In his book, Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, Simon Blackburn takes the reader on a semi-structured tour of various ethical topics. He tackles a variety of bad ideas that have made their way into the ethical arena and spends the majority of the book focused on putting them down. Blackburn mostly refrains, however, from developing or advocating any particular ethical theory.
Surprisingly, given the title, the book not overly friendly to the uninitiated. The reader is often expected to already be familiar with major ideas, figures, and schools of thought in ethics and philosophy. While in the beginning Blackburn does do a good job explicitly motivating why ethical systems are important, by spending the bulk of the work on focused on flawed systems, the book might be discouraging to individuals looking for an ethical system to live by. Blackburn does drop a few hints at what he thinks a good ethic might look like, but sadly it seems to be some sort of democratic socialism.
When I commute to work, I usually ride a bike. It is nice to get a little exercise, and it is also the cheapest way to get there. Also, the town I live in has bike lanes on some of the streets, which makes it a very relaxing way to travel.
Unfortunately, my stress-free commute was interrupted a few weeks ago by a police officer. He shouted at me that, “you have to ride in the bike lane.” To which I responded, “Okay.” He then gave me a ticket for riding outside of the bike lane.
I was annoyed, until I saw what he did next. He proceeded down the street handing out tickets to anyone who rode their bike near him. No bell, have a ticket. Headphones in the ears, have a ticket. Reflector cracked, have a ticket. Clearly he had some sort of directive to ruin the day for as many people as possible.
The penalty for my victimless crime was not too high. It was just low enough that most people would choose to mail in payment rather than taking the day off from work to fight it.
I was still a little angry, though, so I thought about trying to fight the ticket. Continue reading →
Libertarian comedian Dave Smith released a comedy special last year that ancaps will love. It is called Libertas, and he hits on a number of hilarious topics, from bumbling politicians to the brainwashed graduates of government schools. As a long time ancap, getting to listen to a one-hour comedy special from a libertarian view point was not only refreshingly honest, but helped rejuvenate my hatred for the state.
The term capital is used in different ways in different contexts. In investment, it is how much wealth a person has. In business, it is the sum of your assets, or assets minus liabilities. In some economic contexts, it is any durable good that is used to produce other goods. In certain economic contexts, capital consists of anything that enhances your ability to perform economically useful work. So, anything that makes you productive would be considered capital. Some people prefer other definitions that exclude things like land and labor.
The common theme is that capital is something that people can use to do what they want to do. Continue reading →
Some like to describe ancaps as alt-right or right-wing libertarians. The reason is that in the American political spectrum, right-wing politicians occasionally use rhetoric that is somewhat close to what an ancap would think and say. For example, the technically-true but misleading “taxes are too high” or an insincere variant of “property owners should get to decide how to use their property”.
With friends like that, who needs enemies? Yet, the American-left’s hysterical call to follow Venezuela into the 9th level of hell is so abhorrent that Continue reading →