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

 

“I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.”

-H.L. Mencken

Zero Gov now has a forum.  By popular demand and reader emails, we have developed a forum and will be unveiling it today.  The blog has been a terrific vehicle for…a one way conversation.  Mind you, I love the replies and welcome them but the forum will allow readers and editors to be much more interactive. It will allow much more drilling and deep philosophical exchange.

I am hoping that most everyone will channel Socrates and discover that, at times, the questions are more informative than the answers.  We have a variety of boards created and posted now and hope that this will provide the impetus for the creation (or potential elimination) of boards and other areas of interest as traffic and discussions merit.

This is the abolitionist project and we are on the cusp of shifting the paradigm and convincing our fellow humans that ownership of another against their consent is wrong any way you shake it.  As I have mentioned before, Wilberforce started this fight and we will continue the battle against initiated violence and its largest protagonist, government.

I would ask that we conduct ourselves with gentlemanly comportment and keep the insults instead of arguments to a minimum.  We invite every creed and philosophical touchstone into the conversation.

Our tendency is to be non-interventionist freed [sic] market individualists whose influences tend to be Hoppe, Rothbard, von Mises and Spooner so that will most likely be the characteristic meme on the board but I invite the “other” anarchists, minarchists and even government supremacists to come and test your rhetorical mettle. I am hoping this enterprise creates new friends and goes even further to test veracity and philosophical depth of the yen and possibility for a stateless society.

Please visit the forum and see if it suits your fancy.  Be sure to advise us on any recommended changes.

You can access the forum here:  https://zerogov.com/forum/index.php

Or hit the Forum tab at the upper right of the blog.

We will have a drawing at the end of the month from members of the Forum to win a copy of James J. Martin’s seminal book, Men Against the State. The winner will be announced on 1 April 2011.

“People crushed by law have no hope but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous…”

– Edmund Burke

 

Publisher’s Note: The following essay was published two years ago on www.lewrockwell.com and still bears examination today.  I sometimes wonder why Spooner and Tucker, et al, are so unnoticed or purposefully ignored by mainstream historians but their message is clearly not in league with what the court historians wish to transmit as a lesson to the population at large. In the end, if enough recognize that ONLY individuals can possess virtue and groups cannot, it may hasten the end of the violent fiction known as government.

Be sure to watch Stefan Molyneux’s brilliant video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVHpOr5H1PA

On another note, we are getting ready to unveil a forum for Zero Gov where the preternaturally brilliant readership of the blog can cross rhetorical swords with me or any other member of this happy band of brothers.  I am hoping that it becomes a meeting place to challenge and advance the ideas of freedom and liberty in a post-government world.  We will make the formal announcement in the next week when the forum is officially launched. -BB

 

“Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery they may indeed wait for ever.”

~ Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800—1859)

We live in tumultuous times that demand close attention to the yokes being placed on us. The US government is seemingly in the throes of a coup that is exponentially creeping and expanding into what was formerly a fairly autonomous province. Every sector and branch of human transactions that are palpable in this mortal coil is now being subject to regulation, taxation or both. With no authority whatsoever, entire swaths of American society are being subsumed under Leviathan state.

What is the authority or color thereof that these alien entities are gobbling up entire patterns of human existence? I have hinted before that the denizens of Mordor on the Potomac act as if their authority is unlimited and their ultimate reach is anything they please. We are witnessing a vicious brew of Sovietization and Mussolini-style state corporatism that will take a revolution to undo. The annals of Western history are full of this kind of grand hubris enabled by consent both willing and silent on the part of the populace. Humans tend to submit to a yoke or collar when invested with fear and anxiety about futures worse than now. The corpse-count in the twentieth century topped 165 million [this number has been revised by Rummel to 262 million]outside of warfare through democide.

These morbid thoughts seem intemperate measured against the apparently “peaceful” measures of Mordor to instill Keynesian stability and save the banksters from themselves with nary a peep of protest from the appropriately red-colored Grand Old Politburo. If you ever had the notion the parties were different, just look at the seamless transition between Bush II and Obama. The only difference between these monsters is skin color because collectivism is thicker than water. Look at the temptation — you step into the cockpit of the Offal (Oval) Office and decades of creeping totalitarian weeds have strangled and mastered practically every facet of American behavior and life. A simple touch of the controls and hundreds of thousands of subsidiary bureaucrats in the Executive agencies somewhat smoothly respond to the yoke to amp up taxation here and increase regulation there and the heady brew of total power starts to go to the President’s head. One can count on a single hand the number of Presidents who took the limitations on their power seriously (Van Buren, Cleveland and Coolidge among the all-stars). As Royce pointed out in his brilliant but underappreciated book — The Hologram of Liberty — that the Constitution was doomed at the beginning by Hamilton’s curse (Burr did not get to him soon enough) and the temptations of George Washington to start the executive imperial ball rolling (witness the Shay’s and Whiskey Rebellions) against state sovereignty.

The most basic building block for compliance to illegitimate authority is fear. Drivers speed but always take caution if a hint of police presence or the increasingly ubiquitous camera systems are in place. Rare is the libertarian who wants to pay taxes of any stripe but compliance is heeded to avoid fines and imprisonment, or worse. We do not obey because it is the core right thing to do when it comes to most government edicts. I don’t harm my neighbor nor do I steal his property because it is against the law but my inner moral compass best exemplified by the Ten Commandments or the Categorical Imperative provides my azimuth for behavior. I want to eliminate the perennial bugbear that the MSM and government schools drill into the populace — righteous and correct behavior only emanates from government coercion to make you do the right thing. Step back and examine that proposition. Can you think of any government initiatives or programs that not only supported perverse incentives but made you much worse off? I will let you ponder your own answers but they are legion. Just think — the entire Federal Register provides the enterprising social science researcher with a gargantuan solution set to the second- and third-order effects of perverse incentives and iatrogenic effect that animates the entire sordid history of government intervention.

(more…)

“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

William Boetcker

“Indeed, in a free government almost all other rights would become worthless if the government possessed power over the private fortune of every citizen.”

-John Marshall

I issue a standard challenge to everyone within earshot:  show me one government or nation state which became smaller and smaller over time and increasingly less injurious to the freedom and liberty of individuals.  Again, I hear the bleating of the usual suspects on the alleged Right who claim that new-found respect for the Constitution will set everything right and we will all skip down the yellow brick road of the small government paradise known as America.  I will not belabor the details here for I have covered the Constitution abundantly in both essays and speaking engagements to show it for what it is:  a doomsday machine designed to bring maximum government to bear against a helpless citizenry reduced to bondage to the same document.  It is the great centralizer and grants unlimited power of taxation to the overlords in DC at Mordor on the Potomac.  I have championed the Articles of Confederation in the past but even those documents were flawed but certainly gave smaller government a chance.  In the end, limited government and small government never exist for long before metastasizing into enormous machines built for one purpose:  to extract unlimited obedience on pain of caging, maiming and/or death of all persons living within the acknowledged confines of the taxing jurisdiction known as nation-states.  Nothing less, nothing more.  Politicians are neither statesman nor public persons of noble intent; they are simply a self-selected class of psycho/sociopaths whose only agenda is the monopoly of the power to enforce what I just described.  Despite all the court historians and contemporary mouthpieces who sing paeans to government and the denizens who run it, the agenda remains the same: the destruction of individual direction and volition and the harnessing of the captured citizenry to the whims and will of the rulers.  You have been lied to and civics class in the government education system then and now has been a descriptive mechanism to rationalize yoking individuals into the collective hive of the state.

You cannot have a government without willing or unwilling submission of the subjects to the will of the rulers.  There is no historical antecedent or precedent for a government ever staying within the confines of its originating power.  None.  This speaks to my interpretation of the Western exodus in America in the 18th and 19th century.  The court historians talk about the wide open spaces and the frontier mentality.  This was  certainly a component but the main reason was a desire on the part of those sickened by the liberty-crushing Atlantic Constitutionalists to flee from that document and its strangulation of their freedom bit by bit. I can just imagine the two Celt brothers coming to a screaming halt at the  beaches of California, looking over their shoulders and shouting: “Swim! The Constitution is right behind us!”.  Limited government is a legal fiction, a chimera and a cruel and tempting illusion.  It is the same as a belief in unicorns.  Unless I fasten a narwhal tusk to a most displeased horse’s forehead, they have never existed nor ever will (barring genetic engineering advances).  Judging from the behavior of the elected Tea Baggers in the unholy corridors of power of DC, they should ditch the Gadsden and hoist a unicorn bedecked flag. Political action will never reduce the size of government.  The incentives are so perverse to do otherwise that Buchanan’s Public Choice theories come to the fore with a vengeance.  Buppert’s Corollary to Acton’s Axiom is that power attracts the corruptible and absolute power attracts even worse.

Let’s conduct a quick thought experiment:  Washington said that “[g]overnment is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”  Absent the ability to cajole, fine, cage, maim and/or kill, how can government get the voluntary obedience of its citizens?  Would everyone pay the various levels of extortionate taxes imposed voluntarily?  Would they stop for those flashing lights for a speeding violation if compliance were not mandatory?  For without tax agents and police powers, no government would be capable of exacting obedience from the residents of their taxing jurisdictions.  Without regulatory or tax slavery, a government could not function…at all.  They are based on the threat or actual use of violence against EVERYONE.  Because if one, just one individual, (outside of the DC nomenklatura)  got away with not paying taxes or obeying even the most banal of the tens of thousands of laws imposed year after year by the wise men appointed and elected above us, the system would collapse in weeks or months.

Terrorism is defined by Caleb Carr as politically motivated violence against non-combatants and it just so happens that definition is coincident with government behavior at its root and as observed every day.  The dozens of agencies that have a charters or sub-charters to deal with formal terrorism cannot even agree on what that definition is. The War on Terror is a nonsensical enterprise on so many levels but you would think a sober government analyst would realize an honest government would pursue this to self-eradication.  We all know, of course, that an honest government is an impossibility.

If the sheeple got even a glimpse of the reality that is the mechanism that enslaves them, they may be rather upset that they no control over their own own destinies.

The powers that be are fond of pointing to the worst government abuse historically on Earth and making claims of moral superiority, but in the end, while the Communist and National Socialist governments in the twentieth century may have harmed their respective populations and those they subdued through war, at least, we have the moral high ground.   Of course, this is much like a getting an Underachiever Award at a serial killer convention.  The entire system of governance is based on violence and nothing else no matter how noble it is portrayed or how many rose petals litter the dais of the King.

 

Government is de facto and de jure a violation of the non-aggression principle.  It is based on initiated aggression and a hopeful monopoly (on its part) on the use of force.  Witness the literal license to kill granted to cops across the fruited plain who rarely are prosecuted for murder where the apparent evidence is overwhelming.  They must be protected because they are the Praetorian Guard that protects the privileges of the rulers to impose their will upon a humbled and frightened population whose right to self-defense against the armed tax-eaters is non-existent.  Government, by its very nature, violates the most primal and almost instinctive edict of human behavior as codified in all the major religions and secular positivist philosophies:  thou shall not murder.  And as Georg Buchan so ably and succinctly pointed out: “[m]urder begins where self-defense ends”.  In essence, government makes war on its inhabitants on pain of death, ultimately, for non-compliance.  No matter how one views it, it is a violation of everything man should hold decent and valued in a civilized society.  Far from “civilizing” peoples, government is a barbarian meme that seeks to establish that Might is Right and any disobedience will be dealt with violently.  Look at the present troubles in the Middle East and see the obedient government-media complex in America cheer-leading the use of force against protesters to restore order.  Think of it.  In Egypt, they receive the second highest foreign aid amount to include armaments next to Israel:  tanks, aircraft, weapons, artillery, you name it.  Why does Egypt have such value and what are they defending against?  They have tanks for the same reason other Third World nations have tanks:  to grind the disobedient into dust when the people rise up against the privations and abuses visited upon them by their governments.

I am often asked what would happen if government disappeared.  Would we not all be in mortal peril?  I am reminded of reading the Wilberforce antislavery debates in the English Parliament in the 18th and 19th century and the absolute terror in those august Parliamentarians of what would happen when slaves were no longer available to provide certain goods and services.  Eventually, chattel slavery did disappear outside of Africa and parts of the Middle East (it remains there to this day) to be replaced by what some may view as a more refined notion of slavery through taxation and regulation.  In the end, slavery and government are wedded as mutually beneficial devices to ensure each others survival.

Americans live in anarchy everyday and should embrace their inner voluntaryist.  If you are a government supremacist, you are neither an abolitionist nor anti-slavery.  The choice is yours and the belief in limited government is no more viable than believing in ghosts or the Loch Ness monster.  Unicorns are a fiction and government thinks and knows that freedom is a fiction.  Speak truth to tyranny and let government know that you know better and that the emperor has no clothes.

Choose. Choose for yourself.

“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

Update: A much more credible looking Anonymous press release indicates that this was most likely bait for a honeypot set by the WBC. I am pleased by this development -KL

“The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”

-H. L. Mencken

The pastors and parishioners of Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) are not doing God’s work in the world. Were we a society given to dueling, Fred Phelps would find himself quickly outmatched, and the amount of honor in the world would be increased. The WBC consists entirely of the deluded, the greedy, and the evil. Were the men of that congregation to live to search for one another with Geiger counters, I should not be displeased.

money-grubbing Westboro "protestors"

Apparently, God's feelings have changed since I went to Sunday School

The somewhat-organized internet group Anonymous (or, more accurately, a portion of that group) has declared war on the WBC. Were this another group – perhaps, say, one formed specifically to combat the WBC’s actions – that declaration might be laudable. However, in that very same press release, the author refers to Anonymous as the “Voice of Free Speech” –  which would seem to be in contravention to the notion of limiting the activities of these bigots.

The Mencken quote at the top of this post is completely true. Infringement upon the right to speak freely must necessarily begin with restrictions upon speech which is deemed dangerous, subversive, or harmful. Indeed, government restriction of speech would necessarily end there: the definitions of subversive and dangerous would simply have to be expanded. The problem is that once we’ve decided that our rights may be disregarded, it becomes very difficult indeed to regain them. For my part, I do not believe that God hates anyone – even sodomites, warmongers, or people who talk at the theater.

Furthermore, there has already been a rousing, appropriate, admirable and decentralized response to the WBC’s activities. The Patriot Guard Riders, for example, perform a wonderful, non-violent and completely voluntary service in defense of the hearts and minds of the WBC’s targets at funerals. Hemant Mehta over at friendlyatheist.com points to another excellent method for countering the WBC’s protests elsewhere:

This is a picture of gay men kissing

This is a picture of gay men kissing. If ever there was a time and place for PDA, this is it.

As private individuals, the Anonymous members (“Anons”) have the right to do as they please, so long as they do no active violence against the WBC, its property or its members. For my part, I would prefer to see a different tactic undertaken, that which a great many people have chosen on their own, without IT security skills, national organization, or malice: to stand up for what is right, and exercise their own rights to free speech.

The pen is mightier than the sword, and the tongue is sharper. The best way to defeat either is with your own.