Laws Are Forever!

Thank goodness laws can never be repealed or amended. As many have recently said about a certain contentious law, “It’s the law of the land!…get over it!”  Luckily for mankind, when laws are created, they never go away, because we all know that those omnipotent lawmakers could never make a mistake. Pair that with the omniscient intellectuals who drive their decisions, and it seems that the future looks quite bright for mankind!

I’ve decided to list a few of my favorite perpetual laws, ones that “extremist anarchists” so foolishly and “douchebaggedly” attempted to strike down. Little did they know that laws are forever!

- Quartering of Troops in the Colonies – The Quartering acts were passed just prior to the American War for Independence, with the second one coming in reaction to the Boston Tea Party. The British Troops were to be quartered by colonists, a requirement which was cited in that anarchist Thomas Jefferson’s extreme “Declaration of Independence.” Thank goodness this law is still on the books, and perhaps President Obama will leverage this law to quarter troops in homes next to known Tea Partiers, because their “seditious” and “extremist” beliefs must be swiftly and violently addressed. Watch out, Ted Cruz!

- On September 13, 1861, Francis Key Howard, the grandson of Francis Scott Key was arrested under the orders of President Abraham Lincoln. As the editor of a Baltimore newspaper, Howard had published some less-than-supportive words for Lincoln’s War to Prevent Southern Independence, words which “Honest Abe” felt were a bit anti-American. Howard was imprisoned at Ft. McHenry, the site of a battle during which his grandfather had been held as a prisoner of the British. Watching the bombardment of Ft. McHenry from a British ship, Key was inspired to write a little-known poem entitled “Defence of Fort McHenry.” It’s a shame that his grandson wasn’t as patriotic as he was! As President Lincoln proved, you can think whatever you want, so long as it’s in agreement with the President’s opinion. I really wish that President Bush would have leveraged the same “law” (I can’t actually find a law that authorized such awesomeness) in suppressing those communists who opposed the Campaign to Liberate the People of Iraq; however, I think Scooter Libby was on the right path in outing Valerie Plame because her anti-American ambassador of a husband denied administration claims about Yellow Cake. LONG LIVE ANTI-DISSENT LAWS!

- Volstead Act – This law passed in Congress in 1919 was the beginning of the prohibition of alcohol. Alcohol was seen as an evil vice, and the Progressives of the day were able to convince the American people that prohibiting it by law was the only way to stop it. Apparently Americans weren’t too keen on the law, and they continued to produce and drink alcohol anyway, setting of a wave of violence which the United States could have never predicted. Criminal gangs popped up all over, especially in Chicago. To this day, Chicago is still governed by criminal elements and ranks #1 as the U.S.’s most violent city; a certain well-known president even hails from this esteemed city. This is still the law of the land, because laws cannot be repealed, and again, all laws are good ideas. You’d better put down that Bud, or I’ll call the feds!

- Alien and Sedition Act – Signed into law by President John Adams and the “Federalists” (i.e. “The Progressives Before Being Progressive Was Cool…Jon Stewart ain’t got nothin’ on me”) to quell anti-federalist sentiment. Many people at the time were unhappy with the creation of the federal government in the first place, and there was growing talk of secession at the end of the 19th century. President Adams used the act to arrest dozens of people who spoke out against him. Oddly, the act itself made it a crime to speak out against the President and Congress, yet it made it acceptable to still criticize the Vice President–Thomas Jefferson–who vehemently opposed the act and subsequently wrote the Kentucky Resolve, a document in which he explained the states’ right to secede.  Interestingly, this act was never appealed in the Supreme Court, because the founders never intended for the Supreme Court to be anything other than an advisory committee.  Luckily this law is still the “law of the land” and people can be arrested for speaking out against President Obama.

- Fugitive Slave Act: Passed in 1850, this law imposed heavy federal fines (the equivalent of $28,000 in today’s money) on anyone who did not return fugitive slaves to their masters. Both Wisconsin and Vermont took measures to nullify the law as “unconstitutional.” This, of course, was just silly, and I’m sure it would really get the Progressives’ goat. I mean, HOW DARE the several states challenge federal law? This union is not voluntary! It is compulsory. The several states did not voluntarily sign the Constitution to form a more perfect union, rather, they were forced into it by some higher authority, right? I mean, if I were President, I would have bombed Wisconsin and Vermont for not ensuring perpetual slavery.

- China’s One-Child Policy: In order to control the population of China, leaders enacted a policy allowing families to only have one child. Because boys are so awesome, this led many families to euthenize their female children. Without females around, we have far fewer problems and inconveniences (no toilet seats!!!). Thank goodness this law is the law of the land, NO GIRLS ALLOWED!

- Prima Nocta – As legend has it, and as Braveheart taught us, English nobles were granted the right of “First Night,” in that they would be allowed to engage in intercourse with the new bride before her groom. Since this law was never abolished, I’m sure that President Obama has been kept quite happy in the White House with a fresh supply of young American brides.

- “Affordable Care Act” – This wonderful piece of legislation will begin the socialization process for American health care. Under this act, if an American chooses not to participate, he and his family will be fined, as much as 2.5% of his salary. By 2016, a family making an income of $100,000 will pay the hefty fine of $2,500 if it chooses not to purchase insurance (the fine would be the same if the person is single, or if it is a 4-person family).  The belief, here, is that the “price you pay” in being part of “society” is that you are obligated to pay for the health of others.  Thank goodness this law cannot be overturned, as the Progressives and Anointed have told us.

Truth be told, there are just SOOOOO many laws that I love, and I simply don’t have enough time to write them all down! The point is that laws are forever…just like best friends and diamonds!

The Tyrant Farmer

This morning before departing home for my commute to work, I made my way across the dew-drenched grass to the chicken coop. With the heat wave sweeping the East Coast, it was prudent to check my animals twice daily for water and food. Upon entering the chicken run, I could feel something was not right. You see, I had, just days before, moved a dozen young chicks into the big coop and run. It seemed there were too few of them…and then I noticed that one of the chicks lay dead in the corner. My first thought was that the heat must have been too much for him, but when I approached for inspection, I realized that his head was missing–he had been decapitated. I then saw another which had met the same fate. I took attendance and found out that three other chicks had gone missing, with only a few scattered parts that remained. Raccoon. Raccoons are notoriously bloody killers. Foxes quickly seize their prey, and convey them lock, stock, and barrel back to their den. Raccoons, however, are more psychotic, leaving a terribly bloody mess.

When I returned to the vehicle where my boys had been patiently waiting, I had to break the news to them. My younger son (6 years) had made it his personal responsibility to play father to the chicks at night, and one of those which had been decapitated was his favorite. Once the news sank in, the sobbing started, and he screamed “Why?!? Why is it always the ones I love the most!?!?” My older son (8) thoughtfully questioned, “Why is this such a cruel world?” The world is cruel, but was I to blame? Probably.

Farmers are constantly struggling to provide for their animals and keep them safe from predation. Yet, we ask ourselves, “How much protection is too much?” Some go the factory farm route, keeping their chickens in a metal building which provides a mere square foot of space for each bird, with a flock of thousands living without natural light. These birds are fed whatever it is that will fatten them up the fastest. For sure, these birds are in very little danger from outside forces, although the sanitary conditions do leave them susceptible to disease. At the other end, you have the farmers, myself included, who choose to free-range their chickens, allowing them to spend their days in the sun eating clover and protein-rich insects. While this method yields the healthiest fowl, it also leaves them susceptible to predation from hawks, raccoons, foxes, and so on; fences only get you so far. What is a farmer to do?

Chickens, perhaps more than any other farm animal, are easy prey, and this is the fault of the farmer. Not so much the farmer of today, but farmers throughout the past several hundred years. See, chickens have devolved into the TV dinners of the rural predatory community. The chickens of today are plump; they cannot fly but perhaps 4 feet (some farmers even clip wings so they can only jump); they are not very intelligent; and the alpha male is often stripped from the equation. Free-range chickens become lean and muscular, but those which are constantly cooped up become festively plump, unable to move very fast. Most cannot fly because domesticated birds have not been allowed to fly, so their wings have devolved to keep them on the ground. Their defensive instincts have even devolved; they aren’t quite as leery of strangers as they should be; instead they seek handouts. Lastly, but equally as important, farmers often remove roosters from the flock. Roosters are a bit rowdy, incredibly defensive, and sometimes just a bit too loud for those who prefer pastoral tranquility over the cacophony that is the farmyard. However, hens are pacifists; while they will protect their young, they seemingly couldn’t care less for their own well-being. It is the rooster that is the defender of the flock. It is the rooster that keeps his eyes on the sky, sound the air raid siren at first sight of enemy aircraft. It is the rooster who will courageously lurch toward a threat, spurs at the ready. The rooster will even call his hens over to food, letting them, like a gentleman, eat their fill before he indulges.  So, it is by breaking the feral free will of the chicken that the farmer has disrupted their natural abilities of self-reliance.

So it is with the government. Man is an incredibly intelligent animal, capable of great things, so long a he is allowed the freedom to do so. He has the ability to feed himself, shelter himself, and defend himself. Yet man fears man, and man seeks to control man. Government has evolved as the “legitimate” mechanism by which cabals of control freaks place man in a cage. Like the farmer, the State has broken man of his will for the perpetual benefit of the State. Some states allow their subjects to free-range within limits, while other states take the factory farm approach of limiting all mobility of man–North Korea, for example. Some states may even cull the roosters because of their defiance of the State’s laws. If the State cannot control a man, he is a threat to its existence, and all threats must be neutralized, or the State will most certainly perish.

While I assert that this is true of any state, you may believe it not so. In the case of monarchies, it is quite clear that the king is the lord of the territory in which all of his subjects live. To a certain degree, those subjects are allowed to free-range, yet when the time comes, the king will want his cut…nobody gets a free ride. The most “generous” of kings will certainly seek to make life as enjoyable as possible for his flock, for when his subjects are happy, they are productive; when they are productive, the king profits most. Those roosters which the king can break will become the defenders of his territory; they will fight enemies as if it were their own land.  The evil kings will rule with an iron fist, but their reign will be short-lived, because their subjects will suffer to the point of exhaustion. Productivity will drop, and the king’s profits will disappear.

You say then, however, that democracy has solved this problem. You say that we no longer have kings, that we are a republic, a government ruled by the subjects themselves. This has been the most convenient development for the State. It used to be that one man, along with his court of cronies, would be to blame for all of society’s ills. Should the people become too unhappy, they would simply overthrow the king. Democracy no longer has that single point of blame; we only have ourselves to blame, so we believe. We elect our “peers” (but let us not fool ourselves, these men are not our peers), and because we have chosen them to do our bidding, whatever they do obviously has our implicit approval. When something goes wrong, we cannot blame them, and since we do not want to blame ourselves, we blame mystical forces, perhaps God, karma, or happenstance. These men are not tyrants, you say; these men are good men who want what is best for their country!

Certainly there are rulers who are generous. However, let’s not forget that their livelihood is based on their control. Should they lose control, they lose their livelihood. They are parasites, feeding on their host people. Parasites that are wise take only a little, for they know that if they were to kill their host, they would also die. I am by no means saying that this is a deliberate state of being on the part of the elected official, I am merely suggesting that it is inevitable of all politicians. A man who believes that he is needed or is succeeding in his duty may cling to power for so-called “patriotic” reasons; however, even then, he needs power to achieve his goals of do-goodery for the people. He does not do this pro bono, mind you.  Just as the farmer, this politician may be well-intentioned in protecting his flock, but the unintended consequences are that the people are devolving into helpless beings because of it, and they are becoming less capable of caring for themselves.

Let us then consider the possibility that, in a democracy, there may be even greater intrigue among men who are quietly seeking to gain greater power than the other elected officials with whom they are competing. Perhaps they all have their sights on the presidency, or perhaps they simply seek to fill their own pockets with more loot taken from the people.  A king has little need for such games, because he has the power, and it is acknowledged. Yet in a democracy, where the people believe that they have the power, ambitious politicians must be careful to reveal their less wholesome activities. They will create institutions, and create ostensible power for those institutions. Those institutions rarely exist for the people, they exist to protect the State. It is no secret that the U.S. federal government is staffed and led by a revolving door of corporate elite and wealthy families. They are the State, regardless of whether or not they are elected. Furthermore, it could be said, true power lies in the corporations who control the politicians; to them the elected officials do not matter, so long as they govern in a way that promotes corporate interests. Logically then, these State institutions exist to ensure corporate profits and power. It is believed by many that conspiracy theories are too difficult in a democracy, that with the cumbersome bureaucracy of the United States, it would be nearly impossible for them to happen without the people knowing. However, if the people knew, it would not be a conspiracy then, would it? Those who believe them to not exist tell themselves that those bad things that happen were just anomalies, happenstance, or honest mistakes. It is rare that well-liked officials are held accountable for wrong-doing, and it is because the people believe that if they were to accuse the official of wrong-doing, they themselves would have to take responsibility for electing them. Since the people want to believe that they elected the man for good reasons, they must believe that he rules with good intentions. As such, any action that resulted in negative consequences must have been an accident.

So then, let us consider the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an incident which has recently been revisited by pundits on the left, right, and bottom. It is established fact that General Eisenhower opposed the bombing, and, prior to, he wrote a letter to President Truman begging that plans for the raid be abandoned. Eisenhower believed that the Japanese were ready to surrender, and that bombing cities of civilians went against American values. Eisenhower’s plea was ignored, and 200,000 innocent Japanese civilians were vaporized. It has been said that Truman’s action ended the war. It is said that those deaths prevented the deaths of more soldiers. If so, then why would Eisenhower oppose it? Did Eisenhower not want to end the war? If Eisenhower opposed it, why did Truman go through with it?  Perhaps Truman was a great man, and he dropped the bombs to end the war. If the bombs ended the war, then it must be assumed that Truman believed that by vaporizing such a high number of innocent people (1/3 of the total casualties of the American Civil War) by employing weapons of mass destruction, the Japanese would be scared, and surrender to American will out of fear.  If you validate that assumption then, dear reader, would you agree that Truman was a terrorist? For this would be a textbook example of the FBI’s definition (violence or threat of violence, often against innocent civilians, in order to inculcate fear for the sake of achieving political or military objectives). You may say though that Truman was merely defending his people; could it not be said that some terrorists are also trying to defend their own people? Why didn’t Truman simply drop the bombs on militarily strategic islands held by the Japanese? If we destroyed their military, wouldn’t that have ended the war? Perhaps we could have used the bombs on Iwo Jima, and saved the lives of so many brave Marines.  If we had military targets against which to deploy the bombs, why did we choose an entirely civilian target? Were not these same questions asked of 9/11? Why did the Jihadis choose the World Trade Center, occupied by civilians? I’d argue that it was for symbolic reasons, and it would be the most effective way to strike fear in the hearts of the civilian population; perhaps attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki was for the same reason? You may say that it was a time of great war. By that logic then, could it be said that Saddam Hussein’s use of weapons of mass destruction against the Iranians during the great Iran-Iraq War was justified because he was trying to end the war?  Perhaps the same logic would apply to his use of chemical weapons against the Kurds, as it was a preemptive in nature to prevent war.  While I am quite certain that President Truman was a much better man than Saddam Hussein–and perhaps it would be unfair and anti-American to question whether or not he was a terrorist–the fact remains that they both employed weapons of mass destruction which led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

In all of this talk of Truman I never did imply any conspiracy, yet there is a belief that there was a conspiracy. There are some who believe that his goal in employing a weapon of mass destruction was to show the world that the United States was the new global power, that we were in control. Whether or not this was the intention, it was most certainly the outcome. However, it’s likely that he did not foresee the military industrial complex, the Cold War, and the nuclear arms race that would later result. Those things were most certainly unwelcome by the majority of the population, and they most certainly brought suffering to the American people. So while there may not have been a conspiracy, and Truman’s actions may have been noble, we are still left with the tyranny of good intentions. It was because Truman loved us that he brought us these dark times, and we love him because we know he loved us. Love hurts, and it is our fault because this is a democracy…we have elected pain, we have elected hurtful love.

I like to believe that I love my chickens. I tell myself that I am a good farmer, providing them with food, water, and shelter. I do my best to defend them from outside forces, but perhaps the real outcome is that I’ve made them defenseless. Perhaps those fences only keep the chickens in, and not the predators out. Yet this is only half of the story. The cold reality is that I keep chickens for food. I eat their eggs, and I sometimes cull for meat; these are like taxes, to pay for all of these services my AgroState provides to them. I provide fresh water and healthy food so that the chickens are healthier to eat; I provide protection so that the predators don’t eat them first. Should a rooster not accept my authority, he may be culled simply to preserve order on the farm…I may tell the other hens that he was a terrorist to justify why I did it…perhaps I’ll even spread rumors that he planned to attack them. See, I must break them of their free will, and I must fence them in; how else can I control them, and extract profit from them? That raccoon who took the lives of my chicks is not their only predator; I too am their predator. The difference is that I pretend to be their guardian and institute a systematic and sustainable form of predation; the raccoon, on the other hand, does not hide his intentions. The raccoon is merely my competitor. This is not tyranny of good intentions…it is just plain tyranny. I am a tyrant.

Libertarian In-Fighting, the Self-Destruct Mechanism

“Failure to politically accept differences in the personal beliefs of fellow libertarians is a failure to personally believe in the political foundation of libertarianism itself.” (-me)

As libertarians grow in number and in strength, so too will the attacks against them. Sure, there have always been attacks on libertarians and their predecessors, but they were relatively few and far between, since they haven’t posed much of a threat to the establishment until now. However, with the advent of the Internet, the ideas of libertarianism are no longer kept in hidden in the dark by progressive media. These ideas are spreading rapidly, not just within the United States, but around the world…the powers that be can see their control slipping; for the sake of self-preservation, they will go on the defensive.

“Libertarian” is the new buzzword. I cannot quite say when it achieved buzzword status, but I would guess somewhere around 2008 or so. While there are many true libertarians, there are a great many more claim-to-be libertarians, because it is becoming increasingly unpopular to be overtly anti-libertarian. Why? Because nobody wants to be opposed to freedom, or at least the perception of freedom. What better way to control people than to make them think that by controlling them you will “protect” their freedom. Sadly, many of the claim-to-bes actually are opposed to freedom in some respects, they just might not realize it.  The dwindling number of people who are overtly anti-libertarian tend to be quite angry and aggressive in their attacks, usually hurling accusations that are wholly untrue.

Despite the fact that most libertarians welcome the increased support, most of us are also growing concerned over the fact that the meaning of libertarianism is being lost. Not only are pseudo-libertarians and detractors spreading false information, but there is also now in-fighting. It seems that there is a power struggle within the movement, and it is something I cannot stand.

What prompted this article was the discovery of a blog by the name of “The Skeptical Libertarian.” To my dismay, this website spends more time criticizing other libertarians than it does trying to espouse libertarianism itself. In doing so, the authors (David and Daniel Biers) are essentially discrediting people whom they see unfit for the duty of spreading ideas of libertarianism. Because their focus seems to be on in-fighting, I am left scratching my head, confused as to what exactly their endgame is. Are they true libertarians? Are they Koch Brother libertarians? Milton Friedman libertarians? Fair-weather libertarians? Are they really just GOP establishment parrots parading around as libertarians? Are they progressive secular libertarians who are cool with the economic liberty, but who want to rid the world of religion?  Hell if I know. I’d like to believe that their goals are noble, but I believe that their means to achieving them are destructive.

I have read several of their blogs, and it quickly becomes obvious that they have a dislike for Ron Paul, Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, and a host of others. They then make generalizations about those who oppose (regardless of the reason) pharmaceuticals, occasionally indulge in conspiracy theory, and apparently Christians in general. My guess is that they hope, by discrediting these men and their personal beliefs, that they can “clean up” the libertarian movement, purge it of unwanted ideas, and create a big tent for all of those progressives and conservatives who would be desperate to join, were it not for the likes of Ron Paul. This, to me, is ineffective and potentially absurd; it’s more probable it will actually just drive more people out.

First of all, we must establish the root belief of libertarianism. This is something that all true libertarians should believe in; those who do not, are fair-weather libertarians. Libertarians believe that no man or system/state has the moral authority to initiate force against another, an idea known as the non-aggression principle (NAP). This is not pacifist, mind you; it simply creates a framework for a man’s right to own himself. It’s all too common that I encounter people who say, “I’m a bit of a libertarian, but I support the wars.” War, as the libertarian should see it, is the most destructive inventions of man, and it epitomizes all of the flaws of the state.

The importance of reiterating this position is that it helps delineate among all of these so-called “libertarians,” separating them into true libertarians and “other.”  There is nothing wrong with being “other,” but we truly need to show the world what libertarianism is if we have any hope of attracting people to adopt this non-aggression principle (again, it is the bedrock of our beliefs). Just a few days ago I was reading some propaganda in the media against one Jack Hunter, an aide for Senator Rand Paul. It alleged that he, some years ago, denounced the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a “terrorist attack.” Now, you can have your own feelings about those bombings, however, if you look at the logical argument here, it should be quite clear that Mr. Hunter, as a libertarian, would struggle to call the bombings anything else and still remain true to his beliefs. When terrorism is universally defined as the use of violence or threat of violence (usually against innocent civilians) designed to inculcate fear in order to achieve political objectives, then it would seem that the killing of 200,000 Japanese civilians with weapons of mass destruction, despite General Eisenhower’s pleading with Truman that the Japanese were about to surrender, is an act of terrorism. Sure, we were at war, but these were women and children. Nevertheless, if you go back to the NAP, war itself is a violation. Now, not all war is avoidable, and there are disagreements among libertarians about which wars violate the NAP and which do not. Either way, Mr. Hunter was not being anti-American for what he said, and he was not trying to dishonor all of the men who fought in WWII, he was simply reaching a logical conclusion based on his ideology. We should be helping the world to understand this, and show that Jack Hunter and the like are not insane, they merely believe in non-aggression.

Since the NAP is the one fundamental belief among libertarians, all other political views should flow logically from it. Murray Rothbard, in his book “For a New Liberty,” did a phenomenal job of building all of the logical political arguments for libertarianism.  Rehashing them here would be unnecessary (but I highly recommend the book, for followers and haters alike).  If you look at Ron Paul, Tom Woods, and Lew Rockwell specifically, they are models of these logical arguments. While these men are not gods beyond reproach, they are still good men who have done far more for the libertarian movement than most others have. I have a great deal of respect for the three of them, and while I cannot agree with all of their opinions, I rarely find any flaws in their political assertions which logically flow from the core tenets of libertarianism. Most people know Ron Paul as the “father” of the current libertarian revolution, but some might not realize that he is a pretty devout Christian. Despite his arguments against the prohibition of drugs and prostitution, he has personal objections to that culture. These two sides are fully compatible, because he, like most libertarians should, draws a line between his opinions on the authority of the state and those on the moral behavior of individuals; he lives his life in a wholesome way, and although he may not agree with the way others live, he does not believe the state has any authority to change them. It should be no wonder, then, that the Ron Paul Curriculum will have religious undertones in it. I find it hilarious that the Biers Brothers admonish libertarians for “conspiracy theories,” but then condemn Ron Paul’s curriculum as a conspiracy of Christian reconstructionism!

Regarding Dr. Thomas (Tom) Woods, I do not understand the Biers Brothers obsession with attacking him. The man is a highly articulate speaker who holds a bachelors in history from Harvard, and a Masters & Ph.D. from Columbia. I’m sure the man makes mistakes from time to time in his writings, but his efforts are crucial in providing a better understanding of the context around war and economy. There are some who hate revisionists (those who retell history from a different perspective, or who present facts that were otherwise ignored by establishment historians), but revisionism is critical. While some revisionism may have conspiracy theorist leanings, most of it does not. Regardless, history is written by the victors, and that is a truism that can never be overstated in politics. Some of what has been taught about history, politics, and economics in the public schools has been full of half-truths and deception. Correcting it or reinterpreting it is critical to establishing libertarianism. You might not like it, and it might force you to question some of those ideas which you’ve believed for so long, but it must be done.

Tom Woods is a somewhat religious fellow as well it seems, you can sense it in some of his speeches. However, he practices a high degree of self-restraint and focuses on his views of politics, which are ideologically compatible with libertarianism, as defined by Rothbard. I grew up in a Christian family, in a relatively Christian country; why should I be uncomfortable with Christian libertarians? Furthermore, I even voted for a Muslim Libertarian in the 2012 election. So long as they are not saying, “And now, EVERYONE MUST GO TO CHURCH/MOSQUE/SYNAGOGUE/FIRE DANCE!,” I do not see the problem here. Apparently the Biers Brothers feel Mr. Woods is part of a grand Christian conspiracy.

As for Llewellyn (Lew) Rockwell, much can be said in favor or against the man (depending on your perspective), but it is similar to Dr. Paul and Dr. Woods. Lew Rockwell is a champion of Libertarianism and the founder of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. He has been a linchpin of the liberty movement for decades. His logical arguments against state coercion are cogent and consistent. Those who know him well, respect him for this. Having said that, I do not agree with all of his opinions, however, he does a good job of delineating between his opinions on life and his position on politics. His website is focused on Lew Rockwell the man, not on libertarianism per se. It must also be said that Lew Rockwell is act the anarchy end of the libertarian spectrum, so for any newcomers to the ideology, he can sound extreme. He is not for the faint of heart. Then again, most libertarians know this, and he is rarely recommended reading for libertarian-lites. It is true that Lew Rockwell is anti-pharmaceuticals (more on those later), and he is also a Christian, but that does not mean that he is trying to establish a Christian state. Does Lew Rockwell discuss conspiracies? Yes. Does that make him a bad person? No. It’s possible that all of the evidence he provides is accurate…or it’s possible it’s a bunch of bunk. It does not take away from the fact that he is capable of articulating libertarianism with the best of them, and he was one of the driving forces behind the growth of the movement.

On the topic of conspiracy theories…yes, there are a lot of libertarians who believe in conspiracy theories. However, there are also a lot of liberals who believe that Republicans conspire to do evil things (e.g. Operation Iraqi Freedom), and there are a lot of Republicans who believe that the liberals are involved in one, giant secular conspiracy to eradicate Christianity. Libertarians do not have a monopoly on conspiracy theories, and implying that they do is harmful to the cause. Truth be told, however, many people are converted to libertarianism because of conspiracies (no matter how small) that have been proven to be true; they see one lie, then another, and eventually they realize that the emperor is wearing no clothes. These could be simple lies by the government, could be the discovery of regulatory capture, could be the problems with the economy, could be the dubious motives in war, etc. Conspiracies do exist, but they come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes people conspire to do good. It’s true that large, wide-spread conspiracies would be difficult. And it is true that some of the disease in the world is a result of the tyranny of good intentions and not conspiracies. But to deny that conspiracies exist is just naive. Let’s take for example JFK’s assassination. It was ruling by a committee of congress that the assassination was a conspiracy, it’s just been impossible to figure out exactly who did it. Watching the footage, only an idiot would buy the official story. Was it a government conspiracy? Was it the mafia? The Russians? The point is that it was a conspiracy.(period) It’s true that Alex Jones is abrasive and over-the-top, however, Alex Jones is a libertarian-lite, similar to Glenn Beck. I harbor no ill-will toward either of them, and once in a while I might listen to one of their segments, but in general, they are both men who are only more recently discovering true libertarianism. Due to the nature of their business, neither are in positions that allow them a lot of time for the introspection necessary to grapple with some of the implications and logical arguments of libertarianism. So, they are still on a course toward libertarianism from their conservative roots. Both of them would likely still say “Romney would have been better than Obama,” whereas most libertarians (including Lew Rockwell) would say that they were essentially both the same with only minor differences. Regardless, both men have a large following, and to write them all off is not helpful. If anything we should embrace these people, and help to educate them on the movement, since it’s likely that most of them are disenfranchised liberals and conservatives.

The problem with attacking conspiracy theories and theorists is that you are keeping people from thinking freely. Sure, we should base our positions on facts, but really, it is very difficult to find these “facts,” and most people lack the time or mechanisms for vetting these facts.  The vast majority of the population has to rely on mainstream media for “facts;” while most of what they say is likely true, there is bias in all of it. It is no secret that the government provides the “official narrative” to the public through the mainstream media. Those “facts” are only as good as the government officials who are writing them. Can we trust most of it? Possibly, but we are seeing more lies every day. If there weren’t conspiracy theorists, who would we rely on to determine what is fact and fiction?  Journalists? When the government and corporate interests have control over the mainstream media, how can they be trusted? The case that was made for going to war in Iraq was quite weak, and borderline conspiracy, but it was made through the media. MOST liberals buy into that conspiracy, why not embrace their anger with the state, and show them how libertarianism could help prevent these mistakes.

On the pharmaceutical industrial complex topic, the Biers Brothers further go on to assert that everyone should be fans of the industry and that they should trust them.  Again, this comes down to personal opinion, not politics. If I don’t want to take any vaccines, that is my right. As a parent, I have to weigh the pros and cons of vaccinations for my children. Truth be told, there are a lot of dangerous drugs, legal and illegal. I love science as much as the next guy, but it is arrogant to assume that man will somehow conquer nature. Furthermore, it is a dangerously slippery slope. I have personal experience in escaping from the medical complex, and I have found greater health through healthier food and ignoring most of what the establishment says (reference my other blogs). Meanwhile, I see others who are dependent on the pharmaceutical industry, living a life of crippled health because of the compounding effects of these drugs. While there may not be any conspiracies, it is erroneous to believe that the FDA and USDA are not held hostage to the industry. This is regulatory capture, and the revolving door in Washington exacerbates the problem. Financially, it is draining our country, but even worse, it is doing much harm to our health. Yes, we have longer lifespans, but that might not be because of drugs, it could simply be that we are living easier lives. Yes, some drugs can help, but when profit is the goal, these companies have a vested interest in hiding any negatives. However, we don’t know what we don’t know, and it often takes years if not decades (if ever, really) to discover that a certain drug is bad.  The government used to spread propaganda that sugar is healthy and that it would help you stay thin. WTF? While it might have just been ignorant scientists spreading this, they were scientists nonetheless.

I agree that bad drugs will disappear in a free-market system, but we do not have a free market system. What we have is borderline fascism (mix of corporate control in the government), and agencies like the FDA and USDA muddy the waters, leaving consumers confused. The free markets cannot self-regulate because of government intervention. In the end, if a man refuses vaccines and medical treatment, so what? That is the point of libertarianism…he shouldn’t have to submit, and we have no moral authority to coerce him.

Back to my original point of this blog: libertarians come from all walks of life. They are atheists, Muslims, Christians, Jews; they are sinners and saints; they are homosexual, heterosexual, polyamorous; they are scientists, they are naturalists, industrialists, and ecologists.  Libertarians will have separate opinions on standards of individual behavior, and one can be a libertarian yet still impose some moral standards within his own home. So long as libertarians, politically, focus on the core principle–non-aggression–there should be no harm in having a colorful base of support. This diversity is a beautiful thing, and it is perhaps what I love most about libertarianism: you can be whoever you want to be, and believe whatever you want…just don’t force your neighbor to be like you. It is the democrats and republicans who force conformity, either covertly or overtly; anytime I read “libertarian” criticism of other true libertarians, I suspect that there is a degree of democratic or republican influence over the critic himself.

While I’m sure that David and Daniel Biers mean well, I would like to ask them to focus on spreading libertarianism, not attacking libertarians whom they consider too fringe for their own comfort. A model of this can be found at www.learnliberty.org, a site with a nice selection of informative videos in short lengths that are perfect for sharing with friends and family. There are no attacks on other libertarians, simply logical arguments about why libertarianism is good. I suggest it as a model because I’m quite certain that those involved in the project might not be great fans of some of the people mentioned in this blog, but they wisely keep that bias out, because it would serve absolutely no purpose.

The GOP in-fighting is because of a lack of ideology and common core principles; the in-fighting will destroy the GOP, but that is to be expected when they all have different beliefs on government.  Libertarians are unique in that there is a pretty clearly defined ideology at the core; there is a common set of core principles which true libertarians should believe about government, all other non-political beliefs are irrelevant. If libertarians want to achieve liberty, we must work to recruit people who are just as diverse as our base; conforming to one man’s idea of what a libertarian should walk like and talk like will fail. As such, we need a colorfully diverse cadre of ambassadors. I think we have one…let’s just stop attacking each other for it.

Ponzi Power

They say that, when the Giant cried, his tears would flood the land; when he snored, thunder shook the town; and when he sneezed, trees were felled by the wind. Yet while Ben Bernanke has some immense economic power, I feel that describing him as a “giant” is a bit too kind. He is powerful, yes, but it’s only because people give him power, just like all of those fools who gave Bernie Madoff power.

As round three of Quantitative Easing (a fancy term for creating a lot of money out of thin air as a way to breathe life into a limp economy) rolls on to the tune of $85 billion per month (yes, that’s $1.02 TRILLION dollars per year), investors in the stock market are enjoying the good life once again. Closing numbers not seen since before the 2008 global economic meltdown are giving the myopic fools reason to celebrate. This flow of money into the markets is giving the perception to the uninitiated that the economy is on the road to recovery.

However, for those who are watching the big picture, it is clear that this is really an attempt by the federal government to debase the currency. It’s a desparate struggle to stave off deflation, the arch enemy of government debt. With our historical levels of debt, the only way to pay it of is to drive the dollar into an inflationary state. This, my dear reader, is the same essential ingredient in a Ponzi scheme: so long as you find ways to ingest greater wealth to pay off accumulating debt (higher tax revenue), while eliminating and/or diluting liabilities (inflation). In the case of the Federal Government and its beloved Federal Reserve, they have two Ponzi schemes running hand-in-hand: inflationary policies & fractional reserve banking.

I won’t get into the details of fractional reserves, look it up if you’re interested. I’ll simply say that it’s a way for the feds to print money (really just add extra 0′s in digital ledgers) and distribute it down its cascading waterfall of banks in such a way that $100 is turned into $800 (give or take). Keynesians think ever so highly of this system, for they see it as an excellent way to economically manipulate hundreds of millions of people. Austrians, as do I, consider it to be immoral and economically destructive. When you combine this with reckless “printing” of fiat currency (the value of which is only determined by blind faith), you have a recipe for disaster.

Part of what is causing the low levels of inflation (roughly 1%) that are scaring the bejesus out of the government is the fact that people are “deleveraging,” a fancy term for “paying off their debts and not taking on new ones.” Most people don’t realize this, but the government does not want individuals to actually save money. Saving, which is what economists call “hoarding,” is public enemy #1 for Keynesian economics. The key to that system (again, a Ponzi scheme) is the extension of credit: buy everything on credit. Credit keeps the party going…it’s like crack cocaine. The Federal Reserve is a drug dealer, and he needs his clients to be addicted to his blow. It’s a sad day for him, however, when his clients (i.e. the American people) sober up. Americans have been, since 2008, sobering up a bit. It’s not long-term sobriety though, it’s more like a hangover after one hell of a binge on Friday night. What led us to 2008 was overexpansion of credit and failed monetary policies. The Ponzi scheme almost collapsed, and it would have, were it not for the “bailouts.” Everyone wonders, “Why did the banks get the bailouts?” The REAL answer is because they’re the heavy-lifters of the Ponzi scheme. If they couldn’t find a way to manage the debts they had accumulated, the house of cards would have fallen down down down, and the people would realize that the emperor was wearing no clothes.

One way to address the “problem” with Americans who “hoard” their money was to create this 401k scheme. Through tax incentives, the federal government cons you into putting aside a lot of your money for “retirement,” but you’re forced to put it into the markets. When your money is put into the markets, it is fed back into the ponzi scheme and the fractional reserve banking system. If you kept your money at home, in a shoebox, the government wouldn’t have as much of an opportunity to exploit you.

So, during this so-called “deleveraging,” Americans have been hesitant to take on new debts, and many of them have attempted to live a bit more within their means. When a family is living within its means, it is not running up credit card bills and buying that new SUV which it cannot afford. You would think that President Obama, who ostensibly represents the people, would say, “My fellow Americans, this is fantastic that you are living within your means…we’re probably even producing less environmental waste; keep it up!” No, he’s really thinking to himself, “Oh f—!” And then he turns to the people and says, “Buy a new house! We’re offering great loans! Live the American dream and got to college by taking on $100k of student debt!  Who loves you? Barry loves you…just buy shit, please!”

When people don’t “buy shit,” as I’m sure Barry would say if his teleprompter didn’t have him say something else, Bernanke the Incredible Ponzi Giant has trouble keeping his racket going. So, he prints money.  At some point they hope that the economy will recover, and it will start producing stuff, and people will start buying stuff, and the housing market will take off again, and more suckers will be born, and inflation will get closer to 5% (although they’ll say the official number is 2%), and, and, and…then, Bernanke & Company can kick back on their private estates and watch the money pour in.

So where am I going with all this? Well, for the last couple of weeks, the Giant has been fighting a cold, and he has been sneezing quite a bit. Somewhere in those sneezes, investors are hearing the words, “We might eventually need to taper QE3.” A mighty wind stirs from the hairy nostrils of this giant, and it blows the markets down. The volatility over these last few weeks has been incredible. Yesterday, Thursday June 20th, the Dow Jones took its biggest one-day hit in nearly two years, dropping 353 points.  This is what a meth addict looks like when Bennie B threatens to cut off the supply of free meth. Investors thought their hangover was over, and they were ready for another party…but is this one getting busted up by the reality police?

Why would Bernanke cut off QE? It’s because he knows that all of this money has not really made it into the markets yet. When it does, inflation will quickly start to take off; if Bernanke waits too long to stop the printing presses, he’ll be at risk for hyperinflation (moreso than he is now). It can take years for inflationary policies to actually effect the target inflation, and it is in now way an exact science. Bernanke fears what the Austrians know: the system is in a very precarious state, and it could crumble with one false move.

Can this ponzi scheme last? It can, so long as the U.S. population continues to grow (“immigration reform?”), the people continue to believe and buy stuff (and take on lots of debt), the currency continues to be debased, and the dollar continues to dominate as the reserve currency.  The problem, however, is that future debt commitments will be difficult to pay without high levels of inflation. Unless the government finds a way to assert greater control over the people (gun control, surveillance, domestic drones?), it might struggle to keep it all together. Keynesian economics wasn’t intended for a free society; rather, it is better suited for socialist or fascist societies. So, that is where we need to be if we want this to be the first ponzi scheme to succeed.

It’s okay if you don’t believe me; I wish I didn’t believe me either.

End Government Control Over Consensual Acts

I think the time has come for all of us to start standing up for our natural rights. I know that there are many who don’t want to hear this, but what authority does the federal government have to regulate activities between two consenting adults?

If two men, two women, a man and a woman, or even many men and many women have mutually agreed to terms related to consensual action, where is the victim? Who has been hurt? If it’s consensual, all parties are deriving from these activities the benefits they seek. Why must there be laws either prohibiting such action or regulating the terms of said action?

What people fail to realize is that when these actions are regulated, government essentially limits supply of something for which there is a demand, thus increasing the demand. When the demand is then increased yet unfulfilled, people are more inclined to break the law.

There is plenty of science and historical evidence to show that such government intervention simply does not achieve the objectives that the supporters believe it will. I know their hearts are in the right place, but it is not their place to force others to comply with their will. I further know that there are some passionate opinions on this topic from both sides, but I think that we could all agree that, for the sake of liberty, we simply should not consent to government interference in these matters.

After decades of oppression, please join me in calling for an end to minimum wage. Write your congressmen and tell them that you believe humans should be free to consensually work and employ whomever and however they want. When there are people who seek jobs and are willing to labor for less money, and there are employers who need labor and are willing to pay a wage that those people will accept, what authority does anyone, especially the government, have in denying it? Would the government rather these people starve? Would the government rather these people stay on the government dole? Would the government rather these people turn tricks down on 1st and Main? How sick is it that government would force these people out of work?

Heck, think about the children! What about the children?!? Teenage workers suffer most from such policies. They are the least skilled; businesses won’t pay them higher wages, they simply won’t employ them. Before I was 18 I had had 7 different jobs; with the proposed $9/hr minimum wage, I likely wouldn’t have been able to get any of those jobs. Instead I would have been unemployed…I would have become another teenage wasteland, spending my free nights smoking the weed and drinking the brewskies with other teenage hooligans who were unemployed because of minimum wage. Do you really want to deprive children of work experience and force them into lives of underage tomfoolery? I think not!

End the tyranny, and let consenting adults engage in mutually beneficial action without Big Brother’s boot in their faces.

Open Letter to Maryland Senators/Delegates: Please Support HB1453, Decriminalization of Marijuana

Dear Senator/Delegate,

It has come to my attention that there is a bill, HB1453, which was presented on 21 February 2013, regarding a phased decriminalization of marijuana in the State of Maryland. I write this letter to respectfully request your support for the passage of this bill. Although I feel that this bill does not go far enough to correct the long-standing injustice against the people vis-a-vis their natural right to consume marijuana, I believe that it is at least a step in the right direction. What follows are my justifications for supporting the bill.

There are five primary benefits that the State of Maryland can derive from the legalization of marijuana, including: increased civil liberties and respect for the basic rights of the people; increased safety and decreased crime due to the subsequent drop in demand on the black market; income potential for the State of Maryland, especially in light of the current economic crisis; access for Maryland residents to the exhibited medical benefits of marijuana; and redirecting of law enforcement assets to real crimes in which there are real victims.

With all due respect, it amazes me that some government bureaucrats believe they have the moral authority to dictate to their subjects what they can and cannot put into their own bodies. Yet what astonishes me even more is the fact that the people stand for it. It should be common knowledge among all politicians that for the last several years there has been a growing level of discontent among a growing number of Americans, many of whom align with the so-called “Liberty Movement” in addition to the so-called “Tea Party” movement. One common issue in both of their platforms is the decriminalization of drugs and the end of the failed War on Drugs. It would seem prudent to me, for any government official who desires longevity in his political career, to see the writing on the wall and offer up concessions here and there to these Americans, perhaps mitigating some of their frustrations. These groups aside, for all Marylanders, it would seem to me that it’s a hard case to sell to the general population that marijuana—a weed which so readily grows on American soil by the grace of God—would be outlawed as though it is the work of the devil, despite the fact that our founders (including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) often wrote of the importance of the plant and owned hemp plantations.

I believe that anyone who looks objectively at the so-called War on Drugs can plainly see that it has become a miserable failure, one which has destroyed families, filled our prisons, caused crime epidemics, created chaos along the borders, propped up dictators in foreign lands, and cost taxpayers roughly $40 billion per year. In the first 55 days of 2013, roughly 134,000 people have been arrested nation-wide for cannabis-related charges. For those who are subsequently incarcerated for the offense, families suffer dearly, often leaving children without fathers, and creating increased dependency on state welfare. Our prisons become full, overburdening prison resources, allowing less time and money for rehabilitating criminals who’ve committed crimes in which there were victims. When a father is later released from prison, he faces major challenges for employment due to criminal history, increasing the likelihood that he’ll be led back to a life of crime. Because of the prohibition of marijuana, a vast black market has been created, giving a monopoly on the production and sales to the criminal world. This means huge profits for Mexican drug cartels, which have waged wars along the border and destabilized our neighbor to the south. Beyond Mexico, we cannot deny the fact that terrorists in South and Central America, as well as Lebanon, Afghanistan, and others in the Middle East area, have benefited greatly from the black market drug trade. In Afghanistan specifically, the Taliban grew powerful because of their control over the country’s marijuana and opium trade, answering to Western demand.

Aside from the savings that the State of Maryland would enjoy by not having to divert law enforcement resources to enforcing marijuana possession laws and reduced prison populations, the tax potential will be tremendous. I’ll be honest and say that while I do not support overzealous taxation of marijuana, especially if it is so high that it continues to fuel black market demand, I do think that this would be an excellent way to phase in the legalization. These taxes can then be used to offset other law enforcement costs while providing much needed funding for drug rehabilitation programs. The most effective way of limiting drug use is through education. In addition to the taxes, Maryland will draw in tourists from surrounding states who seek to enjoy the more civil rights-friendly atmosphere of the state, providing not only more tax revenue, but also a general boost to tourism.

It has often been said that marijuana is a gateway drug, but I believe there is little empirical evidence to prove the claim. Not only is marijuana arguably far less dangerous than alcohol, it has never killed anyone (while alcohol leads to roughly 40,000 annual deaths nation-wide). If the drug is ever a “gateway” to other drugs, it is likely because smoking marijuana is already a crime, so moving to another drug is really just a lateral step without increased risk. However, if marijuana is legalized, there would be an incentive for users to NOT move on to other drugs, because they would not want to increase the risk of arrest. It should be worth noting here that I have never smoked marijuana, nor do I ever intend to. I rarely drink, as it does not support the lifestyle I choose to live; I think you would find this to be the case with the vast majority of Maryland’s residents. As such, I believe that fears of a major boost in drug use are unfounded.

It has been demonstrated that marijuana possesses healing and pain-management benefits. Numerous states have allowed the use of so-called medical marijuana for quite some time, and those who have taken that route praise it for what it can do, not to mention the money they have saved by not having to resort to more costly prescription drugs. Additionally, there is increasing research which has shown that cannabinoids in marijuana may act as anti-cancer agents, thus reducing the exorbitant costs of cancer treatment drugs. However, we will never know this plant’s full potential until it is legalized for broader research.

The last item I would like to touch on is that of industrial hemp. This is where I have personal gain at stake. I reside on a small farm in Howard County, and based on all of the research I have done, hemp would thrive in my soil. Industrial hemp, it should be known, varies from marijuana. There are countless strains of the plants, varying in their levels of THC and CBD (compounds which counteract each other). Marijuana possesses the THC in high levels, those sought by recreational users. The levels of THC in hemp are so low that it has been said, “You would have to smoke a blunt the size of a telephone pole to feel the same effect.” Industrial hemp is not grown for a drugging effect, rather for its nutrition and use in biofuels and textiles. Hemp was a major cash crop in the U.S., until the mid-20th century, when for unclear reasons it was outlawed. Hemp can be used to make strong rope, warm clothing, bio-diesel, and polymers. Henry Ford even created a car which ran on hemp biodiesel and was made of a hemp polymer. As for nutrition, hemp makes excellent fodder for animals, serves as a “green manure” cover crop (to prevent water runoff that could potentially wreak havoc on the Chesapeake Bay watershed), and produces highly nutritious seeds for human consumption. Currently, Americans import millions of dollars worth of hemp seeds and hemp milk from Canada. Why are we allowing ourselves to miss out on all of the health and financial benefits contained in this natural gift from God?

If you have made it this far, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the time you took in reading this. I urge you to consider these words and make the right decision for the State of Maryland.

Sincerely,
Jake

Maryland Resident

Bridges Not Walls: The Goal of Our Political Activism

What is the goal of our political activism? Is it to tear down other people, or to bring more people to our movement? While it is true that we often tear down the ideas that big government will somehow solve our problems and that Keynesianism will achieve prosperity, we must be very careful to not attack the people, when it is the politicians and intellectuals we should be blaming. At the people level, we must build bridges, not walls. That, is the topic of this audioblog:  Bridges Not Walls

AudioBlog: How I Found Liberty

Several people have asked me the question “What brought you to the liberty movement?”  The audio link below is my answer. I have deep concerns about the sustainability of our lifestyles, our health, and the environment around us. After much reading and self-discovery, I came to believe that it is big, centralized government mixed with crony capitalism and progressive cronyism which have caused most of our problems. Agencies such as the USDA and FDA (along with many others) do far more damage than good. Free markets do a much better job to regulate all of this. Quick example: the “Non-GMO Project”, a private initiative to label GMO-free food has succeeded in getting the message out about the danger of GMOs while labeling foods that are GMO-free in spite of big government, not because of it. An initiative like this would have succeeded much earlier on had government not interfered.  Anyway, here is the audio:

Audio Blog 3 – How I Found Liberty