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Onar Åm

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Everything posted by Onar Åm

  1. Coming from someone who is supposed to be an Objectivist and allegedly believes that there are no conflicts among rational men, this is quite surprising. Poor countries are already today being thoroughly out-competed by all sorts of nations all over the world. When factories are built they are built in China or in Vietnam or some other country which investors trust sufficiently. Don't you think that the poor countries would prefer those factories and employment opportunities to be within the borders of their own country rather than 5000 miles away? Don't you think that these countries see the benefit of having rich capitalists working and living within their borders? Don't you think they see the benefit of airports, ports, roads and internet connection being built in their own country rather than on the other side of the globe? I know that you are used to the behavior of rich, spoiled countries, but poverty has a tendency to make people more reality oriented. This is a very real possibility, and that is why it is an absolute requirement that the Free State is allowed to have security forces of sufficient size to protect its borders.
  2. I would agree that no first-world country would do this, but you don't have to go back many years in time to find similar relinquishments done by then semi-developed nations. You need examples? How about Alaska which used to be part of Russia? How about large parts of the Midwest which used to be part of France? And then we were talking about giving up 100% of the sovereignty of an area to another sovereign nation. What we are talking about here is not even close to this. 1) the Free State will still be a sub-national entity, officially part of the host country, and the host country enjoys various privileges that would be unthinkable if the Free State were a sovereign nation, 2) the Free State Charter declared by the host nation sets a set of decrees that limit the Free State, as part of the treaty. The Free State must abide by these limitations. Second, we are specifically looking for unpopulated, unproductive regions (such as deserts) with no natural resources. The value of this area to the host country is minimal. Furthermore, we specifically target impoverished and undeveloped countries, precisely because they are not as spoiled as rich countries. They want to see development in their countries and are willing to go to quite extreme lengths to do so. The agreement with the host country may eventually not end up being perpetual, but may instead end up as a Hong Kong type lease of, say, 99 years. That's still very good. I will give TWO examples of similar projects in the world. 1) The Honduras Charter City. It has not yet been officially started, but the Honduran congress has made it possible to start a Charter City. According to you such a thing would be impossible, but here it is, on its way to becoming a reality. http://chartercities.org/blog/191/a-new-city-in-honduras 2) The second example I will bring forth is from Africa, namely the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, Nigeria. It is one of the most ambitious FTZs I've seen. Listen to what it sports: - 100% foreign ownership of investment and joint venture entities allowed in the zone - 100% repatriation of capital, profits and dividends out of Nigeria - Import or export licenses not required by enterprises operating in the zone - Customs duty-free and no quota restriction for all imported raw material products, machinery & equipment, consumer goods, as well as any other goods for investment projects in the zone - No strikes and lock-outs permitted in the zone - 100% of the finished products manufactured, assembled or produced in the zone can be sold into the Nigerian domestic market - Exemption from all taxes, customs duties and levies from the Federal, Lagos State and Local Governments - No quota on products exported from the Lekki FTZ to the European Union or the United States - Goods manufactured in Nigeria are entitled to preferential tariffs in the EU, as Nigeria is a member country of the Lome convention http://www.tradeinvestnigeria.com/investment_opportunities/639192.htm Watch the following BBC program: Listen carefully to the arguments given by the African leaders, watch their enthusiasm. It was actually quite heartwarming to see such free market ideas being espoused by actual politicians. Notice that Nigeria is not alone. The FTZs are popping up everywhere in Africa. The vibe of Africa today is that everyone wants to be in on the global economy, but how to compete? How do you compete with a Free Trade Zone that is 160 sq km and has zero taxes, 100% foreign/private ownership allowed, no customs etc. ? As far as I can tell there is really only one thing that can trump such a project and that is a Free State. THIS is the reason we are met with enthusiasm. Something really exciting is going on in Africa and in several other parts of the world, but in the West we haven't been paying attention and know nothing about this new wave of enthusiasm for free trade.
  3. I'm sorry, bit that and other sensitive information is only available to our subscribers who contribute financially to the initiative. http://freestateinitiative.org/about-us/donate You can read all about potential sites and our strategy with regards to natural resources here: http://freestateinitiative.org/mission Here is a map of potential locations that we have identified. An absolute premise for the Free State is that it has its own independent courts, police and security forces (basically a downscaled military sufficiently strong to protect the borders of the Free State from invasion.) This is what distinguishes the Free State from a mere Free Trade Zone, and it is also part of the attraction both for investors and for the host country. The host country does not have to use ANY resources in managing the Free State, and due to its operational independence and top notch governance it will be very competitive compared to competing free trade zones in other poor countries. The Free State will not only make it legal with civil weapons but also encourage all its law-abiding citizens to participate in the civil defense by owning guns. The Free State will to the best of its ability facilitate gun training and ownership, with proper certification and pledges of honorable usage. Gun ownership will only be available to proper, law-abiding citizens. One must be a resident for a significant period or otherwise prove that one has a trac-krecord of law-abiding peaceful behavior in order to be allowed to become a citizen and thereby to own guns. There will of course be a bi-lateral treaty with the host country. Should any citizen of the Free State use its guns in a robbery or in riots in the host country, they will be struck down hard and given no refuge in the Free State. Also, to the greatest extent possible there will be transparency to the host country. That is, it will have a representative in the administration which is given full insight into the extent of the security forces.
  4. Apart from the name there is very little similarity between the Free State Project and the Free State Initiative. FSP has as a goal that within, say, 10 years people 20.000 people (which is, what, 1 percent of New Hampshire population?) should move to New Hampshire to *maybe* influence politics in a more classical liberal direction. FSI talks about creating something very close to a laissez-faire Free State in maybe as little as two years, and no pledging needed to move there. Our Free State will not need any ideologues to move there, because it caters mostly to potential investors (who like low taxes) and poor people (who want to move to a Western/rich country with lots of work opportunities). The vast majority of people in the Free State (95%?) will be immigrants from poor countries.
  5. Hello all, I thought it might be prudent to call your attention to a new project that I have started, namely the Free State Initiative. It is an initiative for creating something very close to laissez-faire state in an unpopulated, unproductive region of the world. Unlike previous such efforts it is not an attempt to create a country, but to create a sub-national entity in an existing country, most likely in an undeveloped one. Note: we already have a concrete and promising lead in a country in Africa. freestateinitiative.org I am sure many of you have a lot of critical things to say about this, but before you go on to trash it and dismiss it I urge you to read the material and to ask questions. Keep in mind that there has been put a lot of thought into this and very likely any objection you may have to the project has already been thought of and answered. If there is anything you're wondering about, please ask questions. I'm sure you will be surprised by the answers. If you think this looks exciting and is something you want to support then you may consider becoming a subscriber and thereby support the project financially so that we have sufficient funds to travel to potential host countries and make presentations and conduct negotiations. Sincerely, Onar Åm, Free State Initiative
  6. Sorry, missed the part where you referred to the Icelanders. My point was that it is NOT immoral to make a proposition to increase liberty in a country, and it is NOT immoral for the foreigners to take this deal.
  7. I stand for rational self-interest. Why? These foreigners are not moving to Iceland to be nice, they do it because they profit from it. It's a way of permanently reducing their taxes. Very likely not going to happen, but duly noted.
  8. I don't think that is the case at all. Most people who make mistakes are NOT addicts. For instance, there are plenty of people in Norway who go out skiing in the mountain with too little clothes, too little food and too little equipment and are thoroughly surprised when bad weather sets in. These people are naive or inexperienced, not addicts of irrationality. You cannot judge solely from someone's mistakes whether it is a genuine lack of knowledge or irrationality. Would you say that the right thing to do to people who get stuck on the mountain is that they deserve to suffer the consequences of their actions and freeze to death, otherwise they will just learn that it is ok to repeat the problem? I certainly hope not. In order to judge Icelanders you need to look at the specific context. Ever since the early 1990s Iceland has been on a liberalization streak. Publicly owned companies were privatized, industries were deregulated and taxes were cut. As a consequence of these actions Iceland became one of the freest countries in Europe in a short time. Furthermore, if you ask Icelanders if they knew that private banks were able to operate secured by tax payer collateral then most of them will profess their ignorance, and I believe them. Central banking is very unsexy and very complex. No wonder most of them never heard about it. I would deem the Icelandic case as one mostly of ignorance, and hence not deserving moral condemnation. I think that Icelanders already have suffered a lot of bad consequences from the financial crisis and that if someone at this point came along and saved them they would very grateful, much like someone lost on the mountain would be grateful for being saved. People who get lost on the mountain due to inexperience learns from their near encounter with death, and I believe Icelanders will learn from their encounter with near national bankruptcy if they are saved at this point by private citizens and corporations all over the world. a) I am an egoist, not an altruist. I have no intention of devoting my life to saving Iceland just for the sake of saving Iceland. The reason I am focusing on Iceland right now is because it represent a once-in-a-lifetime window of opportunity to create a beacon of liberty in the Western world. b ) I alone as an individual have virtually zero chance of influencing Iceland philosophically. I will not get airtime in Iceland and newspapers won't write about me as an individual. I as a representative of the international coallition Free Iceland on the other hand CAN get a lot of attention, especially if we succeed in bringing about IceFree and save Iceland. Then there will be much media attention in Iceland and much gratitude and goodwill towards the people and ideas behind the initiative. THEN I will be able to sit on national television and explain in detail to a captivated audience why the central banking system caused this debt crisis, why liberty is the moral and practical alternative etc. Now in which of these two scenarios do you think that I will be able to influence Iceland the most philosophically? Why should I bang my head against the wall in socialist Norway when there is a once-in-a-lifetime window of opportunity to make real changes in my neighbor country Iceland?
  9. She certainly viewed this as very immoral. I think you confuse a proposal with advocation. It is perfectly possible for someone to *advocate* laissez-faire while at the same time *proposing* an concrete incremental step towards full fledged freedom, realizing that LF does not come in one huge bulk, but comes stepwise and piecewise.
  10. It follows logically that if a foreigner can pay for a Charter Citizenship then obviously an Icelander can too. It's just equality before the law. The point is that Charter Citizenship is not FORCED upon Icelanders. They can choose to be part of the welfare state. All of these things you mentioned are part of what in Europe is called welfare. ALL of them will be eliminated in the Charter Citizenship. No entitlements to education, health, kindergarten etc. including NEW roads. If they want to develop land then they would have to pay for everything themselves including roads. Existin6g roads (there are very few of them in Iceland, mostly in the city of Reykjavik) would be available to Charter Citizens for general use, just like it is for tourists. I know that the constitution of Honduras contains a mixture of several articles with different protection. One of the articles explicitly states that it can NEVER be changed. (It was invoked during the constitutional crisis in Honduras last year) This could be a working model also for Iceland. That is, to make only certain articles in the constitution impossible to revoke, or at least requiring 9/10 majority. It is quite possible that the one time fee needs to be lowered in order to make the deal attractive for corporations but that is a detail that can easily be changed. That's just supply and demand. Andorra has no corporate tax, but then again it also has no central Register of Corporations and thereby making it unsuitable for headquarter transfer. That is NOT true. If you have US stocks you do NOT pay income tax or capital gains tax for non-residents. http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/06...residenttax.asp
  11. I have to side with Jake on this one. A government does not own the country. It is a protection agency, not an owner. It is most certainly immoral for the government to demand money for freedom, but it is LESS immoral to demand a small amount of money ONE TIME than to have large taxes going on forever. The question is whether it is a moral compromise (and hence immoral) to propose a concrete plan for increasing liberty in Iceland. It should be obvious that it is not. From an egoistic perspective a moral compromise means to be altruistic, i.e. to give up values and get less in return. Thus, using one's free speech to propose a scheme which would REDUCE liberty is a moral compromise. Proposing a concrete and realistic scheme to INCREASE liberty is selfish and hence moral, unless there exists a possibility of increasing liberty even more.
  12. Correction: Charter Citizenship IS obviously available to all Icelanders. Worst case is that Icelanders can move abroad and become foreign citizens and then come back and become Charter Citizens. Rather than taking this ridiculous detour it is best just to give the same deal to Icelanders. This is thus NOT a privilege, it is a deal open to ALL. Second, Charter Citizens are NOT entitled to ANY welfare rights. That's the whole point. They give up those rights when they become Charter Citizens. The only cost that Iceland needs to bear is thus legal protection, which is very little. I do however agree that this proposal is utterly unprecedented, but that's not in itself a bad thing. 1) ANY Icelander may choose to pay the one time fee and become a Charter Citizen (although most won't) 2) in exchange for those 40% the welfare citizen receives free government welfare (health care, pensions etc.), which the Charter Citizen does not, so the benefit is much less. You must distinguish between the runner and the weight burden he is carrying. Usein Bolt is the world's best 100 meter runner ever. Would you have faith in him winning though if he had to carry an extra 100 pounds on his shoulders? Restoring faith in Bolt means removing that extra load. THEN you can believe he can be a fast runner again. Same with Iceland. The debt load is so heavy that it completely crushes Iceland's economy. No, vanishing debt will strengthen the Krona regardless of any other reality because it allows the Icelandic economy to perform better. There is of course the possibility that Iceland won't learn from its mistake and repeat them and THEN they are in trouble, but otherwise they will recover and their currency will strengthen. Iceland has not done any more government intervention than all the other countries out there. Confidence in Iceland as a people must of course be earned, but that has nothing to do with the reduced confidence due to the burdening debt. It happens in the following way: once the debt burden disappears the Krona rebounds automatically and as a consequence the PRIVATE debt nominated in FOREIGN currencies will be relieved because the foreign currencies weaken relative to the Krona. Isn't that the same as a tax decrease then? It only depends on when in time you look at it. Well, technically you don't have to put any money on the table before the constitution is changed, and Charter Citizenship introduced. I don't see why you have to be convinced beforehand. Seeing is believing. I know that the Norwegian constitution requires a 2/3 majority to change, and I think it is the same in Iceland. Similarly it requires a 2/3 majority to undo it, and this means that the sentiment of the Icelandic people needs to change from 2/3 for to 2/3 against. That's a very major change, and it is certainly a lot harder than simple majority. I think this would be sufficient to convince investors it is safe. Also, it is even possible to put into the constitution that Charter Citizenship can never be revoked (or alternatively requries 9/10 majority) This third option is not realistic at present. In fact normally the opportunity for increasing liberty is rare and one should take it when it presents itself. In Iceland one has a unique and possibly once-in-a-lifetime window of opportunity of creating the freest country on earth with something which is very close to laissez-faire, far freer than, say, Hong Kong. One has to be mad as a brush not to try to utilize this opportunity. It is never a moral compromise to INCREASE liberty. That's what happening here. In all scenarios you have to pay taxes, but in this scenario you may possible never pay more than $25,000 in taxes ever again. That's an unprecedented tax relief for most people. To call this a moral compromise is not just wrong, it's insane. Exactly what are you compromising? With IceFree you end up paying less taxes than at present anywhere on earth. How is that a compromise? And who would be sufficiently reality dysfunctional to prefer the high tax alternative because reducing the tax burden to anything above zero is immoral!? To compromise your values means giving up some of your values and getting nothing in return. With IceFree there is only GAIN, and consequently it is obviously in your rational self-interest. This is absolutely true, but you forget that it is not primarily people who will move to Iceland, but corporations. (Corporations need employees so there will be people moving there too) You do not need many companies that pay 5% of their annual revenue as a one time fee to pay down all of Iceland's debt.
  13. Iceland made a bank law in 1996 where the central bank provides last resort security for all approved private banks. Therefore, according to Iceland's own laws the nationalization was required when the banks went broke. It is precisely because of this law that the UK and Netherlands are pissed off at Iceland from not honoring that law and paying the debt. I agree that that law was very bad, and most Icelandic voters had no idea what they signed on for, and were rightly pissed off when they discovered what the central banking system ACTUALLY meant. While Iceland has made a huge mistake, they are actually in a rather unique position at the moment to understand the problems of central banking and why all money should be PRIVATE so that ONLY the stock holders bear the consequences of a bankruptcy. Iceland is thus uniquely positioned to understand why it should legalize gold and other means of trade, because they have felt the effects of central banking so strongly. All they need is someone actually explaining it to them. Enter IceFree.
  14. And yet he supports a scheme which allows people to buy their way into the United States. If it's so ridiculous you should have zero problems explaining exactly how what I wrote (which BTW is 100% consistent with Objectivism) is ridiculous. Go ahead, explain away. Also, choosing to not read what people write is certainly ok, but you are then signalling that you are not engaging in a rational discussion with that person. Normally I would not mind that -- the world is full of bastards -- but you are not just representing yourself as an individual. You are an outspoken advocate of Ayn Rand, and your actions reflect on *her* philosophy (and therefore on ME), and from the very start in this discussion you have behaved in a way that is prototypical Randroidism and extremely damaging to Objectivism. You are uncivilized and impolite, and you have so far displayed low understanding of Objectivism combined with extreme arrogance about your knowledge of it. By behaving this way as an outspoken Objectivist you are dragging Ayn Rand's name into the dirt, and I resent that. I strongly urge you to learn from far more superior Objectivists like Yaron Brook who manages to be humane, understanding and benevolent without compromising their own values. Another great example is Andrew Bernstein. It's hard not to like him.
  15. Hi David, I've always enjoyed your intelligent responses. First of all, I am not asking anyone for money, simply to *support* the initiative. And while not important we *have* registered the domain www.freeiceland.org, although currently there is nothing on that page. Second, Iceland has already shown that they are desperate and are willing to do things that they ordinarily would not do. They have applied for EU membership, and during the midst of the crisis there was even suggestions about making Iceland the 21st municipal of Norway. (Norway respectfully declined) IceFree is a much, much, much less intrusive proposal than EU membership which calls for Iceland to give up its national sovereignty. (In practice, EU membership would cost them fishing quotas.) and IceFree bleaks in comparison to making Iceland a part of Norway. In other words, if they can say yes to EU-membership and possibly even consider becoming part of Norway to solve their problems, they can certainly consider IceFree. And what do you mean by Icelanders not benefiting from IceFree? What Iceland gets in exchange for enabling Charter Citizens and Charter Corporations is a one time fee which is likely to be so as to pay down all of Iceland's public debt. And more importantly, IceFree will restore faith in Iceland and strengthen their national currency. This relieves ordinary Icelenders of their *private* debt which is nominated in foreign currencies. So for Icelanders IceFree means: 1) massive tax cuts (for servicing public debt) 2) massively reduced private debt burden I cannot quantify the numbers exactly but we are talking about a total reduction of debt in the order of 50-100,000 dollars per capita. That's a LOT, and I assume that the only reason you think that Icelanders do not benefit from IceFree is because you were unaware of the details of the Icelandic debt situation. Basically IceFree promises to make Icelanders debt free and all they have to do is to give Charter Citizenship to their benefactors. I think this is a no-brainer for the average Icelander. If they truly believe that this will solve their problems they will gladly accept this deal. Your third point is a sticky issue, but there is a solution. Iceland has lost the confidence of the international community and they know it. Iceland knows it has to work hard to regain that trust. Precisely because of that they also know that IceFree needs to not only become law, but also part of the constitution and/or secured in a similarly strong fashion, making it hard to reverse. They also know that IF they pledge IceFree to become permanent law (or at least a 100 year treaty) then the credibility of Iceland will suffer a massive blow if they ever were to back out from it. They would know that the fate that then awaits them is so horrible that they will not even consider it. Your fourth point I don't understand. First of all there are no proper governments in the world so your point is mute. Second, we are here talking about *private citizens* all over the world *voluntarily* making a deal with the *citizens* of Iceland (through democracy). If this ever comes to pass, Iceland will hold a public referendum on IceFree and private citizens and corporations all over the world will voluntarily pay for Charter Citizenships in Iceland. I honestly don't see the problem here. The involvement of government in this case is highly unusual since it is only a facilitator between private citizens, but although unusual it is not against Objectivist principles because it is based on voluntary gifts to the Icelandic people. Your fifth point is an understandable objection. What do YOU get for your $25,000? If you don't move to Iceland: very little. I know that I would buy such a Charter Citizenship even if I were NOT to move, simply as an insurance policy. Iceland would be a safe place for me to move IF Norway becomes even more totalitarian. Given that I have everything to lose if Europe goes completely fascist, $25,000 is a small price to pay. Most of the benefits from Charter Citizenship comes from actually MOVING to Iceland. While this is not something very many private citizens will do (my guess: probably less than 10,000, certainly no more than 100,000) However, CORPORATIONS would to Iceland with their headquarters. Ireland is currently the European headquarter capitol precisely because of its low taxes. If Iceland had ZERO corporate taxes then corporations would flock to Iceland. Of course, in order to credibly be considered a headquarter the move has to be real. Real people would have to move and work in Iceland, thereby creating industry, jobs and economic activity in Iceland. (from which Icelanders obviously would benefit) And just to clarify: you WOULD become a citizen of Iceland. You would get an Icelandic passport and be recognized as a citizen by Iceland protected by Icelandic law. It's just that on Iceland you have a certain legal status. You cannot vote, you don't pay taxes (just like Icelandic children) and you don't have any welfare rights. While some countries are rather fascist when it comes to how they treat their own citizens who move abroad (Norway being one of the worst), most countries (such as the US) do NOT tax their citizens (with dual citizenships) when they work and live in another country. Therefore IceFree would be an attractive option for hundreds of thousands of people and corporations all over the world. You CAN take your money back to the US without taxation if your money was earned ON Iceland. While Iceland is an arctic/subarctic country which climate-wise is not very attractive for most people it does have many attractive features: 1) stable rule of law and security of property 2) low corruption and low crime 3) an intelligent and educated population who all speak English very well 4) a mid-sized city (Reykjavik) which allows for a modern urban lifestyle 5) surprisingly centrally positioned between New York (6 hours by plane) and London (3 hours by plane) 6) a beautiful and powerful arctic nature This combined with zero taxes makes Iceland very attractive for many people (myself included).
  16. Yaron Brook springs to mind. I remember him talking warmly about a proposal quite similar to IceFree. As a way to improve the housing market in America he proposed that foreigners should be given a work permit if they bought a house. Here you have all the components of IceFree in place: an initial fee (buying a house) to service a debt crisis which gives permission to stay and work in the country. This would count as a "privilege" in your wordbook and hence "immoral." I respect Yaron and many other of the top Objectivists precisely because they are NOT rationalists. They genuinely understand Objectivism and are able to implement it in their own thinking to a high degree. a) there is nothing philosophically incorrect about concrete plans which brings us ever closer to true laissez-faire capitalism, directly (through the zero-taxes) and indirectly (through the beacon effect). it should be completely and utterly obvious to any reality oriented person that convincing a welfare state oriented person to accept Charter Citizenships (which involves only a few foreigners) is MUCH MUCH easier than to convince him to accept laissez-faire (which involves EVERYONE). I am actually quite shocked that such obvious facts about reality needs to be explicated at all. This is basic human psychology. Again you display a complete reality dysfunction. You DO accept something other than lfc RIGHT NOW in your OWN COUNTRY. You are living under a rule which is moving in an ever more fascistic direction, and you accept it every single day of your life. Agreed to both, but WHAT principles? WHICH morality? Let me explain what MY principles are: the highest directing principle of any organism is self-interest. To act in one's self interest means to preserve one's identity such that A is A. For non-living things this comes automatically, but the living needs to act to be alive, to be self-interested. We humans have as part of our identity that we are rational and social beings. In order to be self-interested we humans therefore have to act rationally and preferably live peacefully with other rational beings. In order to live self-interested nature has equipped us with a wonderful survival tool: morality. The moral organ is an emotional tool which motivates us to act strongly and profoundly according to the principles we perceive as good and against those principles we perceive as evil. If we use our rationality to program our moral organ with the correct value hierarchy then we will optimize our natural emotional system to make the appropriate judgments in our lives. This is necessary both for ourselves and for society at large. The correct hierarchy of values that optimizes our self-interest is as follows: 1) self-interest & reason We must at all times have our own identity as our highest value and act accordingly. Reason ties self-interest as #1 because without it we have no tools for acting in our self-interest and understanding our values. Reason is such an integral part of our human identity that it is impossible to be self-interested without being rational. 2) morality & universality Next to reason our moral organ is our most powerful tool for acting in our self-interest. By programming both ourselves AND others with the right morality we nurse our self-interest. As social individuals we are dependent on OTHERS having the right moral values to ensure the best possible breeding ground for our self-interest. We must thus preach universal moral values. 3) peaceful coexistence (sociality) The most important universal moral value that we wish to propagate through society next after self-interest/reason and morality/universality is peaceful coexistence. It is in our rational self-interest that peace (non-coercion) becomes a universal moral value. (Because we profit from trade and peace) This moral value is a universal RIGHT, which means that we can defend them violently if breeched. 4) equality (humanity) Next after peaceful coexistence the most important universal moral value that is in our self-interest to propagate is equality. Not material equality but treating each others as equals. This means treating each other humanely, as equal partners in our life journey here on earth. It means treating others benevolently and respectfully. If you can manage to make this part of the moral code of our entire culture then you as an individual will benefit greatly from being treated with respect and dignity everywhere you go. This universal moral value is not a right because that would violate the more important value of peaceful coexistence. This is not an exhaustive list but these are the essentials. Many libertarians typically put some principles (such as peaceful coexistence) above self-interest. This leads them to the ridiculous notion that in an emergency situation you should rather die than break into a peaceful citizen's cottage to save your own life. Some libertarians even think that non-violence as such is a higher value than self-interest. They insist on pacifism even when their enemies slaughter them down with brute force. Other libertarians put put the homesteading principle above self-interest and consider children their own *property* which they have mixed their labor with. Other libertarians insist on not paying taxes, even if it means jail, because they value the principle of property over their own life. They might even refuse to receive food paid by tax payers in jail because the food is bought with stolen money, which is immoral, and thereby starve to death. This means that they place the principle of non-violence above their own life. You, Jake, place yourself among these libertarians, although perhaps not as obviously. You place secondary principles out of context and before self-interest and for the same reasons as the libertarians. Well, let's check that a bit. Are you paying your taxes today? Did Ayn Rand pay her taxes? Why isn't that a moral compromise? Or is it? Well, let's check our list of values above to see if we can sort it out. Property is of great value to you but if an armed robber threatened YOUR LIFE you would give up your property in a heartbeat because being alive is more important to you than your property. Ayn Rand paid her taxes because JAIL was her alternative, and she valued the relative amount of freedom that America provided compared to jail. Was that a compromise or a rational decision in accordance with her objective value hierarchy? If paying your taxes isn't a moral compromise then clearly Ayn Rand was talking about something completely different. She was talking about the philosophy of pragmatism. There ARE absolutes and it IS in your self-interest to act principled, provided the principles are right. For instance, it IS immoral to appease a dictator when we actually have the power to crush him militarily. It is NOT immoral to appease a dictator by paying your taxes when your only option is escaping the country or jail. By the same token it is NOT a moral compromise to propose a plan which will increase liberty dramatically even if not perfect laissez-faire UNLESS there exists a better alternative for creating the same amount of liberty in a similar time frame and similar effort.
  17. Jake, before I take this discussion any further I need to assess your reality connection. Please answer the following question: Suppose a party managed to arrange a popular vote on whether to introduce 100% laissez-faire in your country, except for a small one time fee of, say, one cent. Would you then a) vote for it, or vote against it and vigorously oppose it on principle on the grounds that the one time fee is immoral? If your answer to this is b then you have proven yourself to be a perfect example of a reality detached libertarian and there is then no basis for a rational discussion. If on the other hand you again choose a, then I don't see the problem with IceFree which is more or less the above scenario, although not with 100% laissez-faire and with a larger one time fee. Can you explain why you would support the above proposal, but not IceFree? This is quite pretentious. The idea of a Charter Citizen is unknown and brand new. Neither the conservative party nor anyone else has heard about it before. In other words, you have already at this point proven that you don't know what you're talking about. It is not a privilege if it is a possibility that is open to ALL. Icelanders who want to become Charter Citizens can obviously also do the same thing. I will grant you that it is not an ideal platonic solution, but it is a major leap forward for liberty. Since I am not a Platonist I do not mind that there are remnants of immorality in the law so long as the changes are unambiguously in the direction of liberty. Let me just remind you that Ayn Rand was NOT an Idealist. That belongs to the tradition of Plato. If you insist on advocating the ideal society to the point of rejecting intermediary solutions on the way towards the ideal society then you are a libertarian Platonist, not an Objectivist.
  18. I greatly appreciate your support, and I hope you spread the idea to your friends. Let me explain why this is important. Support matters. If there exists a facebook group with 100.000 people who support FreeIce then that matters to the people of Iceland. They get a visual feedback showing them that some people out there in the world care about their situation and that IF they go through with this idea, then there really are people out there in the world who want to move to Iceland or corporations who want to move to Iceland. Support like this makes it so much easier to say yes to the idea. If they can picture 100.000 people ready to buy Charter Citizenship then that matters to them and MOVES them, moves towards a decision. This is about psychology. The Icelanders are depressed right now. They are in a dark place and don't see a way out of their troubles. This colors their decision making. This colors their view of life. Imagine what it would do to their collective morale and culture if *capitalists* reached a helping hand out to them in their time of dire straits, when no-one else would. At the moment all the "loving" and "caring" governments of the world show that they absolutely do not care about Iceland. If capitalists care, then Iceland will know who their friends truly are. It teaches them who is good in the world and who is evil.
  19. What an absolutely horrible thing to say. This is what Objectivist intellectual activism is about? Go home to "my own people"? There is no point in pledging one's support to the fight for liberty!?!? I really hope that you are not representative of the average Objectivist because that would make the outlook for Objectivism extremely bleak.
  20. Well, let's look at Iceland *prior* to the financial crisis. Starting in the beginning of the 1990s Iceland moved quickly in the direction of economic liberalization and privatization, rendering Iceland to one of Europe's freest (and richest) countries. However, since the financial crisis there has been a reversal in the direction of more government intervention. The people ARE thoroughly dismayed and pissed off at the situation. Some blame the free market, capitalism and America, but equally many are pissed off at the actions of UK and other governments. The UK used its newly created *anti-terror* laws to freeze all Icelandic accounts in the UK and Iceland was deemed a terrorist nation! They have experienced stalling on delays in help from the IMF and their neighboring countries such as Norway has proved to be completely uninterested in lending them a hand, so they are not very impressed by government actions either. To show how desperate Iceland is, they have applied for an EU membership now despite the fact that there is generally massive resistance to the EU in Iceland. This shows that Iceland at the moment is willing to go to pretty extreme measures to solve their national crisis. It is in this context that you must see IceFree. What they are currently facing is this: - 30 years of painful, devastating debt - EU membership (which they generally oppose) - The humiliation of being labeled a failed nation and even a terrorist nation What our alternative is: - debt free in just a few years - no EU membership necessary - their international reputation restored All they need to do to get this is to enable Charter Citizenship. I.e. they will have to "endure" that some foreigners and foreign corporations get to be completely economically free in Iceland. To most Icelanders this should be a no brainer. My guess is that IceFree would get the support of the vast majority. I am surprised to find that there are Objectivists who are not excited about this plan, and some even oppose it! To me that is completely mind boggling. For the first time in a generation there exists a realistic plan to quickly achieve a huge amount of economic freedom somewhere in the West, including legalizing gold as a means of trade and free banking. I thought that this would be a place where people immediately would see the monumental benefits of IceFree, but clearly I need to explain it: 1. The Hong Kong effect Hong Kong was a small Chinese island, but due its lingering freedom it changed China and rendered Maoism obsolete. True, the Chinese have not embraced freedom, but can anyone really doubt the positive contributions to world liberty that Hong Kong has made? It is a living, shining example of what freedom can achieve. Ideas rule the world, and since most people in the world think very visually and concretely about ideas they need firm visual, concrete evidence of ideas in order to fully understand and believe them. We all need heroes to look up to, visions of something better that inspires us and shows what is possible. Hong Kong did that to China and the East. FreeIce implemented on Iceland can similarly do that to the West. There is particularly one topic that is crucially important to show to the world: free banking and gold money. Gold is today illegal as money all over the world. Therefore there does not exist a single visible example of gold actually working as money in the world. Therefore it is infinitely hard to change people's mind about gold and free banking. It is too abstract. FreeIce changes all that. All of a sudden gold becomes money for the first time in many, many decades. For this reason alone FreeIce is extremely exciting and worth pursuing. The world has seen low tax regions, but never a free banking region. 2. Giving private enterprise a better name Today many Icelanders are disenchanted by capitalism, which they feel have failed them. What happens if capitalists all over the world come voluntarily to Iceland and pay down their entire public debt? When their neighbor governments have failed them and even labeled them terrorists, the contrast is glorious. They will be received as heroes and they will restore the belief in free enterprise. Icelanders will experience very profoundly first hand how freedom and voluntary action can strongly benefit them and how capitalism can be a force of good in their lives. When everyone else let them down, the capitalists came to their rescue. How is that for a happy ending? 3. A unique opportunity FreeIce creates a unique opportunity to explain to an entire people the failings of corporatism, central banking and the welfare state. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make lasting changes in a culture in the direction of liberty. I hope I have been able to shed light on this marvelous opportunity FreeIce represents and generate some excitement.
  21. The Icelandic people has the authority to make this deal. If they like the idea then it becomes reality.
  22. Samuraidude123: even if it happens in as much as 5 years, that is a world of difference compared to what the Icelandic people are facing now: 1-2 generations of debt. But I think it can happen much much faster than 5 years, possibly in less than one year. Iceland only has a population of 300.000 people. Their per capita debt is huge, but their total debt is fairly small. It doesn't take a lot of corporations to move to Iceland to pay down its debt. No, I am not. Carefully read what I wrote, once more. I am suggesting the introduction of a special kind of citizenship where the ticket price is a single one time payment. After that: ZERO taxes and FULL economic freedom, not for all Icelandic people, but for these special Charter Citizens. It is not very complex at all to create a law that gives full economic freedom to Charter Citizens. If the Icelandic people want the same deal and want to make a similar system for themselves they are of course free to do so. I can guarantee you that the local conservative party has never considered this particular idea as it is brand new. This is not about purchasing certain privileges from government. In order for this arrangement to have credibility with international investors Iceland needs to make a very binding commitment for the foreseeable future. There needs to be a popular vote in Iceland for the deal, where the result is the support of the overwhelming majority, and the arrangement itself needs to be to written in stone in Icelandic law, preferably into the very constitution itself so that it becomes rule of law, not a privilege given by the whim of the majority. I believe it is extremely important to avoid falling into a rationalistic trap, an unfortunate tendency of some Objectivists. Listen to what you are really saying: you have two alternatives, to support or not support the creation of the first pocket of full economic freedom in the world, not in some distant future but right now for real people made of flesh and blood, and you are choosing NOT to support it? The primary principle of Objectivism is to always, always act in one's rational self-interest. In this case it should be completely obvious that it is in your self-interest for there to exist such a beacon of economic freedom in the West. Can you please explain to me how this could possibly NOT be in your rational self-interest?
  23. Dear all, as some of you may know the tiny nordic country of Iceland is in great trouble due to the financial crisis. In just a matter of days Iceland was thrown into a major depression which threatens to destroy the country. The depression was caused by a combination of a corporatist central banking system and irresponsible banksters who gambled Iceland into a debt depression. This is of course sad for the Icelandic people, but also poses a major opportunity for liberty. I have created a movement for helping Iceland become debt free in return for creating a laissez-faire haven for the helpers. The deal is as follows: 1. A non-Icelandic individual pays a one-time fee of $25.000+1% of the wealth he wants to have protected under Icelandic law. Similarly a non-icelandic corporation pays a one-time fee of 5% (minimum $500.000) in order to operate freely on Iceland. 2. In return the individual becomes a Charter Citizen of Iceland and the corporation becomes a Charter Corporation, which gives them FULL ECONOMIC FREEDOM. In practice this means: - they pay ZERO taxes - they may freely choose their means of trade (gold, dollars, chickens, you name ut.) - they may perform any economic activity WITHOUT REGULATION provided that the activity is generally legal in Iceland. (E.g. narcotics may be illegal, but banking is legal and hence Charter Citizens may operate FREE BANKING) - they have ZERO welfare rights - all Charter Citizen/Corporation contracts are protected by Icelandic law Or put briefly: Iceland becomes debt free and the Charter Citizens become tax and regulation free. Even if you do not intend to ever become a Charter Citizen of Iceland yourself I strongly urge you all to support this enterprise. You can do that by joining the Facebook page called Free Iceland and to make sure to spread this information to all your friends and liberty-oriented associates. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Iceland/115876108423846 Transforming Iceland into a liberty haven can have enormous consequences for global politics. I am particularly fond of the notion that gold is recognized as a means of payment. Therefore please do not let this opportunity escape you.
  24. Hi all, I have set up a Facebook-cause called "Money wants to be free!" with the subtitle "Free money from the chains of government! Legalize gold and silver!" The text for the cause is as follows: Today there does not exist a single country where gold and silver can be freely used as money without government intervention. That says a lot about the sad state of liberty in the world. Money is controlled by governments and there is a reason for that. Those who control money also have the power over people and the economy. When governments control the money they can hide their taxes by simply printing money. That increased money supply is not backed by any production and is hence pure forgery. It will only emerge several years later in the form of rising prices. Governments allow the large banks to make huge profits on their monopoly money in exchange for sustaining the central banking system. This corporatist scheme has created bubbles of massive proportions and financial crises such as the one we are currently experienced. This would have been impossible if gold and silver were money. Gold cannot be printed and it is not a resource that can be monopolized by any government. Gold and silver have all the properties of a truly international gold standard, free of politics and government agendas. Show your support free, independent money! Join this cause and tell all your friends about it! And here is the link: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/396481 I Hope many people will join and spread the word.
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