“One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. … In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do.”                                                                                                 -COL John Boyd
John Boyd did the intellectual heavy lifting after WWII to offer a new strategic paradigm to orchestrate warfare and deeply analyze why the larger nation-states would have increasing challenges that neither technologies nor big budgets would solve.  This essay will configure a Boydian lens over the current American conflict in Afghanistan in general and examine the green-on-blue violence phenomenon in detail to illustrate how the insurgent forces have commandeered the operational level.  Green-on-blue violence is the instantiation of hostile action against allied forces by indigenous coalition forces. John Boyd was a visionary and much maligned defense intellectual who pioneered a number of theories and grand strategic suggestions which were almost counterintuitive to the accepted precepts and nostrums of the classical and neo-classical military philosophers and thinkers who had influenced the post-WWII Western vision of how military organizations train and fight.  He was the polar opposite of celebrated but fatally flawed modern strategic thinkers like Herman Kahn and John Von Neumann.  He realized that the future fight and the evolution of warfare would still be ultimately reliant on people and not technology. Boyd discovered and pioneered the modern Air Force combat fighter pilot methodology and contributed in deeper philosophical waters with an examination of how to build cost effective fighting organizations, prescient predictions of new (due to historical amnesia by the West) modes of conflict such as Fourth Generation Warfare and was one of the key innovators in designing the F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft.  One of the peculiarities of Boyd the man was that he did not write books and most of his intellectual legacy has been written by others. What makes Boyd even more interesting, if not enigmatic, is he is rather hard to pin down for a legacy in the pantheon of modern strategic thought except through his followers and acolytes. Boyd always emphasized dynamism in thinking and the willingness of large and small organizations to adapt to emerging changes and threats.  Purpose and not merely process were driving attitudes that imbued his work and thinking; a purpose to react in conflict in a fashion that would gain advantage by striking weakness or leveraging surprise.  Nothing Sun Tzu would find scintillating or irregular.
"Liberty, then, is the sovereignty of the individual, and never shall man know liberty until each and every individual is acknowledged to be the only legitimate sovereign of his or her person, time, and property, each living and acting at his own cost” --Josiah Warren
A couple of years ago my Service Manager came to me with what he thought was a fantastic idea. He was planning to take all of the production hours from the shop, combine them, and then split the hours evenly among all of the mechanics in the shop. My reaction? Instant face palm. For those of you who don't know, auto mechanics are generally paid on the "hours" they produce. We call it flat-rate. Here's a brief explanation on how it works. Let's say your vehicle needs a front brake job. You, the customer, paid $250 for the job, but the mechanic is paid 2.5 flat-rate hours. The mechanic is paid the same flat-rate 2.5 hours regardless of how long it takes them to do the job. If the mechanic can get the job done correctly in one hour, they still receive 2.5 hours of pay. This is still the case even if it takes them longer than 2.5 hours. You get the idea. The hours a specific job will pay will vary with the difficulty level. For mechanics, this is a blessing and a curse. For talented mechanics, it's a great way to make a comfortable living, especially in high volume shops. This is the system that is most widely used by automotive shops, dealerships and independents. From the brief description above, you can see that this system is set up to motivate and incentivize the individual mechanic to work smarter and faster. My goal every day as a mechanic is to "turn" 1.5 hours for every hour I'm actually at work. This would mean that I would be working on my next vehicle while still getting paid on the last vehicle. That's really the goal of any flat-rate technician. The faster a mechanic is able to get the vehicles in and out, the more money they will make. This is beneficial for both parties in the employer and employee relationship. The employer doesn't necessarily pay the mechanic on hours clocked, only hours turned. There's been days where I've been at work for 10 hours, but I've only made 3 hours. When there isn't vehicle on my lift, I'm not getting paid. The overhead  costs of employing a flat-rate mechanic tend to be relatively low. Also, the employer knows that a mechanic is less likely to slack off and just leave a car sitting in their bay all day long. The manager knows that the mechanic would be wasting their own time as well as the company's time. This system is beneficial in many other ways, like the promotion of study and education in the field, but that's not really the focus of this essay. To this point, I've just tried to establish a basic understanding of the mechanic's pay scale. From here, we can move on and I will show you why I did the face palm in the meeting with my manager.

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...

  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:
  1. The act of confederating; a league; a compact for mutual support; alliance; particularly of princes, nations or states.
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:
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Articles of Confederation

Constitution

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.

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...

 
“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.
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? Through legitimation. 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.
“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.

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?