Discussion with Statist Highlights Opposing Views on the Power of the Individual

This is a discussion I had with a vehement statist on Facebook. I shared it here in its entirety, adding a little commentary along the way. I was happy to have this discussion since it stayed on point, and no one was too rude. Most people, I have found, won’t engage if you disagree with them (except with insults), so this was a unique perspective to get.

Interestingly enough, the liberal engaged me on Facebook much more than the conservative who was posting pro-torture memes and articles (the conservative did not respond to my questions of whether stooping to the low of torture would make the US safer, or if using medieval means can justify the ends). It makes me think, “Am I the only one who feels like a conservative when arguing with liberals, and a liberal when arguing with conservatives?”

Anyway I commented on an article the liberal statist shared. He was angry (and rightfully so) that the FDA instituted a lifetime ban on gays donating blood. I already knew the FDA was as terrible as any other federal bureaucracy, so I thought I might take the opportunity to point that out. I’m Joe Jarvis for anyone unaware.

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The sarcastic person obscured with red was not the same person (represented with blue) who continued to engage me politely for the rest of the discussion. I found it interesting that despite a sweeping negative decision by the FDA, Mr. Red would still prefer the government to institute across the board decisions, instead of allowing individuals control over their own experiences.

The philosophy seems to be that individuals are weak and powerless, too stupid or at least too oppressed (not by the government though) to educate themselves or figure our how to get quality healthcare. And that individuals are too greedy to help their fellow man (by patronizing charitable businesses) unless they are forced to by the government. (The contradiction is that the government is made up of people, so if it is the case that people are greedy, so will the government be greedy).

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If we don’t give the government more power to control education and healthcare, we will end up living in Panem, controlled by an oppressive government who denies education and healthcare to the poor? Woah that made me dizzy. How is it that taking power from the government and giving it to the individual will bring us closer to the distopian fascist state depicted in The Hunger Games? Even Katniss educated herself (with the help of her father in earlier life) to hunt and provide for the family. And Katniss’s mother educates Prim on natural medicine. In the end, the education these girls obtained on their own, despite the government’s obstruction, helped to free them from the oppression of Panem.

Also, how is people “intelligently elect[ing] their leaders” working out? And does that not suggest those in power will design education so as to remain in power?

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I assumed Mr. Green was talking about the original post? Notice that Mr. Blue does not defend or acknowledge the subsidies, grants, and bailouts, even though he made reference to cheap unhealthy food. He does not respond to my assertion that the government caused these problems, and thus should not be trusted to solve them. Instead he shows that he believes workers to be like slaves, bringing back the helpless individual philosophy.

And has he not noticed that public police forces are currently murdering the poor? As always, all the evils created by government are blamed on the free market. The dire predictions about an unrestrained market are already unfolding in a controlled market, with the government carrying out the worst violations.

He believes those who willingly work for a company in exchange for pay are more like slaves than a tax payer, who has some percentage of what he earns or creates taken by force. Supposedly what the government takes will be returned (education, healthcare, roads), yet it is not an agreement. I cannot choose to forgo the “benefits” of government and not pay my taxes. I can do exactly that in regards to a company’s services and products.

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Somehow a government has more incentive to educate the citizens than an individual has to become educated? Again, people are not helpless, especially in a world with the internet, where it is easy to pursue your own education. And history tells us governments have an incentive to create a population of sheep (Hitler youth, Soviet propaganda, suppression in China, the lists goes on and on). Currently our government sees innovators as more of a threat to their power structure than a boon to America’s position in the world (look at the regulatory trouble Tesla is having selling their efficient cars direct to the consumer, while the bailed out company GM is having market trouble with their electric cars).

Mr. Blue stated that it is better to have an educated and healthy society, but never argues how the government will do this. As it stands, the government is failing on both accounts. So he points to the government as a means to achieve an end, yet does not explain why that end has not been achieved, nor how it will be achieved moving forward. In fact the decline in quality American education since the federal Department of Education was created would suggest the government cannot improve education, or at least has not in the modern era.

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I thought perhaps I’d get a “like” as a gesture of good will on my polite departure. Perhaps he did not enjoy the discussion as much as I did.

High tech companies benefit from educated workers, and benefit from not being racist or classist (bigger pool of workers to choose from, and market pressure to not be racist assholes). Public schools disadvantage the same people he claims private schooling would disadvantage. Parents are most to credit for any well educated children in today’s society. In a freed market, companies would need to work harder to attract employees, and thus offer more: education, healthcare, charity.

All said and done, it seems the worst case scenario for getting government out of the market would be… ending up exactly where we are now. And in reality, most societal ills that currently exist, yet are blamed on a free market (which doesn’t currently exist) are caused by the government, and their unbridled force.

We Don’t Trust the Feds: States Need Their Power Restored

A new poll has found a “historic low” in the trust young people have for government. 18-29 year olds’ trust in the President, Congress, the military, the Supreme Court, and the federal government as a whole has declined for years, but especially over the last 2 years. Trust in the media has also declined, but trust in state and local government has remained the same for the past 4 years.

And that is what is so great about America, we have 50 state governments to pick up the pieces when the federal government drops the ball. The federal government does everything it can to boss the states around, in an attempt to exert control, but some states are starting to fight back. Since there is no Constitutional way for the federal government to issue orders to the states, the feds have been holding money over the states ever since the 16th amendment was passed authorizing the federal income tax. States comply with the feds if they want their handouts of highway funds, education funds, grants, and other bribery.

But when we think about all the failures of the federal government, we still seem to have this “it is a necessary evil” attitude; but why? Our state governments are practically like little countries anyway, and think of how much money they would have to work with if the federal government wasn’t stealing a quarter of the wealth created by Americans every year.

So really when you think about it, what would be so bad about the federal government just disappearing? States would finally have control back of their national guard. We would see competition among intelligence and other military capabilities where one state would build a good international spying system, and trade intelligence to other states in exchange for, say, the other state’s naval capacity, or just for a price. This would be the same specialization technique which allows business to thrive without having to perform every little task involved in making and marketing their product. And what is even better, the states would be hard-pressed to agree to send their own militias overseas to fight wars relatively unrelated to the states’ interests, so our national offense would be restored to national defense.

Other competition among the states would see industry boom, without the federal regulations, which currently cost businesses in America more than the entire gross domestic product of Canada! If one state has little regulations, businesses might set up shop there. If that lack of regulation leads to death and suffering, people would move out of the state, or use businesses from states with the proper regulation in place. But more likely, businesses would behave appropriately from the start, because they would have to succeed on their own making customers happy, unable to appeal to federal funds to bail out or subsidize their terrible business practices.

The state governments existed before the federal government, and created the national government by joining together, believing they would be just as able to exit the union peacefully. Today our national government works against the interests of individuals, and against the interests of the states. The 10th Amendment—anything not authorized under the Constitution is left for the states to decide, unless also prohibited by the Constitution—has gone by the wayside as the feds seize ever more control, ignoring the Constitutional limitations that the states originally placed on the national government. It is time state government stand up and refuse to recognize the authority the feds falsely claim to have, and restore balance and peace to our great nation.

Listen to “Under the Gun” here

Last week Harry from “Under the Gun” on WMRC radio had me on to discuss guns, politics, and government. We addressed the protests in Venezuela and the inability of the civilians to fight back against a murderous, torturous government. We discussed the violation by the Federal government of various rights, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and how ridiculous it would seem if we all needed to get a free speech permit. We talk about the centralization of power, and victimless crimes. Click below to listen to the half hour show!

The “Soft Gestapo”: Political Oppression Without the Guns

I wouldn’t yet rule it out, but the future of political oppression in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily need military tactics (though it may still be a piece). We already have a “soft Gestapo” so to speak, made up of agencies like the EPA, IRS, FDA, and USDA. These agencies can be used to target and financially ruin individuals that are be deemed enemies of the state. The federal government works through its non-police agencies to get to the people it can’t “legally” send the police after, in order to suppress certain behaviors, or deter certain actions which are not illegal. These agencies are granted powers to make rules without those rules actually being laws; laws must be passed in the Constitutionally prescribed method involving Congress and the President.

The EPA will go after anyone who dares live off the grid, or build a state permitted pond on their 80 acres, or keep chickens, and any number of other activities that might make someone independent of the Federal government. Everything within the state, nothing outside the state. It is better for the Federal government to have a person on welfare than to have a person who does not fit nicely into controllable society. The EPA goes after people who are self sufficient, who can make their own food, who can keep themselves warm, and who have enough property that they could otherwise avoid interaction with government agencies. Since he couldn’t send in the Gestapo in his war on coal, President Obama instead sent the EPA, who revoked a coal mining permit in order to “save the mayflies”. Who cares about the jobs lost, the people’s lives interrupted, it is more important to make everyone obey!

The IRS was used in place of the Gestapo when conservatives started to organize themselves politically. The Feds must have been pretty disappointed that they couldn’t just round up Tea Party folks and put them into camps; they had to think of another way to break up political opposition to government overreach, violation of rights, and debt that threatens the security of our country. So the IRS intimidated the conservative groups by auditing them, auditing their businesses, auditing their personal returns, demanding donor lists, demanding to know who planned to run for office, and then auditing them again the next year. The lesson: don’t speak up, stay in line, don’t participate in government or politics unless you are going to go down to the polls and vote yourself into slavery.

The FDA actually prevents dying people from trying experimental medications, because, then they wouldn’t be in control of every facet of life and death. They so desire control and power that a person with 6 months to live does not have the right to try a drug that might work–because the drug might be unsafe! And only the FDA is so wise and all knowing as to discern which drugs might hurt or help you. Never mind that drugs approved by the FDA have killed people, caused side effects worse than the disease, or been ineffective. Never mind that there may very well be a cure for cancer, but since the FDA gets half its operating money from pharmaceutical fees, they would rather keep the cash flow, keep the power, and continue working their crony capitalist scheme for control.

The FDA also puts extra costs through regulation on fruit farmers, in order to suppress self sufficiency and family businesses that are harder to control. And just in case any of this might get out, the FDA acts as Gestapo to their own employees whose communications are monitored and spied upon. If they have a problem with the corrupt way the FDA operates, then they will be fired and sued. Whistle blowing in the Federal government is a sure way to the poor house or a jail cell. Isn’t it strange that they tell us if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to worry about?

The USDA wages it war on food production, favoring the centralization of food supplies in order to have control over the survival of the population. The USDA regulated thousands of slaughterhouses out of business to create just a handful of giant butchers; they say it was for safety, but now E. Coli in one animal effects countless others. The USDA serves as a blocker for companies like Monsanto who sue small farms into poverty when their genetically modified seed escapes with the wind, and pollutes others’ crops. The USDA harasses small farms with regulations that favor corporate farms. The USDA shuts down debate about raw milk, and acts like raw milk farmers are poisoning children, when the opposite is closer to the truth. Operating outside of the law, the USDA shuts down family businesses because of “safety” inspections, so only unaccountable government connected large farms are left. The Gestapo must have control of the food, in order to control the people.

All these actions are taken against innocent people and innocent businesses who have done nothing wrong or illegal. These people are simply trying to make a living, run a business, or live a happy life. And it is because of the targets, who all go against the grain in one way or another, that these agencies can be compared to the Gestapo, who regulated behavior and targeted innocent individuals who did not fit into the Nazi idea of what a citizen should be, and threatened the power of the government.

And of course the FBI, NSA, CIA, ATF, DHS, and TSA all fit into the typical operations of the Gestapo in a police state. The quickest way to solve the problem of a centralized, controlling government that oppresses the citizens, and wastes the wealth of a nation is to repeal the 16th amendment authorizing the income tax, so that the federal government would be largely unfunded. Then power must be returned to the states by repealing the 17th amendment which took away states’ suffrage in Senate by allowing Senators to be elected by popular vote, instead of by state legislators. At that point we could repeal every federal agency which is not directly related to protecting the border/ repelling invasions, enforcing the Bill of Rights and open borders without tariffs at the state level, and foreign policy. I would even forget about regulating state commerce; in this advanced day and age there is no reason why states and individuals need to be compelled to use a federal currency, and more often this clause is used to regulate ever facet of human life.

And that is how we start moving towards true equality, with individuals actually having power over government. Never can we hope for perpetual peace and prosperity when some people in society are allowed to operate above the law. Never can the people be truly freed from the bondage of the state until there is no political class, and no one who can operate above the law, or use the power of the state for their own ends.

Human Power Imbalance Causes Poverty and War

Imbalance of human power could be pinpointed as a major cause of human suffering. When power is lopsided, for instance because of Kings, Emperors, or Dictators, what we often see is war, poverty, and genocide. Throughout history strong-men have risen to conquer, and subjugate. They had more physical power than others, and this imbalance was expressed through war and enslavement. Peace and growth are things that occur when each individual’s power is balanced with his or her peers.

This would mean that each human has individual power over their own circumstances; they have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When there are not arbitrary rules set by governments, this gives balance to power. When any particular person, or any particular group of people cannot use force to compel others against their will, balance occurs. As soon as control is taken out of individuals’ hands, the human power imbalance rears its ugly head, and society is disrupted by one form of man made disaster or another.

A monopoly on force is by nature an imbalance of power. If government is allowed to initiate force without recourse for the victim, this is an obvious asymmetry of power. It is argued that we need this inequality in order to better organize society, but there are always losers in this dynamic. Some will sit for decades in prison because those who wielded a monopoly on force decided that marijuana was bad. Some owe tens of thousands in fines to the EPA because extra-judicial power was given to an unelected body which now makes up rules without democratic ratification. Businessmen have been convicted of crimes without victims under anti-trust laws, sat in prison, or killed themselves on the way. We may feel like we live in a just society, but only if you ignore the casualties of power imbalance. You can read about them every day in the news when police officers shoot innocent people to death with impunity.

Some say, sure a few people get the short end of the stick, but society as a whole is better when some people have more power than others. Many will argue that inherent inequality, as in, people having to follow arbitrary rules of government,  actually helps balance society. Well these arguments are all theory, because we have never actually tried true equality; we have never seen a society where everyone is equal, and no one has inherent power over another.

No society has existed without some form of governing body that in the end gets to use force without retaliation, because of some sort of coalition they have formed. What I mean by coalition, is that even when an individual has nothing personally to gain by initiating force in the name of their superior, they will do it because of the imbalance of power. Neither they, nor their victim have the power to retaliate against the governors, and therefore the victims of the power imbalance become the soldier acting on behalf of the governors, and the civilian victim who the governors wish to initiate force against.

Coalitions to respond to the initiation of force are a form of balanced power, since one would have no power to exert his authority at will, only to respond to a violation of their rights. Agreements between individuals for mutual benefit would give them help in exercising their rights when another victimizes them.

So if the argument against free interactions absent of force (where people must come to agreement or go their separate ways peacefully) are all theory, then so must my argument be that this equality and balance of individual power would lead to more peace and stability. And in so much as I have no pure example to show the benefits of a society organized without government, the argument is indeed theory. But I would ask on what basis does the theory rest that we need some authority to have more power; that some people inherently must have less power, and somehow this inequality leads to peace and prosperity?

This argument can only be based on examples of governments under which peace and prosperity have occurred. When these examples are taken in a vacuum, it does seem that one could argue government was a benefit. But when these examples are compared to examples of societies with more poverty and war, government is a constant, and must be taken into account as such. We then see that smaller less intrusive government without arbitrary power over individuals characterized the peaceful and prosperous examples, and larger government with more centralized and arbitrary power gave way to war and poverty. The larger the imbalance of power, the more human suffering occurs. And monopolies on some power have always given way to more power.

It is also necessary to separate peace and prosperity. Relative prosperity for the time was achieved under Genghis Khan, yet it would be tough to argue that peace was also achieved. And relative peace has occurred under particular tribes, but no such prosperity in terms of increase in the quality of life was ever really achieved (and though a lengthy discussion could be had on whether the quality of life of these tribal peoples was actually “better”, for our intents and purposes I will use shorter life spans, higher child mortality, and lack of material comforts as a benchmark for “lower quality of life”).

Some examples of huge imbalances of power would be Dictatorships like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China where the state had way more power than the individual, and tens of millions of people were murdered. The Inquisition carried out by the Catholic church was the result of the religious leaders gaining too much power over individuals, and resulted in widespread torture and death.

On the other hand, the quality of life in Great Britain steadily rose over the centuries after King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta, stripping ultimate power from the King and distributing it among the feudal barons. Gradually Lords spread this power to their underlings, because it was in their best economic interest to do so, and as the individual had more control over his own affairs, Great Britain became prosperous and peaceful compared to the centuries before the Magna Carta was signed.

Then the tradition of the common people having rights was taken even further, and government was even more limited (power was even more balanced) by the Constitution in America. The wealth of individuals and quality of life in America exploded as power was arguably the most balanced in human history. But over the centuries the government centralized, and control of the individual eroded so that we are now at risk of seeing the first decline in quality of life since the country’s birth, even though America is still one of the freest societies in terms of personal liberty.

Believe it or not we are living in probably the most peaceful period in human history, and we got here because the natural rights philosophy which founded our country with the Constitution went the furthest of any society in creating true equality between individuals (even though it took some time for that philosophy to be put into practice, as in ending slavery).

But we risk throwing away all the prosperity and peace that has been achieved simply because we continue to allow centralization of authority and more government control. This means fewer and fewer people must consent before we are thrust into war, and that individuals have less control over their own economic outcome. The imbalance of power has made war more likely with just a few individuals able to involve millions in their wars, and has limited the personal gain that can be enjoyed by working hard, since the government has power over a growing percentage of resources individuals earn.

We have not yet allowed the imbalance of power to get to the tipping point which will throw humanity back into widespread poverty and war, but you must remember that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A little imbalance between elites and civilians might take a while to show especially if we ignore the daily examples of victims of that imbalance, though in America still relatively few and far between.

The easier examples to see of unrest caused by inequality of power are in other countries like Egypt, Syria, and Libya where power has been lopsided for quite some time. It should be obvious that the less arbitrary control people have over each other, the more balanced power is, the better society is as a whole, and for the individual.

The best society would see equal inherent power of each individual; anyone who initiates force can expect to be met with force, and anyone who has force initiated against them is free to respond with force. This method of societal organization creates a market for justice when force is initiated, and will therefore make initiating force a bad personal decision in terms of the outcome for the individual, and therefore this balance of power will lead to more peace, and more prosperity.

Common Core Reeks of Corruption and People of all Political Affiliations Agree

A Peabody Ma School Committee meeting was quite instructional in pointing out the many issues, backdoor dealings, and corrupt plans that have been intertwined with the implementation of Common Core standards for k-12 public schools. The speaker, Professor Sandra Stotsky, is a women who helped develop the math and english standards used in Ma school districts for the 16 years prior to the implementation of Common Core—and Massachusetts actually has some of the best schools in the country.

She was on the validation committee for Common Core where she had to sign a nondisclosure agreement and cannot speak specifically about anything that happened in the process. She did not agree on the entire program, and only signed off on a few of the pieces. When the final draft came out a couple months later, it was entirely different from what she had been shown and “signed off” on. This is the information that she shared at the Peabody meeting, and her informed presentation as someone on the front lines warning America about the detriments of Common Core.

  • Common Core started as a program to develop voluntary standards for states to adopt. Standards were developed by private organizations including the Gates Foundation in secret. They then appealed to government to make those standards applied by force, since private organizations cannot use force without the government.
  • The government “seduced” the states into accepting the standards in order to centralize control of education for a vast number of people across the country with all different types of lives, opportunities, and individual interests.
  • Constitution bans federal government from forcing local controls over education, so government got the private organizations to do their bidding. Stotsky: “Its hard to see it as truly voluntary when most states need money”.
  • Gates Foundation gave $250,000 for each for 15 states to send in the proper applications for Race to Top grants, written specifically by Gates. States get $250 million from federal government for adopting standards.

My solution is to have states be in control of the money in the first place, not the federal government. Abolish the 16th amendment authorizing the income tax, abolish the federal programs that it funds (including the Department of Education),  and then states can appeal to their citizens to raise taxes instead of begging the “overlord” federal government for money. Bottom up approach should be used, not top down.

  • Common Core includes data mining of religious and political affiliation, information about family and home life, as well as other personal questions. Personal information can now be shared with private companies; though the law was not changed, “interpretation” of the law has changed. This is another reason to reduce the power of courts and legislators in favor of individual liberty, and law based on contracts and agreements.
  • Stotsky: “If teachers’ comments mean nothing to a department of ed, then they need to go elsewhere.” Stotsky suggests Ma legislators have more control, and wonders aloud whether we still need a state board of ed, commissioner of ed, or department of ed, again pointing to centralization of control as a key problem.
  • Stotsky facetiously speaking about the federal government and their response to the backlash over Common Core: “…we have wise all knowing people in the department of ed who know the right things for all kids and then we have these fringe groups—not parents because they don’t dare criticize parents as parents—except Arnie Duncan who put his foot in his mouth and had to retract it.”
  • Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan had a huge hand in development of Common Core. He is the guy that said suburban moms are against Common Core because they are realizing their kids aren’t as smart as they thought. See his exact words here.
  • Need to stand up against these standards “If we are still a sovereign state” says Stotsky and asks, “Are Parents in charge of their own children?”
  • When writing Common Core standards, parents were left out, teachers were left out, State legislators were left out, and local school boards were left out. College educators of Freshmen were not  asked about “College ready” standards. No standards have been developed for disabled and special needs students. Everything seems to be going towards everyone being reduced to an “egalitarian middle” by “reduc[ing] variation in achievement, and want[ing] to hold everyone to the same standards”.

Even historically government compliant unions are starting to oppose Common Core because of the extreme backlash from their teachers. This is so obviously counterproductive to education, that finally people of all political alignments can come together to oppose it. Of course, it makes my point that the less power government has and the less centralized it is, the easier it is to avoid situations like this in the first place—maybe libertarianism can pick up a few disenfranchised liberals.

These hearty objections are coming from Massachusetts of all places—let that sink it. I’m from Massachusetts so I have seen first hand how the machine works, and right now that machine is breaking down, finally. Throughout the video the speaker makes references to how no one could understand what was going on, why the states, teachers, parents and politicians were being ignored in this process, why things weren’t explained, why pilots were not tried before national implementation.

I have a feeling Stotsky had an opinion on why those people were brushed aside—control—but it shows that not enough people have a healthy distrust of government. It is all about control, and the power seekers are starting to drop the facade as the desire for control moves forward at full speed, and the sheep’s clothing that these wolves wear starts to blow off.

The whole video can be found here, and is worth a watch if you have kids in public schools, might someday, or just want to stop the destruction of future generations. Continuing to raise awareness about how terrible Common Core is, as well as going to the local meetings to oppose it is something that can be immediately done to combat this. Another idea is to pull your kids out of public schools and either homeschool or send them to private school if you have the means to do so. Please take the time to watch the video, there is even more information about the implementation and consequences of Common Core.

Wars are Started by Governments

droneIts amusing but sad that people always seem to come from the same perspective for “solving problems”. Everybody wants to use a top down approach when dealing with borders. People just assume that we need to group people together, even if they don’t like it! So in the U.S. we have parts of Colorado that want to form a new state, we see a piece of California trying to secede, and Texas was once its own country, and entered into the U.S.A. from the position that it could leave if the population so desired. The Kurds never really wanted to be part of Iraq, and borders within the United Kingdom have shifted countless times over the past 2,000 years. So we see these problems and think, how do we divide up who controls this land? But control is the very problem.

I think a hundred years from now people will look back on the debate about whether or not part of Colorado or California or whole states should be allowed to do their own thing, and laugh because of how ridiculous it seems that anyone would try to force people to remain under their jurisdiction, like subjects or serfs. I hope the prevailing notion of that day a century from now will be that of course people have the freedom to move as they like, associate as they like, and live as they like, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone.

Because isn’t that really the issue, that governments want to force people under their control? If the Kurds hadn’t been stuck between Iraq and a hard place, they could have just continued their society and lived their lives in relative peace. But Iraq and Iran made promises, broke their promises, lied, and Saddam Hussein gassed an entire city of “his people”. They couldn’t just be left alone?

Or how ridiculous that Denver or Sacramento want to hold onto their population in the outer districts in order for the capital to extract money and labor to fund the government programs, expenditures, and extravagance which mostly takes place in the capital. I think there is a book like that…

Then there’s Crimea, and Palestine, and Israel and it has never occurred that people don’t need to be controlled, or told what to do, or where the borders are, or to whom they are supposed to pay protection money—or taxes if you prefer. It seems immature as a species that whole groups of people routinely use their military strength to force others into their way of life, or their way of thinking, or within their borders.

Who would fight wars if not for governments? Who would enforce borders, and collect taxes, and make up laws that you can lose your life and liberty for breaking, even if there is no victim? Here’s the thing: the guy that starts the war, never fights in it. Sure, sometimes he overplays his hand and kills himself in a bunker, or gets hanged or slaughtered by his own people, but these are more like exceptions to the rule. So in whose best interest is a war? Tell me, who is going to start a war, and who is going to fight a war, if we don’t have government relations to sour, and government force to muster, and government controlled populations to enslave?

War is only in the best interest of those who have something to gain from it, and nothing to lose from it. Only those who can use force without retribution are in that position, and only governments can use force without retribution. Who would be sending men off to die if people were truly free from the initiation of force? What mutually beneficial transaction includes death and destruction?

I’m not going to get into right now how a society could be organized without government, I’ve written enough about that to give you a good idea. I just want people to reflect on the dynamic that we have always seen on earth, governments starting wars with governments and pretending it is in the best interest of the people: the people who die on the battlefield so that the government can say, “see, this is the border” or “these are my subjects” or “no, no, this set of victimless crimes is legitimate, theirs was not!”. And yes, we have certainly had better governments than others; the American government as defined in the Constitution was pretty good, but not perfect.

I once thought of ways to design the perfect government, with the perfect restraints, and checks on its power. I thought of ways to design elections, to form opposing powers, and to decentralize control. This is the “government is evil but necessary” philosophy. Then it occurred to me that nothing evil should ever be necessary. Why keep a beast in your house that would devour you if its chains are too loose, or break?

Would a lion be a great deterrent to crime at your home? Yes, but it might also eat you and your family. A big dog can be just as good a deterrent to crime, and you have control over it. Your dog loves you because you feed it and pat it; you trade food and affection for protection. Protection that will never be turned on you and your family, even though your dog can go anywhere in the house. The lion you feed so that it doesn’t eat you, and it dictates where you can safely walk in your own home. And the lion provides protection only if its chain is long enough, which also puts you in danger. But if the chain is too short, it won’t be able to stop an intruder.

Right now we are a society of lion keepers, and we should be a society of dog owners.

“Under the Gun”: It’s All About Control

Here’s the latest episode in which I can be heard from the local radio show “Under the Gun” on WMRC. This broadcast was all about control, and the various ways our government keeps the people under their finger. Santa’s not the only one who see’s you when you’re sleeping, and knows if you’ve been bad or good. Merry Christmas! Come back Thursday for a fresh new post!

Animal Farm: The Cats in Government and Society

I’m re-reading Animal Farm by George Orwell at the moment, and loving every second of it. The cat is an interesting, though a relatively small character in the novel. On page 47 readers begin to see the problem with the animals newfound philosophy: to each according to his need, from each according to his ability. Most of the animals at this early stage in the farm’s revolution still do a fair amount of work, but the cat is one exception.

And the behavior of the cat was somewhat peculiar. It was soon noticed that when there was work to be done the cat could never be found. She would vanish for hours on end, and then reappear at meal-times, or in the evening after work was over, as though nothing had happened. But she always made such excellent excuses, and purred so affectionately, that it was impossible not to believe her good intentions.

There are those today who dedicate their entire lives to purring affectionately. Another section involving the cat starts on page 49, and discusses the committees which the pig Snowball had decided to form. One of these is called the “Wild Comrades Re-education Committee (the object of this was to tame the rats and rabbits)”. The problem was that the wild animals, sovereign citizens you might call them, did not quite go along with everything the rest of the animals believed in. Again the cat proves that she knows how to work this new system on the farm.

The cat joined the Re-education Committee and was very active in it for some days. She was seen one day sitting on a roof and talking to some sparrows who were just out of her reach. She was telling them that all animals were now comrades and that any sparrow who chose could come and perch on her paw; but the sparrows kept their distance.

It seems the sparrows were not as gullible as some American voters. I can imagine someone from the USDA telling a farmer, we’re from the government and we are here to help. But unfortunately the USDA grasp stretches further than the cat’s paws, and farmers don’t have wings like the sparrows.

I think that it is wise to remember that society and our government are full of cats. Does the cat really just want to become friends with the sparrows, or will she eat them? Do the politicians really just want to help the poor, or will them keep them in poverty to garner votes? Does Obama really want everyone to have affordable healthcare, or does he want control? Does the EPA really want to keep water clean, or are they after power? Will increased taxes benefit the whole of society, or only the political elite and their crony capitalist friends? Don’t be fooled by the affectionate purring.

Personal Responsiblity

What happened to personal responsibility? I hear politicians talking about how immoral it is for employers or health insurers to deny contraceptive coverage for women, as if this is the only possible way for contraceptives to be obtained. While this is meant to fit into the “War on Women” paradigm the left tries to push, it sounds more like an insult; insinuating that women are not capable of acquiring their own contraceptives. Routine costs were never meant to be covered by insurance anyway; insurance is for things you cannot afford to replace or pay for in the event of an emergency. But the government has been telling us for some time that it is not our own responsibility to avoid sexually transmitted disease, and control pregnancy. That is the government’s problem, or your employer’s problem; apparently we are helpless.

When people are treated like children, they act like children. Lots of people are very happy to blame the government when something goes wrong, and the government is happy to provide them with the solution. Giving a solution means the government buys a vote with tax dollars, and expands their power and control. Power and control–apart from being an end for many politicians in itself–means personal wealth for many politicians who are able to keep a piece of backroom deals with private companies. Maybe they hire the company for a government job or provide subsidies or grants, funneling tax dollars to a friend or relative who will return the favor, with at least substantial contributions to the politicians’ reelection campaign.

There was a time when consumers were responsible for researching the products they bought, to get their produce and meat from farms they trusted and knew, and to shop around as to not promote poorly managed or dishonest companies. Oh but we are all so busy these days! Why should I have to waste my time researching the things I need to use anyway? Good thing we have the government to pretend to check the safety of products, to check to see that some of the food is sanitary, and to take the choice away from us, and close family farms with heavy regulatory burdens.

There are always extenuating circumstances for why people cannot make ends meet. Being against government help however, is not the same thing as being against any help for the poor or disabled. Churches, private charities, or even state and local governments would all be more appropriate avenues to reach the needy than the federal government. In addition to breaking down the work that must be done and increasing efficiency, it cuts out a large amount of fraud. A community can tell if someone really needs help, after a loved one’s death, after a fire, or even indefinitely for various reasons. The federal government comes up with criteria–another one size fits all approach which wastes money and fails to reach some of the people in need–and then opens the floodgates.

Can 20% of our population really not make it on their own? Or have they been told so many times that it is not their problem to make it on their own, that they have come to expect the welfare? The government has set up the welfare system so that many people can stay on it indefinitely–and for many this makes economic sense. I have personally seen multiple people collect welfare benefits who did not need them, many people stay on disability without a legitimate injury, and certain people milk unemployment because “it wouldn’t be worth it for me to get a job yet”. These are not all the cases of people taking government assistance, but I have seen enough first hand to know that the programs are not effective at restricting those from using government benefits who do not need them. Employment was once something to take pride in, because you were producing and contributing to society. Now it seems that as long as there is money, people don’t bother to think of where it came from, or who worked for it. And politicians and government have conditioned people to shirk their personal responsibility to look after themselves. It helps them get votes and power.

Thomas Sowell has written on the breakdown of the black family, specifically after welfare benefits were introduced more widespread under Johnson. Fathers who would otherwise stay with and support their families no longer thought it was their responsibility to do so once the government began all the “you have no control over your situation” propaganda. Do you have control over the situation you are born into, who your parents are, or what problems face you from the start of your life? No. But why is it that people who are told they can rise out of the ghetto have a higher rate of rising out of the ghetto? Politicians that hammer the idea that social mobility is impossible are ruining the lives of many people who wrongly believe this is the truth. Not everyone will rise out of poverty, but a hell of a lot more people will when they are told that it is possible, instead of being told that they are doomed to remain poor because of the sins of past generations.

Accepting personal responsibility has an invigorating quality about it that psychologically makes you more able and likely to accomplish your goals. The second you tell yourself that you are in control of you future, you take control of your future. There will always be terrible aspects of life that we cannot avoid or change, but for the vast majority of people born in America, their life can be shaped how they want it to be. No one said it was easy, and no one said it wasn’t harder for some than others, but we are not doing anyone any favors by telling them their life situation is out of their hands. What is easy, however, is shirking the responsibility we have to make something of ourselves and live the best possible life we can forge, and instead becoming children of the government.