Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Potholes!

Potholes happen. Sometimes even in Libertopia.

A friend (who hasn't made the move to cars that don't rely on wheels) discovered this fact a while back.

Being privately owned, most roads in Libertopia are pretty good. They'd better be since the owner is liable for any damage caused by poor maintenance or other road hazards. Still, things sometimes go wrong and cause a problem before they can be noticed and fixed.

My friend was zipping along the road when her tire's line of travel intersected a nasty pothole. The impact caused some damage to her car, but the safety system on her car kept her from losing control and having even more damage done. (Actually, one system on her car failed since it didn't take her around the pothole to prevent the impact completely. The road owner may be able to recover some of his restitution from the car's manufacturer because of this too, but that is between them and something I won't see.)

My friend's car immediately contacted her insurance company, and sent them the files from its onboard computer, as well as some photos of the pothole (which were automatically labeled with its exact coordinates as well). This information was forwarded to the road's owner, as well as to other travelers in the vicinity so that they could avoid a similar fate.

The owner of the road immediately sent a crew to fix the pothole and paid my friend for the damages and refunded a part of her road subscription fee for her troubles. Arbitration was avoided, as it usually is.

I'm sure she would have preferred not hitting the pothole in the first place, but it was "made good" the best way possible under the circumstances.


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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Elvis' Witnesses

A family of Church of Elvis, the King (Reformed) adherents moved in a few houses down. Oh my!

Now, it doesn't harm me if people wish to worship "The Presley" or anyone/anything else. They can wear whatever they feel their god/prophet wants them to wear, live by any rules they think their god/prophet would like them to observe, and try to convince others that their "way" is the "only true way".

My attitude is probably the same as the majority of Libertopians: Religion in Libertopia? Who cares? The faithful (or delusional) can't make rules that apply to anyone else, take over a non-existent State, or influence non-existent statutory laws, so as long as they don't initiate force or steal/defraud, and as long as they respect private property rights, they are harming no one but themselves.

Their hymns aren't too bad. Still... sequined capes don't look good on anyone.


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Friday, July 22, 2011

Libertopian money? Never!

You may have wondered about Libertopian money. There is no such thing. But, I have mentioned paying for things, so how can that be? Yes, there is money, but it isn't "official" or exclusive to Libertopia. It isn't "Libertopian money".

Right now, in my pocket, I have coins (of silver, gold, and copper) minted by 6 different outfits. And if I had more coins in my pocket that number of mints represented could go much higher. In my wallet I also have what you would call a "debit card" issued by my bank (backed by my deposited metals), as well as a couple of paper bills (receipts for precious metal) issued by another bank.

Banks are privately owned and are actual secure depositories of their customers' money. They make loans, but only loan out a percentage of the money they possess, and only using the money of customers who have agreed, in exchange for earning interest, to have their money loaned out. (This is the opposite of what was permitted by "fractional reserve banking" in the Era of The State.)

The banks set their own policies for identification. There is absolute privacy for their customers. No reporting deposits to anyone- no questions about where the money came from or what a withdrawal is to be used for. No one, ever, is allowed to take a customer's deposits without the consent of the customer- not even for payment of restitution. No one would continue to do business with any bank that allowed that to happen even once "out of necessity". Not even the person who was getting the money this time. After all, if it happened once, it might happen again, and it might be done to you next time rather than for you.

The paper money that is issued by banks is backed by the metal, in physical form, held by the issuing bank. Most have built-in security features that make counterfeiting difficult and not really worth the effort. (Considering the variety of bills in circulation you would probably remember who gave you the bogus bill anyway.) You can take that receipt to the bank and trade it for the actual metal at any time. Most people prefer to use coins for amounts between 1/10 ounce and 5 ounces of metal, but larger and smaller (of gold and platinum, in particular) weights are frequently paid in bills. This is strictly a personal preference and is by no means universal. Some old-timers still don't trust paper money no matter who backs it- having been burned in the fall of government.

Some people also use money from other parts of the world, and as long as your trading partner is willing to accept it that is no problem. Almost no one will accept money that is not silver, copper, or gold, though. The metal content is what matters, not who minted it. You can use anything as money that anyone agrees to accept in trade. All trade is ultimately barter (it was even during the government era; people just bartered with fiat money back then). You can use silver, bullets, sex, bananas, or labor in trade. No one has any say except you and the person you are trading with. That is the only civilized way to do business.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Missing details?

I hope you'll forgive me when, in these contra-chronal messages in a bottle, I leave out some detail of life here in Libertopia that seems critical, from your perspective, to the situation being described. I don't mean to leave out anything important to your understanding, but I'm sure it happens.
It is probably humanly impossible for me to avoid taking some aspects of liberty for granted. It is the ocean I swim in, and just as a fish might not notice the wetness of the water, Libertopians have a hard time always being aware of the liberty of Libertopia. That means that some detail in a narrative that you might wonder about, I might not even be noticing or think about explaining. I am trying to explain things more fully, when I realize you might need more, considering what I know of life in the Era of The State. That knowledge is incomplete.

Feel free to ask, if something (other than personal details) is missing.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Medical services in Libertopia

A couple of days ago I had a minor health emergency. I'm so glad I live in Libertopia where such things are dealt with easily! And cheaply.

I won't go into details, but I suddenly found myself in need of medical services. Luckily there are health care providers, generally just called "healers" or "doctors" no matter the level of expertise or training, just about everywhere. I hopped in the car and within moments was standing in the lobby of one such place. "Living room" might be the more accurate term. I had used this particular healer in the past and knew her reputation was very good. The healer was able to get to me right away and fixed me right up.

There were no forms to fill out, and all she had to do was to check my medical history online (at my own personal medical page- everyone has one that any healer can access- with permission), check for any conditions that might conflict with the treatment she had in mind, and get on with it. She wrote down the name of the medicine she wanted me to use, and I took that "prescription" to a local pharmacist who sold me the medicine and told me how to use it for best effect. Had I not had that piece of paper from the healer, but only remembered the name of the medicine, that would not have changed things at all.

It cost a half an ounce of silver for the treatment, and a quarter ounce for the medicine I will need for a few days. I tipped the healer a bit more as a "thank you" for good service.

Different cases need different levels of expertise, of course. You don't need years of medical school to fix most problems. Obviously if a patient goes to a healer who doesn't feel confident about fixing their problem, they will be referred to someone who can deal with it. The first healer seen would be liable for restitution otherwise.

No one tells the doctors or pharmacists which medications they are allowed to use or sell, or in what amount. There is no centralized "licensing authority", although there are a few certifications available for healers who want them. An incompetent healer won't get certified because their certification service would lose reputation (and customers). Otherwise it is all based on reputation and individual liability. You harm patients and word will get around and you will have trouble attracting new customers no matter how nice your prices. Plus, you would be liable for paying restitution to those you harmed (or their survivors in the worst cases).


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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Cat Lady

Recently a woman here in Libertopia was discovered to have over 100 cats living in her house. Yuck! Conditions were filthy and many of the cats were malnourished. The woman also had some health problems that were probably related to living in a house full of cats and their waste products.

Her house is her property, as are her cats. So no one has the right to interfere unless she wants them to. Your "help" is not help if it isn't wanted.

A person who abuses animals may not be a person I would trust, and may not be a nice person, but they are within their rights. You would also be within your rights to shun an animal abuser, of course. However, in her mind she may have been loving those cats rather than abusing them. And even if she dies due to her choices, that is her right. Your life is yours to do with as you please, even to the point of destroying it. Her neighbors were not even aware of the abundance of cats, so no one claimed she was harming their property in any way. No one had a right to lift a finger to make the woman change her life in any way. Still, people being people, some were concerned for the woman and the cats.

So what happened?

Well, the person who discovered the situation asked the woman if she really wanted that many cats in her house. She said she did. So he asked if she had enough food for them and for herself. She admitted she was having to stretch food to make ends meet and keep everyone fed. He asked if she would like some help providing for the cats. She said she would.

He asked if she would mind if he asked around to see if people might be willing to help her with some food, and she agreed to the suggestion. So word went out. People donated cat food and made meals for the woman. A few even stayed to help her clean up a little, after making sure she didn't object.

As it happens, she has now given away about half of the cats to various willing adopters. People who would come to her home to deliver food they were donating would see a particular cat they really liked, and the woman would usually let them leave with that cat. The extra human interaction seems to be reducing her "need" for so many cats, too. Her house is a lot cleaner, by comparison to what it was before. Her health problems have cleared up, and she is seeing a doctor once a week right now. He comes to her home every Thursday afternoon to check her progress. A local veterinarian even donated feline birth control. The woman's life, and the lives of her cats, looks to be improving.

A couple of concerned neighbors still feel the woman may have mental health problems and are trying to keep in touch with her more than they had been before. If she asks for help, help is there. If she doesn't ask, and if she rejects it if offered, then no one has any right to judge how she lives and what makes her happy. I wouldn't have it any other way.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Economics

I just re-subscribed to a local publication here in Libertopia. As is normally the case, I paid in silver.

As it happens, the comparison of the value of silver to the value of the publication has changed slightly in the past year, so for my 1 oz .999 silver, I got a little extra time on my subscription. Yet, because the trade is completely voluntary, both I and the publisher come away feeling we each got the better end of the deal (for us), or we wouldn't have agreed to the trade. How can you beat that?

You can't!


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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Case of the dead little girl

Recently, here in Libertopia, there was a young mother who was suspected of killing her little daughter. A tragic case no matter how you look at it. Friends and family noticed that the girl just disappeared and the mother had no good explanation that held up to scrutiny over time. Plus her story changed several times before the daughter's body was found. No one really doubted that the mom was a little bit crazy, not a particularly nice person, and certainly not a good mother.

There were no witnesses to the death, of course, or there would have been more than "suspicions". There was also no concrete scientific or objective observational evidence that could tie any particular person to the girl's death. So, what's a free society to do?

Gossip being what it is, most people formed their opinions concerning her guilt or innocence based purely on whether or not they liked the woman, which was based on what other people said about her. Almost without exception, without knowing anything about her from first-hand experience. Yeah, that still happens here and is probably just a part of human nature that won't go away anytime soon simply because it's ridiculous.

Restitution being impossible, and without even definitive evidence of the ZAP being violated or a debt being incurred, the matter dropped. People chose to either shun the woman or not. Those who believed she had killed her daughter refused to deal with her in any way from this day forward. They could refuse to sell her food, or repair her vehicle, or hire her, or anything. Those who felt she was innocent were free to continue to do business with her. In this case that number of supporters is rather small.

However, human nature being what it is, if she gets herself into another fishy situation anytime in the next several decades, her base of supporters would probably be too small to keep her housed, clothed, fed, and fueled. No person is an island and no one is truly independent, as is abundantly clear even in Libertopia. And without The State to meddle, there is no one to save bad people from the just consequences of their actions.


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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day, Libertopia-style!

I enjoyed our Independence Day celebration here in Libertopia. Immensely! Rather than celebrating independence from one particular State, we celebrate our independence from slavery to the idea that States are necessary or good.

As was the case in the past, we celebrate with fireworks displays. Spectacular ones. All paid for voluntarily, of course. But the festival (and it is quite a festival indeed) is so much bigger than that. There are regional differences, obviously, but some things are fairly ubiquitous around Libertopia.

A big draw is always the "shoots". Everyone brings out their favorite guns (or buys the one they've been eyeing for a while now) and enters friendly shooting contests. Some scheduled, but many impromptu. Since the majority of people go about their daily lives armed, it is a simple matter to set up a shoot on the spur of the moment, using what is on your hip or in your pocket. Knowing this is inevitable, ammo salesmen come prepared. A good thing, too! After all, you don't want to use up all your "carry ammo" in a contest for a bottle of whiskey. It's quite a party.

There are also costume contests. You can dress as your favorite historical character, good or bad. The historical liberty-lovers are cheered and the politicians are enthusiastically booed. It is very popular to dress as politicians from the past, as the melodramatic acting can be quite a crowd-pleaser. It's hilarious to see Hitler or Schumer comically recreated to the delight of the crowd. This time it's all in fun, though. You should have seen the friendly debate/wresting match last night between "Lysander Spooner" and "FDR"- hilarious!

The recreational debates, both costumed and not, are a good time, too. You'll have excellent speakers take the absurd position that government is good and let random people from the crowd demolish the contention. Or, they will propose a "reasonable" justification for using coercion for some "good cause", people buy tickets to put their name in a hat, and the person who wins the draw will get to point out why the supposed justification falls flat. It is fun to watch 5-year olds cut through nonsense that back in the era of The State professors promulgated with a straight face. Did anyone ever believe that stuff? I can't really say for sure, but it is so obviously silly now.

And the FOOD and beverages! You've never seen such a delicious variety! All lovingly (or at least skillfully) prepared to be sold or given away. If you want to eat it, drink it, or smoke it, someone has it available.

There are also games of all sorts, and vendors selling anything you might want. People reunite with those they haven't seen for a year or two. Tents and RVs are set up everywhere and anywhere a property owner allows (and few refuse). The bonfires glow all night long as the sound of laughter and music ebbs and flows, along with the sounds you will only hear around true liberty.

I heard a rumor that this year a few neighbors got together and bought a curmudgeonly fellow a couple of days at a luxury hotel far from the celebration. Not everyone enjoys the noise and commotion. Still, there is always a solution if you put the effort into finding it.

It's been years since there was any serious incident around here on Independence Day. People know that they are always responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions, and that there is no one who will be obligated to protect you from yourself. It's amazing how quickly that simple realization makes a person grow responsible.

Anyway, I hope your Independence Day was as great as mine! Hurry and join me- we have a lot of catching up to do!


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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quiet (but noisy) in Libertopia

It's been quiet in Libertopia. Not much to report. Just people doing the things that mean the most to them and that give their lives purpose. Those particular things differ from person to person; having as many individual answers as there are people. Well, guess what. Your actions in your today, there in my past, are ultimately responsible for creating Libertopia, my Libertopia and yours, tomorrow. In my present.

It has already happened, so even events that seem to be destructive to individual liberty end up creating that which they try to prevent. Your States are sealing their own fates by their anti-liberty actions. Isn't that ironic?

What a happy tangent. Anyway, back to the point. I should probably explain "quiet". I suppose Libertopia is quiet in some ways, but rather noisy in ways that those unaccustomed to liberty might not expect.

It is quiet in the sense that there is no crime. There are occasional acts that violate a right and create a debt, but since there is no State to make "laws", there is no "crime".

But Libertopia is not quiet in the sense that there is a vibrant culture creating, experimenting, and exploring all around us. And living life to the fullest. That sometimes makes a ruckus. No one really seems to mind, and if they do it is simple to fix the problem.

Just think about it. What is it that you most would want to do if there was no one telling you it was forbidden or ordering you to pay for the "privilege" of doing things you want to do which harm (nor obligate) no other person? The sooner you throw off your yoke the sooner you can get started.

These are exciting times and I can't wait for you to get here! What are you waiting for? Come on!


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