Basically, there are two factions that exist in the world, when it comes to metaphysics and epistemology. The basic premises they maintain are at odds and determine how they conduct their lives and the conclusions they come to when it involves moral and political issues. They see reality differently—one hundred eighty degrees of difference. This is an attempt to verbalize those reality differences. Reality will dictate the outcome of the battle and a battle it is—an ideological battle. The lists below represent a general list of what most of the groups believe. However, it stands to reason that one cannot predict the beliefs of any one individual of the group. I will call one group Non-Statists or Limited Statists and the other group Statists-Collectivists. It should be quite evident that these opposite ideas demonstrate why there can never be compromise between them.
In reality, the two groups should be divided between Anarchists and Statists but I have used a more general dividing line to give the Limited Statists the benefit of the doubt by categorizing them with the Non-Statists (Anarchists)
Non-Statists and Limited Statists
1. Contradictions do not exist in reality
2. Many things are absolute
3. Some things are impossible
4. Theft is the taking of property without the consent of the owner
5. All opinions are not equally valid
6. The law of supply and demand is an absolute, a Natural Law of Human Action
7. Wishing, hoping, praying and a positive attitude cannot accomplish most things
8. The knowledge of basic principles is paramount in order to solve problems on a consistent basis
9. One man’s need does not constitute a moral obligation upon the actions of another
10. One man’s need does not constitute a right to the property of another
11. Truth exists
12. The ends do not justify the means
13. Like all things, Man has a Nature, which must be considered when trying to manipulate him
14. Natural law cannot be violated without impunity
15. Evil does exist
16. Profit is good and necessary for a thriving nation
17. The needs of the individual must never be sacrificed to the needs of the many
18. There is nothing immoral about a person who has much abundance and wants more
19. Taxation is theft
20. Calling slavery by another name will not change the meaning— will not make it freedom
21. Calling theft by another name will not change the meaning—it is still theft
22. Reality is an absolute and cannot be molded according to anyone’s desires
23. According to the courts, the paying of income taxes is voluntary
25. Production is the engine that creates jobs and prosperity
26. Government handouts is not the way to end poverty
27. Heroes: Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Ford, Rockefeller, Gates, Jefferson, Paine, Washington, Hayek, Von Mises, Bastiat, Rothbard, Rand, Galambos, Snelson, Pugsley, Paterson, Reagan, Newton, Faraday, Bell, Tesla, Westinghouse, Whitney, Fulton
28. Freedom is a primary and necessary goal towards attaining a lasting, prosperous, secure civilization
The Republicans, conservatives and limited statists preach items 1-28 but betray those principles when it comes to practice. That makes them inconsistent hypocrites.
The Democrats, liberals and progressives preach items 29-57 (Communo-Fascist ideas) and actually live them through their legislative preferences. That makes them consistent enslavers.
Note: It is evident that there cannot be compromise between the two factions. Both sides believe that compromise would eventually spell the end of civilization. Since all opinions are NOT equally valid, you decide which side is correct.
Publisher’s Note: September 17 is the day the serfs in the tax jurisdiction known as America celebrate Constitution Day. We hear all the usual ill-informed and ahistorical notions celebrating what was in essence one of the most savvy and lucrative political coups in Western history. The Antifederalists were right, the Constitution was an elegant trap to shackle an entire nation to a system to empower the few over the many and the banksters over the entire system of commerce. The respective states which had signed separate peace agreements with the United Kingdom in 1783 were merely political and inferior subsidiaries to the greater national power emerging in Mordor on the Potomac. The Constitution created a Soviet style system well before the Bolsheviks were even contemplating such a scheme. Whenever you hear some of your friends and neighbors extolling the virtues of the Constitution, read them Spooner’s quote and see how they address that particular conundrum.
I republish this annually to do my part to commemorate one of the greatest injuries to liberty you never knew.
You can also see my debate with Dr. Walker-Howe at Freedom Fest in the Media and Interviews portion of this blog. -BB
By rendering the labor of one, the property of the other, they cherish pride, luxury, and vanity on one side; on the other, vice and servility, or hatred and revolt.
~ James Madison
“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”
~ Lysander Spooner
Today, 17 September 2009, is Constitution Day. There will be paeans, abundant commentary and church-like observances of the glories of this document in making us the most blessed nation on planet earth. This essay suggests a contrarian thesis. The Constitution is an enabling document for big government. Much like the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain is a fraud. In this case, for all the sanctimonious handwringing and the obsequious idolatry of the parchment, it sealed the fate of our liberties and freedoms and has operated for more than 200 years as a cover for massive expansion of the tools and infrastructure of statist expansion and oppression. Among the many intellectual travels I have undertaken, this is one of the most heart-breaking I have ventured on. I want to acknowledge the compass-bearers who sent me on this journey: Kenneth W. Royce (aka Boston T. Party) and his seminal book, The Hologram of Liberty and Kevin Gutzman’s Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. For most of the political spectrum in America, the document represents their interpretation of how to make this mortal coil paradise. Even in libertarian circles, it is taken as an article of faith the Constitution is a brilliant mechanism to enlarge liberty and keep government at bay. That is a lie.
The document was drafted in the summer of 1787 behind closed doors in tremendous secrecy because if word leaked out of the actual contents and intent, the revolution that had just concluded would have been set ablaze again. They were in a race against time and did everything in their power to ensure that the adoption took place as quickly as possible to avoid reflection and contemplation in the public square that would kill the proposal once the consequences of its agenda became apparent. They were insisting that the states ratify first and then propose amendments later. It was a political coup d’état. It was nothing less than an oligarchical coup to ensure that the moneyed interests, banksters and aristocrats could cement their positions and mimic the United Kingdom from which they had been recently divorced.
The original charter of the drafters was to pen improvements to the existing Articles of Confederation. Instead, they chose to hijack the process and create a document which enslaved the nation. Federalist in the old parlance meant states rights and subsidiarity but the three authors of the fabled Federalist Papers supported everything but that. Their intent and commitment was to create a National government with the ability to make war on its constituent parts if these states failed to submit themselves to the central government.
As Austrian economists have discovered, bigger is not necessarily better. The brilliant and oft-dismissed Articles of Confederation (AoC) and Perpetual Union are a testament to voluntarism and cooperation through persuasion that the Constitution disposed of with its adoption. Penned in 1776 and ratified in 1781, the spirit and context of the Articles live on in the Swiss canton system and are everywhere evident in the marketplace where confederationist sentiments are practiced daily. The confederation’s design divines its mechanism from what an unfettered market does every day: voluntary cooperation, spontaneous information signals and the parts always being smarter than the sum A. confederation according to the Webster’s 1828 dictionary is:
I would advise the readership to use the 1828 Webster’s dictionary to accompany any primary source research you may undertake to understand American (& British) letters in the eighteenth century. It is the source for the contemporary lexicon. It is even available online now.
Here is a simple comparison of the two organizing documents:
Articles of Confederation
|Levying taxes||Congress could request states to pay taxes||Congress has right to levy taxes on individuals|
|Federal courts||No system of federal courts||Court system created to deal with issues between citizens, states|
|Regulation of trade||No provision to regulate interstate trade||Congress has right to regulate trade between states|
|Executive||No executive with power. President of U.S. merely presided over Congress||Executive branch headed by President who chooses Cabinet and has checks on power of judiciary and legislature|
|Amending document||13/13 needed to amend Articles||2/3 of both houses of Congress plus 3/4 of state legislatures or national convention|
|Representation of states||Each state received 1 vote regardless of size||Upper house (Senate) with 2 votes; lower house (House of Representatives) based on population|
|Raising an army||Congress could not draft troops, dependent on states to contribute forces||Congress can raise an army to deal with military situations|
|Interstate commerce||No control of trade between states||Interstate commerce controlled by Congress|
|Disputes between states||Complicated system of arbitration||Federal court system to handle disputes|
|Sovereignty||Sovereignty resides in states||Constitution the supreme law of the land|
|Passing laws||9/13 needed to approve legislation||50%+1 of both houses plus signature of President|
Note that the precept of individual taxation was an end-run against state sovereignty from the very beginning. If the Congress does not wish to violate state sovereignty, then they will simply prey on the individuals in the states. It should be obvious that the AoC was not a recipe for government employees from top to bottom to use the office to enrich themselves so a scheme was afoot to precipitate and manufacture dissent over the present configuration of the central government apparatus which for all intents and purposes barely existed. The AoC was intolerable to a narrow panoply of interests and the Federalist Papers appeared between October 1787 and August 1788 to plead the case for a newer form of “Republic” authored by three individuals: James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton. The British had sued for peace in 1783 and the AoC were still in effect until 1790. Time was ticking to erect the new government apparatus that would strengthen the central government to eventually mimic the very tyranny which caused British North America to put the English Crown in the hazard. The Anti-Federalists rose up in response and provided what I consider one of the most splendid and eloquent defenses of small government penned in our history.
When the Constitutional Convention convened on 1787, 55 delegates came but 14 later quit as the Convention eventually abused its mandate and scrapped the AoC instead of revising it. The notes and proceedings of the cloistered meeting were to be secret as long as 53 years later when Madison’s edited notes were published in 1840.
The Anti-Federalist Brutus avers in Essay I in October 1787:
“But what is meant is, that the legislature of the United States are vested with the great and uncontroulable powers, of laying and collecting taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; of regulating trade, raising and supporting armies, organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, instituting courts, and other general powers. And are by this clause invested with the power of making all laws, proper and necessary, for carrying all these into execution; and they may so exercise this power as entirely to annihilate all the state governments, and reduce this country to one single government. And if they may do it, it is pretty certain they will; for it will be found that the power retained by individual states, small as it is, will be a clog upon the wheels of the government of the United States; the latter therefore will be naturally inclined to remove it out of the way. Besides, it is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of ages, that every man, and every body of men, invested with power, are ever disposed to increase it, and to acquire a superiority over every thing that stands in their way.”
The conflict was brewing between the Jeffersonians among the individualists and the Hamiltonian collectivists. The rhetorical lines were drawn and the fate of the nation eventually slid into the camp of the Nationalists.
George Washington wrote to John Jay on 1 August 1786:
“Many are of opinion that Congress have too frequently made use of the suppliant humble tone of requisition, in applications to the States, when they had a right to assume their imperial dignity and command obedience. Be that as it may, requisitions are a perfect nihility, where thirteen sovereign, independent[,] disunited States are in the habit of discussing & refusing compliance with them at their option. Requisitions are actually little better than a jest and a bye word through out the Land. If you tell the Legislatures they have violated the treaty of peace and invaded the prerogatives of the confederacy they will laugh in your face. What then is to be done? Things cannot go on in the same train forever. It is much to be feared, as you observe, that the better kind of people being disgusted with the circumstances will have their minds prepared for any revolution whatever. We are apt to run from one extreme into another. To anticipate & prevent disasterous contingencies would be the part of wisdom & patriotism.”
It appears even the much admired Washington was having none of the talk of independence and wanted a firm hand on the yoke of the states to make them obey their masters on high. Washington’s behavior in the Whiskey Rebellion cast away any doubts of the imperious behavior of the central government a mere four year after the adoption of the Constitution.
Patrick Henry gave the firmest defense of the skeptical posture when he questioned the precarious position the Constitution put to the state’s sovereignty on 5 June 1788 at the Virginia Ratifying Convention (the savvy Founding Lawyers ensured that the process of ratification was sped along by bypassing the bicameral house requirements and simply asking the states to conduct ratifying conventions):
“How were the Congressional rights defined when the people of America united by a confederacy to defend their liberties and rights against the tyrannical attempts of Great-Britain? The States were not then contented with implied reservation. No, Mr. Chairman. It was expressly declared in our Confederation that every right was retained by the States respectively, which was not given up to the Government of the United States. But there is no such thing here. You therefore by a natural and unavoidable implication, give up your rights to the General Government. Your own example furnishes an argument against it. If you give up these powers, without a Bill of Rights, you will exhibit the most absurd thing to mankind that ever the world saw — A Government that has abandoned all its powers — The powers of direct taxation, the sword, and the purse. You have disposed of them to Congress, without a Bill of Rights — without check, limitation, or controul. And still you have checks and guards — still you keep barriers — pointed where? Pointed against your weakened, prostrated, enervated State Government! You have a Bill of Rights to defend you against the State Government, which is bereaved of all power; and yet you have none against Congress, though in full and exclusive possession of all power! You arm youselves against the weak and defenceless, and expose yourselves naked to the armed and powerful. Is not this a conduct of unexampled absurdity? What barriers have you to oppose to this most strong energetic Government? To that Government you have nothing to oppose. All your defence is given up. This is a real actual defect. . . “
The Bill of Rights as we know them today were first introduced by James Madison in 1789 in response to the fears the emerging Constitution caused among the free men in these united States. They eventually came into effect on December 15, 1791. The Federalists were desperately opposed to the adoption of the Bill of Rights being insisted upon by Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and other skeptics of central governance. As Brutus again so cleverly pointed out in the Anti-Federalist papers #84:
” This will appear the more necessary, when it is considered, that not only the Constitution and laws made in pursuance thereof, but all treaties made, under the authority of the United States, are the supreme law of the land, and supersede the Constitutions of all the States. The power to make treaties, is vested in the president, by and with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the senate. I do not find any limitation or restriction to the exercise of this power. The most important article in any Constitution may therefore be repealed, even without a legislative act. Ought not a government, vested with such extensive and indefinite authority, to have been restricted by a declaration of rights? It certainly ought.
So clear a point is this, that I cannot help suspecting that persons who attempt to persuade people that such reservations were less necessary under this Constitution than under those of the States, are wilfully endeavoring to deceive, and to lead you into an absolute state of vassalage (emphasis mine).”
The Bill of Rights nominations from the respective sovereign states originally numbered near 200 and the Founding Lawyers saw fit to include twelve (the two concerning apportionment and Congressional pay failed to pass) after much bickering especially by the most monstrous worthy of the time, Alexander Hamilton. A brilliant mind coupled with all the political knife-fighting skills needed to dominate the proceedings, Hamilton made sure that the tools of oppression and a financial yoke would be decorating our necks in perpetuity. Small solace can be taken in the aftermath of the duel between Hamilton and Burr on 11 July 1804 in that it took him close to a day to die.
Alexander Hamilton tipped his intellectual hand in a speech to the Constitutional Convention concerning the United States Senate, 06/18/1787 (quoted in the notes of Judge Yates):
“All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and the well-born; the other the mass of the people … turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the Government … Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy.”
I am no fan of democracy as I see it as nothing more than a transformational accommodation to tyranny over time but one can infer from this quote that Hamilton fancied a class of people more equal than others who would have a disproportionate access to the levers of power over the great unwashed. Again, I am suggesting that the Constitution was a document designed from the beginning as a means to rob constituent and subsidiary parts of sovereignty and subject these subordinate elements to a national framework which made their position subservient to the Federal government. The desire of the Federalists was to install a national framework and cement the structure through the machinations of national banking, franking of a currency and debt creation. Keep in mind that all of the nattering on about the Federal Reserve today is a complaint against a Constitutional Frankenstein monster in its fourth iteration since the other attempts at national banks failed. You can guess who picked up the tab.
The Bill of Rights was finally passed on 15 December 1791 but it was much diluted and purposefully weaker and more ambiguous about the central government’s implied and explicit powers.
The Constitution took effect on 4 March 1789 with 11 states under it and two states not submitting ratification. North Carolina did ratify it when a promise of a future Bill of Rights was assured. Rhode Island refused and was the only state to put the Constitution to a popular vote where it failed on 24 March 1788 by an 11—1 margin. They eventually ratified it.
Hamilton now had the ways and means to make real his storied dream: “A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.” The moneyed interests saw the advantage of monetizing the debt. By assuming the state’s debts at the national government level, a means of controlling commerce and taxation became an implied task of the central government. This may have been the first incident of the debtors from the Revolutionary War convincing their Hamiltonian allies that if they had the national government bear the debt and relieve them of responsibility, this could be used as the means to establish the coveted national bank to start the issuance of government currency not to mention the driver for increased taxation.
All the puzzle pieces had finally locked into place. Royce eloquently explains what has transpired in Hologram of Liberty: “To put a ‘gun’ in the hands of the new national government was the primary object, the great sine qua non, of the Constitution. A comprehensive de jure authority of Congress backed with de facto guns.” The Confederation is defeated and the long train of usurpation, centralization and tyranny leaves the station for what has become American history.
Hamilton’s machinations and influence probably single-handedly turned the product of this secret confab into one of the most successful instruments of political oppression before even the creation of the USSR. What makes it even more sublime as a tool of big government is the sophisticated propaganda and hagiographic enterprise which has both spontaneously and through careful planning suborned the public’s skepticism of the nature of the machine erected to control their behavior, which has resulted in an almost religious observance of all things Constitutional. Carefully cultivated over two hundred years, this religious idolatry had certainly fogged the thinking of this writer for most of his adult life. This sleeper has awakened.
Ask yourself this question: have the robed government employees who read the Constitutional tea leaves for the most part defended individual liberty or have they rubber-stamped the exponential growth of power and control of the colossus that sits astride the Potomac?
“Our constitutions purport to be established by ‘the people,’ and, in theory, ‘all the people’ consent to such government as the constitutions authorize. But this consent of ‘the people’ exists only in theory. It has no existence in fact. Government is in reality established by the few; and these few assume the consent of all the rest, without any such consent being actually given.”
~ Lysander Spooner
Along with conservatives, I too believe in small government as opposed to liberals, who believe in big government, or at least their behavior demonstrates a belief in big government. Thomas Jefferson is famous for writing that “the government that rules best is the government that rules least.”
The first settlers were specifically aware of the need for small government because their experience of being ruled by big government resulted in tyranny, slavery, poverty, and hardship. They came to the New World to escape that tyranny. The Founding Fathers were born 100 years later and were well educated in the history of global tyranny, from the ancient Egyptians through the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations to the monarchies of Europe until the day when they were put to the test of devising a social order that could create peace and harmony. From their study of history they understood the necessity of creating a government that was small.
However, a problem existed at the outset, which still exists today. What is the dividing line between big government and small government? What are the definitions of big and small government? Can they be defined? Since the only activity that a government can exhibit is the forcible taking or regulation of the property of its citizens for the alleged benefit of society, under what circumstances should government act so that its activity can be considered as small? I challenge conservatives to answer this question with consistency. Conservatives, who claim to be freedom lovers, must generically define freedom (and slavery) in a consistent and non-contradictory manner before they can embark upon any political action with freedom as their goal. Perhaps freedom is not their goal.
It certainly appears to me that as a result of this coming November 2010 mid-term election and as a result of the next presidential election, conservatives will win, take hold of the reigns of government and once again be given the opportunity to “make things right.”
Let’s look at the facts. During the early years of the existence of our Constitutional Republic we did have “small government,” which lasted for many years. But now we have “big government.” How did such a thing happen? Nobody went to sleep on any given Sunday under the rule of small government and awakened on Monday to find himself under the arm of big government. It crept up on us. The creeping restrictions on our freedoms was perpetrated by liberals and conservatives alike sometimes with the approval of their constituents and sometime without, each faction believing that they knew what was best for the individual citizen. Conservatives are not innocent of contributing to this predicament of creeping restrictions. Returning to Constitutional limits on government will not hack it. Setting aside all of the other flaws of the Constitution, the Commerce Clause alone, allowed for a multitude of regulatory laws to enslave Americans, so when some conservatives claim to be constitutional conservatives, they too contribute to the involuntary servitude.
When the conservatives grab hold of the reigns of our government this November, and in 2012, they must make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes of the past, or it will be business as usual with the resulting conservative-style slavery, rather than liberal-style. They must create an atmosphere whereby the real creators of jobs, the private sector, is able to freely function. To accomplish this, all of their efforts must focus on REPEALING laws and closing government agencies, not passing new laws and creating new government programs and agencies, not reforming laws in order to improve them. That is the only way to decrease spending, get the economy on the road to real prosperity, and get out of debt. They must understand that freedom does not mean that they can pass their own restrictive legislation for the “good” of society. It is not “creeping socialism” that is upon us, as some believe. All along it has been “creeping slavery” which must be recognized and eliminated. It is not “conservative values” that we must rescue from the opposition, but “freedom values.” They are not the same. Freedom is an absence — an absence of coercion, an absence of involuntary servitude, an absence of others having control over our lives and property. Resist the temptation to legislate morality and abolish all victimless crimes.
To quote R.C. Hoiles, the past owner of the Orange County Register, “any time a man has to pay for something he does not want because of the initiating of force by the government, he is, to that degree, a slave.” He also said, “the man who sanctions (compulsory) public education has no basis for opposing compulsory health insurance.” The principle is the same for both.
The previous quote, although a necessary thought in the conservative consciousness, is not sufficient. The quote should have said, “the conservative who sanctions public education; the anti-trust laws; the Federal Reserve System; government ownership of anything including land, roads, utilities, means of transportation and waterways; government regulation of businesses and commerce; government subsidies; government welfare programs; or foreign aid; has no basis for opposing compulsory health insurance.” The principle behind opposing compulsory health insurance is the exact same principle behind opposing all of the other government interferences enumerated above.
The restated quote above correctly identifies the contradictions held by most conservatives when they do sanction all or most of the above government programs or activities. Conservatives must no longer rationalize why the government programs and activities they sanction or condone are good for the country, for in the long run those programs and activities are the seeds for the harvest of big government. Al Capone did not wake up one day as a major criminal. He managed to perpetrate small crimes with impunity, and then got away with moderate crimes until he became a major criminal. In the same manner, small government interference with the private sector leads to moderate interference until government becomes the major criminal, as it has been for decades under Republican and Democratic administrations and presently exists today.
If the conservatives grasp the reigns of power they must follow the advice given within these few paragraphs so that they can create a society that is bathed in the waters of freedom, resulting in a prosperous, secure and lasting society. Failing to follow these guidelines will only lead to ruin.
Yes indeed, the seed of big government tyranny is small government tyranny. So conservatives, especially Tea Party conservatives and Constitutionalists, beware. Make it smaller than small. Make it a minute government or better yet, make it a stateless society or else the errors of the past will be repeated. In the final analysis, the seed of big government is government.
“If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law”
― Henry David Thoreau
Imperial conditioning is the means by which a state through subtle and overt means make obedience to government a habit and sole course of action for citizens. It may not necessarily be a conscious effort on the part of the state but merely the inevitable outcome of the initiation of aggression on a mass scale. Absent violence, the state cannot exists.
One can read many of my previous essays on cops to see that they are the foundational element that makes governments work. Absent the armed praetorians to conduct “law enforcement” (one of the more honest labeling enterprises of government), the state has no engine to uphold its legions of edicts and diktats over the unfortunate inhabitants in the tax jurisdictions.
I just went on a trip overseas. As usual, every stage of travel within the American borders was awash in a sea of uniformed agents of the state directing one to do this or that on the condition that non-compliance would be most unpleasant. At one point after my return to the vaunted home of the free, I went through the porno-scanner to save time for a connection we were close to missing to return to Arizona. When directed to put my hands on my head so that they could get a better view I rendered the appropriate one-finger salute east and west to which one of the unemployable TSA drones said “that is unnecessary” to which I replied then that there is no more fitting tribute to an organization for whom the word unnecessary should be part of the slogan for the blue-shirted shamblers. Of course, this resulted in a punitive grope and rifling of my carry-on bag. No surprise. Discretion on their part to harass those who object is part of their charter. One is supposed to grin and bear every infringement on liberty in the name of national (read government) security. They are, in fact taken aback, nay offended, when one of the cattle resists or says no. Much like the ritual at the Border Patrol checkpoint 40 miles north of the border south of Tucson in Arizona where all inquiries are answered with a firm no.
One reason these enforcement drones are so incensed when a mere mundane refuses the easy compliance they expect is that so many do comply with bad laws, it is rather unusual for one of the subjects to get uppity. Sometimes it ends badly and lethally as Mr. Grigg has so expertly and poignantly pointed out to us.
The biggest head-scratcher of all is the notion that violence and theft will never be tolerated in the behavior of mundanes but absent both of these tools, the cops much less the state could not exist. The virtue of zero aggression and embracing the non-initiation of force is a principle embraced by most ethical individualist anarchists and abolitionists.
Most folks have become so inured to the state of nature that they live in that they accept that police practice of terrorism is simply the way of the world for them to retain their freedom and safety. Quite simply, two pillars must be established to keep these systems afloat: they must be able to instill fear through the threat of fining, kidnapping, caging, maiming and killing anyone who refuses to comply with the whims of the system. The second, and arguably more important pillar, is to convince the populace that not only is this the way of the world and the only way but that we must eventually find a way to put a happy face on it. So we see large public spectacles like the 2012 Grand Old Politburo Convention in Tampa, Florida where thousands of drones not only pay obeisance to the police state but insist on more of the same and the additional burden of paying for their enslavement out of their own earnings.
The state is very savvy when it comes to the manipulation of convenience in the service of slavery. There are ways to poach people’s time in a fashion to influence their selection of state means versus private means. It is much easier to go through the porno-scanner instead of submit to a grope and be threatened with missing one’s plane unless you and yours submit to sexual assault. It is much easier to get the government library card and have your internet usage monitored and recorded than finding a wireless system available that has even a modicum of privacy. It is much easier to go to the grocery to purchase FDA approved death food than sneaking around to procure raw milk or fresh vegetables without a government stamp of approval. It is much easier to pay for your local property tax that funds the government schools that are quite literally churning out huge populations of unreflective and shambling drones whose sole notion of reality is largely electronic and virtual. It is much easier to present your “government issued” ID than dare to defy the authorities by refusal.
Like critical thinking, protection of individual sovereignty is hard work. Your refusal is the foundational stamp of individual liberty. It is the state’s primary job to ensure that you never practice or acknowledge that. Think about it, if you can simply refuse to comply with anything you suppose violates your self-ownership, the government would not have a leg to stand on, therefore they move heaven and earth not only to guarantee your compliance but to condition a willingness on your part to not only embrace evil but endorse it in all its bejeweled and patriotic awful beauty.
While most self-professed anarcho-capitalists and individualist libertarians (the Objectivists are a noxious and curious hybrid of collectivist libertarians but then again, all minarchist libertarians are in that camp de facto and de jure) are aware of the nature of this deal with the devil, most subjects in the American tax jurisdiction are proud of their fetters and will quite literally put their neighbors in jail who scoff or refuse to comply and applaud the wheels and machinations of law and order. They will even go so far as to approve of their maiming and death at the hands of the police because” they got what they deserved” for not being respectful or compliant with authority.
The recent abduction and detention of Brandon Raub in Virginia speaks to the next step in the Orwellian process of putting a happy face on official tyranny and violence. Like so many things in the old Russian Soviet system, the Americans are trying to improve upon the tried and true totalitarian tools employed by that extinct regime. Raub became ensnared in the American variation of psikhushkas, the Soviet inference that resistance to the state may have a psychiatric component. This may be a ramping up to begin a new conditioning regime to introduce the notion that resistance to government oppression and tyranny may be signs of mental illness. Raub may be part of a demonstration project to “shop” the idea that resistance to government is not only against the law but may betray a nascent psychological condition.Remember that this is the same government in the DHS that monitored the opposition to its snitch program it developed. In the end, the government goal is to pilot your Weltanschauung in the direction they approve of and no other.
The state needs a conditioning regime that is intergenerational and self-replicating which is why the government in the US desires such detailed control of the school system from pre-school through graduate studies in universities. Why do you think the government schools have cops innocently named School Resource Officers? The entertainment industry does the same thing. Even when portraying “corrupt” cops, good cops save the day. Huh?
So imperial conditioning makes the government work. The only refusal they will countenance is the admission that your self-ownership is sacrosanct. They refuse to believe it.
“I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”
― Henry David Thoreau
When using the Socratic jackhammer against statists, it’s usually not more than a couple blows of the anvil before we arrive at what the state actually is–a group of individuals exercising the use of force against other individuals. Ultimately, this is the core of the state’s power; the use of force to maintain its order. This is a trait shared by all governments, from republics and liberal democracies, to totalitarian dictatorships and oppressive oligarchies. At their cores, that is, at the foundations of these differing political systems, the use of force is the fundamental premise upon which their theories are built. Only the degree of aggression, intrusion, and violence is varied from the total state to the minimal state; they are identical twins spawned from the same egg. The nurture may differ, but he nature does not.
From the political scientist to the everyday statist, they share more than just the belief in the use of force; they believe in the use of “legitimate” force. And that is where the statist and the anarchist part ways; indeed that is where the true socialist, and the statist part ways. The definition of the state that is generally accepted among anarchists is that entity that claims for itself a monopoly on the use violence to maintain its order. There may be variations of this definition, but what these differing definitions refer to are the same–a monopoly on violence.
You’ll notice I did not include the use of the term “legitimate” in my definition of the state, because I believe that term is used by statists, in academia and beyond, in a completely arbitrary fashion. When pressed on what one means when they use the term “legitimate” in their definition of the state, the conversation usually devolves into one big exercise of begging the question. Here’s what I mean-
How did the state’s use of violence become legitimate?
What is legitimation?
It’s the process of making a thing legitimate.
The violence of the state had to go through the process of legitimation; was the process always legitimate?
Well, it is legitimate now.
You see, the Statist’s use of the term legitimate in their definition is question begging, because the premise relies on the conclusion to make itself true. Sloppy logic such as this also leaves the statist open to a very slippery slope. What about successful revolutions? Are they now the wielders of this legitimate use of force? What if a new regime is successful in overthrowing the current government? What about chattel slavery, wasn’t that also legitimate? This is when legitimation enters back into the conversation. One thing I’ve noticed when debating statists is the term legitimation is used synonymously with the term conquered, because as long as the people accept it, it’s legitimate. The state is, quite simply, a group of terrorists who’s actions are now seen as being legitimate, because the people have just accepted this violence as part of their lives. This is also what the statist sees as “consent”. Choosing not to fight a successful terrorist group should not be considered consent, in the same way as if a woman stops the struggle and finally gives into the rapist’s demands is also not consent.
A slippery slope, indeed.
The rationalizers of political violence would have us believe that this violence is as constant as gravity, or tectonic plate shift, or the laws of thermodynamics, or any other law that could be classified as a “natural law”. The state apologists try to convince the unwashed masses that the state’s power must be taken as a given, and that a value judgement must not be hung on the monopoly of violence. The individual is encouraged to go to the polls and vote for the politician who most accurately reflects their personal values, but they must not apply these same values to the system of violence itself. The developers of this new “science” would see it as irrational to apply ethics to the state’s violence, just as it would be irrational to apply ethics to gravity. They believe they have been so clever as to forever expel ethics from human action by calling their study a science. Well, I’ve got one question for you-
Is gravity legitimate?
In the statist’s own definition they include the use of the term legitimate. Why? If it is the case that the state’s monopoly on the use of violence is as constant as gravity, then why even employ use the term legitimate in the definition? Why not just call it like it is–a monopoly on the use of violence? I’ll tell you why. With all of their ivory tower educations, and elitist thinking, they have been unsuccessful in separating ethics from human interaction, even in the context of government. They must use arbitrary terms like “consent”, and “legitimate” to mask their aggression. They rely on the those they seek to control to be irrational and illogical. And make no mistake, it’s not about the helping the poor, or stopping wars around the world, or the money–it’s about the subjugation of an entire population, and they use the political scientists to rationalize it for them; it’s about control. It’s a morbid dance–political science and the state–because one necessarily relies on the other.
In the context of human interaction, the ethical argument will always reign as king. They will try and convince you that they have risen above such silly things as ethical considerations, but the truth is they haven’t. This is evident in their own language, and their language is meant to confuse, not inform in the way that the hard sciences have been developed. They will try and pull the standards of the hard sciences into their pseudo-science, but it’s not going to fly with me. You’ve got to get up a little bit earlier in the morning to fool this blue-collared boy. They’ve tried to strip you of your rationality, don’t let them strip you of your humanity.
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
– Edward Abbey
We just got finished watching the older movie, Red Dawn, the other day and it struck me how out of touch modern American teenagers are to the protagonists in the film. I get it; the film is homage to hyperbolic patriotism in the fight against a foreign invasion as unlikely as the scenario could be even in the heyday of US-USSR global bipolar disorder.
With three dozen acknowledged insurgencies world-wide and realistically hundreds in reality, these partisan scenarios played out against internecine rivalries for power within or around various nation-states are ubiquitous and overwhelmingly a young man’s endeavor ranging from the prepubescent fighters in the Lords Resistance Army to the twenty- and thirty-somethings that made up the bulk of the fighters in Northern Ireland, Chechnya and Afghanistan among the innumerable ranks of trigger pullers battling for some cause world-wide.
But I have to wonder just how fit the modern American teenager is for this kind of fighting whether initiated by a foreign invasion or the far more likely notion of battling a brutal and repressive regime from DC visited against its own citizens resisting the increasingly totalitarian notions of Potomac America where freedom demands a license and laws are so legion that one can’t walk through a day without violating some obscure Federal statute.
America’s youth seem to be fatally tethered to a need for information which has become so addictive that it is hard to pry one’s children from the phones and computers that shadow, if not dominate, their every waking minute and hour. One would think that a forward looking mind that has access to the greatest store of knowledge ever in human civilization would render a new golden age peopled by superior thinkers, new inventions and new areas of cognition that would propel us forward into a brightly lit future of unlimited potential.
Not so much.
If we were to harness the endless dithering about bowel movements or online gaming marathons and turn it into energy, we would have no need of any other terrestrial fuels to light up the planet. I remember talking to one shambling shibboleth of sloth who told me in five years of gaming World of Warcraft, he logged an entire human year playing. A year! Good God.
This electronic renaissance has accomplished just the opposite, it has ushered in the most lethal and effective device yet known to man to harness every man to feudal state of being and every woman to the notion that her sin qua non is the incessant broadcasting of her most banal daily activities and constant concern for the appearance of her photographic life on the wall of various virtual town halls where immediate satisfaction and the sharing of formerly idiotic behavior is the hallmark of a fulfilling life.
No state or government could have engineered such an ingenious device to enslave minds and distract humans from doing anything but…dithering. Shut off the internet connection at any government facility with the armies of drones shuffling virtual paper from one inbox to another and the exodus from the physical facilities are amazing to behold.
Given the nature of this transformation from homo sapiens to homo insipid, we see an evolution toward sloth and servitude, not advancement of knowledge and the pursuit of ever more productive ways to serve our fellow man in the market.
These are not the qualities of fighters. As much as the mall ninjas and violent gamers like to brag about skills, when the shots ring out and they are zombified in their haze of Condition White, they will be nothing more than targets playing the age-old game of whack-a-mole that has been littering battle zones with corpses for centuries. As Heraclitus taught us two and a half millennia ago:
” Of every One-Hundred men, Ten shouldn’t even be there,
Eighty are nothing but targets,
Nine are real fighters…
We are lucky to have them…They make the battle,
Ah, but the One, One of them is a Warrior…
and He will bring the others back.”
There are southern and inland western youth in America who still hunt, shoot and otherwise pay homage to the martial arts (beyond the repetitious Asian arts that play at defense and fail in the end with the honorable exception of Krav Maga and Haganah). The subculture of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) practitioners and their fans encourage me but an increasing large slice of that following are falling into the silly hero-worship and geeky fandom of professional wrestling. There certainly is a tactical sub-culture in the US but the majority are kit-geeks who collect more than perfect and are making a sizable profit in sales for the largest waist size in “operator” pants outside of Mexico [I know from personal experience the tactical obesity of Mexican constabulary and armed forces].
Look around, not only are Americans obese and out of shape; they take pride in their lack of self-sufficiency and American teenagers are rarely unconnected unless forced to do so. Their primary predilection in their waking hours is the addictive updating of the banality of what passes for their existence. They read but they don’t read books nor do they take the time to do what is the most basic first step in cognition and reflection, stand still, concentrate and think. War-game solution sets, extrapolate outcomes and puzzle out second and third order effects. It is not happening and it may form a fatal national amnesia that will make them putty in the hands of any political opportunist who can readily manipulate an unreflective people whose notion of virtue is learned not from Socrates and Seneca but Jersey Shore and JZ.
They cannot defend themselves much less fight for a virtuous course that will put their safety (or internet connection) in the hazard. No invasion is necessary because the surrender has already occurred.
Teach your children well.
“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
My sixteen year old daughter crafted this paper for her first college class and wanted dear old Dad to post it on his blog. So here I will fill my filial obligation to my spirited young filly. I am certainly opposed to the death penalty myself because I think no state should have any power to take the lives of its citizens. It always historically abuses such a prerogative. Chloe addresses a few other concerns. The paper is unedited and remains the province of my precocious daughter. -BB
Killing the Killers
The death penalty is an unprincipled, barbaric punishment that uses words such as “justice” and “retribution” to disguise a painfully vicious crime against the American people. The risk-taking involved in giving the U.S. government such tremendous power is an unnecessary and foolish action. With large governments comes large responsibility, and that responsibility should not include choosing life and death for its citizens. The death penalty is an immoral and unjustified act of violence and greed. This disturbing law puts the government behind economically because of its ridiculously high cost and politically with its outdated, barbaric act of violence. With such high numbers of convictions, the risk of innocent executions is higher. The common mindset among jurors, a premeditated assumption of guilt, leaves the accused, whether innocent or guilty, without a chance. The death penalty is wrong because it is illogical, immoral, and prejudicial.
The Corruptions of Capital Punishment
There are many faults with the death penalty. Its illogical standpoint results in numerous malfunctions; its immoral mindset teaches Americans that life is undervalued and that the government has the power to take it away if they so desire. The last flaw of the death penalty is its prejudicial view that creates the risk of innocent executions. With its many flaws the death penalty has no reason to exist.
The largest flaw of the death penalty is its illogicality. Though it was thought that the death penalty deterred crime, a recent study proves otherwise. A study done by the Death Penalty Information Center in 1995, says that murderers thinking of future consequences is 82% inaccurate and the death penalty significantly reducing the number of homicides is 67% inaccurate (“Dispelling the Myths”). If the death penalty is meant to deter crime, and it doesn’t, why does the U.S. still have the death penalty?
Its cost system is nowhere near effective. A study done by the United States Kansas Legislative Post Audit in 2003 discovered that the cost of death penalty cases were 70% more than the cost of the non-death penalty cases, the study also found that the median legal cost of the death penalty cases was $1.26 million whereas the median legal cost of the non-death penalty cases was $740,000 (qtd. in United States. Dept. of Public Advocacy). It puts the United States behind socially, making its politicians seem behind the times. Lastly, by claiming death solves death, they have a clear misunderstanding of the simplest logic.
The U.S. death penalty is a painfully immoral and unjustified act. No matter the opinion, it is common knowledge that morals are extremely strict; many search for the gray areas, but right and wrong are clear. It is wrong to steal a cookie from the jar, it is right to leave the cookie in the jar. It is wrong to kill someone, it is right to let them live. Morals are really to the point. Death, crime, and killing are much more complicated than the intense decision to eat the cookie, or not to eat the cookie. Yet morals are simple, they are the natural instinct, one’s religion, the voice in one’s head called a conscience, it is called many things in many countries and cultures, but everyone knows since they were a small child that killing someone is wrong. So why does the U.S. do it?
Last, but certainly not least, the death penalty is prejudicial. In 1990, twenty-eight studies done by the United States Government Accountability Office show that in 82% of the studies, the victim’s race influenced the likelihood of the defendant being charged with murder or receiving the death penalty, making black men more likely to get convicted than white men. With racism being a sensitive subject, this gives the United States political system a bad image. The death penalty continues to give itself a bad image by executing the mentally insane and handicapped. For example: Robert Moormann was executed at the old age of 63, despite his history of mental illness which was proven by a psychologist (Zennie and Boyle). This outdated, cruel state of mind, affects many people negatively, making the men of the United States government look incapable of clear judgment.
The United States Façade Should Be Finished
Any remaining states in the United States should have the death penalty abolished. The cons far outweigh the pros, making for a weak argument. The death penalty has adverse effects, making the law abiding citizens more fearful than their criminal counterparts, the United States government is using it as a play of power rather than a justified act for the American people. Therefore the death penalty should be abolished.
The Frustratingly Factitious Favoring Facet
On the pro death penalty side of the table, many claim that the death penalty deters crime. Though that would be a justified reason for the death penalty, that theory is inaccurate. As mentioned before, a study done by the Death Penalty Information Center in 1995, says that murderers thinking of the future consequences is 82% inaccurate and the death penalty significantly reducing the number of homicides is 67% inaccurate (“Dispelling the Myths”). With that being the case, the death penalty is unnecessary, like an animal trap that works on every animal except the one the hunter is after.
Another case the pro death penalty side argues is that the death penalty is a perfectly moral act. Journalists who prey on the fear of buyers, put the American people into a craze, fearful of the ever looming death that journalists so excitedly describe. When driven into their natural survival state, people tend to become protective of themselves, as well as others. In this state they see things differently. Since they are entranced in their survival mode, they feel the need to kill the killers to ensure their survival. Though in theory, eliminating the threat makes you safe, as mentioned before, the death penalty does not deter future crimes, and in all practicality there are too many threatening people to get them all, whether the death penalty was actually successful or not. So when the people are in this crazed survival state they find it perfectly justifiable and moral to eliminate the threats upon themselves and their loved ones. Yet can two wrongs make a right? By stating someone has morals and is pro-death penalty, at least one lie is being told. One who has morals cannot possibly choose death for another person. Having morals means doing the right more difficult thing, and considering others before oneself, therefore morally whether they care about the person or not, they cannot justify letting them die.
The last point that the pro side argues quite passionately, is the emotional relief it brings, that it will be relieving to the victims’ families and an act of justice. This more illogical aspect of the pro death penalty side is one that appeals too many, due to death being such an emotional act. Death is fascinating to most, they consider how painful it would be to die, questions of an afterlife, and who would care if they were left behind. “What will happen when I die?” is one of life’s most common questions. Yet what they do not ask is “What will happen when someone else dies?” Since the questions remain unanswered, they are subjecting someone to the unknown. The irony of it all being, they are putting someone else through unimaginable pain to protect their own emotions, when they are not going to be protected or relieved. The reality of it all is that the victim is never coming back, and they added another victim, the family of the accused. They must carry the burden of the knowledge that their family member is dead and cannot undo any of the wrong he has done. The death penalty is not an act of justice or a solution, but an immature, vengeful act to relieve emotional pain, that will never actually be relieved.
Expanding on the Endless Exactitude
The death penalty violates one of America’s most sacred documents: The United States Constitution. The 8th amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” (Madison). This is an extremely clear statement, yet it is defied deliberately by the U.S. government. Killing is both cruel and unusual, though the statement of Americans’ rights was clear, they are defied, and the U.S. government is granted the right to kill its own citizens.
The larger the program, the larger risk of error, innocent men get trapped behind bars, due to being falsely convicted. Faulty evidence and bad representation can lead to accidental convictions. Mosi Makori, a volunteer at the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization located in the U.S. whose main purpose is to prove the innocence of the wrongly convicted, said in an interview that when the men are released it is a massive challenge for them to reconnect with the world. He continued on saying that it is rather traumatizing for them to revisit the place where they had a bad experience, and with the court system fighting the exonerated so fiercely they are forced to come back multiple times (Makori). By taking away their money, reputation, and essentially their support system, the government ends up taking everything away from them, they must not only start from scratch but they must tell future employers they have been to jail. The government ends up taking away the lives of innocent men.
With what seems to be an eternity waiting on death row and its tendency to wrongfully convict previous criminals, the death penalty is inhumane. In the interview, Makori mentioned how the system ends up targeting previously convicted men, due to the assumption of guilt. Though tigers usually do not change their stripes a previously convicted criminal will have a much harder time proving innocence, making it so past choices define his entire life. Men can sit on death row for many years before ever being executed never knowing which day will be their last. Though they did vile, cruel things, how does treating them the same way make the prison system any better? Treating them as if they were animals only reflects one’s own hidden darkness. With these barbaric actions, the United States is unnecessarily cruel and inhumane.
In modern day, racial issues are extremely common. Black men and women feel owed due to their ancestor’s pain and neglect. White men and women argue that that is not applicable due to it being in the past, and they themselves did not inflict any pain. This in turn results in American’s being conscientious of the things they say and do, afraid of being mocked or called racist. With the issue of racism being such a sensitive subject, the death penalty makes the United States political system look neglectful and outdated.
Pain upon Pain
What the accused did is not right, when they committed horrendous crimes on innocent people they caused endless pain. They created many victims. But how does adding more pain solve the problem? The U.S. ends up adding more and more pain, piling on top of the revolting pile of pain, death, and victims. Men die, that in itself is tragic. Whether they were bad or good, they died. All the death stacks up into a heaping pile of stench. There are all the victims: the family of the original victim, the family of the accused, the accidental innocent executions, the men who have to kill the criminals. It all becomes a sticky, rotting heap of pain, agony, and utter despair. The death upon death is unnecessary and gut wrenchingly painful to many, so many. How does adding hate upon hate fix hate? How does killing the killers set an example? And how can anyone with any virtue, innocence, or empathy stand by and let more killing be done?
“Dispelling the Myths About the Usefulness of the Death Penalty.” Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime? Ed. Stephen E. Schonebaum. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2010. At Issue. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.
Madison, James. The Bill of Rights. 1789. The Charters of Freedom. The Charters of Freedom. n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.
Makori, Mosi. Personal interview. 22 Apr. 2012.
United States. Dept. of Public Advocacy. Commonwealth of Kentucky. “ABA: The Kentucky Death Penalty Assessment Report.” Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. Commonwealth of Kentucky, 2003. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.
United States. Government Accountability Office. “Research Indicates Pattern of Racial Disparities.” U.S. Government Accountability Office. U.S. Government Accountability Office, 1990. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.
Zennie, Michael, and Louise Boyle. “Arizona Executes Mentally Disabled Inmate Who Murdered Mother After Last Meal of Hamburger, French Fries, Burritos and Rocky Road Ice-Cream.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd, Feb. 2012. Web. 1 Mar. 2012.
“Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction.”
Be happy that the US is spending itself into oblivion on military hardware. The American military is a colossus in presence, spending and technology and they lack one vital feature, they cannot fight a sustained conflict anywhere.
The spending numbers are deceptive because like all the traditional US budget legerdemain, there are plenty of ways to hide military spending such as the black budgets in the intelligence community, the Department of Energy nuclear programs and the ever burgeoning budget for veterans both retired and medically enfeebled who are starting to take a greater toll on government expenditures. This would include the aging military retiree population in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the care necessary for all the maimed and crippled soldiers returning from the failed attempt to install an American Caliphate on the Middle Eastern peoples. When it is all added up, it appears to exceed one trillion dollars which is merely 25 percent of the total budget for the US.
As William Lind and other keen observers of the military industrial complex have observed, the US simply cannot prosecute an effective long term military conflict anywhere on Earth despite the vast resources and hundreds of military bases peppering the globe. There are a number of explanations for this.
First, the US military is ill-suited to fight the cost effective and localist nature of most conflicts. There are currently hundreds of small-scale insurgencies and dozens of large-scale insurgencies and revolutionary movements around the globe. It is a large and cumbersome Second Generation warfare model although the USMC is showing signs of evolving into a genuine Third Generation warfare military engine. Excepting some special operations forces, the US is hopelessly mired in a stalled and ultimately futile effort to master Fourth Generation Warfare. There are some who claim that if we simply unleashed the forces to maximize their homicidal urges on both combatants and civilians alike, winning in Iraq and Afghanistan could be achieved. I would suggest that historically more restrictions on targets and surgical means to achieve military goals in these irregular warfare conflicts always give the greatest yield if victory is desired but then again victory has a different flavor in these conflicts as opposed to the WWII model that still permeates the thinking in the Pentagon and the modern US military machine.
Second, as I wrote earlier, the American military solution always involves creating large centralized governments. This makes the bureaucratic mind purr with satisfaction. If we can only impose a powerful police state where the state’s every wish is obeyed and they can centrally plan the entire mechanism, all will be well with the world. From the USSR to the European Union to the current fiscal nightmare that is these United States, one can see that large central governments only guarantee ill-ordered fiscal houses, political control of the economy and concomitant extinction of individual liberty that appears to be the leading result of these central planning nightmares. It appears that more and more folks in the developing world are watching the first world’s self immolation and economic seppuku and getting a clue. Afghanistan, for instance, will never have a properly functioning central government because it can only have a mayor and never a unitary state. It has an historical legacy that rightfully ignores the machinations of Kabul outside the city borders. Western nations and their nascent revolutionary movements would be wise to crack the code on how the Afghans created this immovable resistance to central planning. It certainly confounded the blindered Soviets in their ill-fated attempted of conquest of a country with imaginary borders such as Afghanistan.
Third, technology is never a panacea or substitute for ago old military maxims. If you fight in urban terrain, you better have highly restrictive Rules of Engagement or the inevitable civilian maiming and killing by military operations will simply sow the seedbed of resistance and rebellion. It will stiffen the spine of any insurgency. You can vacuum up petabytes of data but if you don’t have the human sense or critical thinking skills to make sense of the data, it becomes an expensive archival repository with limited military value. You can create billion dollar aircraft like the F-35 or continue to improve anachronisms like aircraft carriers but you will simply spend yourself into oblivion with no military value achieved. Drones have certainly revolutionized targeting but the inevitable civilian mayhem reaped by these airborne robot killers simply prolongs the conflict.
Fourth, the US government has a penchant to think that there is a bureaucratic solution to everything as if all problems have a solution. This is not reality. The only way for the US to its problems in the Middle East is to get out. There is no more viable nor elegant solution. It could achieve the exact opposite of its consistent record of military failure in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and now Libya with spectacular military victories across the fated Arabian sands and it would still have to remain for decades or centuries because the day after its military forces departed, things would revert back to the way they have been for hundreds of years. The law of intended consequences is especially cruel to the techno-wizards in the marble halls of the US government as their vaunted system of mob rule known as democracy metastasizes into increasingly powerful enclaves of Islamist fundamentalism in Egypt and Libya. Even one not steeped in the art of statecraft and Machiavellian intrigue like the mandarins on Capitol Hill and the White House could have predicted that outcome. When it comes to freedom and liberty, there are no teachable moments in DC. They talk a good game but at the end of the day, a police state is always the answer mated to the fiscal suicide of monopoly fiat currency and the regulatory state.
The current US military menace to the globe has a half-life and it is slowly but inexorably approaching its nadir. The US fiscal house is nearing collapse and once the inevitable economic meltdown occurs, we will be lucky to be able to buy plane tickets to get the troops home much less sustain more pointless blundering and blustering about the globe enforcing a military presence that actively destabilizes the planet and saps the lifeblood out of the host in the US mainland.
California is Greece but it has a sugar daddy in Uncle Sam…for now. The bankrupt cities in California are simply harbingers of what America is going to look like before 2020.
Many years from now, historians are going to puzzle over the causes and effects of how the largest hyper-power in the history of humankind could extinguish itself so effectively in less than one hundred and fifty years. All empires turn to dust over time and America will join that ash-heap soon enough. Those same historians will wonder how a military power so rich in expenditure and technology could be so impotent in the execution of its most basic military functions after its victory in the War to Save Josef Stalin (1939-1945).
The answer is rather benign. Not only is government and the state a doomsday machine for the hundreds of millions of victims it cages, maims and murders but over the long term, it always manages to murder itself and history is littered with the evidence of the corpses left behind. The graveyard of empires is the very existence of the state.
“The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.”
Manners are the lubricant of civilization and so are incentives. Incentives, whether good or bad, make the world go ‘round.
When drugs are illegal such as the wide variety of illicit hallucinogens proscribed by the rulers in America, they don’t go away. Prices rise in the black market attracting guerrilla entrepreneurs who emulate government in their use of violence to deliver goods and services. After all, the government delivers its goods and service at the point of a gun. Behind the smiling and beneficent face of Uncle Sam is a violent psychopath who will stop at nothing, even your death, to enlist your compliance and obedience. He cannot brook opting out or refusing because most sane human beings would do the cost-benefit analysis and discover that the goods and services offered by the government are shabby, ineffective or just plain bad for their health.
So the state puts the economic and behavioral permutations of incentives on their head. If one is a small firm owner, you go out of your way to develop customer relationships that speak to repeat business and a growing clientele of loyal customers. One tries not to treat family members poorly as an incentive to continue to receive their love and comfort.
Incentives are a means to predict how folks will respond. A positive incentive would be hotel loyalty programs and great customer service. A negative incentive would be the likelihood of a burglar surviving a shopping spree on private property in my old haunts in rural northern Idaho. Not likely.
A perverse incentive is the third way by the state. The perverse incentive tries its best to encourage sub-optimal behavior to benefit the few at the expense of the many. It is a means to subdue and force loyalty albeit, a false loyalty from the lash and the fetters. Innumerable penalties and threats are the lion’s share that leads to the well-trodden path of the statist ladder of obedience – threatening, fining, kidnapping, caging, maiming and killing.
Who in their right mind at the individual level would overspend, always seek a higher credit line, reduced payments and insist that the risks be socialized to their neighbors but all profits be granted to them? No normal human could achieve this yet that is what the state does with their fiscal house.
Who in their right mind would insist that certain naturally occurring substances must not only be banned but penalized in a fashion that would triple the size of Stalin’s political and criminal gulags at the height of Soviet power in the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Who in their right mind would engage in a protracted and bloody military campaign in their neighborhood on ALL their neighbors to wage war to right a slight by a single malicious blackguard in the community?
America would and does.
Throughout history, governments have pioneered the perverse incentive. They blackened the good and stymied progress at every turn. One of my friends claims that the solar system would be colonized by now if the government dysfunctions and pathologies that have enslaved billions and murdered millions had not existed. Hyperbole, to be sure, but illustrative nonetheless.
Imagine a world where the advancement of civilization is embraced and punishment is viewed as not only punitive but barbaric.
Imagine a world without government.