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Are You More Moral, More Benevolent and More Competent Than Any Politician? Then Act Like It.

[Original post title: Is Collectivism Relative?]

At times I become totally disillusioned by the track the Paleo community seems to be taking, on pure momentum. Perhaps it's just my perception.

While the Ancestral Health Symposium was a tremendous breath of fresh air in this regard, by no means do I think it made even the slightest dent in the overall trend. Paleo, for the vast, vast majority, is just a way to lose fat, feel better, build a bit of lean mass, learn not to obsess over hunger, and gain a measure of normal health.

And that's a lot. There's no denying that; everyone comes from their own place; everyone has their own level of outrage and euphoria. For some, the differences are really so profound that it might come as a shock to them that it's only a third of the deal.

A third?

Yep, because all these things address mostly your body; not mind, not society. All that is not the direct aspect of what relates to mind and society in the former are dismissed as irrelevant, if they're even thought of at all, which I tend to doubt. Everyone still goes to their cubicle, spends hours per day in auto-commute, shores up and maintains relationships that are toxic or a hindrance to happiness, sleeps like crap and...and...stands in line at a polling place to get a micro sliver of a say in his or her own affairs with absolutely zero hope of ever swaying society to his or her way of thinking in his or her own lifetime...and this is after spending countless hours watching cable news and ingesting the mind poison of the political pundits in print.

Talk about stress, if stress is taken to mean being subject to means and situations totally out of your control or practical influence.

But it doesn't seem to stop many, if any, and this an eternal curiosity to me.

I have blogged it so many times it's probably already boring. We didn't only evolve not eating grains and processed food. We also evolved in small groups of 30-60, where each and every adult individual could account for the values and actions of each and every other member, and had a real, important influence on the direction and behavior of the group as a whole.

We evolved with real social power. Did you read that? We evolved with real social power. And now, modern human animals -- as though in a lab, having learned to press a lever to drop a few more pellets of food in the bowl -- delude themselves into believing they have great power, when in reality they haven't a scintilla of a microscopic particle of it. Nobody who's not already morally depraved enough to do something like run for an office so they can "practice public policy" can hold a candle to an average human animal hunting and gathering in terms of power and influence. Both are true masters of their domain and society: one based upon force and coercion, the other on mutually earned respect.

...I got a steer to an interesting post via Twitter yesterday: Is Centralization Inevitable?

Well I've used the word collectivism in my title which is an end result of political centralization, and there's a small point to that. It's relative. Family units, for example, are small collectives, which means: the ways, means, resources and spoils are generally shared without an exhaustive accounting of each member's contribution. Which is to say: from each according to his ability; to each, according to his need. Ah, context.

The rub is that in the family unit or small social circle, you have the power to cut someone off any time you want, if they don't pull their weight or worse: become parasitical in all the ways that can turn from outright laziness to self-destructive behavior culminating in utter dependence on many levels.

OK so let's get to some excepts from Donald Livingston, professor emeritus of philosophy at Emory University.

There is nothing “inevitable” about centralization. Man is a social being. There is an inbuilt disposition of human nature to form small scale polities composed of federations of extended families, kinship ties, and accepted foreigners. This is natural. Vast scale centralized regimes are not natural. They are artificial. Modern theorists such as Hobbes, Locke try to say that these large states are rationally formed because the aggregate of individuals under them choose this condition for peace and security (Hobbes) or to enhance liberty (Locke). Both Hobbes and Locke are wrong. The truth is that all large states are the result of conquest and a rough process of digesting the smaller polities consumed. A story about “peace” or “liberty,” or the later ones about “equality,” “human rights,” “democracy,”etc. are noble lies told after the fact to reconcile us to the modern state.

Shorter Livingston: The state is in no way "Paleo." It is as Neolithic as grains and actually, far more toxic and lethal, with hundreds of million deaths of innocents under its belt. It is all a big fat lie, and that goes for America the Beautiful as much as for any other.

A look at ancient history might suggest that centralized empires are inevitable. Everywhere in the ancient world we find empires: the Hittite, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Egyptian,etc. Everywhere except Greece. The Greeks built a world class civilization from which we still draw inspiration which was completely decentralized. It was composed of over 1,500 tiny republics, the largest of which was around 160,000 or so.

"It would never work."

What of defense? The Persian empire commanded the resources of some 40 million. The Greeks had around 8 million, scattered from Naples to the Black Sea. Surely the big boy could pick these little states off like fruit. But the Persians were never able to do so. History is filled with David and Goliath stories of this sort. Eg. Switzerland founded, as I recall, in 1291 and surrounded by large intrusive monarchies.

"But it would never work. Plus, what of those who want to kill us for our 'freedoms'?"

[...] And are large modern states safe? European states were centralized under monarchs and even more so under mass democracies; each seeking to grow larger to be able to overwhelm the other. In the process of centralization, peace could be enforced within the state–though at the price of “digesting” the hundreds of smaller units crushed into it to create its huge bulk. This left a rootless mass of timid and obedient subjects under central control.

"This left a rootless mass of timid and obedient subjects under central control." Very Paleo, but that's what I see the movement coming to by raw momentum of mass, after being initially husbanded by a lot of folks with libertarian and individualist sentiments. Well, there's always raw milk activism. There's that. And look, I'm not saying these battles aren't worth fighting. I'm making a plea merely to look far beyond it to, in the words of Thoreau, "strike at the root."

Nevertheless, there was peace of sorts within the state’s border. But what about outside? The first global war was the Seven years War, then Napoleon, then WWI, WWII, the Cold War. Have Germany, France, Britain, Russia been safe places to live in the 20th century? No, they have not been. And you know Rummel’s figures that nearly four times as many people have been killed by their own governments as in all the wars fought around the globe, foreign and domestic, in the 20th century.

And he even makes a moral argument, surprise surprise. For someone who reads almost nothing but how well "it will work" [for whom?], this was quite a surprise.

[...] Still our moral judgment should be about whether decentralization of a modern state is a good thing or not. Not whether modern states are superior in some respects to pre-modern ones. They obviously are in some respects and not in others.

Translation: Freedom can actually really suck sometimes on a practical level, but that doesn't give you moral right to make others your slaves because you're an insecure little pussy with big investments in status quo who can't take what life dishes out.

Much of the rest engages or envisions how decentralization could work and I never engage in that. I don't really care if freedom is totally "unworkable." It's who and what I am, so fuck your utilitarianism.

There's only one thing more pathetic to me than the 300 pounder with a shopping cart full of crap in a box and bottles filled with sugar water: it's the picture of the lean and ripped Paleo standing in line to get his 1/300 millionth say in his own affairs at the voting booth. Testifying before Congress might come in a close second.

We have no demands to present to you, no bargains to strike, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you. - John Galt

Never forget that you...you...are more moral, more benevolent, more competent than any single office holder in the entire world. You live by the means of your ability to produce and voluntarily trade value for value. They live by means of force and coercion. There are no exceptions, no qualifications.

You're better than that, and I wish everyone in mass would just simply start really acting like it.

Update: For much more information on this general topic including references, see Andrew at Evolvify: Foundations for a Hunter-Gatherer Philosophy II: The Libertarianism Question. Even libertarianism isn't even remotely close to Paleo, much less far more intrusive states or so-called "lands of the free."

Comments

  1. On the one hand I can understand how people want this whole paleo/primal/ancestral thing to just be about health in its common conception. But on the other I can’t help but see a political and social message as part of the movement. Liberty is necessary for health, right? That your FDA wants to give the supplement industry to the drug industry is certainly a good example of that. It is plainly obvious that big government abuses its power to the detriment of the health of the citizens, no argument there.

    And as for the lifestyle aspect, that has the same result on the inside and outside as food does. That is why Mark Sisson is so great, I do my own nutrition research and don’t need him, but he opened my eyes. And I suppose you contributed to that, Richard :).

  2. It’s funny, I’ve been thinking since watching the Ancestral Health Symposium videos that the one thing it really lacked was a discussion on modern civilisation. I’m glad you’ve raised this topic.

    It’s fine to focus on health – by all means take care of that first, but then look at the bigger picture. I am hoping for a change of focus in the next symposium – with speakers along the lines of J Stanton, Joel Salatin, and Richard I’m sure there are many more that you could name who would be fantastic speakers to involve. Perhaps yourself?

    That shouldn’t prevent anyone from thinking about these issues you’ve raised in the mean time, but such a public forum would be great to give that sort of thinking a big kick along.

  3. HalibetLector says:

    i don’t get it. You’re against centralization of government, but not centralization of ideology? Paleo has been and always will be about physical and mental health. And by mental health, I mean learning to slow down, simplify and de-stress. If somebody can do that within the confines of their 9-5, why should that be looked down upon by the movement?

    I see paleo as being apolitical. If somebody wants to identify with a political movement, they can do so while also identifying as paleo (Keoni Galt comes to mind as somebody who does exactly that. He’s a Libertarian first and paleo second).

    • “centralization of government, but not centralization of ideology”

      The distinction is force. You don’t get to embrace an ideology that involves me involuntarily paying your way. Unless, of course, you employ force. I’m saying that’s wrong, without equivocation.

      But do whatever you want, at your own exclusive expense, or beg, or whatever.

      • Without government, who enforces property law? Who enforces criminal law? Who keeps the wealthy from hiring mercenaries to further their interests through force? Who ensures people have a fair trial, rather than an execution in the street?

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know of a country where any of that is done by private firms.

        Governments evolved for a reason — to keep people from murdering ‘criminals’ (e.g. anyone unpopular or misunderstood) in the street.

      • I am perfectly capable of defending me and mine. As a practical matter we have to do that anyway.

        I don’t need a government with a trillion dollar budget to do it for me.

      • Disagree. Good luck protecting your farm and family from a sniper.

      • Good luck protecting your farm and family from government.

      • I’ll rip the sniper’s head off and piss down his neck … I don’t need luck.

      • Yeah right, me too….. hahaha…..get real man, your not going to rip of some persons head.

      • Robert: Any judgments about the state siege on Ruby Ridge?

      • Oh, and Robert, never forget that the final penalty for defiance of the State is death. It was to be and it’s baked in the cake.

        http://freetheanimal.com/2004/08/the_final_penal.html

        That’s a post on this blog from 2004. If you’re astute, you’ll notice the utter consistency of theme & message. That’s what sound principles over how the wind blows practicalities are for.

      • Absolutely not, I am not even going to look it up on wikipedia.

      • Robert:

        The cool thing is that hundreds of others who don’t know will look it up, and then they’ll form a poor opinion of you.

        Don’t you just love participating in comments on a site that gets thousands of visits per day? I sure do.

      • They might, but the poor opinion of strangers does not particularly concern me. Besides you know the point I was making in the first commend. I don’t like this superman attitude “I will show em if they try”. It’s empty big talk.

      • But it’s real.

        Do you deny that a person is better off ensuring their own defense?

        How come you didn’t mock the other way? Who’s more foolhardy, Rob who vows he’ll rip the head off a transgressor, or those who cower in delusion that the cops will actually protect them, when not the actual aggressors in the first place, and/or only to show up after the fact to collect data in order to file a report?

        You said you agreed with me, but nothing you have said after that phrase gives me any reason to believe you.

      • Do you draw a distinction between immediate self-defense and prosecution/redress? The former is obvious – how should the latter be accomplished?

      • I am more comfortable with “men of the village” knowing when to cause someone to disappear forever. I simply trust them far more than those who get paid six figures to lie, hide exculpatory evidence and otherwise do whatever they can to get a conviction in front of a collection of morons too stupid to not subject themselves to the unpaid servitude of jury duty.

        I have never “served” and never will. I have always shit canned every jury summons I have ever received.

      • Would you agree, then, that there needs to be some sort of objective arbiter, here “the men of the village”? That redress should not be left solely to the aggrieved party? Not the bloated, corrupt, monstrous systems in place at present, of course, but something?

      • What in the hell is an objective arbiter? If there ever was such a thing, that species went extinct a long time ago.

        We all have our biases, which means, if you want someone dead, you have to do it yourself and not by being a pussy in a voting booth deluding yourself over objectivity.

        The cool thing is, if you’re right (in the eyes of your social group), people will likely leave you alone. They’ll probably have you over for dinner, maybe even protect you agaist those who refuse to face reality.

        But if you were wrong, you’re gonna be on your own as you should.

        I could actually live under those terms. Far more amenable to me than any sort of “The People vs….”

      • @Robert,

        Richard’s correct on this point. As someone who has actually been through such a situation, I can tell you that, yes, when law enforcement eventually does show up – usually a day late and twenty dollars short – file a report is pretty much all they will do (and usually with palpable disinterest, I might add).

        A real man – or woman – defends their own.

        My family is protected by Smith & Wesson these days.

      • There is a difference in taking steps to make sure you are protected without having to rely on the police and saying you can handle pretty much everything and you don’t need anyone to help you protect yourself. I think the last is just big talk.

        I agree with your basic thought that it would be better if we lived in smaller groups/systems. I just don’t agree with how you choose to make it happen.

      • “What in the hell is an objective arbiter? If there ever was such a thing, that species went extinct a long time ago…”

        Ah. Well, that reply makes your views on this matter quite clear. Thanks for the discussion.

      • “I just don’t agree with how you choose to make it happen.”

        If you’re referring to something I said, I don’t choose to make anything happen. I choose to direct my own affairs and persuade to the best of my ability. Nothing more, ever.

      • When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.

      • …ahem, months away.

      • That’s just it, Dan – that should be the ONLY function of government: defense. National defense: an army to protect our borders, not everyone else’s; civil defense: courts to uphold contracts entered into freely; criminal defense: police to protect us from those who would infringe on our rights. This country – this REPUBLIC – was founded on the ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – not the guarantee, just the pursuit.

      • I’m always intrigued by the assumption that nation-states are a justifiable and valid concept.

        I mean, I get the innate human bias to form mental groups on the most arbitrary of principles. I just don’t get how people justify it. All arguments seem to be post-hoc rationalizations.

      • I had decided not to comment on that one. While I readily admit that was my view in the 90s, I eventually realized I was merely arguing for a more “efficient” and “useful” way to use force.

        But I also want to be patient with those who might be going through the same evolution of though I had to go through.

      • “Without government, who enforces property law? Who enforces criminal law? ”

        Same as now, people do. You’re anthropomorphizing government, as though it’s some real entity apart from the people who comprise it, with all their faults intact.

        But better questions are:

        - could the notion of “private property” evolve to a point where the perceived need for a massive state and bureaucracy to “protect it” become obsolete?

        - could the notion of what constitutes a “criminal” be better perceived as someone who transgresses another individual rather than predominately someone who violates edicts of the state? We don’t typically use the term “crimes against the state,” reserving that to pejoratively describe another state, but that’s exactly how it turns.

        “Who keeps the wealthy from hiring mercenaries to further their interests through force?”

        Who stops them now? Blood for oil, etc., anyone? Last time I checked, US soldiers, sailors and airmen get a paycheck. How is it it’s legitimate when they get paid to kill, but someone who doesn’t pledge allegiance to the state is a “mercenary?”

        “Who ensures people have a fair trial, rather than an execution in the street?”

        Checked out the Innocence Project yet? How about this:

        http://www.law.northwestern.edu/cwc/

        You seem to harbor the illusion that your relative safety and prosperity is primarily the factor of something you call “government” rather than chance of birth, geography, genes, intelligence, motivation, and a whole slew of other things friar William of Ockham would admonish you to look at sooner for a simple explanation.

        For example, the relative prosperity of America has a lot more to do with the fact that it has traditionally been damn hard to attack, being as it is between two massive oceans. Europeans over history have been far less fortunate.

        Who “protected” property and lives from destruction over the many continental wars there over the past few hundred years?

        There is a link to the full text of Rummel’s analysis regarding not only the death and mayhem wreaked by governments in war over the centuries, but other things like starvation, political imprisonment, etc.

        Beyond natural causes, there has never been anything contrived by man so destructive and lethal to life, limb, livelihood and property than government. And it’s largely a matter of scale. You have a huge state, this motivates a competing huge state, and another, and another. When one arms to the teeth, so do the others, and because of the massive centralization of power and destructive power, when they go to war death and destruction is equally massive.

      • Aaron Curl says:

        “Without government, who enforces property law? Who enforces criminal law? Who keeps the wealthy from hiring mercenaries to further their interests through force? Who ensures people have a fair trial, rather than an execution in the street?”
        Go drink more of that koolaid. The fucking koolaid man himself is a better protector of humans than our fucked up government!

      • >Same as now, people do. You’re anthropomorphizing government, as though it’s some real entity apart from the people who comprise it, with all their faults intact.

        I’m not anthropomorphizing it. I realize governments are made of people and have faults like any human driven system. That’s why government is stratified both horizontally (between different branches) and vertically (from local on up to federal systems) — to attempt to provide accountability in cases of abuse of power. That stratification sets up a fairly self-policing (although somewhat inefficient) system, which is why the US government has less corruption than other large countries. Other government employees can make a career and name for themselves by ferreting out corruption.

        >- could the notion of “private property” evolve to a point where the perceived need for a massive state and bureaucracy to “protect it” become obsolete?

        I’m not sure where you are going with that, but it sounds interesting.

        >Who stops them now? Blood for oil, etc., anyone? Last time I checked, US soldiers, sailors and airmen get a paycheck. How is it it’s legitimate when they get paid to kill, but someone who doesn’t pledge allegiance to the state is a “mercenary?”

        Blackwater is a classic example of how our current system can be abused and manipulated by private companies, but it would be a lot worse without the transparency and accountability we currently have. I, for one, don’t want a evangelicals and other nutjobs building and maintaining massive private armies. Our secular government (mostly) keeps them from doing so.

        >Checked out the Innocence Project yet? How about this:

        That’s a far, far cry from people being stoned in the street, which is what happens in plenty of areas today with “minimal” governments.

        http://theync.com/media.php?name=20714-graphic-video (NSFL)

        Stuff like the innocence project is a wonderful problem to have — it means your justice system is functioning at a fairly high level.

        >You seem to harbor the illusion that your relative safety and prosperity is primarily the factor of something you call “government” rather than chance of birth, geography, genes, intelligence, motivation, and a whole slew of other things friar William of Ockham would admonish you to look at sooner for a simple explanation.

        Government systems protect people from all sorts of things we take for granted. That’s no illusion, it’s easy to see the problems more regressive countries have.

        For instance, no one would ever try to murder me to steal my land in the US, because there would be no point. We have a government agencies that enforce property and criminal law. So I don’t have to worry about “protecting myself from roving gangs” it’s automatically done for me by our country. That frees me up to work on the things I really want to.

        Having to take 100% responsibility for my own self-defense does not equate to freedom in my mind. Humans evolved as social animals, that’s why we have social systems in place for various things, including self-defense.

        >Who “protected” property and lives from destruction over the many continental wars there over the past few hundred years?

        Europe has even larger, more socialized government than the US does. That’s one reason why.

        >Beyond natural causes, there has never been anything contrived by man so destructive and lethal to life, limb, livelihood and property than government.

        That’s a self-refuting statement. We’ve never, in human history, had as many government systems in place as we do today. At the same time, we’ve never had so many humans able to survive on the planet at once. Both infrastructure and human survival rates trend with big government.

        As an added bonus, when people don’t have to worry about “pissing down sniper’s necks” all the time, they are free to get educated and make scientific and technological advances in other areas.

        This is always going to be a tyranny of the majority, one way or another. When someone in Africa get stoned for stealing bread (or for being a witch, or homosexual) that’s still tyrannical, even though there is no government to be seen. Big government just slows down the process and makes it far less violent.

      • “which is why the US government has less corruption than other large countries”

        Quite an assumption, but even if true, it’s simply by definition. Our “corruption” is fully legalized.

        “Government systems protect people from all sorts of things we take for granted.”

        Such protection being at someone else’s expense.

        “it’s automatically done for me by our country.”

        You may consider forced taxation “automatic,” I’ll disagree.

        “Europe has even larger, more socialized government than the US does. That’s one reason why.”

        How socialized was it during the Napoleanic Wars, or WWI, or even WWII?

        “That’s a self-refuting statement. We’ve never, in human history, had as many government systems in place as we do today. At the same time, we’ve never had so many humans able to survive on the planet at once. Both infrastructure and human survival rates trend with big government.”

        In other words, government is great for creating a large net population growth in spite of the tens and hundreds of millions it kills.

        Wonderful. The Broken Window Fallacy applied to the state.

      • >Our “corruption” is fully legalized.

        Sure, but who wants *more* laws anyway?

        >Such protection being at someone else’s expense.

        Private property in general is at someone else’s expense. Enforcement of law just reflects that.

        >You may consider forced taxation “automatic,” I’ll disagree.

        It happens without me worrying about, basically.

        >How socialized was it during the Napoleanic Wars, or WWI, or even WWII?

        I’m not sure?

        >In other words, government is great for creating a large net population growth in spite of the tens and hundreds of millions it kills.

        In general, people do tend to like more infrastructure. But it’s a trade-off, certainly.

      • Dan,

        It is incorrect to say this stuff isn’t being done privately. The court system comes immediately to mind as private courts are one of the fastest growing segments in our economy.

        And even if nothing was being done privately today, it is a non-sequitor to then assume that is how things always were or ought to be. Everything you mentioned was done privately in the past, and was co-opted by government not to ensure “fairness” but for more mundane reasons (power and $$$).

        I think we have had this discussion once before and I provided some links. If you are truly interested in studying the issue let me know and I will provide them again.

      • Hi Michael,

        Could you link me to more information about the private court systems you mentioned?

        I hadn’t read about those yet.

      • Though dated, Bensen’s chapter in The Enterprise of Law is a good full length treatment. Assorted stuff around the web also.

      • Governments evolved, yes, but not for any reason near the one you mention. I suggest you go read “order without law” by Robert Ellickson for plenty of historical examples where peace-keeping was in private hands.

      • There is also The Enterprise of Law, Bruce Benson.

  4. Chris Gabel says:

    Would you believe the Bible agrees with you? From I Samuel 8:

    “So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”

    I know you’re not a Bible thumper, Richard, but I like how this contributes to what you’re saying. Anyone who thinks Christianity is inherently authoritarian needs to read further….

    • That is an interesting passage, Chris.

    • A tenth is cheap as taxes go nowadays… and yet, the central governments of the wealthiest nations are still overspending regardless of how much they tax. No amount of “economic growth” is going to fix national debts, btw. If there is a solution, it is to be found elsewhere.

      Anyway, what is authoritarian about Christianity is not the Bible… just as what is authoritarian about, for example, Islam is not the Koran.

      To avoid posting twice… Richard makes an excellent case for individual responsibility. Is it Paleo? I answer with the question, how could it not?

    • I have argued for years that the default position of Christianity is voluntaryism (not pacifism), and there is nothing inherently authoritarian about it all. I have written at length on a anarchist website regarding the very passage you mention.

      Seems to me the history of government is pretty much encapsulated in the words of Samuel – gov’t takes our money (welfare) and takes our children (warfare) and the Israelites were warned in advance about the consequences of embracing gov’t as did the nations around them.

      Centralized gov’t as idolatry – it still rankles the feathers of nearly every modern Christian I talk to about the subject, especially those of the conservative Protestant variety but certainly not limited to them.

      • So Michael, my issue is that even as far back as the mid 70s when in HS and later in divinity school, the major thrust of the fastest growing in Christianity, evangelical in all it’s forms, is very seduced by the power of the state to force its values on everyone else.

        Why should it not then be my enemy, regardless of its roots?

      • For the same reason that I don’t consider atheists or atheism my enemy, despite some of its modern governmental manifestations that could easily lead me to such a conclusion.

        A particular offshoot of Christianity (quite small actually despite its noisiness), and a relatively recent one at that (the 70′s in the big scheme of things is not that long ago), is not definitive of the root (which form still exists today though relatively unknown in America) or even other moderns who lay claim to the term. Just as I wouldn’t equate the Greek empire mentioned in the article with its modern Greece which is statist to the core (as is the Church which exists there).

        And while you didn’t mention it, the article does mention Christianity as an example of decentralization along with the Greek empire. In that day of course, “evangelical” Christianity didn’t even exist.

      • I dint mention Christendom because while I still have an ability to deal with peoples’ terrestrial fairies, I have unequivocally dismissed the celestial ones.

        A guy has his limits.

      • LOL, well regardless of their source, its the manifestation of the fairies terrestrially that are in question, regardless of whether someone identifies as a an atheist, Christian, or a man from mars.

      • Well I’ve gathered you’re orthodox in some form. I also gather that you’re being routed, at least by the fundies in USA. Of course, not a battle I have the slightest interest in, but you might want to take note, though I doubt anything can be done about it.

        Are orthodox’s out building big box churches all over the “land of the free,” or is that the ancient religiois liberals?

      • Though I rarely pay attention to Protestant Christianity unless I am absolutely forced to, the self identified “conservative,” “evangelical,” “seeker friendly” groups are the only ones building huge churches in America as far as I know. Orthodoxy in America has always been tiny and quite foreign to Americans regardless of their ideological bent but occasionally even folks like Sam Harris bump into it:

        http://twitter.com/#!/SamHarrisOrg/status/62704379903483904

        Not much of a battle really (with Protestant fundies). Different framework, mentality, assumptions, culture, disposition, even basic questions.

      • Well, since I’m uninterested in celestial fairies and you affirm your sect’s utter uncompetitiveness in terrestrial goings on, I’m really at a loss as to how to take Christian Orthodoxy either serous, relevant, or anything.

        But if you find comfort in it, and it’s going out of it’s way not to harm or impose, then like, go for it, man.

      • Richard,

        You asked about Orthodoxy in the US, not Orthodoxy in general. Now if you want a run down on the Orthodox Faith qua its existence as the second largest Christian confession in the world, then that is an entirely different subject matter.

        Still, in keeping with the article and your post/comments, its how things work out in practice that we were initially addressing (thus the mention of the Greek Empire). I’m sure you don’t hold to quite a bit of the ideology extant at the time of the existence of the empire (religious or otherwise) but it apparently doesn’t keep you from appreciating the magnitude of their polity regarding decentralization in a world mostly opposed to such an approach (then and now).

        In other words, the question of the veracity and seriousness of Orthodox Christianity is entirely separate from the question of how Orthodox Christianity has been historically manifested regarding decentralization. To that extent, the quote provided by an earlier commenter from Samuel and the historical reference made in the article is quite apropos. On the other hand, referencing a bunch of sectarian Evangelical fundamentalists who are enraptured by the power of the state, like many atheists, while potentially interesting, IMO, is not really germane to the question.

      • Well OK, Michael. I appreciate that the distinctions you raise are important to you and I know you have no desire to harm or dominate anyone which is really all I need to know (and all anyone need know until they desire to know more).

        That said, I’ll leave you to your second largest “confession.”

        (couldn’t resist a parting shot)

      • Well I can duck that last one pretty easily, LOL. Here is my parting shot from obdurate atheist/anti-statist Walter Block on religion:

        http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block103.html

      • Michael:

        I didn’t read the whole thing because I get the gist. You might be interested in Penn Jillette’s new book. I heard him interviewed on one of the NPR programs and it sounds like it’s very conciliatory. Also linked to a ReasonTV interview of him in this comment thread you might want to check out.

      • Thanks Richard. I will check it out.

        And for the record, the only distinction important to me in this thread is that we don’t have to buy a groups ideology in order to appreciate what they have done in a certain area, in this case decentralization.

        In other words, neither ancient Christians or Greeks were atheist by any stretch of the imagination. In fact both groups then and some of their “descendants” now hold to ideologies you believe to be utterly absurd, and yet you were able to appreciate the history of one while wanting to avoid the decentralist history of the other.

        In my wordy way, that is all I was trying to say. :-)

  5. Except that everyone is not going to stand up in mass.

    I’m of more of much more of a practical bent, but I don’t consider myself a utilitarian. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking at examples of highly successful small states both modern and historical, rather than just arguing from first principles–fuck off government and leave me alone, and leave my friends and neighbors alone while you are at it.

    In The Road to Serfdom, Hayek shows why socialism functions terribly (most importantly because it destroys information, IMO), the broken window fallacy illustrates that-which-is-unseen. Ultimately, these are utilitarian arguments against socialism, subsidies and market distortion, I guess. But I don’t think that makes them invalid, to be replaced with: everyone should stand up to the State and there would be no State, otherwise feck off.

    Again, that’s why I argue for trying to enforce the Constitution and you argue that it shouldn’t be necessary and that the Constitution was a bad idea in the first place. There seems very little chance that the Constitution is going to be useful in reversing the ever-increasing tide of statism in the US, but much more than that all the sheeple who support ever increasing amounts of national socialism are going to suddenly stand up. And that includes people in the Paleo community. Sheeple are going to be sheeple even if they aren’t eating crap-in-a-box.

    • “Except that everyone is not going to stand up in mass.”

      That doesn’t really reflect the context, Sean. First of all, I said “act like it,” by which I mean, you are superior in all the ways I listed and more to political office holders.

      How many people act as though they are, or do they default to the social conditioning that “our leaders” are superior to them? So, I’m simply admonishing a change in attitude and perspective. What if most people suddenly took to heart the fact that they are better than them and not inferior because they haven’t the will to “serve?”

      That said, you can’t vote yourself free and nobody who’s sane should want for bloody revolution. But we do have perfect examples in history of a certain form of non-violent resistance that can be very effective and it really only requires resolute but relatively small groups of people, i.e., a fraction of the population as a whole: civil disobedience. No accident I dropped a reference to Thoreau in that post. See also Gandhi and MLK.

      As far as practical vs. principle, Penn Jillette lays out my position perfectly in this ReasonTV interview that just went up yesterday:

      http://youtu.be/aN3-3oNmOMo

      In fact, he lays it out in the 1st 20 seconds, though that is just an except from a larger explanation later in the interview.

      See, the problem with practical arguments is that you have to prove you’re right, and it has to apply to all in society. I have no such burden.

      I simply demand to be left alone and I’m willing to take my chances. And I don’t know whether socialism will work best for you or anyone else. That’s for others to decide for themselves, whether they want to participate in the Cannibal Pot Lottery: who goes in, who gets to feast.

      • Heh, first 10 seconds actually, “I don’t go with pragmatic arguments at all. My whole take on libertarianism is that I don’t know what’s best for other people.”

        And yet an evolutionary health paradigm is nothing if not a pragmatic argument. I think the pragmatic argument against socialism, why it fails, why it is so much less efficient is just as important as the pragmatic argument against veganism or eating crap-in-a-box. Ultimately you are talking about the same thing, it goes against human nature.

        Socialism destroys information. That’s a bad thing. If the government wants to regulate and distort commerce through a myriad of regulations and taxes, that’s a bad thing because it destroys information, and ultimately wealth. If the government disseminates false information on diet, tells me grains are healthier than beef, and institutionally distorts research to ‘prove’ grains are healthy, that’s a bad thing.

        I don’t have any more burden of proof that socialism is bad for me and society than I have that subsisting on grains, sugar and frankenoils is bad for me and society. Whether other people decide to continue to consume crap and/or vote for statists on either the right or left is for themselves to decide, but I’m going to continue to argue they should do neither, for essentially pragmatic reasons. The huge difference, of course, is that when other people voting for statists, I end up being told, under threat of force, to give up my money under threat of force, whether or not I can exchange that money for raw milk or other proscribed substances, etc.

        The purity and elegance of your position is great. If getting sodomized by the state were simply a mathematical proof I’d totally agree with it.

      • “And yet an evolutionary health paradigm is nothing if not a pragmatic argument.”

        I disagree. It’s based upon testable knowledge of reality or science. It is living in accordance with nature.

        Even still, I don’t advocate forcing people to eat the way I do, or anything of the sort, no more than I would force them not to participate in their Cannibal Pot schemes. Just leave me out of it.

        “Socialism destroys information. That’s a bad thing. If the government wants to regulate and distort commerce through a myriad of regulations and taxes, that’s a bad thing because it destroys information, and ultimately wealth. If the government disseminates false information on diet, tells me grains are healthier than beef, and institutionally distorts research to ‘prove’ grains are healthy, that’s a bad thing.”

        Even if I agree, which I generally do, I still don’t have the right to keep anyone from doing bad things or things that bring bad consequences, any more that I have a right to keep them from harming their own bodies or blowing their own brains out. Just leave me out of it. That’s all.

        “I don’t have any more burden of proof that socialism is bad for me and society than I have that subsisting on grains, sugar and frankenoils is bad for me and society.”

        I presume you wouldn’t force people not to eat junk, so why would you attempt to force them to not engage in bad social relationships?

      • “I disagree. It’s based upon testable knowledge of reality or science. It is living in accordance with nature.”

        Living in accordance with nature is just about the most practical, generic rule-of-thumb there is. Saying that such-and-such is healthier because it is more ‘natural’ is simply not science, it is just supposition. Aspects of an Paleo-type lifestyle: diet, sleep, exercise can be scientifically tested, of course. So can aspects of a socialist or free-market economics system. Economics may be the dismal science, but it IS still a science.

        I fail to see how bothering to argue the failings of socialism is any different than arguing the failings of a Neolithic, or especially, a Post-Industrial diet.

        And where did I state I would force people to live in accordance to some social system? I support negative rights, the right not to be fucked with.

        If people want to form voluntary communist collectives then have at it. The key word being voluntary, of course. If people want to live off Cheetos, have at it also. Shared, or semi-shared property might be (probably is) the best system for small, independent HG type groups. And it really has little to do with the kind of state-sponsored socialism I (or Hayek) am arguing against.

      • “Living in accordance with nature is just about the most practical, generic rule-of-thumb there is.”

        Oh, I get it. You think I’m arguing against the practical, on principle. Laf

        That explains either my shortcoming or your…whatever….

        “So can aspects of a socialist or free-market economics system. Economics may be the dismal science, but it IS still a science.”

        This is where you are so fucked up I can’t even believe it.

        If dietary science is this or that, it’s applied individually. At least, I have not yet had agents come to my house to shove certain food down my throat. If I don’t file and pay taxes, I go to jail and I suspect that if your social science experiments come up with something better to be applied to “the system” I’ll be equally compelled.

        I wanted to dismiss your original bullshit response with a single word, “conflation,” but I wasn’t ready to go there yet.

        Now I am.

        Fuck, man.

      • Anyone who argues about systems at all doesn’t pass your fucking purity test. They are in essence a crypto-fascist.

        The ONLY solution is for the people to stand up and leave the system (and don’t mention the system! I did once but I think I got away with it). You are hoping for Ghandi-style revolution but if it unfortunately must come to violence, no doubt the minarchists will be first against the wall. Hey, sometimes you gotta break a few eggs and no one likes a splitter.

      • “Anyone who argues about systems at all doesn’t pass your fucking purity test. They are in essence a crypto-fascist.”

        The problem is in the plural. Because it implies something.

        When you say system, I have a knee jerk question: whose?

      • Who is making you pay taxes (or telling you what you can buy or sell and how to go about it)? You are already stuck inside a system.

        When you want to wrap things up in a neat little box and say, “I just want to be left alone” that strikes me as idealistic. You aren’t going to be left alone, not on most any habitable part of this planet anyway. And certainly not in the United States.

        My approach to diet, try and eat like your ancestors, is pragmatic. My approach to politics, a minimalistic government and strong negative rights, is also pragmatic.

        The problem with idealism is that it depends on unicorn tears. Not to mention the fact that it is the idealists who end up justifying the ends with the means.

      • Beating the same drum over and over for someone wholly uninterested must be pragmatic as well.

        I’m not interested.

      • I came back to write something about this being a useless impasse (hence a waste of time), but honestly Richard, if you want to dismiss me in such a childish manner you can go fuck yourself. I will take the pragmatic solution and stop reading or commenting on your blog.

      • Have it your way, Sean.

        I don’t know what more to say when I tell you that my diet is based upon my best understanding of evolutionary _principles_, as are my ideas concerning human social interactions.

        I’m no more interested in pragmatically making the existing authoritarian hierarchical collective more palatable than I am in soaking grains to make them more digestible.

      • With the benefit of a little weekend downtime it is obvious that I was way over-reacting here. Or perhaps my serotonin levels were low…

      • Never worry about that shit, Sean. Hotheads deserve one another.

      • Heh, yes we do.

  6. The first step to freedom is decentralized money. Laissez-fairez economics is a sad joke in the context of the current central bank system. It’s like arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    • “The first step to freedom is decentralized money.” I agree. Once we get past this, Richard’s small group government seems possible.

    • The right expression is “Laissez-faire”, from French.
      By the way, I agree on the need for money not to be monopolized by government.

    • I disagree, Felix. Fiat money came after centralization through force. Fiat money was merely a consequence and the follow on consequence is collectivization, an end-ish point (there are others) I already mentioned.

      I have never ever spoken of the money deal, even though I understand it fully, and have actualy traded currency options in a former life.

      You can’t deal with money before you strike at the root, which is forceful centralization and consolidation into massive collectives that then require such financial device.

      Fiat money does not support the coercive state _principally_, the willingness to force does, combined most modernly with the absolute sloven willingness of its subjects, over the seduction of free stuff at the expense of others. Fiat money just greases the wheels, but before all of that, centralized force was financed by means of taxation of the material fruits of labor (like grains, livestock), and I would suspect, with occasional payment exacted on wife and post-pubescent daughters.

      • My problem with the current monetary system is that it results by design in a centralization of resources. It sets the rules for the entire game of economics we’re playing. Arguing for less government controls in this context, while good in another monetary context, is – to my understanding – missing the point. All it resulted in so far is a diminishing of social security services while keeping corporate bailouts. The government follows the rules of the game set by the monetary system. Since it’s useful to have a government that takes taxmoney to bail out the financial system if needed – and it is needed since the system is instable by design, it will stay. Hence, the rules of the games must change first to take away the centralized power of finance and only then can the centralized power of government be taken down.

        Centralized money exists for the distinct purpose of centralizing power and was designed for just that. It was created because a monetarily free society is impossible to be controlled by any small group of people due to a rise in general wealth and more financial independence.

        More can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHMvknT_uk4
        or in the book Life Inc, which is a great read for anyone freedom-minded.

  7. Dame Liberty says:

    “But though men when they enter into society, give up the equality, liberty and executive power they had in the state of nature, into the hands of the society, to be so far disposed of by the legislature, as the good of the society shall require; yet it being only with an intention to everyone the better to preserve himself his liberty and property” John Locke (Second Treatise, Chapter 9).

    Here lies the rub.

  8. Read Daniel Quinn’s book Beyond Civilization. Seriously, read it. Now.

    I’l wait.

  9. I have on more than one occasion been disillusioned by someone combining the sustainable agriculture message (among others) with a collectivist morality. For example, when Lustig talks about government regulations making sugar more expensive or less available. Or part 4 of Robb Wolf’s interview with Joe Salatin, which I wrote about in my post here http://www.armchairphilosophizing.com/2011/09/when-great-ideas-go-astray.html.

    • I always laugh when an expert says with a straight face, “Our predecessors did a horrible job creating utopia via the latest and greatest scientific regulation: but now we will deliver the true product! At last the one true God has deigned to speak to us clearly. Bow down, O ye minions! Bow down and worship!” It is funniest when they don’t even realize that this is what they are saying.

  10. I normally don’t agree much with Richard’s political views, but in this instance I think he is right on the money, in a certain context.

    The bottom line is we as a species are directly causing the sixth great extinction on this planet, which very well may include us as well. The political/mega-corporate ruling class are leading the charge. No voting booth will stem this tide in time. Our only hope is to simply cast off this system with the only means we have available: non-participation. A re-investment in the communities we live in and a focus on local agriculture and ranching, perhaps even casting off the need for currency and a return to bartered goods and services.

    The hardest part is educating those around us, or finding a community where we can accomplish these goals. But how many are willing to for-go the comfort and convenience of the super market and shopping mall?

  11. Like Geoff I noticed that speakers at the AHS who were from big institutions had a much greater tendency to advocate that smart people (such as themselves) should be in charge of policy that would then be enforced by Government thugs. Those who came from a vantage point of personal experience and exploration where much more libertarian. I especially liked Tom Naughton who when asked how “we” could best influence policy makers answered “by demonstrating to them that they are irrelevant”.

    “Translation: Freedom can actually really suck sometimes on a practical level, but that doesn’t give you moral right to make others your slaves because you’re an insecure little pussy with big investments in status quo who can’t take what life dishes out.” Richard, that is the coolest, most relevant statement I have ever seen.

    • Thanks Doug. I always have to check to make sure it’s you or Kurt commenting, though he hasn’t been around in a while.

      Great to chat with you at AHS and we’ll see you next year.

  12. Johnathan says:

    Who is John Galt, anyways? Haha. Thanks for the quote. Did you happen to see the movie?

    Excellent write-up, I enjoy your take on the theoretical societies we will never aspire to. I must say that I kind of wonder this all the time. I think that centralization of American government is inevitable; as well, the hard-workers disappearing.

    Form a Paleo island?

    • I did see the film. I look forward to hopefully a next installment. Unlike many purists, I understand the massive difficulties to undertake such a project. So I don’t expect too much and so was moderately delighted.

      The island thing has been stride many times and the current thinking vis-a-vis geographical sovereignty is Sea Steading, i.e., artificial islands in international waters.

      But I think the key is to get over the notion of geography, toward a mass decentralization via electronic means, kinda like we are doing right now. We’re forming millions of micro societies electronically that overlap in myriad ways.

      • Johnathan says:

        I think it’d be unrealistic and rather dry for the rest of the population to watch a “pure” book adaptation to a movie. I was actually impressed with the movie’s ability to stay engaging while still pushing some of the principles.

        So basically you’re saying f*ck it when it comes to government, and pay more attention to the closer knit societies around us?

      • Johnathan, let me put it as succinctly as possible:

        When someone says “society” I always reply with: whose?

  13. Jean Finet says:

    “Translation: Freedom can actually really suck sometimes on a practical level, but that doesn’t give you moral right to make others your slaves because you’re an insecure little pussy with big investments in status quo who can’t take what life dishes out.”

    Great! That pretty much says it all. People can argue all they like about “practicalities”, but at the end of the day the immorality of treating others as your slave has to be dealt with.

    I like this quotation posted over at Karen De Coster’s site. It pretty much sums up your point, Richard.

    “By what right do men exercise power over each other?”

    ~ Auberon Herbert

  14. Hopefully Paleo is a stepping stone into a more relevant ideology. Something us bloggers can encourage as a last step to being truly Paelo. Bad food, the media, and a lifetime of lies has turned us into idiots. Shed one layer at a time starting with poisonous food. Once the body cleans up, so can the mind. I don’t think you have to be really pissed about it. Just encourage change, implant the idea, and they will follow.

    • That’s really the theme of this post on a whole, Peggy. Oh, you have a healthier, leaner body now and saner mind? Well start acting like it beyond the confines of diet and exercise.

      • Well it felt accusatory, which is totally your prerogative, but I’m gonna bet mostly nobody has ever considered an ounce of what you said in this post. (I hadn’t heard of that philosopher who just gave a talk in Boulder the other day, damnit!) People are clueless and generally simple minded. Wouldn’t a nudge be appropriate before getting all angry. I’m just messing with you, though, really. I’m pissed off at the dumb human race and the turn it’s taking all the time. :)

      • I’m proud to be part of that “mostly nobody” who *has* considered more than an ounce of this topic. There’s been a blog post on it brewing in my mind for some time now, on taking paleo “beyond the confines of diet and exercise.” It’s a huge topic space, though, almost certainly a series of articles rather than just one.

        In a Twitter exchange not long ago, Richard got me reexamining some of my premises to see if there’s flawed thinking in there that I haven’t rooted out yet. He can have that effect, fortunately.

      • Ha, I hope to have that effect and if I do say so, when I say “check your premises,” I mean all of them and completely. Unlike some woman who shall remain nameless.

      • If that unnamed woman is me, I apologize for offending you. I definitely wasn’t trying to criticize you. You did an awesome job with this post. You brought some deep and dissident ideas on the table and LOVE that. And I am particularly happy to have found a new philosopher to sink my teeth into. So thank you for that. The tone just bugged me on a personal level because I think people totally suck and it is a challenge not get consumed by it sometimes. Honestly, I think that no matter how much any one of us cleans up our diet and lifestyle and even our principles and actions, we are destined to a lifetime of irritation. Our only hope is to ignore how stupid everything is, enjoy the cool bits and pieces, and try not to get burned as it all goes down in flames.

      • Peggy, Google “check your premises.”

        :)

      • Not you, see Richard’s Google suggestion. :)

        BTW, who can type greater than and less than signs and is a new subscriber to your RSS feed?

        >This guy!<

      • “Peggy. Oh, you have a healthier, leaner body now and saner mind? Well start acting like it beyond the confines of diet and exercise.”

        Is this where we got off on wrong foot?

        Totally your fault. :)

        I clearly meant, Peggy, look, here’s the theme…. Not Peggy, you.

      • I’m not THAT dense, Richard! I got the theme alright. It was the “check your premises”, nameless woman thing that threw me off. Haven’t read Atlas Shrugged for 15 years so yeah, I’m ignorant. I should quit commenting on your site, actually. You always seem to lose me in some language or theory I’ve never heard of. I think it’s time for a glass of wine. ;)

      • Ok, but never in my wildest dream was I attacking you, accusing you or anything, Just to be sure.

  15. Thanks for this post, Richard. You never cease to make me think in new ways about these topics. Time permitting, I plan on writing a blog that applies the Paleo perspective to all aspects of life, encompassing health/nutrition (of course), family life, social life, and perhaps now also political life. The premise would be that the evolutionary perspective can be applied to nearly everything we do, and then should be vetted to see if there are ways to use that way of thinking to improve and enrich our lives.

    By the way, I’ve been a long-time lover of the transcendental poets/thinkers, who seemed to have a rather “paleo” perspective on government and life in general. “Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.” -R.W. Emerson

  16. You know, I agree, but so what? Will any of this really matter? I still go and vote. Why not, it doesn’t cost me more than hour a year. You don’t like the practical arguments, but what is morality but a practical inbuilt way of making people function in a group? That’s what always surprises me, why make such a big deal out of this if you’re not going to be practical? What is this then, just a rant?

    I guess I am in a questioning mood today.

    • Robert:

      George Carlin has an idea about how you can better spend your time.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk

      As for me, a second in a year is more important to me that the display of utter impotence and loss of self respect represented by standing in line in order to have a chance at being a party to the bigger mob.

      • Yes, I have seen that already, it’s funny. You don’t answer my other question though. Why bother telling people this if it is nothing but a personal attitude people should adopt, why bring politics into it at all?

        It’s seems like an unnecessary complication, because it just begs the question “what should we do differently then?”. Will things get better if we don’t vote?

      • “why bring politics into it at all?”

        Because, silly man, politics, other than being the 4th branch of philosophy, is the logic that explains much of social behavior.

        So why would I not bring that up? I understand your ignorance but I’m just asking you to think beyond the concrete word of “plolitics,” just for a second.

      • I’m just trying to get clear what it is that we should do differently. So far the only thing is “don’t vote” and I’m not sure if that is really better than just voting and getting your “1/300 millionth say” in things and protect yourself without relying on the state. That isn’t much. There seems to be a gap between your rhetoric and what it actually comes down to. You make a big fuss, but then you really don’t show us much of what to do. And when I ask you about that you say you have no interest in that, well, again, why bother posting such a highly charged piece?

        Either you have something better and we should do that or you are just saying “the state/current social situation sucks, but I don’t know what to do about it” in which case not-voting is a strategy to nowhere. It only saves you some time, wow.

      • “I’m just trying to get clear what it is that we should do differently. So far the only thing is “don’t vote” and I’m not sure if that is really better than just voting and getting your “1/300 millionth say” in things and protect yourself without relying on the state. That isn’t much. There seems to be a gap between your rhetoric and what it actually comes down to. You make a big fuss, but then you really don’t show us much of what to do. And when I ask you about that you say you have no interest in that, well, again, why bother posting such a highly charged piece?”

        Well, first of all, I have at times said a number of other things in addition to not voting, such as not petitioning your representatives, not aiding the state in any way you’re not compelled to, not engaging in positive activism (getting laws passed and whatnot), not watching the political news or reading the political pundits, and so on.

        In general terms: try to make all your dealings mutually voluntary, going as regards the state only what you are compelled to do and not an ounce more.

        Second, it’s always interesting to me that there’s this implicit idea that if your criticisms against state force and coercion — which means: lock, stock & barrel — aren’t to be taken seriously unless you can present some alternative.

        Well, it’s not my job, nor do I have any desire to make designs on how “better” or “more efficiently” to force the values of some onto others.

        Not my yob, man.

        Now, there is one form of activism I’m all for: civil disobedience. It has proven historically to be very effective and I know of no cases where it resulted in LESS freedom.

        I’ve had this lingering notion for many years that probably the most powerful form of CD today would be for 1-2 million of the US’s ~12 million small business (or whatever the number is now), to refuse to withhold taxes and social security payments and issue their employees full paychecks.

        Think about the effect that could have in a hurry.

        Not voting simply goes to the principle to do noting to help government. Just one part of it. One the other hand, what would happen if they held an election and nobody showed up?

  17. Heatheranna says:

    Richard,

    I’ve been paleo for a couple of years now and have slowly stopped reading most paleo blogs (there’s only so many before/after pics and new biochem that I can stand, after all), but I keep coming back to you for posts like this. You are one of less than a dozen truly moral people I know of.

    I’m getting pretty sick of paleo bloggers acting like if only THEY were in charge of US food recommendations, welfare, or any other public policy, then everything would be just great. I’m pretty sure that that’s what a lot of politicians think too, and look where it’s landed us. Anyone who thinks that the world would be better off if they were in charge is just plain dangerous, regardless of whether or not they have good intentions.

    • Heatheranna:

      When I’m asked, as happens about every four years, “who should be President,” I have a stock answer.

      Nobody should be President.

    • BTW, I’m rather committed to the before after pics and now, video interviews which I hope is a little bit more of an interesting twist. This is primarily for enticement for new people who stumble or Google in with no idea what it’s about. Fresh blood is essential.

      This post may come off as sounding a bit cynical or dismayed at the Paleo movement and that’s unfortunate. In fact, the Paleo movement is a great hope. I’m just doing what I think is necessary to exercise a bit of influence if I have any.

      • Heatheranna says:

        I do think that the before/after pics are great, especially for attracting new people. I’m just saying that I don’t read a ton of paleo blogs anymore because I rarely get anything new out of them and don’t want to become obsessed over minor nutritional details. And just to be clear I don’t think that you’re overly cynical.

      • Isn’t it great to graduate? One of the things that has always held me back from trying to monetize the blog beyond the pittance from google ads and amazon is that I want people to be their own authorities.

        I have no desire or intention to ever create a money tree of dependence.

    • “Anyone who thinks that the world would be better off if they were in charge is just plain dangerous, regardless of whether or not they have good intentions.”

      And regardless of whether or not they have the “right answers.” Save parents preparing children for autonomy or someone choosing to take responsibility for those who cannot do so for themselves, no one should have control of any portion of anyone else’s life.

    • ‘Tis just the Vision of the Anointed:

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

  18. You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right

    You say you got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We’d all love to see the plan

    You say you’ll change the constitution
    You tell me it’s the institution
    Well, you know
    You better free you mind instead

  19. Third-rate men exist in all countries, but it is only here that they are in full control of the state and all the national standards. H. L. Mencken

  20. As I was reading this, I remembered something my Gramma once said, when I told her I didn’t want to take out the trash.

    “I’m tired of doing housework, Gramma. I want to go and play. I did enough work.” I stood with arms akimbo, my twelve-year-old face angry, defiant.

    “Stick out your tongue and look at it, Birdie. You’re a goddamn animal.”

    I flinched. I didn’t understand.

    “Stick out your tongue. Do it.” Gramma waited while I pondered her order. I stuck my tongue out, knowing that what came next would probably melt my mind the way her wisdom usually did.

    “You’re an animal. Look down at your tongue. You may wear fancy clothes” – yeah, I was a clotheshorse princess even then – ” and you may think you are more important than that pet dog of yours, but you are nothing more than an animal. And all animals keep a clean den. You are no different than a cat or a mouse. When you are done with the duties of an animal, then you may play like an animal. But don’t kid yourself, Birdie. You are an animal.”

    And yeah, I forget to forage and work and clean and play and sleep like an animal. I keep buying into every fake scenario that comes along, forget that my arms and legs still remember how to push and pull and run.

    No point to life if you can’t create your own destiny. Thanks for the reminder, Richard.

  21. Dr. Livingston, I presume?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  22. Right on… You just lost me at John Galt, but by then I’d already read – and agreed – with most of what you said. (You can still be right and Rand STILL be a monster.)

    • So you agreed with everything up to and including…

      “We have no demands to present to you, no bargains to strike, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you. – ”

      Interesting.

      I’m no Reandroid at all and hold her politics to be in stark contradiction to her ethics which imply anarchism. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn or think about from her. I think her Epistemology is quite interesting.

      As to how she lived her personal life well, that’s not really any of my business. I was once curious enough about it to read the two books the Branden’s wrote, but that was nearly 20 years ago, now. I certainly wouldn’t have carried on and behaved like that, but Frank could have left any time he wanted.

      • You’re right – she is an interesting figure more than worthy of consideration/discussion. I suppose the bad taste in my mouth concerns more the actions of those around her, in particular Leonard Peikoff and the Orwellian way the ARI has been run (making people nonpersons over trivial ideological differences, etc. Hmm. Sounds a lot of like the paleo/LC blogosphere… ;)).

  23. Ever read “Debt: The First 5000 Years” Richard? I’m 2/3rds of the way through now and it’s pretty fascinating stuff. The author (an anthropologist) traces the evolution of the concept of debt, money and morality over time, with tons of examples of the random ways real HG tribes handle the problems of commerce and relationships. What you’ve written sounds like an echo of the book at times.

    • I have not, but I already have more books on my list that I’ll read in a lifetime.

      I’m actually come to a point where I don’t read a lot of books, anymore. There is so much reference material on the Internet, and what I want to really do is think, write, and argue ideas with competent people. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      In terms of debt, I think of it in its most fundamental form: selling your future labor or marketable creative productivity. In that sense, nothing at all wrong with it, but one needs to be sane & reasonable about it.

      • Heh, well, if you have enough downtime to add a 500+ page book detailing how debt came to be, it’s a good and thorough read. There’s a lot of great examples of the way HG tribes handle debt, trade and social organization (as you say, it’s always totally dissimilar from virtually every neolithic equivalent). It also would probably challenge the way you’ve defined debt, at least in how debt was conceived of in the olden days prior to the creati0n of quantified value-based exchange systems (x of this for y of that).

        Perhaps intriguingly, many primitive cultures would see selling your future labor as exactly equivalent to selling yourself into slavery. The assumption that a person is capable of doing that – capable of making themselves a slave – factors heavily into the mechanisms used by the rich/ruling class to maintain control over the poor classes; after all, you have to pay your debts, right? Doesn’t matter if you had to go into debt because of a drought, or if “paying your debt” means selling your female offspring as slaves, you have to pay your debts. It’s just what good people do.

        Once you can mortgage your future, it becomes possible for someone else to foreclose, and you’ve just invented the most effective mechanism for enforcing unequal power relationships ever devised. And it’s not just money; how many people do you know who vote because they see it as some sort of civic duty? Which is really just an obligation, which in reality is just a debt. The notion of owing something to the state is fundamental to every state’s control mechanisms (that an enforcing that obligation with force).

        Anyway. Intriguing stuff which dovetails nicely with the main thrust of this latest post.

  24. Shortandsweet says:

    Richard,

    May I quote your last sentence? It is so true and powerful.

  25. Shortandsweet says:

    Of course! Thank you.

  26. I’m posting an update to the post in order to link to this post at Evolvify:

    “Foundations for a Hunter-Gatherer Philosophy II: The Libertarianism Question”

    http://evolvify.com/hunter-gatherer-paleo-philosophy-libertarianism/

  27. Voluntaryism.
    Paleo?
    I think it’s the most paleo, myself. Thoughts?

  28. There is a certain degree of overlap between the alternative right / HBD (human biodiversity) / race realist movement and the paleo community, although you are much more likely to see paleo discussed on an alt-right site than vice versa. That said, some of the topics Richard is touching on here – self-government, tribal affiliations and living, local governance, social interactions from an evolutionary perspective – perforce implicate issues of race. As a matter of evolution, the group we feel most comfortable with is the group that is more related to us. Tribe is family writ large; race is tribe writ large; species is race writ large. The implications of this are real even if we like to avoid them and pretend they don’t matter. Study after study shows that even from an extremely young age, humans draw lines very clearly between those who are more closely related and those who are not.

    From this perspective, creating a diverse society is also a recipe for creating the need for a larger and more centralized government. In a non-diverse and localized society, it is easy for the “tribe” to solve all its own problems. The more outsiders there are, the more “need” there is for some objective arbiter who will ensure that no one is acting unfairly. Diversity justifies larger government. It is, in my view, one of the reasons why governmental elites celebrate diversity so much: it butters their bread. To use another blogger’s phrase: Diversity + proximity = war. (http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/diversity-proximity-war/) A larger government prevents that war from getting out of control, but it cannot permanently eliminate a natural state of affairs

    Japan has no need of civil rights departments to ensure that colleges are discriminating unjustly: the smart get in, the dumb get rejected. Thus, they also don’t divert judicial resources to police discrimination in the fire departments: the strong, organized and team-oriented get the job, the weak, slow and messed up don’t. The less diverse (i.e. more tribal) society is more able to allow natural social dynamics free reign and has less need for centralized government.

    Richard’s ideal of an anarchic world (i.e. a world that is governed and ordered by spontaneous and local organization and problem solving) is one I appreciate. But I think the likelihood of it’s coming about decreases as diversity increases. Or, to put it another way, in a more diverse society, if central authority drops away, you will have much more violence and disorder before tribal social relations work themselves out. All other things being equal, the swiftest path towards a harmonious anarchy of the kind Richard desires, is largely a path of racial separation.

    To preempt several arguments that may be presented against what I have written above, let me emphasize the following two points: 1. I am not saying that racial / tribal separation is what I “want” or what I wish for. Rather, I am arguing that, from an evolutionary perspective, it is what we are built for and what we naturally prefer. I am presenting an “is”, not an “ought”. 2. I am not arguing that different peoples cannot get along together. Rather, I am saying that _on average_, genetic tribes will tend towards more internal harmony than mixed groups. There is little doubt that, to give one random example, many a New York born and bred Irishman will feel more immediate “kinship” with a New York born and bred African-American than he will with some Scots-Irish coal miner from West Virginia; but these are more accidents of history that, if push came to shove, would exhibit very different dynamics in stressful times of conflict.

    Richard’s radical anarchy or radical individualism has a way for dealing with this situation: i.e. the same way you deal with any situation, you protect your property, deal with those amicably who respect it (black, white, yellow or brown) and deal with those harshly who do not (black, white, yellow or brown). And this is one way to approach it: your “tribe” is the group of people that respects the local rules and customs that have been agreed upon without coercion. My view is, although that is true as far as it goes, there will be far less conflict and for more trust where that “tribe” has a largely genetic basis.

    Paleo is a movement based on evolutionary principles and science. If the movement is honest, it will address these issues head on because tribe and race are every bit as evolutionarily derived as diet and exercise.

    Let me try to further the discussion by leaving you with Steve Sailer’s definition of race and a link to his excellent discussion of the topic. “A racial group is an extended family that is inbred to some degree.”

    • Nice post, although I think racial diversity could just as easily be also be replaced with cultural diversity for a lot of the arguments.

      For instance, take religion. If we had no federal laws, how long would it be before Utah became a theocracy? What would happen if an openly gay couple tried to drive through? Could they be arrested?

      Do we really want people to have to memorize different sets of laws all over the country? Especially considering how incoherent many of them would be?

      Point being, even when race isn’t necessarily an issue, cultural divides still can be.

      • Race and culture is very much a chicken and egg problem. People create cultures. Who those people are, yes including their “racial endowment”, will affect what kind of culture it is. People of North Asian descent test, on average, 5 to ten points higher on IQ tests. This is true regardless of what culture they happen to be in: they test that way in Asia, they test that way in Washington State (e.g. Japanese immigrants who have been in the US for generations). Focusing on culture is usually a way to avoid talking about the difficult questions that race raises. Different races creates different cultures.

        As for your Utah example, you make my point for me: a stronger centralized federal government is necessary if you want to prevent people from differing from the norm (whatever that is). The best people to govern Utah are people who live in Utah, not people who live in D.C. Do I want different laws all over the country? Yes. I do. It indicates that those most inimately involved in the day-today problems of their locality are the ones solving them.

      • >you make my point for me

        Right, I wasn’t really arguing against that point.

        >stronger centralized federal government is necessary if you want to prevent people from differing from the norm (whatever that is).

        It’s not hard to figure out what the federal norm is — the constitution.

        >The best people to govern Utah are people who live in Utah, not people who live in D.C. Do I want different laws all over the country? Yes. I do. It indicates that those most inimately involved in the day-today problems of their locality are the ones solving them.

        By that logic, we’d have to say it’s a good thing that Muslim countries “understand” the problems of apostasy and are solving them by murdering non-believers.

        I’ll take federally-secured, inalienable rights over dominion and persecution by petty local tyrants, k thx.

      • “By that logic, we’d have to say it’s a good thing that Muslim countries “understand” the problems of apostasy and are solving them by murdering non-believers.”

        Why does it have to be a good thing? I’m perfectly satisfied to recognize that there are a million bad thongs the world over, the vast majority is none of my business or affair, let it go at that, stay clear, take my own chances and try best as I can to navigate my own life as peaceably as possible with those possessing ideas closest in affinity to mine.

        I have no desire or see any need to police the world.

      • >Why does it have to be a good thing? I’m perfectly satisfied..

        Why is allowing it a good thing? A lot of people consider allowing tyranny to continue unheeded as a sort of evil in and of itself.

      • Its none of my business.

      • The Constitution as currently implemented is simply unrecognizable as the document that this country was organized under. Try to read the Constitution with a fresh eye and think about the scope of our current federal government: Do you honestly recognize our federal government in the Constitution? Also, read (or re-read; I don’t mean to sound presumptuous) the Anti-Federalist and the Federalist: even the people who favored federalization made their case on the basis that the federal government would be small, peripheral, unobtrusive. Most of the laws were still to have been local and diverse (that’s what the ninth and tenth amendments were all about). Instead, there is barely any aspect of law and regulation that is not federal in nature.

        We have what Sam Francis called anarcho-tyranny: neglect of the basic functions of government such as policing the borders (anarchy) and unjust enforcement of laws that are no business of the government (running sting operations on the Amish for selling raw milk). We spend trillions on “spreading democracy” without having allowed Congress to declare a single war since WWII. If you think we are living under the Constitution as drafted, I’ll take a whiff of what you’re smoking.

        As for what Muslim countries are doing: I don’t give a fuck what they are doing, and I certainly don’t want my tax dollars spent on giving a fuck. Hell, I don’t want my tax dollars spent on telling Mormons in Utah how to live; why should we spend trillions on “teaching” people of other countries how to live?

        You think the federal government is protecting you from local tyrants? How about the federal tyrants? You can’t fire or hire who you want, you can’t smoke what you want, you can’t buy the milk you want to buy, you have half your livelihood taken from you every year. If the country were make up of hundreds of “petty local tyrants”, you could choose which of them you want to live under, which of them provided the best governance for the tax dollars. A free market in governments. That is what the federation of states was supposed to provide.

        Don’t mean to rant, but I just do not believe that the current arrangement reflects the true Constitutional order or represents real freedom.

      • Any idea how manny already different and conflicting laws exists from coast to coast as the fed, state, county, and city levels?

        One reason I’m transitioning out of my current business is because I have to contend with different laws in all 50 states. You may consider that in support of your position, but I have yet to see a law in this specs from any state that I thought the slightest bit necessary. The solution isn’t uniform law, but no law.

      • Richard, I agree with you that multiplicity of laws (and jurisdictions) is hellish in its own way, just as a one-size-fits-all centralized approach is hellish. The quandry for me is that I am not as convinced as you are that anarchy (in the technical, not pejorative sense) would actually work out in practice. I like to think that monarchical anarchy is not an oxymoron as that is a nice compromise it seems to me.

        Albert Jay Nock is the key American political thinker as far as I’m concerned; with Mencius Moldbug (unqualifiedreservations.blogspot.com) running a close second.

    • Lots of interesting points, Remnant. Thanks for taking the time.

    • I think the racial arguments are misguided though I understand why someone could be led down such a path. I am reminded of this every time I am hanging down south and notice the incredible cultural diversities within Black America, a divide that existed long before Africans came to America.

      I think there is something more fundamental than race (and I don’t think race is fundamental in the sense it is normally used in the literature) that is implied by culture. I won’t raise that here but it is implicit in the article when it talks about the historical decentralization of Christianity which spanned many peoples, tribes, and tongues. On one level however Thomas Sowell has spent his entire life researching this question. His magnum opus of sorts, Conquests and Cultures, is very interesting concerning this topic.

      • That race is a salient factor in many phenomena is not to argue that it is the ONLY salient factor. So many people skirt the race issue by saying “I think culture accounts for it”, or “I think oppression accounts for it,” or “I think nutrition accounts for it” or “I think it’s their historic focus on education that accounts for it.” Why can’t a certain characteristic, behavior or tendency be the result of, say, culture, nutrition AND race?

        For the culture argument in particular, however — as I indicated in my initial comment — there is a great degree of question begging. We like to say that Norwegians are stolid, orderly, under spoken, technically oriented, etc. because that is “their culture”. Or that Chinese are industrious, tend towards conformity, are smart, etc. because that is “their culture”.*

        The point is that culture is inseparable from the genetic group that brought about that culture. Explaining something as attributable to culture is a cop out, it is a tautology that amount to say “this people is like that because they are like that”. Focusing on race – i.e. genetics – is an attempt to restore a scientific approach to the analysis of human differences. We understand this when we look at lactose intolerance, sickle cell anemia, goiter and other issues that don’t raise such sensitive issues and therefore are not subject to PC. But there is no reason why an objective, disinterested and scientific approach should not be applied to many questions – sensitive or not, PC or not.

        Fundamentally, the view that “race doesn’t matter” or “race doesn’t exist” or “race is irrelevant” is a kind of secular creationism: it denies Darwin and the theory of evolution every bit as much as religious creationists. If one accepts the theory of evolution, it is simply scientifically untenable to say that race (family history on a larger scale) does not matter or does not exist. This is why I think that the paleo community, of all places, should not content itself with polite skirting around of these issues: it is precisely trying to arrive at the proper way to live through an evolutionary perspective.

        By pushing the conversation in the direction of politics and social relations in his original post, Richard is suggesting that paleo risks becoming a limited and stunted movement if it just focuses on diet and working out: The paradigm offers so much potential to explain a great, great deal about Man and about the best way for the individual to live his life and for society to order itself. To posit – a priori – that race does not matter or should be dismissed as a factor in EVERYTHING is to prevent the fundamental basis of paleo thinking (i.e. genetics, ancestral influence, evolution) from reaching its full potential.**

        Let me end this with a link to another excellent Steve Sailer post with a FAQ approach to thinking about race. Here is how he ends the discussion, which about sums up my view: “It’s time for our intellectuals to grow up. The world is what it is. Making up fantasies about it, and demonizing scientists such as James Watson, just makes reality harder to deal with.” The paleo community is, I believe, a place of grown-ups. We can handle the truth and should pursue it.

        * I fully acknowledge that the term “race” can be overly broad in many situations. But we use generalizations in many contexts even where we acknowledge that they are generalizations: we do it because the generalizations are useful despite their shortcomings. “Oh you want a family dog? You should get a Golden Retriever; they are extremely gentle.” “Oh really, I knew a Golden Retriever that was incredibly aggressive and nasty.” Does this anomalous Golden Retriever mean that the breed should never be recommended to people looking for a family dog? “Africans are lactose intolerant.” Well, many are, but those who come from areas where there is a long history of herding are not. All that means is that the situation is complex and needs to be further fleshed out. No one is denying that there are differences WITHIN groups as well as without. But that there are differences within a group doesn’t mean there are no differences without it. If a scientist studies behavioral differences between cats and dogs, his research is not made irrelevant by arguing that there are huge differences between Chihuahuas and German shepherds. Yes, there are; let’s study those too.

        **I am also obviously not unaware of the history of injustices that have been perpetrated on the basis of racial discrimination. But again, man’s cruelty to man, his potential to commit cruelty, is boundless; he will ALWAYS find reasons to be cruel. That does not mean we bury the truth because science has ever been abused. Man has created laboratory anthrax; does that mean we should ban scientific research? The existence of racial-based cruelty does not mean race doesn’t exist. The idea that acknowledging race would somehow NECESSARILLY lead to concentration camps and genocide is simply absurd. Race exists or it doesn’t. If it does, then it should be discussed honestly.

      • That’s excellent, Remnant and I agree fully, so far as know from a first reading.

        On the issue of race, I think it would be helpful if it was no so synonymous with skin color, by which I mean, people seem more amenable to talk about racial differences between anglos and chinese because both are white skinned. Too much baggage with blacks for it to be so easy.

        We’ll have to appoint Michael Miles chief Ambassador.

      • Thanks, Richard. I will expand on these issues in future posts of yours where it seems appropriate.

  29. Avalanche says:

    “Freedom can actually really suck sometimes on a practical level, but that doesn’t give you moral right to make others your slaves because you’re an insecure little pussy with big investments in status quo who can’t take what life dishes out.”

    No one here has yet begun “questioning the premise” {wink} of moral right: i.e., “you don’t have the moral right to do this or that” and “it is or is not moral to do this to people.” Trying to define something as moral (and therefore something that should or shouldn’t be done; i.e., trying to claim that people therefore should CHOOSE to do or not do it) is just as silly as saying that govts will use force to go their way(s). “Moral” equals “we *believe* you ought to do/not do this or that.” And it’s useless in the face of the application of force!

    My younger sister is what I call a “hothouse flower” — she actually believes that is we could only “make” people play fair, why then, everyone would, and then there would be peace and lots of food and happiness around the world. La di dah! She apparently can’t/won’t see that the “make” part means violently. (HAS to mean violently; there is no option.)

    Humans are controlled by either lies or violence. (Persuasion or force.) I’d suggest becoming familiar with Nietzsche’s slave and master morality: the raptor (eagle) and the lamb. The lamb looks at the eagle and says that it is scary and eeeeeevil – and “someone” should protect the lamb from the eagle. (The eagle is not “moral”!) The eagle looks at the lamb and thinks it’s just delicious. The lamb must lie to itself about its safety, or about someone / something that can or will come and protect it) because it is unable (and/or unwilling) to protect itself. The eagle looks fondly at the lamb, and would indeed protect it — from everyone except itself. (That’s what resources are FOR!)

    Both are acting in accordance with their Natures, and both will remain in their natures — the slave looks out with fear and the eagles looks down with friendly dispassion.

    The untermensch lies to himself and believes the lies he’s told (“God will protect me, the State will protect me, Jim Jones will protect me (drink your koolaid)! SOMEONE come protect me!!”). The master wields violence to fulfill his aims and desires (because he can). The slave thinks ill of the master and thinks he’s eeeeeevil. The master thinks WELL of the slave and thinks it’s useful and necessary, and to be protected, shepherded, and used as needed. There is no “morality” here — morality is just another lie told to calm and control the slaves! If you believe that you can protect yourself against the force of govt, should they decide they want something of yours… well, good luck with that.

    We are animals in a Nature-al world, and all the arguing and negotiating that people should (or even could!) “act in moral ways” is just so much hot air! (Lies, not violence.) Freedom actually DOES give you the ability to make others your slaves — or to be made a slave! *Believing* otherwise, *believing* there is something enforceable called morality that will somehow (Mystically? Philosophically?) lead people to not “do bad things” is the lie, the hope, the delusion of the slave. (Not callin’ you one, Richard, just tryin’ to point out the silly flaw in libertarian thinking…)

    Heard the old Chinese tale about the man whose horse ran away; and his neighbors clucked in sympathy at his loss, and he said “could be good, could be bad. I can’t know.” And the next day, his horse returned leading a herd of wild horses. His neighbors applauded his gain and said this was good, and he said “could be good, could be bad. I can’t know.” And his son began breaking the horses to use, and got bucked off and broke his leg. And his neighbors clucked in sympathy at his loss, and he said “could be good, could be bad. I can’t know.” And then the Army came sweeping in and rounded up all the young men to march away and fight some war, and because the man’s son was laid up, he was left behind. “Moral” (is something good or bad?) depends on your point of view. And it only applies from your end. (“For whom?”)

    • Avalanche:

      Trust me, I’m long beyond indescrimanently tossing around morals, ought, evil and so on, like the Randians do.

      I see “morality” as a very naturalist thing and that there is only one moral principle: a right to ones own life. All else is derivative from there. The way that one principle is derived is pretty simple. Humans have a rather unique trait in that they have to actually CHOOSE in some way to pursue the values necessary for their survival, and more importantly, can consciously choose to default, be self destructive, or even kill themselves. Other animals don’t behave this way, they always pursue their lives as best as possible within the environmentally given.

      So, because by nature we possess that requirement to choose, or to default, it follows that by nature we have a natural right to do so.

      Nothing mystical about it, hell doesn’t open up and swallow rights violators, or anything od the sort.

  30. As a Christian, I know that the gospel is not a “social” one. Living under freedom or tyranny is just not that important when dealing with an infinite timeline. BUT, I don’t understand how someone who takes the Bible seriously could think anything but anarchism as the ideal. The people who comprise the state are not above the moral law. Period. Therefore, taxation is theft. I believe I should live peaceably with the thieves as long as I can take it..but a thief is a thief regardless of plumage or badges or robes or whatever. Churches do a very poor job of teaching this basic, if not eternally important truth.

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