no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Comments on Comments #25

October 14th, 2008

About a month’s worth of comments!


Kip Esquire responds to my 401(k) conundrum:

I would hope that your 401(k) has a money-market option.

There is a money-market option. I should have allocated more to that, several months ago. I didn’t. In any event, my 401(k) is rebalanced as of this evening.
1955Design follows up with,

Your fund family that your 401k is in probably has a gold or precious metals fund.

Although I am not sure that now is the time for that investment, either

I looked for this before, admittedly, I did not look very hard. I did not see anything that appeared to be a gold or precious metals fund. Some of these are ETFs or other things, and from what I understand are also highly leveraged. Many of these funds also are insolvent in a technical sense, meaning that they operate on a fractional reserve basis, too.

But, the market is up some 1,200 points since I wrote that. Go figure.

Responding to my comments on anarchism and authority, Damaged Justice says

When a person possesses greater than average knowledge and/or experience regarding a given subject matter, we refer to them as “an authority on the subject.”

This accepted definition is a far cry from the “authority” who presumes to command others solely by the supposed virtue of superior muscle and firepower.

Agreed. This is why I find these discussions to be particularly difficult. Semantic confusion runs rampant when ideology is at stake. Franc has a new post at his blog addressing the immorality of hierarchies, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.


Kip responds to my post, Gold is NOT a fiat currency:

You’re still tap-dancing around the core issue: gold only has value because people say it has value (or expect other people to say it has value).

The debate is instead whether it is better, in an advanced global economy to argue for a government that cannot debase gold or one that will not debase its currency. I continue to support the latter because I believe the former is simply unworkable.

I will respond to this comment in a stand-alone post, shortly. In the meantime, frequent commenter, Jeff Molby steals my thunder:

No, he’s specifically stating that that isn’t the core issue. Fiat currency has value solely due to government coercion. If the government disappeared tomorrow, so would the value of its currency. Gold would retain a strong value sans government.

You forgot the third possibility: a government that will debase its currency as often and as much as it thinks it can get away with.


Tony, 1955Design, and Kip congratulated me on my marriage. Thanks everyone. Someday I’ll post some pictures maybe to my Flickr account.


Shayou Wang left a comment on Gresham’s Law is Wrong.

In addition, it also works in the presence of Bimetalism fixed exchange rate or face values (also enforced by governments).

Exactly. The proper application of Gresham’s Law is not really an economic law of its own, it’s simply a case-specific formulation of general economic theory with regards to price floors or price ceilings. When a commodity is artificially over- (or under-) valued with regards to other commodities, bad things happen.


Kip and I have a long-running dispute over the subject of jury nullification. In the most recent installment, Kip says,

I just find it utterly preposterous to suggest that it’s the “libertarian” thing to do.

Circumstances dictate the appropriateness of jury nullification. View individuals as moral agents, they are qualified to determine the justness (or injustice) of laws, and should render verdicts in accordance with proper morals. To use the fact that some people have a lousy moral compass as an objection to nullification on libertarian principles is a red herring.

Clay S Conrad comments:

You wrote that “An unjust law is a necessary condition for any appeal to nullification. ” I’d disagree.

Even the best laws can be misapplied, or unjustly applied. …

Clay’s point is that most laws, at one point in time or another, will eventually be used in such a manner that renders their application unjust. Point conceded.


Thanks to No Treason for plugging my post, How Much Will The Bailout Cost You?.

In response to the same post, Azrael comments,

I am at the point where I expect this insanity and just do not see the point in getting angry anymore. As far as I am concerned our whole debt and monetary system is illigitimate because it is forced on us.

I’m not apathetic, yet. I try not to get upset over such things, but they do chap my ass, so-to-speak. There’s nothing I can do, per se, to stop these things from happening. The goal of libertarians, anarchists, agorists, etc., is to find a way to minimize the external costs imposed by this illegitimate system.

Jeff Molby comments:

Assuming that at least some of the assets are performing, some of the $700b will be recouped at some point.

Perhaps. But we, as taxpayers, who are ostensibly funding the TRILLION DOLLAR BAILOUT will never recoup a dime.


Self-described “former AIG customer,” Louis left a comment on On Being Too Big To Fail:

there goes the proverbial credibility of the free market, the big fish falling in the safety net,saved from bankcrupcy by the the little guy…then ill’be dammed if i hear them talk about economy resilience again; help from the little guy, they will call it solidarity, expression he never heard in the mouth of those big fish when HE was in turbulent waters.

Louis! THE USA IS NOT A FREE MARKET, despite loads of rhetoric and propaganda to the contrary. What we see happening in the market right now is a textbook example of government interference gone wrong. But you’re right on the money with the second half of your comment: when the big fish goes bankrupt, we have to bail them out. When we go bankrupt, they take our houses.

The entire financial system is broken, beyond salvation.


Ryan left a comment on If You Don’t Like it, Get the Fuck Out!

I agree but I feel that, especially following this coming election, we will have a certain population of Americans taking these people’s suggestion and “getting the fuck out” not because they bail on the ideals of this great country but rather because they feel that those ideals have been forsaken by the likes of whom you speak of and consequently feel threatened by the infringement on their personal freedoms and the consequences of similar ignorance. What do you think?

It seems that Ryan supposes that this year, many people will be exercising their right to “vote with their feet.” I’m not sure this year is any different than any others. And I think voting with ones feet is simply one more iteration of the “lesser of two evils” game. Where are they going to go? Some other country that sucks just as bad in some areas, worse in others, and is marginally better in maybe a few areas?

The point of my post was to challenge the notion that one is obliged to leave if he doesn’t like the system. I don’t think anyone should have to make that choice. It’s unfortunate, if it’s coming to that.


My friend Brad left a comment on Of Greed and Charity

I remember the same conversation we had with Garrett in Grand Bend. Remember how he felt it was okay that rich people (or average income people) should have to be taxed more to help the less fortunate out. This guy Ryan feels the same. Nobody should be taxed on their income.

Mike Gogulski at has an excellent post on the topic of this loser mentality, The Golden Rule is Insufficient. According to Mike, some people say,

I want to be taxed to provide essential services for other people. I want this because I know that I, like others, am greedy, and would not otherwise contribute to their well-being. This is especially important with respect to the well-being of others incapable of providing for themselves.

That sounds exactly like what Garret was saying. Mike responds to this idea, probably better than I ever could:

The Golden Rule is a poor ethic to apply when your morality legitimizes violations of yourself. Until you are possessed of a morality which regards other people as ends in themselves, rather than means to be exploited for whatever grand goal the day demands, using the Golden Rule as your ethical yardstick admits all manner of horrors.

Very, very, very well said. I love Mike’s writing.


That’s all for now.




no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics