13 May How Can We Allow This?
Rolling Stone published some of the the ‘kill team’ photos from Afghanistan. They are extremely graphic.
Stop reading this site, head over there, and look at what you and I are allowing to be done in our names.
Rolling Stone published some of the the ‘kill team’ photos from Afghanistan. They are extremely graphic.
Stop reading this site, head over there, and look at what you and I are allowing to be done in our names.
I would urge you to reconsider your recent veto of HB271, “AN ACT REVISING THE LAW RELATED TO THE OFFENSE OF CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON; PROVIDING THAT THE LAW DOES NOT APPLY TO A PERSON WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO POSSESS A HANDGUN UNDER STATE OR FEDERAL LAW; AND AMENDING SECTION 45-8-317, MCA.”
As you wrote, House Bill 271 would allow anyone “eligible to possess a handgun under state or federal law” to carry a concealed weapon, without a permit. You fail to note, however, that carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is already legally permitted in much of the state: Montana’s concealed carry laws apply within the official boundaries of a city or town or the confines of a logging, lumbering, mining or railroad camp. In these cases, law enforcement is already deprived of the opportunity to make any determination regarding the suitability of responsible adults to make their own decisions regarding firearms.
Furthermore, I find the assertion that this bill would “greatly imperil the work and safety of Montana’s lawmen” juvenile and ridiculous. Indeed, under current law, county sheriffs are responsible for issuing concealed weapons permits, and it is unsurprising that they and the associations which represent them would oppose efforts to cede this authority. However, those who would imperil the work and safety of Montana’s lawmen are unlikely to be overly concerned with laws regarding the carrying of concealed weapons. This bill would not put guns into the hands of dangerous scofflaws: such people will choose to carry regardless of the laws in place.
HB 217 would not, as you say, remove the Sheriff’s authority and discretion to issue or deny concealed weapons permits. Under Montana Code Annotated 45-8-321, county Sheriffs retain their authority to issue permits to carry concealed weapons. Nor does HB 217 dismantle any “reasonable regulations” or void Montana’s reciprocity agreements with other states that recognize concealed carry permits, or void the laws that allow Montana permit-holders to forgo the background checks required for firearms purchases. As is the case in Arizona and Alaska, Montana would continue to issue permits to carry concealed weapons specifically for purposes of continuing Montana CCW permit holders to enjoy the benefits of reciprocity and to continue to forgo background checks as they do now. These permits would be issued by county Sheriffs, as they are now. In fact, HB 217 leaves 45-8-321 completely unchanged!
In closing, you urge the sponsors of the bill to “consider the absurdity of the standard set forth in HB 217.” This standard does not, would not and should not apply to driver’s licenses, pilot’s licenses, building permits, or hunting licenses. Nor is the standard of personal responsibility ‘absurd.’ What is absurd is your lack of understanding of the relationship between HB 217 and 45-8-321, your blatantly false statement regarding the peril of Montana’s lawmen, and the false equivalence you draw between HB 217 and driver’s licenses.
Governor Schweitzer, you disappoint me, and you have lost my support forever.
I will be a guest on Ernie Hancock’s show today live from 1200 to 1400 AZ Time. You can tune in here:
Ernie is the creator of the Ron Paul Love-alution logo and has been a prominent liberty Freddom Fighter for over two decades. I have the pleasure of his friendship and we have even been to the Range together (that is Church in certain partsd of the Inland West).
While I am a mote in the Liberty universe, he is a force of nature there. -BB
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? . . .”
– Alexandr Solzhenitzyn “The Gulag Archipelago,”
There is no larger tangible threat to liberty and freedom than police. During the “Arab spring” around the world this year and last, the dictators and rulers always sent their police and security forces after protesters and citizens alike to “restore order” which is a nice way to say retighten the cuffs and fetters in the feedlot. People often talk of the political threat to freedom and liberty as the sin qua non of the entire fetid system of government. The usual suspects gripe about the absence of responsible statesmen and politicians. Much like limited government, these people have not and will never exist but the police forces are the “law enforcers”. They are the water carriers and virus transmitters for the government meme that has enslaved and maimed and killed millions in the last few centuries. The police at every level from local to state to federal fulfill one primary goal – to threaten, fine, cage, maim and kill free citizens.
A quick aside: Malum in se laws are the acknowledged evil of initiated aggression against person or property such as rape, murder or theft. Malum prohibitum are the majority of laws in tax jurisdictions (nation-states) around the world. These are characterized by the War on Drugs, tax compliance and a myriad of other forms of armed robbery and abuse the government has institutionalized. The lion’s share of what cops do support the latter and very little of the former. By its very nature, police forces don’t prevent crime and for the most part are historians who arrive at the scene of a crime after the fact. Police forces in these united States serve two primary functions: first, assessment of fines for non-crimes like speeding and drunk driving to increase revenue to the state above and beyond the dozens of taxes imposed on the citizens and second, the snaring and capture of subjects who have violated one of the hundreds of thousands of laws and regulations that darken the American dream every day. The increased militarization of police forces, the self-selected bullying archetype attracted to the job and the propagandized cop fetishisms that are vomited out of the government-media-education complex on an hourly and daily basis make for a wicked brew of brutality, sadism and a systematized revulsion of individual rights. All police and “justice system” functions will only be effective if divorced from the government and privatized. Which brings us to officer safety.
This is the notion that in any police encounter in America, the citizen’s rights are always subservient to that of the cop. As a matter of fact, the citizen’s life is of less value in the court system and the cops will overwhelmingly be vindicated by the state apparatus and the robed government employee in the courtroom. The courtroom is that special place in America where the only private citizen other than the defendant may be his attorney if he hired one; otherwise, it is an isolated cocoon of idolatry to the state where the worship of government power is at its most pure. It is the junction of force and self-satisfied sanctimonious self-congratulation on keeping civilization intact. That is the story-book version when in reality it is the kingpin of the barbarism and unbridled savagery of the government. The sanctified hall where “justice” is meted out to the unlucky five million plus (jailed, on probation and parole) presently ensnared in the prison-industrial complex the government is so proud of.
Officer safety is not only the mantra of the police but all their cheerleaders in the government education system and the media. How many old ladies and gentlemen, pregnant women and children do we have to see brutalized to finally come to our senses and see the crimes committed for what they are? How many times have we heard the cop say he felt threatened? How many times has the wonderful technology of cameras shown that cops lie a lot? Those of you who have had the misfortune of being pulled over for a revenue violation on the highway see that the cops are quite literally dressed to kill yet are in one of the safest professions in the country. Fisherman and loggers are far more likely to die on the job than cops and a significant number of cops die in high-speed pursuits along with the people they kill during the chases. So the noises about the dangers of the job are highly overrated. There have been many explanations for why cops can literally get away with murder. Search the ‘net and watch the thousands of videos of police mistreatment and brutality visited on citizens every day. For every cop behind bars, thousands roam the streets with impunity despite documented records of brutality. Even in England.
The keenest explanation is none of the above. The reason they get away with the wonton and rampant misbehavior and brutality is that without them the government would collapse. Every institutional bias in the state speaks to the protection and coddling of the Praetorian Guard that keeps them afloat. Without the violent armed men in official costumes, no one would comply with the manifest and malicious foolishness of government interferences in their lives on a daily basis. If it weren’t for cops and tax collectors, America and, for that part, the world would be free. The Thin Blue Line is actually the Thin Red Line, the demonstration project that all objection and resistance to government occupation and force will be met with extreme violence and mayhem. The Red Line also signifying the Keepers of the Collectivist Flame maintaining the sacred order of government force and coercion. This is why the police are insured the sacred protection that allows them to maim and kill if they “feel” threatened and get away with it.
Officer safety is the reminder that government officials are more equal than others. All professions come with risks but the police are a special case because without their warrant for the use and initiation of force against others, our government and governments around the world would collapse because citizens would be able to ignore malum prohibitum laws with impunity. Civil disobedience would have a real effect and non-compliance, a peaceful endeavor, could not be stopped with bloody violence.
Every time that armed state official walks up to your car in pursuit of raising revenue for his masters, he is poised to maim and kill you if he wishes. Whether using the trumped up charges of “a furtive movement” or “resisting arrest”, the departments will find a way to keep their costumed & armed tax-eaters protected. They will be back on the streets to terrorize and cow more citizens into submission. That is their charter. The apprehension and detention of real criminals (malum in se) is but a small part of the enterprise.
To protect and serve, indeed – the government.
“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air — that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.”
– H. L. Mencken
Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com
He’s noble enough to know what’s right
But weak enough not to choose it
He’s wise enough to win the world
But fool enough to lose it
Is it safe to go out and be Americans again?
This morning I woke up to hear that the man that kept my family and I in a constant state of fear is dead. Osama Bin Laden was killed during a commando raid somewhere in Pakistan. Hooray! We got him! Finally, after all of these long years, living in a perpetual state of terror is over! Does this mean we can check out at Wal-Mart without Janet Napolitano lecturing us? Does this mean that we can travel without being molested by government agents? Does this mean some patriotic country singer will try and capitalize on this good news? Man, I sure hope so!
I had a voice mail when I woke up this morning, it was my brother. He is ten years younger than I am, and does not think the way I do. He said, “Chris, check the news, it’s about Bin Laden! WE killed his ass!” I thought to myself that “we,” well, that implies me, and I killed no one. I mentioned the word “we” in the first paragraph quite a bit, because it just seems to be engrained in our minds. Exactly what does “we” mean? When my brother said “we” he was referring to the US Government. I am not part of the US Government, and neither is he. Sure, agents claiming to be from the Government steal our money to fund themselves, but does that make us a part of it? If some gang of thugs came to your home and robbed you, would you say “we” robbed my house when you reported the crime to the police? Of course not! So why does everyone use the word “we” when referring to the US Government, or any branch of the Government, including the Army?
The mainstream media is now reporting there might be some “terrorist” retaliation due to the killing of their mastermind, Osama. I’m a little confused here. When he was alive we had to constantly be in fear for our lives, but now that he is dead, it might be worse? Well shoot, maybe “we” should not have killed him. It seems “we” are damned if “we” do, and damned if “we” don’t.
I wonder something: will the same people that say “we” when referring to the killing of Bin Laden, still claim “we” when referring to “collateral damage”? Will these same people that group themselves in with murderers and thugs, still take responsibility for killing children, and other humans? Will they take responsibility for the fact that “we” have made many more “terrorists” with the killing of innocent humans? Those that group themselves in the “we” category, ask yourself this question. If an occupying force killed your family, what would you do?
I will not give any details about Osama Bin Laden’s killing. I am not a MSM reporter, and I will leave the propaganda up to them. I am only a country boy with an opinion. I will leave you with this thought: those that say “we got him!” should go to your computers, use your favorite search engine, and type in Middle East collateral damage, then look at the pictures and say to yourselves: “WE shot them!”
To all of those that say “we,” know this: you do not include me.
“If we are to fight, we are a few. If we are to die we are many.”
–Crazy Horse (Teton-Lakota)
Publisher’s Note: Kaiser has penned an elegant and abbreviated jeremiad on why the production of Obama’s BC is not only irrelevant but in the end more distraction from the real problem. Whether Obama or whatever his name is hails from Hawaii, Palookastan or is a Manchurian candidate from the Soviet Union’s last political gasp; it simply does not matter. The real question is how the office retains any legitimacy whatsoever. The President is nothing more than the Tax Collector-in-Chief for his tax jurisdiction. The pomp and circumstance that surround the office and all the tentacled bureaucracies has one objective: maintenance of power through the vampiric expropriation of wealth and means of its subjects coupled with a government media complex to provide psychic cover for mass theft and extortion. Citizenship is not a privilege, it is the means to establish that poor sap’s eligibility to be fleeced, fined, jailed, maimed and killed by his tax jurisdiction. The very locus of the entire controversy, the birth certificate, is nothing more than a government registration of a taxpayer at birth. A brilliant but diabolical system. -BB
Barack Obama has released his long-form birth certificate. You should download it as a historical curiosity, if you are interested in such things.
What you should not do is dissect that birth certificate, looking for errors. What you should not do is to insist that the darkened numeral ‘1’ or the PDF inconsistencies or the color of the background offer proof, or even suspicion, that Mr Obama should not be permitted to hold the office of President of the United States of America.
You should not do these things because they do not matter. Barack Obama’s citizenship or lack thereof is a moot point. In the last decade, there was talk of amending the constitution so that citizens born in other countries could be president; the intention was that Arnold Schwarzenegger would make an ideal Republican candidate.
In the last election, John McCain’s legitimacy as a presidential candidate was also in doubt. McCain was born in Panama, which is not a State of the Union. Congress declared him to be an acceptable candidate despite this, with the reasoning that the founders would never have intended to prevent the children of servicemen born abroad from holding office. They made no statement as to the founders’ intentions regarding the presence of servicemen abroad to produce such children.
Every one of these men, and every other born in history, has exactly as much right to rule as you and I do: none. Whether Obama or Schwarzenegger or McCain or Queen Elizabeth happened to be born on this continent, within some arbitrary geographic boundaries, has absolutely no bearing on whether it is right for them to decide whether how you ought to live.
In days of old, there were rules regarding the taking and keeping of slaves. Today, we recognize slavery as an unnecessary wrong, and those rules have no bearing. It’s not that we take slaves and then treat them according to certain rules: it’s that we simply don’t take slaves any more, because slavery is wrong. The prospective slave owner’s legal claims are meaningless, because we recognize that no individual can own another.
The office of President, and the existence of government, are similarly legitimate. The debate over Obama’s birth certificate, or McCain’s, or the amendment for Schwarzenegger, is akin to arguing over when a slave may be bought or sold and how he must be treated. Whether existing laws are changed, or President Obama was born in Honolulu or Kenya or Moscow, whether the founders intended that people like John McCain ought to be allowed to be President, is meaningless, if we agree that the government itself is completely illegitimate.
“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
– Robert Heinlein
Whenever the word Anarchy is whispered it is accompanied by thoughts of Molotov Cocktails, hooded punk youth, and general chaos. I can understand these thoughts, at one point in my life I was the skateboarding punk “Anarchist” who actually had no idea what the principles of Anarchy were. I also was not a very polite young man, and I had no problem proclaiming very loudly my “beliefs” to people who did not necessarily want to hear them. My view of Anarchy back then is very much at odds with the actual principles of Anarchy, but my views were right in line with the public’s view of the ideology. I just wanted to bring the whole rotten structure down, regardless of what system, or non-system rose up in its place. However, I am also of the impression that Statists also try and tarnish the idea of Anarchism the best that they can. There are documented reports of law enforcement officers dressing up in the standard “anarchist” garb and causing ruckus at public events. Heaven forbid the public ever find out the “State” is just a huge scam, and in fact, the biggest ever.
There are a couple of different traditions in the Anarchist school thought; I most closely follow the individualist flavor of Anarchism. I believe the individual can claim sovereignty over himself, and his claim should be recognized, and respected. I believe I have supreme authority over myself, and the property I claim as mine. Any form of government that puts me at odds with my beliefs I consider immoral. I do not believe man or any group of men has “rights” or “powers” that would violate my own claims. I do not believe man or group of men can take what I claim to be mine for any reason, even if they think it might “benefit” me.
I recently listened to a debate between an Anarchist, and a Libertarian. The debate was very interesting to say the least. The two men spent almost the whole time debating the principles of the ideologies they claim to represent. The Anarchist was claiming individual self-ownership, and that was his principle. He stated no entity has the moral right to violate his claim. The Libertarian claimed that a group had the “right” to usurp his claim of individual self-ownership for the benefit of all. The Libertarian gave the example of defense, and that 7 out of 10 men had the “right” to make decisions that would essentially affect the hypothetical 10 out of 10. In one example, the Libertarian claimed the individuals that made up the group right to self-ownership was violated if the individual who lived in “their” society did not want to pay for defense, but “benefitted” from the “security”. The Libertarian made the claim that the Anarchist was in fact stealing for not paying his fair share. At one point in the debate the Libertarian made the claim that it was the fault of the Anarchist for not siding with the libertarian to stop the Statists. He never stopped to realize HE is the Statist! I will not go into a rant on how absolutely absurd this line of thinking is, and how reckless and dangerous it has proved to be throughout history. I am not writing this essay for that purpose.
I am here to tell you that it is absolutely crucial for the mere idea of Anarchy to live on. Even if an Anarchistic society is never achieved, the idea must never be forgotten. It is the anchor to the ship of Statism. It is the only true remedy for the disease of Government. If the world is plagued by the parasites of the State, what other than Anarchism would be the solution? You don’t get rid of cancer with more cancer. You don’t get rid of Big Government using “Small Government” Libertarians. Sure maybe some libertarians may say, “not on my watch”, but can they promise that for their grandchildren’s generation? Think about it like this, if the idea of Anarchism didn’t exist, where would libertarians pull their ideas of freedom from? Themselves? Absurd! Their principles when broken down to the core are identical to the most rabid Statists! So Anarchists that read this, keep your heads up! You do the world an immeasurable amount of good by simply sharing your principled beliefs with others. I will promise you this, as long as I can speak my mind, I will question theirs! I will try my best to be as principled as can while passing on these ideas. I take comfort in the fact that the idea of pure liberty cannot be extinguished, it is a human condition.
“It is the conservative laissez- fairist, the man who puts all the guns and all the decision-making power into the hands of the central government and then says, ‘Limit yourself’; it is he who is truly the impractical utopian.” -~Murray Rothbard
Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
– Groucho Marx
“…and he loved big brother.” Orwell’s chilling first line to 1984.
I have written before about the impossibility of limited government. Let us make sure our terms are correct. Government is any entity that attempts to monopolize the use of force and reserves first use of same to itself. They make noises about consent but this is simply window-dressing to keep the animals in the feedlot from feeling oppressed or taken advantage of. Their variants range from communism to socialism to democracy. The first two, at least, are honest in their intentions of ballooning government oppression to proportions common in history but democracy is probably the biggest and most dangerous sham when it comes to governance. While the usual bugbears of collectivism make themselves manifestly evident in terror-states like the USSR and Communist China, the Western democracies make Orwell proud. The pastiche of 1984 and Brave New World come to the fore in Europe and America. Here in the land of the unfree and home of the formerly brave, the huge Federal leviathan is helmed by telegenic Presidents whose claim to fame is the ability to speak (George Bush?) in platitudes and illiterate homilies to the joys of government intervention and using the state as the means to empty your neighbors pockets and, magically, the pockets of the unborn through non-consensual deficit spending. Boasting the highest corporate income tax and capital gains rate in the galaxy, America continues to run up mountains of debt and oceans of red ink in pursuit of …bigger government. In addition, we are afforded the opportunity to spend countless billions and trillions maiming and murdering tens of thousands of men, women and children overseas in the name of liberation and advancement to the joys of democracy (God help them…).
Take a breath because I am about to insult most of my readership and increase the volume of my hate-mail.
If you believe in limited government, you are no different than the Communist Party apparatchiks or the socialists or even the Democrat Party or Grand Old Politburo (GOP) members. You all share a common bond with every democidal maniac traipsing through the sordid and bloody history of government on Earth. Whether an active member or simply the usual electronically tethered shambler that makes up most of America, your belief in limited government is a fraudulent assessment of what is going on around you. Limited government never has and will never exist. Whatever the hopes and dreams of the political schemers at the heart of the creation of the new government, usually in the ashes of the last epic government failure, the government will metastasize into a monstrous and bloody-minded giant intent on crushing freedom at every turn and annihilating self-ownership of individuals whenever those unfortunates make their intentions known.
All the Founding Lawyers, even the sainted Thomas Jefferson, were guilty of this tragic delusion that armed strangers must be invested with the power to fine, cage, maim and kill residents of tax jurisdictions (also known quaintly as nation-states) to maintain a just and prosperous society.
So I just arrived from another dimension and know nothing about the formation of societies and Western culture on Earth and the man in the street explains to me why America looks the way it does:
Inter-Dimensional Being (IDB): What is the purpose of government in this country?
American: To make us free and prosperous.
IDB: How is this accomplished?
American: Well, the government sets up rules for us to live by. It seeks to make it fair and equitable for every citizen to attain the American Dream.
IDB: What is that?
American: To get rich and be free and prosperous.
IDB: Do you sign a contract? Can you disagree with the policies of this government?
American: What contract? Sure, we can disagree but we may very well end up in big trouble like fines or jail if we don’t agree with the majority or whatever our elective representatives have done. The only contracts I am familiar with are the ones I have with the cell company or mortgage on my house.
IDB: So if you have a moral disagreement with your government, they will still harass you or worse if you refuse to comply, yet you have signed no contract? On what grounds can they hold you responsible in that way when they do not even have your personal signature?
American: That is just crazy talk, I have to do what the government says or I can get in big trouble.
IDB: Is the government so good with money and resources that you trust it to be financially frugal and make competent decisions?
American: Look, if you have any experience with TSA or the DMV, you know the government can’t find its ass in the dark with five Klieg lights. Hell, you should see the total amount I pay in income, sales and property taxes much less the millions of rules and regulations that strangle my small business on a daily basis.
IDB: The government appears to be no better than organized crime or highwaymen. Who would put up with that?
American: I have to go to work now…
Limited government is a chimera and has never existed anywhere. It is impossible. One may be a happy minarchist libertarian carping on endlessly about returning to the Constitution, placing government within reasonable limits and holding the elected officials responsible through voting but you may as well be a Communist Party USA organizer or teachers union official; you all speak the same language. You are providing the government with all the power it needs by simply acknowledging its rightful existence. Once you fail to question its expansionist nature and participate in endless debates on how to curb the beast, you have lost already.
The question is not how to limit government but simply to take the path to dissolve it, salt the earth where it stood and swear on the blood of your children that you will never let that tragedy happen again.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace in a continual state of alarm (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H.L. Mencken
Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com
Today marks two signal events: the shots heard ‘round the world at Lexington and Concord in 1775 when the formal divorce proceeding by America from the United Kingdom began and the day after the annual deadline every year for paying taxes and tribute to the new King we inaugurated after winning the first Revolutionary war. That King is the Constitution and its administrator is Washington DC and all its political satraps in the states. Mistaken for an instrument to finally limit government, it turned out to be one of the greatest wealth expropriation and mining devices Western man has created. Unlike the failed collectivist experiments in the Communist world, the fascist political model relied on ensuring that the population would always labor under the illusion that what they made, earned and produced was theirs and they simply had to pay their “fair share”. That share eventually ballooned to a peak of 94% in income tax in 1943 and saddled the entrepreneurial engines with the highest corporate income tax in the industrialized world. Of course, a corporate tax is merely an indirect tax on all consumers since it is a cost of doing business passed on in the price.
The other day I was asked what is the ideal tax rate and predictably I said zero because any number above that would increase exponentially as evidenced by ALL history in the Western world. The sheer conceit and hubris of any individuals much less governments that some or all of your earnings are theirs for the taking violates the most sacred principles of self-ownership, the just society and simple virtue. The highwaymen at the Internal Revenue Service bedeck their splendid temple to theft with the noble words that “Taxation is the Price of Civilization”; au contraire, it is the price of servitude and collaboration with evil, it is barbarism, taxation is institutionalized theft and nothing more noble than that.
You should enjoy the following screed. –BB
That no government, so called, can reasonably be trusted, or reasonably be supposed to have honest purposes in view, any longer than it depends wholly upon voluntary support.
~ Lysander Spooner
This essay is an incendiary device. My muse is Wilberforce and the subject is the abolition of the last existing institution of slavery in America — taxation. Like Wilberforce, we may be generations from satisfaction of the dream of the end of the coercive state but if the seed is not planted, the goal will never be realized.
I despise the income tax. I loathe the property, excise, gasoline, sin, estate, capital gains and every other tax. I think the colonists got it backwards, I want representation without taxation. These are often derided as utopian but I would suggest they are dystopian notions. I see no possibility of perfection in this mortal coil, but risk and possible failure are the engines of progress and capitalism invigorates the most powerful economic engine of all — self-interest to serve others. Mises claims “[t]he member of a contractual society is free because he serves others only in serving himself. What restrains him is only the inevitable natural phenomenon of scarcity.”
I think it is loathsome for one man to own another and the involuntary tribute demanded by government is simply another form of owning another man’s wealth and labor. Taxation is the way collectivists practice their compassion by taking their neighbor’s money at gunpoint. It also violates the zero-aggression principle shared by many libertarians. Taxation and slavery have some very close confluences in definition. According to www.investorwords.com, a tax is:
A fee charged (“levied”) by a government on a product, income, or activity. If tax is levied directly on personal or corporate income, then it is a direct tax. If tax is levied on the price of a good or service, then it is called an indirect tax. The purpose of taxation is to finance government expenditure. One of the most important uses of taxes is to finance public goods and services, such as street lighting and street cleaning. Since public goods and services do not allow a non-payer to be excluded, or allow exclusion by a consumer, there cannot be a market in the good or service, and so they need to be provided by the government or a quasi-government agency, which tend to finance themselves largely through taxes.
These words are illustrative but couched in polite terms. Taxes are monies forcibly taken from individuals and whatever other entity they can be drained from by governments or organizations (tax farmers) chartered by governments to extract whatever wealth they can through force and threat of violence. Taxation is theft. James Bovard writes:
“The U.S. Treasury Department defines a tax as ‘a compulsory payment for which no specific benefit it received in return.’ No matter how many taxes a person pays, or what politicians promise, the taxpayer is not irrevocably entitled to a single benefit from the government. The level of taxation is thus a stark measure of government’s financial power over the individual — a precise gauge of the subjugation of the citizen to the financial demands of the state.”
The government has monopolized this enterprise because if you or I go to our neighbor and steal his funds or mug him at gunpoint, we go to jail. If you doubt the power of compulsion, notify the IRS personally that you will no longer pay any more of your income taxes…for life.
It is, frankly, un-American. We are a nation birthed in secession and tax revolt:
“We can now put in historical context Jefferson’s comment that it was good medicine for government to have a rebellion every twenty years or so. In the course of his lifetime there had been almost a dozen rebellions he was acutely aware of. Six were in the United States, starting with the Stamp Act Rebellion and ending with the Fries Rebellion. All of these rebellions, including the American Revolution, were tax revolts of varying degrees of intensity. In Europe, there were a number of tax revolts in the seventeenth century, from the excise revolts in Britain, to the tax-farmer revolts in the Netherlands, to the innumerable revolts and the revolution in France. Again, all were tax revolts. So when Jefferson tells us rebellions are good tonic for government, in his frame of reference he was talking about tax rebellions.”
One of my favorite Presidents (a Democrat, no less), Grover Cleveland, came close to the truth when he said:
“When more of the people’s sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of a free government.”
Mine is a more radical notion. I don’t call for less taxation; I call for zero taxation because every time the government is given any capability to collect taxes, the institution is abused to the point of tyranny and despotism. In 1944—45 under RedDR, we had an effective marginal tax rate of 94% on all income over 200k dollars. Ninety-four percent! You’ll notice Eisenhower was so incensed by this that he immediately reduced it to 92% and graciously doubled the exemption to 400k. Now we have one of our esteemed members of Congress calling for a 90% tax on the wealthy in America. The Mafia could only dream of this magnitude of criminal behavior and subsequent benefit.
Now let’s examine what slavery is: A condition of subjection or submission characterized by lack of freedom of action or of will. It is the choice between submission and threats, fines, jail, maiming or death.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 reads the following definition in Article 4:
Of course, our imperious betters at the United Nations would not deign to conflate this with taxation because they are a nest of interventionists and Marxoid government supremacists. Don’t expect relief from that august body of worthies.
I think even the eminent Frederick Douglass dismissed the allegations of Constitutional marriage to the wretched enterprise of slavery:
“Now, take the constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”
I think we have established that the institutions of slavery and taxation are ideological twins harnessed to the central idea of power, control and ill-earned profit at another’s expense.
So how high is the domestic tax burden in America? The Tax Foundation places Tax Freedom Day at April 23rd when the tax burden is complete. The problem with their calculation is that it is at 30.8 percent effective 2008. My personal estimate is closer to 60%+ of American incomes are consumed by government tribute when all the various and sundry taxes and excises across the nation are counted. It gets worse: James L. Payne, from my hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho, authored a brilliant book called “Costly Returns.” The thesis is simple: we all pay corporate income taxes as an additional cost of doing business as consumers and we all pay for the tax accountancy and regulatory compliance businesses are forced by law to obey. We then pay indirectly for the enormous dislocation of rational resource investment and return dictated through government fiat through this economically illiterate statist interference. Acres and acres and tens of stories of every corporate building devoted to the hidden tax of indirect extraction and compliance with all manner of government absurdity in the Federal Register and its loyal subsidiaries at the state and local level. What some refer to as the “Vampire Economy.”
Henry Hazlitt brilliantly elucidates this misallocation in the “Broken Window Fallacy,” to wit:
“The glazier’s gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new “employment” has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.”
Economics at its most basic fundamentals is the study of the effective use of finite time and resources, and money is merely a medium and a visible signal of allocation. As Mises pointed out in the seminal book, Socialism, in 1920: the state simply cannot take these monies and allocate them rationally absent price signals of end users. Period. Worse still is the sure knowledge of the futility and waste of the stolen funds directed to wasteful, illegitimate or immoral spending through political fiat and favoritism.
So we have discovered that taxes and slavery seek the same end — the involuntary extraction of tribute or labor through the institutional threat or use of violence. Tax slavery is far more insidious than chattel slavery because the illusion of freedom is entertained throughout the entire sordid process and you are to be grateful to the highwayman and pleased with the conduct of the thief.
This is not a recent phenomenon in America. Within two years of the adoption of the Constitution under the unfairly maligned Articles of Confederation, state troops were hither and yon on the American frontier to chase after tax cheats and evaders during Shay’s Rebellion. Tax revolts and disfavor have peppered American history from the founding to the 1930’s Depression Era to the modern day iterations that will soon emerge with a vengeance. There is no history of a government respecting the rights of citizens to retain the fruits of their labors. These tax rebellions have been going on worldwide every year for the past few centuries.
So I am sounding the call not to reduce taxes but to abolish the last vestige of slavery in America. Don’t employ the language of the rulers, call it for what it really is. Slavery.
“When faced with this circumstance, does the State abdicate? It does not. The general lack of interest in production threatens its own existence, but it still cannot divest itself of its inner urge for power. It turns to the use of force to stimulate the production from which it derives taxes. It confiscates and tries to run the entire economy by rules, regulations, controls, and compulsion; the nation becomes a slave-labor camp. But the output of an economy that rests on force rather than on self-interest is meager. More important than lack of production is the slave psychology that such an environment induces. Men lose their capacity for self-improvement along with their sense of individual dignity. Thus civilization disintegrates and becomes an historical or archaeological curio. The State, of course, collapses with the civilization.”
Copyright © 2011 by zerogov.com
For both libertarians and statists, it’s easy to forget that there’s a difference between believing that a thing ought to be done and believing that the State ought to be the one to do it. There’s a similar difference between an ideological opposition to a particular act (in this case, abortion or premarital sex) and a belief that the act ought to be legally, and thus forcibly and violently, prevented. The non-aggression principle means that our personal feelings on the best possible world can’t influence our decision to use force against other people, no matter how strongly we might feel.
Case in point: Politico reports that donations to Planned Parenthood have exploded 500% since a Republican budget amendment stripped the group of its federal funding. The Reddit comments on the situation recognize that this lends credence to the argument that the Federal government doesn’t need to be funding such activities, but most of them lament that fact. Talk of defunding NPR and PBS was met with a similarly vitriolic response.
I don’t see this defunding as a bad thing, for any side of the debate. The social and fiscal conservative voters “get what they want,” in that their tax dollars are no longer spent on these specific activities they might find abhorrent. The libertarians and state abolitionists and anarchists get what we want, because the government is taking less action in general. Those who support the missions of Planned Parenthood and PBS get what they want, because these organizations will no longer be bound by the fetters of government funding, and may instead pursue activities dictated by the will of their private donors.
The losers in this case are the politicians, of all stripes. These minor funding issues constitute a very small part of the Federal budget, but occupy a great deal of the debate. The two factions of our one-party system are able to focus on these minor differences, to make it seem as though they’re fighting great battles against the other faction’s evil desires to fund abortion and non-Christian sex education or to rob women of their reproductive rights and guarantee teen pregnancy. With the debate settled and the ideological elements of the community voting with their wallets, the political class will have to talk about other issues, some of which may be more substantial. That is a good thing.
The fact of the matter is that most of the government’s activities could be similarly defunded. Most social programs, most entitlements, most defense and security arrangements could be taken care of on a purely voluntary basis by willing donors without the graft and overhead imposed by the State’s bureaucracy. Agencies like the TSA may have a harder time finding funding, but that’s because the public doesn’t want the TSA to begin with.
If the government were to undergo a true shutdown and defund all “non-essential” services, the basic decency and generosity of the American public would once again become abundantly clear. Charities and churches and mosques and temples would return to the forefront of human care. Private individuals would be able to see the good their work does in the world directly, rather than griping about tax burdens.
So I rejoice that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, not because their activities will be limited, but because private donations have taken up the slack. I rejoice that we should have such a clear and direct example of the value of cooperation without coercion. I rejoice that the volunteers are winning, and that the bureaucrats are losing. It’s a good thing.