June 5, 2014

Chasing Rabbit Holes In Physics? I Hope Not.

There are plenty of wonderful pop-physics books that attempt to explain the inner-workings regarding current theories of time and space. As a novice, I can appreciate the mind of the scientist and yet still notice an uncomfortable trend. Most physicists are trained to follow the evidence no matter how uncomfortable the outcome may be. Yet, in spite of this, physicists are not infallible. Each physicist has a set of presuppositions that radiate in their work, in how they formulate their work, in how they interpret their answers in what weights they place on their/others work. One particular presupposition that I want to address here is in regards to the god hypothesis. In case the reader didn’t notice my subtle non capitalization of the word in the previous sentence, I am not a believer. Yet, the god hypothesis is, and has been, an uncomfortable [non]explanation for times past. Given this, the discipline of physics is handed the duty of answering some very unsavory questions. Questions like “how is there something instead of nothing” and “what was before Big Bang” to name just a few. The reasons these questions are so difficult is that odd things happen at what appears to be singularities. Things that make little sense when using the tools of explanation we use in everyday applications. It is my fear that in an attempt to avoid religious connotations a physicist might be willing to follow any rabbit hole that offers an alternative to the god hypothesis. This may not necessarily be a bad thing yet I tend to think that it probably is. As others have commented, hidden dimensions and infinite alternative universes seems more like allegories than actual theories. They offer answers in an all-encompassing form that scientists are trained to distrust--they offer answers that could never be disproved. Maybe there is a deeper reason these scientists seek answers of this form. Maybe they are simply willing to accept any alternative to “god did it”. Again, this may not itself be a bad thing. Yet, if your greatest minds are chasing disprovable, timeless, multiverses with multidimensional vibrating strings for the sake of offering an alternative to something as silly as ‘god did it‘ what are the opportunity costs? Maybe the laws of our physical universe are not constant. Maybe they have evolved as some rouge scientists have discussed. At least such theories are disprovable. Maybe it will take someone outside the realm of the trained academic mind to alter this path but, if it is worth any grain of salt, the atheist shouldn't need quick alternatives to satisfy questions that theists believe they have the answer to. We shouldn’t feel the need to offer an alternative for the sake of having an alternative. Simply stating “I don’t know” or “prove your truth claim” should suffice. The main comfort is to know that we are chasing truth (and hopefully we are) not spinning in rabbit holes and if said truth leads to a deity, than so be it. It’s still light years between deity to a personal god and in my case infinitely away from ever falling on my knees in awe.  

September 10, 2012

Calculators Are Not the Enemy (unfinished)




Calculators Are Not the Enemy



As others have, I often speculate if we assembled a committee for the sole purpose of rendering a subject near useless if it would possible to do a better job than the public school system has done with mathematics. Public school math has been drilled, beaten and stripped of all possible usefulness. All for what? Students hate learning it. Teachers dislike teaching it (or at the least dislike teaching it to students who dislike learning it) and still we press on. Actually it’s worse; we press on without even knowing whom to point the finger. Lacking even the ability to pinpoint the problem, educators, out of desperation, begin turning their hatred toward small little rectangular objects with numbers on them. Why? It is again the purpose of this article to answer this inquiry.






What is it about these small little calculating devices that make them such easy targets for the failure of math literacy? Is it that these machines are doing the thinking for us? Is it that students are simply learning to punch buttons? I assume it's possible, but I recall an article some time back that concluded the helpfulness of most advice is inversely related to the advice-givers age. As age increases, the helpfulness of advice typically decreases. Certainly this hasn't curtailed my desire to tell the world what I think they should do; after all, at our core, we are a bunch of advice-giving machines. Nevertheless, we must accept that we may suffer from generational lag. I come from a generation of the "Resume". I was taught the importance of the resume in job candidacy. I even outsourced my resume making when I entered the labor force because I believed It was so vastly important. Today we have Linked, Facebook and other networking devices that allow many individuals to bypass the importance of the resumes. Resumes are not as important as they were in the past, but how many of us know this? I believe this generational lag is partially responsible for the blame-calculator bias our educators support.






Let us pretent for a second that the importance of mathematics is simply being able to produce textbook answers to standardized textbook questions. If true, then most of todays calculators could, in theory, displace most todays math educators. A four function calculator, at a cost of about .99 cents, could answer 90% off all questions for grades k-4. A scientific calculator, at a cost of about $14.99, could answer 90% of all questions from grades 5-8. A graphing calculator with a variable solver and factoring application could answer the majority of Algebra, Algebra II and Pre Calc questions. Most of theses same graphing calculators have statistical software capable of handling most first year statistics questions. A slight step up to one of the higher end graphing calculators equips all the tools to make first semester calculus a breeze. In all, for about $180.00 ($100 if used) a student could purchase the majority of textbook answers from kindergarten through college freshman.






Now clearly this says nothing about understanding of the material, but, on paper, would an individual truly be able to tell the difference between the traditional paper-pencil student or the calculator student when taking standardized tests? Let me pose a question, Is it possible for a student to have more understanding of the value and methodology of a problem but be more dependent upon technology? Let me approach this problem from a different angle. In academia, I work alongside many engineers who are also adjunct math professors. They tell me they use very little of their mathematical training in their day job, many have forgotten much of their math training. This says nothing about their abilities as engineers, only that they've outsourced much of their work to software applications. The math training they go through is much more a symbol of their ability and reliability than their productivity. Yet, the question still remains, is it possible for a student to have more understanding of the value and methodology of a problem but be more dependent upon technology? To answer this question we need to discuss the parts of a math problem.






Conrad Wolfram points to four parts of teaching math to which I will purposfully change the titles






1) Asking/Understanding the right question...2) Setting up the question....3) The actual computations...4) Interpreting the answer.






Now, according Wolfram, math students today spend about 80% of their math training on part 3, the part that our technology can do exponentially faster than we can. There are only two possible conclusions here. Either part three, the computation part, is the most important portion of the four parts of a math problem (important enough to spend 80% of class) or the other three parts are being neglected.






Let's try a question from a textbook shall we,






1) Find the interest rate r if $2,000 is compounded annually and grows to $2,420 in 2 years.






2) A = P(1+r)^t The formula for compound interest






$2420 = $2000(1+ r)^2






3) The Calculations






2420 = 2000(1+ r)^2


2420/2000 = (1+ r)^2


121/100 = (1+ r)^2


+/- SqRoot (121/100) = 1 + r


+/- 11/10 = 1 + r



-1 +/- 11/10 = r


r = 1/10 or


r = -21/10



Check the solutions by plugging them in for r






$2420 = $2000(1+ 1/10)^2



$2420 = $2000(1.10)^2


$2420 = $2000(1.21)


$2420 = $2420






$2420 = $2000(1 - 21/10)^2



$2420 = $2000(-1.1)^2


$2420 = $2000(1.21)


$2420 = $2420






4) The rate cannot be negative, so we reject r = -21/10










Now, which of the four parts do you believe took up the most time? Yet, I could have plugged part 3 in my calculator or software and churned out the answers in seconds and devoted that time to parts 1, 2 and 4. Instead of calculating we could have been asking,






Why would you want to know the answer to this question?


When would this come up in real life?


What would have happened if we incorrectly set the problem up.


Would it be in the interest of the loaner for the borrower to be ignorant of this math?


We could have played around with different scenarios of interest, initial investment and return


Why do we reject negative interest rates?


Could negative interest ever exist?


What would negative interest mean to the lender or the borrower?






Now, one might say that we could still have asked these questions, but could we? Do we? How much could we really discuss within a 60 minute class if we are spending access time doing computations? If an educator wanted to complete, say, 10 of these types of problems after a lecture, they would surely be stressed for time when engaging the other three parts of a math problem. This is normally the case. Educators tend to devote the majority of their time toward praticing computations while the student is left not understanding the value of the question, how or when to set it up or what the solution truly means. Yet, this is just some simple algebra. Imagine if we were using computations to solve something more tedious? Here is the formula of the general form of a 4th degree equation (commonly called a Quartic)






ax4 + bx3 + cx2 + dx + e = 0

Quartics have 4 roots.

The 4 roots can be represented this way:



The four formulas are equal except for a "+ or -" sign at the beginning, and a couple of "+ or -" signs at the far right end of the images. Note that the imaginary unit "i" does not appear in any of these formulas. The formulas on top were obtained with Wolfram's program Mathematica.



How many of these problems do you think we could do within a 60min block of time without the help of technology? One? Are we starting to see what are students might truly be loosing with our unfounded calculator bias?






From here the arguments start become warped. Many old-school math learners were forced to use paper and pencil and thus anything newer and faster must, by definition, be lowering our math intelligence. I think this attitude could be summed up as the "order of invention bias". In other words, the order of the innovation matters to the students development. Since the parents didn't have software and advanced calculators when they were growing up they must not be needed, or worse, they might be detrimental. The fallacy is of course rooted in the technology of previous generations, what did they lack? Look at the history of computing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_computing_hardware) and how far we have come. One wonders if these same anti-technology arguments were made over the course of time? And before these devices, were they applied to the history of paper? Were the generations who wrote on Papyrus more or less privileged than those who wrote on forms of paper that came after? And what of those who engaged in math before recording was available? They must have performed all computations within their mind but were they better off? The fact of the matter is order of invention is not important to the study of mathematics. We don't need to pretend like calculating devices are not available the same way we don't need to pretend that writing/recording devices are not available. We need to instead invest more time asking the right questions, understanding and setting up the questions and understanding our solutions, not mindless computations.






Yet, why don't we?





Though I don't agree, I can understand why most math educators would be anti-calculator. After all, it's probably within our interestes to limit the public of these devices in order to keep demand for our skills high. Yet, why are other individuals, most of whom grew up prior to the calculator revolution so anti-calculator? Normally their reasoning has to do with some story of the power going out while standing in a checkout line and the clerk who couldn't do a percentage on paper. Or, some myth about how calculator users aren't thinking. It used to be that it wasn't fair to the students who couldn't afford calculators. Of course, its hard to make that argument today with the cheapness of most calculators. I've also heard the argument that standardized tests don't allow calculators and thus more reason why they shouldn't be used. It is my opinion that all of these arguments are weak.





It may be true that todays standardized tests are normally anti-calculator but this alone is not sufficient enough a reason to not explore their use. Instead, educators should be pushing for standardized change (The new GRE will allow basic calculator use) not accepting the status quo.






Where is a happy median?













I once had a math instructor tell me that our generation is the last generation to know arithmetic. My response was "or spell, but does it matter"? Someone once stated that if you want a perfectly written paper eliminate the delete/backspace key. What is meant by this is that people would be so extremely careful about what they type if they didn't have the ability to correct their mistakes (Can you imagine if you had to start a paper all over again because you misspelled a word?). Certainly we would make less mistakes, but would we be more efficient?
As others have, I often speculate if we assembled a committee for the sole purpose of rendering a subject near useless if it would possible to do a better job than the public school system has done with mathematics. Public school math has been drilled, beaten and stripped of all possible usefulness. All for what? Students hate learning it. Teachers dislike teaching it (or at the least dislike teaching it to students who dislike learning it) and still we press on. Actually it’s worse; we press on without even knowing whom to point the finger. Lacking even the ability to pinpoint the problem, educators, out of desperation, begin turning their hatred toward small little rectangular objects with numbers on them. Why? It is again the purpose of this article to answer this inquiry.

What is it about these small little calculating devices that make them such easy targets for the failure of math literacy?  Is it that these machines are doing the thinking for us? Is it that students are simply learning to punch buttons? I assume it's possible, but I recall an article some time back that concluded the helpfulness of most advice is inversely related to the advice-givers age. As age increases, the helpfulness of advice typically decreases. Certainly this hasn't curtailed my desire to tell the world what I think they should do; after all, at our core, we are a bunch of advice-giving machines. Nevertheless, we must accept that we may suffer from generational lag. I come from a generation of the "Resume". I was taught the importance of the resume in job candidacy. I even outsourced my resume making when I entered the labor force because I believed It was so vastly important. Today we have Linked, Facebook and other networking devices that allow many individuals to bypass the importance of the resumes. Resumes are not as important as they were in the past, but how many of us know this? I believe this generational lag is partially responsible for the blame-calculator bias our educators support. 

Let us pretent for a second that the importance of mathematics is simply being able to produce textbook answers to standardized textbook questions. If true, then most of todays calculators could, in theory, displace most todays math educators. A four function calculator, at a cost of about .99 cents, could answer 90% off all questions for grades k-4. A scientific calculator, at a cost of about $14.99, could answer 90% of all questions from grades 5-8. A graphing calculator with a variable solver and factoring application could answer the majority of Algebra, Algebra II and Pre Calc questions. Most of theses same graphing calculators have statistical software capable of handling most first year statistics questions. A slight step up to one of the higher end graphing calculators equips all the tools to make first semester calculus a breeze. In all, for about $180.00 ($100 if used) a student could purchase the majority of textbook answers from kindergarten through college freshman.   

Now clearly this says nothing about understanding of the material, but, on paper, would an individual truly be able to tell the difference between the traditional paper-pencil student or the calculator student when taking standardized tests? Let me pose a question, Is it possible for a student to have more understanding of the value and methodology of a problem but be more dependent upon technology? Let me approach this problem from a different angle. In academia, I work alongside many engineers who are also adjunct math professors. They tell me they use very little of their mathematical training in their day job, many have forgotten much of their math training. This says nothing about their abilities as engineers, only that they've outsourced much of their work to software applications. The math training they go through is much more a symbol of their ability and reliability than their productivity. Yet, the question still remains, is it possible for a student to have more understanding of the value and methodology of a problem but be more dependent upon technology? To answer this question we need to discuss the parts of a math problem. 

Conrad Wolfram points to four parts of teaching math to which I will purposfully change the titles

1) Asking/Understanding the right question...2) Setting up the question....3) The actual computations...4) Interpreting the answer. 

Now, according Wolfram, math students today spend about 80% of their math training on part 3, the part that our technology can do exponentially faster than we can. There are only two possible conclusions here. Either part three, the computation part, is the most important portion of the four parts of a math problem (important enough to spend 80% of class) or the other three parts are being neglected.

Let's try a question from a textbook shall we, 

1) Find the interest rate r if $2,000 is compounded annually and grows to $2,420 in 2 years. 

2) A = P(1+r)^t   The formula for compound interest

$2420 = $2000(1+ r)^2

3) The Calculations

 2420 = 2000(1+ r)^2
 2420/2000 = (1+ r)^2
121/100 = (1+ r)^2
+/- SqRoot (121/100) = 1 + r
+/- 11/10 = 1 + r
-1 +/- 11/10 = r
r = 1/10 or 
r = -21/10
Check the solutions by plugging them in for r

$2420 = $2000(1+ 1/10)^2
$2420 = $2000(1.10)^2
$2420 = $2000(1.21)
$2420 = $2420

$2420 = $2000(1 - 21/10)^2
$2420 = $2000(-1.1)^2
$2420 = $2000(1.21)
$2420 = $2420

4) The rate cannot be negative, so we reject r = -21/10


Now, which of the four parts do you believe took up the most time? Yet, I could have plugged part 3 in my calculator or software and churned out the answers in seconds and devoted that time to parts 1, 2 and 4. Instead of calculating we could have been asking, 

Why would you want to know the answer to this question? 
When would this come up in real life?
What would have happened if we incorrectly set the problem up. 
Would it be in the interest of the loaner for the borrower to be ignorant of this math?
We could have played around with different scenarios of interest, initial investment and return
Why do we reject negative interest rates?
Could negative interest ever exist? 
What would negative interest mean to the lender or the borrower? 

Now, one might say that we could still have asked these questions, but could we? Do we? How much could we really discuss within a 60 minute class if we are spending access time doing computations? If an educator wanted to complete, say, 10 of these types of problems after a lecture, they would surely be stressed for time when engaging the other three parts of a math problem. This is normally the case. Educators tend to devote the majority of their time toward praticing computations while the student is left not understanding the value of the question, how or when to set it up or what the solution truly means. Yet, this is just some simple algebra. Imagine if we were using computations to solve something more tedious? Here is the formula of the general form of a 4th degree equation (commonly called a Quartic

ax4 + bx3 + cx2 + dx + e = 0
Quartics have 4 roots.
The 4 roots can be represented this way:
First root (of four):
Second root (of four):
Third root (of four):
Fourth root (of four):
The four formulas are equal except for a "+ or -" sign at the beginning, and a couple of "+ or -" signs at the far right end of the images.  Note that the imaginary unit "i" does not appear in any of these formulas. The formulas on top were obtained with Wolfram's program Mathematica.

How many of these problems do you think we could do within a 60min block of time without the help of technology? One? Are we starting to see what are students might truly be loosing with our unfounded calculator bias? 

From here the arguments start become warped. Many old-school math learners were forced to use paper and pencil and thus anything newer and faster must, by definition,  be lowering our math intelligence. I think this attitude could be summed up as the "order of invention bias". In other words, the order of the innovation matters to the students development. Since the parents didn't have software and advanced calculators when they were growing up they must not be needed, or worse, they might be detrimental. The fallacy is of course rooted in the technology of previous generations, what did they lack? Look at the history of computing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_computing_hardware) and how far we have come. One wonders if these same anti-technology arguments were made over the course of time? And before these devices, were they applied to the history of paper? Were the generations who wrote on Papyrus more or less privileged than those who wrote on forms of paper that came after? And what of those who engaged in math before recording was available? They must have performed all computations within their mind but were they better off? The fact of the matter is order of invention is not important to the study of mathematics. We don't need to pretend like calculating devices are not available the same way we don't need to pretend that writing/recording devices are not available. We need to instead invest more time asking the right questions, understanding and setting up the questions and understanding our solutions, not mindless computations. 

Yet, why don't we?

Though I don't agree, I can understand why most math educators would be anti-calculator. After all, it's probably within our interestes to limit the public of these devices in order to keep demand for our skills high. Yet, why are other individuals, most of whom grew up prior to the calculator revolution so anti-calculator? Normally their reasoning has to do with some story of the power going out while standing in a checkout line and the clerk who couldn't do a percentage on paper. Or, some myth about how calculator users aren't thinking. It used to be that it wasn't fair to the students who couldn't afford calculators. Of course, its hard to make that argument today with the cheapness of most calculators. I've also heard the argument that standardized tests don't allow calculators and thus more reason why they shouldn't be used. It is my opinion that all of these arguments are weak.

 
It may be true that todays standardized tests are normally anti-calculator but this alone is not sufficient enough a reason to not explore their use. Instead, educators should be pushing for standardized change (The new GRE will allow basic calculator use) not accepting the status quo. 

Where is a happy median? 

  

I once had a math instructor tell me that our generation is the last generation to know arithmetic. My response was "or spell, but does it matter"? Someone once stated that if you want a perfectly written paper eliminate the delete/backspace key. What is meant by this is that people would be so extremely careful about what they type if they didn't have the ability to correct their mistakes (Can you imagine if you had to start a paper all over again because you misspelled a word?). Certainly we would make less mistakes, but would we be more efficient?   

December 10, 2011

Charity and The IRS

The most common red flag for IRS auditing (behind home office deductions) is charitable giving. The IRS keeps stats on the average charity to income ratios. Anyone who gives excessively in relation to their income (what we would deem a true giver) is at greater risk of being audited. Consumers know this and must waste time and energy proving that they did in fact give to charity in such a quantity. Many hedge against this risk by contributing less as a function of their income. Thus, the IRS not only decreases charity by taxation they decrease charity by the threat of auditing. Go IRS!

December 9, 2011

Ideas: Coffee Producers Should Place Scent Adds In Magazines


Most fragrant producers learned long ago that adding a sample within the glue of a magazine add helped produce sales, but why haven't coffee producers tried it? 






November 20, 2011

Block Claiming That It's Governments Fault We Can't Predict The Weather

Though, what i think Block means here is that without governmental interference science would be closer to truths, I'm not sure he words this correctly. The way in which it's worded one would think that without government the sky is the limit in prediction markets. I invite you to contrast the reasoning to the knowledge problem outlined by Hayek. Weather, and other nonlinear dynamic conditions pose great problems for prediction, especially is one operates from the view that a good prediction is gauged by an outcome that is close to mark. But, as we know, in nonlinear systems small errors grow exponentially as you increase your time horizon.   

It may be true that weather, as other systems, are deterministic but this does not imply that they may be determined. Making statements such as, "if one were to have access to all information of location and movement, etc, than the future, like the past, would be like the present...predictable" may be helpful for thought experiments, but this does nothing for the predictor. Unfortunately, though fortunately is probably a better word, there is always uncertainty (noise) within an measurement.  In spite of this we can factor in chaos for our models. 

Of course, Block would have to stipulate what he means by "weather prediction". Certainly if we limit the time frame to the next five minutes an ignoramus could predict the weather. But if Block were to mean better than now, he may be either right or wrong (see below). Longterm atmospheric modeling cannot make longterm predictions unless these predictions are extremely general. For example, we will receive snow in 2050. We know that any time series will contain randomness.  




Absolute Property Rights (Unedited & Unfinished)

The purpose of this paper is to explore absolute property rights within the realm of ownership and action. Many individuals speak about libertarian property rights as being absolute, but it has been my experience that when taken to the extreme many advocates turn against their original stance and argue for some form of relative property rights. Let me pose a scenario so that the reader knows what I mean. If I ask a libertarian should we be allowed to murder someone who trespasses on their property, I will likely be met with the answer no. The reason for this will depend on the sophistication of the individual, but their arguments normally amount to something of the nature of, 

"Your rights end where another's rights begin" 
"The punishment does not fit the crime, i.e. it is not proportional"
 "Said actions are themselves a crime because..."    
"The criminal loses his rights to the extent that he deprives another of his rights"
"Murder is only justified when..."

 
Although I sympathize with each of the objections listed above and would agree that trespassing, alone, does not merit the taking of another's life. We must, at least, note that said restrictions are limitations built in to our property rights. We would have to say, at the very least, that someones rights to property are relative, not absolute. If someone disagrees with this than they must prove that such underpinnings are not limitations at all. They must show that in cases like murder as punishment for trespassing is not within the limits of someones property decision. 

Shaffer Argues that,

"All property rights are absolute: some person or persons must exercise ultimate control over things to be owned. The only question relates to the identity of such parties, an inquiry that was as relevant on the early American frontier as it was in the Soviet Union. If we were to identify all of the persons entitled to exercise some degree of control over a given parcel or item of property, and if the interests of all those persons could be purchased by one person, that buyer would, by definition, be entitled to do anything regarding that property, including destroying it, because there would be no other party entitled to exercise control over it.... Every property is, by definition, subject to the absolute and unrestricted control of someone. This is what is implicit in a “claim of ownership.” Of course, this absolute authority need not be in just one person. An owner might convey his or her ownership interest to a husband and wife, or business partners who, as new owners, would then exercise joint control over some item of property. But the point is that some person— or persons—must have the final word regarding what is to be done with any given property interest. This is why the ultimate test of ownership comes down to the question: who can decide, without having to get the permission of another, to destroy this property?"

In the scenario we outlined above, who owns the right to fire the bullet?

Let us pause for a second and readjust our scenario. Let us remove the individual who is shot and ask if the property owner may shoot his gun in his direction of choosing. If no, why?

One particular reason may reside in some form of community ordinance that doesn't allow guns or loud noise within the community. In such an event, the property owner relinquished his rights to fire his gun once he choose to reside in the community. In such a scenario the right to fire guns was not sold (rented) to the individual purchaser of the property. The property owner legitimately knew upon choosing to reside in this particular community what limitations were placed upon their property. There is no conflict regarding this situation.

Another reason for not allowing someone to fire their gun may include the owners home insurance policy on gun ownership and discharge. It may be possible that an individuals home insurance does not allow the homeowner own guns for whatever reason they note (It may be that their statistical evidence points to home owners who own guns are more likely to be sued or more likely to use lethal force instead of resolving minor disputes, thus causing property damage). Although such a policy is hard to imagine, the scenario is mean to serve as a description only.A more likely example would be a insurance company who does not allow candles or the storage of flammable objects. Either way, in such a scenario the property owner agrees to relinquish their rights to own and discharge guns by agreeing to employee their insurance agency.

Banks whom the property was financed though may have their own stipulations about guns. In such a case, the property owner is agreeing to forfeit some of their rights by financing through this particular institution.   

All of the above situations are legitimate reasons for restricting someones rights to their property. However, what if none of these cases apply to our property owner. How is it that one might argue for restricting someones rights to shoot a trespasser? 

Just like the examples above, it may be that the property owners private protection agency limits the use of capital punishment to strict requirements; for example, to use capital punishment you must be able to prove that you were in immediate danger. The need for such a clause may be to limit external conflicts between competing private protection agencies. In such a situation, if the property owner violates the clause set forth by their protection agency, the protection agency may  refuse future services and the property owner may be left alone when dealing with the third party protection agency (or private court) of the now dead trespasser. Again, in such a scenario the property owner is expected restrict their rights to property in exchange for the protection offered by private protection firms. 

However, if there is no third party contract for the rights to shoot a trespasser where would such restrictions reside?

Some would argue that the shooting of a trespasser is a violation of the trespassers rights and that all rights to property end where anthers begin. Yet, this is confusing. Why would someones rights to property end where another's begin in the case of trespassing? Clearly, there is a property violation here. A trespasser, by definition, has no right to the property which they reside and yet we are to believe that they still own their right to body while trespassing? Either one of two reasons must be true here. First, a persons right to their body is higher in the property hierarchy then rights to other property or second, two individuals may have duel ownership of the same piece of property. I would argue both are wrong. 

It may be true that rights to property is meaningless without rights to body, but this does not imply that the rights you have within your body are more important than my rights to my property. The trespasser forfeits their right to body when the engage in trespass (or there is some form of ownership duality which we will discuss below). This, alone, may not suffice for capital punishment but it does serve the purpose of waging all property the same.

Quote from Hoppe...   
Two individuals may have separate claims over the same property in question. That is, two or more individuals may share a property interest in the same piece of property but they may not share duel ownership of the same claim (This line of reasoning may be objectionable, but it is not within the scope of this paper to elaborate. ). If this is true, than it must be settled who, the trespasser or the original owner has the right to control the property under question. Anyone who sides with the trespasser in that they may not be shot must either believe that the trespasser is now the actual owner of the property to which they trespass (meaning they may not be shot) or that both are equal owners of the same property--what we describe as illogical. 

So where does this leave us? Is that it? Can any property owner simply kill any would-be trespasser at will? There is one ore aspect of ownership that must be addressed before we answer this. Shaffer claims, 
"...the essence of ownership is found not in certificates  of title, sales receipts, or recorded documents; but in the socially recognized authority to exercise control over an item of property i.e. to direct what will or will not be done with it. "

That is to say, our answer to the original question will heavily depend on the culture of the environment to which the action occurs. It may be that for a local community of private property, gun-right, extremists capital punishment for the violation of trespassing is tolerated. It may be that in other communities such actions are met with boycott and outcry. Nevertheless, it holds, that such repercussions are possible for any action. Certain religious communities may choose to boycott local homosexuals. Such repercussions may limit homosexual acts, but this does not itself make homosexuality illegal or impossible. 

If the individual fires a gun and misses their target leading the bullet to stray onto someone else's property, the owner may be responsible for property damage or, at a minimum, responsible for littering. Either way, a direct result of the individual firing their gun and missing the target is some form of property violation.

November 14, 2011

Notes On Order

"This is meant to stress that the probability of our experiencing orderliness is a function of the store of configurations worked out in our minds. A lognormal distribution[2] may seem orderly to a mathematician but to no one else.http://mises.org/daily/5680/Order-vs-Organization

A scientist may be thought of as having access to a great store of patterns into which he delves to find one that will fit the facts he seeks to integrate into a theory.

In terms of our orchard example, the progress of science depends upon the ability of the mind to move away from the simplest type A arrangements to the conception of more intricate shapes. One of these shapes will bear a great likeness to the B arrangement which actually occurs. This is an achievement of science. On the other hand, tidying-up activities consist in moving objects from B configurations, which just occur, toward type A arrangements which are recognized as orderly and therefore desirable.


Our pleasure is then bound up with the assent we grant to existing proportions. But an arrangement may be "rational" in quite another sense: if the proportions between factors are suitable to produce the result at which the arrangement is aimed. We thus find two distinct meanings of "rationality": subjective enjoyment of proportions, and objective adequacy of proportions to the purpose of the arrangement.


While he is on a holiday, a well-meaning daughter decides to tidy up and aligns the volumes according to format and alphabetical order. Having wrought, she feels that "it looks better now"; and so it does, but a working arrangement has been destroyed in the name of seemliness. No doubt, the previous arrangement was imperfect and could have been reformed to serve the author's purpose even better. But such an improvement would have been based on a considered judgment of the operator thinking out his process, or by someone else capable of seeing the problem from the operative angle — an "operator-judgment." The reform effected by the daughter was not "operator-based," if I may so express it.



A mind concerned with this purpose, well aware of the process, dwells upon the operational arrangement and finds that it might be made more effective by certain alterations. We shall call a judgment passed from this angle an O-judgment to denote that the arrangement is appreciated from the operational standpoint. O-judgments are the principle of all technical progress made by mankind. Quite different in kind is the judgment passed upon the same arrangement of factors by a mind that regards it without any intensive interest in or awareness of the process. Such a judgment is then passed as it were from an external, extra-processive standpoint. We shall call it an S-judgment (S for sightseer).


Be it noted that the greatest scientists who have mastered prodigious complexities are apt to come out with the most naive views on social problems, for example. Their minds are taking a holiday, reverting to the effortless and invalid judgment of seemliness.











November 13, 2011

Voluntary Slavery & the Non-Aggression Principle (unedited)

Voluntary Slavery & the Non-Aggression Principle



The purpose of this article is the question may a voluntary slave be forced to remain in slavery if their initial desire to be enslaved were to change? Before we delve into this paper let us first justify the importance of the topic and then offer reader a scenario. To the libertarian, the essence of all social order rests on the concept of property rights to which ownership of oneself is essential. Yet, what are the limits of bodily ownership? Does ownership end with the epidermis of your skin, or the tip of your hair shaft? What do you own, when you claim you own your body? What portions of your body, if any, may you abandon or trade? If you may trade off some portion of your body, may you trade all of it? It is the author’s opinion that many of the questions are embedded within the question of voluntary slavery. Yet, why would anyone wish to voluntarily enslave themselves? Let us call upon Blocks’ scenario.


“You are a rich man who has long desired to have me as a slave, to order about as you will, even to kill me for disobedience or on the basis of any other whim which may occur to you. My child has now fallen ill with a dread disease. Fortunately, there is a cure. Unfortunately, it will cost one million dollars, and I, a poor man, do not have such funds at my disposal. Fortunately, you are willing to pay me this amount if I sign myself over to you as a slave, which I am very willing to do since my child’s life is vastly more important to me than my own liberty, or even my own life.” Walter Block TOWARD A LIBERTARIAN THEORY OF INALIENABILITY: A CRITIQUE OF ROTHBARD, BARNETT, SMITH, KINSELLA, GORDON, AND EPSTEIN http://mises.org/journals/jls/17_2/17_2_3.pdf

 
Therefore, although other libertarians have condemned this topic as being miniscule within the broader scope of libertarian issues this author believes the question is still of importance.


Few libertarians would object, per se, to an adult committing themselves to the obedience of another adult for the infinitude of their lifetime given that most libertarians uphold the rights of individuals to make their own judgments. Although libertarians may not agree with such decisions, it is not within their privileges to prevent it. The conflict only surfaces when an individual decides that they no longer wish to be enslaved by another individual after formerly agreeing to it. Does the slave owner have any recourse? Objections to voluntary slavery take a couple different forms: promises are not binding; the “will” is not alienable and thus not contractible, it cannot be upheld without violating the non-aggression principle. Of the three reasons listed above we will only tackle the latter “it cannot be upheld without violating the non-aggression principle”. It is the authors opinion that if the last may be upheld the former two are deemed irrelevant.


Within any market for voluntary slavery it would be considered common knowledge that at some point in time the said voluntary slave may change his mind and decide to go back on any such original agreement. Thus, no would-be slave-owning company or individual would commit resources to acquiring such a slave without first asking what recourse do they have if/when the slave changes their mind. Clearly in a free society built on non aggression principle, no reputable court system would uphold any recourse that violated this principle. Yet, what does it mean to uphold the non-aggression principle in light of voluntary slavery, or better, what would it mean to violate it? For this I call upon a quote from a personal dialog with Stephan Kinsella


“Let’s be clear: to justify voluntary slavery means you have to justify the use of force by a would-be "master" against a would-be "slave", if the slave tries to run away or changes his mind or disobeys an order. The libertarian thinks use of violence against another person's body is unjustified aggression, unless it is (a) consented to, or (b) in response to aggression.”


Although I don’t particularly like this line of reasoning since it tends to implicitly hold rights to bodily-property above other tangible property as well as that the fact that I’m not convinced aggression, threat, intent, and proportionality should strictly be left to courts to establish. I will thus attempt to build my argument to fit within (b), that is, “the use of violence against another person's body is unjustified aggression, unless it is in response to aggression”.


Others would argue that the breaking of a promise is not, itself, aggressive. Thus, if a slave changes his mind about being a slave he has only engaged in changing his mind not, itself, an act of aggression. It may be true that directly changing ones mind is not aggressive, but I’m not sure we can say that it is cannot be within the chain of causality of an aggressive act. Let’s say you promise to hold a grenade without a pin, later only to change your mind and release it. Breaking promises may not be aggression, but surely you can’t deny the potential for aggression within this scenario.

 
Let me now attempt to pose some (of many) possible scenarios that could ensure an individual remains a voluntary slave without actually aggressing against the individual. Let us imagine a fenced in camp where individuals who agree to be volunteer slaves work. From here we may ask, if the slave doesn’t perform the duties asked of them must they still be fed. Who should enforce the feeding of this slave? If the slave attempts to leave, who must be forced to open the door? What if the door is sealed and cannot possibly be opened without tearing the walls down? What if the camp is not actually owned by the slave owner, but is instead rented? There is no need to carry on with the infinite amount scenarios that could be listed. Let us call these scenarios contingencies. These contingencies are built-in recourse for the slave owner. The volunteer slave is fully aware of these contingencies before the volunteer enslaves themselves. Clearly there is nothing aggressive about the existence of such camps or such contingencies. Maybe you could argue that they are immoral, but this is a matter of taste.


Once this, likely, scenario is built, it is the job of those in opposition to voluntary slavery to prove that some rights violation has been committed. To do this one must be willing to argue for the enforcement of positive obligations. Kinsella has argued this. If you push someone in the water you are under a positive obligation to save them or be charged with murder. But, I ask Kinsella this, where in our scenario listed above is the “push”? Where is the initial act of aggression that would require any positive obligation?



With this in mind, let me pose another possible remedy for the voluntary slavery argument. As mentioned above, the issue of voluntary slavery only becomes apparent when the slave no longer wishes to be a slave. Yet, how does this slave make such a decision apparent to the slave owner? They may stop following orders; they may attempt to run away, they may declare they no longer wish to be a slave. Yet, all of these scenarios could be accounted for in slave owners contingencies. Let us contemplate a slave contract with built in clauses that create a collection of double speak to which the slave agrees when voluntarily entering into a slave contract. Let us call this clause the, “yes means no clause”. When I declare I no longer wish to be a slave, I am only reaffirming my desire to be a slave. When I try to escape, I’m merely testing the potential for others to enter my compound. When I cease to follow orders, I’m actually asking to be motivated via a whip. We can understand why a slave owner would embed a complex version of the “yes means no clause” since it amounts to the equivalent of a loaded question. If the slave stops working, they wish to be motivated to work, otherwise they continue to work. Either way, the slave is working.



If such a concept is too nonsensical let us then imagine the infinite amount of other contingencies for the slave owner. Maybe the slave owner employees only guards who speak Russian, while the slaves speak English. Maybe the slave owner requires that all his slaves have their tongues removed via an initial voluntary operation so that they may not declare anything. Maybe the slave owner requires their slaves voluntarily chain themselves to a 200 pound ball so that they may not run away, etc, etc.



In all, within any 100% ownership society, any individual who owns no physical property to stand-on (like the volunteer slave) must, by definition, have another owner’s permission to even subsist. These individuals must exchange or persuade another land owner to allow them to trespass upon their land. Finally, like the bar owner who only allows individuals to sit at the bar if they are ordering drinks such land owners may require whatever they deem of these individuals.



In all, this paper was an attempt to bypass the arguments raised against volunteer slavery. It is the author’s opinion that if you may donate or sell a portion of your body, then you can donate or sell all of it, but this was not the purpose of the paper.






November 11, 2011

Praxeological Self-help: Goal Setting

Praxeological Self-help: Goal Setting





Praxeology, i.e. the study of human action offers as much self-help as any best seller on the market. Praxeology forces man to examine himself and his actions. If forces him to study his means as well as his ends and more importantly to distinguish his means from his ends. Individuals too often are unwilling to engage in the self-criticism of their means. They either become offended by criticizing passages and ignore them, or immediately outsource such criticism to someone else in their lives, never actually internalizing the message toward self improvement.


But what truly can be gained by distinguishing means from ends? The answer to this question has both an obvious and a not-so-obvious element. Mises says


"To express wishes and hopes and to announce planned action may be

forms of action in so far as they aim in themselves at the realization of a

certain purpose. But they must not be confused with the actions to which

they refer. They are not identical with the actions they announce, recommend,

or reject."--Human Action Scholars Edition p36.






Maybe an example would serve. If a man says that his goal is to one day have one million dollars, what has he actually relayed? His goals? His wishes? His desires or self-ambitions? Maybe. We truly don't know what another's goals, wishes, desires or self-ambitions are. But what we do know is that this individual preferred relaying this message to you over preferring not to. We know, by definition, that preferences are revealed by actions and this man prefers telling us that "his goal is to one day have one million dollars". We truly know nothing more. It could be that this man just likes talking about nonsensical things; or things that he never actually plans to pursue. Maybe he enjoys idle chatter. Maybe he enjoys the responses he receives. Maybe such pipe-dreams are therapeutic mechanisms, like that of the overweight person who in-defiantly waits for next Monday. We don't know!






We only know what a man truly prefers by his actions, and the only action our subject has engaged in is the action of telling us his goal is to one day have one million dollars. How often do we see this? Take a moment to reflect how many individuals in our lives (including ourselves) who have demonstrated their preference for talking about what actions they prefer as opposed to those who have demonstrated their wishes via their actions.






Thus, foremost, the study of human action forces us to place our actions under microscope. We can no longer judge our desires and goals separate from the realm of our actions. There may be many internal reasons which motivate a man to act, but it is precisely his actions, as such, that, in collequal speech, make him a man; and it is his actions, as such, that must be studied.






"The field of our science is human action, not the psychological events which result in an action. The theme of psychology is the internal events that result or can result in a definite action. The theme of praxeology is action as such."--Human Action Scholars Edition page 36.










Action is about choice. Each action involves both a taking and a giving. The giving is simply what we call the opportunity cost of the taking, the foregone decision that accompanies each choice. Even with the last breath of a mans body he must choose; even if such a choice is to reflect upon the bad times of ones life as opposed to the good. In life we must choose and with each choice we act. With this in mind, let us return to our scenario involving the man who claims that his goal is to one day have one million dollars. To analyze the value of this statement we must ask what was the individuals opportunity cost of making it? What has he actually foregone in order to make this statement? As we expected, not much. Much of our talk is cheap. In the language of economists we might say that such talk of future action (like our opinions) are cheap signals. They are cheap because they don't involve the renunciation of anything valuable. We may may decelerations willingly without no regard to their outcome.






One day I'm going to loose weight, one day I'm going to write a book, one day...






Let us contrast this idle speech to the man who wakes early an exercises, who foregos the fires for the salad, who sets aside 30 minutes to write.






Too often an individual believes they are working toward a goal only later to realize that they are just as far from their goal as when they started. In our attempt to curve spending we rush to the bookstore to buy a personal finance book. In our attempt to loose weight we open a gym membership. In an attempt to increase our knowledge, we browse amazon. But none of actions are actions toward our original goal and this realization is precisely what Mises means when he says






"What counts is a man’s total behavior, and not his talk about planned but not realized acts."Human Action Scholars Edition page






Where does this leave us? What are the right actions? What are the actions that we should take toward are ends? It is this question I believe to be the first step toward the realization of our goals and it is this question which I have little to offer the reader. The reader must ask themselves what is actionable? What is immediately within their reach? What means within your lives can you immediately manipulate toward your stated goals.Where in your day do you have idle time? Where in your diet can you cut calories? Where in your budget can you cut spending? Make it a habit of asking yourself, are you engaging in the action of 'talking about action', or are you actually acting?




November 8, 2011

19 “proposed” Tough Questions For Libertarians:




19 “proposed” Tough Questions For Libertarians: A Follow Up To Stefan Molyneux Video 
Stephan Molyneux, from freedomainradio, offers a great video in response to some of John Steward’s questions to Juge Napolitano during their exchange weeks past. I thought The Judge did a great job engaging Steward but, like Stephan, I believe these questions deserve a little more attention. 
1. Is government the antithesis of liberty?
Not really. As Molyneux mentions in his talk, libertarians are against the use of initial force and governments' are simply a means of initial force. For as much as libertarians argue against governments, let us not forget that a government is not itself an evil. In fact, a government is not even an entity; it is simply a minority of the population with the most guns. Some have become so amassed in government-hate speech that they forgot who they truly hate--those who wish to control our liberties!
2. One of the things that enhances freedoms are roads. Infrastructure enhances freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom.
Let us rephrase this. If someone steals your money, your freedom is enhanced, granting that they use said money to pay for roads, infrastructure or big guns? Wrong! The fallacy here is of course that if the government doesn't build it, it won’t be built. Why is this the case? Clearly there is a desire to transport goods, services, and people via roads, ships, trains, bridges, etc and thus clearly there is an incentive for individuals to provide such services. There is nothing special about these sectors that would justify the invasion of our wallets. Markets, without government decree, would provide such services and individuals would, or would not, pay for them. The key point is that individuals should be limited to paying for roads and infrastructure that directly benefit them.
3. What should we do with the losers that are picked by the free market?
Who is this "we"? How did "we" become a topic for debate? This is what irritates me about modern day liberals and conservatives. How is voting with other people’s money chartable? How can you force charity without engaging in hypocrisy? The question is not "what should we do" it is "what should I do". You want to engage in business mentoring, financial charity, persuading others to give, or whatever other "good" cause that tickles your fancy, then feel free to do it, just stop patting yourself on the back for voting with other people’s money.  
  1. Do we live in a society or don't we? Are we a collective? Everybody's success is predicated on the hard work of all of us; nobody gets there on their own. Why should it be that the people who lose are hung out to dry? For a group that doesn't believe in evolution, it's awfully Darwinian.
Molyneux is right-on in pointing out the stupidity of comparing evolution and free markets. It is simply engaging in pseudo-intellectual scientific babble. Anyone that cheers this either knows nothing of evolution, nothing of free markets or both. Free markets are the ultimate form of representative democracy. You vote with your dollars on the products you wish to be provided with and opt out of those products you deem unworthy. This of course in no way paints a picture of voting equality (some have more money than others), but said inequality is much more a function of evolution than free markets. In a free market you cannot collect others dollar-votes unless you provide them with something they value more than their dollar. And by definition, if someone engages in a trade they, demonstrated by their actions, value what they receive above what they exchange. Evolution doesn’t “pick” winners and losers, whatever that means. Evolution is simply “decent with modification”.   
  1. In a representative democracy, we are the government. We have work to do, and we have a business to run, and we have children to raise. We elect you as our representatives to look after our interests within a democratic system.
What is this silly "we are the government nonsense"? I would encourage anyone who believes this to read No Treason by Lysander Spooner. 
"In the very nature of things, the act of voting could bind nobody but the actual voters...As we can have no legal knowledge as to who votes from choice, and who from the necessity thus forced upon him, we can have no legal knowledge, as to any particular individual, that he voted from choice; or, consequently, that by voting, he consented, or pledged himself, to support the government. Legally speaking, therefore, the act of voting utterly fails to pledge ANY ONE to support the government. It utterly fails to prove that the government rests upon the voluntary support of anybody. On general principles of law and reason, it cannot be said that the government has any voluntary supporters at all, until it can be distinctly shown who its voluntary supporters are." --No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner 

  1. Is government inherently evil?
Governments do not exist! Societies do not exist! People exist! We must purge ourselves from this sloppy thinking if we wish to approach the real issue. Anyone engaging in initial force against someone, or their property, is engaging in evil. There is nothing inherent about it. Individuals make choices. Some individuals, either under the banner of "government" or "thief", either under the cause of "greater good" or "self indulgence", must make choices as to either acquire another's property by exchange or initial force. If you choose the latter, you are evil!  
  1. Sometimes to protect the greater liberty you have to do things like form an army, or gather a group together to build a wall or levy.
Yes, because "sometimes you must go to war to ensure peace". Silly! There are no bounds to justifying force under this reasoning. You need only convince yourself that every evil act you engage in is for some cosmic greater "good", greater "liberty", greater "ethic", greater "god", etc.  
  1. As soon as you've built an army, you've now said that the government isn't always inherently evil because we need it to help us sometimes, so now.. it's that old joke: Would you sleep with me for a million dollars? How about a dollar? -Who do you think I am?- We already decided who you are, now we're just negotiating.     
If said army or police force is built by voluntary cooperation and exchange then no evil has been committed. We aren't negotiating how evil theft is on a small scale vs. a large scale, just like you wouldn't negotiate how evil a small amount of rape or murder is in comparison to a large amount. 
  1. You say: government which governs least governments best. But [what of] the Articles of Confederation. We tried that for eight years, it didn't work, and went to the Constitution.
Only if you define "didn't work" as a limitation on initial force. I will happily exchange our current system of aggression any day for the Articles of Confederation.   
  
  1. You give money to the IRS because you think they're gonna hire a bunch of people, that if your house catches on fire, will come there with water.
Yes, because no one would have any desire nor inclination to put out fires without public run fire departments. Hell, we might not even know to stop, drop, and roll without government programs right? Individuals would simply remain stupefied in shock while on fire. Silly! Privately run fire departments would have much more of an incentive and desire to save your family and your family’s home than any public fire department. In fact, it would be within their interest to make sure homes who contract with their agency have built in protections such as: sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, etc. Private fire departments may even offer guarantees to their customers to be at their home within a specified amount of time or all damage incurred will be paid by their company. Out of competition, fire departments may offer a family whose house was destroyed by a fire up to 60 days of free rent while they sort out the specifics with their insurance company.  Individuals could purchase the bare minimum fire protection for strict emergencies or could purchase more expensive fire proof guarantees. Mortgage lenders would likely require homeowners to have basic fire insurance and even those without fire insurance may still receive emergency service for a high fee. Nevertheless, you pay the IRS agent because if you do not, they will seize your possessions and place you in jail. 
  
  1. Why is it that libertarians trust a corporation, in certain matters, more than they trust representatives that are accountable to voters? The idea that I would give up my liberty to an insurance company, as opposed to my representative, seems insane.
Sidestepping if corporations are actually legal entities under the opinions of libertarians, the answer to the question is simply competition. Companies whose services or products don't deliver what they promise (what we call trust) will be punished in the market place. They may even receive lawsuits for their incompetence or fraud. When was the last time someone sued the congressmen? What recourse does the consumer have against the broken promises offered to them by congress? What's insane is Steward's view that greed, self-interest, self-preservation or simply love of ones self is limited to market places only. As Milton Friedman once asked Phil Donahue: 
"Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest ? ... Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us?."
  1. Why is it that with competition, we have such difficulty with our health care system? ..and there are choices within the educational system.
It baffles me how some look to our health care system as a beacon for free markets. We limit the supply of doctors, limit the supply of medical schools, limit the supply of hospitals. Require excess education to inject a needle, administer a drug, hang an IV or offer a medical opinion. Why? To keep wages high). We place massive restrictions on any health care professionals emigrating to the U.S. from elsewhere, force insurance companies to insure, force pharmaceutical companies to pass through bounds of expensive red-tape and all around just regulate, regulate, regulate! Our health care system is a shameful display of bureaucracy but has somehow become a poster-boy for free markets.    
  1. Would you go back to 1890?
What a stupid question. 
  1. If we didn't have government, we'd all be in hovercrafts, and nobody would have cancer, and broccoli would be ice-cream?
Well, if we didn't have free markets we wouldn't have crafts that fly or choices to purchase broccoli or ice cream at our local grocery store, and more would die from cancer. But, to indulge in this stupidity, it's true that without regulation we would be closer to curing cancer, closer to offering affordable personal aircraft and we surely can offer broccoli flavored ice cream! 
  1. Unregulated markets have been tried. The 80’s and the 90’s were the robber baron age. These regulations didn't come out of an interest in restricting liberty. What they did is come out of an interest in helping those that had been victimized by a system that they couldn't fight back against.
How can free markets be tried if government expanded throughout the 80's and the 90's? Regan out socialized communism, nobody read Bush Sr’s. lips about new taxes and Clinton, well...Clinton may have been more free market than Bush Jr., but that doesn't say a lot.   
  1. Why do you think workers that worked in the mines unionized?
Because they wanted better working conditions. No libertarian is against voluntary unionization. We are against striking workers beating up scabs, blocking gates, trespassing on property they don't own under the assumption that they own their jobs.   
  1. Without the government there are no labor unions, because they would be smashed by Pinkerton agencies or people hired, or even sometimes the government.
Without government, unions would be left to engage in voluntary interaction. They would be forced to peacefully negotiate for higher wages and better working conditions. Yet, better pay and working conditions are not simply a function of labor unions. Companies must bid up wages and better working conditions to attract more productive workers; this alone has put more air conditioners in office buildings and warehouses than any union.   
  1. Would the free market have desegregated restaurants in the South, or would the free market have done away with miscegenation, if it had been allowed to? Would Martin Luther King have been less effective than the free market? Those laws sprung up out of a majority sense of, in that time, that blacks should not. The free market there would not have supported integrated lunch counters.
Was miscegenation produced by free markets? Was slavery produced by free markets? Sidestepping this, who are you or anyone else to decide who may enter someone’s home or restaurant? What gives you the right to force integration? If someone’s wishes to engage in racist, religious, or cultural bigotry, then it is their right. But let us not forget that the market has built in mechanisms against this. If some business wishes to engage in said bigotry then they must be willing to forfeit profit and turn down more productive workers. They must be willing to pay for their racism! And clearly, in the world of competition, other businesses would be willing to steal such profits and productive workers from these people.    
  1. Government is necessary but must be held accountable for its decisions.
This is equivalent to saying "force" is necessary but must be held accountable for its decisions. Force is not necessary, governments are not necessary! 
  
  

Journaling From My Youth