Nov 212010
 
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Zen

The Zen master said, “Who binds you?”
The seeker of liberty said, “No one binds me.”
The Zen Master said, “Then why seek liberation?”

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Jan 052009
 
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As you probably already know, anarchists, libertarians, and freedom lovers are really big on books. In fact, the written word is still, by far, the greatest influence on the vast majority of converts. The problem with this is two-fold: 1) many of the books are dry and boring, and 2) the books aren’t exactly easy to “stumble across” if you’re not looking for them.  Freedom Book Club aims to solve both of these problems and you can help.

Each month four selections are posted at the Freedom Book Club home page.  All you need to do is swing by and vote for your favorite.   Then, during the first week of the next month, everyone interested will buy the selected book.  Voting for a selection does not obligate you to buy the book that is ultimately selected.

So, how does this help further the message of freedom?  It’s simple really.  Bestseller lists (New York Times, Amazon, etc) aren’t actually based on how many copies of a book get purchased.  rather, they’re based on how many books are purchased within a given time frame.  In other words, it’s velocity not volume.  By having hundreds (thousands?) of liberty lovers all purchase a specific book within the same week we can rocket these books up onto the best seller lists and get them much more attention from the general public.

Additionally, since each month’s book is selected by popular vote we can concentrate our efforts on works that are much more palatable to a general audience. For example…

Last month’s selection, Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression by Dr. Mary J. Ruwart, PhD sold out at Amazon.com not once, but twice. Of course, the Freedom Book Club has no way of knowing if they were the direct cause of such a rush on a 5 year old book, but their efforts certainly didn’t hurt! Healing Our World is, quite possibly, the ultimate primer on freedom. Written in an easygoing, friendly style it still manages to tear apart just about every possible reason one could have for remaining a statist despite government’s repeated failures. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you not only put it on your reading list, but that you put it at the very top.

But I’m getting sidetracked again. Just take a few minutes to check out Freedom Book Club.  Not only will you help spread the message of liberty to the masses, but you just might find a few books to enjoy and enlighten at the same time.

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Nov 102008
 
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Although I was aware of Napster, Kazaa, LimeWire and other second-generation file sharing systems I was never much of a fan.  It’s not that I had a problem “giving back” to the “community”, but rather I really didn’t like the security holes that ran rampant with them all.  The idea of opening my computer to anyone with a modicum of knowledge just didn’t sit right with me.  if you want in, you should have to fight your way in.  Then came BitTorrent.  Not only was it faster, but it was much more secure as well.  Media flowed onto my system as easily as water flowed from the taps (but I didn’t have to pay for any of this media).

It’s been about seven years now that I’ve been using BitTorrent to download large files from the internet. In that time I’ve seen dozens of trackers come and go. Many due to staffing or technical problems, some due to government interference of various types. I was even a member of a couple of “private” trackers that turned out to be run by the FBI the whole time. Thanks for all the great free movies and programs, Uncle Sam!

However, (until last week)  it had been more than three months since I made any illegal downloads.  My BitTorrent client (Azureus/Vuze) had been delegated to the useful, but fully legal, status of helping spreadthe message of freedom by seeding the monthly archives of Free Talk Live.  It wasn’t the FBI or fear of prosecution that spared the media moguls the (supposedly) millions of dollars in losses that I and my fellow pirates supposedly inflicted upon them.  Nor was it some form of guilty conscience or newfound moral belief.  No, it was matter of convenience.

You see, it was about four months ago that the television in my room died of old age. At the time I was broke, so couldn’t replace it. A friend then told me about the Netflix “Watch Instantly” program that offers hundreds of movies and television shows for immediate download (in addition to their great thru-the-mail DVD rental). Within hours I was hooked and had a queue of several hundred “discs” in my queue for instant watching. Finally, the market had come up with a solution to sate my media hunger!

Sure, via Netflix I wasn’t seeing the movies currently in theaters, but any that actually had me excited I was paying to go see rather than downloading anyway. I downloaded video so I’d have something to watch, not to watch a particular show.  Television had, largely, filled that need, but with the minimum cost of a cable or satellite package approaching $100/month and the ease of free downloads the math kept me online.  Of course, if the cable and satellite companies had been free to offer true a la carte programming, instead of being locked into the obscenely bloated packages the government required them to offer things may have been different.  But as anyone who pays attention knows, America hasn’t been a free market for a very, very long time.

Netflix gave me exactly what I wanted – a broad selection of entertainment, ready when ever I wanted to consume it, at a reasonable price (less than $10/month).  Once I got hooked into Netflix it took me almost six weeks to even realize that I was no longer pirating media.  There was simply no longer a need.  This ‘new’ system was easier and more convenient.  The fact that it was ‘legal’ and actually helped support the creators of the entertainment that I valued were mere icing on the cake.  The search for profit led the market to fulfill my needs without my even having to ask.  That is the true beauty of freedom.

Oh, for those of wondering why I want back to my ‘evil’ ways in the last week, it’s because my bank screwed up my debit card a few days before Netflix tried to charge my monthly fee.  So my account’s suspended while things get worked out with the beauracy.  Meanwhile I’m cringing for the variety that Netflix offers and making due with sub-par pirated releases.

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Sep 262008
 
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…to be politicians.
While checking out the new Salvation Army Store in Gilroy (one of the few ways to avoid sales tax) last weekend I came across a mint condition copy of Dr. Fred Schwarz’ You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists, originally published in 1960).  The paperback copy I picked up was printed in 1972, but looks like it just came off the press this morning.  But, my love of ‘new’ old books isn’t the point here.  Instead, I’d like to share a section of the first chapter with y’all. Oh, but I am going to make one minor change-

The statement is frequently heard “you cannot trust the Politicians.” This is incorrect; you can trust the Politicians.

They are extremely trustworthy. You can trust a cancer cell to obey the laws of its lawless growth. You can trust an armed bank robber to take the money and try to escape. Similarly you can trust the Politicians to act in accordance with the laws of their being.

When people operate according to clearly defined principles they are both trustworthy and predictable. While we continue to believe that the Politicians think, feel and believe as we do the Political movement is, as Winston Churchill described [the Communists] “a riddle wrapped in an enigma.” The movements of the heavenly bodies appeared mysterious and unpredictable til Copernicus discovered the governing laws. When we understand the philosophy of Politicians the unified purpose concealed in their frequently chaotic and contradictory conduct is revealed.

Schwarz’ purpose (and mine) in these few paragraphs is to help those interested in defeating Communists (Politicans) to better understand their enemy.  As long as you remind yourself that Politicians are trustworthy – in the sense that they will always act in their own self-interest – their actions are vastly more understandable.

If you already consider yourself an anarchist, Libertarian, or freedom lover than this is probably obvious to you.  You’ve also probably encountered many a person who simply can’t understand your views.  This, may well be the reason why.  They have not yet come to realize that politicians always act i ntheir own self-interest. Bring them to that understanding and the rest will most likely fall in place.

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Sep 192008
 
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Regular readers have no doubt seen me mention Free Talk Live on more than one occasion here at Philaahzophy.  They’re the only nationally syndicated, liberty oriented talk radio show in the world, and the only podcast I listen to.  Period.

The AMP program is their innovative “subscription” service that is 100% voluntary.  AMP stands for Advertise, Market, Promote and all of the funds donated each month are dedicated exclusively to spreading the show wider and farther both online and off.  Since Free Talk Live supplies the show, their website, their forums, their archives, and many other features 100% free of charge to anyone who is interested in the message of freedom and Liberty.  The AMP program is the way we listeners have to give back and help spread the show.

I’ve been listening to Free Talk Live for about a year now and been planning onAMPing the show for about six months, but just never got around to it until today.  I’m going to share why I chose today to finally ‘take the plunge’, but first I want to list all of the reasons that didn’t motivate me to AMP the show.

  • It wasn’t for the AMP ‘perks’ – although the AMP-only chat room, forum and phone lines are cool I simply don’t see myself using them at this point in time.
  • It wasn’t the fact that my daughter, Z, started pestering me about whether or not I was an AMPlifier and getting a sour, doubtful look when I said I wasn’t.  After all, this did seem a bit contradictory to my “vote with your dollar” moral lessons I’ve tried to teach her.
  • It wasn’t the recent announcement that they’re going to launch the first 24/7 Free Talk Live global satellite to spread the show even where the internet doesn’t reach.
  • It wasn’t that I agree with everything they say.  I’m not even close, falling somwewhere between Mark and Ian on the ‘political’ spectrum.
  • It wasn’t even a single issue that they brought up.  There have been many, many issues I’ve been right there with them 100%, and I can’t think of a single thing where I disagreed more than 10%-20%.
  • It certainly wasn’t the extended AMP ads that they fill their semi-regular podcast only extended shows with.

So why then, did I choose to AMP today?  Well,

  1. Today is the day after my monthly payday.  So having a mere $5.00 per month taken out of my bank account the day after payday will hardly even be noticed.
  2. I just listened to the August 29, 2008 podcast (I’m typically a few weeks behind on the show).  About three quarters of the way through the show Mark, Ian and Julia suddenly got into a verbal brawl over Ian’s “freedom uber alles” stance.  Not only is this kind of frank and genuine ‘discussion’ a true rarity in modern media, but I completely understand both sides of the issue.  In fact, over the years I’ve frequently fought Ian’s side of the argument – giving in to the government at any point is the path to failure.  But since Z came back into my life I completely understand Mark and Julia’s stance as well – as an individual, some things are more important than ‘liberty for all’.

If you’re already listening to Free Talk Live, then you should be an AMPlifier as well.  If you’re not already a listener, then take some time and give them a shot.  If they aren’t on a local radio station to you, then there are numerous online listening options.  From a live stream to podcasts (through RSS or iTunes).  You can even download full month archives directly from their home page.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll surely say it again…

If you’re really serious about achieving liberty in our lifetime, sign up for the Free State Project and start planning to move to New Hampshire where thousands of freedom lovers are gathering to use the strength of numbers to fight the next American revolution.  Whether you’re ready to take that step or not, start listening to Free Talk Live today.  You’ll gain a greater understanding of what freedom really means, ammunition to defend your positions and spread the message of freedom,the feeling of camaraderie that come sfrom knowing others out there believe the same way you do, and some great and entertaining talk radio as well!

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