Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Natural Law vs. The Legal System

There has been quite an epic debate raging in the comments section of my post on Jim Townsend's book regarding (among other things) Natural Law vs. The Legal System. Ben has played a worthy devil's advocate bringing up some interesting points. Having an unlawful legal system is certainly an issue worth addressing and educating ourselves about. Have a look through and consider chiming in with your thoughts on these topics. Peace.


Ta Wan said...

Too long, didn't read.

Ben is an argumentative dick.


Being an argumentative dick though he is fulfilling his role in the infinite so well done there.

Until he prescribes HIS thesis on happiness for all who want it then I'm not speaking to him.

And if me calling him a dick does not make him smile (thus doing my bit for global happiness) then I prescribe my own medicines on happiness on my blogs for his perusal.

Where I must add that unless his comments are on happiness for all and how he is setting to contribute, I won't waste the energy to turn to fart in his general direction.

Anonymous said...

The debate raging between Ben and Eric concerns two different philosophies, and it will be useful to clarify them.

On the one hand Ben is arguing that the individual should be subservient to the state. On the other, Eric is arguing that the state should be subservient to the individual.

Ben: “The laws invoke a higher power than the criminal, the power of the society”.

Eric: “If you're a free man, you are not bound by the legal constraint of another man/government”.

While we consider the merits of their arguments let’s also look at the kind of societies that these philosophies produce. The reality beyond the rhetoric.

The dominance of the state over the individual is the philosophy that has given us feudalism, communism, and fascism. It has given us imperialism, conscription, slavery, torture, and let’s not forget the inquisition. The surveillance state is one of it's most recent children.

The dominance of the individual over the state is the philosophy that has driven emancipation movements.

Still undecided? You can always sit on the fence.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

It does make me smile, thanks Tao!

I am not actually trying to be a dick (although it does happen inadvertently) - difficult as it may be to believe, I actually am looking for truth. Most of my arguments involve me being the dickish party, but I'm usually the one who changes his mind the most!

We should be subservient to the state in some respects, absolutely. I'd never argue that there should not be limits to that subservience, of course - as you say, there are obviously undesirable outcomes if it goes too far. However, every society in the world requires subservience to that society to some degree, so it can be applied well too. The question is, how much is too much or too little? We obviously have differences of opinions there.

I should note too that although I am disagreeing with Eric et al, I do think that the presence of such opinions is very necessary in order to prevent a slide into those undesirable systems. Without differing opinions to argue back and forth, we may never notice something is wrong.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

I admire your intellectual independence, with all us anarchist types ganging up against your lone voice (on this forum).

I recognize that you are "looking for truth". And I'm glad that you have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge your current position is based on the philosophical perspective I described above. You write, "We should be subservient to the state in some respects, absolutely."

Now, I presume that you are not a fascist, communist, or imperialists, all of which are in fact different paths to the same thing — dictatorship. So your current argument is hedged. If I may paraphrase: the state must rule, but not too much. You wish the debate to be about boundaries rather than principles. You urge balance rather than absolutes.

Your position reminds me of a story concerning Noel Coward and a beautiful socialite. Coward asked her if she would sleep with him in exchange for a million dollars.
"Yes," she agreed.
"Will you sleep with me if I pay you one dollar?" inquired Coward, pulling out a coin from his wallet.
"Mr. Coward!" snapped the young lady, "What kind of woman do you think I am?"
"You've just told me what kind of woman you are," explained Coward, "all I'm doing is negotiating price."

I hope you understand the point. It's why Eric described you, dramatically, as a "slave". Once you agree to be submissive to the state the question of boundaries is not as important as you imagine. You have diminished yourself and accepted a class system which can be used against you and others.

You argue, "The question is, how much is too much or too little?" That question is very dangerous and best avoided. History has repeatedly shown us the answer of those who wield power.

What I notice in your arguments is that you fail to differentiate between terms, for example society and state — they are not synonyms. The state is the effective government within the society, a tiny elite and it's minions, not the whole society. Even in so-called democratic countries the state is controlled by a self-selecting class.

If you subscribe to the view that the state can limit your freedoms and direct your actions, the idea that you can negotiate with the state is an illusion. Look at what happens to those who seek to negotiate:

Best wishes,

Eric Dubay said...

Very well put, Nonoun. Thanks so much for your insight. I'd really like to win Ben's understanding, as he is obviously a smart guy, but his manner of debate just leaves me feeling drained and apathetic. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric and Ta Wan,


I think Ben is putting forward an honest, inquisitive perspective. And his starting position is far more commonly held in our society than "ours". Most people would think that Ben is the voice of common sense and reason. We have grown up in a statist system, it has been rammed down our throats through the education system, media and religions, etc. It's extremely difficult to visualize a non-statist system. To most people the very idea is nonsense. Give the guy a break.

The only reason why I've bothered to engage in this dialogue is because I recognize that Ben is a reflective thinker and capable of developing and modifying his understanding. There's not one of us in the research community who hasn't struggled with trying to understand and see through the propaganda we've been bombarded with. You used to be a fan David Lizard-man Icke for goodness sake. Sorry, but don't step on this guy's toes. He's not a dick, and his manner of debate is just fine.

If his thinking doesn't change today that's fine. Maybe he needs time to think things through or maybe we've failed to present the arguments convincingly. Or maybe, just maybe, we're wrong.

As far as I'm concerned Ben is a brother looking for truth, and he's where he is on that journey. I admire your work Eric and Ta Wan, but don't slap down a brother. You've both been walking this path for years and you're still confused about things. Sorry, but give the guy respect.

and kisses,

Anonymous said...

Hey the masons must have censored my last post. Maybe they've moved from ATS and are now infiltrating the Atlantean Conspiracy. Oh well, I'll just stop contributing if that's what you want. No point arguing with the power. Idiot.

Eric Dubay said...

You keep re-posting your comments so you got caught in the spam filter. I didn't delete anything. Idiot. :) J/K Haha, I love your perspective Nonoun, don't give up on us. As for Ben though, I've debated with his brother (I assume this is Matt's brother Ben) for years about similar issues and this is just how they are. They can "philosophically" go on and on as long as you'll run with them, but in the end they maintain the same perspective they began with. It's an exercise in futility as far as I'm concerned. I've got better things to do with my time. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Ooops. Is that egg on my face? Looks like I'm the idiot. Humble apologies.

I don't know your background with Ben, but if he's like you say, then I can understand your frustration. I don't like to waste my time either. I still wouldn't call him a dick, in the UK we'd call him a nob.

By the way, I'm reading this amazing work by history Prof. Antony Sutton, (Standford University). It's called America's Secret Establishment. It's on the same lines as Carroll Quigley's Anglo-American Empire. It's amazing stuff. Several poor quality pdf's seem to be available for free download on the internet. It's well worth studying.

Okay, better crawl back under my rock. Nonoun, you're an idiot. Idiot.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your restraint nonoun - although Eric's assumption as to my identity is correct, your evaluation of my philosophical approach is more accurate. Eric's is understandably limited by the fact that every time we've argued, neither of us has changed our minds. Therefore, it's probably not surprising that both of us think the other isn't interested in actually discovering truth, since obviously only a moron could fail to understand the arguments we have so eloquently and convincingly put forward! (sarcasm directed at both of us, of course)

If he had a more representative cross-section of my arguments, he'd probably agree that I am actually quite willing to change my mind. I don't say this to toot my own horn, it's just the way it is. Most people I argue with would probably also call me an argumentative dick too, so I'm not sure I'd even call it a good thing. I think it's because philosophically, I have no attachment to most of my beliefs, so I dont get very offended when people attack them. Most people (quite understandably) are more attached to thier beliefs, and I easily forget that attacking those beliefs can be seen as a personal assault whether it is intended as such or not. I imagine this tendency only gets stronger when, like Eric, you've devoted much of your life to a single belief.

As far as the government stuff, ideally the state is an apparatus of the society - as was envisioned in the US Constitution, for example. I would certainly agree that our implementation is flawed and in need of change, but that's not the same as all governments being inherently invalid.

Now there's another interpretation I could glean from your comments, which is that while a government may not be fundamentally undesirable, it inevitably devolves into an undesirable form. That's an argument that I think has substantial merit.

Because of my being an argumentative dick, I can't help but also respond to your example of sleeping with someone for money. I realize that you probably meant it as more of an analogy, but I feel compelled to point out that it's fundamentally different; I "sell" a portion of my freedom to the government not because I get anything in return exactly, but because I think other people's freedom to do certain things should be limited. I want to know that other people aren't allowed to drive thier car on my side of the road; naturally, I'd prefer it if only I was allowed to do whatever I want, but I acknowledge that if I want other people to be forbidden from doing something, I can't be allowed to do it either. That, I think, is the fundamental reason behind the creation of laws.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

Why do you assume that you need the state to mandate what the laws are?

Let's take your driving example. Most often a young child riding a bicycle on the road will ride on the correct side, depending on the customs of the country. Why is this? Because she is aware of the law? Hardly. Because she is afraid of getting run over? Perhaps, but you will see the same phenomena even if the child is cycling on a private road with no other traffic to be concerned about, even cycling on a wide footpath in a park.

Humans learn appropriate behavior by copying the customs in their society and by absorbing the values of their community. Awareness of the law happens fairly late for most children, but they are not usually arch criminals before that awareness arrives.

Anthropologists studying hunter-gathering tribes with no legal system haven't discovered communities ransacked by lawlessness. Before there were laws there were customs, traditions, values, and community — a kind of peer pressure.

If you are visiting an area and ask directions from a local they will usually help you, not because there is a law demanding they do so but because that's how people are expected to behave.

Despite what the media tells you people are generally keen to help others and cooperate with them. The degradation into lawlessness is a response, primarily to living in a corrupt, grossly unequal, and competitive dog-eat-dog system, which is why most crime is still related to money. The "law" is an essential part of our degenerate system.

I would challenge you to study a little about the history of how common law came to be codified in England and Europe during the middle ages, and the history of how the law has been used to impoverish and even enslave people. That may inform your thinking concerning the origins and purpose of the legal system.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. Most people are just trying to get along, and will conform to society’s expectation of their own volition. As Eric put it, the reason most of us follow the rules is not just the written law – it’s our understanding of what is best for the society as a whole. However, and this is the important part – not everyone will. People are inherently selfish (to wildly varying degrees), and often will not respect the common good on their own without some incentive.

Now when you’re talking about a kid on a bike (let’s call him Billy), you’re right, we don’t need a law. Most kids will drive on the right side of the road on their own. Not all of them will, but that’s fine for kids on bikes. If Billy rides his bike on the wrong side of the road...nothing happens. We all survive. The consequences for aberrancy are negligible, so no one suggests we need SWAT teams to converge on little Billy if he goes against the grain.

This analogy breaks down when you start talking about more complicated situations. Say I want to assert my freedom to pilot an aircraft without a license. Now the consequences of aberrancy are significant. If I screw up, even in a small plane, and crash it into the Empire State Building, the loss of life is potentially staggering. That’s what this is about – where the consequences of aberrancy are significant, we need additional assurances that some irresponsible or simply ignorant person doesn’t screw it up for everyone else. Simply saying "Dude – NOT COOL" isn’t going to be sufficient.

We can take different examples too – this stuff can in a way be thought of in terms of the economic concept of externalities. We can discuss any activity with a negative externality, of which there are a great number. Many of these aren’t particularly significant – if Billy’s on the wrong side of the road, it might inconvenience another oncoming biker who now has to avoid him, but no catastrophic event is going to ensue. In these situations, no action is needed to ensure compliance, because the inevitable noncompliance is no big deal. In other situations, like flying a plane, or owning a stockpile of Anthrax, or grazing my cows in the path of a train, the consequences of aberrancy are much greater. If only a single person chooses to ignore the societal convention against doing these things, we have a serious problem.

This is what I meant when I said Eric hasn’t transitioned from the theoretical to the specific. Convention is fine for Billy, but what works fine for Billy doesn’t work fine elsewhere. Billy, and the old less (technologically) developed societies, don’t have the capability to inflict as much suffering as we do today. It doesn’t even need to be malicious – we can accidentally cause serious harm. The traffic barrier on the highway is a restriction on my freedom to drive wherever I wish, but when I fall asleep at the wheel, it’s a damn good thing that restriction is there. If I fall asleep while carrying water back from the stream...who cares?


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

Your pilots license and laws didn't stop 9-11. The prison population and crime rate suggest that your laws don't prove much of a deterrent. Most of the political and corporate corruption that blights our societies is legal, such as tax avoidance, corporate bailouts, and the revolving door.

Anonymous said...

And soup kitchens still don't stop hunger from happening - but that doesn't mean we should stop trying to feed the starving. Because something isn't PERFECT does not mean it is not BETTER. No system will ever be perfect; that argument is not applicable.

At the risk of falling into semantics, I note that your wording "Most of the political and corporate corruption that blights our societies is legal" implies, perhaps unintentionally, that illegal action is relatively uncommon compared to legal action. This implies that the distinction between legal and illegal is actually an effective one - you just think the line is currently drawn in the wrong place. I think pretty much everyone would agree with that to some extent.


Anonymous said...

Ben, you are like Nelson Mandela playing chess. His strategy to winning was not based on skill but patience. Despite the weakness of his position he attempted to win simply by dragging the game out, hoping his bored opponent would resign in frustration. Tenaciousness is a wonderful quality and highly prized in many fields, and yet tenaciousness by itself does not form an effective, intelligent argument. Your position gets more ridiculous with each comment you make.

I'm afraid Ta Wan and Eric were right in their diagnosis. You are not using this discussion constructively. You are a bore. It's as simple as that.

I will answer your last two points before I wash my hands of you. I'm confident that you will feel the urge to reply, so make it a good victory speech. I have better things to do than play your pointless game.


Anonymous said...

Continued ...

Your argument has now degenerated into defending a system which you admit is deeply flawed on the grounds that doing away with it is not necessarily better. You write, "No system will ever be perfect; that argument is not applicable." Yet that is the very basis of your argument. While acknowledging that most people in a society would conform to it's values and traditions you wrote, "However, and this is the important part – not everyone will." If you refuse to acknowledge the bankruptcy and duplicity of your reasoning there is no hope for you.

Your second stab was to try to reposition my argument so that it appears to agree with you. You write, "you just think the line is currently drawn in the wrong place." This is either proof that you haven't been listening, are too dim to understand the arguments presented to you, or that you are playing the rhetorician with the skill of an imbecile.

The argument put before you has been that an elite control a fraudulent legal system and use it for their benefit and the determent of all others, whether by demanding taxation and licensing etc, or establishing laws that protect their interests over those of the community, etc. The very reasons the lines are drawn in the wrong place (as you acknowledge) is because the legal system is a tool of oppression. It's lines are not "errors" but the purpose of the system. The legal system protects the elite while controlling the community. It will always do that because the system is the product of the elite, designed to serve them. The criminality of the elite cannot be dealt with by the community because they are protected by the law. The problems of the community cannot be dealt with because the disaffected are imprisoned.

Ben, your arguments are prattle. If you want to save face have the intelligence and honesty to acknowledge your reasoning is hollow. If you prefer to stick to the ruins of your argument, I advise you to think carefully before you write your "victory" remarks, as you are likely to make yourself sound even more the twat.

Anonymous said...

You guys are hilarious. There will be no victory speech, as there has been no victory. There hasn't even been a battle, for goodness' sake!

I've attempted to discuss an issue and been met not with reasoning, but with repeated statements with no supporting evidence. You are, of course, free to think that my arguments are prattle - but at least have the decency to explain why! That's kind of how a discussion works, is it not? If you make a statement, and I make a counterargument, making the same statement again (adding only the modifier "by the way, you're an idiot if you don't agree with me") isn't very helpful, now is it?

I assume that by accusing me of being duplicitous, you're referring to the fact that while asserting that the natural law system isn't perfect and therefore we need something better, I also acknowledge that the legal system isn't perfect either. In that case, while I would suggest that there is a better way to go about it than calling me dim-witted, it would be a somewhat valid point.

I'm not sure how many different ways I would have to say it before I'm understood - I'm not saying, and I have never said, that the legal system is perfect. I've said that we're talking about a balance here (a Yin and a Yang, for the new age types). The purpose of the legal system is not to be perfect or to eliminate all crime, any more than the purpose of a soup kitchen is to feed everyone on the planet. The purpose is to eliminate SOME crime, to give up SOME freedom in exchange for SOME security.

Although both common law and the legal system are flawed, we have to make a judgement between them - noting that laws aren't perfect isn't by itself a reason to switch to common law. Notably, the fact that common law isn't perfect is also not by itself a reason to switch to the legal system - we would need to establish that given that both are imperfect, which one is better? You guys appear to be saying that common law is self-evidently better, while I'm trying to argue that this isn't the case.

I am not entirely certain why you guys love to characterize my position as if I think laws are the perfect solution, when I've explicitly said otherwise in about every other comment. It is a very curious thing for anyone who is actually seeking the truth to do.

As an aside, I think I should note that there was a point in my life when I would have called myself an anarchist, so it's not my overarching worldview to "love control and bureaucracy." Saying that I just love the state or wish to "win" this argument by nefarious means, while it may sound dramatic to an outsider reading the conversation, rings pretty hollow in my ears.

Anonymous said...


Eric Dubay said...

At the risk of falling into semantics...

Too late Ben! :)

Ben, you are like Nelson Mandela playing chess. His strategy to winning was not based on skill but patience. Despite the weakness of his position he attempted to win simply by dragging the game out, hoping his bored opponent would resign in frustration. Tenaciousness is a wonderful quality and highly prized in many fields, and yet tenaciousness by itself does not form an effective, intelligent argument. Your position gets more ridiculous with each comment you make. I'm afraid Ta Wan and Eric were right in their diagnosis. You are not using this discussion constructively. You are a bore. It's as simple as that.

Very well put! And true to form let's see Ben's response:

I've attempted to discuss an issue and been met not with reasoning, but with repeated statements with no supporting evidence. You are, of course, free to think that my arguments are prattle - but at least have the decency to explain why! That's kind of how a discussion works, is it not?

No matter how much "reasoning" or how many excellent examples, facts, links, definitions, anecdotes etc. we have given, no matter how many different ways we respond, Ben just says "you didn't answer my question" or "you didn't explain why" or "you have no supporting evidence."

We ARE answering your questions Ben. We HAVE explained ourselves. And we HAVE given supporting evidence. All you do is say "no, no, no, but, but, but" all day long and you think you're engaging in legitimate debate, when in fact what you're doing is running in smaller and smaller semantic circles until your opponent realizes your petty game, leaves the conversation frustrated at your lack of forward-thinking, and you sit there assuming you're some intellectual giant that can out-debate everyone. Congrats!

Anonymous said...


We know that you are not attempting to engage in a constructive dialogue because you continually sidestep our criticism of the legal system. You monotonously drone that you believe it is better to have a legal system than not, irrespective of its origin, purpose, application, and effect on society. You dismiss criticism of the entire system as "imperfection".

If you believe yourself to be genuinely trying to engage in a debate then I'm sorry, but someone has to inform you that you are an imbecile, that your level of intelligence should be classified as a severe disability, and that your wisest course is to watch Bay Watch or something equally entertaining. As I do not know you, I feel that the only charitable approach is to assume that you are not an imbecile but instead a wanker: that is, some one who gets off on annoying others. I can't for the life of me find a third possibility. Frankly I don't visit this forum to babysit the retarded, or to satisfy the urges of the psychotic. Prattle on Ben, protest as much as you like, but I don't give a shit. I stood up for you, treated you with respect, and you respond by giving yourself a wank. Well bully for you.

Anonymous said...

You assume far too much about my intentions. I really, sincerely couldn't care less about feeling intellectually superior to any of you. To be frank, if I wanted to do that, there would be absolutely no reason to engage in conversation with you - I would have stopped as soon as I saw you state that the melting point of water is 33 degrees! Notice, too, that it is not me who has resorted to calling you guys idiotic - as far as I can see, the desire for intellectual superiority lies mainly on your side of the fence.

Typically, you have answered my objections to what I would call the first "tier." That is, you make a statement, I raise an objection, and you do respond to that first objection. However, when I raise an objection to that response because I thought it was invalid to some degree, that is when the ignoring kicks in. You refuse to go any deeper into the issue. It seems almost as if you can't conceive of a reasonable person who disagrees with you, who would ask for more explanation than your initial response.

Conversations about actually important things generally aren't decided in two statements. There is give and take here - it's a process. Your reasons aren't as ironclad as you seem to think they are - and that doesn't mean you're wrong by any means. My reasons aren't ironclad either. It just means maybe you can't 100% prove your entire thesis in two paragraphs. I mean come on, if it were really that obvious, wouldn't everyone be on your side? Do you really think everyone else besides you is that stupid?

This is an extremely important issue. That's why I'm raising all these objections. The "but, but" is an essential part of the discussion if you ever want to transition from the theoretical to the practical. Your thesis needs to apply well not only to Billy on the bike, but to Frank with his assault rifle. You can't take your thesis and apply it to the easiest situation and say "oh, that proves it." You have to apply it to the most difficult situation. Objections aren't useless - they are the essence of justifying your stance! It is not "sidestepping" to say "OK, that works in this situation - but what about this one?"

As far as you go Nonoun, if your idea of treating someone with respect lasts only until it becomes obvious that I don't agree with you and then you switch to insults, I can just as easily live without it, thanks.

Eric Dubay said...

King's.............................. Knight............................... ................... A ............................... 7

Your Move :P

Anonymous said...

GeorgeWBush: "Let us not entertain outlandish conspiracy theories."

Modus Operandi: Fascist acts like fascist then complains about being called a fascist.

Here comes Ben with his trousers pulled down and sticky hands.

Modus Operandi: Same old bullshit, different wanker.

As far as Nonoun goes Ben, my idea of treating someone with respect lasts only until it becomes obvious that are a prat.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it! By saying chess moves, you make it seem like I'm playing a game, so you can safely ignore everything I say. Damn, you are one clever devil!

So, I'm curious. Is your plan to insult everyone who disagrees with you until they admit you're right? I'm sure you're going to accumulate a huge following and effect sweeping social change that way. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Ben, you don't disagree with us. You nod your head, profoundly declare that nothing is perfect, and then restate your original position, (which is to defend a deeply imperfect system). This is the oldest debating trick in the book. You don't engage with the issues, you dismiss them. Hence there is no possibility of a meaningful discussion. You annoy everyone, and they rightly tell you that your up yourself.

To debate this issue constructively the initial discussion needs to center on defining the problem being discussed. The very opposite to dismissing the problems being raised.

For example, one of the central criticisms of the freeman movement is that the law is constructed by a small self-serving elite. This argument could be challenged by appealing to the "democratic" nature of our institutions, or more realistically emphasis could have shifted from the failings of the legal system stem to failings in the democracy. Of course you cannot divide the two, which opens the path to agreement, the problem now being defined as both the legal system itself, and failings in our democracy. That is a restatement of the freeman position, but still it may have been a useful discussion. Having agreed on what the problems are it is possible that we would disagree about how to approach finding a solution, but that's potentially a good thing, especially if alternative approaches to the solution can work in harmony.

For you Ben, all the problems with system, it's origin, it's purpose, it's application, and it's effects, are dismissed as imperfections in an imperfect world. If the problems are to be dismissed what is the point of the discussion?

Anonymous said...

I can see how you might think that, but I have never actually dismissed any of the imperfections, because we haven't ever gotten around to specifically discussing them. I have only stated that since all systems are imperfect, the imperfection of the legal system is not - in and of itself - an ironclad or sufficient reason to do away with it.

In a vacuum, yes, that would sound dismissive of its problems - but the context was in response to Eric's thesis, which uses those imperfections to categorically dismiss the legal system as an option. If I were in a common law country arguing for the creation of a legal system, this would be completely inappropriate, but that's not the case here. My position is the status quo. It is my position which must be assaulted, not yours.

Eric mentioned the burden of proof earlier, but he had it backwards. The burden of proof is not on me. If you want to change the system, the burden of proof is always on you. It is not enough to say it's imperfect. Everything is imperfect. You must explain why your system is better, which means that you must examine the flaws of the legal system and explain why common law solves them without creating too many auxiliary problems. You have only just begun to examine the issue through this lens in the most recent comment, except where it has been distorted by irrelevant dramatics and wild exaggerations.

Now if he were taking SPECIFIC situations and explaining how they are wrong and his system is right, then my saying "the system isn't perfect" would be wildly inappropriate, but that hasn't happened here, except in the case of Billy and his bike, which no one really cares about. That is exactly what I've been trying to steer the conversation towards by bringing up difficult situations that we can discuss - in response, I am accused of "sidestepping" the issue and/or being an imbecile.

As long as the discussion remains purely theoretical, my saying "yeah, it's not perfect" remains valid, because the only argument you have is "it's not perfect." Well yeah. Great. There's nowhere to go from there. My system is imperfect, so is yours...I guess we go get a beer and call it a day. There's nothing to talk about. Nothing changes.

I've been trying to get us into the specifics so that we have avoid that deadlock and actually get somewhere. I've been resisted quite violently every step of the way.


Anonymous said...

The opposite of theoretical is not specific, it's practical application.

There's only one way that this discussion can be practical and that's if someone argues like a twit.

Ben, thank you for taking that role. As you can see, you were condemned and chastened by the community, without the use of laws. Even those who rushed to your defense soon realized what a joker you are and joined the verbal battering.

It won the grudging confession, "I can see how you might think that," and the retreat, "I guess we go get a beer and call it a day." Which is an acceptable result. You are still a free man, and the community doesn't have to listen to your linguistic and logically challenged rhetoric.


Anonymous said...

Ah, so now we arrive at the crux of the matter. "There’s only one way that this discussion can be practical and that's if someone argues like a twit."

So, if anyone attempts to discuss the issue or practical applications of it, they are automatically a twit? If anyone disagrees with you, they must be a twit? You guys have remarkably low faith in the intellect of other people. It's curious, considering your insistence that these masses of morons can effectively govern themselves. Should all those idiots like me be allowed to stockpile Anthrax at our houses?

You know, I'm actually trying to help you guys out here. There are a lot more people like me in the world than there are people like you. On this blog, Eric can get away with making ridiculous statements like "etymology isn’t the only way words are created" and no one calls him out on it because you guys already agree with him. Most people, normal people, would say "hey, so I looked it up and etymology is the study of how words are created, so he might as well be saying water isn’t always wet."

If you don't learn to have a discussion with those you obviously consider to be your intellectual inferiors without resorting to insults, you're not going to have a whole lot of luck convincing people to revolt against the Illuminati. It doesn't even matter if you're right or not; making ridiculous remarks and baseless insults will completely overshadow whatever validity your arguments may actually have. You are free to think everyone else is a twit, but you had best get better at hiding it if you want to get anywhere.

Now my personal suspicion is that all of this isn't actually intended to do anything of the sort; it's intended to create a "clique" of people who can come together and feel intellectually superior to everyone else because those other idiots can't see what's so painfully obvious. I've been trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but the way you receive disagreement is not particularly encouraging. Nor is the way you discount the life's work of experts in the fields that you claim to have greater expertise in, such as law and etymology.

Anonymous said...

By the way, "I can see how you might think that" is neither a grudging confession nor a retreat. It is an acknowledgement that perhaps other perspectives besides my own have some validity and should not be dismissed offhand.

Before I encountered this website and those who frequent it, the only people I knew of who so completely lacked the ability to do this were politicians. Interesting, no?


Anonymous said...


Eric Dubay said...

Here's the retarded straw man Ben creates:

Eric can get away with making ridiculous statements like "etymology isn’t the only way words are created" and no one calls him out on it because you guys already agree with him. Most people, normal people, would say "hey, so I looked it up and etymology is the study of how words are created, so he might as well be saying water isn’t always wet."

Here's what I actually said:

Traditional etymology isn't the only way that words are created. Just because a dictionary tells you one thing in Latin or whatever, doesn't mean that's the whole truth. Can your dictionary tell you why God is Dog backwards? Or Live is Evil backwards? Can your dictionary tell you the alchemical reason that Soul, Solar, and Solace are related?

So, by purposely leaving out the word "traditional" you create a lame straw man and easily knock it down. Yes Ben. This is what you do. Congratulations on using that razor-sharp intelligence once again.

Anonymous said...

That's not much of a straw man. If I were trying to create one, I'd do a better job, thanks. The "traditional" modifier doesn't make any difference, which is why I actually left it out. Do you think etymologists didn't think of everything you did and more? They're linguists, man. They do shit like that for a living! If a word had a "nontraditional" origin, the professionals most likely would have caught it. All of the origins you might suggest already fall within the realm of etymology, not outside it. Your insistence that you are more knowledgable than actual experts in this field is questionable to say the least.

Casual Observer said...

For the sake of clarity, I have to point out that etymology (and etymologists) don't create words. Etymology is merely the study of words, their meanings and how they are created. Etymologists are impartial observers and recorders of the origins of words. I think Ben is calling you out on that part of the statement, as opposed to the "traditional" modifier.

Anonymous said...


You're quite right to criticize Eric's comment. "Traditional etymology isn't the only way that words are created, etc." But in the context it's quite clear that he meant something like, "Usually, etymological explanations don't include the historic esoteric origins of words." (Eric, please correct me if my understanding is wrong. If I'm right, shame on you Eric. Sloppy English on a internet blog chat site. Whatever next?)

Ben, you contrasted our theoretical discussion with a specific discussion. As I pointed out these are not opposites. So, perhaps you too are guilty of sloppy English. Please try to explain again so that I might understand you better.


Anonymous said...

That interpretation would be just as flawed though. Etymology would be a pretty useless field if it didn't address the historical esoteric origins of words, wouldn't it? Isn't that the whole point of it to begin with? If it didn't do that, then we wouldn't need the linguists at all. My girlfriend is into linguistics, and the stuff she tells me about words sounds pretty esoteric to me!

Now let me be clear - I don't mean that he can't ever contradict experts. Experts have been wrong before. However, if you're going to do that, you'd better have some extremely compelling arguments - God being dog backwards isn't exactly the most ironclad argument. You should also be clear about what you're doing; the way it was phrased implied that the experts just don't look at this stuff because it's outside their realm of expertise, which is misleading. These guys are pretty thorough. They often know exactly when, where, and by whom a word was first used. Hell, they even know how words were pronounced.

Anonymous said...


Well, my point is not to defend Eric's thesis, rather to rewrite his text as it made sense to me. Perhaps he can tell me if my interpretation was correct.

I think that Eric's claim has some justification, at least to the best of my knowledge. I have three etymology dictionaries, none of which tell me the esoteric origins of words.

For example, Dog in the Encyclopedia of word and phrase origins:

First recorded in 1050 but probably born before then, dog is an early example of a “native” invented English word not borrowed from any other tongue. Before its introduction, the Teutonic hund had been the Old English word for the canine. Then dog (docga) first appeared in English as the name for a
now unknown breed of powerful hunds, the word dog eventually passing into other Continental languages.

Dog in Origin, Etymological Dictionary, Routledge:
(n hence v and the adj doggy): late OE docga: o.o.o., but prob echoic: cf the cant bufe and buffer (Sc cant bugher) and the mastiff’s woof! woof! ‘To lie doggo’: from a dog pretending to be asleep, with familiar suffix -o. The adj doggedrefers to bulldogs and

Nothing very esoteric about those explanations. On the other hand Solace is slightly more promising, but still not explicit:

Solace in the Encyclopedia of word and phrase origins:

Solace, meaning “comfort, consolation,” came
into the language about 1300, but no dictionary seems to have recorded the common phrase small solace, “consolation that doesn’t help much,” as in “You’ll find small solace in the bottle.” All my search turned up was great solace (grat solas), first re-
corded in 1400. Solace derives ultimately from the Latin solari, “to console.”

Solari does hint of a connection with solar in English. Sun in latin is solis, which sounds very similar to solace, but it isn't mentioned.

Solace in Origin, Etymological Dictionary, Routledge:

—n and v (whence solacement)—and solatium; consolable, consolation, consolatory, console (v)—and inconsolable. 1. Inconsolable derives, perh via EF-F inconsolable, from L inconsōlābilis, the neg of
consōlābilis, whence, perh via late MF-F, the E consolable.
2. L consōlābilis derives from consōlāri, whence MF-F consoler, whence ‘to console’; on the pp consōlātus are formed both consōlātiō, acc consōlātiōnem, whence OF-F
consolation, adopted by E, and consōlātōrius, whence E consolatory.
3. Consōlāri=con-, used int+sōlāzri, to comfort, with pp sōlātus, whence both the n

Which is even less helpful.

Can you recommend a standard, traditional, or mainstream Etymology dictionary that does clearly include the possible esoteric origins for words? I'd be very interested in getting hold of a copy.


Anonymous said...

The unspoken assumption in what you just wrote was that the connection you see does exist, whether it is stated in the dictionary or not. This is what I take issue with.

You can't argue that the dictionary doesn't give you the esoteric (perhaps, by the way, you could tell me what exactly you mean by "esoteric" – I suspect that you're operating from a slightly different perspective than what I interpret the definition to be) origin of a word just because it's not the connection that you perceive. Etymologists identify these possible connections which you have hinted at (solace, solar, etc) and examine them to determine what the real connection is. The etymologist is giving you the real explanation, which supercedes your initial impression. You may have thought the words looked similar, but the etymologist applied his years of expertise in the field to determine what is true and what is not. If the etymologist tells me that God and Dog have totally different origins, I am hardly going to say "But they look the same, you must be wrong."

Easy parallels can be drawn here with the classification of animals. Tuna and orcas both live in the sea. To the casual observer, they're both fish. However, someone who actually knows what they're doing examined them at some point and identified the real reason why the two appear related. When a biologist tells me that tuna and orcas actually come from totally unrelated origins, I am hardly going to tell him that he's wrong because they look similar.

By insisting that this connection exists even though the etymologist tells you otherwise, you are essentially assuming that you know better than the experts in that field, which is not necessarily false, but is certainly suspicious. If the etymologist doesn't give you the connection that you thought, it's most likely because the connection doesn't exist, there is another exclusive connection which has been proven correct, or there is not sufficient evidence to assert that the connection is valid. It is highly improbable that they just didn't think of it.


Anonymous said...


Your argument seems to be that etymologists research into the esoteric origins of words, however they rarely if ever discover esoteric origins, which explains why they don't publish them.

In support of your argument I'd like to offer the word assassin, rooted in hashish, as the revealing of an esoteric origin. You like specific examples.

"Assassin: drinkers of hashīsh, hemp (lit, herb). The Mohammedan order of Assassins, founded
c1090, flourished during the Crusades; its members got drunk on hashish before they went
out to slay Christians." (Origin, Etymological Dictionary, Routledge)

However, I would point out that assassin also supports Eric's claim that words can have esoteric origins.

Eric's claim, of course, goes deeper. He argues that many more words than generally acknowledged by etymologists, at least as far as we know through their dictionaries, have esoteric origins.

In support of Eric I'd like say Amen. According to etymologists Amen is Hebrew, and means "truly or thus be it" (Origin, Etymological Dictionary, Routledge). However several egyptologists and claim that origin of Amen predates the Hebrew and is in fact rooted in the name of the egyptian god Amun, (also spelt Amon, Amoun, Amen, Imen). That controversy certainly isn't discussed in my etymology dictionaries.

May I offer a synthesis: that etymologists do present esoteric origins in dictionaries if they are well know and not particularly controversial, but equally they maybe ignorant of the esoteric origins, or choose not to publish them if they are thought to be offensive or controversial. I think telling Christians that the origin of Amen maybe the name of an egyptian god would be controversial, don't you?

Finally, on Atlantean conspiracy pro boards, I recently started a thread "An everyday mystery," which touches on the origin of words. I'd like to hear your opinion about it.


Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble understanding exactly what you would consider "esoteric." To my mind, almost all words could be described as having esoteric origins, because most people don't know or understand them. It seems to me that you are only considering an origin to be esoteric if it consists of a connection with another word, which doesn't seem valid to me. Is that right?

I only object to your use of the word "equally" in your summary of how etymologists publish "esoteric" origins. As you say, they probably only publish them when there is concrete evidence and scientific consensus. We should have confidence, though, that they are smart people who are perfectly capable of doing their jobs without amateur supervision. It's not "equally likely" that they're ignorant of a connection you or I might find. They are, if not necessarily smarter, much better trained and experienced in such matters. The default position should be that they are right and we are ignorant, not the other way around. Just like we would never presume to tell an experienced biologist or carpenter or Stephen Hawking that they're full of it (unless we happen to be Stephen Colbert).

...While I don't see how that origin of Amen would be offensive, there is surely no denying that people can find some pretty innocuous stuff offensive sometimes. My only cautionary note here is that when there is a controversy in a field, there is usually a good reason for it.

Anonymous said...

Your posts on the forums are an example of an argument that is much more convincing than the connections usually presumed here on the blog. It's no big stretch to say that God being dog backwards is nothing - there are only so many ways to string together 3 letters, after all. But for all the days of the week to have been named not only after the same planet, but done so using similar words? Now that's a little more unlikely. It's still not proof, but it's not something most people would laugh off like they would the God-dog "connection."

Now the proper response to seeing that evidence still isn't to immediately conclude that there is a connection - it's to wonder if there has been a professional study or paper done on the matter. If you don't find anything, you might want to contact an expert with an inquiry. The point here is that you should assume that you are missing something, not the experts. Have faith in other people. They really are good at thier jobs, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Ben, you truly make me laugh.

Are you sure that you should spend time on a conspiracy website when your default position is to trust authorities to administer the legal system even though you admit the system is deeply flawed, and trust that what experts tell you is totally reliable, even when it has been shown that at the very least the situation is more complex than they reveal?

What conspiracies do actually believe?

How do you decide that etymologists know more about the origins of ancient Hebrew words than the archaeologists doing the primary research?

I feel we are writing in different languages, separated by logic gaps and poor communication, which admittedly is a problem with this medium, and so bereft of mutually shared knowledge that the culture gap is chasm. Why do you visit a conspiracy website when you take issue with every theory, and hold such reverence for established authority?

Let me ask you a simple question. Mathematical numbers are symbols, do you agree?

Do you know why the symbol for zero is a circle and the symbol for one a straight line?

Casual Observer said...

This is just a fascinating debate, so I've checked back. I think, as an outside observer, I see a little of the problem here. For instance, I believe the example on "Amen" - because I've read about it from sources that used compelling evidence for their claims. I don't believe the example for the "Dog" and "God" thing - because I've never read any strong historical/linguistic/sociological evidence for a such a connection.

I think the point here is that it's fine if you claim a word has an esoteric/alternative meaning than a traditional etymology dictionary as long as you support your theory with very good evidence. Ben's claim seems to be that Eric merely states a connection without giving support, which from my brief reading - I have to partially agree with. Now, if Eric made a supported claim grounded in history or culture such as (completely made up silly example here), "Well, God is dog backwards because the Saxons used to believe that dogs represented the perfect form of life and therefore the perfect spirit inside - and that spirit is God" then that would be a lot more reliable and believable than just stating the connection.

A corollary to that is: because most people would probably scoff at you if you told them that God and Dog are connected because one of the reverse of the other, a statement like that with no plausible support detracts from the speaker's overall authority with the reader.

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer

Sure, what you're saying is reasonable, but allowance has to be made for the genre.

Firstly, most of us don't have a collection of footnotes on hand, so not every statement can be backed up with some reference. Even when there is a reference the reliability of the source maybe questionable. For example, someone may give David Icke as source of information, but most of us are pretty suspicious of Icke. I quote Icke's "problem, reaction, solution," not because I'm a fan of Icke, which I'm not, but because the phrase is more easily understood than thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

Secondly, comments are written pretty quickly, which means the English is sloppy. We all make typos, our word choice is often poor, and there's likely logic gaps. It's like street talk not academic English. In street talk people say things like, "borrow me $5", when they are asking for a loan. Sure, academically you can tear them apart, but it's the gist of what they are saying that matters.

Thirdly, some of what people are suggesting isn't based on empirical evidence. It's suppositions, possibilities, theories, questions, and often carried away assertions that really aren't warranted.

And finally, not everyone can spend the time it takes to present well reasoned, fully thought through statements.

That's just the genre. So you have to take the information like that. Get the general gist of the theory. It might coincide with something you know, it might be something you want to research more, it might be something you can add to or refute, or it might be another batty idea that just possibly could, I guess, might be, no.

This is not really a great forum for arguing. Sure, if someone says something you take real issue with, but this is the short-sighted leading the almost blind.

Most of us here know that 911 stinks. Most of know that the ruling elite are corrupt and capable of anything. After that it's a question of trying to put the pieces together.

Personally I know system theory. I've found it closely resembles ancient systems of numerology, and the the Hegelarian Dialectic. The only external sources of information I trust beyond systems theory are a few historians, people like Carroll Quiggly and Anthony Sutton, and information that can be easily verified. Things like the similarities between Japanese and Hebrew.

There are a whole load of other theories that I bare in mind. I wouldn't have a vaccine. I'm aware of the arguments, and given what I am sure about I'm suspicious enough to stay clear. Do I know that vaccines are causing stokes in babies? No. But I'm glad to be presented with the theory and what evidence there is, and it makes enough sense to me to stay clear.

That's my personal take. I don't think that you can expect peer-reviewed articles in the comments section of a forum like this. Arguing against every theory, every statement, and claiming that the status quo and experts are the final authority is just gonna rub people up the wrong way, especially if you argue with assumptions, faulty logic, poor word choice, and non-coherence. Most people visit here because we've stopped trusting the authorities and the experts, and we're trying to understand our world. It's a minefield for the mind, but that's the game we're in. I couldn't give an fart about whether dog is esoterically related to god, but I am curious enough to find out if person means something other than human in law. It's easy enough to check.

Okay, I had my rant. Probably should be aimed at Ben, not you, but there you go.

Ben said...

Authorities in the technical sense of an authority on a subject, absolutely I trust them. Authorities in the sense of George Bush, not so much. Don't confuse the two definitions of the word. Ultimately it's a question of motivation: George Bush has an obvious incentive to lie to us – a politician stays in office by telling people what they want to hear. Biologists have no reason to lie to us when they tell us that fish and whales aren't the same. It wouldn't make sense to do that.

The reality will always be more complex than the experts reveal. That's why they’re experts. You don't need to know everything about everything, and in fact I'd wager it's physically impossible to store that much information in the human brain. This is why we have experts. If we could all understand it, then we wouldn't need them. The fact that they don't reveal everything is not a reason to distrust them; it's just the reality of a situation that is more complex than you can understand without the necessary years of training and experience.

I will probably be accused of semantics for the following, but what the hell. I am a skeptic - I wouldn't say I believe anything that's typically called a conspiracy theory. By convention if not exactly by definition, a conspiracy theory is unproven, and so I think it would be foolish of me to say I believe it. Now that doesn't mean I don't think some of them have some validity and might turn out to be true, like your stuff on languages or a few things Eric has mentioned before on other subjects that's pretty compelling. But do I "believe" them? No, I don't.

However, do I need to believe in conspiracy theories to discuss them? Absolutely not. In my opinion, it would be ridiculous to put forth a theory and then only discuss it with those who agree with you. It's pointless - as you might say, it's wanking (maybe? I tried). You won't get anywhere, because your beliefs won't ever be subjected to serious scrutiny. Regardless of how far you walk along that path, you have no idea if it's the right one or not. That's why I visit this website – to view opposing viewpoints and provide my own. You guys don't appear to value that exercise, which is...curious.

Yes, numbers are symbols, and no, I have no idea where they came from. Do you?

I think the Casual Observer is hitting one of these nails on the head, by the way, if their method of explanation is more agreeable to you.

Anonymous said...


"Yes, numbers are symbols, and no, I have no idea where they came from. Do you?"

If I say yes will you demand to see my PhD in mathematics, or footnotes and references to academic journals?

I have no PhD in mathematics. There are no academic articles as far as I'm aware. In fact I just have a theory.

Let me know what you think.

Zero is the symbol for an empty set. A circle with nothing in it. It represents non-existence. Historians tell us that the idea of zero was not easily accepted in western civilization. You might find that strange because the idea of a field with no cows in it is easy enough to grasp. However, I IMAGINE that the difficulty was because zero also means that you can have a universe with no god. Zero, an empty set, non existence.

One is the symbol for a continuum; a straight line.
Often it's written with lines at the foot and head. This symbolizes a unit within the continuum. Latin for one is uni, from which we get words like universe, unit, unified, unique etc. The universe is everything that exists, a continuum. A unit is something undivided. To stand united is to stand undivided. One is a continuum, something undivided.

The difference between 0 and 1 is existence. That which does not exist cannot be known, only that which exists can be known.

Now, I admit that's all theory, all argument. I can go on. Using the same reasoning I can explain why the symbols for 2, 3, 4, 5 etc are what they are. And I can explain some of the ways this is used. For example in philosophy, systems theory, politics, and art.

But I have no concrete proof. I offer no concrete proof.

Do you

A. Readily agree with the writers argument because you find it convincing.
B. Argue against the writer because he offers no hard evidence, and isn't an expert in the history of mathematical symbols
C. Find the writers theory interesting, bare it in mind as a possibility, and perhaps do your own research or thinking on the subject.
D. Other. If so please explain.


Anonymous said...

"This symbolizes a unit within the continuum."

If I can correct myself, that's not a good way to explain it. The lines at the beginning and end of one, symbolizes the beginning and end of the continuum. For example, human IQ ranges from, I guess some where from 60 to 220, let's say. That's the continuum, everyone can be placed somewhere along that line. Of course that's just a part of the IQ continuum, which might range from say an amoeba to possibly, an all knowing god. No that just may have made my explanation more difficult to follow, but hopefully, you get the idea.


Ben said...

I think I see what you are getting at. Along the continuum of numbers (which is infinite), you need to define one piece, which is 1. Makes sense.

As far as what I think of it, I'm not sure if I'd say B, C, or D. You have stated an interpretation which is certainly possible, but you haven't really made an argument for why I should believe you. It may be a useful mechanism if you were trying to teach a child the symbols, but otherwise there's no reason to think you're right. Thus my uncertainty - you haven't really made an argument that I could disagree with even if I wanted to. It's not provable or disprovable, because you haven't stated any reasons. As I used to say in middle school English class, we're merely conjecturing as to the intentions of the original author. There probably isn't any way to know what he actually meant unless we stumble upon a very convenient document.

While I am also unaware of any expert analysis, the Wikipedia article does provide some interesting data, including the different symbols used for these concepts by different peoples, which adds a little context to the matter.

Now as a footnote, one point which is factual here is that our current symbols were not invented at all, but derived from previous symbols which in turn were derived from previous symbols until you get to the first one, which was invented. I mention this as a footnote because it's not strictly incompatible with your interpretation, provided the initial symbol was similar enough to the current one, which the Wikipedia article (while obviously not authoritative) leads me to believe may very well be true. However, you may wish to clarify your theory with this in mind, since someone might dismiss it on this ground.

Ben said...

After looking at the articles, I would highly recommend looking at the Wikipedia articles for the other numbers 2-9. They have a handy "evolution of the glyph" section which is very informative. Does that jive with what you were thinking for those symbols?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ben, I looked at the Wikipedia articles on the development of the numeric symbols. But no, it doesn't connect with my theory. Those explanations mostly provide descriptions of the symbols at various stages, but apart from 3-4 they offer little explanation for reasoning behind the symbols. For example, there's no explanation for why an oval was selected as the symbol for zero, we are simple informed "Gautama Siddha introduced the symbol 0". For 1 we are told, "The glyph... traces its roots back to the Indians, who wrote 1 as a horizontal line." Again, no explanation about why they chose a horizontal line. The explanation for 2, 3,and 4, does offer an explanation about why, but for the remaining numbers we simply have descriptions, not the reasoning behind the symbol. My theory is about the reasoning behind the designs and their selection. I'm not offering a descriptive narrative of symbols design evolution.

Now, I want to pick up on your answer to my multiple choice question. You discounted A, which is sensible. But you didn't discount B, that is to argue against my theory because I offer no hard evidence, and I'm not an expert. This, I think it's fair to say in our discussion so far has been your standard position.

Well, my position is that you have no reason to argue against my theory. You admitted that you have no idea why the symbols are what they are. To treat my theory with skepticism is sensible (option C), but to argue that it's wrong is nonsense. You have no idea why the numbers are represented by their respective symbols. To discount a theory because it lacks evidence is no more intelligent than to accept a theory based on no evidence. That's elementary my dear Watson.

Anonymous said...

I made a typo. "apart from 3-4" in the first paragraph should read "2-4". I probably made other typos, but there you go.

Ben said...

Well, the symbol being traced back to the horizontal line does eliminate your hypothesis about the two notches separating the line from the continuum, since that wasn’t part of the original formulation of the symbol. Your approach isn't strictly incorrect, it's just being applied to the wrong symbol; it should be applied to the original symbol, which differs in some ways and requires some modifications to your theory. But all of that is tangential, I think. On to the more important stuff!

"But you didn't discount B, that is to argue against my theory because I offer no hard evidence, and I'm not an expert. This, I think it's fair to say in our discussion so far has been your standard position."

In a sense. I'm not exactly going to argue against the theory if you offer no hard evidence and are not an expert. I'm just going to argue that your theory needs a lot of support in order to overcome the fact that you’re not an expert. Notice that I haven't argued against your Herbew-Japanese connection because you have done exactly that, provided a lot of support. Eric, in his dog-God/soul-solar-solace connections, has not.

"To discount a theory because it lacks evidence is no more intelligent than to accept a theory based on no evidence. That's elementary my dear Watson."

This I don't think is correct. There are infinite theories that lack evidence – reducing the ones you'll consider to those which have evidence is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Say I'm part of the 9/11 Commission. Am I going to consider the theory that a sudden influx of bird droppings overloaded the roof beams and collapsed the building? Of course not. How about the theory that Russian scientists created abnormal wind conditions that exceeded the lateral bearing capacity of the structure? Hell no. There's no reason to think that.

Now, the theory that an impact weakened the structure? Sure – there was a plane impact. The theory that fires melted the steel beams? Sure, there was a fire. The theory that George Bush planned it? Sure, he profited politically. This is the essence of the investigative process. If we couldn't discount theories that had no evidence, we would never get anywhere.

You can apply this to more mundane applications, too. In theory, the ground could open up beneath my feet right now and I could be sucked down into the earth and have tea with Satan and Morpheus. I can't prove that this won't happen. But you know, there’s really no evidence for it, so I'm going to move on with my day without worrying about it. We discount theories that have no evidence every second of every day.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too can use sloppy English. I made a writing mistake. Instead of writing "To discount a theory because it lacks evidence is no more intelligent than to accept a theory based on no evidence," I should have written "to discount a theory without evidence is no more intelligent than to accept a theory based on no evidence." I should proofread every statement I write when dealing with fella like you. But never mind, I think the gist of my argument was clear enough. (note that I acknowledgecriticism of my writing mistakes rather than ignoring them – theory/specific?)

You write "In a sense. I'm not exactly going to argue against the theory if you offer no hard evidence and are not an expert. I'm just going to argue that your theory needs a lot of support in order to overcome the fact that you’re not an expert."

But you don't ask for supporting evidence. You don't ask Eric why he believes what he believes, you argue against him, even though your own argument is based purely on assumptions, and has no greater evidence to support it.

That's also a huge cultural gap between us, which makes me truly wonder why you visit this site. It's why your comments aren't valued. You believe in "experts" and "authority" like an 17th century protestant believes in the Bible. We don't have reverence for establishment rhetoric, which is why the website has "conspiracy" in its name.

What you don't seem to realize is that the "truth" is constructed. That goes for what you believe is true, and what I believe is true.

Take for example what constitutes a fact.

A evolutionist and a creationist are having a discussion. The evolutionist says what about fossils,
that's proof of evolution. The creationist replies, "No, God made fossils to test our faith."

In the same way, Eric argues, look at the origin, purpose, practice, and effect of the legal system, the system is corrupt and needs to be defeated. You reply, no, there just imperfections.

At times we can't even agree on what constitutes a fact, let alone how to interpret the facts. Add to that the problems with communicating in this genre, and you have a recipe for endless, pointless arguments.

You wrote "You guys don't appear to value that exercise, which is...curious."

It's not curious. The arguments you present are not helpful, not constructive, at least from my perspective. In just the same way that an evolutionist and creationists are not going to find each others arguments particularly valuable.



Anonymous said...

Look Ben, if you want to know why some of us believe in conspiracies why not research 9/11. And if that doesn't help you, why not research some of the other "conspiracies". Ones where the facts are no longer disputed, such as the Gulf of Tonkin.

If you're really interested, read the works of Carroll Quiggley and Antony Sutton. Sutton in particular will document exactly why we should mistrust "experts". Even the honest ones.

And if none of that appeals to you, why not read some philosophy, so that you can at least understand how complex the concept of truth is.

Now, really, sorry mate, but you've wasted enough of my time.

If your an evolutionist go and talk to some creationists to get your jollies. If you're a creationist go and chat with some evolutionists.

Have fun.


Anonymous said...

Here's an abstract from academic paper that outlines one reason why we shouldn't trust experts (my capitals):

Conspiracy Theories

Cass R. Sunstein
Harvard University - Harvard Law School

Adrian Vermeule
Harvard University - Harvard Law School

January 15, 2008

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-03
U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 199
U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 387

Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event. A recent example is the belief, widespread in some parts of the world, that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by Israel or the United States. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; THE SECOND CHALLENGE IS TO UNDERSTAND HOW SUCH THEORIES MIGHT BE UNDERMINED. Such theories typically spread as a result of identifiable cognitive blunders, operating in conjunction with informational and reputational influences. A distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy. Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, THE BEST RESPONSE CONSISTS IN COGNITIVE INFILTRATION OF EXTREMIST GROUPS. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.

First note how, if you don't accept government explanations you must be exhibiting "identifiable cognitive blunders." Note also how conspiracy theorists are transformed into extremists. Finally, understand what cognitive infiltration means — planting lies in order to discredit conspiracy theorists.

Well, bud, there's you expert. You trust him. I don't.

Anonymous said...

Oh here's the reference:

Ben said...

That "writing mistake" isn't particularly rebuttal applies equally well to the "revised" version. You're just playing semantics.

I assure you I am well aware of how complex the truth is. That has, after all, been the basis of half my argument!

Evolutionists and creationists SHOULD talk. Presumably, one of them is actually right. Say it was evolution, which I happen to think is more likely. If evolutionists and creationists never talked, the creationists would go to their graves believing something that is false. There's no value in that. Who wants to live their life believing in something that's wrong? Aside from Ta-Wan, I think most of us want to know the truth. If no one who disagreed ever talked, then we'd never learn new things as a society. We'd never progress.

In any case, I think it's obvious at this point that everyone involved is just tired of the discussion, so I think it's probably time to call it a day.

I believe most disagreements have more common ground than is initially apparent; I hope at some point we might figure out what that is. It has proven difficult so far...

Anonymous said...

You argue that "evolutionists and creationists SHOULD talk." Why should they? They can talk — but should? Why, especially if they cannot even agree what constitutes a fact, let alone how to approach interpreting those facts? But Ben knows best, those arguments are just ignored. The problems with the legal system dismissed — "imprefections." The apparent link between solar, solace, and soul dismissed — "you are not an expert." Even an explanation about why arguments are doomed not to achieve anything, dismissed — "people SHOULD talk."

You assume that either evolutionists or creationist are right. You mean that out of all the possibilities only one of these two beliefs can be right. You don't think that maybe they both has some glimpse of the truth within them, or perhaps they are both completely wrong. That doesn't even show awareness of the range of theories that exists with creationist and evolutionary camps.

No Ben, dismissal isn't arguing, it's not even the beginning of an argument. It's reactionary and stupid, There's no reason why we should engage with you when you simply dismiss our views in your arrogant and obnoxious way.

You want to end this conversation. But I thought you said people SHOULD talk. They can talk, if the conversation has any value. You disagree, "no,they should talk" yet your actions tell a different story. As Ta Wan said right at the beginning, "Ben is an argumentative dick."

Ben said...

...I thought you wanted to end it. Is that not what the "I've wasted my time enough with you" meant? We can continue if you like, I was just trying to be considerate; it seems obvious that you're not interested in conversation, so I thought continuing would be pushing it too far. Notice that it is not me who gets frustrated or resorts to insults.

I've already said many times that I have not been dismissing any problems at all. You have accused me of saying that, but that doesn't make it true. I suggest you read what I've actually been saying, instead of simply assuming that I believe whatever you think I do.

Arguments don't have to lead nowhere, unless they devolve into name-calling and a refusal to consider the possibility that you are wrong. Who said we can't agree as to what constitutes a fact? I don't think I ever said that. That fossils exist is a fact. That they prove evolution is not a fact.

It doesn't need to be either evolution or creation. It could be something completely different. However, both of them cannot be right, because many of their arguments are mutually exclusive. But if they never talk, they'll never figure anything out. They'll just assume they're right, because their logical flaws won't ever be pointed out to them.

Anonymous said...


"I've already said many times that I have not been dismissing any problems at all. You have accused me of saying that, but that doesn't make it true."

Which, true to form, is just another dismissal.

Ben said...

...Really? That's how you're going to respond? Really, now. Please tell me this isn't seriously the level of intellect I'm dealing with here. That would be extremely disappointing.

If you are going to claim that I believe things that I do not believe and have never said I believe, then yes, I am going to dismiss that claim. I'll make an exception for a statement quite that ridiculous.

Furthermore, if you intend to argue not with my opinions, but with some fantastical opinions that you have assigned to me in your mind despite me explicitly saying that I don't believe them, this conversation probably isn't going to go anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I claim that your arguments are not rightly called arguments. You do not engage with the thesis of other people, rather you dismiss their thesis on dubious grounds, "nothing is perfect," "you are not an expert," "it's not true," then, having simply dismissed their thesis you present your own.

Let us examine your response to Eric's simple proposition that solar, soul, and solace have esoteric, by which, in this context he means hidden religious connections. Your whole dismissal is based on credentials. Here it is:

"Do you think etymologists didn't think of everything you did and more? They're linguists, man. They do shit like that for a living! If a word had a "nontraditional" origin, the professionals most likely would have caught it. All of the origins you might suggest already fall within the realm of etymology, not outside it. Your insistence that you are more knowledgable than actual experts in this field is questionable to say the least."

Pure, total dismissal. Exactly like the creationist in my analogy. No engagement with the thesis, no engagement with the internal logic of the thesis, no enquiry, no antithesis, pure dismissal.

You might deny it, for all I know you might be so unaware of yourself that you can't see it, but that's exactly what you do. That's not constructive, it's annoying, and that's why you generate such hostility.

Antithesis: the negation of the thesis as the second stage in the process of dialectical reasoning. Not the arrogantt dismissal of the thesis.

Ben said...

The fact that you include "it's not true" as one of my illegitimate dismissals is amusing...what better reason would there be to dismiss an argument than it being untrue?

If you had read what I wrote with an eye to actually trying to understand me instead of trying to discredit me, you might also have noticed that I said that a simple Google search would have told Eric that those words have totally different origins. Now he is not only trying to say that there is a connection, he is trying to say there is a connection where an expert has said there is not. Very different scenario.

It's also amusing that you say my arguments are not rightly called arguments, when that is exactly what I have been saying about Eric's posts! Notice that he had no backup to his claim that soul, solar, and solace or Dog and God are connected - he just said they were, as though it were self-evident that he is correct. There were no reasons why.

Requiring evidence in order to believe something is not the same thing as arrogant dismissal. It's called skepticism. All I am doing here is suggesting that Eric might want to provide evidence for his claims instead of arrogantly stating them and assuming they are self-evident, which they are not to any reasonably skeptical person.

If you come out on the Internet with a theory and no evidence to back it up, and then call people arrogant, argumentative, and idiotic when they point out that you have no evidence, you really can't expect to get anywhere. Like I said, I'm trying to help you guys out here. By pointing out the flaws in your argument, you have a chance to fix them so that other people don't think you're an idiot. Criticism is a very necessary thing when your thesis is that the entirety of world society should be changed. That's not something we should just roll with because it sounds good. If the elite are as powerful as you say, then an attempt to overthrow them or negate their power is likely to result in millions if not billions of deaths. As a society, we can't afford to take that plunge without being certain that we're right.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that you include "it's not true" as one of my illegitimate dismissals is amusing...what better reason would there be to dismiss an argument than it being untrue?"

That's not true. See how it works? You didn't show it's not true, you just stated it's not true. And I proved that it was true. Here it is again:

"Do you think etymologists didn't think of everything you did and more? They're linguists, man. They do shit like that for a living! If a word had a "nontraditional" origin, the professionals most likely would have caught it. All of the origins you might suggest already fall within the realm of etymology, not outside it. Your insistence that you are more knowledgable than actual experts in this field is questionable to say the least."

Here's another example:

"Because something isn't PERFECT does not mean it is not BETTER. No system will ever be perfect; that argument is not applicable."

An amazing argument considering your previous statement was "As Eric put it, the reason most of us follow the rules is not just the written law – it’s our understanding of what is best for the society as a whole. However, and this is the important part – not everyone will."

You write "Requiring evidence in order to believe something is not the same thing as arrogant dismissal." True, and no ones expects you or anyone else to believe something without evidence and a logical interpretation of that evidence. I'm not arguing that you should believe Eric. I'm skeptical.
saying that dog is god backwards is on the face of it no more convincing than saying rats is star backwards. I am not criticizing your beliefs, I am criticizing the very thing I have shown, and you deny, that you dismiss people's concerns, people's theories, without any evidence to show that they are wrong. Even there are other explanations for the origins of these words, that in itself does not invalidate Eric's proposition.

The charge stands.

Ben said...

You do not need evidence to show that they are wrong. They need evidence to show that they are right. It's that little thing called "the burden of proof." We don't need to believe everything any crazy person tells us because we can't disprove it. If you want to change the status quo, the burden of proof is on you. If you want to challenge the generally-accepted derivation of a word, the burden of proof is on you.

You're right, I can't prove Eric wrong. I'm not trying to, either - I don't need to. If Eric never manages to present a coherent argument, he'll never convince any reasonable people, and he'll never upset the system. He's the one who wants the system upset, not me; I have no vested interest in this proposition. I have the home field advantage - all I need to do to win by default is point out the gaping flaws in his thesis.

Now on this website, surrounded by people who agree with him, he'll be fine. If all he wants to do is hang out with his conspiracy buddies and exult in the fact that they know all this secret stuff that everyone else is too dumb to get, he'll do great. I thought he was trying to move past that. If he keeps saying seemingly ridiculous things like dog/God or water melts at 33 degrees with no evidence that they're not actually ridiculous, that's not going to happen. You can redirect this discussion towards my personal flaws if you wish - I assure you they are many - but that's not going to do Eric or the conspiracy theory movement any good.

I've been wrong before, though - once or twice.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, your whole argument against the free man movement is not an antithesis but reactionary.
You don't challenge any of the propositions within the thesis.

1. The legal system is constructed by and for the ruling elite.

2. The legal system is used as a tool of oppression.

3. The legal system is based on deceit.

4. The legal system can legally be resisted.

All you have to say about these propositions is "nothing's perfect."

You write, "By pointing out the flaws in your argument, you have a chance to fix them so that other people don't think you're an idiot."

Where do you point out the flaws in that argument? You ignore that argument and leap into your own.

Your thesis is

1. Doing away with the legal system would not result in a perfect system.

2. Doing away with the legal system would leave us unprotected.

Those statements are not criticisms of the free man thesis. In addition, they are extremely weak arguments for reasons I have explained above.

Once more, you have not disproved any proposition in the free man thesis. You have argued that the thesis is not important because you prefer the current corrupt system. It's a point of view. Not one likely to be shared or valued among freedom seeking conspiracy theorists. It's a distraction to any discussion about the free man thesis, and culturally irritating for a group of people who do not share your slavish attitudes.

If I'm wrong, If I've misunderstood you, please go through the four propositions of the free man thesis, one by one, and outline your antithesis. That's a challenge. I await with interest.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you Ben, you have finally dropped your hypocritical mask.

“You do not need evidence to show that they are wrong.”

“You're right, I can't prove Eric wrong… I don't need to.”

“all I need to do to win by default is point out the gaping flaws in his thesis.”

Oh Ben, you can’t even do that. You just dismiss his thesis and protest that you are seeking the truth. Oh, Ben, your lies are showing now.

“… all he wants to do is hang out with his conspiracy buddies and exult in the fact that they know all this secret stuff …”

Ben, this the hate that you sought to hide and yet was so obvious and caused such hostility. Ben, you are nothing but a bitter twisted arsehole. You hate conspiracy theorists and you’re so fucked up you spend your time visiting this website just trying to piss people off. Pathetic Ben. You lose, Checkmate. You medical help. You need a psychologist.

Anonymous said...

For future reference Ben, the established or official version of reality does not enjoy home side advantage. Knowledge is power, which means not only that knowledge is a source of power, but that knowledge and what constitutes knowledge is constructed and structured by power. It's no more neutral or unbiased than the television news.

What I've tried to explain to you during our search for truth, is that even what constitutes a fact is a difficult issue. The word of God? A rock? Something said by a man in a white coat or printed in a learned journal?

After that thorny issue, you have the challenge of interpreting the facts. Not easy. Dog actually is god spelt backwards. Fact. Whether it means anything is another issue. Maybe, maybe not? Don't be so dogmatic as to argue it doesn't, unless you have convincing proof. Just be honest, you don't know. Try this, I can't prove that theory is wrong, but I believe this one ..." Okay. If it sounds like a better theory maybe people will be convinced. You got a better theory? Maybe the guy who bred the first Dog, it was a bred according to etymologists, had three kids named David, Oz and George. Heck do some research, back it up. Or maybe he actually was a satanist that thought reversing god would be fun if applied to a animal he "created". If you have a theory let's hear it, but don't be a bitch.

Now, I can understand that you hate conspiracy crazies. It's scary to think that you've been deceived by the priest in church, but scientist in his laboratory, or whatever. Don't sweat it if you can't deal with it. Watch the X Factor. Do something you can handle. You don't need to believe in conspiracy theories. Worlds a lovely place. Governments made of the finest men and we elect them again and again.

You can proves somethings Ben. 2+2 = 4. But even the theory of gravity isn't true at the quantum level, or so we're told. it's good if you can learn to live with ambiguity. But even if you can't try to live with a little less hate. Life is better that way. people might like you, instead of calling a dick.

Good luck Ben.

Ben said...

You guys consistently say that I believe things that I do not, and then ridicule me for it. It is an amusing tactic, if a little transparent. I'm not sure how you might hope to ever come to an agreement with anyone if that's your approach, but presumably you're not a hermit, so I guess it must work on some people.

I honestly don't have any idea how to converse against this tactic, though. I don't even think you're reading what I'm writing now, except to pull out isolated quotes to try to needle me with.

I think it's pretty obvious here who is trying to piss off who. Again, I am not the one constantly insulting you.

What is also interesting is that you have actually now begun saying something very similar to what I was initially saying, That even small seemingly obvious things can be difficult. I think we could actually have found a lot of common ground here - it's disappointing that you're too preoccupied with insulting me to actually try to converse.

If you read what I actually wrote, you would find me repeatedly saying not "Eric, you're wrong," but "Eric, it's complicated." I'm pretty sure I've never flat-out said he's wrong except for obvious things like the melting point. I have simply pointed out flaws with his argument and asked for explanation, because I assume it is best for everyone if his logic is sound and not riddled with holes. I ask because much of the time, when something doesn't make sense to me and I ask someone, the gaping holes that I saw turned out to be my own error. Here, those holes have been filled not with logical explanations, but with insults.

Who's the one full of hate, again? I can only assume from your constant insistence that I believe things which I don't (and have told you I don't) that you really have no interest here beyond insulting me.

Anonymous said...

Ben, there's no return from your last statement, but if you wish to continue please tell me your antithesis to these propositions.

1. The legal system is constructed by and for the ruling elite.

2. The legal system is used as a tool of oppression.

3. The legal system is based on deceit.

4. The legal system can legally be resisted.

Now, I happen to believe that there is a reasonable antithesis. But dismissal is not it. The moment you start addressing the thesis is the moment I'll return to sharing a proper discussion with you.

I entered this conversation in good faith, only to find out quickly that you "appear" not to be interested in exploring any thesis present to you. You dismiss them all. That is not the attitude of someone searching for truth, seeking to be constructive, or even acting with rational intelligence.

I have outlined the thesis of the free man movement as I understand it in four clear points. If you have an arguement against the thesis address the thesis. I await with hope.

Ben said...

As it seems that you wish to merely continue arguing against these fantastical beliefs that you are assigning to me in your head, I think it's probably safe to say this...I hesitate to even grace it with "argument" over. You're not even arguing with me, you're arguing with some imaginary hate-filled construct who loathes free thought and exults in ...I don't know what. Somehow it enjoys going on websites and being called an imbecile repeatedly, which seems a little strange.

It seems rather useless for me to continue responding; you have shown that you have not read much of what I have written, so I don't see any reason to think that you will read anything I might write in the future. You have been going on increasingly long rants which are increasingly off-base from anything I have been saying, and at the end of the day you parrot almost exactly what I said at the beginning of the discussion with Eric, while acting as though you're arguing against me. It is, shall we say, "remarkable."

Judging by the abundance of "you lose," "checkmate," "seek medical help," I'm guessing you're not particularly interested in continuing dialogue either. You merely wish to insult me, which doesn't actually require any input from me. My input doesn't seem to affect your idea of my beliefs anyway!

Anonymous said...

Ben, is that your way of saying that you have no antithesis to any of the propositions presented by the Free Man Movement?

You write that I didn't pay attention to your argument. Well, I did try to summarize it. Your thesis is

1. Doing away with the legal system would not result in a perfect system.

I agree with that, but only because perfect is such a strong word.

2. Doing away with the legal system would leave us unprotected.

I think that's a relative argument because we're not very protected now. It's certainly debatable. Maybe a very interesting debate. But it's not an anthesis to anything in the Free Man thesis.

If my summary of your position missed out anything important please just cut and paste it, or restate it so that a poor reader like me can notice it. Anyway, at the moment I can't find a word that you've written that offers an antithesis to the Free Man thesis, not one word. You're welcome to prove me wrong. I'm interested to see if you can do that. And if you can I will apologize.

But if you can't, then it does look as if I was right. No moaning on your part hides the fact that you have no antithesis — zilch. And that means that you were arguing against something when you have no argument against it. Kind of crazy don't you think? I mean, even the creationists has an antithesis about fossils. You know, God put them there to test us. That's an antithesis.

Now this is a kind of interesting place for you to quit. You see, if you come back to this website, and try the same disruptive trick, well I'm going to know how deal with you. I'll just ask you to state your anthesis. And if you haven't got one, and your argument is based purely on dismissal I'm simply gonna copy and paste this

"Ben said...
You do not need evidence to show that they are wrong."

Which is a kind of stupid statement if you think about it.

Now the ball's in your court Ben. Your antithesis — I'm waiting for it. No antithesis, and I take that as an admission that Ta Wan, Eric and myself were right.

Your antithesis is ....?

Anonymous said...

By the way Ben, even I've got an anti-thesis against the free man thesis.

I'll tell you mine if you mine if you tell me yours?

Anonymous said...

haha, what happened to that last sentence? It became a kind of riddle I guess.

Ben said...

Why would I have an antithesis? We haven't even been talking about it! That's the first time you've even brought up those four theses, and then you accuse me of not responding to them. It's really quite laughable. If those four theses had been what we were discussing for the past 100 posts, then you'd have a point.

I have no problem discussing them, but I don't have any particular desire to continue talking at you when you're not paying attention. It's a waste of time. If you were capable of a reasonable discussion without ignoring half the responses or resorting to pointless insults, I'd be happy to discuss it, but I see no reason to believe that you are capable of treating opposing viewpoints with any semblance of respect.

I also don't believe for a second that you actually entered this conversation in good faith, frankly. To be honest, I thought I was dealing with two different people the first time you switched to insult-laden rhetoric, so apparent was the contrast with your previous posts.

As I have said several times, I am not here to "win," but to understand. I don't care if you claim victory; you've already done that many times. I am only disappointed that you've proven incapable of explaining your reasoning to me. It may very well be that the problem is on my end, but it's obvious I'm not going to find anything but insults talking to you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you're right Ben. No, really. You don't attempt to present an antithesis to the Free Man thesis. You dismiss it. Your argument is that you can have a corrupt legal system designed to serve the interests of the ruling elite, criminalize, oppress, and exploit the population, based on deception, and that's better than not having it.

That's fascinating.

I'm sorry, I didn't get it. It strikes me as such a strange argument that it's taken me all this time just to understand. At first I thought you were arguing against the Free Man movement, then I realized that you weren't, I mean I realized that you were just ignoring their whole thesis without offering any antithesis. And I interpreted that to mean that you were just here to wind people up — not listen or engage with the argument. Sorry, you're not here to wind us up. You believe that such a corrupt and despotic system is better than no legal system. It blows my mind that someone can think that. But it's a point of view. You're entitled to it. It's odd. But okay.

No antithesis. Just it's better to be oppressed and exploited than to risk living in a freer society.

It still prompts me to ask, why do you come to a conspiracy website? I mean, we're not here trying to make sense of this crazy world simply so we can say, cool, that's how they exploit us, great huh?

Don't you see that your viewpoint is gonna be difficult for us even to understand? Not that your not entitled to it. But, you know, to me, you're view is kind of insane. But, okay Ben, you views are your views.

Casual Observer said...

Wow, it's been a little while since I've visited, but I can't help notice how far from anything you guys have gotten. It looks like you really need to either quit while you're behind, or exchange email addresses and continue this exchange off Eric's website. (Not that either of you probably want to give the other any semblance of personal information.)

I think ultimately I have to agree with Ben. He has occasionally been an "argumentative dick" here, occasionally rude and even once or twice said something contradictory, but I haven't seen him derail the conversation and resort to petty insults quite as much as Nonoun. What does the Free Man Thesis have to do with anything? If you're looking to merely get him arguing with you in a reasonable mannner about something, Nonoun, this probably isn't the correct forum in which to start an entirely new conversation. I'm not going to say that Ben necessarily came here in good faith (who knows?), but you can't expect someone to respond reasonably when they are constantly attacked and put on defensive. I'm noticing Eric is staying out of this, too...hmm. If I were him, I'd probably shut down comments at this point.

The bottom line is, most likely neither of you are at all like you sound here to one another. Both of you (and Eric in the main body of his website) have shown good writing and have made good points at one moment or another. Chances are better that the medium in which you are conversing is causing too much noise and confusion for anyone with such different views to be able to work together and establish an adequate baseline.

Ben said...

Correct, I have no antithesis, nor did I ever say I had one. I don't even really believe the legal system is definitely better. I have only ever been pointing out issues I saw with applying the common law idea to practical, specific applications. All of these ridiculous dogmatic beliefs Nonoun has been arguing against exist only in his mind, not mine.

I am well aware that people on this site will have trouble understanding my views, just as I have trouble understanding theirs. The point of starting a conversation is to work through that wall. It is obvious that this conversation has failed in that respect, as the Casual Observer notes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Casual Observer for your wise judgement and ruling concerning this debate. Your proclamations are like the voice of God, and your scoring impeccable. If you haven't noticed however, moaning about my insults is not a criticism I take seriously, in fact I find it kind of childish. Like politicians who insist that politeness is to accuse their opponent of being economical with the truth rather than being a liar, so much of "polite conversation" is nothing but a weakness to be frank. You are entitled to your opinion, but I consider it the utterance of a self-appointed fool.

Ben, I understand, you have no antithesis, zilch, you just prefer living in an oppressed society rather than trying to live in a free one, bless your cotton socks.

You remind me of the house slave that so roused anger in the black emancipation movement. "I live in the big house. Do not abolish my slavery. What will happen to me? I may have to live with those calloused hand niggers."

But I will not challenge your perspective any further unless you give me call to. You are entitled to embrace your slavery with pride. You are a post-modern man Ben, and one day it maybe that you ask that question which can only occur to a postmodern mind. The question is this: Am I alive? When you ask yourself that question, and one day you will, remember this, freedom is as essential to the growth of a man as being is to his existence. Without freedom you can never be fully alive. You will only ever be one of those zombies seen in a B horror movie. I hope one day that you will stop being a house slave.

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer,

This is what I call a heated debate: