“Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation’s troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen.”—Ayn Rand (via paintyourbrain)
As I said yesterday, “libertarianism itself - the dual tenets of self-ownership and non-aggression - is emphatically and diametrically opposed to any force or coercion, especially such as atrocious as the forced enslavement of other human beings.”
Anarcho-capitalism (or voluntaryism), by extension, is directly opposed to slavery because the free exchange of free, consenting individuals is paramount to a moral, peaceful, and prosperous society.
But I’d like to present a conundrum to mull over.
Since our self-ownership is absolute, does that not then naturally mean we can ‘rent’ our bodies, our minds, and our time for labor or recreation and anything in between? Does owning our selves not mean we can harm ourselves in any way, we can ingest anything, touch anything, and do anything that harms no one but ourselves. If we own our lives, can we not choose to sell, donate, or waste portions of our bodies - a finger, a kidney, an eye, lungs - as we do our time? If our lives and our bodies are our own, can we not end them?
Putting aside personal moral and theological considerations that would regardless be made on an individual basis, sociologically, the libertarian or anarchist answer to each of those questions is, of course, ‘yes.’
As such, should one not also be able to enter into voluntary slavery? Does our self-ownership not mean that our rights may be alienable at our discretion? Is not our understanding of alienability of rights, after all, what rightfully compels us to be against the initiation of force but not against defensive, restitutive, or retaliatory force?
A contract is agreed upon that person A would be indentured to person X for Y years and in return receive Z compensation while maintaining an agreed-upon standard of living (or not). Any breaches of contract have an agreed-upon penalty and settlement. Previous insurance coverages would likely be null and void. If a person’s self-ownership is so unconditional that there is no limit to the harm a person can voluntarily inflict on one’s self, should said person not also be free to turn his/her life literally over to another with only the limitations - or lack thereof - voluntarily agreed upon? Taken to the extreme: if one can kill oneself, cannot the same person allow himself to be killed while having his family be remunerated for the arrangement? In both cases the person is dead of his own volition, but in the latter hypothetical his family gains.
Now, I suppose the voluntary nature of this agreement may semantically mean that it is not, in fact, slavery.
Murray Rothbard explained:
“The distinction between a man’s alienable labor service and his inalienable will may be further explained; a man can alienate his labor service, but he cannot sell the capitalized future value of that service. In short, he cannot, in nature, sell himself into slavery and have this sale enforced—for this would mean that his future will over his own person was being surrendered in advance. In short, a man can naturally expend his labor currently for someone else’s benefit, but he cannot transfer himself, even if he wished, into another man’s permanent capital good. For he cannot rid himself of his own will, which may change in future years and repudiate the current arrangement. The concept of “voluntary slavery” is indeed a contradictory one, for so long as a laborer remains totally subservient to his master’s will voluntarily, he is not yet a slave since his submission is voluntary; whereas, if he later changed his mind and the master enforced his slavery by violence, the slavery would not then be voluntary.”
But the function of turning over one’s life and liberty - even if there are certain limitations - arguably remains a form of serfdom. And of course such unlikely arrangements would naturally require scrutiny so as to prevent actual coercion from being disguised as voluntary vassalage.
We’re used to hearing the word unalienable (or inalienable) with regards to rights since this is what is featured in the Declaration of Independence, which may be considered one of the greatest recognitions of individual self-ownership and the principle of non-aggression in history, particularly contextualized with the despotism that preceded it and the revolution that followed. And we often take it for granted that inalienable means that rights can’t be taken away - but what about rights being given away?
Alienability, or commodifiability, is the postulate that while people may start out as free self-owners of themselves, they have a right to sell themselves into slavery. That is, if they truly own themselves, they can sell themselves. If they cannot sell themselves into slavery, they are then to that extent less than fully free. If I own my shirt, I can sell it to you. If I cannot sell it to you, then and to that extent my ownership rights are attenuated.
And one must own oneself at least to the extent one owns something as relatively benign as a shirt, no?
Or, as Rothbard suggested, is the nature of the will such that it can only exist in the absolute present and thus no one can voluntarily forsake a future consideration with regards to life and liberty for a past one?
Obama Today, the president used his weekly radio address to suggest, in the wake of high gas prices and huge oil company profits, to remove the oil subsidies big oil companies enjoy. This might just be the time to pull it off.
Time to end ethanol, nuclear, wind and solar subsidies too (am I forgetting any?)
Hold on, Nate - be careful with the Left’s doublespeak. This conflates two very separate things. A tax break is not a subsidy. The government deciding to steal less of your money is not the same as the government giving you other people’s stolen money.
While Ryan spoke of both ending actual subsidies in addition to closing “tax loopholes,” Obama and Boehner, it seems, spoke only of ending tax breaks to oil companies (as a revenue-generating measure, natch).
The solution to any unfairness in tax payments is not to have them pay more to match our percentages, it’s for us to pay less to match theirs. Or, better yet, the government steals nothing and functions only with user fees so that services are only paid for and rendered voluntarily.
I want an end to every subsidy in the books, from farming to oil to art to green energy, but to use the word subsidy with regards to a tax break is a dishonest tactic to lay claim that the government is the rightful owner of the fruits of our labor and we may keep only what they mercifully allow.
Said Lincoln in 1848: “Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right, a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world.”
At that point in American history some of the most significant rumblings about secession since the Revolution had been in the North—with the loudest voices often coming from abolitionists who wanted to sever their political union with the slave-holding states. …
Liberals do not want to be confronted with these uncomfortable philosophical contradictions concerning centralization vs. decentralization—the debate that raged in 1776, 1861 and still rages today—because any such intellectual exploration toward this end threatens the very heart of the Left’s collectivist historical narrative. For progressives, the ever-increasing power of the federal government represents human liberation and political liberalization—period. This has been the Left’s clarion call from FDR to Barack Obama, and any talk of devolving centralized power—even in the name of what would typically be considered liberal causes—is heresy.
In this light, for liberals, not only was the Civil War just about slavery—it must be just about slavery. And that Lincoln simply freed the slaves is not just the end of the story—it is the only story—lest Americans begin down the dangerous path of looking at their history and government with honest and open eyes.
[I]n a genuinely free market there is always a job for anyone whose VMP [or worker’s marginal product] is greater than zero. Even the least-skilled worker, say a teenager who can produce only three dollars worth of output an hour, is potentially employable at a wage just under that VMP. Or consider someone with a physical or mental disability. That person may be capable of producing only a limited amount of value per hour, but in a genuinely free market he or she can find work at a wage just under that amount. This insight, combined with the idea that each of us has some comparative advantage, shows that every productive person has a way to contribute to society and be compensated for it. It’s one of the great things about free markets. …
Of course this is not how things work in our less-than-free market. Teenagers, the disabled, those with little education, new immigrants with limited language and other skills, as well as other groups, often have trouble finding work because their VMPs do not exceed the minimum wage or other minimum compensation laws. …
Considering that such laws cause unemployment, it is ironic that they are supported out of supposed compassion for low-skilled workers in order to prevent exploitation. …
Free markets by contrast have room for everyone. If you can create pretty much any amount of value, there’s a wage at which you can be hired and a job for you to do. Jobs aren’t a zero-sum game. On the contrary, they are as limitless as human wants and human creativity – as long as people are free.
Yes, the ‘Civil War’ was an atrocity. And perhaps there is a contingent of deluded and misguided folk that somehow cherish a noble notion of a Confederacy, sans any allusion to the evil of slavery.
Are you really casting the Confederacy as a just cause — the reason for secession was entirely predicated on the defense of the diabolical practice of institutionalized slavery. To claim otherwise is to be ignorant of history, or worse, submit to racist historical revisionism.
Speaking of “deluded and misguided”… that’s a pretty spectacular reframing of an argument. Though I must commend you on your ability to skip through a mindfield of truth and come out the other end unscathed, I cannot be surprised with the use of non-sequiturs.
Not once - not a single time - did I mention the word ‘Confederacy’ nor highlight it as a unified ‘cause’ (much less meritoriously or longingly so). The closest mention was of Southerners as separate individuals: “while slavery may have been a sticking point for many Southerners, it wasn’t the only reason for secession - nor was it the reason the North attacked the South.” Which mostly encapsulated what my piece focused on: that participation and association cannot be forced because that supposes the same dominion over another as slavery and that the North’s aggression was undue.
As quoted in the original, “for whatever reasons the Southern States had to secede from the “Union,” they had an inalienable right to secede.” That Confederates primarily or even wholly claimed slavery as their motivation for secession is irrelevant to the argument.
Just as a man may leave his wife for any immoral or ignoble reason, the South’s reasons were not what I was addressing - only (1) their right to freely associate and confederate in any manner they voluntarily wished and (2) the evils perpetrated by Lincoln under the guise of unity and ending slavery. If a man were to leave his wife, and his reasons were determined by his wife and the entirety of society as unjust, must he then be beaten and forced to remain with his wife irrespective of his volition?
And it’s not about “states’ rights,” another phrase you constructed out of words that, in my piece, were never neighbors. States don’t have rights, people do. And people, individuals, have an absolute right to voluntary association. The idea of secession must not be seen as a tool of oppressors, but as an exercise in liberty.
Since your reply is nothing more than continued non-sequiturs, there is no need to respond further aside from referring back to my original statements.
After being paroled from his daily sentence in the government mind-laundry [see: public school], [17-year-old] Jonathan [Villareal] passed a brace of official bullies on the way to the bus. One of them told Jonathan to pull up his pants; the youngster replied — hopefully with the appropriate measure of controlled contempt — that school was over and he was thus free to dress any way he chose. One of the thugs — his tax-fattened bulk making him much larger than the scrawny adolescent – threw Jonathan to the ground while bellowing the familiar rapist’s refrain: “Stop resisting!” The other thug immediately joined in, both of them striking and kneeing the prone, helpless teenager in the back, legs, and neck. Jonathan also suffered a black eye.
When Jonathan struggled to his feet, he was thrown down forcefully; he felt his arm snap as he hit the ground. He struggled to his feet again, thereby giving one of the costumed enforcers an excuse to report that the victim had assumed an “aggressive stance.” This supposedly justified a potentially lethal taser attack.
The Derby High School newspaper, appropriately called the Informer, explained that students can be subjected to “administrative” discipline for wearing their pants “inappropriately.” Derby Police Chief Robert Lee described the incident as “a flagrant violation of school policy that could have been handled administratively, if he had not resisted the SRO.” Once again, we see the logic of the rapist at work: If the victim is severely injured or killed for fighting back, it’s her own fault; she shouldn’t have resisted. This comparison, of course, is unfair: Rapists and other aggressors not swaddled in government-issued costumes aren’t generally permitted to file criminal charges against victims who fight back. The Derby Police Department “will take the incident to the district attorney for possible criminal charges against Villareal,” observes the Informer.
In Georgia 47% of Republicans are content with the Union victory, while 31% wish the South had won. Democrats (58/17) and independents (54/19) are both strongly supportive of the North, making the overall numbers 53/23.
In North Carolina GOP voters are almost evenly divided on the outcome of the war with 35% glad for the North’s victory, 33% ruing the South’s loss, and 32% taking neither side. Democrats (55/15) and independents (57/14) have similar numbers to Georgia but due to the greater ambivalence of Republicans about the northern victory, overall less than half of Tar Heel voters (48%) are glad the Union won to 21% who wish the Confederacy had.
In Mississippi no group of the electorate seems all that enthused about the North having won. Republicans, by a 38/21 margin, outright wish the South had won. Democrats (39/22) and independents (49/15) side with the North but compared to those voter groups in North Carolina and Georgia they’re pretty ambivalent. Overall just 34% of voters in the state are glad the Union prevailed to 27% who wish the rebels had been victorious.
These are simply crazy numbers, and I’d be shocked if the pro-Confederate respondents have thought through the implications of their views. That is, if these questions were rephrased, “Are you happy with the Union victory and the end of slavery?”, I would be floored if significant numbers voiced unhappiness with that outcome. In any case, this is a nice illustration of the Confederate sympathy that seems to be entrenched among a significant portion of Southern Republicans.
Being unhappy about the so-called Civil War or its outcome does not immediately imply a desire to categorize an entire race of humanity as property to be owned and abused by others. Conflating the two is simply a straw man meant to vilify political opponents by branding their arguments invalid for allegedly holding a despicable opinion.
The ‘Civil War’ was an atrocity that killed hundreds of thousands simply to involuntarily force a portion of the states into association with the whole. As I quoted recently:
For whatever reasons the Southern States had to secede from the “Union,” they had an inalienable right to secede. All people have a God-given right to associate or not associate with others, voluntarily. If the people of a particular territory want to separate from a federal union of states, they have every right to separate, just as the Founding Fathers had a right to separate from British rule. No institution or authority has the right to compel any individual or group into association or contract involuntarily. To believe that the federal government had any moral right to force the people of the seceding states to return to federal association involuntarily is to believe that some people with armed power have a right to claim ownership and control of other people, pure and simple.
We are all sovereign individuals. When anyone else, be he a king, a thug or a majority, demands anything of us (other than that we respect the libertarian axioms of property and non aggression), they are imposing upon us; they are invading us, and violating our rights. Secession is a necessary concomitant of liberty.
Everything about this politically-correct fantasy [that the war was fought to simply free the slaves] is patently false, regardless of how many times it is repeated in the New York Times and Washington Post. Some Southern politicians did indeed defend slavery, but not as strongly as Abraham Lincoln did in his first inaugural address, where he supported the enshrinement of Southern slavery explicitly in the U.S. Constitution (the “Corwin Amendment”) for the first time ever. Coming from the president of the United States, this was the strongest defense of slavery ever made by an American politician.
Some Southern politicians did say that their society was based on white supremacy, but so did Abraham Lincoln and most other Northern politicians. “I as much as any man want the superior position to belong to the white race,” Lincoln said in a debate with Stephen Douglas in 1858. When Lincoln opposed the extension of slavery into the new territories (but not Southern slavery), he gave the standard Northern white supremacist reason: We want the territories to be reserved “for free white labor,” he said. The Lincoln cultists can quote Alexander Stephens’ “cornerstone” speech all they want, but the truth is that Abraham Lincoln, and most of the leaders of the Republican Party, were in total agreement with Stephens. White supremacy was as much (if not more of) a “cornerstone” of Northern society as it was of Southern society in the 1860s.
Lincoln did not fight a war to free slaves, in fact he would have been happy to keep slavery if it meant keeping the southern states from declaring independence.
[W]hen it came time to decide whether he’d rather preserve the Union or abolish slavery, the Union stamped on that scale like an elephant next to a feather. In an 1862 letter to the New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln wrote: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it […].”
And a war was not needed elsewhere in the world to end slavery where it had been practiced for much, much longer - why is the assumption that without this war slavery would have continued in perpetuity?
Lincoln’s war ended up costing 620,000 battlefield deaths along with the death of some 50,000 Southern civilians, including thousands of slaves who perished in the federal army’s bombardment of Southern cities and because of its devastation of the Southern economy. By 1865 the Lincoln government had killed one out of every four Southern white males between the ages of 20 and 40.
To put these numbers in perspective, standardizing for today’s population of 280 million, that would be roughly the equivalent of 5 million deaths — about 100 times the number of Americans who died in the ten-year Vietnam War.
Lincoln famously micromanaged the war effort. Historian James McPherson writes of how he spent more time in the War Department’s telegraph office than anywhere else, and spent 41 days in the field with the Army of the Potomac. He was fully in charge as the commander in chief, and orchestrated the mass killing for four years. His favorite general, Ulysses S. Grant, was made top commander of the army because of his willingness to send tens of thousands of men into a slaughter pen, as he did in the Battle of the Wilderness and elsewhere.
From the very beginning, Lincoln’s war strategy involved waging war on Southern civilians despite the fact that such tactics were denounced by the Geneva Convention of 1863 and even by Lincoln’s own military code (the “Lieber Code,” named after its author, Columbia University law professor Francis Lieber). Federal soldiers plundered and pillaged their way through the South for four years. In 1861 federal commanders began taking civilians hostage and sometimes shooting them in retaliation for Confederate guerrilla attacks. As Colonel John Beatty warned the residents of Paint Rock, Alabama: “Every time the telegraph wire is cut we would burn a house; every time a train was fired upon we would hang a man; and we would continue to do this until every house was burned and every man hanged between Decatur and Bridgeport.” The town of Paint Rock was burned to the ground.
And believing so hardly makes me - a hispanic, son of exiles, resident of the West coast - some backwards hillbilly longing for the days of black slavery. In fact, libertarianism itself - the dual tenets of self-ownership and non-aggression - is emphatically and diametrically opposed to any force or coercion, especially such as atrocious as the forced enslavement of other human beings.
Economist and historian Deirdre McCloskey calls it “the Great Fact” — the humongous increase in humans’ standard of living that began about 200 years ago.
And what a Great Fact it is! It’s great not only in the sense of being amazingly, resplendently good for ordinary men and women, but also in the sense of being the single most surprising and astounding change that we humans have experienced in our 70,000 or so years on this planet.
For 99.7 percent of the time that we bipedal, scantily haired, language-blessed apes have trod this globe, we did so under material conditions that you and I from 2011 would find utterly intolerable. As another economist, Todd Buchholz, correctly noted, “For most of man’s life on earth, he has lived no better on two legs than he had on four.”
Then all of a sudden, starting a mere 200 or so years ago in northwestern Europe, boom! Material riches start pouring forth not only into the castles and manor houses of royalty and the nobility, but into the humble homes of peasants, of hoi polloi, of human creatures who, generation after generation — tracing back all the way to their single-celled ancestors — lived lives poor, nasty, brutish and short.
What did our great-great-great-great-grandparents do to suddenly deserve access to new and remarkable goods such as underwear made of tightly woven cloth that could be vigorously washed without unraveling? What did our great-grandparents do to deserve access to “Tin Lizzy” Fords?
What did our grandparents do to deserve access to antibiotics and televisions? What did our parents do to win access to air conditioning and inexpensive jet travel? What did we do to deserve access to cellular telephony, GPS driving directions and supermarkets that routinely stock 50,000 different items?
[They had] what McCloskey calls “the Bourgeois Revaluation.” Only when merchants, tinkerers and practical seekers of profit in markets came to be respected — and to be widely spoken of with respect, even with admiration — did the social status of the bourgeoisie increase enough to make membership in that group desirable to large numbers of people. And when this Bourgeois Revaluation happened, innovation skyrocketed.
It’s this innovation — mad, fevered, historically off-the-charts amounts of innovation — that really is what we today call “capitalism.”
But the Fed can create more dollars, and for every batch of dollars it makes the number of dollars needed to buy oil goes up. So the Fed can - and does - quite a bit about gas prices; unfortunately, it’s all bad.
The initiation of violence is the act of an aggressor against you or against your property. This can be done through actual violence or through intimidation, because the mere threat of violence is an act of violence in itself. A good example would be a thief that points a gun at you to get your wallet without actually pulling the trigger. Another less obvious example is the way the government takes our money. To say that taxes are a form of theft may seem a bit over the top, but refuse to pay your taxes and you will be thrown in jail. Refuse to pay your property taxes and you will see who really owns your house.
Governments have done a wonderful PR job: They call us taxpayers, not victims, and the taxes are somehow “collected,” not stolen. Taxes are also called contributions, as if it had been a matter of choice. And because it is the government that decides whether this form of theft is legal or not, there is nothing we can do legally to get restitution. No playground justice for us.
Many actually see the crime but take it as a necessary evil, and when you ask for the complete abolition of taxation, they ask in minute detail how we would pay for roads or law enforcement. …
One important thing to remember is that all of the services now funded by taxation and provided by the government were at one point in the not-so-distant past funded and provided privately. Indeed, many are being provided privately today, from affordable private education in Ghana to the luxurious streets being built every day in our North American cities for new residential developments (which are later handed off to local governments).
“The nomination of Petraeus doesn’t change much; it merely reflects how Washington is run. That George Bush’s favorite war-commanding General — who advocated for and oversaw the Surge in Iraq — is also Barack Obama’s favorite war-commanding General, and that Obama is now appointing him to run a nominally civilian agency that has been converted into an “increasingly militarized” arm of the American war-fighting state, says all one needs to know about the fully bipartisan militarization of American policy. There’s little functional difference between running America’s multiple wars as a General and running them as CIA Director because American institutions in the National Security State are all devoted to the same overarching cause: Endless War.”—Glenn Greenwald, “A more militarized CIA for a more militarized America” (via ryking)
The U.S. government has “helped” no group more than it has “helped” the American Indians. It stuns me when President Obama appears before Indian groups and says things like, “Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans.”
Ignored? Are you kidding me? They should be so lucky. The government has made most Indian tribes wards of the state. Government manages their land, provides their health care, and pays for housing and child care. Twenty different departments and agencies have special “native American” programs. The result? Indians have the highest poverty rate, nearly 25 percent, and the lowest life expectancy of any group in America. Sixty-six percent are born to single mothers.
Nevertheless, Indian activists want more government “help.”
It is intuitive to assume that, when people struggle, government “help” is the answer. The opposite is true. American groups who are helped the most, do the worst.
I used to do contract work for a major Indian tribe in Florida about 8 years ago. The members of the tribe are required to do nothing except drive their new cars (no joke: half of all cars were Escalades, and most were less than three years old) every Thursday to the tribe offices and collect their checks, and most of them are miserable as a result. So many of the people I dealt with were truly kind and warm, always interested in the goings-on of others - but ultimately their spirits had been crushed from years of having their existence be cultivated into meaninglessness. Most live short lives of chain-smoking, drugs, unhealthy food, and bureaucracy. It’s sad to see so many people given disincentives to innovate, create, or prosper while simultaneously being taken advantage of by a few bureaucrats in their midst and some ostensibly well-meaning outsiders.
Many years ago, the U.S. government despicably murdered their people and shuffled the survivors around the country like cattle. But today, the same government murders their spirits on the pretense of recompense for past crimes.
Fresh off the heels of this weekend’s bogus parking ticket, I was just pulled over this morning for the violent, aggressive crimes of “using an electronic device while driving” and “tints on the driver and front passenger windows.”
When I asked the cop why I was being detained and fined for inherently non-violent offenses, he said for “safety reasons.” He explained, “texting is dangerous.”
I responded that reckless driving was dangerous. Just like with a sleepy driver, an ostensibly distracted driver is not committing an offense against other drivers until the distraction manifests itself as an explicit, outward danger to others. Otherwise, it is essentially pre-crime (like speeding and drunk driving, though I didn’t mention these two at the time).
I also asked what the reason was that having tints on my driver and front passenger windows (of considerably lighter shade than my rear windows - and you can very clearly see through even the rear ones) was “dangerous.” His response: “to better see you when you’re texting.” Never mind that I was checking my voicemail - earpiece and all - not texting. He continued: “also, for officer safety. We don’t want to approach a car and not be able to see if you’ve got any surprises for us.” So, again, innocent people are punished for pre-crimes.
But it didn’t matter what I said, so I didn’t say much. He was one of three cops pulling people over on that stretch of road. I’m sure the fact that we’re at the end of the month has nothing to do with it; it’s not as if cops have quotas (or “productivity goals”).
A cop’s first priority is not your safety, it’s theirs.
Their second priority is their pay, including benefits and pension.
Their third priority is to each other.
Their fourth priority is quotas.
There’s a reason even innocent people get nervous when a cop pulls up behind them: they are often more nuisance than protector. After all: when seconds count, cops are only minutes away!
Case in point: in 2005, during a rash of freeway shootings on the 101 in Los Angeles, I was chased by a man with a gun on that very 101. The chase lasted about 4-6 minutes (a very long 4-6 minutes). While my wife and mother-in-law screamed for their lives, terrified at both the man pointing the gun at us and my Jack Bauer evasive driving, I called the police. After less than a minute on hold, an automated voice came on and said “please try again later.” I called again, only to be put on hold again. This time I remained on hold well past the point when I lost my pursuer. I even went miles past my exit to make sure I was clear. I doubled back, circled my neighborhood to make sure I wasn’t followed, and arrived home. A few minutes after getting home, wrecked with adrenaline, I gave up trying to speak to a human being on 9-1-1. The next day I was finally able to speak to someone and fill out a report, but when it mattered, the cops weren’t there. This was a pretty clear case for the importance of the 2nd Amendment: we have a right to carry guns because cops are too heavy.
You know how when you see a massive flock of birds migrating across the sky - when the heavens are so imbued with feathered specks that it seems as if an ancient titan had streaked the azure with a giant black brush - you have to just pause for a moment to awe at its epic scope?
Logicallypositive has done valiant work, but some intellectual voids may be too vacuous to fill, especially when logic has been pre-requisitely shunned. What ‘capitalismkills’ is essentially calling for in a four-hour workday (keeping same pay) is an extreme form of minimum wage, which, as one of the great hinderances to prosperity that disproportionately hurts minorities, young people, and the poor, must be repealed.
Hailing any hypothetically potential prosperity as a result of a forced four-hour workday is akin to delineating the ecological advantages of powering our homes with the clean energy of unicorn manure.
[Fed apologists say] that monetary spending makes the economic world go round. It does not. Increasing the money supply does not magically increase the quantity of land, labor, or capital goods available for production. Creating money out of thin air does not produce more consumer goods, and there is the rub. We cannot eat money. We cannot wear money. We cannot live in money. Even the Beatles knew that money can’t buy you love. …
If you want to stop a fire, do not throw gasoline on it. Likewise, if we want to solve an economic problem caused by monetary inflation, we should not throw more money at it. To the extent that there is any economic recovery, it is due to real savings wisely invested in productive enterprise, none of which is made possible by government spending and inflation.
What should we do then? We should stop inflating, cut government spending, and reduce government regulation of the economy. Only such a policy will restore our economic footing. Doing so will allow the natural division of labor to develop and encourage the capital accumulation and wise investment necessary for economic prosperity.
“One only needs to reflect on the dramatic decline in the value of the dollar that has taken place since the Fed was established in 1913. The goods and services you could buy for $1.00 in 1913 will now cost nearly $21.00. Another way to look at this is from the perspective of the purchasing power of the dollar itself. It has fallen to less than $0.05 of its 1913 value. We might say that the government and its banking cartel have together stolen $0.95 of every dollar as they have pursued a relentlessly inflationary policy.”—
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration has launched an effort to remove a CEO in a private-sector pharmaceutical firm as punishment for violations in marketing laws. The Department of Health and Human Services notified Forest Laboratories that it plans to blacklist CEO Howard Solomon from doing any business with the federal government, a status that would effectively lock out Forest from any government contracting.
In other words, the government has decided to arbitrarily decide on punishment without any due process in regard to the individuals involved. The Obama administration wants the power to dictate to the private sector who can and cannot run firms that do business with Washington. I’m not sure even Ayn Rand predicted that in Atlas Shrugged.
It’s not difficult to see where this will lead. Firms of insufficient political correctness — or insufficiently supportive of the President and his political cronies — can expect to get the Solomon treatment. Those that pay homage to the agenda of the ruling class, or pay cash to its campaigns, will almost certainly get a pass.
By definition, politics is violent; its sole object is control of the state, an institution distinguished by its preclusive monopoly on the use of force, and the economic windfalls accompany such control. [A]ll states through time [are] characterized by a cycle violence in which coercion is the route to wealth. …
To speak of a society without the state is not to speak of one without law — without rules governing relations between human beings — but is instead to speak of one without enshrined predation. Although predation would doubtless continue in the absence of the state, it would be treated as such, as crime rather than some benevolent service for the common good.
For no institution but the state do we upend our instinctive misgivings about the consequences of arbitrary power. Nowhere else do we suppose that a lone, unaccountable monopolist will render to the consumer anything worth its price, that the vagaries of bare authority will decide in our favor. Instead, we rely on the structural safeguards of open competition to produce the results we desire.
Each individual possesses a fundamental, natural right to secede from the constraints of authority and hierarchy. Per the nineteenth century philosopher Herbert Spencer, “As a corollary to the proposition that all institutions must be subordinated to the law of equal freedom, we cannot choose but admit the right of the citizen to adopt a condition of voluntary outlawry.”
During the 2008 election, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said that our constant military intervention in the Arab world was the primary motivation behind terrorist acts like 9/11. Why did Paul say this? Because Osama Bin Laden said it. Because the 9/11 Commission report said it. Because CIA intelligence said it, even inventing the term “blowback” precisely to describe it. Yet, when Paul explained this, fellow candidate and eventual Republican nominee John McCain excoriated the Texas congressman and suggested that he was indirectly giving aid and comfort to the enemy, Al-Qaeda.
Yet last week, McCain gave aid and comfort to the enemy. Directly. …
When McCain flew to Libya last week to give his support to rebel leaders fighting against the Gaddafi regime, the Senator said: “I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda… To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it.”
McCain met with Libyan rebel leaders and concluded that they are not Al-Qaeda. But there remains a problem. Who is saying that these people are Al-Qaeda? Libyan rebel leaders. …
Consider: For about 20 years, no American could legally drive faster than 55 MPH on a U.S. Interstate Highway. On the same highways that had previously had significantly higher speed limits – 70, 75 MPH was common prior to 1974, when the 55 MPH edict went into effect. It suddenly became illegal to drive 70 or 75. But it didn’t becomeunsafe – unless you attribute magical powers to Congress, which imposed the 55 MPH limit – and then, just as magically repealed it in 1994.
Did it, then, suddenly – miraculously - become “safe” to once again drive at 70 or 75 MPH on those very same roads?
Of course not. But no refunds were given for the millions of “speeding” tickets given to hapless motorists during the 20 years prior. Nor did the insurance companies issues an apology – and a store credit – for surcharging all those ticketed drivers on the basis of their “speeding” and, hence, their (supposedly) unsafe driving.
“For whatever reasons the Southern States had to secede from the “Union,” they had an inalienable right to secede. All people have a God-given right to associate or not associate with others, voluntarily. If the people of a particular territory want to separate from a federal union of states, they have every right to separate, just as the Founding Fathers had a right to separate from British rule. No institution or authority has the right to compel any individual or group into association or contract involuntarily. To believe that the federal government had any moral right to force the people of the seceding states to return to federal association involuntarily is to believe that some people with armed power have a right to claim ownership and control of other people, pure and simple.”—Scott Lazarowitz
A Times/USC poll asks 1,503 registered California voters about their views on the state’s structural budget and dying economy. It gets some grim views on the state’s future and finds Californians very skeptical of the spending-heavy budget proposals supported by the Democratic machine that has monopoly control of the state’s political functions (though somewhat favorable to Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal).
You can read the question-by-question results here. Only nine percent of Californians support balancing the budget by raising taxes. Three times as many Californians overall – and nearly six times as many Latinos – support closing the deficit by cutting spending rather than raising taxes.
This is news. Californians have a long and well established history as spending-happy voters. In popular referenda during the last five years, California voters have voted themselves nearly $100 billion in bonded debt. The belief that Sacramento brought the Bear Republic into modernity through progressive taxation (the state boasts three different tax-collecting bodies) and wise spending (on everything from education to boards of chiropractory and horse welfare) is a bedrock of California identity, reflected in popular politics and the tombstone-sized state histories published every few years by Kevin Starr.
The only time a poll result is news is when it differs from historical results, so compare these numbers with 2008 results, when large majorities opposed spending cuts and there was even broad majority support for traditionally popular tax increases, such as on cigarette sales. The current poll shows Golden State voters much more averse to tax increases and much more open to broad cuts than they have been in the past. It’s not just news; it’s big news: If Californians are this opposed to new spending, something must seriously be changing.
Even more strikingly, the Times/USC poll finds that at least half of Golden State voters blame Sacramento and local governments for the state’s bad-and-getting-worse economy. …
So what headline does the copy desk choose? “Californians support tax hikes to help close budget gap.”
Thank goodness we put up $80 billion to bail out GM and Chrysler. They are now building such wonderful cars that they have achieved total dominance of the Forbes “Worst Cars on the Road” list, which we could also call the “Bottom Eleven.”
GM and Chrysler account for nine of the cars among the bottom eleven. IN other news, the [United Auto Workers] is grateful for your generosity in keeping their union from disappearing. It appears you’ve achieved little else with your donation.
It is worth noting that all cars on this list except the Mercedes Benz S550 failed safety and/or reliability tests, in addition to being failures in such areas as value and gas mileage.
“The Founding Fathers would be appalled and alarmed at such contempt for their handiwork. The Constitution’s crown jewel was the assignment of the war power to Congress. All of human history demonstrated the propensity of the executive to inflate danger or otherwise concoct justifications for war to aggrandize power or to settle personal vendettas. James Madison, father of the Constitution observed: “Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other…. War is the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.” The Founding Fathers knew that liberty was incompatible with constant war. Madison elaborated that “no nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” The Constitution’s makers thus endowed Congress with exclusive authority to take the nation from a state of peace to a state of war (which legalizes murder). The legislative branch gains nothing from military conflict, and would be disinclined towards adventurism.”—
Among many reasons that the 16th and 17th Amendments were so disastrous is the loss of certain protections against frivolous wars. Before the 16th, any resources used in waging a war had to be collected by the states. States, therefore, had to individually decide whether their population would (1) want to engage in a war and (2) be willing enough to pay for said war by tolerating either increases in government fees and taxes or a loss of other programs. Other states would make different decisions and populations would ebb and flow naturally away from over-taxation and toward more responsible representation. And, since states cannot simply print money, there would be a more mature concern with fiscal solvency. Additionally, the 17th Amendment took away direct state representation and allowed for decisions at the federal level to circumvent state legislatures and executives beholden to only the residents of their state, again removing accountability to the people, their liberty, and their pocketbooks.
These two amendments are anti-liberty and - as the above quote eludes to - treats the Constitution’s carefully crafted separation of powers with contempt. As such, they must be repealed.
L.A. Liberty has been giving me lots of things to re-evaluate lately (thank you, sir, much appreciated). Now, I want to ask you guys if you would consider all statists aggressors.
I’m not only talking about people who work for the government; those people are, well, part of the “machine” already. I’m talking about the people who are just misinformed and vote either Democrat or Republican, and also the people who are the nicest individuals, but don’t agree with us because they think the government protects them. Sure, they “enable” the state, but am I to cast them out of my life on principles? I would argue that although they are misinformed, they aren’t bad or aggressive. I don’t agree with them, but I wouldn’t force them to change their minds either. That stuff takes time; it took me over a year.
I don’t think I can just treat them as aggressors, even though their beliefs infuriate me.
Now, I may see those who vote or support the state’s aggression against me as, in a way, aggressors themselves, but I wouldn’t see the average statist/state-enabler as I would someone who charged me wielding a machete. I still try to treat them as kindly as possible, and always at least as a fellow human being.
What I do is see them for what they are: culpable, and often unknowingly so. And that’s the key distinction, the caveat for the level of my ire: being informed. Most people have only ingested what they’ve been spoon-fed by state-sympathetic schools and media so it’s understandable that they would support the state as the cure for all societal ills and as protection from their fears. But once it transgresses beyond simple ignorance to active, informed hostility to liberty, then relationships become affected. People with statist views only impede in my relationship with them if they continue their aggression after I’ve sufficiently informed them of the consequences of their votes.
For example, I may be against a hypothetical expansion of government I will call Proposition X. It’s a given, then, that most big government sympathizers in Leftywood would likely disagree with me and be supportive of Prop X. Many of my friends and acquaintances fall in this category. But if I inform a friend of why I oppose Prop X, how Prop X will literally take money out of my pocket and, metaphorically, out of my daughters’ mouths… if I explain to my friend the negative externalities of Proposition X and the evidence that Prop X is unlikely to achieve the desired result… if I explain, in no uncertain terms, that they are using the state to take from me by force for their purposes - and they vote for Prop X anyway, that’s when friendships become strained.
I am reminded of V’s speech in V for Vendetta:
[T]he truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable; but again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the [insert government savior here]. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.
“It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered. If we’re compassionate, we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.”—Penn Jillette (via statehate)
Last night, I met a small group of people at a party. This being Leftywood, they were all big government types, natch. I held my ground in defense of liberty and a miraculous thing occurred.
After over an hour and a half, a woman - life-long democrat, vegetarian, lesbian, Prius-driver, cousin to teachers in Wisconsin, and campaign worker for Obama in ‘08 (a quintessential leftist, in other words) - ended the evening calling herself a libertarian and vowed to not vote for Obama in 2012. The other three strangers didn’t quite reach conversion, but they were left masticating a healthy amount of anti-state, pro-liberty food for thought.
I returned to my car with a quiet sense of accomplishment over my small victory - only to find a parking ticket tucked beneath my windshield wiper.
What we recall at Easter is the show trial and judicial murder of Jesus of Nazareth. A mob [democracy!] is manipulated into calling for his death. The judge, who knows he is innocent, feebly gives in. Such things are common in the real world, to this day.
“Alcohol didn’t cause the high crime rates of the ’20s and ’30s, Prohibition did. And drugs do not cause today’s alarming crime rates, but drug prohibition does. Trying to wage war on 23 million Americans who are obviously very committed to certain recreational activities is not going to be any more successful than Prohibition was.”—US District Judge James C. Paine, addressing the Federal Bar Association in Miami, November, 1991 (via combattant-de-la-liberte)