“Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.”
-Albert Einstein

The above quote is from a paper that Dr. Einstein wrote in 1949, which originally appeared in the Monthly Review and is available online here. The rest of this essay is a libertarian’s response, a strong disagreement with his analysis of social reality.

Einstein (hereinafter “the socialist”) recognizes that there is are distinctions between the methods applicable to the science of Astronomy and those applicable to the study of Economics, and correctly attributes these distinctions to the innumerable and nigh immeasurable factors which govern human action. Scientists attempt to discover the laws which govern the movements of objects under such forces as gravity and electromagnetism, while the Economist’s endeavor is plagued by biochemistry and feelings and morality and what the subjects in question might have eaten for breakfast six weeks ago. Planetary bodies and chemicals do not have feelings, morals, memories and upbringings; human beings do, and all these traits are difficult to quantify. Stars and asteroids do not owe their existence to the conquest of contrary stars and asteroids, as do states; solar systems are constructed and spin in their orbits without a thought to property rights or social justice.

The socialist government, like a libertarian thinker, espouses the idea that the mathematical tools used to determine the orbits of planets are ill-suited to determining the human pursuits of happiness and sustenance. Nor does it assume that all men are predatory beasts, driven only by our desires for food and fornication; no, idealized socialism recognizes the value of human cooperation, love, devotion and honor. The socialist strives not to better his station, but to better the average conditions of all members of his species. He wishes to overcome the threat of global extinction through war, and to encourage international cooperation and a unification of human efforts for universal wellbeing.

It is here that the libertarian view begins to differ from the socialist. The socialist recognizes the same pieces of evidence as does the libertarian; he sees the injustice man does to man, and desires a means of rectifying that injustice. But the socialist believes that government action, supra-government action on a world scale, is the means by which this might best be achieved. He speaks of man receiving a home and a livelihood from the benevolence of society, and does not recognize that man might have accomplished anything constructive by the use of his own hands, save as they serve that society. In the socialist’s view, man is not noble in and of himself, but acquires that nobility from his friends and neighbors.

Certainly, a man is noble who treats others well, and a group of people is happiest when all members strive together and do not fight.  But the socialist, upon seeing this, concludes that it ought to be the duty of some council of men to govern the actions of others; that all the productive effort undertaken by humanity must be carefully planned by some central power, lest we twiddle our thumbs and end up with too many trains and not enough automobiles or hammers. He recognizes that human effort is inexorably tied to humanity’s efforts by the world economy, and based on this he concludes that man must have his course chosen for him, and must not be permitted to choose for himself.

The socialist’s greatest enemy, as he terms it, is the “economic anarchy” of modern capitalism. This anarchy allows anyone to feed his own ego, to retain the fruits of his labors for the sake of his further efforts, and to convince his less canny compatriots to part with their own productivity. In other words, it permits and encourages the existence of an unacceptable inequality between the scheming capitalist and the oppressed worker.

Here, the socialist slips. As he puts it,

It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

I am uncertain as to the origin of this line of thinking. Clearly, the value of the worker’s product is not the only factor determining his compensation, but it necessarily plays an integral part: the capitalist is unable to realistically pay the worker more than the value of his product! From there, it is left to competing workers offering their labor to reach an agreement with the capitalist as to the wage they are willing to accept. Woe indeed to the worker whose demands exceed his productive capabilities, for he must subsist on his fellow man’s charity in some form or another.

The socialist further attacks the concentration of wealth that arises from snowballing capital. He decries the deflationary results of technological progress, which allow a few workers to do the tasks of many, freeing the others to other pursuits, because this same deflation and progress serves to enrich a capitalist oligarchy. He decries the unfortunate reality that “There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment,” and then decries the waste of labor borne of competition, completely ignoring (or perhaps failing to notice) the contradiction between those two complaints.

Just before his conclusion, he finally attacks the ways in which capitalism harms the individual, who has an unnecessary competitive spirit drilled into him by the education system and may never find productive employment in which he is truly happy and socially adjusted.

Finally, he leaves the reader with this: that the solution to these capitalist evils is a planned socialist economy, but that central planning in and of itself may result in bureaucratic tyranny and must be combated with a suitable education system. How this centralized and homogeneous education system may reliably impart general social wellness without falling under the influence of that bureaucracy is apparently left as an exercise for the reader.

It is not with the socialist’s first principles that the libertarian disagrees. Rather, it is his reading of the problems facing the world as it is, and the conclusion that he reaches regarding a solution. Indeed, the socialist and libertarian are united in many of their goals. The differences between the two are mostly in how these goals are to be achieved. The socialist sees too much freedom for the oligarchs and capitalists of the world, to take advantage of the workers as they wish, with nobody there to stop them; the libertarian sees fascists and corporatists ruling the supposedly free market by the use of too-strong governments, leaving the worker with no freedom to improve his own situation. The socialist sees an educational system poisoned by an ultracompetitive working environment which demands motivated slave labor; the libertarian sees a single monolithic indoctrination system, designed by the powers that be to produce willing and unthinking cattle for corporate feedlots and government tax slaughterhouses. The socialist sees men’s souls destroyed by the plight of too much effort; the libertarian sees that sadness stems from forcibly misdirected efforts.

In the 60 years since Einstein wrote his piece, Socialism and Capitalism have largely passed from the world, if they ever had a place in it. Those nations which called themselves ‘Socialist’ toppled under the weight of their own centrally-planned mismanagement; you can buy thousands of rounds of cheap ammunition produced by Russian and Yugoslavian manufacturers at the behest of those bureaucrats Einstein feared. The ‘Capitalist’ nations fall to pieces before our eyes, victims of the oligarchs and fascists and those same attempts at poisonous central planning.

Neither Socialism nor the present incarnation of what we call Capitalism has offered any sort of solution to the problems that Einstein and you and I fear. These past decades of evidence stand against the Socialist experiment behind the Iron Curtain and the Corporatist disaster in the west. I believe, as a libertarian, that the solution lies in a lack of force and violence, a lack of government intervention in what human beings ought to be choosing for themselves on an individual basis. I believe that grown men do not need leaders, and that there is a basic human goodness which asserts itself in the absence of authority.

I believe in freedom.

Publisher’s Note: I thought I would share this book review I recently did.  I also found this amusing illustrated version of The Road to Serfdomhttps://mises.org/books/TRTS/

Hayek wrote and released this book during the course of the World War II (1944-45).  He had a front row seat to the clash of the collectivist titans from the mild socialism he saw in the West to the national socialism of Germany and the communism of the Russian state.

Hayek sought to provide a comprehensive set of principles and observations illustrating why private property not only manages to be the most rational means to allocate economic resources but the one which allows the most freedom to grow and mature.  He makes a compelling argument that the smallest bureaucrat in a statist command of the economy will have much more power to influence society in a negative manner than the most successful millionaire in a free society. His primary thesis is that the power of the state will lead to slavery, misery and poverty.

Along with his colleague in the Austrian School of Economics, Ludwig von Mises, he delivered a powerful indictment of the state in two respects:  its inability to rationally behave economically and ultimately the brutal manner in which the state will ultimately treats its citizens once it has the power to tax, regulate and redistribute.  By robbing the individual citizens of property rights and collectivizing either through outright nationalization or through the more fascistic means of taxation and regulation, all citizens are reduced to slavery and serfdom.

Hayek says:  “The increasing veneration for the state, the admiration of power, and of bigness for bigness’ sake, the enthusiasm for “organization” of everything (we now call it “planning”) and that “inability to leave anything to the simple power of organic growth”…are all scarcely less marked in England now than they were in Germany.”(Hayek, 200)  It is interesting to note that outside of Germany and the USSR during the course of WWII, the United Kingdom was considered the most repressive society in the Western world.  Whether this was due to wartime secrecy considerations with the imminent invasion of Western Europe by the Allies or the creeping blanket of Fabian socialism, it is hard to ascertain.

Hayek made a very convincing case that the nexus of planning and power in state hands would lead not only to economic mischief and miscalculation but would chip away at freedoms and liberties enjoyed by citizens in the Western world.  He was very concerned that the notion that power taken from individuals and put in the hands of the collective would not destroy that power as some socialists contended but that it would enhance the power of potential oppressors to an even greater degree.

John Buchanan, the founder of the “Public Choice” economic school went on to provide some startling evidence and observations that this very thing would occur. Public Choice Theory contends that ” [a]dopting the assumption that all individuals, be they voters, politicians, or bureaucrats, are motivated more by self-interest than by public interest evokes a Madisonian perspective on the problems of democratic governance. Like that founding father of the American constitutional republic, public choice recognizes that men are not angels and focuses on the importance of the institutional rules under which people pursue their own objectives.” (Shugart II)

Both Hayek and later, Buchanan, arrived at the same conclusion that political means to manage and run an economy would ultimately lead not only to tremendous economic distortion and shortages but would make the political process vulnerable to unparalleled levels of corruption.

Hayek goes on to describe the embryonic stages of state planning as a brew of heady idealism that promptly runs into the reality of making political choices with limited time and resources and having to resort to force and coercion to finally bring the larger plans into play.

Mind you, Hayek is not of a mind that the government should entirely divorce itself from the economy.  Hayek contends  “[t]he successful use of competition as the principle of social organization precludes certain types of coercive interference with economic life, but it admits of others which sometimes may vary considerably assist its work and even requires certain kinds of government action.” (Hayek, 42)  He is concerned that the government should see to pollution, fraud and other possible negative outcomes of the market.

This would prove to be particularly galling to some of his later critics like Murray Rothbard and Walter Block who would contend that such a position simply opened the door for the softer iron fists as evidenced in countries like Sweden and the greater part of Western Europe.  The intellectual differences were mainly focused on the argument that the limiting and stripping of economic freedoms would have a deleterious effect on personal liberties and freedoms.  The discussion is still alive and well today as we see the US economy fall under the sway of more and more government intervention with the concomitant effects of recession and looming depression. Block asserts that: “in making the case against socialism, Hayek was led into making all sort of compromises with what otherwise appeared to be his own philosophical perspective—so much so, that if a system was erected on the basis of them, it would not differ too sharply from what this author explicitly opposed.” (Block, 342)

Hayek makes a very convincing argument that once the momentum for government planning and interference in the development and running of an economy runs ahead full steam, it is hard to stop.  At the same time, it becomes increasingly oppressive.  As soon as economic freedoms start to be surrender, personal and political freedoms must quickly follow.  It would be naïve to assume that bureaucracies as they grow and become more important will ultimately surrender their power or come to the conclusion that they have achieved their mission and it is time to shutter the offices and go home. In the end, the power to tax and regulate is ultimately the power to destroy.

Not only does the monopoly of force and coercion on the part of the government start to increase in size and scope with more power granted to it but the growing absence of rational price signals in a command economy start to atrophy the ability of the economy to even rationally allocate resources.  Which brings us to prices and the information signals they contain; price are merely the efficient and effective means to transmit scarcity information.  The law of supply and demand dictates that generally the prices will go up when demand remains while supplies diminish and the reverse is true.  Imagine a centrally planned economy like the old Soviet Union trying to determine how many shoes to manufacture in a certain size with no prices whatsoever except those dreamed up by a central planning committee.  Relying on this less than stellar information signal, they could go manufacturing this show…forever or however long before the centrally planned economy implodes.  In a market economy, show sales are determined by their demand.  The more popular shoes will sell and incentivize further production while slower selling shoe sales will slow down the manufacturing of them and even stop it altogether.

Hypothetically, in a centralling planned economy, buggy whips for non-existent carts and horses in an automotive economy could be happily produced into infinity because there would be no feedback mechanism, a price, to send signals to the manufacturer about what is need or desired.

Hayek contends there is even a moral dimension to the market when it comes to the husbanding of limited resources.  Prices are a vital means to do so.  Ludwig von Mises explains it far better:

“The ultimate source of the determination of prices is the value judgments of the consumers. Each individual, in buying or not buying and in selling or not selling, contributes his share to the formation of market prices. But the larger the market is, the smaller is the weight of each individual’s contribution. Thus the structure of market prices appears to the individual as a datum to which he must adjust his own conduct. What is called a price is always a relationship within an integrated system which is the composite effect of human relations.

Money prices are exchange ratios. The divisibility of money, unlimited for all practical purposes, makes it possible to determine the exchange ratios with nicety.” (Mises, 427)

In a world with mostly imperfect information, Hayek endorses a system such as prices to be as unfettered as possible to make economic transactions most effective.  He contends that the more centrally planned and politically controlled the economy, the more ineffective will be the reallocation of all economic resources from food to shoes to cars.

Hayek could straddle the middle of the 20th century and have the temerity to look in the opposite direction as his entire economics profession was looking.  Under the sway of Keynes and other command economy theorists along with the Marxian influences sweeping in form the East and the USSR, Hayek was a tiny minority in the profession waving the danger flag and predicting that the economics profession was embracing doctrine which were not only inimical to human freedom but would ride entire nations off the economic rails.  On reflection, his courage and temerity was quite impressive, for Stalin’s despoliations of his country and Mao’s genocidal campaigns under communism had not even come to light.  As a matter of fact, the entire West during WWII was enchanted and entirely supportive of Josef Stalin with many reporters coming back from Russia barely able to contain their enthusiasm for Communism and the ”next wave” of human progress.

All the central planning enthusiasts would be proved brutally wrong.

Hayek received plenty of grief from his colleagues in and out of the economics profession for daring to even hint that central planning may not be the boon to humanity the rest of them thought it to be.

Some of the predictions Hayek made in the book made George Orwell pale in comparison but turned out to be eerily prophetic of what would happen once the “planned state” would start to command more and more of the economic life of a country.

After the fall of the Wall in Berlin, Germany and the Soviet empire in 1989 and revelations from China and other communist nations after that, it became apparent that Hayek had been mild in his predictions of what would happen.  The horrific bloodshed, poverty and gross economic dislocation had been of such enormous proportions that literally tens of millions perished outside of warfare in the severely centrally planned countries during the 20th century.  The Road to Serfdom was a prophetic bellwether of horrors to come.

The West is now increasingly flirting yet again with the central planning monster as the means to extricate itself from perceived economic dislocation and disaster but policymakers would be wise to dust off their own copies of Hayek’s book and use it as a talisman against their better angels and keep the “dead hand” of government off the economies as much as they can resist the temptation.

Max Eastman sums it up best when he channeled Hayek:  “Our generation has forgotten that the system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves. When all the means of production are vested in a single hand, whether it is nominally that of ‘society’ as a whole or that of a dictator, whoever exercises this control has complete power over us. In the hands of private individuals, what is called economic power can be an instrument of coercion, but it is never control over the whole life of a person. But when economic power is centralized as an instrument of political power it creates a degree of dependence scarcely distinguishable from slavery …” (Ransom)

WORKS CITED

Hayek, F.A. (1994). The road to serfdom. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Shughart II, W.F. (2008). Public Choice. Concise encyclopedia of economics. Retrieved March 24, 2011, from https://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PublicChoice.html

Ransom, G. (2009, March 30). “the road to serfdom” – the reader’s digest condensed version. Retrieved from https://hayekcenter.org/?p=682

Mises, L. von (1949 [2008]). Human action. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises.

Block, Walter (1996). “Hayek’s Road to Serfdom”. Journal of Libertarian Studies (Center for Libertarian Studies) 12 (2): 339–365. Retrieved 2010-02-17 from https://mises.org/journals/jls/12_2/12_2_6.pdf.

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

The Middle East (ME)  is on fire with revolution and rebellion against the powers that be.  There is no government in the entire area which has not abused, maimed and murdered thousands if not tens of thousands of its own subjects.  Pardon me, if I refrain from ever using the word citizens since those don’t exist on Earth.  It is simply what governments were built to do no matter how we dress them up in fancy and adoring histories.  The usual suspects in the government-media complex are coming out of the woodwork as the neoconservative-left liberal alliance blossoms to its fullest potential.  Everyone from Faux New to National Pinko Radio to the Collectivist News Network are swooning and throwing rice at the wedding.  The love letters to the Pentagon from the Obama administration could not be more fawning and flirtatious.

Through wars, bombings and the eradication of uncooperative brown people around the globe, the Child President will make the world safe for his own house brand of militant collectivism.  Amid the wreckage of the former mighty American economic engine is strewn old rusted manufacturing sectors, all home-grown means of financial power since the emergence of debt as the ONLY engine of business start-up and prosperity, and the enormous Soviet-style regulatory apparatus that has done its signal best to strangle and emasculate any innovation in the private sector.  Remember that both parties are sworn enemies of small business but maintain cozy relationships with big business.  America excels in one area and one area only, killing.  The national security state that has emerged since the end of the War to Save Josef Stalin has been the only burgeoning sector of employment since the end of the Cold War in 1989.  The Pentagon and the apparatchiks who serve it in the federal government were desperate to find a means to preserve the hyper-power military complex since its usefulness had dwindled to zero when the other Soviet state fell.   After decades of post WWII fiddling, dawdling and plotting to interfere in the domestic self-determination of hundreds of nation-states around the globe, the US had poked one too many Arab nations and earned the blowback it so richly deserved.  On 9/11 in 2001, the blow to the Pentagon and the Twin Towers in New York brought American foreign policy home and gladdened the hearts of legions of government employees and hundreds of military contractors.  A new war was on and the American national security state could now move front and center once again.

Fast forward to the present state of affairs in the ME, the hot and cold wars that the US has continued to wage in the Arab nations along with the support of dozens of brutal and corrupt regimes has metastasized into the massive web of rolling unrest, protests and rebellions.  Some are concerned with the planning involved in the protests and how many of these are simply synchronized to occur in all these nations.  Others, such as the US State Department and the endlessly creepy Hillary Clinton are more concerned with ensuring not that justice or honor is served but simply preserving the ability of the American client states and satraps to keep their people fettered and tame while we drain the Middle east of oil and keep the Israelis please with the direction of American foreign policy.  American policy in the region has been nothing more than a long and bloody trail of tears for all the people trapped in the confines of what is essentially convenient US political subsidiaries to make the West safe in their oil consumption so that the Western countries can remain virginal in exploiting their own oil reserves and reducing any free market economic incentives to find new sources of energy.

Mind you, I have no sympathy for Marxoid envirus’ who would see all the humans on the planet reduced in both population size and limited in their scientific ambition to make their lives better.  Nor do I sympathize with the collectivists on the Left who would like nothing better than to see the Middle East quite literally turn red in the communist sense.  These people have no more moral compass than a serial killer. To them, revolutions and rebellions are simply templates to bring in more government solutions which ALWAYS end badly for the people aggrieved in the first place.  You will notice for all the antiwar sentiment of the Left, they have been obscenely quiet since the Child President has occupied the WAFL (War Against Freedom and Liberty) House.

There is only one solution to what is happening in the Middle East and that is total military withdrawal and denial of foreign aid and support to any nation or government there.  In essence, the US foreign policy in the Middle East has been zero tolerance for self-determination and continued subsidy of the government thugs who practice the nastiest and most vile predations on their own populations and foreign visitors.  Unlike the government media complex who would accuse the advocacy of such a position to a “let them burn” policy, my notion is let them provide for their own governance.

Would it not be refreshing for the West to adopt a non-interference policy that they themselves would insist on if the Western nations were embroiled in their own internecine conflicts and disturbances?

Don’t hold your breath because the dirty little secret about the American economy right now is that war and conflict are the only going concerns that keep the economy afloat. If you doubt this, ask yourself a few simple questions.

Would the landscape of America be a different place if the powers that be were stripped of their ability to make war on the world AND the ability to make war on their own citizens?

Would a massive military retreat and withdrawal from all bases outside American territories back to the home country and the cashiering of millions of jobs devoted to destruction and reversed to productive work in an unfettered free market make us more or less prosperous?

Has the Western treatment of millions of Arabs and Muslims created a gargantuan cultural resentment that will manifest itself in violence for the foreseeable future?

And lastly, since we are the dominant military hyper-power on Earth; what Muslim insurgency has been defeated by the West since the end of WWII?

 

I will answer the last one for you.  None.

 

Publisher’s Note:  As promised, the Village Armorer is continuing his series of evaluation of rescue tools and today we discuss our Village standard for sidearms, the Glock.  We have been carrying and shooting these for nearly two decades and have achieved what is essentially a holy grail in the firearms community:  there is no better solution for a sidearm than the Glock.  Aside from the minor modifications we make, it comes out of the box ready to conduct social work.  I have no desire to get involved in a handbag fight such as the 1911 versus the Glock and any other variations on that eternal dispute.  If you have a High Point or a three thousand dollar 1911, great;  if it serves as your sidearm and satisfies your needs, wonderful and all is well with the world.  There are far more important things to waste electrons on than that particular argument.  For us, the issue is settled. -BB


Again, let’s look at manipulation, simplicity, reliability and affordability. The law enforcement community has. About 60% of all law enforcement issues the Glock pistol. It is simple: it has a trigger, slide release (slide stop in Glock vernacular), and magazine release. All firearm safety is internal to the weapon, or the trigger you should not touch until prepared to fire. Torture tests show you will be hard-pressed to find a more durable or reliable gun for the money, that is light to carry, and two spare mags should get you back to your vehicle or rifle, if necessary.

Here in Arizona, most law enforcement use the Glock Model 22 in .40 S&W. One size smaller, the Model 23, is ideal for concealed carry, yet only loses a half inch on the barrel and two rounds in the magazine. Because the magazines of the larger pistols work in smaller pistols with Glock, that means backup magazines can all be Model 22 fifteen-round magazines, giving you back those two extra rounds should a firefight last longer than you expect. Based on all accounts, they always do. Even if thirty seconds seems like a lifetime.

Three things should always accompany a handgun: a holster, a light, and a spare magazine. Perhaps several spares, so you don’t have to worry about any further magazine bans. I recommend as many as possible, perhaps 20 per gun.

Training is as important as the firearm. Find a reputable trainer and train, remembering the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.

Yes, combat is a full-contact sport. Spend as much or more money on your training as you do on the gun. What insurance policy do you have that saves the lives of you or your family, and can be “cashed-in” more than once?

Once you pick the Glock, know that there are three necessary changes, as all guns are not equal when you depend on them everyday. One, it needs a steel recoil spring guide rod. You can find them at Lone Wolf, Glock Meister, Top Glock, or Glock World. The OEM Glock recoil spring guide rod is plastic and shouldn’t be relied upon.

Second, I prefer the Glock extended slide stop (release) and not all Glocks come with them. If you used one and then the other, you will see what I am talking about. Lastly, the Glock should have steel sights, preferably Tritium. Nothing sight-related, should be made of plastic, since they can be used to clear a stoppage (very rare), or to release a slide, if reduced to one-armed combat.

Don’t use compensated barrels for self defense, unless you want to blind yourself equally with your opponent or lose the brightness of your tritium front sight from carbon build-up.

See the rest:  https://zerogov.com/forum/index.php?topic=103.0

You will find it as an attachment in the first post of The Village Armorer on Glocks.

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

Publisher’s Note: Chris has provided us with an insightful original essay on the thorny abortion problem in a voluntary society.  The introduction is heart-wrenching but poignant. I am opposed to all abortions except when the life of the mother is threatened because for a variety of reasons I believe it to be cold-blooded murder of the most innocent among us.  I also come to this conclusion in what I have discovered is an unusual tangent.  I am not a religionist of any stripe and most of my friends and acquaintances that are pro-life draw a Scriptural basis for their belief.  I would add that shunning and shaming of the practitioner and the users of the services of a baby abattoir are useful social prohibitions. -BB

“All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them.”~ H.L. Mencken

In my last post I talked about how the free market would be superior to the coercive system we have now. I would like to get a little more specific with how we could apply this to the controversial issue of abortion, but first I would like to tell you a very personal story.

A little over 5 years ago I received a call at work. I picked up the phone; it was my son’s babysitter. She was frantic, she informed me my son had stopped breathing, and the paramedics were on the way. I remember the time on the clock was 5:07; I was working late that day. I ran and grabbed the keys off of my toolbox, and drove as fast as I could. The babysitter was a healthy 20 minute drive away. Me being the gearhead that I am, my little four banger was up to the challenge. I don’t remember too much of the drive, but I do recall exceeding speeds of 125mph. Here in Virginia farm country, I could drive these back roads blind-folded. I made it there at 5:20. I was informed the paramedics arrived at 5:10.

I could see my son in the ambulance. It was crowded in there, but I could see my son’s little arm hanging off of the stretcher, it looked lifeless. Refusing to believe the worst, I was pacing, and praying. A paramedic stepped out of the ambulance with tears in his eyes. He said “I am so sorry, sir, we tried to revive him for 30 minutes”. At that moment, it was like someone had just removed my legs. I was on the ground faster than if I would have slipped on ice. I was speechless; I then looked to my right and saw my oldest son, Christopher. His babysitter, Dorothy, was holding him by the shoulders. She was like a second grandmother to my boys, and she loved them both very much. Still unable to use my legs, I waved him over. I held that boy as tight as I could, he asked in his three year old voice: “what happened to David, Daddy?” My son, David Ford, was pronounced dead at 5:39PM Oct 26th, 2005. He was six months old. He passed away quietly in his sleep. The doctors say the cause was SIDS. I am not a woman, so I will never pretend to know what a woman goes through when she has an abortion, but I have buried a child.

Very needless to say I am pro-life. I am in favor of all human life in all forms. Whenever I hear about children being harmed, or abortions being performed, it quite literally hurts my heart. I am also a firm believer in the non-aggression principle. I do not believe in the initiation of force, even to stop a woman from aborting her child. In a free and voluntary society, how could these two beliefs be rectified?

Government only makes this issue worse by passing laws to regulate it. Not to mention, it uses this very controversial issue to divide us. Have any of you ever noticed how these issues are brought off of the shelf around election time? It seems to me it would be a good way to fund campaigns. The politicians need only to mention this issue, and the money starts rolling in. The pro-choice left and the pro-life right shovel money at these politicians who probably don’t give a damn about abortion. As soon as the elections are over, the issue goes back on the shelf. If the government makes abortion illegal, or regulates it heavily, it does not take away the market demand for it. This only pushes women to find “illegal” ways to get abortions performed. These women now risk life, safety, and freedom. Since these abortions will be performed by “criminals” there is no telling how sanitary or safe the procedure will be. Making something illegal does not take away market demand; it only makes it more dangerous. This is why the black market exists. I believe the government is not interested in trying to solve the problem of abortion. Besides, once one has a firm understanding that the government has a monopoly on the use of violence; one quickly comes to the conclusion that the government cannot solve any problem.

How could the free market ever respond to such a dilemma? In a society where coercion is not a factor and reaching for the guns of government is not a choice, what can be done?

I believe that in an environment where individuals were 100% responsible for their choices, more rational decisions would be made. Without Uncle Sugar around to subsidize pretty much everything, consequences will have to be suffered. Maybe we will once again learn that actions have equal and opposite reactions. Without government around, natural law and the natural application of that law will come back. Perhaps parents will spend more time developing certain underlying principles their children should adhere to. Teaching them that all human life is sacred in all forms. Abortion can’t happen if there is no conception. We need to strike at the root of the problem. In order to change society, we need to change minds.

Of course, this will not and probably never will stop all abortion. So, how can these instances be handled? In order for free market principles to be used here, humans would have to trade something of value for something they think may be more valuable.

Let’s see how a situation might play out in a voluntary society. Say there is a young careless couple, and the woman ends up pregnant. The man wants to keep the child, but the woman wants to abort it. Perhaps a contract could be made to save the child. The contract might say upon safe delivery of the child, the mother would receive some kind of payment. The money or whatever object of value that was agreed upon could be held in escrow. The father values the life of the child, and the mother values the payment. Both of these individuals would be working within their own self interest. Let’s say the mother was not satisfied with the contract, and did not want to get “stuck” with the child. In the voluntary society I choose to envision, there would be many charities. With the government no longer around to be “charitable”, real humans that actually care will fill the void, and the void would be much easier to fill than most think. Perhaps this young man could get one of these charities to “co-sign” on this contract. Many different people or groups of people could co-sign on this contract to seal the deal with this woman. These contracts could be tailored to fit specific situations. I could picture people coming up with contract arbitration companies that specialize in abortion contracts.

What if she liked to drink, and do drugs? Well, maybe the contract that was written went into specifics how these situations would be covered, but there might be other solutions. The health insurance company that covers the father might be able to offer some kind of pre-natal health insurance (remember that without government regulation, insurance will be much cheaper). Perhaps this insurance company could offer some form of payment if the mother stays clean. It would be cheaper for this company in the long run, because the child will run less risk of serious birth defects. The same way insurance companies now offer discounts to non-smokers. Maybe for every clean drug test she passes, she gets something of value. The mother could be a member of the same insurance company, and a deal might be struck. This is also an example of how humans can be governed using their own self-interest. The mother could choose to voluntarily enter into any of these contracts, and then she would be governed by her own doing. Of course, force could never be initiated to enforce these contracts, but there would still be consequences (think in terms of credit reporting agencies). I’m sure there are many more solutions to this problem. We will never know unless we try.

Some of you might be thinking how a price could be put on a human life. If you are, you are ignoring the possibility that a human life might be saved (hypothetically), and it was all done without force and coercion. When thinking in terms of a voluntary society, you have to employ the power of persuasion, never the persuasion of power.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
–Greek Proverb

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

“Never initiate force against another. That should be the underlying principle of your life. But should someone do violence to you, retaliate without hesitation, without reservation, without quarter, until you are sure that he will never wish to harm – or never be capable of harming – you or yours again.”

– One of the tenets of the Western KYFHO Sect

F. Paul Wilson wrote a wonderful science fiction series called the LaNague Federation which posited a future in which a number of planets manage to break away from imperial bondage only to fall into the totalitarian habit themselves causing yet another plot to emerge to break apart that political jail sentence on the inhabitants of the various worlds.  Two planets ion the system manage to remain neutral and not be a part of the imperial system which emerged after the first secession – Tolive and Flint.  The former planet is peopled by a voluntaryist society adopting a more passive version of the KYFHO (Keep Your Fucking Hands Off) Sect while the planet Flint is manned by a more…aggressive village model.  They are what are referred to as the more violence-prone sect of KYFHO with one exception – they never initiate violence but their response to first aggression against them is swift and destructive.  This is not to say the Tolive inhabitants are more pacifist, they simply don’t train to the deadly standards of the Flinters.  When the Flinters are off-world, they are given a wide berth.

There is also an interesting vignette from one of the earlier LaNague novels.  There is a food riot in a city on Earth, government caused, of course.  As the thousands of rioters near the Tolive neighborhood, they don’t step in any of the established boundaries and give it a wide berth because even the crowds sense and know from past history that trespass in those Tolive neighborhoods means certain death for all who entered uninvited so the entire mass of rioting humanity flows around the beleaguered neighborhood to prey on a more vulnerable part of the city.

We just got finished over the weekend attending a four day tactical handgun course to improve our martial skills.  Grueling and intense, the training showed both strength and weaknesses; we took the appropriate notes and are working to address any shortfalls and adopt and adapt our new skills to improve pre-existing.  The relatively soft existence of modern America makes it easy to fall into the somnambulant trap of acquiescing to the easy flow of modernity and become the shackled and groomed subjects of the state we are today.

It is one thing to have the tools.  All of us know the mall ninjas and 5.11 clad paramilitary thugs-in-training whose moral compass is the cinematic musings of their favorite psychopath and the propensity to see violence as the solution to every problem, especially those chosen by the state: drugs, illegal weapons, brown people from south of the border, you name whatever the government media parakeets have squawked into their heads that stuck to the government school manipulated frontal lobe.  What distinguishes these worthies from the Porcupine Committee we represent is the initiation of force.  Whether cops or the aforementioned militant shamblers, they represent the brown shirt contingent that not only populates the forces of darkness in police departments and Federal Law Enforcement Agency (FLEA) enclaves across the fruited plain but in the minds of the usual suspects you may meet on occasion at the range.  The bevy of trucks sporting stickers supporting this or that Grand Old Politburo nincompoop or supporting the nation’s largest gun prohibition organization, the National Rifle Association.  In addition to the almost tearful support of the War on…Everything.

Those of us on the side of light who embrace the Non-Aggression Principle and KYFHO must tend to both our tools and our skills.  The Japanese evolved over centuries to match the tow to perfection whether it was open-hand, sword or bow. The skill was a salute and honor to the keenly crafted tools they employed.  If you have a Lee-Enfield and you train handily and with care and attention to the rifleman’s skill, in most circumstances you will prevail over the less skilled but better equipped mall ninja whose AR platform may make it weigh twice as much as it should be adorned with all the latest fancy gadgetry that makes it look like a Star Wars stage prop.

These are illusory times because we are heading into the philosophical badlands in America where millions will swoon to the swan song of patriotism and flag waving that will accompany the USS America as she struggles to stay above the waves.   The iceberg she has run into was made in the USA since economic calamity is one of our prime manufacturing bases and an export we are sending out to the world like a virus.

Train like your life depends on it. Because it does.

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

– Thomas Jefferson quotes

Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com

 

 

 

 

Publisher’s Note: The staff of Zero Gov is taking tactical training this weekend and Chris has helped us fill the gap to provide some terrific ruminations on freedom and liberty in our absence.  Enjoy!

“There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root”


-Henry David Thoreau

There are two ways to motivate humans, or any animal for that matter. The carrot or the stick. It’s that simple, reward, or pain. Profit or violence. Religion can even be broken down in a similar fashion, heaven or hell, salvation or doom. Providing you believe in hell. I do not personally believe in hell, because I do not believe in using the stick. I have a five month old German Shepherd that I train using reward based training. Now, I am no professional dog trainer, but she has responded very well to this training. She listens very intently to me, because there might be a piece of chicken breast in it for her. Is this wrong? Or, is my dog greedy? Of course not; not only is she not greedy, she does not recoil in fear when a human reaches down to pet her.

One has to ask then, why are we still using violence to motivate people, if rewards work so much better? Why is every government on this planet still using force, or the threat of force to provide services? Wouldn’t a system based on rewards work better to provide people services?

I have had many conversations with statists who get disgusted with me when I even mention market, or reward based solutions to solve problems. I’m always perplexed by this, because wouldn’t they be, by default, supporters of violence? I just don’t get why people are so afraid of free market based solutions. If you claim to be peaceful, and non-violent, which I’m sure most folk claim, and then you contradict yourself by supporting the current system. I have had people say they can’t support the system I propose for many various reasons. Sometimes many are very righteous in their responses. I always ask them, “If my system was based on the violence or the threat of violence would you support it”? The answer has always been no. Of course the follow-up question is “then why do you support this system”?

Are people so naive to think that because they are removed from the violence, it is not happening? The only way the government stays funded is through the threat of force. The government is force. The government is immoral, and it is founded in violence. No one can debate this fact. If this is not the case, stop paying your taxes and see what happens. If the system was not compulsory it would crumble by tomorrow. The reason it would crumble, is because the free market would be far superior to violence-based solutions.

We self-government advocates are trying to win hearts and minds. I will tell you where I have had success in persuading some to see that our current system is immoral. First of all, DO NOT mention market-based solutions! Only focus on pointing out the gun in the room. Get them to see that violence is the foundation of our government. Break it down to the basics, but don’t insult their intelligence. If they are rational thinkers, they will see it. Once they get it, they will start asking questions. This is where you would naturally start to talk about free market solutions, don’t! Turn it around on them. Let them be the ones to come up with solutions. If they are able to put you on the defensive, they will think they have “won” don’t let it turn into a debate. As I have stated, it’s the carrot or the stick. Let them be the ones to come up with carrot-based solutions. It’s the only solution left.

My cousin and his beautiful new bride came to visit my wife, and I a couple of months ago. He is a towering intellectual, and a force (no pun intended) to be reckoned with. He is a principled thinker who wants world peace. A very worthy goal, indeed. I want self-government. We had a great conversation. I told him the only way to world peace is through self-government. Any other way is immoral. In any government, if I cannot opt out, if I cannot say no, that system is based in violence.

“There is no road toward peace; peace is the road”


-Mahatma Gandhi

 


“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

One Friday summer evening about 5 years ago I arrived home from work to find an arrest warrant in my mailbox. Puzzled as to what this could be, I got pretty worried. I was dirty, and tired from work. I remember it being around dusk, or later which would have put me at work for about 14 hours that day. My wife and I talked about it, and decided since it was Friday, we would wait until Monday morning to figure this out. No sense in sitting in the pokey all weekend. Besides, if it was that important, they know where I live.

Monday morning I called my job to tell them I would be late, that there is some kind of misunderstanding down at the sheriff’s office I needed to straighten out. I arrived at the sheriff’s office, warrant in hand. I handed it to the deputy, he checked it out and told me I was in violation of a new county “code” I had an unregistered truck in my driveway that was not covered by a vehicle cover. Speechless, I just stood there as he continued to tell me that since it was such a new “code” it has not received classification on exactly what kind of crime it should be. He informed me it was an automatic class 4 misdemeanor. He said that it wasn’t that bad. Yeah, that made me feel better. I was just stunned; the state was trying to turn me into a criminal!
He then told me if it was covered by the court date the charges will be dropped. I had a feeling he had said this schtick before. I asked him what would happen if I didn’t show up. He told me there would be a warrant for my arrest. Wow! I had to pinch myself!

This all started because my buddies truck blew an engine, and I was trying to source him  one to install in my driveway. This particular make and model makes it hard to find a motor. So it sat for a couple of months. The tags died on it and some bureaucrat just happen to be spying on the good people of my neighborhood and happened to see the dead tags. Me being me, I did not want to comply with this madness! But, my wife told me to just do it, so we can get this out of the way. So I covered the truck the day before court, cussing the entire time. And yes I took pictures.

On the way to the historic Spotsylvania Courthouse, which sits on hallowed ground, I could not help but think justice will be done this day. After all this fine Virginian guardian of justice will surely put an end to this tyranny, right? My “case” was called, and there I met my accuser. Some lady who I had never met was now accusing me of breaking the “law”. Chest out, and feeling good, I proudly handed the judge the pictures, and the receipt for the vehicle cover. He then looked at the date on the receipt and asked me if I had bought it last night, I responded yes. He looked at the code enforcing bureaucrat, and asked her if she had physically seen the cover on the truck. She responded no. He then informed me I was guilty for “not complying fast enough” grasping to find words, I spoke up “you honor; I do not have a record”. He scowled at me “I don’t care”. I swung around to look at my wife, and she was just as shocked as me! I tried once more, “your honor, I was informed by the officer if I complied by the court date, it would be dropped”. He responded “we have no witnesses”.

I have since forgotten what the fine was. I think it was about $200 total including court costs. I sit here years later thinking about this, and how I was essentially pleading with another man not to take my property. I have a misdemeanor on my record because some faceless county tyrants jotted something down on some paper. They made a “code” to tell me what to do with my property, on my property. If I did not comply with this “code” they somehow had some right to my property.

I sit here now, and think about how I called this man honorable. Then I think about how I had to rise for this man.  This man who I thought was a fair arbitrator of justice, had extorted me. I made a vow to myself right then and there. I will never rise for another man in a robe ever again! This man that sits above you in the court room, like he is your god. Why do we have to rise for these lawyers in dresses? Are they better than us? Do they not breathe the same air as us? Better yet, ask yourselves this question. Is this the justice system of free men? Free humans and those who claim a higher power. Your allegiance is to yourself and your creator. Not to the state! Participate in a little civil disobedience, rise for the judge no longer. Stop worshiping your false god, the state.

“Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men.”

~ Mortimer Adler

 


“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-Benjamin Franklin

I used to think that quote was true. I was not willing to give up anymore of the very few liberties I have left. I would rather take my chances and live in the woods than graze in the pasture. In order to believe that quote, you have to assume that liberty means you are unsafe, and that the state can provide safety. Well, I just don’t believe that at all anymore. I believe there is a better way, I believe that free market solutions to safety, and security could be superior to the “safety” the state claims to provide.

In the system we have now all kinds of taxes are paid to provide you with so-called security. Taxes, that if left unpaid, could result with armed thugs showing up at your door, and taking you to a cage(or maybe worse). Let us start with law enforcement. First, you have to understand the police have no duty to protect you. They can forcibly extract their salaries, pensions, and benefits from you, in the form of “law” or “code” infractions, but they have no duty to protect. Why would we even look to these thugs for security? They are the ones holding us at gunpoint! Those that don’t think there is a better way are hopelessly lost.

So, what would happen in a voluntary society? Who or what could provide security in this arena? Well, maybe some kind of private security company could provide better service. These companies could offer personal security full time or part time. It could offer security while dad is away on business, or while the children wait at the bus stop. It could offer security to the young bartender driving home late at night. It could offer crime prevention,  and as the market became full of these companies the price for service would become better and better. In the current system, if your rights are violated who is held accountable? Shouldn’t the police be? Why not, you are paying for them! In a free market system, the company that is contracted to provide you security could be held liable to give some sort of restitution.

I read countless stories about trigger happy cops getting off scott free for murder. So, not only are these men taking your money at gunpoint, sometimes they are pulling the trigger.  In a free market system, men would be held accountable for their actions, and would have to suffer the consequences. Basically, you better be sure that you are in the right when the trigger gets pulled. Also, what happens when the cop is found to be wrong? Often times the jurisdiction where the cop resides will have to pay damages. Where does the jurisdiction gets it’s money? That’s right, the taxpayer. Here’s the kicker, if the officer goes to jail, you are paying for that too! Yeah, great system.

OK, lets say in a voluntary system we (as in the individuals residing on this land mass) were under invasion. What would we do then? First, let’s look at this logically. If we had no government, which would mean no regulation, we would have some pretty cool armament! You people think we have cool guns now? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! So, we would already have 1-up on the enemy. With regulation out of the way, not only can we build ’em, we could use ’em.  Second, with the security theater that was law enforcement out of the way sovereign individuals are taking their security a little more serious. Maybe in this voluntary society, 70% of the country is trained on some kind of firearm. If you were a general, would you send your army up against 200 million well armed marksmen? Not to mention the network of private militias, and private security companies that are charged with the protection of their clients. I really don’t see this as being a big problem, though. One more deterring factor for foreign invasion, these countries will be too busy putting down insurrections in their own countries once their people see the shining example of non-coercive, voluntary society coming from the west.

Liberty and security can live together after all. Security because I can choose what level of security is fit for me; liberty because I wasn’t forced to.

“The pursuit of coercive power over others will someday be universally recognized as a symptom of profound mental illness.”

— L. Neil Smith

Publisher’s Note: We launched the Zero Gov Forum less than a week ago and the response has been overwhelming.  I wanted to thank everyone for the honor bestowed upon us.  On another note, most of the Zero Gov staff will be on the range for four days for a shooting class so posting will be scarce until Monday. -BB

 


I would like to dedicate this essay to my wife, Lilo, who has home-schooled four children and inspired the homeschooling of countless others.

“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”

– Bertrand de Jouvenel

There are many reasons people choose to home-school that run the gamut of the political spectrum from the Left to Right.  I would daresay that most homeschoolers are Christian.  I suspect that far more people homeschool and hail from a right leaning perspective.   We are in the minority as secular homeschoolers who teach from a curriculum of traditional canons in whole texts and mastery of Latin.  We are in an even smaller minority in that we are not neoconservative Republicans cheering on the crusade to make war on the world to make it safe for whatever we have in store for it as a country.

As a family, we don’t seek to replicate government school at home but use the advantage of one on one tutorship to advance learning and make the children more self taught and able to master their own compass in where they want to be in their school career.  While we are sympathetic to certain aspects of unschooling, we remain completely unconvinced that children are competent and capable to know what life skills and learning they require to become free moral agents in adulthood able to captain their own destinies.

While I would certainly characterize our family as philosophically anarchist, we cast a skeptical eye at those libertarians who consider parenthood a form of child abuse and that all childrens’ rights should match those of seasoned adults.  Any responsible parent knows this is a flirtation with disaster.

How compatible is home-schooling with the advancement of a liberty embracing philosophy?  There is no other way it will happen.  Hitler is reputed to have said that if I have your child from age seven, I will have him for life.  I recall watching the brilliant Ang Lee film, Ride With the Devil, and one of the protagonists insists that the Yankee insistence on opening schools immediately after occupation during the War of Northern Aggression  is the beginning of the end.  One could suppose that without government domination of schools from pre-school to post-graduate studies in America; our political landscape would look considerably different.  K-12, quite simply, is a mind laundry to convince the hapless students that the government is the sine qua non of all civilizational advancement and no other view will be tolerated punctuated with the sound of periodic Pavlovian bells so they shamble to the next exercise in statist adulation.

Need evidence?  Spend the day with your child in a government school and have the misfortune of perusing the stacks in the library.  Talk to the teachers and the staff.  It will prove to you that an education degree is probably one of the most useless degrees granted in the history of university education next to the degree programs that give doctorates to the likes of Paul Krugman.  Government has truly turned the education of students at all levels into a university instead of a hetero-versity that respects different conclusions and opinions outside of the accepted government supremacism discourse.  It breeds one outcome – obedience to the state.

If we seek to create a society that is based on decentralized anarchist principles embracing the notions of voluntarism, persuasion, peaceful interchange, free markets and adherence to a non-aggression principle then homeschooling or deregulated community schools catering to these vagaries is a vital part of the program to rebuild our societies.

You cannot build a house of freedom if all the workers are slaves.

Spontaneous order cannot be centrally planned.  The entire education structure in America is based on a Soviet-style model of central planning laced with political objectives that prize compliance and obedience above learning first and foremost.  This system can never be changed and must be abolished.  Historically, the modern school system is a little over a century old and it has proven to be perfectly compatible with creating subjects and absolutely deadly to thinkers.  Students in university systems here succeed in spite of the obstacles put in front of them pedagogically and cognitively.  The hurdles are enormous.

There a number of formidable obstacles to homeschooling outside of the need for a single income stream from one working parent and the additional burden of still paying property taxes that are freighted with the costs of the government “gun-run” schools in your district.  The commitment is huge on the part of the parent who remains home to teach and to do so for the fourteen years we have is even more difficult.  It is worth it because if the idea of teaching your children well is the goal of good parenting, then the government schools will always run a distant second.  The gun-run schools are literally turning your children into the mindless and shambling drones you run into every day at the mall, in town or in a restaurant bordering on illiteracy and innumeracy making them vulnerable to the statist swan-song of surrendering their liberty for security.  This is drummed in to them every waking hour.

Homeschooling is one of the ways to pave the way for a free society; otherwise, you have not only surrendered your responsibility to your children but have forfeited any future chance at freedom they may have.

“The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive [sic] citizens.”
~ H. L. Mencken