I think I said it in my profile that I listen to a Lot of podcasts. When your job requires so little thought that you can just put yourself on auto-pilot, why not use that time to get in some education? Every few weeks I go searching the Internet for new podcasts because the ones I have either haven't updated in a while, or I'm ready for a new mind tickle. Yesterday, I did another search and discovered Free Domain Radio hosted by Stephan Molyneux. I think I recognized the voice from a Hellbound Alleee show a while back where he was discussing anarco-capitalism. I could be wrong, but Mr. Molyneux was talking about the same topics and I am just going to go ahead and make the connection. He advertises on his FDR page that he has four million downloads a year. From subscribing to his podcast, he has over one thousand shows you can listen to for free. Listening to him, I found him to be articulate, witty, and so much better than I am with analogies. The topics he focuses on most is libertarianism and anarco-capitalism. I listened to two of his podcasts yesterday and recalling the one from Alleee's show I have formed a general opinion. I don't know what to think about his ideas.

Before I knew anything about politics, before I cared to know anything about politics I happened upon Rush Limbaugh talking on the local radio. I'd heard of him, seen the bumper stickers, even listened to an audio book by Al Frankin about him being a big, fat, idiot which was mostly about Frankin and less about Limbaugh. I was basically listening to Rush with no preconceived idea what he was talking about other than politics. So I listened. I didn't know what politics he subscribed to, but I knew that whatever that was he was saying, I disagreed with. You never know what you believe till you hear someone with an opposing view is a piece of advice I give to my friends. I learned more about what I believed listening to Rush than almost any other source.

I know the tiniest fraction of anarchy as a political system or as a philosophical position. I know perhaps two tiny fractions about libertarianism, mostly from listening to Penn Jillette. Mr. Molyneux is very convincing in his arguments and analogies, but I still do not know how I feel about them. I bring this up, and this is actually what this whole post is about, because I remember another time when I was bombarded with an entirely new idea system and there were so many points and issues to hammer over it took a while before I could say, “Yes, I am convinced. I am an Atheist.”

The Atheist Experience is an Austin public access live call-in TV show. It has been on the air every week for about 11 years now. I didn't start not believing in gods because of the show, but now that I've read so much about the subject, I get (most of) the jokes, and understand what they are saying and marvel that such a well laid out case for disbelief could go unheeded by the majority of people. It is so obvious to me, why do the people I talk to about it look at me like I'm denying a round Earth? Now I understand. When atheists appear on a media source, audio or video, the sheer volume of new information that is presented counter to everything a person has believed for years will overwhelm their mind and the defenses go up. When learning a new thing, facts have to be rearranged to fit what you already know. If the facts are coming in at five or more new ones in one sentence, there just isn't time to work out all of the consequences of the speakers words in one sitting. I think this is the main reason why it takes so long for someone to de-convert from religion. The facts are there, they can be checked, but the board has to be cleared for the new pegs to fit into the right holes.

Do I think libertarianism is the best political system? Is anarco-capitalism a better way to ensure a free society? I don't know. There are so many thoughts that I have to catalog, sort, evaluate, and reason through. What I do know is that hearing Mr. Molyneux talk, though he makes good points, causes a shut down to his ideas. They are coming fast and hard and before I can reject the idea or accept it will take time. Just like religion.

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Tags: Libertarian, anarco-capitalism, change, mind

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Comment by Roger Rotge on October 4, 2008 at 6:11am
Anarco-capitalism as put forth by Mr. Molyneux can be summed up as such: Is it wrong to force someone to do good with the threat of violence? Government occasionally does good things. For government to work, they need money. To get money, you pay taxes. If you don't pay taxes, the government comes to get you, sometimes with guns and storming your compound. Therefore, the government forces you to pay taxes, whether you want to or not, with the threat of violence and that is immoral.

Without government, we would not have a military, interstate highways, NSF, public schools, or something to fallback on if our largest banks make bad loans and need $700 billion to clean up their mess.

I can see his point on the first part. By sheer luck, people are born into a society that requires them to work for the greater good of others. If freedom is the rule, then forcing people to do anything is not conducive to freedom. What are the alternatives? Become a bum? Move to another country? I don't know. This is why I wrote this blog post. He has a very good point. By threatening violence on a people unless they give them money seems wrong. Yet, I can also imagine what the world would be like if that money wasn't spent on the things that make my life easier and that wouldn't get done any other way.

I'm leaning toward violence to force people to do good. This bothers me that I can say that. I haven't played out all the possibilities in my head. And, I don't know enough about either system to say which one I back 100%.

The post isn't about me though as much as the psychology of something new. I feel I am back at the same stage when I was becoming an atheist. The rational, reasoned, common sense information was out there waiting for me to absorb. In order to absorb the information, I had to gather it slowly at first. This was a complete re-write of how I was told the world worked. The world I was comfortable being part of. I hadn't thought of most of the points raised by the web sites advocating atheism. I had thought of a few, but in passing. "Where did Noah put all of those animals? Oh, I guess it was a really big boat. Here comes my exit, better start veering over and turn on the blinker." I had no encouragement to continue further in this thought other than a, "huh, that's funny" capacity. Now, here I am again faced with an entire new system of financial thought. I know not to accept things on face value. The hard part is that his starting premise is so damn good. Maybe there is something to this. I don't want to join the wacky boat if it's wacky, yet I know when I was becoming an atheist, THAT was the wacky boat.

I think others have the same impression now when I talk about atheism. I must sound like a conspiracy nut to them. I know the facts, I have a lot of the answers. I can VERY quickly overwhelm them with a point of view they have possibly never contemplated. Just like me, they have that filter that says no matter just how freaking much sense something makes, I'm not going to make a final decision what I believe till I get a lot more evidence from both sides. These are the easy ones to talk with. Most people will never contemplate the other side of the argument and you are better off talking to a potato wall. At least the wall doesn't believe in a god. :)

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