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Messages - The Legendary Shark

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 566
1
Off Topic / Re: Squaxx Telling Jokes
« on: 17 June, 2018, 03:20:53 pm »

Got an email from a bored housewife, 32, looking for some action.
I sent her my ironing, that'll keep her busy


2
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 17 June, 2018, 03:11:44 pm »
Bitcoin is just one example of a cryptocurrency, it's the blockchain technology behind it that's most important. Like any currency, the external value of bitcoin can be manipulated by the centralised monetary system, which only has to buy them up and then assign its own value to them. A centralised system will do anything it can to destroy or neuter a decentralised system. Therein lies the potential great danger to authority weighed against the potential great benefit to society at large. The manipulation of bitcoin is not a consequence of the cryptocurrency itself but of the existing monopolistic financial system's attempts to quash it. It's not bitcoin that's the problem but the existing controlled markets. This is exactly the same problem current "regular" fiat currencies face. Every fiat currency in the world is manipulated by central authorities such as the Bank for International Settlements and the various central banks on a constant basis. These manipulations are undertaken for the benefit of the financial sector itself and not the economy as a whole, which manipulations lead to economic crashes and the massive overproduction of debt-based fiats which steadily and perpetually reduce the value of all currencies. The cost of produced goods and services does not rise, the value of money falls.

There is a cost to the production of any currency and so I don't see the cost of mining cryptos as a real problem. Cryptos are mined on computers but this is obviously not what all computers, or even the majority of them, are used for. One could make the argument that emails, taken in isolation, consume far more energy than bitcoin mining and so they should not be used but I doubt anyone would take that argument seriously. Email is a way of decentralising communication in the same way that cryptos are a way of decentralising currency.

*

As I've said before, it's not the idea of paying for things I'm against but being forced to pay for things I don't want, don't agree with or are morally repugnant to me. I'm happy to pay insurance for medical cover (maybe even to the NHS itself because, as a body, it has a great deal of assets, expertise and experience already in place) but I do not in any way want to fund the bombing of brown people on the other side of the world so the "elites" can carve up their resources between them. This is why I don't vote any more, for anybody, because they all believe they have a right to simply take my stuff for whatever reason they like, good, bad or indifferent, and to punish me if I disagree.

Taking away the coercive power of governments does not mean that hospitals or universities will cease to exist or be instantly transformed into predatory death and rapine factories. Oncological knowledge and research will not evaporate; technology will not cease to function or improve; crops will not vanish from the fields; roads will not crumble to dust and blow away; human beings will not revert to wearing animal skins and eating nettles.

My approach to living in society rests on the twin foundations of Private Property Rights and the Non Aggression Principle (and I like to believe that the majority of ordinary people have the same or similar fundamental beliefs), therefore I cannot in all good conscience participate in, support or condone anything that violates those foundations. Unfortunately for me, the foundations of authoritarian beliefs are that all property belongs to the state and that aggression is justified to acquire it. Statists simply have to accept these ideas or ignore them altogether.

Most of the people I know are so afraid of the state, or so brainwashed by a lifetime of propaganda and indoctrination, or so apathetic, or so unsure of their own abilities and morality, or so trusting of governments, or so distrustful of their fellow human beings, or so wary of the future that they cannot even listen to alternative ideas without flying into a rage or making the most convoluted justifications. "What about the roads," is a familiar excuse for rejecting rational thought (although the people on this thread are more willing to engage with these ideas than most, for which I am grateful).

In the run-up to any great change there is resistance - "how will the sun rise if we cease to make sacrifices to the gods?", "who will pick the cotton if we free all the slaves?", "what will become of the horses if we all use automobiles?", "what will the sailors do if we all use aeroplanes?", "what will become of the postal service if we all use email?"

 "Who will take care of the roads if we strip the state of its coercive powers?" is merely the latest question as we move (hopefully) towards a free society of personal rights and responsibilities. In every case, solutions were found and the world improved. I sincerely hope that our world is on the path to a freer, more equal global society but I understand that change on such a scale can be terrifying. That change is going to take a lot longer than I initially thought but I believe it is not only necessary but inevitable. I may be wrong about that and I may be right but the one thing I do know with absolute certainty is that the future is not built by emperors or kings or presidents or prime ministers but by ordinary individuals like you and me.

Private property and non-aggression, that's the world I want. I hope some of you will at least consider wanting that too and thinking about how to achieve it.

3
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 16 June, 2018, 10:56:20 pm »

Monopolies can only exist with the backing and enforcement of government, through such mechanisms as licensing and patents.

I do, however, agree that the "financial sector" (another licensed monopoly) grossly distorts markets and concentrates wealth into the hands of a few. It's still early days yet but cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have the potential to break the current financial system wide open to the benefit of virtually everyone.

There's so much good stuff in this world waiting in the wings or on the rise. It feels like there's a race going on between freedom and tyranny and I don't know which is going to win out in the end but, as long as so many people put their faith in "the authorities" and refuse to look at the basic problems and figure out solutions for themselves, freedom will be hard to achieve. But by no means impossible.

Exciting times!


4
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 16 June, 2018, 04:44:16 pm »
I'd hardly call governments rational actors working for long-term interests either. Solutions exist but it's too soon. First the problems, inconsistencies and downright crimes must be explored. Most people don't seem to see the problems, or expect the problems to be fixed for them by people like Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May or - God help us - Donald Trump. We have to fix as much as we can ourselves first. Once politicians catch on, they'll jump in front of the parade and pretend to be leading it.

5
Film & TV / Re: Last movie watched...
« on: 16 June, 2018, 12:20:59 pm »
Thanks. Yep, rubbish.


6
Off Topic / Re: Squaxx Telling Jokes
« on: 16 June, 2018, 06:17:24 am »
I was watching the Women's Beach Volleyball
Championship last night and within minutes there was a horrific wrist injury. I should be all right in a few days though.


7
Film & TV / Re: Last movie watched...
« on: 16 June, 2018, 06:08:59 am »
Was this the film with James Gandolfini as a rubbish army officer forever mooning over his military memorabilia?


8
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 08:54:12 pm »
There are upsides and downsides to all economic systems but, from what I've read, the Austrian approach is fundamentally more stable than the rest - though it does require more personal understanding and responsibility, but not confusingly so. (If a dumbass like me can grasp it, just about anybody can!)


9
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 07:38:42 pm »
I did say it was a simplified model. It was presented in order to explore the harmful effects of government interference. Of course, one can find outliers such as Rapa Nui to demonstrate basic problems but these do not negate the basic principles of Austrian free market economics. Indeed, one does not have to look very far to see how government interference destroys rain forests on a much greater scale today than at any time in the past.


10
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 05:45:12 pm »

What can I say? I'm just a nice guy :)


11
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 05:00:08 pm »

My real dream, though, had been to live on a boat, but I'd given it up as being totally impractical and beyond my means.  I live on a boat now, though, and I love it.  Weird how things work out.


Ah yes, of course, I remember now - sorry for being so dim! I'm really happy for you, I loved my time living on a boat as well, just as I'm currently loving living in my shed cabin.

I guess life really is what we make of it :)


12
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 04:54:46 pm »
It's the "rights" that I see as the problem, hand in hand with subsidies. Governments cannot issue rights, only licenses.

If we look at the fundamental free market process (simplified for brevity) in connection with fishing (for example), we can see how government subsidies and licensing interferes with the natural order of things, upsetting thousands of years of balance.

Let's imagine that there are only two types of fish, Type A and Type B. Fishermen go out and catch them to sell into the market. Now imagine that the stocks of Type A begin to dwindle; the fisherman of Type A now faces a choice; he can continue his pursuit of Type A and, do to scarcity, charge a higher price for his catch or he can switch to pursuing Type B which, because of its relative abundance, has a higher volume of availability but a lower unit price. At some point, if he continues to pursue Type A, they will become so scarce as to be too expensive to sell. The market will naturally prefer the cheaper Type B and so most fishermen will concentrate on these.

As time passes, stocks of Type B will begin to decline in number and increase in price. In the interim, however, stocks of Type A will have recovered, becoming more abundant and cheaper in price and thus this particular economic cycle begins again and the natural free market forces actually protect the fish stocks.

Now let us introduce government interferences in the form of licenses and subsidies. A fisherman with a license is restricted to a specific area, and if fish there are scarce he's forced to catch whatever he can to turn a profit, which can lead to overfishing of a declining species because he's not allowed to cross into more abundant waters due to the terms of his license. Once subsidies are introduced, it does not matter if the fisherman catches more than he can sell, and even encourages him to catch more. Thus, both types of fish are over-exploited and the underlying stabilising mechanism of the free market is upset at a fundamental level.

As I said, this is a simplified example but it does indicate how government interference in the markets leads to overfishing and also creates such wasteful anomalies as wine lakes and butter mountains.


13
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 03:40:46 pm »
In my view, it's government/EU subsidies which contribute most to overfishing. Large companies receive subsidies so that the EU fishing fleet is now two to three times larger than it needs to be for sustainable fishing. If a trawler comes home with a hold full of fish it can't sell the company doesn't have to worry because it can dump the catch and still get paid.

Remove these subsidies and fishermen will have to rely on what they catch to make money - the free market - overfishing would be less of a problem then because businesses would have to operate freely, without artificial income.

The reintroduction of the free market would solve many problems (whilst, granted, throwing up a few others), including the policing problem. If one has no choice but to accept the government monopoly then that monopoly has little incentive to do much more than ensure its income and preserve its position. Private policing agencies, on the other hand, would instead have to concentrate on providing a decent service to their subscribers or lose income to more efficacious outfits.


14
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 02:48:43 pm »
I remember that, JBC, did you ever get it sorted out?

I think that most people who join the police force do so out of a genuine desire to do good but that the institution has become so fundamentally corrupted towards enforcing legislation instead of upholding Law that little good can actually be done.

Put the government in charge of anything and it becomes a government tool, gets elevated almost to the point of sainthood. The police end up protecting the rulers and enforcing their whims at the cost of common or natural Law, and the rulers protect their protectors by legislating away their actual rights and responsibilities as human beings. A police officer is nothing more or less than a human being in a costume - a human being trained to believe that the costume they wear is somehow a magic suit bestowing elevated powers upon them and placing them above the law.

But I've waffled on about all this before - sorry to be so boring!

15
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 June, 2018, 01:55:33 pm »

I hope so, JBC, but I doubt it. They've ignored everything else and concentrated on one single breach of regulations (being late completing a single item of paperwork which I didn't even know about). "Never mind the false arrest and unlawful imprisonment, never mind the assaults and lies, never mind the "lost" cctv footage and perjury, we're sorry we didn't sign this obscure form in time."

Okay, okay... breathe, just breathe...


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