How to Make a Living Outside of the System?

By Kyle Rearden

“The First Realm is ruled by politicians, personal freedoms are inhibited and restrained. Rather than advocating a revolution, they want to build a ‘Second Realm,’ one that is free from the rulers of the First Realm. More and more parts of our lives can be transferred to the Second Realm, until an individual lives mostly free in the Second Realm, while technically being ruled over in the First Realm. One day, the First Realm rulers may lose their power, due to everyone joining the Second Realm. Technically, the Second Realm is described as encrypted communication, encrypted currencies, anonymous and pseudonymous identities and untraceable action. Like Neo in the Matrix: by day, he’s just a computer programmer. By night, he’s an expert hacker. Only in the Second Realm, nobody will find the connection between the two. Or so they say. I could be my usual self in the First Realm, pay some taxes, pretend to have a normal job and be an ordinary citizen. In the Second Realm, I could be free. Do whatever I want. This not only sounds like freedom, it sounds like an adventure.”

– Daniel LaRusso (the protagonist of #agora)

Understanding agorist class theory necessitates the practice of black market trading, sooner or later. One explanation argues there are two ways of doing this – underground and aboveground. As the author says:

“So where do we start? The traditional and old way of doing a black market business was to stay invisible. This is not the approach I really recommend…I don’t want to have to live in fear…[a]re you going to come down where you’re completely open, as I am?”

Wait a minute…is he seriously claiming that there is such a thing as an aboveboard black marketeer? Dr. Tarrin P. Lupo continues:

“I like to look to nature for answers and there is a great example of this strategy I would like to share. A new form of activism that is also a way to run a black market business is on the rise and having great success. My advice, ‘Become a poisonous frog’ with your activism. Everyone has seen pictures [of] those bright yellow and neon green frogs that live in the rain forest. They don’t even bother with trying to hide in the backgrounds or with camouflaging themselves. Why aren’t these amphibians hunted into extinction? The frogs are poisonous and advertise that fact to the world with their bright colors. This is the strategy I promote in this book. I will teach you how to advertise yourself as being to[o] poisonous for the authorities to mess with. These are non violent ways to convince the local gang of thugs that your business is not worth the time, money and embarrassment you will cause their department if they choose to mess with your way of making a living.”

I think this is misapplied symbolism. Such a poisonous frog has poison that can injure and/or kill its enemies; so ask yourselves, what exactly is the poison that black market traders have to incapacitate the bludgies? Furthermore:

“Putting as many layers between your actual identity and the identity of your business as possible is very safe, but complicated. But I try to encourage people to be open about running a business while at the same time making it hard for the state or financial institutions to deal with you at all. Make it so if a bureaucrat does come after you, they’re not going to find crap and you’re not going to cooperate with them. Bring such a negative, public and/or media storm down upon them and whatever agency rock they climbed out from under that they just back off and leave you alone.”

Although it is good for Lupo to give some pointers as to how to discretely participate in black markets (such as through mail drops, limited liability corporations, and e-commerce), he makes his preferential bias for teasing the bear quite apparent and unapologetic. It’s almost as if he’s relying on bad public relations against the government to inexplicably sway in favor of the black market entrepreneurs who happen to find themselves caught in the crosshairs of the Bluecoats.

Are there any real world case studies Lupo uses to justify his argument in favor of the poisonous frog strategy? Only one is mentioned:

“A good example of this would be what happened in Savannah [Georgia]. There’s a restaurant business that proudly runs without any licensing or zoning. They do delivery; they cook in their family kitchen, and then they deliver the food. They were openly running their business illegally. One of their customers got mad about an order and decided to snitch them out. The cops set up an illegal sting, wasting their time and taxpayers’ money. The Garden City PD used five cops in this sting to catch this business with their illegal biscuits and gravy…[b]ecause there’s an existing network of independent media, the story got massive press. The police department was so embarrassed about it (since other Agorist businesses and liberty activists made such a stink about it) that the police then made a statement that even the Last Biscuit is operated illegally, they’re not going to press charges and will let the matter drop. Now Savannah’s Last Biscuit can now work in Savannah without any fear of licensing fees, or any fear of bureaucrats harassing them, because the bureaucrats are scared of the media! The police department has given them free press!”

Known more commonly as Biscuitgate, Dr. Lupo’s sole case study from 2009 fails to adequately justify becoming a poisonous frog; if anything, it demonstrates the terrible security culture the Last Biscuit had, given that all it took was for one ex-customer to snitch to the king’s guards. Of course, there’s also the element of what kind of black market activity the Last Biscuit was engaged in (notice it wasn’t drug dealing, prostitution, or gun running – all three of which can be done ethically by being victimless, as fictionally demonstrated in the Alongside Night novel) – I suspect that had the Last Biscuit been selling uncut cocaine, Tommy guns, or “escort” services, such media exposure would swing greatly against any form of “sympathy.” Lupo also said:

“This story serves as a good example of how and why there are two ways to do it. Make yourself invisible if you don’t have all your ducks in a row and you’ve got too much to lose. Or, you can be open about it, defiant, and you will rally other liberty activists around you who will point a huge spotlight on the corrupt system. Many times the bureaucrats will just go scurrying away from the spotlight as fast as possible, like they did in Savannah.”

No, wrong, herr doktor – what Biscuitgate serves as a good example of, if anything, is why good security culture is the first (and too often, the only) line of defense, and that placing your fate into the hands of the servile society through publicity is a high stakes gamble where the odds are not in your favor; to loosely paraphrase the fictional Don Draper, the truth is that what’s worse than a tyrannical system is an indifferent universe, particularly when such indifference is directly enabling grotesque horrors not otherwise possible (put another way, public relations as a vehicle to promote individual liberty makes an assumption that relating to the public at-large is worthwhile in the first place).

Segueing here regarding so-called “activism,” which I sincerely believe to be a chimera, Lupo wrote:

“It’s important to know that if you’re a liberty activist, it’s actually safer to do things in the open – once you have some back-up. When possible, ground your business in the existing liberty community and organizations. If you don’t already have activist friends, get involved with social media! Sites like Facebook, MySpace, MeetUp, and other boards provide a virtual community bringing together geographically far-flung people of like mind…[s]urrounding yourself with even a virtual community of like-minded individuals allows you [to] have both a market-place and a consumer base. They will support you if you will support them.”

Excuse me, but what the hell is a “liberty activist,” anyway? This has never been defined by anyone who flippantly uses the term (to my knowledge), and even if a so-called liberty activist were defined as a libertarian who is a content producer within the alternative media, then why should anyone hitch their wagon to them, or more importantly, any activist organizations at all? It’s almost as if Lupo is disregarding or ignoring the existentiality of disingenuous activists and the implications their very existence means to any forms of grassroots pushback (not to mention all the various case studies showing this in detail). Whether he be genuinely ignorant or cunningly sidestepping the issue, the fact of the matter is that self-declared “activists” are much more likely to hurt you and your family (think doxxing, for instance) than any government agent might try to, since it might as well be the equivalent of inviting the vampires into your home, all other factors being equal. On a related note, Lupo mentioned that:

“If your occupation is more highly regulated, your risk of detection and harassment is higher. In dealing with things like alcohol, tobacco (and of course, fire-arms), government regulation and interference has made both the risk of harassment by goons greater, and the price of the regulated product higher! Prohibition has never worked…[s]tripping, prostitution in all its forms, the purchasing, selling and using of drugs – all these activities which the state calls criminal, you should be able to engage in without fear of being locked in a cage…[t]he higher risk and the socially frowned up[on] professions will want to use a combination of the privacy techniques and the open activism style. Keep your business invisible but work and support the activist’s community. If you support them, they will support you even if it is socially unpopular.”

Okay, this is some serious backpedaling if I’ve ever seen any; so, is the good doctor implying that black marketeers ought to be both underground and aboveboard, or that they are mutually exclusive strategies? If the former, then how is it possible to remain discrete if you advertise your wares to the servile society instead of just to the agora? It appears to me that Dr. Lupo wants to have his cake and eat it too, when he should know better that you can’t have it both ways, because reality will smack such an individual upside the head via the consequences of their actions.

That being said, I think Lupo did a good job presenting overviews of mail drops, prepaid cards, reselling (such as through flea markets or a website like Craigslist or eBay), e-books, and affiliate marketing. Of course, to do any of these things competently would require both more detailed information as well as practical experience (such as through an informal apprenticeship and/or experimental trial-and-error), but then again, I got the strong impression that Lupo intended his e-book to be an overview, not a detailed guide on how to do much of anything useful. While I’d prefer a user manual (given that, presumably, the technical information would be falsifiable), such is now obvious to me that Lupo is more of a strategist, not a tactician; therefore, as long as the outline of his PR strategy passes enough muster with his readers “buying” into it, then his arguments might be worth something to them.

Tarrin Lupo’s How to Make a Living Outside the System: A Practical Guide to Starting a Black Market Business is a less stellar explanation of black market activity than that of the Second Realm, the latter of which is truly coherent and sober. Lupo’s approach to black markets is more evocative of a suicide pact whereby one is expected to rely on the kindness of strangers to bail them out of their reckless civil disobedience through an artificially generated media frenzy. That being said, the question of how to transition people into black market activity is one worth exploring:

“I have a buddy who makes baklava out [of] his house, and when he started to devote real time to it, within a few months he had already paid off his credit cards, and if he keeps at it, he’ll probably make at least enough to live comfortably, if not exceed his previous ‘regular’ income. He has one of the greatest quotes of all time: ‘It’s sad, and speaks to today’s society, that when cooking and selling baklava out of your house is now considered activism.’ It really puts things in perspective, when in this country you can’t even cook and sell food out of your house without it being an act of civil disobedience. In the end, my friend is a great example for anyone wanting to start a black market business: he did something. And you can too. Just keep your normal job, and start a side job on the weekends. Go to the flea markets, start a dog washing business, cut hair, anything, find a need and fill it. Keep building this second, side job, and begin thinking about what your tipping point should be. Have a threshold at which point you can say, ‘Ok, I’m making this much money, I can now give up my regular job.’ And then, again, transition into it.”

This transitioning away from the First Realm and towards the Second Realm is essential for the preservation of individual liberty. Although financial independence cannot be ignored, it would be foolhardy to completely discount the importance of where such wealth used to achieve such an independence ultimately came from (for instance, it is equally possible for government agents to retire early via intensive saving as their path to financial independence); as such, the source of capital accumulation, whether it be from the white market, red market, pink market, black market, white market, or even grey market, must be taken into consideration regarding one’s personal integrity.

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Quote of the Week: “I’m Just Ahead of the Curve”

By Kyle Rearden

original work by Discombobulated1895

“Don’t talk like you’re one of them! You’re not, even if you’d like to be. To them, you’re just a freak, like me. They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper. You see, their morals, their ‘code,’ is a bad joke, to be dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show ya; when the chips are down, these ‘civilized’ people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster; I’m just ahead of the curve.”

The Joker

The Dark Knight

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The Second Realm!

By Kyle Rearden

“In an agorist society, division of labor and self-respect of each worker-capitalist-entrepreneur will probably eliminate the traditional business organization – especially the corporate hierarchy, an imitation of the State and not the Market. Most companies will be associations of independent contractors, consultants, and other companies…[t]hus an association of entrepreneurs of liberty for the purpose of specializing, coordinating and delivering libertarian activities is no violation of the market and be optimal…[such an association] is simple and should avoid turning into a political organ or even an authoritarian organization. Rather than officers, what are needed are tacticians (local coordinators with competency in tactical planning) and strategists (regional coordinators with competency in strategic thinking). A New Libertarian Ally does not follow a tactician or strategist but rather ‘buys’ their argument and expertise. Anyone offering a better plan can replace the previous planner. Tactics and strategy should be ‘bought and sold’ by the Allies like any other commodity in consistent agorist fashion.”

Sam Konkin

As the very first agorist novella, #agora was also an original piece of libertarian fiction to uniquely showcase the idea of a second realm that existed outside the grasp of the State; in fact, there’s a brief yet memorable scene where one of the cryptoagorists whips out his cell phone in order to gain access to a room that is electronically locked. Needless to say, the notion of a Second Realm captivated my imagination like little else has given the opportunities and possibilities enabled by such a concept. When I discovered that there was a non-fiction treatise on the Second Realm itself, it would be an understatement to say that I was intrigued by what its authors had to offer.

Much of what compromises the Second Realm might be said to be a counter-culture of sub-cultures. They say:

“Cultural norms of the mainstream society and most of its subcultures reward pro-state behavior while they punish non-state behavior. While this is not yet true for all parts of the cultural codes, it is increasing, often without us noticing…[i]nterwoven with these codes are values that most people are accustomed to use when judging their neighbors…[i]n addition, a wide variety of symbols are used to identify people as being ‘respectable.’ Some of these are: styles of clothing, status symbols, licenses, membership cards, use of language and laughing at the right time. Together, these codes, values and symbols form societal expectations and identities – the function of culture – and any fundamental variation from them is met with rejection or even outright hostility.”

This is crucial background information that sets the stage for the necessity of establishing such an alternate society. They continue:

“Cultural codes, values, symbols and systems and institutions of cooperation enable the state to become a spatial entity, through its agents, proponents and dependents. Culture forms the base for active consent while access control of institutions creates a soft force to keep the subjects in line. (The benefits of compliance outweigh the risks of dissent)…[t]his starts with simple social exclusion of dissenters, continues with snitching and inviting the state agents into situations where they are unwanted, and ends by using force against dissenters. The interwoven aspects of culture, institutions, profits from redistribution and the longing for stability form the foundation of the power of states and assure lasting consent (both passive and active) for this system of domination. We call the totality of this system: The First Realm.”

Okay, that identifies the enemy, but so what? They elucidate:

Our strategy for liberty is the creation of a culture of liberty, a society that occupies its own protected space and implements independent systems of cooperation. We need to create a Second Realm…[a]narchy is the free grouping of men into societies of their preference.”

In other words, the Second Realm here could be defined as an updated version of a Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ). Essentially, it is the ability to conduct trade and other activities (including vices) in certain areas at particular times without reprisal from the State. Originally conceived of as being geographically mobile, TAZs (and by extension, the Second Realm) may now include cyberspace, such as the deep web.

It would behoove us to first examine the philosophical underpinnings of the Second Realm before detailing its practical manifestations. They write:

“The basic ethical axiom of Liberty is Individual Autonomy – that each and every person has the right (that is: ‘is morally justified’) to be the final authority over the law he chooses for himself, and that anything that violates this right is a crime…[w]e do have to respect the individual autonomy of First Realm persons, and even the decisions they have foolishly delegated to institutions and governments beyond their control. This does not mean that the resulting systems are ethical, but they are the will of many. It is thus not for us to take down these systems but rather to offer ethical alternatives, to open doors into the Second Realm where people can fully embrace their humanity through Liberty.”

Obviously, this raises up a tricky paradox; in order for there to be a functional Second Realm, the autonomy of those remaining within the slavish First Realm must be respected by the Second Realmers themselves, even though such consideration is far from being reciprocated, and never can be. Furthermore:

“This calls us to keep the peace with the First Realm as long as it is up to us, to not intervene in the First Realm, to radically keep the two realms separate. There is no place for standoffs. This strict separation and the respect for individual autonomy also implies that we do not needlessly violate the laws of the First Realm but instead either confine ourselves fully to the Second Realm or live a double-life: Paying taxes in the First Realm and keeping its laws while we are located there, and ignoring the First Realm whenever we are located in the Second…[t]o be able to implement such a progressive withdrawal and strict separation makes the drawing of boundaries between the realms necessary. The clearest of these is that our physical and digital temporary autonomous zones and any interaction between only Second Realm inhabitants belongs to the Second Realm exclusively, with everything else being in the First Realm.”

Segregation, in this context, is not only ethical but also practical for survivability. This also suggests that there is a pragmatic function for legal interstices or carefully calculated submission, as well as strategic withdrawal and discrete civil disobedience.

Strategically speaking, though, what exactly are the authors suggesting here with their proposal of a Second Realm? They explain:

“Several strategies for this change have been proposed, ranging from political participation, educating and convincing the masses, civil-disobedience, secession and counter-economics, to outright revolution. While these proposals all have some interesting aspects, they are very often naïve or poorly informed as to what really shapes society. The fundamental flaw to most of these strategies, with a slight exception in the theory of counter-economics, is the reliance on mass change of social, cultural economic structures and people in general.”

These authors go on to repudiate collective-movementism in some detail, which I thoroughly appreciated. Not only that, but they explicitly acknowledged none other than black market apologist Sam Konkin as being inspirational to them. They further declare:

“We can and should focus on forming an entrepreneurial environment for tactics, and let them refine each other in the marketplace. But, for a marketplace to work, we must be prepared to reward entrepreneurs for their superior products and services, not just through respect, but also with tangible material considerations (money, etc). Contrary to our opponents, our strategy employs the time-tested roles of entrepreneurs, customers and investors. This is fundamental because it creates a situation in which people who are unable to contribute through the supply of services or products are able to contribute through the investment of time or money in products that will help us all achieve our objectives – and maybe even profit.”

If anything, this implies that the Second Realm encompasses agorism but is broader than it. Almost as if the inevitable result of what Ludwig von Mises wrote about in Human Action, grey and black market entrepreneurs who form a counter/sub-culture of libertarian resistance to statism might very well become a compelling fiction story if it was told through an appropriate media venue (just consider the successful yet controversial reception of the V for Vendetta film by the servile society). Continuing on:

“Reputation and respect are probably the strongest unifying aspects. While respect is willfully extended until proven misplaced, reputation must be earned by ethical behavior and entrepreneurship. We praise those of us that are successful, those that take risk, and those that pick themselves up after failures. Honesty and contract are holy, and secrets are respected as they not only protect but also add spice to life.”

Personal responsibility for one’s actions is seldom more evident than here. Notice, too, that secrecy is not always a bad thing, for not all truths need to be said. Also:

“Neither reputation nor respect are empty words for us. They are also ways of binding and help to mutually develop. We communicate them tangibly, by vouching for others, underwriting and extending bonds to protect our business-partners and peers. In this web of tangible relations people draw each other up the ladder of affluence, but also quickly sort out evil-doers and scam artists.”

Right there is the repudiation of government laws in favor of social ostracism as the enforcement mechanism for maintaining peace and liberty. Suffice it to say, the Second Realm strategy hinges upon principled entrepreneurship.

Ideology and strategy aside, what are the practical tactics of the Second Realm? It’s crucial to first understand that:

“We protect our secrets, we value them. Protecting our privacy becomes second nature to us, liberating us from the prying eyes of our enemies. But our privacy is also a key symbol for the autonomy we live. We are taking back what a totalitarian outer world wants to steal from us. What fences are to atoms, data privacy technology is to bits and bytes. We claim that both are owned by us alone: This is our place.”

Whether it be anonymized remote controlled access control or anonymized remote controlled defense systems, Second Realmers are conscious practitioners of security culture, first and foremost. Crypto-anarchy is indispensible, as well:

“Technologies are changing optimal business sizes and the number and diversity of products and actors required for a functioning market…[t]wo of these technologies are the advent of various kinds of urban farming, especially industrial vertical urban farming (which promises to make food-production for many thousand consumers possible and economical – in a single skyscraper) and micro-fabbing. Micro-fabbing is the automated production of parts through means of 3D-printing without the need of special tool development. This will allow the download of construction plans from the internet and subsequent printout of complex geometries with 3D-printers that do not require any attention during production. The number of base materials available for this method is increasing rapidly and will soon permit anyone with the right skills to compete with specialized, high-capital production facilities, with a fraction of both risk and investment.”

Just about anything that can facilitate a homebrewed neo-industrial revolution is bound to be more beneficial than not, whether through the auspices of open-source hardware or additive manufacturing. TAZs are similarly invaluable in providing space for manifesting the Second Realm more tangibly:

“Temporary Autonomous Zones give us the opportunity for our culture [to] exist in physical space, allowing us to conduct our business, organize our social relationships and to handle conflicts in the way we think to be right…[f]or our purposes, such a temporary autonomous zone can range from business clubs of a semi-permanent nature to street markets that only last a few hours. The security requirements for different kinds of zones may differ significantly, according to the risks they face…[t]he primary purpose of a temporary autonomous zone in our strategy remains to ‘keep evidence out of the hands of the attackers, and to have a secure place for our culture and business.’ ”

Obviously, mobility is a key factor in providing good security against both private and public (government) criminals. Something close to my heart was revealed brilliantly in this passage:

“Pseudonymity is the concept of having alternative names and identities that we reveal as they are needed, that are attached to their own histories and reputations. Breaking the spell of our ‘True Name’ and using self-chosen, task specific identities enables us to limit the ability of our opponents to attach all of our actions to the leash that binds us to them and at the same time utilize the functions that names and identities provide. These pseudonyms do not need to be registered by the state nor do they need to be tied to our true identity as long as specific methods of assurance and enforcement are available.”

Should there be any time for me to say, I told you so, this would certainly be it. All these morons within the alternative media who are so insistent upon transparency that they demand that other content producers reveal their First Realm identities, but then complain when they inevitably get doxxed, is the pinnacle of idiotic hubris. Not only that, but my revulsion of the legal person assigned to me by the State is philosophically rooted in identity theory; that is, by subverting a government imposed designation (like the Social Security Number), I am committed to enabling my own individuality to blossom, hence my current and former nome de plumes.

Other methods of the Second Realm are worth mentioning in brief. The authors detail that:

“Instead of dispersing information far and wide and leaving behind traces with any move, the foundation is Need to Know. It is necessary to limit information to the bare minimum required for the invited and affected parties. The information justly required can of course differ from case to case, but uninvited and unaffected parties should always be prevented from acquiring any meaningful information or deducing potentially harmful conclusions. The art of implementing the objectives of ‘Need to Know’ is commonly known as tradecraft.”

Naturally, this conflicts with the idea of open-source intelligence gathering (which was the original purpose of the alternative media), however, if there was such a thing as a kind of one-directional isolation in the sense that Second Realmers engage in open-sourced activities whenever there is no perceived danger to themselves, then I think individual privacy can still be respected (think about Satoshi Nakamoto, for example – his invention was open-sourced yet his First Realm designation is still unknown, despite tabloid “journalists” attempting to villainously unmask him). In any case, the practice of tradecraft is paramount to the development of the Second Realm:

“Entrepreneurs can excel in providing tradecraft services to other actors in the marketplace by providing means of covert communication, opaque trading-rooms, un-traceable transportation or insured pseudonyms. This frees other actors from having to unduly invest into these abilities and keeps a culture of paranoia from seeping into everything we do.”

Looking into each of these specific techniques is certainly a worthwhile venture for another time, but suffice it to say for now that the likely success of establishing a Second Realm through such tradecraft is a promising course of direct action. One method that particularly intrigues me is the notion of the proxy-merchant:

“Another area unique to our situation is the integration into the larger economy. Since a sufficient market-size and diversity can only be hoped for in the long run, we are required to interact and integrate with other markets unless we want to find ourselves in a subsistence economy. However, this integration comes with great risk. These facts call for a special career that is especially interesting to people that have not yet found their vocation (or who have left their previous vocation) and are looking for low capital opportunities: The Proxy-Merchant. A proxy-merchant is a bridge connecting the Second Realm to the First Realm while keeping risks at bay. Many ways of bridge-building are conceivable, from people who handle exchanges between Second Realm money and official currencies to shopping and trading agents.”

Fundamentally, these proxy-merchants are professional intermediaries between the realms. Much like the vonuan concept of import-export with the servile society, proxy-merchants enable an interface with the First Realm so as to facilitate commerce. I would further suggest that said proxy-merchants be those individuals who don’t have a criminal record or any sort of questionable behaviors (according to the cultural dictates of the First Realm) that would invite police surveillance. Additionally, it is further observed that:

“Using these contract-registries and evidence-retention systems, affected parties can call on mediation and arbitration providers and hand over the facts necessary to decide the case. Combined with escrow and bonding services, enforcement becomes feasible without having to rely on aggressive law enforcement in commercial settings. Furthermore, strong pseudonyms and reputation systems can provide means to reduce future risk of questionable actors and serve as a social restraint against repeat violations.”

This is a crucial explanation that ancaps/voluntaryists have routinely neglected to bother mentioning during their advocacy for a stateless/propertarian society. I always kinda figured that with the privatization of adjudication services, there would have to be some kind of fiscal element to it, not only for the profitability of the adjudicators, but also as a mechanism for enforcing judgments (“sentencing”). Of course, it doesn’t quite make sense to me how an “evidence-retention system” would be practically feasible if the entire purpose of a Second Realm TAZ is to keep evidence out of the hands of attackers, but again, further exploration of this is more appropriate for another time. Finally, it is mentioned that:

“Trading posts that provide anonymous deposit boxes that are accessible through tradeable digital warehouse bonds are one solution to protect both buyers and sellers by reducing the need to conduct trades in person. Another idea is the use of ‘trading tables’ that can be reached from both sides only by hard to observe corridors and that feature a barrier between the parties that can not be easily climbed over and which conceal the identity of both parties. Buyer and seller hold each other with one hand during the trade, preventing one side from running away with only one half of the transaction having taken place, and use the other hand to move goods between them. Essentially these trading tables resemble a bank counter except in protecting both sides equally.”

Such opaque trading rooms (or tables, windows, posts, etc.) could also reduce the risk of a police sting operation being pulled off successfully, provided that the target of the sting was able to arrive and depart without being tailed. In any case, this conception of a privacy enhancing trading floor merits deeper investigation, specifically regarding the construction, dismantling, and overall mobility of said trading posts.

Smuggler & XYZ’s The Second Realm: Book on Strategy is a worthwhile treatise on manifesting how a truly libertarian infrastructure could be built. As elegantly summarized by the authors themselves:

“Many lead a double life with only an occasional visit to our markets where they are greeted with their pseudonyms. Others operate their business half a day in the First Realm, and open shop in the Second after sunset. Still others are true ghosts to the First Realm, having no footprint there except for traveling through it from one autonomous zone to another, some of them having perfected their livelihoods in our world, but others that just cannot stand the shallowness of the other side anymore.”

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Agorist Class Theory

By Kyle Rearden

“A libertarian is someone who believes in the non-aggression principle. An anarchist is someone who understands it. An agorist is someone who practices it.”

Mike Zentz

Considering Sam Konkin’s previous work in the New Libertarian Manifesto, An Agorist Primer, and The Last, Whole Introduction to Agorism, you’d think that there’d be plenty enough literature establishing the basics of agorism, and for the most part, you’d be correct. However, further revisions and expansions upon agorism, such as Kyle Bennett’s An Agorist Manifesto in 95 Theses, greatly simplified many of the nuances and minutiae Konkin tried to communicate yet which Bennett actually succeeded in doing. Whether it be the Agorist Theory of the 5 Markets, or “black is beautiful,” the fact of the matter is that SEK3 didn’t have everything figured out, and what he was objectively correct about, he wasn’t always the best individual to convey those original ideas, hence the contributions of others who came later who were able to more effectively promote agorism.

One of Konkin’s acolytes, Wally Conger (among others), took up the mantle and further developed agorism as best as he knew how. This led to the further theoretical development of a unique class theory, for as he said:

“Marx’s Class Theory failed to see that those workers classically considered proletariat would become growingly obsolescent. In North America, unionized skilled workers are in decline, being absorbed by new entrepreneurship (franchising, independent contracting and consulting), the service industry, scientific research and development, increased managerial function without human labor underneath for exploitation, and bureaucracy.”

Right there, syndicalism is on the downhill slope thanks to market forces, as illustrated by Conger. He continues:

“Almost all libertarians accept that the State divides society into two classes: those who gain by the existence of the State and those who lose. Most libertarians also agree that society would be better off if the State were eliminated or at least shrunk significantly. But despite efforts of the late Rothbard and others to raise libertarians’ class consciousness, most American libertarians seem to find discussions of class theory offensive, ‘impolite,’ and ‘not respectable.’ They appear to believe that only right-wing kooks and commies talk about ruling classes and class structures. Nevertheless, efforts to expand Libertarian Class Theory into a comprehensive model have continued.”

As Frédéric Bastiat put it, there are those who advocate for universal plunder (socialism), partial plunder (fascism), and the absence of plunder (anarchism). So, right there, the advocates both for and against legal plunder, generally speaking, are forming “classes” of one kind or another (as a side note for those you of a legal bent, constitutions merely authorize partial plunder in some “limited” conditions, yet these conditionalities, when transgressed into being unconstitutional, nearly always veer off towards universal plunder; I’ve never seen a government operating under a constitution that endorsed the absence of plunder by restraining its appetite for tax revenues or war-mongering). Conger further says that:

“Murray Rothbard himself continued to expand upon Libertarian Class Theory. His roots in the Old Right had introduced him to populist ‘bankers conspiracy’ theories and the like. Added class viewpoints came from Left-statists and earlier anarchists. What he discovered was that the proponents of ruling classes, power elites, politico-economic conspiracies, and Higher Circles pointed to roughly the same gang at the top of the sociological pyramid.”

Shocker, right? In any case, Dr. Rothbard associating with conspiracists does not surprise me in the least, because they at least could give him some demonstrable facts he could then expound upon and sink his teeth into. Conger elaborates:

“In nearly every ruling-class theory, the top of the statist pyramid was occupied by David Rockefeller’s interlocking-directorate corporate control of the U.S. and international finance and the band of Court Intellectuals and corporate allies found in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and lesser-known gangs. Once a ruling group was identified, its nature could be examined further and its actions observed and eventually predicted.”

Edward Griffin, much? While it is true that “Roundtable” organizations like the Bilderburg Group have been proven to exist, at the end of the day it does beg the question of, so what? Although it is preferable to know the truth rather than live in ignorance of the reality of the situation we are all suffering under, the more important question is whether can normal people do anything about these elitists, which is exactly the type of question most conspiracists would do anything to avoid even trying to answer (the closest they’ve come to is, “Tell everyone you know!,” as if this alone would somehow stop the power elite, but I digress).

What exactly is the relevance of a class theory to libertarians, though? Conger explains that:

“Murray Rothbard took Franz Oppenheimer’s distinction between the political means of gaining wealth (State theft) and the economic means (production) and then portrayed them as Power vs. Market (in his book Power and Market). Unfortunately, most libertarians haven’t applied Rothbard’s concept completely and thoroughly…[l]ikewise, ‘free-enterprise’ conservatives, and ‘libertarian’ minarchists call for retention of the State, however restricted or restrained. They are the enemy of the agorists, the free market, and complete liberty. They fall on the statist side of the class line.”

Here, Conger is “taking a hard stand,” as it were, against the advocates of a hypothetically limited government (like constitutionalist American patriots, just to name one type of minarchist). According to Conger, minimal statism is still statism, even if it’s relabeled as being minarchism, a constitutional republican form of government, or even classical liberalism. He continues:

“What is meant when a person or group or people are called objectively statist? To agorists, the term is used for those who emulate the State by murdering, stealing, defrauding, raping, and assaulting…[t]hese ‘red marketeers,’ say agorists, are criminals.”

These would be the organized criminal syndicates (like the Yakuza, the Camorra, and MS-13) as well as individual muggers, thieves, and rapists. Conger further said that:

“At the same time, all so-called (by the State) ‘criminals’ (or criminal acts) that do not involve initiation of violence or the threat of it (coercion) are counter-economic. Since they run counter to the interests (real or perceived) of the State, and are usually productive, they are forbidden by the State. They are, therefore, objectively agorist and thus objectively revolutionary.”

Here, Conger is describing the black and grey markets, distinguishing them from the red market. Again, understanding the Agorist Theory of the 5 Markets simplifies this rather quickly with its chart. Rounding out this class theory to libertarianism, Conger declared that:

“What about motivation, awareness, consciousness of actions and their consequences, and professions of agreement? They are irrelevant; agorists judge one solely by one’s acts. And one is responsible for fully restoring one’s victims to the pre-aggression state of being for each and every act…[j]ust as superstatists understand the State’s workings and use it consciously, there exist at the counter-economic end of the spectrum who understand the pure libertarian consistency and morality of their acts; these are the agorists…[b]ut what of the ‘middle class’ of the spectrum? What of those who mix commission of some counter-economic acts (black spots) with some statist acts (white spots), their lives summed up by grayness?”

Attempting to classify people is always easier said than done, and I surely appreciate Conger’s effort at doing so. He is correct in saying that libertarian morality dictates that only individuals are solely responsible for their actions, which is why fact-finding, so as to determine responsibility, is essential for accountability. Unfortunately, the servile society eschews personal responsibility for much of anything, which is why the time-honored tradition of “passing the buck” is still as popular as it has ever been.

Wally Conger’s Agorist Class Theory: A Left Libertarian Approach to Class Conflict Analysis is a unique, if only theoretical, contribution to Konkin’s notion of “agorology.” As SEK3 himself contributed to his own class theory by saying:

“First and foremost, agorists stress the Entrepreneur, [as opposed to] non-statist Capitalists (in the sense of holders of capital, not necessary ideologically aware) [who are] relatively neutral drone-like innovators, and pro-statist Capitalists as the main Evil in the political realm… [t]he ‘Anarcho-capitalists’ tend to conflate the Innovator (Entrepreneur) and Capitalist, much as Marxoids and cruder collectivists do…[a]gorists are strict Rothbardians, and, I would argue the case, even more Rothbardian than Rothbard, who still had some of the older confusion in his thinking. But he was Misesian, and Mises made the original distinction between Innovators/Arbitrageurs and Capital-holders (i.e., mortgage-holders, coupon-clippers, financiers, worthless heirs, landlords, etc.). With the Market largely moving to the ‘net, it is becoming ever-more pure entrepreneurial, leaving the brick ‘n’ mortal ‘capitalist’ behind.”

In other words, pro-statist capitalists are worse than non-statist capitalists, yet both of them are not entrepreneurs, despite the fact that many entrepreneurs often rely on the capital investments supplied by both of them to get their own start-ups operational. What Konkin’s statement here reveals is that the Austrian school of economics, if only implicitly, outlined a class theory based upon human action. Regardless, what is clear here is that the only real detriment to any class theory is the fact that it is still a theory and not the practice of something potentially efficacious in the real world, given that, at best, a theory is only a description of the real world, but not a users’ manual in how to effect it for the better.

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The Last, Whole Introduction to Agorism?

By Kyle Rearden

“It is the policy of the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to deal with foreigners. Assuming they also wish to deal with us. Your other questions assume we are – or intend to become – a government. But we are agorists: propertarian anarchists. Our prosperity to date has come from following agoric principles we generally adopted. Why would we abandon market principles we have found efficacious in favor of hegemonic ones that have led society after society into ruin?”

Dr. Merce Rampart

As beautiful as a proposed libertarian strategy as it is, agorism is not without its faults. Seldom is there any genuine criticism of agorist theory or practice that is not just some regurgitation of political crusading by controlled schizophrenics who are emotionally invested in some sort of collective-movementism. Unfortunately, it would be a disservice to agorists not to offer a critique in good faith regarding their chosen approach to the problem of statism.

The baseline for agorism is intrinsically anti-political, yet it’s goal of abolishing the State through black markets might just be too idealistic. SEK3 said:

“The anti-party libertarians were forced to choose between yet another paradigm shift to respond…or give up. Those who remained in the fight with their new analysis and corresponding strategy took the name of the market to oppose themselves to political parties and statism – agorism. The new paradigm of the agorist was called (in tribute to the then-fading Counter-Culture) Counter-Economics.”

So far, so good; yet, this by itself is insufficient for basing one’s liberation upon. Konkin continues:

“Just as Quantum Mechanics arose by theoretical chemists and physicists refusing to ignore the paradigm-breaking experiments, and Relativity arose from Einstein’s acceptance of the Michelson-Morley results, Counter-Economics arose as a theory by taking into account what all standard economics either ignored or downplayed. Just as light tunneled out of Hawking’s black holes, human action tunneled under the control of the state. And this underground economy, black market, nalevo Russia turned out to be far, far too vast to ignore as a minor correction.”

In other words, Konkin’s idea of counter-economics is the marriage between the Austrian School of economics with grey & black market trading; if so, then where’s the fire? SEK3 elaborates:

“Surprisingly little systematic research has been done in counter-economics since the agorist discovery a decade after the immersion of the agorist cadre. They surfaced to find a changed political landscape. It had been expected that their more-timid allies would stay aboveground to conduct officially-sanctioned research, but that failed to happen for now obvious institutional reasons. Hence, determined to report their findings, take advantage of freedom of the press and academic freedom to do so, and, incidentally, raise families, the publishing cadre formed the Agorist Institute in the libertarian-rich American Southwest at the end (symbolically) of 1984. The rest of the history of agorism is the history of The Agorist Institute’s trials and tribulations…”

This is actually quite revealing, for it reveals a crucial flaw in both studying and promoting black market activities. One, those think-tankers apparently still believe in the legitimacy of the State’s laws, and two, any revealed methods of black market trade that would be made public might get someone in trouble or, at least, render such methods useless since they would become knowable through being made available via the public domain. This is implied by what Konkin also wrote:

“Unlike the Counter-Economy itself, agorists had a problem with market feedback operating aboveground, especially in the almost-market devoid realm of tax-deductible, educational foundations – a fund devouring unreality forbidding enough to consume a fat chunk of the Koch family fortune and spit out Charles and David. Although receiving some financial support from mid-range successful entrepreneurs, AI attempted to do it all: research support, classes, seminars, academic conferences and publication of journals and newsletters (internal and external). (All the staff had additional jobs or businesses to support themselves).”

Hence, the later coinage of the term Kochtopus by SEK3 to describe the insidious nature of the Koch brothers buying influence within libertarian organizations. It’s a tad difficult to promote ends-means consistency if your investors don’t even try to exploit legal interstices as an end-run around the State, but rather, are nothing more that reformist charlatans, much less crazy-brave black marketeers.

More importantly, I think there is a crucial flaw (or two) that Konkin didn’t account for in transitioning from a low-density agorist society to a mid-density, small condensation agorist society. Generally speaking, the State is no longer funded primarily through tax revenues, but rather, through a combination of central banking inflation and perpetually growing indebtedness as well as investment dividends (the latter of which are revealed in the numerous CAFRs of these many American governments). Therefore, SEK3’s assumption that encouragement and incentivizing of people to transition from the white market to the grey and black markets will, through deprivation of tax revenues, starve the State into abolition, is laughably absurd.

Letting the black market choke the State is also highly problematic for another crucial reason; namely, black markets are, in fact, created and ended by the State. The 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution created a black market in alcohol, and this was ended not by black marketeers, but rather by the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition. Former president Nixon’s declaration of narcotics prohibition in 1971 still continues to this day thanks to the Controlled Substances Act, which is used by the American police state as a form of lawfare in order to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate non-violent “drug offenders” on the bogus excuse of having committed a victimless crime. Prostitution, and even possession of half a dozen or more sex toys, is illegal according to the Texas Penal Code; I sincerely doubt that hookers and masturbators are going to do their part in bringing about the end of the State.

As a further historical note, did Russian black marketeers starve the Soviet government into collapse? Last time I checked, both the neocons and their (former?) Islamist allies both took credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union, when in fact the Soviets crumbled in on itself due to internal rot and corruption. Historical revisionism is one thing, because that’s just reinterpreting facts to mean something else, yet you can’t just invent or ignore the historical record itself just because it might be inconvenient to your own agendas.

Conversely, black markets could be used, given their artificially high profit margins (due to their very illegality), to fund privatized infrastructure projects. Whether it be private roads or private cities, the fact of the matter is that legality is less important than the availability of sufficient capital investment. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely to occur simply because most black marketeers aren’t interested in becoming the next Wilson Fisk.

Sam Konkin’s The Last, Whole Introduction to Agorism is a regurgitation of agorist theory that uniquely points out flaws in studying the practice of it. As SEK3 elucidated:

“But, finally, and overall, the issue needing the most attention is that of agorism itself. To the extent that it is ‘agorology’ and not just ideology, what is and should be its methodology? We most urgently invite our newly awakened and empowered students of agorism and multi-disciplinarians of counter-economics to contribute their first – and second – thoughts on the subject. Are some methods out of bounds in agorism that are academically acceptable, for example? Or are some methods acceptable in counter-economic study that are unacceptable to academic researchers? Can we wertfrei when we are obviously attracted to the Black as Departments of Marxist Studies are to the Red?”

I think Konkin here is avoiding the issue of how security culture can help lower the risk for agorists who are engaging in black market trade. For a more concise, yet expansive, description of agorism, be sure to check out Kyle Bennett’s An Agorist Manifesto, which I truly believe to be superior to Konkin’s agorology because there is no attempt to pander to what may or may not be “academically acceptable.”

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An Agorist Primer

By Kyle Rearden

“You can be convicted of violating laws that don’t exist – as plenty of ‘tax criminals’ have been. Ask the IRS for copies of the laws you’re allegedly breaking and they’ll respond with legalistic gobbledegook. I have a friend who once testified as an expert witness in a tax case. Her expertise? Grammar. On the stand, she diagrammed a mega-monster sentence from the tax code and proved the alleged regulation couldn’t be obeyed – because it literally had no meaning in the English language. Still, people get arrested for disobeying it…[b]ottom line, you’re no longer a law-abiding citizen. There are too many laws to abide. And it doesn’t matter whether they call’em laws, rules, regulations, or something else altogether. You break them altogether. With laws like these, who even wants to be a law-abiding citizen?”

Claire Wolfe

Following up on the New Libertarian Manifesto, SEK3 elaborates upon agorism as a libertarian strategy, which hinges upon letting the black market choke the State into a well-deserved abolition. Setting the tone for the rest of this primer, Konkin defines agorism thusly:

“Agorism is the consistent integration of libertarian theory with counter-economic practice; an agorist is one who acts consistently for freedom and in freedom.”

By firmly insisting upon ends-means consistency (aka, integrity), SEK3 advocates for grey & black market trading as the means for achieving personal liberty. Unfortunately, if people aren’t willing to abstain from political crusading (as the voluntaryists demand is the minimum baseline for anti-political activity), then they sure as hell ain’t ready for agorism.

Elaborating upon the topics Konkin brought up previously, he formulaicly demonstrated how to calculate black market risk as an equation:

“Counter-Economic Payoff = profit minus loss = (promised price) minus (cost minus overhead) minus ((Penalty or Fine) x (probability of arrest) x (probability of conviction))”

This means that if the payoff is high enough to absorb the costs of both production and “enforcement,” then it’s viable, but if not, then it’s better to abstain. In terms of rough estimates, SEK3 said:

“Let’s say the government claims it catches 20% of those doing what you want to do. If you are caught, the penalty would be a (maximum) fine of $50,000 or six months in jail. Your ‘downside’ risk, then is 20% of $50,000 or $10,000. In this example, it would not be worth it: to gain $5000 but risk losing $10,000.

“If the apprehension rate were 10% and the fine $25,000, then your risk would be $2500 for a gain of $5000. As is obvious, you could get caught one time in ten, pay off your fines, and still come out way ahead…[a]ssume that the retainer to your lawyer raises your overhead $1000 per transaction. Now your payoff is $4000, but the conviction rate (with plea bargaining and court delays) is only 20%…[n]ow your risk, using our first figures, is 20% of 20% of $50,000, or $2000. With a payoff of $4000, a loss of $2000 would deter few entrepreneurs.”

Obviously, this is all assuming there is a reliable way to gauge apprehension in the first place. Crime statistics only tell you who was caught (arrested, jailed, prosecuted, convicted, etc.), not the commission of actual crimes, which are grossly underreported, as any criminologist worth their salt knows. Until this key element has a reliable solution, then gauging the likelihood of apprehension (gaining a criminal record and/or “enjoying” the legal handicap of becoming and being a felon, etc.) is pure guesswork, at best, and is therefore not very realistic for black market entrepreneurs of any kind at all.

I thought SEK3 did a beautiful job simplifying the key foundational ideas of the Austrian school of economics. For instance, he said:

Value is subjective. This simple insight, made by Carl Menger (teacher of Von Mises), revolutionized primitive economics and cured many of the problems plaguing the science since Adam Smith. Had Marx heeded Menger, socialism would have been abandoned. Subjective value leads to individualism.”

Truer words have seldom been uttered, in my not-so-humble opinion. Also lovely was this gem:

“Subjective value may lead us to think we would prefer producing some goods rather than others, or transporting them, trading them, serving them, or storing them. Yet it is marginal utility which tells us why this specialization works…[t]his process, where we led to specialize by greater productivity and greater reward (value-seeking), is called division of labor.”

In other words, the very enjoyment of potato chips debunks socialist central planning. Let’s say you like sour cream & onion flavored chips; by the time you are halfway through the bag, then those chips don’t taste nearly as good as the first few handfuls you already had (if anything, this reasoning makes a compelling case for self-regulation of one’s appetite; that is, portion control so as increase physical fitness, but I digress). Therefore, the satisfaction of uneasiness (like hunger) can only be accomplished through individuals discovering, experimenting, and perfecting how they can best serve their fellow man through voluntary exchanges of property and labor. As Konkin succinctly put it:

“If Jane sings beautifully, and we do not, division of labor is why I’m writing this book, eating your hamburgers, and we’re listening to Jane on the radio.”

Combining this observation with an earlier example showing how the law of comparative advantage is pivotal for understanding human action, SEK3 wonderfully details the basics of the Austrian school as a primer all unto itself.

Building upon the phases of the agorist revolution from the manifesto, SEK3 explains how agorism can be both vertical and horizontal:

“The path from the agora now becomes blindly obvious. As more people reject the State’s mystifications – nationalism, pseudo-Economics, false threats, and betrayed political promises – the Counter-Economy grows both vertically and horizontally. Horizontally, it involves more and more people who turn more and more of their activities toward the counter-economic; vertically, it means new structures (businesses and services) grow specifically to serve the Counter-Economy (safe communication links, arbitrators, insurance for specifically ‘illegal’ activities, early forms of protection technology, and even guards and protectors). Eventually, the ‘underground’ breaks into the overground where most people are agorists, few are statists, and the nearest State enforcement cannot effectively crush them.”

Between the two, I prefer vertical agorism because I have little desire to proselytize that black is beautiful to individuals within the servile society who are hostile to my values, yet, I am interested in how to best the develop the agora successfully; put another way, horizontal agorism depends upon the innovations of vertical agorism (“if you build it, they will come”). Konkin adroitly observed that:

“The State has guns and men to use them. As we have seen, however, it not only can fail to coerce a rebellious majority, it cannot even stop an enterprising minority of black marketers and other Counter-Economists. The State must be defeated in each person’s mind. Once you personally reject its hold over you, you are as free as your intelligence, your will to take risks, and the aid of your allies can keep you…

“What may be needed – in addition to spreading the word and living it – is some form of agorist psychology. Perhaps we can use the examples of therapy for childhood mistreatment or consciousness-raising groups for feminists, gays, and other obviously oppressed groups. We can all get together in small affinity groups of trusted friends and allies to dig our contradictions out of our unconscious. We can flush out the State from our heads by ourselves or together or both ways.”

Essentially, this is the beginning of what could become a pragmatic way to revoke what Objectivists describe as the “sanction of the victim” (or what egoists refer to as exorcising the collectivist spooks from your head). Of course, I’ve already begun strategic withdrawal by cancelling my voter registration, but removing the aforementioned sanction is certainly easier said than done, and I agree with Konkin that it merits further investigation on its own merits, although I think Étienne de La Boétie provides a decent enough starting point, especially regarding voluntary servitude.

Samuel Konkin’s An Agorist Primer: Counter-Economics, Total Freedom, & You is an enlightening work that ties in libertarian theory with market practice. An audiobook version was made by Shane Radliff and yours truly in the hope that more people would become exposed to agorism as a viable strategic alternative to political crusading while they commute to work and/or while they exercise. Reiterating much of what was mentioned in the manifesto, SEK3 also said:

“Free means the absence of coercion. Coercion is threatening violence upon someone in order to make him surrender something. In a strictly value-free sense, then coercive human action offers to create a greater disvalue to you if you do not yield up your lesser value. You gain nothing but lose less.”

Much like Rayo, Konkin was emphasizing the reality here of legal plunder. Personally, I think the most efficacious approach in developing vonumy is through vertical agorism; although most publicly avowed agorists are engaged in horizontal agorism (which I’ll even admit is rather quite strategic for them to do) such as through waving agorist cardboard protest signs (given the lack of a street protest, it might as well be a form of culture jamming), yet, ultimately transitioning from a low density agorist society into a mid-density, small condensation agorist society is going to require the development of infrastructure that is independent of the statist control grid rather than just simply proselytize the “faith,” as it were.

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[A] New Libertarian Manifesto

By Kyle Rearden

“Liberty depends on laws and their interpretations, and so is easily destroyed…laws and their interpretations often change…Big Brother already has 60 million laws and regulations or so. If all laws were consistently enforced, almost every man, woman and child would be in prison for one or more violations. But Big Brother can only extort so much taxes to hire bludg and build spy devices. And taxes are already to – or beyond – the point of diminishing return. Each additional rule to be enforced means existing rules get enforced less.”

Rayo (1983)

Agorism, simply defined, is a libertarian strategy that seeks to abolish the State through grey and black market trading. Etymologically, the very word “agora” means an open marketplace; in other words, an unlicensed, unregulated, untaxed, laissez-faire freed market. Samuel Edward Konkin III (aka, SEK3) birthed agorism in 1980 with the publication of the shortest manifesto I’ve ever read to date.

Much like voluntaryism, agorism shares with it a firm anti-political stance. SEK3 described the variety of statist counterattacks:

“The State’s Higher Circles were not about to yield their plunder and restore property to their victims at the first sign of opposition. The first counter-attack came from anti-principles already planted by the corrupt Intellectual Caste: Defeatism, Retreatism, Minarchy, Collaborationism, Gradualism, Monocentris and Reformism – including accepting State office to ‘improve’ Statism! All of these anti-principles (deviations, heresies, self-destructive contradictory tenets, etc.) will be dealt with later. Worst of all is Partyarchy, the anti-concept of pursuing libertarian ends through statist means especially political parties.

“A ‘Libertarian’ Party was the second counter-attack of the State unleas[h]ed on the fledging Libertarians, first as a ludicrous oxymoron, then as an invading army.

“The third counter-attack was an attempt by one of the ten richest capitalists in the United States to buy the major Libertarian institutions – not just the Party – and run the movement as other plutocrats run all the other political parties in capitalist states.”

In other words, failed strategies like political crusading (aka, bullshit libertarianism), as well as the anti-libertarian LP and the infamous Kochtopus, are all statist counterattacks against genuine libertarians. Anyone who advocates on behalf of these nightmares is either stupid or evil; if the latter, they are evil because they truly want to destroy any realistic chance for liberty during my lifetime, yet, if they are the latter, then they are so cognitively impaired that satyagraha appears practical by comparison.

I appreciated SEK3 providing an overview of restitutive justice without the State. As he said:

“Nowhere in agorist restoration theory do the thoughts of the aggressor enter into the picture. The aggressor is assumed only to be a human actor and responsible for his actions. Furthermore, what business is it of anyone else what anyone thinks? What is relevant is what the aggressor does. Thought is not action; in thought, at least, anarchy remains absolute.

“If you sit up in shock to find I have crashed through your picture window, and then made sure everyone will continue to live, you don’t particularly care if I tripped and fell through while walking by or I engaged in some act of irrational anger jumping through or even whether it was a premeditated plan to distract protectors across the street from noticing a bank heist. What you want is your window back pronto (and the mess cleared). What I think is irrelevant to your restoration. In fact, it can be easily demonstrated that even the smallest expenditure of energy on this subject is pure waste. Motivation – or suspected motivation, which is all we can know – may be relevant to detection and even to prove plausibility of the aggressor’s action to an arbitrator if there may be two equally probable suspects, but all that matters for justice – as a libertarian sees is – is that the victim has been restored to a condition as identical as possible to pre-harm. Let God or conscience punish ‘guilty thoughts.’”

As perhaps the best repudiation of the legal doctrine known as mens rea I’ve ever read, Konkin lays out beautifully how it’s conceivable that the judicial branch of government could effectively become privatized. Extending beyond Gustave di Molinari’s private production of security services, Konkin simplified anarchistic property restitution (based upon the work of earlier theorists) and incorporated it into his strategy for abolishing the State.

Counter-economics is the means of agorism. As SEK3 wrote:

“An explanation of how people keep their wealth and property from the State is then Counter-Establishment economics, or Counter-Economics for short. The actual practice of human actions that evade, avoid or defy the State is counter-economic activity, but in the same sloppy way ‘economics’ refers to both the science and what it studies, Counter-Economics will undoubtedly be used. Since this writing is Counter-Economic theory itself, what will be referred to as Counter-Economics is the practice.”

Simply put, all counter-economic activities are either illegal or legally vague. This is because the counter-economy is not just black markets, but also grey markets too. In a footnote, Konkin distinguishes between black and grey markets thusly:

“While some coercive acts are often lumped into the label ‘black market,’ such as murder and theft, the vast majority of ‘organized crime’ is perfectly legitimate to a libertarian, though occasionally unsavory. The Mafia, for example, is not black market but acts as government over some of the black market which collects protection money (taxes) from its victims and enforces its control with executions and beatings (law enforcement), and even conducts wars when its monopoly is threatened. These acts will be considered red market to differentiate them from the moral acts of the black market which will be discussed below. In short, the ‘black market’ is anything non-violent prohibited by the State and carried on anyways.

“The ‘grey market’ is used here to mean dealing in goods and services not themselves illegal but obtained or distributed in ways legislated against The State. Much of what is called ‘white-collar crime’ falls under this and is smiled upon by most of society.

“Where one draws a line between black and grey market depends largely on the state of consciousness of the society one is in. The red market is clearly separable. Murder is red market; defending oneself against a criminal (when the State forbids self-defense) – including a police officer – is black in New York City and grey in Orange County.”

In turn, what the agorist theory of the five markets essentially says is that:

  • The red market is composed of those immoral and illegal activities (like murder, theft, rape, and slavery),
  • The pink market are those actions which are immoral yet legal (such as war, taxation, and imprisonment),
  • The white market are those regulated and taxed “above-board” occupations,
  • The black market are those banned ethical activities (including some types of weapons, drugs, and sexual acts), and finally,
  • The grey market are those unregulated, untaxed, and legally vague or presumably legal acts.

These five markets (of sorts) give an idea for how to accurately conceive different forms of human action. In terms of the practicality for counter-economic behavior, Konkin observed that:

“According to the American Internal Revenue Service, at least twenty million people belong in the ‘underground economy’ of tax evaders using cash to avoid detections of transactions or barter exchange. Millions keep money in gold or in foreign accounts to avoid the hidden taxation of inflation.”

So, this would imply that not all counter-economic activity is about earning profit (or making a livelihood), but also keeping and saving what you’ve accumulated. SEK3 also detailed that:

“Since the 55 mph speed limit enacted federally in the U.S., most Americans have become counter-economic drivers. The trucking industry has developed CB communications to evade state enforcement of regulations. For independents who can make four runs at 75 mph rather than three runs at 55 mph, counter-economic driving is a question of survival.”

Obviously, these truckers are making money (as opposed to the average commuter’s version of counter-economic driving known as “speeding”), but Konkin’s insight here is valuable regarding the likely profitability of breaking the government’s laws. In a footnote, he says:

“An example of how this works may be helpful. Suppose I wished to receive and sell a contraband or evade a tax or violate a regulation. Let’s say I can make $100,000 a transaction.

“Using government figures on criminal apprehension, always exaggerated in the State’s favor simply because they cannot know how much we got away with, I find an apprehension rate of 20%. One may then find out the percentage of those cases that come for trial and the percentage of those that result in a conviction even with a good lawyer. Let’s say 25% make it to trial and 50% result in a conviction. (The latter is high but we’ll throw in the legal fees involved so that even a decision involving loss of legal costs but acquittal is still ‘loss.’) I therefore incur a 2.5% risk (.20 x .25 x. 50 = 0.025). This is high for most real cases.

“Suppose my maximum fine is $500,000 or five years in jail – or both. Excluding my counter-economic transactions (one certainly cannot count them when deciding whether or not to do them), I might make $20,000 a year so that I would lose another $100,000. It’s very hard to ascribe a value to five years of incarceration, but at least in our present society it’s not too much worse than other institutionalization (school, army, hospital) and at least the counter-economist won’t be plagued with guilt and remorse.

“So I weigh 2.5% of $600,000 loss or $15,000 and five years against $100,000 gain! And I could easily insure myself for $14,000 (or less) to pay all costs and fines! In short, it works.”

Quite literally, SEK3 explains here how to calculate a cost-benefit analysis so as to perform a risk assessment. Given the old adage, “Don’t do the crime if you ain’t willing to do the time,” agorism is not for the risk adverse, yet unlike satyagraha, agorism is not a implied suicide pact, either. The idea here is to live free in an unfree world, not to throw yourself upon the gears of the State so you can be ground up into a pasty mush.

Towards the end of his manifesto, SEK3 outlined how the agorist revolution towards abolishing the State could develop. He envisioned four distinct stages, one of which he describes thusly, in part:

“The first counter-economic libertarians appear in this phase and the first serious splits in the Libertarian movement occur. Since few libertarians are very consistent yet, deviationism will run rife and tend to overwhelm activism. ‘Get-Liberty-quick’ schemes from anarchozionism (running away to a Promised Land of Liberty) to political opportunism will seduce the impatient and sway the incompletely informed. All will fail if for no other reason than Liberty grows individual by individual. Mass conversion is impossible…[t]he strategy of the first New Libertarians is to combat anti-principles which strengthen the State and dissipate anarchist energy uselessly. The general strategy outline[d] previously applies; get libertarians into counter-economics and get the most active of the agorists to get counter-economists into libertarianism.”

Described as a low-density agorist society, it is this stage I think “we” are now in. Like it or not, there are agorists currently in existence, so now their main task is to develop enough to where their capabilities might be said to coalesce into a mid-density, small condensation agorist society.

Fictional portrayals of agorism have begun to really take off in noticeable ways. Alongside Night is truly the first agorist novel without question (not to mention its later comic book, audiobook, and film adaptations!). #agora is the first agorist novella and An Agorist Anecdote is, to my knowledge, the very first agorist short story. Naturally, I wouldn’t be surprised if later entrepreneurs came along and developed the first agorist album, the first agorist (theatrical? musical?) stageplay, the first serialized agorist television series, or even the first agorist video game!

SEK3’s New Libertarian Manifesto is truly a groundbreaking work in the history of libertarian thought becoming purposefully strategic. There are also audiobook versions by both Mike Gogulski and John Lothe (no offense to Gogulski, but I prefer Lothe, whom I believe puts James Earl Jones to shame). Similar to vonu, agorism was formulated as a response to institutionalized coercion, for as Konkin said:

“We are coerced by our fellow human beings…[c]oercion is immoral, inefficient and unnecessary for human life and fulfillment…[t]o combat coercion, one must understand it. More importantly, one must understand what one is fighting for as much as what one is fighting against…[l]ibertarianism elaborates an entire philosophy from one simple premise: initiatory violence or its threat (coercion) is wrong (immoral, evil, bad, supremely impractical, etc) and is forbidden; nothing else is. Libertarianism, as developed to this point, discovered the problem and defined the solution: the State vs the Market. The Market is the sum of all voluntary human action. If one acts non-coercively, one is part of the Market.”

This is a decent explanation for the non-aggression principle (NAP); to paraphrase Mike Zentz, agorists are those individuals who truly practice living by the NAP, as opposed to libertarians and anarchists who simply either believe or understand it, respectively. Konkin’s formulation of the agorist strategy provides a way out of the servile society that also uniquely contains the potentiality for ending statism forever.

The post [A] New Libertarian Manifesto appeared first on The Last Bastille Blog.

Human Action!

By Kyle Rearden

“The origin of money is…entirely natural and thus displays legislative influence only in the rarest instances. Money is not an invention of the state. It is not the product of a legislative act. Even the sanction of political authority is not necessary for its existence. Certain commodities come to be money quite naturally, as the result of economic relationships that were independent of the power of the state.”

Carl Menger

Four and a half years ago, a reader of mine commented that I should study praxeology, which is the science of human action. As a skeptical empiricist, facts and evidence are important to me, yet, they cannot tell the entirety of the truth about a particular topic. Sometimes, logical deductions are more valuable than spending large and inordinate amounts of time and effort conducting never-ending research and studies that mostly tell you what is already knowable about the world, not just through hard-won personal experience, but also an extrapolated understanding of humanity through a truthful evaluation of one’s own values and actions.

Much like Ayn Rand’s fictional magnum opus, examining Ludwig von Mises’ non-fiction magnum opus could go in a lot of different directions, and it’s not just due to the sheer length of it. For my purposes of this report, I will focus on those highlights that really illuminated my understanding of economics more so than it already has been. Much like his other work Liberty & Property, Mises never fails to impart to me the dangers of economic illiteracy insofar as it impacts the human condition (such as it is).

Mises’ regression theorem is a further development upon Carl Menger’s logical deductions regarding the origins of money. By combining subjective value theory and the law of diminishing marginal utility, Mises wonderfully explains why money is not some devious tool of special interests, but rather, an expression of the market’s spontaneous order. As such, Mises debunks socialism by plainly illustrating how central planning is a lame attempt to resolve the economic calculation problem, which has only been truly solved through prices, thereby necessitating the use of money in order to calculate the allocation of resources, hence Mises’ particular fondness for double-entry bookkeeping as one of the finest inventions from Western civilization to date.

Austrian business cycle theory masterfully details why and how economic booms and busts are completely artificial, given that they have nothing to do with the market process of creative destruction. Simply put, central banks (like the Federal Reserve) cause malinvestment due to artificially low interest rates and fractional reserve lending, which in turn gives misleading price signals to entrepreneurs and investors. This necessitates a market correction (the “bust”) that many individuals misinterpret as a calamity when the truth of the matter is that it is the “boom” which sows the seeds for its future destruction, and is thus completely avoidable right from the get go, yet the central planners desire business cycles because it gives them a cover for their parasitism of the producers vis-à-vis Frédéric Bastiat’s concept of legal plunder.

Sexuality was the last thing I’d expect in a treatise on economics, yet it’s relevance becomes palpable once you consider its natural consequences. As Mises said:

“Man integrates the satisfaction of the purely zoological impulses, common to all animals, into a scale of values, in which a place is also assigned to specifically human ends. Acting man also rationalizes the satisfaction of his sexual appetites. Their satisfaction is the outcome of a weighing of pros and cons. Man does not blindly submit to a sexual stimulation like a bull; he refrains from copulation if he deems the costs – the anticipated disadvantages – too high.”

Volitional consciousness, as Rand herself explained, necessitates the use of free will. Attraction may very well not be subject to individual choice, but acting on such impulses is a choice, even if rashly or recklessly done so. Interestingly enough, Mises observed one fascinating result of human sexuality:

“The mutual sexual attraction of male and female is inherent in man’s animal nature and independent of any thinking and theorizing…[f]amily life is not merely a product of sexual intercourse. It is by no means natural and necessary that parents and children live together in the way in which they do in the family. The mating relation need not result in a family organization. The human family is the outcome of thinking, planning, and acting…[a]s there are in present-day Europe no pure stocks, we must conclude that between members of the various stocks which once settled in that continent there was sexual attraction and not repulsion. Millions of mulattoes and other half-breeds are living counterevidence to the assertion that there exists a natural repulsion between the various races…racial hatred is not a natural phenomenon innate in man. It is the product of ideologies.”

I must admit – this is probably the single best rebuttal of racial bigotry ever. Given the apriori logical deduction here, Mises’s observation clearly debunks racial supremacy forever. Hybrid vigor is a reality that is often ignored by those vested special interests who demonize romances between individuals, which have often been proclaimed by the State as so-called miscegenation. Mises also observed that:

“Rationalization of sexual intercourse already involves the rationalization of proliferation. Then later further methods of rationalizing the increase of progeny were adopted which were independent of abstention from copulation. People resorted to the egregious and repulsive practices of exposing or killing infants and of abortion. Finally they learned to perform the sexual act in such a way that no pregnancy results. In the last hundred years the technique of contraceptive devices has been perfected and the frequency of their employment increased considerably. Yet the procedures had long been known and practiced.”

He goes onto describe how in civilizations with secured property rights, the birthrate tends to stabilize, given that the private production of contraceptive technologies is only made possible by free markets, so authoritarian “progressives” might herald womens’ rights, but when it comes down to making it practically happen in the real world, they loudly condemn the very mechanism of womens’ “liberation” because they are socialists first who couldn’t centrally plan the manufacturing of pencils, much less condoms or contraceptive pills.

Entrepreneurship is seldom understood by Good Americans who typically imagine themselves as noble “workers” who are, in reality, just biased when you consider the grandiose portraits they paint of themselves, which are largely due to their economic illiteracy. Time preference, in my not-so-humble opinion, was beautifully laid out by Mises. He wrote:

“Time preference is a categorical requisite of human action. No mode of action can be thought of in which satisfaction within a nearer period of the future is not – other things being equal – preferred to that in a later period. The very act of gratifying a desire implies that gratification at the present instant is preferred to that at a later instant. He who consumes a nonperishable good instead of postponing consumption for an indefinite later moment thereby reveals a higher valuation of present satisfaction as compared with later satisfaction. If he were not to prefer satisfaction in a nearer period of the future to that in a remoter period, he would never consume and so satisfy wants. He would always accumulate, he would never consume and enjoy. He would not consume today, but he would not consume tomorrow either, as the morrow would confront him with the same alternative.”

In other words, individuals who have deferred gratification have a longer time preference, as opposed to those who partake in instant gratification who have a shorter time preference. Elsewhere, Mises details how the profitability of interest is justified because lenders have a longer time preference who take on the risk of nonpayment by borrowers who, in turn, have a shorter time preference; that is, borrowers prefer to use credit in order to acquire something now instead of waiting until later when they would’ve simply used their own capital stock to make said purchases. Mises also said:

“It is not the business of the entrepreneurs to make people substitute sound ideologies for unsound. It rests with the philosophers to change people’s ideas and ideals. The entrepreneur serves the consumers as they are today, however wicked and ignorant.”

This is a rather bitter pill for many Americans to swallow; however, I believe it to be the truth. Mises’ explanation says why vices will always be profitable to those entrepreneurs who willing to serve particular market demands. It also reveals just how atrocious it was for Edward Bernays and his fellow social engineers to trick consumers through manipulative advertising (such as convincing women to begin smoking cigarettes because they were allegedly “torches of freedom”); no wonder Bernays and company decided to artificially create their own market demand by selling lifestyle imagery to hapless customers who honestly didn’t know what they wanted. Mises also observed that:

“Education, whatever benefits it may confer, is transmission of traditional doctrines and valuations; it is by necessity conservative. It produces imitation and routine, not improvement and progress. Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in schools. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has taught them.”

So much for the alleged claim that education is always the answer, huh? Mises here, I think, is implying that “education” produces individuals who have a shorter time preference; thus, regardless of whether entrepreneurs are born or made, what is certain is that colleges and universities tend to regurgitate intelligentsia automatons who are just smart enough to shuffle papers around and speak “large” words, but not intelligent enough to reason out how badly they’ve been manipulated into going into debt via student loans that they pay interest on to the fascist Big Banks. Mises further said:

“An entrepreneur cannot be trained. A man becomes an entrepreneur in seizing an opportunity and filling the gap. No special education is required for such a display of keen judgment, foresight, and energy. The most successful businessmen were often uneducated when measured by the scholastic standards of the teaching profession. But they were equal to their social function of adjusting production to the most urgent demand.”

This is probably the most insightful observation of Mises’ entire book. The big secret of learning about the Austrian school of economics in the first place, I think, is to encourage Americans to become more entrepreneurial. Historical (and even contemporary) examples abound of individuals who were “drop-outs” initially struggling and then eventually succeeding as real entrepreneurs with their start-up businesses, often becoming the nouveau riche with their newly acquired wealth.

Speaking of justly acquired wealth, Mises does not shy away from the evils of taxation. He says:

“The ability-to-pay principle has been raised to the dignity of a postulate of social justice. As people see it today, the fiscal and budgetary objectives of taxation are of secondary importance only. The primary function of taxation is to reform social conditions according to justice. Taxation is a method of government interference with business.”

Similar to how Frank Chodorov explained the income tax, Mises criticizes the “progressive” leftist notion of the so-called “ability-to-pay,” which was ostensibly a tax the rich scheme, but turned out to be a legal plundering of the productive (for instance, ~ 20% of my own “gross income” is currently subject to withholding). Mises fabulously pointed out that:

“The government has no more ability than individuals to create something out of nothing. What the government spends more, the public spends less. Public works are not accomplished by the miraculous power of a magic wand. They are paid for by funds taken away from the citizens. If the government had not interfered, the citizens would have employed them for the realization of profit-promising projects the realization of which they must omit because their means have been curtailed by the government.”

I’d think it’s more than fair to say that this debunks the whole repulsive “public goods” argument pretty succinctly. Given the reality of private roads like the Dulles Greenway in Virginia, statist vitriol demonizing the privatization of “public utilities” is more akin to a temper tantrum than any genuine exploration for the truth. Mises continues:

“Yet, the true crux of the taxation issue is to be seen in the paradox that the more taxes increase, the more they undermine the market economy and concomitantly the system of taxation itself. Thus the fact becomes manifest that ultimately the preservation of private property and confiscatory measures are incompatible. Every specific tax, as well as a nation’s whole tax system, becomes self-defeating above a certain height of the rates.”

This is exactly why libertarians have been screaming bloody murder that all taxation is theft. Outright denials about this form of legal plunder are evocative of those individuals who are not only economically illiterate, but also suffering from Stockholm Syndrome with the State. I’m truly pleased that Mises was unapologetically defending capital accumulation as the material source of personal liberty (not to mention infrastructure development).

Unfortunately, Mises gave an undue amount of credit to the notion of a hypothetically “limited” government, going even so far as to criticize living without rulers. He said:

“Anarchism believes that education could make all people comprehend what their own interests require them to do; rightly instructed they would of their accord always comply with the rules of conduct indispensable for the preservation of society. The anarchists contend that a social order in which nobody enjoys privileges at the expense of his fellow-citizens could exist without any compulsion and coercion for the prevention of action detrimental to society…[t]he anarchists overlook the undeniable fact that some people are either too narrow-minded or too weak to adjust themselves spontaneously to the conditions of social life…[a]n anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state or government.”

This is a rather unfair characterization, and reveals that Mises, as an academic, was unacquainted with the realities of using force. Although there are individuals who are, as Mises put it, too narrow-minded or otherwise weak to adjust themselves to market dynamics, that doesn’t therefore mean that a social institution which enjoys a unique monopoly on the initiation of the use of force must continue to exist (non sequitur fallacy, much?). Mises also said:

“State or government is the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion. It has the monopoly of violent action…[f]or the sake of domestic peace liberalism aims at democratic government. Democracy is therefore not a revolutionary institution. On the contrary, it is the very means of preventing revolutions and civil wars. It provides a method for the peaceful adjustment of government to the will of the majority. When the men in office and their policies no longer please the majority of the nation, they will – in the next election – be eliminated and replaced by other men espousing different policies.”

Here, Mises admits that government enjoys a monopoly on coercion, and so as an openly avowed liberal, I guess his affectation for democracy shouldn’t be too surprising. He continues:

“State and government are not ends, but means. Inflicting evil upon other people is a source of direct pleasure only to sadists. Established authorities resort to coercion and compulsion in order to safeguard the smooth operation of a definite system of social organization. The sphere in which coercion and compulsion is applied and the content of the laws which are to be enforced by the police apparatus are condition by the social order adopted. As state and government are designed to make this social system operate safely, the delimitation of governmental functions must be adjusted to its requirements. The only standard for the appreciation of the laws and the methods for their enforcement is whether or not they are efficient in safeguarding the social order which it is desired to preserve.”

So, let me get this straight – Mises seriously wants me to believe that coercive monopolies facilitate orderly market transactions? If anything, I believe that Mises is attempting here to marry democratic governance with free markets, which for me is a bit of a hard sell. This would seem to contradict would Mises said elsewhere regarding government interference in the market, and taxation specifically. Furthermore, Mises said:

“The philosophy of law and political science are at a loss to discover any reason why government should not control prices and not punish those defying the price ceilings decreed, in the same way it punishes murderers and thieves…there is need to emphasize once again that the only purpose of the laws and the social apparatus of coercion and compulsion is to safeguard the smooth function of social cooperation. It is obvious that the government has the power to decree maximum prices and to imprison or to execute those selling or buying at a higher price. But the question is whether such a policy can or cannot attain the ends which the government wants to attain by resorting to it. This is a purely praxeological and economic problem. Neither the philosophy of law nor political science can contribute anything to its solution.”

Again, I think Mises is playing with fire here. It’s almost as if he completely ignored Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari’s realization that the private production of security services is preferable to those aberrations provided by monopoly or communism. When combined with legal plunder, then the justifications for a hypothetically “limited” government simply vanish into the ether.

Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action: A Treatise on Economics is an awe-inspiring defense of private property and free markets, albeit from a strictly utilitarian perspective. There is also an audiobook narrated by the legendary Jeff Riggenbach, which I highly recommend, because I doubt anybody is going to fully understand Mises’ magnum opus on a first read, and Riggenbach’s audiobook is something you can listen to while you exercise, commute, or lounge around. Also invaluable is Robert Murphy’s study guide, which greatly simplified Mises’ verbose language at times.

I’m truly glad I took the time to read, reread, and listen to Mises’ Human Action, for it truly impressed upon me the imperative for increasing economic literacy (not to mention how he and the Austrian School were heavily referenced in the #agora novella). At this juncture, I would really only disagree with Mises regarding his affectation for democracy as a hypothetically “limited” government, yet given the fact that he was promoting the free market in Austria at the exact same time the German National Socialists marched into Vienna with open arms, I am reluctant to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, so to speak; and as such, I will let Mises have the last word here regarding the study of human action:

“Praxeology as a science cannot encroach upon the individual’s right to choose and to act. The final decisions rest with acting men, not with the theorists. Science’s contribution to life and action does not consist in establishing value judgments, but in clarification of the conditions under which man must act and in elucidation of the effects of various modes of action. It puts at the disposal of acting man all the information he needs in order to make his choices in full awareness of their consequences. It prepares an estimate of cost and yield, as it were. It would fail in this task if it were to omit from this statement one of the items which could be of influence in people’s choices and decisions.”

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Permanent TAZs (1994)

By Kyle Rearden

Today’s article by Hakim Bey develops the concept of a Permanent Autonomous Zone (PAZ). It is an evolutionary step based upon Bey’s earlier idea of Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ). Any mistakes are solely that of the author himself.

TAZ-theory tries to concern itself with existing or emerging situations rather than with pure utopianism. All over the world people are leaving or “disappearing” themselves from the Grid of Alienation and seeking ways to restore human contact. An interesting example of this – on the level of “urban folk culture’ – can be found in the proliferation of hobby networks and conferences. Recently I discovered the zines of two such groups, Crown Jewels of High Wire (devoted to the collection of glass electrical insulators) and a journal on cucurbitology (The Gourd). A vast amount of creativity goes into these obsessions. The various periodic gatherings of fellow-maniacs amount to genuine face-to-face (unmediated) festivals of eccentricity. It’s not just the “counter-culture” which seeks its TAZs, its nomad encampments and nights of liberation from the Consensus. Self-organized and autonomous groups are springing up amongst every “class” and “sub-culture”. Vast tracts of the Babylonian Empire are now virtually empty, populated only by the spooks of MAssMedia, and a few psychotic policemen.

TAZ-theory realizes that THIS IS HAPPENING – we’re not talking about “should” or “will be” – we’re talking about an already-existing movement. Our use of various thought-experiments, utopian poetics, paranoia criticism, etc., aims at helping to clarify this complex and still largely undocumented movement, to give it some theoretical focus and self-awareness, and to suggest tactics based on coherent integral strategies – to act the midwife or the panegyrist, not the “vanguard”!

And so we’ve had to consider the fact that not all existing autonomous zones are “temporary”. Some are (at least by intention) more-or-less “permanent”. Certain cracks in the Babylonian Monolith appear so vacant that whole groups can move into them and settle down. Certain theories, such as “Permaculture”, have been developed to deal with this situation and make the most of it. “Villages”. “communes”, “communities”, even “arcologies” and “biospheres” (or other utopian-city forms) are being experimented with and implemented. Even here however TAZ-theory may offer some useful thought-tools and clarifications.

What about a poetique (a “way of making”) and a politique (a “way of living-together”) for the “permanent TAZ (or “PAZ”)? What about the actual relation between temporariness and permanence? And how can the PAZ renew and refresh itself periodically with the “festival” aspect of the TAZ?

  1. The question of publicity. Recent events in the US and Europe have shown that self-organized/autonomous groups strike fear into the heart of the State. MOVE in Philadelphia, the Koreshites of Waco, Deadheads, Rainbow Tribes, computer-hackers, squatters, etc. have been targeted for varying intensity-levels of extermination. And yet other autonomous groups go unnoticed, or at least unpersecuted. What makes the difference? One may be the maligning effect of publicity or mediation. The Media experience a vampiric thirst for the shadow-Passion play of “Terrorism”. Babylon’s public ritual of expiation, scapegoating, and blood-sacrifice. Once any autonomous group allows this particular “gaze” to fall upon it, the shit hits the fan: – the Media will try to arrange a mini-armageddon to satisfy its junk-sickness for spectacle and death.

Now, the PAZ makes a fine sitting target for such a Media smart-bomb. Beseiged inside its “compound”, the self-organized group can only succumb to some sort of cheap pre-determined martyrdom. Presumably this role appeals only to neurotic masochists??? In any case, most groups will want to live out their natural span or trajectory in peace and quiet. A good tactic here might be to avoid publicity from the Mass Media as if it were the plague. A bit of natural paranoia comes in handy, so long as it doesn’t become an end in itself. One must be cunning in order to get away with being bold. A toucn of camoflage, a falir for invisibility, a sense of tact as a tactic….might be as useful to a PAZ as a TAZ. Humble suggestions: – Use only “intimate media” {zines, phonetrees, BBSs, free radio and mini-FM, public-access cable, etc.) – avoid blustering-macho-confrontationalist attitude – you don’t need five seconds on the Evening News (“Police Raid Cultists”) to validate your existence. Our slogan might be: – “Get a life, not a life-style.”

  1. Access. People probably ought to choose the people they live with. Open-membership” communes invariably end up swamped with freeloaders and sex-starved pathetic creeps. PAZs must choose their own membership mutually – this has nothing to do with “elitism”. The PAZ may exercise a temporarily open function – such as hosting festivals or giving away free food, etc. – but it need not be permanently open to any self-proclaimed sympathizer who wanders by.
  1. The emergence of a genuinely alternative economy. Once again, this is already happening – but it needs a huge amount of work before it comes into focus. The sub-economies of “lavoro nero”, untaxed transactions, barter, etc. tend to be severely limited and localized. BBSs and other networking systems could be used to link up these regional/marginal economies (“household managements”) into a viable alternative economy of some magnitude. “P.M.” has already outlined something like this in bolo’bolo – in fact a number of possible systems already exist, in theory anyway. The problem is: – how to construct a true alternative economy, i.e. a complete economy, without attracting the IRS and other capitalist runningdogs? How can I exchange my skills as, say, a plumber or moonshiner, for the food, books, shelter, and psychoactive plants I want – without paying taxes, or even without using any State-forged money? How can I live a comfortable (even luxurious) life free of all interactions free of all interactions and transactions with CommodityWorld? If we took all the energy leftists put into “demos” and all the energy Libertarians put into playing futile little 3rd-party games, and if we redirected all that power into the construction of a real underground economy, we would already have accomplished “the Revolution” long ago.
  1. The “World” came to an end in 1972. The hollowed-out effigy of the Absolute State finally toppled in “1989”. The last ideology, Capitalism, is no more than a skin-disease of the Very Late Neolithic. It’s a desiring-machine running on empty. I’m hoping to see it deliquesce in my lifetime, like one of Dali’s mindscapes. And I want to have somewhere to “go” when the shit comes down. OF course the death of Capitalism needn’t entail the Godzilla-like destruction of all human culture; this scenario is merely a terror-image propagated by Capitalism itself. Nevertheless it stands to reason that the dreaming corpse will spasm violently before rigor mortis sets in – and New York or LA may not be the smartest places to wait out the storm. (And the storm may have already begun.) (On the other hand NYC and LA might not be the worst places to create the New World; one can imagine whole squatted neighborhoods, gangs transformed into Peoples Militias, etc.) Now the gypsy-RV way of life may be one way to deal with the on-going melt-down of Too-Late-Capitalism – but as for me, I’d prefer a nice anarchist monastery somewhere – a typical place for “scholars” to sit out the “Dark Ages”. The more we organize this NOW the less hassle we’ll have to face later. I’m not talking about “survival” – I’m not interested in mere survival. I want to thrive. BACK TO UTOPIA.
  1. Festivals. The PAZ serves a vital function as a node in the TAZ-web, a meetingplace for a wide circel of friends andn allies who may not actually live fulltime on the “farm” or in the “village”. Ancient villages held fairs which brought wealth to the community, provided markets for travelers, and created festal time/space for all participants. Nowadays the festival is emerging as one of the most important forms of the TAZ itself, but can also provide renewal and fresh energy for the PAZ. I remember reading some-where that in the MIddle Ages there were one hundred and eleven holidays a year; we should take this as our “utopian minimum” and strive to do even better. (Note: the utopian minima proposed by C. Fourier consisted of more food and sex than the average 18th century French aristocrat enjoyed; B. Fuller proposed the term “bare minimum” for a similar concept”.)
  1. The Living Earth. I believe that there exist plenty of good selfish reasons for desiring the “organic” (it’s sexier), the “natural” (it tastes better), the “green” (it’s more beautiful”, the Wild(er)ness (it’s more exciting). Communitas (as P. Goodman called it) and conviviality (as I. Illich called it_ are more pleasurable than their opposites. The living earth need not exclude the organic city – the small but intesne conglomeration of humanity devoted to the arts and slightly decadent joys of a civilization purged of all its gigantism and enforced loneliness – but even those of us who enjoy cities can see immediate and hedonic motives for fighting for the “environment”. We are militant biophiles. Deep ecology, social ecology, permaculture, appropriate tech,…we’re not too picky about ideologies. Let 1000 flowers bloom.
  1. PAZ typology. A “weird religion” or rebel art movement can become a kind of non-local PAZ, like a more intense and all-consuming hobby network. The Secret Society (like the Chinese Tong) also provides a model for a PAZ without geographic limits. But the “perfect case scenario” involves a free space that extends into free time. The essence of the PAZ must be the long-drawn-out intensification of the joys – and risks – of the TAZ. And the intensification of the PAZ will be….Utopia Now.

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The Agorist Cookbook (2011)

By Kyle Rearden

Today’s article is a parody of the lame and inaccurate so-called Anarchist Cookbook. It was written by privateer, of the real-life #agora IRC channel. For more information on agorism, please feel free to read An Agorist Manifesto in 95 Theses,” “Fifty Things to Do Now,” “An Agorist Anecdote,” “#agora,” and of course,Alongside Night.”

The Agorist Cookbook Introduction

This site is a place for Documenting: Tips, Tricks, Tools, Systems, Methods related to Operating in the Agorist Second Realm of Meatspace and Cyberspace. You will find a proverbial Wiki of Recipes for Agorist Markets and Living. A decent brief description from the Wikipedia Agorism entry describes Agorism as:

A political philosophy founded by Samuel Edward Konkin III and developed with contributions by J. Neil Schulman that holds as its ultimate goal bringing about a society in which all “relations between people are voluntary exchanges – a free market.” The term comes from the Greek word “agora,” referring to an open place for assembly and market in ancient Greek city-states. Ideologically, it is a term representing a revolutionary type of free-market anarchism. Schulman integrated the idea of counter-economics into Konkin’s libertarian philosophy, which is the advocacy of untaxed black market activity.


There are many existing sites covering homesteading, farming. But most are State cooperative, they follow “laws” given to them from men in silly costumes whom like to scribble things on papers and claim obligation of enslavement to their dictates.

The Agorist Cookbook focus is based upon free association along with many concepts described in some of the following topics:

The Agorist Cookbook vs. The Anarchist Cookbook

Example on the subject of Banking

  • Destruction: The infamous Anarchist Cookbook would give you information on how to blow up the Federal Reserve. If you are interested in that, go read the anarchist cookbook and blow yourself up. You are not wanted here, neither will there be anything here for you. If you bother us, we would consider reporting you to the FBI but they would already know about you since you most likely are FBI. Your track record is well known. Don’t you have some P2P domain name to seize somewhere? Go away.
  • Construction: Positively, toward building a new Second Realm, The Agorist Cookbook tells you how to Mint your own gold holdings, use alternative currencies and money systems. It gives you HOWTO’s on Creating, Running and Using your own Hawala networks for money transfer.

Agorist Cookbook Recipes

Table of Contents


Contributors wanted. Please send us suggestions/links/ideas even if they can’t be written up right now, we can put them in this section for pondering and authoring. Here are a few of the ideas cooking up:

  1. Agorist exchange/trade gatherings and clubs.
  2. International federation of those local clubs in knights of templar network fashion.
  3. Cooking clubs ‘underground roving restaurants’
  4. Making/selling your own liquour, moonshine, beer.
  5. Making/selling your own fuel for tractors/cars/trucks.
  6. Gobar Gas stoves → gas produced from compost/biodegradable products that is great for cooking. very easy setup with 50gallon drum and food scraps. Really big in india and other places.
  7. Community wireless networks, shared net, mesh networking.
  8. Growing and selling medicines, pharmaceuticals, remedies, treatments etc.
  9. Tribal/Community eco-style home barn raising, like the amish do with some twists, to allow for alternative housing to the standard downpayment/bankloan/30 year morgtage dance with the Banksters.




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Agora Homesteading


We follow the agorist philosophy and believe in absolute freedom to be, do and think what we want. We grow, sell, trade and barter in a wide range of organic products of which some are considered illegal by all U.S. jurisdictions.

We have a business that requires us to keep a low profile. Our business has no name but a symbol. We have no telephone to take orders from outside network. We have no email account for you to complain or praise us. We have no pretty little numbers posted on the road identifying a house even exists here nor a mail box for the USPS. What we do have is a symbol carved in wood attached to the gate. We use this symbol for identification and labeling purposes. We have elegant signs that say “No Trespassing” all around our property. We never receive shipments here from Fed-ex or UPS.

We are currently moving completely off-grid with the exception of the Internet by early 2012 and will be able to produce year round. We only trade, barter and sell to a select few who have been vetted by no fewer than three people and known for a certain amount of time. I use the MLM (multi-level-marketing) strategy and limit the maximum number of clients to 500. We keep our business records on an external encrypted hard drive that is always kept in a safe place.


The core customer base is allowed to sell to other people but we have certain requirements that must be met:

  1. No more than 3 family or friends whom have been known for a minimum of 5 years. Use common sense and choose carefully.
  2. First level client must pick up and deliver directly to their network.
  3. No strangers are ever to be brought onto my property.
  4. Keep your mouth shut about our business.
  5. All orders are to be made in person at time of pick-up. If you need something added to an existing order or for immediate use please call the number you were given using the correct code word.
  6. If you are ever asked by a stranger to buy something illegal like raw milk or where to find it be polite, tell them nothing except that you cannot help them. Call us immediately.

I know it may seem harsh but it is for everyone’s benefit to abide by these basic rules. There have been numerous SWAT raids on farms and even in some cases not even making the news. I will discuss my security procedures under a different topic at a later date.


We started in 1998 moving towards self-sufficiency and reliance with the specific intention of living off-the-grid and relying on no one. As noble as this was it is still expensive to bring our plans into fruition. We started small at first paying cash for everything and eliminating all debt. We kept our day jobs to have a steady cash flow and reserves for building our dreams. We set up a detailed plan of what we wanted to accomplish and when while remaining flexible. This is the most important thing to have is a realistic plan to implement ideas in stages.

The another important aspect of our business was the accumulation of knowledge. I spent my summers as a youth working on my uncle’s farm and my wife grew up on a ranch so we had no preconceived ideas it would be easy. We originally started raising food for ourselves and preserving it for storage. We gained knowledge one subject at a time while learning all we could through books and workshops.

We wanted to start small so chickens were the first thing. We thought since they were small it would be easy….well we were so fucking wrong and it wouldn’t be the last time either. We went from chickens to bees and from there to expanding the gardens. Keep in mind that in the midst of learning to homestead we had several projects going on all the time. We went from 60 acres in 1998 to 180 acres present day and are still learning new things. We bought two smaller neighboring farms to increase our holdings.

The reason I set the cap to 500 clients is what I am willing to sustain at the moment. I encourage them to start businesses of their own and some do. I absolutely love it when they do and succeed. If I can trade or barter for something I had to go outside the network to buy than we are becoming a more self-contained network.

When we set out to purchase land it had to meet the following requirements;

  • Minimum of 30 miles from city
  • Minimum of 25 acres
  • Defensible
  • Wells with quality water as well as plentiful
  • Healthy pond or lake stocked with fish
  • Old growth woodlands & orchard
  • Fenced parcels
  • Barn & buildings in good repair
  • No neighbors within ½ mile
  • Long driveway
  • House secluded from road
  • Property secluded & removed from main roads
  • Cleared tillable land
  • Jurisdiction with low taxes
  • Not near large corporate farms, highways, airports and railroad tracks
  • Accessible from different routes


The great thing about building a network like this is you can expect a certain amount of trust and loyalty. I also love the fact that we are always willing to help a family in need. One family lost their father in Iraq a few years ago and the mother of 3 children could not find a job. She used to buy milk, butter and eggs from us but could no longer afford to do so. A beautiful person found out this happened and called an impromptu meeting with my wife to discuss options. I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I tell this story. Every family in the network helped them and she didn’t have to rely upon the government. Mom got a job from a lawyer. A teacher began homeschooling the children. We employed the oldest child to help around here with the horses and such as well as donated supplies until they got back on their feet.

I told this story, one of many because doing business this way benefits the planet, humans and animals without government intervention or regulation.


We offer completely organic produce, meat and other products.

We currently grow 280 different varieties of historical heirloom seeds(many from Thomas Jefferson’s collection). We grow what our customers like and ask for. We also have a 10 acre orchard that produce apple, pear, peach, cherry, maple, black walnut & something no one knows what it is though it is quite tasty.

Animals and Meat We Sell

  • Rabbits
  • Chickens
  • Pigs
  • Cows
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Pheasant
  • Buffalo (coming soon)

Products We Sell

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Cider
  • Wine (gifts only)
  • Beer (gifts only)
  • Whiskey (gifts only)
  • Eggs
  • Raw milk
  • Raw cheese
  • Raw honey
  • Honey comb
  • Beeswax candles
  • Soaps
  • Herbs
  • Oils
  • Wool
  • Compost
  • Bio-fuel(we make bio-diesel for use in the tractors, trucks and generators for us as well)
  • various arts & crafts(knitted goods, pottery,bird houses)

Services We Provide

  • Welding
  • Blacksmithing
  • Wood Working
  • Gun Smithing
  • Machine Tooling

Payment Methods


We prefer cash, gold and silver but you have to be flexible.


We trade or barter for just about anything we need or may need or that can be turned into a profit. Here are a few things we bartered in the past:

  • Homemade clothing (I love wool knit sweaters & socks, blankets etc).
  • Firewood
  • Rabbits
  • Deer
  • Turkey
  • Guns
  • Tractors
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Farm equipment
  • Seeds
  • Various crops like alfalfa & barley
  • Feed
  • Various animal breeding (like bringing a bull or goat in to do his business)

The above list may seem overwhelming but we grew slowly and never take on more than we can handle. I currently have 2 full time and 6 part-time seasonal employees (these are mostly teens from clients). We keep only enough animals that can be sustained naturally by the land. One other reason for the client cap.


We have to sell some things outside the community when we have too much of something. This is pretty simple to do by following the above rules. An example would be produce. 2010 was a bumper year for us, we canned, dried, froze and ate our fill while being able to meet client needs. All you do is contact a store or restaurant with some samples. They always pay cash and nothing gets wasted. Craft stores will always take stuff if they can make a profit as well. We live near a large Mennonite clan who have a general store. I sell to them and they relabel it. We also trade quite a bit which suits us both just fine. We do have our animals butchered & frozen at a local reputable store. Somethings are to time consuming for me to do.


Personal Security

I see personal security encompassing mental, physical and emotional well being. We stay in shape around here with plenty of exercise and eating a clean natural diet. The mental/emotional is helped by meditation.

  • I have had extensive combat training from hand to hand, knives and guns. I trained my wife.
  • We have a shooting range here on the property and use it often. We practice firing from supine, prone, lateral recumbent, standing, crouched & sitting positions.
  • We carry a firearm everywhere we go. We carry bear spray & knives on our person.
  • We have code words indicating a myriad of things like location, safe, hurt, in danger and kidnapped.
  • We always plan where we are going and when we are due back including which routes we would take. This lets someone back track in case phones are out.
  • We keep a cache in our vehicles which include food & water for a week in case we have to walk, ammo, flashlights, camping gear for all seasons, seasonal items like shovels & ice melt, clothing, hazardous breathing apparatus, medication and first aide kits. Everything fits into a backpack with easy access to important items.
  • Detailed topographical map that includes dirt roads, rivers, tracks…etc.(places to avoid like housing projects and bad places in the city)
  • We have HD cameras with audio installed in out vehicles that have a one mile clear view.
  • We also keep portable video and still cameras inside vehicle.
  • We keep scanners for weather, ESDA, police & fire. This is so we can find alternate routes if roads are closed.
  • Hand-held GPS.
  • Prepaid cell phones with spare batteries, car chargers & solar charger that charges phones, gps and scanners.
  • The best investment so far were night-vision goggles and scopes for the rifles.
  • When traveling into the city or stores we wear hats and sunglasses to conceal our faces.
  • We also have our automobile windows tinted to the maximum darkness allowed by law. We choose to do this out of wanting our privacy.
  • We also keep several caches of gold and silver for emergencies. This is a must in the times we live.
  • We recently bought a small tract of land far removed that is will stocked in case we have to leave the homestead.

As you can see I am paranoid by nature most arising from my younger days. We are not wanted and do not condone violence unless threat of death or physical harm of persons and property. We desire to live in a peaceful world in our little place.

I will create a resource page with links to various items.

Property Security

  • My specialty is not just agriculture. We have added and made changes as the different threats whether real or perceived are made known to us.
  • We carry weapons at all times and have them placed in several strategic locations.
  • Property is removed from 3 roads giving us privacy via isolation.
  • Front of property is lined with old growth trees denying views from the road.
  • Driveway is one mile long with sharp curves going into a valley crossing a stream.
  • Front driveway gate is attached to steel pylons sunk in the ground 6′.
  • Gate is electric with large steel spike welded on exterior facing on coming vehicles.
  • Gate has day/night camera with remote opening from house as well as infrared sensors that give advance warning if we are not near the video.
  • No mailbox or numbers.(We use P.O. Boxes for mail)
  • No Fed-Ex or UPS shipments come here and are picked up off site.
  • Warning signs covering perimeter with solid fencing.
  • Trained attack guard dogs.
  • Infrared sensors placed at locations on perimeter that I would infiltrate if I wanted to come unnoticed. (These are cheaper than the ground sensors used by corporations and government but a PIA in winter if covered in ice or snow. Ground sensors are triggered by wildlife roaming thus creating too many false alarms. Most infrared sensors are set to the height of a man.)
  • Several day/night cameras watching the house & buildings. ( These can be bought at a reasonable cost nowadays and are easy to install.)
  • Alarm systems on house & buildings.

Legal Security

  • The estate is owned by an legal off shore trust. (The only utility service we have is electric and is registered by the Trust. Soon we will terminate this service). We had excellent legal help establishing this set-up but it was not cheap.
  • We live here as tenants legally.

Natural, Nuclear, Electronic Disaster Planning

  • We built a Earth Home out of concrete and steel that is impervious to tornadoes and most earthquakes. We can secure interior against biological and nuclear attacks. We have been told it will protect us from EMP as well but I do not really desire to test this theory.
  • We own older vehicles and farm machinery with spare parts in case of EMP.
  • The vehicles and generators run on bio-diesel fuel which we produce.


  • We have several rain harvesting systems with purification abilities and spare filters.
  • We keep 5k gallons of fuel and 10k gallons of water for emergencies.
  • We have several caches buried around the property with a assortment of supplies in case we have to leave or come home to unexpected trouble.
  • We have an adequate supply of everything to last extended periods of time with enough to help others.
  • We are adding heated geo dome greenhouses in 2011 allowing us to grow throughout the year.

Closing Comments

Contrary to popular belief we are not tethered to this farm. We have great trustworthy help and can leave for extended periods without worry or fear. We are extremely busy in spring & fall but we still have time for some fun. This is true freedom.

There are many small farms for sale out there by retired farmers looking to get out. When I was driving a truck from coast to coast I saw things that made me pause and contemplate. As a nation [the USA] we are to dependent upon a system that is unsustainable. When this nation [the USA] falls there will be much pain, violence and death. Agorist systems may be a social structures able to better survive and thrive outside of a collapsed centralized interdependent government centered system.

On a side note, when I drove a truck I made deliveries to the mythical FEMA camps on three separate occasions that were alive with activity in 1999. I also saw how fragile the food supply is here, everything is just-in-time deliveries. Stores have no more than 72 hrs stock. Food that is processed and bad for consumption.

The keys to being safe are proper planning, training, preparedness and maintaining a low profile.

I am pessimistic for the future of the USA and the world for that matter. Things are disintegrating at an alarming pace. We are not millionaires by far but have sacrificed the big televisions, cars that cost as much as a house in 1985 and non-essential material items we really did not need or desire. I am eternally grateful for being surrounded by honest neighbors who are aware of what is happening in the world. I put out flyer’s with the goods, containing links and an assortment of facts. What I feel is coming is not something to endure by oneself. Most all I am grateful for my wife who keeps my head out of the clouds most of the time.

Contact Information

I will communicate privately by encrypted communications only. Contact me for Questions, Comments, Contributions etc.


Encrypt your messages to me and remember to send me your key also.

Email: privateer @



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I can be found as nick privateer hanging out with the good folks in the IRC #agora channel on the anarplex network. Connection instructions are here.

Of Curious or Related Interest

Agorist Food Selection

This is not about recipes, nor the health benefits or risks of various foods. It is about information to help Agorists make better fod selection decisions based upon Agorist and Counter-Economic ideas.

Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?

Modern “capitalists” like to use the markets choice of ‘better price’ to seek out value, while possibly ignoring other issues that may be as important in price when considering the purchase of an item. The reason something may be cheaper, may be because it actually is not cheaper. Its just different people are paying for it, rather than the end consumer.

Best example of this is ‘Free Healthcare’. It’s ‘Free’, can’t get much cheaper than that. TINSTAAFL. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone is paying for it. As in health care, it goes with many ‘Cheap Foods’. This is why a salad costs more than a Big Mac. Federal and State intervention into the markets through subsidies, monopolies through regulation and other state tactics.

Remember, a Subsidy is not something that comes from Government money. A subsidy is when the government through force: regulation and taxation, takes large amounts of money and gives it to an industry. One of the Cornerstones of modern American Capitalism otherwise known as Mercantilism. The participants in this system comprise the same “Republicans” whom are openly against income Redistribution to individuals. Income distribution at Corporate Industry levels is nothing less than Income Redistribution.

“Commodity Foods” USA Subsidies: $180.8 Billion USD

Farm subsidies are direct transferring of income from the general tax payers to farm owners.

The United States currently pays around $20 billion per year to farmers in direct subsidies as “farm income stabilization”[9][10][11] via U.S. farm bills. These bills date back to the economic turmoil of the Great Depression with 1922 Grain Futures Act, the 1929 Agricultural Marketing Act and the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act creating a tradition of government support. A Canadian report claimed that for every dollar U.S. farmers earn, 62 cents comes from some form of government, with total aid in 2009 from all levels of government adding up to $180.8 billion.

The beneficiaries of the subsidies have changed as agriculture in the United States has changed. In the 1930s, about 25% of the country’s population resided on the nation’s 6,000,000 small farms. By 1997, 157,000 large farms accounted for 72% of farm sales, with only 2% of the U.S. population residing on farms. In 2006, the top 3 states receiving subsidies were Texas (10.4%), Iowa (9.0%), and Illinois (7.6%). The Total USDA Subsidies from farms in Iowa totaled $1,212,000,000 in 2006.[13] From 2003 to 2005 the top 1% of beneficiaries received 17% of subsidy payments.

From Sourcewatch:

In May 1998, Dan Glickman announced that his agency had purchased 8 million pounds of beef and pork commodities at a cost of approximately $9 million. [9] These purchases are part of the USDA’s $30 million pork and $30 million beef bonus annual buyouts. At the same time, the USDA announced plans to purchase up to $8 million of lamb products to offset that industry’s surplus. “These bonus buys support the livestock industries by bolstering producer prices”, announced Glickman. The beef, pork and lamb were to be distributed to the National School Lunch Program and other food assistance programs to increase “high-quality protein”. [10] The USDA purchases 73 million pounds of cheese annually to help boost sagging dairy prices. [11]

Under the Dairy Price Support Program, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC, a division of the USDA) buys surplus butter, cheese, and nonfat dry milk from processors to support the dairy industry and maintain market prices. These purchases totaled 500 million pounds in the fiscal year 2000 and 400 million pounds in fiscal year 2001. [12]

General Principles

  • The Commercial meat and dairy industries receive massive amounts of government subsidies
  • For every $1 you spend at the grocery store the tax-victims might be spending as much as $40
  • Subsidies also include:
    • The Government environmental regulation monopoly: Leads to tremendous property damage that the free market would never allow
    • The quality assurance monopoly: Leads to consumers being fooled into buying some really nasty stuff
    • The education monopoly: Hides or downplays the scientific studies that animal products are bad for you

Animal Products

Agorist Meat


  • Supporting your own Agorist network ecosystem
  • Easier to find Organic meat without checmicals/hormones etc.
  • See Agora Homesteading for information and references for doing your own farm.


  • Animal ownership is also becoming increasingly regulated, even having your own, 100% organic fed animals can upset Terrorcrats. They may raid your property, and seize the animals, and extort cash out of you under the pretext of:
    • Lack of obtaining a license from them to own the animals or ‘Health Certificates’ issued by the state.
    • City/Municipal Zoning Laws not permitting certain types of animals.
  • Strategy: Use the land for farming fruits and vegetables.
    • You may be able to feed 5-10 times more people on the same area of land used for meat production.
    • It is possible to grow anything in a heated greenhouse, obviously, but that space would be best used for nutritional superfoods like year-round fresh spinach and avocados. Think wheat instead of rice, other legumes instead of soy, carrots instead of bananas, lemons instead of oranges, honey or maple sugar instead of cane sugar, and so on.

Commercially Imported & Transported Food Issues

  • The farther away the source of your food originates, the greater amount Taxes the Terrorcrats feed off:
    • Fuel Taxes
    • Import Tarriffs by the Border Nazis
    • Income Taxes on those Transporting
    • Sales Taxes over the counter
    • Many more taxes that are recursive to the entire Import/Transportation ecosystem.

Packaged/Manufactured Foods/Drinks

  • These foods are often produced by large corporations. Economy of scale has allowed them to usually provide for a cheaper product, but at the same time it leaves a greater % of the price that is actually taxation. This is aside from sales tax, fuel taxes and includes corporate taxes, and income taxes on everyone involved with the corporation. This is no trivial amount of taxation.
  • If you grew your own wheat, would you go through the expense of making Wheaties cereal, complete with all the artificial flavors and preservatives, or would you make whole-grain fresh-baked bread and so on? I think the last thing that I bought that had a label on it was salt, pepper, and other spices – everything else I either buy fresh (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms) or in bulk (root vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc).
  • Purify your own well Water, if you must paid City water is still better than buying bottled water.
  • Other Liquids: There are loads of tariffs on tea, coffee and soda, etc.
  • Make your own Beer/Alcohol rather than purchase commercially. No need to explain this sector and the taxes governments feed off.
  • Tobacco – if you must smoke grow your own leaf or buy from other Agorist farmers. Tobacco/Cigarette taxes are also a *massive* source financing for the state.

Counter-Economic Restaurant

We here at no name farms launched a underground restaurant that is a first of its kind anywhere in the world. We are using this method not only for profit but to educate people about Agorism while keeping an air of mystery. Here are the main points of our business.

  1. Only the best food will be served right from our farm 100% organic and cooked by one of my partners who is a five star chef. We intend on running one dinner per month depending on turnout.
  2. The restaurant has no name and is in a secret location that was leased via a third party for cash and no documents signed except via a agorist law firm who will act as arbitrators if needed.
  3. The events will include all drinks a person can desire from wine to scotch with some even made right here on the farm. A delicious 6-8 course meal served over a 4-6 hour period.
  4. Live entertainment and the building has a dance floor. We have some great blues lined up for our first dinner in March/April.
  5. All contacts are done via PGP and no exceptions. This is for reservations, payments and notice of event 12-24 hours before and other pertinent information.
  6. All patrons will be picked up at various locations around the city in a blacked out party bus to hide our location and dropped back off at their vehicles or we will rendezvous with a taxi in the case of intoxication. I am the driver of the bus. Only 3 people know the location. Even the bands and waitresses have to agree to be blind folded and picked up one hour before event.
  7. All patrons must leave cell phones home or surrender them to be locked in a Faraday cage to keep location secret. you will be given a bag to seal your phone inside with your code name on it. We have a jammer on site in case someone tries to be cute. Patrons will be given a phone number that they can give to babysitters or family to notify you in case of an emergency. If an emergency happens you will be driven by private vehicle to your destination most ricky tick. You still have to be blind folded leaving the location and entering the vehicle.
  8. All patrons must agree to be blind folded when leaving the bus and upon returning to it.
  9. All patrons must pay by cash ($250-350) to designated drop-offs with code worded pick up 2 weeks prior to event. No refunds except in special circumstances, we can apply it to the next event of your choice. Patrons will be told what dates the event is most likely to occur and it is up to them to be available.
  10. We advise patrons not to have someone follow the bus or the consequences will be most severe. I have methods in place to safe guard tailing.
  11. All patrons will receive a short introduction into agorism and counter-economics along with details on where to find reliable information to peruse at their leisure.
  12. All patrons must notify us of any food allergies prior to attending so we can make sure you are safe.
  13. We well give code words to patrons when referring friends and they will be changed at random with notification via pgp email.

Some of the Events we have planned are themed based.

  • Classical- This will include live classical music with dancing. This is a black tie event as well. Men must were jacket & tie and women dress/gown.
  • Grunge/Punk- Same as above but with a little bit mellower music ;). No dress code here we just ask you to keep your clothes on please.
  • Roaring 20’s- This is a period event with dress appropriate for period. We have one of the best swing bands scheduled to play late summer. This gives our patrons time to take dancing lessons.
  • Shakespeare(To Be or Not to Be & What the fuck am I doing here)- We are trying to book a local acting guild for evening entertainment.

We three partners put up a total of 50K capital to get the show on the road. We expect to earn upwards of 25k per event. We are looking into other locations to lease to add to the mystery.

If you have any theme suggestions please email me. Well I think that about covers it.

The post The Agorist Cookbook (2011) appeared first on The Last Bastille Blog.

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