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no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Comments #18

June 21st, 2008

Gilligans Corner has an interesting post: Gresham’s Law Only Works Because of State Violence. I like to see other people who recognize this as fact. I’ve been working on some comprehensive post(s) on money and banking in a free market, and I find that a lot of really smart people think that Gresham’s Law holds absolutely. The fact of the matter is that when exchange rates or not manufactured or manipulated by government, Gresham’s Law doesn’t come in to play. Gresham’s Law only applies in situations where people are legally obliged to accept the “bad money” on par with the “good money.”

If “bad money” trades at a discount to “good money,” nobody has any incentive to spend only the former while hoarding only the latter.

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I love Decrease Your Demand For Oil (We Want It!), posted at RollingDoughnut.

If you’re meeting with representatives from another country for talks on “economic coordination”, it’s a bit embarrassing to be criticizing a country’s “economic coordination”. Central planning is as central planning does.

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I was going to write a piece about the supreme court decision earlier this month which affirmed the right of habeas corpus among the detainees at Gitmo. But time passes by so quickly, and others have done as good a job as I could have done (or better). So instead, read Mike’s snippet, as well as his commentary on the British equivalent of the MCA.

Kip offers insightful commentary, as usual:

Congress tried to pretend that it didn’t really suspend habeas corpus when it passed the Military Commissions Act and the Detainee Treatment Act. Today the Court made the uncontroversial observation that of course Congress suspended habeas corpus when it passed the MCA…

[T]he law’s most draconian provisions:

It immunizes government officials for past war crimes; it cuts the United States off from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions; and it all but eliminates access to civilian courts for non-citizens — including permanent residents whose children are citizens — that the government, in its nearly unreviewable discretion, determines to be unlawful enemy combatants.

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Orville Seymer left a comment on Why You Can’t Buy Allodial Title, he suggests a book by John Cobin, Ph.D. :

If anyone is interested in the concept of “Allodial Title” I would recommend a very good book titled. Building Regulation, Market Alternatives and Allodial Policy” it is written by John M. Cobin Ph.D.

I have read this book about 5 times and everytime that I look at it again, I find something new in there. Amazing!!!

I would also suggest that you check your state Constitution. For example, the Wisconsin Constitution, Article 1 Section 14 says very clearly that “All land within the state is declared to be allodial and feudal tenures are prohibited” Your state may have a similar clause. There are about a dozen states with that language in their Constitution.

I suppose it doesn’t come as a surprise that Cobin is a George Mason graduate. I found  a link to purchase a PDF version of the book for $5.95.

Anyways, back to Seymer’s comments.  I imagine that many states have a provision like that of Wisconsin, however I’ve heard of states (e.g., New York) which have rescinded that section in whole or in part, because they determined that Allodial title is an antiquated notion.

Any constitutional provision quickly becomes “antiquated” when the governnment unilaterally decides to stop respecting it.   Allodial title is “antiquated” becaues the government stopped respecting it!  According to the wikipedia entry on Allodial title,

[I]n the United States most lands are not allodial, as evidenced by the existence of property taxes

Fee simple is the highest form of ownership that any individual may generally attain in the United States.  In the United States individuals cannot acquire Allodial title, because under what is essentially martial law, the Federal Government has declared itself owner of all lands, through the issuance of a Land Patent drafted and deemed sufficient by its own agents.  The same Government which declares itself the rightful owner of all lands, is the arbiter who ultimately determines that you or I can’t own those lands.

I’ll have a more detailed post on the topic of Allodial title in the near future.

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In Reader Mail #56, FSK asks in regards to Comments #17:

David Z calculated that owning a car costs him $7k+ per year. Is he including just gas? Don’t forget depreciation of the car also! Also include the loss if you had invested that $7k elsewhere!

D’oh! I was including gasoline + insurance premiums + lease payment + regularly scheduled maintenance. I committed a serious error by overlooking opportunity cost, and to a lesser extent, depreciation, but since I lease the car, I’m not really worried about the latter. If the car depreciates more than anticipated, the dealer eats the loss. If it depreciates less, I can exercise my purchase option and trade it in for the higher value.

Right now, there is a lot of shake-up in the Auto industry because the sale prices of used trucks (especially trucks) is far lower than anyone anticipated, and this is making it harder to sell new trucks. I anticipated it, last summer in a discussion with a former Chrysler executive who shall remain nameless, I voiced the following concern:

Manufacturers have been flooding the market with deeply-discounted trucks, or promo-rates on leases with little or nothing down. When those leases all begin to expire at about the same time, there will be a glut of used trucks in relatively good condition on the market, this glut should tend to force prices downward.

Said Chrysler exec dismissed my objection as folly. This is exactly what’s happening right now. What the hell did I know? I was a 26-year old attending the new-employee orientation program; I wasn’t trying to show him up, but I get the feeling that he took my question personally.

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I received a handful of comments on Trial by Jury. My previous posts on jury nullification have been popular.

Kip says, responding more to Lysander Spooner (or my endorsement thereof) than to me, directly:

Well, I enjoy a flamboyant line as much as the next writer, but I can quite frankly think of several “clearer principles of English or American constitutional law” than jury nullification.

And if one is going to go back to 1215, then let’s, um, go back to 1215: Laws from unelected monarchs, no lifetime-appointment of judges, no right to free counsel, no concept of judicial review, no appellate court structure to speak of, etc.

Times change.

To a point, I agree.  Spooner’s argument is well-thought and appears well-researched.  It is not necessarily a clear principle, although as Spooner demonstrates, can be derived from man’s natural rights, which are unaffected by the changing times.

The principle is not necessarily “jury nullification,” but rather the idea that individual jurors have the moral right to determine not only the facts of the case, but also the propriety (or impropriety) of the law.  Spooner’s thesis is pretty strong: the idea of jury trials goes back to the “laws from unelected monarchs” against which the Magna Carta was implemented.

Perhaps we should review Spooner’s argument:

Many of these bills of rights also assert the natural right of all men to protect their property — that is, to protect it against the government. It would be unnecessary and silly indeed to assert, in a constitution of government, the natural right of individuals to protect their property against thieves and robbers.

The idea of a jury trial as set forth in the Magna Carta, one would assume, rests on a jury of peers and not a jury of the king’s men, since the latter having been the status quo, would’ve been a pointless addendum. It’s unlikely that those trying to factually depose an unelected monarch would’ve allowed him to retain his judge & jury robes.

On this note, Franc comments:

I am reading a book about the English justice system. Interestingly, juries were first started by the English kings, and they were mostly composed of the king’s men. People were so scared of juries that they would rather die than go on a trial with jury (if they died, their estate would go to their family: if they were executed, as juries always found you guilty, your estate would go to the king).

Mike says that the idea behind jury nullification is to

prevent the government’s constituting a jury of its own partisans or friends; in other words, to prevent the government’s packing a jury, with a view to maintain its own laws, and accomplish its own purposes.

Spooner, astonishingly enough, agrees:

…If the government may decide who may, and who may not, be jurors, it will of course select only its partisans, and those friendly to its measures. It may not only prescribe who may, and who may not, be eligible to be drawn as jurors; but it may also question each person drawn as a juror, as to his sentiments in regard to the particular law involved in each trial, before suffering him to be sworn on the panel; and exclude him if he be found unfavorable to the maintenance of such a law.

This brings us full circle to the Magna Carta.

Really the idea behind jury nullification is that the whole jury will return a “not guilty” verdict. This is a daunting task, primarily because most people are idiots, and they are at least initially and outwardly, perfectly willing to apply an unjust law, despite the fact that this may eventually be the cause of some emotional distress. People return verdicts because they want to get the hell out of the courtroom, and back to their normal routines, or because they don’t want to keep 11 other people away from their normal routines. In doing so, they cut corners, they rationalize the arguments pro or con, in short, the verdicts are returned based not entirely on the facts of the case. People do a great many things which they would not otherwise do, when the State is pointing a gun at them.

As a principle, jury nullification per Spooner (and to a lesser extent, Balko) depends on a panel of learned jurors willing to defy an unjust law in a corrupt system. Returning a null verdict is a daunting task, because it requires that at least one juror have the intellectual and moral fortitude to sway the rest of the jurors. In practice, the result of an attempt to nullify is usually a single juror who won’t partake in a mockery of justice, and the net result is that the accused winds up going before another jury, none of whom are willing to defy the system.

I read most of Spooner’s Trial by Jury in the last few days, there is a lot of material there to mull over, and I anticipate another full-length post on the topic some time in the future.

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  • Orville Seymer says on: June 22, 2008 at 4:08 pm

     

    Yes, New York has rescinded the portion of there state Constitution that deals with Allodial Tile, and that was before Hillary Clinton and Mario Cuomo.

    To say that Allodialism is antiquated would be like saying that the 1st Amemdment is antiquated simply because no one ever excersizes their freedom to use it.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics