A response to arguments against the CIA torture report

On Dec. 9, the CIA released a report detailing the use of enhanced interrogation techniques against captured terrorists during the Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks. The report describes what was done to who and when for the 119 known individuals who were held in CIA custody.

Reaction to the report has been mixed, with civil libertarians arguing that the American people have a right to know what has been done in their name and that the activities of the CIA were unjustifiable. National security statists counter that releasing the report threatens the safety of Americans overseas and that the ends of preventing terrorist attacks justify the means employed. Let us examine some of the common arguments made by national security statists.

1. The methods used were not torture. The methods used violate the Geneva Convention if it is construed to apply to unlawful combatants (the enhanced interrogation program’s supporters claim it should not be). They would also violate the Eighth Amendment if they were applied to U.S. citizens. One need only go through the list of techniques to dismiss this argument out of hand.

2. The methods used were effective and necessary. The report indicates that the methods used were not more effective than non-enhanced interrogations. Even so, it is impossible to know this for certain. One would have to examine an alternate timeline where no torture methods were used and compare the results, and this is not possible. As for torture being necessary, the ends cannot justify the means.

3. People died in worse ways on 9/11, so it was acceptable to subject terror suspects to enhanced interrogations. The hijackers who committed the crimes of 9/11 died in the attacks as well, and responsibility for crimes must die with the people who commit them. That being said, other people besides the hijackers acquired vicarious liability for aiding and abetting their efforts. It must also be noted that a threat to initiate the use of force counts as an initiation of the use of force, and that violating a fundamental right of another person while claiming the same right for oneself is logically invalid. Therefore, a person who is not just suspected, but is known to be involved in planning, aiding, or carrying out terrorist attacks is violating the right of other people to exclusive control over their own bodies, and is estopped from claiming self-ownership. Thus, there is no moral prohibition against torturing such a person, especially as a use of defensive force to prevent a terrorist attack that would kill innocent people.

4. The report is ill-formed because no interviews of CIA officials were conducted. This is cause for suspicion, not cause for rejection. Further evidence is needed to show that something untoward has occurred, and interviews of CIA officials should be conducted in order to obtain a more complete account of the events that took place.

5. The report is unimportant because the information was already public knowledge. The general nature of the operations were public knowledge, but the details were not. It is important for every American to be able to know exactly what has been done by agents of an institution that claims to represent their interests throughout the world.

6. The release of this information will cause more attacks against Americans. Again, it is impossible to know this sort of information for certain. One would have to examine an alternate timeline where the report was not released and compare the results, and this is not possible.

7. The release of this information should have been done at a different time. To quote Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), “This clearly is a period of turmoil and instability in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, that’s going to continue into the foreseeable future whether this report is released or not.”

8. The release of this information was politically motivated. All actions involving politicians are politically motivated to some extent, so this is true but trivial.

NYPD officer gets away with murder of Eric Garner

On Dec. 3, a grand jury in Staten Island returned a no true bill in the matter of the death of Eric Garner, who was killed by NYPD officer Daniel Pantoleo on July 17.

At about 5:00 p.m. EDT on July 17, Garner was allegedly selling bootlegged cigarettes in the Tompkinsville area of Staten Island, N.Y. This fact was disputed by multiple witnesses, who said he had instead been trying to break up a fight between two people who left the scene before police arrived. A video of the interaction between Garner and police shows Garner shouting, “Why you touching me? I didn’t sell anything! I was breaking up a fight!” More than five officers took Garner to the ground, and Pantoleo maintained a chokehold on Garner well after he lost consciousness. Garner said, “I can’t breathe!,” several times before losing consciousness. The police called an ambulance for him, but it was too late. The New York City medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide on Aug. 1, finding that while Garner’s poor health was a contributing factor to his death, the actions of police officers were the primary cause of death.

This case demonstrates that while cameras on police are statistically shown to lower police use of force and citizen complaints against police, they alone will not stop police abuse. Nor are recordings apparently enough to overcome the biases inherent in the grand jury system. That being said, it is not clear whether the officers knew their actions against Garner were being filmed, and they may have acted differently if they had been wearing cameras.

The decision today also illustrates why the state should not have a monopoly on criminal justice. The other officers involved were given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. As the state has a monopoly on criminal justice, this means that any criminal responsibility on their part will likely go unpunished. Note also that their testimony likely supported Officer Pantoleo, as the rational self-interest of a police officer is to support another police officer. As for Pantoleo, a government agent being tried in a government court by a government prosecutor is a conflict of interest if ever there was one. And unlike the Michael Brown case, there is clear video evidence of the events that took place, leaving little room for doubt about the criminality of the officer. The saying is that a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and an indictment could have been obtained if the prosecutor had so desired. If there were a free market for criminal justice, outcomes like this would be far less likely, as the victim’s family could choose from a number of competing service providers, each seeking to provide the best justice for the crime committed.

The prosecutor did not even present all viable charges. In New York, “A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when: With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; and the defendant acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim’s death, and the defendant was more than eighteen years old at the time of the commission of the crime.” A reasonable person would be expected to know that keeping someone in a chokehold after they lose consciousness is an act that can cause death, and that one does not perform an act that one knows can cause death without an intent to cause death. A reasonable person would also be expected to know that choking out a person who has not damaged any person or property despite the person’s health problems and protests of being unable to breathe is “an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim.” In another case earlier this year, a man pleaded guilty to first degree murder charges in New York for choking someone to death, so there is legal precedent for such a charge.

The economic fallacies of Black Friday: 2014 Edition

Today, shoppers across America will participate in the largest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. The National Retail Federation is estimating that 140.1 million customers will be shopping on Black Friday weekend, down from the 2013 estimate of 140.3 million customers. The actual result from 2013 was 248.7 million shoppers, an increase of 77.26 percent over the predicted value. A similar percentage over the predicted value for 2014 would mean an actual number of shoppers close to 248.3 million.

The NRF estimates that total sales for the holiday season will be $619.1 billion, up from $592.6 billion in 2013. This would be an annual increase of 4.1 percent. This year, the NRF also estimates that retailers will hire between 730,000 and 790,000 seasonal employees, compared with the actual 768,000 they hired during the 2013 holiday season.

Many ordinary people, as well as many economists, think of this spending and the increase in seasonal jobs as a boost to the economy. To think this is to commit the broken window fallacy, as such thinking fails to account for what people would do with their money if they were not spending it on holiday gifts, or what they could do with money that they would not have to pay back in interest to lenders if they had not engaged in deficit spending during the holiday season. In other words, it focuses only on what is seen, and ignores opportunity costs. If people would save their money rather than spending it on various holiday gifts, then this money would be invested in one thing or another. As Henry Hazlitt explains in Chapter 23 of Economics in One Lesson, saving is really just another form of spending, and one that has a greater tendency to allocate resources where they are most needed.

There is also the matter of malinvestment, which according to Austrian business cycle theory, is one cause of recessions. Malinvestment occurs to the extent that people purchase unwanted gifts (which promotes overproduction and misallocation of resources) and/or use money they do not have (which squanders more resources in interest payments on credit cards). It must be noted that the case of holiday shopping does not exactly follow the Austrian business cycle theory, as there is no credit expansion by a central bank that drives the malinvestment, and the boom suddenly halts on its own when the holiday season ends. That being said, when we look at the average monthly returns on the Standard and Poor’s 500, for example, we notice that aside from the historically abysmal returns from investing during the month of September, the worst months for investing are February, May, and March. (April would likely be bad as well if not for income tax returns providing an artificial economic boost.) An economic downturn occurs in the historical average following the holiday season, but as this has become an expected annual occurrence, many analysts simply do not look for an explanation of these results, as they are perceived to be natural. Even so, this appears to be a small-scale psuedo-Austrian business cycle that repeats annually.

With these arguments in mind, would we all be better off if we just canceled the holiday shopping season? It is an open question, but the Austrian School of economics suggests that we could be.

Seven observations about events in Ferguson

Over the past three months, the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. has been the focus of much coverage in the media. The story has been misreported in many outlets, and it has been used as propaganda by race-baiters. If any good is to come from the tragic events which have occurred, then the situation must be examined logically. Seven such logical observations follow.

1. A government agent being tried in a government court is a conflict of interest. A grand jury is convened in a government court house filled with government agents. The case is laid before the grand jury by a government prosecutor, who gets to present a one-sided case. In a case involving a government agent, who has likely helped the prosecutor (or one of his friends) bring and try cases in the past, there is certainly a conflict of interest that could only be resolved by having an independent prosecutor and grand jury (although the latter no longer exists in the current system).

2. That being said, a conflict of interest is not by itself a cause for rejection. While a conflict of interest is cause to be suspicious, further evidence is needed to show that something untoward has occurred. This is especially true when the available evidence supports the conclusion reached. Sometimes, the available evidence for a case really is one-sided, and this case is such a case. There is not enough evidence to even say that it is more likely than not that Wilson committed an offense against Brown, which is the required burden of proof for a true bill of indictment from a grand jury.

3. In a free (stateless) society, a person in an equivalent situation to what Wilson encountered would have been justified to act as Wilson did. Let us examine how a similar chain of events might unfold without a government. A man walks into a convenience store and commits a strong-arm robbery. As he leaves, the store clerk calls his private defense agency to report the crime. The video feeds from the store’s security cameras would show beyond any doubt that the man was guilty of robbery. The private defense agency issues an all-points bulletin against the robber, informing all property owners and service providers of his criminal status. At this point, the robber is effectively an outlaw. He would be unwelcome on private property, which is all property in a free society, including any roads or sidewalks on which he may be traveling. The robber is therefore trespassing on the road or sidewalk owner’s property by using the road or sidewalk to escape from the scene where he committed a crime. The road or sidewalk owner calls up his private defense agency to have the robber removed from his road or sidewalk. When he is found, he is walking down the middle of a road, blocking traffic. This creates even more incentive to remove him. An agent of the road or sidewalk owner’s private defense agency confronts the robber and trespasser, telling him that he is unwelcome on the road and that he will not be welcome anywhere or be a part of mainstream economic life until he makes restitution for his robbery. The criminal assaults the agent and makes an effort to kill him. The criminal starts to leave, still trespassing on the road or sidewalk. Then, he turns around for a second attack on the agent. The agent yells at the criminal to stop. The criminal keeps charging. The agent shoots to kill. The actions of the agent are in accord with defense of person and property under the non-aggression principle.

4. “Hands up, don’t shoot” is a nonsensical slogan. Even though no evidence supports the suggestion that Brown raised his hands into a surrendering posture, this has become a slogan among demonstrators motivated by the incident. As such, it must be addressed. Putting one’s hands up does not amount to a surrender. This can be shown by a simple counterexample. One can raise one’s hands, move toward someone, say that one is surrendering, and then deliver a double-fisted downward blow to that person’s head once within striking distance. Unless the approached person shoots in self-defense before the assailant gets too close, he or she can be attacked.

5. Demanding justice for black people while destroying businesses owned and/or operated by black people is contradictory. As Ferguson is a town composed mostly of black people, most of the businesses in the area provide employment to black people, and some are owned by black people. Violating the property rights of black people and depriving them of economic opportunities, as the rioters did, is the opposite of advocating for justice for black people.

6. Cameras should be worn by police. If Wilson had been wearing a camera that had recorded the entire incident, then there would be no questions about what happened, as there would be an objective record of the events that occurred, rather than just a litany of contradictory eyewitness accounts, the word of Wilson, and the forensic evidence. Outside of this matter, studies show that body cameras worn by police officers lead to a over 50 percent reduction in police use of force and a nearly 90 percent reduction in citizen complaints against police for their conduct.

7. Every aspect of this situation could have been avoided by respect for private property. If Michael Brown had respected the private property of the convenience store owner, this situation never would have happened. If demonstrators had respected the private property of the people of Ferguson, the looting and destruction of the businesses never would have happened. If the state had respected the private property of everyone, there would have been no taxation to pay for policies that lead to economic inequality, which motivates people to turn to criminal behavior.

Four uncomfortable truths about government militaries

Every year on Veterans Day, the establishment media is full of articles of hero worship for soldiers. But there are some truths that need to be confronted about government militaries which the establishment media will not address. Let us address some of those here.

1. The troops do not defend your freedom. The troops work for the state, not for you. Contrary to statist myths, the state does not work for you, just as masters do not work for slaves and farmers do not work for livestock. Of course, masters will take care of and protect slaves to some degree and farmers will take care of and protect livestock to some degree, but this is not primarily for the well-being of the slaves and livestock, as starry-eyed state propagandists would have us believe. It is only so that the master or farmer can more effectively exploit the slaves or livestock. After all, slaves and livestock who are ill-cared-for are less productive, and slaves and livestock who are not defended may escape and/or be exploited by others, which makes them less exploitable by the master or farmer.

One can also see this truth about the purpose of troops by empirical observation. Wars have been fought in the name of increasing liberty at least since President Woodrow Wilson’s claim that World War I was about “making the world safe for democracy.” Since that time, liberty has steadily been lost to encroachments by the leviathan state. The easiest way to silence a pro-military statist is to ask them to name one freedom that has been gained by the myriad wars and overseas misadventures following 9/11.

The idea that government soldiers defend freedom carries with it an implicit assumption that if the government soldiers did not defend freedom, then this vitally important task would go undone. This is a positive claim which carries a burden of proof that statists generally do not bother to try to fulfill. Perhaps it is because they know they cannot; after all, government militaries are funded by taxation and currency debasement, which violate property rights and freedom of association. To quote Hans-Hermann Hoppe, an expropriating property protector is a contradiction of terms. And there is no reason why the market should fail to provide a service that is strongly desired by everyone for everyone (except for a few criminals, and even they want it for themselves but not for their victims), to the point that most people will tolerate the oppressions of statism just to obtain a counterfeit version of it.

From this, one can only conclude that either the troops are willfully doing the opposite of defending freedom or they are being deceived. Since they (like most other people) are propagandized to the point of saturation by government schools, churches, and establishment media programming and advertising, it is reasonable to conclude that the latter is usually the case.

2. Praising the troops is selfish and irresponsible. Self-defense is one of the most fundamental rights, and the most important personal responsibility, as the abdication of this responsibility endangers all other rights and responsibilities. Of course, there is nothing wrong with hiring another person or group of people to help one fulfill such a basic need. But as shown above, governments are not hired by you, do not work for you, and do not provide defense services in an objective sense. The troops are ultimately in the position they are in because too few of us do what is necessary to provide for our own defense, including self-defense against the state. It is therefore because of the selfishness (in the form of risk aversion with respect to confronting aggressors) and irresponsibility of most of the American people that the troops are risking their lives at the behest of politicians in the first place.

3. Uniforms are not moral magic. From the act of argumentation, one can show the fact that morality is a valid concept and that there are moral rules which should be considered binding upon all people at all times. We should therefore hold a soldier to the same moral standard as a private citizen. In the line of duty, a soldier commits actions which would be punishable crimes if you or I did them. Every killing of a civilian is an act of murder. Every act of invading a innocent bystander’s private property is an act of trespassing. Every act of destruction that damages an innocent bystander’s property should require restitution. Putting on a uniform and excusing such behavior as doing the job assigned by one’s superiors in the name of a collectivist concept is morally irrelevant.

4. Defense would be better without government militaries. Admittedly, there are no empirical examples of a free market of private military companies providing military defense services in lieu of a government military. Part of the reason for this is that governments will use as much force as they must to keep such an idea from being tested, as its success would doom the state by depriving it of its essential monopolies (the other being criminal punishment). But there are reasons to believe that this could work, and that common criticisms of this idea do not withstand scrutiny.

The first thing to note is that a government military has a monopoly, and that this monopoly is maintained not because they satisfy customers in a free market so well that no one cares to compete with them, but because the state will use its military to destroy any competition within its borders. The presence of a monopoly with involuntary customers necessary leads to inferior quality of service and higher costs, as the monopolists need not provide superior quality of service and/or lower cost of service vis-à-vis a competitor. The opening of provision of military defense to a free market of competing providers must therefore lead to superior quality of service and/or lower cost of service.

The most common criticisms of competing private defense companies are that they will fight each other, that they will lead to rule by warlords, and that they will become a new monopoly on force. Rule by warlords and monopoly on force describe the situation under statism, so if the worst-case scenario is that eliminating government militaries just gets us another government military, all other cases must turn out better than this, making these into powerful arguments in favor of privatizing military defense. This leaves the concern that the private service providers will fight each other. We must recognize that the current service providers do fight each other, which caused 90 million deaths in the 20th century. As such, the bar of service quality that private military defense providers must exceed is set rather low. Fortunately, private military defense providers are limited in ways that government militaries are not. A private service provider must bear the cost of its own decisions, and engaging in aggressive wars is more expensive than defensive actions only. A company that sells war is thus at an economic disadvantage against a company that sells peace. Without the government monopoly on legal services granting immunity to the private soldiers as it does to soldiers of the government military, the private soldiers will be subject to the criminal punishments made prevalent by the defense companies in the area in question. The agencies that decide to fight also must take care not to damage or travel on ground held by customers of other agencies, as this would be considered trespassing, and a trespasser with an intent to murder others in a war is a trespasser who may be killed in self-defense. Thus one could expect to see every private property owner not involved with the warring agencies taking actions to destroy both sides of the conflict whenever they occupy land that is not owned by their customers. (And with no state to forbid ownership of certain types of weapons, the private property owners would be much more capable of stopping military hardware than they are now.) There is no guarantee against such a fight, but there are enough incentives working against it to consider it a remote possibility.

Twelve arguments for voting and how to refute them

Every year on Election Day, many celebrities, pundits, and other public figures tell us to “do your civic duty and go vote.” Numerous organizations make get-out-the-vote efforts to convince people to go to the polls. They employ several common arguments in such efforts. Let us examine twelve of these common arguments in favor of participation in electoral voting and explore how they may be refuted.

1. Voting is an act of self-defense.

An act of self-defense must target aggressors and only aggressors. Otherwise, the act is aggressive against the innocent bystanders who are harmed. Voting does not target aggressors and only aggressors; it targets everyone. Those who do not participate in a vote are still affected by the result of a vote. Even people who live in other countries and cannot vote are affected due to foreign policy. Thus, voting does not qualify as an act of self-defense.

2. If you do not vote, you have no right to complain.

This is exactly wrong. People who do not vote are the only people who have a right to complain. Those who vote for people who win elections are endorsing politicians and their minions who will engage in activities under color of law that would be punished as crimes if you or I did them. Those who vote for people who lose elections may not be vicariously responsible for state crimes in the same degree, but participating in the system helps to create the appearance of legitimacy for that which is inherently illegitimate.

3. You need to vote to cancel out the vote of other people who vote against your interests.

In the broadest sense, this is impossible. Every vote is against the interests of an individual, as every vote empowers the collective called the state at the expense of the individual.

4. Every vote matters.

The odds that your one vote will alter the outcome of an election are far less than the odds that you will be killed on your way to the polling place. And even if these odds were overcome, there is still no guarantee that your vote will be counted correctly. As Tammany Hall boss William Marcy Tweed once said, “As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?”

5. If you do not vote, the bad guys will win.

The bad guys win when people do vote. Every vote helps to give the appearance of legitimacy to the process and results, regardless of which violent sociopath wins a particular popularity contest.

6. Voting is a fundamental right.

There is no such thing as a right to someone else’s justly acquired property, or a right to infringe upon someone else’s individual liberties. This does not change by cloaking one’s actions under euphemisms and asking agents of the state to commit the acts in one’s stead.

7. Voting is a civic duty.

A legitimate duty or obligation can only come from a legitimate right or contract. The social contract, from which civic duties and obligations emanate, is not a legitimate contract because it violates private property rights and freedom of association.

8. Your vote is your voice in government.

This statement assumes that there is no voter fraud, that votes are counted correctly, that vote results cannot be altered by courts, and that politicians will do what voters tell them to do. Each of these assumptions has an unfulfilled burden of proof at best, and is demonstrably false on several occasions at worst.

9. Just because voting has not worked in favor of liberty in the past does not mean it will not work in favor of liberty in the future.

One definition of insanity is the repetition of the same action under the same circumstances while expecting different results. Also, one would have to replace “voting” with “abstaining from voting” in order to be logically consistent, which makes for a good anti-voting argument.

10. Abstaining from voting is an apathetic action.

Doing nothing is preferable to doing something that is self-destructive and/or harmful to others. And who is really more apathetic: the person who continues to do that which has a proven track record of not advancing liberty, or the person who stops doing that?

11. Abstaining from voting will not accomplish anything.

Not necessarily. If enough people stop voting, the illusions of legitimacy and consent of the governed will vanish, revealing the true nature of the state so all can see it for the violent criminal organization that it is. In most elections, there are already more people who do not vote for anyone than there are who vote for any particular candidate, so we are not as far from this point as many people seem to think we are.

12. If we did not vote with ballots, we would vote with bullets.

The premise is asserted without evidence and may therefore be dismissed without evidence, but let us accept it for the sake of argument. If this is true, then voting has not prevented a Hobbesian war of all against all; it has merely sanitized such a situation. This has the downside of lowering the barrier of entry to committing violations of individual liberty and private property rights. If there were no agents of the state who could be asked to steal from others in one’s stead in the form of taxation or initiate violence against others in one’s stead in the name of law and order, then one would have to act on one’s own in order to do such things. Most people are not willing to engage in criminal activity so openly, and the few who are would be more easily identified and eliminated by moral people acting in self-defense if people had to use direct action rather than the indirect action of voting in order to commit aggression.

A Taste Of Armageddon For The Voting Booth

Star Trek: The Original Series is recognized today not only for the enormous franchise birthed from it, but for the unique and innovate ways that it used the medium of science fiction to discuss contemporary issues in a way that would not have been socially acceptable otherwise. Various episodes addressed topics such as racism, the Cold War, religion, and the corruption that comes from wielding too much power. But there is one episode which has a particularly libertarian metaphor that seems to have gone unexplored thus far.

A Taste of Armageddon” is typically understood as an anti-war episode which makes the argument that sanitizing war can make it more palatable and thus more likely to be used as a means of dispute resolution. But there is another, deeper interpretation which views this episode not just as an anti-war episode, but an anti-state episode.

The backstory of the episode is that the residents of Eminiar VII and Eminiar III (aka Vendikar) began a war during Earth’s 18th century. In the beginning, this war was waged by real people with real weapons, and caused real destruction of people and property. These people, who were of the same species, concluded that it was in their nature to be killers and that they could not evolve past this. Thus, rather than seek a way to end the war, they sought and found a way to sanitize the war and lessen the damage it would do. Rather than fight a real war, they created two complex computer systems – one on Eminiar, and its counterpart on Vendikar. These computers simulated a war, calculating weapon strikes and casualties. If a citizen was deemed a casualty, then that person had to report to a disintegration station where he or she would be painlessly vaporized and the death would be recorded. The citizens of these two planets believed in social contract theory so strongly that stepping into a death machine in order to comply with the virtual war arrangement made long before they were capable of having any say in the arrangement did not bother them. They considered it to be their duty to do so in order to avoid the possibility of a real war being fought again as it was in Earth’s 18th century.

In a sense, the Eminiar-Vendikar war is a Hobbesian war of all against all, the sort of human interaction that many statists envision to have been commonplace in a prehistoric time before states were formed. Many people who believe that the state is a necessary institution justify it on the grounds that it, and only it, can protect against this sort of chaos. (They never bother to offer a logical proof for this assertion, but that is another matter.) But just like the Eminians, statists on Earth have not ended the war of all against all; they have merely sanitized it and reduced the number of sides in the war. Rather than eliminate the crimes that people commit against other people and their property, statists have created and maintained an institution with a monopoly on performing those crimes, giving them different names, and suffering no penalty for committing them. Theft becomes taxation, slavery becomes conscription, kidnapping becomes arrest, murder becomes war, and so on. Statists have also devised a sort of simulated war in the form of electoral voting. Rather than shoot bullets at each other, voters cast ballots. Rather than have the death and destruction that results from a real war, the vote is tallied and the office-seeker or idea with the most supporters is put into practice. We may not have disintegration chambers for those who are on the wrong end of a vote, but only the basic human decency that the statist claims we cannot count on stands in the way of this. And the voting chamber is a death chamber in a metaphysical sense, in that one surrenders one’s individual will to the collective by voting. Also, like the Eminians with their participation in the simulated war, many people have been indoctrinated from a young age with the belief that participation in electoral voting and respect for the results thereof are a patriotic duty to society which must not be shirked.

Enter Captain Kirk and the Enterprise. He did not wish to go to Eminiar, but the Federation wanted a space port in the sector, so Ambassador Robert Fox ordered him to go. Upon arrival, Kirk transported down with a landing party and discovered the situation. Meanwhile, the Enterprise was declared a destroyed target in the virtual war and its crew was given 24 hours to report for disintegration. Kirk and his landing party were imprisoned to coerce the crew of the Enterprise into compliance.

Like Kirk, some people may wish not to interact with the government in an area, but they are forced to do so. And just like the crew of the Enterprise, such people will be subjected to the result of a vote even if they did not or could not participate. While the effect of this is usually less extreme than the disintegration ordered for the crew of the Enterprise, people frequently have their property stolen or their liberty denied simply because other people have voted for politicians who write laws to that effect and police officers who enforce said laws. And the effect is not always less extreme; just ask people who live in countries which have been invaded and occupied by the U.S. military. They had no say in U.S. elections, yet thousands of them are dead because of the results.

Of course, there are always those who are so blinded by statist propaganda that they will throw away their lives for it, defending the propaganda with every argument from fear that they can muster along the way. Kirk encountered such a person in Mea 3, the person who greeted the landing party upon arrival. She was declared killed by the war computers and was to report for disintegration. Despite her impending doom, she defended the system, arguing that if people do not go to the disintegration chambers, then Eminiar will fall behind its treaty obligations and Vendikar will launch a real war, with Eminiar responding in kind. This would destroy both civilization and population, rather than just population.

As Kirk had no intention of allowing the Enterprise and its crew to be destroyed, he saw no alternative but to end the war by any means necessary. With help from Spock’s mental powers, the landing party incapacitated a guard, escaped imprisonment, and destroyed disintegration station 12. In response, Anan 7, the leader of Eminiar, ordered a full search for the landing party and ordered Eminiar’s planetary defense systems to target the Enterprise. Fortunately, Scotty had the shields up, which were able to withstand the attack.

So, what is a victim of the state to do? Kirk provides us with an answer. When faced with aggression that threatens one’s life and property, one may use whatever means are necessary to defend against the aggressor. Kirk targets the means by which the illegitimate social contract is maintained, just as a victim of the state would be wise to do. But rather than target and shut down disintegration stations, victims of the state need to target people who are involved with elections and shut down polling places, as they provide the illusion of the consent of the governed which is necessary to convince the population that the state is legitimate. Of course, the state would respond most forcefully against those who commit such actions, as they threaten the very foundation of democratic government. The establishment media would march in lockstep with this, providing the verbal abuse to accompany the physical abuse provided by agents of the state. The physical and intellectual “shields” would need to be robust in order to withstand this response.

Another problem along the way of using self-defense against the state is that someone of renown on the anti-state side will try to reason with those who are unreasonable. In the episode, Ambassador Fox tried to do just that by contacting Eminiar and offering to lower the Enterprise’s defenses in order to transport to the surface and discuss the matter. Anan agreed to this, but Scotty was not fooled. He perceived that Eminiar could attack and destroy the Enterprise while the shields would be down to allow for use of the transporter. Fox threatened to have Scotty court-martialed for insubordination and went to the surface with his attache. Once there, they were escorted not to Anan’s office, but to disintegration station 11. If not for Spock rescuing them and destroying disintegration station 11, Fox and his attache would have been killed for their efforts to reason with people who were trying to kill them. After the rescue, Fox wised up and helped the landing party fight for their lives. The lesson here is that an aggressor has renounced reason by the very act of engaging in aggression, and that reasoning with them should only be attempted as a diversionary tactic, never with the belief that the aggressor will be reasonable.

Kirk’s plan began to have its desired effect. Because disintegration stations had been destroyed, Eminiar fell behind schedule on its disintegrations and was accused by Vendikar of violating their treaty. Anan appealed to Kirk, saying that if the crew of the Enterprise did not report for disintegration, the result would be a real war between Eminiar and Vendikar. Kirk rejected this argument. Anan opened a channel to the Enterprise, and Kirk used the opportunity to give a coded order for the Enterprise to destroy Eminiar in two hours. Anan threatened to kill the landing party, to which Kirk responded that they would all be dead in two hours, so the threat was meaningless.

Those who seek to end the state by destroying its source of perceived legitimacy will certainly face a similar argument to the one Anan gave Kirk. Statists will claim that without voting on ballots, people will start voting with bullets and the only real change will be greater bloodshed and destruction. Anti-voting activists should reject this type argument just as Kirk did, as it is asserted without reason or evidence and may therefore be dismissed without reason or evidence. The latter part of the above paragraph demonstrates how statists will revert to the use of force when argumentation does not get them what they want. A real-world equivalent may be the escalation of force by the state to the point of threatening to use the U.S. military on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens, with anti-state activists having some kind of counter-threat that would render such a response meaningless.

Finally, Kirk and Spock were able to seize control of the Eminiar High Council and its guards. Kirk told Anan of his plan to end the war and carried it out. Kirk and Spock worked together to destroy the war computers. Kirk knew, and Anan soon realized, that Vendikar would assume that Eminiar had broken the treaty and would plan for the resumption of real war. This left Anan with only two options: prepare for real war, or try to make peace. With the help of Ambassador Fox, Anan opened a long-unused channel to Vendikar and sought peace. The Enterprise left Fox behind on Eminiar to help with the peace talks, and the final report from Eminiar as the Enterprise left was that negotiations were underway and the outlook was positive.

Ultimately, the removal of the option of voting for politicians and their minions to do to other people what one would never be allowed to do to other people on one’s own will leave everyone with two options: engage in crime directly and openly, or live peaceably with others. Of course, this is different from two warring planets coming to terms of peace. There are far more actors involved, and there will undoubtedly be some people who are unwilling to give up a life of crime once the legal shield of statism is removed. After all, unlike a simulated war where people get vaporized in disintegration chambers, there are some people who get a net benefit from statism. But unlike the possibility of a planetary war where billions of lives will be lost, the risk of ending the state is far smaller, as the elimination of the remaining hardened criminals who refuse to start doing something productive for a living should only take a handful of acts of self-defense coupled with continued vigilance.

There is no guarantee that using defensive force to abolish political elections will be sufficient to end the state and allow for the creation of a free society, but perhaps a taste of Armageddon for the voting booth is worth a try.

Why Economic Patriotism Is Nonsense

As the 2014 midterm elections approach, Democratic candidates led on by President Barack Obama and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are adopting rhetoric against corporate inversions, which they define as “the ability of American companies to avoid U.S. taxation by combining with a smaller foreign business and moving their tax domicile overseas.” In such rhetoric, Lew has called for “a new sense of economic patriotism, where we all rise or fall together.”

The phrase “economic patriotism” has been defined in many different ways by different politicians at different times, and some of these definitions contradict others. The current definition espoused by Obama and Lew appears to be something resembling “a duty to produce the greatest good for the greatest number of Americans, and the duty not to relocate the tax domicile of a corporation to pay less taxes.” Therefore, the best approach toward countering economic patriotism is to refute utilitarianism, show that paying higher corporate taxes is economically unsound, refute the idea that corporations should be loyal to the US government, and explain why economic cosmopolitanism, known more simply as free trade, is superior to economic patriotism.

I. Utilitarianism

The task of dispensing with utilitarianism, or “the greatest good for the greatest number,” is rather lengthy but not so difficult. Utilitarianism is a subset of consequentialism, which is the class of normative ethical theories which regard the consequences of an action as the basis for its rightness or wrongness. Therefore, if consequentialism is shown to be false, then utilitarianism fails a fortiori.

When people agree to engage in rational argumentation, they implicitly accept certain behavioral norms. Among these are that truth is universally preferable to falsehood, and that one will make an effort to persuade others to agree with one’s philosophical position. (This does not mean that all people at all times will behave as such; only that they should behave as such.) These norms must be accepted because to reject them is to leave one’s colleagues in argumentation with no reason to believe that one is making an honest effort toward creating valid arguments (and therefore every reason to believe that one is jesting, trolling, and/or lying).

Disproving consequentialism requires two steps. First, we must prove indeterminism. Determinism is the philosophical position that for every event, including human action, there exist conditions that could cause no other event. It logically follows from determinism that it is impossible to persuade others of one’s philosophical position, as strict determination of human actions (and therefore, a person’s philosophical position) would mean they were completely necessitated by past events beyond present control, and therefore not alterable by argumentation. But the effort to persuade others of one’s philosophical position is a condition of rational argumentation. Thus, to argue for determinism is to try to persuade someone to agree with the philosophical position that it is impossible to persuade someone to agree with one’s philosophical position, which is a performative contradiction. Therefore, indeterminism must be true.

Now, we can disprove consequentialism. Consider two people who find themselves in identical situations and who take identical actions. Because of indeterminism, the future is not directly knowable by extrapolating from the past. Thus, the consequences may play out differently in each case. Regardless of one’s criteria (or lack thereof) for distinguishing good consequences from evil consequences, the situations may play out with good consequences in one situation and with evil consequences in the other situation. This means that the same action taken under the same circumstances can be both good and evil. This is a contradiction, therefore consequentialism is false.

NB: There is a notable sidestep to the above argument. One could take the position that free will is not a prerequisite for rationality or for trying to change a person’s mind, which would be free from internal contradictions if one is determined to persuade someone of something, and the receiver of the argument is determined to accept it. But this position necessitates a lack of responsibility for one’s actions, as those involved in the argument would have no choice, and therefore no moral agency. Therefore, the end result is moral nihilism, which would also disprove consequentialism if correct.

II. Corporate Taxes

From a moral standpoint, any form of taxation is armed robbery, possessing/receiving/transporting stolen goods, slavery, trespassing, communicating threats, and conspiracy to commit the aforementioned crimes. But let us consider the economic aspect of corporate taxation in particular. The first thing to note is that there is really no such thing as corporate taxation. When a government levies taxes on a corporation, those who own the corporation will treat the taxes as a cost of doing business, which gets included in the prices of goods and services offered by the corporation. Thus, any tax upon corporations is ultimately a tax upon their customers, not upon those who own the corporation or invest in it. Secondly, any money that a business must pay in taxes is money that the business cannot use for any other purpose. This means that when businesses are taxed, they are discouraged from hiring more workers, paying higher wages, performing research and development, and offering better goods and services at lower costs to consumers. Even worse, these effects are hidden (and frequently ignored by government economists) because it is impossible to count jobs and products that were never created because government taxes prevented their creation.

III. Corporate Loyalty

A corporation is a legal fiction created by the state to shield business owners and investors from being fully responsible for their actions. A corporation does not exist in any physical sense; only the workers, buildings, trade goods, etc. actually exist. Corporations allow business owners and investors to keep profits for themselves and force their losses onto everyone else. This government-granted immunity from responsibility is antithetical to a free market and would necessarily be absent in a free society.

But let us deal with the world as it is, not as it should be. In some perverse sense, there is some truth to Mr. Lew’s argument that “[t]he firms involved in these transactions still expect to benefit from their business location in the United States, with our protection of intellectual property rights, our support for research and development, our investment climate and our infrastructure, all funded by various levels of government.” At first glance, the corporation owners and investors are receiving services, and should pay for those services. But this view is morally problematic, as intellectual property violates physical property rights and all of the aforementioned benefits are provided through state violence and threats thereof against taxpayers, as well as debasement of the currency that they are forced to accept under legal tender laws. After all, governments have no justly acquired purchasing power of their own. It is also philosophically invalid to treat taxation as a payment for services rendered because the recipient of the service generally must pay for the service whether or not one makes use of the service, and has no choice of whether or not to receive the service at all in some cases. Furthermore, governments frequently prohibit competition with infrastructure by granting monopolies to service providers, such as energy companies and water companies. Aside from the moral case, there is no logical reason why the owners of a corporation should be loyal to the U.S. government when they can find similar arrangements elsewhere, and it is logically inconsistent to attack business owners for moving their tax domicile elsewhere while continuing to do business in the U.S. while not attacking business owners for moving their tax domicile to the U.S. while continuing to do business elsewhere. Finally, Mr. Lew implies that the above amenities require government, a positive claim accompanied by a burden of proof. Like most statists, he never fulfills that burden of proof.

A step in the right direction would be for such unfair advantages to be discontinued, along with the immoral revenue-generating practices that fund said advantages, forcing wealthy CEOs and investors to play by the same rules as everyone else (and isn’t this what leftists usually claim to want?) Once that happens, the market will become more free and the correct ideas of the loyalty (to its customers) and duty (to its investors) of a business can become manifest.

IV. Free Trade

The opposite of patriotism is cosmopolitanism, or the lack of devotion to any government. It follows that the opposite of economic patriotism is economic cosmopolitanism, known more simply as free trade. Free trade is defined as trade in which no coercion or fraud is involved. All participants enter into the trade voluntarily and each participant benefits from the trade by their own subjective measures of value. This creates the most benefit for those involved because any amount of coercion or fraud present in a transaction increases the cost of doing business from what it is in the ideal state of free trade, resulting in lost opportunities. As shown above, economic patriotism necessarily involves coercion.

V. Conclusion

With the case made by President Obama and Secretary Lew so easily dismantled, why is there such a push for “economic patriotism?” Quite simply, they know that there are a significant number of voters who can be persuaded by such arguments because they are incapable of seeing through them. As always, politicians act in their own rational self-interest, which is to expand their political power. A “new sense of economic patriotism” is simply another means toward that end.

Why Robert Pittenger is essentially correct about discrimination

On Sept. 8, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) was asked by ThinkProgress’ Alice Ollstein after a town hall meeting in Ballantyne about whether he supported laws to protect gays in the workplace. He responded, “You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business. It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property. In public spaces, absolutely, we can have smoking bans. But we don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?”

This statement led to predictable outrage from leftist activists, bloggers, and newspaper editorial boards. “Rep. Pittenger’s ill-informed opinion is also not consistent with the fair-minded opinion of most Americans,” said David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization. “The vast majority of Americans back commonsense workplace protections for LGBT Americans.”

Below, I will make the case that such an opinion is not ill-informed (even if ill-stated and ill-defended by Rep. Pittenger) and is consistent with libertarian philosophy.

The first order of business is to define what is meant by discrimination. The dictionary definition of discrimination is “the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people.” The only problematic part of this definition is the word “unfairly,” which could be (and has been) used to twist the meaning of discrimination in an arbitrary fashion. After all, who decides what is fair or unfair? Those involved in an interaction, or someone outside the interaction? If the latter, then what gives them legitimacy to say what is fair or unfair? Ultimately, fairness is subjective because values and opinions are subjective. The only objective consideration concerning fairness in libertarian philosophy is whether an action is consistent with the non-aggression principle. Therefore, discrimination for the purpose of this essay will be defined as “the practice of treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people without violating the non-aggression principle.”

The second task is to construct a logical framework for the right to discriminate. This is a rather straightforward task. The right to discriminate against any person for any reason is part and parcel of the right of freedom of association. In order to argue against freedom of association, one must exercise freedom of association toward the recipient(s) of one’s argument. Therefore, any argument against freedom of association contains a performative contradiction which falsifies the argument. As an idea which cannot have a valid argument against it must be true, freedom of association is a valid right which should not be violated.

The other right which comes into play when discussing discrimination is the right to private property. Private property is rightfully established by mixing one’s labor with unowned natural resources. This comes from being responsible for the consequences of one’s actions, which in turn comes from ownership of one’s physical body. In order to argue against ownership of one’s physical body, one must exercise exclusive control of one’s physical body (to write, speak, type, etc.), which only a rightful owner legitimately may do. Therefore, any argument against ownership of one’s physical body contains a performative contradiction which falsifies the argument. Thus, ownership of one’s physical body is a valid right which should not be violated, as are the corollaries thereof, such as private property rights.

So far, we have a logical case that no one, including an agent of the state, should interfere with private property or freedom of association. Effectively, this means that no one should initiate the use of force to prevent discrimination. (This, of course, does not equate to a case for why people should exercise their right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, race, gender, age, or any other basis; it is only a case for why they should be allowed to do so.) But although discrimination is allowed under libertarian philosophy, it will be discouraged by market forces. In a free market, bigots are punished because they relinquish customers and employees who have the traits against which the bigot is prejudiced as well as customers and employees who are sufficiently offended by said prejudice to ostracize the bigot. This is more than a linear relationship, as those who cannot or will not obtain goods, services, and employment from the bigot will be likely to do so from other providers who are not bigoted rather than do without. This will not only impoverish the bigot, but enrich his competitors. The eventual result is that bigots cannot compete with those who are not bigoted, and must either renounce their bigotry or go out of business.

At this point, statists may protest that the above free market scenario has not played out, and that government intervention is therefore necessary to stop discrimination. Of course, this violates logically proven rights, but statists tend not to understand or care about this; otherwise, they would not be statists. The Charlotte Observer Editorial Board asked whether Rep. Pittenger would find it acceptable to fire an employee for being black, so let us consider the history of that case. Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow laws forced many business owners not to serve customers or hire employees whom they would have served or hired otherwise. Since that time, anti-discrimination laws have forced many business owners to serve customers and hire employees whom they would not have served or hired otherwise. In both cases, force has been used to interfere with the market to keep voluntary methods of dealing with bigotry from being tested. To claim that voluntary methods cannot work while supporting laws that prevent voluntary methods from having a chance to work is logically inconsistent.

One must also remember the role that government has played in indoctrinating children with racist beliefs. The racists who held political and business positions in the 1950s and 1960s would have been schoolchildren in the 1920s. Let us consider an example of what they were taught. This excerpt comes from Civic Biology (1914). (If the book sounds familiar, it is because it was used by John Scopes to teach evolution in Tennessee in 1925, leading to the Scopes “Monkey” Trial.)

“The Races of Man. — At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; The American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”

With this sort of racism being taught to children in public schools, it is no wonder that a large number of them would grow up to be racists.

Another important aspect of government laws is that they frequently have unintended consequences that harm the people they are intended to help. For example, when an anti-discrimination law prohibits firing an employee for having a certain characteristic, an employer is less likely to hire people with that characteristic because it is too difficult and troublesome to fire such people if they are incompetent, as they can claim that they were fired for a legally prohibited reason and make trouble for an employer.

More generally, the belief that an action cannot be performed solely because it has yet to be performed constitutes a logical fallacy. The assertion that the free market cannot effectively deal with bigotry simply because there is not yet an empirical example of the exact outcome described above is such a fallacy (as well as an ipse dixit fallacy.)

The other criticism typically levied against libertarianism in this regard is that it is just a cover for bigotry. This criticism is easily dismissed. Libertarianism is a philosophical position on what constitutes the legitimate use of force. It says that initiatory force is never justifiable and defensive force is always justifiable. Libertarianism says nothing about bigotry one way or the other, as long as that bigotry does not involve initiatory force. To claim that a philosophy defends a certain position simply because it does not attack that position is a false dilemma fallacy. That being said, even if it were true that libertarianism is a cover for bigotry, this would actually produce good results. If bigots would become libertarians, then they would have to abide by the non-aggression principle. This means that they would stop initiating the use of force and advocating for politicians to do so on their behalf in order to advance pro-bigotry agendas. Therefore, bigots will do less damage to other people if they become libertarians.

It is thus clear that while Rep. Pittenger’s defense of his position was rather inept and his comparison between discrimination against LGBT people and discrimination against smokers is problematic, the opinion that discrimination should not be legally prohibited by the state is not ill-informed or illogical.

Eight Negatives Of Economic Sanctions

In the course of international affairs, economic sanctions are a common tool of politicians who seek to achieve foreign policy objectives without resorting to open warfare. Just as economic ostracism can be a nonviolent means of successfully dealing with personal conflicts, statists would have us believe that economic sanctions are a nonviolent means of successfully dealing with international conflicts. Below are eight reasons why nothing could be further from the truth.

  1. Sanctions require initiatory force. Like all other policies that are legally binding in a statist society, economic sanctions are maintained by the threat of force being used against those who disagree with them and act upon that disagreement. In other words, if trade occurs between a citizen of the sanctioning state and a citizen of the sanctioned state and agents of the sanctioning state learn of it, they will initiate the use of force against these people. As states are the organizations which currently have the capacity to engage in the most violent behavior, and have repeatedly shown a willingness (and eagerness) to use this capacity, economic sanctions are far from a nonviolent means of achieving foreign policy objectives.
  2. Sanctions do not resolve conflicts. Diplomacy is the intergovernmental counterpart of interpersonal negotiation, and it is the proper method for dispute resolution. Just as escalating to ostracism of a person is an admission that negotiation has failed to resolve a dispute, escalating to an embargo of trade goods coming from a nation is an admission that diplomacy has failed to resolve a dispute. Sanctions generally do not involve measures of restorative justice, so tensions are likely to continue, as forgiveness and reconciliation tend to be possible only when restitution is possible.
  3. Sanctions can dishonestly do economic damage to a nation. Sometimes the political leaders of a nation decide to punish another nation on factually inaccurate and/or morally unjust grounds. When this happens, economic damage will be done to people who do not deserve it (or at least, do not deserve it for the specified reasons.)
  4. Sanctions can escalate conflicts. When sanctions are levied for factually inaccurate and/or morally unjust reasons, the people of the sanctioned nation can become angry at the sanctioning nation and demand that their government take decisive action, leading to a war that might not have happened otherwise. There is also the fact that open trade serves as a deterrent to war, as neither nation wishes to sacrifice the economic benefits of trade and neither state wishes to destroy a source of tax revenue. This is why Frederic Bastiat once said, “When goods cannot cross borders, armies will.”
  5. Sanctions cannot stop determined violent sociopaths. Just as an individual person cannot ostracize murderers, thieves, rapists, kidnappers, and other such violent criminals and expect this to stop their aggressions, a government cannot sanction another government and expect it to stop waging war against its own people or other people. If the benefits of invading another territory to take natural resources, gain a new tax base, or gain living space for an overcrowded domestic population are judged by rulers to be worth the drawbacks of economic sanctions, then violent sociopathic rulers will commit acts of aggression. The same goes for exploiting or exterminating people within a ruler’s territory. Stopping them requires the use of violence in self-defense by the inhabitants of the invaded territory or deterrents such as nuclear counter-strike capability; nothing short of this will work against a determined state aggressor.
  6. Sanctions are a double-edged sword. Free trade is by definition beneficial to all parties involved. Economic sanctions interfere with free trade, and thereby hurt not only people and businesses in the sanctioned nation, but also hurt people and businesses in the sanctioning nation by depriving them of markets in which to sell their goods and services. If enough sanctions are levied, and especially if a government sanctions other nations whose governments continue to allow business with the sanctioned nation, it is possible for organized alliances to form against the sanctioning nation, which can ultimately make the sanctioning nation more economically isolated than the sanctioned nation.
  7. Sanctions hurt commoners, not rulers. The economic deprivations caused by sanctions tend to disproportionately affect the poor, while leaving rulers all but untouched. Rulers can typically find ways to evade economic sanctions, and failing that, they can simply tax their subjects at a higher rate, all while blaming the sanctioned nation for the suffering of their subjects.
  8. Sanctions provide effective propaganda for rulers. The rulers may say, “Look at these outsiders! They have cut off your trade opportunities! They are the reason your goods and services are not being bought! They are the reason why you are poor! Support us and our cause, and we will rid you of this nuisance!” Regardless of how realistic such an outcome may be, it is not difficult for the rulers of a sanctioned nation to convince their impoverished citizens that uniting behind their rulers is their best hope. Historically, this has a terrible track record for the advancement of human liberty and has frequently led to wars.

To conclude, nothing that I have said above is outside the realm of common knowledge. An educated statist is as aware of these shortfalls as I am. This means that the reasons for the prevalence of economic sanctions in foreign policy must be viewed with a degree of cynicism. Politicians like to use sanctions not because they work, but because they are effective for political posturing, for giving the appearance of acting tough while doing nothing of substance. Sanctions are also used simply because there are no other options between diplomacy and military action to compel change in a geographical area outside of a government’s direct control.

Special thanks to Christopher Cantwell, whose article “Top 6 Shortfalls of Ostracism” was very helpful in the writing of this article.