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Scott Lazarowitz's Blog Posts

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.

Some Commentary on Ron Paul

One of the criticisms I had of Ron Paul during the 2008 presidential campaign was that, when he referred to the causes of terrorism and that most recent terrorist acts against the U.S. were directly in response to U.S. foreign policy (according to the terrorists themselves), Dr. Paul would use the collective pronoun “we,” as in the terrorists are over here because “we’re over there,” because “we” have had hundreds of military bases on the lands of foreign peoples for decades, etc. Well, I’m not over there, and most Americans are not over there. And I’m not responsible for the government’s bureaucrats’ acting invasively and aggressively against foreigners especially since World War II.

I think that Dr. Paul’s use of “we” in his criticisms of a territorially invasive U.S. government foreign policy causes many people, particularly on the right, to perceive his criticism as being toward America, our country itself, because that is how I hear those conservative talk show hosts’ interpretations of Dr. Paul’s views.

For example, when I hear Sean Hannity take a call from a listener who is critical of what the bureaucrats and politicians of the U.S. government have been doing, Hannity is constantly responding with accusations that the caller is “blaming America,” and Hannity repeats that several times, “blame America, blame America,” as though Hannity is incapable of distinguishing between our country (America) and the U.S. government (a group of hacks, imbeciles, parasites and gangsters — except for Ron Paul, of course).

I know that Ron Paul is quite capable of distinguishing between the two, between our country and the government, because he knows they are two entirely different things. It would be helpful, if Dr. Paul is going to run for president in 2012, that he would be more careful in his communicating of his criticisms of U.S. government foreign policy. Because, already he has a lot of “staunch conservatives” agreeing with him in his criticisms of the overreach and intrusiveness of the U.S. government, such as with ObamaCare and other social programs and entitlements, and with Obama’s expanding executive powers and bureaus and “Czars,” etc, and his criticisms of the TSA, the Federal Reserve and bank bailouts.

It should be even easier this time around for Dr. Paul to win over many on the Left who are anti-war and who don’t like Obama’s warmongering and civil liberties violations. But Dr. Paul can win support of more conservatives if he clarifies his views on foreign policy, and that it is not our country of America that has been provoking foreigners to act against us in retaliation of trespasses on their lands, but, more accurately, it has been the U.S. government that has been acting intrusively against foreign peoples for many decades, and for reasons not having anything to do with our national security, but solely for political purposes, for control and hegemony on foreign lands.

Instead of referring to “we” have been on foreign lands and provoking, he needs to refer to “the U.S. government,” or “the federal government,” or “our government” has been… and so on. I think that clarifying things like that can be helpful to his listeners and viewers, prospective supporters and voters, in really understanding what Dr. Paul is trying to say.

Further, Dr. Paul should consider bringing up the oil aspect of the government’s hegemony and foreign intrusiveness. Why does our government force us to be dependent on foreign oil? We need to forbid our government from getting in the way of Americans’ right to explore for and use natural resources on their own lands, whether federal bureaucrats like it or not.

The Planned Chaos of National Security Socialism: Time to Give the Central Planners a Dishonorable Discharge

April 15, 2011

© 2011 LewRockwell.com (Link to article)

With Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama’s new war of Orwellian peaceful violence in Libya, this is yet another reminder of why socialism and central planning in security is a bad idea. The conservatives who are the most outspoken opponents of “socialism” are the true socialists: It is they who cherish national security socialism, the public or State ownership of the means of production in national security, a central-planning monopoly in territorial protection.

Americans and foreign peoples have suffered time and again because of the moral hazard of any form of socialism, from what Ludwig von Mises would call socialism’s “planned chaos,” in this case the planned chaos of socialized national security. The State’s inherently immoral and counter-productive scheme of usurping a people’s right of self-defense has allowed the State to be responsible for the most egregious crimes against humanity, especially in the American “Civil War,” in two World Wars, in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other parts of the world.

And now Libya. Some are already predicting that Obama’s war in Libya will backfire, with a possible Gaddafi revenge attack similar to the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. Given that socialists and central planners tend to not learn from history, this Obama Libya war looks like another textbook study of planned chaos, similar to George W. Bush’s Iraq.

Former President Bush’s planned chaos in Iraq had effected in the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, widespread destruction of the country, and the establishment of a repressive, pro-Iranian Islamic Sharia Law in Iraq.

Even further than merely a Gaddafi revenge attack against the U.S., Obama may possibly be arming Libyan rebels including members of al Qaeda, a stated enemy of the United States especially since 9/11.

And Syria and Mexico may be next on the list for the inept security socialists.

One only needs to step back and view the history of America’s security blunders in a broad sense. For example, if America did not have a centralized national security monopoly in Washington, and instead allowed open competition in the field of security and required that all individuals follow the rule of law, would President Wilson have risked entering the U.S. into World War I, especially knowing that the War was already ending with treaties already in the works? Would President Lincoln have waged war against the Southern States, targeted thousands of innocent civilians and destroyed entire cities, had there been actual legal and market-based financial consequences applied to Lincoln for such aggressions?

Government bureaucrats, holding a monopoly in territorial protection and lacking incentives to improve performance, do not tend to pay attention to past mistakes and are not held accountable for their transgressions.

Some further questions to ask include these: Would the U.S. government’s agents of the Pentagon or CIA have deliberately radicalized Muslims in Afghanistan during Afghanistan’s 1980s war with Russia, had the U.S. government actually paid attention to the consequences of its CIA-led coup in Iran in 1953? Those consequences were the decades of Iranian anti-Americanism, the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution and the taking of American hostages in Iran.

Also, would the U.S. government have initiated wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s had its monopolists learned from the consequences, throughout the 1990s, of their first war in Iraq of 1991?

Why do the Washington security monopolists repeatedly make Americans less safe with schemes of intrusions and provocations abroad? One possible explanation is the inherently flawed nature of any central planning monopoly.

The comparison of government provision of national security to a hypothetical private security provision may sound absurd to some people. However, it is necessary to point out that, instead of being an economically sound system, the current government monopoly is a political system, in which congressmen and senators’ reelection campaigns (and campaign finances and contributions) are a part of the equation, along with the federal government’s uncoordinated defense bureaucracy and the politically-connected private-sector military contractors.

The current centralized national security monopoly is without competition and profit/loss motives to genuinely provide the most efficient, high quality service at the lowest cost to the consumers. Under the current socialism, the real motive turns into a “breaking windows” scheme to justify an ever-increasing bureaucracy combined with its corporatist colluders.

To illustrate those points, one can study economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s comparison of America’s democratic public ownership of a centralized government to the monarchies of the past. Unlike a monarchy in which the king owns the country’s territory and has a long-term interest in its capital value, in democracies the rulers are “temporary caretakers”:

(The) temporary and interchangeable democratic caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his advantage. He owns its current use but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. Instead, it makes exploitation shortsighted (present-oriented) and uncalculated, i.e., carried out without regard for the value of the capital stock.

Hoppe further notes:

…a private government owner (a monarch) will want to avoid exploiting his subjects so heavily, for instance, as to reduce his future earnings potential to such an extent that the present value of his estate actually falls. Instead, in order to preserve or possibly even enhance the value of his personal property, he will systematically restrain himself in his exploitation policies….. In distinct contrast…. public government ownership will result in continual capital consumption. Instead of maintaining or even enhancing the value of the government estate, as a private owner would tend to do, a government’s temporary caretaker will quickly use up as much of the government resources as possible….

The system of government monopolies, funded largely by coercive taxation and a central bank’s creation of money without genuine value, inherently encourages the irresponsibility of deficit-spending and public debt. The scheme also does not impose punishments for the temporary caretakers’ domestic or foreign aggressions with their misuse of governmental apparatus.

In economic terms, because of government bureaucrats’ lack of competitive incentives and profit/loss motive, government’s central planners cannot take individual market factors into account, making economic calculations impossible. Government monopolists engage in political calculations rather than economic ones. And government’s central planners seem as incapable of understanding the morals and ethics of civil liberties and property rights in foreign relations as they do in domestic policy. Hence, the “planned chaos” and blowback of each and every fiasco of the U.S. government’s national security socialism scheme.

Because of this socialist government monopoly in territorial security and armed force, the bureaucrats act more in their own political self-interests and have tended to act more aggressively, because there are no punishments of their aggressions and short-sightedness. In contrast, there would be punishments, economic and legal, applied to private industries who engage in acts of fraud or deceit (e.g. going to war based on lies, fabricated information and propaganda), trespass on the property of others (e.g. placing military bases and stationing troops on other countries’ territories despite the objections of those territories’ populations), or cause deaths of civilians and destruction of property.

Last year’s Washington Post series, Top Secret America (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) on this scheme informed Americans about how the current national security socialism has turned into a tax-redistributive racket. (And it did so by the turn of the 20th Century, no less.) As more private industries became connected with the State, their profiting from other Americans’ labor and productivity via the redistributive apparatus of taxation has replaced the principles of private property rights, economic freedom and the rule of law. The U.S. government’s provocations abroad have become justifications for the continued expansion of the parasitic military-industrial-complex.

And in the past several decades especially, Washington’s “security experts” have repeatedly demonstrated that their schemes have more to do with the expansion of the State than with the protection of 300 million Americans. The central planners have turned to extremes – such as, in their TSA, their PATRIOT Act and other policies that have grossly damaged individuals’ rights to due process and presumption of innocence – rather than face the truth that it is the U.S. government’s intrusive and violent foreign policy that has provoked terrorism against the U.S.

The apparatus of the State’s socialization and monopoly of territorial protection has provided a structure of power over others. Unfortunately, that power seems to attract those with less moral character but with more desire for that power, and with a lack of inhibition to exercise that power. The system has encouraged the agents of the State to become increasingly aggressive in their use of governmental apparatus to wield that power, as they have zealously seized on opportunities to expand the size and power of the State especially through their demagogic manipulations of the public’s fears and anxieties. Private security firms could not do that, for they must act under the rule of law.

For example, in 1990, former President George H.W. Bush used the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as a means to further expand the U.S. government’s military and other government apparatus in the Middle East. There were also questionable corporate special interests, such as Henry Kissinger’s Kuwait connection, involved in Bush’s 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, a country that was of no threat to the U.S. The propaganda campaign that was used to persuade the American people to support the war was extensive. 12 Years later, Bush’s son George W. Bush also employed a major propaganda campaign to convince the American people to start another war against Iraq.

Governments, with a monopoly over territorial security, have also employed false flag operations as a means of manipulating the fears and anxieties of their countries’ inhabitants, for the purpose of further expanding their State apparatus and power.

Even now, with President Obama’s continuation and expansion of the Bush wars overseas, the U.S. military bureaucrats have become even more zealous in their attempts to justify further expansions of the U.S. government abroad, despite their constant failures and ineptitude. Now, they have been illegally employing the use of psy-ops, or “psychological operations,” on U.S. senators to get congressional support to increase troops and funding for the failing wars.

Psy-ops are generally used on foreign government agents or diplomats to influence their emotions and decisions to become favorable to one’s own ends. Psy-ops are often used on the enemy during times of war; given that the senators being targeted in those operations represent the American people, it gives the appearance that the U.S. government perceives Americans as the enemy. This is usually what happens when a government – through its monopolistic power – grows in its size and power, and its existence becomes more self-serving.

The zeal of U.S. government officials has been exposed now in broad daylight, in their treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, the Army soldier accused of leaking thousands of classified documents exposing alleged U.S. war crimes and U.S. diplomatic incompetence and buffoonery. None of the leaks are said to have posed a threat to any U.S. soldier overseas or to Americans in the U.S. The military has been holding Manning for months in isolation, employing extreme psychological distress, as well as forced prolonged nudity. As I have mentioned, only sick degenerates would treat another human being that way. The officials are really using Manning as an example, a means of threatening others who may consider heroic whistleblowing acts.

Throughout the past century we have seen one example after another, one senseless war after another, millions of deaths and ruined lives, of how the socialist monopoly of national security and its planned chaos have gone against our security, as well as against our freedom and prosperity.

In 19th Century economist Gustave de Molinari’s comparison of government-monopolized security and the private production of security, Molinari noted,

Under the rule of free competition, war between the producers of security entirely loses its justification. Why would they make war? To conquer consumers? But the consumers would not allow themselves to be conquered. They would be careful not to allow themselves to be protected by men who would unscrupulously attack the persons and property of their rivals.

If private security firms used their armaments, coercion against others and deceit for the purpose of acting aggressively against neighbors or foreigners (for reasons other than “defense” of their clients or fellow territorial inhabitants), that would land them in jail. In fact, because of the invasiveness, enslavements and trespasses inherent in all forms of socialism – not just national security socialism – there logically could not be actual rule of law. Can anyone seriously claim that the U.S. government has been acting under the rule of law?

In fact, we have seen, time and again, how the central planning monopolists of the State are continuously rewarded for their failures, and for their crimes as well.

There need to be legal and competitive incentives to ensure the efficiency and productivity of any service to others. Why? Because of human nature. There need to be market-oriented punishments for failure to achieve, such as bankruptcy and termination of employment or contracts. And there need to be legal punishments applied to those who criminally misuse armed forces. Otherwise, if failures and crimes are allowed to continue without punishments, that is ipso-facto rewarding those failures and crimes, a consequence inherent in a compulsory monopoly in which the citizenry are forced to patronize the one provider of a service – in this case, that of territorial protection, or national security.

For further information on the private alternative to national security socialism, please read No More Military Socialism by Murray Rothbard, Foreign Aggression by Morris and Linda Tannehill, The Private Production of Defense (pdf) by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, The Myth of National Defense (pdf) also by Hoppe, and The Myth of Efficient Government Service by Rothbard.

But for those who are still skeptical of the notion of privatization of security, and who are not as concerned as I am regarding the growing intrusiveness of the State and its hired guns into our lives and liberty, perhaps an acceptable alternative could be decentralization. Eliminate the U.S. federal government’s centralized monopoly in territorial security and allow each U.S. state to control its own self-protection. Doing so would reduce the possibility that any one state would aggress against others, or against foreigners, for such aggressions would be met with harsh punishments from surrounding states. Additionally, with renewed independence and sovereignty, each state’s inhabitants would be better able to “vote with their feet,” which, given the one monopolistic choice we currently have with Washington, most Americans are not able to do.

Finally, there are those who are concerned that without a centralized National Security monopoly in Washington, that it would be easier for foreign governments to invade the U.S. But those are unfounded fears. If, for example, China were to invade the U.S. with the goal of occupying and taking over America, a likely scenario given how indebted the U.S. is to China and increasingly less likely to pay what is owed, most Americans would readily take up arms to protect themselves, their families and their properties. This situation, however, can be easily avoided by ending the Federal Reserve’s compulsory monopoly in the production of money and allowing for competing currencies, and outlawing Congressional deficit-spending and public debts.

Could Chinese Ghost Cities Be a Possible Place for Americans to Live?

Israel Curtis posted this video of China’s ghost cities and malls that are a result of the Chinese government’s central planning on the Mises Institute blog. I was amazed to see just how extensive a communist country’s own “shovel-ready stimulus project” could turn out to contain such emptiness, the empty stores and malls and empty apartment buildings. They have several cities in China just like the one being highlighted in the video, Zhengzhou.

64 million vacant apartments? But I just can’t understand how a country that has been struggling with an “over-population problem” for several decades (to such an extent that the government forces a one-child-per-family policy, enforced with mandatory abortion etc.) could have so many vacant housing units, and such empty malls and stores, especially given how, supposedly the Chinese economy has been booming. Booming for the businessman, that is, as far as Chinese finance and investment professionals go. But not the average citizen, who, according to the video narrator, earns approx. $6,000 per year (if I heard that correctly).

One item of information the narrator gave was that many of the housing units are prospective individually-owned condo units, that are way too expensive for the average Chinese citizen to afford. Perhaps the Chinese government foresees some kind of huge economic boom in the years ahead that will benefit the majority of the Chinese. Perhaps they see rich (and not-so-rich) Americans getting so fed up with what the U.S. government is doing to America that Americans are seeing China as a good alternative place to live.

Here is that video:

Romney Starts 2nd Losing Presidential Campaign

Socialist goofball Willard “Mitt” Romney has started his next failed presidential campaign, and, frankly, I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. He says he wants to “put America back on a course of greatness with a growing economy, good jobs,” etc.

So how is Romney’s becoming president going to “grow the economy” or create “good jobs”? Don’t tell me he is yet another politician who has that “fatal conceit” that Hayek was talking about, the arrogance and hubris that central planners have in their believing that, if they are given governmental powers of coercion and compulsion, they will make the economy better and enrich others.

Willard, why don’t you actually start a business in the private sector that actually will provide jobs, as well as provide a service or goods to others?

Unfortunately, some people are more attracted to positions of political power than have genuine yearning toward the principle of actually serving or helping others. Politics or principle — Willard chooses politics. Like Obama, Bush, McCain, Palin, Clinton, etc.

No, Willard, electing you as president will help America’s economy and prosperity no better than electing Obama has done. Willard has already said that he approves of the Federal Reserve’s monetary monopoly and the federal government’s compulsory power that forces all Americans to have to use the one government-issued currency, no matter how much the dollar has lost its value and continues to crash. Willard also approves of government-controlled health care and mandates and other socialist programs, as well as the counter-productive wars on drugs and terrorism. The government’s own foolish policies on drugs and terrorism have been increasing the occurrences of those activities, not decreasing them. Willard supports unprovoked war waged by the U.S. government against foreign peoples, and the killing of innocents and destruction of other countries that go with it.

I can’t believe how many people I have heard now in the past few days on local Boston talk shows here, saying that no way would they vote for Romney again, especially now as we suffer the effects of his socialist economic distortions in the medical care area via RomneyCare and its expensive mandates and intrusions.

Given that the biggest issue for many Americans for 2010 was ObamaCare — and getting rid of it — you would think that Willard would see that he is unelectable primarily because of the “RomneyCare” that he shoved down our throats here in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.

The Real Romney:

In cahoots with Ted Kennedy to shove socialist medical care down our throats:



Snubbing a medical patient in typical coward politician fashion, refusing to answer a question about drug legalization:

Protecting Ourselves From the State

April 11, 2011

(Link to article at Strike the Root)

Every now and then, I learn of yet another new aspect of the State’s institutionalization of violence throughout what used to be a much more peaceful society in America. But thanks to the government-run schools, whose sole purpose is to indoctrinate the children to love and be subservient to the State, and thanks to a culture dependent on staring at the boob-tube for its daily hypnosis, we have allowed the State – especially the federal government – to grow to an enormous and dangerous extent, in which if we are to survive, we had better concentrate on stopping that out-of-control Leviathan.

To begin with, I am anguished by an article in this week’s Newsweek, The Military’s Secret Shame, describing how male-against-male sexual assault is now rampant in the U.S. military. According to the article, 50,000 male veterans had been diagnosed as suffering from “male sexual trauma” last year. However, the problem involving female sexual assault victims in the military is also rampant.

According to the Newsweek article, among U.S. military soldiers, “male-on-male assault…is motivated not by homosexuality, but power, intimidation, and domination. Assault victims, both male and female, are typically young and low-ranking; they are targeted for their vulnerability.” Verbal and physical attacks now reported include those in which the assailants are throughout the chain of command, by soldiers against their fellow soldiers, as well as by superior officers. In one incident, for example, “a group of men tackled (a soldier), shoved a soda bottle into his rectum, and threw him backward off an elevated platform onto the hood of a car. When he reported the incident…his platoon sergeant told him, ‘You’re the problem. You’re the reason this is happening,’ and refused to take action. ‘You just feel trapped’…”

In another incident, according to the Newsweek article, a soldier “was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States. When he reported the attack to unit commanders, he says they told him, ‘It must have been your fault. You must have provoked them.’”

Now, if you are a commanding officer in the military and you were confronted by a soldier with such a complaint against other soldiers and you replied in the aforementioned manner, then shame on you. That kind of response by a military officer, supposedly in charge of a unit whose purpose is to “protect and defend” their fellow Americans, is a cowardly protection more of criminals than of fellow citizens. I have heard a few conservatives – those who blindly defend the military, anyway – refer to the Left as “criminal coddlers,” but it appears that the criminal coddlers are also in our military. I would go so far as to say that, not only should soldiers and officers who commit acts of physical assault against others be criminally prosecuted for those crimes of assault, but their commanding officers who ignore the complaints and who protect the assailants should be prosecuted for acting as accessories to those crimes.

In reading those responses by superior officers, “You’re the problem,” “It must have been your fault,” “You must have provoked them,” I am hearing mindless robots, hypnotized zombies in a trance. It is as though they had been given some sort of Military Instruction Manual in which the first instructions are, “The State is good,” “The soldier is bad, and needs to be disciplined, for his own good,” “Always obey authority,” “Submit,” “Yield to the power of the group,” and so on.

At least, that is how it sounds like our “warriors” are behaving. But these behaviors are truly un-American, certainly not ways that perhaps Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine would behave. Truly American principles include respect for the rights to life and liberty of the individual. Even within any police or military, it would be a truly American principle – and the law should reflect this – that one may not use aggression against the persons and property of others. In other societies, however, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, for example, the use of aggression against otherwise peaceful individuals is institutionalized in their laws or public policies, whether it be based on their religious principles, such as Sharia Law, or based on communistic policies that violate individuals’ persons and property.

But in America, in which violence now seems to be so part of the culture and within the military ranks, it’s just barbaric, and sick, and there’s no excuse for it. Should we be surprised to hear of military “Kill Teams,” etc., in which soldiers have been shooting and mutilating innocent civilians abroad and being celebrated by their fellow soldiers? Just how pervasive is this sick behavior within the ranks of this institution that we think will defend us when we’re attacked? There was one soldier within the notorious “Kill Team” unit who was shocked at the indifference amongst the unit toward the lives of their victims, and noted, “I talked to someone and they told me this stuff happens all the time…everyone just wants to kill people at any cost….” And, he wrote that, “The Army really let me down when I thought I would come out here to do good maybe make some change in this country I find out that its all a lie (sic)….”

There is an even more troubling aspect to all this. When seeing that Libyan leader Col. Gaddafi had turned his military against protesters, rebels and civilians, as well as other leaders doing the same thing in other countries such as in Bahrain, some commenters have suggested that such tyrannical violence could never happen here in the United States.

However, there already is precedence of that in America, so those who say “It can’t happen here” are incorrect. As economist and historian Thomas DiLorenzo has noted, during the mid-19th Century War to Prevent Southern Independence, President Abraham Lincoln’s army murdered hundreds of military conscription protestors in the North, and

“Lincoln illegally suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus and imprisoned tens of thousands of Northern political critics without any due process; shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers…censored all telegraphs; rigged elections; imprisoned duly elected members of the Maryland legislature along with Congressman Henry May of Baltimore and the mayor of Baltimore; illegally orchestrated the secession of West Virginia to give the Republican Party two more U.S. senators; confiscated firearms in the border states in violation of the Second Amendment….”

And all that was in addition to Lincoln’s army and its co-conspirators murdering tens of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians, mostly in the South.

More recently were the U.S. government’s siege and murders at Ruby Ridge, and the U.S. government’s mass murders at Waco in 1993. And of course, there are the countless murders and assaults by local police departments against unarmed, innocent Americans on a daily basis. And due to the increasing militarization of local police, we really ought to be concerned, especially given how commonplace it is that military veterans, including those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, are joining police departments.

It seems that what used to be a genuine loyalty among Americans to our families and our country, and to the values of peace and liberty that were prevalent at the time of America’s founding, has gradually turned into a loyalty to the State, especially to the federal government. This blind loyalty and obedience to the State, in which the loyalists look the other way when authority figures act abusively against their own people, is at the heart of growing perversions within our society and our culture.

But given the rampant militarization and growing police statism in our society, this is the time that we will really need those courageous members of the police and military who are not afraid to act disobediently toward their superiors, especially if given orders to act violently against their fellow Americans. We must encourage those who are actually brave enough to stand up to authority to protect us from the government.

As Jacob Hornberger, President of the Future of Freedom Foundation, has noted,

“Historically, governments had misused standing armies in two ways, both of which ultimately subjected the citizenry to tyranny. One was to engage in faraway wars, which inevitably entailed enormous expenditures, enabling the government to place ever-increasing tax burdens on the people. Such wars also inevitably entailed “patriotic” calls for blind allegiance to the government so long as the war was being waged…

“The second way to use a standing army to impose tyranny was the direct one — the use of troops to establish order and obedience among the citizenry. Ordinarily, if a government has no huge standing army at its disposal, many people will choose to violate immoral laws that always come with a tyrannical regime; that is, they engage in what is commonly known as “civil disobedience” — the disobedience to immoral laws. But as the Chinese people discovered at Tiananmen Square, when the government has a standing army to enforce its will, civil disobedience becomes much more problematic…”

For those who think it is absurd that the government could ever turn against the citizens here in America, we already have those occurrences as part of our history. So when we are faced with not just an economic downturn but a crashing, defunct dollar, hyperinflation and widespread unemployment, impoverishment and food riots, and martial law, then that will be the time to be concerned about our own military and local police turning the guns on us. Now should be a good time to question the legitimacy of a standing army in the first place. For the past century, the U.S. military has been used not as a defense against foreign invaders on our shores and borders, but as aggressors, as the president’s own personal army, from Wilson’s “making the world safe for democracy” to Bush’s crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan to Obama’s reckless destruction in Pakistan and Libya. These statist presidents have made a mess of things, and if there were no organized military at their disposal, they couldn’t have caused so much worldwide damage.

But what are some ways out of this, ways for us – those of us who just want to live our lives peacefully – to prevent our persons and property from getting abused and violated by people who would brutally kill and mutilate unarmed civilians at whim, who would gang rape their fellow comrades for the sake of exercising their lust for power? In fact, how could we possibly expect those with assigned armed officialdom and authority to protect us from criminals and foreign invaders if the officials show themselves to be harmful even to each other? We certainly can’t rely on the State for protection after all, given that these are agents of the State. There isn’t even anything that the “good” agents of the State, such as Ron Paul, can do, because the population in general has become such obedient defenders of the State and its violence, and the political class and its army of bureaucrats – military and otherwise – have become just too entrenched.

One way to prevent the possible horrors that, if the current trends continue, are inevitable, is through secession. The states need to secede from the federal government and declare their independence and sovereignty. I know there are some who believe that such attempts toward independence would merely replace federal government control with state government control, in which our lives and property would still be under the territorial compulsory control of state government. However, once the people of the states have unshackled the oppressive tyranny of the centralized federal regime in Washington, they can then work to get rid of their state’s government, and give cities and towns more local independence and sovereignty, and so on.

Unfortunately, the above possibility still does not seem to be a possibility, because too many people are fixated on trying to get the agents of the State to do the seceding, such as through state legislatures drafting one useless secession legislation after another. Such a prospective way toward freedom is just not realistic.

What is necessary is for the inhabitants of these U.S. territories to engage in non-compliance in the way of non-violent civil disobedience. The most necessary acts of civil disobedience will be those members of the police and military to not follow orders by their superiors, orders of actions that such officers know deep down are immoral and that they know they should not obey.

Other acts of civil disobedience that may be necessary in the possible coming days of the federal government’s crackdown on our liberty include acts in the medical area, in energy and in the judicial area.

Private doctors and patients, clinics and insurers, and other medical providers need to totally disregard all arbitrary federal and state laws and regulations that violate their inalienable rights of voluntary contract and medical privacy. The more that government has intruded into our medical matters, the more tyrannical it has become.

The people of the states, especially private land owners, need to ignore all environmental and energy-related federal and state laws and regulations, and begin exploring for natural resources for their energy needs. Obviously, the compulsory dependence on government’s control over our energy needs was never a good idea. The federal government continuously acts aggressively abroad, provokes foreigners, and will no doubt cause another oil embargo against the U.S. These imperialistic military campaigns are what have fueled the aforementioned growing sickness of rape and barbaric behaviors within the military, as well as the militarization of local police departments.

Also, private citizens need to set up their own private judicial decision-making services, as described in economist and philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Private Law, as an alternative to the current self-serving, State-mandated judicial monopoly.

If Barack Obama, U.S. governors and local authorities send the military, National Guard and police after such non-violent yet civilly-disobedient, peaceful Americans, these violent authoritarian actions should be seen as the true criminal actions. It is certainly not criminal when peaceful citizens engage in voluntary associations that harm no one. Except that such good people are not showing obedience to the State, and that’s the bottom line.

It is for all these reasons that Americans needs to work on persuading their members of local police forces, as well as local military vets, of the true, criminal nature of the State and why they – the local police and military agents – should themselves disobey orders given to them by the government.

General Petraeus to CIA?

NPR is reporting rumors that Gen. David Petraeus is being considered to replace Leon Panetta as head of the CIA, while Panetta is rumored to replace Bob Gates as Defense Secretary. If Petraeus is to be the next CIA chief, Jim White at Firedoglake commented to look for Petraeus to “once again wipe his failure-laden slate clean and jump onto the drone bandwagon.”

In a piece of about a year ago, President Petraeus?, Antiwar.com’s Kelley Vlahos wrote on the general’s schmoozing and politicking amongst fellow Big Government travelers, such as at an AEI appearance in 2006 that also included Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz (when Wolfie wasn’t screwing around with World Bank diplomatic floozies, that is). Vlahos noted,

Thanks to “Team Kagan,” AEI’s Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, and a battery of sycophantic pundits and mainstream journalists, Petraeus’ lack of authentic exceptionalism has been transformed into an unshakable “warrior-scholar” persona with his own “legacy” – the Petraeus Doctrine, an updating of old counterinsurgency practices of questionable long-term efficacy, which numerous subordinates and civilian devotees, not just the general, had a hand in engineering. Never mind that the “success” of the doctrine as played out by the Iraq Surge was derived mostly from the super-concentrated use of superior firepower and the bribing of 90,000 Sunni insurgents to stop fighting U.S. forces…

Vlahos quotes International Relations Professor Andrew Bacevich describing Petraeus as a “political general of the worst kind.” Bacevich critiqued Petraeus as having reduced the troop levels in Iraq following the “surge” in 2007 for political reasons, having more to do with pleasing Congressmen getting ready for reelection bids than practical or moral reasons to withdraw troops. And Vlahos also referred to Petraeus’s self-description as a “Rockefeller Republican.” (Yech!)

Thanks to Bush’s Iraq and his Gen. Potatoes, and the Iraq debacle that was started for solely political reasons, Iraq has descended into an Islamic State under repressive Sharia Law and has lost half its Christian population (so far), particularly from the recent massacres. As Bishop Ignatius Metti Metok noted, “Before the change of regime seven years ago, we didn’t have massacres like this.”

So now Petraeus might be head of the CIA? Hmmm. When’s the last time a CIA guy was elevated to U.S. president … I can’t remember.

America Needs to Decentralize – Immediately

I’ve heard Ron Paul state maybe a few times in interviews that, while the U.S. government needs to end the welfare/warfare state (and “welfare” implies the inclusion of Social Security, that Dr. Paul explains is merely another entitlement program and not an “account” or “insurance“), it should end the welfare state gradually so as to reduce any pain and suffering that might be experienced by those who are currently dependent on the government. Well, I disagree with that.

First, Murray Rothbard addressed whether to phase out such entitlement programs or “phase in” freedom and more free market alternatives, in his critique of the Soviet Union’s process of gradual decentralization following the Cold War and the gladly-anticipated end of the Soviet Union. Rothbard suggested, “Do not phase in” the freed markets, and I believe this wise advice can apply to the ending of all welfare state programs including the Social Security and Medicare programs, and the private earnings and wealth that is forcibly taken from the citizenry to fund such a scheme, and the opening up of freedom to allow private entrepreneurial and charitable retirement fund organizations to operate. But because of how extremely painful it is for bureaucrats to let go of their power bases and fiefdoms, it is just not a good idea, morally and economically, to phase in the freed markets:

It is, again, generally accepted that free markets must be arrived at quickly, and that phasing them in slowly and gradually will only delay the goal indefinitely. It is well known that the giant socialist bureaucracy will only seize upon such delay to obstruct the goal altogether…

Holding back, freeing only a few areas at a time, will only impose continuous distortions that will cripple the workings of the market and discredit it in the eyes of an already fearful and suspicious public. But there is also another vital point: the fact that you cannot plan markets applies also to planning for phasing them in. Much as they might delude themselves otherwise, governments and their economic advisers are not in a position of wise Olympians above the economic arena, carefully planning to install the market step by measured step, deciding what to do first, what second, etc. Economists and bureaucrats are no better at planning phase-ins than they are at dictating any other aspect of the market.

To achieve genuine freedom, the role of government and its advisers must be confined to setting their subjects free, as fast and as completely as it takes to unlock their shackles. After that, the proper role of government and its advisers is to get and keep out of the subjects’ way…

There is another reason to quickly return to freedom, besides the impracticality of gradual desocialization, and that is because of the inherent immorality involved in such schemes including Social Security, that involves not only the forcible taking of private earnings but the government’s forcing all Americans to participate in such a scheme. Even more immoral than forcing everyone to participate is that the scheme itself is a fraud, promising or at least implying that workers will “get back what they paid into the system.” As we can see now, the young workers now whose paychecks are being siphoned will not get a dime back when they retire. (That is why it is up to them to begin their own retirement savings and investment accounts now, to prepare themselves for their future!)

When people recognize that a scheme is immoral, involving theft, fraud and coercion, it is morally necessary to end that scheme forthwith. To knowingly continue such criminal schemes (and theft, fraud and coercion are crimes) would be to continue immoral behavior. The fact that something is institutionalized throughout the entire society via its central government makes it no less immoral.

But if Social Security ended, those who currently are dependent on it should not worry, as Jacob Hornberger explained, as the Social Security taxes would also end (and we would need to end the income tax, which is also not only theft but the very definition of “involuntary servitude,” as well as the capital gains taxes and other forms of collectivized theft of individuals’ property and their businesses), and that would free up Americans ability to care for their elderly family members. That is the more honest and aboveboard way of a society’s going about everyday life.

The politicians in Washington who constantly say they “won’t touch Social Security” do so not because they are genuinely concerned for their constituents’ lives and welfare –believers of that fantasy might be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge — no, these pols and hacks care about one thing and one thing only: their life-long parasitic careers feeding at the public trough and their next elections. They are spineless, gutless wonders who are afraid to lose votes.

These are the people who are literally drawn to the sick scheme in Washington like magnets. Friedrich Hayek wrote about how the “worst get on top:”

Just as the democratic statesman who sets out to plan economic life will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the totalitarian leader would soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure. It is for this reason that the unscrupulous are likely to be more successful in a society tending toward totalitarianism….

He must gain the support of the docile and gullible, who have no strong convictions of their own but are ready to accept a ready-made system of values if it is only drummed into their ears sufficiently loudly and frequently. It will be those whose vague and imperfectly formed ideas are easily swayed and whose passions and emotions are readily aroused who will thus swell the ranks…

And Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote about “Why Bad Men Rule“:

Since man is as man is, in every society people who covet others’ property exist. Some people are more afflicted by this sentiment than others, but individuals usually learn not to act on such feelings or even feel ashamed for entertaining them. Generally only a few individuals are unable to successfully suppress their desire for others’ property, and they are treated as criminals by their fellow men and repressed by the threat of physical punishment….

(However)…by opening entry into government, anyone is permitted to freely express his desire for others’ property. What formerly was regarded as immoral and accordingly was suppressed is now considered a legitimate sentiment. Everyone may openly covet everyone else’s property in the name of democracy; and everyone may act on this desire for another’s property, provided that he finds entrance into government. Hence, under democracy everyone becomes a threat.

Consequently, under democratic conditions the popular though immoral and anti-social desire for another man’s property is systematically strengthened.

And this scheme we have here, since Day 1 of the United States of America, has caused so many millions and millions of people so much misery, and it will never ever end, except in total collapse and huge suffering, by many more millions and millions of people. That is because, contrary to the daydreaming of those in their never-never land fantasy world, this centralized bureaucracy scheme in Washington can never be “reformed.”

The U.S. federal government is the one single institution most responsible for the downfall and impoverishment of the United States of America. America needs to remove this entire parasite and its shackles — or we’re all literally finished as a society.

Challenging Long-Held Assumptions About Israel and Zionism

It is time once again for me to write about Israel and Zionism, after reading some particular blog posts today. I hope to not lose too many readers, this time, but, if people really want peace in Israel, it is never too late to challenge long-held assumptions related to Israel and Zionism.

Unfortunately, there are many people who get their information from the mainstream American news media who get their information from the Israeli news media who merely are the propaganda mouthpiece for the Israeli government. There are many people in America who, if you asked them to describe in one word the Israeli Palestinians, they would say, “terrorists.” This despite the fact that most of the Palestinian population of greater Israel are just regular people trying to live their lives. A tiny fraction of the Arab population are hostile to the Israeli Jews, but a larger percentage of the Israeli Jewish population are hostile to the Arabs there.

We don’t really hear about these facts, certainly not from our brain-dead news media. But it could be that, here in America, the Israel First crowd and the Islamophobes have made themselves much more openly transparent, this may be the beginning of finally at least questioning many Americans’ and especially the U.S. government’s blind allegiance to Israel. Philip Weiss gives some indication of that from his recent experiences on some college campuses.

But in Israel, according to Ynet News, a recent study on the opinions of Israel’s Arab and Jewish teens and young adults showed that 46% of Israeli Jewish teens support revoking Israeli Arab’s basic political rights in Israel. If this is true, where are these kids getting these racist, hostile attitudes? From their parents? From the Israeli government? From the Israeli media?

Also in the poll, only 14% of the Israeli Jewish youths view democracy as an important national goal, while 26% viewed Jewishness as an important national goal.

It is no surprise to me that 93% of the Jewish youths views the IDF with complete trust, and that 60% of the Jewish youths preferred “strong leadership” over the rule of law, and, when asked how they feel about Arabs, 25% of the Jewish teens responded with “hate.” Not good.

SUNY Buffalo Political Science Professor emeritus Jerome Slater presented this article on his blog: The Jewish State Controversy: Can Zionism Be Reconciled With Justice to the Palestinians?

Slater includes some historical notes, and divides Zionists into rightwing Zionists, liberal-left Zionists and centrist Zionists. And he reviews some of the issues involved in the justifications for Zionism, geographically and politically, as well as the Biblical justifications. He notes that some people cite the Balfour Declaration, but that the Declaration also states that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” (Perhaps the Israeli Jewish youths should read the Balfour Declaration.)

Slater discusses the various possible solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict, but he does note that, regarding the formal creation of the current state of Israel in the 1940s, “given the unavoidable injustice to the Palestinians, though, it might have been possible for Israel to have mitigated that injustice in a number of ways, particularly if it had refrained from ethnic cleansing and allowed the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Slater considers himself a Zionist, although a “disillusioned” one. In that post, he noted,

Israel is here to stay and almost certainly it will continue as a predominantly Jewish state, whether or not it is formally acknowledged as such. Not only is that a fact of life, but it is a legitimate fact of life: in light of 2000 years of antisemitism it cannot be said that there is no longer a need for a Jewish state, principally but not solely to serve as a refuge for Jews who may find themselves in desperate straits into the future.

I agree with David Samel, who responded to that post by Jerome Slater, that Slater “concedes that this unfairness, which has taken the form of dispossession, military occupation and inequality, has been egregious and intolerable, but argues that it theoretically could have been kept to an acceptable level and could possibly be reduced to such level in the future. I think there are some serious flaws in his analysis that deserve attention.” And Samel continues from there.

Following the response by David Samel, Jerome Slater responded to Samel’s response.

Well, I have written here several times now on the issue of Zionism. To me, it is fine if collectivists want to create a homeland for people who share the same religious or ethnic heritage in whatever territory they wish, as long as they are peaceful, and as long as they honestly acquire whatever lands they need for such a project. But, as Murray Rothbard noted, the acquisition of the land of Palestine by the Zionists was a matter of conquest, not by voluntary association and voluntary contracts. Additionally, the displacement of thousands of Arabs that was essentially ethnic cleansing to make way for the newcomers, and the subsequent abuses, theft of Arab-owned lands, and State-institutionalized discrimination against the territory’s own indigenous population, have tarnished Zionism, and, I think, permanently so.

If only the Zionists were not extremists, and did not insist on Palestine and only Palestine as the new place to be the homeland for the world’s Jews. But that is what they insisted on, and based solely on the mystical emotionalism of Biblical scriptures. There is also this collectivist notion of Jews as the “chosen people” that I very much do not agree with because, in my opinion, NO ONE individual or group is or had been selected by God to be “chosen” or “special.”

We are all God’s children and with equal value, in my opinion.

Dinosaurs Need to Get With the Times

The New York Times now has its paywall in effect. It is extremely doubtful that it will last that long, as the newspaper with All the Fabrications that Fit on One Page has been such a propaganda rag for the State at a time when the State’s corruption and ineptitude is getting much exposure these days.

Business Insider gives tips on how to get around the Times‘s paywall, including deleting cookies and using different browsers, but I will not participate in suggesting ways to circumvent a business’s requirements for paying to use the business’s service. I’m not even sure if “IP” is the issue.

But the Times needs to get with the New Media, and new technologies involved with their publishing. They obviously still don’t understand how the Internet works. There are many other websites and blogs that often link to the Times’s articles, including my own blog.

At least I did. The Times needs to understand that when other blogs and websites link to the Times, that brings New Readers to the Times, which means new and more people viewing not just the Times’s articles but their Ads, which means greater number of clicks on their ads, which means more purchases of their advertisers’ products and services, which means more revenue for the Times – all provided for the Times, for FREE by these other websites and blogs linking to the Times! They need to stop being such dinosaurs, and they need to understand these new ways of doing things, and get with the times.

I stopped linking to the Boston Herald a long time ago  when I saw that they archive their articles after only 7 days and require you to pay to see their “older” articles. Why should I have a link to an article when a reader might see that post in two weeks and click on a link only to see that one has to pay to view the actual linked article? Obviously, I won’t be linking to the New York Times any more.

As for deleting cookies, I’ve been deleting cookies on the browser for years now, sometimes during Internet sessions, but usually when I’m finished and closing the browser. But deleting cookies on the browser during sessions is not a good idea if you’re in the middle of working on something in which you are logged in, because  the cookie that’s keeping your logged-in status recorded must stay in place while you’re doing your work or working on a post (unless you “save” your material thus far, before deleting cookies).

The reason I’ve been deleting cookies regularly is to protect myself from tracking cookies — many advertising websites now do tracking of your Internet browsing, and to do that they place a tracking cookie on the browser. But it’s even more than just tracking from which one has to protect oneself. In 2005 I had a crash course in all this stuff with my previous computer (actually, my computer ’01-’05 previous to my previous computer which is previous to my current computer), because of this spyware/malware/trojan/virus that ruined that earlier computer.

Since then, I’ve been using Firefox for a browser. However, the newest version of Firefox, FF 4, seems to be a big disappointment to many people, so I’m sticking with FF 3 for now. I also have Safari, but it just doesn’t have some of the features that I get from Firefox. (To even comment on Internet Explorer would be a waste of time.) But one thing that Firefox lets you do is prevent specific websites from placing cookies on your browser. You click on Tools>Options>Remember History (scroll down)>Use custom settings for history>Exceptions, and then type in the name of website whose cookies you want to block (e.g. “NYTimes.com”).

“War Powers” Arguments

The blogosphere is spastic with this raging argument between neocon talk show host Mark Levin and economic historian Thomas Woods (author of Rollback, Nullification, and Meltdown, among several other works), regarding the existence of a U.S. president’s Constitutional authorization to start a non-defensive war without Congressional approval. As usual, warmonger Levin apparently believes in unquestioned presidential executive (i.e. dictatorial) power to do whatever he wants to do, without anyone else’s approval and based on nothing but his own whim, and Woods has given Constitutional interpretations and historical cases to show that the Constitution does not allow the president to just start a war whenever he pleases. Some of their arguments can be viewed here, here, here, here, here, and here (so far).

But I have a different take on all that. First of all, if Levin actually believed in the original intent of the Founding Fathers, as many so-called conservatives claim to do, then he would understand the true meaning and wisdom underlying George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson’s advice that our U.S. government keep itself out of other nations’ business, but not get in the way of free, private Americans’ right to travel and trade freely with and among others in foreign nations. There is a basic morality involved in such wisdom to which the politically-motivated and morally-compromised U.S. Constitution just does not adhere.

Because of internationalists, globalists, collectivists and statists of Levin’s ilk, the U.S. government’s military has been used for many, many decades primarily as the president’s personal army, carrying out the political agenda of a president’s typically narcissistic concerns of getting himself reelected, or getting members of his party elected. That’s the bottom line. That is what militarism in a democracy has given us: short-sighted political calculations, at the expense of long-term economic calculation and fiscal/societal responsibility.