Courtroom Disobedience Frightens Fellow Slave

1809: Today, slaves from the plantation of Keene came to support their fellow slaves from Jaffrey Plantation as one of the Jaffrey indentured servants, Jean Coutu, had been notified that the masters of the plantation were attempting to prevent him from having a shooting range at his Live Free or Die Rally this year. Even though the property tender, the slaves operating the Grand View Inn, had given permission, the plantation masters are asking their betters at the “superior court” to show the Grand View Inn and Coutu who really owns them.

2009: Alright, enough of that – here’s the story in common day terms:

Keene area liberty activists turned out heavily to support Jean Coutu’s Live Free or Die Rally in the face of an assault from the Jaffrey gangsters in their “superior” court. There were so many liberty activists, it was standing room only in the meager just-over-20 seat 2nd courtroom. An angry-looking bailiff approached the standing activists and told them they had to sit or leave. As the seats were already filled with news reporters, liberty activists, and Coutu supporters, some activists offered to sit on the ground, as there would be no way to experience the trial on CCTV outside the court. Bailiffs returned and the activists chose to leave rather than be arrested. Brief video of this is at the end of the article.

First up was a woman accused of “Violation of Probation”. (The probation system is one of the sick ways they keep poor people poor, and in the system. It’s so easy to VOP.) The bailiffs enter and the “all rise” is uttered. Several activists on the right side of the room remain seated. A bailiff glares at us and utters “all rise” again. The situation doesn’t change, and the robed man comes in. After the trial, the robed man takes a “recess”, and “all rise” is uttered. Bailiffs again take issue with those staying seated, and Free Keene blogger Sam Dodson is sitting closest to the bailiff. Sam steadfastly refuses to rise, noting his Quaker religion. Bailiffs back down again.

Moments later, a white haired man seen earlier conversing with Coutu, approaches Sam and requests that we “behave”. This is confusing, as on the forum thread, in which Coutu participates, it seems clear that he doesn’t mind that people are planning to remain seated for the robed man. Perhaps Coutu’s associates were not aware that this was to occur. Regardless, activists prepared to leave the court rather than stand up for the robed man and inquired with Coutu as to whether we should go or stay. Coutu seemed confused and said he wanted us to stay, but on the other hand his associate most definitely didn’t want us there unless we’d obey. Rather than continue to be the possible source of strife between Coutu (who wanted us there) and his associate (who didn’t), we chose to leave the court. At least five liberty activists joined in the walkout.

It is with a heavy heart that I write this. I am glad I was able to show support for Coutu and his event, and he seemed to appreciate us being there. Unfortunately the white-haired man was acting like a frightened slave back on the plantation. “Behave you disobedient, freedom-seeking slaves! If you don’t, master will punish us all! We are attempting to supplicate our masters, and we cannot do it if you are acting like you are free people! Why can’t you just beg like the rest of us – it’s really a good life, begging to be free. Just ignore the violence and threats against you and your fellow slaves. Go along to get along. Beg. Obey.”

I don’t want to support someone who doesn’t appreciate it. If you don’t want me and my family, friends, and associates acting like the free people we are becoming, you don’t want us at your trial.

Judges are men wearing robes who can tell men with guns and uniforms what to do. As a Quaker, no man is above me. If the robed men were simply dealing with people who harmed others, none of us would ever be in their coutrooms in the first place.

Here’s a brief clip of the activists leaving due to threats from bailiffs over no available seating:

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16 Comments

  1. It is always easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. ~Alfred Adler

  2. OBEY! OBEY! OBEY! OBEY! OBEY! OBEY! OBEY!

  3. I'm so bummed I had to leave before the festivities began….

  4. Seems more productive to attack the government than the live free or die guy.

  5. The white haired man in question in the article is not Jean Coutu. Coutu revealed that he was the Appleseed attorney.

    This not an attack, but a commentary on how the slaves are master's most effective defender.

  6. Stockholm Syndrome en masse

  7. The LFOD Organizer's can't thank enough all those who appeared and for there support. Apologie's for any confusion. If I had better understood this practice, the reps. with LFOD Organizer's would have been given a head's up in which it would have been fine. We couldn't agree more.

    Though some question as to why we go through this grueling process to the master's boot's, we must protect the G.V.I. owners who donated their property from fascist's prosecution. True gatherings of redress are 1st amendment fed protected. We get some enjoyment at beating municipality's at their own game. It also puts our participants under the umbrella from harrasment.

    Thank you all again.

    Jean Coutu, LFOD Rally

  8. @JEAN COUTU wrote:

    "The LFOD Organizer’s can’t thank enough….."

    "Apologie’s for any confusion".

    "If I had better understood this practice, the reps. with LFOD Organizer’s would have been given a head’s up in which it would have been fine."

    "Though some question as to why we go through this grueling process to the master’s boot’s, we must protect the G.V.I. owners who donated their property from fascist’s prosecution."

    "We get some enjoyment at beating municipality’s at their own game."

    Wow.

    Here's how it seems to work. Intellectually-addled person tries to make his/her way in the world. Predictably, struggles academically and professionally. Feels bad about it, and compensates by blaming his/her troubles on outside forces. It's the system's fault, it's government's fault; if it wasn't for outside elements like that, he/she would be doing just fine. A better job, a better home, a better life. It's an old tale, summed up in a statement by neo-conservative pater familias Leo Strauss:

    "The only way to remain strong is to have external enemies."

  9. Ann,

    What's sad is that many here, including me, would be more than willing to honestly and substantively discuss ideas with you, and yet you refuse to really use your mind, and instead continue to engage in childish insult tossing. I have asked you a number of questions and made a number of points regarding political and moral philosophy, some twice, none of which you address.

    It is the height of absurdity for someone so apparently terrified of intellectually honest thought to ascribe ulterior motives to the beliefs of others. It is the height of absurdity for someone apparently willing to spend a great deal of time cruelly and shallowly insulting others over minutia to question the character and purpose of the lives of others.

    You seek out for mockery those who make grammatical errors — yet you do not seek out or praise those who do not. You seek out for mockery those in between jobs — yet you do not seek out or praise those with solid employment. You seek out for mockery those who engage in activities you find ineffective, but you do not promote, encourage, or praise effectiveness.

    I would rather be guilty of every single speck you find in others, rather than your own giant planks: A closed minded refusal to honestly consider and discuss the substance of ideas, haughty superiority, a proclivity to seek out and mock the peccadilloes of others, and meanness and cruelty towards them.

    I suggest you honestly and specifically, substantively, and politely address ideas, questions, and arguments — I would be more than happy to restate some of them for you. If the ideas truly are refutable, I suggest you stop wasting time here, or if you wish to actively oppose them, post substantive, meaningful, respectful arguments against them. If they are not, I suggest you start getting involved, and start encouraging what you consider effective methods for implementing and promoting those ideas. In either case, I suggest you not let yourself become the mocking, snide, shallow persona your user name has unfortunately come to represent on this site.

  10. Who's Leo Strauss, & why should I care???…I met Mr. Jean Coutu at the Keene T.E.A. Party rally. He seems like a good guy to me. We actually spoke some *FRENCH*. With the increasing hispino/latanic-ization of America, french was refreshing…///…What bugs me most about about posts like this, is how all you guys, who *SHOULD KNOW BETTER*, can't seem to keep your fishlips off "anamazedreader's" "PROVO-posts"…"PROVO" as in provacative…she's become a resident troll. And you guys keep feeding her. And getting off topic…And letting her drag the discussion off-topic…C'mon, ZEUS, don't *YOU*, at least, see that???…Look at her lame-ass quote…Don't you guys see that "anamazedreader" is using *YOU* as *HER* EXTERNAL ENEMIES!?…It's just like reading the Sentinel letters section…after a while, you can recognize regular contributors…Now, when I see a post from "anamazedreader", I can be fairly certain that it will be full of the "mocking, snide, shallow" crap that Paul so accurately describes above…So I just don't pay her posts much attention…let alone write long responses to them…It's clear that "anamazedreader" is far too smart for her own good, and leads a boring life of quiet desperation…Why else does she spend so much time on here???…We could have FREEKEENE.com without *YOU*, but *you* couldn't have FREEKEENE.com without …US!…! Thanks again, Ian!…

  11. Paul,

    Forgive this tardy response; I've been away. But my goodness Paul, such vitriol; what would "the Lord" say? Is it possible that you're a sinner, just like the rest of us? And if that's the case, what legitimacy does your sanctimony have, other than as a defense mechanism?

    Let's do some deconstructing:

    "What’s sad is that many here, including me, would be more than willing to honestly and substantively discuss ideas with you, and yet you refuse to really use your mind, and instead continue to engage in childish insult tossing."

    Paul, are you so blind to the actions of your ideological compatriots that your ability to see and think objectively has been almost totally compromised? On this site, city workers and citizens are routinely referred to with words and phrases like "thugs", "tyrants", "slaves", "Nazis", "hacks", "bureaucrats", "gangsters, "statist idiots", "criminals", etc., etc.; and this is just a partial list, based on a quick scan. And of course we haven't seen you complain about this name-calling and "insult-tossing". It seems to be fine with you, as long as it's being done by your fellow believers, as you all confront your imagined common enemy. Thus is hostility rationalized as "peaceful activism". Nice trick. Although I would think it would get you into trouble regarding that whole business about not bearing false witness. Or does your Jesus give hypocrites a pass, as long as they're on the "right" side?

    "I have asked you a number of questions and made a number of points regarding political and moral philosophy, some twice, none of which you address."

    Ah yes, your "questions". They really are very important to you, aren't they? That's fine, but you make a mistake if you think that latching on to a collection of talking points in question-form a priori makes them logical or coherent. And I do think that a rational person will wisely choose not to engage the irrational; actual, constructive engagement in such situations is an impossibility, owing to the lack of a shared sense of reality. When I'm asked questions on this site as part of some sort of "back and forth", I answer some, and ignore others. Frankly, most of the questions are either tendentious or stupid, so my willingness to engage is usually based on the mood of the moment. The tendentious questions are of the "when did you stop beating your wife" variety, like:

    "Why do you support violence?"

    "Why does liberty scare you?"

    "Why do you support stealing?"

    Etc., Etc. Questions such as these indicate an essential insincerity and a lack of interest in actual, serious discussion. I could play the same game with an anarchist, to wit:

    "Why do you support chaos?" 

    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure would result in mass disorder)

    "Why do you support people being killed?"

    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure enables violence)

    "Why do you think that stealing is ok?"

    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure makes people vulnerable to victimization)

    Now, the person with whom I'm engaging probably doesn't think killing, violence and stealing are good things, even as I may think his/her ideas, if enacted (or continued), would (or do) lead to these things occurring. So these questions would be disingenuous and not terribly illuminating. Yet these types of moronic, adolescent, insincere queries are a regular feature of this site; I think they are best ignored.

    And as far as questions of the sort I consider to be stupid, or at the very least shallow, I'm sorry Paul, but many of your inquiries fall into this category. Here's an example:

    "Would you have supported slavery in 1840, because it was the "law"?"

    There are so many tendentious premises behind this childish question that it's hard to know where to begin. First, the attempt to make the leap from one unjust law meaning, a priori, that all laws are unjust; it's a silly, idiotic premise. I can draw a distinction between a law that calls for motorists not to drive 75 mph in a heavily-populated area of downtown Keene and one that enables the enslavement of human beings. Laws are like guns; they are human creations that can do us good or ill, and the way we manage them is an ongoing subject of debate and struggle. Which leads to another one of your shallow and insincere premises: that there are almost always simple, clean, "moral" answers to these questions. This premise is enabled by the fantastical intellectual world in which you choose to exist, where imaginary systems and non-systems magically make most of the world's problems go away. So, you have people on the one hand struggling with reality, and making their arguments on that basis, and then we have you and your ilk, Paul, who counter by referring to neat, clean structures and systems that have 1) been tried, and turned out not to be neat, clean or workable at all, or 2) are complete flights of fancy. So you can assuage yourself by feeling that you have achieved some sort of higher ground, when in fact all you've done is absent yourself from truly dealing with the matters at hand. All for an ego-boost. Sorry, Paul; moral vanity is really unattractive.

    Unfortunately, life is pretty messy and complicated; as a result, we are all moral relativists (yes, you too, Paul). Principles and values are obviously essential, but while a given principle may provide us with guidance in a vast majority of situations, there will always be instances where it doesn't. I can coherently believe that laws are necessary for the maintenance of a free society while recognizing that some laws are unjust and working to see that they are overturned. And I can also believe in the necessity of laws while also recognizing not only its limits, but the unintended consequences that can flow from them. This is obvious stuff.

    But my question for you, Paul, is this: what is it in your personality or history that demands such absolutism and surety in a world-view? Your writing evinces a truly fear-based fundamentalism, and I would venture to say that it's your fear that's ailing you, not the entities outside yourself to which you've ascribed malevolent intent.

    "It is the height of absurdity for someone so apparently terrified of intellectually honest thought to ascribe ulterior motives to the beliefs of others."

    Wow, this really is Grade-A clinical projection, coming from someone as ideologically rigid and inclined towards fundamentalism as you, Paul. You cling to your belief system (and the nostrums and cliches that you think give it credibility) with the desperation of a kitten holding onto the top branch of a tree. There's something rather melancholy and sad about it.

    "It is the height of absurdity for someone apparently willing to spend a great deal of time cruelly and shallowly insulting others over minutia to question the character and purpose of the lives of others."

    Do you really think that responding to the crazy, elementary posts on this site (and thus providing some sort of representation of what seems to be the sentiment(s) of the majority of Keene's citizens) is at all complicated or time-consuming? Paul, it's like the proverbial shooting of fish in a barrel.

    "You seek out for mockery those who make grammatical errors — yet you do not seek out or praise those who do not. You seek out for mockery those in between jobs — yet you do not seek out or praise those with solid employment. You seek out for mockery those who engage in activities you find ineffective, but you do not promote, encourage, or praise effectiveness. I would rather be guilty of every single speck you find in others, rather than your own giant planks…."

    What you consider to be mockery I consider to be assertions that focus on the primary issue here, which is that most of the rhetoric and activities of FreeKeeners is not about making life better for folks around here, but is instead a big compensatory edifice for self-perceived inadequacies. Can't write, can't make good impressions on people, can't get a good job, can't get a good home, can't convince people to see things your way, etc.? Well, that's not your fault; it has nothing to do with your own incapacities. It's EVERYONE ELSE'S FAULT. It's government, it's the "system", it's bureaucrats, and whatever other villains you can conjure up so as to avoid looking in the mirror. And thus we see the psychological process by which folks here will refer to Keene taxpayers as "slaves", even as doing so makes the term meaningless; try spending a couple of weeks in the Sudan if you want to see actual slavery, and if you are even remotely honest you'll admit that using the same word to describe paying a tax bill in Keene, NH is utterly obscene. If you live in the most affluent, materially comfortable society in the history of humankind, a society that with all its many woes and limitations enjoys freedoms to extent far beyond those enjoyed by the vast majority of humans throughout history, yet complain that you are an oppressed slave, it's reasonable to conclude that your hold on reality is extremely shaky, and that your complaint arises from some sort of inferiority-based sense of personal failure. You can't find your piece of the pie, you feel crappy about it, so you blame others for your problem (consider this assessment a sign of respect, as it merely describes maladaptive, neurotic behavior; in some cases, the people who act out in this way and suffer the consequences are clearly suffering from organic mental illness, like the tax protestors in Plainfield, NH, the Browns). And so the level of personal accomplishment of FreeKeeners and their supporters is worthy of discussion, particularly when they assert that the philosophies they espouse will lead to better lives (shouldn't we see that it's worked for them before giving it credibility?), and since they are so free about dispensing judgement upon the "failures" of others. And thus I'll stand by my suggestion for a FreeKeener slogan that would at least constitute truth in advertising:

    "FreeKeene Inc.: A Neurosis Disguised as an Ideology"

    Cheers,

    Ann

  12. On this site, city workers and citizens are routinely referred to with words and phrases like “thugs”, “tyrants”, “slaves”, “Nazis”, “hacks”, “bureaucrats”, “gangsters, “statist idiots”, “criminals”, etc., etc.; and this is just a partial list, based on a quick scan. And of course we haven’t seen you complain about this name-calling and “insult-tossing”.

    Notice here how she turns the simple act of calling a spade a spade into "name-calling" and "insult-tossing". She thinks its fine when the state parasites murder, assault and steal from people, but recognizing their actions as immoral, violent, ignorant and so on with terms that more appropriately reflect this fact is some terrible transgression on the part of liberty activists.

    Although I would think it would get you into trouble regarding that whole business about not bearing false witness. Or does your Jesus give hypocrites a pass, as long as they’re on the “right” side?

    Here she attempts to use Paul's religion against him, but appears not to have even the most basic understanding of it since "bearing false witness" means to "to lie about". As if calling a career statist "a bureaucrat", those who enforce ridiculous laws where there is no victim aren't "thugs" and those who steal a portion of your paycheck aren't "gangsters". She finishes her attack by invoking the name of Paul's deity in an ironic attempt to shame Paul for telling it like it is, while she completely ignores the obvious question of what "your Jesus" might think of her support for the modern equivalent of those Christ spoke out against in the first place.

    Ah yes, your “questions”. They really are very important to you, aren’t they? That’s fine, but you make a mistake if you think that latching on to a collection of talking points in question-form a priori makes them logical or coherent. And I do think that a rational person will wisely choose not to engage the irrational; actual, constructive engagement in such situations is an impossibility, owing to the lack of a shared sense of reality. When I’m asked questions on this site as part of some sort of “back and forth”, I answer some, and ignore others.

    This is what we call "blather". It's an attempt to use pseudo-logic and fancy words to produce a smoke and mirrors effect so she can conceal why she ignores so many of our questions. It's simple avoidance of cognitive dissonance, the result of the "If it makes you feel icky inside, ignore it and embrace the indoctrination tighter" mantra.

    “Why do you support chaos?”
    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure would result in mass disorder)

    “Why do you support people being killed?”
    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure enables violence)

    “Why do you think that stealing is ok?”
    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure makes people vulnerable to victimization)

    Here she reveals her deep-seated belief that government, a minority with a monopoly on legitimate force, is synonymous with social order rather than just a protection racket. Her ignorance of the liberty movement (or perhaps the depth of her indoctrination) is palpable here as she suggests that we foolishly seek a chaotic world without rules. As if not wanting an oligarchy using its monopoly on violence to enforce a unending litany of stupid, arbitrary rules against actions that cause no harm and have no victim is an absurd desire that will result in chaos.

    She goes on (and on) to defend the thousands upon thousands of insane laws already in existence as if most of them were reasonable and necessary rather than just a bunch of nonsense benefiting the state's lobbyist bedfellows.

    The Philosophy of Liberty lays out what is immoral and unjust using logic and reason. How many more "real" crimes could there possibly be in addition to murder, assault, vandalism, rape, theft, fraud, kidnap, trespass and slavery? Even if there were a hundred or a thousand more, the laws we have now are so numerous not a single book can hold them all and the majority of them are arbitrary, repetitious, stupid, victimless, immoral and unjust and that's why America jails more of its residents than any other country on Earth.

    The so-called justice system is a crock of shit too. As if paying the government more money in fines on top of the taxes they already extort from you OR being put in a cage with violent people for months or years will make you a better person because you smoked a plant they told you not to, refused to move a couch on your property, or you refused to cooperate when they kidnapped you for filming them.

    She then launches into a diatribe about how we should feel lucky because we live on the best slave farm in the world and our parasitic masters are the kindest masters in the world. This is the level of indoctrination and absurdity you're dealing with. She's got her justification for the state's violence down to a science. You'd have better luck convincing a Mormon to become a Pagan than convincing her that her system is corrupt, violent and broken.

  13. <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Paul,

    Forgive this tardy response; I’ve been away.

    No problem, I’ve been there :).

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    But my goodness Paul, such vitriol;

    I did not intend vitriol — I don’t hate you at all. My intent was twofold: to defend Jean from what I felt was a unfair and hurtful attack on your part, calling him “Intellectually-addled”, and an academic and professional failure, based on his grammatical errors. Also, I wanted to exhort you to engage others here on the basis of reason and respect, not insults. When you first got here, I think you were more interested in discussion than you appear to be now, and I don’t think the trend is a good one.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    what would “the Lord” say?

    I don’t know, I hope I did not go too far afield. Here’s a quote from “the Lord” however, in case you were under the impression that he could not say the hard truth (he’s talking to the Pharisees here):

    “23“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    25“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

    27“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Is it possible that you’re a sinner, just like the rest of us?

    Absolutely I am.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    And if that’s the case, what legitimacy does your sanctimony have, other than as a defense mechanism?

    I wasn’t attempting to be sanctimonious, only to defend someone who I felt was unfairly attacked, and to encourage you to take a different approach.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Let’s do some deconstructing:

    “What’s sad is that many here, including me, would be more than willing to honestly and substantively discuss ideas with you, and yet you refuse to really use your mind, and instead continue to engage in childish insult tossing.”

    Paul, are you so blind to the actions of your ideological compatriots that your ability to see and think objectively has been almost totally compromised? On this site, city workers and citizens are routinely referred to with words and phrases like “thugs”, “tyrants”, “slaves”, “Nazis”, “hacks”, “bureaucrats”, “gangsters, “statist idiots”, “criminals”, etc., etc.; and this is just a partial list, based on a quick scan. And of course we haven’t seen you complain about this name-calling and “insult-tossing”.

    You’re right that some rhetoric can be inappropriate, and I certainly don’t endorse everything anyone has said here. There is a big difference, I think, between condemning someone’s actions – calling them thieves, and personally attacking them – by calling them brain-addled, etc. I think I’m also probably personally more like to react negatively to insults aimed at someone to their face, than generalities made about society.

    Perhaps there is unfair rhetoric which I should speak against more than I do. That does not change the fact that your attack on Jean, and other attacks, were inappropriate. If you consider certain rhetoric inappropriate, I encourage you to speak against it, not react in kind – against third parties no less.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    It seems to be fine with you, as long as it’s being done by your fellow believers, as you all confront your imagined common enemy. Thus is hostility rationalized as “peaceful activism”. Nice trick.

    I am hostile to evil actions, but attacks on individual persons is not fine with me. Consider how you would react, as an abolitionist in 1840, to slaveholders, and perhaps that will help you understand the perspective of many here. Evil actions should be met with hostility, but the people committing those evil acts should be met with love. It can be hard to do, and I admit I am not perfect. Perhaps you are right that some of the rhetoric should be dialed back.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Although I would think it would get you into trouble regarding that whole business about not bearing false witness. Or does your Jesus give hypocrites a pass, as long as they’re on the “right” side?

    Where have I borne false witness (lied about someone’s actions)? If I have, I do want to know about it.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    “I have asked you a number of questions and made a number of points regarding political and moral philosophy, some twice, none of which you address.”

    Ah yes, your “questions”. They really are very important to you, aren’t they? That’s fine, but you make a mistake if you think that latching on to a collection of talking points in question-form a priori makes them logical or coherent. And I do think that a rational person will wisely choose not to engage the irrational; actual, constructive engagement in such situations is an impossibility, owing to the lack of a shared sense of reality. When I’m asked questions on this site as part of some sort of “back and forth”, I answer some, and ignore others. Frankly, most of the questions are either tendentious or stupid, so my willingness to engage is usually based on the mood of the moment. The tendentious questions are of the “when did you stop beating your wife” variety, like:

    “Why do you support violence?”

    “Why does liberty scare you?”

    “Why do you support stealing?”

    Etc., Etc. Questions such as these indicate an essential insincerity and a lack of interest in actual, serious discussion.

    These were not the questions to which I referred, and I agree that these questions are loaded. I suggest, however, rather than ignoring them, to answer the real question. For example, if someone asks you why you support violence, try explaining why you believe the enforcement of victimless crimes is not violence. Or, if someone asks you why you support stealing, explain why you believe taxation is not theft.

    In fact, this is a good start. I’ll number questions as they’re brought up here, and please respond to them. Feel free to ask me any question you like, as well, and I’ll respond to those.

    I’m sure we can have a substantive discussion, if we both try :).

    So, here’s the first two:

    (1). Why do you believe taxation is not theft?

    (2). Why do you believe the enforcement of victimless crimes is not aggressive violence?

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    I could play the same game with an anarchist, to wit:

    “Why do you support chaos?”

    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure would result in mass disorder)

    “Why do you support people being killed?”

    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure enables violence)

    “Why do you think that stealing is ok?”

    (the premise being that a total lack of some governing societal structure makes people vulnerable to victimization)

    Now, the person with whom I’m engaging probably doesn’t think killing, violence and stealing are good things, even as I may think his/her ideas, if enacted (or continued), would (or do) lead to these things occurring. So these questions would be disingenuous and not terribly illuminating. Yet these types of moronic, adolescent, insincere queries are a regular feature of this site; I think they are best ignored.

    I know these were just examples, but I’ll respond to them. Firstly, I certainly don’t believe a voluntary society would lead to more of any of these things. People would employ protection agencies, which would protect them against criminals. If you believe such protection agencies would be ineffective, I encourage you to explain your objection, and ask me how I believe it would be resolved.

    Secondly, I want to point out that there is a fundamental difference — the voluntaryist does not “support” any of these things in the same way that some support the state – voluntaryists, as you note, wish that none of them existed, and would oppose them (theft, etc). You may believe that in a voluntary society more of these things would exist (I do not), but that is not equivalent to support for them. By contrast, those who believe in the state do support the violence the state commits. In other words, they do not wish that that violence did not exist.

    In any case, your main point was that both these sets of questions are loaded and unfair, and I agree. However, as I say, I think the best approach is to answer the real question, not the baiting question, and try to engage in a real dialogue.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    And as far as questions of the sort I consider to be stupid, or at the very least shallow, I’m sorry Paul, but many of your inquiries fall into this category. Here’s an example:

    “Would you have supported slavery in 1840, because it was the “law”?”

    There are so many tendentious premises behind this childish question that it’s hard to know where to begin. First, the attempt to make the leap from one unjust law meaning, a priori, that all laws are unjust; it’s a silly, idiotic premise.

    That’s not the point of this question at all. Some laws absolutely may be just, and others unjust. The point is that those laws which are unjust should not be blindly followed.

    If a person says, “yes the law may be unjust, but it should be supported and obeyed because it’s the law”, then I very well might ask this question.

    I am not looking for you to consider all laws unjust, but to recognize that some laws can be unjust and immoral, and that if one is, it should not be followed simply because it is “the law”. Do you agree?

    So, here’s question 3(a-c):

    (3a). Do you believe certain laws can be unjust or immoral?

    (3b). If the answer to 3a is yes, do you believe these unjust or immoral laws should still be obeyed?

    (3c). If the answer to 3b is yes, would you have obeyed laws forcing escaped slaves to be sent back to plantations, in 1840?

    My answers would be yes, no, and no. I hope yours are the same :).

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    I can draw a distinction between a law that calls for motorists not to drive 75 mph in a heavily-populated area of downtown Keene and one that enables the enslavement of human beings.

    I agree. I certainly draw a distinction. I think the roads should be privately owned, but I would support rules set by those owners for maximum speeds. Speed limits make sense, it’s only forced public funding which does not.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Laws are like guns; they are human creations that can do us good or ill, and the way we manage them is an ongoing subject of debate and struggle.

    I agree. And, like guns, they are used appropriately only in self defense, or defense of property.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Which leads to another one of your shallow and insincere premises: that there are almost always simple, clean, “moral” answers to these questions.

    I choose to support moral behaviors, and oppose immoral ones. I think any decent person does. Now, of course, there is always discussion over what exactly is moral and immoral, and I welcome that discussion.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    This premise is enabled by the fantastical intellectual world in which you choose to exist, where imaginary systems and non-systems magically make most of the world’s problems go away.

    I don’t think there’s anything magical about it, I believe the ways in which voluntary solutions could improve things have been rationally explained. Of course, I do think there will still be problems. Please explain what flaws you see in voluntaryist solutions – why you believe they will be ineffective – or less effective than current solutions.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    So, you have people on the one hand struggling with reality, and making their arguments on that basis, and then we have you and your ilk, Paul, who counter by referring to neat, clean structures and systems that have 1) been tried, and turned out not to be neat, clean or workable at all,

    I don’t think voluntaryism has been tried — perhaps in the Pennsylvania colony for a period, to an extent. Please explain which case you are referring to, and what complications and difficulties arose. Perhaps there are better solutions.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    or 2) are complete flights of fancy.

    If by “complete flight of fancy” you mean something which has not been tried to a great extent – this is no criticism. If you mean that it is unworkable, I encourage you to explain how and why.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    So you can assuage yourself by feeling that you have achieved some sort of higher ground, when in fact all you’ve done is absent yourself from truly dealing with the matters at hand.

    I always attempt to achieve the highest moral ground possible – all people should. I do also try to deal with matters at hand. I know a full voluntary society is not achievable tomorrow, but I support practical and positive steps in that direction. Please explain what matter at hand I have not dealt with.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    All for an ego-boost. Sorry, Paul; moral vanity is really unattractive.

    I assure you, it’s not for an ego boost.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Unfortunately, life is pretty messy and complicated; as a result, we are all moral relativists (yes, you too, Paul).

    How so? Please explain. I try not to be a moral relativist, but perhaps I am using a different definition of that term than you.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Principles and values are obviously essential, but while a given principle may provide us with guidance in a vast majority of situations, there will always be instances where it doesn’t.

    I agree to an extent – no set of principles can guide us in all situations. However, I also believe that there are certain principles which should not be violated. Murder of innocents is always wrong – but that principle is not going to help me decide what to have for dinner.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    I can coherently believe that laws are necessary for the maintenance of a free society while recognizing that some laws are unjust and working to see that they are overturned. And I can also believe in the necessity of laws while also recognizing not only its limits, but the unintended consequences that can flow from them. This is obvious stuff.

    I agree that there are some moral laws, and actions by government, and I support those laws and actions. I do hope that you are willing to stand against unjust laws and actions even before they are overturned.

    You say that “laws are necessary for the maintenance of a free society”. I agree with the principle behind what you are saying. Murder, and theft, for example, should be stopped, and prosecuted. I think, however, these societal laws need not be enforced or created by a monopoly. Forced monopolies are prone to abuse, because people are not allowed to choose alternatives. This is how we’ve ended up with the tyranny we have today – to a large extent.

    We would still have “laws” in a voluntary society – all major protection agencies in an area would agree to abide by certain rules, because that is what the people want. For the same reason murder and theft, etc, is illegal now, murder and theft would be illegal in a voluntary society: the people demand it.

    Just rules are good and necessary – immoral unjust rules are not. It is just to prohibit murder and theft; it is unjust to force everyone to pay you for protection services, or to prohibit competition.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    But my question for you, Paul, is this: what is it in your personality or history that demands such absolutism and surety in a world-view? Your writing evinces a truly fear-based fundamentalism, and I would venture to say that it’s your fear that’s ailing you, not the entities outside yourself to which you’ve ascribed malevolent intent.

    I suggest that you deal with the substance of a person’s argument, and not try to play amateur psychologist. I could come up with some theory about how you’re afraid, brain-addled, mentally disabled, brainwashed, or academically/professionally discouraged, but I doubt it would further the discussion, and would probably just tick you off. 😉

    To answer your question, I am not afraid :). If you’re honestly interested in my motivations, I am interested in supporting moral behavior, and holding self-consistent views regarding morality and rights. I think initiating violence, or the threat of it, against a person who is not harming and has not harmed others is immoral, and the logical conclusion of that is voluntaryism. There is no code of morality or definition of rights which justifies coercive government, which does not also justify all kinds of other atrocities.

    Fundamentally, as long as a person does not harm others, they should be free to choose how they will live. I have no right to force my views on them, force them to live a certain way, or take their money by force.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    “It is the height of absurdity for someone so apparently terrified of intellectually honest thought to ascribe ulterior motives to the beliefs of others.”

    Wow, this really is Grade-A clinical projection, coming from someone as ideologically rigid and inclined towards fundamentalism as you, Paul. You cling to your belief system (and the nostrums and cliches that you think give it credibility) with the desperation of a kitten holding onto the top branch of a tree. There’s something rather melancholy and sad about it.

    I’m not clinging to anything. I suggest that you refrain from theorizing about the motives of others, and imagining their deficiencies. Perhaps it was unfair of me to call you “terrified of intellectually honest thought” – I hope it was unfair. That was based on your refusal to honestly answer some questions I had put to you. I will withdraw that, if you will answer the questions I posed to you in this post (three so far).

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    “It is the height of absurdity for someone apparently willing to spend a great deal of time cruelly and shallowly insulting others over minutia to question the character and purpose of the lives of others.”

    Do you really think that responding to the crazy, elementary posts on this site (and thus providing some sort of representation of what seems to be the sentiment(s) of the majority of Keene’s citizens) is at all complicated or time-consuming? Paul, it’s like the proverbial shooting of fish in a barrel.

    I suggest you either spend no time at all here, or spend enough time to think seriously about core issues, and discuss them honestly and respectfully.

    You have been tossing insults – calling people fearful, addled, academic failures, mentally handicapped, etc – not addressing the substance of issues. It’s worse than a waste of time.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    “You seek out for mockery those who make grammatical errors — yet you do not seek out or praise those who do not. You seek out for mockery those in between jobs — yet you do not seek out or praise those with solid employment. You seek out for mockery those who engage in activities you find ineffective, but you do not promote, encourage, or praise effectiveness. I would rather be guilty of every single speck you find in others, rather than your own giant planks….”

    What you consider to be mockery I consider to be assertions that focus on the primary issue here, which is that most of the rhetoric and activities of FreeKeeners is not about making life better for folks around here, but is instead a big compensatory edifice for self-perceived inadequacies.

    As I say, stop theorizing about the personal deficiencies of others. It is arrogant, unfair and untrue.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Can’t write,

    I can write, as many others here can.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    can’t make good impressions on people,

    I make a good impression on most people, as many others here do.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    can’t get a good job,

    I am a professional engineer, and many others here have very good jobs.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    can’t get a good home,

    I have a very happy home, thank you :).

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    can’t convince people to see things your way, etc.?

    I do my best ;). Some I convince others I do not. I imagine that’s true for most people, including most people here.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    Well, that’s not your fault; it has nothing to do with your own incapacities. It’s EVERYONE ELSE’S FAULT. It’s government, it’s the “system”, it’s bureaucrats, and whatever other villains you can conjure up so as to avoid looking in the mirror.

    I don’t know who you’re talking to here, but it’s not me.

    As I say, I suggest you stop playing amateur psychologist, and diminishing the views of others, rather than deal with the substance of them.

    When you make an argument or ask a question, I have not nor will I theorize about your bad childhood, professional disappointment, or brain addling being the reason for the argument or question. I will respond to the argument and answer the question. I suggest you do the same for me and others – it’s common courtesy. To respond to a question or argument, or even grammatical errors, with snap psychological judgments and mockery says more about the mocker than the mocked.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    And thus we see the psychological process by which folks here will refer to Keene taxpayers as “slaves”, even as doing so makes the term meaningless; try spending a couple of weeks in the Sudan if you want to see actual slavery, and if you are even remotely honest you’ll admit that using the same word to describe paying a tax bill in Keene, NH is utterly obscene.

    It’s not chattel slavery, but it is slavery – at least for the minority. The majority takes as much or as little of the minority’s money as they choose, makes as many arbitrary rules as they wish regarding how they can live, and locks them in a cage if they disobey orders.

    It’s certainly not nearly as bad as in the Sudan, I agree, but taking, by force, the fruits of a person’s labor, is certainly slavery, at least to an extent. We’re at about 50%. Chattel slavery is more like 90% — it’s not 100%, as slaves are usually allowed to have gardens, and are given food.

    Each of us currently works until about August 1st to pay for government taxes and regulations – although it varies a bit by state.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    If you live in the most affluent, materially comfortable society in the history of humankind, a society that with all its many woes and limitations enjoys freedoms to extent far beyond those enjoyed by the vast majority of humans throughout history, yet complain that you are an oppressed slave, it’s reasonable to conclude that your hold on reality is extremely shaky,

    I agree that we have more freedoms in the U.S. than most throughout history – although we have certainly lost many since the founding of the country (the ending of chattel slavery being a big exception).

    It’s not a negative statement about the U.S. in particular – most people in most countries through history were slaves to one extent or another. Average people have been subjects, serfs, peons, nu, etc, for a very long time. The point is that the practice cannot be considered to have been entirely ended until one group of people no longer coercively controls the finances and lives of others. The government – or at least the majority – has the ability and believes itself to have the right to take from a person whatever property of theirs it chooses, at whatever time it wants, and to force that person to behave in any way they choose – even regarding behaviors which do not harm others. In that way, that person is still a serf to the government, or the majority. Their right to keep the fruit of their labor is not respected, nor are their personal choices.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    … and that your complaint arises from some sort of inferiority-based sense of personal failure. You can’t find your piece of the pie, you feel crappy about it, so you blame others for your problem

    This part is not at all reasonable. As I say, please stop making snap psychological judgments of others, and address the substance of issues.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    (consider this assessment a sign of respect, as it merely describes maladaptive, neurotic behavior; in some cases, the people who act out in this way and suffer the consequences are clearly suffering from organic mental illness, like the tax protestors in Plainfield, NH, the Browns).

    Is it not possible that they simply believe taxation (aka, extorting money from innocent people) to be immoral, and are therefore taking a stand against it? It’s incredibly bombastic, as well as insulting and demeaning, to label all those who disagree with you on a matter as mentally ill.

    I do not call you mentally ill, despite my disagreements with you. Even if it were true, which I certainly do not think it is, it would not be constructive for me to proffer such theories. If I were to do so, rather than to respectfully discuss the issues, it would reflect on my character most of all.

    <blockquote cite="Ann">

    And so the level of personal accomplishment of FreeKeeners and their supporters is worthy of discussion, particularly when they assert that the philosophies they espouse will lead to better lives (shouldn’t we see that it’s worked for them before giving it credibility?), and since they are so free about dispensing judgement upon the “failures” of others. And thus I’ll stand by my suggestion for a FreeKeener slogan that would at least constitute truth in advertising:

    “FreeKeene Inc.: A Neurosis Disguised as an Ideology”

    It’s not at all worthy of discussion. The issues themselves are worthy of discussion. Your manner here is revolting in every way. How reasonable, or decent of me, would it be to regard all who disagree with me, including you, as neurotic by definition? The discussion should be far more mature than this.

    Let’s take a step in that direction – I encourage you to let all other arguments here drop, and simply, in your next post, answer the numbered questions I’ve posed to you here. Also, feel free to ask any questions you like of me regarding the issues – please do your best to make them as unloaded as possible, and I’ll do my best to answer them honestly (even if they are loaded).

    Oh, I’ve got one more, which you may find familiar ;):

    (4). Suppose at the creation of the world I find myself living near two other people. Now, suppose myself, and my first neighbor, wish to steal from the other. My second neighbor simply wishes to live in peace. My first neighbor and I hold a "constitutional convention", and determine by two thirds majority, that we will have a democracy. We then vote to steal from our neighbor, and the motion passes by two thirds majority, which of course is binding, since we have already determined that we shall live in a democracy. It's now the law that we shall take the property of our neighbor, and since there are two of us and one of him, overwhelm him by force and do so immediately. Or, of course, we could give him a chance to leave, at which point we get his farm anyway.

    Do you believe this scenario is any different, or more moral, than common theft?

  14. I've cobbled together a groundbreaking photo essay regarding the ramifications of Paul's eloquent response to Ann HERE.

  15. The HOFF always emerges victorious

Care to comment?