Pharyngula

Unbelievable. Adnan Oktar, aka Harun Yahya, the Turkish crackpot creationist, didn’t like the fact that his critics wrote mean things about him … so he applied to a Turkish court to have all WordPress blogs blocked. And the court accepted his argument, and no one in Turkey has been able to access anything from WordPress.com for a day or two now.

Man, I was once mooned on the freeway by a guy in a Chevy. Does this mean I can get Chevrolet to recall all of their cars in the state of Minnesota now? That would sure teach him.

That fanatical nitwit wrote in to wordpress to brag about his accomplishment and demand that blogs that offend him be shut down, such as this one, and by the way, he’d also like all these blogs censored:

http://adnanoktar.wordpress.com
http://adnanoktarveislam.wordpress.com/
http://fitikado.wordpress.com
http://oktarbabuna.wordpress.com
http://adnancilar.wordpress.com/
http://adnanoktarveislam.wordpress.com/
http://whoisharunyahya.wordpress.com/
http://adnanoktargercekleri.wordpress.com/
http://quiestharunyahya.wordpress.com/
http://harunyahyaarabic.wordpress.com/
http://safsataciharunyahya.wordpress.com/
http://savsatalaracevap.wordpress.com/

It sure would be a shame if someone echoed all those urls, and these anti-creationist blogs got more publicity and attention because of a stunt by Adnan Oktar, now wouldn’t it?

It is easy to treat this as a joke and an amazing act of pig-headed stupidity by a creationist, but we shouldn’t forget the scary part: a government with a pious judiciary was rather easily inclined to endorse mass, indiscriminate censorship on the whim of an evil clown.


P.S. Here’s a way to get around the block — you can still read and post to WordPress blogs in Turkey if you use OpenDNS. Spread the word.

Comments

  1. #1 Dr. Strangelove
    August 20, 2007

    The scary thing is that religion is making a strong comeback in Turkey; this is not be an isolated incident of one religious crackpot obliging another religious crackpot, but an indicator of the strong shift towards religious conservatism which is growing in Turkey.

    More interestingly, Turkey wants to join the EU. There’s been strong opposition against this from a multitude of parties in various member states. The reasons are diverse: Turkey is relatively poor (although other member states are poor as well), human rights are being violated on a daily basis, prisons are inhumane and most fiercely debated, it’s an islamic nation. Since it might now be turning into a conservative islamic nation, the debate will continue for a while.

  2. #2 DaveX
    August 20, 2007

    Be sure to visit my blog today, you know, for someone who can’t in Turkey. Think of the children!

  3. #3 Markus
    August 20, 2007

    Shame on those moronic judges!

  4. #4 True Bob
    August 20, 2007

    And here I thought there was some furor over a supermodel from Istanbul…

  5. #5 CalGeorge
    August 20, 2007

    If he feels compelled to silence his critics, he can’t have a whole lot of faith in his ideas.

    His new motto should be:

    FREE SPEECH ONLY FOR ME AND PEOPLE LIKE ME. I AM OKTAR, OK…TAR.

    [fuckhead]

  6. #6 lunartalks
    August 20, 2007

    Oooops. Guilty as charged.

  7. #8 lunartalks
    August 20, 2007

    EU readers may wish to email their foreign ministries and Turkish Embassies pointing out that this arbitrary suppression of freedom of speech based isn’t really compatible with being a candidate member of the EU.

  8. #9 Ed Darrell
    August 20, 2007

    And there, but for the grace of the Constitution and mostly competent, caring, independent judiciary, go all of us.

  9. #10 AJ
    August 20, 2007

    I have been following Turkish politics for sometime now, and there is a fascinating clash between the religious and secular forces that it going on over there. Turkey has had a strict secular government (can you imagine, no veils allowed in government buildings for women, in a predominantly muslim country?), until now — in the last few elections the religious parties have been gaining the upper hand. These parties have been playing their cards really well, by portraying themselves as having shed their religious roots, and by constantly saying that they are no threat to secular values. So much that international media constantly defends their position by labeling the secular parties as being elite, and that their secular inclinations run contrary to freedom of expression for the people. Whenever someone brings up the specter of a conservative Islamic government, they are called paranoid. There are a lot of parallels with what is going on here in the US, and it would be really interesting to see which path Turkey ultimately takes.

  10. #11 El Cid
    August 20, 2007

    Thank goodness, it was an actual human a**hole.

    When I saw the headline I thought it would be another story about an animal (in this case a mule) who wandered into some electrical or other substation and by electrocution knocked off connections.

  11. #12 Da Vinci
    August 20, 2007

    http://www.ateizm.org (ateizm means atheism in Turkish) is blocked with same reason. Adnan Oktar applied to court and wanted ateizm.org to be blocked and the court accepted. The reason is same with wordpress.com’s blocking.

  12. #13 raven
    August 20, 2007

    Haven’t these zeolots ever heard of freedom of the press or freedom of thought? Of course they have. They just don’t like the idea.

    The difference between moslem extremists and xian extremists is,…there is none. They even steal propaganda and tactics from each other and just change allah to jehova and vice versa.

    It’s too bad. My limited understanding of Turkey is that they were one of the success stories in the Islamic world, relatively. The founder of modern Turkey wanted a secular, European style industrialized state that emphasized standards of living over head gear.

  13. #14 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    August 20, 2007

    Well add this to that list of knocks against them entering the EU. I’m pretty sure religious freedom (or at least a facade of one) is one of the requirements.

  14. #15 h3nry
    August 20, 2007

    It seems there is a petition underway already (as commented by a WordPress reader):

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4940847710

    Harun Yahya is no longer just a creationist we can safely ignore (not that we do anyway – I mean the general public). This significant issue will sure raise the awareness to the general public of the dangers of lunatic fundamentalists/creationists.

    I have never heard of that self-proclaimed reformist Edip Yuksel before.

  15. #16 Kesh
    August 20, 2007

    Isn’t Turkey the nation that tried to prosecute an author for writing a book critical of one of the nation’s founders?

    Ah, yes, here it is. Note that the charges were dropped right as the talks about joining the EU heated up.

  16. #17 Vjatcheslav
    August 20, 2007

    I really hope there will soon be a coup of the army in Turkey, so that they can wipe out those idiots.

  17. #18 Dan
    August 20, 2007

    Hey Turkey! Knock it off before you give Dubya even more dumb ideas.

  18. #20 Mrs Tilton
    August 20, 2007

    Your Trackbacks don’t work, PZ. Nevertheless, I have no choice but to do my master’s bidding.

  19. #21 Josh
    August 20, 2007

    I’m confused at the mechanics of blocking web sites to an entire population of users. How exactly does anyone do this, electronically? I know I’m naive about this, but I don’t understand how it’s possible to make sure anyone within the physical borders of Turkey (or anywhere else) can’t access specific Web sites. Is there some massive switching station through which all Internet traffic to Turkey passes?

  20. #22 Da Vinci
    August 20, 2007

    Hello Josh,

    In fact it is not really blocking. They only change the IP address for the website from DNS. The people who uses Turk Telekom’s DNS can’t access the site. But for example I use OpenDNS and I can access wordpress and the other websites without any problem.

  21. #23 PZ Myers
    August 20, 2007

    Apparently, Turkey has a major bottleneck for most internet traffic, and by filtering there they can limit what is communicated. So, yeah, one massive switching station where government intervention can be effective.

  22. #24 DragonScholar
    August 20, 2007

    Now we know that indeed, Creationism does lead to censorship.

    I wonder what the DI has to say about this?

  23. #25 dwarf zebu
    August 20, 2007

    It is easy to treat this as a joke and an amazing act of pig-headed stupidity by a creationist, but we shouldn’t forget the scary part: a government with a pious judiciary was rather easily inclined to endorse mass, indiscriminate censorship on the whim of an evil clown.

    In the interest of fairness and creationist tendencies aside, there are strict insult laws in Turkey which would have gotten you tossed in a Turkish prison had you made those comments in Turkey.

    Not that insult laws are a good thing, far from it, but the government would have to be all the more likely to redress Mr. Oktar’s complaint in such a manner because of them.

    I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not altogether fair to paint the Turkish government with the same brush as Adnan Oktar since it is a completely secular government. Sorry, Dr. Strangelove, but even though Turkey is experiencing a surge of fundamentalism (much as we here in the US are) it is most certainly NOT an Islamic nation!

    I really don’t think the Turkish government’s action was necessarily in retaliation to the criticism of creationism so much as a ham-handed reaction to the insult of a Turkish national.

  24. #26 Stanton
    August 20, 2007

    Now we know that indeed, Creationism does lead to censorship.

    I wonder what the DI has to say about this?

    “It’s all evilution’s fault for teaching that God doesn’t care about us.”

  25. #27 sailor
    August 20, 2007

    Yes keep this story handy for the next time some creationist has the gall to say that we are “silencing” the ID crowd, or religious people calim they are persecuted.

  26. #28 Dan
    August 20, 2007

    I really don’t think the Turkish government’s action was necessarily in retaliation to the criticism of creationism so much as a ham-handed reaction to the insult of a Turkish national.

    Normally, I’d believe that, but considering that more than a million WordPress blogs have been blocked, I don’t think this is about slapping someone’s wrist for simply insulting someone.

  27. #29 Adam
    August 20, 2007

    Wow. I can’t believe the gov’t would actually go for this. I hate when people get all bent out of shape because a few people say something bad about them.

  28. #30 Carlie
    August 20, 2007

    Well, it seems now the thing to do is to get as many different entities saying bad things about him as possible. That will tie up his time going to court separately for each one, and as the blocked list piles up more and more people will be upset, and finally it will all collapse in on itself once the only places left for Turks to visit are icanhascheezburger and Cute Overload.

  29. #31 blf
    August 20, 2007

    There is a hotly disputed blog posting on this at The Guardian today, Shooting the messenger. Some excerpts (please note some of these excerpted points have been disputed by commenters):

    His books cover topics including refutations of atheism and Darwinism, romanticism as a weapon of Satan, anti-evolution pseudo-science, affirmation of miracles, and attacks on Freemasonry, Zionists, Buddhists, and terrorism (Darwin’s fault). In 1996, Harun Yahya published a book called Holocaust Lies (also called Holocaust Deception), which claimed that “what is presented as Holocaust is the death of some Jews due to the typhus plague during the war and the famine towards the end of the war caused by the defeat of the German.” Oddly, a few years later, he pinned anti-semitism on “neo-paganism” and “Darwinism” while putting himself forward as a denouncer of anti-semitism.

    But beginning in 1998, BAV spearheaded an effort to attack Turkish academics who taught Darwinian theory. Professors there say they were harassed and threatened, and some of them were slandered in fliers that labeled them “Maoists” for teaching evolution.

    Apparently WordPress has been hosting many blogs Harun Yayha attributes to his political enemy, Edsip Yuksel – whom the letter from Yahya’s attorneys to WordPress describes as the head of a “crime organization.”

    A fuller picture about the WordPress ban thus starts to emerge. WordPress is caught up in a long-standing political and cultural battle between two competing Muslim groups. The ban, therefore, reveals little about slander, or defamation, and I am uncertain how effective blog-protests will be…

    (My internet connection kept dropping as I assembled this post. Whilst clearly a problem with the link or ISP, for a moment I did wonder if similar madness had spread to France!)

  30. #32 Interrobang
    August 20, 2007

    So, uh, PZ, how many hits do you think you’re going to get on this article from clueless people looking for Eurasian pr0n, just from the title? 🙂

  31. #33 Sara
    August 20, 2007

    PZ, I wrote a paper on the Evolution/Creationism/ID debate in the modern Muslim world about a year and a half ago, and a good chunk of it was on Harun Yahya and his musings. If you’re interested, you can read it.

  32. #34 Toby
    August 20, 2007

    Things in Turkey are not too bad, they could be a lot worse. However, just like in Latin America, there is a “deep state” composed of combined army, police and civilian death squad forces. These dabble in politics and just because the army is the backbone of the secular state, does not mean what they do is right. Of course, there are also equivalent Islamic extremist groups (though probably not in the army). The “deep state” forces make a big deal of defending “Turkishness” and can be considered latter-day Fascists, though not Islamic they are a major threat to Democracy.

    A good articlt recently praised the ex-Islamic government for standing up to the army, calling an election and getting a thumping majority. The army is uneasy with the current government because it contains many ex-Islamists, their wives usually wear the hijab, which is banned in state institutions like universities.

    The best hope is that the ocurrent Turkish government become a sort of Islamic “Christian Democrats”, co-existing with secural values while maintaining a religious tenor to their policies.

    There is no equivalent in the US or even in the English-speaking world to Europe’s Christian Democrats (except maybe in Ireland). They were born of the time when the Catholic Church was obscurantist and reactionary. However, Christian Democrats were banned by Fascists, even while many did become Fascists. However, WWII cured that, subsequently the parties became bulwarks of democracy and anti-communism. The Turkism or Islamic equivalent may lead a way forward for Islamic democracies between secularism and Islamofascism.

    Angela Merkel, currently German Chancellor, is a Christian Democrat, so was Helmut Kohl who united Germany. General de Gaulle was of the same political type. A Turkey run by “Islamic Democrats” and in the EU would not be a bad thing.

    However, there are signs that the EU may lose its nerve on Turkish entry. In many ways, Turkey is the closest Islamic country to Western Democracy and far, far more critical to getting Islamic countries into the democratic family than Iraq.

  33. #35 Mrs Tilton
    August 20, 2007

    Toby @34,

    I agree with you up to a point, insofar as that, if there absolutely must be an Islamist party, AK are about as acceptable as it gets (they are, if illiberal, at least unquestionably democratic). They can’t be compared with (say) Hamas.

    Similarly, if there is going to be a Christianist party, then Germany’s CDU are relatively inoffensive. They’re certainly less Christianist than the (ostensibly secular) US Republicans. Indeed, despite their name, they aren’t especially Christianist at all. At least AK seem to be, for the most part, sincerely devout Muslims. There are exceptions, but the CDU tend to be more like Karl Rove: little interested in religion, except as a tool for winning elections and keeping the people obedient.

    You’re also right that a big element of the secular Turkish establishment are not unalloyed good guys. They are very definitely secular (yay), but are also ethnic-nationalist militarists (boo).

    A Turkey governed by AK and in the EU might not be a bad thing. But of course, an EU-member Turkey governed by liberal secular democrats would be a much better thing. The way to achieve this is not for the army to nullify the results of democratic elections by throwing AK out of office. It’s for Turkey’s secularists to purge their parties of corruption and make themselves the more attractive alternative.

  34. #36 Steve LaBonne
    August 20, 2007

    What Mrs Tilton said; which was a very necessary corrective to some uninformed and intemperate comments above. The Turkish military is not the “good guys” by any stretch of the imagination. dwarf zebu also has a good point- without knowing the details, it’s quite possible this judge is a fanatical nationalist (and if so, more likely than not a secularist) rather than an Islamist.

    One comment on secular military-backed Turkish governments in the past, and their laws: as a “militant atheist” I want to say that, regardless of being so, I think laws banning headscarves- whether in Turkey or in France- are abominable infringements of basic human rights.

  35. #37 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Remind me, again, WHY exactly you like government, PZ?

    Imagine if the tables were turned, and some atheist got some government to block everything religious on the internet. That would suck just as much ass as what this turkish guy did, wold it not?

    Clearly, PZ, you support a FREE MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS. As you should; freedom kicks ass!

    So why not a free marketplace for everything?

    Why should anyone have a monopoly on choice? Whether the internet, or the chevrolets in Minnesota, or the courts and security services that people use?

    Anyway, if you take a moment to re-read your post, PZ, I think you will see that it is very anarchistic and very lassiez faire, and perhaps you dont realize just how much so that is.

  36. #38 Patrick
    August 20, 2007

    So why not a free marketplace for everything?

    These are the words of someone who truly believes that big businesses would somehow be less corrupt than government.

  37. #39 Spanish Inquisitor
    August 20, 2007

    This is interesting. I have a WordPress.com blog, and I’m having my best day ever, in terms of hits. Obviously, they aren’t coming from Turkey.

  38. #40 Graculus
    August 20, 2007

    Harun Yahya is no longer just a creationist we can safely ignore

    Never has been ignorable, his cult (BAV) is notable for criminal activity. ICR (Henry Morris’ outfit) writes most of BAV’s/Haun Yahya’s material, and provides other support.

    Just in case you were wondering whose side they’d be one if push came to shove….

  39. #41 bora
    August 20, 2007

    This has nothing to do with Turkey’s government going Islamic or whatsoever. The thing is we don’t have modern rules for this kind of stuff and our judges and legal system is completely ancient. Exercising more than half a century old mentality they can’t tell the difference between a personal website and a huge network like wordpress.com.

    By the way, all those speculations about religion respawning in Turkey are extremely meaningless to me. I’ve lived in Turkey all my life, and I’m very well aware of the political dynamics of the current day. As you will certainly see in time, there’s no such thing as Islamic radicalism rising in this country and the so called rivalry between “seculars” and others are as meaningless as those speculations.

    One more thing, it really disgusts me to see some smartass pointing out some made up facts why Turkey should not or cannot be a member of the European Union in a humiliating manner in every Turkey related blog item.

    I like your blog Myers, and your daughter is as smart as you.
    Have a nice day.

  40. #42 Caledonian
    August 20, 2007

    These are the words of someone who truly believes that big businesses would somehow be less corrupt than government.

    So how does giving massive amounts of power to either group constitute a good idea?

  41. #43 DragonScholar
    August 20, 2007

    Patrick,

    Or to put it simply, private interest doesn’t always mean public good.

    I like corrupt idiots I at least vaguely elected.

  42. #44 MartinM
    August 20, 2007

    Remind me, again, WHY exactly you like government, PZ?

    Possibly because:

    Clearly, PZ, you support a FREE MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS. As you should; freedom kicks ass!

  43. #45 dwarf zebu
    August 20, 2007

    Normally, I’d believe that, but considering that more than a million WordPress blogs have been blocked, I don’t think this is about slapping someone’s wrist for simply insulting someone.
    Posted by: Dan | August 20, 2007 11:55 AM

    Maybe you don’t understand. “Simply insulting” a Turkish citizen is ILLEGAL in Turkey. This will necessarily color the way the government looks at it.

    Yes, insult laws are stupid and an intolerable infringement of free speech to us. Not so much to them, though. We may not like it, but that’s the way it is right now. I agree that Turkey will have to rethink their stand on this if they want to join the EU, but 80-plus years of insult laws will make that transition difficult.

  44. #46 Ed Darrell
    August 20, 2007

    Dear Spanish Inquisitor,

    I’m sure it’s because people are looking to hire an inquisitor to go after Adnan Oktar. Actually, any inquisitor would work, but your name pops to the top of Google searches.

    Do you travel? To Turkey? Do you do inquisitions from the Islamic side, too?

  45. #47 aracne
    August 20, 2007

    Well, simply insulting someone is also illegal in Spain, but no judge in his right mind will think it is right to block millions of unrelated webpages because someone feelings are hurt (That would be kind of illegal, and a much more serious offense).

  46. #48 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: PAtrick @ 38,

    “Corrupt” is what happens to businesses when they get in bed with government or otherwise engage in anti-competitive practices.

    When businesses are competing in a free market framework, they are not doing anything corrupt.

    Corruption is force, lies, deception, monopolization, which are all things that governments do.

  47. #49 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: MartinM @ 44:

    The two are mutually exclusive. You cant have government while simultaneously having a free marketplace of anything.

    PZ, bless his soul, is compartmentalizing. Ive seen numerous posts where he cries for government regulation of stuff, but then here we see him decrying the results of government actions.

    If you want a FREE MARKETPLACE iof anything, including ideas (on the internet), then you cant regulate the thing with some forceful, monopolistic entity.

    The only just and moral “regulation” is found through supply and demand, not through the dictate of some state apparatus.

    And the “regulation” that supply and demand provides is the one where people like US are allowed to criticize, analyze, and ridicule the things that people like this creationist guy spout out.

    Its time for the otherwise intelligent, logical, and open minded atheists and lovers of science here to recognize that government IS the chaos, the corruption, and the enabler of religious bnutjobs.

    Its time for people like us to all realize that the only justified relationships or interactions in society are those that are mutually consentual.

    Until then, all your illogical support for government and regulation and protectionism will CONTINUE to bite you in the ass over and over.

    Government is the tool with which the religious and the immoral maintain their grip of power and control over the lovers of reality, like us.

  48. #50 PalMD
    August 20, 2007

    Great. Now all we need is another conservative administration, and Andy Schlafly and his Conservapedia buddies can start permabanning Blogs, websites, etc. Lovely.

  49. #51 Mrs Tilton
    August 20, 2007

    Aaron @48:

    Corruption is force, lies, deception, monopolization, which are all things that governments do.

    Yeah, well; maybe. But do you know what, Aaron? I work with “businesses competing in a free market framework” all the time. And corruption, force, lies, deception and monopolisation are things they do, too. Some day, after you have finished Atlas Shrugged, graduated high school and worked in the real world for a while, you might come to understand this yourself.

  50. #52 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: DragonScholar @ 43:

    The “public” is nothing more than a group of private individuals. Therefore, the only way to do any “public good” is to acknowledge each and every private individual’s right to self-determination.

    To use an analogy, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So to get the strongest chain possible, you must strengthen the individual links in it. You cant sacrifice the individual links in the chain and expect that to make the “whole” of the chain stronger.

    I like corrupt idiots I at least vaguely elected.

    LOL! So if 48% vote for candidate #1, and 52% vote for candidate #2, why does all the 100% of the people have to have candidate #2? Why cant the 48% get #1 while the 52% get #2?

    In other words, if most people like pepsi, but I like coke, shouldnt I still be free to drink the coke while the majority gets their pepsi?

    Whenever the self-determination and sovereignty of the individual is comprimised, you will get results like this. You will have all of wordpress censored in Turkey. You will have your money stolen from you to finance massacres in the desert and put bibles in the classrooms.

  51. #53 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: Miss Tilton @ 51:

    I work with “businesses competing in a free market framework” all the time. And corruption, force, lies, deception and monopolisation are things they do, too.

    So do I, and yes they do. But the difference is, that with business, you can CHOOSE whose services you purchase, or you can start your own business. Remember what I said about supply and demand? If the product sucks, then people can stop buying it and come up with another.

    Not so with government. Can the Turkish atheists stop paying their taxes to fund their governments censopship and instead employ another service provider? NO!!! They have to illegally sneak around the censor and risk their freedom to do so.

    Some day, after you have finished Atlas Shrugged, graduated high school and worked in the real world for a while, you might come to understand this yourself.

    Thanks for the insult, bitch. I guess you ran out of legitimate points to say, so you decided to switch to smoke and fancy hand waving. It just so happens that I have a BS in computer information systems and am an 8 year veteran of the health insurance industry. Dont try to tell me about growing up or living in the real world. Ive been on my own for almost 11 years now, living in one of the most expensive cities in the United States.

    Now its my turn:

    Perhaps, someday, when you finish your copy of Noam Chomsky (or is it Obama’s new book?), and join the real world, you will finally wake up from your STOCKHOLM SYNDROME.

    I presume you are an atheist, so you likely already free from the religious blindfold that is draped over so many people’s eyes. Hopefully someday you will get rid of the state-enslavement blindfold too.

    Until then, have fun wiht your comforting big brother, living like its 1984, while you happily let the government steal your money to kill babies in some random part of the world.

    P.S. If you knew anything, you would know that Atlas Shrugged, and Ayn Rand herself, were both pro-government (albeit a small government). I, on the other hand, do not.

  52. #54 Patrick
    August 20, 2007

    Whenever the self-determination and sovereignty of the individual is comprimised, you will get results like this.

    Does that include comprimising the self-determination and sovereignty of “robber barons” and corrupt CEOs? I mean, if they want to run a sweatshop with 18 hour days, who are we to stop them? It’s the fault of the workers, really, for not freely choosing to work in a different hellhole. They should pull themselves up by the bootstraps they spent 80 hours a week making for two bucks an hour. Of course, I’m being silly. We all know that no one would dare purchase items from a place that used sweatshops, right? Granted, there’d be no regulation against sweatshops, the sweatshop companies could easily undercut the competition’s prices, the companies would have no reason to disclose their business practices, and people buy from sweatshop companies anyway (like shoe companies). But surely the free market can overcome even those obstacles. You’d be able to choose from eight different bootstrap companies. Some of them use only 70-hour-a-week sweatshops!

  53. #55 MartinM
    August 20, 2007

    The two are mutually exclusive. You cant have government while simultaneously having a free marketplace of anything.

    Without government, what’s to stop unpopular ideas from being beaten to a bloody pulp by the majority?

    Its time for people like us to all realize that the only justified relationships or interactions in society are those that are mutually consentual.

    OK. How are you going to prevent non-consensual interactions without the force of a government to back you up?

  54. #56 Patrick
    August 20, 2007

    But the difference is, that with business, you can CHOOSE whose services you purchase, or you can start your own business.

    Yes, if the only ISP in my area is terrible, I’ll just start my own. In GLORIOUS LIBERTOPIA, it’s easy, right? Pharmaceutical companies charging too much for untested drugs? I’ll just make my own drugs in my basement out of toothpaste! Get ready for Patrick-Brand Painkillers! Sure, your kidneys might fail after a month, but at least you won’t pay forty bucks a pill! Making my own company is so easy, a caveman could do it! Every consumer has the funding and technology to replace high-tech industries, I’m surprised it’s not happening already.

  55. #57 Tyler DiPietro
    August 20, 2007

    “Corruption is force, lies, deception, monopolization, which are all things that governments do.”

    All of them can exist equally well in a regime of private power. Information asymmetries, differential transaction costs, technologically constrained industry oligopolies/monopolies, etc. are all examples of things that can cause any of the above that have nothing to do with government. Economics has advanced quite a bit since Jean-Baptiste Say.

  56. #58 Manly Tears
    August 20, 2007

    Why cant the 48% get #1 while the 52% get #2?

    What, like with competing governments? I thought this idiocy had died out.

    Also, about your chain analogy: it’s invalid, a society is more like a net. Try again.

  57. #59 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: Patrick:

    I mean, if they want to run a sweatshop with 18 hour days, who are we to stop them?

    You, the guy who chooses to buy (or not to buy) their products.

    We all know that no one would dare purchase items from a place that used sweatshops, right?

    Only people who have a real sense of right and wrong. Stockholm Syndrome sufferers dont tend to have that as much.

    Granted, there’d be no regulation against sweatshops, the sweatshop companies could easily undercut the competition’s prices, the companies would have no reason to disclose their business practices, and people buy from sweatshop companies anyway (like shoe companies).

    There is a built in regulation found: supply and demand. It works a lot better than dictates.

    Regarding shoe companies, do you even know how Nike for example was able to create sweatshops? They worked with foreign governments to OUTLAW competition in the labor market. No government, no Nike sweatshops.

    But surely the free market can overcome even those obstacles. You’d be able to choose from eight different bootstrap companies. Some of them use only 70-hour-a-week sweatshops!

    Or, you can just endorse a government and smile as you surf the internet through your government approved censor software.

  58. #60 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: MartinM @ 55:

    Without government, what’s to stop unpopular ideas from being beaten to a bloody pulp by the majority?

    Non sequitor. The correct sentence would be, “WITH government, whats to stop unpopular ideas from being beaten to a bloody pulp by the majority?”

    And, in case you have a short memory span, isnt this exactly what happened in Turkey????

    Note that WITHOUT government on the internet, there is NOTHING to do the “beating to a bloody pulp” in the first place.

    OK. How are you going to prevent non-consensual interactions without the force of a government to back you up?

    Another non sequitor. Government is what is dong the non-consensual interactions. Again, I point to Turkey.

    And last time I checked, governments around the world are getting their asses kicked by non government forces. Lets look at the short list: American Revolutionary War, Vietnam, Iraq II, USSR invasion of Afghanistan.

  59. #61 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: Patrick @ 56:

    Yes, if the only ISP in my area is terrible, I’ll just start my own. In GLORIOUS LIBERTOPIA, it’s easy, right?

    Yes, and no. Yes you can do it, and no it isnt easy. Doing the right thing is usually hard work. what IS easy is to poin a gun at someone and force them to comply, rather than work for their voluntary cooperation.

    Pharmaceutical companies charging too much for untested drugs?

    Due to government protectionism, yes.

    I’ll just make my own drugs in my basement out of toothpaste! Get ready for Patrick-Brand Painkillers!

    Without a government stopping you, sure you could.

    Sure, your kidneys might fail after a month, but at least you won’t pay forty bucks a pill!

    But if your product sucks, people wont buy it. BUT, if the government product sucks (and when does it NOT?) you still have to buy it. You cant choose where to spend your money.

    Making my own company is so easy, a caveman could do it!

    Its not that easy, no. But I myself have made my own company, and I can tell you that earning the patronage of a customer is much more rewarding than simply stealing their money.

    Every consumer has the funding and technology to replace high-tech industries, I’m surprised it’s not happening already.

    No they dont, and thats why its important that they have the ability to choose how their precious money is spent, rather than having a government forcibly spending it for them.

  60. #62 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: Manly Tears @ 58:

    What, like with competing governments? I thought this idiocy had died out.

    If they compete for voluntary patronage from consumers, then they arent governments. Is the Coca Cola company a government? Do they force your patronage in the form of some tax or law?

    Also, about your chain analogy: it’s invalid, a society is more like a net. Try again.

    Even though you didnt support your claim of why my chain analogy is invalid, I will oblige you: A net is only as strong as its weakest thread. You cant have a strong net if you weaken the individual threads that comprise it. I think you can figure out the rest…

  61. #63 Patrick
    August 20, 2007

    You, the guy who chooses to buy (or not to buy) their products.

    Awesome! I’ll just go to one of the other companies, then. Sure, it costs a little more, but their sweatshops give breaks every ten hours instead of every twelve! Maybe I’ll just make my own bootstrap company. Now, where can I buy leather…

    Then again, it’s not like the companies are obligated to tell anybody about their sweatshops in the first place, or even that there’s a legal penalty for owning sweatshops. That sounds like one of those icky “government regulation” things. Can’t have those. But we all know that corporations will gladly reveal their secret business practices to consumers anyway, instead of just lying and claiming everything they do is proprietary.

    Only people who have a real sense of right and wrong. Stockholm Syndrome sufferers dont tend to have that as much.

    Yeah, how silly of me to forget: it’s the government that makes people not care about foreign people they’ve never met while at the same time enjoy low low prices. And that’s okay, because if the consumers want affordable shoes no matter what, that’s what the free market should do.

    There is a built in regulation found: supply and demand. It works a lot better than dictates.

    Libertopia must be a truly magical place. No matter where you go, there just happens to be a company who sells what you need at reasonable prices without any objectionable business prices, and all the consumers magically find out about any wrongdoings corporations might get up to.

    No government, no Nike sweatshops.

    Yeah, nobody ever had to work 18 hours a day in a coal mine just to help feed their parents until BIG GOVERNMENT stuck its nose in the coal mine business!

    Or, you can just endorse a government and smile as you surf the internet through your government approved censor software.

    Of course, in Glorious Libertopia, if my ISP gets twenty million bucks from Microsoft to block Mac and Linux sites, that’s totally cool, because it’s the free market at work. You can just endorse a corporation and smile as you surf the Internet through your corporate-sponsor approved censor software.

  62. #64 Loc
    August 20, 2007

    Aaron,

    You said, Regarding shoe companies, do you even know how Nike for example was able to create sweatshops? They worked with foreign governments to OUTLAW competition in the labor market. No government, no Nike sweatshops.

    I find it interesting that you blame the government in this case. It seems to me that if prior to Nike, there were no sweatshops, and after Nike there were…that the result was due in Nike’s influence. I don’t know the history but your conclusion seems illogical.

  63. #65 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: Patrick @ 63:

    Awesome! I’ll just go to one of the other companies, then. Sure, it costs a little more, but their sweatshops give breaks every ten hours instead of every twelve! Maybe I’ll just make my own bootstrap company. Now, where can I buy leather…

    And what alternative do you propose? One where the government creates the product, gives it to you at some quota amount, and takes payment from you as a percentage of your income, all the while you have no choice in the matter?

    Then again, it’s not like the companies are obligated to tell anybody about their sweatshops in the first place, or even that there’s a legal penalty for owning sweatshops.

    Conversely, its not like the customers are obligated to purchase their products if the company doesnt stand up to scrutiny. Ever heard of Consumer Reports? Motor Trend? Are you even remotely aware that the most effective quality and moral scrutiny applied to companies is that which is done by the private sector?

    That sounds like one of those icky “government regulation” things. Can’t have those. But we all know that corporations will gladly reveal their secret business practices to consumers anyway, instead of just lying and claiming everything they do is proprietary.

    Um, I think you are confusing companies with governments again. You should perhaps calm down a bit and think before you type.

    Yeah, how silly of me to forget: it’s the government that makes people not care about foreign people they’ve never met while at the same time enjoy low low prices. And that’s okay, because if the consumers want affordable shoes no matter what, that’s what the free market should do.

    Yea. Governments have a really good reputation at winning hearts and minds, dont they?

    Libertopia must be a truly magical place. No matter where you go, there just happens to be a company who sells what you need at reasonable prices without any objectionable business prices, and all the consumers magically find out about any wrongdoings corporations might get up to.

    Nothing magical about it. If the product sucks, the consumer knows about it cause they are the ones who are using it. And there doesnt just happen to be a company selling what you want at the right price, but the difference is that anyone is free to work to reach that goal. With a government around, this is not the case, and there is no control mechanism in place to help right the wrongs or correct inefficiencies.

    Yeah, nobody ever had to work 18 hours a day in a coal mine just to help feed their parents until BIG GOVERNMENT stuck its nose in the coal mine business!

    News flash: the coal miners worldwide who work in the most dangerous conditions with the worst pay are those who are working either for state entities or in countries with very heavy government regulation. The coal miners who are the best off are the ones who work in the (relatively) freer countries.

    Of course, in Glorious Libertopia, if my ISP gets twenty million bucks from Microsoft to block Mac and Linux sites, that’s totally cool, because it’s the free market at work. You can just endorse a corporation and smile as you surf the Internet through your corporate-sponsor approved censor software.

    Or you could buy a Mac or install Ubuntu on your computer instead. But in a government controlled computer world, you wouldnt even be able to do that. Just like in Turkey, right?

    That last argument of yours was simply pathetic. Here you are bitching about free market on the internet, in a thread where the topic is about GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP OF THE NET. Where are all the threads of stories of private companies censoring the internet at the protest of governments which are arguing for free access? Sheesh.

    Is your last name Hearst, by any chance? 😛

  64. #66 Patrick
    August 20, 2007

    But if your product sucks, people wont buy it.

    That’s not quite the case, I’m afraid. A more accurate statement would be “If people KNOW my product sucks, and have other choices besides my product, people won’t buy it. Probably.” I suppose I could wait for the privately-owned watchdog companies to start correlating medical data about people who used my painkillers regularly and got liver disease and died some time later, but I could just fund some other watchdog company to say otherwise. Or just bribe the media to cover it all up. Or just make money off all the people who don’t read that sort of thing and just pick whichever medication costs least and doesn’t kill them immediately.

    Did you imagine every single consumer walking down the medicine aisle, browsing the shelves while consulting big stacks of medical papers, all funded by competing pharmaceutical companies or private certificatory organizations, deciding which cough medicine to get for their baby, and eventually having to choose between the one that probably works but they can’t afford and the one that they can afford but has a risk of liver damage (but the liver damage study was done by a competing company and it’s not like they can’t just lie), and eventually you end up having to get your chemical kit out of your backpack and start doing clinical studies using people browsing the bread aisle as a test population because you can’t figure out which gigantic free market ultra-capitalist pharmaceutical company really cares about you as a person enough to not kill you. Truly, Libertopia is a glorious place. In our pitiful government country, mass deaths are a tragedy. But in Libertopia, mass deaths are just a market correction!

    Its not that easy, no. But I myself have made my own company

    Looks like your free market sarcasm detector isn’t working right. But I suppose in Libertopia, everybody knows exactly how to make a successful company for absolutely anything. If you can’t run your own ISP you don’t deserve Internet service, and if you can’t make your own Tylenol you don’t deserve pain relief. That’s the free market way! If I can’t get decent shoes OR drugs OR Internet, I’ll just make a company that does all three! It’s a piece of cake, I tell you. Granted, I’ll need to shop around for leather, and chemicals, and fiber optic cable, but I certainly wouldn’t get any problems choosing between leather manufacturers, chemical dealers, and fiber optic cable dealers. Right?

    Shit, guess I’d better get into the leather-chemical-fiberoptic business too. Man, all this is getting expensive… maybe I can just cut corners a little. No one has to know, I can just tell some little white lies…

    I can tell you that earning the patronage of a customer is much more rewarding than simply stealing their money.

    Yes, I’m sure Bill Gates cries himself to sleep every night when he thinks about getting rich off of buggy software. Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.” I’m sure that they really care about me! It gives me warm fuzzies to know that. I’m sure all the CEOs of the big companies in Glorious Libertopia feel the same way you do, even though they’re separated from the customers by a dozen departments and haven’t interacted directly with customers in years.

    Simply stealing people’s money is rewarding. The reward is money. And the best part about having money is that you can use it to make more money!

    No they dont, and thats why its important that they have the ability to choose how their precious money is spent, rather than having a government forcibly spending it for them.

    Right. It’s much better to have companies forcibly spending it for you. Government is rendered ineffectual by lobbyists, so let’s just ditch the government and deal directly with the lobbyists!

    Is the Coca Cola company a government? Do they force your patronage in the form of some tax or law?

    Nope. They force it by being the only company that sells Coca-Cola. Oh, right. Companies can’t have corporate secrets in Libertopia, so ANYONE can make Coca-Cola! Up until Coca-Cola sues them for patent infringement in Famous Ray’s Supreme Court and Pizzeria (sponsored by Coca-Cola), I suppose.

  65. #67 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: Loc @ 64:

    I find it interesting that you blame the government in this case. It seems to me that if prior to Nike, there were no sweatshops, and after Nike there were…that the result was due in Nike’s influence. I don’t know the history but your conclusion seems illogical.

    Hi Loc. So far you have given the best response here, IMO. And yes, according to your analysis of my statement, it does seem illogical. Please allow me to flesh it out further then.

    Nike wanted cheap labor. So they looked for a poor, uneducated, and unemployed locale. They found it in southeast asia. Nike knew that its competitors would catch wind of their operations if they harvested the labor pool over there, and Nike didnt didnt want to risk having to compete for wages with its competitors if it were to invest so much capital into building a factory over there and training everyone. So Nike got in bed with the government over there, and got some laws passed to PROHIBIT competition in the labor pool for their respective industry.

    Voila! A sweatshop employment pool was born. The employees arent allowed to make their own competing shoe company. Reebok isnt allowed to set up shop there and compete for employees. The government gets a nice kickback and some free shoes. Nike in turn doesnt have to COMPETE for its employees.

    All the corruption and immorality came when the competitive supply/demand rule got sabotaged by anti-competitive weasels, thanks to the government.

    Now to more directly answer your question, Loc, if Nike never went over there to set up shop, then sure you wouldnt have sweatshops full of underpaid workers; You would instead have something even worse: a country full of unemployed non-workers.

    And lets not forget the 800 pound Gorilla in the room: the government of the countries in which the sweatshops are run. Before the businesses came along, those workers were not even employed at all. Obviously, the government didnt protect them for shit! The government couldnt give them jobs, and when a company came by to give them jobs, it was the government that helped keep its own citizens underpaid!

    So who is looking out for these unfortunate workers? Their own government?

    And here I am in this comment section, watching in disbelief as I see so many intelligent and rational atheists throw loaded questions at me in which the ASSUMPTION is made that government is needed to “protect” people. Its a mafia type of protection. Its a racket. It is subjugation. It is slavery.

    “Who will protect the cotton pickers if there is no master to tend the property with his big bad hunting rifle? Who will feed the cotton pickers if master isnt there to order the other servants cook the stew??”

  66. #68 Aaron Kinney
    August 20, 2007

    Re: Patrick @ 66:

    That’s not quite the case, I’m afraid. A more accurate statement would be “If people KNOW my product sucks, and have other choices besides my product, people won’t buy it. Probably.” I suppose I could wait for the privately-owned watchdog companies to start correlating medical data about people who used my painkillers regularly and got liver disease and died some time later, but I could just fund some other watchdog company to say otherwise. Or just bribe the media to cover it all up. Or just make money off all the people who don’t read that sort of thing and just pick whichever medication costs least and doesn’t kill them immediately.

    So then would you care to present to me the government/statist alternative in which the “watchdog” role is somehow much more quickly, honestly, transparently, and accurately performed?

    Did you imagine every single consumer walking down the medicine aisle, browsing the shelves while consulting big stacks of medical papers, all funded by competing pharmaceutical companies or private certificatory organizations, deciding which cough medicine to get for their baby, and eventually having to choose between the one that probably works but they can’t afford and the one that they can afford but has a risk of liver damage (but the liver damage study was done by a competing company and it’s not like they can’t just lie), and eventually you end up having to get your chemical kit out of your backpack and start doing clinical studies using people browsing the bread aisle as a test population because you can’t figure out which gigantic free market ultra-capitalist pharmaceutical company really cares about you as a person enough to not kill you. Truly, Libertopia is a glorious place. In our pitiful government country, mass deaths are a tragedy. But in Libertopia, mass deaths are just a market correction!

    But Patrick, I doubt that even your red-communist self would assert that more people die in capitalist societies than in collectivist ones.

    Embracing a purely free-market social framework will not eliminate crime, dishonesty, etc. All it will do is put in place a mechanism to quickly correct, and minimize, the amount of damage that those immoral activities produce. That mechanism is removed to the extent that government exists.

    Good luck naming one thing that government does better than the free market. And I would suggest for your sake not to use the health industry. The reason for this is, as I mentioned earlier to another commenter, Ive worked in the medical insurance industry for over 8 years now, and unless you are a doctor or an underwriter, I know more about it than you do.

    Looks like your free market sarcasm detector isn’t working right.

    No, it is. Im jsut trying to ignore your condescending sarcastic tone and have a productive conversation. But it looks like you are one automaton that doesnt want to talk seriously, but would rather paint caricatures and spout out the lines he learned in ROTC like a true patriot.

    Yes, I’m sure Bill Gates cries himself to sleep every night when he thinks about getting rich off of buggy software.

    Bill Gates is the singe greatest philanthropist alive today. His charity organization is #1 rated and very highly respected. This, pehaps, is not a good example for you to bring up.

    In fact, all of your examples so far have totally sucked ass and have been totally backwards. You are hopeless. I dont imagine that you were ever a theist, because I cant imagine how you would have ever been deconverted to atheism. You are too much of a parrot.

    Im going to save the rest of my energy for those here who want to talk seriously.

    Why dont you go follow through with your convictions and voluntarily double your tax contribution or something? Go be a true partiot. And be sure to vote for wichever Democrat wants to bring about the most expensive Universal Healthcare system in 08.

    And then, after that happens, you can sit there, single and childless, living at home at your mommies house at age 30, wondering why its so hard to live on your own even with a college degree and a full time job.

  67. #69 Patrick
    August 20, 2007

    And what alternative do you propose? One where the government creates the product, gives it to you at some quota amount, and takes payment from you as a percentage of your income, all the while you have no choice in the matter?

    Oh, I kind of like the system we have where companies compete while the government regulates business practices that kill or fuck people over and government officials who abuse their power can be elected out of office by the people. I suppose that this isn’t perfect, though, since government interference compromises the self-determination and sovereignty of the individuals who don’t get to run sweatshops or make shitty drugs anymore. But, remember, in Glorious Libertopia, “no regulations whatsoever” are a superior option to “regulations that usually work but have problems”.

    Conversely, its not like the customers are obligated to purchase their products if the company doesnt stand up to scrutiny.

    Yeah, if the only company that makes my blood pressure medication is corrupt, the free market will provide somehow! Yeah, right on! I’ll just walk down to Jerry’s House of Meds, just down the corner. He hasn’t been rated by Consumer Reports yet but he’s gotta be trustworthy, right? He said he’s trustworthy and that’s good enough for me.

    Ever heard of Consumer Reports? Motor Trend? Are you even remotely aware that the most effective quality and moral scrutiny applied to companies is that which is done by the private sector?

    Awesome! So, uh, what authority does Consumer Reports have to keep dangerous products off the market, again? Oh, right, they might keep people who read Consumer Reports from buying these things. Or the company changes its design slightly until the next time Consumer Reports does the test again. If someone dies because their car exploded, fuck ’em! They should’ve read Motor Trend. In our Glorious Libertopia, if people don’t use the finely honed reasoning skills that we all know everyone has, it’s totally cool to let them die. Sure, a few dozen people might end up with broken legs or blindness or die before anyone catches on, before everyone stops buying the product, and before the company decides to change the formula, but, you know, you can’t make an omelet without killing people with faulty products.

    Yea. Governments have a really good reputation at winning hearts and minds, dont they?

    Seriously, your sarcasm detector is busted. Of course it’s not the government’s fault when people don’t care about total strangers when it comes to making financial decisions, genius. Selfishness is an unfortunate aspect of human nature and it’s not going to go away just because the government got booted out of the system. (Oh, right, I forgot. Ayn Rand thought selfishness was a virtue. So I guess Rand would be okay with companies who use sweatshops as long as she could get her shoes for half the price of other places.)

    Nothing magical about it. If the product sucks, the consumer knows about it cause they are the ones who are using it.

    Yes. Like all consumers in Glorious Libertopia, I can find out on my own if this pharmaceutical will kill me before I take it. If it turns out to cause terrible cancers a year after I stop taking it, and I fail to make the correlation, well that’s my own fault I guess! Maybe I should have read the latest edition of Consumer Reports. Or the competitor, Informed Consumer, which is partly sponsored by Company A but they say they’re unbiased because they don’t review their own products. Or that new up-and-coming competitor, Buyer Be Aware, which claims fifty percent less corporate influence. They all say different things, but it’s a free market, after all. So many consumer watchdogs to choose from! Anyone can start a new consumer magazine any time they want, in free market land!

    And there doesnt just happen to be a company selling what you want at the right price, but the difference is that anyone is free to work to reach that goal.

    Yes, anyone can make a new car company if they really want to. It’s easy peasy. Of course, I still have to deal with unscrupulous sheet metal dealers. I suppose in free market wonderland, anyone who’s not mining their own metal and growing their own food and producing every single thing they need all by themselves just deserves to get fucked over by the system.

    With a government around, this is not the case, and there is no control mechanism in place to help right the wrongs or correct inefficiencies.

    Really? With a government around, there’s no control mechanism to right wrongs? I thought that the Enron executives all went to prison for wrongdoing, but I guess the government lied to me again!

    Um, I think you are confusing companies with governments again. You should perhaps calm down a bit and think before you type.

    Sorry, I keep forgetting. In a free market, big companies will truly care about me. It’s the government’s fault that corporations just want my money!

    Or you could buy a Mac or install Ubuntu on your computer instead. But in a government controlled computer world, you wouldnt even be able to do that. Just like in Turkey, right?

    I too lament the day that the government me and PZ live under outlawed Macs. Wait a minute…

    That last argument of yours was simply pathetic. Here you are bitching about free market on the internet, in a thread where the topic is about GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP OF THE NET.

    “Excessive government interference is bad! That means the completely opposite alternative, total free market with no regulation whatsofuckingever, must be the best option! Yeah, government might fuck me over, but corporations will fuck me over and make me think I had a choice! Sign me up for Libertopia!” Meanwhile, in the Free-Market-Philosophy Clinic: “This leg is infected. Antibiotics don’t work all the time. So we’ll just abandon antibiotics totally and hack off the leg, but you do get your choice of 60 artificial legs.” You sound like a creationist, who insists that evolutionary science doesn’t have all the answers and therefore it must be totally trashed, and that there is only one alternative to evolution.

    It seems that in your eyes, the issue is black and white: you either get a government that controls everything and gives you shitty options, or you get a free market (that controls everything and gives you shitty options). I don’t support the Turkish government’s censoring of the Internet, but I don’t harbor any delusion that this means that all government must be abolished and the free market will work everything out into a utopia. What this means is that we need to keep our governments powerful enough to keep the corporations from screwing over the people and democratic enough so the people can keep the government from screwing over the people.

  68. #70 Patrick
    August 20, 2007

    Soooo… I’m a red-communist because I don’t think that your solution for fixing government is the best? I don’t like excessive or ineffectual government inference either. I guess I must be brainwashed from the US government banning all those Macs.

  69. #71 thalarctos
    August 20, 2007

    Good luck naming one thing that government does better than the free market.

    Syndromic surveillance–we’re not exactly eaten up with for-profit companies analyzing dead birds looking for West Nile virus and warning communities when it’s detected in the vicinity.

    There’s one.

  70. #72 Caledonian
    August 20, 2007

    OK. How are you going to prevent non-consensual interactions without the force of a government to back you up?

    How are you going to prevent the government from generating non-consensual interactions without the force of a government to back you up?

    Moron.

  71. #73 Graculus
    August 20, 2007

    The only just and moral “regulation” is found through supply and demand

    Red Dwarf, as usual, provides:

    “Wrong, wrong, wrong. Absolutely brimming over with wrongability”.

    The market (and corporations) are not moral agents.

  72. #74 Loc
    August 20, 2007

    Hi Aaron,

    Again, you say:

    Nike knew that its competitors would catch wind of their operations if they harvested the labor pool over there, and Nike didnt didnt want to risk having to compete for wages with its competitors if it were to invest so much capital into building a factory over there and training everyone. So Nike got in bed with the government over there, and got some laws passed to PROHIBIT competition in the labor pool for their respective industry.

    So here again, it seems that the greed and avarice lay at the feet of the company. You’ll return saying that they want to do what’s in best interest for both the consumers and their shareholders. I agree. But the crux of the problem is determining what’s fair. We’ll both agree that there needs to be a government involvment at some level (security, limiting monopolies, ect). However, you rationalize Nikes actions by saying that they are bringing jobs were the government didn’t. This is absurd. The reason why southeast Asia didn’t invent Nike has no relevance to the government there. Its do to the consumer nation we live in drove the demand for a Nike to come a long and market such sportswear. And we can argue this back all the way to Jarad Diamonds’ theory that natural resources and the spread of these resources is why America is so economically powerful. I guess my point is this, there is a difference between rationalization and realization. In other words, Nike does raise the living conditions of the thousands they employ, but they are not immune from treating humanity with the same respect. Southeast Asians are no less human than we. Justifying the treatment, pay and sanity conditions because they live in an impovrished country is something I don’t agree with.

    Secondly, I think you’re being to ideological in saying name one thing the government does better than the free market. The free market won’t provide unless the companys’ cost is valued against its return. Basic needs (water, plumbing, electricity) may not deem appropriate in some areas (perhaps Alaska, Colorado). Long term research won’t be conducted on near the scale that it is in acadamia. And I wouldn’t trust security forces who swear allegiance to a mission statement that includes maximizing profits and/or minimizing costs.

    I live in NY and my cousin is a Hedge Fund manager (big libertarian) so I see your arguments lucidly…but they seem to be too ideological. Sometimes I try to imagine firemen in the private sector. A fire ignites, I think is the house insured, how big is it, who started it, where is it, who’s residence is it by, is there a chance of spreading…ect. The list is endlist of reasons why they wouldn’t want to put the fire out. But with it being government funded, no questions, they go on every call no matter what/why/when or where. Expediant service of something that I believe is an “entitlement.” Maybe that’s just the way I was raised.

  73. #75 Caledonian
    August 20, 2007

    Perhaps things are done differently where you live, but where I am, government contracts are awarded on a “lowest-bid” basis.

    So the workings of government have all of the weaknesses of minimizing cost, but none of the benefits of intelligent analysis that seeks the greatest available profit/cost ratio that fits basic requirements.

  74. #76 kjupi
    August 20, 2007

    If they compete for voluntary patronage from consumers, then they arent governments.

    Dear Sir,

    The world being only so large, for how long could this possibly remain the case? Lacking a frontier or suchlike into which to expand, wouldn’t capitalism’s (voluntary!) non-participants be left with, at best, a choice of “patronage or death?” So participation in at least one corporation (a word whose use, I notice, you have carefully avoided; do you have term you prefer?) is non-voluntary.

    Granted, this is certainly no worse a state (so to speak) of affairs than we have now, but as someone who thinks that “freedom kicks ass,” how can you possibly think that it is ideal? And with the free market as the only game in town, what is there to prevent abuses of power on the part of corporations just as bad as those perpetrated by governments?

    To which the trivial response, now that I think about it, is, Well, if abuses are taking place, then the market isn’t free! So let me restate: what keeps a free market free?

    Perhaps things are done differently where you live, but where I am, government contracts are awarded on a “lowest-bid” basis.

    It would be possible for a government not to do this and still be a government. What’s your point?

  75. #77 Mrs Tilton
    August 21, 2007

    Aaron @53,

    Perhaps, someday, when you finish your copy of Noam Chomsky (or is it Obama’s new book?),

    Haven’t read any Chomsky since the late 1980s. (I came to find the signal-to-noise ratio too low.) I must say that he writes reasonably well, and with passion, and that’s always a good thing. Never have read Obama, nor do I see why I should. But then, I suppose what you are trying to do here is paint me as a “liberal”. As it happens, I am a liberal. But then, where I live, “liberal” means something rather different to what it means where you live. In fact, though it’s hardly libertarianism, in some ways it’s closer to libertarianism (US style; again, the word has a different connotation over here) than many people in this thread would like; it simply avoids libertarianism’s dogmatism, utopianism and fetishism.

    and join the real world, you will finally wake up from your STOCKHOLM SYNDROME.

    Ha ha. An older term for “Stockholm syndrome”, of course, is “false consciousness”. A libertarian like you would want to be more careful about appropriating Marxist theory, I’d have thought.

    I presume you are an atheist, so you likely already free from the religious blindfold that is draped over so many people’s eyes.

    Again, you presume wrong. I am not religious (certainly not what a religious person would think “religious”.) But I am not technically an atheist.

    Hopefully someday you will get rid of the state-enslavement blindfold too.

    Oh, I’m all against the state enslaving people. But I am entirely in favour of the people enslaving the state.

    And I’m afraid you’re not going to avoid a state of some kind. I’ll let you in on a little secret. In my youth, I was a libertarian, though in the European sense. (You would probably call it left-wing anarchism.) But eventually I became convinced that destruction of the state would inevitably mean, in quite short order, the imposition of brutal strongman rule far worse even than anything American conservatives would dare dream of — the exact opposite of what anarchism seeks. Since then, of course, we’ve all had unfortunately ample opportunities to see the theory confirmed in the field.

    Sorry I thought you were still a high-schooler, but I’m afraid that’s pretty much how your rantings read.

  76. #78 A concerned Turkish reader
    August 21, 2007

    To Dr.Strangelove: Turkey is not an islamic nation. There is no written thing in the Turkish constitution about being an islamic nation. The population is about 99% muslim, though.

    In Turkey, the darkness is slowly winning over the light. Now you can not wear a head scarf in goverment houses and schools, as it is considered an ideological symbol. Soon, it will be allowed, thanks to the religious goverment. Next, they will show their real faces and you’ll be required to wear head scarf to get into any goverment building. Such is the method of that sly islamic zealots. They give you a big smile and talk about tolerance, peace as long as they are powerless. Give them power and heads will begin to roll.

  77. #79 Zarquon
    August 21, 2007

    It’s pretty obvious that this bloke’s libertarianism is just another version of Social Darwinism, where to bee poor is a moral failure and to try and help people subverts the natural order.

  78. #80 Mrs Tilton
    August 21, 2007

    AcTr @79,

    Such is the method of that sly islamic zealots. They give you a big smile and talk about tolerance, peace as long as they are powerless. Give them power and heads will begin to roll.

    It will be scant comfort to you, I know, but this approach is hardly peculiar to Islamic zealots. It is the usual tactic of Christian zealots as well, especially the Roman Catholic hierarchy. (Perhaps Jews, Hindus etc., who are normally much less interested in proselytising than are Muslims and Christians, would be less inclined to act this way; I couldn’t say.)

    Anyway, I wish you and your fellow Turks the best. It would be very wrong for the army to overthrow AK simply because AK let women wear headscarves in public buildings (or otherwise facilitated Muslim observance for those who care about it). But if AK start to make women wear headscarves (or otherwise force Muslim observance upon secular citizens), then the army might have a point.

  79. #81 A concerned Turkish reader
    August 21, 2007

    Mrs. Tilton,

    I do not think army has a change to overthrow the goverment. Not anymore. Some weeks ago I was arguing with a islamic fundementalist and when I reminded him of army coup, he told me “you need people to drive tanks”. He is so right. How can you order your tanks to position in front of the Parliment, while the drivers in the tanks are islamic fundamentalist themselves? Turkish army consists of a professional officer segments and soldiers drafted to obligatory army duty. Officers are secularist, but what about drafts? As I said, you can be sure the tank commander will be secularist, but possibly the tank driver will be a fundamentalist. The pilot of the military airplane will be a secularist, but the guy refueling the plane possibly will be a fundamentalist. So, I do not think there is any chance to turn the tide now. Islamists are winning this country, and that is also thanks to USA, as the local islamists are completely pro-USA in Turkey, despite the tragedy in Iraq etc.

    Regards, Turkish reader…

  80. #82 Caledonian
    August 21, 2007

    It would be possible for a government not to do this and still be a government. What’s your point?

    That because of the nature of governments, it’s not actually possible to change this.

  81. #83 Mrs Tilton
    August 21, 2007

    AcTr @81,

    well, I certainly hope you’re wrong about that. After all, not every AK-style “Islamist” is an Islamic fundamentalist.

    Like Steve LaBonne @36, I really can’t get very upset that AK want to let women wear headscarves in public buildings. But if AK one day tried to (say) usher in Sharia, I think they’d lose a lot of their support; enough so that an action by the military in defence of liberty and the constitution would be feasible.

    But thus far AK haven’t done anything that could justify a coup. Under the present cirumstances, I would hope that every Turk — religious or secular — would resist military interference. And I hope things never get to the point at which military interference would be justified.

  82. #84 Phoenix Woman
    August 21, 2007

    Good luck naming one thing that government does better than the free market.

    Syndromic surveillance–we’re not exactly eaten up with for-profit companies analyzing dead birds looking for West Nile virus and warning communities when it’s detected in the vicinity.

    There’s one.

    ————

    There’s also old-age-insurance plans such as Social Security — which has less than 1% overhead costs whereas the private US life-insurance plans (as well as privatized plans in places like the UK and Chile) have around 12% to 14% overhead costs. (How disgusting are the privatizers’ lies WRT Social Security? One moment they’re arguing that it’s going to run out of dough in the 2040s — a scenario that only happens if the country has sluggish Depression-era growth levels from now until the 2040s — and the next they’re touting the alleged high rates of return on private (privatized) accounts, rates which would only be possible if the economy grew at peak-of-the-Clinton-boom levels forever. In short, they’re predicting both Permanent Recession AND Permanent Boom at the same time.)

    There’s also public utilities, and again, the government-run versions run better, cheaper and with less overhead costs than the privatized ones (remember Enron, anyone?).

    And the CIA is belatedly finding out that privatizing their intel operations is costing more and yielding less than was the case before privatization.

    This is just off the top of my head, folks. Give me the better part of a day and I could have a bunch more cites and facts in context to show what a rip-off it is to privatize government functions. (But of course the main goal of the anti-gummint/tax crowd is to not have their tax dollars going to poor black people, so they’re going to ignore everything I just cited.)

  83. #85 Manly Tears
    August 21, 2007

    A net is only as strong as its weakest thread.

    Heh, someone’s not friends with logic.

  84. #86 Keith Douglas
    August 25, 2007

    Are the Turkish courts just using this guy’s rants as an excuse to do what they wanted to anyway, or is he (and his organization?) intimidating them somehow? I think it is vital that we figure out what exactly is going on.

    dwarf zebu: Is that really so? I though the “insult against Turkishness” crime was when someone criticizes the state. (Which is also totalitarian, but …) Or is this distinct?

  85. #87 Da Vinci
    August 25, 2007

    Hello Keith,

    It is the article about insult or defamation. It is the Article 125 of Turkish Penal Code which is as follows:

    (1)A person who makes an allegation of an act or concrete fact about another person’s honour, reputation, dignity or prestige shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three months to two years or a judicial fine will be imposed. In order to punish the insults in the absence of the victim the act should have been witnessed by at least three persons.
    (2) If the act is committed by means of a voiced, written or visual message addressing the victim, the perpetrator shall be sentenced to the penalties set out above.
    (3) If the offence of defamation is committed:
    a) Against a public official or a person performing a public service and the allegation is connected with his public status or the public service he provides
    b) due to expression, changing, efforts for expansion of one’s religious, political, social, philosophical beliefs, thoughts and opinions, one’s compliance with the rules and prohibitions of his religion,
    c) Through mentioning the holly values of the religion the person is a member of, the minimum length of the penalty cannot be less than one year.
    (4) Where the defamation is committed explicitly, the penalty shall be increased by one sixth; if it is committed through the press and media, then the penalty shall be increased by one third.

    Only #4 is a little different in the current Penal Code. #4 is divided into to parts. But there is not much change.

  86. Well done, great blog and great posts!!!

  87. #89 Blake Stacey
    August 30, 2007

    I just heard that the ban is also affecting CNN’s Political Ticker. Apparently, this is because the Ticker is “Powered by WordPress.com”.

  88. #90 Lilas Qotton
    August 31, 2007

    Um…of course…you all are aware of course that Turkey is pretty much controlled by Zionists?

    Perhaps you need to drop Israel a line about this horrendous affair.

    Harun Yahya is a great thinker. I wouldn’t say he is the high priest of Islam but he has some very dangerous ideas for the “Darwinists” out there.

    I cannot believe that they still mention that guy’s name Darwin…in classrooms.

    Nebraska Man. Look it up. Then move on to the Cambrian Radiation why don’t you?

    Evolution was never valid. It was an excuse to exterminate the “less fit”.

    Adaptation. Now that is where it is at….very logical and halfway verifiable.

    But the worst news of all for athiests and non believers is that there is only ONE aspect of ANY of it (science aka darwinism to religion) and that would be…er…um….

    extinctions. They happen all the time or hadn’t you noticed?

    Allah you see practices eugenics or haven’t any of you studied a little something or other about the common bee?

    My.

    But to be honest…..unless someone is “Turkish” I have no idea what makes them think they are a critic of Turkish censorship when in fact, most of us in the US have been prohibited from buying or selling anything made in Iran.

    It’s called a boycott and in the old days it wasn’t synonomous with a UN sanction.

    And when it comes to blocking purulent information from the West….well…ever hear the word EMBARGO?

  89. #91 Steve_C
    August 31, 2007

    Someone has a bizarre take on reality.

    Does anyone have any idea what this one is talking about?

    Funny how they sound just like every other evangelical creationist. Guess the religious sound exactly the same no matter where they come from.

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