Liberty Forged

the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. ` Nock

Posts Tagged ‘police state’

Freedom Works -> Deny Statism

Posted by Jesse on April 3, 2009

Mises on War

War…is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds, war destroys. (Socialism, p. 59)

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Radically hating the State

Posted by Jesse on March 9, 2009

Last on the Colbert Agenda was an author, I missed his name, but he mentioned Joseph Priestley. He made the claim that Priestley and others were very influential in the beginnings of the American nation, despite the fact its not exactly a household name.

In Rothbards Do you Hate the State? he credits Priestley among others of being radical in a true sense of the word.

Perhaps the word that best defines our distinction is “radical.” 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.

Furthermore, in contrast to what seems to be true nowadays, you don’t have to be an anarchist to be radical in our sense, just as you can be an anarchist while missing the radical spark. I can think of hardly a single limited governmentalist of the present day who is radical – a truly amazing phenomenon, when we think of our classical liberal forbears who were genuinely radical, who hated statism and the States of their day with a beautifully integrated passion: the Levellers, Patrick Henry, Tom Paine, Joseph Priestley, the Jacksonians, Richard Cobden, and on and on, a veritable roll call of the greats of the past. Tom Paine’s radical hatred of the State and statism was and is far more important to the cause of liberty than the fact that he never crossed the divide between laissez-faire and anarchism.

This in turn recalled a book I read last year: The Betrayal of the American Right. In Chapter 2 Rothbard mentions Priestley, among others. He says:

The conventional historical wisdom asserts that while the radical movements in America were indeed laissez-faire individualist before the Civil War, that afterwards, the laissez-fairists became conservatives, and the radical mantle then fell to groups more familiar to the modern Left: the Socialists and Populists. But this is a distortion of the truth. For it was elderly New England Brahmins, laissez-faire merchants and industrialists like Edward Atkinson, who had financed John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry, who were the ones to leap in and oppose the U.S. imperialism of the Spanish-American War with all their might. No opposition to that war was more thoroughgoing than that of the laissez-faire economist and sociologist William Graham Sumner or than that of Atkinson who, as head of the Anti-Imperialist League, mailed antiwar pamphlets to American troops then engaged in conquering the Philippines. Atkinson’s pamphlets urged our troops to mutiny, and were consequently seized by the US postal authorities.

In taking this stand, Atkinson, Sumner and their colleagues were not being “sports”; they were following an antiwar, anti-imperialist tradition as old as classical liberalism itself. This was the tradition of Price, Priestley, and the late eighteenth-century British radicals that earned them repeated imprisonment by the British war machine; and of Richard Cobden, John Bright, and the laissez-faire Manchester School of the mid-nineteenth century. Cobden, in particular, had fearlessly denounced every war and every imperial maneuver of the British regime. We are now so used to thinking of opposition to imperialism as Marxian that this kind of movement seems almost inconceivable to us today.1

See the article on Mises.org

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A response to a good intention.

Posted by Jesse on October 13, 2008

Kelvin. You are correct. This is the system we are presented with at this time. Taking advantage of the opportunity to make a difference is all one has. voting can be beneficial. I said it “Can be” beneficial. It depends. This is an important thing to ponder. some countries have different systems, indeed, throughout history there have been many different ways to affect society. art, votes, charity, crime, deception. societal changes are not always good. and voting is simply mob rule. there is no way to make the claim that a majority vote is inherently good. a very easy example that most people can understand is the election of dictators. this is definitely not good, but it happens. the idea upon which this country was founded understood the dangers of mob rule and tried to design a system that restrained government power and the will of the masses, simultaneously, because both citizens and government employees will grab for power.

Another point you bring up Kelvin is the laws and their long term effects. Now, I live in a highly regulated society. The US Gov’t is quite a vast organization. The amount of money and resources it commands is massive. The US is the “superpower” of the world. The biggest the world has ever known.

It makes no difference that I live in a small state and small town and I have my own concerns that are not always the same as my governments. I am not bailing out wall street and wouldn’t. i am not invading iraq and wouldn’t. i am not threatening iran and wouldn’t. i would not conduct anti-drug operations in multiple countries around the globe. i do not arrest my neighbors for smoking. i do not always support my police department who i think should be held more accountable to the people of their region instead of bureaucratic commandments miles and miles away. i do not take money from my neighbors and say that’s its for their own good. keep in mind this is one of the functions of police: to collect taxes. this is one of the primary ways that government pays for all the activities it engages in. i did not voluntarily give any money or consent to anyone to engage in the activities i described above. it is taken from me by force. this is an indisputable fact.

Thinking about this fact makes one realize that when a new president or other democratically elected official takes office they are subject to a structure of governance that is already in place.

One of the larger points I am driving at is the idea of policy.
This is an idea that involves a structure of laws and regulations designed to achieve a certain goal. Sometimes, these goals may be achieved. Sometimes there are huge failures. And there are large policy issues being debated by Americans today! The war on drugs, the war or terror, the war on poverty, the idea of spreading democracy around the globe by using our own military that we citizens are supposed to have for defense! and special interest benefiting at the expense of the many….these are policies that the US gov’t will pursue right now no matter who is elected senator, congressperson, or president. I can say that with confidence because there are not many people who have been elected to office that strongly oppose these measures. how to decide what policies to pursue?

There are many more policies we can discuss, such as the current monetary policies that have been complicit in the economic problems we have today. Again, these are long-term policies. They came about incrementally over time through various initiatives and will take a long time to change or reverse even if many people wanted to change them now. so in this way, it is a matter of trends. the general trend has been to add new regulations and therefore money and power to government, instead of the other way around. some people claim to be conservative and say they are in favor of limited or minimal government and less spending, etc. but where is the evidence that this ever happens? the trend line showing the power and scope of government is just the opposite.

So… I am not arguing altogether with what you say Kelvin, but I do want to highlight one part of it. People will get mad, or angry, or frustrated, not so much because they don’t like the outcome of an election. Many people are frustrated with what happens to them personally and also in their name, as an american. Maybe a friend is arrested because of the war on drugs even though that person didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe a family is member is sent to Iraq even though the president and those around him are clearly lying about threats the nation faces. Maybe people are paying a lot of money in licenses, taxes, fees, fines, and other regulations and it makes it hard to earn a good living because of the little money they have. maybe a lot of people are frustrated because people around the world who have had injustices brought to bear against them by our government hear and feel what our leaders are saying and doing and know that we, as a nation, elected them. a voter can feel misrepresented and betrayed by those that claim to represent them. and it is a matter of fact, that not only do some politicians lie, but many make promises they cannot keep! on top of that, when was the last time an elected official has been help personally responsible for measures that they endorsed? can we really believe that throughout all of american history there have been so many good and noble politicians? there have been so many actions taken by government because of certain laws and policies that have been harmful to its citizens…where is the justice? why are these “representatives” not fined, jailed, or other?

These are issues that are actually on the table as we speak, but changing them is so hard to do because of the levels of governance, (its structure/bureaucracy) that are involved between the voter and the change that they seek.

So while voting is a tool that this nation uses, the question remains as to what impact that vote can actually have when the political structure that exists is so powerful and doesn’t seem to ever change much. All it does is grow bigger and bigger. meanwhile, less and less people are happy with it. not just here in this country, but other countries around the world. if you don’t believe me, go talk to people on the street and look at the reactions around the world. even the nightly news covers it sometimes. what is the obama campaign all about? “change”! but what change are we talking about? this is where we are today in this election. and i am not implying that everyone who is unhappy agrees. many people have different ideas and thoughts on what the problems are and what to about them. this fact only reinforces the idea that government can’t be too much of a one-size -fits -all solution. it needs to have only a basic foundation and specific measures can be reserved for regional enforcement.

And the last thing I would like to mention is what you started your response with. the important documents of the US Government. elected bureaucrats take an oath of office to uphold the constitution of the US. i am confident that if the american people demand that the us gov’t follow the constitution more strictly in certain areas we would be far better off than we are today.

there are some major changes developing in america. one way or the other. my hope is that we can do this peacefully. voting is a tool one can use. but i guarantee you that mccain and obama are not the best america has to offer and they are not changing much in current US policy. our voting system has some serious flaws. the only way the government can be improved is when its citizens become more responsible and not dependent on their government or media for solutions and news. this is the reason why i believe individual liberty and the education therof is the best foundation for a just and civil government.

i do have my own opinions on the actual act of voting. my main point was to show the contrast between a democratic action through bureaucracy and a democratic action in the market. they are very different creatures.

one reason this whole discussion is a problem is that we are talking about something very much larger than any one of us. being able to talk about and discuss these issues in a personal way is very difficult to do. no one knows all the rules of the us government. each person only knows some of it. that’s why it can help to try and take an overall view and analyze it from an objective viewpoint. i may come across as being skeptical but that’s only because of the current state of of the nation and its history. but i am really optimistic because i believe that people want a better life. and they want responsibility for it. and that’s how society carries on.

one thing that we need more than ever right now is honesty and transparency in government.

i am done writing for now. please feel free to comment.

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