Viewing posts from the Ethics category

The Libertarian Party SoCal Conference Opens Tickets to Activists First

The Libertarian Party in Southern California Holds its Seventh Annual Conference

The Libertarian Party Southern California Regional Conference has been a fun and fantastic experience for seven years running. This coming year’s tickets have finally gone on sale and organizers are encouraging stalwart attendees to get tickets now.

No speakers have been announced yet but early purchase tickets have been made available to Libertarian activists ahead of time to allow pre-purchase. There is some concern this year that the conference may out-sell it’s venue with some big names. Last month internet sensation Vermin Supreme did a fund raiser for the conference, raising money to defray costs, but it is not known if the conference will bring the satirical candidate out from New Hampshire.

Traditionally the conference is an outreach event and candidates are not a focus. The organizers, a caucus of Libertarians from multiple Southern California Counties, have concentrated on getting speakers from outside the LP to talk to Libertarian activists and also in finding speakers and workshops that encourage and instruct strong activism for liberty. They also keep the price reasonable in the extreme: $35 for a day of speakers and lunch is included.

Privacy, the Death Penalty and the End to Marijuana Prohibition are sure to be hot topics this year in California. While we wait for a speakers list to be announced, we can only guess whom may be headlining this year’s conference. It ought to be great!

Tickets are available here on Event Bee:
7th Annual Southern California Libertarian Party Conference

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How I Found Justice and What I Used the Blindfold for when I Got Her

“Perhaps moving voluntary law forward in the real world could be promoted as a solution for larger more generalized rules in larger looser organizations like a coalition groups or other non-profit oriented organizations that have more distributed, organic, non-hierarchical structures.”

Voluntary Law Guy posted one of his excellent articles on voluntary law and within the ensuing conversation a point was drawn that I wanted to share. It has to do with how to get voluntary law recognized by people on the whole for the purpose of justice. I think one of the strongest strategies is to point out that voluntary law does already exist–that it is far more prevalent in society than realized and is stronger than the government brand for organizing communities. You can read the Original Post Here.

Voluntary Law does Exist and is Extant

Rules, even for justice, tend to be best implemented among people of the libertarian stripe as convention based on needs; we almost never have to write them down to have them communicated and followed. At, the NAP is strong. This leads to my real point: Voluntary law exists all around us, all the time.

We human beings create voluntary associations and law as a matter of course. The term “voluntary law”, I think, is a bit of a neo-colloquial for processes that are natural to people and have always existed. If you stop and consider it, every relationship two people make has within it a whole host of negotiated rules. When groups get together likewise, the rules and conventions of the group, ad hoc or persistent, start developing on their own as manifestations of the rules among the members and higher level rules that exist in the group.

Any time we get hired on at a new company, join a congregation, sign up as a member of a professional or fraternal organization, or really, in any venue where larger groups of people work towards purpose, there are voluntary laws that get created, written down, enforced and adjudicated. Justice is a basic need of all relationships.

Making Justice a Little More Voluntary

Differentiating voluntary law from already existing conventions, one might say that the pursuit has more to do with replacing criminal law usually reserved for government. It feels to me like the pathway toward more voluntary law and justice is to illustrate and leverage the existence of those conventions as the basis of how we get along already; that it is remarkably successful, and that we need to move more of our “relationship management” conventions and rules back into these voluntary associations as a society. One very strong example we can hold up and maybe also use as a pathway for extending this convention is the use of private arbitration services.

Many people and organizations when you sign a contract with them will include a provision for resolving conflicts through a private adjudication service. This is a for manifest system of justice that we already accept in a wide spread way. Perhaps moving voluntary law forward in the real world could be promoted as a solution for larger more generalized rules in larger looser organizations like a coalition groups or other non-profit oriented organizations that have more distributed, organic, non-hierarchical structures. These organizations need internal conflict resolution that sometimes touches on larger issues of convention or security. Many of these sorts of organizations solve as many problems internally as they can, or try to and it can be burdensome. It may be a hook for larger voluntary law-like structures to become manifest and accepted among people to see if the scope of voluntary law and arbitration be accentuated in those venues with more regularity.

What organizations have you belonged to that would benefit, or maybe more poignantly should benefit, from better voluntary law structures instead of, or above, government provided justice services?

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The Mean Streets and Private Police

A community fires its police force for private security. Is this a manifestation of freedom?

Article on The Blaze

When considering this question, I asked myself a different query than I think most libertarians might: How well might this work out in South Central Los Angeles? It is a tough place full of racial tension and strife. For fans of trivia it may interest you to know that Los Angeles is the 10th most segregated city in the US.

Racial Segregation
The blue dots are South Central.

In South Central one ethic group, the majority of the residents, rent their homes and apartments and do not find a lot of local jobs.  All of the stores in the area are run by another exclusive ethnic group (green dots) that treats the residents like they are less than human.  They hire only family and treat their captive customer base like dog shit.

Yet another ethnic group (pink dots) owns nearly all of the property and manages it through companies. Off in the distance, a mega-city city council manages all of the services, including police that treat the neighborhood as a training ground. Every couple of decades the locals raize the place in defiance to oppression, some injustice sparking the ever drying tinder. Like the chaparral in the hollywood hills, South Central has to burn when the dead wood stacks too high. People ask, “how can they burn their own homes? How can they rob the stores they shop in?” They have never lived in South Central or in a rent only neighborhood. They have never shopped in stores that transact with you only though an inch of Plexiglas.

How does a neighborhood like this do a damn thing about private security? That is the real problem we are dealing with. I think that the fact that these people are used as an anti-paragon, held up as the dregs of society is really profitable for a lot of people. These people have no political influence. Who is going to give them the clout to determine their own policing?

Private Police on the Mean Streets

I thought about the effects. If private policing could take hold in South Central, it would be tremendous. If local residents hired security for the neighborhood there would be a major challenge at least at first. I believe the real challenge would be to keep neighborhoods from seeking to hire a company affiliated with one group of “local entrepreneurs” and then used as a tool against rival “business interests”.

I think that it could be possible. If the neighborhoods were small enough, and the security firms held to the law, I think that graft or aggression would balance out very quickly. Perhaps the role for government police would be oversight of the actions of the firms. That might be a huge savings all around but I still think we miss the point.

Even if this libertarian utopia could exist in South Central, who would let them? I think that there is a multi-headed powerful interest for keeping the area, oppressed, pissed off, poor and consuming massive quantities of bad ideas in a bottle or bag. I think that there is a powerful political interest in keeping the area dangerous and the residents frightened and the HUD dollars flowing. I think that there is also an unfortunate and shameful racially biased feeling of self righteousness derived from the situation perpetuated by ethnic groups that identify the residents as less than human. They exploit their misery with a relish of satisfaction.

Privatization does not Equate to Freedom

While these wealthy folk in a gated community have the pleasure of tossing off their local police; and certainly enjoying a freer lifestyle than most, how could our brothers and sisters in a place like South Central ever hope to be able to secede from the city of Los Angeles? Self determination? Not for these people, forget it.

In autocratic nations the privileged always have their own protection. This private police force is not an ideal of Capitalism, it isn’t a manifestation of freedom either, freedom that has to be bought isn’t freedom, it is Fascism.

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GMO Foods and Principle

Something bothers me around the GMO Foods discussion in libertarian circles and that is that there does not seem to be enough treatment to what responsible and ethical action looks like with the ability to author life and living structure.
I make no arguments that anyone should mistake as a need for government regulation. I am putting out a cry that if we do not better understand how ethical action is manifest in these technologies that pitfalls will not be well understood until too late.

Are there legitimate questions of principle for how GMO Foods are or are not labled?

It is reasonable to assume in light of some 100+ years of fascist implementation that GMO products could be an issue that is used to destroy freedoms wholesale. We know what happens when someone’s irresponsible action causes so much fear in so many that principled social reaction will be impossible. Progressives have already begun influencing the debate and we are failing to answer it. I think that people who express concern over GMOs are doing so on grounds that the liberty movement should be owning, and developing on our own terms.

Let me pose a series of generalized solutions for consideration. Which is more principled? Forced labeling of GMOs, or a social recognition that selling “not salmon” as “salmon” is fraud on the face of it? Is allowing GMO products to be sold as if they were natural products principled?

Currently the law gives genetically modified products the cover of law for selling itself as the natural counterpart as long as they are aesthetically the same. This does not seem like a rational definition of fraud to me… matter of fact it seems like the definition of fraud turned upside down for the convenience of pathological liars. It is glaring in its inconsistency with principled action.

To say that GMO should be able to be sold as its natural look alike, you would have to contend that “natural” versus “not natural” is not a value component of people’s market decisions. For me, just on the face of it “natural” versus “not-natural” is a significant value in that market. The anti-GMO movement is a manifestation of that being true.

The need for principled positions and education

I will leave it to the reader to decide for themselves on GMO marketing, but I also invite you to, while considering a position, that you may have to let go of some perceptions inculcated by the defense of free business. Businesses especially bleeding edge ones are vulnerable to heavy handed regulation. I argue that we libertarians need to find answers to these problems that do NOT involve government action before the progressives use them to erode our rights, and the rights of innovators in the bio-tech space.

Consumers do have a right to demand truthfulness in labeling, and they should be able to seek damages if they are defrauded. But if we do not first, before the fascists do, cause people to feel secure in their market actions we will lose this fight. We must find a principled position on the matter of GMO products, we must find a bright line for what fraud is and is not on the question and educate people on ethical recourse.

Beyond labeling there are other issues that require real examination, what is the principled reaction to weaponized organisms, or organisms that turn out to be dangerous in unexpected ways? What about intellectual property injustices that are widely reported by farmers oppressed by GMO manufacturers using the law for market subjugation – What about the contamination of seed stock with GMO pollen or other such unwanted invasions of genetic material into populations? Is not the legal potential for government licensed monopolization of the food supply not a freedom issue? Where is the libertarian discussion for principle on these subjects?

If we are not more proactively forming solid positions on GMO ethics, I am afraid that we are going to hand the ball directly into the hands of the bad guys on this one, and it is going to entrench government and fascist institutions into greater privilege over an increasingly powerless people stripped of their rights by an incapacity to assert them. It seems like it would behoove us, while we are celebrating these revolutionary technologies and the great men and women who are bringing them; that we should also reflect on how their discoveries are considered within the ethics and responsibilities of releasing forms of automata into the world.

Discussion, and careful, thoughtful responses need formulation

I believe that our ethics are greatly strengthened if we ask some of the tougher questions at our principled allies in these technologies as softballs and get those great minds to demonstrate how common and natural law is enough to protect the public from duplicity in their less principled peers. Moreso, we should invite them to reflect on the ethics of their market interaction, if willing, to set examples of how the good guys do it without guns to their heads.

I would also invite my freedom minded friends to engage in honest rational discussion about what is principled action in the market where engineered lifeforms are introduced as products; and what are the ethical bright lines concerning organisms introduced to the genetic pool of life in general. The war for public opinon on this one is looming. I feel it is going to be critical to our movement’s success with a large segment of people that thoughtful and considered answers are well vetted, understood and ready for memespace.

I might start such a discussion with a strawman assertion such as:

“I contend that if genetic patterns are allowed to have the government privilege of patent, that to maintain the intellectual property, the owner of the privilege must mark all packaging with the patent, and license its use only with the condition that the patent be likewise displayed on the label to maintain the patent from the public domain.”

Then I might promptly abandon that thought as too weirdly close to condoning IP. Thanks all the strawman is burned. IP is too ooky for me to want to even tangentially condone it.

I think that the fraud angle has more merit. I assert this:

“A good piece of fish can be really expensive. If I buy salmon that turns out to be an Eel-Sea Urchin-Salmon homonculous, I should be able to sue the thieves that cheated me.”

Any takers?

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Islam: Fear, Hatred, Intolerance – Incompatible with Freedom

Throughout the Quo’ran one can find passages that give indisputable proof that Islam is a religion of violence and intolerance. A number of articles I have read recently on freedom have made some long enumerations that give such evidence. I do not feel that there is much value in trying to address those arguments because I am a repelled.

I am repelled because I find intolerance is hypocritical to any praxic or theoric application of freedom.

Freedom and liberty do not coexist with intolerance. Intolerance, appeals to fear, teasing at the anxieties of “not one of us”.  Intolerance at any level of exhibition is an escalation. The display has no other purpose than to force the wills of men through the generalized threat of impending violence.

I can identify many passages in the Quo’ran that instruct the use of violence. I can identify passages in every social text, every set of law, all attempts man has made at a systems of rules and ethics that instruct on the “proper” use of violence. All of them including the Quo’ran, the Bible, the Code of Hammurabi, and the US Code define under what conditions the use of violence is justified.  I can even find (brace yourself) attempts at trying to define the proper use of violence in the most erudite libertarian and anarchist essays, treatises, and discussions.

The basis of all ethics is violence, containing it or finding justification in it. Even the NAP is defined by it.  There is no incompatibility of Islam with freedom, no incompatibility of Christianity, Judaism, Utilitarianism or Existentialism with liberty any more or less than all of history is incompatible with freedom; or that man is incapable of being free.

It is simply not reasonable to point at some group of people and set them off as enemies to freedom just because there is a cultural history of imperfection. Imperfection is a universal truth for all men. Congratulations Mr. Obvious.

To incite intolerance of any group with such tactics is itself the beating of war drums itself. To corrupt the concept of freedom to call for war on such biogrty is a puerile pursuit

What evil is it then that would drive men possessing great passion for liberty, to turn on their own ideals, isolate groups for the actions of individuals, quote obscure scriptures written hundreds or thousands of years ago as proof of inhumanity, and apply that venom to some poor sod seeking spiritual meaning to his life?

The same fever for vengeance, control and dominance that drives men to twist scripture into violence, can and does drive men to twist liberty into war.

To itemize hate in the guise of a treatise on freedom is an act of vulgar conceit, hubris in face of reason – It is hypocrisy to liberty.

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