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Author: grarpamp
To: System undo crew
Old-Topics: [unSYSTEM] Book Report: Assassination Politics by Jim Bell
Subject: Re: [unSYSTEM] Book Report: Assassination Politics by Jim Bell
On 11/26/22, Caleb James DeLisle <cjd@???> wrote:
> I finally got around to reading it, and I wrote my thoughts
> Book report: Assassination Politics by Jim Bell
> My review of Bell's essay.
> I have not yet finished, this will be a thread which grows over time.

On what other forums is this [often, and or deeply] discussed? Links?

The review might have a few problem areas, and may portray
conclusions upon aspects which are actually not yet settled
in the long running open internet debate on the topic.
That subthread has yet to start.

Seems reasonable that OP and others on the Internet continue, and
renew, the debate. Not least because Prediction Markets already
exist now, both in theory and well known practice (gambling, estimating
upon boring questions, ...). And their development is progressing,
some exotic design talk includes use of Oracles (AI API's, ChatGPT,
DAO's, ...), use of p2p distributed censor resistant code execution platforms,
Governance and Operating DAO's, cryptos, etc. And because it may only be
a matter of time until PM's are tasked to answer more provocative questions than
what the weather or sports score will be next week. And given the media
broadcasted Sanjuro's model across the Internet to hundreds of thousands
of readers, at least that simplistic form is virtually assured to
reappear again.

There was a lot of discussion of cryptocurrency before the first
neutral cryptocurrencies came into existance, which no doubt
helped with understanding them when they did. And there is
today certainly no shortage of people recognizing crypto as a
valuable tool for human freedom.

Of course other questions can be asked of Prediction Markets too...

Has anyone considered tasking PM's with one of the Statists most
common lingering skeptical hesitancy questions about Voluntaryism,
Anarchism, Libertarian, Agorism, etc...

"But who will build the roads?"

You might find the answer that a PM could provide to be rather
interesting, and thus also a useful tool for human freedom.

On 11/26/22, Caleb James DeLisle <cjd@???> wrote:
> Hey y'all radicals.
> I finally got around to reading it, and I wrote my thoughts here:
> https://pkteerium.xyz/@cjd/posts/APz1rEub97iGl8BebY
> For easy reading, I've copied them into the mail:
> ---
> Book report: Assassination Politics by Jim Bell
> I have not yet finished, this will be a thread which grows over time.
> 1. The technical aspect is, we now know, super boring. As long as we have
> someone who can be trusted
> to enter the obituaries into the block chain, the rest is basically a solved
> problem.
> 2. Jim makes a rather laughable assertion that this construct would be
> legal. You can't call it
> assassination politics and expect not to go to jail for participating.
> However what is questionable
> is how wide the "this is a conspiracy" net would be cast... Anyone who
> touches the coins involved?
> Could monero or zcash be banned entirely for being involved? All anonymous
> crypto? Would all crypto
> that was ever traded for anonymous crypto be "tainted"? These questions
> remain unanswered, but
> suffice to say, power will strive to protect itself, and a definition in
> black's law dictionary will
> not stop it.
> 3. Assassinating high profile people is surprisingly difficult. They have
> good security details and
> intelligence services are watching out for this type of thing. Phone
> location tracking, spy
> satellites, etc make attacking quite hard
> ---
> 3.1. This is even more true in authoritarian countries where most people
> have absolutely no chance
> of getting near the president, and the close associates are systematically
> compromised such that
> death of the president would spell their death as well. Consider for example
> a scenario where the
> body guards of the president are those who demonstrate loyalty by carrying
> out heinous acts which,
> once known, would spell their doom. Power is not naive.
> 4. However, 2 things are far far more difficult to defend, those are
> infrastructure and "good people".
> 4.1. Good people, as I use the term, are not power structure, they are
> opposition party, or a
> surprise elected president. They care about making the country a better
> place to live more than
> immortalizing their grip on power. As such, they present easier targets,
> which challenges Bell's
> supposition that the AM would make the world a better place.
> 4.2. Infrastructure is perpetually vulnerable to attack. As easily as a bet
> can be made on the death
> of a politician, one can also be made on the failure of a power grid,
> collapse of a bridge, or
> poisoning of a drinking water reservoir
> ---
> ...these things are flat out terrifying for the state, which is why the US
> got all weird right after
> 9/11, it was their excuse to impose as much control as possible over stuff
> where they were actually
> powerless. This is also why the NSA spies on Americans and will not stop,
> ever. What does it
> actually cost to buy train derailments, bridge collapses, power grid
> failures, oil spills, etc? If
> the citizens are disgruntled and/or desperate, not that much.
> 5. This kind of thing is, ironically, not possible without state support.
> Somebody needs to tend the
> garden, somebody needs to be typing up the obituaries. It is surprisingly
> difficult to do this while
> staying completely anonymous. Such a role necessarily builds up a
> reputation, and becomes a high
> value target for doxing. A little bit of deductive reasoning - remove the
> non tech savy, those who
> are at work, soon you have a short list of candidates. A little NSA backdoor
> to double check and you
> have your man. The only way this can work is if he is in a protected
> location (Russia, Iran, North
> Korea, ...).
> 5.1. But now, geopolitics comes into play. Iran is known for using terror to
> get what they want, and
> as a result they have very few friends in the world. Their high ranking
> military is regularly
> attacked by drone or car bomb from the us or Israel.
> ---
> 5.2 Russia did in the past run ransomeware groups, but at some point they
> agreed to stop because,
> one way or another, the us was able to bribe or pressure them. I suspect it
> was more the latter.
> To put it simply, war favors the attacker, so the most powerful militaries
> in the world pretty much
> have everyone else by the pressure points and can always ask them to "please
> stop that".
> ---
> 6. Power jealously guards it's anonymity, particularly in the west. If I
> asked you who is running
> the west who would you say? Biden, Macron, Trudeau? Yeah right. Maybe you
> say the Rothschild family
> but there is good reason to think they're were never actually in charge
> either - in the 1800s they
> were just an ordinary poor family and today a number of their decedents live
> an ordinary lifestyle,
> w/ jobs, etc. By the numbers - their story is more one of a high ranking
> servant than the master.
> The onion has many layers. Bell's Assassination Market doesn't seem to take
> into account the
> possibility that the "man behind the curtain" is in fact unknown to the
> masses.
> ---
> 7. Bell correctly identifies a key problem with the police / criminal
> justice system as it is
> currently configured. Police and criminal justice is regularly paid based on
> the amount of dangerous
> violent crime they have to go after, but whatever you incentivize is what
> you get more of.
> ---
> 8. Much of what Bell writes comes from his position as a Libertarian
> Anarchist. Libertarian
> Anarchism is somewhat similar to (honest) Communism in that it identifies a
> value and attempts to
> naïvely maximize that value without recognition of the complex
> interconnectedness of the real world.
> In the case of Communism, the value is equality and in the case of
> Libertarian Anarchism it's freedom.
> Now we do have to give Libertarian Anarchism some credit here because it is
> more intelligent than
> Communism. While Communism doesn't make it much further than to see a person
> destitute and say "less
> of this please", Libertarian Anarchism has the intelligence to observe a
> truism that government
> breeds corruption and so less government is better.
> The problem with "less government" is that past a certain point, secret
> governments, secret
> societies, organized crime, mafias, gangs, and warlords begin to spring up.
> So you don't really get
> less government as much as less accountable government.
> Bell takes the Libertarian Anarchist position that a world without
> government is indeed possible,
> and he sees the Assassination Market as THE path to achieving it.
> ---
> 9. Beyond the assertion that the AM can end government, Bell further asserts
> that it can end war.
> This assertion flies in the face of the well established theory that in a
> world of limited resources
> and unlimited potential desires, there will necessarily be a struggle for
> existence.
> This struggle is born out in war & geopolitics, politics & corruption,
> business & legal battle. Even
> blockchains are forced to pay tribute to the struggle if they want true
> decentralized security.
> I would assert that any working solution to the problem of war is
> generalizable to solving costly
> legal disputes, political battles, and even proof of work. As of now, the
> closest thing we have to a
> solution to these sister problems is the seminal work of Dr. John Nash, who
> - if I may commit an
> atrocity of oversimplification - proved that when the final outcome of a
> struggle can be known
> beforehand, participants can reach agreement to voluntarily adopt that final
> outcome without
> expending the energy of the struggle.
> Nash's work helped to mathematically formalize optimal strategies such that
> participants could feel
> confident that their strategy is correct, but the idea of modelling,
> communicating, and reacting to
> eachothers' strategies is nothing new.
> Gazelles stotting are in essence communicating to predators that a struggle
> with them will not end
> easily.
> ---
> 10. What Bell very accurately predicted was the effect that the internet
> would have on sapping
> peoples' enthusiasm for war.
> Right now the whole world is watching a war play out between what are mostly
> Russian conscripts and
> what are probably significantly Ukranian conscripts (plus clearly some
> Ukranians volunteers who
> choose to defend their homeland).
> While there are a fair share of CurrentThing™ NPCs in the west, the majority
> opinion seems to be
> that common folks are not to be blamed for any of this and it is tyrannical
> government that is at fault.
> An even more Anarchistic position which has gained some significant traction
> is that while the
> Russian is ostensibly the sole aggressor, Zelensky is a CIA asset installed
> via a coup d'êtat, and
> he and the US administration are probably equally responsible for goading
> Russia into the war in the
> first place.
> The zeitgeist may be captured by quoting Regan out of context, to wit: "In
> this present crisis,
> government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
> ---
> Correction: s/the Russian/the Russian government/
> Please don't mistake me for one of the type of bigots who represents all
> people of a nationality as
> though they were a single person.
> 11. So could an Assassination Market really work?
> Part of me would like to say "no" in order to be a good citizen and not
> promote something so radical
> - but to be perfectly frank, that part of me is almost non-existent.
> Part of me would like to say "YES!" in order to be part of a major new
> discovery in the evolution of
> politics. That's the part which drove me to read the essay in the beginning.
> Gibson said "The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed",
> and I think in that
> quote we can find our answer.
> There are examples of Iran and Russia paying bounties for the death of
> American soldiers. The pre-US
> colonial governments in America paid for scalps of slain Indians, and in 1
> Samuel 18:25, the Bible
> references a dowry to be paid in enemy foreskins.
> These are all primitive examples of Assassination Markets, where in
> particular the target to be
> assassinated is not any specific person but rather a broad class of people.
> What else these examples all have in common is that the targets for
> Assassination are of a clearly
> defined out-group and there is a culture wherein said assassination is
> defined as lawful, if not heroic.
> I suspect that an AM could indeed exist, but only within the context of an
> active war, where there
> is not only the cash bounty but also the guarantee of physical protection
> and legal immunity for the
> assassin.
> At the end of the day, most people are not cut out to be assassins - so the
> job will very probably
> remain with those few Professionals, who make hit jobs their line of
> business. And in this case,
> trust and relationships being what they are, putting the job out to market
> doesn't make as much
> sense as doing it the way it's always been done.
> ---
> 12. My review of Bell's essay.
> Firstly, it's very non-linear, a combination of newspaper interviews,
> letters, and other
> correspondence. It really bounces around a lot more than something like,
> e.g. Kaczynski's Industrial
> Society and Its Future.
> However, unlike Kaczynski whose writing style tells a story of one man's
> decay into madness, Bell
> remains quite coherent throughout.
> Kaczynski falls somewhere in the left/socialist/environmentalist realm,
> though he strongly - and
> eloquently - discredits mainstream Leftism. Bell is clearly in the
> Anarcho-Capitalist / Libertarian
> space.
> Bell may be offended that I would compare him to Kaczynski, but both are
> highly influential radical
> thinkers from the same time period, so that just cannot be helped.
> Mr. Kaczynski was not able to make any significant contribution beyond
> arguing the degeneracy of
> Leftist thinking while simultaneously demonstrating it firsthand, but I
> believe Mr. Bell's
> contribution is highly noteworthy.
> Prediction markets remain a young and poorly understood area of research,
> and Bell did an excellent
> job of putting a stake in the ground and describing the outer limits of how
> a prediction market
> might be used.
> I can scarcely imagine a significant paper on prediction markets which does
> not cite the work of Mr.
> Bell, and that alone is enough to make his contribution noteworthy.
> As we are so blessed as to still have Mr. Bell with us (and not in prison!),
> I would encourage him
> to restructure his work in a more linear academic format which presents the
> ideas with brevity,
> clarity, and linearity.
> While I have said that I doubt a real Assassination Market would ever
> emerge, except transiently
> during a wider geopolitical conflict. I do think that other types of
> prediction markets are not only
> inevitable, but in fact desirable, and I applaud Mr. Bell for opening
> discussion of the topic.
> ---
> 13. POST SCRIPT: Thoughts on Libertarian Anarchism
> Libertarian Anarchism, or Anarcho-Capitalism, as you might call it, is what
> I would call a "purist"
> political philosophy. It rejects complexities and compromise of "The Real
> World" and insists that
> the answer is simple and it just needs to be tried.
> It is easy to discredit any political philosophy which claims to be simple
> and "just needs to be
> tried", as the history of politics is at least tens of thousands of years
> old and anything which is
> simple has almost certainly been tried in some place at some time in the
> past - and proved to be an
> evolutionary dead-end.
> Like it or not, our messy mixture of election, oligarchy, monarchy,
> dictatorship and law, is the
> result of tens of thousands of years of survival of the fittest in a
> geopolitical struggle for
> existence.
> But given the tenancy of government to grow big and fat, and eventually
> stifle all innovation until
> it's eventual collapse, why doesn't Anarchism out-compete?
> I think the unseen monster which makes Anarchist and Minarchist governments
> unable to survive in the
> long term is what you might call Secret Government.
> Secret Government is a catch-all for every type of gang, mafia, cult,
> warlord, secret society,
> conspiracy, corruption or otherwise, which aims to undermine agreed-upon law
> and impose it's own
> system of law instead.
> If I, on my land, build a nuclear arsenal, and then go about extorting my
> neighbors for "protection"
> - this is an example of Secret Government. Perhaps the most famous one in
> the Libertarian Anarchist
> space.
> A more realistic example may be simply selling "protection" to local
> businesses - with an implicit
> threat of surreptitiously destroying their property if they don't pay. This,
> likewise, is a form of
> Secret Government.
> Establishing defacto Sharia Law and enforcing it on everyone in a particular
> area, despite them not
> being part of my church would be another example of Secret Government.
> Now you might come back to the Assassination Market as a solution to me, the
> tyrannical mafioso, but
> firstly: Does anyone know their identity, and secondly: If they're under
> threat, wouldn't they just
> cut all of the internet and power cables?
> Given the assumption that *some* kind of dejour government is necessary in
> order to prevent
> unaccountable Secret Government ceasing control, this government is itself a
> vulnerability.
> If there is any kind of government, no matter how small, the attacker may
> opt to use political
> influence / lobbying / advertising, to push for changes to that government
> to bring it under their
> control. For example, via a privately owned central bank.
> The challenge of government is that it must be as small as possible, whilst
> being powerful enough to
> fend off any assault by Secret Government which is, by definition,
> unaccountable to the people.
> A totalitarian dictatorship is super stable if the populous is kept afraid
> and destitute while the
> cadre is an army of goons whose enemies will surely kill them if the
> dictatorship ever crumbles. But
> this is the opposite of libertarian government.
> As Gouverneur Morris said: The rich will strive to establish their dominion
> and enslave the rest.
> They always did...they always will. They will have the same effect here as
> elsewhere, if we do not,
> by the power of government, keep them in their proper spheres.
> This is the challenge. Like war, it is an arms race of complexity. Every
> system by which Secret
> Government is prevented from emerging is another system to co-opt.
> The struggle against darkness is fought one step at a time.
> __END__
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