FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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There are some questions I get that are so common, I thought I'd lay them out there and try to get them answered as cogently as possible. If you have a question you would like to submit, please feel free to add it as a comment. I'll consider it as honestly as I can. I don't think there's really any limitation except that I would appreciate it if your question is an honest one too. But humor is always welcome.

I also revisit the answers as often as I can to make sure they are up-to-date with my understanding. This means I may even add or remove a single word to flush out a more full understanding as I go.

Who are you?

Q: So why is the name of your blog "inertia?"

Q: But isn't inertia a property of matter referring to a static state of being?

Q: With an online name like "inertia," do people ever think you are a black female?

Q: And what does the Ⓐ³ mean?

Beliefs

Q: So Anthony, are you an anarchist or something?

Q: What exactly do you mean by "specific set of principles?"

Q: Isn't pretty much everyone principled then?

Q: Aren't anarchists simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats?

Q: So what exactly is wrong with government?

Q: What do you mean by "threat of violence?"

Q: But I know people who refuse government services and they aren't dead. How do you explain that?

Q: Ok, so you just don't like taxes, is that it?

Q: Well, aren't you a Christian? How do you resolve this apparent conflict of world views?

Q: So you're a bible thumper?

Q: How about ecumenism, are you into that?

Q: Do you think complete liberty is biblical?

Q: Isn't being a Christian in conflict with your political beliefs, in light of Romans 13:1-7?

Q: But didn't Jesus pay taxes?

Beliefs :: Role of Government

Q: So how is government supposed to get money for these services without taxes?

Q: But then it would be no different from a business, right?

Q: But businesses screw people. Don't we need an impartial body to provide certain essential services without profit motive?

Q: Ok, government is not perfect and never will be. But isn't an impartial government an easier goal than fair businesses?

Q: Businesses get monopolies too. I can see abolishing government monopolies, but how do you abolish private monopolies?

Q: So in those rare situations where private monopolies can occur, are you in favor of government brokering the industry?

Q: So what do you do in those situations? How do you propose a private monopoly get busted up without government?

Q: Innovation? So you don't have a specific solution to private monopoly than innovation?

Q: But don't private monopolies need to at least be regulated?

Q: Isn't that a little circular?

Q: How is the free market different from crony capitalism?

Q: Where do you get this idea of non-aggression?

Q: Are you one of those Ron Paul guys?

Q: But what could you possibly have against Ron Paul? Isn't he into small government?

Q: What is a statist?

Q: Wow, that's a pretty wide net. Isn't that a little too wide?

Q: Why don't you just move?

Q: Right, because you see the Constitution in a different light. That seems ominous. What do you mean by that?

Beliefs :: Voting

Q: But doesn't Spooner's quote really mean we just need to vote the right people in office?

Q: I take it you don't vote then, right?

Q: Why not?

Q: But if you don't vote, what gives you the right to complain?

Q: So you will never vote?

Q: How is voting a violent act?

Q: I think you made a leap of logic there. If a ballot is being cast to decide if it's ok for the government to kill babies for fun, wouldn't you be obliged to vote no?

Q: But if you don't vote if the government should kill babies for fun, wouldn't your lack of vote help the "yes" side?

Q: So you must vote no in order for this kind of bad legislation to fail, right?

Q: But if government is out of control and a good ballot measure is proposed that would bring it under control, even just a little, isn't it better to vote for such a measure than to ignore it and risk continued lack of control?

Q: What does alcoholism have to do with government being out of control?

Q: If a person isn't quite ready to quit voting, is there something else you would recommend? For example, what about people outside the US who are required to vote by law? What would you tell them?

Q: Would you vote for someone who promises to do something like abolish their own office?

Beliefs :: "Isms"

Q: Ok, I think I have you figured out now, Anthony. Are you one of those Ayn Rand fans?

Q: Wait, greed is a good thing??

Q: If you think greed is a sin, does that mean government has a right to tax and regulate it?

Q: Anthony, you seem sort-of hardcore/radical/extreme/ridged. Why is that?

Q: What about roads/streetlights/courts/police/et al.?

Q: This is just your utopia, right?

Q: Is everything "black and white" to you?

Q: How do you know everyone is "black and white" on something?

Q: Can you name one thing you consider a shade of gray?

Q: You misspelled "Rocky-Road."

Q: Do you mean to say you could take it or leave it (Rocky-Road)?

Q: You don't like marshmallows?! Who doesn't like marshmallows?!

Strategy

Q: Can you name even one society that was able to last any amount of time without a government?

Q: So it's never happened, what makes you think it'll ever happen?

Q: Come on! How can anything like anarchy, that has never been tried on a national scale, ever work in practical terms?

Q: Are you saying that if I assert complete liberty (anarchy) will never be attainable, I am in effect saying small government is equally unattainable?

Q: Will you assert the same thing in return? If anarchy is attainable, is small government attainable?

Q: You seem to have an answer for everything, don't you?

Q: Have you ever been wrong?

Q: Ok, I've been convinced by some of what you say. What do you propose we do about it?

Q: Anthony, what about this new (tea party, coffee party, jack daniel party, whipped-cream-and-handcuffs party, perfect candidate, plan of action, other magic bullet) movement?

Q: Wow, that is a great paragraph. Did you think of that yourself?

Q: I want to understand the voluntary society you're always talking about. Is there an article you've written that explains this?

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A: I started identifying myself as inertia since 1992. Before that, I was just "Q" when posting online. But "online" wasn't the internet. It was WWIVnet (that's right, modems and BBS). I had to stop using Q because it was only one character and most online systems needed three letters.

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A: Yes. And I can see the negative connotation. But accelerating forever can be bad too. I have an inertial frame of reference that changes over time, just like you. My goal is to discern between the philosophical equivalent of real forces and pseudo-forces.

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A: It has happened.

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A: Agorism, Anarchy, Action!!

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A: If by "anarchist" you mean someone who is interested in uncompromising liberty based on a specific set of principles, yes. But I find most people assume the word "anarchy" refers to "total chaos." I don't hold that definition but since a lot of people operate with that assumption, I refer to myself as a "Classical Liberal."

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A: Another way to word it is to say someone is "principled" as opposed to someone who is "unprincipled." To hold that "principled" means to adhere to a way of thinking based on reason rather than some other basis.

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A: Someone who is principled strives to avoid self-contradictory positions. Someone who is unprincipled doesn't mind holding self-contradictory positions. People who are unconcerned with holding self-contradictory positions tend not to mind that they are unprincipled. People who are concerned with avoiding self-contradictory positions tend to worry they might be unprincipled when they encounter new information; they may either change their position or try to justify it in some way. Justification of a self-contradictory position doesn't magically make someone principled.

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A: Yes, they believe that "the best government is that which governs least," and that which governs least is no government at all.

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A: Government provides services under threat of violence.

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A: If you refuse services offered by government, you will die.

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A: They refused the service but the still had to pay for it.

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A: Correct.

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A: Very simple. Only Jesus Christ (who God the Father raised from the dead) is my ruler, not imperfect men.

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A: Yes, but only to people who identify themselves as adherent to God's Word. So if you don't believe it, why would I ever hold it against you? Not my job.

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A: Between denominations, probably. But between religions and philosophies, no. Of course, it depends on the scope and context.

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A: Statists use scripture to promote aggression. Anti-statists use it to promote voluntaryism. Liberals and progressives use scripture to defend social programs. Conservatives use it to justify war. Many years ago, people who supported slavery used scripture to support slavery. Abolitionists used scripture to denounce slavery. Anti-tax. Pro-tax. Anti-smoking. Pro-smoking. Pro-life. Pro-choice. [Though technically, I think the pro-life position can be defended strictly in terms of whether or not abortion is murder, I don't think the state has a role.] To twist scripture into supporting a particular political system is dangerous. The only thing we can and should conclude by reading scripture is the Gospel and that is all. We would like to believe our political views are supported by end-to-end by scripture, but the fact is, not all contexts and conditions are spoken about as clearly as the topic of salvation. And salvation should be the primary thing we are interested in learning when we approach scripture. That being said, I have opinions on how the inerrancy of scripture can be preserved and how it might support my political position. In that way, it's only a theory on my part. If it doesn't hold up to history and context, I'll be happy to retract an interpretation.

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A: Not at all. See my blog post by that title.

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A: As near as I can tell, the only account of Jesus paying taxes had to do with a buddy who agreed to pay them (Matthew 17:24-27). Jesus speaks of not offending the tax collector, but he must certainly have offended tax men when he turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13; John 2:13-17). I think Jesus' question to Peter indicates that he did not think that the tax collector had any business asking for the money. For all we know, Jesus’ instruction to Peter about catching a fish to find the tax in its mouth could have been a mock command, as though he were saying, “Pay the temple tax? In a pig’s eye!” On the other hand, it would be in keeping with Peter’s character if he made haste for the sea shore to inspect the mouth of his first catch.

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A: Like any other business that wants to offer services. Voluntarily.

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A: Correct.

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A: Good businesses do not screw their own customers. Government is not impartial. If any body can be perfectly impartial, that would be utopia.

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A: I disagree. Profit motive fosters fair businesses as long as there is competition to keep it in check. But government undermines competition by granting itself monopolies.

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A: Private monopolies are typically established by government. Without government, private monopolies would be rare.

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A: No.

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A: I refuse to look to government for a solution to this rare, mostly theoretical possibility. There's too much at risk to go down that road. Once government busts up a private monopoly, it'll move on. Innovation is a better approach.

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A: If I had a specific solution that didn't involve force, I would go into business for myself, bust the private monopoly, and become wildly rich. If government does it with force, it stifles legitimate, innovative solutions like that.

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A: No, regulations result in unintended consequences, false security, and typically are what help monopolies form in the first place.

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A: Not really. Regulations are supposed to prevent one set of problems but spawn yet other problems. You end up with a huge mess. That's all I'm asserting. Let's let the free market work instead of endless regulations.

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A: First of all, can you say crony free market? No. So they're different from the outset. Crony capitalism is aggressive while the free market is non-aggressive. That's the main difference.

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A: It's a first principle that can be traced pretty far back. Christians can look to Matthew 7:12.

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A: I admit that I used to be a "Ronulan" (aka Ron Paul fan). But I have moved on. There is no doubt that Dr. Paul is the Champion of the Constitution. But I now see the US Constitution in a different light.

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A: He is a statist.

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A: A statist is anyone who thinks the state has any mandatory role.

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A: Yes, I know it's wide. But I have to define it that way. And you were probably not that taught in school, so that's why you are surprised. You were also probably taught that the you are bound under Constitution but there is no discussion or option. It is mandatory so it is a statist document as well. Ron Paul, being the Champion of the Constitution, believes you and I have a mandatory role there.

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A: So a group of bandits move into your neighborhood and demand your property. Are you saying it is just for the bandits to suggest you move?

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A: At this point, I usually quote Lysander Spooner: “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

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A: No. Since the nature of people will be static, and they are bent on abusing power, no law or constitution or anything else that consolidates power, even into three branches, will ever perpetually refrain people from abuse of that power.

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A: That is correct.

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A: Voting is a form of aggression. It is a violent act.

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A: That's a cliche. People who don't vote can certainly complain. Someone who is restricted from voting can complain. So I reject that cliche.

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A: That is correct.

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A: Whatever the question of the election, everyone is bound by the outcome, even people who vote against the question. The state has granted itself powers that it never had. That is invalid and can thus only be enforced by coercion.

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A: To vote no on a ballot like that is to assume that a yes vote is equally valid so long as it gets enough votes. But the question isn't valid in the first place.

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A: Yes it would.

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A: Immoral laws can be resisted without validating them in the voting booth. It is more consistent to oppose the very question before and after it is raised.

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A: In alcoholism, that behavior is called "enabling."

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A: It's an analogy. The drunk is out of control. The drunk comes home from a binge and promises his or her spouse to get things under control as long as his or her spouse will help just this once. The spouse reasons that helping "one last time" will get the drunk to get under control. Then the whole process repeats. This is classic enabling behavior. Voting for "baby steps in the right direction" is exactly the same.

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A: I would tell them that they probably won't get caught unless they're in Australia or something. If abstaining from the polls is somehow not an option, I recommend at least voting for any question that reduces aggression. But just because a question purports to reduce aggression doesn't mean one should vote for it. The question on the ballot would have to abolish a law, not merely "decriminalize for the purpose of regulating" or some other nonsense. It's still logically inconstant.

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A: No, they are lying.

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A: Not really. I would classify myself closer to Thoreauvian than Randian. But I do think Rand was misunderstood. Specifically, I think greed is a good thing.

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A: I'll explain what I mean in a future article. But for now, please understand I don't condone either unethical behavior nor utilitarianism when I say greed is a good thing. At the same time, I also think greed can be a sin.

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A: No. Don't you know two wrongs don't make a right? Anyway, I don't trust people to estimate whether another person is too greedy. Estimation of greed is a personal matter.

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A: How far would you go to protect your children from threat of violence? Why stop short when it comes to criminals writ large (government)?

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A: I'll write an article about this too. But it's actually a common question. In fact, it means that the notion has broken through some cognitive dissonance on some level.

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A: No. Utopia implies that everything would be fine and dandy. It also implies that humans would change their nature. I don't expect either.

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A: Everything? No, I wouldn't go that far. But if you sit down and try to actually understand the world around you, certain shades of gray do begin to fall away over time. Besides, everyone is "black and white" on something.

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A: Because if you say no one is "black and white" on anything, you are being "black and white" by making that assertion in the first place. It begs the question, therefore it's invalid. QED.

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A: Rockey-Road (ice cream); I am rather ambivalent on that topic.

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A: I'm a terrible speller. And that's not a question.

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A: Yeah. It's chocolate, which I like, but there are marshmallows, which I don't like. And some types seem to have stale nuts. Depends on my mood, I guess.

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A: Well, I mean, they don't completely repulse me. I just don't care for them.


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A: Not being able to name one doesn't imply it can't happen. Anyway, wouldn't people before the US was formed ask the same thing about self-government? If the US was able to exist with a government of less than 1% of GDP, how was that really different from 0% in day-to-day life?

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A: I didn't say it never happened. I cite sectors like the airlines or any area before government ever tried to get into these sectors of the free market; the Wright brothers put planes in the sky with bicycle parts. They didn't have regulations or any semblance of government force behind them. They were in a state of complete aeronautic liberty, limited only by the laws of physics, aided only by innovation. They couldn't force their contraption to stay aloft by legislative fiat. I see it as an example of contextual anarchy. And their innovation paid off. And that's how complete liberty usually happens. In pieces. Usually about 20 years before regulations come along.

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A: The system for shrinking the size of government exists today. But has that system ever worked? Has government ever gotten smaller at anywhere near the same rate as it got bigger? I believe the system to shrink government is totally vestigular (i.e. it's there but rather non-functional). There might be "token" shrinkage from time-to-time, but nothing close to the rate of growth; certainly nothing that would ever surpass the growth rate. So my point is, since it never happened, what makes you think it will ever happen?

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A: Yes, if you are interested in being self-consistent in your beliefs.

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A: I suppose I'll bite the bullet and agree as long as you do. I guess we will have to agree to agree. 😀

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A: Pretty much.

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A: Sure I have. And some of my blog articles are proof. But I leave them there to help me remember my mindset and learn from my mistakes.

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A: At the very least, read more. Action is important but not mindless action. I recommend joining the counter-economy.

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A: Here is my standard answer: I don't really think [proposed magic bullets] are going to amount to any real change. If they are extremely lucky (which I doubt) they might succeed in getting more republicans elected that will continue to hold the status quo slightly longer than the democrats will, but overall everything will continue to move in the wrong direction i.e. larger government, corrupt government, outrageous taxes, corporate and social welfare, indiscreet military involvement around the globe and on and on and on. Frankly, I think most "Christian" politicians don't understand the meaning of the word, and the ones that do sign up for the republican party and you vote for them because that's what Christians and patriots do. I definitely feel the system is beyond repair. Even the most conservative of conservatives holds positions that are completely opposed to those of the constitution and the founding fathers, if that ever mattered. Smoke and mirrors.

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A: I agree it's great, but I didn't think of it myself. I adapted it from a good statist friend, which is proof that statists do have the capacity to think clearly.

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A: Yes. Please consider my article "Understanding the Voluntary Society."

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4 Comments

  1. Ken Hood Jr. says:

    I like the new section on voting. Speaking of sections, do you ever plan to put together a table of contents for this FAQ?

  2. Thanks, I figure voting should be expanded. And it came up a lot last week for some reason. 🙂

     

    Yeah, I was thinking I needed a table of contents, but I end up expanding it instead. That would be just the thing, though.

  3. Now there is a TOC. Thanks for the suggestion!

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