Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."

"Of Liberty then I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others." — Thomas Jefferson

As I wrote previously, there has been much ado in the media about the recent swine flu outbreak. Most of this centers around alerts issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite having no constitutional or moral authority to exist, the CDC goes about its mission, accomplishing nothing of value, but spending billions of dollars every year. One overbearing government agency is never enough, though, for a tax-fattened bureaucrat. Most fortunately for us, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its chief, Janet Napolitano, are overseeing the CDC in coordinating the swine flu pandemic.

The DHS is yet another unconstitutional, immoral, and bloated bureaucracy. As Becky Akers put it: "The DHS is a bureaucracy’s bureaucracy: unwieldy, inflexible, absurd, gargantuan. It makes work for roughly 210,000 leeches and will cost us $50.5 billion in 2009 – over $375 per taxpayer (based on 134,362,678 income-tax returns filed in 2005)." Not surprisingly, the word 'homeland' is Nazi terminology. But what is homeland security, anyway? Isn't that simply insuring that the country is defended from attacks? If so, then what, pray tell, is the Department of Defense (DOD) for? Of course, as we all know, the DOD doesn't actually defend our country. The DOD attacks other countries. If they did defend our country, perhaps 9/11 wouldn't have happened. On that day, they couldn't even defend their own headquarters.

Despite claiming to 'represent' us, the government doesn't allow the citizens of this country to select the head of the DHS. That being that case, I'm confident that it was done fairly and based on credentials and experience. What, exactly, are old Nappy's credentials, anyway? Nappy is the former governor of Arizona, which is the number one place to be kidnapped in the United States, and the number two place to be kidnapped in all of the world. Quite an accomplishment! But why did she, a governor who couldn't keep her own state secure, get appointed to the post of keeping our entire 'homeland' secure? To answer that question, we need to find out who appointed her. That would be dictator-in-chief, Barack Obama. Obviously, Nappy has no place directing the security of anything, but, she was owed a favor. During the primaries of 2008, Nappy endorsed our current dictator, in the state where his opposition was a sitting senator. Government being the disgusting political orgy that it is, Obama decided to stick her in the DHS.

Since becoming the head bureaucrat of the DHS, Nappy has not managed to disappoint. While apparently trying to draw attention away from her own poor record of border security as governor, she declared that the hijackers of 9/11 infamy crossed the border from Canada into the United States. Later, she issued a weak and idiotic apology to outraged Canadians, saying, "Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it's been across the Canadian border." Not wanting to miss a beat, she issued a report naming military veterans, pro-life advocates, gun owners and advocates, those who dislike the federal government's constant nannying, and those who support the constitution as extremists and probable terrorists. This is the person who is in charge of keeping us safe?

If there was any real threat of a disease pandemic, we would be in trouble. The bureaucrats in charge have no idea what they are doing, and the bureaucracies supposedly entrusted with saving us from harm actually do nothing but harm. As Thomas Jefferson pointed out, "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others." The rights of the people of the United States are trampled every single day by the likes of those living of the fruits of others' labor. The government employee's actions necessarily injure those who actually produce, only to have their products taken from them, like feudal serfs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"The worst forms of tyranny are those that insinuate themselves into the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny."

"The worst forms of tyranny, or certainly the most successful ones, are not those we rail against but those that so insinuate themselves into the imagery of our consciousness, and the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny." – Michael Parenti

Recently, I've been hearing much about the swine flu 'pandemic'. Much of this 'news' has focused on 'alerts' from a government organization. From the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), comes the following: "In response to the intensifying outbreak, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 4." But what does this mean? Is the government going to rescue us from this horrible situation? Should we throw up our hands in anguish and cry out for some bureaucrats to save us?

What exactly is the CDC? The CDC was first organized on 1 July 1946, founded by a man named Joseph Mountin, a lifetime bureaucrat. The CDC spends around nine billion dollars a year of tax-stolen money on such varied projects as the world’s largest, on-going telephone health survey system, sexually transmitted disease prevention, bio-terrorism prevention and preparedness, and preventing the spread of malaria, influenza, and other diseases. All told, since 1995, the CDC has spent approximately $87.6 billion dollars. Despite all of the vital functions performed by the CDC, can anyone name a single positive thing the CDC has done? I can show you how to perform all of these functions free of charge, without stealing a penny from anyone else!

It might take a lot of time to become the world's largest phone health survey, but I can take a free survey at, so that dilemma is taken care of. All paid for and conducted by a private charity, not operated by theft.

Preventing sexual disease is easy: don't have sexual contact with anyone who is not your husband/wife, and make sure that they do the same! I know, this concept is so over-the-top that you may not be able to wrap your mind around it, but try. It costs nothing.

Onto bio-terrorism. How could we prevent this? Harry Browne has already covered this, so I will refer you to this article. It boils down to this: a foreign policy of, "We're always ready to defend ourselves, but we threaten no one." An idea so different, it just might work! Actually, it does work, and it means that the government ends its costly practice of empire, dismantle its standing armies, and stop meddling in the affairs of foreign countries. In the end, no money will need to be stolen from anyone, any more.

But what about the prevention of the spread of malaria? Malaria prevention was the first mission of the CDC, and so far, they haven't stopped it. That's right, folks, over 50 years later and still no fix. Recently, Aston Kutcher did a lot more to stop the spread of malaria than the CDC, and did it all without stealing a penny. Kutcher raised awareness for the Malaria No More organization by challenging CNN to a contest on Twitter. After winning, Kutcher donated $100,000, and also ended up getting Demi Moore, Oprah, and many others to donate many more hundreds of thousands of dollars to the prevention of malaria, coinciding with World Malaria Day. Nobody was stolen from to make this happen.

Now, for my final act, I will show you how to prevent the spread of disease, by referring you to a great WebMD article on the subject. The article was not paid for by stealing from others.

Where in the Constitution is the CDC authorized? Why do we have a Constitution if we aren't going to follow it? It seems like that $87 billion dollars could have been put to some better uses. Think, if that money were to be spent, invested, and used by the people that actually earned it. How many jobs were lost due to the theft of that money to taxes? How many children went hungry that could have been fed if that money had gone to a charity? How much real research on cures for cancer, or alzheimer's, or autism, didn't take place because the money was stolen from the proper owners and used in ways dreamed up by bureaucrats?

In the end, the CDC hasn't solved anything by spreading 'pandemic' alerts. Instead, we have just another bureaucracy to suffer under, pay for, and listen to. Does anyone perceive the CDC as tyranny? Not many, that much is certain. But tyranny it is, seemingly insignificant among all the others we are forced to suffer through. It is the worst kind, the kind that no one thinks about.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Beware the greedy hand of government, thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry."

"Beware the greedy hand of government, thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry." — Thomas Paine

The Origin of Money

(And How It Was Stolen from You)

by Alexander "Ace" Baker

Money. Everybody wants it, and you can always use more. But what is money? Where does it come from? Is it really the “root of all evil” as the Bible and Pink Floyd have said? Do we really need it? How did we all come to value little slips of paper with portraits of dead presidents on them? Why can’t they just give everybody a million dollars and make us all rich? And why is any of this important to those who are concerned about human liberty?

I’ll anticipate some conclusions here: Money is vital to a prosperous society, without it mankind could do no better than a primitive agricultural society. Money originates and evolves privately, in the market, as a solution to the problems presented by direct barter. Governments (in collusion with large Banks) around the globe have forcibly taken over and monopolized the creation of new money, and abolished the natural gold standard for the sole purpose of expanding their own power and confiscating wealth. All other “justifications” for government money are lies based on completely discredited economic hogwash. The unprecedented and artificial “fiat money” imposed on us now represents a grave threat to civilization itself.

What is Money?

Money can be defined as: A generally accepted medium of exchange. Theoretically, money can be anything that people desire to own, not for its direct use, but rather for its later value in trading for things that are useful. In practice, around the world and throughout history, one substance emerged as “the people’s choice” as the best money, and that substance is gold.

In the Beginning . . .

Imagine a primitive village with a fisherman (Mr. Fisher), a baker (Mr. Baker), a wagon maker (Mr. Wagoner) and a berry picker (Ms. Berry ). Even in primitive societies, workers tend to specialize like this, because of what Ludwig von Mises called the two most important facts about humans(!!):

  1. That a group of people can produce more goods by specializing and trading than they can in self-sufficient isolation.

  2. Man’s ability to recognize fact #1.

So trading goods with others is a mutually beneficial, natural way for humans to improve their situation. If Fisher wants bread and Baker wants fish, they will want to trade, say one fish for two loaves of bread. So far, so good. But what happens if Fisher wants bread, but Baker doesn’t like fish? This is the first problem with barter, the so-called “double coincidence of wants.” Fisher has to want what Baker has at the same time Baker wants what Fisher has.

To solve the problem, Fisher might go visit Ms. Berry , the berry picker, because he knows that almost everybody likes berries. He trades his fish for a basket of berries, not because he wants to eat them, but because he thinks that Baker will trade loaves of bread for them. When this happens, berries are beginning to function as money, because they are being demanded not just for their value as food, but for their value in exchange.

So we see that money has a function. It solves problems. And like anything else that has a function, it stands to reason that some items will work better than others. You could pound a nail in with a rock, but a hammer works better, because it has certain qualities (leverage, flat surface) that make it superior to a rock for that purpose. And so it is with money. Some things will possess qualities that make it a better money than other things.

Good Money vs. Bad Money

What are the properties that make for a good money? One we’ve already touched on, and that is that money must be something that nearly everyone values. Another problem with barter is divisibility. Mr. Baker and Mr. Wagoner might agree that a nice wagon is worth 1,000 loaves of bread, but Wagoner doesn’t want 1,000 loaves, he only wants one. He can’t whack off 1/1000th of a wagon, that would be useless. So a good money must be something which is still valuable even when divided into very small amounts. Other qualities that make for useful money include durability and also interchangeability, where one unit is the same as any other.

It’s very unlikely that anything extremely common, like sand, could ever become money because people just don’t value common things as highly as rare things. That’s good, for another very important quality of good, sound money is that it should be costly to produce. Briefly, this is because the ability to create money without cost carries with it the extraordinary power to redistribute real wealth to whoever is allowed to create it. More on this later.

What began to happen, over centuries, in separate societies all over the world, is that people tried out all sorts of things as money - salt, seashells, cattle, etc. This was a spontaneous, natural competition to determine the best money. That is, the best according to function, as determined by the market, not the whim of some tyrant.

And the Winner is . . . (as you might have already heard)

Gold. Precious metals in general and gold in particular have been chosen time and time again by the market as the best-functioning money. It happened independently, in separate societies, over and over again before being integrated into a world market, so as the world market did begin to take shape, gold naturally emerged as the chosen money.

At the risk of being annoying, this bears repeating:

Money is not an abstract or arbitrary concept, it is a very real phenomenon with tremendous beneficial consequences for human existence. It has a purpose. Why on earth would we ever want to settle for anything less than the very best tool for such an important job?

The Original Bankers, and The Original Sin

Now imagine we’re in a somewhat more advanced society, perhaps in the Middle Ages. Picture a village with farmers and various other cobblers, coopers, smiths and shopkeepers readily exchanging gold for their goods and services. The existence of a widely accepted, well functioning money is making possible the wider and wider division of labor, allowing society to produce more, increasing the standard of living for all.

What if you wanted to safely store some of your gold until you needed it? In many towns, the local goldsmith was the only one around with a decent safe, so Mr. Goldsmith (sensing a legitimate business opportunity) would allow you to warehouse your valuable money (for a small fee), issuing you a paper receipt, which would entitle you to reclaim your gold on demand. Once there were many such warehouse receipts floating around, people realized they could conveniently exchange the receipts as money, because everyone knew that these pieces of paper were “as good as gold.”

As you may have guessed, the goldsmiths were the original bankers, and these warehouse receipts were the original paper money. Once paper money backed by gold became established, Mr. Goldsmith noticed something very interesting. On any given day, only a small percentage of townspeople actually came to reclaim their gold. And when they did come to redeem it, they didn’t care if they got exactly the same gold back, only that they got the correct amount.

“Hmmmm” thought the less-than-honorable Mr. Goldsmith, “What’s to stop me from just writing up some extra receipts for myself to spend? Sure, more and more people will come in to claim gold, but so what? Even if two or three times as many people start showing up, I’ll have enough gold in reserve to cover it. I’m rich!” He was so proud of himself for his stroke of genius that he went right over and kissed himself in the mirror. And thus was born the fine art of counterfeiting, or “Fractional Reserve Banking” as bankers came to euphemistically call it.

And this counterfeiting scheme worked like a charm. Goldsmith would print money for himself to spend . . . or lend. People were suspicious of Mr. Goldsmith’s newfound extravagant riches, and they were also curious about something else. Prices on things around the village had been going up and up. You see, the creation of new money must have the effect of chasing up prices, because the amount of money that is spent is closely related to the amount of money that exists. If more money exists, then more money is spent, and if more money is spent to buy the same amount of goods, prices must be higher. This, of course, is called inflation. So if they gave everybody a million dollars, prices on everything would go up correspondingly, and no one would be better off.

The Bank Run - A Beautiful Thing

Anyway, the people’s natural suspicions about Mr. Goldsmith were correct. It is simply fraudulent for the owner of a warehouse to issue receipts for goods that don’t exist, or to lend out someone else’s property that is supposed to be in safekeeping. If you print a deed to a house and there’s no house, that’s wrong. If you print a title to a car and there’s no car, that’s wrong. And if you print a claim to gold when you have no gold, that’s wrong also.

Eventually the villagers smelled a rat. They got together, receipts in hand, and all showed up at bank to demand their gold, most of which simply wasn’t there. This became known as a “bank run.” Needless to say, the people were most unhappy with their discovery that the banker they trusted with their savings was a lying crook who had swindled them. Many a dishonest banker met up with vigilante justice, no doubt. The potential for a bank run became an indispensable free-market check on the integrity of bankers. For while any banker can be tempted to enrich themselves by artificially expanding the money supply, they are fearful of going out of business, and they are damn fearful of an angry mob of swindled customers. The problem then, as bankers thought of it, was to figure out how to expand the money supply endlessly, without cost to themselves, and without fear of a bank run.

Meanwhile, Back at the Royal Palace . . .

The king had a different problem. Kings dream of empowering themselves and securing their place in history through conquest and imperialism. Trouble is, military adventures are very expensive and the peasants hate being taxed. Like bankers, kings too fear the wrath of an angry mob.

Well, leave it to Mr. Goldsmith to be struck with yet another bolt of evil brilliance. He goes to the king and says, “Look, make my bank the official bank, and tell the people they must accept my paper money for all debts. Grant me the exclusive right to print money, take anybody else who prints money and put them in jail. If you do that for me, oh royal one, here’s what I’ll do for you. Anytime you need financing for your war, just print up some pieces of paper and call them “government bonds.” I’ll “buy” the bonds from you with my paper money, then you’ll have all the money you ever need!”

The king, being a politician, was good at lying and making up plausible sounding excuses. So he justified this new central banking cartel by claiming it was necessary to keep those greedy bankers in line. Get it? With a nod and a wink, the government pretends to be the ally of the people, while in reality seizing the money supply, creating a banking cartel, and destroying the market mechanism that was the people’s only real recourse against the inherent dishonesty that is Fractional Reserve Banking.

Keynes, the False Prophet of Econ

The preceding was a stylized fable, but conveys accurately the essence of what has occurred in the real world, e.g. with the Bank of England, and the U.S. Federal Reserve. Nowadays, the excuse given for having a central bank is “managing the economy” (controlling inflation, preventing deflation, keeping interest rates low, stimulating job creation, blah, blah, blah). Belief in the wisdom of government economic meddling is largely based on the theory of “economist” John Maynard Keynes. Keynesian theory holds that a free market will over-produce goods, leaving workers unable to buy their own product, which causes massive business failure and unemployment. The only remedy, according to Keynes, is for government to print and spend lots and lots of new money. It’s not hard to understand why politicians around the world gushed praise and knighthood upon Lord Keynes, while ignoring true economic science, which figured out long ago that government intervention into the economy is always destructive.

It’s beyond the scope of this article to refute Keynes. Suffice it to say here that Keynesianism is utter nonsense from beginning to end. It is self-contradictory, relies on shifting definitions, defies common sense, contains logical absurdities, and disregards human nature. It would be laughable if only it hadn’t been taken seriously. For a scholarly dissection of this evil doctrine, please see “The Misesian Case Against Keynes” by Hans-Hermann Hoppe .

The State vs. The People

A government money monopoly radically changes the relationship between a people and their rulers. In reality, government is utterly dependent on its productive citizens for everything that it buys, just as a blood-sucking parasite is dependent on its host. Under a system of private money, this is obvious to all. All government spending eventually returns back to the hands of private citizens, and if the government wants to spend more, it must again extract wealth from the people. Clearly, government is supported by the productive activity of private citizens.

However, once government acquires the exclusive privilege to create new money without limit, a strong illusion is created that makes it now appear that the people are dependent on government. In truth, government has become the source of money, but not the source of real wealth. Sadly, today millions of people mistakenly believe that their government is the cause of their prosperity. Nothing could be further from the truth. (See “The Fed is Lifeblood to the Root of Evil” for more on how central banking works to confiscate and redistribute wealth).

Clear and Present Danger

Sound money is crucial to the division of labor and thus to society itself, but that doesn’t mean that people will automatically and forever accept something as money for no good reason. The more dollars that are printed, the less each one is worth. The less money is worth, the worse it functions. And if money stops functioning, people will discard it as useless just as they throw away a broken old VCR. The best single explanation of the fall of the Roman empire is that various Caesars had relentlessly diluted the gold content of their coins (inflated the money supply), to the point where people didn’t want to accept them any more. Without good money, the problems of barter reappear, and people have no choice but to revert to a subsistence economy, which is precisely what happened in Europe in the Fifth Century.

It almost happened in Germany in the early 1920s. The German government had gone off the gold standard to finance its war in 1914, and now was printing money as fast as it could, trying to pay off its war debt. In 1923, 1 billion Marks were worth what 1 Mark had been worth a few years before! Creditors were wiped out, savings accounts and life insurance policies became worthless. People would buy anything – soap, hairpins, scrap-metal, anything to avoid holding money, which was visibly losing value every minute. The society was reverting to a direct barter existence. Germany was able to pull back from the brink of complete societal collapse only by issuing a new currency, the Rentenmark, that was backed by real property and factories.

The solution to all this, as in most things, is liberty. Under freedom, gold would almost certainly become money once again. A 100% reserve gold standard would have the benefit of preventing inflation (because the creation of new money is costly), and preventing deflation as well (because once gold money comes into existence, it stays in existence). The complete reliance on irredeemable paper money is unprecedented, having existed only since President Nixon destroyed the last vestige of the gold standard in 1971. Most of the major world currencies (the Yen, the Euro) are backed by the U.S. Dollar, which is backed by nothing. We seem headed toward a single world paper currency controlled by a single world banking cartel. Today there exists no barrier whatsoever to the unlimited creation of new money and bank credit. There is a strong incentive for those in power (the U.S. Federal Government, the large multi-national commercial banks) to enrich themselves by doing so. The only thing restraining them is their judgment and mercy. God help us.

Credit for the core ideas expressed in this article must be given to George Reisman, Murray N. Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe and of course Ludwig von Mises.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." - Alexis de Tocqueville

We see this happening today with the turn from a moderate socialism to nationalistic fascism that we have today. Democracy cannot work if the large bulk of both the public and of the ruling class is dedicated to liberty and personal responsibility. Once a nation falls off that cliff of 'gimme, gimme' in which the populace of a nation decides that the state is the answer to all of it's problems, and that the state will give them everything.

The choices we are presented with today are most often between dumber and dumbest. Which do you prefer? If your answer is, like mine, neither, then well you are just out of luck. The 'majority' will suppress your will as tyrannically as any dictator. Just see what happens if you resist.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"The economy is so bad even people who have nothing to do with the Obama administration aren't paying their taxes."

"The economy is so bad even people who have nothing to do with the Obama administration aren't paying their taxes." - anonymous Internet joke

What a government we have when the rulers don't even pretend to follow their own rules. What a great media that barely even mentions it. What a great democracy we have when the sheeple don't even care, and/or are actually convinced that things will change.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself."

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." - John Adams

The Divide Between Society and State

Writing about Frank Chodorov, Murray Rothbard wrote, "Frank's final flowering was his last ideological testament, the brilliantly written The Rise and Fall of Society, published in 1959, at the age of 72." What follows is the introduction.

What history will think of our times is something that only history will tell. But it is a good guess that it will select collectivism as the identifying characteristic of the twentieth century.

For, even a quick survey of the developing pattern of thought during the past fifty years shows up the dominance of one central idea: that Society is a transcendent entity, something apart from and greater than the sum of its parts, possessing a suprahuman character and endowed with like capacities. It operates in a field of its own, ethically and philosophically, and is guided by stars unknown to mortals.

Hence, the individual, the unit of Society, cannot judge it by his own limitations nor apply to it standards by which he measures his own thinking and behavior. He is necessary to it, of course, but only as a replaceable part of a machine. It follows, therefore, that Society, which may concern itself paternalistically with individuals, is in no way dependent on them.

In one way or another, this idea has insinuated itself into almost every branch of thought and, as ideas have a way of doing, has become institutionalized. Perhaps the most glaring example is the modern orientation of the philosophy of education. Many of the professionals in this field frankly assert that the primary purpose of education is not to develop the individual's capacity for learning, as was held in the past, but to prepare him for a fruitful and "happy" place in Society; his inclinations must be turned away from himself, so that he can drop into the mores of his age group and beyond that into the social milieu in which he will live out his life. He is not an end in himself.

Jurisprudence has come around to the same idea, holding more and more that human behavior is not a matter of personal responsibility as much as it is a reflection of the social forces working on the individual; the tendency is to lay on Society the blame for crimes committed by its members. This, too, is a tenet of sociology, the increasing popularity of which, and its elevation to a science, attest to the hold that collectivism has on our times.

The scientist is no longer honored as a bold adventurer into the unknown, in search of nature's principles, but has become a servant of Society, to which he owes his training and his keep. Heroes and heroic exploits are being demoted to accidental outcroppings of mass thought and movements. The superior person, the self-starting "captain of industry," the inherent genius — these are fictions; all are but robots made by Society. Economics is the study of how Society makes a living, under its own techniques and prescriptions, not how individuals, in pursuit of happiness, go about the making of a living. And philosophy, or what goes by that name, has made truth itself an attribute of Society.

Collectivism is more than an idea. In itself, an idea is nothing but a toy of speculation, a mental idol. Since, as the myth holds, the suprapersonal Society is replete with possibilities, the profitable thing to do is to put the myth to work, to energize its virtue. The instrument at hand is the State, throbbing with political energy and quite willing to expend it on this glorious adventure. Thus comes Statism, or the worship of political power.

Statism is not a modern religion. Even before Plato, political philosophy concerned itself with the nature, origin, and justification of the State. But, while the thinkers speculated on it, the general public accepted political authority as a fact to be lived with and let it go at that. It is only within recent times (except, perhaps, during periods when Church and State were one, thus endowing political coercion with divine sanction) that the mass of people have consciously or implicitly accepted the Hegelian dictum that "the State is the general substance, whereof individuals are but the accidents." It is this acceptance of the State as "substance," as a suprapersonal reality, and its investment with a competence no individual can lay claim to, that is the special characteristic of the twentieth century.

In times past, the disposition was to look upon the State as something one had to reckon with, but as a complete outsider. One got along with the State as best one could, feared or admired it, hoped to be taken in by it and to enjoy its perquisites, or held it at arm's length as an untouchable thing; one hardly thought of the State as the integral of Society. One had to support the State — there was no way of avoiding taxes — and one tolerated its interventions as interventions, not as the warp and woof of life. And the State itself was proud of its position apart from, and above, Society.

The present disposition is to liquidate any distinction between State and Society, conceptually or institutionally. The State is Society; the social order is indeed an appendage of the political establishment, depending on it for sustenance, health, education, communications, and all things coming under the head of "the pursuit of happiness."

In theory, taking college textbooks on economics and political science for authority, the integration is about as complete as words can make it. In the operation of human affairs, despite the fact that lip service is rendered the concept of inherent personal rights, the tendency to call upon the State for the solution of all the problems of life shows how far we have abandoned the doctrine of rights, with its correlative of self-reliance, and have accepted the State as the reality of Society. It is this actual integration, rather than the theory, that marks off the twentieth century from its predecessors.

One indication of how far the integration has gone is the disappearance of any discussion of the State qua State — a discussion that engaged the best minds of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The inadequacies of a particular regime, or its personnel, are under constant attack, but there is no faultfinding with the institution itself. The State is all right, by common agreement, and it would work perfectly if the "right" people were at its helm.

It does not occur to most critics of the New Deal that all its deficiencies are inherent in any State, under anybody's guidance, or that when the political establishment garners enough power a demagogue will sprout. The idea that this power apparatus is indeed the enemy of Society, that the interests of these institutions are in opposition, is simply unthinkable. If it is brought up, it is dismissed as "old-fashioned," which it is; until the modern era, it was an axiom that the State bears constant watching, that pernicious proclivities are built into it.

A few illustrations of the temper of our times come to mind.

The oft-used statement that "we owe it to ourselves," in relation to the debts incurred in the name of the State, is indicative of the tendency to obliterate from our consciousness the line of demarcation between governed and governors. It is not only a stock phrase in economics textbooks but is tacitly accepted in financial circles as sound in principle. To modern bankers, a government bond is at least as sound as an obligation of a private citizen, since the bond is in fact an obligation of the citizen to pay taxes. No distinction is made between a debt backed by production or productive ability and a debt secured by political power; in the final analysis a government bond is a lien on production, so what's the difference? By such reasoning, the interests of the public, which are always centered in the production of goods, are equated with the predatory interests of the State.

In many economics textbooks, government borrowing from citizens, whether done openly or by pressure brought upon the banks to lend their depositors' savings, is explained as a transaction equivalent to the transfer of money from one pocket to another, of the same pants; the citizen lends to himself what he lends to the government. The rationale of this absurdity is that the effect on the nation's economy is the same whether the citizen spends his money or the government does it for him. He has simply given up his negligible right of choice. The fact that he has no desire for what the government spends his money on, that he would not of his own free will contribute to the buying of it, is blithely over looked. The "same pants" notion rests on the identification of the amorphous "national economy" with the well-being of the individual; he is thus merged into the mass and loses his personality.

Of a piece with this kind of thinking is a companion phrase, "We are the government." Its use and acceptance is most illustrative of the hold collectivism has taken on the American mind in this century, to the exclusion of the basic American tradition. When the Union was founded, the overriding fear of Americans was that the new government might become a threat to their freedom, and the framers of the Constitution were hard put to allay this fear. Now it is held that freedom is a gift from government in return for subservience. The reversal has been accomplished by a neat trick in semantics.

The word "democracy" is the key to this trick. When one looks for a definition of this word, one finds that it is not a form of government but rather the rule by "social attitudes." But what is a "social attitude"? Putting aside the wordy explanations of this slippery concept, it turns out to be in practice good old majoritarianism; what 51 per cent of the people deem right is right, and the minority is perforce wrong. It is the General Will fiction under a new name. There is no place in this concept for the doctrine of inherent rights; the only right left to the minority, particularly the minority of one, is conformity with the dominant "social attitude."

If "we are the government," then it follows that the man who finds himself in jail must blame himself for putting himself there, and the man who takes all the tax deductions the law allows is really cheating himself. While this may seem to be a farfetched reductio ad absurdum, the fact is that many an armed-services conscript consoles himself with that kind of logic. This country was largely populated by escapees from conscription — called "czarism" a generation or two ago and held to be the lowest form of involuntary servitude.

Now it has come to pass that a conscript army is in fact a "democratic" army, composed of men who have made adjustment with the "social attitude" of the times. So does the run-of-the-mill draftee console himself when compelled to interrupt his dream of a career. Acceptance of compulsory military service has reached the point of unconscious resignation of personality. The individual, as individual, simply does not exist; he is of the mass.

This is the fulfillment of statism. It is a state of mind that does not recognize any ego but that of the collective. For analogy, one must go to the pagan practice of human sacrifice: when the gods called for it, when the medicine man so insisted, as a condition for prospering the clan, it was incumbent on the individual to throw himself into the sacrificial fire. In point of fact, statism is a form of paganism, for it is worship of an idol, something made by man. Its base is pure dogma. Like all dogmas this one is subject to interpretations and rationales, each with its coterie of devotees. But, whether one calls oneself a Communist, Socialist, New Dealer, or just plain "democrat," one begins with the premise that the individual is of consequence only as a servant of the mass idol. Its will be done.
It is an odd circumstance of history that the questing spirit is never obliterated or completely submerged. Social and political pressures may compel the intellectually curious to put on an appearance of conformity — since one must live in one's environment — but actual conformity is impossible for a mind of that kind. It must ask "why," even of itself. And sometimes it is hardy enough to suggest an inadequacy in the prevailing pattern of thought and to speak out against it.

Even in this twentieth century there are those who hold, perhaps only in the privacy of their personality, that collectivism is erroneous and mischievous and will come to no good end. There are nonconformists who reject the Hegelian notion that "the State incarnates the Divine Idea on earth."

There are some who firmly maintain that only man is made in the image of God, that the State is a false idol. They are in the minority, to be sure, as they have been throughout history; they are the "remnant" to whom Isaiah is instructed to carry the message. Perhaps these will find this inquiry into the economics of Society, Government, and the State of some interest; it was written for them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"All political power comes from the barrel of a gun."

"All political power comes from the barrel of a gun." - Mao Tse Tung

Voluntary cooperation vs. violence

If not for the threat of government violence -- of arrest, incarceration, and the loss of all your property -- how would you choose to spend your money. Would you rather . . .

* Give money to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or Habitat for Humanity?
* Contribute to government foreign aid projects, or Doctors Without Borders?
* Rely on the FDA for safe food and drugs, or the Underwriter's Laboratory?
* Deliver your mail through the post office, or Fed Ex and UPS?
* Contribute money directly to research clinics, or filter it through the National Institutes of Health?
* Receive treatment in a V.A. Hospital, or a private one?
* Give 15% of your income to Social Security, or use that money to buy annuities from a diverse portfolio of insurance companies?
* Continue paying taxes to a ponzi-scheme Medicare program that must eventually cut benefits and ration your health care, or pile-up those funds in a tax-free, interest bearing Health Savings Account?
* Contribute money to local charities to change and improve the lives of the poor, or to a food stamp program that merely maintains people in their poverty?

Imagine the choices you would have if the politicians didn't use the threat of violent arrest, incarceration, and the loss of all your property, to make you fund their preferred choices?

No corporation or charity ever threatens you with violence if you don't buy their product, or contribute to their cause. Only "The Violent Entity," The State, or what we inaccurately call "government," does that. And it is only by colluding with politicians that corporations and other special interests gain the power to pick your pocket.

The State only performs the functions of a government when it protects us from violence, through courts, police, and a tightly controlled military that does not initiate violence against other countries and peoples.

But . . .

When The State uses violence against us, rather than protecting us from it, it ceases to be a government, and instead becomes a criminal gang.

That is where we are today. We do not have a government. We have a violent criminal gang.

Today is the day you must tell the criminal gang how much you earn, so they can steal their preferred amount. You do not have a choice. Do not file your taxes and you will eventually be subjected to violence. You will lose your freedom, and everything you own.

The criminal gang likes to claim that it has your consent for this. Does it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force."

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." - George Washington

This is a great quote that really captures the essence of government. Indeed, government can only operate and rely on force. Who would actually pay all their taxes if it was truly voluntary? Maybe a few die-hard statists, but besides them, nobody in their right mind would be glad to give up their hard-earned cash for the dubious privilege of being harassed by the state apparatus.

Every edict, every order, every command of the government rests on one premise: the use of force. Don't want to pay your taxes? Want to consume something the government doesn't want you to? Want to raise your children how you see fit? Don't want to be conscripted to slaughter foreigners? Too bad. If you dare defy the state, there will be government employees to ensure that you comply, and if you wish to continue to resist their demands, then you will be most likely shot and murdered.

Force keeps the sheeple in line.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"Do you not see, first, that... physical force is directly opposed to morality; and, secondly, that it... drives out of existence the moral forces?"

"Do you not see, first, that — as a mental abstract — physical force is directly opposed to morality; and, secondly, that it practically drives out of existence the moral forces? How can an act done under compulsion have any moral element in it, seeing that what is moral is the free act of an intelligent being? If you tie a man's hands there is nothing moral about his not committing murder. Such an abstaining from murder is a mechanical act; and just the same in kind, though less in degree, are the acts which men are compelled to do under penalties imposed upon them by their fellow men. Those who would drive their fellow men into the performance of any good actions do not see that the very elements of morality — the free act following on the free choice — are as much absent in those upon whom they practice their legislation as in a flock of sheep penned in by hurdles." - Auberon Herber

Computers cannot act against their programming. They do not have free will. Therefore they cannot do anything morally right or wrong. Humans do have free will, and thus can choose to follow their own conscience, or to not follow it. Whatever the choice is, is theirs. But if we take away that choice, if we force them to perform certain actions, they are no longer doing the moral thing, but the only thing that they are allowed to do. So if somebody chooses to use the government to force everyone to follow some guideline that they feel is moral, they will undermine their own objective, for the action will no longer hold any morality!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"What good does it do me... if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to... ward off all danger, if that authority is also [my] absolute master"

"What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?" - Alexis de Tocqueville

"Here," says government, "let me pry into your business. After all, it's only for your protection! If you have nothing to hide then you shouldn't have anything to worry about."

Wrong answer. If you have nothing to hide, then why should you be illegally searched, hassled, and harassed? Obviously if you are not a criminal then the government will gain nothing by harassing you. So, what's the point?

Let's analyze this just a bit more. If you were a criminal mastermind, why would you bring such nefarious items as too much money onto a plane? If you'e planning something evil, cash is a horrible choice. So, there goes that argument. Also, if you were a madman, would you really do things so obviously stupid as put weapons, etc, into a metal box in your luggage? I think you might try to be just a bit more clever than that. Lastly, although certainly not least, why should we be searched against our fourth amendment right not to be searched without probable cause? Is getting on a plane sufficient evidence that you are a terrorist? I certainly think not.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. . . "

"The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be, and has often been . . . the main source of mischief and disaster." - Ludwig von Mises

Think to yourself about some of the most evil tragedies of which you have ever heard. What has been the cause of the deaths of millions of people in the last one hundred years? Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Truman, the list goes on and on, but what do they have in common? They were all the rulers of governments. They used the state to manipulate the populations of their countries into murdering and oppressing millions. The individuals responsible for carrying out those evil orders are responsible for their own acts, but they all acted in the name of one particular gang, that of the government. But who alone has the power to commit such heinous crimes, and on such a grand scale? What other gang, mafia, or organization has been responsible for such much pure, unadulterated evil? To ask the question is to answer it. There has not been, and cannot be, any entity so power hungry, thieving, murdering, and destructive as the state. How unfortunate that so many people never realize the solution is less government, not more.

Monday, April 6, 2009

"The consumption tax... can only be regarded as a payment for permission-to-live."

"The consumption tax, on the other hand, can only be regarded as a payment for permission-to-live. It implies that a man will not be allowed to advance or even sustain his own life, unless he pays, off the top, a fee to the State for permission to do so. The consumption tax does not strike me, in its philosophical implications, as one whit more noble, or less presumptuous, than the income tax." - Murray Rothbard

The "FairTax" is not fair and the "Flat Tax" is not flat. Exactly why must I be forced to pay for monopoly services from the state that I do not want?

I do not want abortions for free,
I do not want your taxes on me.
I do not wish to pay for your plans,
I do not wish to bailout your friends.
I do not want to be coerced by the majority,
All I want is freedom and liberty.

Why do others feel the need to rule over me?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"By what right do men exercise power over each other?"

"By what right do men exercise power over each other?" - Auberon Herbert

The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. The country of the United States of America was founded on the idea that no man is born the master of any other, and no man is the king or lord of others. So why is it that I have to do what some bureaucrat says I have to. Why must I give a portion of my income to Washington DC, so that they can redistribute it to the rich and well connected? What right do they have to the fruits of my labor? Am I their slave? If not, why am I coerced at the point of a gun to do the bidding of the government?