Non-Apple Mac
Jul 27th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

The fol­low­ing was post­ed to an inter­nal Mac users’ mail­ing list at work. Since it doesn’t men­tion any com­pa­ny busi­ness, I thought it was inter­est­ing enough to post here:

Fig­ured I would let peo­ple know I was able to get a rather nice
hack­in­tosh up and run­ning w/out any sort of mod­i­fied OS install soft­ware
using the EFi-X “don­gle”. I build I quad core with 8 GB of RAM with a
Giga­byte moth­er­board for about 13 the cost of equiv­a­lent Apple hard­ware
(even bet­ter if you assume the mon­i­tor I bought is com­pa­ra­ble to the
apple 23 inch — like­ly it’s not the same qual­i­ty). After 4 days of
run­ning it still seems sta­ble. I’ve been suc­cess­ful in updat­ing all the
OS and soft­ware patch­es for my legal­ly owned copies of apple soft­ware
(yah fam­i­ly license!) with no prob­lems what so ever. Basi­cal­ly you plug
a usb don­gle direct­ly into the usb pins on the moth­er board and use it
as a boot loader that mim­ics the EFI code from the Apple bios. Pop in
your nor­mal install disk and away things go. About time I replaced my
2k1 Sun­flower Imac! If any­one else wants to hear more about it shoot me
a ques­tion.

Uninformative browser warnings
Jul 26th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Secu­ri­ty Cer­tifi­cate Warn­ings Don’t Work. angry tapir writes “In a lab­o­ra­to­ry exper­i­ment, researchers found that between 55 per­cent and 100 per­cent of par­tic­i­pants ignored cer­tifi­cate secu­ri­ty warn­ings, depend­ing on which brows­er they were using (dif­fer­ent browsers use dif­fer­ent lan­guage to warn their users). The researchers first con­duct­ed an online sur­vey of more than 400 Web surfers, to learn what they thought about cer­tifi­cate warn­ings. They then brought 100 peo­ple into a lab and stud­ied how they surf the Web. They found that peo­ple often had a mixed-up under­stand­ing of cer­tifi­cate warn­ings. For exam­ple, many thought they could ignore the mes­sages when vis­it­ing a site they trust, but that they should be more wary at less-trustworthy sites.”

Read more of this sto­ry at Slash­dot.


Every time I’ve encoun­tered a cer­tifi­cate warn­ing it’s been for a per­fect­ly valid but self-issued cer­tifi­cate. If the peo­ple in the exper­i­ment have had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences, it’s not sur­pris­ing they would have got­ten into the habit of ignor­ing the warn­ings.

Life imitating art
Jul 22nd, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Jail­ing the Inno­cent.

Apg_jail_090722_wmain Today’s Wash­ing­ton Times reminds us that big gov­ern­ment takes more than just our mon­ey.  It some­times takes away inno­cent people’s free­dom.

George Nor­ris spent 17 months in fed­er­al prison because he used the wrong paper­work for import­ed orchids that are per­fect­ly legal to grow and own. David McNab suf­fered eight years in the fed­er­al pen for pack­ing import­ed lob­ster tails in plas­tic rather than the required card­board car­tons. Kris­ter Evert­son spent more than a year in fed­er­al prison for ille­gal­ly ‘dis­pos­ing’ of mate­ri­als intend­ed for an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly fuel cell even though the mate­ri­als were pack­aged care­ful­ly and stored com­plete­ly out of harm’s way.”

Mr. Evert­son and Mr. Nor­ris’ wife, Kathy, will be among the wit­ness­es today at a hear­ing on over­crim­i­nal­iza­tion and overfed­er­al­iza­tion being held by a sub­com­mit­tee of the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee. They serve as stark reminders that the risks of big gov­ern­ment are not mere­ly a the­o­ret­i­cal con­cern.”  

Often, nig­gling reg­u­la­tions are enforced by bureau­crats lit­er­al­ly bear­ing arms against cit­i­zens who have no idea they have vio­lat­ed crim­i­nal statutes and then pros­e­cut­ed by an uncon­strained Jus­tice Depart­ment overea­ger for pelts on the wall.”

(F)ederal crim­i­nal law is ‘an incom­pre­hen­si­ble, ran­dom and inco­her­ent, duplica­tive, ambigu­ous, incom­plete and orga­ni­za­tion­al­ly non­sen­si­cal.’”

Mrs. Nor­ris writes, ‘Now I know that every sin­gle per­son is at risk because almost any­thing can be charged as a crime.’ Her 66-year-old orchid-growing hus­band was ‘put in hand­cuffs and leg shack­les and (thrown) in a hold­ing cell with one per­son sus­pect­ed of mur­der.’”

The Wash­ing­ton Times also says a 12-year-old:

.…was hand­cuffed, searched and thrown in a pad­dy wag­on for eat­ing a sin­gle french fry in a Metro­rail sta­tion, and Kay Leibrand, a 61-year-old can­cer patient sent to jail because her hedges were too high. The list goes on. It is a list of vic­tims of gov­ern­ment run amok.“

[John Stossel’s Take]

This is some­thing that Ayn Rand pre­dict­ed in Atlas Shrugged:

There’s no way to rule inno­cent men. The only pow­er any gov­ern­ment has is the pow­er to crack down on crim­i­nals. Well, when there aren’t enough crim­i­nals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impos­si­ble for men to live with­out break­ing laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding cit­i­zens? What’s there in that for any­one? But just pass the kind of laws that can nei­ther be observed nor enforced nor objec­tive­ly inter­pret­ed — and you cre­ate a nation of law-breakers — and then you cash in on guilt.

Anarcho-capitalism and child abuse
Jul 11th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

For your ref­er­ence: Roth­bard against the Fugi­tive Child Act.

Rod­er­ick recent­ly post­ed a link to a creep-out ad for this sado-fascist hor­ror showThe Total Trans­for­ma­tion® self-help course for par­ents who are frus­trat­ed at their inabil­i­ty to uni­lat­er­al­ly dom­i­nate their chil­dren. (Just as a side­bar, I used to hear ads for this ser­vice or one sim­i­lar to it dur­ing the inter­stices for a nom­i­nal­ly lib­er­tar­i­an minimal-statist talk radio show — I think it was the Down­size DC radio show. I dun­no how that reflects on the show itself; I think it doesn’t reflect well at all on the tar­get audi­ence for the sta­tion that was run­ning it.)

Any­way, in reply, Andrea Shep­ard men­tioned some of the child humil­i­a­tion industry’s pri­vate intern­ment camps for way­ward youths (which active­ly encour­age anx­ious par­ents to force their chil­dren into the camp, in secret, on false pre­texts). In reply, Anon73 wrote:

Yeah I came across this stuff a few years ago and was hor­ri­fied by it. I remem­ber hav­ing this in mind when social anar­chists accused ancaps of sup­port­ing pri­vate tyran­ny since most ancaps accept fam­i­lies and fam­i­ly prac­tices gen­er­al­ly. If the alter­na­tive to hav­ing my kid be a pot-smoking starv­ing ston­er is to have them sent to Amer­i­can Guan­tanamo then I’d rather have them be ston­ers.

Andrea respond­ed:

You haven’t been pay­ing atten­tion to the same an-caps I have. I’m an an-cap and that sort of You’re a slave until you turn 18. It’s for your own good bull­shit has always been a rather hot-button issue for me.

I think that Anon73’s point is a fair one against some anarcho-capitalists and not against oth­ers, and that it’s impor­tant to track the dis­tinc­tion. Anon73 men­tioned he wasn’t sure about Rothbard’s view on the mat­ter:

I’m not sure how Roth­bard was on the slave until you’re 18 doc­trine but I remem­ber at one point he did repu­di­ate it. Not sure about oth­er ancaps. At any rate this is def­i­nite­ly a pri­vate tyran­ny worse than many types of sta­tist tyran­ny, which was the point I want­ed to make.

For what­ev­er it’s worth, here is the deal on Roth­bard, as it per­tains to children’s rights, and in par­tic­u­lar as it per­tains to children’s rights to defy par­ents and not to be forced into quote-unquote Behav­ior Mod­i­fi­ca­tion hell­holes, whether pub­lic or pri­vate, by their par­ents.

Rothbard’s plumbline posi­tion in Kid Lib (1974) and The Ethics of Lib­er­ty ch. 14 (1982) is that par­ents have a right to set rules for house­hold con­duct, as the pro­pri­etor of the house­hold, until chil­dren move out and take up liv­ing on their own. But also that par­ents have no right to phys­i­cal­ly aggress against chil­dren[1], that chil­dren should be able to legal­ly pros­e­cute par­ents for injuries com­mit­ted against them in the name of dis­ci­pline, that if chil­dren do not like how their par­ents are treat­ing them that they have an uncon­di­tion­al right to end their par­ents’ guardian­ship at any age where they are phys­i­cal­ly capa­ble of run­ning away, that this right shuld include the right to strike out on their own or to take up with any fos­ter par­ents who agree to take them in, and that nei­ther par­ents nor the State have any right to force run­away chil­dren to return to the guardian­ship of any adult against the child’s will.

In the ear­li­er piece, Kid Lib,” Roth­bard aims to posi­tion his view as a middle-road between tra­di­tion­al coer­cive par­ent­ing and (his notion of) “Pro­gres­sive” anything-goes par­ent­ing, with most of the rhetor­i­cal ener­gy being spent on the lat­ter, so he spends a fair amount of time grump­ing about kids “kick­ing adults in the shins” and dis­cussing how he thinks that par­ents should insist on rules of con­duct and a cer­tain degree of uni­lat­er­al author­i­ty, but that it must be on a “my house, my rules” basis and not on the basis of using phys­i­cal or legal coer­cion to keep the child cap­tive. But the last, which he views as the fun­da­men­tal tyran­ny of the con­tem­po­rary parent-child rela­tion­ship, he denounces as kid­nap­ping, and as enslave­ment of chil­dren by par­ents.

In Ethics of Lib­er­ty, Roth­bard got more in-depth and went fur­ther. Most of the stuff about the­o­ries of par­ent­ing and house-rules is dropped, in favor of a more sys­tem­at­ic exam­i­na­tion of children’s rights, with a long sec­tion on the vio­la­tion of children’s rights by sta­tist law in par­tic­u­lar. Among oth­er things, this sec­tion high­lights the use of arbi­trary and uni­lat­er­al legal force to give par­ents, or the pater­nal State, near-absolute coer­cive con­trol over chil­dren. He con­demns the use of tru­an­cy laws and all oth­er Fugi­tive Child Acts to force chil­dren to stay in the places that adults have made for them; he also spends a great deal of time dis­cussing the use of inquisi­to­r­i­al court pro­ceed­ings and reha­bil­i­ta­tive impris­on­ment — through tru­an­cy laws, catch-all pun­ish­ment of juve­nile delin­quen­cy (which more often than not encom­pass­es anti­so­cial acts which are nei­ther vio­lent nor crim­i­nal and which no adult could be impris­oned for com­mit­ting), and, in the last resort, the use of arbi­trary PINS cat­e­go­riza­tion as a lettre-de-cachet for the indef­i­nite impris­on­ment of way­ward youths. Rothbard’s posi­tion cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly rules out the use of force to con­fine inde­pen­dent chil­dren to humiliation-camps for behavior-modification (whether gov­ern­men­tal­ly or pri­vate­ly admin­is­tered), and in his dis­cus­sion of the juve­nile prison sys­tem against chil­dren who have done noth­ing to vio­late anyone’s rights but who have dared to skip school, have unap­proved sex, or oth­er­wise offend­ed against their par­ents’ or the state’s sense of pro­pri­ety, Roth­bard con­demns this use of force against chil­dren as noth­ing more than a legal means to extend and inten­si­fy the pow­er of abu­sive par­ents over chil­dren who would be inde­pen­dent, or for the state to step in if a par­ent isn’t judged to be vig­or­ous­ly abu­sive enough for the child’s own good.

As far as I know, even after his paleo turn in the late 1980s and ear­ly 1990s, Roth­bard nev­er actu­al­ly declared that his pri­or posi­tion on children’s rights was false. (As a gen­er­al thing, he actu­al­ly hard­ly ever repu­di­at­ed any ide­o­log­i­cal posi­tions, no mat­ter how many strate­gic 180s he did and no mat­ter how uncer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly he dumped his ear­li­er point on the floor in the inter­est of his new coali­tion; instead, he just swapped out his rhetoric and tend­ed to write a if he had nev­er said the things that he said before.) But by 1992, main­ly in the inter­est of demo­niz­ing Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton and her asso­ci­a­tion with legal activism for children’s rights, he was scare-quote ridi­cul­ing any dis­cus­sion of children’s rights, declar­ing that chil­dren should quote-unquote get gov­erned by their par­ents, and denounc­ing Tibor Machan for sup­port­ing chil­dren who sued their par­ents for dam­ages or for ter­mi­na­tion of cus­tody. (I haven’t read any of Tibor’s stuff from that peri­od, so I can’t be sure, but from the date and from what Roth­bard writes, my guess would be that this was in response to high-profile cas­es like Kings­ley v. Kings­ley, in which a child was grant­ed legal stand­ing to sue for a trans­fer of cus­tody from his bio­log­i­cal par­ents to fos­ter par­ents. Any­one know for sure? If so, drop a line in the com­ments….)

Any­way, after the paleo turn, Roth­bard was look­ing to hook up with polit­i­cal allies who took rock-ribbed con­ser­v­a­tive posi­tions on parental con­trol, so all that stuff about the rights of way­ward chil­dren and the use of state vio­lence to keep chil­dren enslaved to their par­ents was pret­ty quick­ly dropped out, in favor of a line about the state’s med­dling in parental rights, with folks like Hoppe throw­ing in paeans to the author­i­ty of the pater­fa­mil­ias and the order of rank with­in the fam­i­ly, and the occa­sion­al casu­al sup­port­ive shout-out from LRC to the won­der and mys­tery of beat­ing your chil­dren in the name of dis­ci­pline.

Of course, after Rothbard’s paleo turn, there were still plen­ty of oth­er non-paleo anarcho-capitalists who dif­fered with Roth­bard and with his new­found allies on all this stuff, and who gen­er­al­ly took some­thing more like the old­er Roth­bard line. (George H. Smith, for exam­ple, defends the ear­ly Spencer’s posi­tion against parental coer­cion.) And the decline of pale­olib­er­tar­i­an­ism (both as a strate­gic alliance and as an ide­ol­o­gy) since Mr. Bush’s wars and the rise of Red State Amer­i­ca has result­ed in a pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant drop-off.

So is the wor­ry about anarcho-capitalists and non-governmental forms of tyran­ny, in par­tic­u­lar as they affect chil­dren, a fair one? Well, for some yes, and for oth­ers, no. For Roth­bard, both, depend­ing on what peri­od you’re look­ing at. Pale­olib­er­tar­i­an­ism was an impor­tant move­ment (almost entire­ly impor­tant for ill, rather than for good, but impor­tant nev­er­the­less) in the his­to­ry of anarcho-capitalism, but it’s impor­tant not to con­fuse it with anacho-capitalism as such; there were plen­ty of anarcho-capitalists before it who took much more rad­i­cal posi­tions on rights with­in the fam­i­ly, plen­ty of anarcho-capitalists at the time who reject­ed it, and at this point in lib­er­tar­i­an his­to­ry there are few left, espe­cial­ly among anar­chists, who would iden­ti­fy with any­thing like the full pale­olib­er­tar­i­an pro­gram. But those who did, and those who still would, typ­i­cal­ly take real­ly awful posi­tions on children’s rights, which ought to be called out and denounced. On the oth­er hand, many anarcho-capitalists, fol­low­ing Roth­bard and in the more lefty cli­mate of late-1960s, 1970s, and 2000s lib­er­tar­i­an­ism, took very strong stances against the coer­cion of chil­dren, and indeed often took a stronger stance than most social anar­chists. (Social anar­chists who devote a lot of writ­ing to edu­ca­tion, par­ent­ing, or patri­archy typ­i­cal­ly have tak­en a very strong line for child lib­er­a­tion; the major­i­ty who haven’t, haven’t.)

Most anarcho-capitalists, how­ev­er, just don’t write about the issue at all. Pre­sum­ably because they either don’t think about it, or don’t care to talk about it, or both. Which is unfor­tu­nate but not sur­pris­ing: most polit­i­cal the­o­rists don’t spend much time dis­cussing the sta­tus of chil­dren. Not because it’s unim­por­tant to them (patri­ar­chal author­i­ty is very impor­tant to lots of the­o­ries) but rather because they have rea­sons for want­i­ng cer­tain bedrock com­mit­ments to be left unspo­ken so that they can­not be iden­ti­fied, and with­out any explic­it defense so that they can­not be chal­lenged.

And for those of us (like me) who are anar­chists but not anarcho-capitalists, and who think that the free­dom of chil­dren from 18 years of vio­lence and despo­tism is among the most impor­tant, press­ing, and uni­ver­sal con­cerns that a modern-day Free­dom Move­ment ought to take up, I think the most impor­tant thing is to take what lessons we can from the best work avail­able and to expand it — to talk about how those who believe that chil­dren ought to be able to take up a free and inde­pen­dent life as they become ready for it, and who are con­cerned to help chil­dren escape from phys­i­cal vio­lence, coer­cive con­trol, bul­ly­ing and emo­tion­al abuse, and any oth­er assault on their bod­ies, lib­er­ty, inde­pen­dence, or dig­ni­ty, whether com­mit­ted by par­ents, by teach­ers, by the State, or by any oth­er adult — I think the impor­tant thing to do here is to learn from the best parts of what Roth­bard (among oth­ers) had to offer. What we have to stress is that this can­not be brought about by tak­ing out one form of coer­cive con­trol (by par­ents or oth­er state-approved guardians) only to replace it with anoth­er (through lit­er­al nanny-statism, government-controlled school­ing, coer­cive child wel­fare bureau­cra­cies, etc.). Rather, what I think the old­er Roth­bar­dian approach right­ly stress­es — the right of chil­dren to assert their own inde­pen­dence when they are ready to do so, not to be held cap­tive by over­bear­ing par­ents, and to have their deci­sion respect­ed when they decide it’s time to get the hell out of a house that they hate to be in — is the impor­tance of sol­i­dar­i­ty rather than res­cue. We must look towards help­ing chil­dren and ado­les­cents name their own sit­u­a­tion and make them­selves free — by oppos­ing laws that allow par­ents to beat and imprison chil­dren at will, and by work­ing in sol­i­dar­i­ty to sup­port the rights and the well-being of so-called run­away chil­dren and ado­les­cents; to cre­ate alter­na­tive insti­tu­tions that pro­vide them with a sup­port­ive place to go; and to strug­gle against the State’s efforts to force them back into homes that they hate and under the author­i­ty of par­ents that they risked so much to try to escape.

Note. Roth­bard talks about muti­lat­ing and abus­ing chil­dren as aggres­sions and as vio­la­tions of the parent’s role as trustee for the child’s self-ownership. I think his posi­tion log­i­cal­ly implies that it’s ille­git­i­mate for par­ents to use any form of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment at all against chil­dren, but as far as I know Roth­bard nei­ther con­firmed nor denied that in his writ­ing on the top­ic. (back)

See also:

[Rad Geek People’s Dai­ly]

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