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Author: scott lazarowitz

Libertarianism, Property, and Liberty

Charles Burris posted this regarding the two visions of libertarianism on the Lew Rockwell Blog this week. One vision, that of Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, the Cato Institute and former Governor Gary Johnson, is a “sterile, soulless utilitarian” vision of “consequentialist, cost-benefit analysis.” The other vision is one of moral principle, one based on the idea of the rights of the individual — that is the vision of Congressman Ron Paul, as well as economists Murray Rothbard, F.A. Hayek, Leonard Read, Hans Sennholz, Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Ludvig von Mises, and others in the modern freedom movement, including Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo and Jacob Hornberger just to name a few.

The first vision of libertarianism is not even a vision, frankly, but more an ideology. And while that ideology is not exactly statism, at least not overtly, it is what I would call “Statism Lite.” This Statism Lite school of thought does not appear to have a firm grasp of the concept of property rights, which includes the individual’s right to own one’s own life — one’s body and the physical and intellectual exertion one can produce from oneself directed outward, i.e. one’s labor, and the contracts one can voluntarily establish with others using one’s own labor.

Bottom line: the Statist Lite “libertarians” still seem to go by the assumption that the community in which one lives — and their compulsory territorial State — ultimately owns the individual, the individual’s person and property.

The true libertarian recognizes the right of the property owner to have sole sovereignty ownership of one’s justly-acquired, justly owned property, and that when the State seizes it or usurps control over it, in the old days that would be called “stealing” and “trespassing.”

Looking at how federal, state and local governments impose many, many regulations of property and businesses, and other forms of State-confiscations of property ownership in America, we essentially have the same thing here in America: illegitimate State ownership of all property.

This is why, in the contest between the two “libertarian Republicans,” Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, it really is no contest. The one who understands the relationship between property and freedom and who wants us to have our freedom, which is our right to have, is Ron Paul. The other, not so much.

Further reading:

The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard

For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard

Defending the Undefendable (.pdf) by Walter Block

Human Action by Ludwig von Mises

Anti-Federalist Papers

Natural Law by Lysander Spooner

No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority by Spooner

The Criminality of the State by Albert Jay Nock

The Free Market by Murray Rothbard

Let Go of the Centralized State

May 10, 2011

© 2011 LewRockwell.com.(Link to article)

There have been several events in the news this past week that have distracted Americans from the more pressing issues of the day. The distractions have included President Obama’s finally releasing his birth certificate to please Donald Trump, The Royal Wedding, and the Navy SEALs’ carrying out of Obama’s order to kill Osama bin Laden. The news of the bin Laden killing overshadowed the killing of Libyan leader Gadhafi’s son and three grandchildren in NATO’s failed attempt to kill Gadhafi himself. As Rad Geek explains,

Two of the (Gadhafi) grandchildren they killed were toddlers, a two-year-old girl, and a two-year-old boy. The other was a baby girl only 5 months old.

Now we have seen how premier Obama has snubbed the people’s representatives – Congress – by acting on his own executive power like a dictator, to bomb Libya and kill its civilians, and we have seen how the Obama Administration has given many contradictory details about the killing of Osama bin Laden. Only in an Orwellian socialist banana republic would we see these things happening. But Obama is merely taking on the expanded executive powers of Bush that the conservatives and Tea Partiers enthusiastically supported.

However, regardless how ghastly our Western governments are in their constant murders of innocent civilians especially children and little babies, and regardless of the constant distractions promoted by the subservient Washington press corps, Americans must face the truth about our current economic ordeal, and about our future: Washington’s runaway spending, debts and, really, the flawed structure of the centralized State itself.

Regarding the spending, conservatives and Tea Party congressmen and senators winced and dodged and brought their pledge to cut $100 billion from the federal budget down to $61 billion, only to then agree with Democrats to cut $38 billion, which it turns out will amount to a mere $353 million in cuts. This is out of a budget of $3.7 trillion.

And in addition to all that, if conservatives and Tea Partiers knuckle under with regards to the raising of the debt ceiling, that will be further proof of the accuracy of my prediction from March, 2010, that the November 2010 elections would be nothing but more “rearranging of deck chairs” on sinking Titanic America.

If Americans can’t see by now how insincere their representatives in Washington are in fixing the problems, and aren’t willing to consider changing the entire structure of governance, then change has to be up to individuals and organizations who actually believe in morality and our inalienable rights to life and liberty.

Americans must begin to face the hard truth that centralism and central planning just don’t work. The Social Security and Medicare schemes are naturally going bankrupt, and the Federal Reserve continues to produce more valueless paper money and in turn causes price inflation to further impoverish us.

It is impossible for any centralized institution, especially a territorial monopoly such as a federal government in Washington, to oversee a population of many millions and control a society’s daily functions and to provide services from a central authority based thousands of miles away. It is impractical for central planners to carry out such assigned caretaker duties, because they could not possibly know what is needed at any given time in any given part of such a large society.

The main areas of disastrous centralization have been in the U.S. government’s aggression against foreigners and the government’s invasiveness against Americans’ civil liberties and economic matters.

Centralization of Foreign Affairs and Government’s Civil Liberties Violations

The Tea Partiers have been supportive of an unconstitutional national security socialism that – as has been seen in past totalitarian societies – can be used as tools for conniving government bureaucrats to oppress their own people. Such threats to the people’s civil liberties and their due process rights, and invasions of their persons and property, seem to happen most the more centralized governing institutions are. (e.g. Soviet Union.)

But if only the Tea Partiers could connect the governmental encroachments, civil liberties intrusions and property trespasses of domestic policies they oppose (such as ObamaCare and the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies) with the governmental encroachments, civil liberties intrusions and property trespasses of the foreign policies they have naively supported (such as the PATRIOT Act, TSA intrusions etc.).

The Department of Homeland Security, TSA and CIA are not protecting Americans from terrorists – they are increasingly trespassing our persons and property, so we are increasingly threatened and unprotected from the predations of these agents of government, far more than we are threatened by terrorists.

But now, an even more serious warning sign than the TSA’s predations is the government’s implementing new invasive, extortive means of gathering private information, to make it difficult to even leave the country. That is the beginning of the process of the government’s keeping the people in the country, involuntarily. If this newest sinking into totalitarianism isn’t enough to make people finally consider decentralizing America, and secession and nullification, I don’t know what is.

As I have noted here, in contrast to the current centralized monopoly in Washington, which has done nothing but provoke foreigners against us, thus making us less safe, decentralizing and removing any monopoly in security would reduce the possibility of any one U.S. state using aggression against other states and against foreigners, and thus would make us safer. It would also remove the threat against our liberty that the totalcrats in Washington currently pose.

Centralization of Economic Affairs

Economically, in addition to loss of liberty, the trend toward more centralization and bureaucratization has resulted in more severe recessions, distortions of markets and further crises and catastrophes. This trend is due to the increasing lack of willingness to rely on the individual to control one’s own life and be responsible for oneself. In other words, independence – which logically coincides with liberty – has been unwittingly traded in for serfdom.

Now, as if the Federal Reserve were not bad enough, there have been calls for a centralized, global currency and global central bank. For some reason, so many people are just unwilling to admit what the Austrian economists have been trying to demonstrate for a hundred years, that the artificial extreme economic booms and busts have for decades been caused by governmental intrusions into the people’s economic and monetary matters, and that, if left alone by these compulsory governmental forces, markets and economic downturns will be self-correcting. Unfortunately, so many people have a weakness for dependence on authority and the officialdom of State controls, despite the disasters they have wrought.

The Federal Reserve has given the banks the ability to make risk-free loans and investments without the obligations to take responsibility for their actions. The Fed encourages banks to engage in financial recklessness, very much like the ability of Congress to borrow from future generations that enables or even encourages Congress to act recklessly. The centralization of a global currency and central bank are the exact opposite of what needs to be done.

As Ron Paul notes in his book, End the Fed, the federally-protected banks have been able to “privatize profits and socialize losses.” This moral hazard of centralization and socialism has been at the heart of economic dysfunction throughout our society and throughout the world for many years. But, as Dr. Paul declares, “The banking industry needs its welfare check ended.”

It is because of the Fed’s monopoly on our compulsory medium of exchange that has enabled the growing military-industrial-complex to expand its parasitic grasp on the fruits of the American producers’ labor. And, like the banking industry, the military-industrial-complex needs its welfare check ended.

Compulsory federal legal tender laws, compulsory central bank power and control, fraudulent fractional reserve banking and tax-funded bailouts are all based on government-expropriation of private wealth via back-door schemes and thus create moral hazards, as well as ultimately lead to the impoverishment of the masses. Therefore, the American people must decentralize monetarily and remove the federal government’s monopoly in money production and distribution – the Federal Reserve System – and allow for free, unrestricted banking under the rule of law, and allow competing currencies and money backed by something of actual value such as gold and silver.

Americans and the individual states also need to consider taking back ownership of lands that the federal government has illegitimately taken from them, decentralize their energy sources, and decentralize their utilities including water. It may be the case that Americans will have to use nullification and outright withdraw their consent to being shackled by federal government regulations, taxes, mandates and other intrusions that restrict Americans’ God-given inalienable rights to their liberty and prosperity.

Some people perceive such suggestions of civil disobedience and non-compliance as being an advocacy for “lawlessness” or even violence. But, I must point out that such non-violent acts of individual and group nullification of authoritarian dictates are necessary when the centralized government overreaches and becomes the people’s primary violator of individual liberty, trespasser of private property and expropriator of wealth.

It is the centralized government that has been guilty of the lawlessness and violence, and it must be stopped. As we have seen from the people’s representatives in Washington and their submissive unwillingness to stand up to the executive branch or to even adjust their deficits and debts, the idea of a “limited” government is just not realistic.

When people who are used to being dependent on the authority and power of the always-growing centralized federal government feel apprehensive in implementing such decentralization, they need to revisit the idea of local control, which is the real source of the “power to the people.” In contrast to the planned chaos produced by national centralism, it is the local level in which production, efficiency and prosperity are best achieved.

Additionally, at the local level, not only do most people actually know each other, but there is also more of a solidarity and common purpose that just cannot truly exist between centralized government bureaucrats and the rest of a big population. As economist Friedrich Hayek observed,

Agreement about a common purpose between a group of known people is clearly an idea that cannot be applied to a large society which includes people who do not know one another. The modern society and the modern economy have grown up through the recognition that this idea – which was fundamental to life in a small group – a face-to-face society, is simply inapplicable to large groups. The essential basis of the development of modern civilization is to allow people to pursue their own ends on the basis of their own knowledge and not be bound by the aims of other people.

As the necessary process of decentralizing America unfolds, Murray Rothbard addresses the issue of what to do about the national debt. Supposedly, we Americans owe others a lot of money – over $14 trillion – because our Congress has spent wildly, selfishly and irresponsibly. Rothbard states the difference between private debt and this immoral scheme of “public debt.”

If sanctity of contracts should rule in the world of private debt, shouldn’t they be equally as sacrosanct in public debt? Shouldn’t public debt be governed by the same principles as private? The answer is no…

If I borrow money from a mortgage bank, I have made a contract to transfer my money to a creditor at a future date; in a deep sense, he is the true owner of the money at that point, and if I don’t pay I am robbing him of his just property. But when government borrows money, it does not pledge its own money; its own resources are not liable. Government commits not its own life, fortune, and sacred honor to repay the debt, but ours…

In short, public creditors are willing to hand over money to the government now in order to receive a share of tax loot in the future. This is the opposite of a free market, or a genuinely voluntary transaction. Both parties are immorally contracting to participate in the violation of the property rights of citizens in the future. Both parties, therefore, are making agreements about other people’s property, and both deserve the back of our hand. The public credit transaction is not a genuine contract that need be considered sacrosanct, any more than robbers parceling out their shares of loot in advance should be treated as some sort of sanctified contract…

With the increasing federal government debacles in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Pakistan, and the economic mess caused by Congress and the Federal Reserve, and the police state intrusions being waged against us by a tyrannical Obama regime, we are seeing that the U.S. federal government is the one institution most at fault and guilty of causing the ruin of the United States of America. This centralized government parasite’s shackles must be removed if we are to return to a civilization of economic solvency and human progress.

Americans are really going to have to seriously consider decentralizing the country and returning to state sovereignty and independence. If Belgium can do it, so can we.

So, just as little boys and girls must let go of their mommy and daddy’s hand eventually, so must the American people let go of their dependence on – and serfdom under – the smothering, punitive and reactionary centralized State, the U.S. federal government.

Truth and Presumption-of-Innocence vs. the State

Well, the conservatives and warmongers’ moral relativism has come out in broad daylight once again, in their proudly exhibiting their ignorance of due process, and of why all human beings accused of something have a right to due process, and in the conservatives and warmongers’ love of torture. Of course, when the government they have so lovingly supported starts to use those very barbaric investigative procedures against them, they will change their minds about it. (Is that what it would take?)

There have been so many inconsistencies by the Obama Administration, and other sources over the past ten years, enough to lead one to conclude that Osama bin Laden actually died already years ago, either from disease or from the Battle of Tora Bora, and, in total 1984 fashion as Paul Craig Roberts describes, it wouldn’t surprise me if the whole scenario of the past week or two is completely made up. The sheeple eat it all up, every bit of it, hook, line and sinker, because they have been more concerned with American Idol and Lindsay Lohan’s latest shoplifting indictments.

But if we assume, just for the sake of argument (because that would have to be the only rational reason for assuming it), that Osama bin Laden really was still alive up until last week, it is extremely difficult for me to understand why the moral relativists of the right would want bin Laden dead out of revenge more than they would want him alive to give investigators more information, as a means of prosecuting the “war on terrorism,” to prevent further terrorism (even though that’s not what is required to end the terrorism). Don’t the moral relativists of the right ever think before they express their conclusions?

One of the conservative talk show hosts in Boston said yesterday morning that someone would have to be “mentally deficient” to be concerned about “Osama’s human rights.” Now, he was referring to Rosie O’Donnell’s recent concern about Osama not given his due process rights. Of course, Rosie O’Donnell is “mentally deficient,” but that’s not to say she doesn’t have a point.

The moral relativists do not seem to grasp the idea of due process. They seem to think that it would be absurd to think that even bin Laden would have a right to be presumed innocent until someone can actually present actual evidence that proves that bin Laden directed 9/11. Sorry. But when someone is deemed guilty of something because government officials, the president or CIA agents or military generals, said so, at their whim, by their own decree? No, that’s the way of a banana republic, not the way of a society under the rule of law. And yes, even bin Laden has that right of due process.

To look at that issue specifically, we need to be reminded that, as Jacob Hornberger has noted here and here, when the Afghanistan Taliban were harboring bin Laden after 9/11, the Bush Administration demanded that the Taliban release bin Laden to the U.S. The Taliban stated that they would extradite bin Laden to the U.S. if the U.S. government would present evidence of bin Laden’s complicity in 9/11. The Bush Administration refused. Could there be any other reason why the Bush Administration refused to present evidence of bin Laden’s 9/11 complicity than Bush having no evidence? And to this day, there has never been any actual evidence showing that bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, except that he publicly approved of it after the fact.

It is unfortunate that the majority amongst the masses prefer to passively believe whatever the government and its media propagandists produce, rather than question or challenge the State’s information and insist on further investigation and valid confirmation of the government’s assertions.

Now, the suggestion that torture was what led to the capture of bin Laden has been shown to not be the case. The chickenhawks just love their vicarious infliction of pain, anguish and suffering on others, the others being people accused of terrorism or being terrorism abettors, even though the majority of the people being tortured in the past ten years were innocent. But, the moral relativists just happen to believe in the philosophy of “guilty by State decree until proven innocent by facts.” When presumption-of-guilt policies of indefinite detention and torture turn around to bite the moral relativists, then maybe then will they get the point.

Here are links to articles regarding the Bush Administration’s knowingly sweeping up innocent individuals at random starting shortly after 9/11, and regarding the majority of Gitmo detainee and torture victims being innocent and uninvolved, and the purpose of the torture to get false confessions or falsely implicate other innocent individuals:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-files-children-old-men

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/guantnamo-failures-politicians/

http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/03/02/the-black-hole-of-guantanamo/

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/04/25/112796/wikileaks-just-8-at-gitmo-gave.html

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/05/war-criminals-try-to-evade-prosecution.html

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/05/bin-had.html

Unfortunately, as we have seen in the government’s increasing of police state security measures following the “death” of bin Laden, government bureaucrats’ primary motivation in anything they do is to increase their level of power and control over others. The real purpose of the TSA’s intrusions, now extending to trains, buses, shopping malls, etc., and other gestapo-like police state policies given to us by ignorant fools like Bush, Obama and Janet Napolitano, is to intimidate the masses, to imprison and rape the citizenry, but one can only hope that more people will begin to fight this crap.

Socialist Hannity Still Criticizing Ron Paul’s Conservatism

Last week, a caller to Sean Hannity’s radio show brought up Ron Paul, and Hannity mentioned that he agrees with about 85% of Ron Paul’s views and positions on the issues. However, Hannity’s main disagreement with Dr. Paul is on foreign policy, a disagreement based mostly on ignorance and a compulsion toward believing the government’s emotional propaganda in the name of expanding government’s size and power as much as possible.

Hannity is a socialist and believes that it is the government’s monopolistic duty to engage in central planning, for “national security,” despite the constant ineptitude, failures and counter-productiveness for a century now of socialist, central planning “national security” debacles directed outward from Washington, D.C.

Hannity noted on his show, in response to Charlie from Pacifica, California, that America should maintain a big influence on the rest of the world. Hannity really means he wants the U.S. government to maintain a big influence on the rest of the world (through aggression, force, coercion, violating human rights and trespassing on property rights, etc.). And Hannity once again brought up his misinterpretation of Ron Paul’s criticism of U.S. government foreign policy. Hannity believes that Dr. Paul thinks America “invited” 9/11 or was responsible for it. Unfortunately, like many others, Hannity does not seem able to distinguish between America the country and its “governing agent,” the centralized U.S. government.

One of the matters of confusion has been Dr. Paul’s attempts to explain that the rise in terrorism over the past 20 years has been blowback, a reaction by people to the invasions, aggressions and occupations of their territories by the U.S. government, especially since 1990. Dr. Paul has several times used the collective pronoun “we,” such as in stating that “we” have been occupying other peoples’ lands. I have already stated my problem with that, and that Dr. Paul and others need to be more specific, and say that “the U.S. government” has been occupying and trespassing on foreign lands, murdering innocent civilians and destroying entire countries’ civilian infrastructures. These actions of aggression, initiated by the U.S. government and not by “us,” have been provocations of those inhabitants of foreign lands to act against us.

I’m sure that Hannity would have the same reaction as Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis and Iranians, if a foreign government had begun to set up its military bases and other governmental apparatus on U.S. territories such as in Utah and California, had invaded Texas to take its oil resources, or continuously bombed and destroyed water and electricity facilities in New Jersey or Montana and then imposed blockades and sanctions to prevent folks in those states from rebuilding.

Another aspect to all this is the emotionalism upon which Hannity and others, particularly Sarah Palin, seem to form their views regarding international relations. Hannity and Palin seem to have an authoritarian view of America, which explains their emotion-based obedience to the U.S. government and their apparent enmeshment of self-identity with that regime.They, and many other Americans, unfortunately, did not question any of the federal government’s post-9/11 knee-jerk declarations, policies such as PATRIOT Act, or invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Hannity’s support for U.S. government powers that remove Americans’ right to due process can then be used by the Obama regime against Hannity and his fellow conservatives and Tea Partiers to punish their opposition and dissent of Obama policies.

It has been very distressing, to say the least, over the last almost decade now since 9/11, how some people can be so naively trustful of people in authority and believing of every word they say. While the post-9/11 knee-jerk, non-thinking reaction of the U.S. government that Hannity and Palin supported was to go to war against Afghanistan, the reasonable approach would have been what Ron Paul has been saying for many years: The terrorists who have attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were reacting to the many decades of U.S. government occupations, military bases, military coups and support for brutal dictatorships, especially the U.S. government’s 1990-91 invasion of Iraq and subsequent sanctions throughout the ’90s that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and widespread anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East — and that is why those invasive U.S. government policies need to be ended.

Because socialists and central planners who have government-controlled monopolies react to problems that they created with even further intrusive and counter-productive policies that make things even worse, that is why the U.S. government’s socialist bureaucrats went to war in Afghanistan in 2001, enacted the PATRIOT Act quickly and without any consideration and without even reading the legislation, and all based on the same kind of unthinking emotionalism and mysticism of how good and wonderful our unquestionable authoritarian federal government is. And they then went to Iraq a 2nd time based on lies and propaganda solely because George W. Bush had wanted to go to Iraq all along, at least since 1999, and for the sake of “political capital.”

Now, the typical socialist reaction to the alleged killing of Osama Bin Laden (and I still say Osama was already killed in 2001-02, so I don’t believe this newest of U.S. government lies to help Obama’s reelection bid) is one of immediate gratification: Oh boy, bin Laden is dead, we can go out and play, now. But a more rational view might be that even further blowback repercussions might occur, in the U.S. government-created terrorists’ possible instructions to commit revenge attacks based on the news of bin Laden’s death.

Bottom line: We need to reject Hannity and Palin’s socialism in national security, and dismantle the federal monopoly that usurps our right to self-defense, and decentralize America, as well as allow for private protection and defense firms to compete. Getting rid of central planning in national security will make us safer — from terrorists, as well as from the predations of the government — just as getting rid of central planning in medicine will make Americans much better served in their medical needs.

Trump Is Not As “Pro-America” As He Thinks He Is

Donald Trump went on the offensive in Las Vegas. Well, at least he’s telling it as he sees it, which is unusual in the political world. When a possible future presidential candidate goes out and openly declares his support for fascism — and his ignorance of the principles upon which America was founded — then at least we know exactly what we’re dealing with.

In his rants that are supposedly to express how “pro-America” he is, Trump, in fact, is really anti-America. Along with all the obscenities that show how much class he really has, Trump proclaimed his lack of knowledge of economics and understanding of basic principles, including,

They (Saudi Arabia) go in and raise the price of oil, because we have nobody in Washington that sits back and say, ‘You’re not gonna raise that f—— price. You understand me?

So he wants U.S. government bureaucrats to order the Saudis not to raise prices? Do U.S. officials have that kind of authority over others in other countries? Why doesn’t he look further into the situation as far as why the price or oil and gas is so high now? Has Trump addressed the fact that the U.S. government — with all its wacky, destructive environmental laws and energy regulations — is restricting Americans’ right to explore for and make use of energy resources on their own lands? Could he possibly consider the idea that the people of the states actually have more of a right to control their own lands and resources than the U.S. government has?

If Trump were truly “pro-America,” he would advocate that the people of the states nullify and ignore all federal environmental and energy-related laws and regulations, and drill for oil and gas anyway, and build and use nuclear power plants anyway, regardless of what federal bureaucrats say. Trump could make better use of the f-bomb by telling the U.S. government to go f itself.

And in his fascist stand against American consumers and their right to make choices on a free market, Trump said that he would tell the Chinese, “Listen you motherf——, we’re going to tax you 25%.” Trump has already stated in the past that he “would love to have a trade war with China.”

I suppose he supports the trade war that Obama already started on behalf of America’s Obama-campaign-contributing unions. In September, 2009 Obama’s trade war with China involved the 35% tariff on Chinese tire imports. As the New York Times put it,

The decision is a major victory for the United Steelworkers, the union that represents American tire workers. And Mr. Obama cannot afford to jeopardize his relationship with major unions as he pushes Congress to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

It’s all political with these politicians who want to destroy America’s wealth in order to save it. But really, the bottom line is that their policies have more to do with politics — getting elected and reelected — than with principle.

Jacob Hornberger noted how Obama’s trade war with China will affect America: “Among the people who pay the price for this post-election payoff are American consumers. They are now denied the opportunity of purchasing low-priced tires from China.” There are actually some people who see something wrong with allowing the American people the freedom to purchase a product on the market (anywhere in the world) at the lowest available price.

Being able to purchase the best (or even just the most adequate) product available at the lowest price is the American way. Why should our government have the power to restrict our right to do that? Should Americans have to spend more money for products to help pay off unions who support Obama’s election campaigns?

Americans have a right to purchase products made by producers in other countries if those companies make better goods at a lower price. It is this kind of American freedom and free-market competition that gives American producers the incentive to make better products at lower prices, and thus attract more buyers honestly and without the protective restrictions of government coercion.

And regarding the trade wars that Obama started to protect his campaign’s union supporters, following the U.S. government’s China tires tariffs, Jacob Hornberger continues,

China hit the United States with duties reaching 36 percent on certain nylon products.

Obama’s people then retaliated against the Chinese retaliation by imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel pipe, and threatened duties on other Chinese imports.

One day later, the Chinese threatened import duties on the American automobile industry, the pride and joy of Obama’s socialist bailout scheme. China also imposed tariffs ranging from 5 to 35 percent on industrial acid used to produce nylons and medicine.

Trump supports the strong-arm, union-like tactics of Big Government to protect Big Business at the expense of small business, to protect union workers at the expense of non-union workers and American consumers. In other words, the socialist, central planning power of governments to trespass into Americans’ private economic matters (and for political reasons).

Trump supports government restrictions against Americans’ God-given right to trade with other Americans or with foreigners, and Americans’ right to make use of their own labor, wealth and property as they see fit in voluntary exchange with others for mutually beneficial outcomes. Those associations, contracts and transactions are none of any bureaucrat’s or politician’s business.

Thomas Jefferson declared in his 1801 presidential inauguration address, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” My interpretation of that is that governments should not be empowered or permitted to interfere with the people’s right to trade with others, and that the government should not be permitted to collude with foreign governments for any purpose.

Trade restrictions, in my opinion, are the government’s trespassing into private Americans’ private matters, and such restrictions make Americans less well served than they would be otherwise with unrestricted freedom of trade under the rule of law that forbids theft, trespass and physical aggression.

Education Should Be Individual-Centered, Not Authoritarian

It seems that the high costs of higher education and the societal costs of socialized lower education are really taking America down, right along with the disasters that central planning in security, money and retirement have wrought. One problem is the authoritarian, top-down approach to education that has pervaded our society and culture, and the suppression of expressions, interests, and the will of society’s youths that goes with it.

This article by Stephan Kinsella, Montessori, Peace, and Libertarianism, today on LewRockwell.com, is very informative on the approach in education of Maria Montessori, an approach based on the child’s individuality, and being a rejection of top-down, authority-driven educational ideologies.

Although this quote by Montessori is referring to the discouragement of placing a child in a crib, I like the quote, addressing the encouragement of independence:

When the child is given freedom to move about in a world of objects, he is naturally inclined to perform the task necessary for his development entirely on his own. Let us say it straight out – the child wants to do everything all by himself. But the adult does not understand this, and a blind struggle begins. The child likes neither to play idly, nor to waste time doing useless things, nor to flit about aimlessly, as most people believe. He seeks some very precise goal, and he seeks it with an instinctive directness of purpose. This instinct that impels him to do things by himself makes it incumbent upon us to prepare an environment that truly allows him to develop. When he has freed himself of the oppressive adults who act for him, the child also achieves his second goal, working positively toward his own independence. [Education and Peace, 55]

If one takes an honest look at the government schools, one will see how they have dumbed down generations of people, especially in the U.S., and how the government curriculum of authoritarian pedagogical instructions has caused mostly not just an unquestioning obedience to the State, but an intolerance of diversity, such as in the name of political correctness. Diverse ideas are not discussed, and in fact are not tolerated. This is not just a government-school phenomenon in America, but a cultural phenomenon whose effects have pervaded in the private schools as well.

Some of the problem in our culture is to do with the increasing influence of the television. When generations of Americans sit in front of that thing and passively and vegetatively stare at it for hours every day, then you should expect Americans’ average intelligence, as well as their motivation and creativity, to decline.

In the schools, instead of learning history, math and English, the kids are learning about “man-made global warming,” and how to put a condom on a cucumber. Of course, the kids are also learning how to text. All they want to do now is text their friends, and play with their Facebook page. This is what the centralization and bureaucratization of everything in society has caused, intellectual laziness and a destroyed motivation in many people, now.

But regarding the pedagogical authoritarianism and discouragement of alternative ideas in the classroom, Gary North writes online (Garynorth.com, Feb. 10, 2010) on “How a College Student Can Safely Create Pain for a Professor Who Is Misusing His Bully Pulpit,” for college students, but perhaps it can apply to high school students as well.

College now is a total fraud and a sham. While government (and private) schools are an indoctrination center for State-worship authoritarianism, so are colleges. However, college is worse, because of the institutionalized fraud of promising a post-high school “education” to be used as the path toward a “career.”

College is no longer a worthy investment for parents to make for their kids. It is a place for extended adolescence that discourages personal responsibility and independence, and it wastes parents money and puts students into long-term debt.

Unless your child has a desire to enter an extremely concentrated specialty such as medicine, I would advise that the high school graduate work full time, and take college courses perhaps toward a BA on a part-time basis, such as with an online university. Also, it is important that teenagers have part-time jobs during high school. They need to learn the “work ethic.” Teens also need to get experience seeing how businesses are run. Learning through observation is very important. I think that people get better educated through actual experience than through formal classroom teachings.

Another thing for parents to consider is encouraging and promoting the child’s natural interests, that the child or teenager expresses, as noted in the aforementioned Kinsella article. For example, if a high school student is fascinated with jewelry and other similar expressions of artwork, he or she can get a part-time job with a jeweler, and study techniques in jewelry crafts, and so on, and then such a part-time job can perhaps eventually turn into full time. Or, if the kid loves gardening and plants, he or she can get a part-time job with a florist or landscaping business, which can eventually turn into full time. That could then include the young adult’s taking courses in botany and getting a degree in Botany, perhaps in an online university.

There are also high school AP courses online.

I believe in maintaining traditions generally, but not when such traditions become self-destructive and wasteful of time and money. Americans need to reconsider traditional education methods, and Americans need to reconsider this tradition of sending kids off to college for four years. These ways of life are not helping people in the long run, and not helping the country.

The State Kills Western Civilization

April 27, 2011

(Link to article at Strike the Root)

Some things that helped to bring humanity out of the times of barbarism and treachery included the Enlightenment and the American Revolution. Those were periods that emphasized reason and that encouraged an understanding of the differences between peace and violence, and included the assumption that individuals have inalienable rights, among them the right of the individual to one’s own life and liberty, the right to be free from the aggression of others.

In particular, Thomas Jefferson and other similar liberty advocates emphasized the individual’s life and person as one’s own property, not to be violated by others, and the right to own oneself, one’s justly acquired property and one’s labor. The individual’s self-ownership right would include the right to be free from involuntary servitude and from expropriation of the fruits of one’s labor.

Much of the Industrial Revolution was achieved through individual initiative and risk-taking, the profit motive and the fulfillment of serving others voluntarily by making use of one’s own person, abilities and labor, and property. That is what raised the standard of living of most in the new “civilized” world. Progress was directed outward from the individual, and was NOT directed downward from some command or authority, or from State powers or controls.

But gradually, more and more people saw how State power and authority could be used as a means to empower oneself over others and enrich oneself with the fruits of others’ labor and with the property of others.

Coinciding with the 19th Century-early 20th Century Industrial Revolution were the American “Civil War,” State-usurpation of education, taxation and State regulation of private industry and State usurpation of money and State-interference in voluntary exchange. People who had a compulsion for intruding into others’ affairs, associations, contracts and businesses were (and are) those most attracted to State power.

The philosophy of “I have my stuff and you have your stuff and we leave each other alone” became, “I have my stuff but I want your stuff, so I’ll take it from you by force, coercion, deceit, fraud, etc.” Example: the discovery of oil in Middle Eastern territories, and the West’s expropriation of it. More examples: Socialist redistribution-of-wealth schemes, including welfare, Social Security and Medicare, military-industrial-complex-welfare, and corporatist, anti-competition regulations.

So how “civilized” is it when some people use the armed power of the State to expropriate the wealth, earnings and property from others, either to redistribute such wealth and property to favored constituents or to keep for oneself to fund one’s favorite State bureaucracies? If the victims of such thefts and bondage choose not to comply with their aggressors and assailants, these victims will be thrown in a cage. That’s “civilized.”

Much industrial progress from the 19th and early 20th Centuries that raised the standard of living for many in the U.S. and other Western nations – a period of huge growth, creativity and progress – was countered by the destructive compulsions of those with State power, such as Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill. To turn so much civilized growth and prosperity backward, they employed the means of destroying wealth and property. Wilson and his cohorts gave us the destructive income tax and the Federal Reserve.

And Churchill loved war. And State control. I think politicians love State control and compulsion over others. The Western government leaders chopped up and divided parts of the Middle East like those territories were toys to be played with, as though they owned the lands in question. One could argue that the British and other Empires took lands by conquest or their control was enabled by League of Nations mandates. Internationally, the first half of the 20th Century was not a period of heavy promotion of liberty and property rights, that’s for sure.

While it may not be politically correct to assert this, during the first half of the 20th Century, Western governments exploited early Zionists’ calling to create a “safe haven for Jews worldwide,” to serve the elites’ desire to realize Biblical fables. The elites’ emotional, mystical interpretations of Biblical scriptures drove their obsession over Palestine to be the one and only territory for a “Jewish State.” The activists would not consider any other territory but Palestine, solely for Biblical – not practical – reasons.

By use of deceit and State-initiated land expropriations, the British Empire, the U.S. and other Western governments displaced indigenous Palestinians throughout the 20th (and 21st) Century. Throughout that time, didn’t it occur to any of the Zionists or government agents that maybe their displacements and ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine might result in angering Arabs and Muslims in the surrounding territories, and might have created an unsafe haven for Jews? (Ya think?)

And the out-of-place Western government of Israel, since 1948, has been acting aggressively, expanding its power territorially, and treating its Arab population less civilly than it ought to. This includes the 2008-09 war between the Israeli military and Hamas, the ruling government of Gaza, during which the Israelis severely damaged the Gazan water and sewer treatment facilities, followed by the blockade against the Gaza population’s ability to repair that civilian infrastructure, thereby forcing that population to use unsafe, untreated water.

It is as though the Israeli government followed the playbook of the U.S. military in its 1991 war against Iraq, in which the U.S. military destroyed the Iraqi civilian electrical and water and sewage treatment facilities, followed by sanctions and no-fly zones to prevent the Iraqis from making repairs and thus forcing them to use untreated water. Those uncivilized actions of the civilized West led to a huge increase in cholera, typhoid and cancer, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

And that was before the U.S. government’s second war against Iraq starting in 2003, that led to hundreds of thousands more innocent Iraqi civilians, and the unnecessary deaths of 5,000 U.S. military personnel and tens of thousands of wounded American soldiers.

Since the Enlightenment and so much human progress and prosperity that sprung from the recognition of the rights of the individual and the sanctity of private property and voluntary contracts, the violence committed by States and their agents had steadily increased the more compromises people made of their own rights, as they allowed their governments more and more access into the people’s wealth and property, more power to expropriate from them, and as the people accepted fewer choices, less liberty, and more government control.

I believe that, in his Declaration of Independence, by “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” Jefferson meant all of humankind, not just Americans. Unfortunately, some people seem to think that the Declaration’s statement is referring to “only Americans,” and therefore implies “but not Asians, Muslims, Iraqis, etc.”

Should we be surprised that the agents of Western governments who engaged in the dehumanization of “foreigners” would also start to dehumanize their own people, and unwittingly encourage populations of the “Third World” to dehumanize populations of the West?

Should we be surprised that U.S. soldiers assault each other, as well as kill for fun, and be surprised by Mexican drug gangs murdering and beheading Americans thanks to U.S. government drug war socialism?

The Federal Reserve’s inflation causes worldwide food shortages and riots, and U.S. government support for foreign dictators causes revolts and uprisings. But in the U.S., the Wall Street elites are getting rich off the Fed’s illicit counterfeiting, and Americans continue to reelect professional politicians who have never had a real job, and all this just continues.

Violence, bloodshed, chaos, economic depressions, impoverishment, and soon, martial law and worse. Back to Lincoln, as the president turns the guns on his own fellow Americans. So much for “Western Civilization.”

Is it possible to undo the damage that the State’s loyalists and apologists have wrought?

Our Offensive Politicians Remind Me of Anti-German Basil Fawlty

Do Barack Obama, Lindsey Graham and John McCain seem like utter pests, just very annoying people whose constant ignorant prattle and warmongering seem to offend your intelligence and sensibilities? Do they offend people on foreign lands? And are The Donald and The Bernank the same way? And those paranoid, anti-Muslim “conservatives” on the radio as well?

Here is someone who reminds me of all of them, from the 1970s Britcom Fawlty Towers. Hotel manager Basil (played by John Cleese) returns to work after an early AWOL from the hospital where he was being treated for concussion. This scene is where Basil attends to some German guests. Basil is unfortunately overcome with post-World War II anti-German hysteria.

Now, please don’t complain about “hate speech,” etc. This is just a fictional dramatization. I’m just saying that the aforementioned people we hear in the news remind me of this character, that’s all. That’s how bad they are.

Abe Lincoln’s Legacy: Leviathan’s Bondage of All Americans

April 23, 2011

© 2011 LewRockwell.com (Link to article)

With the 150th year of the start of the American “Civil War,” it is necessary to point out that, not only was it not a war to “free the slaves,” but a war to force seceding states back into a union involuntarily, and a war to strengthen the federal government’s economic control over the people.

For whatever reasons the Southern States had to secede from the “Union,” they had an inalienable right to secede. All people have a God-given right to associate or not associate with others, voluntarily. If the people of a particular territory want to separate from a federal union of states, they have every right to separate, just as the Founding Fathers had a right to separate from British rule.

No institution or authority has the right to compel any individual or group into association or contract involuntarily. To believe that the federal government had any moral right to force the people of the seceding states to return to federal association involuntarily is to believe that some people with armed power have a right to claim ownership and control of other people, pure and simple.

The argument that the association of states within the federal union is based on some sort of contract – the U.S. Constitution – is misleading, because the people living in 1861 who had been compelled to abide by the contract did not actually participate in the forming of terms and the signing of the contract. People of later generations are not in any way bound to the terms of any contract agreed to by previous generations. 19th Century individualist and entrepreneur Lysander Spooner explains that further in No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority.

To bind future generations to a contract to which they themselves did not agree or sign is itself a form of enslavement, just as the politicians in Washington currently continue to enslave future generations with debt.

What Lincoln’s war to compel people into association involuntarily did was literally to reverse the American Revolution. In the Revolution, people fought to free themselves from the tyranny and enslavements of King George III and his British dictatorial regime. The Revolutionaries fought for their independence.

In contrast, Lincoln’s war effected in compelling the people of the Southern States back into centralized control over them by federal bureaucrats, and further empowered the centralized authority in Washington. Lincoln’s war had nothing to do with “freeing slaves.”

Economically, two important moves by Abe Lincoln to further strengthen the federal government’s control over the American people were the National Banking Acts and legal tender laws. The National Banking Acts gave Wall Street – in collusion with the federal government – the power to coordinate inflation (despite the then-nonexistence of a federal central bank). And legal tender laws force Americans to use only government-issued currency as their sole medium of exchange. These two restrictions on Americans’ right to voluntary exchange and voluntary contracts – including the right to provide free competitive banking to consumers and the right of the people to control and use private property as they see fit – were at the heart of Americans’ monetary bondage and government-imposed schemes of redistribution-of-wealth from lower classes to the wealthy from which we continue to suffer.

Lincoln’s Bank Acts and legal tender laws were the precursors to the Federal Reserve and its valueless paper “notes” that Americans are compelled by law to use for exchange. The Fed’s money printing benefits the earlier receivers, the financial and banking elites, and causes the later receivers of the “notes,” lower- and middle-class Americans, to deal with the higher food, clothing and energy prices caused by the Fed’s inflationary policies. This government-mandated scheme literally enslaves those on fixed incomes and of the lower economic classes – through their extra labor – to serve the increasingly rich, politically-connected corporatists.

And during Lincoln’s presidency was the first time the U.S. government imposed a federal personal income tax, including on “any professional trade, employment, or vocation.” That income tax was repealed but the income tax returned with a vengeance in 1913.

It was so important to the federal government bureaucrats to permanently institutionalize the compulsory labor amongst the citizenry to serve the federal government, that the Washington politicians had their income tax become a part of the U.S. Constitution!

Many people scoff at the criticism of the income tax as a form of “involuntary servitude.” But that would have to be because they just haven’t given it much thought, or it’s because they work for the government.

First, part of the income tax is a seizure of some of the earnings of one’s labor. That is the government’s demand that one does a certain amount of labor to serve the government. Second, income tax on investment dividends or capital gains on property sales is a way of government bureaucrats to confiscate a portion of property rightfully belonging to the individual receiving a profit or earning on investment. It is the way for government bureaucrats to steal others’ wealth or property, in the same illicit manner that the Federal Reserve’s inflation allows the government-banking cartel elites to steal from the lower classes.

Compulsory Federal Reserve “notes,” legal tender laws, the income tax, forcing Americans to do extra labor to serve the government – all these policies reinforce the government’s ownership of the individual. One’s labor is primarily owned by the government now, one’s employment associations and contracts are all under scrutiny and supervision by the government.

There are no more voluntary relationships in America. The individual does not own one’s private contract with an employer or employee – the government does. And the individual does not own one’s association or contract with one’s doctor or patient – the government owns the doctor-patient relationship, especially cemented by the dictatorial ObamaCare.

And these perversions of society have permeated all levels of society now, in the collective’s ownership of the individual, and in the individual’s serfdom under federal, state and local governmental regimes.

A most recent example of how government employees subjugate their non-government neighbors was in Wisconsin. The teachers’ unions have been actively protesting to strengthen their power to expropriate more of Wisconsin taxpayers’ earnings to fund the teachers’ overly extravagant benefits and pensions – enrichments that their counterparts in the private sector could never possibly get in the actual free marketplace.

And anti-competition protectionist legislation and regulations also shackle potential start-ups and make business extremely difficult for existing small business owners, to protect the profits of established firms, and to protect Big Business.

In New York City, for example, if an individual has a car and wants to provide a taxi service, he must now pay an average price of $607,000. On a fundamental level, if the individual really owned his life and his car, he would have a right to put the sign, “TAXI,” on the car and drive in the city and offer people a ride for a fee, and it’s no one else’s business. But the city’s real interest is in protecting established cab companies, by locking out those in need of a job, particularly among the lower-class, from that potential opportunity to provide for themselves. This kind of protectionism has especially affected inner-city minorities.

Minimum wage laws are also an egregious example of how the government prevents people, especially teenagers and especially minority teens, from even having a job in the first place. Employers who can’t afford to pay a worker the government-mandated minimum wage simply eliminate those jobs. As Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger pointed out,

Which is better: working at $1 an hour and learning a trade and a work ethic and watching how a business is run or being prohibited from working at all?

But there is another important factor involved here. Not only does the minimum wage lock poor, inner-city black teenagers out of the labor market as employees, it also prevents them from opening up businesses to compete against the already-established, well-to-do businesses run by white people and others.

In other words, the minimum wage serves as a government-granted privilege to already established businesses, protecting them from competition, including from poor, inner-city black teenagers.

“Liberal” policies such as minimum wage are literally shackling Americans and preventing them from prospering. And now, college students are “debt serfs.”

The “Civil War’s” reverse Revolution institutionalized the government’s enslavement of not just black Americans, but all Americans. We are all serfs of the State.

There are many other examples daily of Lincoln’s legacy in government’s directly treating the people like slaves and prisoners. With the TSA, if an individual does not want to go through the airport X-ray scanner – out of a legitimate concern that such radiation exposure increases one’s risk for cancer – or if an individual does not want his child to be sexually molested by degenerates, and if the individual wants to instead leave the premises, he is apprehended, detained and questioned by TSA agents or police.

The pervasive mentality that the government owns the individual and one’s property was immensely strengthened by President Lincoln’s unwillingness to let people be free, in his war against seceding states in general, and from his institutionalized economic enslavements.

Unfortunately, the average American does not seem to grasp the idea and importance – the inalienable right – of nullification: the right of the people to nullify intrusive laws that violate one’s person or property.

As Leviathan continues to enslave us, with the thefts of taxation and Federal Reserve, the dictatorial commands of regulations and the wars on drugs and terrorism that continue to crush our civil liberties and right to due process, we must begin to withdraw our consent to each and every law, regulation, tax and policy that violates our persons and property and our livelihoods.

President Abraham Lincoln’s war against seceding states was to put the states in further bondage of the federal regime’s total authority, as well as constrain all individuals to the collective’s will and to the State.

The Founders had a Revolution for their independence and freedom. Lincoln reversed that Revolution, and is time to reverse Lincoln’s Revolution-reversal, through peaceful, voluntary, non-violent non-compliance, secession and nullification.

Pay Your ‘Fair Share’ of Taxes – to Fund State-Ruination of Society

April 21, 2011

(Link to article at Strike the Root)

As another Tax Day comes and goes, and as Congress debates which drunken-sailor spending bill to pass – the Republican drunken-sailor bill or the Democrat drunken-sailor bill – and as they debate whether or not to raise the Debt Ceiling (as though we don’t already know the answer), and as America continues on the path toward total destruction, perhaps now is the time to really question just how legitimate the current taxation scheme really is.

I hear from several people in the news and opinion media, and from Barack Obama, that some people aren’t paying their “fair share” in taxes.

Author James Bovard has this article at the Washington Times on how the U.S. government spends the tax dollars it seizes from Americans. For example, the IRS enforcers are out there to make sure that you pay your “fair share” in tax dollars for:

A consultant’s study on how a state education bureaucracy can covertly lower the passing score for standardized tests to create the illusion of complying with the No Child Left Behind Act…

Bribes to two Afghan tribal leaders to sway them to publicly endorse an anti-corruption drive.

A federal grant to hire an extra policeman to write 900 speeding tickets in Boise, Idaho.

A National Endowment for Democracy grant to a Third World political party to enable its members to hire Washington consultants to teach them how better to con voters…

A Drug Enforcement Administration raid on a Los Angeles medical marijuana clinic, including the cost of handcuffing and booking 10 cancer patients.

While the items Bovard points to are factual, there may be just a bit of a lampooning aspect there. But Americans really ought to understand exactly where their tax dollars have been going, because, as generations have allowed the U.S. government to siphon their earnings with the threat of jail (i.e., legal robbery and kidnapping), the moral hazard in that legalized plunder in and of itself is greatly amplified by the immoralities having been committed by the U.S. government with the stolen loot.

Obama and the left assert that Americans are not paying their “fair share” for, what, “services”? Like national security? Through the government’s coercive taxation, Americans paid for President George H.W. Bush to invade Iraq in 1990-91, which was not a defensive war, but a war of offense, of aggression against a country that was of no threat to the U.S. In that war, the U.S. military intentionally destroyed Iraq’s civilian electrical, water and sewage treatment facilities, forcing the Iraqis to use untreated water throughout the 1990s. Bush and President Clinton’s subsequent no-fly zones and sanctions prevented the rebuilding of that infrastructure, which all led to widespread diseases such as cholera, typhoid and cancer. By 2000, at least 500,000 civilian Iraqis had been killed by these actions that Americans’ taxes paid for. The ensuing anti-Americanism caused by all this was spread throughout the Middle East, and was on Osama bin Laden’s list of reasons for his (supposedly his) September 11th, 2001 attacks.

And then Americans have been paying for a U.S. government-caused mess in Afghanistan for the subsequent decade up to now, drone bombings and other U.S. military and CIA-led aggressions spreading to Pakistan, killing more and more innocent civilians every day, leading to more anti-Americanism and more terrorists being recruited.

Americans’ taxes have also paid for a totally unnecessary U.S. invasion, occupation, and further destruction of Iraq since 2003, a war based on lies and propaganda, for oil and for political reasons. That unnecessary war that George W. Bush started also caused the needless deaths of 5,000 American military personnel, in addition to the deaths of hundreds of thousands more innocent Iraqis, and, needless to say, even more anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East.

Because of the incompetence of the “defense” bureaucrats, their corporatist revolving-door schemes of the military-congressional-industrial-complex, and the government-controlled monopoly of national security socialism, and the U.S. government’s outright provocations overseas rather than leaving others alone like they are supposed to do (morally speaking), Americans are less safe, and less secure. Americans are clearly not getting what they are paying for.

You would think the “conservatives” would understand this.

And Americans’ taxes are also paying for drug socialism, known as the War on Drugs, in which the federal government wants to dictate to private individuals what they may or may not ingest in their own bodies. Such policies have for many years been creating black markets, causing more drug pushers and traffickers to be created, people who have been profiting at the expense of weak individuals who become dependent on chemicals. This drug socialism has corrupted many more law enforcement agents than would otherwise be corrupted, and has given police the power to commit theft at whim with “asset forfeiture,” without due process that the thieving State’s victims have a right to have.

Your taxes are literally paying these government agents to steal from innocent citizens. Do you feel that you’re getting what you’re paying for yet? And is Obama really justified in raising taxes even further, claiming that some Americans are not paying their “fair share”?

And look how well the compulsory Social Security system and Medicare schemes are doing, as funded by your tax dollars. Raise the taxes even more and try to “reform” a fraudulent scheme whose chickens have come home to roost.

What was going on in the heads of Americans who actually supported FDR’s schemes in the first place? Hmmm. Would the 1929 Crash and the Great Depression have even occurred if there were not a Federal Reserve and the 1913 income tax?

With the Federal Reserve and legal tender laws, Americans are compelled by law to use the U.S. government-issued “dollar” (devalued by 95% since 1914) as their sole medium of exchange. Americans are literally forced to use a near-worthless piece of paper – backed by nothing of actual value – for money. Further, for every instance of monetary expansion, with The Bernank’s QE money-printing schemes (or merely adding zeros to the numbers), there are further inflationary effects, which force Americans to have to purchase more expensive necessities, such as food, clothes and gas. Your tax dollars fund the process of the Fed and its money-printing and the salaries of the employees of this socialist scheme. Is it worth it?

If only more Americans actually knew that, without the Fed, without government intrusions into private economic matters, and with competing currencies backed by gold or something else of actual value, and without socialist governmental intrusions into production, employment and other business matters, and without government-protected cartels in the economy, all prices would probably come down, more people at all economic levels would be able to afford the necessities, and more people would have jobs and the economy would be booming. Any economic downturns would probably not be “serious” as long as the State kept its criminal nose out of people’s private matters. And any economic downturn would be self-correcting, because all Americans would have the freedom to act in accordance to what their individual needs would be – central planners be damned. And the business of everyday life wouldn’t be funded by coercive taxation – only by voluntary exchange and the cooperation of the society’s natural order.

And the problems in Americans’ security are caused by the government’s central planners and the federal government’s obstruction of the people’s right of self-defense. There could not possibly be a “fair share” of any individual’s income or assets stolen by bureaucrats that could make anyone actually “safer.” Compulsory monopoly, central planning, and the collectivization of security attract the real bad guys to those positions of compulsory State monopolies and centralized armed force.

No, the economic and security problems in society are not caused by “greedy businessmen” and the rich not paying their “fair share.” The problems are caused by greedy control-freakish socialists, corporatists, government-monopolists and otherwise parasites of the State.

Our Cultural Decline Is Related to Collectivization

The Philadelphia Orchestra will be the first major American symphony orchestra to file for bankruptcy, which, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, some people have been saying is not necessary.

“I think it was unnecessary,” (Players committee chairman John Koen) said. Management “has not turned over every stone – they haven’t gone to any donor outside their comfort zone – to get the broad-based support other orchestras have. I know of players who are considering auditions for other orchestras, and I hope that we will not lose the great orchestra we have. If we do, what is the point of all this? Who would care about funding a second-rate orchestra?”

Subscriber Terry Champion noted,

If we lose individuals like [oboist Richard] Woodhams, [clarinetist Ricardo] Morales, [cellist Efe] Baltacigil, and [violinist] Juliette Kang, I shall think twice about renewing my subscription. I mean, what would be the point? We are not just talking about orchestral morale but audience morale.

Our culture used to value the classics, in music and literature as well as art, because it has been those classics that had widely been viewed as having genuine, deep meaning and value, in their expression of feelings, ideas, and so on. There is a reason why orchestras repeatedly perform Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, as well as Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.

But now, many in society just don’t value classical music any more, and it’s not because there “isn’t enough government funding” for music programs in the government-run schools. Present generations just aren’t encouraging the next generations to listen to classical music. And because of this cultural decline, classical music just isn’t marketable anymore. Since the early 2000s, I stopped getting classical CDs at record stores, because those stores just don’t have them anymore! Zilch.

I think it’s just another sign of how American culture has been going downhill, coinciding with the collectivization of our society. Throughout the past century, the family in America has gone from responsible and self-sufficient to dependent and struggling, economically. The family consisted of parents with children, in which only one parent had to work to provide for the whole family, the entire family sat at the dinner table together and ate together and were social with one another.

But the more collectivized and socialized America became, the more the government usurped the people’s right to care for themselves, the more dependent on government more people became, the more both parents were forced to work just to make ends meet, the less time parents have with their kids, the less social people have become. Now, it’s after-school day care, “latch-key kids,” social networking (with anonymous others), texting gibberish and nonsense, lack of any real communication, and an extremely dysfunctional society. Thanks to going from being a localized and individualized society (that coincided with growth and prosperity, and progress), to being a collectivized and centralized society (that coincided with societal decline and impoverishment).

But it isn’t entirely a dependence on a government that has usurped people’s right to care for themselves and encouraged such isolation and breaking up of families. As Gary North notes today, everyone is dependent on someone or something whether they like it or not, such as being dependent on a salary. Many people are dependent on private pensions through their work, which I think is a mistake.

Some of the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra are extremely opposed to the bankruptcy, as they claim it would jeopardize the funding of their pensions. In my opinion, people should not rely on an employer to provide them with their long-term retirement funding. This is because many people change jobs several times in their adult lives. It’s all a part of our society’s general discouragement of individuals’ taking care of themselves and their own futures, independently of their relationship with employers.

If you are young, in your teens or twenties, or if you are parents of youngins, consider starting private retirement accounts now, so that you won’t be dependent on employers for your future livelihoods. We know you won’t be depending on government-run “Social Security” in the future, because it will not exist. (We can only hope.)

In the old days, families actually took care of their elderly members. When Dad retired, he and Mom would actually live at home with their adult children and their families. Extended families took care of each other. They didn’t use the armed force of government to force their neighbors to provide for their own elderly family members. That is what Social Security redistribution-of-wealth schemes do. Now, because of that fraudulent scheme, we have a detached family structure in America, elderly people are scared to death that the government is going to take away their livelihoods and starve them to death. Families who are responsible for their elderly members would not do that.

In an article by Friedrich Hayek, posted yesterday at the Mises Institute, Hayek noted,

Agreement about a common purpose between a group of known people is clearly an idea that cannot be applied to a large society which includes people who do not know one another. The modern society and the modern economy have grown up through the recognition that this idea — which was fundamental to life in a small group — a face-to-face society, is simply inapplicable to large groups. The essential basis of the development of modern civilization is to allow people to pursue their own ends on the basis of their own knowledge and not be bound by the aims of other people.

As centralization and collectivization (and militarization) have grown in America throughout the past century, people in general have become less responsible and less “mature.” College is now a joke, a babysitting facility for the kids to extend their adolescence, party with drugs and booze and start their alleged “adult” lives already being in debt with student loans. Cultural activities of actual substance had become less appreciated and less encouraged, and Americans have instead turned to superficial distractions in daily life. Children do not practice the piano or read books — they, and the adults, watch TV. And independence and personal responsibility have been greatly discouraged.

American society has become one in which people actually buy houses knowing that they don’t have the assets or the income to actually afford it. Because people have a credit card, they think that represents unlimited amounts of cash, and so they spend, spend, spend and put themselves into debt like they are just crazy, irresponsible zombies. And what are people buying? Big expensive TVs? To watch what? Crap? And do people really need all those little electronic gadgets like iPhones and so forth? I have none of those things, and I’m glad. Just how much TIME do people spend adjusting and configuring all these little devices, as well as using them? I think 2011 America has also become the biggest time-wasting society ever! It’s pathetic.

The “entertainment” culture spends as much time concerned with American Idol as it does with meaningless presidential campaigns that begin as soon as the previous one ended. In fact, presidential campaigns are now nothing different from American Idol. After all, look who was elected in ’08.

So I believe that our culture — especially as regards to the arts as well — is reflecting on this detachment, collectivization and disillusionment.

Perhaps Bill Gates and Steve Jobs can donate some large amounts of cash to the struggling Philadelphia Orchestra. (But will they? Nah, they’ll be busy donating to the Democrat Party. That’ll do it!)

More on Ayn Rand

All the talk about Ayn Rand recently, because of the release of Part 1 of the new film version of her novel, Atlas Shrugged, has really brought back some memories. Now, as I mentioned in this post, I didn’t read the entire Atlas Shrugged, mostly because I just don’t read fiction — I’m a non-fiction guy. But I have read a goodly amount of her other non-fiction writings, including her shorter “pamphlets,” such as The Fascist New Frontier, a comparison of John F. Kennedy’s proposals and policies with those of European fascist governments.

And I recall another similar one to do with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, but I can’t remember what it was called, maybe the Great Fascist Society. I no longer have any of those, unfortunately. And also, there was one that discussed the doctor as being a slave of the collective, or of the State. I can’t even find a reference to that particular one on the Internet, although that had been a continuing theme in several of Rand’s works.

And I also no longer have the audio cassettes that I had decades ago of Ayn Rand’s lectures from the “Ford Hall Forum.” Those were probably the most enlightening lectures I had ever heard. Here’s a good one from 1961: “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business.”

I was never part of the “Ayn Rand Cult,” but my thinking was influenced by Rand, as far as recognizing the rights of the individual, the right to own and control one’s own life, and the right to be free from the aggression of others. And also as far as recognizing the dangers of collective power over the individual, and the dangers of the State.

But Rand sure made her point of how modern society has enslaved doctors, through socialized medicine, in Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal and in her fiction, particularly Atlas Shrugged. Of course, it will only get worse with ObamaCare.

Here is a quote from Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal provided by a website called The Independent Individualist:

Businessmen—who provide us with the means of livelihood, with jobs, with labor-saving devices, with modern comforts, with an ever-rising standard of living—are the men most immediately and urgently needed by society. They have been the first victims, the hated, smeared, denounced, exploited scapegoats of the mystic-altruist-collectivist axis. Doctors come next; it is precisely because their services are so crucially important and so desperately needed that the doctors are now the targets of the altruists’ attack, on a worldwide scale.

Because doctors apparently provide a “service” that is supposedly vital to a society (but not nearly as much as is often claimed), the society that has become so collectivized such as ours has claimed ownership of the doctor’s medical practice, his business and livelihood, and has made the medical doctor literally a slave of the State. That is why, because of that perverted aspect of society and its socialization of medicine, that especially ObamaCare is driving many American doctors out of the business and to an early retirement.

I’m sure that many websites and bloggers have been quoting from Atlas Shrugged recently, but here is an important oft-quoted passage of Dr. Hendricks speaking:

I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but ‘to serve.’ That a man’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.

Beyond merely the resentment of good doctors who do not like being made slaves of the State, and who will thus leave the profession because of ObamaCare, those who do not mind being servants of the State, who like the idea of dependence on government to take care of them and their livelihoods, and who are more easily bendable to the will of government bureaucrats, are the ones who will be attracted to medicine, and thus the quality of the doctors and of medical care will fall.

Another reason for the decline in quality of medical care will be because the doctors’ and nurses’ pay will be determined by the government bureaucrats, and not by markets. As economist Yuri Maltzev wrote,

Irresponsibility, expressed by the popular Russian saying “They pretend they are paying us and we pretend we are working,” resulted in appalling quality of service, widespread corruption, and extensive loss of life. My friend, a famous neurosurgeon in today’s Russia, received a monthly salary of 150 rubles — one third of the average bus driver’s salary.

The idea that the doctor has been made to be a slave of the State, while is accurate, is a bit too harsh an assertion for many people to hear or take seriously. Many people prefer to think of the doctor as a “servant to their patients.” But I like what Ayn Rand said in response to that, that the doctor and patient are “traders”:

Doctors are not servants of their patients, they are traders like everyone else in a free society and they should bear that title proudly considering the crucial importance of the services they offer.