Saturday, September 20, 2008

Free markets and morality II

Today I'll try to counter a somewhat tricky "ought to" argument that is sometimes yielded against free markets. It is often answered by pointing out its subjectivity ("you may consider that to be bad, not everyone does"), but I think there's a better approach to the topic. Anyway, our concern today is this:
Free markets create a dull kind of consumer culture. People lose their intellectual capacity and fall for cheap and quick pleasure. Thus, even if free markets were superior in producing goods, they are bad for humanity and its progress.
Prima facie, the assertion of the argument (free markets create a consumer culture) appears to be valid. After all, we see advertisement, consumption and shopping rushes all around us, and we're constantly being told that our system of trade constitutes a free market.

But free markets generally lack forced expropriation of wealth produced, also known as taxation, especially in the amount it is occuring today. Add to this an increasing insecurity as to when the next expropriation raise will happen and how big it will be.

There's also the state-caused danger of being victimized by a terrorist attack aimed at hurting a certain collective. Let me elaborate. Whenever you hear someone saying that he "hates the West" or "Western values" or whatever, for whatever reason, this includes you. You may never have met that person, nor desired to hurt the person in any way, but your government has or is at least considered to be a threat. Since you cannot withdraw your consent from being subject to your particular government, you'll be associated with it. So, especially in an age of Western imperialism and warfare, the danger of being hit for no other reason than living where you live increases. This sets no incentives for future-orientation either.

Public schooling is hindering the development of farsightedness and forward planning as well. As I pointed out in my last entry, public schools create peculiar kinds of habitats which resemble prisons to a certain extent and which teach students how to be popular and how to worry about short-term goals like the next exam, but rarely about growing up and taking responsibility. You'll notice the difference in self-reliance when comparing a homeschooler and a public school inmate of about the same age.

These three factors are, in my humble opinion, the biggest contributors to a high time preference or present-orientation: great levels of wealth confiscation and legal uncertainty, an increasing number of government-created dangers and perils and institutional depravation.

None of these are the outgrowth of a free market, as my readers may already have noticed. Of course, this attribution may just be my random opinion, an unconvinced opponent of the free market may now say. How can I be sure that free market economies are not the main culprit for social disintegration?

Well, based on the observation that humans act, we have to assume that humans structure their actions since we cannot fulfill all of our goals at the same time. In other words, humans have to prioritize their actions. Highest priority means highest importance, highest incentive or highest inclination.

Contrast the two scenarios:

a) A has complete control over all of his assets. He can be sure that no person X or Y will keep him from investing as he pleases.
b) B has partial control over his assets. He cannot directly influence the distribution of those resources that are taken away from him. He doesn't know how many resources he will be allowed to keep next year.

Which person has a greater incentive to spend and consume right now instead of saving and investing? Thus, which person will be more inclined to engage in consumer culture behavior?

a) A is responsible for his own behavior, not for the attitudes and actions of others. If his neighbor publicly insults any group of people, they will focus their anger on his neighbor rather than him.
b) B, while not being responsible for the behavior of others, will be associated with it as long as they inhabit the same country as B. Since B has little control over the behavior of all of his countrymen, let alone his government, he has to assume to be hated by others without really knowing why.

Which person has a greater incentive to behave irresponsibly since the cost of behaving badly can be partially socialized? Which person will see the future and thus future investment and future-orientation more favorably?

There is little incentive for a person living in a system of free trade and free association to behave irresponsibly, both personally and economically. Carelessness and headless behavior occur when the state mechanism sets in. Frédéric Bastiat said that "the state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else". Threatened by such a monstrous devourer, people tend to become present-focused as they figure there might not be much time left before the monster gets too big. They also tend to focus on playing the state game rather than being productive.

All this leads to a dull-minded consumer culture. Who cares about education if you can enjoy yourself? Who cares about farsighted decisions if the future most likely sucks? Rather drive that sports car now than expand your enterprise, can't compete against state-protected corporate giants anyway.

Once again, it is thus the state that is to blame, not the market.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Public school rant

Public schools are by far among the most obnoxious and pretentious institutions around. Imagine the hubris: some school bureaucrat forces you at gunpoint to pay him for compiling a curriculum according to his own preferences and value judgements, then he forces you to hand over your children so he can spoonfeed them with his ideology. Should you refuse to comply, the bureaucrat's armed friends will pull over and lock you up after they've kidnapped your children. If you're lucky though, you'll only have to pay the bureaucrat and give a good excuse for why you want to keep your children out of his reach.

I've spent 13 years in public school myself. Indeed, I did learn quite a lot. I consider these lessons to be especially important:

1) Government personnel tends to care far less about your wishes and needs than people who must rely on your voluntary cooperation to stay in business. In fact, an astonishing number of government henchmen consider it to be a benevolent action on their part to actually work for their money.

2) Education must be boring. Teaching must happen in a specifically designated building under the supervision of government employees. Learning outside of government territory requires previous training in a state-approved institution.

3) To be a good citizen, I will learn a lot, study hard, get a good job and pay my taxes. And cast a ballot for the right guy every four years or so.

It's a big relief for naysayers like me to get in contact with homeschoolers and see children getting the opportunity to discover the wonders of life outside of an uncomforting prison atmosphere. And if you think about it, "prison atmosphere" hit the nail right on the head. People get raped in prisons by inmates and sometimes guards, students get (psychologically) raped in schools by classmates and sometimes teachers. Prisons give rise to a culture of group segregation and fear, so do schools. Prisons are likely to create broken and dull minds, so are schools.

Of course, humans tend to romanticize the past, increasingly so if it's been a few decades. Everybody remembers that funny fella in sixth grade who would always crack a dirty joke. Oh, and prom night for sure. Few question the logic behind public schooling since a) nearly everyone's been there and b) many have been habitualized to believe that public schooling is the pillar of wealth and civilization. Reality's a tough act to follow sometimes.

Now, after I've been bitching around for half a page, I owe my readers some thoughtful refutation of common arguments in favor of public schooling. I'm really sorry, but I don't know where to begin. The idea that children must spend more than a decade in a bureaucrat boot camp completely detached from reality to learn "general knowledge" and "social skills" seems to me like a yellow turtle with five legs.

One thing, however, should be recommended: please read "The Underground History of American Education" by John Taylor Gatto. You can find the whole book online here. If you've ever found public schooling to be somewhat smelly, you'll be told the reasons in this great and exciting opus on public education.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On reformism and revolution

In my last post I laid out a three-step plan which I described to be a possible road to a libertarian society. This plan involved, to some extent, political action. It is therefore often branded as "reformism". Niccolo from Catholic Market Anarchy, for example, has found pretty harsh words for "guys like me":
Conflating their system with one of incrementalist phases, claiming a monopoly on a realistic approach to change, the reformists, narrow minded and pompous, shut off completely to external logic and consistency in favor of the compromise of a crazed lunacy that suggests the nature of an entity can be overcome by the will of a handful of old men spitting and drooling into their couch cushions every night in their father’s mothball filled coats – still that’s progress from not knowing where they were sleeping to begin with.
Apart from such ungentlemanly rants, however, he still has a number of points worth considering. In short, he claims that states and their minions will always have a tendency towards more oppression, exploitation and general decay and thus, every attempt to minimize or abolish them from within must fail.

I partially agree. I consider it pointless to try to shrink the state massively from within. There is too much vested interest, too many roadblocks hindering you. The only way to stop the expansion of the state in some areas is to use roadblocks yourself, as I proposed in my last post when I encouraged people to elect decent people into local offices to impede the enforcement of harmful legislation. This uses the state's planned chaos and inner inconsistency (the reasons why government tends to screw up big time at everything it does) against itself. To hope for more is pretty much make-believe indeed. Even though Ron Paul's presidential bid might have awoken this hope in a number of people, the chances for America to "return to its founders' intent" don't exceed 0 by a lot.

Talking about Ron Paul, I'm often flabbergasted as to how much hostility is brought up against him among libertarian purists. Sure, I'm biased because it was Paul who turned me over to libertarianism, but to consider his campaign a grab for power is lunacy. He did what I recommend, too: he used the self-important state apparatus and its extensions, namely the presidential election circus which already tends to flare up 2 years before the actual election, to throw in some important issues besides the usual quip about candidate A's sex life and B's haircut.

I guess he didn't expect too much from his education campaign and just wanted to fulfill his duty. But to the contrary; many mainline conservatives and watered-down libertarians, even some disenchanted liberals, were ready for the doctor's shock treatment. He caused something big to start rolling. That's his contribution. The fact that his campaign sometimes became what it tried to fight against, political pandering, is sad but not necessarily related to Paul's aims and convictions. After all, he delegated a lot of responsibility to his campaign staff. No excuse, but an explanation.

One last point. There will be no libertarian society as long as a critical mass of people still believes in the superiority of the state. This belief is communicated very early in public schools and is also touted by the government-corporate media complex. It's self-enforcing as it is being held and expressed by a crucial number of people. It is therefore not just a nice idea, but probably essential to use traditional state institutions in our struggle against the state apparatus. To inform themselves about the possibilities of social change, people will not go to the library and read Rothbard, as some libertarians tend to imagine, but watch TV talk shows and political debates. "Our guys" need to be in those programs to reach out to an increasingly disaffected, but mostly misguided citizenship. Political action and speech, as dirty and mindless as it is, still remains an important vehicle to carry out freedom's message (note that you don't have to be in office to engage in it).

Thus, reformism, as scorned and hated as it may be, still remains a way to follow as long as practicing agorists count as a minority among the minorities.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Undead ideologies (and how to combat them)

It's hard to believe sometimes. Just 18 years ago, one half of the planet was suffering under socialist gridlock. Finally, the pressure became intolerable and the masses flooded the streets, demanding liberty. Those bureaucrats and apparatchiks who would mercilessly beat down riots a couple of years ago were now stuck; nobody had confidence in their empty promises anymore, the vast majority didn't care about obeying orders. This proved the crucial point that government solely rests on the good faith of its subjects.

The Soviet Empire imploded pretty soon after that. Maybe it was this unexpected vanishing of their ideological adversaries that left liberty-oriented people worldwide in a shock at the wrong time. All the rhetoric about how the USSR would outperform free markets, about a thriving socialist commonwealth, happy people everywhere, suddenly clashed with reality. Poverty-ridden peasants in a run-down environment with feces spilling out of the sewers (sorry for being that graphic here) were on the TV screens of middle-class people in the free world. Soon after, gulags and all the other cruelties of Comrade Stalin and his fellow revolutionaries ascended from the Soviet archives. Word of socialist tyranny was spread around everywhere.

Socialism, to put it mildly, had failed epically, and everybody knew it.

Not even two decades later, socialism appears to be as fit as a fiddle. While politicians in the US still feel a need to employ liberty-related rhetorics ("the ownership society" etc) to sell their collectivist concepts, goold ol' Europe is increasingly lusting for the total state, both in practice and in speech. In an odd and alarming way, it reminds me of the time between World War I and II, when fascist-authoritarian statists would battle state socialists on their quest for power.

But why, I often ask myself? We had fascism in various colors, it failed. We had socialism in various colors and it failed as well. Shouldn't we move on, then, just maybe?

The reason why we still have to deal with a false dichotomy between fascism (better known today as neoliberalism or neoconservatism, the fusion of state and Big Capital) and socialism (the expropriation of capitalists by the state) is the lack of libertarian courage, especially in Europe, to present solutions which do not include state action. More generally spoken, libertarians lack attention at all. Libertarians had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to step into the spotlight and show the way. After all, libertarian theory is one of the most sophisticated and straightforward doctrines out there. But did they?

Fortunately, in some cases, it was done for them by others. I'm thinking especially about (and please don't hate me for saying this) Larry Hunter's Contract with America. Even though conservatives are scorned as impure renegades among a number of libertarians, we owe them a favor for pushing liberty, at least in a rhetorical way, when the time was right.

Some claim this actually hurt the cause of liberty since it watered down its original meaning. While that may be true, it caused , in my opinion, a more important thing to happen, it laid the foundation for a more advanced libertarian philosophy among the general public. How do you think was Ron Paul able to rally so much support with so little backing in the mass media? He simply reaped the fruits of a decade of conservative inconsistency: while people did desire liberty, they realized that Republicans, though they liked to talk about it, wouldn't support the idea in office. Paul appeared to be a guy who would, having a pretty much pro-liberty voting record and resembling the philosophy of individual responsibility in his own life.

If Ron Paul tried to communicate his radical classical-liberal philosophy with the average European audience, he wouldn't find too many listerners I'm afraid. A mass-movement as it has formed in the US could hardly be reproduced. After literally a hundred years of fascism, socialism, social democracy and big government conservatism, people have been alienated from liberty. An approach would have to begin softly, it should believably champion improvements of the situation for the poor, the unemployed and those who live on state welfare, and it would most likely require a popular national figure. Tough job.

The US are a number of steps ahead in the process. After getting people warmed up for liberty in the 90s, now they are being moved to the streets to demand it loud and clear, just as the inhabitants of the Soviet Union did. And as the American Empire crumbles, the next step would be the formation of local landowners' associations (as is already happening in so called Gated Communities) to create alternative forms of organizing society on a small scale until the state, with increasingly shrinking resources and compliance, simply becomes a minor nuisance like bad weather.

But what do we do about all those expensive and worrisome leviathanic projects in the meantime? As for centralized Europe, I can't really say. US citizens should try to fend them off by electing trustworthy people into local offices. "Electing the good guys" is easily said, but it's a lot easier within your community than on a state or national level. As an example of how that would work out, a number of cities and communities have refused to engage in the surveillance activities prescribed by the Patriot Act. Remember, central planners may command a lot, but enforcement is an utterly different topic.

Thus, my three-stage plan for liberty is:

1. Get people excited for it - show them specific examples where more liberty and less state may be beneficial, and try to avoid too much radicalism. You don't want to scare them off.
2. As soon as a general tendency in favor of liberty is recognizable (e.g. in the rhetorics of politicians, rants of your fellow citizens), shift up gears. Make the case for uncompromised classical-liberal statehood. Totally discredit the idea of "more government", energize people even more.
3. When government has lost its glamor, replace it. Make government services dispensable. Openly compete in core fields like security, "public goods" provision like energy production (with cooperatively financed renewable energy, for example) or social security (neighborhood trust funds, or whatever comes to mind).

Be creative. It will be rewarded.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spectacular hosting offer

I've just stumbled upon a really interesting file hosting offer:

FileSavr claims to provide a 30-year (yes, year, not day) free premium webhosting service for everyone who signs up until September 15th. 250 GB free webspace for everyone who's fast enough. Just sign up here.

I've registered, just in case. You never know what you need 250 GB space for ...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

With A Little Help From My Friends ...

What would you do if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key.
Joe Cocker's famous interpretation of this classic at the Woodstock festival has certainly been a source of inspiration for millions of eager listeners. Quite inspiring are also the vast amounts of money Washington has decided to raise in order to bail out major failing players on the US market, especially if you're a major failing player yourself. This is probably what Detroit's Big Three had been thinking all along, and indeed, now they've come out of the closet.

The last line of the article is, in my opinion, the most revealing:
But he added that "our trading partners give us no choice. Every other major auto manufacturing country protects their industry so we may have to do the same."
This ties in perfectly with the song lyrics posted above. He might as well have said:
Well, they may have done some malinvestments, yes, they kept producing gas-guzzlers for an increasingly shrinking market, maybe they didn't care too much about future planning, but everybody makes mistakes, no? You don't want to leave them alone right now, do you? After all, they're uniquely American car manufacturers. Just lend them a few billions and they'll honestly try to get in touch with customers again.
But seriously, he does make a point. Shouldn't we protect our domestic industries when foreigners do the same for their manufacturers? After all, foreigners will be able to export cheap cars, thus undermining our own efforts. Wouldn't it make sense to face "market realities" and fork some money out for a couple of minor subsidies?

First of all, there is no point in having "domestic car producers" if foreign car producers do the job more efficiently. Whether or not this is the case should be decided by customers and not by central bureaucrats. Now one might argue that tax-subsidized foreign car producers are being advantaged since they can make cheaper offers or include more features for the same price or whatever. To this I say, good for the customer. Taxpayers in a far-away land had to give their earnings to allow for such a great bargain, and Americans would only be disadvantaging themselves if they did the same or refused to take the subsidized offer.

Furthermore, subsidies lower the incentive of producers to improve price and quality conditions. Faced with below-market price competition from abroad, domestic car producers would have a huge incentive to implement even the smallest improvements, thus constantly pushing for the most efficient ways of production, the highest gas mileage, the most economical transportation routes and so on. In short, they'd be working for the customer which is what free markets are all about.

Subsidies, to the contrary, would set an incentive to hire more and better lobbying personnel to make sure the next bailout won't be all too troublesome to get. Car quality would be degraded to second rank, in spite of what all those neatly dressed spokesmen will tell you in the next few weeks.

However, there's still one concern left: jobs. Not subsidizing failing companies may result in a temporary unemployment rate hike. But there's no reason to believe that a) no new car producers would fill the gap (think, for example, of Tesla Motors, pretty much pioneers in mass-producing electric cars [thanks to Opponent for pointing me to this]) and b) people wouldn't find employment outside the car industry. Instead of producing cars that don't sell, people would engage in more profitable endeavors and would thus be doing society a much greater favor than by clinging to (at least for the moment) low-demand industries and products.

And for those (including myself, American trucks and SUVs are sure to draw my attention) who fear their "tough-built big block wonder machines" might stop being produced: there's always room for niche markets. If one of the Big Three, for example, decided to specialize on building heavy vehicles, they'd probably have to cut down on their production lines, but might be able to sustain doing "big car business" on a smaller scale, always according to market demand.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cressbeckler for President!

I got a tax plan for ye *spits out* that goes right there!
"Cressbeckler has been living in a mountain shack with no hot water or indoor plumbing, making him a true Beltway outsider."

"Cressbeckler also promised ... [to replace] Congress with a horse that stomps once for yes, twice for no."

Seems like ol' Cressbeckler holds a fairly libertarian stance at least when it comes to domestic policy. You can't say the same of the mainstream candidates, can you ... ?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More internet insights

Since I shared my views on net neutrality and politicization of the internet with you just yesterday, I was quite pleased to see a similar, far more informed article appear on LewRockwell today.

It's most certainly worth reading.

On the legitimacy of private property

One of libertarianism's cornerstones most certainly is the idea of private property. But what is property, how does it come to be private and who defines the borders? Libertarians approach the topic this way:

Man owns himself. If this weren't so, those who disagree would have to explain who gave them permission to express disagreement and why exactly this circle of persons owns them while at the same time delivering a universal explanation of body ownership. Since this borders on impossibility, we assume self-ownership to be correct. Should man indeed own himself, then he also gets to own his labor, that is the product of his body's actions. But in order to use his bodily powers, he needs something to legitimately refine. This he finds in nature: unowned, unclaimed objects. Mixing his labor with unowned nature creates his own private property which is now subject to his own jurisdiction.

But why should individuals be allowed to claim nature for themselves? It is the only conclusive way of distributing resources. If we desired to establish collective ownership of the land, i.e. nobody owns anything, it is questionable whether we have a right to stand (sit) on the ground we do right now. Who gives us the right? Furthermore, who is to decide on the use of the land in such a society? Government? But isn't government just a number of powerful people and would therefore create just another form of private property in which central planners act as ultimate property owners? Every other shade of collectivist land ownership, be it Gesell's Freiwirtschaft (which Wikipedia, at this point in time, is for some reason calling a "libertarian economic idea") or social-democratic property redistribution schemes, suffer from the same philosophical weakness.

Of course, libertarian property theory is not to be used as an apology for existing property distribution either. Vulgar libertarians tend to do this in defense of corporations quite often. If person or corporation X illegitimately steals property from some native tribe or from poor locals, this most certainly constitutes a crime as well and should be punished.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Liberty and extremism

As long as I've held conscious and thought-out views on how to organize society, I have been pretty much an extremist. Throughout my adolescense, I would advocate nationalization of industries as a means for just distribution of goods produced and profits reaped or propose expropriation of those who work against the "common good". Sounds scary for someone who nowadays claims to be a libertarian, doesn't it?

These days, I've switched to the other extreme. I support laissez-faire markets, privatization (not in the corporatist sense, however) of former state property or the abolition of compulsory institutions like the draft, public schooling or even taxes. This attitude has been troubling me for quite some time since a number of acquaintances of mine have been expressing worry about my unyielding stance on things. Some have even stopped arguing with me for my lack of willingness to compromise. Maybe, I thought, I'm just a simplistic moron without sensitivity for exceptions.

However, I've recently developed another more encouraging explanation which I would naturally favor to believe. My hardcore socialist views, as well as my unrelenting libertarian stance, are simply the result of rational deduction from given premises. While being a socialist, I accepted the Hobbesian theory of "homo homini lupus" and the consequent need for a monopoly of force. But I advanced from there: if people really are inherently bad and only work to trick one another, how in the world can we allow a market-based economy and society to exist? This view was reinforced by the Marxist theory of capital accumulation which states that in a capitalist economy, capital tends to concentrate in an ever diminishing number of hands until there is only one great capitalist or one powerful oligarchy left. This, of course, coincided with the view that humans act to fool each other and provided the economic background for the philosophical observation. I just needed to follow the path ahead to consider socialism superior to every free market organization.

Thanks to Ron Paul and several other conservatives and libertarians, I was able to question the Hobbesian premise. If people are inherently bad, how can we allow a monopoly of force to be run by them? This produced a huge crack in my socialist think-wall. As I later found out, among many other insights, about the mutually beneficial nature of market transactions and the principle of self-ownership, I had to change my philosophy in order to stay consistent.

Thus, my extremist views were simply rational deductions from my philosophical premises. Being "extremist" simply meant employing logic. A change in premises may imply differing results which made me arrive at libertarianism.

As Barry Goldwater concisely put it,
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
Good to know, isn't it?

People's republic of Internet?

About a week ago, members of the German left-wing anti-fascist activist alliance "Antifa" hacked the forums of the racist "Blood and Honour" organization. A German statement, plus links to the downloadable forums, can be found here.

What raised my attention was one phrase in the statement. Translated into English, it says "dear citizens of the people's republic of Internet". I was struck by surprise since I'd never considered the Internet to resemble "a people", let alone a "people's republic". I'm not sure whether this was just a fun phrase used by the notoriously socialist Antifa people or whether some more deeply rooted conviction had been expressed by it.

I tend to favor the latter as there are manifold examples of attempts to "democratize" the Internet. The net neutrality movement is a somewhat famous one. Net neutrality advocates claim that internet providers have no right to suppress certain internet activities on their wires or to discriminate against specific contents or services by slowing the data transmission over their wires. Most internet users would readily agree with this postulate since the internet is now widely considered to be "a public good", something not to be interfered with by single individuals or companies.

But is it really? Is the internet a public good, a democracy or a people's republic?

Actually, the internet is a prime example of a libertarian success story. In a number of ways, the internet may be compared to a completely privatized city. Private road owners (internet providers) connect real estate owners (servers, content hosts). Everything is defined by private property rights; road owners have created agreements on crossings and traffic allocation which allows for the fastest possible and therefore most profitable data exchange. Server owners are free to discriminate against any content they deem inappropriate (for example, quite a lot of hosts don't allow porn on their networks). So are (or were) road owners; they are (or were) free to slow traffic to and from content distributors they considered improper. That's a fine example of a self-governing private property society, but most certainly not of a people's republic.

But the primary difference between the internet and a people's republic is the lack of government. The internet equals a spontaneous order, created and maintained without centrally planned advice. Western governments, while certainly desiring to control and regulate the internet, have so far mostly confined themselves to only intervening when "real world laws" were broken within the framework of the net.

This could dramatically change with the onset of net neutrality legislation. While initially just working towards "net justice" and "securing equal access", government will soon begin to pursue special interest wishes in the name of these formerly named goals, just as "real-life government" now extends to almost every aspect of life even though it had been installed to merely "protect life and liberty". Net neutrality advocates ignore this danger of "legalizing government" and instead trust in the wonders of democracy to secure that "good people are being elected" in order to keep the internet clean and free. Just like it works in the real world, doesn't it?

Conclusively we might say the internet is a libertarian private property anarchy and that's why it has been so vibrant and successful. Every attempt to modify it by government regulation will most likely strangle its self-correcting mechanisms and thus, diminish its seemingly inexhaustible potential. Therefore, keep it clean of legislation !