Getting Rid of Hierarchy with Octologues and Holomat
Published on Dec 21, 2016
Jeff Berwick interviews Acapulco Octologue members Michael Nimetz and Bob Podolsky, topics include: the importance of ethics and how it effects groups, maximizing creativity, truth, awareness and love, commitment to ethical purpose, freedom, hierarchy and human evolution, the founding of the Acapulco Octologue, a very efficient organizational structure, the Octologue as the core of a strong community, the elimination unethical decisions, scaling the octologue with ethical contracts, Holomats, self transformation, soul bonding workshops and ongoing training, dealing with conflict, NAP and the Octologue, Acapulco to be the hub for the octologue revolution, Anarchapulco 2017 ‘scholarships’, The Road to Acapulco podcast!
Bob Podoloksy on Maximizing Peace and Prosperity Through Truth and Creativity
Bob Podolksy is the son of well-known physicist Boris Podolsky who along with Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen wrote a paper on Action at a distance in 1935. Bob talks about Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom via maximizing Truth, Awareness, Love, and Creativity (TALC). Bobs talk is about ways of getting to peace, the importance of organization, entropy vs evolution, and dimensional quadrature.
There has been much discussion about “property rights”, “human rights”, “self-ownership” and the “non-aggression principle” or N.A.P. Most of the ideas on these subjects that seem worth discussing are existential in nature. For instance one often hears questions like,
Does “property” actually exist?
Do “rights” actually exist?
Does anyone really “own” anything?
What does it mean to both “be oneself” and “own oneself”?
…and what implications do these questions have concerning the validity of the N.A.P.?
While many academic philosophy buffs like to argue who has the best answers to such questions, the significance of their arguments is more a matter of ego aggrandizement than one of applying ethics in a practical way.
This body of subject-matter leaped into the minds of modern libertarians when Murray Rothbard introduced it as a way of understanding the libertarian perspective. Briefly, he opined that self-ownership is self evident… axiomatic. And based on that assumed logical starting point, deduced that therefore anything one’s body produces is also one’s own property. From this he went on to define property rights and expanded the definition to include anything found unclaimed in nature or acquired by voluntary trade. His logical equivalent of the N.A.P. was a further logical outcome of this thought path.
Rothbard’s reasoning is a good example of weak logic leading to correct conclusions. Some of the weaknesses include:
“Rights” are not actually things…you can’t put them in a wheelbarrow.
The clear definition of “property acquisition” doesn’t actually explain the existential relationship between property and its owner.
And, most importantly, most people don’t intuit self-ownership, because they were indoctrinated as preschoolers to believe that their parents “owned” them, and later their teachers “owned them”, and in many cases their employers subsequently “own” them.
A consequent weakness in the N.A.P. is the common belief that it constitutes a complete ethic rather than a principle based on an ethic. While the N.A.P. forbids behavior deemed “bad”, it fails to define behavior deemed “good”. Thus use of the N.A.P. as the sole determinant of ethical behavior leaves much to be desired.
An Alternative Algorithm for Ethical Behavior
For a much more comprehensive discussion on this topic, check out this article on Ethics, Law & Government. Here I summarize some of the article’s conclusions without including the derivations covered in the linked article.
An act is said to be ethical (synonymously good, just, right, or righteous) if it increases truth, awareness, love, or creativity for at least one person, including the person acting, without limiting or diminishing any of these resources for anyone. An act that does diminish any of these resources for someone is said to be unethical (or synonymously bad, wrong, unjust or evil). An act that has neither effect is said to be “ethically trivial”.
Based on the foregoing definition, is is a simple exercise in logic to derive a set a dozen or so principles that can assist one in making ethical decisions on a day-to-day or moment-to-moment basis. Foremost among these is the fact that ethical “ends” require “ethical means” …which in turn must be ethical ends in themselves.
At this point, I hope you can see that the N.A.P. effectively defines unethical acts while leaving trivial acts and ethical acts undefined. So an act that complies with the N.A.P. could be either ethical or trivial. For anyone wishing to live their life as ethically as possible the N.A.P. fails to deliver the best guidance available. In other words the N.A.P. tells us what not to do but leaves us in the dark concerning what to do.
The ethic that I’ve recommended above not only tells us what specific resources are most worth amplifying, but it also opens the door to a way of organizing human institutions so that they make consistently ethical decisions. For a comprehensive explanation of how this can work, I invite you to read FLOURISH…An Alternative to Government and Other Hierarchies.
About the Word “Authority”
My friend, Larken Rose, describes authority as “the most dangerous superstition” – and has, in fact, written a wonderful little book by that title. I heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to delve deeper into the subject than the limited treatment in this article. Having said that, let’s take an intellectual peek into the meaning of the word.
The word, “authority” would appear at first glance to be a noun – though
technically it isn’t one – because it doesn’t describe or name something that can be put in a wheelbarrow. Traditionally, a noun names a person, place, or thing. In recent years some have chosen to extend the definition to include ideas – but I find this more confusing than helpful.
Instead, on the advice of the eminent linguist John Grinder, I refer to such
words as “nominalizations”. As such, a nominalization is itself an idea, but the concept so labeled usually proves, on examination, to represent an action or a process. The same can be said too of the expressions, “power over”, juris diction, and rank – as they are essentially synonyms for “authority.”
In discussing authority, the subject is further confused by the fact that, in
practice, the word has two distinct meanings.
Two Kinds of Authority
There are two meanings for the word in common usage:
1. It can mean an expert – someone who is unusually well versed in a
subject – as in “Einstein was an authority on physics”; or
2. It can mean someone who exercises power over others – as in, “Governments have authority over their subjects”.
At the moment we are born, naked, helpless, and totally dependent, our
parents are the expert authorities responsible for our well being. We have no choice but to respect their superior strength, knowledge, and experience. In fact, our very lives depend on it. So when they say, “Don’t play in the street”, we do well to obey, and we can take some comfort in the fact that they have more expertise than we when it comes to survival in the jungle, the woods, or the city. This is a case of authority as defined in (1) above.
Unfortunately, it is all too common that parents treat their children as though their authority is of the second type – requiring obedience without regard for the child’s mental/emotional state. “Be respectful! I’m your father!” expresses a typical attitude of such a parent. This is the attitude that is usually meant by the adjective, “authoritarian”.
It is the responsibility of an ethical parent to teach their offspring what they need to know to become independent adults with good self-esteem and a strong sense of responsibility for themselves. This cannot be achieved by maintaining an authoritarian posture in relation to them. This attitude, instead, teaches fear, obedience and dependency. When the posture is based on corporal punishment, it also teaches violence – and is arguably the primary source of violence in today’s world.
An even more profound consequence of authoritarian parenting is its effect on a child’s awareness of self-ownership.
As small children it is apparent to everyone that they are owned by their
parents. In school the mandate to obey is largely transferred to our teachers – making them our stand-in owners. And as employees it is easy to imagine ourselves owned by our employers. We are conditioned to accept these roles – even though they are false.
It is very convenient for those who wish to rule us to have us think that we are “free”, when we fail to recognize our own self-ownership. This distortion of our awareness causes us to regard the ruling class as our owners – and to obey its members as would slaves. The conditioning to bring this about begins when we are infants – being raised by parents who have already been trained to obey “authorities”. In reality, “authority” refers to nothing more than coercion by means of force or the threat of force. And the purpose of perpetuating the concept as something else exists only to make us easier to plunder. When we yield to this mandate, we remain permanently child-like, unwilling to take on the true responsi-bilities of adulthood. In effect, we choose our own slavery.
The Adult Quandary
Our culture makes it very easy for us to accept our serfdom – and difficult to honor truth, love, awareness, and creativity. The latter choices put us
immediately in conflict with those who wish to “rule” us, and they aren’t
hesitant to beat, pepper-spray, taser, torture, cage, and kill those who fail to comply. This makes for some difficult choices for those of us not deceived by our early conditioning.
The Unfortunate Default
While some of us maintain an uneasy balance between compliance and self-determination, most people choose, not only to comply with our self-
appointed rulers’ edicts – but to turn on those of us who don’t, by supporting violence that is directed at those of us who are free enough to recognize the falsehood of all forms of “authority”.
The Controllers and the Controlled
The intense need of psychopaths and sociopaths to control others by
exercising power over them derives primarily from the devastating abuse to which they were subjected very early in childhood. That abuse left them feeling so out of control of their lives, that to survive they had to learn to respond in kind – by becoming even more controlling than their abusers. To date there is no known way to heal the results of such abuse.
So, What Is “Authority” and What Can Be Done to Correct for It? The mythology that underpins our subservience to “authority” is no different today than it was when monarchs claimed the “divine right of kings”. It is
based on the fictional notion that some people have an unassailable right to control the lives of others. In order to gain our freedom from such slavery we must first recognize it for the big lie that it is. The primary mechanism of “authority” is hierarchy.
Have you noticed how governments want to own your language, so they can more easily manipulate you into giving up your rights and resources?
All Caps Names
For example, Bob Podolsky is a real person, and has all sorts of natural rights. Yet every single piece of correspondence coming from the BORG such as Bank statements, Drivers Licenses, IRS correspondence, Traffic Tickets has my name in all capital letters. I know these people went to school and learned the same grammar I did. Why is my name is all CAPS? Somehow, BOB PODOLSKY, became a vassal of the state. The argument, the all caps name is not the real person, has been thrown out as frivolous in court, yet there must be a reason why is it done this way.
Right to Travel
Similarly, I have a right to travel on public roads by riding a conveyance under my control. This is something that human beings have done since the domestication of animals, somehow adding a motor to power it and voilà, the state re-names the conveyance a Motor Vehicle andI am now a Driver. Thus the state converts my “right” into a “privilege” and grants itself the “right” to force me to pay for these privileges by buying a title, a license plate, a driver’s license, and specified insurance. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.
Right to Migrate
Since time began, humans have had the right to move to wherever they pleased, based on resources, climate, scenery or religious beliefs. That’s how the the American Indians got to the western Hemisphere, Australians and New Zealanders got to Oceania, Caucasians moved to Europe and the Pilgrims got to Plymouth Rock. They didn’t like where they were, and they moved. However the government calls the right to move, a privileged known as “immigration”. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.
Right to Property
It used to be that a human being had the right to own the land they live on. The Government changed this into a privilege by converting all own-able land into “Real Estate” You acquire the privilege of being a “tenant” on your Government controlled Bank owned land. It is impossible to own it. Want to test that? Stop paying the property tax. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.
As a natural person I owe no allegiance to any government “authority” – but as a “citizen”, I’m perpetually at the mercy of every bureaucrat that warms a chair in a government office paid for by money stolen from the “citizenry.” Of course stealing money through threats, coercion, or extortion is crime. When the act is called “taxation”, it somehow becomes legitimate. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.
Right to Eat
As a human being, I have every right, should my circumstances require it, to “forage” in the wild for food. Yet there exist many government bureaucracies that would punish me severely for doing my foraging without first purchasing their permission in the form of a hunting or fishing license, in the absence of which they’d say I was “poaching”. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.
Wasn’t Robin Hood accused of “stealing the king’s deer”? While I’m not very partial to the “heroism” of the Robin Hood character, I dare to raise the question, “Who or what gave the kings and the Government ownership of all the wild critters and everything else for that matter?” Since the “divine right of kings” is clearly a manipulative fiction, by what “right” do those who run the world today, claim to have any “authority” over anyone else? And who is today’s king, anyway?
According to Larken Rose, whose philosophy I much admire, the whole concept of “authority” exists but for one purpose, to fool the public into complying willingly with the demands of a particular class of people who consider themselves our “betters”, our “superiors”, our modern “nobility”, and ultimately our “masters”. In their eyes, the rest of us are of no value to them except as a source of endless plunder – and they are forever inventing new excuses to abuse the rest of us financially, socially, taking away our natural liberties, stealing our property, and enacting violence against us at their will.
While they claim this behavior is necessary in order to “protect the public”, the reality is that this notion is a total fiction, that in fact the real purpose of most of todays laws is merely to excuse the actions of our gargantuan “plunderers league” – who do to the rest of us whatever they want, up to and including killing us, with complete impunity. Surely the governments of the world collectively comprise the biggest, most powerful organized crime syndicate the world has ever known – egged on I suspect by previously existing crime syndicates that joined ranks with them – the Mafia, I believe, being a case in point.
Walk into a courthouse anywhere, and at any rank, and consider that the salaries of everyone working in the building are paid for with plunder – money stolen from ordinary folks in punishment for doing the things we all have a right to do. And their only “authority” for doing this is the fact that someone who supposedly “represents” you, wrote on a piece of paper that they had the “right” to plunder you.
Of course people who like to plunder others are always polite and subservient to their higher ranking plunderers.
As far as human class structures go, we have an ownership class (nobility) that controls the central banks and large corporations, the political class that makes the rules dictated by the ownership class, the police and military class that enforces the rules, the slave class that are forced to work in hierarchies, and finally the free class that comprise a very small minority.
Note that this circumstance was not always the case in American culture. In the early days of our country, a sizable portion of the population came to this continent to be free – and was unwilling to be anyone’s slave. Alas that day came and went, as fast as the ink dried on the Constitution.
To rescue ourselves from this state of affairs will not be easy, but it will be simple. The current social system operates as a cartel-controlled hierarchy. As we begin tailoring all our institutions, including businesses, charities, schools, foundations, etc., as consensus-based organizations – we will demonstrate that the most successful form of organizational development dispenses entirely with the pretense of “authority”. Members of the existing system won’t approve of this transformation – but they won’t be able to prevent it happening – and the world will be transformed.
World Affairs Brief, August 23, 2013 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World. Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com)
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO HIDE… YOU SHOULD STILL WORRY
This week British police illegally applied anti-terrorism laws to detain Glenn Greenwald’s (David Snowden’s interviewer) Brazilian partner, David Miranda, for 9 hours at the London Heathrow airport without any terror link whatsoever. They violated his privacy, property and right to travel, all in the name of terror. Trouble is, journalism isn’t terrorism and being the mere domestic partner of a journalist doesn’t meet the criteria of the law either. But what is really disturbing is that the government clearly doesn’t care what the restrictions of the law are. They do what they want to do and the courts are letting them get away with it. That affects everyone’s liberty even though you may not realize it until YOU get detained for no reason at all.
David Miranda did nothing wrong, was still detained and no court will side with him as long as the state can throw out the excuse of National Security against terror. However, with all the bad press, and the threat of a wrongful detention lawsuit, the British government suddenly declared they found thousands of classified British documents on Miranda’s computer, supposedly justifying their violation of his rights.
Miranda was not carrying the Snowden files (which did reveal this week that the Brits are operating a Middle East spy center, where the British have tapped into the underwater fiber-optic cables which pass through the Middle East on behalf of the NSA), so it’s highly probably the government planted the classified documents on his computer—just like bad cops learn to plant drugs in someone’s car in order to justify an illegal search. Here’s what happened as he was detained, according to his own account speaking with the Guardian. Nobody should be subjected to this kind of unlawful questioning simply on layover in a country, when no laws have been broken.
Miranda said the authorities in the UK had pandered to the US in trying to intimidate him and force him to reveal the passwords to his computer and mobile phone. “They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate,” said Miranda. “They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK … It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.” [He should have refused to cooperate about the passwords, and their jail threat. It would have strengthened his case against them.]
Miranda – a Brazilian national who lives with Greenwald in Rio – was held for the maximum time permitted under schedule seven of the Terrorism Act 2000 which allows officers to stop, search and question individuals at airports, ports and border areas [but only if suspected of terrorist intent or actions, which police admitted was not the case].
During that time, he said, he was not allowed to call his partner, who is a qualified lawyer in the US, nor was he given an interpreter, despite being promised one because he felt uncomfortable speaking in a second language. “I was in a different country with different laws, in a room with seven agents coming and going who kept asking me questions. I thought anything could happen. I thought I might be detained for a very long time,” he said.
He was on his way back from Berlin, where he was ferrying materials between Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on stories related to the NSA files released by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Miranda was seized almost as soon as his British Airways flight touched down on Sunday morning. His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items, including a games console, as well two newly bought watches and phones that were packaged and boxed in his stowed luggage.
“This law shouldn’t be given to police officers. They use it to get access to documents or people that they cannot get the legal way through courts or judges,” said Miranda. “It’s a total abuse of power.”
He was offered a lawyer [but not one of his own choice] and a cup of water, but he refused both because he did not trust the authorities [or the lawyer they would provide—good call]. The questions, he said, were relentless – about Greenwald, Snowden, Poitras and a host of other apparently random subjects.
Unable immediately to find a flight for him back to Rio, Miranda says the Heathrow police then escorted him to passport control so he could enter Britain and wait there. “It was ridiculous,” he said. “First they treat me like a terrorist suspect. Then they are ready to release me in the UK.” [proves they had nothing on him relative to terror]
Although he believes the British authorities were doing the bidding of the US, Miranda says his view of the UK has completely changed as a result of the experience. “… you can’t go to a country where they have laws that allow the abuse of liberty for nothing,” he said.
Dutiful denials by US government spokesmen are almost laughable nowadays. The White House claimed the US did not ask the British to question Miranda. Josh Earnest told reporters at a White House briefing. “This is something that they did independent of our direction,”
Nonsense, I say. The US and Brits are in daily secret discussions about how to capture Snowden or to find out how much Snowden knew and what he gave to Greenwald. The Brit’s gave a partial-truth admission by saying they “gave their US counterparts a ‘heads up’ before detaining the partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, Brazilian David Miranda.”
Both the US and British governments are starting to use any excuse, not remotely related to terror (reporting on US spying) to arrest and detain people. Once again, if judges won’t put officials in jail for this it will never stop. And they won’t, because they too are co-opted by the system or are willing participants in the control system. I predict it will only get worse. We are being conditioned by these incidents to expect more in the future without protest.
Now let’s analyze the pacification campaign aimed at keeping Americans unconcerned about domestic spying. Let’s start with an article by the Wall Street Journal which purported to bring more facts to light on this scandal.
The National Security Agency’s surveillance network has the capacity to spy on 75 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic. Citing current and former NSA officials for the 75 percent figure, the paper reported that the agency can observe more of Americans’ online communications than officials have publicly acknowledged.
But they clearly buy into the government’s claim that they aren’t using that capacity:
The NSA’s system of programs that filter communications, achieved with the help of telecommunications companies, is designed to look for communications that either start or end abroad, or happen to pass through the U.S. between foreign countries. However, the officials told the Journal that the system’s reach is so broad, that it is more likely that purely domestic communications will be intercepted as a byproduct of the hunt for foreign ones. “
They infer that there are filters on the front end of the process but there are not. They collect everything coming down the fiber optic cables and then they filter, sort and store anything in a wide range of categories, most of which have nothing to do with terror. Terrorism is just the excuse that covers for the process.
The NSA defended the program in a statement to Fox News. “NSA’s signals intelligence mission is centered on defeating foreign adversaries who aim to harm the country. We defend the United States from such threats while fiercely working to protect the privacy rights of U.S. persons. It’s not either/or. It’s both,” the statement said.
And that’s the big lie. There is virtually no privacy in digital communications, except when you use encryption and that isn’t secure if they decide to apply some of their expensive computing power to decrypt. So far the only way to stymie this spying is for everyone to start encrypting so that it overloads their computing system.
Controlled members of Congress, especially those on the intelligence committees or past intelligence officials are being trotted out all the time to defend NSA spying. A particularly devious tactic is to purposefully leak reports showing the agency had broken privacy rules and overstepped its authority thousands of times, but all “accidental or minor” in scope and then get these “experts” (patsies) to defend the spying on the news. Get the picture of what these leaks are trying to do?
Fox News pretends to be conservative but is really just a shill for government aimed at conservative audiences, as evidenced by this little piece of disinformation (parroting government spokespersons) in the same article as above:
The NSA programs described by the Journal differ from the programs described by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in a series of leaks earlier this summer. Snowden described a program to acquire Americans’ phone records, as well as another program, known as PRISM, that made requests from Internet companies for stored data. By contrast, the Internet monitoring systems have the capability to track almost any online activity, so long as it is covered by a broad court order.
Not true, especially the inference that it’s all covered by a court order. Both programs are actually part of the same, broad “Total Awareness” system that scoops up everything. The FISA court has admitted they don’t have the capacity nor do they even try to scrutinize everything the government does. They are just there to approve a few token warrants to mask the larger surveillance net which is totally unregulated and undiscoverable by either Congress or the Courts.
There were lots of smaller admissions adding more each day to the pacification plan. Here’s the AP:
The National Security Agency declassified three secret court opinions Wednesday showing how in one of its surveillance programs it scooped up as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans not connected to terrorism annually over three years, revealed the error to the court – which ruled its actions unconstitutional…” [but did nothing about it]
Lastly, they’ve admitted to an overarching database called Main Core: The Wikipedia coverage was adequate enough to repeat here:
Main Core is the code name of a database maintained since the 1980s by the federal government of the United States. Main Core contains personal and financial data of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data, which comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, and other sources, is collected and stored without warrants or court orders. The database’s name derives from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”
The Main Core database is believed to have originated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1982 [true—it goes back that far], following Ronald Reagan’s Continuity of Operations plan outlined in the National Security Directive (NSD) 69 / National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 55, entitled “Enduring National Leadership,” implemented on September 14, 1982.
As of 2008 there were reportedly eight million Americans listed in the database as possible threats, often for trivial reasons, whom the government may choose to track, question, or detain in a time of crisis.
I think there are more than 8 million on their lists, but even if it were 8 million, there’s no way all this many citizens could be involved in terror. No, these are dissident lists they are compiling and that tells you where government is headed with all this.
There’s nothing quite so funny as the sight of the authoritarian functionaries of a dying order trying to suppress a revolution they don’t understand — and failing miserably.
The State Department’s attempt to censor 3-D printable gun files from DEFCAD is the latest — and one of the most gut-bustingly hilarious — attempts by the Lords of Scarcity to wrap their minds around the revolution of Abundance that threatens their power. Less than a day after DEFCAD was forced to remove them, the files appeared on The Pirate Bay and Mega. The latter is especially funny; Kim Dotcom is probably laughing himself silly over it.
Anyone who’s ever heard of the Streisand Effect could have told you this would happen. Attempting to suppress information on the Internet just draws more attention to the original information — which remains readily available — as well as embarrassing the would-be suppressor as the attempt at suppression becomes a story in its own right. I lost count of the number of people yesterday who said they’d never heard of Cody Wilson or 3-D printable guns until the story of the State Department’s action came out, but intended to go to TPB and check it out. Thanks to the U.S. government’s inadvertent promotional efforts, probably a hundred or a thousand times more people know where to get Cody Wilson’s printable gun files than did before.
But the clowns who congratulated themselves a couple days ago over shutting down those printable gun files aren’t exactly the sort of people you’d expect to have heard of the Streisand Effect — obviously. They’re the straight men in this piece, just performing for our amusement. They’re like the Society Matron who walks into the dining hall in a Three Stooges short and demands “What is the meaning of this?!!” To them the Internet is just a big Series of Tubes, and all they have to do is shut off a valve somewhere to control the flow of information. Only the Internet doesn’t work that way. In the memorable phrasing of John Gilmore, it treats censorship as damage and routes around it.
Their legal rationale — export control legislation — displays the same conceptual failure. They couldn’t quite grasp that the “goods” that DEFCAD was “exporting” arrived in their destination ports around the world the second the files were uploaded to the website.
A digital file can be replicated infinitely at near-zero marginal cost; the same pattern of information can exist in an unlimited number of places simultaneously. A digital file can be replicated infinitely at near-zero marginal cost; the same pattern of information can exist in an unlimited number of places simultaneously. See? I just did that with the copy-and-paste function of my browser. Try doing that with jewelry from Macy’s. You can’t “steal” a digital song or movie — the act of replication doesn’t affect the copies already in others’ possession, but only increases the number of copies in the world. That’s why copying is not theft. Likewise, you can’t deny the world access to information by removing the copy from one website.
Watching these people try to use scarcity-age conceptual tools to combat abundance is like watching Napoleon try to defeat Heinz Guderian or Erwin Rommel with hub-to-hub artillery and massed infantry in line-and-column formations. They lack the conceptual tools to understand, let alone fight, the new society they’re attempting to prevent the birth of.
This is why the government’s attempts to impose artificial scarcity fail every time, no matter how many times they change the name — ACTA, CISPA, etc. — and try again. You can’t fix stupid.
So to you Lords of Scarcity — represented this time around by your flunkies in the U.S. Departments of State and “Defense,” I have a message: You have no authority that we are bound to respect.
Two years ago, I spoke to a gentlemen who had started and sold four companies. He was currently working on a new project that sounded very promising (for all I know, he has already sold that one too). We had just heard a talk in which the speaker told people that the whole key to business success in our time is patent ownership. Without it, no business can really succeed.
So I asked this gentleman what he thought of the talk. His response was quick (I paraphrase here):
“I’ve never once bothered with patents. They are expensive and pointless. They produce no revenue on their own. They sell no product or service. And they harm development by hemming in a company on a preset track. I need to be able to customize offerings and change what we do day to day. Patents bias a company toward old solutions even when they don’t work anymore.”
As much as we hear about patents, we might suppose there is some sort of direct link between them and the innovations we enjoy in our lives. Someone invents something and shows the plan to a bureaucrat. The exclusive license is issued, and away we go.
Economic historians have usually assumed a direct link between patents and innovation, basing much of their chronicle of history on records at the Patent Office. Much of what we think we know — that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, that the Wright Brothers were first in flight, that Thomas Edison holds the record for inventions because he has the most patents — comes from these records.
But is it true? Most patent holders assume so. They cling to them as a source of life and defend them against all encroachment. Some businesses build up their war chests with patents as purely defensive measures. The more you own, the more you can intimidate your competitors to stay out of your territory.
So how important are patents in generating innovation? The answer is not much, according to four economists from the Technical University of Lisbon. They are circulating their research on a platform sponsored by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. They looked at the best innovations between 1977-2004, as listed by the R&D awards in the journal Research and Development. They matched 3,000 innovations against patent records to establish the relationship.
Their findings are remarkable: Nine in 10 of the innovations were never patented. They were just created and marketed, and changed the world. In other words, it’s the market, not the bureaucracy, that innovates. The authors grant that there might have been downstream versions of the same innovations that were patented. But that fact actually doesn’t change the implications of the study, namely that there is no relationship between the existence of the Patent Office and direction and pace of innovation.
As you dig through their citations, you find other nuggets of information. It turns out that other researchers have found the same thing in early parts of the 20th century and even all the way back to the middle of the 19th. The results keep coming up the same way: There are patents and there are innovations, but they have little or nothing to do with each other.
These results are a classic case of the huge chasm between pop science and real science. In the pop version, people imagine that they will dream up some idea, file a patent, and then bring it into production and become a billionaire. The reality on the ground is that 90% of patents go completely unused. They are suitable for hanging, but not much else.
The patents that are actually in play in this world are used as weapons by big shots to hurt their competitors. They don’t cause business to succeed; it’s the reverse. The bigger the business, the more it is in the market for patents to help the big business hold its place in the market. They prompt lawsuits that go on for years that are eventually settled with an exchange of cash. Meanwhile, rather than actually fueling the innovative process, they put it on hold. So long as a patent is in existence, other innovations are legally bound not to do what they do best.
The software industry is an excellent case in point. In the 1970s and 1980s, patents were rare to nonexistent. Companies made money by making stuff and selling it, just as free enterprise would suggest. Then, the industry grew. People like Steve Jobs who once touted that talent for stealing the ideas of others began threatening other companies with lawsuits. Young programmers today know for a fact that if they ever come up with anything that threatens a big player, the small company is going to be hammered.
Two parallel streams of innovative software strategies have been running over the last 10 years: 1) highly protected and 2) patentless open source. Apple and Microsoft represent the patented style. Google is much more inclined to the open model. Companies like WordPress reveal their code to the world and make money in other ways. A good test case comes from the big smartphone war between Apple’s iOS, on the one hand, and Google’s Android operating system on the other.
The consensus today is that Android is winning hands down in terms of new users. The open-source system is roaring ahead with more than half the smartphone market already and a growing percentage of the tablet market. In terms of moneymaking, the app economy of the iOS is actually doing much better. But consider that it had a huge start, whereas the Android came much later. My own impression from dealing with both is that Android is moving ahead in every area fast.
We need to rethink our assumptions about the role of patents and innovations. If they have nothing to do with each other, and if patents actually dramatically slow down the pace of development, why not get rid of them altogether? That’s exactly what many of the old liberals of the 19th century pushed, and it the case is further bolstered by Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property.
Government planning never works. Laissez Faire isn’t perfect, but it provides the best chance for innovations to appear and thrive and for prosperity to result. The lesson for anyone with a business idea: Run with it and don’t wait on a bureaucracy.
May 11, 2013 (LocalOrg) – It was inevitable. A technology like 3D printing that essentially puts cheap labor, manufacturing, and retail all in the same place – upon one’s desktop – spells the absolute, utter and permanent end to the monopolies and unwarranted power and influence of the corporate-financier elite who have lorded over humanity since human civilization began – a permanent end the elite will fight against with the total summation of their ill-gotten power and influence.
The pretext being used to begin this war, is a 3D printed gun built and demonstrated by Defense Distributed in Austin, Texas. After designing, printing out, and firing the 3D printed gun, the US State Department demanded that the designs, distributed for free on the Internet, be taken down – claiming tenuously that by posting the designs on the Internet, arms export bans may have been violated – this the same government that is on record, openly shipping arms, cash, and military equipment to its own listed terrorist organizations from the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK or MKO) in Iraq and Iran, to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in Libya, to Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise,Jabhat al-Nusra.
The US government has demanded the removal of online files which allow users to 3D-print their own unregistered gun at home.
The blueprint has so far been downloaded more than 100,000 times since Defense Distributed – which spent a year designing the “Liberator” handgun – made it available online.
Last week Defense Distributed built the gun from plastic on an industrial 3D printer bought on eBay for $8,000 (£5,140), and fired it.
The Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance wrote to the company’s founder Cody Wilson demanding the designs be “removed from public access” until he could prove he had not broken laws governing shipping weapons overseas.
3D Printing: The Sum of All Corporate-Fascist Fears
For several years now, buzz has been growing about 3D printing. Small companies have begun opening up around the world, selling 3D printers, or using 3D printers for small run production, filling niches, or shifting markets from large corporations and their globalized supply chains, to local, decentralized business models. While governments like those in China have embraced the technology and wholly encourage a grassroots, bottom-up industrial revolution, others, like the US have only feigned enthusiasm.
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.
There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns.
Caterpillar, Ford, Intel, and Apple are large globalized monopolies – the personal manufacturing revolution would not see “state-of-the art labs” open up in towns across America to help augment the bottom lines of these Fortune 500 corporations, but would see decentralized alternatives to these corporations cut into and utterly gut their bottom lines – a reality US President Barack Obama and the corporate-financier interests that dictate his agenda must surely be aware of.
Image: Local Motors’ Rally Fighter vehicle. The unspoken fear the establishment holds regarding 3D printing and other forms of personal manufacturing is that their central globalized monopolies will be replaced by increasingly smaller, localized companies like Local Motors who already provides a model for “microfactories” and the localization of auto-manufacturing. Job creation, profits, wealth, power, and influence will be redistributed locally, not through government handouts, but by way of technology and local entrepreneurship – ending centuries of disparity between the people and the “elite.”
In the case of Ford and other big-auto giants, who by right should be shuttered and out of business already had it not been for their unwarranted influence and power buying them immense bailouts from America’s taxpayers, there are already alternative business models undermining their monopolies. In America itself, there is Local Motors who recently gave a short tour of their manufacturing facility they called a “microfactory.” These microfactorires represent the next step in industrialization where small companies will cater to smaller, local markets and niches, entirely replacing the centralized Fortune 500 corporations of Detroit, barely clinging to life and their unsustainable, antiquated business model as it is.
Video: Inside Local Motors’ Rally Fighter and open-source collaborative microfactory production.
The only conceivable means by which big-auto monopolies could hope to survive is by having the same bought-and-paid for politicians it used to bail its collapsed business model out with, impose sweeping regulations to make it illegal for “microfactories” to operate. We can already imagine, by extrapolating from the US State Department’s move against Defense Distributed, the arguments that will be made. These will be centered around “safety,” “taxation,” and perhaps even claims as bold as threatening “jobs” of autoworkers at Fortune 500 monopolies.
Similar ploys are currently working their way through a legislative and sociopolitical gauntlet in regards to the organic food movement.
This is a ban that’s going to be virtually impossible to enforce: as almost any music company will testify, stopping online filesharing by banning particular sites or devices is roughly akin to stopping a tsunami with a bucket.
Another approach might be to attempt to ban or regulate 3D printers themselves. To do so is to stifle a potentially revolutionary technology in order to address a hypothetical risk – and that’s even before the practical problems of defining a 3D printer for the legislation. It would have to be defined broadly enough for a law to be effective, but narrowly enough so that enforcing the law doesn’t take out half of the equipment used in every day manufacturing. It is likely a futile ambition.
Indeed – as a 3D printer is essentially nothing more than circuit boards, stepper motors, and heating elements to melt and extrude layers of plastic – it would be as impossible as it would be ridiculous to try to stem the tide of 3D printing by regulating printers, as it will be to attempt to regulate and ban any and all “prints” that threaten the current establishment’s monopolies and hold on power.
Everyone is eventually going to have access to this technology and by consequence, the ability to print out on their desktop what Fortune 500 corporations have held monopolies over for generations, including arms manufacturing, automobiles, and electronics. The age of empire, corporatism, and elitism is drawing to a close, but apparently not without one last battle.
A d v e r t i s e m e n t
How to Win the Battle
While some may be paralyzed in fear over the prospect of their neighbor one day having the ability to print out a fully functional weapon, it must be realized that like all other prolific technologies, the fact that it will be in “everyone’s” hands means that more good people than bad will have access to it, and it will be in their collective interests to create and maintain stability within any emerging technological paradigm. Just like with information technology, where malicious activity certainly exists, more people are interested in the smooth, stable function of this technology in daily life and have created a paradigm where disruptions happen, but life goes on.
People must embrace, not fear 3D printing. Key to its integration into society is to ensure that as many people as possible understand it and have access to it. This must be done as quickly as possible, to outpace inevitable legislation that seeks to strangle this revolution in its cradle.
Education: We must learn as much about this technology as possible. 3D printing incorporates skills in electronics, 3D design, and material science. Developing skill-sets in any of these areas would be beneficial. There are endless resources available online for free that offer information and tutorials on how to develop these skills – just an Internet search away.
Alternatively, for people curious about this technology and seeking to get hands-on experience, they could seek out and visit their local hackerspace (an extensive list of spaces can be found here). Hackerspaces are essentially technological fitness clubs, where one pays dues monthly for access to a space and the equipment within it to work on projects either individually or in a collaborative effort.
Image: Cover of “Hackerspaces @ the_beginning,” which chronicles the creation, challenges and successes of hackerspaces around the world. The original file can be found here, and an online version can be viewed here, on Scribd.
Hackerspaces generally attract people with the necessary skill-sets to assemble, use, and troubleshoot 3D printers currently on the market today. They also possess the skill-sets needed to build 3D printers and other computer-controlled manufacturing systems from parts that as of yet have not been “regulated.” Generally, hackerspaces host monthly workshops that help new people develop basic skills like soldering and programming, or 3D design and even “builds” where purchased 3D printer kits are constructed with the guidance of a resident expert. The proliferation of this knowledge will make the already daunting task of stripping personal manufacturing technology from the people, all but impossible.
Developing Local Institutions: It is essential to both expand existing hackerspaces and their use of personal manufacturing technology, as well as establish and build up new spaces. Ingraining hackerspaces as essential local institutions in our communities is one of the keys to heading off the coming war on personal manufacturing and other disruptive technologies sure to gain the ire of legislators as corporate-financier monopolies begin to suffer.
A place where people can go learn and use this technology, as well as collaborate in its advancement will turn 3D printing and other disruptive technologies from curiosities, into practical tools communities can use to reinvigorate their local economies, solve local problems, and overall improve their lives themselves, independently and self-sufficiently.
A hackerspace can start with something as simple as a single table with several chairs around it and some shared equipment used during weekend get-togethers with friends, and can develop into something as significant as a full-fledged organization with hundreds of members and global reach.
Ignoring and Circumventing Illegitimate Governments and Their Declarations: As already cited, the US government is currently funding a myriad of its own listed terrorist organizations to horrific effect from Iraq and Iran, to Libya and Syria. To declare a 3D printed gun “outlawed” and its presence on the Internet a “violation” of arms export laws, is as hypocritical as it is illegitimate.
The government, in a free society, works for the people. The people have not asked the government to ban 3D printed guns, just like they have not asked for the myriad of laws the government is currently citing as justification for its unilateral declaration. The government does not dictate to the people what they can and cannot have or what they can and cannot make. As such, we are not obligated to respect their declarations in regards to 3D printing any more than we have demonstrably respected their declarations regarding so-called “intellectual property.”
Just as file sharing continues unabated, while alternative media supplants what is left of the corporate-media’s monopolies, a similar paradigm must be developed and encouraged across the tech community in regards to 3D printing, personal manufacturing, and other emerging disruptive technologies such as synthetic biology.
Already, parallels are being drawn between 3D printing and the shifting paradigms of information technology and file sharing. Whether or not the average person joins in against the war on 3D printing and personal manufacturing, the tech community will almost certainly continue on with their success from the realm of shaping and moving information to the world of shaping and moving atoms. However, for the average person clearly aware that “something” is not quite right about where things in general are going and who are seeking solutions, establishing local institutions that leverage unprecedented technology to solve our problems ourselves, without disingenuous politicians and their endless schemes, seems like a sure choice.
There is already a burgeoning community of talented people working on bringing this technology to its maturity and leveraging it for the benefit of communities and individuals. If we are to ensure this technology stays in the people’s hands and is used in the best interests of the people, then as many of “the people’ as possible must get involved.
Do some additional research into 3D printing, locate your local hackerspace, and/or start a hackerspace of your own. Start looking into buying or building a 3D printer and developing ideas on how to use this technology both for education and for local, tangible development. The future is what we make of it, and if we – with our own two hands – are making nothing, we have no future.
This article was posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 8:10 am
State Department Claims Export Control Violations.
The battle of dangerous digital shapes has just begun!
Andy Greenberg Forbes Staff
On Thursday, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson received a letter from the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanding that he take down the online blueprints for the 3D-printable “Liberator” handgun that his group released Monday, along with nine other 3D-printable firearms components hosted on the group’s website Defcad.org. The government says it wants to review the files for compliance with arms export control laws known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR. By uploading the weapons files to the Internet and allowing them to be downloaded abroad, the letter implies Wilson’s high-tech gun group may have violated those export controls.
“Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final [commodity jurisdiction] determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled,” reads the letter, referring to a list of ten CAD files hosted on Defcad that include the 3D-printable gun, silencers, sights and other pieces. “This means that all data should be removed from public acces immediately. Defense Distributed should review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any other data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.”
Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas in Austin, says that Defense Distributed will in fact take down its files until the State Department has completed its review. “We have to comply,” he says. “All such data should be removed from public access, the letter says. That might be an impossible standard. But we’ll do our part to remove it from our servers.”
As Wilson hints, that doesn’t mean the government has successfully censored the 3D-printable gun. While Defense Distributed says it will take down the gun’s printable file from Defcad.org, its downloads–100,000 in just the first two days the file was online–were actually being served by Mega, the New Zealand-based storage service created by ex-hacker entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, an outspoken U.S. government critic. It’s not clear whether the file will be taken off Mega’s servers, where it may remain available for download. The blueprint for the gun and other Defense Distributed firearm components have also been uploaded several times to the Pirate Bay, the censorship-resistant filesharing site.
Wilson argues that he’s also legally protected. He says Defense Distributed is excluded from the ITAR regulations under an exemption for non-profit public domain releases of technical files designed to create a safe harbor for research and other public interest activities. That exemption, he says, would require Defense Distributed’s files to be stored in a library or sold in a bookstore. Wilson argues that Internet access at a library should qualify under ITAR’s statutes, and says that Defcad’s files have also been made available for sale in an Austin, Texas bookstore that he declined to name in order to protect the bookstore’s owner from scrutiny.
Despite taking down his files, Wilson doesn’t see the government’s attempts to censor the Liberator’s blueprints as a defeat. On the contrary, Defense Distributed’s radical libertarian and anarchist founder says he’s been seeking to highlight exactly this issue, that a 3D-printable gun can’t be stopped from spreading around the global Internet no matter what legal measures governments take. “This is the conversation I want,” Wilson says. “Is this a workable regulatory regime? Can there be defense trade control in the era of the Internet and 3D printing?”
Wilson compares his new legal troubles to the widely-followed case in the mid-1990s of Philip Zimmermann, the inventor of the cryptographic software PGP, who was threatened with indictment under ITAR for putting his military-grade encryption software online. “It’s PGP all over again,” says Wilson.
In Zimmermann’s case, much of the technology community was outraged that PGP’s inventor was being treated as if he were selling bombs or missiles to a foreign regime when he had simply put a powerful piece of privacy software on the Internet. That public support is widely thought to have influenced the State Department decision in 1996 to drop its case against him.
In this case, by contrast, Cody Wilson is literally an arms manufacturer. But whether the government will have any more luck in controlling the spread of his invention remains to be seen.
I’ll provide updates as this story develops.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story I described Wilson as an “arms distributor.” In fact, he’s an arms manufacturer, while Defense Distributed is a software distributing non-profit. Since Defense Distributed–not Wilson himself–is the target of the State Department’s query, that may be an important distinction.
Update: Here’s the full text of the letter.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Offense of Defense Trade Controls Compliance
May 08, 2013
In reply letter to DTCC Case: 13-0001444
[Cody Wilson’s address redacted]
Dear Mr. Wilson,
The Department of State, Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Enforcement Division (DTCC/END) is responsible for compliance with and civil enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2778) (AECA) and the AECA’s implementing regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 C.F.R. Parts 120-130) (ITAR). The AECA and the ITAR impose certain requirements and restrictions on the transfer of, and access to, controlled defense articles and related technical data designated by the United States Munitions List (USML) (22 C.F.R. Part 121).
The DTCC/END is conducting a review of technical data made publicly available by Defense Distributed through its 3D printing website, DEFCAD.org, the majority of which appear to be related to items in Category I of the USML. Defense Distributed may have released ITAR-controlled technical data without the required prior authorization from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), a violation of the ITAR.
Technical data regulated under the ITAR refers to information required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of defense articles, including information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions or documentation. For a complete definition of technical data, see 120.10 of the ITAR. Pursuant to 127.1 of the ITAR, it is unlawful to export any defense article or technical data for which a license or written approval is required without first obtaining the required authorization from the DDTC. Please note that disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or tranferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad, is considered an export under 120.17 of the ITAR.
The Department believes Defense Distributed may not have established the proper jurisdiction of the subject technical data. To resolve this matter officially, we request that Defense Distributed submit Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) determination requests for the following selection of data files available on DEFCAD.org, and any other technical data for which Defense Distributed is unable to determine proper jurisdiction:
Defense Distributed Liberator pistol
125mm BK-14M high-explosive anti-tank warhead
5.56/.223 muzzle brake
Springfield XD-40 tactical slide assembly
Sound Moderator – slip on
“The Dirty Diane” 1/2-28 to 3/4-16 STP S3600 oil filter silencer adapter
12 gauge to .22 CB sub-caliber insert
Voltlock electronic black powder system
DTCC/END requests that Defense Distributed submits its CJ requests within three weeks of the receipt of this letter and notify this office of the final CJ determinations. All CJ requests must be submitted electronically through an online application using the DS-4076 Commodity Jurisdiction Request Form. The form, guidance for submitting CJ requests, and other relevant information such as a copy of the ITAR can be found on DDTC’s website at http://www.pmddtc.state.gov.
Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with the final CJ determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately. Defense Distributed should also review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any additional data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.
Additionally, DTCC/END requests information about the procedures Defense Distributed follows to determine the classification of its technical data, to include aforementioned technical data files. We ask that you provide your procedures for determining proper jurisdiction of technical data within 30 days of the date of this letter to Ms. Bridget Van Buren, Compliance Specialist, Enforcement Division, at the address below.
Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance
PM/DTCC, SA-1, Room L132
2401 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20522
We appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please note our reference number in any future correspondence.