The Moral Case for Secession

Secession is a Natural Right

Morality is what is naturally right or wrong. Saying someone has a “right” is a statement about an individual’s condition in nature, absent other parties. That is why rights are expressed in the negative: because a right is a declaration of the natural state of a human, and the assertion that another human that disrupts this natural state is in the wrong. Continue reading

It Can Happen Here, it Has Happened Here

I’m always surprised that it is controversial to say you can’t trust the government. Even forgetting all foreign and historical government atrocities, we have countless examples of the America government acting in a way that violates human rights. It was not too long ago—72 years—that Americans of Japanese ancestry were taken by force from their homes, without cause, and placed in concentration camps by the United States government.

japaneseAnd that is why the NDAA should be so concerning to us. The NDAA is still approved and authorizes the government to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens on American soil without charges. With a precedent such as Japanese internment which people still alive remember and experienced, should it not concern us that something like that, or worse, could happen again? And it is further disconcerting that the machinery to make large scale oppression a reality is available, and being tested.

fergI’m not so sure the Constitution can protect our rights, so much as remind us of them. So when some of those natural rights are literally written into our system of government, and then ignored by our government, that should be the final straw for a free people to wake up and say, we are not going to take this anymore.

Political Cartoon: First Amendment Zone

I hope my lack of drawing skill (or patience) does not take away from the message here. If you only have the right to free speech and freedom of press in certain areas, then it is not a right. We see this at every protest; I have been confined to a First Amendment zone, back in 2012 outside of the Republican National Convention where I literally could have faced prison time if I had walked around a fence onto a sidewalk, still 3 blocks away from the convention center, on public roads! And now police are arresting and tear gassing journalists to try to suppress the news, lest the public learn of their radical militarization.

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Kind of like how my right to protect myself with a gun stops at my state line… which means I do not have a right to self defense if I am in the wrong spot. My right to protect myself is contingent on my location, and who is aggressing against me.

And if my Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure can be “suspended in an emergency”… well then those don’t exist either. And if the NDAA says I can be detained indefinitely against my will on American soil if I am “suspected of terrorism”, where did my Fifth Amendment right go?

These are natural rights which were simply written in text in the Bill of Rights, which is violated every single day. So what good was the piece of paper written by a government, telling the government where the limits lie? It has been ineffective, so the next step is to practice our natural rights every single second of everyday, which means no one can tax us, or conscript us, or enter our homes to take our money, or to kidnap us when we have committed no aggression against another.

Let’s Keep Putting People at Risk with Stupid Gun Control Proposals based on Emotion

A writer for the Daily Beast says it is time to “think big or shut up on gun control”. I suggest he choose the “shut up” option because as the proverb, and various historical figures have said, “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt”.

The author begins by saying, “Making the same arguments over and over isn’t changing anything.” I guess his solution was to abandon all arguments, and illogically appeal to emotion. The problem is that he pretends if only enough people felt sad when guns are mentioned, gun violence would be prevented. His other suggestions include keeping guns out of normal people’s hands… which is the same argument that has been made over and over again. Perhaps the 5 million member strong NRA is not a “special interest group”, but rather represents what mainstream America knows: you cannot stop the guilty by punishing the innocent.

1. Grassroots activism targeting corporations. A band of courageous mothers lead by Shannon Watts have created “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense” and are engaged in a grassroots campaign in same vein as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They not only protested outside the NRA’s national convention, they have been effective in convincing Chipotle and Starbucks to not allow open carry of weapons in their stores and have now set their sights on Target.

First off, Shannon Watts, aka Shannon Troughton has been in public relations for years, as opposed to her image as a home grown activist who just couldn’t take the violence anymore. No, she has worked for corporations like Monsanto in public relations, and is skilled at manipulating corporations and the media. So she was very at home convincing Chipotle and Starbucks to make their stores more dangerous by declaring them personal protection free zones. Jack in the Box has been robbed at gunpoint 3 times since the CEO asked people to leave their guns at home. A North Carolina restaurant with a “no guns allowed” sign was also robbed at gunpoint on May 19. So really Shannon and her group are trying to make Chipotle, Starbucks, Hallmark, and Target less safe for workers and customers, asking them to be defenseless in the name of ideology. Well Target and Hallmark employees have moms too, and their moms don’t want them to be murdered either.

Shannon also recently responded to the claim that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns by saying, “This has never happened. Data shows it doesn’t happen.” In addition to the examples in the article of good guys with guns stopping bad guys, a CDC report found that more lives are saved each year in the USA by someone using a gun than taken. The claim is even more ludicrous when you consider that police take down bad guys with guns everyday, but police cannot be everywhere.  So while moms demand action, anyone who can think knows that double-action works better to stop a criminal. Oh, and by the way, I didn’t see any of the protesters outside the NRA annual meeting.

The author of the Daily Beast article also suggests holding up pictures of dead people so that “something will be done” about gun violence. I think posting pictures of dead criminals–shot by good guys’ guns–would be more effective. Or maybe suing the NRA would help, he suggests, since if they hadn’t opposed particular gun laws, lives could have been saved. And I would in turn suggest suing Mom’s Demand Action if anyone you know is killed in a gun free zone. And while we’re at it, let’s sue Ford if someone dies in a car, and sue the farmers’ market if someone chokes on a carrot. What about the ACLU lobbying to protect Fourth and Fifth amendment rights? We could sue them if they keep criminals on the street by refusing to allow cops to search and arrest anyone arbitrarily.

4. Rewrite the Second Amendment. I’m not saying repeal it, but take a page from the pro-gun lobby who for 20-plus years preached, wrote academic papers, held seminars, etc., to support the then-radical notion that the Second Amendment bestowed a personal right to own a gun, thus making it more challenging to enact laws that restrict access to them. Of course, the Second Amendment says no such thing.

Except, of course, when it says exactly that, in plain black and white. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (Emphasis added). Such a radical notion that the Bill of Rights refers to individual freedom! Let’s see what some other amendments refer to. (Emphasis added).

First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Does the author really think that “the right of the people” or “the people” does not refer to individual rights? Or does only the American military have the right to peaceably assemble? Somehow “the people” does not refer to an individual right in the Second Amendment, but does when referring to the right to free speech, the right to be secure against unreasonable searches, the right to practice or not practice a religion? Obviously “the people” in the Constitution means each individual has whatever right is being discussed.

And just in case there was any doubt, the Ninth Amendment clears it up: these aren’t the people’s only rights. They also have natural rights, that cannot be denied, even when they aren’t specifically mentioned in the Constitution. One of these natural rights is to protect myself when someone threatens my life or my property. And an attempt to disarm me, and make me submit to the will of a criminal because I follow the laws, denies and disparages my right to life, my right to defense, my right to property.

These idiotic suggestions are not new, they are not “thinking big”, they are the same old punish the innocent, disarm the people that follow the laws, ignore the real problem, demonize the good guys, put yourself at risk, and submit to criminals propositions that are paraded as a way to “make us safe”. Well the author said it himself, it is time to think big or shut up on gun control. Since he is obviously incapable of thinking (let alone thinking big), then it is time he shut up, instead of creating a giant hunting preserve for the criminally insane.

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.

Do You Have Your Free Speech Permit?

bullhornYou have the right to free speech, an unalienable right, enshrined in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. In order to exercise this right, go down to your local police station, and ask them for a free speech permit. This will cost you $100 dollars, and take about 5 weeks if you’re lucky. But some Police Chiefs might ask you to prove your need for free speech, or require 2 letters of recommendation from people who can vouch for you that you won’t misuse your free speech.

Some departments might put a restriction on your free speech license, like you can only use free speech in your home and on private property, and in your car while while moving between private properties. And of course this permit does not cover free speech in schools, federal buildings, or post offices. If you carry your free speech into one of these places, even with your permit, you will go to jail according to their zero tolerance policies.

In five years you will have to re-apply for your permit to use free speech, and pay another $100. Oh and this permit only applies in your state, so just remember not to speak freely across the border, or criticize public officials if you are not in your home state—this could land you a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison for some instances.

Also you might want to keep the fact that you use free speech to yourself. If someone sees you freely speaking, they might call the police, not knowing that you have a permit. Also you want to be careful about mentioning you practice free speech at work, because you might make your coworkers nervous, and you could get fired. Make sure your kids know that in school they should not draw pictures of themselves or you on a soapbox.

But no one is trying to take away or limit your right to free speech. Your right to free speech is completely in tact and has not been infringed upon by the government at all. All these limitations on free speech are just to keep people safe, and they really don’t restrict your right at all.

Now where’s you $100 for your religion permit? And will you be seeking freedom from self incrimination and cruel and unusual punishment this year? Those will be $100 each.

Sound ridiculous? It should. Rights are not something you must ask permission to exercise.

Natural Rights: Organic Societal Organization

If good compromises with evil, evil wins. Evil can handle having good sewn into it and still live on. Good cannot live on intertwined with evil; it becomes something else, corrupted, sullied, not pure good, just less evil.

If rights are compromised with security, do we still have rights? We may have the appearance of rights in some instances, and we may be secure at times, but if a right is contingent on arbitrary circumstances and erratic individuals, it cannot be called a right. In this sense many of our rights have already been compromised, and therefore lost. Do you have the right to defend yourself against any aggressor? Yes; if you are on your property, if you have attempted to retreat, if you believe your life is in danger, if the attacker doesn’t have a blue uniform and a shiny badge. So do you have the right to defend yourself against anyone who initiates force against you?

Many in power today balk at the idea of natural rights, and Charles Kesler explains the reason: rights “endanger the ancien [sic] regime, which in our time is liberalism”. Liberalism here is really modern or social liberalism, which espouses the idea that government is necessary to promote social justice and intervene in the economy for that purpose. Obviously following this doctrine means government has a central and enormous role to play in regulating everything that is perceived to cause inequality. That’s a big tent, by design, because the people in power who keep modern politics liberal are the ones who get to choose where the next intervention for social justice takes place. Without getting into the corrupting effects of being in such a position, I would like to point out that virtually all Democrats and the vast majority of Republicans today promote a social liberal system.

If natural rights are compromised with social equality, do we still have natural rights?

You cannot support inalienable rights (the kind that don’t change depending on the circumstances and people involved), and modern liberalism, because this liberalism says that the highest ideal is social equality. The flip side is a system that defines laws objectively, and recognizes natural rights of individuals. So even though everyone would be treated equally under the law in the latter system, the results of individual circumstances would not be equal, highlighting the difference of perspective. The founding fathers said that individuals have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; modern liberalism says it is the government’s job to provide happiness, even if liberty takes a back seat.

In a country run on modern liberalism, those who promote the founding fathers’ ideals are called extremists, because by a modern liberal definition, anything non-liberal is extreme. If you do not believe the government has a central role in regulating economics and individual behavior in order to promote social equality, you are extreme, because liberals get to define what extreme is. The Constitution is the enemy of liberalism, because it limits government, thus limiting how much social and economic engineering can take place. The Constitution defines some individual rights, without claiming to be an exhaustive list, which limits how far the government can go in terms of promoting equality at the expense of the individual.

Liberalism says that if one person has more money, then the government can intervene to spread the wealth. The Constitution says that a person’s property cannot be taken unless in response to force, and even then, there is a process which needs to be the same no matter who it is being accused of initiating the force. Because the Constitution does not allow free-reigning liberalism, liberals claim the document is “living”, meaning open to interpretation depending on the needs of the era. But this idea opposes the ideas in the Constitution, because the document speaks of natural rights, which do not change depending on circumstances and people.

The Constitution itself is dysfunctional—full of institutions like checks and balances, bicameralism, the separation of powers, and federalism designed to temper hope and to slow political change, to force time for deliberation and due process, to conserve the people’s loyalty to the Constitution and laws.

Some people believe the human race amounts to a bunch of children in need of parenting. I disagree. I think that humans are problem solvers who respond to their environment in a way that allows them to gain the most personal benefit at the lowest personal cost. I think that if people are treated like children they will act like children. I think that basing society on humanity’s natural way of life will yield a more stable, productive, and beneficial society, based on the types of problems they will be presented with, and the solutions for those problems. When the government sets up a system where the easiest way to survive and gain the most comfort is to find your next victim, this changes the way humans work to survive. Instead of producing to provide essentials and more comfort, humans will find ways to take what others have produced.

In the beginning humans essentially agreed without knowing it, that there were natural rights, and that the way to survive was to solve problems in their environment. Hunger and exposure were a problem, so humans hunted animals to eat, picked food from the forest, and built shelter. They used their problem solving skills to manipulate their environment in order to survive, and if there was energy left over, add to their comfort. Another problem presents itself: one tribe of humans called “The Founders” has already hunted, gathered, and built shelter, and now another tribe, “The Liberals” is attempting to take those things. Naturally, the group which is being attacked defends itself in order to survive, and keep what they have earned through their brainpower and labor.

Unfortunately, liberalism–with the blank check it gives to government to “solve social inequality” through whatever means necessary–sets up a system where the easiest way to survive and gain comfort is to initiate force against others. Since this force is seen as a good thing which promotes social equality, defending against that forces becomes a bad thing. The right to defend yourself against any aggressor is at odds with government promotion of equality through force. Never-mind that the people promoting “equality” usually make society less equal by keeping most of the plunder for themselves and their friends.

So let’s go back to our tribes that are fighting over the products of “The Founders’” labor. Modern liberalism would say that “The Founders” should give away some of their food and shelter to “The Liberals” in order to promote the equality of all tribes. But “The Founders” are natural rights people, so they are not going to give up so easily. “The Founders” will defend their lives against those who would murder them to take their necessities. They will defend their freedom to produce without other tribes taking that for which they labored. They will defend their property which nourishes them and keeps them warm, allowing them to live a happier life than if they were hungry and cold. Should modern society not afford people the same rights that tribe naturally exercised?

The only difference is that today the tribe of “The Liberals” is much greater in number, and therefore the tribe of “The Founders” often fails in exercising its natural rights, just as the possibility existed for “The Founders” to be overrun, killed, and robbed by “The Liberals” tribe. Not only has liberalism allowed force to be monopolized so that you must seek the majorities’ approval to exercise your rights, but liberalism also uses that force for ends which are contradictory to natural rights, and the natural way humans survive, by solving problems posed by their environment. Liberalism says that some people will solve problems, and some people won’t, but regardless, everyone should have the same comfort. However this means the problem most people strive to solve is how to become part of the group that does not have to solve any other problems. The group providing solutions to problems (food, clothing, shelter, comfort, transportation, medicine) therefore dwindles.

The way for the human race to grow and mature is to not be treated like children where the parent must make everything equal, but instead be treated as human, free to respond to their environment in the best way for them–an environment that does not reward force. Since initiating force is not a right, the natural order of human interaction will trend towards a system that benefits everyone who produces without using force to the highest extent. Production is rewarded and force is punished under natural law, it only makes sense that human constructions of society should replicate and encourage that paradigm.

Rights: Use Them or Lose Them

What do people think happens when someone joins the government? Do they magically acquire omnipotence? Do they cease to act as human beings, instead ruled by some divine law which makes them better than the rest of us? Does one bureaucrat majestically absorb the skills of 100 businessmen so that he can steer the economy better than the peasants? Do officials see into the future in order to protect us from all the bad, and prepare us for all the good that will come? Does a civilian, untrustworthy with a gun, suddenly become a saint incapable of wrongdoing when he becomes a government agent with a gun?

Somehow, even though I have the right to protect myself with a gun, I must defend exercising my rights from those who ask, “why do you need a gun, that much ammo, that much power, or that much capacity?” But when government bureaus like the Postal Service, Department of Education, and National Weather service buy hundreds of millions of hollow point bullets, we’re just supposed to shut our mouths and think nothing of it.

When I buy a powerful semi-auto with a large magazine to protect myself and my property from potential threats, I’m paranoid and dangerous. When the Department of Homeland security spends hundreds of millions on armed guards and riot gear to protect federal buildings, they are just being prepared. But as the taxpayer funding their purchases, I want to know, why do they need riot gear, why do they need bigger guns and more ammo, and what is the DHS preparing for?

Are we seeing a double standard here? Somehow the civilian is now treated with distrust, while the government gets a free pass. Somehow I have to justify what I do with my own money, but the government doesn’t have to explain what they do with my money. Where did we go wrong?

It’s like the government just stole our rights and started pretending they were rights of the government. The government can say whatever it wants, but you better not use hate speech, or say anything politically incorrect. The government has the right against unreasonable civilian search and seizure of their NSA records, IRS communications, DHS purchase orders; but we are expected to show our ID to every cop who asks, and give up our electronic info graciously. Why not, are you trying to hide something?

You see, we fund government. It is reasonable for us to say to government, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about”. But somewhere along the way they flipped this on us. Now its the government who has the right to remain silent, but we have to justify our actions like we’re inmates.

Well you know what they say, use it or lose it. The guys at the gym with the biggest muscles are the ones who use those muscles. Why would I hassle a cop about showing my ID? Why would I refuse to answer the questions on the Census? Why do I cling to my guns? Why do I speak my mind on the internet, and speak out against government abuse? Why do I fight against centralization of power? Why do I rally to free people from the shackles of excessive taxation and regulation? Why push the boundaries, why speak up, why question authority; why not just shut up, do what I’m told, and avoid trouble?

Because our rights are currently atrophied, and I’m trying to get America to hit the gym.