Can Individuals Delegate a Right They Don’t Have to the Government? -Video

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Jan: Can you properly delegate a right you do not have?

Sen. Inoue: You cannot tax your neighbor, but you can authorize me as a senator to vote for programs that will tax your neighbor…

Jan: Then you think that you can actually delegate a right you do not have? …It is interesting to me how the agent can have more power than the principle. If the principles are the people, and the source [of power] comes from the people, the individuals do not have the right to initiate force against others-

Sen. Inoue: As individuals-

Jan: Well, if they get together then all of the sudden they have the right?

Sen. Inoue: If they authorize the government to do so, yes. If they authorize the government to enter into a war and kill people, that’s a right.

Jan: Where does this right come from if it doesn’t come from the people?

Sen. Inoue: The people through the Constitution.

Jan: The Constitution was made by the people right? So then the people are the source of all legitimate power, so if the people did not have the right to initiate physical force against anybody, then the government cannot have- It seems like there’s a contradiction there as far as if you say that all legitimate governmental power is derived from the people, and you agree that the individual citizens do not have the right to initiate force against other citizens, then it would seem clear that they cannot delegate that right to the government.

Sen. Inoue: Why don’t we just leave it this way, we disagree.

What Jan Helfeld is saying is that if a citizen does not have the right to do something as an individual (like rob their neighbor), then what gives the government the right to rob his neighbor on the citizen’s behalf? If the government derives its power from the people, where does this extra power come from, that the people can never exercise as individuals?

What is so magic about government, that suddenly they can act on an individual’s behalf in a way that the individual could never act on his own? What is so magic about a group of individuals that allows them to rob their neighbor, or initiate force, when said force would always be illegitimate as an individual?

There’s nothing magic about it. It is wrong to initiate force as an individual, and it is also wrong to initiate force as a group, even with approval of the majority. The only legitimate way to take someone’s money (time, labor, wealth) is for them to voluntarily hand it over to you. Otherwise it is theft, even if the government is the robber.

Charity versus taxation is the difference between sex and rape.


Lord of the Rings: Do You Know The Enemy?

Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him. Yet so little faith do we find now in the world beyond Lothlorien, unless maybe in Rivendell, that we dare not by our own trust endanger our land. We live now upon an island amid many perils, and our hands are more often upon the bowstring than upon the harp. – Haldir, Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Rings

Distrust has been sewn among the ranks of all those who oppose the Dark Lord. But they are right to be distrustful! Bad things do happen, and blind trust is more likely to allow the enemy his chance at sabotage. And since they are so accustomed to having to defend themselves, a violent reaction becomes second nature.

But I want to live in a world where the hand is more often upon the harp. When force is being used widespread against peaceful people, how can we not be on our guard? We don’t want to be victims of attack by the government or fellow citizens, so we can’t go placing blind trust in strangers. Many of us today do feel that we live “upon an island amid many perils.”

So what must be destroyed is the Dark Lord, but to do this, power itself must be destroyed; Tolkien embodied this power in the Ring. And it is like that today as well. Who do you trust? Well this is the live and let live philosophy. Don’t take action against someone unless they try to impose force on you. If multiple groups are working towards the same goal, eliminating power monopolies and therefore the government, we should not fight amongst ourselves.

Right now movements fight amongst themselves. The right claims to hate the power that the government wields, and the left claims to hate the power that the corporations wield. Yet this power is one and the same. Corporations could not use force without the government selling them their power. It is therefore the power that must be destroyed. But today’s equivalent to Sauron is happy to have Republicans fighting with the Democrats about whose ideas will lead to less oppression.

The enemy is the power of force. The elves and dwarves should not be fighting while they both oppose the Dark Lord, and neither should conservatives and liberals while they both seek to solve problems in our society. And when either side wants to use force to solve these problems through government, they will be corrupted and become the evil that they once fought to eradicate.

Indeed, many on the left and the right simply want “their side” to win, and gladly use the force government has to offer. They are the enemy, agents of Sauron. We should not be fooled by someone in our own movement, whatever that may be, who claims to believe in freedom, and then seeks to use force. And likewise we should not categorize everyone in a rival movement, when they may be working for the same goal. The test is easy: do they want to use force to get their way, or are their ideas good enough to stand alone?

If we all properly recognize the enemy as those who use force to get their way, instead of mutually beneficial transactions and agreements, we can join forces and achieve the better world, by destroying the ring of power, and destroying the power of force. And when that force is no longer legitimized with the magic word “government”, our hands will be more often on the harp.



Lord of the Rings: Power Can Corrupt the Best

‘You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,’ said Frodo. ‘I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.’

Galadriel laughed with a sudden and clear laugh. ‘Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,” she said, ‘yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands of falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of the Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?

‘And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun, and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!’

She lifted her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad. –Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring

Yet amazingly, Galadriel says no to the power offered her. You would be hard pressed to find many with control these days giving up that opportunity. But what Galadriel realizes, is that none can properly wield the power of force. Even almost god-like creatures would be hard pressed to keep the power under their control. It will corrupt all those who wield it.

And the evil of the ring will last, even if Sauron does not. The evil that is created by growing the power of force will live on, whoever sits upon the throne. The person wielding the power may very well be evil, but the power itself is at the root of the evil. Always will there be someone next in line to step up and take control.

At first, surely Lady Galadriel would use the Ring for good, and vanquish the evil that once flourished with the Ring. But soon a new evil would rise, because problems will inevitably rear their heads. Without ultimate power, these problems would be solved in a way where all parties agree. But with the power of force, the temptation would be too large to force all those to bend to your will.

As noble as her first intentions may be, solving problems with force would not yield peace in the long run. With the power of the ring, the elves could have stayed in middle earth, and forced all others to stay out of “their realm”. But Galadriel passes on the power, and eventually the elves decide to leave middle earth, because their time has passed.

Do you think someone running for office would behave as Galadriel, and pass up the Ring? Of course not, they are seeking the Ring, and we choose to give it to them! Just like Frodo, we are afraid of the power, and feel helpless. But unlike Frodo, the ones to whom we offer the Ring gladly take it: some start with good intentions, some know they are evil from the beginning.

But like Frodo, we must seek only to destroy the Ring, as tempting as handing it off may be. It is a dangerous task, one that will take us to the depths of Mordor where evil will surround us, and seek to destroy us before we can destroy the power of force. But it is still in our power to do so.

Frodo was lucky, first Gandalf, and then Galadriel deny the Ring when offered to them by Frodo. We will find no such saints. We have the power to destroy the Ring, by offering it to no one, by refusing to be ruled, and by shrugging the yolk of authority from our shoulders.

We want to find a good ruler, but how can we expect to do so when even Gandalf and Galadriel do not trust themselves with power? They understand that they cannot free Frodo, he must do so himself. We cannot expect to be freed by a leader of government, by someone who will wield the Ring for good; none can! Instead we must walk ourselves to the mountain, and caste the Ring in the fire from which it was forged.

Philosophically we must be ready to rule ourselves. It will be a struggle akin to Frodo’s journey to the mountain. We will want to give up, we will be tempted to give power to those we see as good, not wanting the responsibility of self governance. But if we persevere, we can and will destroy the power of force, and live in peace and equality.

We must become 7 billion sovereign citizens by destroying the idea that is it right to be ruled. None can wield the Ring for good, none can govern better than a man can govern himself. We must take control of our own lives, we must take personal responsibility, stop looking for a savior, and be the change we want to see in the world.

Lord of the Rings: The Chance to Destroy the Power of Force

‘Alas! yes,’ said Elrond. ‘Isildur took it, as should not have been. It should have been cast then into Orodruin’s fire nigh at hand where it was made. But few marked what Isildur did. He alone stood by his father in that last mortal contest; and by Gil-galad only Cirdan stood, and I. But Isildur would not listen to our counsel… But soon he was betrayed by it to his death…’

‘Fruitless did I call the victory of the Last Alliance? Not wholly so, yet it did not achieve its end. Sauron was diminished, but not destroyed. His Ring was lost, but not unmade. The Dark Tower was broken but its foundations were not removed; for they were made with the power of the Ring, and while it remains they will endure.’ –Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring

After he won a great battle against Sauron, and vanquished the evil of Mordor, Isildur had the opportunity to throw the Ring that he cut from Sauron’s finger back into the depths from whence it came, destroying it. Though it was thousands of years ago, Elrond the Elf Chieftain was there, and watched in dismay as Isildur took the Ring for himself. He had the opportunity to destroy power all together, so that it may never grow from a tiny seed into a mighty forest, but he chose instead to take the power for himself.

Isildur had the chance to free the people, but he chose to rule them. This would be his immediate undoing as he was murdered for the Ring, for the power he possessed. Had he simply destroyed the power of force, there would have been nothing to take from him, no reason to kill him.

There will be no peace while there is government, and there will be no equality while government exists. This is for the same reason that the Ring must be destroyed, or evil will work through it. Isildur had just fought a great battle and saved many lives in his realm, so he thought he deserved the Ring for all he had been through.

If you come together to defeat an evil power, you cannot replace the evil power with “good” power and expect evil to stay dormant. Through the power of force, evil will always rise again. The only solution to vanquishing evil once and for all is to destroy any mechanism for that evil to take hold: the state.

The ends do not justify the means. Even if one accomplishes temporary peace and marginal equality for a short time using force to do so, the means leave the door open for all sorts of evil. And that is the problem we have with government, that we depend on good people being in government in order for it to run properly, and create positive effects. We say voting is the best mechanism for keeping good people in office, yet we all know it doesn’t work. Evil people are drawn to the power of government and good people are corrupted by the power of government, much like the Ring.

In the beginning of this country, the founders of the USA could be compared to Isildur failing to destroy the Ring. Yes, they threw off an oppressive power and created a better life for countless people, but they stopped short of creating true freedom. They stopped short of destroying the power of force once and for all, and handing authority back to individuals.

Fruitless did I call the Constitution? Yet it is not wholly so. Government was diminished, but not destroyed. The foundations of that evil power to force others to bend to your will was not unmade by the Constitution, but cleverly disguised so that a mightier, more evil beast would someday rise again. And rise again Sauron did, more powerful and more evil than when he was originally overthrown.

Lysander Spooner said the Constitution “has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it.” The Ring either allowed Sauron to return to power, or was powerless to prevent it while being wielded by “good” people. The founders figured they would create just a little government that would be used for good, but in doing so opened the door to evil, which has worked its way through the top ranks, and sunk into every facet of our government.

Because the Ring was not destroyed, Sauron, the embodiment of evil, was able to rise again. Because government was not destroyed, an evil empire has now taken hold where the embodiment of oppressive government was once vanquished.

In a sense, the Ring is the myth of authority. We can all recognize a common criminal who robs us, and thwart him. But when the criminal dresses himself up as an authority, many are tricked into thinking he is not robbing them, but simply exercising his right to rule. The Ring is what helps evil masquerade as authority; the government is the magical entity that transforms evil into good. If the government is destroyed, evil will be recognized as evil before it can take a hold.


Joe Jarvis weaves the anarchist philosophy into his fiction novel, “Anarchy in New England”.

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!

Government “Authority” is a Recipe for Abuse of Power

A few months ago when I was driving down to Florida, I was listening to the radio around Charlotte North Carolina. The hosts were asking for callers to relay their worst boyfriend/ girlfriend experience. One woman called in and said that she had caught her ex-bofriend cheating on her, and broke up with him—a pretty normal response. But apparently this man felt the need to exact revenge on his innocent ex who he had already wronged.

The caller said her ex-boyfriend was a TSA agent, and told her to “have fun next time you try to fly”. She assumed this was a hollow threat, that her ex had said in a moment of anger at being dumped. But a few months later when she went to the airport, she was pulled aside for additional screening. Well that could have just been a coincidence she thought.

A few years later and a handful of flights later, the caller said that every single experience flying is now horrible, because without fail, she is pulled aside for additional screening and interrogation. And this happens at airports that her ex-boyfriend doesn’t even work at. All the hosts of the radio show were laughing and said something like, “Oh man, that is a bad one, what a jerk”.

But I was sitting there horrified. How could we have gotten to the place in our country where we laugh about a psychotic government agent making his ex-girlfriend’s life harder. TSA agents who go through essentially no training nor a selective hiring process, and have ridiculously high numbers of creeps among their ranks, can apparently wield their power to harass and seek revenge on people they know.

I heard it on the radio, so who knows how true it is, but the worst part was the reaction of everyone in the conversation. Even the lady relaying the story was kind of giggling like, “oh that crazy ex of mine”. But this is disgusting! How can we put up with this type of abuse of power.

And that’s not even the worst of it. What could high level federal agents do to someone they don’t like? I’ve read about a police officer who harassed a girl for months with tickets and towing after she denied his request for a date. What happened in the case of General Petraeus? Was that some agent getting extrajudicial revenge?

“I’m a cop,” is now something a criminal can yell in public while attacking someone, to make sure no one intervenes. Or, as in the video linked to, a real cop can yell this while attacking a girl, and get the support of the cameraman.

And then we see it in our everyday lives. From Facebook:

Told this guy to turn around because it was a one way gas station at work, and he comes inside to tell me he’s a “fucking cop and I’m a fucking douchebag” and its not a law. Sorry bro just doing my job. And thanks for helping my opinion of cops.

Trivial? In some ways. But it points to this attitude of law enforcement and those with “authority” that they think rules don’t apply to them. If you are a cop, then follow the rules, set the example. Don’t act like a thug, swearing at the teenager behind the counter because he did his job. I feel like we have all run into police who have acted like this.

The problem isn’t finding good cops—I will admit there are plenty of well intentioned police officers. The problem is keeping bad cops from damaging innocent people they come into contact with. That is the major problem right now. And as I have said before all that needs to be done is apply the proper incentives to keep people in check. Employees of private companies get fired when they sully the name of their employer by acting inappropriately.

Law and order should be a product, sold by private companies, without influence of the government. This would mean we truly choose the laws in our society, and the people who will enforce them.

Sociopaths Among Us

anmemedictatorNot all sociopaths become the violent murderers of horror movies, or sadistic creatures trolling the night for victims. Most sociopaths convince everyone around them that they are not a sociopath. You know and interact with sociopaths, probably every day. According to some estimates, about 4% of the population could be considered sociopathic, meaning they feel no guilt or remorse, and do not care about others’ suffering. You could say what makes a sociopath is lack of conscience.

And worse, sociopaths are generally charismatic, and naturally seek positions of power. While reading up on the sociopaths, I came across what looks like an interesting book on the subject by Martha Stout called The Sociopath Next Door. It is not that these people wouldn’t murder, or don’t want to rape, they simply do not see that as an expedient way to get what they want. But, if you are in the proper position of power, you can get away with murder, rape, and any other number of things which might appeal to a sociopath.

So 1 in 25, at least 12 million Americans, are sociopaths, just waiting to gain the advantage over you or me, so that they can do whatever they want, no matter how much it hurts others, as long as it serves their interests or desires.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.

More easily said than done. How can I not join the game of the IRS agent auditing me, or the cop who has pulled me over, or the bureaucrat who has denied my permits and licenses? In a world of free association, we could simply avoid sociopathic people, or protect ourselves when we come into contact with them. But when sociopaths attain extra rights and privileges, and not only protection for, but endorsement of their crimes, what are we to do?

Elect the right people? Chances are, many of these races for office are one sociopath running against another. And then these people appoint the bureaucrats, and hire the police. They approve and promote people that are like them, that will similarly serve their interests, and that will turn a blind eye to sociopathic behavior.

Question authority, or better yet, reject authority when possible. If everyone were actually considered equal, instead of some with government backing having more right and protections, then we would be able to simply react to a sociopath properly when they initiate force against us. So if authority in general is rejected, if we refuse to submit to force, that would make it easy to react to sociopaths. No you may not take my money because you claim you will do better things with it than I could. Oh but the poor, elderly, sick….

Beware the pity play. Do you honestly think they care? Does anyone honestly believe the politicians when they say they want to or have helped the poor? Is that what Obamacare is about, helping sick people? Or is it about controlling people, casting minions down into their rightful place beneath the boot of sociopathic rulers? If politicians cared about solving poverty, it would be solved. I know this because the tax dollars spent on welfare per household in poverty dwarf the median income of Americans.

You could say it is simple inefficiency, but I say it is deliberate theft. But what do we expect from a system that allows sociopaths the benefit of the doubt, while us peasants must explain why we want privacy, we must seek permits to build, protect ourselves, open a business, and seek permission to move about, drive, travel, and we must pay our rulers for them graciously allowing us to work. How bout we all keep what is ours, and anyone that tries to take it can be assumed to be a sociopath, instead of assumed to be a philanthropist?

I just so happen to be reading A Clockwork Orange at the moment. The sociopathic narrator Alex gets out of jail after multiple rapes and murders to find his sociopathic former friends and cohorts have become police officers. These friends in fact engaged in the same rape and murder for which Alex was punished, but they were not caught. Now they have been given the badge and the gun, and set loose upon society to keep order. Alex runs into them, and even though he was being beaten up (albeit by a man he had once attacked) the police find it more enjoyable to teach Alex a lesson. They drive him out to the country side where they beat him, possibly worse, and leave him in the cold to his own devices.

Yes, it is only a book. But the point is that sociopaths are naturally drawn to positions of power. If a sociopath has no conscience, and wants to kill someone, he may not do it simply for fear of his own harm or death, or confinement if he is caught. But the disturbing trend of late is that police do not receive the same punishment for their crimes that the general public receives. The case that comes to mind is a former prison guard who received only probation and no jail time after being found guilty of 25 counts of sexual assault against female inmates, and trafficking drugs into the prison. He did not care about the injuries he caused to others. He found the proper channel to express his sociopathic desires. This channel served him well, as he will not have to answer for his crimes.

So if we stop giving some people power over others, we don’t have to worry about being at the mercy of a sociopath. What a novel concept, self ownership, and freedom of association. But as it stands now, any sociopath can well position himself with power, and be free to carry out his sadistic desires with impunity, all in the name of authority, or charity.


Competition and Political Disunity Made Europe Technologically Dominant

The book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond sets out to answer the question: what made European societies dominate most of the rest of the modern world, instead of vice versa? Why did African, Aboriginal, Native American, or even historically advanced Asian countries fail to dominate the rest of the world through technology?

The author takes over 400 pages to explain in depth why this happened. And of course, there were many factors such as natural food availability, domesticable species of animals, and geographic considerations. But one specific conclusion in the epilogue points to competition among fragmented European states as a prime reason why Europe continues to advance, while Chinese technology buckled under centralized, authoritarian rule.

Chinese Unification

China had some great historical advantages over Europe. They had a head start in food production, and a large population in a relatively small area, meaning a greater pool of minds and labor. The land was diverse enough to produce specialization and great technological innovation, but connected enough to transfuse those advances to the rest of the society. China sent out “treasure fleets” as early at 1405 A.D. which explored as far as the east coast of Africa. The ships were up to 400 feet long, much larger than what Columbus sailed in across the atlantic almost 100 years later. Each fleet consisted of hundreds of ships, and tens of thousands of crew members. So what happened?

Central political authority was what happened. Initially this authority and unification of the people of ancient China helped to produce these technological advances, but eventually that monopoly of control by a small group of people backfired, and stunted China’s growth to this day. A struggle over political power casted the former sailing faction out of control, and the new rulers dismantled the shipyards and fleets in order to further centralize their power. Eventually, ocean going shipping was even made illegal.

…the entire region was politically unified. One decision stopped fleets over the whole of China. That one temporary decision became irreversible, because no shipyards remained to turn out ships that would prove the folly of that temporary decision, and to serve as a focus for rebuilding other shipyards. (412)

Diamond explains that by contrast, Columbus tried to get backing from the King of Portugal, a Duke in France, another Duke, a Count, and finally the King and Queen of Spain, who eventually funded his exploration across the Atlantic. “Had Europe been united under any one of the first three rulers, its colonization of the Americas might have been stillborn”. As advanced as the central authority made the Chinese navy, it just as easily destroyed all that innovation and more. Because of this decision, China did not colonize the Americas, nor compete with European nations militarily or industrially for centuries.

Because of this unity, China missed the opportunity to start an industrial revolution in the 14th century, abandoned such inventions as water driven spinning machines, and “demolished or virtually abolished mechanical clocks after leading the world in clock construction”.

European Fragmentation

By contrast, Europe, though similar in size to the Chinese empire of the day, was not politically unified, and therefore could not be held back by a single ruling, or small group of controlling people. But the proximity of the countries still made technology and innovation travel easily from one society to the next. Europe was therefore able to take advantage of close proximity to other peoples to advance technology, while avoiding the dangers of centralized rule, and unified masses.

We think of disunity as disorganized, creating barriers, and slowing down technology. But think of Columbus as a capitalist, raising money to start a new exploration company. It is a risk to investors, but has a possibly huge pay off. Had he lived in China, the government would have shut down any attempt to explore, because it was illegal to ship via ocean or build ships. But in Europe, there were countless “authorities” who Columbus could appeal to for funding. He was told no many times before finally landing his investment from Spain.

Then, other countries followed suit, exploring the America’s and bringing goods home to Europe, taking advantage of Spain’s initial risky investment. Europe was made richer because of the decentralization of authority which allowed Columbus options in pitching his investment.

The story was the same with Europe’s cannon, electric lighting, printing, small firearms, and innumerable other innovations: each was first neglected or opposed in some parts of Europe for idiosyncratic reasons, but once adopted in one area, it eventually spread to the rest of Europe. (413)

Competition among European states meant that if a development was adopted in one area, surrounding societies could not afford to ignore or suppress it. China on the other hand was isolated and centralized enough to kill competition that would have necessitated the adoption of advanced technology.

Europe’s geographic balkanization resulted in dozens or hundreds of independent, competing statelets and centers of innovation. If one state did not pursue some particular innovation, another did, forcing neighboring states to do likewise or else be conquered or left economically behind. Europe’s barriers were sufficient to prevent political unification, but insufficient to halt the spread of technology and ideas. There has never been one despot who could turn off the tap for all of Europe, as of China. (416)

Unity is not always a good thing, and disunity very well can be beneficial. One last point to hammer home the idea that political decentralization is better than unity, just think of who came the closest to unifying Europe. “But the unification of Europe has resisted the efforts of such determined conquerors as Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Hitler; even the Roman Empire at its peak never controlled more than half of Europe’s area.”

Modern Conclusions

People often fret about where investments would come from without the government. This historical example of competition leading to a rise in technological superiority should give us some insight into why fragmented investing mechanisms in the free market can produce better effects than centralized control over investments by the federal government.

While NASA is funded through tax dollars, it is a very limited number of people making the decisions about what that money will be invested in. One mistake could easily misplace billions of dollars on a dead end project, or useless innovation. Worse, they are more likely to misuse invested funds, because there is less interested oversight. What I mean is investors, risking $5 million each for space exploration will be more concerned about making their investment succeed and pay off than will the government who took the tax dollars, and awarded them to NASA.

And furthermore, funding NASA has a similar effect to dismantling shipyards in China. Space exploration becomes a government project, which private entities struggle to find the funds to compete with. One reason for this is, the government is already “doing the work” and has practically unlimited funds. Another reason is that since so much money is being extracted from the economy already, less capital is available to invest, and therefore goes into more “sure things”. Space exploration is a risky enterprise, but if billionaires and companies could keep an extra billion dollars or so per year, they would have budgets for all sorts of investments, some risky, some not. In this sense, government taxation limits high risk, high reward investments, like the one Columbus pursued.

But the space exploration structure created by government has a coin flip’s chance of success, while a private enterprise by its nature must have a better chance of succeeding in order to attract investors. And like Columbus’s pool of 500 Princes to appeal to for funding, there is always another investor to make the pitch to. But in attempting to steer NASA towards beneficial innovations, there is one authority to appeal to.

Hey China, can I build some ships to explore? No. Hey U.S.A., can I build some rockets to explore? Well, first you have to give half your budget to us in taxes so that we can do some exploring ourselves, then you have to spend half of what’s left complying with standards and regulations we set for your business, and your employees. With the money that’s left over, you can try to turn a profit in the first year, and if you do, we are going to take half of that. But hey, if you got anything let over, go for it. But pretty much, no.

This is one example of countless as to how a centralized authority discourages innovation currently, just as Chinese central authority did in the middle ages. China completely banned shipbuilding, and therefore there was no shipbuilding structure to show later people how stupid that decision was, and demonstrate the benefits of ships. But just because the U.S.A. might not completely ban an investment, their controls will still have detrimental effects on those investments, even if you argue the effects wouldn’t be as stifling as China’s was on shipbuilding.

The unifying aspect of the U.S.A., the federal government, demands 35%-39% in taxes from corporations, and up to 39.5% on investment income. This, along with countless regulations, other taxes, and laws have the same effect in various degrees as China banning the building of ships. It is not illegal to start a corporation that would innovate, profit, and increase the standard of living. But almost half the productivity of any such company will be taken by the government. At 100% taxation, this would have the same detrimental effect on investment as middle ages China had in deterring shipbuilding. It only makes sense that at 50% taxation, it will have at least half the detrimental effect on advancing technology.

Decentralization of Political Power

There are countless other examples of how the U.S.A. currently halts innovation and diffusion of technology.  All drugs must be approved by the FDA, so instead of competition leading to the best product, one despot exists to “turn off the tap” of potentially lifesaving drugs. Or consider law enforcement: there is no structure in place to prove how good private security, and private law enforcement would work. Just as China could not see the benefits in shipbuilding due to the dismantled shipyards, we cannot see the benefits in privatizing crime prevention, because any private system has been dismantled by the central authority.

The obvious conclusion to all of this historical information is to decentralize political power if we wish to continue innovating, and advancing technology. There is nothing to worry about in America from removing the centralized authority: we have 50 states with governments already functioning, ready to compete. Europe’s disunity is exactly what got the world to the advanced technology that we have today. Going forward we need to make sure the U.S.A. does not make the same mistake China made in the 1400’s; suppressing technology effectively locking them in the dark ages for centuries.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: Why Japanese government adopted then quickly abandoned guns.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: What justified the upward redistribution of wealth by government?

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.

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.