Geothermal Update

The heat exchange unit, which sends warm or cold air to the attic where a fan then sends it through the house

Last June I blogged about our installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system in our house.  (The link is to one of the final blogs, go earlier in the week to see the process).   Now seven months later it’s time for an update.

It is winter.   You can’t tell by looking out the window because we are barren of snow.  That is exceedingly rare for December 30th and has destroyed my plans to spend the week skiing with the boys here in town.    We did get a two inch snowfall on December 23rd that melted on December 26th.   Maine without a white Christmas would have been an abomination!

So far the geothermal system gets a mixed review.  It does a quick, reasonably silent and comfortable job heating and cooling.   It’s nice that air doesn’t blast out of the ducts; it’s even hard to tell when the system is running.    As expected, there isn’t a lot of heat being pushed to the basement, so while we keep the upstairs at a comfortable 68 when we’re around, the basement is usually a good five or six degrees cooler.   We do have a space heater we use sparingly (and we could turn on the oil heat if we really wanted the basement toasty).

We don’t seem to be saving as much money as we hoped to.   We haven’t seen any help from our desuperheater, designed to provide hot water.    I expected better from something called a ‘desuperheater.’   It is supposed to augment our boiler, which now is used only for hot water and back up heat.   The goal was to burn 15% of the oil we used to, but it’s more like 30% –  which is pretty much what hot water costs anyway!   The boiler acts as if the desuperheater isn’t there.

To install it we not only had to deepen our well from 360 feet to 840, but dig up the front lawn to connect a second pipe for returning the water. The well provides both domestic water and geothermal.

I plan to increase the temperature of the water sent from the geothermal unit to the hot water supply.   I originally set it to 125 instead of 150 out of fear that water too hot would burn the kids.   I think the water sent would mix with cooler water so I’ll experiment with that.  If the kids start suffering 2nd degree burns I’ll turn the temperature back down.

The other issue is electricity.   Unfortunately our electric bills haven’t been consistent.   Despite the new use of ‘smart meters,’ a device which sends information on usage to the company so CMP can lay off meter readers, we seem to be getting a lot of estimated bills or wild fluctuations from month to month.

The total cost of the system was nearly $40,000, though we do get a third of it back in tax credits (thanks, Uncle Sam!), making the final cost about $28,000.   To pay it back in 10 years we’d need a savings of $2800 a year (I didn’t even need a calculator for that one!).    Last year we paid $4500 for heating oil.   This year we’re likely going to pay about $1200.    That puts us at a savings of $3300 before the electric bill.   The electric bill used to be about $120 a month.   For people outside Maine that sounds like a lot, but we have expensive electricity in Maine — even the Governor complains about that!

In summer the cooling didn’t increase the cost much, but last month’s bill spiked.   If that continues (one month is hard to go by with electric bills, you have to average them out), we could be looking at $500 more for the three  coldest months, and  probably about $700 more for the rest of the year.   Even that is suspect because we had two dehumidifiers pumping water out of the year non-stop this summer since my wife got concerned that there is too much mold in the basement air.   I thought it added character to the atmosphere but her sinuses disagreed.

If those figures are accurate that would mean the additional electricity would cost about $1200, or $100 a month on average.   That would make our savings $2100 for the year.   If we can’t improve on that it will take the system as much as 15 years to pay for itself.

So far the system has only malfunctioned once, and Jeff Gagnon Heating and Plumbing was there early the next day to fix what was a minor problem (free of charge, of course, as it is under warranty).   I gotta love Maine — we weren’t able to be home when they could stop by, so we just left the house unlocked.   That’s typical here.   During that time it was nice to have oil heat back up.   We also had a 13 hour power outage in mid-autumn which also required us to use oil.   We have a generator, but it’s not powerful enough to start the geothermal system.   The electrician who worked on the installation just laughed heartily when I pointed to my generator and asked if it would be enough to keep the geothermal going.

Despite that, I still do not regret installing the system.   My wife – a CPA much more in tune with money issues than a dreamy academic like me – isn’t so sure.    But if oil prices sky rocket, the payback time could decrease quickly.  Looking at headlines from Iran, Syria, and the Mideast I find it a bit comforting not to be relying completely on oil.

We have heat going down to the basement through three upstairs closets; so far it's providing minimal but valuable help

I also really like having air conditioning in the summer.   You don’t need it in Maine, but if you’re going to entertain guests, cook indoors, or be comfortable on those hot weeks (and we seem to be getting more of them), it is very pleasant.   We couldn’t have had central air without duct work being done anyway, and that was a chunk of the cost.    We would never have gotten central air for that reason and a few window units would have been a pain.   There is real value to having a cooling system!

Finally, I’m not yet convinced about the cost.   I need more data about the cost of electricity over a full year, and I hope to get the desuperheater to provide more relief heating water.

So the unit works well, we get good heat, and I’m happy with it.   We don’t seem to be saving as much as we hoped for, and the basement stays chillier than the upstairs.   Nonetheless seven months in I’m still glad we did this!   My wife tells me that even if I get a major midlife crisis I’d better be happy with my Ford Fusion for at least another decade — this was my expensive toy of choice.   I can live with that!

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  1. #1 by Sean Patrick Hazlett on December 30, 2011 - 05:12

    I’m thinking about making a similar move to solar in the next five years. I still don’t think it pays itself off yet, but we may be there soon.

    Plus, we had a few problems with our initial smart meter installation. I’ve been keeping careful track of our kwh usage. We added a widescreen TV, but our kwh usage dropped dramatically from year-to-year, which leads me to believe that accusations that the initial meter readers spat out inaccurate readings were justified. In fact, after PG&E sent around a technician, our kwh usage dropped precipitously. This is a good thing because I had the family on electricity lock down. In summers with 100 degree heat or higher, I refused to use air conditioning out of fear out monthly bill would shoot well north of $500/month.

    On the positive side, we are lucky not to be so reliant on heating oil. In fact, we use natural gas. Thanks to fracking, its price has dropped precipitously in recent years. Over 90% of my utility bill is for electricity, not heat.

    • #2 by Scott Erb on December 30, 2011 - 05:19

      My CMP electric plant generates electricity using natural gas, so in a way we’re also on natural gas. I’m not sure why natural gas hasn’t caught on in this part of the country for home heating. Everyone seems to be on heating oil or wood. Interesting about the smart meters, I’ll have to look into that.

      • #3 by Black Flag® on December 30, 2011 - 15:54

        Pipelines. Insufficient pipelines and/or capacity.

        Good luck in overcoming Greenie stumping to get that fixed, though.

  2. #4 by Black Flag® on December 30, 2011 - 15:52

    Dump the “Smart” meter and look into Google Powermeter – you will be able to tune your own electrical use from your own measurements.

    You stick a dongle on your breaker box, and you can measure accurately the use, and even up to the electrical device itself (answering questions such as “How much electricity did I waste responding to BF this week?” 😉 )

    Being a high technology user (8.4 computers per person in our house), the meter is really key in keeping my bills down below stratospheric.

    • #5 by Scott Erb on December 30, 2011 - 16:04

      Never heard of that — thanks,I’ll look into it!

  3. #7 by renaissanceguy on December 31, 2011 - 15:18

    I’m thankful for the update. I had a few thoughts.

    There is no such thing as Uncle Sam. There are only taxpaying people. So, in essence, you forced taxpaying people to pay for something that would otherwise not be a wise use of your money–economically speaking only So when you see taxpaying people around you, remember that they were coerced into backing your little project.

    Regardless of whether your system pays for itself, you are making a wiser use of the earth’s resources, and I applaud you for that. Sincerely. Although I am not the looney kind of environmentalist, I do believe in careful use of resources.

    You are obviously in a financial position that allows you to pay the start-up costs and to wait for the savings over a 10-year or 15-year period. Not everyone could do that. I do not envy you, but I would point out that it might change some people’s perspective on how bad the “rich” are. It is only the “rich”–or at least the comfortably middle class–who can afford to make such eco-friendly changes. (Aother example: who is buying all that organic food? Not the working-class poor, I can assure you!)

    Aren’t basments supposed to be chilly and damp? I haven’t lived in a house with a basement for a long time, but that is how I remember them.

    • #8 by Scott Erb on December 31, 2011 - 16:03

      As I keep reminding you, RG, I and most people on the so called left have nothing against the rich. It’s abuse of power and lack of opportunity for the poor to succeed that is the issue for me. Also it’s wrong to say I’m forcing anyone to pay anything. In a system of representative democracy people decide what they value and want to promote, and choosing to create an incentive to move towards greener energy is a decision made through that process. Protests on OWS or political action on the left (as well as protests by the Tea Party and political action on the right) are legitimate ways in which people with different perspectives try to shape public opinion and push their representative democracy to make different choices.

      That’s a good thing, and we should prize it, even when the ‘other’ side wins a particular fight. Neither of us knows if your take on matters is accurate, we’re both biased in a variety of ways. But somehow in the vast give and take of public discourse, including observing the impact of policies taken over time, I think our democratic processes can yield better results than you or I might put forth if we were allowed to turn our views into policy.

      • #9 by Black Flag® on December 31, 2011 - 18:52

        Such a believe is utterly depraved.

        You hold that you and your ilk, simply because you wave your hands in the air, can determine my good regardless of what I want.

        You merely believe the Collect is more important than the individuals that make up the Collective – but any analysis of that statement shows it to be perverse, contradictory, and as such always falls into massive slaughter of humanity.

        You certainly can believe your Collective more important then you are – but you have no right to force me to believe that.

      • #10 by Scott Erb on December 31, 2011 - 19:24

        BF, I don’t believe you are capable of determining for everyone else what rights exist, what governments should or should not do, or anything else.

        I don’t force you to believe anything. You have the right to try to convince people you are right, and if you convince enough, then people will create a system different than the current one. I do trust an open democratic process with numerous voices much more than I trust one person to be able to figure out what’s right.

      • #11 by Black Flag® on January 1, 2012 - 08:25

        Scott

        BF, I don’t believe you are capable of determining for everyone else what rights exist, what governments should or should not do, or anything else.

        Between us, you are the least capable in this area, to be sure.

        I don’t force you to believe anything.

        You advocate that others do.

        I do trust an open democratic
        process with numerous voices much more than I trust one person to be able to figure out what’s right

        Democratic process is merely the belief that waving hands in the air legitimizes theft and murder.

        I trust that each man to make his own decision free from such an evil process

  4. #12 by renaissanceguy on January 1, 2012 - 01:07

    Scott, I believe that you misrepresent Black Flag’s view–and mine. He is not trying to impose his view on you. He is suggesting that you have no right to impose your view on others. He did not tell you what kind of heating system to use or how to pay for it. As far as he and I are concerned you can chop down every tree on your lot and burn them in a fireplace or you can install electric space heaters throughout your house. It is up to you, and it is your responsibility to pay for it.

    It is you who indirectly demanded that others support your choice and help you pay for it.

    We are not suggesting that one person decide what is right for others. We are suggesting that NOBODY should decide what kind of heating system you have but you. We are suggesting that NOBODY should pay you to install the system that you think will suit your needs best and that you think will be friendly to the earth.

    Besides, if it were really financially prudent, you would not need the government to give you other people’s money to pay for it. (The same holds true with “biofuels.”)

    Back to the first point–It doesn’t matter if it is one person or 535 people or 300,000,000 people who impose their will on others without just cause. It is morally wrong.

  5. #13 by Scott Erb on January 1, 2012 - 04:19

    The fact is that your position is your own philosophical position about the nature of politics, individual rights and government. You are free to act on it. I’m free to act on a different set of beliefs as are others. The result in a democratic Republic is a form of decision making that allows debate and competition and then gives results that can be changed over time.

    Advocating a position is not “demanding others support my choice.” If that’s the case, everyone advocating any position is making such demands — or demanding others support their philosophical view on rights, government and individuals. You have an opinion on what is morally wrong. But you can’t demand 300,000,000 others share that opinion. If they choose to share that opinion, they’ll vote with you and you’ll have the kind of government that fits your perspective. If they choose not to, then your perspective has been rejected. The people have a right to make choices you consider morally wrong.

    But here’s the beautiful part — we keep the debate going. We vote again and again. In time, you have the capacity to persuade people if you have a strong argument and if the results of policy give lessons that support your position. After all, if you really believe no one should impose, then the only legitimate way you’d get a “libertarian” form of government is if the people decided that’s what they thought government should be like. If they think differently, it would take violence and force to impose libertarian principles.

    • #14 by Black Flag® on January 1, 2012 - 08:13

      Scott

      You are free to act on it. I’m free to act on a different set of beliefs as are others.

      That’s the problem – you feel freedom to attack non-violent people so to get your way with them.

      It is your actions that are dreadful and fearful – and the roots of evil.

      The result in a democratic Republic is a form of decision making that allows debate and competition and then gives results that can be changed over time.

      Democracy is merely a great lie where people believe by waving their hands in the air, they are graced with the right to steal and kill others for whatever reason they desire by merely the will of the masses.

      Advocating a position is not “demanding others support my choice.”

      Your position demands my agreement or my obedience, and if I surrender neither you have no qualms about killing me.

      But you can’t demand 300,000,000 others share that opinion.

      It is you who makes the demand, not I.
      My position does not impose upon you, but your position requires imposition upon me.

      You demand – I do not, and that is why “your way” creates great human evil.

      If they choose not to, then your perspective has been rejected.

      So if we take your theory, then a murderer is perfectly fine to kill as his position has been rejected.

      The people have a right to make choices you consider morally wrong.

      They do not have a right to take my right.

  6. #15 by Scott Erb on January 1, 2012 - 15:21

    Most people think they are more capable than others in making such calls, BF. It’s a natural bias, you suffer from it as much as anyone else.

    And all you have are opinions. Cool. But since you choose not to disengage in social relations, you do not get to determine how the society around itself is structured, or what the rules are for you to engage it. You may think the rules deny you basic rights, and that’s fine — but you cannot rewrite those rules (it would take massive violence to force people to live according to the way you think things should be). In democracy you have the capacity to try to convince people you’re right. If you do, well, you’ll get rules more in accord with your own beliefs. If you don’t, well, you can complain, pontificate and the like — but you’re just one guy with an opinion.

    • #16 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 02:30

      Scott

      Most people think they are more capable than others in making such calls, BF. It’s a natural bias, you suffer from it as much as anyone else.

      Not one bit.

      Unlike you, I do know that I do not know enough about you to make your decisions – to believe otherwise is conceit.

      However, you advocate that indeed, you do know more than I about myself and are more then willing to make those decisions regardless of my own wishes.

      That is what separates us, Scott – and the difference between good and evil.

      • #17 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 02:34

        No, I don’t do that at all. You’re simply wrong. You have the delusion that you are not part of a society greater than yourself, and therefore based on that false belief advocate truly evil ideas which you claim are good. Dogmatists are often like that. Luckily I don’t think you fool many people.

      • #18 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 02:38

        Scott,

        No, I don’t do that at all.

        But of course you do, sir.

        If you do not get your way, you believe that if you get enough cohorts about you to agree with you, you can force your way on me.

        You care not one wit whether I wish it or not.

        Luckily I don’t think you fool many people.

        Because I do not fool people.

        But you, sadly, do.

      • #19 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 13:10

        Nope, you’re just making stuff up so you can feel self-righteous. That’s fine, but it’s BS.

      • #20 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 13:15

        Scott,

        How can I be making stuff up when you have stated this yourself?

        “… capacity to try to convince people you’re right. If you do, well, you’ll get rules more in accord with your own beliefs….”

        That is the essence of your paradigm – you are a Collectivist – which is troublesome enough – but on top of that, you are a Statist – believing you can force your ideas on everyone else no matter their wish.

      • #21 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 14:26

        Logical error – you’re arguing via labeling (vague terms like statist and collectivist). Not only are those terms meaningless, but they contradict your core philosophy – you’re lumping people into a collective via a vague label and not dealing with the individual. You are the “collectivist” here. See, you’re full of contradictions and logical inconsistencies — that’s what happens when you have dogma you try to hold on to no matter what. It forces you into logical gymnastics that destroy the credibility of your argument (which is also an ad hominem argument, another logical fallacy).

        I’m amazed you don’t see the maze of contradictions and logical errors you need to try to protect your dogma. And, of course, what you say about me is wrong.

      • #22 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 15:06

        Scott,

        Logical error – you’re arguing via labeling (vague terms like statist and collectivist).

        Very strange – Statist and Collectivists are not vague terms – they are quite specific.

        Statist – believer in State power
        Collectivist – believer the collective is more important then the individuals that make up the Collective

        You fit both.

        Not only are those terms meaningless

        How can words which have meanings be meaningless?

        , but they contradict your core philosophy – you’re lumping people into a collective via a vague label and not dealing with the individual.

        I am dealing with you – I have not generalized by saying “all political ‘scientists’ are collectivists and statists”

        See, you’re full of contradictions and logical inconsistencies

        No, all this demonstrates is that you are the one in contradiction. You merely confuse yourself in thinking you are the standard bearer of logic and reason – which means everything else must be confused.

        And, of course, what you say about me is wrong.

        I re-post exactly what you say, therefore I must be wrong in what I say about you.

        ….only in Scott’s bizarro world….

  7. #23 by Alan Scott on January 3, 2012 - 01:14

    Scott,

    ” Also it’s wrong to say I’m forcing anyone to pay anything. In a system of representative democracy people decide what they value and want to promote, and choosing to create an incentive to move towards greener energy is a decision made through that process. ”

    It is very easy to reverse your argument and pretty much justify anything. You are merely arguing that your course of action is not illegal. We as a people voted in our representatives who then create incentives for all kinds of things. We as a people voted in representatives who have created a monstrously complicated tax system that corporations exploit with high priced tax lawyers and accountants. I think they refer to them as loopholes.

    Using your logic, none of us on the right, and certainly none of you on the left , have a moral leg to stand on complaining about the incestuous relations between Wall Street and Washington, because we must have wanted the incentives the corporations take advantage of.

    Put simply, what is the difference between your actions and the legal actions of any corporation or person of wealth, who get a subsidy or tax deduction most of their fellow citizens do not ? Because your actions are saving the planet ?

    • #24 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 01:27

      You miss the point, Alan — if we don’t like the way things are we can act politically to try to change them. Consider: If a social conservative criticizes a minister for performing a gay marriage in Vermont, it has two rationales: a) a social criticism (a belief this isn’t good for the country’s values; and b) a political criticism (an effort to convince people to change the law). If I criticize certain corporate practices some of them reflect social criticism (corporate actions harm the values of the country) and some are for politics (to convince people to change the law.

      • #25 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 02:20

        Scott,

        Indeed – you advocate that if people don’t like the way things are they should pick up a gun and threaten other people for their lives and limbs … just to get their way.

        Indeed, you truly advocate for evil.

      • #26 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 02:32

        Only someone advocating no government would be advocating what you say. Wait, you’re advocating no government, which means people could get away with threaten other people for their lives and limbs if they didn’t like the way things are…so you’re by your own definition an advocate for evil! Thanks for admitting it!

      • #27 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 02:36

        Scott

        Only someone advocating no government would be advocating what you say.

        Only on your bizzarro world does someone who advocates against violence become someone who advocates FOR government.

        Government is violent force, and nothing else.
        But to you, that must mean I advocate for it!

        You are strange when you fall into having no argument at all.

  8. #28 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 02:55

    Where there is a breakdown in government there is always anarchy. Right now most modern democracies are some of the most non-violent and stable systems. So I think you have a bizzarro world view that leads you to embrace a belief that you advocate non-violence, when you really are advocating something that would lead us to massive conflict and violence. So I think you are simply misguided, truly believing you want what is good, not knowing that your errors in understanding the nature of reality and politics leads you to embrace what would actually cause massive suffering and violence. So we disagree about how the world works, and which of us advocates violence. Neither of us has standing to determine how others must view or respond to this disagreement, and so we have politics. There is no alternative, unless you want to simply demand all live according to your world view. You can do that, but so far it’s not been a persuasive argument.

    • #29 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 03:45

      Scott

      Where there is a breakdown in government there is always anarchy.

      By definition!
      Anarchy IS “no right to rule” and refutes the essence of all government – that such a right exists of one man to rule over another.

      But what I think you meant to say is “disorder”.

      And that is true.

      But it is equally true that with government, there is massive disorder as well – one nearly needs to observe war.

      So it is the avoidance of such a thing that makes government required nor even necessary, since it exhibits the same feature.

      Certainly, most people live like the Prisoner in Tower – when set free, went back to his cell – and no doubt the lack of such a cell would cause him great confusion.

      But because people have come to accept such perversions does not require the necessity to continue the perversion.

      Right now most modern democracies are some of the most non-violent and stable systems.

      I laugh!

      The illusion fools you, Scott.

      The economy approaches systemic collapse due to government action.
      To you, this is stability.

      The wars are global and more are threatened upon non-threatening nations.
      To use this is non-violent.

      As I said, a bizzaro world.

      Some of the great atrocities of man on man have been by democracies.

      Indeed, with unlimited justification and no responsibility, democracies are potentially the most dangerous governmental system every utilized by mankind.

      So I think you have a bizzarro world view that leads you to embrace a belief that you advocate non-violence, when you really are advocating something that would lead us to massive conflict and violence.

      Yes, advocating for non-violence will lead to massive violence. *blink*

      Without you able to access violence upon the non-violent, you argue that would lead to even more violence!

      You are very strange and contradictory.

      The question is quite simple, Scott.
      Why do you need violence on the non-violent, if you believe your reasoning is so powerful?

  9. #30 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 03:45

    Whoops, failure of a negation:

    So it is the NOT the avoidance of such a thing that makes government required nor even necessary, since it exhibits the same feature.

    • #31 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 04:16

      Stable governance is associated with prosperity on a scale never before enjoyed by humans. You can engage in your usual wishful thinking (given your bias) that the sky is falling and everything is going bad. You can ignore how things get horrible where there is weak or no government since the world doesn’t operate magically – organized criminal gangs form, people kill and rape for sport. That’s what happens in places where government breaks down completely. Moreover, major war in the industrialized world has all but disappeared; but where government breaks down war is constant.

      All of the great atrocities are perpetrated by humans. Centralized non-governmental power structures, absent government regulations, would be able to raise their own armies and use their wealth to control others.

      Bottom line: there is absolutely no EVIDENCE to support your position. You weave a very weak circumstantial link of assertions and definitions, usually very vague and abstract and then come up with some strange claim that your way would some how work. It can only work — and please think about it — if people thought like you did. If everyone shared your view and was honest and wanted to be ethical, then it could work. But then again, so could communism or virtually any other ideology.

      Otherwise, when people think differently, they’ll compete, struggle and sometimes fight. That’s reality. That’s the world that is and no amount of ivory tower theorizing is going to change that. That’s the world I deal with. Messy, diverse opinions, and a recognition that only a fool think he FOR CERTAIN has figured out the right way things should be (that would be the height of hubris). So we all make our best efforts, try to figure things out, interact and when there are disputes we have processes to deal with them. They range from simply fighting it out (anarchy – no governance) with whomever is most powerful winning and imposing their order, or among other ways a limited form of constitutional democracy.

      But you have no alternative to how to deal with the world as it exists. You just condemn the way it operates and then posit your way as superior. If I had a nickel for everyone whose done that I’d be rich.

      • #32 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 04:51

        Scott

        Stable governance is associated with prosperity on a scale never before enjoyed by humans.

        No, sir. You are myopic due to your necessary bias in favor of violence.

        Social order is associated with prosperity

        Government is associated with the greatest slaughter of mankind as never before and by no measure can this be claimed to be prosperous.

        You muddle in your understanding that government is necessary for social order, but this “claim” is totally untrue.

        Social order, indeed, is necessary molested by government.

        You can engage in your usual wishful thinking

        No, sir, mere observation and knowledge of history – it you who requires rose color glasses to distort these things so to support evil.

        You believe violence on the non-violent is required – as you believe it necessary for your own well-being.

        That’s what happens in places where government breaks down completely.

        Yet, it occurs where government has not!

        Yet, you ignore this in your claim!

        You are blind and dishonest in your argument – assign issues to one side that argues against you, but turn a blind eye when such issues exist on your side as well.

        Moreover, major war in the industrialized world has all but disappeared;

        You jest!

        Major war has not “all but disappeared”.
        Did you happen to miss the last 10 years?

        Bottom line: there is absolutely no EVIDENCE to support your position.

        Bottom line; There is absolutely no evidence to support your position – in fact, every compliant you have made exists with government bar none – and most, far worse.

        The worst murderer has never succeed in killing 300 million in a century. Government breezed through it, and further, built and holds the very devices capable of wiping out the human race.

        But you worry about the neighborhood thug, and cheer the greatest mass killer of humanity in human history.

        Further, you are irrational.

        You argue that more violence is necessary to reduce violence, and that violence on the non-violent will reduce violence.

        Such bizarre logic is very disturbing from a man who is tasked to teaching others.

  10. #33 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 04:54

    Scott,

    But you have no alternative to how to deal with the world as it exists.

    Oh, but I do.

    We have achieved civilization on one simple understanding.

    There is no right of any man to initiate violence on another man

    Whether articulated or not in any human law, this one understanding founded civilization.

    The next, small, step is to enforce this upon human institutions as well.

    • #34 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 13:15

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. I think you’re wrong, you have a false definition of violence, and you’re not dealing with reality but some abstract fantasy system. But hey, whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright.

      Your opinion does give you the ability to think you see things more clearly than others and that you’re more moral and everyone else are just sheep following an immoral system. I suppose that helps you bolster your self-esteem, some people need to feel like they’re better than others. So hey, if that’s your gig, that’s cool.

      • #35 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 13:20

        Scott,

        Thanks for sharing your opinion. I think you’re wrong, you have a false definition of violence, and you’re not dealing with reality but some abstract fantasy system.

        We have already established that it is you who redefines the definition of violence, not I.

        We have already established why you find this redefinition necessary – it gives the illusion that you are justified in using real violence on the non-violent so to accomplish your evil and nefarious goals.

  11. #36 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 15:39

    Very vague terms. First, there is a wide range of opinions about the proper power of the state. Most want it very limited, accountable and transparent. Some think the state should be dominant. By lumping them all together you try to evade complexity and paint the world in black and white terms (indeed that desire for a simple black and white truth is your greatest logical and moral flaw).

    Some with ‘collectivism’. You evade the fact that your identity is in part socially constructed. You’d be a fundamentally different person if you were born in say, Cairo or Beijing. Moreover, your existence and ability to survive relies on others, and your place in the social system gives you opportunities and constraints. By ignoring that and creating a false dichotomy, you again sacrifice reality in order to have a black and white system of thought. It defies both reason and evidence.

    Major war has declined — that’s a very interesting subject of study in my field (why this is, what it means, etc.) Otherwise, your posts are going into the same territory they always go when you’re cornered, your logical flaws and made clear, and your lack of evidence or even support for your beliefs are called out – you call names, claim the other person is irrational, all human misdeeds are due to government (psst – humans make governments, they can do the same things with private corporations if governments ceased to exist, with less accountability or transparency) yada, yada, yada. I see through you and your argument, it’s nothing – empty. So you can have the last word, I’ll only reply if you show any inclination to actually take critiques of your opinion seriously.

    • #37 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 16:32

      Scott

      Very vague terms. First, there is a wide range of opinions about the proper power of the state.

      A range of opinions does not make the definition of the term vague.

      Most want it very limited, accountable and transparent.

      These “most” do not explain, let alone understand this question:

      “How do you enforce law upon an entity that makes and enforces the law?”

      They assume by magic that a piece of paper is all that will suffice, and become confused when such a piece of paper is no more substantial then that.

      Some think the state should be dominant.

      These need little effort to accomplish their goal – the State, by default, grows until it dominates.

      By lumping them all together you try to evade complexity and paint the world in black and white terms

      No, it is merely you who is confused.

      A Statist is one who does not question the State in all its exercise of violent power.

      Just because you question a particular one exercise does not relieve you of not being a Statist.

      For example, you often question State power on its exercise on YOU, but do not question such an exercise on others. Because you question it on you does not change you from being a Statist – as you do not question it in other circumstances.

      You’d be a fundamentally different person if you were born in say, Cairo or Beijing.

      I would have a different upbringing.
      But that does not equal me not having the same core principles nor espousing them.

      Natural Law exists no matter where a man is born, Scott.

      I was not born “this way”.
      Indeed, I was a hard-core Statist as such runs in my family.

      However, if one is principled – a concept that is hard for you to understand – you run into massive, systemic contradictions within the paradigm that defines this version of society.

      Either you are honest, and remove the contradictions
      or
      you rationalize them so you can use them when they favor you – but then you cannot be honest.

      The only thing you might say is if I was born in China, I may be sitting in jail or executed as “an enemy of the State”.
      But I would have still held the same course as I have now.

      Moreover, your existence and ability to survive relies on others, and your place in the social system gives you opportunities and constraints.

      This is a great lie.

      My existence does not nor ever has relied on you – and I can substitute each and every human on earth in the place of “you”, and the statement remains true.

      Because I prosper by co-operation does not demand that I require others to survive.

      Major war has declined — that’s a very interesting subject of study in my field (why this is, what it means, etc.)

      “Major” war has not been defined by you – it appears anything less the Global Thermonuclear War is not a major war.

      However, “major” war has not declined – it has been successfully masked by the utilization of large, volunteer army.

      The wars have avoided impacting the population at home – no draft – and thus, not in the “top of the mind” as was, say, the Vietnam War.

      However, the costs – economic and human – have not abated.

      So, I sense it is more a intellectual disassociation of war by you and not a reduction of war itself as you claim.

      all human misdeeds are due to government (psst – humans make governments, they can do the same things with private corporations if governments ceased to exist, with less accountability or transparency)

      I have never made that claim – in fact, I have directly noted the local thug and his place in society.

      But you fail in your understanding due to your myopic viewpoint.

      Private corporations cannot do what governments do, even if “government did not exist.”

      Governments do evil with few consequences because most people see its action as “legitimate” even if it acts with evil.

      Private corporations cannot do such actions with impunity of government because few would see these acts as legitimate when done of this.

      Legitimacy is the difference between criminals and government – they both act in similar manners, but the former holds no legitimacy – and called criminal and the latter claims legitimacy – and called government.

  12. #38 by Scott Erb on January 3, 2012 - 15:50

    Oh one more thing — I do not think collective interests trump individual interests. Collective interests are often there to protect individuals from those with more power, and to provide more liberty to individuals in their lives. To me any support of collective interests is at base for the good of individuals, so therefore individual interests are more important.

    • #39 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 16:40

      Scott,

      Collective interests are often there to protect individuals from those with more power, and to provide more liberty to individuals in their lives. To me any support of collective interests is at base for the good of individuals, so therefore individual interests are more important.

      Collectivism is not in itself an evil. It is a tool, as you describe.

      It becomes evil by its application and initiates violence to achieve its end.

      Same way of Individualism is not in itself evil.

      It becomes evil by its application when a man -the individual- initiates violence to achieve his ends.

      My complaint of you – you tend to believe the Collective is right to initiate violence if enough hands wave in the air to say so, but you do not believe the Individual holds a similar right if he waves his hand in the air.

  13. #40 by Black Flag® on January 3, 2012 - 16:46

    And, as this thread is drifting away from his headline and into our usual discourse, I’ll leave you with the last words, until next time 🙂

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