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  • Stephan Livera 9:30 AM on December 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: procurement   

    It’s OK, I know a guy… 

    imageedit_2_4034376826

    Here’s an example of how government corruption in procurement results in resource wastage for the taxpayers.

    Insiders’ rules: How government ‘wires’ contracts to get the people it wants

    In this trial, one of the largest ever involving alleged white-collar crime, Canadians have been afforded rare glimpses into a government procurement system that is billed as competitive, open and fair but is actually riddled with tweaks and quirks that give bureaucrats significant power to determine outcomes.

    So how do they do it?

    Potential suppliers can tell if a request for bids is wired because the documents demand skills or experience so specific that only one or two firms can meet the minimum standard. Often these skills bear startling similarity to those possessed by contractors already on the job.

    So why is this happening?

    This is the real clue as to what’s behind this complex process — and the reason for it is simple: There’s an inherent conflict between running competitions and the desire of federal departments to solve practical problems by purchasing the services of specific, experienced consultants.

    So although I can accept that there is some good intention behind having rigorous government rules about procurement to ensure that cronyism doesn’t occur – there is just a fundamental agency problem here. The problem is not just “oh we just need to get the right people with the right rules in command of the government”, the problem is with the overall institution and ownership.

    This is why I encourage people to leave things to private entrepreneurs rather than government politicians and bureaucrats, wherever possible.

     
  • Stephan Livera 8:30 AM on December 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: free riders   

    Oh, no! Free riders! 

    Another common objection to the idea of the free market society is that there are just some things that entrepreneurs won’t be able to make without the dreaded problem of free riders (people who aren’t paying for something but are still getting the benefit). Except, entrepreneurs often do find ways to either:

    • Exclude the free rider from the benefits
    • Just take on the cost of the free riders and still make money overall anyway aka internalising the externality

    Here’s an example of the freemium business model where Telstra is taking on the cost of providing a lower end service to anyone for free, and paying customers will get access to a better service (e.g. not time limited):

    IMG_20141213_020415

    See the terms here:

    IMG_20141213_020409See the Telstra Wifi site or the Telstra article explaining the vision. A common argument against libertarianism is that there are all these nice things (like the internet) that only the rich can afford. But the concern that “only the rich can afford XYZ service” is continually disappearing over time.

    Here’s a quick thought experiment: Imagine that the cost of internet drops dramatically to the point that just about anyone who wants it, can have it. Do you think the people who make the “only the rich can afford XYZ” sort of criticism will accept this and give up on the criticism? Or do you think they will just shift the goal posts to the next new thing that “only the rich have”?

     
    • tiffany267 2:07 PM on December 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Tiffany's Non-Blog and commented:
      This topic is very important because there are people who say “OK, I get it about the roads, but WHAT ABOUT THE SIDEWALKS?! NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED TO WALK FOR FREE! OH NOEZ”. Free riders are an often-overlooked part of capitalism, which is healthy for all and will never disappear from a rational civilization just because government monopolies are abolished.

      Like

  • Stephan Livera 7:30 AM on December 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , global warming, WHO   

    Climate change extrapolation gone wrong 

    Part of the problem with thinking clearly on climate change is performing an analysis where we count the true benefits and true costs involved. One error that I commonly see from people who are pro-government intervention is that they end up overcounting benefits of government intervention while undercounting costs of the intervention.

    A common way this occurs is through extrapolating on various trends that it is not actually correct to extrapolate on. Think of it like taking an overly static view of the world rather than correctly viewing it as a world made up of many moving parts. I stumbled across this paper discussing the way a recent WHO study overstates costs of climate change, and found this paragraph quite a good articulation of what I’m talking about:

    Unhealth Exaggeration – The WHO report on climate change by Indur Goklany for GWPF

    Secondly, it ignores the fact that people and societies are not potted plants; that they will actually take steps to reduce, if not nullify, real or perceived threats to their life, limb and well-being. Thus, if the seas rise around them, heatwaves become more prevalent, or malaria, diarrhoeal disease and hunger spread, they will undertake adaptation measures to protect themselves and reduce, if not eliminate, the adverse consequences. This is not a novel concept. Societies have been doing just this for as long as such threats have been around, and over time and as technology has advanced they have gotten better at it. Moreover, as people have become wealthier, these technologies have become more affordable. Consequently, global mortality rates from malaria and extreme weather events, for instance, have been reduced at least five-fold in the past 60 years.

    Remember that imposing government intervention carries with it economic costs. Matt Ridley points out that actually, the greens are taking the moral low ground on this issue:

    The OECD’s economic models behind the two scenarios project that the average person alive in 2100 will be earning an astonishing four to seven times as much money – corrected for inflation – as she does today. That’s a 300-600% increase in real pay. This should enable posterity to buy quite a bit of protection for itself and the planet against any climate change that does show up. So we are being asked to make sacrifices today to prevent the possibility of what may turn out to be pretty small harms to very wealthy people in the future.

    By contrast, the cost of climate policies is already falling most heavily on today’s poor. Subsidies for renewable energy have raised costs of heating and transport disproportionately for the poor. Subsidies for biofuels have raised food prices by diverting food into fuel, tipping millions into malnutrition and killing about 190,000 people a year.

    This is not naive ‘denialism’ of science, this is an attempt to rationally consider the economic costs and benefits. So before you advocate for government intervention, consider the cost that would disproportionately be borne by the poor people of the world.

     
  • Stephan Livera 7:30 AM on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ABC   

    Should other people pay for your preference? 

    One of the most common arguments I hear for a socialised, government run ABC was that the ABC ‘needs to be protected’ for its particular lack of media bias or advertising. I’m skeptical of this idea, because I’m skeptical of the idea that anything can lack bias.

    There is bias even in selecting which parts of a speech to quote, which events to report, who to interview and so on. Given that it is literally impossible for media to be unbiased – this should establish the desire for a socialised ABC as being one of preference only. It’s not that the ABC has this magical and heavenly unbiased point of view, it just has a particular point of view that some people like, and that other people don’t like.

    Are you allowed to make other people pay for your preference? Even if they have explicitly stated that they don’t want to?

     
    • Reuben 8:18 AM on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a fair point. But by the same token, (some of) the points of view propounded by ABC News are marginalised in the mainstream press simply because they don’t fit the mold of profitable advertising or popular opinion that drive those publications. If we want our media as a whole to reflect the whole spectrum, we need to support a range of different views. News media definitely bears a risk of potential free market failure, justifying intervention. The debate should be about the amount and direction of that intervention.

      Like

      • Stephan Livera 8:39 AM on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Reuben, thanks very much for your comment. I haven’t had the chance to meet you yet, but if you’re coming to the sydney bitcoin event tonight I might see you there.

        Here are a few quick points in response:
        1. ‘Crowding out’ effect might be in play here i.e if it were not for the existence of the ABC, those “points of view propounded by ABC News” might otherwise be propounded by another media source. As an example, people might choose to voluntarily pay or find some other monetisation model for that point of view.
        2. On the idea that we “want our media as a whole to reflect the whole spectrum” – What if I told you, “Hey, we need our ice cream stores to reflect the whole spectrum of ice cream flavours. This is why you should be forced to pay for flavours of icecream that you do not actually want or ever use”, would you say that was reasonable?

        Now I understand there’s probably a deeper, underlying reason to distinguish media from ice cream here – you might (rightfully, from your POV) want there to be an ABC for the sake of ensuring that the public are adequately politically informed. Whereas I happen to be more sceptical about democracy in general, and view voters as being rationally ignorant. Put short, it costs them more to become informed than it benefits them, so they rationally remain ignorant of politics. Relevant academic work on this area would include:

        Happy to discuss further in person, or just respond in comment form again.

        Cheers, Stephan

        On Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 9:18 AM, Peace and Markets wrote: > >

        Like

      • Notorius B.I.T. 5:50 PM on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Are there regulations around who can start a new television station? I really don’t know but Im going to take an educated guess and say that there a bunch are hoops to jump through to get started and then compliance to maintain needing a whole team of lawyers. This creates a barrier to entry for a new smaller stations catering to alternative audiences. Compare this to the internet where these barriers don’t exist and any idiot or genius can have their material viewed and valued by the free market. Why have we not seen a market failure in blogs? Should the government run blogs (and force us to pay) to “reflect the whole spectrum”? I think a lot of people support the ABC/SBS because they see the only alternative possible as more of the same over commercialised crap we get on channels 7, 9 and 10. But they are not products of the free market either. To have a true free market it is just as important to stop the government enabled cartel of the commercial networks as it is to stop funding the ABC.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Stephan Livera 7:30 AM on December 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    We’re in this mess because people don’t get Say’s Law 

    The problem is in properly articulating what Say’s Law means in the first place. See Steven Kates article, Say’s Law and the GFC which is long, but outstanding and well worth the read.

    Here’s a piece contrasting the economists prior to Keynes and economists today who follow Keynes:

    Moreover, because of Say’s Law, every economist before Keynes would have been aware of the impossibility of a spending-on-anything road to recovery. They would have understood it because they understood in their bones what Say’s Law meant. They would have understood that to produce goods and services whose production costs are greater than their value will slow the recovery process, not hasten it.

    Ultimately, a lot of people have been fed the wrong idea about how demand works, and they’ve lost sight of the individual interactions taking place because they’re too busy looking at aggregates. This blinds them to the nuance of the original theory and they have devolved into capital consumption theories.

    HT Ben Marks.

     
  • Stephan Livera 7:30 AM on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , blockchain technology, ,   

    December 2014: Common bitcoin misconceptions 

    It’s been a long road to changing public perception of bitcoin. Here are some of the common bitcoin misconceptions circa December 2014:

    “Blockchain technology is important but bitcoin the currency isn’t”

    Wrong. Bitcoin the blockchain is a valuable innovation sure, but it only works when you have bitcoin the currency to inseparably tie value to it. Otherwise, who’s going to spend time mining/securing it, developing code and infrastructure for it, or creating markets for it?

    This has become the meme amongst bitcoin detractors and people who otherwise have a vested interest in the current monetary system remaining as it is. They are in a tricky situation because the idea of a non-inflatable, non-government controlled currency unquestionably has value, but they can’t admit this publicly – so they awkwardly fence-sit to save face and avoid looking like complete luddites.

    “Cryptocurrencies”

    I really think it’s just going to be one: bitcoin. Let’s stop referring to them as “cryptocurrencies” and just call it bitcoin, because it’s likely that ‘there can only be one’ in terms of money. This is because:

    • There are opportunity costs associated with holding any currency i.e. you could otherwise have held currency B instead of A.
    • It is very easy to transfer value amongst ‘cryptocurrencies’ when they’re all digital and can be transferred about as easily as sending an email.
    • There is a benefit of trading in the more ‘saleable’ (think liquidity) currency rather than the less saleable one.[1]

    Following the hyperbitcoinisation theory, this indicates that bitcoin will outcompete fiat currency, and due to network effects, it will likely outcompete other cryptocurrencies. [2]

    [1] See Robert Murphy article at the Mises Institute, “The Origin Of Money and Its Value” explaining Carl Menger’s theory on the origin of money.

    [2] If you are unfamiliar with the hyperbitcoinisation theory, see the Nakamoto Institute Mempool Crash Course in Bitcoin Political Economy

     
    • Bullion Baron 2:26 PM on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      These are not misconceptions, they are just views that you don’t agree with. A misconception typically refers to something that’s not factual.

      Blockchain technology, as in a public ledger of transactions, can be useful without Bitcoin, to verify the transfer and ownership of other digital contracts/records/files/currencies (the same reasons it’s useful to Bitcoin). Individuals or companies will develop code or markets for other instances of this technology where they see an opportunity to make a profit, there doesn’t need to be mining involved for blockchain technology to be useful.

      I don’t agree with your second “misconception” either, but as I recall we’ve already shared our difference of opinion here before.

      Like

      • Stephan Livera 2:33 PM on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the comment BB, I’ve just used the google definition here: “a view or opinion that is incorrect because based on faulty thinking or understanding.”

        I think the people who are overly emphasising ‘blockchain technology’ are coming from the wrong mindset. They are coming from a mindset where they think lots of blockchains will result now – but the real problem here is about distributed consensus. Using a blockchain is more expensive than just doing what companies do now, the only reason that extra cost is ‘worth it’ is for the benefits that we get with bitcoin e.g. that no one person or entity can manipulate the supply, or impose currency controls etc.

        I think those other purposes like digital contracts and asset ownership / record keeping etc – will simply take place on bitcoin itself or on a layer that works above bitcoin. e.g. if bitcoin is like TCP/IP, then maybe the other (record keeping) layers are like the HTTP sitting above it.

        So yeah, I think that the only meaningful blockchain tech that exists, is bitcoin itself.

        Like

        • Bullion Baron 6:22 PM on December 14, 2014 Permalink

          “I think those other purposes like digital contracts and asset ownership / record keeping etc – will simply take place on bitcoin itself or on a layer that works above bitcoin.”

          So I have been hearing for several years now, yet some who’ve tried to develop extra utility within Bitcoin have realised it’s too hard and instead had to create their own protocol and/or currencies (Zerocoin being one example to bring anonymity to transactions).

          Bitcoin is not like TCP/IP, it’s the Netscape Navigator of cryptocurrencies. Maybe it will remain dominant, maybe it won’t, but it’s not reasonable to call the fight results before it’s begun and then brush off anyone else’s opinion as a ‘misconception’.

          Like

    • Stephan Livera 6:35 PM on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      BB, I understand your point but I don’t think it actually engages with the point I made – which is that using a blockchain is actually an increased cost. It’s very unlikely that people will choose to run ‘blockchain record keeping software’ if it will cost them more to do so (relatively to just say, one company storing its own database and people contracting with that company), and it’s very unlikely that a whole infrastructure would build up around it, given there is vastly less incentive (if there’s no currency value to it).

      Now if you’re referring to the creation of new altcoins – those are answered by the Appcoins are Snake Oil article and the Problem with Altcoins articles on Nakamoto institute [1] [2]. An example of building a layer on top (without doing an altcoin) would be OpenBazaar, which I like the idea of.

      In any case, it’s not that the bitcoin detractors are making sophisticated arguments to contend with the ‘network effect’ argument I (and other bitcoin advocates) put forward, in reality they’re just selectively cherry picking the parts of bitcoin that fit in with their world view (which includes centralised state control of money and the associated monetary/banking system).

      [1] Appcoins article: http://nakamotoinstitute.org/mempool/appcoins-are-snake-oil/
      [2] Problem with altcoins: http://nakamotoinstitute.org/mempool/the-problem-with-altcoins/

      Like

      • Bullion Baron 7:49 PM on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        A lot of the infrastructure that’s been built up around Bitcoin could be adapted for those using similar technology at relatively low cost in the future.

        Your ‘network effect’ argument doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Show me ANY situation where the world uses a single ‘brand’ of technology. It would be much easier if everyone had the same brand console, mobile phone, computer. If you believe that Bitcoin is the absolute bedrock that all cryptocurrencies need to survive then your argument makes sense, but I disagree completely. You speak of Bitcoin as if it’s the perfect money, but people require different functions from their money and it’s unlikely Bitcoin will be able to perform all functions as is evident with Zerocoin if anonymity is important.

        I think your ideology is blinding you on this topic, not the other way around. I would like freer monetary rules, as I have argued on my site in the past I think individuals should have the ability to save in the monetary vehicle of their choice (state controlled or otherwise). That said, what I want and what I see happening/expect to happen in the future are very different things. We are seeing increased cooperation and centralisation of banking, taxation and monetary control, not a loosening of it that would allow Bitcoin to flourish. Look at the comments coming out of the G20 meetings, look at the bi-monthly BIS meetings… I think you are confusing the world you want to see with what is actually happening.

        Like

        • Stephan Livera 9:29 PM on December 14, 2014 Permalink

          Money is different than just mobile phones or computers – specifically in the field of money, it is beneficial to use the most ‘saleable’ one. That’s one of the lessons I think we can draw from the Origins of Bitcoin article I linked in the article by Bob Murphy.

          I’m not arguing that Bitcoin is the perfect money, just that it is the current best (from an economic) perspective. This may not always be the case, someday there may come a better form of money. But from this POV – it doesn’t make much sense to talk about “blockchain technology” so much as it does to talk about possible “superior forms of money”.

          As for the points about increased cooperation amongst governments and centralisation of tax/monetary control – in a sense, those actually contribute to people wanting out. Ultra rich people who previously had a swiss bank account might now switch to bitcoin, people from countries with insane capital controls will want a way out. bitcoin is that way out.

          sometimes people don’t change until they are forced to

          Like

        • Bullion Baron 10:01 PM on December 14, 2014 Permalink

          One user of money may be interested in a publicly verifiable transaction as proof of purchase (Bitcoin), another may want to hide their transaction (Zerocoin). One might want a stable price during a 24-48 transfer period (USD), another might give up that element of price stability in order to get around capital controls (Bitcoin). One might want to use a type of money that has proven to be a store of value over the longer term (Gold) as they intend on saving in it over the long term, another might be happy with slowly depreciating money (USD) as they intend on spending it in the near future. The most saleable type of money will differ depending on intended use.

          I think the ultra rich will continue to hoard the sorts of assets they always have, primarily cash, gold & art. The ultra rich have mostly benefited from the centralised control.

          As I’ve said before, I think Bitcoin has utility for some groups of people, just don’t think it’s likely to become as mainstream as many advocates have predicted.

          Like

  • Stephan Livera 7:30 AM on December 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: intervention faces a higher burden of proof,   

    Reversing the onus 

    One rhetorical sleight of hand argument I often see is the disingenuous “reverse the onus/burden of proof” argument. An example might be where the person says: “I believe in XYZ government program, unless you can show me sufficient evidence that this program is harmful, this is my stance”. Running counter to this, there is a ‘default position’ – that default position is where you don’t impose taxation costs on someone, and you don’t threaten to imprison them merely for doing something you disagree with.

    There is rightfully a presumption in favour of liberty and of not coercing people. Borrowing from Michael Huemer’s “In Praise of Passivity” page 22/23, here are some reasons why:

    1. First, any government policy that imposes requirements or prohibitions on citizens automatically has certain costs. This includes literal costs of enforcement, reduction in citizens’ freedom, and suffering on the part of those who break the law and are subsequently punished.

    2. Laws are commands backed up by threats of coercive imposition of harm on those who disobey them. Harmful coercion against an individual generally requires some clear justification. One is not justified in coercively harming a person on the grounds that the person has violated a command that one merely guesses has some social benefit. If it is not reasonably clear that the expected benefits of a policy significantly outweigh the expected costs, then one cannot justly use force to impose that policy on the rest of society.

    3. A third, related point is that when the state actively intervenes in society–for example, by issuing commands and coercively harming those who disobey its commands–the state then becomes responsible for any resulting harms, in a way that the state would not be responsible for harms that it merely (through lack of knowledge) fails to prevent. Imagine that I see a woman at a bus stop opening a bottle of pills, obviously about to take one. Before I decide to snatch the pills away from her and throw them into the sewer drain, I had better be very certain that the pills are actually something harmful. If it turns out that I have taken away a medication that the woman needed to forestall a heart attack, I will be responsible for the results. On the other hand, if, due to uncertainty as to the nature of the drugs, I decide to leave the woman alone, and it later turns out that she was swallowing poison, I will not thereby be responsible for her death. For this reason, intervention faces a higher burden of proof than nonintervention.

    Don’t let people disingenuously reverse the burden of proof. Any move in favour of coercing people who don’t consent, is a move that requires the coercer to justify their action – not the other way around.

     
  • Stephan Livera 7:30 AM on December 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , roderick long   

    There are no guarantees 

    It’s tempting to think that the government provides some kind of guarantee about safety or prosperity. This is a mistake – there are no guarantees. See Libertarian Anarchism: Transcription of a talk by Roderick Long or PDF via Mises Institute here.

    I particularly like the way Roderick Long articulates this point here:

    I think that a lot of people – one reason that they’re scared of anarchy is they think that under government it’s as though there’s some kind of guarantee that’s taken away under anarchy. That somehow there’s this firm background we can always fall back on that under anarchy is just gone. But the firm background is just the product of people interacting with the incentives that they have. Likewise, when anarchists say people under anarchy would probably have the incentive to do this or that, and people say, “Well, that’s not good enough! I don’t just want it to be likely that they’ll have the incentive to do this. I want the government to absolutely guarantee that they’ll do it!”

    But the government is just people. And depending on what the constitutional structure of that government is, it’s likely that they’ll do this or that. You can’t design a constitution that will guarantee that the people in the government will behave in any particular way. You can structure it in such a way so that they’re more likely to do this or less likely to do this. And you can see anarchy as just an extension of checks-and-balances to a broader level.

     
  • Stephan Livera 7:30 AM on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bad outcomes,   

    “But I’m really worried about worst possible outcomes” 

    One result of pro-authority bias is the way it shifts our perception of riskiness. When it comes to ensuring that really bad outcomes don’t occur, people tend to take assurances from the state at face value, but treat libertarian ideas with great scepticism. As a result, most people don’t do a true apples to apples comparison when comparing statism to libertarianism. Stated in other words: They hold libertarianism to a higher standard than they do statism.

    This manifests itself in a fear of living in a society without a monopoly authority on law and taxation (the state). But is it really appropriate to focus on the worst possible outcome? Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on the likely outcomes and then contrast the approaches? If we’re going to just play games with ridiculous hypotheticals about what the worst possible outcome is, we could sit here all night and still make no real progress. Bryan Caplan articulates this point very well in his post, Tough Luck at Econlog. I particularly like how he reverses it back by asking the equivalent questions that a libertarian could ask a statist:

    “What if the government conscripts you to fight in an unjust war, and you die a horrible death?”

    “What if a poor person drinks and gambles away his welfare check?”

    “What if the government denies you permission to legally work?”

    “What if the President decides your ethnicity is a national security risk and puts you in a concentration camp, and the Supreme Court declares his action constitutional?”

    “What if a person lives an extremely unhealthy lifestyle, so by the time they’re retired, they’re in constant pain no matter how generous their Medicare coverage is?”

    “What happens if a President lies to start a war, and voters don’t particularly care?”

    If we’re really going to talk about worst possible outcomes, then surely it bears repeating here that states are responsible for killing an estimated 262 million people in the 20th century (not even counting world wars). See Power Kills by the late Rudolph Rummel. Statism is setting a pretty low bar to beat, to be perfectly honest.

    So to the statist who presents the argument they are concerned about “worst possible outcomes” e.g. that somehow the rich people in a libertarian society would have unimaginable power over the rest of society. The libertarian response is that creating a state only exacerbates such problems because under a state, the politically connected or rulers have power to confiscate other people’s resources and turn them towards evil purposes too (like the deaths of 262 million above). In a comparative sense, a libertarian society makes that outcome less likely than it would be under the state.

    The real problem is political authority:

    10690159_908917585808167_8853982902588132995_n

     
    • eglove 8:40 AM on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “They hold libertarianism to a higher standard than they do statism.”

      I have to say, that line blew my mind a little.

      The tough luck article is one of my favorites though, it’s difficult for anyone to argue against it.

      Like

      • Stephan Livera 8:56 AM on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Cheers Ethan, I agree Tough Luck is a tough article to argue against! I don’t think people are intentionally doing this double-standard, they are just being biased in ways they can’t recognise. The first step for us is to show them that this bias exists – even if many people won’t be willing to accept it. As Ron Paul said, he’s really calling out to ‘The Remnant’ (the people who are able to think independently).

        On Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 9:41 AM, Peace and Markets wrote:

        >

        Liked by 1 person

  • Stephan Livera 6:30 AM on December 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ferguson,   

    Ferguson: Divide and Conquer 

    eric garner

    reposting a reddit comment about Ferguson and recent police harassment cases by capitalistchemist (lightly edited for spelling, bolding for emphasis is mine):

    “Does anyone else find it interesting how the mainstream press and the race-baiting guests they have on come out in full force for the vague cases but not the clear cut ones? Where were the rioters practically demanding the lynching of the cops in the Kelly Thomas case? Where are they in the countless cases of clear cut police murder? They come out when the circumstances are vague enough to sow conflict.

    The black populace, enraged by decades of police harassment and abuse, lashes out in a straw-that-broke-the-camel’s back situation. It’s not the catalyzing incident that’s so much the problem, rather that they see it as manifesting a long standing pattern. The whole while the fox news crowd gets angry in response. They see people rioting about something they consider ridiculous, and the thought of putting it into a larger context never even occurs to them. If anything, the larger context the fox crowd frames things into is ‘this is what these people want to do and they’re looking for any excuse to do so’.

    This clearly incites racial conflict. Those defending whoever shot the minority are immediately labeled racist, because what the protesters are angry about is a culture of shit-kicking-shoot-first-ask-later policing rather than the particular incident. And whoever is on the side of the person who got shot is seen as being violent rabble that deserves to be crushed. Both sides only see a tiny part of the other, and the way the story is covered keeps it that way. If there were this kind of coverage about the more clear cut shootings the anger would be towards the police and the government, not between races. And that’s why those cases won’t get any major news coverage.

    The way this plays out is brilliant strategy. Anger towards the state is redirected between races. The police state is expanded, and a good portion of the population demands it because of the incited racial conflict. And the coverage of the fiasco provides the state a smoke screen to enact new policies for at least one news cycle.

    The result: a stronger state and a more fractured populace.”

    It’s not an intentional backroom conspiracy/strategy, it’s just the way the scenarios have played out because of an overall collectivist mindset. Rather than attributing these issues to race because the victim was black, why not attribute the overly brutal or reckless police behaviour to being state-caused? Consider:

    • Why those cops were there in the first place
    • Who paid them
    • Who armed them
    • Why no one dared to intervene
    • Who protected them from any consequences

    Contrast this with privatised security or privatised police, who actually face a threat of losing business if they are overly brutal or harassing. See Robert Murphy’s point about what would happen if a mall security company was overly brutal and went around breaking every delinquent teenager’s arm (even if the teenager was just mouthing off).

    Image: Just Statist Things

     
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