Archive for January, 2009

Dialogues with the Venus Project (Zeitgeist Movement)

January 31, 2009

Many of you have probably seen the movie Zeitgeist.  For those who have not, simply put this term into your search engine and you can watch the movie on-line. 

 

Like many of you, the criticisms of fiat currency, fractional reserve lending and the state resonated with me.  While doing some research, I happened across the website for the Zeitgeist Movement and was intrigued.  So I went into the site and started reading.

 

Once I dug deeper, specifically in regards to something called the ‘Venus Project’, I was shocked at what I discovered.  I will leave it my readers to do their research on the Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project.  What follows are excerpts from a debate I attempted with several of their members.  I thought these snapshots might elucidate the sad state of dialogue as it regards the problems so many perceive, and the human knee-jerk reaction to latch onto some great scheme, plan or vision for a ‘better’ society.  Also, it will illustrate the poor quality level of debate that’s out there.  It took much prodding to elicit any well-thought-out responses.  I encourage you to check these guys out.  They are absolutely frightening – a mass of otherwise well-intentioned people who sense something is wrong, but are blindly seeking answers.  Rather than understand their own history, they reach out to yet another form of statism and control: the centrally-planned collective.

 

Statement: A Free Society can be Designed

 

Barbed responds:

 

There is no design without control.

 

There is no control without force.

 

There is no societal force absent the state/tribe/collective.

 

There is no state/tribe/collective until the state/tribe/collective monopolizes force.

 

Once force is monopolized, the human being is subject to control by the whims of the state.

 

But, you say, WE have good ideas.  We love human beings. 

 

That may be so.  But will you live forever?  Once force is handed over to the state, it is handed over in perpetuity, the people already having been disarmed, controlled and pacified.

 

Will the next generation of Really Smart Leaders be as judicious with the use of that force as you will?

 

Ponder this, lest your movement morph into another branch of the statism you abhor.

 

Statement: This can only be done through proper design.

 

BWS Response:

 

Please explain:

1. How design does not imply control and therefore, inherently, force ?

2. What do you do with the human beings who do not fit your ‘design’?

For example- John Smith is an investment banker. He represents all that you claim to abhor.

You are ‘designing’ a society. John Smith and his value system does not fit into this design.

What do you do with John Smith?

 

(The answers to my questions seemed to imply that in the utopian ‘Venus Project’ society, there would be no money and therefore no investment bankers.  My question, therefore, was deemed moot.  There was little discussion of how the transition to this utopian society would be carried out, however, which is very concerning.  The whole line of reasoning reminds me of Mao, or Pol Pot, but in reverse: instead of a forced migration to the fields, it’s a suggestion of a highly technological society in an almost Gene Roddenberry sense.  In fact there are frequent Star Trek references to be found on their forum.  I suggested they read The Grapes of Wrath.)

 

Question: What do you think of the 2nd Amendment?

 

BWS Response:

 

We must not distract ourselves with ‘why’ someone may want to prevent you from owning the means of self-defense, in this case a gun.

We must ask how.

HOW do they propose ‘banning’, ‘restricting’, ‘regulating’, ‘confiscating’, and ‘policing’?

Will the state apparatus be used for these ends, as is so often the case? If not, what controlling body will, through its monopoly on the use of force, ‘ban’, ‘restrict’, ‘regulate’, ‘confiscate’ and ‘police’?

Once this authority, this power, has been handed over to such a body, what will said body do with this power next?

What if someone refuses to comply? What force will be used to compel this human beings action in the determined direction? Do you support the tazing of this human being? Do you support the beating of this human being? Do you support the killing of this human being? Do you support the imprisonment of this human being? If so, for how long?

We must ponder deeply our desires to direct human behavior and understand the dynamics of control utilized by both states and humans to control other humans.

Those who would ‘ban’ must first ponder these issues and draw them out to their logical conclusions.

 

 

Statement: You are so powerful when you have weapons , I believe people like you are sissies , without weapons or some brainwashed people doing the job for you , you are powerless , you are too sissies do fight like men.

 

BWS Responds:

 

How wrong you are.

 

The firearm was the ultimate achievement of mankind, freeing him from the totality of ‘might makes right’.  No longer could the state send someone bigger, someone stronger, men in greater numbers, or with more swords to put down those who would not submit to the power of the state.  The firearm made men equal.

 

However, since men are easily brainwashed by the state, man allowed the state to regulate and confiscate privately held firearms, thereby regaining for the state what is crucial to exert its control: a monopoly on the use of force.

 

Such is the plight of the people, that they so eagerly, through their desire to regulate that which they personally disfavor, grant the state ever increasing authority over their lives.

 

Statement: Although I support civilian ownership of guns, I believe it must be carefully regulated and all owners need a good understanding of firearms.  Again, I don’t want to start a gun control discussion. Just pointing out a few things.

 

BWS Responds:

 

If you don’t want to start a gun control discussion, allow us to substitute peanuts for guns.

 

Regulated by whom?

 

Once this individual or group of individuals ‘regulates’ peanuts, how are these regulations enforced?

 

Note that ‘force’ is explicit in the term ‘enforce’.  To whose authority are you willing to submit in order to enforce ‘regulations’ regarding peanuts?

 

How are you gonig to police these regulations?

 

What will you do if someone ‘violates’ these regulations?  Will you approve of tazing this person?  Beating this person?  Will you imprison this person?  For how long will you authorize the state to imprison this political prisoners who did not follow your ‘regulations’ ?

 

Statement: What might happen either is (sic) massive anarchy, mass looting, rape, murder and a lot more bad things.

 

BWS Responds:

 

I think there is a misunderstanding of the term ‘anarchy’ here. That is to be expected given the that the term has been manipulated and defined for the people, via the mainstream media, by the state. 

 

One may ask, in response to a criticism of the ‘design’ motive inherent in TVP: “What do you propose? Anarchy!?”

One does not ‘propose’ anarchy. Anarchy is not a proposition. Anarchy is not a destination. Anarchy is a journey.  Nor is philosophical anarchy a practical proposal. It is not a system. It is an anti-system. One is correct in suggesting that no historic example exists of functioning anarchy. But the suggestion is oxymoronic. There is no ‘functioning’ anarchy.

Rather than ‘propose’ anarchy, one whittles away at the state control mechanism- at regulation and the monopoly on force.

We could eliminate the overwhelming majority of regulation current in place in the modern, western state and be nowhere near philosophical anarchy. We would, however, be much closer to minarchy – and hence liberty.

“When the government fears the people, there is liberty…” -Thomas Jefferson

However, in order to approach liberty, we must resist in every way possible the state’s attempts at civilian disarmament (what you call ‘gun control’)

However, this does not appear to be the tone of this forum or this movement.

Therefore, TVP will simply replace the existing state paradigm, morphing into yet another tool of control, new state paradigm.

This is unfortunate.

To understand the problems you perceive in society, first understand the mechanisms of control and the reality of force. Force is neither good nor bad. However, it exists. To ignore this fact renders any suggestion for ‘change’ moot. Therefore, to achieve liberty one most ensure the state cannot monopolize force.

 

Statement: The need for regulation will vanish with proper education. The whole point behind regulating firearms is to ensure that the person in question actually knows how to safely operate one without harming others.

 

BWS Responds:

 

Who determines whether or not ‘the person in question actually knows how to safely operate one without harming others’?  Does the state determine this?  The vanguard?  Do you determine it?  Who is the decision-maker?  What if I disagree?  What force will you exert upon me to ensure my compliance?  What testing procedures will I have to go through in order to ensure that I ‘actually’ know how to safely operate a firearm?  Who will design the test?  Who will administer the test?  If I fail this test, will you deny me a firearm?  How will you deny me a firearm?  Will you unleash the force of the state upon me?  Will you imprison me?

 

These are questions proponents of TVP have not pondered with sufficient intellectual rigor.

 

Statement: Own firearms in a world where there is no practical reason to own them? I don’t see that anyone would do anything to them for disagreeing.  If they used those firearms to harm people then there would of course be a problem. One of the things the Venus Project talks about is using scientific method to arrive at CONCLUSIONS rather then OPINIONS.  We HAVE (pondered these issues), and I can assure Jaque has as well.

 

BWS Responds:

 

Then I invite ‘Jaque’ to come debate his vision on my site.  Or you, for that matter.

 

In reading your responses, and the responses of others, it is clear that TVP fits the classic definition of a cult.

 

You cannot debate your positions logically or apply intellectual rigor to your conclusions because you begin with the premise, rather than derive the premise through questioning and inquiry.

 

You begin with the premise of a world in which firearms are obsolete. 

 

Yet again, I resist the side-debate over whether this vision is desirable or not, but instead question your premise.

 

You cannot begin with a world where things that exist in reality are already ‘obsolete’.  This is ok in Star Trek.  It is not ok in reality.  In reality, you must have a plan to implement that which you suggest.

 

What you have in this community is a commonly accepted starting point that conveniently skips over the realities and challenges of implementation.

 

You use the euphemism ‘design’.  In reality, you imply force.  But you are able to gloss over the unpleasantness of this term by starting your thought process, and your debate, far down the road.

 

Jaque asks: If given a clean slate, how would you design a society?

 

Pol Pot also asked this question, and then implemented the blank slate upon which to ‘design’ his ideal.

 

TVP proponents skip over the difficult questions and begin with the blank slate.

 

Therefore is all serious inquiry glossed over by simply replying that “in a world where X is obsolete, we will not have this problem.”

 

Where will you find the police to render ‘obsolete’ that which does not fit into your ‘design’?

 

You will find them from the legions of cultists on this forum.

 

Statement (In answer to my challenge that the Venus Project does not address how this is to be done and how it will handle objectors): Yes it does actually. You handle people who object by eliminating any reason to object. Not by force or coercion, but by destroying whatever stands in the way of everyone being comfortable with the idea. By addressing the problems that create the objection at their root causes rather then creating laws and expecting people to go along with them. (emphasis mine)

BWS Responds:

“By destroying whatever stands in the way of everyone being comfortable with the idea”

Do you understand how frightening this is? Do you understand what you are saying?

Can you not see who else has uttered such words in the past, and what the result has been?

 

And there you have it.  The real agenda uncovered in a few short dialogues.

 

*****

 

A New Manifesto

 

I have just read through the Venus Project manifesto  and it seems to me the antithesis of what I (and many others) took away from the movie ‘Zeitgeist’.

 

Regardless of the author(s) intentions, the suggestions contained therein seem the most ambitious manifesto to date for complete central planning and human control I have ever read in my life.  The responses of those I encountered on their forum were cult-like.

 

Therefore I offer up the following:

 

1. To members of the Zeitgeist Movement and, specifically, supporters of the Venus Project: I offer up my blog to debate you.  I invite you to come forth and state your proposals of design for a ‘better’ society.  I will give you all the time and space you want to offer up your views.  But come prepared.  Email me and I will open up a post dedicated to the exchange of views

 

2. I offer up this counter-manifesto: Those of us who respect liberty and the individual, those of us who respect the fundamental human right to own property, to own the means of self-defense and to resist the tyranny of the majority (or of the individual) will resist you.  Those of us who respect our ties to the land, who respect the circularity of nature and the intrinsic human ties to the soil, we will resist you.  Those of who respect the hand-made and the local, the wood over the iron, the organic over the genetically engineered and the individual over the collective will resist you. We will resist you utilizing every means possible, at every corner and every step of the way.  We will never surrender.  And when your technological, ‘designed’ utopia begins to enslave its children, when your ‘benevolent’ leaders give way to your tyrants, we will be there to save you.

 

Let them eat cake

January 30, 2009

 

 Follow the Money: A Rogues Gallery

To follow up on what I touched on in here, let’s take a little tour of bonuses and severance payments since the current credit crises began to explode in early 2007. This list is by no means all-inclusive, and does not include stock sales from options payouts and stock formerly awarded or purchased, but should to serve as an example of the genius of our corporate overlords nonetheless:

Stan O’Neil (Merrill): $250 million

Peter Kraus (Merrill): $25 million

John Thain (Merrill): $83.8 million

Charles Prince (Citi): $40 million

Angelo Mozilo (Countrywide): $110 million ($37.5 million of which was given back)

David Sambol (Countrywide): $38.3 million

Daniel Mudd (Fannie Mae): $8.79 million

Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs): $54 million


Adding it up

The total take of my partial list of our best and brightest financial wizards totals just over half a billion dollars.  Note that there are only 8 selected individuals on my list.

According to one nice summary, $1.6 billion went to the senior executives of bailed out companies in 2008.  You really owe it to yourself to read this.

In reality, the total cost of state intervention to prop up the failed business models of these and other financial services companies, including TARP; the quasi-nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and various Federal Reserve loans, discounts, guarantees, purchases and handouts, now exceeds $8 trillion dollars when you include explicit GSE guarantees.  And counting.  This does not include legislation currently in process. 

And none of this includes the obscene sums of money thus far spent to prop up the insolvent AIG.


Hunting for Pheasant

As recently as October of 2008, a group of AIG executives on a company-sponsored $86,000 outing were approached by a reporter. They had these words for the peasantry:

The recession will go on until 2010 – but the shooting was great today and we are relaxing fine.

This material is too rich to make up.  Google it.  Or better, click here.  This is the modern equivalent of “Let them eat cake”.  But I’m happy to know that some of our best and brightest were “relaxing fine”…


Another relaxing vacation

One of my personal favorites was David Sambol, former President of Countrywide Financial who, shortly after the Bank of America takeover, and amidst the laying off of thousands upon thousands of employees, apparently took his family on a three week safari vacation to Africa… on the company jet.


The million dollar look

As Merrill Lynch was burning and its shareholders were losing money, John Thain decided it would be a good idea to remodel his office. To the tune of $1.2 million dollars. Here is a list of purchases:

Area Rug:  $87,784 (c’mon, it was a really nice rug)

Mahogany Pedestal Table:  $25,713
19th Century Credenza:  $68,179
Pendant Light Furniture:  $19,751
4 Pairs of Curtains:  $28,091
Pair of Guest Chairs:  $87,784
George IV Chair:  $28,468
6 Wall Sconces:  $2,741
Parchment Waste Can:  $1,405
Roman Shade Fabric:  $10,967
Roman Shades:  $7,315
Coffee Table:  $5,852
Commode on Legs: $35,115 (can a reader please explain what a ‘commode on legs’ is?)

Recently, Mr. Thain decided to pay back the money. Reduce the total take mentioned above to a mere $82.6 million.


Just Yesterday

AIG announced it was paying $450 million in retention bonuses to – are you ready for this? – employees in its derivatives trading department. Those are the Really Smart Guys who bought all those credit default swaps.


Back at the Ranch

Meanwhile, back on the home front, Americans lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fourth quarter and tens of thousands of layoffs were announced this week.


Corporatism: Reverse Leninism

While all citizens are equal, some citizens are clearly more equal than others. And perhaps it should be so. The basic tenets of capitalism tell us that the cream will rise to the top and, based on their superior abilities, earn more money. This is a comforting thought, and clearly one (along with indebtedness) that keeps tens thousands of middle managers toiling away at corporations around the world.

But as I pointed out here, the system we labor under is not capitalism and certainly not a free market. Rather, our economic system is corporatism.  This system may be viewed as Leninism in reverse.  Rather than the pretense of confiscating and reallocating capital to ‘the people’, corporatism, via the state, confiscates and reallocates capital to the corporation, while expanding the role and importance of the state.

– Elite ‘vanguard’ determines strategic direction and capital allocation?  Check

– Rules of game written by small group of insiders with near-instant access to the state?  Check.

– Insiders and their families protected financially and shielded from repercussions of decision-making? Check

– Productive capacity of working citizenry taxed to subsidize state allocation of capital? Check

– Militarized uniformed police, secret plain-clothed police and expanded state apparatus to keep the citizenry in line?  Check

– Increased electronic and physical surveillance powers of the state?  Check

– Military authorized to function domestically in the event of “civil disobedience”? Check.

– Regulation, licensing and subsequent confiscation of privately owned firearms? Half way there.

Those who feel my checklist is merely hyperbole have not been paying attention. The facts behind each bullet-point above are well-documented.  Simply use your search engine to pull up numerous mainstream news links regarding each fact, from opposition to TARP running over 100:1 to the Army units specifically trained to counter civil ‘disobedience’ .

Do your own homework.


The big question

The big question is: to what end is this mess leading? 

The Reichstag is Burning

January 29, 2009

Nationalize them?

 

The past week has brought many calls for the nationalization, or ‘partial-nationalization’, of the banks.  The New York Times has covered this.  CNN has covered this.  One of our primary overlords, Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif), has said, “Whatever you want to call it.  If we are strengthening them [the banks], then the American people should get some of the upside of that strengthening.  Some people call that nationalization.”  Indeed, some do.

 

I have heard two main arguments for nationalization:

 

1. Nationalize the banks because we have already pumped so much money into them that we may as well take them over.  (“We”, here, presumably means the state – with which so many modern Americans identify).  Taking over the banks completely would eliminate all these executive bonuses and wastes of money and force them to lend again.  This way we can ensure the money gets used efficiently.  If we nationalize the banks we’ll at least have direct oversight as to where the money is going.  This is the typical statist argument: that somehow the state knows best how to allocate capital and set the strategic direction of research, production and distribution of goods and services. 

 

2. Look at how wasteful these banks are.  Look at the bonuses and layoffs and refusals to lend!  All that money and what’s changed?  Nothing.  More layoffs and bad news daily.  I’m beginning to think we should just nationalize the banks.  This is a variation of the former, but is more of surrender than an actual statist argument.  Basically, this line of reasoning supposes that government, at least, couldn’t do a worse job than the banks are doing now in managing the capital injections.

 

The Reichstag is Burning

 

While argument 1, above, is the predictable statist line of reasoning, it is argument 2 that should be most concerning – most concerning because it represents a fatalism and resignation that is precisely the desired effect.  I suggest that not even our government could accidently operate with the ineptitude it has shown throughout this crisis thus far.  And it is all too easy for frustrated citizens to favor more action rather than partial actions, ‘all in’ vs. incremental plays.  Such thinking would be a tragic mistake.

 

Our forefathers feared and respected the power of the state and sought to contain it, restrict it and minimize it.  The state merely feigns incompetence.  In fact, the state is highly competent, as I have previously discussed, at what it does best: grow both in scale and in the scope of its intrusive power into the lives of the people.  The incompetence you perceive around you is due to the classic error of looking at the wrong metrics.  We judge the failure of the corporatist state and of statist corporations in their inability to solve our problems and their inability to add positive value to our lives.  So we vote the incumbents out and a new group in.  We change presidents.  We throw our allegiance to this statist party or that.  And, most fundamentally, we make the error of supporting new and more vigorous expansions of the state to cure the seeming ineptitude of previous regimes.  This is precisely what is happening now.

 

The ‘nationalization isn’t starting to look so bad’ fatalism is sentiment manufactured by the state by design.  The failures you perceive around you are nothing less than tantamount to the burning of the Reichstag, but infinitely more subtle and complex: a series of events manipulated by the state for twofold purpose:

1. to increase the power of the state, and

2. to enrich and protect the elite in charge of major corporations, specifically those in finance – those that handle the job of creating money in our fiat-currency economy.

 

More hyperbole from Barbedwiresmile?  Hardly.  Look around and show me where these two ends are not being accelerated, where they are not already happening and in the headlines on a daily basis?  Where is the size and authority of the state not expanding?  Where are the heads of major corporations not being enriched and protected?  Again, this is not by accident.  This is by design.  What better way to expand the tentacles of the state than with the full support and even request of the people?

 

The future – don’t bet against inflation

 

But what does this mean for the future?  In addition to the increased authority of the state, it means the state will do everything in its power to create inflation.  There has been much written about our current deflationary environment and clearly all of the data suggests we are in what will be a prolonged period of deep recession – the word ‘depression’ has been used with increasing regularity.  Many who were early in signaling the inflation alarm have been harangued by the deflationists for making the wrong call and, thus far, losing their clients money.  The authors of some outstanding economics blogs have been among those pointing out, in great detail, the degree of the inflationist’s’ failure in accurately assessing current economic trends.

 

While it is clear that all signs point to a period of prolonged deflationary pressure, we underestimate the power of the state at our own peril. 

 

First, let’s look at a simple definition of inflation: an increase in the total supply of money and credit.  In a fiat-currency economy, it’s the supply of money and credit that matters.  The deflationists are correct in stating that the increase in the total supply of money has been greatly offset by the dramatic decrease in the total supply of credit.  Again, in a fiat-currency economy, money is credit (and credit is money).  Clearly the total supply of money and credit has decreased rapidly over the past two years as has the velocity of money in the form of credit extension (or lack thereof).  Such a decrease in the overall supply of money and credit can only be viewed as deflationary.  On this, the deflationists and I agree.

 

But the reality is that we live in a fiat-currency, fractional reserve lending economy centrally planned by a central bank: in this case the Federal Reserve which, as you know, is neither ‘federal’, in that is not an entity of the federal government but rather a private corporation, nor a ‘reserve’, in that it holds no actual ‘reserves’ to back up the currency.  And it is here that we err, despite the current economic indicators, in underestimating the will of the state.  For economists, like generals, are often fighting past wars or, at the least, allowing their assessment of future events to be disproportionately governed by their perceptions of the past, and the present.  To do so brings insufficient imagination to the assessment or, at the very least, fails to consider the lengths the state will go to in order to prevent deflation.  To say that the Fed cannot inflate its way out of a depression is to ignore history.  Look at a graph charting inflation from 1913 through the present.  This time-frame, last I checked, includes the Great Depression.  Google it – there are many floating around out there.  There’s a reason why your grandfather said he could buy that same shirt for a nickel.  He could have.  Inflation has continued unabated since the founding of the Federal Reserve and will continue to escalate into the future.  A fiat currency economy is inherently inflationary.  And out government will go to great ends to ensure that inflation wins out over deflation in the long-term.

 

Inflation vs. Asset Deflation – it has always been thus

 

In our corporatist state, politicians’ primary constituents are not the mass of voters.  Voters are easily manipulated.  The primary constituents of our political overlords are wealthy individuals and corporations who keep the political class in power.  The wealthy are not wealthy because they earn high wages.  Rather, they are wealthy because they own assets.  Therefore, when given a choice, the state will always choose inflation, or even hyperinflation, over widespread asset deflation.  The scenarios we see playing out today have very little to do with the various superficial issues in the news and everything to do with this fundamental dynamic. 

 

The state faces such a choice today.  And as you can see, everything the state is doing is in line with this thesis.  The argument against inflation is that the state simply cannot inflate its way out of this deflationary environment.  But, alas, it can.  It has the power to do so, and has done so before.  Wrong, say the deflationists: the state cannot suspend the fundamental rules of economics.  Yes- this is true.  But in a fiat currency economy, the ‘rules of economics’ are determined by the Fed, in conjunction with the state.  Many students of history and economy will point out the pain and ultimate failure of states that have tried to suspend the fundamental laws of economics and, yes, I too understand this reality.  But it does not change the fact that the state will respond to its constituents and attempt to inflate its way out of widespread asset deflation with no boundaries on the pain inflicted upon the general population.  It’s a choice: inflation affects everyone, but disproportionately affects the worker, the wage earner.  Asset deflation hits the wealthy far more than the poor.  The reason is simple: the wealthy own assets, the poor own money.

 

While the laws of economics cannot be suspended, the people do not live in a world governed by such laws.  The people live in a pseudo-economic bubble, governed by the Fed.  The tools of governance in this bubble world are fiat currency and fractional reserve lending.  Outside this bubble, in the real economy our overlords and elites inhabit, the laws are still in effect.  However, the bubble can be manipulated indefinitely in order to preserve the prosperity and security of the elite.  As it has been since feudal days, as it will be here in corporatist America.  In fact, other than some brief periods between 1776 and 1912, this is the dynamic that has preserved the power of the state, of central bankers and of the associated ruling elite since the earliest of recorded time.  To think we have somehow evolved beyond this dynamic seems foolish at best, dangerous at worst. 

 

It is in this manner that the deflationists are wrong – not for their economics, but for their politics; not for their analysis, but for their imagination.  Throughout human history, the state has proven that, ultimately, it will resort to any tactic, commit any act, suffer the people through acts of barbarity almost unimaginable in 21st century America, to protect its existence and the comfort of its ruling elite.  Again, to think we have evolved beyond this is a psychological comfort we must not allow ourselves if we are to adequately assess the events enfolding around us.  These events manifest daily, in events large and small, internationally and locally, as the continued expansion of the state.  In the past several years the state has extended its authority exponentially.  And the current pace of this state expansion is accelerating, all to the cheers and support of the American people who, year after year, decade after decade, have cast their vote, faction by faction, for one side or the other of the same statist coin.  Today these factions still bicker: on what should be regulated or banned, on how much money should be confiscated or spent, on which corporations should be the recipients of such revenue and on how to continue the relentless expansion of the state.

 

All of which brings me to your bank.

 

Good Bank / Bad Bank

 

The latest idea being thrown around, and the one that seems most likely to be acted upon, is a form of nationalization known as the ‘bad bank’ strategy. A trial run can be observed in the Fed-engineered Citi break-up.  Here’s how this one works. All of the performing assets are split off into a ‘good’ bank. The good bank is owned by the ‘private’ sector: executives who are retained or severanced, bond holders and other creditors, and shareholders who lose money on paper but are not wiped out and in fact retain their shares, waiting for them to rise again over time.

 

The ‘bad’ bank contains of all the nonperforming assets, structured investment vehicles, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, money losing operations, uncompetitive businesses and off-balance sheet malfeasance. The ‘bad’ bank, of course, is owned by the tax payer.

 

Naturally, the voters will support this strategy. In fact, voting patterns for the last several decades have virtually assured this outcome. The people will be told there is a ‘crisis’, this one even worse than the last. The only remedy, of course, will be the further empowerment of the state. The people will have to make ‘sacrifices’, of course, but the state will guide us out of this mess and ensure a brighter future. Which begs the question: A brighter future for whom?

 

The Reichstag is in fact burning- right before our eyes.

 

A Rallying Cry?

January 28, 2009

I have heard many rallying cries lately, on blogs, YouTube, websites and via email, for protest and even revolution. 

 “Why aren’t people in the streets?” many ask. 

 Specifically, after recent events in Iceland, the frustration of many with our national complacency has grown. 

 

Specifically, this was brought to my attention.

 

In the commentary, the blogger writes:

 

…the above six-minute rant could become a rallying call for the growing, “I’m not going to take it anymore” disaffected.

 

I wouldn’t hold my breath.

 

Look around us.  As long as there are 1) things to buy and 2) work to be had, so that people can keep paying for the things they already have, there will be no interest in protest, let alone revolution.  So far, despite a torrent of adverse economic news, there are both.  Any trip to the mall or local shopping district can erase any notions that we are far from business-as-usual.  While traffic may be down in incremental terms, and shoppers are clearly not spending as much money, it is clear that habits, and most importantly expectations, remain unchanged.

 

But to take it a step further – remember that our revolution did not occur due to some spontaneous uprising of ‘the people’.  Our revolutionary forefathers were our best and brightest, in many cases our most wealthy – those with the most to lose.  Many were offered deals and compromises by the crown.  It would have been far more convenient for them to compromise and maintain both comfort and the status quo which, while increasingly adverse, still afforded them a fine standard of living.

 

No, they rose up out of principal more than necessity.  They rose up with a broad philosophical view of how different a country could be, imagined what life could be like cut off from the ties of authoritarianism (the monarchy) on the political side, and central banks (the Bank of England) on the economic side.  And they were willing to lay it all on the line to achieve it.  They were true patriots – those who embraced not the state, but the character of the people and therefore of the American individual.

 

Where are our best and brightest today? 

 

“People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines… There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicone masters.” -Bill Gates

 

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behaviour.” -Bill Gates 

 

“Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.” -Warren Buffett 

 

“I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States. No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here.” –Warren Buffett

“The Unites States has got some of the dumbest people in the world. I want you to know that we know that.” –Ted Turner

 

“Once again, victims of disaster have turned to the UN and the international community in their time of need. The world needs the UN’s leadership in these times, and the UN needs the world’s support. We are communicating with the UN and its agencies to learn where UNJ Foundation funds may be of great assistance to the UN’s relief efforts.” –Ted Turner

 

“I think there will be linkages between the U.S. and Europe and I think there will be linkages between the U.S. and Asia; that is probably a little further off.” –John Thain (former Merrill Lynch CEO)

 

“Regulators are in the best position to regulate when they are intimately knowledgeable about the activities they are regulating.” –John Thain

 

“I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” –Barack Obama

 

“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” –Barack Obama

 

“A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.” –George W. Bush

 

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” –George W. Bush

 

“The idea of a terrorist in the middle of one of our cities with a nuclear weapon is very real and that we have to use extraordinary measures to deal with it.” –Dick Cheney

 

“Globalization is not something we can hold off or turn off… it is the economic equivalent of a force of nature – like wind or water.” –Bill Clinton

 

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.” –Hilary Clinton

 

“I’m going to be so much better a president for having been at the CIA that you’re not going to believe it.” –George H.W. Bush

 

“Out of these troubled times; our fifth objective – a new world order – can emerge: a new era – freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony.” –George H.W. Bush

 

“The world can therefore seize the opportunity to fulfill the long-held promise of a New World Order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind.” –George H.W. Bush

 

“We are not going to achieve a new world order without paying for it in blood as well as in words and money.” –Arthur Schlesinger, Jr

 

 

 

 

Drugs, self defense and the state

January 27, 2009

As discussed previously, one of the most fundamental ploys of the state is to disarm the people and make self defense a crime. In the United States we are half way to the former and most of the way to the later. Yes, there has been resurgence in ‘castle doctrine’ laws recently, but use a firearm to defend yourself against an assailant inside or outside of your home and expect to be arrested, questioned and detained while the state determines whether your action was ‘justified’.

 

Once the people are largely disarmed and disincented, if not outright prohibited from defending themselves, the state will then create a permanent, full-time police force to provide for your defense. Bureaucracies and taxes will be then be expanded to support such a force. Over time, the force will be expanded to include various specialist divisions – drugs, traffic, undercover secret police, etc – and bureaucracies will expand and overlap accordingly – federal, state, county and local – until the people suffer a vast web of agencies each in charge of policing the same group: the people. Fortunately for the agents of the state, its various bodies will be busy legislating and regulating away the people’s liberties and creating new ‘crimes’ against which they might then police.

 

By nature of this dynamic is the ‘black market’ created. The very term suggests images of something ‘dark’, something ‘bad’. But let us explore this further. The black market is nothing but the unsanctioned, unregulated, untaxed commercial activity that takes place, to a greater or lesser extent, within every state, largely proportionate to the degree of its exertions of control.

 

The reason so much violent crime is associated with black market activities is simple: when a specific commercial activity is outlawed by the state, those engaging in that activity can no longer seek protection from the agents of the state – they cannot call the police and ask for protection because they are being robbed for their marijuana or their untaxed liquor. Therefore, such economic actors are clear targets for true criminals: those who perpetrate violent crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping. It is because of this that they naturally arm themselves with ‘illegal’ firearms and provide for their own defense. This dynamic escalates until a number of such actors morph into true criminals themselves.

 

But there is no natural association between black market activities and violence. Violence is bad for business. Such violence is inserted by the state. If anything, true criminals would be incented, instead, to rob investment bankers or doctors. They do not, because these men are not forced to carry large sums of cash and may rely on the full power and resources of the state to protect them – such is their reward for following the rules set forth by the state.

 

The war on drugs

 

By now, given the countless examples of history, it should be abundantly clear that the state, however many obstacles it may create, and however much money is spent, lacks the capacity to prevent people from engaging in commerce. Where there is demand for a product or service, that product or service will manifest. This is true of drugs and prostitution. This was true of alcohol. It was true of food during the blockade of Stalingrad, or the American South. And it is true today.

 

When one looks at the availability of drugs in our country today despite decades of prohibition, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, vast bureaucracies created, hundreds of thousands incarcerated and the tools of the military and even our foreign policy employed, one can only judge the ‘war on drugs’ as a monumental failure. 

 

Arguments against ‘legalizing’ drugs

 

1. Drugs are immoral

 

See my discussion of this argument here. Whether drugs are immoral or not is not my concern. Nor should it be yours as it regards the authority of the state. To many things may be ascribed the attributes of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I also have opinions on which are which. However, we must never allow the state to co-opt our own morality to further its ends, nor must we ever collude with the state to further our own. The only dynamic here is ceding power to the state. Once given away, the people rarely get this power back. By ceding such authority to the state we train it to exercise its monopoly on force to ban, to compel action or inaction of the citizenry. It is then only a matter of time before the state exercises more such power and expands its scale and scope. There is no stopping this beast once unleashed.

 

2. Drugs are a risk to the health of a society.

 

What is unhealthy to a society is an out of control state. States have killed more people than drugs ever will. The ‘war on drugs’ is unhealthy to a society. Look at our incarceration rates. We have prisons full, courts clogged with legions of political prisoners who have committed no real crime other than the use and/or distribution of substances the state deems ‘prohibited’. Even if you are of a statist bent, do the math. It would be a more efficient allocation of confiscated wages (taxes) to treat addicts rather than go through the motions of enforcement, trial and imprisonment.

 

3. Legalize drugs and we’ll be awash in addicts.

 

This argument is a nonstarter simply because of the availability of drugs. Anyone who desires to use drugs is already using them. I do not choose to use drugs for a variety of reasons. None of these reasons has to do with illegality. Illegality didn’t stop our last three presidents from using drugs. If drugs were ‘legalized’ today, would you begin using them? No? Well, there you go.

 

4. Drugs create crime.

 

This line of reasoning has already been debunked above. The state creates crime, because only the state can take a market and make it ‘black’.

 

The Ever-Expanding State

 

And so we outline once again the ever expanding, ever encroaching, intrusive and dangerous dynamic of the state. This dynamic is in play all around us as the state, to the cheers of the banners, the formerly independent people, grows exponentially, pushing its way into all aspects of our lives. And it does so with the full support of the people.

 

Question a ‘small government conservative’. Sooner or later you will find a whole host of issues where he favors handing authority over to the state. Whether its abortion, pornography, drugs or the compromises with the state over ‘common sense’ gun control.

 

Question a ‘progressive’ and you will soon find areas where he favors the further encroachment of the state, from firearm prohibitions to wage and wealth confiscation, from cell phone restrictions to an entire universe of incremental statism.

 

And this says nothing of the unprecedented authority granted to the state under the guise of ‘the war on terror’.

 

The War against the People

 

There is only one war going on in this country. It is the war against the people, brilliantly and incrementally waged by the state. So far the people have chosen not to fight back.  So insidious is this war that the majority of the people cheer on their opponent. It is suicidal politics. It is the equivalent of an army, in war, turning their rifles on each other. Faction against faction the people do battle with each other, all to the further empowerment of the state.

 

There is a war going on for the freedom and independence of the American people. It is going on all around us.  Few shots have yet been fired, though hundreds of thousands have been imprisoned, fined, levied and harassed. And so far, with the support of the vast majority of the people, the state is winning.

 

 

Understanding Paradigms: Why you can’t argue with a Democrat (or a Republican)

January 27, 2009

Occasionally, I will get email from someone directing me to this forum or that, pointing out a debate regarding socialism, ‘liberalism’ or ‘conservatism’, usually involving taxation and other powers of the state. I have even been asked to jump in, in the defense or attack of one position or other. These debates are almost always wastes of time, taking place as they do within the intellectual framework of the dominant statist paradigm.

The most misunderstood concept in what passes for our current political debate is that of ‘right wing’ vs ‘left wing’. The very terms imply a linear chart of political ideology whereby right and left, the extremes of which are understood to be socialist and fascist, exist in antithesis of each other. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

 

A much better illustration would be a circle. Draw or visualize a circle. At 12 o’clock, separated by a degree, would be communism and fascism. Let’s put communism at 364 degrees and fascism at 1 degree. At 6 o’clock would be pure anarchy – meaning the absence of the state, tribe, or other controlling entity – the philosophical free market anarchy referred to in my previous posts.  

 

At 3 o’clock, one might find conservatism. At 9 o’clock would lay ‘liberalism’ (or at least the American perversion of that term). As one moved clockwise from 6 o’clock, we would count off the increasingly statist ideologies from ‘social democracy’ through various manifestations of socialism, with increasing intensity until we were at the top of the circle at communism.

 

As we moved counter-clockwise from 6 o’clock, perhaps a degree or two, we would find libertarianism and minarchism. We would then count through the various manifestations of ‘right wing’ statism: conservatism, corporatism, various forms of authoritarianism, until we reached fascism.

 

As you can see on the chart we’ve just drawn, the left and right wings are merely two sides of the same statist bird. The arguments for each are unique, but the results are the same: central planning, economic and human regulation, power concentrated with the state rather than the individual.  

 

This is the best illustration I’ve found for this concept:

 

 ideomap-v2

 

 

In the example above, the Anarchism is listed at 12 o’clock rather than 6 o’clock, but the circular concept is the same.  I would have eliminated the horizontal arrow that seems to suggest the left-wing / right-wing concept simply because it detracts from the circular analogy.  However, if you imagine a circle just inside the box, you get basically the same analogy I described above and we get past the one-dimensional, linear view of ideology so prevalent today.

 

Welfare vs. Warfare

 

The problem with most political debates is that they’re not really debates at all.  They take place within the context of the dominant, statist paradigm.  Democrats and Republicans love to argue about how best to spend your money, or the degree to which government should confiscate it.  The paradigm, however, is rarely questioned.  And so we have these circular debates about which manner of statism is best, about whether we want more welfare, or more warfare, whether we want to create bureaucracies to manage human regulation against abortion or against drug use.

 

The state: with us or against us

 

We have been told very clearly that we are either with the state, or against it.  And so I choose to stand against the state.  I choose to stand against its all-pervasive regulation and bureaucracy which I must support.  If I do not pay for them, my assets will be confiscated, my wages garnished, and eventually I will be arrested at gun point and imprisoned as a political prisoner. 

 

The debate of left vs. right is simply one of how much should the state confiscate, and what should these funds be used for.  The right disingenuously argues for a smaller state, but when the rightist arguments are broken down we see the truth: ‘law and order’ costs vast sums of money, especially when it is defined, among other things, as:

 

          The arrest and incarceration of legions of Americans whose only crime was the ingestion of a substance the state finds objectionable, or conducting commercial activities with such substances unsanctioned (untaxed) by the state.

          The maintenance of vast car registration databases, the licensing of such cars and their drivers, and the annual taxation / re-registration thereof, including vast bureaucracy to support such unnecessary activities.

          Massive budgets for the domestic activities of state intelligence agencies, most notably the National Security Agency (NSA) in the form of electronic surveillance.

          The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), also known by its more common moniker: Thousands Standing Around, to play ‘Security Theater’ in our airports.  (more on that here)

          The administration of a Federal Firearms licensee database for civilian owners and dealers wishing to own certain types of firearms that could be threatening to the state.

          Paying the budgets of an alphabet soup of three- and four-letter agencies – CIA, DIA, NSA, FBI, FEMA, ATF, DEA, NASA, the list goes on – and the inevitable budget increases, bureaucracy and pressure for ever more legislation and regulation that the mere existence of such agencies guarantees.

 

The left, on the other hand, argues for less of some and more of the other.  A decrease in the budget of the NSA, for example, means an increase in the budget of HUD.  Instead of more of the agencies listed above, we get more of the FHA, FTA, FDA, etc.

 

And the public debate supports my observations.  We have created a new breed of citizen I call the Banner.  The Banner chooses something that he finds distasteful and supports the state, even lobbies the state, to ban it.  Whether its smoking in a public place, talking on a cell phone in a car, mandating annual vehicle inspection, livestock licensing, the use or sale of drugs, abortion or a long list of various state expansions and intrusions, the banner desires to regulate that which he finds personally distasteful. 

 

The pattern is always the same: the media opens up the debate within the context of whether or not an activity is ‘dangerous’ or ‘wrong’.  Abortion and drugs are excellent examples of activities that are debated: ‘are they dangerous’ or ‘are they wrong’, respectively.  The citizens then take sides, often with great degrees of political intensity, as to whether the activity is dangerous or not, morally wrong or not.

 

I would suggest that the entire context of this debate is fallacious. 

 

The only issue at stake, regardless of whether you find a given activity wrong, and regardless of whether you find utility in a given regulatory regime, is whether you sanction the state to expand its power into another area of human activity, whether you agree to cede this power to the state whereby it may compel certain actions (or inactions) through its monopoly on force.  Remember, however, that once ceded, this authority is nearly impossible to rein back in.

 

To illustrate the fact that government, if left unchecked by the citizenry, will expand unabated, indefinitely, I encourage you to review thisBureaucracy does indeed abhor a vacuum, and will continue growing until it is checked by the people.  Our people, despite having a nearly perfect instruction manual, seem unwilling to check its growth.

 

One brand of statism is as good as another, and the debate about which form of statism we should have has dominated the American political landscape for decades.  In fact, this is what our elections are about.  Look, for example, at the most recent presidential debates.

 

In this country, we do not really have ‘debates’.  We have candidates memorizing 60-90 second sound bites for each potential ‘issue’ that may come up.  When a question is asked that touches upon a given issue, the candidate then recites the sound bite, which more often than not fails to answer the question and may in fact have scant relationship to the question that was actually asked.  Can anyone forget the camera zooming into the facial expressions, smirks and rolling eyes of the various mainstream candidates whenever Ron Paul was answering a question or explaining a position?  The sanctimonious mainstream candidates could smirk away, confident in the knowledge that the context had been determined long ago by the success of the state in defining the debate along the lines of ‘what flavor would you like your statism?’, as opposed to how do we dismantle this aberration of a state and get back to the intentions of our Founding Fathers and our founding documents.

 

This  is a transcript of President Obama’s inauguration address.  Note the fourth sentence of the second paragraph:

 

At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

 

This statement is so disingenuous as to shock even the most novice student of these ‘founding documents’.  In the coming days, weeks and months we shall indeed see how strong our president’s commitment is to the founding ideals of this country.  We shall also see if this ‘faithfulness’ extends to the Second Amendment. 

 

I would posit that we have strayed so far from the founding, minarchist ideals of our Founding Fathers, some of which can be read here, that no agent of the state – politician or bureaucrat – is psychologically capable taking a position that would dismantle a paradigm so tightly held that true debate as to the nature of the state and the very words of our Founding Fathers cannot and is not held in the public sphere.  Such concepts are not taught in government schools, such concepts are not discussed in our government-sanctioned churches and such debates are found in the blogosphere with increasing rarity as the party lines of each wing are regurgitated by a populace trained to view political debate as ‘left’ vs. ‘right’, or democrat vs republican.

 

As long as the debate takes place within the dominant, statist paradigm, the growth of the state and the expansion of its tentacles further and further into the economy and into the personal activities of our citizenry is guaranteed.

 

 

 

Citizens in training

January 26, 2009

As I step into line at the check point, I gradually begin to feel the heat. It’s the damp heat of too many bodies that no fan can quite break. The line moves, step by step. There is little conversation among the citizens in line. I am thirsty. But we are not permitted water. What may appear to be water  may in fact be alchohol or some other flammable liquid that could be used against the agents of the state, or against the corporations that are its accomplices. The line moves on, step by step.

As I reach the end of the first line, I produce my identification card and my travel paper. One is checked against the other. The agent looks at me, then back to the picture on my identification card, then back to me again before handing them back to me. I step towards the next line.

Sometimes there are dogs who, I am told, can sniff out prohibited items in packages, but not today. Budgets are tight.

As I wait in the second line I look around at others like me. As they approach the conveyer belts to have any packages X-rayed, they must remove any objects that might set off the metal detectors. Shoes come off. Belts come off. Coats are removed. Do I have a pen in my pocket? I remove it for inspection. I must keep my travel document to show the agent once again after I step through the metal detector. The state is taking no chances.

Some must pass through this checkpoint daily, on their way to work. But there is no avoiding the security measures. Often I think about the soldiers, on their way to the front to fight for the state. They too are subject to the new state security measures. They struggle with their boots. They can carry no weapons on their way to the front. Once there, they will be issued what they need by the state. Their documents must also be in order.  Hopefully they have had a drink of water before the checkpoint.

As I pass through, I show my travel document once more to the agent, who motions me through to the area where I may collect my belongings, my shoes, my coat, my pen. I stand with the other citizens clumsily putting shoes back on, coats back on, collecting packages.

Nobody will complain, most of us are used to it by now. And after all, many say, these measures are for our own protection, as citizens. And for the protection of the state, the corporation, and its property. I can remember a time when we did not need such measures. But the memory is fading. Nobody complains. Nobody wants to be escorted aside for ‘secondary screening’. Nobody wants to risk arrest. Nobody wants to feel like an enemy of the state.

***

The short story above is not a fictional work describing a totalitarian regime. The events above take place exactly as described in every airport in the United States of America, every single minute of every single day.

You are being trained by the state.

And the training is going smoothly.

Your silence is your consent.

The corporation and the state in a regulated economy

January 24, 2009

I have been asked:

“Barbed- I understand what you said in your post of 1/22/09, but under free market anarchy, won’t all the power just go to huge corporations that will be free to do whatever they want and control everything?” 

Thanks for the question.  Let me start by saying I don’t use the term ‘free market anarchy’.  I’ll touch on that later.  But what you ask is a common misperception. To expand on some of the concepts I introduced here, let us take the example of a furniture maker. In some rural areas of the United States there still exist local carpenters and carvers who produce furniture of old-world quality by hand. Even in rural England and many other European countries there exist, despite far greater institutional disincentives towards euntrepeneurs, by virtue of culture, proximity and taste, these sole properietors who compete with large national and international corporations on the bases of craftsmenship and quality. While culture preference or location may give them the oppotunity to open a business, it is quality that keeps them in business, despite an inability to compete on price. Let us explore these two concepts:

1. Price: The local craftsman will never be price-competitive with the corporation. Some of the reasons why, again, are discussed here. The costs of regulatory compliance, litigation and other barriers to entry are simply too high and guarantee the corporation economies of scale. Further, as previously discussed, the concept of regulation implies such rules are written by human beings. As
such, corporations have more influence on how the rules of the game are written. It should be no surprise then that the rules favor the corporation. Given these economies of scale, the corporation is in a position to collude with regimes that are even more strongly statist, with markets even more restricted, and purchase slave labor to manufacture their furniture. The corporation may scour the globe for the cheapest raw materials and squeeze the suppliers of its fasteners, themselves often located in heavily regulated, third world states, to lower its prices, thereby shaving its overhead. Cheap, diluted steel or lead may be used where metal is called for. Finished textiles may be procured from other third world hell holes. The local craftsman does not have these options.

2. Quality: Lacking the options of production outsourcing or bribing the overlords of third world regimes to employ their slaves, the craftsman must opt for a different strategy; he must produce a product of the highest quality. Unable to afford the advertising budget of the corporation, which will pipe images of stupidly smiling dolts into the TV sets millions of stupidly smiling dolts across the country, each happily buying and using the corporation’s plastic, throw-away products, the craftsman must produce goods of such superior quality and durability that his customer will not only be satisfied, but enthusiastic enough about the product to recommend the craftsman’s products to his friends, family and associates.

Remove the state-created advantages of the corporation, and the craftsman wins. In fact, remove state sponsorship of the corporation, and the corporation in its current form ceases to exist altogether.

As you can see from this example, a free market economy is, by nature and logic, a more localized economy.

One element of this that is frequently misunderstood by both proponents and detractors of something confusingly called ‘free market anarchy’ (FMA) is this localization tendency. Many are concerned (or pleased) that production and distribution will concentrate in the hands of a small number of villaneous (or efficient) corporations. In fact, none of these assumptions are true.

1. As discussed above, in the absence of the state’s involvement in the market, economics and commerce are localized. Only the state, and the collusion of states to protect the nation-state paradigm, favors the concentration of production through regulation. Further, the corporation is incented to collude with the most statist and restrictive regimes to utilize captive labor to produce its goods and/or raw materials.  This dynamic further strengthens both paradigms: the state and the corporation. As you can see, this is quite beneficial to the interests of both parties.

2. I do not use the term ‘free market anarchy’ for several reasons. Firstly, it’s redundant, as already discussed in a previous post.  Secondly, because the term ‘anarchy’ in the popular consciousness turns off too many semi-educated but intelligent people who need to understand the truth about the state.  Finally because the philosophers of true FMA
espouse, above all else, the non-aggression principal.  This philosophy sounds wonderful until we consider that, even if we achieved FMA nirvana in what is now the United States, it is highly unlikely that the remaining hundred plus nations now in existence would as well.  This would leave us, as a people, highly vulnerable to the machinations of
other existing states.  Due to this reality alone, I consider myself anti-statist, rather than free market anarchist.  I support the Constitution, a minarchist (and some might say Objectivist document) while agitating against the state (ie: ‘anti-statist’).  It is my belief, or rather my educated opinion, that the founding philosophy of the United States was similar – viewing a minimalist state, with great concern and disgust – as necessary not to control the people, but to protect ourselves against uncontrolled states.  The Constitution, unlike any other document in the history of human civilization, is not a guideline for the control and regulation of the people, but rather for the control and regulation of the government.  Therefore, I respect this document for the principals contained therein, while agitating against the state to resist the inevitable ‘mission-creep’ of government and its insatiable appetite for expansion.  Contradictory?  I don’t see it that way.  But this specific topic will be addressed in a future post.

3. Ascribing values to economic actors: The Corporation, in this example, is neither villaneous nor benevelant. It is merely an economic actor responding to the incentives of its market and acting accordingly. In this case, the incentives are created by the state. Remove the state and you remove the incentives that centralize production and therefore economic power. Such power is then returned to the people, who are then free to do with it what they wish; to win or lose, succeed or fail, as individual free men who control their destiny, rather than part of some larger collective whose existence is made possible only by the out of control state.

But your overlords will not allow this. We will discuss why, and pick apart specific pieces of economic and human regulation, in upcoming posts.

Questions/Comments can be sent to barbedwiresmile@gmail.com

 

Responding to feedback…

January 23, 2009

We’ve had some comments that the previous white text on black background was a bit hard on the eyes, so we’ve reviewed the options and changed the blog to the layout you see now.

Thank you to those who took the time to send us their thoughts and hope that this format is easier to read.

“You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”

January 23, 2009

“The refusal of King George II to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution.” 
-Benjamin Franklin
 
“The bold effort the present (central) bank had made to control the government … are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it. ”  -Andrew Jackson

“When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.”  -Thomas Jefferson

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.
If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds… [we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers… And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another ]… till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery… And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.   – “Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Monticello, July 12, 1816

“Americans need not fear the federal government because they enjoy the advantage of being armed, which you possess over the people of almost every other nation.” -James Madison

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” -Thomas Jefferson

“I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” -George Mason

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright  force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”  -Patrick Henry

“The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” -Thomas Jefferson

“You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our  founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”                  -Charles Austin Beard

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”  -Thomas Jefferson

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their Constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”  -Abraham Lincoln, First inaugural address, March 4, 1961

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”   – Noah Webster, “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution,” 1787, in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, p. 56 (New York, 1888).

“By this means [printing money] government may secretly and unobserved, confiscate the wealth of the people, and not one man in a million will detect the theft.” -John Maynard Keynes

“Determine what is best for the government, and know that is what the powers are working to make happen. [Monetary] inflation is what is ‘best’ for a government with enormous debt.”  -Ayn Rand

“All safe deposit boxes in banks or financial institutions have been sealed… and may only be opened in the presence of an agent of the I.R.S.” – President F.D. Roosevelt, 1933

“At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained.”  -Ben Bernanke, March 28, 2007.

“Clearly, no one’s got a crystal ball. So there’s always a possibility that there will be a downturn, always a possibility .  But I don’t see it. I think we have a healthy economy in the U.S. You know, a year ago, when the growth rates were much higher, I was concerned. I said, ‘Is this going to be sustainable?’ Now I’m looking at it and I’m seeing a situation where it looks like we’re successfully making the transition. We’ve got a very healthy labor market.”   -Hank Paulson, March 5, 2007