The Governemnt's Contempt For You Is A Measure Of Its Impunity

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135 Responses

  1. Jim Tyre says:

    Ken, Ken, Ken, you offend me greatly! '-)

    You give a hat tip to Masnick for the article, but not to us for litigating the damn lawsuit and getting the government to release that document (and scads of others) in the first instance.

    (We particularly love how the government releases documents in its "new spirit of openness and transparency," when in fact virtually all documents released have been as a direct result of courts orders in cases brought by us and by ACLU.)

  2. Jim Tyre says:

    Oh, you know this Ken, but for others, "we" and "us" in my last means EFF.

  3. Aaron says:

    So, will your twitter account now get another 20K 'followers'? Or will they just click the Disable Account button on their secret NSA control panel*?

    * Yes, very tinfoil hat. I mean this in sarcasm. And no, I don't have any reason not to suspect that the government has something like this.

  4. Zack says:

    This just screams to me that we need some additional, binding, non-executive branch method of keeping the DOJ in check- perhaps congress granting itself and its individual members standing to sue over Justice Department wrongs/excesses/selective prosecutions/etc.

  5. Abby says:

    I really need a flow-diagram of how the NSA disseminates information to FISA and the OPR, because if I'm understanding all of this right, what seems to be happening is that they can generate information to other organizations that should be monitoring it, and then if someone happens to notice that the information is wrong, we should all breathe easy, because the NSA has reported that misunderstanding to itself, and no one involved with the transmission of the incorrect information can be liable, because it be mad technical, yo.

    If I allow myself to ignore the bureaucratic incompetence and malfeasance for a minute, it's a black comedy gold mine.

  6. Xenocles says:

    As far as I can tell the actual popular assumption is that the very existence of voting constitutes consent of the entire governed people.

  7. John Kindley says:

    Voting doesn't necessarily manifest, directly or indirectly, consent at all. It very often manifests only an attempt, however pathetic and ineffective, at self-defense, as when a voter votes for the "lesser of two evils."

  8. Clark says:

    @Ken:

    an infuriating and repulsive display of arrogance by your government and mine.

    It's not my government.

    Not remotely.

    First, as Lysander Spooner said so well in The Constitution of No Authority:

    The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago.

    However, even though I neither signed the Constitution nor voted for a delegate to sign the Constitution, I might opt into it.

    …but even if I were so inclined, I note that the government that exists now does not remotely obey the Constitution.

    The US Federal Government is corrupt and illegitimate from one end to the other, and it should be burned to the ground, plowed with salt, and have stakes pounded in and garlic and silver crosses sprinkled over the top.

    I have as much respect for, allegiance to, and tolerance for the US Federal Government in 2013 as a Dutchman had for "his" government in 1941, a Fillipino had for "his" in 1943, or a Romanian did for "his" government in the 1950s.

  9. ShelbyC says:

    hmmm. Sounds like Mr. Fallon has articulated a policy: "I am not providing it to you because all you will do is seek to write around it because you are biased in favor of the idea that an inquiry should have been launched." It sounds like this policy constitutes unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. I wonder if Mr. Heath can get an order compelling Fallon to give up the info.

  10. Clark says:

    @John Kindley

    Voting doesn't necessarily manifest, directly or indirectly, consent at all. It very often manifests only an attempt, however pathetic and ineffective, at self-defense, as when a voter votes for the "lesser of two evils."

    But the mere fact that some people think that it does indicate consent is enough that I no longer vote.

    Of course, the catch-22 of bumpersticker logic turns this into "if you don't vote, you can't complain".

    Protip: any ideology that boils down to "I ass-rape you if you do, and I ass-rape you if you don't" isn't intellectually impressive.

  11. John Kindley says:

    Clark: I voted in the last election only because a state supreme court justice was up for a retention vote. I voted "No," (i.e., not "for" anybody) and because I was already there voted for several "lesser evils," contrary to my principles.

  12. Chris K. says:

    Clark, I don't vote for the same reason. It is one of the few things that an An-Cap can do where there is no repercussion. I'd not pay taxes but I don't feel like killing anyone today.

  13. Chris says:

    While I appreciate the sentiment here, OPR hasn't even disciplined anyone for misleading the Supreme Court in a public proceeding. It would be highly optimistic to believe that they would do anything of the kind in a proceeding that, until recently, has been hidden from public view.

  14. Tyrsius says:

    "biased in favor of the idea that an inquiry should have been launched?"

    Um, wasn't an inquiry a legal requirement? Of course he is biased in favor of investigating lawyers who a court publicly said lied to the court. Anyone who is against that idea has no place working for the Office of Professional Responsibility. How can you have responsibility without oversight?

  15. Cat says:

    So wait – let me guess this right. The government under a FOIA act request can first lie about having any documents, then admit they lied, and refuse to fulfill a request because they don't want that particular person to have the information?

    Under WHAT possible interpretation of the FOIA law is this remotely ****ing legal?

  16. Nastybutler says:

    Why would they open in inquiry into people doing what they were hired to do? That would be silly. Of course they mislead the court: that's their job.

  17. Clark says:

    @Cat:

    Under WHAT possible interpretation of the FOIA law is this remotely ****ing legal?

    It's legal under the "we're the government, all the judges are government employees, and we've got more guns, so fuck you, serf" interpretation.

  18. Chris says:

    So wait – let me guess this right. The government under a FOIA act request can first lie about having any documents, then admit they lied, and refuse to fulfill a request because they don't want that particular person to have the information?

    Under WHAT possible interpretation of the FOIA law is this remotely ****ing legal?

    I don't think the OPR spokesman is referring to FOIA documents. The way I read this, the reporter got the documents, asked the Justice Department, through Mr. Fallon, for comment for the story he was writing. Fallon got comments from FISC and OPR, but decided not to pass those comments back to the reporter.

  19. Anglave says:

    Quoting Fallon

    "Brad is reporting on the lack of an OPR inquiry, but that only seems newsworthy if one might be warranted in the first place. It isn’t," he wrote. "For the last several days, we asked Brad to exercise discretion rather than write a story that leaves a false impression that there was any evidence of misconduct or basis for an inquiry."

    Isn't the purpose of an inquiry to determine if such evidence exists? The statement "There isn't any evidence, so we shan't look for any." seems patently ridiculous.

  20. Richard says:

    Spelling/grammar corrections:

    The Governemnt's Contempt For You Is A Measure Of Its Impunity

    Government's

    …the Court this to say about the representations made by government lawyers…

    the Court had this…

  21. Caleb says:

    I don't get the logic. According to the DOJ clown, his choices were:

    a) reporter writes biased article with accurate facts that make the DOJ look bad|| article credibility is bolstered slightly by having accurate facts; or

    b) reporter writes biased article with inaccurate facts that makes the DOJ look even worse||DOJ releases accurate information in a stop-gap measure to undermine article credibility.

    In what world is the DOJ stooge living in where b) is in any way superior to a)? In our modern world, the first shot either wins, or is at least heavily advantaged. Everything else is clean-up. Either something else is going on, or someone needs to be fired for incompetence.

  22. N. Easton says:

    Rope.

  23. freedomfan says:

    Among the outrages of this story is the fact that Fallon thinks it's proper for him to deny one reporter access to facts about this issue because he doesn't like the story that reporter is going to write, even though Fallon fully intends to make those facts available to other reporters, when he can find some who are likely to write a more favorable story.

    Of course, in the corrupt D.C. mindset of "managing the news cycle", Fallon thinks he is doing the exact right thing. He doesn't see his role as getting the facts out to anyone who wants them and letting the reporters do their jobs. He sees his role as cutting a deal with a willing reporter to spin the most favorable story. The sad thing is that reporters buy into that mindset. Many reporters are so happy to have access to a high-level source that they are willing to act as a PR flack to get an opportunity to "break" some news.

  24. Philosopherva says:

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.-

  25. Argh. So infuriating. I distinctly thought to myself, "man, if Ken picks this up, his comments are going to piss me off so much" when I read it on Techdirt.

    Sure enough, I find myself agreeing with everything Clark says as well. Particularly the salting the earth. It's way past time now.

  26. Brian Dunbar says:

    Revolution is a last resort.

    But guys like this are determined to bring us to it.

  27. Also: government is typo'd in the headline. ;)

  28. Matthew Cline says:

    @Caleb:

    I don't get the logic. According to the DOJ clown, his choices were:

    a) reporter writes biased article with accurate facts that make the DOJ look bad|| article credibility is bolstered slightly by having accurate facts; or

    I think that his "reasoning" for the first option was:

    reporter writes biased article, quote mines and misinterprets what the DOJ said -> article makes it look like DOJ is admitting to X when it's actually denying X.

  29. wgering says:

    We proposed putting him in touch with people who could independently explain why no inquiry was warranted in hopes it might persuade him.

    This sounds like an "explanation" that would happen in a dark, concrete room with a single bright light and a chair in the middle…

  30. orvis barfley says:

    congratulations, brian fallon.  you have usurped and become the story.

  31. barry says:

    Why would Fallon not want to give answers to the questions? And why would the answers not want to be given? That does not make sense.

    It sounds like a defense lawyer saying: "I have proof that my client is innocent, but will not present it to the court because the prosecutor thinks he is guilty."

  32. philosopherva says:

    At the risk of repeating myself (and Mr. Jefferson)
    it is their right it is their duty
    Oh, for a Jefferson today!
    Oh, for an Adams!
    Oh, for a Henry!

  33. CJK Fossman says:

    I'll tell you what this feels like to me. It feels like being against the Vietnam war in the mid 1960's and early 70's.

    We had facts. We had advocacy. We had a presidential candidate: Keep Clean for Gene, yay.

    Made no difference at all until America's fair-haired children began to contribute to the body count in serious quantities. I count the body count at Kent State here, too.

    The trouble here is that there is no body count. Maybe the concept of government by consent of the governed is too abstract for Mr. Agnew's Great Silent Majority to grasp.

  34. Matthew Cline says:

    @barry:

    Why would Fallon not want to give answers to the questions? And why would the answers not want to be given? That does not make sense.

    His position, as far as I can tell, is "this person will distort and quote-mine anything I say, so there's no point in talking to him".

  35. Jim Tyre says:

    The trouble here is that there is no body count. Maybe the concept of government by consent of the governed is too abstract for Mr. Agnew's Great Silent Majority to grasp.

    Nice! Nixon "popularized silent majority, but Agnew said it first. (Of course, who can forget Agnew's nattering nabobs of negativity?)

  36. Garth Elgin Jones says:

    So what can I do to make a difference here? I'm open to suggestions.

  37. George William Herbert says:

    For the sake of argument; the OPR would only be properly involved, as I understand it, if the attorneys knowingly misled the court, as opposed to the NSA not knowing what the hell it was doing at the lower levels and disclosing variances with the prior FISA filings / approvals as they discovered those variances / violations.

    If NSA Liasion Guy comes to Assistant US Attorney X and says "Hey, you know that FISA approval from October? Well, we screwed up the search terms in the filter, and it actually grabbed 43 million US persons' records. We don't think we abused them, but we think we need to tell you and we think the court may need to know now that we found it out…", I don't know that Assistant US Attorney X has any blame here. Nor NSA Liasion Guy, if he had no knowledge as to the particular goof, etc.

    I am not an attorney, however, so someone with OPR experience would be in better position to comment.

    If it would be normal for OPR to investigate at least some in any case where a US Atty has to correct prior statements to the court, then there not being a followup investigation would be more wrong than if they only investigate if they think someone intentionally lied. I don't know the criteria there.

    The underlying issue is that they've admitted to parts of mistakes, without fully clarifying, that justify some sort of additional oversight, but it's not clear who or what is appropriate for that oversight. OPR would only seem right to me if it was the Attorneys involved in misleading the court on purpose. The court itself seems to feel unprepared to impose enough oversight. Congress likewise. It is slightly stunning that nobody in power understands why the public is incensed by this.

  38. barry says:

    @Matthew Cline

    His position, as far as I can tell, is "this person will distort and quote-mine anything I say, so there's no point in talking to him".

    He doesn't have to answer the questions only to Heath. Putting out a press release would make any quote-mining obvious. Why does he have to wait till after Heath writes his article?

  39. CJK Fossman says:

    @George William Herbert

    Off point.

    The point is that we have a state agency operating outside the consent of the governed.

    Even the "I've got nothing to hide" clump would withdraw consent if they knew the real meaning of all this.

  40. TheOtherMatt says:

    This just proves my point that we need a constitutional Monarch with some actual power. Imagine what Ken would do if he had the power to say fire cabinet members who broke the law

  41. Jim Tyre says:

    This just proves my point that we need a constitutional Monarch with some actual power. Imagine what Ken would do if he had the power to say fire cabinet members who broke the law

    Ken neither floats like a butterfly nor stings like a bee.

  42. barry says:

    @TheOtherMatt

    This just proves my point that we need a constitutional Monarch with some actual power

    "No royal interference with the law" is fundamental to the 1689 Bill of Rights. I don't think the British monarchy could have lasted without it.

  43. AlphaCentauri says:

    "it should be burned to the ground, plowed with salt, and have stakes pounded in and garlic and silver crosses sprinkled over the top."

    That prep work has been done in a few countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, etc., and Syria is working on it, so if any anarchists would like to set up a demonstration project to show us all how that would work out better for us than what we have now, have at it.

  44. Robbo says:

    Secret scrutiny is no scrutiny.

    If a judge in a secret court is lied to, how would he know, what could he do if he knew ?

    If a Rep is unsatisfied by a secret briefing, he can't say to the voters what is wrong and what his evidence is. He can't campaign effectively to get the bad guys voted out. He can't explain why he wants to vote down the legislation that enables the problem.

    My first rule for government reform would to clear out all the liars – one strike and gone. An electorate which tolerates liars in elected or appointed office is fresh meat to the most ruthless manipulator.

  45. Robbo says:

    @ George William Herbert

    "OPR would only seem right to me if it was the Attorneys involved in misleading the court on purpose."

    No.
    If the attorneys were negligent in checking the veracity of what they presented to the Court they would also be in the wrong. So someone – OPR – has to investigate to see whether the misleading was stone-cold lying, negligence, or incompetence. Just brushing it away means the gvt can continue to mislead the courts tasked with overseeing their activities. That can't be justified.

  46. Philosopherva says:

    "I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro' the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them. I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you & I, & Congress & Assemblies, judges & governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor."

    Jefferson to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787, commenting on Shays Rebellion. Emphasis added.

  47. TheOtherMatt says:

    "No royal interference with the law" is fundamental to the 1689 Bill of Rights. I don't think the British monarchy could have lasted without it.

    Yes, you don't want the King to legislate, a monarchy would be one of the only ways you could have a fourth oversight branch that sits above our classical three and watches for say an inter branch conspiracy to subvert privacy rights which is basically what this is. But in order to be effective you must give the "fourth branch" certain powers to correct things like this, and they happen all the time although this is the biggest instance since the internment of Japanese Americans . But the execution of the Rosenberg's and the matter of Terry Shcivo come to mind

  48. Odd Man Out says:

    His position, as far as I can tell, is "this person will distort and quote-mine anything I say, so there's no point in talking to him".

    After sorry experience, that's my position when it comes to the press. No sane person would think otherwise, government official or not.

  49. Tom says:

    @Odd Man Out,

    That's a fair call for you as a private citizen, and damned good advice for a defendant. But that's illegal for the government. If, of course, the government is obliged to follow the law. Which it isn't. What's a cop gonna do, arrest a judge?

  50. Dan says:

    All legal arguments aside, if I were Brian Fallon's neighbor I'd pee on his dog every chance I could get.

  51. R R Clark says:

    @George William Herbert: you've got enough of it that your overall analysis is correct. OPR only worries about the conduct of DOJ attorneys; if the misconduct is not theirs, then OPR has no mandate and no jurisdiction.

    Mr. Fallon, who works for OPA, will probably be out of a job soon enough. There's no way his supervisory team will allow him to continue on in a public affairs role after so thoroughly embarrassing the DOJ, if only because allowing him to continue would constitute a failure in their mandate. I recognize that you may have a distaste for the journalist in question. The proper response is not to tell that journalist to get bent, but instead to inform that journalist that he can get bent by issuing a press release detailing the information he sought.

  52. Pub Editor says:

    Mr. Fallon's use of the reporter's first name ("Brad") in the statement seems…weirdly familiar in this context.

  53. Pub Editor says:

    It detracts from the professional tone one expects in such statements.

  54. Sam says:

    All legal arguments aside, if I were Brian Fallon's neighbor I'd pee on his dog every chance I could get.

    What did his dog do?

  55. jb says:

    Sam,
    His dog won't mind, but it will tick him off.

  56. Erwin says:

    @clark I think a revolution would probably be a bad idea. The thing is, except in really egregious cases, the next government is usually worse. And worse really is possible.

    In terms of change, the letter to your representative is actually a tiny bit effective in large groups. One property of the US government system is that the establishment does adjust to things that look like mass movements.

    Beyond that money talks – and not all rich people want to live in a police state.

    Beyond that, someone with a talent for organization might want to start a political coalition. I think the positions should include, and possibly be limited to:
    Defending the bill of rights
    Imposing transparency on government
    Restoring the rule of law

    The coalition would identify,eg, particularly odious defenders (feinstein?) Of the security state and target the vulnerable ones for removal by sending campaign funds, et cetera.

    Or maybe I'm insane, or the two may not be mutually exclusive.

    –Erwin

  57. Troutwaxer says:

    Mr. Fallon's use of the reporter's first name ("Brad") in the statement seems…weirdly familiar in this context.

    "I expect to be called "Mr. Fallon," but I will call you "Brad" so as to maximize your understanding of the innate inferiority of any citizen to any officer of the Justice Department."

  58. Clark says:

    @Erwin

    @clark I think a revolution would probably be a bad idea. The thing is, except in really egregious cases, the next government is usually worse. And worse really is possible.

    Indeed, that's the way to bet. Thus, you have not seen me on the nightly news accused of, I don't know, rowing across the Delaware at night and killing EPA agents in their sleep.

    In terms of change, the letter to your representative is actually a tiny bit effective in large groups. One property of the US government system is that the establishment does adjust to things that look like mass movements.

    I hear you say "mob rule", but I don't understand how that's an argument in favor of democracy.

    Beyond that money talks – and not all rich people want to live in a police state.

    I hear you say "kleptocracy", but I don't understand how that's an argument in favor of democracy.

    Beyond that, someone with a talent for organization might want to start a political coalition.

    I think they already have. More than once. That's why we've got Coke flavored kleptocrats and Pepsi flavored ones.

  59. Ryan says:

    Comments like these are why I sometimes find it hard to take you seriously, Clark.

    I know you have an anarchist bent, but this sounds disturbingly like the crap that one hears regularly from the "Freemen on the Land" movement. E.g. Not founded in an iota of law.

    The trouble with your fundamental premise is this: if you don't like the government you live under by virtue of the fact that you live in the borders of the United States, you have a couple options:

    1. Vote it out and hope for change. (Best of luck).
    2. Move.
    3. Forceful dissent (not going to work out well for you).

    That's about it. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work like many anarchists would like – you don't get to opt into laws you like and opt out of laws you don't. You either change the system from within, or leave the system entirely. And unless you're well suited to salt air and occaisional hurricanes, the mid-Atlantic is probably not the place for you. Even then, you're still subject to international law, so your next best bet is controlling stock in SpaceX.

  60. Troutwaxer says:

    Thus, you have not seen me on the nightly news accused of, I don't know, rowing across the Delaware at night and killing EPA agents in their sleep.

    EPA agents? Not NSA, DHS, DEA or FBI agents? Clark, you don't sound like a believer in civil liberties, you sound like a right-wing corporate type who's drunk the Libertarian Kool-Aid, and this is why it's impossible to take you seriously.*

    * I feel I should footnote this comment for the benefit of any government agents. I'm absolutely not advocating that any employees of the government should be shot or harmed in any way, just noting that Clark's priorities with regard to civil liberties appear to be seriously skewed!

  61. David W says:

    But the mere fact that some people think that it does indicate consent is enough that I no longer vote.

    I don't understand this position in the least, although it's the first time I've seen it from someone I can question. *This* is the appropriate topic to give in to contradicting opinions? Why? It's ok to disagree with the majority on the appropriate role of government, on the size of government, on the amount of deference due to agents of the state, on a million other topics…but when it comes to the meaning of voting, well, that's a bridge too far.

    There's no way you refrain from using many other governmental services, even though you disagree with their existance. It's just too big to avoid. It's not even immoral to use a service while opposing it – especially as a taxpayer. So why is voting special? What am I missing, that makes you more effective without a vote than with?

  62. Nick says:

    Ken's post seems to be conflating two issues here, wrongdoing with the FISC, and the refusal to comment to a reporter.

    The seriousness of making sure the FISC works aside, reporters aren't entitled to comments for their articles, especially given the abominable failings of the profession over the last 15-20 years. Despite the importance of a good fourth estate, the national press is one of the most caustic entities in our national conversation. I really can't blame anyone, government employee or not for declining to comment, god knows I'd do my damnedest to avoid speaking to a reporter too.

    Also, I'd swear it's getting harder to tell if Clark is just trolling as a caricature of a self-centered anarchist or if he actually means this stuff.

  63. John Kindley says:

    Ryan,

    Those are hardly the only options. Expressions of contempt for the State by themselves can have an effect, if they spread. Paine's Common Sense is a famous example. Although it went beyond mere expression of contempt by advocating revolution, it was preceded by a general atmosphere of contempt.

    No empire in the history of the world has proved immortal. There's no reason to think the American empire will go on forever, or that it deserves to.

    Personally, I am not an activist, nor do I expect or hope for change for the better in my lifetime. The American people are not the lovers of liberty and justice they've been reputed to be. What matters is how the individual lives his life in the here and now. Expressions of contempt for lies and injustice, i.e., telling it like it is, and avoiding complicity in or victimization by the State's crimes so far as is possible ("Be ye wise as serpents") is just part of how a free individual lives his life.

  64. En Passant says:

    Brian's asshattery toward Mr. Heath is just another unmistakeable symptom of America's peculiar condition, accurately diagnosed by Claire Wolfe in 1996:

    "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."

  65. Ryan says:

    @Kindley

    That's a legitimate point. Expression does impact government policy as well, and should be a fourth point on my list.

    Of course, the difference between the issue I took with Clark's post that I linked to previously, and works such as Common Sense or A Modest Proposal or even Leviathan and Two Treatises of Government is that Clark is very, very good at writing about how he despises the current US government and believes its authority to be illegitimately applied to him; where his arguments regularly fall down is when it comes to what he can do about it.

    I actually have a lot of respect for Clark's writing – though I disagree with many of his fundamental premises quite regularly – but he appears to regularly disconnect some aspects of his writing from reality. Of course he can seek change by writing; unfortunately, making statements like

    However, even though I neither signed the Constitution nor voted for a delegate to sign the Constitution, I might opt into it.

    bring his credibility into serious question. While this is an excellent philosophical point to approach the issue of consent to governance and the authority from which government receives legitimacy (a la Locke, Hobbes, etc), as a statement on its own it just raises serious questions about the reasoning of the author.

    TL;DR: If I could edit posts, I would add #4) Critique and expression of contempt to my list.

  66. John Kindley says:

    Ryan:

    I see no problem with that statement you quoted from Clark. Everyone should read Lysander Spooner, particularly No Treason, Trial by Jury, and the first chapter of The Unconstitutionality of Slavery. (Incidentally, that last work has been quoted twice by the SCOTUS in recent years.)

    Personally, I think Jefferson was wrong: Government derives its powers not from the consent of the governed but from the consent of the governing. (If you consent, you're not governed.) On the other hand, it derives whatever justice it may have from the Presumption of Innocence.

  67. Sooo…

    Thanks to Fallon, almost everyone who has read into this story will actively LOOK for the reporter and story the DOJ actually shares with.

    In short, this is fire… and this is jet fuel being added to the fire.

  68. Erwin says:

    @clark
    Yes. Our democracy is a mixture of mob rule and kleptocracy, with some checks and balances. So what? Government is an unsolved problem. Heck, so are corporations.* Until a significantly better model appears that allows immigration and speaks English, I'll support it. Perhaps Canada?

    …yep…but I believe that, based on (current existence), our current society, in general, is a self-assembled result. So, trying for a libertarian anarchy probably won't result in a libertarian anarchy or, indeed, much change. OTOH, it may be possible to reduce some particularly outrageous behaviors working within the system with time and effort.

    …I don't know though. A smarter man than I spent the first part of his career (a few decades back) trying to publish a book titled = "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire". Failing that, he made something south of half a billion off of internet telephony. In any case, I sometimes wonder whether or not we're all whistling in the wind.

    –Argyle
    *Anyone who makes inefficiency arguments about government spending tends to make me laugh. The problem of actually getting people to try to benefit some company is difficult enough that I suspect most corporations are comparable in overall effectiveness to the Post Office. There's real arguments in terms of government power, but, eg, healthcare actually tends to cost less and perform better outside of the private sector.

  69. AlphaCentauri says:

    I don't get the not voting either. If you seriously feel that none of the candidates is worth voting for, submit an absentee ballot and write in someone you do want. If enough people do it, it will make the parties in power nervous enough to rethink the way they're doing things and the way they campaign (i.e., viciously negative campaigning only works if people who are disgusted with both you and your opponent are too disgusted to vote at all). And if enough people do it, it will delay the results in close races, causing several more days of gastric hyperacidity for tweedledee and tweedledum. It doesn't constitute endorsement for the status quo, it makes them squirm, and conceivably it could change things. What's not to like?

  70. Dion starfire says:

    On the one hand, I can understand Fallon's unwillingness to provide fodder for a journalists biased article, especially given the inflammatory premise of 'Why weren't these folks punished?'.

    On the other hand, I'm kind of disturbed by his insistence on arguing for not writing the article at all. It just sounds too much like trying to sweep it under the rug. I'd say (if I were Fallon)"Change your premise to 'Should they have been disciplined?' and I might be able to help. However, I'm not going to support your thinly-veiled demand that our people be penalized."

    Also: Clark, could you switch from crazy to devil's advocate for a bit? I'd love to hear how you'd argue Fallon's case.

  71. John Kindley says:

    "submit an absentee ballot and write in someone you do want"

    There is nobody I want. I hate to sound like a broken record, as I'm sure I've said this at least twice before in comments at Popehat, but I can't recommend highly enough Albert Jay Nock's Our Enemy, the State, which can be read online. One of the most illuminating things in this book, aside from Nock's endorsement of Henry George, is Nock's endorsement of Thomas Jefferson's "Ward System." (So there's my tenuous connection to this post.) Voting is secondary to that system, if not irrelevant.

  72. Clark says:

    @Ryan

    Comments like these are why I sometimes find it hard to take you seriously, Clark.

    OK.

    I know you have an anarchist bent

    It'd more correct to say that I am an anarchist, full stop.

    I consider the government to have no more moral legitimacy than any other criminal conspiracy like the Mafia.

    but this sounds disturbingly like the crap that one hears regularly
    from the "Freemen on the Land" movement. E.g. Not founded in an iota
    of law.

    Oh noz! Not founded in law!

    I'm looking forward to your critique of atheism as "not founded in the Scripture".

    The trouble with your fundamental premise is this: if you don't like the government you live under by virtue of the fact that you live in the borders of the United States, you have a couple options:

    1. Vote it out and hope for change. (Best of luck).
    2. Move.
    3. Forceful dissent (not going to work out well for you).

    Or 4: piss and moan.

    I'm using option 4 for now.

    Unfortunately, the world doesn't work like many anarchists would like – you don't get to opt into laws you like and opt out of laws you don't.

    Sure you do. I opt out of laws all the time. I just don't tell the well armed mafioso about it.

    You either change the system from within, or leave the system entirely.

    Says you. Why "entirely"? I disagree. Entirely.

  73. Clark says:

    @Troutwaxer

    Clark, you don't sound like a believer in civil liberties, you sound like a right-wing corporate type who's drunk the Libertarian Kool-Aid, and this is why it's impossible to take you seriously.

    Yep. You've caught me. All of my ranting about free speech and other civil liberties is just a cover story.

    Would like to chat more, but have to go meet up the courier whos delivering a gold brick and some bitcoins from the Koch brothers.

    * I feel I should footnote this comment for the benefit of any government agents. I'm absolutely not advocating that any employees of the government should be shot or harmed in any way, just noting that Clark's priorities with regard to civil liberties appear to be seriously skewed!

    I love the fact that you're loyal to a government…a government that you, yourself, apparently fear could misread a blog comment and thus arrest and charge you for treason. Hilarious!

  74. Clark says:

    @Nick:

    Also, I'd swear it's getting harder to tell if Clark is just trolling as a caricature of a self-centered anarchist or if he actually means this stuff.

    Assume I actually mean it.

  75. Ken White says:

    Jesus, our commenters get douchey.

  76. Ryan says:

    @Clark

    I would assume that even an anarchist as you describe yourself recognizes that human social behaviours have evolved through a group setting which creates rules by which social living occurs.

    In modern times, we codify these as laws. If you want to argue that you can make Freemen-type claims about the application of said laws to you, then you can do so until you're blue in the face – but eventually you face the unpalatable liklihood that you'll end up doing it from a tiny cell.

    Social groups do not tend to take the formal or informal breaking of established norms well. Anarchism, in it's many forms, tends to emphasize the deconstruction of the mechanisms of group living. Government, much as it is despised, is largely just collective social mechanisms writ large.

    You can exercise your 4th option as much as you like, naturally, but unless you manage the effect of the works that were mentioned by Mr. Kindley and I in that little discussion, it's unlikely to have much effect on anyone.

    As a bit of an aside – I would [quite sincerely stated] love to read a blog post wherein you explain how your brand of anarchy would work in modern society – say, across the continent of North America. I'm curious how you reconcile the notion of 'no government' with social living in a modern society.

  77. Kirk Parker says:

    Anglave,

    the statement "There isn't any evidence, so we shan't look for any." seems patently ridiculous.

    It works perfectly well when the subject is vote fraud, so why not here too?

  78. En Passant says:

    Erwin wrote Sep 20, 2013 @10:24 am:

    *Anyone who makes inefficiency arguments about government spending tends to make me laugh.

    Me too, but for a different reason.

    If government were more efficient, then their jackbooted thug operations would work much better for them, and we'd all be locked up.

    So, government inefficiency falls under "thank Gawd for small favors."

  79. Kevin says:

    @Clark

    I'm looking forward to your critique of atheism as "not founded in the Scripture".

    Amusingly (to myself anyway), I almost made nearly this exact retort to Ryan, but ended up deciding not to, on the grounds that I worried that you, being a theist, would not appreciate the comparison.

  80. Clark says:

    @Kevin

    @Clark

    I'm looking forward to your critique of atheism as "not founded in the Scripture".

    Amusingly (to myself anyway), I almost made nearly this exact retort to Ryan, but ended up deciding not to, on the grounds that I worried that you, being a theist, would not appreciate the comparison.

    Thank you; you give my feelings far more thought than I myself do !

    ;-)

    But, seriously, I've spent years as an atheist, as an agnostic, and as a theist. Not only am I familiar with the attacks on all sides, but I've got a thick skin.

  81. Clark says:

    @Ryan

    @Clark

    I would assume that even an anarchist as you describe yourself recognizes that human social behaviours have evolved through a group setting which creates rules by which social living occurs.

    Absolutely.

    In modern times, we codify these as laws.

    Asserted with out evidence.

    This is the key leap that statists make that makes me want to froth at the mouth.

    It's a wonderful stance for justifying the existence and benevolence of the state: "this is a function that has always existed, now we've just formalized it a bit". Who can argue with that? On the other hand, the argument could be used by partisans for a theocracy: "people have always had the concept of morality, of morals, etc. We do nothing new in the People's Revolutionary Army of God – we merely carve the moral code onto vast basalt pillars, enforce it with whip wielding religious police, and cut off hands of anyone who does not worship the Three Prophets." So how can anyone dislike the religious police or our President Pontifex? It's just human nature, rebranded as "theocracy".

    If you want to argue that you can make Freemen-type claims about the application of said laws to you

    First, I reject your repeated use of the rhetorical tool whereby you call my arguments "Freeman-type". I don't know the Freeman, I've read nothing by them, I am not one. I am an individualist and a voluntaryist, and I read and follow Spooner, Tucker, and Nozick. If the Freeman agree with me, good for them, but I'm not one of them.

    then you can do so until you're blue in the face – but eventually you face the unpalatable liklihood that you'll end up doing it from a tiny cell.

    Yes. I entirely agree that the government you support uses torture and incarceration as one of its primary tools.

    Is that meant to be a defense of your position…or of mine?

    Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse.

    ― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

    Social groups do not tend to take the formal or informal breaking of established norms well.

    Sure. But the vast majority of the social groups that I've interacted with respond to breaking of norms by creating social distance. Only mafias and governments react with violence.

    This is another reason that I think that your argument that "government is just a name for things we do together [ like machine-gun a nursing dog and her puppies, and drone-murder American teenagers ]" is nonsense.

    Anarchism, in it's many forms, tends to emphasize the deconstruction of the mechanisms of group living.

    This goes counter to everything I've ever read about anarchism.

    Could you cite some references for why you think this?

    Government, much as it is despised, is largely just collective social mechanisms writ large.

    Asserted with out evidence.

    As a bit of an aside – I would [quite sincerely stated] love to read a blog post wherein you explain how your brand of anarchy would work in modern society

    I intend to at some point.

    – say, across the continent of North America. I'm curious how you reconcile the notion of 'no government' with social living in a modern society.

    How many times have you used a gang of armed thugs to enforce order at a soccer game? At a card game? At a pool party? At a woodworking club?

    Pretty much every area of life that works well is markedly free of government; pretty much every area of life that works poorly has government slathered all over it.

  82. Ryan says:

    @Clark/Kevin

    To clarify a bit further, you live within systems that are codified social norms and rules (called law). Trying to state that you should not be subject to that system without invoking its own processes – laws – is impractical. 6' x 8' impractical. Society does not readily tolerate disregard for social norms and rules, especially once codified.

    Philosophically, it may seem ridiculous to critique an statement wherein you say that the Constitutional does not apply to you by stating that such a statement has no founding in law, but pragmatically it is far more relevant to the consequences of actions that flow from such statements. Social systems don't play very nicely with actors that try to claim exemption from them and then work to effect change from outside of them. Which is an unfortunate yet very necessary reality of collective, social societies. Humans aren't the only species that display these characteristics, nor are ours the most rigid, but they are definitely present.

    Hopefully that explains why the 'not founded in law' is actually a pretty important pragmatic consideration for the argument Clark is trying to make.

  83. Clark says:

    @Clark/Kevin

    To clarify a bit further, you live within systems that are codified social norms and rules (called law).

    I disagree entirely.

    We live within systems that simultaneously have

    1) codified social norms
    2) bureacracy created "regulations" and legislature created "laws"

    Trying to state that you should not be subject to that system without invoking its own processes – laws – is impractical. 6' x 8' impractical.

    Might makes right. The bully wins all debates.

    Yes, I entirely understand your argument: your team has more truncheons.

    Society does not readily tolerate disregard for social norms and rules, especially once codified.

    Society is quite indulgent.

    It's just your mafia that is not.

    Society does not machine gun puppies. Society does not drone murder teenagers. Society does not stop-and-frisk blacks. Society does not put people in cages for 20 years for smoking pot for their chronic pain.

    Your government does.

    Philosophically, it may seem ridiculous to critique an statement wherein you say that the Constitutional does not apply to you by stating that such a statement has no founding in law

    Yes, it does.

    but pragmatically it is far more relevant to the consequences of actions that flow from such statements.

    Your team has more truncheons. Yes. I get it.

    And no Jew is allowed outside the ghetto with out a pass. I understand.

    Social systems don't play very nicely with actors that try to claim exemption from them and then work to effect change from outside of them.

    Social systems work wonderfully with such actors.

    Sophisticated urban gays rejected red state social norms, and became the toast of Manhattan. The only people who objected were NYPD cops and the FBI, who would routinely use violence and the threat of violence to protest alternate social concepts.

    Hopefully that explains why the 'not founded in law' is actually a pretty important pragmatic consideration

    Your team has more truncheons. Yes. I get it.

    Are you picking up the twin facts that

    1) I understand your point.

    2) I have contempt for anyone who considers it a point of any moral or intellectual weight?

  84. Troutwaxer says:

    All of my ranting about free speech and other civil liberties is just a cover story.

    Not like that. Your concern with the EPA as opposed to the NSA or FBI says something very much like, "I own stock in a corporation which could make much higher profits if it was allowed to pollute with impunity, and without consideration for the consequences to those around it, and I would thus be a wealthier man." or alternately that you believe the propaganda put out by people who do own stocks in corporations which would prefer an unrestricted right to pollute. Or something else that resembles one of my examples above.

    Consider that our constitution clearly articulates, for example, the right to free speech and the right to not be the subject of unreasonable search and seizure, but it does not allow a "right to pollute." Thus your focus the EPA becomes very suspicious in the sense of "Who does Clark believe and why does he believe them?" and "Why does Clark consider the non-existent "right to pollute" to be more important than rights which are actually expressed by our most fundamental law?"

    If you had expressed the urge to damage the FBI, NSA or DHS rather than the EPA, your commitment to First and Fourth-amendment rights, which the Constitution very clearly articulates, would have been front and center. By picking on the EPA you're sending the signal that you're unclear on the most important issues.

    "I love the fact that you're loyal to a government…a government that you, yourself, apparently fear could misread a blog comment and thus arrest and charge you for treason. Hilarious!"

    Clark, I'm not loyal, I'm scared to death of our government in both its competent and its incompetent phases. I'm also not sure how to oppose the government successfully given that I'm not self-supporting. The company I'm employed by, in a right-to-work state, does some contract-work for the government. The work my company does is in the particular area I'd very much love to "communicate with" the government about.

    Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a risk-free strategy for handling my problems where this is concerned, and I haven't yet hit upon a risk-minimization strategy I'm comfortable with.

  85. Ryan says:

    @Clark

    Asserted with out evidence.

    The very foundation of law is social norms. Granted, modern legal codes have expanded the role of law significantly, but at its very basis law is nothing more than strictly-enforced social rules set down on paper. Unless you'd like a treatise on the history of Western civilization [in particular] beginning shortly before the Norman invasion of the UK, I think we can dispense with the notion that evidence is required to assert that laws are the modern evolution and codification of social norms. I naturally concede that laws today have also moved far beyond their origins into realms where society did not impose strict social rules, though.

    First, I reject your repeated use of the rhetorical tool whereby you call my arguments "Freeman-type".

    You follow the familiar pattern – law should not apply to me because I never agreed to it, and therefore I am justified in not following it and I should not experience consequences for that. But if you prefer not to be characterized that way, fair enough.

    Is that meant to be a defense of your position…or of mine?

    Neither, and I'm not entirely sure what position you're attributing to me here, either. My point has thus far been that you cannot argue that you never agreed to a law and it should therefore not apply to you without invoking another law in that system to justify your position without experiencing consequences of it. I'm not saying that is morally right, merely that that is reality.

    Sure. But the vast majority of the social groups that I've interacted with respond to breaking of norms by creating social distance. Only mafias and governments react with violence.

    To which I counter with the statement that you're operating on an insignificant sample size compared to the history of human social living. Human societies are nearly defined by their capacity and propensity toward violence to deal with breaches of social norms. There are some excellent examples from the history of the Civil Rights movement in the United States with which you're probably already familiar.

    This goes counter to everything I've ever read about anarchism.

    I'm going to break a personal rule and cite Wikipedia because I'm lazy today and its illustrative: "Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations."

    One of the primary distinguishing characteristics of human social groups is that they are hierarchical. Not pack-dynamics hierarchical, but there is a definitive social order of roles in any human group of size >1. Anarchism's forms presuppose that non-hierarchical association is possible; this is a deconstruction of the fundamental mechanisms of group living.

    Government, much as it is despised, is largely just collective social mechanisms writ large.

    Asserted with out evidence.

    I could write a lengthy piece on the evolution of government post-1600s, but I really don't think it necessary. Especially when it will be countered by the inevitable links to various pieces on the evils that government commits which are not part of that evolution. The "asserted without evidence" here comes across quite trite, as you full-well know that providing evidence of this in short form is quite literally an impossible task.

    What I will point out is this – human social living is hierarchical. As social group size living increases, it becomes increasingly impossible for individuals at the top of the hierarchy to manage the entire group (the same is true of various social species of other mammals). One of two things occurs; either the group splits into various smaller subgroups with their own hierarchies, or the individuals at the top of the hierarchy increasingly rely on the middle hierarchies. Government, bureaucracy, and delegation have been around as long as humans have lived in groups – the nature of them, however, has fundamentally changed and expanded. Virtually all social species have hierarchical mechanisms that can be recognized as basic structures of governance. That doesn't, of course, justify the current forms and structures of human governance, but it merely recognizes that these were not created in a vacuum. People didn't 'invent' government anymore than meerkats have.

    I intend to at some point.

    I look forward to arguing with you about its content in the comments =)

    How many times have you used a gang of armed thugs to enforce order at a soccer game? At a card game? At a pool party? At a woodworking club?

    Pretty much every area of life that works well is markedly free of government; pretty much every area of life that works poorly has government slathered all over it.

    I think you make a fundamental error in assuming that governments are large things, and that order is not enforced in small group settings. Each and every single one of the group types you've just mentioned will have hierarchies in its membership, will have its own social rules, and people will be ejected from those settings if they break those group rules – and that ejection may come with or without force, depending on the level of resistance.

    I guess this is the fundamental trouble I have with anarchism and anarchists. You *seem* to think that government is the root of society's problems. I see an alternative – government is the manifestation of the problems with social living. Merely doing away with formal government isn't going to correct those underlying flaws. If you don't like government thuggery today, I suspect you'd like socially-enforced thuggery without badges even less.

    The purpose of the state – city-state, state, nation-state, whatever – is to provide an atmosphere where social rules exist and are enforced for the collective harmony of the group with the collective permission of the group (I'm channeling some biology and some Hobbes here, but bear with me). If the state fails or expands beyond the confines of that mandate, then its legitimacy is lost. Where you and I appear to differ significantly is in "what's next." I think hierarchical – meaning government – living is inescapable for humanity because we are biologically programmed to live this way (take some behavioural genetics classes if you ever get the chance; one of my degrees is in the field and it was eye-opening). You seem to think – being a self-proclaimed anarchist – that we can escape hierarchical living and move to systems of free association. I think you're ignoring an awful lot of history, biology, and behaviour to make that leap.

  86. Clark says:

    @Troutwaxer

    All of my ranting about free speech and other civil liberties is just a cover story.

    Not like that. Your concern with the EPA as opposed to the NSA or FBI says something very much like, "I own stock in a corporation

    Or, perhaps, I had just read an article that mentioned the EPA a few seconds earlier, and that was the first government agency that came to mind?

    For the record, I own no stock, and my personal net worth is < empties pockets, checks under couch cusions < a lot closer to the unwashed masses in Zuccotti Park than it is to, say, a moderately successful barber.

    Consider that our constitution clearly articulates, for example, the right to free speech and the right to not be the subject of unreasonable search and seizure, but it does not allow a "right to pollute."

    In fact, it says that every right and power not granted to the government is reserved for either the states or the people. So arguably there is a right to pollute.

    Thus your focus the EPA becomes very suspicious

    Wow. You are taking one fly speck of evidence and spinning mountains of theory out of it.

    I've got to search the internet, because I'm sure that somewhere I can find a LOLcat with the caption "your meds; did you take them?"

    If you had expressed the urge to damage the FBI, NSA or DHS rather than the EPA

    Let the record show that if there were 100 government bureacrats, each with their necks in nooses, and I could pull only one lever, I would let the BATF guy dance.

    By picking on the EPA you're sending the signal that you're unclear on the most important issues.

    By making so much of so little you're sending the signal that you're unclear on the issue of "sanity".

    For God's sake! It was presented as a humorous example of why I am not engaged in revolution. Let's review my sentence again:

    you have not seen me on the nightly news accused of, I don't know, rowing across the Delaware at night and killing EPA agents in their sleep.

    The "Oh, I don't know", the parody of Washington and the Hessians with Clark and the EPA – did you not get the humor there at all ?

    Clark, I'm not loyal, I'm scared to death of our government.

    Then I retract my slander, and apologize. Glad to hear it.

    The company I'm employed by, in a right-to-work state, does some contract-work for the government.

    A man has got to provide for his family, and I'm not going to get up on my moral high horse…but I urge everyone, when they're shopping for their next jobs, to see if the firms they're applying to take government money.

    Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a risk-free strategy for handling my problems where this is concerned, and I haven't yet hit upon a risk-minimization strategy I'm comfortable with.

    I'd talk to Ken. He's a smart man, wise, and discrete. "Ken@" the obvious domain name. And put "attorney client privileged information" in the subject line. Seriously.

  87. Ryan says:

    @Clark

    Since I was writing that last post when you posted your most recent, I didn't get a chance to address it.

    Kindly realize that I am not saying the status quo is morally and ethically correct, merely that it is the system which exists today. Much as anyone may dislike that reality, it is the one in which actions must be tempered. That doesn't mean I like it.

    As I said in my earlier comment, you seem to be operating on the idea that society and government are disparate entities – and while that may be true in some areas, it is most certainly not in others. Behaviour – and social behaviour – evolve faster than the governments they create; this is what creates the illusion that societies are quite tolerant entities.

    Let's take a generalized contemporary example: treatment of homosexuals generally. Once upon a time in human history, homosexuality faced neither socially nor government condemned. Then, in many places and times, it was socially condemned, but not done so by government. Then it was socially and governmentally condemned; and now once again we're seeing where it is no longer socially condemned (in many places or by a majority), but is still condemned by many governments. Eventually those governments will catch up to their societies.

    Government does not operate in a vaccuum. Government policy is derived from the will of the citizenry (at some point in time), but does not change as rapidly or as flexibly as the will of the citizenry. And, as Popehat in general points out, governments have a way of departing from what the citizenry considers reasonable and then lying about it. This does not mean that governments are not a derivative of society generally. Society is not a cohesive whole; any large society can be broken into smaller subcomponents, and government is essentially a subcomponent of broader society that exists for the purpose of organizing a large social group.

    Social systems are incredibly rigid when it comes to people breaking social rules, but they also evolve rapidly. Your example of sophisticated urban gays in Manhattan is not evidence against this. In point of fact, those people broke government rules but not social rules; had they broken social rules, they would have experienced social consequences. They (largely) did not; instead, they experienced government consequences – the slow, formalized extension of society. Government takes a long time to catch up to the opinions of the societies that create it (particularly in systems with major checks and balances that make it hard to reverse legislative decisions made in the past, like the United States).

    If society was indeed as permissive as you seem to think, the history of the US in the 20th century in particular would not be littered with the corpses of people murdered by other members of their society for characteristics (race relations, sexual orientation) that their society deemed impermissible; instead, there should have been much more adaptation. What you appear to interpret a society being more forgiving than government is what I would interpret as society evolving much faster than the government it spawns.

  88. John Kindley says:

    Ryan: Clark may disagree, but it's my opinion, which I get in part from Nock, that anarchism should be understood and defined not in opposition to government but in opposition to authority. But, as Tolkien said, "Government is an abstract noun meaning the an [act?] and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people." https://peacerequiresanarchy.wordpress.com/tag/jrr-tolkien/

  89. Clark says:

    @Ryan

    @Clark

    Kindly realize that I am not saying the status quo is morally and ethically correct

    Glad to hear it.

    merely that it is the system which exists today.

    I'm curious why you'd bother to bring it up, then. It's a tautology.

    As I said in my earlier comment, you seem to be operating on the idea that society and government are disparate entities

    Yes. Exactly.

    – and while that may be true in some areas, it is most certainly not in others.

    We mostly disagree.

    I assert that 90+% of everything government does is disjoint from society.

    A century ago, those numbers were reversed. Government paved roads, punished murderers, and made sure that kids could read.

    Government policy is derived from the will of the citizenry

    We disagree.

    Social systems are incredibly rigid when it comes to people breaking social rules

    We disagree.

    If society was indeed as permissive as you seem to think, the history of the US in the 20th century in particular would not be littered with the corpses of people murdered by other members of their society for characteristics (race relations, sexual orientation) that their society deemed impermissible

    Government jails, kills, rapes, and mutilates far more than "society" does. I'll see your three dozen civil rights activists murdered and raise you 120,000 Americans in Japanese internment camps in 1942, about the same number of Americans in jail now for victimless crimes, six million killed by Nazi governments, and 94 million killed by communist governments.

    It's a rare man who will lock a drug user in a cell in his own basement.

    It's a very common man who will pay taxes and vote back into office some other man who will do it.

  90. Ryan says:

    @Kindley

    I like that Tolkien quotation; I'd never seen it before.

    As for what you've said about understanding anarchism, perhaps you could expand on that somewhat and provide a better definition.

  91. Ryan says:

    @Clark

    I assert that 90+% of everything government does is disjoint from society.

    A century ago, those numbers were reversed. Government paved roads, punished murderers, and made sure that kids could read.

    I sense rose-coloured glasses at work. It's similar to the "kids these days" phenomenon. I don't think – despite some horrendous examples from the current-day news – that governments are inherently any worse today than a hundred years ago. I strongly suspect we are just a lot more aware of their actions.

    Government jails, kills, rapes, and mutilates far more than "society" does. I'll see your three dozen civil rights activists murdered and raise you 120,000 Americans in Japanese internment camps in 1942, about the same number of Americans in jail now for victimless crimes, six million killed by Nazi governments, and 94 million killed by communist governments.

    It's a rare man who will lock a drug user in a cell in his own basement.

    It's a very common man who will pay taxes and vote back into office some other man who will do it.

    Yet you act as if these are two different things. I think history generally demonstrates that they are not; one is merely the mechanism by which individual members of society see the collective will – whether or not they agree with it – enforced.

    Out of curiosity, have you ever read the full text of Leviathan and Two Treatises of Government? If you haven't, you might find them thought-provoking. Foucault's "Discipline and Punish" and "A History of Sexuality" are also useful reading in this context as well if you've never cracked them open.

  92. Zazlo says:

    @ Clark

    My meta-reading of Ryan's criticism is that of idealism vs. realism. I do agree with him that there are certain un-ignorable facts about how humans work, as revealed though the spectrum of sociology, psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience. I think I agree with the both of you here, and, I may be wrong, but my re-statement of his side would be "it is absolute crap the way it is now, but how is your idea going to work better, or even at all?"

    Now, again: I think very nearly every point you've made is solid, and I agree with you on the points you've made, but I do still have questions about practicality. My (probably limited) knowledge of anarchism/ancap reveals two interesting problems, and they're related:

    1. anarchism is idealistic/utopian

    and it's hard to say otherwise because:

    2. anarchism hasn't really been tested so much in actual environments

    I do find, when I try out thought experiments with anarchism, that I can't get around the fact that there's always some premise that the world I'm imagining is solely or largely populated with people with high levels of critical thinking skills and emotional maturity. I can't imagine how it works without that. However, I'm sure someone has dealt with this before – if you can point me to some literature that addresses this (and in the general the "idealist/utopian" charge) I'd love to read it, because I really like a lot of good-sized chunks of various anarchist thought.

    And similarly with the second point: the information may be out there, but I'm regrettably not aware of a good, thorough analysis of all the various anarchist experiments that have been run over the past couple centuries. I'd love to see someone noting what worked, what didn't, how and why they were or weren't viable; did they not endure because of some internal problem with the type of anarchism? Were they perhaps ended because of a natural disaster? Because one thing is true (as of now, anyway): there hasn't been an enduring anarchist society to point to and say "see? it totally works!" There are examples of sub-groups and such, I'm sure, but no goodly-sized ones (that I'm aware of). Again, if you could point me to literature on the subject, I'd love it.

    Anyway, keep it up. Though sometimes you do make me crazy, it's only because I hold you to such high standards as I think you warrant. So thanks for all that.

  93. John Kindley says:

    Ryan: I wholeheartedly agree with Clark and Spooner that the Constitution is of No Authority. I follow Max Stirner (although I'm more of a fan of Ernst Juenger, who I think improved on Stirner, for reasons not pertinent here) in holding that I am the ultimate judge of right and wrong. (This, of course, has nothing to do with whether others might impose on me by force their judgments of right and wrong. It also doesn't mean I'm not influenced by others in my judgments of right and wrong.)

    I hesitate, again following Juenger, to call myself an anarchist, because I think Anarchy is simply the truth of things (i.e. rulerlessness, or No Authority), even now, and it's quixotic to try to bring about what already is. (Note how Tolkien puts it: "My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy …") Therefore, I prefer the term "anarch." (As Juenger says, the -ism suffix emphasizes the will at the expense of the substance.) Nevertheless, I think an anarchist could reasonably be defined as one who aims to disabuse others of the illusion of external authority and thereby improve society with the promulgation of this truth.

    With Isabel Paterson, in her book God of the Machine, I'd say "Government by force is a contradiction in terms and an impossibility in physics. Force is what is governed. Government originates in the moral faculty." (Obviously, the moral faculty may judge that in some cases force should be governed, i.e., inhibited, by force.) Therefore, although I could reasonably be called an anarchist, I am not opposed to government per se, as defined by Tolkien and Paterson. That is, I am not opposed in principle to joining with others to act to inhibit force, on a moral basis, whether or not those acted upon consent or not. But I have definite views on what moral government entails, and the USA is very far from my idea of a moral government. I believe a moral government entails No Authority, the Distribution of Power, and the Presumption of Innocence. More specifically, I think it entails Henry George's Single Tax, Thomas Jefferson's Ward System, and Lysander Spooner's Trial by Jury.

  94. Ryan says:

    @Zazlo

    A better summary of my premise might be "the status quo is crap and can be changed, but the system we create by living in groups are self-perpetuating and not likely to disappear even if we were able to temporarily abolish it."

    Consider that the USA underwent armed revolution to escape an old government, then created a new one that today looks very much like the evolution of the one it escaped – if slightly more theocratic and individualistic. The differences between the United States and Britain today are less than the differences between the United States circa 1800 and the United States circa 2013. A better comparison yet is the USA and Canada; very little societal difference today, very little societal difference in 1776, but very different paths between then and now.

    I think that anarchists are generally naive and idealistic, but I don't mean either term to be derogatory.

  95. Zazlo says:

    @ Ryan

    Well-stated, thank you. Again, it's interesting: I agree with both you and Clark. Intellectually, I like what Clark has to say, and, especially with my background and general emphasis on cognitive science & psychology, I like what you have to say. Luckily, above and beyond all these concerns, I am primarily an absurdist and a fatalist – so I enjoy believing many contradictory things, and am also fine with how things are. And this whole Ryan/Clark conversation is an interesting parallel to an extended conversation I've been having with myself for like ten years. Nice.

  96. Clark says:

    @Ryan:

    @Clark

    I assert that 90+% of everything government does is disjoint from society.

    A century ago, those numbers were reversed. Government paved roads, punished murderers, and made sure that kids could read.

    I sense rose-coloured glasses at work.

    A valid argument, but I'd say that it's not true of me. I'm not going to defend 1776 as the perfect year, given that there was slavery.

    …but I will defend the assertion that in 1913 a much larger percentage of the things that government did were things that normal people wanted done.

    It's a rare man who will lock a drug user in a cell in his own basement.

    It's a very common man who will pay taxes and vote back into office some other man who will do it.

    Yet you act as if these are two different things.

    That's not a clause befitting a "yet" ; I don't accidentally overlook your point. I challenge it head on.

    I think that your assertion that society and government are one and the same is blinkered, lacking in nuance, and drinking deep of the government conditioning that we all get 12 years of.

    I think that my assertion that they are two different things is well argued.

    I think history generally demonstrates that they are not; one is merely the mechanism by which individual members of society see the collective will – whether or not they agree with it – enforced.

    This is, indeed, your thesis. I get it. I just haven't seen you argue for it.

    Out of curiosity, have you ever read the full text of Leviathan and Two Treatises of Government?

    Full text? No. I've skimmed them, and have them on my read-someday pile.

    If you haven't, you might find them thought-provoking.

    Indeed.

    I'm aware of the arguments, broadly speaking, and am not convinced.

    I think that Hobbes gets anarchy wrong.

    Every time I am left alone with other adults outside of the presence of a police officer, the immediate reaction is not "nature, red in tooth and claw", but cooperation.

    I do not assert that this is true for all demographics – I know that there are natural rapists and murderers out there – but it is true for a large number of people.

    Even if we agree (and we do not) that we need a police force to catch and incarcerate murderers, we have not established that we need a DEA to catch and incarcerate tokers.

  97. Clark says:

    @Zazlo

    this whole Ryan/Clark conversation is an interesting parallel to an extended conversation I've been having with myself for like ten years.

    I've got some bad news for you, Zazlo.

    All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.

  98. Clark says:

    @Ryan

    A better summary of my premise might be "the status quo is crap and can be changed, but the system we create by living in groups are self-perpetuating and not likely to disappear even if we were able to temporarily abolish it."

    In the long run we're all dead.

    If we can achieve freedom for another 150 years before losing it again, that's worth fighting for, no?

    Consider that the USA underwent armed revolution to escape an old government, then created a new one that today looks very much like the evolution of the one it escaped – if slightly more theocratic and individualistic.

    More theocratic?

    The UK had an official church; the US does not.

    I think that anarchists are generally naive and idealistic, but I don't mean either term to be derogatory.

    We're tied; I think that statists are naive and complacent.

  99. Zazlo says:

    @ Clark

    That totally made my day. Nice.

  100. George William Herbert says:

    R R Clark, who I assume is distinct from our blogger Clark, writes in part above, responding to me:
    "I recognize that you may have a distaste for the journalist in question."

    I do not hold and did not intend to convey that opinon; I am trying to figure out if the OPR rightly should have been involved or not. The reporter believing he had a credible case it should have been, and getting such an unprofessional response from an OPR PR person, was well within his rights and information to write the article.

    The OPR PR person suggesting the article be killed, without articulating and arguing effectively that the OPR simply had no role to play here, seems to have simply failed, and worse than that turned the failure to cooperate into a minor scandal of its own.

    OPR PR person seems to have taken their failure to convince the journalist as entirely the Journalists' fault and not their own fault; in some cases, experts can't convince journalists and incorrect or biased reporting happens, but experts can't order around or direct the journalists. Particularly PR reps for major organizations. They try at times, and at times they succeed, but that is not proper or appropriate. Most particularly for the government.

    My suspicion that on the facts, the reporter may have been wrong, does not change that he was right to take the investigation seriously.

  101. Dan Weber says:

    I know I'm reaching way back into the start of the comment thread here, but this got me:

    As far as I can tell the actual popular assumption is that the very existence of voting constitutes consent of the entire governed people.

    Voting is merely a check on government power, and not intended to be the only one.

    To expand a bit, voting is also not the source of government's power. I've seen people declare that the president/congress from their party was allowed to do whatever he/they wanted because he/they won an election. (I composed specific examples for this comment but then deleted them because they might cause a flame war.)

  102. Thomas D Dial says:

    I'm not a lawyer, and am not asking to be snippy.

    1. I infer from the article that Brad Heath, or someone on his behalf, made a FOIA request for the information, which appears to have been denied on grounds that surely cannot be allowable. From that I infer further that Brian Fallon should be punished by his superiors for failure to do his job, or his superiors should be punished for similar improper behavior. And if he had orders to deny fulfilment of the FOIA request Mr. Fallon should be shamed publicly, for not either resigning and publishing the reason or whistle blowing under the applicable procedures.

    2. Stipulating that the NSA lied to the FISC judge, is the question of punishment not one for the court more than for the DoJ?

  103. Robbo says:

    @Ryan
    "laws are the modern evolution and codification of social norms"

    I suggest you have a look in the CFR, and think on how detailed and all-encompassing those social norms must be. Not to mention that we need mountains of case law to reveal the actual meaning of those social norms.

    Or maybe your premise applied to the 11th century Icelanders and has been thoroughly traduced in recent times.

  104. mud man says:

    It sounds like a defense lawyer saying: "I have proof that my client is innocent, but will not present it to the court because the prosecutor thinks he is guilty.

    The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. Or 57 or some number.

  105. barry says:

    I have here in my hand a list..

    Maybe he just became so accustomed to the idea of secret courts that he assumed secret answers to journalists questions were now generally acceptable.

  106. barry says:

    Brad Heath published his article. It's still early days, but Brian Fallon did appear to promise to publish his 'answer' after Heath published. That is how I read it the first time anyway, but I haven't been able to find anything more recent by Fallon on the net.

    So I will save what I have for another outlet after you publish.

    I'm not up on the jargon of these people, so it might have been naive of me to read 'another outlet' as 'another publication'. So I'm not holding my breath, and beginning to suspect that 'another outlet' is just DOJ-speak for 'the shredder'.

  107. AlphaCentauri says:

    We're tied; I think that statists are naive and complacent.

    And you think the solution for people who work for any government agency in any capacity is capital punishment. Or you think it's a funny joke to say so. Or you want us to wonder which you think. Whatever.

    You do realize that we want the police to protect us from roving armed bands of people like you, don't you?

  108. Sami says:

    Curiously, I have just been reading GK Chesterton's "The Barbarism of Berlin" (published 1914), in which he argues, rather persuasively, that the definable evil of the Kaiser and his forces is essentially their failure to recognise the importance of mutual obligation. The Kaiser and his government broke promises at whim, declaring it "necessity", but expected promises to *them* to be upheld.

    Among other complex thoughts and considerations, it occurred to me that that does actually seem right now to be the core of what is wrong with the American government. (Most of it. There's more wrong with it in places like, say, Maricopa County.)

    Citizens are expected to obey the law, regardless of the fairness, justice, or for that matter legality of it. Substantial sections of the government seems to consider that obedience to the law is not required of the government itself.

    That's crossing a significant line, and I think it finally lets me articulate why it is that I disagree fairly strongly with Libertarianism, while having sympathy for many libertarian-leaning individuals.

    The problem is not inherently with government. Government can do many good things and is generally a necessity and largely inevitable in human society.

    The problem is not limiting the scope of government reach; government should (in my view) manage those things which are a matter of general social wellbeing (health care, the postal service, public transportation, infrastructure). Government, in most democratic countries, as a rule, actually tends not to get involved in most areas of life if it doesn't have a reason to, because people don't want it to and in places where the law isn't bought and sold as entirely as it is in America, that actually counts for something.

    (It may be that the influence of lobbyists and money generally is also something I think is a major source of What's Wrong With America.)

    The problem that actually exists, and is genuinely significant in America, is limiting the government to *the law*. Government over-reach is real, but it's militarised police and it's law enforcement lying to the courts, fabricating warrants or not using them at all. If the government did only what the law actually says it's allowed to (and if the laws had stayed reasonable to a pre-9/11 mentality, if America had reacted to their first major terrorist attack with anything other than immediate unconditional surrender), the government wouldn't be a problem, I suspect.

    I'm not sure how you're supposed to fix that, since getting Americans people to care about political issues in a non-superficial way seems to be quite challenging most of the time, but I think that may be the real essence of the problem. Government exists by something of a social contract, and the American government is violating that and not experiencing consequences worth mentioning.

  109. Frank says:

    Governemnt's

  110. Ed says:

    @ AlphaCentauri
    I am a "people like you". What I want is for people who work for any government agency to have the integrity to find another line of work in which the product or service provided is willingly paid for.

  111. barry says:

    @Ed, Does that include corporations having the 'integrity' not to take any government contracts?

  112. TPRJones says:

    "It's easy to assume that consent is only manifested directly through voting. It's not."

    Voting has only the tiniest bit to do with the manifestation of consent. The primary way in which consent is manifested is the lack of armed revolt.

    The statements in the founding documents are not "ideals" in the sense that they are statements of the way things ought to be. They are statements of facts; descriptions of universal laws. A more direct way to state the concepts would be to say that any government that does not have the consent of the governed will eventually be overthrown, usually through violent uprising. It will then be replaced by another government that may or may not have consent, but if it doesn't the process will repeat until one arises that does. That governments will "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" is more a prediction of inevitability than a statement of ideal.

    Governments that fail to heed the wishes of the people are doomed to be removed. Our government is increasingly deaf to the wishes of the people. Do the math.

  113. Ed says:

    @ barry
    Putting the "corporations" label on people does not change the principle.

  114. barry says:

    @Ed

    Putting the "corporations" label on people does not change the principle.

    I was thinking of actual corporations. The companies that build and repair roads and bridges for the government etc. Services that people actually want, but often aren't "willingly paid for".

  115. Castaigne says:

    @Ryan: You follow the familiar pattern – law should not apply to me because I never agreed to it, and therefore I am justified in not following it and I should not experience consequences for that. But if you prefer not to be characterized that way, fair enough.

    That's actually one of the telling points of Clark's ignorance. If someone calls me a "Freeman on the Land" type and I don't know what that is? I look it the fuck up. I mean, the information is freely available on the internet. They're one of the more well-known pseudolaw loon groups around. It's sad.

    But then, at least we can wait for Clark to talk about redeeming his strawman and referring to himself as a Clark: Bianco of the group Popehat and thus any legal documentation referring to CLARK BIANCO is referring to the strawman.
    =====

    @Zazlo: I do find, when I try out thought experiments with anarchism, that I can't get around the fact that there's always some premise that the world I'm imagining is solely or largely populated with people with high levels of critical thinking skills and emotional maturity. I can't imagine how it works without that.

    In truth, it does not. Anarchism and libertarianism are the 21st-century version of Marxism; there's a whole lot of "must" and "will always" and "never will" and "will probably" asserted in the seminal texts thereof, just as you saw such in Leninist-Marxist works of the early 20th. The worst examples of these blanket statements can be seen in The Market for Liberty and The New Libertarian Manifesto.

    Frankly, it's a re-write of Marxist historical determinism and Leninist vanguardism…and we all know how that worked out.

  116. Ed says:

    @ barry
    Abstracts don't do labor.
    @ Castaigne

  117. Ed says:

    Sorry Castaigne. That was the wrong link. I think this will work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki9QiPw7gB4

    @ Moderator
    If you could delete the link to "Zeitgeist…" from my previous post, I would appreciate it.

  118. TPRJones says:

    @barry: The thing is corporations are people, in exactly the same way that churches are people and schools are people and governments are people. None of these things are created by or composed of alien beings. Even corporations. They're all collections of people, each of which makes their own choices and is responsible for their own actions.

    @Zazlo: There is one other circumstance in which anarchism could work: unlimited resources. If technology continues to advance geometrically and create more and more surplus there may come a time when there are effectively no more shortages. When everyone can all have the physical power and wealth they desire at will (and also have all the means necessary to protect themselves from others with the same power), then anarchy could possibly work without perfect people to populate it. Of course there will still be shortages and trade because it's human nature to create such things, but in this scenario it would most likely be in the areas of art and philosophy and the like. Not food and shelter and basic living necessities.

    I like to think that given a few hundred more years of advancement and not destroying ourselves, that this would be fairly inevitable. It's the point where communism and capitalism reach superposition.

  119. John Kindley says:

    Castaigne wrote: "That's actually one of the telling points of Clark's ignorance. If someone calls me a "Freeman on the Land" type and I don't know what that is? I look it the fuck up. I mean, the information is freely available on the internet. They're one of the more well-known pseudolaw loon groups around. It's sad."

    No one is bound to do any research – even the minimal research involved in clicking on a link – to respond to such a stupid and scurrilous argument. Someone says that "there is no moral obligation to obey unjust laws" (which is self-evidently true; see, e.g., the Nuremberg Trials) and you say that sounds like something a self-described "Freeman on the Land" would say. Someone says "women considering abortion have a right to be informed of the evidence linking abortion with increased breast cancer risk" and you say that sounds like something the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons would say.

    That is the argument of a clown, which no one is bound to take seriously and to which no one is bound to respond.

  120. Castaigne says:

    @Ed: I've seen that "introduction" before. I am very aware of the Cult of Molyneux: http://www.molyneuxrevealed.com/

    For a better introduction to libertarianism, I actually recommend reading the words of the Three Holy Profits of Libertarianism: Hayek, Rothbard, and Friedman. One may also include the works of Saint Rand, Saint Basquiat, or Saint Galambos if one leans toward them.

    (Yes, I am jesting on the titles in the 2nd paragraph. But not about calling Molyneux high priest of a cult.)

    @John Kindley: No one is bound to do any research – even the minimal research involved in clicking on a link – to respond to such a stupid and scurrilous argument.

    How do you know an argument is stupid and scurrilous until you've actually examined the group in question? As I pointed out to you just last night elsewhere, if you sound like a Freeman, act like a Freeman, argue like a Freeman, it is reasonable to assume you are a Freeman. Actually clicking on a link allows you to go "I don't agree with blah, blah, blah, and blah of said group's philosophy, therefore I am not a Freeman." Then the argument may continue without unfounded assumptions.

    Someone says that "there is no moral obligation to obey unjust laws" (which is self-evidently true; see, e.g., the Nuremberg Trials) and you say that sounds like something a self-described "Freeman on the Land" would say.

    And WRONG. That's not the statement from Clark that caused the Freeman bit. The statements were – and I'll bold it for you:

    "However, even though I neither signed the Constitution nor voted for a delegate to sign the Constitution, I might opt into it."

    and

    The US Federal Government is corrupt and illegitimate from one end to the other, and it should be burned to the ground, plowed with salt, and have stakes pounded in and garlic and silver crosses sprinkled over the top.

    The Freeman-on-the-land movement believe they can declare themselves independent of government jurisdiction using the concept of "lawful rebellion": that all statute law is contractual and therefore only applicable if an individual consents to it. They assert that what everyone else regards as "the law" doesn't apply to them as they have not consented to a contract with the state, even going so far as to claim they have a lawful right to refuse arrest if they do not consent.

    Are you saying that's not comparable to Clark's statements of beliefs? Because from what he has claimed in many threads, that is what he believes. Why then would one not assume he believes in other Freeman beliefs, since he agrees with their central tenet? And if he agrees with that central tenet and is assumed to be Freeman, why should it not be assumed that he agrees with strawman theory, with the maritime law theory, and so on, which are all trappings of the Freeman?

    Someone says "women considering abortion have a right to be informed of the evidence linking abortion with increased breast cancer risk" and you say that sounds like something the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons would say.

    Nope, not what I said at all. Read what I said in the other thread again. I said you made the exact same argument that the AAPS did in their article in JPANDS. Not "?something like" – your arguments on the subject were word-for-word. Like you were doing copypasta.

    You seem to have a tendency to ignore what's actually being said in favor of what you think is being said. Might want to correct that.

  121. oldnumberseven says:

    Did Hoover have warrants for all his surveillance? Didn't this horse leave this barn a long time ago?

  122. John Kindley says:

    Clown:

    Those two paragraphs you quoted from Clark are perfectly consistent with Lysander Spooner, whom Clark actually cited and who lived and wrote in the 19th Century. Did you even bother to read Spooner before you made your spurious comparison of Clark to the "Freemen on the Land"?

    There is no way in hell the article in the journal of the AAPS contains the exact same word for word argument as my 1999 article in the Wisconsin Law Review, unless they plagiarized me, or unless you mean they happened to quote somebody I had also quoted. I have no doubt that their argument was "similar" to mine, in that any article on informed consent is bound to cite the same laws and any article on the abortion-breast cancer link is bound to cite the same studies. So I'm calling you not only a clown but a liar.

  123. John Kindley says:

    And, needless to say, there is no way in hell my comments on this blog contain the exact same word for word arguments as an article in the journal of the AAPS, as I have read no such articles, and nothing in my comments has been copied from anywhere other than my own law review article and legal briefs.

  124. John Kindley says:

    Lying Clown wrote: "Nope, not what I said at all. Read what I said in the other thread again. I said you made the exact same argument that the AAPS did in their article in JPANDS. Not "?something like" – your arguments on the subject were word-for-word. Like you were doing copypasta."

    In your comment on the other thread (http://www.popehat.com/2013/09/13/i-love-it-when-john-scalzi-subtweets/#comment-1115539), where you linked to the article in JPANDS, you called my arguments "similar" to those in that article. Curiosity got the better of me, and I've now read that article. Not only were my comments in that other thread not the "exact same argument" as, or "word-for-word" with, the argument in that article, but they're not even "similar" to that argument. The brazenness of your lie, which anyone who cared to could easily verify, suggests you're not only a Liar but mentally unhinged.

  125. hp says:

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

  126. perlhaqr says:

    Clark: But the mere fact that some people think that it does indicate consent is enough that I no longer vote.

    I've heard this idea before, but my ultimate answer is "I don't care what other people think". My carrying a concealed handgun does not indicate consent to be mugged, no matter what Billy Ray and Cletus think. Likewise, my voting Libertarian as a purely defensive measure does not indicate consent to being governed, no matter what George Kerry and Mitt Obama think either.

  127. perlhaqr says:

    Also, I'm looking forward to your critique of atheism as "not founded in the Scripture".

    <3

  128. perlhaqr says:

    Clark: Your team has more truncheons. Yes. I get it.

    I think they mostly just have better mechanisms for calling for backup. There are only ~3x as many LEOs in the US as there are members of the Libertarian Party, and I doubt the LP membership rolls cover everyone who would actually constitute
    "our team" in this regard.

  129. six honest says:

    Clark is an extremely rationale individual.

    Everyone can attest to this and no doubt reconsider their position by simply confirming it for themselves here –

    JURISDICTION
    http://thereisnodebt.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/public-service-common-sense-and-the-law-part-i/

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