Philosophy and Education

A few days ago I happened to read a few articles that tied together to emphasize a point to me, it happens like that once in a while. I was reminded in my readings that the state is a great propaganda machine that keeps the masses confused and misinformed. Most people get their “history knowledge” from the movies! if we love liberty and truth, we must move to fight that sorry state of affairs.

I would like to share those three things that I read the other day and what they said to me.

First, I read this by a young artist:

(5)  -Philosophy and education – As a society we have all been completely betrayed by the public education system and the mainstream media.  We have been given false values, irrational principles, destructive examples and have been led completely astray to the point where it is difficult to make sense of the world, which ultimately results in unfavorable and dangerous behavior.  A good many people in the world have fallen victim to this deception, but most people snap out of it quickly when they are able to make sense of reality.  This is where philosophy and education come in, because the damage that propaganda has inflicted on our minds is actually fairly easy to reverse, and today with the internet people are now able to teach themselves any subject, any time, at any age and usually for free.  So we do have that ability to advance philosophy and have widespread education even in this world today where we are still limited by the current system and its failures.

I mulled this over and realized that he might well agree with me that the forces of liberty are winning the war of ideas. We are winning the war of ideas due to the internet. Ron Paul helped a lot, but the internet is the super highway that we use to spread our ideas. We have huge and important sites like MIses.org but we have millions of independent liberty lovers writing blogs or making tweets that teach and re-enforce the principles of liberty. We have to hope that the truth will win out if people can be exposed to it. Plus, we do have all sorts of internet based educational opportunities.

I was reminded of the quip attributed to  Mark Twain where he said that he did not let his schooling get in the way of his education. I hope a lot more people in our age do as Twain did and not let public schooling get in the way of their education. I also hope that a lot of people follow the advice of the Taoists and others when they tell us that a lot of education consists mainly in unlearning the false things we have in our head.

The same day I read the above quote by the young artists I happened to see a link in a tweet to another great internet resource for liberty, fee.org; where I read this by the always great David Gordon:

Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) based his political philosophy on a simple insight: slavery is wrong. Few, if any, would dare to challenge this obvious truth; but its implications are far reaching. It is Rothbard’s singular merit to show that rejecting slavery leads inexorably to laissez-faire capitalism, unrestricted by the slightest government interference.

If we reject slavery, then are we not saying that each person owns his own body? Just what seems immoral about slavery is that some people, the slave owners, have the right to control the bodies of those under their domination. The owners can tell the slaves what to do and force them to obey if they refuse to comply.

One might at first think that this point has little relevance to modern society. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States in 1865; surely it does not tell us very much of practical importance today to reiterate that slavery is wrong.

But are we not moving here too quickly? If the essence of slavery is forced labor for others, it is a very present reality today. When the government takes part of what you earn in taxes, it in effect forces you to labor for the state. Just as the slave does not get to keep what he produces but must surrender it to the master, so must the taxpayer give up part of what he makes to the government. One might object that someone can avoid being taxed by refusing to work, but this is hardly a viable alternative. A slave system in which slaves could refuse to work, at the cost of not being supplied with any provisions, would hardly strike us as much of an improvement over simple slavery.

And the income tax is far from the only area in which the state acts as a slave master. …

How can we compare a democracy with a system in which a master compels others to labor, regardless of what they want? In a democracy, an individual may not be able to do what he wants, but the majority of the people make the rules.Rothbard argues that this circumstance leaves the essence of slavery unchanged. In a democracy, the majority acts as the slave master. So long as the individual cannot exercise full control over his own body, he is to that extent a slave. The fact that he, along with his fellow slaves, has a share in determining what he will do still leaves him unfree. Democracy, in Rothbard’s view, is a system in which each person owns a share of everyone else. It is merely a variant of slavery. The choice cannot be evaded: one must either favor self-ownership or slavery.

In many books and countless articles, Rothbard carried out his defense of self-ownership to its full logical, if controversial, conclusion. If you own your own labor, you cannot be compelled against your will to support the state, even if it confines its activities to protecting rights—other than, of course, the rights it violates by extorting resources through taxation. Further, people in a free society are at liberty to establish competing agencies to protect themselves: they need not confine protection to a monopoly agency.

So far the self-ownership principle has been presented as an obvious truth of common sense, but Rothbard was not content to leave matters at that. In arguing for self-ownership, Rothbard relies heavily on a point of fact. Everyone is in reality in control of his own will. If I obey another, I must always make the decision to do as he wishes; and the threat of violence on his part should I follow my own course leaves the situation unchanged. I must decide whether to accede to the threat. …

Typical of Rothbard to cut to the heart of the matter. Governments are slave masters that convince their slaves that they are not slaves but that they want and need the masters to mistreat them. The rulers use all sorts of propaganda and their public schools to indoctrinate the masses to believe in the myth that governments are “good” or at least “necessary”. Rothbard did much to expand the political philosophy that it is always and everywhere illegitimate to aggress against the innocent.

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And then on the same day I read the following quote by Hayek:

All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest. Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant.” ~ Friedrich A. von Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty

It is obvious that our job in this revolution is to spread truth and the ideas of liberty. We need to talk about the ethics of liberty, about political philosophy, about real economics, about morality, about our real history, and about tactics. Most of all we need to help people get interested in finding the truth themselves. There are many great writers out there writing today. There are many classics written by great minds in the past. People need to be induced to take the time to read and think — and I know that is hard in our fast paced world, but it is essential that people take time to think.

Many of my fellow citizens, educated in government schools, think that the argument for liberty is an argument against organization. They know well that our modern industrial world with 7 billion people has to have organization.  They have been deluded by the propaganda of the state. We are not arguing against organization but rather we are arguing against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization. The monopoly of the State in other words.

And why are we arguing against the monopoly on the legitimate use of force by the State? The State is nothing but force, violence, and oppression. The State in all its many forms is mankind’s biggest enemy. We have handed over power to the few who become the ruling class and that power corrupts. They grab ever more power over us and become ever more corrupt. We must break that cycle and use voluntary cooperation among humans. It is the only way to peace and prosperity.

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The Mises Institute and my journey

I was asked to write a little post about what the Mises Institute has meant to me and this is my attempt to tell my readers about the Mises Institute and my intellectual journey leading to my present love of the Mises Institute.

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In the 60s and 70s I was anti-war and somehow I knew that meant that I was anti-State but I had no intellectual foundation to support that position other than just my inborn morality. I had many family members, friends and acquaintances who served in the Vietnam War and came home to tell of the utter horror that blunder of a war was. I have always been an avid reader and so I knew some of our real history and it was not what our political leaders where saying. I knew I  was being lied to. I felt alone in a way, being anti-State could be lonely in those days in the south. Luckily for me, I loved used book stores and could be found there many weekends with my wife. I have found many interesting books in those stores that are now disappearing from the American scene. I have found many books in those stores that I was certainly not looking for as I walked in. It was though a series of books over time that I came to know the Mises Institute and the site LewRockwell.com.

I read “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville in the early 1970s. That work resonated with me because Tocqueville explained why a Republican form of government was working in America in the 1830s even as Democracy had failed in so many other places. But by the time I read it, there was no “Republican” form of government left that was like what Tocqueville had described. We had long been on the wrong road. Some years later in the 70s I read “The Road to Serfdom” by F. A. Hayek and it is a wonderful book on how dangerous the government is. Hayek described the dangers of leaving “Classical Liberalism” behind.

One day in the early 80s I found a book by Ludwig von Mises called “Human Action“. Now that book is an eye opener! I still have that book even though I am now an e-book reader and have let a lot of my old dead-tree library go to save space. And so, I had found an author that I knew I wanted to read. I found “Bureaucracy” by von Mises and it is a wonderful book. That little volume made a tremendous impact on me. I guess by this time you could say that I was a Classical Liberal of the von Mises variety.

Then one day Murray Rothbard sent me a form letter. He wanted me to subscribe to a new newsletter called “The Rothbard-Rockwell Report” A New York Jewish fellow was asking a southern boy to read his mussing each month. And who was this Rockwell guy? For some reason, I thought they sounded like my sort of people and I sent off a check to get the newsletter. I loved the RRR. Over time I considered Rothbard’s argument that there was no way to constrain a government and that our Constitution had always been doomed to failure. I distinctly remember in some essay or the other that he said: all governments will over time move leftward and become a tyranny. Over time I saw that market anarchism was the only hope for peace and prosperity for the masses.

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Time went on and I read more books by von Mises and Rothbard. Technology changed and the internet was born. In due course a new resource opened up. Lew Rockwell started a small site to showcase essays by anarcho-capitalists and other like minded people. It was there that I learned about the Mises Institute.

The Mises Institute has become the world’s foremost think tank for liberty. It is as simple as that. The Institute did not change my thinking as I was already a Rothbardian market anarchist long before they opened their doors, but it is a place where I can read essays, books and out of print newsletters concerning our love of freedom and liberty. In addition they have all sorts of videos for those that like that sort of thing — I am still a text based person in most regards.

The Mises Institute has kept the flame of Rothbardian anarchy burning even as Rothbard and his beloved teacher von Mises have both left this earthly scene. I praise Lew Rockwell for starting the Institute when most men would have told him he was sure to fail I bet.

I wish the Mises Institute had been around in the 70s, it sure would have helped my intellectual journey. Today, I often use a link to the Mises Institute in my own posts here and that helps me a lot. I was worried that when we lost both von Mises and Rothbard that the movement might die, but with the Mises Institute and two campaigns by Ron Paul our beliefs have gone nationwide as ZZ Top would say. Well, worldwide really.

We have a long battle before us to educate the masses in economics and political philosophy so that we can overcome the long march toward collectivism. The Mises Institute is a rock we can depend on as we battle the forces of tyranny.

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The trouble with Anarchist “Syndicalists” or Communists

I had someone follow me on twitter who called herself an anarchist and I followed back. A short while later there was an avalanche of tweets about how the Austrian School of Economics was totally wrong, laisez-faire leads to enslavement and so forth. The boat load of tweets were typical of socialistic myths that were debunked in the 20th century by theorists like von Mises, and by real world examples of communism in action. Think USSR, East Germany, Mao’s China, North Korea, or Cuba. So, I though I would give her my thoughts on communism and things that sound like they are different from communism but, in fact, reduce down to communism when inspected closely. If you don’t like my use of “communism” then substitute “collectivism” instead as they amount to pretty much the same thing in practice.

There can be no doubt that humanity needs to run an advanced industrial society if we expect to support the over seven billion souls that are on this planet as I write this and if we plan on keeping the living standard we enjoy today. There are three major proposals for running an advanced industrial society. There is some variant of socialism, free-market capitalism, and syndicalism. Some might say, “what about the US system we have now”. The US has a crony-capitalist system that is essentially corporatism. (Mussolini’s term for fascism) Corporatism is just fascism and hence a close cousin of socialism. The U.S.A. did practice a semi laissez-faire system at times early in its history but at least since 1850 there has been heavy intervention into the market by the various levels of government.

We live with scarcity as a fact of life. There are never enough resources to meet every want and need. In any society, there must be a rational mechanism for allocating resources efficiently. There must be some mechanism to signal how much land, labor, and capital equipment is to be used and used in what ways to best satisfy the wants and needs of the society. Over and over, history has demonstrated that free market capitalism most smoothly and efficiently does this while being based solely on voluntary inducements and incentives. Many books and essays have been written on how mankind could run an anarchy using laissez-faire capitalism, and some even prefer the term market anarchy to the term capitalism.

Socialism itself, in any of its various flavors, demands the armed intervention of a government to force people to do as the government demands since voluntary cooperation is not a feature of the system. Without a price feedback mechanism no one knows how much of what needs to be produced and who should do the producing, and so a government bureaucracy backed by guns issues the orders telling the slaves what to do. Ludwig von Mises showed how a socialist economy could not work back in the 20s of last century. The examples of socialism abound and socialism is a demonstrated failure. Given the record of socialism in the 20th century, we must reject socialism as it is the path to tyranny and deprivation.

The syndicalist “anarchists” claim to believe in full worker ownership of their industries. Each plant would be owned by the workers and some sort of plant government would have to arise to force John to clean the restrooms while Bill sits in the air-conditioned front office. Even worse they do not even attempt to achieve a rational allocation of total societal resources since they claim to rule out the voluntary cooperation of the laissez-faire free market and the coercion of the socialist central planing bureaucracy also. So we have the rational and voluntary allocation of resources of the free-market, or we have the tyrannical force of the socialist central planning boards, or we have … what? We have the total chaos of the various syndicated plants all demanding whatever resources they wanted with no mechanism for allocation. Out of the chaos of the syndicalist system would arise planning boards to settle the disputes and allocate resources among the industrial plants. In effect, syndicalism is just one more path to central planning and all that entails.

In conversations with these left-anarchists one finds that they are eaten up with envy, fear, and loathing. They detest the idea that some individuals might form a business, have it become well loved by the public, and see it grow into a very large corporation. Many seem to hate the idea that in a free society some men will grow rich honestly while other men will remain ordinary guys with a job. I was told by the syndicalist on Twitter that the free market was ok “up to a point“. What point? Like the USSR letting people trade a bit of their personal wares for profit as long as they obeyed the government and did their government assigned job? It is also true that left-anarchists hate the idea of private property more than they hate the state.

Rothbard once observed:

And when the left-anarchists can be pressed for an answer, the response is disturbing indeed. Take for example one of our most distinguished socialist-anarchists, Professor Noam Chomsky. Professor Chomsky has recently expressed a great deal of worry about the recent rise of our “right-wing” libertarian movement; apparently he is – I am afraid unrealistically – concerned that we might succeed in abolishing the State before the State has succeeded in abolishing private property! Secondly, Chomsky has written that the anarcho-capitalist society would constitute “the greatest tyranny the world has ever known.” (What, Noam? Greater than Hitler? Than Genghis Khan?)

Whether or not anarcho-capitalism would be tyrannical is here irrelevant; the problem is that, in so expressing his horror at the possible results of complete freedom, Professor Chomsky reveals that he is not really an “anarchist” at all, indeed that he prefers statism to an anarcho-capitalist world. That of course is his prerogative, and scarcely unusual, but what is illegitimate is for this distinguished linguist to call himself an “anarchist.”

I had someone say to me on Twitter that the large corporations would “dominate” us and become our masters in the absence of government. Does she not know of how many corporations have lost out in the competitive race due to the customer’s whims? Where the hell is the A&P grocery chain that was the largest and most powerful in the nation when I was born? Were is Florida’s dominate drug store chain that was called Eckerds? Heck, I am not sure of the spelling any more they have been gone so long. Dominate us? Walmart has no army to make me buy from them. I have not been inside one of their stores in years and they can’t do a thing about it. I prefer Target. And at one time IBM was the only maker of computers that any business would buy from and there was even a saying back then, “no one ever got fired because they bought IBM”. Do they even make computers any more? What happened to them? Does anyone still use a Zerox copy machine?

In a free society without government where free-market competition rules, there would be competing firms or voluntary organizations that offer me insurance, protection, and legal services. In other words, in a free society I would not be forced to do as others demand as long as I was innocent of aggression against others. No monopoly is possible under these circumstances as von Mises demonstrated decades ago.

Ludwig von Mises once observed:

Under capitalism, material success depends on the appreciation of a man’s achievements on the part of the sovereign consumers. In this regard there is no difference between the services rendered by a manufacturer and those rendered by a producer, an actor or a playwright.

In the ‘workers paradise’ proposed by the syndicalists, who would decide if some workers in a plant wanted a four day week while others wanted a five day week? Silly question, but who decides? In a market economy the management appointed by the stock holders would decide. In a syndical system there would have to be force or threat of force to make decisions stick. The same can be said for all the varieties of left-anarchists no matter what they call themselves these days. Communal, syndical, left-anarchists or whatever, we see that there is libertarian rhetoric hiding compulsory and coercive collectivism of the socialist system. A system of coercive egalitarian despots in other words.

I often call all variants of collectivism by the term communism. “Commie” for short on Twitter. For once you allow a small group to make all the decisions and do away with private property rights you are on the road to the hell that was the old USSR. Collectivism is the original sin of mankind. Once you leave the idea of men and women cooperating in a voluntary manner without any coercion then you have strayed into the realm of violence and slavery.

The market anarchists have one main starting point — the non-aggression principle. No individual or group may legitimately use fraud, force, or threat against someone who has not committed aggression himself. A great writer once observed that the whole system evolved from the simple observation that slavery was always wrong. One may support slavery and violence, or one may advocate anarchy with absolutely no monopolies on the use of force. One may not legitimately propose a system that requires changing human nature as the old USSR did when they claimed to be “building the new Soviet Man” as that is just a utopian fantasy.

I can imagine some people buying or building a factory and running is as a “worker co-op” in a market anarchy. There would be nothing wrong with that, let them have at it. As long as they respect the property rights of the rest of us and they don’t try to use force or intimidation on us, then market anarchists would not mind the attempt at all. In fact, I would love to live long enough to enjoy the spectacular sight of some people trying that experiment.

Force and violence; or peace and prosperity — which will you advocate? For myself, I will go with voluntary cooperation that leads to peace and prosperity. I greatly detest systems that require the use of force and I detest the avocation of systems that are based on the rule by a minority using force. Syndicalism is just another path to rule by the few.

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Science Propaganda is used to Control You

I have mentioned before that the government and the ruling class need “intellectuals” and other opinion makers (like the press) to convince the underclass general population that government is good for us or at least it is necessary. One of the ways that the intellectual class is helping to sell the myth that government is necessary is by having “scientists” claim that we are all going to die if we don’t demand that government control us and save us from “cataclysmic man-made global warming” caused by our release of the “poison” CO2.

But is it true that the earth is warming? Yes it is. The planet has warmed and cooled for millions of years and we know that the planet has been warming since the glaciers retreated from North America. We are in an interglacial period and thank the gods! A world warmer than the terrible cold of a glacial period  is much better for life.

But what about the temperatures recently? Essentially all climate data has been tampered with over the last decade.  Temperature records as well as the records of the rise in sea level have been inflated to show warming that is not there. In the 1990 IPCC report, they showed a 10 cm rise in sea level over the previous century.  And yet recent literature shows almost double that rise over the same time period. Unless the “scientists” got a time machine and went back in time to measure the planet again we have to conclude they are lying yet again. They claim they are “adjusting” the data and I wrote about that once. When I was in school the professors called that sort of thing cheating and fraud. I think it is still fraud. Never adjust the data to match your preconceived beliefs.

But is the planet warming? The planet has been warming since the end of the last glacial period. There were glaciers over the north east U.S. that were 3 to 4 km thick according to Wikipedia. They tell us about the current ice age:

The current ice age, the Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation, started about 2.58 million years ago during the late Pliocene, when the spread of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere began. Since then, the world has seen cycles of glaciation with ice sheets advancing and retreating on 40,000- and 100,000-year time scales called glacial periods, glacials or glacial advances, and interglacial periods, interglacials or glacial retreats. The earth is currently in an interglacial, and the last glacial period ended about 10,000 years ago. All that remains of the continental ice sheets are the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and smaller glaciers such as on Baffin Island.

The alarmists never want to discuss the unadjusted data or the records of the past over the longer time line that shows that what we are experiencing now is nothing unusual. NASA (run by activist Jim Hansen) has been caught numerous times changing the records in the 30s. How does one justify changing the temperature records in the distant past? Time machine?

But what about the Arctic ice all melting? Surely that can’t be fraud also! An Investors Business Daily Article noted that:

If the alarmists are getting only limited cooperation from man, they are getting even less from nature itself. Arctic sea ice, which sent the green shirts into a lather when it hit a record low in the summer of 2012, has “with a few weeks of growth still to occur … blown away the previous record for ice gain this winter.”

“This is only the third winter in history,” when more than 10 million square kilometers of new ice has formed in the Arctic, Real Science reported on Tuesday, using data from Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois.

At the same time, the Antarctic “is now approaching 450 days of uninterrupted above normal ice area,” says the skeptical website Watts Up With That, which, also using University of Illinois Arctic Climate Research data, notes that “the last time the Antarctic sea ice was below normal” was Nov. 22, 2011.

But what about the famous 97% “consensus” of all scientists that CO2 is poisonous and that we are all going to fry or drown? More fraud, debunked many times. The “consensus” from the 1970′s was that cold and ice were in our future. The linked video is actually quite a good, which shows how different perceptions were, only a few decades ago. It is narrated by Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Another very short video shows that contrary to the conventional wisdom today, the real danger facing humanity is not global warming, but more likely the coming of a new Ice Age. What we live in now is known as an interglacial. Nothing unusual has happened since either of these videos were made. The global temperature has changed by less than during most of the Holocene. Temperatures have been essentially flat for the past 16 years. But the public’s perceptions have changed, due to the relentless propaganda.

Speaking of propaganda, the president gave a State of the Union speech recently and here is some of the propaganda in Obama’s speech.

Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods, all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it’s too late.

Here’s Marc Morano’s devastating point by point rebuttal. Obama’s war on climate change is a war against a mirage. There is no warming to be concerned about at present and the warming that we saw in the 80s and 90s is part of the natural cycle of climate change. Obama is selling a theory that only exists in the discredited computer projections of a shameless cabal of grant-eating activist “scientists” increasingly out of touch with real world data. They function as “intellectuals” who help sell the myth that we need government to protect us.

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The police are your enemy

The police are not your friends. The police are the most dangerous and out of control group that you will come into contact with in your lifetime. Those who read Will Grigg should be all too familiar with the abuses of the police. Will Grigg focuses on reporting the daily outrages of the police around the nation. I often have trouble reading more than the headline and a paragraph or two as I frequently just can’t take reading his specific accounts of misconduct and brutality. Some who know me tell me that I am burdened with too much empathy and put myself into the shoes of others too easily. Maybe. But when it comes to the evidence all around me there is an inescapable conclusion that police abuse is an intrinsic feature of the system. Don’t get me wrong, Will Grigg is not the only one reporting on abuse by the police and legal system; it is becoming a cottage industry to report on the horrors of the police state.

Once upon a time SWAT team raids were reserved for stopping a very dangerous criminal. There were around 3,000 SWAT team raids per year in the early 80s but by last year there were about 40,000 raids. No, we have not gone from 3,000 dangerous criminals to 40,000 in 30 short years: we have gone from having SWAT team raids for very special situations to having teams of militarized police goons invade homes on just phone tips that there may be a little pot being used there. Reason magazine once reported that there were about 5 SWAT team raids a day in Maryland. Radley Balko likes to do a “raid of the day” post in his column.

In a CATO article Balko wrote:

Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

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But the SWAT teams are only a small part of the story. Police misconduct, abuse, and brutality are all around us. Anthony Gregory reported that “About as many Americans have been killed by police since 9/11/01 as died on that day. Between 1980 and 2005, police killed 9,500 people in the U.S., approximately one per day and almost three-fourths as many people as have been sentenced and executed in the United States since colonial times. A study in Harris County, Texas, found that between 1999 and mid 2005, officers in the county shot 65 unarmed people, killing 17.” We even have police using tasers on school children.

Alternet:

Madness: Even School Children Are Being Pepper-Sprayed and Shocked with Tasers

There is something truly disturbing about a society that seeks to control the behavior of schoolchildren through fear and violence, a tactic that harkens back to an era of paddle-bruised behinds and ruler-slapped wrists. Yet, some American school districts are pushing the boundaries of corporal punishment even further with the use of Tasers against unruly schoolchildren.

And then we have the new issue of the police killing the pets of citizens for their own perverse enjoyment. It is called “puppycide” these days. What sort of cowardly brute would shoot and kill a pet dog chained up in the back yard of a house or shoot a pet lapdog in the living room of someone’s home?

I wondered why we got such great videos of the meteor that struck Russia the other day. Was it coincidence that so many people were filming at the exact time the meteor struck? No, as it turns out the Russians are so convinced that their police are corrupt and dangerous that many Russians have bought dashboard cameras for their cars to have a visual record to use against the thugs called cops. This very short video explains their deep distrust of the Russian police.

In the three decades since the bombing of the MOVE house we have seen the police at all levels in the U.S. have become the brutal, immoral, corrupt occupying force that many warned against for so long. I read Malcom X when I was in college and at the time I thought he was being paranoid, but now I know that he was just telling us what was coming.  The cops have become the standing army the founders warned us against and they are truly the most dangerous gang of criminals the world has seen. (other than the State as a whole)

For much of U.S. history, especially until the beginning of the 20th century, Americans had less government and far fewer police. With the increase in size of the oppressive, bloated state has come the vast increase in the numbers of policemen.  The growth of modern leviathan can not be slowed if we continue to have the vast increase in militarized police that we have seen over the last 20 years.

In the last twenty years we have had about three times as many private guards as cops but we don’t hear about abuses by these “rent-a-cops”. It is as rare as hens teeth to hear of abuse or corruption by the private guard services even as the government cop abuses make news every day.  Private security guards are defenders of property rights and life.

There is every reason in the world to fight for the elimination of government cops in this country. We would all be better off without government funded, armed thugs terrorizing us at every turn. There is a great list of 50 reasons to abolish the Cops that you should read.

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We have seen small towns abolish (or here or here) their police force for various reasons. It should become a movement in this country. Remember, the police do not protect you or your property — they are a great danger to life and property. They are the very definition of evil.

But where would the electricity come from if there was no government?

This post is yet another one that started as a twitter conversation. I was not communicating very well in 140 character bites with my friend and told him I would expand my thoughts to a blog post, and so here it is. It all started as a standard, and oh so common, conversation about private defense agencies. I like “Could Private Defense Be Any Worse?” by Michael S. Rozeff or “The Idea of a Private Law Society” by Hans-Hermann Hoppe as explanations about how private law, courts, and defense could work in the absence of a government monopoly on these services. He asked if a private firm would let your house burn down if you refused to be a customer of theirs and somehow, via an analogy I made, we got onto how electricity would be provided in the absence of government and that is what I promised @schmuckburns that I would write about and expand my thoughts on.

Electricity is a product or service that is a big part of our everyday life. I don’t see how we could maintain our modern life style or support over seven billion people on the planet without electricity. At present the US government has all kinds of rules and regulations concerning the production of electricity and government has been deeply involved in controlling the industry for over a century. There are many favored and protected monopoly firms in the heavily regulated power industry. Even the source of the power, be it coal, nuclear, water, solar, wind, or whatever, is heavily regulated by government and is a very political issue.

I have read a few people on the Internet who write that there just could not be any electricity without government. What utter codswallop that is! Without government interventions we would see competition arise in all aspects of getting electricity to the home, office, and plant. Why on earth would a people who were dealing with each other in a voluntary manner up and decide that they did not want electricity anymore?

I have read that electricity has even been provided in Somalia despite all the challenges of doing so in that country without a government to “make it happen”. If the Somalians can have electricity where a state failed and voluntary cooperation had to grow over time — why would anyone believe Americans could not do so?

The Economist:

The country’s lack of electricity has long been a problem. After 20 years of war laid waste to much of the place’s infrastructure, it was the private sector that stepped in. A study by the World Bank in 2004, when warlords held sway in most of Somalia, found that local entrepreneurs had discovered a way of getting round the dire lack of a functioning electricity grid, payment system or metering. “They have divided cities into manageable quarters and provide electricity locally using second-hand generators bought in Dubai,” said the report. Households fed up with living in the dark had a range of choices: they could pay for electricity during the day, during the evening, or round the clock. They could even be charged by the lightbulb.

The real question that came up in the twitter conversation was about the current situation in the US electric power industry today that is due to our government’s many interventions. Would the existing firms using their position gained via favoritism from the present government dominate the society and charge outrageous rates for their product if there was suddenly an absence of controlling government? Ludwig von Mises handled that sort of question in his book “Human Action” many years ago and concluded that here can be no monopoly maintained in a land without a government providing monopoly privilege. There never has been and there never can be such a monopoly as my friend was worried about that lasts any length of time. If we start off with a few firms in privileged position then they will compete with each other, and over time others will enter the market to compete with them when they see high profits being made. We might even see human inventiveness come up with solutions to our need for power that we can not even imagine right now. Did you see the iPhone coming in 1990?

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It is a lesson in human nature to see that people often believe that a thing can not happen if they can not imagine it happening, and yet the free laissez-faire market would allow for billions of our most igneous fellow humans to think about any problem that we have and look for solutions. For example, if the price of electricity via a wire gets too high, I might get myself one of those electric generators and generate my own power. I even read one engineer with a different idea who claimed “micro-generation” of electricity (small power plants near a town) made a lot of sense and would even be competitive to what we do now. I don’t know if he was right or wrong but I know the free market would ultimately decided given no intervention from the government.

Walter Block wrote an amusing little response to this sort of thing once called “Long Thin Things“. In that post Dr. Block points out that the present day distribution firms have a built in advantage in the local neighborhoods they presently serve since they already have the wires strung to provide the service. New subdivisions would be a different story however.

Since the present day “wires and poles” are now owned and controlled by “the people” via their local governments, I suspect that in the absence of government they would become a cooperative or a corporation owned by many (most?) of the people that are served by the wires now. But could a private firm charge confiscatory rates? No. The people would just not pay them. We can all live without the wires and would do so on a large scale until the prices became reasonable.

In summary, the generation of power would be far more efficient due to the absence of government intervention and the distribution of power would be the only problematic part of the puzzle. Even the distribution piece would not be all that hard in my view since the distribution industry is mainly localized right now anyway. Perhaps in some places the rates would cause people to move or generate their own power but the local firms can’t kill off their own customer base and stay in business.

Libertarian Purity

Over the last year I have been blogging at a fairly rapid pace; at least for me. I write to educate myself as well as others. I enjoy putting into my own words the lessons that the great thinkers have passed on to all of us. One of the things that informs my opinions and writing more than anything is the non-aggression principle. It has been expressed many times and in many ways but essentially the principle is that I may not legitimately initiate aggression against anyone else. Therefore any individual or group of individuals that commits aggression is illegitimate; and yes, that means governments also. I am a radical libertarian and follow what Murray Rothbard once called “plumb-line libertarianism.” I see that initiating force is always wrong. I can not support initiating force or anything that will lead to the initiation of force as its logical outcome.

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I have tried to befriend all people who are liberty lovers as allies even if I think they are wrong on certain issues of concern to liberty and freedom. But I have to draw a line someplace and say that there needs to be a certain purity of thought and ideology in our philosophy and in our movement. We certainly don’t need opportunistic statists covering themselves with the label “libertarian” as they support large government. As an example, I was told the war-mongering Glenn Beck claims to be a “libertarian”. My god we don’t need his ilk using the label libertarian.

Anyone who opposes the rapid decent of America into a police state and calls for smaller and less intrusive government is someone I want to encourage and work with. But I don’t want to pull any punches even as I view that person as a prospective ally and certainly not as some sort of serious problem. I want to be clear about what I mean by radical libertarianism — no government at all and private protection agencies.

Libertarian purity has its place and is important. We have core principles that must be communicated and understood. We must champion the non-aggression principle at all times. Libertarianism is a radical ideology that can not compromise on the NAP in the least. The principle of non-aggression leads the libertarianism to see the world from a perspective radically different from the statists who want to maintain the status quo in the main and just change a few things along the edge.

As soon as you agree that we need to eliminate all aggressive force you have just agreed that government must be eliminated since government is always and everywhere pure raw aggression. China’s Mao once said that government flows from the barrel of a gun and he was absolutely correct on that score. Even the small government minarchist libertarians, to be consistent, must believe in a government that is dramatically smaller and less aggressive than any government that presently exists in the world. They must, to be consistent, call for a government that barely escapes being no government at all. Even then they are calling for an organization that funds itself via aggression and that maintains itself via aggression. I admit that a vanishingly small government would beat holy hell out of what we have now and I would be most pleased to get from here to there in my lifetime; but I would still have to oppose that small government on NAP grounds even as I appreciated it being a vast improvement. We are radicals for liberty and freedom.

We don’t have to believe that the revolution bringing radical libertarianism is coming soon to believe that the political philosophy of no aggression at all is the moral and ethical high ground from which to judge ourselves and others. We believe in what is right, not what is merely possible today.