Brad Miller

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

FreedomLand: Exiting the world of Statism

In FreedomLand on July 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Frederic Bastiat 1848

Are you a sovereign individual? That to me is the fundamental question that everyone needs to answer.  I believe that I am. But there are millions of politicians and bureaucrats and the majority of the population who disagree with me.

Of the 57,506,000 square miles of land surface on Earth none of it is free of government. Most of that land is under the control of  numerous layers of government from the city council to the United Nations and all layers in between. You can not escape the tyranny of the State over the individual. (at least not on land).

If you can not change the system, and you no longer want to submit to the system, your only other option is to exit the system.

That is what I propose to do.

I believe the quickest way to enjoy the maximum amount of Personal Liberty is within a framework of a Free Market Society. To accomplish this I propose the start of a new self-governing community 200 miles off the coast of Honduras in the Pacific ocean.

I call it FreedomLand and it is envisioned to become the freest place on Earth. A place where each individual is sovereign over his person and his property. It will be a place where each individual is responsible for himself.

It would not be a self-sufficient community. Trade with others around the world will be vital to FreedomLand. On FreedomLand there will be endless business opportunities for hearty individuals with a drive to succeed.  Those opportunities include aquaculture (fish farming)  and all its ancillary industries, financial services including banking, transplant tourism (no restriction of buying and selling organs) and tons of recreational tourism opportunities,  including installation of artificial reefs for diving.

There are no external  limits to what an individual can peacefully accomplish in FreedomLand. You may do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t restrict the right of others to do the same.  I do not envision a Utopia. Rather I envision an absence of organized theft, fraud and murder, i.e. the State. Crimes committed by individuals would still occur. Private defense corporations would sell their services to consumers in order to defend Life, Liberty and Property. All products and services in FreedomLand will be provided through voluntary exchanges between producers and consumers.

When you buy your plot of ocean in FreedomLand or work for someone who has, you will never have to waste one more minute of your life thinking about Government. How much time today have you wasted thinking about and worrying about  the Federal Government and the debt ceiling circus or  about an increase in your property taxes or being forced to get your emissions tested before getting your tag?  This is all wasted time and energy that could be spent in more productive ways.

When you live in FreedomLand all your thoughts and energies will be spent on your pursuit of happiness. No more external coercion, no more central planners, no more forced retirement savings, no more IRS scouring over ever part of your life, no restrictions on what you can put in your body, and no restrictions on the voluntary transactions between consenting adults.

This doesn’t mean that there will be freedom from responsibility. On the contrary, Responsibility and Liberty are inseparable. For with Personal  Liberty you and you alone reap the rewards as well as the risks of your actions. There are no guarantees.  These risks could be mitigated through various types of insurance. But these would be voluntary and no one would be forced to purchase these policies.

The technology exists off the shelf to launch FreedomLand. There are many different ideas for establishing a community at sea. These include mostly expensive options like huge artificial islands or retrofitting cruise ships. I think a better approach is to start small.

I believe the best way to start is to send out a buoy,  which I dub the ” Beacon of Liberty”, to stake the first claim of FreedomLand.  Later on a floating dock will be built so people can drive  their boats out to and inspect the “sea acreage”. Those who purchase their plots will more than likely live at first on their boats. The next step to support these new Seasteading Pioneers is to position a “Seed Ship” to provide, for a fee of course, power, water and other services until companies are established to provide them. (This would not preclude others individuals  from making their own power and water themselves. )

Once people have bought their plots they would be free to dispose of their property as they see fit, as long as it didn’t interfere with others from doing the same thing. Contracts would be strictly enforced through a private system of courts and arbiters.

I don’t know how  individuals will use their plot of sea. And that is the point. Who could have predicted the Ipod or wireless Broadband?  On the Free Market the entrepreneur seeks to satisfy consumer demand in the most efficient way. Those who are successful will profit and those who don’t will fail. Out of this “creative destruction”  goods and services are available for mass consumption and amazing technological advancements are made.

There is no telling what will be the result of this experiment.  Individuals will be free to choose how to exercise their God-given right to Life, Liberty and Property. And since no entity is granted “Legal Force” to confiscate property at will or regulate individual choice, human creative energy will be free from its current impediments and find its greatest expression mankind has ever known.

FreedomLand will not seek nationhood or recognition by the international community. Individuals living in FreedomLand will, in my opinion be, the most dynamic, innovative, and productive people on Earth and the citizens of other nations will be clamoring to do business with the folks in FreedomLand.

And that’s my vision

Bastiat1776

Advocate of Liberty

For more info on the viability of a community at sea check out The Seasteading Institute at http://www.seasteading.org/.

Debt and Slavery

In Taxes, True nature of the State on July 27, 2011 at 10:48 am
We are chained to the State from birth and most folks don’t even realize it. The current cirucs surrounding the Debt Ceiling is proof that the majority of Americans do not understand that the Debt is a direct result of the Collectivist ideology, epitomized by the Entitlement Programs, Central Economic Planning, and the denial of consumer choice.
 
“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (administrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.”- Thomas Jefferson
 
The State is set up to enslave. It has convinced individuals to continually cede more and more of their liberty for security, whether security from Terrorists or security from starvation. This erosion of personal liberty is effectively slavery. When one does not have control over their property and someone else does that equates to slavery.  Even if someone voluntarily votes to become a slave they are still a slave. And woe to the one’s who never consented to becoming the State’s property or have been blind until now and finally feel the weight of the burdensome chains around their necks. 
 
The chains that shackle us to the State, include the Federal Reserve and its price controls on the price of money (interest rates), the Income Tax (which provided an avenue for increased taxation), and Social Security which started the abdication of personal responsibly for one’s life and the growing dependence on the State.
 
The Federal Reserve has continued to manipulate the currency by printing trillions of new dollars and by trying to centrally plan the economy through manipulation of the price of money, i.e., interest rate it pays. This distorts the entire credit markets and leads to booms and crashes. Which the government then sweeps in to borrow trillions of dollars of bailouts which add significantly to the debt. This inflation caused by the counterfeiting of new dollars is a stealth tax that impoverishes all of us.
 
The forcible taking of money from individuals through the Income tax is another way the Government let’s us know that all the property on their turf (within U.S. borders) is theirs and they only allow us to keep what they deem appropriate.  Along with the income tax is the further involuntary withholding performed by your employer. This along with the expected “tax refund” blind most people  to the true amount of money the Federal Government deems their “fair share”.  Most individuals have no idea what their true amount of time they work (slave for) the Federal Government. And for all that is stolen the Federal Government gives vauge promises called “Entitlements”.   I advocate for no taxes and no entitlement programs.
 
One of these so called “benefits” your  taxes “pay for” is  the ponzi scheme of Social Security. It is the granddaddy of all the nanny state entitlement programs. We can thank German Chancellor Bizmarck, a Progressive, for first wide spread impementation of  this type of program. This to me along with the introduction of the Income Tax greatly increased the shackling of the current and future generations to the State.
 
Along with Social Security we have Medicaire and Medicaid. I believe we need to change the name of these programs, at least when we reference them, from entitlements to something more appropriate. The programs should be called The Stolen Property Fund or better yet the Progressive Enslavement Program.  Every dollar stolen regardless of the intention of who stole it, is still theft.  It violates the basic right to our property and the right to dispose of it as we see fit. 
 
Every Law that is passed and every dollar stolen through taxation, and every time the Fed prints more money, dimishes our Liberty  adds the chains around our necks.  Not only do these actions by the State hurt us in the short run they are designed to chain our children and generations yet unborn. 
 
And all of these accretians of power to the State violate economic law and so incur a massive debt. The debt itself is a result of this Collective ideology that is embodied in the Federal Rerserve’s economic central planning, the penalizing producers tax, and the entitlement programs.  All of these programs substitute individual choice for dictatorial direction. And we have tangible proof where this leads, to a debt of over 14.6 trillion and growing each day. Now how can any Statist claim this as a vindication of their philosophy?
 
The Statists and Progressives exist in both parties and Jefferson is right on when he described big government as pursuing “a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.” This explanation is the only one that makes since of the mess we are in because it it doesnt matter which party is in office, the debt always goes up and Individual Liberty is constantly being reduced.  
 
It seems to me the only solution to this is the elimination of the whole idea of the State and the striving for a voluntary Free Market Society where these invasions of property would not be tolerated.
 
And that’s my take.
 
If you have a better idea for retitling the Entitlement programs let me know in the comments section.
 
Bastiat1776
Advocate of Liberty

No Tax: the only “Fair Tax”

In True nature of the State on July 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

A Tax no matter how it is collected is still a tax.  

No matter if the tax is taken directly from income or indirectly from income at the point of sale, it still  is Government stealing money from individuals. Whether your employer sends money required by law to the Treasury or a retailer is forced to do so, the means of confiscation does not change the fact that they are both taxes on a person’s income.

 The only two ways to gain money in life is through selling goods and services to consumers on the free market or from stealing it from those who have successfully done so. Once income is earned that money is an individual’s property and if someone takes that property without consent, then it has been stolen.  That is why I believe all TAXES ARE THEFT.  Therefore all taxes are involuntary no matter how they are collected.  This refutes the notion that the consumption tax is a voluntary tax. If it were voluntary no law would be needed.

The other main selling point of the Fair Tax is that it gets rid of the IRS .  I’m all for that but that doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.  Frank Chodorov wrote that “the income tax was the root of all evil”. I think better stated is that “Taxation is the root of all evil”. Taxation penalizes the productive and rewards the unproductive. The Fair Tax does nothing to alter the total amount of taxation (amount of money stolen) or the size and scope of the Federal Government.  And this is the big problem we face.

Frederic Bastiat wrote “the state tends to expand in proportion to its means of existence and to live beyond its means, and these are, in the last analysis, nothing but the substance of the people. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state! Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity, all vanish.”

I do fear we will be unable to limit the proposed 23% national sales tax rate of the Fair Tax from increasing. Even if it is amended into the Constitution there are no guarantees that temporary increases or even permanent would not be passed.  If history is our guide than I can say for certain the rate would increase. This is because the politicians and net tax consumers would always vote for increases.  Best case scenario with the Fair Tax would be to keep the same level of taxation. To me that is not a plus and more than likely it would be consitently increased.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.”  

 The argument should not be about how taxes are collected but the the taxation itself.   If we have a God-given right to our life, liberty and property than taxation is by definition theft. I believe the only discussion we should be having is how to reduce and finally eliminate taxes for good. 

 
And that’s my take

For Further Reading go to http://mises.org/daily/1768, Murray Rothbard’s Consumption Tax: A Critique.

Can you chain down the devl? Exploring the notion of limited government

In True nature of the State on July 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Limited Government: Utopian Dream or Acheivable Goal?

The entire history of humanity, with a few exceptions, is the story of the expansion of Government Force and the subsequent reduction in the exercise of Individual Liberty. The most notable of these exceptions of course was the American Revolution.

For the main tenet of the Revolution was that individual rights did not come from the State,  but from God. This was an earth shaking revelation. It was a declaration for the first time that by our very existence, we have the God given rights of Life, Liberty and Property.

Government’s purpose for those who favor limited government is to protect these rights. This is  sometimes refered to as  a “NightWatchmen State”. One that is constituted to serve a purely defensive function of preserving life, liberty and property.  But as Murray Rothbard points out time and again, in order for Gorvernment to perform this defensive function it must violate the rights it was instituted to protect. It violates it’s stated purpose of propecting property because it forcibly plunders property in order to protect it.  

For me the ideal world would be one of voluntary exchange devoid of external coercion, that is the Free Market Society or Anarcho-Capitialist society.  The only difference is that the “NightWathcmen”  will be private enterprises selling its defensive services on the Free Market. Why wouldn’t  indivduals pay for police, courts etc, monthly like they pay their insurance premiums or their cable bill? 

There are a lot of smart folks who I admire who advocate for a minarchist or minimal level of government, or the “NightWatchmen State”. They include Ludwig von Mises, Leonard Read, Frederic Bastiat and Ayn Rand. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the ideas of Liberty from these folks. But even they fail to articualte in my opinion a satisfactory definition of “limited” or “minimal” government. This leaves the door open to “unlimited” government which we are rapidly advancing towards in this country.

The solution for me is to eliminate any question of how small or limitied government should be by eliminating it all together. Murray Rothbard and others who pioneered the Anarcho-Capitalist Society developed this idea not to counter the “left” and Collectivism, but rather to counter the growing conservative statism that had been developing since WWII. The current crop of those on the Right (those excluding the minarchists – or libertarians like Ron Paul), have gone way beyond advocating for even the “NightWatchemen State”. They embrace fully the idea of Social Security, Progressive Taxation, and Eminent Domain. They offer only a slower trek down the “road to serfdom” then those who advocate for total government control of society.

 And when people say that the Constitution will “chain down government” it reminds me of the beginning of  Milton’s Paradise Lost where the devil is chained in Hell by God. But  still the devil broke free. If the devil exists, then I believe its a much better option to eliminate him rather then run the  risk  of having him break free of his chains. I think the same theory applies to government.

I find it fascinating to listen to politicians or talking heads when they speak of “small” or “limited” government. It is always in the vaguest of terms because they know like God, that you can’t chain down the Devil.

Liberty is not divisible. Government can not protect Liberty by violating it. That is why I advocate for Maximum Individual LIberty which for me can only be acheived within a Free Market Society devoid of the State.

And that’s my take.

I do not pledge my allegiance to the Flag

In True nature of the State on July 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

I no longer say the pledge of allegiance. I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable with saying the pledge for over a year now. The more I’ve read about Individual Liberty, the more I’ve come to realize that I am a sovereign individual and I do not have to pledge my allegiance to anything or anyone, especially the State which is the enemy of all individuals. I can not give my allegiance to an organization which exists to rob, kill and deceive.

That being said I do not advise folks to say it or not. I also stopped saying the pledge because I learned about its origin.  The pledge itself was written by a socialist, Francis Bellamy, who was trying to sell more flags to schools back in 1892. The phrase “under God” wasn’t added till 1954. So debating whether people say “under God” or not is in my opinion missing the bigger issue, which is voluntarily or involuntarily saying a loyalty pledge to a corrupt and violent State. By the way Francis Bellamy also developed a salute to go with the pledge  which you may be familiar with becasuse its the single raised arm with the palm out salute that Mussolini and Hitler adopted as their own.

The pledge and the flag are used by the State to aggrandize itself and diminish the individual. It makes people think that the State is above them.  This was not always the case. At the onset of this nation the founders did not want to waste time on desiging a flag or a loyalty pledge. They knew these were the tools of monarchy and empire and wanted no part of them. They understood that Individual Liberty always shrinks in relation to growth of the state.

Also no one can pledge “to the Republic for which it stands..”, because the Republic no longer exists. The confirmation of this came when the president took the military to war without the consent of Congress, that is what occurs not in a republic but in an empire.  Couple that with the five wars overseas the military is waging and the 900 military installations around the world then the idea that the Republic is dead and the Empire is here to stay. So if the republic no longer exists how can anyone pledge to it?

In society we do not need to pledge to anything or anyone.  We are all self contained sovereign entities with the God given rights of Life, Liberty and Property. Like Frederic Bastiat wrote “Life Liberty and Property do not exist because men wrote laws, on the contrary Laws were written because they existed already.”  On the Free Market  individuals have to each day serve others and by doing so they each serve their own self interest. We don’t serve the “Republic” we serve ourselves by the selling of product and services that other individuals choose to buy. This is what creates the “invisible hand” or the “spontaneous order” that economists have observed as the result of free individuals within a free market.

At a recent clayton county commisioner’s meeting I obstained from not only joining in a prayer with the sheriff but also from saying the pledge. I looked around and one other fellow did the same. It is my small way of expressing my sovereignty over myself. So much freedom has been stolen from us through taxation and through dicatates concerning consumer choice, whenever we can express our disatisfaction with the State I say do so. (always of course in a peaceful manner)

I don’t care if others say the pledge or not. I have control over only myself. When I learned of the origins of the pledge when I from  Judge Napolitano on his  show FreedomWathc, it only confirmed what I had been feeling for the past year. The pledge is an artificial construct whose meaning has been taken as gospel in this nation. But I understand that most folks who say the pledge believe they are pledging not to the State but to the ideas of the founding of this nation, the ideas of Life, Liberty and Property.  But committing to these ideals doesnt require a loyalty oath to the oppresive, corrupt, destructive State. All it requires is that we each live according to them in our own lives each day and that’s exactly what most of us do anyway. The State on the other hand violates these principles on a daily basis and this is why I no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance.

And that’s my take.

Bastiat1776

Advocate of Liberty

God and government don’t mix

In True nature of the State on July 22, 2011 at 1:02 am

Today I’m writing in response to a posting on a radio talk show host’s blog, which advocated reading a prayer before any government proceedings. I don’t agree and here’s why.

The Government ignores any sense of morality on a daily basis. If you use the ten commandments and Jesus’ summation of the Law as your standard then you will see how God and Government have nothing in common. In fact in my opinion they are total opposites. One values violence and coercion and the other free will and love.

Government violates two of the commandments in the Decalogue “Thou Shalt not Steal”and “Thou Shalt not Covet”, just with the taking in and spending of taxpayer money.  This is a system where money is “stolen” from some and given to others who “covet” their wealth. I think Bastiat summed it up best with his definition of government :”Government is the great  fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

The next commandment the politicians and bureaucrats break on a daily basis is self-explanatory “Thou shalt not bear false witness”. I know shocking, people in Government lie. But what amazes me is not that they lie, they have to in order to do what they do, but that we so easily accept this as unacceptable behavior?

Government also kills innocent people on a regular basis. Whether its innocent folks killed by bombs in Libya or by police bullets in a botched drug raid. So Government violates a fourth Commandment “Thou Shalt not Murder”.  The death penalty too, a function of the State has killed innocent individuals as well. Government action is based on the threat of or the actual use of lethal force.

Like George Washington warned, “Government is force and it is  …”a fearful master”.

If you want to bring the debate into the New Testament we can. Government is unable to adhere to Jesus’ teachings; which to me boil down to the Golden Rule and treating others as you would have them treat you. Simple. But again as we have seen Government is designed from the outset to Deceive, Steal, and Kill. So it is obvious that government and God do not mix. It kills me to hear politicians ask God to “bless” legislative proceedings. How ridiculous is that?  Its like a bank robber praying to God for a lot of cash to be in the vault  right before he enters a bank.

And it doesn’t matter what level of government we are talking about. I went to a Clayton County Commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday and a sheriff’s deputy said a prayer before the meeting. I did not bow my head. I refuse to pray with an agent of the State who is there to protect the Commissioners from the citizens and not to protect us from them, who are stealing from us. At the meeting they were taking comments on a 34.18% property tax hike. The meeting was pure theatre and the commissioners were arrogant and annoyed they had to even hear our opposition. They had already made up their mind to vote for the increase and nothing we said mattered.

I don’t see how God has anything to do with those who lie, steal and kill for a living. Prayer and relationship with God is an individual matter and should not in any way be co-opted by the State. That to me is the true meaning of  Separation of Church and State.

For me I try to live by the principles of the Golden Rule, peaceful coexistence with others and using only defensive force advocated by the Bible but no government can, by the very nature of what government is, embody these virtues. Only individuals can.

I believe we need more not “we need to do this or that” but more I will do this or that.” I don’t endeavor to tell anyone how to live. For Me I believe that Maximum Personal Liberty is the best way to enjoy the time we have here on Earth and the best way to become who we choose to be. God gave us Free Will. The question is: Why do we so easily cede to government that most precious gift from God?

And that’s my take,

Bastiat1776

Advocate Of Liberty

Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on my reasons why I’ll never say the pledge of allegiance again.

Advocate of Liberty

In True nature of the State on July 20, 2011 at 12:49 am

The purpose of this blog is to advocate for the cause of Liberty. I will deal with the big ideas of Individualism vs. Collectivism and Liberty vs. Coercion. I believe in the Freedom Philosophy which was summed up best by Leonard Read, as simply “anything peaceful”.

The growth of government to me is the biggest threat to individual liberty. And the growth of government at all levels has been staggering over the course of the last twenty years, from the Federal level on down to the State, County and City. It seems like there is no end to the strangling regulations and the oppressive taxes that these politicians and bureaucrats can saddle us with. Sometimes it feels like the forces of Tyranny are winning and the cause of Liberty is lost.

The cause of Liberty is far from lost and in fact I believe there is reason to hope. This is because as the size of the coercive collectivist State grows so does the number of those who recognize that only when people are free can they truly flourish. Thanks to sites like Mises.org, Lewrockwell.com, Fee.org, and Onlinelibraryofliberty there are more articles and books accessible to anyone looking to understand the Freedom Philosophy then ever before in the history of the world.

I am an advocate of Liberty because I want to have the maximum amount of control over my own life. Liberty is choice. Government interference in my life is anti-choice. The two can not coexist.

I do not know what course other men will take but for me give me liberty or give me death. (hopefully liberty will come before death).

And that’s my take.

Bastiat1776

Advocate of Liberty