Sands In Time Episode 22: Vigilance – Who Runs Your Life?

Do you believe we each run our own lives? If not, should we? This episode covers these questions and also looks at some of the behaviors and decisions that are necessary to keep any free nation from decaying and falling into Statism.


Show Notes:

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Aswain Books Novels Page  Thanks for your support!

Aswain Books Contact Page . Let me know what you think

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Twitter – @The AdamJAustin

Music Credit: “Med Cezir” by Hayvanlar Alemi (www.hayvanlaralemi.org)


 

Sands In Time Episode 17: Healthcare, a Right or Not?

Is Healthcare a right? Joshua Sands doesn’t think so and explains why in this episode. True, people should have it to cover themselves, like other insurances (life, auto and home) but to make it a right would demand the labor of others. That’s force and force is bad.


Show Notes:

Subscribe to the show for free on iTunes and/or Stitcher

Aswain Books Novels Page  Thanks for your support!

Aswain Books Contact Page . Let me know what you think

Also on YouTube

My Facebook Author Page . Please like and share with your friends to stay informed on updates and giveaways

Twitter – @The AdamJAustin

Music Credit: “Med Cezir” by Hayvanlar Alemi (www.hayvanlaralemi.org)


 

Sands In Time Episode 15: Unliberty Taxes

It’s tax season. In this episode Joshua gives some thoughts on income tax and taxes in general. He also looks at the Social Contract and what people should do in regards to paying the State.


Show Notes:

Subscribe to the show for free on iTunes and/or Stitcher

Aswain Books Novels Page  Thanks for your support!

Aswain Books Contact Page . Let me know what you think

Also on YouTube

My Facebook Author Page . Please like and share with your friends to stay informed on updates and giveaways

Twitter – @The AdamJAustin

Music Credit: “Med Cezir” by Hayvanlar Alemi (www.hayvanlaralemi.org)


 

Sands In Time Episode 13: Preferences to Prohibition

In the thirteenth episode of Sands In Time, Joshua looks at how both personal and group preferences can often lead to rules and laws that bind everyone. He looks at and discusses a current issue along with historical cases of prohibition in both our past and his.

Show Notes:

Subscribe to the show for free on iTunes and/or Stitcher

Aswain Books Novels Page  Thanks for your support!

Aswain Books Contact Page . Let me know what you think

Also on YouTube

My Facebook Author Page . Please like and share with your friends to stay informed on updates and giveaways

Twitter – @The AdamJAustin

Music Credit: “Med Cezir” by Hayvanlar Alemi (www.hayvanlaralemi.org)

Artificial Intelligence and the Non-Aggression Principle

There have been discussions about artificial intelligence for years now. The subject has been a source of wonder and a useful, entertaining topic for a wide range of science fiction films and books. Now though, with each day, each technological step, some claim we’re getting closer to actually breaking the threshold of giving birth to AI. In a recent article in The Sun, Elon Musk said he believed AI could destroy the human race. That’s nice. Though I don’t agree with many of Musk’s points in the article, the statement gives us some bitter food for thought. He seems to think the ‘end’ would be a result of humans no longer having jobs and therefor no longer feeling any ‘meaning’ to existence. Other scientists and techies in the article say AI could be right on our doorstep and may very well become a reality in as little as two decades. I think, if Musk’s conclusion that AI could end us is correct, it’ll be due to the new beings having a lack of emotional understanding or any sense of empathy.

In essence, the new, artificially intelligent beings won’t likely adhere to the Non-Aggression Principle (the NAP). For those who don’t know, the NAP is the cornerstone, and indeed the moral and ethical code, for many libertarians. It essentially says aggression, or the initiation of force, is bad and wrong. It then follows that no one should aggress against another through harming their body, destroying or stealing their property or committing fraud (which is basically the same as stealing). Of course self-defense is OK since that’s a natural and necessary response to others’ initiated aggression.

In another article on BBC.com from December of 2014, Stephen Hawking also said he believed AI could end mankind. To paraphrase, he noted we, humanity, are limited by slow biological evolution which puts us at a disadvantage compared with the potentially, fast as light, adjustments and evolutions of artificial intelligence. I believe it was precisely those slow adjustments and the gradual growth of our brains that led us to respect others and their property which is, again, core to the NAP. Although the NAP may sound like common sense, how did it become common? Not overnight. No, it became common sense through understanding from slow shifts in our consciousness. The principle is a belief, a philosophy a lifestyle preference. It didn’t spring up out of nowhere.

Hawking also said “It [AI] would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.” Once the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, our total control over an intelligent, brilliant entity will eventually vanish. Of course, when dealing with a being as intelligent as or more so than humans, we shouldn’t seek to have control or ownership of it because that would then be a violation of the NAP. But would the AI feel the same about us? I think there’s a good chance they wouldn’t. It seems to me, the AI entity or beings would more than likely be statists who wouldn’t abide by the NAP.

I’ve given a brief explanation of the non-aggression principle but what about the State?

As Rothbard noted in “Anatomy of the State” when defining what the parasitic State is, he said, “The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation.”

So how does this relate to AI? AI would more than likely be much more logical minded than humans. Their emotional aptitude could either be completely void or as vastly different from humanity as that of reptiles, insects or fish. Higher intelligence doesn’t necessarily create emotional feelings or responses. Dogs are emotional creatures, sometimes even more loving and forgiving than humans. The doorbell rings and my emotionally fiery schnauzer is instantly ready to rip the potential invader’s head off – or at least bluff that she’ll do so. Yet I don’t see her or other canines inventing doggy vehicles or anything else for that matter. Intelligence isn’t always clearly defined by scientists or psychologists. Most simply see it as the ability to think for oneself (“I think therefor I am” to paraphrase Descartes), or as an ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills with varying levels of ‘cleverness.’ Unfortunately, being intelligent doesn’t mean one will have a strong grasp or display of emotions. In fact, logic and emotions can be seen as opposites. Think of Spock and McCoy going at it in round after round of various arguments in Star Trek. Our favorite pointy-eared alien represented the logical, intelligent side and Bones, the lovably, crotchety Doctor defended the emotional and moral side. They were at odds. We can also, more darkly, think of psychopaths, who could very well be the norm in any independent artificially intelligent individual or community. It’s been noted psychopaths lack any semblance of empathy. Their emotional caring is severely lacking. With the possibility or likelihood AI could very well end up psychopathic, it seems possible its individual or collective mind would mirror that of the State as defined by Rothbard above.

We, non-psychopathic, humans are emotional beings with varying levels of empathy and respect for others’ property. That being said, I fully respect logic, of course. Arguments in any debate should be grounded in logic as much as possible in order to create sound points that support one’s position. Going further, though, I’m not a Vulcan, I’m a human. I don’t live fully by logic. My, as with most other libertarians, support and adherence to the non-aggression principle is essentially an emotional lifestyle choice. I believe it’s the most moral, ethical guide for myself and others to lead prosperous and respectful lives. I doubt a psychopath would follow similar reasoning and I’m not sure any artificially intelligent being would either. Since the AI individual, whose lightning fast thought process would likely be either completely or heavily grounded in logic (especially at first), would probably not choose to abide by the morals and ethics of the NAP then the opposite would be true. AI ‘people’ would then either follow and support an existing State or would create a new one of its own.

Sure, I suppose it’s possible any political system either run or supported by AI could be voluntary and free of force but that seems unlikely. One may think an AI with an emphasis either completely or even partially on logic would have no need for exploitation or conquest. I don’t believe that’s true. Let’s look each scenario:

Say we have AI individuals who somehow hold absolutely no emotion. First, from our vantage point, we’d have to wonder what would even be the point of existing or going on. There’d be no wonder, no excitement, no curiosity, no hope, no love, no fear, no anger, no joy, no drive, nothing. Secondly, for a being with no emotion, it wouldn’t be possible to care whether another individual, or an entire species, be it AI, human, dog or whatever, live or dies. The emotionless individual would care as much as a toaster cares when and if it burns toast. It follows then, that zero emotional beings wouldn’t follow the NAP. How could they? Our choice to not aggress against others, and that to do so is wrong, is a moral one. Morals stem from our feelings and beliefs.

Ok, now we have AI that has emotion and isn’t absolutely guided by logic and logic alone. Wouldn’t they, free to reach a lifestyle preference similar to NAP supporting libertarians, wish and work for a world free of tyranny or force? I sincerely hope so, we liberty lovers can use all the help we can get, but for our future artificially intelligent neighbors, it doesn’t seem likely. I say this because our brains are wired, have been deeply seeded, ingrained, slow cooked with the ability to enjoy and abide by good morals and feelings. Yes, yes, there are bad people and there are always exceptions but the fact remains that we’re family based beings. Our brains actually release endorphins when we’re around our friends and loved ones for crying out loud. Our very bodies encourage us to support and appreciate others. It’s these feelings that help us learn and understand feelings of right and wrong. It’s through these feelings we can even imagine or understand the ‘rightness’ of the NAP. We actually feel it. It’s become common sense. With those speed of light minds Hawking warns us about, flying and evolving fast and furious without the connections and encouragement our brains have developed over time, why the hell should they care about other’s property rights? Wouldn’t their limited logic lean more towards something akin to the Statist principles of “the ends justify the means” or “do what needs to be done for the common good?” Or who’s to say their behaviors, attitudes or actions wouldn’t align more with a reptilian or insect, hive-minded brain? Yea, one could say the AI could be programmed to be more like us but once they’re intelligent and ‘alive,’ free and clear, free to evolve, potentially any which way the wind blows, who the heck knows what the end result will be? Again, I have a hunch their moral code won’t match Murray Rothbard’s or Walter Block’s or Lew Rockwell’s or Ron Paul’s or my own.

Science Fiction has always had a knack for giving us interesting and speculative glimpses into what the technology of tomorrow holds. Of course, AI is no exception. Not by a long shot. Look at all the AI in TV, print and film; Skynet and its nightmarish, metallic monsters, the Terminators, Ridley Scott’s Ash from the movie Alien and then David from Prometheus, Data from Star Trek (he was a good guy but his ‘twin’ brother, Lore… not so much), Bishop from Aliens wound up being a hero and who could forget HAL 9000 from 2001 A Space Odyssey? Most notable of all in the science fiction realm of AI was the work of Isaac Asimov. His three rules or laws for robotics and by extension, AI, was a code that would be imprinted into the machine’s consciousness which would, in many regards, make them very close to having a libertarian mindset. The laws, to sum up, say; 1) A robot may not hurt a human or allow a human to get hurt, 2) A robot must obey orders given to it by humans unless they break the first law, and 3) A robot must protect itself as long as it doesn’t conflict with laws 1 or 2. Sounds good, however, Asimov wrote these rules decades ago, back before we held even a fraction of the understanding of computers and technology we hold now. Unfortunately, again, it’s likely modern brilliant minds like Professor Hawking hold a better vision and therefor produce a more accurate conclusion than Asimov. With an intelligent brain able to think independently and be as quick and adaptable as what Hawking believes, it only seems inevitable that the intelligence will find a way to override any such limitations. In all probability, the adjustment could come very quick. From there, it would be possible for a new code of rules and ethics, ones that probably won’t hold the NAP as a high priority, to be written, spread and downloaded in the blink of robotic eye.

In conclusion it’s true to note this article isn’t anti-technology. Advancements are probably the only thing that’ll save our species in the long, long run (that marvelous Sun of ours isn’t going to last forever). New gadgets and gizmos are cool and they show how magnificent our brains, our drives and our dreams can be. Still, some things have been created which humanity would probably be better off without. Nuclear and chemical weapons, torture techniques, reality TV and so on. Artificial Intelligence… well the final verdict is, of course, yet to come, however, it’s likely those minds won’t embrace the non-aggression principle for the reasons mentioned and as a result, they’ll likely be Statist. Do we really need more non-NAP abiding, quickly calculating and cunning Statists in our world? No. Will concerns like Musk’s, Hawking’s or my own end up true? Only the future knows.

 

Real Game of Thrones

I’m not typically one to defend the ‘far right,’ generally illustrated in the US by the neo-cons who’re oh so often proponents of war, nation building and the expansion of the big government police state grid. However, examples like these, which require more insight and investigation, further show just how bully-ish, cowardly, undemocratic, anti-libertarian and authoritarian the left continues to become. It’s a fascinating time we live in. If it weren’t for the magic, monsters and dragons, I’d say the real world Game of Thrones battles across the globe are sooo much more interesting than the TV show / books.

On a personal note, being an anarchist at heart, here’s hoping the EU bureaucracy falls and burns in its own hell it created:

Article – EU to block far right

To Each Their Own

“Well, I’m not the world’s most masculine man but I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man” – from the song Lola by The Kinks

Yep, I’m just a man, one guy doing my thing in the world, living my experiences. In being a man or a woman we are, by definition, adults. When I think of an adult, I think of a mature person, responsible and in control of his or her own actions. I believe adult men and women own themselves, first and foremost and in owning themselves, through basic, common logic and thought, we understand that our fellow adults own themselves in turn. For the sake of the rest of this blog, let’s just focus on individuals over the age of eighteen and agree children follow modified rules who’re protected and guided by their parents or guardians. Children don’t run the world, adults do. As adults and owners of our own thoughts and actions, we’re each free to do, say, go where we choose, eat, drink and think anything we want which doesn’t cause physical harm, require taking anything from another adult or violate rules set by other adults on or in their own property. On the flip side, we, as adults, should never be harmed by an outside party or forced to do, say, eat, drink or think anything we don’t want to while in a public place or on / in our own property. To me, these guidelines define what we know of as rights in the most simple and basic way. Any hindrance of these rights is a violation and, I believe, criminal in its act against free will. Let people do, say, go, eat, drink and think what they want. To each their own.

Alright. Now that we have my definition of what an adult is (beyond the physiological aspect of being able to procreate) and an outline of the common, natural laws which govern unhindered rights, let’s focus on what we say and how we say it. Free speech. We’re all fans, right? Ra Ra Ra, Freedom!!! It’s part of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution for a reason. It’s a simple, common concept which, at the same time, is astronomically HUGE in getting our proverbial foot in the door that leads to a life of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without it, we couldn’t even specify directions as to where the door is located much less know what to do once we got there. It’s essential. We won’t always agree with what other adults think and say but we, as adults ourselves, live with it and move on. To each their own.

Unfortunately, there’s been an insurgence of one of free speech’s adversaries that has come at us and grown in strength over the years. It often comes wrapped in a deceptively warm, cushy-looking, falsely caring, anti-common law quilt called political correctness. Ugh. Common consensus states that this concept / practice / ideology got its start from Marxism and became prevalent in Soviet Russia from its start through the later part of the twentieth century. Why so many of us cater to this horrendous violation of our core right as adults is beyond me. It’s absurd. The concept fights to keep our words and thoughts in check, thereby keeping us from being free through the use of shame, guilt and, most villainous, threats and uses of violence. People around the world have been killed or imprisoned for speaking their minds. Political correctness tells us, we, as adults, owners of ourselves, pursuant of happiness to live our lives as we wish, that our thoughts and words need to be censored because they can cause harm to other adults. To this, I proudly and deeply proclaim, from the bottom of my heart, the top of my mind and the deepest pit of my stomach: “FUCK THAT!” To each their own.

I know I’m a good man and I imagine most people who know me agree. I’m friendly, polite, kind, helpful, enthusiastic and love to laugh (no, this isn’t a profile line for Match.com…  I’m happily married, thank you very much). I don’t like to argue. I love to philosophize and discuss / debate fascinating issues while exploring interesting questions but it’s never been my desire to change anyone’s mind. It’s not my place. You think what you think, I’ll think what I think and together we’ll reach new levels of understanding. It’s wonderful. I admire our differences which, after all, are what help make each and every one of us special. So, I don’t ever set out to upset another person or a group of people. If I, through intent or neglect, physically hurt someone, in an instance that wasn’t self-defense, it’s my fault. If I steal, it’s my fault. If I destroy someone else’s property, again through intent or neglect, it’s my fault. If I say something that offends someone else, it’s NOT my fault. It’s the offended adult’s fault. As you recall, adults need to remember that other adults have the right to say, do, go where they choose, eat, drink and think what they want so long as no physical harm is done to others and their property isn’t trespassed, damaged or stolen. It’s been my stance, for nearly two decades now, that if an adult allows him or herself to get offended and is unable to transcend it, he or she fails as an adult. Come now, this isn’t shattering news. We’ve all heard “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Big people who play at being adults need to remember this. To each their own.

Political correctness is a wicked, conniving tool that sits in direct opposition to freedom. Left unchecked and free to fester, it turns into a monster. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that freedom IS indeed free but I never said it’s fair. Life isn’t fair and it isn’t easy. We aren’t entitled to anything in the world other than our natural, common law rights. Healthcare isn’t a right. Education isn’t a right. Items like these aren’t rights because they require the labor of others. They’re either paid for by the consumer or granted by others. No one should ever be forced to supply items like these because the use of force is contrary to the non-aggression principle. To dictate how we should spend the fruits of our labor or how we should speak and think is wrong. Those dictates are tyrannical and in direct violation of our free wills as adults. Not that I imagine ever having the need to do so, but should I choose to ramble out a string of ethnic slurs, so be it. If I choose to wear a costume that offends someone else, that’s their problem. If I demean a religion or philosophy and it rubs a group of people the wrong way, too bad for them. Deal with it and I’ll do the exact same. To each their own.