The Distributed Republic is a blog community created by members of the original Catallarchy blog. Members blog from a classical liberal viewpoint on a variety of topics. There are no broad restrictions on viewpoints as long as a civil tone is maintained.

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Government Healthcare Revisited

After further exploration into the Obamacare debacle, I decided to delete my post from last summer: The Last Stand of Government Healthcare. I realized it was very idealistic both in its assumption that Obamacare was in fact a healthcare scheme -it is almost entirely about insurance and insurance alone, and in my belief that all those "conservatives" who say they do not want the government meddling in healthcare would actually bother to do something about it. They tried to give us a President Romney. If they continue on this path I predict that the next Republican presidential nominee will be Alec Baldwin. I sure do miss the days when I believed in Democracy.

Don't be a Warrior

Okay. I'm back. It looks like I can't stop blogging. But I'm cross-posting everything at my personal blog in case Jonathan gets tired of paying the hosting fees.


Do not think of yourself as a warrior or imagine that the world is filled with enemies. It is too easy for the young soldier to declare war on the wrong target - it is surprisingly difficult to choose the right ones. Many intelligent and honest people find themselves on opposite sides of pitched battles. Frequently they even switch sides as they grow older, fighting ferociously for the position which their younger selves abhored.

Even if you win your war, you may find that the evils caused by the excess of some thing give way to new problems caused by its deficit.

Furthermore, the warrior is not an effective agent of change. The very nature of war is to divide people into allies and foes. An attack generates its own enemies, polarizing neutral bystanders into opposing camps.

Rather than be a warrior, be a builder. Tell a story that appeals to the universal values cherished by human hearts. Synthesize opposing viewpoints into a new worldview that unites former enemies. A fresh story has no enemies and it spreads without resistance, like a fire through dry grass.

In all the teachings of Jesus, he spared hardly a word for the pagan religion of Rome that his religion would replace. He was not on a mission to tear down the old world, but to build a new one. His story of hope, love, and deliverance appealed to Romans surrounded by a brutal and capricious reality. As a builder, he was far more effective than any warrior. The humane, egalitarian ethic introduced by Jesus is still a potent force in the world 2,000 years later.

That is why my I no longer think of my political activity in martial terms like a "warrior for liberty" or a "patriot". I grow tired of the eternal war between libertarian, socialist, progressive, and conservative. As I mature, I recognized the good motives and valid points of my former enemies. Instead of fighting old wars I'm focusing on building new viewpoints which can help people from all political ideologies create a better world.

My current attempt is Structuralism. I used to call it "Structural Libertarianism", but I realized that the structuralist ideas are useful for everyone, not just libertarians. By using the term "libertarian" I imported the old conflicts as if I'm so used to fighting that I forgot how to live in peacetime.

New blog

Hey y'all, reactivating one more time to say that I'm posting at a new blog. is the address. As I'm in graduate school now it should be less fire-breathing and more academic, but Eleutheria, Praxis, Kosmos is still the guiding principle. I hope to see you there.

The Conservative Temperament

Here's one final post before I migrate permanently over to my new blog. I urge you to subscribe to it by rss if you've enjoyed my brief time here. I am happy to entertain invitations to write on other group blogs that would like to have me.

I've been a fan of Catallarchy for almost it's entire lifespan. I was honored to write here amongst my betters. Farewell.


The conservative temperament means accepting the constraints imposed by the current state of the world. Social change is possible, but activists need to acknowledge human nature if they are going to succeed. A plan that involves dissolving the nuclear family or eliminating humanity's selfish instincts fights against millions of years of evolution. It's bound to fail.

Conservative philosophers understand the path-dependency of human culture and the cost of working against it. You will never find a conservative activist calling for a 10 day week or eliminating religion, even among the atheists! Rather, conservatives push for the development of social institutions that work harmoniously with human nature to increase our well-being, including market economies and property rights.

This is why conservatives are not social liberals. All human societies with some amount of social equality have settled on the traditional nuclear or extended family as its smallest unit of organization. Logic does not prevent an enterprising young person from doing a little erotic theorizing to invent novel romantic arrangements, like polyamory. But the conservative's private life isn't some puzzle to be optimized. He knows that people are happiest in long-term monogamous relationships. He knows that being married is the best way to live longer, to stay out of poverty and prison, and to provide a healthy home for his children.

The conservative temperament holds some influence over me. It makes me careful to design my policy recommendations to sell to real human beings, with all their limitations and biases, and not logical robots. But I am too much a libertarian to use the law to support social arrangements that I think are good for people, as conservatives often do. I believe in the primacy of individual liberty as the basis of human dignity. But conservative thought makes me less eager to support or recommend novel social arrangements than many libertarians. It leads me to question the libertarian orthodoxy that says we can be happy by living however we want.

The Distributed Republic / Catallarchy: 2003-2011

I think it's about time. We're near our 8 year blogiversary and I just don't have the juice anymore, and neither do my co-bloggers. Thank you to all who read, and all who commented over the years.

I'll leave the site up. Please keep us in your RSS in case in some future time, we revive it.

Is Taxation Theft?

FYI: Is Taxation Theft? is being debated over at Alas, a Blog.

The Fair Tax?

Heard a guy on Coast last night pushing the fair tax. I'm 100% against it. Why?

Because the problem in this world isn't the distribution of the money but the length of the food chain. If a person only pay a tax on new purchases exactly how will this shorten the food chain? So zillions of poor people get what amounts to more welfare. Big deal. If they pay a 36% sales tax on every cent of it how will this shorten the food chain? The poor and the working poor spend most every cent they can get their hands on and that is why they are poor. I suppose state lottery tickets will be exempt from the tax?

The stinking rich, on the other hand, don't know how to spend even 20% of their net increase on new consumer items. They buy companies and hard assets thus more power over the poor and the working poor.

Under the fair tax would a used car to be more valuable than a used car? This should drive down the cost of a rental car. And a used house more valuable than a new house? Just asking. Then there are the gold bugs. Will used gold be more valuable than new production gold bars?

My morning at magistrate court

Paying traffic fines really chaps my ass. I got pulled over about six weeks ago for driving without my seat belt on. Just as you’d expect, a few days prior I’d taken all my car documents out for some reason, so I also got a ticket for not having insurance. I brought that to court and had that charge dismissed, but I still got slapped with the fine and fees for the seat belt violation. The breakdown is a great example of local government in action:

Automation fee $10
Since none of my transaction was automated, I can’t imagine what this is for.

Mag[istrate] Facilities fee $10
While I don’t like the idea of any of this, at least it was actually in magistrate court. However unwillingly, I did sort of use the facilities. I don’t think I got ten dollars’ worth out of the fountain, but maybe the water is extra expensive there.

Jury and Witness fee $5
This was a pretty simple victim-and-clerk transaction, without judge, jury, or witnesses, so who knows why I had to pay this.

Correction fee $20
So generic that it’s hard to say anything about.

Traffic Safety fee $3
The only thing I got pulled over for was not having a seat belt on. Not reckless driving, not running red lights--basically, nothing unsafe except possibly for myself.

Judicial Education fee $3
Is the judge taking night classes? Is this for the sack lunches for Take Your Child to Court day?

DV Treatment fee $5
In this case, “DV” is for domestic violence, a practice I’ve never engaged in, and one that’s not in any way related to traffic either.

Brain Injury fee $5
This is my favorite one. The state trooper harasses me and makes me late for work over something that I should be allowed to do, and then the county makes me pay for it.

Fine $25
At long last, here we come to the punishment, a fine amounting to 29% of the take they demanded before I could leave.

Queso contrabando

Driving across the bridge from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua into El Paso, Texas, you see a lot of signs. This is prohibited, that is required, these documents are necessary, those items are banned.

One of the many things banned by federal regulations is the import of cheeses made with unpasteurized milk. I admit I’m no expert on cheese, pasteurization, or even decent food, but I do suspect that when the FDA bans something that works perfectly well only a few miles away I don’t have any special reason to fear it. (Scary FDA warning here.)

Asadero cheese is one such food item. It’s commonly used in northern Mexican cooking, particularly melted or baked. It is delicious, and all us law-abiding suckers up here have to get by with substitutes that aren’t quite the same thing.

Or, of course, you could live on the border, have relatives or contacts on the other side, and occasionally get a little taste of paraíso.

Apple stock is going to hurt a lot of people

Remember my co-worker who walked away from his mortgage after buying at the peak? I talked to him recently and he says he knows "a guy" who can hook him up with Apple stock. No kidding.

This guy is the poster boy for the uninformed investor who gets in at the peak, sells at the trough, and then plays victim. He's not alone--Apple has achieved social transcendence. It's no longer just a company; it's something bigger. It's Americana.

A lot of people are going to be hurt by Apple's stock.