation for business done within their domain. The biggest advantage of the state in this regard is interstate trade, which could not be done nearly as efficiently outside it. When you utilize the state to do business, it's reasonable that you agree to its TOS (terms of service).

5. Religion: Despite there being a separation between church and state in most governments, the state continues to control, influence, and exploit religion for its own purposes. It decided what religious institutions can legally exist, whether religions must pay for their upkeep, what religious practices are acceptable, and even what church organizations can be donated to/supported. 

However, there is no requirement that religions or churches use money, property, or government infrastructure, or that they are even recognized by the state. Churches can freely exist without money, property, or state recognition, and this is indeed how the original churches of Christianity were. When a church or religious organization relies on government institutions, services, and infrastructure, they should reasonably expect to abide by the government laws, rules, and regulations.

More interestingly though, religion is itself a form of state, and the first known governments were in fact religious organizations (theocracies), taking the form of priest-led city-states. So to expect freedom from the state to practice your religion without interference, is a bit of a paradox ;)

6. Education: While there are major problems with the state-funded educational system, and yes the state (at least in America) teaches conformity, collectivism, and propaganda, there is no need for parents to send their kids to government schools, or even to send them to school at all. You might argue that the parents will be compelled to send their schools by government laws, but this is actually not the case, as is addressed in point 7:

7. Law Enforcement: Libertarians claim that the government imposes its laws upon everything, even if they are unfair, unjust, unreasonable, or beneficial only to particular demographics (only benefiting certain races, religions, ideologies, social classes, etc.), and for the government to force its laws on people who don't agree with them, even when disregarding those laws does not interfere with the livelihood, well-being, or safety of others, constitutes: 

Theft (laws forcing to pay taxes), 

Extortion (law enforcement requiring conformance to the law under threat of imprisonment, fines, or even death), 

Assault and Battery (in the case of arresting people not obeying these laws),

Murder (of those killed by law enforcement agencies and the military),

etc.

This is the most important part of the Libertarian argument for their claim that statism is forceful, and while they're right that it's forceful, their conclusion that the state interferes with, undermines, or destroys their freedom, is completely wrong.

The State can't do anything to limit your freedom outside of itself

This is the point that libertarians are missing- that the state only has power within its domain, and its domain is limited to the services that it develops and maintains. If you refuse to use state money, services, infrastructure, roads, social institutions, education, and rights, you have rejected its social contract. 

If you want to become a true Voluntaryist, you must do no less than this, and perhaps then you will understand the real truth that Libertarians are not getting: that freedom is not free, and it's not convenient either. The price for real freedom and independence is a great deal of hardship, inconvenient, and ultimately- a loss of many other, far more essential (and convenient) freedoms. 

Ultimately, it comes down to this: Civilization was built by governments, so if you want to live free of the state, you're not being forced to live in civilization, you're welcome to leave civilization. Go live a nomadic lifestyle, there's plenty of open-land in most countries to do so. Sure you won't live a life full of technology and economic prosperity, but these things are the product of the state, and you wouldn't want to rely on the state anyway, would you?

Addressing contentions that money, property, or rights exist independently of the state


Never has there been a stateless society where money, property, or "rights" have been in use. But more accurately, never has a stateless society ever existed. 

This is the central cause of the libertarian's mistaken belief that the state is an enemy of freedom. The false belief that the state is distinct from civilization and society. In reality, the state is the forceful part of civilization and society. 

In familial terms, The mother (the one who nourishes and rears civilization) is society, while the father (the one who gives civilization structure and enforces law and order) is the state. Both the state and society are necessary for civilization to exist, so if you want to live outside of the state, you must either establish your own society/state outside of existing civilization, or live outside the civilized world entirely (anarchism).

The reason for libertarian confusion, is because most of them live in governments similar to the U.S., where society and the state are fighting against each other. In the U.S., the state and society, rather than working together to build civilization, are competing against each other or even fighting with each other, creating strife, corruption, and cultural entropy. 

It's no wonder that people are confused, but it's important to understand the sources of this confusion, which will help you to understand the real problems with the U.S. and other countries, which are not state-caused, as it would seem, but cultural issues.

The problems with the state are actually due to fragmentation of the government and society from the national to the local levels. America in particular is a young nation and lacking in cultural depth or identity. The only consistently pervasive element of American pride is freedom, and as the state exists solely to control, this results in overwhelming inconsistencies in laws and policies between individual states, cities, or even neighborhoods. Basically, America is fighting against itself culturally, and its government entities are at odds with each other as a natural result of that infighting. 

America's greatest weakness, and the fundamental reason why statism has never worked well here, is its individuality. Because we emphasize egoism and individual liberty so much, every government official, special interest group, religious organization, teacher, doctor, lawyer-- every single group and person in America has a tendency to be self-serving. 

We all have our own special interests. lobbyism, entitlements, "rights", beliefs, opinions, ideologies, theories about what makes this country work best. Ironically enough, it is the libertarian individualism and the fragmentation of government it comes with-- that is the principle cause of the dysfunctionality of the state in the U.S. The libertarian ideal for freedom is a worthy one indeed, but when they try to impose that ideal on society, and on the state, they serve only to undermine the cultural and national unity and pride necessary for any civilization to thrive. 

Without collective unity, without universal agreement about what must be done as a culture, as a society, and as a state, civilization remains divided and self-defeating, remaining in a state of perpetual civil war. Libertarians keep the fire of this civil war in the name of "freedom" raging, Attacking every government policy, regulation, law, and tax that interferes with their right to individuality, independence, and freedom, not realizing that their ideals are incompatible with the very society they claim to be fighting for. 

If libertarians wish to make society or the state- for civilization to be more free, they will need to accept the fact that true liberty isn't the way they imagined it, it's not "Do as ye wilt, an' ye hurt none"- true liberty is a balance between chaos and control, between the individual and the collective. Until they realize the importance of embracing society and the state as enablers of freedom to transcend the limits of the individual (whom apart from the collective can create nothing beyond himself). 

A moderate measure of control is necessary for freedom to be appreciated, just as at least some freedom is required for statism to be productive. Without statism on some level, be it centralized or decentralized, freedom creates nothing but chaos and disorder. If libertarians wish to promote freedom and creative thought, they should not try to eliminate the state, for without it freedom loses all meaning- rather, they should try to improve the state, so as to ensure the control the state exerts over the people is in the best interests of the collective for whom the state exists to serve.

To truly improve or change the world for the better, one's values must be balanced, and freedom is no exception. For libertarians to fruitfully coexist with civilization, they must embrace the state and society as the necessary constructs of civilization. One cannot hope to improve civilization by undermining its foundations, and this makes the libertarian ideological war against the state truly idiotic.

When freedom lovers fight against the state, the state fights back, and the results are less freedom. The vast majority of suppression of freedom in the state, particularly in recent times, is due to individualist and freedom-obsessed libertarians challenging the state, rebelling against its rule, the state responds defensively, cutting off the freedoms that permitted them to express their dissent and rebellion. The state, in order to protect the integrity of the established system, silences dissent to prevent further damage being done to its authority. It's a vicious cycle where the end result is always less freedom for everyone.

The federal government of the U.S. was created because the Confederation had too much freedom. Civilization (in particular, interstate trade and transportation, the two biggest concerns at the time) was threatened by the lack of state unity. If the states gave up a bit of freedom and relinquished their individual identities, a federal government of the U.S. would not even be necessary. From day 1, libertarians forced the state to take on more power and interfere with more liberties, libertarians are the ones who forced the state to infringe on our civil liberties and rights, ironically enough, to protect the civilization that makes our liberties and rights worth anything in the first place!

In conclusion, the forcefulness of the state was caused by libertarians and anarchists-- or more specifically, by the irrational, destructive, counterproductive hatred, fear, and distrust of the state. You brought it upon yourselves. You projected what the state would be, and the state became what you believed it to be, because you believed it. You sowed fear, uncertainty, doubt, and hatred of the state, and it became scary, bureaucratic, untrustworthy, and hateful. The state, as we know it today, is a product of the uncompromising individualism of America.

You had your chance, your America started out free. Then your Anti-Federalists gave the U.S. government and executive branch broad powers with the U.S. Constitution, but you still had freedom. You demanded rights to own slaves and women in the 1800s, and your civil liberties were curtailed as a result of that statist rebellion. You complained of political tyranny and corporate corruption in the late 19th century, and of John D. Rockefeller's immeasurable power over the state and society, and your revolutionary yellow journalists and "muckrakers" brought us the progressive movement, the Federal Reserve, the income tax, and the Prohibition, and hippies instigated the War on Drugs.

I'm not saying it's all libertarians, far from it. We're all to blame on some level, and the American culture is in its current state far too corrupt, selfish, and egotistical for anyone to be blameless. Radical statists who think they can solve everything with force and nationalism- they're just as bad. 

In the end, it all comes down to balance- we gotta stop thinking in terms of uncompromising principles, and start thinking like adults. If we wish to improve the government, a measure of individual liberty and collective statism is necessary to bring that improvement to fruition. Nothing good in life is black-and-white. There's nothing productive about obsession or radical thought. If we want a culture, a people, a nation, a world that is truly free, we're going to have to settle somewhere in the middle, a reasonable balance between the individual and the state.
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Paul Frank's profile photoBrandon “Innomen” Sergent's profile photoJ. M. Weber's profile photoTimothy Matias's profile photo
41 comments
 
+Brandon Sergent This looks like something that you could put on your blog. No need for an extensive answer, just thought I'd notify you.
 
"Bitcoin is affected by its own system and the people who develop and maintain its code"

No, it's explicitly designed to be beyond such control. Coder control evaporated the moment it entered the wild, this was by design.

Ignorance of bitcoin is astounding.

"This is the point that libertarians are missing- that the state only has power within its domain, and its domain is limited to the services that it develops and maintains. If you refuse to use state money, services, infrastructure, roads, social institutions, education, and rights, you have rejected its social contract."

That's simply not true in any rational realistic sense.

It is not possible to live outside the system, therefor the admonition is invalid. The system makes it impossible, and reality makes it impossible. This entire essay boils down to the simplistic "well if you don't like it, leave." admonition. We can't. There's no where to go. Attempts to actually exit yield borderline insanity and pipe dreams.

Exit isn't a realistic option yet. Thus this argument is invalid. It's like calling a coma patient lazy.

"The vast majority of suppression of freedom in the state, particularly in recent times, is due to individualist and freedom-obsessed libertarians challenging the state, rebelling against its rule, the state responds defensively, cutting off the freedoms that permitted them to express their dissent and rebellion. The state, in order to protect the integrity of the established system, silences dissent to prevent further damage being done to its authority. It's a vicious cycle where the end result is always less freedom for everyone."

Maddeningly ignorant. And repulsively sycophantic.

http://vimeo.com/20861423
http://www.collateralmurder.com/

He's making the political version of the "she was asking for it" argument on a mass cultural scale. Or "well you must have done something to get arrested."

"In conclusion, the forcefulness of the state was caused by libertarians and anarchists-"

Tell that to the Native Americans, blacks, Japanese, women, prisoners, and children.

The real problem with the anti-statist position is disregard for economy of scale and selective scalability and general cultural reliance on the profits of scalability which have already been established. (Which he lightly touched on.)

https://plus.google.com/u/0/109040099390757246328/posts/FkU1Zhcjukc Here is how you actually argue it.

"No need for an extensive answer, just thought I'd notify you."

You know better than that :)
 
+Brandon Sergent 
To be fair, the first part about Bitcoin was right. ;)

"Exit isn't a realistic option yet."
No, it's mostly no longer an option because the world has become too crowded. Maybe it will be again, but it will not be because of isolation - the only reason it was ever an option.

I'm sorry, while I generally profit from your links, I stopped listening to him after some minutes. He isn't arguing, he's mostly rambling and trying to evoke feelings.

I didn't say I agree to everything, but I did really profit from reading the essay. Think of it this way: The question isn't if we want to get rid of the state, it's how to do it. Either we take control of it to the point we collectively are the state, or we fight it (and ignore the reason it exists). Latter seems rather stupid to me, except when there's no other way.

To me, ideally it should be "people" = "government/state" which can be statist or antistatist, depending on the point of reference.
 
"He isn't arguing, he's mostly rambling and trying to evoke feelings."

That's my point exactly, I wasn't linking for the video I was linking for my argument in the comments.

As far as the social debate my position is as you've heard before basically entails changing nothing but the addition of a wealth cap overage funded universal payment.

I think if you did that everything else would fix itself organically as a result of the subsequent mass empowerment.

Like brin talks about when he mentions massively parallel processing in economic terms.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2011/09/libertarians-and-conservatives-must.html

Everything else is nitpicking, fantasy football, or complexifying sophistry.
 
+Brandon Sergent I'm sorry, I've gotten so used to address anti-statists, I didn't even reflect before replying. I'm halfway through reading the comments and I was smiling quite a bit so far. Not only do I hear the same 'arguments' repeated over and over again, a common behavior among such types, you're also basically stomping him into the ground and he keeps thinking simply ignoring this will somehow change it.
I knew they are intellectual sock puppets for the rich, but I'm starting to understand they're seriously thinking they're "on our side" and not just selfish. Although some simply might be misguided.
I'll let you know what I think later, I've gotten hungry. :)
 
Heh, thank you :)

Enjoy your chow, I'm currently converting that discussion into an essay for easy sharing later. :)
 
+Timothy Matias You should read the comments in the thread +Brandon Sergent mentioned, he's making a much better case against anti-statism than I (or you) did.
He's basically like a friendly A.I. anyway.
 
+Brandon Sergent "No, it's explicitly designed to be beyond such control. Coder control evaporated the moment it entered the wild, this was by design.

Ignorance of bitcoin is astounding."

Bitcoin has code, and the code is changed. this means that by definition, it is controlled. You failed to address my original points (that its structure is determined by its code, and that code is modified all the time), and neglected to back up your opposing claims (other than truisms, which don't fly with me). Please, if I am so ignorant, quit the ad hominems and enlighten me ;)

"It is not possible to live outside the system, therefore the admonition is invalid.....[bla bla bla repeating the same thing in drawn-out tl;dr rant fashion]"

Uh, no, I lived outside of the system for several months, doing as I pleased, without interference or limitation. I took baths naked and walked around naked, made and improved my shelter as I saw fit, had sex in the open air, virtually every thing any sane freedom-loving person might want to do (except for guns and explosives, personally I'm not into that shit so I lacked incentive to test it).....it's called fucking living off the grid, and it's a very common practice. your claim that it's impossible is complete and utter bullshit. 

"Exit isn't a realistic option yet. Thus this argument is invalid. It's like calling a coma patient lazy."

One of the most disgusting straw mans I've seen yet, and also bullshit. You've obviously never seriously tried living off the grid, you're so full of hot air I'm backing away in case you pop.

"Tell that to the Native Americans, blacks, Japanese, women, prisoners, and children."

Way to take the whole argument out of context. I was referring to the power of the state to strip its citizens of their civil liberties. None of the groups you spoke of were considered citizens/full citizens at the time of their respective atrocities were committed, making them utterly irrelevant  Heck. such examples don't belong on this thread. This argument is not regarding the immorality or the psychopathy of the state, it's about the net force of the state, in respect to its citizens

"The real problem with the anti-statist position is disregard for economy of scale and selective scalability and general cultural reliance on the profits of scalability which have already been established. (Which he lightly touched on.)"

I disagree with you there, economic efficiency should be the least of our concerns. Socio-cultural issues are at the root of the world's problems, compared to which economic concerns are a minor footnote.

+J. M. Weber I'll check out the comments, hopefully they make a better case than this in-comment rubbish did ;)
 
+J. M. Weber honestly, +Brandon Sergent's writing is way too unfocused, and while intelligent and well-informed, is unpolished (to say the least!) and lacking in structure or consistency....basically, while he thinks well, his writing skills are shitty. I promise I read it, and hope that his writings not as difficult to weed through as Nietzsche, but that will have to wait for another day. Got a big day tomorrow, so it's bed time for me. Cheers, great discussion, and good night ^_^
 
+Timothy Matias I disagree, I think +Brandon Sergent is not only intelligent and well-informed, he's also very logical and consistent in his writing - if you're able to follow him and he's pretty accommodating. I also think he's a very good writer, but I primarily judge the content and tastes can differ.
Anyway, I think you should state the exact points you disagree with, that might be more constructive.
Thanks, I enjoyed it too & good luck tomorrow!
 
That was just my impression from the comments, perhaps I'd have to read the whole thing from the beginning to understand the context. When I said he's not a good writer, I mean he skips around a lot. Then again, depending on the style of thinking you're accustomed to, that could be a good thing, but I've found material is far easier to grasp and elegant when it's conveyed linearly, and avoids repeating or rehashing points.

He did these things quite a bit in the comments, thus my opinion he's a shitty writer. Of course, that's only my opinion, and I am neither an authority nor the best frame of reference to make such a determination objectively. My comparison to Nietzsche was for this reason-- while Nietzsche's writing is world famous and the subject of a great deal of analysis and debate, it's also notorious for being difficult to read, understand, and interpret.

I stated the points I disagree with in the previous comment regarding this thread, and I was not saying I disagreed with anything in the thread he linked to, only that the writing was IMO too messy for me to easily form any opinions on it. I'll need to come at it with a fresh mind, and prepare for a headache as I prepare to "decipher" it ;)

Good night! 
 
+Timothy Matias Just give him a chance before you judge him, ok? ;) I expect you two to get along nicely - if you don't get all pissed at each other over some irrelevant minor issue that is, I've seen it happening before... :D Good night!
 
The post I wrote is the single longest post I've ever written on politics. I took a longer look at the thread Brandon linked to (I really shouldn't, I need to get to bed, but curiosity got the best of me), and it is far more tl;dr-status than I thought-- indeed, longer than I ever thought possible.

If there's one thing I don't think can be honestly claimed about +Brandon Sergent's comments in that thread, it's elegance. That has to be the most overcomplicated drawn-out exchange of political opinions I've ever seen. It's truly going to be a nightmare to weed through. Brandon, I'm sincerely looking forward to your essay. Show me you're a good writer, and while you're at it, express it in such a way that is dramatically more concise and elegant. I don't want to read +/- 50 pages worth of writing just to appreciate (and respond to) what could have been 5+ pages of material.

Do this, and I promise I'll read and respond to your opinions with the highest respect and consideration.
 
I concur. I pretty much proposed the same thing earlier. It would also be immensly useful to combine only the most essential parts of both your writing into some text to link to.
I think we have enough longer versions for now. :D
 
First off, these debates help me stress test and sharpen my code so to speak. Thank you. I'm aware of the effort it takes on your part and I appreciate it. This is Always true of every debate I have. I just get tired of saying it even if I've never said it to you before.

Sidenote: I'm not repeating myself, I'm shining light on multiple touches or points of overlap from a single truth. Think venn diagrams. It's like fixing a watch, one missing gear can ruin 30 adjacent systems. When I link to the same thing over and over, that's because I'm trying to insert the missing part that addresses those 30 adjacent systems, not repeating myself 30 times. Savvy?

"Bitcoin has code, and the code is changed. this means that by definition, it is controlled."

You're talking about getting the egg back out of a cake. This is a common and instantly dispelled myth, one you would have encountered and dispelled yourself in advance had you actually done a cursory amount of research.

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Myths#Bitcoin_is_not_decentralized_because_the_developers_can_dictate_the_software.27s_behavior

"Please, if I am so ignorant, quit the ad hominems and enlighten me ;)"

Just because it's unflattering doesn't mean it's an insult, therefor Ad Hominem, therefor invalid.

AdHom is insult in lieu of argument, not unflattering truth in addition to argument. Nor is ignorance an insult. This goes to our fetish for pretending mistakes are bad, a relic of the standardized testing generation. Recognition of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom. And in this case your statement is proof of ignorance.

"Uh, no, I lived outside of the system for several months, doing as I pleased, without interference or limitation."

We're talking about mass social policy here, not one outlier. I'm talking about the city of Detroit trying to live in its central park for 10 years, not one dude camping for a month while the rest of global culture chugs on unchanged.

You clearly don't understand the logistics of maintaining millions, let alone billions of people.

You think your back-to-nature argument is new? For proof of how it can't be done look what happened when several thousand people did it for only a few days. http://www.cracked.com/article/116_5-facts-about-woodstock-hippies-dont-want-you-to-know/

"Way to take the whole argument out of context."

No, when you argue at this scale of social policy there is more context than what is apparently intuitive. You are missing that in the same way you are missing the meaning of scale. What is possible for a handful of people can be perfectly impossible for the species/culture as a whole or put another way, at the scale level above. That is where this debate must be had and that's where I'm having it.

The policy that works in your back yard is not by definition viable for all back yards.

"None of the groups you spoke of were considered citizens/full citizens..."

That's my point entirely. They weren't subversives who brought down the wrath of the state with their insurgency, they were social outsiders attacked independently of their actions.

You argued that state violence is the result of individualist action and yes sometimes that's a factor, but it's hardly self fulfilling prophecy on the whole. Almost nothing at this scale is ultimately that simple.

"it's about the net force of the state, in respect to its citizens ."

You don't get to just arbitrarily exclude non-citizens from the discussion when you're talking about national, let alone global, policy.

I'm talking about the state plus those it interacts with et al. Not some hyper specific game theory scenario with highly constrained sets of participants.

"Socio-cultural issues are at the root of the world's problems, compared to which economic concerns are a minor footnote."

O.O

Economy IS culture.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/james-burke-connections/

"+Brandon Sergent's writing is way too unfocused..."

By design. The point isn't pithy bumper stickers, the point is to borrow a phrase "The accurate processing of information without distortion or concealment."

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me 'Bob' :)

If you want to datamine my work for pithy one liners be my guest.

I can't win with you people, if I'm sharp you whine about me being simplistic, if I'm complete you whine about me being focused. If I'm specific you whine about Ad Hominem, if I'm general you whine about irrelevance.

Don't you get it? Anything can be argued no matter how absurd. That's why critical thinking and debate are skills that must be learned. Your ability to argue (as opposed to debate) with me doesn't demonstrate anything.

I suspect you're mainly frustrated by my lack of "focus" in the sense that since I'm not summing up my entire position in a sentence you disagree with it makes it impossible to pidgin-hole and then dismiss me.

I frustrate you possibly for the same reason I confuse the right wing. Because I'm a leftist libertarian. A non-violent bleeding heart that likes guns.

+J. M. Weber "Anyway, I think you should state the exact points you disagree with, that might be more constructive."

That would help.

"When I said he's not a good writer, I mean he skips around a lot."

That's an illusion caused by unspoken context. I assure you there is logical connection and flow to my thoughts, it's just that the hyper linear nature of language sometimes betrays that when applied to the fuzzy, massively parallel, and non-linear nature of reality.

Plus I'm a bastard who is a little insane with a fairly short temper. :) But I balance that with not holding grudges and being ultra-willing to reconsider my views in the face of evidence. It's easy to make peace with me so long as you have intellectual spine. (Not even ability, just courage. I'm not an ivory tower dweller.)

"...when it's conveyed linearly, and avoids repeating or rehashing points."

Agreed, but again that's a PR/stylistic concern. If you would like to paraphrase/datamine my work, I would be more than pleased. I've heard that kind of admonition my whole life. My goal is not to persuade (though I admit that was the initial hope) but to inform.

Think of me as the raw data, and what you're talking about is a tidy chart.

"My comparison to Nietzsche was for this reason-- while Nietzsche's writing is world famous and the subject of a great deal of analysis and debate, it's also notorious for being difficult to read, understand, and interpret."

I accept that backhanded compliment in the spirit in which it was given. :) I completely agree. My work is a chainsaw, not a scalpel. But then again I'm aiming it at redwoods, not blades of grass. :)

+J. M. Weber "I've seen it happening before..."

Heh, did I mention I'm an insane bastard with a temper? :)

"...indeed, longer than I ever thought possible."

Over 37,000 words when you include the quoted bits. Believe me, I'm aware of that problem.

"...express it in such a way that is dramatically more concise and elegant. I don't want to read +/- 50 pages worth of writing just to appreciate (and respond to) what could have been 5+ pages of material."

Data vs charts man, data vs charts. You're right, but it's also not my problem, more or less. Give me staff, and then see what I can do. I'm ineffectual because of divide and conquer. I've been isolated and then the consequences of my isolation are paraded as reasons for it.

It's a catch 22. you're asking for the product of a PR man, but if I was a PR man I'd have long ago been tricked into being someone with money's tool. If you want Truth (or Underlore) this is the form it comes in.

http://vimeo.com/20861423

"It would also be immensly useful to combine only the most essential parts of both your writing into some text to link to."

So again, go for it. I can't change the world alone, that exactly why my enemies have seen fit to defund and isolate me. I'm a specialist with no support in this context.

I'm disabled even irl by my mind. Not to come off as arrogant, just honestly trying to convey my situation, I'm like hawking without the chair.

Yeah it would be great if I could get to meetings and speak clearly, but if I could do that shit I wouldn't have had the time to sit and figure out hawking radiation now would I?

The world demands the impossible from me. If you want that shit, you're going to have to wheel my ass to the table and fit me with a voice box, or in this case help me refine the ore of my work into some useful exotic metal.
 
Well done.  The Libertarian complaint is rarely against all institutions of the state.  Rather proponents embrace some minimalist subset of them.  If nothing else puts the purist off, understanding that private property and rights require the group's assent and participation will often upset his or her paradigm.
 
+Brandon Sergent I'll try not to keep this too tl;dr:

"First off, these debates help me stress test and sharpen my code so to speak. Thank you. I'm aware of the effort it takes on your part and I appreciate it. This is Always true of every debate I have. I just get tired of saying it even if I've never said it to you before."

I don't know what specifically you're referring to, but you're welcome.

"Sidenote: I'm not repeating myself, I'm shining light on multiple touches or points of overlap from a single truth. Think venn diagrams."

I'll not get into my extreme dislike for ven diagrams, and go with this: your style of communication (as reflected in the comments, including this one) is intelligent and informative, but inelegant and (to me) overcomplicated. I don't believe this is because you are being candid and unfiltered, as you claim, but because you didn't go to the trouble to edit your work and frame it so as to be presentable and accessible, and you were too lazy to bother refining it. Rather than "candid" or "nothing but the truth", a more accurate adjective would be "raw". Your writing is raw and unpolished. Sure it has the potential, but until you polish it a great deal....I'll be continually frustrated with the literary expression that could have been.

"When I link to the same thing over and over, that's because I'm trying to insert the missing part that addresses those 30 adjacent systems, not repeating myself 30 times. Savvy?" 

If you're a good writer, you shouldn't need to go back to the original core point(s) 30 times (or even 3 times) to connect the dots. This is what I love about layer-based expression- rather than constantly going back in forth between the branching ideas and the core point(s) they relate to, you can just branch out from the original points in layer-fashion, all while keeping true to the original core points without having to return to them. Web together your ideas like a spider, who carefully builds a beautiful web around the core threads without returning to them, thus ensuring their web is elegant.

"You're talking about getting the egg back out of a cake. This is a common and instantly dispelled myth"

uh, no, I never disagreed Bitcoin is decentralized, though I admit I should have clarified that in my original post; to my credit though, Bitcoin was merely an example, and not nearly relevant enough to the core arguments to bother elaborating on. 

But since you've taken the cat out of the bag, I'll use the very same article to disprove your so-called "debunking":

"Though the developers of the original Bitcoin client still exert influence over the Bitcoin community, their power to arbitrarily modify the protocol is very limited"

Hmmm, so they admit that Bitcoin's original developers do have some power over the system, albeit limited. You can argue Bitcoin's "government" isn't a dictatorship (no shit!), but even if its government is severely limited, it does have all the basic elements of a state, nevertheless.

"Since the release of Bitcoin v0.3, changes to the protocol have been minor and always in agreement with community consensus."

I've been involved with and contributed to Wikipedia, Ubuntu, and various other open-source/community projects to know exactly what "consensus" is. It's the same kind of "consensus" the scientific community uses: authority/"meritocracy"-based consensus. This only further reinforces my point that Bitcoin has a degree of statism, because it has a hierarchy and (albeit limited) exchange of power regarding its use, maintenance, and development.

"Maddeningly ignorant. And repulsively sycophantic." are the precise words you used. Excuse me for taking that as an insult that is directly connected with the content to which you were responding....like so many others, I understand and communicate in the English language. Please enlighten me on how these words don't constitute ad hominem insults.

"We're talking about mass social policy here, not one outlier.....[continues rant]"

Libertarians attack the state, and thus civilization. "Mass social policy" is a major part of civilization, so I am suggesting that if they don't like civilization (which is shown in their attacks at civilization's very foundations), they can leave it, for the very sake of preserving  (or rather, not interfering with) mass social policies..

In other words, if Libertarians require such an unrealistic world, they're better off living outside of the real world. Heck, we'd all be better off that way.

"You clearly don't understand the logistics of maintaining millions, let alone billions of people."

Nope, you just totally misunderstood the argument you were responding to. Hopefully you understand now ;)

[skipping continued rant]

[since this next part is (ironically enough) you took the argument out of context again....this is actually the first time I've ever seen someone take an argument taken out of context regarding an argument taken out of context....that takes seriously mad FAIL skills!).....skipping.....]

"What is possible for a handful of people can be perfectly impossible for the species/culture"

Lucky for us, libertarianism is still a relatively rare breed, and most of them just bitch, complain, and make half-assed idealistic arguments. Out of the libertarians that actually make anti-statism arguments, extremely few of them will actually do what is necessary to live outside the state.

But you know what, just for the fuck of it, I'll entertain the notion, in fact, I'll make it easy for you.

caution: possible tl;dr ahead

Let's say that every single last American citizen is a libertarian. Based on current population density (88 people per square mile), every American has a potential 29432 meters squared, or 7.27 acres. I don't know about you, but that's a lot of open space to work with.

And wait, it gets better: over 250 million of the 315.4 million (80%) Americans live in Urban areas, and over 60% of all Americans live in clusters exceeding 200,000 people.


http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/census_issues/archives/metropolitan_planning/cps2k.cfm
http://www.census.gov/geo/www/ua/uafaq.html

According to a 2007 government survey, urban land in the U.S. accounts for just 3% of all U.S. land.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib89.aspx

Since rural areas are the best areas for libertarians to escape statism and the civilization it maintains, the population density has been radically decreased: 97% of land is effectively rural, (less than 2,500 people per cluster), and with 59,492,276 Americans occupying that area. So let's do the math: 

1. 9,826,675 km2 (U.S. land area) = 2,428,224,274 acres.

2. 97% of 2,428,224,274 acres = 2,355,377,546 acres available to the rural population.

3. With a population of 59,492,276, there's enough sparsely-populated rural land for every non-urban citizen to have 40 acres to themselves.

For reference, 40 acres is a small mountain. So even making the absurd assumption that there are 60 million Americans (20%) genuinely interested in living a life outside of civilization, each of them can, should they wish to, have a whole mountain's worth of rural land to themselves to do with and in as they please.

Incidentally, rural land is sinfully cheap, so anyone wishing to live such a lifestyle has no excuse for not doing so. What it comes down to (as I said) is convenience. Libertarians could live outside of civilization if they wished, but *they'd rather enjoy the conveniences of the state and civilization, without having to take on the responsibilities and financial costs thereof. One of the biggest evidences of the utter hypocrisy of conservatives and libertarians alike, is the fact that the biggest welfare beneficiaries of the state are the rural populations of the U.S., despite their incessant attacks and complaining regarding the welfare system.

tl;dr end

"That's my point entirely. They weren't subversives who brought down the wrath of the state with their insurgency, they were social outsiders attacked independently of their actions."

I agree with you, but (as I pointed out) it was not the state itself that caused these travesties, but the psychopathic politicians (and the people who supported them) who perverted the state for their agenda(s). This is not a state issue, but a human and cultural problem.

If the state was the blame (as you claim it to be), or the power it wields, then most Nordic nations would be the biggest human rights violators, as these states have more legislative, regulatory, and taxing power than most nations. Yes power can and does corrupt, but only to the extent that the nation's culture allows. The state can do some of the most horrible things, but only if its people give it the power to.

"You argued that state violence is the result of individualist action and yes sometimes that's a factor, but it's hardly self fulfilling prophecy on the whole. Almost nothing at this scale is ultimately that simple."

I agree, and might I note, did I ever once use the word "simple" (or anything that bore the same connotation to it) in my entire essay?

"You don't get to just arbitrarily exclude non-citizens from the discussion when you're talking about national, let alone global, policy"

It's irrelevant to the discussion because non-citizens are legally not bound by the state, and this discussion was concerning statism. I'm not saying it's not important (it most certainly is!), but it broadens the discussion beyond the bounds of reasonable focus. Unlike you (you claimed that you deliberately write in an unfocused manner), I believe discussion must be as focused as reasonably possible to achieve maximum appreciation by those involved.

"I'm talking about the state plus those it interacts with et al. Not some hyper specific game theory scenario with highly constrained sets of participants."

I'm used to off topic rants, but I won't acknowledge them as legitimate. Post your own thread if you wish to have more open-ended discussion.

"Economy IS culture." I've talked to a lot of people, and they agreed with my initial reaction that this claim is ludicrous. I'll let you off easy on this one, and just note that this is pure conjecture, and good luck with convincing people of that. If I were to take that statement seriously, I'd say you were a psychopath. But I'll assume instead that you're just making this absurd statement for the sake of argument, and don't actually believe it. Then again, there is a fairly strong association between Subgenius and Asperger's, so I wouldn't be entirely surprised if you genuinely believed it.

 I'll entertain you and check out the attached link, mostly because Aristotle told me to.

"By design. The point isn't pithy bumper stickers, the point is to borrow a phrase "The accurate processing of information without distortion or concealment." "The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me 'Bob' "

You don't have to filter or psychologically frame your words to write in a focused and appreciable manner. You just need to effectively use language to communicate what you intended. It's not a matter of whether your words sound good, it's whether you conveyed your words in such a way that accurately expressed your thoughts. Candidness is not a valid excuse for lazy writing.

"if I'm complete you whine about me being focused"

I never whined about you being focused (and associating me with "you people is a rather overbroad generalization, to say the least!), and if you must know, I found your comments in the other thread both tl;dr and ridiculously unfocused. In fact, I found that the lengthiness was actually mostly due to your lack of focus.

"Your ability to argue (as opposed to debate) with me doesn't demonstrate anything."

Not sure what you're even talking about here, so since you haven't established a context for this statement, it's non-sequitur AFAIK.

"I suspect you're mainly frustrated by my lack of "focus" in the sense that since I'm not summing up my entire position in a sentence you disagree with it makes it impossible to pidgin-hole and then dismiss me."

more baseless assumptions. I generally don't dismiss anyone, and I'm more likely to continue arguing/debating/etc. with people I vehemently disagree with. 

"I frustrate you possibly for the same reason I confuse the right wing. Because I'm a leftist libertarian. A non-violent bleeding heart that likes guns."

Let's just say I prefer Noam Chomsky. He makes a lot more fucking sense (and is a lot more focused and elegant in his arguments) than you ever have.

"I'm a bastard who is a little insane with a fairly short temper. :) But I balance that with not holding grudges and being ultra-willing to reconsider my views in the face of evidence. It's easy to make peace with me so long as you have intellectual spine."

Good to know. You remind me quite a bit of +Asmeret Simon in this respect.

"If you would like to paraphrase/datamine my work, I would be more than pleased."

I'm cringing just thinking about it. Perhaps I'll muster enough courage some time in the future ;)

"Think of me as the raw data"

See that's the problem, I've already got enough raw data, it's called "The Internet". The world already has too many ideas and facts, and not enough mining, refining, and interpretation of that data. Well, at the very least, don't quit your day job ^_^

"My comparison to Nietzsche..." -- "I accept that backhanded compliment in the spirit in which it was given. :) I completely agree. My work is a chainsaw, not a scalpel. But then again I'm aiming it at redwoods, not blades of grass."

It was intended as a backhanded compliment, good you took it the right way :)

[[the rest of your comments were addressed so far as I know]]

"The world demands the impossible from me. If you want that shit, you're going to have to wheel my ass to the table and fit me with a voice box, or in this case help me refine the ore of my work into some useful exotic metal."

Thanks for acknowledging my ability to do so, but I'm not sure if I'll ever want to. I'll give it due consideration though.
 
Heh, this is so much fun! :)
Still, both of you investing all this time in arguments solely aimed at reducing each others credibility and/or writing style doesn't exactly qualify as constructive in my opinion. I imagine it would be pretty easy to just debunk the whole anti-statist philosophy by using proper definitions and focusing on some core issues - like common goods, property rights and power for example.

"The world already has too many ideas and facts, and not enough mining, refining, and interpretation of that data."
These are words of wisdom.
 
+J. M. Weber do you see anything in my arguments that was aimed at discrediting? That was never my intent. I wish to challenge +Brandon Sergent to submit more solid and well-thought out arguments, and while he's at it, try to be quite a bit more focused in his thoughts so I can better understand his opinions ;)
 
+Timothy Matias No, it's not about what you said, but where the energy is directed. In case you two just want to help each other to improve yourselves, you can consider my argument void though.
 
That was my intent, sorry for the confusion. I tend to enjoy antagonistic arguments with people (as they're more energetic and challenging), and I got the impression +Brandon Sergent also feels the same. If not, I apologize Brandon for having some fun at your expense ^_^
 
Hehe, I don't even mind anymore we've mostly lost focus on the original topic. :D
 
Don't be such a pessimist, I'm sure (with the exception of my rants regarding Brandon's unfocused writing) my latest response has gotten things largely back on track ;)
 
"...you were too lazy..."

To do the impossible? Yes.

"...you shouldn't need to go back to the original core..."

1. See above about multiple points of contact.
2. People ignore facts and presentations and then make arguments that demonstrate their continued ignorance, so I reshare in those contexts.
3. This metachat bores the shit out of me. I'd rather talk about the subject than talk about talking.

(bitcoin ignorance)

No longer interested. If you want to split hairs be my guest. :)

"if they don't like civilization (which is shown in their attacks at civilization's very foundations), they can leave it"

Except they can't but whatever, you refuse to face that.

"Hopefully you understand now ;)"

You confuse understanding with agreement. I know exactly what you are saying, and I've refuted it to my satisfaction.

(lib population numbers)

None of that is relevant. Also, you seem to be unaware of the freestate project.

http://freestateproject.org/

"who perverted the state for their agenda"

No, the state never recognized indians women black etc as full humans, that wasn't corruption it was intrinsic policy. Jefferson owned slaves before there ever was a US gov.

But even if, still it's irrelevant.

"The state can do some of the most horrible things, but only if its people give it the power to."

Well that's a relief, 'I'm glad that I can now sleep soundly blaming the victims of ALL state oppression for having brought it on themselves.

"I agree, and might I note, did I ever once use the word "simple" (or anything that bore the same connotation to it) in my entire essay?"

Wow, really? So if you don't use the word, it can't exemplify the concept? Your arguments are grossly simplistic.

"are legally not bound by the state"

I see so the systematic extermination of the native Americans is safely ignored because hey they aren't citizens anyway. Gotcha.

", I believe discussion must be as focused as reasonably possible to achieve maximum appreciation by those involved."

Who says I care about the appreciation of those involved? Jesus, spoiled by infotainment much? Some stuff isn't predicated on keeping you placated.

http://vimeo.com/20861423

"they agreed with my initial reaction that this claim is ludicrous"

Argumentum ad populum doesn't impress me. Nor does it change the facts. Reality isn't a democracy.

"You don't have to filter or psychologically frame your words to write in a focused and appreciable manner."

Ignoring all further whining metachat.

"Not sure what you're even talking about here..."

That's painfully obvious.

"Let's just say I prefer Noam Chomsky."

And I care about your preference why?

"See that's the problem, I've already got enough raw data, it's called "The Internet"."

Yeah you're right, a half million or so words from me is just the same as the entire Internet.

"I'm not sure if I'll ever want to."

Trust me, you don't. Indeed I'm fairly certain you can't. But when making cultural contributions it's foolish to attempt to control third party use.

You'll do as you please and I accept that.

"I wish to challenge +Brandon Sergent"

Lies. The only question is are you lying to yourself as well as the audience you imagine is reading this.

"I apologize Brandon for having some fun at your expense ^^"_

You're not capable of a real apology. But fear not, you don't owe me one either.

I know you far better than I would like to.

+J. M. Weber Sorry man, this one isn't worth my time. You patience as always is inspiring, but I see no need to duplicate it. With a billion English speaking people I have yet to read word one from I can afford to be ultra picky.

The one word I would apply to this guy is insufficient.
 
I changed my mind. You "refuted" my points with the single longest streak of non sequiturs I've ever seen...add to that the fact that you admitted to having zero interest in synthesizing mutual understanding, the whole point of discourse, and you totally killed my interest in continuing this debate. At least I was right about you enjoying antagonistic conversation, but I was dead wrong for thinking you would respond with more solid arguments.

I'm done here, I'd have better luck having a reasonable conversation with a Satanic bloodlines conspiracy theorist- at least they're consistent and provide context -_-
 
+J. M. Weber feel free to continue from here and make sense of +Brandon Sergent. I've lost my patience with him for now; hopefully you (or someone else) can return sanity to this thread.
 
I agree, +Brandon Sergent s response was a bit disappointing. Then again, he explicitly told me not to bother him with politics and such for the time being, and I ignored that. Apart from being based on a intrinsically political subject, this thread has also moved to a debate about the participants, something I still find a bit disappointing because it mostly seems like a waste of energy to me.
To me it's rather simple: You both proclaim to be skeptical thinkers and that includes self-criticism. You're also both very intelligent and educated. Act like it. :)
 
I agree, and I admit that my focus on his writing style was completely off topic. I was just so surprised that someone so intelligent could be so deliberately unfocused and cluttered in expression, that I let myself go. Had I duly taken into consideration his affiliation with SubGenius, we could have avoided that unnecessary tangent altogether, but alas, hindsight is indeed 20/20.

I appreciate all due criticism, though I won't accept it without solid reasoning and supporting evidence. You have provided such, disappointingly (for I was looking forward to a fun conversation) Brandon has not :/
 
One problem I see, +Timothy Matias has not defined "state". A short definition might be in order to avoid misunderstandings. Why not do the same for government and try to add some clarity by using both words.

Another problem I see is the definition of "living outside" and consequently of "exiting", this seems to be open to interpretation.

To try and incorporate Brandons feedback:
He has a good point that the forcefulness of the state is inherent, it's being kept in check. If anything, it can be unleashed.

"The real problem with the anti-statist position is disregard for economy of scale and selective scalability and general cultural reliance on the profits of scalability which have already been established."
It's hard not to see that this is a very good point in my opinion.
 
Also, I'd incorporate (the problem of) common goods into the essay, it's such an easy argument to make. :)
 
Apparently this is a widespead problem; according to Wikipedia (this article is heavily cited)-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_(polity)

Definitional issues

"There is no academic consensus on the most appropriate definition of the state.[3] The term "state" refers to a set of different, but interrelated and often overlapping, theories about a certain range of political phenomena.[4] The act of defining the term can be seen as part of an ideological conflict, because different definitions lead to different theories of state function, and as a result validate different political strategies.[5]"

"The most commonly used definition is Max Weber's,[6][7][8][9][10] which describes the state as a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory."

This definition is compatible with all my uses of the word "state" throughout the discourse. In the case of Bitcoin (my loosest use of state), I noted its developers (not original developers, but all of its developers, as a collective) held limited (by "consensus") a monopoly on the control, maintenance, and revision of Bitcoin's code, and thus of Bitcoin.

Other than that, I don't see any problems with my usage. Even an individual's self-control is entirely compatible with the above-stated definition.

"living outside" was largely defined by me in my examples of my own experiences of living off the grid. Such experiences are identical to "off the grid" as explained here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncontacted_peoples

Most people going off the grid opt for a more practical compromise:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Off-the-grid

"The real problem with the anti-statist position is disregard for economy of scale and selective scalability and general cultural reliance on the profits of scalability which have already been established."

I agreed to this in my original response, with my only contention being that while this is important, the cultural issues are far more important.
 
+Timothy Matias Still, I imagine if they hear the word state, most people think of the state as they know it and not of the concept of state. This might lead to misunderstandings.
 
Are you referring to the efficiency of trading/manufacturing common goods (barter vs. money, most notably) with a centralized system, as supposed to the less efficient and more problematic barter / small-scale trade system? This appears to be to be just a particularly important facet of the economy-of-scale argument. 
 
I was referring to the state in this manner because, as Wikipedia notes, there's no consensus on the more specific definitions, due to the diversity both of states and the cultures and societies that create/interpret them. In particular, if I relied on the Libertarian conception of "state", I'd never be able to get my head out of my own ass long enough to develop more balanced and rational opinions, which I daresay is far more problematic.
 
Ugh, I meant public goods. Although your argument applies too, at least partially.
 
I was mostly thinking about first claryfing that while you're making an argument for the state, you're not defending the state you currently have. Just to avoid scaring off readers. ;)
 
Admittedly, the argument was first and foremost to convince myself; I was surprised that I generated such a positive response from you. Then again, I was equally surprised that +Noel Yap didn't budge a bit despite my arguments.

As I continue to refine my thought, I'll be sure to take in consideration my audience. It's something I'm getting better at it, but I never wrote for an audience at all until 2010, and even now, I have this bad habit of conveying things from my point-of-view, which is not nearly normal enough to ever hope of connecting with most people.
 
"I have this bad habit of conveying things from my point-of-view, which is not nearly normal enough to ever hope of connecting with most people."
This is one of my biggest problems too. I think it helps to focus on common ground, often there's far more than you think - at least if you don't get lost in details. That's why I think idealists can be so dangerous; they're unwilling to compromise - even on details.
 
Which is why I loved being a libertarian (uncompromising idealism is far more convenient), and why I had to stop being one (because as inconvenient as it may be, I value communication and understanding more than pride and egotism.
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