"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,...

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.

“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...

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.
“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.  

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. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Apparently, God's feelings have changed since I went to Sunday School[/caption] 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...

“Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” -Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)
So it begins.  The government parasite classes subservient to the political looters in Madison, WI are up in arms because the governor is threatening to make them actually pay for their pensions and benefits.  What has the government workers in lather?  He is trying to take away their socialist collective bargaining rights and wait for it…asking them to pay for part of their pensions and 12.6% of their health care costs.  Egads, a stake in their benefits?  What the unions really need is a stake in their black heart so they can stop exsanguinating their families, friends and neighbors. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="279"] Secretary of Education from Idiocracy[/caption] California is already providing a warning to others but the economic illiterates that make up the hordes of cast members from the epic film Idiocracy known as government school teachers won’t pay attention.  They are much too busy working very few hours for too much money nine months a year turning the nation's children into subservient nincompoops incapable of thinking or fending for themselves. Wisconsin is the canary in the coal mine because this is simply another crack in the edifice.  The wall is going to come tumbling down and tens of thousands of government “workers” are going to get crushed by job loss and worse. Let’s get this straight, Walker is not firing all of them, which he should do; after all, what better way to take care of budget issues than cashiering the whole lot of government school, police and fire dregs?  Then he could reduce the entire budget appropriately to zero and be done with it.  He can turn out the lights on the state criminal conspiracy called government and illuminate a shining example for the rest of the captive nations laboring under the rotting hand of the central government in DC. So the wholesale elimination of government schooling will lead to tens of thousands of uneducated youngsters?  What do we have now under the government education system?  A nation of budding inventors and entrepreneurs?  No, these aspirations are universally condemned in government schools.  What you have are shambling mall lampreys tied umbilically to their various electronic devices all of their waking hours having the quality of life only the dead would envy.  The mind laundries the teachers victimize their caged youth in are rather elaborate Marxoid reeducation camps teaching the young acolytes to worship government supremacism, narc on their colleagues and parents and respond instantly and obediently to the droning bells that punctuate their vapid walks through the hallways to the next politically correct dullard whose claim to fame is a teaching degree which has the same utility as a getting a certification in paranormal studies or other such anti-intellectual witchcraft.  Teachers are just as culpable in creating the horrific system of killing self-learning at every turn and making critical thought a crime.  Yes, there is plenty of administrative bloat as evidenced by every function and level of government but the teachers are not innocent victims and cogs in a vicious machine; they are active agents who seek not to educate but to do what they are told in the least time possible.  Whether it is the constant and incessant bleating worship of government in history, the craven idolatry of political correctness or the mass drugging of boys institutionally in the system, teacher are the concentration camp guards and workers who move the system in the evil direction it has taken for over a hundred years.

I am a self-confessed geardo, so when we got a chance to lay hands on the new (for us) Military Utility Tool (MUT) from Leatherman, we went to work.  Our Village Armorer penned an excellent review after conducting his evaluation.  We are always looking for tools that simply make life better whether for now or in preparation for the massive calamities that the state and government inevitably visit on their inhabitants. We recently started transitioning from FAL main battle rifle (MBR) platforms to AR platforms in .223 and .308 for a variety of reasons discussed in an earlier Praxis or two.  The MUT was purpose built to serve the AR series of rifles, to include servicing Glocks, our Village standard for sidearms.  It also fits a number of other tasks one would expect from a multi-tool Skip has done a wonderful appraisal of the tool: I found the materials used to be above par in comparison to ordinary tools such as wrenches, pliers, and knives, indicating Leatherman researched their materials and even raised their standard as far as the MUT is concerned. The fact that certain parts are user-replaceable demonstrates it is a long-term tool with a lifetime of usage in mind. One of the areas I would suggest to Leatherman is that, like the available bit kit that comes complete with 20 separate bits has a plastic holder, the accessory replacement kit should come in a similar deployable package to make spare stowage simpler for the tactical operator. He goes on: Evaluation of the...

FURTHER UPDATE: Now Bahrain is experiencing a similar uprising. The same article states that Jordanian herders are blocking government roads, and that Saudi activists are seeking political recourse against the monarchy. UPDATE: Iranian protesters, allegedly inspired by Egypt, have taken to the streets. When I wrote this article yesterday, I had no idea just how quickly the revolutionary fever was spreading. -KL Revolution has come to North Africa. It's been nearly bloodless, so far, and it seems to be spreading. Revolutionary thinking has taken root and spread like wildfire at least once in the past, and it's not impossible to think it might do so in the future.

During the late 18th century, a dangerous new sort of thinking appeared, associated with the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Simply put, this thinking was grounded in the idea that a nation's people ought to be sovereign, that kings and emperors should no longer decide unilaterally what was best for the citizenry. The spread of this new philosophy resulted in what are termed the Atlantic Revolutions, a series of loosely-connected revolutions which took place on continents bordering the Atlantic ocean: that is, Europe and the Americas. The most successful of these revolutions were the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Due in part to a geographical separation of the American colonists from their British government, the American revolution left the monarchy intact. Despite years of hard fighting, in absolute terms, the American Revolution was relatively bloodless: most of the men who went to fight returned home, and atrocities were rare. In France, the aristocracy and the people were not so fortunate: the Jacobins imposed a purge known as the Reign of Terror,  the best-known symbol of which is the Guillotine. Revolutionary victories were also won in Haiti, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Greece and Belgium. These revolutions were not merely knockoffs or copycats of the earlier successful revolutions: they were the result of the desire that the people of these nations had to be free of rule by hereditary monarchs. They were the culmination of a long incubation of the desire of the people of those nations to determine for themselves what was right, to have their voices heard as it respected their destinies. They were also caused by overreaching empires imposing similar hardships on their subjects, which made self-determination and reduced tax burdens much more attractive to the revolutionaries. Seeing the success of other nearby revolutions no doubt emboldened these new patriotic republicans, who frequently took inspiration from the victories their like-minded neighbors had won.

UPDATE: Mubarak has stepped down. Bill wrote a previous piece on Egypt's present condition, and what it might indicate for our future on the American continent [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="307"] Mubarak, announcing his refusal to step down[/caption] Earlier today the US-supported Egyptian head of state, President Hosni Mubarak, announced his refusal to resign from that office. His refusal came as a surprise to many, given the overwhelming domestic opposition to his rule. The riots in Egypt continue, and the Egyptian military seems loath to quell the insurrection. Mubarak's fortune is secure; he could abdicate to Tel Aviv, leave the rule of the country to another puppet leader, and live the rest of his life in luxury. Instead he insists that he will continue to hold his post until Egypt's September elections. He won the 2005 election with 88 percent of the vote. Perhaps popular opinion has swung against him during his term, or perhaps these elections do not represent the will of the people. In any case, Mubarak does not presently hold the people's favor. Governments cannot govern without the consent of the populace. A government without mandate is a misnamed occupying force, forever at war with the citizens it ostensibly serves. What could Mubarak's goals for remaining in power possibly be? Why has the US government continued to support his rule for so long? Mubarak must and will be deposed by his own people. If he abdicates peacefully, more of those people will live. Does he care? What are the differences between Mubarak's government and...