The nature of our opposition

As an enemy of the state I find my opposition is numerous beyond my abilities to count. I find opposition on the far left, the far right, in the middle, and from people whose politics defy being categorized. What these people all have in common is a deep belief that it is the state itself can be our salvation. Consider the “watermelons” (green on the outside and red on the inside) who want to use the state to force mankind back into a preindustrial state of being: they see the state as the ultimate salvation of life on this planet!

The  modern liberals “progressives” are by far the worst of the bunch as they are forever preaching that “the ends justify the means” and hence morality, ethics, honest debate, or any objective standard of behavior does not apply to them since they are trying to “save the world” and/or liberate mankind. I have been accused of being far to concrete and absolutist since I believe that there are, indeed, eternal truths that lead to an unchanging morality that is not relative to the situation at hand. There are things that are right and things that are wrong.

I find that many moderns claim that those who don’t believe that the end justifies the means are guilty of some sort of belief in a moral sense and code delivered by some deity either mystically or via some ancient revelation as in the Christian Bible. This, of course, means to them that I am sincerely deluded and they love to beat up on this straw-man version of where folks like myself find our morals. To the progressive as well as many other statists, morals just get in the way of whatever program they want to see enacted by the force and brutality of the state this week.

aa_live_and_let_liveBut the fact is that we can develop the whole of our morality from one simple axiom. That axiom is often called the non-aggression principle. By this we simply mean that we have no right at all to commit aggression against someone who has not aggressed against ourselves first.

The wiki at the Mises Institute defines the non-aggression principle thusly:

The non-aggression principle (also called the non-aggression axiom, or the anti-coercion or zero aggression principle or non-initiation of force) is an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate. “Aggression” is defined as the “initiation” of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violent self-defense. The principle is a deontological (or rule-based) ethical stance. (link)

The Mises Institute wiki entry goes on to say that the non-aggression principle has a long tradition that stretches back into the mists of time but that market anarchists and other schools of libertarianism have done the most to popularize the principle in these modern days. Many, such as Rothbard himself, have pointed out that non-aggression is a basic part of philosophical Taoism and has been for at least three thousand years.

What is special about the non-aggression principle? It is simply a statement of basic fairness that we all know deep in our hearts. This principle allows mankind to cooperate with one another and to build society which is the hallmark and basis for our very survival. In the early days, the European colonists of North America thought that banishment from the community was tantamount to a death sentence and most of the time they likely were right. Humans must cooperate with each other to find the peace, prosperity, and enjoyment of life that we all seek. This cooperation must be voluntary and based on mutual respect and trust — and only the non-aggression principle is going to serve us in this regard. The servant and his master do no cooperate because of mutual, voluntary trust but rather the servant fears the master and the relationship is based on force, fraud, and intimidation.

Force, fraud, and intimidation are the calling card of all states and their minions. The record of the state throughout history has been one of death, destruction, injustice, brutality, greed, murder, torture, and all the rest. The record of the state serves to prove to us that there is a better way. That better way is non-aggression leading to voluntary, mutual, beneficial cooperation among people.

The great philosopher, historian, and economist Murray Rothbard developed his entire “anarcho-capitalist” system from the simple starting point of non-aggression. To me, the starting point of non-aggression (or do unto others as you would have them do unto you) is the ultimate tool to answer any problem of morals or ethics. I find the there is no “moral relativism” in the moral questions of life. Moral relativism (like the end justifies the means) is the tool of those who seek to brutalize others even if they claim the brutalization is for your own good. (it never is)

I submit to my friends and foes alike, that there is one simple and unchanging rock that you can use to discover the deeper truths of how we should live and that rock is the non-aggression principle. You should meditate on that principle long and hard. Apply it in your daily life. Only bad Karma will come from violation of the Non-Aggression Principle.

 

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Private Property in Society

There has been a lot of back and forth lately between libertarian supporters of property rights and those who call themselves libertarian (or even anarchist) who think that no one may “own” anything. And so, this post was born in my mind to address a few aspects of the nature of private property and society.

Is there any social problem which, at its core, is not produced by a disrespect for the inviolability of property interests? Wars, inner-city gang conflicts, environmental pollution, the curricula of government schools, the “war on drugs,” restrictions on free expression, affirmative action programs, monetary inflation, same-sex marriages, realty, eminent domain, taxation, gun control, displaying the “Ten Commandments,” violent crime, rent control, terrorism, government surveillance of telephone and computer communications, zoning laws and urban planning, prayer in schools, government regulation of economic activity, . . . the list goes on and on.

In each such instance, conflicts are created and maintained by government policies and practices that forcibly deprive a property owner of decision making control over something he or she owns. Whether the ownership interest is in oneself, or in those external resources that a person requires in order to promote his or her interests or to otherwise express one’s purpose in life, the state is inevitably at war with property owners. ~ Law Prof. Butler Shaffer

One of the problems that arise is that most people don’t understand the definition of ownership in the first place. Ownership means that you have total control over the use of a thing. You may use it, give it away, leave it to whomever you choose when you die, or exercise control over the property for any other purpose. In this meaning of ownership we see that every state that has ever existed was socialistic to some degree or the other.  No matter what form the state’s government took, the state claimed the rightful authority to control the individual’s property anytime it saw fit to do so.

The communist system is based on the premise that the state owns all productive assets and that there is no private ownership at all. Other socialist systems nationalized only certain tools of production and communication, at least openly, but all socialist systems asserted the right of the state to take anything at any time from any subject under its rule. Fascism is a socialistic system in which title to property remains in private hands, but control is exercised by the state and always remember that control is ownership. In reality, the modern U.S. is not all that unlike the fascist systems of the past.

The question of how property is to be owned and controlled and who has this control is the most fundamental question we must address because the answer tells us whether the state owns us and we are slaves, or if we own ourselves as free men and women. We hear many claims that the communist regimes of the U.S.S.R. were the polar opposite of the fascist Nazi regime and most people do think of these two regimes as polar opposites;  but they were exactly the same in that the state claimed total control over the lives and property of every single subject within its geographic borders. Both systems thought that no one could exist outside of the state. These two states were both extreme examples of the totalitarian state — modern real world examples of dystopia.

All political systems are wars against the private ownership of property but most desire to hide that fact and so build up myths that make it appear like the people are able to “own” property and personal items. The state does this by excluding property rights from almost every political argument or policy. For example, if a company pollutes a river and thus harms people downstream, the company will face sanctions for breaking the law of the state and harming the environment, but in a just society it would be the owners of property downstream that would bring suit against the company for damages to their righfully owned property.

Ludwig von Mises once wrote that private ownership of the means of production is the fundamental institution of the market economy. He wrote that private ownership was the institution that characterizes the market economy and if it was absent then there could be no question of a market economy. The U.S. is a country that pretends to be a market economy but, in fact, is a crony-capitalist or corporatist economy.

We could go down a list of “social” problems and see that each one is easily solved if there is private ownership of all things, but becomes intractable if the matter rests in the hands of the state. One of the most important examples is the difference between a crime committed against a victim like murder, rape, assault and so forth and a “victim-less crime” like drug use, prostitution, gambling and so on.  Victim-less crimes are an assault against the property rights and liberty of the people. I have every right in the world to bet my money on a pony if I chose to do so. The criminalization of any voluntary action is a violation of individual property interests.

Should prayer be taught in schools? What about the new Common Core State Standards for Math and Language? If there were no government schools and all education was a private mater then there would be no controversy at all. It would be a matter of the family’s choice on how and were to have their children educated.

We should all know about the economic problem often called “the tragedy of the commons” were “public” property is mismanaged and overused while private property is maintained and used as wisely as the owner can. The state can not manage anything as well as the highly interested private owner can, nor can the minions of the state even have access to the vast array of information that is available. What over 300 million Americans know by daily observation and experience is not available to a relatively small, finite bureaucracy in the capital.

Individual liberty and social order are the two sides of the same coin. Individual liberty can not give rise to the voluntary and mutually beneficial division of labor that leads to social order and stability without the basis of private property.  If “everyone owns a thing” then in reality no one owns it, but in fact the criminal gang called the state does. The modern Americans who call themselves “liberal” (but are anything but that) love to claim that they are working for “social justice” by using the state to impose their vision upon the rest of us by force, fraud and intimidation. In reality, they are just making all of use poorer than we would otherwise be as they make themselves feel good. As the wag once said, it is easy to be very generous with other people’s money.

6a00d83452719d69e2014e86055c29970d-800wiWe have the situation were there are “things” and “land” on this earth that have economic value because people need or desire them. We have far more needs and desires than we do things, so there must be some way to balance out the needs and desires of the many — a hard task for anyone or any group to do. The way to do it is to let the free market and private property sort out the needs and desires via the free economy where the price signal will properly ration these “things”. It is only through the peaceful market rather than by the force of the state’s guns that we may achieve the maximum peace, prosperity, and pleasure in this world.

If you find someone who claims to be an “anarchist” or a “libertarian” who is against private ownership, then you have found one who is deluded or untruthful. There is no freedom without private ownership of property. Maximum liberty is when there is no state at all and all property is in the hands of individuals or groups of individuals.

What you owe to the state

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What do you owe to the United States of America just because you were born here and are a citizen?

“Nobody is born with a mandatory obligation to invisible lines on a map. Our fundamental obligation is to ourselves, our families, and the people that we choose to let into our circles…not to a piece of dirt that’s controlled by mob-installed bureaucrats.” ~ Simon Black

The biggest problem with any state is that it is the one institution that we allow a most peculiar exemption from all of the moral laws that guide us in our dealings with one another. We all know that the world is a very complex place with billions of people reacting to each other every day. We can not predict all of the ramifications of our various actions and so we have moral rules to guide us all. We have a deep sense of what is right and what is fair as we observe individuals dealing with one another in their daily affairs. Do I have any right to impose my will on my neighbor, who is doing me no harm?  Of course not! And my neighbor has no right to do me harm as long as I do not aggress against him — not even if he joins with a majority and passes a law that says he may do so.

The state is not some magical entity but it is simply an organization of individual human beings. There is no reason to believe that “the end justifies the means” for the state when it is morally wrong for the single individual or for non-state groups. If we set out to do things “for the greater good” believing that the ends justify the means, then we may realize to our horror that we have ushered in great evils. Recall that the definition of “ironic evil” is the evil that good men do as they try their best to do good. It is a law of nature and a close cousin of “the law of unintended consequences”.

The state is nothing more than a group of men and women running a criminal monopoly that uses force, fraud, and coercion to make everyone else to buy services from them. Even if they are correct and their old document that you or I never signed, called the Constitution, gives them permission to rob and brutalize the population, does that give them to moral right to do so? Of course not. They have a monopoly on interpreting and applying the constitution which they claim is a contract, but I never agreed to that contract and there is no impartial court to go to with contractual disputes anyway.They enforce the constitution with bullets.

Ideas are the motive power that produces human progress (or lack of same) and shapes the world. Ideas are more powerful than armies. This is why the state spends so much effort propagandizing us to get us to believe they have some rightful monopoly on the use of force and that only the minions of the state can decide what everyone must do, say, and think. Government employees think they are an elite class; above everyone else. Their wishes and opinions become the law while our wishes become crimes without prior approval by the state. The laws of the state are a club to beat the population and not a shield of protection. As long as the American people continue to believe in the idea that their most formidable enemies are terrorists from distant lands or other countries rather than their own government here at home they will continue to lose freedom and wealth to the very entity they so wrongly believe exists for their protection.

Historically criminality was seen to mean that both intent and at least one victim was required, but today criminality means whatever the minions of the state say is not allowed. We all have a clear idea of what it means when one party commits aggression against another’s person or property and that is easy for everyone to understand, but no one can keep up with the millions of capricious and conflicting rules and regulation of the state. The state’s millions of rules and regulations means that each of us is a criminal in some way and the state could use some aspect of its millions of regulations to trip us up any time government minions choose to do so.

There is no state rule, regulation or economic calculus that can replace each individual’s plans for his daily needs and desires. The man left to freely make is own decisions is the best man for that task and there are no free men without self-ownership. The state is the largest stumbling block to the people’s welfare that there has ever been, so why do we think we owe anything other than our animosity to the very group who does us the most damage?

What do I owe the criminal state? Nothing, other than a lasting hatred for its uncountably many crimes against men, women, and children.

Did you know why we have public schools?

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I was reading James Ostrowski and he reminded me of some of the history of “public schooling” (government schools) that I thought I would share with readers here.

“Socialists, who were very active in the public school movement, began operating covertly in secret cells in America as early as 1829, before the word socialism was even invented.” ~ Samuel Blumenthal

James Ostrowski wrote an excellent book on government schools called “Government Schools Are Bad for Your Kids: What You Need to Know” which I highly recommend that you read. Another great read is Sam Blumenthal’s book “Is public education necessary?

I was taught that in the old days parents refused to educate their children and that the state had to step in with compulsory attendance laws and government schools. All of this was said to be for the benefit and well being of the child. Yet before “public” schools which are compulsory tax-supported government indoctrination camps the U.S. had existed for over two centuries and had achieved great success and material wealth. As late as 1900 the U.S. had at most 10 percent of its children enrolled in a government high school with only 6 percent graduating, and yet the U.S. in 1900 was a major power in the world. The evidence is that the state does not need to be involved in education in order for the people to properly educate their young.

“A broad range of evidence from Victorian England and Wales and nineteenth century America shows that near-universal schooling was achieved before the state intervened in education.  The evidence suggests that the impact was to curb what was already flourishing―so much so that the picture of education in this and previous centuries seems far bleaker than it would have been had the private alternative not been suppressed and supplanted.” — James Tooley, education researcher

In today’s America we find that way too much of the population is illiterate and that critical thinking skills are rare indeed even though compulsory free government schooling is near universal. Test scores have been dropping for generations and all research into the knowledge of the average 18 year old reveals that they are not well educated at all. It is important to remember that “schooling” is not the same as “education” or “learning”.

Government schooling came to us for political reasons and remains a political institution. Murray Rothbard explains:

The Reformers advocated compulsory education for all as a means of inculcating the entire population with their particular religious views, as an indispensable aid in effective ‘war with the devil’ and the devil’s agents. For Luther, these agents constituted a numerous legion: not only Jews, Catholics, and infidels, but also all other Protestant sects. Luther’s political ideal was an absolute State guided by Lutheran principles and ministers. The fundamental principle was that the Bible, as interpreted by Luther, was the sole guide in all things. He argued that the Mosaic code awarded to false prophets the death penalty, and that it is the duty of the State to carry out the will of God. The State’s duty is to force those whom the Lutheran Church excommunicates to be converted back into the fold. There is no salvation outside the Lutheran Church, and it is not only the duty of the State to compel all to be Lutherans, but its sole object. Such was the goal of the initial force behind the first compulsory school system in the Western world, and such was the spirit that was to animate the system.”

I was taught that the American model of government education was based on the German Prussian model. If that were not bad enough, we also see that compulsory government education in America came in through religious machinations.

The reformers launched a campaign known as the common school movement from about 1830—1860.  Its leaders were mainly aligned with the Whig Party and with organized Protestant religions.  Neither Catholics nor Jacksonian Democrats liked the centralization aspects of this movement. . . . The common school movement shared the rhetoric and fervor of evangelical Protestantism; many of its leaders were ordained Protestant ministers who saw themselves as men with a mission.” — Scholar Diane Ravitch

A large part of the compulsory public schools movement was anti Roman Catholic in nature. Many believed that the Roman Catholics were a threat to American liberty so the education reformers were eager to prevent Catholic schools so that the Catholic young could be indoctrinated by the Protestant controlled government schools. The reformers demanded that no public funds flow to the Catholics to fund their schools. The states began to subsidize Protestant schools with tax dollars while denying Catholic schools funding. But they still charged Catholic people taxes for some reason.

It was the desire of the Anglo-Saxon majority to tame, channel, and restructure the immigrants, and in particular to smash the parochial school system of the Catholics, that formed the major impetus for educational ‘reform.’ ~ Murray N. Rothbard

Government schools were not established out of any dire need or humanitarian impulse to help the children, but out of the idea that the state should be used to indoctrinate the young to the ideas that those in power wanted to impose by coercion upon them. There was a variety of crass religious, political and economic motives but these motives pale in comparison to the root motivation which is to impose, by force, the ruler’s will upon the citizens. Contrary to today’s popular myths, society was filling the need for education remarkably well before the state took control of the children’s education.

The thing to remember is that government schools operate on relations between people that are coercive and involuntary. The full force of the state and its coersive laws force those without power to obey its dictates. Both children and parents have little choice but to obey their masters. In contrast, the private schools operate on a voluntary, contractual basis between the school and the family. If the mother decides that the private school is doing something that she can not live with then she may take her children elsewhere. In other words, education can be shopped for just as all other goods and services if government coercion is eliminated.

The people of the U.S. will never be free again as long as the state owns their children. And that, my friends, is the nature of the state’s assertion of total control over the schooling of the young. We must fight government control of education on all fronts.

The sociopath and the state

Murray Rothbard often told us that the state is defined as the system that enjoys a legal monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory. Even with all the media propaganda and the physiological conditioning of the government schools, one should be able to see that the state can only compel people through violence, threat of violence or fraud to force them to do what they would not have done on a free-will, voluntary basis. The rulers and their minions try to paint their various political actions as noble, morally principled, and above all else devoted to serving the “general welfare”. The truth is the opposite of what the state’s minions claim.

The reality of the situation is that the “We the People” in Constitution has never referred to all the people in the same way. All the people are equal but some people are far more equal than others. It is those who control the system that benefit from it, and the benefit comes from the system’s domination and brutality towards the “common” citizens. Many may also see that it is even worse for those unfortunates condemned to the lowest rung of society.

It is curious that people tend to regard government as a quasi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization. Government was constructed neither for ability nor for the exercise of loving care; government was built for the use of force and for necessarily demagogic appeals for votes. If individuals do not know their own interests in many cases, they are free to turn to private experts for guidance. It is absurd to say that they will be served better by a coercive, demagogic apparatus. ~ Murray N. Rothbard (Power and Market: Government and the Economy, 1970).

If the state is a brutal, demagogic and coercive apparatus then what sort of people do we suppose would most likely try to become part of that apparatus? What is the character of a man whose goal in life is to wield the violence of the state? What sort of morality can I expect from people who choose a career that allows them to use the arbitrary power and force of the government over other people?

H.L. Mencken once wrote that “All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man.” What about the men who enforce this organized exploitation upon the rest of us? What about the men and women who serve the implacable enemy of the well-disposed and industrious?

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It is my belief that service to the state attracts sociopaths. Since it is said that sociopaths become that way due to their environment verses the psychopath who suffers from an hereditary condition (this is controversial of course) it seems to me that not only does the state attract the sociopath but makes him even more sociopathic after he is inside the system wielding the power of the state.

A clerk at a DMV office may not exhibit the same traits as the brutal SWAT team member who is trained to shoot the family pets upon breaking into the citizen’s home, but this is but a matter of degree and not one of kind. The officials of the state whose functions are to enforce some government law are prepared to initiate violence against anyone regardless of the morality of the situation. This is the sort of thing that attracks the sociopath to service to the state in the first place.

The policeman has an appetite for ultimate power over others and that drives him toward becoming a cop in the first place. Then the unbelievable power and immunity of the job causes him to enjoy the mindless brutality that he dishes out on a daily basis. And the man who joins the war-machine to go overseas and kill innocent men, women, and children who have no power to threaten the U.S. mainland at all must be one of the most despicable sociopaths imaginable. Or consider the president himself who personally picks people to put on a “kill list” to have minions of the state bomb innocent men, women and children for his pleasure and amusement.

We may imagine that what happened in places like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia and so on were aberrations caused by evil men and women, but there were no more sociopaths in those places than we have here in the U.S. — it is all a matter of opportunity to practice mindless brutality. On a per capita basis we have no more, or less, evil people today in the U.S. than were in those totalitarian nightmares: all that is needed is for the right conditions to let them bloom and unleash the brutality that is in their nature.  Consider the 50,000 people employed by the TSA to inspect and degrade you. They are mostly middle aged and for some reason they chose to change careers and to have the opportunity to spend their days degrading and humiliating innocent men, women, and children. Sociopaths all.

It is said that we need the state to control the evil among us, but all the state does is give the evil among us vast power over the rest of us. It is time to realize that the entity called the state is the enemy of humanity. We must seek the end of the state.