I just got back from the Freedom Summit and the Small Arms Review (SAR) Gun Show in Phoenix over the weekend. We spent the entire day SAT at the SAR show and it was huge. We got to lay hands on dozens of new weapons and kit. Wonderful. A good time was had by all and my speech on Sunday appeared to be well-received but I paled in performance when Stefan Molyneux took the stage at noon. He may the new libertarian/anarchist rock star of the twenty-teens and his podcasts are apparently the most distributed of their type in the world. All of these speeches will be available on freedoms-phoenix in the near future and I will post them as soon as they become available.
The non-statist/anarchist/abolitionist/voluntaryist meme is the major trend in the conference. The limited government advocates are becoming as rare as hen’s teeth. Four of the speakers on Sunday (including myself) were self-professed “zero government” advocates. Much as secession was a four letter word ten years ago, the anarchist trend in thinking is gaining traction in the liberty community and may be the mainstream in the next ten years.
Marc Stevens was a speaker who really drove the point home with the rather simple but elegant observation that services rendered at the point of a gun may not be as virtuous as we suppose. The cattle in the feedlot are starting to realize that their very purpose is the fulfillment of material sustenance and labor for the parasite/looter classes that provide the entire foundational support for a system that robs from Peter to pay Paul for no better reason than that they can get away with it. I am fond of saying that macroeconomics is nothing more than the sophisticated academic rationalization of government intervention in the economy and the same applies for the entire academic field of political science which, in the end, is nothing more than a sophisticated philosophical apologia for the use or threat of violence against non-compliant individuals in a society.
We all realize that the government cannot allow you leniency when you break the myriad laws they pass nor shirk taxes and tribute to the very organization that enslaves them. This is far worse than chattel slavery because it is a slavery that seeks to make the chained thankful for their fetters and constantly ask for more. Government is nothing more than the human condition in a fetal position begging to be told what to do with a total absence of initiative to do anything outside of that construct. The idea of a total absence of the state and its attendant violence TERRIFIES most of mankind because the conditioning has succeeded beyond the wildest expectation of the socio/psychopaths that people the political ruler and bureaucrat classes. The statist white noise that is the media and the education axis around the globe has crippled people’s abilities to think for themselves and impoverished their moral imaginations.
I am going to channel Stefan’s brilliant keynote speech on Sunday and paraphrase a keen question he posed. Stop attempting to prove why private enforcement mechanisms in medieval Iceland were a great way to mimic how to do so today. Stop finding odd historical examples of liberty prevailing over statism. Turn the rhetorical device around. Urge whomever the government supremacist is you are talking to to explain to you, a new visitor from Mars with no knowledge of how Earth works, to explicate how roads are provisioned or why wars occur with such frequency or how a war on a person’s ability to alter their own consciousness are a betterment for mankind. Ask them to explain why freedom is not superior to central planning and government violence. Whether a neoconservative or a communist or a socialist or an environmentalist, have them walk you through why their system of collective governance is always superior to individual volition and independence. Tug at their moral defensibility and find out why the abolition of self-ownership is a virtuous position.
I mentioned in my speech that the number one skill to master in the coming bad times is critical thinking; thinking about thinking to improve your thinking through better thinking. That is all it is. Certainly you will have to master fallacies, the fundamentals of logic, Adler’s notion of reading books and casting a skeptical eye on everything, especially authority. Government thinking is always shallow otherwise the entire system would not simply be based on the application of brute force from caging to torture to death. Leverage that weakness.
William Wilberforce almost single-handedly broke the slave trade in England with his unique idea that a man’s self-ownership was a critical facet of being fully human but he did not complete his Herculean task. He managed to shame most of the Western world into abandoning chattel slavery but this was simply one factor of government. The rulers at the time saw there was no way to stem the tide of moral indignation (there is hope for us) and had to devise newer and more subtle means of enslavement. Chattel slavery had been a planetary institution for more than five millennia and it was accepted universally with a milder variant in serfdom. The other forms of servitude through regulatory and taxation regimes became the substitute for the chattel form. The dawning of the industrial age had started to shatter the efficacy of chattel slavery since the perverse incentive structures (“You pretend to pay us and we will pretend to work”) precluded any provision of labor beyond raw material extraction. Admittedly, this did not prevent the communists from trying to reinvent the idea. The rest is history as universal education for the masses became job one for industrialized nations to condition and shape the populations into cowed (pun intended) masses being milked for the benefit of their respective authoritarian systems.
And here we are.
Stefan made a funny but profound comment during his presentation. He was talking about the silliness of the notion of aliens invading earth and making war on it because governments would not be able to master interstellar space travel because they are…governments.
I would offer a tiny sliver of evidence to speak to the government’s ability to crush individual innovation and lose a technical edge. America led the planet in the field of automatic weapons and machine guns until 1934 and then the edge fell off never to be regained again. No more garage tinkering or innovation in the marketplace. What happened? The National Firearms Act was passed in 1934 which essentially nationalized the industry and restricted possession to the “only ones” and the affluent. Innovation and technology quickly tailed off and we had to import the lion’s share of technology to compete with the rest of the world. As a philosophical porcupine, I am always interested in the latest weapons advances to make me safer.
The whole idea of no government is an alien concept to most it takes considerable effort to digest but the idea of self-government becomes attractive over time. I plan on spending a fair amount of 2012 exploring and teasing out the intricacies of mankind’s evolution beyond servitude to others without their consent in my writing as Nero fiddles in Mordor.
Notes in the Margin: Hezekiah Wyman will officially close as a website effective
tonight this week (Kaiser’s note: delay is my fault!) and in the morning a new dawn will emerge with the birth of zerogov.com. The site will be reflagged and slightly improved. My wife will even smile upon me because I have finally developed a website “where everyone can spell it” and find it. Hezekiah’s spirit of defiance and expertise in liberty’s teeth will continue to be a muse for the scribbling here. So, essentially, while a cosmetic change will occur, the substance and tenor of the site will remain the same; the examination and pursuit of a stateless society in which humans will be the captains of their destiny and not cattle on a feedlot posing as a tax jurisdiction. I will also start accepting guest postings on occasion if germane to the mission at hand, if interested, email me.