Egypt in Protest is Our Political Future in America by Bill Buppert

“Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Once again, a tax jurisdiction is in lather over the cattle objecting to their treatment and fleecing by their rulers.  Egypt is suffering severe unrest that is likely to bleed over into other Arab nations including the ones currently militarily occupied and brutalized by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US sponsored Thug for Life, Hosni Mubarak, is a friend of Israel and the recipient of the second highest level of military aid (1.3 billion per annum) from the US to a country we are not overtly occupying.

While Greece and Ireland are most likely harbingers of our economic future, Egypt is a close analog to our political future once the cattle in America wake up from their taxpayer subsidized slumber and realize that their future is much grimmer than the footage they are seeing of Egyptians in the streets.  Egypt has been in a state of emergency since 1981 which, of course, permits the government a carte blanche use of police excesses to control dissent and keep the people in constant fear of detention, torture, maiming and killing.  A common thread indeed with the rest of the governments on planet Earth.

Of course, Al-Jezeera has just been shut down and the internet suffered some blackouts but this is common in countries where the repression and treatment of citizens, if viewed by everyone, would call attention to the inhumanity of the government’s behavior.  It is amusing to see the US State Department scolding its subsidized child in the Middle East for unseemly behavior – once caught in the act.  The government of the US has not, incidentally, been insistent on observing human rights but has been disappointed in the tepid collaboration of the Egyptian government in the prosecution of the unwieldy and brutal War on Terror.

Egypt is acknowledged across the board by a number of indices to be “not free” and “authoritarian” [Editor’s note:  When one looks at the standard definition of authoritarian, no government in existence can escape the moniker].  During the Cold War, it was common practice for the US government to ally itself with other noxious regimes to keep the Great Game in balance but the only reason it appears to continue with the Russian leaving the world power stage is US insistence on creating “friendly” authoritarian regimes in key strategic pockets to serve the US military-industrial complex.  Egypt serves both this function and the reward for being the “house Arab” that pays obeisance to Israel.

Reporters Without Borders ”place[s] Egypt 143rd out of 167 nations on press freedoms”.  There are probably plenty of Washington political salons looking longingly at the suppression of ideas in the country.  Human rights from women to homosexuals to detainees is abominable.

Torture is a national policy used by the Mubarak government and abetted by the united States. While the government denies the allegations, lurid and macabre stories of torture abound:

While detained in September 1996 at al-Muntaza Police Station, Alexandria, Mohammad Badr al-Din Gom’a Isma’il confessed under torture to having killed his nine-year-old daughter, whom he had reported missing in February 1996. When he was summoned to the police station on 1 September 1996, he had expected to be questioned about his missing daughter. However, the body of a young girl had been found which the police claimed was his daughter, and he was accused of her murder. The following day, Intissar ‘Abd al-Galil Gad, Mohammad Badr al-Din Gom’a Isma’il’s ex-wife and mother of their daughter, was also detained and beaten with a stick on her legs. Mohammad Badr al-Din Gom’a Isma’il described to Amnesty International delegates how he was beaten while suspended from a door and subjected to electric shocks, including to sensitive parts of his body.

And:

The most common methods which continue to be reported are electric shocks, beatings, whipping, suspension by the wrists or ankles, suspension in contorted positions from a horizontal pole and various forms of psychological torture, including death threats and threats of rape or sexual abuse of the detainees or their female relatives. Usually victims are blindfolded to prevent them from identifying their torturers.


More:

Police and the SSIS (State Security Investigative Service) reportedly employed torture methods such as stripping and blindfolding victims; suspending victims by the wrists and ankles in contorted positions or from a ceiling or door-frame with feet just touching the floor; beating victims with fists, whips, metal rods, or other objects; using electric shocks; dousing victims with cold water; and sexual abuse, including sodomy. Victims reported that security officials threatened them and forced them to sign statements for use against themselves or their families should they in the future lodge complaints about the torture. Some victims, including women and children, reported that security officials sexually assaulted or threatened to rape them or their family members. Human rights groups reported that the lack of legally required written police records often effectively blocked investigations.


As horrific as this sounds, there are Constitutional safeguards in place but they simply pay lip service to them:

”Any person arrested, detained or [has] his freedom restricted shall be treated in the manner concomitant with the preservation of his dignity. No physical or moral harm is to be inflicted upon him. He may not be detained or imprisoned except in places defined by laws organizing prisons. If a confession is proved to have been made by a person under any of the aforementioned forms of duress or coercion, it shall be considered invalid and futile.”

Like all governments planet-wide, the language is nice but contrary to daily practice.  Constitutions, much like our own country, are used to placate the ignorant and patriotic who are blinded by either fear or misplaced allegiance to a greater entity than themselves.  Giving the lie to one of the primary reasons for the existence for the United Nations, the Egyptian government has signed on to charter after charter:

In addition to prohibiting torture and ill-treatment under any circumstances,(4) Egypt’s obligations under these treaties include taking ”effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture” (Article 2(1) of the Convention against Torture), investigating thoroughly and impartially all complaints of torture or ill-treatment (Article 12 of the Convention against Torture; Article 2 of the ICCPR), prosecuting suspected perpetrators in accordance with international standards for fair trial and punishing those found guilty; (Article 4 (2) of the Convention against Torture) and compensating victims of torture or ill-treatment (Article 14 of the Convention against Torture, Article 2 of the ICCPR).

Egypt ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on 19 September 1981 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 6 July 1990.

Under Article 151 of the Egyptian Constitution, international treaties become part of national legislation after they are signed by the President of the Republic, ratified by parliament, and published in the official law gazette.

What good do any of these promises and declarations do when Egypt will simply do whatever it has to do to preserve its exclusive monopoly on force especially with the vile internal security and police apparatuses the US helped to build or look the other way?  Nothing to see here, move along, citizen…

Enter the universal menace against human decency and freedom:  police forces.  The behavior of the police in the recent days during the present rebellion is nothing new in Egypt.  Here are some enticing anecdotes from the annals of Egyptian cops and their greatest hits in 2007 and 2008:

On February 26, police officer Saad Mohamed Mansour reportedly beat and drowned fisherman Ahmed Fayad in Al Manzala Lake. On October 24, Al Mansoura Criminal Court sentenced Mansour to three years in prison and fined him LE 10,000 (approximately $1,800).

On March 24, police officers in Tanta killed Eid Ahmed Ibrahim by driving a police van over the victim, who was trying to prevent the arrest of his brother. An estimated 2,000 villagers protested, accusing the police of deliberately killing Ibrahim. On November 15, Tanta Misdemeanor Court sentenced police officers Mohamed Sadaawi and Ahmed Abdel Aal to three years in prison, ordering each to pay LE 10,000 ($1,800 compensation). The verdict is subject to appeal.

On October 9, a police officer in the town of Samalut allegedly killed a pregnant woman, Mervat Abdel Salam Abdel Fattah, while searching for her brother-in-law on suspicion of theft. The case remained pending at year’s end.

On November 23, a police officer in Aswan, Mohamed Labib, allegedly shot and killed Abdel Wahab Abdel Razeq after apparently entering the wrong apartment in pursuit of a drug dealer. During the demonstrations that followed the killing, an elderly Aswan resident, Yehia Abdel Hamid, died from inhaling tear gas that the police had released. On November 25, the government detained police officer Mohammed Labib for his suspected role in the killing.

Security forces used lethal force against protesters in other instances. On April 6 and 7, security forces killed four protesters during violent clashes between police and protestors in Mahalla el Kubra, a textile town in the Nile Delta. Police used live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas to suppress protests against low wages and price hikes on basic goods. Among those killed was 15-year-old Ahmed Ali Mabrouk Hamada, whom police shot on April 6 in his family’s apartment near Mahalla’s Jumhuriya Square. At year’s end the government had not taken any corrective action to prosecute the police officers responsible.

Also, on November 11, Civilian Security Forces (CSF) killed three Bedouin tribesmen in the North Sinai during demonstrations that followed the November 10 CSF killing of a suspected drug smuggler. The government did not take public action to investigate these killings.

The police structure follows:  The MOI (Ministry of Interior [like DHS in America but more poorly funded but the same idea] controls local police forces, which operate in large cities and governorates; the SSIS, which conducts investigations; and the Central Security Force (CSF), which maintains public order. SSIS and CSF officers are responsible for law enforcement at the national level and for providing security for infrastructure and key officials, both domestic and foreign. Single-mission law enforcement agencies, such as the Tourist and Antiquities Police and the Anti-Narcotics General Administration, also work at the national level.

The documented abuses are immense and we all know that documented abuses are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to police misconduct which, with rare exceptions, are under-reported and, even in America, are usually given short shrift by a mostly imbecilic and obsequious media which loathes criticism of the police at any level.  The government opposition would not be bloodied and beaten and murdered if not for the single guarantors of obedience and oppression throughout recent history: cops.  Do you suppose American cops will act any different if ordered to return “public [government] order”?

It does not take a keen observer to see that the police mechanisms enforcing the “state of emergency” in Egypt under Mubarak’s reign (and arguably under the previous long line of tyrants) have been the fulcrum of oppression without which these riots would not be occurring.  The population has reached a critical mass of exhaustion living under such circumstances and the explosion of unrest has come boiling up.  Sometimes it takes decades like in the USSR and its puppet regimes and sometimes a few days in the Philippines in the 1980s, to vanquish a dictator.  Unfortunately, others are queuing up to take their place as they fall

The repression, torture, economic displacement by socialist nonsense and general eradication of human freedom has doomed Mubarak to join that special band of displaced dictators in exile or death.  It is inevitable now because the genie is out of the bottle and unless a scorched earth policy is employed, leadership will change.

The bad news for America is that what you see on your screens of the protests is coming to a city near you.  It will be just as bloody and unforgiving but far worse for us because we have a far higher standard of living to fall from and a far more lethal regime in DC that will lash out violently when cornered and called out for decades of abuse and economic stupidity.

Government is fear, pure and simple.  Otherwise, you would not obey most of the edicts nor would you be facing the unthinkable economic calamity that awaits America.  Its power is to fine, trap, detain, cage, maim and kill citizens who refuse to comply.  In America, that compliance has cost us our future.

Cairo is a harbinger of things to come here.  Get ready.

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then.”

-Thomas Jefferson

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

The Goals of Government and the Desires of Free People by Kaiser Leib

As Bill continues his hiatus, and in the future, ZeroGov will continue to accept guest essays. Essays are subject to editing for mechanics, but not content. If you’d like to contribute, please send your submissions to thirdgun at hotmail dot com and kaiserleib at gmail dot com.

Ask ten people what purpose the government serves, and you are likely to receive ten very similar answers. Government provides for the common defense, they’ll say, or guarantees that society runs smoothly. Perhaps they’ll mention the benevolent safety net that our social programs provide, things like food stamps or public education. Depending on the respondent, they might even mention roads, the internet, or other infrastructure needs. Some might mention conceptual goals like democracy, equality, or scientific advancement.

These are legitimate goals, all of them. People ought not to be subjugated by foreign powers. Mutually beneficial exchanges benefit us all. That the poor do not starve, that children learn to read, that we have access to  transportation and that these words are transported to as if by magic over a distance of many miles – these are good things. Any rational creature, having fully considered the implications of the alternatives, would agree.

The distinction, then, between our non-violent anarcho-capitalist philosophy and the philosophy held by those who believe that we must have Government lies not in the ends we wish to see achieved, but in the means we wish to use to achieve those ends. We do not want to see the poor starve, or the world’s children rendered illiterate. We do not want to return to the days of travel by horse and carrier pigeon. We’d like to have a say in our own destinies, and to see new breakthroughs in all sorts of science.

What we do not want is for a different human being, be he a king or a president, to presume that he knows how society might use our resources to feed the poor, educate the ignorant, or travel from our homes to our workplaces. We do not want Washington to decide what is best for Montana, or for Phoenix to decide what is best for Yuma, or even for 101 Maple Street to decide what is best for 203 Oak Street. We want to achieve the same safety and freedom and betterment that Government falsely promises, but we want to achieve it in our own way, of our own accord.

To conflate opposition to taxation and government oversight with opposition to these other goals is an intellectual trap, one into which we must take care not to fall.

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

Spooner Lives! by Bill Buppert

The “National” system so called, is in reality no national system at all; except in the mere fact that it is called the national system and was established by the national government. It is, in truth, only a private system; a mere privilege conferred upon a few, to enable them to control prices, property, and labor, and thus swindle, plunder and oppress all the rest of the people.

-Lysander Spooner

I was amused to be at the Freedom Summit in Adam Kokesh’s room in early December with some other friends and at one point one of the fellows was haranguing us about “getting back to the Constitution”.  As if we ever left that wretched compact with leviathan government.  At one point, another worthy said that maybe we should pay more attention to Lysander Spooner.  Indeed.  For plenty of freedom advocates, it begins with Rand or von Mises or Rothbard and a host of other luminaries who saw through the collectivist sham.

For others, Lysander Spooner is the strike of the match.  I was introduced to Spooner through a great book by the magnificent James J. Martin in Men Against the State. Among the several forgotten heroes from the 19th century, Spooner stands as a titan.  He made a rather interesting point concerning the Constitution in that he claimed that no document can bind a man if he is not an active signatory.  You can see where this would be rather problematic for a government and why the concept is roundly condemned in a court system staffed by robed government employees for whom honor and fidelity for justice will be observed as long as their masters approve.

Spooner is the gateway drug for maximum liberty.  If you pay close enough attention to his arguments and patterns of thinking, you come away thinking that the entire rotten collectivist project is not only desperately lacking in intellectual rigor but is founded first and foremost in an evil premise.  The premise of all collectivist and statist projects is initiated violence against ALL humans.  For the system would collapse if the fear of the monopoly of force were not the schwerpunkt of all actions from the enforcement of tax collection and aggression to the most banal of offenses, if one citizen not a member of the nomenklatura got away with it, revolution would follow shortly.

We here in Arizona are obliged to stop at US Border Patrol suspicionless checkpoints to establish citizenship bona fides.  One must answer the question of your US citizenship status or you are detained.  If you simply drive through the checkpoint without stopping and ignore the revenue officer’s flashing lights (you paid for through taxes), you will be subject to maiming or killing if you continue to disobey.  Cops are the clearest explication of what government is in all its naked glory, there is no more compelling example of what is wrong with government. Period.

I realize that this violates the Fourth Amendment but when has a mere piece of paper ever stopped a government?  As I have mentioned before, we are as much a nation of laws as Zimbabwe is the premier example of prudent fiscal and monetary policy.  You are a citizen of a nation that officially tortures, kills US citizens without a trial and uses a quaint fiction of democratic consent as the usual suspects drive the economy over a cliff with all the driving experience of a four-year old’s first navigation of a car.  The point is that a nation of laws is a misnomer.  No nation has or is presently not bifurcated with two sets of laws – one for the cattle in the tax jurisdiction and one set for the rulers who manage and administer the feedlot. If you doubt this, find the answers in this pop quiz:

  • In every case of police brutality in which the death of the victim at the hands of the police results, what proportionate criminal finding on the part of the cop(s) implicated is served on the heads of the guilty cops?  Good luck…
  • What American President or Cabinet member has been held responsible for the policies enacted during their tenure that results in the material impoverishment of the nation which would include every administration since Grover Cleveland and many of his predecessors like the vicious proto-Stalinist Lincoln?
  • Take a careful look at the criminal gallery of misfits pardoned by the Presidents when they leave office.  I do thank Gerald Ford for his pardon of Robert E. Lee 110 years later.

Spooner has this whole system pegged and pinned down in the nineteenth century with an aplomb that still leave s one admiring the breadth and depth of his achievement.  Of course, it is not common knowledge because the inclusion of Spooner in the pantheon of accepted American thinkers would quickly show the system for the evil and malignant sham that it is for freedom at the individual level.

Spooner avers on contracts:

To say that the state legislatures have power to declare what the obligation of contracts shall be, or what contracts shall, and what shall not, have an obligation, is equivalent to saying that they have power to declare what the Constitution of the United States shall MEAN. And us this meaning would of course be arbitrary, the legislature of each state separately might declare that it should be something different from what it was in any of the other states – and we might consequently have, in every state in the union, a different constitution of the United States on this point. Not only this, but every state legislature might alter, at pleasure, the meaning, which it had itself given to the constitution of the United States. The constitution of the United States, there­fore, might not only be different in every different state, but it might be altered in each state at every session of the legislature. Such is the necessary consequence of the doctrine, that the state legislatures have power to prescribe or determine what the obligation of contracts shall be, or what contracts shall be obligatory.

He establishes rather elegantly that obligatory contracts can take place between consenting individuals but not imposed on them without their consent.  Most reasonable men would agree to this but the moment the government or the Constitution is intoned, most folks lose their minds and in essence say that, of course, armed men may compel me through the threat of fining, caging, maiming and killing to whatever THEY claim I must do.

On the Constitution (of No Authority):

What was true of our ancestors, is true of revolutionists in general. The monarchs and governments, from whom they choose to separate, attempt to stigmatize them as traitors. But they are not traitors in fact; in-much they betray, and break faith with, no one. Having pledged no faith, they break none. They are simply men, who, for reasons of their own — whether good or bad, wise or unwise, is immaterial — choose to exercise their natural right of dissolving their connexion (sic) with the governments under which they have lived. In doing this, they no more commit the crime of treason — which necessarily implies treachery, deceit, breach of faith — than a man commits treason when he chooses to leave a church, or any other voluntary association, with which he has been connected.

In a fashion matched only by the pen of Murray Rothbard, Spooner makes the clear case for the immorality of fashioning a yoke on later generations without their consent and the concomitant evil and corruption that emanates form governments that practice this more subtle form of enslavement.

Randy Barnett, whose work on the Ninth Amendment is truly groundbreaking and liberty enhancing runs the lysanderspooner.org site at which most of his works are available free of charge.  We should be indebted to Dr. Barnett for doing this valuable service.

There is a three volume compilation of everything Spooner wrote [the staff at Zero Gov will gladly accept a donation of this set if any reader feels generous] but it is rather spendy and Barnett provides a good start electronically.  I would urge all my readers to set a goal for yourself to read Spooner on a weekly or monthly basis and make your way through his canon.  He not only was a great champion of liberty but provided a quite interesting and rigorous lesson in how to think critically on very complex issues and take them apart with alacrity.

As Benjamin Tucker says:  He was our Nestor in the pursuit of liberty; he was truly a weapon of mass destruction against big government, or for that matter, all government.  As abolitionists, we may be in the minority but we will always hail from the moral high ground.

His writing is a muse for freedom and a vital arrow in the quiver of liberty and abolition.

“What was true of our ancestors is true of revolutionists in general. The monarchs and governments, from whom they choose to separate, attempt to stigmatize them as traitors. But they are not traitors in fact; in-much they betray, and break faith with, no one. Having pledged no faith, they break none. They are simply men, who, for reasons of their own — whether good or bad, wise or unwise, is immaterial — choose to exercise their natural right of dissolving their connexion with the governments under which they have lived. In doing this, they no more commit the crime of treason — which necessarily implies treachery, deceit, breach of faith — than a man commits treason when he chooses to leave a church, or any other voluntary association, with which he has been connected.

This principle was a true one in 1776. It is a true one now. It is the only one on which any rightful government can rest. It is the one on which the Constitution itself professes to rest. If it does not really rest on that basis, it has no right to exist; and it is the duty of every man to raise his hand against it.

If the men of the Revolution designed to incorporate in the Constitution the absurd ideas of allegiance and treason, which they had once repudiated, against which they had fought, and by which the world had been enslaved, they thereby established for themselves an indisputable claim to the disgust and detestation of all mankind.”

-Lysander Spooner

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

Failed Regicide and the Attempted Murder of Free Speech by Bill Buppert

Free speech is too dangerous to a democracy to be permitted.

-H.L. Mencken

Political speech is now in the hazard thanks to the homicidal tendencies of a madman who gunned down a Congressman and a number of others folks in front of a Safeway in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, 1/8/2011.  Mind you, the loon who committed this heinous murder apparently had no political agenda one could put a bead on.  Among his self-described favorite reads were The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, sort of a greatest hits ensemble for the government supremacist crowd.  I suspect the usual suspects are rather peeved when this evidence comes out so early and makes them hesitant to pin the political rose if it points in their direction.  Keep in mind that Left and Right in the American polity, the office-holders in America are but a hairs-breadth away from the philosophy in both those tomes.  Both books are paeans to state violence and that is the sine qua non of all governments.

Do you doubt me?

We live in a country that maintains a murderous empire that straddles the globe and kills every day. It employs both occupation forces and robot killers to do the deed and tens of thousands of women and children have been added to the butcher’s bill in foreign lands.  At home, we have an active policy of torture, we bury humans in a prison system outside of the already pathetic Constitutional safeguards and a government that thinks it can kill ANYONE at will.

The same government maintains a sophisticated system of wealth extraction of all its “citizens” (read that as feedlot cattle), makes every CPA and bank a non-funded IRS agent and facility respectively and has erected a multitudinous set of laws that is so vast not even the system understands how to administer it.  To make all of this stick, legions of “law enforcement” personnel are deployed across the land to detain, beat, cage and, on occasion, murder to keep the system afloat.  But that is not enough, on top of all that is a vast intelligence apparatus that has cast Mordor’s eye inwardly upon the land to seek out terrorists and whatever else fits that convenient moniker for cattle misbehavior across the fruited plain.

But that is not enough.

Now the rulers of the land are finally able to cast a net over the Internet and all media and haughtily call for rules and edicts to limit or fetter free speech if it threatens them.  Officeholders, that particular breed of psychopath that seek political office, are now starting to bleat in horror for their safety and hoping to translate that fear into another muzzle on the people.

It almost makes one wish the shooter in Tucson had some discernable political compass instead of the madness anyone can read in his actions and his mug shot.  At least then one could discern what his object were but so far he smells like the standard collectivist apologist we have grown so accustomed to seeing.

The state pushes, bullies, steals, thieves, cages, maims, kills and prostrates its citizens at the whim of their every political desire to tighten their death-grip on the smallest facets of our lives.  Every day.

Then one of the cattle pushes back and the state bellows in naked fear and lashes out at the whole of the people to mete out a punishment to all for the sins of a few.  Of course, this is the causus belli for almost every law on the books.

As an aside, we see that it is ordinary citizens once again who thwart an even worse mass murder and the cops, in their habitual role as historians, arrive after the fact.  Anarchy or a stateless society is not a society without rules, it is a society where the citizens can captain their own destinies and protect their neighbor in the absence of the “professionals”. The anarchists won the day again much like they have for other “terrorist” incidents happening throughout the land.  It seems the only lime law enforcement is on mission is when they are provoking the terrorist acts themselves.

We can only hope that Giffords recovers and lives a prosperous and rich life.

Initiated violence is never the answer and it will only get more of the same.  You can not beat the state at its most powerful natural ability:  the capacity to maim and kill without limit.

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.  If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth:  if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

Notes in the Margin: Grigg does a far more eloquent exposition on this subject in his latest essay: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2011/01/cult-of-sanctified-violence.html

An excerpt:

Americans were not admonished to observe a moment of chastened silence in memory of the victims of that exercise in criminal violence. This is, in part, because observances of that kind would quickly become tedious: Since 2008, Pakistan — a country with which the government ruling us is not formally at war — has endured at least 250 drone attacks, in which roughly 1,400 people have been killed.

According to the most conservative estimate of “collateral damage,” only a tithe of those slaughtered through drone strikes are “militants.”

Hundreds of civilians have likewise been massacred in the ongoing “surge” in Afghanistan, many of them in nighttime raids by “Special Operations Forces” — that is, death squads — whose behavior is not easily distinguishable from that of Jared Loughner. At least a hundred thousand civilians have been annihilated in the continuing war in Iraq, which was inaugurated for reasons just as delusional as anything that percolated in Loughner’s distressed mind.

For those who worship at the altar of the omnipotent State, mass murder of this kind is an exercise in sanctified violence. In a 2009 interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Bill Clinton — who has repeatedly denounced  “anti-government” speech as a form of criminal sedition — defined terrorism as “killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority.” (Emphasis added.) What this means, of course, is that “killing and robbery and coercion” by duly authorized agents of the State isn’t terrorism, it’s policy.

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

If Government is the Answer, You Must Have Asked the Wrong Question by Bill Buppert

“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

- H.L. Mencken

The two primary reasons most people want government to exist is for protection and advantage.  When I say most people I am excepting that smaller group of people who actively seek to rule others;  the socio- and psycho-paths among us who have a deeper need and selfish interest in championing the furtherance and expansion of government.  The yen for protection speaks to the fear most folks have of being unsecured in their safety and existence and the mistaken assumption that their subsequent surrender of their right to defend themselves will make them safer.  The advantage speaks to the need to have some external entity play umpire and ensure that everyone conducts themselves by a “consensual” playbook which of course leads to gaming of the system exemplified for example by preferential treatment codification in law for special interests.  We know that neither of these ever ends well for the individual historically.  There may be other tangential reasons but these two elements comprise the lion’s share of the twisted rationalizing that passes for thought on why government should be the overweening and powerful monster it is today.  Government is the gateway drug to mass tyranny.  Please spare me the soliloquies of “limited government”, an ahistorical chimera if ever there was one.  There is simply no historical record, Eastern or Western, of the existence of one.

One hears even the most committed government supremacists prattling on about the inadequacies of this policy or that and the often comedic second order effects and unintended consequences of the implementation.  The government authored crises tumbling over one another until you hear intellectual giants like Ghoulsbee (sic) over the weekend mewling about the necessity to increase the debt ceiling or the economy will collapse.  Deja vu.  Somewhat like a person or company insisting that their already unmanageable credit line be increased or doubled or they won’t be able to meet their obligations.  If we don’t flatten the Earth immediately, it will continue to be round.  You will note that demonstrable proofs or historical case studies verifying the substance or utility of this notion are not entertained.  The Keynesian game is up and its bankruptcy there for everyone to see but the believers think that with enough heel clicking and wishful thoughts, their caustic economic illiteracy will become reality.  This is what ALL non-Austrian  economists have come to;  nothing more than court apologists for what can only be termed bad alchemy heavily laden with the polar opposite of any critical thinking whatsoever.  This is also a result of the meme that is currently in vogue that there are human structures and creations “too big to fail”.  This is, of course, a fatuous and silly notion; for governments are designed from the beginning by their very structural necessities to be self- destructive mechanisms that not only cause irreparable harm to themselves over time but grind untold millions of lives into dust and ruin in their path.

Much like the Monolith Monsters in that delightful 1950s B-Movie, government grows and grows until it collapses under its own weight and contradictions (note that Marx got that one sideways, again).  The historical record is strewn with massive corpse count after corpse count of attempts by well-intentioned government supremacists to build the shining city on the hill time and again.  From Mesopotamia to Rome to modernity, the most flawed and morally handicapped men rose to Olympian heights granted with God-like powers on the monopoly of violence and coercion that is the hallmark of ALL governments to despoil, deprive and deny men their liberty and their lives.  Of course, the magisterial histories written over time have always given grand stories of the trials and tribulations of the great men overcoming obstacles to the imposition of organized crime and violence on the masses.  There have some minor aberrations in this history like the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence but these were made null and void within several generations of their acceptance or adoption.  The Constitution being the most proximate example of liberty extinguished in a generation.  Merely statistically insignificant speed bumps in the continual steamrolling and abolition of individual volition in favor of a collectivist zeitgeist.

Individual liberty is an historical aberration and that is an unfortunate fact.

Take heart, for there have been individuals in history who have stood athwart this seemingly unstoppable monster and found ways to injure it or impede its progress such as Wilberforce or the Anti-Federalists, both of whom deserve your closer attention.  There are actually legions of others who have contributed in smaller ways such as Lysander Spooner and the individualist anarchist brain trust in 19th century America, the filial progeny of Milton Friedman (certainly not Milton who gave us some of the gravest injuries to liberty in the 20th century) and the emerging Austrian David against the collectivist Goliath.  I can put it no more eloquently than Lysander Spooner did in his letter to Grover Cleveland in 1886:

“To say, as the advocates of our government do, that a man must give up some of his natural rights, to a government, in order to have the rest of them protected the government being all the while the sole and irresponsible judge as to what rights he does give up, and what he retains, and what are to be protected — is to say that he gives up all the rights that the government chooses, at any time, to assume that he has given up; and that he retains none, and is to be protected in none, except such as the government shall, at all times, see fit to protect, and to permit him to retain. This is to suppose that he has retained no rights at all, that he can, at any time, claim as his own, as against the government. It is to say that he has really given up every right, and reserved none. . . .

It is especially noticeable that those persons, who are so impatient to protect other men in their rights that they cannot wait until they are requested to do so, have a somewhat inveterate habit of killing all who do not voluntarily accept their protection; or do not consent to give up to them all their rights in exchange for it.

If A were to go to B, a merchant, and say to him, “Sir, I am a night-watchman, and I insist upon your employing me as such in protecting your property against burglars; and to enable me to do so more effectually, I insist upon your letting me tie your own hands and feet, so that you cannot interfere with me; and also upon your delivering up to me all your keys to your store, your safe, and to all your valuables; and that you authorize me to act solely and fully according to my own will, pleasure, and discretion in the matter; and I demand still further, that you shall give me an absolute guaranty that you will not hold me to any accountability whatever for anything I may do, or for anything that may happen to your goods while they are under my protection; and unless you comply with this proposal, I will now kill you on the spot,” — if A were to say all this to B, B would naturally conclude that A himself was the most impudent and dangerous burglar that he (B) had to fear; and that if he (B) wished to secure his property against burglars, his best way would be to kill A in the first place, and then take his chances against all such other burglars as might come afterwards.

Our government constantly acts the part that is here supposed to be acted by A. And it is just as impudent a scoundrel as A is here supposed to be. It insists that every man shall give up all his rights unreservedly into its custody, and then hold it wholly irresponsible for any disposal it may make of them. And it gives him no alternative but death.

If by putting a bayonet to a man’s breast, and giving him his choice, to die, or be “protected in his rights,” it secures his consent to the latter alternative, it then proclaims itself a free government, — a government resting on consent!”

Spooner is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and I am happy to make my own small contribution to that.

We are truly living in an age when so much information is available and all the tools of liberation are at our disposal that the government has to work doubly hard at maintaining that the emperor is properly attired.  This is one reason they cling to the stranglehold they have over ALL government education in America and monitor and encourage the government-media complex to contain the “proper reading” of reality as we know it.  This is also why you see the dramatic push for more government intervention in the internet with the demise of the old media titans in newspaper, radio and television.  The internet is a true bottom-up revolution in mass communications as evidenced by the tiny audience that deigns to read my scribbling.

The total and apparently synchronized destruction of the Western way of governance is underway regardless of the efforts of these failed machines to reckon a course to safety.  Greece was a bellwether and the inevitable collapse of the Western remnant is underway despite the best efforts of the Marxoid Key[ne]stone Kops at the helm.   It is rather amusing in a morbid way to watch our worthies in the US Federal government ignoring every possible avenue that expands individual freedom in a futile bid to preserve their rotting and dissolving feedlot system in the tax jurisdiction handily referred to as a nation state.

From this mess, we will see either a resurrection of more of the same or enough folks will finally wake up and see that government has always been the reason for their destitution and deprivation and not a bulwark against it.

Do your part, citizen: resist the state.

Notes in the Margin: I was a guest on Marc Stevens’ No State Project on Saturday 1/8/2011.  See:  http://marcstevens.net/

“That no government, so called, can reasonably be trusted, or reasonably be supposed to have honest purposes in view, any longer than it depends wholly upon voluntary support.”

-Lysander Spooner

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

And When Restitution is Impossible…

Kaiser pens a great blog over at http://kaiserleib.com/blog/.  He is also a senior editor over here at Zero Gov.

He worries over some of the implications of the non-aggression principle which is central to the thinking of ethical anarchists and abolitionists everywhere.  He raises a number of prickly observations that should concern philosophers of liberty.

While I abide by the non-aggression principle, a bothersome problem has always been how you respond to acts veiled in violence but championed on the grounds of the greater good like taxation.   Taxation is acknowledged by folks in my small circle to be an act of theft which by extension is an act of aggression but the response must be tempered proportionate to the offense.  Stack on all the other daily and eternal attacks by the state on the individual and a clear state of war against the individual is in play.  That is the distillate, when does our characterization of that aggression precipitate a violent response on the part of the individual?  Should that be entertained as a possible solution or is Gandhian-style non-violent non-compliance the answer?  Will the violent reaction by the state against the latter lead to the former response on the part of individuals?



One has to examine whether this aggression is rationalized by the victim to avoid the implication of having to respond to stop it.  Do individuals really want to resort to violence to right this obvious wrong?  One can even characterize this refusal to resist as an act of moral cowardice and I am guilty as charged.

I do think there is some insight from Butler Shaffer on the issue of violence. To wit:

“One can no more advance liberty through violence than he can regain sobriety by embracing an alternative brand of alcohol. The state is a system that enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence. It is no answer to this destructive menace to introduce a competitor who employs the same means and seeks the same ends, namely, to construct society on the principle of the power to compel obedience to authority.”

Shaffer also has some provocative thoughts on property where everything is property and that predetermines responses.  Should a man be shot for stealing a loaf of bread?  I think not.  Should he be caught and restitution demanded?  Absolutely.

What if a private enterprise came to you and said that you will surrender 60% of your income (the aggregate of American taxation) on pain of fines, caging, maiming and death for non-compliance?  That would be an act of war.  This is the discomfiting and ultimately biggest question.  The state considers this piracy on the high seas and naked theft in the private sector, yet it is the very model for the way their business is conducted.

This is certainly one of those thought experiments where far more questions than answers rise from the effort of trying to discover what course of action to take. -BB

Justice’ refers generally to the concept of moral rightness, and the administration of punishment when that morality is breached and wrong is done. I believe that restitution for the wronged is the purest and best form of justice that is available. While it may leave the wronged party dissatisfied, it does him more good than to harm, imprison or kill the offender.

Sometimes, restitution is impossible, or at least impractical. Not all things are directly replaceable by money, and some one-of-a-kind objects may be declared priceless. Human life, of course, fits this criterion. Injuries are amenable to compensation in some senses, but not in others – a man with a broken back may be compensated for lost wages, but it’s difficult to say what quantity of money is “fair” to repay his lost quality of life.

Not all wrongdoers have the capacity for restitution, either – a thief with poor work ethic, no job skills and no funds in reserve would be hard-pressed to make meaningful restitution to the victims of his thefts, for instance. A drunk driver may be unable to make restitution if his actions destroy another driver’s vehicle, regardless of the damage to life and limb. Setting fire to the Mona Lisa would not much damage the French government, but it would not be a crime for which the rest of humanity could be properly compensated, either – the cost of restitution would be difficult to determine, and most likely exceed the arsonist’s means many times over.

See the rest:  http://kaiserleib.com/blog/?p=206