How Police in Iceland Dealt With a Fight I Witnessed

Last week I was in Reykjavic, the capital of Iceland. The scenery and the people are just great, and so is a lot of their culture. People talk about the socialist aspects of Iceland and other Scandinavian countries, but whatever the detriments caused by their relatively big government for their population size, police brutality is not one of them.

Only one person has ever been killed by the police in Iceland, and he was shooting randomly from his apartment. I realize less densely populated areas generally have less crime as well, but even adjusting for population size and crime rates, American police would have been expected to have killed 1,000-3,000 people since the 1960’s; not over 1,000 each year as it currently stands.

The other night I witnessed the Icelandic police officers’ restraint in dealing with drunken idiots. In America, they would have filled up the paddy wagon, or worse. In Reykjavic, they appear to be more interested in diffusing situations, not escalating them.

First, there were multiple officers standing around dealing with some situation, and a very drunk viking was screaming at them in Icelandic. I assume he was saying something negative towards the police. The drunkard’s friends ushered him away, and calmed him down. The police did not even acknowledge him. This is called restraint, and American police should take note. Instead of acting like a rival street-gang and throwing the rude drunkard to the ground or murdering him for being intoxicated in public, they let his friends deal with him. I guess they don’t have as much to prove.

Then, I just so happened to be in the vicinity of a couple guys who started yelling at each other. I didn’t know what they were saying, and at first honestly thought they may have been joking around with each other. But they were not, and one ran over and tackled the other to the ground. Friends stepped in to make sure it didn’t get too bad. There were some punches and kicks, but I don’t think those involved even wanted to really inflict much damage. The fight had mostly been broken up by the time the police van (which had only been a block away) stopped and about eight Icelandic police calmly stepped out.

I think one of those involved in the fight had already departed the area quite quickly, but a few others involved were gently beckoned to the police so they could figure out what happened. After a couple minutes of talking, everyone was sent on their way. No arrests, no brutality, and no one, not even those who had been fighting, were really hurt.

In America, someone would have been arrested, and put through the ringer. In all likelihood they would have been tackled to the ground, leading to worse injuries than were sustained in the actual fight. Then the police would have lectured them about how violence isn’t the answer–unless you are the police. Then it is always the answer.

This is a simple anecdote that doesn’t prove much, it is just what I saw from the police in the safest country on earth, with practically non-existent police brutality. But maybe it shows that America needs to rethink how situations are handled. Are police here to actually keep peace, and diffuse situations as the Icelandic police did? I don’t think so. I think the majority of people who become police in the USA do so for dubious purposes. Instead of setting an example of how to act, they use their position to act however they want. And I think the majority of police departments are more interested in writing traffic tickets in order to increase their budgets.

That being said, the system of public police does not properly place the incentives to behave well, neither in Iceland nor in America. If police were private, then the company they work for would be able to be defunded if the customers went elsewhere. In order to maintain a good image, and protect their profits, companies would fire and even prosecute bad officers. Currently we cannot defund the police no matter how few crimes they solve, or how many innocent people they maim.

The smaller a government gets, the more control the market has, though still indirectly. And that is probably the real reason why the Icelandic police are pretty good, because they still somewhat feel market pressures that a private company would feel. In a country with 300,000 residents, you have more access to the President than Americans have to their representative, where districts include over 700,000 people for the smallest federal office.

And we see the same thing in America. Generally speaking, the worst atrocities committed by police happen in big cities where the people and the voters have essentially no control over their politicians, nor the people they hire, including the police. In small towns, people know the police chief, and can knock on their selectman’s door. The politicians are much more likely to feel the brunt of their bad hiring, or failure to address cases of police brutality.

Even things that are technically illegal victimless crimes in Iceland were not enforced. Apparently it is illegal to carry around a beer, but everyone was doing it, and the police did not hassle people over it; probably because they are their neighbors, friends, and relatives.

This is not a complicated issue. If we want police to behave appropriately, we must place the incentives properly. Private businesses have the incentive to make sure their officers respond with appropriate force, instead of looking for an excuse to escalate situations. Governments–especially big ones–have essentially no reason to enforce high standards among police.

Top 3 Reasons “The Right” Should go Anarchist

I remember a public school high school history teacher telling the class, “On one end of the political spectrum is Socialism, and on the other end is Fascism”. Wrong, he was so wrong. I could even see it then, as an energetic young Republican who hated all aspects of big government… or so I thought.

Socialism is actually right next to Fascism on the political spectrum, because they are both Statist ideologies. The state can solve all problems, and will never be big enough! Everything within the state, nothing outside of it!

So clearly the opposite of everything involving the state is nothing involving the state: anarchy. Not burning businesses and smashing windows, the absence of rulers; the end of subjugation. The sovereign individual, beholden by force to no one, beholden by mutual benefit to those with whom he chooses to associate.

And now that we cleared that up, here are the top 3 reasons for Republicans, Conservatives, libertarians or anyone else towards the right of the statist spectrum to just abandon all pretenses, and go full anarchist.

#1: You hate big government! And for good reason! You know your history, and have seen what happens when the state grows: it oppresses people. The internal police state that cracks the whip over the citizens, mixed with a fiercely nationalistic military that spreads the big government philosophy worldwide are constant and integral parts of a large oppressive government. And currently, just the American military, ignoring the multitude of internal policing agencies, is larger than the next ten militaries on earth.

The Second Amendment was not for hunting, it serves as a check to tyranny. So if guns in the hands of the average citizen can keep in check the largest military and police state on earth, why would we think those same armed citizens could not repel an invasion by the next ten largest armies put together?

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You wouldn’t call the exterminator and have him leave just one little cockroach, would you? No! She’ll have babies, and your house will once again be infested in a matter of weeks. So why would we leave “just a little government”? It’s not going to stay little! It is the camel’s nose under the tent. It doesn’t make sense to leave even a little government, because…

#2: You believe in the free market! The terrible consequences of crony capitalism are quite abundant, from billions wasted on subsidized green energy like Solyndra, to billions wasted in bailouts on failed companies like GM and banks like Bank of America. Then there’s regulations which favor big companies at the expense of the little ones, taxes which make some industries and investments unprofitable, and agencies like the EPA, FDA, USDA, IRS, DHS, etc. that harass the farmer and small businessman to the point of bankruptcy.

Why, why, WHY, would you trust that same government to perform such important tasks as keeping you safe, from threats at home, and abroad? You know that supermarkets have food on their shelves because of the free-ish market, you know that competition leads to better products and more choice, so why would we limit ourselves to Soviet-style rationing systems when it comes to solving crimes and preventing terrorism?

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We choose different restaurants, different books, different movies, clothes, cars, houses; but when it comes to responding to an emergency, we get the one local agency that handles that. When it comes to preventing terrorism, we have to use the FBI or CIA or NSA which we aren’t even allowed to see how they operate, must fund regardless of their success rates, and can’t even be sure they are not complicit in terrorism in order to keep their agencies relevant and well-funded. [This is an example of a private organization fighting ISIS]. Choice in the market is always a good thing, there is nothing magic about crime prevention and justice that makes the market unable to function.

#3: You wish you didn’t have to associate with all these idiots! Government causes all problems we face “as a nation” because otherwise we wouldn’t have to face them as a nation, and they would be solved by whoever they affect most. I don’t want to fund cotton growth in the Arizona desert, subsidizing the real cost of water to the point where there is a shortage. It has nothing to do with me, yet because of the farm bill, I have to pay for these farmers’ water, insurance, equipment, etc. I don’t want to pay for the bombs we are dropping, I don’t want to pay for anyone’s medical care but my own, or those who I voluntarily choose to help personally or through charity. The government forces us all into a group, and then makes more laws and regulations when our forced association–surprise–causes problems.

An open border is only a problem if the government is stealing your money to give to the people who hop the fence, or setting an arbitrary minimum wage which ensures a market for illegal work. Education standards in Arkansas don’t matter to me, unless one of those schmucks is going to grow up to become President and tell the rest of the world what to do. Why do I have a say in whether Coloradans smoke a joint? Why do they have a say in whether or not I wear a seatbelt?

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Stop the forced association of 300 million plus Americans, and there would be a lot fewer problems to solve! And they would be solved by the people that they matter to, and paid for by the people that they matter to, voluntarily. In the end, we would all have more individual control over our lives, (money), and circumstances, and get to choose which issues will be solved with our money. Instead, we are forced to “solve” problems we don’t care about, that don’t affect us, or that were caused in the first place by forced grouping!

So right-wingers, if you hate big government, if you believe in the free-market, and if you wish all these politicians, bureaucrats, and assholes in general would just leave you the hell alone: you may be a budding anarchist, ready to bloom!


Joe Jarvis weaves the anarchist philosophy into his fiction novel, “Anarchy in New England”, in much the same way Ayn Rand wove her anti-government philosophy into “Atlas Shrugged”.

For a gripping, fast paced fiction read that delves into the philosophy of no government, buy “Anarchy in New England” on E-book or Paperback now!

Setting the Example: Police Accountability Must be a Peaceful Movement

I am a peaceful person. I believe in the non-agression principle, that force should not be initiated against anyone, though obviously must be used in self defense. But even beside whether or not violence is justified, there is the question, is it effective? I don’t think randomly murdering two police officers helps the cause of liberty. I don’t think that act will solve anything, and I know it will not deescalate the crisis of police brutality, growing in this country.

While police are oppressors by their nature, a friend of mine pointed out that many are “benevolent” oppressors in a sense: they joined the police for the right reasons. This does not make these people good or their profession legitimate, but there is other more effective recourse than random violence. The reaction must match the offense. Without knowing the two slain NYPD officers, how could we realistically decide if they “deserved it” or not? I believe in a process, like due process, even though the justice system needs to be free from monopoly in order to work. The cops were not given due process, and though simply going to work every day was an act of aggression, the offense did not match the punishment, as far as I can tell.

I honestly don’t think I would choose to kill most Nazi’s given the chance. There is culpability in joining an oppressive group, but I would not imagine my actions justified to dish out punishment to a person I do not know, whose actions I have not observed. The time for violence is in defense only, especially while there exists no fair system to punish aggressors. Off the battlefield, the world had to wait for Nuremberg for the Nazi’s to have their crimes judged. And violence generally begets violence.

I much prefer the approach of Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Jesus, where they never sank to their oppressors’ lows. To exclusively occupy the higher moral ground, so to speak, is to set yourself up for eventual, if long fought victory. At all costs those who speak out against police misconduct and abuse must remain peaceful in order for our message to be heard. I will not stoop to the low that many law enforcement in this country have fallen to. I will not murder, despite my countless brothers and sisters who have been murdered.

My heart goes out to the families of the two NYPD officers killed, who are almost certainly victims in all this. And my heart goes out to Eric Garner’s family, also innocent victims. And both will have their dead loved ones ridiculed. The NYPD and supporters wore shirts that said: “I can breathe, thanks to the NYPD”, openly mocking the man that the New York Police Department murdered. Such insensitivity disgusts me. A murderer walks free, and then has the nerve to mock the slain victim? And the victim, not convicted of any crime, is made out to be a “criminal” for allegedly selling single cigarettes. A crime, which even if Garner was proven to be guilty of, hardly deserves any sentence, let alone a death sentence.

To act as if the NYPD kept others safe by strangling him to death, going so low as to mock his last words spoken in pain and anguish moments before his death at the hands of the NYPD, is beyond pathetic, sickening, and utterly immature. Do I condone the killing of police officers? Absolutely not. And I would even feel bad for the officers killed except for that one detail. They voluntarily were part of a department that murdered Eric Garner, and then mocked the victim with “I can breathe” shirts, twisting his last words to posture as if that murder had been justified, in the name of security.

The individual responsible for the death’s of the police officers is dead, while the individual responsible for the death of Eric Garner lives freely. If you are looking for a larger segment of society to blame, do not point your fingers towards those demanding police accountability. Blame the agents of the state who openly mocked their murder victim: it is a symptom that points to a larger problem.

Should I Trust The Government?

20141210_101127How is this even a question anymore? Why do people still jump to support their slave masters, and make excuses for every abuse we suffer as inferior citizens to the political class?

Since the first NSA spying revelations came to light, the government has repeatedly changed the story, only to be caught lying with the next revelations. We have a Nobel Peace Prize winning President who’s drones have bombed wedding parties in a country we are not even at war with. America has police officers armed to the teeth with military weapons, who kill more innocent Americans per year than terrorists. All the while these elitists don’t trust us with guns, they call peaceful groups terrorists, and every injustice is carried out with our money, in a system where theft is legitimate if you call it taxes instead of extortion.

America puts people in jail for drug crimes without a victim, yet those who teamed up with the government to steal our tax dollars for their corporations are free. America puts away organic farmers and raw milk salesmen 1,000 times more aggressively than it prosecutes murderous cops, and corrupt congressmen.

Insider trading is legal for members of Congress! But If I want to start my own business, I better not conceal from the IRS anything that I have earned. Better yet, I should not speak out publicly about politics if I don’t want to be audited.

And now we see the CIA torture report, which seems to reveal who the true terrorists are. Water boarding to the point of almost drowning in a salt pit dungeon where they claimed nothing of the sort ever happened. Shoving foreign objects and substances up rectums because it prevented terrorist attacks. Can you imagine the fury and volume of exploded metal that would shower the middle east if American marines were routinely treated in such a way? Then it would be torture, but sitting in the courtyard of the evil empire makes people here claim these are necessary tactics. These tactics do work out for some: namely the people in government who want perpetual war. You see, when the sheeple give the government more power, and more money in times of war, you can expect a government that is perpetually at war.

And how far do you have to go back to when the U.S. government quite literally enslaved young men, and sent them off to die for their homeland? The draft? Are you kidding me? How the hell did anyone put up with this?! And they criticize our generation! Their brothers, fathers, sons, cousins, and friends were taken at the point of a gun, and thrust toward the “enemy” in Vietnam in countless waves to die. Almost 18,000 of those 650,000 slaves, forced into a mercenary army, died while slaves to this country.

That was all legal. How can people support laws without questioning whether they are just? How has it gotten to the point that almost 70 years after the Nuremberg trials, men and women in our government are repeating the phrase used by Nazi’s, with success no less: “I was just following orders”. We aren’t supposed to get mad at the SWAT members who kill innocent 7 year old girls in their bed when the wrong house is raided. They were just following orders.

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It was about 75 years ago that this very government violated the rights of anyone with Japanese ancestry, and put them in concentration camps! There are people alive today that were sent there by this very government! How can anyone fathom trusting a single action of the government, with so much as an ounce of their being?! Stockholm syndrome does not begin to express the blind and insane devotion many have to such a sociopathic abusive “Motherland”.

This government makes no distinction between protesters and rioters, except when the protesters are gassed and pepper sprayed. This government threatens more legal action against those who would protect their private property, than those looting it. A free market is conflated with a government regulated market: the non-existent former is blamed for all the problems caused by the latter.

It was once legal to own slaves, illegal to drink alcohol, legal to subjugate women, illegal to own gold. Laws are meaningless. Right and wrong is meaningful. Yet many are more concerned with obeying the laws than protecting actual victims. 80,000 dangerous SWAT raids a year for drugs, when the public was assured 30 years ago the teams would only be used for hostage situations. We are now being told that military tanks going to local police will only be used against terrorists, and in hostage situations. Last time they used a bearcat in a hostage situation, the hostage was killed.

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But with all the fear, doom and gloom, God forbid I want to own a big gun myself! It is not hard to figure these people out, they count on blind obedience. If they cared about our safety, they would not try to stop us from obtaining weapons, and protecting ourselves against criminals with them. Edward Snowden aided the American people with revelations about how corrupt our government is, and they charged him with aiding the enemy. So then who is the enemy?

And still people think they can bring about peace and equality through government action. People think a system agressive by nature, hierarchical by design could bring about peace and equality. Others hate everything the government does, until it comes to their foot soldiers, the only ones who could actually carry out the oppression ordered down by the elites. The smartest thing politicians ever did to secure their own power was to splinter fascism into the two party system, to keep the peasants perpetually arguing about the “differences”. One idolizes the welfare nanny state, one worships the military police state.

Should you trust the government? Never has the answer to a question been so obviously: No, Never. Don’t sit there and pretend I’m paranoid. Don’t complacently think anything would be different now than it has been for the past 100 years, when it comes to the intentions and actions of the government.

You know, we all know, what we’ll get if we trust the government. You know exactly what you will get, because it will be exactly what everyone who has ever trusted the government has got.

Government: I don’t think they do what you think they do…

With such colossal and aggressive government, it can be quite difficult to analyze all of the effects it has on private life, the economy, crime, and essentially every aspect of civilian life. If you go by the government’s own record, you might think everything good that happens is due to government, and everything bad that happens is because of one government detractor or another: drug cartels, terrorists, survivalists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims—there have been many scapegoats throughout history. But when you understand market forces, you can begin to tease apart what influence the government has had on our society.

Obviously, the government creates the narrative, so they will naturally place themselves as the constant savior, while any of their critics will be the perpetual villain. It is obvious to most people that this is not always the case, but indeed I firmly believe it to never be the case. Right off the bat is the fact that government lies. Everyone knows it, starting right from the fact that they claim everything they do is beneficial when we all (yes, EVERYONE) knows that is not true.

Republicans know that the Democratic politicians lie, and Republicans know that the Democratic appointees lie. The Fascists blamed the Socialists, the Monarchs blamed the Communists, and pretty much everyone blamed the Jews. If you are anti-war you know the government lies about terrorists. If you are anti-welfare you know the government lies about poverty. If you laissez-faire you know the government lies about the economy, and if you are Keynesian you know the government lies about capitalism.

The next big step is realizing practically everything the government says is a lie, and practically everything it does serves an ulterior motive. It is not the government that keeps us safe, it is not the government that keeps us fed, it is not the government that educates us, it is not the government who houses us, and it is most certainly not the government that organizes society.
inigoIn fact, most disorder in society is a result of the government’s attempt to implement their vision of an organized society. And there is nothing magic about government versus industry; you need only to consider what each actually is at its core. The government cannot exist without coercion, or we would not call it a government. Monopolizing the initiation of force is a defining characteristic of government; they allow themselves, but supposedly no one else (besides their cronies), to aggress upon people, not just in retaliation, but to fund everything they do. They use this aggression anywhere within their arbitrarily defined borders without typical consequences that anyone else could expect from attacking someone, or being aggressive.

Industry on the other hand, when not working in tandem with government, is constrained by market responses, as in, people will not put up with being aggressed upon. The government can come to my house with guns and force me to pay them protection money. A business must attract me to their product or service in order to get my money. I must obey the government or face jail or death. With business, I must agree to the price and they the product (a mutually beneficial transaction), and if no agreement is found, we will simply go our separate ways.

Some people think that without government, businesses would be able to come to your house and demand money. But there is nothing to back this up. In fact, economic principles refute this. Just like the threat of mutual destruction keeps wolves from invading other wolves’ territory, so would businesses seek to avoid costly confrontation, in order to continue to make a profit.

This makes even more sense when you consider that various businesses would offer services (with profit as their incentive) to protect individuals from any number of criminals, including cartels. A cartel is essentially a business that begins to use government tactics to fund their enterprise (government tactics being forcing “customers” to pay them money, like taxes or mafia style “protection”). Then any aggressive company would be picking on someone their own size (another company), and thus could expect at least the ruin of their business, and probably death or confinement, if they initiate force against innocent people.

The only reason this would happen is if the market (AKA people who earn and spend money) places no value on peace. I like peace, do you like peace? Yeah even people who don’t like peace generally have to pretend they do. Companies can currently make money off war because the government steals our money and gives it to the military industrial complex. If the companies had to earn the money, war would be avoided at all costs to maintain profits, attract customers, attract employees, and for management to stay alive and not in a cage.

I Put Up With the Murder of Hundreds of Millions of Innocent Human Beings, and All I got Was This Lousy Road

So you see, the mechanisms exist in a free market to offer all the benefits of organized society, without the detriments of accepting government force as okay. Plus, there would be a clear line: initiation of force is never okay, even if an organization calls themselves a government.

This would prevent prosecution for victimless crimes, since without a victim, who would pay for the prosecution? It would also stop genocides carried out by governments, as has happened over the past century in Cambodia, Indonesia, Turkey, Germany, Russia, China, Darfur, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Rwanda, Iraq, and North Korea to name a few. Currently, governments can do any number of terrible things under the guise of helping people, the greater good, or simply having enough guns and soldiers to not require an excuse for their aggression.

Now one might think with such an insanely lopsided record of governments carrying out evil against all sorts of innocent and peaceful people, that the burden of proof would rest on government as to the benefits it creates. It seems they would have to do a lot of good in order to make up for the murder, torture, and imprisonment of at very least half a billion innocent people, in only 100 years. But the government gets to write the narrative. Building roads is necessary, so just ignore the vast atrocities. And also don’t give it much thought, because you will realize you didn’t need government to build the roads after all. And you don’t need the government to keep you safe either—they are a bigger threat to your safety than the people they “protect” you from.

If it can all be summed up in one sentence, here it is. People must currently seek permission from government to exist, where as in a free market with no government, businesses would require permission from people to exist.

And that is why a free market would create a better society than the government has. Stay tuned, because the government could not create such a false narrative, without the tools to mold the population to their liking: public education.

Wake-up Call from Ferguson: Stop the Police State

When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That is why police arrested two journalists the other day in Ferguson, MO before releasing them without charges. Had the journalists done anything wrong, or committed a crime? No. Were they taunting police, or causing a disruption? No, they were eating at McDonald’s, when it was stormed by a SWAT-like unit of police. Maybe the police were hoping one of the journalists’ hands would leave their view so they could shoot him with impunity. But how stupid must these cops be to think arresting two mainstream reporters would help their image, or improve the situation?

This stomping of First Amendment rights—or just human rights, natural rights against being harassed for normal, non aggressive activity—will only lead more to wake up. I am glad, for the sake of public awareness, some mainstream media personnel are going through what amateur videographers and bloggers go through daily. We are starting to hear whispers: is the public waking up from their dream of a peaceful 1950’s Officer Friendly neighborhood, to find themselves in the cold dark reality of a police state?

“From the beginning of this situation, the police have made conscious decisions to restrict information and images coming from Ferguson,” David Boardman, president of the association, said in the statement. “Of course, these efforts largely have been unsuccessful, as the nation and the world are still seeing for themselves the heinous actions of the police. For every reporter they arrest, every image they block, every citizen they censor, another will still write, photograph and speak.”

“That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news,” Baron said. “The physical risk to Wesley himself is obvious and outrageous. After being placed in a holding cell, he was released with no charges and no explanation. He was denied information about the names and badge numbers of those who arrested him.”

This comes after the Ferguson police attempted to ban low flying aircraft over the city, so that news helicopters could not see what was happening on the ground. Through every step of this recent tragedy, the police have done the wrong thing: becoming violent and militarized, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, and suppressing the filming and reporting of the events. There were in fact riots; so why are the police bothering to harass innocent people while they could be stopping looting and actual violence?

Of course the whole situation in Ferguson between rightfully angry protesters and militarized police started when an unarmed black teenager was shot dead by police. The police are now saying he was a “strong-armed robbery” suspect: he allegedly shoplifted and intimidated the clerk. But why does that lead to a death sentence, carried out without judge and jury, by an arresting officer? If the suspect was dangerous, get more officers to subdue him without incident. If the suspect was not dangerous, then why is he dead? Again, the police only know how to do one thing: use force, more and more often excessive force.

Situations everyday are exacerbated by a police presence that looks like it dropped from the sky out of a war zone in the middle east—the training ground for a new generation of police. There are SWAT raids for non-violent crimes, often no-knock raids in which people are accidentally shot, or shot on purpose when they respond how anyone would respond to random unidentified violent people breaking into their homes!

Many of us lowly bloggers have been attempting to raise the red flag about the way police are acting these days. Unfortunately there is an attitude that it is always “the other side” being harassed by the police. And that is another product of the fascism which splintered into both mainstream political parties: one loves the nanny state, one loves the police state. And as a former police state apologist (many moons ago), I see it as my duty to wake people up to the fact that the dog will bite the hand that fed it.

When all you got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Forward: Down the Road to Serfdom

Most people completely miss the point of those who object to big government. Often the mainstream media argues against a straw man, pretending republicans want to take away women’s rights, or pretending the Tea party wants no government at all. Those of us who have been warning that we need to get off the road to serfdom do not feel that we are in a dictatorship, but we do see that as the logical conclusion to the type of policies currently set forth by our government. After all, by the time we live in a dictatorship, it will be too late to protest.

This is why it is aggravating to hear people say things like “what freedoms have you lost? How has your life really gotten any worse with these policies? The standard of living in America is such that no complaints are warranted”. This is like someone who just got on a roller coaster refusing to believe they will ever drop. “Well we’ve always been going up, so why would that change?” The only problem with our roller coaster is that just when you reach the pinnacle is when the furthest fall comes.

An article from CafeHayek discusses just this kind of attitude, in a response to a readers’ comment. The reader claims that “us guys” have been forecasting universal serfdom for as long as the other side has forecast the fall of capitalism (which actually shows each side has forecast the same outcome). He then lists all the good things about living in America, falsely claims we pay fewer taxes than ever, and asks for a list of freedoms lost in order to better understand the freedom lover’s position.

Our lives are in fact great here in America, and that is something I don’t want to change. Maybe yours has not, but in the last few years many Americans’ lives have gotten worse, because of the policies of the current administration, and the similar policies of the administration before that. So to act like the standard of living in America could never go down is silly. The closer we got to free market capitalism the higher the standard of living went, and the further we stepped from the free market, the more the upward trend slowed, and has now arguably stopped. I read recently that for the first time in decades the life expectancy of certain groups of people in America had dropped. We have not made any major leaps and bounds toward curing or preventing major illnesses or increasing material comfort or better hygiene in the last decade. Home ownership is at a 15 year low, and Americans disposable income has fallen the fastest since the 1960′s with over $1,000 less disposable income since the “great recession” started. Maybe some of these things can be explained away, but to scoff at the claim of a declining American standard of living without examining the facts would be ignorant.

We also have a great source of information for the type of policies America is now introducing: Europe. If we are seeking to implement European policy, then we should look at where those policies led European nations. They are further along “the road to serfdom” than America, so instead of just waiting for our stability to be rocked to the core, those of us seeking to preserve the high quality of life in America must protest. My life is good right now, but many Spaniards’ lives are not. Why then would America take the same actions that Spain took which led to their decline?

But I worry it won’t be so good for my children. We’re becoming more like Europe. I don’t know if you’ve looked lately but Europe isn’t doing very well. The last time I looked, unemployment in Spain was 25%. Most Europeans still have a good life, but I don’t like the trajectory and I’d hate to look for work as a teenager. It’s not a very dynamic place.

And how can we expect to continue growing and improving, as America always has, if our schools are worse than they have ever been? Schools have been taken over by the Unions who make education prices skyrocket, protect bad teachers (at a detriment to the efforts of the vast majority of good teachers), and keep inner city kids from getting the type of education they deserve. American students are doing terribly in math and science compared to the rest of the industrialized world. Students are graduating high school unable to pass eighth grade tests, and graduating college with fewer and fewer marketable skills. Do we think America will just magically stay on this privileged path without the brains to fill high tech industries?

The public school teachers are one protected group. They are not alone. Equally unhealthy is the protected status of the financial class. Republicans and Democrats are both friendly to the investment banks and their executives. Then there are the farmers. Public unions. The autoworkers. The green energy industry. All of these groups get special treatment, special favors, protection from competitors.  That divides us into those with special privileges and those without. It is very corrosive for democracy and for capitalism. And it makes us poorer. More energy goes into being in the protected class. Less energy is left over for productive activity serving others. Another way to say it–more energy put into zero-sum activity and less energy put into making everyone better off.

As for the freedoms lost, the list is too vast to compile, because our freedoms are not taken away all at one time. They corrode, they weaken, split, fracture. Every one of our rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights has been trampled in one regard or another. Election laws and the FCC trample the first amendment free speech protection, and now Obamacare threatens religious freedom. The right of the people to keep and bear arms, which was not supposed to be infringed, has been infringed through “assault weapons” bans, laws banning types of ammunition, states requiring restrictive licensing, and the underlying right to protect oneself has been weakened as well, some states requiring a victim to flee before they fight back. The Supreme court decision Kelo vs. New London helped scrap property rights, and the our fourth amendment rights to be secure in our persons, papers, houses, and affects are ignored on a regular basis by law enforcement who no longer feel they need warrants to monitor cell phones, online communications, search houses, and mount surveillance cameras on private property.

The Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act are two more examples of eroding freedom. One weakened our fourth amendment protections, and the latter allows American citizens to be detained indefinitely without a warrant. The tenth amendment might as well no longer exist, but just as a reminder it states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This means the people have lost control over our government, and states have lost control over the federal government (with the help of the 16th amendment instating an income tax, and the 17th amendment making Senators elected by the people instead of state governments). We have no control over the EPA, the TSA and other unelected government agencies which set regulations arbitrarily without elected lawmakers’ consent. The Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health, and many others are all unconstitutional and should be dealt with at the state level. We the people have less control over federal agencies than we have over state agencies, meaning we get dictated to in regards to education, instead of the people dictating to our government exactly the type of education we want to see.

That was all just off the top of my head but there are millions of small freedoms lost which all add up to a mountain of federal authority over our lives. And it is not just the erosion of freedom which puts us on a “path to serfdom”, it is the government taking place of other institutions in society, then failing to deliver on the promises made, and not fulfilling the role which was previously filled by charity, the family, the community, religion, or the neighborhood.

Finally, the rise of big government in the 1930′s in the United States that took a great leap upward in the 1960s and pretty much keeps going no matter who is in office has been very damaging to civil society–to the voluntary connections we make to help one another. I want collective action that is voluntary not coerced. I want people to have the incentive to come together and help others. Government takes my money and gives it to other people. Sometimes it’s good people. But sometimes it’s not. So it doesn’t just replicate what I would have done already. It distorts it. But more importantly it discourages the deeply human ways we help one another as friends and family. I don’t want to romanticize private charity or the way families work. They’re both deeply flawed and imperfect. But big government destroys those systems of interaction and help. Big government makes it cheaper to be on our own. It makes it cheaper to avoid helping others because the government is doing it already.

Since the government pretends it is going to help every person who falls through the cracks of society, people assume that if they pay their taxes, they have done their part. This is not true, because the government lies to us and says they will help people as an excuse to raise taxes and collect more money. If we all knew outright that the government was not going to help anyone, there would be a larger number of more effective organizations dealing with the people who can truly not help themselves. Objecting to government help for the less fortunate is not the same as objecting to any help for the less fortunate.

Finally Thomas Sowell points out a disturbing aspect of Obamacare which nullifies the equal protection under the law, guaranteed by the 14th amendment. The President has the power to waive the Affordable Care Act for any business, union, or other enterprise.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides for “equal protection of the laws” for all Americans. To have a law that can cost an organization millions of dollars a year either apply or not apply, depending on the whim or political interest of the President of the United States, is to make a mockery of the rule of law.

How secure is any freedom when there is this kind of arbitrary power in the hands of one man?

What does your right of freedom of speech mean if saying something that irritates the Obama administration means that you or your business has to pay huge amounts of money and get hit with all sorts of red tape under Obamacare that your competitor is exempted from, because your competitor either kept quiet or praised the Obama administration or donated to its reelection campaign?

Sowell goes on to discuss at least five other instances of government creating this arbitrary power. Obamacare is not to help people get more affordable care, it is a tool of power. It gives the President the power to make or crush businesses, just by applying the law, or waiving the law. Laws are objective for a reason.

So to all the people who refuse to believe, who scoff, and tell you you’re an idiot for thinking America could possibly slip down the road to serfdom, tell them instead of rolling their eyes, to open them.

Government is like the Lottery

Belief in the overall benefit of big government, is like believing you can win the lottery. Everyone chips in $1 with the hope that they will win $1 million dollars, and someone does. When that person wins they are brought on TV, and shown off. The benefits of the lottery to that one person are showcased, and therefore become obvious to the public. This may lead the public to believe the lottery is a good thing, and thus buy into the system. But buying into this lottery system requires the false belief that someday it will be your turn and win the lottery. If you knew for sure that you would never win the lottery, you would stop playing, so the focus is kept on the winners in order to entice people to buy into the lottery. If no one bought into it, it would no longer exist, because everyone is chipping in their dollar to benefit the winner.

And those dollars spent are never focused on. You see the winner with all their benefits, but you do not see the 999,999 losers who paid for the one winner. The focus is never put on where all those dollars came from, or what those dollars could have bought if they were not given to the lottery.

Government can point to a housing complex, to a successful grant, to a subsidy, or to the people who benefit from these things, but you have to remember what they are not focusing on. They are not focusing on the people who paid for those things, who have one fewer dollar for every one more dollar that goes into the housing, grants, and subsidies. Those dollars still would have been spent, but they would have been spent by the individual on what they need and what would benefit them.

So to buy into the fact that a big government will be of benefit is sort of like believing you will win the lottery. The only thing shown to us are the positives that come from it, while the negatives are hidden and obscured. What we need to realize is that the lottery will almost certainly never pay off for us, and likewise, a big government will not pay off unless we happen to have the political pull to take tax dollars through bailouts, subsidies, or grants.

Grunwald: Big Government Can Solve All Problems/ Should Kill Julian Assange

We all know from watching TV news that the right is violent, angry, and vengeful, while the left is open-minded, peace-loving, and accepting. But one reporter didn’t seem to get the memo, as the liberal confessed he couldn’t wait for the drone assassination of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, so that he could write a piece defending the strike. Perhaps that was Michael Grunwald’s reaction to the praise Assange poured on Ron and Rand Paul as being the last hope for America, or Assange’s statement that the libertarian aspect of the Republican party is the only useful voice in congress. One thing is for certain, that Grunwald has added yet another piece of anecdotal evidence to the argument that liberals can in fact be hateful and intolerant of their political opponents, as the media (which Grunwald is a part of) often claims of conservatives. According to the Daily Caller, the following was tweeted by Michael Grunwald.

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Obviously anyone could be hateful and call for the death of what they see as their political enemies, but I don’t like that liberals often get a pass on this one, as if the Tea Party are the militants the media portrays them as, and liberals just want world peace. Wishing for a drone strike to take out Julian Assange, who has alerted the world public to abuses of power by the U.S. government, is not a very tolerant attitude. What people forget about liberals like Grunwald is that for them, the ends justify the means; it doesn’t matter how much evil happens in the pursuit of utopia, because the evil is necessary to bring about good. This of course includes the belief that a utopia can be brought about on earth.

Personally I believe that the Constitution laid out a very good system of government. But often liberals will frame an argument by showing flaws in a system, and claiming to know the solution, while ignoring flaws in the alternative system they put forward. For instance many will criticize capitalism for injustices and inequality which the system allows, without bringing up the fact that capitalism is a means for providing as many people as possible with the food, clothing, and shelter they need. But for the liberals they do not have to put a legitimate solution forward, they just have to point out the weaknesses in the current system. Could there be something better than capitalism? Sure, but until that system is designed and explained logically, I have to believe that capitalism should remain the dominant economic system.

Without realizing it many liberals are in favor of a statist solution, crony capitalism where the government can regulate the economy as opposed to the free market regulating the economy. They want a strong government that will eliminate criminals so that no one is victimized, and never make a false arrest. But in their arguments for a strong centralized big government, they use the best case scenario. They argue as if every member of the government will be moral and competent. They argue as if it would be impossible for some evil sociopath to come to power and fulfill his ulterior motives. It becomes not an assessment of which system would work better, but an argument for a utopia, against a system with flaws. The flaws in their own system are ignored.

Capitalism it is said, is controlled by the 1% (which would be about 3 million Americans). Big government however is controlled by 535 members of congress, 17 executives including the President, and 9 supreme court justices. That is .000187% of Americans in control, instead of 1%. Even if you include the 2.6 million bureaucrats in the government control scenario, it is still less than 1% (only .87%) controlling the economy. In reality, in a free market system 100% of the people would control the economy, because only pieces of the economy that the market (and individuals making up the market) demands, would exist.

And the same reporter who wishes to defend a drone assassination on his political “enemy”, wrote a defense of big government earlier this year. In it Grunwald claims it is only big government standing in the way of rampant terrorism, regular mass shootings, unsafe working and living conditions, and discrimination. He says that individual rights need to be balanced with the government’s ability to quell these impending disasters which the free market would hoist upon us. Obviously the government needs to be even bigger than it is now to solve these problems, which still exist in a country with a government that uses a quarter of the entire production of our country to govern. And apparently Grunwald thinks that corruption, misallocation of resources, or human error will not be a problem when the government is big enough to protect us from everything scary about the world.

We know our government is fallible, because it’s made up of people, but we still count on it to protect us from terrorists, from psychos with guns, from exploding factories. We also need it to protect us from floods and wildfires, from financial meltdowns and climate change. We can’t do that kind of thing ourselves.

And how’s the track record on that so far? The last financial meltdown was caused by the government. Benghazi, the Marathon, Aurora, Newton, an exploding factory and wildfires have all happened within a year, when the government is bigger then it ever has been. Do we just need it to be a little bigger? Have a little more power? Take a little more taxes? People like Grunwald pretend the government can do what it cannot, and pretend the private sector can’t do what it has always done: respond to a market demand. In a free market if people demand protection from those things, someone seeking profit will supply a solution. The “evil” incentive of profit gets things done, while the “noble” government has nothing but the voters to enforce its responsibilities. When we vote with our dollars to get things done, the resources are directed in the most beneficial places according to what each individual wants to spend their money on. When we vote for politicians we are tricked with our own money into supporting and paying for things we would never consciously put a dollar towards on our own.

In Grunwald’s narrative the government is only big where it needs to be big: catching and questioning terrorists, preventing market failures (LOL), making sure only the government has “assault weapons designed for mass slaughter”. We are all just helpless individuals who could never organize ourselves enough to protect against our scary world. And the government will only suspend the rights of terrorists, will only prevent criminals from protecting themselves, will only strike down the evil corporations and there could never be any unintended victims.

Grunwald saved his “using-dead-children-to-make-you-feel-bad-if-you-disagree” tactic for the last couple paragraphs. It is so easy when there’s a name attached to the victim. Look at these dead kids who prove the flaws in our imperfect system, and ignore the millions of unnamed victims under our utopian government system. This is the mindset of the people who write your news, who run your government: look only at this one section of the story and never at the whole picture. Look only at these lives lost, and not at net lives saved. It is a good tactic for arguing for the support of the ignorant masses. It is a bad tactic if you actually want to make the world a better place.

The Future May Be Bright

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It is always fashionable to criticize the upcoming generation for their music, hairstyles, and perceived laziness–but a poll of college age students has found that in the future, the government may be better run and more constrained. That is, if the next generation actually believes what the poll has found, that about 61% of college aged students want the government to back off. According to a CNSNEWS article:

In a survey launched by Young America’s Foundation and conducted by the polling company, Kellyanne Conway, Inc.,  more than 60 percent of college-age students feel that government should not take an active role in their day-to-day-lives, and half of respondents believe that the federal government is mostly hurting economic recovery.

If it is true, as the article states, that 45% of 18-34 year olds are unemployed, than it should be no wonder that they learned their lesson earlier than the generation currently running government. We saw the bailouts, the stimulus, and the spending and it did not work; the economy is stagnant at best, and in reality probably slipping back into a recession. So it is encouraging that young people can apparently learn from their and others’ mistakes; we tried the “government save us” approach and it failed, so lets try something proven to work. When more money is left in the private sector, people’s lives improve because there are more jobs, opportunities, and growth.

If history teaches us anything, a lower tax rate, less spending, and less regulation is the recipe for success. When President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act in 1981, 20 million jobs were created, inflation plummeted, and net worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 increased by nearly 30 percent.

You see, the economic self interest of young people could be exactly what saves us all. The study also asked the issues that matter most to young people, and most “cited the economy (21 percent), jobs (16 percent), education (16 percent), and the national debt (14 percent)”. We want results, not empty promises. Unlike many of the people in power, young people apparently do not stick blindly to an ideology when it is so obviously destructive. The next generation appears ripe with entrepreneurial spirit and free market enthusiasts. “66 percent of the students polled had a positive opinion of “entrepreneurship,” 44 percent found “free markets” positive, and 42 percent believe the federal government is an opponent rather than a partner in the pursuit of the American Dream.”

Seventy-six percent of respondents feel that government spending has to decrease if we are to have any hope of improving our economic situation, nearly 40 percent want less regulation, and nearly 60 percent want lower taxes.

76% is a striking number of young people that correctly see that the same dollar cannot be spent twice, and that the private sector provides more meaningful and productive employment, for the most part, than jobs thought up by the government. Maybe waiting around for a job has made many young people see the writing on the wall for a future created by government. The individual spirit will triumph as people are no longer content with meager handouts, but must go out and earn what they want, and build a life for themselves and their families. Maybe all this free time of young unemployed people is really what made the difference.

Maybe young people with nothing to do had to go out and find something to keep them interested. A recent study found that “adventuring” grows the brain. When lab rats were given an exciting environment to explore, the ones who moved around more had more brain activity and development than the more stagnant rats. The control group of rats without an exciting environment to explore likewise exhibited limitted brain growth compared to the “adventurous” rats, whose brains created more new neurons. So when a person goes from the confines of high school, to the confines of college, to the confines of work, maybe there just isn’t enough adventure to properly grow the brain. The fact that young people could not so easily get a job could be a blessing in disguise. Let’s hope, as the survey suggests, that this next generation is full of highly developed adventurous brains who will work to solve the issues our government has created, instead of passing them on to their children.