The Logical Anarchy Podcast EP 57 – Vault 7 and Some Thoughts on Left Libertarianism


The Logical Anarchy Podcast – Vault7 Leaks and Some Thoughts on Left Libertarianism

Joe and Jon come at you to talk about the Vault7 leaks and some other topics like left libertarianis, taxation, and property.

Vault7 and the Choice Before Us by Jon Torres

The Vault 7 Leaks

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Vault7 and the Choice Before Us

“JUDGES: At this grave crisis in the history of our country, you have been offered a peculiarly desirable gift, a gift almost too opportune to be of human origin: it almost seems heaven sent. For you have been given a unique chance to make your Senatorial Order less unpopular, and to set right the damaged reputation of these courts. A belief has taken root which is having a fatal effect on our nation — and which to us who are Senators, in particular, threatens great peril. This belief is on everyone’s tongue, at Rome and even in foreign countries. It is this: that in these courts, with their present membership, even the worst criminal will never be convicted provided that he has money… … Let us imagine, on the other hand, that this great wealth succeeds in undermining the conscience and honesty of the judges. Well, even then I shall accomplish one thing. For the general conclusion will not be that the judges failed to find a guilty defendant — or that the defendant lacked a competent prosecutor. On the contrary: the deduction will be that there are no good judges in the land” 1.

I open with this poignant quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero because we seem to be at the same point today. We are faced with the same choice. Turn a blind eye or confront and condemn evil for what it is. In Cicero’s time, he was confronting the corruption of Gaius Verres, a governor in one of Rome’s oldest provinces. Sicily. Verres was brought to judgment for complaints brought against him by Sicilian communities under his rule. Large amounts of money were demanded in restoration from Verres, so his case dealt with extortion and other accusations of abuse 2. Some (the reactionary left) may think that our modern-day “Verres” is President Donald Trump. Perhaps. But if that is true, then these same people need to likewise condemn Obama, Bush, Clinton, the older Bush., Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, and so on down the line. For all of these men have put the citizen’s rights in danger through their executive orders and actions. All of them are guilty of the same crimes as Gaius Verres. Indeed, anyone with any government authority is party to some immoral crime in some way. All deserve to be prosecuted by a skilled orator like Cicero. Cicero was successful in convicting Verres for his crimes, though unfortunately for Cicero, his love of freedom and posturing against tyranny would eventually make him a martyr. But the “Verres” confronting us today is something larger and more insidious than anything Cicero could have dreamed of. The extortion and abuse of power is beyond that of anything Verres could have ever hoped to achieve. Our modern-day “Verres” is not a single man, but government. The CIA and the “deep state” specifically.

What is Vault7?

Vault7 is the Wikileaks code name for the largest release of leaked information on the Central Intelligence Agency that has ever occurred. It details a frightening arsenal of Orwellian like weapons used to spy on… well… everyone. Wikileaks notes:

“The first full part of the series, ‘Year Zero’, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election… ‘Year Zero’ introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of ‘zero day’ weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones” 3.

Essentially, Vault7 contains information to make you apologize to your tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist friend for all the grief you gave him.

You’re TV and other Smart Devices are a Microphone

EDB (Embedded Development Branch) is essentially a piece of malware the CIA used to attack smart televisions and other devices and allowed the microphone on these items to be used as a listening device 4. This sounds so insane that it just couldn’t be true, but the leaked information shows otherwise. You have “Pterodactyl” which was a project designed to be a “custom hardware solution to support media copying” 5. “Gyrfalcon” collected user information and passwords. “Sparrowhawk” logged keystrokes. Wikileaks notes:

“The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server” 6.

This is some really creepy privacy and property invading criminal activity. As an Anarcho-Capitalist, I put no stock in the US Constitution as a useful document. But there are many big “L” libertarians and Conservatives that worship the document. What happened to the 4th amendment?

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” 7.

By their own laws, they are not allowed to do this and yet here they are doing it. They are spying on you and me with the ability to enter our respective properties through our electronic devices and gain information outside of the legally proper way as outlined by the US Constitution. I hope this historical point can serve as a reminder and I suggest understanding what Lysander Spooner meant when he said, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist” 8. My dear limited government friends, your precious document has done nothing for you!

Other Uses of EDB and “Russian Hackers”

One of the most frightening revelations in the CIA leaks is the ability to hack a modern cars computer. Wikileaks again notes, “As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations” 9. It’s very clear in some leaked notes how a branch meeting was set up in applying this malware to things like vehicle systems 10. Think about that for a minute. That is terrifying. Also consider this:

“The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch‘s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques” 11.

What this means is that what the former Obama administration and the left are calling “Russian Hackers” may not actually be “Russian hackers” but the CIA pretending to be Russia. If the CIA can tamper with evidence like this, any accusation that Russia “hacked” the election is questionable and the narrative the left is trying to sell should be taken with a very healthy dose of skepticism. Perhaps the whole “Trump is a Russian puppet!” narrative was a set up by the CIA in the first place? It certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.

But I Have Nothing to Hide!

I have already had multiple people say, “It’s OK, I have nothing to hide so who cares if they are spying on me?”. That’s fine if you think that way, but your preferences are not shared by everyone else. Some of us like to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and your silly case of Stockholm syndrome is not shared by others (such as myself). So it is absolutely a violation of my person and property and your apathy to having your rights infringed has no business being forced on me. Nor is such a perspective an argument. You’re preference for being spied on through all of your electronic devices by some jerk in Langley Virginia does not count as a sound refutation of the outrage felt by people like myself.

My property is mine and no one else has the right to improperly access my property. You don’t get to set permissions about my privacy or my property.

This brings me back to the beginning and Cicero. He brought up an important question to the Roman Senate and other government officials of his day. He gave them a choice. The Senate could continue to believe that its own were above the law and they could continue to let special interest rather than justice prevail. By doing so, the perception of the Senate would continue to decline in the eyes of the civilian population. The populations both domestically and abroad would understand how “there are no good judges in the land”. Or they could save face and serve justice. What has all of this done for us? Has it made us safer? Obviously it has not.

As an anarcho-capitalist, both of these options can work in the favor of true liberty. Ideally, we want people’s delusions regarding government to be shattered and discarded. The other side, that of “good guys in politics” actually holding the CIA responsible (and maybe by some divine miracle abolishing it), is a shrinking of governmental power. Both option can be used to further liberty. But keep one thing in mind:

If this was 1776 and King George was doing this, it would mean war.

Notes:

  1. Cicero, M. T., & Grant, M. (1965). Cicero: selected works. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books.
  2. Ibid.
  3. W. (2017, March 7). Submit documents to WikiLeaks. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/
  4. Vault7 Analysis. (2017, March 7). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/#ANALYSIS
  5. EDB Projects. (2017, March 7). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/page_524313.html
  6. Vault7 Analysis. (2017, March 7). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/#ANALYSIS
  7. The Bill of Rights: A Transcription. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript
  8. Spooner, L. (2006). No treason: the Constitution of no authority. Homewood, IL: ABC Zine Distro.
  9. Vault7 Analysis. (2017, March 7). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/#ANALYSIS
  10. Application of EDB. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/page_13763790.html
  11. Vault7 Analysis. (2017, March 7). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/#ANALYSIS

The NAP (The Non-Aggression Principle)

This is a video about the ethical principle at the heart of anarcho-capitalism, voluntaryism, and consistent libertarianism. The Non-Aggression Principle.

Walter Block on the NAP
Mises Wiki

 

Liberty Classroom!


Child Labor and the Third World

I have seen the above video making the rounds on Facebook. I have seen people calling for boycotts, regulations, and other methods of “combating” situations like this for children in the third world. I think all of those solutions, while they mean well, are absolutely the wrong way to go about this. Situations like the one in the video above are used by those ignorant of economics with giant bleeding hearts to further some wrong-headed solution they think will save these children. I have written about child labor in the past, but since this video is making the rounds, I figured that I should cover the topic again 1.

Is Child Labor Really Bad?

For many, such a question seems pointless. “Of course it’s bad! That’s why we abolished it here in the United States!” they say. My retort is usually, “Did outlawing child labor actually end child labor?”. “Of course!” is usually the reply. I think such a reply outs such a person as both ignorant of economics and history. So lets delve into why such a common “fact” isn’t actually fact at all. Austrian Economist Ludwig Von Mises noted that, “in the capitalist society there prevails a tendency toward a steady increase in the per capita quota of capital invested… …Consequently, the marginal productivity of labor, wage rates, and the wager earners’ standard of living tend to rise continually” 2. Such a statement seems like a bold claim, particularly in such a climate as we have now where the average person has a relative skepticism of capitalism due to socialist and statist propaganda. “Capitalism” is a dirty word these days. But as the data has shown, free markets and economic freedom are directly correlated with a higher standard of living 3. The graphs below show how those in nations with more economic freedom (who more closely resemble a truly unhampered market), enjoy many other benefits associated with a higher standard of living.

We can see that government taking a step back from the economy creates more economic freedom which means those that live within a country are able to more easily accumulate capital. Accumulating capital raises the standard of living which lowers the amount of full-time hours required to survive and also means things like child labor become unnecessary. Thomas DiLorenzo notes that in 1870, the average number of hours considered “full-time” were 61. Today, it’s only 34 4. And if the data shows that less regulation, not more, creates a higher standard of living, that means regulations like abolishing child labor either do nothing to improve the standard of living or actively make the rise in the standard of living more difficult.

Bangladesh is a perfect example of this. In the 1990s, Bangladesh was faced with the United States and other western nations banning imports from the poor country because of its use of child labor. The Bangladesh government passed laws banning child labor which forced factory owners to fire around 30,000 children 5. No doubt those with bleeding hearts suffering from economic ignorance would count such an outcome as a victory. Unfortunately, it was not. Those that think such an outcome was ideal (hooray! We ended child labor!), are blind to the unforeseen consequences that occurred. I want to ask such people who may have cheered at this outcome, what they think happened to those children? Did they just magically go to school? No, of course not. Those kids took the sweatshop jobs because it was better than any other option open to them. “According to the British charity Oxfam, these kids didn’t go back to school or find better lives. Most of them took worse jobs or ended up on the streets. Thousands of children went into prostitution” 6. Those ignorant of the economic realities of the world don’t seem to grasp the fact that ignorance has consequences. Whether they realized it or not, their preference for ending child labor in Bangladesh was a preference that said, “I would rather you kids become prostitutes and sleep on the street than work in the ‘terrible conditions’ of the sweatshop”.

So what we have learned here is two-fold: (1) Free markets and economic freedom are directly connected to a continually rising standard of living. It becomes easier to gain capital and lowers the required number of hours of labor to live, which means longer work days and work weeks are no longer needed and children eventually no longer need to work in order to help support the family. (2) People will always seek the maximum value. In the case of job selection, they want the best pay and the best conditions and how these things are balanced are going to be subjective to each individual (that’s why here in the states, someone becomes a crab fisherman and someone else, a chef). Which means when even a child selects a job in a mine or factory, it’s because that was probably the best option available to them. So limiting that choice of that child is probably the worst thing those with bleeding hearts can do (as made clear by the Bangladesh example).

Back to the Congo and What to Do

So let us go back to the Congo. What are the options for this kid in the video? Well, prostitution is probably his last option after this mine since prostitution, and child prostitution in particular, are still a huge problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo 7. Either prostitution or child soldiering seem to be the only other viable job opportunities to these kids 8. UNICEF reported in 2011 that 30,000 kids lived on the streets 9. Really, given the nature of this data, that kid is probably a lucky one to even have a job mining. The fact that Sky News and those sharing the video are not talking about the lesser options available to kids in this country is a giant red flag that they want to push anti-capitalist propaganda at the expense of children rather than actually help said children.

So what is the solution then? Pressure, but of a different kind. Instead or pressuring bans and government regulation, pressure should be placed on the Congo government to liberalize markets. Currently, The Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked 117 in economic freedom, placing it in the “mostly unfree” category 10. Given the data already presented here, the solution is quite clear, free up the market and let that liberalization of the market allow that observation Mises had in a rising standard of living to occur naturally in the country. This would easily phase out the need for child labor. For those who want to do something, they should put their money where their bleeding hearts are and provide economic opportunities to people there by investing in businesses that will treat their workers kindly and fairly (or starting their own business there that will do just that). Create a demand, and there will be an entrepreneur there to provide it.

As a final thought I would like to point something out. Child labor has been around since before the idea of “capitalism” was even coined. Children had to work because, as I have already noted, their was not enough capital accumulated to phase it out. It wasn’t until the advancements brought about by capitalism that created efficiency and reduced the needed number of hours spent laboring, that children no longer needed to work. Simply put, those that want to place the laurels on government for ending child labor are doing so on false claims. The data provided here, hopefully, clearly illustrates that point.


Government Funding in a Service is an Admission That Said Service is Not Needed

So now that Donald Trump has taken office and promised to cut funding to many areas dear to liberals and progressives, the left is trying to fight back. I saw a liberal friend on Facebook post the following status, urging people to call their senators in support of PBS Kids.

I live in Southern California and it is very liberal out here (obviously), and I see many of my friends and family getting angry and/or lamenting the possible reduction in government programs (both real and imagined proposed reductions). And seeing this post reminded me of something a friend of mine, Sterling Reece (an author over at Altar and Throne, go check them out) had said recently:

Advocating for coercive government funding of a “needed” program is an admission that said program provides zero value.

This is because these people think that if coerced funding for these programs were cut, these programs would cease to exist. And this is a tacit confession that these services actually have no market value. I for one think something like PBS could exist on the free market. Of course I do. But these liberal doom soothsayers think otherwise. Their argument doesn’t even argue for what they want. If they truly believe that these services would disappear without coerced funding, than that means that funding this project is a waste and it should of course be cut. Why drain people’s wallets to support something that isn’t needed? And if they believe that this service does provide real market value, then why do they fear the idea of funding being cut? If the service is so fantastic, then it could easily be funded on the free market voluntarily.

This is really just a classic case of regular people having a tenuous grasp on logic. They want something to be true and they work backwards trying to cherry pick evidence in order to make it true. But was we all know, that’s not how truth works.