The "National" system so called, is in reality no national system at all; except in the mere fact that it is called the national system and was established by the national government. It is, in truth, only a private system; a mere privilege conferred upon a few, to enable them to control prices, property, and labor, and thus swindle, plunder and oppress all the rest of the people. -Lysander Spooner
I was amused to be at the Freedom Summit in Adam Kokesh’s room in early December with some other friends and at one point one of the fellows was haranguing us about “getting back to the Constitution”.  As if we ever left that wretched compact with leviathan government.  At one point, another worthy said that maybe we should pay more attention to Lysander Spooner.  Indeed.  For plenty of freedom advocates, it begins with Rand or von Mises or Rothbard and a host of other luminaries who saw through the collectivist sham. For others, Lysander Spooner is the strike of the match.  I was introduced to Spooner through a great book by the magnificent James J. Martin in Men Against the State. Among the several forgotten heroes from the 19th century, Spooner stands as a titan.  He made a rather interesting point concerning the Constitution in that he claimed that no document can bind a man if he is not an active signatory.  You can see where this would be rather problematic for a government and why the concept is roundly condemned in a court system staffed by robed government employees for whom honor and fidelity for justice will be observed as long as their masters approve. Spooner is the gateway drug for maximum liberty.  If you pay close enough attention to his arguments and patterns of thinking, you come away thinking that the entire rotten collectivist project is not only desperately lacking in intellectual rigor but is founded first and foremost in an evil premise.  The premise of all collectivist and statist projects is initiated violence against ALL humans.  For the system would collapse if the fear of the monopoly of force were not the schwerpunkt of all actions from the enforcement of tax collection and aggression to the most banal of offenses, if one citizen not a member of the nomenklatura got away with it, revolution would follow shortly. We here in Arizona are obliged to stop at US Border Patrol suspicionless checkpoints to establish citizenship bona fides.  One must answer the question of your US citizenship status or you are detained.  If you simply drive through the checkpoint without stopping and ignore the revenue officer’s flashing lights (you paid for through taxes), you will be subject to maiming or killing if you continue to disobey.  Cops are the clearest explication of what government is in all its naked glory, there is no more compelling example of what is wrong with government. Period.
Free speech is too dangerous to a democracy to be permitted. -H.L. Mencken
Political speech is now in the hazard thanks to the homicidal tendencies of a madman who gunned down a Congressman and a number of others folks in front of a Safeway in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, 1/8/2011.  Mind you, the loon who committed this heinous murder apparently had no political agenda one could put a bead on.  Among his self-described favorite reads were The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, sort of a greatest hits ensemble for the government supremacist crowd.  I suspect the usual suspects are rather peeved when this evidence comes out so early and makes them hesitant to pin the political rose if it points in their direction.  Keep in mind that Left and Right in the American polity, the office-holders in America are but a hairs-breadth away from the philosophy in both those tomes.  Both books are paeans to state violence and that is the sine qua non of all governments. Do you doubt me? We live in a country that maintains a murderous empire that straddles the globe and kills every day. It employs both occupation forces and robot killers to do the deed and tens of thousands of women and children have been added to the butcher’s bill in foreign lands.  At home, we have an active policy of torture, we bury humans in a prison system outside of the already pathetic Constitutional safeguards and a government that thinks it can kill ANYONE at will. The same government maintains a sophisticated system of wealth extraction of all its “citizens” (read that as feedlot cattle), makes every CPA and bank a non-funded IRS agent and facility respectively and has erected a multitudinous set of laws that is so vast not even the system understands how to administer it.  To make all of this stick, legions of “law enforcement” personnel are deployed across the land to detain, beat, cage and, on occasion, murder to keep the system afloat.  But that is not enough, on top of all that is a vast intelligence apparatus that has cast Mordor’s eye inwardly upon the land to seek out terrorists and whatever else fits that convenient moniker for cattle misbehavior across the fruited plain.
 

“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

- H.L. Mencken

The two primary reasons most people want government to exist is for protection and advantage.  When I say most people I am excepting that smaller group of people who actively seek to rule others;  the socio- and psycho-paths among us who have a deeper need and selfish interest in championing the furtherance and expansion of government.  The yen for protection speaks to the fear most folks have of being unsecured in their safety and existence and the mistaken assumption that their subsequent surrender of their right to defend themselves will make them safer.  The advantage speaks to the need to have some external entity play umpire and ensure that everyone conducts themselves by a “consensual” playbook which of course leads to gaming of the system exemplified for example by preferential treatment codification in law for special interests.  We know that neither of these ever ends well for the individual historically.  There may be other tangential reasons but these two elements comprise the lion’s share of the twisted rationalizing that passes for thought on why government should be the overweening and powerful monster it is today.  Government is the gateway drug to mass tyranny.  Please spare me the soliloquies of "limited government", an ahistorical chimera if ever there was one.  There is simply no historical record, Eastern or Western, of the existence of one. One hears even the most committed government supremacists prattling on about the inadequacies of this policy or that and the often comedic second order effects and unintended consequences of the implementation.  The government authored crises tumbling over one another until you hear intellectual giants like Ghoulsbee (sic) over the weekend mewling about the necessity to increase the debt ceiling or the economy will collapse.  Deja vu.  Somewhat like a person or company insisting that their already unmanageable credit line be increased or doubled or they won’t be able to meet their obligations.  If we don’t flatten the Earth immediately, it will continue to be round.  You will note that demonstrable proofs or historical case studies verifying the substance or utility of this notion are not entertained.  The Keynesian game is up and its bankruptcy there for everyone to see but the believers think that with enough heel clicking and wishful thoughts, their caustic economic illiteracy will become reality.  This is what ALL non-Austrian  economists have come to;  nothing more than court apologists for what can only be termed bad alchemy heavily laden with the polar opposite of any critical thinking whatsoever.  This is also a result of the meme that is currently in vogue that there are human structures and creations “too big to fail”.  This is, of course, a fatuous and silly notion; for governments are designed from the beginning by their very structural necessities to be self- destructive mechanisms that not only cause irreparable harm to themselves over time but grind untold millions of lives into dust and ruin in their path. Much like the Monolith Monsters in that delightful 1950s B-Movie, government grows and grows until it collapses under its own weight and contradictions (note that Marx got that one sideways, again).  The historical record is strewn with massive corpse count after corpse count of attempts by well-intentioned government supremacists to build the shining city on the hill time and again.  From Mesopotamia to Rome to modernity, the most flawed and morally handicapped men rose to Olympian heights granted with God-like powers on the monopoly of violence and coercion that is the hallmark of ALL governments to despoil, deprive and deny men their liberty and their lives.  Of course, the magisterial histories written over time have always given grand stories of the trials and tribulations of the great men overcoming obstacles to the imposition of organized crime and violence on the masses.  There have some minor aberrations in this history like the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence but these were made null and void within several generations of their acceptance or adoption.  The Constitution being the most proximate example of liberty extinguished in a generation.  Merely statistically insignificant speed bumps in the continual steamrolling and abolition of individual volition in favor of a collectivist zeitgeist. Individual liberty is an historical aberration and that is an unfortunate fact.

Kaiser pens a great blog over at https://kaiserleib.com/blog/.  He is also a senior editor over here at Zero Gov. He worries over some of the implications of the non-aggression principle which is central to the thinking of ethical anarchists and abolitionists everywhere.  He raises a number of prickly observations that should concern philosophers of liberty. While I abide by the non-aggression principle, a bothersome problem has always been how you respond to acts veiled in violence but championed on the grounds of the greater good like taxation.   Taxation is acknowledged by folks in my small circle to be an act of theft which by extension is an act of aggression but the response must be tempered proportionate to the offense.  Stack on all the other daily and eternal attacks by the state on the individual and a clear state of war against the individual is in play.  That is the distillate, when does our characterization of that aggression precipitate a violent response on the part of the individual?  Should that be entertained as a possible solution or is Gandhian-style non-violent non-compliance the answer?  Will the violent reaction by the state against the latter lead to the former response on the part of individuals? One has to examine whether this aggression is rationalized by the victim to avoid the implication of having to respond to stop it.  Do individuals really want to resort to violence to right this obvious wrong?  One can even characterize this refusal to resist as an act of moral cowardice...

 
A policeman is a charlatan who offers, in return for obedience, to protect him (a) from his superiors, (b) from his equals, and (c) from himself. This last service, under democracy, is commonly the most esteemed of them all. In the United States, at least theoretically, it is the only thing that keeps ice-wagon drivers, Y.M.C.A. secretaries, insurance collectors and other such human camels from smoking opium, ruining themselves in the night clubs, and going to Palm Beach with Follies girls…Here, though the common man is deceived, he starts from a sound premise: to wit, that liberty is something too hot for his hands—or, as Nietzsche put it, too cold for his spine. - H.L.Mencken
Not until 1829 did the United Kingdom officially inaugurate the use of police forces with law enforcement powers.  This may have dovetailed nicely with van Creveld’s assertion that emergence of the state as we know it today was coincident to the creation of a large bureaucracy to give the King eyes and ears to stretch his control of the realm. Formal police departments were created in 1838 and 1845 respectively in Boston and New York City and even these early states of police development in these united States were plagued by corruption as Grigg has so ably documented for us. There were attempts to professionalize the police forces starting in the 1920s but even these started to surrender early to the inevitable corruption in the nexus of swimming with criminals and the invariable temptation by the government to pass an avalanche of population control measures disguised as laws to fence in and micromanage the behavior of individuals and groups.  Whether the huge cavalcade of malum prohibitum laws passed, rules to empower the national security garrison state or the erection of legal barriers to competition, the mission of police quickly spun out of control to embrace every possible human activity.  The storied notion of a police state quickly metastasized into the present state of America today.  While all of us are subject to being caged for the rest of our lives on trumped-up charges that no reasonable man can apprehend even outside the Kafkaesque world of terrorism jurisdictions, the sheer profligacy of laws on the books begs the question of how to defend yourself against an assault by the state without very deep pockets and competent legal counsel to fight the infinite resources of the state.   It takes years for the wheels of justice to creakily come around to indicting and ultimately punishing the armed tax-eaters even when they shoot innocent civilians in cold blood, if held accountable at all.  The combination of the militarization of Mayberry and the spread of no-knock warrants to the terrorism venues in the 2000s and the ratcheting up of the drug war have led to the terrifying society we live in today.  Police work is one of the least dangerous professions in the world today yet the costumed agents of the state are the most lethal government instrument in every American city.  The legions of stories of police brutality are so numerous that a library could be created documenting the incidents.  The police have become so brazen because they quite literally have a license to kill if one were to examine the punishments meted out to misbehaving police officers in departments across the land.  Paid administrative leave, reemployment at competing departments and very little sentencing for misbehavior unless it becomes too obvious an embarrassment such as the Katrina incident mentioned above. While initially the patina of the pursuit of true criminality was the object of police forces and their supporters, this quickly turned onto a curious regime of thug worship and absolute obedience to these officers of the law.  That is why the American gulag system today is three times the size of the peak population of the Russian gulags under Stalin when one considers the Americans on probation, parole and in cages.  Most of these confined Americans are in on non-violent drug offenses or political crimes like gun paperwork violations or the participation in consensual crimes like blackmail, gambling or prostitution.
“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” - George Orwell
I was chatting with my sainted bride at breakfast this morning and she related to me that she had heard a story on National Pinko Radio discussing the forced evacuation of Times Beach, MO during the Christmas season in 1985.  Two thousand residents excepting one elderly couple left.  God help the elderly couple today for they would have probably been tased or shot for their refusal to abandon their own property at the government’s pleasure.  In the brief quarter century since then, the government has become quite a bit more militarized at home.  Allegedly, for the first time since the Founding, an entire town had been forcibly evacuated outside of wartime, with merely the clothes on their back.  Apparently, the EPA had discovered high levels of dioxin which forced an immediate evacuation.  Imagine waking up on Christmas Eve and seeing government employees in ridiculous spacesuits standing in your yard and forcing you to leave immediately.  Or else. There is no doubt that dioxin is poisonous in quantity and harmful to humans but the heavy-handedness of the government in addressing the problem is typical and yet again, the germination of the problem in Times Beach was a result of a subcontractor spreading waste oil on dirt roads to quell a dust problem after he had contracted to disposing of waste from a facility charged with manufacturing Agent Orange during the American Vietnam conflict, Hoffman-Taff which leased to NEPACCO. Again, we discover yet another germination of problems in America with government’s obsession with waging war.  I have written in the past on the increasing militarization of American society accelerating with the entry into WWI in 1917 and the unique synthesis of fascism and a national security state that has led us to the juncture we are at today.  We are waging war on four known fronts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen and involved in countless unacknowledged mischief around the globe in the War on Terror ( a critically misguided euphemism if ever there was one) stacking up enemies faster than we can maim and kill their wives and children.

I suspect that there is a doctoral thesis or two here to examine how sustainable the American economy is without the warfare state.  The enormous increase in defense expenditures (and the appropriate slice of the DOE, intelligence community and Fatherland Security tangentially related to the Pentagon activities) has warped any reasonable calculation of the crowding out of private capital and peaceful investment.  I am constantly in awe of the lefty collectivists whose abhorrence of war can evaporate overnight when one of their own gets in the White House.  The economy has been in the virtual thrall of government planning for so long that the combination of the monopoly money scrip issued by the FED, massive resource mismanagement, regulatory warping of unfettered market decisions and the crushing tax burden on the productive classes is leading to the final act in the American parabola.  We are on the downward slope and the financial apocalypse will be worthy of the demise of the other great empires that have crash landed in the refuse of their own epic mismanagement and corruption.

The conviction reached in the greatest sham trial these united states have ever known remains intact. It may remain intact forever, or nearly so. This is despite a complete lack of physical evidence, testimony given by witnesses all of whom later recanted, and long-term public outcry.

The convict is a man named Gary Tyler, and his case may be the most prominent example of government racism in the 20th (and now the 21st) century. In 1975, two decades after Brown v. The Board of Education, Destrehan High School was to be integrated. The tensions resulting from this activity resulted, as might be expected, in fights between students. This prompted the school's administration to cease the day's indoctrination activities and send the black students home. Their bus was attacked by more than a hundred whites upset about the integration. One of them, a thirteen-year-old boy named Timothy Weber, was shot and mortally wounded. The police chose then-sixteen Gary Tyler as the victim of their "investigation," and at that moment, his fate was sealed. The investigation of Weber's death found no gun in the black students's bus or on the ground outside; perhaps the prosecution would have us believe that Gary Tyler threw the bullet with his hands. Tyler was beaten (that is, tortured) by the police in an attempt to force him to confess. Other witnesses, too, reported police intimidation. The dishonorable subhuman David Duke of the KKK arrived in Destrehan, ostensibly to bring security in to protect white citizens against violence. I assert that he may have had ulterior motives for visiting, and implore the reader to draw his own conclusions. Gary Tyler was tried as an adult and sentenced to death by electrocution. He was saved from this fate only because Louisiana's capital punishment law was declared unconstitutional in 1977, and he was sentenced again, this time to life in prison.

"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest."

- Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi

To a certain extent, Gandhi is one of the intellectual patron saints of this blog and it is only appropriate to let him introduce the latest installment in the Village Praxis Series.  I would like to thank Hillary Clinton for inspiring the title and intent of this series but in the spirit of her entire life, we employ the opposite meaning that would make that female variant of Josef Stalin blanch.  As a collectivist extraordinaire, she is philosophically wrong in most everything she speaks to and has ghost-written for her.  Therefore, in a twist on Orwellian Doublespeak, we wish to ensure that the Village in this case takes the initiative to make a U-turn and go in the opposite direction from Clinton's totalitarian vision in her book, It Takes a Village. Skip L. is done with the Ama-gi guide he put together for our village reformation project.  He has done a thorough examination of our needs here that would make Boston T. Party proud.  As with most of these kinds of evaluations, they tend to be climate and topography specific.  Our present location is in the high desert at approx 1600 meters with mountain peaks approaching 2500 meters on occasion.  Climate is certainly mild compared with the north Idaho climes we are formerly accustomed to.  While our winter nights can reach freezing temperatures, it is rather rare to have blustery days below 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day even during winter. On the other end of the scale, it is rare to have more than one week out of the year with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.

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

-H.L. Mencken

Why does this site exist and what will you get out of it?  Every blog is something of a vanity project and a catharsis for thinking out loud and this suits both for me.  Aside from writing a book, a blog is a legacy that may last far longer than I do.  Nothing really disappears from the Internet and I am certain there are folks in the government who are always interested in maintaining a watchful eye on blogs such as mine because they represent the most direct philosophical threat to their very existence. In an earlier phase of my intellectual development, I had been seduced by the heady siren song of limiting government which sounds like the most viable solution but on closer examination is the most silly of chimeras.  There is no historical precedent in the Western world throughout its entire history of a government birthing from calving off another or rising out of the ashes of extinction of the previous regime and containing themselves within the confines of power originally set forth at their germination. None.  There are plenty of empty promises and proclamations of purity but the usual suspects will be self-selected to seek to rule others;  most of whom are socio- or psychopathic.  Politics is nothing more than the nationalization of human transactions where the converse is the complete privatization of the planet; the latter is the charter of this blog.  Nationalization is the government seizure (there is no polite term) of a product, service or behavior.  This can happen with something as mundane as the circumference of grapefruit to something as epic in scope as the forfeiture of health care or the use of the innumerable malum prohibitum laws on the books.  For those who take a longer view of history, it becomes abundantly clear that governments in their life stages until their eventual deaths which are inevitable rarely seem to calculate second- and third-order effects of their meta-behaviors.  I always presume that while good intentions may be the standard apologia for the lion’s share of government action and behavior, this is simply an intellectual smokescreen with the same vapidity of hate crimes, hiding what is the nature of government which is the threat or use of violence against anyone or anything which either refuses to comply or pay the assessed tribute.  One should never measure a government’s behavior by its intent but the fruits of its actions.  And that is bitter fruit indeed for the totality of human history.  It is almost as if we have been in a fever-dream surrounded by inmates in a vast prison state which has effectively through indoctrination trained people to consciously think that harming others through fining, jailing, maiming and killing is the only blueprint for any possible society.  Think of that, a near consensus among thinking human beings that the only way to organize a just society is through terror.  Terrorism is the use of politically motivated violence against non-combatants or innocents in a kinder parlance.  One might say that the Global War on Terror which has exponentially increased the size of government has been pointed in the wrong direction.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

- H.L. Mencken

My friend, Skip, and I have known each other over a decade and he is one of the smartest technical weapons minds around.  We have often shared a tactical symbiosis between his gunsmithing skills and my gun handling aplomb.  I have mentioned him several times and he is the honorary Weapons/Kit Technical Editor for Hezekiah Wyman which has now been reflagged as ZeroGov and he is the inspiration for the occasional Village Praxis Series we run which will make a more frequent appearance in the realm in the near future. He is fond of penning annotated and comprehensive equipment lists for the Village as we adapt to the emerging needs predicated by the mischief Mordor offers us every day.  Frequent readers of this site are aware that the economic perfect storm and fiat currency collapse is inevitable which makes any self-respecting man reflect on what he needs to do to provide for the family in grid-up or grid-down doomsday scenario.  We all know that there is a storm on the horizon and there is NO remedy for the current cavalcade of calamities that is running down the tracks toward us. So sometime in the next week I will publish Skip’s latest opus on basic kit especially in light of the recent local Village refit for the AR platform. Don’t panic, just get ready.  Fear is the mind-killer and we simply have to assume that the political and physical landscape of America is going to change in a big way.  In ten years, you will not recognize what is below the Canadian border and what is above the Mexican border.  It will be brand new.  There will be pockets of every political stripe throughout the land.  The Northeast will most likely to devolve into a Sovietized totalitarian economic basket-case and the Inland Western states will form confederations that will experiment in a variety of smaller and non-government polities and the remainder of the nation will fill in everything in between.  For the first time since the dark day that the Constitution smothered the land in 1791 with unlimited taxation and central planning, genuine unfettered economic opportunity and freedom will emerge in fragile seedbeds around the country. We have to channel the Flinter. The planet Flint was an imaginary planet in F. Paul Wilson’s magnificent LaNague Federation books.  It was a non-aligned member in a broad system of Earth-like planets that refused to cooperate in the ordinary extortion scheme that passes for governance on the off-worlds.  What distinguished it from other worlds was the insistence that while the Rothbardian Non-Aggression Axiom was observed, the planet bristled with a population that was schooled in the open hand and weaponized arts to such a huge extent that they were a tremendous deterrent to both invasion and the emergence of government on the planet; quite literally an anarchist Sparta (unlike the near communist Sparta of old).  Switzerland, although rapidly devolving its defensive sensibilities is a near-analog for the philosophical structure to include the cantonment for political decentralization.