September 22, 2010
Here is a comparison of two Americas. The first one is our current America, a country whose federal government is based on a Constitution that gives the government powers it shouldn’t have, and gives the government various monopolies it shouldn’t have, and allows agents of the State to have the power of compulsion over others that no one should have, all of which have led to the grief we now face on a daily basis. The second America is much closer to what the Founding Fathers envisioned and what anyone who loves and desires Liberty would want. Like Greece and other countries, America must make a choice.
Our Current America
For the first time in history, many Americans are experiencing “downward mobility,” in which a whole generation is worse off than the previous generation. Contributions to that phenomenon include the State’s taking away much of one’s earnings and of profits that businesses make, the Federal Reserve’s monopolistic dictatorial control over our money and its devaluing the dollar we are forced to use, and the stealth tax called inflation.
Other contributors to our downward mobility include the domino effects of taxes, regulations, mandates and bureaucratic red tape that result in businesses not expanding and jobs being cut, as well as the further repercussions of irresponsible Keynesian economic policies of id-pleasing short-sightedness.
But we also have less liberty, because the State intrudes into every aspect of daily life. And we are less safe because our federal government has used its military to intrude into the territories of foreign nations, thus provoking the inhabitants of those nations to retaliate against America.
In the current America, so much time in the daily life of the average individual is stolen away by government, as the individual is forced to spend hours upon hours deciphering the tax code of the day, as well as other technically complicated aspects of the bureaucrats’ demands.
Our current America also has a particular kind of mentality, in which too many people view the superficial qualities of someone like skin color as important, while ignoring the importance of someone’s abilities and achievements. It just seems that the famous maxim of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” has been reversed by decades of LBJ Great Society/Obama Affirmative Action programs and attitudes. Most recently, as conservative columnist Thomas Sowell noted, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty was defeated in his reelection bid despite the fact that his policies and appointments have resulted in lower violent crime rates and higher local schools’ test scores, because of “racial patronage and racial symbolism” preferred by the majority of DC’s voters.
The fact that so many college and job applicants are rejected because they are not of a preferred racial or ethnic minority, despite their academic or otherwise achievements, is just one of many factors that are also stressing out Americans.
And people are stressed out because of what government bureaucrats are doing to them. Many are depressed, frustrated, fearful and anguished, particularly those who have lost their jobs because of the intrusions that government bureaucrats have inflicted into private economic matters. At a recent CNBC town hall meeting, a black woman who is chief financial officer of her company, and who voted for President Obama, told Obama of her disappointment in the lack of change for the middle class that he had promised during his campaign. Of course, Obama gave his trademark smiley face during her question as though he was watching an episode of Saturday Night Live, and his response to her consisted of his typical career bureaucrat mealy-mouth answer, basically, “Don’t worry – be happy.”
And at the same forum, a recent law school grad asked if the American Dream is dead for him. Of course the American Dream is dead. These professional politicians and bureaucrats killed it, with one law after another, one policy after another, accomplishing nothing but destroying businesses, causing more unemployment and stifling economic growth. The State crushes everything that gets in its voracious, parasitic way.
Now that we have summarized our current America, here is the second choice, the Free America:
The Free America
In the second America, the one of liberty that the Founders envisioned, money would not be monopolized by the government. Competing currencies would exist, and there would be no Federal Reserve. People would have a choice, which is their right to have. And there would be no government control over banks, whose success or failure would be based on the free market. Individuals take responsibility for their decisions. Government would be forbidden by the people to take advantage of those individuals whose fortunes might be lost by failed banks, and charities would be in abundance to help those who need it. And any congressman or senator who attempts to force banks to lend to unqualified applicants would be arrested for intrusions into the private bank owners’ right to freedom of association and contract.
In this free America, there would be no government-compulsory taxation. That is because the people of this free America recognize the rights of the individual, including the right to the fruits of one’s labor. The Founders believed that any taking of an individual’s compensation for labor, or any taking of any individual’s justly acquired wealth or property is theft, pure and simple. And the people of this free America would never approve of the State’s demanding information of private individuals where they work, who their employers are, how much they earn, or how much they pay employees or who works for them.
In the second, free America, the people would not permit the State to demand private information such as what profits private businesses or property owners earn on sales or trades, and the people would certainly not permit the State to demand a “take” on the profits. If the State is assumed to be representative of the people, and “the people” consists of you and your neighbors, then one’s neighbors cannot possibly have any moral or legitimate claim on any profits you make on the sale of a property, or of goods and services. And any information regarding those private contracts is no one else’s business – any attempts to intrude into those private contracts will be considered trespassing, theft or general public nuisance crimes and subject to severe penalties.
In the second, free America, same-sex marriages could not be outlawed. That is because the people of this society recognize that individuals have a right to establish private, voluntary contracts with others who are mutually agreeable and consenting. What kind of private contracts one has with others and the terms of the contracts are nobody else’s business.
Some people believe that the State must have the power to protect traditional “social institutions,” such as marriage. However, the preservation of traditions and social institutions is not the role of the State, but of private individuals, organizations, communities and the church.
In free America, the State would play no role in any people’s marriages. There would be no such thing as a marriage license, because if individuals’ private relationships and contracts are none of their neighbors’ business, then they are none of the State’s business.
In the free America, all relationships, associations and contracts are voluntary. No individual is permitted to have any power of compulsion over another. That is the only way to have a civil society. Any compromise of that rule compromises the notion of rights, the individual’s right to life, liberty and property, and the right to be free from the aggression and intrusion of others.
In free America, the relationship between doctors and patients is entirely private, and no government official is permitted to have access to any private medical information. And also in the free America, more people would be in better health, because they would be encouraged to be responsible for themselves and take care of themselves. The emphasis would be on individual responsibility and not dependence, and the State may not force an insurance company to cover someone who engages in risky behaviors. Employers would also be discouraged from providing health coverage, because that also creates more dependence, and further discourages individual responsibility.
And if there are employment unions, they are not permitted to force employers to pay employees more than what the market demands. Those who are dissatisfied with their compensation are free to seek other employment.
There would also be no government-run schools. Freedom of education means no State intrusion in the individual’s learning.
In free America, only acts in which an actual victim exists are considered crimes. If there is no victim, then an act is not a crime, as Laurence Vance and Walter Block and have noted. And there certainly would be no “war on drugs,” because the people understand the mistakes of 1920s Prohibition, and realize that the individual has to be responsible for the consequences of one’s actions or one’s irresponsible behavior. Punishing victimless acts tells people that they need a nanny state to protect them from themselves. Sorry – not in this free America.
And also, without a war on drugs, the people of Arizona and Texas especially would be safer, because there would be nothing to incentivize Mexican drug cartels because there would be no profits for them, no reason for lowlifes to push drugs on America’s youths or others, and there would thus be no drug cartels moving northward into Arizona and Texas that is now making Arizonans and Texans less safe. And, as the Future of Freedom Foundation’s Jacob Hornberger noted,
The drug-war violations of privacy and civil liberties would disappear, along with one of the police’s favorite excuses for harassing citizens. No more asset-forfeiture, no more cash reporting requirements, no more planting drugs on innocent people. Indeed, no more drug-war bribes to government officials…
(And drug decriminalization would) restore a core aspect of human freedom to our land — the right of human beings to ingest whatever substance they want without being punished by the state for it.
And, as far as the defense of the free America is concerned, the people would also recognize that giving an institution such as the State a monopoly in territorial protection while outlawing competing protection agencies is immoral, impractical and counter-productive. It is counter-productive because, given compulsory monopoly power in territorial defense, bureaucrats will abuse that power, as the more honest historians have exposed. We would have had no American involvement in Korea or Vietnam and no U.S. government invasions against Iraq had we not had the government protection monopoly that we have had. There would have been no U.S. entry into World War I, and because of that there probably would not have been a World War II, or at least not such a lengthy and destructive one, nor would there have been such a repressive and destructive Soviet Union, because Woodrow Wilson’s World War I interventionism was a major contributor to the rise of Hitler and Stalin.
Some people might ask, “Well, how would Americans protect themselves from Islamic terrorism directed against the U.S. without a centralized national defense in Washington?” My contention is that there wouldn’t be Islamic terrorism directed against America in the free America, because the current Islamic terrorism directed against America is in response to all the intrusions by the U.S. government in Middle-Eastern and Asian territories for the last 60 or 70 years, a region over which the U.S. government has no legitimate authority nor sovereignty.
The federal government’s monopolizing the business of protection for 300 million Americans, and forbidding competing protection agencies from doing business, violates the inherent right of the territory’s inhabitants to protect themselves from the aggression of outsiders. One of our rights as human beings is the right of self defense.
For those reasons, and for the reason that no individual’s inherent right to defend oneself may be violated by anyone at any time, in this free America, “Gun Control” would be unheard of.
If such a free America, based on the sound principles of individual liberty, private property and freedom of association, seems too “utopian,” then at the very least, we should get rid of the federal government. Murray Rothbard suggested we can “repudiate the national debt,” and he gave advice on how (and how not) to desocialize, and Lew Rockwell has this 30-day plan.
There’s no reason why we can’t just have a country, United States of America, consisting of the various independent, sovereign states, and not have a federal government. (Actually, that was the original intent of the Founders!) If you need something as a symbol in a central location called “federal government,” then make it solely ceremonial but with no actual power. There’s no legitimate need for a centralized federal government with power.
For those who think there can be any compromise between those two Americas, the truth is that any attempt at compromise leads to the first America, our current state. That is because, what has been compromised has been individual liberty, private property rights and freedom of association, a natural result of giving a centralized authority compulsory power and monopoly.
Those rights are absolute rights. Either the individual has an inherent right to one’s life and liberty – the right to be free from the aggression of others – or one does not. Either one has an absolute right to the fruits of one’s labor and to one’s justly acquired wealth and property, and the right to defend them against aggression, or one does not.
The current America is one of Keynesian, socialist centralized economic social and defense planning, in which the government directs everything by force of gunpoint, as opposed to the freedom of the second America, in which individuals, families and businesses plan their own lives, and government is forbidden to intrude into anyone’s private personal or economic matters, and competing protection agencies have an actual competitive incentive to protect their fellow Americans.
The choice should be a no-brainer.