Selling Freedom to the Indoctrinated?

I began this blog years ago to be able to answer people that I encounter on Twitter. After all, Twitter is hard to use for any real debate as you only get a few words per tweet. On Twitter it is sometimes easy to be misunderstood or not be able be get your point across with all the nuances and caveats that any realistic position entails. For a long time now I have not had the time to engage people on Twitter along with the time to write about it. Well, today I have both.

The debate that prompted this post was among libertarians and/or anarchists. We find the state to be tyrannical, brutal, unnecessary, and evil. There are many ways to say this, but we did not talk about the nature of the state, what liberty is, our interpretation of the non-aggression principle, or how people would live in a world without the state (government) ruling us. We talked about “normal people”; those that don’t hate the state. Why the hell can’t the man in the street see that it is the state itself that causes most of our problems?

It was asserted that those who could not see that the state is evil and should be done away with were “willfully ignorant” of the truth. I took exception to that statement. It is not that I have never said words similar to that myself — we all get irritated at the statists and their state-worship; but I don’t think it is right to blame the victim of the massive pro-state propaganda that we live in for the outcome of so many thinking the state is the “protector” of all that is good and decent.

It is my opinion that the state and all its paid minions have used massive propaganda to sell the idea that the state is necessary to civilization. The state has deluded the populous into believing that mankind’s biggest enemy is the entity that brings him the benefits of modern civilization. I will delve into how this came to be in another post, but today I only assert that the state has, in fact, been very successful in making the average citizen believe that the state is benevolent, necessary, and inevitable. And for those who don’t buy all three of those things — the idea that the state is inevitable, evil or not, is almost universal in the world today.

I assert that we can not blame the victim of this near universal delusion. A modern man is born into a society that overwhelmingly believes in the inevitability of the state. A young person is more apt to question gravity itself than to question the state. A young person is apt to know no one at all who questions the state. He is apt to go though school without being exposed to the ideas of anarchism: real anarchism based on the non-aggression principle. A person is apt to have little exposure to the ideas of the principled radical anarchist. Many are ignorant of the truth of our enemy the state, but I don’t buy that they are “willfully” ignorant. I believe that most people are programed by society to believe the big lie that we need the state and so must put up with it.

Is that non-exposure their fault? No, it is the fault of the state and its minions — and those of us who know the truth. We must work harder to get the word out. One reason that I was in favor of Ron Paul’s message candidacy for the presidency was that he talked to a lot of young people about freedom and liberty. He planted seeds that have grown and will continue to bear fruit. I can’t hope to equal Ron Paul’s impact. I can only hope to enlighten my readers and my students. Regardless, I will continue to work for the demise of the state. I will re-dedicate myself to write more; even when so few read these posts. After all, I can only do what I can.

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Can we be optimistic given that the state has such power? After all, they “school” the child in state worship in the “public” schools. The state has great allies in the main stream media, corporations, academia, and the churches.

Can we be optimistic? To answer, I note that a couple of years ago I mentioned that Murray Rothbard pointed out that before the 18th century in Western Europe there existed an identifiable Old Order called the Ancien Régime. It was feudalism marked by “tyranny, exploitation, stagnation, fixed caste, and hopelessness and starvation for the bulk of the population.” The ruling classes governed by conquest and tricking the masses into believing that it was “divine will” that the Kings should rule, plunder, and enslave. The Old Order was the great and mighty enemy of liberty and for century after century it appeared that the Ancien Régime  could never be defeated.

We know better now. The Ancien Régime is dead and gone and no one claims that God gave Kings the divine right to rule over others. The classical liberal revolution that triumphed in the 18th century (in the West at least) overthrew the Old Order. Well, we can win again and next time we will know not to allow even the seed of the old order to remain. We must root out the idea of the old order root and branch. We don’t face as hard a task as the original classical liberals did in the 1700s for we now know that it can be done.

I think we have reason to be optimistic. We know that the American Empire can not last and that it is so over extended that the end will come soon. We must do our best to educate the “common man” on the type of society that should replace the present evil. That is our job.

The state and our future

I have been watching American presidential elections since Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960 in an election that was probably really won by Nixon and stolen in Chicago. Of course no one cares now who really won that election and I doubt that history would have been much different if Nixon had won that year — other than the CIA would not have needed to assassinate Nixon for going soft on wars.

In the years since 1960 I have watched a government grow in size, power, scope, intrusiveness, and in raw brutality. The US state in 1960 would never have publicly admitted to torture, much less publicly defended the practice. But the growth of the US government over time did not start in ’60. Consider the following quote from decades before:

 “Government today is growing too strong to be safe. There are no longer any citizens in the world there are only subjects. They work day in and day out for their masters they are bound to die for their masters at call. Out of this working and dying they tend to get less and less.” H.L. Mencken

Law Professor Butler Shaffer once wrote:

“The central premise of much of my writing over the years has been that the psychopathic nature of the political establishment has reached a critical mass.”

It seems to me that the US central government has now reached a critical mass of corruption, cronyism, brutality, and raw evil.

The definition of the “state” that I have often seen is that entity that enjoys a monopoly on the legitimate use of force or violence within a given geographical territory. The USA is now claiming the right to use force throughout the entire world, and I don’t know how that will turn out given that other nations see the Empire as an overbearing bully. One thing we know is the the state, the USA in particular, depends on the regular exercise of using force and violence both inside its borders and outside its borders. It is easy to see the meaning of Randolph Bourne’s observation that “war is the health of the state.”

As we approach yet another presidential election, we have to ask ourselves if we really think that the outcome will change our future all that much. Given that the neocons have pretty much taken control of foreign policy in both parties, and they intend to keep us forever attacking some forever changing “enemy” that we “must” destroy to “keep our freedoms”. What freedom? The freedom to obey the state?

Consider the surveillance by the State of its own people as outlined by Edward Snowden. Consider the government’s control over eating habits, health care, schooling of the young, the rise the nanny state, and the fact the government asserts total ownership over the children. Consider that one mother was arrested for letting her kids go play in the public park that was across the street from her house. Oh my!

The state has increased its control and domination of the people with the increased militarization of police. They now have tanks, armored troop carriers, battlefield weapons, drones, and military helicopters. Who knows what all they have that we don’t know about? The police also have assumed the powers of an occupying army. They pull no-knock SWAT raids, they torture, they put people into prison without trials, they steal people’s assets, and there appears to be no real accountability. They police claim to be protecting us from “the bad guys” but it is the police that are the psychopaths and murdering bad guys.

This monstrous police state that is the USA started out as a “night watchman” small government in the style that the Classical Liberals thought would be constrained and controlled by the Constitution. I think we can all agree that the USA is in no way bound by the constitution — it is all in the interpretation you see. And who gets to interpret the constitution? Why the state itself gets to interpret the constitution. The failure of the experiment in a minarchist government does not seem to have registered on my minarchist friends. They still seem to think that some “night watchman” government can be instituted without it gaining ever more power over the people as time goes on. Nothing as blind as those who will not see.

The next election? It will have no more meaning than the babbling of an insane man who is talking to his imaginary friends. We can root for the “best candidate” if we want; after all I always have a favorite in the World Cup matches; but there will be no real difference in the two candidates running. It was once observed that if voting made a difference then it would be against the law. I hope you don’t think that observation was just humor.

Our future depends on the people waking up to the fact that the state is our enemy. We must educate people in the libertarian philosophy of the non-aggression principle. The modern state is only a few centuries old. We can overcome the modern state and find a way to live in peace without a tyranny brutalizing us at every turn. We can live stateless, and really that is our only path forward if we hope to survive and prosper.

Educate yourself, and then be willing to educate others that want to learn. It is our only hope.

 

The Crucial Question of Liberty

Murray N. Rothbard was one of the finest minds of the 20th century and helped to resurrect the freedom movement seemingly single-handedly. He wrote in 1977:

I have been ruminating recently on what are the crucial questions that divide libertarians. Some that have received a lot of attention in the last few years are: anarcho-capitalism vs. limited government, abolitionism vs. gradualism, natural rights vs. utilitarianism, and war vs. peace. But I have concluded that as important as these questions are, they don’t really cut to the nub of the issue, of the crucial dividing line between us. …

And what did he come up with as the crucial question that we must ask of ourselves and of those who claim to be our allies? His answer was this: “Do you hate the State?”.

There runs through the works of Rothbard a deep and pervasive hatred of the State and all of its works. He saw, as I do, that the State is the enemy of all mankind. Everywhere I look I see problems caused or made worse by the State. I view myself as a “radical” in the same way that Rothbard viewed himself and the reliable members of our liberty movement as radicals.

… Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated intellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and anti-statism that integrates reason and emotion, heart and soul. …

The sense of being in total and absolute opposition to mankind’s greatest enemy, The State, is a defining characteristic of my worldview. Anyone can see that means that I was truly a big fan of Rothbard back when he was alive and writing.

For those of us who have seen that the State is our enemy, the question naturally arises as to what are we to do about it. The radical libertarian thinks of abolishing the State just as the State is always thinking of us as slaves to be used and abused. We do not think in terms of “making it a little bit better” as that just does not work. We don’t think in terms of “Ron Paul as president would fix everything!” as it is no use to use evil to attempt to do good. As radical libertarians we must take every opportunity to cut back the size and scope of the State in whatever way we can. And we must never, ever look to the State to solve our problems — that is to deal with the Devil.

We must try to convince our minarchist friends that there is no way to constrain a State. If you allow a weak, laissez-faire State then sooner or later it will become a tyranny. Want proof? Look at the history of the United States starting with the Articles of Confederation up until the present day. It is the story of a weak, laissez-faire central state becoming a tyranny.

Rothbard once asked:

Why should there be any important political disputes between anarcho-capitalists and minarchists now? In this world of statism, where there is so much common ground, why can’t the two groups work in complete harmony until we shall have reached a Cobdenite world, after which we can air our disagreements? Why quarrel over courts, etc. now?

The answer is that if they were radicals and were fighting the State as the mortal enemy of mankind then we could work with them, but in the end they support the existence of the State and only disagree with Statists over the size of the beast.

murray-rothbard-enemy-stateNothing has changed since the 70s other than the State has continued to grow in size, scope, and intrusiveness. We are spied upon to a degree that would have astounded even George Orwell. We are subject to all manner of impoverishing rules, mandates, laws, taxes, and threats from the power mad ruling class and their puppet masters behind the scenes.

George Orwell painted a picture of a State that seeks the total and absolute exercise of raw power. The State demands blind, unquestioning obedience and allegiance to the all mighty central government. All independent or skeptical ideas are treason and subversion. This picture that Orwell painted in his novel 1984 is being played out to some degree or the other in every country on the planet Earth. Why? Because mankind is trapped in the fallacy that the State is a necessary evil. It is not necessary at all — but it is evil.

Purge from your mind any idea that the State can be tamed or put to good use. It is evil.

 

Radical Libertarians — What do we want?

A friend asked me the other day, “what in the hell do you people really want?” I promised a short answer and today I feel like providing it. Note; the emphasis is on a short answer. So many great thinkers have gone on at length about how real world libertarianism might work and there are complete books on every aspect of the issue: I only want to tell you what I think we radical libertarians want, not go into a long proof of how it would all work.

First, we ask that we not be the innocent victim of aggression. This is summed up in that old saying, “live and let live”. As long as I am not attacking you or your property then you should not be attacking me in any way. I don’t steal your stuff so why do you send armed men to take my stuff and abuse me if I decide to smoke a weed or drink big sugary soft drinks? (disclaimer: I don’t do any drugs — legal or not) Why does everyone think my city government has the right to demand I pay tribute (get a city permit) before I can put a new door on my house? Hell, I did not need the damn door until the city cops failed me and someone broke my old one. So I had to pay the thief, the city, and the door supply house! A damn ring of thieves.

I don’t want the state or its minions meddling in my life. I read recently that Tennessee will be investigating women to see if they took any illegal drugs during their pregnancy and may well take the child if they think there was any drug use. However, taking doctor proscribed dangerous drugs would be just fine apparently. I know from my years of experience that parents are often not ideal and some kids have a bad home life — but does the state own the children? I say the state does not.

“All we ask is to be left alone by those who would control or meddle; to live our lives as we see fit, harming no innocent person as we do. We will deal with any aggressors we encounter ourselves without asking to be “rescued” by other aggressors in silly suits. It is the only civilized way to live.” ~ Kent MacManiga

But the state sure does think they own the children. Take the horrifying story of a family who had their children kidnapped by the government after they took one child to the ER on the orders of their family doctor over a cut on his tongue. The state was not satisfied to steal just one kid; they took them all. A maddening tale of abuse by the state.

Another of the uncountable aspects of “meddling” by the state is that the state has made it illegal for many people to find work. By enacting various laws governing minimum wages, minimum age, and multitudes of requited employer paid expenses we have made millions of young men unemployable. I started with my first job at ninety cents an hour and I probably was not worth even that low wage. I worked in a processing plant and learned a lot about responsibility — much more than school ever taught me. In a way, I should have paid them the ninety cents an hour. I am lucky they did not think of it!

All the young men sitting around unable to get work due to the laws and regulations of the state are angry. They are on the “pipeline to prison” and they can be very dangerous to “normal” citizens. In a radical libertarian world they would be able to find work and earn money — and learn from the experience.

There is no case that can be made for the state (always in the guise of “society”) meddling in my choice of what drugs I choose to use or anything else I choose to do that is not an aggression against others. There is no case to be made that money should be stolen from one party and given to another party at the point of a gun; no matter if that theft is done by a private individual or by employees of the criminal gang writ large that we call the state.

I can hear my friend now: “get to the point Stoval; what the hell do you want?” I want a society where no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. I want a world were the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else is not legal. Aggression is synonymous with the state so I want no state. I want free people to cooperate by mutual voluntary agreement without the use of force or fraud being involved.

Do we need a state to be protected from “bad guys”? No. Let the private sector produce “protection agencies” and insurance agencies to protect people. Besides, people could protect themselves a hell of a lot better if the state did not make owning guns illegal in most instances. And armed populous along with a laissez-faire economy would go a long way to making for a polite society.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable. ~ H. L. Mencken

I guess in the end, I just want people to be free.

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Do we need the State?

Do we really need the state? A fellow who follows me on twitter (“Cyptid”) and appears to be a miniarch type libertarian spent most of late Saturday afternoon defending the necessity of the state. He kept saying that some foreign people would attack and kill us all — or at the least enslave us if we did not have a state to submit to. This is the normal non sequitur of the miniarch types where they claim that the necessity of society and cooperation proves that we need the state. They conflate the state and society.

So, what is the state? Like Murray N. Rothbard did, I like to define the state as that institution which possesses one or both of the following properties:

(1) it acquires its income by the physical coercion known as “taxation”; and (2) it asserts and usually obtains a coerced monopoly of the provision of defense service (police and courts) over a given territorial area. An institution not possessing either of these properties is not a state.

I often run into people  like “Cyptid” who claim that we must have a state and that anarchy is a “pipe dream”. We did not disagree on the horror that is that state. I continually talk to  people who are convinced that having a state in charge of everyone’s life is the only way that mankind can exist, or at least exist in a society even though they agree with me that there are countless examples of the state harming perfectly innocent people in various ways.

I contend that the state is an attack on society and not the protector of society but rather  the state is a monster. A most dangerous monster.

Robert Higgs make makes a powerful argument for why the state is a monster:

Lest anyone protest that the state’s true “function” or “duty” or “end” is, as Locke, Madison, and countless others have argued, to protect individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property, the evidence of history clearly shows that, as a rule, real states do not behave accordingly. The idea that states actually function along such lines or that they strive to carry out such a duty or to achieve such an end resides in the realm of wishful thinking. Although some states in their own self-interest may at some times protect some residents of their territories (other than the state’s own functionaries), such protection is at best highly unreliable and all too often nothing but a solemn farce. Moreover, it is invariably mixed with crimes against the very people the state purports to protect, because the state cannot even exist without committing the crimes of extortion and robbery, which states call taxation (Nock 1939), and as a rule, this existential state crime is but the merest beginning of its assaults on the lives, liberties, and property of its resident population.

I could spend all day listing various horrors committed by the Evil Empire that is the United States Government. But that was not the issue; rather the issue is if we are doomed to always have to live under a state or else be overrun by some foreign people who did have a state.

Without a central state to attack, any invader would have a real problem as the invader would have to dominate over 300 million people in the area now known as the “US”. We have found that throughout history men will rise to defend their homes from a foreign invader and that is without any defense agencies. Many people have pointed out that Defense Agencies would arise to provide defense for paying customers from the criminals both domestic and foreign. The laissez faire free market has always been far more efficient and effective than any agency or program of the state — and there is no reason to believe that would not remain the case if the area of defense.

A recurring theme of “Cyptid” was that the native Americans were wiped out by the Europeans as they took over north America. That argument neglects to mention that the invading Europeans came with very little in the way of “A State” which invalidates the whole example, but it does bring to mind “the old west”.  According to the research of Terry L. Anderson and P. J. Hill, the old west from the 1830s to around 1900 was very much like an anarcho-capitalist society. And anarchy in effect. They tell us that in effect; “private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved.” They also tell us that the common popular perception that the Old West was chaotic and that there little respect for property rights is totally false. There were “land clubs” and other organizations formed to allow people to cooperate with each other in the absence of a brutal government to dictate affairs to them.

The real question is how would the defense of the anarchist society be financed. After all, with enough money a strong deterrent defensive operation could be assembled. There are many who have studied that issue who believe that big businesses will tend to pay the bulk of the defense costs since they stand to lose the most in the event of any attacks. Since big businesses have to pass all costs on to the consumers, we see that the costs of defense would be spread out among the whole population just as it is now — only far more efficient. The defense providers in an anarchy are interested in keeping the peace and in defense — not invading other countries as the evil empire has done for nearly three centuries.

We can not know exactly how different people would decided to operate mutual defense organizations any more than people 100 years ago could describe modern social media via the internet. But we can say that men and women would join together to provide for a common defense in some manner without the need for a slave master government to force them to do so.

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