Brad Miller

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Do you have faith in Free Men?

In True nature of the State on August 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Do you have Faith In Free Men to act harmoniously within Society?

Each individual’s answer to that question determines the size and scope of the State we live under.

Today in America it is obvious the majority of folks have lost their Faith in Free Men. Most people don’t think that others if left unhampered to pursue their self-interest within a Free Market Society would choose not to violate the Natural Right of others to their Life, Liberty and Property. So these individuals instead of putting their Faith in Free Men put their Faith in the Force of the State.

 But those who put their faith in the State must realize that when they do that they are giving permission to the State to violate not only other individual’s Natural Rights but also their own. Most people accept this violation of their rights in order to gain security because they believe that they would not be secure  if they were truly Free. Maybe the question could be posed to those who support the State. “Do you have enough faith enough in yourself to live Free?”

I myself  look forward to the day when I can keep 100% of my earnings and do with them what I see fit. I look forward to the day when I don’t have to ever think about or fear The State again. Under such conditions would I govern myself any differently than I do today? Would I all of a sudden go out killing, defrauding and stealing from others? Would you if there were no State officers or law makers telling you not to steal, defraud, and murder would go out and commit crimes against others?

Those who Love Liberty who have no doubt that they would govern themselves without the State  must ask themselves if they believe others would do the same?

Frederic Bastiat  asked a similar question back in 1848 when he asked rhetorically “Do you believe Human interactions by their nature are harmonious?”

Those who want to live in a Free society must believe that they are on a fundamental level human actions with other humans are fundamentally peaceful and mutually beneficial. It is ony with Faith that Free Men will act harmonious can a Free Society exist.

Bastiat asked:

 “Is society anything else than a multitude of individuals placed in juxtaposition, acting, without concert, and given up to the movements of an anarchical liberty?   (Is this an early endorsement of Anarcho-Capitalism?)

“They say (economists-free market guys of the time) that even in the absence of all laws society would resist such acts (as killing, sacking, burning); and that consequently such resistance is a general law of humanity.”

Frederick Bastiat’s take is that society is just a collection of individuals who behave toward others in a peaceful and harmonious way because it benefits them all to do so.  It is not because of the external laws of man that Free Men act harmoniously but because of the innate internal laws of their very  humanity.

When Individuals exercise their God-given right to Defend their Life, Liberty and Property a harmonious, free, and peaceful society results. In this sense society and the economy(which is really society) is not planned as most people understand the concept. As Mises wrote a Free Economy/Free Society is planned and directed by millions of individuals who act according to their own plans to satisfy their desires. And they can only do this if their Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property are secured. And the only way to secure their Natural Rights within Society is to demand that the Natural Right’s of all individuals in Society are secure . It is the result of each individuals plan’s expressed through the Free Market that produce the abundance and prosperity we enjoy today. No “benevolent despot” or “enlightened central planner” is needed to force individuals to act peacefully within society.

I envision a Free Market Society where there is no State coercion because of this fact.  For this to come about individuals will as Thoreau said ” need to be ready for it”. The First step in the quest to be ready for a truly Free Society is to have faith in one’s ability to live Free. And by extension have the Faith in other Free Men to do the same. This is easer said than done. Otherwise throughout the millenia so many individuals would not have yoked themselves so willing to the State.

You look around everyday and think how in the world could some of these people who you see possibly live in a Free Market Society with no Government to keep them in line? My answer to this is that Free Men behave differently than Shackled Men. No one today who has grown up in the last 100 years understands what it means to be Free. So it is hard for us to imagine the Shackled Men of today living Freely.

My question is if it weren’t for government schools, the welfare and entitlement programs, the income tax, the military industrial complex, the myriad of wars, the TSA gropings, inflation and currency destruction, state-run lotteries,  excise taxes and the myriad other government interventions into peaceful society would The Shackled Men of today act in the same manner ? If there was no social safety net would individuals not seek the economic means to survive and even thrive? Without a minimum wage dictate from the State wouldn’t all individuals who wanted to be employed find work? And once employed have a chance to earn the skills needed to be of more value and thus earn a higher income? Without the war on drugs would individuals spend less time in prison?

The atrophy of virtues needed to succeed in a Free Market society are the direct result of growth of the State. When we look around at all of those who couldn’t cut it in the Free Future we imagine, remember that individuals are highly adaptable and capable of incredible creative accomplishments if left Free. How can the thoughts, actions and attitudes of a Shackled Man be the same ideas, actions and attitudes  as those of a Free Man? They can not.  

Alexis de Tocqueville documented  for himself how different the ideas, actions and attitudes of Free Men in America differed from those of the Shackled Men of Europe  in his Opus “Democracy In America” published in 1835 . He visited the young republic to find out for himself  “Why do Americans have Faith in Free Men when all of the rest of the world did not?”

His answer was really two-fold.

1. He believed that Faith in God was a big reason why American’s had Faith In Free Men.  In this regard what does Faith in a Creator dictate?  On the simplest terms it demands that individuals do not  Steal, Kill, Covet, and Lie. That is a good start but it goes one further and admonishes that individuals   “should do to others what you would have them do unto you”. These simple cocepts are the cornerstones of a Free Society.  And if certain individuals disregard these admonishiions then the early Americans believe it was their God-given right to defend their Life, Liberty and Property against aggression.

Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?” Alexis de Tocqueville

 If you do not believe in a Creator or that He endowed you with Natural Rights than you don’t believe He has done the same for anyone else.

2. Alexis de Tocqueville also found that men when engaged in trade for profit benefited not only by the material wealth that brought  but also by the  intangible virtues needed to reach obtain it. He observed that America was full of Hard Working, Frugal, Ambitious, Self-Respecting, Self-Confident, Self-Determining, Self- Governing individuals. It is not hard to see that in a society filled with such individuals exhibiting these virtues that most Americans had a tremendous faith in not only the Creator but also in themselves and as well as other Free Men.

“Commerce is naturally averse to all the violent passions; it loves to temporize, takes delight in compromise, and studiously avoids irritation. It is patient, insinuating, flexible, and never has recourse to extreme measures until obliged by the most absolute necessity. Commerce renders men independent of each other, gives them a lofty notion of their personal importance, leads them to seek to conduct their own affairs, and teaches how to conduct them well; it therefore prepares men for freedom, but preserves them from revolutions.” Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville understood well that Individual Liberty and Economic Liberty are inseparable.  Through the voluntary exchanges of  buying and selling of goods and services on a Free Market,  individuals develop all he necessary virtues to live peaceably in a  Free Society. ” Peace through Free trade not only prevents wars with neighboring  nations it  also promotes peace within a society and works  “to  preserves us from revolutions.”

Bastiat wrote that ”

 “The social mechanism (voluntary exchanges between individuals -) must be very ingenious and very powerful since it leads to this singular result, that each man, even he whose lot is cast in the humblest condition has more enjoyment in one day then he could himself produce in ten centuries.”

When the State grows as a result of the  decreasing  Faith that  the majority of people have  in Free Men,  it gladly substitutes its own plans for the individual plans of the members of society. As it does this “central planning” the State,  distorts the market, kills competition,  limits the number of products and services available on the Free Market, and forces production to become more expensive. These  results of State intervention into the voluntary transactions of individuals lowers the standard of living of  everyone. When the State expands and  limits individual’s choices of individuals to dispose of their life and property, it affects the very character of the individual too.

“(The State) After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd” Alexis de Tocqueville

The less faith we have in ourselves and others to  LIVE FREE the more the State grows. We become more and more Shackled to the State.  The State is anti-freedom. When you sign your freedom away to the State you are resigning your life to the plans of someone else and forfeiting the life you could have lived according to your desires.

“The man who asks of freedom anything other than itself is born to be a slave.”  Alexis  de Tocqueville

Faith in a Creator and Faith in themselves gave early Americans the confidence to venture forth into the world and make their own way. This Liberty unfortunately wasn’t extended to slaves and most Indians of that time. That is why I don’t believe idealizing or worshipping the past is best way to advance Freedom in the future. That doesn’t mean we can ignore the lessons of the past. Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the result of Free Men in America. And to ignore why the Free Men were free in the past and what they did with that freedom is to lose a key insight into how to live more free today and in the Future. When we stray from the core ideas of Liberty and Natural Rights and begin idealizing the Founders or Early America we are forced to defend the men and the times instead of having the opportunity to advance the  ideas of Natural Rights, Free Markets and self-determination. Men will always fail you, ideas will not.

But why would men in a free society act in harmony with the rest of the individuals in society?

Do you think that when you drive down the road it is the threat of force from the State that keeps other drivers driving in their lane?Is it the State that sends customers to walk into your place of business to buy the goods your are selling.?Is it the State that forces Intel to make the revolutionary microprocessors that power your laptop or tablet that you voluntarily buy? Or are these actions merely the result of individuals pursuing their own self-interest to improve their lot in life? 

“I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it

Alexis de Tocqueville saw  the results first hand of what happens when men have faith in themselves and other Free Men.

We take for granted the freedom that we all enjoy today but we also lose sight of not only the Freedoms are ancestors enjoyed but also of the Freedom that is possible without Our Enemy the State.

This fight for Freedom is not about the past but about the future. Your future, my future, your grandchildren’s future. Freedom allows each of us to become who we want to be. Is there anything more powerful on Earth than individuals striving for perfection in whatever endeavor they are passionate about? And now think about how the State limits, discourages and prevents individuals from doing that?

I believe the man way the State creates Shackled Men and prevents them from having Faith in Free Men is in government schools, which look like and smell like prisons. Children are forced to attend, they are forced to obey the teacher who symbolizes the State, and regurgitate State sponsored lesson plans.  They are taught to submit, to be quiet, to not make fun of the teacher, to conform, to not pursue what they are interested in, to basically not to be an individual. Maybe the reason why so many have little faith in the idea of a totally Free Society? Because a Free Society is based upon the individual acting upon no other direction then his conscience and his imagination?

Kids have an innate ability to concentrate on a subject they are passionate about for hours. The earlier they are exposed to something that they  love to do the better off everyone will be. I’m not saying that a “committee” should determine what course a child  should pursue for the rest of his life at the age of five.  What I am saying is that in a Free Society parents would have the choice of sending their kids to the  private schools of their choice, taking them to work  them, or homeschooling them.In this way the child would be exposed to the most varied ideas and find the one’s that are most in tune with who they are.  

The choices of the different kinds of schools would be mind-boggling. The shoe market is still not very regulated and think about the endless variety we have to choose from. No matter what you are into there are a hundreds of brands selling thousands of varieties of shoes to fit your needs.  Why wouldn’t there be as many varieties as schools as there are shoes today if the education Market was truly free? Schools would be set up to function along the same lines as any other business selling a product or service. If the schools didnt teach what the parent wanted they would cancel the contract and take them to another school.

 With the near limitless variety of schools that would develop on the Free Market children would be able to pursue their passions from an early age. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. If a child spent three hours a day “playing” and learning about a subject they were interested in a day it by the time they were 15 they would be an expert in that subject!!

“Genius is Focus

In this way by the time children reach the age of  18 they would be ready to make their mark on the world even before thinking about going to college.In a Stateless Society colleges would look totally different from they do today. With no State funding they would have to compete with each other and other Educational concepts that haven’t even been invented yet.  Some Traditional schools would eliminate core classes all together, others might just focus on a single subject and others might be like the ancient Greek style of schools, which would allow students to drop in and out at will, according to how they liked what was being taught. Education would become once again a private voluntary transaction which would aim to serve the desires of the consumer and in doing so produce a myriad of different types of educational products.

Just think if you were exposed to the ideas of Natural Rights and the “Anything Peaceful” philosophy  at the age of Five in a School selling a Libertarian education? If only a handful of kids were interested in attending these schools their Faith in Free Men would be enough to help spread the Faith to an entire generation and lead to the Stateless Society I hope for.

Until a majority of individuals in this country understand  that liberty is not a means to a higher political end, it is the highest political end in itself we will not see the end of the State.

The State has a vested interested in destroying the faith individuals have in Free Men. They want to demonize the “Free Market” and convince others that man’s interactions are by their nature antagonistic. Those who  accept this premise and support the State believe that if men are free than their rights will be violated.  Their Faith has been transferred from the Creator to the State from Faith in Free Men to Faith in Politicians and Central Planners.
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My quest is to make Free Men a common site again in the world. To allow individuals to pursue their passions peaceably without restrictions. If you want to have faith in Free Men then you must trust yourself to be Free. That means to as much as possible remove your dependence on anything that shackles you to the State. To do this you would achieve the First Level of Libertarian Leadership as Leonard Read put it” by not supporting any Socialist programs“.

That is increasingly hard to do today but the  more Free each of us are and the more others see that we are not using that freedom to violate the rights of others the more that others will want to be Free and trust themselves to do same.

de Tocqueville gives some encouraging advice to us who seek what to live Free within a Stateless Society when he wrote  “What is not yet done is only what we have not yet attempted to do” 

So attempting a second great experiment in Liberty this time without a State is to me the next logical step. Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be. I learned the other day that scientists are now able to make tiny amounts of gold out of mercury!!! The alchemists who sought for millenia the secret to transmute base metals into gold has come true.  If it took science that long to  realize the ambitions of the “crazy dreamers” and  maybe individuals in a thousand years will finally realize the ambitions of those crazy dreamer of today who are attempting to  transmute the unnatural Society we live in to a Stateless Natural Society where each individual with Faith in their Creator and themselves seeks to live the best life they can.

So the question really isn’t do you have Faith in Free Men? The question should be do you have faith in yourself enough to be Free?

A how-to-guide to advance the cause of Liberty

In Advocates of Liberty, Liberty on August 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm

What can an individual do if he wants to Live Free?

If you are reading this you probably are already convinced that you have inalienable rights endowed by your Creator to your Life, Liberty and Property.   In order for the State to stop violating your Natural Rights you’ll need others to stop supporting the Socialistic programs that prey upon us. But the question is how do you convince others of that?

 Voltaire answers that question:

“We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the
garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man
was not born to rest. “

The only way to advance the cause of Liberty is by each of us  individually improving our knowledge of the Freedom Philosophy and improving our ability to relay that knowledge to others.

 Leonard Read wrote extensively about how to advance the cause of Liberty. He even devoted and entire book called “Elements of Libertarian Leadership”. In it he echoes Voltaire’s idea that each individual should tend to their own garden first.  If we want Freedom to grow in this country our first task is to give it fertile ground in our own mind.

“”When many of us can expose the fallacies of socialism and explain the principles of freedom with the ease and facility of adding two plus two, that’s when freedom will be an assured way of life!” Leonard Read

Leonard Read throughout his years  at FEE wrote over 20 books. He wanted to explain the Freedom Philosophy in as many different ways as possible because he never knew how someone would come to embrace the ideas of Liberty. There is no way any one can tell what will spark the change in thought which turns a particular Socialist into an  advocate of Liberty. That is why Leonard Read continued throughout his life to deepen his understanding of the Freedom Philosophy through reading, writing and talking about it. In “Elements of Libertarian Leadership” he explains the  importance  of each of us who love Liberty do the same.

 “No person can do more than attend to his own improvement and thus rise to the position where others will draw on him, call on him, invite him into counsel. This do-it-yourself project is one’s only practical means of becoming valuable to others.” L.R.

If you want others to learn you must teach. To teach you must know. That is the essence of Libertarian leadership.

No person will knowingly seek light from one who has no light.” L.R.

Each of us should seek to become a Beacon of Liberty for those who are seeking a better understanding of the concepts of Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Property Rights. You can’t force what knowledge  you have gained upon others  but you can improve how you articulate that information to them once they seek your counsel.

“If we show improvement, all those with an affinity for freedom who are within our range will be attracted to the improved offerings.”  L.R.

In order to show improvement and attract others to the cause of Liberty, Leonard Read stressed the need for Libertarian Leadership. But it’s not the political organized type of Leadership. He explains that only the individuals can effect change and that change must begin with himself.

Leonard Read broke down his take on Libertarian Leadership into Three Levels. The first level is one that takes the least effort and is the minimum action needed by an individual to help stop the rising tide of Socialism.

THE FIRST LEVEL – Achieve that degree of understanding which makes it impossible to join in or support  in any manner whatsoever any socialistic proposal – in short refrain from ideological wrongdoing .
To uphold freedom effectively, one must be able to identify and understand local socialism. L.R.

The First Level one of non action and  non participation in actions that violate the Natural Rights of others. The next two levels require that an individual deepen their understanding of the Freedom Philosophy and improve upon how they articulate that information to others.

THE SECOND LEVELAchieve that degree of understanding and exposition required to point out socialistic fallacies and certain principles of freedom to those who come within one’s own personal orbit. L.R.

This stage is about becoming proficient with the ideas of Freedom. At this level an individual is able to without thinking relate the ideas of Freedom to others as easily as reciting the alphabet.

To really know a subject is to be able to speak or write it as easily as replying “49”  to the query, “What’s 7 x 7?” L.R.

 During this stage it is important also  not to “inflict” your  new-found information  upon others. This is  where a lot of us including myself have attempted to “teach” others who do not want to be taught.  Have you ever been talking to family and friends and they have this blank look on their face as you rattle off the latest attempt by a Socialist politician to steal more money from taxpayers? If they are not ready and willing to learn you can never force “enlightenment” onto them. Just as no one can force it upon you.

“Indeed, no person can gain access to the mind of another until the other lets him in” L.R.

Once individuals  progress at this level they must be careful not to be fooled into thinking they’ve arrived” because they know everything about the Freedom Philosophy. This arrogance is more akin with the know-it-all-ness of the Central Planners of Socialism than those who advocate for Liberty.

None of us will ever “arrive”. We all are on a life long journey to understand and share what we’ve learned about Freedom. The search for truth never ends. If we stop searching, learning and improving we will never progress to the next level and that is what is truly needed for widespread acceptance of the Freedom Philosophy

 THE THIRD LEVELAchieve that degree of excellence in understanding and exposition which will inspire others to seek one out as a tutor of the libertarian philosophy. This is the level attained by the creative thinker, writer, talker, the level at which the power of attraction comes into play. L.R.

A perfect example of someone who attained this level was Ayn Rand. Her epic  “Atlas Shrugged” has inspired and continues to inspire countless readers to delve deeper into the ideas of Individuality and Liberty.

Once you become someone who others come to for a deeper understanding of Liberty, than they will learn and grow and someone else will in turn come to them to do the same. In this way the amount of folks who embrace the Freedom Philosophy will grow exponentially and as a result  the  politicians elected and the government we live under will reflect this ideological change

“I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe—”That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have” Thoreau

Our first step for limited or no government  is to prepare ourselves for government that governs least or not at all. This we can only do by improving our understanding of Freedom and improving how we convey that  understanding to othersEach of us can “act upon this rapidly and systematically” because it involves the betterment of no one else but ourselves.

“Every significant movement in history-good or bad-has resulted from influential  ideas held by comparatively few persons.” L.R.

Once a person has reached the Third Level of Libertarian Leadership his opinions and ideas can become influential.   

 “Here, then, is the key question: What constitutes an influential opinion? In the context of moral, social, economic, and political philosophy, influential opinion stems from or rests upon(1) depth of understanding, (2) strength of conviction, (3) the power of attractive exposition. These are the ingredients of self-perfection as relating to a set of ideas. Persons who thus improve their understanding, dedication and exposition are the leaders of men; the rest of us are followers, including the out-front political personalities.” L.R.

 Just think about the legacy of individuals like Locke and Bastiat, Rothbard and Rand, Read and Mises or all the other individuals you have learned from. They dedicated their lives to improving their understanding of Liberty and improving their ability to articulate that which they learned to others. Their teachings stand the test of time. They reached the third level of Libertarian Leadership and they developed influential ideas opinions which changed the world.

What is needed today are individuals who dedicate themselves to the relentless pursuit of truth and self-improvement like the above mention individuals. Who will be the Rand, Read and Rothbard of this generation? No one knows. But those who love Liberty should take up that challenge and have the attitude that Voltaire did:

“Do well and we will have no need of ancestors”.

Voltaire doesn’t mean to reject the past but he recommends not living upon the past achievements of others. We who love Liberty should recognize that we are the men and women of our time, of the here and now. It is our responsiblity to “do well”  in regards to our understanding of the Freedom Philosophy and  how we convey that knowledge to others. If we “do well” our “influential opinions” may  inspire the next ideological shift toward Liberty in this country.

In two hundred years from now, who will those who love freedom be quoting? They maybe quoting you along side Locke, Rand and Read. Hopefully by then we will have achieved a True Free Market Society where the Natural Rights of Individuals to their Life, Liberty and Property is sacrosanct and free from any State intervention. Even if you’re not quoted 200 years from now how awesome is it to think that even if you  only achieve the first level of Libertarian Leadership you are  helping that Future of Freedom become reality.

I am far from achieving the Thrid Level of Libertarian Leadership.  I don’t know if I’ll ever make it there. But while I attempt to reach it, I will rely upon “making current, what is excellent”  by mining the past works of the great Libertarian thinkers who have lived before me. It’s hard to go wrong quoting anything from the likes of John Locke, John Stuart Mills, Milton, Jefferson, George Mason, Thomas Paine, James Otis, Frederic Bastiat,  Albert Jay Nock, Franck Chodorov, Henry Hazlitt, Isabella Patterson, Rose Lane Wilder, Henry David Thoreau, Lysander Spooner,  Ayn Rand,  Leonard Read, Ludwig von Mises,  or Murray Rothbard.

If you don’t have time to read Leonard Read’s book “Elements of Libertarian Leadership” you can catch the essence of the book in a lecture he gave back in the 1970’s entitled “How to Advance Liberty” (which I stole for the title of this article) that is now on You Tube.

This lecture helped changed my focus from political action to learning and self-improvement. It’s worth taking a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UE3JeowaaE 

Leonard Read’s 1 hour lecture about advancing the cause of liberty.

“America’s greatest need (the world’s greatest need) is for thousands of creative thinkers, writers, talkers-individuals who can, within their own circle of acquaintance and activity, serve as sources or wellsprings of the libertarian philosophy”  L.R.

 This is the only way an individual can advance the cause of Liberty!!!

And that’s my take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

Leonard Read’s “I, Pencil”: Still relevant 53 years later

In Advocates of Liberty, Free Market Miracles on August 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Leonard Read the founder of FEE and a champion of the Freedom Philosophy published his most famous work “I, Pencil” in 1958.

http://fee.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/I-Pencil-2006-edition.pdf

   “I, Pencil” is a short, succinct story that dispels at once the “know-it-all-ness” of central planners by illustrating how not a single man on Earth knows how to make a simple wooden pencil.

    By tracing the manufacture of himself, the “pencil” reveals that millions of individuals had their hand at helping him come into being. The story brings to life the  miraculous “spontaneous order” that the “invisible hand” brings about when individuals free of coercion exchange upon the Free Market.

“I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies— millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human masterminding!” 

  The pencil traces its genealogy  from a single tree to all the other natural resources and human energy needed to bring about its existence. He explains that it’s not just the person who fells the tree, mines the graphite or runs the machines in the pencil factory that are responsible for his creation.  What is unseen in the creation of the pencil is the millions of individuals who mined the ore for the steel to make the saws and machinery and the ships and trucks. Then there are the men who are unseen who are involved in getting oil out of the ground, refined and transported. Taken a step further there are the other individuals who go unseen who produce the food, clothing and housing for the workers who build the saws and machines, drives the trucks, mines the ore, fell the trees, produce the lacquer and finally runs the pencil making machines.

   The revelation that millions of people are needed to produce a single pencil changed the way I viewed the world. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with saying that “We stand upon the shoulder of giants” when he referred to his accomplishments . “I, Pencil” illustrates a similar truth that we all are dependent upon on the millions of people around the world who everyday  have a hand in making the things we buy.

   Stressing the need for “faith in Free People” the pencil implores the reader to contemplate that these millions of exchanges that must occur for him, a simple pencil, to come into being are not directed by anyone in government. They are the result of free individuals using their small amount of knowledge to produce their small piece of a product that others want in exchange for products and services they want.

   This story is similar to what Bastiat wrote a hundred years before “I, Pencil”. In Natural and artificial Organization Bastiat uses a humble carpenter  instead of the manufacturing of a pencil as a means to illustrate the complexity of relationships in the Free Market. He writes that the humble carpenter enjoys in one day goods and services that he in a life time could never come close to producing.  And all the individuals produce the goods and services he consumes not out of altruism or societal good but out of self-interest. They act because they know that Production must proceed Consumption. 

http://mises.org/daily/5473/Natural-and-Artificial-Organization

  Bastiat quoted Rousseau in his Natural and artificial Organization : “Much Philosophy is needed for the correct observation of things which are in front of our eyes.” Throughout their stories Bastiat and Leonard Read help us see the “Unseen” efforts that create the abundance and variety of physical goods we are able to buy on the Free Market. They stress that they exists because individuals are free to act and enjoy their  Natural Right to their Life, Liberty andPproperty without interference from the State.

“I, Pencil” is the shortest most concise explanation of the Free Market that I’ve found. It takes less than fifteen minutes to read and it could change the way you view the world for the rest of your life.

And that’s my Take

bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

Do the Rich Pay their fair share? A look at the dangerous premise behind this question.

In True nature of the State on August 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Today the president and the pundits are calling for the so-called “Rich” to “pay” their fair share. The Authoritarian’s logic is that the “Rich” are more fortunate than others and have been “blessed” so in turn they should pay more in taxes to benefit those who are not.

The very concept that we “pay” taxes to begin with like we “pay” for lunch at Chick-fil is laughable. I am not forced to eat at Chick-fil-a (I don’t have to be their chicken is delicious) but the government forces me and you to “pay” taxes.

Beyond the rhetoric of class warfare there is a basic premise that is the foundation on which the question  of “do the “rich” pay their fair share?” is built upon.

The basic premise behind this question is the same idea that all other collectivist ideologies are based upon. It is the belief that individuals do not have a God-given right to their Life, Liberty and Property. It is the same idea that spawned the Russian Revolution of 1917 and enslaved a nation of millions under decades of degradation, murder and fear.

I’m currently reading “We the Living” by Ayn Rand. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m about half way through and I actually like it better than Atlas Shrugged. It according to Rand is her most autobiographical novel. It has a very personal tone to it and the characters seem more alive and real than the one’s in Shrugged.

What struck me about the book is the conditions in which Kira the hero of the book lived in. The story begins with her and her family returning back to Petrograd Russia after a long exile due to the Revolution of 1917. When they return her father’s textile factory that he owned as well as their home, and everything they had been taken by the State and redistributed among the proletarians. Her father did not accumulate his wealth by force or fraud. But it didn’t matter to the communists because  he was “bourgeoise” and he like all capitalists were  the enemy of the proletarians.

In the novel Kira an 18-year-old free-thinker who believes in her own individuality and her own happiness. She endures the privations forced upon her with the hope of one day escaping the Oppressive state. In one poignant scene she is invited to a rare party in Petrograd during winter.  Along with the invitation the hostess asks her to bring something. Normally you would think wine or food would be an appropriate contribution to the festivities.  That was not the case in post revolutionary Soviet Russia. The hostess throwing the party asked each guest to bring a  log for the fire. Firewood was so scarce that in order to heat the additional rooms for the party the hostess had to ask each of the  guests for wood. This is the world that Kira desperately wanted to escape from and a world that this country is rapidly heading toward.  

This was not more than a hundred years ago. How would people today feel if they went to a party and had to bring firewood!?

“We The Living” is full of descriptions of privation and confiscation caused by the communist vision of Utopia. Many of the events depicting the suffering that normal individuals and families endured  will  shock the modern reader. But what  shocks me more than the living  conditions of Kira and her family under the  young Soviet regime is that  the same ideology that led to revolution and the collectivization of Russia is becoming so advanced that individuals don’t even blink when a politician asks “Are the Rich really paying their fair share.”

The more the ideas based upon the basic premise that individuals do not have individual Natural Rights the more actions will take place in this country to violate them.

Leo, Kira’s lover  in “We the Living” is young man who loves freedom and wants to escape the communist regime. He attempts early in the novel to escape with Kira but the attempt is thwarted. Now stuck back in the bleak world of the worker’s paradise he must work until he can try to escape again.  He returned to work translating books from French and German to Russian, but that employment ended as soon as he declined a “voluntary” assignment his boss offered him to do after work.  He declined the offer to teach foreign language classes with no compensation after work and told his boss that he had a life to live. Needless to say the next day he was fired. The volunteering was not volunteering at all.  He . He tried to get work after that but he was told when he went for interviews that he could not work unless he joined a union, but when he went to join the union  he was told he must have a job in order to join. Arbitrary power is a hallmark of the Totalitarian State is used to destroy anyone who threatens it by not “believing” it is god.

“Social Duty Comes Before All”

 The phrase “Proletarians of the world unite” is said by the communists leaders and written across posters and banners throughout “We the Living”. This was a slogan that denied the individual and enshrined the collective. What makes it scary is that a prominent union leader in this country as recently as last year said that the phrase “workers of the world unite was no longer just a phrase”. And this gentlemen was a frequent guest of the president in the White House.  How can we expect a different outcome of this ideology in America?

One  recurring theme in “We The Living” is that there is never enough of even the basic staples for subsistence. The State controls production and how that production is distributed.  There is not much variety in the food made available by the State and what is rationed out is of low quality and sometimes even rotten. What makes it worse is that most citizens have to wait in line for hours for their meager rations from their local Co-operative. In order to even work each citizen must  kowtow to the State in order to gain employment. And if they don’t share the official ideology they are barred from it.  Individuals have to get permission to move, to travel, to go to school,to work, and basically get written permission from the State to even live. 

Americans do not yet suffer like those who lived under the Soviet system did, at least not yet. The reason for the prosperity of millions of Americans is that  because for the last 222 years individuals in America have  been basically secure in their Life, Liberty and Property. This is of course is rapidly changing as the collectivist ideology gains ground. But it does not undermine the basic truth proved by the experiments in self-government  in America and proven by the antithesis of Freedom in  Totalitarian  Soviet Russia that when people are free to work, invest, invent, and consume as they see fit amazing material wealth is created. But as the idea of the inalienable right of each individual,  including the rich individual, to their Life, Liberty and Property is lost the result will be a society that shares more similarities to the Soviet system than America we know today.

The revolution against the Bourgeoise in Russia destroyed that country. People lived under misery while the Politicians resorted to spies, gulags, and torture to “convince” them that a brighter future lay ahead if only they will endure their current suffering. But their suffering continued, the oppression and loss of freedom increased and their standard of living plummeted.

How can we be heading down the same path that produced the totalitarian state of Soviet Russia? It is because those who love freedom in this country have not sufficiently understood or defended the basic premise it is based upon.

“The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended” Bastiat

Most pundits who defend the free market  in the media miss the point completely when it comes to question “Do the Rich pay their fare share?”  They argue that the Rich are the job creators and that  their taxes should not be increased because of that. That is a true statement but it is not the reason why the “rich” or anyone else should submit to having their property stolen. That is the point that those who Love Liberty must be able to articulate. 

The basic premise that underlies the Freedom Philosophy is that each individual has an inalienable right to his Life, Liberty and Property no matter if he is “rich” or not.  And because of that no State or collection of individuals  can  violate the inherent rights of another. 

“That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” George Mason Virginian Declaration of Rights

When someone says that “the Rich should pay their fair share”, ask them a question proffered in the foreword of “We the Living”:

” Do you consider it moral to treat men as sacrificial animals and to rule them by force?” That is the question all people who support the idea of “soaking the rich” should be made to answer.

 Ayn Rand said that the theme of “We the Living” was not dependent on the location of post revolutionary Russia. The story illuminates the true nature of the  totalitarian  philosophy and it matters not what country or what century this despicable evil happens to find expression. It is a great book that uses fiction to further the  understanding of Freedom and provides concrete examples of what happens when Freedom is destroyed. 

And That’s my Take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

Authoritarians love Earthquakes and Alien Invasions

In True nature of the State on August 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Does Destruction Lead To Prosperity?

Authoritarians of all stripes  love a good crisis that results from destruction. They see it as an opportunity in  which they can garner more power and resources for their god, The State . Whether its War, Natural Disasters, or fabricated stories about Alien Invasions those who worship at the altar of the State see destruction or potential  destruction as a net positive to the economy and especially to themselves. They believe the more power the State has the more they will be able to institute their plans for controlling the Life, Liberty and Property of other individuals.

Without the power of legalized force behind them the Central Planners would be no different from self-help gurus peddling their particular prescription for happiness. I don’t think they would be able to institute their plans if it rested upon individuals voluntary accepting to follow them. 

 Without the threat of death, imprisonment, and financial ruin Central Planners would not be able to force  others to act in a certain way. They would have to use persuasion. This is not something that  the Utopia Seeking Authoritarians can afford to rest such important work upon. Instead of relying on  their ability to convince individuals to buy into their collectivist commandments they enlist the power and force of the State to implement their plans.

The favorite way for those who work for the State to institute their collectivist designs is by rebuilding after a disaster. They sell the idea to individuals if they only give up more of their money and their power to choose after a disaster the  State can not only improve the individual’s economic well-being but that of the entire economy as well.   But contrary to what they tell people, Destruction never leads to wealth creation. If it did no civilization or Empire on Earth would ever disappear.  What Empire throughout history who has squandered their treasure on War or had their lands devastated by natural disasters ever succeeded in becoming prosperous over the long-term?  If War and Natural disasters  produced wealth we would be filthy rich right now. But instead of Private wealth has been dramatically decreasing  in this country after the natural disasters and wars over the past 100 years, while the wealth and power of the State has grown astronomically.

I think one of  the unseen reasons why those on the Left and some on the Right believe that destruction, whether it’s war earthquakes or alien invasions is a good thing is because they see it as an oppurtunity to remake the world according to their vision. If the old order is destroyed a new one will be put in its place.   With destruction coupled with the growth of the State they believe they will be able to sell their wares and be part of the Central Planning Cabal in charge of the rebuilding effort. In a sense the Authoritarian Professors, Pundits, Politicians and Economists are selling a product and that product is increasing the size and scope of the State at every opportunity.

Natural Disasters or Alien Invasions or War demand that the State become more dominant and  like a very smart man said to me over lunch the other day , “Gain market share“. That is exactly what the State and its allies are constantly trying to do in all situations  : Increase the State’s market share from the private sector. It does this by stealing money and directing the choices of individuals. The two competing forces in this world are Society (collection of individuals acting peacefully according to their own plans) and the State (which uses force to institute its plans for all individuals).

In the classic “What is Seen and Unseen”,  Bastiat explained with the  Window Breaking Fallacy that destruction may look to be a net positive at first because the damage needs to be  repaired. But in reality reparing destruction is not a net positive because of the unseen loss of the opportunity that those repairs denied.

If destruction is a net positive why do we want to wait for natural disasters?  Whey not Nuke one of our own  major cities? Why not evacuate everyone out of downtown Portland or Peoria or  New York City and raze it to the ground? Wouldn’t that be a huge boon to the economy? Just think of all the money needed to clean up, rebuild the buildings, buy new furniture computers and other consumer goods. That would be awesome right? But the money has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is from individuals who have earned that money. And they had plans for that money besides building a new city. Instead of having the city in which they live intact along with their money, now they only have the city.  Repairing Destruction always destroys unforseen opportunites.

But we are doing basically the same thing overseas with all the wars? The State bombs and destroys buidlings in other countries  then It steals money from us not only for the bombs but also for the bricks to rebuild what they’ve bombed. The Wars have  been an economic boon to the corrupt officials overseas, politicians here at home and the Defense Contractors and other corporations who live off the State’s contracts. But who can look around the country and say its been good for the economy as a whole?   

A famous Authoritarian Economist said  the following on a talking heads show :

“There was a ‘Twilight Zone episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. “Well, this time, we don’t need it, we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.” Along with that he is of course for more money printing from the Fed and more stimulus spending without the false alien invasion story.

His basic premise is that any event, even a manufactured one  that increases the control of the State over Society ( control over individual’s Life, Liberty and Property)  is a good thing. That is because when the State grows the prophets and the priests of the State benefit economically. So it could be said that Natural Disasters and Wars have a net positive economic effect but only for those who serve the State.

To them  individuals are always subservient to the State even if they don’t know it yet. Only a small handful of people like themselves know this and must convince everyone else that is the best way to live. They just need to grow the State and reduce the Private Sector  sufficiently in order to do  that. Once the State is sufficiently large enough and private independent thought and action are reduced they can then bring about their Collectivist Utopia.

Leonard Read in his Elements of Libertarian Leadership explains how the authoritarians are blinded by their own arrogance.

“Now, it is perfectly obvious that many authoritarians are richer in an encyclopedic type of knowledge than are many libertarians. But, does this necessarily mean that they are wiser? Socrates, reputedly wise, said, “This man thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas as I do not know anything, do not think I do either.”

I don’t know everything but unlike the Central Planners I don’t pretend to. In reality of course they never can know it all but that is what they sell to the people. Within the Free Market each individual has a small sliver of knowledge and with that they buy and sell with other individuals who have a small sliver of knowledge. Throughout the Free Market billions of transfers of information take place (buying and selling) and this is what allows individuals when allowed to freely choose how to spend their time and money to adapt to an ever-changing world. This includes rebuilding after a Natural Disaster or an attack by a Foreign Nation.

When Authoritarians Pundits postulate about  how the State can turn the economy around only if it consumes more resources from individuals, they are revealing how little they know.
Ludwig von Mises explained beautifully in his opus “Human Action” that each person has a unique scale of value and that it can change not only day-to-day but also moment to moment. And individuals always act to eliminate personal uneasiness, or stated differently to satisfy a desire. Mises wrote that all action to satisfy an individual’s desire  is speculative. With this in mind how can anyone plan the actions and anticipate the consequences of  the actions of billions of people each day,  when the Authoritarian Economist doesn’t even know how   his  own desires will change from day to day or moment to meometn or what will be the consequences resultant from his actions to satisfy them?

“No one of us gets more than a casual glance of all creation, and each of us experiences a different view. ” Leonard Read

Know-it-allness  as Leonard Read once wrote is the perfect way to describe  the attitude shared by all the  Authoritarian Economists, Professors, Pundits, and Politicians who serve the State. They know they know best. All they have to do is “force” people to believe it too.

“The authoritarian attempts to be the master of others when, obviously, he is not even master of himself. Plato likens the authoritarian to the man who passes his life, not in the building of his inner self, but in fighting and combating other men. Need we do more than look about us to confirm the rightness of Plato’s observations? One cannot be attentive to the inner self while exerting coercion on others.” Leonard Read

The  Authoritarian Central Planners hope for destruction. They use every crisis to aggregate more power to the State from which they benefit economically. Their business is to support and implement the plans of the State to violate the Natural Right of Individuals to their Life, Liberty and Property. When Destruction occurs individuals are the most vulnerable to the siren song of the Utopian Collectivist Planners who never let a good crisis go to waste.

And That’s my Take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

What if D.C. had been destoryed by the earthquake?

In True nature of the State on August 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Would life come to a screeching halt if D.C. no longer existed?

A 5.9 earthquake hit near Washington D.C. yesterday. If you had watched any news coverage you would think that the world was coming to an end. There were pictures of people scrambling to get out of various government buildings. This made me think  “What would life had been like today if Washington D.C. had been swallowed up by a giant crack in the Earth?”

Would life in this country grind to a halt? Would the economy come to a screeching halt if there were  no one to regulate how make or spend our money? Would businesses destroy run amok and destroy the environment? Would terrorists take the opportunity to kill us all? Or would your life and my life continue on as it had before? I believe it would with a couple of exceptions: We would no longer have to labor to feed the Leviathan and or worry how it would strike us down if we angered it.  The Leviathan is no longer strangling your neck

Now when I talk about the disappearance of the Federal Government I don’t mean the disappearance of the people who work for the State (except maybe the politicians). I’m talking about  the machinery of the Federal Government and its huge bureaucracy including the IRS and all the other alphabet soup agencies.

If the Federal Government had disappeared yesterday life would continue on today. Most individuals would not miss it one bit. For those worried about anarchy breaking  loose, the governors, legislatures, and judiciary of each state along with the county and city levels of government would continue to operate. Those who advocate for a stateless society of course would continue to question the very necessity of these local governments as well, but at least the great Leviathan would be off our back.

The biggest relief felt by most if the Federal Government sank into the abyss would be the elimination of the IRS. You would no longer have your income stolen through withholding for the income tax and payroll tax. This would affect individuals as well as  businesses. Social Security and the other Entitlements would end over night. The old and disabled would not be thrown out onto the streets. Private Charities and churches would provide relief just as they did before the great Welfare State was created. The economy would improve overnight as individuals and businesses free of the tentacles of the IRS would once again feel confident to invest, save, and earn without the Feds getting in the way.

If Federal Government no longer existed that would also include the elimination of the Defense Department, the NSA, the CIA, the DEA, and BATF. For starters the wars would end immediately overseas because what governor would want to tax his citizens to fund a war thousands of miles away? I don’t think they would. The idea of  actual defense would replace the war hysteria we now live under. A militia system would develop and if any state’s borders were attacked citizens would respond to defend their property and their lives.

If the Federal Government disappeared over night the DEA would no longer be terrorizing Central and South America in an undeclared war. Individuals in each state would choose to legalize drugs or not. I believe most would in order to tax them. This  is going to happen eventually and I believe without the Federal Menace of the DEA there would be a lot more states that would do that now.

If the Federal Government disappeared under the Earth’s crust the ATF would not be selling guns to drug cartels who would more than likely disappear when the prohibition on drugs is lifted. Without the DEA the individual states would more likely end the prohibition on drugs all together and that would almost eliminate the drug cartels overnight.

This is just the beginning. Think about if the EPA no longer existed and all their industry killing regulations disappeared overnight? No longer would farmers in California be put out of work for some tiny little fish. Industry could expand to meet consumer need without fear of arbitrary regulations based upon pseudo-science.

 The FDA would no longer exist and that would free up more drugs to be released upon the market. And it would not act like some kind of shield for drug companies to release bad drugs. The SEC and Sarbanes Oxley would disappear and small companies could once again go public without spending millions of dollars in regulation.

But our problem is really not the Federal Government  or the politicians who pass the laws or the bureaucracy that writes and enforces the regulations resultant from those laws. The Federal Government is just a reflection of the basic premise held by most Americans today. That premise is that it is okay to violate the Natural Rights of others and to have others violate the Natural Rights of themelves. So even if by some act of God the entire Federal Leviathan was swallowed up by a great fissure caused by the earthquake yesterday the ideas that built D.C. would still exist today. These ideas of entitlement and plunder would build the same or similar structure of the State as we see today. 

If we truly want to be free we must first understand that we are each endowed by our Creator with Natural Rights that are inseparable from us, the right to Life, Liberty and Property. Until the majority of Americans believe in the basic premise of  natural Rights we will continue to have our rights violated by politicians at every level of Government and it makes no difference if they are  in Washington D.C. or in your state’s capitol or at the county commissioner’s office. (If you’ve ever been to a county commissioners meeting you understand that problem is government no matter what level it is on.  )

Our enemy is the State as Albert Jay Nock wrote, but more accurately our enemy is the idea that propagate, support, and enlarge the State. If Washington D.C. was gone today I am afraid that in all fifty states the politicians there would be clamoring to fill that power vacuum and the majority of citizens dependent on the Entitlements and redistribution of wealth would be happy to oblige. The majority of citizens would still view their state and local governments as proxy thieves and demand that the State provide other people’s property for them to live off of.

Even if D.C. disappeared the ideas that built that cess pool of thievery and corruption would continue to find expression elsewhere. As long as individuals believe that they can not govern themselves and are unwilling to take on the responsibility that comes with their Natural Rights to Life, Liberty and Property we will alway have the State oppressing us no matter what form it takes.

And that’s my take,

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

Overall I believe

Difference Between Conservatives and Libertarians

In Liberty, Taxes, True nature of the State on August 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Conservative Talk Show Host Illustrtates how Big Government Grows under Republicans

I used to call myself a Conservative. Now I fancy myself an Advocate of Liberty, one who advocates for my own Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property and the right of everyone else to the same. Some people call this the Freedom philosophy, Libertarianism or another way to say it is that I am a Radical Individualist. I belive that I am a unique entity and no one has a right to “govern” my actions unless I violate the Natural Rights of others.

A lot of Conservatives claim to support individual liberty but fail to understand that any time the State is called upon to “govern” how someone chooses to live their life that individual’s Natural Rights are violated.

Today I was listening to conservative talk show host who said something today that highlighted the difference between the conservative ideology and that of Libertarians.

A caller was talking about his idea for ending Social Security. The guy was nervous but I thought he got his point across but I think the host missed it completely. The caller said that his plan to end Social Security was to first  pay people back what they paid into the system, secondly honor the commitment to keep payments going to folks already on it, and then end the Social security program all together. His main point was that he was not a fan of Social Security. He did not have time to articulate why the Social Security program like the other entitlement programs violated individuals’ Natural Right to their Life, Liberty and Property. He didn’t get the chance. The host  was pressuring him to get his point out because he was up against a break but curiously had time to take a call about Sarah Palin after he got the guy  off the line.
Before the host ended the call he actually said that he agreed with the caller but what he said next makes me think he really didn’t. He said that the caller’s plan was similar to Paul Ryan’s plan which he supports. He went on to explain that the Ryan Plan pays out to people already on Social security then the plan allows those under 50 to own and invest their retirement but the government will still force them to save!!!

That last qualifier illustrates where the host and the caller ideologically part ways. How can anyone who wants to live free accept the premise that the State can force you to save? If the State can force you to save they can tell you how to spend all of your income.  What is the premise behind this idea that the government can dictate how individuals spend their money? It assumes that individuals if left free to exercise their God-given right to their Life, Liberty and Property are not capable of taking care of themselves and that the State must intervene and make decisions for them. How is that premise any different from the one that spawned the Welfare State?

That is why it is always important to check your basic premise and the basic premise of others. One side believes in the basic premise that individuals have a Natural Right to their Life, Liberty and Property and the other side does not. They believe that the State can determine what “rights” individuals have.

If someone chooses not to save that is their choice. When they get old and are destitute that will be a lesson to those around them that saving for retirement is probably good idea.

Private charities have existed long before the Welfare State and would do a far better job helping the poor and sick than any bureaucratic humanitarian could ever do. The more of a person’s income they are “allowed” to keep the more charity spending they would do. The individuals in the U.S. already give a ton of cash to charity just think what would happen if everyone kept 90% or even 100% of their income?

When the State intervenes in the life choices of individuals everyone suffers. When people are free to live, to choose, to invest, to invent and  to meet consumer demand without interference everyone benefits. It is the “Spontaneous Order”  Hayek wrote about. Prosperity comes to all when individuals are free to spend and save the fruits of their labor as they see fit. If you accept that the State has some role to play in how individuals do that then you do not believe in each individual’s inherent inalienable Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property.

This is the dividing line between those who believe in the Freedom Philosophy which can be summed up as “anything peaceful” and those who on the Right embrace the concept of a coercive powerful central government that is “okay” as long as it is forcing people to live as they see fit. This is the same “Fatal Conceit” that all collectivists share.

I am an advocate for a Stateless society in which private individuals and entities enter into voluntary exchanges without external coercion. Until this day I advocate for the immediate ending of the Social Safety Net,  ending the wars and bringing the troops home, and lowering federal taxes to 10% or less which would then only be used to fund the  National Defense ( under 100 billion a year) andto pay off the debt.  After the debt is paid off I don’t see why the National Defense could not be providedfor  like all other services through private entities.?

I believe that most conservatives want to be free and it is our job who Advocate for Liberty to help them see that by embracing the Coercive State to accomplish anythingt limits the freedom of everyone.

And That’s My Take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

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Syrian Sanctions: Prudent Foreign Policy or Act of War?

In True nature of the State on August 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I agree with the French Economist Frederic Bastiat who believed that Peace is Preferable to War and the best way to ensure that Peace is through Free Trade.

The Treasury Department has declared that Syrian Petroleum products are off-limits for U.S. companies to buy. Also the Treasury Dept is seizing  Syrian assets in this country. They are doing this to spur the regime change in Syria. How can this not be construed as an act of war? And by the way when did Syria attack us?

I used to believe that  America was the good guy and “We” should keep the rest of the evil doers in the world under control, whether that was by direct military action or through economic sanctions. But I’ve come to believe that the State is the problem no matter what country it controls. So it doesn’t matter if our form of the state intervenes somewhere and limits the freedom of others or if their own version does, it is the same result: Individual’s Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property are violated.

The goal of the current Economic Sanctions against the Syrian Regime is to limit their ability to fund the crackdown against protesters. But these dictatorial regimes are well insulated by their very nature and Economic Sanctions always fall hardest upon the individual citizens.

The true purpose of Economic Sanctions is to inflict economic pain upon a nation. But this like every action of the State is ultimately directed not at the leaders but at the people themselves. They are designed to make individuals so miserable in the target country that they will overthrow their current government. But all too often that rage at the decreasing standard of living brought about by Economic Sanctions is directed not at their leader but at the United States.

How would the citizens of the United States appreciate it if Europe decided to slap Economic Sanctions upon us to encourage the ousting of ” problem” members of Congress?  What if they targeted the Economic Sanctions at certain businesses inside of specific districts to accomplish that? What if you worked at one of those businesses?

It is tantamount to extortion. If you do what “We” (The Federal Government) want then we will stop the pain. A better description of Economic Sanctions is Economic Torture or Economic Terrorism.

I don’t believe any government has the right to limit trade between individuals. It doesn’t matter if it is in a Suburb of Chicago where a little girl has set up a lemonade stand to sell to thirsty customers or if an oil company in Houston wants to buy crude from an oil well in Syria. If you own your Property you should be able to sell it to anyone who is willing to buy it.

What if the United States allowed businesses to trade openly with North Korea or Iran today? How would that hurt the individual interests of those living in the United States? The living standard of folks in North Korea and Iran would rise and so would ours. It is a win-win. If individuals are engaged in trade they are much less likely to go to war. Why go to war if your freedom to choose how you dispose of your time and money is increasing?  Free Trade leads to more Individual Liberty.

“By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.” Frederic Bastiat

By ending its Economic Sanctions against countries around the world the U.S. Federal Government would be taking a step to return Individual Liberty not only to those individuals  in those countries targeted but also here at home. This would lead to more employment because entrepreneurs would employ capital to produce goods and services to meet the need of the consumers previously deemed off-limits by the government. In order to do this they would need to hire employees and that would create jobs. 

Mutually Assured Prosperity through Free Trade is more likely to prevent countries from attacking each other than the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction.

 Etienne de La Boetie explained in “Politics of Obedience : Discourse of Voluntary Servitude” that a regime will not last long if a majority of individuals withdraw their consent. The only individuals who can do this are those individuals in Syria. We should allow the individuals in Syria to decide if they want to withdraw their consent or not.

Now if individuals around the world would like to spend their blood and treasure helping the resistance in Syria or Libya or wherever, they should have the right to do so. But they do not have the right to use the Force of the  United States Federal Government funded through the plundered property of productive citizens to accomplish their goals. Those individuals who condemn the leader of Syria and want him gone should personally support the resistance, either with their own money or with their own hands fighting alongside the rebels. But how many individuals do you see cashing in their 401ks, flying to Syria and picking up an AK-74?  

All events are preceded by ideas. The best way to enjoy Peace as an individual is for governments of the world to stop interfering with Free Trade between individuals regardless of their location.  Free Trade is predicated on the concepts of Natural Rights and the more individuals around the world enjoy their God-given right to Life, Liberty and Property without interference from any government; the more everyone in the world will enjoy prosperity.

If you want others to be free then first you must be free. Once you are free all  you can do is to become an example of what the enjoyment of freedom looks like.  You can not force someone to want to be free.

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.” H.L. Mencken

The U.S. served as an example or an alternative to the communist system when the USSR collapsed. What example do we show the world today? The United States Federal Government was instituted to protect individuals Natural Rights but on a daily basis it violates them. Whether it does this at home through taxation and regulation  or abroad  by the dropping of bombs or by Imposing Economic Sanctions it is no defender of our God-given inalienable rights. No wonder folks around the world don’t demand that their own government stop violating their Natural Right to Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of Hapiness.

If you want others in the world to be free the first step is to look out your own life and ask how free are you? Our first and only task is to secure our own Natural Right to Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of Happiness. In order to secure our rights we must limit the size and scope of the government in general and especially the Federal Government in this country so it is not able to violate the Natural Rights of individuals no matter where they live, whether they live in Boise or Baghdad, Denver or Damascus, Marietta or Mogadishu. The less government there is the more Liberty all individuals enjoy.

“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.” Frederic Bastiat

Economic Sanctions against any country for whatever reason should be only done defensively and as part of a declaration of war. Denying life through economic means or through physical means makes no difference both are aggressive actions that lead to the violation of individual’s Natural Right to Life, Liberty, Property, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

And That’s My Take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

 

The Anti-Federalists foresaw the future

In True nature of the State on August 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Why are the Anti-Federalist papers not read more? Why are we always steered toward the Federalist papers? The answer is simple. The federalist papers even though they purport to limit the Federal Government are actually the foundation on which our current version of the Leviathan stands.

We are told our Constitution is the law of the land. But few people realize that was not always the case. The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution of the United States of America.

And even fewer people realize that the Articles of Confederation were just supposed to have been amended by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and that most citizens did not expect to have an entirely new document created. 

During the ratification process of the New Constitution two factions emerged: The  Federalists who were those who supported the Second Constitution and the Ant-Federalists who felt either that the second Constitution should not be ratified at all or that it should be ratified but only after it was amended to protect individual Liberty from the more powerful Federal Government it created.

The debates we are having today have their roots in the debates concerning the ratification of the Second Constitution. The Anti-Federalists argued that the new Powerful Centralized Federal Government would just take the place of the one they had just rebelled against. They feared that by having power centralized in a far off capitol individuals would have not be able to redress violations of their Natural Rights.

The Anti-Federalists foresaw  the possibility of massive growth of the Federal Government due to the vagueness of the welfare/commerce clauses. Today those who want to expand the State cite these two clauses most when arguing for more government intervention into the lives of individuals. “. Also they feared that the  vast court system, in particular the Supreme Court,  to be created under the Second Constitution would be a boon to lawyers and an enemy to liberty.

The Constitutional Convention was formed in response to the inadequacies of The Articles of Confederation. It may have been imperfect but what it did accomplish was to limit the power of the Federal Government to tax. That alone limited everything that the Federal Government could do. No matter what laws were passed it mattered not because it lacked the means to enforce them.

That would be the equivalent of the Federal Government enacting laws today that in reality would be mere suggestions to the citizenry.

You can take the argument even further and ask if The Articles of Confederation were in effect today  instead of our Second Constitution would the Federal Reserve Exist, would the Federal Income Tax exist, would the EPA, FDA, HomeLand Security exist and would the U.S. owe 15 trillion dollars in debt?  I think that is a fair question.

Our current Constitution is worshipped by some as a holy relic and every debate over a law boils down to if it is Constitutional or Not.  The intent of the Articles of Confederation and the Second Constitution was created to keep the Federal Government off the people’s back and allow them to live their lives as they saw fit. I believe the Articles of Confederation is a superior document in that regards and if every debate about a law boiled down to whether it was lawful according to the First Constitution of the United States than just about every law on the Federal Registrar would have to be thrown out.

We can only speculate on the society in which we would live in if the Constitutional Convention had stuck to its original mandate. In my opinion the Federal Government would have grown from its 1789 roots but it would be far smaller today. If are to reduce the size and scope of The Federal Government along the way to a Stateless Society we need to realize that a great attempt at limiting the central government was made with The Articles of Confederation , our  First Constitution.

Today more than every  we must be cognizant of the main reason why the Articles of Confederation were scrapped.In one word DEBT. 

State debt was the downfall of the Articles of Confederation. The States who couldn’t pay their revolutionary war debts wanted to shift the burden to the central government and in doing so have  the other states help pay it off. But under The Articles of Confederation the power to tax was only delegated to the States. The Federalists argued that the Federal Government needed the power to tax in order to pay down this debt. So their solution to the debt problem was to forcibly take from others and redistribute that wealth in order to pay off the liabilities of the less prosperous States. It was the first National Bailout.

Does that kind of thinking sound familiar. Having the more successful subsidise the less successful? This was the principle in which our Second Constitution was founded upon. So why are we surprised to see millions of citizens today looking to the Centralized Behemoth our U.S. Federal Government to steal from others to benefit them?

The entitlement plundering ideology of today is the logical out growth of the germ of the idea that was planted with the ratification of the Second Constitution. I’m not saying that the founders, except maybe Hamilton who was a proto-socialist, could have envisioned the world in which we live today. But it does not prevent us from looking back and tracing the journey on which we have traveled to arrive at the destination we are at today.

The whole process of how the Constitution was written and ratified reminds me of the current way lawmakers conduct themselves. They met in secret, exceed their original mandates, and then tell the nation that calamity will befall us all if their plans are not passed.That is exactly what happened at the Constitutional Convention.

The original mandate for the Constitutional Convention was to rework the Articles of Confederation. But instead they scrapped it and started over. That was the birth of Big Government in the United States. From there it grew year by year taking more liberty away from individuals and finally  growing bloated and belligerent into the authoritarian empire we have today.

All that being said the Second Constitution of the United States especially with the inclusion of the  Bill of Rights, which the Anti-Federalists forced to be added,  still does better than any other document (except the Articles of Confederation) to secure the Natural Rights of individuals and actually limit The Power of a Centralized Government. The concept that individuals rights came from God and not man first stated in the Declaration of Independence, was still embodied in the spirit of the Second Constitution. But even with the Second Constitution as the law of the Land we still suffer the violation of our Natural Rights on a daily basis.

One reason I believe this happensbecause those who love Liberty use the Constitutional/unconstitutional argument to no effect when it comes to debating the legality of a law. I think that is the weakest argument we can use to defend liberty against freedom stealing laws. Because  some could argue that the Second Constitution is unconstitutional because it violates the basic Natural Rights of individuals that it was designed to protect. Instead I believe we should always base our arguments on our Natural Inherent God Given rights to Life, Liberty, Property, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  

James Otis an import pre revolutionary figure wrote  ” A law against Natural Law is void”. That is the best argument I have heard to use in place of the ineffective and overused Unconstitutional Argument.

The Anti-Federalists were on the right track but it would take the likes of Lysander Spooner, Clarence Darrow, Albert Jay Nock and Murray Rothbard to recognize that the problem wasn’t merely the size and shape of the Federal Government but the problem was government itself.
I like them  advocate for a Stateless Society in which all transactions are voluntary and without external coercion.

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

President’s jobs plan: Planning for Failure

In True nature of the State on August 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

The President of the United States will unveil the details of his job creation plan in September when Congress returns from its break.  Then he will also submit a plan to the 12 members of the super committee that is supposed to reduce the deficit.

I’m feeling better already that I know the President has got a “plan”. (NOT)

The President recently stated that:

“What is needed is action by Congress. It’s time for the games to stop. It’s time to put country first,” “We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game”

That’s what we need more “actions” by Congress. That always turns out well for us.

The President’s  basic Premise is that the State should command and control the decisions that individuals make because he and his ilk are smarter and know better than they do. Hayek’s term “Fatal Conceit” is appropriate here. The Central Planners  are so arrogant they think they can plan your life for you.  Do you think you can spend your time and money better than the politicians and bureaucrats can? I know I do.

By understanding his basic premise I don’t need to know the details of his plan. Because I know that whatever he proposes it will be by its very existence of being a “plan” an instrument to limit individual liberty and increase the power and scope of the State. No matter what form of government intervention he proposes,  it will distort the Free Market because it will deprive more people of the power to choose for themselves how they spend their time and money.

This basic premise that individuals can not judge appropriately for themselves how best to spend their time and money forces the Central Planners to reject the idea Adam Smith that there exists an “Invisible Hand”.  They reject the basic premise that when individuals act in their own self-interest that in fact benefits sociey as whole. What is ironic about this is that by them pursuing their self-interst, i.e. gaining power and influence in government they believe they themselves are helping sociey as a whole.

Our whole economy is in dire straits because of previous congress’ and presidents’ plans. Couple those failed plans with the monetary debasement and price-fixing performed by the Federal Reserve and its no big secret why we are in the mess we are in.  But still the arrogant ruling class calls for more and more plans to fix the failures of their past. Until  individuals in great numbers realize the failures of these plans and policies and once again looks to themselves instead of the Statefor their economic wellbeing; we will continue to  get plan after plan from the politicians, pundits, and professors that will force us further down the “Road to Serfdom”.

I reject the president’s plan as well as any presented by Congress which does not immediately open up currency competition in the U.S. by ending the legal tender laws (Greatly diminishing the power of the Fed), immediatley end Fractional Reserve Banking, eliminate the minimum wage, eliminate the IRS, eliminate the U.S. involvement in the U.N., World Bank, and IMF, eliminate the Dept of Labor, the Dept of Commerce, the Dept of Education, and the Dept of Energy, cut the Defense Department in half and end the wars overseas, legalize drugs, prostitution, and gambling,  phase out Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,  and eliminate all other government spending by 40%.

This is the only true “jobs plan”.

That is a “Plan” I would support because my basic premise is based upon the Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property. The President and the central planners do not believe in Natural Rights and their basic premise is predicated on increasing the power of the State over our lives.

The plan I propose would be a plan that would increase individual liberty and diminish the power of the State. But Until individuals in this country recognize the fact that when they clamor for political planning they are in essence feeding the Leviathan which has an insatiable appetite, with more and more of their Life, Liberty and Property.

And that’s my take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty