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Opinion - page 5

Big “L” or little “l”?

in Activism/Opinion/Politics/Poor Pratt's Almanack
Do you care about labels like Big "L" or little "l"?

Continuation of a dialog with Bill Orton in the Vonluntaryism group about big “L”-little “l” labeling, with considerable edits for clarity:

Bill Orton : Bill, I think big “L”/little “l” pigeon-hole labeling is a waste of time. From my perspective, the LP is by far the best public-facing focal point for all things Liberty. I will honor the LP as such. The LP in the last 6 years locally and 3 years nationally has brought me into contact with a fantastic Liberty network, including you. That fact alone is more than sufficient justification to celebrate the LP.

I wish the LP would get their heads out of political smoke-filled back rooms, pay more attention to the private sector, and win more elections by leveraging free-market benefits like cash-basis healthcare and other coming cash-basis disruptions of government social service monopolies. But that is a task for the private sector, not the public sector. The LP and Libertarian movement are not the only gateways to the Liberty arena, but who can deny the doors they have opened and flaunted in the face of the donkeyphant duopoly? Oops, please excuse my label filter hiccup! 🙂

Does that observation on the value of the LP affect my personal philosophy? Not one iota. Ideas stand or fall on their own rational objective merit. Have I gotten ideas from my exposure to the LP? You betcha – a ton! The broader Libertarian movement may or may not be more in sync with my views than the LP but that comparison is totally irrelevant when seeking the truth as best we humans can understand metaphysical reality.

I could care less about labeling. I am neither alt-left nor alt-right. You might say I am alt-freedom. However, regardless of labels, the goal for me is pure and simple – freedom, nothing more, nothing less, for all people. I have zero tolerance for political correctness and no use for associated labels that fly in the face of Man’s rational capacity. I believe that free-market anarcho-[laissez-faire]capitalism and voluntary competitive Panarchy governance will best survive the test of time and allow mankind to thrive. That is my personal view irrespective of my celebration of the LP as a great source of ideas and melting-pot cauldron of freedom seekers.

Paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Out damned label!”

Follow-up response to Robert Eckerson:

David Pratt Demarest Robert, I agree. It’s not rocket science. It’s amazing how well free markets operate and how well we manage most of our personal lives and relationships despite unwanted, unnecessary, and misguided at best big brother guidance from the government.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves.There nothing, nothing, that governments can do for us that we can’t do better ourselves. Let me be more blunt. Governments have always existed solely for the benefit of those who govern. Those who think otherwise are either using government to get an unfair free-lunch advantage or are deluding themselves and need to have their heads examined.

Government, get the hell out of our way!

Poor Pratt’s Almanack – Pratt’s Prattles
D. Pratt Tseramed, November 1, 2018

Competitive Governance?

in Opinion/Poor Pratt's Almanack
What governance are you going to choose, if any?

Continuation, with minor edits for clarity, of a fascinating and intellectually challenging dialog with Matt Sands from England, the creator of the ‘Nations Of Sanity’ NAP law initiative (

David Pratt Demarest – Matt Sands :

Matt, thanks for your contact information and your ‘Nations of Sanity’ NAP law creative efforts!

The problem is, who is going to pass the NAP law of our choice? If we have a voluntary choice on governance systems (competitive governance), some will choose stronger NAP confirmation, some less. When each of us can choose whether to legitimize that particular NAP governance offering, an attempt to force a uniformly acceptable NAP confirmation on everyone suffers from from the inherent force versus choice dichotomy.

The key concept is legitimacy. Laws, regardless of their merit, are legitimized only when they are accepted by all they apply to. Under Voluntaryism, Anarcho-Capitalism, or Panarchy, all would have a choice of which competitive form of governance to accept.

The likelihood of every one of us accepting just one form of governance in an instantaneous gestalt is nil. By contrast, however, the good news is that convergence on the NAP is predictable through free market competition. May the most effective implementation of the NAP win. That is the Voluntaryism free market way.

Better to put our efforts into building a form of governance that will out-compete through exampleship other forms of governance with less emphasis on the NAP. I expect such a competitive scenario will occur regardless of what you and I do, but why not lead the way through exampleship. We can build a better ‘mousetrap’, a form of governance that will accrue legitimacy as a superior competitive product in the free market of governance.

In closing, I would note that free markets, the only human institution that has never failed over the entire history of mankind, will lead the way. Free markets are not just for products and services with a tangible financial value. Free markets cover all human actions and decisions including relationships and the rules for relationships that constitute governance.

I propose or add my voice in support of a bold new concept. competitive ‘FREE MARKET GOVERNANCE’. Governance is just another social service that benefits from free-market competition. Competition, along with self interest, are the over-arching attributes that characterize not only all life but all of existence.

Matt, let’s work together with Voluntaryists, Anarcho-Capitalists, Panarchists, and the broader Libertarian movement to build a better form of governance on a sound foundation of free-market governance competition, self-interest, and the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP).


D. Pratt Tseramed – October 30, 2019

Gun Law Facts We Can’t Ignore

in Opinion/Poor Pratt's Almanack
Who Benefits From Disarming Innocent Victims?

The politically motivated hysterical rush to take guns away from citizens and disarm innocent victims deserves an objective examination. Here are some questions that strike me as obvious no-brainers ignored by both the media and those that make political hay and seek more personal power by jumping on the bandwagon of disarming not just criminals but also the rest of us that might threaten their political power ambitions:

1. How can we ignore the fact that gun violence continues to steadily decline?

2. How can we ignore the fact that most mass shootings take place in gun-free zones?

3. How can we ignore the fact that it is impossible to disarm bad actors without resources and manpower required for an oppressive police state that would be a far worse threat to our freedoms than the shooters that the power seekers purportedly want to protect us from?

4. How can we ignore the fact that providing adequate official protection in gun-free zones would require a police state that we cannot afford either financially or politically not to mention the inevitable and far worse threat to our freedoms?

5. How can we ignore the fact that disarming innocent victims will only create more victims?

6. How can we ignore the fact that the only practical means to protect innocent victims are concealed-carry and arming ourselves?

7. How can we ignore the fact that gun laws are not intended to protect us and are merely a smoke screen for self-aggrandizement by power-seeking authorities?

8. How can we ignore the fact that protecting us from ourselves is the standard excuse used by power seekers, dictator wannabees, and all forms of collectivism around the world?

Shame on them for trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Shame on us for being gullible.


Losing the Moral High Ground

in Nick Wolff/Opinion/Politics
losing moral high ground

Heroes and Villains

We all see ourselves as the hero in our story. Simple minds cast others as the villain. The moment you come to believe that you unquestionably occupy the moral high ground is the moment you have lost it.

Dehumanization of your opponent is easy. Understanding them is difficult, but it’s the only way this is going to work. If we care about solving problems, we need to realize that people who contend with our ideas likely have a point. They probably have important information and perspectives to bring to the discussion.

We bring our differing values (or beliefs) into every interaction and situation we enter. We do not prioritize our values the same way–nor should we.

It is my hope that by highlighting the diversity of human values, we can advance human progress in much kinder ways. These fundamental disagreements will be resolved, but they don’ t have to. I want adversaries across debates to become more humanized in the minds of their opponents.

Internal Threat

Our values are visceral. Even when they are grounded intellectually (often they are not) the fact that they under-gird so much of our lives, we will have a deep seated emotional reaction to anything that would move us to reconsider our perspective. We react in fear because having to re-define our assumptions about the world is a tremendously traumatic experience. We react harshly and often aggressively toward anything that would threaten our worldview.

New perspectives which adversely impact our relationships are terribly difficult to adopt. Many of our social groups are defined by certain commonly held beliefs. If we were ever to depart from them, we may face social ostracism from close friends, colleagues, and sometimes family members. For some, that cost is too great. For that reason, challenging ideas are seen as an existential threat.

People are different. I have devoted many hours of my life to understand why people disagree. When I say disagree, I mean deep, durable disagreement. One of my colleagues, once said that poor communication was the source of all conflict. That is patently false. Sure, better communication helps to clear up misperceptions, miscommunications, and build trust. But intractable conflict isn’t about communication problems. It’s about fundamental differences about how we believe the world ought to exist and function. Because of these differences, we all believe we are operating on the moral high ground. That’s when things get dangerous.

Stop Fighting

When it comes to interpersonal conflict, the biggest danger arises from an inability to see the noble, ethical, or valid ideas that form the basis of one’s position. If after discussion, you can see the moral and philosophical basis for that opinion, if nothing else we can “agree to disagree,” shake hands, and move forward–accepting our differing prioritization of values. But when adversaries end the conversation with no clearer understanding of the noble basis for the other’s position, terrible things happen. The “othering” occurs. We’ve lost the moral high ground. We attribute malice, ignorance, or dis-ingenuousness to others. Relationships are destroyed and collaboration is impossible. 

In subsequent articles, I’ll be discussing the six pairs of competing value orientations. In them you will see the basis of every intractable disagreement. Some orientations will resonate with you. Others will not. But my hope is you will come to understand the nature and positive basis for each orientation, even if you strongly disagree with the ramifications of that belief.

We need to stop fighting each other.

Collectivism Exposed: Open Borders

in Opinion

While security and equal treatment are aspects of border control it’s primary purpose is population control. It’s to control not just numbers but also to be certain your country only brings in the best. If you don’t bring anything of value a society does not have to accept you particularly if that society would have to provide for you when you can’t provide for yourself.

Seeing as every society has an obligation to those born into that society they should not have to take on the excess burden of other societies. Forcing a society to accept people is another form of collectivism as long as welfare programs exist. It forces a society to give up its resources to members of poorer societies forcefully. A societie’s only obligation is to its contributing members of it and the helpless born into it.

Open borders forces wealthier societies to surrender their resources to the helpless and low quality of other countries, accept things that they may not want in society, and brings in an influx of people that at an uncontrolled growth rate infrastructure may not be able to keep up with. It’s dangerous for an established society.

Controlled borders are healthy. Just as all people are granted the freedom of association so is a whole society. This includes the right to not associate with some. This does not mean societies can exclude those born into them, but they can if they do something heinous and this is why jail is justified. While yes jail should be dedicated to rehabilitation sometimes elements must be completely removed from it to protect it. This is also why we should keep prisoners who commit crimes in our country even foreigners. Other countries can just as easily exile them as we can. Which with open borders would allow removed elements to sneak back in.

Now that does not mean open borders can’t exist. It just needs to be mutually beneficial for both countries. This can be done with treaties such as the US Constitution. That being said such treaties are only viable when a country can pull out and secede from an open borders community.

Having healthy boundaries is an important part in human psychology. This same psychology applies to states. The secret isn’t in having full open borders because there are now boundaries, it doesn’t allow societies to pull away from what they find detestable. No it is in flexible systems of open borders with degrees of control across all borders. Societies should constantly be shifting and changing alliances to adapt to the development of culture. The rights of sovereign states need to be protected and that means their right to consent to being part of system as well.

Gordon Mills and Libertarians

in Opinion
Gordon Lightnfoot
Image: from photo at

When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong …

— From “The Rose”, written by Gordon Mills
© Universal Music Publishing Group
Sung by Bette Midler in the movie of the same title

After decades of indoctrination, far too many Americans believe that the free market “is only for the lucky and the strong”. Libertarians know – or should know – otherwise. It is The State’s interference in the economy – born of bribes, whether direct or in the form of campaign contributions – that favors the already-powerful and grinds everyone else into increasing impoverishment and despair.

But until a plurality of Americans knows this, also, we won’t win many converts, and those of us involved in politics won’t win many elections. We will, instead, be dismissed as callous and as apologists for Big Business. We simply must educate our fellow Americans that politicians are not their friends, bureaucrats are not their hope, The State is not their refuge – that, rather, as Nock made clear, their enemy is The State.

We will not do it by allowing ourselves to be seen as friends of corporations and of corporatism. We will not do it by merely decrying the evils of coercion, although that evil we must ever oppose, nor by merely bemoaning the inefficiency and ineptitude of regulations and social programs in working for their alleged goals. This is because many voters are willing to accept coercion and willing to tolerate inefficiency and ineptitude, believing that the alleged goals are the actual goals of regulations and social programs.

Let us go forth among both voters and those who currently see no purpose in voting – and spread the message that it is The State which has stacked the deck for the purpose of aggrandizing the giant corporations, motivated by the lavish rewards heaped by grateful plutocrats upon the politicians which nominate and confirm the managers of the mis-named welfare state. Let us point out that the regulations and programs that they have been told are for their benefit are in truth for the benefit of “the lucky and the strong”, and inform them that most corporate donations to foundations and think tanks and politicians go to those advocating more, not less, political control of the economy. Let us note that only Libertarians will Unstack The Deck.

Libertarians! Show your fellow Americans how much better off they would be with reduced or eliminated taxes, with a government that does not tilt the economic playing field toward Big Business, with a rolled-back bureaucracy.

Not everyone can be lucky. Not everyone can be strong. But every honest American can benefit from a de-stacked deck.


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