Blogroll

I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading.

Disclaimer: Reproducing an article here need not necessarily imply agreement or endorsement!

Imunify360 3.6.5 is here

CloudLinux - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 14:12

We are pleased to announce that a new updated Imunify360 version 3.6.5 is now available. This is a bugfix release.

Tasks

  • DEF-6101: all incidents coming from ModSecurity are filtered now; saved only our own ruleset incidents;
  • DEF-5962: prepared a new release for Plesk Marketplace.

Fixes

  • DEF-6095: if there are immutable files in /var/log/imunify360 folder, the agent shows an error on start.

To install the new Imunify360 version 3.6.5 please follow the instructions in the documentation.

The upgrading is available starting with Imunify360 version 2.0-19.

To upgrade Imunify360 on CentOS/CloudLinux systems, run the command:

yum update imunify360-firewall

To upgrade Imunify360 on Ubuntu systems, rut the command:

apt-get update apt-get install --only-upgrade imunify360-firewall

More information on Imunify360 can be found here.

Categories: Technology

Luke 12:22ff

Sussex Parson - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 13:54
I may use this on Sunday AM so you may wish to look away now:


Most preachers re-use some of their material from time to time.
And it seems that the Lord Jesus was no exception.
Who knows how often Jesus preached.
Maybe most days, perhaps several times a day or for several hours.
And so he probably didn’t have time for lots of extra sermon preparation as he travelled around.
You can imagine the disciples saying to him, “O, Jesus, tell us the one about the whited sepulchres again!”
Or, “Jesus, what about the one about the man with the plank in his eye?!”
The oral tradition of the time depended on repetition and that helps to account, under God, for the remarkable preservation and agreement between the gospels.


We’re more familiar with this famous passage from the version in Matthew’s gospel where it forms part of the sermon on the mount.
And we’ve looked at that passage together before.
But here it has a different context which brings out particular aspects of its meaning.


Starting the reading at v22 is really starting mid-way through!
When we come to the “therefore” in v22, we ought to know from our Bible study training that we should ask: “What is the therefore therefore?”
What is the logic of the passage that is being pointed out here?
Because of that, therefore this.
Because of what Jesus has previously said, now here comes the application which follows from it.
So the application of what exactly?
Let’s recall that brilliant little parable of the rich fool which Jesus told which we studied last week.

Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

PHP 7.3.0RC3 Released

PHP - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 12:47
Categories: Technology

Government Police Fail to Make Arrests In Nearly Half of Murder Cases

Mises Institute - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 12:35

Police departments in a number of U.S. cities — Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans — are receiving increased attention for their failure to clear even half of the homicides that occur in their jurisdiction. And note that to “clear” a case doesn’t even necessarily require that someone be convicted of the crime, but only that either an arrest was made or that the case was “cleared by exceptional means,” meaning that the police identified a suspect, had sufficient evidence to arrest, and knew their location, but encountered a circumstance that prevented them from making the arrest.

Of all the crimes classified as Index I crimes by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter typically have the highest clearance rate by far.

feg1_0.png

Source: FBI: UCR 2017 Clearance

What should be realized is just how much lower current homicide clearance rates are compared to the 1960s and 1970s, even though the number of killings in recent years is roughly on par with the early 70s. As can be seen in the following graph, the number of homicides have gone down since its peak in the 90s, but so has the clearance rate.

feg2.png

Source: Murder Accountability Project

An explanation offered for why this is the case is that a growing proportion of these unsolved homicides are gangland killings where witnesses refuse to talk to the police due to anti-snitching norms, low trust in the police, or fear of reprisal. Indeed, the city of Indianapolis has created a witness protection fund in an effort to get more witnesses to cooperate with police.

Police Aren't Your Friend — Even If You Want to Report a Crime

The hesitancy to cooperate with the police should not be surprising. For one thing, unless you have a personal relationship with police officers, you will always be a potential criminal suspect. At worst, calling the police for help can result in the arrest or death of you or a loved one. With the high potential costs of interacting with the police, individuals on the margin will seek substitutes for ensuring their safety.

[RELATED: "Too Many Laws: Why Police Encounters Escalate" by Ryan McMaken]

Furthermore, consider the incentives facing witnesses of crimes. It’s not like they can just leave an anonymous tip to the police and be done with it; rather, they will have to endure multiple interviews with police officers and prosecutors and will be expected to testify in court if the necessity arises. This will be a long, drawn-out process during which (and possibly after) one could be a target for reprisal. Government police have no duty to protect individuals (see Warren v. District of Columbia (1981)). The assassination of a witness may even be beneficial from the perspective of increasing clearance rates, as the police would already have a likely suspect.

Government Police Lack Accountability and Incentives

Yet for some reason this state of affairs is tolerated. We have become conditioned to expect such service from government bureaucracies and see it as routine. But imagine if murders happened so frequently on the premises of any private business. We would fully expect that that business would make it their top priority to prevent any further slayings and ensure the public that their place of business is a safe place to be. We wouldn’t even consider the possibility that they would be able to remain in business while being unable to identify the killer in less than half of the cases.

Thus, at issue is not only the ineffectiveness of government policing but the intertwined issue of “public” property. Unlike the common areas provided by the proprietors of private business (such as hotel lobbies, parking lots, and the common areas within shopping malls), there is no residual claimant to the value of common areas in the public domain. They cannot be sold and therefore have no market prices. A private owner seeks to maintain or increase the market value of their property, an aspect of which is the safety of its common areas, because they are the residual claimant of that value. However, this is not the case for areas that are in the public domain. Just like the other aspects of quality, such as the presence of graffiti, trash, atmosphere, and maintenance, tend to deteriorate in areas in the public domain, so does safety.

Entrepreneurs who might have better ideas than the Chicago police on how to increase the safety of public areas are unable to acquire the property, test their ideas, and determine whether those ideas work based on whether they result in profits or losses. Public officials have little incentive to invest in improving the safety of the common areas under their control, as they suffer no losses from letting them deteriorate and reap no profits from improving them. Since the homicides in question are of individuals who have little political influence, they are of little relevance to the immediate concerns of public officials.

In light of this, we should more deeply appreciate what is at stake in slogans like “Privatize Everything.” It is not simply about the nominal transfer of physical objects or land from government control to favored individuals, but transferring them from the realm of non-calculation and fiat to the realm of economic calculation and consumer sovereignty. As a practical matter, it could save many lives.

Categories: Current Affairs

Rawls, Envy, Sacrifice

Peter Leithart - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 12:00
John Rawls begins his Theory of Justice with what he describes as a “standard” social-scientific concept of rationality: “a rational person is thought to have a coherent set of preferences between the options open to him. He ranks these options according to how well they further his purposes; he follows the plan which will satisfy […]
Categories: People I don't know

Need a Mum? Buy one for £40 an hour

The Good Book Company - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 09:21

I have my mom on speed dial for emergency cooking questions, but there are many days when I wish she could be in my kitchen, demonstrating how to fold egg whites into my waffle batter.

I have lived in the same area for over 13 years—from my early days of marriage into my current stage as a mom of two grade-schoolers—but I haven’t had family living nearby during any of those years.

My kids see their grandparents as much as possible, but I lack the pleasure of being able to drop the kids off for a night out or of sitting down over coffee with my mother or mother-in-law to talk about my struggles of the moment. While my mom is not close in physical proximity, I know I am blessed to have a close relationship with her. A large number of my peers cannot say the same.

A gap in the market

Many in my generation find themselves away from home and in need of a motherly mentor, and this inspired one Brooklyn woman to develop a new business model—Need a Mom. Nina Keneally, a mother of two grown children living in the midst of twenty-and-thirtysomethings, saw this opportunity after younger adults began confiding in her about their personal problems. In her piece on this topic for Slate, writer Helaine Olen quotes Keneally as saying, “’There are people who have a mentor in their professional lives; now I am doing that in their personal lives.’” So for $40 an hour, Keneally will talk you through parenting issues, teach you to sew a button on a shirt, or demonstrate cooking techniques.

Whether her business takes off or not, the media immediately jumped on this idea, and Keneally’s story was featured in newspapers and morning shows around the country. Similar in many ways to a “life coach,” the Need a Mom business touches on our innate need for guidance and counsel. But unlike a life coach, this model takes an existing relationship—that of mother to child—and capitalizes on what many people lack in their own families.

The commodification of relationships

Indicative of our society’s obsession with quick fixes, the whole idea of purchasing time with a personal mentor is saddening. To buy into this idea, one must accept a world in which meaningful relationships are rarely developed apart from the exchange of goods and services—and really, what kind of meaning is that? People and their time become commodities to be bought and sold because there is a demand, and someone is willing to supply the desired goods. But Keneally makes it clear that she is not a mom or grandmother substitute. She is a not a friend. She is a coach, a counselor, a professional.

When I was thinking about this story, I remembered a friend from high school who so admired Elisabeth Elliot that she wrote and asked if she might spend a day with her. Elliot graciously accepted, so my friend rode the train to spend a day learning from the wisdom of this godly woman. I love that my friend had the gumption to do that, and it is telling of Elliot’s character that she welcomed my friend into her life. No money was exchanged, and surely Elisabeth Elliot had little to gain from giving a day of her busy life to a 17-year-old.

Yet, while hiring a mom is not the solution for our lack of mentoring relationships, perhaps neither is reaching out to the well-known Christian writers and speakers of our day. I don’t think my friend was wrong for spending the day with Elisabeth Elliot; in fact, I would love to have had that experience. But neither do I think Elliot was the only godly woman to whom she could have reached out. Rather, I believe our churches are full of women who have loads of practical and spiritual wisdom to give, if only we will ask.

A priceless community

I was reminded of the surrogate mothers in my own life as I pulled out our Christmas decorations one year. My tree skirt is the product of a loving relationship with one such woman, who my kids deemed “Grandma Jan,” as she has been their local grandmother since they were tiny. In the early days of my marriage, I had few Christmas decorations, so Jan came to my apartment and taught me to sew by making a tree skirt. She has taught me much more in the subsequent years of our friendship, and she is just one of a number of women who have poured into my life.

While Titus 2:3-5 is far from the only biblical passage applicable to women, it does have wisdom for those of us on both sides of these potential mentoring relationships. Its existence in Scripture indicates that younger women need the counsel of older women, and that older women need to share that counsel. I love the church for many reasons, not the least of which is that without it I would lack the relationships I have with so many women. We’re created for connection and geared for relationships. I understand the desire to pay for time with a mother figure, because if I had not had these women in my life over the years, I would have missed out on so much.

Surely this is an opportunity for the church to meet the needs of the world. Young women are searching for guidance and friendships, and all we have to do is strike up a conversation at the gym, the store, or the cul-de-sac to begin building those relationships. As we learn to ask good questions and listen with love, we create welcoming relationships in which women—young and old—will feel free to confess their failures and struggles and experience gospel grace and love. And we can even do it for free.

Every woman longs for authentic friendships with others—but in a world of carefully-curated social media, most of us are merely keeping up appearances. Both online and offline, we're all prone to only presenting the best side of ourselves. In Real: the The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships, Catherine Parks shows us how being real about our struggles helps us to fight sin and have authentic friendships.

Categories: Christian Resources

Towards an evangelical theology of place II: church buildings

Sussex Parson - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 09:01
Evangelicals are sometimes fond of saying that church buildings are really a nothing: rain shelters, more or less glorious.

God does not live in temples made by human hands. Absolutely.

But consider 2 things which give our buildings significance:

(1) Meaning and value are partly socially and historically constructed.

Which sounds fancy. What it means is that Elton John's glass or Elvis Presley's guitar are worth much more than any old cup or instrument to many people.

Say your church has been at the iconic, religious, cultural, physical heart of your village since AD 800 and that prayers have been offered there every day time out of mind. Does that make the building magic? Of course not. Does it physically change it? Probably only fairly minimally. Does it matter? I think any reasonable person would say it does. Even if it does not matter to the Evangelical preacher, he can be sure it matters to the villagers, even those who rarely attend!

Calvin would not want you to play ping pong on the Lord's Table, though it is just a table. Consider that.

(2) Neutrality is impossible.

Even an empty white box of a building has a significance and sends a message (maybe God hates stuff, or beauty, or something!). You building must have some sort of shape, so maybe a cross is not a bad one.

If you are Christian at all you need some kind of Table and you need to put it somewhere. You probably want a pulpit or lectern of some description.

So we need to think about this stuff.


Marc Lloyd
Categories: Friends

We hate the smell of special interests in the morning

Adam Smith Institute - Thu, 11/10/2018 - 07:01

The agonising over the place of proper journalism in this digital age is, to us, the trashing of a superceded technology against that dying of the light. There’s nothing uncommon about this action of course. The question is whether we give in as with the man with the red flag in front of the motor car or not. Or more, with the demand that the people who make steering wheels must compensate those who make buggy whips. Both are means of directing transport, one is the new, the other the old, technology. And that is the demand, that the digital companies should pay for the old journalism ones.

This is a demand that should be rejected:

The head of a Government inquiry into the funding of high-quality journalism has travelled to the United States to gather evidence from tech giants and major newspapers.

Dame Frances Cairncross, an economist and former journalist, is this week on a fact-finding mission to both coasts as she prepares a report on financial pressures faced by publishers and newsrooms as a result of the online revolution.

An obvious point to be made. If the public desires or demands high quality journalism then some method will be found of getting the public to pay for high quality journalism. If the desire to pay doesn’t exist - in any form, through advertising, time, donations, subscriptions and the rest - then there isn’t that demand for that product, is there?

In near every other area of life we do just shrug and accept that some purveyors of whatever go out of business as new methods of sating desires arrive. The political problem we’ve got with this “high quality” journalism is that those who currently provide it, well, they currently dominate that public agenda precisely because they are the current suppliers. And boy aren’t they worried about that end to a comfortable life.

We should - must - reject these demands for subsidy. The basic contention is that the value received by the reading public from this high quality journalism is less than the cost of producing it. That’s why a new source of revenue must be found. That is, the entire process is value subtracting, it makes us poorer. So, obviously enough, we should stop doing it.

If it does add value then people will pay for it. So there’s no problem, is there?

We would point out that several of us produce incomes by doing this freelance journalism stuff. There’s no shortage of outlets, of places to say something. It costs spit to set up your own these days too. Thus we cannot say that there’s a shortage of supply of the thing being complained about. Rather, a threat to the current structures of doing that supply is what is really being worried about. And why on earth should we worry about who is supplying as long as there is supply sufficient for the demand?

Categories: Current Affairs

Nations by Consent

Mises Institute - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 23:55

Libertarians tend to focus on two important units of analysis: the individual and the state. And yet, one of the most dramatic and significant events of our time has been the reemergence — with a bang — in the last five years of a third and much neglected aspect of the real world, the “nation.” When the “nation” has been thought of at all, it usually comes attached to the state, as in the common word, “the nation-state,” but this concept takes a particular development of recent centuries and elaborates it into a universal maxim. In the last five years, however, we have seen, as a corollary of the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, a vivid and startlingly swift decomposition of the centralized State or alleged nation-State into its constituent nationalities. The genuine nation, or nationality, has made a dramatic reappearance on the world stage.

I. The Re-Emergence of the Nation

The “nation,” of course, is not the same thing as the state, a difference that earlier libertarians and classical liberals such as Ludwig von Mises and Albert Jay Nock understood full well. Contemporary libertarians often assume, mistakenly, that individuals are bound to each other only by the nexus of market exchange. They forget that everyone is necessarily born into a family, a language, and a culture. Every person is born into one or several overlapping communities, usually including an ethnic group, with specific values, cultures, religious beliefs, and traditions. He is generally born into a “country.” He is always born into a specific historical context of time and place, meaning neighborhood and land area.

The modern European nation-state, the typical “major power,” began not as a nation at all, but as an “imperial” conquest of one nationality — usually at the “center” of the resulting country, and based in the capital city — over other nationalities at the periphery. Since a “nation” is a complex of subjective feelings of nationality based on objective realities, the imperial central states have had varying degrees of success in forging among their subject nationalities at the periphery a sense of national unity incorporating submission to the imperial center. In Great Britain, the English have never truly eradicated national aspirations among the submerged Celtic nationalities, the Scots and the Welsh, although Cornish nationalism seems to have been mostly stamped out. In Spain, the conquering Castilians, based in Madrid, have never managed — as the world saw at the Barcelona Olympics — to erase nationalism among the Catalans, the Basques, or even the Galicians or Andalusians. The French, moving out from their base in Paris, have never totally tamed the Bretons, the Basques, or the people of the Languedoc.

It is now well known that the collapse of the centralizing and imperial Russian Soviet Union has lifted the lid on the dozens of previously suppressed nationalisms within the former USSR, and it is now becoming clear that Russia itself, or rather “the Russian Federated Republic,” is simply a slightly older imperial formation in which the Russians, moving out from their Moscow center, forcibly incorporated many nationalities including the Tartars, the Yakuts, the Chechens, and many others. Much of the USSR stemmed from imperial Russian conquest in the nineteenth century, during which the clashing Russians and British managed to carve up much of central Asia.

The “nation” cannot be precisely defined; it is a complex and varying constellation of different forms of communities, languages, ethnic groups, or religions. Some nations or nationalities, such as the Slovenes, are both a separate ethnic group and a language; others, such as the warring groups in Bosnia, are the same ethnic group whose language is the same but who differ in the form of alphabet, and who clash fiercely on religion (the Eastern Orthodox Serbs, the Catholic Croats, and the Bosnian Muslims, who, to make matters more complicated, were originally champions of the Manichaean Bogomil heresy).

The question of nationality is made more complex by the interplay of objectively existing reality and subjective perceptions. In some cases, such as Eastern European nationalities under the Habsburgs or the Irish under the British, nationalisms, including submerged and sometimes dying languages, had to be consciously preserved, generated, and expanded. In the nineteenth century this was done by a determined intellectual elite, struggling to revive peripheries living under, and partially absorbed by, the imperial center.

II. The Fallacy of “Collective Security”

The problem of the nation has been aggravated in the twentieth century by the overriding influence of Wilsonianism on US and world-wide foreign policy. I refer not to the idea of “national self-determination,” observed mainly in the breach after World War I, but to the concept of “collective security against aggression.” The fatal flaw in this seductive concept is that it treats nation-states by an analogy with individual aggressors, with the “world community” in the guise of a cop-on-the-corner. The cop, for example, sees A aggressing against, or stealing the property of, B; the cop naturally rushes to defend B’s private property, in his person or possessions. In the same way, wars between two nations or states are assumed to have a similar aspect: State A invades, or “aggresses against,” State B; State A is promptly designated “the aggressor” by the “international policeman” or his presumptive surrogate, be it the League of Nations, the United Nations, the US president or secretary of state, or the editorial writer of the august New York Times. Then the world police force, whatever it may be, is supposed to swing promptly into action to stop the “principle of aggression,” or to prevent the “aggressor,” be it Saddam Hussein or the Serbian guerrillas in Bosnia, from fulfilling their presumed goals of swimming across the Atlantic and murdering every resident of New York or Washington, DC.

A crucial flaw in this popular line of argument goes deeper than the usual discussion of whether or not American air power or troops can really eradicate Iraqis or Serbs without too much difficulty. The crucial flaw is the implicit assumption of the entire analysis: that every nation-state “owns” its entire geographical area in the same just and proper way that every individual property owner owns his person and the property that he has inherited, worked for, or gained in voluntary exchange. Is the boundary of the typical nation-state really as just or as beyond cavil as your or my house, estate, or factory?

It seems to me that not only the classical liberal or the libertarian, but anyone of good sense who thinks about this problem, must answer a resounding “No.”It is absurd to designate every nation-state, with its self-proclaimed boundary as it exists at any one time, as somehow right and sacrosanct, each with its “territorial integrity” to remain as spotless and unbreached as your or my bodily person or private property. Invariably, of course, these boundaries have been acquired by force and violence, or by interstate agreement above and beyond the heads of the inhabitants on the spot, and invariably these boundaries shift a great deal over time in ways that make proclamations of “territorial integrity” truly ludicrous.

Take, for example, the current mess in Bosnia. Only a couple of years ago, Establishment opinion, Received Opinion of Left, Right, or Center, loudly proclaimed the importance of maintaining “the territorial integrity” of Yugoslavia, and bitterly denounced all secession movements. Now, only a short time later, the same Establishment, only recently defending the Serbs as champions of “the Yugoslav nation” against vicious secessionist movements trying to destroy that “integrity,” now reviles and wishes to crush the Serbs for “aggression” against the “territorial integrity” of “Bosnia” or “Bosnia-Herzegovina,” a trumped-up “nation” that had no more existence than the “nation of Nebraska” before 1991. But these are the pitfalls in which we are bound to fall if we remain trapped by the mythology of the “nation-state” whose chance boundary at time t must be upheld as a property-owning entity with its own sacred and inviolable “rights,” in a deeply flawed analogy with the rights of private property.

To adopt an excellent stratagem of Ludwig von Mises in abstracting from contemporary emotions: Let us postulate two contiguous nation States, “Ruritania” and “Fredonia.” Let us assume that Ruritania has suddenly invaded eastern Fredonia, and claims it as its own. Must we automatically condemn Ruritania for its evil “act of aggression” against Fredonia, and send troops, either literally or metaphorically, against the brutal Ruritanians and in behalf of “brave, little” Fredonia? By no means. For it is very possible that, say, two years ago, eastern Fredonia had been part and parcel of Ruritania, was indeed western Ruritania, and that the Rurs, ethnic and national denizens of the land, have been crying out for the past two years against Fredonian oppression. In short, in international disputes in particular, in the immortal words of W. S. Gilbert:

Things are seldom what they seem,
Skim milk masquerades as cream.

The Beloved international cop, whether it be Boutros Boutros-Ghali or US troops or the New York Times editorialist had best think more than twice before leaping into the fray.

Americans are especially unsuited for their self-proclaimed Wilsonian role as world moralists and policemen. Nationalism in the US is peculiarly recent, and is more of an idea than it is rooted in long-standing ethnic or nationality groups or struggles. Add to that deadly mix the fact that Americans have virtually no historical memory, and this makes Americans peculiarly unsuited to barreling in to intervene in the Balkans, where who took what side at what place in the war against the Turkish invaders in the fifteenth century is far more intensely real to most of the contenders than is yesterday’s dinner.

Libertarians and classical liberals, who are particularly well-equipped to rethink the entire muddled area of the nation-state and foreign affairs, have been too wrapped up in the Cold War against communism and the Soviet Union to engage in fundamental thinking on these issues. Now that the Soviet Union has collapsed and the Cold War is over, perhaps classical liberals will feel free to think anew about these critically important problems.

III. Rethinking Secession

First, we can conclude that not all state boundaries are just. One goal for libertarians should be to transform existing nation-states into national entities whose boundaries could be called just, in the same sense that private property boundaries are just; that is, to decompose existing coercive nation-states into genuine nations, or nations by consent.

In the case, for example, of the eastern Fredonians, the inhabitants should be able to secede voluntarily from Fredonia and join their comrades in Ruritania. Again, classical liberals should resist the impulse to say that national boundaries “don’t make any difference.” It’s true, of course, as classical liberals have long proclaimed, that the less the degree of government intervention in either Fredonia or Ruritania, the less difference such a boundary will make. But even under a minimal state, national boundaries would still make a difference, often a big one to the inhabitants of the area. For in what language — Fredonian or both? — will be the street signs, telephone books, court proceedings, or school classes of the area?

In short, every group, every nationality, should be allowed to secede from any nation-state and to join any other nation-state that agrees to have it. That simple reform would go a long way toward establishing nations by consent. The Scots, if they want to, should be allowed by the English to leave the United Kingdom, and to become independent, and even to join a Gaelic Confederation, if the constituents so desire.

A common response to a world of proliferating nations is to worry about the multitude of trade barriers that might be erected. But, other things being equal, the greater the number of new nations, and the smaller the size of each, the better. For it would be far more difficult to sow the illusion of self-sufficiency if the slogan were “Buy North Dakotan” or even “Buy 56th Street” than it now is to convince the public to “Buy American.” Similarly, “Down with South Dakota,” or a fortiori​, “Down with 55th Street,” would be a more difficult sell than spreading fear or hatred of the Japanese. Similarly, the absurdities and the unfortunate consequences of fiat paper money would be far more evident if each province or each neighborhood or street block were to print its own currency. A more decentralized world would be far more likely to turn to sound market commodities, such as gold or silver, for its money.

IV. The Pure Anarcho-Capitalist Model

I raise the pure anarcho-capitalist model in this here, not so much to advocate the model per se as to propose it as a guide for settling vexed current disputes about nationality. The pure model, simply, is that no land areas, no square footage in the world, shall remain “public”; every square foot of land area, be they streets, squares, or neighborhoods, is privatized. Total privatization would help solve nationality problems, often in surprising ways, and I suggest that existing states, or classical liberal states, try to approach such a system even while some land areas remain in the governmental sphere.

Open Borders, or the Camp-of-the Saints Problem

The question of open borders, or free immigration, has become an accelerating problem for classical liberals. This is first, because the welfare state increasingly subsidizes immigrants to enter and receive permanent assistance, and second, because cultural boundaries have become increasingly swamped. I began to rethink my views on immigration when, as the Soviet Union collapsed, it became clear that ethnic Russians had been encouraged to flood into Estonia and Latvia in order to destroy the cultures and languages of these peoples. Previously, it had been easy to dismiss as unrealistic Jean Raspail’s anti-immigration novel The Camp of the Saints, in which virtually the entire population of India decides to move, in small boats, into France, and the French, infected by liberal ideology, cannot summon the will to prevent economic and cultural national destruction. As cultural and welfare-state problems have intensified, it became impossible to dismiss Raspail’s concerns any longer.

However, on rethinking immigration on the basis of the anarcho-capitalist model, it became clear to me that a totally privatized country would not have “open borders” at all. If every piece of land in a country were owned by some person, group, or corporation, this would mean that no immigrant could enter there unless invited to enter and allowed to rent, or purchase, property. A totally privatized country would be as “closed” as the particular inhabitants and property owners desire. It seems clear, then, that the regime of open borders that exists de facto in the US really amounts to a compulsory opening by the central state, the state in charge of all streets and public land areas, and does not genuinely reflect the wishes of the proprietors.

Under total privatization, many local conflicts and “externality” problems — not merely the immigration problem — would be neatly settled. With every locale and neighborhood owned by private firms, corporations, or contractual communities, true diversity would reign, in accordance with the preferences of each community. Some neighborhoods would be ethnically or economically diverse, while others would be ethnically or economically homogeneous. Some localities would permit pornography or prostitution or drugs or abortions, others would prohibit any or all of them. The prohibitions would not be state imposed, but would simply be requirements for residence or use of some person’s or community’s land area. While statists who have the itch to impose their values on everyone else would be disappointed, every group or interest would at least have the satisfaction of living in neighborhoods of people who share its values and preferences. While neighborhood ownership would not provide Utopia or a panacea for all conflicts, it would at least provide a “second-best” solution that most people might be willing to live with.

Enclaves and Exclaves

One obvious problem with the secession of nationalities from centralized states concerns mixed areas, or enclaves and exclaves. Decomposing the swollen central nation-State of Yugoslavia into constituent parts has solved many conflicts by providing independent nationhood for Slovenes, Serbs, and Croats, but what about Bosnia, where many towns and villages are mixed? One solution is to encourage more of the same, through still more decentralization. If, for example, eastern Sarajevo is Serb and western Sarajevo is Muslim, then they become parts of their respective separate nations.

But this of course will result in a large number of enclaves, parts of nations surrounded by other nations. How can this be solved? In the first place, the enclave/exclave problem exists right now. One of the most vicious existing conflicts, in which the US has not yet meddled because it has not yet been shown on CNN, is the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian exclave totally surrounded by, and therefore formally within, Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh should clearly be part of Armenia. But, how then, will Armenians of Karabakh avoid their present fate of blockade by Azeris, and how will they avoid military battles in trying to keep open a land corridor to Armenia?

Under total privatization, of course, these problems would disappear. Nowadays, no one in the US buys land without making sure that his title to the land is clear; in the same way, in a fully privatized world, access rights would obviously be a crucial part of land ownership. In such a world, then, Karabakh property owners would make sure that they had purchased access rights through an Azeri land corridor.

Decentralization also provides a workable solution for the seemingly insoluble permanent conflict in Northern Ireland. When the British partitioned Ireland in the early 1920s, they agreed to perform a second, a more micro-managed, partition. They never carried through on this promise. If the British would permit a detailed, parish by parish, partition vote in Northern Ireland, however, most of the land area, which is majority Catholic, would probably hive off and join the Republic: such counties as Tyrone and Fermanagh, southern Down, and southern Armagh, for example. The Protestants would probably be left with Belfast, county Antrim, and other areas north of Belfast. The major remaining problem would be the Catholic enclave within the city of Belfast, but  again, an approach to the anarcho-capitalist model could be attained by permitting the purchase of access rights to the enclave.

Pending total privatization, it is clear that our model could be approached, and conflicts minimized, by permitting secessions and local control, down to the micro-neighborhood level, and by developing contractual access rights for enclaves and exclaves. In the US, it becomes important, in moving toward such radical decentralization, for libertarians and classical liberals — indeed, for many other minority or dissident groups — to begin to lay the greatest stress on the forgotten Tenth Amendment and to try to decompose the role and power of the centralizing Supreme Court. Rather than trying to get people of one’s own ideological persuasion on the Supreme Court, its power should be rolled back and minimized as far as possible, and its power decomposed into state, or even local, judicial bodies.

Citizenship and Voting Rights

One vexing current problem centers on who becomes the citizen of a given country, since citizenship confers voting rights. The Anglo-American model, in which every baby born in the country’s land area automatically becomes a citizen, clearly invites welfare immigration by expectant parents. In the US, for example, a current problem is illegal immigrants whose babies, if born on American soil, automatically become citizens and therefore entitle themselves and their parents to permanent welfare payments and free medical care. Clearly the French system, in which one has to be born to a citizen to become an automatic citizen, is far closer to the idea of a nation-by-consent.

It is also important to rethink the entire concept and function of voting. Should anyone have a “right” to vote? Rose Wilder Lane, the mid-twentieth century US libertarian theorist, was once asked if she believed in womens’ suffrage. “No,” she replied, “and I’m against male suffrage as well.” The Latvians and Estonians have cogently tackled the problem of Russian immigrants by allowing them to continue permanently as residents, but not granting them citizenship or therefore the right to vote. The Swiss welcome temporary guest-workers, but severely discourage permanent immigration, and, a fortiori, citizenship and voting.

Let us turn for enlightenment, once again, to the anarcho-capitalist model. What would voting be like in a totally privatized society? Not only would voting be diverse, but more importantly, who would really care? Probably the most deeply satisfying form of voting to an economist is the corporation, or joint-stock company, in which voting is proportionate to one’s share of ownership of the firm’s assets. But also there are, and would be, a myriad of private clubs of all sorts. It is usually assumed that club decisions are made on the basis of one vote per member, but that is generally untrue. Undoubtedly, the best-run and most pleasant clubs are those run by a small, self-perpetuating oligarchy of the ablest and most interested, a system most pleasant for the rank-and-file nonvoting member as well as for the elite. If I am a rank-and-file member of, say a chess club, why should I worry about voting if I am satisfied with the way the club is run? And if I am interested in running things, I would probably be asked to join the ruling elite by the grateful oligarchy, always on the lookout for energetic members. And finally, if I am unhappy about the way the club is run, I can readily quit and join another club, or even form one of my own. That, of course, is one of the great virtues of a free and privatized society, whether we are considering a chess club or a contractual neighborhood community.

Clearly, as we begin to work toward the pure model, as more and more areas and parts of life become either privatized or micro-decentralized, the less important voting will become. Of course, we are a long way from this goal. But it is important to begin, and particularly to change our political culture, which treats “democracy,” or the “right” to vote, as the supreme political good. In fact, the voting process should be considered trivial and unimportant at best, and never a “right,” apart from a possible mechanism stemming from a consensual contract. In the modern world, democracy or voting is only important either to join in or ratify the use of the government to control others, or to use it as a way of preventing one’s self or one’s group from being controlled. Voting, however, is at best, an inefficient instrument for self-defense, and it is far better to replace it by breaking up central government power altogether.

In sum, if we proceed with the decomposition and decentralization of the modern centralizing and coercive nation-state, deconstructing that state into constituent nationalities and neighborhoods, we shall at one and the same time reduce the scope of government power, the scope and importance of voting and the extent of social conflict. The scope of private contract, and of voluntary consent, will be enhanced, and the brutal and repressive state will be gradually dissolved into a harmonious and increasingly prosperous social order.

Categories: Current Affairs

Contra Corner

Mises Institute - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 23:55

Presented at the Mises Institute's 2018 Supporters Summit in Auburn, Alabama. Recorded on September 27, 2018.

Categories: Current Affairs

Corruption is killing Malawi, bishop says

Anglican Ink - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 22:56

Bishop Francis Kaulanda urges voters to elect honest leaders in 2019

Trump's Trade War Threatens Walmart's Low Prices

Mises Institute - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 20:45

In 1962, businessman Sam Walton had an entrepreneurial objective in mind: Offer shoppers the lowest prices possible. From forcing US suppliers to slash costs to finding cheap imports abroad, Walmart became an iconic global brand, generating $500 billion in annual revenues because of its ability to enhance the consumer’s purchasing power, enabling the rise of the middle class.

The Federal Reserve may have depreciated the value of the greenback, but $100 at Walmart can get you quite far. With a single Benjamin, you can purchase a tea kettle, bed sheets, the latest bestselling novel, five pairs of underwear, and dinner for tonight. And, noticing an array of opportunities in the marketplace, Walmart is expanding its arsenal, specializing in walk-in care, ecommerce, and banking.

For all the flack that Walmart receives from the left for ostensibly destroying mom and pop shops, the company has a decent business model that appears to be satisfying the customer.

But those lowest prices guaranteed may come under threat. As the US government embarks upon a bitter trade dispute with China, Walmart is warning that it may be forced to raise prices due to tariffs.

If Sam Walton were around today, he’d be apoplectic, staging a sit-in on Capitol Hill — or, perhaps sending his team of lobbyists to do it for him.

Walmart’s Trade Woes

President Donald Trump and his administration recently escalated the trade spat with the world’s second-largest economy by slapping 10% tariffs on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese products, ranging from mattresses to Christmas items to travel bags. The first round of levies will go into effect on Monday, and the second round — 25% tariffs — will be instituted on January 1, 2019.

China immediately retaliated by announcing its own series of taxes on US imports.

This has Walmart fearful of the repercussions, particularly in the form of price hikes for its customers.

In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the Arkansas-based retailer said the tariffs would affect a wide selection of products, like food, personal care items, and transportation. The company urged both sides to come to an immediate resolution to avoid hurting consumers.

As the largest retailer in the United States and a major buyer of U.S. manufactured goods, we are very concerned about the impacts these tariffs would have on our business, our customers, our suppliers and the U.S. economy as a whole.

Should the tariffs go into effect, Walmart customers will face cost increases for essential items like car seats, cribs, backpacks, hats, pet products and bicycles. Either consumers will pay more, suppliers will receive less, retail margins will be lower, or consumers will buy fewer products or forego purchases altogether.

Other businesses have petitioned the White House to ditch the trade war. Ace Hardware, Joann fabric and craft stores, and Target have all warned that the taxes “will hurt American consumers,” especially working-class families, who will now be required to pay more for essential goods.

Rising Prices the New Norm

Since the president engaged in a trade fight earlier this year, a whole host of consumer prices have already started to rise. Months after Trump imposed 20% and 50% tariffs on washing machine imports, shoppers are paying as much as 17% more for laundry equipment.

A long list of businesses has confirmed they are raising prices to offset the ballooning costs from tariffs. Coca-Cola, Samuel Adams, and MillerCoors will increase the price of their beverages. Caterpillar will boost prices to limit freight costs. Newell Brands, the maker of Crock-Pot and other appliances, said consumers will pay more for its products. Polaris, the manufacturer of motorcycles, snowmobiles, and boats, confirmed its own hike.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), a trade organization, estimated in August that a 25% tariff on furniture would cost Americans an extra $4.5 billion per year.

Moreover, get ready for a more expensive Christmas because 91% of festive articles come from China.

It may not be surprising then to see the consumer price index (CPI) rise by 0.2% in August, the fifth consecutive monthly gain, though the annual rate slowed to 2.7%.

Mark Perry, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), wrote in July:

As simple economics tells us, the Trump tariffs on washing machines aren’t imposed on foreign appliance producers like Samsung and LG as much as they are imposed on Americans in the form of higher prices for consumers. Likewise, Trump’s ill-advised trade war, which started in January when he approved the tariffs on imported washing machines, is really largely a war on Americans.

The Walmart-China “Joint Venture”

You cannot discuss Walmart’s incredible success without also talking about China.

In the early days of Walton’s entrepreneurial endeavors, he would drive around in a pickup truck and purchase inexpensive goods for his chain of discount stores. This pursuit for the lowest prices possible eventually extended to the Pacific, making imports an important part of Walmart’s prosperity.

In 1984, Asian imports — direct and indirect — represented about 6% of the company’s total sales. That figure spiked to roughly 50% a little more than a decade later.

While Walton and his executives launched a “Buy American” campaign, which did rescue many domestic manufacturing companies, the Walmart founder conceded that he was not ready to pay a premium to do so. Anytime he came across US goods, he asked: “Is it good for our customers?” If they were not, then Walmart would go overseas and buy the same products at a cheaper cost.

And, thus, the joint venture with China has allowed Walmart to become one of the biggest companies in the world today. Despite the portrayal of Walmart as an odious corporate leviathan, the company is integral in communities, employing tens of thousands and offering shareholders a 2.17% dividend. The U.S.-China trade war might disrupt Walmart’s business model, but you can bet that the retail juggernaut will still try to stick to its moniker of “lowest prices guaranteed.”

Originally published at Liberty Nation.

Categories: Current Affairs

Unanimous UK Supreme Court decision in gay cake case

Anglican Ink - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 19:20

Landmark free speech victory, equality law does not compel people so say something with which they profoundly disagree

Gay marriage tipping point for the CoE reached?

Anglican Ink - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 18:42

Dr Ian Paul calls upon the English bishops to end the current farce

NVP field - Moderately critical - Cross Site Scripting - SA-CONTRIB-2018-066

Drupal Contrib Security - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 18:02
Project: NVP fieldDate: 2018-October-10Security risk: Moderately critical 14∕25 AC:Basic/A:User/CI:Some/II:Some/E:Theoretical/TD:AllVulnerability: Cross Site ScriptingDescription: 

NVP field module allows you to create a field type of name/value pairs, with custom
titles and easily editable rendering with customizable HTML/text surrounding the pairs.

The module doesn't sufficiently handle sanitization of its field formatter's output.

This vulnerability is mitigated by the fact that an attacker must have a role with the permission of creating/editing content where the module defined fields are in use.

Solution: 

Install the latest version:

Also see the NVP field project page.

Reported By: Fixed By: Coordinated By: 
Categories: Technology

Search API Solr Search - Moderately critical - Access bypass - SA-CONTRIB-2018-065

Drupal Contrib Security - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 18:01
Project: Search API Solr SearchVersion: 7.x-1.13Date: 2018-October-10Security risk: Moderately critical 10∕25 AC:Complex/A:None/CI:Some/II:None/E:Theoretical/TD:UncommonVulnerability: Access bypassDescription: 

This module provides support for creating searches using the Apache Solr search engine and the Search API Drupal module.

The module doesn't sufficiently take the searched fulltext fields into account when creating a search excerpt. This can, in specific cases, lead to confidential data being leaked as part of the search excerpt.

Solution: 

Install the latest version:

Also see the Search API Solr Search project page.

Reported By: Fixed By: Coordinated By: 
Categories: Technology

Introducing Single Sign-On for the Cloudflare Dashboard

CloudFlare - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 18:00
Introducing Single Sign-On for the Cloudflare DashboardIntroducing Single Sign-On for the Cloudflare Dashboard

The Challenge of Managing User Access to SaaS Applications

As the  number of SaaS services people use everyday grows, it has become more challenging to juggle the number of password and multi-factor authentication combinations users have to keep track of to get online.

Adopting identity services have allowed companies to centralize employee authentication. With Cloudflare Access, companies can ensure employees use a company managed identity provider when accessing websites behind Cloudflare. Last week, Sam published a blog on how Cloudflare has made it easier to connect Cloudflare Access to the Atlassian suite of tools.

Since Cloudflare has simplified access control for corporate applications, many enterprise customers have commonly asked for the ability to extend the same ease of access and control to the Cloudflare dashboard itself.

Single Sign-On for the Cloudflare Dashboard

Today, we are announcing support for enterprise customers to use single sign-on (SSO) through their identity provider to access the Cloudflare dashboard.

Cloudflare is a critical piece of infrastructure for customers, and SSO ensures that customers can apply the same authentication policies to access the Cloudflare dashboard as other critical resources.

Introducing Single Sign-On for the Cloudflare Dashboard


Once onboarded for SSO, all company user logins to the Cloudflare dashboard redirect to the customer’s identity provider. Once all required authentication checks complete successfully, the user is seamlessly redirected back to dash.cloudflare.com and logged in.

Leveraging Access & Workers to Build SSO

At Cloudflare, we  dogfood our own services as both a way to make them better for our customers and to make developing new services more efficient and robust. With SSO, this is no different. Authentication configurations are managed through Access, which allows us to launch with support for the same identity providers available in Access today, including SAML.

Cloudflare is 8 years old and we built our user authentication system way before Cloudflare Access existed. In order to connect Access to our existing authentication system, we built a Cloudflare Worker that converts Access authentication tokens to our own authentication tokens. This greatly simplified the code changes required in our system, and results in faster SSO logins because the Worker runs at the network edge and reduces the number of round trips required to authenticate users.

In addition to leveraging Cloudflare services to build Single Sign-On, we are moving all Cloudflare employees to use SSO through our existing G Suite setup. This ensures Cloudflare can uniformly enforce multi-factor authentication policies for the services we protect with Cloudflare itself.

How to Start using SSO for the Cloudflare Dashboard

Cloudflare Enterprise customers can reach out to their Customer Success Manager to learn how to start using SSO to log-in to the Cloudflare dashboard. If you are interested in using SSO yourself and becoming a Cloudflare Enterprise customer, then please get in touch.

Categories: Technology

Pakistan reserves verdict in Asia Bibi blasphemy case

Anglican Ink - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 17:58

Top court to announce verdict 'later' in final appeal by Christian mother facing execution for insulting Prophet Muhammad

Lightbox2 - Critical - Cross Site Scripting - SA-CONTRIB-2018-064

Drupal Contrib Security - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 17:57
Project: Lightbox2Version: 7.x-2.x-devDate: 2018-October-10Security risk: Critical 18∕25 AC:None/A:None/CI:Some/II:Some/E:Theoretical/TD:AllVulnerability: Cross Site ScriptingDescription: 

The Lightbox2 module enables you to overlay images on the current page.

The module did not sanitize some inputs when used in combination with a custom view leading to potential Cross Site Scripting (XSS).

Solution: 

Install the latest version:

Also see the Lightbox2 project page.

Reported By: Fixed By: Coordinated By: 
Categories: Technology

Nigerian primate issues appeal for South Sudan

Anglican Ink - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 17:52

Archbishop Okoh's October letter to GAFCON

Pages

Subscribe to oakleys.org.uk aggregator
Additional Terms