Gov'ment Do Take a Bite, Don't She?

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New at Reason: Reason subscribers have had their tax season soothed by Brian Doherty's feature on the tax honesty movement, which honors your constitutional right (?) not to render unto Caesar your daily bread. In honor of tomorrow's filing deadline, we're bringing tax honesty to the rest of you cheapskates, and unlike the government, we're doing it at no additional cost to you or your family. Also, in a sidebar, Doherty explains why the movement believes what it believes.

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  1. Doc,

    “Wind baggery” aside, aren’t there good moral arguments that taxation is just plain wrong? An ad hominem directed at Mr. Schiff doesn’t address the principles involved.

    The government is taking our money. Technically it’s with our consent because we sign the damned forms. But I bet most people are like me, who signs the form because he believes that, if he doesn’t, sooner or later he’ll go to jail, or at least be compelled to surrender the money through liens. And companies are compelled to perform withholding without benefit of compensation for the service they provide the government.

    I must admit, I am not well read on taxes or the protest movement. But like the boy in the George Ade fable, I just sit here thinking.

    It’s not right.

  2. For those who have a problem comprending the GOV. mumbo-jumbo of USC 26 , go to http://www.861.info
    A free download will explain the law. An open mind is required.

  3. NPR did a piece the other morning on Irwin Schiff. It went on for about 5 minutes, but didn’t get to the substance of Schiff’s arguments. It was more of a “Gee, this is an odd subculture”-type piece.

  4. Doc,
    Do you feel the same way about war protesters,drug law protesters,and Constitutionalist?Is it all wind baggery?

  5. One argument that I’ve heard against the legality of the income tax that wasn’t one of the 5 in Doherty’s list is that the 16th Amendment was never actually properly ratified by the states according to the Constitutional requirements for ratification and is therefore not legitimately part of the Constitution.

    I don’t remember the details of it but I think it was something about not enough states ratifying within a required time frame.

  6. Gil,

    The amendment was ratified. Done deal.

    If we learn tomorrow that Al Gore’s Florida electors should have been ratified, and the Fla Sec. of State and US Senate were wrong to ratify Bush’s electors, does Bush stop being President? Of course not.

  7. Gilbert,
    “THE LAW THAT NEVER WAS” by Bill Benson.
    It`s a heavy read with lots of affidavits and state court documents.

  8. This is a lot like the debates Christians used to have (and probably still do) about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    The answer: Doesn’t matter. And those who spend their time debating such things forfeit their right to be taken seriously on topics that actually, you know, matter somehow.

    This tax “movement” business falls into the same category. It’s established law. Some propeller head pointing out that the 16th amendment fails some technical challenge (or whatever) changes no facts that pertain to anybody.

    See, the way the law works is everybody has to follow it or you go to jail. Otherwise, law wouldn’t work. And, as there’s not currently a plurality of Americans who want to live in a Somalia-style anarchic state (or mutualist state – Hi Kevin!), we’re all going to have to deal with the unpleasant (to some) fact of compulsory taxation of some sort, for the rest of our lives.

    In my experience, people who spend large amounts of time worrying about things they have no hope of ever changing, are avoiding worrying about things they DO have some control over. My 2 cents. Your results may vary.

  9. Straubie,

    The government uses threats of force and violence to get our “consent.” I don’t view this as legitimate consent any more than a robber demanding that you fork over your wallet or risk the consequences if you don’t.

  10. I think we’ll see HOV lanes repealed
    before the 16th Amendment.
    Never, in other words.

  11. I argue that *anyone*, regardless of the cause, who leaves a 15’x25′ sign on their small front yard for years is yes, a crank-nutcase-full o’windbaggery.

    As Slippery Pete and Joe write, like it or not, the government has the legal right to raise a federal income tax. If they don’t get it one way, they’ll get it another.

    Or how else are those welfare Red states supposed to get their extra helpings of pork? 😉

  12. Matt –

    The defining characteristic of government is that it monopolizes and, hopefully, legitimizes the use and control of force and violence. Or at least it works toward that goal. Force and violence will always exist because human nature dictates that the least among us will always shortcircuit efforts to live without it. They will monopolize it, and become de facto government.

    This is what makes it so indespensible when properly crafted. If you don’t like it, give me an alternative consistent with human nature and explain why nobody practices it to any meaningful degree. Good luck with that.

  13. “Gil,

    The amendment was ratified. Done deal.”

    I never said it wasn’t.

    What I said was that was an argument I’ve personally heard of against the legality of it that wasn’t mentioned in Doherty’s piece.

  14. “Gilbert,
    “THE LAW THAT NEVER WAS” by Bill Benson.
    It`s a heavy read with lots of affidavits and state court documents.”

    Thanks.

    I think the bettter Constitutional argument regarding taxes would be that most of the money being collected in taxes is being spent on unconstitutional programs (like social security, farm subsidies, etc.) that are not pursuant to any ennumerated power assigned to the federal governemnt in the Constitution (as required by the 10th Amendment). If the govt couldn’t spend that money on those programs, there would be a necessity to collect it in the first place.

  15. As the government deflates your paycheck by taxation,why would they not just print more money to pay for the pork programs.Inflation or deflation,you`ll have about the same spending power.
    They won`t because the CONTROL over the people would be lost.
    Remember Karl Marx,he`s laid out the ground rules.

  16. make that wouldn’t be a necessity to collect it in the first place.

  17. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/friv_tax.pdf

    Free link to the IRS pdf file entitled “The truth about frivolous tax arguments”

    Spend some time on it, there are pages of material about the legality of the ammendment.

    Perhaps you have a big sign outside your house? 🙂

  18. By the way, this effect is lost on the Web, but the short five-reasons piece is meant as a sidebar addendum to my main piece, adding some details NOT in the main, longer feature article. The stuff about 16th Amendment ratification is discussed in the main feature.

  19. You won’t hear me cursing Milton Friedman’s name often, but, to me, federal withholding is in the top five worse things that ever happened to libertarians.

    If people had to write a big, fat, obvious check every year, we wouldn’t have a fraction of the government we have now.

    Instead, we have a system that actually imposes a penalty if they don’t take enough from you up front. You don’t get interest when they over withhold (which is money to which they are not entitled), but you sure as hell owe it when shoe is on the other foot. People don’t have any idea of what living at their actual salary is like, and the Gross Income portion of their lives is just some fictional number they have to put on a form each year.

  20. Hydroman –

    If you knew anything about economics, your face would be red right now. Best I read it, your argument is that inflation doesn’t matter because spending power stays the same.

    You’ve forgetten a tiny detail called “time”. Rapid inflation or deflation make contracts across time difficult or impossible to honor, and therefore to enter into in the first place. They make savings difficult or impossible, encouraging people (during inflation) to spend vast amounts of money on non-inflating (but depreciating) goods they don’t need such as washing machines and so on. Inflation and deflation can both put a thumb on the scale in loan arrangements, tilting the balance greatly to lender during deflation and borrower during inflation.

    There is, in fact, a reason governments obsess over inflation. If it didn’t matter, why do you think they spend so much time and money worrying about it?

  21. Doc,
    The IRS does not make Law,only the Congress can do that.All those threats and bullshit you read on the IRS webb are made up by bureaucrats.Read the law USC title 26,that`s what you must obey in order to comply.

  22. Make that ‘… we would have a fraction of the government …’

  23. Joe, you need to visit FIJA.ORG to understand that the jury does decide the law, if the judge does not jury tamper.

    As a CPA I have seen many of these arguments. The one I’m waiting for is that Congress is not authorized to make certain expenditures. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a payment from me to another individual. Social Security is a payment from me to a recipient. These payments are specific welfare, not general Welfare as contemplated in Article 1, Section 8.

    Remember it is the fringes the allow us so much freedom in the middle.

  24. let’s same the supreme court ruled income tax totally illegal, even for an ammendment to enforce. how long before they’d just tax everything else, to compensate? they’ll make sure people pay, one way or another.

  25. Slippery Pete,

    We’ll, I’ll show you an example of a modern-day stateless society when you show me where a “limited government” society has been successful in actually limiting the growth of government. To my knowledge neither exists today.

    Human nature arguments aside, anarchy only requires that you believe using force and violence is wrong (which a monopoly government imposes on its citizenry by its very nature).

  26. Question for the group: What countries spend the lowest portion of their GDPs on government, and would any of you actually want to live there? I mean this question honestly, not sarcastically.

    (Rick Barton, if you’re out there – I’ve heard plenty about Somalia, thanks.)

  27. Matt –

    Exactly. And not everybody believes that and acts accordingly. If only one fails to, he becomes the government, and odds are he won’t hold any elections. Therefore we end up with undemocratic/authoritarian/totalitarian government, which is infinitely worse than consensual government.

    Any philosophy or utopia that asks you to “assume for the same of argument” that certain universally true facts about human nature are NOT true, cannot be taken seriously because it is not serious.

    As to your question about examples of limited government: The question doesn’t make sense to me. Our own government is limited, to the extent that it’s not as big as Canada’s or Cuba’s. It’s way bigger than I’d like, but it’s not infinite, so it’s limited. Just not as limited as you or I would like.

    Nothing’s perfect. Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

  28. SP,
    Wages and investments don`t inflate along with commodites?If they didn`t I`d still be making $1.50 an hour as in 1956.
    I did not say inflation does not matter,however the deflation of my spending power whether by taxation or increase in the money supply at the same rate leaves me financially equal.
    It is up to we the people to control Gov. spending.They should not be controling us by taxation!

  29. You’re correct that in the long run, wages can and should inflate at the same rate as goods and services. And that is one aspect to inflation. What I listed out were the other aspects that make inflation (and deflation) very dangerous and destructive.

    I also agree with your second point that it is up to we, the people to control government spending. It’s too high. Unfortunately, our compatriots seem ok with a $2 trillion federal budget.

    I think the only good way to limit spending is to erect unbreachable firewalls, things the government simply can’t do. Unfortunately, either those firewalls never existed, or they were weak and have been breached.

    I apologize for the sarcasm earlier, but my point was that government spending and tax practices were breached 50 or 100 or 150 years ago and are so utterly established in law and fact that bellyaching about them is useless.

    Let’s focus on reining in spending, sure. Let’s acknowledge the opportunity costs and unintended consequences of government programs.

    Let’s identify and promote better ways of achieving public aims, as the Reason Institute does so brilliantly.

    But this propeller-head obsession with the 16th amendment – that’s just such a ridiculous and hopeless waste of time. I really believe it’s a way for libertarians to avoid what they feel is an obligation to promote and enact their views. Actually affecting change is hard work; it’s easier to bitch helplessly about the 16th amendment. Easier, but completely useless and unproductive.

    By and large Reason does a great job steering debate in a productive direction, away from silly debates like these. But not always! 😉

  30. They should not be controling us by taxation!

    Of course they shouldn’t be, but they do. They use terror to coerce Americans – whose identity as Americans is based on documents which held that no person (ok, white land-owning males) may be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process – to pay a usurious fee just to maintain their freedom from harassment, prosecution, and imprisonment. What is that fee used for? Wasted mostly on a mathematically void social security/medicare system. My beef is that the American taxpayer has never had that due process observed. The government has made expensive messes of simple processes and has jacked up the price tag to compensate. We are forced to comply with it as is or go to jail. It is inherently unfair, especially since everyone from top to bottom knows how convoluted, contradictory, and out of date the tax code is. It is however lucrative for the federal government, SC included, so I don’t expect them to voluntarily tighten their coffers.

  31. Human nature arguments aside

    Saying “human nature arguments aside” when discussing political systems is like saying “matter and energy aside” when discussing chemistry. Any political argument which requires that you ignore human nature is, by definition, useless and invalid.

  32. SP
    I read the book about the 16th Amend.,I did not state my opinion about it.I only rely on the law as written in title 26 of the code.And I pay taxes only on my taxable income as stated in the code.
    We have no argument,and I totally concur with you about spending control of unconstituional means.
    If you have time, you might checkout this webb—— http://www.taxableincome.net

  33. The most egregious example of tax dishonesty are the crackpot windbags who pretend that we pay anything close to our marginal rates in actual taxes.

    My marginal federal tax rate this year was 30-some percent. I exceeded the Social Security ceiling.

    My actual final rate (thank you TurboTax) was 12%.

  34. M1EK –

    I just did my taxes. I paid a little less than 10%, and I’m not doing bad.

    Of course, add in Medicaid and Social Security, which are Federal income taxes no matter how you slice them, and we’re back up to 25% or so.

    Hey, two cheers for Tim Cavanaugh for the superb Raising Arizona reference. Truly a modern classic.

    “Her insides was a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase”

    “‘Course, it’d be a lot easier if it weren’t for that sumbitch Reagan in the White House. They say he’s a nice fella. Maybe his advisors are confused.”

    I could go on and on.

  35. dan and slippery pete,

    I said “human nature arguments aside” becuase that wasn’t the issue I was focusing on (taxes, and the nature of the state were). I also didn’t realize that there was one universally agreed upon definition of what exactly “human nature” is.

    slippery pete,

    Everyone doesn’t have to believe that force and fraud are wrong (the millions of people who vote for democrats and republicans certainly don’t). That’s why you take measures to protect yourself from private crime. But how do you protect yourself from the state using force against you when it does it “legally?”

    Also, how can having one, monopolized perpetrator of force be better than having, for example, multiple private security companies in competition with each other offering protection? I thought competition is good for consumers.

    About our “limited” government…just because our government hasn’t become as totalitarian as others doesn’t mean it’s limited. What are the limits exactly? Wasn’t that supposed to be the constitution? The government has already destroyed most of that, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

    It seems to me those that who think that government can ever be “limited” are the utopians, not those of us who view the government as inherently wrong in the first place (not that I am against limited government, I just don’t think its possible).

  36. Ultimately, the law means what the people with the guns say it means. If you understand the Constitution as originally written, most of what the federal government does today is unconstitutional. Does that stop it from being “legal” according to current definitions? No.

    If what these people were saying was true, it would just require a few simple changes in the tax laws to wipe away all they’re claiming. When a government HAS all power, why would it bother to use this particular trickery? Isn’t it more likely that the regulations are just written in confusing (and maybe contradictory) ways?

    The bottom line is that the people with the power to put me in jail or take my money say this is what I have to do. For practical purposes, that makes it the law, whether these other people are correct or not in the interpretation of arcane regulations. Yes, I’d like to get rid of income tax, for many reasons. Yes, I’d like to roll back federal spending and authority, for many reasons. But arguing about the confusing meaning of the IRS regulations isn’t going to do either one.

    BTW, the fact that the people with the guns ultimately “interpret” law is the best argument to make sure that WE keep the guns.

  37. Matt –

    You wrote:

    But how do you protect yourself from the state using force against you when it does it “legally?”

    You vote, and you speak.

    And if you think warlordism has proven, through history, to be an effective and humane way to govern, you’re nuts.

    In either case, you still have to pay money under threat of the use of force! So the only choice is whether we do it the humane, orderly, and constitutionally limited way (democratic government) or the barbaric way (warlordism).

    If you think the latter is better than the former, then how come nobody votes for warlords? How come nobody’s moving to Somalia?

  38. Don’t think that by taking “Total Tax” and dividing it by Taxable Income you are figuring your total tax. You’ve just computed one bite in the government’s meal. Even if you add in FICA, you still miss the indirect tax.

    CATO’s Ten Thousand Commandments, the rise of the regulatory state, shows how large the hidden tax is. For example, government could tax us and then pay for seatbelts in every schoolbus. Or, it could pass a rule that all schoolbuses must have seatbelts. Under the first instance, we see that as a tax, but under the second, we see it as a higher cost. CATO says the regulatory cost swamps the direct tax.

  39. The big tax revolution will happen in about 5 years when 4 Mexican immigrants somewhere up in the middle of Montana figure out that half their paycheck is going to me so I can sit on my fat ass and watch the paint dry on my barn.Then we will have the border patrol sitting on the Rio Bravo keeping them in country so I get my check every month.
    Somebody must have planned this.Duh!

  40. And BTW, who’s going to regulate those “protection companies.” Ah, argument, thy name is euphemism. By “protection companies”, you actually mean armed gangs, like the ones roving around Haiti right now. So let’s be clear – everyone, after me: Armed gangs, not “protection companies.”

    What, are you going to sign a contract with these protection companies – er, armed gangs? Or, more likely, are they (like the mafia) going to bust down your door, point a machine gun at your head, and make you an offer you can’t refuse?

    You know, this isn’t just theoretical. By good graces we have 190+ sovereign entities on this crazy blue marble we call Planet Earth, and every year a half dozen or so fail. And that means we get to see these magnificent protection companies in action!

    Go to Google and search for the words “East Timor” and “Haiti” and “Somalia” and “Afghanistan”, and see what you can learn about how “protection companies” work in anarchic states. They become fiefs, and people become property – slaves. And great numbers of them get hacked and shot to death. Quit kidding yourself, fruitcake.

  41. (Rick Barton, if you’re out there – I’ve heard plenty about Somalia, thanks.)

    Slippery Pete refers to the April 2003 issue of Liberty magazine which has a “fascinating article by one Michael van Notten, a Dutch lawyer who married into the Samaron tribe of northwest Somalia and lived with them until his death last summer” The Somali nation abolished its central government ten years ago and became a stateless nation,”

    The article begins. “During that time, the fears expressed by many international observers that Somalia would fall into chaos have not only not been realized, but many Somalis are finding statelessness an agreeable condition. Somalia is more peaceful, and the people are becoming more prosperous….”

    http://www.antiwar.com/bock/b042903.html

  42. this inspired me to go change my w-4 so that they dont take out any money before i get my check. i am probably too lazy to actually pay up if its not automatic so i think i am now a tax protester.

  43. Obsessing about the income tax distracts us from the larger issue: almost every voluntary transaction conducted in the U.S. involves a tax or fee of some sort. Whether it’s buying gas, making a phone call, purchasing clothing, traveling on a bus or plane or train, parking your car, renewing your registration, driving on a toll-road, crossing a bridge, etc. etc., the “government” takes a cut. If you were able to keep track of every tax or fee you paid in a year and you added it up, you would be shocked. Fortunately for the confiscators, there is no handy W-2-like form to examine every April. If there were, Americans would be justly outraged.

  44. Rick –

    …than…?

  45. The attraction of these income tax challenge methods is that some of them appear to be legally justified and there for within the law and legal…

    https://www.reason.com/0405/fe.bd.five.shtml

    and so, should be explored. If they are legal and widely used, and less income taxes are extracted, the economy will yield more prosperity for most.

  46. SP,

    …than they were under a central government. Check out the link.

  47. Rick –

    Than “A” central government, or than “THE” central government they were stuck with prior to the outbreak of civil war (or “competing protection companies” in the delightful euphemism in favor here).

    Your argument seems to be that warlordism is better than the one of the worst central governments ever to exist in modern times. Them are some high standards, Barton!

    The guillotine is worse than the gas chamber, too, Rick. You don’t see many people lining up to be gassed. Nor do you see many waiting patiently in the Air Somalia checkin desk. Believe it or not, there is a reason for that.

  48. RB,
    You can checkout the legality of Doherty`s #5 at
    http://www.861.info , it looks very iteresting.

  49. Excellent! Best piece I have read on here in
    a while.

    Makes me miss Mike Lynch a bit. I have a soft
    spot for piece where people just go to things
    and report them honestly. In the case of most
    government things, the result is hilarious.
    In the case of the tax honesty folks, it is
    fascinating.

    The notion of “word magic” (I will keep that
    phrase in mind and use it without attribution)
    is an excellent one, with uses far beyond this
    context. As anyone who participated in student
    government knows, legislation at all levels is
    partly word magic. That is much of what the
    war on (certain) drugs is about – the belief
    that things some people really, really want to
    do will stop if we pass laws against them.
    Affirmative action is also to some extent a
    version of word magic. It assumes that
    systematic differences in background
    characteristics such as parental education,
    income and assets and school quality can be
    erased by labelling – that is, by words.

    Fascinating piece.

    Jeff

    P.S. Who are these other Mitchell Brothers
    in the 1918 court case?

  50. SP,

    One of the observations from the article is that warlord faction fighting decreased dramatically sans a central government. This is the “more peaceful” part. Also from the article and commentary: (quoted from the article in the link)

    Boosaaso, located at the tip of the Horn on the Gulf of Aden, is a case in point. When Somalia had a central government, Boosaaso was a small village. Into its port a few small fishing boats came each day to offload fish. Occasionally, a cargo vessel came in as well. Officials of the Republic crawled over these boats collecting taxes and demanding payment for every kind of service, real or imagined.

    With the demise of the Republic, control passed to the local community and the port began to be managed on a commercial basis. A lively import/export trade developed and soon reached an estimated value of U.S. $15 million per year. Private enterprise provided essential public services such as trash collection and telecommunications. In eight years, the population grew from 5,000 to 150,000. Parents and teachers put up schools for their children and even built a university. In the absence of a government-run court system, the heads of extended families of contentious parties settled disputes on the basis of customary law.

    While Boosaaso is a dramatic example, its experience is more the rule than the exception throughout Somalia. Somalis are thriving and prospering without a central government. Exports in 1998 were estimated to be five times greater than they had been under the Republic.

    That’s not what you expect to hear about Somalia, which seems to have disappeared from the radar screens of the world’s international observers (with the exception of an occasional report of a terrorist training camp out in the hinterlands) about 1995. But van Notten makes a persuasive case that on balance things are better for the actual people who live in Somalia than back in the days when the country’s leaders tried to sustain a central government. And he does a pretty good job of explaining why this should be so.

  51. Hydroman,

    Thanks for the link.

  52. Wow slippery pete, thanks for the rational discussion that dissolves into calling people “fruitcake” for disagreeing with you. Yes of course, by “protection companies” I meant “armed gangs,” Come on.

    What would “regulate” private protection companies? How ’bout the free-market. But that silly notion of free markets and all…that’s all just for fruitcakes I guess.

    Anyway, if this is just gonna evolve into a bunch of name calling then I guess I’m done. Have a nice day.

    BTW…very fascinating article Rick B., thanks for the link.

  53. 1) True, but does not imply the conclusion
    2) False, and it isn’t hard to follow
    3) False
    4) False
    5) False and frivolous

    Many tax protester myths are answered in Dan Evan’s Tax Protester FAQ

  54. I feel confident with Dan Evan`s disclaimer “not legal advise”.
    #5 on the list is not a “Tax Protester” argument. If he calls it frivolous , then he is calling title 26 frivolous.

  55. The Somalis were living under warlordism when they had a nominal central government. There are obviously going to be periods and areas of relative peace depending on which warlord you live under and how he feels that day. I thought most libertoids had a better handle on the rule of law/rule of men arguments.

    Also, the last time this “Somali paradise” non-sense came up, I typed “Somalia” into a news search engine and mostly came up with articles about how the humanitarian groups were pulling out because gangs of armed thugs would come into their refugee camps, rape all the women, steal the food and leave. There were also articles about how the Somalis were desperatly trying to form a central government in hopes of relieving some of the misery caused by the gangs of armed thugs stealing all the food and raping all the women.

  56. I just thought this was funny as hell:
    “The anti-income tax movement now has, through Schulz, a united, highly activist national membership organization claiming around 5,000 dues-paying members”

  57. Rick –

    You need to read critically, my friend. Isolated examples and anecdotes (even if accurately reported) prove nothing at all. All you’re doing is saying that one particular town in Somalia was atrociously run when there was a rapacious and utterly corrupt (and undemocratic) central government, and things were slightly less horrific when that central government disappeared. What, exactly, do you think this proves?

    BTW, your report contained this jaw-dropping sentence:

    “In eight years, the population grew from 5,000 to 150,000.” If you had any familiarity at all with demographics or, say, mathematics, you’d never say (or quote) such a preposterous thing.

    My earnest opponent, a town growing from 5,000 to 150,000 in 8 years is not an economic boom. It is a refugee camp! Populations don’t grow 3,000% in 8 years because the job market’s hot. If the figures were accurate – which I’m certain they are not – they would represent displaced persons. Displaced by war or famine. My goodness. Please try to be serious.

    The author you’re quoting from is either just making shit up, or is hilariously innumerate. Either way, he’s clearly not a terribly credible source.

  58. Slippery Pete:

    ” and things were slightly less horrific when that central government disappeared.

    That’s your characterization! You’re the one making things up here. Find the whole article and read it!

    As to the reported growth rate of Boosaaso;
    Prosperity and capitalism are big attractions. It doesn’t surprise me at all. Boosaaso was just a small fishing village that turned into a port that did an import/export trade of an estimated value of U.S. $15 million per year. They even built a university there! I’m pretty sure that there have even been “edge city” towns in the US that have seen that kind of growth rate or more.

    For you to say that this growth is contra demographics is silly, and contra mathematics? That’s ridiculous! I don’t think you know what you’re talking about in this matter.

  59. I used to drive by Schultz’s home (mentioned in the other story). There’s nothing more indicative of a nutcase than someone who places a 15 foot by 25 foot painted sign on a trailer in their yard with this anti-tax wind baggery.

    Even the local news, always on the hunt for a sensational nut to put on TV esp at this time of year, gave up on him.

  60. “The judge told them (the jury)
    simply to trust him when he said the law required Simkanin to withhold — essentially directing the verdict, since Simkanin never denied not withholding.”

    Matters of law are decided by judges. Juries decide matters of fact.

  61. The Colonists put their lives on the line to fight for liberty (that’s “Liberty”, not security, not safety net, not big-daddy government to take care of me with other peoples money, but LIBERTY!) and against the tyranical taxing of King George III. Most historians put the tax burden for the average colonist at 3 to 5 percent. Mostly, of course, through a tax on goods. The average American now pays about 40% (some studies say as much as 50%) when you add up all the direct and indirect taxes we pay. Apparently, people like slippery pete are quite fine with paying this for the rest of their lives. I”m glad there weren’t many around like slippery pete in the late 1700’s, but I’m sad there are so many more like him now.

    “None are more hopelessly enslaved, then those who falsely believe they are free.” -Anonymous

  62. Opstock –

    Just because I support the idea (and fact) of central government, you have no basis for saying that I support everything it does, or that I like its size. I don’t.

    Also, the revolution was fought over the idea of “No taxation without representation” – NOT “no taxation”. You’re forgetting roughly half the reason the Revolutionary War was fought.

    We have representation. We elect our representatives. We get the government we ask for. You’re disgruntled. Fine. Just because you didn’t get what YOU want doesn’t mean most people haven’t gotten what THEY want. They have, like it or not.

    Rick –

    This is tiresome. We are talking about one of two things: Either this was, in 1991, a town capable of supporting 150,000 souls, which is now populated to a level it was designed for. Or it was not, and it’s a refugee camp with no infrastructure in place to support 150,000 souls. In either case, it completely obviates your point, if indeed you have one anymore.

    This horrid little town you’ve pinned your libertarian/anarchist fantasies onto is teeming with people fleeing war and warlordism. Says so in the article you linked to, which I read. There’s no fighting there, so that’s where they’ve gone. They certainly have no housing stock, no sanitation, and none of the services the town elder I quoted claimed they needed but were unable to provide without “at least local government.” That means it’s a refugee camp, Rick.

    I can’t figure out what part of this you don’t understand. The article YOU REFERENCED quotes the PEOPLE YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT saying that the need “AT LEAST LOCAL GOVERNMENT” because they are unable to provide adequate SERVICES without it.

    That is, from top to bottom and left to right, the precise point I am trying to make here! Your source, practically verbatim, is making my point. I have nothing to add. You say I haven’t read your source. In fact, I have, and I’m quoting from it, and you don’t seem to realize this yet.

    Boosaaso elder: “We need government.”

    Rick:“See, government isn’t necessary! Just look at Boosaaso!”

    Slippery Pete & Everyone Living in Boosaaso:“Huh?”

  63. SP,

    You wrote:

    “There is no doubt that this is what the authors of your government-affirming study meant.”
    Later you wrote:

    “I’m not “characterizing” the article as pro-government” ??

    I wrote:

    “That the population was up to 100,000 in just five years does indeed corroborate the growth rate that would yield a population of 150,000 in eight years cited in the original article.”

    I meant to write:

    “That the population was up to 100,000 in just five years does indeed corroborate the growth rate that could yield a population of 150,000 in eight years cited in the original article.”

    Sorry, my bad typo.

    The rate of increase need not, and very likely, would not be uniform over the eight, year period.

    Anyway, the population increase cited in the first article is substantiated by the second article. Even at most favorable tweaking, they certainly run contra, your contention that increases of this magnitude are not possible and must be attributed to “adding or droping 0’s”.

    “Fold” vs “Factor”: they do appear to be used as synonyms in common parlance as you gave evidence for. That was not the source of your error, and I was wrong to say that it was.

  64. Rick –

    I concede that the WaPo article is roughly consistent with the Libertarian Crackpot Quarterly article, in that they are both either hugely implausible, or taken totally out of context. Infrastructure cannot be built up at that pace. It is not possible, period. So instead of calling it a thriving libertarian utopia of 150,000 contented souls, it is more accurate to call it a refugee camp. These people are, by their own admission, fleeing war and are, by their own admission, in Boosaaso because it’s peaceful.

    When demographers and anthropologists talk about rates of population growth being limited, they do not mean it’s impossible to cram more bodies in. They mean it’s impossible to achieve or sustain super high growth rates consistent with the fulfillment of basic human needs because infrastructure, jobs, sanitation, and healthcare cannot keep up. In other words, a refugee camp. A squatter’s camp.

    I’m sure these people are happy they no longer have their choice of “protection companies”, i.e., armed roving gangs shooting up the countryside. And according to your articles, this town is nice because it’s a port town (who built the port? The central government?) that brings in revenue. In other words, it allows the refugees living there to survive only to the extent that infrastructure built by the defunct central government continues to function.

    The larger points go unanswered:

    1. If Boosaaso benefitted from the collapse of central government, where did all these people come from? The answer: Other towns that “benefitted” from the collapse of central government. In other words, the collapse of central government has nothing to do with it. Which, alas, was your whole point.

    2. Your own sources are quoted on the record as calling for the return of government.

    Your own sources have demolished the point you tried to make with them. They contradict you. As far as I can tell, we are done here, no?

  65. SP:

    “They certainly have no housing stock, no sanitation, and none of the services the town elder I quoted claimed they needed but were unable to provide without “at least local government.” That means it’s a refugee camp, Rick.

    Those things you claim are wrong and the 2nd article does not maintain them.

    They even built a university there!

    From the 2nd article:
    http://www.netnomad.com/boosaaso.html

    The city also has a reliable power supply and, thanks to businessman Ismael Abdi Ahmed, a telephone system for the first time in its history. Two and a half years ago Ahmed, 35, bought a satellite dish and opened the Netco phone company with 20 lines. Today there are 260 lines throughout the city, and two buildings where residents line up at phone booths to place local and international calls.

    Hotels, some with satellite dishes, have sprouted all over town. Piles of rock, signifying places where residents are about to build, litter the city. Trucks, hauling goods and construction material, clog roads.

    A volunteer police force has been created. Boosaaso’s council of Muslim elders effectively acts as the town’s judiciary.

    Today Boosaaso, without a formal government, has become a boom town, with one of Somalia’s busiest ports, a burgeoning population and the kind a daily stability envied by much of this deeply troubled East African country.

    You really need to read the original article. (April 2003 issue of Liberty) If you did, you would know how ridiculous is your contention that Boosaaso is a refugee camp.

    “Rick:”See, government isn’t necessary! Just look at Boosaaso!””

    Hey; I didn’t write that, you’re not being honest SP!

  66. Does anyone else find this kind of scary? (From “The truth about frivolous tax arguments”, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/friv_tax.pdf)

    Schiff v. United States, 919 F.2d 830, 833 (2d Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 501 U.S. 1238 (1991) B the court rejected Schiff’s arguments as meritless and upheld imposition of the civil fraud penalty, stating “The frivolous nature of this appeal is perhaps best illustrated by our conclusion that Schiff is precisely the sort of taxpayer upon whom a fraud penalty for failure to pay income taxes should be imposed.”

    By the way, I e-filed this year, and the tax prep website made me fill out some EIC (earned income cretit) info. See, I was in Central America for the first two months of last year, and was half-heartedly looking for a job for the next eight, so I ended up only making $3,500 the entire year – and because of that I get all my taxes back AND an addtional $270 or so. I’m glad to see the government likes to reward people for taking extended vacations.

  67. Your article, Rick, by any possible reasonable standard, has put a spit shine to a terrible situation. And it is, I think, to your shame that from the comfort and security and predictability of our first-world nation and our first-world living standards, you point to desitite Somalis fleeing endless conflict and war, who are trying to scratch together a living and would give their right arms for even a chance to relocate here – you point to them and say, aha, THAT’S the way to do it. I find that obscene, frankly, and deeply hypocritical.

    Towns cannot, do not, grow from 5,000 to 150,000 in 8 years and provide basic necessities. It is demographically impossible. I have studied these things. I’m not a professional demographer or anthropologist, but I’ve studied these things abundantly when I got my economics degrees. It is not possible.

    You can point to the fact that one (one!) power cable ropes into town, and that somebody’s selling satellite dishes, and that 1 out of 500 people has a phone.

    You have a town run by people clamoring for more government, and you used it (don’t deny it now, Rick) as proof that government isn’t necessary. I recall those debates very clearly. Your explicit point was to prove that government is unnecessary, even a hindrance. Your example specifically refutes you.

    We are at loggerheads on the population growth figure. One, I do not read fringe publications or take them seriously. I’m careful about what I put into my body and I’m careful about what I put into my brain. If some creationist suggests to me that reading a creationist tract will enlighten me, I’ll decline. If some flat-earther wants me to take time brushing up on flat-earth geology, I will decline. If you want me to read something from Liberty, I will decline for the same reasons. Journalists and journals trade by reputation. I cannot verify anything in them. When I choose what to feed my brain, I take care by taking only serious and reputable publications seriously.

    So, I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in reading the Liberty article. I read the other article you referred me to, and imagine my surprise when all by its lonesome, it made all the points I was trying to make. That doesn’t make it correct, but it certainly knocks the wind out of your sails.

    It’s YOU who needs to reread that article.

    You cannot simply rename government and have it change character. Boosaaso is peaceful because somebody is keeping the peace through force – threat of violence. That somebody is the government. We can choose to have a say in who the government is (as we do in, saaaaay, the US) or we can not (as they don’t in, say, Somalia). Anarchy is impossible. Somebody is ALWAYS in power. All that’s left to decide is, shall we do this the easy way or the hard way.

    Compared to a Somali scratching out an existence and dying, more than likely, by the age of 43, my life is very, very, very easy. Very safe. Much more predictable. There’s a reason people don’t vote for politicians promising anarchy and chaos (HA!), and why they don’t move to Somalia or Haiti. Usually when people say this they’re just being buttheads trying to avoid a debate, but we’ve already had this debate to death, so I’ll say it now: If you really mean what you say, move there and prove it.

  68. Slippery Pete :

    “I concede that the WaPo article is roughly consistent with the Libertarian Crackpot Quarterly article, in that they are both either hugely implausible,”

    You made ridiculous contentions concerning the impossibility of the observed population increase and instead of admitting it, the best you can do is to demean the corroborating source! Every thing that disproves your contentions must be “implausible” and “crackpot”, right SP. Also, Liberty is monthly, not quarterly.

    The larger points

    You mean those points that you can still bring up because they haven’t been invalidated yet? Go back and read what you wrote, and the tone you took concerning the population increase issue… “dropped or added 0’s”. Ha!

    “In other words, the collapse of central government has nothing to do with it. Which, alas, was your whole point.”

    I can’t stand this, you don’t understand the thrust of the piece because you haven’t read it! And, you keep on making insipid comments. The opportunities that opened up in Boosaaso because of the demise of the central government would not be expected to be geographically uniform.

    Your own sources are quoted on the record as calling for the return of government.

    That one of the city elders calls for “at least a local government”, in no way negates the record of the incredible human betterment since the demise of the central government.

    “Which, alas, was your whole point.”

    Whole point? I simply cited a well written and well documented article from someone who lived there. Which, You still haven’t bothered to read!

  69. Slippery Pete:
    “One, I do not read fringe publications or take them seriously.”

    That attitude explains a lot.

    ” If you want me to read something from Liberty, I will decline for the same reasons.”

    How closed minded of you! Anyway, Liberty is very “reputable”, they have had Nobel laureates as contributors. People who write articles in Reason also do so in Liberty. Or, isn’t Reason reputable?

    “When I choose what to feed my brain, I take care by taking only serious and reputable publications seriously.”

    With that attitude you will remain always a child. Truth is where you find it and you should judge content, not the cover. SP, it makes sense to me that you throw so many childish insults into your commentary in lieu of reasoned argument.

  70. “it makes sense to me that you throw so many childish insults into your commentary in lieu of reasoned argument.”

    Yeah Rick….that’s why I left yesterday. I could see where it was headed.

  71. SP:
    “Towns cannot, do not, grow from 5,000 to 150,000 in 8 years and provide basic necessities. It is demographically impossible. I’m not a professional demographer or anthropologist, but I’ve studied these things abundantly when I got my economics degrees. It is not possible.”

    What a hugely incorrect and silly statement that is! They can and do and have done so, right here in the USA as well. Ask for a tuition refund!

  72. matt,

    Yeah, I know he called you a “fruitcake” yesterday. When he gets in trouble in debate, he does tend to resort to that kind of thing.

  73. Rick, because you have lost this debate, you resorted to calling me a “child” twice. But I’m a big boy and can handle the rough and tumble of chatroom debate. But if you’re so terribly sensitive to it, I suggest you try to refrain from it as well.

    You are now backpeddling like crazy, pretending that your months of Somalia puffery had nothing at all to do with your disdain for “central” government per se. Now that your own sources have called your bluff, you deny it. Well, sort of – you just denied it, but then tried to make the point again. You need to make up your mind. Government does useful things private entities cannot and will not. People want it. When they lose it, they want it back. Yes, it can be corrupt and worse than no government at all. Many times it is. That’s why I urged you to consider and clarify – do you want to draw comparisons just to the specific government Somalia had, which was miserable? Or are you trying to prove that society can be well ordered and human in the absense of government?

    Well, you degenerated into a blizzard of meaningless semantics. You want to distinguish between government force and “private competing protection services”. You want to distinguish between “central” government and “at least local” government. Here’s a hint: Whether local, regional, or national, they’ll tax you against your will and throw your ass in jail if you don’t pay up. Which is a big improvement over summary execution, the way “private competing protection companies” typically enforce their mandates.

    You continue to willfully misinterpret my “concession” on the 3000% growth statistic you are attached to. If you were a better reader, you’d see I didn’t concede anything at all, except that the two numbers are consistent. They are consistently absurd, and consistently meaningless. I’m not going to repeat the reasons why, but they’re listed in detail above.

    My points stand. Your Somalia example explicitly proved the need for government, not the lack of need for government. The people you held up as paragons of individuality and self-reliance are quoted by name as requesting “at least local” government because it’s impossible to provide adequate services without it.

    Your argument was specious and absurd, and your sources in fact proved to explicitly bolster my position. Perhaps you’ve learned something, but I doubt it.

    If you want more reliable information on how the world really works in destitute, hellish places like Somalia, I suggest you read more Economist, less Liberty. News without zealotry – you really can’t beat it. Certified propaganda-free. Bye now.

  74. BBC Monday, 12 April, 2004

    “At least six people were killed during a spate of violence between looters and traders after a fire gutted Somalia’s largest market.”

  75. 2 German aid workers killed in Somalia
    AP[ SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 2004 08:42:21 PM ]

    NAIROBI: Two employees of a German aid group have been killed in northwestern Somalia, an umbrella of aid groups working in Horn of Africa nation said on Saturday

    “The SACB sees this most recent tragedy as a continuing serious deterioration in security focused on international aid workers in Somalia,”

  76. Dozens killed in clan clashes in Somalia
    AP[ SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 2004 08:37:45 PM ]

    MOGADISHU: Fighting between rival clans in central Somalia over grazing land and water wells has killed more than 80 people and wounded scores of others, hospital workers said

  77. UN relief official deplores murder of humanitarian worker in Somalia

    23 March 2004 ? United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland today condemned the killing of an aid worker following an ambush in Somalia’s northwest last Friday.

    One unnamed worker was killed and two others were injured after gunmen ambushed staff from the German Agency for Technical Assistance (GTZ) near the town of Berabera in the Somaliland region.

  78. At least 11 killed in fighting in Somalia

    Mogadishu, Somalia

    29 March 2004 12:27

    At least 11 people were killed and 19 others wounded in interclan fighting in southern Somalia’s Middle Juba region, militia sources and elders said on Monday.

    “The fighting, which erupted late Sunday and continued on Monday morning, was between the Shikhal against the Tuni sub-clans, and left 11 people dead and 19 wounded,” Ali Haji Ismail, a local elder in Harmka village, where the fighting took place, said.

  79. Waste dump concerns
    April 13, 2004

    Mogadishu: A number of mysterious containers seen in the waves off the coast of Somalia have raised concerns that foreign vessels are illegally dumping hazardous waste in the unpatrolled waters off Africa’s coastline.

    Somalia has no health officials or testing facilities which could determine if the containers are harmful. Somali fishermen merely try to avoid the material.

  80. By Mohamed Olad Hassan
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    2:20 p.m. March 30, 2004

    MOGADISHU, Somalia ? A survivor said on Tuesday that a boat carrying 107 people sank during the crossing from Somalia to Yemen and only four other people, including two crew members, were rescued.

    Sinkings are common in the waters off northeastern Somalia, and hundreds of people have died in rickety, run-down boats trying to reach Yemen in search of jobs. Somalia descended into chaos after the ouster of Siad Barre.

  81. Extreme Capitalism is Exciting But Dangerous

    The East African (Nairobi)

    OPINION
    April 5, 2004
    Posted to the web April 7, 2004

    Abdulkadir Khalif
    Nairobi

    One of these days – sooner rather than later, one fervently hopes – we will have a new Somali government to oversee the affairs of a country that has undergone a decade of social, economic and political turmoil!

    The free market has created the most ridiculous opportunities. Gun wielding young men demanding leejo (payoffs) prey on every business under the sun. Transporters and commuter buses are favourite victims, with roadblocks being erected at random across country roads and town streets. In the towns, however, the once common “custom” of threatening drivers by pointing a gun at their heads has been phased out nowadays. Instead, harmless looking, empty-handed young men approach vehicles demanding payment. Conductors give up the cash without protest, knowing that failure to do will lead to a size 8 nail bolted to a piece of wood being slipped under their tyres, when they are not looking.

  82. Above posts are direct pastes of news stories found on the web.

    I really like the one about all of the people drowning in rickety boats for a chance to find a job in Yemen. Maybe the armed thug business doesn’t pay as well as it used to.

  83. Rick, I can guarantee you that 3000% growth over eight years (or 55% annual growth, if your calculation is correct) hugely exceeds any plausible natural (non-catastrophic) rate of growth ever seen anywhere in history. Such things do not happen. Either your author is making shit up, or he’s innumerate, or those are displaced persons.

    The continent with the fastest rate of growth is Africa, at 2.7% per year. Average urban population growth in developing countries has recently reached an all-time high at 3.0%, and this is considered a dangerous level of growth.

    According to the UN, Lagos, Karachi and Dhaka are the fastest-growing cities in Africa, at 4-6% per year. UN reports state that smaller cities and towns may grow much faster – up to 10% per year. These levels of growth are invariably considered unsustainable.

    What you want us to believe is that this Somali town grew FIVE AND A HALF TIMES FASTER over 8 years. That’s so far beyond the realm of mathematical possibility that it’s really pretty silly to even debate it. I’m certain your author has inadvertently added or dropped 0’s and that the renowned editors at Libertarian Crackpot Monthly didn’t catch it. But if not, that’s a refugee camp, tough guy.

    You need to be more careful with your sources. You shouldn’t believe everything you read just because it’s written down on a piece of paper.

  84. You don’t want to pay any taxes, fine, then drop out of society and quit spongeing off the rest of us.

    Arguments about the level of taxes are perfectly legit. Arguing that our government, as presently constituted, has neither the moral nor legal right to impose taxes, are so specious as to be an absurd joke. If we do have a government by the consent of the governed, our consent (and hence our moral and legal approval) is implied every time we vote for represnatatives who keep taxing us. I suppose you could argue that if you don’t get your way at the polls, then you aren’t bound to follow the laws, because you didn’t consent. In that case, you probably shouldn’t vote at all – the fundamental agreement underlying representative democracy is that instead of anarchy, we will take a vote and be bound by the results. Again, if you vote, it is implied consent to be governed by this system.

    If I was a judge and one of these tax charlatans showed up in my courtroom, I’d fine his ass too. It’s not a matter of personal pique; the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure make it quite clear that people raising bogus claims are subject to sanctions (along with their attorneys, who definitely should know better). The law on this point is so settled, that there cannot be argument about it. And while it is nice to show a fine disregard for the judiciary and its decisions (preferring instead to follow only the black letter text of the law), the Constitution and the statutes establishing the courts and their authority are black letter law as well.

  85. SP:

    “Rick, because you have lost this debate you resorted to calling me a “child” twice.”

    Ha! I and others made points that you couldn’t or didn’t even try to address and I proved your main, and ridiculous contention concerning the population question was wrong. At first you said that I was “technically correct”, but I think that your ego has took over. I also quoted you making a direct contradiction.

    Your resorting to insult when you find the going tough in these threads is indeed childish. But, you haven’t called me an anti-Semite yet so maybe that’s progress for you.

  86. “You are now backpeddling like crazy, pretending that your months of Somalia puffery had nothing at all to do with your disdain for “central” government per se.”

    You wish I was backpedaling.
    I don’t ever mention Somalia except at your behest. The Somalia experience proves that people can be better off when they are sans their central government. Note, from the WA PO piece:

    “Today Boosaaso, without a formal government, has become a boom town, with one of Somalia’s busiest ports, a burgeoning population and the kind a daily stability envied by much of this deeply troubled East African country.”
    http://www.netnomad.com/boosaaso.html

    “I suggest you read more Economist, less Liberty. News without zealotry – you really can’t beat it. Certified propaganda-free.

    Like the article, which you never read, but that doesn?t stop you from voicing strong, and sometimes silly opinions, (the later understandable, since, again, you haven’t actually read the piece) you haven?t read Liberty at all, so how can you maintain these characterizations about Liberty?

    “Government does useful things private entities cannot and will not.”

    Such as?

  87. Oh—I admire your open mindedness and reasonable approach,Fetchet.Now how about the drug laws,seat belts,and 1.6 gallon flushers?Let`s not question the almighty government.

  88. The only example I can think of when a 55% annual growth rate isn’t an indication of a refugee problem is when a big real estate company builds a new suburb on somebody’s farm, and even then, you’ll only see those numbers for 1-3 years.

    For an established village of 5000 souls to boom into a city almost the size of Providence in such a short time, there have got to be armed gangs shooting up the countryside.

  89. Joe –

    Come on, you need to get with the program. Once again, they’re not “armed gangs shooting up the countryside”! They’re competing protection companies offering their services to grateful capitalist villagers. See? 😉

    Sounds so much better when you phrase it that way, eh?

  90. Slippery Pete,

    Before you decide that you’re right and someone else is wrong, and even start to rationalize reasons for this, you should first engage is some scholarship!

    Here are quotes from a 1996 article from the Washington Post. 1996, corroborating the growth rate that the article that I cited had observed:

    Today Boosaaso, without a formal government, has become a boom town, with one of Somalia’s busiest ports, a burgeoning population and the kind a daily stability envied by much of this deeply troubled East African country.

    Boosaaso’s population estimated at 100,000, has increased fivefold since Somalia’s government disintegrated.>

    Tens of thousands of former Mogadishu residents have flocked here. They are people like Amur Ahmed Mohamed, who traveled nine days– mostly through bush to avoid bandits–with his wife and three daughters before arriving here last June….“This place is like Somalia’s United States,” said Mohamed, 23. “It has been nine months, but I feel as if we just came yesterday. I cannot say how happy we are. When you have peace, you can have a life.”

    http://www.netnomad.com/boosaaso.html

    Now SP, apologize for your silly contention that the author “added or dropped 0’s” and calling Liberty, “Libertarian Crackpot Monthly”.

  91. Rick –

    Got me! Not.

    The WaPo article speaks of a 5-fold increase over an unspecified number of years. Your article speaks of a 30-fold increase over a period of 8 years. In what sense does a stated 5-fold increase corroborate your 30-fold increase? You’re still off by a factor of 6, my friend.

    I see you added emphasis on the comparison that one Amur Ahmed Mohamed made of his town to the United States. And a plastic tarp is the Taj Mahal when you’re lost in the woods.

    Your naivete is sweet, Rick.

  92. Rick –

    I hesitate to muddy the waters by confusing you with more facts. The innumeracy question entertains me.

    But have you stopped for a moment to consider where Boosaaso’s happy new residents have come from? Unless they’re Polish immigrants, I imagine most of them are…well, Somalis who moved from other towns where the central government has also collapsed.

    So, even if I concede the comical implausibility of your population growth numbers (which I don’t), it would still be impossible to imagine what your point would be viz. the collapse of central government. The best I can tell, it is this: “Central government in Somalia collapsed. Life got worse in umpteen towns, but better in Boosaaso where thousands of residents fled because there wasn’t any fighting there! Therefore central government retards growth.” Or something.

    Errr, you’re not exactly making a lot of sense here, buddy. Where did those 80,000 – 145,000 residents come from, if not from other Somali towns where central government has also collapsed? Poland? Mars?

  93. Oh jeez. Rick, have you read that entire article?? I just did. Here is the final paragraph of the article:

    Yet Farah said the elders know they cannot carry the society on their shoulders. “We definitely need at least a local government, because the elders are confined only to solving problems,” he said. “We just cannot provide the kind of administration that governments provide.”

    I kid you not. This was the source for Rick’s anti-government screed. I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  94. Slippery Pete,

    The number of years is too specified, just subtract! It’s five years, insult boy. The Population was up to 100,000 in just five years.

    A “fold” is a doubling. You’re confusing “fold” with “factor”. Going from a population of 5,000 to 150,000 is not a 30 fold increase, it is an increase by a factor of 30

    Now SP, apologize for your silly contention that the author “added or dropped 0’s” and calling Liberty, “Libertarian Crackpot Monthly”. We are waiting…

  95. http://www.twice.com/article/CA176689
    http://www.onecell.com/secretion/fivefold.htm
    http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc0.asp?docid=1G1:4371577&refid=ink_overture_g10_pub
    http://forests.org/archive/png/fivfincr.htm

    Rick –

    You had me for a second. For just a second, I thought I had really been had. Did WaPo rally mean “five-fold” to be an increase in population from 5,000 to 160,000? Have I lived 30 years on this earth and never understood how the word “fold” is used?

    No. I can’t say that you’re technically incorrect, but I typed “five-fold increase” into Yahoo and clicked around. In all instances, the term meant a 500% increase, not a 3200% increase. There is no doubt that this is what the authors of your government-affirming study meant.

  96. Slippery Pete,

    Now you’re going from not understanding basic mathematics and population data, to not understanding the point of the original article. Of course, you never actually read it, but that doesn’t stop you from voicing the strongest opinions about it!

    Now SP, apologize for your silly contention that the author “added or dropped 0’s” and calling Liberty, “Libertarian Crackpot Monthly”. We are Still waiting…

  97. Rick, what is this silly game of goading me into apologizing for something, simply because you are waiting. What makes you think I care that you’re waiting for something? I don’t understand.

    Your mathematics have been destroyed here, and the subjects of your article – the elders of Boosaasa – have been quoted as stating that they need “at least local government” because they are incapable of providing adequate services themselves. Your WaPo “corroboration” was off by a factor of 6.

    You remind me of the black knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie. Your legs have been chopped off. Your arms have been chopped off. What are you going to do, bite my legs off?

  98. Why’s it suddenly so quiet around here? Come on, Rick! Have at you! Yah!

  99. SP,
    “…government-affirming study” and this is your characterization springing from that quote in a story that saw the demise of a central government! OK, if that makes you feel better.

    My mathematics have been destroyed?? What?? That the population was up to 100,000 in just five years does indeed corroborate the growth rate that would yield a population of 150,000 in eight years cited in the original article.

    You were clearly wrong about you’re contention that the author “added or dropped 0’s”

  100. No, Rick. A growth rate of 20,000 to 100,000 in 5 years yields 263,000 in 8 years, not 150,000. That’s a pretty big difference, no?

    You never answered my more pertinent questions:

    1. Where did the Boosaaso refugees come from? Poland?

    2. I’m not “characterizing” the article as pro-government. I’m quoting it as such. The Boosaaso elder said, and I quote: “We definitely need at least a local government…We just cannot provide the kind of administration that governments provide.” Unquote.

  101. SP.

    The growth figures observed in the WA PO piece yield a rate that you deemed “Impossible”!

    The Boosaaso refugees came from other parts of Somalia, That doesn’t in any way negate the thesis. When you Read the article, you will understand this

    Gotta split for a little while.

  102. Hey Slippery Pete! You weren’t a math major I’m guessing. I think that growth the author quoted, that you say is so unbelievable comes to something under 55% per annum. Is that easier for you to wrap your mind around? Don’t you think that population centers grow at a rate of 55% per year? I know they do. And to think you called someone a “fruitcake” in this thread!

  103. SP.

    The growth figures observed in the WA PO piece yield a rate that you deemed “Impossible”!

    The Boosaaso refugees came from other parts of Somalia, That doesn’t in any way negate the thesis. When you Read the article you will understand this

    Gotta split for awhile…

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