Publisher’s Note: Kaiser has penned an elegant and abbreviated jeremiad on why the production of Obama’s BC is not only irrelevant but in the end more distraction from the real problem.  Whether Obama or whatever his name is hails from Hawaii, Palookastan or is a Manchurian candidate from the Soviet Union’s last political gasp; it simply does not matter.  The real question is how the office retains any legitimacy whatsoever.  The President is nothing more than the Tax Collector-in-Chief for his tax jurisdiction.  The pomp and circumstance that surround the office and all the tentacled bureaucracies has one objective:  maintenance of power through the vampiric expropriation of wealth and means of its subjects coupled with a government media complex to provide psychic cover for mass theft and extortion.  Citizenship is not a privilege, it is the means to establish that poor sap’s eligibility to be fleeced, fined, jailed, maimed and killed by his tax jurisdiction.  The very locus of the entire controversy, the birth certificate, is nothing more than a government registration of a taxpayer at birth.  A brilliant but diabolical system. -BB

Barack Obama has released his long-form birth certificate. You should download it as a historical curiosity, if you are interested in such things.

What you should not do is dissect that birth certificate, looking for errors. What you should not do is to insist that the darkened numeral ‘1’ or the PDF inconsistencies or the color of the background offer proof, or even suspicion, that Mr Obama should not be permitted to hold the office of President of the United States of America.

You should not do these things because they do not matter. Barack Obama’s citizenship or lack thereof is a moot point. In the last decade, there was talk of amending the constitution so that citizens born in other countries could be president; the intention was that Arnold Schwarzenegger would make an ideal Republican candidate.

 

The Terminator Movie Poster
Above: Presidential Material

 

In the last election, John McCain’s legitimacy as a presidential candidate was also in doubt. McCain was born in Panama, which is not a State of the Union. Congress declared him to be an acceptable candidate despite this, with the reasoning that the founders would never have intended to prevent the children of servicemen born abroad from holding office. They made no statement as to the founders’ intentions regarding the presence of servicemen abroad to produce such children.

Every one of these men, and every other born in history, has exactly as much right to rule as you and I do: none. Whether Obama or Schwarzenegger or McCain or Queen Elizabeth happened to be born on this continent, within some arbitrary geographic boundaries, has absolutely no bearing on whether it is right for them to decide whether how you ought to live.

In days of old, there were rules regarding the taking and keeping of slaves. Today, we recognize slavery as an unnecessary wrong, and those rules have no bearing. It’s not that we take slaves and then treat them according to certain rules: it’s that we simply don’t take slaves any more, because slavery is wrong. The prospective slave owner’s legal claims are meaningless, because we recognize that no individual can own another.

The office of President, and the existence of government, are similarly legitimate. The debate over Obama’s birth certificate, or McCain’s, or the amendment for Schwarzenegger, is akin to arguing over when a slave may be bought or sold and how he must be treated. Whether existing laws are changed, or President Obama was born in Honolulu or Kenya or Moscow, whether the founders intended that people like John McCain ought to be allowed to be President, is meaningless, if we agree that the government itself is completely illegitimate.


“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”

– Robert Heinlein

Whenever the word Anarchy is whispered it is accompanied by thoughts of Molotov Cocktails, hooded punk youth, and general chaos. I can understand these thoughts, at one point in my life I was the skateboarding punk “Anarchist” who actually had no idea what the principles of Anarchy were. I also was not a very polite young man, and I had no problem proclaiming very loudly my “beliefs” to people who did not necessarily want to hear them.  My view of Anarchy back then is very much at odds with the actual principles of Anarchy, but my views were right in line with the public’s view of the ideology. I just wanted to bring the whole rotten structure down, regardless of what system, or non-system rose up in its place. However, I am also of the impression that Statists also try and tarnish the idea of Anarchism the best that they can. There are documented reports of law enforcement officers dressing up in the standard “anarchist” garb and causing ruckus at public events. Heaven forbid the public ever find out the “State” is just a huge scam, and in fact, the biggest ever.

There are a couple of different traditions in the Anarchist school thought; I most closely follow the individualist flavor of Anarchism. I believe the individual can claim sovereignty over himself, and his claim should be recognized, and respected. I believe I have supreme authority over myself, and the property I claim as mine. Any form of government that puts me at odds with my beliefs I consider immoral. I do not believe man or any group of men has “rights” or “powers” that would violate my own claims. I do not believe man or group of men can take what I claim to be mine for any reason, even if they think it might “benefit” me.


I recently listened to a debate between an Anarchist, and a Libertarian. The debate was very interesting to say the least. The two men spent almost the whole time debating the principles of the ideologies they claim to represent. The Anarchist was claiming individual self-ownership, and that was his principle. He stated no entity has the moral right to violate his claim. The Libertarian claimed that a group had the “right” to usurp his claim of individual self-ownership for the benefit of all. The Libertarian gave the example of defense, and that 7 out of 10 men had the “right” to make decisions that would essentially affect the hypothetical 10 out of 10. In one example, the Libertarian claimed the individuals that made up the group right to self-ownership was violated if the individual who lived in “their” society did not want to pay for defense, but “benefitted” from the “security”. The Libertarian made the claim that the Anarchist was in fact stealing for not paying his fair share. At one point in the debate the Libertarian made the claim that it was the fault of the Anarchist for not siding with the libertarian to stop the Statists. He never stopped to realize HE is the Statist! I will not go into a rant on how absolutely absurd this line of thinking is, and how reckless and dangerous it has proved to be throughout history. I am not writing this essay for that purpose.

I am here to tell you that it is absolutely crucial for the mere idea of Anarchy to live on. Even if an Anarchistic society is never achieved, the idea must never be forgotten. It is the anchor to the ship of Statism. It is the only true remedy for the disease of Government. If the world is plagued by the parasites of the State, what other than Anarchism would be the solution? You don’t get rid of cancer with more cancer. You don’t get rid of Big Government using “Small Government” Libertarians. Sure maybe some libertarians may say, “not on my watch”, but can they promise that for their grandchildren’s generation? Think about it like this, if the idea of Anarchism didn’t exist, where would libertarians pull their ideas of freedom from? Themselves? Absurd! Their principles when broken down to the core are identical to the most rabid Statists! So Anarchists that read this, keep your heads up! You do the world an immeasurable amount of good by simply sharing your principled beliefs with others. I will promise you this, as long as I can speak my mind, I will question theirs! I will try my best to be as principled as can while passing on these ideas. I take comfort in the fact that the idea of pure liberty cannot be extinguished, it is a human condition.

“It is the conservative laissez- fairist, the man who puts all the guns and all the decision-making power into the hands of the central government and then says, ‘Limit yourself’; it is he who is truly the impractical utopian.”  -~Murray Rothbard

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

 

 

 

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
– Groucho Marx

“…and he loved big brother.”  Orwell’s chilling first line to 1984.

I have written before about the impossibility of limited government.  Let us make sure our terms are correct.  Government is any entity that attempts to monopolize the use of force and reserves first use of same to itself.  They make noises about consent but this is simply window-dressing to keep the animals in the feedlot from feeling oppressed or taken advantage of.  Their variants range from communism to socialism to democracy.  The first two, at least, are honest in their intentions of ballooning government oppression to proportions common in history but democracy is probably the biggest and most dangerous sham when it comes to governance.  While the usual bugbears of collectivism make themselves manifestly evident in terror-states like the USSR and Communist China, the Western democracies make Orwell proud.  The pastiche of 1984 and Brave New World come to the fore in Europe and America.  Here in the land of the unfree and home of the formerly brave, the huge Federal leviathan is helmed by telegenic Presidents whose claim to fame is the ability to speak (George Bush?) in platitudes and illiterate homilies to the joys of government intervention and using the state as the means to empty your neighbors pockets and, magically, the pockets of the unborn through non-consensual deficit spending. Boasting the highest corporate income tax and capital gains rate in the galaxy, America continues to run up mountains of debt and oceans of red ink in pursuit of …bigger government.  In addition, we are afforded the opportunity to spend countless billions and trillions maiming and murdering tens of thousands of men, women and children overseas in the name of liberation and advancement to the joys of democracy (God help them…).

Take a breath because I am about to insult most of my readership and increase the volume of my hate-mail.

If you believe in limited government, you are no different than the Communist Party apparatchiks or the socialists or even the Democrat Party or Grand Old Politburo (GOP) members.  You all share a common bond with every democidal maniac traipsing through the sordid and bloody history of government on Earth.  Whether an active member or simply the usual electronically tethered shambler that makes up most of America, your belief in limited government is a fraudulent assessment of what is going on around you.  Limited government never has and will never exist. Whatever the hopes and dreams of the political schemers at the heart of the creation of the new government, usually in the ashes of the last epic government failure, the government will metastasize into a monstrous and bloody-minded giant intent on crushing freedom at every turn and annihilating self-ownership of individuals whenever those unfortunates make their intentions known.

All the Founding Lawyers, even the sainted Thomas Jefferson, were guilty of this tragic delusion that armed strangers must be invested with the power to fine, cage, maim and kill residents of tax jurisdictions (also known quaintly as nation-states) to maintain a just and prosperous society.

So I just arrived from another dimension and know nothing about the formation of societies and Western culture on Earth and the man in the street explains to me why America looks the way it does:

Inter-Dimensional Being (IDB):  What is the purpose of government in this country?

American:  To make us free and prosperous.

IDB:  How is this accomplished?

American:  Well, the government sets up rules for us to live by.  It seeks to make it fair and equitable for every citizen to attain the American Dream.

IDB:  What is that?

American:  To get rich and be free and prosperous.

IDB:  Do you sign a contract?  Can you disagree with the policies of this government?

American:  What contract?  Sure, we can disagree but we may very well end up in big trouble like fines or jail if we don’t agree with the majority or whatever our elective representatives have done.  The only contracts I am familiar with are the ones I have with the cell company or mortgage on my house.

IDB:  So if you have a moral disagreement with your government, they will still harass you or worse if you refuse to comply, yet you have signed no contract?  On what grounds can they hold you responsible in that way when they do not even have your personal signature?

American:  That is just crazy talk, I have to do what the government says or I can get in big trouble.

IDB:  Is the government so good with money and resources that you trust it to be financially frugal and make competent decisions?

American:  Look, if you have any experience with TSA or the DMV, you know the government can’t find its ass in the dark with five Klieg lights.  Hell, you should see the total amount I pay in income, sales and property taxes much less the millions of rules and regulations that strangle my small business on a daily basis.

IDB:  The government appears to be no better than organized crime or highwaymen.  Who would put up with that?

American:  I have to go to work now…

Limited government is a chimera and has never existed anywhere.  It is impossible.  One may be a happy minarchist libertarian carping on endlessly about returning to the Constitution, placing government within reasonable limits and holding the elected officials responsible through voting but you may as well be a Communist Party USA organizer or teachers union official; you all speak the same language.  You are providing the government with all the power it needs by simply acknowledging its rightful existence.  Once you fail to question its expansionist nature and participate in endless debates on how to curb the beast, you have lost already.

The question is not how to limit government but simply to take the path to dissolve it, salt the earth where it stood and swear on the blood of your children that you will never let that tragedy happen again.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace in a continual state of alarm (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H.L. Mencken


Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

 

Today marks two signal events:  the shots heard ‘round the world at Lexington and Concord in 1775 when the formal divorce proceeding by America from the United Kingdom began and the day after the annual deadline every year for paying taxes and tribute to the new King we inaugurated after winning the first Revolutionary war.   That King is the Constitution and its administrator is Washington DC and all its political satraps in the states.  Mistaken for an instrument to finally limit government, it turned out to be one of the greatest wealth expropriation and mining devices Western man has created.  Unlike the failed collectivist experiments in the Communist world, the fascist political model relied on ensuring that the population would always labor under the illusion that what they made, earned and produced was theirs and they simply had to pay their “fair share”.  That share eventually ballooned to a peak of 94% in income tax in 1943 and saddled the entrepreneurial engines with the highest corporate income tax in the industrialized world.  Of course, a corporate tax is merely an indirect tax on all consumers since it is a cost of doing business passed on in the price.

The other day I was asked what is the ideal tax rate and predictably I said zero because any number above that would increase exponentially as evidenced by ALL history in the Western world.  The sheer conceit and hubris of any individuals much less governments that some or all of your earnings are theirs for the taking violates the most sacred principles of self-ownership, the just society and simple virtue.  The highwaymen at the Internal Revenue Service bedeck their splendid temple to theft with the noble words that “Taxation is the Price of Civilization”; au contraire, it is the price of servitude and collaboration with evil, it is barbarism, taxation is institutionalized theft and nothing more noble than that.

You should enjoy the following screed. –BB


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

~ Lysander Spooner

This essay is an incendiary device. My muse is Wilberforce and the subject is the abolition of the last existing institution of slavery in America — taxation. Like Wilberforce, we may be generations from satisfaction of the dream of the end of the coercive state but if the seed is not planted, the goal will never be realized.

I despise the income tax. I loathe the property, excise, gasoline, sin, estate, capital gains and every other tax. I think the colonists got it backwards, I want representation without taxation. These are often derided as utopian but I would suggest they are dystopian notions. I see no possibility of perfection in this mortal coil, but risk and possible failure are the engines of progress and capitalism invigorates the most powerful economic engine of all — self-interest to serve others. Mises claims “[t]he member of a contractual society is free because he serves others only in serving himself. What restrains him is only the inevitable natural phenomenon of scarcity.”

I think it is loathsome for one man to own another and the involuntary tribute demanded by government is simply another form of owning another man’s wealth and labor. Taxation is the way collectivists practice their compassion by taking their neighbor’s money at gunpoint. It also violates the zero-aggression principle shared by many libertarians. Taxation and slavery have some very close confluences in definition. According to www.investorwords.com, a tax is:

A fee charged (“levied”) by a government on a product, income, or activity. If tax is levied directly on personal or corporate income, then it is a direct tax. If tax is levied on the price of a good or service, then it is called an indirect tax. The purpose of taxation is to finance government expenditure. One of the most important uses of taxes is to finance public goods and services, such as street lighting and street cleaning. Since public goods and services do not allow a non-payer to be excluded, or allow exclusion by a consumer, there cannot be a market in the good or service, and so they need to be provided by the government or a quasi-government agency, which tend to finance themselves largely through taxes.

These words are illustrative but couched in polite terms. Taxes are monies forcibly taken from individuals and whatever other entity they can be drained from by governments or organizations (tax farmers) chartered by governments to extract whatever wealth they can through force and threat of violence. Taxation is theft. James Bovard writes:

“The U.S. Treasury Department defines a tax as ‘a compulsory payment for which no specific benefit it received in return.’ No matter how many taxes a person pays, or what politicians promise, the taxpayer is not irrevocably entitled to a single benefit from the government. The level of taxation is thus a stark measure of government’s financial power over the individual — a precise gauge of the subjugation of the citizen to the financial demands of the state.”

The government has monopolized this enterprise because if you or I go to our neighbor and steal his funds or mug him at gunpoint, we go to jail. If you doubt the power of compulsion, notify the IRS personally that you will no longer pay any more of your income taxes…for life.

It is, frankly, un-American. We are a nation birthed in secession and tax revolt:

“We can now put in historical context Jefferson’s comment that it was good medicine for government to have a rebellion every twenty years or so. In the course of his lifetime there had been almost a dozen rebellions he was acutely aware of. Six were in the United States, starting with the Stamp Act Rebellion and ending with the Fries Rebellion. All of these rebellions, including the American Revolution, were tax revolts of varying degrees of intensity. In Europe, there were a number of tax revolts in the seventeenth century, from the excise revolts in Britain, to the tax-farmer revolts in the Netherlands, to the innumerable revolts and the revolution in France. Again, all were tax revolts. So when Jefferson tells us rebellions are good tonic for government, in his frame of reference he was talking about tax rebellions.”

One of my favorite Presidents (a Democrat, no less), Grover Cleveland, came close to the truth when he said:

“When more of the people’s sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of a free government.”

Mine is a more radical notion. I don’t call for less taxation; I call for zero taxation because every time the government is given any capability to collect taxes, the institution is abused to the point of tyranny and despotism. In 1944—45 under RedDR, we had an effective marginal tax rate of 94% on all income over 200k dollars. Ninety-four percent! You’ll notice Eisenhower was so incensed by this that he immediately reduced it to 92% and graciously doubled the exemption to 400k. Now we have one of our esteemed members of Congress calling for a 90% tax on the wealthy in America. The Mafia could only dream of this magnitude of criminal behavior and subsequent benefit.

Now let’s examine what slavery is: A condition of subjection or submission characterized by lack of freedom of action or of will. It is the choice between submission and threats, fines, jail, maiming or death.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 reads the following definition in Article 4:

“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Of course, our imperious betters at the United Nations would not deign to conflate this with taxation because they are a nest of interventionists and Marxoid government supremacists. Don’t expect relief from that august body of worthies.

I think even the eminent Frederick Douglass dismissed the allegations of Constitutional marriage to the wretched enterprise of slavery:

“Now, take the constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”

I think we have established that the institutions of slavery and taxation are ideological twins harnessed to the central idea of power, control and ill-earned profit at another’s expense.

So how high is the domestic tax burden in America? The Tax Foundation places Tax Freedom Day at April 23rd when the tax burden is complete. The problem with their calculation is that it is at 30.8 percent effective 2008. My personal estimate is closer to 60%+ of American incomes are consumed by government tribute when all the various and sundry taxes and excises across the nation are counted. It gets worse: James L. Payne, from my hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho, authored a brilliant book called “Costly Returns.” The thesis is simple: we all pay corporate income taxes as an additional cost of doing business as consumers and we all pay for the tax accountancy and regulatory compliance businesses are forced by law to obey. We then pay indirectly for the enormous dislocation of rational resource investment and return dictated through government fiat through this economically illiterate statist interference. Acres and acres and tens of stories of every corporate building devoted to the hidden tax of indirect extraction and compliance with all manner of government absurdity in the Federal Register and its loyal subsidiaries at the state and local level. What some refer to as the “Vampire Economy.”

Henry Hazlitt brilliantly elucidates this misallocation in the “Broken Window Fallacy,” to wit:

“The glazier’s gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new “employment” has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.”

Economics at its most basic fundamentals is the study of the effective use of finite time and resources, and money is merely a medium and a visible signal of allocation. As Mises pointed out in the seminal book, Socialism, in 1920: the state simply cannot take these monies and allocate them rationally absent price signals of end users. Period. Worse still is the sure knowledge of the futility and waste of the stolen funds directed to wasteful, illegitimate or immoral spending through political fiat and favoritism.

So we have discovered that taxes and slavery seek the same end — the involuntary extraction of tribute or labor through the institutional threat or use of violence. Tax slavery is far more insidious than chattel slavery because the illusion of freedom is entertained throughout the entire sordid process and you are to be grateful to the highwayman and pleased with the conduct of the thief.

This is not a recent phenomenon in America. Within two years of the adoption of the Constitution under the unfairly maligned Articles of Confederation, state troops were hither and yon on the American frontier to chase after tax cheats and evaders during Shay’s Rebellion. Tax revolts and disfavor have peppered American history from the founding to the 1930’s Depression Era to the modern day iterations that will soon emerge with a vengeance. There is no history of a government respecting the rights of citizens to retain the fruits of their labors. These tax rebellions have been going on worldwide every year for the past few centuries.

So I am sounding the call not to reduce taxes but to abolish the last vestige of slavery in America. Don’t employ the language of the rulers, call it for what it really is. Slavery.

“When faced with this circumstance, does the State abdicate? It does not. The general lack of interest in production threatens its own existence, but it still cannot divest itself of its inner urge for power. It turns to the use of force to stimulate the production from which it derives taxes. It confiscates and tries to run the entire economy by rules, regulations, controls, and compulsion; the nation becomes a slave-labor camp. But the output of an economy that rests on force rather than on self-interest is meager. More important than lack of production is the slave psychology that such an environment induces. Men lose their capacity for self-improvement along with their sense of individual dignity. Thus civilization disintegrates and becomes an historical or archaeological curio. The State, of course, collapses with the civilization.”

~ Frank Chodorov

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

 

For both libertarians and statists, it’s easy to forget that there’s a difference between believing that a thing ought to be done and believing that the State ought to be the one to do it. There’s a similar difference between an ideological opposition to  a particular act (in this case, abortion or premarital sex) and a belief that the act ought to be legally, and thus forcibly and violently, prevented. The non-aggression principle means that our personal feelings on the best possible world can’t influence our decision to use force against other people, no matter how strongly we might feel.

Case in point: Politico reports that donations to Planned Parenthood have exploded 500% since a Republican budget amendment stripped the group of its federal funding. The Reddit comments on the situation recognize that this lends credence to the argument that the Federal government doesn’t need to be funding such activities, but most of them lament that fact. Talk of defunding NPR and PBS was met with a similarly vitriolic response.

I don’t see this defunding as a bad thing, for any side of the debate. The social and fiscal conservative voters “get what they want,” in that their tax dollars are no longer spent on these specific activities they might find abhorrent. The libertarians and state abolitionists and anarchists get what we want, because the government is taking less action in general. Those who support the missions of Planned Parenthood and PBS get what they want, because these organizations will no longer be bound by the fetters of government funding, and may instead pursue activities dictated by the will of their private donors.

The losers in this case are the politicians, of all stripes. These minor funding issues constitute a very small part of the Federal budget, but occupy a great deal of the debate. The two factions of our one-party system are able to focus on these minor differences, to make it seem as though they’re fighting great battles against the other faction’s evil desires to fund abortion and non-Christian sex education or to rob women of their reproductive rights and guarantee teen pregnancy. With the debate settled and the ideological elements of the community voting with their wallets, the political class will have to talk about other issues, some of which may be more substantial. That is a good thing.

The fact of the matter is that most of the government’s activities could be similarly defunded. Most social programs, most entitlements, most defense and security arrangements could be taken care of on a purely voluntary basis by willing donors without the graft and overhead imposed by the State’s bureaucracy. Agencies like the TSA may have a harder time finding funding, but that’s because the public doesn’t want the TSA to begin with.

If the government were to undergo a true shutdown and defund all “non-essential” services, the basic decency and generosity of the American public would once again become abundantly clear. Charities and churches and mosques and temples would return to the forefront of human care. Private individuals would be able to see the good their work does in the world directly, rather than griping about tax burdens.

So I rejoice that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, not because their activities will be limited, but because private donations have taken up the slack. I rejoice that we should have such a clear and direct example of the value of cooperation without coercion. I rejoice that the volunteers are winning, and that the bureaucrats are losing. It’s a good thing.

Budget Pie cartoon

"Close Enough" to accurate for our discussion. Cartoon by Michael Ramirez, stolen from Investors.com

You don’t understand large numbers. You don’t comprehend them. I don’t either, and neither do our brave and fearless leaders. Without the benefit of a visual aid, really big numbers just blur together: we couldn’t say whether there are closer to a billion or a trillion grains of sand along an island’s coast just by guessing, because we don’t have a frame of reference for those quantities. In our day to day lives, we might drive a few hundred miles, or spend tens of thousands of dollars on a vehicle. A few of us may have a frame of reference for what a million-dollar piece of industrial equipment looks like. None of us has any idea what a trillion really means, and why last week’s arguments are so silly.

The cartoon above is close enough to accurate for discussion purposes (I did not count the pixels). The deficit constitutes nearly half the budget; it is conceivable to think that there will be “non-discretionary spending” which will bring that deficit to more than half the budget by the end of the fiscal year.

When we hear about this in the news, we hear that there’s a $30 billion dollar difference between the Democrat and Republican budgets. That number sounds significant. It’s enough to satisfy those on both ‘sides’ who want to be angry at the other; at risk are such things as NPR and Planned Parenthood.

But nowhere under discussion do we see anything of substance. There is no talk of ending the war in Afghanistan, of ending the Joint Strike Fighter program, of trimming the bureaucracy that is our tax system or the despicable slave program that is our prison system. We are distracted enough by the largeness of THIRTY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that we ignore these obvious possibilities.

Look at that pie again. Our leaders fought over crumbs. They were paid handsomely for doing so, and the media watched their every move. Important things may have happened elsewhere in the world, but I for one was too distracted to notice.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

How much do you change?

We all read about how things are wrong. We all reach conclusions as to how things ought to be fixed. We all complain that the war in Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya is wrong, that there’s too much inequality, too much abuse, that taxes are too high or that we use too much gasoline or that things just aren’t right. I write furiously, preaching to a choir of like-minded individualists who almost always agree with me. You read these writings.

But how much do any of us do about the troubles that the world faces? We might seek to adjust our lives and better ourselves within the existing system, to guarantee a future for our children or our friends. We might go so far as to write snide and condescending comments on the internet, to draw attention to the great evils our ideological rivals would perpetrate if given the opportunity, or to pay lip service to our support for some idea or another. One or two of us might volunteer a portion of our time to the causes we support, and spend a double portion making others aware of those causes and our support for them.

But how many of us have affected any change in the past month? How many of us have done anything more substantial than talk to our friends about Anarchism, or write something intelligent on the internet? When’s the last time you engaged in a charitable activity, the last time you really did something right, without being told to do so by the government?

Maybe you’re alright. Maybe you helped that neighbor you’ve never met move yesterday, or you give blood whenever you’re eligible, or you volunteer at the farmers’ market and teach math to disadvantaged Schnauzers in small-town Wisconsin. I know I’m not; the last productive thing I did was to hold the door for a fellow patron of a convenience store, and that’s certainly not noteworthy.

I encourage you to go out of your way to be the change you wish to see in the world next week. I don’t mean to raise awareness or to bring other people into the anti-violence fold; I mean to really and truly behave as you think all people should. I want us all to stand up and give lie to the notion that Anarchists and Libertarians are selfish pricks who don’t want to contribute anything. I want you to be able to say, next time someone asks whether you did anything to live up to your libertarian ideals, that you’ve been a shining beacon of voluntary cooperation. I want you to make the rest of us seem downright selfish and lazy by comparison. I hope you do so.

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

Publisher’s Note: D. and I are friends and he has been an entrepreneur and a businessman for more than three decades.  He speaks from a lifetime of dealing with the other enemy – smaller government.  I did not say limited government since that does not exist.  I am referring to the smaller brother of the state and federal government, local government.  We live in and near a town that sees its fellow citizens in commerce not as neighbors and friends but simply yet another victim to be mugged by their infernal system of tax and regulatory oppression to fund their rather luxurious existence and push people around to refuse to comply.  One of my other business associates tells me that nearly sixty cents of every dollar in revenue is vacuumed up by some level of government and, by the way, he is not even reimbursed for his collection services for various state Mafiosi.  Both major parties in America from local to federal levels of government are friends of big business and the mortal enemy of the small business.  As Bastiat said:  “The state is the great fiction by which one group of people live at the expense of another.”

*The lamprey is the curious fish that lives attached to its host until death do they part. -BB

The Government

“The politicians say ‘we’ can’t afford a tax cut. Maybe we can’t afford the politicians.”

-Steve Forbes

I sit on the board of the Economic Development Foundation which receives $139,000 annually from the citizens of “the city”. The current mayor sits on that board as a liaison to the city. During one of our meetings the director of the EDF said she was going to be more proactive in linking the city to the existing business community in order to assess how the city could be of assistance. I chuckled and when the mayor inquired as to what I found amusing I said that in the 35 years I have been in business in this city I have never once been approached by anyone associated with the city with an offer to help with anything. He turned to me, smiled, and asked what the city could do for me. I told him I would get back to him since I had never even considered the possibility of engaging with them for assistance, but considered only how I could avoid their wrath over the years. Frankly I still don’t know how they can help other than to get out of the way since my only experience with them has been that they simply do not have the tools to do anything productive, only to hinder any effort my business is working its way through.

Business and government are philosophically at odds since the primary function of business is to generate a profit and the overarching function of government is to relieve them of as much of that profit as they can get away with through threats and extortion in order to provide goods and services at a cost obscenely exceeding the cost a private enterprise could accomplish the same goals for. The mindsets required to achieve these mutually exclusive goals are as different as those of Muslim and Christian fundamentalists. You can explain the different rationales until you are blue in the face and you will receive nothing but blank stares for your efforts from either side.

Business people perceive government workers as mindless automatons with nothing better to occupy their time with than the calculation of their benefit packages and number of days until retirement and business people are grateful for that mindset in that anything government employees do that deviates from that will cost them money and time to no benefit and most likely with bad unintended consequences. Conversely, government employees see the business community as plunderers of everyone they can reach with no regard for the masses. In all fairness, that’s pretty close to the goals of US financial institutions which are now raking over 1/3 of all corporate profits off the table for adding no perceptible value to the economy, but that perception has absolutely nothing to do with the local economy or local business relations in this community.

When a business wants to relocate or do a start-up in any city they engage with the local government because they have to. They assume the relationship will be a painful and expensive one because that’s how it generally works. The business doesn’t want to spend any more capital, human or otherwise, engaged with any part of the government than is absolutely necessary so they suffer through it. The attitude in this town is to see how much they can extract from this helpless enterprise before they cry ‘uncle’ and either move on or comply. This has lead to an atmosphere of fear on the part of smaller business to expand and has had the effect of driving bigger businesses on to greener pastures. The city will vehemently deny this, but I would testify under oath in any court in the land as to the veracity of this claim.

This city is of the belief that in order to build the perfect city for today and the future, they must be as rigid as possible. This goes back to the basic misunderstanding of the evolutionary character of business. Business is about creativity and speed of reaction (folks, we have a problem. Let’s get it fixed before we open that front door for business today!). Government is about being as slow moving and hidebound as is possible without imploding too quickly (folks, whatever you do today be sure you incur no liability on behalf of this city and be sure all of us make it to our retirement day with our full benefit packages intact!).

When negotiating with the city they will always ask for the impossible because money means nothing to someone who is spending someone else’s. They call their demands “The cost of doing business”. I call them “The cost of pointless bureaucracy”. If you react as any sane person would by telling them they are out of line in their request, they will buckle. The less informed business person will probably give up, thinking the government is powerful enough to smash their dream, not knowing they are negotiating with someone who is on a fools’ errand.

The city, on the other hand, will give away the farm to a bigger national enterprise because they feel intimidated and out of their league when negotiating with them. This leads to the accurate perception that the city is sophomoric, amateurish, unfriendly and uncoordinated in their efforts  related to small business. The attitude should be to impose as few demands upon businesses as is possible in order to build as prosperous and diverse a business community as possible since that is a defining element of a successful city, where instead they seem to want to unrelentingly show who’s boss. I have told them they are driving themselves into irrelevance in their relationships with businesses by not making any attempt to understand and appreciate their value to the community, but they see themselves as so big and bad the health and well being of the business community just doesn’t matter. Granted, the Fort is the elephant in the room when it comes to our local economy and none of us would be here without them, but who do we suppose hasn’t set up shop here to make this the kind of community our children want to return to after leaving to be educated elsewhere?

“To force a man to pay for the violation of his own liberty is indeed an addition of insult to injury.”

Benjamin Tucker

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

 

 

“Disregard then, reader, my title and my character, and attend only to my arguments. It is in accordance with universal consent that I undertake to correct universal error from the OPINION of the human race I appeal to its FAITH. Have the courage to follow me; and, if your will is untrammeled, if your conscience is free, if your mind can unite two propositions and deduce a third therefrom, my ideas will inevitably become yours.”

-Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

If I were asked “What is the State,” and I were to reply “It is slavery,” my meaning would be understood at once. The State binds its citizens through force, and through force it compels them to do its will. That the State is composed of citizens does not mean that it has the best interests of citizens in mind; the State has no mind. The State is an arrangement, an agreement of the strong and violent that the labor and productivity of the people ought to be bent and directed with no consideration of their wishes. Like the slave-master, the State demands a monopoly on the use of force, or it ceases to be.

This monopoly on the use of force is the only defining characteristic the State possesses. The Kings of yore claimed their rights to rule from God’s will, the Democracies and Republics of today from the will of the People, and the modern atheist Dictators from a claim to best understand the common good. These States are unified not in the self-described origin of their powers, but only in the powers themselves, and the monopoly upon them. The ‘goals’ of the State may change from age to age and from place to place, but that remains intact.

It is to that monopoly of force that Anarchists of all stripes must be opposed. It is that violent subjugation of the individual will that is the greatest threat to human development, not the scheming banker or lazy welfare recipient, not the immigrant laborer or the bigoted “Teabagger”. The State, and the armament of the State’s agents, and the illegitimate claim to an authority of the people, of God, or of the greater good – these things will reduce the free thinker to another cog in a misguided machine. It is the State’s machinists, not the other prospective cogs held captive with us, to whom we should be opposed.

To fight with other Anarchists over the meaning of the term ‘anarchist’ is at best futile and at worst counterproductive. To return to our etymological roots, to oppose violent authority, war, and the enslavement of the citizen by the State: this is best. Rothbard is not our enemy, nor is Proudhon: our enemy is the Leviathan State, Mordor on the Potomac or the Thames or the Seine. We fight this enemy best by proselytizing to new blood and increasing the overall awareness of anti-State thinking, not by arguing over the “capitalist” or “socialist” portions of “Anarcho-Capitalist” and “Socialist Anarchist.”

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com


Publisher’s Note: I published this almost two years ago and it still rings true.  I was asked at the Freedom Summit in 2010 after my speech during questions what was the most important tool or consideration for surviving the coming bad times.  Most expect me to expound on G3 (Gold, Guns and Groceries) but I responded that critical thinking was, first and foremost, the most important and vital weapon in the armory.  Nothing even comes close.  Much like the overweening importance of prioritizing skills over equipment, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Your lack of skepticism toward the powers that be is what enabled the very walls to be erected in these tax jurisdictions shaped like penitentiaries called nation-states.

You live in a civilization whose entire rationalization is based on a few brutal misconceptions among which is that the state must have the power to fine, cage, maim and kill anyone it wishes at will and all your friends, family and neighbors are YOUR property.  If that were not the case, how could the state possibly enable the massive theft of time, resources and property on a daily basis to feed the groaning leviathan that provides all those vital goods and services the government/media complex trumpets triumphantly about daily to include America’s largest export, killing recalcitrant brown people who refuse to submit?   Through the proxy of the state, you have personally signed on to an evil compact that permits, nay compels , the government to act in the beastly and ghastly way it does every day.  All of your socialist and neoconservative friends won’t admit it but you are THEIR property otherwise how would they fund the beasts in DC and its political subsidiaries in the states?  They even have the wherewithal to commit you and your progeny to obligate to pay down future debt leveraged against their future; even though the dimmest economists know it will all collapse in the end (except Paul Krugman whose statist bloodlust knows no bounds).

Accept nothing at face value and your life will be richer.  This has nothing to do with formal education or a philosophy degree or allowing others to think for you because they are smarter than you.  No one is smarter than you in your own world because they aren’t…you.

Think outside the box and question all authority outside your family.  Your life and the bright future of your children depends on your ability to do the intellectual heavy lifting and figure out that most everything you were taught in the government schools was a lie and that practically anything claimed by the government has one raison d’être: to compel your unquestioning obedience and servitude to the state and to ensure that its existence will always trump yours. -BB


Human progress is furthered, not by conformity, but by aberration.
~ H.L. Mencken

For some time, I have been trying to figure out why the nation and we as individuals are in the fix we are in now. Many reasons manifest themselves. We labor under a government of such monstrous reach and epic incompetence that it makes the Soviets now look like a paragon of efficiency and probity. We suffer under a ruling class that has not simply been a gangster government under Obamunism but has been this way since the defeat of the original Constitution in 1865. With each illegitimate war since 1898, the power of the Federal government has increased exponentially. With each manufactured crisis, liberties and freedoms have withered and died. This is simply the latest and greatest improvement in the ongoing process of our overseers to find emerging ways to increase the output of our slavery.

I have alluded before that we live in the country and have occasion to run across orphaned animals. We have horses and chickens and other assorted animals on the Circle A Ranch. My wife happens to be a fantastic gardener and the reincarnation of Dr. Doolittle. We discovered by following the horrid cacophony of rabbit screams three orphaned cottontails, two of which promptly died. My wife is now nursing the survivor and hoping to brighten his life expectancy in this mortal coil. As is her wont, she is an inveterate researcher and proceeded to go on the ‘net and search out advice on care and feeding of a rabbit which is not one of our areas of husbandry expertise. What struck her were the countless admonitions to seek government assistance and report it to wildlife “authorities” or the zoo. I look around and converse with colleagues and associates to find my fellow Americans increasingly frightened or unfamiliar with doing anything without someone’s permission. Whether at work or play, we:

  • obey speed limits that have nothing do with safety and simply provide revenue to our rulers
  • pay property taxes which inevitably increase the yoke around our necks locally and pay for the intellectual suicide pact call government schooling
  • pay extraordinary sales taxes on local and state purchases to subsidize the countless layers of bureaucracy that choke citizen and business productivity everyday
  • stop locally at a US Border Patrol checkpoint nearly twenty miles north of the Mexican border to be asked if we are American citizens and a visual check of the interior of our vehicles
  • sit idly by while the various levels of government erect observation devices at traffic intersections to increase revenue streams
  • receive property tax bills on our real estate which increase in assessment while market prices decrease
  • are required to have permission from the US Forest Circus or National Park Service to hunt, play or work on lands expropriated by our betters in government

I have discovered the silver bullet and it is from the University of the Intuitively Obvious: question authority and maintain a skeptical attitude about all facets of government and governance. That’s it…simple. Even those of us who have invested considerable intellectual heavy-lifting in discerning why the government in all its consistent brutality and blood-raged destruction commands such a loyal and slavish quality in men are baffled by the absence of this simple epistemological tool to ask why on a consistent basis from stem to stern. If enough vigilance is maintained at the outset and embryonic stages of so much government mischief, much of the madness could be strangled in its statist cradle through peaceful discourse, non-compliance, shunning and development of innovative strategies to sabotage the government’s machinations. Most government programs start out with promises of nirvana and positive outcomes but the history of man shows that this is essentially iatrogenic and hubristic. The state is a violent actor by necessity to preserve its power and expand it, so inevitably the promises dissolve into a nightmarish brew of incompetence, lethality and baleful societal consequences and we are stuck with the myriad Frankenstein monsters shambling about with the vague promises of eternal goodness and heaven on earth.

One may say that the horse is out of the barn and we are truly stuck with the state of affairs and no amount of reform will fix DC and its loyal minions at this stage of their maturation and dominance and you would be correct. The rub is this: the FEDGOD will fall and it will be in the next 12—24 months and much like the USSR, it will perish of its own internal Marxoid contradictions. Foreign wars, self-induced economic calamity and sheer naked arrogance will force it to fold and dissolve as a ruling elite. This is a window that rarely opens and the opportunities will be tremendous — for both sides. The furloughed politicos will spread their contagion when they flee the ruins of the DC power structure and seek to encourage the usual suspects among government workers and gullible subjects to help resurrect this monstrosity that has been astride our necks like a decomposing albatross. Truth serum will be necessary and that all starts with the kind of skepticism and incredulity that seems to characterize most everything we do except our attitude toward our rulers. Cross-examination is the engine of truth. Question every bit of alleged government authority which emerges from the ashes. This is one reason Thomas Jefferson was agitating for constant revolt for the tree of liberty. Government is a fungal growth that cannot be checked without constantly striking the root and taking whatever measures are necessary to curb its growth.

You won’t find this kind of critical thinking taught in the universities or any facet of the school systems because skepticism and clear thinking will be the end of them and the whole rotting mold growth choking American civilization called government. When was the last time you saw a government sponsored university study which called for the reduction and/or elimination of a statist rule or department? You don’t have to be a philosophy major or graduate to realize that Socratic drilling works. This is simply the process where you repeatedly ask why to a set of explanations until either you are satisfied the meritorious answer has been given or the shoddy intellectual construction is bared for all to see. It bears repeating: the entire artifice of the state is based on the threat or employment of violence to meet its ends, so it is morally illegitimate and reprehensible from the starting blocks. You have the moral high ground because all government for the most part is an elaborate shell game to develop proxy relationships with servant classes who obey at the urging of a lash or worse for the material and power benefit of the ruling class. Wake up, helots!

This is the chance we have. A dozen, fifty or hundreds of resistance and secessionist entities are going to move into the vacuum left by the great sucking abyss of the FEDGOD collapse. Hundreds of laboratories will emerge to test every variant of political collective and ordered enterprise imaginable. I have little hope for the subjects and somnambulant mental zombies that stumble around the cities of the Left Coast and the Northeast (Vermont and New Hampshire excepted) will do anymore other than instantly resurrect facsimiles of DC patterns of rule and other processes of national socialism but between the Marxist coastlines; the life and times of ordinary Americans will take extraordinary turns to develop from scratch freedom-oriented communities and spasms of spontaneous order. People may finally awaken and look at their neighbors and try to do the right thing. They may seek a system that asks, persuades and cooperates instead of bullies, collectivizes and forces through violent means the shape and texture of human relationships. They will be the vanguard of the men and women who finally awaken from the five millennia fever-dream of enabling various strangers the power of life and death over thousands and millions simply because they have surrendered the most basic right of all; leave us the hell alone.

Turn off the television, grab a book(s) and have conversations with family and like-minded friends. Go out and do things. Start a garden, fix your fencing, move to the country and reach out to the community you live in. Open your mind to the possibilities before us. Most of all, question every aspect of your relationship with authority. Does it derive from fear or respect? Does it emanate from first-hand experience or second-hand knowledge? How many times have you truly asked why a certain bureaucratic edict must be followed? More importantly, what is your line in the sand where your servitude stops and your resistance begins? Just say no to big government. Once a man establishes his limitations for tolerance of interference in his life and adopts a resolute stand against the forces buffeting him against his will, the world will change.

If you are still reading this, you are the Resistance.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

~ George Orwell

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com