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...

"The principle that the majority have a right to rule the minority, practically resolves all government into a mere contest between two bodies of men, as to which of them shall be masters, and which of them slaves; a contest, that -- however bloody -- can, in the nature of things, never be finally closed, so long as man refuses to be a slave." -Lysander Spooner Publisher’s Note: I have some very bright readers and some of the responses I get are incisive and pack a powerful intellectual punch.  I had the pleasure of meeting Roy at the Freedom Summit in Arizona in December 2010.  We have since corresponded and found a mutual interest in privatizing the planet.  One of my friends penned a recent essay on the Constitution that drew ire from the usual suspects but also the reflection by Roy.-BB The Constitution is Evil Incarnate But What Can We Do? by Lee It is instructive to see that we are pressing the edge of the envelope in acceptable speech on governance and, most important, starting to see the cracks appear in the once almost impenetrable facade of Constitution worship that has permeated the dialog Left to Right in these united States. These are paradigm shifts and you, dear reader, are at the cutting edge of the greatest revolution in human affairs…ever.  The complete rejection of the state and all of its authority;  not in the fantastical fashion of Marxian historical illiteracy or the libertarian pipe-dream of limited government but the wholesale rejection...

Publisher’s Note: I started this blog under another name, Hezekiah Wyman, almost eighteen months ago on 2 July 2009 two days before the 147th anniversary of the dual Confederate defeat at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863 which doomed the Confederacy and smothered the Second American Revolution in its cradle ushering in the horrific Lincolnian era that sealed the fate of any freedom and liberty in America forever.  The first post was my former (and next to last) LewRockwell essay –“The Enthusiastic Warbride” – which I am posting again today to commemorate the birth of this journal of screeds and jeremiads. Why would a libertarian write about war?  In 2003, I predicted the inevitable civil war and strife resulting from our destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan and am sad to say I was prescient.  I can write on war as a retired soldier with the perspective of someone who has seen the death and destruction of combat up close and personal.  It haunts you and never leaves you.  It marks you for life. This is Post Number 200 and I wanted to offer a heart-felt thanks to all my supporters and detractors.  The latter simply stiffen my spine while the former make my heart sing. I wanted to thank all the close friends and associates who have made this blog better over time, more thoughtful and always encouraged me to write even when I found it difficult to do so.  In the end, a blog can be a vanity project and nothing more.  I am seeking to make this better and more insightful than that.  I want to encourage dissent and even disagreement with me because cross-examination is the engine of truth. My position on the Constitution, for instance, has found me written out of some “respectable libertarian circles” but I remain steadfast in my belief that the Constitution is not the answer and only a big part of the problem. 2011 is going to see a number of changes and improvements to include a producer who will be helping me make a fortnightly podcast that will be posted to the site.  I am seeking out new writers whose philosophy of ultimate freedom matches mine but providing their own unique perspectives.  I don’t want this to be an echo chamber but make no mistake; ours is the mission to abolish ALL slavery to include tax and regulatory and ultimately, to open people’s eyes to the monstrous fraud that is government.  I want to see Americans rise from the ashes of the inevitable government collapse looming on the horizon taking an oath to NEVER allow it to happen again on their watch. How can anyone look into their child’s eyes and not make that oath?  You owe them that much. -BB “War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties; the minorities are either intimidated into silence, or brought slowly around by a subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them really to be converting them.” -Randolph Bourne War is the health of the state.  Randolph Bourne arrived at this conclusion near the beginning of the 20th century.  Smedley Butler later wrote in War is a Racket about the baleful special interest vectors that drive us to war.  We hear again and again that we owe our freedoms to the conduct of overseas adventures in other countries whether the wresting of Spanish colonies into our possession or the invasion of Europe during the War to Save Joseph Stalin (1939-45) to the modern era of American armed dominion over the planet.  I would suggest these are poor assumptions.  The next time someone makes one of these specious claims, simply ask them how the defeat of one totalitarian regime while aiding and abetting another noxious regime made America free?  Is the Cold War representative of the halcyon days of American individualism? Most libertarians agree that the American government is colossal, oppressive and a slayer of freedom and liberty.  There are certainly domestic influences and causes for the enormous growth in the statist tilt of American governance and concentration of power.  The metamorphosis of an agrarian republic birthed in the violent dismissal of British rule to the Sovietized monstrosity we labor under today is the result of both domestic dynamics and the creation of the national security/garrison state to project power and influence overseas.  I would submit that war is the unacknowledged silent partner of the leviathan state.

How does a militarized foreign policy create a less free nation at home?  Let’s begin with a conflict most Americans can name but few can even place a date to:  World War One.  I would recommend Niall Ferguson’s book Pity of War as a signal starting point to rip asunder the veil of historical illiteracy and propaganda that has surrounded that sordid conflict.  Woodrow Wilson, one of the worst and most evil Presidents to grace that august den of thieves in the White House, promised in 1916 to never enter the European conflict and promptly started the machinations to steer us into the conflagration and militarize American society.  The more you learn about Wilson, the more you see he is the point of origin for so much of our national grief.  I have previously mentioned the American Protective League and its un-American activities in stifling, fining and jailing dissidents against Wilson’s war. Wilson also inaugurated the Committee on Public Information which even gave instructions for cartoonists and signed into law the Espionage and Sedition Acts.
"Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Once again, a tax jurisdiction is in lather over the cattle objecting to their treatment and fleecing by their rulers.  Egypt is suffering severe unrest that is likely to bleed over into other Arab nations including the ones currently militarily occupied and brutalized by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US sponsored Thug for Life, Hosni Mubarak, is a friend of Israel and the recipient of the second highest level of military aid (1.3 billion per annum) from the US to a country we are not overtly occupying. While Greece and Ireland are most likely harbingers of our economic future, Egypt is a close analog to our political future once the cattle in America wake up from their taxpayer subsidized slumber and realize that their future is much grimmer than the footage they are seeing of Egyptians in the streets.  Egypt has been in a state of emergency since 1981 which, of course, permits the government a carte blanche use of police excesses to control dissent and keep the people in constant fear of detention, torture, maiming and killing.  A common thread indeed with the rest of the governments on planet Earth. Of course, Al-Jezeera has just been shut down and the internet suffered some blackouts but this is common in countries where the repression and treatment of citizens, if viewed by everyone, would call attention to the inhumanity of the government’s behavior.  It is amusing to see the US State Department scolding its subsidized child in the Middle East for unseemly behavior – once caught in the act.  The government of the US has not, incidentally, been insistent on observing human rights but has been disappointed in the tepid collaboration of the Egyptian government in the prosecution of the unwieldy and brutal War on Terror. Egypt is acknowledged across the board by a number of indices to be “not free” and “authoritarian” [Editor’s note:  When one looks at the standard definition of authoritarian, no government in existence can escape the moniker].  During the Cold War, it was common practice for the US government to ally itself with other noxious regimes to keep the Great Game in balance but the only reason it appears to continue with the Russian leaving the world power stage is US insistence on creating “friendly” authoritarian regimes in key strategic pockets to serve the US military-industrial complex.  Egypt serves both this function and the reward for being the “house Arab” that pays obeisance to Israel.

As Bill continues his hiatus, and in the future, ZeroGov will continue to accept guest essays. Essays are subject to editing for mechanics, but not content. If you'd like to contribute, please send your submissions to thirdgun at hotmail dot com and kaiserleib at gmail dot com. Ask ten people what purpose the government serves, and you are likely to receive ten very similar answers. Government provides for the common defense, they'll say, or guarantees that society runs smoothly. Perhaps they'll mention the benevolent safety net that our social programs provide, things like food stamps or public education. Depending on the respondent, they might even mention roads, the internet, or other infrastructure needs. Some might mention conceptual goals like democracy, equality, or scientific advancement. These are legitimate goals, all of them. People ought not to be subjugated by foreign powers. Mutually beneficial exchanges benefit us all. That the poor do not starve, that children learn to read, that we have access to  transportation and that these words are transported to as if by magic over a distance of many miles - these are good things. Any rational creature, having fully considered the implications of the alternatives, would agree. The distinction, then, between our non-violent anarcho-capitalist philosophy and the philosophy held by those who believe that we must have Government lies not in the ends we wish to see achieved, but in the means we wish to use to achieve those ends. We do not want to see the poor starve, or the world's...

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.