Why Libertarianism Fails

This is a post I originally made on the Market Ticker forums, a forum which has accurately pointed out many of the illegal and immoral actions by the government since the 2008 financial crisis, but whose authors and audience refuse to entertain the idea that a free society is the correct solution to the overall problem.

 

Tyranny Is Built Out Of libertarian Buts

“Tyranny Is Built Out Of libertarian ‘Buts'” by Anarchy in your Head

 

If there was a single word that describes the root cause of all the catastrophic responses that we’ve seen governments enact since the start of the financial crisis in 2008 that would be, “exceptions.”

We had a lot of rules in place that were supposed to prevent this, or would have at least limited the damage instead of compounding it, but time after time we’ve watched as those rules were ignored because of “exigent circumstances” or because everyone who followed the rules would cause “systemic risk.” This site in particular has been sounding the alarm with righteous outrage since the beginning, but so far all the protests have fallen on deaf ears, even among the people who should be natural allies.

Why does only a statistically-insignificant fraction of the population respond to the message when the evidence is so overwhelming and the lawlessness so blatant? Because deep down in our hearts, everybody believes in exceptions to the rules. Not all of them, though. “My exceptions,” we say, “are logical, pragmatic, and essential. Your exceptions, on the other hand, will be the ruin of us all.”

The truth is that any exception, no matter how justified it seem in the moment, destroys the concept of having a rule in the first place. Once you’ve accepted the principle that rules may be selectively enforced, you’ve now created a situation of having no rules at all – just an eternal high-stakes battle for who gets to choose the exceptions.

That’s why there is no rule of law, that’s why those in power ignore any limitation that would inhibit them from their desires, that’s why nobody is willing to hold them accountable – because we don’t really believe in rules. At least a part of the righteous indignation that we direct at the State is a case of protesting just a bit too much.

It should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention that the exceptions must end. This means all the exceptions, even then ones that you personally benefit from, the ones your holy books talk about, and especially the ones that stem from the traditions passed down from our ancestors (“if was good enough for them, it’s good enough for us”). If the mere thought of giving up our favorite exceptions feels like having a tooth extracted without anesthetic, that should strike everyone as a red flag. That tooth must come out because it is septic.

The Libertarian Party (LP) knows the right answer but stops short of actually implementing it. Every member must state, “I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals,” but that’s not enough. Why just political or social goals? If not for political or social goals, for what kinds of goals, exactly, is the initiation of force justified?

The LP’s oath doesn’t say because we all already know the answer, but just don’t like it. If we ignore the question maybe it will just go away.

It should also be obvious by now that the problem won’t go away. We can either extract that tooth now or else we can let it poison us to death.

So it’s time to give up the exceptions and start living up to that oath, for real this time. No more excuses, no more evasions, no more delays. It’s time to state that the initiation of force is unacceptable. Always unacceptable.

It’s unacceptable to initiate force when raising your children.
It’s unacceptable to initiate force against your spouse or other adults.
It’s unacceptable to initiate force to operate your business.
It’s unacceptable to initiate force to organize society.

Nobody gets a free pass. Nobody gets to claim an oh-so-special case just for them. The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is a moral imperative with no exceptions. It applies to every human action both public and private.

That’s the only way out of this mess. Starting new political parties that advocate a slightly different mix of exceptions than the existing ones doesn’t work because, consciously or not, everyone understands that it’s just more of the same. The choice is either to acknowledge this truth and build a new society that does not require the subjugation of other human beings for its survival, or else descend further into Hell by denying it.

How to Use Freenet for Social Networking (Mac version)

Update 13 September 2012:  This post will no longer be updated. Complete and up-to-date instructions can be found at: http://go.to.freenet

 

Freenet is one of the most powerful yet least known tools for anyone who is interested in secure Internet communications. The purpose of the Freenet Project is described on their official website as follows:

Freenet is free software which lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship. Freenet is decentralised to make it less vulnerable to attack, and if used in “darknet” mode, where users only connect to their friends, is very difficult to detect.
Communications by Freenet nodes are encrypted and are routed through other nodes to make it extremely difficult to determine who is requesting the information and what its content is.

For those who truly value privacy, anonymity, and free speech, Freenet is a viable replacement for typical social networking websites such as Facebook or Google+. Anyone who genuinely cares about their ability to publish easily, securely, and anonymously (if desired) should add Freenet to their cyber repertoire.

The following tutorial is the first segment of a six part guide that details how to set up secure communications over Freenet, including email, discussion forums, microblogging, and (nearly) instant messaging. At the end of this first segment, you will be able to access Freenet yourself and then follow the other five sections.

These instructions are for the Mac OSX operating system. If you use the Windows operating system, please refer to this other set of instructions.

The Freenet Social Networking Guide

Part 1a: Freenet Installation

Before you get started make sure you have a reliable browser and mail client installed. This guide will use Firefox and Thunderbird.

  1. Download and run the Freenet Installer.Step 2
  2. If you don’t already have Java installed you’ll be prompted to do that first.Step 2
  3. Now you’re done with Java.Step 3
  4. Enable Web Start to launch the Freenet installer.Step 4
  5. Click ‘Allow’ here.Step 5
  6. Choose the language you’d like to use.Step 6
  7. The next remaining screens do not require any interaction other than clicking ‘Next’ unless you want to change the installation directory.Step 7Step 8Step 9Step 9Step 9Step 9Step 9

Part 1b: Freenet Configuration

  1. You should now see the setup wizard. Click ‘Choose custom security’.Step 1
  2. You should always browse Freenet in Private Browsing or Incognito modes. If you aren’t already do so now. Remember to copy the URL and paste it back into the address bar.Step 2
  3. Click ‘Next’.Step 3
  4. Enable automatic updates and UPnP and click ‘Next’.Step 4
  5. Choose the second option here. If you know other people who use Freenet you can upgrade to darknet mode in the future but for now you need to connect to strangers in order to access the network.Step 5
  6. Choose “NORMAL” here.Step 6
  7. Choose “LOW” here. The higher levels of security unfortunately do not fully protect your identity if you use the kinds of social networking plugins we will be installing. You should use a whole disk encryption product like Truecryptor FileVault, but setting that up is outside the scope of this guide.Step 7
  8. The installer will pick a default value based on the size of your hard drive.Step 8
  9. You have two options to choose from here. If you want to limit bandwidth based on a monthly cap click ‘Yes’. Otherwise click ‘No’ and skip to step 11.Step 9
  10. ‘Select’ your monthly data cap from the options provided or type a value into the last box. Skip to step 12.Step 10
  11. Select the right bandwidth limit based on your connection type in your own values.Step 11
  12. Before installing any of the social networking plugins in future steps you should increase the maximum amount of memory your node is allowed to use. Go to the ‘Core settings’ page under the Configuration menu.Step 12
  13. The first option in this menu should be ‘Maximum memory usage’. Change this value to 512.Step 13
  14. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click ‘Apply’.Step 14
  15. Before the change takes effect you must restart the node. Return to the Freenet homepage to do this.Step 15
  16. At the bottom of the page there is a button you can use to restart your node.Step 16
  17. Confirm that you want to restart and wait for the page to automatically refresh and load the home page.Step 17

Congratulations, you’ve successfully installed Freenet. Now you can set up secure, anonymous social networking accounts by continuing with Part 2 of this guide. (the link to Part 2 will not open until you have successfully installed Freenet)

How to Use Freenet for Social Networking

Update 13 September 2012:  This post will no longer be updated. Complete and up-to-date instructions can be found at: http://go.to.freenet

 

Freenet is one of the most powerful yet least known tools for anyone who is interested in secure Internet communications. The purpose of the Freenet Project is described on their official website as follows:

 

Freenet is free software which lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship. Freenet is decentralised to make it less vulnerable to attack, and if used in “darknet” mode, where users only connect to their friends, is very difficult to detect.Communications by Freenet nodes are encrypted and are routed through other nodes to make it extremely difficult to determine who is requesting the information and what its content is.

For those who truly value privacy, anonymity, and free speech, Freenet is a viable replacement for typical social networking websites such as Facebook or Google+. Anyone who genuinely cares about their ability to publish easily, securely, and anonymously (if desired) should add Freenet to their cyber repertoire.

The following tutorial is the first segment of a six part guide that details how to set up secure communications over Freenet, including email, discussion forums, microblogging, and (nearly) instant messaging. At the end of this first segment, you will be able to access Freenet yourself and then follow the other five sections.

These instructions are for the Windows operating system. If you use the Mac OSX operating system, please refer to this other set of instructions.

The Freenet Social Networking Guide

Part 1a: Freenet Installation

Before you get started make sure you have a reliable browser and mail client installed. This guide will use Firefox and Thunderbird.

  1. Download and run the Freenet Installer for your operating system.The first thing the installer will do is check for an updated version of Java. If necessary, update Java now or if you already have a new enough version you can skip to step 4.
    Note: If you are running a 64 bit version of Windows with only a 64 bit version of Java you must go to java.com and install a 32 bit JVM as well. The installer will not detect a 64-bit only Java installation.
    Step 2
  2. The default directory is fine.
    Step 2
  3. Now you’re done with Java.
    Step 3
  4. Select the first three options under Additional settings and click ‘Install’.
    Step 4
  5. Click ‘OK’ to close the installer.
    Step 5
  6. Before we go any further let’s increase the maximum amount of RAM the node is allowed to use to make sure we have enough to run the social networking plugins.Right-click on the Freenet icon in the system tray and click ‘Exit’.
    Step 6
  7. The file you need to edit is stored under your profile in a location that depends on your user name. You may need to tell Windows to stop hiding system file in order for you to access the Application Data folder. Open wrapper.conf in a text editor.
    Step 7
  8. The last line of the file specifies the amount of RAM that Freenet is allowed to use. Change this value to 512 and save the file.
    Step 8
  9. Start Freenet from the desktop icon.
    Step 9

Part 1b: Freenet Configuration

  1. You should now see the setup wizard. Click ‘Choose custom security’.
    Step 1
  2. You should always browse Freenet in Private Browsing or Incognito modes. If you aren’t already do so now. Remember to copy the URL and paste it back into the address bar.
    Step 2
  3. Click ‘Next’.
    Step 3
  4. Enable automatic updates and UPnP and click ‘Next’.
    Step 4
  5. Choose the second option here. If you know other people who use Freenet you can upgrade to darknet mode in the future but for now you need to connect to strangers in order to access the network.
    Step 5
  6. Choose “NORMAL” here.
    Step 6
  7. Choose “LOW” here. The higher levels of security unfortunately do not fully protect your identity if you use the kinds of social networking plugins we will be installing. You should use a whole disk encryption product like Truecrypt, but setting that up is outside the scope of this guide.
    Step 7
  8. The default value is fine.
    Step 8
  9. You have two options to choose from here. If you want to limit bandwidth based on a monthly cap click ‘Yes’. Otherwise click ‘No’ and skip to step 11.
    Step 9
  10. ‘Select’ your monthly data cap from the options provided or type a value into the last box. Skip to step 12.
    Step 10
  11. Select the right bandwidth limit based on your connection type in your own values.
    Step 11
  12. You are done setting up your node. At this point you may want to wait a short time before contining to the next step in order to let your node become fully connected to the network. Make sure your computer doesn’t go into sleep or hibernation while Freenet is trying to connect to the network.
    Step 12

Congratulations, you’ve successfully installed Freenet. Now you can set up secure, anonymous social networking accounts by continuing with Part 2 of this guide. (the link to Part 2 will not open until you have successfully installed Freenet)