Notes Book

Swarming the Bastille

Swarming is a new military buzzword. It is what happened to Baghdad. Instead of a slowly moving front line, the attack was like a rapidly moving swarm of killer bees stinging the opposing army. This is made possible by modern communications and transportation.

The Bastille is the famous French Prison. The Storming of the Bastille was perhaps the signature event of the French Revolution. Releasing political prisoners is always a significant milestone in a revolution.

Revolution is usually a kind of passive-aggressive process. People put up with bad government until they can't stand it anymore, and then they explode. This process is destructive and does not often lead to significant improvements, but usually replaces one group of pathological statists with another. When political prisoners are released, really dangerous criminals are often also released.

In a revolution meant to end Statism, not to replace one group of statists with another, releasing political prisoners would also be important. Hopefully the process could be more rational and selective than the Storming of the Bastille, and much less violent.

The state classifies prisoners according to their crimes, thus providing an easy means of selecting those that should be rescued first. But this information is not very reliable because states often lie. The number of prisoners recently released from death row because of DNA gives an indication. If "mistakes" are so prevalent in death penalty cases, where there are many layers of safeguards, they must be even more common for lesser offenses. Also the legal system often convicts people of one crime because of the belief they have committed another, more serious offense, and sometimes the lawyers and cops might even be correct in that belief.

People who weren't dangerous when they were put in prison may be dangerous when they come out. Prisons are state supported training camps where states train the army of revolution that will overthrow the State. This is another indication that Statism is a mental disease.

So, if you are against Statism, then the prisoners are your troops. Perhaps you should support them, even if you have no inclination to encourage one to marry your daughter.

If it weren't so tragic, it would be amusing to see the judges convict people of attending Osama's terrorist training camps, and fix the situation by sentencing them to ten years in prison. Now these aspiring terrorists will find out what a real terrorist training camp is like.

Armies don't have a monopoly on modern communications or transportation, so it might also be possible for citizens seeking to improve society to take advantage of the swarming technique by using the Internet, cell phones and etc. to coordinate an effort to make it more difficult for the prison system to contain certain types of prisoners.

Simply giving the prisoners money would be the most effective tactic, in my estimation. The prison system has an isolated economy with an artificially maintained exchange rate. This gives an outsider a lot of leverage to magnify the economic status of any particular prisoner, or group of prisoners. The prisoners of interest would become wealthier, and thus be able to cause more difficulties for the guards and wardens with less risk to themselves. Their release would become likelier.

A lot could be done with communication. The prison system feels it has to monitor every prisoner's communication. This is an expensive and troublesome proposition. Even if every communication is not monitored, a decision must be made whether to monitor it or not, and that if also expensive and troublesome. The people who monitor the communications are vulnerable to manipulation because of the need to understand an act on the content of the communication.

Resources could be allocated to helping family members visit inmates. Ordained ministers have special access to prisons, and could possibly be encouraged to visit more often.

Last and least is recourse to lawyers. It's the middleman problem: too much middle, and not enough man. Lawyers just don't provide enough bang for the buck compared to other approaches.

Just which prisoners should be supported in this way depends on your particular viewpoint, of course, but most people would probably think victimless crimes would need to be included—drugs, prostitution, gambling, pornography. I would think tax evasion and doing anything without a license would be on the list for an anti-Statist agenda. Personally, I would also include minor crimes like fraud, shoplifting, and burglary. Prison is kidnapping, and punishing minor crimes by the major crime of kidnapping makes no sense to me.

It would be very helpful in such an endeavor to have a database of all US prisoners, their status, and the crimes of which they are accused.