“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?
"Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction." ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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.

  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. ...

Publisher’s Note:  I took a stab at modifying the 1776 American Declaration of Independence to present standards of governance and cowardice and discovered that  much would be left out on the cutting floor and severe alterations to verbiage would be necessary to keep the homo sovieticus booboisie in America from filling their pants and gibbering in abject fear at the prospect of freedom with risks and costs not underwritten by their neighbors. I had to erase over half of it and wipe out any reference to any behavior absent government permission.  The DI continues to be a masterwork of brevity and directness in its promise to sever ties and formalize a divorce.  There is no sizable sector of America today that would even have the temerity to sign it much less live up to it. So I scrapped that project and found a document more in keeping with the modern 21st century American mood. Now the Soviet Constitution is something that most Americans can cotton to with the slightest modification in verbiage.  I chose the latest of three variants from 1977.  I have included a link to the original text at the bottom.  All I changed were the descriptors and none of the prospective language. On another note, in a nation that has institutionalized theft and torture and turned it into rule and color of law, I figured the Supremes would get around to the codification of taxing inactivity which is the secret sauce in the recent ruling.  On page 193 of the infamous recent decsion, Thomas says the most important observation in all the pages of painful and obtuse totalitarian apologia for ObamugabeCare: "As I have explained, the Court’s continued use of that test “has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits.” Morrison, supra, at 627. The Government’s unprecedented claim in this suit that it may regulate not only economic activity but also inactivity that substantially affects interstate commerce is a case in point." The majority in that decision would applaud the Soviet Constitution not that the earlier American version was any shakes when it came to liberty. Happy Dependence Day, comrades. -BB     PREAMBLE to the 1977 Soviet Constitution slightly modified to American standards The Great November Democratic Revolution, made by the workers and peasants of United States under the leadership of the US Government headed by its Presidents, overthrew capitalist and landowner rule, broke the fetters of oppression, established the dictatorship of the voter, and created the American state, a new type of state, the basic instrument for defending the gains of the revolution and for building government intervention and democracy. Humanity thereby began the epoch-making turn from capitalist to government intervention. After achieving victory in the elections and repulsing free market intervention, the American government carried through far-reaching social and economic transformations, and put an end once and for all to exploitation of man by man, antagonisms between classes, and strive between nationalities. The unification of the American Republics in the Union of American Democratic Republics multiplied the forces and opportunities of the peoples of the country in the building of government intervention. Social ownership of the means of production and genuine democracy for the working masses were established. For the first time in the history of mankind a democratic society was created.
"What to the slave is the 4th of July?" -Frederick Douglass
I slammed the hood shut on a car I was working on the other day, and something caught my eye. There was a sticker on the windshield that struck me as odd, and immediately I couldn't help but notice the irony. It was a picture of the Culpeper Minutemen, and the sticker happened to be a county tax sticker. For those who don't know what these stickers are, they represent that you have paid the yearly tax on your private property--your vehicle. The sticker is placed on the windshield so that the King's Men know to back off as you drive on the King's roads-all licensed, registered, and subjugated. A sticker that is up-to-date will help to ward off unwanted attention from armed tax collectors. As one who thinks it is absurd to have to place a sticker on my vehicle to prove that I'm being an obedient subject, I couldn't help but laugh out loud a bit when I first saw this stupid sticker. Any Riflemen in this area knows The Culpeper Minutemen were a group of men who were formed under the same oak tree--not once, but twice to fight off centralized tyranny--and now they are immortalized on a tax stamp. Fitting for the times we find ourselves in. Last year I wrote an essay just before Independence Day, and I started the essay out with this quote from Frederick Douglass. "My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine. I do not hesitate to declare with all my soul that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July!” This Douglass quote rings just as true today as it did for him back then.

Having homeschooled for the better part of 17 years now, I have an abounding amount of thoughts on the subject. Pros, cons, do’s and don’ts, successes and failures. There is a lot to know and many philosophical decisions to be made, not only initially, but continually as my family’s goals and beliefs are honed and sharpened. But there is one thing I know with certainty and never have to question. Homeschooling is the only choice for my children and our family because it has given all of us the tools to think for ourselves, to stand up to an ever increasing totalitarian government with the ammo only a free mind can possess, and to be the champions of the individual against the collective that one day may provide future generations with a hope of true liberty and freedom that we are so greatly lacking today. This is why we homeschool, and if you believe in a free society, you should too.

Think about this for a moment. From kindergarten, even pre-school, all the way through and including college, you and/or your children are controlled at every possible angle. Children are told when to go to the bathroom, forced to read and study subjects they will never use and certainly do not enjoy, forced to accept politically correct agendas such as everyone is equal, (and I mean equal as in everyone learns, and is equipped with the same gifts and synchronized intellectual developments), put in artificial environments and told they are being prepared for life, etc., etc., etc. Do you ever raise your hand to go to the bathroom at your job? Anyone beat you up for your lunch money at the office? Do you only work with your own age or gender segregated in separate office spaces? Usually not. You, as a parent, are forced to accept all kinds of mind laundering that is fed to your kids against your very own principals and ideals. And worst of all, who do you think your children’s role models and examples are? I love kids, but when you put 35 fifteen year olds in a room and stir, it comes out looking like Lord of the Flies. And we think this is a good way to model and mold future citizens? So where do we as a society think that sequestering our children in public daytime education camps prepares them for anything other than a life of conformity. Yes. You can see it now, can’t you? Our government has a plan for our kids, and I for one, don’t approve. Our government does not want a populace that questions its authority. Free thinkers are dangerous. Homeschoolers are a threat to the Borg and believe me, I want to be that threat. But do you? If we want a society built on freedom, how does locking them up all day long and chastising them for being individualists encourage their own gifts and talents? Our brightest and best entrepreneurs have been allowed to follow their passions to almost the exclusion of anything else. Edison being one of them. I encourage you to think outside the box and decide if you want your child to be whoever they were meant to be, or part of the hive. I know what you are thinking. But, but, I went to public school and my education was OK. Or, how am I going to homeschool? I don’t know how to do algebra or advanced sciences. How is little Johnny going to get into college? Don’t you have to have a license or a degree to homeschool? Will my kid have any friends? My wife has to work to support our fancy house and two cars; we can’t make those kinds of sacrifices. None of these questions have pat answers. There are so many different ways to homeschool. I could write a book on the how to homeschool my way, and just touch the tip of the iceberg of all the ways to go about it. But the best thing I can tell you is every one of these questions has been asked a million times by over one million homeschoolers in this country, and every single one has figured out not one, but thousands of ways to accomplish an excellent education for their children. You can do it as well. So if you are still unconvinced, let me inform you with some staggering statistics. Please take note that none of these points are the reason we homeschooled our four children, but I find that for people new to the idea, it gives them great food for thought and can serve as some great ammo for the doubting spouses, family and nosy neighbors. -Homeschool students who voluntarily, (I love this word voluntarily when it comes to testing), participate in scholastic achievement tests score, on average, 40 points higher than their public school student peers. -The homeschool students that participate in these tests that live in the states with the LEAST governmental oversight score the highest! -Homeschoolers do not use public taxes stolen from you to educate their children and give them an exemplary education for a tenth of the cost of public or private school. On average, 500 dollars for a homeschooling kid, and anywhere from 5,000 to 12,000 per public schooler depending on the state. Do you think you are getting your money’s worth?

After a seemingly interminable flight from Arizona on Wednesday, we arrived around midnight and crashed in Manchester, NH.  After getting our car in the morning, we drove the 2.5 hours to get to the Roger’s Campground in Lancaster in the fabled North Country in New Hampshire. We arrived at the campground after checking in to our hotel.

Libertarian Woodstock lay before me.  They estimate that nearly 1000 folks attended the festival this year. I got to meet old friends and made new friends.  Boston T. Party and I hung together most of the weekend.  We have been to several events together and use these interregnums to catch up on what has transpired since we last saw each other.  Boston has just published a 15 year revision to Hologram of Liberty (1997) and I urge everyone to get a copy if you are still drinking the Constitutional Kool-Aid or merely wanted to peruse the revised and updated book. In the morning I had a long interview with Ernie Hancock and the usual crossing of rhetorical swords he so enjoys.  I then introduced Angela Keaton for her Talking to Normals about War speech.  She is such a stud and antiwar.com is the first page on the ‘net I visit every morning. I chaired the Resistance and Rebellion panel on Friday afternoon with Adam Kokesh, F. Paul Wilson, Boston T. Party and Pete Kofod (an SF alumnus I dragooned onto the panel).  We had a terrific discussion of peaceful and violent means in historical revolution and what the future may hold.  Wilson wrote the seminal science fiction novel Enemy of the State about the non-violent destruction of an empire at the hands of the fictional LaNague Federation. All videos for these events will be available soon on the internet.