Tax consumers and the brutality of the state

As the U.S. becomes more and more a police state, the population needs to realize that the government is not “us”. The government is the enemy that divides us into various groups in a divide and conquer strategy. It views the mundane citizen as a milk cow to produce the things that enables the government’s own agenda.

The risible idea that public servants share the burden of government when public servants are the burden of government is yet another ideological scale that the libertarian must remove from the eyes of the masses so that they can see the truth. The truth as classic libertarian class analysis demonstrates is that the State divides the people into two classes: tax payers and tax consumers. Tax payers are those who produce and exchange in the market. Tax consumers are those who live off of the production of those who exchange in the market. And without a clear delineation between who is a tax payer and who is a tax consumer, the tax payers will never see that they are the exploited class. They will never realize that the tax consumers live off of their production and that the tax consumers composing the ruling class uses tax payers own resources to crush their freedoms. Instead the tax payers will continue to think that their rulers are actually on equal standing with them. — Brutus

The tax consumers are legion. It is not just the “welfare queens” or the local bureaucrats that everyone loves to malign. The tax consumers are all those people who do not “produce and exchange in the market“. In other words, the tax consumers are those people who do not live by voluntary, mutual exchange but rather they live be coercion and threat — the state is their weapon. Everyone from the president down to the guy who runs the local street sweeping machine for the city are tax consumers and live by the force and brutality that is the state. This tax consuming class amounts to more than half of the country at the present time, so the battle for freedom and liberty is going to be a long row to hoe. America was founded on the ideas of the classical liberals but in these modern times we have rejected their policies as a people.

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As the president claims that he can take the country to a new war in the middle east without any vote by congress authorizing the action we see some big government conservatives complain about “presidential over-reach”. But these same people who are worried about the constitutionality of the president’s claim are happy to see the vast amount of new private prisons being built to cage people for ingesting or smoking a weed without the expressed permission of the state. This is, obviously, unconstitutional to anyone capable of reading and understanding the document but our conservative friends love big and intrusive government as long as it is making people do what these conservatives think they should do.

But let us not just blame the neo-con war-mongers who are so beloved by the mainstream media these days. Anyone who believes in democracy or the collective will is responsible for the actions of the state that they support. Every instance of police brutality, deaths in no-knock drug raids by SWAT teams, massive “collateral damage” in our continuing brutal occupations in foreign countries, or any of the other countless wrongs committed by the state is a crime that all state supporters share in. It is like all members of a criminal gang share in the culpability of the crimes the gang commits. And so supporters of the state share in the responsibility for all the crimes of the state — yes even down to the public school teacher. There is no such thing as the ‘collective will.’ Democracy is merely tool used by the majority to trample on the rights of the minority; and those in control will ultimately use the state to trample on the rights of almost everyone. All states become ever more a police state.

The only real answer to our many problems is to stop asking the government to “fix things” in the first place. Don’t ask government to “create jobs” or to “fix” the situation in Iraq. Peace, prosperity and a state of well being can only be created by individuals agreeing to exchange their labor and capital by mutual, voluntary consent. The use of force cannot create freedom, either here or anywhere else in the world.

“It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. ……The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.” ~Ludwig Von Mises

The brutal killer Mao of China once told us that all government flows from the barrel of a gun. We must educate the population that it is the very entity, the state, that they ask to “fix things” that is the problem in the first place.

The state, its minions, and morality

Murray Rothbard once observed that the first truth to be discovered about human action is the simple fact that human action can be undertaken only by an individual human actor. Only humans have human ends and preform acts to obtain those ends. If the truth is that only individual humans can act purposely to attempt to accomplish their goals, then we must ask if there is anything that a group of two men or more may morally do that would be immoral for them to do individually. After all, this observation means that nations, states, collectives, churches or other groups do not act, but rather these are abstractions that are shorthand for the individual humans that form the group and it is the individual humans in the group that do act.

murray-rothbard-enemy-stateIt may be a useful metaphor to say that the American military invaded Iraq, but it is not the real truth. The truth is that millions of men and women took actions that supported the killing and brutal occupation of the Iraqi nation. The metaphor is only useful as long as we understand that it was really an invasion by many individual humans each preforming individual tasks that went to make up the overall invasion. The metaphor often is used to obfuscate the truth that each human that was involved in any capacity is responsible for his own actions and guilty of any crimes committed by the collective.

I find that there can never be a morality for a mob that is different from the morality of the individual. How can two men join together to murder a third man morally if each could not do so individually? The ancient view of the state was that there were special rules of morality which had to be used to judge the actions of the State which was said to be above the moral judgments that we apply to individual men. This “special standard of morality” was said to allow an individual to kill, rape, bomb, torture, pillage, or humiliate others in the name of his nation-state with moral impunity since he was acting as a minion of the state. The individual, it was said, could remain “moral” as long he committed these crimes in the service of the state.

It was the Classical Liberal  tradition that abolished this evil idea and replaced it with the notion that we are all responsible for our own actions. We get no special dispensation from God or the State to act immorally by virtue of being a minion of the state, or any other group for that matter. The classical liberals argued that the actions of the nation-state was to be judged in the same manner as an individual human actor and that the actions of each human in the group are to be judged against a common moral standard that goes for the individual and the group itself.

This new idea of moral judgment by the classical liberals changed the face of politics. It meant that individual humans were to be judged based on their individual actions even if they were in service of the collective. No longer would “I was following orders” be an acceptable excuse as the Nazi found out after WWII. Unfortunately, modern Americans somehow believe that they are “exceptional” and therefore exempt from this idea that each individual is responsible for his own actions and that the state must be held to the same morality as the individual. In fact, Americans seem to believe that they are never to be held to any standard of morality as long as they act as minions of the U.S. government. In this they are horribly wrong.

Can a constitution put limits on a government?

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John C. Calhoun, was one of North America’s first political theorists and he wrote about the inability of a constitution to limit government. He points out that no document, not even if written on a hallowed piece of parchment, has the inherent power to bind officials to read it correctly or follow its strictures. As time goes on it gets even weaker in this ability as language changes and governments build up their power.

In his A Disquisition on Government, Calhoun explains the problem:

A written constitution certainly has many and considerable advantages, but it is a great mistake to suppose that the mere insertion of provisions to restrict and limit the powers of the government, without investing those for whose protection they are inserted with the means of enforcing their observance, will be sufficient to prevent the major and dominant party from abusing its powers. Being the party in possession of the government, they will… be in favor of the powers granted by the constitution and opposed to the restrictions intended to limit them. As the major and dominant parties, they will have no need of these restrictions for their protection. …

The minor or weaker party on the contrary, would take the opposite direction and regard them as essential to their protection against the dominant party. … But where there are no means by which they could compel the major party to observe the restrictions, the only resort left them would be a strict construction of the constitution. … To this the major party would oppose a liberal construction—one which would give to the words of the grant the broadest meaning of which they were susceptible. It would then be construction against construction—the one to contract and the other to enlarge the powers of the government to the utmost. But of what possible avail could the strict construction of the minor party be, against the liberal interpretation of the major, when the one would have all the powers of the government to carry its construction into effect and the other be deprived of all means of enforcing its construction? In a contest so unequal, the result would not be doubtful. The party in favor of the restrictions would be overpowered. … The end of the contest would be the subversion of the constitution… the restrictions would ultimately be annulled and the government be converted into one of unlimited powers.

Nor would the division of government into separate and, as it regards each other, independent departments prevent this result… as each and all the departments—and, of course, the entire government—would be under the control of the numerical majority, it is too clear to require explanation that a mere distribution of its powers among its agents or representatives could do little or nothing to counteract its tendency to oppression and abuse of power.

The weakness of limits on governmental power guarantee that a state will grow in power. After all, why would you expect a criminal gang like the nation-state to honor its own rules and founding documents? It is the nature of the government of a nation-state to grow in power and control day after day until it becomes a tyranny. The U.S. government is becoming a Dystopian nightmare — a vast police state of unimaginable brutality and power. Every village in the land has a SWAT team now! This was never the intention of the document called the U.S. Constitution — or at least that is what the authors claimed back then.

When I was young there was a military draft in the U.S. in spite of the fact that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution states:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Back in the early 20th century there was a court case over this issue during WWI. The draftees challenged conscription on the grounds that being forced to serve in the military was a form of involuntary servitude and hence is clearly unconstitutional under the 13th Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the question in Butler v Perry (240 US 328 [1916]) thusly:

The 13th Amendment introduced no novel doctrine with respect of services always treated as exceptional, and certainly was not intended to interdict enforcement of those duties which individuals owe to the state, such as services in the army, militia, on the jury, etc. The great purpose in view was liberty under the protection of effective government, not the destruction of the latter by depriving it of essential powers.

The U.S. Supreme court gets to “interpret” the words of the written document in whatever manner it so chooses; and hence the words themselves are no barrier to the nation-state doing whatever it pleases to do. While the document might slow the state down in times of great public outcry, there is no protection to be found there. Consider that since 1945 the U.S. has been continually at war and yet the constitution has not been followed in any of those aggressive, illegal, and undeclared wars. What good did the Constitution do in those instances? It is for this reason that those who advocate for a smaller government should place little faith in the power of a “god damn scrap of paper” (the Constitution) to constrain the state. That is true even with brand new amendments or even a whole new Constitution written in the clearest, most modern prose possible. To restrain politicians in their pursuit of power and control is beyond the power of a piece of paper.

Lies, damn lies, and “Exceptionalism”

In an op-ed piece published in the New York Times, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin warns the people of the United States against further interventions:

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

The Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, nails it with that portion of his New York Times essay.

He goes on to mention the American caused horror that is today’s Libya. It is now “divided into tribes and clans” and in a state of confused conflict. That illegal war was the U.S. government “helping” the people of Libya? Of course not, that war was just another in a long line of the U.S. destroying all governments in the middle east that were not toadies to the U.S. and its partner in crime Israel. Like the other interventions, the Libyan war was built on lies, deceptions, blunders, and massive propaganda. Libya is today a failed state reduced to lawlessness and ruin.

We can hope that twelve years after 9/11 that the U.S. is ready to see that its interventionist policies are morally wrong, unlawful, counterproductive, and ruinously expensive. Not only do these ridiculous interventions destroy the poor men, women, and children that we are supposedly helping, but it is destroying the U.S. itself. As has been famously observed, both sides lose in every war.

We can cheer the fact that Putin’s gambit to have Syria turn over all chemical weapons to the U.N. seems to have stopped Obama and led to his defeat in Congress over getting their backing for war. We can also cheer Obama’s defeat over Syria  in the public opinion polls and welcome this very positive sign of the times, but we must still yank out the evil weed of “American Exceptionalism”.

Putin’s condemnation of “Exceptionalism”:

I would rather disagree with a case [President Obama] made on American exceptionalism, stating that United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

It is amazing that it takes an ex-KGB man from the Soviet Union to remind us that all people are created equal and no one has the right to aggress against people who are not attacking you. Libya never attacked the U.S. and yet we utterly destroyed that poor nation. Now we see Syria in the same light. What have they done to the U.S.? They have done nothing at all to the U.S. other than be a country on Israel’s hit list and a stepping stone to their dream of destruction of the Persians in Iran.

War; an ugly evil

Everyone would love to see the world and all its inhabitants peaceful, prosperous, and in harmony with all of creation. We would all love to see a peaceful and wealthy world. At least all the sane people would love to see that. What stands in our way of achieving that happy state of affairs? What stands in the way of ever-increasing social cooperation, wealth and a fuller development of civilization? Aggression, the initiation of violence, stands in the way. I mean aggression in all its various forms, but war is the worst of them all.

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I have always been anti-war. I have never seen a legitimate reason for starting any war. I think that state violence is a greater threat to social cooperation, liberty, and prosperity than private criminal violence or anything else that stands in the way of achieving an advanced, prosperous society. While a private criminal strikes you and moves on, the state settles down and robs you again and again, year after year. This domestic pattern of violence and aggression is also the blueprint for the nation-state’s relationship with other states. The U.S. Empire has been at war in some manner or the other for its entire history — especially if you include the hidden wars of the CIA in South America and around the globe. The state has an inherent tendency to grow in power and predation and as it becomes more powerful it becomes ever more aggressive. The very powerful Empires in history would not tolerate another nation that would not bow down in submission to its every wish. The U. S. is no exception.

I don’t see the state as primarily a protection from aggressors foreign and domestic as many of my fellow citizens do, but rather I see the state as the primary danger to our lives, liberty and property. It is the state itself that keeps voluntary society from organizing itself into the most beneficial mode of existence that it can. The state grows ever more powerful over time, but its growth rate really accelerates in times of war. Randolph Bourne’s observation that “war is the health of the state” is still true today. We should all recognize that states have an incentive to start wars. During wars the state is able to have the further justification of the war emergency it created itself to seize even more property, gain more power of its citizens, shred civil liberties, and generally grow in size and scope. All that plus the rich cronies to power get even richer off the blood, misery, and destruction of the innocent.

Is there any just war at all? Murray N. Rothbard argued that there were two American just wars in his essay “America’s Two Just Wars: 1775 and 1861.” Rothbard claimed that “a just war exists when a people tries to ward off the threat of coercive domination by another people, or to overthrow an already-existing domination. A war is unjust, on the other hand, when a people try to impose domination on another people, or try to retain an already existing coercive rule over them.” I think it is just to resist aggression and that the defending side in an invasion is morally justified in its defense only if there is a chance of winning and if the defending side is not going to get many innocent people killed by its defense. This means that I am not as sure that the two wars were as defensible as Rothbard thought they were. After all, Canada became independent without a war.

There are thousands of excuses that states use to tell their own side that the next war is morally justified and absolutely necessary. These excuses always turn out to be lies piled on top of lies, but they continue to work to the state’s advantage. In today’s world we Americans are often told that some group of people are having “their rights” violated and so the U.S. must go defend them. Some group of people may have rights, but it is their responsibility to defend or safeguard such rights and not the responsibility of the young men and women of the U.S. (or any other country) to go get killed for their rights. Our first priority given the anti-social destruction of war is to avoid war at nearly all costs. Even if justified in defense, a people are better off if some option of negotiation can be used.

Since wars are the wanton murder of the innocent, especially women and children, as well as destruction of society, we must oppose all war. Even the side that is clearly defending against an immoral and illegal invasion will almost always commit war crimes against the innocent, so we must be against all war unless the aggression is clear cut and of such magnitude that the defending side was left with no other realistic option.

For the above reasons and others, it should be obvious that I can only see the U.S. and President Obama’s threatened destruction of yet another country that has done us no harm as immoral and illegal. It is brutal, ugly, and bestial that the U.S. government is complimenting a war of aggression against Syria. Mr. Obama claims that because some children were killed by gas by criminals unknown that he is entitled to murder civilians by the bus-load in a country half-way around the world. This is bullocks as my English friends would say. Obama looks to be wanting to help the very people who may have committed the crime in the first place. Certainly the rebels had chemical weapons and the will to use them to further their ends.

It is time to end the criminal wars of the U.S. — impeachment would be a good start. Unfortunately thinking that some politicians in congress are going to do the right thing is just wishful thinking. We must re-double our efforts to get our fellow citizens to withdraw their consent to be government by criminal gang writ large called the U.S. government.