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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gun Laws and Murder Rates


Two of many guns carried at an open carry rally. To the surprise of many gun rights haters no one was shot that day.
Notice that the title isn't gun laws and gun death rates. Unlike the sleazy spinmeisters at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign I'm not cherry picking data to make a false point. In their 2013 State Scorecard Why Gun Laws Matter they claim that gun control works because there is allegedly a 70% overlap of strict gun control and low gun death rates. Reality looks a little different.


According to the Death Penalty Information Center's numbers the 10 states with the highest murder rates are:

1. Louisiana
2. Alabama
3. Mississippi
4. Maryland
5. Michigan
6. South Carolina
7. Missouri
8. New Mexico
9. Nevada
10. Georgia
According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University the 10 states with the most respect for gun rights are:

1. Arizona
2. Alaska
3. Wyoming
4. Kentucky
5. Vermont
6. New Hampshire
7. Kansas
8. Nevada
9. South Dakota
10. Idaho

There's only one state, Nevada, on both lists. That's only 10% overlap. It should also be noted that Nevada is near the bottom of both lists further weakening the argument that gun control reduces murder rates.

Let's look at the situation from the other end of the spectrum:


According to the Death Penalty Information Center's numbers the 10 states with the lowest murder rates are:

50. Iowa
49. Hawaii
48. Vermont
47. Utah
46. New Hampshire
45. Idaho
44. Maine
43. Oregon
42. Massachusetts
41. Minnesota
According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University the 10 states with the least respect for gun rights are:

50. California
49. Massachusetts
48. New York
47. Hawaii
46. New Jersey
45. Illinois
44, Maryland
43. Rhode Island
42. Connecticut
41. Michigan

Once again there is little correlation. Only two states appear on both lists, Hawaii and Massachusetts. Weakening the argument that gun control works is the fact that three states that appear on the list of low murder rate states, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Vermont, also appear on the list of states most respecting gun rights.

It does no good to implement gun control if the murder rate remains high. Since it is social factors that drive the murder rate up and down focusing on guns and gun laws kills people since it doesn't address the root causes of the violence. It's past time for gun rights haters to face the facts and stop barking up the wrong tree.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Obixon

This article was originally published at the Nolan Chart on November 2, 2008. With Obama now ramping the Iraq war back up by sending 1500 more troops there I'm republishing this article on this blog.

Many have said that there isn’t much difference between Sens. McCain and Obama and taken to calling them McBama. I’d like to offer a prediction about how things will go under the next President, who at this point looks like it will be Sen. Obama, and suggest that there will be a strong parallel with Pres. Richard Nixon’s administration, hence the name Obixon.

In 1968 while campaigning Nixon said he would “end the war and win the peace in Vietnam.” After posturing as a peace candidate he went on to escalate the war in many ways, not concluding it until 1973. During the five years that the war continued under his administration Nixon ordered stepped up bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia, and ground attacks into Cambodia and Laos. In this author’s opinion there is no other conclusion to come to but that Nixon lied during his campaign and had no intention of ending the Vietnam War quickly.

In 2008 Sen. Obama is running as a peace candidate, promising to end the war in Iraq in sixteen months or perhaps less. His website states, “Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: successfully ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased.” More can be read on the subject here,[link edited for length]

Perhaps he will end the war in Iraq quickly, but with history as a guide there’s little reason for optimism. Just like in Vietnam, the local forces the US is supporting in Iraq are doing poorly, the political and economic situations are unstable, and the enemy is committed to a long war of attrition. No doubt there will be surprises from Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgents that Pres. Obama will have to deal with. Pres. Bush has already escalated the war by attacking into Pakistan and Syria. No doubt Pres. Obama will do the same. As pressure to end the war increases his administration will become more aggressive, hoping that will defeat the enemy. If Pakistan becomes unstable or is taken over by an anti-American regime how else will an Obama administration react but violently?

Therein lies the parallel with the Nixon administration. The peace promises mean nothing. Guerrilla wars such as these carry their own momentum that no administration committed to maintaining the American empire can overcome. As Ayn Rand said, “There is no proper solution for the war in Vietnam, it is a war we should never have entered. We are caught in a trap: it is senseless to continue, and it is now impossible to withdraw”. So it now seems the political class views the occupation of Iraq.

The only way out is to renounce foreign intervention and begin bringing home all American troops and intelligence operatives from around the world. This way we will not be seen as having been defeated, but as having learned to live at peace with the world. Unfortunately, Sen. Obama doesn’t see things this way. We’re in for a long war.

**********************************

Feb. 8, 2009 update: Associated Press published an article entitled “Obama considering at least 2 Iraq withdrawal plans”. To quote from the article, “At the White House’s request, top military officials recently offered an assessment of the risks associated with the 16-, 19- and 23-month withdrawal timetables, without saying which is preferred. Obama’s top two defense advisers, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, have not yet provided a formal recommendation to the president on a timetable, an official said.” Is Obama backing away from his campaign promise to end the war quickly? It would seem so.

May 11, 2009 update: Andrew Bacevich said on Democracy Now! “…I think its worth noting the comment that General Odierno in Iraq made over the weekend at a press conference. I think the question was something to the effect that, ‘Hey, how about the continuation of violence in Baghdad after the success of the surge?’ And Odierno, I think rather petulantly, said, ‘Hey, look. This insurgency is going to go on for another five, ten or fifteen years.’ I agree with that assessment in Iraq.”

Sept. 1, 2009 update: Looks like the same comparison is now being used about Afghanistan. Gene Healy wrote “Afghanistan may be Obama’s Vietnam”.

January 26, 2010 update: Ivan Eland is predicting a restarting of the fighting in Iraq in “The Next Crisis for Obama?“.

July 5, 2011 update: Ivan Eland compares Obama & Nixon, “Like Nixon, Obama Will Waste Lives to Get Reelected

Monday, July 28, 2014

FirearmsTalk Discussion About Guns

On July 24, 2014 I took part in this FirarmsTalk discussion with the 3 hosts of the podcast. We covered a number of subjects including libertarianism, gun control, some gun facts, & what really drives the murder rate up or down.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Countering Gun Rights Haters on the Street and in the Press


This video of me blasting universal background checks is what readers first see when they land on the Delaware County Daily Times article “Gun rights activists, gun control advocates face off over background checks” about the Saturday, June 28, 2014 competing rallies. Gun rights haters can't be happy about that.



Before the rallies the Delaware County Daily Times published “Demonstrations slated to address gun rights, control” which is fairly even in its coverage. Gun rights haters started with a walk from Chester, PA to their rallying point in Media, PA. We held an Open Carry Counter Rally For Gun Rights at an intersection near their rally.



The best shot the Delaware County Daily Times could take at gun rights was this editorial, “Statistics vary, but gun violence doesn't” that is so lame as to be laughable. Just repeating the same tired old clich├ęs and appeals to emotion it was easily debunked in the comments section.



We also got coverage from the local NBC affiliate channel 10 in Philadelphia. That short report isn't online but did accurately state both sides views.



Also not online was my interview a few days before the rally with local, conservative radio talk show host Dom Giordano. While Dom is staunchly pro-gun rights he wasn't favorable to open carrying at the rally. Fortunately, most of the callers were. It was a nice, friendly, and supportive interview.



The only real media hit piece about our rally was from the Chester Spirit, a small,
left leaning, and very anti-gun rights publication based in Chester, PA. Chester is a poor, crime ridden town that has lost half of its population since its peak in 1950. The article “Gun fight: Delco residents face off over gun rights and access” tells a strange lie. “Both groups came face-to-face at the intersection of Route 252 and Baltimore Pike and the interaction remained peaceful, despite both sides being passionate about their stances.” No, we deliberately moved across the street from the marchers path before they were even in sight. We remained silent as they passed. There were no threats or insults from us and the police at no time intervened except to block traffic so the march could pass unimpeded through the intersection.



Enewsletters from the gun rights hating groups were rather amusing. One claimed that “...we were met first by a contingent of 75 or so pro-gun extremists, some openly carrying handguns or assault weapons, kept at bay by police.” [emphasis added]. A blatant lie about people who were complimented by the police with the words “good job” for getting out of the way without being asked to do so. What the gun rights haters don't get is that we support and protect everyone's right to express their views. Even people like them who want to trample gun rights and routinely insult us for trying to reach out to them. Here is video proof that we got out of their way and didn't insult them:



 
Of course, the organizers of the gun rights hating walk & rally had to lie and falsely claim credit for things remaining civil:



Our walkers displayed courage and strong spirit when passing by 75-100 armed counter-demonstrators gathered at Baltimore Pike and Rt. 252. Singing the civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome,” our contingent avoided confrontation with opponents and remained focused on the purpose of the walk.



Let's translate that into reality. The marchers are said to be showing “...courage and strong spirit ...” at the point in their march that they were safest. The open carriers would have protected the marchers had someone tried to attack them. “...our contingent avoided confrontation with opponents and remained focused on the purpose of the walk.” This really means their leadership once again succeeded in keeping their flock from talking to us and risking learning the truth about guns and gun rights. At their rally point at the Providence Friends Meeting House they guarded the entrances to keep us off the property.


 On another note, the same email as above stated:



Staff members from the offices of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R) and U.S. Congressmen Robert Brady (D) and Patrick Meehan (R) read statements of support for legislation that would establish universal background checks on gun sales.



Republicans for gun control, go figure.



To wrap up, the counter rally was a great success for a number of reasons. Most importantly it got our message out in the media. What negative press we got was more than compensated for by the even and accurate coverage that was more prominent.



Another success was that we once again proved that guns don't cause crime. There were more guns than ever in Media the day of the rally and it still hasn't seen a murder since 2005. The gun rights haters were once again proved wrong.



Lastly, we did have a chance to talk to a few people from the other side. Hopefully, these conversations will be the beginning of them understanding the harm gun control causes and why we need guns in the peoples' hands.

Some of the signs carried by gun rights supporters:
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Stop the Drones!

Hoping to stop the drone command center from opening about 50 people came out to protest on May 31, 2014. We stood outside of the Horsham Air Guard Station in Horsham, PA waving signs, listening to moving speeches, and doing a little singing. High wind prevented me from using my video camera (the audio was the problem, it just records noise in high wind). Below are pictures of the event:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The police keeping an eye on us

 
 
Bob Smith of the Brandywine Peace Community addresses the crowd

 
 
Rev. Robert Moore of the Coalition for Peace Action 

speaks to the crowd

Daniel Riehl leads the group from Lancaster County, PA singing protest songs


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Open Carry Brunch

We had a successful and friendly open carry Sunday brunch at the Court Diner in Media, PA. The event was lead by Mark Fiorino whose arrest by Philadelphia Police sparked outrage. Below is my interview with him. We talked about open carry both here and in Texas where it has generated much controversy.
Below is a picture of all the open carriers who attended. Thanks for the great time but especially thanks for standing up for liberty!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

An African Adventure


It all started when YouTube analytics showed that my video PA Gun Rights Haters Show Their Intolerance was embedded at GunSite South Africa. I promptly joined the forum. On May 5th I noticed a thread titled “To vote or not to vote.......” discussing participating in their upcoming May 7th elections. Nonvoting being one of my favorite topics I jumped in urging people to give up voting. After declaring that my post was “...some of the stupidest shit I have ever read” a moderator asked “Are you a 'sovereign citizen'?”. Later, after being accused of advocating inaction, some Lysander Spooner seemed appropriate. Here's what I posted:

...people rule you because you accept being ruled. Politicians have power because people like you think they should have it. Voting is part of the mechanism to get you to accept that rule. Stop being fooled by elections. Remember what the doctors say, first do no harm. Participating in elections does harm. It isn't taking action for good. It is doing what the power hungry govt wants you to do.

Modern democracy isn't about individuals it's about institutions. Politicians come & go, you get to vote for them. Institutions remain, you don't get to vote for them. Power is in the institutions not the individuals. They want you to think that power is with the individual holding office. That is the big fraud that you're falling for.

Nonvoting isn't a protest, it is a first step in rejecting an institution, namely the state. We need to mentally separate people from the govt. Only once they do that will they resist it in other ways. Real power is controlling money. As long as the govt can force us to pay for their operations they control us. Voting doesn't matter. Resisting taxation is the key to restoring liberty.

"That every man who puts money into the hands of a "government" (so called), puts into its hands a sword which will be used against himself, to extort more money from him, and also to keep him in subjection to its arbitrary will."

--Lysander Spooner, NO TREASON NO. VI. THE CONSTITUTION OF NO AUTHORITY

BTW, an experience that taught me a lot was living in Venezuela. I was there when they elected Hugo Chavez. Tell me again how well voting works.


From that my nemesis the moderator somehow decided that I was indeed a sovereign citizen! “And surprise surprise he is a sovereign citizen.”, he posted. (For the record I've never had anything to do with the sovereign citizen movement.) In the next comment someone asks “Soooooo. We all need to become anarchists?”. At least that commenter seemed to get were I was coming though his subsequent comments showed that he was just conflating sovereign citizens and anarchists. There followed some of the usual nonsense about 
who would build roads and the like then a comment from a second moderator announcing my banning. (At least I did get one supportive comment.) Now when one clicks on my profile one sees this:


An 88? My first thought was that it was some kind of South African insult. A little research turned up that an 88 is a Nazi. (For the record I am not now nor have I ever been a Nazi.) Had all of this been true it would have been quite an accomplishment being a sovereign citizen, an anarchist, and a Nazi all at the same time! These South African guys have a lot to learn not only about political ideologies but also about free and open discussion. At least their ignorance made for an interesting cyber-safari.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Know The Enemy of Liberty: the National Rifle Association


Oppressors Not Protectors
With the release of the first episode of the Defending Our America series titled “Know Your Enemies and Know Yourself” the National Rifle Association (NRA) puts itself at the forefront of the shills for tyranny and empire. Please watch the first episode and the season preview. They advocate police power to fight the war on drugs, police power to secure the borders, and military power to fight Islam overseas. In other words, they advocate for the very things that are destroying our liberties. Not once in either video do we hear the words liberty or freedom.

The war on drugs has lead to the destruction of the right to privacy and property. It is driving the militarization of the police enabling Commando style raids that now happen over one-hundred times a day in the United States. Sometimes they are based on nothing more than the word of an informant. Sometimes they are to serve a warrant on a non-violent person. Asset forfeiture has police forces becoming predators seeking out the maximum take with little or no due process. Law enforcement has become the standing army many Founders warned us not to have. The war on drugs keeps the money flowing to the law enforcement establishment.

Securing” the massive southern border of the US is a pointless and impossible task. In the process of attempting it the government is building up a police state characterized by checkpoints, warrantless searches, and other intrusive controls. We need the governments permission just to work now that they've made it illegal to hire undocumented workers and implemented e-verify. This is another form of tyranny that keeps money flowing to the law enforcement establishment.

Fighting Islam is a farce designed to keep money following into the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned was taking over. It furnishes an excuse to keep taxes and government debt high. “...armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instrument for bringing the many under the domination of the few.” is how James Madison put it.

Follow the money. It comes as no surprise that the series is sponsored by Sig Sauer a supplier of weapons to law enforcement and the military. It is obviously important to Sig Sauer that the people support the gravy train they're riding. Hey, who cares about liberty when there's government money to be had?

If my words aren't enough to convince you perhaps you'll listen to Patrick Henry. He warned of the dangers lurking in the constitution, the very document the videos advocate defending. Below are selected, relevant excerpts from Henry's speech arguing against adoption of the constitution titled “Shall Liberty or Empire Be Sought?”:

A standing army we shall have, also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny; and how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders? Will your mace-bearer be a match for a disciplined regiment?

When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: liberty, sir, was then the primary object...by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty. But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire.

But, sir, we are not feared by foreigners; we do not make nations tremble. Would this constitute happiness, or secure liberty? I trust, sir, our political hemisphere will ever direct their operations to the security of those objects.

It is on a supposition that your American governors shall be honest, that all the good qualities of this government are founded; but its defective and imperfect construction puts it in their power to perpetrate the worst of mischiefs, should they be bad men; and, sir, would not all the world...blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad? Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.

Now that we clearly see that the NRA is wholly behind the powerful government that we have to just trust and hope will not oppress
us it is time to turn our backs on that vile organization. Don't let the Siren song of patriotism fool you. Stand for liberty, not the empire and its police state!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rebutting an Anti-Free Market Comment

In a thread on the LinkedIn discussion group Citizens and Societies - Building better societies together! titled 'It is my opinion that one of the biggest challenges to better modern societies is what I'll call the "Free Market Myth"' Wade Fransson posted a comment further explaining his hypothesis that free markets can't exist (reproduced below). I respectfully offer this rebuttal.

The first mistake Wade makes is to conflate legality with regulation, they aren't the same thing. The rule of some kind of law is indeed necessary for a free market to function. (How this law is enacted and enforced and by whom is another discussion.) To have markets we must have private property. To have property we need a legal system of some kind to protect property rights. It should be noted that legitimate law is almost entirely reactive. When aggressed against the victim or victims seek restitution from and punishment for the transgressor.

Regulation is another matter. It is proactive. Regulations often require licensing, inspections, reports, and, of course, compliance. All under threat of punishment without a crime having been committed. This is a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle, the idea that no one has the right to initiate the use of force nor the threat thereof. Once it is established that force can be legally initiated by some against others the door is open for abuse and corruption. To be free markets must be free of people initiating coercion. Retaliatory coercion is necessary and the role, the only role, of the law.

Though he didn't use the word regulation Fredrick Bastiat covered the subject in his book “The Law”:

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.”

Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right.”

...since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.“

Since as individuals none of us can claim the “right” to go to another's place of business and demand information, demand that they get our permission to operate their business, or make any other demands while threatening them with using force on them if they don't comply the collective can claim no such “right” either. Yet this is what regulation does.

Wade wrote:

1) Robbers (Participants introduce the transaction type known as "Theft" into the Marketplace)
2) Cops (Participants introduce Regulation to counteract the Theft),

The idea that regulation is implemented to counteract theft is naive at best, willfully ignorant at worst. It is the legalization of theft. It is what Bastiat called legal plunder in The Law”. The history of regulation is one of entrenched interests calling for regulation to protect and enlarge their market share and wealth, I.E. to stifle competition. A great example of this is the creation of the Federal Reserve System. JP Morgan was behind it. Yet somehow, many believe the government created it to take power away from old JP. Ayn Rand wrote about the process as it applies to broadcasting here. “Why Doctors Don’t Want Free-Market Medicine” describes the process in the health care field.

Further evidence of Wade's confusion on the issue is found in the very comment he made. At one point he writes “regulation to prevent Robbers often becomes part of the problem”. He then strangely goes on to write 'The Illegal Forceful Trick is to "sleight of hand style" turn the Cop into the Thief. This is what some of Jeff's comments seem to do.' Wait a minute, turning the cops into thieves isn't a rhetorical trick someone else did. It is something that Wade himself has acknowledged is reality. Given that reality it is irrational to advocate for the thief.



Below is the comment being rebutted:

"Jeff's oversimplified "Market" (I prefer to call it "Cops and Robbers Governed Marketplace - vs. Free Market - since "Free Market connotes a myth where there is no theft) is a very good, very helpful two-dimensional model. It covers neither the third dimension - depth (which I'm using to denote complexity) nor time (the fourth dimension).

Regulation often seeks to confront Theft that can only described by depth and time - vs. Jeff's two-dimensional description of Theft (deadly force).

Let me unpack these statements: Jeff wrote:

"No, stealing is always a threat to survival because it sets a precedence that if it is rewarded then it should be repeated."

Here Jeff compresses the four dimensions of...

1) Robbers (Participants introduce the transaction type known as "Theft" into the Marketplace)
2) Cops (Participants introduce Regulation to counteract the Theft),
3) Complexity Arises - various types and degrees of theft and regulation
4) Time (and change) - the increasingly complex system adapts

...into a simplified 2 dimensional model.

This model is almost a Caricature, really, but I'm OK with this particular representation, for purposes of this discussion, because it is a really good, useful model, and it is the one Jeff prefers, and he has introduced tremendous value into this thread - thanks Jeff :) ) of "Deadly Theft" and "Legal Force".

Jeff's bias seems to be to blame the Cops for the outcomes related to Theft, because their regulation to prevent Robbers often becomes part of the problem. This is upside down, or inside out, or backwards - pick a metaphor of choice. Because Theft. The Robbers, are the problem. They are the "Action" which - per Physics - requires an equal and opposite reaction.

The legal "trick" is in getting the Reaction right. The Illegal Forceful Trick is to "sleight of hand style" turn the Cop into the Thief. This is what some of Jeff's comments seem to do.

And this is where Jeff and I have yet to reach agreement - the fourth Paragraph of my Opening Post.

It descends, logically, from the point of legitimate disagreement we've already identified - the question I asked of Jeff a number of posts ago:

"2) Can you live with "develop rules of behavior which become "Regulation" in the market" or do you insist that all regulation which is not directly discoverable in Nature is "Illegal Force"?"

Because where Jeff's legitimate two-dimensional model becomes an illegitimate caricature, which steals from this discussion, is where he begins to define Government as unable to "discover Natural Law" which becomes the domain of the "Seer" who has somehow magically established that "Government IS the thief".

This is deadly force, and it gets to the Crux of what my Opening Post calls "The Free Market Myth".

Monday, April 21, 2014

Imagine the Bundy Ranch Showdown With Well Regulated Militias

Recently, Cliven Bundy and his supporters had a showdown with the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over grazing rights on land claimed by the federal government. They started rounding up Mr. Bundy's cattle but were confronted by armed, liberty-minded people. Fortunately, the feds backed down. (Those needing to get up to speed on this can do so here.) LewRockwell.com published a great article written by a former federal agent speculating on how the US government will retaliate titled “What’s Next for the Bundys?”. All of this got me thinking about the power the federal government has and why it shouldn't have it.


The useless constitution seems to be clear about what the federal government can and can't do. Article I, Section 8, clause 15 is the only part of the constitution that mentions how the federal government can enforce its laws. It reads “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions” [emphasis added] That's it, nowhere else does the constitution mention how to enforce federal law. The 10th Amendment limits the federal government's powers to only those listed. Nowhere does the constitution give the US government the power to create law enforcement agencies. This makes the BLM and the rest of the alphabet soup of federal law enforcement agencies unconstitutional. 
 
The point of having a well regulated militia is to avoid arming the government in the first place. Informing the Founders on this subject was one of John Trenchard's Cato's Letters, No. 95 Further Reasonings against Standing Armies. In it he warns:


It is certain, that all parts of Europe which are enslaved, have been enslaved by armies; and it is absolutely impossible, that any nation which keeps them amongst themselves can long preserve their liberties; nor can any nation perfectly lose their liberties who are without such guests: And yet, though all men see this, and at times confess it, yet all have joined in their turns, to bring this heavy evil upon themselves and their country.

Modern readers can be forgiven for thinking that we don't have an army among us. In order to get around the people's antipathy to having soldiers on the streets ruling us police forces were introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. Think of the standing army not as literally a military force but as any organized bodies of armed men under the government's control. Today's standing law enforcement establishment functions domestically the way a standing army would. That's exactly what we saw on display at the Bundy ranch. During the debates over the Second Amendment Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts argued:


What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.


Imagine if the government didn't have the BLM and its thugs to bully Cliven Bundy. Imagine if to go after him congress would have had to meet and then vote to call forth the Nevada militia. Does anyone seriously think that a militia composed of Mr. Bundy's neighbors would have even tried to enforce the federal government's tyranny on him? Of course not. If we don't give the government the power to oppress it won't. The only way to secure our rights is to disarm the government while arming and organizing the people.


A note on the “militias” that protected the Bundy ranch. They were brave, determined people that I'm glad succeeded in defending the ranch. What they aren't is militias in the sense meant by the Founders and thinkers like Trenchard. The militias are supposed to be part of the system not groups or individuals outside of it. Explaining the issue from a constitutional point of view Edwin Viera wrote an excellent article on the subject titled “True Vs. False Militia And Why The Difference Matters”. In it he wrote:


As wholly private organizations with no legal authority peculiar to themselves-- for certainly not a single one of them has been empowered by a State statute to participate in the activities they have taken upon themselves -- these "militias" are necessarily not parts of the government of any State or Locality. Indeed, they view themselves as at least potential antagonists and opponents of "the government" in general


Militias” set up outside of the system are revolutionary groups. (I don't want to be misunderstood here. I'm not saying opposing the government is wrong or bad, I'm just trying to set the record straight about what militias really are.) Mr. Viera gets the principle right though his application is wrong. As an anarchist libertarian I'm more anti-government than any “militia” member will ever be. What we need aren't constitutional militias but militias that are part of a stateless system. 

The bottom line is that if the government didn't have a “standing army” in the form of the BLM and the system's enforcers were the very people that tyranny would be inflicted on they couldn't even have tried to do what they did. Imagine that, our liberties would be secure and the Bundy ranch free of federal invaders.
 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Taxes and War Profiteers

One hopes that this sign could be the beginning of pacifists understanding that taxes and war go hand in hand. It was displayed at the Brandywine Peace Community's Good Friday Stations of Justice, Peace, and Nonviolent Resistance at Lockheed Martin, King of Prussia, PA (Mainstream media coverage can be read here.)
Knowledge that war depends on taxation is nothing new. During World War II Disney helped with propaganda to encourage submission to the legal plunder that is often referred to as taxation:
Thomas Paine covered the subject of war and taxes well in “The Rights of Man”:
…the portion of liberty enjoyed in England is just enough to enslave a country more productively than by despotism, and that as the real object of all despotism is revenue, a government so formed obtains more than it could do either by direct despotism, or in a full state of freedom, and is, therefore on the ground of interest, opposed to both. They account also for the readiness which always appears in such governments for engaging in wars by remarking on the different motives which produced them. In despotic governments wars are the effect of pride; but in those governments in which they become the means of taxation, they acquire thereby a more permanent promptitude.

War is the common harvest of all those who participate in the division and expenditure of public money, in all countries. It is the art of conquering at home; the object of it is an increase of revenue; and as revenue cannot be increased without taxes, a pretense must be made for expenditure. In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes

Every war terminates with an addition of taxes, and consequently with an addition of revenue; and in any event of war, in the manner they are now commenced and concluded, the power and interest of Governments are increased. War, therefore, from its productiveness, as it easily furnishes the pretense of necessity for taxes and appointments to places and offices, becomes a principal part of the system of old Governments

When the left decries the government’s diversion of its resources from human needs to the military it is on to something. War does impoverish us. What the left needs to understand is that a government with the resources to build schools also has the resources to build drones, a government with the resources to build roads also has the resources to build jet fighters, and a government with the power to tax and create money has the resources to pay for the weapons mentioned above and to wage war.

And wage war it will, for as Randolph Bourne wrote "War Is the Health of the State". Giving the state resources only feeds the war machine. Welfare at home and warfare abroad are also just flip sides of the same coin. If the left really wants to see Dr. King’s dream of peace come true they must face the reality that they can not give the government the tools it needs to wage war and expect it not to do so. It’s not enough to advocate that they not buy weapons. We must take away the tools they use to acquire them. This means that we must end the Federal Reserve System, the income tax, the federal government’s social spending, its regulatory role, and its police powers. Peace will only come when the government is powerless to commit evil acts both at home and abroad.
It comes as no surprise to libertarians that when governments use aggression at home to finance their operations they use much of that loot to aggress abroad. To really advocate peace pacifists need to apply their principles consistently. The use of force is either consonant with pacifist principles or it isn't. There is no magic of the collective that excuses the government using force in a way that is immoral for individuals to do so. I have no doubt that none of the members of the Brandywine Peace Community would themselves ever use force, or the threat thereof, to separate anyone from their money. Why then do they advocate that the government do so? Taxation isn't consonant with pacifist principles. It can't be enforced without using force, a violation of everything pacifists claim to stand for. Until they resolve this conflict pacifists may say they want peace but are really the enablers of war and other aggressions. We won't get rid of the scourge of war until we rid ourselves of the scourge of taxation.