We Can’t Change the Political System Through Politics

There was a lot of enthusiasm in 2012 by people who hoped that Ron Paul could win the GOP nomination so that he would be able to debate the sitting president Obama. His campaign gained the liberty movement millions of new members — mostly young people who can see that the USA is on the road to a dystopian police state. The Ron Paul campaign was about educating people in my view and was never about wining the White House and then trying to use that office to change America back into the minimal state society that was envisioned in 1776.

I am convinced that trying to dismantle the political system by using the political system is futile. It is a fool’s errand. We all have to acknowledge that Ron Paul used the political process and by using it he changed the world-view of millions of people. He helped many discover the true nature of the state. The Ron Paul campaign was a once in a generation thing. He spent a lifetime as “Dr. No” in congress to prepare for the run — and he wanted to educate rather than win. We will not see that again in our lifetimes.

It is now time for everyone in the liberty movement, no matter one’s station in life, to help spread the word on the dehumanizing, oppressive, violent, and destructive nature of the corporate-state. It is time for us to understand that peace, liberty, prosperity, private property, and respect for the non-aggression principle is our message and our strategy. Libertarians must demonstrate, by reasoning and by historical evidence, that humans are capable of organizing and creating in spontaneous ways the technology and the social systems needed to increase our happiness and our liberty. All the state does is get in the way of this process of society working its magic. The state restrains the inventive to protect those who have access to state power and it shifts costs of goods and services for the parasites onto the backs of the productive.


I believe that trying to reform the political system, running for political office, supporting a political party, or other use of politics is counter-productive. Ron Paul was an exceptional case and I don’t believe he was trying to change the political system directly but rather was trying to change the minds of the people so that they could find a way to change the system. We need to continue his fight to change people’s minds just as he himself is doing in many ways now that he is no longer in office.

As people seek tactics and strategies for advancing libertarian principles, bear in mind the comparative advantage that our ideas have in real world. The statist programs are grounded in socialistic thought and central planning. World wide the support for central planning among intellectuals has greatly declined due to empirical evidence of the failure of planning. Just as Mises said it would, societies built on central planning just don’t work. Even the progressives’ ideas for an overwhelming regulatory system is now seen to be just a mechanism for industry to achieve their long desired cartels. The government regulations exist to serve the very people that the progressives thought they were controlling! We must pound home the idea to the people that there needs to be a separation of economy and state.

We must all do our homework in this fight for liberty. It is a fight of ideas, and ideas require knowledge.  No matter how knowledgeable think you are, you need to be a lifelong learner. Don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education! Especially read economics from the Austrian School as that is the school of thought that supports freedom, liberty, and individual rights. And also read history as the history of mankind is a testimony to the failure of the state to improve our lives: it is a testimony of the state enslaving mankind. It is important to read all the other fields as time allows: psychology, philosophy, physics, biology, chemistry, geology and so on. There are so many on-line resources these days that remaining ignorant of what is going on in the world of ideas requires one to work hard to avoid the information!

Often we work to convince one person at a time. We just counter old myths and canards with factual observations and let the person come to realize that the state is not their friend. That is the first step; the person must realize that the state is the enemy. Then we can teach them the whole of it.

We will beat the state. When? I don’t know when, but I know we need to prepare the people for what comes next before the collapse of the state. (and the collapse of the USA looks to be coming sooner rather than later) If we don’t prepare people now, then the coming “revolution” may yield an even worse result than we have now if that is possible. We need to convince people that no state is our friend. Only freedom and liberty allows peace, progress, and the pursuit of happiness.

Join the fight now. Do what you can to support liberty and freedom.

A voluntaryist attacks Anarcho-Capitalism

Over at the WeebulTree Blog my good Twitter friend Shawn Gregory had a most interesting post the other day. Seems some anarchist named Aaron Hawkins claimed that all market anarchists or anarcho-capitalists are “bat-shit crazy”. You should follow the link to Shawn’s description of the attack and his answer to it. This post of his may be one of his best ever — high praise indeed for a fellow who always writes so well. But here I will use his criticisms as a jumping off point for a slightly different look at the issue than the one Mr. Gregory took.

The criticisms of anarcho-capitalism by Mr. Hawkins were given as:

  1. There’s no unified set of rules.  For example, what happens when someone commits a crime?  You can take the offender to a private court, but since there are no unified set of laws, how can you possibly know what to expect from one court to the next?
  2. Poor people will be unable to afford justice.  A private court system will be too expensive for poor people to take offenders to court or to defend themselves from unjust prosecution.
  3. Markets are amoral.  For example, if a business can make a product more cheaply using slave labor, there’s no reason for a business not to do so.  In fact, the business would have a marker incentive to engage in such practices!
  4. Privatized security and military forces would terrorize the populations they are supposed to serve.  His chief example of this is the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater – a company infamous for it’s inhumane treatment of Iraqi citizens.
  5. The corporate system is very much like the feudal system of medieval times.  In other words, top-down business models will naturally result in the abuse of workers whose only real choice will be to wander from one corporate oppressor to another.

I would like to make short replies to the five points here today. Perhaps someday in that glorious future when I am blessed with something called “spare time” I might be able to address each point in depth, but for now I’ll have to keep it short. (and sweet I hope)

#1: There’s no unified set of rules

Yes! That is exactly so. The only way to have a unified set of rules is to have a ruling entity with monopolistic control of the provision of protection services. We call that body the “state”. So this guy thinks anarchy needs the state? We have a contradiction in terms here! You can have a state or you can have anarchy but you can’t have both at the same time.

But are a unified set of rules a good thing? Of course not. One size does not fit all. I wrote about common law systems before.

The common law system (decentralized law) is different than our present system in ways that make it much more compatible with liberty and prosperity. The common law judge only makes decisions when interested parties bring a case before him and his decision only effects the parties before him. His decision has to take into account the precedents of similar cases that have been decided in the past that are pertinent to the case before him. These constraints upon the common law court leads to the public having more certainty about what a court will decide — much more certainty than our system today.

History tells us that law (or rules of conduct) arose from everyday life and many, many decisions. This was not a government controlled process but rather a process controlled by all the people making individual decisions. This is society in action. This is competition in action. Decentralized common law type systems can arise and be used even if we are saddled with government, after all, they often arose under a government.  Common law systems are much like laissez-faire free markets in that a natural order arises unplanned by any collective committee. History and common sense tells us that law that arises from competing, individual judges, arbitrators, plaintiffs, and jurors at the local level is far, far superior to laws enacted and handed down from a central committee of rulers.

#2: Poor people will be unable to afford justice.

It is a fact that poor people can not afford justice in America today. Mr. Hawkins seems to think that justice becomes easier to obtain if there is a monopoly on the service. He also seems to think that the poor would not be raised up out of poverty given a laissez-faire free market where everyone can contribute in the free-will voluntary system. But besides all that, the fact is that in an anarchy there would be plenty of lawyers who would help the poor in court for a percentage of the damage awards just like exists today under our present in-justice system. Why does Mr. Hawkins think lawyers would toss away all their business?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe has written extensively on the idea of the market providing private law. This post is an example: The Idea of a Private Law Society. A private law society is inherently fair, less expensive, competitive, and more accessible to everyone — including the poor who have little chance at justice now.

#3: Markets are amoral.

It takes a syndicalist to call himself an “anarchist” and haul out that time-worn canard. I expressed my thoughts on “syndicalists” before and invite you to follow the link for a full treatment of that odious idea. But simply put, most syndicalists don’t even know what is meant by “the market”. They misunderstand it and yet make loud and vociferous comments about the market as if they knew what we meant by the word.

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. ~Murray N. Rothbard

Simply, “the free market” is nothing but the voluntary, mutually agreeable exchange between people. It is shorthand for the billions and billions of exchanges that take place every day of the world.  Mr. Hawkins tells us why syndicalism is so odious: he hates the idea of all the people making free-will exchanges without some controlling body dictating how they should do it. He wants a government to order people around in other words.

But what about his contention:

For example, if a business can make a product more cheaply using slave labor, there’s no reason for a business not to do so.  In fact, the business would have a marker incentive to engage in such practices!

Historically, the free market made everyone richer. Slave labor involves force which is illegal in a market anarchy and slave labor is always, everywhere inefficient and non-competitive. Do these syndicalists never read history? It is obvious they never read the Austrian School of economics.

#4: Privatized security and military forces would terrorize the populations they are supposed to serve.

Am I to understand that Mr. Hawkins thinks things are going swimmingly well now? After 200 million murdered by their own governments in the last century he thinks small competing private firms would “take over”?!?  If there were many private security firms all competing for the business of the people who could choose any firm they wanted to, how could one grow to dominate the field? It goes against all historical evidence to suspect that any firm can achieve monopoly status without a government to confer that legal privilege on them.

It is odd that Mr. Hawkins picks Blackwater to use as his “proof”. They work exclusively for governments, mainly the USA to do their dirty work. In a market anarchy where would a Blackwater find a government to fund their evil deeds?

#5: The corporate system is very much like the feudal system of medieval times.

The “corporate system” of the present is more properly called corporatism, fascism, or crony-capitalism. Sometimes our present system is called “state capitalism” which is not “free market capitalism”.

The difference between State capitalism and free-market capitalism is the difference between two parties reaching a voluntary and mutually agreeable transaction or trade, and being held up at gunpoint. State capitalism is the control of corporations by the sovereign government; it is a hybrid form of public and private business. State capitalism means bureaucracy, central planning, and encroachments on our freedom and liberties. Those who stand in defense of free-market, laissez-faire capitalism and against state-capitalism stand in defense of the greatest engine of material prosperity in human history: the real capitalism. Free-market capitalism is the very fount of civilization, peace, progress, and prosperity. ~Stoval

Simply put, corporations are no more than a group of individuals who jointly own a venture. They would have no advantage over any other form of business arrangement in the absence of a government to enforce special privileges for them. The present “corporate system” is odious and oppressive but the present system is brought to you by the power of a very strong central government. Mr. Hawkins knows this, or his is seriously deluded. Whichever the case may be, it is foolish to claim that there would be government enforced corporatism in the absence of a government to do the enforcing.

What to do?

To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. ~ Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

I was reading the anti-war journalist Glenn Greenwald the other day at The Guardian newspaper in the UK. Greenwald is one of those rare lefties who remains anti-war and anti-empire no matter which political party is in control of the US government.

Greenwald made this observation::

“There seems to be this pervasive belief in the US that we can invade, bomb, drone, kill, occupy, and tyrannize whomever we want, and that they will never respond. That isn’t how human affairs function and it never has been.”

This part of Greenwald’s essay is absolutely true. It has always has been this way. It was true in Vietnam and it was true when we installed the Shah of Iran to brutally rule over the Iranians in 1953. It was true during the invasion of Afghanistan, of Iraq, and of so many other countries. It was true during the brutal occupations. The thing is, no matter how many times you point out that others will always react extremely negatively to unjustified aggression, and justifiably so, there are millions upon millions who just don’t believe or understand the idea. They don’t understand that others are just like themselves and react when attacked. The state-sponsored propaganda spewed out by the minions of the power elite has always been that the USA is good, kind, humane, generous, and always in the right. Sadly, far too many Americans believe that heifer dust.

Law professor and long time essayist at LRC Butler Shaffer recently pointed out:

“Otherwise intelligent people – far more capable of making life-enhancing decisions for themselves than can any cadre of well-intentioned philosopher kings, PhD recipients, social workers, or think-tank “experts” – abandon their lives to institutional authorities and their media/academic propagandizers. Such voices do more than simply answer questions that people have; they define the range of questions it is considered appropriate to ask. It is this process that created “politically-correct” thinking.”

You could do far worse today than to re-read that quote again. Rarely do you see the problem put so clearly and so briefly.

You can see the propagandizers at work on TV and other media day and night. You can see these minions of the state hard at work keeping the warfare part of the welfare/warfare state fat and ever so well fed.

What to do? What to do? Well, far too many think that you can fight a few of the symptoms of the disease rather than the cause much like the bad medical doctor does — that always seems to make people feel like they are doing something. One could go vote for more and better Democrats next time (or the other political party if you swing that way), but all you will get is more of the same old thing. Deep in your heart you know its true, after all, generation after generation of voting has led to where we are now! Of course, like in the movie, you could always tell your kids someday that you wrote a very sternly worded letter (or comment on a blog) and that you voted for a candidate who said he was for peace. (Ron Paul ain’t running again and that unreliable Rand Paul said he loved domestic drones the other day)

Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ~ George Orwell

What to do? Ignore the millions of whiny little cowards who always claim that we can not live without our government dictating our every move and that it is “all for your own good”. Withdraw your consent from this evil government in any way you can. It is the only decent and moral thing to do; plus it is pragmatic. We will see a day like the day the USSR fell. Yes, it can happen here. Yes, it will happen here and the sooner the better. There will be pain, no doubt about that, but that is unavoidable in any case. What is important is that we educate as many of the sheep as possible that voluntary cooperation among people is vastly preferable to the coercion, violence, and brutality of any state. Our most important task in the immediate future is educating the young as we fight the government of the US at every turn we can. It is well worth reading Dr. Gary North’s essay on “How To Gum Up Any Institution” as we fight the state.

Every system can be brought down. Every system is vulnerable. If you can spot the weak point in the system, you can exploit it. ~Dr. North

Remember, if your government tells you the sun rises in the east and sets in the west — get up before dawn to check it out; never believe the “official version” of anything without all the investigation you can muster. Oh, and always support the alternative media. Very few real journalists work inside the mainstream media. Worse, most mainstream journalists are just opinion shaping minions of the state; deacons of The Church of The State.


The whole of economics

The whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. ~Henry Hazlitt

Hazlitt alerted us to the problem, we often don’t look at the whole picture and the long term effects. The law of unintended consequences tells us that we really do need to try to look ahead and see what may or may not come of our actions. Any human on planet earth could do much worse than to take the time to read Henry Hazlitt’s book “Economics in One Lesson“. Thomas Sowell has long echoed Hazlitt’s ideas in his nationally syndicated columns and in his many top selling books. Sowell writes that as a nation we often don’t look to see what the effects are of any proposed action on groups other than the target group and also don’t think about the effects of these actions have over time on the target group. What is the cascade of effects?

It is easy to show “good” effects on one group as you hide the bad effects on other groups. As Dr. Sowell pointed out:

“The government can always save 10,000 jobs — at a cost of 50,000 other jobs. If the jobs that are saved are in one industry, represented by vocal spokesmen, and the 50,000 lost jobs are spread thinly across the country in two’s and three’s here and there, then this is a good deal for the politician who becomes a hero to those 10,000 voters whose jobs he saved. This is obviously not a good deal for those who lose their jobs but they may not even know why. Moreover, when they are not concentrated in one place or in one industry, they are unlikely to come to the attention of the media. So they don’t count politically.”

That Thomas Sowell quote is an example of not looking to see what effects an action has on all groups. This is just more vote buying by the rulers who pull the levers of government power. The actions they take invariably are counterproductive and inherently unfair to the majority even as the rulers make it look otherwise. As H. L. Mencken observed long ago, “There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible and wrong.”

Government is never going to do your investigation into these matters for you since they are trying to keep you like a mushroom: in the dark and covered with crap. It is your job to educate yourself and to seek out those who have studied real economics and can help you understand the way the world really works and not be fooled by the demagogues.

Hazlitt also pointed out the main problem we have in trying to reason with the collectivists, socialists, and progressives who all believe in some form of Marxism. He wrote:

The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects – his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity. ~Henry Hazlitt

I think Hazlitt has hit the nail on the head with that quote. I don’t see how I could add much to it here today. The collectivist has great envy of the others who are out in the world getting things done. They are full of hate towards those that they see as “exploiting” the people; often by offering them things to buy. The fact that people buy these things of their own free will matters little to them. Why? Read the quote again.

Do you know about the Waco massacre?

For years my wife has been saying that if you want to really get people in trouble in America make everyone believe they are a ‘cult’. I think she has a point, but younger people might not because they might not know what happened at the Waco, Texas siege back in 1993 when the government murdered men, women, and children in a “photo-opp” invasion of private property.

A fellow named Anthony Gregory has done many essays and short histories on the event and one could do a lot of good research reading his work. His latest essay on what happened is here. He has listed at the bottom of his latest post a convenient list of links to many of his past articles on the subject and you might want to look at some of those if you find the time. I lived through those days and remember a lot of it even these twenty years later, and so, I would like to share some of my remembrances of those days since this is the twentieth anniversary of that atrocity and since the Boston Marathon Bombings bring to mind major disasters/slaughters of the past.

The Waco Siege is important because it showed Americans, those with their eyes open at least, the truth about American law enforcement. Many of us already knew what the American government was capable of due to close observation of our many invasions and brutal occupations overseas over the decades, but Waco clearly showed the utter lawlessness, brutality, and sadistic nature of the domestic side of the American government. Unfortunately the Americans that were alive and observant in 1993 grow older by the day and the event is becoming a myth written by government historians that papers over the real nature of the horror. I guess it is always like that.

Anyway, on to the story as I remember it and as others have recorded it. It all began with several scandals that plagued the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) federal agency. There was a sexual harassment scandal  and there was a racial discrimination scandal. Especially in the 90’s the charges of sexism and racism inside a federal agency were explosive and damaging. There was some talk of reducing the agencies scope and budget hearing were coming up. So, the agency looked for a “photo-opp” situation to improve their public image. [UPDATE: A friend left a comment to remind me that “… the internal codename of the BATF assault was “Operation Showtime”. — yes, and what an arrogant and revealing code name it was]

The first step was to demonize the Branch Davidians which were a weird Protestant group that originated in 1955 from a split from the Seventh-day Adventist Church which itself is often seen as a “cult”. They were accused in the papers of child abuse, gun law violations, and other unsavory matters. They kept to themselves and lived on a secluded ranch which itself is suspicious to most urban Americans. Their leader was David Koresh who was their “prophet”. Koresh often came into town and knew the local sheriff well. His group did make some money buying and selling guns but that was not unusual in Texas in the 1990’s. Koresh had always cooperated with the sheriff and had even had beers with him at a local tavern.

The ATF decided to execute a public raid on the campground home of the Branch Dividians on TV. They invited the press and proceeded to stage a militarized raid on the home of these peaceful people on February 28, 1993. Gunfire ensued and after it was over there were ATF agents shot, but the Dividians stopped shooting as soon as the government stopped shooting. Reports later indicated that some ATF agents shot their own people in what is called “friendly fire”. Remember, there were many women and children inside this building. The government choose to invade the home of a large group of peaceful Americans guns a blazing rather than just take Koresh into custody on one of his many, many trips into town. The local sheriff later said that he could have produced Koresh any day with a simple phone call, and so then came the now famous standoff.

The FBI took over from the ATF and America witnessed a military operation against the Dividians. The FBI used psychological torture methods including blasting the compound with loud, obnoxious music and blinding lights for starters. Their water was cut off. They were denied communications with the outside world. All across America this group were demonized by the press with unsubstantiated (and later disproven) charges of child abuse and sexual immorality.

Finally after many days and weeks the FBI was ordered by President Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno to put an end to it. On April 19, 1993 the FBI pumped flammable and poisonous CS gas into the Branch Davidian’s home. This gas is banned internationally for use in warfare! And yet the American government incinerated men, women, and children with this illegal gas. The FBI and the Clinton Administration knew well that innocent women and children were trapped in the section of the home exposed to this gas. The government pumped this illegal gas into the compound for 6 long hours.


The government continued to deploy gas for almost six hours.  As Anthony Gregory pointed out:

Chemistry professor George F. Uhlig testified in congressional hearings that he estimated there was a sixty percent chance that the gassing alone killed some children. “Turning loose excessive quantities of CS definitely was not in the best interests of the children,” Uhlig said. “Gas masks do not fit children very well, if at all.” He said that the gassing could have transformed their surroundings “into an area similar to one of the gas chambers used by the Nazis at Auschwitz.”

If that was not enough, the FBI then used an Abrams tank borrowed from the Army to attack the home. At the time the laws (Posse Comitatus Act) preventing the military from operating on US soil were still being honored and so the site of this tank being used to flatten a home in America was a very unusual sight. The FBI latter lied over and over to the press about what had really happened that day, and since they used the tank to destroy evidence by flattening the compound they were able to hide the reality for a short while. But the fact they used internationally banned gas did come out in the press. It is recorded that more than seventy people died that day at the hands of the FBI. Everyone of these men, women and children (more than twenty children died) had never been charged with any crime. As the fire was burning the home and with children trapped inside, the FBI prevented the fire department from trying to put out the fire. Think on that for a moment.

There was a show trial of the few survivors and many went to jail to satisfy the government’s lust for revenge on any group that would dare try to protect itself and make the government look bad. There was a whitewash report issued by congress absolving the Clinton administration of all blame and the nation moved on to other matters as it always does.

Folks, that Waco incident mean to me that the US government is lawless, brutal, sadistic, and totally without redeeming feature. The only good thing to come of that sub-human atrocity was that many, like me, saw the true nature of the government in all its horror. I recommend to you, gentle reader, that you study reports of that brutal assault on innocent men, women, and children and look into the eyes of the beast. The Waco Massacre shows us the truth about law enforcement and brutal nature of the state itself as well as the often demonstrated propensity of the authorities to blatantly lie to the public over their actions.