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Posts Tagged ‘government

Bureaucracy Emerges

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In my job I tinker with anarcho-capitalism, the idea that without government, private firms would enforce contracts through arbitration and provide defense like insurance. In theory, it should reward good choices and punish bad ones, which will produce better decision makers in the populace. The internet is almost government-free: enforcing gaming laws is a losing battle, adult content is always available to minors at no cost, and for years it was a good case for anarcho-capitalism. I was an anarcho-capitalist for some time, but a recent site hack is making me rethink that.

Recently Network Solutions, where my website is hosted, was hacked. They pulled the regular heist: hack server, change all ftp passwords, edit pages with malicious code that takes viewers to a page where they’ll download something unpleasant, sit back and watch the stats to see how many people are upset. Hacks never bothered me. We’re hit every year or so. You clean the code, patch the hole, restore your backup (your fault if you don’t have one), and get on with life without hassle. People like me with a decent understanding of coding and how to prevent most attacks enjoy this self-reliance, which is about the closest thing to anarcho-capitalism we’ll see outside of living in space. Knowing I can take care of myself in this hostile world makes me feel warm inside.

But this time, even after I cleaned my site, the ordeal wasn’t over. Google scans pages for malicious code, and if they find any, they don’t index your site. Goodbye 80% of searches. If Google doesn’t index your site, Firefox also blocks your site.  Goodbye 40% of remaining visitors. Our stats dropped off the face of the planet and would stay that way until Google approved our site. Even with the code removed, Google claimed that our site had a security loophole, which could only be fixed through Network Solutions. I had to go through NetSol, wait for them to fix their server, then apply for Google to check my website again so that it could be re-indexed on Google and accessible to Firefox users. This could be prevented if I had my own standalone server, but only the big guys with IT teams can handle that. Little guys go through a provider like NetSol or Go Daddy.

Private enforcement by Google in an attempt to protect its customers is an-cap in a nutshell. David Friedman makes similar arguments, as does Hans Hermann Hoppe for private defense and crime insurance. But when private firms own a market-share of customers that it protects by preventing their access to a place of business, you’re basically talking about governance.

Not that it’s bad governance. Once the code and security loopholes were actually fixed, my site was up in a day. Try getting that kind of turnaround with a builder’s permit. The wonders of profit-based governance! If NetSol had dragged its feet, it may have taken a month, but NetSol is profit-based too, so they had an interest in fixing the problem. DMV it is not, but it is governance, which comes with bureaucracy and red tape, and that’s not an-cap as I understand it. That this private form of bureaucracy emerged from internet anarchy, festering with malevolent Ukrainians and Nigerians, isn’t a case that an-cap is bad, but that it leads to a sort of patchwork of efficient, private governance owned by share-holders and run by well-paid CEOs. I’d be ecstatic if America were run this way.

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Written by xout

August 2, 2010 at 10:09 am

2084

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Orwell would enjoy this:

PHILADELPHIA – A suburban Philadelphia school district used school-issued laptop webcams to spy on students at home, potentially catching them and their families in compromising situations, a family claims in a federal lawsuit.

Lower Merion School District officials can activate the webcams without students’ knowledge or permission, the suit said. Plaintiffs Michael and Holly Robbins suspect the cameras captured students and family members as they undressed and in other embarrassing situations, according to the suit.

Tom Halperin, a 15-year-old sophomore from Wynnewood, said students are “pretty disgusted” and have started putting masking tape over their computer webcams and microphones. He noted that his class recently read “1984,” the George Orwell classic that coined the term “Big Brother.”

Everyone loves 1984. Bush, Obama, Glen Beck, Al Franken, Mugabe, and Mandela all love 1984. And so does the Lower Merion School District. 1984 is about as controversial as a warm shower.

The issue is that Tom is day-dreaming. His school is nowhere near absolute statism like in 1984. The closest thing is the DPRK, but even there people aren’t exactly clawing to get out. You can’t have an absolute tyranny like in 1984 after Orwell’s book has been written and popularized because anything that remotely resembles the Fourth Reich gets broken up immediately. So we’re still fantasizing about killing the old enemy that’s been dead since Hitler died.

What I want to know is what will the book 2084 will be about. Surely in 2084, people will wonder how we let our society get so out of hand.

Written by xout

June 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Pre-op trannies have a disorder?

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Pre-op trannies are officially “disabled”

In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, O’Donnabhain said she underwent gender-reassignment surgery at age 57, after a tormented existence as a father, husband, Coast Guardsman, and construction worker.

She wrote off the $25,000 in medical expenses on her taxes, but the IRS disallowed the deduction, saying the procedure was not a medical necessity.

O’Donnabhain, now 65, said she brought the lawsuit in an attempt to force the IRS to treat sex-change surgeries the same as appendectomies, heart surgeries, and other deductible medical procedures.

“It is not OK for them to do this to me or anyone like me,’’ she said.

O’Donnabhain’s lawyers argued that because gender-identity disorder is a recognized mental disorder that is generally treated with hormones and surgery, the costs are legitimate medical deductions.

It’s strange how we come up with criteria that constitute a disorder. Apparently personal affiliation with the opposite sex for two years is adequate to diagnose someone with GID:

In the United States, the American Psychiatric Association permits a diagnosis of gender identity disorder if four diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4thEdition, Text-Revised (DSM-IV-TR) are met. The criteria are:

  • Long-standing and strong identification with another gender
  • Long-standing disquiet about the sex assigned or a sense of incongruity in the gender-assigned role of that sex
  • The diagnosis is not made if the individual also has physical intersex characteristics.
  • Significant clinical discomfort or impairment at work, social situations, or other important life areas.

I know a woman who considers herself a “tomboy”, which suggests incongruence with gender, and suffers from imparement in social situations due to her gender, primarily because she’s awkward wearing gender-assigned clothing around men. Many women feel the same, I would assume. Wouldn’t this also be considered GID disorder? Probably not. No woman would accept it as a disorder. This woman calls it “feminism”. More evidence of our supremely limited knowledge of gender and sex.

Written by xout

February 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm