Friday, July 13, 2012

Oh Boy, A Letter from a Chicago Resident about the South Side

Magdalene M. a Chicago resident, has sent the below email in response to my post, A Libertarian Solution to Stop the Violence on the South Side of Chicago. I want to emphasize this is her view and not mine, but it is important to understand the views of all, including all in Rhamaland.

I also want to note that I don't know many people from the south side of Rhamaland, but the few I know are very decent people working hard everyday to make ends meet. That said, the south side certainly has plenty of LBJ's great grandkids. And, I continue to believe that LBJ's Great Society programs, minimum wage laws, government education and government in general are at the core of the problems on the south side of Chicago. Here's Ms M's take on the south side:
I enjoy your website very much. But I found myself snickering when you suggested that the people of the south side stop paying taxes. The people of the south side are taxeaters. They do not pay taxes!

The southsiders get link cards, which pay for all their meals (and cigarettes and booze). Additionally, breakfast and lunch are free at Chicago public schools and the link cards are not adjusted for this fact. The school program exists because the parents don't feed their children despite having the link card.

Most of the residents rent using Section 8 vouchers. When the southsiders venture up along Michigan Avenue, say to Nordstroms or Water Tower, it is to shoplift. Suffice it to say, most of the southsiders aren't paying sales tax. The ones who do produce credit cards tend to either have a fake card, or to not pay their bills. Either way, again, the southsider did not pay sales tax. The lingo of choice in Chicago is to call the southsiders apple pickers because of their propensity to steal IPads and IPhones. Though they did break the windows and rob Louis Vuitton and recently broke into the Omega watch store also.

Oh, and the residents get free electricity and free cellphones with up to 300 minutes per month usage.

The solution to the problems the city has is to cordone off the south and west sides.

There is no liberterian solution to the problems one sees. Recently, our dear police chief blamed black crime on the Pilgrims. And the black community applauded. A community that plays victim, is not accountable, is not responsible creates what you read of daily in Chicago.

Mr. Wenzel, open your eyes. These people engaging in this behavior are low iq, impulsive and violent. Short of jailing all the people, nothing will change.

Your suggestions amused me but if you knew of the reality, your piece would have been published in the Onion and not on your blog!

24 comments:

  1. Is this what is meant by "the land of the free"?

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  2. I just ask that welfare be localized, so it would eventually destroy itself. Focing someone in Miami pay for someone in Chicago is a joke.

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  3. I think your suggestions belong on your blog and not on the Onion, if it's any consolation.

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  4. I live near the SE side of Chicago (between the socialist utopias of Gary, IN and Chicago's south side). I think both of you have it right.

    There are people who are incredibly hardworking in the area who pay their taxes (due to brainwashing or to avoid jail), go to work everyday, and do whatever they can not to end up in the welfare system.

    But there are also people as Meyer describes here. Whenever I go grocery shopping in the area, I'm inevitably behind someone paying for their processed sugary foods with a Link card. It's so prevalent I'm surprised when the person in front of my pays with a normal credit card, although I use cash myself.

    All of the daily Chicago news stories chronicling the violence reminds me of Banfield's "The Unheavenly City," a book praised by Rothbard.

    I don't know if "most" of the southsiders are tax-eaters, but many are. They may not be low-IQ in that many have managed to simultaneously take advantage of the government welfare system and establish a drug-fueled economy based on the artificially high prices due to criminalization.

    But impulsive? Absolutely, which reflects their low (immediate) time preferences, a concept which should be familiar to readers of this site and it explored at length by Banfield.

    There's a reason that many blacks haven't made it out of the slums and ghettos of the cities, while other low-class slum-dwellers of the past (the Irish especially in the 19th century) were able to move further into the middle-class. That reason: great-grandpa LBJ.

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    1. I think a lot of libertarians brush over the issues of IQ and race because they think this will marginalise them from liberals or isn't what they learnt at school. I personally would be very careful with the topic. On the one hand, I am not of the view that there's no differences (including mental) between what are labelled as "races", this is mostly hogwash. On the other, I fail to see how this precludes these people from becoming libertarian and I also fail to see how they will not benefit from this system. Low or medium or high IQ, people can perceive tangible benefits to their well-being, and I would submit that a free market society would increase that relative to a state.

      Good luck making a living out of crime without the state there to look the other way. If you want people to become responsible, regardless of their IQ or TP, they need to learn how. At present the state significantly warps incentives to do so.

      It's funny though that the person Wenzel is quoting offers a libertarian solution to the issue, i.e. dissociation. I fail to see how libertarianism, with its right to associate/dissociate, would fail to remedy this issue.

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  5. Ah dear Miss Magdalene, I read your post with great interest, and would humbly offer some thoughts on your comments.

    Many of us can identify with your displeasure, when you see tax dollars used in such a manner. That, however will soon come to an end due to the simple fact that the system is flat broke and will soon collapse under its own weight. There will be no tax dollars to give away. When that occurs, the city's current strategy to cordone off the south and west sides will last possibly 3 days, and then the good residents will come forth in mass to find sustenance. They will take the "low hanging fruit" first, and that, my darling, is you...

    Let me assure you the the people you rather disingenuously describe as having "low IQ" are as smart as a whip - but it's street smarts from having grown up in a war zone. They know things that by the grace of God you have never had to learn. They are impulsive and violent because it is the only way they can survive and survive they will.

    My grandfather (I am a grandfather myself) once told me as a boy, the most dangerous thing that can ever happen to a man is to get something he has not worked for and honestly earned. It destroys your self esteem, and poisons your soul. Many of us need a little help over the course of our lives, but most of us are loath to take handouts. When you give entitlements to people long enough, you enslave them as surely as if you placed them in irons. The behaviors you describe are the result of hopelessness and despair - these good people are trapped with no way out.

    Clearly the solution to this is not more of the same. It will take a totally new approach, and it will be difficult beyond belief. These people have been crippled by the system, and the only way back is to return the responsibility for their lives to them. Mr. Wenzel's approach can't do any worse that the disaster that is unfolding across the country due to our current practices.

    I, am Spartacus

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    1. "Let me assure you the the people you rather disingenuously describe as having "low IQ" are as smart as a whip - but it's street smarts from having grown up in a war zone. They know things that by the grace of God you have never had to learn. They are impulsive and violent because it is the only way they can survive and survive they will. "

      That doesn't mean their IQ is high or that their time preference is low. They could be attracted to criminality precisely because of these two factors. There is a lot of debate on this.

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  6. just like the national parks message says "Don't feed wildlife because of becoming dependant". but the 800lb issue issue is that the power structure needs that dependancy and will extend it when ever they can.

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  7. Magdalene seems to be unaware of the fact that libertarianism would put a full stop to the things she is complaining about.

    Under libertarianism, there would be no culture of entitlement, there would be no victimhood for criminals, there would be no "taxeating" because there would be no taxes to eat, there would be no stealing without being arrested or way more leniency for people to defend their property, since there would be no more gun control of any kind.
    There would be no free lunch in public schools; as a matter of fact, there would be no public schools.

    In so far as people are violent, they WOULD all be jailed.

    Magdalene seems to be unaware of what a libertarian solution would stand for, and seems to think it would still somehow be coddling and condoning of these people or attituted.

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    1. Who's going to pay for the jails, the jailers, and the "police" who round up these violent people?

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    2. @ Anonymous that said "Who's going to pay for the jails, the jailers, and the "police" who round up these violent people?"

      I will give you a hint. Who pays for locks, alarms, cameras, and security guards in a modern high rise?

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    3. It can be argued from a *minarchist* libertarian point of view that jails, jailers and police should simply be paid by the tax payer, so taxes would be paid for law enforcement and military ALONE. The point that there would be no "taxeaters" (i.e. welfare recipients) would still stand. There would be no such thing as a free lunch. Not in school or anywhere else.
      The anarcho-capitalist position is that the market will pay for these things (law enforcement etc). In which case there will be NO taxes at all, and there would be no "taxeaters" either. The libertarian position would not allow parasitism. You either pay for the service you need (or get someone to pay for you voluntarily), or you don't get the service, period.

      It should also be said that with a libertarian solution, most likely those that commit crime will not only be put in jail, but will also be required to compensate their victims for the damages, even if it takes them the rest of their lives.
      You can see how the social position of those that commit crime makes no difference in libertarian justice.

      Now, you or Magdalene (if you are not the same person) may argue that such a thing will not be possible immediately, but the same thing could obviously be said right now of the existing situation, because the existing situation treats criminals like victims, has a "liberal" justice system, gun control, welfare culture etc.

      Again, Robert Wenzel says that there is only one solution that will work, and the is the libertarian solution. Certainly in the long run. That it will not be implemented NOW (because there is no will of the people to do so) does not change that fact.

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    4. Ahh the libertarian blind spot: race. Face it, this kind of philosophy can only be appreciated in numbers by people of NW Europe descent. Dream on if you think even 0.1% of south-siders will ever go for it.

      I'm all for libertarianism, but it could only work in a particular, homogenous ethno-state.

      Race first, political economy second.

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    5. Don't give me your particular blindness, thank you very much. In fact why don't you let the scales fall from your own eyes. Given where black people have come from and the choices they are allowed to have by factions within city government, the only liberty they know is taking liberties from others because thats what has been done to them.

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  8. Perhaps great cities will come to an end. They will not die out, they could simply shrink as the productive are looted, and they will become less important like Rome. Scranton, PA seems to be closer to this now. They are bankrupt, and the city is reducing pay for all workers to minimum wage.

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  9. @anonymous at 8:37
    "who's going to pay for the jails...?"
    The same people who are paying now, only in a free-market transaction with competing service providers who offer low prices and innovative justice solutions to people with property worth protecting.

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    1. So, if somebody violates my property rights, I get to decide how they are punished? Better hope nobody bids to do torture cheaply.

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    2. @ Anonymous

      "So if somebody violates my property rights, I get to decide how they are punished? Better hope nobody bids to do torture cheaply."

      First of, if you are gonna come on here and play devil's advocate, the least you could do is create a username, so we could follow your arguments. Next, you could educate yourself by reading some of the rich body of literature that is being developed in this area by anarcho-capitalist thinkers. Then you wouldn't ask questions that seem quite ignorant to many readers on here.

      As to your torture questions, your contract with your protection agency would delineate your restitution options, and I doubt a protection agency that provided a torture service would do well. There may be a subset of people that would pay a premium price to be able to torture bruglars, but they would quickly run into trouble. For example, it is almost guaranteed that there would be public service charities that would provide protection services for the needy, including criminals. Disagreements between agencies would end up in arbitration or the courts, and the courts would reflect the morals of the majority of the population and thus be opposed to torture. Therefore, the torturing protection agency would keep losing cases in the courts, quickly draining its resources.

      That's all I can squeeze into a blog comments. If you want more, JFGI.

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    3. You are committing reductio ad absurdum. What kind of justice would be allowed is still answerable to the non-aggression principle. There is some point where violence cannot be considered self-defense or 'justice' any longer and turns into it's own aggression.

      For instance, if someone who steals an apple from a fruit stand is caught, made to compensate for the apple and pay extra on top for the energy, time and inconvenience of the owner, then torturing him would obviously be aggression.

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    4. Anonymous @11:03 here. I am quite familiar with the body of literature that informs this site. And I am unfamiliar with any serious theory of anarchist justice in which the victim or his insurance agency will choose what method of corporeal punishment to inflict on the criminal, in this case imprisonment. And I was serious in my suggestion that such a notion could lead to torture if those assumptions are used.

      Contract theory cannot explain the right to imprison a criminal. There is no contract with the criminal; it's only between the protector and the protected. The criminal has not agreed to be imprisoned if he steals. So, to say that the contract between the protector and protected can allow for imprisonment is beside the point. Replace imprisonment with "torture" and the reduction to absurdity makes my point evident. Imprisonment is a singularly statist phenomenon, and I expect no one would could claim the right to imprison anyone for anything in an anarchist.

      Furthermore, references to the point where violence ceases to become self-defense and becomes aggression don't solve this problem either. What is the point where imprisonment becomes aggressive, and what is the point where it is merely "self-defense"? (As if one could claim self-defense when someone has already been apprehended. That is merely punitive.) If one can claim that X amount of imprisonment is violence used for self-defense purposes, than why not X amount of torture? Small crimes will get small tortures.

      Hoppe calls for insurance companies to *indemnify* their customers, not lock criminals in dungeons. These are two very, very different things.

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    5. Anon here again. Sorry, I forgot to respond to this in my earlier post: "Disagreements between agencies would end up in arbitration or the courts, and the courts would reflect the morals of the majority of the population and thus be opposed to torture. Therefore, the torturing protection agency would keep losing cases in the courts, quickly draining its resources."

      I'm not sure this is a safe assumption at all. The US government tortures people now, and many support it. For example, a 2009 poll showed that half of people supported using torture as an interrogation method. That's not even punitive. http://bit.ly/NWKIEu So, using your argument, arbitrators might not only support the use of torture as punishment, but as an interrogation method. At the very least, some locations might prove to be very torture friendly.

      Furthermore, merely pointing to alternative protection companies to prevent this behavior is misguided. Why would anyone specialize in insuring petty thieves? They don't have the money to justify the outrageous premiums they would demand. And who is going to dump money into charities to be used to insure criminals? These "charity" insurance co.s would be paying out every time one of their criminal clients stole, robbed, attacked, etc (most likely, the insurance company of the victim would be seeking restitution from the perp, and the perp's insurance co would be paying out, like our present system. Perhaps there would be clauses, like our current system, where the insurer refuses to pay for intentional acts, but then false imprisonment, when done in response to a crime, is still a matter of restitution. Why are they paying to litigate that?) The criminals' insurers are the ones going bankrupt. The criminals would be self-insured/outlaws, and we possibly get right back where we started.

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    6. @ Anonymous July 14, 2012 10:50 AM

      "As if one could claim self-defense when someone has already been apprehended."

      For the record, I never claimed that there was a case of self-defense when someone has already been apprehended. I used both self-defense and justice as examples. Self-defense before someone is apprehended; justice after.

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    7. http://mises.org/journals/jls/12_1/12_1_3.pdf

      "I am quite familiar with the body of literature that informs this site. And I am unfamiliar with any serious theory of anarchist justice in which the victim or his insurance agency will choose what method of corporeal punishment to inflict on the criminal, in this case imprisonment."


      http://mises.org/journals/jls/12_1/12_1_3.pdf

      Read harder.

      "Contract theory cannot explain the right to imprison a criminal."

      It isn't meant to. Contracts come after any property rights, they are based on them. Again:

      http://mises.org/journals/jls/12_1/12_1_3.pdf

      The rest is all based on the view that we justify punishment of the criminal via contract, which we don't, so I'll disregard it.


      "Furthermore, references to the point where violence ceases to become self-defense and becomes aggression don't solve this problem either. What is the point where imprisonment becomes aggressive, and what is the point where it is merely "self-defense"?"

      Pretty safe to say if you commit rape or murder, or any other form of severe crime, that the victim has the right to indefinitely detain you. For other crimes it'll be as long as it takes for you to do the victim good for the damage you've caused them, e.g. theft. Imprisonment is pricy of course and not all victims will opt for it, nor need they do so.

      " (As if one could claim self-defense when someone has already been apprehended. That is merely punitive.) If one can claim that X amount of imprisonment is violence used for self-defense purposes, than why not X amount of torture? Small crimes will get small tortures."

      I think you're actually pretty clueless about what self-defence is in general. And yes, sure, torture is one thing a victim certainly has the right to perpetrate upon their aggressor. Your arguments have a whiny "THATS SO EVIL" element to them, I am not sure what it is you're out to do.

      "Hoppe calls for insurance companies to *indemnify* their customers, not lock criminals in dungeons. These are two very, very different things."

      And in practice they may do so. That is a separate question to what they are allowed to do to those who aggress upon them.

      "I'm not sure this is a safe assumption at all. The US government tortures people now, and many support it."

      I'd like to see those same people personally put their money where their mouths are. It's not quite the same when the gov't is automatically extracting income from you. Besides, you have to wonder what sort of households these people were raised in, what sort of schools they went to. Statist ones, which enshrine the compartmentalised view that violence when initiated by some people is ok.

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    8. " For example, a 2009 poll showed that half of people supported using torture as an interrogation method."

      Do you have any evidence whatsoever that this poll is a good indicator of the majority of Americans' mindset?

      " That's not even punitive. http://bit.ly/NWKIEu So, using your argument, arbitrators might not only support the use of torture as punishment,"

      Ipse dixit.

      " but as an interrogation method."

      Nope, they certainly don't have that right.

      " At the very least, some locations might prove to be very torture friendly."

      Possibly. At least though if you don't support torture, you won't be forced to pay for it or subscribe to an agency that uses it.

      "Furthermore, merely pointing to alternative protection companies to prevent this behavior is misguided. Why would anyone specialize in insuring petty thieves? They don't have the money to justify the outrageous premiums they would demand."

      No one claims they'll insure crime...

      " And who is going to dump money into charities to be used to insure criminals?"

      Well, no one. Is there a reason they ought to?

      I am not sure who or what you're arguing against. Your thinking is very muddled.

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