Monday, April 26, 2010

Is Statism Inevitable?

Thanks again to Bill St Clair at for the heads up on this.

Thomas L. Knapp at Center for a Stateless Society - a comparison of public and private organized crime, the government vs. the mafia. Conclusion: they're pretty much the same thing, except government's crimes are much larger, and the mafia doesn't try to convince you that their criminal activities are for your own good.

"Drag a businessman out of his establishment and board the place up because he didn’t fork over for the proper “business permits,” you’re a “public servant.” Drag a businessman out of his establishment and set the place on fire because he didn’t cough up “protection money,” you’re a goon.

Play the government lottery, you’re an upstanding citizen. Put $50 on your neighborhood numbers game — or worse, help set up that game — you’re a crook.

Give a pimp or madam a hundred bucks for an hour with one of his escorts, you’re a john. Pay the county clerk $50 for a “marriage license” and keep up with the attendant annual tax penalties, have all the sex you want for life — it’s “legit.”

Buy or sell an oxycodone tablet on the street, you’re a “drug dealer” or a “substance abuser.” Get a license from the DEA to sell, or a prescription from a doctor to buy, that same pill and you’re a “pharmacist” or a “patient.”

Pressure a jury to acquit your associate, you’re a “mobster” engaged in “jury tampering.” Pressure a jury to convict your opponent, you’re a “prosecutor” making good use of “voir dire.”

Seventy-five years ago Albert Jay Nock in his masterpiece Our Enemy the State quoted Ortega y Gasset saying, "Statism is the higher form taken by violence and direct action, when these are set up as standards," he defends Gasset's position by citing the evidence from the historical record as it existed in 1935. "The historical method enables us to perceive at once that his definition is precisely that which one would make a priori."

He goes on to make certain predictions that we in our time see as coming true.

The historical method, moreover, establishes the important fact that, as in the case of tabetic or parasitic diseases, the depletion of social power by the State can not be checked after a certain point of progress is passed. History does not show an instance where, once beyond this point, this depletion has not ended in a complete and permanent collapse. In some cases, disintegration is slow and painful. Death set its mark on Rome at the end of the second century, but she dragged out a pitiable existence for some time after the Antonines. Athens, on the other hand, collapsed quickly... Of two things, however, we may be certain; the first is, that the rate of America's approach to that point is being prodigiously accelerated; and the second is, that there is no evidence of any disposition to retard it, or any intelligent apprehension of the danger which that acceleration betokens...

What we and our more nearly immediate descendants shall see is a steady progress in collectivism running off into a military despotism of a severe type.
Closer centralization;
a steadily growing bureaucracy;
State power and faith in State power increasing, social power and faith in social power diminishing;
the State absorbing a continually larger proportion of the national income;
production languishing, the State in consequence taking over one "essential industry" after another, managing them with ever-increasing corruption, inefficiency and prodigality, and finally resorting to a system of forced labour.
Then at some point in this progress, a collision of State interests, at least as general as that which occurred in 1914, will result in an industrial and financial dislocation too severe for the asthenic social structure to bear; and from this the State will be left to "the rusty death of machinery," and the casual anonymous forces of dissolution will be supreme.

The inevitability of the corruption of The State is Natural Law. The inevitability of the demise of The State is Natural Law as well. What is NOT Natural Law is WHEN these happen. It is a certainty that America's political existence will fade. However, the question for every generation is "Will it happen in my lifetime?" Will America languish in years of internal tyranny or will it be an abrupt end? The answer is with what course each generation en-mass does. That course is determined by what influences are dominant and successful in directing the generational course.

Therefore, I ask these questions for reflection and if required, action.

What are the forces influencing American society today?
Are these forces absolute in their influence?
If one had a better idea of how American social power should be directed, how would you influence the American public effectively to go that way?
What method of influence has historically been more successful?
What if your ideas were directly in opposition to the State's direction?
If the State is corrupt and no different than "organized crime" how do you "work within the system to fix the system?"
To who or what do you appeal to for justice and remedy?
By what non-violent methods were the colonists successful in obtaining their liberty from Britain?
By what violent methods were the colonists successful in obtaining their liberty from Britain?
Is there a way to influence society en-mass without resorting to violence?
Has it actually been done by those in opposition to the State?
Why not?

Within the previous is the dilemma of the American "Liberty Movement." Solve or reduce the problem of factionalism and then the influence over the social power of the public can be addressed and accomplished. The battle is always over the hearts and minds of John Q. Public and his family. Who or what they believe and support has always been where the real battle is. The People have always outnumbered their "leaders." It is what they do or don't do that determines the course for their generation. Statism is NOT inevitable in any generation unless that generation accepts it. Whether they accept it or not is up to the capable influence of the liberty visionaries within that generation to to speak to them on their level and not from some erudite ivory tower of rhetorical theory constructed to maintain a "not-for-profit" status.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anarchy Is the Solution to the Evil Idiocy of the State, Part II

As promised here is Anarchy part two! Thanks again to our pal Rommellaw for the heads up!

Whiskey & Gunpowder
By Doug Casey and Louis James

April 19, 2010
Cafayate, Argentina

Anarchy Is the Solution to the Evil Idiocy of the State, Part II

L: The state’s requirements for self-preservation are why people so often say that the state is a “necessary evil.” It must violate some rights to exist, but people think that the state’s protection and support of civil society, which is a great value, is worth the violation.

Doug: I find the concept of a necessary evil rather repugnant. It’s largely sophistry, usually trotted out to justify some type of criminality. Can anything that’s evil really be necessary? And can anything that’s necessary really be evil?

Entirely apart from that, people say the state is necessary because that’s all they’ve ever known. But it’s not, in fact, part of the cosmic firmament. There have been times and places in history when central authority was so distant, or negligent, that the people did function — and prosper — in what was essentially a functioning anarchy.

David Friedman draws attention to medieval Iceland as one example of this. I recommend his book The Machinery of Freedom for lots of great discussion on how society would work without the dead hand of the state suppressing it.

L: And the reality is that there are all sorts of private institutions that provide regulatory and governance systems, from private cities like Disneyworld, to Underwriter’s Laboratories that puts “UL” seals on electronics they deem safe, to churches, some of which govern their members’ most intimate life functions — all through voluntary subscription.

The Mormon Church, for example, exerts a very significant amount of regulation of the private behavior of its members. I’m not a Mormon, of course, but I’ve lived in predominantly Mormon communities, and I have to say they tended to be cleaner, nicer, safer, etc. I’d say the Mormon religion exerts more control over its adherents than any state’s laws have ever exerted over citizens — but those regulated like it. They believe they benefit from it, and most important of all, they are physically free to leave any time they want.

Not so for the state. This is why I’ve said in the past that the state is not a necessary evil but merely necessarily evil.

Doug: Good example. The Amish and Mennonites provide other examples, although religious communities are entirely too uptight to suit my taste. And UL is a good one too, because people worry that businesses would all turn rapacious if the state weren’t there to regulate them. But electronics producers are not required to get UL seals on their products. They go to the extra expense of meeting UL standards because they know they’ll make more money if their products have the UL seal of approval on them.

L: Best Western hotels are the same way. Best Western doesn’t own the hotels; it’s largely a private regulatory agency that inspects hotels and gives those that make the grade the right to put a Best Western sign out front, which is worth a lot to a small mom-and-pop joint.

Doug: There are lots of private regulatory services. Insurance companies also exert a lot of influence on the insured, who have to go by certain rules to stay insured. And, of course, there’s a huge private security industry used by those who want to protect their assets, rather than call 911 after they’ve been robbed, etc. All by subscription.

You don’t need government for anything; if something is needed and wanted, an entrepreneur will provide it for a profit. And do so far better and cheaper than anything a government could possibly hope to.

The economic arguments for a free-market anarchy are overwhelming. I’m of the opinion we’d already be living with the technology of Star Trek if it wasn’t for the state slowing things down. But that isn’t the reason I’m an anarchist. The real argument is moral and ethical.

L: You know, I keep sending “unsubscribe” messages to Washington, but I never get a response.

Doug: Good luck. To them, you’re cattle. They care only so much as you and all the others don’t stampede. Other than that, you exist for their benefit and have as much say in the matter as a steer.

L: Maybe that’s true for most people, but I can still vote with my feet. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. And so have you. Which is why I was looking at property in your neck of the woods in Argentina.

Doug: It makes a lot of sense to be in a place where they have to treat you as a guest, to be courted, rather than an asset to be exploited. Of course, all governments are dangerous, destructive, and annoying. But the ones that are incompetent and disrespected are easiest to deal with…

Anyway, love to have you as a neighbor.

This brings up another problem with the nation-state — it forces obligations upon you. I’m a big believer in being neighborly, but when the state tries to force you into a relationship with other people, it only breeds resentment. I like communities that are self-selecting, where you can assume neighbors share some basic premises about the way the world works.

L: I loved the Estancia. Those mountains would probably convince me if you and your friends didn’t. But anyway, there are a million directions we could take this conversation, a million objections I could raise for you to answer, but I’d like to move from theory to practice. Even to those who agree with you, at least in spirit, this all sounds very theoretical — of no practical consequence since the whole planet, as you’ve observed, is covered with nation-states.

I’ve been your friend for the better part of 20 years, and I’ve worked with you closely for most of the last six of those. I know this is not all theory for you. You live your philosophy. I’ve seen you get up in front of a large lecture hall with hundreds of people and tell them that the whole of the law should be: “Do what thou wilt — but be prepared to accept the consequences.” They laugh or roll their eyes, depending on their beliefs, but I doubt many realize that you are not only completely serious, but that that is exactly how you live your life.

You’re not shy, but you’re not a braggart either, so I’ll go ahead and say that I have watched you match deeds to words. You routinely go in “Out” doors, you light up under “No Smoking” signs, you walk through metal detectors with your belt on, you get back on polo ponies regardless of what your doctors tell you, you leave your electronics on when all the other sheep on the airplane turn theirs off… I could go on and on.

The beauty of it is that most of the time, nothing happens. You did exactly as you pleased, hurt no one, and enjoyed life on your own terms. On the occasions when some busybody does confront you, you usually respond calmly and say, “Oh. Well, what should we do about it?” The worst that happens when you are confronted is usually that you end up where all the submissive people put themselves to start with. Sometimes you even fight back. I’ve watched you make fools of airport security guards or take your business to another hotel.

The important thing is that you start out doing what you want, not what the busybodies want. You may end up penned in with the sheep sometimes, but not as often as most people would think. And you start out doing things your own way. I admire the heck out of that.

Doug: Well… You’re Don Lobo, a well-known anarchist in your own right — well known for not cooperating with the state. But, like you, I’m very easy going, and always try to observe others’ rights to the fullest.

While it’s true the most basic law is “Do as thou wilt — but be prepared to accept the consequences,” you can extrapolate that out, as a practical matter, to two others. One, do all you say you’re going to do. And two, don’t aggress against other people or their property. Everybody understands those laws, and you don’t need a corrupt, and corrupting, government to elaborate on them any further, as far as I’m concerned.

The people I like to hang out with, like you, observe those things. Besides that, I find you’re quite good at keeping your cool while questioning minions of the state… maybe you do it just to see if there’s actually a real human in that uniform they wear.

L: Okay, okay, but I don’t want to comment in print on all the things I’ve done. The point here is not to flatter you, or myself, but to point out to people that submission is a choice, not a foregone conclusion. Freedom is something you never get by waiting for permission but by exercising it as vigorously as your creativity and energy allow. By pushing back against the barriers — like when you told the Inn at Aspen where to shove the city’s “No smoking in the bar” rule, and that you’d accept the responsibility if the mayor walked in.

In the most general terms, I think it’s a mistake to think of freedom as a noun, rather than as a verb. And your actions show the world the consequences of doing freedom, rather than waiting to be given freedom.

Doug: Well, that’s true. And, not to pat myself on the back, it’s worth noting that there have been times when I’ve had my setbacks and even a substantial negative net worth — but it was my problem and nobody else’s. So not having any money is no excuse for not taking charge of your own life and living it the way you want to. I wasn’t given freedom by my parents or the government.

L: Hear, hear! So… Investment implications?

Doug: Attitude is everything, and that matters. If you let yourself be treated like cattle or herded like sheep, you won’t invest so as to maximize your freedom. There’s a lot we could say about this, but we’ve gone on long enough. The place to start is with diversifying your assets across political jurisdictions, making it harder for each would-be Big Brother to corral you. This is a rule almost everyone forgets — but it’s the most important single thing in today’s world.

I would like to recommend a book here. Along with Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, I’d say it’s the most important I’ve ever read, and had the most practical effect on my thinking: The Market for Liberty by Tannehill. It describes, clearly and precisely, how a society without government would likely work. Best of all, it’s now a free download from the Mises Institute’s web site. If you understand the basics, you’ll feel much less obligated to support the destructive institution of government — because you’ll know it’s unnecessary.

L: As we covered in our conversations on currency controls and living abroad - and Argentina, of course. What else?

Doug: Don’t feel guilty about finding the lowest-tax jurisdictions for reporting your income, owning property, etc. Shopping with your feet is not only your human right, it’s a positive good for the whole world; the more everyone shops for the least onerous governments, the more governments will have to compete for being less onerous, and the better off we’ll all be.

L: And the easier it will be for people to exercise their freedom as you do. What about trends?

Doug: Just the ones we’ve already covered — but now the need to take action is getting more urgent. I see that the new employment bill Obama just signed has new currency controls buried in its guts. It doesn’t necessarily prohibit anything new. But it has new reporting requirements and penalties. It’s an overture to what’s coming. As Mencken said, nobody’s life or property is safe while Congress is in session.

L: I figured you were right about this being in the cards, but I have to admit it’s started sooner than I thought it would.

Doug: Sometimes I hate it when I’m right. And I still think things will get worse than even I think they will. Remember my mantra: Liquidate, Consolidate, Create, Speculate.

L: No specific investments?

Doug: Nothing looks particularly good to me right now, except gold. If you don’t have a serious position in gold, you should build one post-haste — with as much as possible outside of the U.S.

Editor’s Note: Anarchy, Part Two is featured at Whiskey & Gunpowder.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kick-Ass KICKS ASS!!!

I have the comics and KNEW that this was special. Go SEE IT!
The question still stands. Why hasn't anyone done this before? Because it hurts? Nah!!! It may be because they have listened to what the "liberty" poobahs (on radio and in print) have been saying.

"OMG that's against our passive aggressive pacifist imperative we try to guilt complex impose on the rest of the "freedom movement" rendering them impotent. Let's have another public protest where we can bleat and ululate our frustrations for the FedGov moles in ours midsts to record us for future processing, and call up our local or internet "patriot" radio show and vent our steam there to the "choir" who will "Amen" us their support! Remember, to hit back is the same as initiating force."

What is actually needed are some young people with a clear moral understanding of who actually initiates coercive force and the right to protect the injured. Young people who have quietly observed their elders petition for redress of grievances from a government who responds with repeated injury. Young people who are not in the FedGov matrix as "patriots" or "protesters" or "Tea-Partiers" or "anarchists" or "Ron Paulites," who will employ the natural right of retributive justice on their own or someone else's behalf. The first rule is: Injure only the injurers. Second rule is: No innocent "collateral damage!"
Third rule is: No claims to fame, notoriety or any form of credit except enigmatic or cryptic reference to the "We Are Everywhere" campaign of the Sipsey Street Irregulars or The Iron Web!

Truth Has Fallen and Has Taken Liberty With It

Just in case that you missed it, here is Paul Craig Roberts' last column. Bummer! His candor will be missed.

Truth Has Fallen and Has Taken Liberty With It


By Paul Craig Roberts

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell

There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.

Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.

Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded "anti-American," "anti-Semite" or "conspiracy theorist."

Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.

Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.

Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.

Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. "Free market economists" are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by "the New Economy," a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur offshore. All Americans need in order to participate in this "new economy" are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs.

Economists who were once respectable took money to contribute to this myth of "the New Economy."

And not only economists sell their souls for filthy lucre. Recently we have had reports of medical doctors who, for money, have published in peer-reviewed journals concocted "studies" that hype this or that new medicine produced by pharmaceutical companies that paid for the "studies."

The Council of Europe is investigating big pharma’s role in hyping a false swine flu pandemic in order to gain billions of dollars in sales of the vaccine.

The media helped the US military hype its recent Marja offensive in Afghanistan, describing Marja as a city of 80,000 under Taliban control. It turns out that Marja is not urban but a collection of village farms.

And there is the global warming scandal, in which climate scientists, financed by Wall Street and corporations anxious to get their mitts on "cap and trade" and by a U.N. agency anxious to redistribute income from rich to poor countries, concocted a doomsday scenario in order to create profit in pollution.

Wherever one looks, truth has fallen to money.

Wherever money is insufficient to bury the truth, ignorance, propaganda, and short memories finish the job.

I remember when, following CIA director William Colby’s testimony before the Church Committee in the mid-1970s, presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan issued executive orders preventing the CIA and U.S. black-op groups from assassinating foreign leaders. In 2010 the US Congress was told by Dennis Blair, head of national intelligence, that the US now assassinates its own citizens in addition to foreign leaders.

When Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that US citizens no longer needed to be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of a capital crime, just murdered on suspicion alone of being a "threat," he wasn’t impeached. No investigation pursued. Nothing happened. There was no Church Committee. In the mid-1970s the CIA got into trouble for plots to kill Castro. Today it is American citizens who are on the hit list. Whatever objections there might be don’t carry any weight. No one in government is in any trouble over the assassination of U.S. citizens by the U.S. government.

As an economist, I am astonished that the American economics profession has no awareness whatsoever that the U.S. economy has been destroyed by the offshoring of U.S. GDP to overseas countries. U.S. corporations, in pursuit of absolute advantage or lowest labor costs and maximum CEO "performance bonuses," have moved the production of goods and services marketed to Americans to China, India, and elsewhere abroad. When I read economists describe offshoring as free trade based on comparative advantage, I realize that there is no intelligence or integrity in the American economics profession.

Intelligence and integrity have been purchased by money. The transnational or global U.S. corporations pay multi-million dollar compensation packages to top managers, who achieve these "performance awards" by replacing U.S. labor with foreign labor. While Washington worries about "the Muslim threat," Wall Street, U.S. corporations and "free market" shills destroy the U.S. economy and the prospects of tens of millions of Americans.

Americans, or most of them, have proved to be putty in the hands of the police state.

Americans have bought into the government’s claim that security requires the suspension of civil liberties and accountable government. Astonishingly, Americans, or most of them, believe that civil liberties, such as habeas corpus and due process, protect "terrorists," and not themselves. Many also believe that the Constitution is a tired old document that prevents government from exercising the kind of police state powers necessary to keep Americans safe and free.

Most Americans are unlikely to hear from anyone who would tell them any different.

I was associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I was Business Week’s first outside columnist, a position I held for 15 years. I was columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300 newspapers. I was a columnist for the Washington Times and for newspapers in France and Italy and for a magazine in Germany. I was a contributor to the New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times. Today I cannot publish in, or appear on, the American "mainstream media."

For the last six years I have been banned from the "mainstream media." My last column in the New York Times appeared in January, 2004, coauthored with Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer representing New York. We addressed the offshoring of U.S. jobs. Our op-ed article produced a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and live coverage by C-Span. A debate was launched. No such thing could happen today.

For years I was a mainstay at the Washington Times, producing credibility for the Moony newspaper as a Business Week columnist, former Wall Street Journal editor, and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. But when I began criticizing Bush’s wars of aggression, the order came down to Mary Lou Forbes to cancel my column.

The American media does not serve the truth. It serves the government and the interest groups that empower the government.

America’s fate was sealed when the public and the anti-war movement bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory. The government’s account of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence. Nevertheless, this defining event of our time, which has launched the US on interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state, is a taboo topic for investigation in the media. It is pointless to complain of war and a police state when one accepts the premise upon which they are based.

These trillion dollar wars have created financing problems for Washington’s deficits and threaten the U.S. dollar’s role as world reserve currency. The wars and the pressure that the budget deficits put on the dollar’s value have put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. Former Goldman Sachs chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is after these protections for the elderly. Fed chairman Bernanke is also after them. The Republicans are after them as well. These protections are called "entitlements" as if they are some sort of welfare that people have not paid for in payroll taxes all their working lives.

With over 21 percent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the "war on terror," the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history.

The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course. As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct. His latest book, How The Economy Was Lost, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press.

FEDGov, just another word for...

Friday, April 16, 2010

How We Lost Our Souls

Once again Prof. Shaffer examines the complex and emotional paradigm of why good people let bad things happen.


How We Lost Our Souls

"Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached." ~ Simone Weil

Anyone who has not seen the videotape of the July 12, 2007, helicopter attack by American soldiers that resulted in the deaths of unarmed Iraqi civilians and two Reuters news employees, can view it on YouTube. After months of requests, by Reuters, for this video – followed by refusals from the military – WikiLeaks received a copy from an unknown source. The revelation of this atrocity quickly raised criticisms not just of the practice, but of the mindsets of soldiers who could so eagerly and gleefully carry out this slaughter of innocents. Even the shooting of children at the scene produced no apparent sense of wrongdoing on the part of the soldiers. One of the best analyses of this evil act was offered by Karen Kwiatkowski.

How does such moral depravity not just occur, but become so pervasive in our world? The occasional recordings of such behavior touch only the surface of institutionalized viciousness. Was Rodney King the first person to be brutalized by police officers? Were civilians shielded from execution-style murder prior to the My Lai massacre? Did the revelations at Abu Ghraib constitute the first acts of torture practiced by American soldiers upon captive civilians? In each of these occurrences – a precedent no doubt to be followed in the current criminal machine-gunning of Iraqis – one or more scapegoats were selected for punishment, so as to distance the brutality of their actions from the more pervasive inhumanity that inheres in the institutions for whom they acted.

The central theme of my writing has been to demonstrate that allowing institutional purposes to pre-empt our own has been destructive of life, liberty, peace and, ultimately, of civilizations. We have long walked a line between our need for social organization – as a way of satisfying various mutual needs – and becoming so attracted to the systems that serve our interests that we want to make them permanent. We move imperceptibly from associations that we control in pursuit of our ends, to organizations that become ends in themselves, and that control us in order to foster their interests. When this occurs, the informal organization has metamorphosed into an institution. I have developed this process more fully in my book, Calculated Chaos.

An institution is no longer a convenient tool for our mutual benefit, but an end in itself; its own raison d’ĂȘtre. It has taken on a life of its own, one that differs from, and usurps, our purposes. Because they can only function and survive through using people, institutions require humans to identify their sense of being with them. To this end, government schools have been established, whose primary purpose has always been to condition young minds in the necessity and desirability of the institutional scheme of things. In the words of Ivan Illich, "[s]chool is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is." Schools also help us learn to seek meaningful and well-paying careers within institutional hierarchies.

When we identify ourselves with, and attach ourselves to these institutional entities, we absorb their values; their purposes; their modus operandi. Such practices of attachment can be analogized to a cancer that metastasizes our inner sense of being. In the process, we become dehumanized, for institutions have no souls; no emotions; no spiritual, moral, or intuitive sense. They neither cry, bleed, love, or experience elation. They are machines and, like other machines, operate solely on the basis of mechanics, linear processes, and material ends. When we become institutionalized, we become little more than robots – servo-mechanisms – functioning in response to how we have been programmed to perform.

The emotional and spiritual dimensions that make us human are of no value to institutions which, in times of political wrong-doing, urge us to suppress such sentiments. Anything that is nonmaterial is immaterial to members of the institutional order. In place of deeply-held philosophic principles, institutions have policies; their sense of "meaning" consists only of perpetuating themselves by maximizing their power and material wealth. To such entities, human beings have value only as fungible resources to exploit on behalf of institutional ends.

It would be easy to condemn the soldiers who engaged in this slaughter as "evil" or "depraved" or "insane" beings. Such is the manner in which we have long accustomed ourselves to blanking out any awareness of the "dark side" of our own unconscious. In such ways have we isolated ourselves from the Hitlers, Stalins, Mao Tse-Tungs, Pol Pots, and other tyrants, leaving us with the comforting feeling that we shared nothing in common with them. But history informs us – if we will only look – that, once we have identified ourselves with any purpose beyond ourselves, we can become capable of the most vicious forms of wrongdoing. How do otherwise decent men participate in a lynch-mob?

The state – an institution that is defined in terms of enjoying a monopoly on the use of violence – is particularly attractive to men and women whose "dark sides" are closer to the surface than those of more tolerant and peaceful persons. When the state energizes this "dark side" – which it does particularly in wartime, the quality that led Randolph Bourne to identify war as "the health of the state" – otherwise decent men and women can turn themselves into agents of savage brutality. When their murderous acts are conducted on behalf of the state – with which most people identify themselves – their actions acquire an aura of legitimacy that would not have obtained under other circumstances; a distinction that would prevent them from becoming serial killers upon their return home.

Identifying ourselves with the state, in other words, has a way of turning us into sociopaths. It is not that the state does this to us, but that our willingness to attach ourselves to external entities – and the values upon which they are grounded – separates us from our focused inner sense of being. This applies not just to the pilots of helicopter gun-ships over Baghdad, but to more visible political figures such as Madeleine Albright – who defended her Clinton-era policies that led to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children – and Janet Reno, who defended her massacre of Branch Davidian men, women, and children at Waco. More recent application of these dynamics are found in George W. Bush’s fascination with starting pre-emptive wars against the rest of the world, and Barack Obama’s apparent willingness to use nuclear weapons in future pre-emptive attacks, as well as to assassinate Americans.

People who are willing to embrace – or even to tolerate – such sociopathic conduct, have lost all touch with what it means to be human; have lost their souls. No federal bailouts; no increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or decrease in unemployment levels, will overcome this loss. Nor can any "stimulus package" be enacted – with or without bipartisan support – to restore the personal integrity long since lost.

There was a time, not so many decades ago, when brute force – particularly when engaged in by police and military agents of the state – was at least frowned upon, if not condemned, by decent men and women. The threshold level for such practices continues to get progressively lower. A major contribution to Barry Goldwater’s defeat in the 1964 presidential campaign, was the unfounded fear that he might be willing to use nuclear weapons in the war in Vietnam. Modernly, Bush’s and Obama’s willingness to initiate a nuclear war have raised no major outcries from most Americans, who seem to prefer "hope" (i.e., wishful thinking) over intelligent "understanding" as a way of making the world free, peaceful, and productive.

When the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, John McCain, can garner nearly 60,000,000 votes with his sociopathic dance of "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," should we be shocked by the butcherous conduct of some American helicopter pilots?

April 14, 2010

Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938 and of Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival. His latest book is Boundaries of Order.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Anarchy Is the Solution to the Evil Idiocy of the State

Thanks to our friend Rommellaw for the heads up on this series of posts on Whiskey & Gunpowder

This is an exchange between Doug Casey and Louis James about what anarchy is and is not. Anarchy Part II coming soon.

Anarchy Is the Solution to the Evil Idiocy of the State

L: Doug, you keep saying you’re an anarchist. I suspect most of our readers know that doesn’t mean you like to wear black army boots and throw Molotov cocktails at McDonald’s restaurants during WTO protests, but I’m not sure how many really know what it is you do mean. And since this is central to your world-view and hence touches on all your thinking as an investor and speculator, it seems useful to clear the air. Few may agree with us on this topic, but let’s talk about anarchy.

Doug: Sure. If people aren’t open-minded enough to even consider an alternative view, they’re their own worst problem, not my ideas. In point of fact, anarchism is the gentlest of all political systems. It contemplates no institutionalized coercion. It’s the watercourse way, where everything is allowed to rise or fall naturally to its own level. An anarchic system is necessarily one of free-market capitalism. Any services that are needed and wanted by people — like the police or the courts — would be provided by entrepreneurs, who’d do it for a profit.

Look, I’d be happy enough if the state — which is an instrument of pure coercion, even after you tart it up with the trappings of democracy, a constitution, and what-not — were limited to protecting you from coercion and absolutely nothing more. That would imply a police force to protect you from coercion within its bailiwick. A court system to allow you to adjudicate disputes without resorting to force. And some type of military to protect you from outside predators.

Unfortunately, the government today does everything but these functions — and when it does deign to protect, it does so very poorly. The police are increasingly ineffective at protecting you; they seem to specialize in enforcing arbitrary laws. The courts? They apply arbitrary laws, and you need to be wealthy to use them — although you’re likely to be impoverished by the time you get out of them. And the military hardly defends the country anymore — it’s all over the world creating enemies, generally, of the most backward foreigners.

In a free-market anarchy, the police would likely be subsidiaries of insurance companies, and courts would have to compete with each other based on the speed, fairness, and low cost of their decisions. The military presents a more complex problem, beyond our range here.

L: That’s a lot for most mainstream folks to swallow at once, Boss. On the other hand, the way I see it, it would be inconsistent with my libertarian principles to demand that anyone agree with me — but I don’t need to be helping those who would enslave me to make money anyway. That said, let’s try to ease into this…

Doug: So, let’s start with a definition. Many people think of anarchy as being chaos. They see riots and chaos on TV from some place in conflict and think, “What anarchy!”

L: That’s if the talking heads don’t tell them that what they are seeing is anarchy to begin with.

Doug: Right. But chaos and bomb throwing are not anarchy. Chaos is the actual opposite of anarchy. Anarchy is simply a form of political organization that does not put one ruler, or ruling body, over everyone in a society. Whether that’s actually possible is a separate matter. This is what it means. And I see it as an ideal to strive for.

L: I’m looking at Webster’s, and it says that anarchy is: A: Absence of government. B: A state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority. C: A utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government. People might say you’re focusing only on C.

Doug: Look at the etymology. It comes from the Greek anarchos, meaning “having no ruler,” an-, not, and archos, ruler. Definition B has come into popular use, but that doesn’t make it right.

“Anarchy” is a word that’s been stolen and corrupted by the collectivists — like “liberal,” It used to be that a liberal was someone who believed in both social and economic freedom. Now a liberal is no better than a muddle-headed thief — someone who’s liberal only with other people’s money.

I refuse to let the bad guys control the intellectual battlefield by expropriating and ruining good words.

In any event, there’s no conflict whatsoever between anarchy and the rule of law, since there are private forms of law and governance. That’s what Common Law is all about. So the correct definition is a combination of A and C.

But I never said a truly free, anarchic society would be a utopia; it would simply be a society that emphasizes personal responsibility and doesn’t have any organized institutions of coercion. Perfect harmony is not an option for imperfect human beings. Social order, however, is possible without the state. In fact, the state is so dangerous because it necessarily draws the sociopaths — who like coercion — to itself.

What holds society together is not a bunch of strict laws and a brutal police force — it’s basically peer pressure, moral suasion, and social opprobrium. Look at a restaurant. The bills get paid not because anybody is afraid of the police, but for the three reasons I just mentioned.


Doug Casey and Louis James
Whiskey & Gunpowder

Thursday, April 08, 2010

"You Picked a Fine Time to Lead Us, Barack"

Great song parody.

WhiskersFish March 20, 2010[For the comment behind the line "bowl like a retard" see: ; For the comment about Obama's brother in the Kenyan mudshack, see here: ] This is a parody of "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille" by Kenny Rogers. Written and sung by Jonathan McWhite. Guitar accompaniment by David McWhite. Sorry to have to disable the comments, but I was tired of the personal attacks, ill-wishes, insults, and the like from the viewers who disagreed with the video's message. I was embarrassed to direct people to this video because of all the ridiculous and offensive comments from the opposing side. If you don't agree with the video, just write it off as neo-con propaganda, which you probably already have. If you do agree with the video, please pass it on. Thanks for viewing.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Freedom Shenanigan #45 "We are everywhere!"

I am glad to see that someone else sees the value and wisdom of Michael Collins' Gambit, during the War of Irish Independence.


Freedom Shenanigan #45
"We Are Everywhere!"

"We are everywhere." -- A call for all Sons of Liberty and Three Percenters who can to join the IRS plus a little task for those who can't .

By Mike Vanderboegh

In talking to a reporter yesterday I was asked, "Well, what are you going to do for an encore (to the Window War)?"

I assured him that I did not think the Window War was quite finished, and that it would revive with the attempts to "cram down" the global warming and amnesty bills in the coming months. Indeed, I can foresee that if any GOPer treats with the declared enemies of the Founders' Republic on these issues, the windows of BOTH parties will be broken, just as I posited in my short story The Window War, so many years ago.

"But is that it? Is that all?" he asked.

I merely smiled.

I didn't tell him, but, no. That is not all.

From the film Michael Collins, 1993:

Michael Collins to Royal Irish Constabulary "G Man" Ned Broy: What's this? What's all this? You've been on my heels for weeks. Very eager for a G man.

Broy: I've something for you. (Reaching inside his coat.)

Collins: Don't! (Sticking a revolver in Broy's neck.)

Broy: (Unfazed.) Don't you ever calm down? (Hands Collins a piece of paper.) Names and addresses of the whole cabinet. They're to be lifted tonight. It's an illegal gathering... in open defiance of His Majesty's government.

Collins: How'd you get this?

Broy: Like you said, I'm eager, for a G man.

Collins: Why should I trust you?
Broy: Logically, I suppose you shouldn't. But I've been on your heels for weeks... making notes of your speeches. Let's just say that you can be persuasive.

Collins: You work for the Castle for Christ's sake..

Broy: I know. What was it you said... "Our only weapon is our refusal".

Well, as my Michigan grandma once told me, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

Nancy Pelosi has given us a great opportunity in the new "Health Care" Law. She's hiring some 16,000 plus new Internal Revenue agents to enforce her tyranny. So, why can't some of those be Three Percenters? I mean, there's a bunch of us out of work, yet we have clean records and skills that would dovetail nicely with those required of an IRS agent. Hey, we would also have the advantage of actually meaning it when they swear us in -- you know, that oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Indeed, while the private sector is shrinking, government at most levels is still growing, so the IRS is not the only agency that could benefit from dozens, hundreds, thousands of Ned Broy's.

Sweet lemonade indeed.

Thanks a bunch, Nancy!

So sign up today! Our Dear Leader needs you to enforce the "Health Care" Act! Join. Learn. Lurk in the shadows, and await the right time and place to muck up the works. And you don't need a Michael Collins to report to. We have the Internet. Study Fourth Generation Warfare and open source insurgency at John Robb's Global Guerrillas site and others. Begin today. Leave no trace. Shut up about your politics. At the very least, we will cause the IRS to waste vast amounts of time and money trying to ferret out our Ned Broy's during the selection process. And if you make it through, study, watch and wait.

I can see whole reams of internal documents posted anonymously to the web, raids compromised with no one there when the door lock is blown in by those new 14 inch barrel entry shotguns. I can see an entire agency in a blue funk, eating at its own vitals.

Oh yes, join now, without delay.

And for those of you who cannot do this, I have this task which is the best force multiplier suggestion I can think of.

Today, we must begin a new campaign: We Are Everywhere.

For we are, you know. Our Socialist Mandarin masters like Nancy Pelosi rub elbows with us everyday, though they do not know it.

We carry their mail and packages.

We check out their groceries.

We clean out their drains, fix their wiring, install their alarm systems and hand them their lattes at Starbucks.

We ARE everywhere.


They do not know this. It never enters their minds. Even if they knew it, they wouldn't care. We have no opinions, they believe, that they are bound to respect. In truth, they despise us. You can tell that by the sneering names they call us and by the arrogance with which they corruptly arrange tyrannical laws.

But they do not know that we are everywhere, passing through, or working in, their offices, their side businesses, their homes.

It is time to remind them.

Send them the message: We are everywhere.

There is no need to explain further. The message is the message.

So send them the message.

By little notes left in their morning papers.

By email, fax and letter.

By phone call.

It is no threat. "We are everywhere." Who is "we"? What do we mean "everywhere"? The message is the message. Nothing more is required. I suppose if you wanted to put a "III" on it, that would be okay, but keep it simple, keep it effective. The message is the message, and I can just see Eric Holder and his boys scratching their heads, trying to make a case out of three little words that by themselves threaten nobody.

Scrawl it in felt-tip pen on the restroom walls of federal buildings.

Leave it in the lockers at the athletic clubs they frequent.

Print it on stickers and slap them on the bumpers of their cars.

We are everywhere.

Paint it on sidewalks wherever it suits your fancy.

Put it on billboards for everyone to see.

We are everywhere.

Especially -- soon, thanks to Nancy Pelosi -- within the vitals of the Internal Revenue Service.

We are everywhere.

If you agree with this idea, pass it on. Let it go viral.

We are everywhere, Nancy.

Deal with it.

Mike Vanderboegh
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters.

PS: Oh, and thanks in advance for employing some of us.

PPSS: Threepers, I especially draw your attention to these guys: TIGTA is like the "Internal Affairs" of IRS. Ought to be some great openings for Three Percenters there. Go for it!

"And remember, lads, find out what they eat for breakfast." - Michael Collins