no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Comments on Comments #9

March 13th, 2008

The power of individual conscience is profound when people start to wake up.” It’s time to start saying “No!”


In Comments #8, Logan Flatt jests: “Ah ha! But, by me not following the rules of the carnival I am demonstrating anarchy, am I not?”

Nope. Not really even close.

Franc responds, “No… you’re not. Anarchy doesn’t mean no rules, it means no rulers. ;P”

But that’s OK, Logan’s comment appears to be in jest. <Borat> Happy times! </Borat>


In “The Rats of El Toro,” Angelica’s response to my critique of her “street-food-libertarianism,” the Rad Geek rips new ones (read his entire response!)

…Even though you’re not willing to do anything personally about this putative problem through nonviolent means and on your own dime, you are willing to endorse a third party barging in to force the restaurateur to do what you want him to do (or else), because that course of action allows you to get your own way while forcing other people to bear the costs of your own hygienic preferences.

Have I got your position right, or is there something that I’m missing? If so, what?

To which Angelica responds:

Ah, personal responsibility. Such a favorite comeback for libertarians. I not really a big fan (sic)…

…If I take personal responsibility for the Rats of El Toro, I lose my job and betray my loyalty to the staff there. And for what? If I’m vigilant enough about sounding the alarm, I can probably put El Toro out of business. But the customers are not going to be any better off because every nice-ish restaurant they go to have the potential to be a rat-infested dump just like El Toro.

“Not really a big fan” of personal responsibility? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! This is coming from the same person who suggests that individuals should be responsible for the risks they take when buying bacon-wrapped hot-dogs from street vendors! You can’t have it both ways, Angie!

So, you’re afraid that you’ll lose your job and betray the other employees? Aren’t the employees and the proprietor betraying the customers each and every time they serve a plate of rat-nachos, or a rat-burger-with-cheese? Are these really the sorts of people — who knowingly serve crap to their customers — with whom you want to be associated?

Geek, it looks like you’ve really hit the nail on the head!

On a related note, Brad Warbiany, at the Liberty Papers asks: You think the government can keep us safe? They can’t even certify that what they buy themselves is safe! in reference to this glowing endorsement of government regulation in the meatpacking industry, published in the Economist:

Cows too ill or injured to stand were shoved along by forklifts or dragged by their legs across the floor. Downer cows, as they are called, are unfit for human consumption. But many at the slaughterhouse run by the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company were killed, processed, and their meat sent to the National School Lunch Programme. “They’re going onto the plates of children,”

Charming, indeed!


Tony responds to my post, “What Should You do About Your Rising Mortgage Payments?”

[I]f I had trouble paying, I would absolutely call the bank and threaten to walk. Incentives matter. I don’t want to wreck my credit, but like you wrote, the bank doesn’t want to own my house or pay for its upkeep until it can lose more money on the deal. Reality changes make both parties more willing to talk and renegotiate.

The biggest problem, for many people I presume, is arranging an alternative residence before you walk. If you’re happy paying rent for the next 2-5 years, no worries. But if you want to buy another house, you’re pretty well boned, unless you’re just able to qualify for another puchase-money mortgage, on a much smaller and more affordable house. But you clearly can’t do this until you’ve already committed to abandon your current home.

They can’t come after the rest of your assets, AFAIK, because the property secured the note. What will happen is you’ll get hit during tax season the following year.

Coincidentally, “incentives matter” was my Public Finance professor’s motto!

Banks need to stop pretending that a bunch of crappy residential mortgages will actually yield 8-9% over the next 20-30 years. The reality of the matter is that even as those mortgages which remain current continue to yield that sort of return, the number of mortgages in default, yielding effectively 0% (or negative) will reduce the aggregate return. At some point, it makes sense to revise their forecasts and say, “Fuck, we were dead-nuts wrong on this one. These loans could never have sustained the sort of yield we had anticipated. Better now to accept a smaller, more certain return, than to continue earning 8% on a diminishing amount of principal!”


Suff White People Like comes recommended from a number of sources. It is hilariously accurate. Take, for instance #87 Outdoor Performance Clothes:

The main reason why white people like these clothes is that it allows them to believe that at any moment they could find themselves with a Thule rack on top of their car headed to a national park. It could be 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday when they might get a call “hey man, you know what we need to do? Kayak then camping, right now. I’m on my way to get you, there is no time to change clothes.”

Though it is unlikely that they will receive this call, White people hate the idea of missing an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities because they weren’t wearing the right clothes.

Sounds kind of familiar…

Yes, the back seat of my Jeep looks like that, for the better part of the three grey months we colloquially refer to as “winter” here in Michigan. I have to keep it that way, because just as a freak downpour can ruin my weekend, on any given day a freak snowstorm is probably just as likely to have me leaving work an hour or two early in order to hit the slopes for a few precious hours, before the next 5-day stretch of 50+ degree weather melts it all.

In Michigan, even the winter-sport enthusiasts can hate the season.

I always make sure to keep my performance Timberland shell-jacket handy, as well as the North Face vest for warmer days.

Speaking of warmer days, it’s near 50 today and tomorrow. This weekend at Otsego might be the last hurrah.



  • Tony says on: March 13, 2008 at 10:36 am


    I’ve heard of homeowners in my area buying a second home and then abandoning their current negative-equity home. Just rumor? I don’t know, but it matches the idea that the bank can’t come after other assets because the original house secured the note.

    I imagine that would be less likely now, given that (I assume) banks are wising up a bit. But that’s an assumption.

  • David Z says on: March 13, 2008 at 12:00 pm


    I don’t think it’s a rumor anymore. I have a friend who used to be a mortgage lender and he knows of people who had done just this sort of thing a few months ago. So there’s at least one family who’s done it!

  • Logan Flatt, CFA says on: March 14, 2008 at 8:20 am


    Ah yes, these homeowners are using the ol’ shirk-my-financial-obligations strategy I see…

  • David Z says on: March 14, 2008 at 1:36 pm



    You’re a day late on this, but I’ll respond to you in the next edition of “Comments on Comments” due out whenever early next week.

  • Francois Tremblay says on: March 15, 2008 at 1:46 pm


    Damn homeowners, how dare they want to own homes? I wish people would just be content with their low station in life.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics